It’s a Monday!

Another chance to save the world.

Today I am going to get out of bed and make something with my chunky chain.

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Can’t think what yet, but I’ve given up painting again so that will help get me back into jewelry mode.

I’m a little concerned, however, as my alarm went off this morning and I have an awful feeling that I should be going somewhere that I’ve completely forgotten about.

I’m going to miss something I don’t want to go to.

I just know it.

Like a doctor’s appointment, or the evil dentist man.

Because that’s the only reason I ever put my alarm on.

While I feel somewhat relieved that I can’t remember where I should be going today, I now have that pit of doom feeling that I can run, but not hide, from whatever it is I should be doing on this fine Monday morning as they’ll get me in the end.

I always book nasty things on Monday mornings to get them out of the way.

Maybe I should make a Monday morning appointment for a dementia test…

Nah.

Too much saving the world to do.


So I think what happens is…

I go go go go go on the creative front and then

I flop.

It’s probably that my brain needs a break and shuts down for a while.

It can be dangerous when that happens as you know it will just come back with a vengeance.

The funny thing is that I never thought of myself as being creative.

Someone had to tell me.

I’ve had a great run on sales just this past two weeks.

It’s incredible really.

Just when you start forgetting about what to do with all the ‘stuff’ you make it kind of starts taking care of itself.

I’m very lazy on the selling part though.

I don’t list as often as I could on Etsy or my website.

I’m liking my website a lot more than Etsy, but I don’t know if anyone really goes there. I’ll have to figure out the SEO stuff.

Soooo

(tapping the keyboard, eyes off to the left top corner…)

My brain’s still shut down and I don’t know what else to tell ya.

Except that I’m thinking ceramics, embroidery, and more sorting and throwing away the remnants of three grown and flown kids.

I’ve also started some more paintings.

No, not the paintings I was talking about in a previous post, but my fun, piddly ones.

I’ve resigned myself to just enjoying them for what they are and stop moaning about it.

That just gets boring and I have to lay down on the sofa again.

Not cool.

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And here is a chunky chain I’m working on.

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And I finished a pair of earrings.

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And a bracelet.

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And these.

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All while Spud defends her sovereignty as Queen of The Table.

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Don’t mess with the Spud.


I’ve been boring myself again…

I’ve got no energy Ma…

And, to knock myself really into the what the hell zone I’ve just finished a necklace which is like,

what?

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Maybe it’s just me.

I’ll be back when I’ve figured out how to not bore myself.


I don’t know where I’ve been all week.

It’s just flown by.

I have been a little bored with the jewelry and just can’t seem to be bothered to start anything new.

I finished this for Serina.

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Larimar

And then decided to use up some more of my larimar beads.

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That bead cap needs a little adjusting.

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And then I started a new chain.

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But apart from that not a lot going on really.

I’ve been watching some BBC videos on artists that I found on Youtube. The series is called, What do Artists do all day? And I’m really enjoying that.

My favourite one so far is the one on John Byrne.

It all started when I stumbled across a series on Youtube called JTV Rock Star Designer because I was too bored to bother going into the studio and needed some inspiration.

I’ve suffered through all six episodes so far, and now have to wait until next week to find out who the two finalists will be. I think the winner gets to design a jewelry line for JTV.

I’m actually very surprised at how horrible the jewelry is and that, in the six hours they’re given to complete a piece, they can’t seem to make something that looks a little more professionally finished, but I suppose they’re under a lot of pressure. Also they’re only given half an hour to come up with an idea. That would be the hardest part for me as I generally make it up as I go along.

They’re also given some pretty gruesome materials to work with.

I’m not particularly impressed with the show, but of course now I have to finish watching it.

Then I discovered the artist videos and I love them.

It makes me want to go back to art school.

I went to Winchester School of Art in the U.K. What I wanted to be was a painter, but somehow I ended up in the sculpture department. I still would like to be a painter, but I’ve never given myself enough time to really get into it and now I just end up making piddly paintings which I enjoy, but which aren’t real paintings in my opinion.

Now these artists are making me a little sad that I never really gave myself to it.

I did love making the sculptures. I especially liked working out how the darn things would actually stand up and not kill someone.

I still think about making a sculpture of a woman sitting with her beautiful legs crossed in her beautiful designer clothes using nothing but used fake finger nails. I mean, what do they do with all of them once they’re done. I imagine that there are bazillions of them, in all shades of lovely, somewhere out there filling land fills and waiting to destroy our world.

Perhaps she could be having drinks with a refugee.

Who knows.

So I got my degree and then, nothing.

Well, there was the marriage part, and then the kids part, so it wasn’t exactly nothing.

Now it’s my part, and I’m really enjoying it.

Problem is that I’d have to get up before yesterday and go to bed after tomorrow, to be able to do all the things I’d like to.

Just pick one laddie!

Anyhow, so while I’ve been away I’ve been dreaming of all the things I started out to be and how I need to start being them.

The time is now people!

We just need to get down and be the people we know we are inside and stop fussing around with all the other stuff.

O.K. Well I do anyway.

;)


Chain making mania

I have it.

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And now I can’t stop even though they take ages to make

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And it means my prices will have to go up

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And I’ll never sell anything any more

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But they give so much more depth to the pendants that I don’t think I can turn back now.

Man!

Off to make another one

I’ve got water and protein bars stocked up so if you don’t hear from me for a while I think I’ll be o.k.


For Nancy.

The end caps.

You can make these plain or textured, wonky or straight, rustic or perfect, but these are the way I made mine for the pieces you’ve seen.

I use fine silver.

I buy all of my sheets in fine silver and most all of my wire in sterling. I like to use fine silver for my bezel settings because it doesn’t tarnish like sterling.

Sterling tarnishes when exposed to air because it has a little more base metal in it than fine silver. Sterling is .925 silver and fine silver is .999 making it purer. PMC is also .999 as is Thai Silver.

Just love the Thai Silver :)

Back to the project…

Cut a strip of 24 gauge sterling silver, or fine silver, sheet and texture it with a favourite stamp.

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I have a selection of stamps from the Indian Jewelry Supply store – HERE

It’s like christmas every time I look at them.

Cut a manageable length off the strip and wrap it around a mandrel.

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You might need to anneal the silver to do this as stamping, hammering, or any work you do to a piece of silver hardens it. Annealing the metal by running a soft flame over it until it changes colour and then quenching it, softens it again making it easy to work with.

Some people don’t quench afterward as they say the silver hardens again, but, as you may know by now, I’m too impatient to wait for it to cool on its own and I’ve found that quenching doesn’t really affect the results I want for this project.

When you’re annealing be careful not to melt the metal. It just takes practice. If it does start to melt no worries as you can then practice your reticulation skills, but that’s for another day… ;)

You want the silver to just begin to turn a dull pinkish color then take your flame away.

Now you can bend it around the mandrel until the two ends meet for soldering.

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The mandrel can be anything that is the shape and diameter you want. I often use anything on hand. The shanks of my stamps or dapping tools, wooden dowels, but better still are the mandrel sets that come with a jump ring maker.

Like this

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As you then have a selection which will last you forever and you can more easily match the mandrel diameter to the size of bead you’re using.

I’ll be using 8mm beads for these tube ends.

Now solder the seam.

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Once soldered you can cut the tube into the lengths you want either by hanging it over the edge of your bench pin.

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Or by using some other way to keep the tube secure as you saw.

This is an old paintbrush.

For this method, slowly turn the tube and gradually saw around the circumference for an even cut.

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Now you can put the smaller lengths of tube back onto the mandrel so that it just overhangs a couple of mm’s making it easier to file the ends straight.

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At this point you can decide whether to keep your tubes straight or make them wonky.

I like wonky.

So I use one of my dapping things to hammer into the tube to flare out the ends slightly.

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And then I might even hammer them down even more to wrinkle them.

I haven’t done that here, but just so you know all of my secrets…

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The next step is to punch out the silver discs which will be the end caps of the tubes.

I like them to be just a fraction larger than the tube, (including the flared out diameter), as you’re going to dome them and this reduces the diameter of the disc.

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Now you can use a hole punch or a drill to make a hole in the center of the discs.

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I’ve found the easiest way to use a hole punch is to mark exactly where you want the hole to be with a sharpie and then place the bottom of the punch over the mark.

Then you can see exactly where to punch.

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Now you will shape the discs into the caps using a dapping block.

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If you don’t have these tools you can perhaps use makeshift ones.

Making shallow holes in blocks of wood, for instance, may make a good substitute for the dapping block. You can also round off a matching dowel piece to use as the punch.

For the discs you will have to either saw them or snip them. You can then file them down when they’re soldered to the tube.

At this point you are going to solder the caps onto the tubes.

You can solder the first cap from the inside.

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But will solder the second cap onto the top.

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Warning:

You can only do this if there is at least one hole in the silver for the hot air to escape.

If you do not leave a hole the heat will build up inside and the piece will explode!

It will fly away from the soldering board and, if you’re as lucky as me, will probably land on your body.

And it will hurt.

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Now clean up the edges of the caps with a file and sanding board.

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And they are pretty much done.

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These are my ‘rustic’ ones, but you can make these so that the joins don’t show. It will just take more precise measuring and filing, etc.

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Here’s what I did with mine.

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:)


The 20 gauge fine silver by 8mm mandrel chain

With the bracelet.

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Done.


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