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BTW

Our plumber, Glen, came to swap out the faucet in the hall bath so our 3-year-old can wash her hands by herself.  I had called him after deciding that cutting copper supply lines was outside of our DIY realm, and after Glen was finished he was collecting all the pieces and I asked if he had plans for the old copper pipes and that brass ring thingy.  When he said they were just going in his scrap bin to recycle, I was all like, “What else is in there?”  One person’s trash is another’s treasure. 

Look at that natural verdigris
I am planning to cut the pipe into segments to be sliders on Viking knitting or braided wire.  (My tutorials for Viking Weave and Vertebraid can be found here.)

What’s on your bead table this week?

Update 4/22: Glen brought me a whole bag full of those brass rings.  Yay!
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Spring is here

Hi, gang!  It’s been a busy spring here in my studio, on account of the miserable weather we’ve had.  A new collection of pieces is looking happy at the shop downtown

I’ve also been able to work on some other projects like…

…the PMC Round Box Pendant tutorial!  It is a pretty simple and straightforward design, but I take you through step-by-step with little tips on things to look out for along the way.  I also show you how to modify the design to make your own resin blanks. 

This is a snippet from a map of Gothenburg, Sweden, in case you’re wondering.

More tutorials are in the works!  See that pair of flower bud earrings up there?  Hint, hint.

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A little background

I go back and forth wanting to keep the background of my jewelry photos neutral and consistent, and then getting bored with that and wanting to use props.  Lately I’ve found some fun things with which to give my new pieces some company in photos.

Slate (flagstone?) from our patio

Old books, salvaged architectural elements
I love how this rusty metal sets off the white and shiny silver in this bracelet

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Resinating

Auntie’s Beads recently contacted me to try some of their products in exchange for telling all of you wonderful people about them.  Lately I’ve been yearning to try some more resin projects, so I chose several of their glue-in-and-glaze charms on this page.  They are plated instead of solid precious metal, which means they are a bargain and yet have a nice weight to them.

 

One of the other resin blanks I used during this round of resin is one I made from scraps of PMC.  It has French script on the back and I traced around it on rice paper to get the right size of insert.  Another option is to use a paper punch if you’re using calibrated bezel cups.  Or, Auntie’s Beads offers a template card for sale so you don’t have to guess while cutting a paper for, say, the oval glue-in-and-glaze charms. 
I was more interested in getting the project finished than I was in the aesthetics of each piece, but I did try including some seed beads and a sprinkling of fine glitter.  On our trip to Savannah I found an awesome art supply store and picked up some Japanese decorative paper, so I inculded some of that as well. 
The charms from Auntie’s Beads are pretty shallow, so there’s not a lot of room in the well to hold 3-dimensional found objects, but it also means it won’t use up a lot of resin volume like the die-cut bezel cup pictured here.  If you’re just using decorative paper or photographs, they would work great.  Another benefit of the glue-in-and-glaze charms is that they come as links, ready to make into jewelry when the resin dries.  For these sterling bezel cups I have to solder on rings, and that’s just a pain.
I use Colores doming resin from Rio Grande, which is a two-part non-yellowing epoxy with a long open time so you can mess around with your design before it cures. Resin is all the rage in Jewelry World right now and next I think I want to try UV resin.  No careful mixing, no waiting all night for it to cure.  It costs more, but considering I’ve used about half an ounce of the huge bottles I have, that shouldn’t be a big deal.
I liked how the charms from Auntie’s Beads turned out.  Like I said, they are inexpensive and have a nice weight to them, and they have rings attached so these are all ready to link into a design.

 

Steampunk is another trend right now in Jewelry World, and in some of these pieces I included some watch gears I found on eBay years ago. 
I also have some decorative brads from the scrapbook aisle that are in the shape of keyholes, but they are hollow and lightweight so I thought they would be good candidates for resin. 
I snipped off the brad parts and, since they have holes already, stuck them to a piece of packing tape so the resin wouldn’t leak out.  And because their holes are now closed I drilled through the resin with my Dremel in order to link these components to other things.  I could have placed brass tubing for the holes and “resin’ed” around it, but it seemed like a hassle to keep things from moving around with wet epoxy in the equation.  My only complaint about the tape-back method is that it gave sort of a matte finish on the back instead of the shiny clear on the top side.
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Spoils

I never know where I’m going to find ingredients for jewelry.  We visited Steve’s parents near Rochester over Labor Day.  One afternoon Steve and I went into town to check out the Neighborhood of the Arts.  Found a great antique store I can’t afford, a bakery that sells wedding cake by the slice, one of the best museum gift shops I’ve ever seen, and finally a junk-tique store where I found some treasures.  Skeleton keys, antique buttons (from the estate of a button collector), and ugly vintage pillowcases that will make cute little dresses for my girl. 
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Confessions of a beadaholic

My dad has a work area in the basement of our family cabin in the mountains.  It’s a place to tinker with things and to store his tools.  He has screws and bolts and washers organized in old baby food jars nailed through the lids to the under side of the stairway.  I wish I had a photo, it’s really quite clever.  Anyway, my post today was not about how to store tiny things like beads so they are visible, but to confess that I recently raided his stash for some rusty old pieces to use as jewelry components. 

The locking washer was actually split on one side, so I wired it together with sterling and it now serves as part of the clasp.  I tumbled the components and sealed them so I don’t have to worry about rust stains on clothing.  There’s nothing like real patina on metal.