New Adventures in Alchemy

Well, I haven’t unearthed the secret chemistry to convert base metals into gold…….

HOWEVER…….

I am totally enjoying my newest endeavor……….

Electroforming!

judystreehouse

“Electroforming is a metal forming process that forms parts through electrodeposition on a model, known in the industry as a mandrel. … The mandrel is most often separated intact or dissolved away after forming, but occasionally (as in the case in decorative electroforming) left in place.”   As so defined by Wikipedia

Don’t know how I stumbled across this cool process but glad I did.    The internet is an amazing source of creative catalysts.     While searching for something not even remotely associated with electroforming, or so I thought, a YouTube video caught my eye.   Then one thing led to another and before I knew it I had purchased all of these gadgets and chemicals and protective gear and what nots……because I just HAD to give it a try.

Now mind you as I’ve grown older I’ve become much wiser (ha, ha, let’s say I have).    And, had I known then what I know now I would have been a much more attentive student back in the day.     Researching electroforming and finding all of the technical terms and formulations can be quite intimidating.   Especially for someone like me who was always present but often bored during her high school years doing just enough to get by.    Imagine if I had really applied myself.    Oh, well, it’s never too late to improve, enhance, and grow in ways you might never have imagined.

Electroforming………..it’s complicated, it can be dangerous, it’s messy, it’s time consuming, it’s marvelously interesting and challenging and frustrating and enjoyable!

So, here are my first few pieces.     Are they perfect?     Hmmm, well, that’s a matter of opinion.     I think they turned out awesome!      I still have much to learn and a lot of hands on trial and error but each piece that comes to fruition is an amazing piece of self satisfaction and joyful accomplishment (pat self on back).   Plus, they are so very cool!

judystreehouse judy's tree house judy's treehouse judystreehouse judystreehouse judy's treehouse judystreehouse judy's treehouse judy's treehouse judy's treehouse

 

judy's treehouse judy's treehousejudy's treehouse judy's treehouse judy's treehouse judy's treehouse judy's treehouse judystreehouse judystreehouse judy's treehouse judy's tree house judy's treehouse

judystreehouse judy's treehouse judystreehouse judy's treehouse judys treehouse judystreehouse.

What’s up next?    Some falling leaves for autumn and whimsical deep sea creatures.

judystreehouse judy's tree house

Huge Thank You for all of the YouTube videos on electroforming by Jason Welsh.   I’ve learned SO MUCH from his videos.   His style totally resonates with me.    And, I did purchase his formulas for graphite paint and electroforming solution which has worked wonderfully for me.    Still have much to learn but getting better bit by bit.   Trial and error and then those AH HA! moments!    That’s how I tango!

Well, that about sums up what I’ve been about for the past couple of months…….well, that along with creating new jewelry pieces, gardening, foraging, learning herbs, delving into homemade lotions and tinctures, and everyday needs and necessities.

There’s so much joy to be found in the journey of discovery and the sense of accomplishment with personal development and growth.    Find Your Passion, Grow Your Wings, Get in Your Groove……… and, Wishing you a Beautiful Journey along the way!

Peace Love and Joy

Judy

“Moon and Stars”

Harvest will have a late start this year………

so, I have been taking advantage of the delay creating some cool fall necklaces with some moon and some stars.      @ JudysTreehouse.etsy.com

Stars and Moon Jewelry
Stars and Moon Jewelry
cool moon pendant necklace
cool moon pendant necklace
moon pendant necklace
moon pendant necklace
gypsy jewelry
gypsy jewelry
Celestial Jewelry and Gifts
Celestial Jewelry and Gifts
gypsy moon pendant necklace
gypsy moon pendant necklace
funky purple necklace, eclectic jewelry
funky purple necklace, eclectic jewelry
Purple Layered Necklace Set by JudysTreehouse
Purple Layered Necklace Set by JudysTreehouse
Sagittairus Necklace
Sagittairus Necklace
Scorpio Necklace
Scorpio Necklace
Scorpio Zodiac Gift
Scorpio Zodiac Gift

Jewelry creations in the works…..

I just finished this Bohemian Style Layered Necklace Set today.    And, I absolutely love how it came out.

I’m calling this series of layered necklace sets, “Dandelion Dreams” and “Star Wishes”.

Layered Bohemian Necklace Set by JudysTreehouse
layered bohemian necklace

The set contains two necklaces.

One long beaded necklace with earthy gemstones I’ve hand wrapped with brass wire, patina’d and hand polished.

The long beaded necklace is adjustable.   It can be worn as a long single strand, a mid length double strand, or a triple strand choker.

Long Beaded Necklace by JudysTreehouse
Long Beaded Necklace part of the Dandelion Dreams Bohemian Layered Necklace Set

Depending on your wrist size, the beaded necklace might also work as a Bohemian Style Wrap Bracelet.    Give it a try.

The second necklace in the set features one of my handmade pendants in either brass or copper.     Although some pendants may be similar, the patina process and design application makes each one unique and pretty much one of a kind.

The pendant dangles from beaded gemstone links on an antiqued brass or copper plated jewelry chain.

Unique Pendant Necklace, Statement Necklace, Dandelion
Handmade Pendant Necklace by JudysTreehouse. One of two necklaces in the Dandelion Dreams Bohemian Layered Necklace Set

The necklaces can be worn separately or layered to create your own unique Bohemian Gypsy Style.

Bohemian Layered Necklace by JudysTreehouse
Bohemian Layered Necklace by JudysTreehouse

Picking out the gemstones to match the pendants is an enjoyable part of the creative process.      Here are some of the pendants waiting to be made into cool necklaces along with a few of the many gemstones I currently have on hand.

handmade by judystreehouse
Pendants and Gemstones

And, here are a few of the pendants I’ve matched with gemstones.      Beautiful amethyst, black onyx, African opal, and blue/brown agate are just a few of the gemstones I have on hand.     And, I’ve just made another order for more gemstones today!

judystreehouse handmade jewelry
judystreehouse handmade jewelry

What’s up next?    Here is a necklace set that I have just started.    It’s a “Star Wishes” pendant in brass.     The gemstones are multi colored amazonite.     And together this will make another lovely Bohemian Layered Set.

handmade by JudysTreehouse, Bohemian Style Jewelry
in the works by judystreehouse. Star Wishes Handmade Pendant and Amazonite Gemstones.

It takes me a few days up to a week or two to finish one of these necklace sets.     Depending on what I have on hand supply wise (I go through a lot of wire and jump rings).

The pendants I do have on hand.    Recently completed, they are finished and ready to hang.

The beads are each wrapped by hand and linked with small jump rings.    The jump rings are an extra finding that some designers may or may not use.    I prefer to use them as I find the necklaces have a better drape and less “kink” when using the jump rings to connect the gemstone links.

In the Dandelion Dreams necklace set completed and shown here, I’ve wrapped 71 gemstones to create the long beaded necklace and 12 gemstones to create the pendant necklace.

The next step is the patina.      And after the patina is the hand polishing.    I use very fine steel wool to hand polish each wire wrapped bead.    This process is a must in my wire wrapped creations as I find it smooths out any nicks or gouges that may have occurred during the wire wrapping process and takes the darkened patina’d metal back to a shiny, antiqued finish.

That’s a lot of wrapping and polishing but I don’t mind.    I love the entire process. Just need a little break now and then to work out the kinks in my fingers and neck.

So there you have it.     One of my new necklace designs with more to come.   If you are interested in purchasing one of these necklaces custom made for you, contact me.  (prices may vary)

Here is a link to the completed “Dandelion and Dreams” Bohemian Layered Necklace shown here:

Dandelion Dreams Layered Necklace Set, Orange Blue Sodalite

It is available at my shop, https://www.judystreehouse.myshopify.com

As other sets are completed, they will be available for purchase also at https://www.JudysTreehouse.myshopify.com (prices may vary)

Thank you for your interest and for visiting JudysTreehouse.com

I appreciate it!

Have a terrific day!

 

Pickles?? Yes Please!!!

On today’s agenda……Yep!   It’s pickle time here!

Cucumbers from this year's garden
Cucumbers from this year’s garden

It’s amazing what a little rain will do.    Friday I just found a few little guys out in the garden.   Now it’s Monday and Wowzer!   I picked a peck to pickle!   And blooms galore!   Some of these guys got almost too big.   But not to worry, they will find their way into one of my pickle jars.

We have a few favorite recipes and I’ll share the links below but today I am making Claussen Copycat Pickles!    It’s one of our favorites and an every year must make!

And, another bonus!   I am totally thrilled.    My dill came in just as my cucumbers started producing!   Yea!     In years past, my dill patch, which I continue to struggle with every year trying to get an abundance, was usually ready before my cucumbers resulting in…….sigh……having to use  dried dill weed or dill seed.     But, not this year!     This year I will have these pretty little dill heads to showcase in my pickle jars.     Flavor and a lovely, earthy presentation!

this year's dill patch
this year’s dill patch

And, while I’m on the subject of pretty and presentation; while picking cucumbers this morning I noticed that one plant was producing funky shaped cukes!    Not that I mind but I was curious as to causation.

This year's vegetable garden.
This year’s vegetable garden.

This year I planted late.   (and, whoa is me because I didn’t start a garden journal this year as I usually do so I don’t have specifics at my fingertips to help me analyze…..note to self, next year, document!)

I planted four hills with three seeds each.    (Those are my cucumber plants on the right along the fencing.   I planted my rows north to south.   Last year, this area had tomatillo plants.   I rotate my crops every year).

The first planting didn’t take except for one small plant at the north end of the fence.   I left that plant and replanted more on that hill and the other three hills.

This area of the garden gets the same amount of sun throughout the day.    The same amount of water when I water (which was twice this year with a sprinkler.   And, of course, when (if) it rains, the plants get the same amount of rainwater.

The seeds were old seeds (two or three years old).     Same variety from the same package.    (Boston Pickling Cucumbers are usually what I plant…..again with the lack of journaling…….smacks forehead here!)

Anyway, just found it interesting that all of the cucumbers from the three hills on the south have pretty, straight cucumbers.    That one hill to the north has more curved and a funky one or two.    Not that looks matter, mind you; the taste is still delish.     Just an interesting observation this morning.

The funky bunch!
The funky bunch!

Enough about cucumbers and gardens for now.    Back to the good stuff!

Here are some recipes I’ve come across over the years.    I did not create these recipes; I take no credit; I am merely sharing.

These are just some of our favorites.    Of course when preserving and canning make sure you follow the proper guidelines.

Claussen Copycat Pickles!     Our most favorite.      These stay crunchy because they aren’t processed.    They are crisp and sour and salty perfection.    They keep for a long, long time.    We are still eating some from last year; over a year in the fridge (Yep, we have more than one refrigerator.   It’s a home garden/farm necessity here).   I pretty much follow the recipe exactly except I add a few peppercorns to the jars.     Cut the cucumbers however you like; sometimes I do slices (thick and thin), spears, chunks, halves, and small whole.

http://www.food.com/recipe/claussen-kosher-pickle-copycat-249520?soc=socialsharingpinterest

This is a recipe for sweet pickle relish.   Makes me want to fix hotdogs for dinner every night!   It is very similar (if not exactly the same) as the one I use.   Mine is from a “Ball” cookbook (my cookbook is definitely showing signs of wear and tear; I’ve had it for ages).      Sometimes I add jalapenos to my recipe for a little sweet heat!

http://www.food.com/recipe/sweet-pickle-relish-130781?soc=socialsharingpinterest

This recipe is for Sweet Lime Pickles.     This is Greg’s favorite; “like Grandma Ida used to make”.    These are a must have for Greg each year.     The lime makes them super crunchy and these pickles are super, super sweet, almost like candy.

http://www.cooks.com/recipe/yw2666u4/sweet-lime-pickles.html

This recipe for refrigerator pickles I’ve had for years.   I don’t know where I found it or who gave it to me so I can’t give credit where credit is due.     There are similar recipes out there but I couldn’t find this exact one so I’m just going to jot it down here for you.

These are sweet but not overly so.    I make them in a big glass jar (looks pretty).   Good all on their own as a side salad.     I don’t make these with the intention of preserving them.      Just make a batch and eat ’em till they’re gone.

Refrigerator Pickles

  • 7 cups sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup sliced onions
  • 1 green pepper cut into thin strips
  • 2 TBSP salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard seed (I’m a freak for mustard seed; I always add more)
  • 1 tsp celery seed

Mix together the cucumbers, onions, green pepper, and salt.   Let them stand for one hour.   Do NOT, do not, do not drain off the liquid that forms.

Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a boil to dissolve sugar.  Let cool.    Pour over cucumber mix.    Let stand in fridge for 24 hours.   Enjoy.

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Make someone’s day!    A gift from your garden or something homemade from your kitchen is an unexpected delight!     Share the joy of gardening and abundance!

Have a terrific day!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is the first batch today!

Scrubbed and ready to go. I do cut both ends off.
Scrubbed and ready to go. I do cut both ends off.
The jars and lids have been washed and sterilized. Waiting for the brine to cool.
The jars and lids have been washed and sterilized. Waiting for the brine to cool.
Jars are packed and ready for liquid.
Jars are packed and ready for liquid.
All jarred up and absorbing flavors. Now the wait! But its so worth it!
All jarred up and absorbing flavors. Now the wait! But its so worth it!

Ended up with 5 quarts of Claussen Copycat Pickles, one batch of refrigerator pickles, and of course some munching along the way!

Why Buy Handmade?

 

Yellow Statement Necklace Handmade by JudysTreehouse
I made this!

Why buy handmade?    Here are a few good reasons (among many).     I recently came across this article written by Donna Maria Coles Johnson at SmallBizTrends.com.

  • “Handmade is the New American Manufacturing”
  • “It’s Human Nature To Value The Creative Spirit”
  • “Handmade Items Are Crafted in An Environment of Joy, Honor, and Respect”
  • “A Handmade Item Cannot Be Duplicated”
  • “Everything is More Beautiful When It’s Made With A Heart”

https://smallbiztrends.com/2016/05/why-handmade-matters.html

A wonderful article for sure.    And here’s my two cents!

Yes, handmade is a unique and beautiful way to share and join the creative spirit of one person with another!

When I am creating a piece of jewelry I focus on positive energy and happy thoughts and wonder about the individual who will someday be receiving this item that has been touched by my hands and my spirit.

I’m always in awe when someone finds and purchases something I’ve created.    For me it’s not all about the $$$.   It’s about having created something, having someone find something I’ve created, having someone like something I’ve created, having someone want something I’ve created, having someone receive something I’ve created, taking special care in packaging something I’ve created, shipping something I’ve created,  and communicating with someone I would never have met but through the simple act of creating something.   All of this brings me peace, love and joy!

When I create and list an item I’m also creating and listing an experience, an interaction, and sometimes a friendship or two.    Things that would not have happened but for a handmade creation.

So why buy handmade?    Certainly for unique and unusual handcrafted treasures.   But also so that kindred spirits that might otherwise never have met might connect.

Yes, buy and support handmade whenever you have the chance!    You never know who you might meet.

Life is a Journey and The People You Meet Along The Way

Copper Jewelry – Copper Cuff Rose Ring by Judy’s Treehouse

Handmade copper ring with rose
Handmade copper ring with rose

I recently had the pleasure of creating a custom order for a friend who happened across a picture of some rings I had posted on my Facebook page, JudysTreehouse.

I was a little nervous going into production as it had been a while since I had made these and hadn’t made many in the past.    I also wanted to add a little something extra special for her to the design.

Handcrafting jewelry usually results in each item being unique and different.   Depending on the design, you may not always get an exact duplicate of something you’ve made in the past.    You can try to replicate a piece but usually they come out with slight differences.    This is what makes handmade pieces so unique and special.  Then there are  those “oops moments” when you unintentionally mess something up; cut a piece to short, make a wonky wrap, break a bead, snap a wire, etc.     So, I decided to make two rings, just in case.

the band before sanding
the band before sanding

The first step was to cut the band.     I used 20 gauge copper.      After the cut, I then sanded the piece to smooth the edges, top and bottom.

applying the design to be etched into the metal
applying the design to be etched into the metal

The next step was applying the design I wanted to etch into the metal.

after the etching process
after the etching process

Etching the metal takes patience and practice.     Sometimes an air bubble can ruin your design.     Leaving the metal in the solution too long can result in the metal becoming too thin for the project.    Not leaving it in long enough can leave you with a partial uneven design or not enough of the design showing through.     In this case, it turned out perfect!

after the patina process
after the patina process

Applying the patina is my favorite part of the process.     I used a butane torch to heat the metal to create the patina.     As you can see, each piece turned out entirely different.     This is another process where patience and practice develops your skill level.    I absolutely love the colors that developed in each of the bands.

shaping the band
shaping the band

The next step was shaping the band around the ring mandrel.     Using a rubber or rawhide mallet keeps the metal from being damaged.   Hammering the metal not only gives it the desired shape and ring size but it also strengthens the metal helping it to maintain its form.

the ring bands
the ring bands
ready to add the stone
ready to add the stone

I knew my customer wanted a light blue rose but I wanted to consult with her on the band color since they were both so different.    She chose the one on the left in the above photo.

The completed rings
The completed rings

The next step was to wire wrap the stone to the ring.     Again, wrapping the wire and getting a secure fit takes time and practice.     I started on the ring she hadn’t chosen because I wanted to practice my wrap and determine the wire design.

I was happy with the design and set out on the ring for Dianalynne.     It came out perfectly…….BUT……….     To help tighten and secure the wire, I had taken my pliers to the wire wrap on the underside of the band to give the wire a little twist.    My pliers slipped and I gouged the wire!    The wire was damaged but still secure and appeared to be sturdy enough…….BUT…….it did not meet the standards of quality I do my best to attain with each of my creations.

I was so devastated.   The initial wire wrap had turned out so perfectly!   I was afraid a second attempt wouldn’t turn out as well.     I had to put the ring down and just walk away from it.     So, I went shopping.    But, all I could think about was the ring and how I wanted to handle the situation.     I came up with a few thoughts, bounced them off of my husband but in the end I knew what I had to do.

I had to believe in myself and my abilities.    So, I removed the damaged wire and set to rewrapping the ring……..and low and behold it turned out beautifully.

I was happy with myself  and I had one happy customer.

I still have the other blue ring available for purchase.     It is a size 7.    I have not listed it in my Etsy shop, but if you are interested you can contact me and I will create a custom order for you.

I’m out of blue gemstone roses and my original supplier no longer has them in stock.    But I do have many other colors in my stash and anticipate more rose rings coming soon to Judystreehouse.

Sometimes you just have to trust in yourself.     You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Funky Fun and Whimsical Jewelry

A Dream and Three Wishes
A Dream and Three Wishes

I found these fabulous fiber bundles on Etsy at FishBayElements.    You really should check out this shop.    It’s sure to set your creative muse in gear.    And, of course, I had to get some bundles…..and then some more bundles….and then a few more.   At first, I wasn’t sure how I was going to incorporate them into my jewelry designs.    Slowly but surely they are evolving.    Here, I’ve incorporated them into these bright, colorful unique daydream catcher necklaces.     You can find them at Judystreehouse.etsy.com.