Saturday, January 30, 2010

Copper fold formed bracelet

After adding and removing it from my Amazon cart maybe a dozen times in the last year, I finally got Charles Lewton-Brain's book, Foldforming*(thanks, Mom and Dad, for the Christmas gift certificate!)and have been going through it over and over again. I like his approach to working with metal; it's obvious that he has spent years honing his techniques but his instruction encourages the reader to view his methods as a jumping off point. I decided to start with a giant copper bracelet. When I say giant, I mean this may be the largest metal anything I have ever made.

I was trying to give the fold formed line a sort of wave pattern. It's not that fluid, but I like the organic feel to the line. I opened the fold and added a hammered texture to either side of the line, then polished and oxidized it.

And just for size reference:

*I'm struggling with this term. I realize that the experts refer to it as "foldforming", but I can't bring myself to ignore the spell check line that shows up when I write it that way and always end up writing "fold forming" instead.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Side trip: mosaic artwork

Gage gave me the most incredible gift for Christmas: a mirrored mosaic wall hanging. He even made the ceramic tiles to break and arrange on the piece.

I was inspired by it and asked if he would supervise some mosaic work at home. We went to Home Depot and got MDF pieces and wood switchplate covers, wood glue, and mirrored tiles to use. Then we added some of my glass pieces from the workbench in the garage and glass marbles from the craft store to the pile of materials and we were ready to get started.

We broke the mirrored tile into pieces and each worked on or own project. Ben and Gage both picked a large piece of MDF to work with and I started with a switchplate cover. We glued the glass, mirrors, and marbles down and let them dry overnight.

The next day, we grouted the pieces and let them cure for a couple of days. Here is Gage's finished piece (it's hard to take a good picture of something made of mirrors without losing the details to the reflection!!)

Another view of the same wall hanging...I love the tree reflected in this one, even though it doesn't show the piece that well.

We still have to put the finishing touches on the other two pieces, but we had a great time hanging out together and working on our crafts at the dining room table. We will definitely do more of these!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Random jewelry

These are a few of the pieces I worked on this weekend...a set made with a new batch of faceted smoky quartz and sterling silver and an orphan resin and sterling pendant.

I'm not sure what I think of the resin piece--I'm still thinking about it. It isn't what I pictured when I started, which happens a lot, but I'm not sure it works. Actually, I'm sure it doesn't. If I'm going to keep it, I need to do more sanding on it to bring the sterling center piece down and see what I think....but something about it tells me to just let it go already, that it isn't worth the effort.

The quartz is a new favorite, and even though the pieces are really simple, I love them.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Cupcake tower

I have been wanting to do a cupcake tower forever, trying to talk people into it when they ask about cake. Finally, I got to try out the setup.

I forgot to bring the camera to take pictures of this, so the pictures I took with my phone are all I have for this post. This was for a very small wedding reception--red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Nothing over the top, just white on white for decorations. I kept it simple (I wasn't sure how well I would be able to pull that off) and just put a few roses on the little six inch cake that went on top of the tower. The order was for 24 cupcakes, so that is what I did...but I think I might either make more cupcakes next time or remove a tier to make it look a little bit fuller. Overall, I liked it, though.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resin and sterling pieces

I started these resin pieces over a year ago, making the bezel cups and sterling pieces to go inside them. I filled them with resin, but then didn't quite know what I wanted to do with them. I didn't like the bright, shiny colors on them--it wasn't what I had in my head when I started out. So, like many other jewelry projects, I set them aside to "think about it". They quickly became buried under supplies and metal bits.

A few weeks ago, I saw some great resin pieces Janice did on the Jewelry Artists Network forum. The matte finish on those pieces was what I was hoping for when I set out to make these pieces. I've only used resin a few times, and my previous attempts at sanding the pieces didn't go very well. I asked the members on the forum about how to properly sand the pieces to get that finish, and they were extremely helpful, as usual. I sanded the higher parts off with a file, then used waterproof sanding paper under water to do the final sanding. Sure, my thumbnail is sanded completely off on one side, but the finish is exactly what I was hoping for! I have started thinking of them as little olives--a pair of earrings and three pendants:

This morning I saw a great ring someone posted on that forum as made me realize that I have a big sterling ring with an almost-finished setting for a giant hematite stone sitting on that work bench. That one has been there for probably 18 months...maybe it's time to finish it?

Beer bottle cake

I made this cake for Paul. He wasn't around for his birthday, so even though it is many months past his last birthday and a few until the next, I called it a birthday cake.

The cake itself was sort of a wreck. I made a chocolate cake with raspberry buttercream filling and chocolate frosting. I planned on making the cake look like a barrel, which required some carving. The cake was moist and didn't cooperate well, so I spent a lot of time messing with the carving and crumb coat. I was surprising Paul with the cake and he was getting ready to leave town, so I had to let go of the whole barrel idea (as well as a bottle label!) and just try to make the cake look somewhat decent and move on. This is the beauty of making a cake for a family member--they don't really care if the details are perfect, so it's a great opportunity to try out new techniques.

I made the sugar ice and bottle following the steps in this post. Since I didn't want the caramel color that sugar takes on when heated to the hard crack stage, I used isomalt to make the ice.

I made the beer bottle and lid with food grade silicone, molded around a bottle and left to cure. I heated the sugar-splenda-corn syrup mixture to the hard crack stage and added brown gel coloring, then poured it into the mold. Once it cools, the silicone slides right off of the sugar and it's ready to use.

So here's a picture of the cake--showing very little of the cake itself to spare my dignity!