Well that was fun wasn’t it!

As you may know I was suspended.

Now I’m unsuspended.

In the interim I paid for a domain name and host for a new blog.

Not too bad really, only $150 for three years and as I thought that I was done for this site I went along and bought it.

I was completely locked out of this blog and couldn’t get access to anything or anyone to figure out what was going on.

I did find a way to move my content over to the new blog which was great, but couldn’t get any of my images, so the new blog looked awful with all those empty squares with that little tiny blue box in the middle.

Hate those squares.

I always feel as though I’ve not been picked to play on their team.

Could be my abandonment issues.

So I made all of the content private and thought I’d just start over.

I wasn’t too bothered about that.

What I was bothered about was never being able to talk to you guys again.

I’ve come to like it.

A lot.

Not that we’re engaged or anything…

I spent all day trying to figure out how I could transfer my subscribers list to the new blog.

I even downloaded a plugin.

Who the h#** knew what they were?

O.K. you probably did.

Don’t judge me…


and only then WP e-mailed me, apologized for the inconvenience, and told me that they’d made a mistake and I could have my blog back.

Now, you may think that this is all well and good, and I would have to agree, EXCEPT for the fact that the people who subscribed to my new blog received 563 BILLION e-mail notifications as all the content became unlocked.

I sure hope it was only the new subscribers, because otherwise I’m going to go hide my head in some sand.

If you’re one of the ten.

Sorry again.


To be honest I’m not going to blame WordPress. As a blundering blog user I can usually muddle my way through. Unfortunately this time some of you suffered during my learning curve.


As I’ve paid for the new blog I think I’m going to go ahead and use it.

I’m not completely happy with the look of it yet as it seems so white that it hurts my eyes, and it’s a little sterile, but I’m working on it.

I’m still not sure about how to transfer my subscribers over, but I’m working on that also.

In the meantime I promise you that if you do subscribe to my new blog you won’t receive all of the e-mail notifications that the world has to offer.

O.K. perhaps I shouldn’t promise, but I’m pretty sure that now the drama seems to be over we’re safe to come out to play…

HERE’S the new site.


I’d love to see you there.

And now… Jump Rings…

I have struggled with making my own jump rings ever since I’ve been, well… making them. The only thing, in my opinion, more annoying than making jump rings is wire wrapping.

Fortunately I don’t care to make wire wrapped jewelry, but on the odd occasion that I need to make something requiring even the simplest wrapping technique you can believe me when I tell you it involves a lot of swearing and oftentimes the throwing of pliers.

I’ve tried lots of different methods and bought different contraptions to make jump rings, all of which make me want to pull my hair out.

I have this.


The Pepe Jump Ring Maker



Which is great at making coils, but I’m darned if I can get that special little cutting device to work as well as it’s apparently supposed to.

When I put the coil inside the doohickey thing and run the blade through it, all of the rings smoodge down, bend out of shape and down right refuse to co-operate.

I’ve even tried taping them to keep them all lined up tightly.

But no.

I did watch a lady on Youtube yesterday thread the rings over a length of dowel, which I’ve thought of doing myself, but have never bothered with as it would mean going out and buying every different dowel size that I need.

Which is most all of them.

Still, I might give it a go as I do like to let my pent up anger out at least once a week and I’m sure this will help with that.

Until then that sweet little cutting vise thing just sits there on my table taunting me.

I think I hate it.

 I also have one of these.

314f82CoOyL._SY300_Which looks as though its only existence in life should be to do something wonderful.

Turns out, however, I was using it wrong.


I was supposed to be using it like this.


Should have read the instructions first I suppose.

Even so I still find it fiddly, awkward and annoying.

Aside from using these fine tools I’ve tried taping the coils and sawing them using all manner of painful hand positions.

I’ve cut them on the outside.

I’ve cut them on the inside.

I’ve used the saw by placing my hand in-between the blade and the saw frame.

I’ve even filed a groove in my trusty bench pin to lock them in place.

It has been a war people.

A war I am still determined to win!

So a word of warning:


even think of telling me that you’ve been using this simple way of cutting jump rings all of this time as it might well be the end of our good relationship.

Yes it’s simple.

And yes I’m annoyed with myself.

But this duh moment has definitely brought a little more sunshine into my life.

So without further ado…

Make the coils and tape them.


Place them on the edge of a wooden block or table.


And saw them.


O.K. so I couldn’t hold the camera and the coil, so…

Now don’t laugh because however simple this seems to you I just didn’t ever think about putting the coil over the edge of a wooden block. I did it every other way imaginable, but…

O.K. so you can laugh.

It’s not actually as awkward as I make it look in the video because here I’m using a very large diameter coil which has made it a little wobbly.

Smaller coils cut like butter.


(These coils are brown because I annealed the wire first.)


Here’s what I did with mine…


16 x 10.5 mm 18 gauge ss wire jump rings.



Then stretched on round nose pliers.


Trying as best as possible to keep them uniform in shape.


16 x 1.5″ lengths of 18 gauge ss wire.


Ball up the ends trying to maintain a uniform length.


Buff off the roughness of the ball.


Buff down the soldered area of the links.


ALWAYS use safety goggles and a mask.

Bend the balled up lengths.


And attach one of the links to either side.


You might need to pry open the center of the link to get the ball through. If you do, make sure you re-form the link.

Close the ball completely so that the link doesn’t move out of position.


Now you can complete the chain.


Until you have the length you desire.

To make a clasp cut a 1.75″  length of wire and ball both ends as before.

This time just bend one end the same as the others and shape the other end into the clasp end.


Rhodochrosite and Moonstone.





I present to you the…

Pathetic Lump.


Looks like a creature from the unknown.

Not to be defeated I went on to make a bigger, better, stronger,

Pathetic Lump


So that the first Pathetic Lump would have a friend and not feel so alone in its patheticness.


Little do they know that their friendship cannot last as it’s back to the flames with them.

As soon as I can be bothered to go through the whole process of making yet another mold.

Don’t fret for them my friends as once they stand at the crucible’s edge they will happily sacrifice themselves to the inferno knowing that other forms may come into being.

If the form master can get her act together and figure out how to do the darn thing.

Actually I think I’m close.

It’s just the sprig that needs sorting out is all.

Too much silver is trying to force its way into that little tube and starts to cool before it can fill the mold. I just get too nervous when I’m carving away the sand in case I hit the mold and mess it up.

Obviously I’m nowhere near it and can dig out another centimeter at least.

Onwards and Upwards.

We will never surrender.

In other news.

The painting, or at least one of them, is coming along.


I call it,

‘I can be a little harbour if I want to so leave me alone and get on with your own stuff why don’t you.’

I’m just going to figure out how to make the houses look not so silly and then I do believe I might even say that I have finished it.

I know right!


I bought me a cup.


Ain’t it cool


Off to make the new generation of Pathetic Lumps now.

It worked!

Thanks for all the good wishes.

We had a great art fair and the weather was absolutely perfect.

For a minute I thought we must be somewhere other than Houston.

NO humidity what so ever.


AND I met this really neat little old guy and we chatted forever about jewelry making.

Loved him.

Never had such a good conversation about flux and firescale.

Today I feel shattered.

Everything hurts and I even had to get out of bed early because my legs hurt so much that I thought I needed both hips replaced. Like immediately.


How do all the other people do it?

Am I the only weenie around?

So today, after I had to take Advil (double weenie) I’m off out to the studio to either try my hand at sand casting again, or to finish up my painting.

I’ve cast two things so far. One with the bad sand which I sent back, and one with the good sand which I’m actually thinking is also bad sand because there’s no way the pathetic lump of silver that emerged from the mold could be my fault.

Bit of a let down really.

Not going to give up though.

I’ve also come up with a better way to cut my jump rings so I’ll be writing about that (Gale) as soon as I get back to jewelry making.

Might be a while with the old hips playing up though.

So, $2,500 is going off to Care.

Thanks for all the good wishes and to the weather god.

I think I love you…

Wish me luck

I’m off to the art fair!

(Sounds like it should be a song)

It’s going to be a lovely day which is all I could wish for here in Houston.

Please no humidity.



I’ve got some things done.

It’s been like pulling teeth.

Every day I go into the studio just to find some excuse to take a break.

Even after just fifteen minutes.

When I can’t find a reason to leave the studio I just decide that I’m so thirsty I’ll die if I don’t get a drink stat!

What’s all that about?

Remember this.


That wouldn’t cooperate and decided that it just didn’t want to be made even though it deigned to pose to show you what you can do with all your broken pick sticks.

Well it took me three days by Jove, but eventually I was able to finish it in-between all the drink breaks and consequent rest room trips.



Not completely sure about the beads though.


And I ordered an I.D. stamp.

Ain’t it cool :)

From Infinity Stamps.

They’re very expensive, but I’ve had one before and I really like the quality.

You just design your logo and send them the pic.


It also took me five years to make these.


Ocean Jasper


Ocean Jasper and Chalcedony

In the meantime, while I was procrastinating going into the studio by ordering more stuff, I bought a sand casting kit.


The wrong one as it turns out.

It all looked so easy on the videos, but man, that sand went everywhere. I even got some in my mouth.

It was like I was a child again.

O.K. still…

I couldn’t keep my space clean to save my life, yet the man on the video didn’t get a grain out of place.

It was very depressing.

My first casting came out so horribly that I just packed all the stuff back into the box in disgust and put the whole thing down as a waste of money.

But I really, really wanted to do it :( and if that man could do it, so could I damn it!

I’d bought it on Amazon and decided to go back there to buy some different sand and try again.

The same sand that the annoyingly good at it man used.

And, while cursing myself that I always get things wrong, I decided to read the reviews on the kit I’d bought.

Now I always read the reviews before I buy anything.

Always… except for this time.

Should’ve read the darn reviews.

Everyone complained about the sand, and when I came to think about it, I couldn’t quite remember why I had bought the brand I’d gone for in the first place when it was more expensive than the brand I’d originally gone onto Amazon to compare pricing on.

The funk’s messing with my brain man!

Then I got a bit ticked off because it was 120 odd dollars and it didn’t work even though it said, new and improved sand, in big letters on the tub.

That should’ve been my first clue.

So in a fit of determination I sent the whole package back even though I’d used the sand and the casting flask had burn marks around the funnel area where I’d poured the silver in.

I told them on the little return box that I’d used it, but that it was horrible, but Amazon refunded me straight away, even before the company had received my parcel back.

I was quite impressed.

Don’t know if the sand casting people are going to be though.

Now I’ve ordered the one I wanted in the first place.


Stay tuned…

Emboldened I next contacted a nice lady on FB who reps for JoolTool.

I’d decided that I’d had enough of defective tools and products.

If you remember some of the discs that came with my JoolTool (seven of them!) kept spinning off the spindle when I was using them because their threads had worn or something.

These things are expensive and so are the adhesive pads and papers that you stick to them.


I mean this bunch right here cost over $400!

(I shouldn’t have looked at the price…)

I’d already contacted the shop a couple of months ago and no one had answered me, so I was feeling pretty taken.

BUT this rep was great and Anie, the product designer and owner, phoned me and walked me through fixing them and now they are perfect and ready to go!

Great result.

Great customer service.

Very happy camper right here.

To celebrate I have a little pair of earrings you can make.


All for you :)

First take 18 gauge sterling silver wire and wrap it around a mandrel six times.


I’ve used the largest ring on this pair of pliers.

It always irritates me when I get this particular pair of pliers out because I can’t remember why there is a number 1 and an asterisk on them.

I don’t think I put it on them, but why would I buy a pair that were marked?

Just another of life’s mysteries to mess with my mind…

Now snip and solder them.


Shape them into rough ovals and haphazardly hammer them.


And group them into threes.


As always I’ve forgotten the next photo which would have been of making a loop out of a thicker piece of wire.

I used 8 gauge half round wire.

Now loop the three wires through it and solder the top of the loop together.

Because the half round wire is thick I left the top of it shaped as a teardrop instead of trying to get it perfectly round.

Now find two large silver balls that you have in your silver ball scrap box and solder one onto the rounded part of the thick tear drop ring.

The next photo’s are fuzzy, sorry. I tried hard to get good ones, but, as good as I am, I couldn’t hold everything at once.

Hold the tear drop point facing down in your third hand tweezers.

If you haven’t already got third hand tweeter, get some.

They’re invaluable.

Saves a lot of hospital visits.

Now make sure that all of the soldered areas of the thin large rings are facing down away from the tear drop and place one of those old pick sticks through the tear drop to separate the three rings from the soldered part of the tear drop.

This will help prevent the tear drop solder flowing onto the three rings while you’re soldering the ball onto the round part of the tear drop.



Put some flux on top of the round end of the tear drop and on the bottom of the ball.

Heat the bottom of the ball and pick up a melted ball of solder with it.


Now heat up the round end of the tear drop and solder the ball onto it.

Turn the tear drop over and clasp it in the third hand, again putting the broken pick stick between the bottom of the three rings and the inside of the round end of the tear drop as before.


Get a little jump ring and place it in your third hand with the join facing downward and put some flux on the bottom of the jump ring and on the tear drop end of the large ring.

Gently heat the jump ring and pick up a small piece of solder as you did with the ball.

Now heat the tear drop end keeping the jump ring away from the flame, but close enough to stay heated and when the solder is ready touch the jump ring to the tear drop end.


Pickle the earrings.

Make some ear wires.

And polish the way you desire.

And voilà!

Your earrings are ready.


Now you can knock yourself out and make as many variations as you want.


I tried a different way to connect the ear wire here, but don’t like it as much as the other way.

Always good to experiment though


I leave you with the progress of the painting.



you might want to look away…

a poor me sawing injury

because when you’re in a funk normal activities take on a life of their own and like to do things to make you swear.


I’ve made it small for grossing out purposes.

A lot.

So the plan was…

That the chunky chain got a home.

Didn’t happen.

Instead I started a new painting.


Yes, I know I said I’d given it up again…

So I got this far and then decided I was bored with it.

So I moved over to the jewelry area and half heartedly played around with some sketches and stones.


And decided on the spider one.


Even though I knew that it really wasn’t ever going to be the same as the drawing.

Just to step it up a bit I used one of my new stamps on it.


And then soldered it onto a back plate that was way too large for it.


That annoyed me as I usually pay a lot of attention to the amount of silver I waste to the point that I often have zero wiggle room to work with which also annoys me because then it’s touch and go that I’ve enough silver around the piece to do what I want with.

Guess the search for a happy medium continues…

Now I will share with you a tip for what to do with all your old pick sticks.

I don’t know about you, but after a while my picks start to loosen from their wooden handle. Even though I try to ignore it for a while they eventually start to swivel in the handle when I’m doing the picking thing with them.

I still try to ignore it, but then it just begins to get ridiculous and I can’t do a thing with them.

That’s when I get excited because I remember that hey! I can just buy a new one.


I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.

So, not one to be wasteful, (apart from the huge amount of silver waste above), I keep the pick ends and use them to prop up pieces when I’m soldering.



Anyway, long story short, it all looks good here, but the soldering flopped due to the funkness and then I had to go in to make dinner…

Not before I added a bit more to the painting though.


So… that’s it.

In other news, while I was bored with it all and in one of my funks, I bought a new table top to add to the jewelry bench area and now it feels more complete.


I’m telling you, that small Swedish store is a blessing when you need a funk distraction.


Now my jewelry area is fantabulous.


And I feel very fortunate.




And just so the painting side of the studio didn’t feel left out I bought it a new table and drawers also.


That side is still a bit of a mess, but I’m working on it…

But look at all my pastels!

They have a happy home…



AND last, but not least, I have to tell you that I’ve hit another milestone.


Next stop $50,000.

See where I’ve sent it – HERE



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