Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blog? What Blog?

Well, well. I knew if I went much more than a week without posting something, people would start wondering if we'd dropped off the earth or been eaten by ducks.

Nothing so dramatic, I'm afraid. Starting about two weeks ago, a serious case of ennui set in. Also:
  • I started making things out of chain--of which I have a few pictures to share a little later. I found that after the kids went to bed each night, I had the choice of sitting down at the computer and typing a whole lot of whatever, or sitting down at the table and bending metal. The latter kept feeling more compelling, somehow.
  • For that matter, I have been making a conscious effort to spend less time web-surfing. I find that I'm a whole lot more informed about the world when I'm spending more time online, but (relatedly) it makes me a lot more annoyed with the world. I'm generally a happier person when I don't know what's going on. :-) But as a result of my being offline more, I tend not to come up with as many ideas worth sharing....
  • We were also out of town for a couple days there.
  • And then I managed to catch one of those generic diseases that's going around lately. We've got a lovely young lady in our office who's had a constantly-mutating virus, or a series of viruses with shifting symptoms (congestion one week, sore throat the next, coughing the week after that), for the last four weeks. It's gotten to the point that my office-mates have named the virus after her. ("Oh, you seem to have caught the 'K' virus...") The trouble is, she just happens to be a veteran chain-maker too, so we've been spending much time shooting the breeze lately and showing off our latest works to each other. So I guess it was inevitable that I would wind up with the 'K' virus. I've been pretty weak and surly this last week.
So that's my excuse. We'd finally get the kids in bed, and I'd hear the little voice on my right shoulder telling me, "They really need to know how you're doing". And then I'd hear the little voice on my left shoulder telling me, "They need to get a life. And so do you."


So, what has been going on around here? Well, my lovely wife posted this about two weeks ago, and things haven't changed that much since then.

And then we've been getting over the K virus lately. At one point or another it hit pretty much everyone in the family. For a while there we had both the Pillowfight Fairy and the Happy Boy on antibiotics at the same time.

...Oh, yeah. I nearly poisoned my daughter. I was supposed to give her two teaspoons of amoxicillin, and I gave her a dose of two tablespoons. She took it like a trooper, so I can be proud of that. But shortly after giving her the dose, after some odd things spoken by my wife and daughter, I realized that I'd just given her three times what I should have done. You know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that you get when you realize that something really, really bad has just happened? Well, I'm not entirely over that sinking feeling yet. I felt absolutely awful as I dialed up the nurse to explain what I'd just done to my kid. And the nurse was very calm and reassuring, explaining that this sort of thing happens all the time. She called up the Poison Control Center just to be safe, and they said just to keep an eye on things and call in again if anything else comes up. As it turned out, the Fairy suffered no side effects or anything; she was absolutely fine. My nerves were shot, but she was just fine.

Now, if it had been Acetaminophen, that would have been really serious....

(P.S. The spell checker doesn't like "amoxicillin". It thinks it's some unholy combination of penicillin and amontillado...)


So what of those wires that I mentioned in my last post?

Well, they got here eventually. They took the scenic route, but they got here. After spending the weekend in Winnipeg, they hopped a truck down to Minneapolis, then down to Cedar City, IA; and from there they headed west, west, west--all the way along I-80.

And then it landed on our doorstep a week ago Friday--mere hours after we had left town to visit with Papa and Grandmother for the weekend. Thankfully, my brother and sister-in-law were taking a bit of a fun drive the next day, and were able to swing by our place to snag it before the neighborhood gremlins could. No telling what they'd do with 2 pounds of 16-gauge Nickel Silver wire....

Anyway, after taking off Monday with a bad case of the K virus, I was feeling a little better by the evening, so I started making up some rings and seeing what I could get them to do. By yesterday night, I'd completed this:
And here it is on my very long-suffering wife, who's 7.5 months pregnant, barely mobile, and wiped out after another day full of Toddler Wrestling:
I really like the way it turned out. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but it's actually made of three different kinds of differently-colored metal--bronze, stainless steel, and nickel silver (which, for clarity's sake, contains no actual silver). Up close you can see the colors clearly; but from a distance, the different colors trick the eye into seeing shadows where there are none. As a result, the chain looks like it has more depth and intricacy to it than it actually does. It's a neat visual effect.

It's also a heavy chain. A boxchain pattern with over 400 rings of 16-gauge wire, wrapped around a 1/4 inch mandrel, makes a heavy chain. It's the kind of chain you would expect to find on bikers.

Of course, that's not the only chain I've made so far. As I was impatiently waiting for the Canadians to get their act together, I took a trip to the local craft supply store to see what they had, and found some 20-gauge soft copper wire for beading projects. Close enough, said I! I picked up a small spool of pure copper, and a small spool of silver-plated copper, and got busy making little trinkets for my daughters.

Here's the first one I finished, for the Adrenaline Junkie (dressed in this picture in her Sunday finest. That's why--aside from the smile--she looks like she's about to go to a funeral).
And here it is up close, so you can see a little of the detail...
And here's the one I made for the Pillowfight Fairy:
She likes to wear it long, of course, but it's not always practical that way. So I included a hook on it, so it could be doubled around the neck and hooked in back, like this:
Each of these necklaces took on the order of 400 rings to complete. The different lengths of the necklaces are due to the different patterns, some of which are denser than others. The Adrenaline Junkie's necklace--which is very short, so that Tonya can barely wear it as a choker--takes about 25 rings per inch. The "biker" chain takes about 16 per inch, and the Fairy's spiral chain takes about 12.


So now what?

I'm not sure how much I'll be blogging in the immediate future. I figured I needed to write an update to let everyone know that we're still here. But you know, it's actually been a little liberating not trying to blog every day. And bending metal is actually a very fun activity.

I'll try to be a bit more prolific than once every two weeks, though.


Anna said...


Have you ever BEEN across I-80? Your driver deserves a thank you note. ;)
Your projects look spectacular! I'm partial to the fairy's, very nice.

Have a nice Holy Week.

Arby said...

It's actually a combination of penicillin and armadillo.