Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twists and turns - wire jewelry

In addition to catching up on my reading, I've also been crafting away during these cold winter days.  Most recently I was commissioned by my aunt to make some earrings for her to give to my cousin for her birthday.  It was a little different, and slightly more nerve-wracking, than my usual leisurely experimentation, but I was fairly pleased with the results and - unless they're just being nice - my aunt and cousin were happy with them too.

For these, I twisted some type of silver artistic wire around a tube to get the shape.  Purple is my cousin's favorite color, so I added two purple beads at the bottom.

Here I twisted larger gauge silver-coated copper wire into this sort of treble clef shape, then flattened and texturized them with a hammer.

These were made with artist's coated copper wire and some bead findings.

I'm toying with the idea of opening an Etsy store but before I can seriously consider it I need to perfect this wirework, which is totally new to me, make more items to actually put in a store, and learn to take proper photos of it all.  In the meantime, I'll keep doing stuff for the fun of it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter reading

How does one endure record-breaking winter temperatures when one hates winter?  By reading, of course!  Brian and I have both kept our noses buried in books as December and January have slowly passed.  What have I been reading?

The Curse of the Pharoahs  by Elizabeth Peters.  The second in the Amelia Peabody series.  I adore these books and am kicking myself for taking so long to discover them.

Amazonia and Ice Hunt  by James Rollins.  These books are good fun for those who like a scientific bent to their adventure.

The Amber Room by Steve Berry.  I didn't enjoy this one very much.  Brian tells me the author's second book is much better so I will give him another chance.

Morality for Beautiful Girls and Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith.  These are the 3rd and 4th books in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.  Words cannot express how dear these books are to me.  They are like a warm cup of tea on a cold day.  A sunny day on the beach.  A ride on a classic rollercoaster.  I just love them and cherish every charming word of them.

Next on my reading list....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January is over!

It may seem like a strange thing to wish away an entire month when you've just turned forty years old and time may start to seem a bit more precious.  However, considering the nature of this January, it was time that seemed less precious than, shall we say, torturous.  As most of you are aware, we did not leave for Florida at the end of hurricane season as we had intended, which is just as well considering that Vero Beach, our eventual destination, has had lows in the 30's and our boat has no method of heating.  Since Brian and I start shivering violently if the temperature dips much below 75 degrees we would have been some very miserable boaters indeed.

So why are we still in North Carolina and what have we been doing?  There are two primary reasons for our rather anticlimactic non-departure.  First, my grandfather was hospitalized in October and passed away in early December so we have been spending a lot of time with family recently.  Then there is the boat.

It turns out there is a great deal more to be done to the boat before we can even go as far as Florida and, frankly, after this winter Florida doesn't seem quite far enough south for us.  The ever-growing list of boat tasks is a bit daunting, but here is a sampling, just to give you an idea:

  • Plan and install a completely new electrical system, including batteries, wiring, solar panels and wind generator.
  • Get safety equipment such as an EPIRB and a seriously good life jacket and safety tether for me.
  • Scrape and paint the bottom of the boat.
  • Purchase an induction cooktop.
  • Find and fix all leaks (there is at least one bad one in the berth that results in a puddle of water on the floor).
  • Acquire new LED navigation lights.
  • Mark the boat for the Coast Guard.  Kozmik Kaos is documented with the Coast Guard and we are required to display the documentation number on the interior of the boat.  The boat name and hailing port must be displayed on some visible part of the hull and, like all of this, we will be doing this work ourselves.
  • Determine how we will access the Internet while cruising and, well, purchase the equipment for said access.
  • I would also add "purchase fans" because now our intent is to be ready to leave sometime in the spring and forget Florida and head straight for the Bahamas.  Florida is just too darn cold in the winter!
There is also the matter of the ceiling of the boat.  I may have already spent time whining about the carpet that one of the previous owners installed on the ceiling.  It was old and partly falling down, not to mention a color that was less than appealing to both of us.  So we removed it in October.  What do you think is on the ceiling now?  That's right.  Glue.  Very, very, very strong, old, stubborn, nasty glue.  This glue has practically become one with the fiberglass.  I think they are engaged.  We have spent more time worrying over this glue than many of our government officials spend making important political decisions and have had just about as much success.  We have Googled it.  We have consulted with the wonderful people at our local Home Depot.  And the folks at Lowes.  We have tried various methods of removal including citrus-based cleaning products, a special kind of Krud Kutter, sunblock and vegetable oil.  Believe it or not, guess which has worked the best?  SUNBLOCK!  Actually, I don't want to be misleading.  I think the Krud Kutter and the sunblock have worked equally well.  Neither is the magical solution we were wishing for however.  You don't smear on the sunblock and then sit back with a cocktail to watch the glue miraculously peel off the ceiling.  No, it still requires the scraping of minute bits of glue with your fingernail.  Brian has done a respectable job of removing a lot of it in the berth, where it was crumbling down on the area where our mattress will go, but it is a long, tedious process and far from over.

We kind of abandoned Kozmik Kaos to visit family in December.  When we returned to Shallotte we had to continually doctor the plumbing in the trailer we are staying in due to the record low temperatures.  Not to mention that we both tend to go into hibernation mode when it is so cold.  We are really just now getting back into boat mode, which is a good feeling.  More normal temperatures have done much to improve our outlook, not to mention that we are spending time in an oceanfront condo with my parental units right now.  The water isn't as warm or as blue as we'd hoped to see at this time but it is still our beloved ocean and its blue horizon urges us on with our planning.