Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Apprentice

Taking 'Arts & Crafts' time to a whole new level!!

Just wanted to share a few photos my husband snapped while I'm teaching my 3 yr old daughter how to make a textured pendant from scrap silver.

After a quick lesson in what we can and CAN NOT hit with a hammer, she's eager to start banging!

Next we squeeze, squeeze, SQUEEZE with the hole punch pliers

Daddy, DADDY! Look what I made!!

Then mommy oxidizes and polishes it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

So Close!!!

I ALMOST made the Etsy Front Page!!

According to my
Sterling Silver Textured Ring
was chosen by Etsy as an
alternate choice

in a Front Page Treasury List.

(That means that if one of the items on the front page had sold,
my item was an alternate to replace it.

It's always been a goal of mine to make the front page, maybe now that I'm on their radar I might make it!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!!

A custom Pet ID/Collar Charm for a sweet kitty named Lilly

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let's Stay Together

This morning I received the nicest email from PragyaK of ArtoCrat: Home Art Prints & Posters. She said:


Love your work and blog! I wanted to post this comment on your blog but the comment link is broken or something. Anyways here it is-

"It was so nice to stumble across your blog. I've just read through 3 posts and I'm hooked :) Is there a way I could get your daily posts in a email? Tried the RSS but it just takes me to a page filled with words! LOL!"

So I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a few solutions with everyone out there that might be experiencing the same dilemma! There are multiple options for getting your Precious Metals fix ;-)

1. Blog RSS Feed

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a Web feed format used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document (which is called a feed or web feed or channel) contains either a summary of content (teaser) from an associated web site or the full text.

To subscribe the RSS feed simply click the Blog RSS link
This is going to bring you to a text/document of the same webpage. At the top of the page you should see a yellow subscription box. Click Subscribe to this Feed.

Next a confirmation box should appear. Click the Subscribe button.

Now you should see a message that says You've Successfully Subscribed to this Feed

Open MS Outlook. Under the RSS folder you should see a folder for Precious Metals

2. Facebook Fan Page and Twitter

Whenever I create a new blog post I always post a link to it on my Facebook Fan Page. My Fan Page is also linked to my Twitter account. So any updates to the Fan Page are automatically posted on Twitter. On Twitter I also post any new listings in my shop, but I don't post new listings on Facebook.

Become a Facebook Fan:



If you have a account you can opt to "follow" a blog. Simply locate the Followers section of the blog and click Follow

You will be asked to login to a account (I use google)

Once you sign in you can select to Follow This Blog

Now when you login to your Blogger account you'll see the blog listed in your reading list


My friend Rachel, from Sohaus, also had issues with comments not working correctly on her blog. This is what she found that solved the problem:

If you want to comment on any of the blogs, you need to sign into your google account. If you've already typed up a comment without signing in, and you hit "post comment", you'll get a thing saying this couldn't be processed. Just click on "more options" and it will let you sign into your account and then your comment will show up in the feed.

There you go! I hope this helps so of you navigate the Blogger world and stay in touch with your favorite blogs.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Working with Precious Metal Clay

This is my process of working with metal clay. I don't go into the detailed step-by-step of how it's done because there are so many great books out there (listed below) that do it so much better than I ever could. The purpose of this post is to share with clients how their jewelry is made.

One of my favorite mediums to work with, Precious Metal Clay, is a clay-like substance that is made of small particles of pure metal (such as silver) mixed with an organic binder and water. Metal clay can be shaped or cut just like any soft clay, by hand or using molds. After the clay dries, it can be fired in a kiln where the binder burns away, leaving the pure metal.

When working with Precious Metal Clay, or PMC, I use a large number of tools to mold, cut or shape the clay into the piece I'm trying to create. I've worked with rubber stamps, steel lettering stamps, cookie cutters, PMC molds and impression templates. One of the great features of PMC is that you can use simple household objects as tools. Really, anything that will make an impression in the clay can be used, but avoid aluminum tools as they cause chemical comtamination.

My favorite technique is to make impressions from objects that have special meaning. You may have seen the Antique Flower Impression Necklace where I used an antique silver sugar bowl my grandmother gave me.

(TIP) When I find an object I want to take an impression of, I use Playdough to test if the object will leave the desired impression before attempting it with the clay. For example, I tried many times to take an impression from antique flatware only to discover the markings in the flatware were not deep enough to make an impression in the clay.

Once I am ready to work with the clay, I lay out all the tools I'm going to need on my work space. PMC can dry out on you fairly quickly. (Esp in the the winter when I'm blasting the heater to keep warm) So I want all my tools within reach.

(TIP) I always talk through a 'plan of action' before I begin.

"1. roll out the clay with this rolling pen (touch the pen),

2. cut the clay with this cutter (touch the cutter), etc..."

This mental check list helps me determine if all of my tools are ready. If I'm really feeling obsessive, I will even make a mockup of the pieces I'm about to create with Playdough first.

Once everything is in place, I open the clay and get to work cutting, shaping, molding, whatever the piece calls for.

As you work, the clay becomes dry and leathery. Keep a spray bottle of water close by to remoisten the clay. I keep my scraps in an airtight container with a tiny damp sponge at the bottom.

Once I'm finished, I prefer to allow my pieces to air dry overnight. Some people use hotplates to speed up the process.

Once dry, the clay pieces have the consistency of chalk. If they aren't handled gently, they could easily crack or crumble. At this stage, I use fine grit sandpaper to smooth out the edges and create a smooth surface. (TIP) Fingernail files also work great to gently sand thicker pieces.

Next, the pieces are placed into a kiln where they are fired at a temp of 1100 degrees for 20-30 minutes. The firing process can take several hours as the kiln takes time to warm up to that high temp, maintain that temp for half and hour, then cool back down.

Once the pieces have cooled completely, they still aren't finished. They come out of the firing process hard as metal but with a dull, white, ashy finish. This is because the firing process has caused the surface of the silver to become crystalline which must be smoothed down and polished. A quick 'bath' with soapy water and a stainless steel brush does the trick.

Afterwards, you are left with a pieces that shines like a mirror.

This mirror finish is fine for some pieces, like this simple ring. But to make those impression pieces stand out, I usually oxidize my designs in a solution called Liver of Sulfur (which smells like rotten eggs). This solution causes the silver to artificially tarnish. Simply polish off the tarnish from the areas you don't want it and you're left with the contrasting black on silver.

There you have it!

That's my process of working with metal clay. I know I didn't go into the detailed step-by-step of how it's done, but there are so many great books out there that do it so much better than I ever could. Some of my favorites include:

The Art of Metal Clay by Sherri Haab


Magical Metal Clay Jewelry by Sue Heaser

If you are interested in learning more about working with Precious Metal Clay, I suggest taking a class at your local jewelry supply or bead shop. PMC can be a pricey medium to work with, so make sure you love it before making an investment in the tools.

Custom Orders: I Pick Dharma

Being a huge, HUGE, LOST fan, I was pumped about this order!!

And a guitar pic necklace charm:

The backside:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Have a Little Faith

A custom order this week: a sweet little charm that will be incorporated into a bracelet.

Business is Going to the Dogs

My Pet ID Tags are quickly becoming my biggest seller. I sold 4 yesterday alone and I had another one ordered this morning. The backside is engraved with their owners phone number (no shown for security reasons).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My New Corner of the World

My friend, Rachel, of SoHaus Interior Design posed an interesting question this week on her blog:

"Do you have a design dilemma?
Submit your questions to me and be featured on my blog!"

So I challenged her to turn my dining room into a studio for my jewelry design, but still be able to use it as a dining room when the occasion calls for it. She had some brilliant ideas - you can read the full article

As my husband and I began discussing her suggestions it dawned on us:

why do we need a formal dining room anyway?!?!

In the 5 + years we've been living in this house, we've used our dining room maybe twice. Why are we hording all that space?!?! After taking some measurements and discussing the logistics, we decided to dismantle the dining room completely and use that space as husband's office (he works full time from home). Currently, his office is in a spare bedroom. Once that bedroom was cleared out, I could use it as my office/DESIGN STUDIO!! YIPEE!

Wanna See?

So here is the dining room before.
(See, even before we weren't using it as a dining room.)
And After
And now, his old office is mine!!

All the china has been put into storage (I know, my mother almost disowned me) and my china cabinet is now holding all my designs.

The whole move took only 1 afternoon, but in the process I was also organizing, cleaning out and throwing away as much as I could. Over the past year, I have collect quite a lot of jewelry supplies, beads, and findings. So as part of my clean out efforts I have opened a second Etsy shop

Where I will be selling my extra beads, vintage buttons, and misc jewelry supplies that I don't want or need! Cause one man's trash, is another man's treasure!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Custom Order - K+M

Here is a custom order I worked on this week. Double stack pendants with "K+M" above the date "7-17-10".

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Custom Order - Always and Forever

A personalized Guitar Pic Necklace

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Stroke of Genius Weekly Artist Spotlight

I'm so excited to be featured, with my husband, on this weeks
A Stroke of Genius Artist Spotlight!!

Jen, from Simply Inviting Cards & Keepsakes has included us in a double feature article about our Etsy Shops and hobbies.

Check out the full interview here


The online website design guide.



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