Loop in Loop take 2

Hopefully you’ll be able to see what I’m doing in these videos as the first time I tried to make it for you everything at the end was out of the camera line and so was kind of a non starter 😉

Mexican Fire Opal

For this particular chain I’ve used 20 gauge fine silver. (You can use sterling silver, but it might be harder on your fingers). I’ve used a 9mm diameter mandrel to make the jump rings.

Single Loop in Loop Chain

 I’m pretty sure that I have seen some charts that will tell you which gauge of wire to use with which diameter jump ring to make different sizes of chain, but I haven’t been able to find them yet. If you’re like me, however, good old trial and error works just as well. You can make some test runs with copper first to save messing up with your silver. Your main concern will be to avoid using a diameter ring which is too small for the wire gauge as you want the chain to move well and not be too stiff. 

O.K. So…

This time I only focused on making the actual chain and not how to make the jump rings. If you would like me to make a video on how to make and solder the jump rings just let me know

😉 

MATERIALS:

For 6″ length of chain

30 x 9mm, 20 Gauge Fine Silver Jump Rings.

Round nose pliers

Awl for jewelry, leather or bookmaking

Draw Plate

This first video stops abruptly because my son came into the studio. It was kind of irritating, but we did have a nice chat about how I could edit him out…

NOTE: You don’t need to solder fine silver. If you make sure that the two ends of the jump ring are lined up perfectly and there isn’t a gap where you’re going to join them you can slowly and evenly heat the ring until the silver fuses itself. This just needs practice. 

LINKS:

Pepe Jump Ring Maker – riogrande.com #110189 – I have the older version of this tool. I really like it as it has a huge number of mandrels to choose from. You don’t need a jump ring maker, however, to make jump rings as you can wrap the wire around a length of dowel or something similar that is the width you’re looking for. Just be sure to wrap the wire as tightly as you can around the mandrel.

I think the word I was looking for at the end of this video was ‘fluid’, but you get the idea. I haven’t found the need to anneal the chain once I’ve finished it, but perhaps if I used sterling silver I would. It just softens the silver up after you have worked with it so that all of the links move more easily. As I said you have to be careful when you anneal it if you have soldered the joins together because you don’t want the solder to re-melt. This is another good reason to fuse the fine silver instead of soldering.

LINKS:

Draw Plates – HERE – There are many different kinds of draw plates out there, but these are the ones I use. I’m sure for this purpose you could even make your own by drilling holes in a piece of wood.

Awl – HERE – Again there are loads of different needle tools out there. This one seems most like the one I use.

And that’s it.

The only thing that might put someone off making this chain is that it’s fiddly, but once you get the hang of it it’s a breeze.

There are a few variations on this chain, such as the double Loop in Loop and also a triple one, but I haven’t made either of these yet as I’ve got to build myself up for extra fiddly.

Maybe later

😉

Just a hello…

I made a video on how to make the Link in Link chain for you, but right at the end, right at the crucial part where all the important stuff happens, I move my hands out of the camera view and you can’t see any of the good bits.

Here I’ve used two 3″ lengths of the Link in Link chain to make up this Mexican Fire Opal bracelet.

So a remake of the video is now on my to do list as it’s a really simple chain which you might like to have a go at making yourself. It’s fiddly, but once you get it down there’s nothing to it.

Just a note here on the videos I make.

I’m by no means an expert, but I don’t mind sharing how I make things with you. If you ever see something I’ve made and would like a, ‘behind the scenes’, just let me know. I’m not very good at making the videos. I can’t be bothered to delve into the tech depths of editing for instance, I’ve too many other things I’d rather be doing. So what I do in real time is what you get, so to speak, including all of my mistakes. And I do make mistakes which is annoying as oftentimes it’s just because I’m being lazy or not paying attention or I simply don’t really know what I’m doing and I’m making it up as I go along, but I think mistakes can also be good to share as it’s encouraging to see the ‘real’ stuff going down.

Well that’s my story anyway.

😉

I also get very bored, very easily and don’t know what to do next so a video challenge gives me something to do.

Except for when I’m depressed then we ain’t getting nothing.

But the sofa sees a lot of action.

I get depressed a lot.

Just one of those things.

I’m also a bit all or nothing. I’m either going full steam and don’t lift my head up, or at a full stop wondering what the point of it all is.

You know how it is…

In other news. I went to the MFAH the other day to see the Royal Family which I really enjoyed. Well I enjoyed the Tudors and the Windsors. I didn’t care for the Stuart and Hanover paintings. Too wafty for me. I like the meat of the Holbeins.

I mean look at Anne with her lovely long neck.

I love the simplicity of this style of painting.

Unlike this style.

Which is a little too frivolous for me. I also don’t like all of the space around it.

Brilliant painting though.

He is George III. Mad King George. The one we got rid of in the U.S.

And here is Charlotte, his Queen, and interestingly enough the first black queen.

I didn’t know that.

Anyway. Back to the Tudors.

Lady Jane Grey.

What a tragedy.

Below is one of my favourite paintings of her in the exhibit.

According to the nice man on the audio tape it apparently was thought lost, destroyed in a flood, but was unexpectedly discovered rolled inside another painting years later in London with extensive water damage. It’s amazing how they were able to restore it.

You have to stand in front of it to feel the awfulness of it.

It was one of the only paintings in the exhibit that I felt compelled to go back to several times.

Then, of course, there was good old Henry himself.

Which was fantastical

🙂

Although this has to be my favourite.

I have to include one of the Earl of Essex of course because that where I come from.

He definitely looks like he knows how to get things done.

Thomas Cromwell

Of course he ended up with his head on the block.

And then there were the Windsors.

My people.

The Andy Warhol.

The Princess Di.

And this, my favourite, of the Queen.

I know. I know. Not quite her most flattering, but it was marvelous.

The one I stood in front of was the blue hologram (below) which doesn’t translate well from my photograph so I found you a decent one online.

It was mesmerizing. Almost magical.

Strange, but true…

Of course no good visit to the MFAH should end without a quickie to the African gold room.

 

 

A looksee at the wonderful little these things.

 

And a finish off in the what the hell happened in here room.

 

 

 

They make my rather large and peculiar butterfly necklace look rather mundane…

Happy Sunday.

🙂

 

 

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Ocean Jasper Box Necklace – Show and Tell

I’ve made these on and off over the years and thought I’d share with you how I make them if you’d like to give one a try.

Coral Fossil

So.

Same disclaimer as always.

I’m not a professional.

I don’t endorse any tools or materials, but just let you know what I use.

And last but not least.

I will deny any responsibility for your getting annoyed at the video in a court of law.

Moving on…

I am definitely a make it and figure it out as I go along sort of person. I also forget from one minute to the next what I’m doing. Usually I’m not showing anyone else so I can generally get away with it 😉

I like to put a design on the back of the pieces I make because I think it looks nicer if the necklace turns while someone is wearing it. It also serves the purpose of being able to work the stone out of the bezel setting when I’m making it and for releasing hot air when soldering.

NOTE: I soldered the box edges (the bezel wire) onto a piece of silver. I’m showing you on this larger piece of silver, but I had cut a smaller piece before I soldered the box sides on.

NOTE: Making sure that the flow of silver is continuous on the outside of the bezel wall is relevant to any bezel making. When I first started to make jewelry I used to be disappointed when I could see little pits along the outside of the setting. It took me a while to realize that if I took a little time to make sure I could see a continuous line when the solder flowed to the outside edge my finished pieces would look far better. You can help the solder flow by using your pick to spread it evenly or, if this doesn’t work, it might be that you haven’t enough solder and need to add just a little more. Even if it looks great on the inside it can still be pitted on the outside.

If you find that you need to cut down a piece of bezel wire that is too high for the stone and you have already soldered it onto the silver backing you can mark the sides with a sharpie, adjust a pair of dividers to the amount you want to cut away, and then run the point of the dividers around the bottom of the bezel wire. This leaves a fine line that you can use as a guide to file, or sand, the excess away. To make sure that you have the edge completely flat you can finish it up by then marking the bottom with a sharpie and sanding it in a figure of eight motion on a flat piece of sand paper until all of the sharpie has gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was trying to focus the camera closer to the work and so it doesn’t show that I’m just picking up small pieces of solder with my pick and bringing them back to the small cutouts.

Solder will stick to the end of the pick If you heat up the pick and ball up small pieces of solder at the same time. They have to both be hot. Then you can bring your pick back to whatever you’re working on.

I do the same thing when I’m soldering a ball into place except I replace the pick with the ball. I pick the ball up with a pair of long tweezers and take it over to the solder. The ball is thicker and more solid than the small pieces of solder so the ball has to be heated more before the solder will stick to its bottom. Then you can take the ball back over to the piece you’re working on. If the back plate is as hot as the ball, the ball should solder onto the plate with no trouble. If the plate is not hot enough the solder may come up over the ball. The temperatures have to be the same with anything you’re soldering and you have to bear in mind that each piece, due to its size and thickness, will take different amounts of heat to attain this. Only when both pieces are the same temperature can the solder join them.

I often shield a piece I’m working on with my hands to double check that I’ve got the pieces in the right position for soldering. If the light source is coming from one direction it can be deceptive.

If you’re looking for a shiny surface in the finished piece, obviously you wouldn’t sand the silver as I do. I like a more matt, buffed, look and so this doesn’t affect the finished piece.

You won’t always need to put a stopper inside the box. It just depends on the fit of the stone.

You have to look around the web for the Wolverine Ultra Silver Brazing Flux as it seems to vary in price and availability. I use mine by putting a small amount of it in a smaller jar and mixing it with distilled water until it’s fairly runny. Even though I keep a lid on it the water evaporates out of this very quickly so each time I open it I have to add more water. This seems to work well for me though.

Cross locking tweezers – riogrande.com – #115206

Honeycomb soldering block – riogrande.com – #502005

Soldering pegs – I can’t find where the pegs are sold separately, but you can find some here – riogrande.com – #111039

TIP: Unless you like living on the edge as I do you might want to measure the height of your prongs first 😉

It would have been easier for me in the long run if I’d made up my mind about the small pieces of balled wire that I added at the end before I soldered the box onto the back plate. It’s not a problem to add things afterward, but whenever you solder anything onto a piece after you have added the prongs you have to be very careful not to re-melt the prong solder. I just kept the flame away from that area and kept a good eye on it, but you can coat the areas that you don’t want to be affected with that yellow oxide powder that I used in a previous show and tell. I just forgot about it – again… (riogrande.com – #504080)

As it was I cut the wire to the correct height and held them in place with tweezers using the same technique as with the prongs.

Ocean Jasper

larsonite

And some older work using the box.

Sonora Dendrite

 

Purple Passion

 

Jasper

 

Poppy Jasper

 

Prudent Man

 

Amethyst Sage

Next up I’m thinking of making some more of these if you’re interested in another show and tell.

Amber

🙂

Behind the scenes – Cheetah Jasper Necklace…

As you probably know by now my video skills leave a lot to be desired. I had wanted to make a, ‘why don’t you make one along with me’, video of the Cheetah Jasper necklace, but what with the glare and the constant fumbling around for my grown up words and then forgetting to explain what I’m doing I have decided that really this is just a show and tell.

If you are able to make anything of it that helps with your own jewelry making I congratulate you 🙂

 

NOTES AND LINKS:

Indian Jewelry Supply not Art Supply, but I’m not sure if they’re around anymore.

Short-Handle 1lb Brass Head Hammer – Rio 112061

Lindstrom HS6001 Cutter Shears

Buffalo Rutland Stamps

Chasing tool from 2moontools on Etsy.

Turned out to be no dilemma at all as I only had 23 gauge anyway 🙂

I use an acetylene/air torch and mostly pick solder.

Here I’m using the little silver balls to pick the solder up instead of my pick. I pick the ball up in my tweezers and take it to a pile of solder chips I have laying on my brick. I heat a little piece of the solder which then attaches itself to the bottom of the ball. I keep it heated as I move it back toward the leaf.

I mainly put the little hammered balls under the pieces that make up the bottom layer. I do this to bring the pattern up off the back plate to give it some dimension. As I build the picture up I don’t use as many balls but instead lay pieces where I think they will best suit the design.

I generally have all of the solder ready to go on the bottom of each piece.

As I said, I’ll try to figure out a good way to video the process without the glare and try to show you how it all comes together on another piece.

I know you can hardly wait…

BeadSmith 1-Step Big Looper Plier

Abrasive wheels.

 

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Happy New Year!

I was going to write about my New Year’s Intention to work on protecting my boundaries without feeling guilty and how Joe from Little Women is my new, just be yourself, hero.

I was also going to tell you about the face rash I developed the week before I was due to fly to England for Christmas which I thought was shingles and which I just knew would prevent me from getting onto the airplane due to being infectious to pregnant women and children and how I would have to stay home alone to suffer my own sad and lonely holiday, but which simply turned out to be an allergic reaction to hugging a friend.

I was also going to tell you about how I’ve fallen three times since August due to not paying enough attention to where I’m placing my feet and how the third time I fell, on Boxing Day, although it seemed that I barely touched the floor with my knee, it resulted in a bruise to end all bruises which has systematically migrated from the tip of my left kneecap down to cover the whole of the front of my shin and which is, even now, moving around to the side of my leg and down to my ankle.

I was also going to tell you that Christmas was good albeit especially cold on the one day we chose to spend in London drinking cocktails in the Ice Bar (because why not spend 45 minutes in a room even colder than the already bitter outside) and taking the Jack the Ripper tour well into the dark, bitter evening. And how I was disappointed with the tour because I, and I think most everybody alive today, already knows the ins and outs and the hows, whos and whys of this particular serial killer and as most of the sites the guide took us to are now either modern office buildings or parts of London which did nothing to call up the horrors of the day we could have happily sat with the guide in a warm pub drinking beer as he pointed to the pertinent locations on a map. All I could think about the day after were the poor half frozen to death prostitutes waiting for tricks on dark miserable corners with nothing but the prospect of getting drunk silly on gin and orange to keep them warm. Which reminds me to look up the months that the murders took place as the idea of a knife piercing already bone-chillingly numb skin seems somehow worse than if the murders took place in the summer months.

Just me?

I could also tell you how my daughters boyfriend approached me ONE week before we all left for London and asked me to help him make her an engagement ring. Of course he had zero experience and had never made a piece of jewelry before and I had never made a prong setting, but we did it in spite of, or maybe because of, the fact that I told him every inch of the way that he wouldn’t be able to do it. A somewhat new approach for me from the encouragement I normally give my kids.

He did good

🙂

 

But then I decided to not tell you about any of this, but instead just wish you all a Happy New Year

🙂

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Notes on watching the videos of my bracelet tutorial

This is my first video series and it’s been a bit of a learning curve to understand YouTube and what I wanted from it when I uploaded my videos on there so I thought I’d just give a quick explanation of my thinking here.

When I made the videos I knew there’d be some extra notes that I’d want to include as I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to talk and make the piece at the same time. I think I did pretty well with most of them, but there are one or two which I felt needed a little further explanation.

Also I’ve included a lot of links to the materials I’ve used etc. for those who would like to know and there are no notes for any of this on YouTube.

To be honest, the idea of anyone being able to watch this on YouTube worried me a little bit also. You guys may know how I muddle through and perhaps forgive me for it, but there’s a lot of stranger danger out there in the grown up world.

I’m hoping this will work out, but just let me know if you have any trouble.

The first part of the tutorial is HERE

 

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Happy place…

So it’s been a year.

Well a couple of weeks shy, and I’m finally beginning to sort myself out.

Now I know why the Victorians had the whole black thing going on.

It’s like a code for, Back off, I’m not quite right and might explode at any time.

Tell me, would you approach this woman thinking things are all happy and rosy?

Apparently, as you can see by her jewels, she’s only in half mourning.

According to the rules it’s just nothing but black for two and a half years after which then, and only then, you might add a little trinket to lighten things up a bit.

Of course Vicki had the whole thing down pat.

Even the dog was in on the game.

I just happen to be watching Victoria on PBS right now.

It’s always a shock to see the real face of Victoria after seeing her on t.v.

Almost an exact likeness except for the nose I think…

The same thing happened with Henry.

Must have just caught him in bad lighting.

Anyway, suffice to say, I’m feeling a lot better about the whole dad dying thing except for being a bit pissed off.

I find myself happily plodding away in the studio when suddenly I remember that he’s dead and spontaneously snap at him for being so inconsiderate.

Sometimes swear words are involved and I’m not sorry about them either because I’m generally just pretty ticked off by the whole thing.

On the whole I have to say I’m happier with this stage of the grieving however.

It feels more productive.

But I just wanted to share with you some goodies I bought for myself today.

One of these.

This.

And this.

By Catie Miller – HERE

I love the happiness of them.

Could these be my little coming out of mourning trinkets I ask myself?

Would they look a little strange hanging round my neck?

Think I’ll just stick with using them for succulents and tea, however, otherwise the people in the grocery store might really think I’ve lost the plot and could explode at any time.

Wouldn’t want any trouble around the egg plants now would we…