Squirrel Picnic

Handmade with Love and Stuff


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Charm Exchange Part 3: Coming Together

Our group of fabulous jewelry-making artists met at Axios Estiatorio in Denver on a rainy October Sunday to exchange charms and enjoy some really fantastic Greek food.

Annie started us off by showing the eye and heart charms she made for Sylvie’s “Eye Adore You” necklace. Using mixed media that includes beaded embroidery, felt, hand-stitching, and some very unique statement beads, Annie’s charms are truly eye-catching (excuse the pun).

Sylvie's Necklace October

Sylvie’s charms for my Coral Reef bracelet included a mermaid and a jellyfish. A tiny model mermaid rests inside one of Sylvie’s signature “deviled eggs” – miniature dioramas that are truly delightful! The jellyfish was made with long plumes of yarn in a variety of colors and textures that really capture the look of tentacles.

Jennifer's Bracelet October

For Annie’s Birds & Flowers necklace, I crocheted two small birds based on a pattern I found at Attic 24. Using DMC floss and a size 10 steel hook, I crocheted three rounds, then added a tail before fastening off. After folding the bird in half with the tail at the back, I sewed up the bottom. Then I added a crocheted beak and stitched on the eyes and wings. The large flowers at the bottom are made from felt buttons (the same ones I use in Podge’s hair).

Annie's Necklace October

Alexandra explained that she experimented with new tools to work with fimo on her charms for Rosalind’s Garden of Earthly Delights bracelet, adding that she loves using the tiny ballpoints on the tool to make the pieces stick. She was surprised at how the rose head didn’t cause too much trouble — she made the head, stuck on the hair, and added petals around where needed.

Rosalind's Bracelet October

Our charm bracelets and necklaces are really starting to come together. Don’t they all look great! Join me next month to see how I go about crocheting a kokeshi doll for Alexandra’s bracelet. It should be a lot of fun!

Check out previous posts in this series:

Part 1: Make Jewelry, Make Friends

Part 2: Working on a Small Scale Poses a Big Challenge


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Charm Exchange Part 2: Working on a Small Scale Poses a Big Challenge

On a bright Sunday morning, Sylvie, Annie, and I gathered at Erikia’s house for the August Charm Exchange. I couldn’t wait to see what everyone had brought, and our little group delivered handsomely with both well-crafted and gorgeous charms and a delicious potluck brunch. There were breakfast sandwiches and pastries from local shops, a yogurt parfait bar, a homemade raspberry gelatin, fresh fruit, a cheese and bread plate, and mimosas!

With our plates loaded, we headed to Erikia’s enchanting backyard where she had a table set up for us under her brand-new canopy. She’s very excited about using the new canopy at her booth in the upcoming Salida Fiber Festival, where she will be selling her vintage tin stitch markers. She’s done an amazing job preparing for the festival, punching out the markers from antique tins and then professionally finishing and stamping them. She used similar techniques to create her charms for Annie’s Birds & Flowers necklace. The red flower is made of copper, which she shaped into a curve before enameling it with powders and a torch to give it its vibrant color.

Annie's Necklace August 2014

I crocheted my charms for Erikia’s In the Dark necklace using No. 10 crochet thread and a size 11 steel crochet hook. Working in this small scale presented a huge challenge for me. It took me several tries to get it right. For my first attempt, I crocheted the spider from the book Itty Bitty Crocheted Critters, but I didn’t really take the legs into account when I was working on the body. Although the body was only about an inch long, the legs made the whole thing over three inches! Then I tried just crocheting small balls to see what I could come up with. Stuffing these balls with Fiberfill revealed that I would need something sturdier inside to preserve their shape. I finally found some bronze-colored Bakelite beads in my stash that I thought would be a good fit both in size and color for Erikia’s necklace. I crocheted around the first bead and fastened off before it was completely covered, allowing the bead to show through. For the other bead, I ended up enclosing it completely and then sewing on small black and green beads to give it a spiky texture.

Erikia's Necklace August 2014

Rosalind used polymer clay to sculpt a mermaid charm and a squid charm for my Coral Reef bracelet. In the squid, she also added oxidized sterling silver chain and some gemstones. Even though she also found that working in this scale has its difficulties, I’m so impressed by all the detail she has managed to include in these charms. Keep in mind that they are under an inch long!

Jennifer's Coral Reef Bracelet August 2014

Sylvie created a tiny diorama inside a mini pocket watch for one of her charms for Rosalind’s Garden of Earthly Delights bracelet. It features a teeny baby with Monarch butterfly wings amid the moss of a forest floor. For her second charm, she brought new life to a piece of broken jewelry with the addition of colorful vintage floral beads.

Rosalind's Bracelet August 2014

Rosalind and I weren’t alone in our struggle with scale. Annie agrees that making charms this tiny poses a challenge, but I think she succeeded handily with her felt and bead charms for Alexandra’s Kokeshi Doll bracelet. All of the stitching is painstakingly done by hand, and as always, Annie’s eye for color shines through.

Alexandra's Bracelet August 2014

Alexandra sculpted her charms for Sylvie’s Eye Adore You necklace in fimo. Most of her experience is with sculpting people or animals, so working with this subject matter was a challenge for her. It forced her to think outside the box, but it also left her inspired to start on the next set of charms right away!

Sylvie's Necklace August 2014

These ladies have inspired me too. I can’t wait to get started on my charms for Annie’s Birds & Flowers necklace. We’ll be meeting again in October, and until then I think I will try working with lighter thread and a smaller hook to see what I can come up with. I might need to invest in a magnifying glass.

Check out previous posts in this series:

Make Jewelry, Make Friends