Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Failed Experiment, and Some Happier Endings

Well, that bezel cup that I have been working on turned out to be a bust.  I could never get the cabachon I was using to sit in the cup, so I took it to a jeweler friend of mine.  He cemented it in place, and then he used some specialized equipment he has to force the edge of the cup over the lip of the stone.  Perfect, but then he felt the need to buff the metal.
The stone I was using had a titanium plating on it.  Had.  It got partially buffed away.

Oh well. On to more interesting things...

This is a piece that has been waiting for materials to finish it.  I had the cloud piece and the chalcedony briolette, but I was lacking the different wires and the chain.  I am very pleased with the simplicity of this piece.  

And this is my new favorite piece.  I made earrings like the twisty links in this necklace, and then knew I would have to make the  necklace, too.  And then I sold the earrings before I got to finish the necklace.  But I just made another pair.  Nice to be able to do that.

These are my go-to pieces for the fall.  I wear them all the time.  Of course, that means I will sell them quickly.  As soon as I find time to post them to etsy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Surrender to the Dye

When my sister was first learning to dye her own fabric, she learned a valuable lesson.  You can't control dye, you have to let it do what it wants.  Thus the mantra was born: 
Surrender to the dye.

I have had a similar experience, although if it was control I wanted, I could have had it, if I could just have been a bit more patient.

Here I have a bezel cup pendant, and I am about to fuse one of my sterling balls to the side of it.  
Now, there's two ways I could have done this.
One is to fuse the two pieces together.  This will work only because everything is fine silver.
The other way would be to use solder to make the connection.

I have no solder, so I decided to be a happy idiot and see what would happen.

And what happened was that several of the smaller sterling balls fused with some of the medium sterling balls, making large sterling balls that may or may not have actually fused with the pendant.
Which is all good, as it turns out, as I was going for an organic look, and you can't get much more organic than letting the silver decide for itself how and where it's gonna fuse.
And this isn't even the latest.  Several of the deelybobs came off as I was trying to sand the shine back into the piece.  But it's still all good with me.  I learned something, and I'm pretty sure this is going to turn out to be a stunning pendant, when it's all polished.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Torch Works, I think

I went and bought a new bottle of butane to fill my torch, and I'm not sure if it fixed the problem.  However, it was fixed enough to be able to make a bunch more of the sterling balls I'm doing.  
It takes less than a minute, in most cases, to heat the sterling scrap up to the point where it forms the ball, so I can't say for sure if the torch will do what I want when I have to use it for longer periods of time.
We'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

Here is a picture of the scrap awaiting the torch.  It is sitting on a charcoal block that is made for the purpose of firing metal with a torch.  I have it sitting on a cast iron skillet that I don't intend to use again, and that is sitting on my stove, with the fan going.  I really need a garage.
And here is the after shot.  The torch sometimes causes the metal to roll around and move from its original position, almost like a wind is blowing on them.  And, of course, they are not very pretty as they are covered in firescale.  I take the melted balls and quench them in water, and then move them to a solution called "pickle," which is a mild acid that eats the firescale off.  They come out of that bright, but not quite shiny.

I think I have made enough of these little deelybobs, as I called them last time, to use for my project.  The next step fills me with trepidation, but I won't let that stop me.

Stay tuned.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sterling Deelybobs

In anticipation of the shipment I should be receiving this week, I did some jewelry-making prep, as I described it to my husband.
"Husband," I said, "I need to do some jewelry making prep this weekend some time."
This was to forestall his following me around all weekend, wondering what I was going to do next.

Anyway, it all starts with my scrap.

So this is a small plate of snipped ends and cut off mistakes of sterling wire that I keep.  Usually I just sell it back to  my supplier, but this time I wanted to try a new technique.

I took several small snips of wire and heated them with my torch.  Eventually they make themselves ball up under all that heat, and I have some sterling deelybobs to use in my designs.  
I was surprised at all the different colors - but I suspect that has more to do with how long they sat in a solution that is supposed to remove firescale more than anything.

Well, I have lots more scrap and far fewer deelybobs than I thought I would.  The problem was that my torch was giving me fits.  It may have stopped working correctly, or it may just be that I need to buy a new container of fuel.  I will try that first, anyway, because it is the cheaper solution.

Stay tuned for the anticipated arrival of goodies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shopping Spree

All of the checks finally cleared, and so with my paypal account fully flush, I went on a shopping spree for jewelry making supplies.
I was surprised at myself because it took so long to make up my mind.  Usually I'm more impulsive than that, but I guess it was because I had limited funds - not a small amount, but there was definitely an end in sight.  And because I wanted every dollar to count. 
Now my concern is that I actually have the skill to make everything I'm imagining without making a mess.
Here is the list of some of the things I purchased - the building blocks, if you will. I wanted to post pictures, but they were not available for downloading.  Durn!

round sterling half-hard wire in 16, 20 and 26 gauge
3 feet of sterling cable chain
1 20mm titanium blue window druzy cabachon
1 20 mm sterling bezel cup pendant
1 sterling collar with 2" extension
4 8mm moonstone cabachons
sterling bead caps
sterling bead spacers

Oh, it's hard to read that list and be excited.
Unless you're me.

It will be here next week!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hot Pink and Turquoise

As I am waiting for a check to clear before I go ahead and stock up on materials again, I am posting some older pieces that haven't been shown previously.

I made this necklace 16" long because I thought the colors in particular were more juvenile and would appeal to a younger girl.  
Which is not to say that I don't love them!  Yummy!
It's been quite a while since I worked on any jewelry making that wasn't just a thing of the moment.  I've gotten out of the habit of going into the studio every morning and every evening.  
And I'm starting to get that antsy feeling.
Hopefully I will have supplies soon and will be back to work making new and different pieces!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Photo Essay

We went apple picking this weekend.  The apples were happy to see us.  I took some pictures for you.  Enjoy.
"Kiss kiss!"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Computer Woes

Just when I was feeling better and ready to get going on my blog and my etsy shop, computer woes struck!
The hard drive where my pictures are stored stopped working.  Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. I wont bore you with details.

You're welcome.

But we're up and running again, so let's have some jewelry content, shall we?

This is actually a necklace I made a while back, and even tho it's made from lesser materials, you know I love it!

It's the crystals, of course!

And those flat head pins are pretty interesting, too.

It's just a cluster of shiny round things!

The foot is doing much better, thank you, but I have occasional twinges.  I am ready to get back to work!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Moonstone Necklace

I bought these moonstone beads while I was still living in Singapore.  I haven't seen anything like them since I've been back in the states.
I always struggled with them because of the way that they are drilled.  I'm not sure this pendant is the best solution, but it does work.

At least, it works for Shubert.

Isn't she photogenic, though?

I must apologize for the brief hiatus in posting.  Wednesday night last week, I stepped off the curb into a sewer inlet that was both several inches below where I thought the street level should be, and also angled so that I came down on my left foot hard and twisted.  I didn't break anything, but I was sore for several days and didn't feel like doing anything.
After a lovely long weekend spent sitting on the porch and reading for several hours each day, I am feeling much better.