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Posts Tagged ‘upcycled earrings’

…and goodbye to Baby Leaf-Tailed Dragon. I finally laced him over the mounting board this week, labelled him and he was presented to the director of our Autumn 2019 production this weekend. Sad to see him go but glad that it’s one job not hanging over my head any more!

With stock drops to do at Arttopia and Bricktree Gallery in Caistor, my attention has been on creating upcycled jewellery that will hopefully have a Christmas party appeal.

Two broken bracelets have provided some useable sections for earrings and an earring and pendant set. Unfortunately I keep forgetting to take ‘before’ photos so you’ll have to use your imagination to reconstruct the original piece! The first one was made up from alternating silver crosses and abalone panels and I managed to salvage four sections – enough for two pairs of earrings. These ones worked perfectly with a couple of silver tone wing charms.

And I chose a couple of lovely art glass beads to tone in with the colours of the abalone for this pair.

I only managed to salvage three sections from this gold tone and diamanté bracelet but I’m very pleased with the earrings and pendant set I created from them.

Then I teamed four odd bracelet panels with some royal purple faux pearl beads to match the amethyst coloured diamantés in the middle of the panels.

I used the embroidered and sequinned black sari fabric disc I created a few months ago…

…along with a brass bale I made back in 2013 on my silversmithing course to create a pendant. It’s made of two discs of fabric gathered over circles of felt and pelmet vilene and then ladder stitched together so it’s light and easy to wear. I’m glad the bale has finally found a home too.

I did manage to take a photo of this bracelet before I upcycled it into a pendant and a pair of statement earrings. It was missing some of the diamantés and felt quite fussy, so I split it into three pieces.

First I separated out the central poinsettia shaped section and tidied up the rough edges at the back before drilling a hole into the edge of one petal for a jump ring bale and adding a reclaimed chain with a slightly worn gold plating to echo the pale gold coloured mesh in the middle of the petals.

I reset the missing diamantés in the other sections of the bracelet and added hanging loops to turn them into a pair of statement earrings. I ran out of clear diamantés in the right size so used some icy blue ones for the top which I think gives them a subtle pop of colour.

It seems that as fast as I complete one upcycle I find something else in a box which fires my imagination and replaces it in the to-do section of my desk. At the moment I’m creating some wintry mandala pendants by stitching found objects onto fabric scraps. It’s so exciting when the ideas are coming this thick and fast. Just a pity that work and life seem to get in the way..

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Making the pumpkin earrings and gothic rose pendant a couple of weeks ago led me to sort through what is probably more broken and unwanted vintage jewellery than any normal person should own and I ended up with a heap of beads, pendants, charms and other oddments and lots of ideas for some more gothic themed upcycled pieces.

A little bag of tiny red teardrop shaped beads suggested droplets of blood and with the addition of a couple of crucifixes, scraps of chain, and odd red and black beads and pendants I created a pair of charm earrings.

I had two more of the crucifixes and a couple of the little droplet beads left over to make another slightly shorter and less flamboyant pair.

I forgot to take a picture of the huge crazy earring which I split to make the following two pendants. Imagine the crescent moon hanging from the middle of the fish, a large coin in the middle of the moon and two smaller ones hanging from each tip. The whole thing was larger than my hand and very heavy.

So it seemed obvious to split this beast up! I lightened the look of the crescent moon by removing the central hanging loop and adding some grey mother of pearl moons with some vintage glass and haematite beads. I teamed it with an unusual industrial looking reclaimed chain.

I kept the fish pretty much as it was, just adding one of the smaller ‘coins’ to the middle and hanging it from a beaded choker I created from one strand of a fussy broken multi-strand necklace.

The last pendant started with this enamelled tag which appears to be a vintage 1 franc label.

I layered a flower-shaped piece of pressed brass and an oval enamelled rose on copper on the front of the tag, leaving the 1F still visible on the back and added a dark brass coloured reclaimed chain.

These are all destined for Arttopia when I do my shift next Saturday. I’m hoping they will do well as we head towards Hallowe’en. Hopefully more stitching next week.

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It all started with this odd earring. It’s not a very good image because it’s already partly disassembled (I got all excited and forgot to take a photo before I attacked it with the pliers!), but you can hopefully see that it’s made up of three pairs of brass leaf shaped sections that made me think of flower calyxes.

That was enough to spark off an idea for a pendant and a pair of earrings using silk cocoons for the main part of the flower with a brass calyx on top of each one.

Pendant first. I made a set of beaded stamens by threading some random sequences of blue and gold bugle and seed beads onto Nymo and then knotting the ends onto the loop of a headpin and setting it all with a blob of superglue. This is my third cocoon. I discovered the hard way that the silk on its own wasn’t robust enough to cope with having a headpin put through it and I had to use a layer of glue to strengthen the fibres.

But the result was worth it. The little ‘hat’ section from the earring makes an effective calyx for a fantasy flower. It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

For various reasons, I didn’t get round to the earrings until today. I managed to find an almost identical pair of silk cocoons and they really are this red! you also get a better idea of how the brass ‘calyxes’ look from this photo.

Beaded stamens again, this time in greens and golds.

The silk cocoons are really light so although the drops are quite large at 5cm long and 2cm in diameter, they are a lovely weight and not too heavy to wear. I’m hoping to get them listed in my Etsy shop shortly when I can get some more photos of the details.

It seems ages since I had a good jewellery making spell and after finishing these earrings today I was feeling really inspired. It’s a shame most of the rest of this week is going to be taken up with three days supply teaching but as online sales have dropped through the floor over the last few months, beggars really can’t be choosers.

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Having finished Baby Leaf-Tailed Dragon’s tail with the white circles…

…I decided to add the details to the head section next. Extending some of the outline to give him a jawline and define the ears was straightforward, as was adding the highlights around his neck, ears, mouth and nose. Then it was the eye. The eye more than anything gives him his personality and I really didn’t want to get this wrong, so I cut out a paper template and moved it around until I was happy before I started stitching. It’s amazing how even a small alteration in placement can make a big difference to expression and personality. After a reassuringly small amount of unpicking, I was pleased with the way he looks. Definitely cheeky!

I had a pair of trousers to hem yesterday and while looking for the right colour sewing cotton, I bumped into the Bayeux Stitch mushroom I started last January during panto.

I’d got as far as putting the gills in but they were going in the wrong direction. I knew they were wrong but simply couldn’t work out what the right direction was, so I put the hoop aside and left it – I didn’t even bother to finish unpicking the gills. So this was what appeared as I moved my mending pile:

As I picked up the hoop I could see instantly where the lines needed to go! Trousers were postponed and gills were couched in place. I also outlined the spots on the cap and next stage is… the highlighting. I really need to get over my nerves about stitching highlights on these pieces!

I’ve also been adding some more upcycled jewellery to my Etsy shop. These drop earrings I made in January from a fragment of Art Nouveau pressed brass frame in the shape of olive branches is similar are available here. I’ve added faux pearl drops and new gold plated sterling silver earhooks.

The broken silver ring I shaped into two Celtic motifs has been teamed with a couple of iridescent Czech glass beads to become this rather elegant pair of earrings which are available here in my Etsy shop.

Then a couple of beachcombing pieces. Several years ago I found four glass beads which had obviously once been part of a necklace or bracelet on a tattered piece of thread at a Cornish beach. I love the way they have been worn by the sea and have been looking for just the right project for them ever since. Inspiration struck when I came across an odd earring with a hanging loop inside. I made a piece of silver wire into a headpin and two of the beads fitted perfectly. You can find it here in the Beachcombing section of my shop.

I had a silver pendant which had a very odd looking flat part under the garnet. It was a little while before I realised it was a backing plate and whatever had originally been stuck on it was long gone. Perfect for a piece of sea washed pottery and this fragment of Victorian spongeware worked perfectly. The finished pendant has a new silver chain and is available here.

And the final highlight is the upcycled mourning locket I wrote about in last week’s post.

Within an hour of listing it on Etsy it had sold! A great boost on a cold and snowy day.

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Mainly because much of the embroidery I’ve been doing this week really isn’t interesting enough to share! More split stitch round the edge of the ’tiles’ on the medieval tiles piece and I’ve also made myself pick up the baby leaf-tailed dragon kit again but that’s all couching round the outline, so not much to see.

The birthday for which I’m stitching the floral initial is fast approaching, so I’ve prioritised work on that. I keep trying to persuade myself that I’m half way through but I suspect that’s just wishful thinking. Single strands of stranded silk do not work up very fast.

So jewellery it is, starting with a piece of pressed brass which I think might have been part of an Art Nouveau frame or mount.

I’ve had a couple of ideas for it but keep returning to earrings. So I sawed it into two similar but not identical sections and created these earring drops with the addition of some silver mounted pearls. I’m just waiting on some gold plated sterling silver ear hooks to finish them off.

Then I found a broken silver ring in my scrap box.

I realised that two of the broken sections had the same design, so I flattened them before sawing and filing the excess parts of the design off to make a pair of earring drops. These just need a session in the barreller before I choose some beads to finish them off.

Then there was the collection of classic brutalist 1970s pewter components which someone had half turned into a necklace. The cabochons look like lapis lazuli but in fact are beautiful pieces of art glass with flecks of gold leaf to look like lapis.

The large section felt too big and chunky to keep as a pendant and the pattern of holes suggested that it might have had further sections hanging from it, which would have made it very heavy both literally and visually. Then inspiration struck!

I carefully sawed the big pendant into three pieces. This gave me a smaller pendant with two cabochons and two double circle sections which I could use as part of the necklace. Once I’d tidied them up, the necklace went together perfectly, with a length of reclaimed chain finishing it off at the back. I think it still has a Seventies brutalist feel but it’s a bit more wearable now. It’s here in my Etsy shop.

This left me with four sections which I used to make a matching pair of earrings with silver earhooks. Also available in my Etsy shop here.

I’ve also managed to make up four more boxes for the kilt pin brooch kits, so there are now six listed in my Etsy shop with free UK P&P.

Blue-green, lilac, purple and silver

Dusty pink, pale green, gold and russet

Purple, green, red and white

Russet, gold, brown and red

Peach-pink, yellow, brown, gold and silver

Red, green, brown, gold and yellow

Hopefully the stitching will be a little more photogenic next week!

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The cross stitch motif piece I showed last week has progressed reasonably well. I was initially unsure about the sky, but as I moved round the tree, I was able to get the coverage more even – it’s turned out as more of a long and short stitch than a satin stitch in the end – and now I feel the combination of the motif and the hand embroidery is working.

I wanted the tree to have other greenery around it, so the next part of the ‘evolving in my head as I stitch’ plan was to add a tree on the right. I used free cross stitch, which I love using as it gives a very textured effect, with a split stitch trunk.

Then a bit more sky and french knot bushes on the lower left. I’m not sure whether to put a bit of another tree in the top left corner or leave it as just sky, so it’s stalled a bit while I wait for my subconscious to finish churning the possibilities over.

I’ve finally listed an embroidered upcycled brooch I made last November here in my Etsy shop. Not sure how it slipped through the net, but at least it’s there now. I love the subtle sparkles in the hand painted fabric and metallic thread but they are really difficult to photograph!

I’ve also made some more of the clock hands earrings, with a wintry blue and silver colour scheme. They’re not in my Etsy shop as I took them across to Arttopia in Cleethorpes this morning to restock my display. The aluminium hands are very light and the art glass beads at the top help to give them enough weight to hang nicely. It’s quite a balance to end up with a pair of earrings that are heavy enough to move with you but not so heavy that they pull on the ear lobe.

It seems to be a real struggle to get anything much done these days and Christmas fast approaching is generating its own pile of work! I’m looking forward to the after Christmas period before term starts when I can hopefully get back to the memory journals and other projects.

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Since half term at the end of October, I’ve finally been picking up some supply work. It’s been much needed financially but quite stressful with all the different Covid protocols that each school has and it’s difficult not to resent the way it’s eaten into my stitching and jewellery making time.

However, I realise I’m lucky to be getting work at all and so I’m working hard at appreciating a few minutes or a few stitches here and there and trying not worry about how slowly (if at all) some of my projects are moving.

So quick finishes are good, like the broken bracelet sections I upcycled into this sparkly pair of drop earrings with the addition of silver tone maple leaves and sterling silver ear hooks.

I’ve been taking some stitching into the schools where I’ve been working so I can take advantage of any spare lunchtime to sew. This initial will be filled with whipped running stitch stems and lazy daisy stitch flowers and leaves in variegated single strands of silk thread on silk dupion. It’s a potential workshop idea or if I’m not convinced, it might become a birthday card for my middle one.

I found this cross stitch motif which I must have stitched well over twenty years ago, in a workbox at the weekend.

I rather liked it. What if I could somehow stitch it onto another piece of fabric so none of the aida shows? The stylised cross stitch could be an interesting contrast with more textured embroidery stitches…

Subtly variegated silk thread french knots make great bushes and the sheen of the silk complements the more matte quality of the cotton thread I used for the tree.

Bushes and grass at the bottom are relatively easy but I can’t surround the whole tree in them, so now I’m experimenting with satin stitch sky. Apologies for the horrible photo. Today is grey and rainy and this is the best I could do indoors. The sky won’t end there. I might use a version of long and short stitch to extend it and I am planning some trees and/or clouds as well.

Making it up as I go along!

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Nothing big this week – instead the focus seems to have been on taking the old, broken and unloved and breathing new life into them. The vintage postcard to which I gave extra autumn colour with dozens of French knots gradually went from this…

…to this – with the help of numerous podcasts…

…and finally to this:

I combined a 1970s watch strap and a broken brooch to make a statement bracelet which is currently in my Etsy shop here.

And some jasper and art glass beads and vintage clock hands to make some more statement earrings.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the starting point for this pretty little pendant, which had the longest journey of all.

It literally started off a small chunk of a much larger broken brooch and I only knew that because it still had the hinge and pin, which was twice as long as the flower, attached. It was filthy, missing all the stones and had a couple of bits of metal sticking off at random angles.

After removing the pin, tidying up the shape and drilling a hole for a jump ring so I could turn it into a pendant, I gave it a thorough clean and polish before resetting it with tiny blue vintage paste stones and a vintage pearl with a wire attached which went into the hole I discovered in the middle of the ‘bell’.

That really was treasure from trash!

It should be in my Etsy shop shortly. There is nothing quite like turning literally a piece of rubbish into something that hopefully will be loved and cherished for years to come.

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I still haven’t found the iridescent fabric I managed to tidy away, but I did find something I think turned out better in the end, and so the dragonfly for the second pouch is well underway. I stitched the body in satin stitch blocks…

…and the thorax in a sort of long and short stitch with detached chain stitch and french knot legs and clustered french knot eyes.

Then onto the wings. While looking for the iridescent fabric I had in mind, I found some purple hand dyed silk organza and an iridescent organza. I fused them with bondaweb and ended up with the perfect fabric for the wings!

I’m using it with the purple uppermost but there is still plenty of subtle sparkle. Veins in back stitch, following the lines you would find on a real dragonfly’s wings.

I have a real hankering to make some more of these sea glass watch case pendants.

But when I went looking for the watch cases I found this:

A box of clock hands I bought ages ago at a car boot sale and forgot about! I had a lovely quiet afternoon sitting on the patio sorting them all out.

Most of the really ornate ones are singletons, but there were a surprising amount of pairs and I chose a couple of simple geometric hands to turn into a pair of upcycled earrings with a bit of a steampunk vibe.

The hands are very light – probably aluminium – and those gorgeous purple art glass beads give them enough weight to hang nicely in the ear.

The earhooks and all the other metal is sterling silver and they are available here in my Etsy shop with free UK P&P.

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But a small amount of trapunto too. That’s because most of my stitching this week has been a mega darning session on a large rip in my favourite pair of knickers. It may be a very impressive and beautifully executed darn, but luckily for the world in general, I have no intention of sharing it!!

So the Niijima Floats piece now looks like this:

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Next I need to stitch down the image; possibly do some stitching into it, although the transfer medium is like thin plastic and tends to stretch and deform when you try to stitch through it, so I might leave it as it is – something to think about as I stitch it down  and work out how to finish it.

I’ve had quite a run of creativity with my upcycled jewellery and over the last week or so I’ve made two pairs of earrings and a bracelet.

The first pair of earrings started as an oddment of silver, possibly part of a pendant, which I bought from eBay because I loved the little fish dangling on the ends. They seemed very lonely on the end of their lengths of chain so I added some sea foam colour cats eye beads from a vintage necklace which look just like bubbles.

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Available here in my Etsy shop.

The second pair of earrings were inspired by some vintage necklace or bracelet strand separators which I found while looking for something else. I liked their rococo style but when I came to design some drops to hang from them, the holes were too close for three drops to have room to move, so I settled for a single drop of graduated haematite beads  framed with a loop of reclaimed chain.

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They are available here in my Etsy shop.

I never intended to make a bracelet. Honestly. I just went into my middle one’s old room, which I am slowly taking over for my jewellery making, to put a couple of earring drops into my box of bits for eventual upcycling.  As I did I spotted some bits of a broken vintage bracelet and suddenly the other jobs for the morning were forgotten.

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I gently curved the honeycomb drops and used them to frame one of those lovely big faux turquoise cabochons. Then two of the silver tone links and the other two cabs made up the rest of the bracelet with an Art Deco watch bracelet catch to finish it off.

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Upcycled assemblage pieces where I combine elements from lots of different fragments of broken jewellery, often take a long time to make because it takes so long to go through all my bits and find just the right ones.  However,  this one was much quicker because the components just jumped straight out at me – a very rare occurrence!

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It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

More mending this week, including replacing a zip in my little one’s beloved Totoro bag, but I hope to get on with some more of the trapunto piece as well.

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