Friday, September 30, 2011

A Week For Tooling

This week I have been all about the hammer:
I have nearly tooled to completion
one aforementioned Magnolia and Bee clutch
and a half belt with two Bluebirds of Happiness
flanking a minty chrysoprase cabochon
which will be stitched into the leather
and backed with suede and a little scalloped
patch that says "It is well with my soul"

I love tooling
I love leather
I adore music
and metal
and rocks
I've found lately I have a lot more patience with the seasons of each discipline:
the lapidary wheels have been silent for a long while
the keyboard plays more show tunes than my own compositions
but I know I will return to them all
in good time:

I suppose I am realizing, thank goodness, that there is only so much of me to
go around and not everything can be doted on with equal attention.

This week leather got the brass ring!
If you're interested in the half belt, shoot me a

and I'll tell you all about it!

Lastly, I am offloading a few pairs of gorgeous vintage shoes
in order to simplify my closet and my life
and I had to admit to myself
that the good Lord gorgeous shantung silk heels in the above picture are just a
leeeeetle too snug for my feet:
they're marked 8 B, and I fear I have officially crossed over into 8.5 territory.
I have the measurements in the listing - I would go so far as to say they would fit a 7.5 as well.

they reside

Snap them up if you feel the 80s rainbow love!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bubble Bubble

So, I felt the little baby move last night:
I was about to fall asleep and there it was: this tiny tickle to the left of my belly button
and I called out for Anthony to come and feel it!

Of course, he couldn't feel it - this is just for mama and child right now
but pretty soon he will!

I was trying to come up with the right words to describe what it feels like:
goldfish fins
cat paws (with retracted claws, of course)

and this afternoon I was walking past Schmilly's study
when I had a(n)? eureka(!) moment!!

Finger in the air, I said, "Anthony! (he's home from work on vacation)!! I think I've found the perfect illustration for this wonderful feeling:

It's like the tiniest gnome in the world passing gas!!!"

He smiled and buried his head in his hands, a bow of sorts...I think so, anyways.

So there you have it folks, magical words for an indescribable moment!


Cicada Wing Necklace

From the description on Etsy:

For every summer of my childhood growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I remember that late August day.

It was
always late August, the sun was busy roasting the grass a dirty yellow and the sound of the first cicada always bore through my ears like a drill.
The harbinger of school,
the dirge of coming autumn, falling leaves and a signal that growing up was immanent.

One summer taller, one summer closer to all of the fears of a sensitive child: change, aging and beginnings.

Here, halfway through my thirties and having developed a healthy (though apprehensive) appreciation for all the things I once misunderstood, I can look back on that dear child with compassion and a click of the tongue:

Oh how scary change is before we realize it's all we can count on! If only we could just stave it off, but every shift reminds us that we cannot cling and in the beginning that feels devastating.

Here in California we don't have cicadas (this wing came from a lovely, talented friend in the southeast) but if we did, I reckon the sound would make me smile. I'd shout,

"Ahoy to the season of pomegranates and persimmons! Hello to the rains that we miss all summer long! I barely know ye, last season's most beloved sweater- hop on!!

Let's take long car rides to the north bay
pick apples in Alum Rock
and sip hot cocoa while my baby grows strong inside of me..."

yes - cicada wings bring change, and signal the seasons of our lives, without which we'd never know our bliss and our pains as well as we do.

All of the necklaces are in the shop, both those reserved and unreserved

Have a wonderful Wednesday in your part of the world!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Sweetness upon Sweetness

UPDATE: Reserves are pending on several items, please feel free to inquire on all pieces - as soon as the reserve is confirmed I will mark each piece as

Over the past few months, I have been working on a super limited schedule, eking out a few hours a day in the studio, weekends included.

I've been creating rhythmically, methodically, beautifully,
planning pieces in batches to complement each others' designs and feel.

With this week's batch of dolce de leche sweet necklaces,
I wanted to inermingle vibrant color and the imprint of wings,
things that lift and inspire.


This first necklace is a rare and special completely natural purple Coyamito Agate with a covered drusy center, partnered on either side by organically shaped and falling amethysts,
arranged to form a monochrome rainbow from dark to light.

Shining, sweet and ever-so-royal!



Second, a dragonfly wing with an unidentified green stone, perfectly gemmy and luminous.

Rich in warmth and depth.



Third, a minty perfect chrysoprase feather imprint necklace!

Lord have mercy, this color just simply cannot be outshone: it is
so healing, so kind.


Fourth, a perfect cicada wing in copper with sterling buffeting everyplace it touches your skin!

It's so lightweight and lovely...

And here is the secret to its lift!


Last of the quintet, an antique forget-me-not round in sterling

hammered edges

And a lot of soul in its bones still, after a century or so of
traipsing about the world.

All of these pieces are available for reserve

with a simple

over in yonder Metal Shop.

I hope one speaks to you in color or design,
a sweet something to bring warmth to your autumn.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Working Through It Part II

I had this long discussion with a jeweler friend of mine
and in it the subject of blogging in only one's finest moments was parsed:
I know I sure do like to take pictures of the lovely things in my home,
of the recipes that turn out great
or the pieces that fly away to their intended owners,
beautiful and loved from start to finish...

I treasure the art of celebrating the best in life
and I don't see it as a lie, even if the laundry pile doesn't get snapped
along with the triumphant souffle, still risen


I also think there is a danger in avoiding the pitfalls
of what ails us as humans, each set unique to the woman or man who journeys...
I think there is nobility in revelation.

I feel the need to be here today
smelling of Dial soap (a nose craving)
in my sister's pink turtle shorts
(because it makes me feel like she's near when I wear her clothes)
telling you, my friends
that I am hugely sick to my stomach and I want to cry.
That my work has been mostly left alone these past five days
(a series of feathers and wings)
while I drifted
through time-wasting websites
and Netflix movies I've never wanted to see
In my vulnerable moments I am nervous that this morning sickness will not pass, and I will be one of the few women I know who get and stay sick up to the very end.
In better ones, I feel content even should the above be the case: we do these things for our children out of love, even if we have not met them.
I think that what might be coming on is a big, giant, hormonal cry, the kind where you want your mom to come and give you a hug
and I think that all of this is ok
maybe even
as beautiful
as the perfect tomato
I wanted to show you
instead of my sleeve.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Once upon a time, after a bad breakup
I moved from New York City back to rural Pennsylvania
to live with my parents for a few months while I got back on my feet.
I was 24, and I felt like life had ended.

I was funereal.

There was the sensation of being trapped, stuck in a broken heart
trying to process my grief in the comfort of the family home, a step back.

My folks were amazing, and once or twice a week I would go to
see the psychologist whom I had gone to after a traumatic childhood event:
at this point he was an adored memory,
and I treasured the wisdom I had gained from his insights in my pre-adolescence.

What strikes me in looking back at those forlorn, adult winter months spent
trying to find the spark in life again
are the myriad and beautiful memories I have of this man of letters I came to see as family.

If I concentrate, my memory will transport me back to the semi-organized
office where I sat across the desk from him,
pouring out my woes and drinking in his unconventional, wonderful advice.

There is the early winter afternoon light filtering through the dim windows
catching the perfect white of his beard and side-parted hair
blue eyes a-twinkle
words like "authentic" and phrases such as "hold the vision"
hanging in the air
his hand gestures hinting at spells and magic...

He took me to see his friend, an eccentric Catholic psychic,
Drove me to Elizabeth, PA home to a wonderful consignment shop
where each drawer of every cupboard was brimming with vintage riches,
hand-written cards on still surfaces containing advice snippets
and bawdy humor...

We frequently (too frequently, his favorite) ate at Panera bread where he'd always request
something not on the menu, oblivious to the annoyed register operator
who surely wished he'd just read and accept the reality of their pre-cooked limitations.

He helped unlock my fear of being alone
and one afternoon when I was lamenting the fact that I may never get over being left
he posed the question, "What if it was okay to love this man for the rest of your life?"
What if it was okay to be completely and totally oneself, even if no one else thought it appropriate?
What if most of the pain we felt as humans were the pains of the imprisoned, hoping to conform to the expected time frames of grief, loss and rebirth?

His question begat all of those and more and was truly the start of a magical
year of discovery that would lead to the seeds of true self-love.

He was a man of heart and mind, an altruist obsessed with
blur spins and visualizations,
tiffany lamps and child psychology.

Tonight I watched
movie (on Netflix instant watch)
and was so struck by the charm of Bill Cunningham
and what a rare treasure his kind are.

Dr. Brennan had the same remarkable childlike glee
that the documentary captured, an authenticity that can only come from the devotion to life
and pursuit of loveliness.

In the words of the lauded subject, "He who seeks beauty..... will find it."

How lovely to be reminded of such goodness this evening.


Monday, September 19, 2011


Schmilly is back from his three day trip to see the parents
and he came bearing gifts
of the knitted variety:

Oh. MY!!!!

My heart melted into a caramel puddle when I unwrapped the
golden paper and saw these soft, beautiful booties...

I just cannot express the tenderness I feel knowing that my
creative mother-in-love knitted these for us.

I imagine her sitting under lamplight
smiling to herself as she pictured the wee baby feet
these would someday cradle.

She's extra beautiful when she smiles.

Continuing the family love, Anthony's Grandma sent the 'ten commandments of parenting"
along with her own addition in a letter I devoured. She wrote:

"Don't try to raise a petunia if you plant an onion seed. Let your children be who they are and celebrate your differences."

Wise words, Grandma.

The mailbox has been a joyful place to visit daily, with little bundles and onesies and
letters and bees...
A knitted hat arrived from a much-loved friend in the northeast
and I want to frame it, I treasure it so.
Yes, it is full of heart!!

When I put the cap up against my belly, it's hard to imagine that (God willing) the wee
little girl or boy will someday grow big enough to fit it,
but that's the miracle of life, isn't it?


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Calm Before The Calm

This old house is about as sparkling as it can get right now
and its inhabitants are patiently awaiting the visitors we are about to welcome aboard

He's just resting up so that he's awake for after-dinner tea, trust.

There is something so lovely and fresh about those hours before company comes:
everything is ready and the future memories tremble impatiently for their chance to be

Today I went to the grocery store and got the ingredients for a hearty free-range steer stew -
I think I must be in need of iron, as beef is normally what's not for dinner around here.

I find my energy levels returning
and my stomach still rebelling just as it's done for months now-
I'll take what I can get!

There is something far more 'normal' to me about feeling queasy while having the inner resources to continue moving and doing
as opposed to the first-trimester deep fatigue that
mostly just reduced me to a teary, sleepy mess as I struggled to eat.

Now I reserve my tears for pet-adoption videos
volunteer opportunity commercials,
poignant Star Trek plots
and The Millenium Trilogy -
Lisbeth Salander commands a rather surprising chunk of my heart right now...
what a breathtaking character.

It will be nice to have some non-media-related emotions
around here during daylight hours

for this woman with two heartbeats.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Big Island

In November, Anthony and I are having our 'last-hurrah' trip to
The Big Island, Hawaii -
the rental cottages are all booked, including a stay at a farm
where guests are encouraged to feed the pet pig their table scraps -

The plane tickets have been procured
and very few details remain to be handled.
Anthony will finally get to see the volcano he's been hankering for
and I get to snorkel again
with wild abandon!


Speaking of volcanos,

A beautiful representation of one
crafted from copper, sterling, fine silver and opal
will be in the Metal Shop in a few days

and it SHINES with good health!

A generously sized reminder of the wonders that bubble beneath the surface
of our earth
and our own skin...

And with Hawaii on the brain, I created another seed pod casing ring
using a perfectly perfect chunk of parrot wing jasper
with a little river of chrysocolla and an oasis of malachite.

Both the band and the canvas of the ring were heavily hammer-formed
and they are so rich in texture that it's hard not to
pet them

The ring is a size 10.5 with a medium-thick band.

For both of these pieces, I will be accepting reserves:
just simply


in the Metal Shop
and the details can be arranged!

As for the creature series
WOW - those responses were amazing
and the animal has been settled upon-

it will have to be a surprise,
and the trio will be revealed
on Friday morning in the Metal Shop
with a preview of the finished work sometime on Wednesday -

I hope your weekend was amazing
and that you are surrounded by friends and loved ones on this
day of remembrance.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Today's Creature

A Fox! With pyrite in dusky quartz!

I am planning on doing one more beastie for the series
being unveiled late next week:

what do you think the third should be?