Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival!

If it's Cinco de Mayo and it's Saturday or Sunday, then the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is underway.

Unfortunately, my allergies are keeping me from going. I don't have a car, and I'd like to think that it's the reason that I'm not going. I'd like that, because it's something I could possibly fix and maybe go next year.

But I can't kid myself. I've been having a severe allergic reaction for more than two years straight, and almost constantly for at least 5 years because of the unhealthy conditions in the HUD subsidized apartment in which I live. Going out for the day in the Spring, when the air is filled with tree pollen is nearly suicidal. I don't know. Maybe I can fix the problem with the apartment building and get better, if not well.

But back to the Sheep and Wool Fest! Or rather, back to the subject, but not the Festival.

Here's a photo of a lamb to get you in the mood.

Susan McFarland brought along a little lamb to the show a few years ago, and you can see her sitting in Susan's lap. Isn't she a cutie?

I'm at home, getting in the mood by watching You Lucky Dog on the Hallmark Network. It'll be on later today, too. It's about a woman who comes home from New York to her family's cattle farm and discovers that they've bought some sheep, too. She gets and trains a sheep dog named Lucky, and starts a designer sweater business. There are lots of border collies herding sheep, so at least I don't have to feel like I'm missing the sheepdog trials.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up some knitting projects, doing some light cleaning, and I might even do some spinning later. I might even treat myself to some chicken fried rice from the local Chinese restaurant as consolation.


The Jewelry Project

I used to make and sell sterling silver jewelry, and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed wearing it even more.

Then Steve decided to help me by throwing out all my tools (including a torch) and what was about $300 worth of sterling silver (then). It's probably about $4,500 worth of sterling in today's prices. This, and similar incidents, is a large part of why I'm no longer married to Steve.

I've been collecting silver working tools for the past few months, and this month I splurged and spent all my disposable income on the last few tools I needed, and some nickel silver wire. It should all arrive this coming week.

From Cool Tools, I ordered an anvil that is almost a sculptural work of art in it's own right,
a sandbag,
a mallet, and protective glasses (I'm not showing the glasses).
I found a great shop on ebay called JETS Tools, and I ordered a goldsmith's hammer from them.

 Isn't it pretty?

I plan to get a chasing hammer soon, too.

All of the tools are not only superb tools for the job, but aesthetically pleasing as well. The anvil, mallet, and hammer are beautiful pieces of sculpture, and the sandbag is to deaden the noise of using the hammers and anvil.

And, of course, I ordered some metal, in this case, various gauges of nickel silver wire. Please note that although it's called nickel silver, there is no silver in it. It is, as the name states, nickel. Actually, it's mostly copper, and there's a little bit of zinc in it, too, but no silver.

But it looks great, doesn't tarnish, and it's a tiny fraction of the cost of sterling. I got it partly because I was nearly broke after buying the hammers and anvil and wanted to be able to do something with the tools, and partly because it's a really inexpensive way to experiment before making things in the far more expensive silver. Next month, I may spring for some sterling filled wire.

Oh, and while I was at it, I ordered the crochet hooks I need to make the hats that I ordered the yarn and beads for last month. It'll be so nice to get the sun out of my eyes, and look great while I'm doing it!

I hope you're having a great weekend, and that if you live in my area that you got to go to the sheep and wool fest!

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