Thursday, January 31, 2013

Year of Jewelery - Week 5 - Deja Vu

The challenge this week is deja vu.  This bracelet is a design I originally did for the blog hop Memories and Thanks - for that bracelet I used aquamarine rondelles and the fine silver coated pennies. My sister loved the bracelet and asked me to make one for her using the colors of the Baltimore Ravens football team.  I made that for her last week and she wore it to work for her firms "Spirit Day" - which netted two more orders. (for those that may not know, the Baltimore Ravens are playing in the Super Bowl this coming Sunday - which may or may not be attributed to the wearing of this very special bracelet)

I used pennies once again - this time I used fine silver wire to coat the top of the pennies - I think I like this treatment much better than the PMC coating.

I used 18 gauge sterling silver wire for the coil connectors

I wrapped about 1,000 (okay not really - more like 50) 4mm and 6mm Swarovski crystals in black and purple (I made the head pins using 22 gauge sterling silver wire)
I created a clasp using 16 gauge stering silver wire - I balled both ends of one piece of wire and made a hook and out of the other piece made a ring; hammered it for texture and strength.

I hope the recipient loves it - more imprtantly I hope it brings the Baltimore Ravens much luck in their football game on Sunday.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Year of Jewelry 2013 - Week 4 - "Not from the Mall"

This weeks challenge was to make a piece that you wouldn't be able to buy at the mall.  I had been percolating an idea all week about links - big giant copper links - something that involved hammering and fire.  I tried a few different designs, used a LOT of 14 gauge copper wire and finally came up with this link.  It is a simple design but it's elegant in its simplicity.

I cut the wire to length, torched one end of each piece - then (using one of the arms on my wine opener - yes really!) formed each ring. 

I then connected each link
created an hook clasp and "O" ring for closure

Finally I gave it a bath in Perma Blu to patina it, buffed the bracelet to highlight the copper and it was done.  I had great fun creating this piece that surely you would never find in a mall!

Year of Jewelry 2013 - Week 3 "Music"

I am woefully behind on this weekly challenge.............I am still working on week 2 - "Grace" - but until I have it done, here is week 3 "Music".

This bracelet is musical.  It is almost like a charm bracelet in that it makes "music" as you move.  I used 5 pieces of leather cording (to represent the Staff lines present on sheet music), I added some 14 gauge copper rings that I had torched to create balls on each end, twisted them into a ring and strung them on.

 I added two of these rings to each cord, some small copper beads and then made spring coil ends and a hand forged "S" clasp.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Memories and Thanks

First of all I want to thank Lori Anderson for being the hostess of this amazing Blog Hop.  If you are just happening upon this post and do not know about the Memories and Thanks Blog Hop you can read about it here.

This was a bittersweet project for me, as I created this bracelet in memory of my niece, who I miss each and every day.  She was the first child born of my siblings, and as such, created and maintained a very special place in my heart.  I was there the day my sister gave birth to her (I actually drove her to the hospital while she was in labor); after she came home to live, I was in charge of the midnight feeding - a lovely quiet time of the day when it seemed as though we were the only two in the world awake........we talked about everything in those hours.......but mostly my hopes and dreams for her future.  Although I moved away, my bond with her never wavered - it was always a joy and a blessing to see her and spend time with her.  I watched with pride her grow into a beautiful young woman, one who was sweet, kind and so very loving.  We lost her when she was so, so young and I miss her big wide smile every single day. 

That smile was the thought behind every single wrapped aquamarine on this bracelet.  Her smile was as bright as a beautiful blue sky - it brought joy and brightened every corner of me.
The silver discs are actually pennies that I fired with some silver PMC - I love the texture of them - sort of rough but shiny - which is also reminiscent of my niece's personality.

 They are not dead, 
Who leave us this great heritage of remembering joy.
They still live in our hearts,

 In the happiness we knew, in the dreams we shared.
They still breathe,

 In the lingering fragrance,windblown, from their favorite flowers.
They still smile in the moonlight’s silver, 

And laugh in the sunlight’s sparking gold.
They still speak in the echoes of the words we’ve heard them say again and again.

They still move,

 In the rhythm of waving grasses, in the dance of the tossing branches.
They are not dead; 

Their memory is warm in our hearts, comfort in our sorrow.
They are not apart from us, but part of us,

For love is eternal, 

And those we love shall be with us throughout all eternity


Please visit the other participants in the blog hop:
Hostess, Lori Anderson       Pretty Things

 Adlinah Kamsir                   Dream Struck Designs
 Aimee Biondolillo               Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
 Alicia Marinache                 All the Pretty Things 
 Andra Marasteanu               Handmade by Indra Marasteanu 
 Andrea Trank                      Heaven Lane Creations
 April Grinaway                   Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem                         Vivi Magoo Presents
Becky Pancake                    Becky Pancake Bead Designs
Beth Emery                         Stories by Indigo Heart
Bonnie Coursolle                Jasper's Gems
Cassi Paslick                       Beads: Rolling Downhill
Catherine King                    Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier                      The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz                     Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler                   FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka                       Clay Space
Christina Hickman              Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Murrow               Charis Designs Jewelry
Christine Stonefield            Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman               Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson                      It's My Sea of Dreams
CJ Bauschka                       4 His Glory Creations by CJ
Crystal Thain                      Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin                        Beading Arts
Debbie Rasmussen             A little of this, a little of that
Denielle Hagerman             Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez                  Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey                    diane hawkey
Dita Basu                            ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington             Simply Gorgeous
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell     Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Emma Todd                        A Polymer Penchant
Erin Kenny                         beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz                  Treasures Found
Gina Hockett                      Freestyle Elements
Gloria Allen                        Innovative Dreams Jewelry
Heather Marston                 CSW Designs
Inge von Roos                    Inge's Blog
Iveth Caruso                       Creative Atelier
Jacqueline Marchant          Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp                         Celebrating Life!
Jean Yates                          Snap Out of it Jean, There's Beading to Do!
Jennifer Reno                     Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo                   Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten    Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren                  Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray                   Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams                     lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton            It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne                   josjewels1
Jodie Marshall                    Jodie Marshall Lampwork Beads Wearable Art
Johanna Rhodes                 Fire Phoenix Creations
John Rasmussen                 Rasumussen Gems and Jewelry LLC
JuLee Wolfe                       The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean                           Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell                   Over the Moon Designs
Karin King                         The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton                       Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas                       Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton                        Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson     The Traveling SideShow
Kim Ballor                          Vitamin C ... A Daily Does of Creativity
Kim Dworak                       CianciBlue
Kim Houston                       The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter                         Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton                Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch                          LA Jewelry Designs
Leanne Loftus                      First Impression Design
Liddy McLaughlin               Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Florian                       Lily's of the Valley Jewelry & Creative Creations
Linda Inhelder                     Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton                      Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver                            Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud        Artfully Ornamental
Lori Poppe                           Adventures in Creativity with Lorillijean
LouAnn Elwell                    Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron                       Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster                 MadDesigns
Marcia Dunne                     The Alternative Foundry
Marie Covert                      Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite     bennubirdrising
Marlene Cupo                        Amazing Designs by Marlene
Martha Aleo                           Ornamento
Marti Conrad                          Marti's Buttons -n- Beads
Mary Ellen Parker                  BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars                        MLH Jewelry Designs
Mary Lindell                          Mary Lindell Artisan Jewelry
Maureen Connolly                 Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay                       The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin                         The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara                      one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta                         Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz              la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi               Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody               Who Does She Bead She Is?
Nan Emmett                          Spirit Rattles -- Spirited Earth
Nancy Pedersen                    Something Heartfelt by Nancy
Natalie Davidson                  NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas                      Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren                           re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister        The Crazy Creative Corner
Pam Traub                            Klassy Joolz
Priya Krish                           Hellopalz 
Rebecca Anderson               Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag                 Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed                   Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson                  a creative chelle
Rosa Maria Cuevas              Helena de Troya
Sabine Dittrich                     perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe                          Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff                    Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode                         Pookledo
Sarah Singer                         String a Song of Sixpence
Serena Trent                         All Things Made Jewelry
Shai Williams                       Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac                        Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson    Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis                         Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner        Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey                       Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun                         Unicorns Jewels
Skylar Bre'z                         Brising Beads
Stephanie Haussler              Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey                        Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G.                                Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter                         Tapping Flamingo
Terry Matuszyk                    Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry
Toltec Jewels                       Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse                         Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin                        Nutkitten's Jewelry
Zia Parks                              Anzi~Panzi's Work Shoppe
Zoe Marcin                          Beads, Tea and Sweets

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I saw a post on Facebook in one of the jewelry groups I belong to.  It was a pair of earrings that had been torch fired with enamel and with silver.  It got me to thinking about silver on a penny - I wondered how that would look in place of the enamel - or maybe even with enamel.  No experiments are out of order in the workshop!

I wanted to try it but knew from my research on the subject of soldering silver to copper, sterling silver will not stick to copper unless there is flux and solder present.  But, I wondered about fine silver.  I know you can fuse fine silver to itself and wondered if it was the same with fine silver and copper.  I have no fine silver wire or sheet but I happen to have a package of precious metal clay that I got back in August of 2005.   Yes. Seriously.  I had never used it - I opened it and looked at it but then chickened out and put it all back.  Wrapped it up tight in three ziplock bags and the original protective bag it came in and put it away.  For all these years!  When I took it out this morning it was still moist.  Really!  I was so excited!

I experimented with three pennies - on the first penny I just put a lump of the clay on top of the penny and tried firing it from underneath, like I would with enamel, but even though the penny got red hot nothing happened to the lump 'o silver.  I applied the fire directly to the clay and lo and behold, it melted onto the penny.
Lump of clay - penny after being cleaned

With the second penny I crumbled some clay on top and then fired it. 
Crumbled on top - penny after being cleaned

Before firing the third penny I took a small chunk of clay, mixed it with water and made a slip of the silver; painted the penny and then fired it.  I LOVE how this one came out.  I like how it looks craggy and wrinkled.
Silver Clay mixed with water then fired

This is just the beginning of the experimentation.............

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Year of Jewelry 2013 Week 1 - "Renewal"

Once again, I am embarking on the year long project called Year of Jewelry.  I participated a few years ago and found that it instilled some discipline in my creative process, well as much as you can discipline creativity, as well as keeping me on track just simply designing, making, and more importantly, finishing a piece.  At the end of the year it's always interesting to take a look back and see how my work has grown and changed from the challenge.

The theme of the week is "Renewal".  I walked around saying the word and trying to envision what it meant to me. The recurring thought for me was "Spring" (possible because it's winter and all around me is bare trees and frosted grass!).  So, when I finally had the opportunity I sat at the bench, pulled out the beads and copper and came up with this design.
I cut a leaf shape out of my copper sheet, shaped it, domed it and etched it

used some of my 12 or 14 gauge wire to make some swirly connectors 

wrapped some beautiful blue Peruvian opal beads and some luscious wine fluorite rondells 

crafted a nice clasp for it (again with the 12/14 gauge copper wire)

It's been patinaed with Perma Blue which adds a really nice contrast.