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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Update

Oh, my! It's been two weeks since my last post! I have no new pictures to post, but here's what's been going on with me. High school baseball season is going strong. (No rain last week so we got games in on three days. My son is a junior and hit his first home run of the year on Friday! Four days of baseball scheduled this week, but lots of rain forecasted.) That keeps me a little too busy for anything else. But no games scheduled on Wednesdays, which is why I signed up for my class.

I LOVE my Wednesday night metalworking class! My ring now is round, just needs to be polished. I have two bezels soldered for my cabochons, one for my second denim lapis cabochon (I got two of them the same size in my first class) that will be part of a bracelet and one for my rose quartz cabochon that I bought earlier this year at a local gem show. It will be a pendant. I have been filing both of them at home since I got the soldering done last Wednesday. And I went to another local gem show yesterday and bought more smaller cabochons that I would like to make into earrings. This class is so much fun! If you even think you might like to try metalworking, you really need to find a way to try it!

The other thing that has been taking up my time at home is knitting. I am working on the sweater that I told you about a couple posts ago. I have the back, two front sides and one sleeve completed. I'm working on my second sleeve. Then I can weave in all the yarn ends and assemble the sweater. Considering how much time I have to dedicate to knitting, this has really gone pretty quickly. I will definitely post a photo of my finished sweater! (I hope it's wearable!)

That's about it for now. Today I did some yardwork, which I hadn't really planned on doing. But the weather was pretty nice and I realized how badly I needed to weed some flower beds and landscaped areas outside. I have been ignoring them for way too long.

I promise I'll post some photos of SOMETHING soon! Hope you are having a happy spring!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My New Metalworking Class

I've been to two of my new metalworking classes now and I LOVE this class! It's taught by Genevieve Flynn, a metalworker who has a studio in an artsy area within Kansas City. She has beautiful items displayed in her studio. It's fun just to look around. Check out Genevieve's work at her web site genevieveflynn.com and her Etsy shop.

Time to show you what I've been doing for the last two weeks. This is an eight week class, so I should have other fun things to show here in the future.

The first week, we made this cute little dish that we use to hold our solder pieces when we are soldering. This started as a flat piece of metal. We traced a circle template onto the metal, cut it out then used various dapping blocks to create the round shape. When it was all rounded, we then flattened the bottom so it could sit flat on a surface and we filed the edges smooth. Here is my finished dish.

Dish to hold solder
Dish to hold solder

We started our second project that first week - a ring. We learned how to measure to make a ring the correct size. We designed our ring and started cutting it out. Since I had my supplies from my first class, I was able to complete my cutting at home between classes. The things we learned in making this ring were how to cut shapes out of metal (drill a little hole in the middle of the design, insert the saw blade into the hole then finish inserting the blade into the saw) and how to do sweat soldering (soldering two flat surfaces together).

The second week, we soldered the pieces together and learned how to make a flat strip of metal into a round ring. Then we soldered the ends together to form the ring.

Here's my ring. This week we will make the ring round and then it will need to be polished. My hearts aren't the same size or shape. And I was hoping to place the silver strip more in the middle of the copper strip. But for my first attempt, I was pleased with how it turned out. And it even turned out to be the right size for the finger I measured!

Almost finished ring
Almost finished ring

Next project - a cabochon. Can't wait to start!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Knitting and New Easter Wreath

I am getting into these seasonal wreaths to hang in my craft room. I started thinking the St. Patrick's Day wreath was getting a little old and I needed an Easter wreath, but I wasn't quite sure what kind of wreath that would be. But a book I read recently led to a new craft project which led to my new Easter wreath!

I love to read murder mysteries. Before our trip to Colorado last month, I visited the library and found some new authors to try. I got a book called "Knit One, Kill Two" by Maggie Sefton. In it, our heroine got involved with a knitting shop, learned how to knit and saw a pretty sweater in the shop that she liked. She hoped that someday she would be able to knit that pretty sweater. I have been making my red scarves lately, but this book made me start thinking that I should look for a sweater pattern that I could knit. I looked for free patterns online - I had a sleeveless shell for summer in mind - and found some I liked. But they all talked about shaping the neckline and adding a new ball of yarn - things I thought sounded a bit advanced for me. I had also looked in the library for an appropriate book but didn't find anything I liked. So finally Friday (my day off) I went to JoAnn's to see what kind of knitting books or patterns I could find there. And I found this book.

My new knitting book
There are five beginner sweaters in this book, along with a "Challenge Sweater". They recommend you make one of the five before taking on the challenge. I decided on the cardigan on the left side of the cover. (The sweater on the right is the challenge sweater.) JoAnn's had the type of Lion Brand Yarn called for in the pattern, so I bought my book and my yarn and was all set to start knitting.


The back of my sweater
My son's high school baseball team was in a tournament Friday and Saturday. We had about an hour's drive, so I knit my sample to test my gauge in the car on the way to the tournament. We stayed in a nearby hotel Friday night so I had plenty of time to start my knitting without having to do laundry or any of those bothersome distractions that keep me from crafting at home. And the second game on Saturday started more than an hour late so there was plenty of time to sit in the nice warm car (it was quite chilly out!) in the sunshine and knit. And I knitted all the way home. (It was a good tournament, too - we were the tournament champions. Only six teams in the tournament, but first still beats last!) This is the back section of the sweater. I need to make it 24 inches long, so I have several more inches to go.

But back to the wreath...While at JoAnn's on Friday, I saw that all the Easter stuff was already 50% off. I briefly considered what I could do with maribou, but I wanted something different since my last two wreaths were maribou. So I decided on the 49-cent-a-bag Easter grass and a package of colored styrofoam eggs on a grapevine wreath.

Easter Wreath
I started gluing the grass on the wreath then realized it worked just as well to push some Easter grass into the grapevine wreath. I figured a little glue here and there wouldn't hurt, but it's really not very easy to glue the grass (which did not surprise me). Then I glued on the eggs and made a wire hanger for the back. Didn't take long at all. I imagine the wreath will lose grass over time and I'll need to poke it back into the wreath, but for the money and effort I put into this wreath (little of both), I can live with that.

So it turned out to be kind of a fun wreath, considering I had no idea what I wanted to do. You never know what you might come up with, just wandering around JoAnn's!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Swarovski Crystal Heart Pendants

Do you like Swarovski crystals? I think they're beautiful and I love the colors they come in. I have been selling Swarovski 18mm crystal heart pendants, in a variety of colors, in my Etsy shop for quite some time. I was down to only two remaining, so I ordered a lot more hearts in lots of colors and made more pendants. Here they all are.

Variety of Swarovski Heart Pendants
The colors shown are, left to right: TOP ROW - light rose, crystal vitrail light, crystal heliotrope, light siam. MIDDLE ROW - crystal bermuda blue, light sapphire, rose. BOTTOM ROW - sapphire, aquamarine, crystal AB.

Here are some closeups of my favorite colors. These crystal colors show a rainbow of different colors depending on the angle and light.
Crystal Vitrail Light Swarovski HeartThis is crystal vitrail light.

Crystal Heliotrope Swarovski HeartThis is crystal heliotrope.

Crystal Bermuda Blue Swarovski HeartThis is crystal bermuda blue. It's a little lighter and doesn't have as much purple as the heliotrope.

I will be adding these to my shop over the next few days, so please go take a look!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spring Giveaway Winner

I enjoyed reading all the giveaway entries, your comments concerning what you like about spring. Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter. I have chosen a winner! On April Fool's Day, lucky number 13 was the winning number. (No, I'm not fooling.) The 13th comment was left by Stacie. I have sent an email to Stacie asking for her earring choice and mailing address. If I don't hear from Stacie by 6 PM central time on Saturday April 4th, I will select a different winner. So Stacie, I hope to hear from you soon!

Sorry I announced the winner so late tonight. I found a new metalworking class to take and it began tonight. When I picked my giveaway dates, I hadn't found this class yet and didn't know I would be home late. It was a great first class! I'll provide an update in another post very soon.