Sweat soldering

Last Sunday, I took my third soldering class and things finally clicked. The first class was basics - soldering closed jump rings and I wasn't sure it was for me. The second class was about rings, I liked that was and I actually wear the rings I made.

This class was about soldered pendants and I'm very pleased with the results. I finished the pendant with the houses in class - completely. All soldering, polishing, patina-ing and polishing was done. The second pendant - mountains and cloud (which I drew and cut out and shaped all by myself) was mostly finished in class.
The third pendant, though, gave me trouble. Nothing would stick together and then I lost the dot and there wasn't enough time in class to start over. So, I dug out all my equipment this morning and it came together beautifully. The dot stuck, the jump ring behaved, I aged everything in liver of sulphur and polished.
The picture isn't doing the pendants justice - you can't see the patina very well. But I'm no pro when it comes to photography even though I did this with my new, rather nice camera. Okay, so I've had the camera for over a year and never used it (I'm very resistant to new things), but now that I've tried it, I'll use it again. And I'll be soldering again, too, even though my set up is very inconvenient.


Marin Headlands

We went exploring on Friday. We've lived here for almost 13 years and hadn't made it to the Marin Headlands. Not anymore.
We started out on the Marin side of the Golden Gate - pictures of Fort Baker, the bridge and Battery Spencer - one of many military installations we found on our trip. All meant to defend the entrance to the bay during WWII.

Somebody had told me about a beach where you could find cool rocks with holes - perfect for wearing on a leather thong around your neck. Only problem was, he couldn't remember which beach it was, only that it was near Muir Beach. So, we started at the first beach that was easily accessible - Rodeo Beach. We walked S first and inspected just about every rock we found - no luck. Back to the N, again inspecting and picking up a few pieces of beach glass. But no rocks with holes. Pictures of surfers came next and, at almost the very end of the beach, I did find one rock with a hole in it. A bit too big for jewelry but, who knows, maybe next time I'll find the perfect one. Because we'll be back.



How about some color after the last post? There are pansies, lilacs, a new columbine.

The gardenia that turned out to be an azalea. The leaves look just the tiniest bit similar and since the gardenias have never done well, we are considering replacing all of them with white azaleas. Not anytime soon, we're in the process of digging out the potato vines and I doubt I can talk DH into another major job right now. One of two alstromerias. Love the flowers on them

This is the posy of tiny roses a friend gave me for Easter. Fragrant roses!

Rainbows (or, rather, the same rainbow twice) and a foggy morning that turned into an absolutely gorgeous day.



Two new patterns I've been working on. The first one needs to have the strap redone, two is one too many. The other one may well be okay. I need to test carry it a couple more times.

Everything else is from the garden - a bit of lichen found on a bush that isn't doing so well.

Various herbs, mostly basil and rosemary.

One of the citrus trees in bloom - I think it's the orange tree, although it could be the grapefruit. The lemons and limes aren't doing quite as well.

And the two varieties of artichokes we're growing. I think we'll have another bumper crop, just like the last two springs. Not quite that many artichokes in the fall crop.

I spent a bit of time this week planting and putting out seeds. Let's hope I'll have sweetpeas (flowers, not veggies) again this year. Last year, they refused to even sprout, very disappointing. This year, I'm trying green beans and lettuce for the first time. We'll see how that goes.


Laundry days

Strange title for a blog post, isn't it?
I got a new washer and dryer a few weeks ago and even though the hook ups in our house are obviously backwards and the doors would open into each other if we hadn't had the dryer door switched (can't do it with the washer door so it's still awkward), I love them. Not only do they do a great job on the laundry (I won't bore you with details), but they play "twinkle toe" music when the cycle is done. I've never had appliances entertain me musically before. Usually, they make rude noises at me. I much prefer this.


Christine Craft's view on a suicide barrier

I just had an email from Patrick Hines. His son is one of the very few people to have survived a jump from the Golden Gate Bridge and both of them are very active and determined to get that suicide barrier built on the bridge.
Recently, Patrick wrote to Christine Craft (a former TV personality and now radio personality - Christine Craft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) and here is her response:

"no suicide barrier...if someone wants to jump....it's not your business..nor shoud the bridge be mucked up"

Obviously, a very caring person - NOT! And obviously ill-informed about suicide in general and bridge suicides in particular.


Finally sewing

This, too, wasn't what I planned to post today. I really meant to do a post entitled "green" - after all I spent a good 15 minutes traipsing around the wet garden taking pictures.
Instead of editing oodles of pictures of vegetation, though, I sewed - finally. Not only sewed, but finished a whole project.

Last night, I downloaded and printed a tutorial - aspoonfullofsugargirls - A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR - for a loyalty wallet. This morning, the first blog post I read was this: Bloom: March of the loyalty cards.

I think that was a sign, don't you? So, I went through my pile of scraps, cut, fused, sewed and this is what I came up with. I'm quite pleased with it and since it's such a quick and fun project, there'll be more, no doubt.


More Golden Gate Bridge Deaths

This wasn't how I was planning on coming back .............. but somebody or something had a different idea than I did.
Yesterday morning, I received an email from Mary Currie, the spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge Authority informing me of the progress that is being made with regard to a suicide barrier. Yes, the net was approved, yes, there are studies being done and reports being completed but the important thing, the thing that would really make a difference isn't happening yet. Here's a short piece of the email she sent out:

"The Final EIR/FONSI (Environmental Impact Report/Finding of No Significant Impact) is anticipated to be completed and released in May 2009. Upon completion of the document the District Board of Directors (Board) will be asked to vote to certify the document and adopt the project. We will advise you as to when this matter will be scheduled to come before the Board for action. Before Caltrans, acting for the Federal Highway Administration, can adopt the FONSI, the project will need to be included in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Transportation Improvement Plan.

The preliminary estimates for the build alternatives is $50 million. The commencement of final design and construction is contingent upon the timing of anticipated project funding. Board policy prohibits the use of toll funds."

Any other day, I would have been quite happy that any kind of progress is being made, but yesterday afternoon I saw a note by a young facebook friend of mine - she sounded upset and when I asked told me that the father of a friend of hers had jumped from the bridge. This is the second bridge death she has to deal with in the last 15 months. I'd already written about a schoolfriend of Henry's visiting the bridge for the first time since his death and having to witness a suicide. The daughter of the journalist we talked to for the article in San Francisco Magazine (Gone | San Francisco online) knew 4 people who had jumped to their deaths, all during her 4 years of high school.

Makes me wonder how many more people will have to die before the money for the net is found and construction finally, finally begins. You'd think that close to 2,000 people are enough.