Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fused Dichroic Glass and Copper Bangles

Well ! That's my 9 year old Katie's favorite word these days and after taking time to look at how long it has been since my last post here on the blog that's the only word I can think of this morning too! Well....... I guess it has been a while, but I'm here now and thought I'd add a few new photos of my latest projects and wish you all a happy summer!

Summer, what a wonderful word! The weather is warm, the grass is green and my girls are on vacation, YAY!!!! I just love summer, early mornings listening to the birds sing there morning songs while my house is still peaceful and quiet. A walk through the dew covered grass to take a look at my growing garden while sipping on a hot cup of fresh coffee and the smell of the fresh air.

Life is good!

I recently had a request from a customer to make a bangle bracelet as a gift for her sister and of course once I got started I couldn't just stop at one so I have made several to add to my etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5216437 .

I love making these bangles they are just beautiful. Of course I start with a focal of fused dichroic glass that I make in my kiln. The glass is stacked in layers and placed in the kiln for the first firing. I fire my glass around 1500 degrees for about 4 hours and then cool it over night.

This brings the glass to a full fuse and cooling the glass over night anneals the glass and protects it against cracking. It forms a very durable piece of glass that I then shape on the grinder to form the shape. Once I am happy with the shape of the cabochon I change out my grinder bit and use a jewelry bit that cuts the grooves around the outer edge of the cab. After I complete the set of cabs they are all cleaned a final time and placed back into the kiln for a final fire polishing. I fire polish my glass at 1200 degrees , from start to finish this cycle takes about 3 hours and the kiln is cooled again over night.

The groove I cut in the glass creates the perfect channel for wire wrapping and gives me a finished focal piece that is secure with no worries that the glass will slip out. I used 20 gauge copper wire to wrap the cabs and a small dowel gives me perfect rings on the end for adding my bands onto. The triple wrapped loops on each end give the glass balance and makes the finished bracelet more durable.

The bands are made using 14 gauge copper wire that is first rolled through my small rolling mill to be flat. I measure and cut each segment of the band, file the ends smooth and then use metal stamps to add a scroll like pattern. Once I am happy with the design I shape the ends using my pliers and hammer the loops. The bands are then shaped using a mandrel so they fit comfortably around your wrist and they are finished off with hand formed and hammered copper wire claps that simply slide into the loop on the opposite side of the band. Easy to put on, comfortable and extremely durable.

I hope you like them and if your inspired by my design and are able, give it a try, make a few of your own, your going to love the finished product and be amazed at how durable and strong these little beauties are. That's always a concern of mine when I make a product to sell is will it last? and these will last for years.

I have given the bracelets a beautiful aged patina using liver of sulfur and have burnished them by hand using a stainless steel brush that brings out the detail on the band and polishes them to a high shine.

I hope you like them but most of all I hope you have a wonderful day.
If you'd like to see more of my designs feel free to visit my etsy shop where every design is Simply Mine!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Beautiful Friday and some new designs

What a beautiful day this has been. It's March 6th and 60 degrees in Michigan and I am LOVING IT!!!!!
This is just what I've been waiting for. No it won't last but that's okay, it's here today!

I've been busy getting some new pieces done and have lot's of ideas for spring and the coming WARMER months. Yep sunshine and warm temps are definitely inspiring.
So here are the latest and I hope you all are having a glorious day where ever you may be.

Hand stamped copper - necklaces, earrings and bracelets with a bit of added wire wrapping and my first crochet necklace and copper combo, that I must say turned out just wonderful. I love to crochet so this combination is just perfect. I hope you enjoy them and feel inspired to create.

If you'd like to see more of my work feel free to visit my etsy shop.

Have a great day. Deedee

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Is it spring yet? and a few new copper designs

Well some of you may be wondering where I've been and to those who don't know me but may have visited my blog, you may be wondering why such a long stretch in time between my last post and this one?

Well I guess I'm kind of like that little bear that doesn't want to go out until I know the weather is warm and spring has sprung. I've been hibernating and trying to fight off all kinds of winter woes. But one can only hide out for so long before cabin fever sets in and after a while you get kind of sick of feeling sorry for yourself because you've caught every germ your kids have brought home from school and you say to yourself, Self get up off the couch, let the cleaning go for a few days and make something new...... So I did and here it is for all to see. Oh yea and I feel soooo much better, even the falling snow today didn't make me want to cry, spring will be here soon and all will be new again. I can't wait but will try to put a smile on my face each morning and enjoy the last of winter knowing it will soon be over and my soul will be renewed with the fresh spring air and the warmth of the summer sun.
These new pieces are designed using various glass beads I have purchased at our local bead shop and heavy 14 gauge wire frames that I have sculpted and hammered. I have wire wrapped the glass beads accenting them with copper filigree bead caps and 4mm copper beads. Added to the pendants are two pieces of copper chain and my own 14 gauge hand formed and hammered copper clasp. All of the necklace have been given a deep rich patina using liver of sulfur and burnished with a stainless steel wire brush. And lastly they were given a final polish using a simple polishing cloth. I also made a few pair of wire wrapped earrings using the same link I have used for my tennis bracelet and a chunky and funky heavy hammered wire bracelet that's just fun.
Also to any one that has access to the step by step wire jewelry magazine be sure to look in the newest edition, spring 2009 for my tennis bracelet that is being showcased in the wire jewelry gallery, I just got my edition a few weeks ago and I'm really excited.
I hope you all like them and find a bit of inspiration to create something new.
To any one interested in viewing more of my handcrafted wearable creations please feel free to visit my Etsy shop.

Have a great day and I hope to be back soon with some more new designs.
Hugs and warm smiles. Deedee

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sharing with friends and creating together

I just wanted to share with everyone the wonderful work of a dear friend of mine at RoughMagicCreations @Etsy.com. http://roughmagiccreations.etsy.com/

I know I talk of them often and just have to do it again. Remeber the necklace I made using some of the beads they gifted to me. Well this time they got to use some of the copper work made by me. How fun is that? They create the most beautiful handcrafted jewelry using there own one of a kind hand carved wood beads and pendants and I am honored to say that they have now incorporated a few of my copper pieces and glass work into their own work. It's a wonderful experience to develop such good relationships with people I may never have the opportunity to meet face to face. But friends at heart we are. The owners of this shop are so kind hearted and caring. I just can't say enough good things about them. Everyone please visit their shop and blog. Take a look around and enjoy seeing some awesome handcrafted Maine jewelry. This is one couple that makes a wonderful team. Go Look, You'll be happy you did!!!

I should also mention that many of there items have been seen on Etsy front page. How exciting is that?????

Pros gal if your reading, You did a great job!!!! Love what you have done and thanks so much for helping me with my photo's for step by step wire jewelry magazine. I couldn't have submitted them with out your help. Hugs to you and hubby.

Everyone enjoy and please do take a look at their shop :o) It's wonderful!!!!!!

Woooohoooooo! My bracelet will be in the spring 2009 issue of step by step wire jewelry

Wooohooo is right.
On a whim I sent in a picture of my wire wrapped tennis bracelet that I made inspired by a tennis bracelet that was in the last issue of step by step wire jewelry. I posted a few weeks ago about the article and supplies they used and then added how I made my own version using supplies I had on hand a skills I am familiar with, wire wrapping. I just loved how my bracelet turned out and really felt it was every bit as nice as the original and just as delicate. Of course it was simply mine and made my way.

Well while browsing a forum the other day I came across a link to share your ideas, interest, suggestions and what nots with Sara Graham the assistant editor for step by step wire jewelry magazine, and I thought to my self just send them a photo and show them your version of the bracelet. Well I did and thought nothing more of it until the next morning I received back not only one but two return emails from her. They loved the bracelet and said they wanted to run it in there photo gallery of wire work jewelry for the spring 2009 issue.
I was and still am so excited. Now it's just a photo I know but just look where a whim can take you. I don't need the big flashing lights and a bunch of hoopala. Just a nice we love it, works for me and a small photo among many also works for me.

Of course I didn't do it all alone. I needed to send them a photo using high resolution at 300 dpi and it had to be 3x3 in size. Oh no I thought, there went that opportunity. Well not so. A dear friend from the about jewelry forum and owner of RoughMagicCrations http://RoughMagicCreations.etsy.com came to my rescue and reviewed the photos I had taken to make sure they met the required dimensions and I sent them in today.

I must say Sara Graham is right on top of everything and returned me a message a short while later saying the photos did indeed meet the requirements and they would be choosing one of them for the issue.

Now all I have to do is hurry up and wait for spring to get here so I can see my big photo turned into a little photo only in a magazine. I'm so excited and I guess it's a good thing I have my little girls around because they help me to be patient. When your a mom to three little girls and two foster boys and one grown daughter you can't help but be patient.

So to every one who wants to submit one of there original ideas and designs to any magazine. I say do it. You just never know what will happen. I never expected to even get a response, I was just sharing and was happy to leave it at that. But I did get a response and I got it so quickly I wasn't even sure it could be real. lol. But I'm happy to say it was and I look forward to getting my spring issue of step by step wire jewelry not only for the new designs they have to share but to see my little picture too. Woohooo.

Special thanks to RoughMagicCreations. Your a real gem of a friend and I hope every one will take a look at your Etsy shop and visit your blog. Blog link is to the right in my list of blogs.
To see more of my work, follow the link through my Etsy mini and visit my shop.

And also here is a photo of our newest family member Maurice Iddy Oddy Jaco. Our sweet little kitten that we found abandoned in our barn. Poor little thing was all sad and beat up. My three year old and I discovered him crying in our barn one afternoon while waiting for the school bus. Morgan's daddy had told her he would get her a kitty someday. So we called Daddy at work and Morgan asked, " Daddy did you get me a kittly and leave it in our barn? " What was Daddy going to say. It now has a new home with us and I hope it learns soon that our bird is not kitty food but another family member!!!!! Morgan was really happy when Daddy got home from work and caught the kitty that Mommy had been trying to catch all afternoon. Poor little thing was so scared it wouldn't come out of the barn. He had a few scratches and scuffs, one if his eyes was infected from a scuff mark and he looked as if he may had been tossed out while going down the road. Gees the people could have at least stopped the car I kept thinking. But all is well for kitty now. His battle wounds are healed and we love all him!!!! even Daddy.

Have a great day everyone and thanks for letting me share!!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fused Dichroic glass and copper necklace

I'm Trying to catch up on my blog all in one day I guess.
Life has been busy and I'm taking advantage of a few extra minutes before the madness of raising 5 kids starts again. LOL. I'm sure Madness is not really the term I should use, but I hope you know what I mean. After all my kids are all 8 yrs and under, remember!!!!!
Any how---
Last week I was busy making a few new designs using my copper hammered rings and playing with some mill rolled copper wire. I had a few copper disc cut and domed , only I just wasn't sure how I was going to use them.
I have already made a few pair of domed disc earrings and bracelets incorporating the disc so I was looking for a new use. I came up with a few simple pendants that I was pretty happy with. I simply took the rings and disc and soldered them together then set a dichroic cabochon into them using a two part epoxy.
The cabs will be nice and secure for years to come and when added to a chain the overall look is just stunning. Again probably not the most original of designs but I was really happy with them and my goal for the week was met by using as many of my own findings as possible to create a design that is simply mine.

I love the phrase simply mine.

I picked it up one day when listing items in my Etsy shop and trying to find a way to make my work and listings stand out from the others. That's when I decided upon the name. It's jewelry made my way and as a finished piece ends up being simply mine. I hope anyone interested in my work and jewelry will notice the name has been added to each of my listings and I think it is unique and simple enough that I'm hoping it will be remembered if anyone is searching for my listing on Etsy. Just type in the name in name Simply Mine and boom, there will be my jewelry. Sweet huh? I think so.

So to anyone interested in viewing more of my work please feel free to visit my Etsy mini and it will take you to the world that I like to call simply mine.
Cheers. Deedee

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lampwork Beads and Copper Bracelet

Wow where has the time gone. I thought with my girls back in school I would have soooo much free time. But this has not been the case. I'm a big advocate for early childhood education and believe that education starts at home.

Well My three year old Morgan is busy with the headstart program as a home based student one day a week and also has an early on teacher that comes into our home one day a week. My youngest foster child has an OT therapist and early education teacher that also comes into our home once a week. So life has been busy here preparing our little ones for the best possible start in life we can offer when it comes to preparing for there education.

I am still managing to find at least two days a week where I can create new designs to add to my Etsy store and thought I'd share my last few weeks of new ideas with you.

Normally I try to stick with one of kind pieces but my last few have been so nice and not as time consuming for me that I have decided I will re create them in variouse styles and colors and continue to make them. The bracelets that I have come up with are extremely durable and the links are just wonderful.

I have also been on a search for beads that I can incorporate into my copper work which is not the norm for me since I try to make as many of my own components as possible. However I have found that by adding more beaded elements to my jewelry a world of possablitites has opened up for me that I hadn't considered before.

I can still keep my designs unique and one of kind with store purchased beads and the limits are endless.

My lampwork bracelets have a focal bead made by my husband. I wish he had more time to make them for me. But he doesn't so those I will hopefully be able to make more of in the winter months when he is layed off and has lots of time to either be bored or be creative so I'm hoping he decides on the later of the two. LOL.

The copper links for the lampwork bracelet are mill rolled 14 gauge copper wire and are either stamped or left bare of design.

I have broken in the wire rollers of my mill over the last few weeks and have found it much easier to shape the wire than I had anticipated. So far I have been able to make flat, half round, twisted and flat twisted wire that will be showing up in many of my designs in the future. I have yet to roll square wire but hope to try it soon.

The other bracelet design is one I'm sure is not so unique and one of a kind to others but it is to me. I found a tutorial in my new step by step wire jewelry magazine that made a keyhole link tennis bracelet and I really liked the design. The article called for making the wire links and then using snapsets to secure 6mm cubic zirconia. Well I've never worked with the snapset settings before but wire wrapping is something I know.

So I got out my 18 gauge wire and started cutting my lengths of wire and then instead of going with a key hole shape I decided to try a teardrop shape and then in place of the snapset links I used 24 gauge copper wire to wire wrap a bead into each link. I then finished the ends of the links and voila I had my own tennis bracelet. They are really very pretty and the links are so durable and strong and at the same time very delicate. I personally love the overall design and think these would be wonderful made in a variety of sized links and even pretty with larger sized beads. This will be one of my next projects I'm sure.

I have so far used 5mm vintage turquoise glass beads, 4mm glass pearls and 6mm Czech bicone glass beads. I think a chunkier look could be achieved by using a 14 gauge copper wire and 10mm beads. Maybe some of hubbys lampwork beads even. Hmmmm.

Also I think with a 22 gauge wire frame and 2 to 4mm beads these bracelets would be wonderful for my daughters or any other little girl. That's how durable these bracelets are. I would not be fearful to let them wear these as I don't believe they would ever come apart unless great force was used.

I have quite a large supply of brass wire that I think I will break into soon and give the bracelets a try using the brass as well and will also be adding some to my Etsy store using sterling silver and gemstones. How pretty they will be.

Any how I guess my lesson to pass on today to fellow artisans would be to never limit yourself to supplies available, keep an open mind when looking at projects and tutorials and always remember to make it your own. My favorite pass time is to browse through magazines and other sights and say hmmm that is just beautiful but what if I did this with that and changed this and oh I could do that to this. well you know what I'm saying. Creativity is endless so have fun with it and you'll be just amazed at how a project starts as one thing and ends up another. What fun!!!!

Have a great weekend every one and let your imagination lead the way.