And the winner is…

O.k so it’s not a winner exactly, but I felt that since we had talked about the chain I’m still impressed with myself for making, that it’s something of a big reveal to show you what I did with it.

And so, without further ado,

Open the curtains please…

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The Bracelet.

Dah daaah.

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Lol

Bit of a let down really.

Made myself chuckle though.

And

Just because I like you, here’s a new link.

Take a manageable length of 16 gauge sterling silver wire and hammer it flat and file the end.

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Now make a small curve with your round nose pliers at the flattened end.

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Still using your round nose pliers shape the wire into a link so that the small curve is on the inside.

As you close up the link push the wire past the end it’s to be soldered to so that when you wiggle it back into place the ends of the wire will be touching.

Annoying I know, but the two ends have to touch to solder.

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As you form the link match it to a master link.

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This way you’ll always be checking it against the same size and it will be easier to keep them consistent.

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Now cut the link from the remaining wire

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And make it a couple of friends.

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When you have as many as you need pick solder the ends together.

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With just the tiniest pieces of solder.

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Now trim them and file the ends smooth.

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And join them together with a soldered jump ring.

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Then you can go to town with making another bracelet.

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Because you’re on a roll.

:)

Sorry that a few of the photo’s are bad quality, but you get the drift.


O.K. So while I’ve been gone…

Nothing what so ever has happened!

It’s just been a weird month that plugged into my hypochondriacal, so I’m going to die now am I, self, which only stopped yesterday afternoon.

Nope it wasn’t big.

Loads of people go through it.

BUT

I didn’t like it and I felt really really sorry for myself and really really annoyed that I was feeling sorry for myself and everything screeched to a stop as I planned for how I was going to react to my biopsy being positive.

Told you.

Hypochondriac.

Actually my doctor said that she had seen hypochondriacs and that I wasn’t one, but I’m pretty good at hiding my secret life of health anxiety so she didn’t know that I had already planned my funeral and given away all of my jewelry tools.

(Penny, you would have hit the jackpot! Especially as my imminent death didn’t stop me from buying more.)

Sooooo,

That’s about it folks.

I made it.

I’m still here.

And now that’s over I’m going to take my jewelry to the next level.

Again.

In other new.

My dad’s here so that has also slowed down my days.

But I did manage to finish a piece for Leslie.

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Blue Opal and Ocean Jasper

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Back

 I’ve also finished a second piece for Leslie to consider, but I don’t like it and can’t concentrate as much as I would like to at the moment on making something better.

And before dad arrived I made a chain.

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My first.

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And I was pretty darn pleased with myself.

I started on a double one, but got the gauge wrong and haven’t been able to start another yet.

If you want to make chains this is a really good dvd.

And they’re really not as fiddly as you think they’re going to be.

Of course I haven’t got on to the triple double o.m.g. one yet so I’ll have to get back to you on that.

Throughout my trauma Spud has slept.

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Without a care in the world.

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Just to rub it in.

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But I still love her.

Even though I had to restock on phone charging wires and computer leads.

She doesn’t discriminate. P’s leads are as much in danger as mine.

And she comes onto the bed at all hours of the night when she decides she needs to spend a couple of hours purring next to a human head at decibels exceeding those made by a pneumatic drill.

It’s all good.

And finally, to all of my cyber friends who need a boost.

I have found our new motto…

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May all your s#@* be amazing…


A Cautionary Tale…

So short story long, I had surgery on Tuesday.

Just a small one concerning those parts of the body that an old grandma might refer to as the ‘unmentionable’ bits.

It was nothing EXCEPT that I had to sign my life away, have HALF the blood drained out of me, have an EKG AND a chest x-ray, AND was asked if I have a living will and, just to make me feel really good, would I like to have the chaplain visit me…

These people obviously didn’t know I’m a hypochondriac.

On top of that I had the added pleasure of paying thousands of dollars for the privilege.

We’re lucky to have care when we need it, but how on earth do people manage if they haven’t got thousands.

All the people in the hospital, except the mean looking desk lady who didn’t know how to smile, were really nice.

Not that I felt like hanging around or anything,

but really nice.

I got to wear the long white victorian tights, the puffy purple gown with the vacuum pipe attachment, and that nice deli counter cap.

Why can’t they just put that thing on you when you’re not looking? I mean, they do everything else while you’re sleeping…

I didn’t want to go and don’t mind telling you that I felt very sorry for myself.

I had to toss up between going in to hospital for a couple of hours with living in one of George Martin’s books or turning myself in for a fifteen month prison sentence – voluntarily.

We’ve just started to watch Orange is the New Black. Not sure that I like it, but it certainly came in handy for weighing up my options.

As for George Martin. What the hell’s going on in The Game of Thrones anyway.

All you get is the boy who can’t walk being dragged around in his little caddie chair and dreaming about crows and doing his eye rolling thing. I don’t know where he thinks he’s going. I don’t think he knows either. The tall soldier lady dragging around her one handed captive. Stark’s ward sniveling like a little boy in the corner and not doing anything to help out anyone. O.K. so I know he was tortured, but get a grip man! The oldest daughter just sulks around in fine dresses. The youngest daughter stabs anyone she can get her hands on with her little sword and looks like she smells bad. And dragon lady just wanders around messing in other people’s affairs and generally not really doing much but looking pretty. John Snow just is, and the poor half crusty girl has to sit in her little dungeon room all day reading books.

I only like the dwarf.

Now we have to wait until we get to watch season 6 and I will have forgotten everything that happened and why it happened so none of this will matter anyway.

But with all these options available to me surgery was the least worrying.

Except it messed with my brain man…

And when my brain gets messed with it thinks that this

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amazonite

Is the same size as this.

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charoite

But it’s not.

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And now you have enough big beautiful blue/green rock to make more cabochons than you can count on two hands, which is roughly about one hand too many.

But, I did get a gift.

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rose quartz

Because the nice rock man probably knew my brain was a mess.

IMG_6313Oh well.

Could have been worse.

It has got to the point where I daren’t let P into the studio anymore.

If he knew the extent of my (let’s call it) habit I might end up needing surgery on more than my unmentionables.

In other news:

Spud is a nightmare and likes to use Pickles as a spring board to elevate herself to higher levels. Fortunately Pickles is so fat that she doesn’t even know this is happening.

The 100 day project stopped for a couple of days because of Tuesday and the whole brain short circuiting thing, but should be up and running again soon.

I dropped my laptop (again) and now it likes to do its own thing even though I press all of its buttons.

Probably because I press all of its buttons.

And I’ve made a few pieces of jewelry including this

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Pickhandle Turquoise

And these.

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Flower Jasper

And I’m just now starting another pendant with one of my new favourite stones.

Willow Jasper

Carrasite Jasper

That’s if I manage to get off the sofa today.

;)


Another quickie…

For anyone out there who would like a comprehensive tutorial on prong setting, bezel setting, and flush setting faceted stones, Ann Cahoon has one of the better demonstrations I’ve watched.

You can download it to watch immediately or purchase the dvd.

HERE

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Enjoy.

Actually they have a lot of good dvd’s.

And here’s another piece I’ve just finished because I know you were wondering.

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Silver Onyx and Charoite.

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I’ve decided that my next pieces will concentrate on finishing and polishing.

Jane I know you asked, but I’m really not that good at it.

For the pieces I make with the leaves I simply buff the hell out of them using one of these

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These

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And these.

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The bottom two make it easier to reach into the nooks and crevasses.

You can also use fine sandpaper.

I know steel wool will work also, but I threw mine away because it hurts.

All those tiny slithers of steel get into your skin and even if you wear gloves there are still stragglers on your bench etc..

They really hurt.

I know, I’m a weeny.

I actually find it very hard to finish my pieces.

My journey to correct this starts now…

stay tuned.

When I get frustrated I take it out on a perfectly innocent canvas.

Sorry canvas.

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As you all may know by now I start a lot of paintings, but rarely finish any of them.

I’ve decided not to let it bother me and just enjoy the flow.

Perhaps I’ll get to  finish this one as I’m pretty sure my acetylene is going to run out at any minute and I won’t be able to replace the tank until later next week.

Will I be able to make it…

dum dum dummm…..


I prefer stone collector to addict…

I’ve spoken about my cabochon habit before, but today I thought I’d fess up.

They do say that admitting it is the first step to recovery.

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Ocean Jasper

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African Green Opal, Labradorite, Chalcedony, and some strange pieces at the bottom.

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A mixture of odd yummies

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Some Prudent Man, Ruby things, and other lovelies.

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This is the chrysoprase, chrysocolla, gaspeite, and shattuckite page with a few odd ones sneaking in.

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Crazy Lace

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Things I don’t know what to do with

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Serpentine, blue opal, petrified wood and larimar.

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Red Creek Jasper, Sonoran Dendrite, and a few of their friends.

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The turquoise page, although I think a crysocolla has sneaked in when I wasn’t looking.

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Fossilized Coral

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And, of course, the brecciated mookite page, with some phoychromed something or others, a couple of willow jaspers?, and two stones that don’t know why I bought them.

Don’t judge me.

They actually are more beautiful that the photo’s give them credit for. The colours didn’t come out well.

I took them so that I could keep an eye on what they’re doing and print them out to design around.

Somehow I’ve got to set them before P sends the van to take me away.

I did make some pieces recently that I didn’t show you.

One of the custom pieces.

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Imperial Jasper

Which was followed by his friend who didn’t want to be left out.

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The friend

And I started another painting.

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In other news.

Spud is causing as much trouble as she possibly can.

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Except when she’s so tired she just has to fall asleep wherever she happens to be.

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Here she is at the vets

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And this is what she thought about it.

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I think she’s actually been sent here to cure me of my need for material things as she and Nutmeg continually race back and forth until all my things get broken.

And all my computer and phone wires get chewed through.

And all of my skin gets ripped off.

And my sleep is interrupted by sporadic pounces.

Darn cute kittens…


And now…

I’m going to share with you my latest adventure into jewelry making where I seemed to have fire scaled the living daylights out of an innocent piece of silver…

I have to tell you the truth, up until now I hadn’t given much thought to fire scale.

I’d heard the word bandied around the jewelry channels often enough and yet, as with many things that cross my path, I didn’t think they were talking to me.

Those colourful papers with school activities and happenings would come home from school in the kid’s backpacks and I would just put them aside thinking they were meant for other mums.

Until I missed the event and wondered why no-one told me.

Yep. That’s the world I live in.

I think it’s called dissociative.

I call it happily going on my way and ignoring the stuff I don’t want to deal with.

Like fire scale.

Then, as I was making my latest piece, I was taken by how beautiful a piece of silver was that I had just soldered.

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I mean, look at it.

And I was wondering if I could make a piece and somehow protect this finish.

But I believed it was just the flux having a field day with the heat and that it would just come off in the pickle.

Actually, I haven’t pickled that piece yet, so I still don’t really know.

Ah, the wonders of experiment.

Anyhow, somewhere in the back of my head the word ‘fire scale’ started to wake up, and now I think that’s what it might be.

Here’s a good article on fire scale.

So onto my latest piece.

Which might bore some of you because it’s pretty much like all of my latest pieces.

I bought a nice piece of Peruvian Blue Opal from Shirl.

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I didn’t like the shape, but I liked the stone.

So I had a few drawings hanging around and decided to make one…

or two…

You know how it is.

First up I re-cut the stone to fit my design and polished it through all of the grits of the Jool Tool.

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I do like how I can now adapt stones I’ve already bought, and for that I think the Jool Tool is worth it for me.

So here it is in its sketch.

I’m kind of over the big leaf design, but for some reason here’s another.

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I made the opal, and it’s friend, a collar.

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But felt that to just solder this onto a sheet of silver wouldn’t look good as it needed some more substance.

So I rolled out one of my silver pancakes that I’d melted down from my scraps.

Because I wanted chunky.

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Decided where I wanted the dimension.

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Used that sticky film paper

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To cut out the shape.

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And then decided it needed to be stamped.

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I then soldered the collar onto it.

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And that’s when that beautiful surface design happened.

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The back didn’t look quite as good though.

That must be the copper coming to the surface.

Still kind of interesting though.

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Because I wanted the stone to sit down further into the design I then cut the inside out of the bezel.

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This also reduced the weight of the piece.

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I try to saw as close to the inside edge as I can otherwise I’ll spend a lot of time filing away the excess.

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I want the stone to pass easily through to the bottom.

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Next I tidy up the edges of the bezel where the stamping may have distorted the shape and see how it looks on the sketch.

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Now I solder it onto its new back plate, which is 22 gauge silver sheet, making sure to leave enough room around it to be able to give it a ‘step’.

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Here it is trimmed to its final outline.

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And now a much needed chip break.

I don’t usually eat them, but S brought me in some.

I think just to make sure I was still on the property.

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You can see from the last photo (above the crisps) that I have traced a line around the inside of the bezel where I want the collar to fit against the stone.

I now also decide on the design I would like to put on the back.

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I draw it onto the inside of the bezel because it’s easier to saw it out this way. I also always use a sharpie pen because I find that pencil rubs away as I’m sawing and so I lose the shape.

I don’t cut it out before I solder the first part of the bezel onto it because I want to make sure the design is exactly where I want it to be.

I drill the holes.

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And cut it out.

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And at the same time cut away and file the extra from the height of the bezel collar.

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As you can see above I’ve already cut out the leaf shapes.

You can snip them out of scraps, but here I’ve used my saw as I haven’t got any scraps left.

They’re all repurposed pancakes now.

Oh well, live and learn.

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Then I put them onto the sticky tape and use my chasing tool from Larry to make a leaf design.

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Which I then solder onto lengths of 20 gauge wire.

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I cut a length of 16 gauge wire for the main stem and soldered it onto the top of the bezel.

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I then filed down the excess back plate to follow the curve of the stem.

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And checked it on the sketch.

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I wrapped the leaves around the main stem and soldered them onto it.

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I do this very gently.

I move my torch in and out of the piece that I want to solder, all the time watching the surrounding area.

With practice you can see when another part is going to melt and so then I will quickly take my torch away, then bring it back in again slowly.

Depending on how many different solder points I have sometimes I will do this in batches in-between pickling the piece.

This is because often, before I can get to a different solder point, the flux has become grubby and the solder won’t flow so I can just manage three or four points at a time.

I just have to be patient (not easy for me) and go into my zen place.

If you are going to try this know that it is possible and just takes practice.

I only use easy solder for all of my joins from the beginning to the end of the whole piece and I am able to do it so keep at it.

:)

I added some balls then pickled and sanded it, bringing it to its pre-finished state. Trying to get all of the excess solder and my new friend, fire scale, off and then I smothered it in Black Max.

Because I like to live dangerously.

Oh, and I decided on that little ball thing hanging from the bottom.

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I buffed it a little bit and then set the stone.

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I prefer to use the bezel roller.

I started with the square pusher thing, and did find that easier at first, but I like the smoothness of the roller.

It’s worth practicing with if you can take the pain of constantly pushing it into your fingers when you begin.

And voilà.

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Yet another viney, leafy piece.

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I really need to get some new designs going.

BTW

If you read the Ganoksin article on fire scale (linked above) you will have read this line.

“Traditional polishing apprenticeships lasted from three to five years”

No wonder I find the polishing part the hardest.

Aint got no time for five years though so I’m just going to have to keep on winging it…


A hundred days of what?

I came across the 100 day project and thought why not.

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Trouble is I didn’t know what I’d want to do for a hundred days.

I’m not usually up for challenges as I believe they are set ups for failure, but I thought, hey, I might give this one a go.

So I decided I could either:

1. Make a piece of jewelry every day, but as I pretty much do that already it kind of seemed a bit like cheating.

2. Clean a little part of the house every day… Nah. Don’t think so.

3. Stop drinking wine for a hundred days.

That would definitely be a set up for failure.

4. Take a photograph.

5. paint a picture.

6. Create a doodle.

Etc., etc., etc…

I could do all of these things, but my dad’s coming to visit within the hundred day period, and my sister, and I don’t want to take up my time with them. It would have to be something I can do that doesn’t mean going into the isolation tank for long periods of time.

And, of course, number 2 would just about do me in and that wouldn’t be fair to my visitors, or to me.

So I chose Cornelius.

Remember?

My little botanical book?

Titled.

The Ledgers Ledgend of  Cornelius Audenberry III.

Intrepid Explorer and Royal Botanist to HRH Significanta Regina, Queen of Spry.

I started it when I was creating a run of triffid paintings.

HERE

Of which, you can be assured, there are many more.

And of course each triffid begged for a story.

Well, o.k. they didn’t actually beg, but rather was given one whether they liked it or not.

And so began Cornelius’ adventures to document the wildly fantastic flora of the Copstan Islands.

Of course his voyage on the Encumbrance had to be postponed due to his narrator taking all of the time she could be writing making jewelry instead, and whining about the house keeping, so to Cornelius the 100 day project seems to be a brilliant idea.

(Or not)

And one that I can easily do when my dad and sister come.

At first I thought I’d give myself a word or page goal for each day then I realized that I really just needed to write anything and not worry about giving myself rules.

So today is day four.

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And I’ve already discovered a new member of the crew.

Who knew!

I usually get caught up in grammar and spelling and reorganizing the words, but this time I am simple writing it down.

One day at a time.

Other news.

Here’s a picture I’m working on because I was getting a little bored with the jewelry.

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It’s got nothing to do with Cornelius as this is an entirely different world which he hasn’t discovered yet.

And a necklace.

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#the100dayproject


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