Saturday, May 30, 2009

another one


This was going to be a regular ol' ring, and then I thought to make it a SPECIAL RING.
I think it's pretty neat, anyway. I will probably make more in the future, but not sure I can do them to order as I'm not entirely sure how to get the sizing down. Since the band isn't round it doesn't measure as accurately as I'd like on my mandrel. We will see.

I also have way too many projects planned than can be completed in the time frame I'd like. 1 pendant in the works, 3 to be started (one of which is pretty complex), 2 pairs of earrings started, one to be started, oi.

Plenty of rings to be made as well but since that's the bulk of my shop I'm trying to do some other stuff for a bit. I also want more bracelets in the shop, so after this round of pieces is done I'll get on that.

We had a schooling show at the barn today which was really nice. I kind of kick myself for not riding in it, but at this point it's kind of hit or miss with whether or not I can ride like I need to for Cho mare. I don't need to pay for a judge to tell me things I already know, and I feel like I've beaten the intro tests to death. I am ready to MOVE ON. The next one is in July...maybe our cantering will be excellent by then and I can try training level? Or maybe we'll actually have a canter and I can at least try? Riding both of the ponies tomorrow as I am motivated!

Friday, May 29, 2009

one for now

I was going to list everything tonight but ran into the problem I have frequently:
I forgot to size the ring
I can't remember for SURE what length chain I used.


One is better than nothing though, right?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

the sun is coming out to-day

Which is perfect timing for my 2 new necklaces...

(here is a little preview)
(the pictures are really awful because I took them at 11pm under my daylight bulb)
(it is important that the sun is coming out today so I can take proper pictures)

"Sunny Side UP" (I told you it was a preview)
Mexican Fire Opal & Sterling

(Ok, you can see the whole picture of this one)
"little wonder still wanders amongst the sky, looking down at all the people who live and die. and when one stops to mourn their grief, she whispers: 'i survived to see the sun, please look around and see the things we have done.'" -grievance (Per chance you ever come across this blog, I am sorry I do not know more of your name, but I think in the spirit of B that is ok. -lw)

I seem to have custom orders in a steady stream, one at a time. I like this.

I am mighty sad after last night's fiasco. It wasn't really a fiasco. I was setting a stone for a new pair of earrings that I ADORE, by the way, and one of the little silver pebbles informed me it was not actually soldered.


I suppose I need to give it a little credit, as it passed all of my solder tests. Pliers, pickle, and even the tumbler. It held out until the very end. Good thing I found out though...I would be horrified to know I sent something into another's hands like that. Oi oi. Also good because I wasn't DONE setting the stone so I think I was able to salvage the bezel. This is what happens, by the way, when you stubbornly use one kind of solder through all 4 or however many solder steps you have. Yes, I solder in stages, and yes, 95% of the time I always use hard solder. I don't know's just what I've done since the beginning of time, pretty much. Apparently the little pebble came UN-soldered when I soldered on the ear wire. I'll fix it tonight and throw it in with the next batch.

And I will probably keep soldering the way I do because that is how I do it. I will just have to up the anty on the solder tests.

Feeling much renewed on the pony front after a solid ride last night. We're working it out. We're getting there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Check it out!

8 questions with me on the Handmade MN team blog...

That's my omgsoexcited face!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Well, new to the shop. I finished it in April! (You may be horrified to know that if I finished all of my cast work my shop would be DOUBLED in size).

Twiggy Ring is now listed ---

You may also be interested in knowing that I am eating super delicious Honolulu Cookie Company shortbread. Or maybe not.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A couple of shots of espresso later...

and I'm still fighting with my eyelids.

Polished up a few things last night:

pause ring (like this)

Another landscape ring (oh, like this...not sure what color stones to use this time around...)

A weighty, super shiny super mod pendant that I don't have pictures of, the sweet modmod new design (that needs repolishing because it has a little spot I seem to have missed), and a made-to-order kona CUFF.

Oh, also I have a mookaite necklace that could have been finished like...last week...but I've been really lazy about it. Don't get me wrong, I love the necklace and I'm really happy with how it turned out. It just needs to be oxidized, polished, satin finish, stone set. Easy...I just need to DO it. I'm really bad about getting stuff to ALMOST done and then getting super excited about the next thing. And then I have a pile of jewelry that needs finishing touches and it ends up taking me the better part of a day to do it all. (Yay for...focus?)


I have a hard time reading etsy customers. I mean, I think it's pretty much futile. I want to have items that I keep stocked semi-regularly, but I can never figure out what those should be.

I have a few items that have been really popular OUTSIDE of etsy, but no one has bitten on etsy. I think there really is something to be said for being able to see a piece and touch it in person, though clearly there is plenty of success on etsy without that.

So, I try not to think about it too much (because honestly, if you do it will make you crazyinthehead). I think most importantly I need to just keep making stuff I'm driven to make. That was the plan all along, of course. Of course of course.

And, for the time being, I have the freedom to make it for ME. I'm not burdened by having to pay bills and making enough sales so I (or my horses) can eat. That, I have to say, is very very nice.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

bursting from the seams

[As I write this, Ishtar aka ninja kitty is attempting to disembowel her needle felted crow. That is wonderful and everything but I sure do wish she'd stop peeing on the carpet :/]

I haven't been able to make jewelry like I've wanted to.

I don't know if that will change as long as I have a full time job. All day long my thoughts wander to metal and stones (oh, especially stones) and stamps and such. I have designs on every piece of paper around me. Today on the way to dinner I said "I really would just like to go touch my cabochons."

And it was true. I have a bit of a collection now, and oh oh oh they are simply wonderful. When I don't know what else to do I open up each little plastic drawer one by one and look at each of them. [There is a big thread going on the etsy forums about misnamed's become somewhat of a collection of rock hounds anonymous and it is fantastic.]

My stone binge has come to a pause...2 horses rack up a hefty vet bill for vaccinations alone and bills come before pretties, unfortunately. It's alright, though. There will be bigger packages soon to come as I ordered...

drum roll...

a flex shaft!

and an acetylene/air torch!

This torch dilemma was a dilemma indeed. I do hope that this new one will fill my needs.

Who knew that in less than 5 months of opening my etsy shop I would feel the need to expand so rapidly? I thought I would be fine working within my limitations, but after a few attempts to make some larger pieces and failing because they couldn't get hot enough, I needed


Working as an artist outside of an educational atmosphere is different indeed. I don't really know why...maybe because I know I have forever to make jewelry and not just a semester. I mean, my last semester I pretty much designed my syllabus. I had free reign to make whatever I felt like. Now I'm discovering stones and techniques and things faster than I can process and my hands just can't work fast enough.

Ramble ramble ramble.

I have 2 big pieces that have been sitting around waiting for more fire. The first is a pendant I designed and made before I wandered over to etsy land and it may not be for sale. One of my 2 remaining bruneau canyon jaspers is going into it and it is a design and piece I'm a bit partial to. And, well, I'm ohsoinlove with bruneau jasper. I got this stuff for a steal several years ago and I want to keep it all to myself.

Methinks it is time to stop rambling and maybe start sleeping.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

2 Custom Orders are DONE!

Well, one was done last week and the other as of Monday.
I made a wedding ring!
The customer played a very active role in the design and completion in this and I am delighted she is happy with it. Plus, she is ALSO an art kid and art kids need to stick together. It's been a great experience working with her through this and...I made a wedding ring!

The second is a bracelet that was made for my boyfriend's mom for him to give her for mother's day. He had seen a bracelet I made a couple of years ago and told me to make something like that. I pretty much had complete creative freedom and I enjoy making these bracelets SO much. When things slow down a little (haha, right) I will start another for the shop.

Unfortunately I didn't get great pictures of the stone, but it was custom cut by my favorite stone cutter on etsy - Lapidarious. It's a lovely little moss agate and it's set open-backed on its link.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pony time!

I have been slacking a bit in updating.

No jewelry was made yesterday, because I was busy with lots of other being cantering this beastie for the first time by myself!

This was not the first attempt. Miss Cho can be a bit like a freight train. She can also be light and floating and a dream to ride. What I get greatly reflects what I put into the ride; if I can be where I need to be and put her where she needs to be, we are golden.

So, we managed to have one of those golden moments and I got my act together to ask for the canter and there it was!

Jewelry is getting polished tonight, stones set and pictures taken as soon as I can! I have a list of items that need to be made this week too. Busy busy busy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

sometimes you just gotta make stuff

I have a new ring design to unveil (oops...but you have to wait).

I don't generally like making things over and over, but I think I could perhaps be enticed to make this in various sizes and with various stones.

Truth be told, it changed course while being created. I was planning to do a little set of stackers, the middle having a little 6mm cab and some silver pebbles. Nothing too fancy, but just enough to give it a little somethin'. Somewhere along the way the ring shank was like
put me over here.

I obliged. And I think the result is GOOD (so do the others I've asked opinions of, but, that's not quite enough of a test).

I'll be finishing this and wearing it around. And asking for good, honest opinions. Sometimes the best things are just simple.

slowly updating

I'm working furiously at bringing my shop back up. If I continue at the pace I've been going at (read: freakishly productive) I should have 8 new pieces to stick in the tumbler by the end of the weekend. I have 4 ready to list that are awaiting resizing and editing.

I've been buying stones like nobody's business. My collection pales in comparison to all of these other metalsmiths' I read about, but I'm enjoying the process. I've discovered so many different beautiful things in just months my mind really cannot process it all. I didn't know half of these rocks existed. I didn't know the earth could produce such things. I want them all, if only to surround them by silver (and maybe some gold, and pass them off to someone else.

I think my lack of attachment to much of my recent jewelry is this sense of urgency to create, create, create. I'm just barely touching the surface of what I can do, what these tools can do, what it can all come together as.

Aside from custom orders I'm likely taking a break from casting, as that's just not where I AM right now.
I also have this overwhelming desire to create higher standards. Not that they weren't high to begin with, but with the limited equipment I have some of the finishing steps are very difficult and often not feasable. So, I'm purchasing a flex shaft kit this week (Foredom, mmmm).
And a bigger torch as soon as I'm able.

Lastly, a polisher. I have my tumbler. I was elated when I first learned of tumblers. In my first metalsmithing classes we had to polish by hand. Oh, it took a long time. Oh, I feared hot metal catching on the cloth wheel and flying up to my face. In college the tumbler appeared. No one ever touched the polisher. I thought it was magic, why would anyone ever want to polish by hand?
The finish IS different. I'm converting back to hand polishing (I will still use the tumbler, just depends on the piece). Eventually I'll add this to my list, but it's likely several months away. I just wanted you to know.
Yes, so things are in motion. Nearly every piece I'm working on right now has a stone. I crave them. I crave fabrication. I wish my hands and my brain could synch up a little better and I could make as fast as I think.
These are in the shop now:::

(more to come in the next few days...2 more cast rings & a silly little pendant)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

bal ance?

I have been a little slack in updating this thing, but truthfully there hasn't been a whole lot to update about.

Now I can tell you these things: SHOP UPDATE, likely TOMORROW with 3 shiny rings that were once wax and now blind you in silver, 1 repurposed pendant (it used to be a bracelet link but it had higher aspirations), and 1 pair of copper O-O-Os earrings.

[sidenote: you know you work in the medical field when you feel like aspiration can't mean anything but DISGUSTING and you consider removing it from the previous sentence].

I've also "rough finished" a chunky turquoise ring & a pendant that screams summer. Rough finished means they need to be pickled, sanded a bit more, and tossed in the tumbler. I just made it up. Hopefully this means another shop update over the weekend!

And, the last exciting note is that I think I've figured out what kind of torch I'm going to upgrade to. If I'm REALLY lucky I may be able to buy a flex shaft at the same time. I really need to gather the tools that will make my life easier and that will help greatly in keeping my work at the level I try to hold it to.


Part of me has been so excited/had a sense of complete urgency to make jewelry. I come up with designs all day long and can't complete more than a fraction of them and it's frustrating. I'm still trying to figure out this balance thing. Truthfully, I know I'm trying to fit too much into a day. Full time job, check. Ride my horse, maybe. Go to the gym, giant fail as of late. Make jewelry, usually check. I also work at the barn for one or more shifts Sun-Tues-Thurs-Sat. That's more than half of the days of the week.

No wonder I'm exhausted all of the time.

Friday, May 1, 2009

It's finally done!

I'm drinking my coffee and listening to "Rosetta Stoned" by Tool. This has become a bit of a's a good morning coffee song. Well, it's a good song period, but I need music with energy this time of day.

The last ring I posted about pales in comparison to the challenges I had with this one.

Is it unprofessional to write about my woes and difficulties? I'm curious about other perceptions. I likely won't stop, I think it's important to document what I'm doing right now. If that involves having difficulties (doesn't everything?) so be it. I hesitated for a long time in asking for tips and advice on the etsy forums. I thought it would make me come off as a newbie metalsmith who shouldn't be selling their work if they have questions.

But then I realized that was ridiculous. Who cares if I have questions? Everyone has questions. Who cares if I don't know how to do EVERYTHING? Even master metalsmiths still have things to learn. I have been doing this on and off for nearly 9 (oh wow) years. I'm proud of my work. I'm perfectly ok with admitting that I have
a lot
to learn.

So, onto this ring. As hard as it was (the first bezel wasn't quite tall enough for the dome, so I had to cut out the stone, get the bezel off, and start over...ugh) I'm actually quite attached to this ring. Maybe it's the story behind it. Everytime I put it on or look at it I get a bit nostalgic.

[maybe I should be a marine biologist because I am in love with the ocean.]

Oh, the ring, you say? Here it be.