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DIY Leather Bracelets: Setting Rivets and Eyelets

February 19, 2015

I love leather cuff bracelets! Whether I wear one alone, or layer them with other metal and leather bracelets, I think they are always in style. They are bohemian, and can be in funky bright colors or subdued earth tones. With the large selection of pre-made cuffs we sell, the possibilities are endless! I made a few examples using the TierraCast eyelet setting tool and eyelets to show you! Check out how to make them below!
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New York Fashion Week from the perspective of a Jewelry Designer

September 27, 2013

Our team from left to right. Jewelry Designer, Tiffany White of Geisha Creations, Angelana Perez, Mandy Vahlkamp, Nikki, Savannah Prochnau, Laurin Crosby, Amanda Hillmann, [...], and Eco Chic Clothing designer Alyssa Perez. Photo by Yassir Ketchum. Our photographers were also there, Eric Barro and Jac James.

Our team after the show, from left to right. Jewelry Designer, Tiffany White of Geisha Creations, Angelana Perez, Mandy Vahlkamp, Nikki, Savannah Prochnau, Laurin Crosby, Amanda Hillmann, […], and Eco Chic Clothing designer Alyssa Perez. Photo by Yassir Ketchum. Our photographers were also there, Eric Barro and Jac James.

Hi, my name is Tiffany White and I am the girl pictured on the very left of this photo. I am a jewelry designer, jewelry blogger, and jewelry making instructor. My world pretty much revolves around jewelry! I have worked for Rings & Things, and if you follow this blog, you have probably seen some of my jewelry-making blogs on how to do various techniques. When my company, Geisha Creations, was invited to show my jewelry at a fashion show during New York Fashion Week, Rings & Things was happy to help my team get there! In exchange for their support, I am writing a blog to tell you all about the line I created for the event and the journey to New York for Fashion Week.

Twice a year, New York City is transformed into a fashion mecca. Every September and February, New York City hosts the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and people from around the world flock to the city in their most stylish clothing and accessories. During this time, anything fashion goes. It reaches beyond the Mercedes Benz sponsored events. Fashion bloggers, underground runway shows, and street style make their presence visible throughout the city.

A few of the models in front of the entrance to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Though the show we did was a smaller underground show, we went down to where the big shows were to get the attention of fashion bloggers and photographers. Models: Amanda Hillmann, Laurin Crosby, Angelana Perez, and [...]. Photograph by Eric Barro, WTFashion Magazine.

A few of the models in front of the entrance to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Though the show we did was a smaller underground show, we went down to where the big shows were to get the attention of fashion bloggers and photographers. Models: Amanda Hillmann, Laurin Crosby, Angelana Perez, and […]. Photograph by Eric Barro of WTFashion Magazine. Clothing by Eco Chic Clothing and jewelry by me, Tiffany White of Geisha Creations

This fall, I was fortunate enough to experience all these things first hand. As a jewelry designer, I was invited to attend an underground fashion show that hosted several fashion designers. I was part of a design team that included a fashion designer, two photographers from WTFashion Magazine, six models, and me, the jewelry designer. Our fashion designer was Alyssah Perez of Eco Chic Clothing, and our collaborative line was called “Leather & Lace Dripping in Gold”. Alyssah made the Leather & Lace gowns, and I made the Dripping in Gold Jewelry. All ten of us boarded a plane in Spokane, Washington and made the 2,500 mile journey across the country to see first hand what New York Fashion Week was all about. It was amazing!

Our team at the Spokane International Airport, ready to board a light headed to New York City!

Our team at the Spokane International Airport, ready to board a flight headed to New York City!

When Alyssah Perez came up with the idea to make a line titled, “Leather & Lace Dripping in Gold” she contacted me and asked if I was interested in making the Dripping in Gold jewelry. I jumped at the opportunity to create a collaborative line, and loved her idea to make the jewelry all gold. We worked together and as she created the clothing, I created jewelry that matched the style and cut of the dresses. We debuted our collection at Runway Renegades, a local runway show here in Spokane. It was great practice for the show we would be putting on in New York City, less than one month later.

Some of the team hanging out at Times Square. From left to right, model Mandy Vahlkamp, clothing designer Alyssah Perez, photographer Eric Barro, and model Amanda Hillmann,

Some of the team hanging out at Times Square. From left to right, model Mandy Vahlkamp, clothing designer Alyssah Perez, photographer Eric Barro, and model Amanda Hillmann.

Though we worked most of the time while we were in New York City, we did get to enjoy the sites a little! On this day we ate lunch at the famous sandwich shop, Katz’s Delicatessen. From left to right, Mandy Vahlkamp, Alyssah Perez, Laurin Crosby, Tiffany White, Amanda Hillmann, and […].

The day of the show was crazy! It went so fast. The girls had to be at the venue early for hair and makeup. In addition to our team, there were several other teams preparing for the the show. When the show started, we were the first team to walk. One of our models had to walk twice so we had to do a wardrobe change behind the scenes, with only like 3 minutes! It was amazing to see all the photographers as the teams walked. Here are a few shots of the girls walking the at the Mad Girl’s Production Sugar and Art Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week. The angle on these photos is right when they walk out, before they walk down the runway. They stop and pose then do their walk.

Model: Amanda Hillmann Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White Photography: Eric Barro, WTFashion Magazine

Model: Amanda Hillmann
Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez
Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White
Photography: WTFashion Magazine, Eric Barro

Model: Angelana Perez Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White Photography: Eric Barro, WTFashion Magazine

Model: Angelana Perez
Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez
Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White
Photography: WTFashion Magazine, Eric Barro

Model: Laurin Crosby Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White Photography: Eric Barro, WTFashion Magazine

Model: Laurin Crosby
Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez
Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White
Photography: WTFashion Magazine, Eric Barro

Model: Nikki Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White Photography: Eric Barro, WTFashion Magazine

Model: Nikki
Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez
Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White
Photography: WTFashion Magazine, Eric Barro

Model: Mandy Vahlkamp Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White Photography: Eric Barro, WTFashion Magazine

Model: Mandy Vahlkamp
Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez
Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White
Photography: WTFashion Magazine, Eric Barro

Model: Savannah Prochnau Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White Photography: Eric Barro, WTFashion Magazine

Model: Savannah Prochnau
Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez
Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White
Photography: WTFashion Magazine, Eric Barro

Model: Angelana Perez Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White Photography:

Model: Angelana Perez
Clothing: Eco Chic Clothing Collections, Alyssah Perez
Jewelry: Geisha Creations, Tiffany White
Photography:

If you are reading this blog, you are most likely a jewelry fanatic like myself! So let me show you show you some close-ups of the jewelry I made for the show. I was fortunate enough to get a lot of the supplies from Rings & Things. If you have any questions about how I made items or what supplies I used, please feel free to ask in the comment section and I would be happy to help!

Close up of the earrings I made. These feature sparkly gold glass beads that I got from Rings & Things.

Close up of the earrings I made to go with one of the model’s dresses. These feature sparkly gold glass beads that I got from Rings & Things.

The necklace made for [...]. I antiqued and sanded this piece of raw brass and then added golden sparkly glass to give it some pizzazz..

Matching necklace: I antiqued and sanded this piece of raw brass and then added golden sparkly glass to give it some pizzazz.

Mandy Vahlkamp's necklace really embraces the "Dripping in Gold" theme. The necklace was made with 10mm gold sparkly glass beads available at Rings & Things.

Mandy Vahlkamp’s necklace really embraces the “Dripping in Gold” theme. The necklace was made with 10mm gold sparkly glass beads available at Rings & Things. Her earrings are made with brass leaf charm chain.

Close-up of Mandi's earrings featuring gold sparkly glass and brass leaf charm chain.

Close-up of Mandi’s earrings featuring gold sparkly glass beads and brass leaf charm chain. Rings & Things has several styles and platings of charm chain available. I love to use them in my designs.

Savannah Prochnau had sparkly golden chandelier earrings and a necklace with several pieces of antique brass chain.

Savannah Prochnau had sparkly golden chandelier earrings and a necklace with several pieces of antique brass chain.

Close-up of the earrings. Onion-shaped chandelier findings with graduated gold sparkly glass.

Close-up of the earrings. Onion-shaped chandelier findings with graduated gold sparkly glass. Rings and Things has several antique brass chandelier findings!

Amanda Hillman looked so gorgeous wearing these sparkly gold faceted glass and brass filigree leaf earrings.

Amanda Hillman looked so gorgeous wearing these sparkly gold faceted glass and brass filigree leaf earrings.

These earrings were made with jumbo brass filigree leaves. And though they are large, they are quite lightweight.

These earrings were made with jumbo brass filigree leaves. And though they are large, they are quite lightweight. Rings & Things carries similar brass filigree leaves.

Angelana Perez's dress was very regal and medieval so I decided to make a necklace with the same vibe. This Lion Head and Gold Coated Quartz necklace is my favorite piece from the line.

Angelana Perez’s dress was very regal and medieval so I decided to make a necklace with the same vibe. This Lion Head and Gold Coated Quartz necklace is my favorite piece from the line.

The necklace is made from a raw brass stamping that I antiqued, polished, punched holes in and sealed with a resin sealer. You can do this with all the raw brass items available at Rings & Things.

The necklace is made from a raw brass stamping that I antiqued, polished, punched holes in and sealed with a resin sealer. You can do this with all the raw brass items available at Rings & Things. This piece also exhibits some fun wire-wrapping.

Laurin Crosby is wearing golden jewelry that has a more rocker look to it, much like her dress with Swarovski studded leather top of her dress.

Laurin Crosby is wearing golden jewelry that has a more rocker look to it, much like her dress with Swarovski-studded leather at the top.

These earrings are similar to the ones worn above by Laurin.

These earrings are similar to the ones worn above by Laurin. Rings & Things donated the supplies to make these earrings and we sold them to raise money for our trip. These earrings are made of only four items! Sparkly Glass Gold Beads, Antique Brass Tassels, Antique Brass Eyepins, and Bronze Niobium Earring Wires. Feel free to recreate your own Dripping in Gold Earrings!

Well, I hope you liked the jewelry I created for New York Fashion Week! New York was amazing, a whole different world than Spokane, Washington. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to travel with my amazing team to this show! I hope it is the first of many, and who knows, maybe one day I will be showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week!

~Tiffany White

Geisha Creations, Jewelry Designer and Owner

Rings & Things, Jewelry-making Intructor

And all around lover of jewelry!

An Easy Way to Translate Websites

January 24, 2013

Translating websites that aren’t in your native language, or just translating them for fun, is easier then ever. Google’s translation software for websites is automatically installed in the Chrome browser and in its sister browser, Iron.  It is also available as an Add-On in many of the other browsers. Here at Rings & Things we recommend Chrome, or for the more privacy-conscious, the Iron Browser as your default web browser.

To begin you will need do download and install the browser if you don’t already have Chrome or Iron. You can find free downloads here:

Google Chrome: https://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/browser/

Iron: http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron_download.php

Cosmetically and functionally the browsers are almost identical, with most of the differences being internal. What are the internal differences?  Iron removes the unique ID that Google gives to every install of Chrome, removes all optional settings that would allow Google to track your browsing habits, and removes the automatic update feature.

Installation of either browser is simple and should only take a few minutes.

Once it is installed there is nothing else to do to get Google’s translation software. When browsing a site in a foreign language each browser should automatically offer to translate the page to your native language. If it doesn’t, or if you want to translate from your language to another, just right-click on the page for a list of options and chose (in my case) “Translate to English”.  This will bring a bar below your tabs that will tell you what language it is translating from and to. If you choose, you can change the language it is translating to any language you wish.

chrome-1

chrome-2

Cheers!
Todd, Rings & Things Web Guru

Two ways to color metal using Image Transfer Solution

April 22, 2011
design by sondra barrington

Alice in Wonderland image transfer bracelet

Hi Bloglandia! Last weekend I did a demo in our Spokane showroom on how to use Sherri Haab’s Image Transfer Solution (ITS) and thought now would be a good time to share these techniques for colorizing metal with everyone.

Image transfer is just that – transferring an image from the paper it is printed on to a different surface (in this case, metal jewelry components). Image transfers have a vintage, ethereal feel, and I love how the different colors of metals shine through. Unlike many of the other solvents and processes used for image transfer, Image Transfer Solution (ITS) is non-toxic. Yay! Plus, it has another purpose not even mentioned on the bottle: it is an excellent way to seal colors onto metal (more on that in a bit).

Transferring Images – ITS Method #1

One caveat: The images you use must be printed on a laser (toner based) printer. Ink jet pictures will not work. The pictures can be black or white or color. Photos and text should be reversed before you print, since transfers will be mirror images.

To be honest, I did not like ITS the first couple of times I tried it. I kinda hated it. Following the directions on the bottle, I prepped my metal with steel wool and heat-set the images in a 325 degree oven – just like it said! – but things just kept going wrong. Either my images would wash right off the metal or the paper would be so very stuck to the metal that no amount of scrubbing would remove it. But I loved the concept, so I kept playing with it. Below is my own method for using ITS. Maybe the package directions will work like a charm for you. If not, I hope my tips and tricks help:

  1. Scuff up your metal (aluminum, brass, copper and silver all work great) with a medium grit sanding pad or sand paper. Steel wool leaves the surface too smooth, in my opinion.
  2. Wash metal with rubbing alcohol to remove dirt, dust and oil – even if it looks clean!
  3. Using a clean, dry paintbrush, evenly coat the prepped metal with just a couple of drops of ITS.

  1. Press image face-down onto metal and press firmly into place to remove any air bubbles. ITS is like glue – you will not be able to reposition your paper at all, so be careful to place it where you want it! Let dry. Use an iron (high heat, no steam) to heat the metal for 1 or 2 minutes. Don’t worry, the paper won’t burn. Let metal cool.
  2. Place the metal into water and using a gentle circular motion, begin rubbing the paper off, leaving the image behind. Don’t get to aggressive or you could lift off parts of the image. Patience pays off here.
  3. After most of the paper is removed, use a sheet of polishing paper and more water to remove the finer paper fibers.
  4. After all of the paper is removed, seal the image with a dab of Renaissance Wax and a soft cloth. It really improves the luster.
image transfer necklace

My photograph looks like a vintage postcard after being transferred onto aluminum. The Swarovski beads are the same colors as the prayer flags hanging on the mountain tea house.

Complete your jewelry piece! The image is permanently attached. You can even punch holes or dap the metal and it won’t come off!

Sealing Colors – ITS Method #2

Image Transfer Solution can also be used to permanently seal inks onto metal! Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Inks are tons of fun to mix and blend onto non-porous surfaces, like metal, but since they are ink, they can be rubbed or washed off. That is, unless you seal them with ITS. When you heat-set ITS, it binds the color to the metal. It will not wash off or bleed onto your customer’s skin.

design by sondra barrington

Vintaj fussy peacock pendant colorized with alcohol inks for a faux enamel look.

You can color your metal with alcohol inks and then, after they’ve dried, paint a thin layer of ITS over the top. Another option is to mix the ITS directly with your inks (just a few drops of each) and paint that mix onto your metal. Either way, once the ITS has dried, you need to heat-set it to make the bond permanent. Just follow the directions on the Image Transfer Solution package for using an oven to heat-set (the iron won’t work for this application).

Looks like patina – but this blue bee was colored with alcohol inks.

There you have it! Two tried and true methods for permanently coloring your metal pieces for jewelry and other applications. Although this post focused on metal, Image Transfer Solution can be used on polymer clay, etched glass and other surfaces too! Since it really only takes a couple of drops per image, you’ll have plenty to experiment with! ~ Cindy


PS: here are some handy links to some other how-to‘s in the Rings & Things blog!

How to dap and dome metal jewelry

April 8, 2011

Cymbals of Happiness bracelet by Sondra:
stamped, textured and domed copper and brass disks make a tinkling charm bracelet.

It took me awhile to accept “dapping” as a real word. Even now that I am obsessed with dapping every flat piece of metal that crosses my path, I still find the term awkward. Spell check, ignoring the facts as usual, still doesn’t believe.

In jewelry making, dapping simply means taking a flat piece of metal and curving it into a dome with special dies and punches, called a dapping set. The dapping block (or die if you prefer) has a series of concave impressions that correspond in size with the dapping punches.

Rings & Things #69-199 dapping set by Eurotool, and a variety of flat and dapped metal pieces.

Simply place your metal piece in the block and use a hammer (preferably brass) to repeatedly tap the punch into the metal. I say tap because your goal is to gently bend the metal into a smooth, even curve. If you just whack as hard as you can, the metal won’t shape up evenly.

how not to dap metal

The entire piece of metal needs to fit inside the impression, not sit on top like in this picture.

how to dap metal

Here the metal pieces are inside the impressions, ready to be dapped.

Another tip: don’t hammer straight down on your metal. Hold the dapping punch at and angle, and tap tap tap with your hammer, turning your metal after every few taps to ensure that it is shaping up nicely.

For best results, keep rotating the die and the metal.

As you dap (tap, dome, whatever!), the height of the metal piece increases, while the width decreases. So after you’ve dapped as much as you can in one impression, you can move the metal into the next smallest hole and dap it with the next smallest punch to get a deeper dome.

Doming adds a professional quality to your work. Even just a slight curve instantly makes a metal disk reflect more light.

flat disk and dapped disk

Just a few taps is all it takes!

Brass, copper, aluminum and sterling silver are all excellent soft metals to dap (most of my images are of raw brass blanks). Even copper coins can all be dapped, although coins are thick and will require you to apply a bit more muscle. If you want to stamp, texture, punch holes, or otherwise adorn your metal (and you will!) do all that before you dap for beautiful results:

Use stamps to monogram brass disks for easy, elegant earrings.

Dapped pieces can be layered too, like on my copper and brass ring. (See bottom of this blog for tips about making this ring.)

One word of warning – you might need to upgrade your photography equipment to get good pictures of your dapped jewelry! I think the only way to get a clear picture of Mollie’s “God Save the Queen” necklace would be to use a professional light box. The domed Canadian penny is amazingly reflective. Since my photo-editing software lacks a “rhinestone-reflection remover tool,” this is as good of a shot as I could get. Believe me, the necklace is stunning in person!

A domed penny, brass filigree and snippet of rhinestone chain, all soldered onto a brass disk, forms the centerpiece.

I know you are quicker on the uptake than my computer: add dapping to your jewelry-making vocabulary today! ~ Cindy

—————– postscript: —————–

We’ve gotten a bunch of questions about Cindy’s copper and brass “True” ring above, but she has moved away, so I’ll do my best to answer. The ring uses only 3 parts:

Texture the copper washer using this technique, or simply give it a nice hammered texture with a chasing or ballpein hammer. Stamp “true” on the disk following these metal stamping instructions or this metal stamping article. Then dap (dome) the washer and the brass disk, and glue them into the bezel ring with your favorite adhesive. Cindy used E-6000. ~Polly

Blog Home (Newest Tutorials)

How to use heat to patina brass charms and filigrees

March 31, 2011
bee charms, raw and with heat patina

One before and two after applying heat patina. Check out the rainbows on the middle bee!

Ah, brass. Beautiful brass. I love everything about using brass in my handmade jewelry … except its raw brassiness. Brass is affordable, easy to work with and available in all kinds of fun charms and filigrees. And while giving raw brass an antique patina with an oxidizing solution such as Win-Ox really is not difficult, my favorite method of coloring brass is the torch! It tones down that brash brassiness to a beautiful warm glow that is infinitely more appealing to my eye.

bee charm torch

Torching the bee charm only took a few seconds.

Applying heat to give metal a patina is so easy – and clean! No chemicals, no rinsing, no waiting! Sometimes you can even get shimmery rainbows to appear by holding the heat on a few extra seconds. (The same process works to heat patina raw copper.)

Heat patina raw brass filigree

Raw brass filigree, before and after meeting the torch flame.

You all know to set up a heat proof work area before firing up your torch. This can be as simple as a cookie sheet. Tie back your hair, wear safety glasses and just plain BE SAFE. Do your homework before you start. A great book that explains all the necessities for working with a torch is Soldering Made Simple by Joe Silvera.

Butane is widely available at hardware stores.

Don’t feel fired up to experiment? You can buy Vintaj natural brass jewelry components, which have already undergone a chemical-free process to give them their rich color.
Plated brass filigrees are also available. But I encourage you to try heat patina. It is the safest way to let your inner pyromaniac out to play!

Velvet ribbon adds a luxurious feel to this brass bracelet.

Here is a gorgeous brass jewelry example by Mollie to inspire you! She soldered a raw brass bee to a Vintaj connector to make this bracelet, and used both heat and Win-Ox to patina the pieces. Full parts list and instructions for Blue Honey are available in our design gallery. ~ Cindy

How to make interchangeable magnetic jewelry with 1" buttons

March 24, 2011

bottle cap magnet button pendantHandmade magnetic bottle cap necklace with assorted buttons
Mollie has been borderline obsessed with one particular item lately. It’s not a pretty gemstone bead or sparkly crystal pendant. It isn’t even new. No, Mollie is obsessed with plain old sticky dots. Almost daily, she’d ask me, “Oooh, have you tried the sticky dot?” and I’d just roll my eyes. But now I’m a convert too.
Sticky dots are just that – self-stick little glue pads. Easy to use, strong, zero mess, no fuss, no cure time, no smell. This is true instant gratification!


Round sticky dots fit perfectly under our magnets!

Two of Mollie’s recent designs use the sticky dot: the interchangeable magnet ring and the interchangeable magnet bottle cap pendant. Like many of you crafty people, Mollie has a button making machine. The little 1″ buttons are particularly adorable, and since they are made of steel, naturally they are magnetic. I don’t have a button machine myself, but I buy lots of buttons – and now I can wear them instead of leaving them on my bulletin board!

Here’s the magnet

Here’s the pendant – so cute!

Rings & Things’ wholesale price breaks makes it really affordable to make a whole bunch of these necklaces. For about $50 (before shipping and tax, if applicable) you can get everything (except the buttons) to make 70 necklaces – with supplies leftover! If you don’t already have one, add a pair of EuroPunch pliers to make holes in the caps.

1 spool of ball chain (makes 70 17″ necklaces) $18-25 ~ 100 ball chain clasps $2 ~ 1 oz. jump rings $5-6 ~ 100 bottle caps $7-10 ~ 144 adhesive dots $6 ~ two packs of 35 magnets $12-14

The adhesive dot is completely hidden by the ring and magnet.

1″ buttons make perfect rings!

The same value applies to the magnetic ring design – and absolutely no tools are required to make these!

72 adjustable flat-pad ring blanks $42-62, depending on color (we do sell a less expensive ring blank if you prefer, but the style and comfort of this style is worth the added cost) ~ 144 adhesive dots $6 ~ two packs of 35 magnets $12-14

At these quantities, the necklaces cost less than a dollar and the rings about $1.20 to 1.50 each to make. Buy more and the cost per is even lower. Ah, the genius of good design! ~ Cindy

“Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
~ Albert Einstein


PS: here are some handy links to some other how-to’s in the Rings & Things blog!

How to make polymer clay pie earrings using mini bottle caps as pans!

March 18, 2011
polymer clay cherry pie earrings

If they weren’t so disgustingly cute, they’d be good enough to eat!

Hello, bloglandia! We just added a whole bunch of bottle caps to our mixed-media jewelry product line. The best of the bunch, in my opinion, is the cute little mini cap.

mini bottle caps

Wee bottle caps make regular size (1″) ones look huge in comparison!

As soon as I saw them I became obsessed with making tiny pies. It was basically an illness that I had to treat before I could move on with my life. So today I went ahead and baked my little cherry pie earrings. Disclaimer: I am by no means a polymer clay expert. My skill level is clumsy at best. But really, I think anyone can have fun making these! Here’s how:

punch pliers

These pliers make it so easy to punch holes!

  1. Punch holes in the caps. I used our EuroPunch pliers, which handle the job easily. However, since bottle caps are steel they will wear out the punch tips eventually (just replace the tips, not the pliers!).
  2. Add jump rings.
  3. Condition your clay and load up the tins with pie filling. I used magenta Kato polyclay. I also added a little red liquid polyclay. I like how the liquid added a realistic pie filling gooeyness, but if you are more of a perfectionist, omit the liquid clay. A note about Kato – it is fairly stiff and crumbly straight from the package. Since I was just making one pair, I kneaded it by hand, but it would have been way easier to condition a bigger lump of clay using a pasta machine.
  4. Roll out your pie crust – mine is yellow mixed with a little “beige flesh” color. Cut the crust into thin strips.
  5. Criss-cross the strips over the pies. Press down gently and trim off the ends.

    forming the clay pie crust

    Criss cross to make a traditional lattice top.

  6. ready to bake polymer pies

    Ready for the oven!

    Following the instructions for your type of clay, bake the pies in a toaster oven to cure.

  7. Use 2 more jump rings to attach the pies to ear wires (I used steel blue niobium).

easy cherry pie earrings

Pie is the new cupcake, I’ve been told. What do you think? Can a pie really be as cute as a cupcake?

Well, I thought baking these earrings would cure me of my pie obsession, but then a friend suggested making blackbird pie (from the nursery rhyme) and now I really want to make that too! And what about Pi Day earring? What kind of clay creations can you imagine making with these bottle caps? ~ Cindy


PS: here are some handy links to some other how-to’s in the Rings & Things blog!

Fickle Heart necklace

February 28, 2011

Hi bloglandia! This is jewelry designer Cindy. I was asked to write about my favorite piece of jewelry that I myself created for Rings & Things’ 2011/2012 catalog…

Fickle heart necklace

Finished “Fickle” copper clay necklace

I picked Fickle because I love working with COPPRclay. Yes, you need a kiln (I bought the Caldera). I know that is an obstacle for a lot of people as kilns aren’t exactly cheap. Best to view it as an investment rather than an impulse buy. But once you have it, all kinds of jewelry-making doors are open to you: fused glass, ceramics, enameling and, of course, metal clay!

I made the Fickle heart pendant during an in-house training session. Since it was my first time working with COPPRclay, I didn’t have any big goals in mind when I started. I just wanted to see how the copper clay behaved compared to bronze clay and silver clay. I was really happy with its workability. It took textures easily and didn’t dry out too quickly. It was easy to connect pieces with a little slip. As you can see, we had a full range of tools and textures and other fun things to play with.

clay chaos

copper clay workshop supplies

I don’t know why I wrote “fickle” on the clay. I had just finished a trail run, despite my insistence that I am not a runner, so maybe my subconscious was just acknowledging what the world already knows: I change my mind every 3.2 seconds.

Anyway, I just Googled the phrase “fickle heart” in the hopes that there was a meaningful, well-known quote I could claim as my inspiration. There wasn’t. But, I learned that the Brit band Sniff ‘n’ the Tears released their first album, titled Fickle Heart, in 1978, which just so happens to be the year I was born. How’s that for serendipity?

COPPRclay before being fired

COPPRclay before being fired

I hung my fickle little heart with night blue Swarovski crystal pearls, using dotted copper ring beads as spacers. The back of the necklace is two strands of silky rattail. I really wish rattail wasn’t called rattail — it is such an unappealing name for such a nice, soft, affordable cording. The only drawback to working with rattail is its tendency to fray when you cut the ends, but that is easily solved by wrapping a little piece of tape around it before you cut. Dabbing a bit of glue on the cut end also works.

Whether you are fickle like me or constant and true in your affections, I highly recommend COPPRclay as a way to create jewelry that is personally meaningful. Have fun creating your own designs!

Guest post by Dawno

February 20, 2010

Once in a while, we like to hand the reins over to a guest blogger and see where they take us. This time, one of our blog partners, Dawno, takes over to talk about inspiration…

Dave presented me with an opportunity to contribute as a guest blogger a while back, and ever since, I’ve been trying to come up with something I thought was worthy of the wonderful Rings & Things blog audience. Well, the other day I realized that I’d been looking for ways to stay inspired, not only in designing, but for blog topics as well.

...guest blog post

…guest blog post

I went through a bit of a dry spell on my blog earlier this month, and by deciding to focus on a new series of design ideas and posts, I think I’ve got my groove back. Then it occurred to me, why not write about that for Rings & Things?

So, to give a little background, in January I did a series of 18 Valentine’s Day projects, the first one was inspired by my Rings & Things Blog Partner goodies for January. One of the sets of gunmetal filigree Dave sent were heart shaped and perfect for a Valentine’s Day design. Indeed, many of the next few posts featured items from that great goodie bag.

This month I’ve started a new series about using up the stash of beads I have accumulated instead of constantly buying, using and blogging about new purchases. Not that I’ve been able to quit buying beads altogether – that’s just asking too much! One of the great things about being a blog partner for Rings & Things, though, is that I can still look forward to new beads to play with when they send a new month’s goodies!

I can foresee an entire calendar full of series I could do. And, “Hey!” says the little voice in my head “Maybe actually *making* a series inspiration calendar would help keep me focused and on track.” What a concept! I need to listen to that voice more often. By the way – that thought just came to me as I was writing this, so I haven’t done it yet.

Back to the “calendar of series ideas” I think you can see where I’m going with it. For example, March has St. Patrick’s day, April usually has Easter, and also the Vernal Equinox or first day of Spring. May is great for a look ahead to summer; patriotic designs for Memorial Day wouldn’t be out of place, either.

I could go on and on. The focus might be the birthstone of the month or a holiday or just something like picnics, sailing, or a day at the beach, for the month of August. And lest I be too U.S. focused, I could start researching the holidays and seasonal traditions around the world…or do a different series each month about different countries…man, the ideas are endless! I’m getting excited and inspired to create and write about it already.

One thing I will say in closing, as a blogger to those of you who also blog, I wasn’t certain how much my blog’s visitors increased as a result of running a series. I hadn’t been checking my stats lately, since I decided that I’d rather enjoy the act of blogging and stop hoping I might actually grow an audience, as well as wondering why I wasn’t. I guess I could try a bunch of SEO tricks, or, if I had time, do more marketing of myself.

But, at the end of the day, I just like writing how and what I write, and sharing who I am and what I love to do. I’m enormously grateful for the 40 or 50 visitors a day I average, and especially to the ones who comment frequently. (Dave, Tish, Lisa, Davinia, Ruby, you keep me going!) Thank you, again, Dave, for the opportunity to chat with your audience, hope there was a bit of inspiration somewhere in all that for them!

Thanks, Dawno, and I hope our readers will find extra inspiration in your ideas about running blog series as well as letting themselves just enjoy blogging…