Thursday, October 30, 2008


Have a Spooktacular Halloween! I was ego surfing (Googling my name and my business names) and I found this Halloween photoshop illustration that I did on someone's Halloween blog post from last year. Wish I knew what it said! LOL!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pretties from the Past

As I mentioned in previous posts, I love Fall. I am usually out there in the midst of it with camera in hand snapping pictures of leaves like I have never seen them before. But this year, I have not had one single day of Fall photography frolicking. Too busy, too tired, too sick (had e-coli). So, I will just have to settle for some pix from previous seasons for now...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Precious Metal Clay Over Porcelain

Hi. I recently had a fun collaborative project proposed to me from a fellow Etsy member, marlasmud. She is a porcelain bisque artist who offered to send me some samples in exchange for some photos of the finished work that she could use for advertising to PMC artists on her website.

PMC-ers like myself can lay pure fine silver paste, clay and syringe clay over bisque forms and fire in a kiln to make pieces that have the look of chunky silver, withouth the weight and cost of it. (See the instructions in my previous post for making beads with this method.) I still have a few more pieces to complete when the inspiration hits me, but this is what I have done so far. Most of these will be posted in my Bead & Findings Store soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Was A Poet and Didn't Know It

Well, maybe I'm a poet - maybe not... the jury is still out, but I try on my poetic hat on occassion. There is a new magazine called Life Images by Somerset that is part of the family of artsy publications by Stampington and Company. It features 99% reader submitted content. They are looking for emotive photos with accompanying poetry, short stories or journalling. I decided to give it a try.

Now I know that not all poetry has to rhyme and that there are certain patterns (meter) or stanzaic rules I probably did not follow, but I had fun. Here's what I have submitted so far:

Sweet lonely child of stone and moss;
Anyone can sense your loss.
Your broken wing, your broken heart;
The sense of mourning you impart.
You guard a grave so small & deep;
As the shepherd guards His sheep.
Now safely in His loving care;
The soul you guard’s no longer there.
~Lisa Whipkey

Lines connecting - intersecting.
Yet divided - still two sided.
Parallel and paradigm,
As evening is to morn in time.
~Lisa Whipkey

So just what are the various forms of proper poetry anyway? Good new for me... there are LOTS, so my style is sure to be covered in there somewhere. AND more good news... puctuation rules are out the window when it comes to poetry. It's true. It is up to the writers discression whether to use a period, comma, semi-colon, dash or no punctuation at all. The one consideration is that poetry should be written with recitation in mind, so if you want the reader to pause, you better punctuate accordingly. This site illustrates how "Every poem you write has the possibility of being a new poem with the addition (or deletion) of just a few punctuation marks." which is kinda fun to play with.

While doing a quick research on writing poetry, I found this fun exercise that got my poetic juices flowing. In the end you end up with a poem written in the "Constructivist " form.

  1. On the first line write a noun of your choice

  2. On the second line write two adjectives joined by "and" to describe this noun

  3. On the third line write a verb and an adverb to describe this noun in action

  4. Start the fourth line with "like" or as followed by a comparison

  5. Start the final line with "if only" followed by a wish

Gentle and Soft
Smelling Sweetly
like a baby's breath
If only your thorns were as endearing

Give it a try! It's pretty fun and kind of addiciting.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oo la la Lingerie!

Hi there... Just posted a couple of new original art pieces in my TBS2 store. They are part of my "BOUDOIR BEAUTY" series of mini artfully framed lingerie collages that I have been making for fun. Hopefully shoppers will think they are cute for shower gifts or for their girlie BFF's birthday. They come packaged in embellished boxes that coordinate with the art. I have more on the way if these do OK.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pubished! ..... Almost

What this?
It's a little sneak peak of the article that will be coming out in the Winter 08 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine featuring an article & a photo tutorial by yours truly. I am very excited! This week the editor sent me a draft copy of the layout for review. They photographed the 3 pieces of silver that I submitted for the article and edited the text a bit. It was fun to see what they did with what I sent. I'll post more about this article and how it came to be when it hits the shelves!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Do My Soldered Glass Tape Measure Earrings Measure Up?

Today I was honored to have another piece of jewelry featured in someone's Treasury collection on Etsy. It's a fun treasury featuring art made from rulers, tape measures and the like. Thanks 5erg for selecting my soldered glass earrings titled "Merry Measure". To see the actual Treasury full size, click the title of this post. Note, it will only be available until 10/18/08.

Feelin' Fine about Fall! Inspired to create!

OK. Now I feel it. It's really here... The crisp fall air. The scent of winter just around the corner. The last bits of sun fight to peak through the clouds. It is Fall. I love it. I think it is the time of year when God breaks out his giant box of Crayolas (Deluxe box with 64 colors) and has a blast coloring leaves and skies. His creativity has once again inspired me to create too. Here's a few new pieces I just added to my shop. Happy Fall ya'll!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How to Make Your Own French Hook Earwire Findings

I make fine silver jewelry. Fine silver is .999% pure silver. Sterling is .925. In the stores, pretty much all you can find is Sterling Silver findings. Since I want the metal content of my jewelry to remain pure as much as possible, I taught myself how to make my own findings including S hook clasps, toggle clasps, bails, jumprings, headpins, and earring wires. Eventually I started making larger quantities and wholesaling them to a local bead store. I also sell fine silver findings via my online bead store when I have enough.

I think making findings is pretty fun so I would like to share one way to make french hook earring wires so you can have fun too. Now some of you might be thinking, "If you want to sell these, why would you tell people how to make them?" Well, I am banking on my theory that creative "do-ers" will always find a way to make something vs. buy it whether I tell 'em or not. And people who find this kind of thing tedious will continue to exercise the convenience of just buying what they need, and hopefully they will buy it from me sometimes. =o)

How to make "Q-end" French Hook Earring Wires

Materials and Supplies
20 Gauge Wire (copper, fine silver, sterling silver-dead soft or half hard)
Flush Cutters
Large & Small Round Nose Pliers (Looping pliers)
2 smooth surface pliers
Cup Bur (for rounding the end of the wire)
Steel Bench Block
Chasing Hammer
Hearing Protection
3/4" Wooden dowel or Foam Brush Handle (used as a mandrel to shape the hooks)
Candy that's yummy

1. Cut pair(s) of 2 1/4" pieces of wire with flush cutters.
2. Secure each end of a piece of wire in smooth surface pliers and pull to stretch until strait.
3. Hammer the one end (1/4" or so) of each wire flat on the steel block.
4. Use the smallest end of the small round nose pliers to curl the flattened end into a loop.

5. Now switch to large round nose pliers. Grip the wire with the small loop on top of the pliers, facing you. Curl the strait end of the wire back, and up until it touches the little curl.

6. Pound the hook you just formed flat at the point that is farthest from the little curl. Eat some candy to celebrate your progress! You are 1/2 way done.

7. Hold two wires together with the loops facing you, right next to each other. Use your thumb to press the wire to the dowel or wooden handle of the foam brush, holding them just above the curls.
Push the straight wires around the dowel/handle until they almost come around and touch the curls.

8. Use the flush cutters to even out the strait tails of the hooks. Ideally the back should be longer than the front curls. (I do 4 at a time)

9. Use the cup bur to round and smooth the end of the wires so they won't injure the wearer. Eat some candy to reward yourself for being a considerate jeweler!

10. Use the large round nose pliers to grasp the straight part of the wire about even with where the curl is on the other side. Curl the end to put in a gentle curve that will help the wearer put the earring on easily.

11. To give the wire more strength to hold it's shape, you will need to flatten the curve of the hook just before and after the part that will rest in the ear. Do NOT flatten the part that will be in the ear or it will become sharp which is dangerous and uncomfortable to wear.

You are done! Eat some candy! For extra shine you can tumble the ear wires, or for a vintage look, antique them with patina. There are many shapes, sizes and varieties of earring wires you can make. This is just a really fun and easy one that looks great!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Not a Trick! It's a Treat! ...Handmade Fall Stuff

October is probably my favorite month because it is filled with the scent of Fall which I adore. The changing of the leaves, the blustery wind, the surprise sunny but crisp cold days sprinkled in here and there.... I love it all.

This is my first fall since starting the jewelry business so I am excited to come up with some pretty designs for the season. I have several pieces in the works which I will be posting here and in my store soon.

In the mean time, I wanted to share some pretties made by other folks that I have spotted around the web. Happy Fall Ya'll!!

The halloween garland above is made by SoCharmedImSure.

Here's a cute set of soldered pendants from Make Mine Primitive.

Now this is cute for kiddies... Made by KarlenKnits

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Do It Myself Business Cards

Uh oh. I've almost ran out of my business cards. It's hard to believe I have handed out 250 of those suckers already. When I first designed them, I guessed what my company colors were going to be, but I did not have a logo in mind yet, so I just used the colors in a striped background and as textures. Now I have a logo that I have been using on my jewelry cards and websites, so I am using that on my new business card so everything will match finally.
Here is the old design:

Here is the new design:

I hope the colors come out well when printed. It is so hard to tell. My two monitors, test print, web, windows image viewer, etc. all show something different, so it will be a surprise to see if they match my shirt & packaging. I already know the color of the water is a bit different from what I have elsewhere. There's a bit of a robins egg tone vs. the dutch blue as used on this blog. I just wanted it to pop a bit more. The original cards were a bit more 'grown up' looking I guess which may have been a good thing, but my jewelry and my art is a bit whimsical so I decided to let my folk art self go and this is the outcome. Since I do my own design and have a really good and inexpensive pro printer, it's not too great of a loss if they don't turn out perfect. I can always redo them. The posibilities are endless.

Here are my existing business cards for my photography:

I really enjoy designing cards and have done some design for other companies as well which is fun and challenging. And I'm not the only one who thinks so. One of my flickr friends started a group that is devoted to fun indi card designers and designs. Check it out Creative Calling Cards

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Torch Soldering vs. Soldering Iron

There are several posts on my blog regarding making soldered glass slide and pebble jewelry. That application calls for using a soldering iron, like those used for connecting pieces of stained glass. The basic elements of that method of soldering apply to torch soldering as well.... metal-to-metal contact, the use of flux to flow the solder, the use of solder & a heating tool that reaches the temperature that is necessary to melt the solder. But the methods are not necessarily interchangeable. For example, you cannot use torch soldering to make the glass slide pendants. The heated area is too broad and too hot. The copper tape & paper artwork would melt and the glass would shatter. But the torch method is the best choice for heat connecting precious metals like silver. A soldering iron tip must be touching the solder to melt it and therefore, it would get in the way when trying to make the small unnoticeable connections that are desired for finer jewelry, whereas the torch only needs to be in proximity to the area of connection to form a heat source that will melt the solder and draw the molten liquid to it. The torch is hot enough to melt solder with a higher precious metal content than the soldering iron generally, so for that reason it is preferred for fine jewelry as well.

There are a few pre and post solder steps that are required when torch soldering silver. When silver (other than pure fine silver or argentium silver) is exposed to high heat, it gets something that is called "Fire Scale" which totally discolors the silver and it is very difficult to remove because it goes deep into the metal. This happens because of the copper content that is alloyed in sterling silver. For this reason, I work with fine silver only, but sometimes the strength of sterling is necessary.

To avoid fire scale, you can prepare the pieces of silver by soaking them in a prep solution designed specifically to address fire scale. Also, some people lay the silver on a chunk of natural charcoal (not BBQ charcoal!) when soldering to help absorb oxygen which is in part to blame for fire scale.

I found this information in the Art Jewelry Mag forum by "bleugurl" but I have not personally verified it:
"To prevent fire scale, stop oxygen from getting in contact with the metal. Fire scale is formed whenever silver and sterling is heated above about 1000 degrees F. Oxygen combines with copper to form cuprous oxide which exhibits as firescale.

Prips Flux, denatured alcohol/borax solution, Cupronil…any of these products will work. You might try coating the whole piece in flux before soldering. Be generous with the flux. To properly apply anti-firescale-fluxes, the metal must be heated slightly. Paint, dip the piece or spray on the anti-fs-flux. A mist atomizer bottle works well here. If the metal temperature is correct a white grainy coating will form. Quickly play a flame across the wet fluxed metal to dry it. This will evaporate the alcohol, leaving a white coating of tiny borax crystals."

After soldering, the piece must be pickled to clean all of the residue and flux from it.

This video created by demonstrates how to coat your pieces with prep solution and some handy tricks for soldering small parts like jump rings with a torch. Check it out. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.

Here is another video demonstrating another method for coating with flux & torch soldering on a piece of charcoal:

Happy soldering!