So where were we.

Oh yes.

Hamlet.

Which brings me to the Tate Gallery in London, and

Ophelia.

Ophelia

John Everett Millais

When I was home a couple of years ago I went to the Tate Britain specifically to see her.

She lives there and the one time I get to visit,

she’s on loan!

Geez

I remember when, more years ago than I care to admit, getting lost in awe as I stood in front of this painting.

But I remember it being ginormous, and really it isn’t.

It seemed to fill up the whole wall and I just stood there enthralled.

I really, really wanted to see her again.

:(

In my opinion this is an example of one of those paintings that doesn’t grab you in books but completely wows you when you see it in real life.

I never expected to like it.

I do love the Pre-Raphaelites however.

Here’s The Lady of Shallot.

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John William Waterhouse

Beautiful.

Here’s

Isabella and the Pot of Basil.

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William Holman Hunt

I love it that she’s got her lover’s head in that pot.

And this one is St. Eulailia.

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John William Waterhouse

which again I would never have thought I would like, but which completely blew me away.

It almost made up for Ophelia.

I really didn’t want to like it, but I kept having to walk back over to it.

The perspective was stunning.

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I’ve slowly but surely been getting back into the studio, which is a relief because I was beginning to think we would never make up.

It really does take me a long while to get back into the swing of things after a family visit.

I’ve been putting more and more things up on Etsy, and one woman bought over five hundred dollars worth of jewelry from me.

That was incredible. I hope she likes it all when she gets it.

So I’ve only about $400 to go before the big $20,000.

I’m almost impressed with myself.

;)

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The Lady of Shalott

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale-yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river’s dim expanse –
Like some bold seër in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right –
The leaves upon her falling light –
Thro’ the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken’d wholly,
Turn’d to tower’d Camelot;
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died,
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
A corse between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross’d themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson
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To twit, or not to twit, that is the question – Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer The discomfiture of outrageous promotion Or to remain anonymous even though you want to sell every last piece of jewelry you have ever made.

Admittedly I might not be as much of a twit as I could be.

I don’t think anyone would actually be interested in my 140 character rants.

But seriously

Could you let me back in!

It’s cold out here.

I first twittered back when I didn’t even know that you could, under the name, wallywalnut.

Before I knew that was a handle.

I tweeted that I was having a cup of tea.

Nothing earth-shattering you understand, just a toe in the water.

Also I cannot lie

I was having a cup of tea at that exact time.

Spooky.

But when I joined Etsy I decided to explore how I could promote myself by unabashedly tweeting about my jewelry, and so I opened another account under the handle, coldfeetstudio.

But wallywalnut just wouldn’t die and, to be honest, he was getting a bit boring having done nothing at all since that last cuppa.

So the other day I eliminated him from the face of the tweeting world.

It felt good.

But for my sins now I can’t even for the life of me log into coldfeetstudio.

Have they thrown me out with the bath water?

I’ve tried everything. I’ve used their handy, have you forgotten your password? feature, even though, No, I have not forgotten my password thank you very much.

I have a different account for coldfeetstudio, but do they care?

No luck whatsoever.

I’m trying hard not to let it bother me. Who needs to twit anyway. But I have to say I do feel a little uninvited to the party :(

My quest will continue.

I will find out where, in that seemingly bottomless realm called cyberspace, coldfeetstudio has been banished to if it’s the last thing I do.

Then I will probably still not tweet as much as I could because it embarrasses me to unabashedly promote my jewelry.

Man!

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So, here are some unabashed pieces I’ve just finished.

;)

You’ve seen this one before, but I’ve now put a chain on it, and sold it!

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Aquamarine.

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Labradorite and Green Opals.

:)

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Oh, and here is that wonderful soliloquy.

To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep—
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveler returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia. Nymph, in all thy Orisons
Be thou all my sins remembered.

William Shakespeare – Hamlet.

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I’m going to have to get Kenneth Branagh out of the draw now.

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Here’s to a new week.

I start at the assisted ministry today. I’ve been put down for answering the phones which kind of worries me a bit. I have to keep reminding myself that of course I don’t know what happens there and won’t be able to help anyone at all that’s unfortunate enough to get my line.

But that’s o.k.

I didn’t want to work in the shop as I don’t want to have to look at all of the stuff I’ve donated. I might have withdrawal and need to grab it all and bring it home again, and that would be disastrous.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

-

Thanks to Vicki I settled on Heifer International. You can see my progress HERE

I’m getting excited. Only $1300 to go until I can set my new goal.

I know I can set it now, but I can’t overwhelm myself all at once.

And finally a new experiment.

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Look at that copper.

Yum.

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Which is funny as it sounds like it should have smoke and explosions.

Oh well.

I’m liking the copper and brass. The silver is a tad boring. I also worry about the weight of my necklaces. I like them to have a good feel, not thin and flimsy.

Still not sure if I like them enough to bother with them.

I’ve been working on my website. I waver continually with whether to bother with it as I have Etsy, but I so want to feel like a real boy.

Pinocchio_3ak

Not going to think about it now. I’m going to answer those phones, get some groceries, and then think about the meaning of it all.

-

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My dog is deaf, and other stories.

Yeah.

It’s sad.

Willow is finally hearless, which is decidedly better than headless as the autocorrect preferred.

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Here she is ignoring Wally because Wally can still hear. And Wally is covering his face with the boredom of it all.

Wally can be a bit dismissive that way.

Poor Willow.

I think she’s depressed.

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In other news.

There’s a new mug in town.

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I love it.

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The tea tastes good in it, although the cup is a bit too chunky for a truly exceptional drinking experience.

Tea should occupy a more refined vessel, in my opinion. Not necessarily bone china and roses you understand, but a little less of a heavy handle would have done wonders. And the black interior is a little,

well, black.

But it is a really nice cup and I like looking at it, and the added bonus here is that it likes looking back at me.

Albeit a tad critically.

I shall call it my, Oh, so you think that’s going to work do you!, mug.

See more of Steve Hansen’s work – HERE.

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I’ve only been in the studio twice since my family left.

Bit down in the dumps.

But!

I have been sorting through a life time of stuff which has been lurking in the dark places.

Good night Louise! You turn your back for twenty five years and what happens.

Stuff everywhere!

Actually not just in the dark places. In plain sight also.

Very daring.

Well now it’s gone. A lot of it anyway. I’ve still got the upstairs to do, but I have been ruthless and it feels good.

In fact I had to catch myself sometimes and remember that I didn’t have to give it all away. I could keep some things back for myself and not get so carried away.

I sort of went into a trance like, lets get rid of it all, mwahahaha, state, which was getting a little despotic.

I managed to catch myself in time before the silver went out with the old clothes however.

Whew.

Actually, I haven’t got any silver, except for some cutlery, and that’s only plated. Still what would we have done at Christmas.

Good save I say.

The assisted ministry place spurred me into action. Almost a third of my house now resides in their resale shop.

O.K. maybe a third of a third of a third, but anyway, a lot.

And this morning I go for orientation to begin volunteering there, but I think it wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that before I actually start the world would have most likely killed itself and turned half its cities into rubble.

So maybe I should just stay home and drink some more tea.

Nah.

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Yesterday’s offerings.

Actually I made these on Monday because I was having trouble getting into the swing of things again.

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Just some simple little lovelies to get me going.

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Then of course there was the riveting.

But when it came down to it I just wasn’t up for another bash at it so soon.

So I finished this instead.

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After that I went over to the painting area and worked a bit more on this.

IMG_3398

But quite frankly I think I’ve lost my umph.

Robin Williams has made me sad.

I told P he should retire before we get to be old which will be tomorrow if things keep going the way they are.

But he said no, which kind of put me out a bit.

He said he’d be bored.

I told him that was a shame as there were loads of fish waiting for him to not catch.

He still said no.

I think he might be trapped in the wrong cycle of life.

-

Shake it off girl there’s the world to save today and you can’t be moping.

I’ve made another thousand and am in the process of deciding where it should go, but I’m thinking that I should just start sending it to happier places.

Heifer International is a happier place. Oxfam, Care, etc. are getting to be too overwhelming for me, and I don’t really know how it will all stop.

I talked to P about it, and we thought that maybe we should let the governments get on with giving aid to these war-torn places, and perhaps just concentrate on helping people out through giving them the resources such as Heifer has to offer.

I don’t know, how do yo choose between horrible and horrible.

What with that and Robin Williams I might just have to stay in bed today.

Nope.

Shan’t.

Somebody’s got to get a handle on the riveting dilemma.

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A little Monday riveting.

Yesterday I decided to practice my riveting

I’ve only ever done it once before so I thought it was high time to give it another go.

I call this.

The Lots and Lots of Rivets Bracelet.

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And just in case you’d like to practice your own riveting

Here’s the How To.

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First up you will need to make the jump rings.

I used 14 gauge sterling silver wire and made my rings on the #9 mandrel. You can use any jump ring mandrel around 9 ish mm, or whatever size really. Just adjust the gauge of the metal if you use smaller links otherwise working the metal won’t be as manageable.

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Wrap the rings in tape to hold them together as you use your jewelry saw to separate them.

Although you can use your wire cutters, sawing gives the rings a nice flat cut. If you choose to use your wires cutters turning the flat side of the cutters for each cut ensures that the inside of the rings have flush ends.

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Pull the rings apart.

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And hammer the ends flat.

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But don’t do this.

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Because it really hurts.

Now reshape the rings around a pair of round nose pliers.

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Making sure that the ends overlap enough to drill a hole through both ends.

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After using your center punch to place a guide dimple in the flattened end, use a ring holder or pair of old pliers to hold the ring in place while you drill the hole.

The metal can get very hot when you are drilling it and can easily be whipped away from your hand. Holding small pieces of metal this way is much safer and you’ll be less likely to lose an eye.

IMG_3428

Now clean up the ends.

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You will need to make around 21 of these for a 7 1/2 ” bracelet.

Next take some 19 gauge sterling silver wire and make a small ball at one end with your torch.

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Thread the wire through the drilled hole and through this nifty rivet making thingy which you can find – HERE. and gently tap the top of the ball with your hammer to flatten.

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Cut the wire about a quarter inch proud.

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And ball this end up also.

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This is a bad photograph, but if you gently heat the wire from below it will eventually ball up.

Promise.

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Cut half of the ball off and then hammer this side to flatten the rivet.

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Note: This is not how I was taught to make rivets so really I’m cheating a bit here.

To make a ‘proper’ rivet, or at least the way I was taught, is to thread a piece of wire through a hole which has been made using a drill bit that matches the gauge of the wire you are using. Cut the wire a millimeter or so proud either side of the piece of metal to be riveted, and use your riveting hammer to alternate hammering the ends flat.

If done correctly this spreads the metal out and over the edges of the drill hole thereby securing the two pieces of metal you want to join.

It should produce a clean, round ended rivet.

Here’s a nice little you tube tutorial just on riveting – HERE.

This is what I wanted to practice so don’t ask me why I didn’t.

So back to my way.

Now make it some friends.

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And find it a clasp.

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And voilà.

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Your lots and lots of rivets bracelet.

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And with some left overs.

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A handy pair of earrings.

:)

I wasn’t particularly happy with my rivets as I thought they were a bit clumsy. I’m also disappointed that I hadn’t made the rivets the way I was taught although I had specifically wanted to do this, so, I shall be out there again today to practice some more.

Maybe not on a whole bracelet as I immediately made another one trying a different approach as soon as I decided that I didn’t like the rivets on the first one.

Yet

I still didn’t do it the way I had first intended.

I know.

Don’t question me.

This time I used a thinner gauge wire (16 gauge) on the #8 mandrel, and instead of hammering the balled ends I just left them as part of the design.

I cut and bent half-inch lengths of 20 gauge wire which I then thread through the holes and balled up at the same time.

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It needs a little more cleaning, but now I’m not sure about this one either.

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All in all a hard day at the office I’d say, but only one injury so it can’t be all bad.

Today I leave you as I venture once more into the fray. If you don’t hear from me again I will have most likely hammered myself into oblivion.

It was nice knowing you all.

-

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The decluttering of a lifetime.

I’ve not been in the studio much this week.

Instead, I have touched everything in my bathroom and closet.

It was long overdue

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If you remember I went to the assisted ministries to offer to volunteer – which led to a little melt down on my part.

Well after a couple of nights of lost of sleep, and an hour and half of therapy, you’ll be pleased to hear that I’m over it now.

So.

I went on their tour and was really quite impressed with what they have to offer.

First up is the food bank, then the donation area and the resale shop. After that is the counseling room where people are assessed for the help they need and given vouchers for the food bank and the resale shop. Next is the job center, and finally the place where people can go to get help with taking their G.E.D., and help with their english.

The first stop on the tour was the donation area, and I have to say that I was immediately put off. Like, eww, put off. Enough to say that I almost had another melt down but thankfully managed to put it on hold while we continued on the tour.

The resale shop really surprised me however.

Everything was clean, and orderly, and very, very inexpensive, and what I liked most was that the clients that were issued with the vouchers, got the things that they needed free of charge. I always wondered about that at places like Goodwill, etc..

I’d already seen the area where the clients went for help when I accidentally went through the wrong door to sign up to volunteer, but I was surprised to find a job center in the next room. I asked about their success rate and was told that every person that went through their system ended up with a job. Maybe they would have said that anyway, but …

Anyway, I was quite impressed with how they were helping a person get on their feet in all aspects of their life, not just by giving out food etc, and you’ll be relieved to know that the potential melt down was almost gone by the time I got home, and instead I was galvanized into taking action.

Decluttering action.

I prefer to refer to myself as a collector of things rather than a hoarder, but whichever way you look at it I’ve always found the prospect of sorting out all of my stuff quite overwhelming.

But now, my new mission is to touch everything I own.

Literally.

So I started with my closet and the bathroom.

I threw away anything with a hole or a stain (however small) because I decided if I wouldn’t wear it myself why should I expect others to wear it. I was pretty ruthless about keeping only those things that I knew I would wear, and I washed and folded all the other items and took them to the ministry.

After seeing the junk in the donating room I promised myself that I wouldn’t use the ministry, or Goodwill, ever again as a dump for anything I didn’t want. It had to be a good, solid item. The people in the ministry go through everything they get. They throw away every item that is not suitable and this is all picked up by a recycling unit which pays them for it. Probably not much, but hey.

They count every jigsaw piece, make sure all the toys are clean, and games complete. Check out that every electronic item works, every piece of furniture is clean, and everything else goes to recycling. So I wasn’t going to burden them with having to work that hard on my donations.

And it feels good.

My closet has never looked so organized and free of stuff that I know I’ll never use, even if it did still have the tag on it. Every toiletry item that I haven’t used, and won’t use, has now gone to a better place.

And man, it only took 3 bags of good clothing, 1 bag of shoes, 1/2 bag of handbags. 1 box of toiletries, 1 box of lightly used gift bags and wrapping paper, 3 suitcases we can’t use now because they’re not T.S.A. approved anymore, and 2 boxes of books which have been stored in my closet for over a year now because I didn’t know what to do with them.

Yes, we have a huge closet.

(I’m not going to tell you about the three bags of trash that also went out of the door as that would be a bit embarrassing.)

Now, I’m onto the bedroom and 4 boxes of books have already gone out the back door.

Now, although I prefer the assisted ministries shop I did have to give Goodwill two of the boxes as I didn’t think the ministry would want all of my, does god really exist, and psych books.

Better safe than sorry.

Wouldn’t want them to think I was one of those nasty atheist now would we ;)

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