Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for Needlework and Necklaces!

Tomorrow and Saturday we should have more "guest posts" from other members of the family, but since none of their topics lined up with the letter "N", I get to divulge an old creative obsession and perhaps a new little budding baby obsession of mine.

N is for Needlework and Necklaces!

Although part of me likes to pretend I'm fairly rational, grounded, and right brained, I find I cannot even connect with rationality unless I am getting a heavy dose of creativity on a regular basis. At times the band itself is my #1 creative outlet, especially when it is time to arrange new music. I have been known to sit awake at night, detailing a new musical idea in my head, complete with harmonies, instrument fills, etc.

However, sometimes the best creative outlet is far more tactile.

Years ago I dabbled in various forms of homemaking creative pursuits when my oldest were still little, but none of them ever stuck like sewing costumes.

I was obsessed with sewing. It was my mental health therapy. When life was getting too chaotic, I could go find my sewing machine, put pieces of fabric together, then just follow the seam line until my head cleared. I'd dive into fancy outfits, like the ones I made for the twins years ago for costumes.

As my skills grew, I taught the twins to sew (it sadly didn't stick...), and helped them design and sew these lovely Civil War ballgowns.

More recently, when they suggested a "steampunk" look for our winter shows, I found some patterns I could modify and decided to pull out my sewing machine, even while living on the road.

Major problem: It took me over a year to finally complete them because I live in a bus now, and I no longer have the space or time to sew. Breaks the heart!!! I love designing creative outfits!

I have been truly aching for a creative outlet but need to find something that is on more of a miniature level or it will make life in a bus far more chaotic.

On our trip to Washington last summer a friend turned Alex on to the idea of making miniature leather book necklaces to sell in order to help fund the classes she hopes to take this coming fall towards an associates in video editing. 

They've sold fairly well at our CD tables and she may, in the future, have an online store with some of her designs, if time allows.

I have wanted to do something that was creative but never had enough of an interest in designing traditional jewelry. I had been to some mom's day jewelry making crafts before and it was one of the many crafts that just didn't stick.

Then I saw someone advertising her "diffuser" necklaces on her essential oil site and something creative hit me. I love, love, love essential oils, though I'm quite a beginner, but essential oils are simply not tactile enough for creative mental health therapy. But diffuser necklaces? Clay? Maybe?

Though getting time away to really learn the new craft has been difficult, I really hope to work it into my life soon. Just like the music that goes through my head when a new arrangement must be created, or when patterns and outfits fit together in my head, ideas are coming together on ways to design clay into fun jewelry that can also be useful for aromatherapy as well. I especially love the idea of putting together a line of children's diffuser necklaces for kid-friendly essential oil blends.

As a simple experiment, I made some coffee and tea necklaces that can be used for diffusers. I have been wearing the one in the middle with the little flower on it with a blend of cinnamon and clove essential oil. They are very strong oils and I can still smell some cinnamon on it after a couple of weeks, even without updating the scent.

For decorative ones I put a little pocket design for the drop of oil. It's worked fairly well and I sold a few. They look very pretty, but the twins stole the best ones. That's ok, as I count all of these experiments only. There is still a steep learning curve to get through before I'll be making the civil war ballgown clay necklace equivalent.

I've found the polymer clay to be my favorite but the oil doesn't soak in as quickly, and a few oils, such as lemon, fade almost immediately. I'm going to be trying a few designs to see what type of clay I prefer and which ones keep the scent the longest.

Meanwhile, Mary is coming up with some of the best designs so far. I'm going to copy her and use these for ideas on some children's diffuser necklaces. Her cookies, cupcakes, and ice creams are very cute but not formed in a way to hold essential oils, but I think I can fix that. Fun is the name of the game on this. I want necklaces that smell as pretty as they look.

I just need to come up with some cute kid designs that can also hold a drop of oil long enough for it to soak into the clay and adult necklaces that have lovely designs but are still made of clay that will hold a scent. I really liked a few of the prototypes above and may expand on that idea.

What designs would you like to see?

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