Saturday, August 29, 2009

Links to Free Tutorials


I am starting a list (many links from Etsy shop owners - thanks!) of online tutorials. I'll be adding more as I find them or get them!

Jewelry Making       
  (video tutorials)              Hint Jewelry
Aging Brass             
Enamel Work          
Metal working         
Wire wrapping         
Beading etc.            

Variety of Tutorials  

Free e-book on photography    

Other crafts/kids crafts  

Please let me know if any of the links no longer work so that I can fix or remove them.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Working with Metals- Safety Considerations

Ever since I started working with metals I've always wondered about the safety considerations.  I've handled and been exposed to metals of all kinds for years and haven't worried as much about them as I have of chemicals, insecticides and food additives.  It seems like there are more people with allergies than ever before. Many times they don't know what's causing the allergies.
Long ago a doctor told me that showing symptoms of allergies is sort of like a bucket filling with water - when it gets overfilled it finally runs out.  Same thing with allergies - when we are exposed to enough allergens for enough time- eventually our bucket runs over and we get the symptoms -runny nose , hives, itchy eyes, etc.
I believe in trying to avoid allergic reactions or lung and tissue damage by using whatever safety equipment we can use to limit our exposure.
Since I make metal dust when I saw, grind, sand or polish I try to either wear a mask or use a shield.  I have a nice plastic shield that has a hole in the back that a shop vac hose attaches to.  When I use my foredom tool to grind or polish I hold it in the shield to protect my lungs and my eyes.  I also wash my hands often and especially before eating after handling metals. 
MSDS sheets can be requested from whomever you buy your supplies from- they describe any and all hazards and issues that can happen from any materials they contain.   I work mostly with gold, silver and copper alloys but if you use base metals (like nickel silver, sometimes called german silver), or plated materials, these could contain lead (toxic), cadmium or nickel (an allergan) you should know what you are working with and what hazards it presents.  The new laws regarding items for children under twelve are there just for this reason.  That cheap unknown imported metal might be a hazard that you hadn't even considered.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Earrings...Steps 11-14

11. After thouroughly drying your earrings- now is the time to add any more hammering (do both sides) and polish by hand if desired.
12. Bend the earring wires over a mandrel or a pen, or whatever you want to use to get the shape you want.
13. If you hand polished you may not have to do this step, but I usually tumble polish as well using stainless steel media, in a solution of burnishing compound and water. Tumble polishing will also work harden the ear wires so they will keep their shape better. Tumble for 2-4 hours if desired.
14. Remove from polisher, rinse and dry the earrings well. I then use rubbing alchohol to clean the earwires. Air dry and then store in a small plastic zip seal bag to protect from tarnishing. That's it!

If anyone has any questions or something is not clear enough- leave me a comment and I'll try to help.
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Earrings- steps 7-10

7. Clean and flux both pieces of each wire type and then use solder (I used medium paste solder) to "stick" the two pieces together.
8. I used an Acetylene torch with a number one tip- to heat the larger wire first and then hold the flame over the solder area until the solder melts.

9. Immediately use copper tongs to drop earrings into hot pickle (I keep it in a crock pot). Let them stay in from 3-5 minutes or until they appear ashy in color. Then remove with copper tongs and ....
10. Drop into warm water to rinse.
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Earrings... steps 4-6

4. Choose what type of texture you want and pick the appropriate hammers. I used the flat side of my ball peen hammer to flaten the wire some down the center and then the rounded side to give the hammered motling that catches the light so nicely. Reminds me of hundreds of little flat mirrors.

Do both pieces side by side so they will match.

5. Cut 2 lengths of 20ga or 22ga (I prefer 22 ga) wire to use as the ear wires - I leave them bent. Go ahead and file both ends to smooth them now also.

6. Make a coil or loop and use your flat end on the hammer to flatten it- on one side of each wire.
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How To...Earrings -step by step 1-3

Click on the pictures to enlarge them for detail.

                 10 gage half round, dead soft wire- apx. 2"
                 20 or 22 gage round, half hard wire- apx. 3"

1.  For these earrings I started with 10 ga. dead soft, half round wire - Apx 2"
I usually use my flush cutting pliers to snip the length I need. These cutters leave a sort of flattened angle on the ends. This will be fine for these.

Mark your wire to divide it into two equal pieces.

2. Then use a jewelers saw and holding the wire over a bench pin, cut the wire in half (more accurate than pliers).

   3. Use a good quality file and smooth any sharp edges.
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Hammer Textured Earrings- how to make...

Here's a picture of some simple textured earrings. These can be made from wire or sheet, in silver, gold, copper, brass etc.  Several people have asked me how I make this type of earring and what processes go into making handmade jewelry - so I will try to show you here.  Bear with me as I figure this whole blog thing out and get some step by step directions posted. 

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I took this picture outside my studio and it made me want to create something from the really warm pinks and deep leafy greens. Maybe a tourmaline or rhodochrisite pink stone and a small emerald. Any ideas for me?
Summer is over- what happened to it? Schools back on and on the news today they said that a big giant store- that begins with a W- we don't want to mention names..... said sales for back to school are really down. Of course this translated to a 186 point drop on the stock market. Fall is crawling in sales wise. I hear shopping at Goodwill is getting really popular with the kids- never mind the e-bayers etc.
I'm all for recycling and re purposing- so Goodwill is perfect for that.
I'm working on a line of really inexpensive items (in the $5.00 to $20.00 range) that combine good looks with value. Just because we spend less doesn't mean we have to give up quality - we can be minimalists, we can repurpose, we can make things ouselves....simplify...
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Excess Inventory- Cabachons

I've got more cabs than I can use in years and some are not up to the quality I want to use in my pieces- sooooo- I put some up for sale, in lots, on the main site, and will be adding more soon. many would be great for crafting, wire wrapping, rock collections etc.

I'll be adding all sorts of findings too- some that I make and some like you've never seen before- really interesting ones....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Studio Pictures

I've finally started to post some pictures on my studio site. I plan to have pictures of the equipment in the work areas as well as work in process. I have set up metals and gemstone pages to provide information and resources for making jewelry. There are so many beaders and jewelry makers that I know that are interested in taking the next step into silversmithing or metals working. I'm hoping that my site will help them towards those goals....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pendant Picture

Here's some of the more "masculine" pendants I made today. These were a learning experience and gave me some practice with making my own rivets. I chose rivets because they are a very secure way to add the bails and decorative elements.
The one on the bottom has honey comb shaped stainless steel riveted to the brass. The rivets are all copper.
Let me know what you think!

Pendants and sulfer!

Made some pendants today! I'll take some pictures and post them here later. Pictures are always a chore for me! I love to make the jewelry but I have to do the rest too.
I also got out the liver of sulfer and experimented with torched on patinas. I managed to get some really nice finishes. I'll need to order some Renaissance wax - it puts a wonderful protective coating on your jewelry - someone told me they use it in museums!
Experimented with brass, stainless steel and copper rivets - I did have fun with that and have the rivet making down now! Thanks to Dan for the chasing tools he's lending me- one of them flares rivets really nicely! Back soon with Pics!

Mens Jewelry

Today I'm working on some masculine designs. I plan to use some brass and copper to begin with and possibly fold form or hammer some interesting pendant shapes. Most modern jewelry out there right now has a blackened patina. Blackening is done by finishing the piece completely- including the polishing and tumbling but then dipping or brushing on a solution (usually Liver of Sulfer) that will turn the item black. Then going back and polishing off some of it - usually in the raised areas. End result is a more defined aged looking piece. In ceramics a similar process using a dark thinned paint is washed over and then selectively removed to make an antiqued finish.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Help The Horses Day

Tuesdays are special for my daughter Victoria and me. Tori (Victoria's nickname) and her best friend Haley love horses. I do mean love - because they will do anything to be around them. Several months ago on a 4-H field trip we found out about Brookhill Farm, a horse rescue facility about an hour from our farm. The opportunity to become volunteers there was extremely exciting for the girls, so now we have the weekly "help the horses" day. From 6-9 pm we can be found brushing manes, mucking stalls, picking hooves and doing anything else they need done at the farm.
Brookhill specializes in rescuing injured horses, helping them heal and then either adopting them out or using them in their "United Neigh" program. You can find out more about them and even how you can sponsor a horse at :

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's Monday Again !

Still working on setting up all the websites- the shop on Etsy, the Studio Site, coordinating with facebook, this blog site, twitter etc.

When will I have time to make the jewelry?

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Welcome to my new blog space!

I am currently working on getting my Etsy Shop working. You can check it out at:

Divine3 Designs Etsy Shop

I just got my Studio online at:

Divine3 Designs Studio

If you are interested in Jewelry, silversmithing, lapidary arts, gemstones etc. you may want to follow my blog.
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