Why I Love Bracelets So Much

What is your favorite piece of jewelry to wear?

I love bracelets the most.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it all, but bracelets have a lot of perks that make me happy.

red glass and sterling silver handmade bracelet
Red Glass and Silver Art Jewelry Bracelet

I see jewelry as a way to keep art with me at all times, and that is something I keep in mind as I create my pieces.

Bracelets, to me, are the easiest way to see that art.

sterling silver and blue glass art bracelet
Blue Glass and Silver Art Jewelry Bracelet

Necklaces with a long pendant can work that way, too, but I tend to like a shorter necklace which doesn’t allow me to see them while they’re on. And earrings, while they’re definitely loves of my life, obviously also can’t be seen by the wearer.

Carnelian Stone and Silver Art Jewelry Bracelet

Oh, but RINGS you say! I do love me a nice big, chunky ring. And the ones I make are little works of art. But, alas, I’m an artist who works with my hands all day and I worry about getting my finger lopped off because my ring gets caught in a piece of equipment. Or that I’d damage the ring by nicking it with a file, saw, or other tool.

Handmade Bracelet, Silver, Thulite, and Custom Glass Stones

Bracelets are far enough from what is going on in my hands to be safe.

And now that I’ve talked about how much I love bracelets, it seems kind of funny that my next collection will be all earrings. 😆

The Earring Madness Collection releases December 10th so there will be time for Christmas gift delivery. If you’d like to receive immediate notice, and best pricing, head on over and join my Quirky&Odd VIP mailing list over there on the right side.

So, bracelets are my favorite. What about you? Do you have a preference? And if so, what are your reasons?

The Best Jewelry Hammer for the Job

Say hello to my new baby.

Best Hammer for Stamping IMO

Fretz chasing hammer

I finally found the best hammer for the job of stamping metal. A chasing hammer is one that is used to form metal. One side of the head is to flatten metal, and the other is meant to shape it. I didn’t buy mine for that, though. I am using it strike my metal stamps. Blasphemy, right?

Trusty Old German Ball Peen Hammer

German Ball Peen Hammer

This old German hammer is the first one I got, about 15 years ago when I wanted to try out metal smithing. It’s not fancy, but over the years it has worked the best–and I’ve tried many others. It’s not weighted well, and with a lot of texture stamping it quickly causes forearm fatigue.

So, I continued my search for the perfect stamping hammer.

The Small Dead Blow Hammer

Stubby Ball Peen Hammer from Harbor Freight

I’ve seen shops that specialize in stamping kits recommend these little dead blow hammers so the last time I was at Harbor Freight I picked up this Stubby Ball Peen Hammer for $3. It has a nice blow to it and a nice solid weight, but I don’t like the balance of the short handle for a long duration of stamping.

Fretz Stamping Hammer

Small Fretz Stamping Hammer

Next I splurged and got the Fretz Stamping Hammer thinking, good heavy weight, like the stubby one, but longer handle for more balance. I thought it would be perfect because Fretz’s are so well balanced which insures that the tool does the work instead of taxing your muscles. Unfortunately, it’s too heavy and meant more for wider-faced stamps that require and harder blow. It is good for punch dies, though.

Tiny Intricate Silver Stamping

Fretz Chasing Hammer with Liner Stamp and Eye Clasp

See all those little lines around the eye piece? Those are each a hammer blow, and there are two layers of them in the finish piece. Now think of doing a run of 10 at a time. That’s a lot of striking so the perfect hammer is a must.

Flat Faced Shaping Hammer

Old Lightweight Chasing Hammer

I had this other hammer that I’d been given a long time ago when I first started. I haven’t used it because it’s really light and not very productive. I liked the larger surface of the flat head, because I thought it would make it easier to hit the stamp and not miss and hit my knuckles. Because of its feather weight, it just couldn’t do the job.

4 oz Fretz Hammer

Closeup of Fretz 4 oz chasing hammer headAfter all of my attempts over the last couple years I knew I wanted a hammer that was around 4 oz, I wanted the larger head, and I wanted it to be Fretz-perfect.

I’ve had “4 oz Fretz Planishing Hammer” on my Rio Grande wish list for a long time. Of course, when I went to order it last week, I realized that it was a chasing hammer that I wanted.

I got it today, and it’s perfect. My Fretz hammers are probably the sexiest tools that I own and when you have the right one for the job…they’re like a little bit of heaven in the palm of your hand. Seriously, it’s like hammering with a cloud.

Holy Guacamole Collection

Guacamole is So Much More Appetizing

I had a feeling this was going to happen. While I like the whole Ketchup on Steak Collection concept and idea, the image isn’t exactly one that makes you want to buy jewelry. Especially when the jewelry is green. But, the name did get me over the hump of being reluctant to go forward with this collection.

I should have stuck with my original plan and waited it out until I got deeper into the collection before I named it. 

This Silver and Mosaic Turquoise Ring Did it For Me

I liked the sketch, and idea of this ring, but I had no idea how much I would like it until I saw it finished. I mean, look at that band!!! It’s a mosaic of tiny little sterling silver bits that have been hand-stamped with dots.

To be honest, I was skeptical because I’m not very fond of working with stones with squared corners. In fact, in my recent Tucson shopping spree I chose mostly stones that were rounded for that reason. But, a few did sneak in.

I guess I should know to never say never.

To say that I am loving the pieces that are coming out of this collection is an understatement. You know I had to do an eye, or two. I didn’t use texture as much in the last collection and I missed it. So, texture is back in full force…it just adds so much more, don’t you think?

I have a few smaller pairs of stones that I’d planned to use for earrings in the collection but as I started to show sneak peeks of finished pieces on my Instagram, I quickly realized that I needed more. Having spent my budget in Tucson, buying additional stones was out fo the question.

So, I put on my thinking cap and got out my lapidary saw and grinding equipment.

One Pair Becomes Two Pair

I took this pair of oval cabochons, cut them in half, then beveled and polished the edge to form two pair that worked perfectly as earrings. I had another Holy Guacamole! moment. 

They look substantial, but they’re still lightweight. And I was able to include matching mosaic and hand-ribbed elements without getting too big.

I’m still looking at these in disbelief that I made them.

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