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Weekly Inspirational Quote

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WA1025I just learned to braze in order to join recycled metal scrollwork and wrought iron together. Brazing is done by heating the metal with a torch and then using a filler rod which you head to meld the two pieces together.  I have several pieces I am taking up to The Curiousity Shoppe in Black Mountain, NC. Tourist seem to like the pieces. The recycled glass  includes wine bottle bottoms, plates and slumped dishes. They are drilled and wired on with copper wire which I age with liver of sulphur. Some of the glass pieces are slumped in a kiln to flatten them out.

The arch is slightly small than a window and I purchased a garden arch, cut out section with a torch and then brazed in a swirly new section from a large recycled candle holder. I like how this turned out.

 

 

WA1024The rectangular piece is made from a decorative piece I picked up in a thrift store. It didn’t look right by itself so I cut and brazed four sections of flat mild steel in order to frame it. I think it would make a nice piece to hang over a sofa. It is 36″ x 11″.

For more about brazing see the video below

 

 

 

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Miniature Works of Art in Colored Pencil

minicatMinitablestillThe Hickory Art Museum gift shop wants to increase public interest in purchasing original visual arts so they are trying an experiment. They’ve asked local artists to create miniature artworks no larger than  5 1/2 x 8 1/2″  and not to frame or mat them. These will be sold as is.

Sometimes I like to take a break from my usual projects to do something out of the ordinary so I decided to try my hand a making a couple of these small artworks.

Pictured are two very different ones I made on recycled mat board in colored pencil. The first is of a fat cat on a window sill. I just let fantasy take over on this one and even gave fat cat some crooked whiskers. The second is a still life of my dining room table with a floral arrangement and wine bottle. I made a larger pastel of this when I lived in California.

I love working with colored pencil and the deep shadows and illuminated feel it gives as the dark mat shows through the lines of the pencil.

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Monthly Giveaway, June 2015

GiverawayBannerJune2015It’s monthly giveaway time again. The contest will run from May 27- June 26, 2015 and is open to U. S. citizens age 18 or older.

Here is our list of sponsors.

 

 

 

BBQrubsPopcorn seasoningsPinupGirls Hot Sauce

Sponsor 1:  In Nonna’s Kitchen is offering a $25 gift certificate to their shop. In Nonna’s Kitchen sells handmade barbecue sauce, hot sauces, popcorn, popcorn seasoning, spices and more, all with personalized labels  for special occasions. www.etsy.com/shop/InNonnasKitchen?

tangledneckandearr2Sponsor 2: Serendipitini Jewelry. This month the giveaway is for a funky wire wrapped necklace and earrings. SerendipitiniJewelry features wire wrapped jewelry, recycled glass jewelry, and jewelry with semi precious stones. Here’s a link to Serendipitini Jewelry

Below is the contest entry form. Be sure to share with friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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N043aOne of my newest necklace designs, this craft jewelry is made from recycled bottles similar to sea glass.  The glass bottle bottom just happened to break into a perfect crescent shape and so I smoothed it in the rock tumbler, then drilled holes for the chain.

The choker features crescent shaped glass and sterling silver adjustable chain with lobster class. Extends to 20 1/2″ long.

Here’s a link to the recycled bottles choker in my shop

 

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Inspirational Thought of the Week

einseinquote“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex…It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”  Albert Einstein

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WA1007fWA1007eI found this abandoned piece of copper at Resource Warehouse and Gallery. I thought it might make a nice suncatcher.

I polished and buffed it up as best I could with copper polish followed by fine sandpaper.  The circle’s edges still have a tiny bit of rust but I think that adds to its rustic feel.

Then I wired on an amber green recycled bottle bottom to it and glued on a blue glass bead into the center. Next came a small green bottle bottom and a couple of copper swirls  and curlyques I made from recycled copper wire. The final touch is a blue glass dangle from recycled glass.

It’s always a good feeling to turn trash into treasure and I like how this turned out.

Here’s a link to it in my serendipitini shop

 

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Chicken Quesadilla Recipe

This is my first posting of a recipe on Serendipitini but since I focus on the arts and the artist life I figured recipes are as much a part of our existence as anything else.  Below is my own recipe for chicken queadillas. I also welcome shared recipes. In face, if you share a recipe with me, I will be glad to share a spotlight on your handmade business.

Chicken Quesadilla

1 bag of large flour tortillas

1/2 large block of sharp cheddar cheese shredded

3 green onions or 1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 large chicken breasts chopped into 1/2″ pieces

vegetable oil

salsa and sour cream

Directions:

Heat 2 Tsps of veg oil in large frying pan or on griddle

Add onions and chicken and cook until onions are carmalized and tender. Cook chicken until white through and through and lightly browned on the outside.

Spread flour tortillas on a counter and spread chicken and onion mixture over half of the tortillas

Spread shredded cheese over the chicken and onion mixture

Place another flour tortilla over each filled tortilla like a lid.

Add 2 Tbsps of vegetable oil to your  skillet and cook on medium low heat until golden brown on bottom. Use a spatula to flip the tortillias and born on other side. Remove cooked tortillas from pan. As more vegetable as necessary.

Cut cooked quesedillias into wedge shaped pieces and serve topped with sour cream and/or salsa

 

 

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WA1005BWA1005ARescuing wrought iron and metal scroll work and reworking it into suncatchers and window art is one of my focuses. There’s an abundance of the small stuff found in thrift stores though larger pieces are hard to come by.

I add recycled glass bottle bottoms and other recycled glass components and marry pieces together. My technique until recently has been by  using a Dremel to cut off unwanted pieces and then wiring different components together. I have long wanted to actually fuse the metal together and after talking with my nephew who is taking welding, he suggested I might try brazing the metals.

20150503_13142020150503_131521If you aren’t familiar with the term, brazing involves heating metal components and then joining the pieces together by melting a filler rod that is compatible with the metals you are working with. It’s similar to the concept of soldering but done at a higher temperature and dissimilar from welding in that you don’t actually heat the metals until they fuse together.

Pictured at top left are my first two finished brazed pieces. The bottom photos will show you what they looked like after I brazed them and before I put the finished touches on them.  The photo on bottom left shows the central piece is a wall sconce candle holder I rescued and the four rings were cut from various other projects.

The picture on bottom right is another design from a cut candle holder. The large ring is from a rolling pot planter cut apart with a touch. (It had several more large rings I hope to use in other projects). I added metal sections to join the fleur de lis candle holder to the circle.

For the brazing process I use acetylene gas and oxygen. I have heard you can do it with propane depending on the thickness of the metals you are working with. I will also tell you this, the size of the torch head matters. I had difficulty at first getting my pieces hot enough to accept the brass filler because I was using a size 00 torch which came with my basic welding kit purchased at Harbor Freight. Once I got a size 2 torch attachment it was much easier.

Keep in mind these are my first attempts pieces so they are nothing to write home about. I still have to perfect the technique to get a much smoother finish. Following brazing I used a wire brush attachment on my Dremmel and file to smooth them down and for these pieces I matched the metals by spraying them with paint. I know there are techniques for aging metal and will delve into that at a later date.  If you want to know more about brazing you can check out the following video by George Goehl. I will be adding some links to my resources pages soon regarding brazing as my work progresses.  Here are the links to these window art pieces in my online shop should you be interested . Fluer de  Lis and Picture Frame Suncatcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pet Safety and Camping with Pets

petcamperIt’s that time of year when people go on vacation and Memorial Day is right around the corner.  Rather than leaving your pet at home, many people choose to take their pets with them. After all, they are family.

If I Should Die Before My Pets blog has a good article on how to ensure your pet remains safe when you camp. While you’re on the site you might also want to check out the book they offer by the same name.

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