Monday, May 31

Happy Memorial Day


Monday, May 31 is a day set aside for remembrance and celebration!

Sunday, May 30

Will You Be A Winner




I made this little bracelet using some of my cast pewter buttons. I was inspired by the button jewelry of Lorelei Eurto, and I wanted to play with the ideas using some of the pewter I've cast.

Someone asked me recently whether there's any lead in the pewter I use, and there absolutely is no lead. I make sure when I'm mixing the metals to make the alloy - no lead allowed.





The bracelet is fun to wear, it jingles a little when you move. This bracelet is the object of the giveaway from yesterday's post - so if you answer the question there you might win this bracelet.




I used wire wrapping to connect the links, then I patinaed it all and used the buffer to polish it. It has a very ancient look, like it might have been part of a treasure trove found in an archeological dig somewhere exotic.


Does this giveaway bracelet inspire you to post a reply to yesterday's question and enter the running to win it?

I hope so, I really need your answers.

Saturday, May 29

Celebrate a Giveaway


Last December I was so happy to be included in a collaboration article with Deryn Mentock, talking about using pewter components in jewelry and the inspiration of the two of us working together.

Deryn was an early tester and adopter of the pewter designs, when I first started working with it. I've learned a lot and experimented to come up with new ways to work. All along she has been willing to use the pieces in her designs, and create lovely wearable jewelry with them.




One of the designs she created that didn't end up in the photographs for the article is a necklace she calls "Biker Chick Protection" and it's lovely, I think she showed it on her blog.

I had only made the one version of the central focal since last September, so I decided to create one like it. It's in the Etsy shop, a skull and gothic design that would look great as a choker or as part of a unique bracelet design.



For the giveaway to celebrate all the wonderful milestones I've had in the first half of this year, I can use your help answering a question.

Everyone who comments on this post will get a little "thank you" from me, but one person will win a special wearable finished piece of jewelry. I'll show a photo of the giveaway item tomorrow.

The question is - what would you like to see me make more of in the pewter Etsy shop?
Large central focal beads, pairs for earrings?
Do you like the one of a kind special things, or prefer standard clasps and rings that you can use in designs?
Do you like finished jewelry or just beads and components?

Would you like to see more finished earrings and bracelets that you could wear, or do you really like getting a piece to add to your own designs?

I'd love your feedback and hope you'll give me lots of good answers - my time to use in creating is short each week, I'd like to maximize it in the right directions - with your good guidance.

I'll announce the winner next week - lots of juicy details please???

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To prime the pump - I put some fun things on a special sale in the Etsy shop! Check out the great prices on some unique items ...

Friday, May 28

Completely Imaginary



This time it isn't caused by watching a movie, or reading a book.

I don't really know where this idea came from.

I was working on creating the bezel, an oval shape that I can use with resin or polymer clay, to make something that looks very antique.





I was also working on the charm that has the swirls and roaring dragons. And at some point, I put the charm on top of the bezel.

It fit perfectly. I didn't plan this, but as soon as I did it I wanted to put the two of them together.

I started thinking about how special and precious looking glasses were in ancient times. It made me wonder about putting a mirror inside the bezel, and adding a hinge with the lid, so it could slide aside and let the mirror be seen.

Like in a medieval castle. A young princess looks at herself in her special looking glass, encased in a protected guard, to wear around her neck on a long chain.

Fanciful, huh. Makes me wonder what brought all this to mind ... who knows?




Sometimes I make things and think they are really cool and love them, and they don't find a home right away.

I'm really hoping that someone falls in love with this pendant like I did, so I know I'm not being totally silly in creating it and the story I made up for it.

Just somewhat silly. Fanciful, maybe.

It's in the Etsy shop, if you're the one who falls in love with it. Hurry ...

Thursday, May 27

Triple Treasury



This week, I've had notices from three people that various items in the Etsy shop are in a Treasury. I love when that happens, I get a chance to see what other people have found in Etsy, and with one of my items included it's even more fun.

This one has my red house charm in it, and all the other items are just as cute as can be, I like how they all go together.

The
Etsy Treasury is called "Home Sweet Home" and if you want to follow any of the links, check it out. I'm not sure when it's expiring.

Wednesday, May 26

Has It Been That Long



When I traveled to Ireland with friends, several years ago now, I went looking through shops trying to find medallions or medals that I could convert to jewelry designs, as an inspiration. I wasn't able to find any, except in one shop window I peeked through but the shop was not open at the time and I couldn't ever get into it.

With the Memorial Day holiday in the US coming up, I guess I'm thinking again about medallions and medals, so I made this piece to resemble an antique emblem that might have passed down through the generations.

There's a sailing ship in the center, with the crown on top and thistles on the sides and bottom. I can't read all the latin inscription, but I am thinking it's something inspirational.




I think it's time for a celebration with a giveaway, I'll think of what I can come up with. What are we celebrating?

50,000 hits on the blog was reached yesterday.

That's amazing to me.

I found out the blog is ranked #9 on a Jewelry Wiki site.
Astounding.

And the Etsy shop is teetering on the edge of 1000 sales in the one shop, and 900 sales in the other shop. When I add that together, it's almost scary to know I've created that many items, much less that someone is enjoying them and creating with them.

So keep an eye peeled later in the week for a giveaway - as a thank you! and celebration.

None of it would have been possible without YOU!

Tuesday, May 25

Sixpence



Thre's a kind of lettering style that I really like. Kind of old fashioned, but I imagine it was really modern at the time it was new.

I made this faux bookboard pendant charm with the word "SIXPENCE" clearly visible, as though it was on an advertising placket or cut from an old book board.

The color is a dark red-brown. It has the two holes in the corners for chain, wire wrapped beads or heavy jump rings to be attached.

I put this one in the expeditionD Etsy shop, I had one like it last November, I just got in the mood to make more last weekend.

Art Deco lettering, very vintage looking.

Sunday, May 23

Midnight Wings


I'm trying something new, a little different, with finishing the wings.

This is a pair of wings in a dark midnight, denim blue color.

At the ends of the wingtips I added a blue-black faceted glass bead to finish it off.

it has a picasso finish on the bead, so part of it has a pearlized bue look that matches well with the dark blue textured color on the wings.




You can see the glint of light on the bead at this angle.

Usually I do the wirewrap plain, without adding the bead.

With a simple loop at the bottom to add a bead or dangle.

I got these vintage glass faceted beads and they match the color of the wings perfectly.

So I tried them together and loved them that way.




Here's a picture of the reverse side, it's an india ink denim blue color with a butterfly wing-looking pattern on it.

I wish I could say that I looked at the beads first and then painted the wings to match, but I didn't, this time it was a happy coincidence that they matched so well.

But if you like the look with the beads on the wingtips, maybe next time I will do it intentionally.

I like them, they feel very ornamental - just a hint of BLING at the ends of the wings for a special sparkle.

Saturday, May 22

Looks Like a Book



I thought I had put some of these faux bookboard medallions in the lynndavis Etsy shop, but it appears that I had only listed them in the expeditionD shop.

I wonder sometimes if I should really still have two shops. The idea was to keep the pewter and glass separate from the polymer clay and resin beads and components. And I used to only list jewelry in one, and only components in the other one.

I also wanted to have the hand dyed yarns, cloth and ribbon in the expeditionD shop.



I thought that people who were interested in one might not be interested in the other. They're kind of different styles and flavors. But now they're kind of blending together in some ways.

What do you think - does it make sense to have the two different shops?

This blue-gray medallion looks to me like it was cut from an old cloth-bound book, to reproduce that antique worn look. It has the words "The Profusely Illustrated STUDIO" on the front.

I think it would be fun with some chain as a choker, or as a medallion for a purse ornament.

But if you're looking for it, it's in the expeditionD Etsy shop.

Friday, May 21

Back to Basic


I'm looking for a fun summer read. When the weather warms up, and it isn't raining (which lately hasn't happened but I know it will someday) I like to sit on the back desk after the day job and read a book until the dusk falls.

I wanted this little butterfly component to look like the books I remember from the library, with the cloth backing embossed with writing and designs.

Do you remember those old books, with their worn and dark colors?




 

So maybe later this week I'll go over to the library and try to find an easy read. Maybe a historical drama, or something in a mystery.

What are you reading - anything fun?

Wednesday, May 19

Basket of Costume Pearls


I love old costume pearl jewelry, the kind that shows wear and has that warm, faded look.

You know when when they were new the costume pearls were probably very white.

But over time, with wearing and sunlight, being kept in old boxes, they get a warm cream patina.




I put a whole bunch of bright, brand new, pure white pearls into the dyebath and let them sit for almost a week.

When they came out they had this luscious lustre, just the warm cream color I was hoping for.

They're not exactly the same from bead to bead, like you'd expect real vintage pearls to vary in color and wear.




Here's a whole basket full of them.

Feels like I found a whole treasure chest full of old, worn luscious costume pearl beads.

Ready to string and add to a bracelet or necklace.

Long strings of pearls, draped around neck and head. If you want some, I listed them in the Etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 18

Butterfly



I'm liking wings these days, I made three different type wings focals over the weekend.

These remind me of the coming warm weather, daisies and butterflies.

Backyard barbeque. Handmade vanilla ice cream.

Fireflies in the dark flitting from tree to tree.

A full moon rising over the trees.

Summer.

Monday, May 17

Spanish Oranges


There's a color I really like, it reminds me of whitewashed walls in houses in Tuscany. Or like those tiny oranges called Clementines.

This house has those colors in the script on the front, and the back reminds me of lemons when you peel them to get to the zest.




It has the same feeling as this vintage sepia photograph.

Sienna.

Rust.

Red Ochre.

I love those colors, on beads, or on walls. That old country rustic feeling they give.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Don't forget about the Art Bead Scene Studio Saturday post - add your reply to be in the running for a pair of pewter charms.

Saturday, May 15

Copper Headpin Tutorial


Good morning! I was here in my studio today using the torch to create some headpins and I thought you might like a quick tutorial. This one accompanies the post for Studio Saturday at Art Bead Scene today, so you can see another way to use copper wire to make headpins, this one is using a small gauge wire that's 32 gauge, to put through pearls, stones, or other beads with a really small hole to make dangles for your designs.

Pearls can be reamed out for a larger hole with a bead reamer, but natural stone chips usually don't work as well so having a smaller diameter headpin wire is a good idea for those type of beads.



This is a sample of some of the headpins I made, and the hemostat I use to hold the wire tightly in the torch flame. I use a plumber's torch for making headpins with copper wire, because the butane mini-torch I use for making fine or sterling silver headpins doesn't have enough heat for balling the end of copper wire.  The hemostat locks onto the wire so it doesn't wiggle and I can hold it perfectly vertical in the torch flame but well away from my hand and fingers. Safety is important!



After it balls up at the end - (it doesn't take long at all with the fine gauge copper wire so don't go too far or the ball will drop off, make sure you have a fire-resistant firebrick or metal plate underneath just in case so nothing gets burned) - I dunk it immediately in very cold water to get the ruby red color that's so pretty with the copper and wipe it with a rag to dry it. Remember to leave it in the hemostat and don't touch it until you dunk it, the wire is still very hot and you can get a burn or blister if it touches skin.

This is the balled wire headpin through a natural freshwater pearl with a very small hole, holding it in my round-nose pliers and getting ready to make the wrapped loop at the top of the pearl.




Here I've wrapped the wire over the top of the round nose pliers to start making the loop.



Now I bring the pliers to the other side of the loop and finish wrapping back to the starting place, to make a nice even and rounded loop in the headpin. When the metal is heated up to make the ball it anneals the metal and makes it softer and easier to bend. I didn't hammer this wire with a leather mallet to make it work-hardened, but you can do that to make the wire stiffer for the loop. You can also hammer or texture the loop after wrapping to work harden it, but don't go too far or the wire can get brittle and break.




Here I've changed to my bent nose pliers to keep them out of my way while I make the wrapped part around the wire. You can make a long, skinny dangle by making the loop higher up and wrapping the wire around it, or make a thick wrap around the loop for a decorative look.




Here's the finished pearl dangle, see the pretty red ruby color in the oxidized copper that was balled up. I love that patina the heat gives copper. You can take some fine sandpaper and remove the blackened part of the flamed wire, or if it's going to be covered up and not show you can just leave it.




On this one the pearl is on top of a balled copper headpin that I lightly hammered to make it flat and paddle-shaped. That's another look you can get when you make your own headpins. So you'll always have the size of wire and type of headpin you need to make earrings, dangles or for charms. See the different sized balls on the ends of the different gauge wires?

Did you like the tutorial? If you do, I'll try to take more photos and post more on other subjects, too. It's hard to take the photo while holding wire in the flame of the torch, my attention is somewhere else!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you are interested in more good chain making info and fusing a different kind of link, check out Catherine Witherell's blog - she's making blob chain links and you have to see them to know how cool they are!

Friday, May 14

Monsoon and Prizes


It's been storming and raining here almost every day and night. Right now there's a downpour, the sky is dark. And last night it rained and stormed.

I need an umbrella hat and galoshes. Isn't that a mental picture?

The grass was cut last weekend, thankfully, and it will have to wait to be cut again until things dry out a bit.

I am trying out a different editor for the blog at Blogger, it's taking me a little while to get used to it. Sometimes posting is a struggle. "Why did you do THAT and move that THERE?" so if the posts look ... different ... that's why, as I get used to a new editor.

I'm particpating at the Art Bead Scene this month as one of the sponsors. I'll be giving away a pair of the wings you see in the picture on this post. And also one of my Blue Belle hearts.

To enter, you need to create a finished piece of jewelry, take a photo and add to the ABS Flickr group, based on the theme for the month.

There are weekly prizes, and then a big monthly prize winner.

Go over to Art Bead Scene to check out the new design on that blog or to get a look at the image that's the inspiration for the monthly theme. And check out the Flickr site for lots of beautiful pieces to ponder, even if you don't enter anything yourself.

Tomorrow is my day for Studio Saturday over at ABS, there'll be a drawing then too at the end of the week. Lots of places to win lots of good stuff! Check it out ...

Thursday, May 13

Finally!



For a long time now, I've been wanting to make some fun rings. But I've been concerned about sizing and getting it right.

Then I found these ring shanks, and I had to give them a try.

Don't think that these are sterling silver or anything fancy. The ring shanks are some kind of metal, but the fun thing is that they're adjustable.

So I didn't have to fret about finding the right person for the right sized ring - they can be adjusted to the right size.

I cast some pewter pieces that I thought would make interesting ring sets, there's a skull, a resting winged heart and a keyhole.  I measured the un-expanded adjustable ring base, at the beginning it's a size 5 on my ring mandrell.


But I've tested with some other rings, and they can be expanded to fit as needed. 
So if you would like to try some fun finger jewelry, I have these in the Etsy shop now.

I have an idea to make more, some with resin words, maybe with some faux tintypes.

Even with some polymer clay designs, maybe.

If you go for things dainty, you might find these too large, but I think they're fun if you don't mind things a little dramatic!

What do you think - fun?

Tuesday, May 11

Dogwood



Years ago, a grade school friend gave me a pendant with a pearl and a dogwood flower.

I still have it, it was gold and had a short pretty little chain.

I love dogwood flowers, the pink and the white.

They always remind me of the springtime.





So this is a sentimental flower pendant, with a hole at the top and one at the bottom, for a jump ring or wire wrap bead for a chain or a dangle.

Here in the midwest the ornamental pear trees bloom with their white petals, then drop them when the winds blow them like snow.

The oval faux pearl reminds me of the white petals.

A pretty, sentimental charm drop.

Monday, May 10

Magpie Eyes


I took some time on Saturday morning, before I got onto something else, or got distracted, and cut some glass for the kiln.

I put some colorful dichroic glass on some clear backgrounds, and some onto black, and fused them to make faux gemstones.



I plan to combine some with wire settings, to create special settings. And to combine some with pewter, to enhance the bling level and add some color. They have an inner glow, and change color and sparkle as light hits them.



I'm wondering if any of you would like some rough cabochons to use, just the fused glass.

Another thing I do sometimes is grind a channel around the outside of the glass cabochon and use wire wrapping to make a little dangle. What do you think?

I like to use them to give a special organic and fancy look to the components. Shiny shiny, pretty pretty.

I think I'm part magpie, collecting shiny bits.

Sunday, May 9

Mothers Day Tintype


Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms and all the sons and daughters of Moms!


I mentioned a while back that I've been playing with making some faux tintypes.

Today I got one completed. It's meant to look well-loved and worn, with a sweet little girl's photograph on the front.



On the back is a small cast pewter design, with four studs in the corners that can be used for hanging. It's very thin but sturdy, lightweight and very vintage looking.

You can see the design for playing cards - the diamond, spade, heart and club, nested inside each other in the pewter on the back.

So I have this pretend story that a card playing father carried this good luck charm as a watch chain fob, to remind him of a far away relative or close kin, a child or a sister.  Or maybe a civil war soldier carried it with him when he left home, very romantic and sentimental.
 



I didn't know when I started exactly how I would put all this together, and I have some other ideas on using these faux tintypes in frames of pewter.  But for this one, I liked the pretty little child, smiling in her fancy dress, with lots of detail in the image, so I combined it with the rectangular pewter setting.

For all the present moms, the moms-to-be and the future moms, I hope you have a happy day and enjoy family, food and fun!

Saturday, May 8

Slow Moving Day



I got home from the project work last night almost at midnight. Needless to say, I didn't go into the studio. And I allowed myself a slow start today.


It's a very windy day today, and very cool in temperature. I wanted to open the patio door in the studio, but it's actually too cool to be comfortable that way this morning.




I also made another moon face pendant set in a bezel last weekend. I really like these peaceful looking lunar orbs, they have an asian feeling to them.

I have a plan to do a tutorial on making some earrings, if I get enough time today I need to do the photos for that, too.

Better get busy, lots on my to-do list today.