Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vintage Finds and Muffin Tins

There's been some interest in my muffin tin so I thought I'd supply some info about it.  It's a vintage Ecko brand Ovenex Starburst pattern.  Hubby bought it for two dollars at a garage sale and I got a second one for a similar price at a flea market.  They were both very black.  After Hubby used the one he bought to mold homemade lye soap  it came out looking much nicer and brighter.  I immediately confiscated it.  It's the one I used for the challenge.

Saturday I felt the need for retail therapy so I went by a couple of my favorite stores.  I found a matching starburst cookie sheet.  I thought it would be cool for laying out necklaces until I saw the price--$27.00.  Yikes!  I like it, but not that much. They also had some commercial pans:

This one would be a tight fit in a standard oven.

This is a loaf pan.  No way will it fit in a standard oven. This is what Marcy and I need for our big necklaces!  Just kidding, Marcy.  It is too big. 

Here are a couple of the starburst  tins on Etsy: here and here.

I did find some treasures. Here's a hint:

detail vintage jewelry

I picked up these two lovely necklaces--so small, just 15 inches. 

vintage crystal jewelry

And these three pair of earrings wanted to go home with me.

There were a few odds and ends:

vintage finds

And I got really excited over this:

antique typewriter

It's very dirty, but it works.  There's a cover that I didn't show in the photo.  It's an Underwood Standard Portable Typewriter.  I have to research to find out more.  I love antique typewriters.  

detail of Underwood Portable

I don't know yet if the wooden spacer bar is original, or a repair.  

Besides being in working condition one of the best things about it is that is weighs almost nothing.  This means I can display it just about anywhere.  I have a couple of very beautiful full size ones, plus several in not such good shape, and they all are quite heavy.  I have to be careful where I put them. 

Replacement ribbons are available and I will someday use this to type words for collage.  I will probably also have to replace the patten; that's the rubber roller that the paper goes around.  They tend to get very hard with age, so hard they can damage the keys. 

What are your favorite vintage items?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Best Laid Plans... Things Happen

Usually I try to keep things upbeat on the blog.  I can't always do this though, because sometimes the bumpy parts impact the parts I like to blog about. There were some bumps and potholes in the road of life this week. Things did not go quite as I had planned.

Wednesday I had to have my cat Maizie put to sleep.   She went into kidney failure. I knew it was coming but it is still excruciating.   I'm glad that she had a good long life--she was seventeen years old. Here's a photo of a younger Maizie checking out the water garden. She was hiding in the bushes by the bank's ATM when I found her 16 years ago.  When I drove up she stuck her head out and I knew she was waiting for me. I opened the car door and she jumped in.  

maizie checks out the garden

Thursday evening my husband helped me load the heavy things in the car.  We found this lady hanging out in the garage.

black widow spider
black widow spider

Note the nicely shaped hourglass.  She got a web going right away.  

partial top view of black widow
black widow spider

This is a variety I had not seen before.  On her topside she had a row of red rectangles. If you click the photos you can go to Flickr and see the photos in more detail.  She has a little white with the red too. 

Since the things we were removing from the garage go into my car we gave everything a complete inspection after we found the spider.

Hubby took her to work and gave her to one of the insane intelligent guys he works with. 

A really big pothole was our son had his apartment burglarized on Friday. He has a lot of anxiety around this situation and we didn't feel like we should go out of town right then when he wasn't feeling safe.  It took a long while with the police report and getting the window fingerprinted and such. Plus by the time things wound down it was quite late on Friday. 

I didn't get to the show I had planned to do on Saturday.  I've never skipped a show before so I feel weird about that but I'm glad we stayed home. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Muffin Tin Challenge

Heather Powers posted a "Muffin Tin Challenge" at the Art Bead Scene blog and I've been rather taken by it.  Usually I bag up projects in snack bags and put them in a shoe box until I get to them.  A couple of days ago I found a shoe box that I had forgotten about.  I think that's why I like the muffin tin idea--it's out where you can see it and be inspired.

Things did not go quite as I planned over the weekend (that's another post) but I did have a little time to work on the challenge.  

Here's my revised muffin tin:

revised muffin tin

I had way more than 12 projects in it so I trimmed it down and added the findings to it.  I still couldn't fit everything in the cups so the stringing wire and wrapping wire isn't shown.  

Here are six projects that I've done so far.  I did the work on the projects all Sunday afternoon and evening. This was only possible because I had two UFO's that I finished up.  I managed to snap a purchased "S" hook in half and ended up making a heavy gauge brass wire one to replace it. 

6 finished items

I did the wrapping on the two donuts.  The heart focal is a charm from Martha of Menagerie Studio

I think I'll get something else done before the deadline, but I'm not sure with my Monday schedule if I'll be able to post it so this is it for now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday--Show Prep

I was invited to a show at the grand opening of the Whiskey River Harley Davidson in Texarkana this Saturday.  My usual venue is arts and crafts shows so I've tried to make some unisex jewelry for this one.  My husband's cousin and aunt were also invited to vend their jewelry.  We're combining a family visit with a show so it should be fun.  (They even "bribed" my husband with Aunt Ethel's famous family cake.) 

I'm relieved that it's only supposed to be 93 degrees on Saturday. I was worried it would be 103. After the weather we've been having, 93 is quite comfortable.

fold formed copper cuffs and pod

Here are some finished cuffs that I learned to do with Kim St. Jean's Metal Fold Forming DVD.  They're awaiting a final finish coat to protect the antiquing.  The pod will have some beads put in it. 

wire wrapped necklace

This is a necklace I just finished using a house charm from Martha Eason of Menagerie Studio on Etsy.  She does some terrific polymer clay charms and I have several pieces I'm going to be using. I used Czech glass, a couple of vintage fake pearls, apatite roundels and antiqued brass wire.

in progress

Here are two of the etched pieces I wrote about in an earlier post.  The top one is from text written by Leonardo da Vinci.  I plan on putting these on leather cuffs but probably won't get them done in time for the show.  The leather neck cords just need a clasp and they'll be ready for a pendant.

muffin tin challenge

Here's my preliminary muffin tin for the Muffin Tin Challenge over at the Art Bead Scene Blog.  I am really excited about this challenge, even though I won't be able to finish it in time to enter because of the show.  I'm still going to do it even if I finish late.  Let me tell you, there is no way I can get everything for most of my necklaces into a single muffin cup, but at least I got a lot of it. I have parts for more than 12 things in here. The planes and accompanying pieces will be earrings. I have a request for this show for cross jewelry, so I have a lot of crosses and hope to get a few more made up. I've got to dig out some turquoise to go with the coral crosses.  And I'm not sure about the blue beads with the heart and key.  I think I need smaller beads to go with Martha's heart charm. 

For a long time I've done a version of this by bagging things for necklaces in snack bags.  It's much more exciting to put it in the muffin tin. I think it's inspiring to see it there on the bead table. If you click on the photo I made a few notes on Etsy. 

Check out the other Bead Table Wednesday photos and posts.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vintage Finds--A Truckload of Silver Plate

Last weekend I went to a little flea market.  It's held outside one of my favorite antique places.


There was a lady there with a pile of silver plate silverware.  I inquired about the price and she quoted me a price far below the usual per piece for the lot. Then she said the silver plate trays were included (4). I paid her and she bagged my plate up, including the sugar, creamers, baby cup and candle snuffer.  I hadn't realized any of that was included. 

a pile of silver plate

One of the platters sticks to a magnet so I guess it is plated over iron or something.  The sugar and creamer set has a mark, as does the baby cup.  The silver ware is marked as well. There are a couple of knives that are stainless steel and have non-serrated blades.  I plan on using them to open the folds in my fold formed pieces.  There's a lot one design--the pointy ended one with the rose on the right and left--that isn't my favorite design but I think I can do something with it. 

I guess I better get busy with my silverware benders since I now have lots of pieces to practice on.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the platters.  I'm thinking of cutting them up and using the pieces as backing for copper and brass pendants.  Given the price of silver now I think this will sell.  The engraving on the platters is quite attractive. 

Big Bead Giveaway at Pretty Things

Lori at Pretty Things has a big giveaway going too. She's just back from Bead and Button.  I'd like to go there someday.  There are nine winners in her giveaway! 

Something Unique by Lana--Huge Giveaway

Lana at Something Unique by Lana is have a huge giveaway.  She has some fantastic beads and findings from many Etsy artisans.  There are a lot of art beads included.
Check it out. It's a fantastic collection of goodies.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday--Fold Forming

If you look at Monday's post you'll see my review of Kim St. Jean's DVD--Metal Fold Forming.  Here's my first fold formed cuff made using her tutorial:

After LOS and a little polishing

After the first dip in the liver of sulphur the cuff came out a mauve-taupe-gray.  I stopped there.  Usually I go darker but this color matches a lot of clothes I have. I used a 3600 grit sanding sponge to hit the highlights. It will finish up in the tumbler a few more minutes for a little extra polish and hardening, then I'm coating it with ProtectaClear to keep the finish just like it is. 

The two etched brass sheets in the background are my other items on the bead table this week.  I etched them a while back, along with a third piece, then annealed them. They came out with large pink splotches from the torch. This is because the heat caused the copper in the brass to come to the surface. After a lot of elbow grease and tedious time with steel wool I got one sheet clean.  I put the others away until I had more time--and fortitude--to clean them.  

Recently I stumbled across a recipe on the net for cleaning the pink off brass. It's 3 parts white vinegar and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide. I used the grocery store versions and it worked like a charm.  No more pink and very little elbow grease! If you do this don't go off and leave your metal in the solution.  It takes just a few minutes and then you should remove the items.  I rinsed them well and put them in a baking soda wash also. It is not safe to store this in a closed container so dispose of it immediately. One report said it could explode.  Maybe they were talking about industrial strength versions but I'm not sure. 

Here's what the cuff looked like before antiquing:

Before LOS

I like the bright look as well.  This is after steel wool and 30 minutes in the tumbler.  I will probably do a couple of cuffs and keep them bright as well a some antiqued ones.

This was so much fun.  I plan to do some more fold forming.  Tonight.

Don't forget to check out the other Bead Table Wednesday photos and blog posts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Texture Tuesday

I know I've been doing Presentation Tuesday, but it's going to be moved to another day.  Every once in a while I want to do Texture Tuesday with Kim Klassen.  I don't know what I'm doing yet, but I figure I'll learn something.

Here's my finished photo:


I used two of Kim's textures, warmsun and yesteryear in Photoshop Elements.  I think I want to work some more on it and make the textures a little less subtle. I find that I've forgotten most of what I knew about layers in Elements so I need to read my book again. 

Here is the original:


I do have an upcoming Presentation Tuesday.  Not sure when I will post it--maybe next Tuesday if not before.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tutorial Monday--Metal Fold Forming with Kim St. Jean

Tutorial Monday posts are reviews of tutorials by other people (not me). I haven't done one in a long time but I was so pleased with this tutorial I wanted to spread the news.

I recently purchased a DVD class called Metal Fold Forming with Kim St. Jean.  Kim was at Adorn Me this year.  I didn't get to take one of her classes, but I heard lots of good things about them.

This DVD class is produced by Beaducation.com. If you haven't been to their site you should check it out.  They also offer this tutorial in online format. 

I love this tutorial.  Kim explains things very well, and the video is up close and well produced.  It's 81 minutes long and includes a printable class handout.

The tutorial covers:
  • the creation of a cuff bracelet using fold forming
  • bonus instruction in the fabrication of a pod fold pendant
  • bonus material covering copper surface patina using the butane torch
Kim shows how to do the fold forming and several methods of texturing using the hammer and other tools.  I found that the bumpy texture that I've made previously with an antique center punch is what Kim refers to as "frog skin." It's a good name for it.

Here's a very short section of the introduction from You Tube.  There's a good picture of the cuff.

I hope to get my first cuff done in time for Bead Table Wednesday.  Check back later.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blogger Problems-The Real Blogger Status

Having trouble posting comments on blogger? Log on problems?  

Check out the solution here on the blog "The Real Blogger Status". (thanks Patty!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday--Annealing

Today I annealed some of the sheet that I etched previously.  


After annealing I put them in a pickle bath made from vinegar and salt, shown above.  Usually I dispose of my pickle before it gets this dark blue, but I've been wanting to use it to copperplate some tins I have so I can solder stuff onto them later.  All that blue is copper that is dissolved into the pickle.  

These sheets will have cabs set into them for pendants.

various copper earrings

I also got a few of my copper disk earrings put together and carded. 

Most of the week I've been working on my grandmother's vintage rattan furniture. It's been in storage for a long time and we decided to fix it up for our son.  He picked out some fabric for the new cushions and chose a cheery red paint.  Granny had painted this furniture light green, yellow, dark green, white and maybe a few more previously.  It took all week but I finally got it painted.  There are three sections.  Next I have to start on the matching end table, coffee table, corner table, and so forth.  I have no idea how old this furniture is but I know it is at least 50 years old. 

Here's a shot of one section in progress.

rattan sofa section

Now I've got to get it moved without scratching it up. Luckily the weather has cooperated this week since I've been painting it outside.  This furniture reminds me of happy times at Granny's so I've enjoyed painting it, even though it was really hot. 

Check out the other Bead Table Wednesday photos:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday iPhone Photo Fun - Playing with Fractals

There's a cute app for the iPhone and iPad called Fast Fractal. I've been having some fun with it.  These are digital designs rather than photos. 

I think this one looks like something from Dr. Seuss:


I did some additional editing on the contrast on this one:


I'm thinking about using it as an etching pattern.  The only downside is the images are small.  I'm not sure how they'll print. 

Here's a colorful one:


Check out my set on Flickr for more fractal designs.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday--Etching Woes

I just finished etching some copper.  I had been storing my etchant (ferric chloride) for a while and when I opened it up there was some crystalline looking debris floating on the surface of the etchant. I had never encountered that before. I stirred it up and added some fresh etchant. It looked okay.

Whatever that debris was, it floated back to the surface and partially masked the surface of the copper.  I did stir the etchant when I checked the copper during the process but that wasn't enough. 

Here's the sheet I did with text and some fish. This would have been more than one piece after I cut it up.  I think the fish will be okay--the spots look kind of like bubbles, but probably only some of the text will be usable. And it may not be usable at all.  I'll have to see what it looks like with LOS on it.  The sheets look better in person than they do in the photos, fortunately.

unexpected results when etching

 These other two pieces will probably be okay, but only because I was planning on cutting in close to the design, so the odd spots will be cut off. 

unexpected results when etching

unexpected results when etching

My husband was nice enough to strain the etchant through a coffee filter and get rid of whatever those particles were.  

These are just the first of a big batch I need to do. Hopefully the others will be contamination free. 

Check out the other Bead Table Wednesday posts: