Wednesday, April 30, 2014

You Gotta Love It

We've been coming to Maui for almost 15 years now and I've always loved to read the Maui News in the mornings. If you know me, you know I'm a weather checker from way back.  The mild descriptive little story sentences and the surfers around the island that cover the weather forecasts here everyday never fail to make me smile...seriously, you gotta love it. :)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Company for Coffee this Morning...

 I got a bit of a surprise sipping my coffee on the front deck this morning - this giant bug! At first, I thought it was a stick bug but a little google investigation revealed it's in fact a praying mantis.  May I say, 'Holy Cow!'. It freaked me out a little - I've never seen one before and as I said, it was big. :)
 She (he?) was entirely uninterested in me and sat in the shade for several hours and then just disappeared
 I ran for cover the camera. 
It looks like the director for some unseen choir group...maybe it was just drying off :)
 And a 1,2,3 and 4! All together now....
...and I repeat, 'Holy Cow!'

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beach Walk

“Twilight fell: The sky turned to a light, dusky purple littered with tiny silver stars.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix    


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Expanding My Skills - Prong Settings

I was particularly excited about the classes dedicated to creating prong settings during my recent metalsmithing course at the local art college. To me, it seems like the perfect setting for raw uncut stone earrings and rings. Our instructor demonstrated two different types of this setting - this is the more intricate but the one I like the best!
I made this setting from 14 gauge brass wire as the glass nugget is quite large - about 18mm. I was also most interested in creating a ring as sizing a ring that will be soldered to each side of the oval shown above (instead of creating the band and soldering the setting to it) as this was also a new undertaking for me. Plus, I LOVE the look!
Shown in the first photos are the brass oval on which the stone will rest, shaped and soldered and the U-shapes that will be soldered to the oval and eventually cut to make the prongs. I filed four little grooves for the ends of the U-shaped to fit snugly on the oval and actually managed to solder all four without melting anything! :) 
The band, also 14 gauge brass wire, was easily shaped but I fiddled with it a lot to make sure the ends were smooth to create a strong seam.  The sizing was TRICKY too, and honestly, I had to hammer the band a bit in the end so it fit.  Next time, I will allow slightly more in the length of the wire for filing and soldering and see how that works!
 The setting is pickled, cleaned and polished and ready for me to set the stone.
 With all soldering completed, I cut and trimmed the U-shapes and filed the ends smooth. I opened them to accept the stone and began closing them to hold it in place. This shouldn't be rushed - just work around the stone gently pressing down each prong until it is secure.
Some final adjustments, light sanding and polishing and it's done!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I said 'Salsa'!

I am a huge salsa (and Seinfeld) fan! I made a batch yesterday and thought I'd share this delicious recipe and my morning in the kitchen.

Boiling the jars and lids helps the salsa keep longer.
I boil all the jars and lids for about 20 minutes and then leave them to cool on a clean towel while I make the salsa.
All the ingredients and my favorite recipe!

These are all the ingredients and the recipe.  It's a breeze (my kinda cooking) - everything chopped and tossed into one large pot then gently boiled for about an hour. The only extra step is the tomatoes need to be scalded, peeled and seeded before chopping (see below).
I usually double the recipe as shown here (or triple it) - I'm doing the work anyway - and we eat this salsa like there is no tomorrow! 
Here are the ingredients for a double recipe:
9-10 lbs tomatoes
3 large red peppers
1 large green pepper
2 large white or Spanish onions
6 cans mild green chillies
10 oz. tomato paste
1/2 cup brown sugar
11/2 cups white vinegar
4 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. pickling or coarse salt
5-6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup jalapeno peppers
 (I like the ones in a jar - you can use some of the liquid as well)
A food processor (mine is a mini!) really speeds thing up.
Toss it all in the pot and give it a stir to combine the veggies.

Scalding the tomatoes - boil your water and add the tomatoes.
 Keep an eye on them as you just want the skin to break and peel back.
 The tomatoes should be firm, not cooked, when they are chopped.

Add the chillies, vinegar, brown sugar and paprika.
Chopped garlic and jalapenos will be to taste.
I add 5-6 cloves of garlic and about 1/2 cup of jalapenos. 
You can always add more at the end if it's not quite hot enough.
 Be sure to recycle those cans!

I've peeled the tomato skins, cut each into quarters and removed the stem and seeds.
 Into the chopper and then the pot with the rest of the ingredients!
Boil gently, stirring often, for about an hour.
Yield is eleven jars and enough for lunch! Enjoy!
Eleven jars and a yummy snack!

Monday, April 7, 2014

On the Kitchen Table

Happy Gerbera Daisies!
[ps.  I joined Instagram this week - love their editing tools!]

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pupus (aka Hawaiian Hors d'Oeuvres)

They make the best sashimi in the deli at the local grocery store - it almost an artisan creation. I NEVER thought I would like it as much as I do! Add a sippy and a sunset and you're good to go! Aloha!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Improving My Skills ~ Tube Setting

...if you've recently visited Wild Woman on Facebook, you have perhaps witnessed my first attempt at creating a tube setting :).  I will not be discouraged! Here is attempt number two - still not perfect but the stones are definitely set!
I was able to get a head start at home yesterday (thank goodness or I would never have finished these).  Many of my new tools have arrived and I've expanded my little bench to include soldering, pickling and some finish work. (Look at that shiny white soldering pad ~ I can hardly find the solder on my one at home!). I like to take my time and often feel a bit pressured at the studio because others are waiting to use equipment.  Being able to work at my own pace and kind of fumble along, is much more relaxing!
So, in a few steps, here is my second go!
 1. I measured and marked the depth of the settings on the sterling silver tube.
2.  Each little setting is sawed as evenly as possible (I've seen a vise tool for this and if I decide to make a lot of these, I'll be ordering it!)
3.  File both ends of each setting flat.
4. The tiny tubes (these are 4.5mm) are ready, the silver wire is cut and filed flat for the posts and two sparkly cubic zirconia stones are waiting to shine. The open back of this type of setting is great for allowing lots of light the shine through the stone faceting so it really sparkles!
1. The posts are soldered to the tube setting. They need to be trimmed to about 1cm in length and filed to smooth the ends for a good connection when soldered.
2. and 3. Ready to be cleaned by pickling.
4. Ready for the studio.  There I will use my 4mm burr and the flexshaft to drill the setting for the stones inside the tube.  I was able to complete all these steps at home - YAY!
5.  My photographic documentation broke down after this stage, but here is one of the settings after drilling and ready for the stone.
Not Shown: The stones are set using handy little stone setting punches, my bezel rocker and burnisher. 
Voila! The next pair will be even better :)