The other day, I was joking with Dan that he should feel free to buy me jewelry or flowers, since Valentine's Day is coming up. He replied that he is permanently off the hook as far as buying jewelry goes, since I now make my own. And he's absolutely right. I would rather he get me jewelry making supplies, so I can wear something I made myself, and I'd rather get flower bulbs or seeds over cut blossoms any day.
I got into jewelry making some time ago as a way to use the beautiful feathers produced by our peacocks. I found it fun and enjoyable, and have since expanded into beaded things as well. It's a great way to pass dreary winter days, and I set up an online store to feature these items (and as a source of off-season income).
I was grateful Dan gave me some space in our new blacksmith shop building so I could set up another crafty hobby, stained glass. The only downside is that it's an unheated outbuilding, so I can't do quite as much of it on cold winter days as I might like. But it's been another fun hobby, and I'm excited about the things I'm able to create. I've always loved art projects (I even got a minor in Studio Arts in college) and I'm very blessed to be able to spend my time having fun like this!
I really enjoy making small stained glass jewelry boxes, like this one!
Over Christmas, I got a book that showed how to combine glass art and jewelry making, which I hadn't thought of before. The book used clip art, photos & vintage-looking ephemera. I didn't have any of that handy, but one thing a farmer has in spades is seed catalogs. I came up with the idea to use photos of herbs, flowers & veggies sandwiched between scraps of stained glass. These have turned out to be so cool! For me, the hardest part is not keeping them all! My favorite right now is a necklace I made that features chives in bloom, and I have another with a lovely photo of a pink rose. But I've also made creations with flowers, Swiss Chard, hot peppers and more...I think they would be such cool gifts for gardeners or folks who love local food!
Scrap stained glass & old seed catalog photos...in this case, lettuce! Isn't it pretty?
As I was tearing up old seed catalogs, I found one in particular that had some beautiful full page reprints of covers from years ago. I liked how the jewelry turned out, so I thought about what I could do with these full or half pages. While sandwiching them between sheets of glass would be cool, I don't have a big assortment of stained glass both big enough & translucent enough. But...what I do have lots of are old farmhouse windows. So, in a fun recycling project, I've been carefully removing panes of glass from their wooden frames. Then comes the hardest part- cleaning them up! I have been leaving any streaks of old paint though, I think it really adds some vintage charm to the panels. Then I take the picture I like and mount it on some scrapbooking paper, sometimes using fancy scissors to make a decorative edge. Then I solder the panes together and add hardware to attach a chain or ribbon and suddenly, I have something beautiful made almost entirely out of what most people would throw out.
I'm really enjoying letting my creativity shine during some of winter's gloomy days. Making beautiful things really helps me to beat those winter blues, and I can do it while basking in the woodstove's heat, unlike a lot of other farm projects!
If you like the looks of these, please check out the other creations I have at www.etsy.com/shop/pleasantvalleyfarmpa/ I ship nationwide, so you just might find the perfect, handmade something to treat yourself or a loved one!