Monday, May 18, 2015

IT HAS ARRIVED!

Written by Patti Vanderbloemen of My Addictions Handcrafted Jewelry

Last time I wrote a blog post, it was to vent my frustration in attempting to receive a kiln that I purchased in late March. Well, lots have changed since last week's post!

Last Tuesday, I received a telephone call from the President of Paragon Industries.  Apparently, the representative of the webstore where I purchased the kiln read my blog post (big shout out thank you to her)!!  She, in turn, reported my frustration to Paragon Industries.  Paragon took full blame for the mix-up/lack of communication, etc, and my kiln was shipped last Wednesday ... and here it is, fresh out of the box!

Paragon SC2 Pro Silver and Glass Kiln
After tons of research related to what would be the best kiln to purchase, I decided to add on the digital controller to easily set and hold firing programs for future use. The kiln also  only weighs 40 pounds - a plus to me.  

I am very blessed to have my studio in a large room in my basement - planned when we designed this house. Not only is it nice and cool down here (it is close to 90 degrees outside today and I won't even discuss the humidity), but the studio has a painted concrete floor which translates to easy cleanup.  Now, the kiln is perfectly safe to run on a regular household current, but I do have a dedicated circuit in my studio.  I did not want to rearrange my furniture - yet again - so I purchased  a heavy duty machine table on casters, so I can roll the kiln to the outlet when I need to turn it on - and tuck it out of the way when not in use.  This dedicated circuit is also located directly under an exhaust fan I had installed when the house was constructed.   


That's my little toaster oven beneath the kiln.  I like that the shelves are metal - just a little safety feature to ease my mind, as things can get hot down here in the dungeons of the basement with torches and such.

While not a chef by title, I feel I am an accomplished cook in the kitchen.  But that kitchen oven does not even get close to 2000 degrees, so I have some reading to do before I actually turn on the kiln!

I harbor absolutely no hard feelings towards the manufacturer or the webstore where I purchased the kiln.  In the end, good customer service did prevail, and it is a happy ending in my little Kiln Story.  

I hope to be blogging about my continued trials and errors with precious metal clay in the very near future - wish me luck (I need it!!!)

Thank you for stopping by today!!!

xo
Patti

Monday, May 11, 2015

I am so frustrated...

I hate to keep re-hashing this subject, but my blog is going to have to serve as my place to vent today. After what I thought was due-diligence on my part, I placed an online order for a Paragon Kiln on March 27th.  This order included a few accessories.  When the accessories arrived a week later, it noted on the packing slip that the kiln would arrive within 12-15 days.  By the end of April, and still no kiln, I contacted the webstore.  This telephone contact began a thread of emails a mile long with "should be out next week"..."shipping on Tuesday"..."coming soon".  You get the drift.  Quite frankly, I was fed up.

Saturday morning, I sent an email to my contact at the webstore and flat out told them 1) cancel my order and refund my full purchase price (charged to my credit card on March 27th); 2) reminded them that they should not have charged my card until shipment was actually mailed - or at least the full price should not have been charged; 3) and, I included a diatribe of how their website shipping policies are beyond misleading.  I further advised them that in this faceless world of online shopping, customer COMMUNICATION - at the very least - should be paramount.

I received an email from her this morning telling me the kiln could be mailed today, or I could receive a refund.  I thought... "are you serious"?  I asked for the refund.

How is this company still in business?  Am I the only customer who fell through their cracks?  Is customer service a thing of the past?  I know that if I ran my tiny one-man shop this way, I would never have another sale.

So, I am going back to my list of vendors again in search of this elusive kiln.  In the meantime, I have been playing with some metals.


(SOLD)








I really need to start playing with beads again - my shop is becoming devoid of color, filled with copper and silver! :)

Thanks for stopping by today - hope you have a great week!

xo
Patti

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Okay....one more!

Written by Patti Vanderbloemen of My Addictions Handcrafted Jewelry

I have had this ceramic focal from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio for quite awhile now.


I have made more than several attempts to incorporate this focal into a necklace - but nothing I came up with worked for me.  Everything I tried seemed to take away from the simplicity of the beads, which by the way, I absolutely adore!  

In my last few posts, I have been incorporating silk into my necklaces.  I was sure I only had shades of purples and eggplant left in my fiber stash.  But, I don't know when I purchased this - or who it was from - but I found more!  I swear - this has to have been in my little box labeled "fibers" for at least two years now...at the bottom.

Well, I also still had 3 of the copper bails left that I made last week...


...as well as a stash of handmade components that I have not used yet, and these little wire connectors still remind me of a bird's nest, albeit, with a huge hole in the middle!


I think this necklace is my favorite so far - the muted tones tend to match my personality more.


And that little pop of red..yum!


Who knows...this newly located stash of silk may mean I have to make more necklaces!

Spring has sprung here - and the morning is my favorite time of day to be outside - it was a most enjoyable walk with Sarge this morning!  Hope you are having wonderful weather where you are located, as well!

Thanks so much for stopping by today - have a great Wednesday!!!

xo
Patti




Monday, April 27, 2015

Totally new for me!


I have a new blog post up today over at the Love My Art Jewelry blog. We are in the middle of a Boot Camp and the subject is using fiber in our designs. Not exactly up my alley, but I am always willing to at least try!  I had a batch of this lovely hand-dyed silk from Marsha Neal to practice.


My first thoughts drew me to necklaces. But, what would I use as a focal? As a bail? I wanted to make my own bail and finally decided on copper sheet. Well, if there is one thing that I CANNOT do... it is drawing or sketching. I truly believe it has to do with how I hold my pen/pencil.  I blame the nuns in school- they never corrected me and to this day, I cannot read my own handwriting. So, I turned to the computer to help me draw. In my previous work-life, I wrote proposals for architects and general contractors - graphic design was critical in this work.  One of the various computer programs I used was Power Point.  It is a very user-friendly program - important, as I have not used Power Point in 5 years!

So, I just drew some basic geometric shapes in Power Point and estimated a completed length for the bails between 2 and 3 inches.  Remember - the bail has a curve in the center.  Anyway, these are the templates I created.


I cut out the templates and attached them to my copper sheet (24 gauge) using Rubber Cement.


I then cut out the templates, sanded the edges, and textured the heck out of them.  I then tried a new-to-me technique of adding tube rivets.  I have used commercially made rivets, but I cut my own from copper tubing.  Then I stared at them for a while and wondered how in the world I would set the rivet! I used a combination of dapping punches, the ball end of my Goldsmith Hammer and Embossing Hammers and was so happy that it worked!  The picture below is before patina.


And, after patina!  I used my Wubbers Bail Making Pliers to fold the copper in its center - but even a Sharpie would have worked.  The silk fits beautifully through the center.


My personal favorite, this awesome focal bead by Susan Kennedy. The silk matches perfectly! I added two of my copper beads with the precious metal clay - these are the beads in which I left off the tops/bottoms - they are more or less a large hole bead.


The second necklace features another beautiful lampwork bead by Donna Millard. I swear, the flower on this bead looks like it is just floating on water!


I have so enjoyed stepping outside of my comfort zone in using fiber. Both necklaces are lighter than air - perfect to wear on a hot Summer Day! Personally, I love how the silk softens the look of the metal. 

On another note, STILL NO KILN and it has been over 30 days.  I wrote an email last week inquiring a status and they responded quickly saying I stating the kiln should have been shipped out last week. Hmm...it wasn't.  I sent another email - this time, they have not yet replied.  

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Have a wonderful week!!

xo
Patti




Thursday, April 23, 2015

I am done...

Written by Patti Vanderbloemen of My Addictions Handmade Jewelry Blog

I am done making a batch of these beads, that is! The picture below is what is left after I made a bracelet. 


Making this bracelet has given me new meaning to the words "One of A Kind". This is due to the multiple-step process in creating each of the beads, which translates to I will probably not be making another one! :)  Kidding!




In all seriousness, it involved so many different metalsmithing techniques for each step in the process. It feels WONDERFUL on the wrist - substantial but not weighty. When I was wrapping the bracelet together, I toyed with the idea of connecting each beaded link without a jump ring. But, given that beads are 3/4" in length, they move better on the wrist with a jump ring between each link, so I just doubled up on the jump rings.  

I made two sets of these beads without the "toppers".  We are working on a Fiber Boot Camp at Love My Art Jewelry and I am trying to complete a project by next Monday, using these beads with the fiber...wish me luck, as I so very rarely use any fiber in my work.

  
In between steps for those beads, I also made a pair of earrings. These feature heat rivets at the bottom of the wires.


These are so darn lightweight - but long - 3 1/4".  The pearls have a wonderful rainbow opalescence, and dare I say it, these are sexy earrings!  Swingers!


Totally unrelated to this blog post, my Monday Post at Love My Art Jewelry was hijacked and posted on another site - including the links, but my name was suddenly gone.  This type of stealing has become, unfortunately, quite common in this day and age.  So, I am now adding what may appear as weird bi-lines and footnotes to my own personal blog, in the off chance this happens "here" as well.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by today, and I so very much appreciate your comments!

xo
Patti

This blog post was written by Patti Vanderbloemen for her own personal blog, My Addictions Handcrafted Jewelry by Patti.  If you are reading this on another site, it has been copied and used without permission of the author or blog owner.