Furry friends

Mo with buddy Heath

Mr Mo has his stuffed animal pal named Heath.  They are pretty cute together.  This week I was given a new toy for Miss Nims, a sweet little handmade wool mouse.  This special mouse was from The Snow Leopard Trust.  Handcrafted items are made in Central Asia, home to the Snow Leopard, and sold to support their global conservation efforts.

It must have had an interesting scent, as Miss Nims curled back her lips to enjoy the aroma.  This grimace is called the flehmen response.  She then chased it all around the kitchen.

Nims has a mouse by the tail

It’s a wrap!

This week’s necklace is a wrap around style that can be worn in a variety of lengths.  Crisp blues and white seed beads in a free form scalloped edge complement the three larger handmade Aura Sun Arts beads.

blue and white wrap style necklace

The entire strand is 19 inches, but it is shown here as a 16 inch choker.  The lobster claw clasp in the front makes it easy to hook over the main strand where you like.  I will be making some variations on this theme in other colors, and it will be fun to come up with matching earrings.

Click on the image for a closer view.  The ruffle is best appreciated in person; the tiny seed beads woven in a peyote stitch create a flexible fabric.  This style necklace will be in the $175.00 range.

The escape artist

With the long summer days, Miss Nimbus the expert bird hunter is trapped indoors until 9:30 now.  Since the Anna’s hummingbird has become a regular visitor at the pond, protecting these avian jewels is even more important.

The handy cat door has a large concrete block in front of it, how frustrating!  It is on a small magazine to protect the floor, and Nims has been scratching at the paper in a vain attempt to escape.  I clean up the scrap paper and there is always more.  She can see outside through the hole in the concrete block and get little whiffs of outdoor air, but it is too heavy to move.

darn obstacle

can she tunnel out?

She has gotten to where I think she can tell time, as soon as the hour approaches she is begging to go out.  She knows the words “want to go out?”  She knows a finger held up means no, and a finger pointed at the door means yes!

is it dark outside yet?

Both of them have alerted me to strangers in the yard by growling.  They play fetch and go for walks with me.  All these tricks that only dogs are supposed to know, what smart cats.


Wax carving 101

Years ago I worked in fine jewelry manufacturing, where I was responsible for creating new designs, mass producing some items, casting the waxes up in gold or silver, making rubber molds of prototypes, and so forth.

Here is a short promotional video from this manufacturer, Le Monde, that shows the process.  Towards the end of the video you will see me treeing up a group of waxes prior to casting and a good demo of how the lost wax casting takes place.

measure off a slice of wax, mark the center

For a step by step demo of the process of carving a wax, I took these photos.  First you cut the appropriately sized slice from a tube of hard carving wax.  Then sketch the design on the wax, keeping your center lines clearly indicated.

draw your design on the wax tube

Cut away the excess with saws, Xacto knives and files, working from the inside out;  make the finger size right before trimming the outside of the ring shank, make the area to set the stones the exact size needed before trimming excess back towards your central focus.

refine the shape with files and xacto knife

Refine the shape with files, sandpaper, and polish the wax with a cotton buff, and it is ready for the casting department.  Click on any of these photos for an enlarged view.

polish the wax with a cotton disk

The secret for creating a beautiful original wax?  Imagine the recipient gasping with delight when they open the gift, and work backwards from that gasp.  You can see some of my original jewelry creations here, along with some larger sculptural work.  (Mouseover the numbers to see them.)