Monday, July 30, 2012

Hopped it, and some other thoughts on jewelry

The first reveal of the Bead Soup Blog Party was this weekend, I hopped the whole thing and my clicking finger is tired, but it was so well worth it.  It's not too late to hop and check out what everyone made with their surprise ingredients from their swap partners, just go to Lori Anderson's blog Pretty Things and look for the link.

The best part of taking time to hop around is seeing all the things people created, stumbling upon new blogs to follow (my list grew again), finding new places to shop and people to admire.  Inspiration was everywhere and now my jewelry bucket list has grown yet again as well.  One of the things I added to the bucket list is metal clay, I have seen it before and looked at it with some interest.  After visiting the Gossiping Goddess and her Etsy shop Theatoo, I really want to get some metal clay and try my hand at it.  Until then I have several pieces from her shop on my wish list!

As I was playing in the studio last week, in my week of experimenting, it occurred to me that many of my days in the studio are experimental.  I seldom create the same thing twice, and lately I have really been trying lots of new things, whether it be, style, technique or what have you. 

What I have not been doing is listing in my Etsy shop like I should.  I must get back to it and get caught up.  I have never been disciplined at keeping up with paperwork.  I need to go back to list making and be sure to put the unfun (not a word I'm sure) stuff at the top of the list, because I have always been a bit of huge procrastinator.  I know this about me and try to put systems in place to keep me on track, but sometimes I fall off the rails.  Admitting you have a problem is the first step right?

I mentioned in an earlier post that it was to be a busy weekend, it was and I didn't play much at all with jewelry.  But we did see many old friends at the Legion for the annual home comers weekend Saturday night.  Sunday evening we got to see Meatloaf in concert.  It was a good time, but I would have liked to see him in a larger venue as in this smaller setting the music sometimes overpowered his voice; not Patty's though, that chick has a very healthy set of lungs. Today was catch up around the house and run kids around day.  Hopefully tomorrow is back to more fun and creative pursuits.

Oh, and just a few more days until I Siblingfest 2012!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hopping and Hoping

I have been hopping around the blogs checking on the first reveals of the Bead Soup Blog Hop by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  So many delightful designs to see from he most simple to the very ornate. 

While I was out hopping I cam across this really cool giveaway for bloggers.  It's called Free Beads for Blogging and is sponsored by Fusion Muse.  See the button over there on the side for more info on how you can play too.  Crossing my fingers and hoping I get a chance to play with some cool beads from them and blog all about it.  Be sure to visit their Etsy store too, great beads and findings to be had there!

Off to hop around a bit more before heading out to see Meatloaf in concert tonight!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 7 already?

It's opening ceremony night for the Olympics!  I can't wait, I have always watched the Olympics with excitement ever since I was a kid.  When I was in my teens I remember thinking to myself that I wished I was an Olympian for either swimming, gymnastics or equestrian.  Although by that age I was already too old to start training for swimming or gymnastics, and while I rode all the time and lived close enough to the USET, I didn't really have those kind of connections.  So now maybe someday I will be called a "champion of jewelry".  One can dream, after all that's what fulfilling careers are built on, right?

The other exciting thing happening tonight , jumped the gun it begins on the 28th?  It's the first round of reveals for the 6th Bead Soup Blog Hop, head on over to Lori's blog, Pretty Things to start hopping.   I can't comment on any of the results yet, I wanted to get my post done before I start hopping. I'm itching to get in on the fun for the next one!

I had to go check the number of posts because I can't believe I'm on day 7 already!  I have a couple reveals today and a couple works in progress from today.  And a few bonus reveals from last week. 

I finished the necklace made from the enameled and stamped discs.  Wear testing it tomorrow night!

Connectors made from 18g double headpins, some of which were enameled in Elk Brown.

This is a bangle in progress.  There are 3 holes that will have beads dangling fro them.

These are a few reveals of last weeks work in wire wrapping.  I love the look of wire wrapping, just not sure if my fingers like the making of it.

Wire wrapped ring featuring a beaded bead made from tiny purple cat's eye beads.  Attached to the ring with enameled purple headpins.

Wire wrapped cuff.  Drool worthy abalone focal bead that my awesome Sis sent me.  I still have a couple of the abalone beads left, still trying to find the best project to feature them.

Not sure how much i will complete tomorrow.  It's our town's annual homecomers weekend.  Lots of the alumni come home to all visit from all across the country.  Parade, picnics, competitions, MASSIVE party at our local American Legion.

Day 6, almost forgot...

Whoa, got so engrossed in working on a piece I almost forgot to post!  Thought I would have more to reveal for you today, but some are still in progress and won't make it in time for this day.  Will work on them tomorrow.  I'm really excited about one of the pieces so stay tuned.

Hope you all weathered the storms today well.  They are reporting that not far from here in Elmira they had a tornado touchdown.  We got through with just some much needed rain everywhere we went today.  After dancing between the raindrops all day, here is what I finished.  For those of you suffering the drought, I hope you get some rain too.

This was in the tumbler still for several hours today, it's a fold formed cuff.  The next pic shows it on my arm, but looks a little odd.  It's awkardly difficult to take a picture of your own arm, lol.

A big cuff like this makes me feel a little like Wonder Woman or maybe Isis (remember her?). 

Remember the brass pieces I was having difficulty with enamel pinging off?  Well I finished it up, still missing a bit of enamel, but I'm liking it that way.  I don't think it will continue to chip as it tumbler for a long time in steel shot with no further damage.  Will report back if it does though, will be wear testing it this weekend.  It reminds me of something ancient, perhaps from Egypt? 

I also like how the copper is coming up from the brass.  

Hand forged everything on this one myself from the links down to the clasp.  Sorry this is blurry, couldn't fix it even in fotoflexer.  This happens when you are cooking dinner and snapping pics at the same time.

Oh, and here was the second experiment with alcohol inks under clear enamel.  I tinted the copper with cranberry in first then added dots of purple, which ened up as these white splotches.  Not how I had hoped it would turn out but interesting none the less.

See ya tomorrow.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 5, posting late again

Today was an assembly and production day.  I only have pics of one finished piece so far because as I am writing this one piece is pickling and another is in the tumbler, so those will reveal tomorrow.  Hopefully they will have friends with them.

Here is the piece that is fully completed.  You may remember the components from Day 2.

The necklace ended up just a little longer than chocker length.  You may also recognize the double headpins from a previous post.

Made a quick and easy toggle clasp from another double ended headpin.  This one I left unenameled.  Tip of the Day:  When choosing jumpring to make your chains be sure to buy or make those that have been sawcut. Notice that these don't close quite as tightly as they should because the cuts are not as clean as they should be.

Ooops, my chip is showing!  A couple of the headpins still have chips but they are smooth after being in the tumbler, so I left them as is.

I just forgot to get pics of the todays alcohol ink experiment.  Still not working as I had hoped, but it was kind of an interesting effect.  I will try to remember it for you tomorrow, which will also probably be a late posting unless I get to it between daughter's appts tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 4, the adventures continue

Here we are at day four already, where do these summer days go?  Sorry I didn't post sooner, my kids called me from upstairs.  Yes, on the phone and no my house isn't that big.  They were both hiding in their bedrooms from "something freaky flying around in the hallway, HURRY!".  It was a bat, and it took me about a half hour to get the poor confused thing to fly out an open window.  All are safe now, the kids and the bat.  Hey, one bat in 17 years living in an 1880's farmhouse isn't bad.  For those who are squeamish about bats, no fear I didn't take any pics of it to paste.

Today I worked on more stamping with enamels.  I hammered old pennies, punched the middles out and hammered some more.  I love whacking all that metal almost as much as playing with the torch.  Next I laid down base coats of enamels, stamped, sifted and fired up again.  Kind of an assembly line process but still a bunch of fun.

Here are all 11 of the discs I did today. Maybe washers would be a more appropriate term?  I really like the way the came out and can't wait to reveal them in a necklace later in the week.  I wish the picture showed the stamping better.

These are some of my faves in the batch.  i wish you could see the colors better in the pic, the one on the right is actually robins egg over elk brown but is reading sort of white in the picture.

While I was having all this fun I decided to multitask.  I had some double headpins I did awhile ago that needed to be cleaned up.  So they hit the pickle for a bit, and then I tossed them in the tumbler with steel shot.  This was an experiment too, I wasn't sure how the enamel would hold up to tumbling.  The result...
They held up great!  The tumbler did it's job and brought the shine back to the copper wire.  The chipping that you see occurred pretumble, some actually happened in the pickle but I suspect they were already cracked.  The chipped ones can be refired just add a little more enamel to fix.  I don't always tumble, when I'm in a hurry to move on with a project like the discs I just brass brush after pickling.  Tip of the day:  When enameling headpins I fire directly on the first couple layers of enamel, then I fire further up the wire on subsequent layers.  Firing on the wire rather than directly on the enamel the colors stay more vibrant and true.

The next experiment started today but will continue tomorrow.  I LOVE the look of alcohol inks on copper.  The debate is how to use them and then seal them so that they never transfer to the wearer's skin.  So I tried it under transparent clear enamel.

Results as you can see were not exactly stellar.  This is why the experiment will continue tomorrow and report back.  I think I know where part of this went awry so hopefully I can make it work like I want it to.

So what are you working on this week?  Any new techniques you haven't tried before? 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 3, the experimenting continues

So here we are on day 3 of experimenting in the studios.  Not too much got done today, due to a headache that struck this afternoon.  Not sure how I irritated my neck to cause that, haven't had one of those in awhile and really hadn't missed them at all.  But fear not, there are lots of ideas floating around in my head and hopefully I will get tons done tomorrow.

Started with some wire work that I enameled.  I saw some lovely enameled wire flowers by Jennifer LaVite on the Painting with Fire ning.  If you are interested in torch fired enamel I encourage you to join this fun, supportive group of inspiring ladies.  Jennifer's flowers reminded me of little wire angels I had made in the past after seeing them on an episode of Carol Duval.  So, I made up a quick little angle out of 19g dark annealed steel wire and enameled with torch firing.  I used cobalt and foundation white, then added a cat's eye bead for her head.

Thankfully she is made to hang as a pendant and not stand, she stands a tad crooked.

Then another stamping and enameled piece.  This one is cut from 24g copper, and hammered so it's domed slightly.  Enameled with a few coats of clear, stamped with Stazon, sifted with victoria red and refired.
This one still needs a bail soldered on it since I didn't want a hole in my heart.  I like that the stamping isn't quite perfect, feels more organic to me.  Tip of the day: After stamping and sifting allow to dry a bit, tap off and use a small dry paint brush to remove any excess enamel grains.  This prevents shadow color that you may not want.

The pieces that follow are experiments from last week:
Sometimes you have to share the uglies too.  These are brass pieces for a bracelet.  Notice the missing chips of enamel on 2 out of 3?  The enamel keeps pinging off these spots.  This may be because i need to counter enamel on the back, I thought I could get away without it since they are domed but perhaps not.  However, I am determined to make it work because I really like the granite effect I got by mixing black and foundation white.  So those 2 chippy pieces plus 2 more of the links will be refired tomorrow, think happy enamel sticking thoughts for me on this one :).

This little dragonfly I did either last week or the week before.  I neither love nor hate him.  I'm undecided as to what it is I don't love about him.  Any critiques or ideas why I don't love him?

Hopefully tomorrows pics will be crowded with several pieces per pic.  See ya then!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 2 experimenting in the studios...

I was shocked to see I got a mention on Barbara Lewis' Blog today!  What a huge honor.  She has set up a facebook page to post your pics of  Happy Accidents in your creative pursuits.  Lots of great stuff being shared over there already!

Soooo, on to day two in my studios.  Today I did some enameling of tubes to make beads and also a bit of soldering.  Both came out okay and both will be part of a necklace I hope to get together later this evening.

This is the soldered piece.  I shaped the copper disc, enameled with cobalt and pine yellow.  The bale piece is a piece of 10g copper wire, hammered and shaped.  I left the center of the back of the flower unenameled so it could be soldered on the bale.  Tip of the day:  Don't over heat your solder or it will burn out and not hold your pieces together (if you do though, no worries, just brass brush both sides and try again).  It took me 4 attempts to get it soldered correctly :).

Then there were the tube beads, made from bent and cut pieces of 1/8 inch diameter copper tube.  Once the smaller pieces were enameled you can't see the bend so much.  The one marked FAVE was actually the first one, done with transparent enamel.  Loved how the copper and oxides showed through which I tried to replicate  more times with mixed results.  You can see one of them has a large "bubble" which is actually more of a blob.  The Tip: make sure to keep turning your bead or the molten glass will slump on you.

The two blue beads were meant to be willow green, however the willow didn't seem to like having to be fired so long and kept going muddy (could also be because I use propane and not MAPP).  So I just recovered in cobalt.  The Tip:  If you underfire your enamel it will look bumpy like the one marked in the photo.  I should b able to fix that by refiiring.  Also note that you can see more of the curve of the tube because I didn't add nearly as many layers of enamel.

All of the tubes were made using a variation of Barbara Lewis' immersion method.  It definitely worked!  The Tip: when using curved beads your mandrel may not go through both holes, have another one handy to remove molten glass from the open hole or you will end up with a really tiny vessel instead of a bead!

I didn't get a chance to work more with the stamps today.  Hope to do that tomorrow.

Hope to see you back for Day 3 :).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coming Soon...a week of experimentation in the studio

Just read Barbara Lewis' blog post and thought "Yes, I will".  I will do more experimenting in my "studios" (not as prestigious as it may sound since in reality it's a corner of our kitchen and a corner of our living room) this week.  I had already picked up some supplies today to do just that.  I got to go shopping at Joann Fabrics alone today, so much nicer than dragging kids who don't really want to be there. So here is the first piece in the experiment.
Thank you again to all the ladies on the Painting With Fire ning who continue to support and inspire my enameling efforts.  This piece is done with rubber stamps, Stazon ink and enamels in willow green and elk brown.  Tip of the day: purposely placing words and on angle ensures that they never look unintentionally crooked.

Still to come later in the week, more stamping, alcohol inks, foldfoming and whatever else comes along.

Be sure to check out Barbara's blog post from today, the link is above.  The pictures alone are worth the click and sure to make you chuckle :).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Giveaway at Kristi Bowman Designs

Hey all,  Krist Bowman is having a giveaway.  Enter today, winner drawn tomorrow, lots of ways to get an entry!  Click on Kristi's name above to go right to her site...

She makes some really awesome copper components, full of texture.  So be sure to check her out on Etsy too.

Monday, July 16, 2012

sneak peek

A sneak peek of a piece for the custom goose fence for my aunt and uncle's lake property.  Canadian geese are pretty to watch out on the water but they can really do a number on your yard, so many lake dwellers install goose fencing.  These range from a single strand of wire, to pie plates on poles and on up to a full 4 ft wire fence (a little overkill).

I wanted to do something custom as a house warming gift for the cottage, and this was the idea I finally settled on.  It will be a very low fence, just 18 inches tall.  I am making some metalwork pieces from aluminum flashing to string along a copper wire which should patina nicely with time.

Here's a sneak peek at the first piece for the fence which I finished today.  It's a leaping rainbow trout.  I apologize for the glare, I couldn't get a better angle for the picture.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Being with "your people"...

Yesterday I spent the day at my aunt and uncles cottage on Lamoka Lake.  It was a "work day".  We built a deck for their "grilling gazebo".  It took the better part of the day for 5 of us to complete it, me, my son (only 10 but did help where he could), my aunt, uncle and cousin.  By 3 in the afternoon, sweat dripping in our eyes someone declared it was break time and we headed out on the pontoon boat to swim in the middle of the lake.  Along the way down the channel to the lake (the channel is a little weedy to swim in) we were discussing the project and my aunt said "no day on the lake can be an all work day".  She's right of course, even in the midst of the work you can't help but notice the herons and king fishers darting above the water.  And of course, you have to wave at the passing boats, because that's the nieghborly thing to do.

My uncle installing the last bolt that secures the grilling gazebo to it's brand new deck!

My maternal grandmother used to call a persons family, their "people".  Throughtout the afternoon and evening, even when the sweat was stinging my eyes I was happy.  Being with your people is easy and comforting.  Over the years I haven't spent nearly as much time with my extended family as I should have, it happens to all of us I suppose, there will always be obstacles.  I urge you to find your way around the obstacles and just be with "your people".  My people are the nourishment that it seems my soul has been missing even if I didn't know it.

It seems that my siblings have been feeling the same way.  For whatever cosmically unknown reason (maybe because our kids are older and that makes thing a little easier?) we finally are making time to get together and just be with our people.  No occasion, no tragic event, just because.  The weekend of August 4th will be "Siblingfest 2012" , I hope it becomes an annual event.  We will be gathering at my aunt and uncles lake house, and hopefully their kids will be able to get home for it too.  I hope we all eat, laugh and enjoy til it hurts!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Photographing, flexing and listing

Today was another "photo shoot" of completed pieces to be listed and shared with the various groups to which I subscribe.  Photo shoot sounds really pro, but in my case it is pretty amateur...It's happens someplace in my northwoods backyard on sunny days and usually includes celebrity locations like my neighbors fence and a favoite fossil filled rock, lol.  Thank you geeks who created digital cameras for people like me who often take a shot that blurs from a shaky hand.

The comes the flexing, I now use fotoflexer to crop,  sharpen and resize my pics.  I used to use Picnik but sadly they are gone and now a part of Google and for whatever reason I can't figure out how to get to it.  I'm sure with more research I could but fotoflexer is easy to find and so simple to use, which is good when you need to edit up to 5 photos for a single listing.  Plus, major bonus, it is free to use!

Then onto the listing, you would think it would be easy for someone who loves their own art so much to write a delicious and inviting listing to sell her wares.  I however, get immediate writer's block as soon as my cursor is in the Etsy description box.  Odd, right?  I think it has something to do with me wanting each one to sound original and unique, perhaps to the shopper it does, but when you are writing many of them they all start to sound the same.  I used to have this same issue when I wrote thank you notes for gifts, even though each person was only going to read their card it somehow felt less personal when I had to write them to multiple people.

Here are some of the photos from today's work (which by the way is not nearly as fun as making the stuff).

Hand hammered copper disc with torch fired enamel. Strung on waxed linen cord with some yummy glass seed beads.  Your seeing it here first, it hasn't made it to the listing stage yet.

Fold formed copper and torch fired enamel bracelet.  Another being seen here first, to be honest I like it so much I'm afraid to list it because it might sell.  I know, that's the reason I make these things but sometimes it's hard to let go.

This little lovely did get listed on Etsy today.  Spiral weave czech glass beads with champange colored crackle glass bead "spacers".

I suppose I should get back to flexing and listing.  Then I need to get my calendar filled with some shows for people to see these works in person.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

HUGE giveaway at Pretty Things...

Lori Anderson has to be the most generous blogger I can think of!  Not only does she do the Bead Soup Blog Party but now she is doing a giveaway of 5 awesome prizes.  You can head over to Pretty Things to get in on the action.

Good Luck to everyone.  A great big thank you to Lori for all she does for the beading world!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Painting with Fire...thank you ladies

Today's post is a huge thank you to Barbara Lewis of Painting with Fire and the other ladies on her Painting with Fire ning for all their inspiration!  I finished my first torch fired enamel piece this week.  I have quite a few pieces that have been enameled but they are still waiting to be made into something great.  I might post some pics of those later this week.

                                               Here she is, my vibrant orange flower bangle!

I hand hammered and formed the copper disc for the flower, pickled, polished and then torch fired the vibant enamels on this piece.  I added enameled copper headpins as accent leaves and te flower center which wires the flower to the bangle.

The bangle itself is hand hammered and formed 10g copper wire that was soldered to hold the bangle closed.  I wear tested the bangle for 2 days, one of which included swimming and boating and it held up wonderfully.  It's amazing how strong glass enamel is, I am pretty tough on jewelry, especially a bangle.

Thanks again ladies for all your inspiration and support!