Sunday, August 29, 2010

Girlfriends . . .

Ah, girlfriend time.
Is there anything better than spending time with old friends?

My two beautiful twin girlfriends, Connie and Audrie visited us this weekend from Lawrence and it was so wonderful to see them again. We've known each other since 1989 (I know, can you believe it?!) when Connie and I worked together in Kansas City and we became fast friends. Endured the same challenges of the work, shared the same experiences and commiserated considerably. It was a personal growing time for me and I learned much about myself as I know Connie did. Completely changed the way we set personal boundaries - how we let co-workers treat us. [ And I refuse to say any more than that on the grounds that it definitely will incriminate us =-) ] We revisited those events and were shaking our heads. Grateful for the experience and all the better for it. Can I get an 'Amen'?

Ed treated us to a Saltdog baseball game. Great gams.
We went to the Quilt Study Center on the University of Nebraska campus. Swell gift shop. We like to pose like Connie and Audrie's aunt taught them - one foot in front of the other is slimming she said, chest out, tummy in.

Tons of visiting, sitting on the back porch watching the hummingbirds chase each other off the feeders (who knew they were so territorial?), scratching cat bellies, congratulating each on our weight losses and encouraging each other the keep at it one meal at a time. Such a wonderful time.

I can't wait to see them again. xoxox.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Working my fingers to the bone . . .

Yes, to the bone. The buying season will quickly be upon us, sooner than we think, and it's time to keep building reserves for galleries, friends in need of last minute gifts and those Fall and Holiday Craft Shows.
I'm not really one who enjoys production work but sometimes . . . . . I've just gotta. I've been hammering silver wire into piles of skinny bangles and instead of soldering the ends closed, I rivet the ends which gives them a bit of texture and interest as well. Love 'em. Easy to wear.

And scrumptious aquamarine. Rough aquamarine. Gemmy, yummy aquamarine. Clear sky blue, druzy inclusions, clouds, beautiful rough cut. Begs for simple swingy stirrups

Back to the bench. It's still early.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Delicious prehnite . . .

Two really sweet pieces of prehnite. Apple green and glowing.

The first piece is about 1.5" long and .75" wide and the second is about 1" square.

I'm so in love with this material and the way it captures the light, the internal inclusions and how beautifully it polishes. For me, it begs to be set simply without too much pomp and circumstance - just let it be it's 'center of attention' self. To be continued . . .

Friday, August 13, 2010

Copper Button Box Necklace . . .

I've gotta say, I'm learning a lot and having some fun with this idea for buttons and setting them in a unique and unexpected way.

This pendant is completely hand.fabricated from sheet copper and is approximately 1" tall and 3/4" wide and 1/4" deep. The two.hole shell button is a lovely match for the copper and has a copper rivet in the lower hold. It is held in its box, barely peeking out, by a single copper riveted post going completely through the box and button.

The sterling silver box chain has been oxidized to more closely match the dark iridescent button and is lightly brushed for a bit of shine. There are four copper rings interspersed randomly in the chain for a bit more copper interest throughout the necklace and it is finished with a hand.forged copper hook and loop.

I'm still trying to find a good way to retain the polish on the copper without coating it with anything that would wear off or chip like a clear laquer. It'll come to me.

I suppose being somewhat self.taught in metalwork has given me an appreciation for trial and error and lets me be a bit more fearless when it comes to experimentation. I don't ever expect to master this craft but hope I'm always handling a work in progress.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Preparing for winter holidays and shows . . .

Winter's a'comin'. Sure as shootin' it's gonna get here and Lord knows I've got to be ready so I'm doing my damnedest to stock up so i'm not scrambling at the last minute. Hard to imagine (well, not really) that all of this heat is going to be gone pretty soon and there will be Fall and Holiday Shows staring me in the face so spending these 100 degree days down in the cool of the studio is just what I need to get kick started.
I've been busy for the last few days working on several simple production pieces that I can distribute to the local galleries. I'm not much of a fan of repeating a design so when I put these together I try to make them different sizes and use different stones for accent. The trio of earrings is inspired by bug wings and helicopter maple seeds. I don't feel that they need any additional accent and I'm leaving them as they are in sweet silver.

The pair of dewdrop post earrings have a small blue chalcedony bead as an accent. Really pretty and I am still madly in love with the glow of chalcedony. The companion necklace is a simgle dewdrop with a sterling silver cap on the blue chalcedony accent bead.

One last piece from the bench is this amber colored agate wheel shaped bead, still with that warm chalcedony glow, that I riveted onto a stirrup and accented with a flower spacer. Super small, maybe 3/4" overall, and perfect for peeking out the top of a tee.

I'm all about unobtrusive jewelry. Nothing flashy, complicated. These pieces would never speak louder than you - sort of like your perfume. Think of my work as your lingering perfume - easy to wear and something you'd want to put on every day.

Back to the bench.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

From Lisa's Button Box . . .

From the button box, a sterling silver boxed button.

This has been swirling around in my head for some time now, ever since I asked Lisa 'Lil Fish Studios' to send me a handful of her buttons. I love the way it turned out and I'm dying to make more. Lord knows I have enough copper so here goes.

This is an open end sterling silver box that is just wide enough for the button to slip in. I marked the button holes and drilled them through both sides. I inserted the button and torched both ends of two pieces of wire to hold the button in place. The bail is square tubing.

Simple. Easy. Modern. Fresh. More to come.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What I'm lovin' about August . . .

A few favorite things right now.

Fresh tomatoes. Tomatoes have finally come in and they're luscious and abundant. (Last year was a crummy year for tomatoes. Far too cool - not enough hot days.) If only I could save these through winter when tomatoes come from Mexico and points south and are picked green to 'ripen' artificially with gas. yikes.

And sweet corn. O.M.G. Like candy. Neighbors are leaving big bags on their friends doorsteps, there is so much sweet corn coming in. Yep, like candy.

And my favorite summer salad : tomatoes, avocado, feta cheese, drizzled with olive oil. You can only make it when fresh tomatoes are in and it's over 'way too quickly. Tomato salad and sweet corn for supper - nothing better. Nothing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesday with Words . . .

I *think* this is an Anise Swallowtail. I was trimming the grass around my vegetable garden when this big fellow climbed up out of the crabgrass and panted at the top of a seed head. I couldn't shut off the trimmer and run inside for my camera fast enough and, while I wish I'd had more time with him to take better pictures, this one turned out okay.

He's obviously yellow and black but he has a little orange spot on each wing and the blue on the bottom wings was incredibly irridescent, as only a butterfly can be. Wingspan of about 4". My Googling found that he doesn't stray far from Western Nebraska and here we are in Eastern Nebraska so he must have hitched a ride to get this far. Or maybe he was resting up from his big trip. Whatever, I'm glad he stopped here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Yes, it's that hot

Ink the Cat has the right idea for relaxing and staying cool. These days, it's good to have indoor projects and venture outside as little as possible in the heat of the day. Weed-pulling, lawn-mowing and vegetable picking should be done early in the day or after sunset. Drink lots of iced tea. Read those new library books. Clean the workbench and get ready for Autumn. O.M.G. Did I say Autumn . . . . ?