Shopping In The Hardware Store for Jewelry Parts

Wednesday, July 23

Decided to go to Lowe’s yesterday to buy washers and rubber tubing. Saw the neatest jewelry in one of my books utilizing plain hardware parts. Washers in gold, silver and copper made into a necklace and a bracelet made with memory wire and black rubber tubing.

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Not being a tool kind of gal, I was thinking it would be easy to walk in, find what I wanted and walk out. Inside Lowe’s, lost in a sea of men, two other ladies looking as lost as I was…I went up and down several aisles. I spotted a person with a Lowe’s name tag and asked for help. Can you please steer me in the right direction. His response, while pointing straight ahead was, “See that man. Bent over? There you will find rubber tubing.”

I walk about half a mile, it seemed, and sure enough I see tubing. BUT tubing large enough to push through a small dog. Now, I know I told that guy I wanted it FOR CRAFT MAKING. Nope. Won’t be needing THAT much tubing. The tubing I want, maybe a family of ants could travel through it if a sugar cube was on the other end. Big Sigh. I gave up on the black tubing.

Next I searched for washers.

I don’t know about you but my last memory of seeing washers was at the corner hardware store where you could pick up a handful and toss them around in your palm. Like nickels. Those at Lowe’s were nicely packaged. BUT only saw two and for a nifty price. The packaging probably cost more than the washers. Nope. Not what I wanted. Not what I wanted to pay. So… like the other ladies I saw inside, wandering around, I spotted them in the parking lot, same as me… emptyhanded.

I left Lowe’s and walked two doors down to a place I was VERY familiar with. Michael’s Art and Crafts store.

No, I wasn’t expecting to find washers and rubber tubing in Michael’s. Didn’t know exactly what I was looking for but I had a 40% off coupon which was burning a hole in my purse. I bought these.

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I won’t be using them for earrings per the packaging suggestions. I am going to be different and make a bracelet. See… I have already connected them with jumprings and added a lobster claw clasp.

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Will sleep on it for a few days and see what direction my thoughts take.

New Words For My Tool Vocabulary

Wednesday, July 23

How many of you have ever used a Pen Vice or Hemostat?

Looking around. Ok. One person. LOL!! Thought so.

If you are like me, clueless in the tool shed, not only have you never used them, you never even HEARD of them.

So… here’s the thing. (To coin a phrase from Adrian Monk.) I was sitting in class Sunday looking at the pile of tools covering the beading mat. And I mean covering it. There were several that looked the same, only difference being the tip. Round nose pliers, chain nose pliers, flat nose pliers, wire cutters. And a tape measure, polish cloth, file, scissors. Also included were tools used especially for ring making. A long metal ring mandrel, various plastic ring sizes on a chain, a rawhide mallet, a PEN VICE and a HEMOSTAT. Wow!! I had seen them all except the last two. No clue what they were or would be used for. After class, I decided to purchase these two and add them to my collection.

The Pen Vice is used to twist wire. It is pretty cool WHEN the wire is inserted into the right spot. The only thing moving on my first attempt was my wrist. LOL!! Did you know round wire will not twist?

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A hemostat is like a very long pair of scissors that clamps down tightly on an object. When making rings, it holds the shank in place so you do not have to worry about it shifting.

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I will probably use the hemostat a lot. It will come in handy to hold wire when wirewrapping. Not sure how much use I will get out of the pen vice but it was cute, all nice and shiny. ūüėÄ

My First Wirewrapped Rings

Monday, July 21

My class went well yesterday. I surprised myself by being able to follow along and not fall behind the other students like I normally do. I tend to want to SEE how something turns out before I pick up my tools. And in this case… I wanted to be safe and not sorry and not make a mess of sterling silver. BUT I have been practicing with wire all month so as the instructor said to do something, I did it!!

The supply packets were already made up but I got to pick out the crystal color for the ring center. I chose Jet Black. The other ladies selected pink, topaz and olive. There were 4 of us. Only 4 students allowed per class which is good. It allows for more personalized instruction and encourages a relaxed, slower paced, conversational atmosphere.

The only requirement for taking this class was a beginner’s wire working class. I took that last year but didn’t sign up for any others since that class was a hand killer!! I must be regaining some of the strength in my hands since I had no major issues yesterday handling the tools.

I used a pen vice and a hemostat for the first time. Felt like I could have replaced Pam Anderson on Tool Time. I’m the new Mrs. Tool Time. Just need a leather holster for all my new goodies. Which BTW are starting to accumulate. Pretty soon I will need a tool box like hubby.

Here is the ring I made in class from Swarovski crystals and sterling silver. The Black One. (The others I made last night and this morning.)

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It has 2 silver bead caps, one 8mm round crystal and two 4mm bicone crystals. Used 22 gauge square soft and 20 gauge 1/2 round 1/2 hard sterling silver wire. 22 gauge to build the ring, the shank. 20 gauge to wrap the bottom of the ring.

I made several more rings in Indicolite (aqua) and Siam (dark red) and have another one in Olivine (lime) started. The red one, made with silver spacers, has a sterling silver base and then I wrapped the ends on both sides above the spacers. The olive one will be made the same. I just need to transfer from pretend wire to SS.

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Afraid no longer of Sterling Silver. Yippee!! Break out the champagne!!

New Tools.. Can I Use These For My Toothache?

Friday, July 11

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Not feeling so hot today, nor did I yesterday. Though shortly after experiencing some of the worst pain I have ever endured, I was walking straight enough to browse through the craft store aisles looking for new wireworking tools.

It all started two weeks ago at the dentist. What was supposed to be only a new filling turned out to be a hot nerve that needed to be taken out. Ok. I wasn’t happy but what can you do. You have to take care of your teeth if you want them to grow old with you. Made do with a temporary filling for 2 weeks to let the area cool off and heal. Then it was back to the dentist. Yesterday. The left side of my face was already still sore and my head hurt. And it just got worse as the minutes passed.

During the next hour, you would have thought I was having major surgery without any pain killers. It was that painful. My dentist, bless his heart, stopped several times during the procedure to allow me to catch my breath, giving me a relief break in between the drilling, filing and poking. I went through 4 or 5 hot towels. Boy did they feel good next to my jaw.

Afterwards, they asked me if I had any errands to run. They wanted me to go straight home and rest. I said no, I didn’t. Well, I guess I lied since I knew my next stop was the craft store come hell or high water. Fat lip, swollen face, aches and pains. All of that and it was off to do some shopping.

These are my new goodies. My new wireworking tools.

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I got a hammer with plastic ends to minimize the damage to the wire. A metal block for banging on. A ring thingy. Mandrel I think it is called. For making rings in different sizes. Also for making jump rings. And more 20 gauge wire. Oh.. and also in the photo is my other wireworking jig. The Thing-A-Ma-Jig. That is what it looks like.

So, today, sometime today, I am going to start pounding and hammering. I took two Advil an hour ago. I should be good to go soon. Sure wish I could have used these tools yesterday. To pound on my head.

Macrame Sewing Baskets

Friday, May 2

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Not sure how I came up with this idea. One day last summer I was making macrame baskets and it just popped into my head.

Why not make a sewing basket to hold all the gadgets a seamstress needs within reach!!??

I had plenty of macrame cord and rings so I got started designing one. First on paper, then I started testing what length¬†of cord¬†I would need to make a long¬†row, a sennet, of square knot buttons, SKB. I wanted the SKB’s to go around the basket to hold scissors, cutting tools, etc.

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I ended up fusing the cord several times when I was short on cord but not yet at the desired length. So my¬†first attempt¬†was kind of makeshift. Though you would never know it since I am a master at burying my flubs within the knots. ūüôā

So after a few test runs, I was ready to make the SKB sennet with the correct yardage of cord. I have to tell you, it was kind of genius the way I turned the square knot buttons to go horizontal instead of vertical. But that was the only way the tools would fit per my design. They needed to hang downward.

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I also knew I wanted to store spools of thread right on the basket so I put elastic around the inside rim to hold them.

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On the navy one and red/black/white one, I added elastic around the bottom area so thread could be accessible from the bottom as well as the top. You can unwind the thread right from the elastic, no need to remove it. That is another cool feature of these baskets.

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Inside the basket has a clear plastic liner to hold even more supplies such as glue, ruler, fabric, zippers, buttons, etc.

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They all have removeable carrying handles. Some handles hook on, some tie on.

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I am proud of how the baskets turned out. I made eight and sold five. I have a green one started and need to finish it.

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My favorite is the beige one with the buttons. The buttons are on the front side only.  This was the first to sell.  Maybe it was the buttons.

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Beading: Tools of the Trade

Don’t you just hate starting a project and then having to stop…because you forgot this or that? Been there, done that, many times.¬† To help me when stitching peyote jewelry, I gathered all the TOOLS I thought I would need and placed them within an arm’s reach.¬†¬†Now I can usually start a project and continue working until I need a potty break.

These are my Tools of the Trade. 

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Most of these items are self-explanatory but I have added a few tidbits to those not quite so obvious.

  • alligator clips
  • bead design board
  • felt mat
  • flat nose pliers
  • gloves (to save my hands when I am stretching & conditioning the thread)
  • glue
  • headpins (to keep the beginning rows lined up)
  • light source (I use a small Ott-Lite. Excellent for matching up colors.)
  • magnetic tool (ok, so I have the dropsies)
  • masking tape (to keep the beginning rows lined up)
  • matches (to burn a tiny “bead” where thread exits a finished piece)
  • needles
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • spoon (to scoop up beads quickly)
  • thread
  • Thread Heaven (thread conditioner)
  • t-pin (to pick out boo-boo’s)
  • tweezers¬† (to pull thread through needles or tiny spaces)¬†¬†¬†

So there you have it.  What are your favorite craft tools?