Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Almost Solstice

Its almost Solstice. It will be so good to have the days begin to get more daylight, though it takes a bit for it to get some momentum going. The wind keeps blowing. That big wind storm (see last post) was clocked in as 100 mph here! We drove some back roads (what else have we got here?) today and got to see all the huge downed trees. We still have not gotten any more patches on the roof. And have not gone to the mainland to buy gifts. We will just have a few small gifts for each other, and consider ourselves blessed. We have had Christmases in past years that would've made Dickens weep, so this is a year of plenitude. Tomorrow we will set up the tree! It will be glorious, as ever.

And tomorrow I am back to the smithy. I have silver cable needles to make, plus some double pointed knitting needles as well. Someone asked me to make a very heavy big silver Celtic Brooch with stones, and then they had other things come up. But my mind is percolating ideas on brooches, and I am tempted to just go ahead and make a few really exciting ones, sort of like the Selkie Brooch, but totally their own selves. Because each one does have its own self! The metal has 'spirit' in it.....and it leans toward one way and another, guiding me in the design, moving the hot ductile metal. Its lots of fun!
Speaking of what fun metalsmithing is, I welcome people coming to the smithy to make a bronze bracelet for themselves. When you hammer the bronze so that in cross-section it is a square or a six-sided figure, or any of the other many forms, then you twist that makes all the twists and turns and spirals that you see in our work. It is sort of Celtic Revival! (Which was happening a century ago.) John has been the 'brains' behind all the explorations we have done in our metalsmithing techniques. Besides being inspired by the wonderful gold and bronze smithing of the Celts and the Norse, he is inspired by the dictum "it can't be done". And so he has gone ahead and worked the metal in seemingly impossible ways. They are difficult ways to get the knack of. But that is true of any real hand craft work. We can walk you through it!
Heavens, I am nattering on! But I love metal work. After doing it for 25 years I still find it to be magic.
I ordered some rose cut garnets today. They are like a cabochon stone, but have a faceted surface. Really nice. I search in vain for rose cut stones other than garnets.

Friday, December 15, 2006

High Winds Blow Away Small Island

Here I am reading my poems the other night. I figure 25% of Lopez Islanders were there, which would explain how people say "Hi Molly" to me all the time, and I don't know their names. Given that I am nearsighted, maybe I do know them, but can't see them.

The riotous winds came through last night. I stayed in the smithy until nearly 11 pm buffing everything. The wind kept shaking the smithy. The electric & the phone went off in the night. Winds were about 80 mph, and we lost some more shingles off the roof. It was scary. But we were lucky. Lots of people had huge trees down. When the electric came back on in the morning we drove up-island to the post office and there were wires hanging down and trees fallen all over the place. Crews of workers were clearing it away. We had to drive slowly to get through it all. Lots of people are without electric on the mainland & in Canada too. Traffic lights are not working over there, and gas stations are closed alot. We have no traffic lights here! The early ferry that brings the mail couldn't land, but a later one did. And I got a whole bunch of knitting needles shipped out! Hooray!!! I even have some leftover ones, size #1's. I always make extra because with smithing one never knows when one will accidently fry something to a puddle. Ha.

Another weather front is coming in. More high winds, maybe snow. We shall see. We are tarping the computers every night in case the leaks upstairs make it downstairs! They look interesting with a big camo tarp over all.

My fingers are freezing in here. The temperature is dropping outside & the woodstove is in the parlor, so it is not heated in here as one might want. I hope the electric is on in the morning. I need to haul water from across the valley, and I think it won't run if his water pump is off. Heigh-ho.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Knitting Needles with Sapphires

Here is the pair of knitting needles set with sapphires. I am so glad they are done and sent out! John and I made them together. We went ahead and bought a pair of rubys to make another pair. Which we will offer on the web site. John cast the Sterling Silver lozenges that I soldered the settings on to. I think they came out well.

There is another fierce weather front coming in. We are worrying about our boats. And about our roof, which already took a beating in the last big blow. Its supposed to be 70 mph winds until some time Saturday. We stocked up on food & supplies, have the candles handy, and the heat we have is from the woodstove so that is OK. Right now we are rising the dough to make calzone. John made a big pot of 'ricotta' cheese, so we are good to go. He is making tomato sauce from scratch, too, which is a specialty of his.

Back out to the smithy with me to work on more needles, double pointed ones.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Light at the End of the Tunnel is Twinkley

I have been too much in the thick of "elf work", making things for people to give as gifts, that my own life is a mess. But I got all except one pair of knitting needles-set-with-stones sent out today. The last pair is to be set with sapphires, and the soldering on the second bezel is just being a pain in the butt.
The silver double pointed needles are nearly done. Half still need points ground on them. And the bronze double pointed needles are started. I am going back out to the smithy to work on them all some more once dinner settles.

Once its all done and sent out, we can clean house (what a concept!) and then do laundry, and then we get to go to the mainland and shop. And get glasses! The ones I'm wearing now to drive are a joke. They might as well have a fake nose and mustache attached.

The ferry is landing at our island again, after several months of very iffy ferry service. If the wind was up to 30 knots they just passed us by. And that is how the mail gets to & fro. But everyone seems to have managed. We have not been to the mainland since June, when we flew back east to visit my mother.
Meanwhile, the wind is supposed to go up to 50 knots by morning. Our dinghy in McArdle Bay is OK, and our dinghy in Mud Bay is still afloat. I have decided to sell my very-beat-up houseboat, or trade it for a long-shaft outboard. The hull is very sound. I always meant to rebuild the house on it so it had a cambered roof, low windage, and not as much decking. Hi ho.

We finished printing the inside pages of the book! Now to print the covers, & comb bind them. I only have printed 20 this time, enough to cover orders on hand plus a few more. Its awful how much ink costs, and how fast we go through it! I want to have a regular book printer print me up 1000 copies! Ack.
John has gotten the wild wooly sheep to eat out of his hand. Given that Lillibette runs full tilt in the opposite direction if anyone walks toward her, this is an admirable accomplishment!

My reading of my poetry at the Lopez Center on Sunday went very well. I got lots of compliments. The other writers who read were very good. There was a sizable turn-out for the event. Over 100 people, I betcha. What percentage is that on an island of 2500 people? My math skills are laughable.

I bought a glass ornament for my sister. I think its supposed to be an almond, but might be a peach pit. Last year I sent her a glass brocoli for her tree. This could be a tradition! The sort of tradition-lunacy that would happen in my family. All my favorite people are silly.