Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Hand Full of Glow

I just have to post a photo of the hand full of beads i made recently for a customer. They just look so glowy!

I listed three new pairs of earrings in my pet boutique, and a really lovely little set of heart beads in my bead shop. :-)

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Knife Project Part II

The best thing about 5-minute epoxy is that it sets up in only 5 minutes. The worst thing about 5-minute epoxy is that it sets up in only 5 minutes...

A few hours after i epoxied my Arizona cypress scales to my knife tang, i began to shape the handle using the belt sander initially, and then various files, until i was happy with the basic shape. It just wants some gentle finesse sanding.

The day after epoxying my wooden scales to my knife tang, one began to separate. I popped it off, and was also able to pop off the other one. The epoxy separated from the metal surface, but photo shows the surface texture of the metal tang, and it looks pretty toothy. So i suspect that i spent too much of my allotted 5-minutes in spreading epoxy, lining up the scales, and trying to clamp the handle in a vise. So i sanded the epoxy off the wood, and did my best to grind some perpendicular grooves into the metal, and tried the epoxy again, but this time with a more critical eye on the clock. Fingers crossed, but three days later and there is no sign of separation yet.

I used some wood filler on the few little gaps next to the guard, and i used a Dremel tool to carve out the spot for my inlaid turquoise cabochon. The photo shows the turquoise unfixed in its setting. I have to decide how to finish the wood, and whether it would be best to set the stone before or after this step.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pleasing Color Combos Made Simple

Color choices are very personal. And it is one of the questions that someone could possibly ask me that i would have an immediate answer for. Bluegreen. If i'm at the mall and i pass a sale rack of tops, i look for the bluegreen. They may have one, but it's never MY version of bluegreen.

Combining colors that work well together is a science. You don't need to know the scientific details in order to find a certain color combination pleasing. But if you are putting your own colors together, sometimes it's nice to have a guide. You've got your monochromatic schemes, your compliments, your analogs, your triads, your tetrads, and your accented analogs.

When i'm making my lampwork beads i have something like 70 different colors within reach. Although i have come up with some bad combos, my recent bone beads listings use some really nice, scientifically proven, color combinations that work. Sometimes i like to use a free interactive online color schemer like Color Scheme Designer 3. On this website, you can select an initial color, and then it will let you see what various colors will make for pleasing combinations with it. Fun to play with.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Knife Project Part I

So last time i visited the world of big do-it-yourself projects, i was repairing the leaky roof. My latest project is making a knife. Son #1, who is a collector of knives, gave me a blank knife blade for Christmas. I picked this weekend to get my hands dirty. *Warning: This report is not meant to represent the "proper way" to make a knife--mostly i am winging it.

The blade is a skinning knife and my first plan was to use a southwest theme: i thought mesquite wood for the handle and some turquoise inlay. I fell in love with a turquoise cabochon on a post-Christmas trip to Albuquerque. I bought it, but have no real idea yet about how i'm going to use it on my knife.

I took a drive out to the hinterland last week and tried to find some aged mesquite wood. Based on what i found, i believe that mesquite wood tends to split like crazy as it dries--at any rate, i couldn't find anything usable. But then i remembered that we had some nice pieces of Arizona cypress sitting in our backyard, trimmed from our own trees a few years ago. I sawed off a piece of this and was impressed with the wood's density and grain. Jack, family dog, stood by doing his companionship thing.

I put my section of tree limb in a vise and hacksawed it in half, down a line i chose based on the grain, and trying to imagine the finished handle scales. I sanded each scale down to about 3/8 inch thickness on the belt sander. I penciled where the scales will meet the brass bolster, and sanded off wood to align with the brass (Son #1
suggested doing this before attaching the scales to the blade so there would be less chance of scuffing the nice shiny brass when trying to the sand the wood level after assembly.)

Then i used 5-minute epoxy on both sides of the tang, or handle part of the steel blank, and clamped it in the vise. I realize that i could have used the pre-drilled holes in the blank and used brass pins, too, but the holes were so narrow that i made a design decision to not have a skinny little brass pin head showing on the handle surface. If the holes had been larger bore, i probably would have added brass pins.

The knife tang has a thick and voluptuous shape, and my next step was to take a long time belt-sanding my scales to follow the tang outline perfectly, and then to sculpt the handle sides. End of Part I.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Showing the Toggle

Check out this beautiful little dog paw print sterling silver toggle that i found for my GemBonz Boutique bracelets. I just love it. (Coral and ivory bones bracelet available now.)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy Coop

I have been filling custom orders for "Soft Glow" beads by the score, and am grateful for the work! --the run-up to Christmas was very quiet saleswise. I took a brief, but fun, break when i went to Albuquerque with the family last week. The weather was sunny and warmer than it has been for weeks. Which was perfect for me since the activity at the top of my list was going to the zoo to see the condors. We were at the zoo just after zoo breakfast, and pretty much all of the animals were stretched out in the sun, dozing. And the condors were magnificent!

Sons #2 and #3 spent most of their time at the skateparks. And i visited Thunderbird Supply Co. for some silver wire and other goodies.

New to The Bead You Need: i just listed a couple more bone collections, and a flock of chickens.

Wonderful New Year to all!