Sunday, 30 May 2010

Australian Boulder Opal & Amethyst

This is one of the many moments I wish my talents ran more to photography.  The Australian boulder opal is full of hidden depths and flashes of lavender light that perfectly match the amethyst beads.  I originally started to make it with hammered copper rings but the brightness of the copper distracted from the beautiful stone.  The mix of brass and copper was perfect, working with the mix of light and dark, sombre and surprising. 

The first picture almost captures the true colors, although it looks more bluish than the true color of purple. 
This is a long necklace, but can be shortened to fit.  Price is $60 CDN.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

I should be painting my trim...

But it'll be flaking later and I'm having too much fun to actually go out and get some sunshine. 

Am I allowed to really like this?

First, I made my own bezel with a sterling backing and argentium bezel wire, and then I put four little pieces of sea glass in the bezel.  Then I covered them with Diamond Glaze and put the little amber piece in the centre and covered it with more Diamond Glaze. 

I think the reason I like it so much is that the glaze gives the effect of looking at the sea glass underwater (complete with the little bubbles my blind eyes didn't see until the pictures showed them).  It's a very liquid crystalline look.

Now I know what to do with all the beautiful, tiny pieces of sea glass that are too small to drill or wrap. 

This pendant is $40.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Plum Blossom

The focal of this piece is a gorgeous agate that needed the perfect setting to showcase the plum tree on it - one of the marvels of nature and the nicest gemstone I've ever bought.

It went through several incarnations as I tried to complement the beauty of the stone, but nothing seemed 100% right to me, so it sat and waited.

A new crucible and some fun playing with fire resulted in an abstract piece of sterling silver that resembles Chinese calligraphy.  Eureka!  All it needed was the plum blossom and in my mind, it's a marriage made in heaven.

The beads are muscovite (common mica), rhodonite and a soupcon of fluorite for a flash of green.  All silver is sterling, including the OOAK pendant. 

The double pendant makes this 21" necklace completely unique, because of the plum tree agate, a natural one-off, and the free-form silver.


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Truths For Mature Adults

This email really hit home.  Nice to know you're not alone out there:
Truths For Mature Humans

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.  Definitely.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong. I HATE that feeling!

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.  Mine would be worn out.

5. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?  Roll it up and stuff it in a pillow case.

6. Was learning cursive really necessary? Sure, nice writing is a sure sign that you're OLD.

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.  Not sure about this one!

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this, Ever.

15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Darn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

22. I would rather try to carry 10 over-loaded plastic bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.  Or finish a Big Mac you're eating on the run.  The lights are ALWAYS green!

24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

25. How many times is it appropriate to say "Pardon me?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said? 

26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front.
Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber and dumber every year?

29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a  little too far.

30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate bicyclists.

31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!  Amen!

Monday, 10 May 2010

More chain maille

This is a  bracelet in a helm chain pattern that got bossy and decided what it was going to look like.  It certainly wasn't my decision because I like big and bold rather than dainty and red has never been one of my favorite colors. 

The bracelet is made of 92.5% slow tarnish argentium and ruby/cranberry Swarovski crystals.  The stirrup clasp is made of 92.5% sterling silver.

This bracelet is $50 CDN

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Catching Up With Wirework

Figured I'd better do a little wire work because my display case in the store is getting bare spots and tourist season is coming. 
This is a pretty piece of green sea glass from Chelton Beach, wrapped in 92.5% argentium silver.

The clear glass piece doesn't show up as well in a picture as the green, but it's nicely wave-washed and looks like crystal.  The argentium wrap really sparkles against the milky glass "in person."

Both pieces of sea glass are $40 each.

Fun with Enamel

My son loves new technology and can't wait to get the newest phone, a plasma HD TV, typical geeky boy toys.  I've always tsk-tsked about it, being very superior with all of my old-fashioned gadgets and waiting until I actually needed new electronics before I bought them.
Last week I realized that I'm every bit as bad, only my spending is on new things to make jewelry, and I'd better stop nagging him about his spending habits.  Of course, the difference is that mine are necessary and his are not.  His are luxuries, mine are business tools.  Yep!  I can still nag.
I've been casting a covetous eye on enamel and the only thing holding me back was the fact that to do it properly, you need a kiln and there's no room in my kitchen for one, or I'd probably have one of those as well.  But doing my quiet-time-in-the-store online window shopping, I discovered that Lacy Tools in Toronto had a whole kit of enamels that only require a half-hour in an oven, or toaster oven.  And it was reasonably cheap!  It arrived within a week. 
A whole lot of things need to be done around here now that spring has sprung and there isn't much time to play with jewelry, but I had to try something with these new enamels.  No time to cut and file copper and I was going to just paint some flat copper strips and cut it whenever, but then I thought of the flower from my last post.  It had turned out so well but needed a bail of some kind on the back and when I soldered the bail on, it turned a horrible color of old, dry copper, not nice at all and really not salvageable. 
But it was perfect on which to try the new enamels.   I put a thin coat of red on first and cured it in the toaster oven for half an hour.  There was a little red left over, so I added a few drops of dark blue and did the inside and the outside of the petals and cured it another 30 minutes.  This stuff is terrific - when it is cured, it has the same hardness and properties of enamel powder that has been kiln cured, but you can paint it on, giving you much more precision.  My only complaint, and it's not going to stop me, is that you mix the colors one-third to two-thirds of a catalyst, and the catalyst has a very strong smell, a little hard on the asthma.  I'll just do the next mix in the store, under the big vent hood. 
So I might have one of the only cell phones left without a camera and a 21" TV with rabbit ears, but I've got some really neat metalsmithing stuff that I don't really have time to play with and a new coloring kit to fix my mistakes!