Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Saw + hammers + disc cutter + bracelet mandrel =


I think this is the first cuff bracelet I've ever made.   I had just gotten my disc cutter and I wanted to see what fun things I could do with it.  Plus I had a bracelet mandrel that I bought over a year ago and never used.  Why not try out both at once and see what I could come up with?

Time to play!

I made the cuff in copper which I texturized with a hammer.  I randomly made holes in it with the disc cutter, then soldered on silver discs. (Yes, the disc cutter's great at finding new ways to use all those silver scraps I have!)   Using a rawhide hammer, I formed the bracelet on the mandrel.  Then everything was oxidized and polished to bring out the texturizing and the silver accents.

A very simple equation.  Right?

More photos can be found here.


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Monday, March 15, 2010

It's odd how suddenly an idea can come into your head.  In my mind, I've been envisioning a bracelet made of silver square links, each of the squares stamped with a different pattern.

This idea has been knocking around my head for a couple of weeks but it wasn't until last Thursday that I had some time to work on it.

This was going to be a heavy chunky bracelet.  And because I had NO IDEA OF WHAT I WAS DOING, I decided that I better try it copper first.  Otherwise, I might end up with a lot of very expensive scrap silver.

As I went along, I learned what worked and what didn't work so well. Everything fell into place SORT OF how I wanted it.  I had the links all finished and connected, but I had no ideas of what to do  for the closure.  I went to bed a little disappointed and didn't know what to do next.

I left the bracelet alone for the next couple of days.  I liked the way it had progressed but I was afraid that the wrong clasp woul completely ruin it.

Seriously.  I DREAMT clasps in my sleep:  snaps, hooks, toggles.

Saturday morning I was dozing in bed and it was about time to get up.  But  I was just lying there, enjoying the warmth of my bed, not wanting to get out, half dreaming and thinking about the bracelet.  All of a sudden, out of absolutely no where, it came to me.  I knew EXACTLY how I was going to finish the bracelet.

Once I knew how I wanted the clasp to look, it didn't take me long that day to finish the bracelet.

Each link is stamped with a different pattern:  flowers, hearts, stars, bubbles, etc.   And I created a toggle by cutting it into the last square link.  The bar has been hand- fabricated and stamped to match the pattern of the bracelet.

This is what I really like to do.  Create something completely out of my head and try to figure out how to do it without using any directions. I'm completely self-taught, and trying to figure out the techniques is so much fun.  It probably takes me ten times as long, but at least I'm enjoying myself.
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Last Halloween, before most people even knew about Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland movie, Emma went trick or treating as the Mad Hatter, a la Johnny Depp:

We even got the white eyelashes right.  :-)

You may not realize it, but my shop's name, Contrariwise Jewelry, alludes to a couple of Louis Carrol's characters in Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass and Alice in Wonderland have always been favorites of mine ever since I was small.  So I was really excited to see what Tim Burton could do with this theme.

We went to see it last night (3D in IMAX) and it was breathtaking.  Definitely not in the same category as Citizen Kane, but it sure looked pretty!  It falls into my category of Must Buy When it Comes Out on DVD!




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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I was at an out-of-town gymnastics tournament with my daughter all weekend, but during the past 2 nights I had some time to finally  finish this custom order.

Front:

Back:
The cabochon is a Prudent Man Agate that looks amazingly like a landscape, complete with trees, a blue sky and clouds.  On the front is a leaf applique which I hand-cut and stamped.  I cut the back of the pendant out so that you can see the back of the cab.  But instead of a simple cut-out, I made it in the shape of a leaf.  The back is so pretty, you can wear this pendant on either side!

This particular necklace is 20 inches long with larger links in the back so that you can change the length.  I generally like shorter chains (so that the pendant hangs just below the base of my neck) but I think I might be swayed to this length, especially for larger pendants.

Although I have a couple other custom orders I'm working on, I've made progress on the ginormous Graveyard Plume Agate pendant.  It's been a struggle to set that unusal cab but I hope to post some pics of the pendant tomorrow.


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Thursday, March 4, 2010

A sure sign of spring

Just as regular as the swallows returning to Capistrano, the Lady Bugs come back to entertain us at dinnertime.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Appalachian Morn Pendant

The Graveyard Plume Agate pendant that I posted about last Saturday is taking me longer to set than I expected. I'm still working on it and hope to give you an update very soon but I had to put it aside for a little bit because I got a couple of custom orders that have to be in the front of my queue.

So what am I working on in the meantime?  I have an order for a double-sided pendant with a Prudent Man Agate.

Can you believe this stone!  It looks like an expressionist painting of a forested valley in full foliage, complete with a blue sky with billowy clouds.

And with the "leaf-motif" in mind  (OK, who gets that obtuse reference???!!!), I cut out a maple leaf on the back which I hand drew with a marker.

(Hey, and unlike the last time, I only broke 2 saw blades cutting the leaf out!  I must be getting better!)


I really love the earthy look of this stone.  I still have a couple of these cabs left (I bought all I could get my hands on and I wish I had more)  and I think I may eventually have to make a necklace for myself to keep.

The pendant is obviously still a work in progress.  I have a lot of finishing, and sanding to do.  There will also be appliques of leaves on the front and back like I did in a similar necklace that I had in my shop recently.  (Plus more details.  :-)

I'll keep you updated on the progress and on the progress of several other things I'm working on at the same time too.

(Teaser:  I just have an awesome triangular Morrisonite  cab which I just made into a pendant with a double-layer setting.  Still not photographed and still not in my Etsy shop.  You'll be the first to see it here.)


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Monday, March 1, 2010

This first photo encompasses my morning ritual.


I'm the first to awaken in the early morning.  As soon as I'm up, the dogs are too.  Of course, the first thing we do is go outside. 


I put on my robe and my slippers, which after many years have developed some well-worn holes which make the cold mornings an eye-awakening experience, (I must get some new ones, but I never seem to remember it) and the dogs and I go out together.  Me, to get the newspaper.  The dogs, to have their, well, say we say, morning constitutional.

Can you guess which of these footprints are mine?

Near my footprints are the tiny paw prints of MooShu - only about an inch across - and Indy's larger pawprints.

I'm so happy to see the sun out earlier each day - only a couple weeks ago it would have been pitch black at this hour.  This weekend we had a slight dusting of snow and, with the morning light, it gave me the opportunity to take a few photos.

Indy is a mellow old girl.  She takes each day with stride, although the snow can somtimes bring the puppy out in her and she will run about with abandon.   The other day, I caught her making snow angels in the snow.  (Yes, she REALLY did!  She was out in the middle of the lawn, lying on her back, rolling back and forth, enjoying herself and making a doggie angel impression in the snow!)

For MooShu, everything is new and must be explored.

Still, after all these snowy months, I wonder why snuffing snow seems to keep it's attraction.



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