Saturday, February 29, 2020

February Theme Challenge – Letters

A bracelet we handstamped in copper with our lampwork glass beads - I love this saying!
This month's Art Elements monthly theme is letters.

I love this idea! I love hand-stamping copper with sayings. Mom will handsaw out the copper for bracelets and key-chains and I have so much fun finding different sayings to stamp into the copper. I think the most fun is trying to find fun things to hand-stamp. Like the bracelet above.

I love words! I just wish I was a wordsmith. I am in awe of writers. I love books and the stories that can take you into a whole new world. I don't have that ability. I wish I could come back with a smart retort or be able to explain things in detail, but that is not my ability. I just enjoy those who can get their point across so eloquently.

So - our piece for this month's theme. I was thinking of hand-stamping something, but mom found an idea way cooler.

Click the image - or click here

Mom found this cool video on YouTube. It is about 10 letters that have been dropped from our alphabet. If you have the time, take the 10 minutes to watch the video. It is pretty cool. I actually knew two or three of the letters from my English classes. Wow, that information actually stuck with me. It is funny the little trivia that sticks in your head.

So, these are the 10 letters that were dropped from our alphabet. Mom had a whole design idea going, until the nightmares.

Mom's idea was similar to this, but she started to have nightmares about the letters. She said we couldn't make the design like this now. I don't know if the letters were chasing her or what, but we ended up not making the design like this.

Mom sawing out the letters
I thought of just using the letters as pendants in necklaces. Or some how connecting them as a bib necklace.

Mom had a better idea.

Mom ended up sawing out a back plate and then connect the letters to the plate. I thought mom wanted to connect the letters by wire wrapping them on the plate. Mom was thinking of maybe gluing them down after enameling, but I didn't like that idea.

I thought instead enamel each of the pieces separately and then enameling them all together. I wasn't sure if it would work or not, but what could we lose (except all the copper and the work). 

Go big or go home baby!

Last weekend was gorgeous - so I didn't end up freezing while enameling. Mom and I cleaned all the copper before the first layer goes on.

I had to get a picture of the letters so I knew what the front of the pendants looked like. I like to enamel the back of the pieces first. This gives me an idea of what the colors will look like, plus it is the back of the piece. If I make mistakes on the back you won't see them.

I always start with a clear transparent layer first. That is just how I was taught and why change after 12 years. The first layer is always clear and then each layers is a different layer of color until I am happy with the piece. So, a piece can have anywhere from 3-5 layers (sometimes more).

So, here is one of the color layers. This is still the back of the piece. Once I finish the back of the piece I flip over the pendants and do the same process to the front. I am sure other people do this differently than me, but this is what works best for me.

This is me laying out the pendants on the back plate. I had a picture of the layout next to me as was laying out the letters. I then had mom come out and check the plate before I put it into the kiln.

This is the plate before going into the kiln. Once it went into the kiln I held my breath for the two minutes it was in the kiln. I wasn't sure if this would work or not.

Here is the reveal of the final piece:

There you go. At least it didn't turn out as a big piece of junk :)

This was a lot of fun! Thanks Jennifer for the fun theme this month.

Thanks for sticking with me until the end.

I hope you take the time to see the other participants:

Evie and Beth - you are here

Art Elements Team

Saturday, December 28, 2019

December Theme Challenge – Handmade Christmas

2014 Christmas Ornaments given as gifts to the Studio b Zumba instructors
This month's Art Elements theme challenge - Handmade Christmas. This was a fun challenge because it allowed me to go back and look at the things mom and I have made, in the past, and have given as gifts. So this was a nice stroll down memory lane. Though I don't have pictures of all the gifts I have given in the past, which was dumb.

Mom and I did want to work on a piece to make in December. We were lazy though and didn't get them completed (I should I say I was lazy and didn't feel like enameling - though I should have when it was 61 degrees out).

Mom found the pattern for the cat and dog Christmas ornaments. I think mom is almost down filing and sanding the dog (the cat was already done). If it is warm again I will work on enameling them. Once that is done we will display the two pieces in small shadow boxes.

Mom and I have created Christmas ornaments in the past to either sell or give as gifts. I think we even have a few left in the Etsy store. We even have done a Christmas ornament swap, but it has been a few years.

2016 Studio b key chains
This is the year mom helped me create key chains with the sayings from each of the Studio b instructors on them. It is hard to see what the key chain says say, but the all start with "b" because of Studio b. If you want to see how they key chains were made you can go to our EB Bead and Metal Works Facebook page. There is an album about the key chains there.

2017 Studio b instructor initial pendants
In 2017 mom helped me created 20g copper pendants with the initials of the Studio b instructors. I then tried to be sneaky by asking them all what their favorite colors were (I asked for three or more colors). Once I had their colors I went to town on the enameling. Mom was great on sawing out the initials for me (because I would have never done the initials as intricate as she did!!!!).

2018 Studio b bowls for the instructors
In 2018 I decided to go with enameled copper bowls. I still had the FB message from 2017 with the instructors favorite colors. So, mom and I sawed out the bowls and then mom pounded them into different shapes for me. There is actually a video from when mom was pounding them into shape that I posted to FB.

2019 Soap Sack for Work
This year I decided to crochet soap sacks and give soap as gifts to my co-workers. In July I started crocheting my own wash clothes, loofah and soap sacks. I also started buying handmade, local soaps to use.

I found the soap sack tutorial on YouTube. The first one I made was awesome. The next 10 I made just seem to get worse and more worse (mom said they looked fine, but I could see all the mistakes).

Mom could tell I was very frustrated. I finally told myself to stop, watch the video and write down the instructions (the links to the instructions no longer work on the YouTube video). Writing down the instructions seemed to help.

The first 10 soap sacks I made I will donate to S.A.C.K. They give out soap sacks to the homeless (I plan on making more later, but need a break) to use with soap.

The soap I gave with the soap sack is from a local business woman. She is normally at the farmer's markets and she was actually at one of the shows mom and I attended in November (I bought more soap). You can find her business on Facebook called Next to Godliness. Her soaps are amazing!!!! I highly recommended her soaps if you are looking for homemade soaps.

These are the soap sacks I made up for my co-workers. Each soap sack has a different soap for the person. I know two of my co-workers were just leaving the sacks on their desk so they could smell the soap :)

Mom and I haven't been lazy all of December :) We have been knitting preemie and chemo caps to donate. These are the preemie hats we have completed and mom has boxed up to mail to various hospitals.

We just have started on knitting the chemo caps again - I think we only have four done right now.

I am also teaching myself how to crochet finger-less gloves. I would like to see if I can also donate these for people who are going through chemotherapy. I have been told that those individuals become very cold. So, thought this might help too.

I am using YouTube videos to teach myself. Again I am doing something wrong, not sure what I am doing wrong, but I have written the instructions out. So I am hoping that helps me figure out what is going on. If you haven't figured it out yet, I am stubborn and I will persevere, dang it!

So, that is it for the handmade Christmas.

I hope you check out everyone who is participating in the blog hop.


Evie and Beth (here)

AE Team

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and will have a great New Year! I can't wait to see what 2020 brings!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Sale in the Etsy Shop - 20% Off

There's still time to give the gift of handcrafted jewelry, bowls, key chains and metal prints. Visit the shop on Etsy and get your orders in by December 18th to meet the USPS shipping deadline.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Shop Sale - 20% Off Everything Until December 2nd

Everything is on sale in our Etsy shop from now until December 2nd. We are also offering free shipping - the coupon code is XMAS2019.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

November Theme Challenge - Fossils

It is that time again - the Art Elements Theme Challenge reveal - Fossils. I am really looking forward to seeing what everyone has created. This was a fun challenge - as usual.

Mom actually did the searching for ideas this month and she came up with the above idea. As long as you can saw it out mom the happier I am. Though again with the small holes - those are the bane of my existence when I enamel. Though they really give the person the feel that this is a fossil pendant.

I think I rather use a dental pick to get the enamel out of the holes than sawing out the pendants. I am soooooo glad mom likes to saw.

What the pendant looks like before I start the enameling process. After mom saws out the piece she then files and sands the copper.

The enameling process. I like working in batches so I can have an assemble line going. Thank goodness it isn't too cold out yet. I think it was about 50 degrees out when I was enameling on this day. Not looking forward to when it gets colder - the heaters can only do so much when I have the exhaust fan going (it sucks out all the heat - which is alright because I really don't want to die from the fumes).

Mom and I went to our favorite bead store to look for "fossils" to go in our necklace. We ended up purchasing petrified wood, leopard jasper and fossil stones.

I used crackle enamel for the pendants. On the bottom pendant you can see
the crackle cells I was going for. Unfortunately the top pendant didn't get the
crackle cells I wanted. I still love how these turned out though.
I ended up taking photos of the piece outside - because again we are actually having warm weather. Plus I liked how the necklace looked against the cement walk.

Mom and I ended up using the petrified wood and fossil stones (the fossil stones are the triangle beads). I love the concept of the necklace, but I am not happy with the way the necklace lies. I think I want to make some lampwork beads to add to the piece and maybe some seed beads between the larger beads.

So, far now this is our piece for the Art Elements Challenge Theme - Fossils.

I hope you take the time to check out everyone else who is participating. Thanks for stopping by!


AE Team

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Free Shipping from Now until December 26th

In our Etsy shop
Mom and I are offering free shipping, when you spend $30 or more, from now until December 26th in our Etsy store.

I just re-opened the shop this Sunday after mom and I finished our last show of the season on Saturday.

The coupon code you can use is: XMAS2019

I am still adding more items - I have some pendants, earrings, necklaces, key chains and enameled copper bowls that I have to take pictures of and I will get listed.

If you don't see something in the shop - contact us and we can work with you to create something special.

You can see most of our work on our Facebook page - EB Bead and Metal Works, LLC.
Look under Photos and Albums.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

October Theme Challenge: Eyes

This month's Art Elements theme is - Eyes.

Mom and I both looked for ideas for this theme - I have a Pinterest board of Art Elements theme ideas. I think mom and I both came up with ideas for these month's theme. I found the idea of the tiger eyes and mom found the idea for the Day of the Dead.

These are the patterns glued down onto the copper. Mom will then drill pilot holes, thread the jeweler's saw blade through the holes and saw out each design. I didn't take pictures of mom sawing this time - she mostly sawed while I was at work.

Enameling for me is a several step process:

I start with a clear layer on the back of the piece first:

I then do layers of color until I get the look on want - on the back first. When I am done enameling the back - I then flip the piece and do the same layers on the front - and cross my fingers that the front will look as good as the back.

I then use an iron to smoosh the tiger eyes flat.

And again using the iron to smoosh the Day of the Dead eyes flat.

Because the pieces are flat, and laying on trivets, the heat can warp the piece. So, I use the iron to flatten the pieces out again.

Here are the final pieces:

The tiger eyes are being displayed in a shadow box.

If you guys didn't notice - the face is actually in a feather. Yes, I was totally oblivious of that fact until I started enameling the piece. Mom just shook her head at me and said this was your idea. I said all I was looking at was the eyes :)

Again, we displayed the Day of the Dead eyes in a shadow box. Sorry I couldn't get a better picture. The shadow boxes are not easy to take photos of to share.

So...that is what mom and I created for this month's theme: eyes.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else created!!!

Here is a list of the participants:

Beth & Evie  - you are here

AE Team:

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