New Year – BuzzFeed Article Feature – and Custom Map Quote Compass Necklaces!

Happy New Year! I know, I know, it’s February and I’m a little late to the 2014 game. I think it’s socially acceptable to wish someone a Happy New Year up until January 31st, after that, well.. what can I say?

I spent the first couple of weeks of the new year catching up on orders from December, and then spent the last part of it working on a happy flurry of new orders, thanks to a Buzzfeed Travel list that included one of my designs!

Map Quote Compass Necklace featured in Buzzfeed Travel

Map Quote Compass Necklace featured in Buzzfeed Travel

The article was titled “21 Things Every Traveler Wishes They Owned” and can be found here. The quote on the back of the compass can be personalized with anything you wish – poetry, a special message, a birthday, etc.

This piece is a really fun design for me with an amusing story about its conception. It started over a year ago, and was inspired by a Christmas gift I gave to my parents: a GPS for their car (how ironic, no?) I didn’t have the GPS on hand yet to physically give to them – it was being shipped from the store to their home – but I still wanted to give them something tangible in the mean time as a place holder. I mailed them an envelope that I’d made out of a paper road map, and on the front of the envelope I displayed the following Robert Frost quote, printed onto paper that I had tea-stained:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by.”

12-20-12-envelope

Yep, I liked it enough to take a picture of it before I mailed it! A picture of the GPS they would be receiving was tucked away on the inside of the envelope, along with a note.

My mom called me and said how much she loved the envelope, and was carrying it around in her purse to hold coupons. She was so sad when it started falling apart, that I decided I needed to make her something a little more permanent that she could carry with her.. subsequently, I made her a compass key chain with the same design – a map clipping background, and the same quote on the same tea-stained paper. And with that, a new design idea was born!

Lately, I’ve had a lot of requests to personalize the map behind the quote. I don’t typically do this, as I like to use maps cut from the same atlas used in the sample photos (it’s a vintage atlas with beautiful earth toned colors and really great fonts!) However, I do love to make my customers happy, so I worked on a design that does allow for a custom map in the background behind the quote/text area. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of small towns available, but do have the major cities and large suburbs of most areas in the U.S., and major cities worldwide. Both the map and the quote are protected under a hard glossy layer of jeweler’s resin, for a professional finish and durability.

Personalized map quote compass necklace

The sample shown is with a map of the San Francisco bay area. I’m using prints from my antique atlas collection for these – the atlases are nearly 100 years old!

Large Compass - Custom Map and Quote 3 - Sm

I made a samples showing 8 different cities, but you can of course request your own different city!

Antique Map Compass Options

You can order your own Custom Map Compass Necklace with Personalized Quote here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/178183879/large-custom-map-compass-necklace-with

Speaking of quote compasses, I need to go make some more tea-stained paper. Happy February!

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The Inner Workings of Wintertime..

My oh my.. I seem to have lost track of not only the entire month of January, but half of February as well!

February in the Bay Area is one of my absolute favorite seasons. I find this amusing, because February used to be the month I absolutely despised back in New England. (Gloomy, dark, dreary, muddy snow, snowstorms and just plain cold weather. Need I go on?!) Ah, but February here in California…quite the different story! We have nights that are cool but not freezing; days that are warm and sunny but not too hot; the occasional rain shower; springtime birds singing morning songs, and least I not forget – spring blooms! The trees in my neighborhood start blooming and it makes my heart happy.

This one is right outside my window..

spring tree flowers

I also like to pretend that my allergies do not exist during this favorite time of year. I’m living a lie, but what can I say? It’s worth it.

 

In these past 6 weeks of the new year, I haven’t been idle.. far from it, in fact. You see, the “slower” months of my business are used to prep inventory (for upcoming events, stock, and otherwise,) work on new designs, and work on business maintenance – you know, all the ‘boring’ stuff that needs to be done, such as taxes, website updates, and such.

For example, I’ve been working on a big (in terms of my usual scale) project, which I can tell you all about next weekend. It involves lots and lots of product-making. Here’s a glimpse of what my work table looked like at one point in time..

013013WorkTable

 

I’ve also been taking some..okay, a LOT..of time to completely re-vamp my domain website, http://www.victoriacamp.com. When I started my site a few years back, it was originally intended to be more of a ‘portfolio’ type of site. Since then, I expanded it to include some items for sale. Fast forward to today, and the future, and it really didn’t leave me a lot of room for growth. With that being said, I now have a fancy schmancy new “shopping cart” function on my site, as well as a mobile version. Hooray! I’m excited. It’s not entirely finished – I still have quite a few items to add – but the layout is done and there are some items up. Here’s a peek..

Victoria Camp Designs site preview

Victoria Camp Designs site preview

It’s absolutely up and running, so feel free to check it out as-is, and keep in mind I’ll be adding more inventory later on.

 

Speaking of adding inventory, I did add one new product last night! I have a fun new design; a working compass necklace, with the constellation of your choice! (All 12 zodiac constellations area available, plus Orion, Ursa Major, and Ursa Major/Ursa Minor.) The graphic on the back was designed by me. The compass is made of brass and really does work! They hang from a long brass chain, so you are free to play around with it while you’re wearing it.

Compass Necklace - Custom Constellation 2

The example above shows the constellation Orion. (One of my personal favorites.)

Compass Necklace - Custom Constellation 5

Here you can see it with the 32″ length. (Recommended.) You can also order it a little longer or shorter if you prefer. This necklace is available to order right here: http://www.victoriacamp.com/Personalized-Zodiac-Constellation-Compass-Necklace-p/constellationcompass.htm

 

Alright, time to get back to work. I’ll be back to update next weekend!

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 Camp Designs.