Saturday, May 30, 2009

One Red Bead

On May 17th, 2009 my mother had a massive stroke.

I was in Las Vegas when I heard the news late morning of the 18th, having just arrived in LV about 12 hours before I got the call. Needless to say, our vacation was cut very short. Scott and I took the redeye that night back to Boston. We arrived the next morning, retrieved our car and went straight to Brigham and Women's Hospital where Mom was in the neurological ICU. Later that day, Anna arrived from SLC. Julie and Kathy had been with her since she was found on the floor in her condo (approximately 18 hours after her stroke). The window of stroke reversal opportunity was well closed by this time.

She spent 7 days in that same ICU until she was moved into a shared room on a different floor. She spent 4 days in that room. Today, she was moved to Spaulding Rehab Hospital. She is our little miracle. We hope she is Spauldings miracle after they are through with her.

She is lucid beyond reason, aware of her surroundings, and very talkative.
My sisters and I are contributing to a blog chronicling everything she and we go through in her recovery. Please visit One Red Bead the blog about Mom's recovery.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wedding Rings

Anne Marie and Rob are going to be married on May 23rd. They commissioned me to make their wedding bands (an honor that I will not soon forget) and I decided to take some pictures of the process.

I started out with half round wire for the rings, 6ga for Robs, and 10ga for Anne Marie's. I cut a length that gives me a little play room in case I mess up with the stamping...which did happen on Anne Marie's (10ga is tiny to stamp on, especially wobbly half round wire).

For stamping and general manipulation of the metal, it needed to be annealed first. This process makes the silver molecules loose so that they will take a stamping much easier than if this step is skipped. I actually had to anneal these rings many more times throughout the process.

I stamped on a hockey puck (from my nephews bar mitzvah...don't tell him!) so I didn't mar the outside of the wire too much. The wire gets a little funky when you stamp it. This looks awful, but no worries, it all works out in the end.

After I got the insides of the rings stamped with the inscriptions, I use my ring mandrel to eyeball the length of wire I need for the size of ring I want, and saw it away. Then I formed the bands around the mandrel to get them sort of roundish so that I can solder them closed.

I shape the bands as much as I can turning the cut ends in to form somewhat of a straight edge to get ready to solder. The 10ga was easy, but the 6ga definitely needed some more annealing. I couldn't even move it anymore from the position it is in the photo above, even with leverage! So annealing I go again...

After the soldering, there are some solder spots/pools left on the metal, I have to file that off, inside and out. I also filed into the edges on the inside, making the rings very smooth, and comfortable for always and forever wear.

Here is my fancy ring mandrel, isn't she pretty? I use a rawhide hammer to make the ring a circle and then to size the ring, hammering the ring down, turning the mandrel all the time until it is at the correct size I desire.

Now it's time to sand, sand, sand...and then polish. My mandrel has sizing grooves that leave little marks on the inside of the rings, not to mention all the other accidental tool marks from the forming. I start with #80 sanding paper, and work my way down to #30 finishing paper. In sandpaper terms, that might be 320 grit to 600 grit.

It's a lot of work sanding the inside and outside by hand, but the results are wonderful. When the finish is desired, it's time to polish. I am using tripoli to polish these rings to a mirror shine, inside and out.

Here they are finished.

These were really fun to make, I hope to be asked again!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Paws New England Charity Concert

Band Gig has another charity concert tonight!
This time it's for Paws New England

Once again, I have made a donation to the cause for the raffle. This little dogbone cute!

Doors open at 7:30pm $10 donation at the door.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Scott in Brooklyn?

Me in Paris?

One more guess!

I love sparkly shiny things!