A quick bracelet


Originally uploaded by eidolon.

Oddly enough, Zach is the one who asked for this. I just finished stocking up my chainmail box so i could start doing some more interesting work using aluminum rings, and using anodized rings for color. Zach asked if I could make him a quick bracelet, so I whipped this one up in about 20 minutes.

Working with aluminum (as opposed to the steel I normally use) is on the one hand refreshing. It’s much softer and lighter. On the other hand, it’s not particularly strong, so anything that takes tension will deform pretty easily. It’s okay for jewelry, but I’m not going to make armor with it.

After finishing this piece, I decided to post a picture of it, and thought “what the hey”, and posted pictures of all the other pieces I’ve done for people. They’re now up on Flickr in a full set.

Pittsburgh Road Trip, days 4 and 5.

Saturday finally saw us have a break in the heat, and we had a very comfortable, sunny day. The temperatures were down around normal, and the humidity had slacked off a fair amount. I took my shift checking folks in down at the front gate, which was a good opportunity to get some quiet time. Barb came down to keep me company, but mostly we just sat and read or took it easy.
A revelation did come to me on Saturday though. I hadnt’ been drinking soda for the whole trip. I’m an admitted soda junkie – love the stuff, but sheesh, it’s calorie-riffic. I don’t particularly like the diet arrangements, but somewhere on this trip I made the conscious switch to water or flavored water of some sort. One of the factors in this was Barb had brought one of those little polycarbonate bottles that are becoming so common, primarily in the form of Nalgene products. I had sort of dismissed these, saying “They’re just plastic bottles, just like the ones I keep in my cabinet.” But what I hadn’t realized is that these things ARE in fact great for long term holding of drinks. They don’t stain, they don’t smell, they’re trivial to clean, and they’re very hard to break. Over the weekend, the small 500ml bottle was kept topped off with cold water and a dash of lemonade mix, and kept me quite happy. I also was comfortable with “cold water with just a touch of lemon” – we kept diluting the bottle with more cold water, and it was still fine. Compare that with the heavy-syrupy tast of a ‘normal’ mix of lemonade or iced tea mix – I didn’t feel ill or over-sugared after downing an entire bottle. (Did use the woods a lot though 🙂
P7170080.JPGOne other incident of note. I had made a chainmail necklace for Barb out of small black anodized rings – and folks seemed to like it a lot. So on Saturday afternoon I pulled out my tools and rings and sat down to socialize and work on some other patterns. Eventually others came over and were chatting with us, and looked at my work. “Hey, can you make one of those for me?” “Uhh, sure. How long, what pattern?” An hour later I had 6 commissions for chainmail jewelry, of which about half could be completed that evening. I finished off the work, collected fees for pieces, and went “Well, huh. That just paid for the event fee and part of the cost of gas.” Much thought has gone into this through the rest of the event and during the drive home. I don’t think I want to open up a little chainmail shop (I certainly don’t have the time for it), but as a side hobby, something that doesn’t involve computers, it seems profitable and pleasant. I’ll be taking my tools with me this coming weekend down to North Carolina to work on some of the commission pieces during quiet times at the cohousing conference.
Sunday it was time to come home. This was going to be a longer trip than going out – I’d be driving from the campsite in Waynesburg all the way back to Natick (note – that’s not the route I took, because I had to go through Pittsburgh, but you get the idea). The day was much hotter than Saturday, and I wasn’t looking forward to the 11+ hour drive.
P7170095.JPGAll in all, it went okay, if slower than I’d like. We left the campsite around 11am, but I didn’t actually get into Natick until 1am Monday morning. Factors included construction slowdowns on Rt 80, and a desperately needed rest break somewhere in eastern PA where I took a nap in a rest stop for about 1/2 an hour. The views and scenery for the drive were, as always, wonderful. I took a stop near the border of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and took some pictures across the valleys west and north. This is south of Binghamton.
I think if I’m going to do these long trips regularly, I have to make sure I have enough sleep and food for the drive, and no time pressure. A second driver would have helped a lot as well, just to be able to take a nap, but then I’d miss the grand opportunity of being alone to my thoughts, music, and XM stations for hours on end, something I truly value.