Friday, August 26, 2011

Vacation goodies

Ever since I became a mother, my vacation days from work have primarily been about my kids' schedules.  I take vacation days at the beginning of school to make sure everyone gets started ok, I take vacation days at the end of school to attend all of the ceremonies and do a little celebration to kick off the start of summer.  I take vacation days when school is out to be home with the kids. 

One of the things I love about the school days off is that I can spend lots of time with the kids (well, "kid".  One will hang out with me and the other won't, but I should take that up with a therapist rather than in a blog post) but also have several hours in between to work on my own projects.  Generally these activities swirl around cake or jewelry and I can get completely lost in either of those for hours.  I walk around with my phone in my pocket, earphones plugged in, listening to satellite radio through an app for hours.  Most often it's the 80s music channel.  And I sing.  Loudly and very badly.  So lucky passers-by can surely hear me when I work at the jewelry bench in the garage with the door open. Nothing recharges me like working with glass and metal does, especially with the music playing and hours before I have to be anywhere.

So last week with the start of school, I took Wednesday through Friday off.  I probably got at least eight hours of bench time in, and it made me ridiculously happy.

I started with some metal work; earrings and a necklace from 12 gauge sterling:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Catching up

I have actually been making things, I just haven't gotten things organized and photographed.  So this is just a quick update.

My sister made a lemon/blueberry cake for some friends who were getting married and asked if I would help decorate it.  So she made all of the materials and I just put it together.  I think she uses an Italian meringue buttercream recipe-it sounded like the recipes I've seen for it, anyway.  I've never tried it, and that's because every single review I've seen for it raved about how it wasn't as sweet as a regular buttercream.  Why would anyone want that? It was really light and decorating with stabilized whipped cream. Easy to frost with, but not so good for piping.

I've also done some glass work in the last couple of weeks, starting with a few simple necklaces on leather cords.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Spinner bracelet

One of the reasons I buy books on jewelry making techniques is because I seem to take in the information in layers.  I read about a process, try it, move on to other projects, then go back to the book and realize there is something I could do to improve my work.  This is especially true with lampwork and metal forming.

Last weekend my kids and I went home to visit my parents, most of my siblings, and their kids and/or significant others. (Yes, I still call it "home" and always will.) When I packed, I stuck the Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition and Foldforming books in my bag for downtime reading. I reread a few of the sections right before bed (I did put them aside to go downstairs and ask the youngsters to quiet down at one know you are the old hag sibling when you issue noise citations for a card game at 11:30pm) and was inspired to do some metalwork when I got back.

I love using stakes to forge metal, but I have a lot to learn...maybe I just like to smash the metal with a hammer. I worked copper over a metal stake with a plastic tipped hammer to form a concave bracelet. Then I used a ball peen hammer on parts of the metal for some texture and decided to give it a little spinner detail, like these rings