A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My First Bead Caps

Well I finally did it. I stumbled my way, cussing, through the illegible one-page "instruction manual" for my metal punch from Harbor Freight (which did not, in fact, have "screws", but rather metric allen nuts, for which no allen wrench was provided (rather, a big dopey "key" was enclosed); my set of course was not metric so I had to go the hardware store), and stunned myself by actually figuring out how to use it. Punched out some little discs from copper and brass 22 gauge sheet, hammered them a little, put holes in the middle with my pin vise drill, domed them to fit a 12mm bead, hammered them a little more, and oxidized them. Here they are, after a little polishing. Pretty much the way I'd hoped they would turn out.

It was a stupid amount of work. It's the drilling the little hole that's a pain. Think I'll make a little dimple first with an awl next time, maybe it'll go faster.

I have some 20 gauge sheet that I think would make some nice, really burly bead caps, but I don't think I could punch through it. I almost couldn't get through the brass sheet; might have to have the BF do that. It's rated for up to 18 gauge, but man! I would need an elephant to come step on it for me. I need a hydraulic metal punch. If anybody has any tricks for punching tough metal, I'd love to hear them. Maybe I'm not doing it right.

I would love to do this in silver too. I'm contemplating getting some silver sheet too, but I'm afraid it would be even harder than the brass. Anybody have any experience with sterling sheet and metal punches? The 22 gauge seems like a good thickness for bead caps. Probably too thin for charms or tags though.

OK, going to clean up my mess and drink a beer with the BF. I think I'm going to use the two copper pair for some green opal and maybe some aqua terra jasper earrings. I'm going to put the brass ones on a pair of faceted red agate earrings.

Liquid Sunshine

Otherwise known as rain here in the northwest United States.

This bracelet took its inspiration from the sun totem bead in the center (from Happy Mango).

I was dying to use some of the sesame jasper buttons I found locally--I was surprised they had so much pale blue-green in them. I thought they would look cool with one of the pewter totem beads I got from Happy Mango, which are apparently inspired by northwest Native American totems. It would have made more sense to use the orca one, or a salmon one (what with the watery blue greens and grays I wanted to use), but I really wanted to use a round one, which meant the sun one. But wait! This made sense. Northwest, sun, gray, vague blue-green...that IS sun in the northwest!! Very, very diffused sunshine. Like diffused by thick layers of clouds. So, it's like a joke. (Ironically the sun is shining here and it's 46 degrees. Might have to leave the house.)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm in a Treasury!

All apples and apple green stuff.

Check it out!

(That's me, bottom right).

A Little Bit Different

I can live with that, but I prefer to be called "unique."

That reminds me. This bracelet I made is a little bit different. From what I usually make, I mean.

I naturally took a cue (inspired by other jewelry makers who have done the same) from Lorelei Eurto and used a couple lengths of chain as a feature in my bracelet, as I felt it was time for another exercise in asymmetry.

I found these great mystery beads at my local bead shop (being in the $1 dollar bin gave them an extra special cachet), and especially loved the matte finish. Couldn't tell what they were at first, but after pawing them for several days with my apparently greasy fingers they darkened and I discovered they were Chinese jade. Now they have great color and they're still matte. And I suppose covered with a fine patina of grime. I combined them with ultra shiny, organic-looking bead caps from Cathy Dailey's store on Etsy, and a bunch of other green stones and pearls.

The stones include nearly transparent green fluorite (a gift from a customer), green aventurine, and forest green moss agate. The pearls are in a pale mint green, and a really stunning gunmetal green. Interestingly, the fluorite appear green under incandescent light, but look more periwinkle in daylight (or daylight bulbs, as in my photos here) or under fluorescent bulbs. So, a two-fer.

I attempted a simple toggle clasp, which actually worked out! The two lengths of chain are hand-forged by Moi. It simply wasn't ornate enough though, so I added some dainty hammered sterling spirals to the jade portion. Phew. This was also my first attempt at messy wrapping with lots more silver wire than I usually use, and I like the effect. It's almost like a bead cap.

It only took me two lunch hours at work, part of an evening and most of a morning to make. And a shitpile of sterling silver wire. Now I have to order more. I really hate doing that. But this order will include some sterling sheet metal, for bead caps. Assuming that experiment proves successful with copper and brass. Haven't quite gotten around to that yet. Just can't find the time. If there were more stoplights on the way to work I would do it in the car. On the way. Although I can steer pretty good with my knees. If I could SEE with my knees too I'd do it on the road. The metal punch and doming block set are just too dang heavy to take to work to do on my lunch hour. And hammering somehow doesn't seem appropriate in a law office. I don't think that would go over well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

They're Back

Yes, you were devastated when they sold. I wasn't so much devastated as shocked. What would you ever find to wear now? But no worries, I made more.

Rockslide Earrings in Gray

Turquoise Czech Picasso Glass with Sterling Silver

Sugar Plum Czech Pressed Glass

If only someone would invent self-replicating earrings.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Woman of Few Words

Yep, that's me. I have been exploring my non-verbal self. Like, the part that doesn't talk. Or write. I have become pure right brain. (Except for at work. Where I use mostly my left brain.) Others might see me throwing or viciously kicking something and chalk this silence up to irritability, but I like to think of it as just pure visual creativity taking over my mind and soul. But without manifesting itself in very many actual THINGS. Like bracelets or something.

I did make this---suppose I better put it on here so you have something to look at. It only took me like a full week to finish it because I couldn't decide whether to leave it alone or add more.

I have a couple other things I did but they're kind of just a rehash of stuff I sold before so I'm not going to post them. Larger sized bracelets (sort of unintentional), so if you know of anyone with voluptuous wrists, send them my way.

I may or may not have anything to say next week.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Been Saving Up

Apparently I've been storing my energy for this weekend. I certainly haven't been using it for jewelry. Christmas weekend I laid around, in spite of my big plans. Felt utterly lousy all weekend--I think the lousiness was coming from an exceptionally tired low back which I abused spending several hours Christmas morning sitting on the floor feeding sensitive documents into my new paper shredder (I work part time for a Congressman.) Amazing how a sore back can just kind of trickle into the rest of your body and make you think you have H1N1. I don't think I do. I think I'd be dead by now because that was a week ago.

Just kidding about the Congressman. Figured I could go ahead and throw out my bank statements from 1995, but I didn't want to just hand them over to the garbage man so he could steal my identity (I don't think he'd get very far with it).

I'm now a big fan of making earrings so that's what I've been doing. The only thing that sucks about how fast you can make them is that then you have to photograph them. It takes just as long to photograph earrings as it does to photograph some big nasty pendant that took you all day.

So here they are:

Rockslide Earrings in Browns

Rockslide Earrings in Gray

Apple Green Howlite and Steel

Czech Picasso Finish Glass in Turquoise with Sterling Silver

More Czech Picasso Finish Glass in Black with More Sterling Silver

Czech Luster Finish Glass with Sterling Silver

Silver Finish Heart with Garnets and Crazy Horse Stone (sold)

I have a couple necklaces ready to list, but I'm just about out of steam. Think I'll head first to the coffee shack, then I'm going to the store for Doan's pills. Everybody says they rock.