Friday, April 30, 2010

Tiger Coral Ring

The first thing I've completed in like 2 weeks. The stone is called Tiger Coral. I've never seen anything like it. I picked up this cab when I only had dreams of knowing what to do with it.

It's a gift for my friend that I mentioned in my last blog post. I hope she likes it, and that it fits. If not, it feels mighty fine on my finger..... ;)

Felize cumpleanos Rosy!

Now both of my daughter's are painting!

This one is by Isabella. She just turned 8 at the end of March. She's been working on this painting for 3 sessions with her art teacher. It is a gift for my Dad. The original plan was to put a herd of deer in there as well, but an 8 year olds attention span is only so long. So this is what we have, and I think it is gorgeous.

My dad will love it. He is a hunter and hiker, and generally happiest in nature. This scene is so beautiful, and so reminiscent of the country that I grew up in, and where my dad still lives that I know he's going to love it! The most amazing thing, and the thing that touches me the most is that she did this all on her own. She has no idea what the scenery looks like where we grew up, and yet she nailed it perfectly.

Her teacher says that all artists are born with a gift, and she really believes Isabella's is her use of color. Seeing this painting, I couldn't agree more. It is a little stylized, but still works. The first few times her teacher told me that, I was a little surprised. I mean, we're talking about a girl whose clothes don't match if left to her own devices. And her gift is color? I was a little concerned....... :) I guess her "gift" just applies in her art and not every day life!

This is the painting Adriana did at school. The Scream after Edvard Munch. Adri just turned 5. She came home from school one day and told me she was painting The Scream. I was like, ok..... like you couldn't have picked something a little, I don't know, happier? Like the rose or the flamingo like the other girls did? :) She is very proud of herself, and I think she did pretty good for a 5 year old.

Isabella has known she wants to be an artist for several years now, Adri isn't as sure of what she wants to do. She spends a lot of time drawing, and she's pretty good. So I think I may start her in art lessons in the fall. She also wants to be a swimmer, and a gymnast.

And, this is what I did yesterday:

Can you see the jewelry in there? I've told you before how much I like the contrast between the dark and light silver. Well, I usually use something called liver of sulfur to oxidize my metal, but I ran out. So, I thought I would try this other method I have read about.

Hard boiled eggs will oxidize sterling silver! It does work, but the results are spotty, takes forever, and is a big mess. I had this jewelry in with the eggs for 5 hours and it still wasn't black yet. I had to make an emergency run to the store to get some liver of sulfur, then spent some time getting the egg out of the crevices of my jewelry. Not fun......

Back to the bench with me. In typical fashion I have waited until the last minute to finish up a birthday present for a friend of mine. All the girls are getting together tonight for drinks and dinner to celebrate. I can't wait!!! I could use a good strawberry margarita! :)

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Emerging from my chrysalis....

Wow, it has been well over a week since my last blog post. I feel like I have spent the last 10 days renewing and refreshing my mind, body and spirit. There hasn't been anything major going on, just a small accumulation of things that got me down. The worst of it helping my oldest deal with a bully at school. It really isn't anything new, she has been dealing with this mean girl all year long. Things just came to a head last week, and it really hit me hard. It is amazing how protective a mother can be of her children. I felt like a raging momma bear. A friend of mine told me that we are meant to feel this way. God gives us this inherent urges to protect our children any way we can. And I think she's right......

Isabella is my mini me. We are so much alike. Between the two of us, we'd both rather walk a mile over hot coals than face conflict. This last incident with the mean girl sent us both over the edge, and it was time to jump head long into conflict. I'm sure this isn't the end of it, but I do feel better. I MUST protect my daughter, whatever the cost.

Everything else last week felt like a struggle. For the first time filling orders felt like a chore rather than something I wanted to do. I had to re make one pair of earrings 3 times. And this a design I have made at least 4-5 times before. Nothing felt right, nothing was working. So other than filling orders I didn't make anything last week.

I must say though that it hasn't stopped me from buying stones like a mad woman. :) I am looking forward to finding some treats in my mailbox this week! Can you say Druzy, druzy, druzy? When I have my little collection together I'll share a picture with you.

The other positive thing that has come along is the great design ideas I have been filling my sketch book with. Sometimes the design ideas are few and far between for me, so I will ride this creative wave as long as it lasts.

So, I have emerged from my self imposed chrysalis, but my wings are still wet and tender. Today begins with the glow of the warming sun. I can feel my wings beginning to dry already. I'm hoping to be flying soon.....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Little Lambs.......

My youngest daughter has been going to the preschool at our church for the past 3 years. The program is called The Little Lambs. We have been absolutely thrilled with the program, and the academic and social progress she has made there. The school is small, only 40 students divided amongst 8 teachers.

At the end of each year, all the parents contribute to teacher gifts, and this year I have the honor of being the one to make them. I have made a Little Lamb pin, of solid and thick sterling silver sheet. The little brass heart is a representation of all the love the students receive from these amazing ladies, and of the love the kids give the teachers in return.

Wow, I'm starting to get a little emotional here. It is bittersweet for us, since this will be our last year. I feel that my daughter is very well prepared for kindergarten, and I just can't say enough about the appreciation I feel for her having been able to be a part of this extraordinary program.

The back features a hand made spring clasp, and a button with the year 2010 on it. Every time the teachers pin these pins on their lapel, I hope that they will think back to this school year of 2009-2010 and remember all the wonderful children who they have taught and loved.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Texas Wildflowers....

I wish I could say that these photos are mine, especially because it would mean that I got to see all of this glorious splendor in person. A friend of mine went with her Mom on a tour of the Texas Hill Country. They couldn't have chosen a better time. Will you just look at those bluebonnets? The bluebonnet is our state flower. It is illegal to pick them! They grow wild all over Texas and can be seen from the freeways all over this time of year, but the Texas Hill Country is known especially for the beautiful wild flowers.

I love this picture. My friend TJ is passionate about photography, and it really shows. She very graciously allowed me to use her pictures. I wanted to share a bit of Texas with you all.

This is a field of Spanish Lavender. I can only imagine how it must have smelled. :)

I'm not sure what flowers these are, but the picture is beautiful!

TJ makes really cool photo pendants. Check out her fan page! Baubles by Bangs on Facebook They make great gifts and keepsakes, I hope you get a chance to check out her work.

Thanks for letting me show off your pictures T!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wreath vines and lilac moon flowers....

Ruby Wreath Vines on Etsy
I've been loving all the vine inspired jewelry I've been seeing lately, and thought I'd put my own spin on it. Ruby rondelles nestled in flower bead caps and wrapped into a vine wreath. I love, love, love the oxidized silver that I have highlight polished with steel wool to bring out the depth of the wrapped wires. The contrast between the black and light silver is so pretty! And the rubies? Don't get me started. Love them! I've been thinking these would look great as a bangle bracelet as well, but I'm wondering if the flowers might get knocked around too much.

Lilac Moon Flower on Etsy
I have something with the moon lately. I haven't quite figured out what it is yet though. I also have a new thing for rings. Truth be told, I need the practice. I've been having fun making stacking rings. These are a US size 8.25 by themselves, but fit like an 8 when worn together.

The last set of stackers I made was also a size 8. And the set I have on my bench are, you guessed it, a size 8. I don't know why either!!!! It's not even my size! So, after this, I promise to make some rings in another size beside 8. :)

Things are getting busy. Several custom orders, my husbands business is getting busy, that means I get busy whether I want to or not! The girls seem to be having birthday parties to go to out the wazoo. I'm just glad I was able to bribe them, I mean, talk them out of a birthday party for their own birthdays this year. I just don't know when I would have found the time.

My oldest daughter, who just turned 8, has been sick since friday late afternoon. Just in time to put a damper on the weekend. She is complaining of a head ache, and is running a fever. My youngest, who just turned 5, and is old enough to know better is on punishment for sticking squishies in her mouth. For those of you who aren't privy to the squishy phenomenon, they are these little colorful animal type creatures that the kids get out of bubble gum machines, and they trade them. They are about 3/4" big, and are well, squishy. She did it not once, but twice, two days in a row, and it scares me to death that she's going to choke. Why is it that when you decide you want cute cuddly babies, no one tells you that one day you are going to be driven to the edge of insanity with them? And that it will happen a lot? :)

Well, back to work with me. I am finishing up a special request that I think I am going to offer for Mother's day in the shop. I'll post pics tomorrow!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blueberry Moon....

Click here to view Blueberry Moon on Etsy
So, I was in the process of finishing these up last night, and had them on at the dinner table. I asked the girls what they thought these rings looked like. Really, I was trying to make sure they could tell that it was a crescent moon. And they both said, "blueberry". I was like, what? A blueberry? Did I really miss the mark that much when making my moon? So I asked my husband, and right away he got the moon, and said that the girls were talking about the moonstone! Duh!

Anyway, I am having fun making these rings. I have another pair of stackers on the table right now that I am trying to breathe life into. And that is really how it is. You take some silver, some fire, various tools, chemicals, and gems. And try to combine it all into something. To make something beautiful out of such a mess never ceases to amaze me.

My Dad loves his birthday present, and right away my Mom made a request for one for a gift for a friend of hers. My Dad was impressed, and that makes me feel good. After all, he does know other metalsmiths that he can compare me to. My Grandfather, and my Uncle were both metalsmiths. But, that is a story for another time.

My oldest daughter is sick. Poor baby, I hate it when they feel yucky. That, and I know it's only a matter of time now before the other one gets it!

I just ordered a butt load of stones. There really is no other way to say it. I spent way too much. It's an illness. It really is. I'm addicted to rocks. Plain and simple. The good news is though, that I won't have a shortage of things to play with!!!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Busy, busy, busy, hardly any time to stop to blog, but....

Spring has Sprung on Etsy

I finally got this finished. I'm much happier with it!!

I have a million ideas floating around in my head of stuff I want to make, but my time is so limited!

Today is my baby's birthday! She's 5 years old! I can't believe how the time is flying. Have a wonderful day everyone! :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Anyone want to venture a guess on my latest stone obsession? ;)

Two pairs of earrings featuring sleeping beauty turquoise, and Rising Dawn necklace with carnelian. Two stone obsessions all in one place! The colors really complement each other. I think I'll have to make a project using the two together.

The Rising Dawn necklace listed, but I'm not crazy about the pics I have of the earrings, and I have some momentum going in the shop right now. So, I'll probably retake the photos on a day it isn't stormy outside and then get them listed.

I just started working with pumice powder. I'd read about how it is good for finishing, and doesn't leave a super shiny surface. I love it! Other than the fact that it flings all over the place (worse than other polishing compounds) it is awesome. It eats through that oxidation quicker than quick. I love it. So, that is my tip for the day. Pumice powder, mix with a little water, load up the polishing wheel, and go to town. Reload often.

Back to work with me! Have a fab day everyone! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Dad's Birthday gift......

I'm pleased with the way my Dad's keychain turned out! I hope he likes it. It's kinda on the big side.....

I'm thinking about offering something similar for Father's day. Maybe one that says "Dad" or offer one with initials or something. I don't know. It will probably be another idea I have that I won't ever have time to get around to.

I melted my second project I started yesterday, so I'm going to give it another go today! Have a great day everyone! :o)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Why I love hand crafted findings..

When I first began designing and making jewelry, I used commercial findings. You know the ones. The sterling ear hooks with the little coil on them, the headpins that look like nails. I first started noticing hand made finding on jewelry when I started out on E-bay. A light bulb went off in my head, and I was off like a rocket!

I started with ear wires, and moved on to head pins and clasps. And the funny thing is, I really enjoy making findings. I have always loved creative activities that were repetitive and didn't require huge amounts of concentration. I love keeping my hands busy and letting my mind wander where it will. Most often it wanders to ideas for jewelry design, and I always have my sketch journal handy.

Maybe it's my love for wire more so than my love of findings. I don't know. There is something that appeals to me in the bending of the wire, coaxing it gently into a beautiful shape. I love the curves of a good ear wire! Maybe it's the appeal of taming an object that could very easily turn on you and refuse to cooperate. The slightest kink or twist or turn in the wire, and you're toast. Time to start over.

Maybe it's when I get to wield my hammer. With the utmost precision I whack that wire in just the right spot to strengthen where it is most needed, and to further enhance the beauty of the curves. Maybe it's the challenge of hitting it just right, a gentle flattening of the wire without marring the wire.

Oh, and don't get me started on the sheer joy of watching silver ball up on itself. Watching the way it jumps on to itself, timing it just right to get consistent sized balls. Ahhh.......

Ok, it might just be me. :) I just think hand crafted findings add a beauty to jewelry that commercial findings can't do.

Well, now that my ode to findings is through, it is back to the work bench with me. I am working on a birthday present for my Dad. Since he isn't the jewelry type, I'm making him a big honking keychain. I'll be sure to post pictures! I HAVE to have it done today. Have a wonderful day everyone!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone!

I hope everyone enjoys this beautiful Easter day!