Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Cut My First Tooth!!!

I cut my first tooth! Tooth shaped cab, that is.

I had one small slab of really beautiful, old stock Burro Creek agate (AZ). This material is no longer being collected because a fence went up around it. You can still get the pale, pastel variety, but this Royal Purple is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Anyway, the slab was roughly the shape of a tooth, so I just finished it off like that, with one long inside curve. The cab itself topped off at 51x31mm.

After I was finished with the cab, I immediately had an idea of how I wanted to wrap it. The idea wouldn't let go of me. It percolated for 3 days. I finally just had to finish it to get it out of my head. I had no real idea whether or not I could actually pull it off.

The idea was to start the wrap in the middle of the stone leaving the bottom unwrapped and open. It's a hard stone, so it is perfectly safe to do so. I wanted to have an element on the front to hold the stone in place. I quickly sketched out a rough idea of what I wanted. I, then, got out the silver and began to cut off long lengths. There, I was committed.

As I conditioned the wire, it all came to me. All that time that the idea sat in the back of my mind paid off! I was ready to go.

I marked out the middle, which is where it all starts and began to wrap. I had my favorite internet radio station on. Time just flew and before I knew it, I was looking at my new wrap. So, here it is, my tooth shaped wrap.

The cab itself was a challenge. The wrap was a bit difficult, too. Let's just say that I took advantage of a few temporary bindings putting it all together. :)

Thanks for looking and be well.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

As with most people on the East Coast, we watched the slow march of Matthew up the coast. It was supposed to turn out to sea after it reached southern North Carolina, but as hurricanes do, it decided to do what it wanted to do. It crawled up the coast a bit. This put the large, wet northern bulk of the storm over us here on the Virginia coast.

We did not get slammed the way North Carolina did, but we did get hit with steady high winds, ripping gusts and torrential rainfall. We were already wet. Adding all those inches of rain just helped topple trees all over the place. Those near the shore and inland waterways got some pretty bad flooding. As for us, here with our big old oak, we survived yet another hurricane in tact. My daughter's neighbor in Norfolk had a huge tree come down on their home. That's always my worry.

Because of the storm's predicted path away from us, we sent a lot of our utility trucks south and got caught with our pants down.We lost power for three days, which was better than the five predicted. We are well prepared for losing power since it is such a common occurrence. I want to say it was almost a nice break and felt like camping in the house, but I don't want to make light of a situation that was much worse for so many.

While the power was out, I wrapped when I could. I have lights on my optivisors which is really nice. I have found them useful for cabbing and other things and now for hurricane wrapping, too.

Red Dinosaur Bone

Sonora Sunrise

Large Stick Pearl (Very colorful, though the colors don't photograph well.)

Antique Handcarved Cameo with Pearls

Mojave Turquoise

Morenci Chrysocolla


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Sadly, cabbing season is almost over for me. I use dop wax. It doesn't even like the hint of cold. I do cab in the house, but the slightest chill and the stone goes flying off my stick. That sort of thing can get dangerous! It happened one time when my brother was sitting across from me while I was using the outside wheel on my machine. The cab came off the stick and went flying through the air just barely missing his face. I decided then- No more cabbing come fall. 

My dop pot for the hot wax with assorted preforms ready to cab
I did spend a lot of time cabbing this Spring and Summer, though. I can't list them all, but here's a few I especially like.



Wingate Agate

Cold Mountain Thunderegg

Imperial Jasper

Kokoweef Cave Onyx

Mystery Agate

Gem Silica in Agate with Malachite and a Fortified Center

Moroccan Seam Agate

Plasma Agate

Ocean Jasper

Sonoran Plume Agate

Outback Jasper
As you can see, I have been playing with new shapes and inside curves. The inside curves are more challenging, but fun to do.

I haven't been making very much jewelry. I expect to be doing more of that now that the cabbing season is winding down. I did spend the other day making a few smaller pendants, though. I used 22g wire, which I don't usually do. However, I had a bunch of smaller cabs sitting around and decided to do something with them.

Hornitos Poppy Jasper

Nuummite with sparkly metallic fire

Argentinian Rhodochrosite Ortiz Color- almost glows

Seraphinite Angle Wings

Ocean Jasper

Afghan Lapis

I got a new program for doing my pictures- Adobe Photoshop Elements 14. Elements 15 is out now. It makes really quick work of getting everything ready. It does A LOT. I don't really need a lot, but it does the simple tasks very well. Plus, it is affordable and you actually own it. It's not leased from the Cloud the way other Adobe products are. I don't know for how long that will be true. I'm just glad that I got it while I could.

So, there you have it, I am alive and well. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Colored Wire, Tab Setting and Doming Discs

Well, another year has gotten behind us. I just want to say for the record that last year... sucked. Sorry, there is just no other way to put it. Being an optimist at heart, I'm just gonna put that behind me and march forward. :)

I have a kind of system worked out. During the warm months, I cab and do wire wrapping. When it cools off, I can't cab anymore, so I explore other things and try to get some soldering in.

With the coming of the cool season, I tried something new... colored wire for wire wrapping. I won't say the brand, but I will say that I wasn't fond of it. I can see how working with color can be awesome- especially for me, the magpie. Flash something bright my way and I am attracted right over the cliff.

The one and only project that I finished did benefit greatly from color, I think. I just don't like working with the coated copper, at all. The wires were different hardnesses. The color coat nicked easily. The wire wasn't quite hard enough. I bought online and found the colors to be off from what was advertised.

I did this piece as being inspired by Autumn.

Nature's Paintbrush and colored wire

Nature's Paintbrush and colored wire
Nature's Paintbrush and colored wire

Another new thing I have tried is tab setting. It all began with my grandson. He has an adorable tortoise named, Tank. He loves turtles and tortoises. I saw a pendant that looked like a turtle. It was a tabbed pendant with a cabochon for the shell. I just knew I had to make one for him. Well, I did. It was a quickie, but it came out pretty nice. My grandson wears it constantly.

First I had to figure out the pattern and glue it down to the copper.

Then I had to saw it out...
...separate and bend the prongs up.
I inserted the Petoskey stone from Michigan and folded over the prongs. I added some diamond facets on the body which sparkle like mad in the light.

After doing the turtle, I was hooked. These are really fun little projects to do and you can do it all sorts of ways. I'm working on another now.

Tab Set Noreena Jasper and copper
Tab Set Noreena Jasper and copper
Tab Set Bruneau Jasper in Copper (ignore the dust)

Tab Set Bruneau Jasper in Copper
Tab Set Chrysocolla and copper
Tab Set Chrysocolla and copper

After Christmas, I typically go on a tool buying binge. It helps me to relieve the stress of the holidays... yeah- right. :) This year, my wonderful husband gave me some awesome tools before Christmas. I got a very nice quality dapping block set and a Pepe disc cutter. I haven't had a lot of time to play with them yet. I did get a few done to show you, though. These were each lessons.

 I love the finish on this pair of earrings. The pictures do them no justice. This was my first pair.
Domed Copper earrings
I made these for my granddaughter. She loves them.

Hammered Copper Dome Earrings
This was a little bigger and domed more deeply. I used stainless steel wire shapes to beat the pattern into annealed metal.

Swirl Pattern Domed Copper Pendant

Aside from these little side projects, I have been wire wrapping, of course, and getting reacquainted with my torch. I have several solder projects up next.

That's it for now. Hope y'all are happy creating.