Paula’s Latest Bracelet Kit

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 23, 2008 in Crafts, Jewelry, Today's Photo

I got my latest Paula’s Kit Club package the other day – the title of the kit is "Peas Be With You".  I just adore this selection! 

And of course, I couldn’t help but make the bracelet from the corresponding French General kit as soon as I took it out of the box…


How cute is that?!?  I love the tiny green glass leaves in two shades of green and the little splashes of red with the ladybugs and flowers…

It actually came in time for St. Patrick’s Day, so I was able to wear it with my green sweater – adorable!


Even the Best Laid Plans…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 10, 2008 in Crafts, Jewelry, Soldered Art, Today's Photo

So, as I posted last time, I really did want to escape to the Poconos every weekend until we had to give up our winter seasonal spot, but…

Last weekend I had the stomach flu.  It was inevitable – everyone else in the house had it.  So…we didn’t go away that weekend.

Then this weekend we had some of the wildest weather on record – it was warm with heavy rain on Friday and Saturday followed by some incredible winds (we lost cable and internet for a while and lost all power for a little bit) and cold temperatures yesterday.  There were lots of branches down and several trees lost in our neighborhood.

The good news is that I finally had a chance to play in my craft room during the storm.  I have been inspired by a bracelet on the cover of this book for some time:


I just love the Eiffel Tower pieces in the lower left corner!  I used it as inspiration and came up with this piece:


The images are from some ArtChix collage sheets I had – the images were originally larger, but I just cut the pieces I thought would look best.  The bracelet links with the images are 1X1 inch squares of glass that are taped and soldered around the edges – there are images on both sides of the glass.  I added some clear glass drops, filigree connectors and some Eiffel Tower and scallop charms.

Speaking of glass – I had some 1X1 inch beveled squares in my stash, but wanted this piece to be lighter and flatter so I decided to try cutting microscope slides (1X3 inches) down to the correct size.  This was my first attempt at cutting small pieces of glass and I was not as successful as I’d hoped.  I went through many broken and cracked slides before I came up with enough pieces for the bracelet.  Happily, I have no major injuries to report other than a small nick on my finger and a strange sensation of something scratching me along the bottom leg of my sweatpants (some small, embedded shards of glass, perhaps?).  But I like how the bracelet turned out, so I guess it was worth it.

I also decided to make a small necklace – I used one of the successful 1X1 inch cut pieces to make a tiny collage:


I used a piece of old ledger paper found in my stash of ephemera as the background then added a pair of butterfly wings behind a vintage image of a little girl.  I strung the piece on a very thin leather cord and added a dragonfly charm and some crystals hanging from the bottom.  I think this will be cute worn with a pair of jeans and a black top (my standard casual wardrobe).

And while I was in my craft room, I decided to try and enter the Stampin’ Up! Artisan Contest again this year.  While I didn’t win last year, several of my pieces were on display at the Stampin’ Up! convention in Denver.  We have to make two 3D projects as well as several cards and scrapbook pages for the contest.  So far, I’ve at least done the 3D projects – can’t show them here, but I think they’re pretty good… :)

Oh – and I had another card published in Take Ten Stamper’s Sampler in the spring issue.  I got my artist’s comp copy in the mail and had to search through to find my card.  It’s been so long since I even sent anything in  – the card was from LAST Christmas…I need to gather up some more projects and send them in soon.

It’s been really difficult lately to find the time to work on crafts – this job-thing has really cut into my creative time.  It’s hard to find the time to do all the things I WANT to do as well as all the things I NEED to do.

I did manage to book a trip to Florida to visit my friend Linda next month.  We going to visit between my birthday and Emily’s birthday and have a nice girls’ weekend.  I’m looking forward to that!

And I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to post here as often as I used to – bear with me as I adjust to the working world…I’m getting there…


Vintage Button Bracelet

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 27, 2008 in Crafts, Jewelry, Today's Photo

I had a chance to make that button bracelet I mentioned on a previous post:


I had a bunch of plain, vintage white buttons that I attached to a chain with some jump rings.  It makes a really cool sound while it’s worn – not a quiet piece of jewelry, but fun!


Jewelry Projects

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 22, 2008 in Crafts, Jewelry, Today's Photo

Okay – now that I’m catching up on my posts, I realize that there have been lots of words but very few pictures (and a picture is worth a thousand words, right?). So here are some photos of some jewelry projects I’ve been working on recently…

One great thing about working is that I have more opportunities to wear fun jewelry pieces. Not that I get dressed up every day – this week, I wore jeans twice because it was just too cold!

I made another bracelet from the French General kit included with Paula’s Kit Club’s February Easter-themed kit:


I just love this! The little white pieces are shaped like eggs. I wore this the other day with a green sweater – it’s so cute!

Speaking of green, I made several other green pieces lately:


These pieces have some pretty green freshwater pearls.


This bracelet was from a kit as was this necklace:


I also made this necklace with a vintage opal stone:


And here are two pairs of earrings:


The pair on the right are made with a vintage topaz glass stone wrapped with filigree. The earring on the left shows the back and the one on the right shows the front.

Ooh – I also found this kit on clearance at TJ Maxx of all places:


I was from K & Company and I added the photos of my family to make a pretty charm bracelet.

Speaking of charm bracelets, I made this one to wear with red for Valentine’s Day:


It has several vintage red stones as well as some new stones, charms and crystals.

I also made this simple piece with a matching pair of earrings:


And this necklace and earrings with wire-wrapped pink glass drop beads:


I am really having fun making pieces that I can wear the very next day – it’s instant gratification, and you get to wear your ‘art’ on your sleeve, so to speak! :)

Next I want to make a series of button bracelets with a bunch of vintage buttons that I found in my stash…


Craft Re-Org

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 17, 2008 in Crafts, Jewelry, Other items, Today's Photo

I received my PaperCrafts prize the other day:


Such cool stuff! I finally had a chance to put it all away yesterday after kicking off a whole cleaning effort…

My craft room has been a disaster for a while now – I haven’t even been able to vacuum because I couldn’t get to the floor! But since I’ll be going back to work soon (God willing – that’s a story for another post), I figured I’d better do it now. So I reluctantly decided to clean it up and reorganize. It looks better now – not perfect, but it meets my “better than it was before” cleaning criteria (if I set the bar low enough, I’m assured success):


During the cleanup process, I was also inspired to finally finish some baby gift projects I’ve been meaning to work on (out of the three babies, one is about 3 months old now, one was just born and the other is due in a few weeks – so I’m not THAT far behind).

I made some more of those baby play/changing/nap mats that I’ve posted before:


But this time, instead of giving the mat and a blanket, I made these cute little fleece booties:


These are super-simple to make – I saw the project on Creative Juice on DIY. Here’s link to the instructions – they are easy even for a non-sewer like me (and their photos are better – I should have stuffed the little toes for the picture).

Basically, you cut the pattern (on the DIY site) from a small piece of folded fleece, add the elastic, sew around the edges, add a ribbon and cut the fringe at the top. Cute and easy.

I also received my latest Paula’s Kit Club shipment yesterday – I didn’t cancel it because a) I LOVE her stuff, and b) I thought I’d be working by now (again – I’ll save that for another post). In addition to the usual paper stuff, she has now included small jewelry kits from French General. LOVE IT!!!! This month’s was a bracelet made from vintage buttons and other pieces (which of course, I HAD to make right away):


Cool, cool, cool!!!! And now that I’ve done this project, I may try to take some of the buttons from my own vintage stash and make some designs of my own.

And I can do that now that my craft room is clean (and I’m STILL not working)…


More Crafty Gifts

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 31, 2007 in Crafts, Jewelry, Other items, Soldered Art

I FINALLY had a chance to finish gifts for my friend Linda (who lives in Florida) the other day.  Okay – I know – they’re late.  But that’s the great thing about old friends – they love you anyway!

So…Linda, if you’re reading this and you haven’t received your package yet – DON’T READ ANY FURTHER or you’ll spoil your surprise!!!!

For Linda’s daughter Kylee, I created one of those "little girl" initial necklaces I posted previously:


I used a small piece of patterned paper, an letter ‘k’ rub-on and sandwiched it between two 1X1 pieces of beveled glass.  I forgot to take a picture of the back, but I thought it turned out pretty cool – I took a small piece of a doily and adhered it over the back side of the double sided paper for a lace effect.

Oh – by the way – I also made all these gift boxes.  These are the ‘nugget’ boxes that are so popular on SplitCoastStampers this season.  They are made to fit Hershey’s Nuggets, but they also fit small items like jewelry.

For Linda, I made a bracelet from green turquoise and red carnelian beads as well as some silver filigree pieces:


I just love these colors together!

For Linda’s son Zachary, I made a little lunch tin that he can use for lunches or to store crayons and other art supplies:


I used some Basic Gray paper with a little ModPodge to adhere it to the tin.  I also used some Stampin’ Up! double stitched and grosgrain ribbon as well. 

For her husband Tom, I sent some cigars from Mike’s collection – no photos there!  But I did package them in a paper towel tube then wrapped it like a ‘cracker’ – hmm…maybe I should have taken some photos of that.

Finally, I sent a gift for the whole family.  I made a Christmas ornament using a photo taken while Linda was here visiting this summer:


I printed the photo in black and white on cardstock and then colored in the images with chalks in colors to match my color scheme of orange, red, turquoise and green.  I added some glitter to the water in the photo and added the word "memories".  I love the way this turned out – it really looks like a vintage photo.

Then I sandwiched the photo between some pieces of beveled glass (the back side is a really pretty orange handmade paper with tiny white polka dots) and taped and soldered the edges.  On the bottom corner, I added some metal seashells (brads from which I cut the back) and a glass scallop shell.  Then I hung some more glass shells and crystal beads from a jump ring on the bottom and used a seashell ribbon as the hanger at the top.

Just as a comparison, here is the original photo I used:

LInda and her kids

In fact, I liked this idea so much, I made more ornaments for Mike’s family using the same technique and this family photo:

The Torrence Families-3

Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the ornaments before I gave them out… :(

But I used the same technique, using red and green for everyone’s clothing and adding a Christmas sentiment at the bottom.

I love that I can modify the black and white photos to match any color scheme – no matter what the people were actually wearing!


Gift Bracelet

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 26, 2007 in Crafts, Jewelry

One of the Christmas gifts I gave this year was this handmade charm bracelet:


I made this for Andrew’s stepmother Clare.  She is a devout Catholic, and I when I saw this pretty vintage cross charm on eBay, I just knew that I had to make something with it for Clare. Here’s the back of the charm:


It says, "I am a Catholic.  Please call a priest."  Isn’t that a perfect gift?


Birthday Gifts

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 16, 2007 in Crafts, Jewelry, Soldered Art

Yesterday, Emily went to a birthday party for several children and I had a chance to play with some more jewelry designs – this time for six-year-old girls.

I wish I had taken photos of the gifts I made (I think they turned out really cute), but since I wasn’t feeling well, I didn’t have a chance.

But…I did make a similar necklace for Emily as a ‘test run’ – and I did manage to take a photo of it:


To make these, I started with a small piece of patterned paper.  I tried to use whatever colors Emily told me were their favorites.  I then added a rub-on initial for each girl for the front of the charm – "e" for Emily… ;) 

I also stamped a birthday sentiment on the back for the birthday girls (Emily’s just has a flower).  Then I sandwiched the paper between two small pieces of beveled glass (1X1) then taped and soldered the edges.  I added a jump ring to the top and used a ball chain to hang the pendant.  I also added a little dangle with some matching crystals…and voila!  A sweet little necklace perfect for a six-year-old!


Enough of That!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Dec 3, 2007 in Crafts, Jewelry

Okay – enough of that serious, self-reflective hooey in my previous post – who wants to read that type of stuff all the time? 😉

In general, I’m a pretty positive person. The way you ‘hear’ me talking on my blog – that’s how I speak in real life. I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not – my life’s not perfect. My kids aren’t little angels. My crafts aren’t the most ‘artsy’. My thoughts, ideas and words are not always that deep and meaningful.

But I do try to approach everything with a sense of humor mixed with a little sarcasm for good measure. I’m convinced that laughter can get you through any situation. It’s easy to sit and complain, to criticize and to always run at a stress level that will drive you – and everyone around you – nuts.  But to point out the absurdities in life and just have a good laugh – that’s what will get you through your days with your sanity and maybe even a little smile, too.

I think I’m going to continue to post my crafts and cards, but I’m only making them for myself and for gifts – no class ideas or items to sell…what a relief! :)

So here are some jewelry pieces that I made for myself this weekend.

Jade and carnelian necklace and earrings

This necklace is made from Chinese new jade, carnelian and African ocean jasper. There are also some pieces of red jasper on the earrings as well. I wrapped a piece of antiqued silver filigree around the jade focal point and inserted my eye pin through the hole to secure it. I also used a few more filigree connectors – I had fun with this!

I also made one more piece for myself:

Turquoise and pearl necklace

For this necklace, I took an African turquoise long bead and wrapped it with an antiqued filigree piece. I added some blue freshwater pearls and amazonite along with some black glass faceted beads. I still need to make a pair of earrings to go with this, but I’m in “holiday craft mode” right now.

I’m finding that I really like playing with jewelry pieces – especially with the beautiful beads and natural gemstones that are available now! It’s the same idea of adding color and creating a pleasing design just like any other craft medium. Again, my pieces may not be artsy or professional-looking, but at least I’m having fun and making something pretty for myself at the same time…


Soldering Projects

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 19, 2007 in Crafts, Jewelry, Soldered Art

As I’ve mentioned before, my friend Denise was kind enough to purchase a soldering start-up package for me for my birthday.  I blame her for my newest addiction – in fact, I think I can safely blame her for ALL of my craft addictions! :)

I did, however, have an unfortunate soldering accident last weekend.  While my iron was hot, the tip fell out of the handle!  Luckily, it was in the stand at the time (I thought it felt funny, so I put it back into the stand) so there were no injuries.  But to make it even worse, as I carried the iron (cooled off, of course) out to my backyard shed to grab the correct size wrench to replace the rod, I LOST the tip!  I’ve searched the backyard and shed and still can’t find it anywhere. 

And to make it even worse, I was right in the middle of a project!  Now to most people, this wouldn’t be a problem, but to an OCD person like me, this was a disaster!  I have scores of projects waiting to be completed, and I was without a soldering iron….but I decided to look at this as a lesson in patience. 

I called the stained glass store and they told me that it would be about $10 for a new tip.  The store is quite a little ride from my house – I don’t know when I’ll get out there again and I really need to finish some projects for Christmas.

So…I was surfing online and found this great website – a company called Simply Swank.  I had purchased their book and DVD about making soldered jewelry and wanted to order some of their other products anyway, so I went ahead and ordered a replacement iron along with some lead-free solder (I found out that you really shouldn’t use solder containing lead with jewelry), some clip art and some small pieces of glass.

These ladies are great!  They make soldering look easy and their products have a very feminine feel (my new iron has a pink handle – can you get more girly than that?).  I like that the new iron has a much smaller tip than the other one – perfect for jewelry making.  But I’ll still get a replacement tip for the old iron – it’ll be great to use for larger projects (and it doesn’t hurt to have a spare just in case of any future emergencies!).

When my new iron arrived (it came in only about 2 days!), I tried one of the projects that they suggest in the book.  Since I’m just starting out, I thought I’d copy it almost exactly – here’s my necklace:

Simply Swank CASEd necklace

To make the charm, I used their clip art (it actually came with the DVD) and enclosed it into two small pieces of glass.  I taped and soldered the edges of the glass and added jump rings at the top and bottom.  I also strung some beads onto three head pins and attached them to the bottom ring and attached the charm to the necklace to the necklace with the top ring.  Not only was this an exercise in soldering, but it was also a lesson in jewelry-making (more on this in a later post).

The black beads on the necklace were purchased during a run to Jubili Beads and Yarn a few weeks ago with my friends (AKA enablers!).  The clear beads and small pearls are actually vintage beads that I purchased at the Old Engine Works Antique Co-Op in Stroudsburg, PA during the trip that Mike and I took a few weeks ago.  The pearls were originally on an old German-made necklace with a broken clasp and broken strings – I love the idea that I was able to salvage them and give them a new use!

So I’m back in business – oh, and I was able to finish the half-finished project that I was working on during the lost-tip debacle:


I purchased the beveled pieces of glass as a kit at the Mullica Hill Art Glass store.  I’m not too happy with the way the middle seams turned out – they are way too thick.  When putting the pieces together, you have twice as much tape in the middle as on the edges (two taped sides together) so the center seam is larger.  I guess I could have added more tape to the edges or cut away at some of the tape in the center with a craft knife to even it out- now I know that for next time.

I added a ring at the top and the bottom and hung a crystal and some glass beads on the bottom as well – it looks pretty in the window and would make a nice Christmas ornament.

Now on to more projects…

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