Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chopstix Hammers- Oh yeah!

Hi all,

Catchy title to this post, eh?  Grabbed your attention, right?  And I didn't even make it up.  Chopstix hammers are a real thing.  Don't believe me?  Then what's this?

and this

Are these the coolest little hammers you ever saw?  I think so.  Can you believe how small they are?  The head is made from a nail.  A regular nail. What's the point, you ask?  Well, for those of us who tend to be a bit heavy handed when riveting, these are the perfect solution!  Next time, I'll try to have a sample of how well they work to share with you.  Translation, no more smashed flat rivets.  Anyway, that's the plan.  Where did I get such great little hammers?  Well from Ken Bova of course, cuz that's who makes them.  He teaches a class in making them for yourself, which I would love to take if I was ever in the right place at the right time.

So I'm just getting right down to business today.  Not wasting your time at all.  Ok not wasting much of your time.   Yet.

For those of you who are familiar with the supply exchange going on over at fanciful devices forum, this is what I received when I joined the first round.  There's another one going on right now if you would like to swap out some of your stash.  These yummy goodies are what Janet of Willowstudio sent me.

You can't tell from the photo but that is a HUGE key next to that cool metal scrolly piece.  Beautiful stones, beads, a feather, bracelet and button. But the crown jewel in this grouping is that amazing bird!  Thank you Janet!  I think you exceeded the suggested value of the swap a bit, didn't you?  I have some nice plans for these things that you so kindly shared.

As if that wasn't wonderful enough.  I got what fanci likes to call mail love.  In fact she sent it, so she can call it whatever she wants to.  Lookit

Awesome stuff, eh?  There's more...

What's that other word she uses? ....squeeeee!  Yes, you're seeing little teeth and big leaves and that awesome bezel set bone (?) and tons of great beads and a cool french beaded flower, which I am extremely partial to as I used to make them long ago, and little metal minis, and too much coolness to try and name it all.  Thank you so much Marina!  What a lovely unexpected surprise!

A little something to cleanse your palate before we continue.

OK so now I don't even know what to say cuz this has never happened to me before in my life. People that I know have found and shared wonderful things with me.  People who know me and the unusual, quirky things I'm fond of.  I love that they take the time to hunt things down for me just cuz they know I'll like it.  My life is full of beautiful people. 
I had no idea that some of them are people I don't even know.
In my mailbox was a package from a mystery someone, whom I don't really know but have long admired.  I have drooled over her incredible creations.  Each and every one a completely unique wearable work of art.  Would you like to see for yourself?  pipnmolly is where you'll want to go for a long leisurely visit. Be prepared to be amazed.  When you see the engraved pieces that she uses in her jewelry and artwork, be aware that she has engraved those herself.  In addition to be being extremely talented, she is also extremely generous. These are the fantastic supplies she sent my way. 


A gorgeous lampworked bead, vintage afgan kuchi charms and brass stampings!

Is that stingray skin?  And snakeskin?  And is that heavy brass thing a year calendar? And I don't know why you did such a lovely thing for me, but I want to say
Thank you very much Tracy, for sharing your treasure trove of awesome things with me.  I am quite overwhelmed by your generosity (as you surely already know from my excited rambling "thank you" convo that, I think must have made absolutely no sense).

 I'm always wondering where you guys find all the great stuff you use in your work.  Now I know.  Unbelievably, the source of cool stuff is the mailbox.  Who knew?!  I sure didn't. 

I have one more bit of wonderful to share with you.   I knew that Petra was working on amphoras because it was my suggestion for her giveaway.  What I didn't know was that she was making one for me just because that's the dear lovely lady she is.  She even tricked me into saying which one I thought was the best one.  Duh.  That should have been a giveaway.  You would think so.  But no.  I'm easy to surprise.   She finished it up and then told me that she was sending it to me.  From across the pond.   For no other reason than because I have an amphora thing as most of you are much too well aware. Did she stop there?  No, of course not.  This is what was in her package

Not just an amphora, but a ring and more nails as well!   I love it all.  I love that she put so much thought into making these particular things because she knows they are my favorite things she makes. Thank you Petra!   Here's closeups

seaglass embedded in a bronze and ceramic ring!  It looks like the glass is swirling around in an incoming tide.

That's Petra's makers mark!  It looks like it was just dug up after spending hundreds of years underground, waiting to be found, doesn't it?  Petra has listed some of her other amphoras in her shop.  One has a beautiful verdigris finish, another is a deep brooding red with a gecko crawling across the face of it and the last is a stunning steel with turquoise and good grief!  I just checked her shop to make sure I was getting the description right and the steel one is already snapped up.  Gotta act fast to get her new work.  It's flying out of her store as quickly as she lists it! 

Thank you ladies for your kindness and thoughtfulness and generosity.  It's much appreciated!

It appears I'm getting all wordy on you again- I'll rein it in.  Here's what I've been working on

I bought this mannequin about 5 years ago to use as a mold for making necklace displays.  But currently, I need it more for taking pictures of my necklaces on it.  So out comes the tub-o-gesso and away I go.  Why do I have a tub-o-gesso?  Well, friends, that's a whole other post.


What do you think?
Now, my pictures of these should look much better.  Ok ok, the background of my pictures of these should look much better.

mottled patina medallion on a twisted neckpiece

More of that dendritic shale from the trip out west.  You know, the trip I'm always rattling on about.  And my lapidary machine that I shape the dendritic shale on. and on and on and on..........Sparing you the details.  This time.

I've titled this one simply "She".  That's Mona Lisa peeking out at you.

A sweet little charm necklace with a forged and flame painted leaf, a stamped charm and a cool black and white geode.

Sterling silver "orbit" necklace with a faceted "venetian blue" stone of an unknown type.  Meaning I don't remember what type of stone it is.

Sterling silver that has been fused and soldered onto copper.  With a flame and verdigris patina and  stamped textural designs.  A very rustic rendition of vining leaves.  This is an example of things photographing better on the new, improved mannequin.  I made this necklace a couple of years ago and was never happy with the photographs of it.  So there you go!

Fine silver with freshwater pearls and a faceted ruby. 

For a magazine submission-
A partial fossil trilobite, a fossil ammonite and a brand new locket with some aging treatments.

This one too.  Another fossil ammonite, magnesite and a wheel of turquoise.

Remember this one?  It was listed for a bit in my etsy store, but now it along with the other two will be sent for an article submission.  Three versions of the same basic technique.

Are you sick of looking at necklaces?  Sure can't blame you there.  Did the mannequin make it a little bit easier on your eyes? 

C'mon you guys.  You know you stop by here to see pretty pictures, not to read my entertaining chatter.  How about we look at some more pictures then, of earrings for a nice change of pace?

Australian Boulder Opal with raw gray diamonds and faceted Tanzanite.

I reworked these yet again.  Finally, I think they're done.  You saw them in my last blog without the hammered sterling disc.  Much better now, don't you think?

Leaves with multi layers of patina, double wire wrapped hoops, and wood beads.

Yes, I know they don't match, unlike all the matchy matchy ones from last time.  These aren't supposed to match.  It's your fault anyway.  All your snickering from the last post about matching earring and necklace sets got under my skin.

Green raku ceramic beads with hammered copper strips and hoops embellished with wood beads.  The bottom of these looks like this

These beautiful bead caps and glass headpins are by NadinArtGlass.  Paired with matte black beads and hammer textured copper drops.

More yummy leaves with twisty twigs.  The yellow stones are from fancifuldevices mail love.

are you ready for some vibrant color?  Ok, here it comes......brace yourself!

yes there's two of them.  But just showing you one gets you up close and personal.

How's that?

Those scrumptious filigree bars are from Tracy's lovely shared stash. 

What's that?  You're tired of earrings you say?  Naw c'mon...... but there was so much variety.  Ok, here's a bracelet for you.  But only one, you'll have to wait for next time for lots more pictures.  I wouldn't want to overload you or anything.

I figured you might want a better look at that clasp. So here you go....

Well that's all I've got for you tonight.  We've taken the scenic route from raw diamonds and Australian Boulder Opals to a funky hammered copper clasp.  Just keeping it interesting for you.

Hoping you all have a great week till next time!

Here's one more thing for you to feast your eyes on

The worlds smallest giraffe.  Finally something cute and cuddly for you!

Here's a mini update for you guys, Kim of  Numinosity beads is having a giveaway on her blog.  If you're unfamilar with her work, you'll be glad that you've gone to have a look.  Plus, she's offering some fab papers or a rusty crusty nail that she has done some lampwork on making it a very cool  non-bead.  And her beautiful work made it to Etsy"s front page!  Congrats Kim!
Sige la  (Pangasian)


  1. Totally blown away by the variety of your skills - wow. That mysterious venetian blue stone - an amazonite or hemimorphite perhaps?

    1. aww stregata, you do know how to make me feel accomplished! Thank you! Yeah it's probably amazonite because I love that stuff and seem to have a couple of varieties on hand at all times. This is a bit clearer than it usually is, but since I don't know for sure, that's a safe bet. I wish you could see the big hunk of amazonite I got on a road trip. It's even too big for my rock saw! But so pretty, I couldn't resist. now to find someone to slab it for me........there's not a single rock shop within 100 miles of this place!

  2. I'm speechless, stunned by all these beauties!! I'm very interested by the nail hammers, I'm going to have a look at these. The mannequin is perfect for modeling your awesome necklaces. And I know How you feel about the parcel sent by Tracy because I've received a similar one full of amazing gorgeous beauties from her in the chain exchange supplies. I fell in love with the earrings you've made using the filigree bars and red enameled tin... oh my god you're so productive and imaginative, I admire your skills

    1. Thank you, Lucie. How very kind of you.
      They are the coolest little hammers. Made really well. To find out how to purchase them I sent an inquiry via his blog "contact me" button.
      I literally couldn't believe my eyes when I opened that package from Tracy! Good to know that you understand exactly how I felt! Truly jaw dropping amazing.
      Lest you think that I just cranked all of this work out last week, nope. I try to keep my inventory up for shows, etc. So yes, I am productive, but not that productive! hahaha

  3. A riveting post!!
    You have stunned me with this chock a block full of goodness... and yes I do look at it for the chatter too.
    If I can only remember what to comment on after all that. let's see, mail love, ain't it grand! Wow, you know you're really clever when people send you supplies ust to see what awesomeness you'll make with them.
    The bust... didn't you feel just a bit naughty slathering her up with a tub of gesso?
    Your many millions of varied designs, each exhibiting some sort of skill set I haven't quite mastered. Intriguing combinations. Love, them all.
    i recognized Nadin's headpins immediately, she does really superb work. Your tin work is super cool, I begged for some tin scraps from one of my favorite etsy vintage tin folks and she's sending me some soon for me to play with.
    Last of all , your copper neckpieces are gorgeous, no wonder they're going to a magazine.
    Ok look what you made me do, my longest comment ever and it's only 6AM and I haven't even had a hot stimulating beverage yet.
    xoxo Kim

    1. ok, I'm completely impressed that all of your nuerotransmitters are firing before you've had coffee! I've banned myself from commenting before coffee, but lookit you, all making sense, using proper grammer and everything! :)
      Thank you so much for your very kind and generous words.
      I've been drooling over your beads and headpins too! You'll be seeing my name pop up in your sold orders soon.
      And yes I did feel a bit naughty, but not naughty enough to stop!

  4. you are a very busy girl my dear! me, i'm grading papers instead of playing with yummy stuff. sorta boo hoo for me (i do love my job, but it kinda gets in the way. hahahaha), but anyway, yay for you!

    1. hmmmm, well you're helping people enrich their brains while I'm just hitting metal with a hammer. I say yay for you! But I do hope you get to play with some tools and supplies soon, cuz it's so much fun!

  5. The reason people send you so many fab things is because you are so fun and funny and generous and talented, no two ways about it. Your new pieces are so very wonderful... I LOVE the way you incorporated the floral designs in the tin, using them as design elements in both pairs of GORGEOUS earrings. Your work is always an inspiration!

    1. That sure is a nice thing to say. Thank you. I think they sent me stuff because they're generous and talented and wanted to see what funny things I would do with their supplies? eh? eh? No? Well you are just the sweetest to give me credit when they all did the nice thing. And thank you for your kind compliments about my work. Very much appreciated!

  6. I must tell everyone about the fabulous parcel that you sent me in the exchange . Wonderful marvelous treasures, some of which I recognize in this post that you so generously shared with me. I have been showered with love and generosity from our little sorority of sisters. I have never been treated with such out of the blus kindness from strangers, well really people I have never actually met. I recently did an exchange with Numinosity. She liked a pair of my earrings, mind blowing enough in itself and we decided on an exchange cause I was.blown away be her headpins. I made the earrings, mailed them off and next day in my mailbox was a HEAVy parcel. Well, the most beautiful, bountiful bunch of treasures. One after another. I still am stunned at the generosity. Examples of her artistry with glass. I've never even seen a lamp work bead in person...
    I am honored and privileged to be here amounts you all... I love you guys.

    1. Yes, I agree completely, this is a lovely group of ladies! I know just how you feel about finding yourself amongst them. What a supportive, helpful great group of artists! A treasure, one and all.
      That had to be exciting to see Kim's beautiful work as your first example of lampworking! Wow, what a moment that must have been! Would have loved to see your reaction as your eyes glazed over with the sheer fabulousness of it!

  7. Holy Moley Guacamole as I say to my granddaughters! Love, love the mannequin and she does her job well; pics are great. I don't even know where to begin.......your talent and creativity are inspiring. You go from the beautiful and simple unknown stone necklace to some absolutely funky hunks of metal and don't even break a sweat; well maybe you did break a sweat, but don't tell me if you did! And just so you know, I visit the blog to read what you have to say as well as to see pics of great jewels, not so much the naked chickens, but hey, I take what is here and go with it.

    I want to thank you too, cuz through your blog I've discovered many other talented ladies! You all rock and I feel fortunate to say that I really know one of you "in person!!" How wonderful for us that you talented folks share your work and your inspiration.

    1. now I'm hungry for gaucamole! :)
      I'm not even talking about sweat. Wait till July and August for that subject.
      Thank you coffeefreek for for actually reading the words I'm typing. I do put quite a bit of thought into them. not just random ramblings about the dogeared purple pillow before the cloud..... oh wait, where was I?
      You not only know me, you've seen me hammer actual metal. And I've seen you hammer actual metal and actually hammer glass beads but we won't go into that, ok?
      Aww you're a sweetheart. Thanks for the nice compliments!

  8. Once again, I'm close to tears because my stupid computer isn't letting me see all the pretty pictures. NOT FAIR!!!! So, it's just as well that I DOOOO come here for the chatter!!
    From the limited few it is letting me see - WOW, what amazing things you've found in your mailbox!! Well, except my strange ring (can't see the picture, which I'm quite pleased about!!), which I'm sure you're just being polite about!! Ditto what Melinda said though. It doesn't surprise me in the slightest that people want to send you things to see what miracles you can perform with them - but mostly, because they just want to.
    I've been able to goggle at that dreamy orbit necklace with the sublimely gorgeous turquoise stone of unknown name, and those earrings with the green raku beads-oh my word!!!!!! Oh, and what are most definitely, parties on ears - those red extravaganzas!!! Fabulous! You're just SOOOO damn talented! Loving your mannequin too - so clever. I want to see the rest though - wah wah wah - I'll just have to wait to see them in your shop instead. Can anyone enlighten me as to why I'm being tortured by the sight of white boxes with a red x in the corner, instead of beautiful pictures??
    Lovely, lovely post as always. Sigh.

    1. two of you come here for the chatter?! My initial reaction is "what's wrong with you guys" but my polite response is THANK YOU! Petra, this new computer of yours isn't making your life easier at all, is it? :(
      I know, my mailbox was like Mary Poppins bag (yes, I'm dating myself) where great things just kept coming out of it one after another! Again, I sincerely thank you. Petra, I just love the wonderful things you shared with me. You know I'm never polite. I think the ring is beautiful! I love the frosted glass sitting in a pool of glossy resin encircled with that awesome bronze and black clay. It's a perfect combination!
      How I wish I could help you out with the picture situation. Boy you're barking up the wrong tree there, eh? Surely one of these ladies knows what's going on. Anyone?
      Really appreciate the kind words, thank you!

    2. ok sometimes I'm polite, just not very often :)

  9. Hold on. My eyes just popped out. !! @@ !!

    All so very eclectic and Groovy. LOVE the asymmetrical earrings & all that stuff with patina.

    You've inspired me...but alas, I'm away from my workshop for another two weeks. boo. :-/

    1. acckkkk is it painful? Good thing I have a couple of prosthetic eyes I can send you to replace the two you just lost! Thank you Lela. We must be around the same age, what with my Mary Poppins reference and you saying Groovy, eh? Or wait, you might be 20 and I've just offended you! nevermind. hahahaha
      It's so hard to be away from the workshop, isn't it? I've been known to make things out of restaurant napkins, when traveling, just so my fingers don't get all jumpy not knowing what to do with themselves!

  10. I'm in full covet mode here, your work is just beautiful. Also loving the little hammers. Every time I try riveting i end up with squished wire. Kate

    1. Thanks so much Kate! I'm hoping the little hammers will solve that same problem for me. Will keep you guys posted.

  11. I don't even know where to begin! The jewelry you just shared is amazing. Those bright tin earrings are gorgeous, and you are a sorceress when it comes to patinas and heat. I am entranced with that necklace you submitted with the blue green patina and turquoise such wonderful texture. You are quite the inspiration ma'am, and your mannequin looks great!

    1. Thank you Kim for your very nice compliments! I love hearing which pieces you guys like in your comments.
      Naw, no sorcery around these parts, just basic chemistry. Very basic. Kim and I have had a discussion going about patinas. I sent her some recipes for patinas that avoid all the nasty chemicals and she suggested that I post them on the blog. Which I'm happy to do. So any of you more experienced bloggers know how I can set up a button that will open up a page with text that you all can access and that I can add to when I have something new?

  12. what a huge post of gloriousness!
    i'm jealous of the pipinmolly hoard. damn it!
    gorgeous new things!!! i love all the wire-work, the tin the rolled metals. I'm also jealous of the rolling mill. big time. damn you.

    1. Well thanks, fanci. mighty kind of you, the compliments. I'm talking about your nice compliments.
      hoard is right. and I'm probably going to hoard it and plan and design each piece till I drive myself crazy so I don't waste or mess up any of it. Well, I'll do the same thing with the goodies you and Petra and the other Janet sent too.
      Whoaaa, hold on just a minute.... don't be cursing me here. I think everything I posted this time was textured with a hammer. Not the mill. :p

  13. It's a bit like a ritual for me visiting your blog, I have to have me cup of tea, take the phone off the hook and give it the time it richly deserves. Loving the bold copper necklaces and the layers of detailing with patina and collage. Those tin earring are just darling. And of course I have stash envy! Can't wait to see what you do with Petra's wonders, I would love to buy some more, but I'm royally broke at the mo.

    1. What lovely things to hear- thank you 13! So glad I get to share some quiet time and a cup of tea with you. :)
      I hope I do justice to all of the great things that were so graciously shared with me.
      I'm still loving your new turban btw.

  14. Hey Janet,

    I'm loving all your creations as usual...........heavy sssiiiiiiiiiiggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!

    Tell me about the tub-o-gesso............... My husband brings me home mannequins...not full size (that would totally freak me out)...that stores are renovating and discarding. He finds these when he delivers to malls. Some stores even save them for him. I currently only have three as I don't want to wake up in the middle of the night screaming when they are all out of the studio and at the foot of the bed! One is going to be redone with vintage patterns from the 60's. I love the texture and look of your gessoed bodies. Tell me your deep dark secrets of creation.......

    I am loving all the treasures from your friends and can't wait to see your creations.

    bond girl

    1. Hey bond girl,
      thank you- thank you!
      So you want to hear about the gesso, huh? Are you sure?
      Talk about stash envy- your husband brings you home mannequins?! How cool is that!
      Here's what I did. Rough up the surface a bit to give it some tooth. Just a quick once over with sandpaper. Then scrunch up a bunch of tissue paper, unscrunch it but don't smooth it out. Tear it into random pieces not big, not small. Then using Mod Podge matte, glue the tissue onto the mannequin. I wanted mine highly textured but you can do it however you want. Overlap the tissue so there's no sharp edges of paper. I worked in sections so that the glue wouldn't have time to dry before I got the tissue adhered. When that's completely dry, I coated mine with two thick coats of white gesso. The gesso provides a nice surface for the paint to adhere to and strengthens the paper. Then paint it however you want. But you have to show pictures of your deep dark creations. Please pics of all your mannequins all dolled up. Any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask. Maybe just maybe, I'll show you some funny pictures of how I know this trick with gesso. Maybe.

  15. Oh, those copper necklaces are spectacular!!! I kept going back and looking at them. I'm new to your blog and work and I will continue to come back. Your work is great - there wasn't anything that I wouldn't wear - I loved it all. Thought you did a good job on your mannequin also - liked how the necklaces showed on it. Where do you get all your stuff??? I loved all the goodies that were sent to you - I'd probably have a heart attack if I got all that wonderfulness in the mail! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Welcome quilting jewel! Thank you- that's the highest compliment you could pay me. That you would wear my work. Appreciate it!
      I felt like I was having a heart surge for sure when I received all of those beautiful things. But I think it was all the incredulity and appreciation hitting all at once!

  16. Hoooooray, I've finally managed to see all but one of your extraordinary creations. My God, woman - you really are a bit of a genius, aren't you! Every time i think I can't be any more bowled over by your pieces, there's a whole load more!! Ha ha, I'm just like Marcia with your posts. Settle myself down with a big gin,knowing that I'm going to be treated to a whole load of wonderful! Well, except when all i get is stoopid white boxes, of course!

    1. um, no, but if you want to think that, please do. ahh thanks so much for your ever kind words, petra. you warm my heart :)

  17. Woooooaaaah! Sensory overload! AND hammer/stash/clay/display/creation envy. And with a stash like that I'd take my clothes off and roll naked in them all *snikker*

    1. hahahaha ouch ouch ouch! all those sharp bits would hurt quite a bit, I imagine, as you had yourself a good roll in the stash. too funny!

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