Posts Tagged ‘soldering’

I am still painstakingly slowly moving along with my soldered pendants. Well, they will be pendants eventually, anyway. One of them I started last year! oh well. Such is the snail’s pace that my arts and crafts move at. (Don’t even ask me about my calendar journal – it’s still trapped in May).

Anyway, here they are.

This is the first one I soldered. I was in despair as first because my soldering was awful! I haven’t done it in a while and I certainly wouldn’t say I had achieved any level of competence.

But I kept working on it and it turned out ok. I was not originally going to make this one into a pendant, because I ended up not being happy with the collage. Then I decided it would be a good practice piece. I trimmed the collage to get rid of the part I didn’t like, which is why it doesn’t really fit the glass pieces. However, I love the back, so the back is going to now be the front.

This is the original front, which will now be the back.
drawn to the sea

And here is the back, which is now the front. Got all that?
drawn to the sea

This is the one I started last year.
known luminosity

I’m a big Marilyn Monroe fan.
emptied of beauties

This is from a verse in the Bible.
prisoner of hope

I still need attach the jump rings and then file and clean them. I’m happy with how they are coming along, and I think I did well with the soldering considering my (small) level of experience. Soldering is hard! I can see it will take some (a lot!) of practice.

Thanks for stopping by!


Read Full Post »

So my third soldering attempt is way better than the first two.

soldering attempt 3

Pretty good, just a few lumps and bumps that need to be filed smooth (and who doesn’t have a few lumps and bumps that need fixing?).

I’m still not quite there with the adding a bead of solder – I have a hard time getting a thick layer on there. And I’m still having issues with the jump rings; I just can’t seem to get them on securely. But practice, practice, practice, and I’m sure it will come.

I thought my soldering skills were decent enough to work on an actual project – how exciting! Here it is…

kooky & meticulous

kooky & meticulous

Not too bad. I will not add the jump rings however until I practice some more and can do it well.

Another project I have been working on is a “Beribboned Bulletin Board”, from the April/May/June issue of Somerset Life, by Amber Demien…

by amber demien

Isn’t that so pretty? I really wish I would have looked at the picture again before I started mine, instead of relying on my memory. Whatever was I thinking!

Here’s mine so far…

memo board project

Ummm, I’m not loving it. The colors are way too bright. Ugh. The only thing to do is throw more paint on top of it and see what happens.

Thanks for stopping by!


Read Full Post »

Finally, after many years of putting it off, I have picked up a soldering iron and melted some solder. I’ve been working on some mini collages to sandwich between glass, but I’ve been itchy to just try it out already. So I decided to do some practice pieces with microscope slides. And good thing. Because it’s a lot harder to do than I had anticipated.

My first attempt is a mess (top). Blobs of solder everywhere! My second attempt (bottom) is better, but still needs a lot of work.

poor microscope slides!

I can do the tinning ok, but adding a bead of solder is not going so well. Neither is adding a jump ring. On my first attempt the jump rings kept falling sideways! I’m sure with more practice though I’ll get the hang of it.

making it mine.
Somerset Studio has a new feature called Make It Your Own, by Michelle Ward. I love this idea, and am excited to see what topics Ms Ward covers.

In the inaugural article she discusses some differences between art and craft. I enjoyed her take on it: “We have heard the question asked, “What is the difference between art and craft?” I think one answer might be that when you make it your own, it’s art. When you follow directions, as you would a recipe or copy a project from a magazine, then that is craft. Personalizing, interpreting, and then processing through your own filters is art.” (Somerset Studio, July/August).

I think it makes perfect sense to put your spin on things – as Ms Ward said, it’s perfectly fine to use purchased embellishments or papers in your work. But paint them, stamp them, cut them, add glitter glue, scuff them – make it look like they’ve been through your hands. I can’t wait to start applying this principal more often in my own work.

Thanks for visiting!


Read Full Post »

I’ve been working on two projects – my encouragement cards and my soldered pendants.

Here are some paper flowers that I am making for the encouragement cards. They are so fun to make! I use a brad to attach the pieces.

paper flowers

And my soldered pendants…I’ve been working on mini collages to sandwich between the glass pieces…

this is my favorite so far (front and back)…

known luminosity

and this is another one I’m working on. I haven’t cut out the background paper yet – I like to plan it out first for placement.

kooky & meticulous

years go by
So…tomorrow is my daughter’s last day at her daycare. Next week she’ll be starting kindergarten. She’s been at this daycare since she was three months old (I’m not proud of this; I mention it merely for perspective). It’s a big deal for me. Three days a week, every week, for the past five years I’ve been dropping her off and picking her up. I’ve known every classroom and all the teachers. All of her friends and some of their parents who happen to be on the same schedule as me. We’ve been to their birthday parties. Not only have I seen Lily grow up here – I remember Ellen, one of her best friends, in the baby room with Lily, and thinking that they were the two cutest babies in the room. I think this might be a bigger deal to me than it is to Lily. She will eventually forget the daycare, while I will never drive by without remembering this time in my life. The struggles. The tears. The guilt. The gratitude. The thankfulness.

Dropping her off, and picking her up. Sometimes racked with guilt, especially the first couple years. Happy when she ran off with her friends. Concerned when it seemed like she was uncomfortable or unhappy. Sometimes with tears in my eyes – happy tears because I was thankful she was happy there and had friends; or sad tears because I felt guilty and I wished I could stay home with her. Sometimes totally stressed out, because I left work a little late, and I had to be there by 6pm when they close, and I didn’t want to be late or to have Lily be the last kid there.

It is the end of one season, and the beginning of another.


Read Full Post »

Last Friday was my Bezel Boot Camp class, taught by wonderful artist & teacher Kim St. Jean. I loved it! It was great and so much fun. We learned how to create a bezel to fit around an object and solder it onto a sterling silver sheet, at which point we could add texture, stampings, and other decorative elements. None of which I have ever done before.

I soldered with a torch! I sawed with a jeweler’s saw! And changed the blade! I used a Dremel! I used a drill press!

I found it a bit intimidating at first – I’ve never so much as touched even a Dremel before. I had to push myself a little to be assertive and just do it. And it was so worth it.

Here is what I made:

my first bezel

back of my bezel

For my very first piece I think it is good. But certainly I can do better as I gain experience.

First I trimmed the bezel wire and soldered the ends together. Then I soldered the bezel wire to the sterling silver sheet. At this point it was time to texture, shape, and embellishment the metal as desired. This was the hardest part because I didn’t really know what to do; I didn’t have a finished product in mind. After some hesitation I told myself to just play with it and try things – if it doesn’t turn out it’s only practice anyway.

So I did some texturing, stamped the letters (it says “be cast into the sea”. It’s kind of backwards because I ran out of room!), cut the side into a wavy pattern, trimmed the corners, and added patina with liver of sulfur.

The last step was to set the stone. Et voila!

Ms St. Jean was a great teacher. She shared so many of her own tips and techniques, and also had time to show us how she makes jump rings, how she adds prongs to set an additional stone, and how she makes her chain. Very cool!

Now I just need to get a torch, some letter stamps, a jeweler’s saw….

Thanks for stopping by!


Read Full Post »

Here’s what I’ve been working on lately – a fascinating glimpse into my studio!

my worktable

I’ve done a late of rearranging and reorganizing in my studio over the past few months, with the result that I’m now actually able to use my work table as….a work table! gasp! There was always so much junk on top – it was that sort of place in the house where I would just put stuff. But not anymore!

So the little piles of circles to the right are going to be paper flowers for my encouragment cards. And the stuff in the middle is going to be a mini collage I’m creating to make into a soldered pendant. I’m going to do three pendants to start with, and this is the first. I chose three phrases to work with – “she was a star of known luminosity”, “be cast into the sea”, and “kooky and meticulous” – and then I chose three photos of vintage women and a variety of decorative papers to go along with them.

I don’t have anything to share for my Photoshop Friday. The previous Friday we went to Dutch Wonderland – it was so hot, by the time we left I was not feeling well, and when we got home all I could manage to do was sit in front of the tv and watch the new episode of Project Runway. This past Friday I did some stuff with the spot healing tool and patching, but I don’t have anything interesting to show for it!

I do however have some photos from Dutch Wonderland to share…

Lily, Gwen, Marc, and Ed on the roller coaster. They went on five times! Ed and Gwen are in front of Marc and Lily.
up and up

Marc and Lily about to go down the hill.
here we go!

Marc and Lily out for a drive.
beep beep!

Gwen and Lily on the whip.
whip it!

my little birdie
I have managed to do a little bit of drawing….it was really fun! Here is my picture. It’s very simple, but I like it.

sing little bird

I sketched it in pencil first, and then outlined it with a Sakura Pigma Micron pen. And finally, I colored it in with Prismacolor colored pencils.

thanks for stopping by!


Read Full Post »

delicious red cake.
A few months back I bought a whoopie pie pan from Wegman’s. This weekend I decided to try it out. I had some buttermilk left from blueberry muffins I made last weekend (they were ok – need to tweak the recipe a bit). So I decided to make red velvet whoopie pies in an effort to not throw away quite so much buttermilk (why does buttermilk only come in quart size? I only need a cup or two!)

I have a Paula Deen red velvet cupcake recipe that I have made several times, and it always comes out delicious – very moist and flavorful. For the filling I cheated and simply used store-bought vanilla frosting.

And here they are….

red velvet whoopie pies

They look kind of brown in this photo, but I can assure you they are quite red.


inspiring red flowers.
Somewhat recently I read the January/February 2011 issue of Somerset Studio, and was particularly taken with an article by E’Layne Koenigsberg, From Intuition to Fruition (as a whole I have been feeling so inspired lately by all of the various Stampington magazines I’ve been reading).


She writes about how, rather than her usual approach to creating art as one of having a finished product in mind, she approached her project intuitively, opening herself to ideas and inspiration and seeing what happened. I too approach my art thinking that I must have a perfect finished item when I am done. Partly this is due to limited time, and partly to my uptight perfectionist tendencies.

I would love to work in a more intuitive manner, instead of worrying about whether my project will turn out or not. As Marc Chagall said, “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.” There’s a certain trusting of one’s artistic talent and creativity that must come into play in order to work intuitively. I’d really like to tap into that!

The past week I’ve been making some changes & updates to my blog. New banner, I added a background (ok, it’s just plain lavender. My digital art skills are not adequate for anything fancy, and while I love the beautiful fancy backgrounds on other blogs, sometimes I feel they are distracting. So for now, it’s plain lavender.) I’ve added some more artists to my blogroll, and some shops to my shoproll.

But with the end of June is the end of the quarter, and that means it’s time for me to come up with my goals for the 3rd quarter. (I work in the financial industry, so dividing the year into quarters is second nature). And one of those goals is absolutely going to be learning how to solder. Wish me luck!

Thanks for stopping by!


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: