Thursday, January 27, 2011

New Tool and how I spent my morning

I bought myself a luxury item last week.  For anyone who appreciates tools you'll understand.  Here it is:

I am in love with it. 

Since my creative muse still seems to be AWOL I decided to teach myself a little of the process of recycling my silver.  For those of you who don't know, silver has doubled in price in the past year.  DOUBLED!   The silver companies will take your scrap and give you credit, but not at full price, so I think by doing it myself as much as I can I can keep costs down for my customers.

This is where it starts: with my crucible, scrap pile and a couple of hollowed out cuttle fish.  These cuttle fish are the kind you buy for birds and are supposed to be good for pouring hot metal because they are cheap, dont catch on fire, etc.  Honestly I don't think they work too well and they stink, but they beat the heck out of a $70 ingot mold.

After melting (no pictures of this process because I need to keep both hands and eyes attentive), this is what I was left with. 

And this is what I ended up with after rolling.  I didn't get any pictures of this either because it's a two hand process.  I made a small flat sheet, a piece of square wire, some half round wire and rectangular wire.  Not too bad for a beginner I think.  It's very exciting.

I did learn some lessons though.  No. 1 lesson is not to make the ingots too big.  My little roller can't handle it.  Lesson 2, anneal, anneal and anneal (heating metal to red and then slowly cooling it keeps the metal malleable.) I would say after every 5 or so passes through the mill.  If you don't you can break the metal.  See these pictures?

Interesting isn't it.  It splits and splinters. 

I wanted to share my tool with you all.  I am very happy to have this tool and am excited about recycling my silver scrap. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Promised Tutorial

Shabby Cottage Magnet Frame Tutorial

To start here is a list of the supplies you’ll need.  If you’re a compulsive crafter like me you’ll probably have these mostly on had.

1. Primer (spray or paint on)
2. Spray Adhesive
3. Acrylic Finish  (I ADORE this spray modge podge.  The finish is so smooth!)
4. Various Acrylic Paints and brush
5. Fabric (the amount needed will depend on the size of your frame)
6. Any frame that is paintable will do.
7. Metal sheet (this is available in the roofing section of  HomeDepot or any hardware section.  It is sometimes called flashing.  THIS IS IMPORTANT!! for some reason magnets will not stick to all of the metal sheets they offer.  BRING A MAGNET WITH YOU so you can make sure what you buy will work)
8.  Scrap Cardboard
9.  Any type of heavy paper.  It can be fancy or plain.
10.  Hot glue gun
11. White glue
12.  magnets
13. various buttons, flowers, jewels
14. epoxy glue
The only tools you’ll need are some tin snips and sharp xacto knife or sharp scissors.  You might need pliers if you are taking the frame apart and there are staples.  You’ll also need some heavy gloves for when you are cutting the metal. 

First things first, clean your frame up.  Take out all the metal staples, if any were used to hold the old picture in.  Sand it if needed to smooth out the finish, break up old paint, etc.  If you get a good primer you shouldn’t need to completely remove the old paint and finish.

Lay out your metal and trace the inside of the frame on the metal.  Trace underneath the lip of the frame so the metal piece will sit on the ledge in the frame, not fall through the opening.    Put on some heavy gloves and cut out the metal.  When you are finished test the fit.  Make sure it fits before you move onto the other step.  Cut a piece of scrap cardboard this same size.  Set aside to use later.

Now you can get your primer out.  Prime the frame as well as the metal piece.  I personally like spray primer and since it isn’t the final finish it gets the job done quickly.  Allow the primer to dry and, depending on the darkness of the frame, add a second coat.  I like to have the frame totally white before I start painting a bright color because the color is more vibrant. 

I prime the piece of metal because I am using a light colored fabric.  If I don’t prime the metal it will darken the fabric.   If you are using a darker fabric you may not need to prime it, but check just in case.

 Choose a color that coordinates with your fabric and paint away.   I like to do two coats to make it really pop!  Let dry between coats.

When the frame is totally dry (give it all day or overnight at least) seal it with the acrylic sealer.  You can paint on modge podge or use the spray kind.  I am in love this spray kind because it gives such a smooth finish.  I put on two coats of this also, allowing the coats to dry in-between.  I do two light coats to avoid any runs or drips.  

Make sure your fabric does not have any wrinkles in it.   Take your metal piece and spray the spray adhesive thoroughly over the surface.   Take your fabric and make sure it is facing the right direction (not sideways or off centered).   Loosely fold your fabric in half and, starting in the middle, set it down on the metal piece and lay outward in both directions.  Make sure you don’t stretch the material and working out any bubbles as you go.    Once the fabric is placed on the metal piece rub gently so it is attached thoroughly.  

Trim the fabric one quarter of an inch from the edge of the metal.  

Place the metal piece with the fabric in the frame.  You might have to trim the fabric to make sure the glue is holding the metal against the frame. 

Using the hot glue gun, place a large bead of glue on the opposite sides (top, bottom, left, right).  Once it is set, complete gluing around the edges.

Next, take your scrap cardboard piece that you cut out to fit into the back and place it in against the back side of the metal.  

Spread white glue around the back edge of the frame opening and set it on the heavy paper.  Allow to dry for a few minutes  and then trim carefully with a very sharp xacto knife.  

You can buy some magnets that match or you can make your own with some magnets (at any hobby store), epoxy and cute little buttons, flowers, jewels or anything you want.  

And there you go.  You can make big ones, little ones, and a set of a few to go together.  Just use your imagination and make it your own!

Oh!   and instead of adding fabric, you can add chalkboard paint and have a little chalkboard, too!

So there you go.  I hope you are inspired to make one for your own room, bathroom, kitchen or office.  If I missed anything just point it out and I'll fix it or answer your questions.

Rough Draft

This was made from a few scrap pieces I had laying around.    An idea I had rolling around in my head.  I think, if it were better put together it would be a fun piece.  I'll have to work on it further. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

One of my favorite blogs.

This is one of my favorite blogs and she's hosting a Market Place Monday on her site.

Go check it out.  There are lots of awesome things to discover! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Upcoming Tutorial

Okay, I had so much positive feedback from my little magnet board I want to show you how to make one.  BUT, I am such a bad procrastinator I am going to promise you that I will post one by the end of this week so you can hold me accountable.

It's fun, easy and anyone can do it!  It really doesn't cost that much either and if you are a compulsive crafter like me you probably have 99% of this stuff on hand already.

So keep and eye out and I PROMISE I'll get it posted by Friday... (hee yeah I know that gives me lots of time but I need it.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

New today....

This is a magnet board, too.  See the button, jewel and flower?   They are the magnets.  This is fabric, not paper and the frame is a rich pink, not red (*sigh*  darn photos and lighting).   

Heard behind my back...

I think we all struggle with feeling a little inadequate, that we are just not (insert your own insecurity) enough or waaay too much of (insert second insecurity).  I stuggle to just try to be myself, friendly, honest, kind and to be happy with that.  You'd think at my age I would have conquered that.

Last night, at a group I go to monthly with women I have known for 15 or more years, most who I think are my friends I hear this:

"Leave it to Amy to say that"

"WTH?  What does that mean?"  Unfortunately that struck such a cord with me I didn't have the courage to turn around and say that outloud.  It just fueled all the little vermin insecurities I have and flamed them into a fire.  Turning me into the jr. high girl who isn't one of the popular kids and being reminded she isn't good enough to be so.   The thing that really bothers me is that, regardless of what I said, this shows what she really thinks of me, the attitude towards me, contempt, toleration after all these years, etc. 

The adult in me says to just ignore it.  That person really doesn't know me AT ALL, really never has liked me much so let it go.  But there is still that little lump in my throat, that little ache in my belly, the little vermin whispering in my ear..".yeah, you are not (insert insecurity) good enough".

So, I'm going to call my best friend, have some lunch with her and all will be better....almost.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New today...

If I were invited, which I am NOT (thanks wil and kate) I would definitely wear this! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sewing a little...

Actually, I made this a couple of weeks ago but there has been no sun for over a week so today is the first day I could take pictures.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


This is a new ring I made today...and it's currently on my finger.  I love it!  I thought it would catch on stuff but it doesn't .  It's really comfortable.  Its available in my shop.  My first creation of the new year.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Love Her....

This is Juliette.  I love her....can a grown woman have a bunny? 

She is the wonderful creation of HazelVillage.  She makes the cutest little creatures...but I love this one.

A much needed break...

I have not been in my studio for a month.  I had lost my muse, my desire to work out there, my imagination.  So..I chaneled my creative juices into the pile of projects I have collected over the past year but never had the time. 

This is what I've been working on, and of course, when one is good ten are better.  So, I've re-opened my FriendlyBanter Etsy shop. and put all of my lovelies, softies and creative things that balance me and appeal to my quieter, softer, sweeter side.  (ha ha, as if...but it does balance me).

So, I've set Monday as my first day back with the metal, hammers and torches.  I have been sketching so I am hoping to churn out my ideas sucessfully.   I feel ready and almost excited to be back in there.  I know once I fire up that torch I'll be ready.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Etsyversary - One Year

Today is my first anniversary on Etsy.  Here is a look back...













Thanks for a wonderful year! 

Spending New Years with the Time Lord

 This is how my family and I spent last night and this is how we may spend most of the day.  BBC is having a Dr. Who marathon and we are becoming fans.  We find it facinating and honestly can't tell if its a good show (though some episodes really are!) or that it is just a peek into a different culture and not the same American TV of overly graphic police dramas or gratuitously sex filled teen shows.  I'm not worried about what my kids or I will see or hear...just good sci-fi drama with a little comedy thrown in (especially the episodes with Catherine Tate) Sometimes good, sometimes not so good special effects.

If you get a chance to watch some and are a sci-fi fan, watch them...but give yourself time for a few episodes.  It takes that long to catch up with the story and character lines.

Happy New Year!~