Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tutorial: Hand Stamped Sterling Silver Jewelry

Hand Stamped Sterling Silver Jewelry

(originally published on my PNN page)
My latest addiction - once I learned how to make my own hand stamped sterling silvery jewelry (so easy!) I knew I had to share it with the world. One thing I learned while trying to find information on this craft was that it is hard to find information about it! :) This tutorial will outline the basic tools you need, and help you get started with how to use your tools.

Basic Tools:

You will need a mallet (or some people prefer to use a regular hammer), steel bench block, 600 grit sandpaper, polishing pads, design stamp (I use a snowflake stamp in this tutorial), black permanent marker (for the oxidizing look), 1/2 inch 24 gauge sterling silver disc, 1.7mm hole punch pliers, a sterling silver jump ring (sizes vary, use the size that you like best) and a necklace chain (I am using an 18" 1.2mm sterling silver ball chain.

Okay, after seeing that list, you should be getting the idea that this is not an inexpensive hobby/craft. It will take a little investment in the beginning, but it will pay off when you are creating beautiful pendants that people charge a lot of money for.

Okay- let's get started!
Step 1: Start by placing your sterling silver disc on the steel bench block. Place your design stamp carefully in the desired place on the disk. For this small pendant, I'll place the design slightly below the middle of the disc, so that when the hole is punch on the top, it still looks centered.

Step 2: Firmly hit your mallet against the design stamp several times, to ensure your design has been stamped into the sterling silver disc. You want to make sure you get it right the first time - otherwise, it would be difficult to place it perfectly back on top of the design to stamp it again.

Step 3: Using your hole punch pliers, place your disc in the hole punch, lining the disc up so that the hole will be place properly. Squeeze the punch tightly - if you don't do this correctly, you could end up damaging the disc, and you'll want to start all over again.

Step 4: This is the step that makes your design image pop off of the disc - to give your silver the "oxidized" look, we're going to cheat a little by using a black permanent marker to mark in the grooves of the design. When you are done, it will look something like the picture at right.

Step 5: Use the fine grit sandpaper to smooth off all edges of the disc, and then follow it up with the polishing pad. As you work the polishing pad over the design area, it will polish off the excess black marker, leaving your disc beautifully polished and your design will stand out on the disc.

Step 6: Add your jump ring and necklace chain (or you could make several of these and add them to a charm bracelet), and you are finished! Here is an up-close picture of my finished product. This particular sized disc also works well for single letter.

What do you think of this tutorial? Was it easy to follow? I love getting feedback, so please feel free to comment!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Who am I?

Well, I suppose you could ask many people, and they would give you different answers. In short, I am a nearly (gasp!) 30 year old mommy that recently quit her corporate job to stay at home with her beautiful nearly 2 year old daughter. Out of my husband and myself, I am the only one with a college degree, so it does slightly bother me that I am the one staying home, but I am small business owner, so I guess that counts for something.

Why am I blogging? I have always loved writing, and being that I don't get a lot of adult conversation during the day, I needed some kind of creative outlet. I think I am funny, so why not bless the rest of the world with my gift of humor? ha ha.

My house is a home to me, my daughter, my husband (only about 2 days a week, more on that later), our 2 dogs (Ernie & Buddy) and our 4 cats (Fat Head, Smooches, Squirt and Pepper). We also have a grey cat living under our house that runs away when we drive in. Oh, and I think at present we have at least 2 mice living in our stand-alone garage type-shed building. There is a lot of love in this house.

What can you expect from this blog? The down and dirty details of my life as a stay at home mommy, my opinions, and other random ramblings. If you don't like it, you don't have to read. Or better yet, read and leave a comment! My husband can attest that I love to argue.

I'll also shamelessly plug the items I am currently selling, if the mood strikes me. I will also advertise other mommy-made things (or daddy-made, if I find those). I think that with our economy in a state that it is in, if we help each other, we might be able to get to the other side a little bit smoother.

You won't see me blog about politics, unless something really chaps my hide. But that doesn't usually happen. I might put my two cents in about current reality shows, etc.... who knows.

Okay, enough of all of that. I hope you will join me on this journey of expressing myself, my opinions, and general frustrations. Enjoy looking around!


OOPPs...I forgot one of the most important things. Why am I called Kiwi? Well, when my neice Lily was born, we wanted her to call me something cute, rather than just Auntie Kerry. She and I have been very close since she was born, and having a special name was just that important. At first, we wanted my name to be Kiki, but Kiwi was easier to be said when Lily actually started talking, and my sister decided she wanted to be Kiki (her name is Kristin). Yes, my sister is very selfish, so I finally gave in. Ha! Secretly though, I absolutely love it every time I hear Lily call me Kiwi. Now, our business is called Kiwi and Kiki.

Okay, enough of that...for real this time.