Saturday, December 31, 2011

Enjoyment!! Happy New Year All

I am enjoying my Holiday time !!  Had the wonderful pleasure of seeing the new TinTin movie with my grandsons, their parents and aunt.  All seven of us in those plastic 3-D glasses in a MultiPlex theater.  My first 3-D.   The movie was such a heart warming experience.  My sons grew up on TinTin and now my grandsons are having the experience too!!

A fun beading project I mostly finished before we left.  A herringbone stitch necklace as a Christmas gift for my daughter-in-law.  I amused myself in the car putting on the last touches.  She was so pleased with it.

Our first salad with the wonderful seasoned olive oils and vinegars we received for Christmas from them.
We tried the Cranberry Pear White Balsamic vinegar for this salad.  Yummy!!

I was so impressed by these buttons my daughter-in-law made here last summer in my studio.  And since she isn't a knitter, she bought a sweater and sewed them onto it.  They look so perfect there.

One of my grandsons goofing around in the silly optical glasses we got for him.  He is into being a rock star at age 10!!

Our Tree of Life.   This is a rubber tree that I have had for many years.  It grew so large that it was circling our dining area ceiling and was held up by many props.   Finally this summer we had to take it down.  I was so sad to see it go but it was getting to be too much of a cleaning challenge.  Gradually I pruned back the branches and was finally left with a three foot high stump with just one tiny branch that had a couple of leaves on it.  I decided to re pot it, put it outside and see what would happen.  By the end of September there were tiny buds all over the trunk.  They kept getting bigger.  When it got too cold for it to be outside anymore, we brought it in and put it back in its old spot.  Before long the leaves began to sprout.  Once it was cold  enough for us to begin heating the house, it grew even more leaves.   This is a very recent picture of how wonderfully it is doing.  Our Tree of Life  Full of New Growth.  What a joy!!  What an affirmation of the spirit to stay alive!!

A recent photo of me with a hat that is supposed to cover my ears but slips up and bunches out my hair.  My husband says it looks cute and reminds him that I am a Lion, so he took this pic.

Happy New Year to all!!
 May your days be filled with new growth,
enjoyment and the spirit to be alive and seize life in the present.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rustic Winter Earrings Tutorial

Rustic Winter Earrings by Mary Harding

I have been making a lot of earrings lately for the 2 local shops where I sell my jewelry.  And I love to make ceramic charms and made quite a few of this little fir trees this month.

 Since I enjoy tutorials so much I thought it would be fun to combine my current "obsessions" into a project to share.  So here goes.

Rustic Winter Earrings Tutorial
2 Handmade ceramic fir tree charms by Mary Harding in my Etsy Shop
2 large copper washers ( about 1 inch in diameter)  (Harbor Freight carries these, so does Rings and Things)
4 jump rings 9mm  antique copper or brass
2 jump rings  antique copper  or brass 7mm
2 sterling silver earwires  or copper if you wish.

Tools and Supplies
Ball Peen Hammer
Metal Bench block
Hand held metal hole punch size 1.25mm  (Rio Grande has the heavy duty kind)
Chain nose and bent nose pliers
Renaissance Wax
Steel Wool size  000
Liver of Sulphur
Sunshine Cloth or Soft cloth
Tissue or cotton rounds (cosmetic)

1.  Use the ball peen hammer to pound and texture your copper washers

Pound them on a metal bench block.  This is what they look like before you texture them.

Head of the ball peen hammer and the copper washer partially textured.

Completely textured copper washers.  (they look gold in the photo but they really are copper)

2. Use the hand held hole punch to put a hole in the washer for attaching the earwires
TIP  the copper will be thinner after you texture it and makes it easier to punch the holes with the hand punch

This  is a heavy duty  handheld hole punch.  You could also use a drill press with a 1/16 drill bit.

3.  Patina your copper washers in a Liver of Sulphur solution made with a small chunk of liver of sulphur and some distilled water.  It does not need to be heated to work.   Be sure to wear rubber gloves or use a sieve to put them into the solution.  Make sure you are working in a well ventilated area.

                               Rinse in cold water once they turn black.  Dry with a paper towel.

                     This is how black they will get in the liver of sulphur.  Not to worry it rubs off.
4.  Use the 000 Steel Wool to rub off the patina until the desired effect is achieved.

This is how they will look after you use the Steel Wool.  Amazing difference!!                               

5.  Apply a small amount of Renaissance wax  with a cosmetic cotton round or tissue paper to each of the copper rings and let them dry about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile you can attach the 9mm jump rings to the Fir Tree charms using your chain nose and bent nose pliers,

and then the 7mm jump rings to the  9mm rings.

6. After the 30 minutes,  the Renaissance wax has had a chance to harden, so you polish it with your Sunshine Cloth or a piece of soft fabric.  It should keep that level of polish because of the wax.

7.  Now attach the last 7 mm ring to your polished textured copper washers. 

Using the 7mm jump ring already attached to your tree connect your assembly to the 9mm jump ring on the copper washer.  See pic below.
8.  Last of all attach the entire assembly to your earwire, close it, and your earrings are ready to wear.

An alternative is to make the same earrings smaller using a  3/4 inch diameter copper washer.  You will use all the other supplies and directions to make them.

Happy First Day of Winter!!!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Amazing Book Link

If you love paper and books you will just love this link about some mysterious paper cuttings from and about books that have been showing up in a library in Scotland.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Maple Seed Wing Necklace

I am totally blown away by this beautiful necklace that  Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati Jewelry, made from my Maple Seed Wings Pendant.  She made this as part of her Paint the World with Your Palette: 2nd Annual Challenge of Color Blog Hop!  This necklace was the Caprese Hues Palette.  You can see more of Erin's work and the others who participated here I love the texture of her necklace and the incredible greens she found to compliment the pendant.  Thank you Erin!!

Friday, December 02, 2011

First Friday Art Walk TODAY

                         Beads of Clay
                First Friday Art Walk on Etsy

I hope you will stop by my Etsy shop today and enjoy the FirstFriday Art Walk discount in my Etsy store Today only--10% off everything in my shop.  Please use coupon code BOCFFAW at checkout and a Holiday special of free shipping.  I will refund any shipping charges since you can only use one coupon code at a time. ( I just learned this from a customer.) Please check out the Beads-of-Clay blog for more participating Etsy Shops.

Here are some of the new pieces in my Etsy Shop:

Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Culprit

Have you ever had the experience of your keyboard going haywire and eating up your words, changing your margins, jumping all over the place and typing numbers instead of words?  Well I have been dealing with this for quite a while but didn't know that it was that keyboard in the picture that was making my life so difficult.

 I was reluctant to take my tower into the computer shop since I could muddle my way through.  Finally I talked to one of the guys at our local computer store, the Computer guys and he told me to make sure that I didn't have the number lock on..  That was not the case.  Then I unplugged my keyboard and restarted it.  It was then that I noticed that the Number Lock light was coming on randomly and without me doing anything to make it come on.  So that is when I got the idea of trying another keyboard to see it that was the problem and lo and behold my old one had gone wild.  Turns out that is not an unusual event.   Well now that I have the new one installed I am typing just fine.  I have even blogged two days in a row ( including this post)!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BTW 11-30-11

On my Bead Table--  These soon to find their way into my Etsy Shop.  Some already there.

Sweet Fir Tree Charms  Some for projects and some in my Etsy  Shop
                           You can see what others have on their Bead Table today here

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Artists' Studio Tour

Our local Arts Council sponsors an annual studio tour in the Fall to give the public a chance to visit local  artists and to stimulate Holiday sales for artists.  Ours was this last weekend.  We were very lucky to have wonderful weather and the public came out for us.  I was very busy both days and sales were very good.
I teamed up with a neighbor gallery for publicity--Ladies First Gallery of Art.  Sally Hartman, the owner, wrote  a newspaper  article  and I included her in my Studio Tour Newsletter.  On the days of the event we sent our visitors to each other.  I think it was a very successful collaboration.

In addition to our joint advertising, I offered a free make and take project in my studio to give visitors a chance to get into to the act of creating.  I used the model piece above in my publicity and for the actual project.  Visitors got to make a copper pendant and learned the skills of stamping, applying liver of sulphur patina ( I kept it in a separate well ventilated place (with the lid on), polishing with steel wool and using a hand held hole punch.  Most folks made the pendant but some made a charm for a bracelet or a name tag for a pet.  I forgot to take any pics of folks working but there were as many as four or five at a time banging away at once. Since the space that we worked in is quite large, it was a not in the jewelry showroom---  Thanks to my  dear husband for giving over much of his shop for the event and heroic help in transforming his workspace into a gallery.

We used this heavy oak desk for our pounding and creating with copper

I used the above photo in my newsletter about the event and apparently it was a good idea, since I sold most of my new bracelets and some older ones as well.  I just love the idea of an "arm party".  Can't get enough of them on my arm at once.

Since I did not do the Studio Tour last year, I was more than average nervous throughout the first day.  By  Sunday I was getting much more comfortable and had even more fun with the visitors. Below are some shots of the set up from Sunday Morning. As I mentioned, I never thought of taking any photos when my guests were in the studio. 

That wooden box is an upside down old coke box.

This is an overview of my set up.  Very casual furniture!!  The windows are great for light.

Some of my bracelets.  Many missing due to being sold. More gone by Sunday evening.  Thank you one and all for coming and making this event so much fun and successful.!!!  Thank you St. Lawrence County Arts Council for sponsoring and promoting this wonderful annual event.

During both days of the event I wore the necklace I made in last years' Bead Soup Blog Party with gorgeous beads from Genea.  It was a great conversation starter and was a good advertisement for my peyote stitch work  that I had on display.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

New in My Etsy Shop

Daisies Heart Pendant  This is one of the pieces in Heather Powers' new book.  I hope you have had a chance to see it.  It is a beauty.  I am so thrilled to have 5 of my pieces in it and to be part of one of her design projects.
After my Newsletter Subcribers' Appreciation sale my Etsy Shop inventory has gotten very low.  I thank all my loyal readers for their support. Now I am trying to build it  up again and have been listing a few pieces each day this week.  I thought I would share the pics with you.

 I think the onset of some very cold weather here in the Northeast has
made  me dip into my unconscious Southwestern past when I came up with this color scheme.

This heart is typical of the wetlands and forest fauna here.  Love those colors.

An oak leaf pendant with a dill seed in flower image.

A wild leaf pendant in a nice rose

This is a new style toggle for me.  It has a fair sized stringing hole for bracelets like the one below.

This bracelet is strung and knotted with cotton cord.  The toggle clasp with the hole works well with this style of stringing. ( not in my Etsy shop)

Raku Bead Video Part III