Thursday, November 23, 2006

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Freight Train

It is November, and the traditional storms are coming through one after another. We got 70 mph winds a week ago that tore a bunch of our roofing off. Off and on all month they have not been able to land the ferry on Lopez Island. I guess we are fortunate we never leave the island!
I am in the heart of sterling silver knitting needles for Loopy Ewe. I have many exciting orders to fill. I will be making more Knitting needles set with incised bone triskeles (Celtic triple spirals) and a pair of needles set with sapphires. for people, plus ones that will be available.

I am also working on two heavy weight Celtic brooches in bronze, which I am going to set a stone on each at the top of the straight pin. What stones??? Have not decided yet. They will go on the web site. I am going to be making some lucious needles set with facetted blue topaz soon. I already got the stones for that. I also sent for some ruby cabachons for a pair of needles.

Meanwhile I have back-burnered my circular needles, sterling silver joined with mesh chain. They will be beautiful and tactile. John & I disagree about how they should be made. Hi ho.

John cleaned the kitchen wood stove, using the long-handled stove scraper, a trowel, and a shop vac. I helped. It was a very dirty job, but is done, and now the stove is getting hot. We got a fresh turkey, and I went up to the attic and found the turkey roasting pan. We have tarps strung all over the attic to catch the leaks from the storm. It looks sort of surreal up there!

Yams are not really yams. They are sweet potatos, but look like the African root vegetable called "yam", so got called that. I love the deep orange of them, so stocked up.

The sheep are right close behind the house, so they can look in the kitchen window. Lillibette looks like she has been bred because of the pinkish paint on he side & butt. Her reputation is ruined!

The native tribes called November "Winter Dance Month" because at this time of year all the helper-spirits would come back here from their counter clockwise journey around the world. Their closeness would make the people, who they usually helped, get crazy. You may have noticed this yourself if you live in the north west! Anyway, the cure is to have freinds and family come and dance and sing around the crazy person to encourage the helper-spirit to hit the road again. December is "Winter Song Month", probably for the same reason, only everyone is tired of dancing and wants to sit close to the fire. I learned this from Erna Gunther's book, written in the 30's when there were still elders alive to be interviewed who would remember. I think now that there are fewer natives for them to help and harry they latch on to non-natives. Who knows?

Chocolate chip pumpkin pie. I better get a-baking. No metal work today. I was smithing until 9 pm yesterday. I guess I can coast today, huh?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Free as a Sheep

More fun & hijinks. What are hijinks, anyway?
The dinghy in Mud Bay sank and we had to wait until the tide was out late last night to rescue it. And the houseboat looks about to founder.
But meanwhile the sheep have escaped. These are not sweet docile pet sheep. These are wild Welsh mountain sheep, skittish as hell. We have had them on tethers and moved them daily to fresh grass. But Lillibette got away. Then John caught her, & Petunia got away. Then we tried to lure Petunia into the pen by putting Lilli in there. They are very fond of each other! But Petunia was wise (we could hear Lilli grunting instructions to her!) and soon they were both free and running for the road. Where there is heavy equipment doing some road upgrading. They went over to another field beyond the barn. John herded them back this way. I am hiding in the computer room for now so as not to scare them into running off again. When two people are there they know something is up! The sun is sliding around the sky too fast, and we still need to row on out to the houseboat to rescue it from sinking. That would be just awful! At least it is sunny and mild and not even windy today.
I baked another cheese cake for the continuing celebration of Birthday Month for John. We went to Doe Bay Resort over on Orcas Island for his actual birthday, and soaked in the hot tub there all day. T'was glorious. We plan to go back soon. It was the first time we have been off Lopez Island since June, when we went to Connecticut to see my mother.
The sheep are caught!! Hooray hoorah!! Captive wild sheep from Mars!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pennanular Celtic Brooches

I finished making this sterling silver Celtic pennanualar brooch today.
It is just over 3" wide, and I set it with two amethysts, two lapis lazuli, and one malachite.
I also finished a light weight silver Celtic brooch set with two lapis.
Hooray. And I am still plugging away at the knitting needle 'forest'. Which is mostly silver, with some bronze too.
I'm also printing books. The cost of the ink cartridges has me in a state of continual denial. "Just keep printing them! There are people waiting." I tell myself. Hi ho. The brooches are lots of fun. I solder the settings on after the initital smithing, and then I twirlique the split parts around to create that part of the design. So I don't know where the settings will be until that point. Very exciting, organic-looking, and dynamic. Its like I get to see what the metal wants to do, and I say "looks good to me!". Though sometimes do say "uh uh, no you don't! git back there!" When the metal is hot it has the maleability of clay. Only you can't touch it because it will burn your little fingers off.
I smithed out some sets of cable needles today too. The hammering & twisting went well.
I've been using a small vice and a big magnet to mount the torch on the anvil. Then I sit at the anvil and hammer on the metal right in front of my nose wearing magnifying glasses so I can see all the tiny hammered facets I'm making on those tiny needles, and can see what is happening when I spot-heat and then twist the metal to make those undulating designs. Plus its easier on my rotten old back.
I got some nice azurite-malachite cabs in, and also some good turquoise. I should make some knitting needles set with stones & put them on the web site.
Some day I'll get back to that silver spoon I'm slowly working on. Will it have a handle like one of my shawl pins? Or will it have stones? Enamel? I would love to do some enameling.
The rain stopped! We have gotten so much RAIN. On the mainland they were having all sorts of flooding, worst in 10 years. They had to close some schools!
Now its starry and the wind even quit raging through. Tonight its a minus 2.7 tide at about 10:30. And are we going out to the sea cave? or going to dig clams? No, we are going to bed early. Some years back I climbed down the cliff to the sea cave in the dark in a dress, carrying a cake, and holding a flashlight in my mouth. How did I do that? How did I not fall to my death? One never knows, do one? It was for my birthday party.
Lots of rain water caught. Maybe I'll wash some fleece!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Refuse to Say "I'm so busy."

I forgot my user name so could not post here for awhile. Yes, I have been happily metalsmithing like mad. But I hate that people think "I'm busy" is a good mantra to have, so refuse to say that.
John has dinner ready. I will come back & post more soon.