Monday, July 25, 2011

The rush to create

So, a distinct lack of posting this past week is due to excessive beading. I will be participating in my first craft show on Aug 5/6, and am rushing rushing rushing to create pieces to make sure I have enough inventory. Mostly I have been making variations of things you have already seen, but I have done a couple of new pieces. I hope to get some pictures posted by Wednesday, so check back!

Quote: The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger - but recognize the opportunity.
John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963), Speech in Indianapolis, April 12, 1959
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wanna see my etchings?

So, since I did such an extended rant on what is and what isn't etching, I decided I should do a post that shows how I go about etching. Here are the things you will need.

PCB Etchant - Radio Shack
Baking Soda - grocery store
Packing Tape
a couple of plastic containers
metal blanks or sheet metal
rubber gloves

For this method you want your metal to be copper or a copper alloy. This will not work well on sterling silver. The silver colored blanks I have, not real silver.

So, start by pouring your PCB etchant into a large plastic container with a lid.


Next, clean a metal blank and then use a sharpie to draw your pattern on it. Remember, the etchant will work on the parts you leave blank. Make sure that you also use the sharpie on the edges of the blank and the inside of the pre-drilled hole.


Once you are happy with your drawing, place the blank, drawing down, on the towel. Pull off enough tape to go across your container while draping into the etchant. I fold over each end of the tape, about 1/2 inch. Place the tape over the metal blank and the towel. The reason to place the tape on the towel is to get rid of some of the stickiness. You will be using the tape to suspend the metal blank in the etchant, and you will want to be able to remove it from the container without too much resistance, to prevent splashing the etchant. The fuzziness of the towel will help with this.


Now you suspend the blank. You want it hanging into the etchant. You will want to check it every 5-10 minutes to see if it has etched deep enough. Depending on how old your etchant is, this may happen quickly or slowly. Be warned, if you leave it in too long, you could etch all the way through the metal. Which can actually be a cool effect if that is what you are looking for.


So, once the etch is as deep as you want it, you will remove the tape from the etch container and dip the whole thing in a container of water and baking soda. Technically, this etchant states you can rinse with just water, but I like to use the baking soda just to make sure it is thoroughly neutralized. There will be foaming.

Once it is done foaming, you can wipe it off and peal your blank from the tape. You can then use some acetone fingernail polish to remove the sharpie. Final result:


Once you have etched the metal, you can stop there, or you can use various techniques to patina the metal.


Note on storage and disposal: The etchant can be stored and resused multiple times. The baking soda mixture can be rinsed down the drain. Store all chemicals on low, locked shelves. Why low shelves? 'Cause you can't drop caustic chemicals on your head if they are in a low shelf.

Quote: "I was on the prowl for Mr. Right Now. I had met Jim at a political fundraiser. After a while of talking and a couple of cocktails, he asked if I wanted to see his etchings. We went to his condo and he showed me real etchings and drawings. An hour later he took me home and I never saw him again." Paulette
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's my blog, I can rant if I want to.

I admit to a certain obsessive/compuslive-ness in my nature (I think the post about giving up Aikos proved that). I may have been known to freak over socks wrinkling under my feet, or stray hairs on my blouse. I may even force the seven year old in the house to fold down the collar of her shirt cause it drives me crazy, but some things are just right and some things are not. Socks should be flat beneath your feet, hair should be attached to your head, and collars should be neatly folded. Etching should be called etching, and embossing should be called embossing!

I have been experimenting with metal for a while now. A year or so ago I got to take a metalsmithing class at the local community college and LOVED it. So I have bought some metal blanks and been futzing with them at home to see what they would become. I have run some through an embosser, and others I have drawn on with sharpie and dipped in PCB etchant (an acid sold at Radio Shack to etch computer boards). So I know what is etching, and what is embossing. Vintaj has recently come out with some new products that I am very excited about. They have a new line of folders and plates made to run through a scapbook type embossing machine with their metal blanks to emboss the metal. They seem to have some cool patterns, I will definately be picking some up. My problem?

The embossing folders with the thicker lines they have dubbed DecoEmboss folders. The plates with the thin lines, they are calling DecoEtch plates. THAT IS NOT ETCHING! Etching involves acids and removing metals to create a design. They are embossing. Not etching.

Did I mention it isn't etching? It is still very cool though. You should try it.

Oh, and on the note of etching - if you are going to try chemical etching, get the Vintaj blanks not the cheapies! The Vintaj blanks are bronze all the way through, the cheapies are not. They are something else - no idea what. But for me, they wouldn't take the etch at ALL! Now if only Vintaj made blanks in a silver color material... or maybe gun metal...

Quote: Obsessions and fixations are not really my field. All I know, when the mind really grabs hold of something, look out.
Martin Sage and Sybil Adelman, Northern Exposure, The Bumpy Road to Love, 1991
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This post should really have a title.... but it doesn't.

This past weekend I got to work on two new bracelets. One with a new variation on a stitch I know, and one with the first beadweaving stitch I learned.

The first bracelet is done in tubular Right Angle Weave (RAW). I have worked with RAW before, but had never worked it in a tubular fashion. And I still didn't. Although my instructions showed how to work each round, I found myself just making a flat piece and then joining the two sides. I am such a cheat.

But, I did get to work with some beads I don't normally work with. With my favorite stitch, peyote, I almost always work with cylindar beads. Due to their nice flat ends, they fit together so very nicely. But that wasn't really the best effect for this stitch. So, I first tried using some cheap seed beads I had picked up when I first started stitching. They were all very rounded, but the sizes were very inconsistant. Again, not working. So, instead I ended up heading to Michaels and picking up some Toho seed beads. Rounded, but with a nice consistancy in size. Perfect! And a gorgeous color of purple.


I attached a silver plated magnetic clasp. Loved the look. Then I wore it for a day and nearly lost it three times. Turned out that every time I reached into the pocket of my jeans, the magnets tried to stick to the rivets of my jeans instead of each other. So, now it has a 1" safety chain. Did you know that many silver plated chains have a magnetic metal underneath? Me neither, until now! Luckily I did manage to find one silver colored chain in my stash that didn't stick to the clasp! Bracelet saved!

The second bracelet I did in Daisy Chain. See, I had those cheap beads out, and when I looked at all their pretty colors I just couldn't resist. Their very unevenness makes them perfect for Daisy Chain. Gives a very rustic feel that goes well with this stitch. I decided to make the bracelet three strand, but looking at it now, I think I will go back and add more strands. Give it a more lush feel. What do you think?


Quote: The real distinction is between those who adapt their purposes to reality and those who seek to mold reality in the light of their purposes.
Henry Kissinger (1923 - )
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Friday, July 8, 2011

Steps in the right direction

So, I put in my first wholesale order through Rings & Things today. Ordering a bunch of silver plated beading chain. Their prices are about a third of what it was costing me through other sources.

Somehow, purchacing at wholesale prices is making me really feel like a professional as opposed to a hobbyist. How odd.

Expect to see more beaded beads on simple chain. 'Cause I will have a LOT of chain!

Quote: Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New Pattern - Wonder Woman Ring!

I did a teaser for this a week or so ago, and then got distracted and didn't post the ring! Bad, Sarah!

So, here is the pattern for a lovely Wonder Woman Ring. Be sure to start at the right and work left (that way you can stop whenever it fits!).


Here are pictures of the finished ring.



As with all the Super Hero rings I have designed, you can make it for yourself, but you cannot sell it. Why? Because DC owns Wonder Woman and you don't. (I don't either)

Quote: President's Advisor: Mr. President, the threat has been neutralized.
The President: How?
President's Advisor: It seems by a group of armored supermodels.
- WOnder Woman 2009 animated movie
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