Monday, July 11, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016


Finishing my spinner ring yesterday inspired me to work into the night and set the stone in the Boheme ring. This ring was a challenge. Leslie said you could make one in a day or two .... and so many of her students have. How about a week or two? To start with, I think my bezel was too small for the stone. Why didn't I just cut out a new bezel strip and start over? No, I guess I would rather just fiddle and fiddle with it, lose sleep, swear a lot ....

Anyway, I have set the stone. This ring is finished. On to my next project.

The front.

The back.

I love the back! How about a new ring with that concho?!!! WINNER!

Saturday, July 9, 2016


Leslie Kail Villarreal has a new BOHEME Ring class. Unfortunately I have not been able to complete one yet ... I'm having trouble with pushing the bezel over the top of the stone. Ouch! It's my hands ... and remember my right shoulder and recent rotator cuff surgery. Yesterday I received the Foredom H.15 Hammer Handpiece and a set of tips, which hopefully will do the job. But will have to practice first. I'm guessing it's like a mini jack hammer!

In the meantime ... I made a spinner ring which also uses the anticlastic shape of the Boheme Ring. I started by rolling out a pattern on sterling silver using the rolling mill. Then formed and soldered three rings to loosely fit the ring.

Then after annealing again, used a doming punch and hammer to carefully shape both edges of the ring. That's pretty scary, because if your seam is not properly soldered it will split.

Everything worked out well and I made my first spinner ring! It's so comfortable and so cute.

My friend was over and used copper to make her ring. She also used three sterling silver spinners. This is as far as she got, as the seam split after three taps with the hammer. Things happen ... but we had so much fun! Another attempt today or tomorrow to fix the seam.

Monday, June 27, 2016


I just finished a 2-1/2 day Powder Printing class with the awesome Stacy Lynn Smith at the new Bullseye Resource Center in South Pasadena. So much information, such a great teacher. It was intense. We learned how to turn a colored photograph into a black and white image using Photoshop (a 14-page handout!!!). We learned how to apply emulsion to a screen, print our photos onto positive film, expose the films to the prepared screen, and how to use powders with the screen. Doesn't that sound exciting? I'd like to jump right into the process, but first I need an exposure unit! The instructor promised to email notes on making one, as well as a link for buying one.

The first day we did four pieces with the same patterns and powders. They were fired at different temperatures so we could understand how heatwork affects the texture and colors. Those pieces look basically the same, but since you cannot FEEL the textures, I won't post the photos.

Then we printed an image onto glass (two feathers). That was fired to a full fuse. The next day we printed an image over the piece (mission), and this time it was fired at a lower temperature so the top image still had texture.

The next project .... The glass was covered with powder through a clean screen. Then we used our image and added powder to the top. In my case I used two different blues to make a gradient. I love this effect!

Then we made a wafer. First we had to make a template out of black paper, which was printed on the positive film just like any photo. This would be the bottom layer of the wafer. It was exposed to the screen we made earlier, along with the image I wanted for my wafer. We made this project directly onto a primed kiln shelf. My bottom layer of powder was applied to a thickness of around 1/4". Then the top layer. Off it went into the kiln and low fired. The last day of class, Stacy showed us how to glue the wafer (it was sooo delicate) onto a piece of steel that was provided for each of us. It makes a beautiful presentation!

An image I have on my screen is an old photo I scanned of myself (on the left), my sister and father with our accordions. I completely forgot about it and did the project with the four feathers and the gradient technique instead. Since it has been exposed to my screen, I can make tons of pieces with it. This will be so much fun!

One of the last things Stacy showed us was how to clean your screen using emulsion remover. In my case, I wanted to keep my images so I could reuse them. If I ever get an exposure unit, then I could clean my screens and keep reusing them since the images are safely on positive film.

Monday, June 13, 2016


I DID IT! This is the cuff I started in December and yesterday finished!! It's beautiful. I had come home from OSH on New Year's Day after buying a trailer ball hitch to form the cuff ... opened the gate, out charged the dogs, and that's when I tripped over dear Charlie. But all is well ... physical therapy is twice a week, and there is continuous improvement. I have a second cuff to work on, plus a couple of pendants. And just signed up for the new RINGS BOHEME class with Leslie Kail Villarreal.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


I have been accumulating an assortment of metal dies that you can use with either a hammer or the hydraulic press. Some are for impressing a pattern on thick wire to then form into a bracelet. Some are shot plates that use a formed metal ball stuck into the impression, then hammered. These become embellishments soldered to your jewelry projects. I recently ordered a lovely brass Indian die from Ebay and wondered how I could use it with the hydraulic press.

Richard Sweetman in his DVD "Crushed Metal Cuff and Hydraulic Press", showed how to use pieces of bicycle inner tubing to press into the form. I had an inner tube I had picked up last year from the local bike shop and wanted to give that a try. I cut five round pieces, the same size as the metal die. Scotch tape held together my little package of die, annealed metal and five pieces of inner tubing. The result was a wonderful impression! I was so excited! I have to tell you I woke up at 3:00 in the morning remembering this part of the DVD, and was dressed in no time and preparing the stack to try with the hydraulic press. Here's the die with impressions in both copper and sterling silver.

Those inner tube pieces were destroyed!

Yesterday I visited the local bike shop again and came home with a lifetime supply! I'll be sure to post more photos of my impressions soon. Can't wait! For those of you without a hydraulic press, the video also showed the same method of impressing metal using a vise.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Physical therapy has really helped my arm get stronger, and I've been able to get back to doing some jewelry projects. I signed up for Leslie Kail Villarreal's Boho Pendant class, not knowing if I could complete one of the projects. I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT!

Here's a photo of my pendant so far. It actually looks better "in person". I still need to clean up the imperfections. Let me tell you, this one was a really hard project for me. Making the bezels to fit the tiny tiny stones was challenging. Will they fall out? Time will tell .....

My next pendant will be simpler. I have four oval turquoise pieces with the high domed center piece. It should be easier. The one after that has the ovals and teardrop shapes ....

Two more weeks before the cuff class starts. Remember that I was working on my cuff ... went to OSH on January 1st to buy the trailer ball hitch for shaping the cuff when Charlie and I met each other in the driveway. I tripped over him and I fell. Not his fault, as he was so happy to see me! Have you ever met Charlie? He is so sweet, a rescue dog I've had for about three years. He's a Tibetan terrier. Check out his front teeth and smile! HA.

Monday, May 9, 2016


It's been a long time since my last post. I had rotator cuff surgery on March 2, wore a sling for six weeks, then started physical therapy. Improvement finally showed during the last couple weeks where I could start working on a few easy jewelry projects.

Leslie Kail Villarreal offered a new on-line pendant class which I am now working on. Very frustrating, but so much fun at the same time! Here is a photo of HER pendant below. We are learning how to make oval and teardrop-shaped bezels, as well as tube settings, and then setting the stones in them. These are TINY TINY stones ... 6x8mm ovals, 6x9mm teardrop shapes and 5mm rounds. Luckily there is a product called "sticky wax" that picks up these stones easier than using your clumsy fingers!

I have my pendant shape etched and filed ... actually I have four of them. I've soldered on a center accent piece, and have spent the last four days working on the four bezel shapes. Holy Moley! They look right, but are they? I'm going to give them a try and solder them to the pendant this afternoon. It's only SILVER ($$$), right! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


My last post was on January 1st wishing everyone a Happy New Year. Right after that post I drove to OSH to buy a trailer ball hitch for my cuff class. Came home, set my purse and bag down, opened the gate for the dogs to come out ... and immediately tripped over Charlie and fell onto the driveway. Luckily I was able to scoot over to my purse and call my neighbor. I had fallen on my right side and my right arm was useless. Her friend helped me up, got me into the car and off we went to the ER. Fortunately I remembered my kiln was on with those broken bottle plates, so my neighbor was able to turn it off.

What a start to the new year! I had fractured my pelvis in a couple places, so it took almost three weeks before I could walk without pain. After staying in the hospital for a few days, I was transferred to a rehab facility where I had the best care and physical therapy. And finally got home on January 24th!

Yesterday I got those two plates from New Year's Day fired in their slump molds ... they are gorgeous!

Unfortunately I had an MRI last week on my right shoulder and the results were really bad ... so I am waiting for the doctor's office to call with a surgery date. In the meantime I have done everything I can think of to make my life after surgery easier. I'll have to wear a sling for six weeks, then start physical therapy.

I don't know about typing and using the mouse with my left hand .... so it may be a while before my next post!!

Friday, January 1, 2016


Hope you are having a relaxing New Year's Day. Are you watching the Rose Bowl Parade? It's about 10 minutes from where I live and it is COLD here! The forecast for today is 60 degrees, so that's an improvement, and the sun is shining brightly. Can't imagine how cold those people were last night who slept on the parade route!!

I started my new Cuff class with Leslie Kail Villarreal a few days ago. Have done everything I can while working inside the house. The garage has been in the 40's, so it's much too cold to work out there. I tried my little heater and even borrowed another from a friend, but they had no "poop" in warming the garage. I know how effective my big Skutt electric kiln is once it reaches temperature (around 1500 deg. F.) and you prop open the lid with a small post. So yesterday I prepared two glass projects, fired the kiln, and once it finished I had a warm and toasty garage and was able to start soldering elements to my cuff.

But, back to warming up the garage .... and the projects I fired in the kiln.

Here's what I did. I broke two mineral water bottles that my friend supplied me, arranged the pieces on thin fire paper on the kiln shelf. Here's a photo of one of them, and a photo of the leftover pieces of the bottle I didn't use. The pieces were arranged in a 6-1/2" square.

So yesterday was a WIN-WIN day. I got two glass pieces fused and was also able to work on my cuff. Today or tomorrow, I'll slump the two glass pieces in molds and have another warm place to work. I love them!