Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weaved Necklace with Polished Stone Pendant Tutorial

Hello, fellow bloggers and crafters! This weaved necklace is one of my best sellers and people love it when I give it to them as gifts. I'm feeling extra generous today so I thought I'd share my pattern with y'all. So here goes nothing!

You will need the following to make your own weaved necklace:

Crafting/Jewelry Making Pliers, Crimper and Cutter

Beads or Stones of your choice and 28 gauge non-tarnish silver wire. For this project, I am making use of semi-precious agate chips, clay beads and a polished stone for my pendant. Please take note that if you are using a stone/gem of your choice and turning it into a pendant, you will need to make use of a headpin so it can hang from your chain. You will also need jump rings and a clasp or toggle of your choice. If I forgot to mention any other materials you will need for this project, I'm sure you will find it on the instructions below.

I chose this stone for this particular necklace. Note that I used a decorative headpin to turn the stone into a pendant that I can work with and incorporate on my necklace.

You can also use ready-made pendants that you can get from stores. The possibilities are endless when it comes to making your weaved necklaces. You can go for any color and design that your heart desires.  One word of advice tho...measure, measure, measure! If your ready-made/store bought pendant has a small opening, you might have to adjust your pattern to make it fit the chain.
I've already explained the pendant part of the necklace but if you have any questions about the pattern, feel free to post a comment and I'll get back to y'all the soonest that I can. Now on to the chain part of this project...

Measure how long you want your necklace. I am making an 18 inch chain but I measured out 25 to 27 inches of wire so I have extra material to work with. The reason being, you need extra wire to be able to weave the bracelet and add clasps/toggles to it. 
After you've cut out your wire, go ahead and string your beads (in my case I used agate chips). Since I am making an 18 inch necklace, I strung an 18 inch strand of agate chips.

This is the first strand that I have finished. If you're done with your first string, go ahead and set it aside. Don't tie the ends or anything...just set it aside and make sure it's secure so none of your beads will fall out! Trust me...I have done this several times in the past and it's annoying when you end up with beads all over the floor just 'coz you forgot to secure it.

Do the same with your second strand. This time I am using clay beads for contrast. I suggest using different colored gems or beads for aesthetic interest.

I decided to use a plain silver chain as my third strand - but you are not limited to my patter, y'all. You can opt for just weaving 2 strands or you can use a third strand of beads for your weaved chain. 
Now for the weaving part...

If you have a clamp at home, you can use that for the "weaving" portion of this tutorial. My husband got one for me 'coz I use it a lot for my other wire art paraphernalia. It shouldn't cost you more than $2 or $3 at your local hardware stores. 

Go ahead and attach your strands to your clamp. Make sure that it's very secure before you start weaving then go ahead and braid your strands. You can start twisting your strand after you're done braiding, until you're satisfied with how it looks like.

Note: I slipped the two strands of wire on the very last hole of my silver chain, so I can braid it together. You can enlarge the picture so you can see clearly. Again, please do not hesitate to ask me questions if you have any.

This is my chain after I got done braiding it.

Next, you are going to use crimp tubes to secure the ends of the necklace.

Slide a crimp tube through your wire strands and crimp it using your crimping tool. 

You can use decorative findings to hide your crimp tubes like I did on this project.

Then all you have left to do is to attach your clasp and pendant to your project. If you're not sure how to do so, you can consult youtube videos like this one:

You can attach your pendant by using a jump ring:

You can also make a matching bracelet using the same pattern, like I did.

I hope y'all had fun with this project! I hope it ain't confusing to follow but if it is...I'm just a comment away.

Have a wonderful Thursday, y'all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Frugality in Crafting

The couponer in me always prevails and  it doesn't stop on groceries, medical supplies, household necessities and food items. My couponing includes purchasing supplies for my crafting too!

Here are a few tips that I've always practiced so I can save money on my tools and supplies:

1. Iphone/Ipad/Cellphone apps for your local craft stores - e-coupons save you time, paper and ink!
2. Craft Store websites. They always have discount coupons so print away and take advantage of them. You can also check their clearance items - I always plan my trips to my craft stores based on what they have on clearance!
3. Craigslist. I have always been able to score great deals on supplies on this site. Some people list stuff up for sale on this site, that they don't need/want, for little to nothing.
4. Garage and Estate Sales. The possibilities are endless when it comes to garage and estate sales.  Most ads of this nature have certain details of what they would be selling - I never limit the possibilities to just crafting supplies tho.
5. The eBay bidding wars. I love this 'coz I can potentially get stuff cheaper than their retail value. However, I set my "bidding limits" from the get-go. I always try to list down (or make mental notes) of the retail prices of the items that I want so I know where my "bidding line" starts and ends - so to speak. I also opt for stuff that fall under the "free shipping" category. After all, A dollar or two (or three...or four...or!) saved is moolah that you can spend on another project.
6. Re-purpose and recycle. I never chunk any of my left over materials from previous projects. A great example would be left over yarn that are not enough to make another project out of. You can always use them for something else - e.g. embroidering cute faces for amigurumi items that I love making for my nephew, granny squares for hodge podge crocheted blankies, small projects like potholders and such.

This is one of my "crafting toys" that I paid almost nothing for. I had a 60% off coupon  for this item and matched it with a "25% off entire purchase" deal that my local store had that day. I purchased several other items but had my husband check out for me 'coz these deals have limitations (sad!) - one coupon per customer per day (unless otherwise stipulated like coupon/deal matching). Separate transactions equates to more savings. More savings equates to a very happy ME!

My greatest deal of the week tho, is a FREE sewing machine from my neighbor. It has never been used and it even came with the receipt - she never figured out how to use it so she gave it to me (I thought that was super sweet of her)!

I've been meaning to get one for myself but scored one for free - because I was blessed with such a generous neighbor. I took it for a test run (after watching tons of youtube videos on how to use it!) and was able to successfully line a crocheted bag that I was working on.

Here are a few photos of the bag that I am working on with yarn that was on clearance sale at my local craft store. It's not close to being done yet, as I am still on the hunt for bag handles that will work with the pattern. An acrylic round handle is what I had in mind. We'll see...

I always believe in giving credit where it's due...and I was able to finish this bag because of this wonderful tutorial from "one virtuous woman" on youtube. So if y'all wanna make your own "Fat Bottom Purse" - here's the video tutorial for it.

I believe I've babbled enough on! I hope the tips I shared helps. If you're already practicing these frugal ways - kudos to you! If you have more tips to share to couponers and crafters like myself - you are more than welcome to post a comment.

Have a wonderful week, y'all!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Wonders of Wood : Morgan Handcraft

One of the things that I love about the internet and social networking in general, is the fact that you meet interesting individuals and get a firsthand view on their passion and interests.

I started a Facebook page that is solely dedicated to my crafts and slowly added individuals that are interested in the different arenas of art. I chanced upon such creative people and one of them is a gentleman named Ryan Morgan - an artist who specializes in woodwork.

I have always been in love with wood furniture. It reminds me of my childhood and my ancestral home back in Asia. Up until now, that love for handcrafted woodwork is still deeply rooted in me and I try to incorporate as much of it as I can, in my personal home aesthetics.

For the people out there who love handcrafted woodwork as much as I do, here's a few pieces that Morgan Handcraft has to offer:

 Hand Burnings

 Cypress and Sycamore Wooden Table

 Cedar Lamp (a personal favorite of mine)

 Cedar Coffee Table

Mesquite and Ceddar End Table (I must say...I am in love with this piece!)

Needless to say, the pieces made by this very talented gentleman is worth checking out. You can check his work by clicking on his Facebook link (click me!).

Thanks for stopping by and please support handcrafted products! 

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!