Sunday, August 25, 2013

A week of shinies: WIPs, Trees and Giveaway

I feel like I've been working on, and posting on, the same projects for ever now. I have so many that are soooooooo close to being finished, but keep getting hung up on the last step or two. Darn it. 

All part of the process of learning new, more complicated shinies I suppose. 

I don't mind it usually. Except that I'm not cranking out new finished pieces. But, it's how I learn new things. Constant trial and error. Lots of trial, lots of error, but eventually I'll get it figured out. So goes my current plethora of projects. 

I've got several many attempts at brooches going. Still. Freeform and cabochon ones. We are most definitely still in the trial/many errors stage of those goodies. I think I'm getting closer, but still... no cigar. 

Viking knit is ...close. I've got 4 lengths now, in various sizes, and I've worked them all smooth to where they drap well, but I'm stuck on the darn end caps and clasps. 

Thought I had the silver one whup'd, but I'm not in love with the clasp. I found a set of end caps that fit perfectly, big yay for that, but that clasp is ... too small...? I think that's it. Need to try a different one. I had originally thought of making a special hand made clasp for it, but since it doesn't have a specific pendant to go with it I thought maybe I'd treat it as a regular chain that could be used with pendants the new owner might already have. Or at least give them the option. It already runs the risk of not fitting smaller pendants, so I hesitate to restrict it further still by making some fancy closure that will end

But who knows. Subject to change as the project moves forward.

The copper ones I will need to make my own end caps and clasps for. At least if I want to keep them real copper. Which... I do. Of course, I thought that would be simple. Of course... it didn't turn out to be so. Could be, I think, except that I don't have the right size tool to use as a dowel. *sigh* what a silly thing. I could just wing it and wrap them, but that looked messy and I want them to look good soooooo... I'm on a dowel hunt. 

End caps and clasps have been a sticking point lately on many things. So I've been ... clasping.

That's just... a few. I'm kind of drowning in clasp attempts. I'm trying several different things to dress up some leather bracelets and necklaces. For trees and medallions and, and... stuff. Find something that not only works well, but looks nice too and compliments the main focal piece. 

I did get one of my projects finally finished up. My leather Tree of Life bracelet. This is the one I've been working towards. It's a custom made, sterling sliver Tree of Life with a single Lapis chip made into a leather bracelet. :)

I'm super pleased with it. I finally got those darn cord ends to work right. Nice and secure like. Big.Yay.For.That. :D This little project will spawn many more tree bracelets. I'm excited about that. I've got a couple copper and leather ones in the works today, as well as some 1/2 worked ones with stone bracelets. Full moon trees, sparkle forest trees, chip trees.... all kinds of tree bracelets coming soon. :D whoowhoo.

I've also been working on medallions. Working on prepping them anyway. I have a couple silver and a couple copper frames made and ready to finish. They take so long just to get the backing made and the frame woven that I figured I'd get a few ready to roll. Just need to figure out what I want to put on them. Also need to figure out how to knock some time off these babies. It takes 5-6hrs just to make the frame, IF everything goes well, before I even do scrolls, stones or ... any decorating what so ever. Time consuming little suckers. But I love them. loveLoveLOVE. And I reeeeeally want to make them. But it won't matter what I love or want to make if they are so darn expensive no one can afford them.

I may have stumbled on to a way to shave off some time and make a medallion backing I like better. Has potential anyway. Crocheted wire. Not sure why, but last night I took one of my old crochet hooks to my new thinner gauge copper wire and started playing around. What I ended up with was a pretty cool little... thingy. Might be just the ticket. I'd post a pic of it but I've tweak and smooshed it so much it's just a ... smooshed up tweaked thingy. Doesn't mean much as is. It will in the future though. I do believe I've stumbled into something I can definitely use. Yay for stumbling into new techniques :D 

Oh! I've also been working on getting some better pics for listing new trees. I'd posted this one before, it's my rare Mahogany / Silver Sheen Obsidian tree. I've not been able to get any good pics so I've not listed it yet. It's a stone you have to see in RL to appreciate. It's got special ... sheen. Sparkle. Shine. It's just... special. :)

I think I finally got it. 

From this...(which looks just fine and way cool) ....

... to this...

I love the sheen in that stone. Special sheen, flash and sparkle is so hard to show on line. Finally got this one though.

Last, but definitely not least, one of my shinies is up for a giveaway. It's a bookmark I made for Lee Brazil's Summer Giveway.

It's a pewter bookmark with faceted Citrine, Aquamarine and Iolite chips. He's giving that away along with his book Truth or Dare #4 over on his blog here...

Aaaand now it's time to go play with more shinies. See if I can't get some of these off the bench and all finished up.


Friday, August 23, 2013

End of Summer Jewelry Sale!

With August quickly coming to a close, Labor Day right around the corner and the kidlets heading back to school, I think it's time for... an End of Summer Sale.

I do like sales. They're fun. :D

Use coupon code EOS20 for 20% off all in stock shinies over in the Etsy store.  Sale ends 9/3.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

This Week's WIPs: Viking Knit Necklaces

It's been a difficult week over here in Shinyland. I was cruising along pretty good until I tweaked myself and my neck started messing with my head and I found myself with a nice clip of a migraine. Those babies tend to put a serious damper on the shinies. And everything else.

While my brain was recuperating from being turned to rubbery mush, I had to put shinies on hold. My brain wouldn't think up shinies and my body was ok with that because it didn't want to play either. After a day or two of that, not making anything was driving me nuts and I decided to try to go back to the Viking Knit I was playing with a couple/few months back. Don't have to think up anything, just do the pattern. I wasn't expecting too much to come out of it, it was mostly just practice.

Practice went well. Vera well even :D

I've got a copper knit to pull that I think will make a nice bracelet of some sort. I got so excited about how it was coming out that I decided to switch gears and try my first silver viking knit. Maybe make a nice little bracelet. It was working so well in copper, surely silver would be a snap.

No. Not so much.

It still surprises me how different the metals are to work with.

With the copper, I had a nice little rhythm going. Smooth and even and not to many kinks to fight as I went. That's where I struggle the most. Twisting and kinking the wire. I think it's the natural state of things when knitting it like this, but if you don't catch it... you'll muck it all up.

Silver fought me all the way. So much for my nice little rhythm and having any control over the wire. Copper is softer, so it doesn't hold shape the same as silver. As it curls, it's easy to straighten back out. Silver behaves completely different. I'd make it 3 or 4 stictches with a beautifully smooth, straight wire then all of a sudden I'd be sitting in the middle of a 8-10' ribbon curled, twisted nest of a slinky. A ferocious attack slinky even! And nothing would straighten it back out. Not really.

Not to be out done by a piece of wire, or a slinky, I fought it out. A couple hours a night for a few/several nights and I had a sterling viking knit.


It didn't turn out to be a bracelet. It's been so long since I've done any Viking Knit that I couldn't remember how much it grows when it's drawn. And once it's drawn, it's done. No do overs. No adds. So I kept knitting.

Better too big than too small.

Last night I decided to stop and go for it. Hoping very much that I might end up with a length long enough to be a necklace. Then I added a smidge more, just for giggles, THEN went for it.


My very first sterling silver Viking Knit chain. :D :D :D Isn't it purdy?

I wrestled with how tight to draw it down. I really liked the lacy one, but... I don't know how the lacy one act when I anneal and work it. I would cry if it melted or smooshed flat. I've never worked a lacy version, only really tight copper. Never sterling, and just drawing it made me super nervous.

The deciding factor was that it didn't fit my pendants. Not even the new trees which are rather large and have bigger bails. So, I held my breath and drew it down more. And more.

And more.

And it worked! Nothing broke, nothing... I don't know, whatever else could happen. Never can tell what can go wrong with this figure it out as I go method I have lol.

Anyhoo, I spent the evening annealing it and working the chain so it's flexible and not lumpy or bumpy. Get it to drape properly. It's current length is 17", before ends and clasp. And it fits most pendants. Trees and medallions anyway.

I stuck a tree on it, and... tada!!

It works wonderfully!! With a pendant, or even without one. Makes a lovely chain all by itself. It just sparkles. Makes me think of woven tinsel.

And I made it all by myself :D :D \o/

Since I was on a roll last night, I pulled out the copper one I'd been working on too. It was ready, just needed antiquing. Pulled out the LOS and gave 'er a good antiquing, paired it up with my new Jade Medallion to see what it would look with that style pendant and....

I haz Viking Knit necklaces! :D :D

I'm pretty darned excited about that. I think I need to work the silver one a tad more, but they're pretty well done. The hard part anyway. My goal for them this weekend is to cap them and make special clasps of some kind and they'll be ready to rock.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Shiny: Jade Medallion and Starry Night Tree

I set off with many-a-project in mind this weekend. A Jade Medallion, a scorpion pendant, a couple brooches, tree bracelets, and, and... stuff.

I didn't end up with all of those things.

I did end up with a Jade Medallion. Pretty stoked about that baby.

Was cruising right along, right up until I tried the rest of my list. Not much worked out for the other shiny projects. A lot of frustration worked out, so I guess that's something. I did learn a great many new things. I learned that it IS possible to mess up that medallion frame after it's finished. I also learned that it IS possible to remove the outside wire when you mess it all up and if you try reeeeeeal hard, you can actually thread a new one in. It's extremely hard, but you CAN do it. I also learned, that when you pull out that wire you weaved into place, all the wraps stay sticking out and make a cool... something. Not sure what, but I see this new technique in my future. (suns. I see sun pendants!! :D )

Other than that, I learned... I don't like to be frustrated. Ok, I already knew that, but I needed reminded. Apparently.

In my frustration, I set everything aside, took a few deep breaths, took the dog for a walk and decided... tree. When in doubt, make a tree.

So I did.

It's name is Starry Night. It's a sterling silver tree on a very unique stone I got at the Saturday Market a couple weeks back. It's a rare occurrence of Mahogany and Silver Sheen Obsidian. I've never even seen Silver Sheen Obsidian, never mind seeing it mixed with Mahogany. It's coo-L!

It's rather different looking. But I am well pleased with it.

About the only other thing I accomplished was putting my new medallion on my new choker/necklace cord. I want to make it a new clasp as I don't like this one with it, but all in all...

I love it!!

Now to take their real pics so I can get them up and listed. Hopefully the rest of the projects I didn't accomplish will be nicer when we play this week and I can get them in some kind of working finished pieces. That would be good.

Adventures in shinies. W00T!

Medallions A-Plenty

Some of what I've been working on...

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tree bracelets in progress: Pride Trees

Oh, the on going tree bracelet project. I think I finally have a good handle on the /actual/ project, which has given birth to a gazillion more projects.

That's just how I roll. ;)

This week I've been test driving my working proto. Not so much testing the tree part as the leather cord part. Want to make sure it holds up.

So far so good. Aside from pulling with all my might, using pliers, it all stays put quite nicely. No snags, no catches, no breakage. Color me pleased.

During the process of figuring everything out, my original project is going to turn into a Pride Tree. I think. If they like the stones anyway. I put this one together for a tester using Amethyst, Citrine, Lapis, Peridot, Garnet and Sunstone.

If they like it, it'll be a sterling Pride Tree. :)

A couple other things I've been working on bracelet wise is turning the actual tree in to a clasp. The first one I tried was with an Amethyst bead in the center...

It's an 'almost', but needs more work. I set out to try again last weekend and ended up with this one...

Haven't decided if I like it yet. May just need to antique it and see how it grabs me. Whether or not this is the exact one I call a finished piece or not, I think it's a good start.

Tree bracelets. I almost haz 'em. :D

Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Masterpiece Unveiled

Ok, masterpiece might be a bit much, but it kinda does feel like that. My.goodness was this baby a challenge.

What is it? Well, it's daughter's birthday present. All she wanted was shinies. 3 shinies to be exact. She gave me her list a week/week 1/2 ago. *sigh* she's only getting 2. Mama can only do so much.

Of course, 2 of the 3 were things I've never done before. A sculpted cab wrap for a piece of Labradorite she picked out, and after seeing my first medallion and staring at my neck like a rabid dog ready to snatch it off at any minute she decided she HAD to have one of those too. In silver.

I've not tried silver yet. Just because something works in copper... doesn't mean it readily works in silver.

I've been working on it for almost 2 weeks. I think. Broke it probably 4 times. Melted the scrolls into little piles of molten blobs, coiled for hours to break the wire 2 wraps from finishing, broke the netting... do over, do over, DO.OVER!

The good news is I only bled once and branded myself with red hot silver so I'll have a lasting memory of this occasion.

I have GOT to stop telling people I can do things I've never done before. Sheesh!

After breaking it again late yesterday, I got home from work and dove in to try one last time. Her birthday is tomorrow, but she's leaving town at the crack of dawn so it was today or nothing. After staying up most of the night and wrestling with the finishing touches this morning, I haz a shiny.

*drum roll*

My first sterling silver scrolled medallion.

It'll need a custom chain when I have more time. Something antique silver with labradorite wrapped in I think.

But for now, it's done. She's been gifted and LOVES it!

Happy mom iz happy.

I even made her squee. That makes me the winner.



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