Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Challenge of Music blog hop

Today is the day for Erin Prais-Hintz's Challenge of Music blog hop. I must admit, I signed up for this challenge with a little apprehension. I wasn't sure if I could be inspired by music to make jewelry.
 I really started listening to some of my favorite artists and songs. I originally thought I'd use a song by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, because his songs are like little stories, with vivid imagery.

But as I started to look around online for components, I kept hearing "Home" by Daughtry in my head. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 5 years or so, you probably have at least heard of them. I love "Home" (this link is to a youtube video), Daughtry's second hit single. I listen to Daughtry while I work out at the gym, so I've heard all their songs repeatedly. I know every lyric by heart....

"I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me."

I thought about "home" and what it could mean...
A house to a person...
A nest to a bird...
I started buying components for "home", each one more perfect than the next. So, in no particular order, I'll show you my homes....

This first one features components from Captured Moments. I fell in love with the egg connector, and the bird nest focal. I am sorry to say that my camera was acting up for these photos, but you get the idea (they really do not have that pinkish glow)! I added some carved bone beads that matched the ceramics pieces perfectly, and a wire bead that reminded me of a nest. Finished off with some Vintaj bead caps and wire.

The matching earrings are made with flower connectors. They came as a set with the one egg connector from the necklace.

These wooden birdhouses are from ARTchix Studios. How cute are they?? When I saw them on the website, I immediately knew I wanted to layer them, so I also bought plain houses without the window, to use as the back layer. Of course, once things are in your hands, it doesn't always work out how you planned. My thought was to put a vintage image of a bird on the back layer to show through the window, add some wire or other fibers in the middle, and the birdhouse on the top. Let's just say that I don't have all the needed skills, or materials! I made the wire nest and eggs to hang behind, and I'm happy with it (I still did "layers").
The blue beads are faceted czech glass in 2 sizes. I also folded an antique brass leaf bail to use at the top of my house, just to give it a little something extra. Added in some antique brass bead caps and Vintaj chain too.

This is the focal, behind the scenes. You can see the wood burn marks on the back. It smells like a fire in the fireplace. I love that smell.

The earrings are smaller houses. I hung the little "egg" in the front. I thought they might not show well  if I hung them on the back of the earrings.

Last, but not least, is my third house (This is turning into "The Three Little Pigs" lol...)
Anyway. This raku house is from Oscar Crow on etsy. There are some really interesting things in that shop! If any one ever hosts a challenge for jewelry with baby heads, I'll be ahead of the game. (check out the shop, you'll see).
Anyway. I love this little house, with it's red door and window. I sat and stared at it for a little while. Somehow, it occurred to me to make a cumulus cloud over the house. I bent the cloud out of 20g wire, and hammered it, so it will keep it's shape. As I was fussing with the cloud, I happen to see the orange-red key in the corner of my eye. This key has been on my messy desk for about 6 months. It's just an old key that I smeared with red "Rub-N-Buff". I found some czech picasso glass beads that match and bent some bead caps to fit over them. And of course, Vintaj chain.

That's it for me. Thank you Erin, for hosting another fun challenge!
Please visit the rest of the brave participants, or go to Erin's blog!!
Erin Prais-Hintz

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Enameled Flowers and Keys!

Now that the evil camera is cooperating somewhat, I took some photos of the flowers I enameled over the weekend. I really *L*O*V*E* them! Take a look, I think you'll agree!
This is all of them in my crystal dish.
 These are the larger flowers. They range in size, up to about 2 inches! I love that the results are, more often than not, unpredictable. The 2 orange flowers were enameled with the exact same enamels!! The lower one almost looks purple in the center.
 Here are the larger flowers with some smaller flowers, as I might layer them. I'm planning on layering them with a piece of Vintaj filigree as the bottom layer, to make pendants.
 And, maybe not as fantastic, but I still love them, are keys, and a heart, and a butterfly. The littlest keys are only 5/8" long. So tiny and cute!
So, that's it for now.
I took more pictures last night, but they are for Erin's Challenge of Music, reveal /blog hop on 2/29/12, so please come back then.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I have some pictures to prove it!

I continue to battle my camera. It has been winning lately. It just doesn't work right, most of the time. I really thought it was the batteries, but I think now, more specifically, it's a power issue. Maybe the batteries are not the cause? I have a few more things to try before I chuck it, and buy a new one (did you hear that, camera?? you better start behaving or you're history!)

Anyway, when it was having a good day, I did get some photos of some enameled beads! These pictures were taken a couple weeks ago, before I got my shipments of more enamel colors. So, orange, and green, and aqua, and blue. This bowl was about 4-5 hours of bead enameling - not bad!!
 A closer view of the can see I might have gotten too much enamel on the bottom orange bead. It's holes all filled in!
This photo is a little blurry, but the beads are still pretty!
pretty colors!!
You can stop licking the screen, they do not taste good, trust me ;-)

I've also been embossing!! I got the Vintaj Big Kick for Christmas and have been quietly embossing to my heart's content. I have not tried putting any paint, ink, or other color on them. I rather like the look of Vintaj brass, so, for now, they are naked.
 I split them up into groups, for your viewing pleasure!
These are already earrings!
 Just pendants - love that wide-eyed owl at the bottom!
 And more pendants!
And Vintaj has more designs of embossing folders coming out, so, as soon as they hit the Vintaj website I'll be adding them to my repertoire.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Cautionary Tale

WARNING: yukky photo below

I've been having so much fun torch fire enameling. I've got a big mess of beads to show for it, and have started putting them into some jewelry designs. I will take pictures of them, but this post is not about the beads, or the jewelry.
Up until this weekend, I could proudly say that I had not burned myself yet! But, now I can't say that!

I am always very respectful of the torch, especially when it's lit. I always make sure that my hands stay well away from the flame. I hold the jar of enamel powder in my left hand to tilt it (coming from the left side of the torch), and hold the bead and mandrel in my right hand (on the right side of the torch). I always keep my hands low, to avoid the flame. Often, I turn off the torch between beads, to save the gas (especially since MAPP has been recalled, and you can't buy it right now).
But on Sunday, I was putting a lid on one of my jars. The torch was not lit, so I think my guard was down. I guess it is my habit to bring a jar closer to my body, to get the lid on tighter, and that is when I touched the hot torch. It was a half a second, but it burned me pretty good.

It doesn't hurt anymore, but, it's look is changing.
Yesterday, it looked like the Chesapeake Bay!!
Today, it looks more like a Chinese Dragon! Do you see it?
Overall, it reminds me of Zombie flesh! yuk :-(
Mercifully for you, I took this photo with my ipod, with one hand, so it's blurry.