Hope Strength Necklace

My OOOPS Moment…Plan B Is Looking Better

Yesterday I decided it was time I started working with bezels again. I picked out a gorgeous teardrop shaped moonstone, textured and patterned a piece of copper and got a lovely closed seam on the silver bezel. Then it was time to solder the bezel to the copper. Got a gorgeous seal. Was sooooo excited. Too excited to notice that I had just soldered the bezel upside down and backward.
(sighhhhhhh…..)
Time for Plan B.
I cut out the offending upside down bezel..added some stamped words, a rivet, and folded down part of the copper. Hmmm…taking shape as part of a necklace. What else? Strung it on an antiqued piece of brass wire I was saving for a bracelet, added some copper, brass and silver plated beads, two lovely cobalt lamp work beads, and a little bit of coiled wire.
Here’s what I ended up with – unfinished – but with possibilities. Have to mull a bit as to what, and how, to attach it to to finish it off.
But – Moral of the Story: Mistakes happen. Work with them.

Any finishing off suggestions?

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Evolution of a copper pendant – a work in progress

It was a very self-indulgent week. No, I didn’t have a massage…or a facial….or even a mani/pedi. I treated myself to a crafter’s ultimate indulgence: 3 hours of private lessons with an amazingly talented artisan who has some of her metalwork hanging in the contemporary gallery of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Her workspace is just flat out ridiculous (in a good way) – the large, first floor of a former dye manufacturing plant. Every possible tool and accessory you can imagine for metal working, jewelry making and more is here. My eyes couldn’t get any bigger as I walked in the door.

Parts of a pendant - the stone, copper bezel wire, sample bezel

My private lesson centered on soldering – something I just can’t do, let alone master. I bought some beautiful dichroic beads that I had picked up at a bead show recently. And I wanted to solder a copper bezel around each, and solder them in turn to a piece of copper sheet I had cut out.

Was it worth the $$$ for the private lesson? Oh yes. While I wouldn’t rush out to use the big-friggin’-acetylene torch we used again (I’m happy with my mini-torch!), I learned an entirely new batch of basics that allowed me to actually produce a fairly nice bunch of bezels around my stones. (A feat, I hope, I will be able to repeat at home.)

When I did get my pendant home, I got out my handi-dandi little dremel-wannabe drill/sander/etc and polished it up a bit. Them I played with  my stamps and put a very neat pattern of circles all over it. Then I sanded. The rough cut shape was sort-of what I wanted, but not exactly.  The little sander attachment took care of that.

The Pendant Takes Shape

At this point, I still am not quite sure how to orient the pendant. Should the bead be on the top, the bottom, or on one side? Still playing around with this.

I also decided it was too plain. So I created a spiral out of copper wire and added a teeny-tiny dichroic bead at its center to increase the shine factor. In this picture, I have only placed the spiral on the pendant.

The Pendant Gets Some Bling

Nothing has been attached yet. Still waiting for some inspiration to tell me where to put it.

Oh well…..the pendant saga continues. Opinions gratefully accepted.Next Post: (hopefully) The Finished Pendant

An Awesome Sunday With Jack Bauer, Mr. Big & Dead Osama

What a wild, wacky and wonderful Sunday I just had.

The Lime Green Pendant (I call it Kieffer's Pendant) I made for my NYC trip

First – I had somehow (lord knows how) scored front row center seats for a pretty much sold-out limited edition Broadway show: That Championship Season. (I know!) Went to NYC for the day with my fav cousin Linda. Took the train up from the sparkling new Trenton station (way to go Trenton!) and our mouths probably moved faster than that train. Lots of catching up to do. Also wore one of my bracelets (which I decided I liked too much to sell. Pulled it off etsy and artfire. Say “bye bye” to “drops of sunshine”. It’s coming to live in my jewelry box.)

Anyway. Perfect weather. Sunny, warm – but not hot. Got in town in time for lunch. Walked up and down restaurant row reading menus. And finally agreed on one I hadn’t been in before – Orzo. Lovely little restaurant. Very nice little half carafes of wine (of which we had two). Great meal.

Went to the theater and was delighted to see it was a rather intimate one. Much smaller than the one I had been in last week across the street (Billy Elliot).

Front Row Seats - me and my cuz

Here’s a photo of cuz and me standing in front of our seats, in front of the curtain/stage. (Yes – we could have easily jumped on stage at any time and tackled Kieffer(me) or Chris(cuz). But we contented ourselves with merely grabbing each other every time they walked/looked in our direction.

The play was really good – better than I thought. And of course, sitting RIGHT IN THE FRIGGIN’ FRONT ROW made it feel like they were performing just for us in our living room. (Except we were wearing makeup and had our shoes on).

When it was over, we made our way to the restroom from our seats (Did I mention we were in the front row????) and eventually, left the theater. We saw a crowd near the stage entrance, and of course, scooched our way over towards the front of the line just as the stage door opened. One by one, the actors ( Brian Cox, Jim Gaffigan, Jason Patric,  Kieffer Sutherland and Chris Noth) came out, signed autographs and chatted with the crowd. (See photos. Drool accordingly.)

Be still my heart! Heeeeerrrreee's Kieffer!

Chris (I really am this good looking in person) Noth

Never had that happen before! Caught an express train just as we got to Penn Station…and was home by 8 PM. Watching the Phillies (lose – boo hoo) and learn that Bin Laden was dead.

Was that a perfect Sunday, or what?

(FYI – look for a few red, white and/or blue USA inspired piece of jewelry this week from fat dog beads. I’m feeling very USA-ish)

Things I learned from the guy who punches your receipt at BJs and why all craftspeople should take note

(If you don’t have a BJ’s warehouse, substitute Cosco or Sam’s Club. I’m sure the same receipt-punch procedures are followed at all of them.)

I was exiting the store a few months ago, and the receipt-punch guy (who  normally doesn’t  make much more conversation than “have a good one!!”) noted that I had a bag of sweet potato fries in my cart. “You know what goes great with them?” he asked. Too stunned that real words actually came out of his mouth, I just shook my head in the negative. “A little garlic salt and a lot of fresh dill.”

Aegean Blue Seaglass Lampwork Bead Pendant with WOW Charm

Wow. Imagine that. Getting gourmet cooking tips from the receipt-punch guy. I was stunned. And after I thanked him, hurried home to try out what he suggested.

Double wow. Those fries were AWESOME! (I am now a fresh dill-a-holic. Adding it wherever I can.)

Now, no doubt those fries would have been just fine without the fresh dill. (I usually added garlic salt, so that was no biggie.) But with the dill? Took them to a whole ‘nother level.

Which got me to thinking…could I apply that same idea to my jewelry-making? And, it turns out, the answer is yes. All it takes to go from “good” to “great” is one small thing you add, or change. Now the “thing” is probably different for everyone and everything you work on. But the IDEA is the same. When you think you’re done, take a step back and think about what you can add, or change, to make YOUR item different and better than everyone else’s. Make it stand out from the crowd. And often, it’s just something little that’s enough to make it “sing!”

Too often, I think we get into a rut, making the same thing over and over again. We need to break out of the “sameness” by adding a little fresh dill to the mix.

The other thing I got from the receipt-puncher? Open yourself up to advice from unexpected sources. Imagine how much you can learn!

SWEET POTATO FRIES, BJ-STYLE

• Frozen sweet potato fries

• Olive oil spray

• Garlic Salt

• Fresh dill, chopped

Place potatoes on single layer on baking sheet. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with garlic salt. Top with plenty of fresh dill. Cook as directed.  Enjoy!