Saturday, December 12, 2009

Cabachons

Something I've been thinking about learning how to do is make cabochons. These are polished domed gems without facets that we use in our jewelry. Most of the time you see them in ovals or rounds but we like weird shaped ones. But they are hard to find.

So today, on a whim, we went to a very small show hosted by the local mineral enthusiasts club. I learned how to make a cabochon today from one of the club members who was very much of an enthusiast! It went mostly as I had expected it to go but was much much faster and more fun than I expected. Take a slab of rock, roughly cut it to size, superglue it to the head of a big nail (blunted), and grind using rough to fine wheels. I made a 3/4" oval cab out of Amazonite, a light blue stone with subtle greenish stripes. It's pretty and for a first try, I am proud of it. It was a comfortable skill to learn as I have done a lot of grinding work in the jewelry studio, wood working studio, and knife making. This is much smaller and the work has to be kept wet. It was very satisfying to do.

I bought some slabs of ancient shells that have turned into agate from a region in Wyoming, I have forgotten the name. I think this will make some very interesting cabs.

I have a system a friend bought at a garage sale for lapidary work. It needs some grinding wheels and work before it can be used. It's not the fancy one I used today either. But it's sort of free for me to use, once I buy the other grinding wheels it needs. I'm going to keep my eye on Craig's List, et al to see if I can find one of the fancy ones for less than $2,000. I am pretty geeked about the idea of being able to make stones for our work rather than rely on what we can find at the shows. Anyone have a few thousand bucks laying around? I'll trade you for some cool stones/mead/herbs/fiber/socks/blue eggs/etc.!

I have been knitting up a pair of socks for my husband out of a skein of one of the possible yarns for my fiber biz. It's true sock yarn with 25% nylon and I believe it can be machine washed and dried. I dyed it with some very intense logwood. It's a deep blue with very subtle purple gradations in a few places. It's really striking. I started on size 2 needles and was about 25% done with sock #1 when I decided it wasn't working for me. So I pulled it all off the needles and started again with size #1 needles. It is much better. More fabric-like, less sieve-like.

Been really struggling with stirring up some Holiday Feeling. I have actually been watching Martha Steward on our DVR while I exercise in the morning. Trying to catch some of the Holiday spirit. She is oddly funny and sort of horrifying. She's been glittering anything that will hold still. If it won't hold still, she hits it with her glue gun until it stops moving, and then glitters it. Can't say as that affectation has taken hold in my spirit.

But I have been thinking about Christmas cookies. My friend (who died in a car accident 10 years ago) had given me her recipe for anise seed cookies which are amazing. I can eat the whole batch myself and feel virtuous as anise seed is good for digestion. I will make some of those cookies and cut them into cool shapes and think about my friend.

I will make some shortbread for my husband. Chocked full of butter and maybe some with rosemary. The secret is to put the mixture in a gallon Ziploc bag before rolling. The dough comes together so well when it is confined. You can chill it before cutting it as well.

And stirred fudge. Plain, no nuts. Chocolate, period. Anything else is an abomination of nature. Put down the marshmallow fluff and step away. No one needs to get hurt here today. Bring it to a good boil for a while and then stir it until your arms fall off, then stir with your feet. The silky texture of stirred fudge is beyond compare.

If I can find my little irons, I'll make those silly deep fried cookie things. You have to eat them all right off the iron. They don't keep and are horrible for you as they are fried but they do bring up all sorts of memories.

The memories around food are some of the most intense memories I have. And the holiday foods memories are so poignant. It's always been so complicated. What we are apparently supposed to feel and experience versus what is actually felt and happens. Huge gap filled with guilt into which I plan on stuffing a couple of dozen Christmas cookies in the hopes that the guilt will fall into a sugar coma and not wake up until next spring when I will be way too busy to pay attention to it.

1 comment:

Jim Downey said...

And stirred fudge. Plain, no nuts. Chocolate, period. Anything else is an abomination of nature.

Absolutely.

Good luck with the cabachons - I think that is very cool!

Jim D.