Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New Item: Blue Lapis, Labradorite, and White Topaz Pendant in Silver OOAK

I actually made this piece a little while ago. Just never got around to posting about it. This piece begins with a Labradorite Cabochon followed by a 6mm White Topaz then a Lapis Lazuli Cabochon. I wrapped it in the more traditional wire-wrapping style.

Here it is for your viewing pleasure. Would you like to purchase this piece? Visit my shop.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fall Arts and Crafts Festival in Lawrence, KS 2012

Here it comes! We have 4 large shows in the next few months. 2 are in October and are back to back. Then one in November before Thanksgiving to jump start the Christmas Season.

In the meantime, we'll begin our Fall Show Tour with the Fall Arts and Crafts Show in Lawrence, KS this Sunday, September 9th. I am super excited. We did the Art in the Park show earlier this year and had a blast so I have high hopes for the Fall show.

Although we loved the layout above, we've been working out ways to make it even better. The grids have come in super handy with a wonderful way to hang all our earrings and pendants. It's just not enough table space!

We recently purchased several more necklace busts as we want to display our beautiful pieces better. This means we need more table tops! So we're rearranging again. Come visit us to see our new layout (we're not exactly sure what it'll be yet. Ha).

A little about this Festival

This show has been happening for 33 years now. Quite amazing! An even more amazing feat is that it is strictly Artists and Handmade. There are no booths for Commercial vendors. So if you love going to events like these, stop by. You'll see some neat original and one of kind pieces by local and non-local artists. Over 160 artists! So you'll have plenty to choose from.

Not only can you purchase original arts and crafts, but you'll get to see some live music. The Lawrence City Band will be playing as well as the Lonnie Ray Blues Band. They'll also have kid-related things such as a moonwalk and booths specific for children. Oh boy, I just found out they'll even have miniature poly rides for the youngsters! So fun.

And of course, you can't have a festival without tons of food! Be sure to stop by the concessions area for the all time favorite of funnel cakes and blooming onions.

Location: South Park
1141 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS

Date: September 9, 2012

Time: 10:00a - 5:00p

Cost: Free

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rose and Yellow Recycled Glass Pendant

This is an item I've had done for a while. It's a stone I got while Carrie and I were in Texas visiting my grandma. We had gone to a gem and bead show in San Antonio and came across a lapidary artist called Unconventional Lapidarist. I think his website has mostly gemstones now but the beauty below is recycled glass. We got several amazing stones from him and I've had designs floating in my head ever since I bought the stones. Just haven't gotten them out yet.

This pendant was made using the recycled glass, as I said above. I did a technique I learned from Eni Oken on Jewelry Lessons. It is called a net bezel and generally, you just make a bunch of loops off your base. This isn't a tutorial, but basically your base should be slightly smaller than the stone then you start a bunch of loops.

Send me a message if you want to be walked through the process. It's actually fairly simple, just time consuming.

After I got my net done and stone in place, I added my Swarovski Crystals, in rose to match the pink of the stone, and made the back more sturdy by doing a zig-zag around the frame.

Don't forget to do the bail. I did mine by just extending the base wires and wrapping them. Then shape them and Viola....a beautiful pendant ready to wear.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wire Jewelry Tutorials Sites

There is a lot of interest out there for jewelry tutorials. When I first began making jewelry, I thrived on learning techniques from tutorials and books offered by professionals in the field. So I thought I'd share with you a list of some wire-jewelry professionals who create fantastic tutorials.

Jewelry Lessons

This is a fantastic resource. This has both full jewelry making professionals creating both free and paid tutorials as well as newbies sharing their projects. I found this venue probably 1 1/2 to 2 years ago and was just amazed at all the knowledge being shared. You can view pretty much everything as a guest or create a login and start downloading tutorials and saving your favorite projects. One of the best things about this community is all the free advice and companionship! You'll never feel alone again as you learn some great techniques! They actually have a polymer clay site as well called Clay Lessons if you're interested in learning that medium. Many artists create beads or focal pieces out of polymer to use in their jewelry. Jewelry Lessons provides options for free tutorials as well as paid tutorials. You can modify their search parameters for lower cost (and free) to the higher cost and skill level options.


You can find many artists who love teaching others their craft. Many of those artists on Etsy who sell original pieces also sell tutorials on how to make those pieces. Most all of these sellers offer paid tutorials. Each listed below are very talented individuals with amazing designs. The tutorials are well worth the fee's for the knowledge and skills they are offering.

Wire Artists on Etsy
Just to name a few.

Here are some of my favorite tutorials on Etsy.


Several jewelry artists not only sell their work in finished form, but they will host blogs and perhaps provide free tutorials. Sometimes they will be simple pieces of work to give you a taste to purchase something more elaborate, or completely free. Just depends on the artist.

Blogging Wire Artists


Ok. So Pinterest doesn't have tutorials directly, but you can certainly use the search bar to find posts from others about tutorials. Or at least find plenty of inspiration. It's one of my favorite places to search for cool and interesting designs or catch a quick tip. I have some great boards with tons of links back to inspirational pieces and tutorials.

I do have a board dedicated to posts specifically for tutorials Jewelry Tutorials DIY - Wire, Metalsmithing, Jewelry and one dedicated specifically for inspiration called Jewelry & Wire Design Inspiration.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Good luck on your learning adventures! A goal of mine is to begin making tutorials so keep a lookout at my Projects page. I'll update it as I get tutorials out. Some of them may not always be wire related like the first one I posted, but it's still a tutorial and a good start.



Saturday, August 18, 2012

Newest August 2012 Items

Here's a fun twist to the simple bangle design I've been selling lately. 

I call this my Bubbles Pendant. The Czech glass and Opal beads look like bubbles floating up in the ocean with a top of swirls. 

Peacock Feathers are in big now. So I made some Peacock Feather Earrings for all those who love the beautiful colors.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Peg Board Display Case - Tutorial

This weekend my mom and I put together three of these peg board display cases. You may be asking why since we already have a ton of display supplies. After we finished up our show at Maker's Fair in Union Station and talking to some of the other crafters, we found out our next show may not have as much space as we need. Most likely, we'll only have one table. This means a large portion of our display setup...aka the grid...probably won't work. Time to go back to the drawing board.

With this in mind and my love of Pinterest, I found this awesome blog called Sugar Bee Crafts. She does shows and had a post and tutorial of the Peg Board Display Case. She has a great picture of how she uses hers as a jewelry display. And so our adventure began.

Since we haven't taken these to a show yet, the pictures are not glamorous at all. I took them pretty quick with my phone as we were working.

Supplies you'll need:

1 sheet of Peg Board - Cut this into thirds then cut the thirds in half. You'll end up with 6 pieces about 2 ft x 32 in
    *Have Lowes or Home Depot cut it for you before you purchase.

7 1x2 boards. They come in packs of 6 and were only $1 each.

Screws - Nothing fancy. Something at least an inch long just to hold everything together.

Drill - to screw the screws in.

Circular Saw - to cut the 1x2's. You could also use a hand saw. It's more labor but would work.

6 hinges - We had 3 packs of 2 from Wal-Mart on hand from a previous project.

3 locks - You can pick up 2 packs of 2 from the hardware store for around $2 each. Nothing fancy unless you want fancy.

Strap material - We picked up about 4 yards of silver strap material for Joannes for fairly cheap.

12 small washers


To Begin:

Since the do-it-yourself store cut your peg board, you don't have to worry about that. Now we just need to measure and cut your 1x2 boards to make the frame. The frame is going to go around the inside perimeter of the peg board.

You should also decide which side you want to be your "inside" portion. We chose the shorter ends to go inside the longer ends.

Step 1

To make it easy, we measured the long sides first then cut them. The 1 board of 1x2 made 3 of the long board. I think it was about 32 inches. Then we put the long boards on the peg board and measured from the inside of one to the inside of the other to get the length of the short board which was about 23 5/8 inches. Then cut out the short board. I think 1 board of 1x2 made 4 or 5 of the short boards.

You'll need 12 of each length boards.


Step 2

Once you get all your boards cut, separate them out to have 6 sets of 2 long and 2 short. Take your first set of 4 boards, 2 long and 2 short, and put them in a rectangle like the image above.

Screw each corner together. Your long board should be on the outside of your short board.

Step 3

Now that you have your frame, lay the peg board on top. If you measured correctly, the edges should be flush. 

Screw the peg board down to the frame. Be sure not to go through one of the peg holes. Your board won't stay in place if you go through the hole so choose a spot without a hole already.

Carrie screwing the peg board to the frame. Go Carrie!

Step 4

Repeat the steps 2 and 3 until all 6 of your boards are made.  (I have a picture at the start with a few made.)

Step 5

All your single boards should be done by now so we should be ready to turn it into a case. 

Stack your boards together so the frames are on the inside. We are making an open pocket so you can hang things inside and close them in. Depending on what you have, you can leave your items inside as you transport them to your next event.

We put our hinges and locks on the long sides since we are looking for height. You can put yours on the short side if you don't want something quite as tall.

Locks and Hinges

Take out the first hinge from the package. It should come with 2. We put the hinge on so that we can fully open ours so be sure to test your hinge before you screw it on. Once you have the direction, screw the hinge in place with the handy dandy screws it comes with. 


Step 6

Don't forget to add your lock. Go to the other side of the case to add this. It was a tad tricky. We had to test it before we chose the placement since we wanted to be sure that it stayed locked. Two sets of hands definitely came in handy for this...hehe.

Once you get the top part screwed in place, keeping the lower piece, carefully lift the lock. You want access to the holes for the screws but you don't want to displace your lock. Then screw it together. 

Step 7

You now have your first case. Hold that thought though, you're not fully finished. This is the point when you paint it if you want. We haven't gotten that far yet but we plan on painting it white (I already have white paint otherwise I would prefer black).

Step 8

So you can easily carry your case, lets add some straps. To come up with the length, pick up your case. Hold it so your hinges or lock are facing the front. You should have an idea of where it will be comfortable when carrying. Place your strap over your shoulder and get a length. Then begin cutting your straps so you have 3. We also made shorter ones so if we want to hold it by hand instead of over the shoulder, we could do that too.

Once you cut your straps, burn the ends to keep them from fraying.

Since we haven't painted yet, we haven't added our straps either but this is how we plan to do that.

Place your strap where you want it on your case. Be sure to have both ends on the same side so you can still open the case. Put a washer toward the edge and screw the strap in place. If your washer/screw is small enough, put two down.

Follow the same procedure for both sides and each subsequent strap.

Viola! You now have a Peg Board Display Case that you can carry to your next show.

If you don't want to hear rattling, you could try to put some foam between your items before you close the case. I haven't tried it, but it might help dampen some of the noise. I know I hate riding in the car with noisy display items.

So, what do you use inside to hang your items on? If you get the 2 inch pegboard hooks, they'll fit inside the case and the case will still be able to close. I like that idea. It's a pain to put them all in and then put in any jewelry then have to take it all off again.

Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions. I'll post a picture of our completed cases once I get them all painted.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Booth Design and Layout for 2012 - Part 1

Since we have another huge fair coming up, I thought I'd put together another post about our design and layout for our upcoming events with some tips for your next show.

Brie'Denee Booth in Art in the Park 2012 - Lawrence, KS - Booth - 2012

We were just at Art in the Park in Lawrence, KS where our new design has worked beautifully. If you didn't already know, Art in the Park is an annual event so visit next year if you missed this one! Of course, we're always adjusting and modifying our layout and design for each show we go to since we learn what works and what doesn't with each event.

If you're trying to design a booth, I would suggest trying to figure out what you need out of the booth and answering the questions below.

What are some of the restrictions of fairs you'd like to attend?

Many events post certain restrictions on their shows. Be sure to read their polices carefully. If you are a retail vendor, be sure to double check that the shows allows retail vendors. Some shows are strict on allowing only handmade while others allow both forms. 

What type of space allotment will shows be giving you?

More often than not, a show will have 10 x 10 booth spaces available. Some of the larger shows may allow vendors to purchase 2 side by side spaces to make a 10 x 20 booth. Other shows may allow only an 8 x 8 or 8 x 10. Be sure to know how much space you'll be paying for. If you have large products or display pieces you may need to reconfigure your layout to accommodate the reduction or increase in space. 

Aesthetics - Art in the Park, Lawrence, KS - 2012
Do the shows you'd like to go to have any aesthetic requirements, such as a white canopy or table cloths?

It has been in my experience that the shows with aesthetic requirements are generally slightly higher end than those without. The reason being that the hosts want to present a professional show that brings in a large clientele. If you go to a show and see all the vendors packing supplies, and everything else they hide under their tables, your first reaction is going to be, "Oh boy. That doesn't look good. I don't think I want to visit that booth because it looks like trash." However, if you go to a booth that is well coordinated and all their extras hidden you'll probably thing something more like, "Wow. This looks like a real store. What do they have?" Overall, it's this last thought that a show wants to elicit. When each booth looks nice, the show will look nice. This in turn brings in customers who tell their family and friends about the fabulous show and hopefully brings them back for the second day or the next year and ultimately increases your sales.

Most of the time you won't even realize you're thinking this so the next time you go to a show, check out each booth and how it makes you feel. Do you want to make a stop? If so, what is attracting you about the booth? What types of things make you feel comfortable that you can trust what the vendor is selling?

What types of items are you selling?

The main reason for this particular question is due to size. With jewelry, most of what we bring to a show is actually all our displays rather than the jewelry.

Everything we sell and setup (in the first picture) all fits inside this little case. Amazing really since we have hundreds of items in our inventory. 

Since jewelry is such a small type of product, we need plenty of displays to assist us in making a good booth. For something larger, like artwork, photography, mosaics, or pottery you'll definitely need a different type of setup than jewelry. Photography and art are generally setup on mobile walls to display while most pottery booths need to have plenty of sturdy shelving to hold their heavy products.

Do you currently have any display tools that you plan on utilizing?

This is a huge question. Anytime you begin to plan your booth layout, be sure to take stock of what you already have available. Funding is always a concern and the more you can re-use or re-purpose the better. It has taken us several modifications from our first booth setup before we came to our current one. Although I love what we have right now, we're continuing to think of ways to make it better, draw in customers, and really utilize as much space of that little 8x8 or 10x10 size booth. 

Are you planning on purchasing other types of displays?

Once you've reviewed all your current display tools and come up with a rudimentary layout and design, you should start to work out what else you need. For our first show, we definitely used what we had on hand. I was trying to find you a photo from that show but I'm having some difficulty. Lets just say our first show was pretty skimpy on our displays so we definitely had to purchase more. Since we bought new displays, our design and layout had to change.

Purple Zirconia and White Topaz Three Stone Prong Ring
Do you have a theme or an overall feel to your products?

This question is referring to your overall theme. Brie'Denee has a very elegant feel. Our goal is to provide an everyday piece of jewelry that transitions into evening wear nicely. We make both simple pieces that can be easily replicated to intricate art pieces that are one of a kind. With these ideas and goals in mind, we created a booth design that fits our overall feel and theme of our products. It's an important step because you want your customers to already have an idea of what your product feel is to help draw them into your booth.

Other themes would be an eclectic feel or an organic feel. Your pieces may be geared toward a time frame such as the 40's or Victorian. You may have your products more toward parties or events such as Mardi Gras. The goal is to make your booth and your products cohesive to better draw in your customers.

Our First Booth Design - 2010
Is this an indoor or outdoor event?

For obvious reasons, a few things in your booth setup and display needs are going to change for an indoor event vs an outdoor event. A canopy, weights, and space are all effected. I've found that most of the time, our layout works just fine for both indoor and outdoor events. We just either bring a canopy or don't bring a canopy.

The biggest issue we had when we first began doing shows was the wind. Jewelry is a very light product and it's generally displayed on little plastic
or paper rectangles which don't add much weight. The wind would whip through our booth and make everything fall over or blow away. Of course, this is not a good thing so we had to come up with a solution. Back to the drawing board we went. In the next part I'll show you more about what we finally ended up with for our booth layout and design, which works very well for those windy days and indoor events.

Will the show be providing access to electricity?

Most outdoor events do not provide access to electricity. Keep this in mind if you have a product that relies on a power source. You may need to bring batteries or a form of wireless or whatever.

On the other hand, most indoor events have the option for electricity. Sometimes at a cost and sometimes included in your booth fee. Be sure to read their application and policies carefully should you require power.

When we first started, we didn't have lamps or anything. We were also doing mainly outdoor events which didn't provide an option. Last year when we did an indoor event at Union Station, we found we really needed some lamps to help brighten up our space and showcase the jewelry better. We made a run to Wal-Mart the next day for a set of lamps that could clamp onto the table just like the ones to the right.

All these questions will have a large effect on your layout and overall design.