Saturday, December 3, 2016

AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT!!

I've always been interested in weaving, which probably dates back to the time my mother made rag rugs on a huge loom in my grandfather's barn! I never wanted to make anything THAT size and certainly don't have an extra room ... which you'd need for a loom that size! But over the years I've made small pieces, like mug rugs, coasters, and, as shown in a recent post, woven pendants.

A few months ago I purchased a class from Craftsy called Bead & Tapestry Cuff with Claudia Chase .... and was hooked! I dreamt about the Mirrix loom she was using, but the cost was just a little (a LOT!) on the high side. Incidentally, Claudia Chase is the founder of Mirrix Looms and her story of starting the company is interesting ... if you have time to go to their website and browse.

Anyway, on the past Black Friday weekend they had a sale and Rose Mary ordered her 12" Little Guy Mirrix Loom! It arrived a few days ago. I first had to do all the errands on my list so I would have uninterrupted days to explore my early Christmas gift! Yesterday I started viewing the videos again for warping the loom. It took several tries, but I finally understood the method. Anything is easy when you do it correctly!

So late last night I took a few photos of my project. Here is the loom shown full size with my "affinity" bracelet. The bracelet is 3/4" wide and I'll weave until it's 4-1/2" long. I have an inch to go! The loom looks huge, doesn't it, compared to the bracelet? But it's only 11-1/2" wide and 17-1/2" high.

And here is a close-up photo.

I have a choice of keeping the warp ends long. And after finishing the threads by braiding and knotting, you can tie it on your wrist or weave a peyote slider that goes on the long cords and slides to loosen or tighten the bracelet .... OR .... I could weave it longer to fit my wrist .... OR ......

Here's another photo of the first bracelet I made after viewing the Craftsy video.

It was made on a Jewel Loom. I tried to make the peyote slider with 11/0 seed beads, but found it just tooooo frustrating. Claudia Chase said the first two rows are the most difficult ... and I never got past that point, but will try again. Maybe today. For this bracelet, I finished the bracelet by knotting the threads close to the beads at both ends, cutting the threads, then applying glue to both ends and finally attaching the metal links. Then I added the chain extender and lobster clasp. I love this bracelet. However, I noticed when wearing it that some of my thread ends are showing. I think it is because there wasn't enough tension on the loom. We'll see how this next one turns out, as the warp threads could be strummed like a banjo before I started! According to the video, after taking the bracelet off the loom and letting it relax for a bit, it should shrink about a half inch .... that will definitely make it more difficult for those ends to loosen!

I debated about which loom to buy ... the 12" or 16" loom. There are smaller ones and larger ones. This 12" will weave 9" across and 24" long, which is plenty big for any of my projects. The great thing is, I could weave a bracelet on the left side and the right side at the same time! Maybe another one down the middle!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NEW TOMATO PLANTS!

I'm sure you've seen those articles about growing new vegetables from their own cuttings. Here's one I saved to my Facebook page -- https://www.buzzfeed.com/caroltan/heres-how-to-turn-your-vegetable-scraps-into-vegetables-agai
I didn't see it in this article, but saw another that showed slicing a tomato, then covering the slices lightly with potting mix. New tomato plants should start in a week or so. Well, I had to try this, of course!

The summer heat really fried a few of my tomatoes. They weren't pretty, but tasted wonderful ... so I sliced one to see how easily this would work. This photo shows the little plants after two weeks. I used three slices, but none grew from the third slice on the right. Now I'll have to thin out a few and select two or three plants for winter tomatoes.

The poor plants had to fight their way up through the terrible soil I used! A little Miracle Gro should help them.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

WEAVING ON MY NEW LOOM!

I found two more classes on Skillshare that really excited me ... Weaving pendants on a small loom. I ordered one of the looms instead of making one. You can get a small wooden picture frame and use nails equally spaced 1/4" apart on the top and bottom ... or even use cardboard, create your warp and then tape the ends of your yarn to the back. But this beautiful loom was only $20. It's made by Jim Hokett and measures 4" x 7". Larger ones are also available. I ordered the Cottolin yarn used in one of the classes and the loom from The Woolery. But the possibilities are endless ... using other materials and textures, beads ...


Here are photos of two pendants that are finished with chain.
I added one of my keys to this one.

Here the weaving is attached to a piece of nubby palm flower stem.

Here is a photo of the loom with the warp added and two of my first pendants.

This photo shows the back of one of the pendants ... all those loose ends have to be woven in and snipped.

Weaving is so much fun! When I was very young and we lived on a farm in upper Michigan, my mother had a huge loom in my grandfather's barn where she made rag rugs. Friends and neighbors saved old clothes that she cut into strips and then rolled into balls. I so regret not being older then so I could have joined her.



Friday, September 23, 2016

MORE SPINNER RINGS AND OTHER THINGS!

It's been much cooler the past few days, so have had a chance to work in the garage. I wanted to make a couple more spinner rings ... I love them. These have a scalloped edge and really good great.

And finished another pair of earrings using the laser cut patterns from Rolling Mill Resource. I managed to roll two pair from the same pattern (way to go!). The other pair is in an earlier post.

I've also been slumping wine bottles for the last few days. In the past, I've fired each bottle twice, once flat and then slumped it in the mold. I found a schedule from Creative Paradise for doing the complete firing directly in the mold which saves a lot of time. This mold has raised sides and the bottles have been firing beautifully. I also have four flat decorative molds which will work out great for flat trays.

Just as an interesting side note, I only plan to do a dozen or two of these for my Etsy inventory and for a local craft show in November. My blogging and Facebook friend, Deborah Read, has a goal to fire up to 70 bottles. I think she has already slumped 50 or so! GO, DEBORAH!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY CLASS

Yesterday I had the privilege of being invited to a Chinese calligraphy class at the Nan Rae Art Studio .... in the hills high above Burbank. What a view from a beautiful home! It was taught by Chinese Zen Calligrapher, Shantien Tom Chow. He was so kind to me, not too critical. I found this YouTube video of him demonstrating at the Nan Rae Art Studio.

Are you curious to see one of my attempts at Chinese calligraphy yesterday? Is it frameable? Is it upside down? It was so much fun, and I'd certainly want to take a few more classes.

MY NEW EARRINGS!

I finally had the time to shape and finish the ear wires on my new earrings. Remember, these were made from my sterling silver "scraps". I love them and the good feeling that I created something out of "nothing"!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

MORE EARRINGS

I have quite a selection of laser cut textures from Rolling Mill Resource on Etsy. This Etsy shop designs low relief laser cut patterns to be used in the rolling mill. The sheets are very inexpensive and are for one-time use. Actually I got a good impression the second time too! They have a wonderful selection of earring shapes ... and I have also ordered textures for ring bands. Can't wait to try them.

Here are two pairs of earrings I recently made.

MAKING EARRINGS OUT OF SCRAP SILVER!

I recently subscribed to a site called Skillshare to see if I would like it. So far so good. One of the jewelry artists had a couple videos showing how she used her scrap sterling silver to make earrings. I have a lot of scrap, some roll printed, some etched, but really never thought any of the pieces were big enough for earrings. Little did I know! Some people don't like big dangly earrings. The ones I am now making are really cute, so unlike any I've made before. And I love the way the ear wires look.

Here are a couple photos of ones I soldered this morning, just out of the tumbler. The wires still have to be formed and finished.

Here is a photo of one pair with the ear wires bent and finished. I love them!

I'm having a hard time photographing these shiny earrings. Have tried so many settings, changed the white balance. I'd like a whiter background. Anyone have any suggestions?


Sunday, August 14, 2016

SMASHED BUTTON EARRINGS

I got out my button box and found a combination of matching buttons to make a pair of earrings ... to replace a pair that just sold in my Etsy shop. What fun! Copper disks. Sterling silver wire wrapping and handmade ear wires. They measure 2-1/4" long.

Here are photos of the front and back. Or the back and front. They are reversible!



But it always takes such a long time to find the matching buttons as there are SO MANY sizes and colors to weed through. I need to get them separated into groups. Another project to add to my TO-DO LIST!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

TWO NEW CONCHO RINGS!

In one of my last posts, I mentioned loving the concho that was on the back of my Boheme ring from Leslie Kail Villarreal's class ... and why didn't I make rings using that concho on the front side? Well, I finally made two rings, and I love them! They both are so comfortable to wear ... 15mm wide, size 8 (in case you are interested!). Maybe I'll part with one and put it in my Etsy shop soon.

And best of all, I textured them with my new Pepetools rolling mill. I didn't really need a new rolling mill, but you have to give yourself a present once in a while for being a good girl, right? Actually, I have given myself too many presents lately and it has to stop! But considering I had a bad start to the year ... tripping over Charlie, spending a month in rehab, shoulder surgery, still in physical therapy ....

The reason for this present is: I have an economy mill that has really been a workhorse for many years. Recently I tried to roll a texture that had a straight edge, not an overall design. The texture curved. It got so frustrating that I decided to start looking at my options for a new mill. Both Melissa Muir and Nancy L.T. Hamilton reviewed the NEW Pepetools rolling mills, and they had very good things to say about them. I decided on the 130mm Ultra Series Combo and found the best price at A&A Jewelry Supply in downtown Los Angeles. When I first started making jewelry, it was my place to go. But this time because I'm older and wiser, instead of driving the 30 minutes and paying for parking, I had them ship it. It arrived at 10:00 a.m. the next day!

Have you ever wanted to try something new ... but kept putting it off? I've had patterns and designs that are laser cut for the rolling mill from Rolling Mill Resources on Etsy and have never tried them. Yesterday was the day. Cooler weather, cooler in the garage. Yay! I was really excited as I tried a couple of the earring designs on sterling silver and got wonderful impressions. I'll show you my new earrings soon!