Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Skills in Soldering

As I have said before, I just love to learn new skills.  This time I took a class to learn soldering in jewelry.  Specifically, I learned to create a bezel setting for a cabochon.  We cut a back plate of sterling silver and soldered a bezel and a bail to it.  The best part - we used a butane torch, often called a creme brulee torch.  

This is an inexpensive option that will work for small projects and is less intimidating than an acetylene setup.  Another option is a plumber's torch with a propane tank for a little more power and heat.  For me it was also harder to hold and aim.  There is a larger butane torch that I plan to buy that I think will work for most of my projects. 

After much filing and polishing, I set the stone and smoothed the bezel over the edge.  Here is the result:

This class was so much fun and I was very excited to be there.  We had the most patient instructor, Rick Swartzwelder, and he was great at explaining and showing each step.  He was also available later by email to answer questions.  

Rick offered another class just last weekend to make a ring with a bezel setting.  To start this project we put a texture on the silver band before shaping the ring.  I learned that you need to be aggressive in adding texture because most of mine disappeared with all the work that was done on the ring.  Another student had textured her band with two different hammers.  She thought perhaps she had done too much but it was just right when she finished.  I chose a black onyx cabochon and followed Rick's instruction to another great result.  Well, I still have a little polishing to do. 

The tricky part of this project was setting the bezel on a curved base.  Since solder will not fill gaps and the surfaces must touch with no space between, we had to do a lot of filing to create the same curve on the bottom of the bezel without distorting the shape.  Patience was definitely required.  

Of course, learning a new skill usually means acquiring new tools.  Oh gee, I have to buy new tools?  So I have my order ready to go.  I wonder what my practice projects will be.  Stay tuned and I will share them.  

And if you have been thinking about learning to solder, go for it.  A good place to start would be the free class on Craftsy by Kate Richbourg, Micro Torch Basics.

Keep learning and creating,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

October Fest with Toltec Jewels

I am participating in Toltec Jewels' October Fest.  We are sharing our autumn inspirations in whatever form they may take.  They could be jewelry, beads, recipes, treats, poems, pictures, crafts, etc.


My autumn inspirations center around the colors so evident in our Blue Ridge Mountains this time of year.  Surprisingly the trees are changing very slowly this year but I already have plenty of leaves falling in my yard.  Oh yay!  Get out the rakes!

 The colors inspire my choices in making lampwork beads.  They pull me out of my usual palette, sometimes with happy results.

Sunlight filtering through the colorful leaves just puts me in a good mood even in the middle of this nasty cold that has managed to knock me off my feet.

Autumn gives us a chance to pull out some different jewelry to go with our cooler weather clothes.

Even though we had a freeze last night, there are still some flowers hanging around for a last showy appearance.  Sometimes they bring us colors we wouldn't think of with fall.

Some colors just say autumn.

Gold, brown, red, orange, and rust mix with all the shades of green to paint the trees.  Nature knows best how to put colors together.

This Jack-o-Lantern pendant just has to show its face here.  I won this pendant from the lovely and generous Gaea Cannaday of Gaea Handmade through the Art Bead Scene blog.  Thanks Gaea.  So this is a big autumn inspiration for a necklace I have in the works.

 Here is the list of all the participants in the October Fest so you can enjoy all the autumn goodness.

Caroline                                       http://
Andrea Glick-Zenith           
Dolores Raml                     
Karla Morgan                     
Susie Harris                       
Kay Thomerson                 
Jean Yates                        
Kelly Hosford Patterson     
Kathy Lindemer                 
Liz E                                  
Jasvanti Patel                    
Christie Murrow                 
Jodie Marshall                   
Andrea Trank                    
Dini Bruinsma                    
Elsie Deliz Fonseca           
Karla Morgan                    
Vera Lynn                         
Rana Wilson                     
Catherine King                 
Lily Vincent                       
Janice Hidey (Janimar)     
Cory Tompkins                 
Candida Castleberry        
Cynthia Kent Machata      
Alicia Marinache               
Linda Anderson                
Leah Curtis                       
Jennifer Reno (JenRen)    
Robin Reed                       
Tanty Sri Hartanti              
Lisa Lodge                        
Ingrid A.                            
Judy Turner                      
Gina Hockett                     
Nelly May                          
Tanya McGuire                 
Sonya Stille                       
Carol D.                            
Asri Wahyuningsih            
Ginger Bishop                   
Shaiha Williams                
Toltec Jewels (Rita, your hostess)

Enjoy and keep creating,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Leather Shop Now Open!

I have been promising a recycled leather section to my Etsy shop.  Well I have listed the first two items.  I shared the large chocolate brown tote bag here.  

The second bag is a small makeup bag / clutch.  It is made from a soft red leather and an accent of black and white herringbone.  This little bag is great for holding your makeup or other essentials inside a larger tote. Or carry it alone as a small clutch to carry your cell phone, money and keys.

The bag is lined with a black and white striped cotton with an interior pocket. It is topped off with a zipper closure.

It is no secret that I love to sew, especially when I can be creative with the project.  Many of these leather projects are designed as I go to fit the pieces of leather.  

The big secret is that this bag is made from a red leather jacket. I love giving garments a new life. When using the leather skirts or jackets, I try to use any interesting seams or pockets from the original item in the bag design. With jackets, I often get great pockets which you will see on future bags.  So what will be the next transformation?

Create with what ya got-

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Last of Summer

It has been so warm here this week.  Since I love summer weather, I was glad to have more temps around 80.  I searched the flower bead and found some zinnias and dahlias (and whatever those orange and gold flowers are) still in bloom.  These colors are so cheery.

So I brought some in to brighten my kitchen.  I love flowers in my house.  Thought you might enjoy seeing them too.   Are you still hanging on to summer?

I guess it is time to pull out some fall decor.  Do you change things in your house for the seasons or holidays?

Hope you find some time for creating,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fresh from the Kiln and A Winner!

Here are a few beads fresh from the kiln yesterday. They are not even off the mandrel yet.  I just had a short time to work but needed some ideas for a custom order.  I will be back on the torch today cooking with some new inspiration.

Thanks to all who visited my blog and my Facebook page and entered the Giveaway.  I wish all of you could win.  But the winning name has been drawn.
Drum roll please!  The winner of the Earring Giveaway is...

Congrats!  Please send me your mailing address and I will get the earrings out to you right away.  I hope you enjoy them.

Keep creating,

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Upcycled Leather Bags - Finally!

If you are looking for the Lampwork Earring Giveaway, please go here.  Good luck!

Those of you who know me are aware that I love to do both lampwork beads along with other jewelry making AND I love to sew.  I have been sewing since about age 8 or 9 with my first 4-H apron.  Most of my female relatives (grandmothers, aunts and mother) sewed and passed on those skills.  My mother and grandmother also made lots of our clothes while we were growing up.  We were soooooo lucky!

So, for a while, I have been promising some upcycled leather bags and purses.  I have made a couple of bags as a test and am now ready to reveal one.  Get ready 'cause it is a BIG one!

See how big!!  Check the magazine in the pocket.

And look at this fabric used for the lining.  I love, love, love it.  See the bird?  And there is a butterfly hidden down inside too.

 The handles are so soft and comfortable riding on your shoulder or arm.  

This bag is padded so you can carry your tablet and maybe even a lightweight laptop.  And so many extras inside - center zipper pocket, key fob, side pockets... 

and pen slots.

The big secret is that this bag is made from 3 upcycled skirts - 2 of soft, dark chocolate brown leather and 1 of red batik.  I love giving garments a new life.  When using the leather skirts or jackets, I try to use any interesting seams or pockets from the original item in the bag design.  On this one, it was seams on the front of the bag.  With jackets, I often get great pockets which you will see on future bags.

So what do you think?  Do you like it?  Would you carry it?

Keep creating,

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A "Diversion" Giveaway

This post is to create a "Diversion" for those of you that are sad (or happy) that the kids have gone back to school.  Hopefully, you now have a little more spare time.  That is, unless you are a teacher and you now have no spare time - arghhhh!
 It is definitely time for me to host a giveaway.  This summer seemed to be lucky for me. 
  • My beautiful daughter was in to visit from London. 
  • I have passed my 100th post. (How did that happen?) 
  • I now have surpassed 100 likes (actually 120) on my Facebook fan page, Dillman's Diversions
  • I won 2 giveaways.
  • My son proposed to his lovely girlfriend.
  • I just had the grandkids to visit for my birthday week.
Guess I should have bought a big lottery ticket.

A big THANK YOU to all who read my posts, shop in my Etsy store, and follow my Dillman's Diversions Facebook page.  To celebrate and share the good luck, I would like to give away a pair of my handmade lampwork earrings.  

So how can you enter?  How about a variety of options and you can choose one or several ways to participate?  
Here goes.

1.  Become a follower of my blog, Dillman's Dallies. (leave a comment below)
2.  Like (or already follow) Dillman's Diversions on Facebook.  (leave a comment below)
3.  Share this on your blog and leave me a link to see it. 
(This contest is open only in USA and Canada due to high postage costs.)

You must leave a separate comment for each way you participate to be counted. 
So there are three (3) chances to get your name in the drawing. Just be sure you leave an email to contact you if clicking on your name doesn't give it to me.

Still with me? Then hurry and take action because I will draw a winner at the end of the day on Thursday, September 5, 2013 Monday, September 9, 2013.  Good luck to all!
I have extended the deadline to give time for more entries.

Keep creating,

Monday, August 26, 2013

Backyard Visitor

Just a quick post to share some pictures of my favorite backyard visitor. 

This little hummingbird visits numerous times a day and occasionally lets me get a decent picture. 

I rarely see more than one at a time because they are very territorial and will chase each other off.  I have tried two feeders this year but I think I have them too close together to allow them to feed together. 
I hear others that say they have lots of hummingbirds at their feeders.  So far I have not been that lucky.
Lots of butterflies also check out the flower beds around the house.   

Have a happy day and keep creating,

Friday, June 7, 2013

Little Missy Bead by Jane Perala

I would like to share with you one of the cutest beads you will ever see.  This lampwork bead is made by the talented Jane Perala of Jane Perala Designs from British Columbia, Canada.  I think anyone can appreciate the time and talent it takes to create such a detailed bead with molten glass. 

Not only does she create these colorful little girls on the front of the bead but provides more eye candy on the back.
And the most fun for me is that I won this cute "Little Missy" from Jane.  Woohoo!  So I do hope that you will check out Jane's work on her blog and her Etsy site, JPeralaDesigns.

Keep creating,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Whimsical Monkey's Earring Swap Blog Hop

Jessica at Whimsical Monkey has hosted an Earring Swap Blog Hop. 
THANK YOU Jessica for organizing this fun event. 

My partner is Mowse Doyle.  Her blog is Mowse Made This and she is Mowse Made This on Facebook. Here are the earrings she sent me.  Just look at the detailed roses on these dainty heart beads.  Don't you just love them?!   My picture really doesn't do them justice.
Be sure to scroll down on her FB page and see the seashell she made.

And here are the earrings I sent her.  They are made with my own lampwork beads and sterling silver dangles.  I have made similar designs before with the silver dangles and I hope Mowse will love them as much as I do.

Here is the list of the participants.  Please grab your favorite beverage, find a comfortable spot and hop around and enjoy!  I hope you find new blogs to follow and make a new friends.  Or maybe you will find some inspiration to further your creative endeavors.

Blog Hop:

Nancy Smith:
Marianne Baxter:
Leah Tees:
Andrea Trank:
Miranda Ackerley:
Cheri Mitchell-Reed:
Susan Kennedy:
Michele Dotson:
Deanna Cox:
Shelley Graham Turner:
Ingrid McCue:
Lennis Carrier:
Ginger Davis Allman:
Mary Anne Flesch:
Nicole Valentine Rimmer:
Stephanie Weiss:
Silvia Sernicola:
Karla Morgan:
Kay Thomerson:
Paula Hisel:
Carol Dillman: (you are here)
Spun Sugar Beadworks:
Tara Plote:
Rachel Baron:
Laurie Keefe:
Kashmira Patel:
Gina Hockett:
Shellie Grindy:
Shai Williams:
Dyanne Cantrell:
Mimi Gardner:
Jessica McMullen:
Jennifer LaVite:
Laura Medeiros:
Alenka Obid:
Elsie Fonseca:
Cheryl Dunham:
Sandra McGriff:
Tania Spivey:
Mowse Doyle:
Mischelle Fanucchi:

Beccy Peterson: Beccy's Baubles
Marde Lowe: FanciMar Designs

You can never have too many pairs of earrings!

Keep creating,

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What a Challenge!

Because I just love to sew, I attend meetings of a quilt guild.  Occasionally we take on a service project.  This time it will be a charity quilt, so one of the members came up with a way to get the quilt squares made.  Members were offered a challenge fabric fat quarter for designing a quilt square.  I decided to jump in and give it a try.  Here is the challenge fabric:
So yes it was a challenge.  With all the words and shapes in the design, it didn't seem to work with some of the traditional quilt patterns that would have cut it in to very small pieces.  To bring in fun and humor, I designed an owl similar to the one found in the challenge fabric.  I didn't want the square to become too dark and somber so I found a light blue print to lighten up the color scheme. I used the fusible applique method to add the owl and used a blanket stitch around all the pieces. 
I still had some of the challenge fabric left so I pieced two more squares to be donated for the charity quilt. I kept a little diagonal in each piece.

So what do you think?  Did I meet the challenge?

What are you creating?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Facebook Page Visitor

Have you had time to visit my facebook page yet?
I hope you will stop by Dillman's Diversions and see what's going on.
All "likes" for my page will be greatly appreciated.

I just posted this bracelet.

Keep creating,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bead Soup Party - 2nd Reveal

It is time for the second group in the Bead Soup Party to reveal their lovely creations. 
Jeepers - that's me! 

And I am so excited to show what I stirred up with the lovely beads and handmade clasp sent to me by my partner, Barbara Mason of Adorningly Yours.
Just a reminder of what Barbara sent me.

The first piece is a bracelet made with the beautiful handmade clasp and the white pearls.  I don't usually work with the gold metals so this was definitely a challenge but I had some jade,citrine and green pearls that just jumped out and begged to join this lovely clasp.
The second piece is made with the focal piece which is a stone I can't identify but it has gorgeous golden tones.  When I was auditioning metals and beads for this piece, the copper seemed a natural choice.  I also added some of my lampwork beads, some amber glass beads and copper chain and clasp.

Thanks again to Lori for organizing this Bead Soup Blog Party.  We do appreciate you!!!

Before you go I have a little request.  I have a new Facebook page and I would love for you to check it out.  Just click the link or see the button at the top of this page (that my daughter so cleverly added).  And of course, all likes are greatly appreciated.

Grab your favorite beverage and plop in your favorite chair while you make your way through the Bead Soup delights right here.

Get some inspiration for creating,

Thursday, April 11, 2013

New Earrings

Just a quick message to show you the newest additions coming to Etsy. 

These will be on my Etsy shop, Dillman's Diversions this weekend.

I hope you will stop in to check out my store.

Keep creating,


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