Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Sanding Skills, Two Things That Don't Work Together in the Kiln, Jewelry Sketches versus Finished Designs, Etching on Steel, Two Goalies

Been pretty busy since my last blog post. As you saw, I finished a couple of pieces of jewelry for the Bead Soup Blog Party (previous blog post).

Aside from that, I’m working on assignments for Hadar’s accreditation course, which is enlightening, informative, motivating, and truly inspiring.

I’m taking my metal clay sanding to a whole new level.



I don’t always want a mirror shine, but I’d like to be able to do it when I want it.

I did a few quick designs with white bronze because I was intrigued by the one-firing schedule. Made a nice unisex pendant and some end-of-clay beads that I’ll put into a necklace maybe tomorrow.

I can show you what happens when you embed fine silver into white bronze and then fire it. My reasoning for it working was that the firing temp for fine silver is higher, so it should be safe. Unfortunately, they don’t play well together in the kiln.



That hole you see on the right was not a hole in the design. It was a flush surface, just like the photo on the left, but that’s where the embedded fine silver reacted with the white bronze clay.

I’ll try it again with nichrome next time (Hadar’s suggestion). In the meantime, I had some brilliant bronze out so made my little pods again, but this time I drilled holes in them rather than adding wire looks. They’re still being tended to, so hope to have photos tomorrow.

Getting back to showing you my design sketches against how my designs turn out, here are a few:



That last one was a cool way of finding out I can etch on steel. This was a tool my brother uses that he asked if I could “make fancy” somehow. We all love The Hobbit, et al, so I went with the ring poem, in Mordor’s Black Speech. You know: One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

BTW, here’s today’s trivia. Did you know that the first Ballantine paperback edition of The Fellowship of the Ring printed the inscription upsidedown.

Two goalies, then and now.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

First Reveal of Lori Anderson's 7th Bead Soup Blog Party

Today is the big reveal of the first round of players in Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party. The basic idea is that jewelry artists are paired up randomly and exchange beads with one another (a focal, some coordinating beads, and a clasp).

I was paired with Molly Alexander. Yay! Here are the beads I received from Molly.



Yep, two sets!

Here is the necklace I made with the blue lampwork beads made by Kaz Baildon (and the clasp that was enclosed with the poppy beads).





You can click on the second photo to see a larger image.

And here's the necklace I made with lampwork beads by Tanya McGuire.


This was terribly fun.

To see the amazing creations Molly made with the beads I sent her…



… check out Molly’s blog: http://beautifullybrokenme.blogspot.com/2013/03/welcome-to-march-2013-bead-soup-blog.html

To see all the reveals for the first stage of the Blog Party, go to Lori’s blog page: http://lorianderson-beadsoupblogparty.blogspot.com/2013/03/7th-bead-soup-blog-party-first-reveal.html

Enjoy!!!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Etching Experiments... Seeking the Deep Etch

Today, after scoring a beautiful Hubert Bequet bowl for $3…



… I came home and proceeded with some overdue etching tests.

Although my tutorial method for etching produces great detail in fine lines, I wanted to see how it stands up to a need for deeper etching.

I made a pattern, then was going to test six pieces of metal, three with ironed on PNP and three with laminator adhered PNP.

But after seeing the results of just one session of ironing on the PNP…



… compared with the results of transferring the image with my laminator…



… I decided to forego the ironing altogether and just stick with the laminator.

I performed my etching three different ways.

The first, was to have my piece taped to the underside of a piece of Styrofoam, floating in a bath of PCB etchant (ferric chloride) for 90 minutes with frequent agitation (tapping the foam piece) and intermittent cleaning of debris (I lift the piece out of the etchant and spritz it with water, dislodging any removed copper and sludge).



The second method was to have my piece taped to the underside of a piece of Styrofoam, floating in a bath of PCB etchant (ferric chloride) to which I added citric acid. This was left for 60 minutes without agitation.



The third method took six minutes. It is the method outlined in my now archaic tutorial (sponge).  It normally takes about 1-2 minutes but I wanted to go for that really deep etch so I repeated the method three times for a total of approximately six minutes.


Here are the three pieces after being cleaned but before any patina has been applied. Click on the photo to see the full-size version.



As you can see, the method using etchant with agitation produced “puckering” lines and a few dots.

The method using etchant with citric acid produced a textured background.

The quick sponge method produced no puckering or texture.

I rather like the effect of the citric acid method and may use that in the future when desired.

After that, I wanted to see how deep the etch was in the three methods.



They all seemed to achieve a nice, deep etch. The citric acid method being the shallowest of the three, with 90 minute method coming in second, and my tutorial method having the deepest etch.

That’s good. My plan is to try enameling in the channels tomorrow.

The good news is that whether I etched for 6 minutes or 90 minutes, the resist never weakened. If I didn’t mind the puckering, I could try method #1 for 2-3 hours, just to test the resist.

And just like my purposefully using the citric acid-produced background texture, I find the puckering effect works quite well in certain pieces.


Now this is what I’ve been doing in the evenings, after work hours.  There's something about Viking knit I really, really like.

Note: You can click on any jewelry photo to see if the piece is still available (or to get more info/photos). To see everything that is currently available, click here.



Until next time!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

eBay's New Fee Schedule and Etched Geekery

eBay’s changing their fee schedules

“EBay said on Tuesday it will overhaul fees for sellers on its online marketplace, stepping up competition with Amazon.com. EBay is scrapping its complex, tiered set of "final value fees," calculated as a percentage of an item's sale price, and introducing flat-rate fees based on product categories.”

“Many sellers will pay lower fees after the changes, especially those who are not volume sellers and list less than 12,250 times per month…”

Click here for the story on MSN

Click here for the info straight from eBay



Score! Went to the Discovery Shop (like Goodwill) and found a stack of stainless steel bowls for about one-fifth what I pay for them elsewhere. These are what I use to fire bronze and copper clay. So happy to have found them and a great variety of sizes.




Some new items...

Note: You can click on any jewelry photo to see if the piece is still available (or to get more info/photos). To see everything that is currently available, click here.


I did some etching (including one custom order option and two totally geek pieces).








Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to Verify Your Website on Pinterest and Pinterest Analytics

I like numbers and I'm always curious which of my items or pages get the most interest, so I was totally intrigued when I heard that Pinterest had something new to offer... analytics (statistics related to the interaction of Pinterest and our websites).

Edited to add: Ema pointed out something I forgot to mention (thank you, Ema!).  You have to be using the new Pinterest format, so switch over if you haven't already.

And another... Edited to add: Sally Anderson helped me discover that if you don't see the option of using Pinterest's new format it may be because you have to either have a business account with Pinterest or have a website listed on your profile. 

I wanted to try out the new Pinterest Analytics. But there was a glitch. To see your stats in Pinterest, you have to be website verified.

1) So let’s start there. On your Pinterest home page, click on your name (far right).



2) This brings up YOUR page.  If you have a website listed in your profile, it will show up at the bottom of your banner.  If you see your website URL in your banner, skip to step #6.




If you haven’t added a website to your Pinterest profile page yet, you will see an “edit profile” button under your banner. Click on it.



3) Scroll down and add your website URL (I have my blog URL in the “About” section, and my shop URL in the “Website” section).



4) As soon as you type in a URL, a new box will appear (to the right) with the option of verifying the website right then. I prefer to save my profile changes first then try to verify the website.



5) Save your changes. Now go back to your main Pinterest page and click on your name, and you should see your website URL under your name in that top rectangle.

6) If you see a checkmark next to your URL, you’re good to go. It means you’re verified.



7) If you don’t see a checkmark there, you will have to go through the verification process. Click on the pencil icon (editing).



8) Scroll down until you see the instructions to verify your website.



9) There are two ways of doing this: Download the file Pinterest gives you, then upload it to your website… or add a metatag to your website. I chose to download/upload. Once I uploaded the file to the root server of my website (not a subfolder on the website), I wanted to see what I looked like and to confirm it worked.



10) Then you go back to Pinterest and click on the button to “Complete the process”.



I think sometimes you should give things some time (I don’t know why), but when I tried to verify my website right after uploading the file, I got error messages from Pinterest. I waited until the next day and everything was fine. Shrug.

BTW, you can only verify one URL (which is why I have my blog URL in the “About” section as noted above).

In theory, you can only verify a website if it's yours.  For example, you can't verify your Etsy shop because Etsy is not YOUR site.

I have heard you can verify your blog (through blogger/blogspot), though.  Here's how:  You will use the metatag option from Pinterest's verify process, go to "template" in your blogger account, and select to edit the HTML.  Check the box for "expand widget templates".  You will paste the metatag directly under the HTML code "head" (the word "head" will have brackets around it... without a slash). You can look at a "preview" before saving to make sure you didn't mess the blog up.  It's a metatag (invisible), so you shouldn't notice anything different about your blog.  Save your template and go back to Pinterest to finish verifying.

So anyhow… THAT was the long way to getting to the Pinterest Analytics.

Once you are verified, you will see a new option when you click on your name (upper right of page).  You will see the word ANALYTICS. Go there and have fun. I’m not sure, but I think most/some of the analytics only start after you’re verified, so you might not see much at first. You can see who’s repined your posts, though, if you click on the second tab.






The other day, I went to Amazon because I wanted to look up the prices of tablets. This is a screenshot from the page that came up:



Really? I’m going to get excited because you took 99 cents off the price of a $200 item?

Ha ha ha!