Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sevilles Arrived

Late January = Seville Oranges = Marmalade

Simple arithmetic: 28 oranges + 4 lemons = about 16 pints of yummy stuff.

It is a bit of work but Big Guy helps (as he eats most of it!) and the end product beats even the best store-bought.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Back to the Bench at Last

January -- More Hearts

With the house in good order at last, I returned to my bench and took up the hearts project again. I liked the wee heart pendant (see December 14) so much that I thought a matching pair of earrings would be a nice item to add to my shop.

On the Charcoal Block

This picture shows how they looked after I soldered on the ear posts and treated them in the pickle. Not very appealing!

Boy, that is a well-used piece of charcoal. The stuff is frightfully expensive, so I make a block last as long as possible, Luckily, a block remains useful even when it looks this dreadful.

Charcoal does a great job of absorbing the heat from the torch. You just have to remember to make sure it is dead cold before you leave the studio! It can smolder for a long, long time. I keep a spray bottle of water beside my soldering station so I can give the block a good drenching before I shut down for the evening.

Pretty Pair

Polishing, polishing, polishing and those dull blobs become brilliant.

Got them in front of the camera just before the light went. Although I add a fill light (you can see the tiny LED light reflected to the left of the earrings), I try to shoot with natural light whenever possible. I like the look better and it saves hauling out and setting up the photo floods. That is a job I really do not enjoy!

All I have to do now is write up a blurb about these and list them in my shop tomorrow morning.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

New Year, New Look

Why I've Been Missing

I know; I know. I have been neglecting this blog. Sometimes, the days just fly by. First we did a return visit to Cannon Beach. This time we went with our daughter and her partner. Great beach, great food, great company. Have not laughed so hard in years — they should take that show on the road!

Returned home, caught up on laundry, packed and stored the last traces of Christmas, then decided it was time to get on with the final major re-make. This time, the target was our enSuite bathroom. Not hard to see why;-)

enSuite before

Talk about dated! So 1970s.

We had to replace the old flooring before moving in. When we tore up the grungy carpet that covered the area in front of the sink, we found that the lino did not run all the way under it. If I could get my hands on the original builders.....

We decided that removing and replacing the big tub (actually a small tub with a big surround) would be stupidly expensive so we found a new toilet and sink in a color that is a near-perfect match. We also retained the original cabinet and countertop — more economic good sense. With all the money we have spent on the place to date, it is time to be responsible!

Work Underway  

The biggest part of the job was covering up the fake paneling. We did the same job in the master bedroom when we bought the place, so we knew what we were getting into.

First step, use a filler on all the grooves (and many old nail holes) so you can work on a flat wall. We got one lucky break: the previous owners had already done three and one half walls — painting out a 1970s, silvered wallpaper that was museum-quality ugly!

I started with a TSP wash and rinse on all the walls. This photo shows the first coat of sealer/primer. That fake woodgrain really bleeds through, so it takes two coats before you can start painting. Such a dull job, but essential.

The room is a strange shape -- quite long and disproportionally narrow. I decided it would take some paint and decor ingenuity to minimize that railcar feeling.

Much Better Now

I chose colors that remind me of the beach. The lighter walls are a dry sand tone and the cabinet and end wall are deeper — more like wet sand.

To complete the new look: a couple of shelves for candles and a "family" of carved wood seagulls (they once graced the patio of my late mother's beach-front home) plus an arrangement of three framed photos I took long ago in Haida Gwaii). We also installed all new lighting. I can actually see myself in the mirror now (not that I am always pleased with what I see there!).

When I finish paying all the current bills, I will treat myself to a full set of towels in the grey-brown of the hand towels in the foreground.

Now, I can get back to making jewelry. The studio has been as neglected as this blog.