Friday, January 31, 2014

Spoon hook rack

I found 15 gorgeous silver plated spoons at an estate sale and made a few hook rack for Christmas presents.

I know there are fancy bracelet benders and other cool mandrels that would probably make this project easier, but I didn't have any of those handily.  So, I'll share with you how I did it and include the mistakes I made and what I learned!

Flattening the spoon

Lessons learned 1:

Heat the spoon before you hammer or bend it.  I used a welding torch flame, but a butane torch like they use to caramelize creme brûlée would work.  I put the spoon in a pan with flame resistant rocks and got it nice and hot.  Then I drenched it in water to cool.  The metal is now annealed which makes the metal softer.

When I annealed first, my hammered spoon bowl was smoother.  Plus annealing makes it MUCH easier to bend the spoon handle.  If you are using sterling plated and not real solid silver spoons, you can save yourself a lot of work if you heat it before you bend it.  

Lesson learned 2: 

I hammered the spoon flat by whacking it with a regular old hammer on my anvil.  Yep, I do have a big old anvil in my studio.  If you don't happen to have one laying around, make sure you hammer on something hard and something you don't care if you ding if (when) you miss.

I found it easiest if I hammered the spoon bowl on the back side and flattened the tip end first and worked my way back to the deeper part of the spoon. 

Mistake 1:

These spoons are tough!  Even though I annealed it, I still had to hammer it hard.  I found it was pretty easy to let the hammer blow fall and then I ended up with a "rustic" ding in the metal if sometime the head wasn't flat and the edge of the hammer head dug a little.

Drilling the Holes for the Screws

Lesson Learned 3: 

After the first 2 spoons I found it was really helpful to make a little paper template and use a sharpie to mark where I wanted to drill the hole.  That way I didn't have to eyeball or measure to get the holes even and straight.

Lesson Learned 4:

Drill presses are a wonderful thing.  My drill bit was new and it drilled right through the spoon like butter!

Mistake 2:

Remember to drill before you bend the spoon handle because it's not easy to drill the hole if the handle has been bent up so far it is blocking the spoon.

Bending the Spoon Handle

Learned 5: 

It's harder than it looks to get the hooks bent all the same!  I marked two spots in the same places on the all the spoon handle and put them it in a vice at those spots and pushed the handle over the vice jaws.  They ended up more squared than curved, but I liked them that way.  Otherwise I think you'd want  round pipe that you can lay the spoon on and hammer it around.  I just didn't want to damage this lovely pattern.

Mistake 3:
I learned the hard way that you want the top of the spoon handle with the beautiful pattern to show once you bend it.  To do that I actually hand to bend it backward!

Adding the Board

Lesson Learned 6:
By this time I was getting kinda tired so I enlisted my hubby to drill holes and screw in the spoons.
Best lesson learned!

Mistake 4: 

Measure and mark the placement myself.  Hubby isn't as precise as I am!

I hope I saved you a few mistakes!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Wow, I haven't sewed a potholder in 35 years! But my 1 year old puppy ate our potholders and we needed new ones.
I looked at the ones at the big box stores and the only ones I found were either stupid ugly or so thin I thought we'd get burned using them. And besides who doesn't love a cupcake done in retro vintage fabric?
If you're like me and haven't sewed a potholder in years, you're going to be surprised at the fillers on the market. I used two layers of filler, one called Insul Bright a filler that had thinsulate looking stuff in in it as well as Warm Batting a thick organic filler.
Now I want to make some more!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Young Man's Adventures

Oh what fun it is to mess with my son. 
One of my recent estate sale purchases was this great old green tool box. I dug through my studio and filled it full of antique "adventure findings"….shark teeth, antique bottles filled with mystery, a rabbits foot, shells, measuring and examination instruments and other cool things.

I brought it to my 12-year-old son and told him a lengthy story about how his great-great-uncle Ebenezer on his dad's side had died and left it with us.  I had just found it and remembered that he felt all young men should have adventures and that my son should have it when he was 12. 

He was terrified and stared at the contents for a long while without saying a thing. I guess I succeeded in getting the tone of the contents to be equal parts creepy and old world curiosity…...Perfect score. 

I now call it the creepy box.  
If he doesn't mind his mom, he has to open the creepy box!