Tag Archives: jeweler’s tools

Living Up To The Name

When I named this blog “Just Make a Mess” I meant it.  I meant to be willing to show the chaos that can ensue as a result of the creative process.  Now I know there are artists that create magnificent works while their studios remain pristine.  Their paints are carefully organized according to colour family, their pencils are all neatly sharpened and stored with their tips protected.  Their palettes could be sold as colour-wheels.  These kinds of artists do exist.  I personally believe them to be alien life-forms, but I do believe they exist.

Unless you have the luxury of a studio completely separate from your house, or you have a house with tons of storage, keeping a studio tidy and dedicated to its intended use can be difficult.  I live in a house that was likely built in the 40’s or 50’s and it is woefully lacking in storage space.  The end result of this is that most of my spaces must be multi-functional.  Which sucks for the studio.

Over Christmas, the usual happened.  This kind of thing……

led inevitably to this kind of thing…..

That’s my poor studio, buried underneath the remnants of our holiday.  Everything that needed to go “somewhere” ended up here.  This mess enabled the packaging of soap, the storage of yummy Chrismas baking, the taking of many blog photos, the printing of jewelry packaging and the final polishing of tons of new jewelry pieces.

So tomorrow, this room stops living up to this blog’s name and gets a mucking-out.  It’s a new year and I’ve tons of new projects I’m just itching to get at.  This is one of them:

From Away

This is a painting I started a long while ago that I kind of abandoned to get some jewelry done.  The plan is to spend more time on painting.  Until this is done, it’s going to be one day painting, one day jewelry, during the week, Monday to Friday once the studio is in working order again.  I have big plans for this painting.  I want to take it somewhere I’ve never seen a painting go before.  Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated on that, AND the exciting new direction I’m going to explore with my jewelry.  It’s going to be a great year, isn’t it?  I’m excited and inspired and all of you are a big part of this journey.  Let’s see what’s next, shall we?



Blah.  Blah blah blah.  That’s sort of how I’ve felt all week.  Part of it is the post-holiday blues, I’m sure, but I’ve been struggling to get back into the swing of things.

My blog has suffered from my blues.  My apologies to my regular readers for not getting my normal amount done here.  I’m going to try and make up for it with this post.  There’s a few new things to show you:

Jodi….one of my beautiful nieces….is one of those truly generous souls.  Not only is she trying to give me stuff (NICE stuff) all the time, she has a generosity of spirit that is a pleasure to bask in.  Like her mom, she’s warm and welcoming and loving.  She also has a wicked sense of humour that had us all rolling during Christmas dinner.  Just bringing that up pretty much ensures that my family is laughing right now.  ‘Nuff said.

Jodi likes simple designs.  Nothing frilly or over-done for her.  But she also likes unique things.  One of the most unique gemstones out there is Ametrine.  Ametrine happens when amethyst and citrine crystals grow together and you get a stone that is half purple and half yellow.  The photo doesn’t show the colour-play very well, but I do like the triangle-theme.

Vanessa, the next-oldest of my nieces, is so going to be a star.  Tall and willowy, with gorgeous red hair and knock-you-dead green eyes, she’s a young woman destined for greatness.  She’s slogging through her teen years as best she can, all the while devoting herself to her dancing.  I’m confident her natural grace will carry her through the toughest life can throw at her.

Austyn….my little moon-child.  If ever there was an old soul, it’s Austyn.  You can see it in her eyes.  There’s this sparkle that says “I get it”.  Quick to laugh and always a bunch of fun, Austyn always makes me smile.  Some people just sparkle all the way through.  Austyn is one of those people.

There you go.  Three pretties for three pretties.  My lovely nieces.  How on earth did I get so lucky??

Leaf & Lotus

In the midst of all the Christmas Chaos, I am trying to finish a few more items for the store.  I showed you the luscious Labradorite I had a while back and am finally getting around to doing something with it.  They’re in the header photo at the top of the page on the left, if you want to have a peek.

Sometimes the simplest shapes are what works best.  I wanted a simple cutout for this smaller pendant and leaves just make me happy.  I have pages and pages of leaf silhouettes that will all eventually end up in designs.  This one is clean and basic.  None of the drama of Ginkgo nor the featherishness of fronds.  Just a little leaf.  The glow of Labradorite behind it is going to bring it alive.

There is something exotic about Lotus.  Even the word itself…..say it out loud with me…..Looootussss.  Sensual.  Mystical.  Transcendent.  There are so many ways to draw Lotus.  Even in its most stylized form, it’s always familiar and identifiable.  It’s a fitting backdrop for that drop-dead Tiger’s Eye with the bands of Hematite running through it.

It just wouldn’t be a Jan Mac week without some swirls.  I’m digging the sort of Art Deco, old-world meets new-world look of these swirly pendants.  This little Labradorite lovely will also be reversible….the other thing I’m digging these days.

The top two just need their bails and the bottom one just needs its stone set.  I’ll post my progress tomorrow.  I’m determined to finish at least ONE of them.  See you tomorrow.

That Brick Wall

Ever feel like you’re pounding your head against a brick wall?  That sentence perfectly describes my weekend in a nutshell.  Note the last 4 letters of the previous sentence.

Knowing I only have one week until the Craft Fair has made me a little edgy.  I didn’t even blog on Friday because I wanted to put my energy into finishing some pieces.  It didn’t happen.  It wasn’t for lack of trying but I got pretty much nothing done.  I soldered all my bezels onto my sheet backing using medium solder and it went more smoothly than I could have hoped.  Dropped them all into the pickle and planned on a day of production Saturday.  Didn’t happen.

I pulled the pieces out of the pickle and all the bezels fell off.  Every last one of them.  So began the trouble-shooting.  I used medium solder, which I seldom use and had a bit of trouble getting to flow.  I chalked it up to the large pieces that needed to be heated.  Seems I shouldn’t have.  I also put a fire-coat spray on the pieces to keep the need for polishing down.  I don’t know if it was the spray, the solder, the flux, or what the problem was but it took me several tries to get those dang bezels stuck down.  I’ve never had this problem before and I just wanted to throw something….or several somethings.

I think I’m good-to-go now and I did get some of the cutouts done today before coming to work, but seriously, it was one of the most frustrating situations I’ve ever had since I began building jewelry.  The time-crunch, of course, only added to the aggravation.  I think I’m going to start packing a sledge-hammer around though….for the next brick wall that plunks itself in front of me.

Cut That Out!

Ever since I did the first reversible medallion with a cutout, I’ve wanted to do more.   Remember these stones?

All of these are large enough to lend themselves to this type of setting….the small labradorite is just barely big enough, but I can make it work.  The first thing of course is to build the bezel-rings, which I’ve already done.  The next is to draw the cutout designs.

Nothing special here…plain paper, a dull pencil because I’m at work and of course can’t find the pencil sharpener.  The placements for setting the wire bails on the tops are just approximate but the designs themselves are pretty much what I’m after.

For the record, the circles will either be cut with setting burs or with a drill.  I COULD try and cut perfect little circles but hey,  why torture myself?  I cuss too much as it is.  Now all that’s left is to glue the papers onto the sterling silver sheet and…..

……wait for it…….




CUT THAT OUT!!………….*donkey laugh*………….yes, I amuse THAT easily.