Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bracelet Made From A Vintage Dog Cookie Cutter

I remember my Mom making cookies every Christmas... tins and tins of them, which she would give away to friends and relatives. My favorites were always the sugar cookies and the gingerbread men, because she would roll out the dough and I would get to use the cookie cutters. Happy memories. I have a small collection of tiny vintage cookie cutters. I wanted to find a way to use them in a project.

I love giving myself a recycling challenge. One of my favorites is to see if I can make a piece of jewelry using a minimum number of new findings. That's how this little cookie cutter bracelet came to exist. 

To make this bracelet, I started with a tiny aluminum cookie cutter. The poor thing had been squished and was a little flat to begin with. No worries though, this made it the perfect surface to which to adhere a red "self starter" typewriter key. A couple of drops of E6000 and it was all set to go. I used a metal hole punch to punch a hole in each end, and attached a toggle from an old handbag and pieces from a thrift store chain. I made the bead dangles from reclaimed beads as well. In the end, I added 5 new jump rings and 4 new headpins.I found both at Everything else was made from vintage or recycled components. 

I'm not sure how certain pieces become "keepers" for me, but this one has. It's fun and quirky and I really enjoy wearing it.

Until next time!

Leaving you with this quote:
"Nothing is more effective than sincere, accurate praise, and nothing is more lame than a cookie-cutter compliment." - Bill Walsh
(Actually, if I were wearing this bracelet, I would be thrilled to receive a cookie-cutter compliment.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Concrete and Ice Resin

Who knew? I didn't. One of the ways to strengthen concrete is by mixing it with a two-part resin. Mr. Bees was doing an outdoor project and asked me if I wanted the leftover concrete. Of course I wanted it! After a little research on the subject, I discovered that concrete, by itself, tends to crack, and is unsuitable for jewelry-making, but when you add a little 2-part resin to the mixture, it becomes very strong. I happened to have a syringe of Ice Resin handy, so I used that, instead of water, to make my concrete.

I've been working on a series of fairy tale pieces, so the word "Spell" popped into the foreground for me.

Here's how I did it... I used my pipe cutter to cut a slice of copper pipe, punched holes into it, and used plumber's solder to solder the pipe onto a pre-cut round piece of copper sheet metal.There was lots and lots of filing, then I filled the bezel with a mixture of concrete and Ice Resin. 

You can purchase tubes of Ice Resin and Relique powders here:

After it set up for a couple of hours, I dropped Relique powder and extra fine glitter onto the surface and heated it with a heat gun. The Relique powder melted and adhered the text, glass piece, and rhinestones to the surface of the concrete mixture. The concrete shows through, but the Relique powder makes it look like some sort of stone. By morning the whole thing had set up quite nicely. I added decorative bezel wire to the border, antiqued it, first with cream-colored Vintaj patina and then with Jax Pewter Black, used a little steel wool on it, and finished by sealing it with Dorland's Wax. 

The beads were very grungy silver plated copper, salvaged from an old necklace. A little steel wool coaxed them into having a much nicer finish. 

Whenever I use my fingers in a photograph, I notice that they are always full of tiny cuts and pokes and jabs from the file. It's all just part of getting lost in my work.

I really like this patterned copper bezel wire. I found it on eBay. It came from Israel, and I had to wait months for it to arrive, but it was worth the wait!

I saved a small coffee can of concrete for more experiments. Next I want to try making some more contemporary, backless forms with the mixture.

Until next time! 

Leaving you with this quote: 

"Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings." - Agnes Martin
(In this case, maybe concrete is the artistic representation of mine.)