Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines


I love Valentine’s day goodies, and chocolate sugar cookies sounded really fun to make.

I found a good recipe on this blog: http://glorioustreats.blogspot.com/2011/01/chocolate-rolled-cookies-recipe.html Her cookies are gorgeous! Glory uses royal icing for her cookies and it produces perfect looking designs but I decided to go for a soft Butter-cream frosting instead.  The butter makes the frosting soft and creamy.  I adapted my recipe from memories of mother’s frosting we made for cakes and cookies.  

The recipe is:
1 lb confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
¼ cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
Milk, add a Tbsp. at a time until you have a smooth creamy consistency.
Food coloring or cocoa powder for color
Decorative toppers and sprinkles

Use a mixer and cream the butter and vanilla with the powdered sugar.  Add the milk a little at a time until the frosting is smooth and creamy.  For sugar cookies I make the frosting a bit thinner than I would for cake.  It should spread easily with a knife.  If it is too thin it will drip off the edge of the cookie.  Too thick and it leaves lots of texture which is ok but the sprinkles won’t stick.  Frost a few cookies at a time and sprinkle decorative sugar on top while the frosting is still sticky.


Monday, February 13, 2012

CHA 2012


I’m trying to remember how many years it’s been since I attended my first CHA show.  I think I’ve been to at least 15-20 years worth (Laura has it been that long?).  In the beginning the show was called HIA and it was held twice a year rotating from one convention location to another year to year.   Back in the day you couldn’t even move down the aisles let alone push through to see a popular booth because so many people were there.  I remember studying the floor plan prior to walking the show floor just to make sure we didn’t miss anything or get lost in the miles of booths.  You only had to walk a day to learn that tennis shoes go with ANYTHING you brought to wear.  Over time things have changed, there are fewer booths and fewer attendees.  Even so I still look forward to the show.  

For me, CHA is rejuvenating.  I meet with vendors, customers, fellow designers, and spent time at my publisher’s booth.  So many people I’ve met over the years have become good friends and it’s nice to see them in person.  In the short time I was there I met up with Sonya Nimri who glowed with enthusiasm and excitement of being a mom and teacher.  As she zoomed in on kids craft ideas I found myself interested in kids crafts too now that I’m a grandma.  Yup, I can say it freely   “my name is Sherri and I’m a grandma!” but DON’T call me granny that’s pushing it too far.  I can still stay up all night and run a 5k.

Sherri & Sonya Nimri

I also ran into Suze Weinberg, Sara Hodson, Susan Kazmer, Jen Cushman, Jess Italia Lincoln, Jill MacKay, Ruth Rae, Jonathan Fong, just to name a few designers I admire.  Jewelry making is becoming more popular each year at CHA- Yay! 

Sara Hodson and Sherri Haab CHA 2012 photo from: http://suzeweinberg.typepad.com/

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sherri's on Jewel School!

Two bits of great news!

Sherri will be on Jewelry Television tomorrow from 10 - 12 Eastern Time. She will be demonstrating her ITS image transfer solution and the E3 Etch system. There will be great deals on special packages not available anywhere else. Find your JTV channel here:

http://www.jtv.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-jtv-Site/default/ChannelFinder-Show

Also, if you want to watch segments of Sherri on Jewel School, you can learn how to use ITS and make great personalized gifts for the holidays, and also how to rivet and how to etch with the E3 Etch system. It's like getting classes from Sherri for free! Here is the link to Jewel School:

http://www.jtv.com/Jewel-School/Jewel_school_weekly,default,pg.html#top

Scroll down to the icons with the episodes on the site and you'll find Sherri's classes.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bead Unique Review: Sherri Haab Inspirations


If you are a fan of Bead Unique magazine like we are, you may have seen this review of Sherri's book, Sherri Haab Jewelry Inspirations. Besides the wonderful review, this issue is filled with lots of great ideas for inspiration.

If you're not familiar with Jewelry Inspirations, you should definitely check it out. See Sherri at home in her studio and the people and things behind her ideas. Truly an inspiration!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Electroforming Tips - Keep it Moving, Keep it Warm

On a recent visit to the studio of jewelry artist Nancy Worden, she was gracious enough to educate me on some of her valuable tips for electroforming. Nothing can replace the years of experience she gained through her labors, and with plating there are no easy shortcuts. I am anxious to pass along a few vital steps I learned from her:

KEEP IT MOVING: Agitation reduces the sharp and uneven build-up of copper particles on your piece. This is especially true for pieces that are left to be electroformed for long periods of time. If you have ever left a certain piece to build a heavy layer of copper for a long time, you may have noticed that the edges or protrusions feel sharp or rough. By providing a way to circulate the free floating copper particles, the result will be more rounded edges which do not feel as sharp. It may be of interest to note that Polypropylene anode bags also play a role in keeping the particles from forming sharply.
A simple solution? An Aquarium air pump. To make your own bubbling device, drill holes in a piece of tubing to be fitted to the pump. In this photo you can see how a slightly larger tube was drilled and fitted over the longer green tube which fits snuggly to the pump. The end with holes in it is placed in the electroforming solution about 30 minutes to an hour after the initial coat of copper is formed. Turn the pump on to provide agitation for the remaining time necessary for electroforming.

KEEP IT WARM: Optimal temperature for electroforming copper is between 75 and 80 degrees fahrenheit. Nancy Worden has found through years of experimentation that this produces the best results. You can use warming devices such as an electric heating pad to heat the tank, especially in winter. Use safety precautions when using electric devices near water.

MAINTAINING THE ELECTROFORMING SOLUTION: There is no easy answer for this one. This can get very complicated, and frankly dangerous, if you start adding acids or experimenting without some knowledge and respect for electrochemistry. Artists like Nancy have their own protocol for maintaining and attending to the plating bath. As every situation is unique, you have to take responsibility for deeper education and study. There are pdf's and books online that are written for associated products from the plating industry for detailed information. You have to decide at some point whether the goal for using the solutions is for a personal hobby, mass production, or an industrial studio set-up. The latter involves getting to know the chemicals and developing a personal knowledge for how and what to do to keep the plating solutions clean and filtered, and the ph levels even. Most solutions sold for small studio or hobby use are sold with the premise that they will be used until exhausted (at a certain coverage rate) and then replenished as needed.

SOME METALS DON'T PLATE: With any art or science like electroforming, there are always new things to learn. One thing I learned recently is that there are certain metals which will not successfully plate with copper without pre-treatment. Steel, iron, or metal with tin in it will not plate well.

 - Sherri

Friday, August 5, 2011

ITS on Tile part 2


Yesterday's blog introduced using ITS on tile. Above are image from my stepson Chris' and Hailee's wedding. I decide to do these in color because the orange and turquoise color scheme really pops. You can see the imperfections in the images, but that's part of their charm.








Image transfer, especially on tile, is not an exact science. It’s best to make a few extra copies of your images in case they don’t turn out the first time. Your images will not be perfect, but will have variation because of the natural contours of the tile, the saturation of the photo and other variables. That’s the beauty of this kind of image transfer, though. Each tile is unique and a has a special character. If you do need to re-do a tile, just soak it in water (before you put on the sealer) and then use coarse sandpaper to sand off the image.









Depending on your image, you may want to tear the edges so it doesn't have a hard edge. Above is the difference between a straight edge and a torn edge. If your photos are black and white, the light parts of the photo will naturally disappear, creating a soft edge even when the image is cut straight, such as in the image below.







Bubbling
The tile below has a lot of white spots because the paper bubbled. Sometimes, like in this tile, they turn out looking great. In general, though, you want to avoid bubbling because if you get a white spot on someone's face, or an important part of the picture, it's a do-over.

White Film
The white film on the lower part of the image means that all the paper has not been removed yet. It needs to be polished some more with the blue 3M polishing sheet under running water.





Picture Placement
Since tile has natural dips and bumps, sometimes it will interfere with the picture. The bride's face on this tile gets lost in the natural contours. It would be best to start over and turn the picture a quarter turn.



Remember that your own images might require some experimentation. Luckily, if you don't like the first result, it's easy to sand it off and start over. I've had so much fun with this new technique, I've got more coasters than I know what to do with!

New Project! ITS on Tile



Sherri's been working for a while to perfect a method to successfully transfer images onto tile. We finally got great, consistent results after some trial and error. Above you can see black and white images from Sherri's daughter Rachel's wedding, and color images from my daughter Brennyn's wedding. I love this project because they are great handmade gifts that anyone can appreciate. The images don't turn out perfectly, and they have a quality that makes them almost looked painted on. You can turn them into coasters (my favorite use) or put them on small easels for tabletop display.

You will need:

4 x 4” tumbled marble tile

ITS Solution

ITS Paper

Images

Scissors

Paintbrush

3M Wet/Dry 1200-grit blue abrasive sheet

ITS Matte or Gloss Sealer

Felt chair pads or 4 x 4 square of felt


1. Soak the tile in water and scrub it clean to get all the dust off. Let dry.

2. Paint a layer of ITS solution over the tile. Let dry.




3. Size your image so it is slightly smaller than the tile. Remember that the image will appear as a mirror image on the tile. Copy the image onto ITS paper using a commercial copy machine or print it on a laser printer. Use the color setting even if your image is black and white. Cut out the image. If the background of your image is dark, you may want to tear the edges for a softer look.


4. Paint an even layer of ITS solution on the tile. (The layer of ITS should be thin enough to still be transparent, but thick enough so there are no bare spots.) Place the image face down on the tile, being careful to center the image.


5. Press the image on the tile, working from the middle out toward the edges. Smooth the image firmly, pressing out any air bubbles. Turn the tile over on a flat, sturdy surface and press on the back of the tile to help the image make full contact with the tile. If there are still air bubbles, you can use a barely damp sponge to help smooth them out, or prick with a pin or point of a blade and press them flat.



6. Heat set the tile by placing the tile in a pre-heated 325 degreee oven for 30 minutes. After removing from the oven, it is important to let the piece cool thoroughly before the next step.

7. Soak the tile in water for a few minutes. Use your fingers to remove the paper, carefully rolling off layers of paper, working from the center out.


8. When you’ve removed most of the paper, use a 3M Wet/Dry 1200-grit blue abrasive sheet under running water to remove the remaining fiber. The fiber is removed when there is no longer a white film covering the image.


9. Paint a layer of ITS Matte or Gloss Sealer over the image. Wait 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes to heat set. Let cool.

10. To make a coaster, stick felt chair pads on the back of the tile, or glue on a square of felt so the tile won’t scratch furniture.


Next blog: Troubleshooting