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It’s 2020! Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2020! I hope the new year finds you well!

What’s New? 

Last time I posted Inktober was approaching and so was my carpal tunnel release surgery. I sat down a bagillion times to write an update, but… ok, no excuses. I just didn’t do it. But it’s a new year and the perfect time to start afresh! 

First, what happened with Inktober and Drawlloween? Let’s start with the bad news. I didn’t finish Drawlloween. I got the first week done and then fizzled out before surgery. For some reason it just wasn’t flowing this year. There were a couple of decent drawings in there, but a few bad ones killed the momentum. I thought I might finish it up once my hand felt better after surgery, but recovery took a lot longer than I expected. You can find the stuff I did get done here. 

Now on to the good news! I finished Inktober! Aaaaaand I did the whole thing left-handed! The drawings aren’t detailed and they are mostly terrible, but it was a fun exercise in just getting some stuff on paper. Even better, I did some additional left-handed drawings – most of which were Pokemon. Not to toot my own horn, but they came out pretty good! Head on over to my sketchbook page to see all the things!

What’s Next?

Streams! Lots and lots of streams! I started back in August on Mixer and have been semi-consistently broadcasting jewelry, drawing, and digital art. Now that I’ve been at it for a little bit, I have a basic schedule sorted out. I plan to be on Monday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, with any additional days being fun, fun extra days! 

There’s going to be lots of digital art, too! Clip Studio Paint is my go-to software for digital painting. If you can deal with me being kinda slow (at digital painting), you’ll be able to check out all of my progress and finished work on Insta and Twitter

There will still be traditional art and jewelry and Chewy and Pokey AAAAND we have two new additions to the household – Shawn and Timmy the parakeets! I’m super excited for 2020! How about you? 

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

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Third Time’s a Charm – Jewelry Making with the Kiddo

jewelry making copper pipe pendant necklaces rings bracelets

It. Finally. Happened. I made some new jewelry! I hope you weren’t holding your breath this whole time… Everything was laid out – beads, copper pipe sections, cord, glue – EVERYTHING. I *thought* about playing around and making some new pendants. I thought reeeeaaaalllly hard. 

Then I put it all away because it was just SITTING THERE. 

The cleaning struggle is real…

A short while later I went on a reorganization spree that hit every room in the house. All of my art supplies are now neatly tucked away in plastic boxes! Yay!So I pulled out my boxes of jewelry making supplies and put them *back* on the table. Then I thought about making some new pendants. I thought about it EVEN HARDER that time. I legit took some stuff out and fit things together and contemplated the universe in a noncommittal way – then put it all away.

‘Nuff said.

Not too long after that Mixer made its rounds in the media for all the reasons we don’t need to discuss here and I decided to check it out. After poking around the creative section I noticed a few things: 

  1. It’s a lot less crowded than Twitch
  2. Most of creators are digital artists
  3. I’ve seen zero other people making jewelry on Mixer (although that could just be a timing thing)

That night I casually asked my son if he would be interested in making some jewelry with me and streaming it. Of course he was all about it and wanted to get started that very instant and maybe play some Minecraft after or some Geometry Dash and we should get Super Mario Maker 2 and… Anyway, getting my mini-me in on the crafting fun meant less screen time for him and more accountability for me. Win-win!

You really should check out chibird. 🙂

For the *third* time I pulled out my jewelry making supplies, but this time I set up the camera, mic, and lights. After some test recording and even a *GASP* test pendant – away we went! We streamed for a few hours and I got a few new pendants done while helping my super enthusiastic kiddo make two necklaces, two rings, and two bracelets. 

My awesome friend also popped in and watched *the whole stream*, which was really cool and above and beyond. You don’t find a pal like that very often. She mentioned coming over to watch IRL, but crafts aren’t a spectator sport in my house! MUAHAHAHAHA!!

Anyway, here’s the stuff we made. The boy especially loves showing off his bling! <3

Jewelry making necklaces pendants bracelets and rings
One necklace was a gift and we didn’t get a pic of it.

I don’t know why I didn’t think to take pictures along the way. I guess I went full n00b even though it technically wasn’t my first stream. For some reason our stream was flipped when we went live, even though it looked fine in OBS. Of course I didn’t realize it until the end. 

We all have our moments…

On top of that, the table was a MESS. Short of anything to do with resin, I had just about everything I use for jewelry making on that table “just in case”. It wasn’t all in frame, but there was a lot of reaching and confusion and switching seats – exactly how it would have been without the camera. 🙂

I ended up taking down the stream recording because my precious little one is still learning about what to say/not say online – especially live. At some point I’ll take highlights from the stream and post a video. We’re definitely going to be streaming more and it won’t just be jewelry. Drawing, painting, games and whatever else we can think of will be part of the createm0de channel! 

What would you like to see us make? Come find us on Mixer!

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

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Updating the Etsy Shop

photography studio lighting softbox kit

Finally! New stuff is being added to my Etsy shop! And when I say “new” I mean jewelry I made a couple or more months ago and never properly photographed… It’s not that I don’t like doing it, but I don’t keep up with it. Then it results in LOTS of work to do all at once and it takes all the fun out of it. Of course that means the Etsy shop ends up being a dumpy old out of date jewelry page.

No more of that! (Hopefully…)

I decided to order one of those “product photography” kits from Amazon. Not that buying something will magically update my Etsy shop for me, but I figured if I could take some really nice, somewhat professional-looking product photos that the ginormous backlog of jewelry to post wouldn’t seem so bad. In that respect, it’s working and I’m getting new items posted to the shop. Yay!

But let’s talk about this kit that I bought. You’ll see them all over the place. It basically a soft box that you light from the outside. Many of them (like mine) fold up into a neat little square and come with backdrops, lights, and a camera stand. The one I got even has pouches in the front where you can store the extra gear. I didn’t want to get the cheapest of the cheap because I wanted something halfway decent, but I still went fairly cheap. I think I spent maybe $50? 

photography studio kit lighting product etsy ring lights camera softbox phone
I ended up having to use my own lights.

Well guess what – that was still too cheap! The box itself is okay, though it sags a bit on top. It’s quick and easy to set up and folds back very nicely. If I could do it again I would get just the soft box and I wouldn’t pay more than $15 for it. The rest of the kit was pretty much useless. The lights are these little ring lights that aren’t all that bad, but the stands they are on are beyond cheap. It would be okay if I could take the lights off and put them on something else, but the mounts aren’t universal and are the same cheap plastic as the stands. 

photography studio kit lighting product etsy ring lights camera softbox tripod phone
If this worked properly it would basically be a weapon.

To open the base of the light stand you have to turn the end of it and these metal death spikes come shooting out. Then you splay them out and it’s a little tripod. One of the stands wouldn’t open and I’m pretty sure forcing it would break it (should I care about breaking it at this point?). The other stand won’t close back up.

Then there’s phone/camera stand. It’s some of the cheapest plastic I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t figure out how to open it at first. It looks like a garden hose attachment when it’s folded and two of the legs swing out to make it a tripod. I didn’t even try to use it. 

phone stand tripod photography kit studio camera photography studio kit lighting product etsy ring lights camera softbox
Behold! Color correction fail! Side Note: It’s not a sprayer. Side Side Note: That’s one of the death spikes peeking in from the left…
photography studio kit lighting product etsy ring lights camera softbox tripod
I’m afraid that if I throw this out at home my trash can will get mad at me. It’s that bad.

I did end up getting some decent shots of my jewelry, but it took some editing afterward. The box didn’t light up very much, even with my own lights, so that had to be adjusted. Despite that, I had to do zero color correction and that alone is a win in my book! I’m not super happy about the wasted cash, but I am saving time editing because color correcting is a PITA. Pretty soon I’ll have nice uniform pics of my jewelry in my Etsy shop!

After my first photo shoot with the new box, I packed everything up. This was where I realized that I was not going to be able to get that light stand closed up. So I just crammed it in the front pocket for now. Maybe a gnome will swing by later and take care of that for me. 🙂

photography studio kit lighting product etsy ring lights camera softbox tripod
I leave this by the door at night as a trap for intruders.

All in all, one of these boxes is worth getting, but save your money and don’t get a kit. You’re just spending more for a bunch of junk. It’s cheaper to grab a couple of clamp lights and daylight bulbs, which are a great to have around anyway, and get a nicer box (or make your own).

Thanks for reading! Please swing by my Etsy shop and check out the new listings. More is on the way! Until next time!

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Copper Pipe and Impressed Blanks

jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart

It’s time to take some poorly stamped blanks and make slightly better looking copper pipe pendants out of them! Are you ready? If you don’t remember the whole ordeal that was my first experience with metal stamping, you can find that here. TL;DR – if there wasn’t such a thing as a “rage pendant” before, it exists now because I made one. 

Setting aside the dramatic process of rage jewelry making, sometimes things work out beautifully! It just so happens that those little blanks are the PERFECT size to dangle inside a slice of copper pipe. 

jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart
Why does my mat look so dirty? 🙁

I started out with the Tree of Life piece since it came out the closest to some sort of reasonably good usable impressed upon metal. What do you call a stamped blank anyway? Is there a word for it? Or is it just a stamped blank and that’s it? Well the tree was kinda good and I like the design, so I snipped a bit (too much) of black wire. I thought it would look good with the design, and it does, but there’s one problem with black craft wire. It is SO easy to get tool marks on it and then you’re left with very noticeable copper spots. It also makes me wonder how long the black will last on the wire, but this was an experiment, so perfection was not necessary. I kept the natural curve of the wire after the loop to go with the design. 

jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart
It wouldn’t focus!

I took a slice of copper pipe with a hole drilled in it and threaded the wire through. A quick loop and a wrap later and it became a pendant! I like how this wrap looks, but it doesn’t prevent the pipe from spinning around the blank. I think that might be okay (like a “feature”) for some pieces, but in this case I’m not wild about it. 

jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart
Pliers make a great prop for stubborn jewelry that won’t sit still.

Round two! This time I wanted to fix the spinny pipe problem, so I started this piece the same way as the first, but finished the wrap a little differently. I gave it a little “tail” to bend down over the back of the pipe. At first I tried to bend the wire on itself to give it a more finished look and to keep it from having a cut wire sitting against the wearer. The only problem is that it rarely ever occurs to me to measure things when it comes to wire wrapping. No big deal, right? Eyeballing it is totally fine! 

jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart
Measuring is for chumps!

Eyeballing it did not work this time around and my tail was waaaaay too long. Since you can’t really unbend a wire that’s bent in half (well, you CAN, but it will most likely break), I had no choice but to cut it. By the way, eyeballing it totally worked that time and that tail did its job. No more spinny pipe pendant!

jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart
Ok, maybe measuring can be helpful… (*grumble grumble*)


jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart
Mission accomplished!

Are you ready for the finale? The rage piece got a little extra experimentation. Instead of drilling a hole for the wire, I decided to wrap the blank onto the pipe. That way it saves me from drilling a hole and the pipe won’t spin. It’s also because I thought I drilled three pieces of pipe, but apparently only did two. Oops!

jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart
The question now is: leather or chain?

It might need a little tweaking, but it’s not too bad! The wrap also gives the rage stamps the subtle air of suffocating angst. (Was that too much?) This might be the one I wear myself! 

All in all these were a lot of fun to make! If I can get my stamping technique on point this could be a whole other line for my shop. 

jewelry making craft copper pipe metal stamping impressart
But what do I call them??

There will definitely be more of these coming with more precision and less frustration! If you have an idea that you want me to try, let me know in the comments below or find me on Twitter. 

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

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Impressart! Metal Stamping is Hard!

impressart metal stamping jewelry making kit blanks block hammer stamps

**Before we get started – this post contains affiliate links!**

Ok, metal stamping isn’t THAT tough – but it’s harder than it looks. This week I picked up a metal stamping kit by Impressart to try my hand at it. I have some ideas about how I can use it with my copper pipe jewelry so now you get to read all about my test run! I also thought that maybe, just, maybe, I could use the stamps on the copper pipe itself, but NOPE. Good thing that wasn’t the only plan I had…

impressart metal stamping jewelry making kit blanks block hammer stamps
Side note – I got this because I totally needed another project. Side side note – I’ve had the materials to make a sketchbook from scratch for two months. Somebody please yell at me about that.

The Impressart kit includes the metal block, a special little hammer, practice blanks, and an upper case alphabet stamp set. I also picked up some handy little sticker guides to keep things  nice and neat. Full disclosure: this isn’t actually the first run, but since I’m not going to put the names of people I know on the internet you get to see my second try. Let’s just say the first one, which also used a sticker, was pretty bad. Crooked, poorly spaced, stamp not hit evenly – you name it. But don’t worry – I have other fails for you!

This practice run is for a tag for my dog. His name is Chewy and he doesn’t mind if you know that. You see, Chewy has a bad habit of chewing his dog tags. All it takes is a few minutes of leaving him hime alone with his tags on and they will be unrecognizable. He also ate lights off the Christmas tree one year and he loves to eat paper. We named him Chewy for other reasons, but clearly lives up to the name!

dog piggy snuggle impressart
He likes to snuggle his piggy. <3

The tag started off great! By great I mean I got the very first letter crooked. It became more apparent as I kept stamping. It’s also off center. Not by too much, but on such a small piece any mistakes are WAY more obvious! 

Impressart metal stamping blank fail dog tag
I don’t know if I can live with that E…

When it was all done it didn’t look too bad. Then I took the sticker off… 

impressart blank tag mistake fail metal stamping stamp
It’s too high!

Definitely not customer quality, but I don’t think Chewy will mind. Pro tip: measure the blank and put the sticker in the right place to start with. I just eyeballed it and for customer-ready pieces that won’t fly. It was at this point that I realized I can’t stamp the back with our phone number. Why? I don’t have number stamps! 

impressart metal stamping stamp blank dog tag enamel pen
This thing also leaked all over my table! I wish I had a pic, but at least it doesn’t leak anymore…

To make the letters stand out I used the Impressart enamel pen. Just scribble the stuff on, let it dry for a couple of minutes, and wipe it off. It also makes those pesky mistakes stand out even more. Pro tip: don’t forget about the stuff after you put it on. If it dries completely, it’s a pain to wipe off and rubbing too hard can take it out of the impression. 

impressart enamel pen blank dog tag metal stamp stamping
It kinda hard to see because all my close ups came out blurry. Trust me, it’s totally more defined!

I picked up a few tiny blanks and extra stamps to play with and let’s just say that the smaller you go, the more precise you need to be. The first one was supposed to be a single heart. Easy enough, right?? No. Not even a little bit. I scrutinized the placement of that stamp. Agonized over it! Contemplated the meaning of my existence until I was absolutely POSITIVE that stamp was dead center of that blank. It wasn’t. But adding another heart to it would hide that, right? RIGHT?? My very existence depended on it! 

No. It didn’t do that at all. It doesn’t look awful, but it’s still off. So I tried again. The heart was much closer to center, BUT… I wasn’t holding the stamp evenly. Augh! So I did what any normal person would do and pounded hearts into that tiny little blank until I felt better. It looks kinda cool… sorta… not really… Ok, third time’s a charm! I have this cute little tree stamp and it came out *almost* in the center. Pretty darn close actually! The impression still wasn’t totally even either, but at this point I’m not sure if I need more practice or if I just suck at this. 

impressart metal stamping stamp blanks enamel fail
I’m still going to try these with some copper pipe. I love experiments!

Is there a market for intentionally bad stamped jewelry? It might be time to find out! Stay tuned to see how these look with some copper pipe. See you then! Thanks for reading!

P.S. This was not a paid promotion, just my own experience. 

P.P.S. I’m totally ok with being sent stuff to try out. 🙂