Monday, January 31, 2011

MORE mystery molds!

tried a few more of the molds out.  they were turning out a bit lumpy and bubbly with lost i read up on it.  many sites said to dust the molds with talc, but the majority said to use graphite dust.  i also read that it helps to heat the mold a bit first, and to drop the pewter from  a bit of height so it has air pressure to help fill the molds.   i did some experimenting...heating molds with a craft heat gun, using no release, talc, graphite dust and mica (pearl-ex).  i'll post those pics tomorrow.......meanwhile, below are the results with a bit of baby powder.   still craggy but a bit smoother with better to see them bigger......
all of the molds i tried out today......

clockwise, 2 of the 3 bears (alas- i don't have the mama mold!), a  bow, a crow, an egg holder.

and here are some more.  the eagles really cool.

a nail polish bottle mold....which wouldn't cast...the bottle is solid, a thin area around it has been removed...and then it is solid i guess it was to make a new hollow bottle......but it doesn't work..haha.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Yay! It's that time again - One World, One Heart 5th annual (and last, sigh....) Blog Giveaway! 
The purpose of the giveaway is for bloggers to meet other bloggers, make new friends and have fun!

For those who are new to my blog, I am a mixed media artist who is presently (as in this week) into metals and jewelry making.  I also enjoy working with glass, and I am learning to carve wood and bone.  I love power tools and collect if i just knew how to use them!  (...some of them scare me...but that's another story....)  I live on Kauai in has been gorgeous this week....
This is what I will be giving away to one lucky winner.
It's not quite still needs the eye to be set and then to be polished but it's almost ready.   
To win the bracelet, all you have to do is leave a comment.  That's it!  Only one comment per person. BE SURE YOU LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR A WAY I CAN CONTACT YOU if you are the winner. You may post a comment from Jan 31st until Feb 17th.  On Feb 18th I will draw the random winner.  To visit other blogs (last year there were over 900! - and AMAZING things were given away!) please click on this link.
The bracelet is made from a vintage sterling silver plated serving spoon.  It is quite large...if your wrist is small, the bracelet can be squeezed tighter...  The finding is a vintage brass casting from the now out of business LeVay Glassworks at the Milton School House. Check them out!  The Levay studio was abandoned for 20 years and the space is now being converted into a home and various businesses.  But, the owners, Meredith and Joel, have discovered TONS of amazing art supplies and cool stuff.  They are selling what they find to pay for the extensive refurbishing Visit them at The Milton Schoolhouse. 
OK.  Back to the bracelet. It has 2 naked cherubs and looks very Victorian.  ....and of course the center is a doll eyeball set in a bezel made from a vintage watch part 
....because, as all my friends know, I collect and LOVE LOVE LOVE eyeballs.

ENJOY!  ...and be sure to visit the other blogs!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Secret of the Mystery Molds.....

My latest obsession has been collecting vintage molds from the extinct Levay Glass factory housed in the old Milton Schoolhouse in Alton, Ohio.  The owners, Joel and Meredith are refurbishing the building and are selling beautiful glass artifacts found in the factory on ebay, and on etsy (Vivavivant) they sell the rubber and/or latex molds as well as objects found at the factory made from these molds and other supplies.  YOU HAVE TO CHECK THEM OUT ON FACEBOOK!
These molds were my big Christmas gift from Lance this year...they are round hard rubber 2 piece molds with multiple items in each mold.  I think they were made to be put on a machine and the pewter spun into them...i really haven't figured out how to use them yet.  I have about 15 of them!.....most of them are various tiny birds, but i have lambs, angels, cats, hearts, crowns,swans and a few figures.  I have tried polymer clay in them, but i haven't been very successful - i will try metal clay....

some of my molds.....
...and then there are the silicone molds...OH MY!

I have a HUGE 9 inch  angel head with wings, a hummingbird, all kinds of columns and bases, frogs, kneeling angels...and a bunch of mystery stuff.
Meredith asked me to cast 2 of the silicone molds to see if they were what she suspected they were....since these molds do not come all the way apart, you can't see what they are by just looking at them.So what could I do?  I was FORCED to try pewter casting.  I had a casting ladle Lance gave me about, uh, 15 years ago.....that I had never tried.  ...and i had bought lead free pewter scraps from Vivavivant.  But i didn't know diddly squat about what to i googled it.  I got a lot of demos, mostly bad or too complicated...and then I found a short you tube. It seemed pretty straight forward...... But was it dangerous?  would my melting pot ladle get hot?  did i need gloves?  how long did it take to melt?  would my torch be too hot?  could i over heat it?so i just DID it.  I had made some silicone molds of my own last week, so i tried them first - just in case the pewter melted the molds.
pewter in the casting ladle

melting the pewter with a plumbers propane torch
waiting for the pewter to cool...faster, faster!

my first pewter pieces demolded.  lots of overspill on these...but they do clean up fast....

a pewter spatter...
Now that I knew the silicone molds wouldn't melt, it was time to ...cast Meredith's mystery molds.
Meredith's mystery molds
The first mold came out quite clear.
YES! had this one right,'s.......
the worlds tallest man...who went to school at THE MILTON SCHOOL HOUSE  before it was a glass factory......
The 2nd one....well it just looked like a weird roundish blob on a stand.....
see the roundy looking thing on a pedestal on the far right?  I couldn't figure out what it was either...that's the one made  from Meredith's mystery mold.  there are also 2 skulls, a small bird, a sea urchin shell and a face in the photo, from molds i made.  The hummingbird is a LeVay mold.
Maybe I had cast it badly, so I tried again.  I waited for it to cool.   But what was it?



...and then i got the idea to turn it upside down...and woohoo - there it was!
So sorry Meredith - I don't think it's a missing zodiac marble.....maybe the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland as a cabinet knob?  Pretty cool, anyway.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What's On My Workbench....and RAW

a steampunk pendant....vintage watch workings with hand cast by me bronze wings.  The ceramic skull with glasses will be set in the watch part bezel with concrete.  The had I got...uh, somewhere.  The 2 swarovsky crystals are actually deep red, but they look purple in the pic. I'm still trying to figure out how to finish off the back....
I needed to flatten the back of the ceramic skull, and to put a divot on the back of it to accomodate the screw head that is holding on the bezel the skull will be mounted into.  I'd tried to drill one of these skulls before - but I found it was impossible - I tried regualr drills, titanium drill, grinding wheels, diamond wheels, sand paper....nothing would penetrate - it was too hard.  Yesterday I received my monthly copy of Jewelrt Artist" magazine....and it had a fabulous article on carving stones with a dremel and diamond burs.  It said that diamond burs HAD TO BE USED with water.  I did not know this.  and guess what?  It worked!  See the tiny skull in the bottom left of the above picture?  I was able to grind it flat and put the divot in under a minute.  Who Knew?
OK...more dremel info.. I have several favorites are the stylus - a small battery operated one with a handle, and a bigger one - it's the one in the picture - that is also battery operated.  The bigger one has a lithium ion battery that lasts a long time - it also has a much stronger motor.  My DH got me 2 wonderful attachments.....One is a double LED LIGHT that screws into the dremel works off the rotation of the tool itself, so it makes it's own power and turns on automatically when you turn on the dremel. It's the gray thing you see in the above picture behind the can see the 2 LED's.   The other attachment - and I truly don't know how I worked without it - it's called a dremel multipro keyless allows you to attach any rotary tool attachment without changing the collets to accomodate the various bit shank sizes. What a time saver!  That's a picture of it in the pic above - next to the light, with the diamond bit in it.
I was supposed to be doing an inchie a week and a ring a week (RAW).  I am still behind one inchie, but I got caught up on my rings.

RAW Week 2 - polymer clay - " holding hands".  Ring shank has a molded chain design but you can't see it in the pic.
RAW Week 3 -sea urchin, sterling silver bezel, pearl, found finding for ring base....
RAW Week 4 - Tiny brass spoon formed into a ring with a glass eye.  Notice that I CRACKED the glass eye when I bore down too hard on the bolt that attaches the eye to the ring...I'll have to remove it and add a new eye....but al least this time hallowing out the back of the glass to match the ring curve will be easier now that I know to use WATER with the diamond burs.

Gorgeous Leather watchband!

My husband Lance collects watches.  This year, for Christmas, he got a beautiful Steinhart Ocean Green.  He saw several sites online that were selling leather watchbands made from vintage leather ammo cases from WWII.  He decided to try and make his own.  Now Lance has never worked with leather before - but that didn't deter him...he is amazing at figuring out things!  he ordered a few tools online and  VOILA.  

Hand cut from an old belt, hand stitched, hand distressed and hand embossed (with some of my letter stamps and a dime!  He has since made 2 more and they just keep getting better!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Terrific Stamp Giveaway!

Lori Anderson is giving away a terrific and whimsical set of metal stamps.  Check it out!....just click on her name!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cacao Pod #4, et al

Here's the latest cacao pod, and pics of 2 of the others.  I put my finger beside it so you can get a sense of size.
...the newest chocolate pod...teeny tiny.
pod #3
our first pod- which has gotten huge!
The pod is supposed to change color when it is ready to harvest.
beautiful kauai sky taken on my bike ride........
an ordinary ugly moth....except this one is actually 4 inches long!


...better late than never....

a quickie.....thank you, Martha Stewart!

Monday, January 10, 2011


Here's my week 2 inchie.  The prompt is POWERFUL.  It's made of polymer wasn't meant to look gory,  i just like red and's supposed to be a little hand touching a big hand.. making a heart.  .i was thinking LOVE.....but it turned out a bit....warped.

Cacao Pod #3!

Today Lance spotted a 3rd chocolate pod.  YAY!
Above, our newest chocolate pod!
Below, all 3 pods.  Pod #1 is about 5 inches.  #3 is the baby,,,,it's pretty tiny...

Saturday, January 08, 2011

RAW 1 (Ring A Week) ECLECTIC

This is my first ring for the RAW Challenge.  I made it from stuff lying on my workbench  that had gone unused or else i had goofed up on and not used.  I'm calling it "eclectic", to go along with the "Inchie Monday" week 1 prompt.
The bird is a bronze one i made, but I had drilled the bead hole crooked , so it just sat on my work table..seemed perfect to mount a flower coming out of his neck.   I straightened out leftover sterling wire and threaded it with a red swarovski crystal, an orange (not yellow!) vintage flower bead and sterling crimps and ball bead. I strung this through the bird. I attached this conglomeration to a silver plated spoon end I had already hammered into a ring shape.  The spoon ring was too small to fit any digit, so i opened it up a bit and drilled a hole through it. Then I took another piece of sterling wire and made a rivet head that i put through the bottom of the ring and though the bird....i touched a ball end onto this, and then curled the wire.  Because it was too wiggly, I added more curled wire to tighten up.  Still it was too loose, so i just super glued it in place.  Pretty sloppy craftsmanship!  If you tried to wear the ring, I doubt it would stay on your finger..... LOL....  not very practical - but then the challenge says the rings don't have to be useful - just rings!
Ring took about 15 minutes to put together,,,except i had to do it twice because the first time i ball torched the wire ends I MELTED the flower (I thought it was glass!) I had to get a new flower and start all over again.....

Monday, January 03, 2011


Today was mow day...also start exercising again day.  while i was , uh, "working out" DH came up to the shop window and excitedly told me to grab my camera and check out the neighbors yard next the side 2 acres.
JUST LOOK at what I found!

banyan tree with neighbor's house in background
this shows where all the mushrooms are...CU's follow:
see any gnomes?

Truly a FAIRY FOREST!  Have you ever seen so many or such HUGE mushrooms?  Look at the house in the background to see the scale.  They are growing all over the roots/stump of a semi rotting banyan tree.  It looks like there are several types of mushrooms.