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Tesori Trovati

Monday Musings

Monday Musings: UFO Roundup Time!

Who else has tons of half thought out projects cluttering up your physical and mental workspace?  C’mon, I know I’m not alone here!  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve managed to get quite a few of these finished up and out the door. I thought I’d share some of them with you here and talk a little bit about how and why we end up with so many UFOs (unfinished objects)… or at least how it seems to happen to me!

Just a small selection of my many unfinished projects!

I’ll admit that my current round of UFO wrangling is tied to my efforts to get my studio space a bit more under control. You see, I hope one day to be able to actually share a peek into my space with you all but it is NOT ready for prime time yet! My theory is that if I actually make some of these projects I can either finally put any extra supplies away or, even better, avoid putting things away altogether if I’ve used them. Genius… right?? The other part of my motivation is that seeing piles of partially thought out jewelry designs stresses me out a bit. Getting some things wrapped up is good for my metal health!

My personal pile of UFOs tend to fall mostly into the following categories:

  • Class projects that I didn’t complete in class
  • Ideas that I started for a challenge or deadline but ran out of time
  • Designs where I had part of an idea but was “stuck”
  • Projects where I lacked the skill or some supply to execute them

So with that preface, I’m going to dive right in and show you what I’ve been up to!


Let’s start with some things that I began in classes or retreats. I’m notoriously slow during classes… probably because I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. (I may also socialize too much! But it’s so rare that I get to see all my beady friends in person, I can’t help it!) Either way, I’m always shocked if I get anything totally finished. Even though I always go home from classes re-energized and inspired, real life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of completing my projects. Thus class projects are a regularly growing segment of my UFO pile! Sometimes these are a full kit that I need to finish, but I’m also including focals that I’ve made at retreats but not actually made into jewelry.

All my completed projects in this UFO category were items from last year’s Adornments Retreat. As I was cleaning up in my studio, I came across the bag that had all my projects from my classes and retreat make & takes as well as the beads and such that I bought during that trip. I figured that this was a good time to get at least some of them finished up! I still have plenty of other class UFO projects from other classes, but those will have to wait their turn.

These are all projects from the 2018 Adornments Retreat in Galena, IL. Pendant on left was made in Jess Italia Lincoln’s class; Faux tin earring charms made in Heather Powers’ class; Faux tin necklace from Heather’s class kit; Pale blue flower with sari-silk rose was from make & take with Heather Powers.

Another big culprit for UFO creation, is simply running out of time. I’ll pull a bunch of things together for a challenge, or in preparing for a big in-person sales event and then not get them all done in time. If I’m really excited about a design, I’ll put the bits and bobs together in a bag or box in hopes of coming back around to them. Sometimes that happens quickly, sometimes it takes years. I can’t judge!

The necklace on the left features a pendant by Round Rabbit that I’ve had sitting with most of the other beads since December 2017 when I made and sold something similar. The necklace on the right includes a porcelain pendant by Andrew Thornton, seed beads, and waxed linen that I got from Allegory Gallery as an inspiration kit. It took more than a year for my muse to move me despite the kit hanging out on my bead table for some time!

Sometimes when I’m pulling supplies together for a design and starting to lay things out, I get stuck. My brain just can’t work out exactly how I want to put things together. I’ll often set all the possible parts off to the side of my bead mat while I work on other things… Sometimes that’s enough and inspiration strikes but just as often these “stumpers” end up getting corralled into a bag or box for another day. Eventually I’ll revisit one and clearly see what I want to do with it… a eureka moment that allows me to finish something up.

This little birdie by our own Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati had me flummoxed. I just couldn’t figure out what to do with the two loops on the bottom of the pendant until the lightbulb went on and I painted a brass branch piece from Vintaj and wire wrapped the bird onto it. Problem solved… letting me move onto the rest of the design.

The last category of UFO causes, lack of skill or specific materials. I think that this was a bigger deal when I was newer to jewelry making, but it still throws up a road block here and there! Sometimes I have a fabulous art bead and a pretty good idea of what I want to do with it, but know that my skills just aren’t there yet. I guess I want my finished design to live up to the wonders of the beads/focal in it. In these cases I’ll look for a class, a book, a YouTube video… or even a friend to help me figure it out. Often that can’t happen right away and it gets squirreled away for another day. This is a great reason to keep learning new things and expanding your tool box… it helps keep down the rise of the UFOs!

Other times, I know exactly what I want to do but am missing a key component to the design and have to wait until I can procure said item(s). Again, sometimes that can take awhile before I can get my little mitts on what I need.

I made this bracelet focal in Heather’s 2017 Inspired by Nature Retreat and bought the Donna Millard lampwork bead later that fall… they’ve sat with the leather ever since waiting for me to learn how to finish the braid.

I still have tons of unfinished projects in various stages all over the place, but it feels good to get a few things completed. It’s progress anyway! How about you guys… what are your biggest UFO culprits? Any tips for keeping it all under control? I’d love to hear you thoughts! I hope this post inspires you to wrangle some of your unfinished business!


Sarajo Wentling, Your Monday Muse

www.sjdesignsjewelry.etsy.com