Monday, April 14, 2014

Mother's Day Sale
I’m having a fabulous sale! Here at Kottage Kreations, you’ll find hand stamped jewelry, personalized jewelry, custom jewelry ~ very unique! I use a variety of metals including nickel silver, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, gold filled and sterling silver.
I try to make my pieces at all different price levels so everyone can afford to grab a little something for themselves.
If you have any questions or would like to order a custom piece please contact me at http://kottagekreations.etsy.com
Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How-Tuesday: DIY Lip Balm in Upcycled Containers

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods
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Briar crafts botanical apothecary products in her TriBeCa studio, with a focus on organic botanicals, local honey and beeswax.
A simple batch of handmade lip balm is the perfect way to put a collection of tiny vintage and upcycled tins and jars to good use. A welcome companion at any time of the year, you may even find yourself dipping into it to soothe dry cuticles or a dry patch of skin on the backs of your hands, too, as I often do.This project should take about 30 minutes, though the melting time depends on the size of your batch. (Note: It’s best to start with a small batch until you’ve settled on your favorite formula.) With a few tools that you probably already have in your kitchen and a selection of butters, waxes and oils, you can experiment to your heart’s content.
Equipment:
  • Kitchen scale, for weighing out ingredients
  • Heat-proof glass measuring cup (Pyrex works well)
  • Saucepan with water
  • Stovetop
  • Spoons, for scooping butters and oils
  • Small droppers, for dispensing essential oils
  • Chopstick, for stirring the mixture
  • Paper towels, for catching drips and tidying up. Normally I am not a fan of paper towels in the kitchen, but wax can be awfully tricky to get out of nice dishtowels.
  • Small tins or jars. I’ve found many lovely tins at my local sweets shop, at antique shops and flea markets, and here on Etsy. I even found a collection of very tiny vintage tins made for holding watch parts that would hold adorably elfin lip balm portions.
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Materials:
There are so many wonderful options widely available online for the butters, waxes and oils that will make up the balm. Begin by taking into consideration your own (or your giftee’s) preferences and sensitivities. I personally love the scent and texture of beeswax (which I get from a local beekeeper), but vegans may want to consider candellilla wax. Some of my favorite skin-nourishing oils and butters include coconut, sesame, apricot kernel, sweet almond, olive, shea butter and cocoa butter. Adding a few drops of vitamin E (seek out a non-GMO vitamin E, if you can) helps protect the oils from oxidation.
To scent the balm, assemble a few of your favorite essential oils.* Here are a few ideas for fragrances and combinations in harmony with the seasons:
  • Spring calls for something light and floral: geranium, neroli (orange blossom) or pink grapefruit.
  • Summer inspires visions of freshly cut herbs: rosemary, mint and tarragon, or the beachy tropical combination of ylang ylang and vanilla.
  • Fall loves warmth and spice: cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, dried ginger, vanilla or even chocolate.
  • Winter wants bright and delicate citrus notes (mandarine, bergamot), fresh ginger or jasmine (think of your favorite conservatory garden in February).
*A word of caution about citrus essential oils: in very small quantities, they can add something very beautiful to your blend. Be very careful about adding too much, though, as they can be photo sensitizing to the skin.
Process:
Begin by making sure your work area, your equipment and your hands are sparkling clean and dry. Any moisture introduced into the balm will dramatically shorten its lifespan.
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If you are using vintage or upcycled containers, make sure these are all clean and dry as well. I like to clean my containers and tools with medical alcohol before use to ensure that they are free from contaminants. Once they are cleaned, set the containers aside, ready for the finished balm to be poured in.
Combine your chosen wax, butters and oils in the glass measuring cup, weighing each ingredient out as you go and recording your starting formula. I prefer to divide my beeswax into little chunks with a small knife (be cautious, as the beeswax will be quite firm) and to work on a piece of parchment paper set over a cloth towel on a firm surface. Many people prefer using a grater for their beeswax, but it can be difficult to remove the beeswax afterwards. Be certain you’re ready to commit a grater to this use exclusively before diving in.
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Experiment to find the combination you prefer, beginning with a ratio of about 1:2 liquids (oils) to solids (butters and waxes), or 1:1:1 (liquids to butters to waxes). Set the glass measuring cup into the saucepan of water, making sure that the water comes far enough up the sides of the cup to provide even heat. Gently begin to heat the water, keeping an eye on the contents of the cup at all times and stirring with a chopstick occasionally to encourage even melting. Don’t allow the water to come to a boil, or even much of a simmer, as you don’t want water droplets splashing into your mixture.
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Adjust as you go along by placing a few drops of the mixture onto a clean dish and testing the consistency with your fingertip after it cools. If the balm is too firm, add a bit more oil. If it’s too soft, add just a bit more wax, being sure to write down your formula for future batches.
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When all the ingredients have melted together, remove from the heat and add your chosen scents. Start with one drop at a time of essential oil, using a new dropper for each essential oil. You can always let a small droplet of the mixture fall onto a clean saucer to test the concentration. Be mindful of the sensitive skin of the lips when adding your essential oils: it’s best to keep the concentration light and subtle. If the mixture begins to harden while you’re working, simply set the measuring cup back into the warm water briefly to loosen it. It’s best not to heat the mixture much after adding the essential oils, as the oils are volatile and delicate and can lose their character if overheated. Add a few drops of vitamin E, if using.
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Once you are satisfied with your scent, give the mixture one final stir to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Be sure to dry the bottom of the measuring cup thoroughly to be sure no water droplets are clinging to it that could slide into the tins as you pour, and then gently pour the mixture into your prepared containers. Leave uncovered until set and completely cool.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

First of all I made a sale today, yay! It was my wax seal monogram ring that sold so that has made my day.

Secondly I have been making some silver leaves, the reason being is that I ran out of silver clay but have loads of paste so I thought I would utilize it and make some leaves.  Im not sure what the outcome of them will be yet but I am pretty sure they will be oxidized and turned into necklaces, maybe combining them with gemstones.



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Another's trash is another's treasure

This chair was found and it needed some TLC. I decided to give it a beautiful make-over to match my studio!


So what do you think?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter 2013 Collection

Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Why not give a special keepsake for your sweetheart this year. I'm having a sale right now. Visit my shop for details!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sea Urchin Treasures



I love the sea- I am a Cancer, and while I am always a little skeptical about "star-signs" the one, thing that has held true to me "star-sign-nature" is my love of the sea, water, swimming- and shells... I don't collect shells or have bottles of them next to my bath ( although I might look into that in my pure white dream beach-house one day), but when I find a simple elegant idea like this one, I fall in love.

I am dying for a Sea-Urchin pendant. Created by African Urchin. Their slogan is "Worn by people, made by the sea" and their idea is simple- capturing the beauty and delicate pattern of the sea Urchin, crafetd by nature over time in the deep blue,  ( read their story here) through their process of dipping the shell into silver or gold- I love the simple silver urchin, although the rose gold has also caught my eye... and I am desperate to have one of these beautiful pieces around my neck for summer.




How beautiful are all the colors in these images-
my favorite, natural and raw

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale at Kottage Kreations

With Christmas fast approaching why not give those you love a handmade gift. Stop in and look at 

As you shop, please use coupon code CYBERMONDAY20 for 20% off everything in my shop. That includes any custom orders as well!



Working my tail off these passed few weeks has kept me really busy. That's a good thing. It means the world to me to be able to afford gifting to my family this season. 

I thought I'd take a few minutes to share some new items I lovingly created in a spare moment. 

This is my absolute favorite ring I handcrafted out of PMC fine silver metal clay. After I create the rose one petal at a time, piecing the petals to form a beautiful rose sculpture, it then goes under a low setting of a hair dryer for 30 minutes to harden and dry. Then it goes into a kin, which is at a temperature of 1,800 degrees for 30 minutes. After the firing, I meticulously file, sand and burnish this beauty. It then gets soldered to yet another beauty, the handcrafted hammered shank. The very last step is to polish with a polishing cloth, rinsed off with water and dried, then I'm finally done. I only use my hands, no machines aside from the kiln.  A lot of love and care goes into all of my work. I enjoy every moment! I know it will be cherished by the new owner, which makes it that much more special to me!
Here it is!
I can`t tell you how elated I am to be able to create these for a customer.

Today is cyber Monday. I hope to see you in my shop for a visit at Kottage Kreations!
xoxo
Laurie

p.s. here is my ultimate favorite creation from 2009!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sharing some new from my Kottage

I've been really busy in the studio. My muse has been getting the best of me! I love working with copper, so I purchased some copper metal clay. It's so easy to work with and it fires in the kiln nicely. I have a brand new love! Here are a few things I've created. Available for purchase in my shop too :)

This pendant is made with a gorgeous and very detailed wild rose motif. As you can see, I enjoy making quite a lot of nature themed jewelry. Roses are my absolute favorite flowers (Maybe it's because I'm a June babe).

Because I make these all by my own hands, the pendant size can be customized. This one measures approximately 1/2". Petite and extremely beautiful. I've given it a patina bath to bring out all of the details and natural cracks, grooves and the many other textures in this piece. This pendant has been strung along an 18" sterling silver box chain, but can be customized with a ball chain, a curb link chain, or whatever style preferable.
 

I absolutely fell in love with the design of this ring. I made the rose one petal at a time. It truly is life-like. The rosebud has been cradled atop a band that resembles a twig or branch. I truly tried to make the band as natural looking as possible. There's texture and cracks that have been darkened a bit with a patina bath once again with this piece. I haven't taken it off since it was born :)

Here's a wax seal initial pendant I made in copper. I've accentuated it paired up along a sterling silver curb link chain. Again, the chain is customizable, depending on your taste. I also offer these pendants in fine silver in my shop.

Oh wow, how I love this ring! Again, I haven't taken mine off. I love the shabby chic style this piece gives off. It has such an old-world feel to it. French, Louisiana, Parisian ... well that's my style. It has a wax seal look to it as well, which I simply adore!

I handcrafted this little daintiful (I made this word up), charm in copper and it sits atop a sterling silver shank. I craft each ring in all sizes. If you prefer the shank in copper, that's do-able. I just love the mixed metal style!
 This ring is another rose mixed with a sterling silver band. I hate to admit it, but I did a boo-boo on this piece! The rose simply moved on me when soldering. It wanted to be placed on the side instead of on top of the band. Well, it turned out pretty after all! I may just add a handcrafted silver or copper leaf to make a pretty pop of interest.

 This ring is a bit of whimsical and romance all rolled into one. I've given it a hammered texture for a rustic feel. I've given it a patina bath to bring out even more of that rustic look. The band is doubled up and oh so comfortable. It truly feels like wearing nothing, it's so light and airy!
 I have a love for sparkle (ha!) This ring is of a golden druzy, a sterling silver crown bezel and band. Fit for a queen! I offer up any colors in the rainbow and then some in this style. My favorite is the maroon druzy, and the gorgeous Snow White druzy I have listed in my shop. Check them out!! They are stunners.
 I have a love for unique jewelry. I love the old and hammered looks, like the rustic style this ring offers up. I have left it blank, but I can hand stamp whatever words are desired if you'd like.

 I have had my eye on this turquoise stone for quite some time. It was love at first sight! It's so hard to resist passing up beauty like this. I just love the copper paired up with this spectacular stone. It has so much copper striations and veins that naturally they look amazing paired up together. The stone has been prong set onto a copper band. All uniquely handcrafted and extremely gorgeous. All sizes available!


I hope you've enjoyed the preview of my showcase. Be sure to stop into my shop for more amazing jewelry I have to offer. If I can customize a specific jewel for you, it will be my utmost pleasure. By the way, I'm having a Fall sale right now, so be sure to stop in and see more of my pieces I have available.

Have a fabulous weekend!


Etsys Future

This is my one-woman workspace.  Chaos is free.
This is my one-woman workspace. Chaos is free.













This is a picture of my workspace. It ain’t pretty, but it’s where pretty things are made. It’s my one woman factory.
Etsy made big news a couple of weeks ago when it announced that factory made goods and drop shipping would now be allowed on the site.  Drop shipping allows for factories to make many of something and send it to a third party to be shipped out.
For many who shop on Etsy to have a clearer connection with the people who make what they wear and use every day, this is going to be confusing. For one-woman businesses who do it all and have built their shops on Etsy and earn their livelihood there, this may be devastating.
What this will mean for small businesses like myself is invisibility, as Etsy’s search becomes flooded with products you can find on Amazon or Ebay. Some are saying Etsy may be bought by Amazon in the future, and there are many changes Etsy has made internally that have already shaped it to be more like Amazon.
While this will mean challenges for me as a seller, if there is anything I have learned in the two and a half years of building my business, anything is possible as long as you have a little mountain goat attitude. It is time to evolve. I’ll be sharing these changes– a new online shop, other online selling communities– as I make these changes.
I have started by creating my own independent online shop.
What I mourn is my experience as a buyer on Etsy.  I could easily find the products of creative hands and get the feel of an individual’s vision, a glimpse of her creative process and in some way engage with this. This could be found easily through Etsy’s internal search engine, which may now be flooded with factory made goods.
Michael Wolf's Photo of a Chinese Factory Worker
Michael Wolf’s Photo of a Chinese Factory Worker
Oddly, as more and more sellers bemoan the “Made in China” goods sold at prices with which small living room operations like myself can’t compete, I have wondered what handmade means, and what I have in common with the workers in these Chinese Factories.
Around the same time Etsy’s CEO made this announcement, I found this photo essay by Michael Wolf of Chinese Factory Workers and the Toys they make.  Now that Etsy is featuring “artists” whose work is made by “interns”, I’m fantasizing about what Etsy’s coverage of selected makers will look like when the factory workers, like the women in Michael Wolf’s photos, get to speak.  It is of course a fantasy.
This is a missed opportunity– rather than Etsy reaching out to international cooperatives that might be working with free trade models and broadening its international focus to bring goods to its conscious, savvy shoppers, it’s totally confusing things and going for profit margins, betraying all the hard working one-person shops who’ve worked hard publicising the site and making Etsy what it is today.
While my hours are sometimes very long, and my callouses are painful, I still don’t have the resources for interns and personal assistants. The new Etsy would like to cater to sellers who outsource the making of their goods because it means more volume and money for them. The decision makers at Etsy are looking a lot like the big businesses insisting on the bottom line, and the creative hands and hearts that originally built the site are ransomed in the process.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stacking Rings Are In!

I've created the perfect stack rings designed to allow you to wear them individually or stack them to create you own unique look.
I enjoy wearing a lot of jewelry and have no problems mixing and matching the rings to create a unique stack of 3 or 4 rings. I enjoy the flexibility of mixing and matching the rings according to my mood or the colors I am wearing.






Silver and gemstone stacking rings - Kottage Kreations

A totally unique, handmade stacking ring featuring a sterling silver band of approx 1.5 - 2mm wide with a smooth finished band with a stunning 6mm faceted rose cut London Blue Topaz and Amethyst gemstones, set into sterling silver.

Each ring is totally unique, no two will ever be the same. Very organic and natural feeling with a hint of frivolous spring!

Individual rings can be purchased for $36.00 each.

The last pic shows two of these rings stacked together - please note that this is for one (1) ring.

They're now available in my shop at http://kottagekreations.etsy.com