While I was waiting for my ear piercing to heal, I tried to find earrings to match every necklace I have. I hunted for matching silver feather earrngs for one necklace. On the first of July it occurred to me that I could snip two feathers off the necklace, and "attach them somehow to some of those ear hook-y things. Solder them? I don't know. Hmdm."
Well, it didn't involve solder, and once I bought a pack of fifty ear wires for $3.98, I realized I've been paying Way Too Much for earrings. New sterling silver earrings for pennies, given that I still have 48 ear wires.
Savings = $19.84! That's what I estimate I'd have paid for matching earrings, minus the two ear wires.
This was the next necklace. Sadly, there were no two matching beads I could snip off of this one. However, the Internet had them. So, now I have five surplus red beads, a new pack of gold ear wires to match, 18 gold "pins," a number of bead caps.
That pair of earrings either cost about a dollar OR $15, including shipping and handling, depending on how you look at it. And, a new hobby, it would seem.
I remember Mom said flower gardeners pass through three stages when they start that hobby. 1) Annuals (initially cheap but expensive in the long run, initial gratification) 2) Bulbs (also cheap but you have to wait a season) and 3) Perrenials (a long term investment, and you might have to wait for flowers, but after ten years you can divide them). I just waited three years for my trumpet vine to flower.
There must be stages of jewelry-making as well.
Stage 1 would be earrings. Earrings are easy. especially if you have all the supplies. You start making earrings out of crazy stuff, like pencils and color copies of your nephew's stamp collection.
However, the purchase of the frames for those earrings (and the impending matching necklace) brought me into the next stage:
2) Findings. As far as I can tell, "Findings" means "Random crap that adds up to $200 over the July 4th weekend." Savings = -$200.00.
3) Tweaking your existing jewelry. I had a necklace someone on etsy made from found jewelry, which I suspect might have been jewelry she found on her workbench that didn't quite make the cut. I took it apart and put it back together with an extra gold bird I doctored with some patina I already had (more savings!)
4) Dismantling your existing jewelry for parts. The necklace above used to have purple beads in the center. Hey, I might need those beads someday. For earrings. Screw that lady and the necklace she made, and screw the Monet jewelry company, I need the beads you used to make your stuff.
5) Beads, or learning about foreign measurements. See these beads I bought. Aren't these beads glorious?
Fancy Czech Glass and copper glass-fired beads. It did say they were 6mm. "That's like half an inch, right?" I thought. Because we use inches here in 'Murica. After buying these tiny tiny fancy beads, each of which looks like a wee glass booger, I have learned what a millimeter is.
The step I'm currently on is Step 6) making ambitious and equally vague plans about a necklace/earring set made of wooden jigsaw puzzle pieces that are assembled in some places and loose in others.
Next, I'll probably buy a kiln and melt my old stained glass into beads. Or, I start knitting. I'm sure I would knit until I bought every color or yarn, bought a spinning wheel and a sheep, and unraveled all my old sweaters for the yarn. Then I would stop knitting.