Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not an ordinary commute

I commute to my 9-2-5, just like anyone else, but I was struck recently by the beauty I encounter along my commute. Yes, I live in New Jersey, and I have a beautiful commute.
Here's proof...

I do spend some time on Routes 287, and 206, but I'm pretty darn lucky, almost no time spent sitting in traffic, beauty all around.

I did have an unfortunate brush with nature (or, nauture had an unfortunate brush with me). I was almost to work, it was the first Saturday of tax season, a frosty February morning. Out of the corner of my eye a flash of color. A small "bonk." Out of my rear view mirror a pheasant is rolling toward the side of the road, his little harem watching nervously, safely from the lawn they had been crossing. I was unable to stop, and when going home a few hours later, I did not spot him on the shoulder. I hope that he was just stunned (and maybe a little embarrassed) by his running into my wheel. I was only going 30mph (the speed limit on this particular road), so maybe he made it.

So, what is the point of my little tangient, you ask? I guess, to say this to all y'all out there whose sole experience in New Jersey has been the Newark airpport, or the Meadowlands for a concert: New Jersey is beautiful, you just have to venture off the turnpike. On second thought, this is such a tiny little state, and already pretty crowded so maybe I shouldn't work so hard to convince anyone else how great it is here. We already know.

PS: yes I took most of these pictures while driving, but you know, I didn't try to frame a shot or do anything fancy. I just snapped while going along, to see what I would get. Two of them I pulled over, because I wanted a something on the side of the road, and I can't get clear shots from the side while moving. No more dangerous than that lady who was tailgating me so close this morning that I could smell her coffee.

yes, I still make jewelry...

Lately, I have not really been keeping up with my jewelry blogging. Recently, my SIL helped my by dumping out all my stone beads on my dining room table, and helping me put together combinations. Sometimes you stare at the same two beads, forgetting all the other beads you have put away. So they sat on the table for a while in matched piles.

Then I wanted to have people over for dinner, so, the piles went into sandwich baggies, and put into my storage containers, marked "grab bag, if you take it, you must make it". The whole point being, I should just grab a random bag, and use what's in it. Hopefully, it will make the composition aspect a little quicker.
Here are three necklaces I've made so far using this "system."
This one is a wire wrapped red agate wavy disk, combined with peridot jasper, olive jade, peridot and more red agate

This one is probably my favorite so far. I will put it up for sale, but I must admit that I made sure I would have enough stones left over to make one for myself. It's substantial, lizardite (a form of serpentine) puff ovals, with onyx rondelles and small lizardite rounds. The lizardite has the coolest texture.

The spiderweb jasper on this one is amazing as well. The irregular web pattern along with the randomness of the coral, offsets the squareness of the beads. I've had the focal piece for a while now, and finally figured out something to do with it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

pics for october 3 post

Okay, couldn't get blogger to let me edit the post for the 3rd of October, so had to create a new post to get these pics up.
Here's the necklace that the dumbest "torch" ever helped me make

Here's the first thing I ever cut out of sheet. It was always supposed to be a leaf, but at first it just looked like a misshapen heart. It has since been etched for the veining, a tube rivet was added for the bail, and it was antiqued and tumbled. It's pretty big, about 3 inches square

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Arrgghhh! Where does the time go?

I am completely amazed at how fast the end of this summer whizzed by. Just completely befuddled. Anyway, no pics to post today, just thought I'd let anyone who's interested, know that I haven't completely abandoned my blog. It has been sitting here, forlorn, wondering what it had done to deserve this neglect.
Well, what has happened since my last blog (not necessarily in chronological order)?

Car is fixed, insurance company still trying to get money back from little girl's insurance company.

Sister-in-law and her hubby announce their pregnancy! Very cool, first of our lot to procreate. Will report on first "bump" sighting. It's so fashionable to call it a bump, that I just had to succumb.

Went to a Rutgers game, had a great time tailgating. The weather has been very cooperative of all the tailgating that has been going on this year.

Painted (most of) the new office entry way. Have to finish a couple of things including but not limited to: fixing the "saddle" into the entry, finish painting the storage room, do decorative painting to bring together all the bloody colors we decided to use, paint the trim, put the epoxy coating on the floor (oh shit, now I'm sweating).

Went up to PA to help out my sis and her hubby (with little sis and Mom). Attempted to prep and paint 12 foot high extremely damaged window casings. Not nearly enough hours in two days to get it done, but made a dent.

Went to Genesis concert. Good news, not nearly the oldest people there. Pretty good show. Very impressed that they acknowledged that they were in New Jersey, not New York!
Hey, for anyone who stumbled on this blog from somewhere across the country, THE MEADOWLANDS ARE IN NEW JERSEY, NOT NEW YORK! The Giants and Jets play in NEW JERSEY!

Started teaching myself to solder. I apologize to my burnt up fingers and the copper I tortured for hours. Results, a pretty good looking necklace (will post pics later) and the confidence to get real equipment to torture more metal. I believe this could be the start of something real cool!
I also tried fusing some fine silver I had, and that was OK, but way to unpredictable to have given me any confidence about it. I am intrigued about fusing, but I think I will pursue that more after getting soldering under control.

Funny story for any jewelery makers out there who remember their first soldering work. Months ago, before I had really done enough research (that will become self-evident momentarily) I bought myself the tiniest torch made, ever. Really, tiny. Some emery cloth, brazing rods, and a fire retardant cloth completed my Home Depot trip. I had also ordered a tripod with mesh screen, and some tweezers from Contenti.
Last weekend, I just had the itch so bad to try something that I just said "go for it!" I went out onto my back deck, sawed myself some smallish, egg-shaped rings, and set to work soldering them. I had read somewhere if you use brazing rods, you don't need flux, so I didn't. First thing I did was burn myself with my heavy duty cigar lighter (because really, that is all this thing really is, I don't even think you could do a creme brulee with this thing). Speaking of creme brulee, I have a creme brulee torch, and I should have used it. (I wish I could find that gingko I bought as well) So then I got my rings done, and I wanted to do a couple of larger things. I wanted to solder some frames for pendants, and I wanted an infinity symbol as well. Well, I quickly discovered that I couldn't keep the whole piece hot enough with my little lighter, and therefore couldn't get the brazing rod to melt properly at the joint. What to do, how can I possibly keep the whole piece hot? I had a brain storm. I picked out a couple of pieces of the lump hardwood charcoal that we use for grilling that were BIG. They also had one side that was flattish. I put them into our starter chimney, inside our little fire pit, lit them as though I was going to cook with them. When they got hot enough, I grabbed one with my tongs, put it on the cooking grate of the fire pit. I was then able to put my copper on the coal, and soldered on that. NOT the best surface to solder on (when the carbon was tumbled off, a little pitting in the joint was left behind), but it satisfied my itch (maybe a soothing salve would have been safer). Anyway, when I get a chance, I'll show you all my little fire babies. Once I tumbled them and pounded on them with my hammer, they aren't half bad. I am now shopping for my torch set up. Look out!

Oh, I also started an Etsy store that is currently empty. I am setting up the appearance this week, and over the weekend (after shopping for bridesmaids dresses), I will be photographing my pieces for sale, and making more. I will let everyone know when the Grand Opening will be.
Etsy is a very cool place to buy and sell handmade things. You have to be a member to buy and sell, but it is simple and free to sign up. Check it out!
All right, semi-caught up. Thanks for reading.