Monday, September 28, 2009

Twitter Buttons and A Tale of Two Treasuries

My jewelry has been selected for 2 lovely Treasuries on Etsy!

In The Forest

Dare To Dream

They're both gorgeous Treasuries, with beautiful finds. Drop by and take a look, and don't forget to comment and give them 12 clicks please. (-:

You might be in a Treasury right now, and not know it! To find out, go to Craftopolis and click on the link "Treasury Hunt". To find out when the next Treasury will open up, click on the link "Treasury Clock". "Gift Guide Search" will tell you if you're currently listed in any of the gift guides. Hope you'll find out some unexpected good news!

If you'd like to setup a link on your blog to get new Twitter followers, here's a great place to get free Twitter buttons. It's where I got the Twitter button on the right hand margin of my blog, and they've got tons more styles of cute little birdies.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Etsy Treasury!

I am the curator of a Treasury at Etsy, entitled "Shadow and Light" that will available for the next 2 days. There's a lot of interesting and beautiful items in the Treasury, lovely embroidery, wonderful photography, and darling acorns crafted from felt. So many gorgeous picks, give yourself a treat and stop in and enjoy some delicious eye candy!

The color scheme is shades of grey, very atmospheric and mysterious. Hope you'll drop by, and please leave a comment if you like what you see.

Thank you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wrapped Sterling Earrings

Before I learned how to solder, I thought up a way to make post earrings using wire wrapping. I took a length of square sterling wire, and carefully bent it in half, so that the wire didn't have any twists in it, but lay nice and flat. It surprising how easy it is to introduce an accidental twist in square wire, it's definitely got a mind of its own.

I laid a length of round sterling wire in the center, between the two lengths of square wire, and left an inch or so of the round wire sticking out of the end -- this will form the post. The first pair of earrings I made I didn't leave enough wire sticking out, so that's something you need to be aware of. You can always cut off the excess, adding on is another matter.

To make things easier to handle, I first added some wraps using copper wire, adjusting the sterling wires and lining up everything carefully. These earrings are dainty little things, so this part takes a lot of manual dexterity, and keen close vision. I use a jeweler's magnifier, it's sort of a combo between clunky glasses with changeable lenses and a visor, and I can adjust the magnification up to 10 power.

Once I get everything arranged to my satisfaction, I start replacing the temporary copper wraps with half-round sterling wire wraps. Then comes my favorite part, forming the wire wrapped bundle into a hoop. I do this by bending it around a piece of dowel. Some filing, sanding, a final polish in a tumbler, the addition of sterling earnuts, and they're done.

If you'd like to own your own pair of Wrapped Sterling Earrings just drop by my Etsy shop, Dalkullan Jewelry.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Moon and Stars -- Sterling and Pearls

Moon & Stars, in sterling with pearl dangles, is a completely hand fabricated design. I begin with a sheet of sterling, and punch out two disks. The next step is trickier, taking out the central disk, to leave the hole in the first disk.

I have a heavy sheet of plastic, with holes of various diameters cut out in it, and line up the correct size hole over a sterling disk, until I have it just right, then mark the location with a Sharpie. I use that mark to line up the disk in the cutter, then punch out the hole. I could also use a jeweler's saw to make the disks, but I prefer to use a disk cutter -- it makes perfectly round disks every time.

The next step is to metal pieces of sterling scrap for the round sterling balls. I put the scrap on a charcoal block, and melt the silver with a torch. It's a lot of fun, the metal gets shiny, and then begins to curl up on itself, until it forms a nice round ball with a flat bottom. If I want to make a completely round sphere of sterling, I'd just scoop out a little hemisphere in the charcoal block to place the scrap sterling in before melting.

I do the finishing of the disk before I solder the sterling balls on. It's much easier to file, sand, and texture the disks beforehand, which is something I've learned from experience. I used a coarse file to create the texture on the disks, suggesting the surface of a moon after oblique meteor impact.

After sweat soldering on the sterling balls with medium solder, I attach the two jump rings using easy solder. Since the medium solder needs a higher temperature to melt than easy solder, the sterling balls stay securely soldered.

The final steps are attaching the freshwater pearl dangles using wire wrapping -- pearls are too delicate to take the heat of soldering, and adding handcrafted sterling earwires. And voila! A new earring design is complete, ready to be photographed and listed at Dalkullan Jewelry.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Made The Etsy Front Page!!!!

I've been on Etsy since April 6, 2009, and in that time I've admired the lovely items on the most highly coveted piece of real estate on Etsy -- the Front Page.
I'd hoped to get there someday, but had my doubts, there's just so many very talented crafters on Etsy, and such lovely items.

Imagine my surprise and joy when I checked my Google Analytics numbers and saw that traffic to my shop had gone through the roof. With shaking hands and a pounding heart I clicked on the link to, which is a great site, and let's you know if you've been on the Front Page, Storque, or any of the gift guides. And wow! I had made the Front Page!!!!!!!!

This came at just the right time, because I'd been feeling at a low ebb, no sales this month and my last few photo shoots hadn't yielded any good pics. What a truly wonderful affirmation from the good people at Etsy. Thank you so much!

The earrings sold, and then they dropped off the Front Page, so I didn't get to actually see them there, that would have been very exciting. I wish that when an item sold they didn't lose all their hearts, because then all the people that were thinking about buying them might not be able to find the earrings again.

I photographed the Hammered Brass Earrings dangling from an amazing pottery piece that belonged to my dear Aunt, the lady that ran the original Dalkullan store that my shop is named in honor of. She kept that pottery piece on her desk always, and now it's been on the Front Page of Etsy!

I'm such a big silly, I didn't realise that my earrings were picked for the Front Page because they were part of an amazing Treasury curated by Octavia of DreambyDay, an wonderful shop at Etsy!

This sculpture, House Where Nobody Lives
is an original work created by Octavia. Please stop by her Etsy shop filled with lovely things, and take a look, then stay to buy! This is from the DreambyDay
shop announcement:

"A boutique full of wonderfully nostalgic pictures, original art, ephemera, and sundries that celebrate the art of daydreams and yesterdays."

Come and visit, it's a treat!

You can also find DreambyDay on Facebook
and read her great blog too!

Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read this.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Aspen -- Mixed Metal Earrings

The idea for the Aspen earrings came to me when I was waiting out in the car for my husband to finish his appointment at the dentist. I had brought a sketch pad, and was doing some drawings, when I noticed a tree that had interesting leaves. A couple sketches latter and I had my new earring design. I must say, that was the nicest dental appointment I was ever involved in.

To make the earrings, I cut out the rectangular shapes from a sheet of copper. I made two drawings of the design on paper, cut them out, and using rubber cement affixed them to the copper. For each leaf and the twig, I took a center punch to make a little divot in the metal, then drilled a tiny hole with my trusty Dremel.

The next step is to take one end of the blade off the jeweler's saw, thread it through one of the little holes, re-attach it to the saw, and carefully saw out the shape, following the lines on the drawing. The blade has to be removed from one end of the saw, taken out of the hole, and then threaded through the next one, and so on, for each one of the holes.

The next step is smoothing with needle files, to make each leaf as pretty as possible, and all-over sanding to take any burrs off the edges and remove all scratches off the front and back. Then the earrings had a few hours of mixing it up with steel shot in a tumbler. And out they came, all shiny and pretty!

I made some sterling earwires, balling up one end of a wire with my torch first, then cleaned up the wires, shaped them, and put them through the tumbler too, until they were polished and work-hardened. You don't want your earwires to be easily bent, but to stay nicely in shape.

Here's a photo of the Aspen earrings posing on the rim of a glass. I think they turned out really cute, hope you do too!

If you'd like to see more pictures of them, or of my other creations, please stop by my online shop, Dalkullan Jewelry.