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  • a happy, ordinary, middle-aged, suburban woman who paints odd pictures, gardens in a straw hat, lives with the love of her life, is owned by one cat and the ghosts of several others, and walks a little funny 'cause she has a fake leg. She started this website because there's more to life than what we lose, and we need to let each other know what's possible, even if it's only a happy, ordinary life.

November 2011

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  • E-mail me at:

    sara at saraarts dot com

    Make sure the subject line of your correspondence is clear and specific. I do not open e-mails from strangers unless I can tell in advance that I want to read them.

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  • I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Good reads, grownups only

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ooh, shiny! very nice work. I especially like the words stamped inside. An old friend of mine has a set of those letters, and he made me a keychain once out of a brass washer that said on it "MAKE IT SO." That is just how geeky I am. The really funny thing was that he was not himself a fan of STNG; had never even seen it, but had heard me say "make it so" from time to time and thought it was a cool thing to say.

Anyway, I liked the keychain so much I made one for my sister, after she totalled her car, that says, "DON'T FLIP YOUR CAR OVER." I'm still working on the oven mitt embroidered with "DO NOT PLACE ON HOT BURNER." Embroidering through teflon is a bummer.


Ha ha ha -- very helpful!

The stamps are excellent, and though I will not be doing soldering again if I can help it, I have many, many projects planned using letter stamps. They are very inexpensive, so I picked up two sets, one in the 2mm size and one in the 3mm size, at Contenti, a very fun place to browse.


Very nice. I find your rough edged genius quite appealing. : )


Why, thank you, BLC. Of course, the key for it appealing to my true love might be the word "crooked." Crookedness is essential to the kind of genius that can perpetrate mad science, don't you think? It's just another way of looking at "linear." ;)

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso

Awesome! May we please see True Love's rocker hands sometimes? I'm intrigued....


Wow, I had no idea they were so cheap! Must have at least one set!!! That catalog is awfully nifty; you may have created a monster.


Sognatrice, I will transmit your request, but that is entirely up to my true love, who is camera shy.

Alphabitch -- all I can say is "mwa ha ha." ;)


Just his hands, maybe holding a coffee cup? I understand if he's too camera-shy to have a bunch of women he's never met swooning over pictures of his hands, but there are several of us who would like to see your work in its intended setting.[/smirk]


I too applaud crooked genius, indeed, I sort of assumed all genius worth having was crooked, cranked or otherwise had a slight tilt.

I would LOVE to make rings for you, you can do the crafty part and I will do the FIRE. Haha, eight inch flames, I bet I can make that sucker twice as long - hoooo baby! Sorry it is just that Linda (and the city of Victoria, the State of California, the Nation of Wales and the city of Gettysburg have so many ludicrious restrictions...and maybe accusations about me and flames - so you ever need someone to put their face into a 8 inch flame, just call!)


Alphabitch, my true love feels his hands are unbalanced because he only wears three rings and also because the tai chi he studies and teaches is not represented. When he finds another forefinger ring, specifically one with a yin/yang symbol on it (the official symbol of tai chi), he has indicated he might be more receptive to the idea.

Elizabeth, putting your face into the flame might be a little counterproductive! Ha!

The problem is that the technique I was taught involves itsy bitsy microbitty bits of solder placed ever so preciously over tiny little areas -- pieces so small that if the flame was too big it would blow them off the project, and then I would have to pick them, half-softened already, off the table and replace them with tweezers and try again. But then if the flame was too small, they wouldn't melt within my lifetime. The process for creating a ring that I was taught is this (and no, I don't think it was exactly the process Sauron used):

1. Cut strip of 18-gauge sheet metal (silver).
2. File strip of silver until long sides are perfectly parallel and mirror-shiny and one short side is at a perfect 90° angle from each and also mirror-shiny.
3. Choose ring size. Measure diameter of size from inside ring form on one side to outside ring form on the other side, then multiply by pi.
4. Cut strip to size determined by above formula.
5. File the end you just cut until it is parallel with the other short end and mirror shiny. If you want to stamp a message into the ring, now is the time.
6. Whack the strip around a ring mandrel with a rawhide mallet until it is ring-shaped.
7. Make sure the ends meet precisely, with no gaps. Tie it into a tight ring using binding wire.
8. Solder the ends together using itsy bitsy eensy weensy chiplets of medium silver solder, just two of them, and an eight-inch flame.
9. Pick off the binding wire, pickle off the fire scale, then polish.
10. Select a cabochon. Cut a piece of 18-gauge sheet metal slightly bigger than the cabochon's base.
11. Tightly shape a piece of bezel strip around the cabochon.
12. Using 2mm long bits of medium silver solder placed around the outer base of the bezel, seal the bezel to the sheet metal. Pickle off the fire scale.
13. Trim the sheet metal until it is within a mm of the bezel all around. File the sheet metal until it comes up flush to the bezel and no seam is detectable.
14. File the seam part of the ring shank until there is a flat platform.
15. Using a cm or so of easy silver solder, solder the ring shank to the setting you have just created with sheet metal and bezel. If/when it's on straight, apply medium solder for a permanent join. Pickle off the fire scale.
16. Place the cabochon into the setting. Work the bezel from the base upward until it embraces the cabochon firmly and there are (ideally but not the way I did it) no lumps and bumps.
17. Polish the ring.

The soldering? It's like ten minutes out of the whole process. The rest? Hours. For a student anyway, hours.

So basically, you're telling me you want to go straight to the easy and thrilling part and skip the actual work? ;)


"So basically, you're telling me you want to go straight to the easy and thrilling part and skip the actual work?"

Ahem. Duh.

I've always thought of sewing as kind of like working with metal: it has to be exactly right, you have to do all the math, no fudging anywhere or it just doesn't work. Whereas knitting (or crocheting) is more like woodworking. It's important to measure carefully and get it all the right shape, but there's a little bit more leeway in terms of stretching or sanding or clamping things together. at the end. It's a little more forgiving.

Which is probably why I'm better at knitting. I'm working on the sewing, though. I just finished my first pair of flannel jammies this morning. They are a tiny bit crooked, but they fit over my butt way better than anything I've found in the stores. And of course the length is just about perfect. I'm having a blast in the new sewing room.


I'm with alphabitch, the fact that you actually listed FROM memory all the other boring bits means you got that covered - I'll just take over when blowtorching needs to be done - really for any reason.....want to light those Xmas candles....from 12 feet away - just call!


Alphabitch, I admire your skills. I can only sew by hand because sewing machines snicker audibly when I get within three feet of them, and with good reason. Something about those blasted bobbins.

And Elizabeth, thanks. I'll definitely keep you in mind for such tasks. ;)

Actually, there's something else I'm dying to try. And some techniques involve a kiln (and you can buy a small desktop kiln for this purpose, or there's also something called a hot pot that looks very intriguing), and some techniques involve flame (and I probably won't get into those), but the thing I want to investigate further is precious metal clay. PMC (by Mitsubishi; uses silver reclaimed from film photo negatives) and Art Clay are two different brands, and it's silver or gold that you can work with your hands directly, shape and mold like clay, but then when you fire it the organic binders burn off and you are left with pure silver or gold. A fellow Etsyer who uses this material to my profound admiration is Amy Moore, doing business as Honeybee, and I've seen many other fine examples.

It's wonderful stuff, and I am coveting one of those little PMC hot pot kits just to try it out.

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