Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Heart Power Tools

I love power tools! Even before I started making jewelry, I liked power tools.

Enter my Dremel. I had asked for one a few years ago for Christmas and there it was, Christmas morning. A gift from my Mom. I'm sure she thought I was strange for wanting tools, but it wouldn't be the first strange thing I'd ever asked for.

This tool is awesome! With its various attachments, I can do a ton of different things. There are cutting blades which I used to remove the pin backs from broaches to make pendants. The tool also comes with smoothing bits that can smooth the cut metal.

I recently acquired a drill bit small enough to drill holes in things to make pendants as well. I drilled a hole in a cameo for a necklace. I also drilled holes in guitar picks for a pair of earrings.

Not to be outdone though, I still use my power drill for jewelry making. Two strands of wire can be twisted into a nifty spiral using my Black and Decker power drill.

When I started making jewelry I would have never considered that I would need a drill and a Dremel, but now that I have them, I can't imagine life without. The next power tool on my wish list? A soldering iron, maybe?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Beads and .... Rabbitfish?? What is a Rabbitfish, Anyway?

About five years ago, I was looking for a hobby. I had tried sewing and managed to botch that. Tried crochet and knitting and that didn't go well either. I had been working at Barnes and Noble at the time and during work, I'd end up in the craft section either looking for a book for a customer or shelving a book. I had seen all the books on jewelry making and beading, so one day, I decided to get one and see if I could actually make something. The book was for beginners, and the project I chose was fairly easy. I went to the craft store and bought a bunch of stuff and after a couple of failed attempts, made a very nice necklace.

My bead craze was born. I went nuts! I bought beads in all shapes and sizes colors and materials. I made so many necklaces and bracelets that I would never have a chance to wear. I bought magazines on beading and learned new stuff and gradually moved from simply stringing the stuff onto a string to using wire to make beaded links like a rosary. Then came earrings. Earrings were awesome because I could knock out a pair in about ten minutes. I made earrings for outfits on the fly.

All this bead madness eventually infected my friends and family. Christmas, birthdays, anytime I needed to give a gift, I'd end up making something. A couple of people at work asked me to make things for them. When I worked at a bank, we did a fundraiser for Breast Cancer. I made earrings and sold them for 5 bucks a pair with all the money going to the charity. I'd sell a bracelet here, earrings there usually to my friends (especially around Christmas) and always in the back of my mind I'd think I should do this as a business.

I had dabbled in selling my jewelry to perfect strangers. I listed some things on Ebay with minimal success. One particularly successful venture was a craft show at my daughter's elementary school. I made a little money and it was a good learning experience.

The beads and wire and stuff eventually started to crowd me and early this year, I purged about 95% of everything. I hadn't touched the jewelry stuff in about a year. Then a friend at work asked me to make a necklace to go with a pendant she had. I realized how much I had missed the jewelry stuff. Enter an ad at work for someone selling all of their jewelry making supplies. Beads, wire, tools. I couldn't resist. I brought home my loot and soon I was knee-deep in my love of all things sparkley and shiney. Again, the idea to make a business out of this tickled my brain.

This idea was still brewing in my head, rolling around while Bill and I rambled around London. Our first day, we went to the Natural History Museum and while walking through the marine exhibit, I saw a Rabbitfish. He was a strange looking critter, but something about it appealed to me. He (I call it "he" but for all I know, it could have been a girl). Also called a Chimeara it made me think of a fantastical creature. A quirky, eccentric combination of stuff. I also liked the name. It was catchy, memorable. I snapped a picture of him.

As if the gods of all things pretty were prodding me, in London, Bill and I went to a thrift store where I found a bag of broken jewelry "suitable for crafting purposes only." Said so right on the bag. Of course, I snagged it. I had always imagined making jewelry out of nifty things I'd found at yard sales or thrift stores. Old beads and pendants, earrings and bracelets would be given a new life.

And so, Rabbitfish Jewelry was born!

And with that, a blog. Here you can read about my adventures in beading as well as updates on new stuff in my shop.

click on the banner graphic to go to the store site

You can also follow Rabbitfish Jewelry on Facebook.