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Friday, June 23, 2006

What Are We Doing? no. 4

Hiho, Silver!

I confess: I've strayed from the fold. But only slightly. I have paused in my contemplation of Things With Holes In Them, and started looking at shiny things that really are shiny.

It started because I wanted sterling silver ball-end headpins. I looked around, and finally settled on some that proved to be too thin and floppy for what I wanted them for. But I'd bought the big bag with 100 of them in it, so I had leftovers. I'd never bothered with sterling silver headpins before, so it amazed me how quickly I used them up. It was like they were made of chocolate instead of metal! I hadn't touched a headpin in years, but now I kept thinking of more and more things to do with them, and suddenly they were nearly gone.

When I'd been out shopping for them in the first place, someone showed me how easy it was to make my own. I could get all the supplies for under £50, including a torch! I'd had no idea I could get by so cheaply. But the process of cleaning the pins seemed very tedious, and I opted to wait. Now that I needed more, though, I kept coming back to the idea of making my own.

What finally tipped the scales was finding out that fine silver doesn't require cleaning - you melt the end, dip it in water, and you're done! The easy way to clean the sterling silver ones, of course, is with a tumbler... which I don't yet have. So considering the amount of time I could spend scrubbing my little friends, I thought the tiny extra price of the fine silver was worth it.

I made two batches: one in .7mm, one in .4mm. The .4 ones are so fine that they're very nearly useless, but not quite. 3mm stones and smaller will work on them - although I think I'm going to find pearls scare me least, on those. The larger ones are very nearly just too pretty to hide inside a bead!

But this has raised a dilemma for me - melting metal was fun. I liked the idea that I could control the shape, and then it would be permanent. I can't help hoping this is something I can keep doing and expand on.

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