Monday, September 30, 2013

From your neck to your fingers

I wonder if all jewelry artists make more of what they actually wear themselves? That's certainly the case for me, and other than necklaces, the one other piece of jewelry I wear religiously are rings.

So I've been busy making a few lately, and improving on my soldering and riveting skills. Every error is an opportunity to learn.

Sawing and riveting...
Another nameless ring
Soldering and experimenting with Vintaj patinas...

Riveting again...

Just Ring

And my favorite, soldering bezel wire and trying reticulation for the first time. Love the concept - heating silver to the point where it collapses onto itself and acquires this lovely texture... Kind of what happens to our souls - we're all the result of some life reticulation!

Textured Soul

But come on, I had to make necklaces as well, of course... And this one... well, it's a reminder.

 Hold on to what's precious

Monday, July 15, 2013

I wonder if I can...

Abandon dreams of far...

Hush my frantic heart...

Quieten my rushing mind...

Smile, breathe, and go slowly...

Smile, breathe and go slowly

Sunday, June 30, 2013

For those of you who like dainty jewelry, look away now!

Because, from the top of my 5.1", I am increasingly making larger pieces... And I don't just make them for my tall(er) customers, no. I dare to wear them! (or they wear me, not sure which way around).

I'll just grab my purse and I'm ready to face the world
The longest name I've ever given to a piece.


I still have quite a few of these agate slices and I just love capturing them with prongs (improving my soldering skills) against a double layer of copper - you can see it better in the next pictures- so I see quite a few variations of these coming up in the future. And I just cannot make small pieces out of them! Strange for an introvert, really. Or maybe not.

Actually, many of my pieces have a double function - they can both adorn you and maybe even be used for self-defence. Yes, I am working on keeping the women of the world safer...


This piece was a physical workout! I had to be really in a zen mood to make it - thus the name (that plus the lotus design). I used a stencil to draw the design on the copper sheet and then sawed out every little piece. I love it against the patinated copper underneath. And the industrial feel the mini nuts and bolts give it. It's in my "to go or not to go" drawer. I won't tell you what's the usual final destination of the pieces that land in that drawer...

Oh, I remembered I just renewed my ID card and they measured my height while I was wearing high heels - I am now officially 5.3" tall... I feel an even larger piece coming up...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Where have you been, my muse?

She went off, all of a sudden...

Who can blame her? After all, she is my muse... She's bound to love travelling and exploring new places as much as I do.

But she pounded on my door the other day, and I rushed to let her in. Please don't leave me again.

The Muse

The Muse

I Shall Give You Diamonds

You're Quite the Number


Him & Her

Tres Jolie


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Live life with a little spice

Having finished a lovely lunch of sushi the other day with a friend, and while waiting for the bill sitting outside enjoying the beautiful African sun, I noticed a pot with this wonderful phrase etched across: live life with a little spice.

What a wonderful motto! What would life, and food, be without a little spice - which in my case may include truck loads of chilies, but I guess everyone can adjust to their taste! and just like that, I had a necklace in my head.

The metal pendant with the inspiring phrase, some metal components which I colored with the great Ranger patina inks I'm loving to use, and sari silk, carnelian stones, a fabric bead I picked up in Barcelona two years ago, a lampwork bead that was a gift from my friend Sandy Martin (go check her blog,, chains and crystals in spice colors... Immediately snatched by my friend Elizabeth - it's only fair, she was with me when I saw the inspiring phrase!

Live life with a little spice

I tried experimenting with etching lately. I wasn't very sucessfull and the etching was not very deep, and I need to figure out if it was the mix of the chemicals. I'm using hydrocloric acid which is the only chemical I can find here for this purpose. I left the pieces for hours but it didn't seem to make any difference. I had stamped a piece of metal with script lettering, etched it, then colored again with the Ranger inks and then used a bit of sandpaper to bring out the etching - to a sucessfully debatable degree.  
But I still love my "Seek Joy" necklace...
Seek Joy!

Seek Joy!

And don't forget to do it - seek it in everything you do!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Just do

You know, sometimes you don't want to say anything... Just do.

Sunshine and kisses

Coral, glass beads, keishi pearls, pendant by TheaToo

Shiny big things
Amethyst, bronze wire, handmade beads by Radiant Mind. Trying to master soldering prongs...

Bursting with life

Garnets and a handmade heart with "bursting garnet" learnt from Kim St. Jean's wonderful book Mixed Metal Mania.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Let's get started!

Happy New Year everyone!

I'm excited to start a brand new year - let's hope it's a peaceful, prosperous and full of creativity year for all.

A lot of the jewelry-community people chose one word to inspire them for the year to come. I'm greedy, so I'll take three! The first two are the words on the prayer box I got randomly at this year's jewelry workshop I attended:

Playfulness - because my life has been too serious in the last few years. And everyone needs to play more and rediscover the child in them. Mine has been quietly reading in a corner - like I actually did as a child. Now I want her to go out to the playground, run with the other kids, stumble, fall and get up again and have a wonderful carefree time.

Gratitude - because I want to remember and honor all the good things in my life (and they are many).

And finally,

Reinvention - because I do want to reinvent myself a bit this year, and try things I haven't done before. And not all of them are actually jewelry-oriented, and may take some time away from that and from the blog-writing (not that I'm the most prolyfic blogger), but I need to indulge the Curious George in me. Besides, 13 is my favorite number, so I might as well be optimistic about this year.

At Susan's workshop, she taught me to solder prongs and a ring band. My mom snatched it from me when I made a pit stop in Portugal on my way back. And I hadn't tried soldering again since I got back.

Until the first day of this year, that is (what better day to start?).

So I tried making a soldered ring as a gift for a friend's birthday today. The prongs were easy-peasy but when it came to the ring band... I tried soldering it 5 times unsuccessfully. Each time going back, removing the solder, pickling everything again, and again fluxing and prepping... But I am very stubborn when I want something...

Before the sixth time, I sat and thought for a while. What was wrong? I was using solder wire, which is round, and make a gap between the base of the ring and the band, and I know there can't be gaps. So I hammered the wire flat. I was also using a Dremel butane torch I recently got which has a very pointy flame. Was it hot enough? I used my butane plumber's torch, which has a much larger flame and quickly heat the whole ring. And in three seconds, it was soldered!

I don't know which of these did the trick - nor do I care right now. In time, I'll go by elimination to find out. For now, I'm just proud of my second soldered ring. Hope my friend likes it.

Happy Birthday Mila!