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My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is CJ Armstrong!

CJ Armstrong (ceejay48, #665) has received a certificate of achievement in Make It Easy for earning the Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert Levels of the Jewelry Making Merit Badge!

“BEGINNER: I’ve been making jewelry for about 10 years and have accumulated all manner of tools and supplies. I have quite a selection of beads, which include plastic, glass, wooden, metal, clay, ceramic, stone (semi-precious), etc. in every size and shape. I also have tiger tail, nylon, elastic, waxed cording, chains, memory wire and all kinds of pin backs, ear wires, jump rings, split rings, a variety of clasps, etc. Some of my favorite things to work with also include charms, ribbons, and even buttons.

I have already established that Celtic design jewelry is my favorite, but I also like simple designs using semi-precious stones. I used to have a lot of costume jewelry that I wore for work, but since retiring, I hardly wear any of that and gave most of it away. I had some pieces that were turquoise, made by Navajo silversmiths; most of that I gave to family members, except for a few favorite pieces. I do not try to replicate these pieces because I’m not native. But I still have all my Celtic-style jewelry, which I plan to keep and still wear and I’ve made some of my own Celtic-style pieces.

INTERMEDIATE: I am a self-taught jewelry maker, but learned quite a bit from my husband, who is a silversmith himself and has made a lot of jewelry as well. With what I learned from him, some printed material, and trial and error on my part, I became quite skilled at it and have made dozens of pieces in all kinds of styles and combinations of beads, wire, etc.

I like to buy a lot of my supplies from Fire Mountain Gems and have been able to learn a lot from the info they provide. I have made more than the required beaded and spiral-wired piece of jewelry

EXPERT: I have made bracelets, necklaces, earrings, cell-phone charms, keychains, zipper pulls, lanyards, pins/brooches, and stick pins, and have used beading/wire/charms to embellish papercraft projects such as cards, journals, and tags.

I have sold many pieces through the local farmers’ market and a variety of craft shows/bazaars. I have made custom orders for folks wanting a particular style or color and I have made many pieces for gifts, usually either a matching necklace and earrings or bracelet and earrings. The cards, journals, and tags were also sold through these venues. I have made matching sets for my daughter and we have matching breast-cancer awareness bracelets (more than one) and lanyards. The rings I have made were using elastic cording and beads.

The necklace and bracelet in the photo are a Celtic design set that I made for myself. The necklace uses waxed cord and a section of memory wire with the beads and charms. I have had a lot of fun making jewelry and it’s been nice to sell some pieces—that certainly is a compliment to me. Perhaps there is more of that in the future!!”

  1. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    Congratulations CJ. I always enjoy your posts and comments on Raising Jane . Now you have shared some more of your interesting life and how artistic you are. I have done beaded jewelry all my life but I’m not that good at it , more like the hippy,dippy trippy stuff in my earlier days. I am very impressed with all that you have done and to sell your pieces shows you how good you really are!

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    Thank you Lisa! What a compliment! I’ve had to make a LOT of changes in my lifestyle due to health challenges and, just this week, had to make the decision to let go of jewelry making! Fortunately, I was able to pass all my supplies on to a farmgirl sister. Hope she has as much fun as I did.

    • Lisa Von Saunder says:

      I wish you well with your health challenges changing your lifestyle. I understand. I too am going through that and have had to cut way back on the physical work I will be doing for my seed business.
      Glad you were able to “pass it forward” to another Farmgirl sister, so thoughtful.

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Congratulations CJ! You made some beautiful jewelry and it sounds like you had a lot of fun too. It is always a plus to be able to sell some of your wares to share the wealth and recoup some of your investment. I am glad you have been having so much fun!

  4. terry steinmetz says:

    Lovely jewelry CJ.

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