Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lovely Boy

A portrait for a dear dear faraway friend.. I have fallen in love with her dog while painting him.

Perhaps if I could get Jones to play fetch like he used to....

Professional note: my camera lens just gave out....hmmmmm.... this may mean no listings until it's fixed - I better find me a North Bay Camera Doctor, stat!!!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Nest

I arrive in the night, carrying memories and gifts I didn't leave with in an unfamiliar city airport and make my way to my just-now-familiar car, the scent clean and cold and speaking of home.

I drive fifty-odd miles of tall buildings making way to shipyards and bridges and finally to my local rolling hills. I know they're green and beautiful even though they cover themselves in midnight... 

now there's the rise between San Rafael and Novato that I have driven every time I have come this way since April, breathing a sigh of happiness to see those healthy curves.

Petaluma is sleeping and I am easy on the gas pedal so as not to wake anything up: shops are shuttered, leaves are still and cold on the ground. Just one street down a front porch light glows its 'hello' and I do a little happy dance in my seat: my husband is inside of that house, my cats, my work, our life.....

There are the hugs and kisses, the exclamations (on my part) of crushing fatigue since it's three AM in my body's current time zone! Two furry ones weave in between our feet and Anthony carries in the heavy things while I wash the travel off of my bones.

Sleep comes easy, but that green tea latte I drank to stay awake for the drive home haunts my rest and gives me the type of dream where you have to count stock in a giant warehouse: the kind of sequence that leaves you waking time and time again, wishing for another scenario, only to repeat and repeat until morning!

In the early sun I see my home:

The back porch, the orange tree...

The things I've known since I was little...

my happily mismatched ensemble and the built in Craftsman nooks....

My keys....

counting the nesting dolls to see how many Jones dropped behind the linen hutch...

Home. The work can wait for a few days, the clothing can be folded later... I just want to drink it all in for now.

I wish you all the homeiness and happiness your hearts can hold as we all move towards a new year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I love you.

Dearest readers,
This year has been incredible and honestly, you have played such a huge part in that.
Your kindness, your community, your recipes and stones and struggles and victories....
I truly adore you and I love visiting all of your blogs and catching up with you here.
I have been in the bosom of my family for a few days and my thoughts and journaling and singing and sketching have all led me to a new way I want to approach life as my New Year's Resolution: I want to live as though each day is my last and treat each person I meet as though this was theirs, too.
It's going to mean working on big things like compassion and clarity, love and choosing to love in the face of cruelty or pain.
It's going to entail some stretching and setting lots of caged birds free inside this heart of mine... I am so excited to have a goal that reaches beyond my waistline and encompasses my soul and the souls of those I meet, those I know.
I'll need to remember that underneath every anger and slight is a deep hurt and respond as lovingly as I can, to both myself and others in their rancor or mistaken behaviour. I'll need to chew my thoughts and digest them before I share them, mull over how I'd feel if the intended recipient left this earthly realm overnight.
I will most assuredly need to work on taking a few hours off each day to drive into the hills and watch the grass wave and grow into its emerald spring coat... I'll need to get on that purple bike I bought in the summer and ride through town, tucking my groceries, USPS-bound packages and art supplies in the basket and strapping my copious books into the shelf on the back.
What I don't need to work on any more than I already do is loving life with every cell in my body, relishing the experience of every sadness and joy equally, knowing that when one ends the other soon follows as though they were really twins that visited on a tag-team basis throughout the course of a well-lived life.
On this holiday I just wanted to take the time to share how much I treasure you and share a few thoughts on resolutions, on starting anew and living with heart.
Tell me your resolution and take my gratitude with you this evening or whenever your eyes read this. I am bursting with love.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh, Smiths!?!?

My husband is an incredible man and he knows just what to get a lady for Christmas.
We exchanged presents early as we'll be apart for the actual day 

(I am traveling home to Pittsburgh and he will be with the Schmill family - we have been trading off holidays but if I was away from my nucleus for the holiday of Christmas all I would do would be to sob: not good for anyone, I say)

and he got me a Foredom flex shaft.

Wow, is it amazing looking - and I know it can do amazing things: problem is, I have always only used my hands - only recently did I even get a drill press (which saves so much time and energy over a dremel) and so my question to you is this:

what is the flex shaft best used for?

Any tricks, tips, polishing advice?

I literally know nothing in advance: self-taught beyond a quick soldering class and some Ganoksin tutorials.....

please give me your ten cents, links, ideas and not-so-secret-secrets!

By the way, I am still responding to the mountain of digital missives that came this weekend: I will keep writing after I travel in the wee hours of tomorrow morning -

I am super grateful to all of you for the incredible support and advice you showered me with and 'thank you' is muted and weak compared to the vibrant passion I feel for your generosity of spirit and time.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Look Familiar?

Please please someone tell me what to do about this:

I never thought it would happen, but it has.
I am kind of beside myself.

To continue after having a minute to calm down, I am devastated. When a beloved customer alerted me to the copying I thought, "Wow! This is exciting!" until I saw her work, saw that four or five design ideas had been lifted directly from my own: she had traced them somehow, perhaps via the computer screen.
Peacock Feathers.
Dog collar colorations and font.
The beloved koi.

That's the one I cannot stop crying over: that's my baby, the result of so much drawing, wishing and hoping when I first began this journey three years ago.

Do I have to give it up?
Is there nothing that can protect me?
Am I screaming into a void?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Few More Things.....

In the Metal Shop this evening!


Yesterday's jam mishap (you should have seen the Schmilly's face when I laughingly asked him to try it: "Smells good," he said. The ensuing wince said it all!) got me thinking about the art of  preserving and letting go.

 Sometimes you can absolutely take a fruit, or a moment or even a dead body (like Lenin) and capture it with technology, heat or preservative injections and a constant temperature of 61 degrees fahrenheit.

There are other things in life you simply just experience in their moments and in your memory.
The creamy neon orange pulp of a ripe California persimmon is simply something that must be experienced while it lasts.

I will gorge myself on this incredible fruit for as long as the winter lasts and next year when the trees lose their leaves and the the winds sting my nose I will smile, knowing that I am close to this new seasonal tradition.

just like heirloom tomatoes in the summer
fresh sugar snap peas in the spring
and watching a baby grow into a child with each passing year.



Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jam Disaster

From this.....

To this....

(In lieu of a picture of what happened next, just imagine: stringy, sour beige overcooked pumpkin swimming in sewer water)


I had my first jam disaster and I had such high high hopes for this fruit, because it seems assured to be a gorgeous, orange fruity jam and instead it cooks into 
a texture that makes pumice enviable and somehow edible!!


On a brighter note, I will be extending the sale until Friday as I have four things I haven't had a moment to get into the Metal Shop and I want to give people a moment to mull over them!

On that note, I am off to the shop to finish a final few custom orders and work on a few gifts.

Hope you are all well and happy in and out of the kitchen!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fins and Feathers

In the Leather shop today:  

a profusion of colorful joy and all of them 10% off (deduction taken after sale and refunded through Paypal - don't forget to w=mention "I read your blog!" for free USPS Priority shipping within the U.S. and a $5.oo credit for overseas and Canada!)

Monday, December 14, 2009


I listed quite a few pieces in the Metal Shop today: I will be listing just a few more over the course of the next few days: I am tired beyond what I could have ever anticipated and so I must rest.
Really and truly rest: why is that so hard to do sometimes?
Good evening and a nice cup of tea to you all!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Greetings from Home!

Wow. This weekend was I met so many amazing people and sold some really special pieces - if you were one of the lovely souls who passed by my table and offered a word, a smile or took home one of my pieces: thank you from the bottom of my heart.

San Francisco and the Northern California experience has been so stellar so far: even the craft fairs are amazing!

The good news for my online friends and supporters is this: there's still a great collection of new goodies to be stocked on the virtual shelves of the Metal and Leather shops.

Tomorrow I will start with the Metal Shop: remember - everything new will be 10% off after purchase and anyone who reads this blog can write, "I read your blog!" in the comment section and receive free usps Priority shipping on an order - U.S. only. Overseas and Canada will receive a $5.00 dollar refund towards shipping (I use registered to Canada and first class for all other destinations). This is my way of saying, "Thank you!" for all your incredible support here and in my shops this year.

Tuesday I will list all the sale pieces in the Leather Shop and the sale prices and deals will be honored until Thursday night.

Pieces that have been in both shops for a while will be dramatically reduced, so do come by and check it out!


Friday, December 11, 2009



Listen up, readers!!

When I list everything on Monday if anyone who reads this blog buys something, just put "I read your blog!" in  the 'note to seller' box during your purchase and your USPS Priority mail shipping will be refunded along with the 10% off of the original price of the piece(s)!!

That is all. Carry on and know that your comments are the wind in my sails on days like today when I have climbed a mountain of work and stand looking at it.

My hands are just as colorful and delightfully ravaged - they're not for sale, though  :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Impending Sale!

Hi my dearest faraway friends!!

A couple of business items this morning:

1. The shops will be closed all weekend for Bazaar Bizarre and everything that is not reserved for someone will be traveling with me.
Everything at my table will be 10% off the original listed value, as my way of saying, "Thank you for coming out!"

2. When I come back on Monday I will be listing whatever I've newly made that did not sell at 10% off its original value, as well as marking some older items on sale as my way of thanking you for an incredible year and giving you the chance to have a bon bon or two that you previously might not have found affordable.

3. If you love something dearly now may be the time to make it yours: I cannot forsee what sales may be like, but I hear this market is a big thing around these parts!

4. On a personal side note, my hands are covered with bruises, cuts and deeply imbedded dye stains, but I have never worked harder for any one event in my life:
I hope I get to meet you.
I hope I get to hug you!!!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Good news!!!

My heart is ok: I just simply have a case of benign  premature ventricular contractions (PVC) and premature atrial contractions (PAC) - isn't that something?
I celebrated with a cup of decaf coffe and a ginger cookie from the Bovine Bakery.

In other news, my studio has been overtaken by a pretty little koi army. So far their demands are few, and they sure are easy on the eyes - I'll wait to call in the National Guard.

Just wanted to share the happy news with you, friends!
Now it's back to work for me :)


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Tears

Oh there has been some hard work being done around these parts: I am learning how fun and liberating it can be  to make small pairs of earrings: gentle little pretties - I think I've made 20 pairs of varying degree of complexity this weekend.

I also finished two ring designs that were started around the same time as the leaf ring - I wanted to make intricate sprout rings with monochromatic stones, and since I have over one thousand said rocks, I knew I had the perfect combinations.

What I didn't know was how their completion would make me feel: 

I see in them my own unique creative voice: sprouts, flattened granules, cutouts and bezels combined in a way that feels unique to my hands and my mind.
It took a very long time to get here.

It took near alienation from beloved friends when I stepped too close to their designs on my epic journey to authenticity, took fumbling hundreds of hours and wasting metric tons of silver
in melting accidents and a big bushel of that sinking feeling you get in your belly when something fails. 

There have been a ton of failures and yet somehow a million victories.

All the design ideas I hold near to my heart came at various times when driving, walking, showering or going to sleep, which is when the best songs have always come to be written, so I knew them to be of my heart and of His.

Anything we've done has always been done before and will always be done again, but with each creative birth I think God delights in us and with us:
a good sermon
a wonderful necklace
a baby
that first knitted scarf
The Great American Novel
some really good Plum, Grape or Raspberry Jam (yes, in capital letters, Michelle and Jillian!!!)
a small company
a song
a dinner party...

When I finished the Boulder Opal Ring (the blue of the two) and set it reverently next to its sister (Rhodonite and Peruvian Pink Opal) I burst into tears of such joy and such relief:

I got here.
I arrived at this place.
I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings!!!

These two rings will be listed in the Metal Shop on Monday sometime in the morning Pacific Time - the Pink is a size 7 and the Blue is a size 9.5.

I am so grateful for them, and for the inspiration to have been able to create them.

Friday, December 4, 2009

All in a (LONG) day's work!!

The urge to create a trillion earrings for Bazaar Bizarre has been such a neat one to follow:
earrings can provide just the right pop of color and spirit in a grey day and there are endless possibilities for shape and structure, a few of which I've been exploring.

It has been an incredibly work-heavy day: ten fresh leather koi lay tooled and uncolored on my marble block and eight pair of earrings hang from the jewelry tree (of which there are three for my table!)

and I have that feeling....
ladies, if you've done a craft show or prepared for something big you know that feeling: kind of like after raking up a yard full of leaves - tuckered out and fully aware of the magnitude of your exertion.

Or maybe a more concise comparison would be that of a squirrel stacking up acorns for the winter and observing its cache with a high-pitched happy cartoon sigh.....

It's satisfying and exciting!

I'll be laying off the shop updates for a while with a few exceptions: there are some pairing rings I am working on for this week that I think you will really enjoy - but in general, I'll be keeping most things for the show.

Expect a realllly large update-y day on the 14th - OH! before I forget -- the final day for shipping for Holiday Orders will be the 21st in the morning, no possible exceptions - just some information I find important I share with you!

I'll be flying home to my original parental units in Pittsburgh, PA (go, Steelers!!) on the 22nd: 

where will you be going? 

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Moments you Spend....

...When you are making something are the moments that are forever kept in silver. When I created these three pieces over the past three days some very lovely things were happening in my little soul.

The monitor and the thoughts it created about mortality were not at all sad: it was a reminder to live live live right now! The very same idea is what drives me to buy skeleton necklaces and simplify my posessions often.

The pieces I made while in a cloud of passion for life reflect some of my favorite things-


Two pieces of Chrysoprase, one with little drusy vugs peppered through the stone, dendrites and an opacity that creates such a luminous glow reflected back through the silver to the lucky one who wears it.

The other chrysoprase stone is not opaque, but instead a rich and lovely green, simple and lovely. Sterling sprout branches are complemented by little 14k gold dots and a bit of negative space.

This ring is a size 10.25 and will be in the Metal Shop today

One of my other favorite things are snowflakes, which I'll not likely see here this year, so I made a California one:

The stone is a miraculous bit of Ajoite in Quartz surrounded by lots of filigree and some 14k gold and sterling granules.

This stone is a rare mineral recently found in South Africa, ranging from teal to baby blue clouds and strong color lines through quartz... this is a particularly strong color line!

My third piece for the offering is an open-centered Oco Geode:

This stone was masterfully cut and has the look of little clouds. The drusy is peppered with color: little black dots and tiny washes of caramel and the center is filled - my signature - with little sterling granules.

All of these pieces will be in the Metal Shop a little later: I did not take pictures with the pieces on : my skin is having a bad reaction from the goo they use to stick the electrodes on: they use a conductive gel and my delicate decolletage ain't having it!

I hope you all have a wonderful day full of peaceful, important realizations and kindness all around you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tomorrow in the Leather Shop!

Winged necklace and tree rings in lovely neutral toffee browns
A small update for the Leather Shop, which is in need!!

Today the Jane and the Jones were all manner of cute - observe:

Awww, girlee.

Right after this picture Jones gave his ear a good scratching!!

Still Life with Goodies

It is time to make a new 4X6 inch postcard, one that reflects where my pieces are now, what with all the silversmithing marrying of the two crafts....

With Bazaar Bizarre coming up I realized it would be really good to have the cards NOW - speaking of which, if you love something in either shop now might be the time to grab it as BB is a 2 day event in Golden Gate Park and things may sell.

Anthony suggested so amazingly the idea of a painting-style still-life, and so after a morning of arranging and photography with the trusty Nikon D60 and a tripod, here is the winner:

The koi is my humorous homage to the still-life-with-fish genre that can be pretty hard to look at: all these gasping-y, flippy fish bodies ready for the chopping block. Ack!

The amazing fresh fruits are from the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmer's market, which happens every Wednesday and Sunday, rain or shine all year long.

This morning it was f-f-f-f-rigid, but I had my first persimmon, which you buy soft and suck out the sweet nectar from a hole you bite - how Twilight!

Earlier in the day I dropped off the Holter Monitor - over the course of yesterday and last night I had four really solid events, so they are recorded and will hopefully get me one step closer to clarity.

Thank you so deeply for your fantastical comments on yesterday's post.

One final note: please please see the movie "Up" - Anthony and I watched it last night and it touched me to the bedrock. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Now we're getting somewhere...

Decaf Dark Chocolate Mocha in hand

A busy mind full of designing and plans

Electrodes attached to all the right places

Everything's lined up to please solve this case of

Skipping a beat or electrical dissonance

Months of calm waters and suddenly back again

Three four then ten in a minute or two

Then a feeling of falling while worried thoughts pool...

I've too much to do, much too damn much to dream about

So let's get this show on the road -

 I will map the route.