Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas Story: A to B and Home Free

Hi everyone :) Last year around Christmas, I wrote of a few gifts I received. This year, I'd like to do the same.

I've been poor in my life. Really poor. But, it never truly bothered me. My poverty has bothered other people much more than it did myself. I was poor, but never ashamed. Life is what it is. Sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down. I've never measured myself against wealth, anyway. I've only ever wanted a fair shake and an honest opportunity. The rest I could do for myself, or, with a little help.

Not having money has it's drawbacks, though, don't get me wrong. And, the old saying- you gotta have money to make money rings more true the older I get. Having money also allows one to play above board. When you are broke, every little set back is a giant climb up a hill to recover from.

Which brings me to my story. If poverty insults or embarrasses you, just skip this. I'm not ashamed , so don't feel bad if this makes you uncomfortable.

A to B and Home Free

    One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me was done by a person who shall always remain anonymous to me. It happened during this season of giving and goodwill. The man will never know what he a blessing he was. Let me tell you our story as an example of how, sometimes, a little means a lot.

    It had to be about 20 years ago now. I was messily divorced with young kids at home. The college classes I had attended were exchanged for a job to support us. You could say we were scraping pennies, but, really, the extra pennies we had were too quickly dropped into a jar for later rolling to be played with. I have always been a hard worker and so was my friend- later to become boyfriend and even later to become husband. We had no issue with starting at the bottom, anywhere. And, that's what we did. We both had bottom tier jobs.

    I was only getting by because I had bought a beat down old trailer home, so my living expenses were pretty slim in a city where affluence promoted a high cost of living. Posters, criers of social justice, at City Hall, proclaimed that kids living in trailers were homeless. They clearly didn't know what a home was. We were struggling, but we were happy in our home on wheels. I didn't need or want a net from the taxpayers, the city needn't have worried. But, they did. Our slight, though comfy, existence was continually threatened by developers eager to eat the land for profit. Indeed, not many years after this story, the friendly, though ugly, park where I had lived was bought up by displacers. My former neighbors had been dumped to the street. The handful of suicides were the only relief to be gained by some hard workers with no where to go. The city blinked and people died. But, that is another story. Now, you know how I lived.

    A neighbor man gave me a car which he had bought from a junkyard. No, that wasn't the kindness bestowed on me which this story is about. Though, it was kind. However, I later learned that the car had previously been owned by a drug dealer. The sides were wounded by bullet holes which made it a target to it's former antagonists. I worried, to say the least. However, we didn't venture into the places who's dark streets it used to frequent.

    Let me tell you about the car which became legendary, or, rather, infamous in the family. The car ran- against all odds and not always, but it ran. The tires were mostly good. It had a windshield, though it was cracked. It had a driver's side window, which stayed rolled up and rear glass, too. The other three were covered over in plastic. A couple of the door handles worked. The windshield wipers, heater and a/c were historical relics. One of the motor mounts was bad, so the engine, when it revved, vibrated and slammed the top of the starter, which broke the bendix- in other words, we went through a lot of starters. The head gaskets were crumbs embedded in crusty oil around the top of the engine. We consumed lots of oil. But, it didn't burn oil. Not that that really mattered. To say that I couldn't afford the repairs would be understatement. I wouldn't be idiot enough to drop a dime into that poor beast, anyway.

    We only used the car to get from A to B over back streets, when at all possible. Every time we got into it, it was like driving through a gauntlet of fire and Hell. I was always white knuckled and praying for Xanax. I wasn't worried about breaking down- that was old hat. My friend could change a starter with the spare in the trunk in under 15 minutes. No, it was the LAW I was in fear of.

    Every state and municipality has their own version of car stickers to proclaim good citizenship. My area is no different. We had plate stickers and tax stickers and an inspection sticker. Having an inspection sticker for my car was a far, far away dream. A more recent dream would be the fake sticker which I dreampt up with a color printer. Every week, I had to print a new one, because the dayglo orange faded so quickly. But, it sufficed to make us appear within the law. Never mind the fact that it was an extremely illegal thing to do. Yes, it was a brush with the law that scared me most. I lived in dread fear of it. It was that fear, too, which made me save my pennies. As long as that bright sticker fooled the law for just a few more months, I could get another car. 

    My friend and I shared the car. He had recently gotten out of the Navy and then lost his truck, so he was carless. He had an overnight job and I had a day job. We typically took back roads to get from his job to mine, but on this day, we were running late. We reluctantly determined to use the interstate, praying that we could make the short dash. It was just before Christmas and we were discussing the holidays and what to do for the kids. It was better than actually speaking about what could easily happen, at any moment. One could not do that without first knocking on wood and there was none around.

    It was rush hour. We hoped not to stall in traffic, as we froze in the heaterless car. If so, there was a high probability that we would end up having to replace a starter alongside one of the busiest interstates in the metropolitan area. We rounded a wide bend. The end was in sight. Both of us were breathing a little easier when the light that screams idiot said, "I'm hot!" No, no, no, no. I stared at the light, as the safe passage ahead of us became a fading tunnel in my vision. The needle steadily rose until we had no choice but to stop. We pulled over. Large projectiles whizzed past us with amazing speed and anger. Suddenly, we felt very mortal. Thoughts of pleasant holidays were as distant as the hope of any future. Dread was my name.

    I piled out of the passenger side and my friend followed suit. We popped the broken hood to determine which mechanical plague had visited us. It was a usual thing to run low on oil and to need to replenish the beast's appetite for it, but a quick check vetoed that easy remedy. As we poked around, we saw lights blinking through the crack between the hood and windshield. The raised hood was the only thing hiding us from the man about to revoke my immediate future. There was nothing to do. I was resigned to the worst. My mind did quick calculations. What would I tell my bosses at my new job? Would I be arrested? Who could I call to pick me up? Would I be finished with this horrible experience in time to meet the kids home from school? Would my meager savings cover what was inevitably in store for me?

    I peered around the hood to see my tormenter. It was a State Trooper. I was doomed. His disembodied feet, which were too large and loud stepped towards us as the projectiles, now more angry than ever, rolled by in slo mo with twisted phantom faces glaring from within. I felt like the memory they will all share around the office. I was the one who made them late to work. I felt small and naked.

    The feet were now attached to a man with a frozen face. We greeted him with honest friendliness. We were, after all, the guilty ones, not he. He asked us if we needed help. We replied that we did not, but thanks. The small talk was only fuel for my anxiety. As his mouth moved with pleasantries, his big feet slowly moved around the car. He surveyed the travesty we called a vehicle. He eyed the plastic over the windows. He peered between the still raised hood and windshield to examine my expired and printed stickers. He noted the expired tags. His cold eyes examined us both as we stood there in our obvious blue collars. His face defrosted. The knots in my stomach loosened with something called hope. The man whose feet now stood with ours, offered a few repair suggestions to us and walked back to his vehicle. My friend and I waited for him to come back after radioing in our illegal tags. I could feel the cold steel around my wrists.

    My friend and I were speechless. We still stood waiting for him to come back and arrest us. But, the man never came back. He drove away. He simply drove away.

    Looking down at the engine, I saw a split in a water hose. We added water enough to make it to the exit ramp and coasted the rest of the way to a parts store. Safely there, we looked again at the hose. My friend silently pulled out a knife and sliced the hose back enough to circumvent the hole and we were once again on our way.

    Prologue- a few months later, we got another car. We also got it legal.


I think I wanted to tell my story because I am hoping that you might be inspired to give a hand up to a stranger if you run across the opportunity.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

That's a Wrap

Nothing earth shattering to report-- thank goodness. I got some new meds to try and I am slowly feeling better. Good enough to sit all day and finish these...

Oh, I should tell you that Sarah of Saturday's Sequins did a review of my book. Be sure to check it out, it's her first review and I really love the format. 

Imperial Jasper... MMM love it!

Jasper or a petrified wood, can't figure which, but I like it.

Seraphinite and green spinel

Sugilite and silver

Friday, December 14, 2012

Some Weavin' and Wrappin'

As promised, here a few pieces that I have recently done. To be honest, I have managed more than I thought I could with the cabbing, illness, Christmas bustle and general holiday mayhem.

I got on a weaving kick after a did a weave on a penny.

I don't know what got into me, going from this tiny penny to this humungous variscite...

variscite 47x27mm

 ... but I did the finest netting on a soldered frame and I'm in love with the silver with this beautiful, delicate green.

I was so happy with the variscite, that I did another weave. (Plus, it gave me an excuse to do a little soldering, which I am beginning to enjoy.) The next weave was done to a gorgeous raspberry red aventurine. There is no way a picture can convey the sparkliness of this stone. The weave looks really fabulous with this stone.

raspberry red aventurine 32.5mm
After all that weaving my neck and fingers needed a break, so I did some simple wraps.

I love astrophyllite and this one is really nice!

I gave a finish to a piece I had in my book. This mookaite stole my heart at a recent gemshow.

I couldn't wait any longer to wrap up a recently finished lapis cab.

large lapis with pyrite speckles in stainless steel

And last but not least, is a new one for me, a green Mojave turquoise. It's just as vivid as it's cousin purple/blue Mojave turquoise.

I've been really jazzed up to get a few of my recent cabs wraps.

Thanks for reading and have a happy jewelry day. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

More Winter Cabs

I don't know how many strangely nice days we have left, but I'm going to keep taking advantage of them when we have them. Cabbing is very relaxing to me. I love the hum of the grinder and soft, pulsing hiss of the water geysers. I'm getting faster and better every time I cab and it has become kinda a contest with myself. How many well done cabs can I get done in a day? This day I finished 9 and touched up 3. One petrified wood refused to be photographed. Two, I didn't picture because they were touch ups. One of those was featured in my book as a stone with an off cut. It was an astrophyllite. And there was one I couldn't finish because I ran out of time. Next chance I get I'll finish it. It is a stunning ruby in fuschite full of bright pink ruby.

The cold weather is slowly settling in for good. But, the good news is, I finally got a butcher block table to mount my rolling mill and after the Holidays, I'll be learning how to use it. I can't wait to play. :)

I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but along with the normal arthritis that comes with aging, I have an auto immune disease, palmo planter pustulosis psoriasis, which comes along with psoriatic arthritis. It doesn't always cause too many problems, but as I age it is getting worse. The other day was the first day that it laid me out in bed for the whole day. It used to be aches that I could deal with, but the other day was pure, flat out pain from neck to toes. The only relief for me was to lay flat on my back. It is so frustrating to want to do something and know that you can't. That day, I was driven to do a project I had been thinking about, but I couldn't move to do it. Just sitting in a chair was agony. (I have a diseased sacroilliac joint, which sometimes makes sitting very painful) I know from talking to so many jewelry artists that a lot of people out there share similar issues. In fact, it seems that making jewelry is a great way for a lot of people to take their minds off their troubles. It also seems to be a very low stress type of activity for a lot of us. So, I thought I would share this with those of you who are also suffering-- Know that you are not alone. It might slow you down, but don't let it stop you. :)

I have some jewelry to post as soon as I get it photographed. I'm a little behind schedule. It takes me longer to do pics since I am still trying to work out a routine with a new camera and software. But, I should have some nice pieces to show tomorrow. I also hope to have some new stones listed for sale, too.

Happy Wrapping!! (Of stones and gifts :) )


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Break in the Weather

We had a few days of "Indian Summer". (I'm probably not supposed to say that, but what else is it called?) We 65-75 degree weather! Perfect for cabbing. I spent the whole day Sunday cabbing.

Unfortunately, the weather was too much of a lure to stay strapped to the table and so I played hookie from work. I had a good excuse, too. My oldest daughter got engaged. So, we planned some shopping. :)

Today, it is cooler outside and raining. But, it is cooling off just in time for my oldest grandson's Christmas concert. I, admit, it does feel more festive with a nip in the air. :)

So, here's a few of the cabs I worked on. I think I did 11 total. A few were touch ups and a few have found new homes already. These are the ones I finished outright, from slab to cab. I used a new program to make the slideshow. It is Adobe's Light Room 4. I am learning it now to go along with the RAW files I work with with the new camera. I am liking it a lot.

That's about it for today.

Edited and Updated to add that I made Etsy Front Page today. My first time. :)

The 9th square features one of my most popular pieces. It is also featured in my book as one of my most popular.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rested and Thankful

Thank you everyone who had faith enough in me to buy my book. :) I can't tell you how great it makes me feel that someone actually cares about what I do. That sounded strange didn't it? Yeah, it did. But, it's not like I'm wallowing. It's just that my grown daughters really have no interest in learning and I was born a teacher. I have to get this stuff out. I'm one of those people who has eureka moments and has to blurt it out to the world. It's just me. I get real excited and can't wait to share. So, it's been super awesome to share with you all. I really did try to put in as much as I could.

The only real break from the book that I took was for Thanksgiving. I was talking to someone, not from the US, and she said that she is just beginning to understand what a big holiday it is for us Americans. I tried to explain it as not a religious holiday, but a family day. But, thinking about it, it's actually even more personal than that, isn't it? It is the day we all reflect on what we are each, personally, thankful for. Of course, there is some history in there to remember, but that usually falls by the wayside in deference to turkey and stuffing. (And, gravy... gotta have gravy.) So, this Thanksgiving, I had a wonderful day brimming with family. But, what was, at one point, mistaken for brooding, was actually me thinking really hard about what it is I am thankful for. People will say things like "my family", "my job"- you know, the usual. But, what I was really thankful for this past year was that I finally feel like a grown up. I am thankful for my family, of course, I am. But, I ALWAYS am. What's new is that I am thankful that I finally feel like I have reached, or have gotten pretty close to, Maslov's self actualized ideal.

A lot of you reading are in my age group of 50 something. So, you probably understand what I'm saying here. There was a good part of my life when everything about MY life took a back seat to a child's needs. Or, played second fiddle to a husband's needs. It is true that I am with children again, but this time it is different. Yes, I am home with them and they are most important, but I have not had to give up my own endeavors in order to meet their needs. I've been able to pursue my own jewelry passions and curiosities, as a creative being, without having to sacrifice anything. It has been good for the two tweens, too. They are proud of grandma and I think I am a good example to them. 

The day after Thanksgiving, I released my book. It wasn't without some previous reflection. I have always wanted to write a book and I did it. I am, of course, an amateur. But, a good one, I think. I think I made my points and I think they were relevant. But, on a personal note- the fact that I even did it, was a triumph for me. It was a milestone in my life. I came one step closer to being a self actualized person. A whole autonomous person. Not a wife, a mother, a grandmother, or a sister, but ME, Tela.

While I may have looked like I was brooding while waiting for the turkey, I was actually deep in thought. I concluded that I am thankful for the spot I am at, in my life, right now. I am thankful that I have this little community of readers to share with and I am thankful for a husband who allows me to be a self actualized woman and I am thankful for what ever talents I have which allow me to express myself. It's taken a lot of years, but finally I feel like a grown up.

In celebration of the book, I took some time off, (and for my birthday, too, which probably contributed to the retrospective tone of this post). Then I picked up the pliers to do some work. I took some pics with my new camera (review to come soon) which I am still learning and getting used to. I got a new tripod, too. Who knew even those could be so confusing? *sigh* But, I think I have it all sorted and I'm getting back into the swing of things.

Mojave Turquoise Sterling Silver

Spiderweb Variscite (one of the example stones in the book)

 That's it for now. Thanks for reading :) Have a wonderfully creative time and follow your dreams!

I need to give a special shout out to Christine for writing a wonderful review of my book at JewelryLessons. Unfortunately, it was taken down by the management. :( 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Design and Create Your Own Wire Wrapped Cabochon Pendants by Tela Formosa

*****Please note! My ebook is no longer available online. Please contact me if you would like to purchase it. Thank you! tela dot formosa at gmail dot com******
The day has arrived...  I finished my book. Design and Create Your Own Wire Wrapped Cabochon Pendants

Nothing else has existed for me in the last month or so. I have wracked my brain and pushed everything to the limit to create this. I listened to you all. I wove in your ideas and I think I have answered all your questions.

Without rambling on, which I find myself wanting to do, here is the ad for the book. :)
(sample images can be found by clicking the above link.)

Below is taken from the description:  

Your purchase is for more than just a tutorial; this is a true eBook, an all encompassing guide to wire wrapping cabochons. I've been asked so many questions about how I work over the years, and, there seems to be so much interest in a complete break down of how to wire wrap cabochons, that I sat down to write this detailed book to answer all of your questions.
This book is intended for people with some experience in wire wrapping. Very detailed instructions on basic skills is not given. However, it is a very good book to begin with. This is about much more than simply technique. It is intended to help you transcend craftwork into artwork. Technical skill is only a small part of the whole process. It will be good to learn what this book has to offer as you begin your adventure into wire wrapping.
If you have purchased any of my tutorials in the past, know that this is different. It is NOT merely a project driven tutorial. This is a book which gives you a whole new approach to wrapping cabochons. It will give you the tools to design and create YOUR OWN cabochon jewelry. Don't rely on using the designs of others. Reach into yourself and design to reflect your own style.

This is written as if you and I were sitting at a table together. It has a conversational tone and logical flow.

I give you dozens of tips and examples which will both inspire and instruct you. This book will empower and encourage you to create ART versus Craft.

I examine how I evaluate a stone.

I walk you through how I approach a cabochon project.

I take you through a simple wrap from start to finish in order to demonstrate tips along the way.

Another project is done in "real time", while I document each step whilst attemping the completion of a complicated design.

One project is designed to show you how to complete a neat back on your piece.

The emphasis, throughout, is that YOU, too, can design and create your own jewelry.

From the introduction in the book:
Making jewelry with wire is a passion of mine. I have developed my own style over a very long period of trial and error. I never knew any other wire wrappers and there were precious few resources that I could find online back when I started, in 1999. There are so many available now that a good question might be, “Why do I need another tutorial or book?” Well, because this one is different. I'm not going to spend a third of this rehashing old information about tools, findings and wire. I am going to talk about what makes what you do, Art. How do you transcend Craft and create Art? Good technique is one way to craft well, but what gives a piece that extra spark? I examine that and more.

You'll see how to work with the stone not against it; how to incorporate the energy of the stone- that thing that makes it speak to you, be it the shape, color, pattern, a combination, or, something else. How does one listen to the stone? Once you have learned how to work with the stone, you will learn not just technique, but when to use the technique to best bring out the stone's beauty. You will learn the Gestalt Theory of Wire wrapping. The theory that a well made piece transcends the parts it is made of. The stone will be emphasized, the technique will be done in a way so as not to distract from the stone, but contribute to the overall beauty and quality of the piece.
Chapter list:
1 Introduction
2 Gestalt Theory of Wire Wrapping
3 Right Brain
4 Tools
5 Wire
6 Cabochons
7 Designing For The Stone
8 A Basic Project
9 Preparation
10 Let's Begin Wrapping
11 Binding
12 The Border Frame
13 Bails
14 Finishing
15 Review
16 Working Out A Complicated Design
17 Backs
18 Conclusion
19 Resources
Tips Index

There are 102 pages and over 200 great quality, relevant pictures to fully document my approach to wire wrapping cabochons.

The download is 6.55mb pdf.

Along with the purchase of this eBook comes a second, BONUS, ebooklet, adapted from the series on my blog; What I Look for in a Stone. It has 22 pages and 37 images. It is 1.1mb. This text goes along well with the eBook and supports the chapter on cabochons. Rather than reading it online, I am providing you with this convenient pdf.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

eCraft Fair

Sarah, of Saturday Sequins, is hosting an online craft fair this Saturday, November 24th. So, after you're done with the madness on Friday, head over to her blog and check out all the vendors. There will be lots of variety. I know, I can't wait. It should be fun and a nice break from the brick and mortal mayhem this weekend.

While you are at Sarah's blog, have a look around. She has a sequintastic blog, always full of fun, and sparkly things.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Almost Finished

About a year ago, I began thinking about writing a book. I had a block as to how to start. I made individual chapter documents, but couldn't fill the pages. I got as far as the introduction and had know idea how to proceed. I put the idea away for awhile. With Winter coming on, I decided that I would have the time to give it another try. Your input has helped a lot.

I'm happy to say that I have about 100 pages finished now and I think I have covered everybody's suggestions. Especially Joyce's, who hoped that designing wasn't all about intuition. 

This book will not be project driven. It is about how YOU can design your own pieces. I have demonstrated the skills you will need, with dozens of tips and 100's of images, so you can  successfully create your own masterpiece.

I am using lots of examples, including one project to complete together, one completed in real time and others to follow along, if you wish.

This has turned into an encyclopedia. It will also include a really great resource page full of the stuff I actually use and an index to all the tips.

This is written as if you and I were at the table together working. It has a friendly tone, is easy to follow with a logical progression and flow.

One of the projects I completed in the book
I hope to have this pdf eBook finished within the week. It will include a bonus pdf text, as well. :)

I would have been finished earlier, but I got my new camera (Yay!) and had about a day to get used to it. Blow up the image above. It was taken with the Canon G12. I'll do a review of it after I've had more time with it.

Thank you everyone!!!!!

Have a great day... I'm off to work on the book again.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Working Hard

No, I haven't fallen off the Earth. :)

I've been busy 12 hours a day writing my new eBook. I have done little else. It is positively flowing from me. I'm not really sure where it will end, yet. But, I'll know when it is done. It will be a happier note than was Daniel Day Lewis's infamous last words in Let There Be Blood -- "I'm finished." Though, I think it will be no less abrupt. I have clear ideas of what I want to accomplish and when I feel I have done it, that will be it. "I'm finished."

I have gone over tools, wire and a secret weapon. I have talked about design with lots of examples and I have gone over cabochons. I have finished one project, so far. Tip boxes and factoids are liberally scattered through out and the text is easy to read and follow. In short, I'm really pleased with how it's fleshing out. (If only formatting wasn't such a time consuming drag!)

So, that's it, that's my post-- just a little update to let you know that I am serious about this book and, of course, I'm still alive. :) Not even any visuals today. I'm off to get back to work---

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Back to Basics

Well, the weather has definitely turned colder. I had to get my slippers out. Sandy came in warm and left cold. She also left some flooding and other messiness, but my area fared quite well, all in all. I am left now with news stories of how bad it could have been. New Jersey and New York have my heart felt condolences for having suffered Sandy. 

Colder weather means a few things for me. One, I can't cut slabs into preforms. Two, I can't cab. I may get a few stray days left to cab, but those days are pretty much behind me. So, I have plans to learn how to use my rolling mill and to work on a new tutorial. Which brings me to the point of this post.

My idea for a tute is to do a simple wrap with all the tips thrown in along the way. It won't be project driven. I want to try to explain why I do things a certain way. It won't be the end all of tutorials because everybody has different ways of doing things. This will be my way of doing things. I'm thinking it will be pretty involved. I'm also thinking it will be very helpful to have a firm grasp of the basics to build on.

There is a problem with my plan, though. I work without thinking too much about it. Recently, I made a piece and really thought about what I was doing and why. I realized that I take a lot for granted, having done this for long.

A simple piece, but how do you explain it?

So, on my next piece I tried to imagine describing absolutely everything I was doing. But, then I wondered- What do people really want to know? What is it that people have trouble with? How do I do this without being too simplistic?

What part of this do people really want to learn?

I am putting those questions to you, the reader. What is it that really needs explaining? What would you like to see? Do you want a complete walk through? Are there specific things that need to be explained? Give me your thoughts. I am too close to the subject to be objective. :)

Once the basics are down, the rest is easy.

I will have to learn a new camera, though. After much hand wringing and anxious debate, I have decided to get a new camera. My digital camera is 12 years old. It was the height of technology when new with 3.2 megapixels, but now I find I need more cowbell. My Nikon still takes awesome and incredible close up pictures. It is still a sought after camera on eBay! I hate to part with its fabulous lens, but I will for the sake of modernity. My friend Laura, CookOnStrike, who is pretty smart about cameras, helped me figure out a new one to get. I am leaving the Nikon family and joining the Canon family. I have decided to get a G12. I love the flip LCD monitor which will replace the swivel body on my Nikon which I also loved. After reading reviews and comparisons, I learned that the Canon beat the Nikon competitor. So, as soon as I can, I will be ordering the G12. I'm getting a little old to be learning too many new tricks, so I'm hoping the learning curve won't be too steep. ;)

That's it for now. Be sure to leave your thoughts about a new tute, it will help me a lot.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy, Soldering and Earrings

Another year, another hurricane to worry about. Being on the Virginia coast, we were pretty worried about Hurricane Sandy a few days ago, but we are looking to be safer now. That hasn't stopped the wind from howling for two days and probably for another day tomorrow, as well.  It's been really gusty!

With the wind and rain, there wasn't much better to do today than to flesh out my soldering skills. I don't think I accomplished much, but I tried. It's just been one of those days where nothing turns out right. I'm not angry or frustrated, though. I should be, but I'm not. It happens. I bought some flux that is too thick which made the soldering thing a nasty unpleasant chore rather than a jewelry making adventure. I did make some balls and put them together for a nice pair of earwires. They went on a pair of citrine earrings that I made a few days ago. I wanted something a little nicer for them.

3.7cttw Brazilian Golden Citrine

See the 3 little balls on the earwires? I did that :) Not the best job, but my first. I did another pair of earwires that came out much nicer. I haven't used them, yet.

You might remember the incredible weave technique from the post I did on it.  It makes beautiful earrings. I did a few more pair, too.

7mm 3.2 cttw Blue Topaz
2.5cttw Ruby

That's about all I have to share today except for this:

I hope that everyone in Sandy's path takes all the necessary precautions to stay safe and that the storm doesn't cause you any grief.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Feeling Philosophical

I did a few stones today. I took pictures, lots of pictures. Instead of having you scroll through them, I made this quickie video for you.

While making the video, I was thinking up names for the stones and it occurred to me that I must be in a very serene mood. I even used the word "gentle" twice. :) Any other time and the titles could be very different. It got me thinking.

I received a few emails lately from people who described rocks as the work of God. We, as a Nation, are becoming more and more secular. Some people may prefer to just say Mother Nature. I usually refer to my rocks as gifts from Mother Nature, myself. But, truth be told, I'm a God fearing woman, though I don't adhere to any ascribed religion. I don't go to a church or temple. However, I do believe there is something greater myself. I give credit to the Creator of all things for the gifts from the Earth.

When I finish a piece, and before I can take credit for it, I acknowledge that I am nothing without the gifts bestowed upon me. I give a silent thanks for allowing me the skills to do what I do. (Not to mention the patience.) I want to be humble, I am humbled. I honestly believe that every wrap starts with a great rock. Not a great cab, but a great rock- A chunk of the earth that was pulled from its dirty home by some devoted rockhound who saw promise in its raw form. But, where did that rock come from?

I could get scientific and maybe sometime I will because it is fascinating. But, it is also so complicated that you have to wonder about how things were set in motion to begin with. During the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, great thinkers, philosophers and men of science, embraced Him as the Great Clockmaker, rather than turning away towards atheism. When I think of all the momentous events that have to have happened for me to be able to polish and wrap a rock, I can't help but to think of the Clockmaker, the One who set it all in motion.

I am in awe of the perfection in systems of science. Whether it be geology or meteorology, there is a simple beauty in it all. A perfection. What seem to be random events culminate into things we can understand- or eventually understand.

I'm a science nerd and a science fiction geek. I also love rocks. And, in some weird way, I find they are related. I have never thought of science as a substitute for God. I have not met a lot of science nerds who have. For everything that we as a species know, there are many things that are hidden from us- like who put it all in motion? Who created the Big bang? What Was before the Big Bang? These questions can be asked of my rocks, too.

I don't want to devolve here into a discussion of entropy or quantum physics or any number of things that are coming to my meandering mind right now. I just wanted to get a little philosophical about my rocks. Yes, I can be philosophical about rocks. Now, you know how truly weird I am about rocks. It goes pretty deep. They aren't just pretty. They represent, for me, the hand of the Great Clockmaker and interconnectedness of everything. The journey itself from rock to jewelry fascinates me and completes a cycle that was set in motion at the beginning of time.

It's late now and I'm done saying my bit.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I'm so glad I went to the gemshow. The new cabs I picked up were so inspiring to me. They really put me in the mood to wrap. I have been trying to get so much cabbing done that I was missing my jewelry time. I feel so torn sometimes. *sigh*

I finished the smaller pietersite first, the same afternoon as the show, in fact.

But, the really inspired piece was finished this morning.

This is a really fabulous stone and statement piece. Here are the stats- 53.5x40.73mm 89.25 cts. It is done with heavy 18 and 16g round sterling. There are 31.5 grams 13 grams (edited to correct the weight, 31.5 is the total weight.) of silver in this. The stone is so big that I didn't want any wimpy silver, it had to have a big silver look and be sturdy. I admit, I worked this out in copper first, before I even touched the silver.

I haven't had the time to sit and do a piece like this for awhile and I tell you it was exhilarating to finish it, step back, sigh a sigh of relief that it all worked out and simply pat myself on the back. I was so happy when I got this finished that a did two more before calling it a day.

Starry Night Obsidian (looks a lot like Ocean Jasper)

While I'm at it, let me share a few odds and ends pieces that I've done here and there.

Lapis and Stainless Steel

Kyanite in Silver

Ocean Jasper in Copper

Kabamby Ocean Jasper in Copper

Peach Aventurine in Copper with incredible sparkle

You may remember the peach aventurine and kyanite from the last gemshow. Both were really hard to photograph because of the light effects of each.

I was having such a good time wrapping today. I will try really hard to make the time for it tomorrow, too. Did my soul good. :)

I haven't mentioned my cabs, have I? Here's a peek. :) More later....

Sonora Sunrise

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Did It Again- The Gemshow is Here

Oh Lordy, the gemshow is here this weekend.

Gem show floor
It was about 1/2 the size of the usual show, but my favorites were there.

I went to get a saw from a seller who has refurbished saws. He wasn't there.

I brought money for a 10" lapidary saw and maybe a few cabs. I had a written in stone rule- NO BEADS!

But, they are so sparkly and pretty....

Rows of Austrian crystals

And these are sooooooo cool and came with a neat story, too.

The story is there is a woman known only as Gail, who was originally from Ohio and now lives in a tepee. She doesn't have a phone, internet or car. But, she makes these fabulous clay pendants and has drawn the attention of magazines, The Smithsonian and Tucson Gemshow. Ach- I don't know about all that. They are incredibly awesome, though and I did buy one. (It doesn't count as beads. Does it?)

My new bead pendant

You may remember the last show I went to where my money and I were soon parted at the Russian dealer's table. Well, this time was no different. "Good Lord, Tela, you have enough cabs!" Yes, I know, I know. But, these are rare and pretty and expensive and all at a good price. I'm a collector, too, so give me a break. I can stop anytime I want to.


My new Pietersite. Big, colorful and flashy, but camera shy. A very lively stone. The best one she had. Here's another smaller one, also very flashy.

Blue Pietersite

Of course, being Russian stones, I had to have a few more charoite and eudialyte.

Too bad the eudialyite doesn't photograph well. The red looks like Christmas foil. I couldn't resist the beckoning trays.

And, Simbercite, can't forget about those.

I also got an awesome astrophyllite before my husband dragged me away.

Then, I was momentarily distracted by some really nice Fordite

I didn't get any of those because the booth across from that one had bargains to be had.

Fanta orange 8mm Mexican fire opal.

This Mookaite had my name written ALL over it.

I chatted with that guy for awhile. He wanted to show off his eBay buys, which I am always up for hearing about as I have a few of my own to share. He got a killer deal on that fire opal rough and he was good enough to pass it along. :)

I picked up a few more things to round out the day and headed home with my booty. My ticket is good for tomorrow, too. If I have any sense or any cents left, I'll stay away.

(Now off to wrap a Pietersite.)