Japanese Lanterns for the Holidays

This year I made two small lanterns to give for Christmas. The idea to make these stayed in my head for four years! I finally decided that 2012 would be the year I would attempt to construct these lanterns.

I started with four match boxes that were the inspiration for the lanterns. Four years ago I thought that these match boxes were so awesome that I didn’t want to throw them out. Then the idea to make them into decorations came into mind. When I rough sketched what I wanted the final pieces to look like I decided that it would be neat to make them into functional lanterns, not just decorative pieces.

A little jewelry making skills, templates, measuring, lot’s of wood glue, and a lot of caramel popcorn and my mini Japanese lanterns were born! I used battery operated candles to keep them lit. I had two pieces that were pendants and I used those to add weight and interest to the bottom of the lanterns. These were so much fun to make and I was happy to try something new outside of jewelry making. I intend to make more of these to sell on Etsy and my a new e-commerce site that I am selling my jewelry on, goodsmiths. Thanks for reading!

100_3073 100_3089 100_3094
100_3105  100_3110  100_3108
 100_3109  100_3111  100_3112

The Beaded Box, Revised

My sister’s special beaded jar.

I was stumped when I began to contemplate what to make my sister this year for her birthday. She has a whole collection of jewelry made by me. Some she wears, others she keeps as mementos (the not-so-refined beginner pieces). I didn’t want to make her yet another pair of earrings, a bracelet, or a necklace.

In my October 2012 issue of Bead & Button magazine, I saw a wonderful, little beaded box (or jar) designed by Heidi Kummli called the Dream Box. I read the article and looked at the instructions and thought hmm, that’s really neat. I continued to flip through my magazine voraciously, like I usually do, and then I had an epiphany. Something like this would be great for a birthday gift.

And so began the tedious tasks of finding materials, special beads, and an ideal jar.

To my bewilderment, everything came together. Heidi used tan leather and ultrasuede. I found black leather and used something similar to ultrasuede to attach my beadwork to (I wasn’t familiar with ultrasuede and didn’t find anything called ultrasuede in local shops).

I don’t make projects out of bead magazine instructions, but I buy bead magazines like some people collect baseball cards. They serve as inspiration for me and often have great articles on how to run a jewelry business and how to stand out in the market. But this time, I was grateful for the inspiration, along with how-to’s. I still created my sister’s Dream Box a little differently, using different methods of bead weaving then the directions called for. I created my own patterns and designs as well as color schemes.

My sister has had a growing interest in St. Francis and doves. I tried to incorporate a turquoise bead of a bird that closely resembles a dove. (I really can’t wait until I can make my own beads!) The dove sits on top of a flower button made from horn. The boxes feet are faceted blue goldstones.

The piece came out wonderful and she was thrilled when she opened her gift. I still threw in a couple of earrings!