Monday, December 31, 2007


New Year's Eve always feels a bit off to me. I'm ready to put the old year to bed; I'm ready to be done with it. But I can't start the new one until tomorrow; this year isn't quite over. So I'm just messing around, not really starting anything new, not wanting to give any more of my efforts to 2007.

I'm ready for the new-and-improved 2008 me.

What an optimist I am! I know, rationally, that I will not wake up tomorrow with any more abilities or skills than I have today; but, somehow, I still expect that I will. My designs will be fresher tomorrow, my execution cleaner, my results prettier.

No sense in starting something today; tomorrow it will be a New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Riveting news

Um-hmm, I'm thinking cold connections. It's something I've been dancing around for quite awhile now; I'm not sure I'm actually going to give it a go, but I'm thinking about it. I'm not as comfortable with my hammer as I should be; sometimes I slip. That's okay when I'm working metal; I can always file or pound a bit more to disguise my oopsies; but riveting things together, especially things that break when hit with a hammer, requires precision.

And a light touch, I fear.

I'm a bull in a china shop; I plow through and make things happen by whatever means necessary. More heat, more solder, and file off the odd spot; that's my credo.

Holding things together with single piece of wire and a few taps of a hammer scares me.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

End of year compulsion

What is it about the ending of a year? I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, but the week between Christmas and New Year's day always finds me wanting to organize something. This year, it was my jump rings. They didn't start out to be a mess; they just gradually turned into one. At first, I only felt comfortable with one weave, so I had a few rings cut in the sizes I needed, and they were easy to contain in labeled little plastic bags. They lived in my silver findings box, and things were fine.

For awhile.

But then I wanted to learn different weaves; I wanted to try them in different gauges; and with every piece I made, there were rings left over. Each size went into a little plastic bag, but pretty soon, the collection of little plastic bags outgrew the findings box. No problem; I put all the little bags into a larger bag and stuck it in my drawer.

But then, finding the size I needed started to get difficult. I had to dump all the little bags out of the big bag and look at each one to find the one I needed. Sometimes I didn't find it, so I cut some new rings, labeled a new bag, and dumped the leftovers in the big bag when I was finished. Pretty soon, I had too many little bags, some of them repeats.

Enter my year-end need to organize. Ahhhhh, the big bag is history, and all the little bags are tucked into pockets and neatly hung (ordered by metal, gauge, and size) from binder rings in a cute little 4x6 file card binder. I can flip right to the rings I need; and if they're not there, I know in a minute that it's time to cut.

Life is good.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Effect

Opulent, but not necessarily ornate.  Well, that's what I think, anyway.  I finished the moonstone necklace a few minutes ago; it's choker length with lots of silver and pearls.  It's in the art nouveau style with a bow towards renaissance jewelry and it's pure decadence.  

The centerpiece is a large moonstone cabochon with swirls and balls of silver surrounding it; the main portion of the necklace is Japanese two-in-one maille with large pearls inside of even larger silver rings.  Three sections of smaller pearls alternating with little square silver beads swoop around and below the moonstone, enclosing a dangling large pearl and a tiny crystal.

I'm sitting up straighter just now because I'm wearing it.  

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Left turn!

So what did I do yesterday? Pretty much right after noticing that I was on a simple wire-wrapping kick? Yup, I took a left turn, and found myself in an opulent, Art Nouveau-Renaissance sort of mood. I really don't think that there is a lot of point in trying to catalog my own trends; the minute I notice I'm having one, I lose it altogether.  I seem to be highly resistant to keeping my trends!

But, no matter. I'd made a couple of moonstone links with lots of swirls and balls of silver quite some time ago; I used one for a bracelet, but then I lost momentum and put the other one in my tray to wait awhile.  It came out yesterday, and it is going to be a necklace with heavy silver links and pearls.  Maybe some Renaissance-y swirls and drapes; I haven't decided yet.

It isn't ornate, well, at least not yet, but it sure is opulent.  So I'll leave it at that, and see what happens next.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Who knew? Suddenly I'm interested in wrapping wire again. No, not the extravagant wraps popularized by so many other wire artists (though you never know what I'll want to do tomorrow); I'm making discreet little wraps that are more involved with holding things together than with making a statement. Earrings, mostly. Quick little pretty things. And I'm getting some ideas for wraps and coils that go with bezels, strictly as design elements.

And for the New Year, I see organic possibilities: my mother and my sister both gifted me with leaf beads this year. My sister sent impossibly delicate and tiny antique, etched, pressed-glass leaves; and my mother found bold, gorgeously carved, gemstone leaves. Flowers, vines, and fairy circlets are teasing me; pearls? briolettes? silver lace?

Ah, what fun. I love the moment when everything is possible and nothing is decided.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

It's a bright shiny day here; yesterday's storm has blown away and left us with blue skies and temps above freezing. It just doesn't get any better than that! Most of the snow and ice has melted, leaving just patches of white on the ground. I've half a mind to grab my camera and head out; I'm always saying that I want to do some winter shoots, but I never seem to go. I'm afraid I'm just not too fond of being outside, tramping around, when it's cold!

But, whatever we end up doing today, it's a beautiful Christmas Eve here. I hope it is equally beautiful where you are, and I hope that you, too, will take a moment to think about what you are thankful for on this day. My heart is full today; I hope yours is as well.

Peace and love to you on this Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Diamonds in the rough

I've been really attracted to uncut diamonds lately; I've bid on a few, but the price has gone higher than I want to pay. I will either get out of this mood, or I will become accustomed to the price and end up paying it. I have already noticed that in each auction that I lose, I have stayed in longer, and bid higher than in the previous one.

It is a waiting game.

But, since I really don't know enough about diamonds to judge them, I don't miss the ones that get away. There is always another lot to catch my eye - and my bids - and, sad to say, they all look pretty much the same to me. I guess that's why I'm reluctant to bid high enough to buy; I just don't know enough to know what I'm getting!

But it's fun to hope I'll get some for a song. Tra la la la la!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Playing around

I was working so hard to make all the Christmas gifts I wanted to give, that now I've sort of crashed. I'm just fooling around, cutting rings, weaving a bit; nothing with any aim or direction. Certainly nothing that needs sustained thought or action.

Earrings, yes; I've made a whole bunch of earrings over the past few days. I love to make earrings; they go so quickly and even the simplest ones look good. I'm certainly testing the theory that one can never have too many earrings.

Today I'm playing with Jens Pind in silver and gold combined; I'm certain there is some way to exploit the spiral aspect of it, but I'm not finding it. Still and all, it's very pretty. Who could ask for more than that?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's a Wrap

This morning I wrapped up the Christmas presents and put them under the tree. It looks so pretty!

And it feels so good to have that chore finished. I realized with a start, when I put the last package under the tree, that I'm ready for Christmas. I'll have to go to the grocery store to get the roast for our Christmas Eve dinner, but other than that, there is nothing that I need do but enjoy it.

I think I'll go put some Christmas music on and start now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Quiet time

It's been a turbulent time chez nous, and I'm longing for peace.

I'm treasuring the rare moments of silent understanding; hours of acceptance and trust are more valuable to me than diamonds. Hope is a shining star on our horizon; one we must protect and cherish. I expect it is that way for many others; despite fears and very real events, hope keeps us putting one foot in front of the other, hope wakes us up in the morning and gets us out of bed.

Every day I try to find a quiet time to nourish my own hopes; I wish that for you, as well.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Clean up, clean up

Everybody, do your share! Although Barney is long gone from our lives, that song lingers in my mind. This morning was clean up day; Christmas Eve is a week away! The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and although some things remain to be done (decorating the tree, the most notable of those!) we got a lot done this weekend.

Of course, that also means that a lot of clutter was left behind; and this morning I addressed that. Nope, no one helped me, but that's okay. They weren't here to get in my way, either. Their stuff has been delivered to their rooms, and they can deal with it later. I am done and enjoying a last cup of coffee in my nice clean house.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

eBay and me

So it's a kick. I love to find neat things, make a bid and then walk away.

Okay, sometimes I watch.

Occasionally, I even bid again.

But most of the time, I just put in a number and wait until the auction is over to see if I get lucky. I've got two auctions ending tonight; one I might watch and see the end of, the other I definitely won't. I'll be asleep long before it ends, and, unless someone outbids me early, I won't know until tomorrow if I'm getting it or not.

Do you think I'll get lucky tonight?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Living it all, giving it all

Patience is not my strong suit; neither is moving slowly. I always laugh to myself whenever people look at my work and say, "You must have a lot of patience!" I don't, and I doubt that I ever will. My theme song is from Queen:
I want it all, I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now!

I won't deny that many of the things I make take a lot of time to finish, but it isn't patience that keeps me going.

Nope, it's desire. I want to make the things I make, I want to make them more than I want to do anything else, at least at that moment. If I didn't, I wouldn't do it. If I couldn't feel it, couldn't see it happening, I wouldn't do it. I work fast. I work hard. And I like it that way.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Shoveling out

You knew it was coming, didn't you? So did I, so did I.

The kids, lucky dogs, went off to school at the usual time, so hubby and I took to our shovels and freed up the van. That was one heavy mess! Not too deep, thankfully, but very, very wet. In some places it was so dense that it came up in chunks.

I'm feeling it now. Thank goodness we only had to get the one car out; the rest of the driveway can stay covered until it melts, as far as I'm concerned!

And the picture? That was seven years ago. I haven't seen grins like that after shoveling snow for quite awhile now!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wintery mix

You name it, we've had it today: snow, sleet, ice, rain and back again, more than once, actually. It's a slippery, sloppy mess out there. But I'm not out there; I'm snug and warm in front of the fire with my tapestry work. I was out there, earlier, getting in some wood, but I'm inside now. And I'm staying inside.

A few minutes ago I thought about going outside and shoveling the driveway, but I decided not to. It can wait. We don't have anywhere to go today. And I really do appreciate having a nice warm fire and a good roof over my head.

I'm very thankful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Through a glass, darkly

As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, — They kill us for their sport.
-King Lear Act IV, Scene 1

Anyone remember reading Lord of the Flies? I must have been about 15 or 16 when I read it, and I found it seriously disturbing. So disturbing, in fact, that I had a hard time remembering enough details to pass the test on it. I wanted to put it out of my mind as quickly as possible; if it hadn't been assigned reading, I never would have finished it. It gave me nightmares for quite a long time; it still makes me shudder just to think about it.

So why am I bringing it up now?

Recently, I had cause to do some excavating into the dark underbelly of the teen world on MySpace. I know, on the surface, it simply looks like a fun way for teens to express themselves and have fun chatting with their friends. And for many, that's exactly what it is. But for others, it is a world unto itself, a world as dark as anything Jack could ever imagine.  Perhaps it is just pretend; no more real than the novel that disturbed me so.

Or perhaps not.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Picky, picky, picky

OK; I'm not a kid anymore. I'm not quite old yet, but I sure am getting there. There are good things and bad things about getting older. One of the best, for me, anyway, is an increasingly relaxed attitude about things. Oddly enough, the older I get, the more I embrace imperfection. When I was younger, I really needed to be right. It mattered horribly to me, and I died a thousand deaths if gasp! someone pointed out a real, or imagined, error. Especially a small one that really didn't matter. Those were the worst.

Now I just find it mildly annoying. Probably because I know that when I was younger, I was just as ridiculous; I pounced on other peoples' errors and flaunted my superiority with the best of them. And that's still a tad embarrassing.

I guess I'm not quite old enough yet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slow down, you move too fast

You know how sometimes someone can say something and it morphs into another idea in your head? I had one of those today, and it made me think about maybe trying to slow down a little. I'm a madwoman when I work; I always have been. Full concentration, and speed, baby, speed! I love working on the fly, going wherever my materials lead. It's exciting and it's fun.

But there are other ways to work.

And a chance comment got me thinking about that today. I wonder what would happen if I slowed down?

I can't guarantee I'm going to find out anytime soon; but it's a thought.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Yup, we beat the predicted ice storm (which was late, and is currently rain, not ice, hurrah!) and got our Christmas tree. It is gorgeous and scenting the whole house. I'm sitting here, on the couch in front of a lovely fire, just breathing it in. All of the gifts that need to be shipped are wrapped and packed; they will go to the Post Office tomorrow. I have a couple more projects that I'd like to finish before Christmas; but nothing huge, and it feels so good to be able to relax!

This year, I am not obsessing with the decorating; if it gets up, well and good, if it doesn't, that's ok too. I must find the kids' stockings, though; that's non-negotiable. But anything else is gravy.

Jingle Bells, anyone?

Friday, December 7, 2007


OK, it's been crazy. Actually, it's been beyond crazy. But it's beginning to slow down, and not a moment too soon. I have been putting too many irons in the fire and keeping too many balls in the air; today I decided that it's time to sit down and decide what's really important.

So I'm simplifying things. Letting go of some of the details that would be pretty but aren't actually necessary; settling for getting the important things done and letting the rest go by.

Deep breath.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bringing in the wood

There is something very elemental about heating with wood; it is a very labor intensive process, and it really makes me appreciate the warmth it puts out. We farm out the growing, harvesting, cutting and splitting part; our wood arrives in a large truck mid-September. The bed of the truck lifts high into the air and dumps it with a great clatter into a tall pile; we haul it to the wood shed and stack it neatly from there.

We actually have several wood sheds; two on the side of the garage, one out the back door, and a very attractive wood holder just out the kitchen door. The one out the kitchen door is on the porch; it's covered, and it's my bad-weather emergency stash. I hardly ever use it, preferring to wait until really bad weather hits; usually I take the wheelbarrow out to one of the outlying sheds, load it up, and put it on the porch for easy access.

A good wheelbarrow load will fill my inside wood box twice; we go through nearly that much in a day. So I haul in a load of wood pretty much every day. I don't mind; it keeps me in shape. And I'd much rather be getting a workout by keeping my family warm than by going to a gym.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Let it snow

The first snowfall of the season is always pretty; it has been long enough since last winter's snows that we no longer remember the drudgery of shoveling and only see the pristine beauty of the landscape.

We're having that first real snowfall now; we have had a few flurries, but this is the first one that actually covers the ground. It isn't supposed to last; in fact, it's predicted to turn to ice and rain by tomorrow. But today we're enjoying it; today it is covering the earth with a soft blanket of white and sticking thickly to the branches, making the yard look like a postcard.

I hope you will enjoy it with me!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Clearing out the cobwebs

I just spent the morning on a search and destroy mission; I've been head down on a jewelry making binge all month, and, while I was working, so were the spiders. They weave every bit as diligently as I do! But no more; they've been evicted, and my living room is shiny and clean. It looks so nice!

It had gotten so bad, I had my daughter bring in the shop vac. We call it R2D2™ because it looks like the character from Star Wars™ and it's every bit as useful. I can vacuum in record time without worrying about it getting clogged.

I'll be back to jewelry soon, but hopefully, I won't neglect my chores in December quite as badly as I did in November.