Sunday, July 23, 2017

MIRRIX LOOM SUMMER WEAVING CHALLENGE WEEKS 2 AND 3

I forgot to post the finished Queen Nefertiti bracelet, which was the weaving challenge for last week. It's beautiful. I have the option of sewing tiny seed beads to the edges, but I don't think I will ... it is finished. I love the clasp.

The challenge for week 3 was to weave with a new material. I had seen a wonderful coaster that was made in one of the Mirrix Looms weave-alongs, so that was my project. I bought fabric and tore it into one-inch strips. My other challenge was to install the shedding device onto my loom. It started with my making my own heddles. Those are the white strings you see in the photo below. I did a happy dance after attaching the handle to the shedding device and everything worked. No longer did I have to go over and under every thread. Magic!

I finished one coaster and will now advance the weaving to the back so I can make another one on the same warp threads. It's pretty rustic looking, but I kind of like it! I think next time I'll use thinner strips. The edges don't look that great, but maybe you get better with experience. Also more experience is needed in ending and adding a new color. Maybe stitching the two ends together first ... ?

I've taken the weaving off the loom. Now I have to tie and cut the ends.

Finally this afternoon I finished! And just in time, as we get a new challenge tomorrow morning. I'll try one out tonight with my drink and see how I like it!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

MIRRIX LOOM SUMMER WEAVING CHALLENGE

I joined the Summer Weaving Challenge with Mirrix Looms. I wanted to make the second bracelet in the Queen Nefertiti kit I had purchased quite a while ago. The first week's challenge was to take your loom to a different spot to weave. Since I was using very very very tiny seed beads (with seven colors in their separate piles), I knew I had to choose a spot with a table and very good lighting. So I carefully took my loom, beads, needle and thread .... and glasses and clip-on magnifier .... out to a table on the patio. Oh, and also my iPad which had the pattern to follow! Early morning quiet with just birds and the sound of falling water in the fountain. Very nice.

The second week's challenge was to take the time to weave every day. That was not too difficult for me. I like weaving in the early morning. And this week I wove and listened to Wimbledon! This morning I was able to finish. It measures 6-1/2" and will shrink slightly when taken off the loom.

Here, the weaving is off the loom and I'll let it "rest" overnight. Tomorrow I can knot and cut the ends, and then attach the beautiful clasp.

Also tomorrow ... every Monday ... we will receive our new challenge for the week!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

MIRRIX LOOM WEAVE-ALONG ...... FINISHED!

I'm doing a happy dance, as I finished the tapestry bracelet and attached the button this morning! I love the black edge the seed beads created. It was such a fun project and look forward to their Summer Weaving Challenge.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

MIRRIX LOOM WEAVE-ALONG .... Continued

I just finished 7" and took my bracelet off the loom! It was so relaxing and fun to do. The Mirrix loom is just the best.

This bad boy now needs a haircut! Then the next step is to cut the black ultra suede the bracelet is sitting on. It needs a tiny edge to stitch to the weaving. After that 16/0 seed beads are stitched around all edges, three seed beads to every stitch. I wonder how long that will take?!!! A loop and button are sewn on for the closure.

Look for my next post to see the finished bracelet!!!!! I'll be doing a happy dance, for sure.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

MIRRIX LOOM WEAVE-ALONG #24

Wow, it's been so long since I posted here! Let me tell you, I've been busy. Completing more of those unfinished pieces, mostly bracelets. As soon as I have time to take photos and get a few into my Etsy shop, I'll show you what I've made. I'm trying to build up my inventory and hopefully do well during the upcoming holiday sales.

Right now I'm participating in a Mirrix Loom weave-along to make a tapestry bracelet. I've done a few on my loom in the past with seed beads, but this one teaches you several new techniques: Slit Tapestry where you weave two different color threads in opposite directions creating a straight line where they meet; Pick and Pick creating stripes with two different color threads. The concept is easy, but it's so tricky to do correctly! Wavy Lines weaving one thread color back and forth once, then repeating with a second color.

Here's what I've done so far. This is about 2-1/2 inches, and I need to weave 7 inches. Then we have to stitch a piece of ultra-suede to the back, which covers all the ends sticking out, sew 16/0 (Yikes!) seed beads along all edges, and add a loop and button for the closure. Who knew weaving could be so much fun. My next project will be making coasters out of strips of material. There was a Mirrix Loom weave-long a while ago that has my perfect project .... can't wait to try it.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

UNFINISHED PROJECTS

I keep telling myself, "You can't make anything new until you've finished all your old projects!!" Does anyone else have that same problem? So that's my goal for the next few days. Yesterday I smelled up my kitchen with liver of sulphur and added patina to my copper pieces. Today I'm working on ear wires. Only two pairs of earrings done ... quite a few to go ...

My finished earrings .... These were made with skeleton leaves run through the rolling mill.
These were textured using a brass plate run through the rolling mill.
Quite a few more earrings waiting for ear wires.
I also have two pendants that have sat around collecting dust ... They need chains. And a few very cute hoops that were stretched using the rolling mill. They will turn into earrings, maybe with some dangles.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

MY NEWEST LEATHER BRACELET

My newest leather bracelet is made from 5x2mm light brown Indian 3-braid leather. It's a double-wrap bracelet and has a great feather slider that fits over both leather straps. And I love that SW design magnetic clasp and the rest of the sliders. It fits a 6-7 inch wrist. A definite winner!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MY RAKU EXPERIMENT

Years ago my friend gave me a small oval electric kiln FREE. I'm using it today in my raku firing experiment! I made several clay whistles and small heart pendants several years ago and they have been sitting around, collectimg dust, waiting for me to fire them.

My smaller gas kiln outside that I use for raku seemed like an overkill for these small pieces. But my biggest hesitation/delay was making a cage for firing. I've made cages before using metal parts, nuts and bolts from the hardware store, and they lasted a few firings. This kiln is so small, I could not find the right pieces.

My friend Ellinor visited a couple days ago. We always share our latest projects and ideas, and it's always so much fun to visit each other. Well, she had the GREATEST idea for my "cage"!!!!! If you do any enameling, you probably have the square heavy-duty steel trivet. It was a bit too wide for my narrow kiln. It just fit, but would have been a bit tricky to lift out of the kiln without hitting the sides ..... and the cut-off part that you see in one of the photos below. I used the Sawszall with a metal blade to cut it a bit narrower. Then twisted a couple pieces of high temp nichrome wire to use for the handles. It's perfect!

I glazed everything yesterday and am firing as I type this.

Here are my first pieces in the kiln.

The first firing. The pendants had a little red, but no reds on the whistles.

The second firing. Still no reds. Darn!

The third firing. The pendants had a little color, especially the copper wire, but none on the pendant. Everything looks good, the backs are nice and black like they should be. Just kind of disappointing to not have the reds. Maybe the glaze is too old ... and it IS old. Maybe adding a little touch of copper carbonate? I might try that ... then brush a little more glaze on a few whistles and try again tomorrow. If I succeed, you'll be the first to know!! One good thing is that the enameling trivet and nichrome wire "cage" worked so well.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

NEW LEATHER WRAP BRACELETS!

It's been a long time since I last posted. We went through an unbelievable period (weeks!) of rain and cold weather ... and this is Southern California??!!!! Now it's unusual to see no rain predicted for the next week or two. I finally turned on the sprinklers.

During that time I found myself working inside finishing old projects, weaving, and making a few new leather wrap bracelets. I love them!

Here are a few I just listed in my Etsy shop. This is one of the first leather bracelets I made for myself that I wear just about every day! I love it. Isn't the magnetic clasp wonderful?

This one is made with the same Spanish light brown leather that is my favorite ... with heart sliders.

This leather is a bit darker with 2mm silver studs. It has a Southwestern feel with the great feather and magnetic clasp.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

SWEDISH LIMPA BREAD ----- YUMMY!

I've been thinking about homemade bread for a while now. My go-to bread is the simple artisan bread that you make in a Dutch oven ... So easy and wonderful, like this one: http://www.jocooks.com/bakery/breads/crusty-bread/

A local bakery makes a wonderful Black Forest bread like my mother used to make. She also made Swedish Limpa. Every time I go to the market, I look for rye flour so I can be ready, but my favorite store never has it. Yesterday I went to Sprout's Market and was excited to find dark rye flour. So this morning I made Swedish Limpa for the first time.

Instead of using my Kitchenaid mixer and the dough hook, I decided to follow the recipe and mix and knead by hand. Luckily my right shoulder has somewhat healed! It's a messy business.

But I did get through the kneading part, and got the dough into the greased bowl to rise.

After punching it down and transferring to a pan to rise again, it baked and cooled for a very short time before I sliced it in half. It smells so good. And tastes wonderful! The outside is so crusty, the inside so tender ..... You can definitely taste the orange zest. It's on the sweet side and I love the flavor of the fennel and caraway seeds. This bread is a winner. I'll try my mixer and dough hook the next time.

Unfortunately my printed recipe does not have a website link, as I had to reduce it in size and screen print it. But, just for you, I will retype it.

SWEDISH LIMPA BREAD
Hand mix:
1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. warm tap water

1-1/4 cups warm tap water
1 tbsp. soft butter
1/2 tbsp. table salt
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. fennel seed
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
Zest of one orange
1-1/2 cups bread flour
1-1/2 cups rye flour
Up to about 1 more cup flour, as needed
Butter

In small bowl, proof yeast with sugar and 1 tbsp. warm water. (If it doesn't bubble up, the yeast is dead and you'll need to repeat this step with new yeast.)

In a large mixing bowl, mix water, 1 tbsp. butter, salt, honey, brown sugar, fennel, caraway and orange zest with wooden spoon. Gently stir in 1 cup flour and proofed yeast. Add remaining bread flour and rye flour until combined, then knead for 5 minutes, adding bread flour as needed.

Transfer to greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place til double. With a fist, gently deflate the dough. Form into a round loaf, transfer to a greased loaf pan, cover and let rise in a warm place until double.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake loaf for 35-45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, remove from pan, brush top with butter, finish cooling.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

NEW BRACELETS

I've had lots of time to work on projects indoors .... since it's been so cold in my garage work studio. One good thing is that we've had so much rain in the past few weeks and it looks like more at the end of next week.

Anyway .... I just finished this bracelet that has two strips of leather and beautiful sliders. It wraps around the wrist twice. I love this bracelet. I love the magnetic clasp. It's called "Trail Ride", and you can order the supplies from https://www.beadshop.com. (Find the project under Projects, then Prairie Leather Wrap, then Trail Ride).

This shop has a live Wednesday morning Facebook broadcast with a different project each week. It's hosted by the owner, Janice Parsons, and someone you probably know, Kate Richbourg. I should say, Kate will be at the upcoming bead show in Tucson, so she will be live from there Sunday the 29th at 10:30 a.m. PST (instead of next Wednesday). I really should stop watching their broadcasts, as it has become rather expensive! I must tell you, Beadship.com has the BEST customer service. They are called the "Customer Happiness Team".


Then there's the other bracelet I finished on my new loom a few days ago. This one is a bracelet kit from http://www.mirrixlooms.com called "Queen Nefertiti". Actually, the kit makes two bracelets, one 1" wide and the other 3/4" wide. It uses 11/0 delica beads. Crazy??? Yes! My daughter could not believe I was making it. The instructions were great, the beads labeled A, B, C, D, E and F. So I had six piles with a sticker label for each. I enlarged the pattern on my iPad and followed it row by row. There were about 74 rows! And now you know I AM crazy.

I have to decide if I want to leave the bracelet like it is or weave beads on the edges like the photo below.

Monday, January 2, 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A little late, but I wish you a wonderful year ahead! Stay healthy ... don't trip over your dog like I did last year on New Year's Day. I'm so thankful to be back to working on projects again and being active.

My new Mirrix loom has been a JOY! I just finished this wrapped bracelet made with seed beads. It's about 1/2" wide and 14" long and wraps around the wrist twice. I tried to take a photo of it wrapped around my wrist, but that wasn't possible! But I love it! I added a few of my own lampwork beads at the ends.

I showed you the first tapestry and bead bracelet I made in my post a few weeks ago. I've worn it many times, and it has received many OOOHs and AAAHs. Here are a few more similar ones made with the dyed silk thread ... I just listed them in my Etsy shop. There will be a loud scream and wonderful celebration if one ever sells!




Now I need to get back to my Cowboys and Indians jewelry class with Leslie Kail Villarreal which ends in a couple weeks. It focuses on using metal stamps and creating individual components that can be attached to each other, creating a beautiful necklace. Here is one of her examples. I'm not sure how mine will look, but am waiting for more metal stamps that are not available now. And am also waiting for warmer weather to work out in the garage! Need to use my hydraulic press, as well as a 3 lb. hammer and a solid working surface.