Category Archives: RINGS

Tool Time Tuesday – Get a Mirror Polish with the JoolTool

Hey everyone. Well the construction and remodeling continues. I keep saying this, but hopefully we are finally done for a while. I also will probably have a little bit of a break from the videos (as if the one I have had wasn’t long enough) because I will be teaching at my daughter’s school for two and a half weeks. I am pretty excited as this is a Jewelry Making Intensive, which means I will have 12 students for the 2 1/2 weeks for 6 hours a day. I have quite a few fun techniques planned. I have also been playing with the new sand casting kit by Kevin Potter and boy has it been fun. I am finally really comfortable with it and can’t wait to create the video for that as well as teach my sand casting classes.

In this Tool Time Tuesday video I even show you how I clean up a ring that has been created through the sand casting method. Sand casting does not leave you with a super clean and smooth piece the way lost wax casting does. There is a lot of clean up. But there are some benefits to sand casting and that is a topic for another day. But the clean up…. that is todays topic.

JoolToolPolishRings

A couple of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of traveling to the Los Angeles area where I spent a couple of days with Anie of JoolTool by Anie. It was fun and VERY informative in terms of using the JoolTool. I was able to learn a lot about the tool and what it can do and I promise there are a LOT of videos coming soon. So this is just the first of many.

In this video I use the JoolTool for Metal Polishing. But I use one additional disc – the Flex Diamond. The flex diamond is a very coarse abrasive and will remove material quickly. As you will see in the video, it does need to be used wet to help preserve the diamonds on the disc. From there, I work through progressively finer abrasives to get a final mirror finish to the sterling silver ring.

Video link: https://youtu.be/X56WJ9Ad1C8

New Video: Anneal or Not? And Another Round Ring Mandrel Giveaway

After the my last Tool Time Tuesday Video – 9pc Fancy Shaped Disc Cutter, several people contacted me asking if they should anneal their metal before using a disc cutter. There are many times when annealing your metal is a good thing, like when you want to manipulate or form the metal, impart textures with embossing or roll printing, shape the metal with formers on the hydraulic press, or around a bracelet mandrel, etc. But when it comes to using disc cutters or pancake dies, you really want your metal to be hard. It will help in aiding the shearing action as the metal will be more rigid and easier to cut without leaving unsightly burrs that need to be filed.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/8Pb7KP1t4i8


Giveaway

As promised, here is the giveaway I told you about on Tuesday. This is for the
Pepetools Ultra Precision Calibrated Aluminum Ring Mandrel. This mandrel is round, not square. Even if you have entered the other giveaways, you are still eligible to enter this one. So, what are you waiting for? Click on the link below.

Pepetools Ultra Precision Aluminum Ring Mandrel

Just click on this link to enter for your chance to win.

Good Luck.

Ring Mandrel Giveaway – ENTER NOW

Well, it is 6:00pm here in Utah right now and that means that the giveaway is now live at Amazon. There are four Square Aluminum Pepetools Ring Mandrels up for grabs. Just follow the link, log into Amazon and follow the directions to see if you are the winner. I will only be notified when the giveaway is completed. So if you win, I would love to hear from you.

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Just a reminder, I will not receive any of your information. Amazon will fulfill the orders. These will go FAST.

Don’t miss any of my blog posts, just subscribe over there on the right hand side. It is easy to do and all of my blog posts will be delivered right to your email. There are a lot of great tool reviews and videos coming up. I will also be announcing my traveling teaching schedule for 2016 within the next week.

Good luck.

A Giveaway and A Good Cause

Hey Everyone, Two posts in one week. I know, it is a miracle. I am trying to get back into the flow of things now that the inside remodel is done. I still need to put my studio back together, but it is coming.

Into Freedom

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by an organization called Into Freedom about some of the videos I have done using t he Pepetools Superior Ring bending tool. She explained to me that they recuse girls and women from human trafficking situations and help to rehabilitate them, give them a trade skills and help to work through the trauma they have endured. She mentioned that they have a few jewelry tools and was wondering if adding the ring bender would be something the girls would be able to use. We discussed various projects and such. I was totally impressed that she was not asking for donations, but rather advice on how to teach the girls and women to use it. I was so touched by what they are doing, talk about true angels on Earth. I actually contacted Pepetools and they are helping me to put together a nice box of tools for the girls to use. In addition, I ordered hammers, pliers, wire cutters and a few other tools to send them. If anyone would like to help contribute to cover the expense of this, it would be wonderful and greatly appreciated. I have had a few friends that have gone through their tools and put together a box of things that they no longer use, or had duplicates of. I have also had some friends send generous monetary donations (all of which are tax-deductible.) If you would like to donate, please just let me know. You can also make a monetary donation directly to their site at: http://www.intofreedom.org/donate 

Giveaway and Exciting News

Speaking of Pepetools I am so excited to announce that I am now officially a Pepetools Distributor. So that means you can now purchase Pepetools equipment from me. I don’t have them listed on my site yet, but if you have something you have been considering, just let me know and we will work something out.

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To celebrate, I am hosting a giveaway with four Aluminum Square Ring Mandrels. These are a lot of fun as it allows you to add new dimensions to your ring making. Check out the video I did a while back when they first came out. While they aren’t ideal for forging on, they are wonderful for light shaping and sizing.

Video link: https://youtu.be/vs8_QsF0lJU

So how do you win one of the four ring mandrels? Well, just come back tonight at 6:00 (MDT) to www.MelissaMuir.com/blog for the link that will be posted at that time. The giveaway is done through Amazon Giveaways. You will follow the link posted here tonight and enter through Amazon. I will not receive any of your personal information. Amazon will fulfill the orders, so I never receive your address or anything.

Don’t miss the announcement that the giveaway has gone live. Subscribe to my blog and have the announcement sent directly to your email address. Just enter your email in the subscribe box over there on the right.

Catching up – Give away

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. It was the first in our new home. It was a lot of fun. And, nothing like a nasty cold to hit right before the holidays to put you behind schedule… and that is exactly what happened to me. Yuck.

Rather than overload this message with my 30-days-of-art (which I am slightly behind on – Thank you stupid cold) I figured we would just jump right to the good stuff.
There area  couple of videos that I didn’t get posted. Of course we have to have the videos.
The first video is of the Arbor Press Offered by PotterUSA. I show how to assemble, temporarily mount it to the bench top, and of course, how to use it.

 

The second video is how to use the newly redesigned Ring Shank BeRing Shank Bending Tool by Pepe Tools. In this video I demonstrate how I make my Spinner Rings. The more I use this tool, the more I really like it. It just might find itself permanently mounted to my bench soon.

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjxQz30VgSs&feature=share&list=UUXsx-xlz39vZaMXkeHI_6pQ

GIVEAWAY

Now for the super exciting part! I finally reached over 2,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel. WOOT! Thank you all for your support. To celebrate, I am going to give away one of my new Cherrywood Swage Blocks.  The cherrywood came from my Brother-in-law’s property in Florida. Of course, in the hands of my talented Father-in-law, they have become a beautiful tool for your studio. I have 28 of “first quality” blocks in stock. I also have an addition 10 “second quality.” The reason for the “second quality” is because Cherrywood has more knots than the black walnut. So some of the grooves have a small knot that makes some of the grooves only partially usable. These are still amazing blocks, and I have no problem using the “Seconds” but some people might not want them.

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The First Quality Blocks are $52.50 (includes domestic shipping) and are available on my website. http://www.kcjewelbox.com/Large-Hand-Made-Cherry-Swage-Block-LCH-CherrySwageBlock.htm

The Second Quality Blocks are $37.50 (includes domestic shipping)

http://www.kcjewelbox.com/Large-Hand-Made-Cherry-Swage-Block-2nd-Quality-2ndLargeCherrySwageBlock.htm

Even if you purchase a block and then win the giveaway, I will refund your money. But what is that you say? You are one of my readers that doesn’t make jewelry and have no need for this beautiful block? Well, I will also give away a pair of earrings. They haven’t been made yet, so I can’t post a picture. But I will when I get them done.

How do you enter? Just leave me a comment on this post. Easy Peasy. I will number the comments and have Random.org select a number for me and that will be our winner. I will draw a winner on Wednesday Evening (12/4/13). Good luck!

Thank you all again for your support. It has been a crazy few years. I am hoping that 2014 is a good one for us now that we are settled and can get back to a normal routine. NO MORE MOVING. LOL.

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Tool Time Tuesday – Super Ring Bender by Pepe Tools

School started for all three of my girls yesterday. That is a pretty big thing. Of course I had a lot on my schedule, and of course, hardly any of it got done. I guess I had more on my list than I realized. All of the girls had a great time and it is going to be nice to get back into a routine. I do wish I could figure out the magic of getting my kids to bed at an early hour though.

I just received my shipment of “Bench Tips for Jewelry Making” by Brad Smith. So if you were waiting, I now have 10 copies in stock. Thank you to all who have purchased up to this point. Both Brad and I appreciate the support.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Pepe Tools asking if I would be willing to make a demonstration/tutorial video on how to make a spoon ring with their newly improved Superior Ring Bending Tool. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I will jump at the opportunity to try out new tools, especially when it involves me doing a video, demo or review. I love doing them. If you are familiar with my jewelry, you will note that I do not typically make spoon rings, or the flatware jewelry, so this was an added benefit to me as I got to try out something new. I spoke with my friend Danielle at Bent & Twisted Creations about what materials I should be looking for and where to find them. I also thought it would be fun to demonstrate a couple of types of materials…. that was, until I tried it out with HARD material. LOL.

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Danielle was gracious and sent me a couple of handles to play with. I bought one sterling silver spoon from an auction and another that was silver plate. Did you know that if you are going to work with silver plated material, it is best to buy those that are made prior to 1913? The alloy used before that time is much easier to work with than that made later.
I was anxious to play and didn’t have anything to play with. So I went to my local discount store and picked up a box of flatware for only $6. I chose a set that had thin handles and figured I would be able to bend it. Naturally it was stainless steel. I highly suggest you avoid stainless steel. Just turn the other way. Don’t even let it tempt you. Just run away. It is THE HARDEST stuff to bend. Was I able to do it? Yes. Surprisingly the Super Bender did a great job on forming the metal, but it was not easy. I was totally discouraged, but quickly found out that it was just the material being used. Once I got my hands on some pre-1910 plated flatware and sterling it was an entirely different story. That stuff moves, not quite like butter, more like stiff taffy. But hey, it moved and I didn’t have to apply a lot of effort to get it to do it.
The Super Bender comes with 7 different dies, 5 round ranging from 12mm to 22mm, and there is a 45 and 60 degree squared set. Each die has a matching pusher. You simply place your metal between the two pieces, move the handle on bender and voila, you now have a curve in your piece.
Do you want to see it in action? Well, naturally I am happy to oblige. I created this video tutorial so you could see how I make two different spoon rings. Enjoy.

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Thank you to Pepe Tools for the opportunity to do this video.

 

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Catching up – 30 Days of Art

WOW! I am so far behind. I was doing really well too. Then of course, it is that time of year and the sickies hit our house. Luckily, it was a short lived one, but it got us all the same. It is amazing to me how just one or two days can throw everything off for weeks. So let’s get caught up shall we?

Day 6:

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Day 7: A pendant made for my daughter Kate.

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Day 8: Sterling textured earrings

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Day 9: Copper and Sterling pendant

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Day_9_SwirlPendant_back
Day 10: Textured Copper Cuff
Day_10_HammeredCuff

Day 11: Ever have an idea in your head that looks really neat? Then you
make it and it isn’t so neat? Yeah? Well, that is this piece. And then
the picture magnifies all of its super UN-GLORIOUSNESS and makes it even worse. LOL.

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Day 12: Beautiful Happiness, at least those are what they said on the stamps.

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Day 13: Sterling and Copper

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Day 14: More copper… imagine that.

Day_14

Day 15: Textured Copper and Forged Sterling Silver

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Day 16: Rainy days. Sterling, copper, acrylic and glass (Front and back)

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Day 17: Copper and Carnelian

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Day 18: Copper and carnelian

Day_18

Day 19: Shooting Stars

Day_19

Day 20: Ring – Copper and Sterling

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Okay, so I am still about 4 days behind, but at least I am finally much closer than I was.

See you soon!

Spinner Ring Tutorial is Finished!

Well, I finally got it done. Not only that, but I also made kits that can be purchased so you don’t have to worry about cutting the metal to the width needed for this tutorial. I also added kits for the Lily Pendant and Cone Earrings. So check them all out and let me know what you think.
MelissaMuirSpinnerringsTutorial

The tutorial is just as in-depth and detailed as I usually am. So you know it will be easy to follow and understand.

This tutorial is not a beginner project. I do not go indepth about soldering basics. Please watch my introductory video on how to create a soldered band.

I have a kit for the Spinner Ring!

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Don’t want to have to cut your own materials? This little kit is a great compliment to the tutorial. it includes:

  • 3 strips of 10mm wide copper that is 3 1/2″ long. I have cut this with my guillotine shear, so there is no need to remove any curves left by hand shears, or filing to do on the edges left by uneven cuts with a saw.
  • 12″ – 18 gauge Sterling Silver round wire.
  • Cost: only $8.50 and includes shipping (US Domestic.)
  • http://www.kcjewelbox.com/Spinner-Ring-Materials-Kit-Spinner-Ring-kit.htm

 

kit

I have also come up with an all inclusive materials kit for the Lily Pendant and Cone Earrings project.

New Jewelry Making Tools Coming

New swage blocks are coming! I went to Portland a couple of weeks ago to pick out some more Black Walnut. They didn’t have the same size wood I had used for my previous blocks, but the had some that were beautifully marbled and colored and slightly larger. So I changed the design of the block a little and added a few more shallow grooves. They were shipped to me today and I will post pictures of them next week once I have them.

In addition, I have just purchased a great tool called a drill press vise and I am loving it. I wish I had had one a long time ago. It would have saved my fingers a number of times. Watch for the video on that one soon, and the product will be available in my shop (in limited quantities.)

Moving…. Again…. New Tutorial

Well, I am running behind. I have a couple of videos that need the last bit of editing and they will be uploaded. So Tool Time Tuesday will be a bit late. Sigh, that seems to be my M-O lately. But there really is a good reason for it. We are MOVING! And hopefully this will be the LAST ONE!

We didn’t tell anyone about the house because we didn’t want to jinx it. But we made our offer, it was accepted. We did the inspection and it passed, and what didn’t is being fixed by the current owners. We even have all the loan paperwork in process. So it is all coming together. I hope I am not sorry for announcing this before we have actually closed on the house, because you never know. But I am hopeful and feeling really good about this one.

Yes, there is a studio. WOOHOO!!!! It is smaller than my last studio, but I think it will work with some modification. But here is what I like best… It has its own entrance! YAY! Nobody has to come in and see my messy house. The studio is a 1 bedroom apartment. There is a 1/2 bath and a full kitchen. I will be selling the stove and putting a kiln in its place (I think.) I haven’t decided if I should keep the microwave yet or not. But just wait until you see what I see when I look out the windows. Well, here, take a look….

studio_before
This picture is actually fairly deceiving. It isn’t as big as it looks. But still pretty cool huh?

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Here is a bit better picture of the Kitchen. Check out the storage space! WOOT! And a DOUBLE SINK. I am in HEAVEN!

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Looking into the room from the kitchen area. That bump out there with the door is the 1/2 bathroom.

studio_window2

Straight ahead is where I will put my benches/student work spaces.

studio_before1

I wish this bedroom were as large as it looks. It is 9 x 13. So it is great, but still poses challenges.

studio_bedroom

Originally I was thinking the closet was larger. I was hoping to put the polishing machine in there… and I still might. Yup, that is Kiari. My how she has grown. (23 pounds and 2 1/2 feet tall. She has come a long way from 3 pounds and 16 inches long.)

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Yes, that is the view from the studio. Now who wants to come and take a class?

So here are a few plans I have played with in laying out my existing tables and equipment.

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This drawing uses my bench as it is right now. but I don’t care for the workflow. It works, but isn’t the easiest.

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This is the plan I am leaning towards. I will have to modify my bench a bit, but the workflow is MUCH better. I am pretty sure I can get six students into this space comfortably with good workflow. My sand blaster and metal shear will have to be in the other room along with the polishing unit, but I think it is still workable. I had toyed with the idea of knocking out the wall, but I think I will try it the way it is for now. Besides, the house cost more than we were planning, so I won’t have construction money for a LONG time.

I need to change the lighting in the big room and add my ventilation, but other than that, it is pretty much ready to go. Oh, I guess I will tear out the carpet and paint the floor as well. I have a few ideas for the walls, but I think I am going to leave them pretty light this time, at least for now.

I would also like to see if it would be possible to get a natural gas line into the studio. That way I wouldn’t have to have a tank in my studio. I could get a natural gas/oxygen torch instead and work it with an oxygen concentrator. The problem with that is that the gas line is on the opposite side of the house. So I don’t know if it would be possible or cost effective to do it. But I do miss having a big torch.

New Tutorial

Well this new move is very exciting. We are hoping we are purchasing the 30-year house. This home is certainly a place where I am looking forward to raising my children. But this house comes with a fairly high price tag and I need to step things up a bit to help lighten the load. Plus I have some studio modifications to make.  So I have another tutorial that is just about finished. I am putting the final touches on it now.

Spinner Rings

spinner

People have asked me for a long time to write a tutorial on my spinner rings. It has been a very popular class and not everyone can take classes with me due to distance and such. So, you have seen some of my tutorials and videos, well this is just as in depth.

The spinner ring tutorial is an intermediate project. I do not go in depth on how to solder the ring. However, I do have a video that is a good introduction to soldering a ring band.

I was really hoping that I would be posting my tutorial tonight. However, home inspections and meetings with the realtor have kept me from accomplishing that. So I promise to have it out by Friday. Oh, and the cost on this tutorial is only $9.50. It is currently over 20 pages long with more than 60 images.

I also have a couple of more tutorials that I will have listed in the next two weeks. I even have some great tool reviews that I hope to have posted shortly. I have been playing with some really fun tools lately and I can’t wait to share my thoughts.

See you all in just a little bit.

Melissa

Tool Time Tuesday – Soldering a Silver Ring

Well, here we are. My very last Tool Time Tuesday – Ohio Edition, even though it is on Monday. But there is a good reason for it being early. In just five days we will be driving off to our new adventure and life in Washington State. Funny to think that we went from one Washington (DC) to the Other.  They couldn’t be more different either. I hope I like Washington state as much as I loved the DC area.

The packing continues. The movers will be here Tuesday morning to start packing things up. The basement is pretty much done. Tomorrow and Tuesday we will break down my tables, finish touch up painting and clear everything out.

This is pretty much all that is left to pack up. Just some shelves and misc items that didn’t fit into a box.

 


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Look, you can see my temporary bed while we wait for our beds to be delivered. Gotta love the air mattress and sleeping bags.

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Okay, this is quite the shot for any of my students. My desk was always a mess. An organized mess, but a mess all the same…. now it is EMPTY!

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Even Kiari is trying to get in on the packing gig.

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Okay, a few people asked about the coloring in my hair. Here is a little better picture. I did some blonde highlights and red streaks. You can SORT OF see the red highlights. I am told you can really see them in the back. But regardless of what my children think, I do not have eyes in the back of my head and I cannot see them.

No, I didn’t spent a ton of time curling my hair either. Post baby hormones do funny things sometimes.

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On to the Tutorial! Soldering a Silver Ring

A little while back one of my “friends” asked about soldering a simple silver band. I told her that I had been working on a video. It didn’t go so well, so I started over. This tutorial is both still pictures and video, so let’s check out the pictures.

First, I figure out the size of ring that I am going to make. In this case, it was a charm for a friends bracelet, so it didn’t really matter the size. But here you can see that I have taken my calipers and marked my sheet for the width of the ring I am about to cut.

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Normally, I would cut my strip with my sheer, but since it has been packed away, I have to do it the old fashioned way…. with a jewelers saw. Be sure to use plenty of lube on your blade to help things cut smoothly.

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Next I want to form my ring into a “D” shape. So I use my ring forming pliers to get the first part of the curve.

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Then I use my flat nose pliers to bring the ends together and giving a nice flat spot. This helps to align my join the best.

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File the ends so they are perfectly flush. NO GAPS ALLOWED. Solder will not fill gaps. Think of solder as a glue. It will only glue items that are already touching.

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Sometimes there is a tiny spot that creates a tiny gap. You can cut through the seam with a jewelers saw to “shave” a thin area on both sides of the seam. If you do this correctly, you will have a perfectly flush seem.

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Now, let’s see how the rest of this works. Please check out my video on how to solder the ring. Once soldered, I will also demonstrate how to form it into a perfect circle. The end of the video didn’t get very focused. Sometimes the camera wants to focus on something else. In this case, my camera is obsessed with my scrap silver.  LOL. Then again, I don’t blame it. I am totally obsessed with my silver too.

 


Wish Us Luck

Okay, the computer is going to be packed away now. I will still have access to my emails and such, but I won’t be making any posts until we arrive at our new home and start setting things up. Wish us luck and pray for good roads and weather.

For any of you in the area, we will be having a “Clean out the fridge and freezer” (aka – Going away party) on Monday (Feb 6) from 6 – 9. I would love to see you and have the chance to say good bye. I can promise, the house will be a wreck and the food interesting, as what we will be eating will depend entirely upon what crazy things I can make with what is left in my fridge and freezer.