Thursday, May 28, 2009

One of These Days, Alice ...

That sapphire is putting up an epic struggle. I keep fiddling with the necklace and coming up against little teeny things that need tweaking that then throw off the next thing down the line.

The way i've attached the sapphire to the necklace would be interesting if it was working ... I have some sort of inadvertent chainmaille thing going on, and since I really never have done any before, I have the feeling that I'm missing something but I haven't a clue what.

Oh well, I'm going back in to the struggle and see if I can't beat it into submission in the next couple of hours. I can at least make the clasp, and have one more step finished, even if it acts too fiddly to set.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sorry, Folks

Due to certain activities by nosy people that just won't leave me alone, this journal will now be only about jewelry made, as it links to my account at JL.com.

Namaste.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Glutton Von Punishment

Today was my second bhangra class.

I made my arms go this week! So now I can do all the steps, but do them well? I think not. I felt like I was back in 6th grade gym class, clumsy and barely able to keep up.

There was also some serious hop/sliding today that torqued my knee.

But again, I'm starving, and I didn't sweat so much or suffer quite so badly.

I think I'm getting the hang of it. Michelle will watch the kids on my Saturday mornings with them, so when I can afford it I'm going every Saturday.

Who knows? Maybe I'll even get kind of good at it.

Don't laugh; stranger things have happened.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sapphire




I just finished coiling a basket weave bezel of argentium wire for this 132 ct low-grade sapphire I picked up from Ebay India. Thank you again, Kikan-Gems, for a great price on a fun stone!

This was my first time coiling a bezel like this and the stone was a little loose, so I made the outer row on front and back into this wave pattern, but I was a little rough so it made the coiling uneven. When my fingernails recover a little I'm going to try to even them up some. Still looks lovely, even with the wonky coils.

However, for two days I've been wracking my brain and can't come up with a design for the necklace this will grace. Denim lapis beads with silver bead caps? A/B finish clear glass round beads? Swarovski crystals? Crystazzi glass pearls? Freshwater pearls? Iridescent Czech glass flowers?

Maybe I'll bag it and work on the Flying Spaghetti Monster pendant I want to make with silver wire and Nepalese coral. The only problem with that is that I might "forget" about it and never match it to a necklace so I can wear it. Other projects always cut in line if you put a current one out of sight ...

The Terror of Toddlerhood

Being a toddler must be about the most frustrating experience a person can have. My theory is that is why we don't remember those years. That time of our life is so frustrating that to bear the burden of remembering it would be impossible, and still be a functional human being.

My son turned three recently. His language has come in so well. He tells little stories and has actual conversations with me. More importantly he has conversations with OTHER PEOPLE and they actually understand him! His vernacular is just so darned cute, too. He'll finish making a mess or an art project (there is a difference, but you can only recognize it if you're a parent) and declare with great satisfaction, "There! Perfect!"

What I don't get about him (and his sister, who is older by three years) is how learning English from my urban California accent and their father's mutt conglomeration of Australian and British accents came out as a Brooklyn accent. Both my kids say "boids" for "birds" as one of many amusing examples. It really is a mystery, but both kids have done it. I wonder if anyone else's inter-lingual kids have an accent that comes from some outfield somewhere.

But I digress. My son was in his room today, screaming his head off. He was so frustrated, and angry, and just couldn't take it anymore so he just laid his lanky little body down on the floor and yelled. I managed to get in without pinching any of his anatomy under the door and took a few moments to ascertain what his major malfunction was.

Turns out he had taken a sticker off its paper and it wouldn't stick back on. We've had this issue before in the week, so it's not like this is a new concept for him: sticker paper is one use only. If you take the sticker off it, it becomes trash.

I finally convinced him that we could stick his sticker to another, colored piece of paper. The tears stopped instantly, and he gladly threw away that mean old sticker paper.

Except for the screaming Rumpelstiltskin episodes he has occasionally, this age is a joy to experience from an adult perspective. His brain makes explosive leaps regularly. Last week his brain got big enough to encompass the wonders of Pokemon. His sister has loved Pokemon since she was about his age, too. We have a large collection of little plastic ones. I was looking for motivational rewards and found a set of 60 on Ebay for $3 plus shipping. The kids love them. My son has played with the toys for a while now, but last week he "got" it. Now he won't go anywhere without his Pokemon (not even the bath), he wears his red baseball cap (like Ash Ketchum's) even to bed, and at irregular intervals, Pokeballs are hurled at me or the cats with a cry of "Bulbasowah I choose you!" It's all Pokemon, all the time. Lucky for me my eldest is a tomboy like her mom, so the toys can recycle down to her brother.

Namastey London

I needed distraction last night so I stayed up too late watching Namastey London. It wasn't a great Bollywood film, but it was about my favorite Indians, Punjabis, so it wasn't too bad.

I had read on a Punjabi forum a few weeks ago how some people were angry with Bollywood because of the portrayal of Sardars as joke-characters: bumpkins, stupid, etc. They did that a bit in this film. Two or three bit players were portrayed as unintelligent donkeys. The worst of the "donkeys" all had turbans or patka. I can see why some Sikhs are upset by this portrayal of Sardars.

The Punjabis that were clean-shaven and not wearing turbans were more intelligent and stylish in the film, as well.

If I hadn't read that post, I might never have noticed this in the film. My awareness of this issue made those parts of the film mildly embarassing. I'll have to look into this particular bit of Eastern PC awareness some more.

I wonder why (if this is being done deliberately, and not by some insensitive quest for comic relief) Bollywood has this opinion of turbaned Sikhs? Is this a cultural trend linked with the horrors that happened after the assassination of Indira Gandhi or what?

Funny; when people here in the West overreact to a character in a movie and cry that it's un-PC (Jar Jar Binks, anyone?) I just laugh and say get over it, I don't see how that is supposed to be an insult to Asians (or blacks, or whites, or whoever). But in this case, perhaps because it's a different culture and I haven't got the "familiarity breeds contempt" thing going on, I understand why people might be a bit put out by that portrayal of their culture. I personally think JarJar Binks or Pokemon Jynx were not purposefully making fun of a particular people, but I wonder about Bollywood's portrayal of Sardars. The cop character in Aaja Nachle wasn't represented that way, and most of the other films I've seen that had Sikh characters were historical reenactments and weren't trying for comedy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away

For crying out loud, Amy, you aren't with my ex anymore, so why are you stalking me online still? I have your work IP logged on the blog. Don't you have anything better to do?

Unless you're planning on helping me by calling Dr. C and telling her that everything you told her about me was a lie and that our ex in common is a jerk, then just get lost, OK?

Don't make me tell your work you're using their servers to stalk me again. That probably wouldn't look so good for you about now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The First Sea Sediment Jasper Jewelry




From the second pendant set I got, which turned out to be dyed, BTW. It had fuchsia spots on it, so I emailed the seller who admitted the color was treated. It remains to be seen whether the other sets I have are dyed; they're from different sellers. I've seen beads at Fire Mountain Gems that are NOT dyed, so I think that some of this stone, at least, is legitimate, just not the pair in these earrings.

22g argentium silver wire
28g copper wire
6mm argentium silver beads
hand-forged argentium ear wires

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Balle Balle Ouch

I took my first bhangra dance class today. Hahahaha. Am I getting old, and am I out of shape. I was really flagging there for a while, when the teacher and some of the other students said to just do the feet, and worry about the arms later.

Why did I pick a folk dance that involves lots of hopping on one leg? My bad knee was really not very happy about this.

I sweated like a pig. I haven't exercised that much in years.

But during the stretching and warm down afterwards, my neck gave several satisfying pops and I actually had an appetite this afternoon and despite the fact I know I'll be sore tomorrow I feel pretty good.

I'll have to see if Michelle can watch the kids on my Saturday mornings for two hours so I can go four times a month instead of two.

Boy, did I suck. LMAO

But it was fun.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Jasper. How I Love Thee ...




Who needs diamonds when you can get Sea Sediment (Aqua Terra/Snakeskin) Jasper? This reminds me of the traditional Japanese wave/ocean tattoo. This is just the most amazing stone! Whatever shall I do with it?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My First Tutorial ...




It took some doing, but I finally finished and submitted my first tutorial to Jewelry Lessons.com, an adaptation of a link found in Indian jewelry. It's a free tute, but now I know what I'm doing and Eni didn't ask me to make any changes, so I guess I understand the template and what's needed well enough.

Fish Link Tutorial

I wonder what I'll do for my next tute? Hmm ... Ghost tiger beads? The Medusa Pendant? We shall see. First I have to get through court next week so I can breathe again.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Mommy, Where Are the Fleas?"




The kids and I had a lovely day out yesterday, did all sorts of things. One of the things we did was stop by the Ashby Flea Market at Ashby and Martin Luther King Jr. in Berkeley. I haven't been there in close to 20 years, I think. I went in search of the fossil guy I bought my Orthoceras from. I don't know what fit of optimism made me think he'd be there after all this time.

He wasn't. Not surprisingly.

So we wandered around and looked at stuff. It's the same stuff as before, with different vendors. A fruit stand. A couple sunglasses stands. A sock stand, two tie-dye stands, a bunch of African art/jewelry stands, junque-o-plenty. Notable absences: Professor Curtis from Cult Videos (he who first revealed the awesomeness of Dolomite to me and friends lo these many years ago), the nuns who made futons, the pine furniture guy. There was a drum circle, I think it should probably be considered the same one, with an ever-changing group of drummers. It sounded the same as it always has.

We even found parking on the first pass, convenient and close by. That alone would qualify as miraculous if I were the superstitious sort.

I found an Asian guy that was selling Tibetan or Nepalese gemstone and silver beads at fairly reasonable prices. They were definitely competitive with my online sources and I didn't have to pay for shipping. Nice strands of pearls. Dyed coral. "Turquoise" (dyed howlite - I spotted it and asked him and he admitted to it). Milky quartz (the kind that people also call moonstone, but isn't). Amethyst. Denim lapis.

So I picked up seven strands of beads for $28. And they were generous strands, too. Not the little 8 inch ones you get some places. I thought the alleged amethyst looked suspiciously like fluorite, but when I asked he looked insulted and said it wasn't. I asked on Jewelry Lessons.com and was gently reminded of the Moh Hardness Scale, which I'd learned about in 3rd grade and promptly filed away, never having had use for it until now. I tried scratching the new beads with a broken amethyst donut with sharp edges I have, and it did make some scratches with difficulty. So I thought it was fluorite until I Googled up the Moh Scale and learned that stones can scratch other stones of the same type. But, I also learned that amethyst has a hardness of 7, and fluorite is a 4, while a good steel knife is 5.5. So I tried to scratch the new beads with one of my good cooking knives and it didn't scratch. So it's amethyst, and I was informed this morning that it's probably Cape Amethyst. Which I think is a nice way of saying "amethyst with quartz in it." I don't mind either way. In some ways I like stones that have pattern and movement more than solid stones, because they're more interesting. I have some deep purple amethyst beads and a teardrop cabochon, and I'm thinking of ways to put all these purples together.

Something will come to me. It always does.

I bribed the kids with a new toy each at the cheap toy stand, and they were good as gold. Cody stopped at every place playing music and danced. Cheyenne helped me out so much, keeping an eye on Trouble on the Double (Cody) while I paid for the beads I bought.

When we were leaving in the car, I sighed happily and said, "I love the flea market."

Cheyenne asked me, "They sell fleas there?!?"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

*Snicker*

Hmmm ... I think that posting rants that will show up from here on Jewelry Lessons.com might not be a great idea! LMAO

Erectile Discombobulation

My spam filter is clogging up these days with more and more ads for Viagra and/or Cialis and/or some other "magic" little pill to make parts of old men young again.

Well, for one thing, I'm a WOMAN. I have NO USE for your stupid little pills. So GTFO.

Secondly, listen, guys: Most women do NOT want you panting over them for four or more hours. We certainly aren't interested in marathon sessions in our 40's and higher if we have responsibilities during the day and especially if we have small children.

There's something to be said for short, sweet and to the point.

Geezer dudes, if your whole self-worth is tied up in whether or not a piece of your body acts like it's 30+ years younger than it really is, then you need a hobby.

Might I suggest knitting?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rigel 7






This time I even impressed myself. It was worth the time spent stringing it in different combinations to hit on the right design.

How am I ever going to part with this? Well, if someone stops me on the street and offers me hundreds of dollars, I suppose I could be convinced to let it go in the name of buying more supplies ...

Monday, May 4, 2009

In Search of ... a Necklace








The pendant is done. 20 and 28g argentium silver wire, Indian silver bead, 102 ctw labradorite cabochon.

It needs an extra special necklace, but I'm not sure yet. I think it will involve some cloisonne and some Tibetan silver flowers (they look like lilies), but that's just the tentative idea at present. These things always seem to have plans of their own. I'll have to finger all my beads and stones tonight after House MD. There's some lovely deep blue aventurine (that I swear is PURPLE), amethyst, and other lovely gems I can use. I just don't know yet.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Transistorizing the Woven Bezel


Small lapis cabochon meets 24g and 28g wire. It was very difficult to do this, and if I hadn't used two different colors of wire I probably wouldn't have been able to complete it. Now it wants an entire necklace designed around it and I don't have a clue.

Viral Conspiracies

Yeah, so there is a massive fear-mongering going on in the news about this swine/human/avian flu mutant that's been killing folks in Mexico City. And now it's here! Horror! Gasp! Scare the masses and sell more stuff!

Great time to have a cold, eh? I've been checking and checking my temperature, but it's never gone above 99.5. My kids' doctor said if they got sick to avoid the emergency room at all costs because it's crawling with people who fell for what the panic-pushers are peddling. She said come direct to her.

So Cody and I are home, snotty and cranky, watching TV and waiting for the cold and the unseasonably late rain to pass.

Problem is, I don't feel like working on any jewelry while I'm under the weather. Isn't that a dumb phrase? Isn't everyone technically under some weather, somewhere? Considering weather usually happens in the sky and all that.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Labradorite O' Doom


I won a 102 ctw Labradorite on Ebay from someone in India. With shipping it was $20. A real bargain. I'm going to set this into something special ... I just am not sure what yet.