Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Handmade Holidays: Making Jewelry

While tinkering with my embellishing project (click here to read more), I thought I would pass the time by talking about handmade jewelry as a great gift option for the holidays.  

I first started creating my own jewelry when I stumbled into a small bead boutique in my hometown.  I admit that I was like a kid in a candy shop, drawn to everything sparkly and pretty.  I was in college, and making my own jewelry was a fun and affordable way to create a unique look on a tight budget.  So I started with the basics: pendants for chokers and chains, and dangling earrings.  Years later, they are still my favorite.

Jewelry making is a great handmade hobby for a couple reasons.  First, because it does not require a lot of fancy equipment or training to get up and running.  A good pair of jewelry pliers (which you can find at any craft store), some stainless silver wire, and a handful of beads is about all you really need.  And a wire cutter (I still use nail clippers, which work like a charm).  Second, creating jewelry can be a very quick process--perfect for making gifts on the fly (like when you forget a coworker's birthday, for instance).  With a little bit of practice, whipping up a pendant or set of earrings can take just minutes.

And what about technique?  I learned mine in passing from the bead seller in the small boutique.  She showed me a few basics, what to buy, and I was happily on my way.  I'm sure that any dedicated bead staffer would do the same.  If not, jewelry classes are almost always easy to find and a great way to meet creative people and learn a new skill.

Of course, the talents of jewelry sellers on Etsy far surpass anything I can muster, so I'm thrilled to highlight a few pieces here.  And as with last week's oversize cowls, I'll be showcasing even more great jewelry finds for this week's Etsy mini mall, featured on the left.  Just click to visit the stores of these beautiful creations, and be inspired to buy or create your own.

Featured jewelry from top to bottom:

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