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Tuesday Night Craft Experiment

Wire Wrapping January 8, 2010

Filed under: Completed Projects,Jewelry — momentpunch @ 3:46 pm
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Early in December I took a free wire wrapping class at Bead and Pearl in Newton Highlands. Bead and Pearl is an adorable little shop that is a total pain in the ass for me to get to. (Note: I consider anything that requires the mass pike to be a pain in the ass to get to).  The shop, while small, has an abundance of beads in every shape, size, and color. They have strands, tubes, clusters, etc. It’s on the pricier side, but I saw some beads there that, if I were in a better financial situation, I would say I could not live without. We’re in a recession, people!

The project that we were working on were wire wrapped earrings called the Rosebud Vine Earrings. To me, these are perfect earrings. Fancy, yet artsy and unique. They also look far more complicated than they actually are. I was worried about making the earrings look identical, but it was surprisingly easy. Actually, the whole project was surprisingly easy.

After a little guidance and being shown how to start the project, we were left to our own devices. It’s all about twisting and stringing beads. I chose to go with more of a tree theme while others emulated the vine option. Everyone’s earrings were gorgeous. I had to stop and restart a few times, but you don’t need to worry about the shape of the wire throughout this process since you can bend it into whatever shape you want and it will hold. It was a quick and addictive project.

(Can you tell this picture was hastily taken at 7:30am this morning? It’s huge for detail)

All said the beads, hoops, findings, and wire cost under $20 and came with a complimentary glass of red wine. Even with a slight buzz on, I think they came out pretty neat looking. Maybe a little sloppy, but I hope to try it again soon!

I was psyched when Erin found this class since this was an advanced jewelry making method I had yet to try. I also love the wire wrapped pieces that I have. Last Christmas, I received a wonderful wire wrapped Tree of Life Pendant  from a friend. The woman that runs the store it was purchased from is a fixture on craftster and recently made me a bird’s nest charm as well – which also looked intimidating to make. There are an abundance of them in craftster swaps and everyone wants one because they’re just so stunning and creative.

The Tree of Life is still a little too intense for me. Someday!


Class: Cold Process Soap Making November 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — momentpunch @ 10:30 am
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I’m falling in love with the classes at Brookline Arts Center. As you might recall, I made a ring there in October during my Jewelry/Metalsmithing class. The idea of taking the Memories to Art intensive gets me a little too excited. I mean, putting pictures on tiles and fabric – AWESOME!

This past Saturday, I took a wonderful cold process soap making class with Back Porch Soap Co. founder Marla Bosworth. I was curious about cold process soaps because I’d always done melt and pour and thought I could get a little more fancy with cold process since it’s essentially creating a soap completely from scratch.

I have a soap making book and I’d read about the process on various blogs, but I could never wrap my head around it. I am definitely a learn by doing type of person. Plus, the idea of working with Lye was downright frightening.

Lye is a corrosive substance that is often used in oven cleaner and draino. My grandfather used pure Lye soap to combat his terrible acne. And it worked. Because it burns a layer of skin off of your face. It is currently only sold at Ace Hardware due to the fact it is an active ingredient in some chemical bombs.

Lye is nothing to mess around with, which is why Marla outfitted us all with Judge Doom like rubber gloves, goggles, and a mask. Pretty bad ass for soap making, right?

Based off of Marla’s recipe, we combined the correct amounts of Lye and distilled water together which, on their own, heated to about 160 degrees. While we waited for the Lye concoction to cool, we melted the essential oils (which I believe were coconut butter, olive oil, and shea butter). Once both liquids had cooled to 115 degrees they were combined. (Note: Always, always, always add the lye to whatever you’re combining it with).

After they were stirred together and started to harden (there is a technical term for this) the fragrance oils of peppermint and rosemary were added. And they smelled incredible. This particular batch gave us about 40 bars of soap.

Marla provided us with smallish tupperware containers as molds. We adorned what will be the bottoms of our soaps with rose petals, chamomille buds, cranberry seeds, poppy seeds, etc. Sheets of freezer paper protected the bottom and tops of our soaps.



Our soaps were then to sit for 24 hours in their molds. I cut mine after about 36 hours after ripping the tupperware apart. I knew my soap would be stubborn. It is now curing on my shelf for 4-6 weeks. Right now, due to the lye, it is the most dangerous soap in the world.


Soap Making Class (Taken from Marla's facebook page)

I would also like to note that Lindsay posted a really awesome post on her blog about various scarf projects – which I really want to do – and mentioned my post about the t-shirt scarf! Happy Happy!


FINISH HIM! October 31, 2009

Filed under: Knitting,Messages — momentpunch @ 1:34 pm
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I started knitting in the winter of 2006. My friend Ruby and I signed up for classes. Until then, my life revolved around another hobby: improv comedy. When the theatre dispanded and our groups run ended, I was bored. And that’s how it started. Awesome story.

Class was difficult and intimidating. It took place during a Stitch and Bitch so all these women had these complicated and amazing projects and we still hadn’t even mastered casting on.

Three years (!!) later and I still know mostly basic stuff. I can k1, p1, k2tog, yo, sl1, m1, ssk – add any number you like after the letter. It’s just more of the same.

My most daunting project has been the Lace Ribbon Scarf. A seemingly non threatening project in appearance, but a project, that I believe, is impossible to complete.

I started it in Spring 2008. I took it on a trip to Ft. Myers, Florida with my family. I worked on it at a stitch and bitch at Spark Craft in Cambridge. I had it with me at my parents house when I was laid up with ankle drama and I knit one row. And that was the last time I picked it up.

If I complete one project during the course of this, er, project, please let it be this scarf. I’m about to pick it up today for the first time since April.

Oh yeah, and I want to learn cables.


Edit: It’s now 9:23pm, I had picked it up in the early afternoon to discover that I have lost one of my knitting needles.


I Made It Over The Course of Three Sundays: My “Jewelry Piece” October 29, 2009

Filed under: Completed Projects,Jewelry,Uncategorized — momentpunch @ 5:29 pm
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Let me preface this entry by saying that this is a “piece of jewelry.” This is not a series of beads strung on some wire and twisted around to make a cocktail ring.  This ring is not made of two pre-made pieces and glued together. This piece gave me the official title of  “Metalsmither” for three Sundays this month.

As I stare at my piece right now I am completely overcome with joy. I don’t ever think I imagined that anything I made from complete scratch could look this good, but it does. And I am very proud.

The process started by cutting a thin piece of silver into the size that I needed to be my actual ring. There was a tool that the teacher provided us with to do this and I chose my own route of not taking measurements.  I hate measurements and find that they are often times not accurate. I would rather wrap a piece of paper around my finger and mark it off accurately. I did just that and it fits perfectly. I did this same method when measuring the circumference of my ring. Take that, math. (An adult ed learner commented that mine was “way longer” than hers. First of all, “thats what she said.” Second, I have huge fingers. Can it.)

One my piece of metal was cut for my ring there was lots of sanding, smoothing, pounding, and SOLDERING. Blowtorch and all. Cover the ring with some flux (a pasty residue used to help your piece from melting and to distribute the heat evenly around the metal), blowtorch, drop in some acid, rinse in some water, move on.

For the stone I picked this rather large metallic black/silver stone. It’s gorgeous.  Next I made a bevel – which is the silver piece that keeps my stone in place by encasing it in a silver tray type object. File, sandpaper, flux, solder were all done mutliple times. And since the bevel consisted of two pieces, you can only imagine how long that too.

After I finished my bevel, I drilled a hole in the back so that I could pop my stone in and still be able to pop it out when I needed to. File, sand, etc the back of the bevel to even off the drilled hole. (Does this sound like a lot of work yet?)

During the last class, I solder the bevel and the ring together, pop my stone in, set, and polish. Simple right? Well all that took about three hours.

The class was awesome and I feel like I learned a lot from it. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to continue with this hobby because of my access to the necessary items in a rentable studio space. Plus, I needed guidance with this. It’s complicated. You can only go in one direction with the file or it scars the piece, which was my most common mistake. I made plenty of common mistakes and some not so common.

I am absolutely thrilled with my piece. I think it looks professional and shiny! I’m glad that I took this class and learned just how much painstaking effort and attention to detail goes into metalsmithing. It’s awesome. I am so proud of it. So unbelievably proud!

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