On Buying Handmade Craft

It wasn’t until I started dabbling in yarn and jewelry that I truly understood how
much work goes into making something handmade. I remember admiring things on Etsy or in craft fairs and wondering why they were asking for so much money.

The materials couldn’t have cost THAT much, could they?

Now I know better. When you buy something handmade, you’re getting an item, but you’re also getting the following:

  • The time spent on making the item. That handmade blanket could have taken days to finish.
  • Years upon years of practice honing the skill.
  • Something no one will have an exact replica of.
  • If it’s a commission, you’re getting something someone spent time working with you to specify your unique desires, and then fabricating the item to your specifications.

Although I’m thinking of handmade jewelry and textiles, this also applies to artwork, writing and music.

It may be tempting to scoff at a high price attached to an item, but remember, when you buy handmade, you’re buying far more than just the thing. You’re buying time, passion and skill, too.

Friday Fabulosity

I’ve been relatively productive this week!

The knitting part of the purse is finished. Now, I just need to put it all together with lining and cotton batting, to give it some better shape.

As I had worried, I’d run out of yarn before I could finish that shawl I had been working on earlier. Instead of trying to match yarn, I just decided to unravel it and try for a different one. This is the start.

I also needed an easy project to keep my hands busy while my mind was otherwise occupied.

Well, you already knew about these from Wordless Wednesday, but they’re worth a cropped version, right? I might either write a how to up either here or on HubPages, since I wrapped these in two different styles.

And here’s the custom necklace I’d made with the tooth not pictured in the prior photo. I still have enough shells to make two more necklaces like this, which I may do with brown and tan cord instead of the black.

And a good time was had by all.

Turtle Keychains and Jewelry

I’ve been productive, this week! Seems that the color for the past couple of weeks has been green, though.

Before I get to what I did this week, I can finally show you all what I made my sister for her birthday.

Surprise, surprise it’s a pair of earrings and a necklace. She seemed to like them, and I’m rather fond of how they turned out.

Next time I’m in a craft store, I’ll need to look for more chain like the one I used in the necklace. Easy to work with, very pretty and automatically adjustable! I like that kind of stuff when making necklaces, bracelets and anklets.

This week was all about crochet.

These little guys are just adorable. I’ll be posting the pattern in a hub in the near future.

Now all they need are masks, belts and maybe weapons, if I can figure out how to make them. Mini-TMNT will then be ready to debut in the art show next week!

I have some more key chains, so I think I’ll try my hand at making some cute crochet animal key chains for my shop.

So, here’s what’s left of my craft to-do list for CONvergence –

  • Aforementioned accessories for turtles
  • Make skirt for costume
  • Make necklace for costume

I should be able to handle that in the next couple of weeks.

New Listings at Storenvy! (About time.)

It took me long enough, but I finally sat down and got some stuff made. Two of the pieces I can’t show here just yet, as they’re gifts, but here’s the rest!

That specific earring isn’t for sale, since I’ll be wearing that pair to the convention in July, but I liked them so much that I made a second pair almost exactly like it. You can find those listed here.

Citrine is one of my favorite stones, as is cats eye. While I was on my earring making spree, I decided to put them together. You can find the listing and a couple more pictures of them here.

Zebra stone is another fun one to work with, and the lovely earthy colors go quite nicely with onyx. I also enjoy the spiral shape to those beads. Check out the listing here for a couple more pictures and more info.

I’m actually rather proud of this one. As you can see from the picture, it’s a belly chain, BUT it’s adjustable! That’s the smallest size, but bigger, beautiful ladies can adjust it to show off their beautiful curves, too. There are little labradorite and quartz charms along the chain, too. For more info, and the size range, here’s the listing.

Otherwise? Well, I’ve transferred one of the cilantro seedlings into the ground, and two of the others into pots to give away as gifts. I need to find one more small, pretty pot to give the last one away in, though.

The morning glories are quite happy, too. Not quite big enough to reach the trellis yet, but they’re getting there.

These guys seem to like their new homes.

This little guy, not so much. Today was hot and sticky, so that might have something to do with it. I’d give it some more water, but we’re expecting storms tonight.

So glad they’re doing so well!

So anyway, hoping to get some more goodies made and posted over in Snowshine Gifts, and I’ll keep everyone up to date on any online (or otherwise) craft fairs I’ll be taking part in.

Lastly, please take a look at this sale from Discount School Supply, especially if you’re running low on summer craft goodies or need to stock up for a summer camp you’re helping out at: SAVE $15 Off Any Order Of $100 & Get Free Shipping On Any Order Over $79 Now At DiscountSchoolSupply.com! Use Code: SUMMER14 At Checkout! Click Here!

Next week, I’m hoping to get a tutorial of some sort up. Any requests?

Went light on crafts this week, but I made up for it with flowers and kitties!

The only crafty thing I really made was that ear cuff from Wednesday.

Ears are weird looking.

Otherwise, my time’s been taking up with writing, cleaning or reading. Well, yesterday, I did transplant one of my little balloon flower plants, since it was getting overwhelmed by the Fire Witch bush. So, I suppose here’s a picture of that.

The one I moved has darker dirt around it from where I’d watered it this morning.

It doesn’t look too sad, so hopefully it’ll survive. Those little plants produce the prettiest purple flowers.

Speaking of flowers, our crab apple tree is starting to reach its prettiest time of the year. Take a look at these blossoms.

They have the sweetest smell, too. Once more are open, I’ll probably head out there again and get some more pictures.

And finally, the cats are being very cute today, so I figured I’d share a picture of their sprawling majesty.

The interim set up until we can get a couple of cat trees. They seem happy enough with their boxes.

Our tabby cracks me up. It’s like she goes out of her way to lie on surfaces that match her coat.

Anyway, hope everyone’s enjoying their spring!

Simple Ear Cuff Tutorial Try

Ever since I was a girl, I’ve had a fascination with ear cuffs. It might be because I grew up during the infamous 1980s, but the affection for that style has lingered. I feel much the same about wire wrapping.

So, I’ve decided to start practicing. Last week, I showed you guys a quick picture of my first ear cuff:

I made it by following this tutorial –

This young woman’s a great teacher, and I had a relatively easy time following her instructions. The only reason I had difficulty is because I’m just not comfortable working with wire, yet.

Of course, I hadn’t thought to get progress pics, so I figured I’d give another tutorial a try as well. So, I figured I’d try this one from the Craftser forums. Since I’m running a little short on time today, I only did the first one, though I might try the second one later.

There wasn’t really a whole lot to it. I went from this:

Yeah, my measurements were off, as usual. I’m sure that’ll get easier with practice.

To this:

Pretty and simple.

In relatively little time.

The hardest part for me seems to be getting the sizing right. I seem to be getting the hang of the ornamental loops pretty easily, but the cuff part is still giving me issues, for some reason.

I get the feeling that’s another thing that’ll get easier with time.

I think I’ll give the more complicated tutorial a try later. Even with this one, it wouldn’t be hard to hang a couple of beads from that lower loop.

If anyone has wire wrapping or ear cuff tutorials they’d like me to try, just let me know in a comment, and I’ll give it a shot!

Cosplay on the brain

So far as crafting goes, I’ve had my mind on cosplay and jewelry. I’ve recently found a couple of tutorials about how to crochet jewelry wire, but I haven’t tried any of them just yet. That’ll probably happen this weekend.

Depending on how it turns out, I may end up making a small jewelry collection to submit to the Art Show at CONvergence this year instead of the crochet/knitting. I’m having such a hard time with the knitting patterns. That project should be done without the pressure of any sort of deadline.

Like last year, I’ll be showcasing some of the fun cosplays attendees put together on this blog, plus there are a couple of crafty panels I fully intend on taking part in. One is about making a DNA necklace, and another is making a little gargoyle out of polymer clay!

Sounds fun, right? I’m looking forward to it.

Anyway, I’ve only done a couple small things this week. First, of course, was that bracelet I made for the Art Assignment.

Fascinating, huh?

Then came the cell phone pouch with large, friendly letters in red.

Fun times. Really gotta get more embroidery practice in.

And lastly, my very first ear-cuff.

Needs some tweaking, but still a cool idea.

I’m still not that practiced with wire wrapping, but I plan on designing and making a “Babel fish” ear cuff for the convention, and maybe selling some of the better ones I come up with online.

The fish idea will either be molded out of the wire, or I might incorporate some orange or yellow glass beads into it. I’ll have to play around with the materials and see what I come up with.

Between the ear cuffs and the earrings, I guess I have a thing for bejeweling my ears, huh? I think I might start expanding to rings, too. Since wire is so malleable, I figure whatever I make will be adjustable enough to fit most finger (and toe) sizes.

Anyway, just small stuff this week. I haven’t done much with the plants, since it’s been sort of cold and miserable, lately. The cilantro’s still alive, at least, but I don’t know about the morning glories. I haven’t checked them in a few days.

I should probably do that, huh?

May Shop Feature – Highwind Steamworks

One of the activities I enjoy the most about CONvergence, the sci-fi/fantasy convention I attend every year, is wandering around the dealer’s room. There are always goodies to drool over that you can’t find in every day shops. Even if your budget isn’t big enough to pick them up, most people have business cards so you can get in touch when your wallet is a little fatter.

Last year, I stumbled across this little booth full of the most amazing steam punk goods. If it wasn’t so crowded, I probably would have been dancing around in little circles and making the most undignified squeaking noises imaginable. I was able to hold it together, but y’know, I was still impressed.

I connected with the co-owner/co-creator, a very nice guy by the name of Jeff, through Facebook, and he’s graciously agreed to let me feature his online shop, Highwind Steamworks for May! Here are my three favorite listings:

Lavender Tea Necklace

┬áThis is such an adorable, unique idea. I’m impressed with how cleverly it’s constructed, too. Let’s hear it for physics, creativity and art coming together! This one’s great for anyone who loves their tea.

Tan Mechanic Belt Modular Belt System Centerpiece

I’m a sucker for these types of belts. This one in particular caught and held my eye, because it reminded me of my husband, who’s very mechanically inclined. Sadly, this isn’t his style, and if he wore it for work, it would get beaten up in a hurry.

That aside, I’d certainly wear this sort of thing in place of a purse any day. If it’s attached to me, I can’t lose or leave it anywhere, right?

Knitted Spats – Turquiose – Small

These spats are beautiful, and they’re the sort of thing you could wear even if you don’t do the cosplay thing. They have a loop that goes around the arch of the foot, so they wouldn’t ride up, and the top looks tight enough to hold them in place without being uncomfortable. Extremely cool idea.

Highwind Steamworks has a lot more to offer, including more beautiful knitting, wonderfully unique jewelry (including gearwork cuff links!), leather work, hats and assorted other goodies. If you enjoy steampunk, or just appreciate amazing handmade goods, check them out!

You can also find them on Facebook for some work in progress pictures, custom work and updates on what these awesome folks are up to.

I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Jeff for letting me feature some of his (and his wife’s?) amazing work here. Keep up the great work, and if you’re at CONvergence again this year, maybe I’ll see you there!

Oooh, the start of a new earring line?

Easter morning, I decided that I wanted a new pair of earrings. I’ve actually been wanting to get more stud earrings since cutting my hair short, but since I don’t have the right materials, I just made myself a pair of dangles.

The background is cat fur. Our big black cat is so patient. The stones are unakite and snowy quartz.

I think I might make some more similar earrings to sell. They have a little bit of weight to them, but I could still tolerate them for over 8 hours. Since my ears tend to be sensitive, that’s saying something.

Once I get a little work done outside, I might just get to experimenting.

Speaking of outside, I’ve transferred the seedlings into their own pots! I have so many cilantro plants, now…

The start of my indoor herb garden with morning glories in the background.

Four more cilantro seedlings and the tiny thyme that doesn’t seem visible.

I’ll be keeping two cilantro seedlings; one for indoors and one for outside. I have homes for three of the others, but I’m not entirely sure of what I’ll do with the last one. Maybe I’ll see if one of my neighbors wants it.

Happy little morning glories.

My pretty little morning glories are doing well, too. Once each seedling gets two adult leaves, I’ll start hardening them.

So, yep. Fun times!

April Shop Feature – Agonydecay’s Creepy Crafts

Spring is when life returns as the cold of winter leaves us. Fresh greenery starts popping its head out of the thawing soil and baby critters are being born all over the place.

Naturally, I decided that this month’s shop feature should have absolutely nothing to do with that. Instead, I’m bringing you the delicious quirkiness of Creepy Crafts!

Being a fan of Halloween, the paranormal and other not quite mainstream things, I immediately got all sorts of joy out of the creative offerings in this Etsy shop. Here are three of my favorite listings.

Simple Elegant Dangly Spider Earrings

These little guys are actually perfect for spring cleaning. If my experience is the norm, I always end up reacquainted with my local spiders when tidying up my post-winter dwelling.

Mine are all named Lloyd, though I imagine you can give these beauties names of their own.

Oh the Horror — A Grimm Pair of Skull Hair Bobby Pins

Where better to wear a skull than on your own? These are a lot of fun and the perfect conversation starter, especially if you wear them with conservative dress.

Gothic Vintage Anatomical Ribcage Pendant

You just don’t see many rib cages in jewelry, these days. Then again, they’ve always been a bit on the rare side.

All the more unfortunate, because they do offer quite a unique element to the ol’ jewelry collection. I personally enjoy pieces that look relatively harmless from far away, but startle the viewer a bit once you get closer. This pendant has a bit of that element.

For more fun stuff, please check her shop out here! It was hard picking my favorites out, what with the brain soaps and other fun pendants.

Many thanks go out to Jenny for allowing me to feature her wonderful work here. Keep up the awesome creepiness!