Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to Tumble Rough Rocks

Intricate cut stones and high end jewelry have never been something that I cared for much; but a few years ago at a  stop on the 127 Yard Sale, a lady from Jamaica had set up a stand with her handmade creations.  A beautiful necklace caught my eye.  Its pendant was a Moonstone carefully housed in a cage of wire that was twisted in the most intricate shapes.  Mr. Hollow (who is extremely picky about jewelry)  complimented the artist on her obvious talent, and I vowed to return to purchase the necklace.  Sad to say that after a long walk around the venue, I blanked out a return to the stand and was miles down the road before remembering my mistake... Uggghhh!  I have never seen her booth on our subsequent trips. :( 
Since that first encounter with this fine wire art, Farmerboy was lucky enough to have a teacher that gave his class a glimpse and hands on experience at creating jewelry from scratch.  He had the opportunity to  twist pieces of fine metal into some amazing pieces of jewelry.  I admire his meticulous talent in this area and dreamed to one day take a try at creating some metal designs of my own.  Of course in my mind, the metal would be housing a shiny stone.  So after a little research, I decided to start from the very basics of jewelry making and tumble my own stones...
Many hours were spent researching gemstones and varying rocks for their spiritual meanings.  I love a piece of art with a hidden meaning. ;)  The first purchase (pictured below) consisted of  rough lots of Citrine, Fluorite and Labradorite and some Apache Tears (which are volcanic glass).  My second purchase was smaller samplings of Amethyst and Moonstone.  The stones were quickly followed by a package with various tumbling compounds...

Talk about putting the cart before the horse, my last purchase was a Chicago dual drum rotary rock tumbler.

** Note**  I will be honest and tell you that rock tumbling makes me feel like a fish out of water. It is frightening and exciting to venture into the unknown.  My son had a small child's tumbler years ago, but it was Mr. Hollow that helped him with it... :(

Sometimes you just have to dive in. :) 

Here is a picture of the rocks in the two drums, before the 4 T of coarse grit and water were added.   As you can see, these stones are intriguing even in their rough state.  It will be great fun to see them transform into a polished stone.  I will be honest and say that I did not check hardness of stones prior to tumbling; although in my research, these types were mentioned at being tumbled together.  The Apache Tears were left out, due to the fact that they are comprised of volcanic glass-- making them a touchier piece to tumble and remove scratches from.

The tumbler is downstairs on the basement floor tumbling away.  My endeavor is on day 4, and I will give update posts of the progress...

Monday, August 12, 2013

2013 127 Yard Sale Finds

Can you believe that another 127 Yard Sale has past?   It seems like a distant memory now.  (Partly due to the fact that upon my arrival back, I had to work a 46.5 hour work week.)  This week is being spent as a time of reflection and restocking my short term goals.  My artistic soul has been rejuvenated, and I am ready to tackle the world with a new more organized vigor. *sigh*  
Kentucky and Tennessee had cool temps for the duration of our trip with mornings being in the late 70's and highs in the mid to low 80's.  The lowest temps that we have ever had on a Yard Sale trip. :)  The amount of attendees appeared to be up tremendously... hopefully the sign of a recovering economy... and the vendors were out in full force.   We had three full days of flea marketing/garage sale fun. 
Below are a few of my finds for this year.  I always say that the treasures are a small part of the trip, compared to the time with family,  the wonderful people that we get to meet and all the wonderful vintage items that we are fortunate for the chance to see. 
Here are a few finds pulled from my sewing items.  Of course, I cannot make it a year without bobbins. ;)  I was a yearly return customer to the bobbin vendor, and he gave me a generous discount. :)  I couldn't resist the feed bag tote from a talented fellow upcycler.  It is so simplistic in design, roomy and amazingly durable.  My son is going to bring me a few of his to make some more.   I do so love recycling!!   Finally, I was lucky to find some 9 patch squares that were hand sewn.  The vendor wanted $20 but settled on $15.  She was a neat lady that had purchased an estate.  We looked over them together, and I confirmed to her that they were made from vintage feed sack.  After counting them later, I was pleased to find 113 blocks. :)

Okay,  every once in awhile my querkie artsy side comes out!   I fell for the Goebel Crayola banks in three colors.  They were dirt cheap, in like new shape and perfect for my studio. :)  And how about the Helping Hand from Hamburger Helper??   He was a giveaway in 1990.  I saw him last year from the same vendor, and this year snatched him up.  Farmerboy is a huge fan of the brand and may be lucky enough to inherit this gem someday... LOL ;)  Finally the odd purchase, there is a gentleman that sells returns and floor models from Sears.  He has a store that we frequent every trip.  I purchased a brand new Kenmore microwave for less than a 1/3 of the retail price.  Score!

Here is my small haul from the last stop on my trip.  I never thought I would be transporting  home some vintage Shiney Brites.  The yellow Santa ornament caught my eye.  He was a design that my collection did not have!  There were two in the same color with the same design, and I am the proud owner of both.  :)  The blue Santa in the upper right corner is in slightly rough shape, but I am pretty sure this is a new design also.  The remaining ornaments were purchased due to the fact that I have the designs but not in those particular colors.  It is such a joy to find new members to a collection.

I have some more photos to share in follow up posts.  If you have the opportunity and love to flea market, the 127 Corridor Yard Sale is a must!