Moving, The Great Creative Diversion

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We’ve moved!  That is what has taken up all my creative energy this past year.  The short story is: we jumped on an opportunity to downsize and move into a custom home/condo in our favorite part of town.  We had been talking about making a move for years, but had no specific plans.  One weekend we went to an Open House for a brand new development, just for the heck of it, truly not expecting anything and we fell in love. And before we knew it we were building a new town home.

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So, I spent the last year getting our home ready to sell and planning the new place.  That process pretty much sucked all the creative energy I had.  Now I am thrilled to say we have finished construction, moved in and sold our last house.   It was a busy year, but it was so very worth it.  We wake up every morning thrilled to be in our new home.   I am still finishing the last details here, unpacking, hanging pictures and figuring out what goes where.  I am itching to get back to making jewelry and I am dying to try out some non-jewelry ideas.

My studio is the last big unfinished detail.  We opted to finish the painting and flooring for the studio after the move.  All of that is almost finished and I hope to start moving things in to the studio later this week.  Right now it looks like a glorious new space full of possibilities.

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Now we just have to sort through all of this mess.

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The basement ended up in a crazy jumble of boxes and furniture. Items from the studio, E’s boxes from college, excess furniture, etc etc. all piled up together.  It’s going to be quite a project to get the studio set up, and sort and organize the rest of the stuff in the basement.  I can’t wait to get started.  Most of all I can’t wait to start working in the studio.

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William George Andrew West

My father died last Wednesday, June 3rd while I was away in Milwaukee.

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He was such a character, full of charm and bluster and life.  When he was first hospitalized a few weeks ago, my husband and I found him in the Medical Intensive Care unit, flirting with the nurses like he was just there for a social visit.  He always loved to strike up conversations with strangers, and he collected friends and admirers from all around.

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I had the privilege of working for him in the family business after I graduated from college.  While I always loved and admired my dad, working for him allowed me to appreciate him, and the depth of his intelligence, in a whole new way.  He loved the company he founded and work was a passion for him.  He had a truly analytical mind and could easily sort out a variety of solutions to a business problem.  I remember coming to him about some trivial issue I’d encountered, all indignant that he didn’t understand my perspective, only to find that he’d fully examined that viewpoint and rejected it in favor of a more appropriate solution.  I’d been thinking he was the narrow minded one only to discover that he had a much broader perspective than I had.

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Some of my fondest memories of him are from family vacations:

Early mornings at the lake in Maine, with Dad shouting “Everybody up for a pre-breakfast swim!”

Numerous walks along the beach in the Bahamas.  I especially liked it when we’d splash along in the shallow water singing silly songs.  “H, a, double r, i, g, a, n spells Harrigan”

Playing ping pong with a bunch of other families at a ski lodge in Vermont and his Texan friend Davy, yelling out to him “”Wooly, get your navel to the grass!”

Standing behind his chair rubbing his temples.

Watching him joking around and singing with a barber on the street in Italy even though my dad didn’t speak a word of Italian.

His face whenever he talked about my mother.

Rest in peace William George Andrew West.  Give Mother a kiss for me.  We love you both.

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Family time

E flew home from college for a few days last night, so I am taking the long weekend off for some family time.  She looks and sounds great!  It is so wonderful to see her.  I’ll be back to dig into some creative work next week.  Meanwhile, I unearthed a really cute picture of the girls from 2001.

And for contrast, a picture from this past summer:

Maybe I can sneak a picture of them this weekend.

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Inching back & Quick Earring Recipe

I’m slowly inching my way back into my normal schedule after a weekend away.  My nephew’s wedding was beautiful.  It was wonderful to be able to spend a couple of days with so much of my husband’s family in one place.  M did a reading during the wedding ceremony.  (the groom is her godfather)  She did a great job and even managed to walk around in her crazy tall spike sandals without any problem.  I, on the other hand, had on a pair of low heel sensible mommy shoes and my feet were still screaming.  LOL  Sorry no pictures.  One of these days I need to get a decent pocket sized digital camera.

Fortunately I found a pendant from 2007 that coordinated with my clothes for the wedding.  (Stewart Gill Byzantia paints & Jones Tones foils under translucent clay.  Sterling silver textured surface bezel)

Good thing too, I really didn’t leave myself enough time to make a special necklace for the wedding.  I did, however, make the quickest earrings ever.

The purple glitter beads were made by my friend, Jenn Dorion.  The color in my photo is off.  The beads aren’t as blue as they appear here.  I had been meaning to turn them into earrings for ages.

Here’s the “recipe” for these earrings:

Supplies:

  • 2 beads (the glitter beads I used were approx. 11 mm wide by 9 mm high)
  • 2 ball end headpins 3 or more inches long (I used 20 gauge wire)
  • 7/8 inch silver tube bead

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • cup bur or file
  • wire cutters
  • plastic or leather hammer

Slide the bead onto the headpin.  Slide the silver tube bead on next.  Use the pliers to bend the wire at the top of the tube.  Holding the wire in your pliers make a curving bend with the rest of the wire.  (I’ll try to add a picture here later when someone else is here to hold the camera)  Clip to desired length and file off any sharp edges at the end of the wire.  Work harden the curved section with a plastic or leather hammer.  You can also work harden the curved portion of the wire with your fingers, but it takes longer.

They were so quick I made another pair.  Modeled here by a semi-cooperative 13 yr old.

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