Strange times.

As I come to think about my blog and all the friends I’ve met through it, I find that I can’t quite ignore the bad feelings that have exploded leading up to this election.

I’m not completely sure what has happened to us all.

I’ve found myself caught up in my own fair share of Facebook propaganda and yet have been surprised when I come across some pretty aggressive comments between people whom I’m sure are strangers to each other and yet believe are otherwise friendly and accepting . One time I even came across a remarkable post linking Clinton to child sacrifice and blood drinking satanic rituals, but as I’m desperately hoping that the people who believe these things are now safely back to their right minds I’m left wondering how it is that we have become so outraged by differences of opinion.

It’s like The Stanford Prison Experiment, but on steroids.

When all is said and done, however, I refuse to lose any of my friends because of the intense negativity of this election.

I’ve decided to remove myself from FB for the time being, except for sharing my jewelry, and I’m also going to try to turn off the news for a while as we seem to be living in a world hell bent on destroying itself and the hatred and anger is becoming overwhelming to me.

You won’t hear my thoughts on the election on this blog, that’s not what I come here for, and I hope that those who have found they differ from my posts on FB will feel safe knowing that I respect their beliefs as much as I do my own.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Here’s a photo of my cats.

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😉

After a slow start

I’ve finally picked up the pace again.

I’ve mostly been doing custom orders which is kind of nice in that terrifying kind of way.

First there was this one which I made using the customers own stone.

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Turquoise

And then a ring, again using the customers stone

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Eudialyte

And finally one with yet another customers stone.

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Yellow Fire Opal

This last one was hard for me as the stone was huge and very thick and was also bevelled on both sides.

When I took it on I thought it was a regular flat backed cabochon which would have been easier to set, but with the back undercut as well I had to spend a lot of time fiddling around with it to make it sit well in the setting. As a consequence I used a lot more silver than expected. This is actually the second attempt so there was a whole bunch of silver that had to be scraped before I even got to this point.

The lady wanted bees and honeycombs to complement the stone.

To be honest I didn’t like it at all.

Not the stone, nor the design and I know that if I were a better jewelry maker it wouldn’t have been a problem.

When I showed the lady she said that I was close, that if I just took all of the silver off and put a couple of bees in the corner I would have it.

On top of that I had set the stone bottom up as the carving was supposed to be on the underneath.

I felt really awful.

🙁

I didn’t blame her as to me it was always a horrible piece, but I just couldn’t bear to do it a third time so I finally apologized to her and returned the stone.

I think perhaps now I can’t do anymore custom orders because I hate disappointing people.

I tried to like the challenge of working through the piece, however, I wasted a hell of a lot of silver which I have since melted down, but it means a lot of work rolling it out again. I did figure out a lot of things through trial and error, but really I didn’t enjoy it at all and think it ended up with all my bad energy in it.

Even looking at its photo gives me a bad feeling so I’m pleased it doesn’t exist anymore.

If the lady is reading this I’m sorry.

I tried.

Then another custom order with a stone I cut myself this time.

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Marcasite

Although one of its ball fell off.

Man!

After that I gave up jewelry.

Again.

Fortunately I forgot that I’d given it up fairly soon and decided to make a couple of pieces with some more stones I’d cut myself.

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Gold Sheen Obsidian and Marcasite

I didn’t cut this one below, but it’s definitely one of my favourite stones.

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Prudent Man Plume Agate

Nor did I cut these ones, but I am definitely working on never buying another cabochon again.

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Ocean Jasper

Yeah, right!

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Ocean Jasper

Here are some of the other stones I cut.

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Top two left – Indian Black Skin Agate. Bottom two left – Some kind of Jasper. Middle two – Owyhee Picture Jasper. Top right – Graveyard Plume Agate. Bottom right – Gold Sheen Obsidian.

Such a proud stone mamma lol

And here is what I worked on yesterday and which I’m going to have to fix today

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Yellow Adventurine

Call it OCD or what you will, but that left hand leaf is just going to have to go which means heating it off and putting a new one on. Which also means that I’ll probably have to reset the prongs again as they’ll most likely come off as well.

Jeez.

Then I think I’m going to try to stick to some simpler things.

Like the bangle below.

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Graveyard Plume Agate and Serpentine

Why do I always have to make things so complicated for myself.

🙁

One day I’m going to make something that doesn’t have bits falling off it when I do the final polish.

It’s so incredibly annoying.

Fred and Sylv.

My life just slipped into what it is now.

Like just the other day around 55 years ago I was just starting on it, and now I’m still just starting on it.

I have an on again off again relationship with making a go of it.

It being whatever I think I’d like to be when I grow up.

I went to art school after school because a teacher told me I should and I didn’t know what else to do.

Two years foundation course and three years for my degree in Sculpture of all things.

I had a bit of a hard time telling mum about that little chestnut.

She thought I’d signed up for painting and didn’t know what the hell I’d be able to do with a Sculpture degree.

I wondered what she thought I’d do with a painting degree.

Paint houses and garden fences?

After art school I worked in London.

Reality hit me in my last year of school and I spent some evenings copying text from Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake to teach myself how to type on an old manual typewriter that I picked up from somewhere or other.

Not good on the fingers let me tell you.

Anyway, after a few disastrous interviews that the temp agency sent me on, like the one at the Bank of America in London where I not only had to sit in a little room, along with I don’t know how many other applicants for the one job, to do a maths exam, after explicitly telling the temp agency that I did not want a job which had anything remotely, at all, whatsoever to do with numbers of any kind, even my favourite ones, but I also had to go on to name all of the capitals of all of the countries in all of the whole darn world for heaven sakes.

Really!

Didn’t get that job by the way.

Canberra tripped me right up.

I then had an interview at a film studio. I think it was Twickenham Film Studios, but I can’t remember because it was a thousand years ago now. They opened a door to let me in and I swear I’ve never walked inside such a rambling confusion of stairways and corridors in my life. The place was so huge that if I actually got the job I didn’t think I’d ever get out alive. They would find my skeletal remains five years after I’d starved to death in some grimy corner of an abandoned stairwell the first time I was sent out to the coffee machine.

Fortunately I didn’t get that job either.

I eventually got a job in a large accountancy firm, (I know. Numbers. That temp woman never did get it right) called Arthur Young McClelland Moore, and although I didn’t last a month upstairs in the pencil ordering department because I was apparently too shy when it came to talking with suppliers, I wheedled my too shy self into a job downstairs in the graphics department where I ended up manually cutting and pasting type for brochures and booklets and the like and even got to draw overhead projection slides.

Go me.

Then we moved to Malaysia, and so, after my two whole years of working in London for a living, I had to quit to follow P into the oil and gas insurance biz.

So that’s me.

After Malaysia came America, where 27 years ago I was assured by the said oil and gas insurance guy we would only live for two years, and then kids. Three of them. All wanting to live in the same house as me.

Somehow my life just drifted by.

I tell you this because I feel I’m in some kind of almost land right now.

I’m almost back to blogging.

I’m almost over crying about dad.

Except yesterday my sister told me that a large old black lady came by dad’s house this weekend when my brother-in-law was there, thankful to be able to tell someone how much she was sorry about the old man who had lived there as he used to always carry her bags for her when he saw her coming down the street.

Strangers strangers everywhere making me cry again.

And laugh because who knew there were so many of them out there. They mostly only knew him as the man with the dog, but still needed to come up to tell us how much they liked him and how sorry they were to hear that he died.

So yesterday I bought a domain name and worked on a new site.

Just for kicks perhaps. But I think because I also liked him.

A lot.

It’s not open yet and perhaps it never will be as I’ve got Cold Feet, but who knows.

Maybe it will remind me that this is all I ever needed to be be when I grow up.

Someone like dad.

If I can get out of almost land that is.

fredandsylv.com

d1

_

By the way, the first paragraph of Titus Groan is one of my all time favourites.

‘Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around its outer walls. They sprawled over the sloping earth, each one half way over its neighbour until, held back by the castle ramparts, the innermost of these hovels laid hold on the great walls, clamping themselves thereto like limpets to a rock. These dwellings, by ancient law, were granted this chill intimacy with the stronghold that loomed above them. Over their irregular roofs would fall throughout the seasons, the shadows of time-eaten buttresses, of broken and lofty turrets, and, most enormous of all, the shadow of the Tower of Flints. This tower, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.’

See.

I gave it my all

I did.

But now I’m done with the Art Fairs.

I gave it ten years.

I persevered through the Houston heat and that one bizarre time when at the same time of year I nearly froze to death it was that cold.

Honest I did.

But yesterday even the good ol’ Texan boys were complaining.

Grown men moaning about the heat.

And I was with them.

I’ve never been so overheated in my life.

I wasn’t just sweating, it was coming off me in planes.

Sheets of wet sliding off my face.

My face looked like a wet rhubarb and I gave up on trying to keep what little make up I wear on my face.

Just wern’t ‘apning.

I had to go au natural, which actually wasn’t natural at all because no one looks the way I did yesterday.

Ever.

Oh I checked it out alright.

I looked at every last vendor there and no one looked as much like a wet fish as I did.

And I bet you no one had to change their clothes three times!

It was bad enough at the beginning after setting up, but then it rained. Not a lot, but just enough to make the humidity virtually unbearable in the hour or two afterward.

We can’t have a good old cool down after a sprinkle can we.

No, Houston has to turn into the hothouse of hell.

It did let up later in the afternoon until the thunderclouds decided to roll on in.

Fortunately, (or not), they did seem to pass either side of us. I say not because at that point I was actually praying for a catastrophic storm, or even a small earthquake really, that would mean we’d have to go home.

Not one to abandon ship at an art fair, because that’s just not cricket is it, I was at one point seriously considering emailing the show organizer and telling her that my leg had just fallen off and that I had to leave. Sorry.

I trooped on though and have now vowed that it was my last.

I had four sales including the one from the friend who helped me with the booth.

This morning I still can hardly walk.

I’m telling you.

I almost died out there.

As I was in the shower later that night I tried to turn my misery around and thought about all the people in Syria and Yemen and how they must feel just living day to day in awful conditions with oftentimes no water or food to boot.

It made me feel a little ashamed that I couldn’t make one day without completely falling apart and so I determined to continue to make my jewelry for them  as it’s the least I can do.

Although not at art fairs unless I can find a good one in Houston that’s indoors for heaven’s sake.

For the love of god, are the people who live here even aware that it’s completely abnormal to even consider outside activities in 90 degree heat with 90% humidity!

And I was one of them, but I’ve come to my senses at last and not a minute too soon.

Before yesterday I was even considering applying to the three day Bayou Festival they hold here twice a year.

What drugs was I on…

I am never leaving the house again.

A little lapse with, if I say so myself, a brilliant recovery…

As I write to you on this fine morning I admit to having just deleted the FOUR new games I gave in to midway through this week.

Shame on me.

But it did bring home to me more than ever the fact that this addiction to wasting my precious time is wasting my precious time.

I was reading again.

I was like almost finished with the book I’ve been reading for over a year now.

And then – nothing.

A black hole of word games sucked my life into a mindless funnel toward zombie land and I was gone again.

But now I’m back.

Until the next slip.

Not going to happen.

Maybe.

Despite the relapse I’ve had a fairly productive week and I sold quite a few things.

I’m now over $60,000 for charity which although amazing seems to have had no impact whatsoever on saving the world.

Man.

Can you say disappointed or what!

But, kidding aside, I do want to thank everyone who has bought a piece of jewelry from me.

🙂

The new lovelies this week are.

A pair of earrings with beautiful purple Luna Agate stones.

This shop is expensive, but I just can’t resist the stones there. It’s sometimes hard to use them as they make the jewelry so much more expensive.

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This Ocean Jasper was from there also.

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And here’s its back.

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Then I made another one of these for someone using one of my new favourite stones.

Rare Purple Chalcedony.

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And this one with a piece of Carnelian that I cut myself

😉

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Next up I’d always wanted to make something with one of these dentritic stones.

It came all the way from India. I prefer not to buy from outside the US, but look at it

🙂

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And then I fiddled once more with this piece which has been giving me some trouble with its stone choice.

I think finally I’m happy with it.

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I also made a couple of chains, some simple silver earrings, and cleaned up my work table to the point where I’m shocked whenever I go into the studio and see it again.

Simple joys.

🙂

I’m still having trouble avoiding purchasing stones, but look at this

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And this.

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Seriously.

I had to have them.

No hope for the wicked as my old mum used to say….

Just as a side note those are not my fingers. He seems to have cut the top off of one of them, something to look out for when cutting my own stones perhaps…

And on a completely different topic.

Just look at our orange tree!

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We bought it last year and I forgot what it was. I picked one thinking it was a lime and cut it open. Wow. The combination of the gorgeous green outside colour to the vivid orange inside was incredible.

Another shock to my week.

It’s all good.

🙂

TTYL

Things are getting bad – please send chocolate. Or, as my good mate Charlie once said, Desperate Times…

O.K. so I didn’t actually know Charles Dickens, but I’m pretty sure I spotted him in the street that one time in my other life.

Think it was him, those Victorians look all the same to me…

So today, rather than wallow which I’m apt to do, I finally decided to implement Stage One of the rest of my life.

I think it will be somewhat easy with mostly difficult spells so sounds simple enough…

First up I have deleted all of the games I have on my phone. A huge beginning of which I’m immensely proud.

Of course it’s only been two hours, but I’ve only missed them once so far so I think it’s going well.

As a consequence I’m up and out of bed literally 45 minutes earlier that usual. This could change of course as I haven’t yet banished the computer from the bedroom.

Small steps…

I decided to launch Stage One as I’ve been having a really hard time with the death of my dad. It’s kind of taken me by surprise as I wasn’t so bad when my mum died.

Feel a bit guilty about that.

🙁

Maybe it’s because of this that for a while now I’ve been aware that my life has become rather middle-aged and flabby and It feels as though I’m living in a static world of nothing much in particular, so I think now is a good time to either make my move or forever hold my peace.

And so the first step toward my Brave New World, (didn’t know Huxley either which is probably a good thing as he’s a bit too intense for me in that extremely negative yet prophetic way of his) was to banish the phone games.

I feel rather liberated…

And now, with all my free time, I’m going to find some more positive things to waste my time with.

😉

But first to the studio to finish this,

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And to make another one of these.

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Happy Friday.

🙂

We’re away on holiday…

… and I am just bored outta ma mind.

It’s nice here, it is, but I just don’t want to go out fishing on a bay in which you can’t see nuttin’ but water.

It’s just not my cup of tea.

Talking of which I must have had somewhere in the region of five billion cups in the five days we’ve been here.

I’m kind of all tea’d out now.

Might have to take to vodka…

So I don’t mind really because P doesn’t get much time to relax and he loves fishing and I get to play all day when I’m at home so it seems only fair.

Except I just can’t get down to anything.

I’ve brought my oil pastels, my sewing stuff and the book I’ve been reading for a year now, and I just can’t seem to get in the right frame of mind to do any of it.

I’ve taken to watching Lifetime movies, that’s how bad it is.

Might put one on in a moment.

Here’s all I’ve done so far.

A vase of flowers. Half finished.

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And a half hearted drawing.

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I’d started this one at home and brought it with me, but I can’t even be bothered to finish this one either.

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I think I’m withering away.

And here’s P after a hard days fishing.

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I can’t even be bothered to sleep.

Better get that vodka out.

Desperate times…