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!)
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...
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!