For the love of silver…for the love of life!!

Archive for March, 2009

Floral Display

Last week was one of those weeks where nothing much got done but there was a lot going on…rather a case of ‘ever decreasing circles’!  Anyway – it might be a little bit late but I thought I would do a delayed post from the end of last week and try to catch up with myself.

My daughter wanted me to do a little display of the jewellery I am currently making at her ‘birthday bash’ on Saturday – not so much a jewellery sale but more a sort of look what is on offer! – the only problem was that she hasn’t got any sort of table that I could display my jewellery on – except in the kitchen, which is not quite what I was after!  So I decided to make myself a simple, portable display case.

I was able to buy a long narrow aluminium (silver) framed picture frame which was a good size for displaying my jewellery in and replaced the glass with clear acrylic sheet (perspex).  I replaced the back with a piece of MDF onto which I attached a suedette covered pad which fitted neatly inside the picture frame, giving me a few millimetres of clearance for my jewellery to be positioned.

I then made a box out of MDF which would be big enough to take the folded up legs of a ‘butler’ style tray/table.  The idea being that I could transport the box, with the folded up legs inside it in the car with the display case on top – then when I get to the venue I can carry the whole thing into the house, open up the legs, invert the box to make the table top and put the display case on top…voila…instant tabletop display case!!

Anyway – it worked very well and everyone was able to have a good look at what I had put into the display case and asked a lot of questions and showed a lot of interest…which was good, because they said they will be willing to hold jewellery sale parties in their homes for me when I get enough stock together to get started later on in the year.  Excellent!!

Having finally got my new batch of precious metal clay delivered at the beginning of the week I continued with my quest to incorporate my little silver flowers into as many different kinds of designs I could think of!  Everybody I have met so far likes my floral bracelet (see my entry for March 14th, Happy Hippy Bracelet), but I found it really hard to get the joining links to fuse closed so I thought I would try a similar effect with just one row of connecting links which would be easier to accomplish!  I decided that this idea would hang well around the neck.  I have made 2 sizes of square silver ‘frames’ so, for one of the designs, I used a mix of large and small squares to mount the flowers on.  Both designs work really well and I am very happy with them.  I have added the squares to 18 inches of my fine twisted link chain and added a toggle fastener.

Personally, I prefer the design with the 2 different square sizes…what do you think??  Do let me know!!  The necklaces can be seen on the right hand side of my display case (above).

Many thanks again to condron.us who are still sending me lots of lovely viewers to my blog!  If you enjoy viewing lots of blogs look them up!!

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Sunday Play Time

This Sunday had the potential for being a really depressing one.  I have had ‘the dreaded lurgy’ for the past couple of days and have been feeling very sorry for myself.  I only had one and a half grams of precious metal clay left to work with (as my new order hasn’t been delivered yet) and I have a pot with some liquid pmc or slip and a pot with a few dried up crumbs of pmc (that I could turn into ‘poor man’s pmc ‘ with the addition of a few drops of water) as well…what could I do that would cheer me up with these meagre ingredients?

Time for some of those ‘I wonder what would happen if I…..’ moments.

I have had an idea to introduce a bit of pmc slip to some of the jumprings that I use in my chains to see if I could fuse the chains into a rigid shape – a bit bizarre I know…and I have no idea what I will use it for, but it seemed like an idea so I went ahead and filled a small (4mm) jump ring in a piece of chain with pmc slip, allowed it to dry and popped it into the kiln.  Lo and behold the result was a chain with a section that was rigid, but the silver blob in the jumpring was a bit on the rough side.  As pmc is so forgiving, I was able to smooth on a bit more of the slip and prepare to put it back in the kiln…however, before it dried I remembered that I had bought a few tiny cubic zirconia that I have never used before, so perhaps today was a good day to see how it worked.  So I made an indentation in the pmc, added a little more slip and embedded the tiny stone into the centre of the blob.  When it had all dried I put it back in the kiln.

Well, I’m quite pleased with the way the whole thing worked…it was a bit on the rough side but the idea has some mileage.

The second thing I have been waiting to do was to make little moulds of letters of the alphabet on discs that could be put onto chains to make name bracelets.  I have had the letters made for a while (see Thing-a-Day, day 15,  Letters for Everyone) but haven’t found any discs suitable to put them on until yesterday, when I found some little mother of pearl discs that were just the right size.  So I have made a mould of each letter placed on a disc so I can produce any name or word in precious metal clay ‘charms’ whenever I need to.  I used some of my one and a half grams of pmc to try one out.

This worked really well and I am sure I will be using them a lot in the future.

The rest of my pmc went when I tried out a tiny little leaf cutter that I bought on Ebay a while back.  I rolled out the tiny blob of clay and cut out the shape before marking in some vein lines.  When it was dry, I cleaned it up with a file and drilled a hole in it to take the jumpring.

This was very sweet and will make a nice little charm on any summery bracelet or pendant.

I now only had a little bit of ‘poor man’s pmc’ left to play with, so I chose a button from my recent purchase (see Flower Madness, March 12th) which had a highly textured border around it and made a mould from it.  I then pushed the pmc into the mould and took a cast of the border.  I allowed this to dry before tidying it up with a file and putting it in the kiln.

All in all, I don’t think today has worked out so badly after all – and  I have a whole new range of ideas that I can start putting into designs over the next few weeks.  Hopefully, my pmc order will come tomorrow and I can get started on something more substantial!!

What a BEE…uty!!!

I had a day off today!  I couldn’t resist the lure of the beautiful sunshine any longer…it would have been a sin to confine myself to a windowless cupboard (where I do my precious metal clay work) or a damp and dim shed (where I make my chains).  So I took myself to Norton Priory (Museum and Gardens) our local visitor attraction.  (see my blogroll).  I have a season ticket,  so I often pop in – even if it is just for an hour – to walk in the lovely grounds, listen to the birds sing and the babbling of the little stream that runs through it….beautiful and relaxing.

I took my camera because there is often something of interest there which I could use as inspiration for a piece of jewellery.  Today was no exception and I took over 100 photos (as I keep saying…thank God for the digital camera!) There were lots of different types of daffodil and one beautiful pink spotted rhodedendron, a magnolia with its furry buds just beginning to pop and a deep red camelia flower that was right at the top of a huge tree and impossible to photograph!

But the best bit is what I have recorded here.  Just a few minutes before I reached the exit I spotted this HUGE bee lolling in the trumpet of a beautiful, perfect daffodil, situated at the top of a bank of grass so the flawless blue sky was the backdrop.  As I watched, the fat furry body began to edge its way out, gingerly shuffling  its spindly legs towards the edge of the trumpet…..

…its front legs then began to grope for the frilled edge….oh, it was obviously just SO drunk!!

It slowly began to haul itself up, over the frill and then drag its heavy body onto the top of the trumpet, where it sat…you could almost imagine it groaning…

…and began to groom the heavy dusting of pollen off of its body and legs.  It slowly rotated through 360 degrees, giving the impression of trying to get its bearings before staggering onto one of the outer petals, which had a convienient curl from which it launched itself heavily into the sky…

I had to laugh at its antics…I wonder what reception he got from Mrs Bee!!!…(if he ever found his way home!!)

By the way…many thanks to condron.us, who keep sending visitors  my way…if you haven’t visited them before go have a look!!  (see my blogroll)

Back to the Jewellery Making…..

Just a quick post to give you an update to what I did with that little pmc (precious metal clay) pendant I showed you on the 12th March…not that it was exactly challenging but I had to decide which way round to hang it!….tough one eh??!!

Anyway, I went with the predictable and hung it with the ‘weight’ of the design at the bottom and added a little swarovski 6mm bicone bead as a ‘dangly’.   It made me think of a little bunch of flowers in a pot!  Ok, I know…a bit of a stretch of the imagination  but still….!  I think it is rather cute and the swarovski crystal adds a nice bit of twinkle.  In fact, I think I will make another one of these and make them into earrings to get the full sparkle effect from the crystal bead.

I really am very into these little silver flowers and I am enjoying making different designs with them.  I think they have all been quite successful so far and I have every intention of developing them into saleable items in the near future.  Keep in touch and I will let you know when I go ‘into production’ with this range…

Just as a ‘by the way’ – I noticed that someone had been referred to my blog by http://www.condron.us – not knowing what this was I’ve just had a quick look…and it looks rather good!  If you like looking at blogs and you have a few spare moments while you are sipping that coffee…have a quick look!!

mmmmm…donuts!!

Well, I had hoped to get a few chains made before lunch today – but life has conspired against me!!  Perhaps I will get some done later.  Today is such a beautiful day…sunny, and dare I say it…WARM!!  Perhaps I should use the rest of the day to get the garden organised for spring…  I can start on the jewellery again tomorrow…enjoy the sunshine today!!

Yesterday I made a cake for my grandson’s 8th birthday…made exactly to his ‘specifications’…so I hope it will make him smile!!  He’s a great Simpsons fan – so he wanted a Homer having an ‘mmmm…donuts moment’!   I’ll have to go and deliver it in a few minutes so it is there for him when he comes home from school.

I have my other two grandchildren to make cakes for in May…so I hope I have a fairly clear stretch now to concentrate on jewellery making.

Anyway – I hope ‘Homie’ has made you smile!!

Happy Day ‘Hippy’ Bracelet

Today has been a great day!!  My son came home from his 3 week holiday in Thailand – where he had a motorbike accident on day 3.  I was so relieved to see him in much better condition than I expected.  He still has stitches that need removing and is missing a tooth but otherwise he is fine and I am so relieved and happy to have him home!!

Secondly,  I have managed to get the bracelet that I wanted to make from my pmc (precious metal clay) squares and flowers more or less done.  I have one and a half grams of pmc left so it was a close run thing.  I would like to put a catch on that is sympathetic to the design but I don’t have enough pmc left for that so for now I will have to put one of my usual toggles on it and swap it over when I get my new supply of pmc in.

I am very pleased with it although it has been a real trial to put together.  There is so much silver in it and the jumprings pass quite tightly through the holes I drilled in the pmc that it has been almost impossible to get the jumprings up to melting temperture with my torch…the rest of the bracelet has been acting as a sort of ‘heat sink’ and preventing the joining rings from fusing.  I have learned a lot from doing it and have decided to modify the design when I do it again to see if it makes any difference,  I must find a way round it because I really love the design idea.  I think the random numbers of flowers and the random arrangement on the bracelet ‘links’ works really well.  It has a lovely open look and would look brilliant as a piece of summer jewellery….and has a sort of ‘hippy’ look to it.

Well – I like it…do you??

Flower Madness!!

I did say that I would probably only get round to adding post every couple of days – and that is the plan…it’s just that I’m having a bit of a creative ‘splurge’ at the moment and I can’t wait to do a bit of showing off!!  That is what comes from living in a house full of men – I get no feedback!!!  I need feedback!!  I crave feedback!!  I really miss that about not going to college anymore..there was always someone – in fact, loads of people, who were only too pleased to give their ‘two penny worth’, but working alone, surrounded by ‘philistines’ (I do love them dearly and they can’t really help it!!), I never get any praise or constructive criticism!!

Anyway – back to what I have done!  I’ve still got this ‘thing’ going with the little flowers…can’t get enough of them!!  Sorry if you are bored with them already ‘cos I’m not!!  I think there is loads of potential and I plan to make loads of ‘summery’ jewellery with them!!

I bought a bag of old, little metal buttons from a Charity Shop last week…it set me back 59p (I’ve no idea of the exchange rate now but I guess that is around a dollar).  There are 52 buttons and they are mostly round and a lot of them have nice little borders – ropes, braids, greek keys,loops, that sort of thing.  I like to take moulds from them and then selectively isolate the border so that I can use it with pmc (precious metal clay).  Well, 2 of the buttons are square, which immediately drew my attention, and one of them had this neat, lightly hammered sort of border, which was otherwise very plain and simple.  So this is the basis of my new ‘range’ of ideas.

Obviously – a square is a very verasatile shape which is easy to link with other sqares to develop designs for bracelets and necklaces, but is also great for creating a framework for pendant designs which will work as earrings, or hung from a chain.

I made up these earrings as I couldn’t wait to wear them!! – they are jiggling about in my ears as I type!!  The other little pendant is a work in progress as I have fused a ring into the top and bottom corners, which I intend to use to hang it from a chain and also to wire wrap something dangly from the bottom.  I can’t make up my mind which way round to hang it yet so I might wait a couple of days before I make a decision!! – you can’t rush these things you know!!

I have an urge to make a bracelet with the same design as the earrings but I am running out of pmc so I might have to leave it until I can afford to buy some more – I’ll have to work out how much it will take before I take the plunge.  I couldn’t bear it to have it half done and then have to wait until I buy some more pmc so that I can finish it!!

So, that’s it for now – not sure if I’ll post tomorrow…you’ll have to have a quick look won’t you!!!

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