Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Bookmarks

Spring Bookmarks

Silver or Antique Gold colored pewter, shepherd's staff style, flower bookmark with wrapped multi-colored agates and a silver colored pewter bird charm. :)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Birthstone Tree of Life

Birthstone Tree of Life Pendant. An Antique Copper, 9 birthday Tree of Life to be exact.

This one has Sapphire, Peridot, Fire Opal, Tanzanite, Citrine, Emerald, Fire Opal, Tanzanite, Emerald.

Another project done. I hope they like it. :)

Ever Seen a Rainbow Forest Sparkle under a Full Moon?

I haven't. So I made one of my very own. Weeks worth of work, and I sit back now, look, and want to scream...


It's sooooooooooooooooo sparkly!!!!!

That's almost my whole Sparkle Forest. 12 trees total. Amethyst/Ruby, Amethyst, Apatite, Peridot, Tanzanite, Multi Aquamarine, Sapphire, Ruby, Rhodonite Garnet, Multi Spinel, Green Aquamarine/Cherry Quartz earrings, and a Natural Turquoise full moon tree.

Isn't it oh so shiny?! Missing is the swirling rainbow Ethiopian Opal tree and the Hematite moon I made and... lost. The forest misses the rainbow Opals. Totally need to make another.

In the works are Purple Rain, a pair of dark Amethyst earrings with long chains of light amethyst 'rain drops', a Tsavorite and either Ruby or Garnet Apple Tree, a faceted Aurora Borealis Labradorite tree, and pondering a Hematite full moon with Pyrite stars.

Mah Sparkle Forest. Complete with flowers, fruit, rain, rainbows, moon, stars and even an aurora borealis.

Hmmm. Needs a sun...

In other news, I managed to finish a few projects as well.

My new Kingman Turquoise and antique copper bracelet...

and some antique copper and Labradorite earrings...

Today's goal... take listing pics of all that, price them and get them up for sale. Sadly, I don't have time for that silliness as I have to finish a bookmark and a birthstone tree.

I am all kinds of shiny over here.

Go shinies, Go shinies!!


Friday, March 22, 2013

On the Shinies Bench: A Sparkle Forest Earring WIP

Yesterday was a full blown shinies marathon. By bed time, the count stood at 5 finished up mini Sparkle Forest Trees, a bit of Viking Knit, a smidgen of Chainmaille necklace and...

... a finished pair of Rhodocrosite earrings.

My hands are a wee bit on the sore side today.

Out of the 5 trees, 2 were for a commission piece I'm working on...

... the new Sparkle Forest Aquamarine Marine/Cherry Quartz flower tree. :)

They were vera pleased with the little not yet finished WIP pic, so I went to work on the second tree. This morning, I finished up the ear wires and they now are a pair of Sparkle Forest earrings.

Cute lil' things.

Today they get their antique on. Then, after a good tumble, they will be all finished.


Go Sparkle Forest! :D

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sparkle Forest: Of Fall and Flowers

On the off chance that my love for my new Sparkle Forest hasn't shown by the way I can't seem to stop making them, can I just take a moment to say... I love them. Uber love them. And, I really can't seem to stop making them. My forest just keeps growing and growing and growing!

It's going to be the biggest sparkle forest evah!!!

It's grown by a couple more. Yesterday I broke into my new strands of Multi-Colored Spinel. I am so over the moon about these new stones, I think I've gone back 3 times for more. I'm afraid they are going to run out! And that just wouldn't do.

They are so gorgeous. Beautiful reds and plums, yellows and oranges. I've never seen multi colored Spinel before. I've been obsessing on them pretty hard core. I broke into the first strand the first bunch yielded a wonderful fall looking tree.

The next batch of colors on the strand are the light and dark plums. Can't wait to make that tree! That one is gonna be awesome too. Same strand, different awesome... that is some serious win there.

This morning I decided to work on one of my commissions. I've been tossing around some ideas, but I wasn't falling in love with them, so I decided to go back to my very first idea. When we first began talking about it, this is what came to mind...

A light green Aquamarine tree, with 3 pink Cherry Quartz flowers. From the lower branch hangs a sterling silver heart.

If they like it, it will be a pair of earrings. The first pair of Sparkle Forest earrings.

heehee. Sparkle Forest earrings. That kinda rocks right there.

I love mah Sparkle Forest. Yes, yes I do.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lariats, Vines and Ever Growing Sparkle Forests

This past weekend kept me all kinds of shiny busy. I've got several projects still in the design stage, one that whupped me so bad that I finally had to concede to it being to advanced for me and ...let go, for now, and as always, several 1/2 finished projects laying around. One of my half finished projects was a pair of Swiss Blue Topaz earrings. They should have been simple enough, I /did/ have a plan in mind for them, but as often happens, 1/2 way thru they decided they wanted to be something else. Oddly, they wanted to be paired up with some really nice Citrine and be made into a lariat. Odd because... I've never made, or worn, a lariat. I'm not even sure how we ended up there.

What a cool necklace style that is! It's like... a necklace with endless style options. It looks like this...

I made it really long, so it could be looped, and worn this way...

or, doubled and tied and worn this way...

It can also be worn long, to drape down the front, or even the back. So many possibilities! Am kinda diggin' this style. And wondering... why have I not made these before now? 

I was actually on top of things enough this time to manage to get it listed in the Etsy.. Something I've been seriously lacking on this year. Poor Etsy store hasn't seen many new listings lately.

Anyhoo, some other things I managed to work on last weekend ...

Mah new Mini Sparkle Forest. It's growing so big!!

Right now I have... Multi-colored Aquamarine, Tanzanite, Ethopian Opal, Sapphire, Apatite, Peridot, Amethyst and Ruby. Well, mostly. The Apatite one in the bottom left corner is actually not sellable. I smooshed a stone and shattered it putting the last finishing touches on it so I have to remake that one.

I love my new Sparkle Forest. It's the perfect size for me, about 1" diameter each, and full of the most beautiful faceted lovelies. Well, except the Opals. Those aren't faceted. 

I think the one I'm most enthralled by that one. Those Opals are unbelievable. I'm just mesmerized by them. 

It's a swirling, firey, flashing, glowing rainbow of awesomeness. It's so swirly, firey, flashy and glowy that it was actually wonkin' out my eyeballs when I was making it. Trying to work on it was a bit like trying to look at one of those funky old school hologram things, while concentrating on one tiny piece of it at a time. It got so bad while trying to make it, I started calling her LSD tree during construction. Mah little acid trip tree of funky. 

She needs a new name now that she's finished.

Try as I might, I can NOT get the camera to capture her special light shows. Definitely not for lack of trying. I managed to catch little bits though. 

This is her...inside... being relatively calm. 

The opals are a yellow tinted shiny, but most of the yellow in that pic is her trippy glow. A calm version of her glow.

This is her... outside in the sun... giving me a glimpse of her light show....

Now, imagine both of those, x 10... and that's sort of what she looks like in real life. 

Over the weekend, I also worked on a commission piece I've been playing with. It's a vine necklace. Made to match a bracelet I made last December. Last night I finished that jewel up. Ended up with...

It's made to wear the clasp in the front. Or even off to the side if they want to. Last night I also finished up a new mini Rhodolite Garnet tree. As I was flying out the door to work this morning, I had a thought...

I wonder what the new tree would look like on Vine. I just had to go back in and check it out....

*whispers* I'm diggin' that.

Yep yep.

Anyhoo, there's life in shiny town the last few days. Shiny, sparkly and full of trees.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Of Faceted Forests and Chainmaille Too

I've been workin' away over here on several projects. Seems like I have about 5 going at any given time. Some work, others don't. Last weekend, when I was more with the don't work than the do work, I decided to switch gears for a minute. Went in to inventory more stones and ended up getting side tracked petting opals again.

Those things are mesmerizing.

Still have no clue what I'll do with those lovelies, but got to thinking... I'd sure like to figure out a way to make a tree with them. Problem is, I'm not a big fan of the uniform type trees, with neat little round stones all lined up in a row. I like my trees to be a  hodge podge of a canopy; mismatched shapes and going every which way. I struggle to puzzle piece each chip into place to get them to look like that. Purposeful hodgepodgery. That’s what I like.

Uniform, nice, neat, round stones don’t work that way. At least not for me. Neither do faceted ones. I’ve tried.

But I was determined. The end.

So, being totally afraid of messin’ up my opals, I decided to try my hand again at faceted trees and broke out the rubies and got to it. I figured out a whole new way to wrap things to get the stones to lay in all hodgepodge like and almost loved it. Almost.

Seems I tried to hard. The tree came out great, but I tried to lay some stones in at the roots and sadly, it just doesn’t work for the mini trees. So I tried another. Sapphire, sans root stones.

So much love for it.

The only thing left to do at that point was… reach for the Tanzanite.

So much love for it.

So far, I’ve made 4. Well, 5, but sacrificed the little Amethyst one I was working on last night to the gods of the scrap heap. Right now I’m sittin’ at… 4…

Aren’t they cute?! My little mini faceted forest of sparklies.

The Ruby one will be sacrificed today I think. Those root stones really bug me, so little ruby tree gets remade. Then I want to redo last night’s Amethyst sacrificial lamb, but I’m thinking that will end up a set, for earrings. Plan is to make chains of smaller amethyst to hang from the bottom of the trees. Like rain. Little drops of … Purple Rain.

*cues Prince*

*sings* PuuuurPLE rain, puURRRrrple rain.

Um, yeah, ‘k.

Along with my new little faceted forest, I’ve started another tester chainmail piece. I’m trying to figure out a good one for a necklace. The single spiral didn't work so well, so now I’m trying a double spiral, like past bracelets I’ve made, but this time using smaller rings. I finally got the Aspect Ratio figured out, and it’s weaving up nicely.

My practice piece is bronze. It’s going well enough, I suspect it will show up again later as a bronze bracelet. We’ll see how it all goes when it’s finished.

That’s about all for me, for now.

Adventures in jewelry. W00T!

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Stormy Grand Finale

Sooooo... I managed to sorta finish up a couple things last night. Kinda. Sorta. After being so excited yesterday at how my Storm piece was shaping up, I rushed right home after work to try to finish it up. I'd had it in the tumbler, getting it's polish on. and all that was left to do was set the stone. Easy Peasy.

Ok. Not really easy peasy at all. Turns out, wrapping a rectangle is totally not the same as wrapping a circle and... I totally did it all wrong.  Poor Storm was so close. Then, at the final stage... everything went awry. When I went to lock 'er in, the frame went wonky, and the bracing for the stone is... so messed up it's embarassing and can never see the light of day.

That sucked. I may have cried a little.

From the front, she looks like this...

Not too awful bad. Well, it is to me as the frame no longer being straight, even and square... sends me in to fits. From the back, it's an awful mess. I'm told I'm not supposed to worry so much about the back sides, no one sees that, but ... I do worry about it. A lot. And this can never go out. 

I need to find a better way. Eventually, I'll remake Storm since this one can't be fixed/saved. But not today. My bubble was burst and I don't wanna play anymore with it right now. Stay tuned for future episodes of Storm 2. 

After bumming myself out after mucking Storm all up, I decided to put the last inch on my necklace length Viking Knit chain I've been working on for the last several weeks. 53" of wire later and I was done. Drew that baby thru the draw plate, and my 9" piece turned into a 19" piece. 

Oh happy day.

I was almost happy about it. But the longer chain had... lumps. Or maybe they were bumps. I dunno what to call them, but it wouldn't drape right. I was dissatisfied with mah lumpy bumpy chain. I tried to work the chain to get it to even out, settle into place, but no matter what I tried... it wouldn't. 

A messed up tree and a lumpy bumpy chain and all that was left for me to do was... go to bed. 

Some times shinies are quite frustrating. 

Upon waking this morning, I remembered seeing someone say that annealing it would help. I don't know what that means exactly, or how to do it. So, I decided it was time to try to figure it out. I grabbed my cup of coffee, my lumpy bumpy chain and headed for the torch. Fired that baby up, heated up my chain, burned my hair and tried re-working the chain. And did it again. Minus the hair burn. And again. 

It seemed to be helping.

At lunch time today, I ran home... and did it all again. After much fiddling with it all, it finally worked. I haz necklace length Viking Knit chain :D :D

Yes, yes I do. And it even drapes all nice and smooth like it's supposed to. 

Have a looksee :D

19 whole inches. :D

No real clue what I want to do with it now. But I have it. I did it. I made me a Viking chain.

Go me. :D

The ups and downs of learn as you go shiny making. I haz that too.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Storm: A Shiny Project

Meet Storm. :) Storm is a special piece of Sugilite I got at the rock and gem show last year. She's a pretty hefty piece of rare shiny. She's a 1" x 1 3/4" slab that has a slate backer for protection that insisted on coming home with me, even though I had no idea what to do with her, and for the price...felt a tad bit unworthy to play with such a jewel.

So I didn't. I stashed her for future shiny time, when I could give her a proper wrappin'.

I came across this beauty again a couple of weeks ago. One of the things I'm doing lately, along with trying to catch up on orders, design/learn celtic style knot somethings, figure out chainmail necklaces and master weaving and viking knit is.... inventory. Trying to be good one night I was going thru one of my stashes of cabochons and Storm just about lept right out of the box at me, demanding a tree. Not much I can do when that happens except listen. It's either that or get nagged at by the shiny. So, I've been working on Storm off and on.

Say hello. :)

1" x 1 3/4" Sugilite
Isn't she pretty? All these swirling dark colors; blacks and grays and purples. And this funky smudge of mustard yellow whatever that is. 

Being so big, and so weighty, Storm needed to be done different. Had to bring out the big guns for the frame. Almost 5' of it. That's a lot. I've only made a couple trees with such big wire. It's a little trickier. Storm even has bigger wire for the actual tree. 

She's girthy. :D

The building of the tree part actually went pretty okey dokey. Some minor changes in the way I had to do it since the bigger wire works up differently, but I put a whupin' on it and was rather pleased. How to finish it off however became a puzzle. It needs to be wrapped up nice and strong. With the wire cage, Storm is almost 2" long. All that silver just adds to the weight of the stone making the whole thing heavier as well, and I didn't feel real great about wrapping it closed the way I do the smaller trees. She needs more than just a piece of 1/2 round wired holding it all together. 

Problem: I have no idea what that means or how to do it.

So I fiddled around, experimented with a few things and ended up wrapping the whole thing together with the 1/2 round, then used the thick gauge bail wires to make the bail, wrap it again, and tried to smooth it all out with a vortex swirly thing that wraps around it and secures it yet again. What I ended up with this...

Yaaaaaay!  *claps hands* It worked!  That baby there... se-CURE!:D  

I was pretty pleased. Mostly. I liked the look, I'm confident in how secure it is, but the tree... is overpowering my stone. The stone is too fabulous to be completely obscured by the tree. This will not do. I needed to tone it down. Soooo... antiquing we-a-went. 


I love her. I love her so hard.

She's not quite finished yet. I still need to give her a good tumble and polish her up then set the stone and put the final touches on the tree. Being such an expensive and rare stone, I was afraid to try to do all of that antiquing and tumbling to it, so I'm building this one all out of order.

So far, I'm over the moon about Storm. I hope to have her finished up tonight, then I may list her with a leather cord or something. Storm is going to need a heftier chain than I have, so I think I will work on making a special one for her to pair up later on. Maybe a viking knit. I bet that'd look good.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Shiny Week of Trees, Chains and Evil Eyes

I've sure been trying real hard with the shiny making the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I'm running into more difficulty than usual. A couple of chainmaille fails, some tree fail, and a whole lot of weaving fail. Shinies come in spurts, that's for sure.

I did manage to pull a few things together. Yay. :D There was the new Birthstone Tree...

Before and after. :)

Last night I finished up a pair of Labradorite tree earrings I've been working on for weeks now...

Pretty excited about those jewels. Cute little baby trees :D I had a heck of a time getting 2 trees similar enough to make a pair. It's amazing how different the same tree can be each time. I ended up with 3 usable ones. I think the 3rd will be for a necklace.

I'm also working on a Sapphire chain I think might be for me...

I'm doing this chain different than the others I've made. I'm using actual links of chain between each stone wrap, which although it's wasting a lot of chain link, I'm really liking the affect it's having on the overall necklace.

Am vera pleased with it so far. May have to make a second one for the shop.

I'm also working on re-designing my Evil Eye. Trying to see how it does with some weaving going on...

I'm on the fence about it. Could be that I have the wrong weave pattern for what I wanted to do. Best try a different one.

Shiny making. 100% trial and error. And a whole lot of fun.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Birthstone Tree: Antiqued

Last night, the before. Tonight, the after. The Birthstone Tree: Antiqued

It has much more definition now. Texture and depth. I like it. :)

The end.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Birthstone Tree

A Jan/Feb/March/Mayx2/Nov Birthstone tree to be exact. :)

I'm rather loving these multi-month birthstone trees. I made this one from Sterling Silver, and duplicated the 6 months on both sides of the tree; one month per branch, filling thee tree with Emeralds, Amethyst, Garnet, Citrine and Aquamarine.

It may still get an antiquing. That might work well with this one, give some texture to the trunk. We'll see what happens. 

Adventures in jewelry. W00t!


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