Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bead Soup Blog Hop Reveal !!!!!!! yeah!!!

What I sent....
Let me cover the basics first!  Run, don't walk, to see what my blog partner made with the beads I sent her... you can see it HERE .  wow.  Simply wow! I can't say anything else because I want you to visit her blog and comment darn it!

Did you go?   Wasn't it fun??? Did you leave her a comment?  OK, before we get to my soup, you can

click here to see all the other lovely folks participating in this round of the blog hop. Be sure to check some of them out.. no-one expects you to hit them all, but it's well worth some time to check some of them out!

OK.. now my turn!

What I got!
Maria sent me 2 ( so generous!! ) of her exquisite handmade butterfly pendants.  They really are to die for.  The main pendant is this wonderful mix of blue and green with a touch of almost metallic fuchsia.  The colors Nature paints with!

The beauty of the wing was such that I didn't know what to make for some time.. I didn't want to overwhelm the pendant, which would be so easy to do.  I didn't want to make it so dead simple that it was boring either.  I really wanted the wing as the focus, but still try to interject alittle of myself in it.  I laid out a couple different ideas, and I sketched alittle, but it wasn't working.

Maria also sent some crystals in colors that matched the wing... after giving it more thought I decided to walk through my crystal stash and add to the color palette.  That got the juices flowing.

I also decided to add that little bit of me, I would add a charm in the front that didn't hide the wing.  I also used different types of chain  to give it more texture, and make it slightly asymmetrical, all without loosing the star of the necklace, the pendant.

I found in my stash this broken butterfly charm that used to have 2 loops on top.  One of the loops was broken, so I took off the damaged part, filed and sanded down, and then hung it on the pendent itself.  I added a crystal drop and a ladybug dangling off the butterfly charm.

I ended up doing 3 strands of chain.. it's hard to tell in my crappy photos ( it was crappy photo day, not sure why ) but there are 12 different styles of chain involved, most of it from vintage necklaces.  I made up bead units with wire and then added chain more or less randomly between them. 

I put the clasp in front which I think works well.. it seems to balance the piece.  Makes it easy to take on and off too, always a bonus.

I used a silver plated brass flower and some crystals to hang down from the pendant. 

Crappy picture alert! give you some idea how it would look on.. the pendant is definitely the main attraction!

I purposely put few crystals in the back for comfort.

Probably the best pic I took all night!! you can clearly see the blue edges of the wing, and you can see how the charm hangs in front but doesn't really cover anything up.

I hope you like it.. I had fun playing with it! The rest of the beads and the other wing are going in the stash for now. 


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I think I finally have a name for my industrial jewelry line....

The front.. mostly brass stampings and one of the large 2+ inch cogs from the cash register

Side view, you can see how the cog is balanced .. you can make that puppy twirl in place!
back.. I wanted the back to be, if not pretty, at least acceptable.
 I've been looking for a good name for my current style of jewelry.  I didn't want to just call it steampunk because, well, it's really not. (well some of it is.. )  It's upcycled, recycled, salvaged bits of metal from dead appliances and office equipment mixed in with brass stampings and anything else that looks good at the time.  I'm personally having a ball making what's filling up the land fills into wearable art.

I really liked Industrial Chic... it had that hard edge to it but still conveyed some sense of artwork... and of course I totally forgot it 's the name of a line of jewelry components!!!

While I could probably get away with it, part of what I wanted in a jewelry line name is to convey the sense of wonder and excitement I have making this stuff... using a name already associated with jewelry would be ick... I mean I'm into recycling but not thievery!

So the last few weeks hubby and I have kicked around various names... Industrial Renewal, industrial Objects d Arte ( as suggested by my good Friend Sue) etc etc etc...

A couple of nights ago I think we came up with a winner: Mechanical Romance.  It has a nice ring and I think it conveys the sense of using metal bits to make something lovely! and I'm sure in love with making it!!!

A little net searching, and while there is a band with that name and a wrestling team, I couldn't find any links to jewelry.

So ... introducing what I've already been making for months now... Mechanical Romance.  What do you think??

next up: Bead Soup Blog Hop reveal!! Woot!

Monday, March 25, 2013

15 items done!

I made my goal this past weekend, 15 inventory items done, priced and ready to go.  Considering everything else going on this past weekend I'm very pleased.

Now I need to move like a rabbit and get my blog hop piece done!

Friday, March 22, 2013

I hate spam... and other random thoughts.

brass bracelet with flower tube rivets. 
I'm sooooooo tired of spam.  Everytime I log into blogger and check for comments, I have several.. and most of them are spam.  They are getting sneaky too.  The auto-spam bots now seem to "search" for key words, and the the comment will almost sound like a real person... until of course they get to the end and try to promote their website.  Which Blogger strips out of the comments anyway, so really what's the point?  Since it's left anonymously  even if I wanted to figure out the website they are promoting I couldn't.

Jerry and Jesscera laugh at me when I log into blogger... I do my little chant: "I hope it's not spam, I hope it's not spam, I hope it's not spam..."  and then my hopes are dashed on the rocky hills of auto-bots.  It's annoying... it wastes my time but the worst part is the disappointment that no one is commenting except my apparently legion of fans in the robot community.


On a much brighter note, I got my farmer's Market acceptance and got 6 whole dates.. yeah!  And I love the spread of the dates, I got one for each month and 2 in August.   I love having the extra one in August, that's usually a hard month for me to find enough shows to do.  Here are my dates: May 11th, June 15th, July 13th, August 10th & 24th, and Sept 14th!  I have a couple more shows to hear from in the next week or so... and then I'll get my website updated.  I need to start getting out the 2nd round of apps now that I know my market schedule.

Tomorrow is Rings & Things trade show in Des Moines  at 4800 Merle Hay Rd at the holiday Inn.  So I'm going to drive my hubby into work so I have the car, I might have to look for some other stuff when I'm out and about.  Last weekend Jerry and I hit a couple of antique and flea market places and scored 2 more typewriters, 2 more adding machines,  2 cameras ( one is the really old box kind! ) and 2 sewing machines among a few other odds and ends.  Gosh we sound like the ark of lost appliances here... 2 by 2!   We didn't get to hit our favorite place  because it was after hours... so maybe I'll wonder out there.  I might stop over to Valley Junction.. I haven't hunted there is some time.  Then again, without Jerry it won't be as much fun... and if I found another typewriter, who will carry it for me?????

My Mom's Birthday is Sunday.  Happy Birthday Ma!

This weekend in an effort to get my butt in gear I've got a goal of 15 inventory items for this weekend.  I plan to focus on earrings using my industrial bits from said appliances.  Mostly.. I have a couple of earrings lurking in my brain that have nothing to do with typewriters...

So I"m washing more loads of salvaged parts this weekend.

I think I over did this last batch.  There was this really kewl piece in it.. it had the lovely grungy look, but had some oil and ink on it.  I "forgot" the batch in the tumbler.. so now it's still very nice but almost too clean looking.  Maybe Swellegent can grunge it up without making it dirty.

There really is a fine line between icky-dirty and lovely-grungy.

Jerry took in that half finished piece of jewelry to the hardware store and the guys didn't bat an eye.  The only comment was that the screw was odd ( as in 7mm) and most are evens ( like 6mm).  They found him nuts that fit  in less than a minute.

Love those guys.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Butterfly filigree, brass stampings, crystals. 
This is a token blog.  You got a picture, you got text, be happy.

Meanwhile I'm stymied in the studio by the lack of the proper sized nut.  Jerry will go to the hardware store tomorrow and procure the correct size.  I admit, I would love to see the guy's faces when he hands them the half finished piece of jewelry and ask for that size screw. The hardware store is that type that's a dying breed... small, cramped and more helpful old guys per square foot than the big boxes have in a complete week.  It's amazing going in and seeing 4-6 guys running around finding the most obscure bit of hardware possible, tucked in a corner somewhere.  Maybe they have bags of holding hiding in the back... they always seem to find whatever strangeness you are looking for. 

Good guys... If you are in the Des Moines Area, I recommend Miller's Ace Hardware located at 1300 Martin Luther King Dr.  Tell them Kat, the crazy jewelry lady sent ya.


Monday, March 18, 2013

How to go Blind... one tumbler load at a time

Here's what a load looks like fresh from the tumbler.  Can you spot all the goodies??
 I think the pictures says it all.
Here's all the goodies minus the shot. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

not in the mood.... ** UPDATED**

**Issued resolved.. everyone is now happy, and it just proves my point.. I need to stop obsessing over little issues.. life is too damn short!!!  and they usually work out in the end anyway.  ***  keep that in mind as you read the rest --- now the original blog:

I don't really feel like blogging today.  I'm in a crappy mood.  No, I won't explain, it will be a disservice to all parties involved.

But it's Saturday, which is one of my blog days, so I need to blog.  At some point show season starts and my blogging habits get haphazard.  I will not allow a crappy mood and my sulky self interrupt the schedule this time!!


So here is a piece a made.... hm.. maybe 6 weeks or so ago? I do love how it turned out.  I used a stamp and a poster-sized marker to make the sun pattern on copper, etched and then added patina.  The thing I did differently on this is I used a piece of scrap copper, since this was a test.  Normally when I etch I use the metal in the shape I want it up front. 

I've used stamps for resist before, with various stamping inks, with mixed results.  I've been looking for a way to get a nice clean, consistent etch with stamps.  I think I have found it... the giant sharpie pens made for poster signs are "wetter" for lack of a better term.. they take longer to dry.  Since the pen is so large, it doesn't take long to get the whole stamp inked up, and I have enough time to apply it to the metal before it drys.  I did a test using a regular sharpie, and it dried too fast to be useful.

Anyway, this was on a scrap piece of copper, so when the sun turned out so well, I had to use it in jewelry.  I very carefully cut around the sun and ended up with this vaguely egg shaped free-form.  I added holes, rivets, dangles and chain.  I think the irregular shape actually enhances the design.  It's good to experiment, no?

I think I feel slightly better just doing my blog.  I hate when I get incensed over something how obsessed I get.  I can't hardly think of anything else but what the issue is.  I get so very one track minded sometimes.  Makes me feel stupid that one little thing can stop me in my tracks.  I will not allow it today.  I'm going to have my nice little breakfast, eat a cookie and then get up in the studio and work dammit! 

And try to have the faith and confidence that it will all work out in the end.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Bug-eye  From cash register made between 1950-1968 and crystal, wire
 Part of being an artist is seeing things that aren't there wherever you look.  Taking apart old mechanical gear I keep seeing faces.  So I"m making a series of them.  To be apart of my faces series, I add 1 additional element to the piece so everyone can see the face, not just me.  Here are the first 3 of the series.  I have 2 more to make.. but I'm sure I'll keep seeing faces as Jerry takes things apart for me.
Miss Little Tooth - from 1960's adding machine, hand etched copper eye, rivets, chain.

Monkey Face  (what else? )  From cash register made between 1950-1968, lips from watch tin from the 80's.

Monday, March 11, 2013

random thoughts

I love this one, it has soooo many techniques all rolled into on sweet steampunk necklace!  It features the vintage key I swellegent-ed a few months ago, the butterfly is etched by me, and vintage watch pieces are riveted to it.  and chain... I adore chain!  

My husband the college student ( I do love how that sounds!) will be giving a speech in speech class about our business.  I have this huge desire to somehow sneak in and watch it.  He's quite enthused about it, as this whole steampunk / industrial chic stuff I'm doing is much more to his taste.  It makes it extra nice for me with Jerry more involved. 

And he gets to destroy stuff, so it's a good deal all the way around.  I even bought him his own set of mini- screw drivers for the watches.  He has bolt cutters, a dremel and a hack saw.  If I could only figure out a way for him to use fire in the process, he would be in heaven!

I have acceptance in another art show, I'll be updating my website this week with the shows I know about so far.  It's shaping up to be a great year!  

I'm waiting on farmer's Market notification... fingers are crossed I'll get 5 or more slots again this year.

I just bought a bunch of chain to add to my growing collection of chain.  Chain now takes up 5 Plano boxes.  I think I might be a hoarder.

oh wait, I already know I'm a hoarder.   At least I'm pretty tidy about hoarding... they are in Plano boxes after all. 

Maybe it's more like a dragon hoarding that the tv show type !   ( Shinny! )

I woke up this weekend and realized my first show is now less than 2 months off.  I made 5 bracelets and 3 pins this weekend, and started laying out several more bracelets.

I'm also prepping pieces for more of my watch parts / black triangle bracelets.  Jerry even helped me last night between commercials of Walking Dead ( is that not the most awesome show???) by embossing the triangles, and I sanded and buffed them.  I need to pick up/clean the studio tonight as it's reaching a level of clutter I cannot tolerate.  My hopes are to get everything ship shape tonight, and tomorrow I'll do the rivet/wire work on the triangle components .  By the end of the week I'll have them assembled.

It's time to make more jewelry using salvaged bits and parts.  I've got a good pile now that are clean.  I'm going to dump them out on the work table ( once it's clean) , spread them out, and then see what speaks to me.

As part of Jerry speech, he has a line about I get inspiration from chocolate, romance novels and avoiding house work.  Sounds good to me! 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Curb shopping

I don't normally curb shop.  I have nothing against it, it's a way to reduce, reuse, recycle, and I've put things on the curb myself... often listing it on Craig list.  I can put a post on Craig list and 2 hours later, the item is my history and someone Else's day maker.

Normally I don't see anything that I want... or we are too busy to stop and it's gone by the time we do.

But this weekend Jerry and I saw this table on the way to work... and I had lust in my heart.  It's nothing special -- its just a side table, but it's in pretty good condition and it's solidly built. 

We didn't have time to stop.

On the way home from work, Jerry told me it was still there, and if I really wanted it, he would stop.

So I did, and he did, and now we have a solid little table for the studio.

In the back of my mind, I even think I might tile it some point in the future.  It's not antique, but it's very well made and I love the lines.  I can sit on it with nary a wiggle.. and let me tell you that is sturdy!  It's all wood too.. not press board so it's not as heavy as it looks.  The top is rough... which makes me thing of tile or decoupage or something.  It has 3 small drawers in the front, but one is broken.  so I've got it turned around with the back in front, and it looks fine.

It's sort of tall, which I like in the studio.. it's extra surface space to lay things out -- right now I have project trays on it.  It's good to see things spread out and tinker with the designs!

So that's my curb shopping story.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The typewriter is still giving me gifts and flea market finds

Yet another wonderful pair of earrings from typewriter parts.

My haul from the flea market this weekend.  check out the vintage tin boxes on the left side, and the large bag of filigree beads in the back. 
I got a screaming good deal on brass fixtures, some of them used some not.  some of these look really old... and have gorgeous patina!
 I got to spend exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes Saturday at the flea Market.  Despite the short amount of time ( and I only got about 1/3rd of the way through it!!) I found some great stuff!  My favorite is a baggie of drawer pulls, drawer hardware/fixtures in brass.  It's alittle fuzzy in the picture, but the rectangle key-hole in the front is really old, and it's just wonderful and it talks to me and it is sooooo gonna be jewelry, hopefully soon!!   I also hit a vendor that had bought out a jewelry maker, and scored some pretty good deals on old stock filigree beads and findings.  I also picked up a few older tiny tin boxes --- I think my mini tin box collection is now finally big enough I'll make something with them.  I have a couple of ideas kicking around in my head.

Now why, you ask, did I only have 1 hour and 15 minutes at the flea market? Well, I had to take my hubby to work, and visit the family, and run errands and and and ... heck , you know.  the normal crazy stuff you catch up on the weekends.

I'm really looking forward to the weekend coming up.. I don't have anything really on the slate.. I'm hoping to get a decent chuck of time in the studio.  I need to work on my bead Soup blog hop piece .... and I've got so many great things to play with...

Keeping fingers crossed that this weekend is not so crazy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Girls weekend: last of the pics

vintage pocket watch, brass (painted) clock hand, crystals. 

These look awesome in person.. these are the rusty black finish you can only get at B'Sue's.  I'm really coming to adore this finish.. it's got copper behind it, so when you rub it away, you get copper highlights.  kewl!

More B'sue components, mask with hand bracelets.

This is my favorite piece of the weekend!! I just might have to keep it.. it's a hand-inked vintaj dragonfly attached to a old old clock part with crystal dangle.  the cute little cog above the dragonfly moves!  Every time I look at this piece I just don't know if I can sell it or not, it just speaks to me

I actually started to make this before I went down to South Dakota, but I finished it there.  it's hard to see but it's a window with a old mirror behind it.

another rusty black patina, and parts from a vintage necklace which of course you can't see..

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bad Kitty....

arrgh!!!!!!! how could I forget the wonderful, comfy pillows Sue and Cathie made for me????? possibly because little girl stole them, and unfortunately my brain is out of site, out of mind.  I have them back now... bwah hahahahahaha!