Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Closet Pyro

Happiness Factor 1)  Butane torch = playing with fire
Found at Lowe's

Happiness Factor 2) = solder, to be used playing with fire
lead free solder... again, at Lowe's

Happiness Factor 3) Kobalt Flat Angle Hammer for pounding things!

have you guessed I love Lowe's?

Result = Major Happiness (and stress relief)
Hand stamped copper head pins.  Still in the practice stage

Okay, my first attempt at flattening out the copper headpins and stamping them.  Not sure if I like that I hammered a little way up the pin or not. Still need some practice on this.

pre-1980 pennies (copper) and two foreign coins
Hammered to a fare-thee-well and ready for stamping

Hammered the be-jabbers out of several old pennies. Pre-1980 pennies have the most copper in them (some early 1980's do, too, but why fuss with trying to find out which, eh?)  And two other coins that were foreign... sorry, don't remember from where. The larger one was of an Asian design, so either Japanese or Chinese.  I have plans to create a design and hammer/stamp them onto the coins and create a tribal-style necklace for my Ren-Faire character.  Keep watching to see how this goes.

Ahh... playing with fire and solder and a rubber stamp....
Now, THIS!  I found a tutorial by Gail of Can't Stop Making Things. Now, in her tutorial, she mentions two things: 1) you don't need to use flux for this solder project and 2) no, the rubber stamp won't melt. Well...
No, she's right about the stamp not melting. How-some-ever, if you get the solder TOO hot, it smells like it's melting (PHEW!). Make sure you open a door or window while doing this. Also, a fan going might help. (or, even, working outside!)  Part of my problem was, in all likelyhood, that I didn't  know exactly how hot to get the copper or how melted to get the solder. Or, even, how much solder to use (kind of a messy looking thing, isn't it?) so I'm still working on that learning curve. As for the flux, well, I had to use it but I'm wondering if it was because this copper round had already been beaten and textured. Again, learning curve.  I also tried a bit of scrap metal I believed was copper but, either it wasn't, I got the metal too hot or (again) it was textured and wouldn't hold. Ah, well, play and learn. Amiright?

Keep checking back and see how things (hopefully) continue to progress.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Magic Frog & A Destash Give Away

It's time to pull Ruby back out of hiding and make her help the Magic Frog in another Magazine Destash Give-Away.  (Ruby's not a big fan of frogs, magic or otherwise, but she's a real trooper when it comes to helping out)

I believe I've mentioned in a previous post (sometime in 2012, I think) that I'm a magazine hoarder. I love magazines about jewelry making.  I don't know why.  It's not like I actually create very much of what I see in their tutorials, but I loveloveLOVE them!  In fact, if I don't occasionally get rid of them, I'd be drowning in jewelry making 'zines.
Well, it's time to get rid of a few more and no one within a 50 mile radius of me is a beader (no, I take that back. A co-worker is, but it's more seed beads than the large beads or metals or wire).  That said, I'm going to have a drawing for a few of my lovely 'zines.  Here's a peek at them:

If you think you'd like to have this pack for your own, please leave a comment below. Make SURE that I have a way to contact you if you win because I'd hate for The Magic Frog to draw your name and not be able to let you know about it.

And, yes, there will be another 'zine destash drawing in the not-too-distant future. 
Did I mention drowning in them?

Okay, Wow. TOTALLY forgot to give the date of the drawing!  Whelp! That will be the 30th of this month. That should give anyone who wants a chance to sign up.  Remember, if these aren't the magazines you want (said in Obi Wan's voice) then keep checking back. I have more!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Small Pet Peeve....

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I'm no English Language Guru (Saner Sister agrees heartily to this observation) and I've used my fair share of colloquialisms and misused my fair share of words that are either spelled the same but have different meanings or are pronounced the same but have both different meanings and spellings.  Case in point: the word "lead."
I have been reading several blogs and news articles (both the paper & on-line variety) as well as a wealth of other types of the written word and I have noticed an alarming trend. The attitude that, if it sounds good, the spelling/usage must be correct.  Sorry, this just isn't so.  And, it's not just the word "lead," there are others, but this one is the most recently misused and abused word so I'm going to use it as the example.
Now, as I mentioned, I know I'm no Language Guru, but Saner Sister is, based on the English Minor she took in college and the fact she's a legal secretary. She's almost Attila the Hun of correct grammar and punctuation. Give her a paper to review and it comes back bleeding! So, I not only checked with her that I wasn't misunderstanding what I was reading in the usage of the word "lead" but she also gave me a link to a page by Davy Kraken that gives a great example of this.  Go here to see it for yourself but I've also reprinted it with permission of the author himself.

Lead vs. Led
The past tense of the verb lead —pronounced LEED— is led, which is the conjugation used for all subjects. Instead, people commonly write its homophone, lead, which refers to the element on the periodic table. There is a triangular relationship between these three words: Lead and lead are homonyms, led is a conjugation of lead, and led is a homophone of lead, the metal. Confused yet? Well, confusion is what the following examples will, hopefully, eliminate.


*Note* He leads the league in scoring.
*Note* At sites known as buffalo jumps, Native Americans once led herds of bison over cliffs, sending them plunging to their deaths.
*Note* Children can obtain lead poisoning from eating paint chips.
*Note* Stop leading me on.
*Note* Robert E. Lee led the Confederate forces at Gettysburg, the largest battle of the American Civil War.
*Note* It was Colonel Mustard with the lead pipe in the conservatory!
© Copyright 2007 Davy Kraken (UN: kraken at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Davy Kraken has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

So, you see, we need to take just a leeeeeeetle more care in how we use our language.  I know certain words and their usage can get confusing but we're not back in the Middle Ages when things were spelled out phonetically (or not so phonetically; as an example "ffalt" for today's "salt"). If you want to sound professional and knowledgeable, take a moment to check that the word you used is correct for the sentence. Even if it means dragging out that huge ol' Mirriam-Webster! The Grammar Huns will thank you! ;)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Photo Challenge

First, I apologize.  Last week was "One Of Those Days" at work.  Every. Single. Day!  That being said, even though it's a few days late, here's the photo challenge for this week:

Found this tree on a beach on the North/West side of the island of Oahu.  It was just so intriguing to see what appeared to be a dead tree (it was August) with all these... buoy balls? (I don't know what they were!) handing from it. 
So, that's your inspiration... the colors, the tree, the "decorations", whatever strikes your Muse and gets you going. Reveal will be this Saturday, the 23rd. 
See you then!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pennies From Your Ears

Remember how Dad or Granpa or your favorite Uncle used to pull a coin (penny or otherwise) from your ear or behind your head when you were a kid? (actually, my Uncle John would "shove" the penny up one nostril and "pull" it from the other. Completely captivated my four year old self... much to my mother's consternation ~ yes, I tried it, too.... didn't really work for some reason...?)

Well........  this isn't that trick.  Sorry.  This trick is the one where I finally received my jewelry shot for my tumbler and played over the weekend.  Not a lot, but enough to make me ready to pound some more pennies into oblivion!  I raided the coin jar and pulled out every penny from 1980 and back and plan to release some frustrations later this week.

Any-hoo, here's what I made with the pennies I mentioned in my previous post:

Beaten, textured, stamped (find the fish), drilled and domed
Then I tossed 'em in the tumbler for a couple hours and this
is what came out. Not a sharp edge or burr anywhere!

And a couple of shots of the finished product.  I made the balled copper headpins, too, by the way. The sea glass is from and I have lots more to figure out how to use! (hahahahaa!)  Anyway, the headpins also went through the tumbler and while this work hardened them and removed the firescale, it also removed the gorgeous pink you get when you drop the hot pins into the cold water. (sigh) Well, it's a trade, elbow grease to remove firescale and keep the rose pink or tumble and fuggedaboudit.  Anyway, these are fairly tribal-ish-y looking and I thought I might use them as part of my Ren-Faire character's costume this year. We'll see.... we'll see...

Oh, and, by the way (again), I'm on both Instagram and Webstagram for now. We'll see how they go with getting my jewelry out there. Look for me under (what else?) craziersister and feel free to "like" or "Pin" anything that catches your eye. It's a bit of a mix-mash of both my jewelry and my photography right now. Maybe later I can separate them out.
...and what have YOU been up to this week?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Just a Quick Update

I played with my Rock Tumbler this weekend, just a little, and am SO happy!  I smashed and hammered on some copper (and, sadly, one fingertip... still attached, though, so it's okay! ~snerk~), drilled some holes, and tossed the copper rounds, along with some copper headpins, into the tumbler with my newly arrived jewelers shot and tumbled it all for two hours.
WOO HOO!  Not a burr or sharp edge in sight! Or fire scale on the headpins. Of course, if you want to keep the rose color on the ends of the headpins, you want to find another way of getting the scale off and work-hardening them, but I am otherwise thrilled.

Oh, yeah, pics later. I was so excited I forgot to take any shots at the time. :\  Don't worry, they're a'comin'!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sunset Challenge

So, last week I put out a challenge to anyone who felt like accepting to come up with a piece (or pieces) of jewelry inspired by the below photo I had taken:

Sunset Pine
I took this picture as I was leaving work one evening. The colors in the sky were just GORgeous!  So, whether anyone else joined this challenge or not, I was challenged to create a necklace and earrings.  Here's what I did:

Sunset Sky
Had several sunset colored banded agates
and used amber glass rondells as accents.
I also used a jet colored bead as the main focal and
red glass bicones on either side of the amber
rondells. I wanted to capture all the colors in the sky.

On a different background so you can see the colors a bit better

And, of course, the earrings. Banded agate rounds, amber
colored glass rondells and red glass bicones on silver
colored wire.
 So.... if this sort of challenge interests anyone, I'll be doing another on the 15th of this month with the reveal date being the 22nd. Pop back in to see what the next challenge inspiration will be ;)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

(much giggling and dancing in excitement)

Yes, I am doing my version of the Happy Hamster as she does her version of The Running Man!  I bought a new piece of equipment last night.  Now, like any other jewelry-making hobbyist worth her salt, I have to ask myself before making a (semi-)big purchase... did I really, reeally, reeeeeeeeally need it?  

And, like any jewelry-making hobbyist worth her salt the answer is... well, of course I do!  Honestly, I think we use jewelry making as an excuse to buy tools because it's just unseemly for a lady to obsess over tools (unless it's a sewing needle per the Renaissance version of Emily Post or Miss Manners ~snork~)  Right.  It's a good thing my Dad doesn't really know what he's got in his garage anymore when it comes to his tools.  Quite frankly, I've been quietly plundering here and there when I can't get just the "thing" I want in the stores... Oh! But, only as needed!  Y'know?  I'm sure you do.  Don't snicker! I just bet any NUMBER of you are plundering your dad or hubby's tool chests!  Really, no tool is safe around a jewelry maker, hobbyist or not! Our first thought is always "I bet I can use that for/to/as..."

ANYway, I've been slowly working my way into doing more metal work; as in making my own bead caps (got a couple of disc cutters for Christmas & birthday gifts) and my own headpins (which is a blast because I'm a closet pyro!) and I really want to do more.  With my most recent purchase, I think that's more of a possiblity.

Oh, right, you want to know what it is!  Here's the link:
3 Lb. Rotary Rock Tumbler
From Harbor Freight
Isn't she a beaut!?  I can't use it yet because, sadly, it doesn't come with steel shot (and there wasn't any at Harbor Freight) so I had to order it (from if you're wondering) and it was just shipped today so it'll be several more days before I can try it out. 

I'm SO excited!!!!

So... what's got YOU dancing this week? Huh?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Possible Challenges...

I have decided that, instead of Blog Hops (for awhile), I'm going to start offering mini-challenges.  It just so happens I have started a FB page for my photography and I got to looking at a few of the photos (well, one in specific) and thought how fun it would be to do a series of challenges wherein folks have to interpret a photo I've taken into a piece of jewelry (to keep, sell or give away... it's up to you, obviously). 

I've already mentioned this on my CCC FB page and, after a period of contemplation decided to go for it.  I will post the challenge picture on the 1st and the 15th of the month (with or without instructions... some photos just speak for themselves) and you will have six days in which to complete the challenge (in this case, it's going to be due on the 8th) and post a link of what you created to my blog.  I think this could be fun for those who would like an occasional mini-challenge that didn't involve signing up then having to back out due to various reasons. Sometimes, Life just gets in the way, but we still feel bad when we have to cut and run from something we wanted - and volunteered - to do.  This way, no volunteering, no "Count Me In", no lists of fellow challengees unless you wish to say "Go check it out!" on your blog. I am only going do this twice a month, for now (I'm not that prolific in my photography, yet!) but may change my mind, later. We'll see how this goes over, first.  Hopefully, this will give you something to look forward to without getting in the way of other Challenges or blog hops you've already signed up for or other work you're doing.  This is just for fun and to see what you can churn out in a short time period. Think of it as the equivalent of the old "Pop Quiz!"  (hahahahaa)

So, to begin, here's your first photo challenge.  I don't really think I need to give instructions on this one.  The colors are going to grab any number of you and make you go Oooooohhhh! and dive into your beads with abandon. 

Sunset Pine
As I said, for this one you have until Friday, March 8th to post on your blog (or FB page) and connect to the blog post I'll be putting up to show my own creation from this inpiration.  Simply make sure your URL is listed on your comment so everyone has a chance to go see what you've done.