Hey Snugbugs! Wanna see a super fun project that I did?

Nope? That’s cool… I’ll be back soon with something totally different in a few days…

For the rest of you, check this out!necklace and earrings

Sidenote: Have you ever tried to take a photo of a pair of dangly earrings? It’s SUPER HARD. Lying flat doesn’t work, they look all wonky. Stumped from my first attempts, I searched for ‘dangly earrings Etsy’, assuming all those talented jewelry artists would have already solved the problem for me.

Of all the non-custom, lovely screens (not an option) the only cool idea that seemed workable was hanging them on the edge of a teacup. Perfect! I have cool teacups from Grandma.

And super dangly-taste. After I managed to locate said teacups, scootering around the house, digging through drawers (I am currently operating one-legged due to a broken foot) – well, the earrings were more dangly than the cup was tall. Jeff, always game to help out on one of my creative adventures **JEWELRY STYLING IS IN MY GRASP** got in on the game and patiently brought me one household item after another.

“Bring me a book! No! An older one… that looks cool. Like one that you read!” – Jeff has a thing for old books and biographies. Too dowdy.

“A Mason Jar! No… too curvy…”

“Let’s try a coffee cup! No! The white one!” Note to self: try to keep better track of coffee cups. How on earth did I lose a coffee cup??

“A pitcher! No… not a creamer, a pitcher..” 

We finally managed this setup which worked tolerably well. The sun was going down, otherwise who knows what we might have come up with?

NOT IN PHOTOGRAPH… the glass of soda pop and man-foot that I kept telling patient-Jeff to move while resting my iPhone on the coffee table, trying for the perfect shot. He was exhausted from the photoshoot-related scavenger hunt and was just trying to wet his whistle and read the book that had been rejected as suitable for earring display.

I am a difficult wife at times.

But let’s get back to the necklace and earrings, shall we??

As some might know, my mother has been in residence at the Brower household since August, helping immensely while I lie around with my broken foot, ordering Jeff to fetch me a series of household items (which I pile on the coffee table – also not pictured – to be re-shelved.)

She’s been super awesome (thanks mom!) and it occurred to me while scrolling through Facebook one night that one of the little shops in our quaint town might have a jewelry making class and that if there was such a thing, it would be an excellent thing for my mother and I to do together.

I think it’s a given that the right level of compensation for two months of cooking is a jewelry class.

The only reason I thought this is I had seen some posts from a local artist who makes wonderful jewelry that I absolutely love. And I wanted there to be a class.

Turns out that works… I posted a quick “Hey… is anybody doing this?” post and almost right away, my friend Corrie, who owns an awesome made in the US-type of shop (called Made;) responded. Yes! She had a class, it was the next week and she hadn’t even publicized it.

And here’s how great my mind rays work… the teacher of the class was the very same artist who’s posts had made me want to take a class.

Next up: I will bend the spoon with my mind.

OK. Enough goofing off!

The class structure was perfect for what I was looking for. Susan, the teacher, brings along a stash of beads that would keep pirates-mocking birds like Jeff busy for an hour (he likes shiny things.) We were also invited to bring along anything we wanted to augment our necklace. I raided my jewelry stash and grabbed a few charms and my favorite-for-years necklace which had totally disintegrated following constant use and shoddy workmanship.

After we picked out a nice selection of pretties, we sat down where Susan had little trays set out so we could lay our beads out in the design we wanted. I did not take a picture of this, because I was too busy talking, but it looked sort of like this…

wood stringing board

Except Susan’s must be super-special because hers only had one slot and during my just-now exhaustive search of the internet I was unable to locate a photo. This one’s from Amazon.

Honestly, I was amazed by this board. I flirted with jewelry making 20 years ago as one does when of a certain crafty bent and in college. (Hey, we all experimented, right?) But I’d never seen such a thing! How clever! I could lay out all my beads in advance instead of getting halfway through stringing, hating, starting over and ending up with a very asymmetrical piece.

All we had to do was just arrange away. Susan took care of all the hard stuff. Like adding the fasteners. She explained it all to us and had a great cheat sheet so we could go home and do it on our own, but she made the experience flawless! She even added little twisties to pieces from my favorite disintegrated necklace so I could integrate parts of it into what I made (the silver flowers with rhinestones.)

Of course, since I am Miss-OCD and my mother speedy Gonzalez, Mom managed to make her necklace, drop it on the floor before fastening, which necessitated a bead-hunt and restringing AND she finished her earrings before I even finished my necklace.

Showoff.

I’d totally show you a picture of mom’s necklace, but Jeff is busy and unable to fetch 83 household items for me to style the photo. Also, mom is downstairs and I’m upstairs in the office right now. What with my broken foot (no stairs) and her bum knee (no stairs) she’d have to toss the necklace up the stairs for the photo shoot. I’d probably drop it and then we’ll be restringing again with no Susan to do the hard parts.

Patty the jewelry model:

IMG_1758

Of course, since I’m in the midst of planning the launch line for Three Snugbugs Studios, I was envisioning all sorts of fun things during my night as a jewelry artists… why not design a line to complement the clothing line? Something with slightly longer necklaces and wider bracelets, something that fits those of us who are 18+ just a little better? Food for thought, my friends…

While it might be another 20 years before I jump into jewelry making again, it was a super fun night!

Keep up with the blog! Subscribe to the weekly Coffee Break by texting ‘snugbug’ to 415-528-7403. Or… click here to subscribe the old fashioned way!


Near Staunton? Check out Made; for cool handmade jewelry and get on their radar for the next jewelry class! Our wonderful artist-teacher is Susan Weeks, proprietress at Pretty Pretty.


Patty Brower is co-maker, creative director, marketing gal & textile maven at The Snugbug Collective. She splits her time between working with private clients and small business owners on marketing strategy and implementation and basset hound wrangling. She is also the designer/owner of Three Snugbugs Studios, a handmade and upcycled clothing and accessory line and The Snugbug Mercantile, vintage home and accessories.

snugbug coffee break

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