I have really been having a good time! Most days I am happily in my workshop/office; cutting, polishing, wire wrapping, or working on the computer. I have cut up some nice materials. The creative side of me is rockin'! I have been wire wrapping some special pieces, including doublets! These are two stones wrapped into one pendant. I've only done literally a handful of those in the past, so I am broadening my horizons!
I am also working on more earrings; and as promised….. the STARFISH EARRINGS are back! But not just back, better than ever! They are a little more detailed this time, I wire wrapped each little starfish! Before, I had epoxied a bell cap to one leg- which is fine, adorable, but I can do better. So here it is BETTER- all sterling silver wire and ear wires- these are not currently on the website, so you will need to contact me if you want a pair- hurry they go quick! only $30 a pair
This past month I have been telling MY STORY on Facebook, as a tbt post. I am almost done, one more post to go, unless I extend it lol. you can read the start of it here, but the photos and the finale will be on Facebook. If you like my page, you'll be able to go back and see them all,—
IT ALL STARTED WITH A ROCK! This is the first rock I ever officially owned, and this is the story of how I came to own that rock, and MANY MANY more…. this is MY STORY;
When I was 8 years old, and in third grade, I had a teacher I didn't really care for, she was real tough and very strict and I had a hard time keeping up and staying interested. One day, in science class, she announced that we would be studying a chapter about rocks and minerals. This peeked my interest, not really sure why, but I was now listening. During our studies in this chapter, one of my classmates (thank you Tracy!) told us her grandfather was a "rock hound", and since he lived right next door to her in town, the entire class got to take a field trip to his workshop!
The workshop was a large shed in between the two houses where he showcased his collection and polished his gems. He went on to "show and tell" us about different stones from all over the world. Then he explained the tumble polish method, which is the technique he used to polish up his rough, or raw, materials into smooth, round, shiny pebbles. I was FASCINATED!! As we each walked out, thanking him and saying goodbye, he stood in the doorway with a tray of his colorful, shiny, smooth, polished gemstones and told us we could each pick one to take as a souvenir….. I still have mine, yes you guessed it- it is the rock in the photo, THE FIRST ROCK!!! ( more of my story will follow in the coming days, stay tuned, and if you liked it let me know in the comments, thank you!) PHOTO OF FIRST ROCK
So, part B of the story goes like this;
I really didn't care for this teacher much in third grade, so I didn't participate a lot. I know the writing is tough to make out- but the previous comments for the first three periods of the year are a photo copy, so they are worse! But if you could see them all clearly, you would see that the teacher made comments to the effect that I had grown more interested and participated more, ect.- so the end result is that last comment in the last column- " Terri really enjoyed the unit on rocks" The teacher was at a loss for words when I told her the following year that I was polishing rocks at home!
A lot of this was all due to Tracy's grandfather taking the time to talk to a group of students; see you never know who or what you just might inspire!!! more to follow! PHOTOS OF REPORT CARD
To continue our story, part C goes like this;
So, at home I tell my artistic, creative, hobby loving family that I want to polish rocks. Now everyone had creative outlets that they were very good with, some had more than one. When they saw how passionate I was about this, I was very fortunate that they encouraged me….They also encouraged me to pay for my new found hobby myself. At 8 years old, my only source of income was a quarter a day to feed the neighbor's cats when she was away (she was a flight attendant) – this was not going to be enough! My parents came up with a solution;
I was told that I could have $5 for every A I got on my report card, this added up to $30 for straight A's! That is a LOT of money back then! This was much more optimistic! Naturally, I got straight A's every report card from then on (sneaky parents).
With my first $30 in hand, Dad took me to a rock shop in Westport , CT called GEMS & GEODES- and I bought my very first, Lortone, double barrel, professional grade, rotary tumbler system! For $29.99!! Boy was she a beauty! Sky blue body, with black, rubber barrels and silver lids- this one sells for over $142 now!
Then, since everyone had a place to work on their creations, Dad figured I was going to need a lot of room! So he cleared an entire wall in the basement, and built a work bench, the length of that wall, with shelves above it. Then he took all those clear, glass Skippy peanut butter jars, and screwed the tops to the bottom of the upper shelf, and when you twisted the jar on to the lid; tada! now we can view all the shiny, colorful polished rocks (we would have eventually) as they hang right in front of our eyes!
On our next trip to Westport, after my next report card or course, we had to get some rough stone to tumble. Since prices were reasonable at that time, I also got to start my own "specimen" collection- you know, to fill those shelves. The second photo is the first specimens I purchased. I know I have the receipt somewhere, just have to dig around a little more, but anyway. The quartz cluster at that time was $7.50! It would sell now for around $50. The geode of smoky quartz I think was $4, but that included having them saw it open right there on a big saw in front of me!!!!!! I was so excited when I saw the inside! This rock is a billion years old, and and I was the FIRST person to ever see inside it!!!! (ok geek attack over, lol) PHOTOS OF LORTONE TUMBLER AND FIRST SPECIMENS
On to our story- I worked on polishing stones with my Dad in the basement workshop; he taught me how to measure the right amount of abrasive, water, and stone combination. He showed me how to properly care for and clean the barrels, how to keep the noise from the tumblers muffled so I didn't get kicked out of the house! He did most of the stone crushing on the really hard materials, but I did what ever I could at the time.
It wasn't long at all before I was actually making simplistic, rudimentary jewelry. We purchased some bell caps – these are tiny metal cones or caps with a small loop at the top for a jump ring, and the "cap" is placed over the stone and glued . Add the jump ring to hang on a chain or cord, and wallah! A necklace is born! I made Christmas presents for all my relatives, but the best was this ring! The photo is of a red beach stone I found and polished in the tumblers, I turned it into a ring for Mom for Mother's day, complete with homemade box and all! God bless my family, they are STILL getting handcrafted jewelry as gifts! Dad said I had rocks in my blood (remember that) he knew this was more than a hobby for a while. We spent many years in the CISERO AND DEIGNAN ROCK SHOP, some of my fondest memories- definitely the best times I spent with my Dad.
Just a tiny bit of background, important to the rest of the story, Dad was the most un-materialistic person I have ever met. He hated clutter, wanted nothing, needed nothing- a simple guy. The problem was he believed we all wanted to be that way. We were ALWAYS coming home to find our things "missing"! Yes, Dad thought it was best to remove anything you didn't touch for a week or so. Remember when your mom said – let's put some of your toys away for awhile, and then switch, it will be like they are new again! NOT AT MY HOUSE! Never failed, you'd go looking for those "new" toys, just to be drastically disappointed. That's just one example- if the phone wasn't secured to the wall in those days, that would be gone too, everything was an extra, or not needed.
Ok back on track; so I spent from the time I was eight years old until well into my teens when I moved out, in that basement with Dad. I did move out and move on with life. I always had a rock collection that I displayed and added to, and I was always "going to get back to it", but I did stop actively polishing for a while. Life got in the way; I had a family, a job, a home, ect. always something to do.
One day, when my second child was about 9 months old, I was across the street at our neighbors house. We were chatting while the kids played. I noticed a new wind chime on her patio and asked about it. She said isn't it pretty? My friend from RI sent it to me, I think it's some type of stone or glass. So I told her I knew exactly what it was – agate slices. Then I explained that it was a solid geode, sliced up and polished. We started talking about stones and what I did, ect. She asked if I still have the collection, and still love it, why did I stop? So that conversation was my "aha"moment- brought it all back, and I realized, this was the "something" I felt like I was missing in my life! Of course! I had nothing for ME personally, my passion had been put on hold while starting a family. So that was it, I started rockin' and rollin'!
I needed to get more rough and a tumbler, and and and. But where to start? So I went to my parents, I figured they were older, maybe they could remember the rock shop we went to, or the catalogs we ordered, something to get me started again. But what I found was AMAZING.
So I go back to Mom and Dad and tell them everything. Dad says let's go down stairs and see what we can find……now remember what I said about him saving things. In the back, in a corner, he pulls out a box. Inside the box was BOTH MY TUMBLERS!!!! Even my mother almost cried. He had saved them all this time! Dad looked at my tear filled face and said "I knew you'd be back, you have rocks in your blood". There is no other gesture more loving that he could have ever done for me. Thanks Dad.
I will conclude my story next week, see you then. PHOTOS MOTHER’S DAY RING/AGATE WIND CHIMES
So now you are up to date, make sure you like my Facebook page to see the next post!
Besides all the creative fun I am having working at home, I also occasionally do a little exploring. There are still so many beaches and places here to see! A group of us went to Boca Grande beach, and it was BEAUTIFUL!! I snorkeled for the very first time! It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it, but I had so much fun, I was like a kid with a new toy! Every so often I take a day to go somewhere I haven't been yet. The landscape is so serene and peaceful here- every where you go there's a beach, and they all look like postcards. Breathtaking. It is my goal to see them all! I am visiting new local shops too, trying to get to know more of what's in my neighborhood. A friend and I attended a Gallery Art Walk one night. Most shops downtown participate with some sort of special, or free wine tasting, ect. Since there is a new WINE AND CHOCOLATE shop, we just HAD to go – it was well worth while!
So I hope you all are enjoying your summertime as much as I am, it does go by quickly! Remember to check my Facebook for new items and specials, as well as the new albums of pendants I am posting for sale. Remember to take a break and go somewhere new, and remember to TREASURE THE REAL GEMS IN LIFE!