Sunday, December 22, 2013

So.... I Jumped On The Bandwagon....


It has been an interesting couple of weeks I must say.... I am really getting better (I think) at being active on Facebook and Instagram as I start feeling better each week, and I'm really enjoying all the wonderful new friends I am making! Including a few new jewelry making friends which is always nice to have someone understand what it feels like to make mistakes and to also have conquered a new obstacle resulting in success!

I suppose the biggest event that happened was last Sunday I was looking online at Fire Mountain Gems website to find a good hammer for my bangle bracelets...I was wanting to add more texture to them so I wanted a small light hammer that wouldn't exhaust my wrist and forearm...well I found the perfect hammer in a stamping set....but I swear to you that just a few days beforehand I was telling my husband that I liked the stamped jewelry but didn't think I would want to get into it since so many people are doing it....

As I was watching church service online, I was getting inspired by his sermon with all these ideas for stamping! But... I didn't want to do stamping....The ideas just kept coming... the more I listened, they just seemed to jump out at me and I was having a hard time ignoring them.

So later I decided to look at the stamping set one more time, discussed it with Woody and explained how this all came about...his input was "Then I would go with that" basically telling me to listen to God's inspiration.  So I did! I jumped on the bandwagon!

I ordered the kit along with some necklace chain, and decided so that I wasn't going all crazy with it, I would use my antiqued metal charms I have had for a few years to stamp on.  The problem with starting on a new adventure like this is that there are so many supplies to buy just to get started...I was trying to make the best decision without going overboard...which for me, takes a lot of restraint because I have so many ideas that I want to create!  Also, I couldn't remember seeing any stamped jewelry done on antiqued metal, most of what I had seen was on shiny silver, gold and copper.  So since no one was doing that I thought it might set me apart from their work, being unique.  

My New Stamping Set
 I was SO EXCITED when it arrived, I also ordered two extra design stamps; a heart and a cross.  I had read some tips that I should mark the side of the stamp with a sharpie marker so that the proper side is always facing me when I stamp, so I did that and was ready to go!

Um.... not as easy as I thought it was going to be....

I had a lot of these "blanks" as they are called in the stamping world, so I wasn't too worried about not getting it right away...but 30 blanks later I was getting a bit worried....

I went ahead and tried a few words (I had pre-wrapped some Czech Preciosa Crystal beads that week to use as charms) and put together my first necklace;
Faith and Love Hand Stamped Necklace in Mixed Antique Metals
 The hammered charms were also part of my inventory and I thought they went perfectly to add a bit more texture to the piece.  I liked the result but my letters were not as black or as bold as I was wanting them...

Woody to the rescue....he bought me these hammers to help me out, a heavy Estwing 2lb drilling hammer (sure strike) to do the initial stamping with and an Estwing no-mar deadhead rubber mallet for flattening out the blank if it becomes distorted from the stamping.
Stamping Hammers

This is an early Christmas present from Woody; two new stamping fonts, a punctuation set and metal sheet (brass and tin) for practicing! Now I was even more excited!!!
My New Fonts and Practice Sheets
 So I did some practicing...what a difference the hammer makes!  I stamped away, not worrying about making mistakes because I had all this sheet to practice with, it was wonderful!
I was not liking that my letters because they were not very black, well what a difference the metal that you are stamping on makes as well! Here are my two practice sheets;
Stamping Practice Sheet Brass

Stamping Practice Sheet Tin
SO MUCH BETTER!!!  I did notice that it was very easy to distort the tin, but the brass was more sturdy.  My blanks that I have are even harder metal which is why I think I was having so much trouble getting the impression I was hoping for, not to leave out the hammer, and also I think my confidence and comfort in my strike is getting better!

I will say this is challenging... figuring out the amount of force needed, aligning the letters and the spacing of them is a bit tricky...but I'm stubborn and determined!  The perfectionist in me is having a little trouble with this, but I'm working on making peace with the fact that I am not a machine...the letters may not be absolutely perfect, and that's okay, because Hand Stamped Jewelry is an art.

Looking forward to this adventure, showing you my progress with this and sharing pictures of my pieces :)

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