Friday, February 26, 2010

Who's glad it's Friday?

Me! Me! Me!

What a busy and tiring week! But, I had just enough energy to just list my latest owl: Mrs. Filigree! I think she may be my most favorite yet!

A folded square filigree plate, filigree flower eyes, and a tab nose decorate this etched copper head. Now on Etsy!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Fun Experiment

Remember when I made these necklaces with heart shaped tea strainers? I painstakingly sewed tiny Swarovski crystals into each of the holes and then lined the inside with fabric? I love how they turned out, but wanted to experiment with doing a few different things with the hearts.

One of the comments my husband made to me about the first project I mentioned above, was that the heart was "too shiny" and that I should do something to dull it down. That was a good point, and I think it all depends on what type of jewelry a person likes to wear. Some people like to wear really shiny, perfect looking silver while others like to wear things that look antiqued, patina'd, or worn. So, I used heat to achieve some really pretty color all over the heart. I would imagine that if you were to use this strainer for it's real purpose, this might be the effect it would achieve after being dipped in hot water numerous times.
I left the outside plain this time, but knew I wanted to use some resin on the inside. I used a fabric like tape (like the kind you would apply a gauze bandage with in the hospital) on the outside of the heart to "block" all of the holes. I put a tea themed charm in each half - one, a teapot and the other, a cup. Then I sprinkled some loose tea leaves (Oolong to be exact), and I love the pretty green and pink colors I found in that loose tea! Then, the resin. The heat from getting the color on the outside turned the inside a really pretty rosy copper color, so it really gives the illusion of brewed tea!
I really like how it turned out, and now that I know it works I can make some more. I like the idea of the "secret" elements inside that only the wearer would know about and could show off as they liked. Or, I really could split the heart so that a necklace could be made out of just one of the halves. Lots of possibilities.

My only issue was with the tape the next day when I went to take it off. It left more residue than I thought it would, so I had to get it off as best I could with Goo Gone. I don't know if it was because it was reacting to the resin or what. Does anyone have any good suggestions for other tapes to try? Perhaps that blue painters tape that is supposed to have good release?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Thing With Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
-Emily Dickinson-
When I took my metal class last Fall, one of the techniques we tried was learning how to anneal a piece of metal and then run it through the roller press for texture. I, of course, used a peacock stencil I had and made 2 plates from it. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with these feathers until this weekend. I decided to cut them out in a circle shape, and make a bail out of the copper scraps, attaching it with a rivet. The backside needed a little something, so I engraved a quote from the Emily Dickinson poem above. Hanging from an 18" copper ball chain makes it simple and elegant.

Now available on Etsy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Home Series

I keep coming across "homey" design elements for jewelry, and they've really appealed to me because I love being a home owner. I guess for a girl, it starts out when you are young and have a dollhouse. As I grew older, I started collecting beautiful light up towns for the holidays. My husband and I still live in the first home we've bought, and I still love it just as much as the day we bought it. Sure, there are things you have to deal with that are a major pain, but all in all it's a good feeling to live in a place that you've made your own.

I've just listed these 3 necklaces on Etsy.

This first one used a polymer clay house from Heather Wynn. I had the most perfect blue lucite key from Ornamentea to hang it from. For the beaded chain, I tried to pull all of the colors in: the warm brown, the pale blue, the sage green. I didn't have any pink beads that matched, so I made my own peyote stitched ones!
This necklace uses raku clay houses from Jubilee. They are currently featured in the Spring issue of Stringing magazine. I made a little neighborhood out of them by wiring them to one of those wood sticks I love so much. To give the wood stick a little more character, I used my wood burner to leave the word "love" on it.
These artists inspired me to create my own home with my metal working skills. I etched a piece of copper with a heart pattern, and then engraved "shingles" onto the brass roof. The blank back of this pendant would accommodate some more engraving, and I've offered to add that. The buyer can choose any words, phrase, quote, etc... and I will engrave it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

SALE and other tidbits

In honor of February and Valentine's Day, I am having a bit of a SALE. I had 3 necklaces in the shop with heart pendants, and then a sweet deer necklace who needs a home before Winter is over. So, the prices have been marked 25% off. Check it out!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur. About 3 weeks ago, I had an irritated eye. I went to the eye doctor - no real diagnosis, but got some prescription drops. It got better, but is worse again now. I am a contact lens wearer, so this is especially tough. I have glasses, but since I have been wearing contacts for so long I feel disabled in glasses. I can hardly get anything done. Then, my husband and I both came down with terrible colds that have taken 2+ weeks to get over. The little amount of time I have had to work on jewelry has been doomed as well. The last few times I have tried to work on metal pieces, I have broken 3 saw blades, 2 drill bits (one of which smashed into my fingernail - Ouch!), and a few stones I was trying to rivet. Maybe this weekend my luck will be better and I get can some stuff done.

Things are looking up though! I am taking 2 classes at the Art Center this semester. One is stained glass, which I have always wanted to do! I drew my own peacock pattern, and two weeks into it I have all of the pretty glass cut. I can't wait to show it once it is finished. The other class is PMC, another medium I have always wanted to learn. Our first class was cancelled this week due to snow, so I am anxious to start next week.

The other exciting thing is the trip my husband and I are planning to Belize in a few months! We are spending 3 nights at one resort in the "jungle" for lack of better words - exploring Mayan ruins and hiking to waterfalls that you can swim in. Then 3 nights at a beach resort. I simply cannot wait. My week is ending quite well as I came home yesterday to find the Spring issue of Stringing in my mailbox! I have a cute design in the bracelet gallery. It was great to settle down on the couch and page through it last night. Today, I was very happy with my review at work for 2009. Made my day! So now, I am looking forward to the weekend - relaxing with my 3 Valentine's: Jon, Mocha & Biscuit!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Anyone up for making a Goddess?

These pretty beaded Goddesses were featured in the August 2003 issue of Bead & Button magazine (you can see a photo of it below). They were created by the talented Rhonda Kivett. At the time, she offered kits for sale and I bought one of each. Unfortunately, I never got around to making them. I had always thought that once I completed them, they could sit on a shelf in my studio for inspiration. Or I could frame them. After almost 7 years now, I just don't think it is going to happen even though I think they are so cool!

So, I am offering each kit up for sale in my Loose Feathers shop. They are $15 each (way less than I paid) and come with everything you need to create a Goddess. I'd love for someone to bring these special ladies to life, and for them to have a good home!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Experimenting with Rings

Last year at Bead & Button, I was glad to snag a card of 3 sugar skull buttons from the talented Anne Choi. I am assuming you can only get these buttons at shows because I have never seen them on her website. I wasn't quite sure what I would do with them and then it hit me - they would be perfect for rings! But, not really having made rings before I had to brainstorm about how I would do it.

The first one I made was simply wire wrapped, and I auctioned it off on eBay last month for the Art Center. I had wanted to get at least one more done for that auction, but it just didn't happen until now.
For this one, I used a flower ring I already had. I remember purchasing this ring with a friend of mine in high school back in the day when you still had to physically order from catalogs. Like in... sending a check in and everything - before the internet was really mainstream. It had a little yellow glass stone in the center which I popped out. I nipped the shank off the back of the button and used jeweler's cement to adhere the skull to the flower.
I also had this nice silver band that I had bought long ago with the intention of doing a peyote stitch around it, after seeing some rings done up like that right after I learned how to do peyote. Well, once you have the woven beads, you can weave most anything onto them so sewing the last button I had onto it worked out great! And, I am willing to share again - this ring is now listed on Etsy.