Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bluebell Earrings . . .

For Lorraine.

Sweet little pair of faceted lapis and sterling silver earrings.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Copperlicious . . .

I am just having 'way too much fun with this copper stuff lately. Clearly I'm hooked on this material and I cannot believe how warm and cool it can appear all at once. When paired with sterling silver, the pink tones really stand out.

This is a pendant that I made for my friend Connie - that is, if she likes it.

Completely fabricated in copper, it has an off-center punched hole, is oxidized inside the hollowform bead and is accented with a copper-capped rondelle of sweet aquamarine. It measures 3/4" and is about 1/4" deep.

I love it. How could you not?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Daylily time . . .

With all of the winter moisture and the spring rain, the daylilies are beautiful this year. Huge, lots of scapes, gorgeous deep colors. And for my friends who have wanted divisions, this is the year! Laddie Boy after the rain and Monte feeding the sweatbees.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yet more rain . . .

It's been raining almost solid for over 24 hours with more to come later tonight.

I checked the rain gauges and couldn't believe my eyes when I read the first one. So I moved on to the one in the garden and one more in front of the garage and , lo and behold, they all read 4.5 inches.

Seriously, enough.

Friday, June 18, 2010

After the storm . . .

I have always been fascinated by weather and I'm sure I'll have huge wrinkles in my neck one day from tilting my head back to look at the sky.
A short bursting storm came through early in the evening and as it passed it left the most beautiful cloudscapes, bathing the sunset in reds, oranges, yellows and electric blues.
We are so lucky to live on the highest spot in the county and this is what we get for the privilege. Beautiful views after a storm.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And the daylily madness begins . . .

The first bloom : Lavender Greeting
Cat animal Ink could care less.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Shinola . . .

I could not reisist yet another wood box to add to my fetish-y collection of wood advertising boxes. This one confirms that I do know that other stuff from Shinola.

Friday, June 11, 2010

*wild*life on the ranchette . . .

Everyone else gets gorgeous huge moths, butterflies or hummingbirds and sweet little flora and fauna. Us? We get snapping turtles. Mean ones. Big mean ones. Big ugly mean ones. With attitudes. Even the barn cats stand at the screen door in awe and fear.

Long tail, pointy nose, rough shell, nasty claws - this is as close to an 'alligator' as I ever want to get. Off to the creek across the road with a shovel lift- which is where I suspect he wanted to go all along. (Thanks Eddie)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Copper box pendant . . .

Special orders are an intimidating challenge and, as I've said before, I do not challenge myself enough so this project I took on after the customer and I exchanged emails and drawings until we came up with something I felt comfortable attempting. I've made lift-off box lids before and since she wanted this to open, it was the best and most logical choice. So here we go.

The idea begins as a sketch - lots of ideas get tossed out at this point and, quite frankly, some I'll just file away to use later.

Beginning with sheet copper, I first cut the sides 1/4" tall in one long strip in the total length and bent them to the basic box shape and I soldered the ends. This rectangle shape is filed and sanded until the 'bezel' sides are perfectly flat when laid on top of the copper sheet to become the front and back of the pendant.

You can see in the photo with fire that the box obviously has to be closed and this can get tricky on several levels. One, I didn't want the silver solder to flow on the outside of the copper box and show on the copper sides so I scratched the outline of the box on the backside of the pendant and placed the solder inside that line so I could fit the box on top with the solder inside the box during the soldering process. The second issue is that there must be a vent in the box so that the gas can escape - otherwise you run the risk of the box exploding. Not good.

Another note of caution here: if you're trying to photograph your soldering process, have someone else take the photos. If you try to hold both the torch and your camera, you may burn your camera . . . like I did. With a little sanding, the lens once again retracts into the camera. And that's all I'm sayin'.

Whew! Soldered!
Now comes lots of cleaning, sanding, filing. Not exactly the fun part but it is satisfying to hold this little box in your hand and turn it as you sand and love on it.
The top gets cut off very carefully around the scribed line so that it's as even as possible. A thin strip of sterling silver bezel wire is formed to fit exactly inside the rim of the cut off top so that when it is filed and sanded smooth, it will make a sweet fitting lid for the box.

Copper tubing is soldered onto the sides for the loop that will hold the chain. Everything is cleaned and sanded smooth and all file marks removed with the finest sandpaper. A sterling silver chain is oxidized and added to the loops through the tubing on the sides.

I like to finish oxidized sterling silver with a coat of Renaissance Wax just to give the black silver a bit of sheen. I buff it with an old shoe brush and I think it's ready to go. I give it the 'wear test' and wear it around my neck for a few hours to make sure the top is going to stay on and it feels nice and sturdy. I think I love it.

I email my customer with the pictures. She likes it. I'm happy and relieved. *whew*