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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Roach clips

In an effort to explore other ways to use recycled bullet casings, I spent some time fiddling around with them this past week.  Long story short, I was thinking cicada, but got cockroaches.  Bullet 30-06 cockroach hair clips.  Roach clips.  Heh...

These will be going to a show this weekend, but I plan on adding some to the shop next week maybe.  :)

Oh, and I think I mentioned the commemorative bullet keychain before.  if not, a new customer came buy after having shot a beautiful trophy deer.  He wanted a commemorative keychain made from the bullet.  It is now finished  as well.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Dabbling, because my ADD told me to.

Thats about it.  Boredom hits me pretty quickly and I flit from one thing to another.  Etsy tells me, as a store owner, its much better to have 1 kind of thing instead of lots of things.  Sadly, if I focused on 1 kind of thing, I would be one kind of asleep.  I sometimes think that is the real difference between an artist and a crafter.  An artist is all flitty and do whatever.  Their work is from their hearts.  There are no patterns and no plans.  It just happens.  The crafter is structured, refined, expert even.  They have a plan of attack and rarely waver. Crafters are predictable.  I can't say that is entirely a bad thing.  I mean, if I want a handmade coffee cozy, my best bet is to find a crafter who has thousands of them.  In my store I might have one or two, but its only because I thought it might be fun to add hair to one, or feet.  Absolutely everything in my shop is an experiment.  I never have a plan.  It just comes and if I love it, I list it.  if I don't love it, it gets put away somewhere until another idea strikes that will make it better, or I destroy it.  Either way.

So it all started when I was digging around in the deep freeze for some hamburger.  In the corner I saw a bag that was questionable to say the least.  I opened it and found the hide from a pheasant a friend had harvested for me during last year's season.  The feathers are beautiful and it had been a while since I played with them. I felt it was high time to separate the feathers from the hide, wash, sort and strip them and if I still have the gumption, make something.

I had the gumption.

Feather fascinator and others...
Happily, I sold one right away.  This beautiful lady is also a 
etsy seller and makes wonderful meditation pillows.  Her husband also makes
gorgeous handmade pottery which is sold in the shop as well.
By all means, go and see what she has!

I flitted around with this and that, but looked over in the corner at a gallon sized pickle jar I had, full of seashells.  I decided to play, but was not thrilled with my lack of imagination.  I had made all this before.  It was then I discovered that I had Polymer clay.  
Since seashells are indeed cast offs from various sea monsters, 
I thought a mock taxidermy of sorts would be fun.  I ended up with  some pretty cool little monsters
growing out of those seashells.

Alas, my thoughts turned back to my bullets.  They are, after all, my favorite medium.
Something different though.  After the invention of the corseted bullet, I really felt I needed to step it up.
I went out to the shop and broke out the cutting wheel and started hacking away at a bullet hoping something would come of it.  At first, I was really going for some kind of  sculptural thing.  I beat on it with hammers and trimmed off bits and pieces, when I kind of saw something in the rubble.  
It wasn't long before I had a plan-ish and hacked away until I got this shape:

I don't know.  A cicada?  I filed away at it for a while before bringing it inside to stare at it for a bit.  
I had a fella, who had shot a very beautiful deer this season, ask me to make something cool out of the bullet he used to harvest his deer.  While I was digging through some scraps of filigree trying to decide where to go with THAT project, I spied a piece that was still whole.  It was then my 30-06 cicada became a 30-06 cockroach.  

Of course, as the prototype it is far from perfect, but seems to be well on it's way to being a recycled UniqueEuphoria original.  
Hair clip I think.  I mean really, what woman doesn't invite bugs to crawl through her coiffure? 
Especially when they are made from spent bullets and scraps of filigree.  I'm just sayin'

Sunday, October 13, 2013

copper ring and a reminder of being loved

My dad had very debilitating rheumatoid arthritis.  It, along with other co morbid factors, put him in a wheelchair for the last few years of his life.  He religiously wore a copper bracelet that he had made himself.  He used to tell my kids that the green stuff that was left on his skin after wearing the bracelet was old and rotten arthritis that was drawn out by the bracelet. :)  {He was a great storyteller}. I can say with some certainty, that I cannot remember my dad's left hand ever giving him as much trouble with swelling and pain as his right.  Usually, if he was having a bad attack, it was his right hand that would be the culprit.  He never wore his bracelet on anything but his LEFT hand.  This is only what I had observed in someone who was willing to try the treatment with an open mind.  I could go all over the Internet and copy and paste facts and statistics that someone somewhere had managed to collect but have been long since plagiarized and re-posted without any firsthand knowledge.  As you all know, when posting wildcrafting recipes and ideas in my other blog, I personally have prepared and eaten everything I share and tell all the gory details associated with it so you, the reader, are prepared.

I believe that copper will work as much as you want it to work or as much as you need it to work in conjunction with other holistic remedies, it may be worth trying.  It certainly is safer for you than Big Medicine's experimental drugs with all those side effects that may actually be worse than the original problem.  As I progress through life and the inevitable comes and settles in my joints, I have no qualms with having green wrists sipping on stinging nettle tea.

So anyway, the fun part.  When my dad was alive, he would often experiment with different ideas and when he passed away, I had the privilege of getting to go through his odds and ends.  At some point, dad had sliced a copper pipe for something.  I kept the little rings in case inspiration hit me.
Last night, I was unable to sleep, so I went out int he shop and started playing with these copper rings.

I've never actually done metalsmithing, so it was all a big fun experiment for me.  Several buffing tips later...

I have this fun little ring.  

I chose loved instead of love because sometimes I need to be reminded, not only to give love, but that I am loved unconditionally in return.  Maybe this reminder will help the ring draw out negativity and loneliness as well as pain and inflammation :)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The artist versus the crafter...

A meme featuring myself :) for when I'm dead and famous...

Get ready Facebook.  
Get ready to "like" the shit out of me. 

Tattoo trials, a confession, and a squid

A friend of mine is newly anointed into the infamous roller derby sanction, which takes this mild-mannered accountant from conservative to I-want-a-tattoo real fast.  This is just a little fooling around, but a couple of quick ideas we discussed...

The wheel.  More to her liking, as she hasn't quite committed to the whole idea in the first place and, should she actually go through with it, she wants something small.  Pft. 

My original idea was a really beat up and tired skate.  Instead of flames, I wanted smoke.
I never went through with the sketch because this one was too busy and big for said accountant/newly discovered bad ass.

A fun derailment from the jewelry, but tattooing is waaaay to controlled for my taste.  This is why I shudder when someone asks me to do commission work.  I have to limit myself to the customer's expectations.  
No fun at all.  

I prefer to whim on my own and dive into what I want and then wait for the mental unicorn to come along
and love it as I made it.
Like when I decided to crochet a squid...
I mean really.  Who doesn't want one of THESE!???

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Run you better run, run from my bullet...earrings...

I spent the day out in the shop punching out primers from bullet casings to make jewelry, namely earrings.  A lot of people were asking for earrings as opposed to pendants and I really had to real way to utilize a decent earring.  I had made some attempts, but wasn't really happy with the overall result.  It turns out, a .22 has a very thin and easily punched out primer-capsule situation, most likely due to not being a re-loadable type of bullet.  Anyway, a little metal punch and a whack with a hammer made for a very nice, centered hole.  I was able to make some pretty neat specimens last night.

These are .22 shorts and are an 1800's friendly round that I picked up at the cowboy range.  Most specifically, these were laying all over the floor of the church after Fire in the Hills.  The flowers are fire polished Czech glass with antiqued brass filigree.

I experimented with some other sizes since my hubby bought me some small drill bits as a treat the other night.  I often break these, so a set of drill bits is better than a dozen roses to me any day of the week.  

So anyway, 30 carbines.  The lighting in my room is really crappy, but you get the idea of them anyway.  A .30 carbine was introduced in the 40's, so unlike most of my bullet casings, it's not a Victorian-era round.  I have a lovely assortment of firearm enthusiast friends that keep me supplied in odd casings. 

Here again, larger Czech fire-polished glass flowers with aged copper filigree findings. 

And lastly, another pair of .22 shorts.  Mottled, creamy green and brown Czech flowers with antiqued brass and a rhinestone roundel. 

So, that was last night's project.  I also have been working on a few dollhouse miniatures for my sister who recently acquired a very large display dollhouse with a pretty limited supply of minis to go inside.  I had some Sculpy and Fimo, so decided to try my hand at miniature making.  She had a garden plot on her Pineterest, so I went about trying to make veggies.
I'm getting the hang of it.  they are really tiny, so its a little harder than I had anticipated it to be.
Things I have learned in the process is, keep your heat gun on hand.  When you do a section or layer, hit it with your heat gun and "bake" your piece (Be careful, you can burn them and yourself.  I had the bits I was working on stabbed onto a pin that I had mounted on the end of a chopstick).  That way, when you put on the next layer, you can fiddle with all the little details without messing up your prior layer. With these tiny guys, you really don't need to bake it if you just use your heat gun.  Also, have some pastel chalks on hand.  that way you can add color layers to your items before heating them up.  This is how I got my carrots "dirty"  the carrot top is a tiny piece of moss that I had harvested and dried from the roof of my garage.  One little hunk of moss with make millions of carrot tops.  I may do a picture tutorial on my UniqueEuphoria blog to better explain my method.  Really though, this is fun and really does not cost a lot to get into.  The most expensive part is the actual clay, and you use so little making such tiny things, you really get your money's worth out of it.  All the other goodies can be found at the hardware store or in your house.  The texture of the leaves on the cauliflower was a little seashell and the leaves of the corn was textured using an old toothbrush.  It helps to Google images of the thing you are making, so you have a reference to color and texture and you can refer to the screen as you work.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Upcycled photo frame pin cushion project

Here's a cute little idea for old, tiny picture frames.  My mom had given me a box of stuff she was cleaning out of her craft room and inside were these little picture/mirrors things:

Cute right?  I suppose the lucky person would find these and the backs would easily pop right out so you can safely remove the glass without too much drama.  Me, I live for drama.  My backs were glued in.  So a little exacto knife carving, a little prying and a little swearing, I managed to...

Ahhhhh, break the mirror   Seven year's bad luck?  I think not.  I'm recycling.  And...I'm too awesome.  I repel bad luck. Stay strong and keep prying.  

Ta da!!!!  Now choose your fabric.  Not only am I recycling the old frame, but that fabric is left overs from another project somewhere out there.  

Sorry the picture quality is kind of meh.  It's like, 5:00 a.m. and I'm trying to do this in low light, all stealthy so as not to wake up the spawn.  

So anyway, you want to cut your fabric a little bigger than the back plate thingy.  This isn't an exact science.  Just follow the general shape of your backing thing and make it a little bigger.  

Start hot gluing it down following the edge of your fabric.  Pleat it with your fingers to keep it all even.  You want this to pouf out the front of the frame.

See?  Like this.  all glued.  
Now, your back plate thingy was not made to allow for fabric.  Usually these things consist of some kind of cardboard, so take your utility knife or scissors and carve it down a bit so its a little more frame friendly.

Your going to want to get some fiberfill.  You don't necessarily need to spend money on this either.  I like to visit the dump weekly and see what I can find.  An example would be leather chairs.  Always carry utility knives with you so you can harvest the free.  Within those leather chairs is an endless supply of perfectly usable and clean fiberfill.  WOO!

Pack that inside the fabric pocket while hot gluing the back thingy (I'm sure this is the official name for it).  Use a pencil or something to get the fiberfill under control while gluing in your back thingy.  

This is going to be under a little stress, with the fiberfill all packed in there, so run a bead of hot glue around the edge to neatly seal everything up.  
When your done, you have a cute pincushion.  I left the hanger thing (yet another official term) on the back so I could hang it up on the wall next to my sewing area.  

You can use any frame to do this.  I happened to like the antique look, so I kept it pretty original, but you can spray paint your frame or embellish it any way you want.   Have a friend who likes coffee?  Make one with coffee theme fabric and embellish with coffee buttons.  Sewer?  Wine drinker?  Pirate lover?  Trust me here, they have a fabric for that.  Go nuts.