Wedding Season – Matching Jewelry for California Almond Orchard Engagement Photo Shoot

Happy March! Wedding season is upon us, and this year I get to make the jewelry Almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

for my own wedding! I’ve already designed the necklace I will wear, and next items on my list are the jewelry for my sister (maid of honor) and her daughters (flower girls.)

Last weekend we took a drive out into the California valley, and had a mini engagement shoot in an almond orchard. We were a little late in the blooming season – most of the blossoms are at their peak around mid February, but we were able to find one area that still had some pretty white petals.

Of course, I made myself a bracelet and earrings set to match my dress! The bracelet is multi-strand and features beautiful vintage glass, olive and plum freshwater pearls, and large link brass chain, all finishing with an ivory satin tie-up ribbon. I made some petite vintage glass drop earrings to go with it.

The bracelet and earring set..

Engagement Photo Shoot Jewelry - Victoria Camp Designs

A close-up with the bracelet, and a different image where you can see it in action!

Engagement Photo Shoot Jewelry - Victoria Camp Designs

 

I absolutely had to take a photograph of my beautiful engagement ring (an Edwardian antique) over one of the almond blossoms in the orchard!

Antique engagement ring over almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

Most of the blooms here had already fallen, giving way to the little green leaves, but you can see there were still a few hanging on. The ground was filled with flower petals.. they were dropping right before our eyes!

Image

There were LOTS of honeybees buzzing about. I’m daydreaming about almond blossom honey..Mmm.

Honey bee in almond blossom - by Victoria Camp

This is my favorite time of year – spring is well underway in California!

Constellation Lockets in the Etsy Finds

I hadn’t gotten a chance to post this earlier, but my hand painted tiny constellation locket necklaces are in Etsy’s holiday gift guide: Editor’s Picks: Personalized Gifts. I took a screen capture from the website:

Pretty awesome, right?

You can order your own constellation locket through my website: http://www.victoriaallison.com/Zodiac-Constellation-Necklace-on-Vintage-Locket-p/smconstellationlocket-brass.htm I currently (as of Nov. 25th) have at least one of each constellation made and ready to ship, so the turnaround time isn’t quite as long as stated at this moment.

Time to get back to work .. enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Oakland Rose Garden and a Special Giveaway

Having only lived in the bay area a few years, there’s still so much we haven’t discovered or visited yet. One of the “places to see” on my list was the Morcom Rose Garden in Oakland. Given that we have dry season here almost year round, I figured there were only a few months of the year when I could catch the roses in full bloom after the California rains have finally fallen.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting this beautiful garden last month with one of my nieces, and I am so glad we went! The garden was much larger than I had anticipated. Among the rows upon rows of gorgeous roses, each one different (and labeled!.. although I didn’t bring a notebook..) the garden also had a gigantic multi-tiered waterfall that cascaded down the hill.

We meandered through each pathway and took many pictures, of course! Here’s a few of my favorites.

See the resemblance?!

Well, that garden sure was inspiring, to say the least. Now onto the giveaway!

As part of my Etsy Christmas in July special (and because I just love flowers, which is obvious) I’m giving away a pair of my Petite White Clay Rose Earrings! Want to win them? Here’s how to enter:

Required: Leave a comment telling me what your favorite kind of flower is. No, it doesn’t have to be roses to qualify. 😉

Additional Entries: Up to two bonus entries can be earned by doing either of the following (Please leave a separate comment for each additional entry)..

A. Become a fan of Victoria Camp Designs on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/victoriacampdesigns. Leave a comment here to tell me you did! (Addendum 7/11: Already a FB fan? Gain this extra entry if a friend signs up! For privacy, just let me know their initials in your comment here so that I can verify on my page that they’ve joined. FYI, fan name lists do not show up publicly on the FB page!)

B. “Pin” one of my jewelry items onto Pinterest and comment with the link of your pin! Items can be pinned from my Etsy shop, Website, or this blog. You can pin as many items as you want, but please be aware that only one extra entry per person will qualify.

Entries will be accepted from 7/11/2012-7/22-2012 midnight PST. I will randomly select a winner using a number generator from random.org on 7/23/2012. Winner will be notified via email and announced on this entry. Good luck!

7/23/2012- Time’s up! Congratulations to winner number 11, Marj!

Patterson House Jewelry Inspiration

Last summer I visited the Ardenwood Historic Farm (and Patterson House, located on the property) in Fremont, CA. If you live in the bay area and haven’t been here yet, I recommend it! This place is pretty awesome. They have various gardens and animals (sheep, goats, etc.) as well as an on-site blacksmith. Throughout the year they hold various events and festivals, depending on the season. It’s a great place for kids, but I’m an adult (sans kids) and I had fun too.

 

The highlight for me was the gorgeous Victorian Patterson House, the focal point of the property. This home was built by George Patterson in the mid 1800s, and underwent various additions and renovations throughout the remainder of the century. Let me tell you – this place is GORGEOUS. They have a lot of the original furniture, which thankfully has stayed with the family, and the architecture of the building is just beautiful. Each room in the house has so many historical nooks and crannies, you could spend all day in there. I took a guided tour with a dear friend of mine, but to be honest, we ended up ‘lagging’ behind everyone else, because we couldn’t stop photographing everything we laid eyes on!

 

By the time we finished the house tour, I was inspired. I knew this house was going to be influential in my designs, especially for bridal. I already completed an entire Spring Bridal Collection based on this amazing Art Nouveau chandelier in one of the bedrooms:

 

Patterson House chandelier - by Victoria Camp

 

Stunning, isn’t it? It’s not only one of my favorite pieces from the home, but one of my favorite chandeliers of all time. Ever. Seriously.

 

Anyway, every time I look at the pictures from this home, I get inspired all over again. Here’s a few favorites that inspired some new pieces in my shop..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you see why I was inspired?

 

Here’s a couple of new designs I made based on my Patterson House guest bedroom inspiration..

 

 

White Rose White Pearls Bridal Necklace with Ribbon Tie - Victoria Camp Designs

White Rose White Pearls Bridal Necklace with Ribbon Tie (2) - Victoria Camp Designs

 http://www.etsy.com/listing/99495719/white-rose-and-white-pearl-ribbon

Peach Pink Rose White Pearls Locket Necklace - Victoria Camp Designs

 

Peach Pink Rose White Pearls Locket Necklace 2 - Victoria Camp Designs

http://www.etsy.com/listing/99494344/pink-rose-and-white-pearl-locket

That’s all for today. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

1000th Sale Milestone – Shop Sale and $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

Happy Monday!

I am excited to announce that I have reached a milestone – 1000 sales in my shop on Etsy! I am so thrilled and grateful for all of your support in helping me reach 4-digits, and wanted to celebrate with you!

Now through Sunday May 13th, I’m holding a shop-wide sale for 10% off any purchase. The discount has already been applied to the listings, so there’s no need to use a coupon code or anything else.

I’m also holding a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to my store! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and let me know which of my designs is your favorite. It can be something you have already purchased, or something you would like to own! I’ll use Random.org to choose a winner at random from all of the entries. Leave your comment on this post before Monday May 14th at 11pmPST. Comment entries are now completed for this giveaway. Thanks to all who participated! The winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday the 15th and will be announced here!

Now it’s time to hold a sweet little celebration of my own..with a pint of my favorite gelato on this gorgeous sunny day!  🙂

 

—-

The winning number has been selected! Congrats, Lillea!

DIY Easter Chick Necklace

Victoria Camp Designs - Easter Chick Tutorial

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, Easter inspiration will be popping up everywhere you look. I’ve decided to join in on the fun and offer a DIY tutorial on how to make your very own Easter chick necklace! The original little marshmallow treat these are inspired by are quite popular here in the United States – typically most people either love them or hate them. If you’re in the “love” group, you’re sure to enjoy the following tutorial! These instructions are for a necklace, but you can create the chick for any use (bracelet, earrings, or just to put on your desk!)

DIY Easter Chick Tutorial

Materials needed:

– Yellow Polymer Clay

-Brown Polymer Clay

– Flat end head pin

– Finished necklace chain

– Pliers (round nose and flat nose recommended)

– Waxed paper (for keeping your work surface clean)

– Aluminum foil (for baking the clay in the oven)

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 1: Gather your materials (listed above.) As you can see, I like the Sculpey brand clay. I think it’s softer to work with than some of the other brands, but any brand of polymer clay will work!

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 2: Break off a small piece of yellow polymer clay, and begin to knead and soften the clay. This is called “conditioning” the clay.

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 3: Once the clay has been conditioned, roll it into a ball.

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 4: Hold the clay in one hand, and use your other hand to gently make an “edge” around the entire perimeter of the bottom of the ball.

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 5: You can see the “edge” along the bottom of the ball here. Make the edge a little longer on one end of the ball. This will be the “tail” of the chick.

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 6: Working on the longer end of the edge, pinch the clay together to form a soft point. (The “tail”.)

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 7: Working towards the tail end, gently pinch the clay upward from the round dome/top section (this will be the head.)

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 8: Working with the head area you just formed, gently pinch the tip of it and fold it towards the front of the chick (to form the beak.)

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 9: Keep pinching the “beak” section until it has formed a small point. You can then gently push the beak downward a little bit, if you so desire.

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 10: Now it’s time for the eyeballs! Using a pin (or the pointed end of the headpin) press a small dot onto each side of the head where you’ll be placing the eyes.

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 11: Using a VERY small piece of brown clay (smaller than you think you’ll need! Smaller than showing here!) make a teeny tiny round dot of clay for each eyeball.

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 12: This is where the eyeball placement comes in handy. Gently press the tiny piece of brown clay eyeball into each side of the head. You can use your fingers, or the tip of the headpin to put the clay in place. Gently press down on the clay with your finger to set it in place and flatten it slightly.

Victoria Camp Designs

Close-up of the completed chick (with eyes!)

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 13: Starting from the underside of the chick, gently push the headpin through the clay, making sure the flat part is on the bottom. I like to angle the pin so it exits out behind the chick’s head, although you can certainly angle it any way you choose.

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 14: Bake the clay in your oven according to package instructions. (Mine went in for 15 minutes at 275F. Your temp/times will vary based on the brand of clay and size of your chick.)

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 15: Once the clay has baked and cooled, you’ll want to form a wire wrapped loop with the end of the head pin. Here’s an easy tutorial from Artbeads if you aren’t sure how to do that part already: http://www.artbeads.com/howtomawrlo.html

Victoria Camp Designs

Step 16: Attach the chick onto your necklace chain/ribbon/etc. (I had pre-made my chain already. You can make your own chain, or buy a pre-made chain. You could also slip the charm onto a ribbon.)

Victoria Camp Designs

Ta-da! Here’s the finished necklace!

Victoria Camp Designs

You can make these in any color of clay you choose, and for any type of jewelry. This photo is an example of various colors I had made for earrings.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! I’ve been working with polymer clay for over 15 years. It’s really very fun, and those with any level of skill can create something! You can browse some of my other clay creations in my Etsy shop, Victoria Allison Jewelry.

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas 2012

As February approaches, so does the particular occasion where we express our (undying?) love and devotion to that special someone in our lives…[Even if that special someone is yourself…]

Yes, I’m talking Valentine’s Day!

Okay – I’ll admit – obviously we should be showing our love and appreciation on any given day of the year, but I think it’s fun to do something romantic or sweet and silly for Valentine’s Day.  Don’t have a certain special someone? Why not do something for your best friend instead!

While my own Valentine’s Day tradition always involves some kind of homemade chocolate indulgence (a must!,) I thought I’d share a little compilation of fun Valentine’s gift ideas for those of you shopping for something unique. Here are some of my personal favorites:

Fun Valentine's Day Ideas 2012

Items shown:

1. Do You Like Me? Check Yes or No – Sweetheart Cuff Bracelet – $25 (I have 3 different styles of these available, but the check-boxes version is really a classic!)

2.  Valentine Card – 3D Hearts $4 (Yes, this is indeed awesome. You can write your own personal 3D message inside too!)

3. Greeting Card – Just The Way I Am $4 (For those with a sense of humor!)

4. Sterling Silver and Pink Pearl Drop Earrings $27 (One of my favorite earring styles, with vintage sterling silver and freshwater pearls. Available in other colors if pink isn’t your recipient’s style.)

5. Custom Couples’ Portrait Hand Carved Stamp $70 (A usable work of art! You can stamp your faces everywhere! 🙂 This would be a really great idea to use on wedding invites or Thank You cards.)

6. Hand Blown Glass Anatomical Heart In a Jar $95 (Another work of art. A really unique and interesting piece!)

7. Fleur de Sel Swirl Marshmallows $10 (Having eaten both marshmallows and caramel from this shop, I can attest to the fact that their sweets are AMAZINGLY delicious! Super friendly shop owners, too. Definitely a great gift!)

8. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffles $12.95 (I haven’t tried these yet but I’m pretty sure they are delicious just by the photo alone! You really can’t go wrong with a chocolate/raspberry combo.)

Clearly I could make a list of dozens of gift ideas, but I thought I’d spare you this time. All of these gifts can be found on Etsy following the links. Enjoy!

Have any Valentine’s gift ideas you’d like to share? Maybe a favorite dessert recipe? Let me know in the comments!

Fine Silver Rose Earrings

Happy 2012! I’ve been using my new kiln for the past month, and wanted to share one of my new (sort of!) designs. “New,” referring to the medium more-so than the design. If you’ve visited my website or Etsy storefront, you’re probably familiar with my clay roses. I’ve recently returned to working with precious metal clay, and decided what better to use to start off with than the roses?

For those that aren’t familiar with precious metal clay, let me give you a brief explanation: precious metal clay is composed of microscopic particles of precious metal, held together with an organic binder. Although the working properties of this clay are slightly different than other clays (for example, it dries out much faster) it can be cut/shaped/molded/carved in a similar fashion. The clay is then dried, fired (heated/cured,) then burnished (hardened,) polished and buffed. The organic binder is burned off in the firing process, leaving just the metal behind! Pretty neat, huh?

Precious metal clay is available in fine silver, copper, bronze, gold (22k) and most recently sterling silver.  I’m using fine silver right now, since I’m already familiar with it, and will be using the copper next! (Note: Fine silver is higher quality and does contain more silver than sterling silver: .999 instead of .925.)

I thought I’d share a few photos from the process involved in making my fine silver rose earrings. It takes a long time to complete each rose (and earring) but the finished result is beautiful and well worth the effort.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose earrings

(A finished pair of fine silver rose earrings.)

First and foremost, I shape the clay. I make the fine silver roses by hand, petal by petal – the same process used in my polymer clay roses. (No molds are ever used for my roses – each one is unique!) I sand and smooth the clay, then let them dry.. sometimes overnight, sometimes in the kiln.

Next, I fire the roses in my kiln. The temperature I use ranges from 1200-1500F degrees, depending on the design. (Yes, that is HOT!)

Victoria Camp Designs - kiln

Once the roses are fired and have cooled down, I take them out of the kiln. They appear “white.” This is a crystallized layer that must be burnished to remove. You can use a tumbler or a burnishing tool.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose1

I use a hand burnishing tool for these, since I need to get in between all of the little creases and crevices of the petals. You can see on the top right petal, burnishing also makes it shiny! (It helps harden the metal, too.) The rose must be burnished on all sides, top to bottom, around every edge.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose2

Once burnished, the rose looks shiny. As you can see, the final product is in fact a solid metal piece. This one is fine silver, which contains more silver (.999) than sterling silver (.925.)

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose3

“Shiny” silver is nice, but I want a little more depth in this rose design. My next step is to oxidize the silver. Both fine silver and sterling silver will naturally oxidize over time (this happens with exposure to air, water, etc.) but I use a chemical solution to speed up the process. Here you can see that the roses have oxidized, and look dark gray/black. I actually like how these look oxidized, but will keep going..

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose4

After oxidizing, I polish the outer edges and petals of the roses (as well as the earring posts) to return certain areas to a pretty shine. I use a polishing pad and polish each rose by hand. You can see that I have left some of the oxidization on the inner portion of the petals, to create some texture and depth.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose5

A close-up of the rose.. doesn’t that look pretty? I definitely prefer the oxidized details over the previously completely shiny rose.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver rose6

Here’s a photo of the roses in various stages.. Starting from the left, the two light gray roses are fine silver clay that has been sculpted and dried. They are ready to go in the kiln, but haven’t been fired yet. The shiny silver rose to the right of them has been fired and also burnished. The two small roses to the right of that have been fired, burnished, oxidized, and polished. The earring I am holding has also gone through the complete process as well, from creating to firing to finishing.

Victoria Camp Designs - fine silver roses

 

The item listing for the petite fine silver rose earrings can be found here:

http://www.victoriaallison.com/Hand-Formed-Small-Fine-Silver-Rose-Earrings-p/finesilverroseearrings-small.htm

Project Green Challenge

I’ve had the opportunity to include my map locket necklaces in the Project Green Challenge this month! This project was put together to help teens learn about living an eco-friendly/green lifestyle, including small changes they can make in their everyday life that add up to a big difference overall. One section of the challenge includes a look book, with 30 different looks (one for each day of the month) incorporating eco-friendly and/or green products – from clothing to shoes and accessories!

My necklaces are included in the outfits for days 2, 5, and 12.

Day 2

Day 5

Day 12

You can check out these styles and the rest of the look book here: http://projectgreenchallenge.com/look.php The look book was curated and styled by my talented friend Megan.

Winter Bridal 2012 Photoshoot Sneak Preview

Wow – it’s been a busy September! I’ve been gearing up for the photo shoot for my Winter 2011/2012 Bridal line. I am SO very excited about this one!

The shoot will be held in the gorgeous lobby of the Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley, CA. I won’t give away all of the details for the shoot and collection (I love the element of surprise!) but I thought I’d give you a little sneak preview of what has been keeping me so busy the past 4-6 weeks.

I had a very specific aesthetic in mind in both designing this collection and considering the styling options for the photo shoot. There are a lot of beautiful vintage rhinestone pieces and even more clear vintage glass beads, and I wanted to follow the same path of the vintage meets modern vibe. Admittedly, I have “perfectionist” tendencies, which can be both a blessing and a curse. In other words, I wanted the dress to be perfect for the shoot, too!

What’s a girl to do? Well, this girl happens to have a degree in fashion design and a “DIY” mentality to boot… can you guess where I’m going with this?

I designed and made a dress for the photo shoot! My actual model is built slightly different than the dress form, but we did some test fittings on her and it’s going to fit beautifully. (Despite how it may look on the dress form..)

Here’s a peek..

Bias cut slip dress - Victoria Camp Designs

There’s a low drop in the back, too, but you’ll have to wait for the photo shoot for additional views!

The majority of my Winter Bridal earrings are one of a kind (and I won’t model OOAK earrings on real people) so I made a couple pairs of earrings just for the shoot..

Bridal earrings - Victoria Camp Designs

I also envisioned a certain style of up-do for the model, and made some hair combs for her as well! She will wear either one depending on which necklace is being photographed at the moment. The comb on the bottom is made with a vintage rhinestone brooch, and the one on the top is made with freshwater pearls.

Hair combs - Victoria Camp Designs

Okay, I think that’s enough of a preview for now! Expect the full Winter Bridal line to be ready in early October. I will keep you posted!