Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Had my last outside show of the year.....

part of my display on Sunday
Sunday, the last East village Sunday Bazaar.  I really enjoy my summer shows, but I'm glad this is the last outside one.. heck it's going to be November tomorrow!

The last 3 years the month of October has been so very temperate.  Global warming anyone?   Still it's been cold enough the leaves have turned colors and fallen, and oh so pretty, even on the ground.  I love this time of year, not the least once we have a couple of good freezes I sneeze much less (  I'm a Allergy girl)

I do have 2-3 more shows coming up, but they are inside.  No leaves, but warmer.  I've been lazy the last few days but this weekend I plan to get lots done.  I'm down to 1 steampunk earring.  For inspiration, Jerry is pulling apart our newest finds.  They are older adding machines, they look like from the 1950's but I've not done the research yet.  We still have a bunch of watches to pull apart, and the typewriter is mostly in one piece.. so I've got a bunch of stuff I can play with.  (I'm drooling over 2 gear like wheels Jerry took off one of the adding machines -- serious drool.  I promise pictures soon)

The last few weeks I've been on a buying frenzy... because of local shows ( Gem show Oct 20-21, Bead show 27 & 28, both at the fair grounds)  and flea market finds.

This weekend is the Iowa State Fairgrounds flea market.. which should be awesome and Rings and Things will have a wholesale show on Sunday.  I'm planning on buying chain like a mad woman.

I am planning on staying up late in the studio ( got to live up to my company name... Midnight Kat Productions!) and sleeping in.  A couple of side buying trips and it will be a fun, productive weekend.

Now if I can just make it through the rest of the week......

my new finds from the Des Moines Bead Show.  mostly crystals, what I can I say?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Times are changing

This will be short and sweet... really.

My hubby lost his job of 20 + years a couple of months ago.  Despite the economics of the situation, it really is a good thing.

He never really "liked" what he did, it was just a paycheck.  (Honestly, most of us have jobs that are "just a paycheck") 

I've always felt that he was underemployed but didn't want to rock the boat.  Heck, he thought he was underemployed, and didn't want to rock the boat.  After all, a paycheck is a paycheck.

So losing his job is turning out to be a good thing, shaking the cobwebs and complaisance,  freeing him to really think about what he wants to do.

Which leads me to my evenings activities: helping my spouse sign up for college and finical aid. 

Oh how wonderfully easy it is now, compared to 25 year ago.  It's all online now... the federal student aid website can even import your last tax returns and fills in about half the form! 

He's going back to school to become a school teacher.  This is actually a dream of his.. he talked to me about when we were dating 19 years ago, and it's come up every once in a while.  So instead of a mid life crisis, he's having mid-life college!

I'm so proud of him!

He's supported my passion ( my jewelry business) for so many years now, and I finally get to repay the favor. 

It means changes though.  Even with financial aid (and no doubt he will do part-time work when and where he can), money is going to be tight.  We won't be able to take another big vacation for years, we are tightening the budget trying to cut anything we really don't need, and by the end of 2-3 years this will take, we will have debt.  Lots of debt. 

It  means changes to my business.  He might not be as available to help me with shows as freely as in the past... so either I need to learn to do more on my own or go to the buddy system or not do as many shows.  At the same time, the income from the business is now more important than ever.  For the most part I've plowed the profits back into the business, and now it will help support my family.  I can no longer afford to buy every book that catches my eye.  My displays need to last longer so I am not replacing them as much, and I need to step up selling on line if possible.

But he gets to have his dream, and he gets to feel proud about what he does for a living, something he's never had before.  And I am behind him 100% no matter what changes are in the future.

Love you Jerry!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

New Stuff

Tomorrow is the last East Village Sunday Bazaar and here are some of the new items I've made in the last few weeks... stop by East Village around the blood center and see me and them! noon to 4. 
Isn't he cute!

Here's a group shot of most of the stuff I've made in the last 2 weeks.

A different take on my Valerie style necklace

I added a heat patina to the leaf.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ogres Queen's Necklace aka the typewriter necklace

Remember last week the guys were taking apart a royal typewriter from 1935?? This is the first piece from the parts....

Why do I call it the Ogres Queen's Necklace?

Well they look like teeth.  With holes.  60 odd pieces exactly the same from a vintage Royal typewriter.


I knew I wanted to make a necklace with the "teeth" dangling down, like glittering trophies.  Now who would wear something like that? My brain immediately thinks some mythical creature would, and it's from a royal typewriter, so it's got to be someone important... so why not a Ogre Queen?

I played around with different chains to dangle the teeth from. I ended up using a chainmail pattern that I modified with black rubber "o" rings... the caterpillar chain.

I added "o" rings in front of each teeth, I just think it looks better. 

Now it doesn't really look like a Ogre Queen's necklace.. I mean a real Ogre Queen's necklace with teeth would still have blood and maybe the heads attached.  But still, it's a great name so it's sticking.

It has great weight ( the silver colored rings are aluminum so it kept the necklace from getting too heavy) and it looks very industrial and modern. 

By the way, the "teeth" were spacers bits to set the margins on the typewriter.  They are all the same but have subtle wear in different places. 

Close up of the finished necklace
working out how to put this together

close up... doesn't this look like a tooth? with a great big cavity?

it drapes beautifully

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Every girl has a treasure box

My hospital monkey that grandma nurse (that's what all the kids called her) made for me.  I was in the hospital about 26 times between the ages of 1 and 6 and this guy went with me every time.  He's made out of hospital towels.
Here is my "treasure box" Jerry bought me this chest several years ago as a Christmas present

Pocket watch, 1913 and it still works.  This was a gift to me from my mentor in College.  I am never cutting this one apart!
 Every girl or woman has, somewhere, tucked in a closet, or a drawer, or in box -- mementos that she will never throw away.  That defines who she is as a person.  When you are a little girl, it might start out as a collection of "kewl" things, things that just make your heart happy for no special reason.  But as you get older, you add things that are more than just happy thoughts, that are a solid link to part of your character.

Your first "real" valentine from the man you end up marrying.  A snip of hair from your child's baby head.  A love letter you find between your parents after they pass.

I got to thinking about this watching Castle a couple of weeks ago.  The daughter of the family was having a hard time deciding what items to leave at home and what items had to go with her to college... and later, Kate had items in her desk at work that had great emotional power over her.

Jerry and I have been buying all this lovely vintage stuff, and sometimes I just have to stop and think that "hey, this might have been someones treasure.  This might have been someones solid memory of something important to them.

That got me to thinking about my treasure box, which happens to be a trunk Jerry bought me several years ago.  It's actually quite full, so I spend a couple of hours cleaning it out and organizing it.

I decided I needed to just leave those things in it that are really important to me, and the rest of it, even if I want to keep it, needs to go elsewhere.

I actually found a bunch of vintage jewelry, some bought when I was a child, that didn't have any specific meaning for me... so I've added those to the pile for future art jewelry goodness.

But some pieces are important.

The Edwardian necklace my Aunt Poss gave to me.. which was once her Aunt's.   I adore my Great Aunt Poss ( she is my Mom's aunt, my great aunt) and she picked this out especially for me when I started to make jewelry myself, to give me inspiration.  I have a few pieces of jewelry she's given me, all older family hand me downs.  They are keepers.

I tripped over my own pocket watch that my Mentor in college gave me.  It's still working, though I bet the time would be off.. watches should be used to keep time.  I actually wore it for several years, but stopped at some point.. probably when I had Jesscera.  having a chain dangling within a baby's reach is probably not a good idea.

I've always loved pocket watches, I have no idea why, but I made myself a pocket watch as a child.  I still have it, it's made with gold craft foil plastered with tape over a cardboard frame.  I remember playing with it and at the time I had it on a chain and everything.

Yes, I have a couple of early birthday/valentine's what the heck cards from my now Husband, Jerry, packed in my box.

I have artwork and notes by Jesscera ( my now 16 yr old baby!) at various ages.

I have my hospital monkey, my stuff friend who helped me through some very scary childhood experiences.  He's falling apart but I'm not going to hold that against him.

And I have items that are too personal to share, just like you have.

What's in your treasure box that you can share?
Edwardian era necklace, a gift from my Great Aunt Poss who is now 95? something like that....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Breaking up party

Jerry and our good friend Dan are taking stuff apart... Dan is working on the cash register ( from 1935, we finally found the serial number to look it up) and Jerry is working on the check writer machine....

This is what the check writer looked before Jerry started to take it apart...

This is what it looks like now 
Very cool looking wheel gizmo from the check writer machine.  (in the background are watch parts)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our latest vintage finds......

Paymaster ... can't find a def. age on this, anywhere from the 1960 -1980's  has some cool metal bits to it just from what we can see inside the case

older alarm cocks and cameras.  got a great price on the lot.. so even if I get just a few useful bits and cogs, it's gravy.

best score of the day.. 1930's royal type writer.  all glass keys are present.. got a great price on it!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

projects in process

steampunk in progress, using my new vintage watch parts from watches bought at last weekends' flea market
Hopefully this will be etched this weekend, I've got several pieces ready to dip in acid

Finally back to working on my big brass and fused glass necklace..

bronze weatherstripping being prepped.. I've cut them out, filed and sanded edges, textured or embossed and added a heat patina.  I"m going to seal them today with ren wax.. and I've still need to cut the leather purse pieces out, punch holes in the leather, make the wire armature, sew together with wire and shape

prepping large leaf brass pieces for future bracelets

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Random thoughts

Some days the best you can do is get 2 stars in angry birds.

I just got done adding heat patina to a whole pile of stuff... lots of projects in process right now.  I'm actually writing this while I let my studio air out some from the torching. Some people cannot smell the gas, but it's pretty stinky to me so after I torch I like to give it a good hour.  Promise pics soon, once I actually get something done not just colored.

Today is my Parent's 59th Wedding anniversary.  (WOW!!!!) My birthday (44 years young) was Sunday the 7th.  It's always been the joke in my family, was I Mom's anniversary gift to Dad or the other way around?  They ain't sayin'

My Daughter has started her own blog, mostly on Anime musings.  The funny part? it's actually a requirement of one of her classes at school to have a blog and post regularly.  It's for a social media class.

I remember taking computer in high school and it was programing... basic and Cobalt.  (Does anyone do Cobalt anymore??)  Remember green or amber on a black screen?  Those where the only choices... green on black or amber on black.

Another funny thing about her blog... I think she's actually enjoying it, not that she would ever admit it.  (Don't tell her I told you)

For those who don't know, my hubby lost his job a month ago.  While my business has always contributed to the family it's usually for the fun stuff, like the lovely 2 week vacation we just took.  Now it's going to help buy groceries.  I feel weird.  Course I"m mostly done with shows for the year... this is an excellent time to book a home show in the Des Moines area.  I don't normally do church Christmas bazaars but right now that's looking pretty good too.

Oh yeah, I may or may not go on strike from my day job.  We are currently working without a contract.  Hopefully the company and the union will come to an agreement that's reasonable and fair to both sides. 

so it's possible we will both be without paychecks.  I'm really hoping we don't go on strike..  but it could happen.

Did I mention how weird I feel?

No pity ----  unless you want to buy some jewelry.  ( just kidding.. I think) 

I'm planning on going back up around 9pm and start working on some steampunk bracelets using  my  snazzy vintage watch parts.  Jerry has ripped apart about half of the watches we bought. That I'm actually looking forward to.  I've been looking into the box of pieces and getting ideas on new designs. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Flea Market Finds Followup

Jerry took the watch to

                     A.Watch place
                     B. Fine jeweler shop.

and the watch isn't 18K.  It's brass, it's possible it was once clad in gold, but the jeweler did the gold test on the inside, where there wasn't any wear, and it didn't register any gold content. 

I'm not really super surprised ..after all I already knew it was probably a knockoff, probably from the 1920's or 1930's (everyone agrees it's old)   Both the watch dealer and the jeweler turned their noses up at the movement being a "cheap" one.

But that's OK, we still got a most excellent price on it, and now we have the green light to rip it up and recycle. And make jewelry.  woot!

The fact now that we have a very interesting story to tell... it's probably a Russian knockoff that's 80+ years old... is as interesting as having something that was actually gold.

Jerry also took in a couple of other watches that I knew were gold-filled, and they are actually worth a few bucks by weight.. so if I don't end up using them in my jewelry I know I can turn them in for something.

And Jerry found a new source for large watch movements in the future.  Really fancy ones.  I'm drooling just from his descriptions.  I need to sell some jewelry so I can buy some!!

So all around, a very very very good flea market run.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Flea Market Finds

This is my Birthday Weekend, and it's been simply lovely so far!  (OK if you ignore the current job situation it's been lovely, but why dwell on the bad stuff eh? )  One of my most favorite things to do is garage sales/antiquing/thrift stores  .. so Jerry ( and baby too) and I hit some garage sales ( scored some paperbacks for a quarter apiece) and then out to the fair grounds for the flea market.  

If you are not familiar with the Des Moines Flea Market at the fair grounds, then you are *crazy* for missing it.  It's got to be one of the largest in the state.  It's free... and it has baked goods amongst the vintage goodies, how can you go wrong??

very kewl pocket watch, I'm guessing 1920's... but I can't find specific info.. more below
Since Jerry and I are in tear apart mode, we kept an eye out for watches ( I 'm actually quite low on faces ) and small vintage appliances.  Not much luck on the appliances, but we hit the watch bonanza!  I had a strict budget.. I brought a small amount of cash with me and once that was gone I would be done.  (I"m very pleased to say I actually have a few bucks left over)  I haggled over everything we bought, and I talked them down.. which I personally love to do, so bonus points on that.

Then we went to Transylvania Hotel (very cute) and ate dinner at my Mom and Dad's and had cupcakes.

When we got home I started to look over my newest treasures and discovered the pocket watch is even more interesting than I figured... the case is marked 18K on the inside. 

wow!  So I did a pinch of research (here is one of the sites.. very interesting reading!)

I'm pretty sure it's a knock off of a famous watch company -  Roskopf .

The interesting thing is even if it's a knock off it's possible it's valuable... the knockoffs where made at the same time period as the Roskopf , and judging by the crown (windy mechanism on top of the watch)  I"m guessing it's from the 1920's.  (the Roskopf company made changes to the crown in the 1920's and this matches the change... hence my uneducated guess)  Still, if it's truly 18K gold it's worth quite a bunch just for that.  If it's just plated brass, then it's darn pretty which is why I bought it and it's well worth the $3.00 it cost me.  (yes, I really am good at haggling)

But I've got a pretty good feeling it's 18K... and here is why... the watch got wet at some point in the past, and there is rust and spotting in the watch movement.  (not a lot, but there is some)

The case is not rusted or spotted.. or that ugly dark look brass can get when it tarnishes. 

At this point I  almost hope it's plated.. cause then I can use all of it without guilt.. if it's really 18K then I'll probably have to sell the casing for cash.

I know, I'm a strange creature.

My plans tomorrow are very agreeable also... lots of studio time and Jerry is washing at least *some* of the dishes this weekend.  (this would be the first time in maybe 5 years?)

The dishes thing alone is heaven and makes this a special birthday!!!!

(now if he would only do toilets..)

the whole haul, mostly watches.  woot!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Recent Steampunk Jewelry

Made this for a friend's wedding outfit who is steampunk mad.  She loved it!  It's a pin she's going to wear on her wedding jacket

Made from old door hardware I bought at a flea market with a bunch of other old door stuff.  I didn't feel I needed to add much to it as it's so darn pretty and interesting as it is.  It's funny... it was all grimy in a tar icky kind of way, so I cleaned it up... then it looked too "new" so added a heat patina .. and I think it looks wonderful!

backside of the door bracelet.

bobbin case from a 1960 sewing machine

another bracelet, this one is all new parts but fun no?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Girls Weekend and Des Moines Is not Boring

I had such a good weekend!! My friend Cathie came down to hang out with me and we had a blast!! She came in Thursday and we went shopping in Valley Junction ( the home to 3 bead stores) and walked around the valley Junction farmer's Market. Then we collected the rest of the family/friends and ate out... spent the rest of Thursday night chatting, making jewelry, and generally having a fab time.
Fri was our "pj" day where we didn't leave the house... ordered in Chinese.. yum! and did more jewelry in the studio.. Sat I dragged her out to Down Town Des Moines Farmer's Market ( which is nationally ranked and huge and fun --- it's nice to go one in a while when I'm not vending myself.. and getting up at 4am!), east village, and for lunch Cosi Cucina, my favorite Italian restaurant in town ( and the place all other pasta joints are measured against) . Cathie had a calzone and it was beyond wonderful... the bread to meat/cheese/etc ratio was perfect, which is to say it was more meat/cheese/etc than bread.
I had my favorite, chicken alfredo. They have the best alfredo sauce. The generous servings means we had diner of left overs as well.
Saturday I showed Cathie how to solder, use heat to make patina's on brass and copper, and ball head pins. She had a blast playing with my torch.
Sunday she left around 3pm after more bonding over findings and beads.
During this weekend, I could have dragged her to kewl and interesting things around Des Moines 24/7 and not run out of things to do, let alone get any jewelry making time in.
For all those who think Des Moines is boring... phooey to you.
Looking for ideas of what do? you can check here and here......