Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TV Fun!

Ok, I have to admit that after two months I'm actually pretty happy to have cable tv.  I love my Craigslist find, the cabinet is beautiful and the tv works great, so tonight I get to curl up and watch a new House episode.

Today I drove down to Sacramento to pick up my latest CL find, a Pottery Barn wooden office chair, woot!  One of these days I'd like to wander around Sacramento and look at the neighborhoods.  The house I saw today was a very cool Mid-Century Modern house.  This house had aggregate flooring that extended out from the kitchen/family room completely outside to the pool.  Go look for some pics of Mid-Century Modern, the Atomic Ranch and Eichler.

Nothing else here right now, hot, hot, hot and thankfully my a/c is working so we're keeping cool except for occasional trips outside for necessities.

The sunset is beautiful.


Saturday, September 25, 2010


When a person tells me I need to do something I will generally file it away for future reference.  However, when a second person in the same week tells me the same thing I put that item up on my mental bulletin board as maybe something I should look into.

BIGGER is what they said, your earrings are nice but they need to be bigger.  Hmmmm, really?

Oh yeah, you're not in Kansas any more Dorothy, or rather you're not in Minnesota anymore Krystal!

How exciting!

So last night and tonight I've been busy in my studio until late, torching up some larger versions of my tried and true line of fine silver.  This pic shows a few of the prototypes, bad light this time of night but at least you get the idea.  The pair with the ear wires is my standard size and all the others are new.  I can't wait to try them out tomorrow.  Yippee!
My current Craigslist find, it's big and solid and has a tv too. My nephew and his friend kindly came and hauled this huge thing up to my treehouse, they were amazing!  At first I thought it looked too country but it actually has more of a Spanish feel to it so it gets to stay in the living room.  Tomorrow I'm going out to find cables and a DVD player, maybe tomorrow night I'll be movie watching, yeah!
Tomorrow is the Draft Horse Classic at the Grass Valley Fairgrounds.  My niece will be going with me, should be fun.  We get to see the log pulling finals.  I love horses and Draft horses are especially wonderful, working animals are always fine to see.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bracelet Fun

I thought it might be fun to show the process of a series of bracelets I'm making.

I start with a sheet of sterling silver and using some large tin snips from my local farm supply I cut them, very carefully, into strips.  I wear a leather glove on one hand and try to stay focused.  Metal work is almost as good as meditating to get your mind into a focused and aware state.  You just can't be trying to cut this stuff while your monkey mind wanders off somewhere, otherwise something bad is surely going to happen.  Either you'll mismark the piece and cut it badly or you'll slip and take the top off of a knuckle, I've done it already.

So before you start you say, "Here now" and keep repeating.  And then hopefully you'll end up with some nice straight pieces of silver without blood.

Next is stamping, sounds easy but it's practically impossible to get the letters straight.  Again, focus, look at the word on paper, look at the letter in your hand.  Is it the right one?  Is it right side up?  Part of the appeal of the pieces is the slightly wonky lettering.  If you want precise you should shop someplace else, though I do use precision tools for many things.
While there is life there is hope in Latin.

After stamping you can trim the piece and do some nice hammering to add some texture.
Pretty, huh?

Lots of finishing left to do.  File the edges smooth, drill the holes, file those.  More hazardous things, once while filing I let my mind wander and didn't hold it steady.  It slipped sideways and drove the metal straight into the end of my finger, this metal is sharp everywhere.
Then the piece is shaped.  I use this great wooden shaping tool that was made for me.  The hammer is a terribly gorgeous Fretz hammer, each one made to move metal in creative ways.  I don't let anyone use these but me.  Normally the hammer would be on the right but lacking two right hands I couldn't hold it and take a pic.
The pieces ready to head to the designing bench for finishing.
Bis vivit qui bene vivit - S/he lives twice who lives well.
Aut viam inveniam aut faciam - I'll either find a way or make one.
Dum vita est spes est - While there is life there is hope.
Love conquers all.
Nemo me impune lacessit - No one harms me with impunity.  This one is my personal favorite.  The first time I'd heard of this was from my son wanting a jewelry piece for his love with her favorite phrase.

And heading to the design table for finishing.
Some nice amethyst, purple dyed turquoise and some really fine aquamarine for this piece. Sterling silver wire, jump rings in various sizes (I make my own) and a nice bit of advertising for Rings & Things, one of my favorite gem suppliers.
Still have to tumble it, then decide if it needs a patina before it's ready for a picture and a tag and the website.

Fun huh?  Hope you like a glimpse into my workshop.   If you want a custom piece just let me know.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Living a true life...

Isn't it funny that when you got your glasses you suddenly noticed everyone who wore glasses?  And then you were pregnant and felt like you lived in a sea of bumped out bellies.  And now we're hot flashing and have to grin at some poor soul unzipping her jacket in 30 degree weather, right there with ya honey.

It's just nice to know you're not alone in whatever universe you happen to exist.  I'm lucky to know so many great women who think hard.  They ponder the difficult and hope to find a way to share their good fortune amd wisdom with others.  Most of us don't get here without suffering somehow, death, illness, betrayal, frustration.  And yet they manage to greet the day, get up and struggle on, they find time to laugh, to love, to cherish and comfort and smile.

Thanks!  You make my life better just by existing.

One of my favorite food blogs is the Gluten Free Goddess.  Even if you don't suffer from celiac disease you can appreciate many of the recipes. My favorite is the Moroccan Coconut & Chickpea Soup. Today Karina has a great post on Gluten Free Muffins but take the time to read her thoughts about living a true life.  It's very inspiring.

Karina's Kitchen

I like the direction I'm heading, it feels true.

I also like stamping and shaping metal.  I'm making a mess of bracelets like this one.

It says, "After all, tomorrow is another day."   Isn't it though?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BINGO at the DMV!

I just noticed my Droid takes some long skinny pics, funny.

Anyway, we're all sitting at the DMV, it's going on my third hour and the nice lady next to me has left her cell in her car and is fretting because her spouse is in a wheelchair and must be worried about her and she's worried about him and the little numbers keep tumbling along on the monitor, B007, B008, C015, C016...and about then someone says, "Come on G, give me a G" and we all crack up.  And then my number comes up and I say BINGO and head up to finish, yeah!

But I must give those DMV people credit, they are very nice, very patient and work really hard.  You know they've cut back on staff and closed extra days and created an incredible backlog of work for the remaining folk.  The sweet lady who was helping me not only did all my paperwork quickly and well but was also running in and out to check vehicles and give driver's tests, that's some multitasking.

I knew it would be an ordeal, switching things over is never easy, thankfully I had all the right documents anyway, not surprising as I spend a lot of time researching the DMV site for info.

One more thing done.

It's a peaceful night here, black and clear, nightbirds calling occasionally, rustling leaves and the yip of a fox every now and then.  The dogs are snoozing, Dandy close to me, Bode out on the front deck.  He loves to be outside, either on the decks or on his picnic table, funny little dude.  I've got a great mix of music playing, Patty Griffin's newest "Downtown Church" is a fine mix of gospel and blues, she's amazing if you happen to like rich eclectic voices.  She's seems to be touring in Europe right now, hope she comes this way someday.

Peace to you.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Order from Chaos

What a lovely mess comes out of the tumbler.
And after it's untangled.
The bracelet:

Upside down, don't they look a little like a booty? 
So he gives you one of these and says, "Honey, you have my....."  And you say, "I have your a**?" 

Sorry, tickles me.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Still Lazy

And a bit boring.

My friend CS told me about a book called "Keeping the Feast" by Paula Butturini.  So I headed down to our library and when I found they didn't have it I keep right on walking down to our local book store and found it there, yeah!

It's very good, hard to read sometimes as it deals with depression and sickness.  BUT, it's interwoven with stories of Italian family life and food and living in Italy and how simple things like preparing good food can help get you through the day.

I believe the goodness of food, finding, preparing and eating can get us through a lot of tough days.  Unfortunately good food lovingly prepared and served is often the first thing that is forgotten in our daily whirlwind.  We hit the fast food joint or toss something together quickly and of course there is the child who will only eat boxed mac and cheese for six months at a time, but we can forgive ourselves for that.

I'm loving having the time to find, fix and feast on some simple but wonderful food, just one thing missing at this point is the fourth component, friends, but that will come.

 I'm also busy foraging about looking for bits and pieces of furniture.  I left most of my favorite pieces in MN until the house sells so right now my living room is a little bare.  Actually I kind of like the empty look but it's not that comfortable and the boys are asking for a nice couch we can all curl up on together.  I particularly like Craigslist.  It's full of junk but every now and then a real gem comes up.  I found a very nice leather chair and ottoman which is very comfortable.   Today I found a really nice tv and armoire/media center but that will have to wait another couple of weeks until I can line up a couple of large burly men to move it for me.  Which makes me giggle, can't we all use a couple of large burly men around to move things?

Tomorrow I will show you the large pile of hearts that just came out of the tumbler, very pretty.

Bode cooling off in the NID (Nevada Irrigation Ditch) at the park.  Picture taken with my new Droid, a technogeeks dream.

Sleep well!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Lazy Day

I changed Labor Day to Lazy Day and did almost nothing, or my version of nothing.

Went out to my Dad's place and walked the property with him.  I think he just doesn't want me to forget about my little corner which is becoming more of a jungle every month.  The 10 foot tall pile of blackberry bushes must cover about an acre now, yikes!

And they frown at me when I mention using a flamethrower on it.

It does make me wonder what an upscale miner's cabin would look like, here's my architect of choice and the house that grabbed me:

Can't you just picture me and the dogs kicking back on the porch.  It's built to be off the grid and has features essential to fire country.

The rest of the day was spent on a long nap, some studio torching and dinner.

I sliced some polenta, brushed some olive oil on it, sprinkled bread crumbs and parm cheese and then baked it in the oven.  Then I sauteed some onion, added sliced bitty tomatoes, my homemade pesto, a splash of white wine, a little pour of half and half, and then simmered some shrimp in it until they were barely pink.

It maybe doesn't look as good as it tasted.  I ate it on the back porch with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, heavenly.  Not bad for a 15 minute meal.


Sunday, September 05, 2010


Where do I find it?  And why?

Lately I'm in the middle of a hearts jag.  While my own heart has been feeling a bit tattered and torn I've been churning out dozens of bright and shiny hearts in my studio.  Mostly earrings and pendants so far, with a bracelet or two lurking on my bench, insisting on being made.  They do that you know.   The ideas simmer around in my head until one day I have to sit down and start cutting and torching and hammering until they are born.  Every now and then it's a bust, the mental picture and the hand skill just don't mesh but usually something nice comes out and occasionally it's lightning!

So one of these days I'll be done with shiny hearts and move on to something else.  I'm drawn to old and used, the mine is one of my favorite places as well as hanging out at my Dad's place with his treasures.  

This image is from the Empire Mine, look at the great handmade hinge and the connectors.  This gets me thinking of rivets and texturing metal in unusual ways.  I think I'll take some mold making compound up on our next walk and see if I can get a good impression of the rusted parts on the left.  Though I'd love to take a piece of fine silver sheet and a hammer and texture it right there, though someone might wonder what the hell I was doing, ha!

And my favorite links, imbedded in stone, great stuff. The challenge here is to fuse a really thick gauge of fine silver wire, maybe 8 gauge, and then hammer it like crazy.  Or just try some bronze clay, hmmm...

I also love this website, Spirits of the Abandoned which has some of the most powerful images of forgotten places I've ever seen.  Check it out.

Overholt Distillery: Image

Sleep well.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

I forgot.


I forgot what's it like to have kids at home.

 I find myself a little impatient that my sister can't go with me on a walk or whatever.  It's just a walk, but she's got this to do and that to do and both of us are tired just thinking about her schedule.  So I say ok and head off by myself for some excellent adventure, which would be ever so much more excellent with someone to take along.


I have memories of a busy family, my boy out the door early for sports or music practice, my girl packing her bag for school and for our after school trip an hour away for skating.  And checking schedules with my spouse to remind him of the concert that night or whatever.

I forgot the mental exhaustion that came with managing schedules for a family of four along with various pets.

It was great fun actually, tough and exhausting but so rewarding to raise a great family and then send them off to live their lives.  And I'd do it all over if I had the chance.


I'm so glad it's you and not me.  I love the been there, done that of the whole thing.  I'm learning to be sort of selfish and it feels good.

I love having time to do things I love.  I bought a bag of fresh roasted chilies, washed off their peels and seeded them then layered them in a baking dish with cheese, some sauteed and chopped shrimp and a cream/egg mixture and topped it with some salsa before I baked it.

What do you think of my shrimp chili relleno casserole?

My big dilemma now is beer or white wine?