Sunday, May 10, 2015

Upcycled Vintage Rhinestone Earrings - From My Grandmother's Collection

Last week I went to say good-bye to my grandmother who passed away just three weeks shy of her 103rd birthday. The service was inspirational and was truly a celebration of her long and meaningful life.

Although it is impossible to completely capture the essence of her life, I feel compelled to at least note some of life highlights of my Grandmother - Creola May Starnes:

  • Born in Arkansas in 1912. 
  • Moved with her family to North Carolina in her early teens.
  • Married at age 15 to my Grandfather and raised five children - my mother being the oldest.
  • Spent countless hours volunteering and being active in her church.
  • Earned a business degree while in her forties - keep in mind this was in the 1950's when many women did not go to college much less consider getting a business degree.
  • Established the first church daycare center in the city of Kannapolis, NC because she saw a need for working mothers to have access to child care.
  • After raising their five children, she and my Grandfather moved to Winston Salem, NC and served several years as house-parents for adolescent parentless boys.
  • Retired and moved to Waxhaw, NC where she became an advocate for seniors and their caregivers.
  • Obtained certification in Gerontology from Livingstone College and served as President of the Union County NC Chapter of AARP.
  • Retired a second time at age 78 and became caregiver for my Grandfather who had developed Alzheimer's - she cared for him until his death in 1989.
  • After surviving her husband's death, she lived another 26 years until the age of 103.  Her legacy continues through her 16 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

I like to try to keep the memory alive of those who I have known and loved. I was fortunate enough to be given some of my Grandmother's old vintage jewelry. And I decided that I would like to repurpose some of these treasures so that I could wear and cherish them while continuing to honor her life for years to come.

This pair of vintage clip-on rhinestone earrings has lots of history and I could not bear thinking of these pretty pieces just sitting somewhere in a drawer. So I decided to convert them into a pair of post earrings that I could wear and enjoy and remember my Grandmother every time I wear them.  Here is what they originally looked like:

The first thing I had to do was to remove the screw-on clips. I did this by snipping them with a pair of wire cutters, then filed off the rough edges with a jewelry file. This is how they look with the backs snipped off and filed:

Next, I found a pair of post earrings to set the rhinestone dangles onto. I liked these pretty antique silver posts that I bought from

Then I used E-6000 glue to attach the dangles onto the posts.  I use E-6000 for any jewelry project requiring glue because it holds forever - and I do mean forever! The only tricky part was finding a way to hold the posts upright and flat in order to give time for the glue to set - it takes 24 hours for E-6000 glue to set.  So it is important to find a way to stabilize it while it sets. 

What I came up with was folding and taping a piece of bubble wrap, then sticking the posts down into the bubble wrap. Then I used a dab of glue (it only takes a dab) to adhere the rhinestone dangles onto the posts. To make sure there was good adherence I placed a piece of tape across the top of the earrings and let it set for 24 hours:

And after 24 hours, here is what they looked like:

I am quite pleased with the outcome and can't wait to wear them!  I just love the idea of wearing something that my Grandmother once wore.

I will not be selling this pair of earrings, but I have lots of other items for sale in my two Etsy shops:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rose Gold Jewelry - New Designs

Rose gold jewelry has become one of my new faves!  I only recently started using rose gold but I have to admit I have fallen in love with it. The color is a warm rich color with a copper tint to it. And, in fact, rose gold is about 22% copper.

This week I thought I would share some of my newest designs in rose gold.

This first design is a lanyard using a heavy weight rose gold chain. It has a nice substantial feel to it. I made it so it can be worn either as an eyeglass necklace, ID-Badge or key  holder, or both. Or just wear as a pretty necklace by removing the detachable ID clasp.

Rose Gold Lanyard with Detachable ID-Badge Holder

The clasp easily detaches from the round loop - use the loop to use as an eyeglass necklace!

Four Ways to Wear It!

This next design uses a lighter weight more delicate rose gold cable chain. I custom made this for a customer, and will be replicating this design and offering it soon in my EyeglassChainsEtc. Etsy shop.
Custom Lightweight Rose Gold Lanyard

These earrings have the same light weight rose gold chain along with Swarovski crystal pearls in a color called what else - Rose Gold! You can find these in my DJAjewels Etsy shop.
Rose Gold Pearl Earrings

Till next time!

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tutorial: How to Make Spiral Bead Caps

This week I have a nice little tutorial on how to make your own spiral bead caps. This post is part of my "Test This Tutorial" series in which I find a tutorial on Pinterest and try it out for myself.

I found this tutorial at In Lisa's tutorial, she shows how she makes these bead caps, and she references a tutorial from written by Rena Klingenberg. I urge you to check out both of these sites as each one puts a slightly different twist on the tutorial. I think it's always good to see how different people approach a project design because we all find our own little unique ways of doing things.

To make these DIY bead caps you will need the following items:

  • Wire - I used 20 gauge silver tone Zebra wire
  • Beads - either 8mm or 10mm - I used an 8mm round glass bead
  • Wire cutters
  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Jewelry file
  • A round or dome shaped object for forming the dome of your bead cap - I used a small dapping punch - but I found the end of a pen also works quite well

Cut a 2 1/2 inch piece of wire. I actually make these in pairs, so I go ahead and cut two pieces of wire.

File the ends of each piece of wire using the jewelry file. This makes the ends nice and smooth so they will not catch on clothing or skin.

Now use your round nose pliers to begin a simple loop at one end of the wire.

Next use your flat nose pliers to grasp the loop and begin making your coil.  Use your fingers to shape the wire into a spiral.

Now here I did something not mentioned in Lisa's and Rena's tutorials. I found I had a little piece of wire sticking out from the coil - see it in the last picture above?  I used my round nose pliers to "tuck" it in just beside the last coil.

Much better!

Now it is time to dome your bead cap so that it fits nicely over a round bead. In Rena's tutorial, she places the spiral through the end of her round nose pliers and pushes the edges down to make the dome. Lisa used a different technique - she used a steel doming block to form the dome.

I took Lisa's suggestion and used a dapping punch to form the dome. I simply placed the bead cap over the top of the dome and pushed downward - and it worked great. 

Now because I know everybody doesn't have dapping punches, I also tried it using the tip of a medium sized pen - and it really worked quite well. You can really use your imagination and use whatever is handy in your home.

And finally, here are my bead caps!

And here is what they look like on a bead:

These were so much fun to make, I made a whole bunch of them. This time I used silver plated craft wire - and they look beautiful!

Now I can't wait to use them in some pretty jewelry designs!

I hope you will try making some of these bead caps yourself. If you do, I would love to see them!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Test This Tutorial: Wire-Wrapped Heart Necklace

This week I am starting a new series of posts called "Test This Tutorial." For each post I will find a DIY tutorial on Pinterest and test it out. I will describe and photograph my DIY attempts as I follow the tutorial. And hopefully I will be able to replicate the item - with my own twist of course.

I will naturally link back to the original source of each tutorial, giving credit to the original author.

With Valentine's Day approaching, I chose this Wire-Wrapped Heart Necklace Tutorial. Find the Pinterest pin here or go to my Jewelry Tutorial Board. The original tutorial can be found at Happy Hour Projects.  This site has some nice jewelry and craft tutorials as well as some great recipes.

Here's a screenshot from my computer of the post from Happy Hour Projects. The screenshot shows what the necklace should look like and also shows a picture of Adrianne - the artist and designer who authors Happy Hour Projects.

What I like about this tutorial is that is simple with good photographs to follow along the way. You will need to have some basic wire-wrapping skills - specifically wire-wrapping a simple wire loop.

I will not be showing you the details on how to make this pendant. Be sure to visit Happy Hour Projects' original post for detailed instructions and photos.

For this project you need:

  • 18 gauge wire - about 5 inches
  • One 10mm bead
  • Round nose and flat nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Optional 6mm jump ring
I'll start by showing you my finished pendant:

Not perfect, but not too bad. But let me also share some of my first attempts. Now Adrianne at Happy Hour Projects used silver plated copper wire for her project. But I started out using some black gunmetal wire because it is inexpensive, and I knew (correctly so) that I would likely have to start over a few times.

Here's my first attempt - I have no idea how I mangled the wire so badly!

Here's my second attempt - barely better than my first!

Three's the charm - well almost. I got the shape right but marred the wire with my pliers.

Finally I gave up on the gunmetal wire. It is really quite stiff and not very malleable. I found some 18 gauge brown parawire - it really looks like antique copper and is a great deal easier to manipulate than the gunmetal.

Of course you can use any type of wire - Adrianne used silver plated copper wire in her original tutorial at Happy Hour Projects.

Here is my final attempt using the brown parawire  and a 10mm red glass bead:

I chose not to use a jump ring for attaching the pendant to the chain as was in the original tutorial. I simply slid one side of the heart onto the chain.

I think I will likely have to make a few more of these pendants before I make them as perfectly as found at Happy Hour Projects. Still, all in all I am pleased with my pendant.

Till next time!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Design Your Own Caged Pearl Earrings

 This week I have made a new listing in my Etsy shop where you design your own caged pearl earrings.  That's right - you design them! In your choice of pearl colors and wire wrapping.

These earrings are so pretty - and they are such fun to make! If you are a DIY person, you can read my previous tutorial on how to make them yourself here.

For these pearl beauties, I use genuine Swarovski crystal pearls in a variety of colors. You choose both the pearl color and the wire-wrapping. Choose sterling silver, silver filled, 14K gold fill, 14K rose gold fill, bronze, or gunmetal wire wrapping.

These earrings are perfect for brides and bridesmaids, but they are simple and classic enough for everyday wear as well.

As always, thanks for visiting!


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sun Catchers and Sun Prisms - A Bit Of Winter Therapy!

My family and I made a wonderful trip to Key West over the Holidays, and we had a marvelous time. The temperatures were in the high 70's and 80's - balmy and absolutely perfect!  It was so awesome to get away in the middle of winter to a little bit of what I would call paradise. In fact, I'm ready to go back!

Here's a few shots of us living the good life in sunny Key West:

Hubby & me enjoying a Mimosa on the covered porch of our condo.
Here we are getting ready to enjoy lunch at the Southern Most Cafe.

I just had to take a shot of this charming shop decorated for Christmas.
It sure didn't feel like Christmas though!

We spent four great days there. And then we came back home to reality.  We got on the plane to come home from Florida wearing shorts and flip flops on a balmy 85 degree day. We exited the plane in Charlotte to 40 degree rainy and cold weather.

And then it got worse - the temperatures have dropped to the 20's and 30's. I know I shouldn't complain - here in South Carolina our winters are mild compared to the northern states. But nonetheless, I am ready for spring!

So now that we are firmly in the grasp of winter, I have been searching for a way to connect back to the sun again. And I did what I often do - retreat to my jewelry and beading room. And in my quest for the sun, I made sun catchers. And then I kept making sun catchers. I started out just planning to make one. But one just wasn't enough - I kept going.  After all, maybe sun catchers are therapeutic - watching the sun reflect and dance through them is actually uplifting. And so I thought I would share the results of my sun catching therapy here with you:

"Jewels in Flight" Sun Catcher
Large round disc crystal prism, crystal beaded chain with hummingbird

Celestial Moon & Stars SunCatcher
Large baroque prism with moon & stars etchings

Close-up view of Celestial Moon & Stars Sun Catcher

"Queen of the Sun" Large Crystal Sun Prism.
Large crystal disc and beaded chain

Multi-Color Deco Sun Catcher.
Large crystal ball suspended on multi-color jeweled chain

Full View of Multi-Color Deco Sun Catcher
And I made a few rear view mirror sun catcher charms too:

Swarovski Crystal Heart Rear View Mirror Sun Catcher Charm.
Interchangeable heart charms
I made the crystal heart charms a couple of weeks ago - you can find a tutorial on how to make these in my earlier post DIY Tutorial Wire-Wrapped Heart Pendant.

So now you know how I created a little bit of sunshine for myself!

To see all of my sun catchers be sure to visit me on Etsy at!  You can find all of these designs and more here in my Sun Catchers section.

Till next time!