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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Awesome New Cleaning Solution

Found several different version of this via Pinterest...

When we moved into this house in 1996, the house was already twenty-five years old. The sinks were all original to the house, and they were all...stained? Yucky?

Over the years I have tried lots and lots and lots of different cleaning products to make them look better. I know, I know, I could have just replaced the sinks, but doing something like that starts a domino effect that I just wasn't ready for. And now, with two kids in college, redoing two bathrooms and a kitchen just isn't going to happen.

The truth is, my kitchen sink is AVOCADO GREEN. Really really REALLY AVOCADO GREEN. So, honestly, even if I could get the scratches and hard water and etching and just general yuckiness to be gone, it would just be more. avocado. green. Which was the height of interior fashion forwardness in 1970, but now, not so much.

Anyhow, on to the new cleaning super weapon: vinegar and Dawn dish washing soap, mixed together in equal parts and put on the surface and left to soak for a couple of hours.

Then just wipe it off.

That's it.

I've seen posts where baking soda is included, but that didn't seem to make a difference. The white sink in the girls' bathroom has never looked so white, and with no scrubbing! I think I will do the whole process again on the back part of the sink, and maybe scrub  some, because when I look with my super x-ray mom eyes, I can still see a little bit of discoloration, but WOW.

And let's just say that avocado green has never looked so, well, so avocado green.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Delivering a Custom Order

Delivered a custom order today--a sterling silver and Chrysoprase ring. Custom orders are always a little stressful, whether it's a painting or jewelry. What if the client doesn't like it?!?! I've never actually had that happen, but I always worry about it. 

An added difficulty on this one was that I had to purchase the stone and the patterned silver. I was worried about ordering the stone without having seen it in person. 
It all turned out perfectly. I delivered the ring today and the client loved it!

I am rereading the Game of Thrones books--had forgotten how much I enjoyed them. I've never watched the show, although I've heard great things about it. Sometimes I like a book so much I don't want to watch a movie or tv series. I feel that way about the Outlander books. Best books ever. Seriously. Haven't had the heart to watch the show, because what if Jamie isn't as awesome in the show as he is in the books?

Also have a new.secret weapon in my cleaning arsenal. Ill write more about that tomorrow.

Hooking up with Paint Party Friday.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April's Resolutions (I'm a Little Bit Slow...)

I have been falling down on the job. The truth is, in a dream world I would just make art, and all the business and social aspects of my business would take care of themselves. And I'm not sure why that it--I am a social person and I like talking to people, but I've been diligently avoiding both blogging and selling my art.

One of my friends actually told me that she was worried about me turning into a hermit! I didn't drive much following the back surgery, and by the time I was completely off the vicodin, I was just out of practice at making the twenty minute drive down to town. It was no longer a habit in my life. Not good.

So one of my new April resolutions is that I will get out of the house at least once a week. I've had a couple of exciting things happen on my trips to town (more on that later), and I'm pretty sure I'm over that.

Another resolution is that I will try to post something new in my Etsy shop every day. When I started on Etsy in 2006, it was nowhere as ginormous as it is now. People could find me on Etsy. Now, even when I am posting regularly, I feel like I just get lost in the shuffle. I can't fix the enormity of Etsy, but I've really been working on posting every day. I work in the studio in the morning, bring things up to the house to take pictures at lunch, and edit and post in the afternoon or evening.

Finally, there's the blog. I am going to try to write every day, at least for awhile. If I don't do something EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I seem to quit doing it entirely.

How often do you post to your blog? I suppose I could write every day and only post two or three times a week, but I would definitely have to schedule it and have my phone remind me on days when I was supposed to post. (I'm fifty-one; I can't even remember an every day word like "plate.")
Here's the bracelet I made yesterday--lots of shades of purple with oxidized brass wire and findings.

P.S. I forgot, there's one more thing I'm going to do every day: comment on and visit other blogs. I got so much encouragement and inspiration and friendship from fellow bloggers, and I know I need to get that back into my life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cleaning up Metal Typewriter Keys

Went out to the studio this morning, nothing specific on my to-do list. I put on music and started organizing, and ended up getting all my old typewriter keys cleaned off.

I got a 1940's typewriter a couple of years ago at the second hand store. Normally, they are pretty pricey, but the one I bought looked like someone had dropped something in it--it was mangled, which meant I could cut it up without feeling bad--

Taking things apart is an art. I don't always have the patience that I should, and the typewriter was a classic example of that. One day last year I cut all the keys off using my handy-dandy bolt cutters, which worked well but didn't allow a very close cut.

So I was faced with a bowl full of keys that looked something like this one. I got out my Dremel (Best. Tool. Ever.) and put on the metal cutoff wheel. The keys were impossible to hold using my big vice--I didn't want to clamp them so tightly that the keys would get distorted or crunched, so I ended up holding the keys using my needle-nose pliers.

I just got the safety glasses this week. I usually just wear my regular glasses, but noticed that sometimes I would not have them on when I went down to the studio and I'd use the Dremel without any eye protection because I'm lazy and didn't want to run all the way up the hill to the house. These cost around $4 at WalMart and I just leave them in the studio. Not to mention the fact that they're so stylish, having that oh-so-hip, "I cut things up with electric saws" vibe...

Anyhow. I got the metal pieces all cut off (without cutting any of Karen off in the process, which is a good thing. I slipped with the grinder a couple of weeks ago and grinded part of a finger nail off. Ouch.) 

The keys are grimy, kind of an ancient greasy dirt that doesn't want to come off. I have been cleaning metal with a new solution, which consists of some vinegar, heated up in the microwave, and some salt stirred in. It cleans things without any scrubbing or using any nasty chemicals--you should see what it does to copper! Drop in an old penny, stir it around for a second, and voila! Hot vinegar and salt--it's the bomb.  Cleans off that yucky years-old buildup without any scrubbing.

Also have made rings from the portion of metal that holds the little tiny keys that actually strike the paper. This one (left) is for sale in my Etsy shop. My goal is to use the entire typewriter in one way or another. When I eventually solder these keys to rings, or add jump rings so I can use the keys for bracelet charms, I will have the clean the spot where I will be soldering immediately before I solder. This old metal (steel, I'm pretty sure) oxidizes extremely quickly and must be sanded, fluxed, and soldered all in the space of a few minutes or the solder joint just won't hold--and yes, that's the voice of experience.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Girlies

I've been fascinated by antique dolls ever since I read Missing Melinda, a young adult book that was one of my sister's and my favorites back in the seventies. You can find this book, used, on both Amazon and on Abebooks. In it, twin sisters Ophelia and Cordelia move into an old house with their parents and find an old doll while exploring. The doll ends up being stolen, and in their quest to find her the two girls learn lots about the world of antique dolls.

So, when I found out that there was a man in Germany digging up broken doll heads and selling them on eBay, I was immediately intrigued. At first I purchased some doll arms and turned them into charm/pendants by soldering the tops of the arms. While I thought those charms were totally cool (I loved the idea of someone unearthing these forgotten doll parts from a field next to a factory that was bombed by the Allies in World War II) most people thought they were a leeeeetle bit creepy. Like many unique items, though, there were people who absolutely ADORED them...

Fast forward to now. I started making art dolls using old doll bodies and heads. I use wooden printing blocks, brass letters, children's alphabet blocks, dice, old wooden thread spools and tart tins to help form a little doll, and when my amazing college roommate, Kelly, sent me an enthusiastic email saying "I love your little girlies!" I knew these new assemblages were named. The Girlies were born.

I actually made the top Girlies' head using polymer clay and a face mold I made. I then painted her face myself--it turns out my hands are steadier than I thought! The bottom is a Frozen Charlotte doll, suspended in two-part resin, in a house-shaped bezel that I made using an old silver-plated serving plate I chopped up.

I'll post soon about more of the unique bits and bobs I've been using in my work--

Monday, April 20, 2015

It Was a Most Excellent Day

Had my neighbor, Kathleen, over one day last week to look at my new work--mostly jewelry and my assemblage "Gilies" (more about those later).

She loved my stuff, and on Thursday I got an email from her at work--she's an interior designer, and she'd showed my Etsy site to the women she works with. They loved it, and she came over Friday morning to remind me again that they wanted her to bring some of my work in so they could see it in person and perhaps make some purchases.

So I spent a good part of Friday making sure things were priced. I took the stuff over to her house and thought about it a couple of times during the day on Saturday, wondering if I'd make any sales.

She came over after she got home from work on Saturday evening, and told me that she'd sold over $500 dollars worth of my merchandise!

Over. Five. Hundred. Dollars.

It truly was a most excellent day!

Monday, January 05, 2015

A Scumble? A Scrumble? I Don't Know!

I kept seeing these amazing freeform crochet pieces on the Internet, and finally got out some yarn and tried it myself. 

I found a tutorial  here and messed around with that. It didn't turn out the way the picture did, but that's okay I like how it looks! If you remember, a couple of years ago my favorite book was "Knitting for Anarchists." I was intrigued by the idea of knitting bases on what the result looks like, as opposed to only following rules. I love intuitive painting, a la Flora Bowley, and I guess I love intuitive fiber work, too! I'll have to post a picture of the freeform quilt I'm making for Katie--

Anyhow, this has been very fun. My friend Karen said, "Beautiful! And what will it turn into, 
eventually?" Haha. Eventually it will probably be a throw, although I've seen amazing pieces
 of clothing made like this. I'm not sure I'm up to crocheting clothing ;)

If you've been doing any work like this, please please please leave a comment and a link, so 
I can go "ooh-ahh" over your stuff, too!