Saturday, October 26, 2013

Enamel Components

I've been working on some simple enamel components for earrings and necklaces. I want the focus of these pieces to be the color, hence the super-simple designs. I did a blog post a week or 2 ago about making copper circles for this enameling session. Now I'll show you how some of them look with COLOR.

Each pair you see here will be a pair of earrings. The small circles are the ones I made in the above referenced blog post. They were domed very slightly. I used some dome up, some dome down. Both orientations seemed to work fine. The long teardrops are shapes that I purchased. All of the pieces are counter enameled with black on the back. This provides stability to the enamel.

I have another earring series to complete. These will be double dangles -- one circle hanging below another. I'm planning some very fun color combinations for those!

Another shape that I purchase as-is are these cute flowers. These will be put on a brass jump ring and hang from antiqued brass chain. This will help me keep the price point low ($24). I have some customers who have purchased several as gifts because of this attractive price.

I also offer these necklaces with hearts, which are on order. I hop they are in Monday's mail so I can get a bunch done before the Bad Girls of the North show next weekend! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Triple Ginger Pound Cake

What's better than fresh ginger? Well, crystallized ginger, powdered ginger and fresh ginger all together!

Get thee to the store and get all 3 gingers so you can hurry up and make this wonderful cake.

Triple Ginger Pound Cake

3 1/2 cups flour
1 TBSP ground (powdered) ginger
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 TBSP vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger
4 TBSP grated fresh ginger

Cream sugar & butter until fully combined. Add eggs & yolks, one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next. Add vanilla. Mix in combined dry ingredients alternately with milk. stir until smooth. Lastly, stir in the gingers.

Bake in 2 greased loaf pans for about 1 hour at 350. Cool in pans for about 20 minutes before removing.

As you can see, these cakes did not rise much. I suspect that if I had slightly smaller loaf pans, the cakes would be a bit taller. In any case ... yum!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Making Copper Circles

There are several ways to cut out discs from metal sheet.

1 . You can saw them by hand using a jeweler's saw. I've done this, and while it is satisfying, it takes a bit of time and the result is almost never a perfect circle. Not that there's anything wrong with an "organic" circle, but it you're looking for a neat  disc, this is not the best method.

2. A disc cutter like this one from Evie's Tool Emporium is a great alternative. The prices in this etsy shop are always reasonable and the service is awesome. You can see this listing by clicking on the photo, but be sure to check out the rest of the shop too!

For me, this type of tool is great. It takes quite a bit of strength and a very stable surface to get good, clean circles. I'm working with 20 ga copper sheet, so sometimes it's hard for me to get through with one blow of the hammer.

Enter Rick. He suggested I make the trip out to his shop (it's really not far -- just on the other end of our 2 acres :-). There, he introduced me to the arbor press.

Basically, the arbor press does the hard work for you. You pull down sharply on the lever and it acts as the hammer, punching out he circle with relative ease. I have a video of this , but can't figure out how to upload it to my blog. (This is causing me great frustration, as I can't even find it on my computer. It should be in the cloud file, shouldn't it?)

Anyhoo, here are the little copper circles after I domed them. Even though these discs are small (less than 1" in diameter), I used a large dapping punch because I wanted a very shallow dome. Next step is to drill holes at the top and enamel them. Some will get holes top & bottom so I can do a double-dangle style earring.

As always, thanks for tuning in and check back soon for finished enamel earrings!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Romance is Alive!

Have no fear my friends, romance lives. At least in Alaska.

I received an email from a local guy -- in my head, he's young, very cute and athletic -- asking if I could replace a pair of earrings that his girlfriend lost. He purchased them from me 4 years ago. He remembers that specifically. I have no recollection of these earrings, but when he describes them, I kind of know what he's talking about.

He decided to send me a rough sketch of the earrings:

Rough sketch??? That's a drawing he did with some sort of CAD program, right? Bottom line, I knew exactly what he wanted. Lucky for him (and his girlfriend), I had 2 (yes, only 2) of those marquis cut prehnite stones left. They weren't quite a matched pair, but when I was done with the wire wrapping, they were indeed a pair :-)

These are the completed earrings:

This is the response I received from him when he saw this photo:

They look almost exact. 
I'll take them. 

Am I good, or what?
The next email I received from him:
Thank you so much. I called her and told her to expect replacement ear rings and she teared up on me. Those ear rings had kind of come to symbolize the first couple months of our relationship. When they were lost a few days before we had to say good bye. It was rough on her. 

Thank you so much. It made my year.
Of course, that made me tear up too. It's so special to be able to have an impact on the lives of others with something so simple as a pair of earrings. Now I need a tissue ...

Viva Romance!