Saturday, August 24, 2013

What I've Been Up To - August 5 - 24

I feel like I've been running around crazy busy for the last two weeks, but when I look at my jewelry desk and things that I've finished, there's not much there! I guess I've been crazy busy with other things. My husband's little brother has come from overseas to live with us and we are running around trying to get him ready for junior high.

On the jewelry front, I knitted a long viking knit chain out of 30 feet of 28 gauge sterling silver wire for the fossil coral pendant I finished a while back. It looks great! Sparkly and shiny and flexible. It took a while to finish because I had to put it down every half hour or so to let my fingers and eyesight recover. I'm going to section it into three pieces, add end caps to each section, and separate them with fossil coral beads. I think it's going to be really impressive when I'm done with it (she says, humbly...)

I also took apart a moonstone ring I made a while back... (This one...)

I was never totally happy with it - the stone was a little crooked, the split shank was a little unequal on either side - so I managed to pry the stone out of the setting and I heated it until it the shank de-soldered from the setting. I bent the split shank wires into a nicer shape, turned the setting around so it was horizontal rather than vertical, and soldered it all back together with a handful of silver balls for decoration. 

Much better now! This version will actually get photographed and added to my shop...

I have also been busy making three custom earrings with a customer's own saltwater and freshwater pearls. I just finished them the other day and I'm very pleased. Hopefully she will be too!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weekly (Really!) Update - 8/4/13

I think my biggest accomplishment this week was cleaning my jewelry desk! You wouldn't know that I cleaned it off by looking at it right now of course, but it was totally clean for at least 15 minutes, I swear... But I got some stacking plastic drawers meant for organizing paper that sorts my silver wire spools and coils perfectly by gauge and shape.

And I also got a nifty little sawblade, file and burr organizer, which is nice because I was starting to get neurotic about losing my setting bits in the mess of my side shelves.

I also ordered a new mini butane torch because I suspect the one I have is on its last legs. Only it's not so much of a mini torch! I'm going to have to be careful about melting stuff with this giant! (Or setting things on fire!)

I also actually made a few jewelry things last week. Stacking rings and earrings for orders, of course. I also finished a fossil coral pendant to match the earrings in my last post. It gave me so much trouble! Getting the bezel, the complicated openwork backing, the decorative circles and tube setting all soldered together wasn't overly difficult. But then I realized that the bezel wall was just a hair too short on one side for me to be sure that the stone would be totally secure, so I decided to add some prongs. And of course by now the piece was just a little to big for my little old microtorch to get heated properly. The prongs seemed to go on just fine, they stuck on through filing and finishing and a trip through the tumbler, but then they started breaking off as soon as I had the faceted CZ set and the bezel pushed around the coral. So I got to pry the coral out and force the CZ out of the tube setting (because apparently CZs can't handle high heat from torches). I'll make an already long story slightly shorter and say that luckily my new giant butane torch showed up in the mail so I blasted the heck out of the setting and got those stupid prongs totally soldered down and put everything back together. And the end result is nice!

After waffling back and forth for a while, I've finally settled on going whole hog on the chain - I'm going to knit a viking knit chain and piece it together in three sections, with fossil coral beads between each section. Of course that means, that I get to make at least six handmade end caps for the viking knit. Since I'm going all out, I'm going to make them out of tube and sheet and solder them to the ends of each chain. Should be fun!

After the fight with the fossil coral, I made a little copper and stone ring. Mostly for practice, since the band is copper and many people can't wear copper rings without skin reactions. It was good practice though and it turned out rather well.

I'm going to be working on the chain for my fossil coral, and I've also got local custom earring order to work on, so I'll be nice and busy in the coming week. But jewelry is the best thing to be busy with!