Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baby I’m Owling For You

Does this look like an owl?


Admittedly one with a stigmatism in his left eye. I think his ears are a bit too pointy. On reflection I don’t think they’re ears, I think they’re just tuffty feathers, regardless they need re-shaping. I’ll keep playing around with the shape some more I think.


These are some of the tools I used to get the impressions for his eyes and feathers, feet and nose. The photo on the right is a little hard to see but they are lino cutting tools. The tools on the left are embossing tools used on very soft metal. Brilliant for impressing onto clay.

And here’s a couple of rings I made using the cabezels and some scrap clay. I love scrap clay, you get the most interesting patterns and colours.




In case you’re wondering about the title, it’s  a play on a song by the Black Keys, Baby I’m Howlin’ For You, it’s a favourite of mine at the moment and I’ve been thrashing it my car for the last month.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This Might Interest You

Do you have an iPad? If so you might like this app. I love it even though it was a bit expensive at the intro price of $4.99 (I think the price has increased  since then).

It’s called Foliozo and it’s a portfolio app.



The beauty of it is that you don’t need to be connected to wifi or 3g to view the portfolio, so instead of lugging around a heavy portfolio with photos of your jewellery you can just take you iPad.

It uses Dropbox so once your linked to Dropbox Foliozo creates it’s own folder. It’s a Cloud thingy, don’t ask me how  the Cloud thingy works though.


There’s 4 photos to a page and just keep swiping to see more, but you can tap on an individual photo and it becomes full screen.


Like so, then details of your pieces can be seen.



Sorry about the photos, it was hard not to get any glare on them. But of course you don’t have to use it just for jewellery. Family photos, home renovations, vacation photos, anything really and it’s all there without having to be connected to the internet to view them.

The reason I bought this app is because a new little gift shop has opened up in one of our local shopping centres and if I can get up the nerve to go in and see if they may be interested in having some of my pieces I can just take my iPad with me instead lots of jewellery that needs to be unpacked or a thick photo album.

Here’s an article that explains it quite well if you are interested.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Hop

Bead Soup 
Well it’s here,  and it’s bigger then Ben Hur, the bead soup blog hop. Lots and lots of participants and plenty of gorgeous jewelery to look at.
Here is what my partner Janet from Texas sent to me.
 Janets beads
  Beautiful lampwork beads that she made and a hand forged clasp. As I said in an earlier post these are colours I normally wouldn’t choose myself so it was quite a challenge to come up with a design that showcased the lovely beads.  Also they arrived 8 days before the big reveal, (not Janet’s doing, but the fault of the post) so I was a bit strapped for time. Perth being a smallish city with not a lot to choose from in the way of bead stores, I didn’t have a lot of gold coloured findings and no chain and not enough time to order on line.
Janets beads 2 

So after looking through my stash I decided I’d go along a more contemporary path and use black enamel chain and black wire with just a few gold coloured jump rings.

I’ve put the clasp on the side because I thought it would sit well there and that meant an asymmetrical design which I love. I used all but two of Janet’s beads and just added one of my polymer clay oval discs to the focal.


If you would like to see more of Janet’s beads she has an Etsy store where you can see her incredible array of beautiful lampwork beads.



Thanks Janet for sending me such beautiful beads and a big thankyou to Lori for organising such a huge event.
To view the list visit Lori’s blog page, it’s a long list but take a few days to hop around and see some incredible jewellery from some very talented artists from all over the world.

I almost forgot to add that should hop on over to Janets blog to see what she made with the bead soup that I sent to her.

 The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner, Manuela Wutschke

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

So I Had This Idea

Well it’s been bubbling and percolating in my mind for a couple of months and it all started with these.


Fancy little bulldog clips. I spotted them in Officeworks a few months ago but thought to myself what the heck would I do with them. But then the idea started  to form after I made these and I wondered if it would work.
Carmen and I were in the Australian Fine Bone China shop in Mount Hawthorn  last week looking around and I spied these. Much bigger than the last lot of place mats I bought and a pretty reasonable price on sale. They’re 40 cm x 29cm (16” x 11.5”) and the patterns make me think of Grandmas, Nannas and scones. Very shabby chic retro.



But the patterned side is not what will be on show. I’ll probably paint the cork side like I did with the others.


I’m still working on a base for them and have an idea which involves blocks of wood, gouging a groove along the middle so the place mats slot in. That way they stay upright and are weighted on the bottom. So instead of having necklaces draped on a table they will all be vertical and fairly secure one hopes.

The other idea I have is because the flaps on the clips can be laid flat which secures the necklaces somewhat,  I may be able to leave the necklaces on the mats tie some elastic around the whole thing and possibly store them in a big plastic container. That way I don’t have to get each individual necklace (or bracelet) out and put them on one by one.


What do ya think? Cool idea or should I go back to the drawing board.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Bead Soup Beads Finally Arrived

I think my beads decided that once they left Texas they may as well do a round world trip, perhaps they stopped off in Hawaii, or Japan and decided to sight see because boy they took a long time to arrive. Janet and I were getting a bit panicky thinking they were lost and would never arrive. But they are worth the wait. Janet very kindly let me lift the photos of her beads from her blog so I certainly can’t take credit for the gorgeous photos.

Janets beads
Janets beads 2

Beautiful Lampwork beads, the second photo  is the focal which I love.

Janets beads 3
Janets beads 4

And a hand make clasp.

Janets beads 6

As these are colours that I normally wouldn’t work with they will be a challenge, but I think I’m up to it and have a couple of ideas and I better get cracking as I only have a week to work out the design and put it all together.

Wish me luck.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

A New Way to Bake

See these….


and these…….


……well I baked them in this……


I had some left over clay from making my cabochons the other day and I’d already turned my bench top oven off, so I thought I’d experiment with my melting pot. I’ve had it for ages and had used it for its intended purpose which is melting utee and opals embossing powders and pouring them into molds or onto stamps and creating all sorts of things.

So I cut up one of my craft sheets to fit inside.


Put my pieces in and turned the temp up to 140 degrees Celsius, put the lid on and left them in for about 40 minutes. Worked like a charm. Perfect for baking small items or adding say a clay bail to an already baked pendant, hard to justify turning on the bench top oven for just one or two small  things.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


No I haven’t fallen off the planet, I’ve just been listless and blah since the head cold but I’m slowly getting my spark back and this morning I got my clay out, the first time in a few weeks.

I ordered a set of cabezels a while back and this morning I’ve had a play with them and I think I like them. Definitely the kind of product the more you use the more proficient you become with it I think.

So first I rolled out some black clay on the thickest setting of my pasta machine.


On the cabezel sheet there are two distinct shapes, one for the bezel and one for the cabachon.


Once you’ve made the bezel impression it’s just a matter of cutting around the shape. As you can see I’ve made a square, circle and oval. The square was easy to cut out but the circle and the oval were a little trickier, but I think it just takes practice. These then get baked.

So while they are a cookin’ it’s time to make the cabochon. I used two layers of black on the thicket setting, sandwiched them together and then laid a thin layer of black and silver that I sort of marbled over the black.


Once the bezels are cooked and cooled I just placed the cabachons on the bezel and gently pressed and rolled the edges down towards the edge of the bezel. I wore thin rubber gloves to do this so my finger prints wouldn’t show.


You end up with a lovely rounded smooth cab that fits quite snuggly into the bezel.

I’ll have a little bit of sanding to do especially the edges of the round and oval ones as my knife skills aren’t too good and the edges a slightly jagged in sections. But on the whole I’m quite pleased with my first attempts. I can see endless possibilities with these and when you have a look at Margaret's site you’ll see some gorgeous examples.

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