Sunday, September 29, 2013


That's the general term for what's happening around here.  I'm finally in high gear in the studio and it translates into high gear everywhere.  And now I've got my feet up and a nice cuppa tea, savoring.

The Ruffoni has been filled up with various yummy things, here's the sink full of the bitty yellow plums and the syrup bubbling away from last week.  Man, is this stuff good, tart and sweet, over pancakes, yogurt, muffins, and a few drops in some pan drippings would make a fine meat sauce.

Here's today's pot of deliciousness, it's a variation of Giada's marinara sauce though I've turned it into more of an Arrabiata sauce for those of you who can roll your r's.  It's spicy with the addition of Ro-tel tomatoes and lots of red pepper flakes plus a mad cruise through my well stocked spice cupboard. 

I'm cookin' in the studio too, fusing a lot of fine silver earrings in the last few days.  I love to wear these, they are shiny and very eye catching, quite long but still lightweight.  These are attitude earrings, you can't help but get some when you wear them.

And, tonight I started putting together a couple of heavyweight fine silver bracelets.  These are just FUN, big, bold, heavy, substantial pieces.  The metal is 10 gauge fine silver, really hard to shape but so worth the effort.

We're looking at some rain so I soaked the yard today to guarantee that we'll get some.  As an added incentive to Mother Nature I cleaned out the fountain, emptied the dog's pool, washed my truck and dug a good rain ditch in front of my garage door.  Please...the forest is thirsty.

Pretty things in my garden, it still tickles me to have these things grow almost like weeds around here.  I scattered some lychnis seeds and have been encouraging the hollyhocks to spread some too.  The leaves on the flowering dogwoods are just starting to turn red.  The Open Studios Tour is the first two weekends in October, so they'll be putting on a show for the second weekend here.

So, back to eating bon bons now.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Satellite - Enamel Bracelet Final

You'll have to use your imagination and place a small lobster clasp at the end of the safety chain.  Rio Grande ran out, which sort of made me tear my hair out until they got more.  Don't they know I'm getting ready for a studio tour?  And that I'm out?  And that I have a gazillion leather cords to make for the gazillion pendants that need to be made?  I know, breath in, breath out, repeat.

You can see the way the clasp works.  I'm pretty happy with it, there was a great deal of tinkering involved, raising the blue cup high enough off it's metal base so it would slide into it's dock.  I had to made a very tiny round spacer to put in between.

And now to our regularly scheduled madness...

Two years ago I attended a concert at the North Star house to see Aaron Neville, swoon.  This year they have Dr. John and Alan Toussaint, maybe not so swoon worthy but it will be fine to be outside and hear some good music in a beautiful setting.  It's gonna be a bit damp and cool as it rained all day yesterday and last night but we'll have a great time anyway, enjoy a picnic and do a lot of laughing.

Then onto preparations for the tour and other things that I will share with you as they happen, fun things, exciting things, things that make me do a happy dance.

And back to Texas later in October, suck up some baby smell and baby giggles and those hands and those eyes and those wonderful baby smiles and those fat little arms and legs.....ah, I'm missing her like crazy and her Mama of course, and her very entertaining Daddy, and her Uncle, Mr. Ultra Cool Musician Dude.

I scored a couple of bags of bitty yellow plums which are right now stewing in their juices, ready to press and sugar and cook to a tart sweet syrup.  I certainly don't need more but as a card carrying Squirrel I'll fill up the cupboard and sprinkle golden jars of sunshine on my family and friends this winter.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Scrap to Sheet

The easy way...

I've been tediously torching my fine silver scraps, which takes forever with my little butane torches.  I know, I know, I have the big torches but don't have the tanks anymore and have not bothered, basically.

But I got lucky and bought this wonderful little melting oven from a retiring jeweler friend, bless his heart and his skill.

The tricky part was figuring out how to keep it going.  It didn't trip the breakers but I finally figured out the outlet had a reset, oh, so I unplugged the chest freezer and used it's outlet, which seemed to do the trick.  It's amazing what an electrical idiot can figure out by trial and error.

You put all the little scraps in the cup and wait until it gets hot as shit, or 1800 degrees, same, same.  Then you freak out a little and pour the molten metal from the black cup into the little ingot mold, right.  It's like pouring milk into a thimble, not easy and it spilled out all over the table, luckily on the soldering board I put down under the mold.

Here's the first ingot released from it's mold.

How freaking cool is that?  I learned you have to pour it all at once and not try to top it off, it cools quickly.

I rinsed off the ingot and sent it through the rolling mill a couple of times, here it is.  It's still got lots of trips through the mill before it gets to the gauge I need for further projects.

Much better than the old method, of course, you need the oven.

Fun stuff in a geeky chick sort of way.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Inspiration and Testing

I'm gearing up for the fall Open Studio Tour.

I saw these stones up for sale and I'm using them as an inspiration for some scraffito enamel work.  The metal blanks will be covered with dark brown, then the other colors will be sifted over and before they go into the kiln I'll scratch lines to show the dark brown underneath.

Here are my first color tests, I still need a deep green and that warm orange, but so far so good.

Another challenge to look forward to.

Peace to you

Enamel Bracelet Continued - Part 3

It's getting there.

Here you see the discs have all be enameled and I'm working on attaching them to the plates using a riveting process.  Here you see me experimenting with clasp ideas.

The riveting gets a little tricky, often the enamel cracks but that will be fixed on the final trip into the kiln.

My goal is to make a clasp that blends in completely.  The first idea was to slip a disc through a slotted plate, but the loop on the bottom is too big, scratch that.

Here's idea number two, which might work but relies heavily on bracelet tension.  I'm going to try it but there are a lot of reasons it might not work.  In the end I may just use a double lobster clasp but it's fun to experiment.  However, I've got only a few weeks left until the Open Studios Tour so it's time to move on.

Ready to tumble.

Starting to put the plates together.

 I love these sorts of challenges.  This will be the Satellite bracelet.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Row, row, row...

Here's where I started, the humble rowboat.  I used to row myself across the inlet from our dock to the neighbors dock so I could water his yard.

I've done this too, but not that well.  There was the time I tipped the canoe over, but we saved the beer.

Yesterday I was here, Scott's Flat Lake.

Where I tried this for the first time.  I had a great time, the lake was practically empty and I got to stop in the middle, dangle my feet in the water and just breathe in the quiet and the water.

But here's my dream, from those first lessons in Sausalito, skimming quickly across the shipping lanes, this has always been my heart's desire.

I'd forgotten...

And now I've remembered and now it's a goal, own and row a rowing shell.  Of course, the near perfect shell is made and sold on the East Coast, hmmmmm.

We shall see, on down the road, what happens.  After all, what's a person without a dream?


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Silly Songs

I just got done skyping with my daughter and granddaughter, how cool is that?  I think I fear most that Georgia Belle won't remember me because I can't be there enough, but this will definitely help.

Life is pretty damn good.

The house is great, the dogs are silly and happy and nurturing, my friends are funny, my family is healthy and I'm feeling better and better every day.

I'm committed to trying some new things though you have to wait to see what.

My relationships are really good, sweet and sincere and always improving in various ways.  I really love participating and I love watching the stories unfold.  I'm not really expecting things anymore, things will happen, it will be good no matter what.

I'm moving into my studio slowly, putting together materials lists, getting stuff ordered.  Once I submerge I won't come out for quite a while.