Sunday, January 22, 2012

Little silver sand dollar. Precious metal clay creations.

I have been wanting to work with precious metal clay (PMC) for a while.  It was a matter of time and cost.I finally realized the price of silver like other precious metals does not look like it will be plummeting any time soon.

My first piece was a tiny little heart.  Nothing special but happy and proud to have finally tried this amazing material which when fired turns into .999 pure silver; more pure then sterling making it more expensive plus the hand made aspect of the pieces.

My second piece was this little sand dollar.  Being all thumbs at times this was a long process. Well; for me it was.

My poor little pendant where I made my first bale was the first piece I dropped upside down. The bale once rounded became more flat.  The fall actually made the piece wave a bit and got more of a rustic texture which I liked.

This simple love charm is about the size of dime.  I made it to try out these fabulous old small vintage letterpress letters. It's currently in an unfinished state meaning it hasn't been cleaned or tumbled yet. When it is removed from the kiln it has a whitish coating on it that needs to be scrubbed off.

I always thought these were neat.  Now I had a reason to buy them!

Here it is after cleaning.  It has a brushed finish right now.  Once tumbled it will be shiner and the silver will harden more.

The crown also awaits being tumbled and then put into a solution to make detail dark but it isn't necessary.

This is a piece in the works.  As you can see it is an odd color and needs the edges and surface made smooth before firing.  I wanted to make some sea glass pendants but when the glass was tested in the kiln the colors completely changed!
I set my first stone this week in another piece and look forward to sharing it soon.  Like any new medium my head is spinning with ideas. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

An Alpaca afternoon.

Probably one of the last things you would expect to find two miles from the beach is an Alpaca farm, but there they are in all their fuzzy glory.

About a year ago I saw a few them grazing on what had become a somewhat neglected gentleman's farm estate.  Like so many places it was divided up  into smaller parcels however; instead of building hundreds of homes on every square inch thirteen acres were purchased by couple that believes in preservation.

The property includes a nice size cape style home, an almost 4,500 square foot carriage house built in the 1930's that the owners preserved and restored as much as possible and a small newer two stall single story barn.  The old grand house not part of the thirteen acres was sadly bulldozed.

When I originally saw fencing going up I was sad. I thought it meant fenced for home construction and was so happy to see it was for animals instead.  That was a little over a year ago.  Then a couple of months ago a sign was posted Alpaca farm open today.  We finally stopped in a got a chance to meet the growing herd and got a bit of an education on both their habits and their the lovely fashions made from their shearing.

Alpaca fiber is unusually strong and does not retain water. It can be spun to be light and airy for summer fashions to heavy and warm for winter without the bulk.When I had the opportunity to pet one of them I was surprised how soft it was.

On the side of the carriage house is a tiny little shop featuring shawls, sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves and short coats that were beautifully detailed.

Demand for Alpaca fiber seems to be on the rise which may be in part due to it's hypoallergenic properties and less shrinkage with washing.

They were fun to watch and I hope to back again.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What a mess!

My garage is a nightmare of stuff. 
Me, who used to have closets where clothes hung like headstones according to color and length.
A place for everything and mostly everything in it's place.
Once a month I would do a de-clutter even if it were only a few things.
While I had a lot of stuff it was way, way better organized.
If a towel was folded improperly I would have to fix it.

How I ask, how did I stray?

I always collected things to make things then I stopped making things for at least five years so the need to collect 
things dwindled until there was no more.  
My world didn't have many things that couldn't pull dual duty.

When we purchased our home several antiques didn't fit in it.
I didn't want to part with them. 
DB had stuff I couldn't stand.
The compromise - pick out some new things together.

Then I started making things again. 
Excess shipping supplies were put in the garage.
(Okay, during holiday season tossed into the garage.)

It just seemed to go from there.....

This is just the front of the garage never mind what is up in the rafters!

1) Dress form purchased with intent to recover. Someone scribbled all over the fabric.
2) Picture purchased for the frame.
3) Treasures purchased to sell.
4) Box for recycling center.
5) Regatta Rag™ tote bag stuffed with stuff.
6) Tennis ball so I don't crash into all the junk.
7) Two cartons of stunning presentation boxes.
8) Carved furniture pieces.
9) Work tarp.
10) The coolest antique Kraft wrapping paper stand even the paper on it is old and heavy.
11) An old sled buried behind everything.
12) Box says bubble mailers but it holds boxes.
13) Paper that was in somethings I purchased that gets used to start the fireplaces.
14) A haul of silver plate that I didn't need but ended up purchasing; long story.
15) Box of work stuff.
16) Cool old wood skis I want in the house but has been met with resistance.
17) Heaven only knows what.
18) Clear shrink wrap.
19)  More work stuff.

I noticed a Martha Stewart Living magazine at my parent's home as I picked it up my Mother said oh take it.
While I do not have a building to set up a home keeping space as Martha called it.  I did spy a carton holder in the article by Global supply and thought it might just be the ticket and ordered one.  The unit looked much sturdier then you see in brick and motor stores and it definitely is.

Global shipped it immediately.  It was pretty warm for December and I thought I would put it together myself.  I suggest a second pair of hands so it doesn't take an hour.

I swept out the leaves that had blown in and began putting all shipping items in one area.
I managed to reduce the number of boxes by nine and broke them down for recycling. I decided to put the cart on the side of the garage so I don't have to move the car to see everything.


Doesn't look like a big deal but for me to have everything in one area really is.  I can now get a better idea of supplies I have and what I need to order.  I have to figure out something for the packing peanuts instead of the bags. It is not a crisp and neat as I would like but it will do.

As for the rest, that is another day's project.
At least I found the sled!