Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Marking on Copper Sheet

Precision can be important when performing detailed work on metal.  When drilling holes in a straight line, or creating a symmetrical pattern, I must draft the design first.

Dividers are a great tool for precise measuring because of their very fine endpoints.  They firmly hold an exact distance, and can easily be adjusted.

Caution: sharp!

A scribe is good for etching marks on the metal.  I use a scribe when drawing a line to be cut or when placing a dot for drilling.  Removing scribed lines requires a lot of sanding:  first with a coarse sandpaper and progressing through higher grit (smoother) sizes.

Carbide scribe & adjustable dividers

Rulers with millimeter notations are also helpful.

Useful hash marks

Pencil and sharpie are good alternatives to a scribe when lines and markings are required for visual aid. They last long enough in my experience to finish a task, yet remove easily from the metal with only a light sanding.

Intersecting pencil lines allow me to determine where to drill.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Made With Love

Recently, I had to say goodbye to the best grey cat in the world.  My furry boy was nine years old and had lived with me almost his entire life.  We rescued him, along with his yellow sister, at the tender age of five weeks.

As a baby, he loved being held and would cry when I set him down.  Sometimes I would put him in the pocket of my hoodie and carry him around the house with me to comfort him.  He grew up surrounded with love and affection.

The loss was shocking.  His vet checkup a few months before had been fine.  A slight heart murmur was detected, but no sign of illness.  He appeared to be a healthy adult cat.  We were not prepared for his life to end so abruptly.

Several weeks after the loss, I was working with precious metal clay.  I had previously created a ring by utilizing a vintage cat button for a template with the metal clay.  This time, I wanted to design a piece in memory of my own cat.

I thought about my kitty's collar.  It had a heart tag with his name on it.  He looked so cute and funny with that heart dangling from his neck.  Maybe I could make a little heart for the cat on my composition to wear.  I cut the shape from sterling silver with my jeweler's saw.  It had to be tiny as not to cover the cat's face.

From there I decided to honor my cat by hand stamping the first letter of his name onto the heart.

Next I soldered the heart to the precious metal clay cat.  I decided it should be a necklace and added a bail.

I am happy with how this piece evolved.  His memory can be kept with me, close to my own heart. Losing a pet is an extremely difficult experience. Maybe this little necklace can be a way to honor and remember the beloved, furry companions that have such a big impact on our lives.

The necklace is now available for customizing / personalizing.  I am selling it in my Etsy shop.  Each cat is made with love in hopes of helping others to heal after their loss.

To keep the love going, 5 percent of each sale will be donated to From the Heart Rescue, a non profit  cat rescue organization that is local to my area.

My sweet boy getting 
hugs and love from
me in 2012.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Expressing Individuality With Jewelry

Everyone likes to be unique.  And everyone should be.  We are all individuals.  We have our own distinct personalities, interests, and idiosyncrasies. Perhaps what sets us apart from one another the most is our experiences.

Personal experiences in life affect who we are and shape who we become.  Some incidents may greatly impact a person: adoption, marriage, birth, loss, graduation, achievement of life goals.  These firsthand encounters give us wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and maturity.

I've been thinking about society.  We all have experiences.  We all have a personal history.  I wanted to find a way to express and display these cherished events.

I designed a necklace to honor special dates and keep them close to the heart.  I prefer a piece of jewelry that is modern, not traditional.  A small accessory with clean lines.  Something that can be worn everyday.

A special date.

The result is this custom date necklace.  The numbers hold special significance for the wearer while being interesting and mysterious to the casual observer.

The numbers across the top of the pendant represent a month.  Middle row (left to right) represents the day within the month.  Bottom row indicates that last two digits of the year being honored.

Two or more dates can be honored.

The specific measurements of this necklace are provided in my Etsy shop.

We are unique.  Let's celebrate our individuality. Let's celebrate our experiences.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Digital Scales for a Handmade Business

A digital scale is very helpful to have around when operating a handmade business.

This small appliance was on my list of items to purchase for quite some time, but I delayed shopping for one because the vast selection seemed overwhelming.  When I was ready to explore my options, I determined what the most important factors were for my situation:

  1. Size / weight of the items to be shipped.
  2. Accuracy of digital scales.
  3. Durability.
  4. Value.

The parcels sent out from my business are generally under one pound.  I quickly ruled out many of the digital desktop scales which may handle 75 pounds or more, and focused my attention on kitchen scales.  This was a good idea for me, personally, because I spend a lot of time cooking.  

Once I concluded a digital kitchen scale was the obvious choice for me, the browsing was easier.  I decided on the Escali Primo Digital Scale due to many favorable reviews on and multiple cooking websites / blogs.  The fun color options also made my decision easier.

What? No more standing in line at the post office??

This little scale is durable and easy to clean.  The display is straightforward and can measure in grams, pounds, or ounces.  Accuracy is good. Accommodates up to 11 pounds.  Sells for less than $30.

Owning a digital scale allows me to accurately determine the cost of shipping packages to customers.  I can also purchase and print shipping labels from my computer - a valuable time saver.

 I did not fathom how much this handy little device would be appreciated until it was actually here! What are some of the most useful items for your small business?