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Event Review: Spark!

Reported by Erin Bassett
Spark No. 2 took place this past weekend in Lindon, UT and women from all around the globe came to renew the inner flame of creativity within themselves and to ignite it in one another.
The location at Noah’s was new this year (Spark No. 1 was at This Is The Place Heritage Park in UT) and although the building wasn’t as quaint and historic as the Spark No.1 location, it did have WiFi so I really can’t complain!
Rhonna Farrer, Margie Romney-Aslett, and Elizabeth Kartchner organized the event and let me tell you, those ladies have such an eye for detail!! Here’s just some of the décor they created this year:
I could seriously put up 100 shots of all the décor that was up throughout the entire building and the gardens. It was fabulous! And to top it off a lot of it was green and had been collected and upcycled into pure cuteness.
Everyone was divided up into color groups and rotated into each of the four core classes and the four mini-classes. Most of the materials and tools were provided to share so that those who had to fly could travel lighter.
The main classes were:
“Enlighten” with Wendy Whitacre was an awesome photography class that explained how digital SLR cameras work and how to make them do what you want them to do. Wendy has a great teaching style and simplifies the big scary parts of using your camera out of the automatic mode. She also had little stations around the class room for us to put into practice what we learned.
“Nurture” with Emily Falconbridge was a wool felting class where she taught you the concepts behind felting and then we were able to make either wool scarves or wool beads. It was really fun to watch how everyone’s projects came together and then see how they turned out….some turned out better then expected and some turned out different then expected and a bit quirky, but they were all beautiful in their own right.
“Cherish” with Janet Hopkins was a class where we created a corsage out of Glimmer Misted flowers, tulle, a vintage ticket, charms, and other doo-dads. While most of the finished projects looked similar they each had a bit of character from the person that created it.
“Uplift” with Margie Romney-Aslett was a fun home décor class where we used stripped down lamp shades to create mobiles. While everyone stuck to the same concept, no two lampshades were the same and the photos and ephemera that hung on them told such a warm-fuzzy story.
The mini-classes were:
“Explore” with Rhonna Farrer was a how-to digi-scrap class and we used an awesome House of 3 digital kit to create with. As an avid digi-scrapper I loved to see and hear traditional scrapbookers “get” how to create things digitally.
“Ignite” with Liz Kartchner was a class were we made a fun little mini-album that was shaped like a flag and was entitled “Celebrate”. I didn’t have time to get it finished in class, but it will be great to finish up and throw in some cute photos from a birthday or something.
“Create” with April Meeker was a mixed media class were we used paint, Mod Podge, paper, ephemera, and silhouettes to create beautiful canvases. There was not a enough time for me to complete my project in class, but that’s totally fine with me since I have some things at home I’d like to add to it.
“Relax” with the Dear Lizzie store was where we created a cute little pennant from ephemera and then had a chance to just chill or catch up on other stuff…like getting snacks from the snack room.
On Friday night we had a roof top soiree where we bundled up to do some “mini-mini’s” (aka: make and takes). The space was small, but the projects were cute!! Stephanie Hamen (Fiskars) had us making the cutest mini canvas. Michelle Hill (Epiphany Crafts/Polka Dot Whimsy) had us make a flower pin (or it could have been used as a barrette if you changed the backing). Lori Allred (Imaginisce) and Shannon Lerner (ProvoCraft) had us making quilled flowers that were embellished with the iTop and iRock. Lori Ward (Miss Ruby Sue) had us making headbands. Jayme Shepherd (Making Memories) had us creating some beautiful Vintage Groove necklaces. Rebecca McAllister (Sassafras Lass) and Hayley Blumenstock (Sassafras Lass) had us make a cute mini-book. (I love the technique they used for the spine and pages of the book.) And lastly, Jennifer Garry (We R Memory Keepers) and Mallory Straus (We R Memory Keepers) showed us how to use the Cinch to create a mini-book.
After the soiree was over we went out to the garden to enjoy a concert by Mindy Gledhill. This was my first time to hear her music and lyrics and I do have to say…her songs are magical. She told us the story behind many of the songs and that made the words mean even more. Once I got home I hopped on iTunes and downloaded her latest album “Anchor” so I could listen to it over & over again.
Saturday night after classes there was a private party at the Dear Lizzie store where we sipped on Fizzy Lizzies while we shopped and took even more photos.
All in all, it was an amazing event and I left wanting to flap my own wings home so I could grab my glue gun and some glitter and get busy creating.
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight: Stamped Metal Jewelry by Lisa Niven Kelly

Reported by Samantha Piette
 

I have always held a special place in my heart for personalized items. I’ve seen metal stamped jewelry getting more and more popular lately and knew I needed to try it.

I did some research and found Beaducation.com. The founder and owner, Lisa, has done a fantastic job introducing crafters to jewelry making and metal stamping. She even includes a free online class for metal stamping beginners.

When I heard Lisa was coming out with a book on metal stamping, I knew it was something I HAD to check out. There is so much to learn, and I knew (through her site and classes) that if anyone was going to teach us about metal stamping, it’s her.


Her book Stamped Metal Jewelry: Creative Techniques & Designs for Making Custom Jewelry is 135 pages of instruction and inspiration. It’s pure eye candy for anyone looking to add metal stamping to their jewelry making.


The first 37 pages of the book cover the supplies you need and their uses (different tools for different techniques) as well as a few techniques and a simple how-to to get started stamping. It goes into detail about each tool, which is very helpful if you want to try something on your pieces but have no idea how to get the effect you want. This way, you know exactly which tools you will need to purchase.


The rest of the book includes 19 step-by-step projects. Lisa covers every type of jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and even a leather cuff which would be perfect for a Father’s Day present. The style of the different projects range from simple to complicated, and from clean to grungy. Definitely something for everyone.


The book also includes an instructional DVD featuring over 30 minutes of Lisa herself demonstrating techniques and showing essential tools and how to use them. The DVD also includes a bonus project that Lisa walks you through step by step.


Using one of the first projects in the book (I am a beginner, after all) I made this pendant which says “CREATE.” I used a basic 1/4″ block letter economy stamping set and a sterling silver disc.

I have to say, I have been trying to learn how to stamp metal for a while now and had not been getting the results I wanted. Either the letters were really crooked or inconsistent or they just didn’t look ‘right.’ After reading Lisa’s book, not only am I inspired to create more, but I learned some really (really!) helpful tips that have helped me get the results I wanted.

Pros:

  • The beginning of the book is perfect for beginners and gives a very good introduction to products and techniques.
  • Every project is broken down step by step with photos. They are very easy to follow so anyone can make the items Lisa has shown in the book.
  • Lisa includes little bonus tips on how to make certain pieces more personalized, including a list of inspiring words, as well as how to say different meaningful phrases in different languages.
  • Everything Lisa uses in her book is available to purchase on her website, beaducation.com, she even offers kits for beginners.
  • A great value for $24.95 (includes 20 projects plus an instructional DVD.)

Cons:

  • If you have never made jewelry before this book may be too advanced for you.
  • Getting started with metal stamping can be expensive (as is any hobby, really.) A non-basic letter set starts at around $90.

Stamped Metal Jewelry: Creative Techniques and Designs for Making Custom Jewelry is also available from Amazon.com

    Do you love making jewelry? Have you ever wanted to try stamping on metal? Leave us a comment and let us know!

    Disclosure

    Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

    The EuroTool Metal Screw Punch

    If you work with metal blanks for stamping or other creative uses, you may have noticed that many bead stores and websites offer metal blanks with no hole in them to attach a jump ring.


    The EuroTool Metal Screw Punchpunches two different sized holes which work really well on a variety of jewelry projects. Buying blanks without holes allows more creative options and is less costly. This tool replaces a drill, and eliminates the shavings that result from drilling into metal.


    This tool couldn’t be more easy to use. It is essentially a 2 step process to punch holes in your metal piece. The two pieces turn like screws to either punch through the metal or to release it after you have already punched.


    First, place the piece of metal you would like to punch into the tool. You can tell where the hole will be punched by looking at the side of the tool and seeing the reflection of the tool in the metal.


    Second, turn the screw so that it advances down onto the metal. Continue turning until you feel that the metal is punched all the way through. Do not keep turning as the tool could scratch your metal. Next, unscrew the tool so that it completely releases your newly punched metal piece! It is important to unscrew until the piece is released instead of pulling it out so that unnecessary pressure is not put on the tip of the screw.


    The EuroTool Metal Punch punches two different sizes of circles in metals. A 12 gauge circle (2.3mm) and a 14 gauge circle (1.6mm). I punched both sizes in this copper sheet to give you an idea of the sizes (the quarter is shown for scale.)


    Many projects can be made using punched metal pieces. I use them primarily with metal stamps, either letter sets or design stamps. Here is a simple project where I punched two holes in a small round silver blank and stamped an ‘S’ on it with a bead.


    A unique project, the EuroTool Metal Screw Punchcan easily go through a penny (since it is made of copper). I punched a hole in the top of the penny and stamped the word ‘LUCKY’ and then attached it to a keychain.

    Pros:

    • Very fast and simple to use
    • No metal shavings left over (which you have if you use a drill)
    • Affordable price; approximately $27.00 $15.00
    • Punches through all metals typically used for jewelry making (sterling silver, copper, etc…)

    Cons:

    • Takes a little bit of practice so that the screw is not tightened too much and scratches the metal
    • Does not punch all metal (I tried it on a metal washer from a home improvement store and the metal was too strong)

    Do you have this tool and use it often? Have you found another tool that works similarly that you would recommend? Let us know!

    CHA- Jewelry: Nunn Designs: Epoxied Jewelry in 20 Minutes!

    As a crafter who was a jewelry artist in a former life, I take great interest in products that make the process of creating high end jewelry, and make it easier, faster, safer, cleaner and/or more affordable.  Nunn Design commits to all of these issues with their amazing line of Jewelry findings and glaze/epoxy products.

     (Click photos to enlarge)

    Epoxied jewelry can be a several step process… taking days to cure, with lots of smelly mixing of chemicals.  All too often, the result is a yellowed bubbled uneven mess.  But no more!

    With the Nunn Design system, you just simply punch out a lovely design from their transfer film, apply a special glue to the back, then seal the front of the image.  This prevents the Glaze from seeping under the image and not curing properly.

    Then you pour the “Gel du Soleil” over that image, into your beveled pendant, and stick that fella under a tiny UV light.  20 minutes later, you are wearing your pretty pendant, bracelet or ring!

    I love the simplicity of the designs, and the fact that I could customize everything with my own images or stamps if I wanted to.  But you could get pretty fancy with these findings if that’s your thing.  Their design elements are fashion forward, and would be easy to match up with contemporary or vintage beads and images.

    Check out the Nunn Design website for more information, and some wonderful tutorial videos about the process.

    Have you used this product yourself?  Tell us what you think!

    With 5 unique rubber stamp collections, there’s something for everyone at Taylored Expressions!

    Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

    Vendor Spotlight: Making Memories Vintage Groove (article 2 of 4)

    Reported by Liz Abbott

    Elements is a high-end jewelry line designed by Jill Schwartz. Her work has been sold at
    Anthropologie, Cambria Cove and was also featured in magazines such as Lucky, Jane, Redbook and InStyle. As we reported from the winter 2010 CHA show, she has teamed up with scrapbooking company Making Memories for a line of vintage inspired chains, charms, findings, pendants and kits. It’s a great opportunity for us crafty types to own a piece of Jill Schwartz jewelry and add our own flare to it, for less!


    Below are selections of the fun chains and bead strands I got to play with. Some chains came pre-fabricated with adjusting chains and clasps already assembled. On these pre-assembled chains and beads there is a cute little birdie charm that has JS on the back for Jill Schwartz, and an M charm for Making Memories. So cute!


    Above are some of the essential tools, an all in one handy dandy kit. Included are chain nose pliers, side cutters and round nose pliers. They even co-ordinate with the charms.


    Here are some of the charms and charm sets. I just love their signature Finch! Aside from my love of bird accessories, the great thing about this charm is that it has 5 points in which to connect it to chain or charms. Since I am a “more is more” as apposed to a “less is more” kinda girl, this is a great piece to build upon. While it could make a necklace with charms hanging off of it, this line has given me visions of a Janis Joplin/gypsy vibe. So, I have been inspired to make a charm gauntlet/bracelet, if you will…

    I use the chain and round pliers to take apart one of the pre-fabricated chains and turn it into the first and third wrist bracelets. I save the cute little bird charm for later. Then I use the pliers to connect the first chain to the signature finch.

    One of the great things about some of the Vintage Groove charms is that they have two points of connection. I took some of the small adjustment chain from the pre-fab chain necklace I took apart, then connected it into the jump rings at the ends of the twig our
    feathered friend stands on. I threaded it through the top jump ring of the two-point charm and then connected it to the second chain.

    Let’s move onto the rings and the chains that connect to the bracelet. Little chain rings with charms attached could be a cute idea if a hand to wrist bracelet/ring combo is too much for you. I made the rings with a piece of small chain and joined it together with one of the jump rings from the collection. Here is where you could add a small charm…and voila! A cute little charm ring!


    Then attach the chains to the rings and the 3 connection points of the top of the finch.


    Almost done! Connect the third bracelet chain to the other two bracelet chains at the jump ring. And then the fun part: adding all of the charms!

    And here is your finished charm gauntlet!
    Now go slap on some make-up, head to the beach and do a photoshoot! Note the
    pre-fabricated Vintage Groove chain in the hair.


    Pros:

    • The quality of the metals is great. The jump rings are easy to open, yet not in anyway flimsy.
    • For all the people out there that enjoy crafting, but might not be as creative, the charm sets all look great together and make designing your piece a breeze.
    • The tools have a nice grip to them and are small enough for easy storage, but large enough for my big ol’ man hands.
    • The charms with multiple holes in them give you many options for multiple tiers or the opportunity to add extra charms and pendants to the piece.


    Cons:


    • I found the clasps to be a little sticky and not as easy to open as some clasps I have used in the past.

    • Some of the dainty seashell charms did not survive the shipping. I’m sure they’d be fine if treated delicately, but if you’re a bull in the china shop like I am, this could be an issue.



    GIVEAWAY
    Making Memories will be giving one lucky reader a collection of Vintage Groove jewelry by Jill Schwartz. This collection is perfect for a first time jewelry maker because there is no beading required. All the pieces have been handpicked by Jill. All you have to do it pick your strand, pick your pendant or charm, and assemble.

    To enter to win this prize, you need to make a comment on this post.  To comment, just click below this article where it says “crafters have an opinion on this post” and answer this question…

    What do you think of the new Making Memories Vintage Groove Products?

    One comment per person, per Vendor Spotlight: Making Memories Vintage Groove article (this is 1 of 4), please. Winner will be randomly chosen on Sunday, June 27th and announced here on the blog.


    Disclosure

    Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

    Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Plaid Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

    Reported by Erin Bassett
    When someone says Mod Podge I usually think of the big jar of glue like adhesive that I use to decoupage with, so when the opportunity came for me to try out Mod Podge Dimensional Magic I was intrigued!
    Photo from PlaidOnline.com
    If you’re familiar with traditional Mod Podge, you know that right away Mod Podge Dimensional Magic looks different! It comes in a 2oz. bottle and has a lid that lifts right off. I’m not sure if the lid is designed so that the product doesn’t clog the nozzle that it comes out of, but I can say that my bottle didn’t clog up at all (something I can not say about similar products)!
    Mod Podge Dimensional Magic is similar to Glossy Accents and Diamond Glaze in that you can use it to add dimension to the item you’re applying it to. When you first apply it to the object it appears milky, but when it’s dry it is totally clear and shiny. One thing to note is that my first drop of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic always seemed to have an air bubble; I learned to do that drop on a piece of scratch paper or my craft mat so there wouldn’t be any air bubbles on my projects.
    Here is how Mod Podge Dimensional Magic looks when drops are placed on a paper:
    In my opinion it seems like the nozzle on the Mod Podge Dimensional Magic is a little bit wider then the Glossy Accents or Diamond Glaze nozzle. Also the product comes out without having to squeeze it. Having the automatic flow is fantastic when trying to apply a lot of it to an item since you don’t get that horrible hand cramp we crafters are known to get! However, the draw-back to that is that when you are working on a detailed image (like the leaf on my card below) it can be difficult to get it just right.
    Besides using it for dimension, it also works great as glue! I made this flower using it as glue and when it was finished I added some to the flower’s center and then dropped on a bit of glitter.
    You can also use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to magnify words slightly. Just look at this dictionary page I played around with :
    My favorite thing to use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic for is creating jewelery and other bulky doo-dads. For the pendant shown below I took a metal Imaginisce Brad Daddy head, flipped it over and filled it with some patterned paper and a bit of bling. I then filled it up with Mod Podge Dimensional Magic and allowed it to dry over night. By morning it was dry, however not quite as doomed as it had been while wet, so I added another layer of it and allowed it to dry again.
    Now, speaking of drying, according to the package it will take 3 hours to dry. I live in Southern California and I created most of these projects on overcast days…it took me longer then three hours to dry most of my projects, especially the ones where I used a lot of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. I recommend that you don’t wait until the last minute to craft because it will take some time to dry!
    Pros:
    • Dries clear and shiny
    • Easy to open lid (and my bottle never clogged)
    • Jazzes up plain, patterned paper, and stamped images by giving it glossy, raised dimension
    • Can often be used in place of resin to make jewelry
    Cons:
    • Takes time to dry
    • First drop seems to be an air bubble every time I used it; air bubbles can occur at other times as well
    • Free flowing bottle design can make it hard to do small details without going over the lines
    What projects do you like to use dimensional adhesives on? For more project ideas, visit the Mod Podge Rocks blog or check them out of Facebook and Twitter.

    GIVEAWAY!
    Plaid is generously giving one of our readers a gift pack full of these great Plaid products! Just leave a comment on one of the Vendor Spotlight: Plaid articles.  For this article, we want to know…

    Have you ever used a dimensional product like this before?  If so, what do you love and/or hate about it?

    One comment per person, per article, please.  You have until Thursday, June 17th 6pm CST to enter.

    Disclosure Statement for Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

    Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

    Vintage Groove by Jill Schwartz

    A favorite scrapbooking company, Making Memories, is branching out into the jewelry business. Designer Jill Schwartz has created jewelry for high-end boutiques like Anthropologie, and now she’s partnered with Making Memories to create a vintage line of jewelry elements:


    The line is called Vintage Groove, and has findings, pendants, charms and more. “Jill has designed high-end jewelry for a long time, and this is a way for the consumer to create their own piece at a fraction of the cost,” says President Dan Nelson.


    We are excited about this new direction for Making Memories. What do you think? Leave us a comment and let us know!

    Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!