Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Anticipation! De-Banding Day

After 2 ½ years (and a few weeks but who is counting?) De-Banding Day is upon me.  The braces on my teeth are coming off!  Jan.29 (TODAY) is the day.  So this last week, I have neon lime green bands on my upper teeth and deep tomato red bands on my lower teeth.  Honestly it looks like I ate a salad and some got stuck in my teeth.  That often happens by the way! 
I’ve had unexciting silver bands for 2 ½ years.  At 65, having braces calls more than enough attention to my mouth and not necessarily in a good way.  The young man who put these lovely colors in my mouth explained that the current rule was: The visit before you de-band requires that you use colored bands. “Ok, you choose.”  And he did!
2 ½ years is a very long time to have discomfort in your mouth….until you talk to someone who has had braces for 4 years. “OMG!” I say, “How can you stand it for that long?” and thank all the stars above that mine have only required this amount of time.
When I started this adventure, it came as a surprise that I even had a problem with my bite or the position of my teeth.  I really had not paid attention.  Four dental opinions later, I agreed to braces.  After all, as one dentist said, “you have a good 20-30 years of eating ahead of you!” 
Just as I was getting ready to take the plunge, we decided to move to another town.  That meant finding a new dentist and orthodontist.  Sigh!  Obviously I did and I have been a model (if not quiet) patient.
I look forward to no longer having metal prongs and rubber bands in my mouth.  I look forward to no more dental wax in my mouth or on the floor.  I look forward to not finding tiny rubber band circles everywhere.  I wish now I had saved all those hundreds to use as spacers between beads in my jewelry. 
I anticipate smiling in pictures, chewing caramel, eating steak, savoring nuts and so much more!
My friend has the champagne cooling……
Anticipation – smooth straight teeth – Jan 29!  TODAY!!  

Since I forgot to post this early this morning allowing you time to share my anticipation of the day, I've been  to the orthodontist!  And my braces are gone! Wonderful!  One more trip back to have my retainers fit and I'm on to the next dental adventure. 

I'll be brushing my teeth several times today just for the JOY of it!  Tonight's menu -- Filet Mignon!

Friday, January 25, 2013

An Old Doorknob

Several years ago I went to an estate sale wanting to find something to buy to remind me of family friends who lived in that house.  They were such interesting people who were creative, talented and so much fun. 
I looked through everything upstairs and eventually found my way to the basement.  There it was! An old ornate brass doorknob.  It went in my box of treasures.  Recently I rearranged my art studio and found it. 
 
My 2 part mold mix came from Cool Tools and just for fun I made a mold of the top of the doorknob.  Then I made a silver medallion using the mold and drilled a tiny hole in it because I wanted to incorporate polymer clay some way.  I know I’m supposed to figure out the entire piece of jewelry before I start anything so it comes out the way I want.  But this time the piece just grew!  I also made a bail that I thought might look good with it…or not.  I fired the pieces and tumbled them and patina’d them.  They sat on my desk for two weeks – until tonight. 
Back of Pendant with doorknob imprint
My black polymer was out for another project and I had extra.  I added translucent polymer to the black because I read some place that it polished better.  Then I used the real doorknob and impressed the design on the black polymer that would be the back of my pendant.  The silver medallion was filled and pressed on the black disc and cured.  I drilled through the cured clay using the hole in the silver as a guide, sanded and buffed and added a jump ring that connected the necklace to the bail.  The jump ring will insure that the silver and polymer stay together.
 
I found the perfect chain and now I have a great way to remember my friends.  I’m happy.






Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The 'Supper Quilt'
  Yesterday, two friends and I went to see "The Supper Quilt" at the Smoki Museum in Prescott AZ.   I don't quilt but I appreciate the creativity and skill involved.  The quilt was supposed to be amazing.....and it was! 
You might like to check out the website and learn more about it.  www.thesupper.net

The back of the quilt was hand dyed in lovely vibrant colors - rust to purples - and the quilter, Don, had a matching shirt.  Nice touch!

Back of quilt


The quilt has 51,816 one-half inch squares forming the picture.  The time, creativity, and skill are remarkable achievements and I'm so glad I was able to see the work.   If you get an opportunity to see it, be sure to take it! 
Detail



Detail


Friday, January 18, 2013

Catching up!

When I was a teacher, I hated the paperwork.  When I was an interior designer, I hired someone to do my paperwork.  Now that I am retired and having fun with my Etsy stores and jewelry making, I find it a challenge to "do the paperwork" required.  The last two days have been spent entering items on my handmade etsy store and anyone who has done this knows how much time it takes. 

Take the photos, write the description, enter everything on the site.  If I did a couple a day perhaps it would seem to take less time and that is what is recommended. But I get carried away with the making and the finished products start piling up.  I'd like to say I'm up to date!  I will say that I am closer and that is why today's post is short with few pictures. 

The best I can suggest is to click on www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign and see what I've been doing.  Lots of pictures there and fun things too!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Expectations




This is the time of year I try to set realistic goals that are achievable.  Probably you do too.  These are not the overwhelming ones like I used to make – lose 100 pounds, make 5 art projects a week, make $100,000 a year and on and on.  No, now I make goals I think are possible – have fun with whatever I am doing, learn something new, share kindness, eat healthy and exercise (almost) every day and acknowledge joy.  I still have timelines that are measurable and I give myself a little wiggle room.  I’m in charge of my happiness and what I want to accomplish.  I used to forget that. 
It is so easy to try to please others and so difficult to look inside and understand what pleases me.  Losing 50 pounds would please me but not at any cost!  Making lots of money would please me but not at the cost of focusing my life on that.  So now, I look at what really brings me joy, happiness and pleasure.
Last year a friend of mine and I ended each email with a statement:  Joy is…..  and we would finish it with acknowledging something that brought joy that day. 
I go to bed most nights listening to classical music on early instruments because Peter brought his joy of early music into my life.  It brings me pleasure.  Nature, the beauty of living things around me, fascinates me and brings me joy. 
I’m a lot easier on myself than I used to be and my expectations are different. It’s not so important to set goals that add stress to my life but to set goals that bring me joy.  So instead of 5 art projects a week, why not one that I actually enjoy and complete?  If I do 4 others that’s ok.  It’s a bonus.   Instead of seeing the big 100 number, I’m eating healthy with smaller portions and walking most days.  Instead of focusing on dollars, I’m focusing on keeping up with my etsy stores and creating jewelry.  I know I’ll get to where I want to be.
 ‘Joy’ is knowing I’m taking care of me as I participate in the world around me having fun with whatever I’m doing.  Happy New Year!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Taking End Caps a Step Further

Last Friday I shared by first sterling silver clay project - the bead end caps that I formed by hand.  This Friday I wanted to share my next experiment with bead end caps.  These are made with fine silver clay and I used a 2 part mold mixture from Cool Tools instead of hand forming them.


The mold

I made 2 parts to the mold and rolled my clay to 2 cards thick.  Placing the clay into the deep mold was more difficult than I anticipated.  The clay cracked and I had to repair it in several places.  It was a little scary taking the two parts of clay out of the molds.  After I wiggled the silicone mold, both pieces popped right out.  While they were drying on the cup warmer, I rolled the clay for the next end cap.  This time I rolled it 3 cards thick and it was easier to put into the mold halves.  It did not crack.


Drying in the mold


Drying on the cup warmer
After both halves were dry, I attached them with clay paste and set them to dry again.  Sanding and smoothing and then into the kiln. 

I drilled holes in the tops after firing.  It would have been so much easier to do it before the firing.  Bet I remember to do that next time!
After firing

Into the tumbler for 45 minutes and look what I took out! 
After Tumbling

p.s. My friend, Kim, was very happy with her sterling silver end caps and I'm very happy with my fine silver ones.





Friday, January 4, 2013

Learning New Things – 2013 Resolution!

Kim's Beautiful Beaded Necklace and My End Caps
What a way to start the New Year!  First time working with Sterling Silver Clay, using my rock tumbler and hand forming bead end caps! 
A very good friend, Kim Neff (www.beadjeweledraven.com) needed large size end caps for her beautifully beaded spiral necklace.  When she could not find any, she asked if I would make them.  Oh, why not???  I’d never done anything quite like them but I was certainly willing. 
Polymer Prototype
First I decided to use the Sterling Silver clay I had sitting in my drawer for way too long.  It needed to be used and I needed to learn to work with it.  Then I decided to make a prototype with polymer clay.  

Seemed like a mold would be good to create since I needed two matching caps and of course, my 2 part mold mix was way past its shelf life.  I ordered more.
Being impatient, the thought of creating the end caps using the polymer prototype sounded worth trying.  I cut a circle and formed it on the polymer prototype, a long strip for the sides, and made a snake for the lower part.  With some fiddling, the three pieces went together.  So I did another.  Not perfect matches but close enough. 
Ready to sand

After sanding and firing, they went into my new rock tumbler.  I’ve had that tumbler for months and just could not believe it would work. 
Fired before Tumbling

I was so excited after taking the end caps out and seeing their bright shiny surface, I called my neighbors in for a ‘show and tell’.  And of course, I put the pictures on Facebook.  (I also asked for advice as to why they discolored in the firing and we decided it had to do with the oxygen-carbon mix.  Thanks for helping on that one, FB friends!)  The sterling clay was easy to work with and I’ll use it again. 
After Tumbling!
Kim will have to decide about the patina she wants on the pieces.  I’m so excited about how they finished that I don’t want to do anything to change them! 
Good start to 2013!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Anticipation! De-Banding Day

After 2 ½ years (and a few weeks but who is counting?) De-Banding Day is upon me.  The braces on my teeth are coming off!  Jan.29 (TODAY) is the day.  So this last week, I have neon lime green bands on my upper teeth and deep tomato red bands on my lower teeth.  Honestly it looks like I ate a salad and some got stuck in my teeth.  That often happens by the way! 
I’ve had unexciting silver bands for 2 ½ years.  At 65, having braces calls more than enough attention to my mouth and not necessarily in a good way.  The young man who put these lovely colors in my mouth explained that the current rule was: The visit before you de-band requires that you use colored bands. “Ok, you choose.”  And he did!
2 ½ years is a very long time to have discomfort in your mouth….until you talk to someone who has had braces for 4 years. “OMG!” I say, “How can you stand it for that long?” and thank all the stars above that mine have only required this amount of time.
When I started this adventure, it came as a surprise that I even had a problem with my bite or the position of my teeth.  I really had not paid attention.  Four dental opinions later, I agreed to braces.  After all, as one dentist said, “you have a good 20-30 years of eating ahead of you!” 
Just as I was getting ready to take the plunge, we decided to move to another town.  That meant finding a new dentist and orthodontist.  Sigh!  Obviously I did and I have been a model (if not quiet) patient.
I look forward to no longer having metal prongs and rubber bands in my mouth.  I look forward to no more dental wax in my mouth or on the floor.  I look forward to not finding tiny rubber band circles everywhere.  I wish now I had saved all those hundreds to use as spacers between beads in my jewelry. 
I anticipate smiling in pictures, chewing caramel, eating steak, savoring nuts and so much more!
My friend has the champagne cooling……
Anticipation – smooth straight teeth – Jan 29!  TODAY!!  

Since I forgot to post this early this morning allowing you time to share my anticipation of the day, I've been  to the orthodontist!  And my braces are gone! Wonderful!  One more trip back to have my retainers fit and I'm on to the next dental adventure. 

I'll be brushing my teeth several times today just for the JOY of it!  Tonight's menu -- Filet Mignon!

Friday, January 25, 2013

An Old Doorknob

Several years ago I went to an estate sale wanting to find something to buy to remind me of family friends who lived in that house.  They were such interesting people who were creative, talented and so much fun. 
I looked through everything upstairs and eventually found my way to the basement.  There it was! An old ornate brass doorknob.  It went in my box of treasures.  Recently I rearranged my art studio and found it. 
 
My 2 part mold mix came from Cool Tools and just for fun I made a mold of the top of the doorknob.  Then I made a silver medallion using the mold and drilled a tiny hole in it because I wanted to incorporate polymer clay some way.  I know I’m supposed to figure out the entire piece of jewelry before I start anything so it comes out the way I want.  But this time the piece just grew!  I also made a bail that I thought might look good with it…or not.  I fired the pieces and tumbled them and patina’d them.  They sat on my desk for two weeks – until tonight. 
Back of Pendant with doorknob imprint
My black polymer was out for another project and I had extra.  I added translucent polymer to the black because I read some place that it polished better.  Then I used the real doorknob and impressed the design on the black polymer that would be the back of my pendant.  The silver medallion was filled and pressed on the black disc and cured.  I drilled through the cured clay using the hole in the silver as a guide, sanded and buffed and added a jump ring that connected the necklace to the bail.  The jump ring will insure that the silver and polymer stay together.
 
I found the perfect chain and now I have a great way to remember my friends.  I’m happy.






Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The 'Supper Quilt'
  Yesterday, two friends and I went to see "The Supper Quilt" at the Smoki Museum in Prescott AZ.   I don't quilt but I appreciate the creativity and skill involved.  The quilt was supposed to be amazing.....and it was! 
You might like to check out the website and learn more about it.  www.thesupper.net

The back of the quilt was hand dyed in lovely vibrant colors - rust to purples - and the quilter, Don, had a matching shirt.  Nice touch!

Back of quilt


The quilt has 51,816 one-half inch squares forming the picture.  The time, creativity, and skill are remarkable achievements and I'm so glad I was able to see the work.   If you get an opportunity to see it, be sure to take it! 
Detail



Detail


Friday, January 18, 2013

Catching up!

When I was a teacher, I hated the paperwork.  When I was an interior designer, I hired someone to do my paperwork.  Now that I am retired and having fun with my Etsy stores and jewelry making, I find it a challenge to "do the paperwork" required.  The last two days have been spent entering items on my handmade etsy store and anyone who has done this knows how much time it takes. 

Take the photos, write the description, enter everything on the site.  If I did a couple a day perhaps it would seem to take less time and that is what is recommended. But I get carried away with the making and the finished products start piling up.  I'd like to say I'm up to date!  I will say that I am closer and that is why today's post is short with few pictures. 

The best I can suggest is to click on www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign and see what I've been doing.  Lots of pictures there and fun things too!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Expectations




This is the time of year I try to set realistic goals that are achievable.  Probably you do too.  These are not the overwhelming ones like I used to make – lose 100 pounds, make 5 art projects a week, make $100,000 a year and on and on.  No, now I make goals I think are possible – have fun with whatever I am doing, learn something new, share kindness, eat healthy and exercise (almost) every day and acknowledge joy.  I still have timelines that are measurable and I give myself a little wiggle room.  I’m in charge of my happiness and what I want to accomplish.  I used to forget that. 
It is so easy to try to please others and so difficult to look inside and understand what pleases me.  Losing 50 pounds would please me but not at any cost!  Making lots of money would please me but not at the cost of focusing my life on that.  So now, I look at what really brings me joy, happiness and pleasure.
Last year a friend of mine and I ended each email with a statement:  Joy is…..  and we would finish it with acknowledging something that brought joy that day. 
I go to bed most nights listening to classical music on early instruments because Peter brought his joy of early music into my life.  It brings me pleasure.  Nature, the beauty of living things around me, fascinates me and brings me joy. 
I’m a lot easier on myself than I used to be and my expectations are different. It’s not so important to set goals that add stress to my life but to set goals that bring me joy.  So instead of 5 art projects a week, why not one that I actually enjoy and complete?  If I do 4 others that’s ok.  It’s a bonus.   Instead of seeing the big 100 number, I’m eating healthy with smaller portions and walking most days.  Instead of focusing on dollars, I’m focusing on keeping up with my etsy stores and creating jewelry.  I know I’ll get to where I want to be.
 ‘Joy’ is knowing I’m taking care of me as I participate in the world around me having fun with whatever I’m doing.  Happy New Year!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Taking End Caps a Step Further

Last Friday I shared by first sterling silver clay project - the bead end caps that I formed by hand.  This Friday I wanted to share my next experiment with bead end caps.  These are made with fine silver clay and I used a 2 part mold mixture from Cool Tools instead of hand forming them.


The mold

I made 2 parts to the mold and rolled my clay to 2 cards thick.  Placing the clay into the deep mold was more difficult than I anticipated.  The clay cracked and I had to repair it in several places.  It was a little scary taking the two parts of clay out of the molds.  After I wiggled the silicone mold, both pieces popped right out.  While they were drying on the cup warmer, I rolled the clay for the next end cap.  This time I rolled it 3 cards thick and it was easier to put into the mold halves.  It did not crack.


Drying in the mold


Drying on the cup warmer
After both halves were dry, I attached them with clay paste and set them to dry again.  Sanding and smoothing and then into the kiln. 

I drilled holes in the tops after firing.  It would have been so much easier to do it before the firing.  Bet I remember to do that next time!
After firing

Into the tumbler for 45 minutes and look what I took out! 
After Tumbling

p.s. My friend, Kim, was very happy with her sterling silver end caps and I'm very happy with my fine silver ones.





Friday, January 4, 2013

Learning New Things – 2013 Resolution!

Kim's Beautiful Beaded Necklace and My End Caps
What a way to start the New Year!  First time working with Sterling Silver Clay, using my rock tumbler and hand forming bead end caps! 
A very good friend, Kim Neff (www.beadjeweledraven.com) needed large size end caps for her beautifully beaded spiral necklace.  When she could not find any, she asked if I would make them.  Oh, why not???  I’d never done anything quite like them but I was certainly willing. 
Polymer Prototype
First I decided to use the Sterling Silver clay I had sitting in my drawer for way too long.  It needed to be used and I needed to learn to work with it.  Then I decided to make a prototype with polymer clay.  

Seemed like a mold would be good to create since I needed two matching caps and of course, my 2 part mold mix was way past its shelf life.  I ordered more.
Being impatient, the thought of creating the end caps using the polymer prototype sounded worth trying.  I cut a circle and formed it on the polymer prototype, a long strip for the sides, and made a snake for the lower part.  With some fiddling, the three pieces went together.  So I did another.  Not perfect matches but close enough. 
Ready to sand

After sanding and firing, they went into my new rock tumbler.  I’ve had that tumbler for months and just could not believe it would work. 
Fired before Tumbling

I was so excited after taking the end caps out and seeing their bright shiny surface, I called my neighbors in for a ‘show and tell’.  And of course, I put the pictures on Facebook.  (I also asked for advice as to why they discolored in the firing and we decided it had to do with the oxygen-carbon mix.  Thanks for helping on that one, FB friends!)  The sterling clay was easy to work with and I’ll use it again. 
After Tumbling!
Kim will have to decide about the patina she wants on the pieces.  I’m so excited about how they finished that I don’t want to do anything to change them! 
Good start to 2013!