Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thank you Feliway!

I had the strangest cat incident this past week. Harley, my fluffy guy, was zooming around the edge of our pool and fell in. Thank goodness his head didn't go under and he was able to pull himself out right away. Clearly he was terrified and he must have released some SERIOUS fear pheromones! This triggered a very disturbing aggressive reaction in Puck. Puck has been his best friend for 3 years now. They play, eat and sleep together. Now, all of a sudden Puck starts attacking him. Swatting, growling, hissing and lunging at him. I had to quarantine Puck the first night for fear that he would seriously hurt Harley. And not just Harley, but he was aggressive towards me and hubby too. He even bit me twice while I was trying to calm him down. And poor Harley didn't know what to think. It's bad enough that he was traumatized by falling in the pool. He would just look at Puck with those big eyes as if to say, "Dude, what's your effing problem? It's me! Harley!"

I hoped after a good night sleep he would remember that Harley was his friend, but no dice! I was really starting to get scared when I remembered reading on my favorite forum about the benefits of using Feliway Spray by Comfort Zone. (It's a calming, synthetic facial pheromone that prevents unwanted behavior in cats.) So off to PetsMart I went yesterday and got a bottle of the spray. I spritzed all the places they like to hang out and by yesterday evening I could see Puck was starting to calm down. He was still a little bit hissy, but at least not acting like a crazed mad-cat.

I just snapped these photos of my boys, Puck (top) and Harley (the fluffy one) today. They're best friends again!!! So thanks Feliway for an awesome product!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Sweet Jamaica

I’m writing with sad news today. We had to have our sweet little Jamaica put to sleep yesterday. I knew something was wrong when she wasn’t up yelling for her breakfast. She was laying in behind her little tent in the studio and when I got her to come out I realized that she couldn’t walk. I thought it may have been a stroke so Brian came home and we took her to the vet. The vet said it was more likely a blood clot and there was little they could do for her so we made the difficult decision to let her go. My heart is absolutely broken.

I do take comfort in the fact that she had really good days right up till the end. At 19-1/2 years old, she caught her very first lizard on the patio last week. She was so excited about it and managed to break it’s tail off before Daddy Cat (Brian) took it away from her and let it go outside. I’m going to miss her so much. Rest in peace sweet girl.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Treasured Again

As of this month, I have been making glass beads for 7 years. My, how time flies when you're melting glass! In all that time, I have made jewelry only for myself and for family. Recently I bought two spoon bracelets to take apart and use the spoon elements in some of my own bracelets. I liked the way it came out so well that I've decided to make a few to sell.

The bracelets include an antique silver plated spoon handle, Bali silver beads and clasp, my own lampwork beads and a sterling silver extender chain.

The first pieces I made were from those bracelets I bought to take apart, but I've recently started making my own spoon elements for my jewelry.

It wasn't until after I had the first batch of spoons on the way that I started researching what would be involved. The first thing I found out was that the metal needs to be annealed. In other words, it has to be heated with a torch to a dull glow and quenched in water to change the molecular structure of the metal making it easier to bend. No problem. I have a torch.

Then the handles need to be cut. I'm sure I may eventually use some kind of power tool for this, but for now, the hack saw is working splendidly. The cut edge needs to be ground and polished and that's where hubby's bench grinder and my Dremel came in. Then holes need to be drilled in each end for stringing into jewelry, so we got to dust off the old drill press.

I have to polish off the fire scale from the annealing process and bend the handles in a nifty bending fixture that my hubby made for me. When the metal was annealed, it removed the lovely patina that shows off the pretty patterns in the spoons, so now I have to put it back. I use liver of sulfur to patina the silver. Amazing how a hundred years of patina can be achieved in just seconds! The only problem with the liver of sulfur is that it made my whole house smell like an egg fart for a few hours. I think I'll be doing the next batch in the garage with the doors open! After the patina is applied I get to give the piece one last polish with a silver polishing cloth and at last, the piece is finally ready to be used in jewelry!

So far I've managed to get metal filings in my fingers, filed part of my fingernail off on the grinder, burned myself on a hot drill bit and I have silver polish embedded in my fingerprints. I'm just flying by the seat of my pants here and learning as I go along. It's fun and rewarding, but there was one point where I stood in my garage, shirt soaked in sweat and everything that flew off the grinder stuck to my face and neck and me wondering why I didn't just buy more already made spoon bracelets! Good thing I don't give up that easy.

I love the idea of using this beautiful vintage flatware in my jewelry designs. The spoons and forks I've been collecting for my new project date as far back as 1881 and most of them are from the very early 1900's. I think about the original owner and how they must have treasured their silverware. Did they only use it for special occasions or did they use it every day like my Grandmother did, just because it was beautiful. By giving this flatware new life in my jewelry designs, now it can be treasured all over again.

The bracelets I have pictured in this post are now up for sale in my Etsy Shop.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

An old dirt road and the man I call my Dad

I never knew my biological father. My parents were divorced before I was born.

About 15 years ago my Mom married a wonderful man. He's a kind and caring man and I sometimes think of what it would have been like to have him as my Dad all along. He calls me Sissy and I like that a lot. I couldn't ask for a better father if I had hand picked him myself.

When I was about 8 years old we lived on an old dirt road. The kids in the neighborhood would swim in the lake next to my house. This was back before computers and video games and we would play outside all day. We would drink from the hose outside when it got hot and not come home until we heard our parents calling us for dinner. We played in the street a lot, but the highlight of our week was when the road grader would come by. It was a huge tractor with blades that would smooth out our old washboard dirt road. We would follow behind the grader and ride our bikes in the fresh piles of dirt it would leave on the edge of the road. And I remember the grader operator too. He would watch us in his rear view mirror to make sure we didn't get too close. He never fussed at us. He would just smile and shake his head.

Now flash forward to about a year ago. We were having one of our family get-togethers when I told the story about the dirt road and the grader. Come to find out, my step-father, who has worked for the county all his life, was the grader operator that graded our road! He knew me back when I was just a little brat on a bright pink bicycle and had no idea at the time that 40 years later he would be my father! It's funny how fate has a way of bringing people together. Now I feel like we're the family that always should have been.

I love you very much, Papa, and I'm proud to call you my dad.

Happy Father's Day!