Archive for April, 2012

Great Spokane Art Party 2012

Monday, April 30th, 2012
artparty-beads

Oh so many interesting beads to choose from!

Truly a FUNdraiser, the Great Spokane Art Party is an annual event that gives adults the chance to socialize and be creative while supporting the Community Building Children’s Center and Blueprints for Learning program. Rings & Things donated supplies, training for volunteers plus a few staff volunteers to help make the night a success.

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Claudia getting ready for the chaos!

We had five tables where attendees dug through big dishes of beads to make their own unique earrings. We’ve been doing this for a few years and have learned some important lessons along the way. For example, bringing natural light task lamps for each table helped a ton – otherwise, come morning there would have been some unpleasant color combos! Also, after one event where attendees seemed to glue more beads to themselves than to their bracelets, we stuck (haha) to a glue-free project!

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Fun-for-all jewelry fest!

I wish I would have gotten some pictures of the actual earrings people made – I was so impressed with their creativity! But at that point I had three pairs of pliers in my hands and not a second to spare.

Thanks to everyone who supported the party, either as an attendee or a volunteer! While we were busy making jewelry, other organizations and artists were helping people create everything from printed silk scarves to clay mosaic tiles to handmade paper. What a blast! Check out our Spokane Showroom Facebook page for more photos. We’ll post details about other community events there too.

~ Cindy

Glass Bezels: Clearly show off your treasures!

Friday, April 27th, 2012

I filled this glass bezel with sand, a sterling silver starfish, and a seashell trade bead. It's a little ocean microcosm.

Glass bezels are great! You can make your own by using a bottle cutting tool from Delphi.  This tool is also pretty handy to convert old wine bottles and beer bottles into drinking glasses and votive holders.  Check out this video from Six in the Suburbs Blog to see how easy it is to cut glass bottles. However, if you aren’t quite ready to go down the path of cutting glass, we have a solution for you here at Rings & ThingsGlass Bezels already made and ready to fill with all of your wonders!

The possibilities with these glass bezels are really endless. Because they are clear,  you can use them as a frame with metal back or you can fill them with resin so that you can completely see through them.  We have come up with several designs using them and I just love how they all turned out!

Glass Bezels used frames. Mollie made one with cute little heart locket and the other with Lady of Guadalupe.

This bezel was an experiment with UV Resin, not sure what it will end up becoming yet.

Mollie made this necklace by using a glass bezel as a frame to a little bumble bee charm. She will be posting a blog entry soon on how to make this exact necklace!

A glass bezel used for a "blingy" ring on the left. The two bezels in the back Lindsey made using vintage images. The one on the right, Cindy used a torn piece of text from a novel to convey a message.

My completed "Under the Sea" glass bezel with a glue-on bail and silk ribbon

 

I also planned on making one with a real ant corpse, but started I crying when I tried to freeze the ant to cast in resin, and ended up releasing the ant into the grass to play in the sunshine.  If I ever find an insect that has died of natural causes I may have to make a new pendant with an bug preserved in resin.  Well, I hope I have inspired you to have fun with this new medium.  ~~Tiffany

Vintaj BigKick by Sizzix

Monday, April 16th, 2012
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Our precious...

Do you ever feel possessive of your favorite belongings? I moved our jewelry team’s Vintaj BigKick closer to the windows  - a distance of maybe 15 feet – to get pictures  and no fewer than three people stopped me!

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Mollie made this sweet necklace during a demo in our Spokane showroom.

“What are you doing?!?”

“Where are you going with that?!?!”

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Kickin' it Vintaj style!

Really guys, the BigKick belongs to *all* of us – but I understand wanting to keep tabs on it: it is a super fun tool! Despite the name, the BigKick is actually a very small rolling mill. It is designed specifically to texture Vintaj Natural Brass blanks with their DecoEmboss folders and DecoEtch design plates.

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Birds, trees, leaves, keys, clocks - embossing/etching folders are available in a ton of cute designs.

Simply choose a blank, lay it on the design, sandwich it between the plexi-glass plates and run it through the BigKick. The metal comes out with a reversible design, and since Vintaj brass has a natural patina, just few swipes with the metal reliefing block to polish the high points really brings out the details. (We’ve linked Vintaj’s YouTube demo videos right from the product listings in our online store if you’d like to see it in action!)

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Simply turn the handle - it really is that easy to add beautiful texture to your jewelry!

We recommend using only Vintaj Natural Brass blanks with the BigKick machine as they are the right gauge and softness. Don’t use Vintaj Arte Metal pieces, as they are made of iron, which is not a soft metal and might damage the machine. [UPDATE: Vintaj has redesigned their Arte Metal pieces...the new thinner gauge is now compatible with the BigKick! However, as of 4/16/12, Rings & Things' stock of Arte Metal is the older, thicker kind that should *not* be BigKicked :) ]

One roll and you’ll be in love…

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The Vintaj art heart blanks are sold in pairs - perfect for earrings!

If you’re buying a BigKick, you need three other things:

Embossing folders or etching plates

Flat Vintaj brass shapes/blanks

Metal reliefing block (sand paper or steel wool also work, but are not as easy to use)

And that’s it – instant gratification! Have fun kicking your style up a notch! ~ Cindy

Bling Bombing

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Hi bloglandia! Have you heard of yarn bombing? I highly recommend you do a quick image search if you haven’t! It is basically guerilla crafting – making public spaces more beautiful with knit and crochet creativeness. While I love the concept, I’m not very talented with fiber arts. But today, the stars converged in a way (or maybe I’ve just been in a cubicle too long…)

Nate's Wolverine action figure (NOT a doll) needed a little sprucing up.

One, it is Friday and I’m feeling punchy. Two, it is Mandi’s birthday (you might know her from our showroom or traveling bead shows – happy birthday Mandi!) so there is lots of sugar and cake coursing through our systems and Three, I have all these snippets of rhinestone chain leftover from Monday. What does it all add up to? My new sport – bling bombing!!

The rules are really simple: embellish objects with bits of bling in a totally removable and non-damaging way (ie: wire wrapping, not super gluing).  I started with public spaces but then it got personal:

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Why shouldn't the meeting room calendar have a bit of sparkle?

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The time-clock computer really looked blah before.

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Justin really didn't like my suggestion of adding rhinestone chain to his glasses. I think it actually made him ill, which conveniently left his belongings unsupervised today. Won't he be excited on Monday?

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Fortunately, Bill from the sales dept. can't get enough bling. Doesn't he look snazzy?

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There was no way Joe, our purchasing manager, would let me dress up his glasses, so I decorated the handle of his truck instead. Of course, now I have to worry about revenge: he went to lunch, the chain is now gone...but he has not said a word. Cue the horror movie music.

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I think my favorite, though, was dressing up Melissa's bike. Indoor bike parking is one of the perks of working in the Rings & Things warehouse.

I hope to have inspired someone – somewhere – to create some sparkly mischief.  The world can always use a bit more bling. Have a great weekend everyone! ~ Cindy

spring bling

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Hi bloglandia! Today we had a make n’ take event in our Spokane showroom. I taught customers how to make wire-lashed bling pendants using rhinestone chain and 24-gauge Artistic Wire. Very fun! You get a lot of sparkle in a very short amount of time.

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Rhinestone chain wrapped onto hoops with turquoise wire.

A common complaint we get is that our showroom is just too far away for most of our customers, who happen to live all over the world. Sadly, we can’t transport our showroom to y’all, but I thought I would let you know that the techniques we used today are available here on this blog and in our design gallery. Plus I wanted to show off the insanely sparkly earrings I made while teaching. Happy Monday! Hope you find time to do something creative!  ~ Cindy