Be authentic. Be original. Be yourself.
Have you been inspired by anything or anyone? Something or someone that really makes you think about what you want to do and how you want to do it and why you are doing it at all? Well, I was inspired by someone and this metal stamped bracelet was the result of a lot of pondering and scratching my head about what I wanted to be.
Metal Stamped Bracelet Materials:
- about 30″ of 1.5 mm leather
- 26 gauge wire
- 4 -10 mm heavy jump rings (These are by Nunn Design)
- Lobster clasp and jump ring
- wire cutters, pliers and scissors
- 3 1- 1/2″ x 5/16″ metal stamping blanks by Impress Art
- 2 hole punch by Impress Art
- Metal stamping set and hammer
- Gilders paste (to darken the letters)
- Q-tips and paper towels
1. Stamp the pendants
- Pick your words (which is probably the hardest part!) and start stamping.
- If you haven’t stamped before here’s a link a post Metal Stamping Tips and Tricks that talks about how to stamp, metal stamping alignment tips and ways to make stamping easier.
2. Drill the holes
- Using the 3/32″ side of the Impress Art 2 hole punch, drill holes into the end of the pendant without the pre-punched holes.
3. Patina the pendants
- Using a Q-Tip, wipe the Gilders paste over the entire surface of the pendant, taking care to fill in the stamped recesses with the Gilders paste.
- Flip the pendant over on a paper towel and burnish off the Gilders paste. Make sure you wipe it out of the holes and edges of all the pendants.
4. Wire wrapping the leather ends
- Cut a strip of leather about 4-5″ long.
- Insert 1″ of one end into your pendant and fold back the leather through the hole of the pendant.
- Then follow the wrapping steps below “How to finish leather cord with wire” by Ralph Helmrich from the Unkamen Supplies Blog (Their blog includes full written out step-by-step instructions as well these photos. There are also other great jewelry making tips so their blog is worth a look.)
- Wire wrap the leather ends so they are attached into the left side of the 3 individual pendants.
- Arrange the stamped pendants how you want them to lay. (I wanted mine to stack and stagger in a specific order.)
- Fold all 3 ends into one of the 10 mm jump rings so the leather strips on the side of the bracelet are the length you want them. I used a white colored pencil to make a mark where I wanted the folds to be. The lengths I used varied between 1- 3/4″ and 1- 1/2″ but this will vary depending on your wrist size.
- Finish the leather ends by wire wrapping and connecting them into the 10 mm jump ring.
- Attach the leather to the right side of the pendants.
- Mark the length of the leather to fit your wrist, then fold all 3 ends into one of the 10 mm jump rings.
- Right about now is when my fingertips began to hurt. Like really hurt from all the wire-wrapping. Ouch.
- Finish wrapping the last three leather ends.
5. Attach the clasp
- Attach one of the large 10 mm jump ring to each end.
- If you need to make this bracelet adjustable – just add more of the large 10 mm rings to one of the ends.
- On the other end, use the smaller jump ring to connect the 10 mm jump ring to the lobster claw.
And here is what the finished clasp looks like.
My three words to live by
A few months ago, I set a goal of blogging once a week. It didn’t take long for me to realize that more blogging doesn’t necessarily mean more readers. So when the one year anniversary of my blog rolled around I thought it was a good time to step up my social media game. I dived head first into a social media bootcamp challenge course from the wonderful Julie DeNeen of Fabulous Blogging. I began twitting, liking, posting, commenting, plus one-ing, sharing, pining, following and on and on. And it was fun at first, but after a few hard core days of being social, I began to get caught up in the numbers game. ”This person has 6000 twitter followers, this person has 101,182 google plus followers.” Egad! How in the world does that even happen? And then worse, I got caught up in the feeling that all of this “sharing” wasn’t really being social – it was being weird and manipulative and felt like a whole lot of “Please, please like me!…please?”
Fortunately, right about the time I was having this mini social media melt down, Julie wrote at length in one of her posts about what it means to be authentic. And that resonated with me. I realized that for me to be able to connect with others, I need to follow, re-tweet and pin about people and things that I genuinely care about. If that takes me a few extra minutes a day, that’s o.k. because at least I don’t feel like I’m selling out.
I also realized that I needed a reminder to myself that I wanted to be original, and originality comes from within. It’s taken a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin. What I put out there needs to reflect who I am and my style. As much as I like the cute little heart shaped pin buttons, that’s just not me. (But I still like them!) Is it ok to be inspired by someone or something else, sure! And again, it might take a few more minutes a day to not go with the first thing that pops in my head – but that’s part of the creativity process and part of learning and growing.
Here is something not to do when you are a beginner at pretty much anything. Stop comparing yourself to others when it’s not relative. For example, comparing my success to bloggers who have been blogging for 5 years plus. That’s silly and nothing but a heart ache waiting to happen. And I’m not going to say this was a painless process. There was some serious self-doubt and “Can someone please tell me why the heck am I doing this?” involved. But in the end, what is important is to realize what your direction is and how you want to get there. And for me this whole process culminated in the realization that I love sharing what I make with others and I hope that all this sewing, jewelry making and DIYing will inspire others. And through it all, I pledge to be authentic. And be original. And be myself.
What are your words to live by?
One last funny thing. Take a close look at the metal stamped bracelet. The leather straps on the right are 1.5 mm wide. The leather on the left is 2mm wide. Why? Because I was using up scraps and grabbed two pieces of leather that I thought were the same width. It wasn’t until I photographed the bracelet that I realized they didn’t match. Talk about being original!
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