Charm Bracelet Experiments

I’ve been wanting to make bracelets for a while now, but buying chains are always a daunting and expensive task. I started making my own jump rings, using only 19-20 gauge wire and different sized knitting needles. It really hurts my thumb and index finger when I do the coiling. Still, this allows me to make chainmaille! I’ve been playing around with a couple of simple designs using different wire colours:

I think these would be the best if I want to hang charms from them. I even made my own hook clasps! After making three, my fingers ached like crazy, but only from the jump ring making. I need a proper tool to coil them if I want to save my fingers…

I particularly like my solid copper bracelet, using antiqued and bare copper wires in 19 and 20 gauge. I got the antiqued copper wire from Malaysia, but I can imagine antiquing some myself using a sulphur solution. Sounds fun.

I attached the baby pink tart to it, since it already had a copper loop. I think I like it with just one charm!


What do you think? Should I list the bracelets empty and let people choose a charm to go with it, or list it already with one charm? New moulds arrived in the mail today, and I can’t wait to make new foods next week (after my Germany trip this weekend). I guess I will decide then, unless you guys can give me some input.

What To Do When Stranded Overseas?

My solution is simple. I rebuild a collection of polymer clay and equipment from scratch and start making more clay food. My flight has been rescheduled to 2nd May, and that’s at least 1.5 weeks from now, so I have to get claying! I regret not getting liquid clay while I was at the shop, since I need it for making cake icing and other creams. My logic at the time, was to limit myself because liquid clay can be very messy, and I would only need to keep busy for a few days before having to pack up. Of course, this assuming I will be able to fly at all when 2nd May comes along.

Take a look at my mini collection of Japanese branded tools and glue paint I found at Daiso. I wish all this was available in Zurich, or even in Melbourne. I also included my Fimo clay and other findings I got from Multifilla, so not everything is Daiso.
Tools

Besides clay, I’ve been thinking of getting a kiln when I move back to Australia. At first, kilns seem so expensive and unnecessary. Once I researched wattage used on stand-alone convection ovens, I was shocked! I’d rather get a kiln that uses 1000W instead of a convection oven that uses more than 1350W, 1800W or even higher. Kilns also have higher temperatures and bead doors. I can try out other crafts and even glass beadmaking, like I originally wanted. Oh now I’m so excited about moving back to Melbourne and starting a business… but only after my pets depart, as I would hate myself for abandoning them.

Just a Thought

I’ve been analysing my crafting habits, and I notice that I shift hobbies really quickly. I can’t just make something of a particular style and stick with it. I start to get bored, and I move on to the next thing. It must be bad for business, I’m sure. All I know is, I’ve always been a jack of all trades, and I am just either not passionate about any craft to really focus on it, or I need plenty of variety to keep myself entertained… I can’t identify which craft I love, love, love all the time, but I do know which crafts I don’t fancy: sketching, painting, knitting, embroidery, and of course, cooking. I think I grew to dislike sketching and painting because I was always forced to do it in school, and my work was always ridiculed.

Anyway, in the past week, I picked up a pasta machine — which is not for making pasta. And then I decided to try miniature food since I was out of ideas for clay beads. It sure is fun to make fake food while I can’t even begin to make real food. I learned some new techniques like how to make realistic cake icing. My living room is seriously getting clogged up with more and more equipment. I have two work tables now, all messy and full of stuff. I am one who clutters tables and shelves as time goes on.

I’m enjoying myself now, but, I can’t help thinking… This craft is not unique, and others will always be better than I am… And what is going to be my next temporary obsession when I get bored? Why can’t I just find something I’m passionately in love with? I worry that no one is going to support a crafter that swaps between different crafts every month or so. I think this whole issue is also linked to the fact that I did not really go into any speciality at uni, and my work experiences don’t even drive me into a particular direction. Again, I can see the evidence of myself being a jack of all trades.

Oh well, self-pity aside, I have some yummy photos of my recent clay work. All these done in just a couple of days. Michael says I learn fast. What do you think?

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These are the clay foods I am happy with. I have a few more that didn’t turn out quite as I wanted, and so they sit on Michael’s desk.

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Yummy cake! I always thought cake had to be made with liquid polymer clay and baking soda, like a real cake, but the way I used simply simulates the texture of a crumbly cake — clay was teased up manually using a pin. I did use liquid clay for the icing, though. Funny, I never really eat much cake at all. In fact, I don’t even eat doughnuts, and but they sure are nice to faux.

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Pictured are a number of pendants. I’ve been wearing the cake with the white icing on the top right of the photo. It’s the first cake I made, before even using the new techniques I picked up.

The creamy sauces you see on doughnuts and cakes in this photo were done using window paint. I normally see people selling coloured glue or 3D fabric paint for this purpose, but I decided to find a locally available replacement. I need to photograph my equipment one day! It’s really fun and challenging to think of ways to use little substitutions available at my local Migros Do-It. I love that store. I visit 2-3 times a week, seriously. Okay, so another post on my equipment is in order!

Trying Out a Shop Promotion Strategy

I believe giving away free or almost free items on my shop is one way to gain some credibility. Little to no risk to the receivers of these free items, they are able to test the waters without a huge hit. I am then able to prove myself of being a worthy shopkeeper. That’s the plan. So far, I’ve placed up 2 free items in the past two days, and they were both taken within a few hours of listing (thanks so much!).

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I will be putting up a few more of these free items soon, and I’ll still keep it up from time to time, depending on how popular they are. I should put up some free polymer clay beads. I hope people will start to like more of my items, and business might pick up. It’s been a slow two weeks. But it’s only been two weeks and I must say that I haven’t been patient.

Product Concept: ‘Your Own Background Image’ Banners and Avatars

Everyone likes things that are customised to fit them perfectly, as goes with Etsy shop graphics. But not everyone wants to shell out over $100 for two images, especially if they like to change designs often, or are opening a second store on Etsy. I’m sure there is also a need for more than just pre-made graphics or commissioned shop banners, and I may have come up with something. If you are on a tight budget and don’t want to pay for design from scratch, then choosing ‘Your Own Background’ packages should be the perfect service for you.

I’ve completed one so far, with a leafy overlay design that transforms your image and shop name into a new work of art. The overlay design adds a lot of character to the image and banner, and it’s not just placed on top of your image. The special transparency alters the colours of the background that it overlaps and makes it unique and integrates it perfectly.

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BotSwirls_PlainSample

These two images show how the overlay is used when combined with a background image. The grey background is simply to demonstrate how the white overlay looks, but the end result will not be grey.

I will work with you on a personal level, providing you with proofs and multiple revisions until you are satisfied with the result.
This design is currently for sale on my Etsy shop for a low $12 USD and includes a shop banner and an avatar. Visit my shop now. More will be designed and added soon!

Custom Rubber Stamp

I’m slowly building up my “Etsy business” equipment, namely packaging supplies and labels. I’ve already designed a rubber stamp, which will make it easy for me to label my handmade items but without the expensive price tag of pre-printed cards. Being a designer, I really can’t settle for pre-made anything. My own rubber stamp may very well give a product an even more personal touch!

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