Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

We're having a windy,green Christmas, so I'm using a picture of my mother and father's house - pretty as a picture!
May all the blessings of this holy day be yours.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Bird Brain? I Think Not!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Not Impressed - What Are We Teaching Our Children?

The past week from 5:30 til 6 p.m., our radio station has had calls to Santa from
local children. Maybe I'm becoming Mrs Grinch, but for every one that's just adorable and asks for a doll and some surprises or a puppy, the next four will ask for a DS, a cell phone, an i-pod touch, a camera, video games and some surprises to boot. One kid asked for all of that and a laptop. These are kids that are young enough to talk to Santa! Sure, not all the kids will get all they want, but their wish list is unbelievable. I don't remember my kid ever asking for that much. Course, being a single mother in his Santa years, I think I told him something along the lines of Santa having to deliver to so many kids that there was a limit to what one kid could ask for. One little fellow asked for "another" i-pod touch. He was about six years old! How old was he when he got the first one and how much more responsible would he be now?
Okay, end of rant. I just really hate to see kids expect to get so much at such a young age. Especially when there are so many in the neighborhood that will be getting their presents from the Salvation Army.
I just have one more related concern. How do you teach your kids to be wary of strangers? Is it okay if they've seen the stranger in pictures, or the stranger gives them presents? The reason behind this obvious question is that so many of the little kids say so sweetly before they hang up, "I love you, Santa." They don't know him! They only know that he brings presents. They might hear their parents talk all year about Obama or Harper, but the kids wouldn't say, "I love you, Mr. Obama." Because he doesn't bring presents! For some reason, that gives me the willies.
Call me the Grinch, but I'm not impressed.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Still Being Impressed

Okay, this really impresses me.  Love the boogie music but the dancers are amazing - watch all the movement below the waist!  If you looked at them from the waist up, they're just dancing, but there's a whole other thing going on with their knees and feet.  Way cool!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Things That Have Really Impressed Me This Year, Saturday Dec. 11, part II

Karen, Nadine and Jake

I own a little convenience store here on Prince Edward Island.  We're open from 7a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the summer.  I couldn't get along without good help, and right now, I have very impressive help.
Karen is semi-retired and works three days a week and that allows me to sleep in three days a week.  She is eminently impressive because she treats my business like her own and actually cares about it and me.  And my dogs.  If I need or want to go away, I couldn't do it without Karen babysitting the store and the dogs.  She is just an impressive person.
Nadine is a typical 19 year-old, working to pay for her cell phone and her car, and some day in the near future, she will move on and get a better job.  But she's a sweetheart and the customers love her.  I find Nadine impressive because she has been waiting with great anticipation and just finally got the operation for a breast reduction.  She is slim and gorgeous and it is so unusual for a single young woman with great attributes to want to go down, rather than up and out.  It took great courage and a rare mind set to understand that although every guy in the area admires big breasts, it wasn't worth the backaches.  Five pounds of impressive.
Jake is a fiery red-haired and freckled fourteen-year-old.  He's impressive because he's so incredibly responsible for any age and a great worker.  He'll go places, some day.  Right now, I'm very glad that for the past six months, his place after school is behind my counter. 
Am I lucky, or what?

Things That Have Really Impressed Me This Year, Saturday Dec. 11

What wonderful products!  I got their herbed garlic sea salt and their red garlic sansel (no salt condiment) and will have garlic breath forevermore.  I make my own gluten free bread in a breadmaker and any of you fellow celiacs will know it's just not as good as the other stuff.  BUT, now I'm adding a tablespoon of the Epicure herb and garlic mix (sense a theme here?) and some crumbled old cheddar and it's the best bread I've ever tasted, toasted or plain.
I got their coated grill pan, a square frying pan with raised grills and not only does it cook perfect hamburgers and chicken breasts, it practically rinses off afterwards.  Hmmn, let me see, what else did I get?  Haven't had time to try everything yet but I think tonight or tomorrow I'm going to make gluten free pizza with herbed crust.  I might just go into garlic withdrawal, but I'm thinking of trying their pesto herb mix for the crust.
I seriously like this stuff, enough that it comprised the bulk of my Christmas presents to my parents and my son, so that should tell you how much it impresses me.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Things That Have Really Impressed Me This Year

This blog post isn't a commercial, even though it might sound like one.  I was opening my emails this morning and got an eflyer from a bead seller and thought how much I loved their stuff.  And that led to thinking that I had never heard of them until this year and it would be nice to make a list of my favorite things so other people could check them out as well.
So I'll start.  I know I'll forget some so this will be my end-of-year project and I'll post them as I think of them.  This post has three:
Beads Of Cambay (and sister company "Give Me More Beads.")

From Recently Updated
Their stock of gemstones and semi-precious gemstones are drool-worthy and if you watch their sales flyer or their specials, you can pick up very impressive, high quality stones reasonably.  The sister company, Give Me More Beads, is almost like the "specials" department of other companies, because they have lovely stones and some great deals.
I put an order in to both and they were quick to respond, quick to ship and I might never be able to part with some of the stuff I ordered.  Sigh.  You should see the faceted African Opals.  And the pyrite nuggets.  I'm right in love with them.  One of the things I really like about the shipment is that every strand was actually tagged with what it was  and the price.  Have you ever ordered beads, filed the invoice away and not used the gemstones for a few months?  When you go to use them, they have this little coded tag on them that you don't understand and you can't remember if those were your Indian agates or your jasper.  Or what you paid for them. impressive company and I will certainly be ordering from them again.  And again.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot, they have silver/copper twisted rings and beads - very handy.

Kate McKinnon's Books:

From Recently Updated

From Recently Updated
I think everybody should have a copy of all of Kate's work.  Not for the projects.  I sell my work and don't want to make somebody else's design and sell it as my own.  But for the "aha!" moments.  The things I've been taught or read from time-to-time and forgotten.  For the little shortcuts I've taken that compromise the integrity of any piece I've made.  If you read Kate's books from cover to cover, you'll learn so much or remember so much.  Her specialty is the structural aspect of any piece of jewelry and that focus and knowledge will make any piece that you make heirloom quality.  Reading her books or watching the DVDs that come with them is like taking refresher courses from a Master.  Well, I guess it IS taking refresher courses from a Master.  Anyway, those two books and one of her bead stringing notebooks, are the best I've bought in a long time and I'm a compulsive book buyer. They'll make me a far better craftsman.

Susan Boyle's The Gift

 Bliss.  The woman has such a wonderful voice.  I'd say I could live on a steady diet of her and Josh Groban but my country side would start to whine after a while.  Just give me music, it makes me happy and beautiful music fills me with joy.

Monday, 6 December 2010

My Toucan Pendant is in another collection

Canadian Artists Really Sparkle - My Flower Earrings are In it!

I'd like to promise that this will be the last collection but when people keep using my jewelry in them, I just have to promote them!  Besides, when it's such a crazy time of the year, it's a very sneaky way of keeping my blog current without having to do a lot of actual thinking.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Dear Sandy Claws, I've Been A Good Dog!

Another Great Canadian Collection

Canadian Artisan Collection

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Brazilian Quartz Crystal Pendant

This is a very short post, just a picture of the Brazilian crystal I wrapped the other day.  Each crystal is different and each one wants me to keep it.  I'd end up pretty spiky looking, since I already have two.
I bought these crystals years ago at the Brantford Lapidary & Mineral Club show in February.  I miss that show, you could pick up the coolest stuff, things that aren't available at the big suppliers.  On the advice of Joanie, my dear late mentor who was into Reiki, I soaked the crystals in a bowl of water and sea salt, and then dried them in the sun to purify them.  She said all quartz crystals should be purified to rid them of negative energies.
This one has a good six-sided point at the bottom, a "ghost" or "shadow" towards the top and is milky at the growing end.  Also according to Joanie, all crystals should be wrapped only in silver because any other metal would dissipate the energies.  As usual, I wrapped this one in Argentium because I like the low-tarnish properties and the absence of copper in the alloy.  You can find it at my Artfire shop.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Actually Made Some Stuff

Do ya know, having an online shop is an awful lot of work.Actually making the jewelry is almost the easy part, but to get people to look at it, you have to do the social networking thing.  First I had to post it on my Artfire shop, shared it with Facebook and Twitter, put it up on the forum and then here, on my blog.  Don't get me wrong, my blog is fun and it's kind of an extension of the way I constantly talk to myself, except every once in awhile somebody answers!  I find that so cool! 

And I have become very attached to the people on the About forum.  They're like old friends and we all worry about each other and are very supportive of each other.  It's very worrisome when someone doesn't post for a while. 

But it's all so time consuming!  I finished my pieces around 3:30 and here it is 6 and I'm still promoting them.  Oh well, one of these days I'll be retired, no more store, and it'll give me something to do, other than talk to myself and the dogs.
I call this piece "Welcome."  I have no idea why, it just told me that was its name. 
This is another of the melted silver pieces, and I soldered it onto a hammered sterling ring, added three sterling balls (they're perfectly round, the bottom one is reflecting something) and two wrapped labradorite briolettes.   Antiqued with LOS.
I love these pieces and guess its because I love to be different and nobody else will ever make one the same, and they appeal to my quirky side. (Some would say "weird," I say "quirky.")

The next piece is totally different, a little more cheerful, but not quite so much "me."  I like it and love the flower but I'd wear the first piece and would never wear something like this.  I'm probably the most "up," cheerful and optimistic person you will ever meet, but I like my jewelry to make a statement, not be just pretty.  Besides, my neck's too fat.

This was another piece of copper sheet, cut to a freehand pattern, folded, patterned, and basically hammered all to heck.  Great fun!  Then I put a wash of translucent red enamel on it, and splattered yellow around the centre and on the bottom of the sterling bead.  The agate beads are gorgeous - they remind me of little translucent marbles.  

The reddish beads between the silver are carnelian. 

I don't get another day off until Saturday and really need to do my October books.  But maybe I can sneak an hour here or there to do something else - I really want to wire wrap some Brazilian crystals.  And I don't seem to be able to work after dark - does anyone else have that problem?  I can't see properly, all I want to do is eat and sleep.  The joys of Canadian winter - 12 hours of dark every day and a whole population that wants to hibernate.  Take care!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

I Am Woman, And I Have Tools!

I'm just so pleased with myself this morning that my hats would never fit on my head. It's not often (if you're normal) that you get such an overwhelming sense of smug, self-satisfaction. Now you'll have to share the whole, probably boring story!
The cash register in the store is reasonably new; I bought it about four years ago. It wasn't the cheapest available, nor was it the most expensive, just a nice, middle-of-the-road electronic register, suitable for a small store.
On Friday night, the LED display quit working. Which meant that the lid had to come off, we had to run a continuous tape of every transaction and we had to cash out before we could see the total with the tax included. Major pain in the butt. Not to mention the fact that the thermal paper that it uses is really expensive and we were going through it like toilet paper at an ex-lax convention. I tried my two favorite electronic fixes: unplug and let it reboot, and whack the heck out of it. Uh uh, not going to work. So I went into town to Staples and decided to bite the $400 bullet. They had the cheap one and they had the really expensive one, but not mine. So I drove uptown to the only other office supply place - closed.
Plan B: Staples online promises next day delivery. Not on my cash register, they don't. Seven to fourteen business days.
Plan C: Sunday morning, by this time, and I found a few ads but wouldn't call anyone on a Sunday morning, so decided to wait until afternoon.
THEN! Business is slower this time of year, so I read all my emails, checked the news and got bored. When I'm bored, I'm dangerous, usually ending up buying beads online. Decided that I couldn't make the machine any worse, got my screwdrivers and took the whole top off. Then I decided I should turn it off, since I was sticking my fingers down between wires. Turned it off, followed the LED wires in and out of the dock, fiddled with them and WAHLAH! The LED lights came back on. With the machine turned off, so I guess I should have unplugged it, haha. But the cash register is working! And I even got the screws back in to put it back together!
So I am justifiably pleased with myself. I just saved over $400!
My head will never get too big. I'm probably the only person left in the world that doesn't have a cell phone with a camera, in fact, my cell phone battery died months ago and I didn't know if I could figure out the new ones with cameras, so as of yet, I don't have a cell phone at all. Yesterday, I was driving home from my fruitless cash register search and saw the most beautiful sunset over the water I have ever seen in my life, real or pictures. It was just absolutely, positively glorious, a symphony in coral, turquoise, indigo and pink with the water dead calm, reflecting the entire sky. Boy, did I ever want a cell phone with a camera at that moment. But even though the picture has gone from my head, the feelings it inspired are still there. Time to get a new phone - I'd rather have the feelings AND the picture.
My long stories are a family joke - sorry!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Little Silver Balls

Speaking of silver...I've discovered a new love. Cutting up pieces of scrap silver wire, putting them on the firebrick and heating them with the torch. They wiggle, they jiggle, they start to curl...and ZING! They roll up into perfect little silver balls. Very addicting. Now I just have to figure out what to do with a whole bunch of little silver balls...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Silver Prices, or The Artisan Gambler

My supply of silver wire is dwindling. I probably have enough to last me until spring of 2011, especially at my production rate, but therefore lies my conundrum. What will the price of silver be in 2011? Has anybody else googled forecasts? The price right now is higher than it has been all year. Will it drop again or will it continue climbing?
The best (meaning forecasts for dummies) forecast I've read so far was Scotiabanks. They laid it out in very understandable terms and this is what I took from it:
Silver is a precious metal, albeit a cheap precious metal, and is used as a good investment in tough economic times or as a hedge for inflation. Therefore, it will be high at the moment, until the economy has a sustained recovery.
Silver is used for many new electronic applications. Because of the economic downturn, demand for these electronics is lower than usual, but as the economy recovers, so will the demand for these new electronics.
The production of silver has been lower than the demand since 2008. Because of the recession, this has not been a supply/demand thing causing higher prices, but as demand increases, it will.
My conclusion: I'm going to buy as much silver now as I can afford. The last time I faced this dilemma, silver was $17 and change. It rose steadily, dropped drastically for a short time and jumped right back even higher than before. I had bought it at the $17 price, which didn't make me as smart as anyone who waited for the sudden drop, but they are better gamblers than me.
Let's check back in a year to see if I made the right decision!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Friends & Random Acts

No, the picture is not recent, it's from the snowstorm of winter 2008.
I hate winter, hate short daylight, having to wear boots and a coat, hate the horrible squeaky sound snow makes when it's really cold and hate bare trees.  But I love the people around me in this little village, year-round.
My ice house has a furnace and its own oil tank.  The oil business is highly regulated here and tanks are inspected when new and tagged with an expiry date.  The store tank is good for another few years but the ice house tank expired in 2009 and had to be replaced.  I procrastinated because it had enough oil to last until this spring and I didn't want to shell out the $1500 it would cost to replace it and have another one installed, inspected and tagged.  And standing in the store talking to people, it came up in conversation occasionally.
Neil comes in for coffee every morning and we talk about everything under the sun, mostly about how hard he works and how sore his back is.  He knew of a tank that was fairly new and should be available, so he'd check with Brian, up the road.  Next thing I knew, the tank was delivered, installed and ready for oil.  Neil and Harry picked it up, delivered it, dug up the old one, laid gravel and a concrete base, scrounged up some proper oil tubing and installed the whole thing.  He won't accept a cent.  He won't even let me give him free coffee in the mornings, throws the money at me and leaves it on the counter if I won't take it.  Brian won't take a cent for the tank or the tubing.  He just laughs and says, "what goes around, comes around; you'll do something for someone else."  And I will.
People like Neil and Brian practice true kindness, not expecting kudos or anything in return, just the quiet satisfaction of doing something nice for someone else.  In this case it was a big something but so many people here do small somethings in the same way.  When they say to you, "Let me know if there's anything I can do," they mean it.  I'm very humbled by the kind of friends I have, and hope that not only do I deserve them, but that I'm never the shore where those ripples of kindness stop.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Oh Dear, Who will predict my love life now?

Paul is dead.  Der Tintenfisch, the famous German octopus that predicted the World Cup winners is dead.  Of course they have replaced him, but it's along the lines of replacing Wiarton Willie, the groundhog who tells us every year we're going to get another six weeks of winter, or not.   This is Canada - on February 2nd, we are going to get another six weeks of winter.  Always. 
The original Willie was pretty good at predicting the weather, or maybe he just played the odds better than the replacement Willies.  The original Paul the Octopus had such an amazing talent for eating the winning team during the World Cup series that an Argentine chef posted octopus recipes on Facebook and Paul received death threats.  People do seem to take the World Cup very seriously.   Odds of his choices being blind luck are 256 to 1.   According to Wikipedia, "Paul's apparent success was considered to be comparable to a run of luck when tossing a coin. This connection has been made by Professor Chris Budd of the University of Bath, Professor David Spiegelhalter of Cambridge University, and Etienne Roquain of Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris."  Others got involved as well, scientists, aquarists, lecturers and lots and lots of media.  Theories have abounded about the cause of his amazing predictions. 
Isn't it amazing that so many people with so many credentials had the time and inclination to take a psychic octopus seriously?  News of his death has been covered worldwide. 
Am I the only one who thinks there is something very humorous about this whole picture?
I wonder if there has ever been a psychic Jack Russell?

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Gemstone Nugget Bracelet

Oh, I had an awful time with these beautiful gemstones.  I strung them on a temporary wire and tried about four different ways of stringing them and nothing seemed to do them justice. 
I don't even remember what made me decide to simply use rings between the nuggets.  Once the decision was made, it was a matter of finding and making enough big rings to use.  Some are hammered to be flat on the outside and some are hammered square.  Some are just left round.

I like them this way!  The nuggets came from MiGems and I was so thrilled when they came; aahhh, pretties.....
They are amethyst, rose quartz and aquamarine nuggets and I still have some left to fondle.
The bracelet is up on my Artfire shop and I hope  everybody else thinks these stones are as gorgeous as I do.  Did I tell you how much I love stones?

Friday, 22 October 2010

Looking For That Special Christmas Present For Your Dog?

Yes, I'm a dog lover.  And yes, my dogs have clothes.  But their outfits can't hold a candle to the ones created by Holly on Spoiled Bratzwear.  Until now, Dewey and Twice have only worn utilitarian coats to protect them from the freezing wind or the rain, but now that I've seen what the best-dressed dogs wear, they could be in for some embarrassing surprises. 
Even Holly says that she creates some of her outfits with a giggle.  The chocolate and pink outfit on the right would require me to be much better dressed than I am at 6 in the morning, walking them down the country road.  No way am I going to walk dogs that are better dressed than I am.

How about walking a little elf?  You'd certainly start your day (and anyone who saw you) with a smile, but I think the big, sad eyes on this little elfkin say it all.
And I try not to anthropomorphize my dogs, but I know darned well they can feel embarrassed.  
Nah, I think an outfit like this is more my dogs' style.  Warm, comfortable, and not requiring an owner wearing high-heeled boots. 

Seriously, whether you want to show off the best-dressed dog in the city, or just find a vendor that actually makes jungle print No-Leak belly bands for male dogs, check out Spoiled Bratzwear on Artfire.

And for those who want an update, Twice is completely herself when she is, and obviously failing when she isn't.  She's very happy, sleeps most of the time and still jumps up and down in true Jack Russell fashion at treat time.  She's a tough little lady.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

My Lunchroom Sign

I've been meaning to post a picture of this sign for months and keep forgetting to take a camera out to the store.   We sell hot dogs and sausages from a roller grill at lunch time and have a little bar top for the condiments.  I found this sign in Charlottetown (actually Anne found it and insisted I buy it) and it was perfect for the wall over the lunch area.
Those who get it, love it as much as I do.

Friday, 15 October 2010

If Swearing Offends You, Don't Read

I didn't want to forget these stories and if I don't get them down on my blog, I won't remember them past tomorrow.
This morning, a volunteer fireman and a paramedic were in the store at the same time, and did some story telling.  True stories, which makes them even funnier.
The first involves a house party up west.  The parents were away and the kids decided to have a party, and like unauthorized parties can do, it grew to over 300 kids.  Somebody made a 911 call from the house, stating that one of the kids had shortness of breath and chest pains.  Because of the size of the party and the number of people involved, the obligatory police presence to a 911 call was increased to three squads of mounties, one squad car from the town's police station, and, of course, the ambulance.  They met at the end of the laneway of the house and brainstormed the best way to approach, get through the crowd of teenagers and find their patient without trouble starting.  One mountie said, "lets go flying in with sirens blaring and lights flashing, so they know we're coming, and all crouch by our cars with our guns drawn."  The town cop said, "What if you get mobbed by 300 kids?"  The mountie deadpanned, "I can take out the first six."   The paramedics decided that they'd stay behind the ambulance until all of this was over.  The funny thing was, though, that when the cop cars went blasting down the farm laneway with sirens screaming and lights flashing, they just didn't find very many people left in the house.  Nobody that needed medical attention, either.  Lots of empty cars, though.
Yeah, that one was just moderately funny, but I'm still laughing about this one:
A 911 cell call came in from four boaters who had hit a sandbar and were stranded on the Dunk River and suffering from hypothermia.  Night was falling so the call was put out to a few municipalities and 60 mounties and volunteer firemen showed up to search.  The Dunk is a long, wide, shallow river that runs between a lot of woods, causing the men to slog through a lot of underbrush in the dark, shining lights on the water.  A pair of the firemen finally caught sight of the boat, hollered to the occupants and started to wade out in their survival suits, figuring one would have to swim a rope out to the boat.  As they got about halfway out, with the water part way up their boots, one said to the other, "This water had better get deep in a fucking hurry or I'm going to kill these guys."  The water did get deeper - about four inches.  They stood beside the grounded boat and asked the idiots sitting inside,  surrounded by empty beer cans, why they hadn't waded to shore.  Apparently one of them had rolled out of the boat with that intention, and got right back in, saying the water was up to his neck and it was freezing.  The fireman snorted and said, "Yeah, it's up to your neck, all right, when you're lying in it."  The other fireman radioed to the rest of the searchers to call off the search and went up to the road where one of the mounties was waiting.  After he told the mountie the story, the officer  told him to come back down with him, because, "if I go down there myself, I might shoot the fuckers."
I lost some of the humor in these stories, trying to write them down.  You lose the nuances in voices and the expressions on faces.  Our rural firemen are all volunteers and when a call comes in, they leave their nice warm houses or dinners and rush wherever they're needed, even to rescue four drunken fishermen stranded in about a foot and a half of water.   But like policemen and paramedics, they become great storytellers.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

News Unfolding

What a wonderful day watching the rescue of the Chilean miners and the joy and high spirits of the people standing around that hole.  The whole world seemed to be holding its breath waiting as each man was shuttled from the bowels of the earth.
The celebration of the miracle began moments ago when the 33rd miner reached the surface.  And all I could think about was the two volunteers that chose to go down to that hell, are still there and how they would decide who would go up first.  Can you imagine being the last man down?  Forty five minutes, all by yourself, thousands of feet under the earth.  That man has my utmost admiration and respect.  

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Artfire Studio

I just put immense pressure on myself, and opened an Artfire studio.  This will require having stock.  Which will require certain blocks of time dedicated to making jewelry instead of playing on the computer.  (I'm addicted to Solitaire games).
It would be very kind of people to check it out, "like" it on Facebook, if you're a "friend" or help spread the word in any way possible.  I will do my part by acting in a professional manner and making more stuff.

You can find the shop under susannaoriginals.

It's Thanksgiving here in Canada and if you're north of the border, hope you had a good weekend with family and lots of turkey.  If you're south and celebrating Columbus Day on Monday, I hope you have lots to give thanks for every day.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

20 Mule Team Stubborn

The flower in the picture is one of my first efforts at silver clay and definitely not something to write home about.  But my philosophy is that every mistake has the opportunity to become "art" if you make it look like it was intended to be that way.  And I'm stubborn, just ask my mother. 
I also wanted to try riveting.  Never having done it before, I couldn't start with just a simple riveting job, I had to try something different.
 Okay, here's the basic premise.  The flower is sitting inside a hollow white plastic thingy, so that's not part of it. 
Isn't it pretty?  So far so good.  I soldered the metal clay flower to a hammered 12 gauge ring, also soldered.  I had a little trouble here...I have medium and soft solder and for some reason, I can't get the medium solder to melt.  My torch is certainly hot enough, because it was melting the flower.  So I switched to the soft solder and got the job done.  
The centre part is just sitting on the flower.

I punched out a copper circle, stamped and dapped it, and set a flat peridot crystal on top of it.  Now here's the part that should have been a wonderful example of ingenuity.  I balled three pieces of 24 gauge wire and threaded them through the peridot and copper.  Then I twisted them together tightly and cut them off about a quarter inch below the flower.

I blame this next part on Janice from The Jewelry Artists Network.  She had a wonderful tutorial on her blog "A Metalsmith's Journey" about creating a ball on the opposite side of a ring.  It involves soaking manila file folders and wrapping the bead and bottom of the item in the soaked card stock.  Well, Janice must use better quality manila folders than me, or she isn't dumb enough to twist three wires and expect them to ball up.  I set off the fire alarm but the wires were not going to ball up, uh uh, no way.   And yes, wet card stock does catch on fire. 
Okay, plan B.  I cut the twisted wire off a few mm from the end and decided to rivet.  Twisted wire does not rivet any better than it balls up.  It separated as it was hammered, and although it was flat against the back of the flower, it didn't look strong enough to hold the balled pins in place if it had any stress at all.  So what to do?  By this time, I was out of plans, but not out of stubborn.

 Something had to hold the "riveted" wires on the flower and keep them still.  So I took about an inch of 12 gauge wire and balled it on my fire brick.  Then I soldered it on top of the flattened wires with soft solder.  It looks pretty good in the picture, but by this time the front of the flower and the copper was heat patinaed and looked like heck.  Luckily, the peridot didn't crack or discolor.  It took a lot of sanding and tumbling to get it halfway looking decent, but I figured the copper would eventually darken anyway, so I just hurried the process. 
So here's the end result.  Definitely "art" because the imperfections were intended, of course.  Yeah, right.  By this time, the sun had left, so the picture isn't as good as the first and the darkness at the bottom of the ring is shadow, not firescale.  But the darned thing is finished and this is what I learned: 
Having a teacher or taking classes would be a lot easier on the nerves.  But anything can be fixed if you're stubborn enough.  And I should never do tutorials.