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Archive for the ‘soldering’ Category

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ~Walt Disney

So… I’ve been gone from the scene for a while.

It was actually planned. Well, at least at the beginning I had a plan.

I didn’t talk about it before I took a break, but it maybe would have been a good idea to explain why I was planning an extended break from my blog and Twitter. I was just afraid to admit it out loud because I don’t like to fail. If I explained what my plan was, then I’d have to come back and say whether it worked out or not.

And here’s the deal, it didn’t work out. Nothing worked like I thought it would. But I learned from my break and some things really changed.

Sometime around the end of the last Bead Soup Blog Party (when last we met), I decided that I was going to put into action what I’d wanted to do for a long time. I was going to make some pieces (30 to be exact) and I was going to finally open my own Etsy store. I wanted to create a line in time for Christmas shopping.

I’ve been designing and creating jewelry for eight years now. I’ve been gathering up supplies (for years), saying I was going to make certain pieces I’d designed, and I finally decided I was going to “quit talking and begin doing”.

I was going to leap right in.

Just watch me.

I’m here on this ledge…

I had a plan. Starting at the end of July, I was going to take 6 weeks. The plan was 1 week to firm up some ideas, 4 weeks to create (all of August), and 1 week to take pictures and post (beginning of September).

You can stop laughing now.

Once I started on creation, I quickly realized that there was no way I would be able to put together 30 pieces. If I was planning on just doing stringing or some wire work, then I might have been able to pull it off. But what I wanted to do was make some soldered focal pieces and bracelets.

Like this…

Soldered Pendant

I also wanted to do some metal work, which was going to take more time than one piece a night. I wasn’t specific enough in what metal pieces I was going to create. I had ideas, but my designs were still forming.

I wasn’t too discouraged because I figured I could put together some earrings pretty quickly to round out my 30 pieces. And I had some simpler stuff I could do too.

But things kept consuming my time. I work full time. I was taking a drawing class every Monday night until 10. I was actually in class 3 nights a week at the end of July. There were birthdays late in the summer, which took up some evenings.

Then, my oldest started Kindergarten at the end of August (sniff), and suddenly my evenings in September were filling up with back-to-school things. I was also working with my sister-in-law to plan the 40th Anniversary party of our parents-in-law in mid-September.

I just kept pushing my dates back and working as best I could. But by mid-September I still only had 5-6 pieces in various states of completion.

Then… at the end of September, I found out about this…

And everything came to a screeching hault.

I felt pretty okay for about 2 weeks after we found out, but then the morning sickness and exhaustion hit.  This one has been especially hard.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m older or because I have two other kiddos, but I have had a hard time.  It was probably some where around Christmas that I started seeing some of my energy come back, but I still can’t keep up like I used to.

I am itching to create though, and I haven’t forgotten about my vision to put together a shop.  I’m hoping to create some pieces for Valentine’s Day and Spring.  It may end up being 10 things, but I’m going to try.

Bracelet-to-be

work-in-progress

I’ll post when it happens, but this time I plan to be back before then.

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The third day of the retreat was fantastic!

Well, after I blew up the torch, then it was fantastic.

I literally started the morning, by changing the head on the torch I’d been using all weekend, turning the gas on and watching the thing become a decent sized fireball in my hand.  Apparently I had good, quick thinking and turned it off right away.

After I stopped shaking, I proceeded to anneal my wire strip to make a bracelet.  Before I show my absolute favorite piece from the entire weekend, I’ll tell you what I did. Basically, I hammered the ends and then cut out a long, wide piece in the center. It was pretty tough to saw because it was 14-gage copper.

I got halfway done, and then walked away for a bit to finish up polishing my main piece, my test piece, and one I just threw in there for fun. I only have a picture of my main piece right now.

I love how it turned out! It’s not perfect.  After all the polishing was done, you can really see a spot near the top of the inside of the flower that did not get the solder. Also, I can still see all the little solder pieces around the edge.  The instructor thinks there may have been some sort of contamination or something with the solder.

Then I went back to my bracelet. I finished the cut, widened the opening, and annealed it again.  Then the fun part began. Basically, you twist and turn the copper and shape it into a piece that’s appealing to you.

I could tell from the beginning that the unpredictability of the piece would probably make me a little nuts, which is exactly why I decided to try this technique.  What would be the point of taking this class if I didn’t at least try to do something outside of my comfort zone?

The results…

This is one of the top three favorite pieces of jewelry I’ve ever created. I just love how it turned out. I only wish that I had the ability to create more.

Overall, I had a great weekend.  It was fun to rest, relax, and create – even if at times it didn’t really seem like much relaxing was happening. I’m so glad that I did it.

What I really need now is a studio, but I’m not quite sure I’ll be able to convince my husband to allow me to put something like that together.  I haven’t really told him about my exploding torch incident yet…

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One of the craft stores I like was having a 40% off this weekend for the holiday, so I had to go out and see if I could find any treasures. Actually, I had planned to look for something from Simply Swank. I knew there was some sort of value pack I had my eye on. For some reason I thought it was different varieties of glass, but when I got there I remembered the copper tape.

I did look at their glass “value” packs and was disappointed to discover that four pieces of glass, or two charms, were considered a value pack. At $5 each, I wasn’t about to stock up. I looked around to see if anything else caught my eye and I spotted these boxes of Inkssentials Memory Glass. I read over all of the information and couldn’t find any reason why I couldn’t try using these to make soldered pieces.

I am going to give it a try. For 24 pieces at $7, I think it’s worth testing to see if I can solder them. It seems like there shouldn’t be a problem since they are glass after all, but you never know. I probably won’t get to try this theory out until after the end of September since there are so many things going on this month to keep me more than busy.

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