Friday, July 31, 2009

The cure for my boredom

The past couple of days I was feeling so bored and uninspired. I decided to take a break from production work to make a one of a kind piece. It definitely helped me to feel inspired! I have had this wonderful piece of turquoise pinned to the bulletin board in front of my work area for months, maybe even a year. Today I figured out what I wanted to do with it, and am well on my way. I'm excited to see this piece come together. Yay for inspiration and motivation!
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 30, 2009

On the wall

I have finally framed and hung my prints from Color Box Design. I love the way these botanical, letterpress prints look on my living room walls. They are right there for me to enjoy everyday.

Have you noticed that cherries have been really inexpensive this summer? I don't know why that is, but I'm taking advantage of it. They are really delicious and normally a big splurge. Cherries remind me of my Granny too, which makes me happy. I love how these gorgeous red cherries look on my turquoise snack plate.
Bookmark and Share

The Path Less Pedaled

Fellow Etsy Metal member Laura Crawford and her partner Russ Roca have set out on a cross country bicycle trip. Today is the first day of their trip and I am excited to follow their progress on their website The Path Less Pedaled. Here is a description of their project from the website:

What is this crazy idea that we have and why on earth did we get rid of all of our stuff?

The Path Less Pedaled is an exploration of what it means to live outside the lines. In March 2009, Laura Crawford and Russ Roca made the decision to drop out of the status quo and find others around the world who have done the same. Paring down their lives to just what will fit on two bicycles, Laura and Russ are embarking on an extended bike tour throughout the US and beyond – with the goal of connecting with and collecting the stories of people who followed a calling to live their lives in unique ways. Through photos, interviews, sketches, hand-bound books, and an extensive web presence, Laura (an art jewelry maker) and Russ (a photographer) will compile example after example of lives less ordinary – independent artisans and makers, small business proprietors, community activists and more.

Another intriguing part of the story is that Laura is taking her jewelry studio on the road. She has paired her tools down to what she can carry on her bike. I can't wait to see how her work evolves along the way!

Laura's jewelry studio for the road

I have added a link to Laura and Russ' website on my side bar. Please join me in following their progress!
Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

River Art Show

I am excited to announce that I will be participating in the 62nd annual River Art Show. The show is October 3rd and 4th in San Antonio, and is held in the historic La Villita arts district. I realized in April, when I went to San Antonio for Fiesta, how much I love the town. I hadn't been since high school, and didn't realize what I was missing out on. I am really thrilled to be going back to San Antonio so soon! Don't worry I will be reminding you closer to October!
Bookmark and Share

Introducing Mr. Ball Burr

I have miss Clare Stoker to thank for introducing me to Mr. ball burr. I have been making tube bezels for about a year, maybe longer. I had this one pair of earrings that I hated making because it required two such tube bezels. I couldn't seem to get them made very easily or quickly. I was trying to use a setting burr from start to finish and, now I know the error of my ways. The ball burr, in a slightly smaller diameter than your setting burr takes away material from your thick wall tubing quickly and easily. Now you have me to thank for introducing you to a new friend!

Bookmark and Share

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yummy Treats

We helped a friend celebrate his birthday Friday night. It was a really good time, along with a load of tasty treats! The birthday boy's mom as well as his best friends' mom made some great food. Frank and I got sent home with a selection of goodies, and boy have we appreciated them. The maker of these goodies said she loves to share recipes, so I hope to be able to make them myself soon. Homemade, from scratch Strawberry Cupcakes! See that, it is a real strawberry in that cupcake. So, so good, and I didn't even know that I liked strawberry cupcakes.

Beer bread, this was served with real butter. So good!

Yummy chocolate chip cookies with pecans

Bookmark and Share

Jewelry Class

I have been meaning to tell you more about my jewelry class at Imagination Celebration. It was my first time to teach, and it went really well! My students learned both metal texturing techniques and tube riveting. Each student came away from class with a finished textured copper disc bracelet as well as a textured and tube riveted copper pendant. I didn't get pictures of their finished pieces, unfortunately. I will be teaching the same class again on Tuesday, August 4th, and I hope you can join me.

I am so lucky to have such talented friends who were also generous enough to let me use their images for a slide show in my class. I looked for images of work that would illustrate different uses for rivets as well as textures on metal. Here are some of the images that I used.

Mark incorporates plastic from bottles into these two pieces of jewelry, which is a perfect example of why cold connections would be used in jewelry making.

I absolutely love this ring, which is entirely tube riveted together,
even the band is tube riveted closed!

My friend Maggie is so talented, and I love this bracelet that incorporates
both tube rivets, wire rivets and textures.

Another perennial favorite is work by my friend Lynette, which utilizes wire rivets to
incorporate embroidered metal into a design.

These pieces are part of Ann Jenkins' Fragments of Nature series. Ann rivets together frames of metal around tiny found objects, creating little reliquaries that can be worn.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some changes around here...

After more than two years of blogging I have finally figured out what blog labels are for. Pathetic, I know. I had been treating my blog labels like etsy or flickr tags all along. I has been dawning on me for a while now, but I hadn't invested the time in fixing my missteps until today. I remedied the problem, and have added a list of categories on my side bar. Some of you might only be interested in what I have to say about jewelry, gardening, crocheting, or airstreams. It is completely up to you, but it is now there to help. I know when I search other blogs that I read I like to narrow it down to a category and page through to see what the author has to say. For instance, on one of the blogs I read daily I like to search through all of the great recipes by clicking on the cooking category. Now you can do that here! Have fun.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nina Gibson Designs

I got these three fun pieces of jewelry from fellow Etsy Metal member Nina Gibson. I have been meaning to blog about these for a while (sorry Nina!). The Stumped Necklace is so fun. I wasn't sure if Frank would like it, but he loved it and said it reminds him of the Log Lady from Twin Peaks. I picked the leaf earrings to go with the log necklace, and the other earrings I have had my eye on for ages! Thanks Nina, I am loving your jewelry.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More new photos

I spent the afternoon taking new photos of work that I already have. I'm liking the way my etsy shop is looking, which is a good feeling. I don't know why, but taking photos of my jewelry is something I always procrastinate. It isn't hard per se, just time consuming. Also, since I photograph this work in my window it is a bit uncomfortable contorting myself on the sofa. I really need a better solution for natural light photography.
Bookmark and Share

Zinnia of the day

If you haven't noticed by now I love Zinnias. They are so easy to grow, and I needed filler for my veggie garden, so I planted lots of them. This one is unlike any I have ever seen. It is a Cactus Flower Zinna, but with curly petals. I find it very captivating.

And because I have been photographing new jewelry and rephotographing pieces that are already in my shop I thought I would throw in this image. My Aquamarine studs now on sale in my etsy shop:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tomato Caprese Pizza

I used these heirloom tomatoes from my mom's friend Michelle for a Tomato Caprese Salad last night (the basil came from my garden). I ate a bit of it, but Frank won't eat raw tomatoes, so I decided to make a Tomato Caprese Pizza. It turned out great! I used my favorite pizza dough recipe, actually I had some in the freezer from last time.
Bookmark and Share

Drip System How To

I put a drip system in my raised veggie beds about a month ago, and I am loving it. Some people were interested in a how to, so here it goes. I am by no means an expert. Frank and I do some landscaping work, and I put in a drip system for one of our customers, which motivated me to do the same here. I can't wait to get one installed in our perennial beds as well.

The layout for my veggie bed system is pictured above. The faucet is off the page to the bottom left. The 1/2" tubing t's off at the first bed to cover that one and the one next to it. It then runs the length of the garden and has an elbow to turn the corner. Each bed has four 1/4" soaker tubes coming off the 1/2" tubing. My plants are basically in rows so this worked out really well for me.

One of the costliest parts is a timer. This is not a necessity, but greatly improved my life, and is worth every penny! This type of timer has a few different settings, or you can get a fully programmable digital one for a bit more. This one cost about $22.
You also need a backflow preventer, pressure regulator, and filter. I lucked out and found an all in one from Orbit Drip Master.

It is worth mentioning here that I mixed parts from both Orbit and Mister Landscaper. I had no issues with this, though you might be careful doing this as some couplings and hoses might be slightly different diameters.
Here is the T that I mentioned.

I used three types of drip line, all 1/4" diameter. The one above is Orbit with drippers inside the tubing every 6".

Below is Mister Landscaper drip line, same concept, but drippers are every 12". I found that this one is trickier because the drippers really need to be at the base of each plant. With the 12" spacing you have to use more hose and weave it in and out to meet the roots at the right spots.

The tubing below is a mini soaker tubing, water comes out all along like a regular soaker hose. I really like this one, though from what I have read I'm assuming it won't last as long, and gets broken easier than the others.

All 1/4" tubing is connected to the 1/2" tubing by poking holes in the 1/2" with a little tool that you purchase. You then use 1/4" couplings inserted into each. At the end of each drip line you insert a goof plug to stop the water flow.

On improvement that I plan to make is to put elbows at the end of each bed so that the 1/2" tubing goes down to the ground. I haven't tripped so far, but I think it is worth doing and will definitely clean up the look.

The tubing ends with one of these gadgets. You put it on, bend the hose and stick the other end back through.

I can't say enough good things about this type of system. It was under $100 and so easy to install. Of course I obsessed over it and researched a lot before diving in, now I know it is nothing to be intimidated by!

Bookmark and Share