Monday, March 25, 2013

200th Post: Shhhhh... My Secret Cab Source

On May 2nd, 2011, I wrote my first post. I had no clue what I was doing. I thought I knew what I was doing. :) I had ideas about what I wanted to do. I read lots of articles about how to produce a great blog. I learned about how to make money off a blog- something I've never been comfortable with. I jotted down notes to myself. I created a folder for the ever growing list of ideas that I had.

Alas, a super blogger I was not destined to be. I have been happy with my blog, though. At least, I haven't gone back to erase any posts.

I've tried to be interesting, illuminating and real. I'm good at being real. To quote Popeye, "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam." I love Popeye- the old black and white ones where he swears like the sailor he is. That was real, too. I know. My Dad was a sailor. (And my 1st husband and husband and son and for many, many generations previous on my Mom's side.) Anyway, I digress.

The reason for the long pause between the last post and this is that I have been trying to figure out something cool to do for the monumental 200th post. I know, it isn't much of a milestone for you all, but for me it is. I stuck to it. I almost gave it up a few times because of the changing dynamics in my life, but I have hung in there. For me, that really is something.

I'm definitely the kind of person who flits from one thing to the next like a butterfly. Only wire wrapping and rocks has kept my interest for any length of time. Which brings me back to the sailors in my life. I have moved around a lot. Only in these 15 years have I been more in less in one spot. I never put down roots. I have always been happy to pick up and move on to the next adventure. I would never change a thing and it gives me reason, today, to be proud of my sticking to the blog.

My Secret Cab Source

As a way to say thank you for reading along, I am sharing with you one of my favorite sources, Greg's Cabochons. This shop is run by husband and wife team, Greg and Sarah. We opened our shops at about the same time. They became an instant hit. Many people, including myself, check frequently to see what is new. Greg is an awesome cabber who does lots of different freeforms. His father was a lapidary, too. Greg and Sarah have a great resource in dad's rocks collection, which provides for a great variety of material. The prices are awesome, too. :) If you get a chance, stop by the shop and see what they have. If they don't have what you want, odds are good that they have it for the asking. Sarah is a wonderful lady, she won't mind you asking. She might even go out back and find the rough herself. :) Although I cab, I still buy cabs and this is one of my favorite shops.

In the next day or so, I will be putting my book back in my blog store. I have gotten many emails about it and after a lot of thought (and a little embarrassment for behaving so dramatically) I have decided to keep it here on the blog.

Thanks everyone. :) I wouldn't have kept this up for so long without y'all.

And.... since this is a jewelry blog, here's some visuals.

Orange Peach Aventurine Sterling Silver- One of Greg's cabs.

Gem Silica Silicated Chrysocolla Necklace in silver- one of Greg's cabs

One of my own- Ocean Jasper- half border wrap; half sculpted

Turquoise Sterling Silver- This is a stone from a failed wrap. I recabbed it and set it as you see it. I like it a lot. 

I have spent the last week, off and on, trying to come up with something new in an earring. I think it has all been done before. Wish me luck, I need it. I feel like I have just been banging my head against a wall.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I don't mention my husband very much. Which is odd considering we are joined at the hip, or we would be if he wasn't so tall and I weren't so short. But, I will say this- my husband is a very hard worker. He has a strong work ethic and never fails to show up to work. He's so good at showing up, in fact, that he accumulates time off and doesn't even think about it until he gets word from "above" that he needs to take some time off or lose it. Which is exactly what just happened to him. Unfortunately for us, it is usually at an inconvenient time. This time, rather than trying to camp in the cold, or go out of town with a winter storm threatening from all directions, we stayed home.

We have been enjoying our down time. He has been building models and I've been trying to stay off the computer. We did some local things and went to see DH's brother, about a 2 hour drive north. On the way there, we stopped at a little place called Whitley's. Whitley's sells nuts. Not just any nuts, though. Whitley's sells the biggest, most fresh and flavorful peanuts in the world. Yes, I said the world. No, I haven't tasted every peanut in the world, but I have had a lot of them. I can not even imagine a better peanut- these are so close to perfection.

I guess, I sound like a commercial. But, the thing is, I live in Virginia and Virginia is famous for it's peanuts.

We had always taken Whitley's for granted. It was just a little stop we liked to make on the way to visit family. We all love them! I didn't know anything about the place other than they had great peanuts. I thought they were a chain or something, like Stuckey's. No, there are only two stores and the place where they are actually grown and processed is right down the road from the shop. No wonder the peanuts are so fresh!

Whitley's versus the top hat and cane peanut
Check out the picture. The Whitley's are on the left. They are about 3/4 inch to 1 inch long. The ones on the right are those nationally known top hat and cane peanut. Don't they look tiny next to the Whitley's? Embarrassingly so, I think. But, size isn't everything, as they say. These Whitley's are fresh and cooked to perfection. Pop one in your mouth and bite down on a firm, yet tender crunch- a kind of pop-crunch, which I can't even describe. Continue chewing the fleshy devils and the subtle flavor begins to meld and mingle with the light dash of salt providing a flavor explosion of snacking goodness. Did I mention that they aren't real greasy? Did I mention they also sell lots of other peanutty things, like brittle, peanut butter, boiled peanuts and chocolate peanuts.

Ok, so I like peanuts and this has been the highlight of our staycation. Well, there were a few other things, but I can't mention those. :) And, I have to tell you- no one paid me to talk about Whitley's peanuts. It's just a little regional pride thing in a truly great product which lots of people enjoy.

I made this charoite piece in spurts. Every chance I got to sit down with my tools for a few minutes, I bent a few wires. I used 18g wire, so it has a real big silver look with the frosty, chatoyant lavender. Today, I called it done. I think I started it three days ago.

We still have a few days left of staycation. I'm hoping to get in a few historical sights. By next week, DH will be back to work and the weather should be more amendable to cabbing. :)

Thanks for following along with me on my nutty blog entry.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The House That Tela Built

Ahhh, feels good to be back in the swing of things. I should have come here first when I began my funk. Y'all cheered me up. My muse is still a bit sluggish, though.

One of the things I like to do for my muse is to go back and look at some ideas that I had when I was on a roll. I don't like to do the same thing too many times, but often, just looking at older things, which I had intended to explore more of later, will spur me on. For instance, y'all might remember this piece from here.

Picasso jasper aka Picasso stone or Picasso marble

Well, I've had my eye on a piece of spectrolite. Problem is, it's a rectangle. Ick. Not my fav. I remembered the Picasso piece and reworked it for my spectrolite. The result is, "The House That Tela Built". :) Or, "Home, Sweet, Home". I like it.

This is a really super piece of Finnish Spectrolite. Every once in a while, I just need to do one. It use to be my favorite stone. It is still in my top 5. I will always have a soft spot for it's many delightful characteristics.

Speaking of spectrolite... I got some labradorite rough, kissing cousin to spectrolite. It is from Madagascar instead of Finland, not nearly as rare, bright or colorful, but the better quality of it does rival spectrolite. I got the good stuff from a guy who specializes in it. I have cabbed one piece so far. No pictures, yet. I find it challenging to cab. It is fairly soft, but that's not the real trouble. The problem is that the colors are found in layers in the stone. It is easy to grind right through your color layers. I have the greatest respect for several cutters I know who do beautiful work with it. I think you need to develop a kind of sense for working with it. I have plenty to play with and as soon as it is warm out, I'll begin that learning curve.

Here's a recent labradorite that I netted. This is from Madagascar. It was cut in India. It's a really big, beautiful stone. It took forever to net it, but it works well for the stone and cut.
It has already gone to a new home in Singapore. :)

That's it, thanks for reading and commenting :)