Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tutorials, repairs and custom jobs done! Time to create!

I had a busy week of repairs and finalizing my first custom ring, as well as writing a tutorial for my "Cold Forged Hammered Copper Cuff with Braided Trim". It has been posted to Now it is time for me to create again! Fun!
I have been playing with some Prismacolor paintings and working on a good way to wire wrap them. I think I saw a wrap today that might be just the ticket -- I hope, as the perfect wrap for rectangular stones has been eluding me.

My mother wants some Prismacolor pieces in black and white so I have been working on those (they are actually in greyscale). I will post photos when I get them finished.
I had a really good day on Monday, when the traffic was stopped for over 30 minutes at a time while they put the beams on the bridge over the highway and I made some sales. Yesterday I had another sale! Yeah! I still need more to make the loan payment, plus pay for the phone, internet and electricity. Yikes!

Time for supper -- fresh corn from the garden and pork chops on the grill! Yum!

Happy Creating!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lack of supplies spawns creativity with copper wire

Since I was out of PMC and didn't yet have the supplies needed for the repair jobs I had sitting on my workbench (UPS doesn't come until late afternoon around here) I decided to play around with some copper wire and my anvil.

In the end I came away with two bracelets. I ended up selling one the very next day, to a friend of mine who has a hard time finding jewelry to fit her larger frame. She also bought a hammered copper ring and placed an order for two more custom copper pieces. Woo hoo!

The first piece I made was fabricated from 8g bare copper wire which I braided loosely, then hammered and formed around a bracelet mandrel. The second bracelet was a hammered piece of 6g bare copper wire. I then braided 20g copper wire, which I made into a strip a bit shorter than the bracelet itself. I then wire wrapped the braided piece to the bracelet. This is the one I sold to my friend.

I love metal work! I can be so frustrated with work, family, life in general, and I go to my workbench and hammer on some metal for a while and not only do I release a lot of pent up frustration and tension, but I come away with something useful (and sometimes even beautiful).

I finally got my printer to work again too, which relieved a lot of tension on its own -- I use my printer for almost everything I do!

The electrician comes to finish up on Monday -- meaning I will have power to the mercury vapor security light behind the caboose, and I will have motion lights on both decks. The electrical outlet for the heat tape for the plumbing will also be added and he will look at the two outdoor outlets that keep tripping as well as the bathroom light that flickers and buzzes and sometimes goes out altogether. He will also ground my new aluminum staircase to the caboose to make sure no one gets shocked due to inclement weather or electrical problems.

I am working on a custom PMC ring and a custom PMC belt buckle. They are both about half finished. I have three repair jobs that are in varying stages of repair as well.

Jewelry making and jewelry repair both require working a bit, then letting an item dry or sit in the pickle pot, or have a run through the tumbler. So, I generally have 4-5 projects going at once.

I have several projects that need to be treated with Liver of Sulphur as well, which I have yet to try, as I fear the stench. However, these particular projects would benefit so much from the smelly stuff that I will have overcome my fear and Just Do It! One is a maple leaf and the other is the remains of my first attempt at the custom ring, which met a bad demise after the cz melted into the setting and after set with a new CZ, split in the shank and was resistant to repair. I ended up making a pendant/earring set out of the pieces.

Off to bed now after a wonderful evening alone with my hubby -- yes we went on a real date -- dinner and a movie with no kids! Grandma and Grandpa watched our lovely little ones and we had some time to ourselves for a change. What a treat! We love the kids, but for the second time in six years, we were able to go off by ourselves. Fun! Great movie, great food, great company.

Happy Creating!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back from vacation and raring to go

My hubby sprung a surprise vacation on me last week (a week after opening the shop) and we took the kids to the Colorado Rockies to go camping. We camped two nights, then met with his folks who wanted to camp closer to where his dad was planning to pan for gold. Unfortunately, after breaking camp, we were unable to find a campsite that night, so ended up in a motel. It had a pool, for which the kids were thankful. The next night was also spent in a motel, as we had to get up very early and get home because my hubby had to be at work at 6 a.m. Monday.

We saw glorious mountain vistas and drove down some very scenic (and windy) one-lane gravel roads, surviving a near miss when a crazy young man came speeding around one of those hairpin curves and nearly ran us off the road and down into a ravine (if I had been driving we would have been dead, but my dear hubby kept us safe).

The babbling brook full of mossy rocks near our campsite, along with several beautiful waterfalls and mountains covered with the varying greens of pines, cedars and aspens, helped me to create a necklace and pendant set I call "Mossy Streams." The set is made up of moss agate, forest green freshwater pearls and sterling silver. The white reminds me of the splash of the stream and the green of the moss and trees. I have another piece of moss agate I need to utilize too.

We took the kids on the train up to the top of Pike's Peak (glorious scenery) but they both got altitude sickness and ended up throwing up. The next day we took them on a much shorter (and less altitudinous) ride up to the top of the Royal Gorge.

Of course, I took tons of photos, some of which will be used to create PMC pieces. I have all sorts of ideas spilling out of my head right now! Unfortunately, I am out of PMC, so I placed a rush order today, which will hopefully arrive tomorrow or the next day, along with some supplies I needed to have to do the repair jobs I've had come in.

Family vacations -- fun in the beginning, melding into "Family Vacation," towards the end, then morphing back to fun in retrospect.

I'll try to keep up with this thing better and write more tomorrow. Now, if I can just get my printer to work, I'd be so happy -- the darned thing worked when we left, but not when we returned. Grrr!

Happy Creating!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Open nearly a week and business is pretty good

I officially opened Monday, August 3, after a few months of hard work renovating a beat up rail caboose. The hard work paid off and the caboose actually looks pretty good.

Unfortunately, it is still really HOT, since the donated heat/air combination unit only worked when it was 70 degrees outside and froze up when it hit the 80s. Today we installed a new (used) unit given to us by our neighbors, but it only blows air, it doesn't cool. Bummer!

I had several necklace sales and an earring sale this week, as well as a custom order for a PMC ring. I also sold two watch batteries.

Not enough to make the loan payment due in a week, but not bad business for only being open five days so far!

I have several works in progress, including a hammered copper slide, a silver maple leaf pendant, tiny button earrings for young girls, and hammered copper bracelets, plus the custom ring.

I made a woven wire cross and a wire wrapped bypass onyx ring that I really like too. They are finished.

I have also started a line of jewelry I call "Grandma's Buttons" since they are made from buttons from my grandmother's collection that have been pressed into the PMC. She had some truly beautiful buttons.

The phone was finally installed, a month later. The DSL remains unhooked as of yet, and will probably stay that way for a few weeks as the tech is out of town.

So, I must now find a WORKING AC unit or risk roasting my children, and I must sell like crazy the next few days so I can make my first loan payment.

Still, all in all, I am enjoying the business and the creative juices are flowing.

Happy Creating!