Branding Stamp

I am finishing the kitchen-knives sets, and one of the tools that I was still missing in my toolbox was a branding stamp that could be used for wood and leather. For leather, I have used an impromptu one made from wood stabilized with epoxy, but that cannot be used to brand wood of course. But when making that I have figured out a process that could be also applied to making one out of steel, so after a lot of procrastinating the task, today I have finally bitten the bullet and took the two hours it needed.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

The handle is from an extremely old and out-of-shape potato peeler. Maybe even antique, but I know of no museum that would take it of my hands so I have recycled it. The screw is recycled from old furniture. The stamp itself is from tool steel, although I will not be hardening it.

I could not tap the hole in the stamp very deep and well without re-grinding and thus destroying the taps, because standard taps need to go through.  Thus I could not cut very good threads in there, just two turns of half-assed ones. But that should not be a problem, a few dents for the thread to latch on to should suffice, friction should take care of the rest. It is not supposed to come apart, and if it comes apart, I will braze it.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

The one advantage of having a logo consisting of only straight lines is that it made the job relatively easy. A bit of filing, a bit of grinding with an angle-grinder, and here we go. Up close there are some flaws and the width to height ratio is a tiny bit off, but that is just life. I have tossed one attempt due to flaws, but I think this one will do.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

Wood branding is not an exact science, there will always be some irregularities. But with some practice, I should get crisp and nice logos that can be placed even in visible areas. Which is my intention.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

And there is absolutely no doubt that on leather, the results are way, way better than those I got with my wood-carved impromptu stamp.

I may give it a go one more time to get the proportions better, but in the meantime, I am going to use this one. I doubt anyone will complain about it.

 

The Last Birds of Winter

Ahh, my friends, Spring is coming. We actually had a “heat wave”, with more than 20°C in February. Climate change will be no fun, but there’s nothing you can do about an early spring day but enjoy it. The pics here are a few weeks old, but I didn’t get around to post them. BTW, <b>Charly and rq</b>, the cranes are on their way. I sent them with greetings for you.

©Giliell, all rights reserved A little wet siskin

©Giliell, all rights reserved Not a siskin, but a wet yellowhammer

©Giliell, all rights reserved A female sparrow. We’ve got lots of them, but usually behind the house is tit territory and they keep t the hedges in front of the houses.

©Giliell, all rights reserved While taking those pic I thought “that’s actually the weather when the hawfinches used to come” and look who made her appearance.

And then we had a very rare visitor, and they didn’t want to stay for an extensive photo shooting, so I only got one halfway decent pic:

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If you ever wondered what the back of a sparrowhawk looked like…

Patterns in Ice

From Avalus,

A muddy, frozen puddle by the roadside.
Boring, one might say.

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But, what interesting patterns in the ice, indicating the shrinking liquid underneath.
Let’s look closer.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

Structures emerge between the layers!
Let’s look even closer.

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The ice sheet that seemed so uniform from afar is structured, almost like cathedral glass, from many tiny crystals of ice.
Everywhere, there is beauty in the universe.
(This was pretty much my thought process when I came by that frozen puddle. That, and my cold feet, reminding me of my poor choice of shoes I took for that walk :D)

Resin Art: Spring in Space

Let’s start with the spring part and some explanation about how certain pieces are done.

While blue is and will always be my favourite colour, occasionally I want some other colour as well. In this piece I went for greens and yellows.

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I’m not quite sure what to do with it. Most certainly a necklace, as it’s about 2″ wide, but I don’t think I’ll just screw an eyelet on. More like some easy wire wrapping. This piece has been worked “top to bottom”. All these UV resin pieces have many layers, which means I’m constantly working on 2 or three projects at once, adding a layer to one while the other one is curing under the UV lamp. There are two ways you can go: bottom to top or top to bottom. Most pieces are worked bottom to top: you start with a base, which can either be a free form, an epoxy blank or a bezel, and then add layer after layer.

When working with a mould, or in this case a concave blank, you add things to the bottom side (though of course you can add stuff to the top as well). This gives you a watery or ambery feeling as the light is bent and reflected.

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This on the other hand is bottom to top. The seashell and the pearls are sitting on top of the blank with a blue background.

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Starry night earrings. What can I say, I love everything galaxy themed…

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Not yet sure what to make with this one. This one has also been worked top to bottom in a mould as opposed to the other way round that full spheres are worked.

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A little fun with some left over resin from the oval pendant.

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Sparkly earrings with blue rhinestones and home dyed pink baby’s breath.

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These were easy. I drilled some holes into the turquoise blanks and glued in the rhinestones, and now I’m again unsure. They would make rather large earrings, but also rather small pendants…

And last, but not least, Hekuni Cat’s die:

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Hmpf. I’m constantly looking for good UV resin. I found some on Etsy and I really liked it, and I got 200 ml and when I tried to reorder, the seller no longer exported to Germany. Then I found some from a small German company, which wasn’t too expensive and I decided to give it a try. The website helpfully informed me that if I added another 489 € worth of good I’d get free shipping, but I declined. I was really keen on trying it out and thought that the die would be a good project for it.

Oh dear. First of all, it stinks. So. Much. I put on a normal N95 respirator and it was still almost unbearable. It can only be worked with wearing the half face respirator I also use when finding some hidden asbestos in the house. Then it came out rather runny, but quickly started to thicken, so it was a nuisance to get into the mould. I thought that this meant it was already curing, but then it didn’t cure for a long time and all the inlays pretty much sunk to the bottom.

When it had finally cured I noticed it had shrunk so much that there was a big hole inside and I needed to fill that one up with more resin. What I will say for this resin is that it cures extremely hard. Which made cleaning the project up difficult, of course…

Hekuni Cat, if you want another one I’ll make you a new one. If not, or in any case, I need your address. Youc an send it to Affinity submissions, voyager will surely pass it on to me.

 

Jack has walked on

Hello, friends. I have sad news to share. After several months of increasing difficulties and a few terrible days, On Tuesday the 16th, my sweet, gentle Jack left this world. In the end, he could no longer walk, so his wonderful veterinarian came to us, and our boy gently drifted off to sleep on his favourite spot in the kitchen. He died in my arms, surrounded by love.

Right now, I’m not able to talk about all of the things that made Jack special, but I’ve shared many of those things with all 0f you over the years, so I know you understand when I tell you that my heart is broken. I’ll be alright in time. I know this because I’ve walked this road before and understand that grief is the price of love. Today, though, that grief is raw, and I’m struggling for words, so there isn’t much more I can say. I’ll be around, but you may not hear from me for a week or so.

Wasserhund’s King Jackson “Jack” Brown. My Sweet Bubba.

Evasively Cute

As mentioned previously, tufted tits (more correctly, European crested tits) have been a tough customer for me. They are shy and hyperactive, plus their camouflage markings make them difficult to see, as they prefer to remain in the hedgerow as opposed to coming out in the open. So today’s exemplar is uncooperative. In other words, find that tit!

Such a pretty little bird, as you can see… (c) rq

A little bit of yoga, to stretch the neck and spot those seeds! (c) rq

Not looking at you… (c) rq

Unfortunately, that’s the best I could do. I really love them, but they could manage to hold still long enough, couln’t they…?

Here’s someone else’s photo to get a better view:

And in honour of today’s Perseverance rover landing (hopefully!) On Mars – David Bowie’s “Life on Mars.

 

Resin Art: Strawberries!

I need spring. Today feels a bit like early spring. The air tastes differently and the birds are chattier (mostly complaining about the neighbours’ cat camping out under the bird feeder). But honestly, this is my least favourite time. I still have about 4 weeks until it really turns green and I hate it. I don’t think I could move further north. Sure, if I’d grown up there, I’d probably only get seriously annoyed come March or April, but I’m used to getting sick and tired of winter come February.

Anyway, to cheer me up I made, you won’t guess it, resin jewellery.

First of all, I made lots of blanks from epoxy resin:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Here you can see exactly why I can’t work downstairs with the epoxy right now. All dull and bubbly. Also, when I took them out after 24 hours, they were still extremely soft. A few hours upstairs in the warm kitchen took care of that. So last night I took the red droplets and turned them into my favourite fruit.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

That’s always two droplets glued together, with a coat of red UV resin. I love working with mica powders as they give an amazing sparkle, but you got to be careful when working with UV epoxy because yeah, saturated opaque colours won’t cure. That’s why the blanks needed to be red already. The tiny seeds are caviar beads for nail art and no, it’s not as much work as it looks like to attach them. Finally I made some leaves with green UV resin and attached those. I’m so ready for spring.

I also got rq’s sphere done. Again, the pic sucks. They are not to be photographed.

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Kitchen Knives Set – Part 7: Getting to Grips

These knives have full-width tangs, but no visible pins. As far as I can tell, nobody else is using this type of construction, so it might be somewhat unique

A few years ago Walter Sorrels made a video in which he tested various glues for fixing scales to tangs without pins. He made several mock-up knives from mild steel for this and they all have failed his stress test. Which consisted of tossing them in the air and letting them fall on the concrete pavement. As it turns out, the shearing forces during these impacts were too big for the glue to reliably stick to the steel and they all delaminated. But he gave me an idea on how to overcome this problem. I have tested the idea on one broken blade and it held out to several hammer blows before the scales delaminated  – and at that point, it was not only the glue that was failing but also the wood was starting to shatter and break. And since knife handles are not supposed to be hit with a hammer so I think it should be OK. I really hope it works out in the long term because I am going to make a lot of these. So if you want to know how this goes, read on. [Read more…]

Darwintine Fundraiser: Get your Shinies

As you all know, we’re doing another round of fundraiser to get that albatross off PZ’s and other people’s necks. I know, it’s getting boring and annoying, and right now nobody is made of money anyway, but the good people caught up in Carrier’s bullshit (may he step on all the Legos) don’t deserve having to deal with this either.

And, as you also know, I’ve been crafting my evenings away, so let’s combine the pleasant with the useful, as the German saying goes (das Angenehme mit dem Nützlichen verbinden) and sell off some jewellery. While it may be too late for a Valentine’s gift, any lover of jewellery will tell you that it’s never a bad moment for a pretty gift.

Rules:

  • I’m not doing an auction but sell them off at fixed prices. First come, first served, though I can always try to make something similar for you.
  • I’ll pay for economy shipping. If you want an upgrade, you chip in.
  • All items shown in this post or my previous posts are up for sale. You can find them here, here, here and here. And here. And here. Man, I have been busy…
  • The prices are fixed: a set of earrings 15$, a pendant 10$, a set of them 20 $. Unless I say otherwise, but you’ll see that in the post.
  • All pendants come with a waxed cotton necklace, so you can wear them immediately. If you want a chain, please inquire.
  • Payment: Just send the money directly to the fundraiser linked above. If I don’t know you well, I will ask you to send a confirmation to me.

All set? Here’s some nice stuff. You’ll know most of it already, I just tried to get some nicer pics. Yeah, still not great. I’m more of an outdoors photographer than a studio artist.

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The colours are a bit off here. They are much redder. I could also work them into pendants, you know?

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Inspired by Central American jewellery. the golden droplet is attached to the stopper, so if you want to tone them down a bit, just use a different stopper.

©Giliell, all rights reserved A Moonlit Night

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These did not quite turn out the way I wanted. Actually they were meant to be the central piece in the ones above. they are a bit less than 2 cm in diameter and go for a tenner. Of course I would also clean them up for you.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These are quite light and elegant. Gold foil and abalone shell

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I’ll colour in the numbers for you. I realised I hadn’t quite finished when I took the pic.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The last two are the same sphere. I really tried, but if there is a way to get a nice pic of these, I haven’t found it yet…

So, who will be your Valentine?

In Which Yours Truly Almost got Caught Up in the Bystander Effect

The Bystander Effect is an interesting phenomenon, in which people become less likely to do the right thing if there are more people present*. In short, everybody thinks that if there was something that should be done, somebody else would already have done it, resulting in nobody doing anything. This is why in an emergency you never say “somebody should call the emergency hotline”, but “You there in the red jacket, call the emergency hotline”.

Today we went for our usual walk at our usual lake. The weather was lovely. Temperatures had risen to 4-5° above zero, sun was shining, no wind.

©Giliell, all rights reserved           The picture is from January, I didn’t take the camera today

Before the current cold spell (and we got off lucky here with -10° C at the lowest) we had lots of warm (+10°C) rain, so when I went to the lake on Wednesday it was still completely open. It froze over since, but of course not completely, and I will not speculate on the thickness of the ice. But when we arrived there, there were people on the ice. Mostly young men (who else…) but a few people with small children as well. Everybody around exclaimed “are they mad???”, but nobody did anything. And… neither did I at first. Because there are so many emotions at once. Disbelief, worry, anger (how stupid can you be, how dare you take the children), but also fear about what will happen if I do something (Including the fear of being accused of wasting emergency service time) and of course the idea that you don’t tattle to the cops. Mr was exactly the same. When I said “I should call the emergency hotline” he was “yes, you should”. Not calling it himself.

Well, I did. It took some time until I got to the person who was responsible, who apparently hadn’t left his office in a while, because he asked me “how many people were there” and I said “about 10” and he said “not at the lake, but on the ice” as if you could find a nice quiet place right now with only 10 people in sight. We walked away after we informed the emergency hotline, because there was nothing left to do. If they’d fallen in, we couldn’t have done anything, so we went to the woods where there are less people.

At least when we returned, the Office of Public Order was there and yelled at people who still thought it was funny to step on the ice but on the other side of the lake. Dudes, when 100 people around say that you’re a fucking idiot, you’re probably not some edgy rebel fighting against the forces of evil. Chances are that you’re just a fucking idiot. Mr said I’d probably saved a life today, but I’m pretty sure the person whose life I possibly saved is pretty angry with the asshole who called the cops. As they say, there’s no glory in prevention.

 

*Though, as numbers increase so does the likelihood of somebody finally doing something

 

Great Tits!

The visual tour of our local tit diversity continues. Today: great tits! They really are great, also larger than other tits – really big tits. They’re also braver than other tits, as they have safety in numbers. In bright lemon yellow, so quite the cheery addition.

Checking out the first feeder (it broke), there’s rarely just the one. (c) rq

Also not shy about the acrobatics! (c) rq

Excellent form. Thought there’s no seeds down there… show off. (c) rq

Given to curmudgeonliness, despite the bright colours! (c) rq

And not shy about tackling walnuts or buried seed. (c) rq

Floosh! (c) rq

Concentration… must get that seedy goodness! (c) rq

Next up I think will be tufted tits, which are devious to the core and absolutely refuse to hold still for any kind of decent photo. Tough customers but adorable in the extreme.

Red Moon by Tom Jackson

I watched CBC’s Trickster and just love the soundtrack.

 

Resin Art: More bling

No, I haven’t forgotten you, I just didn’t get around to taking pics last week. But to make up for it you’ll get lots of them this week.

First: dice. I haven’t played a pen and paper RPG since long before the pandemic, but I swear I’ll do so again. I ordered a die mould to see if that would work. The results are mixed.

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Well, the first one was flat out unusable, because silly me put the lid on the wrong way round. The mould works with a little lid you put on top where the #1 is with just a tiny hole to allow for resin to escape or be added. And I put it in the wrong way round, so the sides came up short and there’s no #1. The only way to save it was to put in a hook and call it a pendant. the other one is actually really pretty, but the top side still isn’t what it should be. I decided to only show you the pretty sides.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Next, the unhpotographable galaxy spheres. Sorry. Too many curves and shiny for the damn camera to get a focus on. I’ll see if I can get a better one with the real camera.

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These ones turned out really nice. Dyed baby’s breath and small brass hoops make them really light and elegant

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Chocolates anybody? I worked with a matte topcoat here, making them look like sea glass.

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These go nicely with the necklace from two weeks ago.

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Black and white. Baby’s breath in clear resin combined with black semi circles in brass.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

“Garnets”. Same technique as the Mermaid Tears, this time in red. I made these shorter, but with at least as many droplets.

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©Giliell, all rights reserved

Galaxy tears with Bohemian glass beads. The blue is just amazing.

And last but not least, elegant circles:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The rings have baby’s breath, caviar beads and gold foil. The Bohemian glass beads in the centre are an amazing dark purple the camera refuses to catch.

IMPORTANT: If you have your eyes set on any of these pieces, I’ll put some up for sale for the upcoming fundraiser.

And finally here’s some pics from the “workbench”:

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This is the small assortment of things I currently have upstairs. Yes, It’s the small assortments. BTW, one of the sensible additions to the pile was a small hand drill. While you can see the Dremel in the pic, the hand drill is useful for pre-drilling, especially on round surfaces, where the Dremel is prone to slip (it will drill your finger nicely). Just drill a mm with the hand drill, do the rest with the nice tool.

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This is how the kitchen table looks at the end of the night. Thanks to Rüdügür the vacuum robot I need to clean it up every night because the chairs need to go on the table.