Sunday, 29 March 2015

Soggy Sunday Meander

Finding Handmade Wonders

It's totally ugly here today - payback for the lovely February, I guess. I do not even want to make the short dash from our porch to the shop door!

Being indoors, I did some more meandering among members of The Handmade Forum and want to share a few results.

If It's Ugly, Just Hide

One way to cope with bad weather, sleeplessness or tired eyes: wear a mask.

Try this one, of 100% cotton and flannel, from Black Raven Creations

Rhonda's shop is filled with hand knit, hand crocheted or hand sewn items for you to cherish.

The bonus here -- with that bold geometric pattern, you can look good to anyone you might be hiding from ;-)

Or Maybe Pamper Yourself

Winter weather is notoriously hard on your skin. By March, it's apt to be dry and flaking. Go ahead and pamper yourself with this delightful, organic, lavender scented body lotion from FlahertyNaturals

Debbie explains her product line this way:
Flaherty Naturals skin care products are handmade in small batches with certified organic and 100% pure ingredients that are free of any man made chemicals or preservatives. I hope you enjoy my truly natural line of organic skin care :)

I have some of her lip balm and can attest to its quality. I'm pretty sure any of her products will make you feel like you are in your own private spa.

And Chill Out

Most of us had grandmothers who understood that value of a good cup of tea as a "pick me upper".

If you want an organic — and maybe "just for you" tea — to enjoy on the chilly days of March or the sunny ones of summer, check out DesertSageNatural's etsy shop.

Their teas and packaging are as green as they can be made. Many of these teas have been blended to address specific medicinal or emotional issues. You will find them here:

Now, About Those Celtic Knots

I did finally get all that drilling and sawing done. Now, I wonder if DesertSage has a tea for a sore left wrist!

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Testing Skill with Blade

I Want to Make a Celtic Knot — Boy, It's Hard to Cut This

I have been trying to create a Celtic Knot pattern in sterling silver. Not so very easy. To start, you glue a paper pattern to a strip of sterling sheet. Next drill an access hole in each and every area that will be cut away. Next, begin the cutting process (properly known in jewelry as piercing).

Making a Start - Insert the Blade

You can see my plan is for a pendant and a pair of earrings. You can also see that there is a lot of drilling and piercing involved.

The very fine blade you see in this photo is held in a frame and, to cut the openwork areas, you free one end of the blade and insert it through one of your drilled areas. Be sure to insert it so that the pattern will be on top when you go to start sawing. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to free the blade and re-insert it the other way around! Once the blade is in place, you begin sawing — very carefully. Warning, if you try to rush it, you will lose control and get way off pattern...


You might break the blade. This happens a lot when you first start piercing. I used to go through blades at a frightening rate. With practice, I have gotten much better (and my blade budget is no longer huge!).

I think everyone has to find their own way to hold a saw frame. I used to have a death grip on the poor thing but I have learned to relax with it. Most of the time, I only close the bottom three fingers (softly) around the blade and let my index finger point forward. That position seems to help me be more accurate (and less destructive).

Tools for the Job

Here is the pendant, paper still in place, with one of the earrings (slightly smaller) and the drill and saw used for the process.

Once I burned that paper off, I was not thrilled with the cut. It's way better than I could have done a few years ago but the thickness of my silver does vary. I'm now a bit nervous about tackling the earrings!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Handmade on Etsy

Take a Sunday Morning Stroll

I went wandering among items from The Handmade Forum and found some really beautiful bead jewelry this morning. Take a look

What glorious blues!

And pinks

Aren't these red earrings stunning?

And, finally, these glass leaves - love how they shimmer.

Take your own walk here: <>

Thursday, 19 March 2015

March 19

Photos, Photos, Photos

I spend a lot of time taking photos -- and often doing reshoots. So hard to achieve the kind of photos that work on etsy. Here are a few recent reshoots/

Monday, 9 March 2015

Linking up

I'm on the Chain Gang!

I made a pair of "His & Hers" chain bracelets as wedding gifts for our son and new daughter-in-law (see post of January 28) and the project re-acquainted me with sterling silver chain making. So, of course, I made up a bunch of rings from some 16 gauge wire I had on hand and set about creating a pair of bracelets to offer in my etsy shop.

Sterling Therapy?

There is something quite soothing about weaving a silver chain. Once you get the pattern (and there are many) established, you can stop and start as you like. It is very much like knitting in that regard - you fall into a sort of knit two, purl two rhythm. Given a tray with sides to corral the components, you can do this task at your bench, in the garden, or in front of television while half watching your favorite hockey team rely way too much on their goalie (sorry Canucks, but I tell it like it is).

In this photo, one bracelet is finished and I have assembled about one third of the next. This is not a great photo but it shows the supply of links, some closed (behind) and some open (front) and the two pair of chain nose pliers used to twist each link open, weave it into the pattern, and twist it closed again. This pattern involves interlocking pairs of rings. I call it Double Link but have seen it called Wriggly Chain.

Power Polishing

The method of choice for polishing any kind of chain is in a tumbler full of steel shot. You dare not try to use a spinning wheel — serious finger risk in that plan — and hand rubbing with jewelers' rouge on a cloth would take months (maybe years). My Lortone tumbler will burnish these to a high shine in an hour or two.

Bright & Shiny

Here are those bracelets after a good tumble. They are ready for handcrafted clasps (I plan to make S hooks for this pair) and a final polish. Then, of course, I will be looking for a bright day to take the photos and make up the etsy listings.

Sterling chains are popular as bracelets but most patterns also make beautiful necklaces (something I would only take on as a custom order because of the unavoidable cost). One other option; earrings.

I made two pairs with the excess rings from this project. Photo below shows the longer pair. The others are about half this length (and half the weight).

I think these would be just plain fun to wear.