What’s on my Table

The days are flying by. We are now into week five of social distancing and I could use some nice warm weather and some sunshine. I have been working on the family genealogy and sharing what I find with family members on a Facebook page we set up for that purpose. I read David Copperfield and my new life goal is to be as wise as Betsey Trotwood. I ordered some Fairy Lights to brighten up my basement workshop. The Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild had its first online meeting and it went so well we are going to continue. I am baking bread having had the foresight to order 40 pounds of winter wheat berries (and two pounds of baker’s yeast by mistake; I could start a black market business) which arrived before the pandemic.

Here’s what’s on my work table right now:

I thought it would be fun to combine galvanized steel wire with vintage Swarovski crystals. I love making funky asymmetrical chains and I have a bunch of gorgeous crystals from old necklaces I snatched up at house sales. This is what I have so far:

I like the look, but I have to get motivated to to more. Here are some polymer beads. I am waiting for them to talk to me and tell me what they want to be (and if they want to be back filled first.)

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I have been experimenting with different methods of cutting jump rings.  I prefer sawing to cutting because I always have to spend time cleaning up the ones I’ve cut, even though I use good flush cutters.  Too fussy I guess.  But sawing has its own problems.    For a long time I was using a jump ring jig I made myself.

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The problem is how to hold the coils in place as you saw them.  The jig I made was small enough that I could hold the coils with my thumb as I sawed.

Here’s one great solution-using a wedge of wood rather than your fingers to hold the coils in place as you saw.

But there are other ways of sawing perfect jump rings and I continue to search them out.  I will share my favorites here.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Bohemian Style Bracelets

 

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I learn more stuff from blogging than I ever would have guessed.  Case in point: I am obsessed with the trendy bohemian style.  I know that the region known as Bohemia is in Central Europe.  I know that people labeled “bohemian” in this country are supposed to be individualistic, eccentric, artsy-fartsy and have a flamboyant sense of style.

 

BohoB (5)What I did not know is that the hippy, beatnik bohemians got the name from the French who associated with this type of personality and style with Gypsies to wit, the “roving Romani people they called “bohemians” because they were believed to have arrived from Bohemia.” (Think La boheme). We don’t know there the Romani people originated, but medieval French referred to the Romanies as Egyptiens from which we get the English word Gypsy.

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So, to recap, a real Bohemian is likely to be Czech.  An individualistic, eccentric, artsy-fartsy person with a  flamboyant sense of style is a bohemian and would have probably been known as a romani (small “r” because not referring to an ethnic group)if people had been more familiar with geography.  But hey!  There have been periods in European history where people went to bed in one country and woke up in another. (If they were lucky enough to wake up.  Watch this video to see what I mean.)

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I am fascinated with bohemian-style jewelry and the opportunities it gives for layering chains and ribbon and cloth and metal with charms, beads and Milagros.  For these bracelets I have pulled out some ceramic beads I made years ago and have combined them with lamp worked and polymer beads and other components I have had lying around waiting to be used.

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You can add as much or as little wire work as your like and make custom clasps that integrate nicely with the designs. For a tutorial on making the clasps you see in these bracelets press here.

And last but not least, two links to share:  my favorite blog for all things bohemian style, ThatBohemianGirl.  And here’s a find!  Watch Lynne Merchant demonstrate how to make a perfect wire spiral here. 

A New Spoon Bracelet

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I’ve had spoon parts banging around in my  leftovers box ever since I made  some earrings  from the end of the spoon handles.  “Too short for  bracelets,” I told myself.   Then one day, just fooling around,  I put one of the spoons through the rolling mill to see how  how it looked. Interesting but still too short for a bracelet.

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I threw the piece in with a batch of copper scraps and rusty pieces and it sat for a few more months until one day I decided to apply a  verdigris-like patina on the bowl part.    I liked how it looked.  I had to make it into something now!  Even though it was still too short for a bracelet, I knew it was meant to be  a bracelet.  So here’s what I did:

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I drilled a hole in the tip of the spoon bowl, in the middle of the spoon bowl and on the end of what remained of the handle.  Then I  balled the end of two pieces of 14 gauge copper wire.  I dropped one of the pieces of wire through the hole of a drill bit gauge with the balled end sticking out of the hole.  I hammered the end flat and sanded it smooth .  I repeated this with the other wire.  Then I used a plastic mallet and a bracelet mandrel to hammer the spoon and handle into an oval bracelet-like shape.    I cut one of the pieces of wire to about 1 and one half inches and flattened the other end and filed the tip smooth. Then I  threaded it from the back of the bracelet through the hole in the tip of the spoon and used a pair of round nosed pliers to shape a clasp.

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I  fashioned the two pieces of figaro chain and jump rings  to  clear the tip of the clasp and hold the bracelet closed by tension.  There’s not a lot of play in the closure and you have to squeeze the bracelet slightly to release the chain from the clasp.  The bracelet isn’t tight fitting, however, so this is easy to do.

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Why did I use two pieces of chain  instead of one?  I thought it looked better!  One figaro chain looked too delicate for this bracelet.

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To make the focal piece, I  threaded the remaining piece of wire through the center hole,  a rusty washer,  a  Danish 5 kroner coin and a piece of drilled tumbled glass.  Then I cut it close and made a small loop in it.  This was a challenge to do without breaking the glass!   I finished the bracelet with a dangle  attached to the loop.  All the parts  fit snugly.  I made sure I  filed the riveted ends of the wire inside the bracelet until they were smooth;   I hate to wear anything that’s not comfortable.  I coated the spoon and washer with Renaissance Wax to protect the finish before assembling the bracelet.

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Here are some basic directions on how to make the bracelet.  I would be thrilled to receive pictures from anyone who tries it!

New Spoon Bracelet Directions