making jewelry by hand aka construction

slow and steady wins the race right?

well we have the outside form soldered and solid
on Mr. Ciggyman.

Next part I really have to use my brain and be precise!

I hard soldered the whole thing
and somehow managed to balance the hoop
on some coat hanger bits and got that attached.

This is all silver- dirty but silver.

To bend the top I decided I was going
with the organic look, so I used a stamp
I made out of a nail instead of a separating disc.
I cut off the extra top so it no longer looks like a pagoda.


in case you didn't know I usually work
on a couple of pieces at the same time.
This is a druzy pearl necklace
I've been meaning to get done.

I really thought it was going well.
Watched the solder flow around the lower bezel,
trying to see it at the top.
Didn't want to melt those pearl bezels.
Dropped it in the pickle pot and thought
I was golden.


When I pulled it out of the pot
the two pearl bezels slid right off.


Sometimes when you solder your flux
acts like glue and until its been pickled
you won't know.
Gotta have those soldered down fully or they will
pull up when your setting your stone
and then my friend...
you are totally screwed.

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Jewelry making tools Sanding Board (Book)

Remember I said its VERY IMPORTANT to keep things straight and flat....
Well as you can see here I didn't have a very good soldering day.
That little bit of light coming from underneath?
Well thats not supposed to be there (kill me now)
So I need to make it flat.

Some filing and the easiest but slower way is sanding.

Make your own sanding board, seen below.

Might as well use 220 sandpaper,
because You will wear one side down to 400 in no time.
Yes I have sanding sticks also for small jobs.
I love my sanding book, and you will too.
If you make one.

(yes this is a continuation of popartmonkeys piece)

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Making Jewelry By Hand -It's More work than you Think

ok so here we go.....

Making jewelry by hand -also called construction.

As you can see I have a rather large sheet of silver,
and I want to make a rectangular box of sorts.
So I measure and mark my two outside walls
and then cut them out with my jewelers saw.

I use a very small blade, that way
when my cut line is not straight (which it never is)
I don't have that much to file down.

This is what we are making,
or attempting to make.

Original artwork done by Popartmonkey.
This is a commission piece,
which normally I don't do, but I like his work
and I'm very proud of him for quitting smoking.
On the back of the piece I will stamp his 'quit' date.

Time to cut apart what will be the outside walls.

I was taught to cut on the outside of the line,
but I try very hard to keep them as even as possible.
My brain is wired to cut outside the line.
My last boss could not understand this.
He'd say 'Cut on the line.'
I'd say 'Not gonna happen.'

What was one, now is two.

Whats all that junk on them?
Well like saw dust, that's silver dust.
See the tan thing below?
That's my bench skin which catches all the dust
and whatever else I might drop by accident.
Yes its a skin of some type of animal,
smooth side turned up so the dust won't get stuck.
I scoop up this dust and keep it in a plastic bag
in a coffee tin and when it gets heavy and I get poor,
I turn in my 'scrap' for a credit from my supplier.
This is what recycling silver means.

If you think buying from an eco-friendly jeweler
unless they are making things out of hemp,
you my friend are getting taken.
Silver is mined as is gold and copper.
So whether you got it first or recycled
it doesn't matter the deed has been done.

As I mentioned before I can't cut a straight line
so we file.....
Each side needs to be straight because later on
this will be VERY important.

I'm doing this in my lap which is my own technique
so I can get the most pressure on metal.
Its important to switch around the piece
so you don't end up filing some weird angle.
Oh yea. Been there done that.

Time to cut out the short ends
of my rectangle.

Oh No! They are too small!
I didn't add the thickness of the walls
to my measurements. Grrrrr!

This is where my too small pieces go
(see the arrow?)
Its my scrap box which can at times be very exciting.
But not today,
because I don't see any pre-made boxes in there.

So I go back and draw larger sides,
cut, file and hello outside form!

It still needs to be soldered but
that's another lesson for another day.
I still need to make an inside frame,
because the black line on his drawing
is included in this design.
So I need to make a space for it.

This is my poor finger.
Looks better now.
Don't expect to keep up a manicure
if your working with metals.
I swear my finger was aching,
so this is as far as we got today.

I'm expecting to rerun this scenario
to make the inner forms.
I won't bore you with that but
I'll keep posting my progress so you can see
what goes into making this piece by hand.

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Jewelry for a dude

I've never made jewelry for a guy specifically.
The reason you're not seeing the whole thing
put together is the whole 'aha' behind it.

That's right I'm going to string them together
the 3 initials on top, AMOR on the bottom.
Then when said dude moves and the tags jangle,
he will be reminded that he is indeed loved.

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In a pickle with Sparex

This is a post for people who make jewelry.

This is for those of us who wonder
'why does my pickle have brown crap in it?'
I'm here to answer that question.

See the can of Sparex NO. 2 on the left?
They have painted the inside with some junk
that inevitably flakes off into your granules of
Sodium Bisulfate, leaving the exposed iron can
rusting on the inside.
Your can of Sparex is now SPENT.

Now you need to call up your hazardous waste program
and learn how to dispose of 3/4 of a can.

Now what to do- no pickle for my pot?
You can go the pool PH option OR
you can buy new sparex from Otto Frei
in a PLASTIC CONTAINER! (shown on the right)
6 bucks people.

The shipping was going to cost more
so I tossed in a high temp soldering board.
*We will discuss what I'm doing with that later*

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love my dog

She's coming into her own.
She has taken over the guest bedroom,
as her own, filled with toys and non-toys
(grandmas camera case)
which she lifted off the coffee table.

My dad asked me if my toilet paper holder
was broken because I had it on the counter.
Lola likes to unroll rolls and rolls of toilet paper.

Scary Barry's cat walked right by the front window,
which excited yet puzzled her so she sort of just whined,
or should I say whimpered?

*Last BUT not least, we are no longer getting up
at 3am to play with the frogs or whatever is out there.

Hurricane windows

This is my house which is probably right
out of a Sears catalog of 1950.
The windows are total crap.
The front window is broken.
The other large window panes of glass are not glazed,
therefore they rattle like crazy
and you can move them with your hands.

Ta Da! New windows. Thx Dad!
Now i can't hear the car doors closing.
Now my AC doesn't run all the time.
Now I've got a great view,
because nobody lives across the street.

I know it doesn't seem like a big difference but it is!
Impact resistant means you're not getting in,
and I'm not getting out! No just kidding.

The thing about hurricanes is when the wind
finds a way into your house
(usually through broken windows)
it likes to take your roof off with it.
Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Best thing of all- NO NEED FOR SHUTTERS!
I will be able to watch the scary-ass storms if I care to,
but usually I go to bed.


Thats right!
If I can't find it,
I'm gonna make it.

I get 4 bucks every time
one of my shirts sells.



My latest tee to arrive from the
one and only Launchpad in Albuquerque.

On the back it says
and I fucking love it!

Birthday Monkey

This is one of Lola's birthday presents,
that she got for her 2nd birthday.
This is a posed photo.
If you can't tell.

The monkey no longer looks like this.
She ripped off his arm,
somehow pulled the squeaker from his belly,
and turned his head inside out.

I think she liked it.

Bezel Setting MY WAY

ok folks here we go...
this is how I set my bezels.
First off lets talk about tools.

Best thing I EVER bought was that bench pin with a hole in it.
Rio used to sell them but last time I looked I couldn't find them.
This is AWESOME- I also use it for my tube cutter.
*note you must be able to remove top of tool from bottom,
and re-screw them through the hole.
This gives you a free hand or two!

Now my ring holder tool- got it from Rio also.
Its from Egypt and it smelled when I first got it.
Comes with different plastic inserts for different sizes of rings.
You adjust it by using the screw at the top.

I do use a bezel pusher just to get the stone in there,
so it won't move around much on me.

Now for the poor mans trick
Instead of busting out $150 for a foredom hammerhead.
I took a nail and filed it down and sanded it and polished it.
This is now my cheap hammering piece.
I use a small ball peen hammer because it does the job.

Yes it does the job. It also may leave a few marks.
You just clean those up with small rubber discs.
piece o' cake.

ps. I think the onlything you can get now a days is
The GRS Benchmate- but you have to buy
the stone setters kit which is $300.

The only problem is I CANNOT for the life of me
unseat a stone, once its set.

can you guess what this is?

besides a strip mall and a traffic sign

its a BIG TOP with no tent.

That's right people
I live in a circus town.

They are going to put a metal roof on it.
BIG Mistake if you ask me,
but nobody did.

God I feel so mental today.

Golden tree in bloom

I think it bloomed even more
but my allergies were kicking my ass.
My dog is in heaven.
She eats the blooms that fall
into the backyard.
I swear its the biggest oldest tree
I've seen around here.
See 3 posts down what it looked like before.

Orange bullet Earrings

Acrylic orange bullets
Originally uploaded by pj925
Oh yes these babies are acrylic that look like the candy DOTS!

But you can't eat them, just buy them and know you are wearing one of a kind earrings that you won't find anywhere else.

I made them myself.

They are dainty and sweet, and available in my etsy shop.

Scary Barry's yard

No offense Barry I just can't remember peoples
names so I make them rhyme, and you did
startle me the first time I met you,
not wearing a shirt and all fat and hairy.

Well you're not the topic of this post anyways...
its your yard being invaded by birds!
You must have your cats inside today,
instead of crapping in my iris beds.

I used to know the name of these birds,
but I forgot to rhyme it so you know what

I know your yard is full of weeds
must be full of bugs too,
cuz these birds are going to town.

Thanks for the allergies and the nature show.

hardcore pollenation

There's pollen everywhere!
Having serious sinus headaches.

This is by far my best grower yet,
some white iris that's gone apeshit.
It's huge in comparison to the others I planted.
Iris comes from the Greek word for a rainbow,
and wouldn't you know I like the white ones.

Next up is....the golden trumpet tree
or Tabebvia chrysotricha.
I know it looks dead. It does all year.
My mom calls it the creepy tree.
Its just now starting to bloom.
Soon the whole tree will be covered in yellow flowers.
That is IF we get some rain.
Last year I had a half bloom.
Its pretty old and the biggest I've seen around town.

sunbathing dog

If you can't tell by now I adore my dog.
She wakes me up in the middle of the night to pee.
She jumps on me as she runs to check out
a barking dog at 7am every morning.
This just kills me...
She goes out in the mornings to sunbathe on my deck.

Inspiring artist Yoshitomo Nara

I just saw this great film about the Japanese
artist Yoshitomo Nara.

Not only are his paintings of wide eyed girls fantastic,
but the way he allows the audience to connect to them
is a whole nother ballgame.

He makes tiny houses. In which you peek in holes,
look off balconeys, or just walk through
to see his art works.

His tiny houses installations...

I got the film from Netflix it's called
New People Artist Series: Vol. 1:
Traveling with Yoshitomo Nara
You really have to watch the movie to get the whole gist of it, and I'm highly recommending it!