Sunday, April 29, 2012

Austin Dining

After a busy day running around in the Texas heat we escaped to The County Line for some pretty good BBQ.  While we waited for a table we sat outside by the river and watched little kids feed the turtles and dance to the live music.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Jet plane...

Only a few more days until I leave for Austin.  Little Radar is having a CD release party this next weekend which means I get to see my boy play live, woot!  And his darling GF will be playing that night too, with her band, The Couch.  And I get to see my daughter, what a great weekend all around.

There are so many beautiful things popping up in my yard, it's like a big treasure hunt.  A whole row of peonies are popping, with grape hyacinths and pink dutchmen's breeches tucked in here and there.  The flowering dogwoods are starting to open up and this amazing plant, which I think is a Rhododendron.
It's really exciting to experience unfamiliar flowers and plants.  Plants were quite limited in the extreme Midwest temps, this is more tropical and very fun.

The birds are bathing in my fountain, plans for the backyard renovation are underway, lots of beautiful jewelry is coming out of my shop and warm hugs keep me smiling.

Life is good.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

North Star Growers Market

Last weekend we had snow, this weekend it's 80 degrees and rising.

I loaded up with flowers, artisan bread, sugar peas and kale, free range eggs and dried fruit from the valley fruit growers.

The North Star house is a beautiful place.

Tonight the fountain is burbling away in my back yard.  I've had the doors and windows open almost all day and "oh my gosh" a bug or two has gotten in, oh well.  A couple of nights ago I heard a coyote pack singing way out in the mine property.  This is the best season, ripe with promises of hot days, cool nights, plenty of water to play in, baskets full of fresh produce to eat and preserve, garden projects, decks to build, plants to plant and lots of fun to experience.

Life is good.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


I met a really interesting man who teaches blacksmithing.  He's also been doing some experimentation with foldforming metal.  He gave me a pretty copper piece and I turned it into a piece of jewelry for his wife.  It's got a bit of the sacred feminine influence which some may appreciate and some may not.  I framed his copper piece in fine silver with bronze rivets and then added the cultured freshwater pearls.  I love the luminous quality the fine silver exhibits which is matched by the pearls.

Now you can find me in my studio happily banging away on various pieces of copper, foldforming is really fun. Except now I want a bigger anvil and some bigger hammers, of course.  I'll never have enough tools.

So we've talked about some collaborative learning which I find completely fabulous.  I might also have a place to set up my serious torch and be able to use that safely.

I've been working on a very simple technique to make some leaf earrings and there are a few pendants in process on my bench.  The copper picks up some beautiful patina under flame.

This passion keeps me going through some very wet weather as well as the SAD light I keep in my studio.  I'm also sustained and kept laughing by a very sweet man.

Peaceful dreams to you.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


Bronzclay is fun, messy, sometimes aggravating and delightful all at the same time.  I set up my kiln in the kitchen and have run at least four batches of bronze pieces in the last week or so.  Now I have piles of beautiful bronze pieces ready to make mixed media earrings.

These pieces were sintered in a coal based charcoal which yields some really varied and interesting patina on the bronze.  They will get a little brass brushing to bring out the shine.

Bronzclay is one of the many precious metal clay products on the jewelry market.  It's made up of microscopic metal particles mixed with an organic binder and water.  You can shape, mold and texture the clay, then dry it, refine it and cook it in a kiln at 1550 degrees for almost nine hours.  In the end (usually) you end up with some really nice bronze, copper or silver pieces (depending on the clay you use) that are uniquely yours.

It can be tricky, sometimes the clay doesn't sinter well and the metal pieces are brittle and useless.  When it works the pieces are fabulous.  

I'm very happy with these.  The little hearts are my favorite.


Monday, April 02, 2012

Studio Work - Jumprings

Making jump rings is like housekeeping, not the most fun but totally necessary.

My bench ready.

Coils of sterling already wound and ready to cut.

The coil goes into the  holder and  coated with a lubricant to prolong the blade's life.  The top with the cutting slot is screwed over the coil.

This is the housing that fits over the cutting blade.

The blade is drawn down the cutting slot.

Here the coils are cut and have been joined with wire to keep them all together in the tumbling/polishing process.

All polished and ready to make something beautiful.

Starting to put together a Byzantine chain.

A good days work.