Mama Makers | Written in Metal

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June Mama Maker: Chandra Palmer with Written in Metal

Meet your Maker

When I started this feature, I knew straight away that I wanted to show off my pal, Chandra Palmer, to y’all.  She and I have worked together for about two years and we get along like peas and carrots.  Our kiddos are close to the same age (she has a 2 year old son named Weston whom she describes as “all-boy”, meaning she has a lifetime supply of stain eraser), our husbands are basically personality twins, and best of all, she totally gets my weird humor.  Bonus: she’s my go-to for stamped jewelry at insanely reasonable prices. Chandra was clutch this past Christmas when she made two gifts for me literally overnight, God love her. She makes seriously unique and fun pieces out of recycled metal, beads, old jewelry, leather, and other miscellaneous stuff that strikes her fancy.  I’ve ordered cuffs, bangles, countless necklaces, and I’ve got my eye on a fork ring.  Yeah, you heard me.  Fork ring.  Looks like stacked rings, but better.

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Here are a few favorites from my own collection:

Anywho, I recently sat down with Chandra to find out how she started her business, what inspires her, and how she finds time to create while chasing her boy out of mud puddles.

 

So, when did you start Written in Metal and what’s the story behind the name?

C: I started in May 2010 and actually, the original name that I chose was Thinguhmajig, but someone else already owned that name, so I changed it.  Since I stamp words and sayings, it made sense.  I literally write in metal.

How did you learn to make your pieces?  Did you take classes, was it a family tradition, self taught?  

C: I’m very much self taught.  A LOT of trial and error is involved.  I play around with different textiles and see how I can maneuver them to form what’s in my head.  Sometimes I scrap a piece before I’m halfway finished because I don’t like the colors together, or I stamp my words crooked.  It took a lot of practice to get the letter stamping down! But I think imperfection is something to be celebrated and I’m okay with figuring things out as I go.  Some of my favorite pieces were mistakes.

Speaking of, what your favorite thing you’ve made?

C:  Too hard to pick one!  I’m proud of everything I make, so it’s like picking a favorite child.  I do have a new technique that I’m slightly obsessed with…acid etching metal with a design and then stamping over it.  Takes some extra time, but so far the results are totally worth it.

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Where do you find inspiration for your products?

C:  Lots and lots of research.  I carry a notebook with me full of sayings and phrases and I’m constantly adding to it.  Pinterest is also a great source to keep up with motivational quotes and such, so I scroll through that a bunch.  I usually have a booth at the local craft shows and I get inspired by other artists there as well.  It’s also common for a client to request a special saying or maybe a bible verse.  My favorite is when a customer will describe what they’re wanting and then allow me to get creative with the piece.  For example, I’m working on a men’s archery bracelet for a company and the only thing they requested is that it look manly and incorporate an arrow.  So many possibilities, and I love it.

Where’s your favorite place to shop for your supplies?

C:  Etsy!  It’s my online swap-meet.  I also repurpose a lot, so I love junk fairs and antique booths.  Flea market hunting is my idea of a perfect afternoon.

As a mama, when do you find time to make your products?

C: When he is sleeping!!  There’s no working when he’s awake.  Weston keeps me on my toes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  When I’m on a time crunch, my husband is really good about getting him out of the house and off on manly adventures together.

Before you sit down to create, what do you HAVE to have on hand?

C:  Coffee, 100%.  And usually a long forgotten TV series to keep me company.  Currently, it’s Dawson’s Creek.  Joey + Dawson = Forever

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What three Instagram accounts are your favorite to follow for inspiration or fun?

C: 1921 Designs, Creative Carmella, and Your Words Cuffs.

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Where can we find your pieces? 

C: I have booths located at Wasted in Ft. Smith, AR and at The Locals in Prairie Grove.  You can also order through my Facebook page since I’m always posting new items there.  Oh, and I’ll be at the Junk Ranch this weekend, June 9 and 10, in Prairie Grove!  You should definitely check out the Junk Ranch!  It’s huge and has some incredible finds.

 

I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll definitely be going to the Junk Ranch this weekend!  Hope to see you there!

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DIY Spring Wreath on the Cheap

Fresh & Bright Spring Wreath for the Clueless Crafters

Happy Spring, y’all!  Today we’re going to talk about freshening up your front door with a super easy and relatively cheap DIY Spring wreath.

Now, listen, I’m no Martha Stewart.  I have a basic glue gun and basic craft skills, nothing fancy.  If you’re looking for fool-proof, easy peasy wreath that you can knock out while watching Dancing with the Stars, I’m your gal.

Here’s what you need

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Keep in mind, you’ll need an actual floral bunch (not a few blooms on a stem, but a good sized one.  This bad boy was $25, but I got it on sale for 50%).  20170327_185444-01I suggest going with hydrangea because 1) they’re gorgeous and 2) they’re a really full flower that hides wads of glue gun glue underneath.  Also, while non-wired ribbon will work in a pinch, do yourself a favor and get the wired.  So much easier to manipulate to look like an actual bow.

Let’s Get Started


  • First, strip your flower bunch down to the stems and sort the different types of flora and fauna into piles.  20170327_191812(0)-01
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    This should be all that’s left of your stem.


  • Next, start placing the largest leaves around the outside of the wreath.  You want to be able to see these poking out from the flowers, so be sure to keep them towards the outside.  Otherwise, you’ll have to readjust after you put on the flowers, and that’s a big ol mess.

  • Once you’ve places all your leaves, start laying out your flowers until you like the arrangement.  I suggest laying them out BEFORE gluing them down, in case you need to move them around a bit.  Also, in the picture above with the flora/fauna piles, I have the stems still attached.  Yeah, lop those off. I ended up cutting the flowers all the way down to the base as that helps the flower face outwards.

  • Now that you know where you want your flowers to go, glue those pansies down.  20170327_200919-01

  • Flowers all glued? Great!  Next, start weaving in the extra leaves and berries and stuff into the outside of the wreath, between the flowers and the big leaves.  There’s no rhyme or reason to this part, just be creative and try to get it even so there’s enough all around the outside of the wreath.  Didn’t take a picture of this part, but you’ll be able to see in the final version how I just basically tossed the leftover vines and jazz in there willy nilly.

  • Almost done. Now we’re going to make the bow.  I’m not going to even pretend to teach you how to do that.  Instead, this is the easiest tutorial I’ve found on Pinterest and have used it multiple times.  Doesn’t fail.  Just be sure to have the wire ready before you start twisting the ribbon.  You’re welcome.

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    ugh, my carpet is so ugly….ignore, please and thank you…

     


  • Place the bow where ever you’re heart desires.  I tried to balance my bow opposite the thicker side of the flowers, so you may want to try that if yours isn’t totally symmetrical.  But, really, what is?  This is art, people!20170327_204728-01

And that’s it!  Let me know how yours turned out and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got any tips to share with the class!

xoxo

Kat