We are well into December and I just turned off the heat in our shop so I can use it as a giant cooler for Christmas goodies (by the way, if you do not celebrate Christmas, I think you should enjoy the goodies anyway!). I'll be doing a lot more cooking than jewelry making for the next couple of weeks but, before I retire to the kitchen, I am taking a look back at 2015.
Last Sunset of 2014
We began 2015 at one of my favorite places on earth, Cannon Beach, Oregon. If you love the ocean, miles of beach and/or glorious sunsets, put this spot on your bucket list. You will not regret it.
Next, a Wonderful Family Time on Maui
January was just underway when we headed, with most of the family, to Maui to celebrate the birthdays of two very special people, our son and his lady — and to attend their wedding.
Do You See What I See?
Oh my gosh, it's another glorious sunset. Their beautiful wedding on the beach was followed by a delectable wedding dinner at the incredible Humuhumunukunukuapua'a Restaurant (AKA, Humuhumu) at Wailea.
Then Came Summer
Summer 2015 was so not what we expect on the west coast. Our usual high temperatures are in the 70 - 75 °F range with an occasional hop up to 80. This year, it turned warm early in May and was just plain hot by the middle of the month. I pretty much abandoned my bench for the vegetable garden over the summer — why fire up a torch when the temperature is in the upper 80s? In truth, many days were so warm even a bit of gardening past noon was just not a great idea.
The sunny weather gave us a pretty decent harvest.
An End of Summer Return to Paradise
Our son and new daughter-in-law planned on a return to their get away home at Kihei in late September and persuaded us to join them (yeah, that took a lot of persuading!). For those of you shivering today, here is one of the beaches we visited. ;-)
One of the lovely things about Hawaii in September — it is not crowded. Temperatures were in the high 80s but, amazingly, the trade winds made it quite bearable — even for a lifetime Pacific Northwest dweller.
Back to Normal
I spent most of October and November adding new items to my shop on etsy <https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/DixSterling> and took advantage of what bright days we had in early December to take some seasonal photos for my "shop window".
I will be spending most of my time decorating, baking and celebrating until after December 25th, so I will take this opportunity to wish everyone the best of the season.
I was super busy for a couple of weeks but finally got back to the bench this week and picked up a couple of projects I had started earlier. Here is the first (sorry it's a very blurry photo but I hope it gives you the idea).
I came up with the idea for this ring some time ago but wasn't sure how to go about it. At one point, I tried to do a lost wax casting with two upright prongs to hold a bead but the wax blew apart during the melt out (they do that sometimes). Discouraged, I set the idea aside and went on to other things.
The other day, while cleaning up things on the bench, I found the silver bead and thought I'd try something different. I cut a 1/4 inch wide strip of sterling, gave it a hammered texture and drilled a hole in one end. Then I forged it into an overlapping circle (similar to my overlap topaz pinky ring <https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/100435292/pinky-ring-topaz-on-sterling-overlap?ref=shop_home_active_2> and soldered the join. The final step was to shape the free end to curve over the spot where the bead was to go (had to re-anneal the metal to get it to take the shape), torch bead the end of a sterling wire and thread that through both hole and bead. Then I bent and filed the wire end and soldered it to the ring shank to trap the bead.
Setting an Emerald Cut Sapphire
The other project I lined up involved a deep blue, emerald cut, man made sapphire.
You know how I loved reticulated sterling so it was probably a given that I would choose that for the sapphire pendant.
Here is the stone sitting atop a piece of reticulated silver so I could decide on the best bit to use. You can see where I previously cut the triangular mounting for that citrine pin/pendant. Once I selected a suitable area, I marked and cut a rectangle somewhat larger than the stone. I also forged a bail from polished sterling to let the pendant hang from a chain.
The Two Projects — One Done, One Not
Here are the ring and the sapphire — the ring finished and the pendant just being checked to get a proper fit on the stone.
On Thursday afternoon, I went on with setting the sapphire. It is always a fussy job, what with wrapping the silver in painter's tape to protect it from the setting tools and making minute adjustments to the claw setting so it will accept the stone. Then you have to lower the stone into place and hold it level while gently but firmly closing the claws onto the corners.