— whollyKao

IMG_9148 We got our Christmas tree this week. I was happy we actually got one, since we were unable to last year (there was a crazy ice storm in Dallas, which caused all the tents housing Christmas Trees at Home Depot to collapse and trap the trees underneath, and by the time everything melted, we were just about taking off for Boston for Christmas and it wasn’t worth getting one).

So with the house smelling like Christmas, I thought I’d share a DIY crocheted ornament tutorial. It’s a throwback that I posted about two years ago, but I think it’s a good one. It’s an awesome way to use up remnant yarn you have around the house, and I think these would make nice little gifts too. We actually need some more ornaments for our tree, so maybe posting this tutorial will get me motivated to make some for us!

Click here to see my crocheted ornament tutorial.

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01-whollyKao_ThuyInvites In September, my friends Thuy and Andrew got married. I had made the jam jar favors for their couple’s shower back in June. I had the honor of designing their wedding invitations as well (Oh, and I got to be a bridesmaid, which was a lot of fun)!

Thuy wanted gold! Shiny, sparkly, glittery gold. At first they wanted their invites to look art deco. But after reviewing some options, they decided for something more classic, that would allow the gold to shine. This is the final invitation design we ended up with. 01-thuyAndrew-Invite_061214.indd

They decided to get the invites printed with gold foil, which ended up being a great touch, since it allowed the gold to really stand out (I’ve seen invites where they print in flat gold ink, and it just doesn’t pop as much as when you do gold foil). Thuy bought glittery gold wrapping paper and created the envelope liners herself. I really liked how that tied the invitation suite together!

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01-whollyKao_workingInGold It’s been a while since I’ve shared any jewelry projects. In August, I made this ring. I had gotten the stone from the class I took at Penland School of Crafts (I’ll talk about that class in a future post!), and wanted to make my grandma something. I’ve made her earrings in the past, so I decided to spring for a ring – in 18k gold. I had only worked in gold a couple times before, so this was going to be an adventure for me.

Let me tell you – the price for the materials for this ring made my eyes pop. Buying gold is no joke: you pay market value for it. So that made me pretty nervous when I was soldering. I mean, what if I melted the damn thing to a puddle?

02-whollyKao_workingInGoldTurns out gold is a lot more resilient than I thought. I’m used to working with silver, where the solder flows once you’ve heated the metal enough. Gold doesn’t work that way. You have to hold the flame over one spot before the solder melts. And it’ll only melt in that one spot. So then you have to move your flame over a couple millimeters and do it again.

It’s also a lot harder to set a stone in gold than in silver. Silver is soft, so you can push the bezel metal over the stone to hold it in place. For gold, you have to use an actual hammer and chisel to do the same. I learned that the hard way. And if you’re not careful, you could crack your stone with a badly placed hammer blow.

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As you can see, I didn’t end up melting my gold into an ingot. And I didn’t crack my stone with all the hammering, either. This was a really good learning experience for me, and I ended up with a pretty nice-looking ring. And my grandma liked it, which is a definite plus!

Will I work with gold again? You bet! Now…who wants to fund my next project? :)
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