Frustrations of Getting ready for Mexico 

It all started a week ago (actually way before that ). But I will begin with last week.  I went so the Santa Fe community college for my last day of Watercolor Class with Jarred  Weiss.   It was critique final day.  I was well prepared as I had done all the work including a few portraits I didn’t need to do. Jared is a fine artist and teacher but doesn’t have good timing when it comes to critiques.  Harold went first and it took almost an hour. Mine went a little quicker but from there on more people arrived so we finally ended an hour late. Said good by to my friends Ursela, Elaine, Cecilia , Shen, Lisa and her friend. On the way home near the corner of St Francis and Hickok I felt the car behind me ram my car. Out of the blue since the weather was clear and I was slowing down for the traffic light that was red BAM.  We both pulled over and decided to go across to the Owl parking lot. I called Les and he said I should get a police report so I called the police. We waited quite a while for one to arrive and when she did I proceeded to tell her what happened.  G. Had already said it was her fault as she was looking down when it happened. The officer ran our information and toLd me I could go.  I had taken a picture of her license and non applicable insurance. The car was not insured as I was to find out later and the girl was only 17. With a provisional license.

After many talks with my insurance company, it became clear that we were going to have to pay for the repairs (the back bumper). Actually, it would be a deductible we needed to pay ,$500.00. It is currently in limbo as we are now on our way to Mexico. We still don’t have the police report either. Table that story for a while and on with the next.

The next morning I was going to take Ruth to the P.A.  after going to exercise. First I needed to make breakfast. Since I like hot oatmeal I proceeded to take the pan out of the dishwasher knowing it had only been rinsed and not washed and make my oatmeal. Les my adorable husband got the coffee ready and then proceeded to empty the dishwasher putting half the dishes over by the sink to be rewashed. In the meantime I was busy making my hot cereal, my kefir, his eggs and Taylor’s home made food. I just didn’t notice!!  Duh!!after much chuckling we ate and I ran off for my busy day with exercise and Ruth’s dr.
My mother in law Ruth needed to see PA Bacon to check on how well her meds were working from a visit we had paid him a few weeks before for a spot on her face. In the meantime, she had developed an infection from a small scratch on her ankle. Bacon had done an in office MRI but the tech was needed to do a more extensive one to silence out a blood clot. In the meantime I had made an appointment to have my car exam end for an estimate and I was running out of time. Les wanted to meet me there so I hurried Ruth home and promised to bring back the prescription.  Les did that for me while I got a few groceries and went to Teca Tu for dog food. The lady was very helpful as our dog Taylor needed something to stop his itching………

This is really part of a bigger story about Taylor and his possible allergies. That all began a while ago and we kept putting off going to the vet as I thought we could clear it up with Internet info and other people’s advice. Wrong. But so was going to the vet. As of today we have spent around $1000.00 and he is still in misery. I can’t sleep with his moaning and scratching. Uh oh. Another story………

When our friends Lucretia and tom came to see us in September they brought their dog and the 8 puppies. This was a dog she had gotten and then found out she was pregnant. Oops. Anyway, I kept saying don’t let Taylor and bell be together as we all know how protective mothers can be. We were all outside the gate and bell attacked Taylor biting him over they eye and on his rump. Then on Monday we took him to Vally vet for some antibiotics and to see what was causing his allergy. They cleaned the wound gave us the antibiotic and charged us almost $400.00. Wow I thought. And still nothing for the allergy.   A few weeks later we decided to got on his original vet smiths hospital and see about all this. They did a blood work up and gave him thyroid medicine. They. Also cleaned his anal sac. Another $400.00. She also said his teeth were bad. And he needed to be on better food. And try Zyrtec and clean his teeth. Is anyone aware how many dog foods there are out there with little or no nutrition.?  I started making my own but we were running out of time. We knew we had to go to Mexico to sell the house so decided to wait til we got there to have him seen by our vet there.  Not there heat but right now he is sleeping which he didn’t do all last night at the motel.

To finish one story about Ruth, I took her back to the Drs office on Thursday and he basically said no hospital just keep up the medicine and we’ll see you as needed. Yea!   she still might need a biopsy on the other sore on her face but not today.

Friday was packing day. Or so we thought.  We were still in need of a working cell phone for Mexico.  I called our carrier and they said we could use a t Mobile chip. In retrospect I didn’t think it would work and it doesn’t. But we spent the afternoon fetching them from Target anyway.    And clean the house in case Dan and Steph come while we are in Mexico. After picking everyone one up a little late as I was busy doing insurance. Finally decided to eat at the RedLobster. Karen had quite a cough so I offered her some Tussin. We played cards at Margaret’s .  Roger took Ruth home so he could write some checks.  The next morning after walking Taylor to the post office we delivered the mail to Margaret. She was all dressed for church forgetting it was only Saturday. She did remember we would be leaving. Not sure she should be all alone but it’s not our call.

Here we are on the highway to San Carlos  but not without incidents. we left home Sunday Around 8:30 for Tucson   Some where near Texas canyon on route 10 we were stopped for about an hour due to a roll over of a truck and trailer. They were still fishing the trailer out of the ravine when we went by.

We always stop at the la Quinta motel as dogs are free.  And then go to eat at Denny’s around the corner.  We had their chicken skillet shared of course. And Les needed some pie. Cheap meal with AARP. Taylor started out ok in the room until it was time for us to go to sleep. Every hour he was awake making his grunting moaning scratching noises and I couldn’t sleep. We had a little problem with our insurance for Mexico as I got what we had last year but Les wanted the full coverage. So I managed to double up on the insurance and hopefully we will get a refund for the other policy. I was under the impression that we needed it when we crossed the border completely forgetting that Safeco will cover us 100 miles into Mexico and our new insurance wouldn’t kick in until 8am pacific time. Ah well, we finally left after I emailed and left a message with Lewis and Lewis insurance.

No problem getting the visas   We got back into the car and Les decides to change out the money. Ok we did so and he gave it to me for tolls. No tolls today!  Something was going all right. Then we take off and he starts to wonder where his wallet is. He pulls over across to the other side of the road facing oncoming traffic and I am in a panic as some of the cars were coming head on passing on the inside. Still no wallet. Then he remembers getting out after  doing the monkey exchange and probably dropping his wallet.  So we charge back to the visa parking lot to look for it. I start asking the people around there is they had seen it.  Turns out miracle of miracles this little man who washes cars had seen it and put it In a safe place. Probably since there was no money in it, so we gave I him 300pesos for returning it.

Time flies while you are otherwise engaged as we are within site of the Guaymas towers. I’ll post again when I have some more interesting stories.


Gramma Girl

All stories start somewhere and mine starts right here right now. I will be 74 by the time I finish this  book so I might as well say that is what I am now. We went to New York this yet to help celebrate two very important birthdays. Vasi turned 3 on August 8th and our newest grand daughter Ashlyn, turned 1.

Theme 1. Adventures with Vasilisa and Iuliia and the dogs.

  • The bear went over the mountain.
  • Gramma lost in the woods
  • House in forest burns down
  • Grandpa builds a new house.
  • They leave for Mexico and give the house to Iuliia and Vasalisa

Rerun jewelry one

I am taking it again as I still Have a lot to learn and we have all the equipment (almost). On our first day of class Camille Rendal taught us so much that I want to share it with you all. Once again I will be just writing my notes from class.

What is fire scale?  It is when copper raises to the surface through because of heat. White paper test??  It will oxidize if you don’t get it off. Solution:  less heating, less fire scale.

We did some design exercises.

Formal design

  1. Abstract
  2. Representation a.unity, harmony, look alike  b. Disharmony :  dominant part ,tilt diagonals, creates tension
  3. Lines and shapes

We were to practice “automatic writing” to improve our creative skills. You write the first thing that comes to mind. Ideas for art work. The more you do it the more ideas you will have but write it down.

Design transfer

  • Symmetry tracing paper use ruler for straight lines. Use sharpie very fine.  Make it exactly to scale. You can resize using a printer if necessary.
  • After we make our design using tracing paper, copy it onto a Manila folder.  Make a model using cut outs with exacto knife
  • Make a second copy
  • Transfer to metal with rubber cement. Put it on both the metal and the paper and let it set up before putting them together. Be sure the metal is cleaned first. Scrub grease off you can tell when it is clean when the water doesn’t bead up on it. It sheets off.

Texturing metal

  • Always have steel underneath.
  • Smooth anvil. Masking tape
  • Chasing (hammer with a big face and a curve)/stamping -straight down. Chasing rotates. Use chasing tool at an angle like carving. Don’t. Grip it   Lock elbow hold near bottom
  • Use dapping tool-don’t drop can chip
  • Rolling mill
  • Texture before sawing

Sawing and shearing

  • Shearing. Back brace. Ruler on back. Never use thicker than 18gauge.
  • Sawing use bench pin. C-clamp it on table at  home
  • Saw: blades .03 or .04. Blade teeth pointing down. Insert top first   Push against stomach tighten til hear a ping
  • Use bees wax on blade.

To saw

  1. Run blade up to start. Only cuts on down stroke. Loosen grip on saw. Straight up and down in a relaxes mode so arm doesn’t get tired. If sticks use more wax.
  2. To turn the piece use short choppy strokes and turn at same time. Keep filings in drawer can be reused for unique texturing.
  3. Filing edges.  A.  When cut on sheer. Leaves a rounded edge. File long straights. Support your work. No air filing as it will become uneven. Lube with chalk. If put in vice use leather.
  4. Check with machinist square.
  5. To bevel the edge hold at an angle and file straight.
  6. Sandpaper gets file marks out.
  7. Use dowels and sticks covered with sandpaper. Have a variety of sizes.  Use Popsicle stick.


  1. Use chuck key to loosen drill bit. Lube drill bit. Center punch the metal on an anvil, not on wood.
  2.  Tape to stabilize
  3. To saw an interior cut after drilling the hole, put saw blade through th hole.
  4. Drill bit size same as saw size.


  • 400 to start to get scratches out. Go to 320 if not.
  • 600 if want it shinier
  • Sand before texturing
  • Texture before cutting.


  • Hard, medium soft or easy
  • Metal must be cleaned and scrubbed.
  1. Example 1. Corner perpendicular use 3rd hand
  2. Example 2. Butt joint ie. Ring or edge to edge. Do. 90 degree angle. See no daylight. Use parallel pliers to put bend on it.
  3. Example 3. Sweat solder overlay. Trick on backside put a slight bevel so solder doesn’t show.  Paint yellow ochre or whiteout to keep solder from running. Less sanding after. Burnish. Use hard to start. It melts at a higher temp so anything after use medium then soft or ez.

Tips.  Stop OS pink spray  on or cuprinol.  If use borax and denatured alcohol. May catch fire.

Tip. Fusing copper filings for texture on silver. Copper melts at higher temp. Don’t use brass

  • Soldering pads. Magnesium block. W/holes don’t set on table without fire brick or pebbles in round under.
  • Paint w flux.
  • Check soldering tip size to match the job
  • Depletion building brings fine silver to surface
  • Ring shank use hard solder
  • Cut solder into small palions  making a fringe then flattens with pliers. Cut with shears.
  • Scribe on solder what it is with h,m,e or ez. Store in medicine jars.
  • Keep solder clean. Sand to clean it.
  • Flux joint-seam, back,and top. Put palions fairly close.
  •  For butt joint put pieces on either side, use pins to keep in place
  • For corner put solder on one side, on the side that doesn’t count.
  • Sweat solder little pieces melt solder on underside of top piece. Then pickle and clean. Solder to base.
  • Use tiny tweezers to position solder.

Types of flux

  • Handy flux. Contains cadmium or chromium
  • Paste flux
  • Rio grande Ready flux doesn’t bubble.  Blue or yellow
  • Soldering pic necessary to hold solder at times and to replace it.
  •  To solder, warm outside to get metal hot. Flux will turn clear. Metal changes from rainbow to black
  • Be at the point of the flame
  • Corner joint-solder follows hottest point. Biggest surface. Heat the most. Bottom pieces get hotter quicker. Use 3rd hand.
  • But1st rotate  heat backside to bring solder tr

Life has changed

I’m not talking about gluing today as I had to drop out of 3D Art. Here we are living in Tesuque but my mother in law,  Ruth, is at an assisted living place. She had chest pains after we got her a wheel chair and wound up in the hospital as she couldn’t even walk. She is still in pain but is much more stable but in need of their services. Plus, in order for her to go there we needed to sign up for 2 weeks. So she should be coming home next Tuesday………….

It is now May 2016 and all is well.  Ruth is making lunches for us again and today she even went to Paynes Nursery to pick out flowers for the backyard. All is back to normal!

Time to sign up for classes again.  I have decided to take Jewelry1 over as it was such a short session last summer. I should be finished planting the garden and the bees will only need to be checked every two weeks. The class is on Mondays and Wednesday’s.  I can still go to Zumba and tai chi too.  We don’t irrigate until Thursday. So looks like a plan.  More to follow.

What is 3-D Art?

I have been asking myself that question since I signed up for the class. Our first class was on Monday so now I have a little better idea of what it’s all about. Here are my notes from the first 2 classes and when we get back from our trip I hope to have more information. 

Day 1

3-d design is  “Nature and the things we design.”  Our instructor is Randall Wilson.  He teaches sculpter, fine art, 3-d art and more.  He comes from California most recently. He has taught all over and has many interesting stories. His main theme seems to be Japanese art including bonsai and origami.  Suiseki is one of the new words he used which I am sure we will hear more about. 

  • Design has a function /purpose. 
  • Structural and aesthetic composition.
  • Lots of drawing and sketching. 
  • Elevations. 
  • Rapid visualization.
  •  Put an idea on paper and develop it. 
  • First go wide and then go deep.
  • Scale shift. 
  • Construct based on our drawings. Can’t draw lol points of view. Shifts take place while making the drawing. 

The Handout lists tools and  an explanation of our first projects. We need Chip board to make the planar condition. How we see things. Simultaneity the things you look at is who you are. 

  • Visual hierarchy
  • Ranking sight
  • Scale. 
  • Brightness 
  • distance
  • Activity Movement. 
  • Shape. 

Formal conditions. Sphere in desert. Contrast. Surface. Color.( Line. Is a series of points.)Properties. No color initially. Neutral palette to do our projects. 
2 rock looking at it one size miniature tree. 

As you look out you look in -Suiseki. Find the thing by searching. 

Story 1. Ben Oki. Bonsai artist. Born in Sacramento. Survivor daughter. Dog town skate board. Vessels for bonsai based on 3 and the triangle. 

Does design ever become absurd. Blind spot is always right in front of you. What is the extent of your imagination. When do you stop.  Picasso says he knows when he is finished because he has a  sence of arrival. 

Suiseki. Weight of stone. Wood and wire. Load of stone. Sympathetic or empathetic.

Assignment #1. Empty detergent bottle. Prepositional. To cantilever. Distort. He usually has his students make a cube to learn how to control the material.  We will Skip it.

Material manipulation instead. Express  something deeply felt. 

Elevate. As symmetry grids. Stacking. Clusters. Chaos. Ideation fades. Elevate and cloak. Package and imbed. 
Other ideas. Stamping on chipboard. Tanya Arena taught weaving techniques. Boiling leather put in shape and let dry. (Next to on top of. Prepositional.) Difficult design piece. Emboss crinkle. Do some thing with material, Drawing. To accelerate the design process use  Rapid visualization. Drawing in perspective. 

Describe create image in mind. Melville. Composition is culture. Design chicken coops. Monuments. Mona Tijuana building in shape of figure. Rick reunion. Fed express. Alaskan airline scaling. Using the logo. 

Creative athletes. New ways of looking at things. Matador story. There is a bit of rambling going on but these are just notes. 
Day 2. How to contain an idea


  •  Chip board soaked with heavy paste to make a 3-d form.
  • Potential carvers pith sap wood (describing how a carver works.)
  • Geometric rectangle, trapezoid with a fold opening. Catalyst for conversation. Design program. Potential understanding. 
  • Composition. Weight visual. Direction. Symmetry. Movement. Angle adds movement and direction.





Has voice. Decide what you are making. Orneric. Realist talking about the dream world. Politic difficult to understand Binary( One in response to other.)

  • Curvilinear and Darts
  •  gluing
  • Origami.
  •  Packaging strategy packaging and brand identity. Soft package. 
  • Contain- elevate -cloak -wrap-Pierce
  • Intentionality. Rational thought over riding decisions. Or is it play. How to evolve into a suscint merge in our minds. Tweak ideas. 
  • Blind spot in right in front of you. In movement. 

Sketch one to one( Not Scaled). Can do thumbnails too. Side elevation and front elevation. Distances. Lay out on cardboard. Then put overlays on the sketch in both front and side elevations. Also do a perspective drawing.  Do 40 of them by the end of the first project. 

Tape down the cutting board. Keep it right on the edge to use it as  a straight edge. Use a Speed square from Harbor Freight or Home Depot.  

Sterit tools are expensive but worth it 


Safety first. Blade perpendicular to cardboard. Let the Sharpness of blade to do the work. Make cuts along side of the ruler. Score to make folds. For accordion mark , then skip every other mark cut on one side flip and cut the opposite marks.  

Next week – Gluing and more practice. 

On my own

PhotoNow that the class is over I am on my own.  Fortunately I have my husbands expertise to call on. He began making silver jewelry when he retired and we have been able to set up a small jewelry and glass studio to work in.   The only problem is that we have to travel to use it.  At the same time we get to check on his 95 year old mother since she lives there.

I finished the little necklace for my granddaughter today.  I need to keep practicing my newly learned skills or I’ll forget what to do next.  Just like everything else, it’s all in the planning.  You need to know what to do first before you ruin a piece.  It is so tempting to set a stone in a bezel after it is on the backing but first you need to have all the other polishing and finishing done first.  My first silver necklace needs reworking already.  The piece with the bezel had one of the jump rings fall off making it difficult to keep it all together.  So I am now planning a new piece and trying to find the right stones to go on it.  I want it to look more like a palette with several different colored gems.  I’ll let you know when it is finished.

Graduation Day

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After spending all morning and half the afternoon working on our final projects, we had to lay them out on our workbench and everyone would gather around and discuss them.  I tried to have a photo of the artist either before or after his/her work.  Mine are not included in the slideshow as I needed to be talking about my pieces and modeling them as well.

The first piece I did was a bronze bookmark.  It was shortly after learning how to saw metal and pierce it and file it.  When you see it in a book, it looks like “KILROY WAS HERE“. bookmark

silver jewelry My Second Piece

The next piece was a sweat soldered piece.  First I needed to saw the flower and pierce the center to remove it.  After filing and soldering, I added the leaves and the stems.  Originally it was on a large piece of silver but I cut around that and added a chain to the back.  I  made the clasp with  a piece of silver wire.

My final project was the most difficult as there were many pieces involved and I needed to solder on a bezel and jump rings on the backs.  In addition to that, I decided to make it shiney.  The biggest problem with at is you can have fire scale that keeps showing up just when you think you are done sanding and polishing.  I worked on it for days and it seemed to get worse.  I think I need to take the next class just to find out how to get rid of it.  I didn’t set the bezel until the last half hour of the class and it was the first time I had ever done it.  Not too bad,Eh?

silver jewelry My design

Busy Week Ahead


Between exercise classes, folk dancing, gardening, jewelry making, putting up cherries into jam and wine, making web sites and having my oldest son and his wife visit from Kentucky I don’t know if I am coming or going.  To start with, exercise class is the one way I can put my body back into shape after sitting at the jewelers bench for many hours working on my final project.  The folk dancing also helps with that.  In fact, between Zumba and Folk Dancing I don’t know which I like more.

Though gardening is one of my all time passions, when it comes time to harvest I never seem to have enough canning jars, sugar, Certo, or plastic freezer bags let alone space in the freezer.  I would like to be able to use a solar food dryer as several batches of cherry leather succumbed to mildew and had to be thrown away.  Maybe next year.  Right now we are dealing with zuccini, yellow squash, cucumbers and pretty soon, green beans, tomatoes, beets, carrots, radishes.  At least we won’t have to deal with the winter squash and pumpkins until much later.  I forgot to mention the weeds which never stop.  I love it!  ps I also have a husband who is so patient with me.

Day 9 More Progress

Jewelry final_4744aThe soldering of the jump rings is finished.  Now I am drilling holes to attach them together.

First I had to learn how to use a drill press for jewelry.  You need to find the right size drill bit.  Then tap a notch where you want your hole to be after using a caliper to mark the spot.  Then be careful to hold it where you want it before lowering the drill and step on the foot pedal slowly.  When finished with that you need to file the hole as there are sharp pieces left.  Tomorrow we will shine up our work, make findings and attach the bezel to one of the pieces.

Jewelry final_4743a