Saturday, December 27, 2008

I"m BAAACK! online.....

Yeah! my Internet access got cut off on 12/7/08, and I got it back yesterday!!! Turns out when I got my phone line fixed, the guy switched phone pairs on me, which doesn't hurt phone quality , but kills DSL. Here are a few earrings of recent history... The green beads are vintage glass and brass wire, the 2 sterling earrings were really fun to make, I am planning a few more in this series. I hope everyone had a great Christmas Season, and I hope everyone is going to have a great new year!!! I'm looking forward to it...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh, Dragon Tree, oh Dragon Tree.....

A couple of weeks ago I passed along one of those email lists that you fill out and send to your friends, so they learn interesting and fun facts about you. This one was Christmas themed, and it asked, "Do you have a star or an angel as your tree topper?" I put in Dragons, and well, a few folks are like huh? So I promised I'd post a picture or 2. My Christmas tree has several dragons on it, both wooden and cloth. The wooden ones are handmade and we bought at a science fiction convention years and years ago. The cloth ones are also handmade, and I had them special ordered.. that's where the tree topper came also. I had just birthed my little girl ( She's twelve now, and as you can see in the pic, she's getting pretty big!) so when we ordered the cloth dragons, we got half a dozen small ones, one alittle bit bigger especially for Jesscera and 2 reg/large ones, one for me and one for Jerry. We started using them as a tree topper about 7 years ago.. We had this weird plastic star thingie that got broken and one of us had the brainstorm.. why not use the large dragons as the topper? Jerry twisted them together, and we liked it so much, we now do it every year. A couple of years ago Jesscera wanted hers added to the topper, and so now we have a family of 3 dragons on top of the tree.

We have all sorts of fun things on the tree.. cartoon characters, unicorns, Pegasus, griffins, nightmare before Christmas, flying cats and hippos, etc. And more mundane stuff like mini-stockings and "baby's first Christmas" stuff. Still it's a fun fun tree....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ode to Thanksgiving, or Oh, my poor poor new car!!

I have alot to be thankful for in this holiday season... on the way home Friday night from thanksgiving celebrations with relatives, we hit a deer. We are all safe and unharmed, except for some soreness. My Car as you can see, is not in good shape, but we are safe. It could have been sooooo much worse! Jerry could have lost control of the car, and we could have flipped in the ditch. The deer could have come through the windshield, inside of sliding off to the side. I am safe, my Husband is safe, my daughter is safe, my mom is safe, so yeah, lots to be thankful for. So be thankful eh? maybe with out hitting a deer.....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

my current activity............

OK this is my studio in my home. these are pre photos.. I"m working on rearranging it, and we are going to move the basement tools up, so it's all in one spot. No more running up or down stairs! (well unless i need a sink, unfortunately Cannot move one of those upstairs) As you can see in photo 1, we have a bed.. that part of the studio has sort of been storage and a spare bedroom. No more! The torches are going in this area. Considering I've been making jewelry exclusively for 11 years now, I'm also getting rid of my other craft stuff. I've got fabrics, yarns etc down to just 1 crate, and I'm keeping my sewing machine, because sometimes that comes in handy, but the rest is going. I'm really happy about this, and cannot wait to get it finished, but it's likely to take me a few weeks to sort, clean and build a bench upstairs.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

YOJ Week 48: The ring's the thing....

OK, so I'm not following the themes real well, but I"m having so much fun playing with the torch! Both of these rings started out as 14GA half round wire, which I cut, filed, soldered, reshaped and polished. Ring 1 I left as half round shape, so it's slightly domed on the outside edge. Ring 2 was 2 small, so I decided to add texture with my hammer. Wow! I love how that looks, and it's hands down my favorite of the 2 rings. I will be making more of these!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

YOJ Week 47: I heart Silver-smithing!

I made this heart out of 16GA square sterling. I'm so very pleased with myself! you can't tell where I soldered it. I soldered it in the most natural spot.. at the tip of the heart. I shaped the 16GA in a heart shape, then soldered, then filed and sanded down the rough edges and the line from the soldering, then hammered for texture, then polished and tumbled it. These are bad pictures, but it's gorgeous, it just shines and looks so good! The last picture shows the back. 2ND item is experimenting with copper tubing. I cut about a 1 inch chunk of the tube, filed and sanded the edges, then wound 18GA half-round wire round it, and then soldered them together. My technique isn't perfect, the sterling and/or the solder "leaked" on the copper parts, which I tried to clean up with my dremel, but this shows huge promise and I"m going to try again. I think next time I'll just tack the ends with solder, less likely then to leach sterling everywhere. I want to make enough tubes to make a necklace. And I want to get my hands on larger tubing. I've been playing around with fusing also... This stuff is so much darn dang fun!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

YOJ Week 46: Star and Moon and finally... Week 9!!

Two weekends ago, I got a good session of metalsmithing in. yeah!!! The star and moon are courtesy of my Sister's home business.. she sells scrapebooking and paper art supplies. She's very good at it, her link is to the left in my links section. Anyway she's got die cutting gizmo's (it's called the big shot) for paper, so we experimented with using it to cut thin metal. We experimented with sterling silver in 24GA and 30GA, and copper in 24GA & 28GA. The 24Ga was a real reach, I want to try it with 26GA, I think that will be the perfect compromise between thin enough to cut properly and thick enough to do things with... Below is the first piece I've finished using the cutouts we made. The sterling moon is 30Ga which cut very well but I had trouble making this piece.. it's so thin one of the corners got clipped off, so I trimmed the bottom edge to match. Also using 30GA silver on 24GA copper is tricky, as the sterling wants to melt much faster than the solder did.. still I'm very pleased with this piece, and I think I"ll have to buy a die cutter or something, at least it's on my wish list. Anyway, I soldered the sterling moon on the 24GA copper star, polished the front to a mirror finish, and textured the back of the star, mostly cause I felt like it. The loop is 16GA half-round wire. Overall I'm very pleased how it turned out. I know some folks will think using a die cutter is "cheating" but honestly, I still had to do all the steps for making this a professional piece: filing, sanding, cleaning, soldering, sanding again, polishing and sometimes repeating all of that more than once to get the results you want. So the only short cut involved is the cutting/sawing of the piece. I really want to buy a gizmo!

I also made a heart pendant, a couple of rings, some headpins and .... .........................................................................................................................................................................................

I finally finished week 9!! Week 9 is the only week I've skipped, and that's because I started this project back in march, and then the show season started and I just never got back to it. Originally I had a very kewl concept for the theme " The hidden meaning", and I wanted to do it no matter what, so I skipped week 9 thinking I would get back to it alittle faster than November! First I love the stone in this pendant, and all along I wanted to keep it for myself. I was going to make a locket with this stone in front and have a picture on the inside, and have dangles coming down in front. The picture would be the hidden meaning. I had the stone oriented with the flat side down... anyway, when I picked it up anew 2 weeks ago, I realized how great this stone cab was, and it didn't need all that extra stuff to be mysterious... the stone itself has "hidden depths" especially if I flip it around and had the curve side down.. it makes me think of a cave with stalactite's and a creek in it and maybe goblins are going to pop out from behind a rook any second.... This stone is so pretty it didn't need any "gimmick " to make it sing. Now, I still fully intend to do a locket like that sometime, but not with this stone. So I went for a simple bezel... but I did do a tube for the bail and that turned out really well, I'm very pleased about that! Anyway, I'm now completely up to date with YOJ!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

YOJ Week 45: ok, so I'm off topic again!

I actually made this a while back but didn't get pictures up, and now I've got to make another one on commission, which got me to find my pictures! "Egyptian Coils" is made from 16GA copper wire. This took some doing , trying to figure out a way to do a traditional Egyptian coil pattern but on a watch that looked good. The problem ?? The coils don't butt up directly against the watch head.. which causes a ugly gap. In fact that's a problem with beading/wireworking a watch. You want the pretty pretty where people will see it.. but you have to be careful, because you still need the watch head to move free enough to shape on the wrist properly. I finally made a single spiral, with sort of a gentle curvy twist behind it, so the watch head can still pivot. Sometimes to make jewelry, a degree in engineering would help!

Here are just a couple of pendents made with dice and sterling wire... my hubby is a board gamer, and heck, everyone I know, including myself, has roll played and slung some dice at some point. I really like the purple one, the spirals stand out from the pendant, instead of flat around the bail.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I've been TAGGED!!! and oh yeah, and week 44 of YOJ

ARRGHGHG! I've been TAGGED!!!! wait, what does that mean? I guess it means I"m it! LOL

Marcy at Studio Marcy ( wants me to play a game.....
Here are the rules of tagging

1. Link to tagger and display these rules on your blog. (check)
2. Share 7 facts about yourself - some random, some WEIRD (see below)
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blog. (see below)
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

7 Random and Somewhat Weird Facts About Kat

1. this is my favorite piece that I'm selling right now:
if you get the humor behind this piece, then you already know me!!

2. I was born face up and eye's open, which surprised my doctor greatly! I guess you
could say I knew what I was getting into, since I "looked"

3. My middle Name is Amal, which is a family name. For years my mom thought it was
part of the missing link of Native American blood in my family. Much to her disappointment she learned a few years ago it's a misspelling of the doctor's wife name who delivered an ancestress over 100 years ago.

4. Amal means "hope" in Arabic. It also stands for "Alaskan Malamute Assistance League" and the name for a small town in Sweden.

5. I love love love love Google! ( see #4)

6. I'm married to Jerry (believe me that is both random and weird)

7. I'm on time again this week for YOJ!!! This weeks theme is "child's play" . If you want explanations or more pictures, check out my Etsy listing:

OK tag you are it...

Be sure to check these blogs out...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

YOJ Week 43: Harvest Moon

Yeah Me! For the first time in months I'm actually on topic for this weeks challenge!! Hopefully this will be a trend! Anyway, I"m still having a ball playing with my pearls, so would could be more perfect for a harvest moon, but delectable, fall colored pearls!! I actually used Goldfilled 18GA for the frame and 24GA for the wrapping, I think it turned out just fine... I usually use sterling or copper, but the color combo I came up with just wanted gold, so gold it got. I used 15 different colors/types of pearls in this. It turned out kind of big, I didn't measure it but I bet it's close to 3 inches long.

This pendant was a special request from a friend.. I made one some time ago and gifted it to her, then her mom saw it and had to have one for her friend, so I made another using blue cat's eye. I've played around with this style from time to time, but I think this one turned out especially well. Hope your mom's friend enjoys' it Cathie! Last, a very simple earring pattern using up some left over crystals and soft touch ( wire) I've always got bits and pieces of the beading wire left over.. and I hate to throw anything away, so from time to time I try to come up with uses for them... These earrings I think work very well !

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pearls Pearls and more Pearls.....

I love pearls. I always liked them-- I bought pearls the first year I started making jewelry.. way back in 1996, just a few strands of rice shaped white pearls. I thought they were pretty, but at the time good colored pearls ( and yes that means dyed, possibly irradiated, and otherwise treated ) were very expensive, and therefore not in Kitty-Kat's budget. The few that I could afford were poor quality, the color would rub off or "flake" and generally I didn't really want to deal with pearls much.. I've always been into color, and when I started making jewelry I was mostly about glass and crystals... because of the colors!!
Well, things have change quite a bunch since then. Pearls, especially colored pearls have gone though a revolution, and give me drum man, cause I wanna sing and march in the parade!! Even inexpensive colored pearls are fantastic!! The vast majority of colored pearls are color safe, they don't smear on your clothes or flake off, and the luster is just short of glorious. And if you buy expensive color pearls? woooo mamma! About the worst I could say about this next generation of fresh water ( mostly Chinese) pearls is they sometimes fade in strong prolonged sunlight.. I mean, leave on the dashboard for a month type fading. And there is just something about pearls... the weight of them, the luster, the history... pearls are just wicked kewl no matter how you look at them! I'm so gosh down grateful that I leave in this age of pearls.. colorful, affordable gorgeous pearls!!!

OK, enough gushing... this gush was brought to you by the Treasures bead show in Des Moines, IA. Last weekend I absolutely went nuts buying pearls at the show. I bought a few other treasure but pearls are what I spend the bulk of my time and money on. I went to this show specifically looking for pearls. I've been on major pearl kick all summer, and I wanted to resupply. I love pearls, but I've also been thinking a great deal about what jewelry to make on this break... I'm shifting more and more to wire and metal work, and for the most part that means a higher price point. To keep my booth balanced, (and frankly well stocked.. the wire and metal work takes longer) I'm planning on a line of more affordable jewelry. What could be better than a pearl line? Besides I love pearls and playing with them! The first couple of pics show the stash I got at the show. The third pictures shows several piles of pearls, and 4 of crystals. When I make pearl jewelry I like to make piles like that, so I can see what I am working with. The last 2 pictures are the finish product... a necklace that ended up featuring 9 different colors of pearls, and 4 of crystals. I love the dragonfly clasp! Anyway, I believe you will be seeing lots of pearls this year on this blog...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cuffs and Bangles....... Week 42 of YOJ

I got into a cuff/bangle kick last month/early this month. First up is a variation on my "crayon id" bracelets I make.. only I decided to make it into a full cuff this time. Funny thing is while it fit people and wouldn't fall off, everyone who tried it on seems nervous about it slipping off... so while I like designing cuffs without clasps, I don't think I will as a general rule... the gal I ended up selling this to wanted a small hook on it.. which I was happy to do, and only took a few minutes to add. That got me to thinking and I ended up making several cuffs/ bangles, all of them with a hook, or even an inch or so if chain to make them adjustable ( Like the bangles from last entry..) Anyway, here are a few more, one made with hematite, one with really lovely amethyst rounds, and another cuff made with opal crystals... yummm....