Monthly Archives: September 2012

September Week 1: Chainmail Box Pattern Necklace

Week one was spent on weaving a box pattern necklace.  I chose the Ripple Necklace out of the book Chained by Rebecca Mojica.  The original pattern calls for using sterling silver, but I’m not that fancy.  I used bright aluminum rings ordered from the Ring Lord in five sizes and three different gauges and weaved them using pliers coated with a rubber tool dip, so as to not scratch the rings.  Organization is key when working with multiple sizes or colors of rings in a pattern.

Here’s the set-up and partially finished necklace

Once you get the pattern down, it moves very quickly.  Due to having to order five different rings, it is a bit of a costly necklace if you don’t already have other uses for the rings.

The “ripple” in the necklace

And the finished product!

Ripple Box Weave Necklace

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September Challenge: Chainmail Jewelry

September is all about picking up my jewelry crafting again.  This type of weaving is known as chainmail, maille, or mail and to avoid confusion when talking about it with friends, I’ve always called it chainmail.  Saying “I’m going to play with my mail this weekend!” sounds like I’m finally tackling that stack of paper in the entryway, which is not my idea of a fun weekend and so wouldn’t end in an exclamation mark.  Saying “I’m going to play with my chainmail this weekend!” is a sentence that always ends in an exclamation mark.

A friend taught me to weave chainmail in 2008 and I believe I started with a byzantine weave, though it might have been the European 4-in-1.  Both weaves are typical beginner weaves and can be learned via the internet and pictures just as easily as from a friend.  To learn chainmail on the cheap,  these are the tools and materials I started out with:

Needle-nose pliers
Curved pliers
End wire cutters

Another way to keep cost down, and to really get a feel for the whole process, is to make the rings.  A few things necessary to make “practice” rings and the crank and cradle or winder:

Aluminum wire (14 gauge spool electric fencing wire from Tractor Supply)
Metal rods (in a variety of common sizes: 1/2″, 3/8″, 1/4″, 3/16″, 1/8″) bent into the shape of a crank
C-Clamps (a small one to clamp the wire to the metal rod and a larger one to clamp the winder to the table)
2×4 piece of lumber (cut into three pieces, lengths and height depending on the length of the metal crank rod)

The resulting winder will look something like this:

There are plenty of designs online for making winders and demonstrating how to wind the wire, so I won’t go into that here.

The schedule for September is:

Week 1: Necklace
Week 2: Bracelet
Week 3: Keychain
Week 4: Anklet
Week 5: Earrings

So, how did week one go?

Tools for making chainmail jewelry, using a palette while lounging on the couch.

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August Week 5: Less Business, More Casual

Ah, business casual, a somewhat new category of office-wear.  I chose an outfit that is another one of my favorites.  I am a fan of the cowl neck on dresses and blouses.  The green of the blouse brings out the subtle reds in my hair and just looks pretty good with my overall skin tones.  It’s also hard to go wrong with some nice, dark jeans.

Drapey, slinky fabrics are my favorites.  And again with the “Smile!” comments…

So, dressing up for work… I don’t think I could really do it for long-term.  I just don’t have the wardrobe and can’t justify spending the money/time/effort to build it up.  There are only a few people in our office and they don’t really care how I dress, so there is no one to impress.  It is something I can continue to do on an occasional basis, but I’m not going to be dressing-up everyday.

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August Week 4: Slacking off

This week I was supposed to wear slacks and blouses.  Notice the “supposed to” portion of that sentence.  So my slacks don’t really fit right now.  I’m not going to go out and buy a bunch of slacks, so I mixed up what I’ve been wearing this month and put it into this week.  The whole point of this month was to dress a little nicer at work, so I wore a dress one day, a skirt and blouse another day, and so on.  My favorite outfit was a dress I wore earlier in the month during the “dress week” and received several compliments.

I’m not very comfortable posing for a camera

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August Race: Rockin’ the Lake Half Marathon

My first half marathon!  The race was in Lawrenceville, GA and also included a 5K and a 10K.  Mom ended up signing up for the 10K and so we drove up to Lawrenceville the night before and left from there in the morning to the park where the race was being held.  The park was about what you’d expect of a city park; a trail around the lake, playgrounds, and ducks.

Unfortunately, the way it was measured, the half marathon was 4 loops (plus a little extra) on the 5K route.  I had to cross the finish line 4 times before it was actually the finish line!  It was much more hilly than I expected, but I ran the whole thing, didn’t finish last, and finished in 2:29:29.  My mom walked the 10K and my roommate took pictures in return for picking him up from the airport.

Right before the race

And we’re off!

I think this was on the second loop

Coming in on the final stretch, mom finished the 10K and came to run the last .25 mi with me.

Who wouldn’t want somma this? Never better lookin’!

And now training for the marathon begins!

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August Week 3: Skirts at Work

This week’s goal was to wear nice skirts and blouses (or dress shirts) to work.  I don’t have the largest collection of skirts and several of them don’t fit right now, so I was a bit limited in my selection.  However, I did make it through the week!  My favorite outfit this week was an apple red button up shirt, a black, high-waisted pencil skirt, and some black, strappy heels.

The shirt I bought several years ago, but haven’t worn much, and the skirt was a hand-me-down from a friend.  It was rather run dressing up!

“No, smile!” “I physically can’t smile any bigger!”

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Portland Restaurants: Habesha

Habesha is an Ethiopian/Eritrean Restaurant that is .4 mi (5 minute walk) from the Crowne Plaza Hotel and .6 mi (15 minute walk) from the Oregon Convention Center.  Most of my experiences with authentic foods of other cultures has been Asian and Latin, with a little European thrown in here and there.  I was rather excited to try something different, though I was apprehensive as this restaurant had few reviews from any of the websites I had visited.  It must have recently opened, as there was no decor to speak of.  The wait staff was friendly and attentive, though I did have to request extra napkins as the one they gave me just wasn’t up to the task.

At the recommendation of the waiter, I ordered the siga wat (beef stew) and it came with injera, a spongy, sourdough-like bread.  The amount of injera they gave me was enormous, I couldn’t even begin to finish it all.  Traditionally, a group of people would sit down and share several plates of food and so that amount of bread wouldn’t be too much.  However, it was just one of me vs injera-the-expansive.  The siga wat was pretty tasty and went well with the bread.  I did finish the siga wat long before the injera, and I just couldn’t get used to the taste/texture of the injera on its own.  The price was reasonable for lunch, under $10!

Overall, I would recommend checking it out.  Especially if you are going out with a group!

Napiergrass (Pennisetum purpureum)

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