Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gonna Move...

My parents, that is. I have been alluding to this for weeks. My folks bought 5 acres in the Texas Hill Country with another couple. They are planning to build what they have dubbed a "Barnominium", basically a metal building with living quarters. Half of the building will house both couples RVs. This is their retirement plan, and I have mixed feelings about it. The part of Texas that they are moving to is the most beautiful part in my opinion (at least what I have seen, never been to far West Texas). I feel deeply connected to the Hill Country, having grown up camping there, and later taking Frank on his first camping trips to Garner, Pedernales falls, and Krause Springs. Just looking at the pictures above makes my heart ache to be laying in a hammock right there under those trees. However, Frank and I are not moving to the Hill Country, or even to Austin. At least not anytime soon. Did I mention that Frank started college last week? I think I did. We are pretty settled in Fort Worth, and though I hope to move to Austin in the future it looks like we will be separated from my parents for a few years. Believe me, I will be visiting as much as possible. Someone told them that they will have more company than they can imagine. Their property is not on a river, but near three rivers and a beautiful creek in Wimberley. You can bet on me floating and paddling a bunch in the near future!

I have been helping my mom start the massive project of de-cluttering and down sizing their belongings. We have dealt (mostly) with their Christmas decorations, and barely scratched the surface on art supplies. Mom had knee surgery today, all went well, and we'll have to see how mobile she is before we get back to work. I'm home today, but doing whatever I can to avoid working. It is dark and rainy and I just don't want to do paper work or even sit down at my work bench. Not sure why.

When I sat down to write this post I had this song in my head, one of my favorites.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Turquiose ring and treasures

I finished this ring on Saturday. It was supposed to be one of my Ring a Day rings, but I am so far behind I don't know if it counts. I won't be able to go back and catch up, so I'll have to see if I can just start from here again.

I was at my parent's house most of last week helping mom to sort, organize and pack up art supplies. My mom is an artist who knows how to do all kinds of techniques, and therefore has tools and supplies for all kinds of art. Plus she sold art supplies for 15 years, I think. Can you imagine? We worked on art supplies for 3 days and still have a whole room full of fabrics and more to go through. I have been selectively bringing home some treasures. The copper vase below is an early metal piece that I made. It is a flared piece of copper tubing with a soldered bottom and an etched design. I also scored big time when I found this bag of sterling scraps. I bought that silver in probably 1998 when it was much cheaper. The project didn't work out, and I lost track of the scraps at my parent's house. I will be promptly mailing those in this week!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Busy times ahead

Yes, I have fallen behind on the Ring A Day challenge, and I'm not sure if I will catch up. Normally winter is really, really slow around here, but not so this year. My husband Frank is starting college(!) on Tuesday. This is a big deal for him, for us, and I am so proud of him and excited for him. We have been gearing up for this busy time and getting him all prepared for school. Also, I will be away from home, for the most part, for the next two weeks or more. I mentioned last week that my parents will be moving, and more details are still to come. Mom and dad live in the home that I grew up in, and which we moved into in 1987. As you can imagine they have amassed quite a collection of things that now need to be sorted, donated and sold. Mom has a wonderfully large sewing studio filled with art supplies and fabrics. All you local crafters stay tuned because we will be having a sale soon! I'll post pictures this week of her studio and the progress we make.

I should have been working on jewelry yesterday to both catch up and get ahead. I just couldn't resist dragging my crew to the Trinity trail because the weather was absolutely perfect. We may not have weather like that again for months. It was that kind of perfect weather where the sun warms your face and a slight breeze cools you at the same time. My favorite kind of day!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pebble Pendant and Possible Stamp

I finally finished this pendant. I had it almost done a couple of months ago and broke something. At that time I had to set it aside because I was so busy with getting ready for my December shows. Well, it is done now and I'm pretty happy with it. It was a custom order, intended for a large chain. I like the results and plan to adapt it to my usual chain size. Stay tuned for more triplet pendants.
I'm also working on ideas for a new makers mark stamp. Currently I use a stamp with my initials that I designed. I really want to have my last name on my work so that someone would know who made the piece. Here is my current stamp, it is also too large to put on many items.

Here are some ideas. What do you think about the font? Should I stick with the one that I already used before? I designed that one, and do like it. I found a website where you can design your own font that you upload into their website and then download onto your computer. I might try that too. It would be pretty cool to have your own handwriting as a font!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ring a day #11 & #12

Here are my rings for days 11 and 12. The top one is a brass marquise that I made with my hydraulic press a while back. I really love that shape. It is soldered to a slice of square tubing that moves around the square band.

The second ring is made with 1/4" dapped discs, connected like a chain. Basically my Segmented Saucer earrings made into a ring.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fiber jewelry

I made these fiber pieces for my shows in Austin last month and have finally gotten decent photos of them. Some of these are going to the gift shop at the Southwest School of Art and Craft in San Antonio. I'm excited to have work there again, and that is also the location of the Fiesta Art Fair that I will be participating in for the second year in a row. What doesn't go to the gift shop will be listed in my etsy shop soon, so stay tuned.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I started this dress on my birthday in November. I have been so busy with shows and Christmas that yesterday was my first chance to finish it. This is Simplicity 2584 designed by Cynthia Rowley. I love it, it is comfortable and cute. I made it with navy blue linen that is a really nice quality, purchased at Joann's with a coupon. I added turquoise piping for contrast around the yoke. I will definitely remake this pattern, and there are several different versions to chose from. I have to admit that my mom did some of the finishing for me. I'm not good at hemming, so she did that and the zipper. I don't mind taking advantage of her help and instruction as she will be moving away in the near future (more on that later).

Friday, January 8, 2010

All Caught Up!

I did some serious work today! Despite freezing my buns off, I finished and photographed all three of these rings for the Ring a Day project. I'm really happy with all of them too.
I think today was the day of green rings.

They are, from top to bottom:

Saucer ring with Peridot. 1" diameter, big and fun.

Reindeer moss set under a clear quartz cabochon.

Three Jade (?) beads tube riveted onto a sterling band.

Mom's Shawl

I finally got a picture of mom wearing her shawl. I made it with Noro Kureyon Sock yarn and the All Shawl pattern. I love both! I could have made the entire long version with one skein, but was afraid I would run out of yarn so I left out a couple of rows. I have heard some people complain about working with Noro, but it is one of my favorite yarns. The color changes are really beautiful. The yarn is a silk wool blend, but to me looks and feels like linen. It is not the softest stuff, but the colors make up for that to me.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ring a day #5

Two of my goals for the Ring a Day project are to experiment, and to use up things that I have lying around my studio. I have lots of unfinished projects, pieces of jewelry that need to be fixed, or scraps of metal that would normally get recycled. This ring accomplishes both of those goals. I have had these beads in a drawer for months, wanting to somehow incorporate them into a design. I finally did that, experimenting with how to connect them. Also, the bezel of this ring was sitting in my scrap bowl and needed to be fixed. I'm really happy with the outcome, I think this ring is a lot of fun. There are still design and technical issues to be resolved if I want to use beads like these again, but they do open up a ton of new possibilities.

My Ladies

These two ladies are two of my oldest and bestest friends. Gretchen, on the left lives in Maryland now and was in town for Christmas. Susan lives nearby with her cute family, but unfortunately we don't see each other too often. I was lucky enough to see these ladies three times within about a week and a half over Christmas. That is what the holidays are really all about, aren't they?!

I became friends with Gretchen in 1990 and we have upheld a long standing Christmas tradition. Frank and I go over to the Schermerhorn house on Christmas evening to spend time with the whole gang and exchange gifts. I am so, so happy that this tradition has endured.

In the picture of us above you can see Gretchen wearing the scarf that I made her.

Gretchen got me this wonderful bag from a talented Baltimore lady whose business is called Pistol Stitched. I first saw these bags at Fiesta two years ago and fell in love. I'm thrilled to have one of my own. I love that the handles are handmade as well as the bags!

Susan made these delicious chocolate truffles for us. Aren't they pretty?!

Sarah Schermerhorn, the mama to these two is the maker of my wonderful quilt! Aren't I lucky to have such wonderful friends?

Monday, January 4, 2010

A favorite object

I'm participating today in a blog carnival, and the topic was to blog about a favorite object. I picked this Cloisonne Enameled pin that I made for my now husband Frank in 1999. Frank and I had just started dating and he asked me to make a pin for his guitar strap. I suppose I hadn't noticed yet, but Frank almost exclusively wears black t-shirts and jeans. He is not a bright color person by any means.

Obviously I am a color person, and this is the pin that I came up with. I had made the enameled piece in school, and turned it into a pin for my honey. Not only is it special because he asked me to make it for him, but because he wore it on that guitar strap for years, even playing gigs with it on. I'm sure this isn't what he was imagining when he asked me to make a pin, but he never let on that it wasn't his style. I should mention that this thing is not tiny, it measures 1 1/2" diameter. Obviously it has been well worn and loved, you can see the cracks in the enamel, but I treasure it none the less.

I did a good deal of enameling in school. I was lucky enough to study under Harlan Butt, a world renowned enamelist. I miss the enameling, and hope to get back into it this year, so this is also serving as an inspiration to me.

To see more posts on the topic of A favorite object check out these blogs:

Victoria Takahashi
Danielle Miller-Gilliam
Stacey Hansen
Rebekah Timlin Meddles
Sara Westermark
Beth Cyr

Ring a Day #4

This is the ring that I started yesterday. I was inspired by those fuchsia carnation petals. This little vase ring could hold real petals, but I made some silk petals to be more permanent.

I have been meaning to mention that you don't have to be a member of Etsy Metal to play along. You can commit to a month, or the whole year like some members. Feel free to join our flickr group if you want to participate.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dinner inspired rings

I started work on a "real" ring today, but ran out of time. I will finish that one tomorrow. For today I was inspired by dinner, and some of my fellow Etsy Metal member's food rings. The Poblanos are from my garden, harvested in an icy rain and were in need of roasting and freezing. I LOVE Poblano peppers, not too hot, just a bit of bite and lots of flavor. Luckily for me they aren't too hard to grow, though mine never reach supermarket size!

For the food rings, I cut a hole in a petite Poblano and modeled it for the camera. After roasting my peppers I take the skin off, take the seeds out and freeze them for later. I love the way the seeds are arranged on the seed pod and that became my second ring of the night.

Dinner, in case you are wondering is my version of Tortilla soup. It is not traditional, but that is what we always called it because we used to crush tortilla chips on top and add shredded cheese. The recipe has morphed over the years, but is basically a tomato soup with corn, onions, cilantro and poblano peppers. Tonight I'm going to top mine with Chihuahua cheese and avocado chunks. Um, now I'm hungry....

I should mention that I am so happy that I have joined this challenge, and hope to participate in more Etsy Metal Challenges in the near future. I have become quite inspired and did some sketching of new designs today. What a great way to start a new year!
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