Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas and fairy dust for your holiday season....

vintage pocket watch face, paginated brass and chain. 
I want to wish everyone a Merry Holiday Season, and I hope you have magic ( fairy dust) !!

See ya in 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

birds flock together

Charm bracelet using  several different bird charms. 

Not in a chatty mood tonight, nothing wrong, just busy and I want to get to the studio and keep working.  I've hit a creative streak, and I don't want to loose it!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Further adventures in iPad

 Back in April I got a iPad, and I love it. My only issue is writing anything over a sentence is kind of a pain.

Actually this is the main complaint I've had of laptops. All the laptops I've ever typed on sucked. The keyboard is often to small or the keys are arranged strangely. They have that little touch area for a "mouse" which I absolutely loath. Even when the key board is full sized I hate it.. it's attached to the screen so I can't move the keyboard around like you can with a desk top. ( I end up typing with my keyboard slightly angled.. impossible to do with a normal laptop) And laptop keyboards are apparently designed for people with really long fingers... I end up with my wrists sitting on the edge of the laptop and it's deuce uncomfortable!!

On a proper keyboard, I"m a fast typer.

I sort of hunt and peck on a laptop... ugh. takes forever if I"m typing more than a quickie Facebook update!

Anyway, I've been using iPad for blog entries and Etsy listings and other business applications and while the little pop up typing screen is better than any other I've had, it's still slow and awkward for me.

So I did the research -- and found a full size keyboard that plugs into the iPad. It was really important that the keyboard wasn't wireless... since my Internet connection can be spotty. (let's not go there)

I didn't want to spend a bunch of money either... I finally settled on the Belkin wired key board. It cost around $50 and so far I am in love!! I typed this on it, took me maybe 15 minutes. Writing this much on the IPad alone would take me.. well I don't want to think about it.. it would take a long time!!

I also loaded up a word processor app, now that I can actually write.

I love that I have arrow keys.. sometimes trying to go "backward" on the touch screen is tough, now I can just arrow up and down if I have problems finding the exact fact I want my cursor. I even have hot keys !! ( imagine little smoothie noises.. I love love love me hot key shortcuts! )

When I don't want the keyboard in the way, I just unplug it and I'm all set for norming iPad fun.

I count this keyboard as my Christmas gift to my business.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Before the stroke of Midnight.......

vintage alarm clock face, clock gears, new brass and chain...

I often watch TV / DVDs when I'm working.. OK it's probably more accurate to say I listen while I'm working, with the occasional glance at the TV screen. 

One of the shows is Once Upon A Time.  I'm watching this via netflix... 

anyway, I think watch the series influenced this piece.  What do you think?? 

BTW, the show is pretty good.  I've only watch up to episode 5 of season 2.

I don't normally name my work, but this piece is " Before the stroke of Midnight"....

I'm seriously thinking of doing a series of fairytale inspired mechanical romance pieces.

Any thoughts? What's your favorite fairytale?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

It's that Time Again!

I love love love how this turned out! the singer tag is from 1946, and the rest is brass.  The flower was sort of last minute.  I'm not a flower gal, but I think it really makes the piece!

What time is it you ask? Application time!!!

Just about the least favorite part of making and selling jewelry is researching and applying to shows.  I've almost waited to long... 2 of the shows I've applied for have just a week left to get my application in!!

It's just such a grueling, time consuming process... and all the decisions you have to make and you won't know if they were the right ones until months later when that show flops or becomes your best show of the year.

Shows you have been in for years might suddenly drop you, and shows you didn't think you had a chance getting in accept you... it's the roller coaster from hell, and each ticket costs more every year it seems like.  Which means if it's a "bad" show or gets rain out, you are out that money, and travel and time to boot.

But oh, the good shows!  You meet such interesting people, both fellow artists and customers, and some of the art you see.. drool, I want! and damn how did they do that!?!?!?!?!

So, tonight I applied to 5 shows.  I'm guessing I will get into 3 of them -- if I'm lucky.  One of these I will fall on the ground in surprise if I get in.. but then it's good to stretch-reach at least one application each year.. who knows?  I got into Omaha Summer Arts Fest last year, and it was the best show we had all summer.  ( I hope I get into it again!!!!)

Juries are fickle, and not everyone gets what I'm making now -- my version of steampunk.  Even after over 10 years of doing shows, there is always 1 or 2 that really throw me.  It's hard not to take it personal when your art is like your 2nd child.

Over the next two weeks I need to get my apps in to 4 other priority shows, and a couple I'm still mulling over.  I need to research some more, see if I can find any other good prospects for next year.  Always keeping an eye out for something new. 

Then the next round of applications will be late January.. Then again early March.

By May I will have applied to almost all the shows I'll be doing for the year, and probably half of them I'll already know my application status.

This year is the added fun and wrinkle ---- no clue what Jerry's schedule will be.  He graduates this Spring, and (finger's cross) will hopefully be a full fledged teacher that August.  But when in August? So I really need to be careful of later summer shows, at least this first year of teaching.  

Right now it looks  we can make it through the summer without him taking a summer job.  But who knows, if someone offers him something he can't turn down, or what if the school he eventually goes to has a early start?  Or what if the car explodes, so he takes a temp job for the $$?  So I need to keep things flexible this summer, but still schedule enough to make what I need for the year.

Most years I end up doing 20-25 shows, if you count Downtown Des Moines Farmer Market.  (in 2014 I did 21, in 2013 - 24)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

trying to decide what I wanted this to look like....
and it's finished design..... 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

one of the perks of harvesting parts ourselves...... is the double hunt!

Jerry and I love antiquing for Jewelry parts.. in the form of large and heavy mechanicals.

That's the first hunt, just finding the things.

Then the second hunt begins, and for this hunt I'm usually the lone wolf.  The second hunt is trying to figure out age.

I really love telling people that I made this bracelet using pieces from a 1960's adding machine, or that necklace from a vintage clock circa 1920's.

Typewriters are some of the easiest to date because there are some wonderful resources on the web  -- that is if you have the serial number.

If you don't have the serial number, then all bets are off and they can be tricky to pin down.

L. C. Smith between 1915 and 1926.
These 2 typewriters we can't find the serial numbers on, so I spend a couple of hours researching them on the net.  L. C. Smiths are very hard because we can't find serial numbers on most of them, so it's guess work. 

A great clue is the company bought out or merged with Corona in 1924, and they started to brand the typewriters L. C. Smith and Corona in 1926.  So if you have a typewriter and it's L. C. Smith and Bros. and no corona (like this one), then you know it's prior to 1926.  This typewriter is a specific model that started in 1915.

I suspect the typewriter is more 1915-1920, but without the serial number I can't do better than 1915-26.  Still that puts it at least 88 years old or older.

The royals are usually easy to date, because the serial number is usually just under the carriage.  Just slide the carriage all the way to the starting position, and there is the serial number.  Unfortunately this Royal's carriage is frozen and Jerry doesn't have time to rip it apart for me just now.  So I have to guess based on the make and model.

Royal did a major restyle in 1938-39, and went from the more boxy corners to a more rounded body.  So this one is later than that.

The interesting thing about royal is they had square shift keys starting sometime early 1940's... poring over pictures of dated machines  I'm pretty sure this is 1939-1940 based on the rounder styling and still round shift keys.

Whatever info I can find is written on card that are taped to the machines.  That way when Jerry finally rips them apart we can keep track of what they are. 
Royal typewriter, probably 1939 or 1940.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Adventures in Resin III: finished owls

you can unhook the hour class ( in this case it's sort of 15 seconds glass)  and it's usable.  people always ask me if the watches and clocks are usable and for once I can tell them yes!  if you need to count 15 seconds...

I love this tassel, it's been hanging out in the pile for a couple of years...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Adventures in Resin Part II

Here's what I had ready to go...

The last time I used resin, I mostly filled up bezel cups.  I did put a few items in, but it was mostly to seal in paper.

I really wanted to explore the 3D aspects of using resin.  I'm pretty pleased overall, but I've learned some very important things:

After resin, doesn't look bad does it?
1/ tape the holes, don't trust that the resin won't seep under objects that might be covering a hole.  Check out the photo with the owl showing resin all over the back.  Fortuitously I used a slick flat surface under it, so it's smooth and didn't alter the design.  It did cover the hole I left to add embellishments in later, but you can drill resin if you are careful (yes it dries that hard!  you can cut and polish Ice Resin, it's that good)
2/ pour the resin slowly, small amounts at a time. The impulse is to hurry cause it will dry out, but it takes 30-45 minutes before it's 2 sludge like to pour.  Pouring slowly helps with air bubbles as well. 

3/ once it's pour it's really really hard to leave it alone for 3 days, but it really does take 48-72 hours to cure.  Worth the wait don't you think??

4/  prep more pieces than you think you will need just in case.  I had some resin left over once I poured what I had set up, so I quickly found another bezel, cut out Mona Lisa ( one of my favorite paintings, though I've always been fascinated by her hands more than her face)  and added a few watch parts.  It turned out OK, but it proves the point that you really do need to prep the paper... the resin soaked into parts and made it look darker in spots.  I think it's OK to sale, but I don't want to repeat that.  I had no idea how far 1 oz of resin could go... next time I'll prepare extras and pour in order of importance.  If I have left over pieces, they can be saved for the next time. 

4 leads to the question, how much will I be using resin?

I need to put thought into that.  I don't want to just pour over paper.. I really like the 3D effects you can get and using my little bitty watch parts in a way that is safe and durable. 

Now that I'm in my creative play period of the year, I really want to explore this.
I tried to create a hole before I poured the resin.. unfortunately the leaking else wear covered up the hole anyway.  Made it dead easy to drill the hole where it belong however and it looked very neat ( not messy edges)
you can see where it leaked on the back, but it didn't ruin the piece, I got lucky!!

Here is the "extra" pendant I made up with the left over resin

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Random thoughts

life's little victories :  I got a extra crab Rangoon on my delivery order!!!  WOOT!

Now that I'm deaf or near enough, I watch dvd's and tv with subtitles.  I have been re- watching Doctor Who --- I adore that the TARDIS noice is " wooshing" .  Actually many of the translated sounds effects are fun.  I was watching a NCIS recently and the explosion  was "BOOM" in caps.

On another note, with subtiles sometimes they skip words or us simpler words.  That can be pretty entertaining as well.

Had a good show this weekend at Beaverdale Holiday Boutique -- one of my favorite things at this show is the bake shop -- yummy!!!!  I'm macking out on cookies as I type this.

Now that shows are over til probably April -- I need to figure out if I should try to find a gallery or 2 or really really try to make a go of selling jewelry on etsy.  I've been trying to get things listed on my destash site and I've got it up to around 200 and that seems to be a magic number -- I'm selling things daily almost.  Maybe if I work really hard on getting my jewelry site to 200 + I will start selling in greater numbers there as well.

It's a lot harder to make up jewelry listings than for supplies, at least when my jewelry is so very individual.  But if I could increase sales to even a few a week wouldn't it be worth it?

There are pros and cons trying harder on Etsy or finding a gallery -- but I need to make this decision soon.

I got invited along with the hubby to the birthday party of one of Jesscera's friends because we are ( direct quote) "the cool parents"   How kewl is that ?

Cold and snow have at last hit Iowa!  Time to dig out my heater for the studio cause it freezing up here tonight.

Next blog I promise I will do part II of my new adventures in resin.