Thursday, September 30, 2010

From the Bench today...

It's been a pretty busy week at the bench. I've been working on a few pieces at once, plus getting custom orders done. I've added something new and I am so excited about it.

This is what I finished today...

or sort of finished...they need a final polish...I just have to get the stones in though. I can polish around them with my polishing cloth.

This one is my favorite.


and this is what I'm so excited about.


Gold accents! I got some 14k gold this week which is CRAZY expensive and am learning to work with it. I've added a little gold ball to a couple of my pieces for just a little flash and highlight.


AND.... (drumroll please...) I made my first gold ring.



I spent over $150 on some gold and gold solder (which did not get me much!) and I held my breath when working with it. It is solid 14k and it was harder to work with than I thought it would be but it turned out nicely. Simple hammered band but it's a start. I've gotten my feet wet. yay~

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thinking it over.

This was a custom request from a customer. I really like it.

I was going to stop making this one:


and replace it with this one...


but my daughter advised against it and said I should offer both.

I have so much labradorite in my shop already. I'm still thinking it over.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Begging, Bartering and Bribing.

This is what it takes to get my daughters to model for me. I am really lucky in my business to have three gorgeous daughters (see my profile picture) that are live in models. Unfortunately, they are not willing models. It takes some begging, bartering and eventually bribing to get them to stand still for me for a few minutes. You'd think I was asking them to do a full on photo shoot for for hours and hours. Well, it is all worth it though, don'cha think?





Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Confessions.....

of an aspiring metalsmith.

My biggest confession and, I'll admit, the one thing that keeps me from really feeling like a true metalsmith is this....


This little micro torch is what I use for most of my work. NOT a professional tool by any means. I think my husband bought it for me years ago at Willams-Sonoma as a Christmas gift. I wanted it to caramelize sugar on the top of Creme Brulee. It worked amazingly well for that job, but, since Creme Brulee is such a pain to make it wasn't used much.

So, when I began working and learning metalsmithing, this was my tool of choice. I knew how to use it, the fuel was easily available, and it didn't pose too much of a threat for burning me.

This little guy works amazingly well for smaller pieces, which is what I do. And, I'll admit, I've stuck to smaller pieces out of the dread of moving on to larger torches.

Yesterday, however, I NEEDED more heat. I was working on a large piece that just would not heat up enough with my small torch. So I broke down and bought this.


I like how it has a trigger lighter, you can lock the flame on and that it has a hose. This was the first one I've seen like this. And for the heat? WOW! Is all I can say. This guy packs a huge flame! I almost melted a couple of pieces using this. It did, however, eventually do the trick and my solder flowed beautifully on my larger piece.

This is what I hope to graduate to someday.


This attaches to a type B acetelyne tank, which you have to get from a welding supply. I purchased this connection months and months ago but I still don't feel ready to tackle such a huge fuel tank. Honestly, one of my biggest fears is getting burned badly. Not just burning your finger but bad, % of body type burns. I used to work as a paralegal and we had a burn case. Reviewing the medical records I learned what it takes to treat burns and what victims of burns go through. It is excruciating at best. Then, not too long ago I saw a documentary on burns where a welder's acetelyne tank blew up and... well...lets just say that really made me nervous about having one of those around. My dad worked with one and knows how to teach me to use it; however, I still have a few fears to conquer.

Since I've made this confession I may be encourged by my "Aspiring Metalsmith Team" to jump in and take the plunge. Not sure if I'm ready...but so far, the little torches are serving me well. I'll get used to the middle size first and then see when I'm ready to graduate.

And for the new, large piece...here's a sneak peek......

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From the Bench Today


I have had these prehnite stones for over six months. I love their color and cut but could never decide what to do with them. One is a square cut and one is a cushion cut. The cushion is ever so slightly rounded.

Although I've primarily been focused on rings throughout the year, as I've mentioned earlier I am trying to focus on items that can be shipped right away. This will make the upcoming holiday season less stressful for customers (waiting for their item) and me (trying to meet deadlines).

This morning I was sketching and not really liking what was coming out of my pencil when, ~Voila~, I sketched this!~

I could not wait to get into the shop to start working. (I'm not a great sketch artist, but the details were in my head)

The square bezels were a little trouble. I ended up melting one and having to re-do the other. But the rest seemed to flow well.


I adore the chain they are on. It is a pulled link alternating with smaller links. It has a more substantial look than regular curb chain but is so light. I have had this for a while and I am going to have to do a little digging to find out where I got it so I can get more!

Well, I hope you like what came off the bench today. I'm pretty pleased.

They'll be up in the shop later today.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More Earrings

f...and while I like the ready to ship items these are NOT and easy thing to make!

When setting stones in rings I can place the ring shank into the holder and have a tight grip so that I can really muscle the bezel tight around the stone. With earrings....nothing, nada, zip, zilch. I just have to hold these tiny little things and work and work and work the metal. The muscles in my thumb and fingers cramp, hands shake and the skin of my thumb really gets sore!

But, I think the results are worth it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How Did I Not Know...or have I been living under a rock?

I recently discovered something that apparently a great deal of you already knew about. Something wonderful and, although in England, seems to be very popular everywhere.

I have, for years now, been a huge fan of Rachel Ashwell and her shabby chic look. For years I would check out her books from the library over and over, dreaming of having that look in my home (to which my husband turned his nose up at). I have tried to pair my love for her style with my love of bright colors. I love the vintage look, the femininity of the flowers but have seemed to get stuck with my love for color.

Well, here she is. Cath Kidston. I mean, really! Where have you been all my life?

I think her items speak for themselves and while I can't show you everything I love (it would crash blogger!) I'll leave you with my favorites and her website. If you are like me and were clueless up until now, I'm glad to have enlighted a little. If you have known about her all along, please don't judge...I'm trying! :-)

www.cathkidston.co.uk












If only I had known when I was in London! Oh the shopping I could have done!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New From the Bench.... and second attempt at a logo



In an attempt to start creating things that are ready to ship in preparation for the upcoming holiday season I have begun a line of earrings. Here is the newest pair. They are 6mm faceted pink amethysts. The stones are so pretty with a little purple hue to them.

How do you like my new earring card?


On a second note, I spoke with the person who is designing my new logo about how I felt about the previous designs. While I said I liked the design I didn't feel it represented my work well. I was looking for something more sophisticated, sleek, etc. (see the first design here ) Well, I am guessing either I am not communicating well or she doesn't understand...because this was her second try. Disappointing a little. I think the colors are okay, but *sigh* the flower again...

I haven't responded because I just don't know what to say. I felt I was clear last time so, well, I just don't know.
Maybe I'll show her my earring card and tell her to go in that direction. I'm liking the way that looks. I'd love some input! Critique away!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Shopping...for those that are more crafty than I.

I want to share with you the most amazing shop I found this week. It is LITERALLY a treasure box of wonderful things.

(click to go to their shop)


This is what they say and they can say it much better than I.

"We've gathered together a wide assortment of embossed Victorian paper scraps and Dresden trims from Germany, blown glass Christmas garland beads from the Czech Republic, plush velvet ribbons and ric rac, fancy fabric trims, lace and buttons, hand made miniature paper flowers, mushrooms and fruit, traditional gilded paper from Florence, Italy and various vintage treasures and supplies to enhance your everyday and holiday projects."

Take a look at these photos~ This is just a sample of the 54 pages of items in their shop! You will find 10 times more in their shop as well as each item in a rainbow of colors.










They also have a website (www.32DegreesN.com) where they sell advent calendars, decorations and kits! Look at these!




You can follow their blog ( http://32degreesn.blogspot.com/) where they will share with you new items, wonderful information about their products as well as a sneak peak into their world.


I encourage you get a cup of tea and a comfortable chair and begin to take a look at their wonderful sites. You won't be disappointed. I am seeing at least one advent calendar and that tree kit in my future!