Monday, December 9, 2013

Same ole same ole bottle o' wine

Don't we all have those people in our lives who we'd like to get something special for but the budget is kinda small?  You know who I'm talking about:
Hostess gift
Kid's teachers
the staff at the vet/doctor/salon...
Friends at the dog park

...and you've given them the bottle of wine in the red velvet bag for the past three years.  It's time for something new!  And I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve.  

First idea:
Confituras!  My friend Stephanie is a literal jam genius!  I'm not kidding.  She comes up with flavors that are just made to go together and she gives you brilliant ideas on how to use them - from savory to sweet.  I'm promise you, her jars of jam beat that tired old bottle of wine every single time!  Perfect for a hostess gift, for neighbors that have a pile of family coming in, great for grandparents who just don't need a could give this jam to anyone!

My second idea:
My very own saint bottle caps.  These babies had a very humble beginning - when I was making resin pieces I would always have left over resin and I just hated throwing it away.  One day I had a thought - "wonder if I can put Tom Selleck's face in a bottle cap with resin?"  The Answer was YES!  And then it just spiraled...and I really do think that the saint version of these caps could be the answer to some of your gift giving needs.  They are super inexpensive at just five dollars and they can cover a wide variety of people because they can be used so many different ways:

St Francis for all of your dog friends
St Blaise for your vet
St Christopher for your travelers or the niece who just got her drivers license
St John Baptist de la Salle for the teachers
St Gerard for the new mommas out there
St Joseph for the dads
St Luke for all the doctors or artists in your life
And the list goes on and on and on... They are great stocking stuffers, great tied on packages, or jut give them as the gift itself!  Again, this beats the bottle of wine...I'm telling you, a dog lover is gonna be so excited to get something they can share with their furry friend!  
And if you just insist on the bottle of wine, think how cute it would be to tie one of these around the neck?

Happy holidays y'all!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Still moments.

There aren't too many quiet moments this time of year, are there?  I was just emailing back and forth with a couple of different groups of friends trying to plan some time together and it's like no one has a spare moment.  And I am probably the most guilty of all.  I sound like a broken record because I say this every year, but its hard to have your busiest time of year during the holidays, especially for someone like me who is such a Christmas dork!  I love it ALL!  I think I'm one of the few people who doesn't mind the stores putting out Christmas stuff just after the Fourth of July!  

So I have to find the still moments where ever I can.  Those quiet times where you can stop and just take it all in, enjoy where you are and who you are with.  It's hard to remember to do it when everything around you is all sorts of hustle and bustle.  But those moments are precious.  They are the ones I would like to slip into my pocket and treasure.

So in the midst of your list making, your frenzied shopping jaunts, the holiday party circuit, the marathon gift wrapping, the mad dash to get the stockings hung and the tree trimmed, the panicked search for THE perfect gift, the sheer pressure of it all, don't forget to find your still moments...sipping egg nog and watching Miracle on 34th Street (the best Christmas movie of all time) or bundling up in your robe looking out over a dark, frosty morning or plopping down on a curb after shopping with the family and just appreciating the fact that you have family you actually really enjoy being with...

Don't forget...

Monday, December 2, 2013


My family kinda rocks.  
That's just all there is to it.  A couple of days ago my grandparents and my aunt, uncle, and cousin drove in from Kansas...about a 10 hour drive.  And promptly after finishing dinner, that very evening, we all sat around the dining room table and priced my jewelry.  Yep, that's what we did...using the tiniest price tags on the planet I might add - notice the amount of squinting going on?  I was in a bit of a panic getting ready to load into one of my biggest shows of the year so instead of letting me head off home to work they put themselves to work.  My grandmother was kind of a rock star!  Not only was she determined to finish before heading off to bed, she was also a bit of a ram rod!

So today, today and every day, I am very thankful for my family.  Big, giant, monster hugs to every single one of you!
Happiest of Thanksgivings to you.  My hope for you this day is that it is spent with someone or someones that you love, that you get to fill your belly with at least one piece of yummy pie, that you are toasty and warm, and that you feel loved and thankful on this, my very favorite holiday.

I'm late in sharing this with you.  One of my classic "I could swear I hit 'publish'" moments! Good grief! 
 But the sentiment is the same.  It's just Happy Monday instead of Happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Getting out in front of it...

The holidays are officially here!  Well, at least they are at my house.  Considering that I'm already knee deep in silver wire, saw blades, steel wool, packing tape, pliers, files, sand means that I've gotta do things a little early.  For years we had the tradition of buying our tree and putting up all the glitz on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  But about four years ago I had to spend part of that Sunday working...and the tree sat all season with exactly ONE ornament on it.  I kept meaning to finish, but I felt guilty taking time off of work...but I was so sad to be "missing out" on any part of the merriest time of the year!  So now we just start early, simple as that!  And the great thing is - we get to enjoy it all just a little bit longer!  

So that's one thing I do to get ahead of the rush, what are your secrets?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ch ch ch changes...

My parents are moving.  
They've been in this house for 29 say that I have not been handling the impending move well would be the understatement of the century.  I grew up in that house, I got married in the back yard, my brother came home from the hospital there, I spent my last Thanksgiving with my Nana there, several precious pets are buried there...the house just feels like a part of me.  So it's been hard.  I have not dealt with it in the best possible way.  I've carried baggage, and until quite recently haven't been able to comprehend the words: 
"let go".   
BUT, like it or not, it's happening.  So I've spent the last two days at the new house helping with the unpacking and putting away of it all.  29 years makes for a fair amount of acquired stuff.  I am very definitely a stuff person.  I have a lot of stuff.  I like stuff.  I need my stuff around me.  My stuff makes me comfortable and happy.  I like vintage stuff and stuff with memories attached to it...but in the end stuff and houses are not family is where my heart is...and as long as I'm good with my family,
I can let stuff go...I think.  I hope.  I'm trying.

So, spending the last two days knee deep in books and knick knacks has meant being away from the studio.  And to tell you the truth, it's been a nice little break.  
But today I am back at it...I have a  lovely pile of these to make...

...and I have a few one of a kind rings like this one all cued up and ready to finish up!
Now I just have to dive in and hit the holidays hard!  I've got inventory to build up, gifts to buy and make, decorations to dig out of the pit that is our garage, supplies to order, and I've got a whole list of ideas and goodies and gift ideas that I wanna share with you...oh my!

What are YOU doing to make sure the holidays don't bowl you over?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

sweet 16 beautiful girl

My beautiful girl turned 16 years old today.  She might not be able to hear real well, and she might be blind in one eye, and her back legs may not always cooperate, but I'm nearly certain that she thinks she's sitting pretty at about three years of age.  She has been a joy and simultaneously driven me bat s&#t crazy for all but 9 weeks of those 16 years and I wouldn't have it any other way.  And even though she would choose Tom over me 999 times out of 1,000, I still adore the ground she walks on.

Happy birthday Principessa!  I love you.

The Girlie Show

I've been scurrying around like a frantic little mouse the last couple of days just trying to make sure I have everything I need...'cause tomorrow the little brother and I load up the car and head to Oklahoma City for the Girlie Show!  This show is even more fun than the name sounds!!  The show was was the brain child of three zany women who wanted an art show unlike any others...something not-stuffy, all girlie artists, fabulous foodie caliber food (think delicious sushi in peeled back sardine cans!), female dj's, roller derby girls skating in and out of the crowds offering to booth sit, and entertainment that is off the chart (imagine burlesque meets cirque de soleil!)...if you can imagine all that then you might have an inkling of what the Girlie Show is all about.  For the past three years I've had to pinch myself that I've been lucky enough to be a part of it.

Sadly, after 10 years, the girlies are calling it quits after this last her-ah!  I'm not sure why they've decided that all good things must end, but I'm betting that means that they have pulled out the big guns for this final show!!  And I cannot wait to see it!  So if you live anywhere near OKC you should try to come by.  The show is Friday November 1st from 7-11 and Saturday from noon to 5.  I'd truly love to see you!

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the AMAZING girlies that I'm sharing the stage with, like my friends Jen Ramos, Victoria Corbett, and Liz Potter.  And a young painter that I just cannot stop going on about, Tessa Raven!  And so, so many more!

Come see us.

Monday, October 21, 2013

From zero to sixty...

Just a couple of weeks ago I was freaking out that the holidays are upon us but now I've got the bug.  I actually found my self singing Christmas carols today!  I know, that may be a little over board but I do loooove the holidays!  This is my very favorite time of year.

But since Metalsgirl has (happily) grown a little each year I find myself with less and less time to enjoy the merriment, less time to get the gifts bought and wrapped, less time to just get my Christmas s#%t together!  So in an attempt to eek out every moment I can I'm determined to be organized with a capital O.

Last year as December raced towards Christmas Day with lightening speed the orders flew in.  And the closer it got to The day the more orders rolled in...two feelings accompanied them: gratitude and fear!  I was petrified that there were simply not enough hours in the day to get everything I've tired to drum up a couple ideas to get us all organized, proactive, and feeling ahead of the game!  Who's with me?!?!?

All week, each day, I'm gonna share with you a gift idea for a different person, or persons, in your life, some kinda coupon goodie, and some other do-dads guaranteed to make you jump for joy!  (Warning: that may have been a slight exaggeration.)
So, what to get your best friend?
I've had the same best friend for 36 years so I always want my gift to her to be thoughtful, meaningful...not saying it always is, but I always wanna shoot for that.  When we were kids we had a club: The Smurfettes.
There were a whopping three of us in said club.  The symbol for our club was three apples drawn sitting on top of one another (the height of a Smurf).  So last year I made her one of my personalized bangles that said "three apples high".  Super personal and full of memories.  

It's a good gift for any friend really: 
  • all your momma friends with their kiddos names
  • your childhood friend with a sweet recollection
  • a favorite song lyric shared by your bff's
Just get creative!  It can be just about anything.

Soooooo, just to get you motivated to get a jump start on the gift buying or even if you are one of those people that is almost done with shopping that makes the rest of us wanna smack you and you need one last gift to be all done...either way, here is a Coupon Code for today only: FRIENDGIFT
Just hop over to my etsy shop and use the code during check out to receive 20% off of your entire purchase.

Tip 'o the day: the Container Store!  
Get your buns over there and get all your wrapping paper! 
I have an issue with perfectionism in certain areas (while other areas I am lacking severely in that particular, um, issue.  Too bad we can't spread perfectionism out over our lives a bit, eh?).  So, when it comes to wrapping gifts I can literally spend hours and I like good, quality, cute paper.  So there.
Best. Paper. Ever.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Best. List. Ever.

Sometimes the best things are unexpected.

The last few months have been rough.  I've been doing my best to "power through it" and "put on a brave face" and "fake it til you make it" and all those cliches that mean that underneath you feel pretty crappy but you are doing everything you can not to let on.  I want to feel different and I think everyone probably either thinks I DO feel different or that I SHOULD feel different.  But its just not real different than it was 22 weeks ago.  Except that I am able to put on that brave face.  I am able to laugh.  I'm able to talk to people.  But underneath is always an undercurrent of ugg.  Ugg = weighed down, hurt, anger.  

Here's the deal, the reason I'm sharing is to really make sure that you get the true impact that this "list" made on me.  Not because I want anyone to feel bad for me or frustrated with me or feel like they need to get me out or do something... 

It's for this: late a couple nights ago I was doing my last Instagram check of the night (I'm a little obsessed) and I see a photo of a child's birthday list.  I just barely glance at it and am about to move on when I see "Metalsgirl".  The second thing on the list:

 "Metalsgirl flower ring in midnight blue" 

I instantly felt tears sting my eyes.  Then I read the caption.  One of my loveliest of lovely customers who I've never met in person but I feel like I know her...her precious daughter requested a ring made by me.  I can't explain it...I felt like I was officially IT!  Like I had arrived.  I made it!  

And there in that instant I felt happy.  a to my core happy that I have not felt...well, not in 22 weeks.  The undercurrent of ugg was gone for a moment and I just felt happy.  And I recognized it and wanted to cling to it.
I don't know how to articulate exactly why being on this birthday wish list gave me this tremendous relief from the constant dull ache I've had...all of you makers of things out there, do you get it?  Why being on a child's list is way cooler than being on an adults list?  Cause it totally is!  I mean wouldn't we all rather be cool in the eyes of a child than an adult's?  

I can't explain it, but I feel like Alabama Worley just whispered in my ear "You're so cool."

So, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'm gonna be making a flower ring in midnight blue just about any minute now!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

tears, super powers, and how is it already October!

Oh my goodness.  I'm just not sure how it is already October.  It's still so warm here in the heart of Texas that you wouldn't know fall was rolling in, the days are still long, the nights are just cannot be October.  Yet if I keep pretending then I will find myself so dreadfully behind I may not recover!  And so I think I am going to do something very fall-ish tonight like bake gingerbread!  There is not much better than hot out of the oven gingerbread with a healthy pat of butter.  Mmmmmm...

In my (former) continued effort to keep fall at bay I have been spending hours making large, honey-pie pieces of jewelry that I am just giggly over.  What I should be doing is tackling that list of inventory for all the upcoming holiday shows.  Those sterling bangles are not gonna make themselves!!  Unfortunately.  Below is an example of one of my new little (not-so-little) goody goody gumdrops!  It's big.  I mean real big.  I picture it on the finger of one of the Justice League.  Wonder Woman maybe?  I have four of these vintage lucite pieces and I want to have them each represent a perceived super if you could wrap up every bit what you need or have lost or are lacking or the insecurity you have about ________! and tuck it into this bad boy and it would become your SUPERPOWER! instead of a fear or a weakness.  Okay, for example, I'll give you mine: trust.  Mine would be trust.

This one is all about COURAGE.  
Courage to move forward.  
Courage to let go.  
Courage to face your fears.  
Courage to live a life that is full and well participated.  
Courage to hope.  Courage to try.  
Courage to give it everything even if you fail.  
Courage to dream the big dream.  Courage to say how you feel.  
Courage to be only what you are and nothing of what you aren't.  
Courage to grip tight to what you love fiercely.  Courage to go on if you have to...  
It's a lot of pressure on this little (not-so-little) ring.  But I think he's up to the task.
You might think I'm a little ring heavy these days.  I am.  Not gonna lie.  But I say make it while you feel it!  Right?  This ring came from a sketch or ten of teardrops and raindrops.  I was thinking that sounded pretty sad when a friend commented on how cleansing both of those are so I don't feel quite so sad about this ring's humble beginnings anymore. (Thank you Mara!). This ring also evolved from my big off roundish ring, a ring I've been making for years in every color in the proverbial rainbow.  I still adore that ring but I think it's also fun to have a new jewel at the party.

I'm not sure if it's the shape or the color but this ring feels sooooo uber modern!  And the odd thing is that I generally don't love modern even a teeny tiny bit.  But I'm mad about this ring.  It's clean and bold but I think the shape does give it a soft side with a little story to tell.

So, that's what I've been up to.  That and taking care of dogs, baking molasses cookies, planning a kitchen gut job (that has my anxiety at full tilt!), planning for the holiday show madness even tho I stand by my denial that it can be month ten!  What have you been up to?

>>>>>>>  addendum  <<<<<<<
Tom pointed out that it seems I don't like Fall.  But that could not be further from the truth!  Fall is my favoritest favorite time of year!  I just can't believe its hear already.  I mean, it feels like Christmas 2012 JUST happened.  I am thrilled to say goodbye to summer, its just that I need to eek out about two more months of time before the holidays hit...  
I love fall.

Friday, September 27, 2013

a rather grand ring

You know those times when you are working on a project and for whatever reason it's taking you longer than expected?  And you wanna finish but you start to think maybe you never will?  That was me and this ring.  Partly it was due to vacation interruptus.  But I was also a little intimidated.  She was a big undertaking.  But now that she's done I'm so enamoured with her!  I adore the contrast of the robins egg blue Larimar against the striking black of the vintage glass cabochon.  And the mix of glass and stone, new and vintage, and the texture in the Chrysocolla with all of its veining and shades of blue and black....nature sure knows how to make some pretty things!

When it came to the back I didn't struggle one bit - I knew just what belonged on the back...
Hopes were built like shining spires
Reaching up and spearing skies

I just imagine the ring itself reaching towards the sky in all of its grandeur!
I appear to be stuck in a Bob Geldof loop.  I don't think that is particularly a bad thing...
 but I will try to venture out soon...

So, this little (BIG) lady will be making her debut in the etsy shop if you feel you need her  just stop by.
Thanks y'all.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

how we tried to ruin the filming of Blue Bloods all by ourselves.

You may or may not know that I am kind of a fan of Tom Selleck.  And by "kind of" I mean I adore him with every fiber of my being (possibly a slight exaggeration, but not by much) and I watch Magnum pi about 50% of the time I am working only to switch out for Perry Mason because yes, I own every season of both on DVD.  So yesterday, when Tom and I saw the signs posted that Blue Bloods would be filming about a block away from the apartment I kinda flipped!  I was torn between wanting to stalk the street the whole day or playing cool New Yorker who doesn't get worked up about these things.
It's kinda cool, whatever is filming, movie, tv, commercial, whatever, they have to post signs saying what and when they are filming.  A couple of days ago we saw them filming a Kevin Bacon scene of The Following...13 year old me would've had a conniption fit over this!  I lost count of how many times I saw Footloose in the theatre...

Soooooo, we did sort of scout it out today, but none of the trailers had Tom Selleck or his characters name so I started to let it go.  Then around 7:30 or so, coming home from dinner we saw all the lights on...we walked right through the middle of all of the hubbub before we saw Donnie Wahlberg standing right there.  I had probably rubbed elbows with him.  We watched for a bit and it was pretty interesting.  It is totally insane how many people, how much equipment, and how much time goes into just one scene.  After a bit of seeing that the New Kid seemed like a nice guy we headed back to the apartment.

Here's where the fun happens.  It's 11:30 and time to take the dogs out for one last break.  Off we go. They are STILL filming.  We walk the dogs and then head back ... The side of the street they are filming is full of crew and extras and lighting and cords of all shapes and one was keeping people away so I tell Tom that I'm gonna get closer and take a photo of the whole production of it all.  I'm seriously right there behind the director, I'm futzing with my phone trying to make sure that the flash is off so that I don't disrupt their filming and then I hear it.  "Uh oh."  I look up wondering what might have happened and I see The Business Man, out of his leash, running into the middle of it all.  Yes.  Yes he did.  The assistant director reaches for him all that is running through my head is:  "pleasedon'tbitehim!  pleasedon'tbitehim!  pleasedon'tbitehim!"  And then the squealing, squirming, and yes, biting begins.  The poor man can't grab him because The Business Man is on his back wriggling and snapping and screeching like a howler monkey with a microphone.  I'm trying to get him but there is so much equipment that I'm trying to lean around.  From there it was a blur.  I somehow snatched him up and practically ran across the street i was so embarrassed.  I had so wanted to be the cool New Yorker and instead I was the starstruck hayseed from Texas!

Once I regained composure I calmly walked back across the street, leaving my ill behaved dog with Tom, and apologized to the asst. director.  I asked if he got bit and he VERY nicely assured me that he was fine and that he was just worried that my (hideous) dog would run into the street.  Some other crew member said "I didn't know if it was a dog or a monkey!"  The director had turned around and was laughing.  So apparently we didn't ruin anything.  

But it's time for the Beverly Hillbillies to return to Texas.
This is the photo I got of the production.  Pretty cool, eh?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Business Man

My little cutie patootie turned nine today!  I can hardly believe it!  When he came into our lives eight years ago we didn't plan on him fact he had an adopter all lined up, but then he got sick and we found out that he had a liver shunt and might require a very pricey surgery.  And on top of that his social skills were, um, questionable.  So Tom and I decided he could live out his life with us. Eight years later and his liver condition is much improved!  I wish I could say the same for his social skills.  Although they came in quite handy today when an odd looking guy on the street asked me to buy him lunch.  It's funny, New York City is FULL of dogs, tons of them! but people still walk by and act shocked when we are walking the dogs.  And they just reach at him while I desperately try to scramble backwards hurriedly saying "he's not that great with strangers!" when what I should be saying is "he's down right wicked and he will turn into Linda Blair before your very eyes if you don't back off!"  

He's come such a long way from Hurricane Katrina to Texas to vacationing in NYC.  And I think he knows it.  He's chock full of piss and vinegar!  What he lacks in size he makes up for in personality.  I would love for you to meet him but in case you never have the pleasure:
  • He has a fairly serious lisp.
  • He has strabismus (he's cross eyed).
  • He has an open line to The Donald.
  • He's quite the clothes horse.
  • He walks on his front feet to pee (it's just more dignified!)
  • His favorite show is So You Think You Can Dance.
  • His favorite actor is Jessie Tyler Ferguson.
  • When he sees his "grandmother" he reaches for her like a big ole baby!
  • He has his own office which he uses for mergers and acquisitions.
  • He would very much like to be the star of Instagram (#thebusinessman) and gets mad when other dogs get more "likes" than him!

Our sweet little Business Man fills our lives with laughter.  It might sound odd to be thankful for a hurricane, but if it had to happen I am so glad it blew this little guy into my life.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

baby steps...

It took me a little while.  At first I felt desperate to make this ring.  But once I had all of the pieces cut out I hit a brick wall.  I don't really understand it.  Emotions are a total mystery to me sometimes.  Things that one day feel healing and cathartic the next day feel scary and intimidating.  As our trip to New York got closer I knew I wanted to bring the ring with me so it was time to put it together...I keep thinking I should be typing finish, it's time to finish the ring, or say, "the ring is finished" but I absolutely loathe the way that sounds.  I don't want it to be finished.  I'm just gonna say that it is now ready to wear.

I love it.  Looking at it mostly makes me happy.  The day before it was "ready to wear" I didn't think I could do it.  I actually had to stop and start a giant new project to purposely overwhelm my brain.  But the next day I came back to it...  So strange the way the brain works.  

Well I've been out walking
I don't do that much talking 
These days
These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
For you
And all the times I had the chance to

-Jackson Browne

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I'm back. And I can breathe.

We landed in New York City about two hours ago and I felt like I could breathe better the minute we walked off of the plane and into the airport.  The calm I feel when I'm in the city is something I have never been able to put my finger on...but it is palpable.

My plan for this trip was to try to get some exposure for the new line of work...not sure if that's gonna happen...but there might be a possibility that popped up today.  Cross your fingers for me pretty please.  I'm hoping to show them the pieces I finished this week...

I am over the moon with how this piece turned out!  It is by far my favorite back plate I've made to date. And the bit on the back is a line from one of my very favorite Jim Croce songs.  If you're a young'n and have never listened to Jim Croce or, gulp, haven't even heard his name (that thought makes me die a little inside) go iTunes search him now.  There is a lot of music that I love that I will admit has not stood the test of time...for instance, I adore Andy Gibb but maybe he wouldn't make it today...maybe.  Jim Croce though, beautiful lyrics, music, voice, just soulful.  His music is funny and real and honest and you need to know it.  In fact, I feel so strongly about this that I just decided something - go to iTunes or YouTube and look up Jim Croce.  Check out any of his songs, but my favorites are: Roller Derby Queen (hilarious), One Less Set of Footsteps (my favorite),  I Got a Name... Go listen, come back here, leave a comment telling me what you listened to and what you thought of it (you can tell me I'm crazy, it wont hurt my feel bads).  Leave your email address and I will send you a coupon code for 20% off of any item in my etsy shop.  I'm telling you, I love Jim Croce!  Sadly he passed away at only 30 years old.  Within the music industry I think he is considered a huge loss, specifically for his writing.  Ok, I'm climbing down off my soap box now.  Whew, I got all riled there for a second and I didn't even see it coming!  Moving along...

This ring.  She has a story.  I found these precious little vintage reflectors and snatched up all four that they had (two red, one green, and one yellow) like they were gonna sprout legs and run away if I didn't act fast!  I felt like they were just begging for a second life as something beautiful, a little beacon on someone's hand... This is the first one I set.  it was really fun because Tom and I collaborated quite a bit on this one.  He is always super supportive and lets me bounce ideas off of him constantly, but this time he was even more into it - I think the fact that it was this cool little object of mysterious origin sparked his interest...I think it was a perfect melding of our ideas and she turned out beautifully.  When it came to what would go on the band or back of the ring I struggled a bit...Tom and I mulled it over for two days and then one afternoon it came rushing into my brain with full force: "Be a spark and glow awhile".  It was exactly what I wanted.  

Be a spark and glow awhile
You'll be dead a long long time
Be a shooting star 
and in one mad moment
Burning bright
like the night
Make us stand in awe

Now, I could so easily climb right back onto my soap box because the artist I have borrowed this from is one of the most amazing human beings ever - that no one in this country seems to know about but I'll just share this with you and I'll move on to this exciting news...

I've got a New store carrying my work!!  I'm giddy excited!  The shop is in Eugene, Oregon and what is just plain awesome about that is not only have I been wanting a store in Oregon for eons, two of my VERY favorite cousins live there (I love you Bren and Christi!) - so Plume Red, I might just have to visit!  I am officially volunteering for a trunk show!  The cool thing about this is that the owner found me - and I can honestly say, after looking at photos of the store, I would have been clamoring to be in this store if I had known about it!  So - win win!

Ok, one last thing and then I've gotta jet - I made this ring last week and I think I wanna turn it into a whole super hero series...who's in?!?!?  I'm thinking BAM! and ZAP! and, for you Big Bang fans, Bazinga!  I've found some incredible vintage Lucite cabochons that look like a bulls-eye that just scream super hero!  I've got this image in my head of all these girls wearing these rings with their fists pumped out in the air feeling all sorts of empowered!  Can't you just see it?!?
That is the only thing about being out of town, I keep getting these ideas that turn into urges to work and I don't know what to do with myself.  I meant to bring some wire along to just do some chain or something but I forgot...

Alrighty, it's actually day three of my trip (took me a little bit to wrap up this post) and I'm gonna try to find something to eat in this city full of possibilities...
Nighty night my dears...

ps  If you are interested in any of the jewels in this post please keep an eye on the etsy shop.  I will post them over the next day or two.  Or let me know if you want one and I'll hurry up and get it posted!  Sometimes I just need a little kick in the pants!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The week in review...

This week has been busy, a busy bee kinda week.
Here it is in list form, take a look:
  • work work work
  • show applications
  • car trouble, new brakes
  • Seven's acupuncture appointment
  • nyc pop up rental research
  • custom orders out the wazoo
  • a visit from a new friend/jewelry shopper
  • dinner delivery to the parents
  • last details of last weekend's redo-the-bedroom project
  • and just to keep me sane, a couple hundred (I wish!) episodes of the West Wing
And then here it is in pictures:
Work, work, lots of work!
agate and druzy ring.  the back says "starry eyed".

dendritic opal ring.  the back says "harness hope"

Seven started acupuncture last week.  
We loved her new doctor.  She was unbelievably good with Seven.  And I am convinced that she is part vet, part contortionist because she twisted herself into crazy positions trying to get the needle into Seven - all so that Seven could just sit comfortably, not having to move one iota!  This week we had our second appointment.  On the way my brakes started making weirdo noises and my airconditioner wouldn't come 99 degrees and if you are wearing a fur coat (Seven was, I wasn't) that is just no good.  So Tom met us at the vet so he could take the car to the car doctor.  When Tom walked through that door Seven flipped out!  I guess it was so out of context for her to see him there - she acted like the very best thing EVER had just happened!  She was on him like white on rice!  It was precious.
So I've got to get photos of her during this procedure, it is fascinating!  She is actually getting aqua-puncture.  So instead of a needle sitting on the acupuncture point, they inject a small amount of B12 that will sit on the point delivering pressure.  They do this for animals that are more restless so that they aren't running around with needles sticking out all over like a big ole porcupine!  So cool!

My car is getting new brakes and a transmission fluid flush today.  Joy.

Also on the agenda this week: getting my applications out for both Cherrywood Art Fair and Blue Genie Art Bazaar.  For some reason when I have sat down to do these over the last couple of weeks I've had a mental block on what to write about myself.  You are probably like, "yeh right!  You can blather on here for paragraph after paragraph!"  But I am having a block.  But it's time to suck it up and get them done, block or no block!  I'm kinda scared because I am submitting my applications with photos of some of my new work - what if they don't like it?  What if they want old Metalsgirl and not a combination of old Mg and new Mg?  Is my new work related to my old work at all?  Will photos like this get me uninvited?
sterling silver, resin, and copper enamel necklace.
the back says "I want to laugh, cry, jump for joy, shout, and scream"

Mid week I had a visit from a friend who I haven't known well, but is a friend through other friends.  She came over to meet a ring she thought might need to come live with her.  We had a truly lovely visit.  It was one of those unexpected moments, the kind that is even better because you didn't see it coming at all.  She lost her dad early this year and I guess we are having similar experiences with grief and loss and how you ever move past it or through it or just learn to live with it... 
Thank you Nicole.  Thank you for visiting, for crying with me.  Come back and we'll make a lemon meringue pie! 

I made Hatch green chile corn chowder and a ginger peach pie for my parents as a thank you for the washer and dryer they gave us.  I packed it up and snuck it into their house so it would be a nice surprise when they got home from work.  Not to toot my own horn, but arriving home from work and realizing you don;t have to make dinner is kinda cool.

We have been planning to redo our bedroom for a few months now.  Ever since Vincent decided he needed to have separation anxiety and tunneled through the door AND the wall.  We needed an indestructible wall so we decided brick might be just the ticket!  And I needed gray walls.  I am slowly trying to paint my entire house gray.  Next up: paint the exterior gray!  Everything. Must. Be. Gray.
 (shocking, Law and Order is on...)
Vincent and The Business Man like it and they are quite critical!

And last, my desperate, last minute push to find a rental space for a week long pop up in NYC.  When Tom and I decided to head back to NYC just two months after our last trip we agreed that it needed to be a work related trip.  While there we saw several retail spaces available that said "pop ups welcome".  In my naive brain I thought that meant it would be easy to make it happen.  I was wrong.  If I was there it might be easy.  I could deal directly with the owners of the spaces by calling the numbers on the listings...but instead I'm having to deal with realtors and I've come to learn this fact: they don't like pop ups.  So I'm beginning to let go of the idea.  very reluctantly.
My new quest is to schedule some appointments with some stores to see if someone might want to carry my work.  Anyone?  Bueller?  Seriously New Yorkers, I think you would like me.  I'm freakin' pitiful!

So that's my week.  How was yours?

Thursday, August 29, 2013


We all go through valleys and hills with most everything in life, right?  friendships, work, mood, inspiration, self confidence - hills and valleys, right?  I go through this with my work a real lot.  Not so much with liking and disliking my work but feeling like I don't know what the hell I'm doing or why.  I have never been able to put a finger down on exactly what inspires me.  and that's always kinda bugged me, especially when my work mood is in a valley...some days I get bothered or worried about my work being all over the place, not super consistent in terms of look or theme.  I see other metalsmiths whose work is immediately identifiable and i'm a bit jealous of that.  But I get bored.  I am quite possibly the most inefficient worker on the planet earth.

rich, coffee colored druzy paired with a simple white agate.  
the back simply says "starry eyed" - for that day dreamer in you...

This is a good guess at what my typical work day looks like:

coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee.  In that order.
Evaluate where I left off yesterday
Look at my clip board for what needs to ship soon (I have the best of intentions at this point)
Start on the order needing to go out next
Barely get started on that and then start making a band for a ring I haven't even started
Dig through stones to see what might go on said ring, play around with design
Pick up the unfinished necklace from 3 days ago, try to sand off the solder that oozed off to the side
Answer one or two emails
Print one or two orders
Go back to current orders and start another one
Package up a smattering of finished orders and take them out to the mailbox
Finish the two orders I started
Make more coffee
Clean up my bench because its covered in steel wool dust
Photo a piece in progress and Instagram it
Start another order
Go back to the ring and make the bezel(s)
Go kiss Tom because he just got home
Make Tom come look at the unfinished pieces and have him tell me if I'm on the right track
Skitter around a bit more before I decide if I'm gonna work all night or go watch tv with my pack

I'm very much an - oh look, a quarter! kind of girl.  jump around, jump around!

 "Be gentle with me."  This might be one of my favorite pieces I've ever made.  
I am in love with the back (pictured above).  
The layers of silver and the banner of text...its just so personal, so raw.  And the bright white, large, matte finish agate has the stark quality that is such a contradiction to the text on the back - it just really feels like there is a secret hidden there...

I was not what anyone would consider and excellent student when I was in school.  Part of the problem was that what I was good at I was pretty darn good at, but what I was bad at, I really sucked at it.  My senior year I was in advanced placement English and MOCE (mathematics of consumer economics) aka how-to-use-your-calculator.  When I had to study for any of the subject I didn't relate to I would start by cleaning my room.  By the time I was done with that I was too tired to study and would go to bed.  That lovely practice has followed me into adulthood.  If you ever visit me and my home looks nice and clean and tidy, it's a safe bet I'm avoiding something.

My point: if I'm not feeling creative my day might begin with straightening, cleaning, and organizing my studio.

But this is how I work.  It used to bother me, but somewhere along the way I realized that if I force something from start to finish I almost always make bad choices.  But at the same time I envy people who start a big, project piece and work on it all day and complete it.  That day.  Wonder what that's like?

Oh my lordy lordy!  This druzy is like a big chunk of candy!  I dare you to not bite into it!  My friend Jaime Jo said it looks like a sno cone!  It so does!  It's frosty and sugary and I want to eat it up!  But it is all snuggled up in sterling silver and accompanied by a copper enameled leaf.  The back of this beauty says "rebel rebel" - I had the David Bowie song and the Billy Idol song in mind when I imagined this hunk 'o love.

Recently I was reading another artists blog and I had kind of an oh-my-goodness-I'm-not-a-loser moment! She said something about being bothered by not having a distinctive look to her work but then realizing that that's ok, that she is inspired by too many things.  It felt good to read that another artist who I admire feels worried sometimes.  And even has similar worries to my own.

I've made a couple of rings in this new buoy series that feel conservative to me.  
But I am guessing that to a lot of people there is nothing conservative about this ring...
but in my brain this is conservative.  
I imagine someone who wanting desperately to branch out wearing this ring.  
The band reads: "gracin' the edge".  It is absolute perfection for you - you know who you are!!! 
 You are trying so hard to push out of that comfort zone.  You are gracin' the edge!
The red in this carnelian is just ridiculous!

I'm starting to think, if i really stress my brain for an answer, My schizophrenic work might come from two parts boredom and one part being over inspired. Not that I am bored by my work per se...but some things do get a little repetitive This opens a door to another one of my perceived inadequacies - where my inspiration comes from.  I've tried being inspired by nature, its a no go.  By poetry, movies, my dogs, weather, books, relationships, food, a good pair of shoes, anything!! - nope.  I read about these other artists who go to art shows and botanical gardens, book readings and fundraisers and "draw my inspiration from the emotions that welled up when I saw the brush strokes of blah blah blah blah blah". Don't get me wrong, I might sound cynical but really I'm jealous.  I want to BE that person.  But I'm just so not.  I like poetry, I'm a nut for Anne Sexton, oh, and Rod McKuen, but I don't read it every day.  I love art, but never ever go to art openings or see anything new...that said I have been known to cry my eyes out in museums over works I thought I might never see in person.  In fact the de Kooning retrospective I saw at the MOMA a few years ago is in the top ten experiences of my life.  So why don't those things inspire me?  One night I was whining about this to Tom and he said, kinda matter-factly, "for you it's materials".  I thought about it for a minute and danged if he wasn't dead on.  It's totally why I skitter around, my hands need to touch different things. I see some vintage charm and I want to use it, I find some cool pastel at Jerry's art-o-rama and I build a whole necklace around that that color, I hear a brilliant song lyric and I need to slap it onto a bangle, I accidentally crush a druzy so I pour the crumbs into resin...none of it goes together.  At all.  Is that okay?  Maybe it is.  I guess what I'm happy about now is just learning, figuring out a little bit more about how I work, who I that I know it maybe I can figure out what to do with it...  and maybe, just maybe this new work of mine is heading somewhere...

Dragon's Vein Agate super simply set in sterling silver with the words "fire in my soul" mushed right onto the back - don't we all need to remember that burn, that yearning for something...

ps...... I'm planning to post all of these babies in the shop tomorrow morning, so if something is just begging to come live with you, stop by the store soon.

my lazy weekend. yeh right.

I had the best of intentions for a lazy weekend.  I had one order I had to finish but otherwise I was gonna relax!  But the thing is, things rarely go as intended...

I worked a bunch more than planned.  There was this large order to get out...
I think I've settled on this for my new packaging.  What do You think?  This was for a bride, all custom bangles.  Fingers crossed she likes them.

And I finally finished the fossilized sea urchin ring.  I made the bezel for this sweet creature weeks ago and it sat, patiently waiting for an inspired back plate and words that felt right...  I settled on *sing in the silence* for this baby.  The idea that there was once something alive about this is profound to me.  And I do believe she sings in this silence.
I cleaned my laundry room.
That is an understatement.
My parents bought a new washer and dryer and were kind enough to give us their gently used washer and dryer.  Sounds simple enough, right?  But if you have never moved a wash and dryer let me warn you: the space under which they sit is Ger-Ossssse!  Gross.  There was a paint scraper involved if that tells you anything.
And we had to raise a cabinet.  And I hadn't painted behind said cabinet.  So I found the paint in the garage and painted.  Then touched up several other spots around the room.  And then the paint dried.  And it was not the same color.  Lovely.
And then Tom hooked up the washer and dryer.  Started our first load.  And within a couple of minutes the entire drum of water emptied onto the floor.  Apparently the hose had popped out of the drain while wedging the dryer into place.  After throwing 172 towels onto the floor we pulled the washer out and I held it, teetering off the giant base that they sit on while Tom climbed behind it like a monkey to reroute the hose.
Mopping, lots of mopping came next.

And all the while I was battling some kind of infection that made me want to curl up on the couch knitting and watching West Wing.

So that was my weekend.  How was yours?

it took me a full four days to finish this post and now its almost the next weekend.  Lordy.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

happy birthday three Shews!

Ten years ago today I brought home five dogs the size of gerbils.  I'm not kidding, if anything they were smaller than gerbils.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was late in the evening, Tom and I were watching tv.  The Blue Dog phone rang...I let it go to voice mail because it was late, but I checked the message.  A semi hysterical woman was blathering on and on about how "I have these five puppies, they are 3 days old, their mom died, I can't take care of them, I have to go to work tomorrow!  I need someone to come and get them TONIGHT!"  Now normally I would be totally put off by someone demanding my help.  And I was put off.  But all I could think of was those puppies.

I got in my car and drove over.

I walked into the apartment and there was a box of mice.  I seriously thought someone was trying to pass off rodents as dogs.  As I got closer I could see that they were, in fact, some sort of miniscule dog.  Chihuahuas it turns out.  I would find out the next day that the largest one weighed 3 whopping ounces!

I asked the story and soon wished I hadn't.  Why oh why did I not just take the puppies and run?  Why?  But I asked.  Apparently there was some desire for a new car or something and "if my dog has more puppies maybe I could make enough to get a car!"  So apparently she bred and bred and bred her little chihuahua...poor tiny thing had six puppies.  Momma and one puppy died during the birth. 

I was so incensed.  I felt like I had to leave for fear the woman would start to see the steam pouring out of my ears.  It drives me bonkers when people don't realize that you are cleaning up thier mess.  They think dog rescue is some service provided by, I don't know, God or something, and that they are entitled to it.  Makes. Me. Nuts.  There was no "thank you".  It was like I was the post lady just round to do my job (that I'm not paid for by the way!).  I recognize that I am bitter and I am currently seeking help.  Moving on...

I got the babies home and Tom looked in the box, looked at me, looked in the box...I think we both thought there was no way we could keep them alive.  They were the size of a minute.  I'm not sure what we even did that first night...I guess cuckoo pants lady must've given us some milk...anyway, we were clueless.  There is quite a lot to know about raising motherless critters.  For example, did you know puppies do not poop and pee on their own?  I was painfully unaware of this fact before signing up for this task.  They also eat every two hours.  Well, when you have five puppies, by the time you've fed, weighed, pooped, and peed them all its already been two hours!!  For four weeks Tom and I would pass through the house like zombies, mindlessly relaying the details from the last feeding.  For four weeks we had to pack them up and take them everywhere we went: to work, to dinner.  every. where.  
And oh dear lord the smell.  My friend Natalie's son was still in diapers at the time and when he got his diaper changed he would giggle and say "shewie!" Well, our puppies were shewie!  They were 10x beyond shewie!  We began to say it so often that soon they were collectively called "the shews".  That seems real clever at 4am on an hour and a half of sleep by the way.

It's one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've ever done.

We lost one baby, sweet little Truvy, after three days.  But four of these darlings thrived.  My friend Lisa adopted the tiniest of the four, baby Ouiser (who she named Wittle). And then there were three.  And like the true idiots we are, we kept them all.  It was so danged emotional.  The thought of sending them away from us, from each other, from the only thing they was too much for me.  I know they would have been ok.  Better possibly.  But I was selfish.

So today we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our three Shews.  Monkey Shew, Clishy Marie Shew, and Veruca Jane Shew.  My three little birds who add joy and laughter and a little aggravation to my life on a daily basis.  Happy day my Shews, happy day.