Thursday, February 19, 2015

Part Two: Build A Line Challenge from B'Sue Boutiques; Leila West of Leila Nicole Designs

Welcome Blog Hoppers to round 2 of the B'Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge.

This is the blog post where I get to share some of my super secret "squirrelly" stuff....and if you don't get the squirrel reference, then hop on over to Part One and you'll understand.  ;-)

For my Gilded Rose Collection (reference behind the name also in Part One) it started out as a basic brass piece that I ordered from B'sue.  Once I cleaned the brass I added solder and stamped my design, a fun technique to do if you like fire and solder.  I happen to love fire, playing with fire, and everything your parents say not to do, so it suited me just fine.

Once I had all my pieces ready to go then I had the task of adding some fun paper choices.  In my head I was thinking it would gorgeous, bright fun paper designs, and then it was time for the application.  Pretty, right?   Wrong.  I did not like it at all.  The colors were hard to match up with the paint I was using and cutting and sealing the paper on the brass in between the uneven solder was surprisingly difficult. And messy.  The perfectionist in me had a hard time with it. I wanted it perfect.  Professional looking!  Now if it were a one of a kind piece, then sure, I could make it work.  However the goal is to build a line and in thinking about possible demand for said line, I needed fast.  This was not going to be a fast technique since the paper was thick, hard to form, and challenging to color match.

So my solution?  Tissue paper.  Tissue paper has it's own challenges due to the fragility of it, especially when wet, however it was moldable around the uneven solder, quick to apply, wasn't thick or chunky to work with and frankly it just was faster for me to use.  Being that it was one color, it was also easy to work with as far as adding color.

Before the sealant dried I added some coloring to kinda match the colors of the flowers I was using.

Then I realized after I had added color to the tissue paper that it was probably an unnecessary step.  The flowers I had chosen for this batch of my line would cover most of it up.  Now this was not wasted effort in my mind because in my next batch I can 1) skip this step which will save me time or 2) I can include this step knowing I can swap out to smaller flowers to add variation to my line.

A nice lesson learned.

Once I had my bases completed I started painting the flower pieces I would be using.  Since my family has been fighting colds for about a month now I was a little bit the first day I felt healthy enough to paint, I did.  Painted one entire Sunday while watching tv with the hubby and boys played...

Lots and lots of goodies there!  Not all for the challenge, but since I'm painting I may as well paint them all and get them ready for other pieces.  Now when I feel the need to create I will have some pieces ready to go.  Even managed to finish out my night by painting a bunch of cameos.  Being that my hubs works rotating hours and switches every 2 weeks, I have found that it's really helpful for me to just work in batches.

So pretty!  I just love them all together.

Now the second dilemma I ran into was another learning lesson.  I don't even know why I did it this way because in retrospect, i guess you could say I did things backwards, but hindsight is 20/20 and I will correct it for future work.  When I soldered my pieces, the backs got a little messed up.  I forgot to take pics but trust me, they weren't something I would sell as is.  So rather than spray paint, which probably would've been easier and faster and I could always do in the future, I decided it would be fun to just add the same tissue paper to the back.  It actually didn't turn out too bad, but where the dilemma was happened to be the holes.  I did all this work pre-hole punching, lol.  Oy!  So punching holes into the metal unfortunately lifted the paper in areas and I had to re-seal.  So another lesson learned - punch holes before applying paper and save time preventing double work.  You would think I'd know this, but I had a squirrley moment...  Mostly likely distracted by something else shiny.

So alas, I'm FINALLY ready put it all together!  Base is complete. Flowers are sealed and dried.  It is time to see if my plan will work....will it match the design in my head.

Yes...getting there.... and yes, those ARE binder clips.  I have clamps but because of the multiple layers of rivet and glue I needed a "clamp" that was uber strong to hold it all together.  What can I say, binder clips worked - altho you do have to be very careful not to scrape your finish if you choose to use them.

...and initially I was going to glue the base to the ring, however upon asking questions in the group, I decided for my sanity, I would rivet the piece and not have to worry if it would fall apart on a customer.  I'm not the best riveter, but it wasn't too bad.

So all in all, this month has been a wonderful experience of trial and errors and finding solutions.  I did a couple dumb dumb moves but it was enough for me to take note for the next batch. I started off completing my bigger more statementy piece and then made it smaller.  There's still a bracelet I'm working on and I may or may not have earrings, but I'm shooting for a variety of price points.  The nice part about doing this line is I can vary it up and still stay within the same look.  Whether I add smaller flowers or maybe do an even bigger statement piece.  For these specific pieces to stay within my desired price points I chose to keep it to basic chain, but I can vary that up as well and do some fun designed chain. I can swap out the crystal and maybe do a flower drop.  Who knows, skies the limit!  I have shared my pieces with my MIL who has already placed dibs on a piece once completed and instructed me to make more because she feels they'll sell well at her job.  And a couple co-workers have also expressed interest in a piece, so it's been nice to know that a few folks have expressed interest and that there really is interest not only in handmade but "different."

I'm quite happy with where my line is heading, and before I leave you to hop on to another designer, I will show you a few of the finished pieces.  Let me know in the comments below what you think of this design and line so far, won't ya?

Click picture to see larger

The Blog Hop starts here.  Please check out all these talented designers and don't forget to leave a comment and let us know you visited.  Happy Reading!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques
Marcia Tuzzolino
Jann Tague
Judy King
Linzi Alford
Cynthia Wainscott
Carole Carlson
Lynn Stinten
Marica Zammit
Catherine Shattuck
Michaele Collie
Mary Craig
Lee Koopman
Erin Whitacre
Monica Casady
Leila West
Cindy Peterson
Leila Belcher
Gloria Allen
Pamela Anger
Tammy Adams
Lynda O'Mara
Elizabeth Hildreth
Dana Hickey
Janet Calardo
Maria Clark
Lori Beekman
Jennifer Kroeger
Amy Jorgensen
Robin Reed
Ingrid Anderson
Louise O'Shields
Susan Killam
Mary Katherine Deis
Nike Bottalico
Susan Bowerman
Kristy Le
Jan Peters
Mitzie Crider
Gina Hockett
Linda Anderson
Alexandra Sefton
Melida Boman
Teresa Shurter
Melissa Latimer
Renee Hong
Nadine Edris
Lori Meyer
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Denise Lussier Poirier
Renee Allen
Autumn Adams
Elizabeth Owens
Kat BarronMiller
Sandra Ballard
Coral Law


  1. Very interesting read Leila. I love the tissue paper idea. I think the color provides a balance to the brightness of the flowers.

    You've come up with some great designs. I especially like the ring and the pendant necklaces. Are you making cuff bracelets? I think a bit of tissue paper showing in a cuff bracelet would look so nice!

    Really looking forward to seeing your complete line in March :-)

  2. Leila, thank you for a great read. It was really inspiring and wonderfully honest. Since I tend to make more than my fair share of mistakes and have to backtrack, I'm happy to know I'm in good company. Your line is coming together beautifully. I think your pretty pieces are going to be quite popular. I enjoyed my visit, Leila. Well done!

  3. Love all the boutique colors and the tissue is a great idea!

  4. Wow! Love those flower colors! The completed pieces look great and looking forward to seeing the rest. ~Ingrid

  5. Absolutely loved this peek into your process!

  6. I love your blog! Your technique is very interesting...and your color choices are truly spectacular! Great job!

  7. Your line is turning out so well. I love the style variety within the blue grouping and am excited for your new line!


  8. Thanks for sharing your process, I can certainly relate! You have such great technique and the colors of your field of flowers are breathtaking!

  9. Great blog, love how your line is taking shape, especially the tissue papers bits. Keep up the great work~! xXx

  10. You are so good at working through a whole bunch of pieces step by step. Your colors are so lovely and vibrant. I love them all. =)

  11. A lot of great learning experiences for you and I love the the tissue paper with the solder just by itself that can be an extension of your line with the flowers. I love the complete set that you showed. And I to have done things backwards like forgetting to seal the back before finishing it up. We all have these moments. Great work great line gorgeous

  12. Love the use of paper and solder. Very nice. Fantastic progress.

  13. Love the use of paper and solder. Very nice. Fantastic progress.

  14. Great blog post! I am right there with you in the mistakes, working backwards area. Your designs are great. The paper and solder is so unique. Love seeing your progress!

  15. Leila, those blue roses are beautiful. I love the effect of the colored tissue and the solder. You are brave, honest, and modest to walk us through your process so humbly! I wish you much success on your line, you certainly deserve it. I see you going places, girl!

  16. I am just in awe of your productivity... I'm hoping you don't work outside the home because if you do, you don't sleep!! really lovelsy stuff and the colors really pop.

  17. I can't decide which is my favorite but I'm leaning towards the ring. I just love special rings. Your entire line is just awesome!!

  18. It's all so good! Keep it coming! ~Melissa

  19. Love how you've incorporated tissue paper into your designs. Thanks for sharing your mistakes, I've made those plus some more! The simplicity of the ring and floral pendent necklaces are eye-catching, I may have to have one of each ;-)

  20. Leila I just love all of your finishes and little attentions to details on your pieces what a gorgeous line of jewelry, loved your post to on how we have to rethink and fix things sometimes. XOXO!

  21. Leila, love what you're doing for your line, and how the pieces are turning out.

  22. Your colors are gorgeous. I laughed when I read about drilling through the paper and having to fix it. That is something I would do.

  23. Leila .. great blog .. I loved how you told us about your process .. solution and then the drum role your .. finished jewelry .. very nice ..

  24. Great blog with a lot of interesting things you encountered in your journey. Loved the explanation of your process. Really like your pieces and seem like I read floral jewelry will be big this year.. They are really wearable with lot of different types of clothing. looking forward to seeing the completed line.

  25. Great post, Leila ... I really enjoyed reading about your process. As usual, your pieces are lovely, and your line is outstanding! I can't wait to see all of the finished pieces. ;)

  26. I love the paper in the backgrounds and the translucent colors. Very pretty! Thank you for sharing the things you learned along the way.

  27. Love the tissue paper and the way you found a solution to the original problem

  28. Leila I love, love, love your art work it has such a unique and standout energy that is just created so amazingly by you!!!! Your complete line will be just phenomenal with all that you do!! Thanks for this great blog read and I am so excited with what your artistic spirit has adventured to do! ~Louise

  29. Very cohesive - you knew how to build a line before joining this challenge! Great creations! Tip: place masking tape on the inside of your binder clips - they won't make marks on your pieces.

  30. I've been studying on this gilding w/ solder process & I'm impressed w/ your use of it & how well it looks w/ your pieces. Adding that tissue paper is the perfect touch! Like the others said, you can use it on its own that way. Great work!

  31. Your jewelry designs are lovely. And you've obviously figured out that batching steps will be a time saver down the road. One thing I'm learning is that doing OOAK for years meant I've been reinventing the wheel with each piece, never learning from mistakes.

  32. Very pretty pieces! I wouldn't have thought to use solder with the flowers, but it definitely works. Good job!

  33. Wonderful Leila! Most beautiful and cohesive! I love your work! This class has been great to be in with all the talented people in it~

    Best Wishes and Way to go

  34. Leila, You are so incredibly productive! I love the tissue paper look and the colors you are using are out of this world. Such a pleasure to see your line growing! Well done!

  35. As I know nothing about soldering or riveting, but have tried decoupage on metal, I was fascinated to read the various steps you took and how they did or didn't work out. Your pieces are really classy, and I love the crystals, rhinestones, and colors. Very nicely tipped flower leaves!! Excited to see your whole line. :):)

  36. Awesome post and great results. I knew you would ace this class!

  37. LOVE your solder work!! You are such an inspiration, Leila.

  38. great concept with the solder and paper, looking forward to seeing the completed line !Linzi

  39. The steps you showed are soooo interesting. I love your designs and your colors. This is a great line!!! Great Job!! Be Blessed!

  40. Wow! Beautiful pieces, Leila! Love your colors, too! :) ~ Catherine S.

  41. Wow!! Love your work, Leila! ~ Catherine S.

  42. Wow!! Love your work, Leila! ~ Catherine S.

  43. Very coheesive, but you already knew that great artist that you are. Thanks for the post of setbacks and solutions. Its nice to know that even you can have setbacks and us less expierenced artist are not alone in that. Cant wait to see all the colors together in the line!

  44. Leila--Great blog! I really enjoyed reading about your whole process and seeing how you ended up where you are. Your pieces, as usual, are wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the colors with everything put together.

  45. I love seeing all your components laid out in the different colors!

  46. Beautiful job Leila , love the flowers and the solder, I enjoyed reading your post :)


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