Sunday, October 13, 2013

Stone Definitions and Why I've Been Absent

Maybe, I don't have to apologize for not being around, but I feel like I should. I do have a good reason to be gone and I'll get to that later.

So, another school year has started. This year has gotten off to a much better start. Last year, my granddaughter was in the hospital and missed a lot of school. She made it all up, though and ended with a 3.9 GPA. She's a little go getter. She joins all the clubs and teams and really kicks butt.

My older grandson has had a good start, too. He got into a little trouble with a substitute teacher but nothing major. Let me tell you, if he could just learn how to conform, the world would be his oyster. He was just tested for his reading level. His reading and comprehension is at an Associates degree level. I think a lot of his problem is that he is so smart.

And, not to forget my youngest, he's doing well, too. He LOVES his gifted teacher because she is also a science fiction fan.

Anyway... people ask about the grandkids, so I thought I would catch everyone up.

As for me. I've had a big health problem affecting my work and general attitude. My secret, which I have hidden thus far, is that I have blistering psoriasis on my hands and feet. Like any auto immune disease, I have flare ups. It can come for a day and be gone for the next. I am struggling now with the worst flare up that I have had in over 15 years. It has been going on almost since school let out. In a nut shell, my hands get very raw and sore with bleeding cracks.

What I have is rare and can't really be treated, let alone cured. My family doctor gives me prednisone and it gives me some relief for a week every month, but it is such a strong drug that I can't take it often. It does stop the blistering and plaques and I begin to heal in a days time. But as soon as I stop it, within hours, it comes back.

I wear fingerless cotton gloves all the time and every few days wear vinyl gloves after rubbing Vaseline into my hands. That helps a lot, but I can only do it for a day at a time. No medicine has helped except for prednisone.

I don't know how that sounds to you all. I'm thinking it might be worse than it sounds. I don't want to get too graphic or share pictures of it. It looks terrible.

My next step is to go on a type of drug called a biologic. I don't want to and have put it off. They are very bad drugs. However, if they work, IF, it will also help my psoriatic arthritis which is getting bad. I haven't even mentioned my feet, which are also affected, making it difficult to walk or wear shoes.

I have been super bummed. (I had a cancer scare, too!) I can't wrap, can't cab. No, I take that back, I do have a few good days to work while on the prednisone. I take advantage of them!

I have been using my time working on my Etsy shop and I have begun work on an all new website. I'm even having a new banner made up. I try to focus on the positive and what I can do. Computer work, I can do. :)

I think we all have our own limitations. I thought it was about time I shared mine. It so greatly affects my entire life and has been the reason for my absence - actually, I guess, it has been more of the funk I've been over it.


I have finally relented to putting a picture of myself on the web. I may change my mind and take it down! LOL! I had to make an About page at Etsy so, in case you have ever wondered what I look like, pop over and take a look at your blog author.  :)

I have also been researching the various stones I offer and I'm including a short description, in laymans terms, in each of my ads. You may remember when I struggled to understand and explain the difference between an agate and a jasper? Well, I am much more knowlegable now and learn more everyday. I'll be sharing what I learn.

I'll start with Agate:

Agate is a semi precious microcrystalline type of silica, a banded chalcedony, which is a member of the quartz family. Agates are finely grained, can contain bright colors and have a Moh's hardness of 6.5 to 7, which is very hard. Because of the hardness, agate takes a fabulous polish and is extremely durable for carved items and jewelry. It has been a popular material for carving since ancient times. There are many types of agates. They are an avidly collected stone and are less common than a lot of other types of stones. It is very popular in jewelry.

 You can think of quartz as being the parent.

UPDATE:  For a better, more clear and accurate discussion of these stones see this post.

One child is chalcedony, which is a hard clear, solid colored stone, such as chrysoprase.

CHALCEDONY (Chrysoprase)
Another child would be an agate, which is a chalcedony- with banding and possibly a mix of colors.

AGATE (Laguna Lace)
There is another child, jasper, which, instead of being transparent or translucent, is opaque.

JASPER (Willow Creek)
Another child is a jasper agate which is an opaque stone with some clear areas, like a brecciated jasper.

JASPER AGATE (Chapenite)

I hoped that helped to get a better understanding of the relationship between these family members. It took me awhile to get it. One simple way of looking at it is: If you can see through it, it is an agate; if you can't, it's a jasper.There are exceptions, but that's a good general rule.

UPDATE:  For a better, more clear and accurate discussion of these stones see this post.

I hope everyone is doing well and creating for the JOY of it. :)


  1. Oh Tela! I have just replied to your comment on my blog with 'hope all with is well with you and your family'... then I finished that and started reading your blog. Obviously all is not 'well' with you and your poor hands. I can't even imagine what you must have to go through when your skin condition flares up - poor you... and not be able to do your amazing jewellery sometimes - how frustrating. I'm glad to hear you still have found activities to get on with.

    On the subject of children, your grandson sounds a bit like my son (aged 12) who keeps getting into trouble at school. Last parents evening, I moved from teacher to teacher to be told nearly the same thing from all of them... 'he's a bright boy but doesn't apply himself and mucks around too much in class'!

    Thank you for the information about agate/jasper. I have recently set an ocean jasper cabochon and didn't have any idea about it apart from it being a pretty stone.

    Take care and hope your hands are back to full functioning 'stone wrappers' asap.
    Kristin :)

    1. Thank you so much, Kristin :) Yes, your son and my grandson sound like kindred spirits. My grandson is such a good boy, but he just can't seem to fit in and be still. He's 14.

      On the subject of ocean jasper... You will find that many, many stones are erroneously named. Ocean jasper is more an agate than a true jasper. But, I have some that are pure jasper- completely opaque. Most, I think, fall in the middle and are called jasper agate. It is entirely safe to call it an ocean jasper, though. That is it's name. I am finding this name problem with many stones. For instance, purple amethyst sage agate is actually a chalcedony, not an agate. I think the general rule is a good one. If a stone is silicated and one color, it is chalcedony, if it has bandings, it is agate, if it is opaque it is jasper. Of course, you would need to know that you are looking at a silicated stone, but so many are, it is a pretty safe rule.

      Thank you for commenting, I always enjoy hearing from you and, of course, enjoy browsing your jewelry. :)

  2. Nice that you are back :)! Agates and jaspers are just so beautiful!

  3. Tela, I'm so sorry to hear that! How very frustrating that you can't do what you love. I'm sending good thoughts your way in hope of mending your poor hands and feet. I too have been sharing your funk. I just got back from Mayo Clinic. I had my third open heart surgery and this time should be the last. They were finally able to fix a congenital heart defect rather than put a bandaid on it. It was a long surgery and I know Its going to be a long recovery but day by day, I'm getting a bit stronger. I'm beginning to notice differences in how much oxygen I get! My shop is closed for now, I thought I would at least be able to play with my wire. I don't know what I was thinking!

    Thank you for explaining the difference between agate and jasper. Im still having trouble wrapping my brain around it but that not so surprising at my stage of recovery. I'll read it several times till it sinks in. They are beautiful stones. It's always wonderful to hear from you and now wonderful to see you!

    1. Hi Kate :) I feel ridiculous complaining about my problems when you have gone through so much! How wonderful for you that you may have finally put all of that behind you!!! Wow! Amazing! You sound so strong about it, too. I'm thrilled that the (hopefully) last surgery is going so well for you. Yes, one day at a time. I wish you a speedy and full recovery for what I hope is your last surgery. ((gentle hugs))

  4. Jasper or Agate I rarely meet a stone that I can't find some beauty in. I so feel for your health problem. Living with an incurable disease or condition makes life so difficult and it can be completely depressing. So much so, in fact, that I have basically closed up shop and rarely work now. It just hurts too much. However, there is one thing that if you can take it with your other meds that might help. I'm taking an antidepressant that works well for pain and it makes a bit of a difference. I'm not sure it makes the pain less but perhaps helps with mood so you can deal better with pain? Anyway, if you haven't tried you might like to talk to your doctor about it. Hope it helps.
    Love and gentle hugs,

    1. Hi Lois :) Thank you so much. I'm really sorry to hear that you have to pretty much shut down. I have wondered about having to do the same myself. Chronic pain is such a horrible thing to live with.

      I do know about the anti depressants. I tried one some years ago for pain, but I had a bad reaction to it and couldn't take it. :( I can take 1000mg of naproxen at a time, once a day and it helps for awhile but, like prednisone, is very dangerous to take long term. My mother in law's suffered bad effects from doing so. I just try to live with as much as I can and look forward to the good days.

      Luckily, we both love rocks enough that they can be a pleasant diversion :)

      Love and gentle hugs to you, too, Lois

  5. Hello, loving your blog. I can't wait to get my hands on the beautiful cabochons I ordered.

    1. Hi Teresa! Nice to find your note here :) I'm hoping you love them!


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