Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Mom and Handmade Baby Dress

Last year after my Mom passed away I went through her belongings and helped my Dad sort through what to keep and what to give or throw away.  Well, I found this baby dress that my Grandmother had made for my Mother back in 1932.  So I took it and had it framed so that we could keep it as an heirloom.

Well, recently my brother painstakingly went through hundreds of old photos from my family and our mother's family.  He found this photo of my Mom around age 3 wearing this same dress.  Wow!

My Mom's Baby Dress - Handmade by her mother around 1932

My Mom wearing the same dress age 3 years old

I love being able to keep this little piece of history from our family!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

DIY Tutorial: Wire-Wrap Hearts

I have always loved hearts and often incorporate them into my jewelry designs.  My newest designs have been these wire hearts.  I have had such fun making these hearts I thought I would share how I did it.

Now let me first say I looked at several on-line tutorials to learn how to do these.  And I would advise looking at several because I found helpful hints in all of them.

Here are two tutorials I found very helpful:
OneVeryHappyBird's blog

Here is my DIY tutorial on how I made these hearts.

1.  Gather your supplies:
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose and/or bent nose pliers
  • Nylon jaw pliers (optional)
  • Wire cutters
  • Your choice of wire - I am using rose colored craft wire for this project

Supplies and Tools

2.  Using your wire cutters, cut your wire to the desired length - I cut about 6 inches which allowed me to make a heart about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.

3.  Straighten your wire using your fingers and/or your nylon jaw pliers.  I find using the nylon jaw pliers makes it a bit easier to hold the wire and get all the kinks out.  The reason for using nylon jaw pliers instead of your metal pliers is to prevent marring your wire.

4.  Using your round nose pliers grasp the wire at the midpoint, then bend the wire in half.  The round nose pliers give a nice rounded bottom for your heart.

Here is what your wire will look like after bending it - it should be u-shaped sort of like a bobby pin:

5.  Now you need to make your looped coils.  Using your round nose pliers, make a loop by rolling the end of one of your wires away from your u-shaped "bobby pin."

Next continue forming the loop into a coil.  Here I found that using bent nose pliers was easier for me than plain chain nose pliers - but either type can be used.  Hold the wire firmly with one hand, then use your pliers to roll the beginning loop into a coil.  This takes a bit of practice, but is not all that hard.  The wire is very forgiving and can be molded and re-molded fairly easily if you make mistakes.

Here is what the first coil looks like:

Now repeat on the other side to make a matching looped coil:

6.  Next you want to pull the wires across each other.  This will form a loop at the bottom and you can already see it looks sort of like a heart:

Then using your fingers, mold each side of the heart inward to the desired shape.  You can make your heart plump and fat or tall and skinny.

Here is what my finished heart looks like:

7.  One more final step is to hammer your heart.  This will harden the wire so that it retains its shape.  You will need a leather sandbag and bench block on which to hammer.  You can use either a metal chasing hammer or rubber mallet.  The metal chasing hammer will flatten your wire as well as harden it, whereas the rubber mallet will harden without flattening the wire.  It is really a matter of personal choice which look you like.

Place the heart on the bench block and sand bag.  I used a metal chasing hammer to harden and flatten my wire heart.

Here is what the heart now looks like.  And you will find the wire is now stiffer and less likely to get bent out of shape with use and wear.

I made several of these hearts using both the rose colored wire as well as some antique white wire.  Wouldn't the antique white hearts be great to use as wedding favors or decorations!  Of course you can use sterling silver wire or gold filled wire if you want to use these for jewelry designs such as earrings or pendants.

I will be making more of these hearts using various materials and incorporating them into my jewelry designs.  Find them soon in my Etsy shop!

Friday, May 2, 2014

More Wire-Wrapped Jewelry

Wire-wrapping is my newest addiction in jewelry design.  My skills are a work in progress, but I am finding it to be such fun.  The possibilities are limitless.  Here are a few of my newest designs:

Ocean Blue Crystal and Silver Wire Wrapped Pendant

Ocean Blue Crystal and Gold Wire Wrapped Pendant

Antique Pink and Rose Gold Wire Wrapped Earrings

Red Tourmaline and Rose Gold Wire Wrapped Earrings
Find these and more of my designs in my Etsy shop!

Coming soon .... my next post:  DIY tutorial on how to make wire hearts - these are really fun so I hope to see you back soon!