Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wire Wrapping, Part 2

As expected, I am still in the throws of wire-wrapping fever this week. I made two pairs of earrings using some of the techniques learned from my Craftsy class. The first pair (below) is made from these amazing Swarovski Briolette pendants and I set them using a simple wrap around the top of the bead. I'm not usually one for Swarovski crystals, but these beads make some truly lovely earrings.

The other pair of earrings (below) is directly based on one of the Craftsy class projects. The project covered everything from constructing the chandelier support structure to creating the ear wire. You know, sometimes it is really nice not to have to think too much about things and just follow instructions verbatim. Especially if you end up with pretty jewelry at the end.

With two more projects complete, I think my wire-wrapping fever has just about broken. I still have some ideas for projects I want to make, but I'm getting inspired to work on other things again. So expect to hear about fiber crafts again next week!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wire Wrapping

I have a tendency to be an obsessive crafter. I get really interested in one technique, buy some supplies, and churn out lots of projects in a short amount of time before moving onto the next technique. For example, at the beginning of 2012 I was in the middle of a sewing obsession and now I've moved onto wire wrapping. This latest obsession is fulled by my enrollment in Craftsy's wire-wrapping class, as discussed in my last post. While this behavior may not be the best for my crafting or my wallet, I see it is as acting while the inspiration is fresh!

My inspiration led me to the creation of 2 necklaces this week. The first (above) is a simple combination of a large silver key and a silver chain connected by some wire-wrapped glass beads. The necklace is simple but dramatic, with the 3 inch key balanced by a 30 inch chain length. I just love its oversized nature and I expect it will wear nicely with many outfits.

The second necklace was inspired by a design I've seen on Etsy several times: the wire-wrapped bird's nest. I found instructions for the design in this great tutorial and was fortunate that it required the same material as for my Craftsy class. It's the perfect reminder that it's finally springtime in Wisconsin.

With the two necklaces finished, I've got my eyes on some earring designs. Expect to hear about those very soon, as I've still in the throes of wire-wrapping fever!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Have you heard about Craftsy yet? It's a crafting website that offers video-based classes, craft-along workshops, and patterns for sale. I recently signed up for some Craftsy classes, 'The Starlet Suit Jacket' (screenshot below), 'Sewing Studio', and 'Wire-Wrapped Stones, Crystals, and Clusters', and thought it was worth sharing my initial impressions of the site with you.

First of all, let me say that I got all of my classes on sale through a Craftsy new-member special and by watching for sale announcements in the Craftsy and BurdaStyle.com mailing lists. Do some research before you buy, which includes watching some of the 2-minute lesson snippets to get a good feel for the class. If things don't work out for you, Craftsy has a money-back guarantee and, speaking from personal experience, very nice people staffing their help desk.

The Craftsy class platform itself (above) is really great and consists of the class videos, a discussion section, personal notes, and course materials. The class videos are divided into individual lessons, which are further divided into sections. This makes it easy to replay a particular demo and helps focus class discussion, as questions are associate with the section in which they are asked. You can also take notes and Craftsy will record the exact time in the lesson at which you made the note. It's pretty cool, especially because access to the content never goes away once you sign up for a class.

I'm already making use of the techniques I've learned in the wire-wrapping class by throwing together this little beaded bracelet. It's not much to write home about, but it's definitely a start! I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the videos for this class (and the others) and taking my crafting to a new level.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Professional

We’ve been making some big life decisions this month, culminating in my husband’s acceptance of a job over in Milwaukee. He’ll be starting sometime in the summer but I’ll be staying in Madison through the end of the calendar year finishing up most of my graduate coursework. It’s not ideal, but it’s one of the better outcomes for two people with too many degrees trying to find jobs on different schedules.

I’m not ready to look for jobs myself, but that hasn’t stopped me from starting to think about the process. One thing I’ve slowly been working on in this arena is to stop looking like a grad student. Part of this is involves phasing professional clothing into my wardrobe and another part encompasses learning how to do things with my hair that aren’t putting it into a ponytail. Pinterest has been very helpful in this regard, pointing me to these great hairstyling tutorials. The other fun hair resource I’ve come across is a neat book called Vintage Hairstyling.

I’m kind of in love with this book. Not only does it teach you the basics of curling hair using several different methods (pincurls, wet set, hot rollers, etc), but it then walks you through using those techniques to recreate hairstyles from the 20’s through the 60’s. The book covers everything from finger waves, to victory rolls, to beehives. For someone like me who never really learned how to curl and style hair, it’s a great resource and I’m having fun trying things out like the 1930’s hairstyle I’m wearing in the first photo.

Don't worry, I’m obviously doing more than just playing with my hair and wardrobe to get ready for the job hunt, but I didn’t think you would like to read a blog post on crafting a resume or cover letter. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry much about that stuff quite yet, as I have some time before I will be applying for jobs. Still, it’s exciting to plan now that we finally know where we will be living next!