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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Some Clients: Tania Elizabeth


I'm happy to say that my jewelry hobby has evolved into a full-time career. When I began putting work up on Etsy I expected to sell the occasional necklace or bracelet, and that does happen. But the majority of my business is wedding rings - something I never would have planned. I get a little thrill each time I make a ring, and love that, but had I thought about the significance of this type of jewelry before I began my journey I probably would have been terrified. Think about it. These clients are in love. They have chosen a piece of jewelry that represents their commitment to each other, and they are going to wear this ring every day...hopefully for the rest of their lives. Geez. That's pressure! It's both humbling and satisfying to be a part of my client's lives. 


I would like to start featuring some of these interesting people, who share their stories with me regularly. There are artists, storytellers, naturalists, and a number of musicians. 

Tania Elizabeth is an especially fun story for me, because my kindergarten students had been listening to her music before she ordered one of my tree bark wedding bands. Some time ago I made a timeline of music history for my students. In the contemporary part of the timeline we feature a band called The Duhks. Children can look at photos of the musicians, and listen to their music as well. My children love dancing to a Duhks cover of Mountains 'O Things by Tracy Chapman. Just imagine the children's excitement when they learned that I was making a ring for Tania Elizabeth of The Duhks! So much fun...


Tania E. wearing her fine silver tree bark band...


Winning a Grammy Award--YAY!!!




 Sometimes Tania plays with her old friends The Avett Brothers, and here they are playing live on Letterman.

 The Avetts with Tania Elizabeth





Tania married Andy Stack, another amazing musician. He is also a very sweet fellow to work with--I loved our conversations when he was ordering the rings. He's a guy...





Check out The Stacks website, listen to great tunes, and see Tours.



As a music lover and musician myself I recommend Tania and Andy and The Duhks enthusiastically. Give them a listen. Buy their music. It's good. Promise. 

I've produced over 500 rings over the last year and am growing more confident. I love this work of taking a lump of silver and forming it into such a meaningful expression of love. And I get to do it while rocking out to great music in my studio. Nice work if you can get it, huh?








Sunday, September 8, 2013

Just Close Your Eyes.

I listen to podcasts and music while I'm working in the studio. When I'm really tired I blast old Foo Fighters or Pixies. (Dave still makes my heart thump...I'm old, not dead.)

FOO FIGHTERS


Wake me up, make me work music...


PIXIES

Shout and sing all the wrong words loudly...


When I'm feeling contemplative I enjoy Patty Griffin or Lucinda or or Nanci Griffith or Avett Brothers, and so many others. Music makes my work almost effortless, and I honestly think it helps me to engage with the material I'm working with on some kind of deeper level. 

My favorite podcasts are still This American Life and Radiolab. I can work away, and still concentrate on making jewelry while absorbing the story. But there are other kinds of storytelling that I love that I cannot listen to while working. I've tried, but these stories are so transcendent--so hypnotic--that I am transported by them, and simply cannot focus on the work. Truthfully, I feel a whole body response to a good story--a body buzz so-to-speak. And I've discovered that I enjoy the feeling of being swept away so much that I am making special time for them each week. I am now saving them for the pure pleasure that a story well-told can provide. In fact, I recommend that we all take this solitary time for ourselves--perhaps the closest opportunity to experience that meditative feeling we knew as children when someone told us a great story. That ability to feel mesmerized. There are many good story podcasts out there, but this is a favorite. And this story...well--you decide.

Ahhh. Sit back. Close your eyes. Listen.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Two Out of Three

She actually did it. Well, two out of three anyway. When I gave birth to my youngest daughter--a long time ago--I was thrilled to see she was a girl. That was what I had ordered, as at the time I was dealing with a recalcitrant teenager, Christina, and a dynamo of a 5 year-old boy, Nicholas. All through my pregnancy I told my husband that I was ordering a little girl who would sit quietly on the floor. And do puzzles. Quietly. So when I gave birth and saw her I burst into tears of joy. Then they handed the swaddled and very short wee miss to her father--and I swear on my life this is true--she looked right into his eyes with a clarity that no infant should have, and burst into a conspiratorial grin. The physician and nurses saw this and exclaimed that they had never seen an neonate do that. And then I knew I was toast. I told my husband right then and there that she would probably get tattoos, run away with a biker, and get married in Vegas.

Can't you just see that look of insurrection in those eyes?

In the years that followed she made it quite clear to me that one - she was not quiet, (hence the pacifiers in every window sill--and I disapprove of pacifiers--and the alarmed whispers coming from each family member, "Shhhh--DON'T wake it." Catelyn Tess proved herself to be loud and shrill.  And two - she was not about to sit on the floor and do puzzles. By the time she was four the dextrous imp had set the entire house on fire attempting to light a candle with a match...on my pillow. Not dissuaded by this near death experience she stuck an ornament hanger into the tiny space under a light switch and shot herself a good eight feet backwards across our family room, followed by an electrical ball of blue flame. Once while enjoying the silence that I later recognized as impending catastrophe, she completely frosted our big retriever with peanut butter. There are dozens of examples, but I will stop with the spectacular Evil Knievel attempt which propelled her through a bedroom wall on a skateboard launched by her brother.

Long story short, we made it through her childhood and lived to tell the tales of her teen years. And, as I predicted, she has always been in cahoots with her father. Her father who likes tattoos.

Truthfully, it has been a joyful summer for our family, from the minute we received the red and gold foiled wedding invitation. Just take a guess. We all hopped onto a plane, and although I could make a list of all the things I despise about Las Vegas, I won't, because it was her special occasion.




Do you see her arms? Huh? Shoulders? Back? Uh huh. A mother has instincts. Mine were dead on.


2 out of 3. She married a chef, not a biker. We are delighted with their marriage, and I'll tell you a little secret...Shhh...she's just exactly what I ordered.

I was honored to make some of her wedding jewelry--hers and her attendants. She wanted sea horses. Sea horses it was...for her necklace, attendants necklaces, bracelets for friends and family, and seahorse cufflinks for the guys.


And in other news...

The lovely Melissa Caughey of the blog Tilly's Nest is hosting a GIVEAWAY of one of my necklaces. 
It is a $140.00 value, so jump in and play the game!


Roosters CROW hens deliver charm necklace with rough citrine chunk and river pearl

XO to all!



Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Favorite Etsy Shop: Block Party Press

So many of the great Etsy shops have one thing in common. They stick to a theme, or style so that one can almost always tell that an item came from that shop. This is a form of branding that some of us do better than others. I have not mastered it yet. But I admire those who have--and I love this particular shop. Take a look around and I guarantee you will see something you love for yourself, or for a gift for someone. The pieces are graphic, delightful, and affordable.

As I was reminded of this shop today and took a look, I thought to myself that I could find something on every page that I would enjoy wearing. And I am a picky gal. So visit these folks soon, and I think you will agree with me--they are really good at what they do!

Block Party Press










Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dog Food

Speaking of dog food. I know, I don't think I have actually spoken of dog food here, but I have thought about it. I actually haven't thought about it right here, but for a time, I have thought about it. I have worried that pet food might be really nasty stuff that is hurting our loved ones, rather than optimizing their health. And just recently I was given good reason to test my theory.

I've written about dear Jasper, the Boston, who is the hub of our house. There are pictures of him somewhere on this blog, but where I don't know, and I suppose if I wrote more often, I could zip right to them. I am well aware that I've not written for a time. Quite a few bags of Terra Chips under the bed since I've written, actually. There are reasons for not blogging regularly. They are not pretty. Let's just forget about them and begin afresh. I like that word, 'afresh,' makes me think of open windows, pale blue sheets whipping and snapping about on the clothesline...





A couple of months ago, Jasper, who has always been house-trained...basically...began urinating on the carpet. Odd. He's not had accidents before except for the bizarre, and oft-told story of company for the holidays, Christmas dinner ready, guests walk into living room to smell, (poop trumps turkey,) and quickly note the enormous pile of poo sitting directly on top of the back of the sofa. It was as if he held it all he could, jumped up to look out the window, recognized his pooping ground, and, well... Luckily, my friends are not judgemental sticky-wickets, and we all fell about the place in unbridled hilarity, tears and all. It was funny from inside, but imagine the folks who drove by, the inveterate window-peekers...


I took Jas in for a check-up, blood work. No fever, ..."uh, can't really tell, probably a bacterial infection, take these antibiotics..." We did that and he worsened. I had the carpet cleaned--big mistake--too soon, and made another vet appointment. "Well now he has a fever, but can't culture because he's been on antibiotics..." Four hundred dollars later I know nothing. So we gave him a stronger antibiotic and waited. Vet suggested Cushing's Disease, so I researched, and spoke with friends who had dealt with that. It seems that increases in this disease have been pretty dramatic in the last few years. And I know that the treatment for Cushing's can be as bad as the disease. So I researched dog food. Yuck! Long story short, my dogs are now eating better than, well...better than I am. (This is no lie, today I have eaten a small box of Valentine chocolates, two bites of cookie, and a slice of key lime pie.) Bad. Very Bad.

After considerable research, I threw out all of the pretty expensive Iams stuff, both wet and dry, and went with Dr. Harvey's Dog Food. Every other day I mix up a batch of human grade healthiness that most humans on this planet would love to have. I have a bag of dry ingredients that includes: Whole oats, brown rice, dehydrated vegetables, dehydrated blueberries, and a list a mile long of other nutrients. I add hot water to that plus four ounces of protein, human grade fish oil, and some green powder for joint maintenance. The prepared meals keep in the refrigerator just fine, and instructions are to change the protein source every week for optimal absorption of nutrients. The dogs love it, and the good news is they are behaving like pups. Our other wonderful dog, Sputnik, was hit by a car some years ago, and has some nerve damage in his hip. He suffers from pain often, but since the dietary change, he is running around and can even jump up onto the bed again. Jasper? The urinating accidents that were occurring about 15 times per day are down to about once every other day. I do not know if this will be a cure, but it gives me a great feeling to know I am giving them this gift of nutrition, that may actually help their bodies to heal on their own. Kind of even makes me want to clean up my act.



 JASPER



The only trouble I have had so far with making the dog's food is remembering the doggone quantities. My memory is so bad, and when I am in full A.D.D. mode, (like this morning,) I recheck the instructions 10 times--like the obsessive compulsive who drives around the block ten times to make sure he did not run over someone. This morning as I mixed and re-checked and calculated and boiled the tea kettle dry because I forgot to shut the lid, I proceeded to add the last ingredient--a large capsule of fish oil. I cut the tip with scissors and the capsule exploded, spraying fish oil all over my face and hair and glasses. Feeling a little down about my constant tendency toward mishap, I went to my room and called Timmy. As we were chatting, I felt Jasper's warm tongue kissing my cheek with what I took for his usual romantic ardor. I told Timmy that Jasper loved me so and was kissing me up. Then Timmy reminded me that my face probably smelled like Boston Harbor. Oh yeah...


I've become busy making wedding rings lately, but still produce other pieces for my Etsy shop. Check it out, and don't forget to like and share my jewelry FB page to get 10 percent off every time you buy.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Timmy Valentine: A sick man on Etsy

Check out a new Etsy shop just opened by my boyfriend Timmy Valentine. My paramour, my LOV-ah, my pool boy/dresser/driver/gardener/elf.  O.K. he is not my boyfriend. He is my amazingly talented love child that I had with Robert Downey Jr. Actually, I dreamt that one night, and I keep trying to get back into that dream. Alas, I can no longer channel Bobby. Perhaps his political leanings? I don't know but I've heard rumors. Anyway!!! Timmy can sing and dance and paint and sculpt and flower arrange, and muck chicken poo, and sew bustiers with the best of them. The singing part is a big lie. He is a very bad singer, so bad that he cannot even hum a recognizable version of "We're Movin' On Up." Long story. Anyway, I keep this boy busy with my demands, like, "Bring me another Gin Rickey and make it pronto!!" Some years ago, we took on the personas of Hugh and Maureen. It was a fine spring day, we were planting a tree, and I suggested we start speaking as if we were from Kennebunkport, Maine. We fell into this quite nicely, and admired our wit, rolling in the grass, as we do from time to time. Hugh and Maureen have changed their accents from time to time, particularly on long road trips, but we are two peas in a pod.

                                

I have many of his beautiful paintings in my home. Here's is just one of many I have stolen.




He only has a few items up in his shop, but keep checking back, as I'm sure he will add and add. His paintings are a steal. Teenagers on your gift list? No one makes a better sophomoric item than Timmy.












Timmy and I when we are all sweaty from those things we do. 




Timmy in his cody sanantonio pure silver rooster pendant--Hugh wouldn't be caught dead in unisex, he's strictly Nu-Bucks and khakis.






A perfect day, when I still had my beautiful sheep and Timmy dressed me as Bo-Peep.


Hugh and Maureen on their wedding day


Aren't I a lucky girl? This is a perfect man--all I do is toss him the occasional orange candy circus peanut and a bag of Funyuns and he's good to go. Visit his shop and buy stuff.




Sunday, October 21, 2012

Apple Thief

Perfect fall day here in my backyard. Blue skies complete with mare's tails, light breeze, color marvels everywhere. I've come out to feed and water animals, and now I want to stay. I've finished classroom animals including the fat fishes who rush the front of the tank, behaving as if they've been fasting for weeks. I love the way they make frantic fish faces as the water vibrates with their wiggling. It is a goldfish feeding frenzy that I enjoy each day. Gus (Asparagus) the ancient guinea pig is squeal-oinking as I rustle the bag of Timothy. He too is starving and must have some romaine, a bit of orange, a carrot, and piggy pellets. All is well.

I've taken an apple outside with me to share with Hi Lily Hi Lo, otherwise known as Lily, the miniature horse.


Lil, however, is being the Lil Pill and states with a snort that she would prefer carrot tops sans carrot, and since I have not brought those to her highness, she ambles away. I scrub algae from the chicken waterers, (anything to avoid going in to write a bibliography that I must do today,) collect eggs for my breakfast, and start gathering leaves from the ground. I am thinking of bracelets I might make with leaves of Arrowhead viburnum and Smokebush. I also gather some leaves from my father's elm tree. The one that I always ran over when I was in high school... I will make some earrings from the smallest leaves.

As I sit down to eat the horse-rejected apple, the chickens descend upon me, with Swizzlestick in the lead. Notice she no longer has bare quills for a tail, having grown a fine new feathered one. Marigold pecks away at me trying to get bites. If you blink, you'll miss it, but Acorn, the Rhode Island Red speeds in and swipes the whole thing right out of my hand. Toulouse the rooster watches his girls behaving badly. 



Beautiful day. I've gathered my leaves to produce some molds. My fingers smell of apple and sap. I keep whiffing them as I sit at the computer. Keys are going to be sticky, but that's o.k.

SOME NEW WORK

BLACKBIRD FLY pendant

WIDE BARK BANDS

RISE AND SHINE ROOSTER PENDANT

WIDE BARK BANDS IN BLACK

BURLAP EARRINGS

PEACE AND MUCH LOVE FRIENDS.