Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sightseeing in Rome

OK, let me get off the topic of jewelry and change the subject.

Last month I went on a business trip to Rome. (Yeah, I know. Life is hard.)

It meant that I'd be away for a full week and my kids were really not happy about me leaving. They whined and kept asking me why they couldn't go with me. This was repeated, again and again, each time the trip was mentioned.

The night before I was to leave, I pulled my suitcase out of the basement and started packing. Emma, my youngest, decided that she had to help me pack. (Remember, help is a relative word when used by a mother.)

She suggested that she could easily fit in the suitcase and join me in Rome, but I declined her kind offer.

It was sad leaving, but I really had to go. But when I got to my hotel room in Rome, I opened my suitcase and I had a big laugh. Emma must have snuck her stuffed animal, Mooch, in there when I wasn't looking to keep me company.

I decided right then and there that Mooch would have to join me when I went sightseeing. And that's what he did. So here you have it: picture of Mooch taking in the sights of Rome.

Mooch, speechless at the sheer size and grandeur of the Vatican:
Mooch at the Vatican St Peter's (At the Vatican, we also visited the art museums and the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photos there. )

Mooch, gazing at the massive obelisk in St Peter's Square:
While there, we discussed how this was one of the intregral scenes of Dan Brown's novel, "Angels and Demons". And we both adamently agreed that it was a better book than "The DaVinci Code".

Mooch, in awe of the Colliseum:

Both sides of it!
Mooch at the Coliseum

Mooch, just after he tossed three coins in the fountain:
DSC01355 One legend says that if you toss 3 coins over your left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, you'll get 3 wishes. I wonder what Mooch wished for? I know I was wishing for some gelato. Yum.

Mooch, basking in the glory that was once the Roman Forum:

Mooch, showing no fear at the Bocca Della Verita, also known as the Mouth of Truth. It's said that if you put your hand into its mouth and tell a lie, the mouth will shut.

Obviously, Mooch had a lot at stake:

DSC01383.JPG cropped

All in all, Mooch had a great time in Rome but was happy to get home. Emma was glad to have him back and enjoyed hearing about his trip and seeing all his photos.

He was great company and may just become my permanent traveling companion!

BTW, Mooch was made by Uppity Woman's Designs. You can find her shop here.
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

For quite a while I 've had the earrings on the right listed in my Etsy shop.

They're a spiral that spirals in on itself. You may wonder how to put them on, but it's really easy: you just put the short end in your ear's earring hole, then use a corkscrew-like motion to thread them in. (Believe me, you never worry about accidentally losing these babies.)

It took me a while to figure out how to make them, they're still a pain to make, but they are just SO COOL. To me they look like a double helix. You know, the structure of DNA.

A friend of mine really wants a pair for her daughter as a Christmas present. (Yes, CHRISTMAS. Can you believe it!) Her daughter has a background in science and thought that she would really like them. But she wanted me to attach a gemstone to them.

I tried and I tried, but I couldn't quite get the design right. I sat there and played with wire and suddenly this materialized:

You see, it's no longer a double helix, it's just a single spiral encircling a stone. I guess you could call it an RNA strand with an amethyst. (Hey, how many science geeks are out there that know what I'm talking about!)

It's not what my friend had in mind at all, but I really like them. They're definitely unusual.

I'm calling these my Whirlygig Earrings.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

A few weeks ago, I decided to try something different. Except for wirewrapping briolettes and other beads, I really haven't done much wirework. I like working with silver but never have been overly keen on trying my hand at wirework. But herringbone weave intriqued me. I found a tutorial by Eni Okin and decided to give it a try.

I pulled out my beads to got some inspiration.

Some round faceted carnelian beads called to me. Then some honey-toned chalcedony briolettes wanted me. (Yes they did. I swear to you.) Here is what I came up with.

IMHO not bad for my first attempt !

I didn't think it was so hard and I felt so satisfied with the way the earrings lookied, sitting in my hand. I had to make some more.

Who was next to be wrapped? The prehnite rondelles? I bought them last year and I still hadn't worked with them. Yes, they needed love.

That's it. I was hooked. I LOVE doing this style of wirework. I really like how oxidizing and buffing the sterling brings out the textures.

In the next few days I made these, too.
herringbone weave

For the earrings on the left I used smoky quartz - almost clear - and my favorite gemstone, labradorite. The gemstones in the middle photo are garnets which range from straw colored down to the deepest burgandy. And in the right photo, the earring are quartz and freshwater pearl.

With this new style, I feel like I've been able to expand my jewelry line and I've included these in my Etsy shop.

I only have earrings listed so far, but I think any of these would make great pendants and plan on listing them in the near - or not so near, depending on how much time I have - future.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

I have come back

Yes, you may have noticed that I have not posted in AGES. You may have thought that something happened, and you would be right if you guessed that.

Once I stopped posting it was so hard to start again. Partly guilt, partly depression, partly inertia.

I did miss this blog though and I think I finally feel up to starting again.

First step: go back to where I left off and tell you what happened. So here we go.

I was flying to Barcelona to train a large group of people during a business meeting. But after the meeting, I had planned a few days of sightseeing and shopping with friends.

On the way there, I had only one layover. While I was waiting for my transatlantic flight I a got a phone call from my mother’s apartment. She lives in an assitied living facility and the staff had found her on the floor, somewhat disoriented. They had her up and she was sitting on her couch She seemed like she wasn’t in any acute danger but they wanted to send her to the hospital for an assessment.

How bad was it? I really couldn’t tell from what they told me.

I called my husband – luckily he answered – and told him the story. He rushed off to see my mother and get more details.

He didn’t think she was disoriented (not more than usual as she has some dementia). But she had told him that she had been vomiting during the night (flu???) and that there had been blood in it (effect of the warfarin / blood thinners she was on???). She really didn't think she seemed too bad but he was going to take her to the hospital and keep me updated.

What to do? I still had a chance to turn around and go home and gone home. But what if it was a false alarm and she was really OK.

At this point, my husband and I aggreed that I would continue my trip. He kept calling me with updates from the hospital up until the time I got on my 9 hour flight.

You can imagine how worried I was during the trip. I couldn't get any info until I got to Barcelona. The moment I landed I called my husband.

The update: my mother’s red blood cell count was very low and they suspected internal bleeding. She’d received 3 units of blood and she was going to have an endoscopy to see what was going on inside. And they thought she’d been in the hospital for 4-5 days.

Feeling terrible about it, I decided that I would go to business meeting but fly back as soon as my presentations were over.

I kept getting updates. They found bleeding in her stomach, which they cauterized. They also did a biopsy. After the transfusions she was feeling better. She would be discharged sooner than expected. Yay!

I spent 3 days in Barcelona, then flew back home just in time to rush from the airport to get to the hospital and take her home.

Not a good trip at all.

Since then, a lot has happened.

The biopsy came back positive and she was diagnosed with a gastric adenocarcinoma. She had to go into a nursing home for a short time after the hospitalization for rehabilitation. (She didn’t like that, let me tell you. She can be feisty!) After the bleeding stomach was cauterized, she’s felt much better. (She probably was bleeding for a long time and it was never caught.) We’ve been to an oncologist and have had all types of tests.

At 89 years of age, she’s decided that she does not want to have surgery or chemotherapy or radiation. I really don’t know how much time she has left, but she seems to be doing quite well. And she is still with us.