Monday, October 31, 2011

I am the soap fairy and other random musings

I don't ever want to test this theory, but if something were to happen to me, I'm sure my family would be fine, but dirtier, Cause I am the soap fairy. ((goo goo g'joob)

I am the only one in the family to replace the bar of soap when it gets too tiny to use. If I am not there, I'm not sure what they are doing, but it's not using soap. I tested the theory a few years ago, and put in the new bar for me, and took it out again for 2 days. No one said anything about it. I lost my nerve and left it in the bathtub on the 3rd day.

Same with shampoo, toilet paper, Kleenex and probably clean clothes. Food I'm sure would be no problem, they are great at foraging for themselves. ( and leaving the proof on the counter in the kitchen)

I've had my studio covered with comics I've been trying to sell for the last 3 months or so. I am completely tired of it, and I've demanded they be exiled back to the closet from whist they came. I did actually get rid of a chunk and even made a few bucks, but I want my studio back! It wasn't such a big deal when we had shows all the time, I didn't really have time to make anything but quick stuff. But I'm yearning to play with glass again, and that requires getting my studio picked up and the comics out of the way! I've kept one box out to try to sell, and when I get rid of them I'll get another box out of the closet. At least they are more or less organized again.

My little 15 year old is in a play at school this week. It's amazing how fast they grow!! When I started making jewelry she was a babe in arms. Now she's in 9Th grade and has possibly found her passion in life. Or maybe not, it's hard to tell with a 15 year old. I can't wait to see her in it!

I have 2 shows now for winter, FOFA Craft Show 9-3pm, Dallas Center-Grimes High School on Nov 12Th and Thieves Market Dec 3-4Th in Iowa City.

I've been on a huge reading kick. I've discovered an Author named Georgette Heyer. I adore her and I've been buying her books used as fast as I can find them. She's new to me, but not new.. her first book was published in 1922, and she wrote over 50 more books by the time of her passing in 1974. It's so wonderful to discover a new author ( to you!) and new books to seek out to enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Grand Tour V : Copper findings

I'm taking a grand tour of my jewelry making stash, box by box. Some of the adventures I'll be sharing here on my blog
OK I know I've gone on and on about brass stampings. Did you know you can get them in a copper finish? I don't have many yet (please feel free to read that as not enough!!) but I do have a small bin of them. So when I hit my copper findings box, that immediately made me think of my very small (Too Small!) stash of copper colored brass stampings. I found this lovely fairy girl face that I purchased from B'Sue a while back, added pearls and crystals in 3 shades of purple, and I must say I think it turned out wonderfully!

My copper findings has a range of pure copper beads, clasps etc, Tierracast pewter with copper plating, and "unknown" but copper like in color. I really love pure copper, but that can get heavy, and pure copper was hard to find until a few years ago with sterling started to shoot up in price. Most of the findings I used on this bracelet are Tierracast. (bead caps, clasp)

I added a small brass stamping of a butterfly as a dangle.
Strangely enough the bracelet actually fits me ... hm......

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Grand Tour IV Misc. Metal Bits

I'm taking a grand tour of my jewelry making stash, box by box. Some of the adventures I'll be sharing here on my blog

Finished Earrings!
OK, a friend of mine asked "Kat, just how do you decide on what box to hit next?

Great Question! Sometimes I have some idea of what I want to make, so I just pull those boxes out. Sometimes I have no clue and I roll dice and go it random. This evening's Grand Tour entry would be the random roll. I ended up in a box without a real name, but I've dubbed it Misc. Metal Bits. It has old keys, watch parts, odd and ends and just stuff that got deposited there for lack of a better place, as long as it's metal.
In this case, I decided these rusty brown patina brass drops needed something done to them. I just have 2 and they are from an old pair of earrings someone gave me years ago.

The funny thing is until a year or so ago when I started playing with brass stampings, I didn't really like them. Now I look at them and they are way more interesting!
I decided you can never go wrong with pearls, so I picked out beige and brown pearls that matched the tonal quality of the drops.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Etched Bracelets meets Zentangles.

OK, a couple of days ago I was talking about how I boo-booed on my first etch bracelet by making the bar too short ( see handy reference picture here)

On bracelet #2, you can see the bar is much much bigger!
I only did 4 panels and the clasp instead of five as the first bracelet. I'm planning on a free form shaped bracelet next, hand cut into interesting shapes and then assembled with rings.
Strangely enough, in my daughter's art class at school they are doing Zentangles and I realized I am basically doing the same thing on the etched bracelets! How kewl is that?

The best definition of a Zentangle is doodling with intent. When I am drawing patterns for etching, I'm really searching for a pattern that strikes a cord somewhere in my heart. I adore spiral and most of my etched panels have a spiral somewhere.

Here are a couple of "in progress" pictures. I'm trying to make sure all the sharp bits on the size are smoothed down so the bracelet is comfy and safe.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A tale of redo...... or how I want a happy customer!

Still cleaning out my photo files, and ran across my mistake. I hate Making Mistakes!!!! OK , OK, who does ? But when I make a designing error it just makes me cringe inside... The last thing I want is a customer not able to trust my work! I don't make alot of design errors ( at least I hope not!) but most of them are around tricky wickets like sizing issues and clasps. If you recall, I made this gorgeous and kewl etched bracelet...

It sold at the first show I had it at, and fortunate for me, to a good friend of mine. (Actually her boyfriend bought it for her on the sly, good boy!) When she ran into problems with it, she came to me directly and didn't hide the fact.

She wore it just once and it came off twice. A quick look suggested that the handmade toggle bar wasn't long enough. I think if the toggle had been round, it would have been, but since it's square, it has "corners" and if the bar scooted catty-corner, it could slip out. Add to the fact the bracelet is heavy, and it just about guaranteed to fall off.

ARRGH! such a stupid mistake !!
Since it was an out of town show, The choices were to fix it on site, or fix it at home and then mail it to her. She really wanted to wear it right then and there.. so I dug through my stuff and after much thought, I came up with this solution. I took the Vintaj hinge and textured it with my hammer, and with copper wire wound the original bar on top of it. Now it might be alittle 2 long, but as the happy owner is a steampunk fan she loved the new addition!!

The lession is I like happy customers that love to wear my jewelry. I want it to fit right, to be confy and of course attract compliments.

So If I messed something up, or if you just need something resized let me know! As much as I kick myself for errors I know about, it terrifies me to think of all of the ones I don't! Don't hesitate to approach me if something isn't working for you that I've made, especially if I have a design flaw involved. I will fix/repair/resize anything for free at least once (short of running over it with your car !) within the first year, and possibly longer.

I would much rather know, and fix it and make it right, than to have that bad karma floating around me unknown.

And I do learn from my mistakes.. I've made another etched bracelet ( and have plans for more) and I guarantee the toggle bar is long enough on it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grand Tour III: 2 holed beads.

I'm taking a grand tour of my jewelry making stash, box by box. Some of the adventures I'll be sharing here on my blog.

I adore 2 hole beads!!! Most of them in my collection is tasty vintage stock, or made from vintage tooling.
Sketching some ideas out.. I used the last one...

I rarely use them, partly because I'm a dragon... hording all of my precious stock!! But partly because I don't know what to do with them.

Because 2 holed beads are so very special, I want to use them in designs that are special and require 2 hole beads to work.

Coming up with a good strong design that couldn't be done any other way than using 2 hole beads is difficult.

That's one of the things that is making my grand tour of the studio so much fun... It's forcing me to use materials I generally don't.
Here's my 2 hole stash!!

It gets my creative juices flowing, as witnessed by my sketch book! I ended up making simple earrings out of some great vintage flat pieces but I came up with ideas for the future.

I love these! They are so old most of the paint has worn off of them! They look very 1920s-30's to me.. but who knows??

Since the paint/inking on them was so faded, I used my green sharpie to pick the detail back out.. then added crystals. Simple, but funky and usual... I love vintage!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin faces, skeleton (key) & Halloween kitties

I love Halloween! (why else would I do a Zombie Walk?) This year I had to create a few jewelry pieces just for the holiday! I etched pumpkin faces and Halloween kitties in copper, and some of them are up on Artfire...
I had this great idea using the Vintaj brass key blanks... weave them through the eye of a skull bead I bought... it's my Skeleton Key! yuk yuk yuk! It's actually pretty cute, and I'll try it get it up on Artfire this week sometime.. if you are interested just drop me a line.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stray Pictures

I'm trying to clean up my photo files on the computer, and ran across some from the last few months that i never got around to posting.

Here is my latest version of a Woolley Worm, all very bright colors. Makes me think of a carnival or a circus. I have a fall one on the desk right now.. reds, yellows and oranges.
This is PMC made from an old vintage bone button I have. I made a mold of the button to cast the clay in.

The back side is really lovely swirls. This one is long gone, but I have a version done in Bronze clay also.

Fused glass cab (fused by me of course) wrapped in sterling. I think this one is gone also..

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Grand Tour II: my Fused Glass Cabs

I really really really need to get back to fusing... I'm feeling the urge very strongly but I need to get that side of the studio cleaned up and a couple thousand comics out of the way. sign.

In honor of these feelings ( and the fact it's going to take months to list and sell the comics and I really don't have anywhere else to put them) I decided to explore my box of fused glass pendants next.
Here is a shot of some of the goodies waiting their turn to be wrapped! Or filigreed, or something...

I selected this lovely purple cab. Like many of my cabs it's got glass recycled from blown glass art pieces. I bought several points of broken bits a couple of years ago and incorporate them into my cabs.

It's wrapped in 21 GA sterling silver.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Grand Tour I : Silver plated brass stampings

I'm taking a grand tour of my jewelry making stash, box by box. Some of the adventures I'll be sharing here on my blog.
This entry features brass stampings in a silver finish. Just about a year ago, I really got into brass stampings via Vintaj Natural Brass. I've discovered other brands that I really like, such as Trinity Brass and B'Sue. These other companies offer a range of plating's and patinas. I'm very partial to silver plated. I can mix in a dash of sterling with some brass stampings and create really lovely, expensive looking pieces at more affordable prices.

Brass stampings have been around for hundreds of years, but the jewelry boom started in the mid 1800's.

The wonderful thing is a huge amount of the stampings made in the USA are made using vintage dies. You can actually buy a stamping in the exact style someone used 100 years ago, made from the same tools!

I've been buying brass at a prodigious rate. I started out with 1 plano box for Vintaj, and a smattering of "other". A couple of weeks ago I reorganized my brass collection loosely based on "color" .. ie vintaj's chocolate brown, ox gold, copper, silver etc. I've ended up with a large tube of the "golds" , 1 vintaj plano, 3 smaller containers of other finishes, and a couple of planos with findings and beads to go with all of these colors. If I buy much more I'm looking at another box or 2. Somehow this doesn't dismay me in the least!
Here's a overview shot of my silver plated brass stamping box.

Here I am just playing around with different components trying to find a combination I really liked.I really liked how these components meshed together!
I got such a romantic, vintage vibe from this I used vintage starlight crystals. In the end I used the following boxes in my studio: brass, silver plate; chain box; vintage crystal box black/purple/special; and a couple of finding boxes.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Flea Market Finds

Doesn't this picture just want to make you drool?? These pieces I just bought this morning!

I love garage sales and flea markets, and it's such a lovely day today, and I have some birthday money, I just had to go.

The Iowa State Fair grounds has a huge flea market every month but August.. I don't think I've made one since maybe March due to shows, so going today was wonderful!

This is a really old picture ( it's backed by dark brown metal.. poss tin type? ) I bought it, believe it or not, for $1.00. It's brass-lined bezel glass , and it looks like maybe it was part of a locket. Hard to see in these pictures, but the bezel is very sharp and sparkly, which is why I noticed it. When I got it home I found out the picture wasn't permanently mounted in the glass bezel frame, so I can use them together or not, as it strikes my fancy. This is just unusual and really kewl! The picture was cut to fit this frame, I'm guessing it's pretty darn old! The bezel looks hand cut, which definitely dates it.

I spent $23.00 total on jewelry finds. Since I'm making more and more jewelry using chain, I've kept an eye out for interesting chains. Most of the chains I bought are probably in the 10-20 years old, but are in great shape.

I also bought a really nice vintage ( probably 1950's, it's strung on very fine tiny chain!) crystal necklace, and few nice glass/crystal pins.I did purchase a few other odds and ends... and cookies!! There are always a few booths selling baked goods... vintage jewelry and baked goods! and and got a couple of paperbacks, and some Tupperware...... really had a lovely morning!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Introducing the "grand tour"

Isn't she a cutie?? aw............

OK, now that I've got that out of my system, I've been looking around my studio trying to decide what is next.

I have 1 more show, (East Village Bazaar Oct 16Th) and I'm looking at signing up for a couple maybe in December. So really, I'm done for the year!!! Oh the Freedom to do whatever I want to!!! oh the lack of motivation and creative energy as i"m burned out.

So the last few weeks I've taken it easy, I haven't really made myself make things, caught up on real life stuff in the household and even cleaned up the studio alittle.

refreshed somewhat, I look around my studio, at the thousands of beads, findings, vintage jewelry, tools,books and mags and odd bits and I'm not sure what to do next.

I started thinking that it's time to really revisit my collection. I do this every couple of years.... go through my stuff and weed out the goodies I no longer want ( which I destash on etsy.. ) and get inspired by materials I've forgotten I have. Sometimes I think the fun of making jewelry is as much the search for that perfect component as it is in the making of it!

So I'm going through every box, container and drawer in my studio and making something from each one, and I'll journal most of them here.

I'm calling it the "Grand Tour" . In part because I've been reading regency books lately and it's what all the "ton" did back then. It also captures the scope of the project and it just sounds kewl!

I'm not going to go in any peculiar order, just as the mood strikes.

But I'm going to have fun!!

I'm also going to start listing new items again on Artfire.. so be looking out for new stuff !

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Marshalltown Bead Bash 2011

This weekend (Fri & Sunday) was the 9Th Annual Marshalltown bead Bash. I went down Friday night with friends Anne & Jodie, to check it out.

There were fewer vendors than in past years, but that never stops me from finding goodies!

Here is a shot of all of my stash. I got some brass in sheets and in bracelet form for more fun with etching. I bought some really nice irregular drops in fancy jasper ( one of my favorites, a lovely mix of neutral tones ranging from green to pinkish) a great cab and of course, a bunch of crystals. I can't help it, I love the sparklies!
I feel in love with this cab! It's candy corn shaped piece of Mookite with a great range of colors on it! It's more pinkish than it shows in the pic. It's going to be super fun to wrap!
the crystals, droool!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Zombie Walk 2011

Had more fun than a barrel of ...... zombies!

cute little girl zombie! lots of zombies families out today. Makes the heart warm as you run screaming for your lives....
Zombie friends!
Me as a Zombie!
Zombie protesters! Jerry's favorite sign read "Get a life!" . I liked "biting is naughty!"
Crowd shot during the walk.

Jerry as a Zombie!