Sunday, May 31, 2009

A quinella of treasuries

Sometimes you can go for days or even weeks without having an item featured in a treasury. Today I am fortunate to be featured in not one, but five!

My Eclipse Earrings are in Hot Sizzling Nights by walrustusk

My Black Seed Pod Earrings are in a greener side of dust by plusonedesign

They are also in Hoo Boy by Studio Elan

My Cherry Drops Earrings are in you are looking fine today by ileaiye

And last but not least, my Gooseberry Pendant is in Contemplatability by drdjc

Thanks to all those who featured my work, it has given me a real buzz.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The wait is over...

I first introduced you to my smokey quartz cocktail ring in April. We have had some upsets along the way, the most recent being that I chipped the stone last weekend when setting it.

I ordered a new stone and it was delivered this morning. This time I got it in without a scratch, I think it's worth the wait!

You will be able to find this ring in my Etsy store very soon.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

I'm seeing red today, but since red is my favourite colour, that's a good thing!

Here are some fantastic shades of red from my favourites.

Red Tulip dress by larimeloom

red apple by tinctory

Creole Top Fuschia and orange by LesEnfantsSauvages

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Treasure trove

I just logged on to etsy to list my latest creation and found a convo saying that the treasury I curated the other night had been on the front page - woo hoo!

I have curated about 5 or 6 treasuries but this was the first to ever make it to the front page 'One day I'll fly away':

I also have items in two treasuries at the moment, my cherry drops earrings in 'faded elegance' by jewelflyt

and my effervesce ring in 'I Heart...' by vintageprincipessa

I also have an item as an alternate in this treasury, 'metal flowers' by CreationsbyCat :

Friday, May 22, 2009

The best laid plans

I look forward to Friday, it is the start of my weekend! I get to spend the day playing, reading, dancing, and cuddling. Eventually all that activity wears out the little fella and he goes down for a sleep and I race out to the workshop and work on my jewellery.

This morning started well. I prepared a few earrings for an order and then set about working on my smokey quartz cocktail ring which I first showed you here in April. I have been working away at it in the background while producing some pieces that are quicker to make.

Now the hard work had all been done, the setting was finished and soldered onto the shank and it was time to cleanup. Due to the intricate nature of this ring I expected cleanup to be fiddly and time consuming.

The first step was to cut out the portion of the ring shank underneath the setting - done!

The next is to file... and file... and file....

But sometimes things just don't go according to plan. And a fracture on one of the claws means that they have to be removed, they have become brittle and overworked when soldering the setting to the ring.

Now for the god news, I resited the urge to take a hammer to it and relieve some frustration! To remove the claws I have re-run the solder.

I have to start over and reattach the setting and new claws. On that unfortunate note I have decided to call it a day.

It is a bit sad that I have come from being so close to finished to this point, but these things happen, this is not the first piece that I have had this sort of issue with, and it wont be the last. I might get started again on this ring over the weekend, or I might put it on the back burner and work on something else.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

It's still some time off yet, but eventually our son is going to have to move from the 'nursery' into what is currently the spare bedroom. The room is intentionally neutral in colour and I have been thinking of how I will decorate it and make it his own special place.

I don't want a specific theme, I want it to be a place he can play and imagine and make happy memories....

Airplane Midi Mobile by BuggaLove

DayDreaming Red Blue and White Ribbon Mobile by Polkadotskies

Red Lizard Wall Decoration by halfanacre

Bunting / Flags / Pennant Strings - Pirate Stripes by giggleberry

Thursday, May 14, 2009

From here to Eternity

People have all sorts of different ideas about when is the 'right time' to give or receive an eternity ring. Some say 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, after the first child... For me it was 'whenever you make it'.

My hubby and I got married a little over 4 years ago, in April 2005. I had some pretty specific ideas about the aesthetic of our wedding. When it came to a dress I knew what I wanted didn't exist, so I found a dressmaker who would understand my vision and translate that into the perfect dress.

Aside from the fact that my dress HAD to be pink, I also wanted something that would convert to an evening dress. The gem encrusted waistband hid little hooks that would allow the chiffon overskirt to be attached and removed later. The overskirt was made of three layers; hot pink, pale pink and ivory. When the overskirt was removed the dress became a pink satin evening dress with silver lining. And the jewellery was made from the leftover crystals and pearls.

I also wanted to design and make our wedding rings. At the time I was still studying, and a very wonderful teacher allowed me to come in early and also work on the rings in our chain making class, giving me plenty of help at the same time. Both rings are 18 carat yellow gold, mine is knife edged with 12 diamonds, his has chamfered edges with 6 ceylon sapphires.

My eternity ring is currently a work in progress, it will tie together the features of both wedding rings, with 12 pink sapphires and it will feature champhered edges to match the profile of my husbands ring. I look forward to being able to show you the finished product. But for now, here's a sneak peak...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

I have three friends expecting babies in the next couple of months and have been busiliy 'hearting' baby items. These are the first new bubs that I need to buy for since discovering Etsy and I am looking forward to buying them a lovely handmade present.

My selections today are biased towards girly gifts as I know for sure that one of the expected arrivals is a girl.

Tweet Birdcage Ruffle Pants by BettsyKingston Bright and Funky Colorful Snail Rattles by TidabellaMonkey

Meg the shaggy pink vintage chenille Scottie by leahkl

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

8 things

I have been tagged by Cath of chunkychooky to play 8 things, so here goes:

8 things I am looking forward to:
1. Our holiday in Cairns in August
2. The weekend, always looking forward to the weekend
3. My little sisters visit in June
4. A cube becoming available in the price range I want at inCube8r
5. Wearing my eternity ring, just as soon as I finish making it!
6. Friends new bubbas due very soon
7. Another coffee
8. Ditching my stupid Blackberry and going back to my faithful old Nokia

8 things I did yesterday:
1. Worried about getting a migraine, had eyeball issues!
2. Lovingly gift wrapped a pair of earrings for a friend, they are in the mail!
3. Drank too many coffees and not enough water
4. Had a lot of conversations about my new short hair, all the boys at work noticed so it was obviously a dramatic change.
5. Went for a long walk at lunch and clocked up a lot of steps
6. Laughed with the hubby about J's antics and ever expanding vobaculary
7. Got my Mothers Day present that J made me at daycare
8. Went to bed at 8pm! Due to #1

8 things I wish I could do:
1. Fly, it is always so fun in my dreams
2. Live in Broome during the Melbourne winter
3. Quit my day job and just make jewellery
4. Teleport so I could visit people more often, like interstate family members
5. Have more energy
6. Go to yoga more than once a week
7. Read novels - I used to read so many books before I had J, now all the books I read had thick cardboard pages ;)
8. Go on another overseas holiday, that one is probably a few years off for now

8 TV shows I watch:
2. Heroes
3. Supernatural
4. Ghost Whisperer
5. My name is Earl
6. Life on Mars
7. The cook and the chef
8. At the movies

8 people I am tagging:
1. Kirsty
2. Owlandfox
3. Finki
4. Jess
5. innerearthsoaps
6. finchbird
7. michvanetta
8. Tiges and Weince

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I want a Red Suede Kitten!

Normally the mere thought of a cat makes my eyes start to water and itch and I start reaching for a pack of sudafed. But the name RedSuedeKitten conjures up such warm and luxurius images I completely forget my allergies. Even more intriguing than the very cool name is the wonderful felt jewellery creations that Melita of RedSeudeKitten makes.

I love the bright colours and completely tactile nature of Melita's work, and I also LOVE the fact that she has taken some time out to answer some questions about her art.

Where does the name RedSuedeKitten come from?

I have a cat called Marcie, who is a black and white tuxedo cat. Her black fur reminds me of black velvet. One day I was commenting on my "black velvet cat" and for some reason the words "red suede kitten" just came into my head, as a variation of this phrase. I used the name as an internet ID for a while, but always thought it would be a great name for a craft business. When I started the business about a year and a half ago, I decided to use the name.

How long have you been felting, how did you get into it?

I've been felting for about two years now. I've been a knitter for about 5 years, so anything to do with wool and fibre excited me! I found out about wet felting on the Craftster forums and decided to give it a go. I tried simple felted beads at first, and then progressed to "sushi" felt, felted vessels and scarves.

Without giving away any 'trade secrets' can you explain the process of felting, you mention 'wet felting' in your listings but I don't really know what that means.

Felt is created from wool tops (also called roving). This is the fluffy, fairy-floss-textured wool fibre that yarn is spun from. You lay the tops out on a surface such as bubble wrap, or a sushi mat (something with texture), spreading the fibres out so that the layers are even. Often multiple layers are used and are laid out at right angles to each other. To these layers you add hot water, with dish detergent, by very gently sprinkling it onto the surface of the tops. There are little scales on each wool fibre that are like hooks, and these open up when the hot water and detergent is applied. The next step is to agitate the wet tops. This helps the little hooks in the fibres lock and shrink together, creating a matted finish. You agitate by rubbing very gently at first, and add more and more pressure gradually as the felt comes together and hardens. This is a time consuming process. You can also roll your felt piece in the bubble wrap or sushi mat, which helps to shrink and harden the piece further. Once it's quite strong, a cold-water rinse can help "shock" the fibres into a harder state, as can throwing the felt against a hard surface.

The colours you use are gorgeous and vibrant - do you also dye the wool?

No I don't dye the tops myself. I'm fortunate enough to have found two tops suppliers that have a gorgeous range of colours. Maybe one day I'll learn how to dye the wool, but I fear that it will become yet another craft obsession!

I have never seen anything like your cocoon pieces before, they are very cute! Are you very organised and structured when you design a creation like that or do you begin working and see what evolves?

I had to think and plan a fair bit to create the cocoons, but when it came to the execution, it was an experiment. Lucky for me, I somehow devised a technique that worked straight off. It was an intuitive process, working out how to mold and shape the cocoon, but it worked! As for putting objects inside the cocoons – that was not my original plan. The empty felt sphere seemed to invite this though, so I went with it.

My work is often rather intuitive. I'll come up with part of an idea before I start a piece, and then just put things together and see how they go. My Buckle Bug Brooches are all one of a kind – I design these as I go along, working out which colours, buckles and buttons work together, and how to cut and layer the wings. I find this intuitive process both liberating and challenging.

Do you have a favourite piece among your works?

Roger the Owl in his red felt cocoon. I really must make one for myself! However, I do have a few Felt Clouds that I wear often, and I also love the Buckle Bugs.

Thanks so much Melita for taking the time out to answer my questions. Don't forget to check out Melita's store and you can also stalk her on twitter!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

This week my wishlist contains only one item. It is also a very practical item....

I wish for a Tumbler, I am getting by without one but it would sure make life a lot easier, especially when it comes to work hardening, and also for cleanup on some fiddly little pieces.
Perhaps if I wish hard enough I'll get one for Mothers Day?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Turning trash into treasure

I have a rather ugly pile of scrap metal that my Dad has been collecting for me. Bent, broken and tarnished but briming with potential. This metal started out as gas fittings, strike plates, and who knows what else.

I have began giving this tired old metal scrap a new lease on life in a new range of jewellery featuring upcycled copper and brass. I seal the copper and brass to help retain the finish and protect from tarnishing. The first few pieces from this collection are available now in my Etsy Store.