Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Holiday in Cape Town.....

As I hinted at, here is a travelogue of our trip to Cape Town all be it a tad late - we have been in Cape Town since the 14th of December, so I haven't really had the oomph to do anything technology wise - life is a beach - what can I say.
Anyway to begin...... We arrived to a downpour and grey skys more reminiscent of London than Cape Town, not at all what we were expecting .... we wanted sunny sky's, well sunny skys is mostly the norm in South Africa but when on holiday one more or less demands it, so here we were in the pouring rain, why Manchester City football club was here I am not to sure but here is a photo for the fans.... are you out there fans ???? 

We had hired a Kia Picanto, a car more like a large rollerskate than a car (maybe I should have hired two - one for each foot, to make things worse the car hire company had parked it at the farthest end of the lot, so there was I dashing through the rain then trying to load up the rollerskate with a ton of luggage (we travel heavy) my wife Pam bringing up the rear, and finally soaking wet we pulled out into the traffic and off to visit my sister in Somerset-West (Near cape Town).

We stayed at a marvellous apartment in a block called Echo Terrace in Fish Hoek with the most exquisite views of False Bay and across the bay to the small sea side town of Kalk Bay and to the right across to Strand and Gordon's Bay. 

The next day was still pretty miserable so we went for a swim in the sea, yes it is cold.... damn cold at about 16C and then off to Kalk bay for a bit of retail therapy and lunch at a great little restaurant called the Live Bait.

A day later we awoke to the most perfect weather and a day of hard labour - lying on the beach occasionally having to roll over to sun the other side or drift to the shop for lunch, this was duly followed by some more baking in the sun, then a swim to cool off in beautiful azure blue sea, then a good long walk down the beach to get some exercise, exercise also entailed waking down to the beach from our flat and back up again in the evening inclusive of 121 stairs.
View from our apartment
View to Kalk Bay

The days then just seemed to roll one into one another ... beach.....swim....beach... eat... walk.... sleep.... beach....swim....beach...  eat.... walk.... sleep....  OK you get the picture.

Then there was another bad day..... so off to Cape Town and the V&A Water Front for a bit more retail therapy and some more eating, first to a restaurant for some refreshments - glass of wine for Pam and a Kwak for me (Kwak is a Belgium beer served in a very interesting glass) and then off to our usual Sushi restaurant for a late lunch.
View of Table Mountain from V&A Waterfront
V&A Water Front

V&A Water Front

V&A Water Front
Kwak Beer

Then some more days of ... beach.....swim....beach... eat... walk.... sleep.... beach....swim....beach...  eat.... walk.... sleep.... Still get the picture..... Good!!

Fish Hoek Beach

Fish Hoek Beach

On the 21st we were strolling back to the apartment when Pam decided to demonstrate how to elegantly nose dive straight into a rather unforgiving concrete walkway.
Grazed Wrist
Grazed, Bruised Knee

Now if you have ever heard a bag of wet cement dropped that is exactly what it sounded like, and she didn’t even finish off the manoeuvre with a bounce, see above photos for graphic detail of the injuries, she was extremely lucky not to have broken her nose as well

On the 23rd we had an early dinner at a rather stunning wine farm called Highland Road Estate where we partook of some excellent wine and pizza's cooked fresh in their own pizza oven and this all on a jetty like deck next to a small lake, Excellent stuff couldn't get better if it tried hard!!!!

Lunch Deck
Pizza Oven


On Christmas Eve we had a bit of undue excitement at 15:25, we were all minding our own affairs....sunbathing......swimming.....eating....
(Stop the story.... we have sharks in south Africa..... LARGE SHARKS...... and so in Fish Hoek they post Shark spotters up on the mountain above the swimming beach, when a shark is spotted entering the bay they radio down to the life guards who set off the sirens and change the warning flags and get the people out of the water before they get eaten)
On with the story…. Off went the sirens, up went the white flag with the black shark (means shark been spotted) and out of the water stormed the people except for one deluded idiot who decided to rather stay in and had to be physically dragged out by the life guards endangering not only himself but them also, they should have left him swimming and cleaned up the gene pool a bit.
Shark Warning sign

Notice Board

My sister Marganne and her husband Brian very kindly had us to Christmas lunch at their house in Somerset West with one of their daughters Robyn and a friend of theirs Peter whom Brian knows from the NSRI (National Seas Rescue Institute). A rather delicious lunch of pork, chicken, lamb, veggies and finished off with a trifle and profiteroles.

Then back to Fish Hoek for some more .... sleep...... walk..... eat.... no swim, beaches were literately swamped with people, so a long leisurely walk down the beach to Kalk Bay was the order of the day, of course food was involved with lunch at the Olympia Cafe then a bit of shopping then onto Cape to Cuba for some refreshments (read beer and wine) and relaxing listening to live music..... and now back to the apartment to relax......
Pam Relaxing on the outside patio at Cape to Cuba

Finally the holiday came to an end with dinner at the Polana restaurant in Kalk Bay, a excellent seafood tapas completed the evening
Seafood Tapas

The 28th December came round all too quickly with a flight back to Johannesburg and Home ..... The End... 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Holidays begin ….. and an Enhancer setting with Pear-shaped Garnet

End of the year at last, couldn’t have come quick enough or was it a bit too quick, the year seems to have flown past with rather obscene speed.

And with this end I have stopped classes and jewellery work in general, it is screaming up to Christmas break and I am stopping for my annual leave from I.T. as well, why can’t I do jewellery during my break you ask…… yes I heard you at the back there…….well the answer is we are off to Cape Town for Christmas, so I will be give or take a kilometre or three nearly 1400 km away from my workshop, NO NO NO I can’t take it with me – we are flying and also I don’t think our hosts would be overly excited with a workshop moving into one of their flats sooo no work for a while.

During my break I will put in a couple of entries (starting with this one) consisting of work I have done in the past during classes and of my own creation, I may also put up some travelogue entries of our trip, so keep looking out.

And so to kick start this series of holiday entries :-

The following set of pictures are of a Pear shaped Garnet in an enhancer setting.
The shank of the ring is hammered, cut and then bent round with a pair of needle nose pliers, I put the the stone setting at a slight angle to the ring to create a bit of an accent

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Three Stoned Tiffany Ring

I have started on a ring that while it didn't seem complex at the outset it is turning into a real trial of nerves - but then my instructor did say he was going to give me a project that would challenge me a bit.

The three settings are two different sizes, and cone shaped. 
The centre setting is  5.5mm across and 4mm deep, this one wasn't too difficult to construct - there was worse to come, it is made from a flat strip of silver that is bent round to form a tube and soldered, I then hammered it in a coning tool, cut it open, re-sized, soldered and hammered again in the coning tool until happy with the size and overall appearance, I'm sure someone out there may have a better / easier method of doing this and I would be glad to hear of it.

Coning tool

The two side settings proved to be a job of epic proportions; to start I tried to make the settings from flat strip the same way as I did the large setting but at 3mm across and 3mm high my nerves became very exposed. 

I spoke to my instructor about this, the settings not the nerves  - in case you were wandering -  and he suggested an alternative method; Roll out some square strip 3.2mm square, then draw this down through a round draw plate until it is 3mm round wire - strong arms required here and a bit of weight behind it when you pull.
Then mark off 3mm depth and cut on the line to 1 and 1/2 half saw blade depth - DO NOT SAW deeper it seems to break off.

Square Wire

3mm Round Wire

Using a flat file I start filing away material to form a cone( from here on please excuse the drawings they are done in paint)  then I drilled down the centre of the wire with a 1 mm drill bit, reamed it out with a 1mm and a 1.5 mm round burr and the finished it off with a cone shaped burr.

Filed setting

Then I measured up 1mm markings down the side and and drilled a 0.7 mm hole in the side, then cut out a 1mm slot from the centre leaving a 2mm post to support the top of the setting.

Two side settings

Next I will do a similar cut on the larger setting bit this time leaving a post on either side for the smaller settings to sit up against.

All three settings
Settings with their stones

 have started making the body of the ring, - again I have made up a strip of square wire, bent it round or as round as can be made then soldered closed at the join and then hammered properly round on a ring mandrel. I have started hammering the bottom of the ring flat to sit against the finger and the top is hammered flat in the vertical (hammered up shank) and this will be spit to receive and hold the setting.

Start of the ring

To be continued.........