Sunday, February 15, 2015

From Shoe Carousel to Hammer Carousel

Hi, all!  As some of you may know, I recently visited a thrift shop and purchased a shoe carousel for $5.  I had this hare-brained brilliant scheme to put it in my studio!  I had the idea to turn it into a pliers rack, because well... I luff my pliers and I have tons!  This is sort of what I bought, except it only had 2 tiers and was wonky and wobbly.

photo courtesy of

I have a few stumps in my studio:  some have things bolted to them (like a bench vise) and some are for other purposes, but I had a spare one so I chiseled out a hole (I don't have a full size drill.... can you believe it?  Me!  No drill!) in the center and plunked the pipe down into the hole.  Yes, I went psycho on the rack and tore it all apart.  :)   It's important to note that you need a skinny stump so the handles, when in the rack, clear the stump.   

Anywho:  the tiers spin freely on the center pole, so I cut off a length and seated the pole well into the stump and stacked the tiers together.  Why?  At first, I planned to use it as a pliers rack and I needed 2 layers of wire to keep the pliers from going all wonky.  It worked!  I mean, the pliers fit the rack and it spun, etc. but I just loved my old pliers rack too much to get rid of it.  I'm thinking I will have to make a two-tiered pliers rack (out of wood) very soon.  Future project idea!!!

So I decided to hang my smaller hammers from the revolving rack.  Why only the small ones?  Because lately I have a lot of small hammers and I really love them for texturing and forming (like my Wubbers Artisan's Mark hammer set).  

Please excuse the glare- I'm still figuring
out my studio lighting setup.
Plus, I really like my other hammer rack that I made from free wood and a few L brackets, but the small hammers liked to fall through (see in the background my other hammer rack).  I also found that the wire contraption I created holds my ring mandrel and my Garson mallet nicely, which never fit into any of my other hammer racks.  

The wire rack also holds my stakes and design stamps.  I can fit little containers into the rack also.  Overall, did I need it?  Meh, not really.  However, it does clear up some table space on my work bench, so it's not horrible.  

I forgot to mention that I folded the shoe...things... inside.  If you're making one of these for larger hammers, folding them outward works very well.  I had all my hammers in the rack before I decided to put the big ones back in their original rack.  It's really up to you if you want to cut the things off or bend them inside or outside the rack.  Some are bent slightly inward but up enough to slide my Garson mallet and my ring mandrel into for security.

Will I keep this?  Eh, I dunno.  I plan to build a large, floor sized (like bookshelf tall) hammer rack one day.  For now, it's a keeper.  It only cost me the $5 and it did clear up some bench space, and it revolves nicely, so yeah.

The point of this post is this:  It can be fun to re-purpose old things into new uses.  Think outside the box!  Look at things with a creative eye, and above all, have pride in your ingenuity.  I took something destined for the scrap heap and made something that's at least usable.  Plus, it's rather fun to spin.  :)

Have a great day, all!  xoxo!  ~Val

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New Happenings! New Pretties!

Hi, all!  Wow, I forgot my January post.  ><

2015 has been hopping for me!  My metalworking is taking off, and I'm very busy, much of which I can't divulge just yet.  As things develop, I'll be sure to post here, so stay tuned!  I'm such a tease.  :D

New things!  I've made new things, of course, and for January (and now, and continuing into 2015) I'm concentrating on designs that feature pierced work (I'm getting pretty good at it!) and concrete!  Yes, concrete!  I've been having a blast playing with new ideas for concrete.  I've tried molding it, inlaying it, and I have many ideas to explore.  Seriously, not enough time in the day.

Concrete?  What concrete?  Why, Wubbers EnCapture (TM) Artisan Concrete, of course!  You know how I have a Wubbers tool fetish, and it's extended to their line of concrete mixes, which include pigment powders.  Oh, the things I have planned!  Just you wait!

Before I show you what I've made so far using their awesome cement, you can find the EnCapture kits on the Wubbers University Shop website in both Natural (grey, with black, green and brown pigment powders plus tools) and White (with pink, blue and yellow pigment powders plus tools).  Click the color names for links.  :D

My first piece which featured the EnCapture Artisan Concrete is the Lunar Eclipse pendant.  I polished the concrete for this piece, so it doesn't really look like cement, but it is.  Guess what?  I also wrote a tutorial AND published a template (which accompanies the tutorial) for the metalwork, so you can create the exact pendant I designed!  The tutorial can be found on the Wubbers University website for site members, and also in my Etsy shop (and soon to be on my website).  The tutorial can be purchased here.   Introducing Lunar Eclipse!

Another idea I had for the concrete was to inlay it into a pierced project.  I have to say that this is my very favorite way to use the cement so far!  (concrete, cement... I use the terms interchangeably.)  My debut piece for my technique is a shield I created featuring the White Tree of Gondor from the Lord of the Rings.

This piece is for my own personal collection.  I don't own the tree design, obviously.  Since this is a piece of fan art, I won't be offering the design for this piece.  However, fear not!  I have drawn my own pierced work design template, and I will be writing the tutorial for it (and I will provide the template).  This piece I'm working on will also feature concrete inlay, and I'm so, so excited to show you once it's finished!  In the meantime, take a look at my Gondor shield, featuring the EnCapture White Artisan Concrete:

What's next?  Well, today I'm working on my latest concrete inlay piece.  This month I'm full of ideas and projects, some of which are super secret.  Stay tuned for the next inlay piece though!  I'll be showing that soon.

Oh!  I also have a beaded pendant, which will be published in this month's Digital Beading Australia within the next week or so.  I can't wait for you to see it!  It's something I'm pretty proud of.

I hope you enjoyed my concrete work!  I'm so excited and I'm brimming with ideas!  What are you working on?  Any big plans?  New ideas?  New directions?  Hopes and dreams?  I'd love to hear about it!

Much love and hugs,