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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Serendipity For My Sister

Two years ago, my sister Cara gave me three cabochons for Christmas.  She told me that my mother loved one of them, and she loved another.  I made up the one my mom had indicated she liked, as a gift for her 87th birthday.  It's always good to know what might be wanted when trying to create a gift, even for someone you know well.

Last summer, my sister told me that what she most wanted for her December birthday and Christmas combined was the cabochon she had given me, transfomed into jewelry.  I got it out and thought to myself,  "OK, so you don't find instant inspiration here.  Just make a start, and something will occur to you."

It was dark Payne's gray and creamy white, maybe a little like dalmatian jasper, but the domed surface was pitted and I was having a hard time getting past that.  I tightened the bezel at the front and flipped it over to close the back, and EUREKA!!!  On the back side was a nearly perfect image of Mount Helena, as seen from the front yard of the house my sister and I grew up in, located in Helena, Montana.  I looked for a picture of this mountain to show you, but all the ones I found online are of the East slope, and our house is on the North slope.  Sigh.
Mount Helena - The  Flat Side of the Cabochon
The shape is just right, the tree line is almost visible, and the mountain looks like it usually looks about this time of year, with a dusting of snow.  Had my sister seen this?  I had not.  Wow.  I quietly proceeded to finish the bezel and then decided to apply some snowy branch fringe to the bottom, as though you might be viewing the mountain in winter through frost or snow covered trees and shrubs.
The domed side of the cabochon, with its pits, that I didn't love,
with the twisted 8-strand rope.
Then I had another EUREKA moment, as the fringe looked both a little like the branches I was aiming for, AND roots!  MY roots.  MY SISTER's roots.  We grew up on that mountain.  Amazing how things take on meaning and beauty.  How a duty can become a delight, if you give it a chance.

Mount Helena side up , on the cubic right angle weave  rope
I made a woven bail and strung a delicate 8 strand necklace I thought would be pretty with the pendant.  This was after a lengthy struggle with the bead crochet rope I thought I would try for the first time.  Turns out, knowing how to crochet is far from all that is required for this technique. FAIL!  I liked the 8 strand, but the scale of the bail meant that it had to be twisted to hang nicely and I was still wishing for that bead crochet rope I could not do.  So I looked at Heather Collin's brilliant and clear tutorial for cubic RAW  (Thank you 'Mam! What a fun and fast technique!) and made a second, interchangeable neck strap for the piece that I like even better than the 8 strand.  But I'll send her both, since either could be worn by itself as well.

The 8 strand rope and the CRAW rope, without the cabochon pendant.
My sister does not read my blog, so even though this is a Christmas gift, I think I am safe publishing premature pictures of it here. Don't spoil the surprise for her.  Shhhhhh, do not share with Cara until Christmas!

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