Friday, August 28, 2015

Great News!

Dear Readers,

I am happy to report that the preliminary report of my daughter's condition suggests that she does not have cancer. Wow. That was so simple to say. It doesn't even hint at all the angst that has roiled in me for the last near month.

My daughter is 32. But, lying there in the hospital bed, she still looked like my little baby to me. Each time she had an interaction with a healthcare provider, I felt like the proverbial mother bear. I wanted to grab and shake anyone who didn't give her the "proper" attention. I wanted to micro manage and be an over bearing pain in the ass. I mean, really, this was MY kid. I made her. No one was going to make her feel bad unless they went through me first. Yes, it was surprising to me how I felt. Luckily, her team was wonderful in the extreme.

My daughter had cause to go to the emergency room about a month ago. After a CT scan of her abdomen, everyone involved was left with the distinct impression that she had ovarian cancer. She was referred to a GYN who also told us she had cancer. At the very least, the doctor said, she would never have kids again. It was that news which disturbed my daughter the most. I was slapped back a few times. I took it for granted that I had three wonderful kids, and here she was faced with having none. I sat with her, intensely feeling her pain as one pregnant lady after another came through the office. What a torture... I can only imagine. I sat, worrying for her life, yet keeping up a strong front. There she sat, mourning the children she would never have.

Next we visited a GYN oncologist. Here was our first breath of hope. He wasn't convinced it was cancer. So, we waited for the day of surgery and the final verdict. We each had our own way of dealing with our issues. Funny that we both threw ourselves into work. Like mother, like daughter.

I had plenty of time to worry about what might happen. I had plenty of time to think about our lives together. I'd love to say that it has always been good and easy. However, mothers and daughters typically do not have a history of easy relationships. We had our bumps. We are over them now, but there was a time when we didn't even speak. I know that she feels that I let her down in some respects. We have agreed to disagree and we just do not discuss the things that bring us to loggerheads. Having this scare in our lives, I think, has made us closer. I think she knows that I will always have her back. No matter what she will always be my little girl.

Thank you all for the messages and prayers. :) ((HUGS))


Sunday, August 23, 2015

And Now for Some Jewelry

The last two posts were rockin'. Let's do some jewelry now. During my long absence from the blog I wasn't making very many new things, however, more recently, I have been very busy. Here are a few:

Angelite from Peru with Swiss Blue Topaz
Angelite from Peru and Swiss Blue Topaz


Large Green Victoria Stone Pendant
Large Green Victoria Stone Pendant
Death Valley Plume Agate Wingate Pass Pendant
Death Valley Plume Agate Wingate Pass Pendant- very rare
Kyanite Pendant
Kyanite Pendant
Kyanite Earrings
Kyanite Earrings
Indonesian Petrified Coral Pendant
Indonesian Petrified Coral Pendant
Sci Fi Exotica Porcelain Jasper Pendant
Sci Fi Exotica Porcelain Jasper Pendant
Sci Fi Exotica Porcelain Jasper Earrings
Sci Fi Exotica Porcelain Jasper Earrings

... and last but not least a teensee weensee wittle pair of gorgeous cut bulls eye malachite. (I didn't cut these.) Are these not fabulous? I love them. :)

bulls eye malachite earrings
bulls eye malachite earrings
 So, tomorrow is the big day.... my daughter has her surgery and we will have a much better idea of what is going on. Either, she can be done with all this by Tues., or it will be the beginning of a long journey.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Another Favorite: Kabamby Jasper

As you may know, my favorite stone is the Ocean Jasper. It is a rock full of surprises. They are all so different and with their own character.

Take my last favorite, which I affectionately call "Precious".
 

 This cab has everything going for it except for some druzy, which I, personally, am not crazy about.

Well I just cabbed another Ocean Jasper that I've fallen equally in love with. But wait! I can't really call it an ocean jasper.

Ocean Jasper is the trademarked name of a type of orbicular jasper which is found in one location in Madagascar:  Marovato. Those are more agate than jasper and have more color variety.

What I am discussing now is an orbicular jasper from Kabamby, Madagascar. This is like a true jasper- opaque. These stones can closely resemble Ocean Jasper and in fact are often called Ocean Jasper, however, only Marovato orbicular jasper can be called Ocean jasper. Confused? Add this:  The kabamby orbicular jasper actually has a trade name, though no one ever uses it. It is called Sea Jasper. Both Sea Jasper and Ocean Jasper are found near or in the ocean off Madagascar. They are found only miles from each other, too.

Kabamby Jasper Slab from Madagascar

Kabamby jasper, which it is more often called, rather than Sea Jasper, is comprised of shades of green and gold with some pink and cream. My beauty has it all. It has a distinct opaque look. It has the dark green along with stunning pink and some great white contrast. It is the contrast in this stone which really sets it apart. Well, that and the rings, and the color, and the lily pad orbs, ...

Kabamby cabbed and in the sunlight

I wasted no time in wrapping this big beauty up!

Kabamby Jasper Pendant

And.... I couldn't resist a close up of those great orbs!



That's it for now, had to share my pretty.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Double Stone Wrap

Hello out there in blogville. It's been awhile since I wrote last. A lot has happened since then. Mostly bad stuff. Personal, family and health stuff that made me not want to work or blog for a long time. But, my muse is back. It came back with a vengeance, too! I was looking at wraps from the past and decided to do another double stone wrap or two stone wrap.

The first double stone wrap I did, way back when, was pretty difficult to do owing to the stones that I used.

Double Stone Wrap:  Malachite and Moss Agate

 The next two went a little easier. 


Double Stone Wrap:  Oregon "Cornflake" Carnelian and Brazilian Yellow Quartz
 
Double Stone Wrap:  Phosphosiderite and Gemmy Argentina Rhodochrosite

I spent hours pouring over all of my finished cabs for potential mates. I found lots of colorful potential mates. Some may not be practicable, but some might just be perfect together. Here are just a few possibilities.

Gaspeite and Larimar
Gaspeite and Larimar

Natural Birds Eye Kingman Turquoise and Morenci Chrysocolla Malachite Azurite
Natural Birds Eye Kingman Turquoise and Morenci Chrysocolla Malachite Azurite

Extra Juicy Gemmy Rhodochrosite and Gem Silica
Extra Juicy Gemmy Rhodochrosite and Gem Silica


Gem Amazonite and Bulls Eye Rhodochrosite
Gem Amazonite and Bulls Eye Rhodochrosite

Sparkling Raspberry Aventurine and Pink Kunzite
Sparkling Raspberry Aventurine and Pink Kunzite

And, since I was on a roll and really enjoying the process of matching up potentials, I pulled out some slabs, too. I had a blast! I have always been more attracted to bright colored stones. (I think I was a magpie in my past life!) But, the prospect of mixing patterns and textures with colors was exiting, too.

I got some pictures of the slabs for you, though they didn't turn out so good. You have to understand, too, that these are not wet nor polished so you have to use your imagination a little. I did dozens of combos, but I'll just share a few.


WY Sagebrush Jasper and Bronzite
WY Sagebrush Jasper and Bronzite

Syringopora Fossil Coral and Possibly a Petrified Wood
Syringopora Fossil Coral and Possibly a Petrified Wood

Tabu Tabu Brecciated Red Jasper and Rose Quartz
Tabu Tabu Brecciated Red Jasper and Rose Quartz

Little River Pocket Agate and Sonora Chrysocolla
Little River Pocket Agate and Sonora Chrysocolla

Lemon Chrysoprase and Chrysocolla in Quartz
Lemon Chrysoprase and Chrysocolla in Quartz (colors better in person)

Youngite and British Barite
Youngite and British Barite (orangy yellowy in person)

Rare Nundorite and Amazonite
Rare Nundorite and Amazonite

Michigan Stones Puddingstone and Copper Red Jasper
Michigan Stones Puddingstone and Copper Red Jasper

Cheetah Agate and Dalmation Jasper
Cheetah Agate and Dalmation Jasper (Colors nicer in person)

Death Valley Indian Paint Stone and Pulsite
Death Valley Indian Paint Stone and Pulsite (Both Very Rare)

Bloodstone (dark green on red) and Snowflake Obsidian
Inverse Bloodstone (dark green on red) and Snowflake Obsidian

 All that and I didn't even bust out the really good stuff! I had to save some of the fun for another time. 

And, I do have some personal news I'd like to share. It will make me feel a little better to get it off my chest. You may remember that my nephew whipped Leukemia. Well, now my 31 year old daughter may have ovarian cancer. We will likely know for sure on August 24th during her surgery with her oncologist, or 2 weeks after that. The oncologist says she has her age going for her. Needless to say we live on pins and needles. Part of my new found energy is nervous energy and the need to stay busy. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers and I will give updates.

Happy Wrapping!!!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hello Blog! I've Missed You

Holy macaroni and cheese! That has to be the longest blog break that I have ever taken. What can I say? First, I had nothing to write about because when I quit smoking I lost my muse. Then I just didn't have anything to write about. I mean who wants to hear about the BRUTAL winter we are having. I'm sure we are all just as sick of the cold. And, I for one, am sick to death of snow. Yes, I know. I live in the South, in a beach town, how cold can it be? Too cold, that's how cold. After a point 12F is not much different than 12 below. It's just ALL cold. In two days time here, it will be in the 70's and the very next day it will be snowing with sleet. Did I say I am over this?

I mentioned that my muse was gone. Well, I did try to work on a few things. I made a cross for my brother using this tutorial from Zoraida. I love the manliness of the design. I made it larger, to hang on the wall, and gave it to him for Christmas. He really likes it. It was great for me because I got to do a lot of hammering and the work was pretty forgiving, which kept my swearing down to a minimum as I still craved a smoke. I need to go to his house and get a picture of it. I did a few other small projects but really my head was just not in it.

I had an idea for a pendant. The idea bobbed around in my head for the longest time. I ordered some materials for it so I wouldn't back out of giving it a try. The inspiring stone called me, beckoned me, challenged me. The kids were gone, my music was playing and I was getting into the zone... now was the time to finally meet my muse again! The work flew through my fingers, seemingly effortlessly until just before I was finished... when I completely lost it. ARGH!! All that silver, all that planning!!

I refused to scrap it. I dug in my heels. For days, I would pick up the unfinished ugly and tell it that I refused to give up. It lay in an unfinished heap of bent wires which protruded like limbs set out at terrible, painful angles, the kind that you don't recover from without drastic measures. So, I cut and even before I was finished, I knew I had done something wrong. I think I did it just to vex myself. Ah, I torment me- WHY! Just throw the damn thing away!

But, low and behold... laying there with the wires all cut short, I had a vision. I could almost hear angels sing. (Not smoking apparently makes one dramatic.) While the vision was fresh, I whipped out the final design and was pleased.

Rare Ombre pink chalcedony limcast (petrified wood) from Texas Springs, NV



This hard won success broke the mold. Many more pendants simple and not sprang from my replenished well. : )

Thanks for reading and for Pete's sake-- Stay Warm!




Monday, November 17, 2014

Quitting

If you are a smoker then you know what it is like to want to deny the habit. I would rather jump into a pool of acid than to admit, on my blog no less, that I smoked cigarettes. But, here I am admitting it. I figure I must have been a smoker for 35 years. Notice I said that in the past tense? I have spent the better part of every day, for the past month, doing nothing except for not smoking.

I had tried to quit smoking millions dozens of times in the last few decades. For each failed attempt, I had a set of reasons. Yes, there are so many really great reasons to quit. They are so obvious that I won't even list them. If you smoke, then you know what they are and if you don't smoke... then you know what they are. But, apparently, I hadn't found the right combination of reasons to quit.


I had every obvious reason to quit. But, I had a new reason, too. Our health insurance had dramatically changed, becoming much more expensive. Worse than that, our beloved doctor of some 15 years closed up shop because of all the new guidelines. There were a lot of changes going on behind the scenes at our Dr.'s shared practice. He thought that his patients were suffering for it. He was limited to seeing a patient for under 15 minutes per appointment, too. You have no idea how hard it was for us to find a really great Dr., I didn't want to lose him. My husband was even more unhappy with the prospect of losing our doctor. After a month of being, literally, at a loss, we got a call that he was opening his own office. One problem:  It would be a Concierge Practice.

Essentially, what being a concierge practice means is that the practice requires a per patient retainer, in our case, to be paid up-front every year. So, we had to fork out-- out of the blue-- a substantial amount of money to be able to be one of the few patients whom he would follow at his new private practice. This Dr. is worth every penny and I don't blame him for a second for choosing to open his office like this. Now, we will be able to see him whenever we need to or we can call him on the phone. He will see us in the office for as long as we need or he will make a house call. His secretary can even hand deliver prescriptions to our house, if need be. While all of those are great bennys, I don't think I will be calling him to my house! I'm just happy to continue seeing him. Unfortunately, the expense, especially coming on top of the increasing changes to our insurance plan, made the concierge service something of a burden. 

Being able to keep our family doctor required sacrifice. In fact, the yearly cost comes in at almost the same amount of money as it costs me to smoke! No brainer, right? Well, the nicotine addled and addicted part of my brain assured me that we didn't really need this doctor. My husband, on the other hand, really wanted to continue seeing our doctor. He didn't usually have very strong opinions about things. For him to share this was a pretty big deal. So, without even really thinking about it, I quit smoking.

Quitting, for my husband's sake, has turned into a much easier and more gratifying way for me to quit. If I were to do it for myself, I could easily justify smoking again. I mean, we are talking about a woman who has absolutely no shame in admitting that she loved to smoke. No lie. I rarely, if ever, took a drag, leaned back and contemplated how much I disliked that cigarette. No, in fact, it was exactly opposite. My husband says that I was the most contented smoker he had ever seen. I would happily continue to smoke and take full responsibility for my untimely death. However, I love my husband even more than I loved to smoke, which, as I said, was a lot.

I have gone cold turkey. From the first day, this attempt to quit has felt different from all the rest. Although, I am not using a patch, gum, ecig, etc., I have not craved a cigarette bad enough to remember it. During the first crucial 72 hours of the nicotine withdrawal, I was 99.9% free of any withdrawal side effects. I haven't wanted to scream at anyone, throw anything; nor, cry for any reason.

I am not having any of the usual problems. However, I do have one really strange and terrible side effect. It is that I have lost all of my muse. Every last bit of it. The weird thing is that I am bored to death, but I have absolutely no motivation, desire or initiative to do much of anything about it. I think my psyche is adjusting to not having a cigarette to punctuate the beginnings and ends of all the tasks in a day. But, I am taking things one day at a time and dealing with whatever comes my way. In order to be a winner at quitting, I am willing to go with the flow and let my muse play hide and seek with me. It has been frustrating. I don't mind, though. I am in this for the long haul. I can wait for her to settle back in.

To close this post, let me just say, if you still smoke and want to quit or have tried to quit and failed, keep trying until something really clicks for you. Honestly, I believe in my heart, mind and soul that I am an ex smoker- even though I have not been quit much more than a month. It just took my most personally, perfect motivation to get it right. I'm pulling for you! You can do it, too!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Muse Replenishing Vacation

With summer winding down and the end to my cabbing days nearing, I recently realized that my wire muse had gone missing. Wire wrapping became a forced chore rather than a pleasure. "Forced chore"? Yes. Forced chore. Rather than being inspired or compelled to push boundaries, I have been, for the most part, just going though the motions, with few inspired pieces. If you run a shop, then you know that can happen.

Golden Ocean Jasper in sterling silver with patina


I have waxed on before about selling. Selling my jewelry has never been an easy thing for me to do. I do it so I can buy more rocks and wire and so I don't have piles of jewelry sitting around. I have learned, though, that it is very rewarding to see the right piece go to the right person. I also find it very humbling that people want to part with their hard earned dollars for my things. And, it makes me happy to make other people happy when they acquire something they love. I have learned that selling has its virtues. But, the act of selling itself has always been difficult for me. "Damn it, Jim, I'm an artist, not a salesperson". (Sorry, a little Star Trek there.) It is very hard to be both. Selling is very time consuming work and self promotion, for me, is like having a root canal done. But, I have learned to deal with it -- only to learn, too, that it saps my creative juices.

Natural Cobalto Calcite Druzy in sterling silver

About three weeks ago, I got a custom order for about eight pendants with the clients stones. When I got the cabs, I was pleasantly surprised to find not only some lovely cabs to work with, but some challenging cabs to work with, too. Some were very small, which I'm not used to doing and some were Montana agates which are very slippery. One was double domed and one was real thick. They each presented a challenge.

Agate in sterling silver

Dinosaur bone in sterling silver

As I sat and thought of ways to wrap the cabs, I felt a renewed interest in wire wrapping. Soon, they began wrapping themselves. I stayed on a roll, too. I was so happy to get my muse back, but I had little time to do it while running my shop.

Deschutes Jasper in sterling silver

K2 jasper in sterling silver

It was about that time when I decided to take a break and spend some quality time with my wire. I had a temporary problem in my shop and needed to put it on vacation for a few days. After I did that, I realized that it was a blessing in disguise. I really needed that break.

Little Gel Lepidolite in sterling silver

Maw Sit Sit Jadeite in 14k gf

I'm going to try not to be closed for too long. I feel like I am skipping school! I guess me and my wire will be playing hooky until the little nag in the back of my head says, "Enough play, back to work!"...

Little Argentinian Rhodochrosite in sterling silver

Turquoise in sterling silver with patina
Peristerite (schiller feldspar) in sterling silver with patina

... Until that time, I will be here wrapping to my heart's content and getting ready for Old man Winter to set in again. 

Happy Wrapping and may the Muse be with you :)