Holiday in Norway

I’ve spent the past three weeks in Norway, and now that I’m leaving in a day and a half (early, early Saturday morning) I figured I’d gather some thoughts.

I spent Christmas here along with my mum and two brothers. I won’t post pictures of them because I don’t think they want the fame and fortune (fame, anyway), so you’ll just have to imagine a family of four that look somewhat similar to each other. 🙂

Also cat.

Silke the Cat

This little beast.

The resident cat is named Silke (which means silk, because she’s so soft) and she’s a black, furry little thing with quite the personality. She’s as stubborn as any other cat I’ve met but also very, very cuddly and utterly destructive.

So yeah. We’ve had a few run-ins, me and the cat. But she sleeps in my bed at night, so I suppose it’s ok.

Christmas Tree

I don’t think this is the tree from this year and I don’t know why I have an old picture of our Christmas tree in my folder on the laptop, but there we are. That’s roughly what that corner of the living room looked like. Until we demolished all the presents, mwahahahaha*cough*haha!! *ahem*

The view here is spectacular. I grew up in this very house and lived here until I was 20, so to me it’s perfectly normal. But everyone else oohs and aahs over it, so I figured I’d include a picture.

View from Fardal

“Ooh! Aah!”

So that’s been my holiday. Well, the highlights anyway. I haven’t taken many pictures so this is what you get. 🙂 There are a couple more on Instagram, but I’ve been unforgivably lax with the camera for the last long while so don’t expect too much..!

Exciting Times and Small Offer

To say I have a lot on at the moment is a bit of an understatement. Between life, love, cats and Coffee, I barely have time for crafting right now!

I’m preparing to move house, which is why my social media presence has been a bit spotty lately. My living room at the moment is a mess of boxes, bags, drawers sitting on top of their houses, papers, books and all kinds of other bits and pieces! Still, no reason to let that disrupt business as usual, right?!

In more exciting news, Etsy has a new look coming! If you’re already on Etsy, you’ll probably have heard about this. (And if you haven’t, are you not reading your emails??) There will be a new store front, and pictures will be more important than ever. Including a cover image, which will span the top third of your computer screen when you view your shop, all the way across, and will be the first thing customers see!

Daunting, no?

I have a small, secret offer on, though. (All my offers seem to be secret lately, hmm…) I figure with so many Etsy sellers who have trouble making stuff in PhotoShop (or GIMP, or Canva, or…), I should offer my amateur services to the community. 😀

So, with every order of £25 or above (before postage, after discounts), you can request a full size cover image through a convo (with the same account you used for the purchase). By full size, I mean the full 3360×840 in 72dpi, i.e. screen resolution at full size.

If you want more than one cover image, or one that can change with the seasons, send me a convo and we’ll discuss the fee (order size).

Note that a logo is not included in this offer, so if you don’t already have one you want to use, I’ll put your shop name in one of the premade fonts I have available.

This is a great way to get both a new look for your shop and a gift for yourself or others at the same time!

Members of the Craft Britannia or Brighton Etsy teams get first dibs, so if you’re in one of those, make note of that in the convo. 🙂

What Do You Think You’re Doing, Victoria?!

So I desperately need rings. DESPERATELY. Rings, rings, rings. I need to buy them right now.

Ok, so secretly I’m (shh!) planning on going to one of my best friends’ wedding. She’s across the Pond (no, not Amy, don’t be silly. The Big Pond, the… fine. The Atlantic Ocean), and I have procured a barge and everything!

I wasn’t originally going to go, airfare is really expensive after all, but then I heard there will be tacos at the reception! Who can resist tacos, am I right??

However, now I’m thinking… what if someone sees me? I’m not supposed to be on another continent! Even for a wedding! So I need hush money, and quick.

This is where you come in.

I have shared this with you, yeah, just you, so that you can help me out. I don’t need much, most people are falling for my “I need rings” excuse, but you know the truth. You know that a wedding featuring a battle and a TARDIS cannot be ignored. (And the tacos. Don’t forget the tacos!)

Just for you, I have set up a massive discount code in my shop. So I’m not even asking for free money, see? I’m giving back to the community!!!

You can use the code SHHHH (that’s four Hs) at checkout in my Etsy shop to get 20% off! And you only have to spend £15 to qualify!

Quick! I can feel them coming… they might see this blog post… hurry!!!

Shhhh!

Materials Used in Chainmaille

I just got some nifty little flyers printed up, with basic cleaning instructions for the different metals I use in my chainmaille. I intend to include one of these with each order, so you’ll know what to do if it needs a bit of a clean.

It also occurred to me that I could write a blog post with a little bit more detail on each of the materials I use in my pieces. Now, I don’t use all the different jewellery grade metals out there, far from it. Precious metals aren’t really my thing, and there are other ones that I just haven’t got around to trying yet.

The main materials I use are Bright aluminium, Anodised aluminium, EPDM rubber, Stainless steel, Copper, Bronze and Brass.

Bright Aluminium

Bright Aluminium Dragonscale

Bright Aluminium Dragonscale

Bright aluminium is actually an aluminium alloy – it’s aluminium + magnesium. It is nickel free in theory, although a lot of the wire used is recycled so little particles can sneak in. Bright aluminium is shiny, almost chrome-like, but can dull to a grey colour. It’s extremely lightweight so even big pieces are very wearable.

Anodised Aluminium

Anodised Aluminium Flower

Anodised Aluminium Flower

This is aluminium which has been anodised. Anodisation is a chemical process involving acids and dye, which leaves the metal with all kinds of great colours. It’s practically hypoallergenic and just as lightweight as Bright aluminium.

EPDM Rubber

EPDM and Bright Aluminium Bracelet

EPDM and Bright Aluminium Bracelet

This is the only material I regularly use that’s not a metal. EPDM is a synthetic rubber, originally created for industrial use. It comes in loads of cool colours and it’s stretchy! It’s the easiest way to make bracelets without a clasp, and I usually pair it with Bright aluminium. EPDM is also completely latex free.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Bracelet

Stainless Steel Bracelet

Everyone knows what Stainless steel is, right? It’s an iron/chromium/nickel alloy that’s really hard, quite heavy and hardly ever rusts. Although Stainless steel contains nickel, it’s bonded in such a way that most allergy sufferers would never know it’s there. This makes it incredibly versatile and wearable as jewellery and accessories.

Copper

Copper is a very soft, heavy metal. It patinas over time, which you can either clean off or leave for an aged look. Some people have allergies to copper, and it’s mildly toxic if you get it in your body. (So no licking your jewellery. 😉 )

Bronze and Brass

Jewellers Brass Necklace

Jewellers Brass Necklace

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, or sometimes copper and another metal such as aluminium. It’s strong, heavy and ages beautifully. Brass, on the other hand, is an alloy of copper and zinc. It is softer than Bronze, but just as heavy. It will age in a similar fashion to Bronze and Copper and can be cleaned in the same way.

So how do I clean these things?

The aluminiums, rubber and steel can be cleaned really easily with hot water and soap. Use a mild dish soap and make sure you twist the rings about a bit so you get into every nook and cranny. Rinse well afterwards so you don’t end up with a skin reaction to the soap.

Copper, Bronze and Brass can all be cleaned with either a lightly acidic solution or a commercial cleaner. If you want to do it the homemade way, you can use a bit of ketchup or lemon juice. If you use a commercial cleaner, make sure you follow all the steps so no chemicals are left on the piece. Copper and copper alloys can also be left to patina (age), which will give it a finish that’s unique to your body chemistry.

So there you have it. A little bit about what I work with, and how to take care of it. I hope this has been informative and helpful, and if you have any questions just comment and I’ll try my best to answer. 🙂

New Years Resolutions, or Goals for 2016!

Everyone’s been doing their resolutions/goals posts already, because, y’know, January started 21 days ago and all. But hey, I’m continually late to the party so I’m going to do mine now. Yay!

I’m trying to focus on business goals while letting my personal life kind of meander on as it always does. I do have some personal goals as well, but I shall spare you having to listen to the usual personal betterment thing in this post. 🙂

So without further ramble:

  1. Rebrand!
    Well, that was easy. Done! Next!
  2. Make a profit.
    I still haven’t tallied up the numbers from last year so I might already be making a profit for all I know. I guess we’ll find out come tax season. 🙂
  3. Introduce new designs at least once a month.
    I guess this is the one that’s most interesting to readers of the blog. I’m going to try to expand my range more, and I’m going to do it properly. None of this “here’s a bigger version of this weave”, no, I insist on having completely new designs every month. January’s version was the Life Pendant, so now I have to start working on February’s design!
  4. Blog fortnightly.
    Well, the actual, unstated goal is to blog weekly. But I know what I’m like! My goal for the moment is fortnightly (that’s every two weeks for you non-Brits) and I’ll try my best to make it weekly instead, thereby fulfilling my goal AND being awesome.

There you have it! My goals! Now let’s see if I can keep up with my own brain. 🙂

The Big Rebranding!

Let it be known, among everyone – customers, fans and casual readers alike – that from this day on my business shall be known as Destai.

I am abandoning the Victoria Sol Jewellery name for a few different reasons. I feel I have grown out of it. It was a name I picked in haste when I first started, and I have now had nearly three years to think about it. I want a more “grown up” name, a name that people will associate with only me.

So Destai it is.

My Etsy shop has also changed its name – you can now find it at www.DestaiDesigns.etsy.com

Today shall mostly be spent changing around my branding, website, social media accounts and the like. 🙂

Yay!

Life Pendant Tutorial

Life Pendant Tutorial
By Victoria Sol

lifependants

This is a fairly simple pendant to make. The only real challenge is that you need to make two mobius units – in different directions! If you haven’t done this before, never fear. I will explain as best I can and if you’re finding it tricky, you can contact me in a comment on my blog and I’ll try my best to help further.

Now. You’re going to need the following ring sizes, or close enough (the pendant is relatively forgiving like that):

2.4mm WD, 27.5mm ID (AR 11.5) – 1 ring
1.6mm WD, 11.2mm ID (AR 7.1) – 10 rings
1.2mm WD, 8.5mm ID (AR 7.2) – 4 rings
1mm WD, 4mm ID (AR 4) – 20 rings

You can buy kits in my Etsy shop which contain enough rings for two pendants. The Bright Aluminium rings in the kits are supplied by Zili, whom I can highly recommend if you want to buy the rings in bulk instead.

Now for the actual instructions:

1. Create two mobius units, facing in different directions. Use the 1.6mm WD rings for this, with 5 rings in each mobius unit. If you’ve never made a mobius unit before, it’s a construct where every ring passes through every other ring. You make it by first closing one ring, then passing another ring through it, making sure to go from the bottom upwards and then lean it to the right. Let the two rings now work as one ring as you pass the next one upwards through both, and lean that one to the right as well. Continue following this pattern until you have a five ring mobius unit. It should look really neat, like in the picture. After you’ve made the first one, make the second one in the same way except lean every ring to the left instead.

life2

If you’re having trouble making mobius units, have a look at the M.A.I.L. website for further instructions: http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.php?key=244

2. Close the big (2.4mm WD) ring. This will be the outer frame.

life5

3. Connect one mobius unit to the frame, one ring at a time, using the smallest (1mm WD) rings. Make sure the mobius keeps its form during this – that the rings stay in the same orientation. It’s really easy to lose track of the rings during this step, so I’d recommend laying the whole thing down onto a table now and then to check the mobius unit is still neat.

life6

4. Connect the other mobius to the frame. Bet you didn’t see that coming! The first one will probably slide around a little bit, but try to get the two sections on roughly opposite sides of the frame.

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It should now look like this:

life9

5. Here comes the frustrating bit. You will now use two 1.2mm wire rings to connect the two mobius units (connected to the frame) together. Make sure you pass the rings through the very centre of the mobius units so every ring is connected to the other mobius section. Don’t lose hope if you can’t do it in five seconds, it sometimes takes me several minutes and it’s my design! Just be patient and keep at it. The second ring should be easier than the first, as you’ve already created a path.

life11

6. Finally, connect the last remaining of the same rings to the top of the frame ring to create a bail. You can now connect a chain, leather cord or any other kind of fastening you’d like.

life12

I hope you found this tutorial easy to follow and the pendant fun to make! Let me know what you think and I would love to see pictures of your finished pieces. Post them on my Facebook Page, tweet me or tag me on Instagram. I promise I’ll reply. 🙂

facebook.com/VictoriaSolJewellery
Twitter – @destaidesigns
Instagram – @destaidesigns

~

Victoria Sol appreciates etiquette:

As sold by Victoria Sol, the recommended retail price for this pendant is £15. Remember to value your skills and charge accordingly.

Please consider giving credit to the designer when selling or showcasing this design.

Thank you for reading!

This tutorial is copyright © Victoria Stedje 2016. Please do not reproduce, copy or teach this tutorial without express consent.
Items made using this tutorial can be sold freely.

Aaaaaaaaagggghhhhhhh

So apparently an entire year has passed again. What have I been up to? I don’t even remember! Karli from Designosaur suggested I look through my phone pictures, but I take entirely too few pictures to be able to rely on that!

I’ve spent a lot of time with my cat…

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And my boyfriend, but he likes to pretend he doesn’t exist so I don’t get to take pictures of him.

I got an engraver which I played around with a lot and I have properly started metal stamping, which means that metal stamped stuff will even show up in my Etsy shop soon!

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Ph34r my safety goggles! ;)

Ph34r my safety goggles! 😉

I’ve also made a bunch of new stuff through the year, but I think the thing I’m the most proud of is my Life Pendant.

lifependants

This pendant is available in my shop and I’ll be publishing a tutorial for how to make it and also sell kits with the rings needed very soon!

And then some more cat, because cat.

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I drank a lot of Coffee…

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I took part in two awesome Christmas markets – The Fairy Tale Fair and the Etsy Made Local Brighton Market! Here is a picture from The Fairy Tale Fair:

The Fairy Tale Fair, Brighton. Photo taken by www.sarahlondonphotography.co.uk

The Fairy Tale Fair, Brighton.
Photo taken by www.sarahlondonphotography.co.uk

I finally got some big girl chainmaille pliers! I’ve been using less specialised ones up until now, but my amazing friend gave me these for Christmas! 😀

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And all the way through the year I have had so much support from Craft Britannia and the Brighton Etsy Team! You are all the BEST! Yay! 😀

New and exciting stuff awaits in 2016, there will be more, more, MORE new things, exciting things, fabulous things, metal things, awesome things and other things!!!

Yay!