Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hits n' Misses and In-betweens

My friend and I got together in my somewhat newly-outfitted studio last week to work on my"brilliant" idea of fashioning handmade cages for our respective rats. She's actually already got a nice three level handmade cage--looks like a dollhouse--but it's made out of wood and isn't working out after all--very impractical for cleaning.

This is Tarts

I've had pet rats off and on for well over 20 years, and I know they really need a good wire cage that is conducive for climbing, burrowing, and playing. And it's got to be easy to clean. And it has got to be attractive--it may sound superficial but I don't care--I just can't h
ave anything in my house that is an eyesore. And pet paraphenalia can easily become an eyesore.

This is Sticks

So I had this idea that we could make big beautiful elaborate cages out of steel wire. Kind of a turban/obelisk form that could be placed in a tall crate that would serve as the bottom. I was feeling pretty cocky about my skills with the wire--I recently started making some non-jewelry things from it, medium size bowls and things. I feel like I really 'get' the wire and its dynamics and my engineering skills after working with it for a couple years now are pretty sound.

But filling large spaces with it without soldering is proving to be too difficult in keeping with the overall necessary considerations for the rat cage, so the yet-unfinished, beaded obelisk would-be cage might end up being a garden ornament or perhaps incorporated into a modded out rat manor from Petco. Because I can't have that thing in my living room the way it is. And the baby rats are so entertaining that I want them in my living room so we can look at them constantly. Rats are the best pets.

Anyway, I have been reeeeaaaaalllyy sick with a sinus thing/cold and I have no voice and it seems to have changed my face temporarily even. I was so startled seeing myself in the mirror a couple nights ago after basically sleeping all day and I had my camera in hand...

My eyes and cheeks were/are all puffed--of course you can't tell anything because the picture is all double imaged and blurred taken at night in a dextromethorphaned daze. I really shouldn't take that stuff. But it really does the job. Alas, it totally zombifies me and when I close my eyes I see strange exotic super creepy rainforest imagery. I also saw the glowing cresent moon that night as I was walking up the stairs to get in bed--I thought it so brilliant to snap a photo to capture the moment:

I'm going to send the photo in to National Geographic I think. Not. Hee hee.

Anyway, I'm coming out of my daze a little bit and I actually made some earrings last night. We went to the wonderful Antique Mall in my little town this past weekend and I found the best beads in the whole world--some old steel cut seed beads.

I found them in two grungy little bags at the bottom of some basket of lace and doilies. The bags were $6 each--so I got the whole lot for 12 bucks. Looking at the prices for similar beads on Etsy I got a real bargain. I've of course seen and felt these on antique purses before, but I suppose I have never felt them in this state--I am just mesmerized by them. I had a staring contest with all of them cupped in my hands together last night while I was deciding how I wanted to work with them first.

It's hard to decide which I like best. There are black, a kind of gold/green, and grey. They're all a little different. The black ones seem a tiny bit smaller and are more matte than the others; the goldish ones are by far the most iridescent, and the grey ones are really iridescent and very hematite-like. I think they grey ones are my favorite.

I used the gold ones in the earrings I made last night--some chandeliers with MOP, labradorite, sugar glass, and various charms. I like the way the steel cut beads look in fine lines all-in-a-row, so I made some beaded spades out of them. They'll be listed shortly.

No idea why this thing is again making a link out of my text. And it simply will not let me remove it. Oh, Blogger.

One night while I was working on the cage I took a necessary break and did a little felting. I started out thinking I wanted to make some stars for an outdoor garland, but then I started stacking them and turned out it was a flower. So I sewed it all together with a hint of a button, charm beaded tapestry for the center, thinking it would be a brooch. All it needs to be a brooch is a pin now. But somehow it's not finished. It just looks so....expected? I don't know. I think I need to dye it. It's the exact wrong pink. And maybe use it for something besides a brooch. Like a gigantic wrist corsage cuff, or a side pendant on a choker? Not sure yet..


  1. Wow, some beautiful work!! Hope you are feeling well soon, xoxo Juliette

  2. feel betta soon! i forgot to take a photo of the shadow box, but i did put up a necklace i made with much of the lovelies.
    aren't the steel cut beads just divine? i love using them.
    enjoy and happy house making. <3

  3. Your text got all textromethorphaned I guess.
    Funny post, I guess I shouldn't laugh though. I do hope you feel better soon.
    those beads....seriously...I'm in awe $6???? That's seriously some covetous shit!!
    And those earrings... just wow... where do I get some dexta-whateveritis?
    xoxo Kim

  4. Hi! I found your shipwreck dandy blog when i was doing a random search about pet rats, and i noticed the link to your etsy site. aside from being a fellow pet rat lover, i really love your jewelry! i just placed an order for a pair of earrings from your etsy shop. i'll definitely be checking in on your shop often. :)

    And on a side note: we're probably going to take a temporary hiatus from our rat blog, but we'd like to keep it updated occasionally with special guests. if your little critters want to make an appearance, let me know. :)


    and let me know when you find and/or create a rat cage that's attractive. there are only 2 disadvantages to having rats: 1) their cage/accessories don't fit in with my decor. 2) rats' life spans are just too short. :(

    Have a great day!

  5. Hi angie--got your order!

    I ordered the cage linked to above. They love it, and it's working out well for us. I haven't modified it yet with the wire topper I made, but I plan to do that this week.

    I like that the cage is black and completely geometric, just a big industrial-looking rectangular cube without any crappy attempt on design to it. It's almost invisible in our living room as the walls are a really dark chocolate brown. I'll take picures.