Friday, February 15, 2019

We're All Ears Challenge:: February :: Frozen


Kayaking in Blackwater Sound
Kayaking in Blackwater Sound

There are two things that I like to do in the mornings especially in February. I like to watch the local Miami weather station and Al Roker's weather forecast on the NBC Today Show. Why? I live outside Miami in the Keys in the Winter. We have to be concerned about wind events like tornados in the winter. I watch the NBC Today Show weather out of a long addiction to it and because I have friends and relatives all over the place. I like to see what the weather is in their areas especially during storms. Another reason to know a lot about the weather when you are in Florida in February is that this is a peak time for visitors from the cold and snowy spots like Canada, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Maine and the list of goes on. Weather is a common topic that unites conversations everywhere. It is a little embarrassing to be from a middle Atlantic state. Delaware has had a cold and wet month, but there is no comparison to some of the other places in the country.


Boating in good weather in the Florida Keys
Boating in good weather in the Florida Keys
From my vantage point in Florida, I do enjoy looking at snow, frost, and ice in a digital format only. February's We're All Ears Challenge is devoted to nature's icy beauty by creating FROZEN earrings!

Frost Photo by Shaun Holloway on Unsplash
Frost Photo by Shaun Holloway on Unsplash

Most of us are familiar with the first frost of the season. For many it is in end of allergy season, time to get warm clothes out of storage. The earrings feature natural kyanite rondels in a wonderful multi blue green shade which reminds me of frost. I surrounded the gemstones with arabesque shaped sterling silver frames which hang from sterling silver ear wires. The sterling silver mimics the sparkle in the frost. These make classic earrings for everyday wear.  They are available for purchase HERE.

Kyanite Earrings by BayMoonDesign
Kyanite Earrings by BayMoonDesign
Glacier National Park, Jackson Glacier
Glacier National Park, Jackson Glacier photo by K.Lindemer
Glacier's are snowy and icy spots that many of us haven't seen or if climate change continues the way we are headed, we won't see too many of them in the future. For example, based on current trends, glacier recession models predict that by 2030, Glacier National Park will be without active glaciers (i.e. those large enough to be moving).

Glacier Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash
Glacier Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash
I choose to focus my next pair of earrings on something more positive. This photo is what I imagine I will find when I go to Alaska. I hope to get this trip off the ground in the next few years. I want to see glaciers there. In my mind, the glaciers will be a beautiful blue and clean white. I decided some turquoise and freshwater pearls captured the colors of this glacier and created this pair of earrings.

Turquoise and White Freshwater Pearl Earrings by BayMoonDesign
Turquoise and White Freshwater Pearl Earrings by BayMoonDesign
Turquoise and freshwater white coin pearls are combined with sterling silver and attached to sterling ear wires. This pair of turquoise and freshwater coin pearl dangles are one of a kind.  On an earlier trip to the southwest, I noticed white pearl and combined with turquoise in all shapes and sizes. I fell in love with the combination and picked up the high quality turquoise that I used in these earrings there.   I always have nice pearls on hand!
Glacier Photo by Eric Welch on Unsplash
Glacier Photo by Eric Welch on Unsplash

Stay warm + be safe!
Now hop on over to this month's post to see what others created. 

Comments are welcome!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Making Leather Bracelets with Magnetic Lock Clasps


I have used leather in my jewelry before but there are so many projects and kinds of leather to consider when you want to utilize or expand your leather crafting skills. In a previous blog I discussed the challenge of picking out the leather and color as well as showed how I have added leather to my collection of handmade earrings. As with leather earrings, I have challenged myself to learn some new ways to incorporate leather into my bracelets.

Maroon Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign
Maroon Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign

I made this leather bracelet last year. This bracelet has maroon leather with an orange boho style, brass rectangle in the center that I made. The rectangle is natural brass which I applied patina and sealant to. The soft maroon leather provides a color contrast with the orange rectangle. I used micro screws and nuts to attach the metal to the leather. The leather I used is 3 mm wide, approximately 1 mm thick. It has a simple snap closure.

Trio of leather bracelets by BayMoonDesign
Trio of leather bracelets by BayMoonDesign

This is a fun trio of leather cord bracelets in orange, yellow and black with very cute bee and beehive beads. Ceramic bee charms, artisan enameled floral bead, and lamp work beehive beads make this a piece of art jewelry with a story to tell.

Making bracelets can be a challenge to begin with. There is the necessity to size the bracelet correctly which can range from easy to maddening. Personally, I love to have any quick easy design that allows for flexibility in length. I found a few styles of leather bracelets that are quick to make and size easily. I recently obtained some leather samples from Sun Enterprise so I decided this was a perfect time to create some leather bracelets in another kind of design.  This time I am designing leather bracelets with magnetic clasps.  I have never worked with them before.


Sun Enterprises is a leading manufacturer and supplier of leather, locks, silk, and jewelry components. They are based in The Netherlands, ship goods across 55 countries, and work extensively with jewelry designers, artisans, jewelry makers, goldsmiths , wholesalers and hobby stores. I was amazed by their huge collection of leathers and locks. I revisited their online catalog for ideas and to look at their hardware.


 Leathers and an assortment of sliders

                                                      Leathers and an assortment of sliders


I gathered my supplies together before beginning:
sliders
leathers
magnetic clasps

Super Glue 

Super Glue is the key to attaching the magnetic clasps that I used with the leather. I was dubious that the glue would be strong enough to satisfy me. I tend to over build my jewelry because I don't want a customer to ever tell me something I made fell apart! These magnetic clasps add lots of style to the bracelets as well as being very secure and easy to attach with Super Glue.



Triple Wrap Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign
Triple Wrap Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign

For my first bracelet, I made a triple wrap bracelet by combining a rose gold slider in the shape of a heart with mint green Italian 10 mm. flat Italian leather. The color of this green leather just makes me happy! I used rose gold magnetic clasp MGL-271 for 10x2.5 mm leather from Sun Enterprise. The key to understanding how to select a clasp that matches onto the end of the leather is to use the width of the leather as your starting point. It sounds easy enough, but I struggled. I would be much more comfortable selecting clasps if I could physically fit them together which is not an option on the Internet.


punch for leather and decorations for leather
                                                                                     

For my next bracelet, I wanted to add to the basic design. To do that, I need my leather punching tool, a couple of micro screw sets, and large sterling silver bead caps.
front of bracelet with metal flower and a punch for leather
front of bracelet
I centered the floral slider on the leather and then punched a hole to the left and right of the flower. I attached the micro screws to the sterling bead caps and nuts.  After tightening the nuts I cut off the excess length of screws.  I hammered the nuts in place to secure them.
back of bracelet with nuts and screws
back side 
This bracelet called for a silver magnetic clasp just like the one used in the previous bracelet.  It paired with 10x2.5 mm leather once again.  The only difference is the metal color.  
Red Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign
Red Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign

I think you can agree that this triple wrap red leather bracelet with the floral design and color of this leather can add lots of personal style to your favorite outfits. 



owl bracelet by BayMoonDesign
owl bracelet by BayMoonDesign
For my next bracelet, I designed a single strand leather bracelet. Once again I used 10 mm. flat Italian leather.  This leather reminded me of tree bark. I love owls so I couldn't resist an owl slider that seemed a natural fit with the leather. Once again, I used a silver magnetic clasp, but the difference is that it is sized for 10x2.3 mm leather. The leather is thinner so the clasp needs to designed for a thinner leather.

To put my spin on the bracelet I glued metal spacers to two beads that I had in my stash and then glued the beads to the leather. As long as I had Super Glue out I thought I would put it to use. It worked great and I love the fun look it adds.


For a single simple leather bracelet with leather, a magnetic lock and a bead, it takes no longer than 10 - 15 minutes. Obviously, it takes longer to make more complex designs.

photo of an owl


I love that there is no limit to creativity with leather.  Comments are welcome!