Friday, October 30, 2009

iFun Featuring Friends, Kitties, Babies and Puppies!!!!

Royal the Great

The Spot - Dear Moe featuring extra savory sauce!!

Katherine, my sweetest girlfriend and the skilled pastor who married us!

Bowie Pup!!!! It's love, real love.

Seamus being serenaded over his oatmeal by his Mama Liane, Auntie Allu (me!) and his Irish Dada Jimmy.

This trip has been flawless: the shows have been amazing, the cd sales wonderful, the friendships strengthened, the sterling silver chain purchased, leather hides in the trunk of my car, the food divine, the animals adorable and the weather perfect.

I have missed you and just wanted to share a bit of an update with you and keep you abreast of the adorable-ness that abounds.

I have designs spilling out of my jean pockets and I cannot wait to get home and give you love translated into the language of silver and leather.

I adore you all!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Biiiig Pause

Hi sweet lovely friends!!!!

I just wanted to let you know that I will be away from the computer for most -if not all- of the week and some change that I am gone...

I think it's important for me to leave the computer at home, and I realllllly am nervous about it because: 

What if there's an emergency?
(logical answer: I have my iPhone with me and have the capability to respond if needed)

What if I need to bid on an auction for an awesome stone?
(answer: tough cookies, stone junkie.)

What if I am just hopelessly addicted to this silver lap box and I experience withdrawal?
(answer: there must be a 12 step for that by now...)

All in all, I think this is a good idea: I get to refresh my very soul by unplugging.

There are jewelry designs in process that are bubbling up from my soul and a myriad of koi to be painted upon my return.

I will be rich in ideas until we meet again


I will miss you all something fierce.
I'll still be peeking at your blogs from my little iPhone, too!!

Love and love and more love to you all!


Oh dear, Y'all.....

I just did something really silly for which I may either be really happy or really embarrassed:

I called in and auditioned for my local country station's version of American Idol:

Sonoma County Idol!

Pardon me, I was giggling so hard I had to pause: I don't know what possessed me, as I normally dismiss that kind of thing, but the grand prize was $1,000.00 and mama needs to get to Tucson this spring, so I figured it would be the perfect thing to try....

The only thing: if you make it past the phone audition you have to sing onstage at a country/western bar here called Kodiak Jack's.

They have a mechanical bull, guys.....

Needless to say, I'll be having a bit of whiskey before I make my Sonoma County debut - IF I get past the phone audition.

Wish me luck, and please share with me the silliest contest YOU'VE ever entered!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The bag to end all bags is done......
Inset with a gorgeous, pristine cabochon of rhodonite, complete with handmade fine silver bezel and sterling canvas, this bag is for the sweetest cowgirl you know.

The back reads 'tough and tender' in western font and hand-drawn gentle cursive and the inlay cover inside reads 'Love Thyself',
a steady reminder each time you open the bag that both your tender and your tough are worthy, beautiful and special: two sides of an incredibly valuable coin.

The Tough and Tender bag has been lined (both inside and under the strap) with a butter-soft chamomile suede and my oh my is it a joy to touch!!

The tooling pattern is a gorgeous classic poppy pattern, with a resist 1/2 inch border all along the entire bag, including the 36 inch strap.

To say this is a labor of love is lacking: it takes 20 hours or more per bag: nearly two hundred rivets, each one set by hand with a manual single-rivet press, hand cut and punched leather, all edges beveled and carefully antiqued and painted.

During the course of making a bag, I am likely to laugh in utter joy at the result of the incredible labor, cry at the moments of deep frustration, sweat like a trucker, swear like a sailor and sing with all my heart very frequently.

I take pauses for snacks, kitteh snuggle sessions, phone calls to my mother, to talk to you online in the shops and breathe:
when I make a bag the result is a true capture of 20 hours in my life:
it is more like a time capsule that can be filled with your own memories and lip gloss!

The Tough and Tender bag will be listed later this evening in the Leather Shop.

Here is a picture of the body of the custom order, which will be done tomorrow and mailed on to its royal owner:

Now that these two mountains have been climbed, I will be preparing in earnest for Los Angeles and making the studio shine for my return on November 1st!

Two Lovely Furry People to Come Home to

Pinch pinch.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Postcards from the Edge of the Continent

A few things we learned in Monterey Bay where we celebrated our first anniversary and my birthday, both on October 18th:

The sea is home to some of the fiercest beauty one could ever wish to see... anemone that look like cherry blossoms....

Stinging Jellies are beautiful and not to be touched!!

Sea Horses are so special, awkward and gentle that you're liable to fall in love...

If you feed them....

They will come!!!

If you kiss them

They will be calm and happy

Until next time, thank you for the healing and love, Monterey Bay!!

This was just what the doctor would have ordered had I gone to a doctor.... we are rested, revived and I am ready to go to LA and rock softly.

I missed you all: thanks so much for the birthday and anniversary well-wishes - they were received with lots of smiles and gratitude!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Baby Step Kind of Week

This was not a week of breezing through projects... it was not a week of setting small stones and making small leather projects.
It was EPIC. Which (according to my wise and beautiful sister Julie) means it had elements of both profound joy and terrible awfulness.
I cannot share pictures of the bags with you as they're not really done per se, but they are so gorgeous and they make me so proud and so full inside that I look back on Wednesday's post and realize that I was so right about the fact that while you're in the thick of repetitive motion and riveting and punching holes and tooling large areas you cannot feel the joy of the completion - now that they're about done I cannot stop the silly grin I've got going all afternoon.
One thing I can show you is a ring using one of the most amazing opals I've ever come across: it's a doozy!!

Oh deary me, what a joy that creates: a design come to fruition for someone I hold dear.

This weekend Anthony and I are going to Monterey for our anniversary trip and my birthday, which are on the same day - I do nothing halfway!
I cannot wait to share tidepool pictures with you and feed you a bite of gnocchi from The Whaling Station through the computer screen...

I also cannot believe my husband and I are one year old. I could never begin to express how deeply and completely he has touched my heart and nurtures my soul.
Our love is a miracle in my life.... 

here's to many many more years of love and adventure with that adorable, intellectual, quiet-and-yet-not-at-all-quiet, delicious man of mine.

P.S. - Can I share a little story with you?
When I first met Anthony he was working at Electronic Arts, where I was a receptionist for two years. I fell for him in the most gradual, natural way after a self-imposed vacation from dating anyone.
Each day that passed he simply grew more and more adorable - I mean, look at the guy - he's the cutest!!
One day we finally went on our first date after a few lunches out: lunches where I was so nervous that I would ask if we could grab burritos and walk, as I was too jittery to sit at a table opposite him and actually, you know, talk!
On April 9th, 2006, Anthony picked me up and took me to a Japanese/Korean barbecue where we ate and kind of had a hard time with conversation because we were BOTH so nervous by now.
As we waited for our car to come back from Valet (oh, Los Angeles...) I was struck by how badly I wanted him to put his arms around me.
He was beautifully tall and he smelled really nice, like Polo...
When he dropped me off in front of my apartment I was as giddy and strange as a crane fly - now, normally I was smooth and easy to converse with, easy to kiss, easy to laugh, but tonight I was awkward, gangly and slow to process simple things - this was new!
I turned to him and without a word I grabbed his face and kissed him hard on the lips, barely mumbled 'goodnight' and left the car at a quick clip.
Anthony sweetly refers to it as our first drive-by kiss.

The End.

New Song

Oh dear...the first line of the song got cut off: I wish there was time to redo, but alas, it's back to the studio: I just had to take a minute to sing and blow off steam with a new song I wrote.

Two lovely spider bites on my shoulder make a cameo: you'd think they would be great backup singers with their lifelike size! The cost of living and sleeping in Sonoma County, I suppose - arachnid country!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Progress (?)

Two bags, completely tooled. Ready for resist and antique and paint and rivets....hundreds and hundreds of rivets.

Two bag bodies, hand cut, hand punched and hand punched-out pieces removed.

One freaking tired woman who needs a break but cannot take one just yet.

To blog is to break today: in a minute it's right back in there.

My hands are bruised (yes, actually bruised!) and blistered from the bag-making: it's tough, tough work and not for the weak of muscle or of heart: it breaks you down with its repetitive tasks and and makes you smile at the resulting beauty....

it is the best and worst of leathercraft and I have decided to make two at once....
Because the leather shop is too empty for comfort...
Because one is a custom order 

Mostly I am doing this because I thought I could! 

My sister and I compare notes every once in a while about how we like to give ourselves too much to do so we can see if we're tough enough to actually accomplish our tasks...
Often I do, but this week I am lagging behind my bizarre deadlines
AND I still have music to learn for my trip back to Redlands/LA....

My only request from you today is this: if you've piled one more thing onto your daily task list to see if you can do it - don't. 

Drink a hot cup of tea and breathe.



Monday, October 12, 2009

Domestic Bliss

Today I went to the Chiropractor, something I do every week to stave off the rounded back that would surely come without preventative care - I am very proactive about this frame for my soul!
Afterwards I went to the gym and sweated like I meant it - doesn't always feel so good?

Homeward bound, I spent about four hours at the tooling table and really dug into two bags whose bodies I had cut out days before - a custom (the tiger) and one for the shop (the classic tooling pattern, a bag in which I will be insetting a fabulous cabochon of rhodonite!!)

ooooooooohhhh!!!! I cannot WAIT to finish them!!

The classic poppy pattern with the rhodonite is for a girl who is tough and tender: I know a few and man are they something...

If you look at the straps, you can see that they have an unusual spotted pattern: it was an mark on the hide and I love love love it: I cannot wait to see how it responds to antiquing and resist finishes.

After a good solid shift in the studio I went into the kitchen to make a remarkable tomato potato gratin with carmelized onions, a recipe that can be found in Sunday Suppers at Lucque, a spectacular cookbook by Susan Goin.

She is the proprietress of one of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles: AOC.

If you live within a fifty mile radius, make reservations and GO!!! It is sublime.

Right now the dish is in the oven and it is making my mouth into a river.


I will surely miss delightful heirloom tomatoes, the friend I always wished for this summer.

I will report back and let you know how it tastes: if it's amazing, you'll get the recipe, too!

A bit of business: I will be gone from the 16th to the 30th, with a few days back at home on the 20th and 22nd - From the 16th to the 19th I am going on an anniversary trip with my boyfriend/fiance/husband, as he is still all these things!!

From the 23rd to the 30th, I will be in Los Angeles for some good singing gigs: a wedding, a pumpkin patch (Live Oak Canyon), a good club/restaurant in Los Angeles, and The Loft, the most special of places to play.

If you live in the Los Angeles/Redlands area and wish for details, convo me or send me an email:

If you have something reserved in the shop, make sure to factor in the time away when you purchase!

All my heart,

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Few Very Important Pieces

I have a few new friends for you to meet this fine fall afternoon: 

on the left is an art deco approximation of the mighty diaphragm muscle in our abdomen: it is in part responsible for our breath, for our courage and our stability.

It is shaped like an umbrella.

In this ring is the most decadent Ethiopian Opal: a rich chocolate brown that glows red and green and yellow fire even without direct sunlight - observe:

Look at that amazing fire in the dimmest of rooms... this kind of opal is incredibly rare and very valuable, especially with the amount of fire it has.

Right above the strong stone are two 14k gold dots and on the ring band it says


a command I have to repeat to myself some twenty odd times per day as I have a tendency towards shallow breath and forgetfulness!
It is a size 7 and it is formidable.

Breathe, indeed!!

The second introduction I would like to make is to a very lovely labradorite boundary ring in a size 10 - solid, strong cobalt blue emanates from this ring at seemingly every angle...
would I ever give you a ptooey stone with a bit of sassafrass?
No!! It's incredible or bust over here in Petaluma!!

I have been doing boundary necklaces with a simple gold dot in the center and I thought, 'How lovely to do a ring AND with the powerful definite light of labradorite!'

So I made it and it feels really powerful and protective, indeed.

These pieces will be in the Metal Shop soon!

In other news, I am having an affair of sorts - I trust you implicitly not to tell my husband - I have told Janey, but she is a master secret-keeper.

Could those eyes ever spill a secret? Oh, Girlee...
I have to introduce you to the man in question:

He is my Sexy Skeleton courtesy of the incredible Jessi Taylor .
I don't think I've even taken him off yet except to sleep because I have quite a mane and that would be a bad kind of tangled.

I was moved by him because he reminds me to live: someday that is what I will look like: with every glance in the mirror, with every look down at my hands or my work an insistent voice says, "LIVE". 
And so I do.

Do yourself a favor and follow my lead: you will be smitten.... 

In the process of wearing this fine sterling fellow I have fallen in love with him: please be discreet now that you know about my little dilemma.

I hope this Saturday finds you well-rested full of crisp and stew.

Hugs and hot tea to you, my dear friends!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Custom and a Bonsai

This custom order moved me deeply and I had to share it with you:

On the back is a personalized bit of writing with an art deco bent... oh dear it echoed so much of me and I just nearly cried as I was setting the stone: what a magnificent Mookaite!!
What a magnificent story behind it all.

I also made a little something for the Metal Shop: I have missed making sprout trees and so I decided to try for a Bonsai.

Short story: when I met Anthony I thought he loved Bonsai trees to the point of wanting to HAVE one and so for Christmas I bought him one and had it shipped.
It was beautiful.
It was deceased within 6 months.
I named him 'Bonzi' and nearly wept as his leaves sprinkled down into his little tree-like roots...

This Bonsai tree will never shed its little silver and Nephrite Jade leaves - oh no - it is good for the life of you and whoever you pass it down to.
You can even name it and get attached, promise!

There are even tiny blades of grass in negative space.
I think I am falling more and more in love with my c-frame saw lately: it was something I abhorred doing when I first began to smith and now
I crave the sound and the sight of silver snow drifting onto the ground.

The eternal Bonsai will be in the Metal Shop shortly!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Feathers and Fins

In the Leather Shop this evening!!

I am off to go see Karl Denson's Tiny Universe with the Schmilly: my ex-boyfriend Brian is Karl's guitarist and I haven't seen the guys in four YEARS.
I am so excited!!! They are so funky it's impossible not to dance!