Friday, January 27, 2012

Spool Holder for Chain....

If you use a lot of chain in your may have spools of chain all over the place... like I do.  I found a really cool spool holder at Wisteria.  They have pretty ribbons on theirs...really expensive pretty ribbons. 

The overall dimensions were listed but not the distance between each peg.  So I measured the picture and and did a few extrapolations and decided that this just might work.  I got it today and it's perfect. It's iron so it's heavy...especially when you put all the chain on it.  But it's going to help keep all my chain in one spot.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Keeping Up...

I feel like I'm drowning in things to do.  How do I keep up with e-mail, Facebook, Etsy, reading my favorite blogs, writing my blog, and the latest new social media toy...Pinterest.  And those are just the things I do when I am sitting on my butt in front of the TV....which is a lot more time than it should be. 

Then there is my real life opposed to the virtual ones on the computer.  Family, friends, work, exercise, my art, reading books, the house and all the chores that come with it.  Recently I've found it overwhelming.  Something has to give.  If I had the choice it would be work...LOL.  Then I would have time to do all the fun stuff. 

I guess this is where setting priorities comes in.  I have to pare down what I do to the most important and essential.  I just haven't decided what those are yet....I haven't made setting priorities a priority :o   Work obviously stays.  It's what allows me to do all the fun stuff.  I have to get into a regular routine of exercise...that's my commitment to myself.  Art also has to's my passion and keeps me sane. 

Mindless Internet surfing and TV have to go.  LOL...over the weekend I was up until 3AM on Saturday night watching a Benji move...Benji!!  I get sucked into a story and I have to see the end.  Even with movies I've seen before.  Time to stop being an electronic zombie.

I need to limit the number of e-mails I get.  I clear out my mailbox and by the next day I have over 100 e-mails. To much advertising and e-mails lists.  Time to opt out. 

For some reason Timothy Leary's phrase...Turn On, Tune In, and Drop Out seems to be fitting.  Not in the way that it was originally interpreted by the drug culture of the 60's.  But in my way...being present, focusing in, and opting out of the extraneous noise in life.  I guess I just set my priorities. 

I did get some time in the studio this weekend.  I had previously made a bunch of molds from some artifacts and amulets.  Here are some of the pieces straight out of the can still see some of the carbon stuck in the nooks and crannies.

This first pendant was made from a vintage textile block I found on Etsy.  I added faux rivets to the piece and used a triangle needle file to carve out the open spaces.

This was the block and mold that I made this from.  If it was oiled up enough I could also impress this directly into the clay.

This pieces was made from a vintage die mold that I found on Etsy.  This one was easier in that I just pressed the clay directly onto the mold (pictured below).  I put faux rivets in all the little divots around the edge....and luckily they all stuck.

I bought a handful of Buddha amulets from....Etsy.  I molded most of them.  The amulets themselves are clay.  They are really cool but too fragile to use directly.

The next two I left without a bail or hole for hanging.  I am going to use real rivets and mount these on sheet metal or maybe silver PMC.

This one came from a really cool coin that I got on.....say it all together now....Etsy.   It's an Indian temple token from the 1700's

 It's funny...I've looked at a lot of pictures on Pinterest this week of "masters" and "excellence" in metal clay.  There is no doubt that a lot of work was put into those pieces to make them complex, perfect, polished and gorgeous. 

LOL....There is a lot of work put into my pieces to make them look wonky, old, scratched, and beat up.  Sometimes I sand down the details.  I decide on a direction of wear and run files across the pieces to scratch them up.  I use an exacto knife to up-end the edges and chip pieces out of them. 

(Heavy Sigh) always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mold Making Monday

Yesterday I was off work...waiting for the delivery guys to show up.  After 30 years I finally bought a new bedroom dresser and night stand. I bought from a local furniture store that sells pieces for Yutzy's Woodworking.  Yutzy's is located in Millersburg Ohio and the pieces are Amish made.  It took 8 weeks for the pieces to be made but it was well worth the wait.  They are gorgeous and the craftsmanship is outstanding.

It's so nice to have drawers that glide open silently rather than ones I have to yank, pull and tug on.  It's also going to be nice to not have sawdust on my clothes.  The old pieces are antiques....which in this case just means OLD.  I had glued and nailed and put both pieces back together more times than I want to remember.  The last straw was when I went to open up one of the drawers and the whole front of it pull off in my hands. furniture.

So, while I waited for them to show up I pulled out the molding material and went to work.  I found some interesting wooden print blocks from India on Etsy. 

I also found an Etsy shop that sells Buddha amulets.  The shop is based in Thailand.

I also have some small brass African masks.  There was a DUH moment here.  Not an AHA moment because there was no epiphany involved.  It was more of an....I have been so stupid moment.  Usually when I make molds it involves pressing the item down into the molding material. When they are relatively coins...this works well.  When they have high relief or have a shape other than flat it becomes a problem.

I have been stuck in the way I do things.  I've always put the molding material on a flat surface and pressed into it.  Sometimes with deeper things I pressed right through the molding material.  It never dawned on me to pick up the molding material and press it onto the item I'm molding.  I did this with the mask since it was deep and rounded.  You can see that the molding material is cupped around the mask.

Love those DUH moments.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Make your own mud cloth

Here's a fun site at the Smithsonian...Discovering Mudcloth.  You can design your own mud cloth with their interactive software.  Fun!!  And you can print out the design to use for making texture sheets or etch copper plates for your metal clay designs.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


At the beginning of every year people talk about resolutions and set their priorities for the year. I would have done this New Year’s Eve but I was too busy drinking champagne and wrapping balloons around my head. I was having a good time. We all had a good time.

So I’ve been thinking about my priorities for the year. What I want to accomplish…things I want to learn. We do this at work. This year it is mandatory to write an IDP….Individual Development Plan. Organizations do this at a very high level….they write strategic plans….but they usually don’t require each and every employee to do this. The employee’s IDP’s has to align with the goals of the organization. The idea is that if all the employees have goals aligned with the overall organization then the organization has the collective momentum of everyone moving toward the same goals.

So if I have to write one for work I should at least give some thought about my personal goals. There are so many things I want to do, books I want to read, jewelry I want to make, places I want to go.  I need another lifetime.  I don't have the time to do everything so it's time to figure out what is important....what direction I want to least for now.

Maybe my first priority should be to not wrap balloons around my head.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bead and Button classes

Registration opens tomorrow.  Don't forget that Cristina Leonard and I are teaching 4 classes at B&B.

Metal Etching 101 is on Wednesday evening

Riveting: A Keepsake Pendant is both Friday evening and Sunday morning

And the Mixed-Metal Layered Acid Etched Pendant is all day Saturday

I've been going to Bead and Button for what seems like ages. Probably from the 3rd show that they ever held. I've only missed one since I started attending.  This will be the 12th year for the show.  The first was in Portland and all the rest have been in Milwaukee. 

Cris and I meet there about 4-5 years ago. We took a class fact it was a class with Anne Mitchell. We struck up a conversation and we've been BFF's ever since.  Every year after that we've managed to take most if not all our classes together.  This year is a new adventure for us in that we are teaching....and it's going to be a blast!!!!!  There are quite a few basic techniques being taught in each of our classes and we're going to make it fun. So sign up early and often. :))

If you've never been to Bead and Button you really need to go.  They advertise it as the biggest consumer bead show in the world and they are right on that.  I've been to quite a few bead shows and this is the largest and by far the best.  There are over 750 classes over 10 days and the vendor exhibit has over 360 booths.  First time attendees usually get blown away by the size, choices, and the shopping...and shopping....and shopping. 

I still get blown away.  It's an extended week of catching up with old friends and making new ones.....of learning new techniques and making some really great jewelry pieces....and buying lots of treasures in the vendor exhibit.  At the end of it I am exhausted...but a good exhausted....fill with lots of memories.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Buddha Amulets

I've been collecting Buddha's lately.  I picked up some clay amulets from Thailand.  Which I could say I picked them up myself...but I had them shipped.  Time to pull out the molding material.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

11 days of nothing....

I recently had 11 days off from work and now I'm trying to remember what exactly I did during that time.  Of course we did go through Christmas and New Year's.  But with 11 days off I should have been able to remodel the house, design 2-3 new jewelry lines, write a book....or at least read one. 

What did I do??? I relaxed...big time.  I slept...something I'm very good at.  I watched movies.  I played way way too much Angry Birds.  I found some really cool things on Etsy (just got a shipment of clay Buddha pendants from Thailand today).  I did start formulating some ideas about new pieces of jewelry.  And I've narrowed down some colors for the bedroom...finally.

I was going to rip out the carpeting but then decided it's better to leave it down since we are going to paint.  Better to spill paint on the old carpeting.  I was going to start painting the ceiling but then realized that I want a new ceiling fixture.  Best to replace that first.

So I've got a starting point and hopefully this weekend we will start on remodeling the bedroom.  The color palette is based on this picture from Olympic paints.  I'll use two colors on the walls...earthy cane and willow tree...both earthy greens.  Now I have to talk Lou into painting this weekend.