Thursday, 31 December 2015

Steampunk Journals

Steampunk Journals

A new direction.

 
I am always looking for something new and interesting to try, and have always admired the beautiful Steampunk journals I have seen.
 
So I have decided to start making some myself for selling through my DragonzWench Emporium shop on Etsy.
Many hours of watching YouTube videos and looking at photos and now this new, and incredibly interesting journey has begun.
 
My first journal has started life as an old dictionary, that I have dismantled, covered, textured, and embellished to give it a real Steampunk look and feel.
Then came the choosing of a theme and making of the pages.
As I had some beautifully aged sheet music in my stash I decided on a music theme.
 
 
 
 
 An old Readers Digest dictionary getting ready for a whole new life.   
 
The pages will possibly become part on another journal and some Steampunk cards, but for now have been put aside for later use.   
 
 
 
Dismantled and starting to add some texture.
My first attempt at adding textures to make designs.
 
I am so enjoying myself, love trying and learning new things.
 
 
More texture and some old lace and first layer of colour added.
 
 
 
 
Now to line the inside covers before adding the signatures.
I chose this cardstock print because I felt it added just the right amount of aged look. 
While waiting for the cover treatments to dry, it was time to plan the pages.
I didn't want them to be plain, I wanted them to tell their own story as well, to be interesting, to be out of the ordinary.
 
Many torn edges, adding of embellishments, stamping of designs and much colouring of edges later and I am happy with the look I have created.

Adding cogs, lots of cogs.








I settled on using the sheet music as the outer pages of each signature, and decided to add some  plain art paper, (after texturing the edges of course), more almost clear space for notes or as a frame for a photo of that latest adventure.




I added pockets to some pages so photos, notes, business cards etc. could be collected











A typical spread of pages, although no two signatures are the same.




Notelets waiting for that all important note to be recorded.


Some stamping, where would a Steampunk traveller be without his globe, and pocket watch.













Plenty of pockets.
 



Another signature selection completed.






 

 
 
 
 
 
The finished back cover 
 
 
 
The selection of notelets,
waiting to be put in their selected pockets of given away as unique contact details cards 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The finished journal, many hours of learning but now completed.
 
Back and front views. 

 

 

 

 

 The Front cover

 

 

 

Waiting for a new home. 

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Coffee cosies and Book covers

 

Coffee cosies and Book covers.

I recently went back to my sewing days and started making coffee plunger cosies and book covers.

 
It all came about when I washed the cosy I have on my plunger and thought it about time I made a new one as my original is about 10 years old.
 
So off to the sewing room to make a new one, when I thought maybe I could sell them, so instead of making one I made several all different colours and then of course I had to paint designs on them which meant making stencils and instead of having a new cosy on my plunger in time for lunch, I had to wait until this creative urge had run it's distance for a while.
 
Choosing fabrics was important as they had to be hard wearing, washable and of course keep the coffee hot.
 
 
 
 
I have a lovely linen with a simple leaf design that I just painted over the leaves.
 
I chose three colours, but really I can paint them to almost any colour.
 
 
 
 
 
Then I got out my beautiful synthetic suede fabrics and these I stencilled designs on.

 
 
 
 
 I started out with some simple flower designs.
 adding a little embroidery for finish.
 
 
 
 
Then where would a coffee cosy be without the word "Coffee" on it.
 
So another stencil made and colours chosen.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Another lovely linen and another stencil.
 
I love dragonflies and thought, well so do many other people so dragonflies got invited to join the party as well. 
 
 I love making Steampunk themed jewellery and in general love the concept of Steampunk and all that goes with it, especially some of the beautiful fashions.
 
So of course another stencil and my Steampunk cogs came to life.
 
 
 
 
Then I am in Australia so had to make something to represent our beautiful outback.
 
 
 
 
I have some thermal cloth that works well for lining and then used acrylic batting as the middle layer.
My original had Velcro tabs which always worked well so I stayed with Velcro for the closures.
 
 
 
 
I have many more designs and colour schemes planned but first I had to use my stencils for more than cosies so Book covers came to mind.
 

 
 
Well the book covers happened but oh dear, had to make different designs.
 
Which of course meant more stencils as I needed different sizes and orientation for books as against long rectangular designs for cosies.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I did make a few with my lovely leaf design fabric, painting the same colours as the cosies. 
 
 
Hanging on the wall I have 2 papyrus prints, Tutankhamen and Nefertiti.
 
 I thought the cartouche would make a nice design, so that became my first book cover stencil. 
 
 
 
Then books are all around the world so why not a globe, and yet another stencil was created.
 
 
 
 
 
 
I made all these to fit a standard A4 diary, but not everyone has A4 diaries.
 I now offer covers to suit any size book
 
 

 
 
So many, many days later I had a selection of cosies and book covers for my DragonzWenchEmporium shop on Etsy.
 
Thank you for reading my ramblings about my cosies and book covers.
 
Please leave a comment if you wish and join my mailing list as I am always branching off  in different directions.
 
 
 
 

Monday, 21 September 2015

DragonzWench Quality, presentation, service and personalization.

Finding new ways,
 of giving my customers the best I can.
 
WHY
 
Because they deserve it.

 New ideas

New Designs

New packaging

New looks.

 

How I finish my work and quality control.
 
This is a very important topic and there are so many similar methods of making sure jewellery is well made and will last!
Everything from wearing the jewellery ourselves to getting friends to wear it.
I will often wear a piece to check for snags,
 how it hangs and feels,
 and generally to see if I am happy with everything to do with the piece.
 
 I of course ask my husband for his critical opinion as well, as he sees it from a different perspective from how I see it.
 
As jewellery is worn it gets dirty just like our clothes,
in fact quite often more so as it collects particles of make-up, dust and sweat,
 so for me being able to easily clean jewellery is very important.
 
 All my pieces can be washed with warm soapy water,
(which I do after test wearing)
And then dried thoroughly either in the sun or with a hairdryer.

Packaging and Presentation.
 
 
As I am no longer able to attend markets as often as I would like,
I rely on Etsy for most my sales, so for me how my customer feels when they receive their order and open their parcel is very important, and I want this to be a pleasant experience for them,
 almost as if they are receiving a gift.
 
Understandably many people are hesitant about buying online and with good reason, but I want my customers to feel happy that they trusted me to do the right thing, that they receive what they are expecting to receive and then a little extra, even if it is only the nice packaging.
 
I bought myself an embossing machine with assorted embossing folders & cutters also some lovely punches. These have been utilised already and I believe a better presentation has resulted.
Depending on the item it will either be attached to a handmade card or placed in a padded box and then it is wrapped in tissue paper.
I always includes a hand written thank you note & business card in an envelope with every order posted out.
I offer hand made & feel it is important to include a personal hand written message, that is addressed to my customer by name thanking them for their purchase.
 
I also offer to gift wrap and include a hand written gift card with personalised message for those wishing to save time and money with postal charges, by having me post direct to the recipient.
This makes perfect sense to me, and I am happy to say I have done this several times.
 
Shipping Costs
 
Unfortunately these are out of my control,
I package where possible for the lowest postal charges, this will often mean I will present the item on a handmade card instead of a box, as this reduces the cost of posting by more than 50%
 
I do have to post some items in boxes for protection while in transit or just because of the shape. 
Every item is posted in a padded post bag regardless of how it is presented.
 
 
 
Chokers and Cameos.
 
My range of chokers is growing and ideas are flowing thick and fast along with so many other ideas. 
 
 
 
I am presenting everything on 2 styles of chokers.
          Basic velvet ribbon
          Velvet ribbon with lace
         
Most of my pieces are very adaptable/changeable to suit how the wearer wants to wear them on the occasion and also for ease of cleaning.
The embellishments/jewellery parts are easily removed for ease of washing the choker.
The jewellery parts can even be worn as brooches on a garment and not the choker.
                       I have achieved this by attaching brooch backs to each part.
 
 
 
I am also working on a Steampunk line with cameos, cogs, keys, watches etc that will be on the most incredibly soft Italian goat skin leather chokers.




I like to offer more than one style of earring as every customer has different preferences and also they may wish to purchase the second pair for a different look.


Also earrings are always wanted.



I offer my earrings on 2 styles of hooks,
 and as clip-ons.


I always offer a reduced price if my customer purchases as a set.





 
 

Thank you for reading my blog, all comments are most appreciated.
 
 
 
 

Bangles and Bracelets

www.etsy.com/au/listing/202380107/handmade-gemstone-memory-wire-bracelet




I love making these simple bracelets, this one has lovely crystal cut amethyst beads teamed with copper beads.
 I combined these emerald green and gold crackle beads with simple gold coloured spacer beads and clear green bi-cones.
The little butterfly seems happy enough to just hang in there.
I also have the crackle beads in brown and silver.
Memory wire can be finished in so many ways, as a wrap around multi coil or as individual coils joined into multiple layers.







These little hearts were all just plain, no design
not making any sort of statement, 
so I had to give them some texture and highlights, and now they are so very different.
 
I teamed them up with some cherry red glass pearls on an antique chain and now I'm happy.
This bracelet has lots of jingle when worn.
Would be great for a
"Steampunk Christmas"


 
 
 
 
I made this watch using two rounds of memory wire holding square filigree with butterflies attached.
 
I painted the butterflies and matched glass pearls for a very antique look.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

DragonzWench Emporium. Mini Steampunk Top hats. Cosplay mini hats.

DragonzWench Emporium opening May 1st 2015

The time has come for opening my new shop on Etsy.

I have been planning to expand for some time and now slowly it is happening!

 

 My new shop is DragonzWench Emporium,

 and through this shop I will be selling non jewellery items.

 

Hats and More Hats are planned,
 every one hand made from a wide variety of fabric with a selection of different trims.
Also fascinators, lovely fancy fascinators.


 


 
 
How does jewellery lead into my hats you may ask.

 
Well I will be featuring my hand made cameos, assorted filigree pieces,  
as well as my latest fun item Feathers.
Now these are proving a challenge I did not expect,
 they don't always sit the way I want them to!!!
 
Anyway back to the hats.
 
I have made patterns for a few styles, but to date only working on one style.
All my hats are stiffened with fusible interlining and hand sewn.
I have seen many hats for sale where they are stiffened with card stock and glued, shock horror I could never do that.
I don't trust glue for one thing and secondly it just wouldn't feel right to make a hat with paper and glue.
 
Having made that last statement I must admit I am playing with the idea of making hats with recycled sheet music, I am still working on the finer details for these at present but they will happen.
 
I will also have Bags,
Leather bags made from the softest of Italian goat skin leather,
 pouches and purses with drawstrings.
Again so many styles in my head waiting to become an actuality.
 
 
I have some lovely perforated leather pieces that will become ever so soft scarves,
 
Of course there will be chokers & Cravats,
 made with the same beautifully soft leather.
 
So please join me on my journey, into the worlds of
Bags and Millinery,
 Leather and Lace,
 Feathers and Fancy trims.

Monday, 30 March 2015

DragonzWench Blog starting a blog

Hello

Welcome to DragonzWench
 
Firstly
 
 
 
I want this blog to show the journey of my learning and developing of my jewellery designing and making skills.
 
I welcome all comments, questions and your thoughts on how I am progressing.
 
This blog is a huge learning curve for me and I know I will make mistakes, but we all learn through our mistakes, and I want to learn.
 
The only way to learn is to try, and yes to possibly fail but to learn from any failure to make a better more interesting and of course desirable product.
 
I have always believed in "Pick yourself up and try all over again" if ever I have failed or made mistakes.
 
I have started from scratch a couple of very successful soft furnishing workrooms but have now stopped sewing and am following my creative side and making jewellery.
So the challenge to build a jewellery range does not daunt me BUT this blog does.
I made my first piece of jewellery in 2012 selling at assorted markets. 
I opened an Etsy shop in June 2014 and am happy to say it is starting to do well.
I love thinking about the different places around the world that my jewellery has been posted to and the wonderful people that have trusted me enough to buy from me. I thank them one and all.