Friday, September 26, 2008

Make Your Own Fine Gauge Headpins

Thanks to my cyber Sis and fellow eSMArts member Carlotta (of CarlottaP on etsy) who straightened me out on the fundamentals of creating my own sterling silver ball end head pins. Shown above is my first batch created using 26 gauge wire.

Now handmade 26 gauge sterling silver ball end headpins may not sound exciting, but the smallest diameter headpins usually offered for sale at the largest and most abundantly stocked gem shows is 24 gauge. So in order to work with the majority of the faceted precious gemstone beads (sapphire, emerald and ruby) you either need to fabricate your own 26g or 28g headpins or find a great source.Carlotta's Prehnite drop with Tourmaline, Apatite, Citrine Gemstone Cluster drop EarringsPurchasing these little darlings can get expensive.

I've lately been scouring the jewelry making world to even find them. There are a few sources to purchase these handmade findings on etsy, but most of those vendors don't offer a reliable year round supply, offering just overstock or small handmade lots on an ad hoc basis.

But forget about buying them. If you have a small torch (you can even use your gas range stovetop like I did) these are extremely easy (and fun) to make! On my first try (batch on the left) the ball ends were perhaps a bit smaller than I'd like. So in the remainder of this lot I made the ends more plump.

These headpins range from 3/4 to 1 3/4 inches in length. I find the 3/4 inch length is perfect for tiny gem clusters but in future, I'll make them in 28 gauge as well with varying lengths and the larger heads.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

On getting settled, emptynesters & downsizing

My life has been in total disarray for at least a month now, but we're beginning to feel slightly settled in to our new home. This move meant even more downsizing, so we still haven't found places for all our "stuff"! But at least we've recognized that we can't keep everything and we're slowing working on fixing the problem.

We sorted through our mountains of belongings and I actually agreed to part with some things. At our last house we threw away and put out at the curb tons of things - all of my handpainted birdhouses, the older handmade decorated birdfeeders, older garden tools and plenty of decorated terracotta pots - that sort of stuff disappeared quickly.

I've culled 10 boxes of household and kitchen items that we keep telling ourselves we'll try to sell at a garage sale. We've been saying that for three years and still haven't made firm plans to follow through with it. If it isn't raining on weekends, we're too busy.

There's a local reduce, reuse, recycle site that sprung up recently where you can post things that you'd like to give away. Maybe I'll give that a try. And we've yet to go through the clothing. There must be boxes of things we could take to Goodwill.

One problem I'm having is emotional attachment with all of my daughter's things. Kate is now comfy and cozy in her private room at one of Durham Region's finest long term care facilities. It's been a long rough go for Kate, but after a 2 year wait and some mighty cramped lodgings, she finally was granted a spot in ThorntonView's brand new young people's wing and I must say, that she's never been happier!

We're just delighted that Kate now has this wonderful handicap accessible spot that's all nicely decorated with her familiar things and some of my artsy favorites. But even there, we're quickly running out of room. Since the below pic was taken, we've installed CD racks, shelves for Kate's video archive, and more memorabilia...

Kate and Amy in Kate's room
I just found five more boxes of Kate's stuffed toys and games in the basement - these items have such significance for me that I can hardly force myself to part with them. But we must sell or give away the majority and take a few over to Kate's residence [due to her disabilities and high needs, Kate likely won't spend another night under our roof and we aren't setting up a formal bedroom for her here].

with mom 1981with Daddy 1985

We also need to sell her adjustable bed, transfer pole, three walkers, one barely used motorized scooter, a $12K electric wheelchair (like new), two transfer wheelchairs, etc. and all her clothes that no longer fit. Right now, all these items and more are in the garage!

grade eight grad 1995high school grad 2000

Adapting to our emptynester status will take some time and effort. We've been in the throws of this grieving process for a few years now, and with counselling and the right meds, we're managing to get on with life. So yes it's slowly getting easier to confront and accept, but we still have a way to go.

Back to the move... I'm still finding boxes of things that were put into storage when we sold the big house three years ago - things like partylight decorative candle displays. Someone should have stopped me when I had that addiction. These kinds of items (that I now have absolutely no room for) aren't exactly junk either. They're expensive collectables, all of which should be photographed and listed for sale on eBay. But who has time for that? Geez, I barely have time to pee.