Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yikes! What Now? Or Why I Love Some of My Mistakes

A friend gave me a bag of old jewelry a while back.  In the bag was a copper cuff that was bent out of shape.  I had some brass cuffs that I was etching and I decided to etch the copper cuff as well. 

First I tried putting it on mandrel and bending it back in shape. It didn't work so I annealed it, straightened it out and etched it.

Unfortunately I didn't have enough etchant in the container and the middle section of the bracelet made contact with the bottom of the container.  This section didn't etch well compared to the rest.  The bracelet did shape up nicely on the mandrel after the annealing though. The top of the bracelet, the part most visible, had very little etching and what it did have was very shallow.  Okay, I decided, this was not a bracelet I could sell.

Then I found a brass butterfly woman stamping.  I had previously experimented with bending this stamping with my bracelet bending pliers but hadn't done anything with it.  I decided to rivet it to the top of the cuff. 

This was tricky.  The stamping had an open back and I had to be careful not to crush it.  Also, it was difficult to rivet the wings because of the curvature of the cuff and because the rivet heads were somewhat recessed on the front of the wings.  I used my smallest hammer and a nail punch that I found at Lowes.  I balanced the cuff on the punch with the top of the rivet seated in the hollow of the punch, and very carefully tapped the rivet on the inside of the cuff. It worked. The stamping nicely covered the shallow area of the etching.

butterfly woman cuff

I would never have done this if I hadn't made a mistake with the etching.  Some of my most creative and satisfying work comes out of a mistake I've made.

I still can't sell it:  I like the cuff so well I'm keeping it for myself.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Jewelry Upcycled Winner Is...

My friend Martha experimented with getting her bird to draw the winner of her giveaway. I thought that was pretty cute so I decided to see if I could get one of the cats to draw. I used some scrap paper and numbered the slips one through ten for the ten comments. Then I presented the choices to Scrappy.

not interested

Nope, Scrappy wasn't interested.

still not interested

Still not interested. Meanwhile the wind is blowing everything into a pile.

Ater replacing the slips on the sidewalk I had Stefan draw. 


He picked:

The Winner

The second commentor, My Life Under the Bus, is the winner! Check your email!


Why it's sometimes hard to take pictures.

One of the other cats might do a better job next time...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday--Hits and Misses

necklace and wirework

I've been busy with spring cleaning and haven't worked on jewelry much this week.  I did ball the ends of some more wires in both copper and brass.  I made the above clasps out of some of the brass.  I'm not real happy with them.  I started with too much wire and the clasps are over sized for the necklace, above, that I intended them for.  I'll go back and start with shorter wires and maybe 16 gauge instead of 14 gauge.

found objects and vintage jewelry

I also have these.  I found the rhinestone brooch at a thrift store today.  The hardware and Russian military flight pins are from Etsy. The antique square is from an antique store.  I've been looking for a small square in hardware stores but haven't found one that is suitable.  I like this antique one better than any of the newer ones I've seen.  It fits right in with my small collection of antique measuring devices.

Scroll down and check out the giveaway I have going.  I'll be selecting a winner late Thursday evening, probably right before midnight.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday--Work in Progress

necklace in progress

I'm late again on Bead Table Wednesday but there you go.  It's been that kind of day.  I started this piece a while back, set it aside, then dug it out again. 

This is the first piece where I've used this brass wire.  It's a little stiffer than the sterling or copper I usually work with, but I like the antique color. Since I'm using a less expensive wire I experimented with some fatter wraps on the links. It's also one of the few pieces I've done that has some asymmetry. I really like asymmetrical necklaces but I never know how to go about doing one.  I'm going to try making a clasp for it out of one of the brass wires with the balled ends from last week's Bead Table Wednesday.

Looking at it in this photo the donut looks a little plain.  It's a lot better looking in person, happily.  I definitely need to stop taking jewelry photos with the cell phone.

Check out the giveaway for Sherri Haab's latest book on the previous post!  There's still time to comment or post to your Facebook for chances to win this great book.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sherri Haab's Jewelry Upcycled! Review and Giveaway

Sherri Haab, and her daughter, Michelle Haab, are the authors of Jewelry Upcycled!. I own several of Sherri Haab's books and was pleased to receive a review copy of this new book from Potter House (Crown Publishing, Random House.)  

There are 20 projects plus many variations covering a wide range of skill levels and media. Most projects can be done by beginners with few tools, while some are for more experienced jewelers or require specialized equipment. All of the projects incorporate new and creative use of items that might otherwise go in the trash bin.

My favorite "beginner" project is the T-shirt rose brooch.  The only tools required are scissors and a hot glue gun.   These are fun and a good way to recycle that favorite old t-shirt.

In addition to projects designed by Sherri and Michelle Haab, contributing artists include Rachel Haab, Bill Hess, Steven James, Shannon Porter, Jane Salley and Richard Salley. Gallery contributors include many other well known instructors and jewelry artists.

The book has six main chapters plus a resource list and index.  The first chapter covers basic jewelry instruction and tools. The following chapters are organized by the type of media and start with specifics of working with that media, followed by the projects, and concluding with an inspirational photo gallery. I really enjoyed having the gallery pictures in each chapter throughout the book rather than at the end of the book. The projects are profusely illustrated with close up photos of each step plus large full page photos of the finished pieces.

The five project chapters are:

  • metal and wire
  • plastics
  • glass and ceramics
  • fabric and leather
  • found objects
Metal projects include pendants from tin, a silver spoon, and telephone wire.  Plastic projects employ fused bubble wrap, cassette tapes and colorful components cut from shampoo bottles, gift cards and credit cards.  Glass and ceramic projects are made from china plates, and old bottles.  The fabric and leather projects include t-shirts, felted sweaters, old belts or purses, and jeans labels. The found objects chapter utilizes old toys, old electronics, memorabilia, and vintage snaps.

The glass and ceramic projects use  grinders, tumblers, or a kiln, depending on which project you choose. Projects in other chapters need only basic tools that most jewelry artists would already have. One plastics project does require the use of a fume respirator.

Some of the techniques used in the book are cutting and sawing, riveting, use of resin and resin clay, crocheting, molding fused glass, basic wire working and kumihimo weaving.

There's a world of ideas in this book. If you have an interest in using found objects or recycled goods there are good projects here to make and lots of ideas to explore with your own designs.

If you'd like to WIN this great book leave a comment below.  Share this post on your Facebook page for another chance to win (leave a second comment telling me you did this.)  I'll select a lucky winner sometime on April 28th.  Be sure there's a link I can follow to your email address or some way for me to contact you in your comment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday-Bead Market Finds and a Little Torch Work

jeweled treasures

Most of what's on my bead table are the goodies I got at the Dallas Bead Market Sunday. My friend Billye and I went to the show together.

I got these vintage Czech glass beads and found objects from Carol Wille of Jeweled Treasures. I was really happy to find these. 

Donna Rasco was there from Unique Creations and I picked up some fleur de lis and these cool retro rocket charms.  I'm going to make some earrings for myself from the rockets, but I think I'll get some more and make cuff links. I would like to make some guy stuff but I almost never figure out what to make.

stampings and charms

I fired up my Lenk 500 torch today and balled up the ends of this copper and brass wire. This was the first time I had used this torch.  It's a little more robust and hotter than my other micro torch.  I had some trouble finding the sweet spot in the flame.  Even though the air was still outside, the spot seemed to move around.  I finally gave up and went inside and turned on the stove vent and did it on the stove.  Success!

balled wires

The top wire is hardware store brass which must be yellow brass.  It was a little harder to work with and you can see it didn't have hardly any color from the torch.  The second wire is jewelry supply red brass.  I'll be using it from now on instead of the hardware store stuff, at least if I need to torch it.   The bottom two are copper.

These will be made into clasps.  I learned how to do these in Deryn Mentock's Buildzone online class. She just started another round of her online class, "Towers and Turrets."  Check it out; there's still time to sign up.

Heather over at HumbleBeads started a Flickr group and blog posting of what's on her beading table every Wednesday.  It's a fun and interesting pool of pictures.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trades and Links

This should be my final post on Adorn Me 2011.

There wasn't as much trading going on this year as last year, but I did get these awesome trades. Although I tried to keep track of who made what I wasn't completely successful at it. I know the colorful dangles in the center were done  by Chuck Young. I may have the enameled copper and PMC charm at the top mixed up though.  The card with the dancer and the copper disk is mine. 


One attendee made this awesome padded bag for us to store our trades:

padded bag trade

I thought this was a very thoughtful trade.  It came in very handy when I packed up some of the jewelry I made.  If this is your trade let me know and I'll credit you.

I'm going to put the charm trades from this year and last year into a necklace, or maybe a necklace and bracelet.  And I'll have the fork tine earring trades to wear with it.  

Here are some posts from other bloggers on Adorn Me 2011.  I've listed them in no particular order.

Picking Poppies

Lorena Angulo

Something Sublime

Rosa & Josies

Fully Flummoxed

Check them out.  I know Don, of Fully Flummoxed, was going to add posts so there may be additions to the list since I last searched.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Whoops! I Went Antiquing Again!

I can't help it.  I visited one of my favorite antique/flea market malls and came away with this lot of items:

more vintage finds

The red "Natures Remedy" tin is still in the plastic bag because when I opened it in the store it still had ancient fiber powder in it.  Or whatever it is. I'll be dumping it shortly. The necklace on the bottom is amber.  I'm going to have to get a magnifying glass out and look at one of the beads because I think I saw an insect.  Probably its just a piece of bark though.

I love the rhinestones. I have a thing about bow ties so I just had to get the bow tie necklace.  It's a fun piece.

I also found this vintage flaring tool.  I'm not sure how well it will work for jewelry since the holes have threads, but it was next to nothing so I'll play with it. 

vintage flaring tool

Not too long ago I got a bunch of stuff from this same store.  I'll have to stay away for a while--oh wait...Isn't their flea market this Saturday? (4 Generations outside Greenville TX.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sunday at the Swap Meet

My husband and I made a spur of the moment stop at the Greenville Swap Meet.  The Swap Meet started around a local antique car show, so most of the things for sale there are old auto parts.

There were many, many fantastic restored autos and we enjoyed looking at them.  There were several I wouldn't mind having, only with air conditioning and seat belts!

This orange Bel Air beauty caught my eye:

Bel Air

The weathered patina of age and paint on some of the vehicles that weren't fully restored, like this one, was very attractive and interesting.  Can you tell I'm into metal work, or what?  It made me wonder how many of the car owners are more interested in the restoration process itself versus owning a restored vehicle. Do they lose interest in a particular car after it is restored and move on to the next project?  I think it's the restoration process that most enjoy. There's a certain magic that takes place when you take a piece of aged metal and make it look new again, or use it in a new way that gives it new life. It's also very satisfying to have something you restored with your own hands.

old Chevy

That's my husband, Ralph, leaning in to look at the interior of this Chevy.

1946 Ford panel truck

My favorite was this 1946 Ford panel truck. Look at the layers of paint (and rust) on it! I always wanted one of these when I was younger and had several business ideas that involved a truck like this.  Those ideas never got out of the realm of dreams and wishes, but I still love these old trucks.

1946 Ford panel truck

There wasn't much in the way of antiques not related to autos, but I did find these items:

swap meet finds

The car part is plastic.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it but it has a fleur de lis and cost a quarter.  I'm sure I'll find a use for it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Heather over at HumbleBeads started a Flickr group and blog posting of what's on her beading table every Wednesday.  Many have joined her.  Here's my first Bead Table Wednesday.

bead table wednesday

It's quite the eclectic group this time.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it but the quartz crystals will be wire wrapped or soldered, and the lock plates will become bracelets or pendants.

The United States of Autism--movie trailer

This is the trailer for a new movie about autism. 

There are so many children with autism. What will happen to them when they are grown?  As the parent of an "adult" child with autism, I can tell you there are no resources.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vintage Finds and a War Journal

Sugar Hill restaurant

Recently we had the "birthday" anniversary meeting for our AAUW branch. We met in Farmersville at the Sugar Hill Restaurant. The restaurant features home style cooking and an array of vintage, new, and antique dish ware, all of which is for sale.


I'm thinking seriously of going back and getting a set of these dishes. Isn't this plate beautiful?

Here's a shot of my buffet selections. I chose a cabbage soup and a selection of salads. Since since hubby and son are not into veggies and salads I consider them a treat.

lunch at Sugar Hill

The Sweet Sensations were there to entertain us--think barbershop quartet, only with women and a larger group. They are really good and very entertaining. The program consisted of patriotic songs in honor of a late member of our group.

Sweet Sensations

After lunch I went antiquing in the stores around the town square. I like to go antiquing but don't always find much. This time I'm pretty pleased with my haul.

In the shop adjoining the restaurant I found this cool vintage bracelet. I believe it is Czech glass.

vintage bracelet, probably Czech glass

 My favorite find of the day was at Farmersville Antique Store where I found this beautiful and mostly working typewriter. The ribbon is there, but broken, and something is jamming a couple of keys. The carriage still moves though and I think repairs will be possible. I believe this is an Underwood No. 5 but the decals on the bottom of the front frame that usually have the model number are not there. The no. 5 is the most common of the antique typewriters. I plan to use this to type things to use in collage and on collaged pendants when I get it fixed.

antique typewriter

This jewelry was calling my name--I swear I heard it. I love the little crystal headpins on the smaller pin and the drusy crystal look on the Marquis shaped crystals on the earrings.

assorted finds

Afterwards I visited a third shop where I found another rhinestone necklace and a Bluejackets Manual from the WWII era.

blue jackets manual with necklace

This was the first Bluejackets Manual I have seen. It's a Navy instruction manual that covers what a sailor needs to know--things like how to organize the locker for inspection, rules and regulations, etc. I got very excited when I found it.

My great uncle, Bill Carter, served in the Navy during WWII. He was a 19 year old sailor on the Utah when  Pearl Harbor was attacked. He survived because he just happened to be on deck when the Utah was hit and sank. He served for the duration of the war.

My friend Paul and I have been working on my late Uncle Bill's journal. Mostly Paul is doing the work. He's a historian and has done the notes and things. Luckily my aunt Sarah scanned the journal many years ago so we have good copies to work from. The original is in very delicate condition.  My great aunt Helen (Bill's wife) is eager to see it published. Bill did a lot of sketches in his journal of things he saw--ships burning and other things.  It's very interesting not just for our family members, but as a historical document.

This brings me back to the Bluejackets manual. Navy personal weren't supposed to be keeping journals. Uncle Bill wrapped his journal up very well in brown paper, wrote a note on it saying "I can't think of a better gift for a bosun mate's wife than a bluejackets manual." Then he tied it up in a lot of string and mailed it. The journal was the same size as a manual and it went through without being opened by the censors.