Keep it Organized

Jewelry trays are the perfect way to organize your supplies!! Organization helps the inspiration because it’s easy to see all of your available pieces.

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Simple Beaded chain necklace

If you are interested in repurposing old jewelry and making new pieces, here is a good place to start. I found these pieces at a local thrift store that always has a great jewelry selection.

Here are the supplies that I used to make this necklace:

–> needle nosed pliers, flat nosed pliers, a flat surface to work on, lots of light and some compartments to hold the beads once removed from the chain.

To make a piece like this, you must use a closed piece of chain. I ended up using crimp beads to keep the beads in place on the chain. If you use an open chain, then not only will it be hard to string beads onto it, it would also be hard to find a way to keep the beads in place.

Simple Steps!

1. To start off, I took the clasp off of one end of the chain so that I could remove the spiral sphere beads. You can do this by using both your needle nose and flat nosed pliers to carefully separate the jump ring that connects the clasp to the chain. Put these pieces to the side in a safe place, you will be reattaching them once your beads are in place.

2. On this chain, the spiral beads were kept in place by crimp beads. If you look closely at the picture above, each spiral bead has two smaller gold beads next to it. These are the crimp beads. For these beads to work, you simply crimp down on the round bead (with pliers) to flatten two sides onto the chain. So, to remove them, simply take your flat nosed pliers on the opposite sides to reopen the crimp beads. Once reopened, these beads will slide off of the chain. I continued to do this until all of the spiral beads were removed.

3. After playing around with a few of these beads (they are flexible and can be opened up to take on a new shape – which you will see in the final pieces!), I sifted through my collection of natural looking beads (even some animal bones and beans that were made into beads) and chose the ones that I wanted to use in this piece. I also stole a few from this necklace that I’ve been wanting to rework for awhile. The rest of this necklace will be reworked into something new, very soon!

4. Then I started positioning the chosen beads onto the chain. Once I liked the layout, I used the crimp beads to hold them in place. As stated before, to use a crimp bead you simply put the bead in place and with the pliers squeeze the bead until it is stable on the chain.

5. Once all of the chosen beads were in place on the necklace, I reattached the jump ring and clasp to the chain. And there you have it! A brand new, one of a kind necklace. Since I also had a bracelet, I decided to use the same steps to make a matching set!

Brand spankin’ new, one of a kind necklace and bracelet set – made by you!

I hope you guys enjoy these pieces as much as I do and want to make something similar soon! More projects to come, I can’t wait to share!! 🙂

Tips for creating a supply collection for repurposing old and unwanted jewelry

I have really been slacking with my blog posting. Having a puppy doesn’t allow for much down time to write posts! Since I haven’t been able to start any projects, I figured I’d share some tips on what to look for when I am shopping for your supplies to repurpose used and unwanted jewelry. 

1. Follow your eyes. If you are drawn to something, it’s likely that you are already inspired by it. 

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When I saw these two flower brooches I was instantly inspired by their colors. Lately I’ve been wanting to create pieces that are more delicate looking. A bit more vintage flower garden like. I knew that both of these pieces fit quite well into this category and that I had to have them in my collection of supplies.

2. Always look for easy ways to connect one piece with another. This is called cold connection. 

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If you look at most of these pieces you can see a closed hole that would allow for a jump ring connection or to easily feed chain through the piece. These are two simple ways of connecting one piece of jewelry to another. I will be sure to demonstrate “cold connection” in upcoming projects. 

3. Sometimes you will find pieces that you are extremely drawn to but don’t have any cold connection options. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add them to your supply collection. If it inspires you and is the right price, don’t leave it behind because it’s likely that you will regret it. 

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I fell in love with the doll face and antler brooches. I knew that there was no easy and obvious way of cold connection as there were no visible closed holes on these pieces. However, I knew that if I left them behind, I would likely come up with another cold connection option and no piece to try it with. Never leave an inspiring piece behind, regardless of it’s options! There are always other ways of connection (sewing, creating new closed holes, epoxy) to make them into new pieces!

4. Always, Always, ALWAYS keep enough chain in your supply collection. You can never have enough chain because it is always the most utilized item when creating new pieces. You should keep a full supply of both gold and silver chain. 

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You want to make sure your chain supplies are updated frequently. Always be sure to have enough of both silver and gold chain as well as multiple sizes of chain for each collection. You never know what you are going to need. Currently I don’t have enough thin and delicate chain in either silver or gold, which does not help my craving to create dainty jewelry. I guess I need to do some shopping!

5. Make sure you are purchasing charms of all sizes. 

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Every person has different jewelry interests. Some people are drawn to delicate, simple jewelry, some like statement jewelry that is made of larger pieces, and some like the in-between. So keeping large, medium and small charms/brooches on hand is smart when creating pieces to sell. 

6. My final tip is to also always have beads and pearls in your collection as well. They always come in handy!!

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Everyone loves pearls! I’ve made many statement pieces entirely out of old pearl strands and they always seem to be very popular. So keeping beads and pearls on hand is definitely a tip to keep in mind. 

Happy thrifting!

The Beginning of Something Grand…

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I like to make pretty things.

That’s why I decided to go to college for art – to learn as much as I possibly could. I decided to take a Jewelry and Metalsmithing class and fell passionately in love with it. My professor, Christina Miller, introduced me to a project that started it all…

Christina is one of the founders of an organization called Ethical Metalsmiths (check out their website : http://www.ethicalmetalsmiths.org/ ) and our class was lucky enough to participate in one of their well known projects, Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM). Created to raise awareness about precious metal mining issues, they collected donations of unwanted jewelry and it was our job to recreate them into new and beautiful pieces that would be “wanted” again. Thus bypassing the mining process and repurposing rather than creating more waste.

Check out the project website for pictures from RJM II and look for a gold necklace made by Heather S. (that’s me!) –> http://www.ethicalmetalsmiths.org/projects/radical-jewelry-makeover/rjm-ii—lancaster-pa/ 

In the four days we were given, I took apart bits and pieces of interesting old jewelry and put them back together to create some really beautiful and entirely one of a kind pieces. Many of which sold at the exhibition. This process absolutely inspired me. After the project was over, I decided to continue using the rules and guidelines of RJM in my own jewelry making and creative processes. I made recycling and repurposing the starting point for most of my projects, which has continued to be important in my life nowadays.

I frequent the local thrift stores and yard sales as often as life allows and always try to keep an open mind when scouring for treasures. Something that may look dirty and dull or even broken can often be transformed into something pretty with a bit of tender love and care.

That, my friends, is what I plan on sharing with you in this blog. I am excited to share projects ideas that repurpose old and unwanted items – jewelry and decor – by giving them a new and pretty life. I will also share with you my love of photography (possibly a photo a day!) and fashion.

Thanks for reading! I can’t wait to inspire you the way that I have been inspired in the past!

xox heather