Monday, March 9, 2009

Surprisingly productive and...

...This weekend was just smashing! It was an incredibly beautiful, with temps in the high 50's/low 60's, clear and good "get outside" weather. So that's what we did :) Kids and I took a few walks, we attempted to play outside, and had all the windows in the house open. I was so happy that we finally got a taste of some nice weather....only to have those spring-thoughts dashed by today's 30 degrees and rain/snow. I love New England in March - transitional month, yeah, right, just give me spring already! LOL

He's a cool dude with his sippy cup and sunglasses!
(Crappy cell-phone picture here.)

Anyway, in between doing all of that great activity with the kids, I managed to try a few new techniques and knocked out a few semi-finished projects I'd started and dropped and started and dropped...no pictures, sorry, but when the weather clears up I'll get to those ;)

Big Experience #1 - Drill Press! Yep, I finally got up the gusto to try the big ole drill press myself! I'm a bit phobic about using power tools (ask me about being sent down the cellar to look for my dad's fingers...) so this was a Big Thing for me :) I haven't done that much sheet metal work because while I'd like to start making cool charms and stuff, I've been very nervous about using a drill press to make holes with, and I've not yet strung my metal saw for the same reason. The little bits that I've done that have required holes I've hollered for my good-natured hubby and his drill-pressing skills. He's given me a few tutorials, and has made me a good jig to use, so this weekend I finally decided "I'm going to put on the big girl panties and do it." So I did! And now I won't be so scared of little pieces of metal flying around creating havoc. So look for some charms to pop up here & there. Well, once I get my saw strung, of course ;)

Big Experience #2 - Hammering pennies! Yes, I know that defacing US tender is illegal... I've seen a few examples of people using pennies as charms and such like, and decided that while I am still a bit trepidatious (is that a word? LOL) with my saw, I *love* my hammers! So I grabbed my ball pein hammer, my block and a few pennies and WHACK, WHACK, Duck flying pennies, put on safety goggles and chase dog & cats from room so they won't get hurt by same flying pennies, WHACK, WHACK! OUCH! Move fingers, figure out something else to use to hold pennies while whacking. WHACK, WHACK, WHACK. Two flattened and texturized pennies are finished. I then stamped them with my son's and daughter's names and birthdates, and patinaed them with Liver of Sulfur (see Big Experience #3), and added a few freshwater pearls and made them into charms for a necklace. I love the way these charms look and will be doing them again! (Once my fingers stop throbbing...)

Big Experience #3 - Patinating! As you've probably guessed, I love copper. The color is so rich and warm, and it's gets better as it ages. To this point, I've just used the copper natural, and have let it patina with age. However, I did have some Liver of Sulfer (LOS), and have been wanting to try using that. Now, since I know LOS is quite stinky, I didn't want to use it in the house on a day where I couldn't open the windows. This weekend presented a great chance to try it out, and so I grabbed the LOS, figured out which container I'd then dedicate to this process, and wrangled up the pieces I wanted to patina - a cuff bracelet from some copper sheet, a great free form swirl ring, and the two penny charms mentioned earlier in the post. I then prepared the LOS according to directions, and put the items in. It was amazing to watch the coloration start to take affect immediately! After leaving the pieces in for a minute or two, I then pulled them out, washed them off and let them dry. I then attacked each piece with a wire brush, 0000 steel wool, and a green scrubbie pad to clean them up. The colors were amazing! Everything looked so cool :) I even put the cuff bracelet in for a second dunking and this cuff is now my favorite piece. It's so intense and very Antiquey looking. I'm now trying to decide if I want to put this cuff up on my Etsy shop or keep it for myself. I think it'll end up adorning my wrist rather than someone else's - after all, I can make more, right?

1 comment:

Melody Lea Lamb said...

I know all about that New England Spring tease!! It'll get here eventually. :)

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