Archive for June, 2009

Jun 29 2009

New July Banner!

Published by under amy's head

crazymokes - july 2009

I missed June’s banner, so I thought I’d better do July a little early. You know. Before I FORGOT TO DO IT ALL MONTH.

This copper bracelet is one of the first I made, and it’s made from a very small gauge of wire. So even though it looks big up there, know that it is actually very tiny and dainty!

View all banners EVER!

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Jun 29 2009

I’m teaching a chain maille class!

Published by under amy's head

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 month!

This is a 3 hour class from 10am-2pm on Saturday, August 1st at The Soundry, a very cool artist space in Vienna, VA. I will be teaching this class on August 1st, September 12th, and October 3rd. (All Saturdays!)


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, as this is my very first teaching class. 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!


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Jun 28 2009

Tales from the Bench

Published by under amy's head

Last night after we got home from a lovely birthday BBQ at our friend Liz’ house, which is always so fun, I decided to finally make another square linked bracelet, like the one I’d made in my soldering class. Here it is:

I’d been watching out for anything long and square that I could use as a mandrel (mandrel = something on which to shape / wrap wire or sheet metal) and finally decided to just wing it with my pliers.

I also realized I still had some links from my class that I hadn’t used, and a ton of already soldered jump rings, so the whole thing came together really fast.

Here is the new bracelet next to the old one (sans chainmaille).

After I snapped this, I put it in the pickle pot. The “pickle” is a highly acidic solution that removes oxidation (coloration) from precious metal. It’s usually heated to work faster My pickle pot is a little 1.5 qt crockpot.

Here it is after it came out of the pickle. It’s funny how it comes out completely white and matte, very unlike how you think of silver.

Then it was way way past bedtime. Next I need to finish it, which means sanding it down with finer & finer grit sand paper, a little polishing, and finally, a tumble with some stainless steel shot in my tumbler.

After that, I am not sure whether or not to put the same bits of chainmaille links in each square as the original, or some other element. We’ll see.


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Jun 19 2009

(belated) report from my silver soldering class

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

I never did follow up and post how my soldering class went. It went awesome!

Here is a photo I took with my phone halfway through the class. The bracelet is only half done, I just draped it over my wrist.

halfway soldered square link bracelet

Here are is a picture I took after I got home. I plopped everything I came home with (finished and unfinished alike) into my light box and took some shots with the Canon 30D.

products from soldering class

You can see 2 square links that have not been soldered, one that was soldered, but I didn’t need, a few little bitty clasps I made, and some balled headpins — which I strung a pretty lucite bead on to show how I plan on using them. And then of course, the bracelet I finished in class.

As you can see, when you put the torch to silver, it oxidizes the metal. The oxidation is the black and goldish colors you see in the torched pieces. In order to remove the oxidation, when you’re finished, you place it in the “pickle” a solution that removes a very fine layer of metal, including the oxidation. The finished bracelet went into the pickle at the end of class, thus it’s nice and shiny. It had not yet been tumbled, so the silver is still a kind of matte finish rather than a shiny finish. I have a tumbler at home, so I didn’t worry about tumbling it in class.

And here is my finished bracelet.

MOD sterling silver bracelet. soldered square links with chainmaille inserts

When I got home, I added (unsoldered) chainmaille pieces inside each of the square (soldered) links. I absolutely adore it – The organic asymmetrical-ness of the squares makes it looks kind of retro to me. Very mod. I am going to make another one with a little less hammering of the squares…. once I can find a square mandrel to use!! I’ve just been keeping my eyes peeled for anything but I may have to ramp up efforts, head to a hardware store and actually actively look for something.

My pyromaniac sale is over, and I sold 2 items, which in my book, is a SUCCESS! I received my torch and soldering supplies, and let me tell you – it is FUN! I’m hoping to finish some earrings this weekend to list.

Also, I may be teaching a chainmaille class August 1st! I am kind of excited! If you are in the northern VA area and are interested, let me know and I’ll keep you up to date! It will be a byzantine class, and participants will be able to finish this bracelet in class:

sterling silver byzantine chain maille bracelet


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Jun 08 2009

new on etsy & a SALE!

Published by under amy's head,crafty

My silversmithing class was awesome. I loved it. I instantly came home and ordered a torch and all the supplies I needed to do my own soldering at home. Stuff called pickle and flux and also? Charcoal. Cool huh!

It’d be nice though if I had some SALES from my ETSY shop to offset my latest order… so….

Enter “PYROMANIAC” in the comments when you buy something from my shop, and I’ll refund you 20%! that’s right, a bonefied SALE! I haven’t decided how long I’ll run the sale, but probably until the weekend if not through the weekend.

Here are 2 new items I just listed. The bracelet is relisted from when it sold last month (finally made another one) and the earrings are my new absolute favorite pair ever. Hard to imagine that anything would bump the Posies from that slot, but these have done it!

new on etsy

Next up, I’ll give a little more detail on my soldering class, and show some pictures.

-amy loves to play with FIRE!!

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Jun 05 2009


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

I haven’t posted any kid art in a long time, but now have I got some good ones! Ethan came home from school today with this treasure tucked away in his folder. You can tell he really spent some time on it!

It is a worksheet he made for Jocelyn. The first part is a “matching” section, where she is supposed to look at the first shape and then circle the matching shape in the next 3 columns. The next is a simple counting question, complete with multiple choice (!!! multiple choice! oh god, it kills me!) And then he also has a blank for the answer (asr). I almost flipped when I saw this.

ethan art: homemade worksheet

Next up we have some beautiful ladies drawn by Jocelyn, in fancy upturned dresses. I asked her if they were doing the splits or something, but no, those are their DRESSES. I absolutely ADORE the first girlie’s face. I don’t know if you can really tell in this picture but it is just the sweetiest little face EVER! I have had the urge to sew something lately and this little gem is pushing it over the edge – I simply have GOT to make a little dollie with that face!

kid art: jocelyn's drawing of fancy dressed ladies

Oh man. I can’t even tell you how much these feel me with GLEE! I just love them and HAD to share!


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Jun 01 2009

Project Skinny Week 1 + HumDrum Life Update(s), NOW WITH CHILDREN!

Published by under amy's head,daily,kids

What? what’s that? You want to know how Week 1 of Project Skinny went?

You mean… you aren’t on Twitter? Because I told the twitterazzi already, and .. oh fine, I’ll BLAAAAWWWWG ABOUT IT TOO.

I am down 3 lbs. It was actually 3.something but I forgot the Important Weight Watchers book that they put your official sticker in with weight + loss and as a result, I just remmeber the important “3” part of the 3.something.

I’m pretty happy! I was hoping for like, you know, to be ultra skinny after only 1 week, but you know, it works. OK, not really, but I was thinking I could do 5 lbs easy, so there was a teeny tinge of disappointment until I mentally smacked myself and said, “HELLO, THREE POUNDS IS AWESOME” and then was happy.

So yeah, there you go. and now, at home, I’m out of vodka, so that can only be good for the whole week progression.

In other news, things are just going swimmingly. I haven’t updated about Ethan in a long time, and trust me, that’s a good thing. The reason this blog has seen all this ethan action and no Jocelyn action is because I write when things are PLAGUEING MY BRAIN and so blog-silence usually means EVERYTHING IS JUST SWIMMINGLY LOVELY!

I neglected to update on this when it happened, but Ethan is now on ADHD medication. And I could kick myself for waiting as long as we did. James was ready probably a long time ago, but was OK with the waiting. It’s like we have our awesome kid back again. And in the evening, when it wears off, we still have our awesome kid, he’s just tied himself up in a pretzel on the floor, is all.

Honestly, I think the meds have helped a lot, but I also think that he has matured a lot too. When we go outside and he’s running around with kids, I think now he’s just more clued in to himself and when he is reaching his breaking point — now, he will will come inside and say, “I’m done playing outside.” Whereas before, he would stay outside and possibly get overworked up about something until it has escalated past the point of no return. Now, he can remove himself before it gets to that point. It also helps that we’re pretty much always out there to monitor. And I do want to give credit to the medication as well, I think it has helped him to be less scattered and just, ALL OVER THE PLACE to make these realizations about himself.

Jocelyn is doing great too. If I had to complain about Jocelyn, it’s that 1) SHE TAKES FOREVER TO DO ANYTHING, 2) She is ALWAYS hurting herself, and 3) she will get PISSED at you if you don’t give her her own way (but not always.) And to all of the above I have to remind myself… SHE IS REALLY, PRETTY DAMN YOUNG. It is hard to remember that, even though she’s my own kid. Is it just the fact that she’s a second child maybe? I have to remember what Ethan was like before he was even in kindergarten and in my mind, he seemed back then a LOT younger than she does now.. Do we expect more from her? I’m not sure, maybe. If she would just hurry up and buckle up in the car now and then, our lives would be a whole lot easier, is all I’m saying 🙂 But really, she is a joy and is doing the cutest damn stuff all the time.

This past weekend, we decided to take the kids to see Up! Jocelyn said, “What’s “up?”” and I said, “you know, the movie with the house that goes up with all the balloons?” And she got this look of recognition in her eyes, and she says, “Ohhhhhhh, you mean, ‘PIXAR’S Up,’ Mommy.”

And then she corrected herself, “I mean, not Pixar’s Up, it’s ACTUALLY DISNEY Pixar’s UP.”


Partway into the movie, there’s a part where they come down out of the clouds and try to figure out where they are. the little girl next to Jocelyn said, “What IS THIS??” in a kind of way that really meant, “where are they?”

But Jocelyn quietly whispered to her, “It’s Disney Pixar’s Up.” I had to smother my chuckling.

Anyway, so things are going well. There’s 2? 3? weeks left to school. Then Ethan will go to Taekwondo summer camp, and Jocelyn will pretty much carry on at her daycare as she already is except probably with more water and sunscreen involved.

We are making plans to go to Oregon in July for my brother’s wedding.

We are also making plans to do various painting and carpet replacement in the house over the summer.

So. Yeah. fun stuff!

2 other things:
My toe is still dislocated, and now? NOW?? My other foot is kind of irritating me too.
In my last storytime post, I remember I had another childhood memory that I was going to post and I remember it was a DOOZY.. and now I can’t remember what it was about. Doh.
And last, the keyboard on this laptop is starting to get screwy. Well, sticky, to be exact. I’ve tried to clean the keyboard once or twice with disastrous results (let’s just say cleaning laptop keyboard VERY DIFFERENT from normal keyboard cleaning).

You don’t want to bring any vodka over, do you?


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