Archive for 2009

Nov 24 2009

a variety of items, none of which seem to go together

Published by under amy's head

THE MOANING AND WISHING FOR A DIFFERENT KIND OF ME

Oh blog. I remember when we were good friends. I’d come visit a lot, I’d write everythign down that was in my head, you’d dutifully display it for the world to see.. Ahhh good times. I’m sorry that I spend so much time with the other woman and all. I jot down those 140 characters, and suddenly I have no need to come see you anymore. Those quickies seem to satisfy me, what can I say. I’ll try to do better, promise. The results however, will probably be disjointed and nonsensical. You’ve beenw warned.

THE RAIN IN SPAIN

For some reason, every time it rains, I remember my brother’s friend in high school and how his car’s windshield wipers that didn’t work. He always said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter once you get goign fast enough,” and sure enough, the few times I rode in his car in the rain (I grew up in Washington state, so there were plenty of opportunities) soon enough, the water would blow off to the edges, and become a solid sheet so that each drop melted into the whole and visibility was not affected.

I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been trying to drive in the rain without my windshield wipers on. It doesn’t last very long. Visibility isn’t even very impaired by the time I run through the following thoughts in my head:

“Wow, those drops sure aren’t melting into the whole. I can see each and every one, farking up my vision.
If I crash and die, I wonder if the CSI will note that my windshield wipers were off and think I was trying some weird scientific experiment suicidal attempt by driving w/out them on. Or maybe they will assume they were knocked to the “off” position in the crash. Maybe the other drivers, the ones that feared for their life as I slowly veer into their lanes, will note that my wipers weren’t on and report it. Fuck this, I’m turning my wipers on.”

All these thoughts happens in about 5 seconds and I turn the wipers back on. And then I go about 35 more seconds wondering what it would be like to drive w/out my wipers on, and try it again. Rinse, repeat. Tell my children I love them.

SPEAKING OF CHILDREN AND LOVE

This morning due to James car being at the subaru service dept AGAIN, why yes, AGAIN, only 6 months after HAVING THE ENTIRE ENGINE REBUILT (on their dime, I might add), for “not enough compression” in the engine block (that’s all we know at this point, they’re still looking) .. where was I? Oh yes.. children. Love.

This morning, I did bus drop-off for the kids, as James took my car to work and I worked at home. I watched Ethan climb aboard, and then what I knew was Ethan’s sillouhette, as he moved down the bus’ aisle, until he plopped in a seat somewhere in the middle and I could once again recognize him through the window. I blew him a kiss – because in a few short years, he is probably going to ignore me at the bus, if I’m even there. And in return…. He gave me the Spock vulcan “Live Long, and Prosper” hand sign. Since this kid has never actually seen star trek, aside from those burger king star trek movie bobble head figures that came in happy meals a few months back, I knew that he ACTUALLY meant to give me the sign language sign for “I love you.” But I gave him the vulcan hand sign back. I love you, and prosper, little dude.

Just so I don’t leave Jocelyn out, and therefore get complaints from her in her teens of how “you NEVER pay attention to ME!” I must say that we’ve got to get this girl some music lessons, and pronto. Ethan did a group piano class during his year of kindergarten, and has some materials still kicking around. So when Jocelyn asked me to teach her a song on the piano, I pulled out “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” and showed her the image showing where each hand goes on the black keys, and how each number in the song corresponded to a finger. She took to it like a duck on water, and now will play the first line by ear (no music), jazzing up the rhythms to make it more interesting.

I’ve always called her an artist, but we’re going to have to stick musician on there as well. Piano lessons here we come.

OH RIGHT. I MAKE JEWELRY, DON’T I?

That’s enough for today, blog. I don’t want you to go into shock or anything. I do have some shop news – After envisioning several pieces PERFECT for halloween, but then not actually making them in time for the spooky season, I am happy that the 2 pieces I had planned for teh holiday season are finished and in the shop.

I call them my Festivity Necklace. Perfect for holiday events, the fun friend-thrown ones, or the try-to-make-them-fun work-thrown events!

I made one with cobalt blue and clear AB beads, and one in crimson red & midnight black beads:

I have kicked off my Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale – free shipping and 15% off all jewelry – have a look!

rainestudios on etsy

rainestudios on artfire

thanks, and happy thanksgiving!

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Nov 14 2009

SALE – 20% off all jewelry, this weekend!

Published by under amy's head

Visit rainestudios’s Studio
SAVE 20.00 % On Select Studio Categories
Use Coupon Code:
2DAYSONLY
during checkout.

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Oct 22 2009

Last night in my Silver Class…

Published by under amy's head

I tried a few things in my silver class last night, and was fraught with much frustration. First, I attempted a bezel. A bezel is the thin wall of silver that holds in/down a stone in a ring, pendant, earring, etc. I could make the bezel fairly well, but I could not solder the damn thing onto my backplate. This could be for a number of reasons – if the components (backplate, bezel, solder) wasn’t clean enough, or close enough, or hot enough, the solder won’t “flow”, which is shorthand for melt and run between the molecules of the joint you’re soldering and stick ‘em together!

In my case, I’m pretty sure I did not have the bezel flush enough to the backplate. It’s a pain to get a little circle of silver to touch EVERYWHERE on a flat sheet of sterling silver. If that sheet is not perfectly flat, there’ll be a gap. If the bezel edge is not perfectly flat, there’ll be a gap.

After 3 tries of my solder not melting, not flowing at all, but just getting hotter and hotter until it STUCK on the backplate like old chewed up gum, I gave up and tried something easy.

First I annealed a piece of wire – anneal is when you heat the metal enough to realign the molecules in the metal so that it is soft and malleable. They call it “dead soft”. Annealing is a process one goes through many times in making a piece, as the more the metal is worked, the harder and more brittle it can be – without annealing, the metal may be too hard to shape and work, or so brittle it could break.

Anyway! I annealed my wire and then clamped one end in a vice and proceeded to tie a knot. Then I pulled as hard as I could to get the knot into a nice small shape. Then I wrapped it around a ring mandrel, marked the size I wanted, snipped and made the two ends as perfectly flush and close as I could get them. Then I went to solder them together – after that, a little reshaping with the ring mandrel and a hammer, and I’d have a nice little ring.

My soldering woes had not yet left me, however. That solder just did not want to flow. I think something was bubbling up from the charcoal block I was using and dirtying up my wire. Finally after several tries though, I managed to get my knot ring made and shaped.

KNOT RING

Feeling a bit better about my soldering, I went back to my bezel, double checking everything and making sure Nick (my teacher) gave it his approval. Once again, I soldered away, and while I still had a few of my solder pieces NOT flow, instead, just SIT there fusing themselves to the backplate, enough of the solder did flow, that I finally tasted sucess!

The bezel is complete, and next I will make a ring shank to mount it on. Inside will go a pretty pink oval rhodocrosite stone:

BEZEL

So all in all, not a bad use of my classtime. I am very excited for next week – I’ve ordered some tubing and have a whole bunch of sweet little faceted gems to set. Nothing too expensive yet, but I got white topaz, peridot, amethyst, tourmaline. Drooled over the sapphires, but I’ll wait until I have more skill! I’m planning on making a series of skinny stacking rings with gemstones for the shop.

All in all, a great night at the bench.

-amy

3 responses so far

Oct 14 2009

my day off.

Published by under amy's head,crafty,kids,photos

Ahh, hello blog!

It’s been busy around Casa de Panders. Monday was Columbus day, and I had it off… but no one else did. It was quite nice to lounge around the house doing nothing all day! I debated on what I would do, but with my car at the shop (it needed a new radiator, sniff) I was stuck at home and ended up cutting rings and chain mailling all day.

Here’s what I made:

Celtic Visions in copper

celtic visions in copper

Jens Pind in 14 gauge (ie: HUGE) sterling silver

jens pind in 16 gauge sterling silver

And here’s another Jens Pind, in 18 gauge sterling that I made last week. It’s listed in the shop now.

jens pind necklace

So, it was a pleasant enough day – unfortunately, I think I overdid it and the joints in my right forefinger and thumb are kind of aching – this is really kind of pissing me off, as I just bought new pliers that I really quite liked. I hope it wasn’t the pliers that did it.

Oh, and here’s one more picture: Any guesses as to who Jocelyn is going to be for Halloween? Someone from one of my FAVORITEST movies!

jocelyn in halloween costume

-amy

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Sep 29 2009

kid art: hand drawn paper dolls

Published by under amy's head,crafty,kids,photos

My child. She slays me.

I KNOW that if I had stepped in and “helped” her with this project, they would not have turned out as AWESOME as they did.

She said, “I’m making some paper dolls, Mommy!” And make them she did.

Behold! The dolls!

jocelyn's paper dolls

#1: halloween (note the ghostie earring) #2: rocking out with headphones (note the music note) #3 ROBOTS! OMG SHE MADE ROBOTS!!! #4 normal girl

Behold! The clothing she made for the dolls!

jocelyn's hand drawn paper dolls

And here are the dolls with their clothes on. I laid the clothes on the dolls and scanned them “dressed”:

jocelyn's hand drawn handmade paper dolls

#1: halloween girl now has ghostie shirt too! #3 That robot girl is lookin’ pretty boobtastic!

If you click the images, you’ll go to my flickr page where I have added a few notes to the first and second page.

Oh man. These just kill me. KILL me. I am going crazy in the best way, when I look at these! That girl. I love her.

-amy

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Sep 20 2009

Wake up Mom!

Published by under kids,photos

I am basicly holding the phone next to my ear to get these shots of them laying on top of me.

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Sep 10 2009

new yin + yang earrings banner!

Published by under photos

I have so much to talk about (a trip! first day of school! jewelry!) … and no time in which to do so. But at least I have put up a new banner!

See all banners for my blog here!

(The earrings will probably be posted for sale tonight.)

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Aug 31 2009

weekend creation

Published by under amy's head,crafty,iphone,jewelry,photos

Made this bracelet up over the weekend. It is done in a weave called “Stepping Stones” – very fitting, don’t you think? I tweaked the sizes of the rings to give maximum drama between the “stones” and the smaller rings running around them.

This will be listed in my shop as soon as I can get some good photos taken.

I think when I list it, I will name it, “A River Runs Through It.”

What would you name it? I’d love to hear.

2 responses so far

Aug 24 2009

I’m Teaching a Chainmaille Class (Take 2)!

Once again, I am teaching a chainmaille class! The first class did not have enough registrants, so it was cancelled. Woe is me! *sniff sniff* This one is on though! So signup!

If you are in the DC metro area and enjoy wearing gorgeous jewelry, you might be interested in the class I’m teaching in a few weeks!

This is a 4 hour class from 10am-2pm on Saturday, September 12th at The Soundry, a very cool artist space in Vienna, VA. I’m also all set to teach it on October 3rd. (All Saturdays!) All you have to do is bring yourself, and I supply everything else!

 

byzantine chain maille sterling silver bracelet

Many people hear “chain maille” and think medieval armor–not so anymore! With a pair
of pliers in each hand, you will learn the byzantine chain maille weave. It is a lovely, complex
and ornate looking weave, but surprisingly easy to learn! Students will finish an 8 inch sterling
silver bracelet with a toggle clasp that will be the envy of all your Tiffany-shopping friends!
Class Fee: $25, Supply Fee: $55 (may vary depending on cost of silver)
Ages: 12yrs + Experience: Beginner
Sign up now!

 
I am very excited! If you’d like to sign up, just click here for the sign up form. Feel free to drop me note in the comments or email if you like as well, I would be tickled to hear from you!

-amy

One response so far

Aug 22 2009

ALERT! Strawberry Shortcake is back! WHEEEEE!

Published by under amy's head

OK.

I know regular readers know I am a little nutty about Strawberry Shortcake dolls. What can I say. My neighbor Heidi and best friend when I was in my formative year had a beautiful case FULL, FULL I SAY, of nearly all the strawberry shortcake dolls. I had a mere pittance compared to her. Needless to say, we adored Strawberry and all her friends, and spent many a happy hour whiling away the time playing with them. So basically, I’m saying…. let’s blame Heidi!

Fast forward about a bajillion years, when I am grown with a small daughter of my own, and I saw them for sale for Target. I didn’t go nutty. But here was a doll that was bright eyed, innocent, GIRL-LOOKING (as opposed to skanky ho, (bratz) woman looking, (barbies) or related to royalty (princesses) –what’s not to love for your 3-4 year old daughter?) so yes, I was pleased, and didn’t mind purchasing this toy for my daughter.

Since then, I have gotten a little nutty. I think it started when we found this beauty at a garage sale:

How can you not love this? This is just maximum awesome! When I saw this with a $2 price tag on it, all I can say is, if Jocelyn didn’t want it, I DID. So we purchased it, and it’s seen hours of fun with Jocelyn. Our older neighbor girl even tried to buy it from Jocelyn before I put a stop to it, hee hee.

I’ve found that Strawberry and/or her friends make excellent birthday presents and we’ve tried to spread the strawberry love whenever we went a birthday-ing. When we drew names at christmastime for family present-giving, it wasn’t any surprise when Ethan got me a Strawberry doll for his present to me. Sweet :)

So, while I wasn’t nutty, I was a fan. The nuttiness came when suddenly, they all went on clearance at Toys R Us. It was right around christmas time, when I was shopping and looking things up online, so of course I noticed. What did this MEAN??? Would there be NO MORE STRAWBERRY?? All signs pointed to YES.

Well….. I panicked a bit. I bought some of the clearance dolls on the TRU website. After all, they were marked down to $4.98. It was a screaming deal, right?

And then before they arrived, I stopped and bought some at the store. Because there were SOME that they had IN THE STORE that they hadn’t had ONLINE! Come on, work with me here people!

strawberry shortcake stash

OK, so this is when I think we can say, the nuttiness for all things Strawberry was signed and certified. When I was done, our “present closet” had a HUYOOGE TRU bag filled with Strawberry, Lemon Meringue, Crepes Suzette, some of the ponies, BABY Strawberry, all in Rock-a-berry, Winter-berry, or some “twist” variety.

So, if there was no more strawberry dolls in the world, at least I had a stash. There’s a very real sense of relief with that, you know!

The stash came in pretty handy. A few came out for Jocelyn’s birthday. A few more came out friend’s birthdays. What can I say, it’s very handy having a Strawberry stash! And in the back of my mind, I knew they were there, even if no more strawberry dolls would be made ever again, it was OK, because I HAD SOME IN MY STASH.

Until today.

Jocelyn’s friend Sophia has a birthday next week, and so I told Jocelyn I’d check and see if we had any Strawberry Shortcake horses in the present closet. (Sophia is having a “horses” themed party, so we thought we’d carry on the theme!) Much to my chagrin, my stash had somehow become quite depleted. Only 3 dolls and one pony left! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??? WOE IS MEEEEEE!!

I tell you, I couldn’t have felt more shocked than someone in a bombshelter with nuclear winter overhead suddenly realizing they were out of chocolate syrup to go with their canned milk for the next 30 years.

Where had they all gone? WHAT WOULD I DOOOOO????

So, we headed out to gymnastics this morning, with the plan to hit target on the way back to pick out a present for Sophia (what, you think I was going to DEPLETE what little was left of my stash? no way buster!), and also a boy present for our neighbor, who is also having a birthday. Somehow, we decided to stop at Toys R Us, instead. On a whim, I did a search on the TRU site for Strawberry Shortcake on my phone, and imagine my shock and surprise to find a WHOLE NEW LINE of Strawberry Shortcake items.

I immediately freaked out. So excited was I, to go and check out these new items in the Strawberry brand! IT WAS LIKE CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST! We looked everything over, Jocelyn purchased some Strawberry with her hard-saved allowance (Sophia is going to get my little ponies) and I have been all a-glow all day! Strawberries in the world again! Yay!

SO! Here’s the rundown of the new line!

We have the soft Strawberry dolls:

soft strawberry doll

soft strawberry doll box

TRU link: $9.99

These look cute, and they have included my main criteria: brushable hair. Jocelyn isn’t that interested into brushing hair yet, but I know as my neighbor and I got older, the hair was the main attraction of all our dolls, not just Strawberry.

Then, we have the slightly smaller, slightly less expensive, mini-purse strawberries:

TRU link: $6.99

mini purse strawberry dollmini purse strawberry box

Always a hit, to have a doll, AND a small plastic purse a young girl can slip onto her wrist. Comes with brush. I’m not sure I like having so many different types of dolls though — that’s just the first two!

There are completely different dolls with the different playsets! WithOUT brushable hair, I might add:

roadster TRU link: $15.99
strawberry roadster

Cafe playset TRU link: $29.99
strawberry cafe

Berry Market TRU link: $10.99

strawberry berry market

Berry Stylish Mini Dressup TRU link: $10.99

strawberry dressup

And finally, there is an oversized big doll, that looks very cute:
TRU link: $19.99

big strawberry

big strawberry

And finally, this is the one my daughter bought:

strawberry scooterstrawberry scooter

she has been playing with it all day.

new strawberry

While I love that there is now, once again, strawberry shortcakes out there in the land, I am a bit conflicted on the changes. I’m not sure I like how she looks now — she just doesn’t seem the same. I will probably grow to love her though.

So there you go. All your strawberry shortcake updates, right here. I aim to please.

Go forth, and have a berry nice day!

-amy

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