Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Peek at my Methods

Hello there!

I thought today I'd write a little post about some of the things I use to do what I do. Not the regular stuff - everyone knows what pliers look like - but instead, the things that I pull out and set up in front of me every time I sit down to work with some beads and wire.

First is my sweet little apple box! It's actually a sewing box, and I found it for a great price at a discount store- I wasn't looking for it; it found me! I saw those cute little apples and knew it had to be mine. I am a sucker for cute fruit prints- the only way it could be better is if it were a citrus pattern instead :D At one point it actually had a handle on the top made of thick wire threaded with big apple green colored plastic beads, but sadly, the handle broke off with repeated use. I did salvage the beads though (of course!)

This little box is exactly the right size to hold all of my many pliers- I think I've got eight different pairs of pliers in there! Another thing that lives in my cute apple box is...

My cute little tape measure. It was a freebie in an order from Fusion Beads, and really it's just a cheap little measure but I prefer it over my 'real' sewing tape measure because it's retractable and compact. And the price was right! :D

No wire wrapping session can start without wire- and currently all of mine lives in this cute kitty cat trick-or-treat bag that my mom gave me last Halloween. 

She knows Halloween is my favorite holiday (I even got married on Halloween!) and of course I adore cats so she got it for me as a surprise. I just love his purple ears!

Now that the tools and the wire are out, it's time to pull out the container of scrap wire.

It's just an old fast food container (washed of course) that my Grams gave me when she realized I created a lot of bits of short wire when I worked. I use this little container and the wire in it all the time! Before I cut any wire from a spool, I dig through my scraps to see if I already have something that will serve my current purpose in there- and many times, I do! This is also where I get my 'temporary' wire from - some wireworkers use masking tape to hold wires in place as they work, but I never liked doing that; instead, I grab a short scrap of wire and use it to temporarily bind together wires I'm working on.

The bead box comes out next. What's wirework without beads? Now, keep in mind, this is just a small selection of the beads I own. I have at least five more of these boxes filled up, plus various plastic bags and cardboard boxes and assorted little containers.... actually I don't really know how many beads I have. I don't even know WHICH beads I have! :D This is a good thing though, because now and then I'll come across a box with beads in it that I forgot I had and it's like getting brand new beads!

The next item I gather is my sketch journal. It's a beautiful peacock book with metallic gold detail and a magnetic closure I found on Amazon. It seems that this particular book is no longer available on Amazon, but there are many more books with different, just as gorgeous designs by Punch Studios available. (They make beautiful nesting boxes too- I want ALL of them!)

I initially intended for this book to be my 'Happy Book' - my aim was to write down only good things that happened each day. Eventually though it morphed into my sketchbook; although I still write journal entries in it on an occasional whim.

Even the pages of it are beautiful- here's an example of some of my notes about one design I worked on awhile back:

When I'm not taking notes and measurements, I use it as a daily sketch journal- my aim is to fill one page a day with doodles and sketches, no matter how 'bad' or 'weird' - many of my favorite pieces started as ugly little scribbles in this book!

When working with wire, it is inevitable that eventually you're going to need to form a smooth curve or circular shape. There are mandrel pliers out there that can help with this, but why waste the money? I bet you're surrounded by mandrels of all different sizes if you just look around for a moment...

Here's a selection of my mandrels (I also have a real actual ring mandrel, but I really only use it to size rings, go figure). From left to right- a battery for my electronic cigarette, an actual mandrel made specifically for making jump rings (I use it often, but surprisingly enough, never for making jump rings), two slightly different sized tubes of seed beads, a mechanical pencil, a fine point Sharpie marker, a Revlon lip stain marker, and a wine cork. All have come in handy at one point or another.

Lastly, perhaps you have noticed the tan and white chevron design background in most of my photos (and in all of my shop photos). It's just a sheet of scrapbooking paper I picked up at Michaels.

It has gotten a lot of use (abuse may be the correct term) - it is full of creases and curls and ragged edges and small tears.

But, for whatever reason, this well-used piece of paper still looks great in product photos! It looks awful in person but in photos its flaws just aren't as apparent as long as I don't deliberately call attention to them :D

I actually bought a number of sheets of scrapbooking paper when I first opened my shop; some light...

...and some dark.

Ultimately after testing and holding the papers this way and that, placing different items on them, just plain staring at them, I decided the dark papers were too serious looking and I liked the tan and white chevron paper the best - it's clean and casual and friendly looking, I think. And it has served me well!

Hope you enjoyed this little look into my 'process' :) Today I'll leave you with my sweet monster Neo, all snuggled up under the covers :) 'Til next time!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A New Shop & Commissions!

It's been awhile since I've updated here, but it's because I've been so busy with my new(ish) online shop!

Malfait Luciu Jewelry's Storenvy Shop is open for business and stocked full with lots of goodies; go have a look!

Between working on building up inventory for my shop, I've been working on a number of commissions. I'm always so honored when people come to me for a special one of a kind, handmade piece of jewelry! I'll post about some of the ones I've completed in later posts, but for today I'll focus on the one I'm currently working on.

It's for a dear friend so it's a special piece to me, and I want it to be just perfect for her. She gave me a few elements she wanted for the design, and then set me loose! I love working this way - a little input from a client on the look they're going for, perhaps the colors they're interested in, the overall 'feel' or 'theme' of the piece, and then leaving the rest to me. So far for all my commissioned pieces, this method has worked really well!

This current piece is exciting because it's a little different from most requests - she wants an anklet with a chain that goes down to a toe ring! We've all seen these for wrists and fingers, which are very cool, but this one is more like a barefoot sandal, and I love the idea!

She asked for bronze wire (my most favorite color to work with - score!) - and when I asked about bead colors, she told me she wanted fiery colors - and I immediately knew exactly what beads to use - Swarovski's Fire Opals!

These babies are brilliant- part rich red and part flaming orange with a bit of sunny yellow thrown in. She loved them when I showed her a photo, and that was that! She decided on rounds instead of bicones. My brain was already working out ideas for the design, and I decided that at the spot where the chain meets the anklet, there just had to be a matching rivoli crystal.

Go figure, Fire Opal rivolis have been discontinued. But! heartsdesires1 on eBay saved the day, and at a decent price, too! She has tons of crystals at good prices, I'll be going back to her for more, I'm sure!

I am so impatient with the mail when I'm waiting for new sparklies, but it seemed like these beads arrived in no time! I couldn't wait to start sketching ideas. I knew I wanted to make a flexible chain, which meant coming up with a design for the links. I wanted each link to include one round faceted bead. I had 12, so I used 10, saving one to decorate the clasp and one to decorate the toe ring. Here's just one page of sketches- I did about three though before deciding on something classic and pretty :D

I don't know if it happens to anyone else, but I have an annoying habit of re-sketching the same design over and over again! But, I have a rule when it comes to sketches- sketch everything that comes to mind; put every idea down on paper, no matter how bad you think it might look- follow every whim! There are no bad ideas when sketching for ideas. Some of my most favorite pieces have evolved from some rather ugly and unremarkable sketches in my sketchbook. (Another tip - sketch every day! I make a point to fill a page of my little book with sketches every day. Then, when I find I want to make something but don't know what, I just look through my sketchbook and find an idea to develop and turn into something good :D )

Okay back to the anklet. After deciding on a design for the links came the relatively boring part - making ten of them - and making ten of them that are identical. It's not difficult, but it can be tedious.

Each link had to be hammered for strength in the connecting loops and aesthetics in the larger loops - my poor husband and cats had to tolerate my noisy hammering for quite a few minutes. I always feel bad and make sure to apologize after I finish hammering something. :P I decided to link each link together in an alternating orientation for a little visual interest.

Next came the rivoli. I fiddled with this for quite awhile. Because it naturally has no holes, it needs to be securely 'captured' in some way. Also, because of the way it will fit into the entire piece, it needed three points where chains could be attached. I tried  one way:

Thinking I'd capture the crystal between the two round elements - didn't quite work how I'd pictured it. I pondered on this conundrum quite a bit! I didn't want to bezel it in the traditional sense; I've never really liked that look.

Eventually I settled on a sort of netted frame with 'wings' (I have no idea how to explain this) - and it's secure, which was my main concern. I attached it to the middle of the chain links to see how it looks:

The loop coming out the bottom of the rivoli are for the chain that leads to the toe ring. I'll use bronze rolo chain for that. I may incorporate some little bronze fluted beads or little bronze spacers...

But I'm not sure quite yet. The next step is creating a clasp for the anklet. That'll be tomorrow's work :) For now, I'll leave you with my mom's kitty Vinnie, who is always my little 'helper' (read: loveable nuisance) when I work on beadwork, wirework, embroidery, or crochet at my mom's house. Usually I can distract him and keep him busy with my tape measure, but he's a smart boy and figures out real quick that the really fun toys are the ones I'M playing with :D

'Til next time!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

100 Facebook Likes Jewelry Giveaway! *CLOSED*

I am thrilled to announce that, thanks to the efforts of my friends and followers of my jewelry page on Facebook, Malfait Luciu Jewelry, I have reached the all-important 100 'likes' milestone! As promised, since we've reached (over!) 100 'likes', I'm hosting a free giveaway for a custom jewelry piece. The prize this time is my 'Provençal' Earrings - the first result of my current fascination with white wire.

These 'Provençal' Earrings are carefully handcrafted in an intricate filigree design and feature large faceted opaque turquoise czech glass focal beads, and they hang from comfortable handmade hammered and filed non-tarnish silver earwires. They hang about 3 3/4" from the very top of the earwires. Here are a pair of photos to give a general idea of their overall size:

They were a joy to make and I hope they will be a joy to wear and own for one lucky winner!

The giveaway starts today, Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, and ends at 12:00 AM (EST) on January 15th, 2015. You can enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. There are two ways to enter, and it is possible to gain six entries - you get one entry for visiting the Malfait Luciu Jewelry Facebook page, and a whopping 5 entries for commenting in the Rafflecopter widget and answering a simple question: What is your opinion of matching earring/necklace sets? Love 'em? Never wear 'em? Let me know in the widget for an easy FIVE entries!

After the giveaway is over, the winner will be chosen at random from all the entries via the Rafflecopter widget I've implemented. The winner will be contacted by email from MalfaitLuciu (at) gmail (dot) com. The winner will also be announced on the Malfait Luciu Jewelry Facebook Page. In the event that the winner does not reply to the email within 48 hours (in order to give me the address to send the earrings to), another winner will be chosen from the remaining entries using

After leaving a blog post comment, be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget where it says "Leave A Blog Post Comment". A button will pop up that says "I Commented!" - in order to make your comment count and to gain your 5 entries, you've gotta click that button :) (The same goes for visiting Malfait Luciu Jewelry on Facebook - after visiting, come back, click on "Visit Malfait Luciu Jewelry on Facebook" on the widget, and click the "I Visited" button!) To know for sure that your entries have been counted, look at the top of the widget - if it says 6/6 at the top right, it means you've done everything right and have earned your six entries! :D MAKE SURE YOUR COMMENT ACTUALLY POSTS BELOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION - If you click 'I Commented!' without leaving a comment, it doesnt count. If you have any problems leaving a comment let me know by emailing me at MalfaitLuciu (at) gmail (dot) com - If anyone has trouble getting their comment to appear, email the comment to me and I'll add it manually to ensure your five entries get counted :)

EDIT: I have made a slight change to the giveaway - instead of leaving a comment on this blog post, I've instead integrated the option to comment for five entries into the giveaway directly into the Rafflecopter widget. REST ASSURED ALL, everyone who has entered and commented already, your entries remain valid and you don't have to do anything further. Some people were encountering problems with commenting on the blog post, so I've switched it to this easier alternative. :)

I wish everyone the very best of luck, and thank all of you, my dear friends and followers, for the wonderful support you've all shown me with regards to my work. I'm on cloud nine right now- you all inspire me to keep creating, keep trying new things, and I am so very grateful. :)

Thank you all, and I wish you all the best of luck! :) And don't forget- if you don't end up being the lucky winner, you can always stop by my little jewelry shop for a look around- who knows, you may find something that speaks to you, and I'd be thrilled for a little visit :)

Have fun!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to Wire, plus a Giveaway! *CLOSED*

Hello! It's been awhile, but I've been busy! It's been all about wirework for me lately, and I've been slowly building up an inventory of pieces in order to set up a table at a neighborhood sale in September. This is a big step for me, but I finally realized that I've got to put myself out there or I'll never sell anything, haha :D I've been thoroughly enjoying wirework, it feels so 'right' to me.

I've been lucky to have quite a bit of support from friends and family on my personal Facebook page, but I've decided I should probably start posting my work on my jewelry page on Facebook (that's what I made it for, after all!). I am approaching a small milestone on my FB page- I'm close to 100 followers. So, to reach that milestone, I've decided to host a giveaway!

My most recent work, this pair of Five-Point Copper Flower Earrings, could be yours! All you have to do to enter is like MalfaitLuciu Jewelry on Facebook and enter through the Rafflecopter widget below for 5 entries into the giveaway. After that, you can earn one more entry by commenting and telling me what your favorite type of jewelry to wear is, whether it be earrings, rings, necklaces, whatever! The giveaway starts today and ends Friday, September 5 at 12:00am.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My plan is to host yet another giveaway when I hit the 100 likes milestone on Facebook, so be sure to share and check back often! Thanks everyone for all your support, and good luck! :)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Adventures in Cross Stitch and Blackwork

Hello! It's been awhile as usual, but during that time I've been busy! I developed a sudden interest in embroidery. My family got me a gift card to Michael's for my birthday and when I went to spend it, I happened upon this gorgeous cross stitch kit by Dimensions, featuring a flamboyant peacock. It's an ambitious pattern but I've gotten quite a bit of it done...

peacock cross stitch

...but in between working on the peacock, I discovered the joys of blackwork embroidery (thanks to Pinterest!) and so I picked a couple smallish patterns to complete:

blackwork embroidery square

blackwork embroidery square

As you can tell, for awhile I only had purple embroidery floss, haha. I finally picked up some black floss and am now in the middle of this design (click the link below to see the full pattern). I intend to use red floss for the heart shapes in this pattern just for something a little different.

blackwork embroidery square

And I've been busy on Pinterest in general pinning all sorts of things. Have a look at my Blackwork board for a ton of free blackwork patterns.

That's all for today. I'll leave you this time with Trinity telling me to take a break from stitching. 'Til next time!

black cat Trinity

Monday, September 24, 2012

Crochet on the Brain

Normally I'm all about the beadwork, but recently I picked up a crochet hook, and now I can't stop! I've been working on so many things!

crocheted lined green bag

First was a bag (I lined it myself! Thanks to futuregirl's tutorial) I've since added one strap, I still need to add the other, but I got too wrapped up in.....

coco the cat crochet amigurumi

...crocheting Coco the Cat! (the free pattern can be found here at the Crochet Today website- scroll down to find the pdf link) She's almost done, she just needs a tail- but before I got busy adding it I got distracted by...

thread crochet doily

...this thread crochet doily! The free pattern can be found here (it's the 'Aqua Doily'). Finally, something finished completely! After posting this on facebook (and then giving it to my beloved Grams), a friend asked me for some halloweeny spiderweb doilies, so I stitched up these....

thread crochet spiderweb doily

...and she loved them! The free pattern can be found here - it's a fun one, and it stitches up quickly.

After those, I was a little doily-ed out, so I switched to snowflakes- and have been gleefully stitching up some of Snowcatcher's lovely flakes- (they're being starched right now :P)

thread crochet snowflakes

My plan for the snowflakes is to make a couple for each of the families in my extended family. I don't plan on ever having children, so I want to make something that will be passed down through generations so that I'll be remembered by my family that way :) They'll be ornaments for christmas trees, and I've decided to hang them from ribbons with the year embroidered on them:

embroidered ribbon

I'm not sure if this is the right ribbon (it's very.. meshy). I also have some blue glitter I think I'll add to the snowflakes, mixed in with some white glue to make them stiff and durable. After that (because I'm still a beader at heart) I plan to hang some crystal beads from the bottom points of the snowflakes. :)

So, that's what I've been up to! (Also I've been crocheting a granny square afghan, but I haven't taken any photos of that yet).

I almost forgot- I've picked up Tunisian crochet, too! I'm making a scarf for a very good friend. (It's much longer than this now lol.)

tunisian crochet scarf

I'll leave you today with Neo snoozing with his little mouf open :3 'Til Next Time!

orange cat Neo

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spiral Stitch Variation

Hello! Just a quick post today- I wanted to share a little tip I discovered awhile back on how to make your spiral stitched ropes more... spirally :)

A recent post on the OTTBS facebook page asked us members to post pictures of our very first beaded creations. This spiral stitched bracelet here I think was my first (but my memory is faulty), and I remember liking it because I added an extra step to it to make the bracelet more solid and less slinky- I didn't like how the bugles kept moving around, so I added one last stitch to the completed bracelet (look at that awful toggle, lmao!)

Looking at this old photo, it made me want to revisit spiral stitch, which I haven't touched in quite awhile! I decided to go with some delicious faceted cylinder beads (I believe they're Toho's) with a taupe coloring and an iridescent sheen, spiralled around some 8/0's in three metallic shades. I implemented my 'trick' for this one too, and here is the result!

Unfortunately the photo really doesn't do the iridescence justice, but here you can see the tight spiral I was able to achieve with the regular garden variety spiral stitch we all know and love. This rope is rather stiff, but not so stiff that I can't make a bracelet out of it, or a necklace.

If you look close, you can see my trick implemented here in this photo. All I've done is run a thread down the length of the rope through the first bead in every 'set' of small beads. In case that doesn't make sense, here's a photo of what I'm talking about.

Here you can see what I mean- my needle is stitching through the first bead in each set of beads stitched around the core of 8/0's. When you complete your rope (by the way- if you want to do this trick, make your rope longer than you think it should be, because it will shrink when you do this), ensure you have a decent length of thread on your needle, then run your thread through the edge beads of each spiral stitch, as shown. When you get to the end of your rope, pull tight- the rope will curl up and tighten before your eyes! (I find this extremely satisfying for some reason, haha). I like to knot at this point, using the tail thread that is inevitably there from where you started the rope. Then, I go back up the rope using the first seed from each spiral stitch on the other side. I hope this makes some sense.

Regardless of what you decide to do, it will turn out beautifully. Without my 'trick', spiral stitch forms a slinky, supple rope with a straight column of core beads surrounded by spirals of outer beads. My trick forces both the spiral beads AND the core beads to spiral around each other, creating a more sturdy, substantial rope. Either way is great! Just do what seems to be best for the project you're working on :)

For now, I'll leave you with this video of Neo licking the condensation off of some beers, haha. 'Till Next Time!