Thursday, September 29, 2011

My New BEADs!!!

No, it is that exciting. Exciting enough for all caps and three exclamation marks, which I rarely ever do.

I gave in to the enormous pressure of a big sale from my favorite bead company and went, possibly, a little overboard. The end result was that I ended up ordering a LOT of beads and went into debt to myself. There's a spreadsheet. It's a little complicated. I still owe myself 68 bucks, so I gotta keep getting Etsy sales so I can start accumulating the money to pay for Christmas, too. ;)

 This is how excited I was when I got:
 My big box of rocks!!!
Tourmaline in multiple colors, from watermelon green to that yummy pink.
Labradorite in rounds, nuggets, drops, rondelles, and puffed ovals.
Pink Peruvian opal and yum yum yum amethyst!
Chunky rose quartz and tourmalinated quartz behind there.
Rough aquamarine, smoky lemon quartz . . . eeeeeee!
Can't get over the schiller on this sunstone. o_O Love.
Faceted and brandy citrine.
More sunstone, ametrine, and this awesome rough, pebbly peridot.
One of my favorite stones, chysoprase.
Ohmigoodness!!! I've never seen beads this big. Ever. Enormous, faceted nuggets of rainbow fluorite.

I have a cardiac quiz tomorrow. And somehow, I will study, because I am a good student. But I'll be casting frequent longing glances over at my yummy rock box while I do.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Pep-Talk to Myself

Alright, self. We’ve had a rough week getting back into the studying groove. I was afraid we might have trouble remembering how studying went.


As I was saying, self, I just wanted to remind you that we CAN be productive studiers. The key is to remember that we CAN control what we want to accomplish, and . . .
 Self! Pay attention!

We just have to not let us think about doing other things when we’re studying. There are no future breaks. The rest of the day is studying, when we’re studying. When we’re truly fatigued and need a break, we can have one, but not until we feel the blankness creeping over our brain. Got it?

I said, GOT IT?
My point, is, self, that we can do this. We just have to focus – oh – self!

Okay, maybe it’s time for another study break . . .

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Coffee and Old Lace

I hate making earrings.

Let me amend that - I have trouble putting the effort into making earrings that I feel are worthwhile to make. Anyone can pop a bead on a headpin and stick it on a hook. That's barely art, and barely worth my time or my considerable creative energies.

However, jewelry amazings like fancifuldevices continue to be able to make earrings that are fun and new and interesting, and people like her give me the strength to keep trying.

I just had to keep telling myself things like 1)They don't have to be perfectly symmetrical and 2) It's okay to let them seem a little unpolished and 3) Don't worry if you don't have 2 of the same beads! Find one that's just kinda similar.
So I made these, with rough sunstone drops and two kinds of quartz rondelles.

That seemed to go pretty well, so I made these:
Eclectic Drop Earrings, Iolite briolette Copper wire Freshwater pearl - Mysterious Soul

And then went kinda crazy and wire-wrapped a billion different things in oxidized copper and then decided that these wouldn't feel as special and unique if I made more pairs that were too similar . . .
Brass Cameo earrings, Pink Assemblage Wire wrapped Vintaj wire - Teatime with Lady
So there was a small break for a while. But then I remembered I had these, dunked 'em in my patina solution for a little while 'til they juuuust started turning green in the divots, and made these.

And then this weekend, I had a breakthrough with using fiber materials! I had this super old lace that I wanted to use, but it was white. Bone, eggshell, eye-white white.
Until I dunked 'em old coffee and grounds and let 'em sit there for an hour with a splash of vinegar to set the color. Oh yeah.
And suddenly, these earrings, which I was kinda ho-hum about, turned into my new favorites! I'm enraptured by the possibilities--but probably, knowing me, not for long before I zoom onto some new technique to try.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vinegar, Ammonia and Acid

So I’ve been experimenting with home oxidizing/patina techniques to make metal look all antiqued and grungy-fied and mysteriously wonderful. 

As a student with a student budget, I stubbornly so far have refused to buy those fancy patina mixes and livers of sulfur; instead, I have tried “home” remedies.

I took three copper pennies and dumped one into vinegar and salt, another into ammonia and salt, and the last into some hydrochloric acid that I diluted down a ton (have I mentioned that I was a Biochemistry major in college?).
The vinegar one was supposed to get a wondrous green patina.

The ammonia was supposed to be patinated (I just learned this patina verb – before that, I was saying “patina-ed,” which I still kinda like) in a lovely deep blue.
The acid penny was supposed to get black and crusty.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that these results weren’t permanent. Upon rinsing with water, I lost my lovely colors from the vinegar penny and the acid penny. Now Vinegar Penny is still stubbornly bright and shiny, and Acid Penny looks like it’s got gangrene. 

I think, for pennies, I still prefer heat oxidization.

But the acid is doing fun things to my steel – just as long as it isn’t plated. O_o

These are my newest pieces I’ve been experimenting on with patinas/grungy oxidization.

The spots on the coin are a faint blue from soaking it in the ammonia and salt . . . I think that might be fun to keep playing with.

I had so much fun making this coin pendant, I’m thinking of making a mini-line with my collection of foreign monies.

I oxidized all this steel wire to give it this yummy grungy antiqued look – yom.
Doesn’t this one just remind you of some Northern Canadian Native American talisman? 
I am just lovin' this. *happy sigh*