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Jump rings

Homemade 4mm jump rings!

Homemade 4mm jump rings!

Yesterday, the stainless steel mandrels I ordered from Contenti a few days ago arrived in the mail. I was a little bit peeved, both at myself and Contenti, because the mandrel set cost a little under $7 and was the only thing I needed from them, and I tried really hard to find something else I could put in the order, since the company charges a $5 fee for orders under $30. No such luck. Nothing I needed that I didn’t already have or wasn’t ridiculously expensive, so I got the fee. Shipping was just under $15 – holy cow! Then to discover that the company is right here in Colorado…it seems excessive to me to ship this item in a priority mail box for so much money. Honestly, it could have gone in an envelope and been fine. It’s not like it was breakable. So I wound up spending almost $30 anyway, for a $7 item. If I hadn’t needed it, if I could have found it locally, I would  never have bought it through them. But I did, and I couldn’t. The local place told me I could use regular wood dowels to wrap wire around to make jump rings, which I knew and had been taught in jewelry class, but the problem with dowels is that they get compressed in the process, so your first rings will have the same inner diameter, but eventually the compression results in rings with smaller inner diameters. Mandrels that won’t be compressed were the order of the day.

Let me tell you, I now understand why people just buy pre-made, open jump rings. Making these things is a royal pain!!! You can’t use a wire cutter to cut the rings apart, because one side of the wire will end flat, the other side will end in a point from the cutter, and when you close the ring, the two sides will not be flush. This is key to chain maille, since improperly closed rings will catch on things and separate easily. So no cutters. You have to saw the things yourself with a jewelry saw. Since it’s one of the tools I bought for jewelry class, I thought, hey, I can do this.

I can’t do this.

This is a frustrating job. The mandrels are three inches long, so you’re not talking about huge coils here, but it takes FOR. EVER. to cut down the side of the coil to create jump rings. I made three coils yesterday, using cheap craft wire for practice. I have sterling silver wire waiting to be turned into jump rings, but I don’t want to start out using the expensive stuff, for obvious reasons.

Not only did I learn that cutting jump rings with the jewelry saw takes an inordinately long time, but using colored craft wire is a BAD IDEA also, because the saw removes the surface color. Good thing these were just for practice!!

I’m going to attempt to use my Dremel on a coil to see if that will work better. I like the idea of making my own jump rings, but the actual practice? Not so much. If the Dremel doesn’t work, it may be a very long time before I make my own rings again!

As to the rest of life, I made up the two midterms I missed while I was recovering from surgery. I still don’t know how I did on the Basic Nursing midterm, but I’ll be ecstatic with a C! The Anatomy and Physiology midterm, however, I aced! Yes! I’m very proud of that.

Our house, however, is a different story altogether. One bathroom is still gutted, the other one still needs to be gutted, one of the two furnaces is broken, and last night the dishwasher died completely. The latter two are relatively easy fixes, since we have kept up the warranty on the house. The bathrooms are another story.

Our tale begins with a hailstorm the year we moved into this house. Apparently, the shingles we had at the time are no longer made, so when the roof was hail damaged, it became necessary to replace the entire roof. Well, okay, the homeowner’s insurance agreed and sent money. Hooray! Then the problems started. We discovered that our house has two roofs (rooves?), the one underneath being the original, pre-add-on roof. I do not know why the original wasn’t removed when the new one went on. If there’s a contractor or roofer out there that can explain this to me in dummy-talk, I’d appreciate it to no end!

Anyway, the new roof goes on, and suddenly we have a leak where there was none before. To make a long story short, over the year and a half since the roof went on, we have had the contractor back here no less than six times to try and track down this leak, to no avail. Each time, some new problem has been discovered. They disconnected the vent pipes from the furnaces when they did the new roof and never put them back, or didn’t seal around the vents themselves…the issues go on. And each time it rains or snows, water pools in the attic on the bathroom ceiling, so much so that the drywall breaks away and can actually be wrung out like a dishcloth. That’s a lot of water. My husband has had to replace the ceiling, and the new drywall is now breaking up because the leak has still not been tracked down. The contractor claims that it might be condensation from the furnace vent pipe…of a furnace that isn’t presently working. Hmm.

Mind you, the actual extent of the leak was not discovered until the bathroom was gutted and we found water damage traveling down from the roof, inside the walls. Sometimes, home ownership is not all it’s cracked up to be. If hubby thought he could get away with it, he’d probably sell the house and go back to renting in a heartbeat. Even with all the attendant problems though, I wouldn’t.

So that’s life in the fast lane right now. Hopefully I’ll be back again soon, but I will leave you with a photo of one of the elms in the backyard today:

Frosty elm tree

Frosty elm tree


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