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Posts Tagged ‘jewelry’

I’ve been super busy these past 2 weeks working on pattern-writing and design, and working on advertising. I have a collection of 6 hats that I’ve been working on for self-publication (due for release in late October/early November), and I have 2 secret projects that are due in 3 weeks. Furthermore, I’ve been busy planning and working on the Handicraft Café Fall Sale (up to 30% off many goodies!! Check out the sale page here.)

Tchotchke FAIL

The Chicken Pie Shop is a very old local diner where the employees have worked there for like 20-30 years. Despite its unassuming and lackluster appearances, they have the best chicken noodle soup — it’s so good that my friends and I have dubbed it “Magic Chicken Noodle Soup” (and it’s cheap!). They also have great homemade pies. My favorite is their cherry pie.  YUM.

Most of the time, I just go there to pick up some Magic soup to take home, so I don’t get to see much of the inside of the restaurant.  Recently, a couple of friends and I met there for lunch and we got some great unexpected clucks and chuckles.

Almost as good as their Magic soup is the kitch-tastic chicken-themed decor. Yes, as you would imagine, there are chicken statues, paintings, tapestry, ceramics, and ironwork every where.  However, apparently, the little tchotchkes do not want to stay put, so they’ve all been restrained with tape. Every. Single. One. Has. Been. Taped. Down.

Jewelry Casting

This semester, I’m taking a jewelry metal casting class instead of metalsmithing/fabrication.  So far, I think I like fabrication much better.  The casting is fun and the application of cast pieces to fabricated pieces would be really cool, but in the beginning, casting is just lots of detail and prep work. It’s not as instantly gratifying as fabrication.

We start by making plaster molds of objects. Then the idea is that you cast wax into the mold, shape, cut and combine the different wax pieces from your mold to create something new.  It’s basically mini sculpturing of wax.  After the wax pieces are done, they are cast into something called an investment and fired in a kiln with metal bits. In the end, the wax dissolves and evaporates and the metal replaces the wax.

Above: I’m making molds of a seed pod, part of a necklace, and the flower part of an earring. Then the wax castings of those pieces will be used to make a decorative skeleton key.  I don’t have pictures of the key yet.

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In my jewelry fabrication class, the instructor told us to make anything we wanted with 2 caveats: it had to be jewelry-sized and hinged.  At first I felt uninspired and so I worked on other things.  Later, inspiration came when I thought about my dad.

I rushed to make and finish the box without the hinge and entered it in a local art show, as requested by the teacher.  To my surprise, the box placed 2nd at the art show!

After the box was returned to me, I decided to go ahead and add the hinge so that I could give it to my dad for Father’s Day.

After more than 2-3 months of hard work and several snafoos and mishaps, I finally was able to send it to my dad for Father’s Day. I think he appreciated it.

PROJECT DETAILS: HINGED BAMBOO BOX

Material: Copper sheet, copper wires (frame, rim), copper tubing (hinge)

Design: Features cut outs of a Chinese character and bamboo stalks.  Bamboo leaves were individually cut, shaped and soldered on.

Finish: Wire Brush and lacquered to prevent premature patina.

Dimensions: 1.5″  x 1.25″ x 0.5″

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Last Fall, I took a jewelry fabrication class, and decided to continue taking it this Spring.  In the Spring class, we have complete freedom to work on any project we wish, except we have to work on 1 thing with a hinge, such as hinged box, book or locket.

I decided to make this box for my dad, but the teacher, in the end told me that I didn’t have to do the hinge because I had incorporated enough skills and difficulty in it. Plus, she wanted me to put in into the school’s student art gallery show. This photo shows the box in an unfinished and unpolished state.  The character at the bottom is my last name.  The bamboo leaves were all individually cut, shaped and soldered on.  The box is roughly about 1.5″ x 1.25″ x o.5″.

Some of the other pieces that the teacher asked me to put into the art show:

Shawl Pin. Sterling Silver. Each "petal" was individually cut, shaped and soldered on.

end of pin was filed to a blunt point

Copper and brass pin I made last semester. I guess I was inspired by bubbles and crop circles.

Copper and brass pin I made last semester. I guess I was inspired by bubbles and crop circles.

Sterling silver and lab-created Ruby Pendant. It was really hard to get the points of the teardrop to meet perfectly and to then set the bail.

Sterling silver and lab-created Ruby Pendant. It was really hard to get the points of the teardrop to meet perfectly and to then set the bail.

Coordinating and matching ring to the pendant. Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby

Coordinating and matching ring to the pendant. Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby

Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby Ring.

Sterling Silver and Lab Ruby Ring.

In order to rush in time to finish the box, which was the last remaining piece, my fingers have been rubbed a little raw from all the bending, sanding, filing and polishing. At least, it’s not so bad that I can’t knit. Just bad enough to make me consider a manicure, of which I’ve only had 2 times in my life.

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~ Knitivities ~

About a week and a half ago, I hosted the holiday party for one of my knitting groups.  Everyone brought lots of good eats and we laughed and talked very loudly…a sign of a good party. I just hope my neighbors weren’t too bothered by the cackling and roaring laughs on a Monday night.

One of the many highlights of the evening was our mini knits white elephant swap (the swap that had me cross to the darkside).  There were many cute mini knits and many “steals.”  Poor Chia had the misfortune of having every item opened by her stolen. I swear, she had minis stolen from her at least 20 times.

All the minis!

~ Holiday “Orphan” Dinner ~

Every year since I was 19, if I was in town, I would cook a giant meal around Thanksgiving and/or Xmas and invite any friends who weren’t planning on going home, or didn’t have any other plans on the day(s) I was planning the feast to pig out with me.  Eventually, I dubbed this my “orphan” dinners. I’m not a big celebrator of holidays, especially not in the religious sense, but I do enjoy cooking for friends and having good food, drink and company.

This year’s Xmas Eve, my sister, her “friend,” my BIL, SIL, neice (baby), and my friend Amanda came over for dinner.  My sister doesn’t come every year because she lives in San Francisco, so I was very happy to have her.  There were a couple of other friends who cancelled at the last minute, so I had an excess of the normally excessive food that I make.   I spent 2 days cooking, and if weren’t for the food processor I borrowed from Zona, I think I amy have spent 3 days cooking instead.

To say that I went overboard might be an understatement, especially since I had also made some lemon sandwich cookies and chocolate-pepperminty cookie truffles in addition to this spread:

~ Handmade Gifts ~

As far as gifts, because the hubs and I don’t really celebrate, we don’t buy anything for one another, and just really aren’t big on the gift exchange thing.  However, it doesn’t mean that we don’t get gifts for other people, either out of social norm expecations or simply because we want to.  This year, I mainly gave homemade gifts. I made several batches of organic sugar scrubs, from a favorite concoction of mine that I’ve made and used throughout the years.  For the sugar scrubs, I try to use as much organic ingredients as I can get my hands on, including organic oils and sugars.

In addition to the organic scrubs, I decided to make some simple jewelry.  I would have liked to be able to do something more complicated, but I’m still fairly new at metalsmithing and I sure am not one who normally plans months in advance for gifts, especially if the making of the gifts would require torching and other specialized jewelry-making equipment. I think those kinds of jewelry gifts will have to wait until I’ve learned more from my jewelry class.

For Aubrey - a earring, pendant and bracelet set. Sterling silver, turquoise and pine seed beads

For Aubrey - a earring, pendant and bracelet set. Sterling silver, turquoise and pine seed beads. I fashioned the clasps and locking ear wires.

For my SIL - Sterling silver, jasper and agate earrings with ear wires that I crafted (left); Shell and glass bead earrings (right)

For my SIL - Sterling silver, jasper and agate earrings with ear wires that I crafted (left); Shell and glass bead earrings (right)

Shell and glass earrings for Rachel, but I have to convert it to a pendant because I forgot Rachels ears arent pierced (left); Sterling silver and shell earrings with ear wires I made (right).

Turqoise and carved bead earrings that I gave Amanda (left) and for Zona, agate, jasper and sterling silver earrings.

Turquoise and carved bead earrings that I gave Amanda (left) and for Zona, agate, jasper and sterling silver earrings.

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