Friday, February 28, 2014

More Metals - Yes Please!

I was busy this weekend and it felt great!  I finished a bracelet for my husband, a bracelet for a friend, and a pendant for a customer!  All work was in metals and I loved it - I miss working with metal and am happy to be getting back into it.

Viking Braid Bracelet - 3 strands of viking knit, forged clasp

First up - the bracelet for my husband!  This was a tester piece, and I say it is a success!  He loves it, says it fits him the best of all the bracelets I've made for him, and it's been quite a few....Now available in my etsy shop; made with copper, sterling silver wire, and yellow gold filled wire (I'm also offering to use rose/pink gold filled wire instead of copper).  My husband's has a handmade copper clasp, but the ones in my shop will have sterling silver.  All handmade and all metal and fabulous!

Dragonfly Cuff - roller printed, stamped, hammered

Next is a bracelet for one of my very best friends - and I hope it has arrived on her doorstep by now!  Roller printed and stamped copper cuff, featuring one of her favorite creatures, the dragonfly.  A lot of detail is lost in the photos - the copper glows and the scene is more obvious in person.  Cattails, water, a sliver moon, and lots of dragonflies!

Goldstone Pendant - hammered sterling silver, goldstone nugget (shown on viking knit chain)

Finally I'm showing off a pendant.  It's not my usual style, but I love how it turned out!  Goldstone nugget wrapped in sterling silver wire.  What I really love is the hammered wire on the bottom half of the briolette wrap!  It was tricky to work with, but I think the end result was worth it.  The hammering adds interest, texture, and a stronger nature vibe with the goldstone nugget.  I think I'll have to try it again, maybe with an actual briolette!

Happy Creating,

Friday, February 21, 2014

Polishing Silver: Removing Fake Tarnish

I was at a local bead shop and was pleasantly surprised to find they had a bunch of their sterling on clearance!  I picked up several pieces that I hadn't gone in looking for and was thrilled at the price - 75% off!

While I don't mind the look of tarnished/aged/antiqued sterling silver, sometimes I prefer the look of polished sterling more.  This was one of those times - I needed 1 of the flower spacer beads I had gotten but in a polished, clean silver finish. 

Before:  "Aged" Sterling Silver

I assumed that I could drop them into my silver dip (shine brite brand) and it would clean off the patina.  I don't think most bali beads have a natural patina, however - I think some sort of black ink is applied to give them the tarnished/aged/antiqued look.  So, the silver dip did not remove the black fake patina.

Next I tried a brass brush - and this is the way to go!  I used a cheap brass brush from a local hardware store, nothing fancy.  It was the smallest they had, and it was perfect.  The black came off like a dream - the silver dip helped, but the brush was the king of clean!  Another quick polish and they were ready to use and free of the black. 

After:  Polished Sterling Silver

Either way, if you're wondering how to get super shiny bali beads, a brass brush is a must!

Happy Creating,

Friday, February 14, 2014

The 8th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party has Begun!

I'm so excited to participate in my first Bead Soup Blog Party hosted by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things!  I found out about the BSBP too late to join last year, but I enjoyed hopping around all the blogs and seeing the lovely soups and finished designs.

I did participate in a destash party last year, and it was so fun!  I didn't get as many pieces made as I had hoped, but still, I did it!  So I'm really looking forward to this party, and making at least one awesome design, and maybe a destash party too.....but I get ahead of myself!

My bead soup is all mixed up and ready to ship!  I can't post photos until after my partner (to be announced at the end of February) gets them but I hope s/he likes them as much as I do!  I almost can't bear to part with the focal.....More to come as the dates fly by!

And to end I will show off the final necklace with the Rainbow Obsidian pendant from last week's post!  I chose to try my hand at viking knit and LOVE it!  It's so relaxing and fun to make - and it gives a flexible and supple rope in the end.  I'm making another piece as we speak....

Rainbow Obsidian Pendant with Viking Knit Rope

Happy Creating,

Friday, February 7, 2014

Wire it Up!

After completing some custom strung necklaces, I decided to start practicing my wire wrapping again.  First, I made several ring samples for an upcoming class - simple, fun, fast, easy.  Perfect way to get back into wire!

Wire and Bead Rings

Next I tried combining different metals and materials in this bracelet - chain, filigree, and a bead.  I wanted to add more beads originally (so there would have been more wire wrapping), but it looks complete to me as is!  Instead of forcing the design, I decided to move on to something else....

Bracelet - dyed howlite bead, brass filigree, chain.

Now that I was all warmed up, I moved onto more difficult wire wrapping - binding.  I love the look of square wire, but it can be frustrating to work with!  Getting all the twists out is especially difficult and time consuming - and very necessary for a clean, finished piece!

The above bracelet design is simpler and more clean-lined than most of my work - it was a practice piece from the following book, Wire Wrapping
The authors of Wire Wrapping suggest stacking their bracelets, and I have to agree that they look good like this!  They also make working with square wire seem easy....

My latest piece was a large mystery stone pendant.  I've wrapped pendants before, but it had been a little while.  This is probably my best piece to date - practice makes almost perfect!  The stone is highly polished and has a wood grain pattern to it - more like rings than lines.  It has a lovely moonstone/tiger's eye sheen to it in dark purples and deep greens, reminding me of a peacock eye feather.  It was given to me years ago, unlabeled, so I had no idea what it was.  It has since been identified as rainbow obsidian!

Mystery "Peacock" Pendant - Large Stone (3")
Happy Creating,