Friday, January 28, 2011

Cleaning Out


fire agate

I started cleaning out around my studio area a couple of days ago and came across the treasures. The Mexican Fire Agate was given to me by a wonderful customer and I had totally forgotten that I had it. I don't remember realizing how beautiful it was when I received it.
The tiny bottles were in a box of found objects that I collected from my mom's stash several years ago. I filled the middle one with some Mexican Fire Opal chips that I inherited from my Pawpaw. I am not sure where or how he collected those, or if he purchased them, but I always remember a jar of them next to his easy chair along with another rock that he called a dinosaur egg. Those little opal chips came out of the bigger jar that was his and the whole collection is very precious to me. In fact, Ann Jenkins included one in a necklace that she made or me. The tiny geode must have come from Pawpaw too, though I'm not sure when I acquired it. I love this little collection in my window sill, it makes me smile and think of my Pawpaw.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

This Week in the Kitchen


We had a bunch of potatoes on hand and I got the urge to make Baked Potato Soup. I baked the potatoes yesterday during the day and then whipped this up in under 30 minutes last night. Oh My was it delicious! You could, of course, leave out the bacon for a vegetarian version. It is a cooking light recipe, so not as fattening as it could be. I had never made this before and it turned out great, I highly recommend this recipe. Oh, the only thing I changed was I didn't add sour cream to the soup itself, just on top. Here is the recipe.

We also made a batch of bread last weekend. We went to a potluck and took three loaves, one to eat, and one for each of the other couples. It had been a while since we had made bread but it turned out great.

homemade bread

Don't worry, we are eating our veggies too! We discovered a love for Broccolini, which is delicious roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper, and have been making sweet potatoes and zucchini to go with other basics.

Prototype



I finished this ring yesterday and it is a prototype for a new design. I'm still working out some kinks, but am really happy with the concept. It is made with a vintage Mother of Pearl button and a Red Carnelian cabochon. I have more of these buttons and will make another one of these soon. This one is staying with me! I hope you like my new design.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fiber Jewelry

7. Small Pendants

6. Small Rings

I will be adding some of these new Fiber Necklaces and Rings to my Etsy shop today and over the next few days. You can check the Fiber section to see what is available now, and also check back for these pieces.

My camera broke yesterday. Not totally, thank goodness. I had been having trouble with the plug that connects it to the computer and the part of the camera where you plug it in broke off yesterday. I think I just need a usb memory card reader, and those aren't too pricey. Hopefully I'll be able to post new photos online soon. In the mean time I may be blogging about some things that I have had on my list but never got around to.

I forgot to mention that some of these pieces, along with a few hoops from my etsy shop are going to be for sale at Cahoots Handbags in Gainesville, Texas. I mailed them off yesterday and am really thrilled to have my work at such a beautiful shop!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Karlie Kitty

I made this stuffed kitty for my niece Karlie. The pattern is from Wee Wonderfuls, the book that I mentioned the other day. It is such a cute book, and I love the way Karlie Kitty (as I named her) turned out. Check out this flickr group to see projects that other people have made from the book. If you sew for kids at all you will want to get this book! I also added the Wee Wonderfuls blog to my blog list under sewing blogs, so check that out too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Homemade Granola


One of my favorite breakfast meals is cranberry granola with Greek yogurt and a little honey. I got the notion to make my own granola and I'm so glad I did. It was easy and turned out really yummy, plus it is so much more economical than buying it in the bulk section at my local gourmet store.


I used this recipe but left out the almonds and flax meal (didn't have any on hand).
Mmm, I think it's even better than the store bought version!

Slightly related, my parents gave me this Lodge enameled cast iron casserole (I call it a skillet) for Christmas and we are loving it, we use it almost everyday. Isn't it pretty?!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Light is up!


We finally got our new Dining room light installed this week and I love it! Frank even came around and decided that he likes it too. I'm so happy and it makes me smile every time I look at it. I had had my eye on this light from Ikea for ages, but it was way too big for our space. When I saw that they came out with a smaller version I just had to have it, I couldn't be talked down!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Insipration

Coast
$50.00 USD
Cliffs
$50.00 USD
Ireland in the Round
$50.00 USD
Loch Ness
$50.00 USD
Irish Grass
$50.00 USD
Irish Forest
$50.00 USD
Etsy
ashleyjewelry


I spotted one of these prints by Marco Suarez on the Etsy front page this morning and was drawn to the images as well as the composition. The cropped circle makes me feel like I'm looking through a telescope at a dreamy scene.

These also remind me of a set of antique oval frames with curved glass that hung at my maternal grandparents' house. I love the unexpected shape of those too, but never knew what to do with them. Hanging pictures of long dead ancestors that I never met is not really my style. Not that I don't appreciate my family's history, they just seem sort of creepy to me. I saw this on Gennine's blog recently and it gave me an idea. I could take those frames and modernize them with family portraits, aha! They are packed away with the original images removed (and given to people who knew those ancestors) for the time being while I decide what images to use. Not sure if I want to attempt to paint our portraits or use photographs? I'll post pictures of the frames soon so you can see what I'm talking about.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Some Sneak Peeks

I have been super crafty lately, keeping my hands busy at all times.
I practiced my limited knitting skills and made a washcloth.
Next up, practicing the purl stitch on another washcloth (you can never have to many of those).

A sneak peek of Karlie's Kitty. I renamed her, in Wee Wonderfuls she is Katy Kitty. By the way, mom gave me that book for Christmas after I mentioned it to her. She knew I wanted to make some dolls for Karlie out of it, isn't that sweet. I love this book, if you like to sew for kids you should definitely check it out! I'll share a picture of her in full after she is in Karlie's possession, not that my 16 month old niece reads this blog, but you know.

Another sneak peak. I started the Granny Stripe blanket today and it is zooming by. I love it! This is another gift, so I probably won't show the whole thing until it is gifted. I'm using the Crayon yarn from Knitpicks that I used for Leo's blanket and I still love, love, love it.
I know, I need to work on jewelry, but I am addicted to crocheting! It is so fitting for this cold weather, snuggle under a quilt, hot coffee and Lucy at my side and hook away.

I have been applying for spring shows, so I'll let you know how that goes.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Before and After

My former computer "desk" was actually intended to be a sideboard for our dining room. Actually, originally when my dad made it in the mid 80's it was going to be the bottom half of a gun cabinet. I painted it and put in some tiles that were on hand several years ago and brought it home from my parents' garage. After moving my computer to its proper desk we decided we really wanted to redo this cabinet.
We ordered penny round black tiles and picked a lovely green paint. With Frank home this week we tackled this project and are really happy with the outcome.

Frank took these progress pictures with his phone.
Laying out the tiles


Grouting, we went with black grout


Prepping for paint


Painting
Sideboard redo

And Tada.....
Finished with new tile and paint!

Finished with new tile and paint!
I love, love, love the outcome! Frank loves the black tile, black grout and the green paint. This may be the first thing where we agreed on everything in a home decorating project. All it needs now is some door pulls, and I'm thinking black glass handles like these.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010 in Jewelry

2010 in Jewelry

I made this mosaic in a hurry last week via flickr and then forgot to post it here. I did a mosaic of favorite pieces from 2009 and wanted to do the same for 2010. I think it helps to look back and see what I have done over the past year. I sometimes feel like I make the same things over and over again, both for etsy and shows, so it is nice to see the variation and mix of one of a kind pieces in there.

I have been busy on more house projects as well as cooking (and going to the gym). Frank has been home from work because of the cold. We didn't get the snow that hit most of the country, but it is cold, for here. I'll be back to work on jewelry tomorrow thank goodness!

Friday, January 7, 2011

From Argentina With Love!


I had been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Etsy Metal Secret Santa gift. I secretly hoped I would be the recipient of Cynthia Del Giudice's gift after seeing the pictures that she posted on flickr. Well, my wish came true! I had a notice from the post office that a package was waiting from Giudice and I felt like a little kid who had peeked in her Christmas package under the tree. I was so thrilled to have this beautiful necklace in my hands yesterday. Isn't it gorgeous?! Cynthia does a wonderful job of fold forming metal, creating delicate organic pieces. Her work is so sexy and ethereal, you should really check it out!
I feel so honored to be the recipient of such a generous gift.

Detail

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Painting, etc.

Part of our down time last week was spent painting our hallway and dining room.
I had been tired of the red hall for a long time and wanted to lighten it up.

We also had to patch this hole

I actually still liked the dining room color, but it was so dark. This is the only room in the house with no natural light and the ceiling needed to be painted so we just painted the whole room.


Hall after, it looks so much cleaner and brighter to me.
Dining room after paint. We got a new light fixture at Ikea and I can't wait to put it up!
This was my old "desk". My dad made this cabinet years ago and I painted it but am tired of the color. We ordered this type of tile for the top and plan to paint the cabinet green.
All of this painting required moving furniture, which meant that my computer finally got moved to my new desk. I don't know why this took me so long, but I sure am enjoying having a proper, organized office area.
Speaking of rearranging, I pulled our couches out to sweep and mop underneath the other day. This lead me to temporarily rearrange our dining room to see how it would look with only one sofa. The one that is now residing along the windows will eventually go where it is in this picture. Right now this couch is in desperate need of new cushions, so it is not at all comfortable. I am really looking forward to having it recovered because I think this arrangement really opens up the living room, lets in a lot more light and makes the room seem larger.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Bright Spot

Making me smile for weeks now!

We dog sat for a friend during the holidays and he kindly brought us this gorgeous tulip as a thank you. It has been making me smile for a couple of weeks now and is still going strong! I am inspired to keep flowering plants in the house throughout the winter for a bit of color, they sure last longer than cut flowers.

Making me smile for weeks now!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holiday Wrap Up

I should have done this post yesterday. The holidays are over and seem far away now.
I stayed off the computer all last week and just added the last of my Christmas pictures to flickr yesterday. There were a few that I couldn't resist sharing.

I made one last batch of Sugar Cookies to take to Frank's moms on Christmas eve. They were the prettiest ones I made.

Here are Frank and I amidst the madness of Christmas eve with seven children.
Normally we go to my parents house after Frank's moms, but they were out of town. I didn't want to go home yet, so we went downtown to see the light display at the Pier 1 headquarters.
They were magical!



Frank's huge stocking. I put all of his gifts in there!

We made the dogs pose for their Christmas picture in their new sweaters.

On Christmas day we had two wonderful meals with two sets of wonderful friends. I didn't get any pictures of our delicious meals, but all the recipes were winners.

Mom and dad got back home last week and we did Christmas with them on New Years Eve. We had a very mellow New Years, which was fine with me, my choice actually.

We gave mom two books and I gave her these Fiber Earrings.

We got dad The Woodbook and he loves it!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
My resolution, which I didn't even mean to be a resolution, is to organize our home and clean out all the clutter that is hidden in closets, drawers and cabinets. It doesn't feel like a chore because I want to do it and it feels good to get it done. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself to have a time line and this will be an ongoing project for the next few months.