Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gryphon Love

I'm in love with my new Gryphon grinder and bandsaw.   My dad was a mechanic, and I spent 5 years working in a tool room, so I've played around with tools most of my life.  Although my previous grinder did an adequate job, the Gryphon is off the charts better.   And the bandsaw...pure love.   Most importantly, the customer service is fantastic.   They don't sell direct, but if you have a question about their products, Alan in customer service is about the nicest, most helpful person you could ever hope to have answer the phone.  I could have talked to him all day.  Here is their website:       Gryphon Corp

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tonight's the Night

Actually it was last night.   I have a fishbone cactus that never looks very healthy.   However, once a year, for one night only, it blooms with the most amazing smelling flower.   It's pretty special, given that most years I miss it!   It smells like a cross between an orange blossom and a honeysuckle.   It's quite gorgeous too.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now

Unfolding clarity.   That is what's taking place in a big way for me now.   Clarity about what's precious, and how easy it really is to let anything else go.   Clarity in my art.  I have accepted the way I create and why I take so much time with each piece.   I've been encouraged in the past to "not think about it" and make art fast.  There is nothing wrong with that.   It's actually good advice.   But only when I'm intending to do that.   If I'm making a piece of jewelry or something that is to be treasured, I can't just slap it together. I want the recipient to find it meaningful and for it to provoke some type of feeling or memory.    It has to tell a story.   Sometimes I can't fully explain the story in words, but then that is what art and music are for.   I can write technically, but creative writing is not my forte, hence the visual expression.   I'm clear on how I want to live my life now.   But the vision is still unfolding in its details and avenues.   And it's unfolding in colors and brightness right now, with wings, and with loving AND being what I do.  Sorry Rumi for the added comma, but it was just what I was trying to say.   Have a happy, clear day.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Sweet Smell of Sulphur

I can't believe it worked, my crazy experiment.  (see profile about art and science for more irony)  I can't possibly be the only person who has thought of this.    My over the top sense of smell is a blessing and a curse.   Like the time I smelled gas that no one else did, including the electric co. guy, but when he got his little tester out, we were living in a potential time bomb due to a gas line leak.  OTH, I'm super sensitive to chemicals, perfumes, etc.   Back on subject, I really dislike the smell of liver of sulphur for adding patina to my jewelry.  Seriously dislike.  So I got to thinking about sulphur and egg yolks... Since I no longer have my darling Itchy and Scratchy...
I asked a friend to bring me 2 very fresh eggs from his pet chickens.  I hard boiled them, roughly chopped them up and put them in a plastic sandwich bag.  Next I inserted the various components of my necklace along with a few random pieces, such as rondelles and jump rings and sealed the bag up.  I'm thinking maybe in a few days there would be some patina on the pieces.  I went to fold laundry, came back 20 minutes later, and my pieces were black!!!  I was so happy!  I rinsed them off and polished as usual.  This is the downside; the little egg pieces get caught in the cracks and crevices of your pieces.  But I'll take the trade-off any day.  Lovely patina without that nasty, fatal-if-inhaled-or-swallowed liver of sulphur.  Yay!    Happy 4th of July!  Happy Birthday, America.  I am so blessed to live here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gourd Art

If you live in Southern California, the Welburn Gourd Festival is this weekend in Fallbrook, CA.  There are some amazing artists displaying their work there, and it's a great place to get gourds for your art projects.   I decorated this pot with a gourd attached to some hammered and torched copper.  The original inspiration was in a Somerset Studio magazine years ago, but I can't remember the artist.   It was originally intended as a necklace, but it ended up changed around and wired onto a pot instead.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Good Guys

Missing my Dad today.  When he died, I wanted to do something to honor him, so I turned most of my backyard into a vegetable garden.  I live in SoCal, so we're talking feet not acres.   Gardening was a favorite pastime of my dad's and something I enjoyed as well.  When he was passing, I told him he would still be with me like he was when he was alive and living 2000 miles away and not physically present.   That I would think of him and talk to him while I was puttering around the garden.   This was during the last hour of his life, but I KNOW he understood because I saw something flash behind his eyes, and an ever so slight move of his head.   Thanks Dad for teaching me to be independent and kind.   And for drilling into my head to pay the bills first and not buy things on credit.  And so much more.

I think most guys are good guys and sometimes we forget that they have feelings and needs and they hurt too.   So if you have a good guy or know one, he would probably be really jazzed to hear you tell him how much you appreciate him working hard to support the family, fixing the car, or whatever.   And maybe tell him how you know he doesn't necessary feel like doing all those things, but he does because that is how he shows his love.

Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


This necklace was "borrowed" and not returned, or grew legs or something, but I still like it so here it is.  I was dreaming when I made this.  Dreaming of following my dream.  You know when you have that super positive, all is lined up perfectly moments?   I think maybe everything is really always that way.  We just have to trust it will unfold and all things will work towards our good if we just keep showing up and doing our part.   Show up today, and let happen whatever is supposed to happen.

What happened?

I switched to the new templates and now I can't change fonts or even see an option to change font for blog description.   I tried reverting back to old template, but there was no longer a layout option or ability to change fonts.  When I click on template designer and advanced, I get error messages.  Help!  Anyone else having trouble.   Any advice would be appreciated.   Thanks

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finally, Some Jewelry!

I chose this necklace as my first piece to post because...well lots of reasons.   I have made several of this design after first wearing it to the ER of all places.   The inspiration for the piece was a reminder to myself, since I had just learned that my dog had a terminal illness.   So back to the ER...I got a bug in my ear, literally, one night about 11pm.  I felt it fly in and then could hear it's wings fluttering around.  Talk about FREAKED out!  I jumped, yelled, screamed, tried to rinse it out, you name it.   It was so creepy, there was NO way I was going to wait until the next day to go to my doctor to remove it.   The nice lady who came into my little cubicle to get insurance info, etc., started crying when she saw my necklace!  I mean sobbing, just serious stuff.   She asked me where I got it and explained that her sister was dying of cancer.   I should add that this first version of the necklace was slightly different on the bottom.   I soldered a jump ring to the last charm and added a few dangles, including a cross, a crystal, and some small beads.

I hugged her and we talked and shared stories for a bit.   Then I felt the most overwhelming feeling to give her the necklace.   I did NOT want to do it, because I loved it.  But, hey, when God gets a hold of your heart, he won't let go.  So off it came, and I put it on her neck, and she kept trying to give it back to me and I kept saying keep it.   She ended up with the necklace, and I ended up with way, way more.

I apologize for the quality of my photos.  I am using the camera on my iphone.  A decent camera and learning how to use one is on my list, but as of now, I hope these aren't too painful for the eyes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Special Project for Special Kids

Starting with plain cotton bags,  I randomly placed Tim Holtz's Masks on the bags and then sprayed them with 2 to 3 colors of Adirondack Color Sprays.   I used Distress Re-Inkers to randomly drop color on the bags after removing the masks.   Using a spray bottle of water with a very tiny amount of bleach, I misted the bags to blend the colors.  After letting them air dry, I heat set them in the dryer.   Following the directions on the Color Spray bottles, I rinsed the bags to remove any excess dye.   I squeezed them out to get a sort of tie dye effect and then tossed them in the dryer a second time.   Of course the squeezing created cool effects but lots of wrinkles.   So out came the iron to smooth out the bags for stamping.   I don't iron all.  But this is different, so I cranked up my ipod and happily went to work.

Next, I wanted to put a positive saying on the bags, so I chose Tim's "Encourage Your Hopes Not Your Fears" stamp.  This is a grungy type of stamp, so I thought it would work well with paint, in that it wouldn't be a problem if there were a few globs here and there.   I mixed Tim's Acrylic Paint Dabber in Black poured out of the bottle (instead of using the dabber applicator) and mixed with Golden's fabric medium, GAC 900.  I then applied the paint to the stamp with a foam brush and stamped the bags.

But the best part of this story....I put the little cotton bags in a big pillow case and tied it up BEFORE I put them in the dryer.   I did this in loads, about 32 bags at a time.  Well on the last load, the pillow case came undone.  Of course I was too excited to get busy ironing and stamping and failed to notice the beautiful rainbow coating the inside of the dryer.   So the next day when my housemate washed his whites....well you know the rest of the story.  Funny as heck, I think.  We've been friends forever, so he'll get over it.  LOL!  What's wrong with rainbow underwear?  I think it looks cool!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts and Thanks

My thoughts are with all those who are remembering their loved ones lost in service to our country today.  I also want to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of those who serve and who have served for my freedom.  Bless you all.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm going to eat this eventually...

..when my friend gets done playing with it! I wanted to take a simple picture of some veggies I picked from my garden, but he wanted to "stage" it. It all worked out. I sliced up the veggies, tossed in a little balsamic vinegar, some chili pepper infused olive oil, a little S&P, and a few squirts of lemon juice. Put the whole thing in the oven to roast for about 20 mins, then piled it on killer ciabatta loaves topped with mayo and just picked lettuce. Pretty awesome, I tell you. My friend described it as "comforting." This was good to hear since he LIVES on Cheetos and ice cream. You wouldn't think snow peas taste good on a sandwich, but they really do when cooked like this.  I admit I didn't eat the nasturtiums.  They were just to add color.  I know they are edible, but for some reason, I won't even try them.  What are you all making to eat for your Memorial Day weekend?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I love Tim Holtz!

Who doesn't? So creative, so inspiring, so giving. Tim has just shown his generosity in a big way. Details to follow in later posts. Thanks, Tim. Love you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

And so it begins...

Welcome to my blog! I'm not exactly sure what direction I want this blog to take, but it is time to jump in. I won't be taking any photos of my feet (trust me, this is a good thing), and I probably won't be taking many photos of my dinner plate. Expect to see photos of my garden and my art though! I hope to write interesting posts and brighten your day most of the time. Thanks for stopping by. And what would an opening conversation be without a discussion of the weather? So here you go: I am so loving the weather this spring! So cool and bright. My peppers would prefer a little more heat, but I'm happy with the trade off.