Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Metal Etching and Earring Exchange

Wow is it cold here.  I'm huddled up to my cup of joe trying not to look outside at the wind blowing the trees all around.  October is definitely here and a little early too.

I was busy yesterday trying out the metal etching technique Barbara Lewis at Jewelry of Distinction had mentioned in her blog last week.  This is a 2:1 of hydrogen peroxide to muriatic acid (HCl).  I mixed it up in a 16 cup plastic container with an airtight seal.

I'm familiar with HCl since I worked with it just about every day in the chemistry lab.  The laboratory grade is much stronger than what's sold at your local Home Depot but you should keep the same safety guidelines in mind when working with it.  This is serious stuff.  Here's a few things to keep in mind when you are doing the etching process.

  • Wear your goggles! Oh, and don't wear contacts when you are etching.  If you accidentally spill HCl in your eyes the acid can get in between your eye and your contacts.  Also, the vapors from working with HCl can creep in between your contact and your eye.
  • Accidents happen.  If you get the acid on your skin please wash immediately with soap and water.  I have a scar on my wrist from HCl so I know accidents can happen.
  • One of the biggest things to remember is to not breathe the vapors.  It's common sense, right?  I noticed in the tutorial I was following the guy said he etched in his kitchen.  What?  Go outside.
  • Don't pour any of your mixture down the drain.  It will definitely corrode your pipes.  It's for etching metal, right?  This was obvious when working in the lab.  Our facets had corrosion on them just from the fumes.  And we only worked with it in a hood with strong suction.  We had glass pipes so luckily we didn't have to worry about that.  So, it will do the same to your pipes as well.  When I worked with it yesterday I first wiped off my pieces with paper towels then I set them in a bath of soapy water.  I then scrubbed them and rinsed.  Then I left the water run for 15 minutes down the drain.  
  • Here's one more thing that doesn't have to do with safety but about the hydrogen peroxide in this mixture.  Have you noticed how hydrogen peroxide comes in dark brown bottles?  Well, the hydrogen peroxide solution sold in drug stores is really only 3% hydrogen peroxide and the rest is water.  It is a very strong oxidizing agent so it is diluted considerably.  And when it is exposed to sunlight the molecules decompose.  Don't keep your mixture out in sunlight or you'll end up having acid diluted in just water with no oxidizing agent.  Work outside in the shade if possible.
I was happy with the results of the etching process but not my stamping process.  I tried acrylic paint, a Sharpie paint pen, and a regular Sharpie.  I loved the freedom of using the Sharpie to draw my own designs but it didn't etch well.  The paint etched much better but I tried using stamps with the paint and the paint would either dry before I had a chance to stamp it or it would glob up in places.  You should have seen me yesterday.  My hands were covered in black paint and I had a huge frown on my face.  I'm guessing that I'm using the wrong technique for the stamping part and if anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them.

I'm also finding out about the Angel policy.  I've never used stamps for anything I've planned to resell before and it can be a little tricky to know what you can and can't do.  I know several of you are into scrapbooking or mixed media so you are familiar with the policy but if you aren't here some info about the Angel policy

So, here's the results from my first etch.  These were etched then oxidized and polished.  First photo is with paint and the second is with Sharpie.

Earring Exchange
Ok, I have eight people including myself signed up for the earring exchange.  If anyone else is interested in joining the group please let me know ASAP.  Here's the Thanksgiving Treasures blog post of when I had originally talked about the idea.  For those of us doing the swap here is a list of questions I need you to answer.
  1. What is your favorite color or color combination?
  2. Do you prefer silver tone, copper tone, or gold tone metal?
  3. Do you like longer of shorter earrings?
  4. Do you have sensitive ears?  If so, what type of metal would work best for you?
  5. What is your favorite type of beads (gemstones, lampwork, porcelian, etc.)?
  6. What is your address along with your full name?
Now we haven't talked about price range for these.  I'm thinking $15-20 dollar price range.  And this is the range at which you would normally sell these not your cost in materials.  I will send out a name and info to everyone by Oct. 4th.  Everyone will have the month of October to create their earrings and they should go into the mail no later than Oct.31st.  Please feel free to send a business card along with your gift or a personal note.  And we'd all love to see pictures of the items once you receive them.  Any questions?  Is there anything I forgot to cover?  Please let me know.

Please email this info to leslie@beimondi.com as soon as you can so we can get started.

And here's Lizzy!  This cute little lizard is the highlight of the lampwork bracelet.  She likes hanging around to give a little giggle to your day.  What big beautiful eyes she has!  Lizzy will go into the Bei Mondi Etsy shop today so please say hello to her if you have the time.

Lizzy says have a great day!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Can We Just Skip Mondays?

What a dreary Monday!  Did you know Pittsburgh gets more rainfall than Seattle?  Oh yes, it seems like our skies stay gray from October till May.  Ugh!  I guess I can't complain too much since I've only had to water my new grass seed once since I planted it two weekends ago and it's growing like crazy.  It is sad though that we had tickets to see the Pirates play on Saturday but , as you guessed, it was raining.  We probably could have gone anyway but the kiddo has a cold so it just wasn't happening.  One good part of the weekend was this.

I got a recipe for pancakes with this yummy apple spice topping from Cinnamon Stick's blog.  They were so good!  I'm such a sucker for apples and cinnamon.

And I finally got my friends present finished.  Remember a while back I was asking about making her something with the color purple.  I wanted to create something in autumn colors also with a plum color.  And this is what I came up with.


It's not exactly what I had envisioned but my projects never end up looking like what I first planned.  I added the "Believe" stamping and lots of copper charms.  Can you tell I'm a Sharilyn Miller fan?  Just look in her new book and you'll see what I mean.  Oh, and my daughter helped with the prop for this picture.  These are all the leaves she found on our walk.  What pretty colors!!

Sugar and Spice Lampwork Bracelet
I also put this guy together for my spotlight item this week.  The soft yellow lampwork with flecks of purples I found at Being Beads on Etsy and the burgundy ruffles are from Norma Brink.  Oxidized sterling silver wire throughout and handmade clasp.  This guy will be 10% off this week bringing it from $68.99 to $62.09 in the Bei Mondi store.

Well, I'm off to go get that cup of Kona coffee that keeps calling my name.  Hope your Monday weather is looking better than mine and have fun regardless!

Friday, September 25, 2009

If You're My Mom Please Don't Read This!

So, what's with the title?  I haven't done anything bad so don't worry.  My mom's B-day is coming up soon and I wanted to show off what I got for her. Mom is pretty hard to shop for these days.  You all know the person who has everything and if there's something they want then they buy it in no time flat.  Every year it's a dilemma on what to purchase this present challenged person.   

Mom, if you are there now is the time to turn away.  No peeking! 

So, what do you buy the person who has everything???

Well, a nose picking garden gnome with plumber's crack, of course!

Nasty Gnome Nose Picking Figurine

Nasty Gnome Nose Picking Figurine

Dear ol' mom just got a new shed and loves to garden so I figured this little guy would be perfect to greet her everyday out in the yard.  Oh, and mom has a sense of humor so don't worry.  She's gonna love him!

I got this little guy from Niswander Ceramics.  This is one cool shop!  My second favorites after the gnome is her Halloween items. 

Whimsy Skulls Salt and Pepper Shakers

Franken' Stein Blue

Mummy Stein 1

Look at the character on these faces!  I'm a real sucker for any Halloween decorations especially cute ones.  This shop makes everything from the smallest salt and pepper shakers to large sculptures.  Laurie of Niswander Ceramics is one amazing artist so please check out her work.

Another very talented artist of mention is Giovanna Tataje Ocampo.  I met her while doing my first Etsy chat the other night and yes, Giovanna, it is humid in Pittsburgh right now.  These are her elaborate sculpture paintings that are created with a knife technique.  They have a 3-D look to them and seem to jump off the page.  Look!  She even paints around all the edges.  Beautiful, marvelous, and simply breath taking! 

RAIN PARK FOREST LOVERS original impasto oil painting knife texture by GYS ART

PARIS EIFFEL TOWER original oil painting knife impasto texture by GYS ART, PRICE REDUCED

And my favorite!

PORTAL RAIN PARK LOVERS original knife impasto oil painting mini 6 x 6 by GYS ART

Her brilliant work can be found on Etsy at GYS ART.  Please take the time to stop by and look at this work.  So pretty!

Enjoy your weekend!  If you are Judy from Judith B Designs I know you'll be enjoying yourself.  She's off to an amazing vacation.  So jealous! 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Morning Walk

And now I know how long the winter lasts in Pittsburgh.

Hm, interesting backyard decoration you've got there.

One of my adoring fans Mrs. Emily or Em Em for short.

"Ok, enough with the pictures lady.  I've got mailboxes to sniff and chipmunks to hunt.  Let's go!"

And what makes it all worth while.  Nice cup of Kona coffee.  Check out that froth!

And to top it off my new favorite treat.  Greek yogurt, fresh raspberries, bananas, few cashews, little granola, and drizzle of honey.  Oh, so heavenly!

Hope you're enjoying your morning as much as I am!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Ramblings

Hey girls!  I guess I've been MIA for the past couple of days on the blog.  Not much to show here since I'm patiently waiting for supplies to roll in.  I did manage to practice stamping and put together a few earrings sets.  Nothing too exciting.  Here's the first attempt at stamping.

Not great but it's a start.  I started the metal stamping on a piece of wood.  How dumb was that?  Let's just say that piece of wood has seen better days.  And I was first trying to stamp with a soft rubber mallet.  I guess you live and learn.  Jeanette at Fundametals.net sent me several helpful hints to help me out with this process.  I love her advice on using several layers of tape to create a lip to line your stamps up on to create straight letters.  She covered everything from what type of hammer to use to how hard to hit the stamps.  Those art stamps are little stinkers.  It's tough to get all those details in.  Anyway, this is a "practice makes perfect" project that I will hope to perfect.

The spotlight item for this week on my website is the "My Copper Penny" bracelet.  Whenever an item is put up as a spotlight item I will offer an extra 10% off along with free shipping.  That brings this little gem down to $17.99!

These are the little earrings sets I made recently.  I'll put one on Etsy and one in the Bei Mondi shop.

Lots of Swarovski crystals to gleam and sparkle.  I left the sterling silver alone and didn't worry about oxidizing since I thought it might take away from the shine.  This matches perfectly with the Isabella's Secret Skeleton Key necklace. 

Pretty in Pink (in Bei Mondi.com later today)
Tourmalines again but this time in a pretty soft pink.  Lots of these babies dangling everywhere with one tiny Swarovski crystal in the middle.  Sterling silver has been oxidized and polished.  Well, that's all for me today.  I hope you ladies enjoy your Wednesday!  :0)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What a Lovely Giveaway!

Esther at Mes illusions baroques is having a giveaway for two beautiful works of art.  Just take a look!

If you haven't visited her blog before please take the time to go see what it's all about.  She is a remarkable artist with unimaginable style.  Each piece she creates is unique with wonderful vintage flair.  She recently opened her own Etsy shop Illusions Barock, and you won't be disappointed.  This is one of my absolute favorites.
les trois fillettes

Can you believe all the detail put into this piece?  Wow!  Not only that, she is a wonderfully generous person with a very big heart always willing to help out or give a word of kindness.  :)

Friday, September 18, 2009


Spending the day researching the metal etching project. You girls never let me down! Several of you sent info on the process and I thank you so much! I'd love to see everyone's etching artwork since it seems like several of you have been down this road. I'm also planning on playing around more with the stamps this weekend and possibly changing the look of the blog. Everyone needs a change now and then!

Here's my attempt at mixing metals. Pictures taken on my old text book from college. It's good to see it's still being put to good use. :)

Hardware Bracelet and Earrings
Copper and brass washers connected by sterling silver wire. The middle focal on the bracelet contains all three metals with lots of sterling silver wrapped in the center. All oxidized in LOS and hand polished to bring out the shine of the metal. Lots of fun to create!

Enjoy the weekend ladies!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Need Help From BlogLand

Good morning or I guess it's almost afternoon. I am once again looking for help from "blogland". I've got two things to ask about today. The first is metal etching. I'm looking for a really detailed tutorial on the process. I found a few things online but most of what I found didn't include pictures. I NEED PICTURES! And I'm on the hunt for ferric chloride. I had read somewhere that you could purchase ferric chloride at Radio Shack. Yeah, it seemed weird to me too but I tried none the less to see if they had it. The guy behind the register asked me, "Why? Are you making a bomb?" Hm... that tells me they probably don't carry it. He told me to try Lowe's. I went to Lowe's and the guy said, "Nah, you need a chemistry store or something like that." Now, I remember seeing ferric nitrate in the lab long ago or maybe that was ferric chloride, but regardless, I won't be going back to my old job asking for chemicals. So, where's the best place to buy this stuff? And do you need a lot? I've had plenty of experience working with really nasty chemicals so that part doesn't bother me. I worked with nitric and hydrocloric acid on a daily basis before which I understand can etch metal but my pipes aren't protected to dispose of these chemicals. I understand the safety issues and I have my own lab coat and googles at home for just an occasion. Please help me out!

Ok, on to question number two. My daughter is nine and is an excellent reader but despite that I read to her every night before bed. It's our time to talk about the day and enjoy a story together. We've been reading the Narnia series for the past few months. I would like to make her a special charm bracelet themed around the Narnia series as a Christmas present. I'd like to make all the charms different in their own way to really make it interesting. I started the piece by asking Beth from Hint to make one of her "Courage" lion charms for me. This, of course, symbolizes Aslan which, for those of you not familar, is a main character in all the books. There are seven books in the series so I'd like to shoot for a charm for each book and then maybe some small gemstones or metal charms with words from the stories to fill in the gaps. Here's what I'm searching for:
  • Large tree with fruit
  • Faun (half human and half goat)
  • horse
  • Large ship with many wooden oars
  • dwarf
  • ape
  • silver chair
Yeah, the list sounds a little odd but if you've ever read the books then you understand. If you come across anything that looks unique that happens to be one of these items please let me know. It would really help out with the project.

Ok, here's today's pieces.
This one is made from odds and ends of other lampwork sets I had lying about. I thought the colors complimented each other well. Some of these beads are from Norma Brink who I've mentioned several times. She rocks! Made with oxidized sterling silver.

And this one is similar to one I created earlier in the week. These stones are different though. Made with Monaco Agate which have wonderful browns, creams, and even a pink hue. Very nice with the warm copper.

Enjoy your Thursday! Only one more day left to the weekend. Yippee!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Girls Love The Bling, Bling

Has anyone found a decent way to take pictures of necklaces? Nothing I do looks good to me. How can you capture the essence of the piece from close up or far away? And what's the best prop you've found? Ugh! I'm frustrated. I'm thinking of purchasing a new necklace model soon. I have one short one in white and a longer one in black. The black one is completely impossible. I have yet to take a decent picture with it because of the shine. And my white one is ok but kinda hum drum boring. Any suggestions? Anyone know of a good place to shop for props?

Anywho, I was at my daughter's dance class last night and I thought it would be a great time to make some earrings. They have bar stool chairs and a tall counter right in front of the window where you can see everything going on with the dancers. Perfect set up to get some stuff done during that hour and forty-five minute wait. So, there I am minding my own business when I feel eyes staring at me. It seems the girls in class were more interested in the earrings I was making then listening to the dance instructor. I tried to hide what I was doing but then that made it worse because they wanted to know what I was hiding. Normally I would think it's kinda cool that they were all interested but I don't think the instructor appreciates half of her class staring at me and not paying attention. So, it just goes to show that no matter how old you are, if you're a girl you probably like bling, bling of some kind.

Well, here's the earrings that caused all the commotion.

Oxidized sterling silver design that looks almost like an upside-down heart. Petite green and yellow tourmaline dangling everywhere. So sweet!

And this is the cause of my frustrations today. I was trying to take pics of this necklace but nothing looks that great.

Lots of blues, browns, and gray. This beauty combines sodalite, tigereye, brown freshwater pearls, tanzanite, and blue chalcedony. Made with oxidized sterling silver.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Check Out My Website

Unfortunately, I didn't get chance to make my way to blogging yesterday. I think I've told some of you that we've been working on creating a website. My hubby is a software engineer so he was stoked, of course, to do it. I kinda have mixed feelings on it. It's another way to get people looking but I don't expect much traffic and the upkeep may be a hassle. We shall see. Most of the items I have for sale are on Etsy and the website. When you choose to buy on the website it redirects you to the Etsy page. There are a few items that are only on the website and we even have a spotlight item which is on sale for 10% off. This item will change every week. Please check out the website when you have the time. I'd love to hear input on the style and layout.


Here's this week's spotlight item.

Fallen Leaf Lariat
Pink Ocean Jasper oval stones trail through an Vintaj antique brass leaf focal piece resembling leaves falling from the trees in autumn. Chain is Vintaj antique brass with a length of 24 inches.

I'll still be contributing to my Etsy shop hopefully daily. I still think this is the best way to pick up business. I made this copper beauty to add to my Etsy shop. It features the same stones as the lariat featured above.

Harvest Time Copper Bracelet
(on Etsy later today)
Yummy warm copper linked between pink ocean jasper. Each stone varies in shades of cream, taupe, tan, and amber with an occasional pink hue. Center contains nice large focal stone along with copper washer with a sweet swirl design. Piece clasps together with a handmade toggle design with a hammered copper washer. All copper has been oxidized and hand polished to create a glowing rich patina.

Oh, and I noticed Jeanette at Fundamentals.com has the copper washers I am constantly using and they are at a better price than what I paid. These are the ones Sharilyn Miller uses in her new Contemporary Copper Jewelry book. They are so much fun to hammer and polish up. I've even started playing with brass washers I found at Lowe's. I made a bracelet and earrings with a combination of these brass and copper washers that I'll post later. You've gotta give these a try! Have a great Tuesday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where's the Smell Coming From?

I was in my basement earlier and noticed a smell. Not a musty basement smell but like... well dead animal. I'm wondering if Erin's Bee Whisperer can come and check it out. I know my husband will be just as scared as I am if not more to go peeking around to find where it's coming from. We've never seen a mouse in the house (little rhyme for ya) but who knows what could be living in the walls where we can't see. Hm... what to do? And I have two large dogs (boxers) that aren't much help either. They hide behind us with their 50+ pound body whenever they hear strange noises. I am surrounded by chickens, me included. Ugh! So, here's the theme song for the day that I will no doubt be singing until I drive myself insane.

Well, on a separate note. I've got two to list today. Fall colors!

Dragonfly Dance Necklace
This one boasts a large rhyolite stone with a Vintaj dragonfly holding on. Little rhyolites and a shell bead dangle from the large stone as well. A smaller dragonfly and some sparklies are on one side of the necklace while more rhyolites and shell beads are on the other. All brought together on Vintaj brass chain.

All Mixed Up
Bracelet (on Etsy later)
And this is my first attempt at using leather cord. It's a really pretty shade of salmon and holds all these different elements together. We have beach stones, antique sooho jade, shell, a large wooden button, some jaspers, and a lampwork bead that ties in all the colors. Vintaj clasp that hooks onto the leather cord with a little beach stone dangling from the end.

Enjoy your Friday!



My daughter asked me yesterday if I knew what today was. A little puzzled I asked, "No, is there something happening tomorrow I should know about?" She was appauled that I didn't know it was Sept.11th. Well, I had remembered but I was surprised she was asking about it. I've tried in the past to keep some of the sad details to myself thinking that it would only upset her. She asked me, "Why is everyone so sad on Friday the 11th anyway? So, two buildings fell down. What's the big deal?" Ok, now she is nine and doesn't see the whole picture and it's my fault for keeping her in the dark. It was time to tell her what had really happened. I then explained to her that those buildings were filled with thousands of people and I tried to explain just how large the buildings were. I told her about the images on the television of the plane crashing into the building and how my heart sank and what fear I was feeling at the time. And the firefighters who went into the building rushing to the top floors to help when the building collapsed. About how the city turned black with ash and how people scattered everywhere looking for shelter. And one of the most heartbreaking scenes was on tv showing people everywhere with signs and pictures looking for their loved ones. I'm holding back the tears as I write. I tried not to focus on who did it or why because I don't want her to create opinions about others before she gets to know them. Prejudice is ugly and hurtful! So, I will try to be positive today and upbeat despite the past. I will remember but I will try not to focus on the sadness but on the bravery and the togetherness it brought to the people of our country. My heart goes out to anyone who lost a loved one on this day. We will be thinking of you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Help With Birthday Gift and Stamping Mania

My next door neighbor and close friend has a birthday in September so I've decided to make her a bracelet. She loves the fall colors especially since she has olive skin and hazel eyes. She's one of the only people I know who looks good in orange. So, I need help! I want to make her a special piece with these colors. She's especially fond of plum purple which is not an easy color to find. I'd love to do gemstones and amethyst is an option but I think it's a bit to dressy for her taste. So, once again I am reaching out to my veteran beaders who have been through this and know where to find the good stuff. I'd like to use copper which I know will just compliment the colors even more. Also, any recommendations for personalizing this piece? You know I am open to all advice and I appreciate your input. :)

So, back to my labor of love. I just can't seem to get away from using copper. It's
a good thing for me that it's in style right now. I still get frustrated with bending the thicker sterling wire. It's just so hard! I guess I'll figure it out in time. You're sure to see stamping galore once I get all my goodies.

Thanks for the advice yesterday on the stamping sets. I purchased one of the basic sets from Fundamentals.com along with a few copper blanks and polishing cloths. I can't wait to try it out! I figured I'd start less expensive and if I really get into stamping then I'll upgrade later. Who am I kidding? Of course I'm totally going to get into it. I love metal and personalized gifts so it only seems fitting that I'd be into stamping. I was peeking around Etsy to see what others have done with stamping and I found a few cool ideas that maybe you haven't seen before.

DON'T MAKE ME CROP U OUT OF THE PICTURE hand stamped sterling silver necklace

Ok, so I just added this one in for laughs. Who couldn't use a good laugh on a Thursday, right?

Personalized silver necklace with handmade initial charm

And this one is such an inspirational piece and look at that hand formed "L" in the center. So pretty! Both of these styles are from Punky Jane (gotta love that name). She has lots of great stamped items so check it out when you have the time.

Oh, I almost forgot. I also bought a few more interesting items to help me along with my stamping. Here's a few cuties that I ordered from Tropacopy and Stamping Sisters.

CRESCENT MOON and STAR DESIGN STAMP - Jewelry marking stamping tool, symbol stamp, metal stampsHOT AIR BALLOON DESIGN STAMP - jewelry making design stamp, steel stamp, metalsmithing tool
Owl Design Stamp for metal jewelry stamping
Yeah, I couldn't pass up the owl and I thought it would go great with the moon. And the hot air balloon was just too cute and something you don't see all the time. I'd love to see pictures of what you gals have created with your stamping sets so post away!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Middle of the Work Week Day!

Man, what a long title. I could have just said Happy Wednesday but that's not as much fun. Playing with those copper washers again. One of my favs! And using that linen background again.

Robin's Rendition of Joy Necklace
Nice warm copper combined with Robin's egg turquoise (I think that's what it is called). I hammered the washers for a rustic texture and added a few swirls here and there when linking the chain. Gotta love these stones! Look at all the brown crackles throughout. I've been hording these for way too long because I couldn't come up with a good design. I originally added one of the Vintaj brass birds to dangle from the center but I wasn't crazy about how it looked so off it went. I guess it has enough to keep it interesting without it. Any suggestions on what to call this one?

I'm in dire need of some new tools. I'm loving the stamped messages everyone has been doing lately so that goes on the list. Oh, and a file set would be helpful as well. Where do you gals usually purchase your tools from? I know Fundamentals.com sometimes offers personalized stamp sets. How cool is that? You rock, Jeanette! And has anyone tried the Cool Tools patina gel? I remember Cindy Gimbrone talking about it on an Art Bead Scene post. Sounds pretty easy for making a nice patina. What are the tools that you cherish and use the most?