Wheels & Things

 

This morning, when I opened up my email, I got an interesting come-on from the car dealership I bought one of my last cars from:

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Well, this is just fabulous.  I can get a newer car!

Currently, I drive what can only be called a ‘beater.’  My Honda CR-V just reached its majority…at 18 years old, it can now vote, buy cigarettes, enlist and die for its country, and drive itself.  It still can’t buy alcohol, which is a good thing, because I don’t think the world is ready for drunk-self-driving cars yet.

AND I can get a $500.00 gift card.  I know damn good and well they can’t lower my payment, because I own the car outright.  Unless they’re willing to PAY me to take a new(er) vehicle off their lot, they can’t go any lower than what I’m already paying per month to finance my car ^_^

 

Think I should try it?

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First World Artist Problems

So…I had a thing happen on Etsy today.

 

I listed out my stainless steel dodecahedron July of 2016.  It languished on the site, got some views, some favorites, but never attracted a buyer.  I priced it higher than most of the goodies on my store for a couple of reasons.

  1. It’s 16 gauge stainless steel rings.  A LOT of them.
  2. Stainless is a right royal bitch to work with.  It fights (and sometimes BITES) back.
  3. It took several hours of hard work time.  It also spent some time languishing in the “what…how…am I doing this RIGHT???” project pile on a corner of my desk.  While there IS a tutorial on M.A.I.L., it’s one of the very scaled down ones, and didn’t offer much help besides: just study the form, it should be easy…
  4. It wasn’t.
  5. It was proceeded by older brothers who never really got past the ‘well, THAT didn’t work’ pile, and got deconstructed.
  6. It was the first time I EVER successfully completed a 3D form.

 

Early this morning, someone bought my ball.

I’m kinda on the fence with this one.  On one hand, I’m happy that someone appreciates sculptural forms enough to purchase one from me…but on the other hand….

it’s kinda like selling my first born.

Once I got over the sentiment, I wrapped him up in paper and a box, plastic on the outside of that box, more stuffing and a bigger box, which I then taped the living hell out of.  He’ll make it, as safely as I can make it, all the way to California.

I even hugged the box for good measure…

My toys travel farther than I do 😀

Life’s Just Ducky

It was a good weekend here in the frozen wastelands of Wisconsin.

First…it wasn’t FROZEN.  Saturday, with the sunshine, lack of wind, and Mother Nature having a hot flash, we saw temps raise above 50.

It.  Was.  WARM.

So I did what any self-respecting Wisconsinite did.  I went for a walk, to enjoy this breath of non-frozen fresh air…because it ain’t gonna last.

I did a good 2 miles, and got to speak with a portion of the river I haven’t had the opportunity to visit with since it got cold.

Jan 2018 river

I also played with a new weave called Borealis. (The chainmaille ‘purists’ out there in the world call it ‘True Aura Sheet,’ but I don’t believe in being that formal.)  It’s a weave I’ve drooled over for quite a bit.  And, because it’s a weave with a good write-up on the M.A.I.L. site, but no formal tutorial, my earlier attempts have ended up in the ‘Well, THAT didn’t work’ pile more often than not.

Because I was soooooo excited to get this weave in my head and hands…I tossed out three pieces.

A medallion, which was the first piece.  This ended up rigid and slightly cupped, so expanding it out farther is probably not possible without the weave physically locking up (the pattern simply tightens down so far that you can no longer ‘insert ring A in position B’).  BUT – what it ends up as is tantalizing.  I can see colors turning this piece into a real head-turner.

borealis pendant

After the initial weaving produced this cupped, round form, I tried with slightly different rings…and came up with this:

Borealis sphere stand

As you can see, I went the wrong way – the rings used in this form curled rather aggressively, and I only did a single ‘strand’ of the stuff.  It was quite easy to stitch the two ends together seamlessly, though…and it makes a wonderful, rigid circle, perfect as a display stand for circular objects of all sizes.

Which leads me to my third object:

1st rubber ducky

It’s a Chainmaille RUBBER DUCKY!

I gotta admit – this one was FUN.  Sculptural forms in maille are really where I live and breathe.  Granted, the form still needs a bit of work.  The head isn’t attached to the crest of the duck seamlessly – I gotta fix that.  The duck’s bill isn’t completely solid in the form, I gotta fix that, too.  And…I really want to add color to this guy, which carries it’s own laundry-list of troubles.

But is a rubber ducky made out of little metal rings still a RUBBER ducky?  Or just a very RubberDucky-ish form?

Mount Doom exists in Wisconsin

 

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It was cold.  It was dark….but it was NOT a stormy night.

Writers cliché avoided…

The air was crisp, as was the glistening sheen of hard-packed snow decorating the long-ish hill.  At the crest of this hump of frozen Earth milled a multitude of brightly-colored scarves, boots, hats, coats and mittens, each encasing a child excited to sit in a dull grey inner-tube and glide down the white expanse.

Tubing in Wisconsin in the 70’s was a very popular and social experience.

Off in the distance, campers and cars and buses dutifully sat in the parking lot, ready to warm their offward charges with hot chocolate, baked goods, and electric warmth once the heat of excitement was blown off the tube-ers by the breakneck velocities achieved by rubber gliding on ice propelled by gravity.

Baked goods were required for this event, as they were for most social gatherings in the 70’s in Wisconsin.  At this very moment my Mother was warming previously-frozen glazed donuts in our schoolbus-come-camper as Dad herded all 4 of us kids to the ticket booth.

Honestly, I think 8 year old me was more excited for the donuts… 

The ticket booth was a rough-wood shelter standing sentry between the hill and parking lot, offering more heat, additional baked goods, tube rentals, and a phone should summoning emergency personnel be necessary.

The excitement (as well as very fast-moving kids) covered the mountain, so thick you could smell it in the frosty air…although that could have been the exhaust from the tow rope mechanism.

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We were spoiled on this hill – we didn’t have to trudge up on foot, desperate to maintain balance while overloaded with a huge rubber tube…we got to go up in style, clinging to a thick and hairy rope which dragged us, sitting in our tubes, effortlessly up the summit.

 

Enter me…8 years old, and klutzy as hell.

The tow rope was coarse and rough and clingy.  It LOVED scarves and mittens the way I loved baked goods.  My scarf must have been extra tasty, because it was too busy eating it to let me get free of the rope once I’d made it all the way up to the top.

I banged into the safety rail at the top, screaming at the top of my lungs as I saw the huge pulley get its first taste of my red, white and blue knitted scarf…certain I was going to be sucked into the mechanism next.

America had just celebrated its bicentennial, and we were all kinda star-struck with patriotic-color fever.

Lucky for me, that safety rail, once jostled, stopped the rope’s incessant pull, and summoned the attendants at the top of the hill, who were well versed in extracting dangly bits of clothing from the gears.

It was probably bad for business (not to mention a social faux-pas) for the machinery to eat a small child.

A flurry of attendants descended on the howling me, one extracting me from my scarf, another extracting said scarf from the machinery, yet another lobbing my tubed-self out and away from the snacking rope into a fourth, who steadied the tube so I could climb out.  A fifth was given the knitwear and got me re-bundled, with the tow-rope treat now wrapped around my face and securely tucked inside my jacket.

The hill looked a LOT smaller from the bottom, and I have to admit, the courage (instilled in me by the goading of my older brother and sister) drained outta me like an over-full bladder at the MOUNTAIN of ice and rock I perched on the tip of – a wall of majestically plunging ravines and sharply up-thrusting spires threaded through the face of this Rocky Mountains wannabee of a hill.

I learned over-dramatization at a young age…

I sidestepped (VERY carefully) to the very end of the launch area, tube in tow, hoping that nobody would notice the little kid quietly questioning their sanity at deciding this death-drop into the jaws of oblivion sounded like fun.

Can we just skip ahead to the donuts in the bus, please???

The workers at the top of the hill must have experienced this hesitation in the youngsters before…because it wasn’t long before one of them stepped up to my quaking form.

“It’s fun…” she said.  “Let’s get you in the tube.”

She held the rubber ring-o-death firmly on the ground, steadying me as I hesitantly climbed aboard the vehicle of my destruction.

inner_tube_atb_scooter

Back in the day, we just had a big, rubber donut

You know, how now, when you go to an entertainment venue which incorporates big rubber tubes, the have handles built into the rubber so you can get a good grip?
Yea, those hadn’t been thought of yet in the 70’s.
The closest thing to a handle on this tube was the stem-bit sticking out of it so you could fill it with pressurized air.

I clung to that bit for dear life as the attendant shoved me into the void.

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I have no vivid recollection of the actual trip down the hill except for one long, unending wail of terror issuing from my throat, and a particularly large bump in the hillside which allowed me the thrill of going airborne in one direction while the tube took a different route.

 

Rolling, sliding, and flailing down an ice-covered hill in the dark of a cold, crisp night, surrounded on all sides by other kids breaking the sound barrier while safely encased in their rubber bumpers may be some masochistic person’s idea of a good time (and who am I to judge??), but I don’t share that sentiment.

Hours later, I came to a complete and total stop.
It felt like hours, thank you very much…
and found I’d survived my trip down the hill, more or less intact (bodily, yes, my pride, not so much).

My demonic, death-delivering transport ring drifted, almost gloatingly, about 20 yards away.  Now, it may have been the 20 pounds of finely-shaved ice crystals shoved in my ears by my cruel decent; it may have been the multiple contusions or the burgeoning concussion; it could even have been my heart beating so loudly in my chest they could hear it in the next county; but I will swear to this day I heard that sadistic rubber bladder giggling like thing gone mad.

 

I was SOOOOOOOOOO done with tubing.

 

I stalked over to the thing with all the strength of an indignant 8 year old.

Aimed a boot-and-snow covered foot at the thing.

Henceforth to be known as mistake number….ah….I think….I’ve lost count.  Mistake # whatever…

See…I’d forgotten one key element here.  My own personal cirque-de-sol-Satan, who had just finished tossing me off it’s back, had allies on this mountain.  And one was hurtling directly at my quaking, angry, threatening 8 year old form JUST as I aimed that kick.

Anybody get the licence number of that bus???

Ass over teakettle….again….and again…and again…  I got run over by a tube-er.

 

I was now REALLY done with tubing.  No amount of cajoling was getting me back up that mountain.

 

The only circles I saw from that point on in the evening were warm and bready, with lots of sugar-glaze.

doughnut1

 

 

Visions of a Celtic Bastard

 

Wow…that’s a weird title…

It’s also the name of a brand new – never before configured – chainmaille weave.

And I’m the one who did it  😀

insert bragging rights here…

See…I had an idea.

Yea…me & ideas.  Usually make the household run for the hills…

I’ve been playing with Celtic Visions, which is the core chain weave used to make those little flowers I’d been messing about with.

These…for a refresher…Single Unit

I took the flower form, and turned it into the balls I then gifted for the holiday.

Here…have a ball…

On Hook

And it’s also featured quite heavily in the holey grail/Tree of Life forms I’ve been developing…

Soooo…with this weave currently occupying the ‘hot seat’ in my head…

The muses LOVE to muck about with that hot seat stuff…

I really, REALLY wanted to sheet the weave.

‘Sheeting’ a weave, in chainmaille terminology, is when you add additional rows to a chain weave to make a larger-than-a-single-row chain of any chainmaille pattern.  Useful for making armor, belts, bags, and other sculptural elements out of little metal rings.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’ve got a rather large weakness for sculpture made outta those little metal rings…

 

So, with the Muses fully fueled with starches (well, it WAS the holidays, and I DID cheat more than just a bit on the Keto thing…) and pliers in hand, I started to play with the pattern.

BAM!!!!!!

1

 

Dutifully, I posted a shot of the weave on my chainmailler’s group on Facebook, looking for someone to ‘name’ the weave.   See…I figured if my logic strings wandered along these easy pathways, someone HAD to have configured this weave before, and I wanted to give it the proper name.

The enthusiasts I associate with in my group are big on keeping the names of patterns ‘pure.’  No sense in having a dozen names for the same damn weave, after all.  We often quote the website M.A.I.L. as the leading repository of weave names, descriptions, and a LOT of tutorials.

Imagine my surprise when I find out this new weave does NOT appear anywhere on the M.A.I.L. website….

That means I get to claim it and name it.

In my mind, calling it ‘Visions of a Celtic Bastard’ is perfect, because that’s essentially what I did – I bastardized the original Celtic Visions weave simply by dropping one ring out of the chain form, and stabilizing it once it spreads to a sheet form.

 

My chainmailler’s group has gone completely berserk over this new weave.  So far, I’ve had multiple deman…er…requests for a tutorial.  Someone wants to take the weave and make a ‘badass guitar strap,’ someone else has suggested it would make a fantastic watch band, and yet another wants to do a complete chainmaille vest outta the stuff.

So…if you don’t hear from me for a bit, I’m currently ‘chained’ to my computer, writing a how-to for a new weave.

 

At any rate…it’s purdy 😀

Kicking 2017 to the Curb

Yup…it’s a bright and shiny new year.  Welcome 2018!

 

I like the number 18.  It’s a nice, round number.  It’s the day in September I was shoved out into the world 50 years ago.  It’s the age that I took my first hesitant steps into the world of adulting.  A long time ago, I was officially employee 118 at a job I held for the next 13 years.

For the bulk of this year, my youngest son will be 18…taking HIS first wobbly steps into adulthood.  I hope, with a parent’s insite, that the first time adulthood leaps at him and knocks him to his ass, I’ve given him enough tools to get back up and flip disappointment the bird.

I’ll just have to wait and see.

Most years, I firmly resolve to be anti-resolution.  This year, I actually HAVE one, and a sad one at that.

I have to spend some time with my Mom, who’s kidneys are failing.  She’s refusing dialysis, so when they stop, so shall she.

Guess it’s my turn to learn again how to flip off pain…and I have a plan already in place.

 

Thanks to the chainmaillers group, I have a new form… tiny little angels.

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I’m gifting these adorable little beacons of hope, joy, love and patience as widely across the globe as I can.  Many will end up in Art Abandonment packages and scattered across my local area, and I did put up an Etsy listing for them…but these things require a wider reach than my poor car and Etsy sales will allow.

Global…I am not…

So I offer all my regular readers here a gift…the gift of a tiny little angel filled with as much positive mojo as I can build into them…

 

You’ll note I said gift.  That means no exchange of goods for money…just the angels winging their way (well, with the help of the post office) to your doors…because a banner declaring anything FREEEEEEE! nowadays has people looking for the attached strings.

But I mean it.  You want me to mail you an angel?  Reach me at my Etsy shop with your address, and I’ll get one out to you, because I can’t figure out how to get WordPress to put up a ‘contact me’ page.