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A new year & a new blog

Well, the hotwaxart blog has been sorely neglected lately and now it’s time to fix it!

2010 was a busy and quite stressful year for me on a personal level, with my youngest being diagnosed with autism and me starting a full time college course.  But things are settling down a bit now, so it’s time to get back to blogging!

While the blog has been taking a break, we’ve moved servers and I’ve unfortunately misplaced a few photos in the process – whoops!  So you might notice a few of the posts below don’t have images beside them.  I’m gradually digging the original pictures out,  so I hope to fix the broken images soon!

The hotwaxart shop is taking a wee break while I give it a re-jig, but I promise it will be back with a few reduced price clearance bargains to help make room for all the new bits & bobs I’ve been working on!

Stay tuned 🙂

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Enamelled earrings

I’ve fancied trying out enamels for a while and came across Efcolor enamels, which are low-heat (150°) and quite inexpensive, so I thought it’d be a good way to try out the enamelling process.

As a first project, I wanted to make some earrings for my mum as it’s her birthday next week.  I cut rough leaf shapes from copper, hammered a nail through the top to make a hole (my thumb took a few hits!) and enamelled both sides in shades of green.  Then I put a couple of jump rings between the copper and the ear wire and put a few glass pearl beads on.

Here is the end result:

Enamelled earrings

They look nicer in real life!

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Spoon rings

I came across an article a few weeks back about how in olden times, servants couldn’t afford to have wedding rings made from precious metals so they would steal silver spoons from their employers and have them turned into rings.  I love this idea as there are so many pretty silver spoons around!

Mum gave me a spoon to have a practice with, as I’ve actually never worked with metal properly before (cutting, forming, soldering etc.) and this is the end result:

I should have done a “before and after” really, shouldn’t I?  Well, I’m sure you can all picture in your head what a spoon looks like 🙂

Anyway, this was my first attempt at metalwork and I’m really pleased with it!  The ring fits the finger I intended it to fit, is ROUND and shiny and is soldered together.  The solder joint isn’t perfect because the metal wasn’t the same thickness or size at the points where it had to join (!), but I’m still pleased with how it turned out.

I’ll be keeping it as a ‘starting point’ to see how my skills improve over the coming months as I do more metalwork & silversmithing.

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Stop! Thief!

I was checking my bank balance online the other day when I noticed quite a big discrepancy between the running balance and available balance.  Thinking it was either a mix-up or some horrific bill I’d forgotten about, I waited until this morning to check again in the hope that my online banking statement would give me more details.

So, first thing this morning, I logged in again and found exactly the same discrepancy and no explanation of the cause.  So, I gave the bank a call and it turned out that someone has had a nice shopping spree at my expense – to the tune of over £400!

I can’t believe it – am absolutely devastated.  The bank has cancelled our cards (it’ll take 7-10 days before we get our new ones) and is “investigating the transaction”.  Apparently we’ll get a call from the Fraud Department in the next 3-4 working days and they’ll give us a timescale for getting it resolved.  We won’t see our money back until their investigation is complete, so we’re down £400+ for the foreseeable future.

What’s amazing me is that there doesn’t seem to be any fraudulent activity monitoring system in place for current account holders that would have flagged this up.  I can remember ordering a takeaway online once using a credit card – the transaction was declined and within minutes I had the CC company on the phone to check it wasn’t a fraudulent transaction!  When we confirmed that we did indeed want to order the takeaway, they released the block and we were able to order without any problem.  I’d have expected something like that with the current account as well – a £400+ clothes shopping spree (we were told it was women’s clothes) should have flagged up as being suspicious because it’s TOTALLY abnormal for our account.

So, now we just have to cross all of our fingers and toes and hope that we get our money back quickly!

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How To Turn A Scarf Into A Coaster

The thing I really love about resin is that you can embed practically anything and end up with some amazing effects!

So, the other day I decided to turn a bit of scarf like this:

Into a set of two coasters:

The effect is brilliant – it looks like there’s a whole heap of mohair in there 🙂  The picture doesn’t do it justice – honest!

The process is this:

1.  Do a layer of transparent resin to cover the base of the mould (which will be the TOP of the coaster)
2.  Once tacky, snip the scarf into individual strands of wool and layer it over the resin.
3.  Pour a teeny bit of resin on top so that the wool is JUST covered and no more. Have a look at it from underneath (taking care NOT to pour it over your face!) to make sure there’s an even spread.
4.  Once tacky/set, mix up some black resin and fill up the mould to the top.

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Bangle disaster!

I tried out the bangle mould for resin yesterday with some lovely crushed green glass (formerly a wine bottle!) and couldn’t wait to get it out of the mould this morning!  Unfortunately it TOTALLY wouldn’t budge, so after hubbie had had a go at it as well, I popped it into the freezer.  Normally this works a treat but it STILL wouldn’t budge 🙁  Eventually I tried a bit of squeezing but the fact it was frozen must have made it fragile … so I got it out of the mould, but in four pieces!

Thankfully the great thing about resin is that I should be able to repair it with a bit of extra resin!  Here is it, still broken but laid out as it should look.

I’ve started the repair job, so we’ll see what it looks like in a few days!

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More driftwood!

Here’s another driftwood project I’ve been working on recently: a windchime for my sister-in-law’s birthday:

This is made out of a piece of driftwood onto which I pyro’d Lizzie’s name and a few butterflies.  My OH used to be a plumber and we had some leftover copper pipe lying in the garden, so I cut it into different lengths, drilled holes at the top and polished them up (steel wool would have been best for this, but I didn’t have any so had to use a scourer which eventually did the trick but took MUCH longer!!).  The pipes are attached to the wood with fishing line which is strong but flexible, so gives good movement.  The copper pipes worked brilliantly and it sounded FANTASTIC!