Monday, June 30, 2008

Simply Mine, Rainstick earrings. copper and mookaite bead wire wrap earrings.

This weekend I decided it was time to work on a new handcrafted element that could be used in my jewelry . I made my own copper tube beads, these were cut with a pipe cutter not a saw. I found this made a smoother cut and it was very even when finished a light filing to round the edges a bit and I was pretty happy with them except they were still just plain tubes. I decided to add some detail using my metal stamps and was really surprised at how much detail one stamp could add to the finished tube. I added a pair of handcrafted bead caps and some beautiful mookaite gemstone beads for color. I love the natural look of the mookaite beads when mixed with copper and the variety of colors the gemstone beads are available in. The overall design was nice, the length was a bit long at 3 1/4". So this particular size wont be made again but I will definitely use the same elements in various length and for a multitude of projects. I had previously made copper tubes for use in a bracelet and they had been curved to fit the wrist but had no stamped designs.
I also made a second pair of copper tubes stamped with the same pattern and much shorter than the first. I added to these tubes 1/4" copper disc center drilled, with 5mm vintage turquoise blue glass beads and I have to say I am extremely pleased with the results. I used my own handcrafted copper earwires with tiny heat forged buds for both the wire wrapping and earwires on both pair. You can see more of my work by checking out my Etsy mini, this will direct you of course to Etsy and my little shop. I will be adding a list of my own favorite Etsy sellers soon, so be sure to check back and visit some very talented artist or go and just browse the shops they are full of beautiful items from jewelry to soap, clothing, handbags and so much more.... the list is endless and the best thing about Etsy is its all handcrafted items made and sold by the artist.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Process to making my copper pendants

I thought today would be a good day to show a bit of how I make my copper pendants.

First of all they all start as a sheet of bare copper, I cut it to approx. 2" x 6" strips and heat it with my torch until it is red hot. Then quench it into a bucket of cold water. This softens the copper and gets it ready for transferring an image onto.
Most of my pendants are made using my own doodle art that has been etched onto a piece of copper and then transferred to a second piece through my small rolling mill. Or found objects such as leaves, feathers, butterfly wings,.... can all be rolled as well.
Once the copper is cleaned through use of my pickle pot to remove the fire scale, I cut them into usually 2 x 2" pieces, select one of my etched pieces, place them together and put some muscle into the handle of the mill and roll it through. Most etched pieces are usually good for 3 or 4 passes although as the image is stretched no two of mine will ever be the same. And after the 3rd or 4th pass they are pretty useless and that particular design is finished. And that's okay, this is what keeps my pieces unique and one of a kind. I also use a different shape and size for each pendant.
After the image is on the second piece of copper I then cut to shape, file and drill the piece.If it is going to be domed I use my doming block and dapping tools for this. Add a handcrafted wire bail, give it a patina to bring out the detail and polish them by hand to a warm glowing shine.
A few added notes, after your copper is heated it is very soft and pliable, through the process of cutting, filling and doming your work the copper is work hardened and make a very durable piece of jewelry.
I have incorporated one of my own small fused art glass cabochon. I'm always looking for new ways to use my copper and fused glass work together. This was a great way to add a splash of color.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My first Etsy Treasury West

While browsing the forums this morning, someone had mention treasure west was about to open. I thought I'd take a look, and had missed the opening, then moments later I visited again and right before my eyes it popped open a title space at the bottom of the page.
I had only considered doing a treasury last night so I wasn't at all prepared with a list of items I'd include if I ever got the chance to make one. But the opportunity was there, I had to take it. Creating a treasury was much easier than I thought it would be.
The first step was to find an item I wanted to include, then it was just a question of copy and paste the item number into the provided space and Etsy did the rest for me. How easy is that.
I went with a theme: the color Teal. added this word to my search and there were my choices displayed before my eyes. I changed key words to add a number of different types of items in the treasury, such as... pottery, belts, jewelry, art.... Not nearly as difficult as I had originally thought it would be. Can't wait to try again. Soooo to all of you that are intimidated by the process... Don't be. You'll have a great time and it really is a very easy process. Here is a link to my treasury.

Take On Teal.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dichroic Bracelet, Bubble powder Pendants, wire wrapped

This weeks work. I made another fused dichroic cabochon bracelet, I love the way it turned out. Wire wrapped using 18 gauge copper wire and given a rich warm patina using liver of sulfur. The rings were made individually, what a time consuming project this was. The large rings have all been soldered closed and I added a handcrafted closure.

I also made a few bubble art glass pendants and wire wrapped them in copper wire, This was the first time I made pendants that I wanted bubbles in and these are fun. They look like mermaid jewelry, These were made using art glass, bubble powder and topped with clear glass. I have read since purchasing my bubble powder that baking soda can also be used to create a similar look so I will be trying this the next time I make bubble pendants. How cool is that? Baking powder and soooo much cheaper to buy.
Have a great day and thanks for visiting.

Gifts of Nature and Family Pets

While playing baseball in the yard this week with the girls we found this beautiful butterfly resting upon a weed near the corner of our house. The girls enjoyed looking at it as it gently fluttered it wings. I thought it was near death as it wasn't moving much and wasn't frightened while we looked. I had Katie run in to get my camera and of course after one photo the batteries gave out and we were unable to take any more pictures but how pretty I'm glad we at least got one.

We often take photo's of Gods little creatures and I thought we'd share some of our favorites with you.
This frog, prince charming we presume found his way into Hannah's bug house one afternoon and Katie took the picture. We are more used to them basking in the sun near our small garden pond.

Our family pet's include princess our miniature tea cup, long haired Chihuahua, Dora our pygmy goat and Diamond our pony. Raising animals is a great way to help kids learn responsibility, compassion, and love for all of God's creatures. We originally had 3 baby goats that my 3 oldest girls, Tara, Katie and Hannah raised from baby's bottle feeding them. This was a lot of fun and a great experience for all of my girls. Princess was 5 weeks old when we bought her and she was so tiny she fit in Jerry's shirt pocket and went everywhere Jerry went. Diamond our pretty pony often jumps her fence and can be found at all hours of the day and night wandering the yard and eating the green grass, when she's full she will wander back into her pasture.
We also love to visit the animals at the zoo in Battle Creek, we had a late spring field trip and took some photos, Hannah's favorite was the Giraffe. Hannah is the little artist of the family and often draws and paints her favorites.
The pretty turtle painting was the only painting chosen from all kindergarten classes at her school to be featured in our local art gallery in the South Haven Center for Arts last winter. What a fun and colorful painting she made, We were really proud of her. We hope you've enjoy some of our favorites.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Woohooo!!!! I made it into an Etsy Treasury.

Just a quick post to say someone thought enough of one of my items to include me in a treasury!!! It warms my heart to know someone else is enjoying my work and thought enough of an item to add it to their list. Thank You again. Mimi.
To any one that wants to view the treasury you can find it at the link below.
She has selected several very talented artist to include in her list. Take a look, browse through the shops and enjoy!!!!

New Designs, Copper Rings Bracelete

I finally finished my first soldered ring bracelet. I Made this bracelet using 14 gauge heavy copper wire. I formed the large rings using a 1 1/4" mandrel than hammered them for texture and strength. I have added a spiral design to the large rings using my new metal stamps, soldered the rings closed using silver solder paste that I found was much easier to work with than I had origianlly thought. The fine tip point made it so easy to put the solder only where it was needed and I didn't have a lot of clean up afterwards. The smaller jump rings were made using a 1/4" madrel, these are not soldered but also made using the same 14 gauge copper wire. I first adjusted my rolling mill to the thickness I wanted to finished rings to be, rolled my wire through the mill then I added my scroll design to the entire piece of wire before cutting. I made the rings individually cutting length of wire the same size and then using my round nose pliers and flat pliers to form the rings. I did all of my filing after cutting and before forming the rings. This wire was really hard to work with in such short sections. I also made a smaller 5/8" ring and Toggle clasp that have the same scroll design stamed onto it again I used the same wire. I am really happy with the way the entire bracelet turned out. I hope you enjoy it too !!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

We Believe in Fairy's

Often when I put my girls to bed at night they want me to tell them a story, and the story must always feature my girls as the main characters.
So this posting of copper fairy wings was created from,

Our Adventures to Flutterfly Fairy Land

In a far away land where all things are possible live the flutterfly babies, named Morgan, Hannah and Katie....

I made these sweet copper pendants for my girls this last weekend and as I hung them around there little necks I asked each one," Do you believe in Fairy's?" and of course each of my daughters answered yes. Then they ran off to ask Daddy if he believed in fairy's too. They then informed him that if you believe in fairy's Daddy, maybe Mommy will make you a necklace too.

If you have a little girl that believes in fairy's too, take a look in my etsy shop for available items. I have a convo friendly etsy shop so feel free to contact me there any time with comments or just to say hello.

This was a fun way to give my girls a lasting memory and a visual reminder of our bedtime adventure.

This was also a great way for me to get more practice using my new metal stamps and it helped me to add a unique quality to each pendant. I was pretty happy with the way they turned out and my daughters just love them!!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Little Book of Etsy Blogger

Just a quick note on a fellow blogger.

Etsy seller Artbymimi

Mimi is located in the Uk and weekly features artist from around the world, She does extensive interviews with many artist of all mediums and also offers 25 artist the opportunity to display one item and a link to their shop. She does this on her own time to give added exposure to handcrafted art. I just wanted to say thanks Mimi for including me this week, I thinks it's amazing to offer such kindness to people you don't know and give us all the chance to be seen in places we otherwise may not be seen in. If your looking for a collection of art in all forms, take a look at her blog your sure to enjoy it. This is my bracelet included in her blog adds.

Copper Bead Caps with Spiral Design


My new metal stamps arrived in the mail yesterday, I couln't Wait to try them out. So I dug out some copper disk that I had cut out some time ago and and got busy. I drilled the center holes and stamped them using a spiral design around the outer edge. I should have taken a bit more time, I just wanted a general idea of how they would look and I think with a bit of practice and a bit of patients they will turn out just lovely. I used a smooth disc and a textured disk that had been rolled through my hand rolling mill, This gives an idea of what it would look like using different textures with the stamps. I like the smooth look best. After the stamping was finished I drilled the center holes and domed them then gave them a light patina using liver of sulfur to make the design stand out. I added them to one of my lampwork beads that my DH Jerry had made Using 18 gauge copper wire I used a simple hammered spiral and bail design. I am really happy with the outcome and will continue to practice using the stamps and let my skills grow.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Today the girls played in the sun while I finished a custom order

It was a beautiful day to play in the sun, splash in the water and relax on the deck. I love this warm weather. I get to enjoy the laughter of my children and watch while they play and do my work all at the same time. And take the time to play and enjoy my girls too.

Today I received a custom order for my hand forged copper ear wires with tiny heat forged buds. The order included matching headpins and copper disc. I thought I'd share the process with a few photos, although I forgot to photograph making the ear wires.

The copper disc are made using a disc cutter and copper sheet. Very simple to make as long as you have a good hammer and a bit of muscle to put behind it. You just simply insert your copper sheet in the given slot, line it up so your edges are not showing inside the circle, put in your punch and on a solid surface hit it with the hammer and hit it hard so you don't get a ring effect on the outer edge of your disc.

The next step was to file the outer edge of each disk lightly to remove any burs that may have been left on the copper. Be careful when doing this I cut my thumb. ouch!!!!

After they were filed I had to make center holes for half the order and top drilled holes for the other half. This was done using my two hole punch purchased at Firemountain Gems. I've seen these listed in several places but this is where I was able to find the best price. After making the center drilled disc I discovered these would be perfect bead caps for my husbands lamp work beads. I have some new metal stamps coming so I can't wait to make these again with stamped spiral or what nots on the outer edge and adding them to our beads. I sure this will become another entry in the near future.

The next step was to dome the disc using a doming block and dapping punches. The one I used for this is brass and and the holes I guess you would call them are made in a variety of sizes, approx. 1" down to 1/4" maybe a bit smaller than that even. I've never measured, I just use what fits my project on any given day.

The final steps were to give all the edges a final sanding using a wet/dry sanding pad. Then dip them in my liver of sulfur solution for a deep dark patina. And I finished them all with a polishing cloth for shine. So pretty they turned out.

While all of this was being done, my girls played and sat at the table with me on the deck. They always seem to have a need to get there little hands busy when Mommy is busy. Katelyn worked on making more earrings using her own ear wires. She's been practicing, she currently is using an enamel coated copper wire in bright shiny green. It must be left over from last Christmas crafts and Hannah put her little hands to work as well. She decided hers would just be ornaments to hang around the house. I'm sure we will enjoy her little creations for a time, and then they will be dismantled and added back to our stash of little girl beads. As will Katie's if I can get them away from her. Katie is insistent upon selling everything she makes and gets really upset when I don't just take pictures and post them with my listings in my etsy shop. So I'm hoping by adding her photos to our blog space she will be appeased for a time and we will just let her skill's continue to grow as she does and who know's maybe someday....

I have added a photo as well of a new desing I made yesterday afternoon. I was able to get my hands on some nice 14 gauge copper wire, It's been hammer hardend into this nice bangle shaped bracelet and wire wrapped with one of my own tiny fused dichroic rainbow cabachon. I was really happy with the outcome. Also included is a photo of my 5 year old Hannah learning to hammer copper, WATCH OUT FOR THOSE TINY FINGERS!!!! and my 8 year old Katies handcrafed earrings. She just LOVES them....

Well I guess that's all for today. It's late, my children are asleep and my bed is calling my name. So peace be with you all and have a good night!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fused dichroic Links with sterling silver wire and Katies fused art glass cabochon

Well the kiln finally cooled late in the evening and the kids were tucked into bed. I was able to get my hands to work finishing my fused glass and wire links. I wrapped the sterling wire in a fashion that was pleasing to me, I then tumble polished them for several hours. This removed the firescale from the wire and also hardened the wire for durability. I was really happy how they turned out. My next step for this project will be to add wire work links to turn these beauty's into bracelets. You'll be able to see the finished product in my next post. I am also including photo's of Katie's finished fused art glass cabs. She was really happy with how these turned out and I will be cutting a groove in the outer edge so Katie can practice her wire wrapping skills. I will soon be adding a post of Katie's work. As well as a post of Hannah art work. Children are often overlooked for there unique abilities and artistic skills, but not so much in our home. I strive to make our home a place where creative freedom is welcome at all times and my kids love it.I just get out the broom or the mop and clean up afterwards. I have found that teaching my kids to express themselves through crafts and do what feels right to them through their artwork is a great way to build there self confidence and learn to recognize on their own that they are capable of doing wonderful things for themselves if they are only willing to try. Sometimes my Katie will say " but Hannah does a better job at drawing" and I just remind her that, that's okay, Hannah can't do???? and you can. everyone does things on there own and in there own time, and then she remembers Oh yea I'm really good at this and Hannah's not. So this helps to take away the poor me attitude and replace it with a happy and positive thought. I love my girls.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Katie and Mommy fill the kiln

This morning Katelyn and I got up early, before everyone else and decided it would be a good morning to fire up the kiln. I've been wanting to make some fused glass links using dichroic and sterling silver and Katie has been waiting along time to get her hands back into my supply of scrap glass. So to my basement workshop/studio we went. I decided to do a bit of step by step photos for this set of glass. This will be my first. I started with cutting 7" lengths of sterling silver 20 gauge round wire. Then off to the shop we went. I layered the glass in the kiln using black art glass base my sterling wire a layer of dichroic and topped it off with clear. While I worked on this Katelyn was busy doing her own cutting and breaking, she washed, dried and stacked her pieces of glass then into the kiln they went. The kiln is currently heating up and hopefully melting these pretty pieces into beautiful links and pendants. Hopefully none of my glass will slip and slide as it sometimes does, I just don't have the patients to glue my layers together and wait for them to dry. Time is a precious commodity around here. Will show the results in my next post, but feel free to view the photos of my work in progress. And remember to have a good day!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

summer vacation has begun

Well at long last summer vacation is upon us. I have waited the entire school year for this day to come. I have missed my girls. I am the mom that many thinks is just crazy. I recall being at a park last summer, it was the weekend before school was to start. There were a few moms with young children nearby. The moms were talking about school starting on Monday so I thought I would join in on the conversation. I remember saying something like, " I can't believe school is starting on Monday" The other moms replied " I know I just can't wait!" I was so like " I can wait, I'll miss my girls soooo much." They just laughed and said " well you'll get used to it soon enough."
Well I did get used to my little ones being at school all day, 5 days a week. But come Thursday night, as I tucked my girls into bed, I reminded them- Only one more day and you get to stay home for two whole days!!!! yea!!!!!
And every Friday morning I sent them off to school on the bus with big hugs and kisses and promises of a popcorn and cookie party that night.
So this week my 5 year old Hannah, graduated from kindergarten, receiving awards of excellence in each area of study, and also receiving an award of achievement for getting straight A's in every area of study for the entire school year. I'm so proud of her.

My 8 year old Katelyn also graduated from the second grade and was promoted to the third grade. She didn't receive any awards of excellence and that's okay. She did the best her abilities would allow and I am still very proud of her too. Katelyn is the daughter God planned for me to mother. Not from my body but definitely from my heart. She came to live with me when she was just a wee baby of 14 months old. And her first words to me were momma? she just wasn't sure , but even at her young age, she new I was her mommy. She was and still is, a precious gift from god. and I treasure her everyday. Especially at night when she's asleep and all is calm in our world. Katelyn has many special needs, that are a direct result of not being cared for properly in her first year. She has come a long long way, and still has a ways to go. but with love from her dad and I and by the grace of god, I know she will someday be all she was meant to be.

Anyways as the school year has ended and we had two graduations to celebrate, Jerry and I decided to buy our girls a little tikes water park and slide. The girls along with there little sister Morgan who is 3, had a great day, sliding and splashing and sliding some more. This will be there summer playground and I'm sure they will have a lot of fun during the summer months. And with a bit of luck I may be able to get a few pieces of jewelry made.

This week was a busy week for jewelry making as well. I completed a copper pendant set for a client, and she was quite happy with the outcome. I especially like the ginkgo leaf pendant with added wire work spiral. I think I will make another similar to it for listing in my Etsy shop.
I also finished a set of fused glass that is ready for wrapping and will be adding in my next post.
I finished a new dichroic and copper wire wrap pendant set that I was really happy with as well.