About Me

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I am an artist, wife and mother, paraeducator, yo-yo dieter, and small town country girl. I love singing in my church choir, computer time, beading and making jewelry. And I love enameling! There is something very magical about turning powder into smooth, shiny, and colorful glass.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

                                                     First Day of Spring!

To celebrate the first day of Spring, I went strawberry picking. I get one whole flat of pick your own berries as a benefit of my farm CSA. Yum.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday's Tutorial

my trusty butane torch

                                                     Making Balled Headpins

I sell a lot of hand made balled headpins in my shop. You could probably get them cheaper at Michaels, but by making them yourself (or buying them from my shop!) you get gorgeous shiny pins in the gauge you pick. First you need some argentium or regular sterling wire in 20, 22, or 24 gauge. The 20 gauge is heavier and may not be good for small hole beads but it's rich and professional looking. The 24 gauge is good for smaller holed beads or wrapped links and loops. The 24 gauge is good for pearls. Argentium sterling resists tarnishing and is great to work with.
My torch was purchased at Home Depot, was inexpensive and works great for melting silver. It doesn't get hot enough to melt copper. 
To make a 1 1/4 inch headpin cut 1 3/4 in of 20 ga wire. Light your torch.

 Hold the wire in the pliers. Put the end of the wire in the flame. The best spot is just outside of the dark blue inner flame. You can tell when the silver starts to melt by the orange flame shooting behind it. If you look at the picture below closely, I managed to capture this exactly!

the sweet spot

The wire will melt into a ball. I found that the slower you can lift the wire out of the flame, the nicer the ball looks. The smaller gauge wires will ball up quickly. If you leave the wire in the flame too long, the ball will just fall off. The wire will get dark and unattractive looking.

I clean my headpins with PennyBrite and then put them in my tumbler. I love my Lortone tumbler! It's a great tool for making your metals strong and shiny, I use mine all the time. If you don't have a tumbler, clean the headpins, polish them with silver polish or cloth and hammer them with a rubber mallet to work harden them. If you want paddle shaped headpins, just hammer the balls flat.

20 gauge hammered       24 gauge              22 gauge

                                               See how pretty?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekend Warrior

Because my day job at an elementary school is done for the summer, I didn't feel the need to spend the weekend in my studio churning out enameled pieces to keep my etsy supplies shop full. I was in complete summer relaxing mode and my warrior activities involved cooking, cleaning, and eating. I also did a lot of sitting on my patio admiring my hanging planters of flowers and watching the birds. It was wonderful!

 Father's Day was especially nice because it was the first time in years all three of our kids were able to be there at the same time. My daughter made the cake which promptly melted. I couldn't resist getting a few pics. 


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

(almost) Wordless Wednesday


Peonies are the perfect flower! They're easy to grow, have large showy flowers and come in different varieties. My husband is the gardener and he has divides them often so we have blooming peonies all over our yard!

These (below) are called Peaches and Cream. I think it's the ideal name, don't you?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tuesday's Tutorial

Transparents Over Opaques

I haven't done much layering of transparent colors over opaque colors. Instead, I  buy new colors to add to my enamel palette. I really need to experiment more! So I did a small experiment to share with you. I used three opaque colors on these toggle clasp blanks.

buttercup yellow

foxglove purple

clover pink

I sifted a heavy coat of a different color transparent over each and this is what came out of my kiln. A successful experiment!

#119 Soyer green

periwinkle blue

rose purple
I love the speckled look to these and the transparent layer gives the enameled surface some depth.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekend Warrior

I was very grateful to spend the weekend working on custom orders but I did take the opportunity to experiment a bit with this bead. I wanted to add a darker blue to this bead which was already enameled with transparent medium and light blue. 

 I used too much fixative and it caused interesting patterns when I sifted on the dark blue so I added more drops on top of the power and let it dry. I fired the bead a bit longer than usual so the dark blue would be nice and flat and shiny.

 I love the abstract and painterly quality of the enamel. I will definitely try this technique again!