Tag Archives: presents

Season’s Greetings!

Well, my husband is sick and family Christmas time is postponed, so here I am blogging about some little gifts I made for my niece and nephew, respectively.


I think this will fit a six-year-old. Well, I hope so. I made this with a super cheap and crappy set of alphabet stamps I got from a big box craft store with a 50% off coupon, so they were like 8 bucks. Mind you, a good set could run at least 75 dollars or more. I’m not terribly happy with them, but I knew what I was getting into, and they’ll be good for marking things and experimenting, anyway.


My nephew is into sea creatures these days, so I dug around in my Ravelry favorites until I spotted this sweet Little Blue Lobster pattern. I’d have liked to use blue yarn, but I actually don’t have any since I’ve been working on a scrapghan. Fortunately, I did have just the right amount of scrap bulky red with a charming fleck in it–and ah, sadness, I think I got it from my knit night friend who has just moved away as her husband has a new job in Chicago. So he turned out super cute and the pattern was easy, fast, and enjoyable.

And just because I’m too lazy to write a separate post:


Here’s a bracelet I (finally) just finished up. I don’t think I ever talked about it or took progress shots, but I’ve been working on that box clasp since last fall. Actually, I finished that a while ago. I found it easier and more enjoyable than stringing up beads and putting crimps on (I don’t even know how I got the tongue end of the clasp on backwards, but I did on my first attempt.) I might get those little c-shaped crimp covers you put over them and squeeze down with pliers, but we’ll see. Anyway, I’ve had those red creek jasper beads for nearly two years now and I’m glad I finally did this–and I have four beads to spare, so there might be some fun with them in the coming year.

And so it’s not been the best year, but it’s been a creative one, and I can’t complain. See you in January!

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Filed under amigurumi, beads, bracelet, crochet, metals, presents

Bootie bootie bootie hey


Behold my latest pair of Simple Baby Booties, this time for a sort-of-coworker-in-the-main-office who just had a baby boy.  It’s a super easy and adorable pattern, and the only real mistake I made was to pop these off in the mail before making sure I had a good picture, so sorry about that.

In other news, I am borderline sick with whatever sinus-y malady that has kept my husband in bed for the past two weeks, and not up to much of anything, although I may go knit on the couch now. I hope to have some jewelry to show soon, because I dragged my headache-y self to class a couple nights ago and nearly finished up a bracelet, and cast a clump of rings.

Jeez I wish I felt better.

Anyway, enjoy your weekend.

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Teeny tinies!

You might remember that a year ago, I made earrings for my Mom’s birthday. They weren’t huge, but they did look best with those plastic disc earnuts in back to keep them upright.


Well, the size wasn’t really a problem, but the weight was. My mom wore them a few times to be polite, then gave them back. She’s used to small post earrings, so I thought I’d try to make some for her for Christmas. And here they are:

postearringsTiny enough for ya, Ma?

I melted down some scrap to make balls, hammered them a bit flat, with rough, nuggety edges which I like a lot–but my mom probably won’t. Then I stamped them, drilled off just a little divot on the backs with a bur bit like so:

postbacksAccidental trefoil motif courtesy of the honeycomb fire brick I melted these down on.

. . . soldered the posts on, put black max on the designs, and polished the crap out of them. I like both pairs. A lot. And I don’t think my mother will, so maybe I’ll just keep them.

But wait. I remembered something she wanted.

Some time ago, at her request, I ordered her some gold filled earnuts because she’d lost a few of her own over the years. She was using them with her inherited diamond earrings–and by diamond earrings, I mean these tiny 1/8 carat total weight studs that are so small they were in danger of passing through my grandmother’s ear holes and were once mounted on screwback posts until I had them reset (also as  a Christmas present.) Now they’re a little fancier, but my mom really liked how they looked against the flowery earnut back. Could I, she wondered, find a piece like that to use as an optional enhancer, or make one from another pair of backs?



I still had a few pairs in the pack of earnuts* I’d bought, so I trimmed off the two curly parts and cleaned up the edges as best I could. You can see how they’ll look with a stud on the right, there. So, at least I got some kind of jewelry project done for her.

And now class is over until mid-January. I think I’ll spend the time wading through the Land of Unfinished and Forgotten Projects. Can’t wait to see what I finally get off my work bench.


*”Pack of earnuts” really needs to become a common insult.


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Deez Beads!

I’m between classes right now–the new round won’t start until October–so what better time than now to dive back into the ol’ bead stash?

As usual, this is a messy proposition.

beadsetcNot pictured: boxes and boxes of my stash.

This was some really fun, unstructured playtime. When I bought a lot of this stuff, I thought I could make jewelry to sell, but I’ve since realized that the quality just isn’t there. I love me some junk jewelry as much as the next person who grew up in the 80s, but when it’s time to go pro, well . . . not this. In fact, I suspect I’ll be giving most of the beads away to my niece when she’s a little bit older, but until then, at least I feel free to dive in and make whatever comes to mind. Like this, with some “copper” beads and “copper” chain and a copper plated clasp:


That was a relatively quick and easy bonus project; what I really spent a lot of time on was figuring out how to make earrings from some Day of the Dead charms I thought my friend Lupe would love, as she’s a DotD collector. I wanted to incorporate tiny glass flower beads, but not make the whole earring too heavy or crazy. Had a few false starts, but in the end, I think I did pretty well.


I’m just going to mail them to her in a couple weeks as a surprise with some seeds from my garden to hers (she’s a hardcore gardener.)

Tonight, I think I’ll get back into sawing. I’ve got a few riveting projects in mind . . .


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Ha! I did finally muster up the nerve to rivet amethyst beads into the earrings I was working on a couple weeks ago, but first . . . oh crap, I completely forgot my mother-in-law’s birthday is coming up! She likes my stuff; what do I make her?

Well, thanks to my classroom friend Beverly (who you might remember as the nice 85-year-old lady who made broom straw cast pendants with me last winter) I got my hands on a nice dichroic glass cabochon. Beverly makes them, and she had donated quite a few that she couldn’t use or didn’t quite like enough to the classroom. The one I picked out was Just. The. Thing. So pretty, and so fancy all on its own, it called for a simple wire setting. And so:


I regret having forgotten to take progress shots, but I did something quite similar to this old copper ‘n’ glass practice piece from last year:


prongpracticeI’ve recently ground down these prongs and made them a bit nicer, by the way.

For the dichroic pendant, I kept the middle wire long on both ends to create a bottom prong and a top loop (which curls in the opposite direction of what you see in the green glass pendant.) The problem with that was, the stone could slip out the top, so I had to (carefully!) solder a bit of wire up top and make a prong of it. Well, that was cool and all, but I neglected to realize the pendant won’t lay flat with a big old loop on the back. Duh. Something to remember for next time, because this sort of pendant is definitely something I plan to revisit again and again.

Now. Back to those earrings. Boy, was I scared. Especially since Bob told me amethyst is easily shattered and I’d need to be careful.




I actually worked it out, though! And thanks to my trusty new smoothy-smooth steel bench block, I barely messed up the backs of the domes doing it.

And so, here we are at the end. Yay!



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Filed under beads, earrings, metals, presents, wire

Here there be Dragons

Or, at least, a dragon.


This little dude is a pendant that I just finished up for my sister-in-law. She had shown me a picture of something similar a few months ago, asking if I could make it, and I agreed to try my hand. I changed it up a bit, though, because I didn’t want to steal the design and because I thought, frankly, I should do the mountain a bit smaller (it was more prominent in the original, needlessly so.) For the most part, I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Here’s my original sketch:


And here are the pieces after I cut them out and did a bit of filing. Note the angle of the bail lying there next to the dragon’s head; this is an idea I picked up from Bob. Solder that onto the back and you have a bail that is small and unobtrusive, but you can fit the damn clasp through there. Neat trick.


I did most of the work on this at home, though I had to texture the mountain in the studio (nice forming hammers are still a bit beyond my budget) and get the pieces sweat soldered together. I was nervous about that, but it actually went really well. Even if you end up with solder blorps, if you’re careful, you can melt them and sort of drag the solder where you want it to go with your flame, because it will want to flow where the heat is. I got the main parts done in two shots, and then the bail in one–I thought; a very small bit of it didn’t anchor down. I could’ve left it, but chose to add a smidge of easy solder and do it again. Now it’s fine.

I struggled with the surface a lot, though. The tumbler left it with a very shiny surface, kind of flashy in a way I can’t imagine my SIL liking. Plus, I had trouble getting a nice, uniform darkness on the mountain with silver black (I also tried liver-of-sulfur, which didn’t quite get me a uniform blue.) In the end I gave the whole thing a satiny finish with my radial bristle wheels and called it a day. I think the residual silver black around the tail sets it off from the mountain quite nicely . . . although I do see one spot I should fix up a bit. I never can stop fussing.

Anyway, since I mentioned Bob, he came by the studio last week, not exactly out the woods, but feeling better, which is good. I spent most of the evening at the soldering table, doing the tedious work of getting my very first chain together. It’s not quite done, so I’ll go on about that later.



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Filed under metals, pendant, soldering

I . . . I Did It!

After much futzing, filing, sanding, and fretting, I actually got these earrings done. And . . . and they’re among the best student work I’ve done to date.

opalearrings1Peruvian opal. Ooh. Aaah.

I’m sad that the bezels are just a touch too high. I knew I cut them too high to begin with, but I was afraid of cutting them too low and then forgot to take them down before I started setting one of the stones. It irks me, but there’s nothing I can do now but remember for the next time. I just hope my mom likes them. I think she will.

I’ve got nothing much else to show right now, although I’ve got a few copper things going on. Most of them are just experiments, as I’m learning to get better at using my copper paste solder. I’m also trying to design a pendant setting for the coprolite I bought last year, and I’ve begun a thick-walled bezel for a teardrop smoky quartz stone I want to put on the very first silver ring I ever made (hee hee, I finally evened out the width in class this week, which I should have done long ago.) I still have to finish the ring I’ve been on-and-offing for months (I used to call the stone tiger iron, but I’ve recently discovered it’s tigereye. Cherry tigereye.) The way I want to do the band presents certain problems, so I’m making one out of copper first to learn what to do. I may just solder that to the first bezel cup I made for practice (and still retain it for some kind of resin or epoxy experiment later.) So, stay tuned.

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Filed under earrings, stones/gems