Hearts on fire  

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I was busy the whole day today making this beautiful chainmail necklace. I had the idea in my mind for a while now and I was waiting for the weekend to put it into practice.

Handmade fire lampwork bead by an Etsy artist, and the rest is sterling silver in the byzantine chainmail weave with four gorgeous sterling silver hearts. The necklace is about 45 cm. The rings have been one by one hand-coiled, cut with the saw and then tumbled for a few hours in my Lortone tumbler to add strength and extra shine.
Free shipping as usual all over the world.

68 Euros

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Creative weekend  

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I decided to spend this weekend catching up with my main interest, without heavy interruptions, so I signed out of chats and forums (except the main two, PLF and EIS, I regularly visit - on PLF being a mod so need to check in there regularly, and EIS representing my latest rock tumbling addition :D), and just spent time making jewelry. After yesterday's chainmail necklace, I got busy today and made the rhodonite pendant and the lampwork chainmail bracelet. I will post later on more pics of them separately as well.

I also went last night to the Cyprus International fair with a friend and colleague of mine, we had some really nice and fun time there. I found one stall there exhibiting jewelry busts and all sorts of boxes, so I got their address, and today, as it happened that their shop had an exhibition at their own premises as well, I popped in and bought a few necklace stands and some silver chains. Boy the stands were awfully expensive, 86 Euros for two larger busts!! I'd honestly say it's a rip-off. However as I was already there and I really wanted some good and bigger stands than I already have, what could I say. And talk about wholesale prices...that's Cyprus for you :(

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

I wanted to make another necklace from the chainmail book by Dylon White, so last night I took out the Koil Kutter and made a few more silver rings. Then tumbled them and sorted them from the steel shot just before going to sleep.
I made this today, based on the European 4 in 1.
This piece is a necklace lenght, 44 cm with black Czech beads dangling from some triangles.
A cute little heart clasp ends this beautiful necklace.

I love this chainmail book. I know it has gotten a few bad reviews, but for me, it's just what I need to take my chainmail knowledge to new lengths.

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I'm in love...name's Rocks :D  

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I got a serious addiction here. Thank the gods I'm not alone with it and I can always join the rock tumblers anonymous group!

Can't wait every day to come home from work to check up on the tumbling rocks. Yesterday celebrating 7 days since I started tumbling, I took them out to take pictures (and fondled them as well *rolleyes*). I was a bit sad because my grit still hasn't arrived from the US, and it's about time to recharge the coarse grit. However, today the lightbulb suddenly went on! I remembered that with both my previous tumblers I got a pack of some rocks and a pack of each type of grits! And yeah, after some heavy searching in my overcrowded room with jewelry thingies, books and now...rocks...second pack of grits found!

Which means, take out all the stones again, wash them (and fondle them!), wash out a bit the barrels at this stage (no need to wash too deeply as the same type of grit goes in anyway), then put back the rocks, one by one, looking at them longingly (hey, I did say I was in love :p), putting the grit (thank gods was enough for both barrels), fill it up with water, and due to the erosion of the rocks, there was place to put two new ones in each barrel. I was happy-dancing like a kid. Am I crazy? Hubby says 'yeah but it's harmless'. Well, such hubby to have everyone!
And now the two barrels are happily tumbling with fresh charge for another week until *hopefully* I can take out some rounded rocks to put aside for stage 2.
I'm crazily in love...in love...love..

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In the tumbler - after one week  

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

So today is exactly one week that I started my two barrels of rocks for tumbling.
Took some of them out to take a picture and added a few more rocks as well to the pot, as the rocks really decreased in size :O
I see some really nice tiger eyes and red jaspers in the first pic and rose quartzes in the second one, can't wait to see the final result.
I will leave them for 1-2 more weeks before putting them in stage 2.
If there's ANYTHING that teaches you patience, rock tumbling wins the prize!

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περιδέραιο της βασίλισσας - Queen's necklace - SOLD  

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I finished this chainmail necklace last night and when I modelled it for hubby, he named it instantly 'queen's necklace', περιδέραιο της βασίλισσας (in Greek). So this regal name remained for this piece. It's truly beautiful.
Based on the European 4 in 1 pattern, all sterling silver with handcoiled and cut jumprings, it is currently a chocker length and measures ~ 42 cm with the clasp. I can extend it to up to 45 cm at no additional cost.
It has been tumble polished this afternoon for over 2 hours in my Lortone tumbler for extra shine and strength.

45 Euros

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I'm amazed when again and again the goodness in people shines through so brightly.
In my favourite rock forum there is a rocks and lapidary material box being prepared to go around to different members who signed up for it, among others, me as well.
Of course, when I signed up, I didn't realise the costs involved. The box is starting from the US, then coming over to Europe, and finally going back to the US.
As a newb rockhound and hobbyist, I don't have much rough rock yet, and shipping of 20 pounds of rock abroad would cost me at least 70 Euros, which is A LOT. When I tried to bow out of the game, I've received pm's and forum posts saying that I won't bow out, that I'll be helped with shipping costs and with extra rock just for me, as a pay it forward kindness.
I'm simply overwhelmed. We're talking here about people that I hardly know for 2 months, and only know over the internet. People who proved that it really doesn't matter, they're willing to do anything possible to keep me in the game.
For this, I thank you.

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Cross my heart  

Sunday, May 18, 2008

After one week of 'jewelry absence', I made these two pieces yesterday.

The silver cross using square wires, with white jade bead in the middle, measures 5x2.5cm and it comes on a sterling silver chain.

28 Euros

The sterling silver heart measuring at the widest points 3x5cm with rubylite round bead dandling from the bottom.
The heart is courtesy of Eni Oken's wonderful latest tutorial.

35 Euros

Both can be purchased directly from my blog, and for those who are Dawanda members, I will soon add them to the Dawanda shop as well.

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Received my book prize from the raffle  

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I got today two books which I won in this raffle organized by Ana.
Great books, both on my wishlist!
Thank you Ana!
Now I hope the pendant I sent to Alex as winning my raffle will arrive soon AND that she will like it *blush*

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Ready to tumble  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My double-barrel tumbler arrived today! I woke up earlier than usual to pass by the post office and pick it up before going to work. It's a Chicago tumbler, not the best brand, but right now that's the only one my money is enough for, considering the high shipping costs to Cyprus. I'll give it a try and if I will continue with this hobby, I will invest in a good Lortone or Thumbler later on.

I used two batches, one in each barrel. No idea what the stones are though as they came with the two tumblers (some stones today, and some came with the previous Lortone tumbler, which I'm using for jewelry only). I saw some nice jaspers, a small piece of rhodonite, and in the other one some pretty quartzes. Added 4 tablespoons of coarse grit, water to to almost cover the stones by 3/4 and a spoon of soda bicarbonate for the gasses that accumulate in the tumbler.

These are the two batches of stones I'm using in each barrel (and no, the white dish is not the barrel, it's where I washed the stones).
I guess I'll be seeing them next in about 7-8 days *sigh*. Sorry about the crappy pictures, but without a tripod I'm pretty much lost. And the tripod is in another place in the flat :D

I thought the tumbling process would make much more noise, and it would even interfere with my meditation sessions, but it's actually rather soothing, I have a feeling like I'm around a stone waterfall in a reiki office :) Even hubby doesn't get bothered with it (well not yet, anyway *grins*), so I guess for now it's all running in the living room. We'll see later on...

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My first ring  

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Okay I can't say this is the world's best ring, but it's my first, so I'm sort of proud of it :)
While working on it, I've learned a lot and I already know a few things which I will improve on my next piece.

This one is done based on an article in a Wire Artist Jeweller magazine. And it is dedicated to Tom at Metalchasers.com - you know why :p
You can also check out my profile on Metalchasers.

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Using a pin vise to make twisted wire  

Using a pin vise is very handy for making twisted wire instead of buying it, because first of all (particularly silver and gold) is very expensive and twisted wire more so, and second, if you run out of it, you can make new twisties in a matter of few minutes. And third, because incorporating twisted wire in your designs is just great and the pieces usually look more sophisticated and professional.

I purchased mine from Widget Supplies, because of course, when it comes to tools, Cyprus is pretty much lagging behind.

What you need:

- pin vise thin enough to catch the wire when tighted up - NOTE: make sure you get a pin vise with both ends open, so the wire can pass through it
- a piece of square or half round wire - NOTE: round wire won't work the same way, so don't waste your wire in trying to use it. If you have round wire but don't have square - read my previous tutorial how to get square wire in minutes.
- chain nose pliers

(I swear I have so many tools at home, that an average guy who is even a bit technical doesn't have. My dad is mighty proud of me, as since I've started with jewelry, I've learned how to use a pin vise, all sorts of pliers and cutters, a hand saw, dremel (think koil kutter), an anvil and hammer, mandrels, etc *roll eyes)

And now the steps to make twisted wire:

1. Take the appropriate vise out of your pack (if you bought several in a pack, - I'm using the thinnest)

2. Place the wire in the vise and tighten the grip with the screw, so the wire is secure

3. Take your chain nose pliers in your left hand (switch the items in your hands if you're left handed) and grip the wire about 8-10 cm away from the end of the pin vise. Not very close to the end of the vise else you'll do that much work to twist, but not very far away either that they're no longer comfortable in your hands

4. While holding one end of the wire in your chain nose pliers, start twisting the pin vise with your other hand so the wire starts to shape into form. As the wire is square, you can see the turnings very soon

5. Keep twisting until you find that it's not easy to twist anymore and the wire in your pliers starts moving along. Also this is about time the wire has a nice shape to it. NOTE: keep in mind how many turns you made, so you make the approximately same number of turns later on as well, of course assuming that you'll always use ~ the same distance from the pliers to the end of the pin vise.

6. Now open the pin vise (from the screw) and push the wire through it until only a tiny bit of the twisted wire remains visible. Don't forget to screw back the vise.
NOTE: This is why it's important to have a vise open on both ends, so the wire can go through. Otherwise you'll have to increase the distance between your hands to be able to twist the whole wire, and this way you'll be limited to twisting relatively small lengths of wire only.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 until all your wire is twisted.

8. Admire your handywork :D

Once you've made some nice twisted wire, you can go ahead and make some nice jewelry, such as the bracelet I made using the same wire I twisted during the tutorial. For this bracelet I twisted two wires, one on each side.

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About my roots, where I come from  

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Note July 2.

Although I will keep this post for historical reasons (and also to explain the szekely in the history of humankind, my views on my personal roots has in the meantime changed. If you are interested in what way and are not offended by notions like reincarnation, past lifes, souls, then you can read this post on my other blog.


I've had a short discussion today with my friend Alex about a new style of business card and banner that we are working on (so far ideas only) for me. Alex said it would be great to have something, a symbol that represents me as a Hungarian, my origins. Of course, the first thing came to mind was Dracula *grins*. But joke aside, I remembered that a lot of people keep asking me over and over again 'so what are my roots anyway, where am I from, and what am I', particularly that I lived in a few countries so far.
First of all, everybody thinks that I am Romanian, because this is where I am coming from. Or Hungarian because usually this is what I say to cut the story short. But actually I am székely.

So here in short a small history lesson about Székely, currently a minority in Romania. What are székely's and where do they come from?

They are the original inhabintants of Transilvania, and their history is quite long on those lands, pretty much for over a thousand years. Although debated, it seems that székely descended from the Huns (think Attila the Hun and you're right there). In 1867 Transilvania was united with the Kingdom of Hungary and it remained as such until around 1920, when it sadly became part of Romania. Briefly for the time of the WWII, Transilvania became again part of Hungary. So Transilvania is only for a relatively short time part of Romania, while during its whole previous history it was either part of Hungary, or independant, or part of the Austro-Habsburg Empire, all of which suited much better the székely lifestyle, culture and society. Romania's culture is quite different, mostly with Byzantine influences, and the culture clashes between the two could never be resolved, they are too different. I've been living in both worlds all my life, and the two are nothing alike. Even the language is so different, it's scary. Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages in the world because the grammar is very complex, and because there is not another language in Europe or around that even sounds similar. If you speak Romanian, you will understand Italian and Spanish very easily or with little training, but speaking Hungarian doesn't help with learning anything else :)

So although I was born in Romania, having a Romanian citizenship, my ancestors were anything but Romanians, thus like all other székely in Romania, I consider myself székely by origin (and Hungarian by language, since both the Hungarians and Szekely use the same Hungarian language).

Some more information about Székely and their hymn: http://www.webenetics.com/hungary/szekhimn.htm
and a wiki about szekely: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sz%C3%A9kelys

Just a side note, today as I was google-ing around searching for the sun/moon symbols, I came across another blog by a fellow szekler, who is struggling with the very same problem of people in other countries not really understanding about his real background. Had a giggle when I read his (not because it would be funny, but because I'm struggling with the same misconceptions as well, lol. Here is his blog: http://pixi.myaiesec.net/2006/11/szkelyek.html

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My first sales from the blog  

Friday, May 9, 2008

I've just had today my first sales from the blog. This necklace is going tomorrow to the States and hopefully will be loved :)
Thank you for your purchase if you're reading the latest blog posts as well :)
So having a blog with my items to sell, apart from the online shop, is worth it, really happy to know it worked out. Also I'm glad I've got the chance to test Paypal through the blog, it seems to work quite allright.

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Journeyman - cancelled :( and musings about time travelling  

I'm sure it's already old news to those who were watching Journeyman with Kevin McKidd. After 13 episodes the show has been cancelled, just like a bunch of other great tv series that were worth continuing (and being replaced by *cough* reality tv shows) It's really sad because this show had potential and the chemistry between the main actors was practically sizzling. And no, the show is not soap opera. It's about time travel and what it does to one's life and family. And of course, the adventures one has in the process.
If you've watched the series and are curious about the theme song, who's playing it and where to find it, you can watch it on youtube, it's about 3 minutes log. I think this opening, along with the one for Lost is one of the best around.

Oh and if you like time travel theme, have you read The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I must have read so far over 2000 books in my life, but this one gotta count for the top 5. Good news, later on this year, a movie based on this book will come out. Check out the details on IMDB.com
Now if they also made a film based on Replay by Ken Grimwood, I'd say they did something right afterall.

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Book review  

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Not feeling like making any jewelry today, I feel sort of burned out. Guess the fact that I was a bit sick yesterday, plus some bad news we had at work, they just threw me off balance.

So instead I've decided to review my latest read.
I've posted a full review at the Bookmooch TBR Bookclub. You can also get the book from Bookmooch, my copy is also added to my inventory.

I like reading Carla Neggers' novels when I don't want to read anything heavy that needs special attention of my brain cells, when I'm in a 'take it easy' mood and just relax.

The novel is typical of this author, romance + suspense combined in an easy writing style. A quick read.

Now off to read something different, about a psychic detective, should be interesting. Might post the review later on as well.

Update on the 'different' read mentioned above. I have read and reviewed it on my other blog since the nature of the story is 'different' as well :). You can read the book review, if interested, here.

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Silver bangle  

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Crappy day at work today, felt sick, so I left earlier. Went home, took a nap, and when I woke up, I had this idea to make a cuff style bracelet. And this is the result. Still have to file the ends of the wrapping and tighten them a bit, but for a first of this sort, is not bad. Will do more in the future. Miscalculated a bit the wire length, so the bracelet became a bit tight. So had to adjust the clasp which became sort of chunky and big. Oh well, this piece stays with me anyway as a prototype.

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Victorian earrings variant and Green Agate Pendant  

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

After I've had these earrings one full day on, by the end of the day they were pulling quite a lot on my ears. So I've decided to improve on the design by making them slinkier and lighter. The idea is to use the two outer wires for decoration only rather than full part of the earrings. It does make a difference in feel and in appearance as well. I'm thinking of oxidizing these, but I'm not sure. Any comments on pro or contra ?

Also during the weekend I made this green agate pendant. I had two identical stones, the first I've used in a pendant about a month ago when I started border wrapping with silver. And here is the new one. I quite like this one. The stone is so shiny if I look better I can see myself in my pajamas behind the tripod :p
Now that's the shine I want to get out of my stones once I'll start tumbling them.
You can buy this pendant on a silver chain right from the blog!
Click here to make direct Paypal payment:

28 Euros

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New hobby - coz do I need one more?  

Monday, May 5, 2008

It's called rock tumbling, and it means taking your average rock from the road, or cliff, or water, from along train rails, in the forests and mountains, and particularly mines, and turning them through the method of tumbling into highly polished and desirable stones. Most of them end up becoming semi-precious stones, like jasper, agates, moonstone, through the polishing process.

Take a batch of rough stones like on this picture and turn them into something gorgeous

like this

or this

Are you drolling yet? :)

And once you have these miracles, you can do all sorts of things with them, turn them into wire wrapped jewelry (think me), put them as pretties around fountains, keep them in your pocket, give them to kids, make raffles with them, or sell them. There are thousands of jewelry makers out there who don't have the equipment to tumble the stones themselves, so they buy them.
Tumbling takes a good few weeks of non-stop work in the machine, so you really need to be patient until you get - some - results. Good thing too as right now I couldn't afford yet another hobby - or occupation after work, as I'm already 'fully booked'.

Now I think I'm doing it just the opposite as the most 'normal' people are, lol. Usually one starts from rockhounding (go find the rocks yourself and beware of snake bites and accidents), then goes off to tumble polishing, then cabing (not even going there!), and with all those gorgeous stones, one gets the need to do something with them, thus picks up wire wrapping. The border wrapping sort, mind you.
Me, started from seedbeading, off to wrapping, 'art style' wrapping, and as of lately I'm hooked on border wrapping (see style I used for the raffle in my other post). And now comes tumble polishing. Go figure.

So right now I'm looking forward to receive my double-barrel tumbler (yes, I already have one single barrel for tumbling my jewelry), the grit used in smoothing out the edges and surface of the rock (the chemical equivalent of the nature doing it in thousands of years, here you do it within a few weeks), and the rocks I've ordered online. My bank account has thinned out considerably, but who cares, when I'm just facing my new addiction :P

If you're ever interested in rock tumbling, I've found the best forum on the net on the subject, the knowledge there is just amazing. Or check out another good forum on rock tumbling, cabing, faceting and wire wrapping.

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Raffle winner  

And the winner of the raffle is.....


Congrats Alex!

Just in case you don't see this, I'll send you an email for the details :)

Oh btw, here are two screenshots of the raffleking in action :)

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Victorian silver earrings  

Sunday, May 4, 2008

This piece is something quite new from me, in execution and in style. It's based on a tutorial by Bobbi. It's not difficult to make, but it takes a lot of some kind of special wire: square, which is not so easy to find outside of the US . I had to wait until my order from Monsterslayer.com came through so I can give this pair a go.
I like the result and it's really comfy to wear. I might make a second pair later on, with less wire and maybe smaller in size.

On another note, just a few more hours until the pendant raffle comes to an end, so come over and play! You might win! (see previous post)

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