It All Began With . . .

My SUCKY attempts at soldering. 
Bought the great tutorial from Pip n Molly on soldering tin, which is full of hints, tips and glorious pictures of neatly soldered treasures. So, how hard can it possibly be?

Soldering Iron: 
not a stunning choice at the hardware store. Seem you can have tiny pointy ends, medium pointy ends and great big pointy ends and the irons are either, on at the temperature the manufacturer thinks is near enough, or off.
Chose a cheap 'n' cheerful with a medium pointy end. Got the flux, a couple of rolls of lead free solder and some sal ammoniac.
Read all about soft soldering and maintaining the bits with sal ammoniac and keeping the bit clean.

And then the questioning of my soldering ability began.

Firstly I totally obliterated the medium pointy tip. Look!


Not to be defeated I filed the manky-mongrel tip to a chisel point and set of in pursuit of perfection again.

This opened up a whole other can of worms.

During one of my numerous attempts to get smooth precise areas of solder, I found that the new tip made the solder run anytime, and anywhere ready or not. Solder ran in random blobs over the tin and the copper and even onto the soldering mat. Argh! I re-fluxed and re-heated and tried pushing and poking it into submission with a bead mandrel when an interesting texture appeared. 
Forgetting perfection I added more abuse to the surface with various pointy, round and straight items administered with a large hammer. (Oh the joy of revenge on the recalcitrant solder), and one thing led to another and these appeared.

 Me thinks this is a classic example of avoidance.





Another Mouth to Feed

You have to admit this Baby Tawny Frogmouth is Muppet cute! 
Alas picked up by well meaning people when it didn't need rescuing. My job now, is to try and teach it everything it's parents would, and return it, hopefully to prosper in the wild. 

S'Mores

These caused me no end of grief and a whole day to photograph. Camera didn't know which bit to focus on. I'm sure it was glad to see the back of em.
Silver Earrings, long, statement

While trying to avoid catching the 'winter wog' DH bought back with him from Brisbane. And trying to look sympathetic to his hacking and snuffling and providing pillow fluffing and throat soothing drinks(it was, after all man-flu) made these. . . 

   edgy gothic necklace



Used Mrs Devices epoxy putty technique and I am still traumatised probably because I just jumped in and did it. Instructions? what instructions? Oh yes, it did say that didn't it. Bad Greer! Write out 100 times 'I must fully read tutorials.


Remember this? Well it looks like this now.


amethyst necklace

Squeeeeeeeeee - all iridescent and mauve and not a drop of epoxy putty in sight!

Detours

1. Waterproofing and tiling bathroom floor. Next, tiling hob and walls followed by installing showerscreen when it finally arrives.

2. Working diligently on an acrylic painting for a September show.

3. Elected as secretary of local art society. Shuffling through past paperwork in progress.

4. Old codger back from eye surgery. He claims his op was worse than my two cos he has 'man pain'. Pffffffffffffft!

Hopefully back on track next week.

Power Struggle

I have had to use load$ of ordinary batterie$ in my camera instead of the stash of rechargables.
Even the new ones refuse to fully charge in the mains charger.
We have found sometimes electronic gizmos don't like the power supplied from or solar power system, digital clocks for example.
Now was this a dying charger or an off grid problem.
Umming and ahhing over a new charger I idly wondered if someone made a solar battery charger?
 . . . OF COURSE THEY DO! 
Now waiting for solar charger which cost waaaaay less than a new mains one.

Here are some makies which probable cost 4 AA batteries each photo!


Rustic edgy torched enamel
Shot on my new crusty, dark, battered background. A well used and burnt teflon pan. (Probably using it for a background is a better health choice than cooking with it. Ya think?)

More torched enamel with faux opal and gold leaf

Heffalumps n lampwork n polymer beads n gold leaf. These babies are looooong.

And just to show that this is a high battery budget outfit .....
A WIP
The little tin bezels will be filled with something as soon as my muse gets back from a painting she decided to put into a local art competition.
 

Makies - FINALLY!

Yep finally stopped procrastinating with these . . .
My variation on the faceted polymer beads from the tut by Richelle of Shipwreck Dandy.
Don't look at the out of focus! nothing worked. 
Light green translucent clay with metalic acrylic ink. Slightly asymmetrical with wild wire beadcaps. Tempted to keep these. 

More polymer beads this time in translucent peatbog brown with tiny silver flecks.
Jaunty little recycled tin bead caps, red coral and gold utee eye pins and some of my ceramic drops

Next - Swept Ashore
Using my favourite overfired white liquid enamel. Even the ceramic sorta marine creature shape on the right side got a trip through the torch and enamel.
 Cowry shell with embossing powder
and the back just to show you I can be neat.
 Even made some earrings that sorta match
Now, when I find the rest of my photographic props, can finish the photos and get them into my shop.

 

Down a Rabbit Hole . . .

My local Art Society are running some terrific workshops this year, a chance to try out new and different mediums with some good tutors.
The latest one was working in pastel.
Have dabbled a little in pastel and found the texture of the pastel paper confronting - like drawing on a road surface. The other thing I found frustrating about pastels is colours. Unlike watercolour or acrylic in which you just mix the desired colour, with pastel I had to constantly think how I was going to get the shade I needed.
So introducing "Teddy Renoir".
   and his friend "Miss Teddy".
I am now the owner of some 'proper' artists pastels and looking forward to working on a larger scale.

Done Something

My metal table fitted into the corner just nicely, but everything I wanted was, you guesses it, the other side of the room. Just about wore a track between the two areas soooooo a re-shuffle was in order.
Moved the tables around and now have a little 'nest' that I can spin around in and I don't have to get out of my chair to get into the drawers and storage. Bonus!
 Along the wall I now have another narrow table. This was the first piece of furniture my husband made, now over 30 year old and has been hauled all over the country, a little worse for wear but now has a new life.
So is this all???? 
No have started on another piece and here is a sneak peek
And that's all ima gonna tell ya.

But so as you don't go away disappointed, played with some polymer clay a la Shipwreckdandy's faceted bead technique. I even made a very simple cane something I haven't done for 10 years.
Going into the local art gallery gift shop just in time for the 'grey nomad' winter migration north. 

Where Do I Start?

Where actually do I start???

After a 14 month hiatus this question has been rattling around in my brain.
OK I now have most things where I want them.
My metal corner desk is yet to be finished and clearly I need 3 chairs.

The seat on my venerable vintage office chair had succumbed to a long line of the unceremonious plonking of venerable vintage bottoms (mine included) and the front edge broke. So with a spray of paint, new seat and some fabric I found stashed away the old girl's good to go again.
Ya gotta smile with galloping geckos on you chair.


I could do more organising and design some more shelving. . . or 
perhaps move the drawers around or do some more research on Pinterest or . . . .

Do you detect a smidgen of procrastination happening? Yeah you're right.

I've looked at some Ufo's and for the life of me can't think where I was going with them. I've crooned 'my precious' over just about every bead, and component I possess but

Where Do I Start?

I decided it was better to sorta slide back into things, rather than a full frontal bull-in-a-china-shop attack. But to slide with what?

Had bought a few tutorials during my period of visual impairment so had a look at them and decided that the HEADPIN TUTORIAL from Fanciful Devices was a good place to start.

 Here's my setup. Bottle caps with Utee and mica powder, a scented candle with a bit of aluminium flyscreen for heat and the bonus of the delicious scent of vanilla wafting around. A container of iced water to set the utee quickly and various headpins. 

An hour or so later have lots of headpins. This is just a selection.
Top ones are on seed beads, then next ones that look like

ummmmmmmm ........ well they do!

are done on a little paddle headed pin like this that I got from Patina Queen on Etsy 

 The last ones are made with the same paddle headed pin with a tube bead. Like them ├žos they look like teeny weeny champagne bottles.

The bottle tops are really too shallow and I just found some olive oil lids, (cold pressed virgin of course) that are deeper and will be much better, plus will be able to add a widdle wire handle.

There, that wasn't so hard and it was fun. Now have some more ideas fluttering around that I will have to try.

 


 

My Poor Tools Take 2

As part of my cleaning regime I decided I had better check my two torches.

Upon lighting, the little BernzOmatiC belched flames from where the manufacturers had clearly not designed them to come from.
WOOAAAAH quick shutdown and no I'm not lighting it again to take a pic to show ya. I'd say that some of it's vital innards have died, probably of boredom.

With that experience in mind I had a good look at the Fireworks torch head and this is what I found.


The mud wasps, in their typical enterprising zeal had filled every available orifice with mud!

Dis-as-semble. Lots of poking screw drivers down the main bore and fine wires into the air feed holes and the torch now function properly.

I wonder what other surprises are in store for me? 

 

My Poor Neglected Tools

All the damp from last year's floods and the steady sifting down of dust, like the layers and layers falling slowly to the ocean floor have wrought havoc.
Rust.



Normally I love a rusty, crusty surface but, perhaps not so good on my tools.
Ok a date has been made.


Several hours later . . . much better!


Half a box of steel wool, most of the can of WD40 gone, and outa fine sand paper. Some anally retentive types even go on polishing so that the light *blings* off the surface. But I am not that enthusiastic.

The WD40 label assures me that I will no longer squeek, my parts will be loosened and so will my mechanisms. Bring it on! 

I also have . . .

Rough nails and rusted cuticles, very little nail polish, ingrained dirt, sore hands and almost no finger prints.

What, you thought I should have worn gloves?
What kinda namby-pamby sissy wears gloves?
My hands have earned all of the above, rather like my wrinkles, trophies to be worn with pride. 

Score!

Today I went to get the electric clutch on the car air conditioner replaced. (The thought of a un-air conditioned car is too much to bear)
While waiting for repair, perused some of the local second hand shops and there it was hiding under suitcases and other stuff. A little desk looking decidedly used with bonus drawers.

Cost? 5 bucks! You bewdey

A new top, which I will promptly ruin, a back board to hang tools, and all systems go

 


Two Tonne of Topsoil

That's what I have probably washed off the storage containers, bead boxes, chests of drawers, shelves, my clothes, hands and hair. There was also rodent crap and cockroach legs.
I once made earrings from lacquered koala poo as a fundraiser for wildlife rescue but I doubt that rat shit would be greeted with anything other than horror and disgust unlike the 'awwwww - cute koala-kack,' which, even with lacquer, still smelled of eucalyptus.

More dirt, a bin of leaves and twigs. the reproachful glares of displaced spiders, one fat gecko no doubt responsible for the cockroach legs and returned to a safe place in the shed. Lots of trolly wheeling, lumping boxes, searching for missing stuff, assembly, measuring and stacking.
All for this. . . . 




****PWAAAAAAAARRRRRRR****



Isn't it awesome?????



Aren't you jealous??????
 



Yeah I'm jealous too .....


Now before the hate and flame mail starts about passing off and misappropriation, this neat, tidy, tool filled space of awesomeness belongs to artist and silversmith Kirk Burkett of Virginia. Tool porn, lust and envy to the fore.

It is customary to open things with popping champagne corks but in this case, one hissing beer can will have to suffice.

I present the all singing all dancing INSIDE studio!





There is also a corner reserved for the metal bench when I find an old desk or the materials to build one. The desk will be rolled across the door, where the wind will vent outside for soldering, burning things with the torch, sanding and grinding, the application of toxic chemicals and, should the occasion arise, the disposal of nuclear fallout.


Take a looooong hard look, go on, I can assure you right now


it will never look this tidy again EVER!

Inching Along

The 'Grunge Studio' that was in the open shed

has been packed into boxes, dust, leaves, spider crap, rodentia and all and now resides in 'Our Gunyah'.

My future studio has become the repository for everything that does not, as yet, have a permanent home. Piles of linen, towels, blankets, pillows, books, magazines, suitcases and assorted bags, boxes of photographs and laundry baskets in varying stages of being emptied.

Everything was waiting for this. 
 The fit out of the linen cupboard and the filling of shelving therein. 
Almost finished and the blank canvas is being slowly exposed.

Looking Forward. . . Looking Back

It is tradition this time of year to look back over the past year and review events. And what a year it has been. Building a house at our age has been a challenge to say the least. My eyesight (or lack of it) has meant that I have not made a single piece of jewelry for over 12 months. Still the eye surgery is done now and this week I pick up my reading glasses.
We promised each other, if possible we would move into the house by Christmas and we have kept that promise to ourselves.

Still lots of temporary stuff, like the kitchen, but we are IN and I am content with where we currently are.
As it is summer, and so far, very hot nothing much will be done on the house. My husband has worked so hard to get to here so a break is what the needs and what he will get and besides there is plenty of cricket to watch on tv.
So this year holds more completion of the house, unpacking boxes, my new studio, creativity, contentment and no doubt some challenges, but bring it on!