Thursday, July 30, 2009

New workspace

Well, this isn't a good picture of my new workspace. But I found out that its location defies being able to get a good view to take a picture. You can see the depth however.

I'm very excited about the space. I have room for my printer and books and still have space to work. I purchased an "L" shaped desk from Ikea. Ikea has great prices but you have to pick up your order (Oh, they will deliver for a price) and then assemble your purchases.

I also bought an "office" chair for comfort and that was the first thing we assembled. It took 30 minutes to unpack. It was almost all together when we found the instructions. Since Ikea is Swedish and they sell all over the world, the instructions are pictures. I've always had trouble with pictures. My mind prefers words. One of my favorite picture signs is in Virginia Beach, VA.

I guess this is clear. "No swearing!"

Anyhow, I'm really enjoying the new chair and workspace. In case you've noticed, I haven't been posting much lately. I've been busy organizing everything. I've been going slowly because I tend to get tired and then just throw things in boxes or where ever things will fit.

That is just what I'm trying to organize now so I can find things when I want to. Right now it is "Oh, I remember that. Wondered where that was"

So, I'll probably not be posting much again as I continue to organize. Oh, yes, we have our annual Hot Air Balloon Rally in Pittsfield, NH this weekend to limit my organizing time. The largest hot air balloon the Energizer Hot Hare Balloon will be there. Check him out. Should be fun seeing him and I'll try to get some pictures to post.

In the mean time, I'll continue organizing.

B and

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New PMC Chain Maille bracelet

One of the first things I made in my PMC class last Saturday at Not Simply Beads in Plymouth, MA, was some charms. The size makes a good starting piece and since they are small, do not use up too much of the relatively expensive silver clay. A good thing for a beginning project.

I made these four little "flowers" and added them to a simple 2 x 2 Chain Maille bracelet. As with the heart I showed yesterday, the first thing I did was add texture. Nichole has drawers of interesting things to give the clay texture. With these four I used four different designs for texture.

They don't look much different but they are. The big thing I noticed with the charms was that my wrist is not allowing me to put as much pressure on mixing the clay as required to make it smooth. It has to be smooth to start with or everything else is not smooth. I didn't notice it until I looked very closely after the charms were fired and cleaned up. My instructor kneaded the heart piece when I asked her how to make it look smooth. Now I have a new PT move to practice to improve the strength of my hand. More fun than squeezing a ball. At least I learned how to make improvements.

Here is another view of the charm bracelet.

Tonight I took an old deck of cards and made some packs to use for varying the thickness of the clay when rolled. It is the same method as used in polymer clay to make a uniform thickness in clay. I now have 2 packs each of 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 cards. Now, I need to gather some more items for my newest jewelry making addiction and make more before I forget all that I've learned.

It is nice have something new to combine with my other favorite, Chain Maille.

B and

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

PMC Heart Necklace

Last Saturday two of my beading buddies and I went to Not Simply Beads in Plymouth, MA to take a class in PMC (Precious Metal Clay) The owner and instructor, Nichole, was fantastic. She in a master silversmith and received her fine arts degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. (That is my hometown)

We were all impressed with Nichole's teaching skills. She is both knowledgeable and able to pass her knowledge on to others. One of the things I like in a teacher (especially for adults) is the ability to help you over and around the common pitfalls and not be dictatorial in doing so.

Anyhow, we started our class by making some charms, learned how to add some CZ crystals and also bails. Pretty full class.

My favorite piece that I made is a heart with texture. I made it into a quick pendant necklace almost as soon as I got home. I put it on an 18 inch sterling silver ready made necklace. See above.

I plan on making a quick Chain Maille bracelet and putting the other little charms on it. Hopefully, I'll be able to show that tomorrow.

We were all talking on the way home about the new ideas going around in our heads. Great fun learning something new, especially with good friends.

B and

Monday, July 20, 2009

Flat Box Chain Maille earrings

I wanted the earrings to "match" the Flat Box Chain Maille necklace and bracelet I had made. I found the the Box weave was a bit wobbly. Rings hung down when not secured. I had really wanted to use a matching bead from Sherry Ploof but the ones she sent were too big. So I used plain silver balls. Then it occurred to me that the plain silver might be more practical. In other words could be worn with out the matching necklace and bracelet.

So, the set is now finished. Here are all the other pieces.

B and

Friday, July 17, 2009

Flat Box Chain Maille bracelet

Remember an earlier post where I showed a Flat Box Chain Maille necklace? If not you can see it here. A necklace usually needs a matching bracelet.

I contacted Sherry Ploof to see if she had some matching focal beads. She made some for me and sent me several sizes to choose from. What a gal! Check out her web site.

I used the same clasp to make it a set and a smaller version of Sherry's lampwork bead to match the necklace. Here is the result.

These beads are so pretty. Here is a close up.

Next comes matching earrings. That is harder than it seems it should be. I'll show the results (when finished)

Any comments?

B and

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Family Reunion Part 2 - The two cakes

I said I'd tell the story about the two cakes in my post yesterday. So, here goes.

It is one of those "family" stories. My kids take delight in telling the story about their parents. My son does the best job as he is very good at story telling, especially if the story can be embellished.

When we were first married I made a two layer cake. It lasted a long time for just the two of us so my husband suggested I make a one layer cake, cut it in half and we'd have a nice smaller cake.

So, I made a one layer cake and cut it in half. (This is where telling the story in person makes it much better - so you can see how I cut the cake) I frosted the two layers and proudly served it for dessert. I was very chagrined when my husband asked

"What the heck happened to the cake?"

This was the first of the many times that we have interpreted things in a different manner.

My cake looked like this:

What he was expecting was a cake that looked like this:

Minus the beer bottle. Well, maybe a beer would have helped. (Just don't have a current picture with out the bottle in the picture, sorry)

It does show that people are apt to look at the same situation in different ways. You can cut a cake in a horizontal fashion as I did or a vertical fashion as my husband expected.

Funny when ever the story is told, the reaction that the listeners give to the different methods of cutting the cake is about equal.

Which way would you have cut the cake? Be honest now.

B and

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Family Reunion Part 1

We just got back from a Family Reunion of about 40 people at my niece's in NJ. Weather was great (after all the rain we have had lately, you think about that). Food was good and it was great to see family we do not see often. My son flew in from CA with one of his kids, my oldest daughter and her family came from DC area. We drove down with my other daughter and her kids. (Her husband was at a national youth group gathering in TN) Various cousins, a second cousin, nieces and nephews, siblings and lots of kids made up the group.

Now it just happened to fall on our anniversary and our kids surprised us with two cakes (story to follow tomorrow) and the biggest surprise: one of my bridesmaids and her husband appeared. She lives in CT and she and my daughter planned the surprise. It was fun to hear how they accomplished this feat as we were totally surprised. Both fit in with the family reunion like a glove!

Our other surprise was the gift from our kids. Two tickets to see the Red Sox play the Detroit Tigers in Boston. Included is transportation to and from the park. That is a great part of the gift since Fenway is not easy to get to or leave. You may remember the trip when we went to see the Red Sox in DC.

So, stay tuned for tomorrow's explanation of the two cakes.

B and

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to make a Flat Box chain

Several people have asked me how to make the Flat Box chain I featured in yesterdays post. I got the idea from Becky Goga's book, Chains by Becky, available here. (Scroll down)

I usually don't write tutorials, just "instructions" that go with the classes I teach. Being there in person allows me to correct anything I say and physically show people what I mean. However, I thought I'd give it a try. Let me know if this makes sense.

Start by closing 10-12 18 gauge / 5 mm jump rings. Open an equal number of 18 gauge / 4 mm jump rings. (You will need to open and close more as you go along.)

Make a small chain of 2 - 5 mm, 2 - 4 mm, 2 - 5 mm. Place a twist tie on the last 2 rings as a handle for starting the chain.

Fold each of the last two 5 mm rings back, exposing the middle two 4 mm rings.

Spread the two 4 mm rings apart so you can see the bottom 5 mm rings.

Take an open 4 mm ring and thread it through the two bottom 5 mm rings.
Before you close the ring add two closed 5 mm rings. Close the ring.
Then add one more 4 mm ring following the path of the last 4 mm ring. Close the ring.

Basically that is it.
Start again by folding the last 5 mm rings just added and go back to the beginning.

Continue until you have the desired length. Add your favorite clasp. Wear your creation and be prepared for complements.

B and

Monday, July 6, 2009

Flat Box Chain Maille Weave

I'm back! Here is the first chain I've made since my "nuisance" wrist fracture. I decided to only do a bit at first to see how things would go. They went well. Actually, I ran out of rings.

The regular Box chain weave has never looked right to me. I've tried 18 gauge 5mm, 4.5mm and several others. The weave is OK but does not fall correctly with out some maneuvering only to need more maneuvering to keep it right. Well, that is my opinion but I have several bracelets made with sizes that were recommended and I still had the problem.

Then I found a book by Becky Goga called Chains by Becky. She had the answer for me. A pattern she calls Flat Box chain. It calls for 2 different sizes of rings. 18 gauge / 5mm and 18 gauge / 4mm. I really like the results.

It is my intention to add some lampwork beads in the center so it will match a necklace I have already made in the Flat Box weave.

Aren't those beads pretty? They are made by Sherry Ploof. I met Sherry several years ago at a bead show in Mansfield, MA. I saw her again this spring. I've ordered some beads to match the necklace.

I'll post the finished bracelet when I get the rings and beads. It feels good to be back jewelry designing again.

B and

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Chain Maille Pendant finished!

My wrist is making progress on getting stronger. The first day after the brace/splint was removed seemed discouraging as I was not back to normal yet. I always expect more than is possible. It was very sore at night. In each day since, things are better and today I worked with some jump rings. I have a 16 inch chain that is too small for me. So I made a small extender chain for it and now I can wear it with the "New Chain Maille Pendant" I posted about on 5/19/09. You can see it here. I was able to open and close about 10-15 rings with out any pain. I decided that would be it for the day. I have a bracelet I need to make for an order by the end of the month and don't want to have any problems with that.

So, here is my first finished project. Not a great accomplishment but a start. Oh, yes I also repaired a broken necklace for a friend. It just needed a new clasp.

Hopefully, I soon will have something more complex to show. Little steps. I'm getting more patient.

Other good news this week was another good check up with my Oncologist. This is the 9th good annual report. Yay!

B and