Thursday, December 26, 2013

Mothers and Grandmother Jewelry

Mother and Grandmother jewelry make such perfect personalized gifts.  I made two this year for Christmas.  These are the first two of these I have ever made, but I hope to make more to list in my Etsy shop.

I was first asked to make a Mother/Grandmother necklace for one of my husband's dear aunts. She prefers gold jewelry, so I used antique gold chain.  It could also be made though in silver.

I used a pretty charm holder with hearts to suspend onto the chain, then made the charms using Swarovski crystals in birthstone color.  I used antique gold bead caps to accent the crystals.

The center charm has a crystal pearl and peridot crystal representing my aunt and her husband.  The large ruby and emerald crystals beside the center charm represent her two children.  The medium turquoise, amethyst, peridot, and clear (diamond) crystals are birthstones for her four grandchildren - I added an angel wings bead cap to the amethyst one for a grandchild that was lost in a tragic accident.  The smaller white opal and clear crystals represent her two great grandchildren.

If more great grandchildren are born, more charms can be added.

After finishing my aunt's necklace, I decided to make a slightly different one for my mother-in-law and give it to her for Christmas.

I used the same antique gold chain but did not use a charm holder.  Instead I put two Swarovski crystals (garnet and alexandrite) inside a beautiful filigree bead cage to represent my mother-in-law and her now deceased husband.

Beside the bead cage on each side are two crystal drops in birthstones for her two sons - one amethyst and one garnet.  Since the garnet crystal represented my husband, I attached a tiny peridot crystal to that one to represent me - who married into the family.  The two outer charms are topaz and amethyst to represent her only two grandchildren - my two sons.  I attached a tiny turquoise crystal to the topaz one to represent my daughter-in-law (her grand daughter-in-law.)

When great grandchildren come along, more crystal drops can be added.

I liked the idea of these necklaces so much, I decided to post them in my Etsy shop.  Of course no two will be exactly alike but the photos are posted to provide inspiration and ideas for a custom design.  You can check out my Mother/Grandmother Jewelry section in my Etsy shop here.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Heirloom Christmas Ornament DIY Tutorial

Some of you might remember a few months back when I started going through the vast collection of my Mom's vintage costume jewelry - my Mom passed away in July.  There's so much jewelry and it is so beautiful, it is really overwhelming to know what to do with all of it.  Much of it I am keeping, but some I am altering into new pieces.

For Christmas this year, I thought I would use some of the pieces to make into heirloom Christmas ornaments to give to family - each of her remaining siblings, my brother and his wife, my Dad, my two sons, and myself.

My Mom loved music and played several instruments, so I wanted to incorporate this into the project.  Here is what I came up with:


  • Wooden stars - about 3 1/2 inch diameter (you can use whatever shape you want)
  • Sheet music - of course, you can use any theme you want
  • Mod Podge - I used Antique Mod Podge for a vintage look
  • Embellishments - I used some of Mom's vintage clip on earrings and took the backs off along with some filigree stampings and rhinestones
  • E-6000 glue
First I drilled some holes into the tops of the wooden stars so I can later add a ribbon.  Here is what the plain wooden stars look like with the hole drilled at the top:

Here is a picture of the sheet music I used from FreeVintageStamps blog:

Next, I printed out a "reverse image" of the sheet music - this is so you can transfer the image of the music onto the wooden stars using a "mirror image:"

Now trace around the wooden stars on the paper and cut them out - make them just a bit bigger than the actual wooden stars - about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  Then brush the Mod Podge onto the front side of the paper stars and place them face down onto the wooden stars.  I used Antique Matte Mod Podge but you can use plain matte or glossy - whatever you prefer.

Here is a picture of the stars with the paper image mod podged to them:

Now just walk away and let the stars sit for 24 hours.  This is so the image will have time to set onto the wood.  

Next day, spray the ornaments with some water.

You will see the image starting to show through the paper once it is wet.

Now rub away the paper with your fingers. The paper will sort of shred and make a mess - I used wax paper to work on for easy clean up.

I found some residual Mod Podge and paper along the sides of the stars and used my fingernails to clean this up along the edges:

Here is what the star looks like at this point:

Next I used a sharp beading reamer to poke a hold through the paper where the hole on the wooden star was - you can use a needle or any other sharp object:

Here is a group picture of all ten stars at this point:

Now for the fun part - embellishing the ornaments!  As I said, I used some vintage clip on earrings from my Mom's collection, but you can use whatever you like.  Here are front and back views of one of the pairs of earrings I used:

I snipped off the clip-on backs of the earrings using flat nose pliers:

I found I needed to also snip off the "stalk" where the clip was attached - I used wire cutters:

Then to smooth the metal out so the earring would lie flat I used a metal file:

I could have just glued the altered earrings onto the stars but felt they needed something to "frame" them.  So I used some antique silver and brass filigree stampings - these are from  

It is hard to tell in the photo above, but the stamping on the left shows how I "dapped" the edges to better hold the earrings.  I used my flat nose pliers to bend and shape the edges a bit.  This is optional - I just found it helped the earrings sit a bit flatter onto the stars.

Next, use your E-6000 glue to attach your earrings onto the stampings.  Here is a picture of my finished grouping of earrings and stampings:

I let the earrings and stampings sit for 24 hours to make sure the glue was dry.  Next I glued the finished earrings and stampings onto the stars:

Then I added some clear rhinestones to each point on the star to add a bit of bling:

It is usually a good idea to let the E-6000 glue sit for about 24 hours before handling.

Now the only things left to do are to add some ribbon and maybe a personalized message on the back.  I also want to find some pretty packaging for presenting and storing these ornaments.  Will maybe post some pics of these later!

Thanks so much for visiting and reading!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tutorial: How To Make A Picture Frame Jewelry Display

This week I made some new earring displays out of old picture frames.  This is not a new idea - you can find many similar DIY projects on Etsy, Pinterest and the like.  So of course, there are a number of variations and ways to do this, but I am sharing this tutorial on how I did it.

First, gather your supplies:

  • Picture frame
  • Plastic canvas netting (I found mine at Michael's)
  • Card-stock paper
  • Wire for making S-hooks
  • Tools (scissors, round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, wire cutters)
The plastic canvas netting and card-stock are available in many colors - I used black to let the colors of my earrings "pop" against the dark color, but you can be creative and use any color you like!  

Take the back off your picture frame:

Cut your canvas netting and cardstock to fit the picture frame.  Use the cardboard or glass to use as a pattern to get the right size:

Then put the canvas netting first inside the picture frame, then the card-stock, then the glass back into the picture frame - I also used the two pieces of cardboard that came with the frame to fill in the empty space and help keep the netting rigid.  Frames will vary with what comes with them.

Close the back of the picture frame:

And here is what your display looks like:

Now you need to make the S-hooks for hanging your jewelry.  Here are the tools you will need:

Cut a piece of wire - I made my S-hooks using the black wire pictured above, but for this tutorial I have photographed using copper wire.  The length of wire depends on the size of the hook you want.  In general a 2 to 2 1/2 inch length works well:

Now grasp the wire with your round nose pliers:

Then bend the wire back toward you over the top part of the pliers:

Push the wire down to make the first part of the S-curve:

Now reverse the direction of the wire by turning it the other way. Grasp the straight end of the wire with the curved end downward still using your round nose pliers - place the pliers just above the end of the downward curved part of the wire:

Then push the wire upward over the end of your round nose pliers to form the second part of the S-curve:

I used my flat nose pliers to push and form the S-shape a bit better:

Cut off any excess wire to the size you want:

Voila!  Here is your finished S-hook.  You can use a file to remove any rough or pointed edges.

Next place your S-hooks onto the frame and Voila!  Here is what your display looks like:

Here is a picture of my finished frame displaying some of my earrings:

You can use any size frame you want.  This frame is a 5x7 but a larger one such as 8x10 or larger makes a great display for necklaces.  

I also found that the 16 gauge wire was a bit difficult to work with and the ends of the S-hooks would barely fit into the netting so I might consider using a lighter weight wire next time such as 18 gauge.

Do you have your own jewelry display you would like to share - or a tutorial on how to make one?  I'd love to see it and share it.  Contact me and I will be happy to share the link here on my Blog!