Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How Much is that Ducky out the Window?

One evening my husband and I discovered two ducks swimming in our swimming pool. One was brown and tan colored and the other one had an iridiscent green head with a reddish chest (which I later discovered were Wood Ducks). We've lived here for over six years, yet this was the first time we had been visited by our new feathery friends. About a week after their visit, I was in the back yard and spotted what appeared to be one of the brownish-colored ducks DYING! It was just sitting there next to a tree by the pool looking all sad and unhealthy. I called the hubby up right away (he had just left) and said, "You've got to come back! There's a duck dying in our yard!" This was about week after we had found a dead squirrel lying on our family room carpet, so to now find an almost-dead duck was not even a surprise. I always suspect the mischievious Bella in moments like this. I explained how she just laid there (instead of flying away) while Bella barked at her frantically. He asked if there were a lot of feathers around her. Surprisingly, yes - a lot of them! He told me she was nesting. We had a duck nesting in our back yard. What a relief.

There she sits, day and night. We have had a couple of powerful storms since she arrived, but none of them budged her. One day she was clobbered by huge chunks of hail pouring from the sky. A few days after that, fallen trees due to high winds caused considerable damage in the area and a large part of Georgia had no power. I'd go to the window and peek out just to make sure all was well, and there she would be, still sitting on her nest of eggs.

She's been out there about three weeks so far, so last night I decided to do a little research to find out when these chickies are going to arrive. "Anytime within 28 days," is what I read on the internet. So it looks like we'll have yard full of little baby chicks any day now. : )

And just so you know, Mrs. Ming Ming Ducky (named Ming Ming after the fearless duck on Wonder Pets by Twitter friend, Betsy, Betsy & Claude Baking Company) picked a pretty nice place to hang out for a couple of months - right under this tree:

I'm a little worried about the baby chicks toddling about and then falling into the pool by accident before they're ready to swim. If you have any suggestions, please comment. I've never done this before (obviously) so don't know what to expect.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Reticulated, Anticlastic Formed Silver Cuff Bracelet with Blue Topaz Gemstones

Reticulating silver is still an ongoing adventure over here, so I'm showing you one of the cuff bracelets I recently fabricated. This is a variation of the cuff bracelet highlighted on the cover of Art Jewelry Magazine in January of 2008. I made a couple of alterations, which I'll explain.

First, when Julia, my talented teacher (and designer, master metalsmith), saw me trying to solder 10 gauge round wire all around the edges of this bracelet, she told me that half-round wire would be far easier. She was 100% correct (of course)! It was still difficult to solder, but because there were two flat surfaces touching each other, I was able to finish the soldering in probably half the time it would have taken me had I continued to struggle along with the round silver wire.

Second, not wanting my bracelet to be a carbon copy of the one in Art Jewelry Magazine, I added the two blue Topaz gemstones to the inner edges of the cuff.

More to come...