Monday, December 02, 2013

Getting back at it!

It's good to be back...
The lovely Carol of C. Evans Designs  generously offered me a set of her gorgeous lampwork beads.
The irregular stripe effect and smooth texture on her beads play nicely with my favorite material, recycled sweaters. Though my soldering needs work (SO out of practice) I moved forward anyway and created this statement necklace in oranges, grays and taupes with a touch of burgundy. The copper will age into a deeper brown over time. Looking forward to making more jewelry soon! Thanks Carol!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recycled Sweater Necklaces

Getting busy making new pieces for my nearly empty jewelry shop! Love the contrast between icy cool stones and soft sweater wool on this first one. 
recycled sweater necklace - chalcedony and quartz druzy

I've been saving this lovely sterling Tibetan pendant for far too long. I LOVE how it looks with the red and turquoise recycled sweater bits! It feels ethnic, bohemian and vintage-y but at the same time, is very new and unusual. 
recycled sweater necklace - hummingbird pendant

Monday, January 10, 2011

Refashioned Sweater

My latest refashion project. Super easy! I found this Peruvian alpaca sweater for just a few dollars at the thrift store. Alpaca is soft and warm and I always buy the Peruvian sweaters when I find them.
Originally, it had long tan ribbed sleeves, kind of pilly and stretched out. There was also a zipper up the front. A little too "walk the mall" style. hehehe
I found the chain stitch that attached the sleeves and removed them. There were a few pieces of yarn that were sticking out from the color changes in the pattern, so I just wove them in. The raw edges of the armholes curl in nicely, but had they not, I could have sewn on a facing.  Removed the machine stitching that sewed the zipper on, and voila! A fashionable knit vest. 

Monday, November 01, 2010

Dyeing is easy

Panicked frenzy here, as I get ready for my own show next weekend. This is the first time I've committed to a full 10x10 booth by myself, so I am retooling my displays a little bit. My sister was nice enough to make an Ikea run for me, as I live 2 hours from the nearest one and that tends to be a splurging sort of event. Only needed some WILMA curtains, but wasn't sure the color was quite right. They were close, a bright kelly green, but my displays tend to be more lime-ish.
So I dyed them!
Past dye experiments have taught me that it never is as easy as buying one box and going with it. I purchased some yellow, green and red just in case. The yellow and the green just made the curtains a little brighter, so I added a tiny bit of red. (Red being the opposite of green, it will tend to "brown out" green) Simply using hot water in my kitchen sink was easy and effective. I had a snippet of fabric next to the sink, and just kept checking my curtains against that until it was right. (you can see the orange-brown color the white label turned) I'll post finished product photos after the show, or come visit!
Plaza Palomino in Tucson Nov 5-7 booth 85

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ring display and banner ideas from Alice Istanbul

Alice's banners drew me in. Two large images of her jewelry on live models hung from a pole that had been threaded through the roof trusses of the booth. I whispered loudly to my sister-in-law to check out the banners, “they say images on people sell better...what do you think?”

Super-friendly, Alice wanted to know who “They” were. We agreed we had gotten the info from craft show guru Bruce Baker... then Alice drew us in to more conversation. Initially, I thought I was just going to steer my group in, and out of her booth since I wasn't in the market for quality jewelry. Most of her wares were in two large glass cases on top of tall tables. But Alice's open discussion and enthusiastic participation kept us there. Long enough for my sister-in-law AND my mother-in-law to buy beautiful earrings!
  • Don't assume a dishy conversation about business won't result in a sale! Be nice.
The banners? Alice says the jewelry on models DOES make a difference in the positive response she gets from customers. (again, I will bring my better camera with the wide angle lens next time!) My sister-in-law is a crafty gal, a Harvard MBA and a biz consultant. Qualified! She felt images of jewelry on a model makes the piece look more expensive. (In a good way.) Food for thought!

After I looked closer, I realized Alice used a very innovative technique to secure her rings.
She used two free standing towel holders as a base, and created some wiggly wire pieces that curl around the support. Alice's rings are threaded with ribbon and hung from the wire. Customers are able to try on the rings, without Alice having to worry that they will walk away! Her rings also have a lot of texture and design on the back side, so although the rings hang upside down, there is a lot to see. She has placed a mirror under the rings to view the topside.
This display is the complete antithesis to the rings shown on a block of wood with nails that I shared with you here. Which suits your style?

The little birds on the towel stands blend nicely with the vintage iron elements used to drape and accent the jewelry within the cases. Alice's jewelry does have a bit of an archeological feel to it, so the architectural pieces support the aesthetic beautifully!

I had so much fun visiting with Alice...after we exchanged cards, we realized we had tweeted in the past. Warm and fuzzy crafty community feelings all over. For my next show, I am going to print out my avatars from Etsy and Twitter to put on my table, and hopefully some of my tweeps will recognize me and say hi!

See more pictures of the ring display on Alice's blog and visit her website!  Alice Istanbul

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

LOVEly pincushion

Had a weakness for small teacups since I was 11 and a friend gave me one for my birthday! Found these sweet little orphans and decided to make pincushions out of them. Filled with sand, they are heavy enough to stay put, unlike those damn tomatoes that roll all over when stabbed. (the "tea" is made of recycled sweaters...) I'll be showing at the Big Brothers Big Sisters show November 5-7 at Plaza Palomino, and these babies will be available for your gift-giving pleasure!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Display ideas from Junkin' Julie and Repurpose on Purpose

A BIG post with lots of ideas from Julie Mckinney and Gail Ross.

These gals personalities are just as exuberant as their recycled jewelry and their well suited re-purposed displays! Idea after idea in here...couldn't even crop some of the photos. Julie and Gail say they love going to junkyards and finding materials with which to make their displays... it's as much fun as making the jewelry itself. Even their business cards are embellished with old bottle tops. I must say, their displays spoke to me, as I have some of the same components already stashed in my studio waiting for their day in the sun.
Vintage library cards are re-purposed as display cards for new brooches. (Pinned to a dress form near the entrance to the booth.)
A vent pipe is the perfect size for headbands. Simply hung from the canopy frame. These wires with hooks are sign hangers from a store display supply house. You could make your own, using ribbons or chains.

Anything with holes in it can hang earrings. The bird is a whimsical touch! Antlers are perfect for chains.
The scrabble tiles make wonderful signage! Those are old fashioned ice cube trays with beans in it to display little items. If your style is more modern, you could use plastic ice cube trays in a color that goes with your work! Muffin tins work well too. Notice the table covering is PLAIN. More pattern here would make a customer crazy!

Their displays suit their jewelry so well...and display quite a lot of it in a small space. Nothing spare or reserved about anything in here! I could NOT get a picture here without customers getting in the shot. They couldn't keep their hands off, which is a very good thing.

Look at all the different components that went into these two pieces. Lamps, colanders, wrought iron doo-dads, rubber stamp holders, faucet handles, lion and tigers and bears, oh my! Adding embellishments made out of the same material as your product is a Hot Tip. Here, they used old brooch pieces and bottle caps. You might add rhinestones, vintage neckties or the broken ceramic remains of a kiln accident!

I asked how they attach things. Julie says that E6000 glue is the re-purposer's best friend. I agree...I've used it to adhere glass stones to glassware (a slick to slick nightmare!) Julie also added that she uses plumbing pipe flanges to add the rakes to the colander. Buying the closest size pipe to the handle allows the top to be removed from the bases, making things much more transportable for shows. Another great thing about their displays: if they have lots of stock, they could load up the base of the rake stand with more earrings. Or keep it simple by showing less. All with the same piece looking fabulous, and taking up the same amount of table space.

I also saw a few S hooks and wire making the displays work. A bike rim suspended from the canopy is a great way to make use of vertical space and get pendants right at eye level.

These displays work so well for these products because the "junk" is not disguised in either place. You can plainly tell what is what. If your product is more subtle, you might want to consider unifying your displays as to material or color. Maybe painting everything the same color...or sticking with just rusty metal objects. Remember that you want your products to shine! In this booth, the displays are really a product extension, and make the tiny jewelry items larger to attract more attention.

Learning to view everyday objects as display components is a great skill to cultivate. So experiment! And have fun with it, like this ladies certainly do.

Got questions? Email Gail or Julie!