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.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Adventures in Resin Part I (or how I couldn't get my owls right)

It started with clock faces  - at least 60 years old, probably older
 If you guys haven't figured this out, I've amassed quite the collection of clock and watch parts so I can create pieces in my Mechanical Romance line with ease.  The problem is dealing with vintage materials you need to be careful with as some of it is fragile. 

The story of the owl necklaces begins with 2 vintage clock faces that are paper and thus rather fragile to use.  I have a bunch of these and I'm hesitant to use them because, well, paper isn't really sturdy enough on it's own to use.  I have a bunch of beautiful ceramic watch and clock faces I can use as well, but they are also fragile.  I've used a few of them, very carefully, and worried if creative sense overruled my sturdy design sense.  The upshot is I've used this materials sparingly,  and it's driving me crazy but cause they are soooo kewl! and I want to play with them.

So I've been thinking about how I can use them in beautiful and unique jewelry without damaging them or have them break when someone is wearing them.

The best answer seems to be resin.  I have nothing against resin, and I experimented with it 4-5 years ago.  It just didn't trip my trigger at the time.  I was heavily into wire wrapping, and didn't see any reason to play with it. 
Working on the design off and on for weeks.. I just couldn't get happy.  Here is an earlier design, which isn't the final configuration.

 But Resin can both seal and protect paper and has the added advantage I can use some of the most delicate watch parts and they too will be protected.  It opens up a huge avenue for design!

Finally happy! but I will need to use resin to keep everything together and seal the paper clock face in Notice the line of watch gears below the owl
Happy happy
Here is what I'm hoping to get done with 1 ounce of Resin..

I bought this 4, 5 years ago?will it still work??
 When you use a professional grade of resin ( such as Ice Resin) you need to mix it up in 1 oz or larger batches.  I figured if I have to mix it up I might as well have enough items to use it up so I didn't waste any.  I had some cash register keys that needed protection because they are going to be rings and would get more abuse than say earrings would.  I dug out some bracelet and necklace components from my first go around with resin, and even found 2 pendants I made back then that never properly domed. 
Alas, it mixed up just fine... but it's still yellow
 The thing is my resin bottle looked really, well yellow, and not in a good way.  I researched and the general consensus is that if when you mix the resin up and it turns crystal clear, you should be fine. If it doesn't lose the yellow color, you have a problem.   So I mixed it up, and well, it didn't turn clear, it just got a  lighter shade of yellow.   I decided I need to get new resin, but I was curious if it still worked ...
OH MY! it still works properly, but it's yellow...
yep, still worked great! the yellow has no bubbles, it 's hard as a rock.. it's just yellow.  I think I'll keep this for my next doctor's appointment....

There are some applications I want to try that yellow resin shouldn't hurt, and you can mix colorants in resin, so that might be a way to use up my yellow stuff.  I hate to waste anything !  But I didn't want yellow resin on my owl designs... so I had to get my hands on new resin asap.

I do have a few other types of resin but they don't cure into the rock hard resin that Ice does, so I didn't want to use them.  

I was able to find a small supply of Ice Resin locally.. next blog I'll show you what happens when you use clear resin!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The possibilities ......

a recent jar from flea marketing....

When we go hunting for old stuff to make jewelry into, I always keep an eye out for mason jars and zip baggies full of stuff.  Sometimes it's really disappointing, just a bunch of junk.. more properly termed some one's treasure of course.  Sometimes buried in the stuff I can't use will be a true gem of opportunity.  I'll see it and immediately picture the jewelry it will make, and cackle evilly cause well, cackling evilly is fun. 

Today I start the search for shows for next year, and it's every bit like buying that jar full of junk... you just don't know what you will get.

Sure there are shows we do almost every year, but even they can be surprising.   And the weather is always a lottery game... when you do 20-25 shows a year, most of them outside, sometimes the numbers are going to be bad and rain on you, and your sales. 

We always try to do new shows, to keep it fresh and find new audiences.  Just like that jar  -- it looks very positive on the outside, but I won't know what's on the inside until we actually do that show.

This past year of shows had some strange jars indeed... where everything I looked at in advanced said this should be a good show.  The folks running the show are good people, the location is excellent, and they did huge advertising.   But actual buyers on the ground... not so much.

You just can't tell looking into that jar from the outside.

We did shows that lived up to the promise in the paperwork -- true gems hiding in the muck as well.

But that is part of the fun of doing shows.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

random thoughts

My fuse glass piece, with filigree, brass stampings and vintage crystal

I love love love love my new blanket.  We bought it actually for Cathie's visit in September, and now it's migrated to our bed.  It's one of those incredibly soft micro-fiber ones in a deep cobalt blue.  It's so light, it's what you imagine a cloud feels like ( unlike what a cloud really feels like... fog)  incredibly soft and gentle but sooo warm.

So Iowa finally has a woman on the Federal level.  Kewl.  Did it have to be Joni Ernst? 

I'm kind of disappointed in Iowa all the way around this election.  I've always been proud that the state was so down the middle.. for years we have been almost evenly split between the Dems and the Reps.  For most of my life we have had 1 Dem and 1 Rep as senators.  Our 5 (now 4) house was usually 3-2 split.  The governor was sometimes Rep, sometimes dem.  I figured it echoed Iowa's laid back , live and let live attitude.

After this election, we are mostly republican.  ugh. 

I am playing with resin again after 4? years not playing with it.  I will post interesting pics of this soon. 

I'm also making rings this week for the upcoming show -- the last show of the season. 

I am planning on doing show research this weekend as well, as the yearly grind of show applications needs to get started.  I know a couple of shows I'm thinking about have application deadlines of Dec 1st. 

My daughter voted this year, as she just turned 18.  It's possible I made the experience more of a trial than it had to be.  I asked the folks running the precinct where the 1st time voter's stickers where ( and isn't that a brilliant idea!! ) and once she was done, I started clapping, and wouldn't you know, everyone else did as well.  Not sure they knew why, but in Iowa it's polite to clap along.

I didn't do it to embarrass her, I was just so genuinely proud of her exercising her civic duty for the first time.  I know she's disappointed with the results as well.. She really doesn't like Joni Ernst. 

Now that most of the shows are done, and we are on a strict budget again, I am making a weekly menu and trying to make new diners.

Some of the resent hits: cheesy corn ( Jerry's favorite) , my version of Shepard's pie, chicken and dumplings, and ham and potatoes.  Most of these are done in the crockpot.  I tend to make big, lots of left over type meals Sun - Tues, to generate leftovers for my work lunches.  Later in the week it's more of a hamburger or pizza kind of thing.

I'm trying to incorporate healthier ingredients as well, but that's tricky. One of the Shepard's pie I over did the carrots.  To my taste buds it made everything else in the casserole taste carroty.  Even the corn tasted contaminated with carrot flavor!!! So this last batch I only added corn, because I couldn't go through that again.  I've promised Jerry the next batch will have peas in it as well as corn, and I'll try the carrots again -- just not as many.  I also think I will cook them separately and add them in only at the end to lesson the risk of carroty taste taking over the entire batch again.

Something I want to try in the crockpot but haven't yet: lasagna.

hm..... I still need to make the menu for next week...... 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I love this clock!!!!!!!!

Most of this front is wood, I think this is probably a "cheap" clock in it's day, dressed up to look more expensive.. see the steps that are sort of goldish/black? in really expensive quality clocks that would be real Italian marble.. it's actually wood on this one painted to look like marble
 I'm soooo excited about this clock!! Jerry and I hit the flea market at the fair grounds today, without much luck.  So we hit a couple of other stores, and at one of them Jerry spotted this find of the day!  It's definitely old, once we start to take it apart I can find patient #'s and possibly date info... my gut says probably 1930's.  I could be way way wrong but I'm guessing it's at least that old.

It's in awful shape, missing pieces and the frame is very loose.  It's missing it's entire back.  But that's great news for me, because I'm not so darn guilty when we rip it apart!

I love that it's faking grander... instead of marble inlay and brass columns, it's a very clever paint job.  I think this is something a person would buy from the sears catalog thinking it looked elegant.  Again, that works for me cause I would have trouble ripping up something that was in great shape and expensive to start with.
nice large movement, double springs, yippee!!

Course the price on clocks usually takes care of the guilt factor.. if it was a nicer clock or in good shape I couldn't have afforded it.  As it was it was only $10.00 which might be the cheapest I've spent on a clock of this size and age!!!  

We picked up a couple of other items ( one of which I'll blog about later cause it's kind of interesting) but for me this clock is the piece I'm most anxious for Jerry to rip apart.  I might just have to badger him about it today!