Tuesday Tools: Micro Torch

In my annual review I’ve mentioned about my new torches. Now I want to review them a bit.

I bought two torches. The first one is IRODA PT-200, and the second one is REDFOX. Both could produce 1300 F heat.
So, why should I bought two torches? What’s the difference between those torches? Torches are the same, aren’t they?

Okay, here’s the pic of those two torches.

20130121-124609.jpg

As you can see, Iroda has a built in butane tank, meanwhile Redfox doesn’t.
Another difference is the flame: flame produced by Iroda has ‘pointed’ end, Redfox produces ‘wild’ flame.

Now let’s see each torch’s setbacks and advantages.

Iroda
Iroda has compact and good look. It also fit in your hand πŸ™‚

Like I mentioned before, Iroda has built in butane tank.
All you have to do to fill it is connect you butane to the hole at the bottom of it.

20130121-124314.jpg

But you have to use long nozzle butane gas.

20130121-124745.jpg

The problem is, if I use Iroda to make balled end with thick wire (let’s say 20 gauge wire or thicker), it will take longer time and sometimes, I used to run out butane in the tank before the wire even melt 😦

Iroda’s advantage is its pointed end flame. Some of my friends said that it could be used for metal soldering *yeay* because of this character.
I’m sorry, I can’t do metal soldering YET, so I can’t give you valuable input. But will update on this matter once I can do it πŸ™‚

Redfox
If Iroda is good looking torch, I can’t say the same thing with my Redfox. It looks like ordinary hardware tools.
Well, my suppliers said that it used to be bought for plumbing *sigh*
And of course it doesn’t fit in my hand (I have pretty small hand tho, lol).

Redfox doesn’t have built in butane tank, so you have to connect it directly to the portable butane gas tank. But remember, only short nozzled one πŸ™‚

20130121-124917.jpg

This way, you don’t have to worry about running out of butane while heating thicker wire *grin*
And it takes very fast to make balled end on thicker wire. Less than 5 minutes for 20 gauge wire according to my last project πŸ™‚

On the other side, Redfox produces a rather wild flame comparing to Iroda. It has a wide and flaring end instead of pointed one. So I’m not sure if you could use it for soldering (tiny parts).

My Personal Use
At this moment, I prefer to use Redfox for ‘time saving’ reason. I don’t have to refill the gas every half an hour, and I don’t have to wait too long to get my wire end balled up.

This doesn’t mean Iroda is not good, I’m sure once I learn about soldering it will be a good tool for me πŸ™‚

That’s my review for my (beloved) torches. Hope I made myself clear enough lol

xoxo,

ien

Advertisements

Friday Featured Piece: Mora The Peacock

Last post for today.. πŸ˜€
Please meet my new friend, MΓ΄ra the peacock.

20130118-010925.jpg

-Now you can take yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or chocolate and some snack before you continue reading this post.
This gonna be a very very long post. I promise.

I have this peacock design for quite a long time. It came as raw and wild idea 3 or 4 years ago.. (Yeah it took me THAT long to realized it)

One step at a time: from raw idea to detailed sketch
I was dreaming about a 3D peacock design, with brilliant colors, as close as possible with the real peacock.
I started to sketch down my peacock design, but it was really simple: some round and teardrop shapes with big and bold note “make it 3D, as real as possible. Research about it” LOL
Something big start with little step.

One day after I learned how to set stone, I drew another peacock sketch, this time with a stone as its body. I added note try to search for perfect blue-ish stone beside the sketch.
Another little step.

My Feng Huang project gave me some insight how to make 3D head. I drew another peacock sketch: stone as its body and 3D head.

I’ve done with body and head, but I still didn’t know how to make the tail. Meanwhile -for me- the tail -the feathers- is the most important part of a peacock. It was the most beautiful part of a peacock, and I have an ambition to make it as real as possible.
My ambition got bigger when I purchased a real peacock feather. Its beauty really thrilled me. And I promised myself to do whatever I could to realize my peacock design.

It took me over a year to solve this problem. I found this spike seahorse over the internet, and that AHHA!!!!! *a BIG lightbulb turned on in my head* came to me.
I quickly grabbed my sketch book and sketched down another peacock drawing. This time I finally could sketched every details of it. I could even sketch down some insets with detailed size, materials, and colors of every parts!!

What? You wanna know what did I write as note on my last sketch?
I wrote:
find perfect stone: blue with greenish one, with some sparkle if it’s possible.
Find perfect SWAROVSKI colors
Find perfect materials for it

Materials hunting
Next step was hunting for perfect materials.
I planned to use dyed druzy at first, but I can’t find perfect druzy. As usual, the one with perfect color was either too big or too small..
The one with perfect size was in wrong color *ouch*

Until one day a good friend of mine offered me this beautiful gems. A natural london blue topaz. Another AHHA!!!!! strike my mind. The color, the size, the sparkles.. All are PERFECT!
I doubted to take it, for it was too much for me, almost unaffordable for me. But that crazy lil artist inside me said “remember what you said, you’ll do anything to realize it”
Dang! I just had to take it. And generously, my friend gave me a great deal.
Long story short, I got my perfect stone. Yeay!!

After holding the gems in my hand, I know I can’t use my ordinary copper wire to wrap it. It’ll be a silly thing to do. So I save my money to buy some fine silver wire and gold-filled wire. I also started to collect all my sterling silver wire.

Choosing the right SWAROVSKI colors was another issue. I finally took denim blue and peridot, both with AB coating.
It took me almost 6 months to collect all materials needed.

Practice makes perfect
I used several techniques to make MΓ΄ra: spike technique, making balled end wire, prong setting, and a bit hammering.

I tried to use all these techniques in several projects. I really wanna ensure myself that I won’t make any single silly mistake (which I did!!!!).
I won’t let myself touch the materials before I’m ready.

The real process
I started to work on the body by setting the stone with prong setting.
I made two different claws: a pair of standard prong claws, and a pair of balled end claws.

Next step was forming its head. I weaved thin wire over the frame wire and form a 3D head with it. I also heated the end of each wire to make eyes. Flattened it a bit with my pliers while it was still hot to give it accent.

When my gold-filled wire arrived, I know I was ready to make the most important part of my project: the feathers.
I failed on my first attempt *sob*

20130118-011121.jpg

It looked too heavy and not fluttery enough. But after some mind-opening chat with my friend, I finally figured out how to make the feathers look fluttery. (Thanks to you, Renata. You know I owe you a lot.. Too much to be counted.. Thanks!!)

Some suggestions from my friends over my FB page also helped me to give the feathers ‘light and airy’ look. (Thanks to you, Wendy!)

I added some very thin wire (about 0.2 mm wide) between each spikes of the feather then trimmed and flattened it using my pliers. These wires gave fluttering look to the feathers.

Finally I assembled each parts, added a bail and a pin, so it could be worn as pendant and brooch.

MΓ΄ra is one of my milestones. It’s my first piece using real natural gemstones and gold-filled wire. It also a piece that I designed, planned and make with every effort that I can do. Like my friend said, I did go the whole nine yards to get to my dream-peacock.

It took almost 4 years to bring my dream-peacock into real. Can I proudly tell you that MΓ΄ra is my masterpiece?

-it IS a long post, right? Hope you enjoy reading it just like I enjoy writing (err, typing) it.

Thanks for reading, and see ya!!!

xoxo,

ien

Friday Featured Piece: Thystvine Set

This week featured piece taken from my latest jewelry set project.
It was request by my old friend for her wedding day.

She came to me few months ago, requested me to design something for her wedding. Her requests were: purple, beautiful, classy, with a bit glamorous touch.

When I started to design her jewelries, I was really fond of Swarovski square ring. And really wanna try my hands on it.
So I designed a jewelry set using it. Fortunately she approved my design (yeay!).

The jewelry making process begun, and I just realized that it’s not as easy as I imagined.

The Bracelet

Thystvine Bracelet

Thystvine Bracelet

To set the square rings was not easy. Specially if I want it move freely like chain. I used jump rings here if you can see the details clearly.
When I finally managed to set three square rings as the bracelet focal piece I stucked.

Second problem was to make the rest of the bracelet. I wanted it to be delicate.
I then decided to make some vines and attached some amethyst Swarovski crystals. I’m very glad that it turned out into sturdy yet delicate part.

Bracelet parts done, assembling them was not a big matter at all, not to mention some tiny jump rings attached to the focal part lol

The Earrings

Thystvine Earrings

Thystvine Earrings

She asked me to make her pierced earrings with chandelier look.

Just like the bracelet. Biggest challenge was to set the square rings. With some tricks I finally managed it, and added amethyst Swarovski drop to each swirls.

Overall the design was look like intertwined vines with some amethyst splashes.
I love how it turns out after I cleaned and polished them using my new flexshaft (YEAY!!! Happy dance).

Moreover, I’m really glad that she love them.
I can’t wait for her wedding pictures, hopefully she will send me the pic because I can’t come to her wedding reception (I’m sorry..)

By the way, this set was made with lots of prayers within each intertwined vines, each swirls and rings and coils..
Prayers for her happy marriage and love life.

Happy wedding, Vin πŸ™‚

Materials:
Fine silver wire, sterling silver wire, SWAROVSKI components

Size:
Bracelet fit 6.75″
Earrings approx. 2″ from top of pierce earrings part to bottom

xoxo,

ien

My Monday – A Year in Review: 2012 (Part 1)

I can’t believe it’s new year eve (again!).
Feels like we just stepped into 2012 and now we’re heading to 2013.

What have I done in 2012?
What have I reached in 2012?
Did I reach my 2012 goals?
Did I learn new things in 2012?
Did I take my jewelry making skill to new levels this year?

*Be sure you take a good position to read, this post is gonna be a long post lol*

New Techniques
This year I did learned some new techniques:

    Spike techniques
    Setting stone without netted bezel or prong
    How to use flexshaft
    How to make balled end

I planned to write about these techniques, but haven’t get the time (yeah yeah yeah, same old excuse -I know)

I hope these techniques could take my jewelry design and making journey to next chapter πŸ™‚

New Tools
This year, specially during these last 2 months I decided to invest on some new tools -excluding replacing my old standard tools with new standard tools, lol.

I hope these tools can help me improve my skills, and my jewelries quality.
Have I told you before that I am that kinda person who always try to use finding objects around me instead of buying tools? Yes, I’m that kinda person. I always think that it’s better for me to save the money for materials than tools.
Maybe that’s because jewelry making hasn’t become a full time job for me. It’s more like a stress reliever and a hobby for me.
Or maybe because I haven’t make too much sales so tools investment is not my primary concern.
Therefore, if I buy any tools, that would be something irreplaceable (is it a real word?)

So here are my new tools:

    Micro torches (yes, I got TWO!!!)
    Flexshaft
    Caliper for beads and stones
    Needle nose pliers
    Hammer
    Lightbox and led lamp
    Some jewelry displays
    Wire burr/wire rounder
    US standard size ring iron mandrel (the old ones has innacurate size I think, and was made of wood)
    Acrylic ring sizer

Pretty much investment for someone like me. But I’m sure they’ll be usefull :p

Hey!!!! It’s new year already here..
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!
may this year brings us health, joy, prosperity and success πŸ™‚

Guess I better stop here.
We’re gonna have our annual prayers πŸ˜€

See ya!!!!

2013, here we come!!!!!

Friday Featured Piece: Prince Aldric Caerulea from Anouran Kingdom

Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince who lived under a curse. A kiss from a girl who really love will set him free.
What’s the problem, we might think.
To kiss a handsome prince is easy. Piece of cake.
But what if the handsome prince is a…
FROG?

Okay, that’s not the original version of The Princess and The Frog tale. But, Hey!! I’m trying to be original here lol.

I bet most of you are familiar with the story. Disney just made their movie based on the story.

For the contest I mentioned in my previous post, I made a frog brooch, inspired by this tale.
I still remember the day I got the idea.
I was looking at my druzy stash -wondering what should I make for the competition- when my eyes found a big green triangle druzy.

It was too big to be a part of lil creatures, and I can’t imagine it being a part of delicate things.
It’s bold, therefore I should find something special for this druzy.
I thought it would be perfect for animal body parts. So I browsed and browsed and browsed about green animal, and frog was one of the result. After some times rotating the druzy, I can see a frog in it.

I remembered a merry prince in Disney’s Princess and The Frog. I thought he really fit the frog in Β my imagination. So I started work on him.

The hardest part was when I realized that I made a mistake, AFTER I FINISHED WORK ON HIM. Based on some references I read, frog has 4 toes on each foot. Dang!! My prince has only 3 toes!!!

Well, I have to admit that I was too lazy to re-work on him, and I think he looks so handsome with his 3 toes *creator’s excuses, please ignore this*

So, here he is. Prince Aldric Caerulea from Anouran Kingdom

Prince Aldric Caerulea

Materials: Dyed druzy, permanently colored copper wire, SWAROVSKI components.

Size: approx. 2″ height

Friday Featured Piece: La Guitarra Broodant

There is no woman who sleeps so deeply that the sound of a guitar won’t bring her to the window.

~ Spanish proverbs

Guitar have always been one of my fave musical instrument 
I don’t know why, but I think it’s sexy -apart from its shape.
Remember the old school days, I insisted to learn how to play it. Spent every day trying to remember the chords.

I still remember the song I learned: More Than Words by Extreme.

Okay, long story short: few weeks ago a friend of mine, Vickie asked me to made her a guitar broodant (brooch and pendant).
Her request remind me about my secret passionproject: making guitar with wire.

Vickie kindheartedly sent me some links for some guitar pictures. After some “meditational” process (read: sleeping, eating, playing with my babygirl, and repeating those things all over again), I sat and sketched my design. Vickie approved it, and she (once more) kindheartedly
set my wild imagination free ξ€’ξ€’ξ€’

And here’s the result:

20120719-113116.jpg

I made it from permanently colored copper wire in gold and gun metal color.
Three strands of wire were used to form its body. Inner details were made of middle layer wire. Then I added 30 gauge wire as strings.

Materials:
Permanently colored copper wire & SWAROVSKI crystals

Size:
Approx. 2″ by 1.25″

More Handcrafted jewelries?  Visit my FB page

Don’t forget to hit the like button 
thank you!!!

~ien

Friday Featured Piece: Mom & Daughter Puzzle Pendant

Another Friday has come πŸ™‚

My featured piece for today was taken from my own projects: a puzzle pendant in sterling silver.

Actually, I don’t know what do fashionable people call this kinda pendant. But to me, it reminds me of puzzle. So, I call it puzzle pendant.

Just like jigsaw puzzle, this these pendants can be worn as single pendant when you pair them together, or wear it separately as independent pendant.

It took me few weeks to figure out how to create the pendant: how to link them without any bail/clasp.

Finally I came up with this idea.

20120613-172430.jpg
A single piece from mom’s hair and..

20120613-172449.jpg
The butterfly held by the daughter became the ‘bail/clasp’, like this:

20120615-112348.jpg

Each piece features SWAROSKI birthstone crystals of the family member. In this case: father, mother, and their daughter.

I think I’m gonna make one for me and Claire 

Hope you like this one like I do, and see you in next post 

ξ€’
ien

PS: more collections of my artworks please visit my FB page ξ€Ž

Thank you!! ξŒƒ

Tuesday Tool: Round nose pliers & Cutter pliers

Today I wanna shared about ROUND NOSE PLIERS & FLUSH CUTTERS. I’m sure if you’re making jewelry, you’re familiar with these pliers.

My first tool when I started making jewelry was a round nose plier and a cutter plier. Both of them belong to my mother. I borrowed them from her. Nooo, she never make any jewelry. She used to make some handicrafts using them. I wish I could share their pictures, but I have returned them to my mom. Maybe later, when I visit my mom, I’ll take some pictures of them πŸ™‚

Next round nose plier and cutter plier of mine was a gift. I participated in a challenge held by Nilma Hoffman, one of my fave jewelry artisan. She challenged us (new wire workers) to make flower theme jewelries. I submitted an entry. A simple tulip earrings. And.. erm.. I won the basic category :p Nilma sent me these pliers as the prize.

I love the colors, but the joints wasn’t very good I think (or maybe I used it carelessly). After several months my round nose plier can’t help me make any detailed curves, loop, and other parts. It kept slipping through the wire, and scratched it >.<

So I know it’s time for me to buy new pliers! I found these high tech series. They are quite affordable (for me), very light in weight, and has comfortable grip πŸ™‚

Here they are, my round nose plier and flush cutters!

For you who doesn’t familiar with these tools, here are some brief explanation for them.

They are basic tools you need for jewelry making.

Round nose pliers are pliers with conical jaws and are used for making loops in wire. I used this pliers to make ear wires, loops, eye pins, swirls, curves, spirals, and almost everything! Meanwhile ordinary wire cutter leaves both end of cut wire sharp and pointed, a flush cutter is leaves one end of the cut wire flush or flat, while the opposite end of the cut wire is sharp or pointed. It gives clean and tidy look to your jewelry!!

I feel so happy with my round nose and flush cutter at this moment. They’re my wire wrapping soul mate πŸ™‚

See you on next Tuesday Tools!

xoxo,

ien

Ma Petite Tulip Earrings