Sunday, August 30, 2009

Flying to Portland Oregon tonight...

Will be reading this on the plane (it's a re-read), followed by Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty - both memoirs. The first is so beautifully written your brain wants to savor each sentence. The latter is a sweet memoir about the friendship between the two authors.



Happy Sunday! I'm feeling very calm and very giddy about flying cross the country to visit extended family and friends tonight. (and in between these feelings comes sheer panic) I miss my sister cousin so much!
Big bag is almost completely packed...

Making lists in my head which will soon transfer over to paper...you guys with OCD know what I mean, i'm sure i'm sure i'm sure!!!

Last night hubby grilled us some delicious juicy fat boigas, with these garlic potatoes that would set your tongue afire. Fresh lime into Coronas topped the meal. MMMMM m! (and it was pouring rain, but he was a super cave man ooga ooag, here is is...)


Dad stopped by yesterday, he is busy as always, traveling here and there, and it's always good to see him!

Crossing fingers that hubby and daughter can get Puddypie his SubQ liquids without having to drive him to the vet every other day. The distance isn't far, it's the traffic in this area, and the poor old guy (cat, not hubby) will be miserable in the lil Mini.

Look away if you're squeamish. I was out front deadheading my butterfly bush when I came across these two...wow, talk about a huge meal! The Cicadas are heeere!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fruits from Yesterday

As promised, a few pics of the Dragonfly piece, reworked into a brooch. I'm so happy with the final results. I did remove the stone to do some solderig on the back side in order to add the brooch mechanisms. I also felt it needed more rivets, larger ones, for balance, not weight, but balance for the overall look and feel.
This is a gift for my daughter :-)



The ring is ready to add to my shop, when it reopens. It has is sporting one of the wavy sterling silver bands I showed in a previous blog post...(as always I show work in progress)
The little mini pendants are just that...mini and just - sweet. The bails I soldered are really very ordinary, but I believe they are all begging for a colorful beaded chain. (to-do when I return from vaca!)

A dear friend sent me a note with a dragonfly hug which I read this morning, ironic because of the dragonfly I just resoldered into a brooch. (my sister in laws suggestion) It really seemed too big for a pendant, and she held it up near her chest and I had a delayed V-8 moment! (head slapping and all!)

I'll take pics of the dragonfly later...



These are from yesterday as well. One has since dropped onto the deck. Have you ever witnessed a shivered bloom falling on its own? I haven't. I've certainly dead headed, or just touched near and seen one fall...but it seems more rare than spotting a shooting star.


These guys are old buddies, yeah they talk in some sort of frozen-stance code. Hibiscus stays unlonely. Hibiscus loves to eaves drop on their very odd conversations.


Here's Bart, we love this little fella. He is always around when I sport the camera. He just knows when to pose. Someday I'll get hubby to tape his Marilyn Monroe mew...


Coffees good and hot, my studio is a disaster and I'm not sure what today holds for me. I have an appt with a doc which means getting on the 4 lanes and not saying the Fudge word aloud to myself. It just means clutch-neutral, 1st shift to 2nd, back to neutral, maybe hit 2nd gear. I would go the back way, but there's road work, and the detour is twice the distance.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Work Before The Vacation

does anyone else know what I mean?

Here's what I've got so far this morning,
Cleaned 1 bathroom
Cat Boxes
Fed older kitties their special food
Started Laundry
Listing things to pack
Showered and ran to Starbucks (which I don't normally do, spend such lavish $ on myself, but we were out of coffee after only 2 cups!)

I rock my hot drinks with a straw, it's odd, but I just do.




The pickle is heating up in my studio, my studio is a huge mess but I have some shiny pieces to make as pressies for some pretty girls out west.

I noted as I drove back from my mini errand
WEED the front...


This is me typing backwards, which I really can't do properly, however, I can turn my feet almost all the way around so they are facing my back, oh yes I can! Can Wonder Woman do that?


I feel like a mad woman on the loose! (please do not transpose any of those words!)

There are several Hibiscus flowers in full bloom out front, I'll get pics later...for now I must channel this energy away from cleaning this house and into some metal work.

HI hi HI!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I'm Leeeaving On a Jet Plane...




Don't you love that old song?


My staycation begins tonight. My actual vacation begins Sunday as I fly over to the west coast to visit family. Portland, Oregon, the coast, I'll tool all over the place. I would love to visit Chemawa.

When I was a youngster I flew a lot, more than most kids I knew. As I grew older I developed a phobia of flying. Anyway, I'm taking on my fear of flying and getting back in the air. I'm kind of looking forward to the actual flight, I just need to let go of the unrealistic fears. (no more magical thinking, just one foot in front of the other...)

Hubby and daughter are staying home. This will be my first vacation solo. (though not really, I mean I'll be with the rest of the Shepard Clan)
Anyway...
here's to rejuvenation and family~!!!

I only have one custom Etsy order to fill tomorrow and I am grateful for it!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Items for AutumnLeavesJewelry Etsy Shop

Hi! I've been busy lately. Listing a few new items before I head to Oregon for a vacation to visit family. (I'll be listing my pretty brooch I introduced on my blog a couple of weeks ago)...these will probably go into the shop tomorrow morning.


Big Yellow Taxi Pendant (another version)
This is the Yellow Opalite stone I purchased a while back from Gemcutter's shop on Etsy. She has found a snugly spot in this Silver bezel I made. (If you follow my blog or watch any of my videos you may know how much I love to make my own chains.) The pendant is riveted to the chain and each section of the sterling silver chain moves about so freely. It almost looks like rays of sun shooting out from the stone, which reminds me of a big yellow taxi! The clasp is a simple and striking Shepherd's Hook clasp, also made by me. (Pam I am going to do a vlog for you soon, maybe this week!!!)



I love to show the back of my work, and love to see the back of my fellow artisan's work...


Autumn's Elements in Silver and Labradorite Briolettes
These are like long drops of silver rain, they swing about so freely. At the bottom sit drops of pretty blue Labradorite brioletes wrapped in silver wire.


Here is my pair, I do love these, and will be wearing them often!


It was a busy day for me. I'm really digging the Elements earrings and will be adding other colors soon. They do have a kinteic feel to them.
Big Yellow Taxi Pendant finally came together today as I made and finished the sterling silver chain. It had been set into the bezel a few weeks ago and I needed to sit and think about how to finish it...and it came together so sweetly today. I love the rivets for the cold connection to the chain. I often work this way. If you come to my studio you'll find projects in various stages. Unless I'm doing a custom order, most of my pieces come together like paintings ~ in stages.

Bart from earlier today...look at those blue eyes


Here's Puddypie, our old boy, he is losing weight and I have had to trim his hair almost daily (he doen'st clean himself too much anymore). The good news is he is a huge part of the family, sleeps with us every night and still eats and drinks his water.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hair Today~ Gone Blue Hilites

Channeling Frida again...about ready to smile a lot more too *wink*


oh yes I did. I paid a gal at a salon, (i was sticker price shocked too) for this...can ya guess? It got rid of the blue tint, thickened my fine silky hair, and will suffice until it grows out into a much LONGER short cut...meanwhile the upkeep of the process I put myself thru is long...

(and what is the lesson for me?)

I will no longer dye my own hair
I will no longer dye my own hair
I will no longer dye my own hair

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rejuvenation Through Art and Touch

Yesterday was very rough. I did everything I could think of to get through the darkness and into some light.
Hubby helped greatly just by talking with me and touching me (amazing how human touch can bring someone back from a black hole) Hearing my daughter talk and go up and down the stairs was wonderful. The feel of my cats purring warm body was a dim delight. (I realize now how delightful and lucky we are to have our cats)

I spent quite a while on a watercolor too. (As I fell in and out of a fitful slumber- dry water color pencils) The colors helped to express my moods and emotions. The lines once hard and soft evened out as I leveled out on the inside. I was surprised how much came out of me onto the paper as I looked at it today.

Anyway, not to belabor the point...art is a wonderful cure and an amazing presence in this amazing world!

Here's a custom piece finally set and ready to ship tomorrow. Isn't her stone amazing? (She sent me the stone to set) Also, I kept one element open so it is a sort of 'convertible' piece. She can hang the pendant with or without the spinner. She can have a revolving day with just the spinner if she pleases. I'm just glad she trusted me with her precious stone. :) (Oops I forgot to get a shot of the back, but you can see it pre-shine in my previous post)



Here's what I worked on today, yes it is finished. I wanted this look. I'll be playing around with many more rings like this. The band is very thick, 2mm and is so comfortable.
Open Pod Ring




These wavy rings are not finished...yet...I have more to do but wanted to get a photo of them in this state. There is a texture running around the wave, and then a spot left blank, on purpose, the inside has no hammer marks because, well I didn't use a hammer so it is very clean.


That's about it. I plant to get some Open Pod Rings using various golds made next. I'm digging the use of negative space as a positive attraction.

Hugs to everyone! :-)
oh and I'll add this again ~in order to keep rubbing out that awful stigma, I believe in talk therapy to help with mood swings.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Seating a Prairie Agate Stone into a Silver Bezel



Hi guys, this is what I was working on yesterday. I'll be 'seating' it today. I'm done sawing, filing, pickling, neutralizing the pickle on the piece and am happy with the overall design



Next step....build the seat for the bezel so she doesn't rock. Rocks that rock in their bezel are not so much fun. (The silver will be totally cleaned up before I seat the stone.) I also have a sweet cut-out on the back side because this is one gorgeous little stone and the wearer will see it on both sides.

This is a custom piece requested from a sweet gal out in the prairie, and because it's a custom order, it's so much more wonderful to create.

Oh and on the home front, hubby is back at work! My life here in the studio will be easier, and the big guy is definitely on the mend. It was a busy weekend working, taking care of him and other chores (I know you guys have been there, done that!)

Also, I dyed my hair yesterday, again an attempt to avoid very high cost of going to the salon. My hair has an interesting blue tint to it. I noticed this morning the blue is only in some areas. I'm wondering if this occurred because it was previously hilited. (I'm learning as I go.) Oh, and thanks Sheri, she's not only an awesome jeweler, she gives out great hair ER advice on FB!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me






do you have that old song in your head now? It's a sweet song, and I have been singing it this morning.
Meet my new Apple Tree Earrings
Etsy Shop Listing Here
I've been a busy...making about 6 pairs of these, all cold connections meaning no torch or chemicals were used in the process. It's very hot out. I was thinking of red red red. How we all love the color red. Red is represented in so many songs. And...I needed a 'staple' pair of red earrings for my shop to offer. These are not super light weight, and not too heavy, but they do feel good on. I wore them out on Sunday errands and received compliments. You should see me right now, I'm wearing my pair, and swinging my head hard from left to right and back and they are jingling and moving...but I must stop, they are also slapping me in the cheeks.

Better Pics? Yes? I think so...



for size reference, and this is my pair...when you order these, you will get your own pair of Apple Tree Earrings...

When plans change...

...you roll with the punches.
Hubby is sick as a sad dog. Coughing and coughing he looks pitiful I know he wants to race today, I want to race, I'd rather see him get better. We stayed in last night, watched a movie, went to bed early to nurse his cough and hoped he'd be healthier today. We packed
bottled water
made some trail mix
sandwich fixins
double shot espresso in a can from Charbucks
fruit
sun screen
chairs (which is usually silly as we barely use them)
helmets
racing gear
and
the cooler is out and ready on its wheels.
The racing tires will not be bothered today.

Instead, I've got the big guy down on the couch, kleenex, water, (coffee), cereal with fresh blueberries...and the remote to watch the golf tourney later.

Call me old fashioned, I won't go without him. So, I'm playing nurse for the day, and will be smithing upstairs, running out to pick up dry cleaning, yada yada yada.

Will post some pics later of some new items for the shop.

Yesterday we had a really nice lunch with my dad. It's always good to see him and hear about his upcoming plans. (he is one busy guy)
Here we are at our favorite Saturday lunch place, Clydes, outside...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This Girl Loves Competition



...where it belongs, in sports...not arts...

This Sunday my sweet hubby and I will head back to the racing grid. We recently decided to make time to race our Mini Cooper with our local SCCA. (Sports Car Club of America) The type of racing we do is called Autocross. If you love sports, cars, and the feeling of freedom as you push yourself you would love doing this.
Our little Mini does hug the turns and corners very well. Personal skill comes into play as you try to maneuver the correct direction and turn and timing as you speed up, slow down, brake and accelerate into the esses and all the while avoiding those orange cones. The cones are both a curse and a challenge. They direct the racer and they cannot be driven over, mowed down or otherwise moved from their spot (Ode to the cone, bow down to it!). There are not lines of cones showing the racer where to go next, so it is important to read ahead for your next move. It can get confusing. Each racer gets 4 runs for their best time. Usually there is time before the grid heats up to walk the course. Once you've walked it and the race goes live you just hope you can stay on course and have a fantastic time!

I'll be racing Open Class (Ladies and Gents mixed) there shouldn't be a difference of how hard one pushes their cars and skills. There is a Ladies class. There are some very fast ladies. In fact there are ladies who can kick the time out of a lot of the men with their cars. It's all in fun. And it is a rush. It is a lovely rush.

Does anyone else race?

DH knows my dream is to have an original old mini to tool around with. I would be the slowest car out there, but boy would that be a fun ride!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Metal, Mallet and Merlot

Meet Jodi. She's a peach. And she's Italian, in fact she's from New York near where my father attended West Point. She's an artist and a sweetheart. Jodi has been making and selling her jewelry to brick and mortar stores in and around the area for years. She also has an Etsy shop. We met in class at the Art League,in Old Town Alexandria, near the Torpedo Factory.
Realizing how close we live to one another -(and classes are out for the summer)- we decided to start some smithing play dates.

Here she is hard at work...she's making an item which will be on display this December in Alexandria. I'll update you with more information about that as the event approaches.


Gals do need their nourishment. We enjoyed cheese, humus with garlic, crackers and bread with some Merlot. (isn't her hair great? mine went flat with all of my pre-planning running around :O)


Earlier I managed to get my Etsy orders in the mail! I'm so grateful and thankful for every order I receive! :-) pssst we're still working, I just wanted to say "hey" and update my blog :-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

May I share these gifts with you?

Yesterday afternoon I was thinking of how hot it was, how tired I was (not much sleep 2 nights ago) when the mailman knocked at my front door. Wow. I had no idea this load of goodies would come today. I ordered (as I always do) some items from fellow Artisans on Etsy.

If you get a chance please check out this shop, she's new, but only new to Etsy shop selling, her name is Pam, she is a gifted artist. Her shop is willowbranchmusings and when I saw this I had to have it! It's called Candy's Heartand this is what I bought and received yesterday. It is SO me. It is so EVERYONE. It's beautifully crafted and finished, I love it!!!Pam has other goodies in her shop as well.

I'll also be doing a spinner ring update (adding some gold and silver spinners)My customer sent the original ring to me with a sweet note.

Another goodie I treated myself to is from TheNoisyPlume. I've not had the chance to order from her and did so last week. I got these Button Earrings. They are very very well made and finished, not to mention the amazing yet simple design from this fine artist. I'll be wearing them often.
Buttons are Best Earrings


It felt like Christmas when I received pasta, mac & cheese and bandaids from a sweet Prairie woman, along with this wonderful piano key charm (which I will see everyday because it is my new permanent book marker!!!) Looking forward to using the Scooby Doo band aids :P Ruh Roh! And making a piece using a stone she loves. Every movement that goes into the making of Prairie Woman's piece will be with love and from my heart. Oh Dakota, Lakota!!!

Here's a pic of my stash after opening it on my coffee table. Oh, and I have new pink progressives, there they are atop the blue box. (first step to admitting you're getting older, get your eyes checked and if you need them~ progressives~ oy!)



...and so far this month has been so sweet with Etsy orders. Enough to keep my happy, busy and fulfilled. (high number sales are not important to me, selling a well made item is). On that note, I'll sign off and get to work on filling a few orders :)

Here's another photo from the other day, and I think the shadows make me looks as if I have kitty ears o_O

Monday, August 10, 2009

Free Thinny Stacking Ring in Sterling Silver



I've brought the Freebie back! :-)

This offer only excludes my (non-handmade) ring sizer. Any other order placed will include 1 free Sterling Silver Thinny Ring in your size!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Feel the Fervent Fire of this hot Augutst Day ~ just listed my newest piece in my Etsy shop ~ Field of Gold Pendant in Sterling Silver 14k Yellow Gold

Fields of Gold Pendant in Silver and 14k Yellow Gold


and this pretty pendant is aptly named Fields of Gold
It is an 1 1/4" by 3/4" with 14k Yellow Gold dots representing sunspots. Zoom in on some flowers in full bloom reaching for the sun. The suns amazing rays reflect out into the strands of the necklace. Circle in sterling silver above the flowers mimics all the pretty circular shapes we find in nature. The toggle clasp is all Sterling silver, and hand crafted by me. There is a tag near the toggle clasp in another solid circle with a star on one side and my makers mark on the other.


Bart, my little boy hunter, laying in the daylily area, from this morning, yawning into a new day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Studio...part of it...a room with a view

Just me, sitting near a photo of Frida Kahlo. Look at those jewels on her hands and ears. I'm having a very very reflective day...crying over the slightest whisper. It'll pass...and I am so grateful for loved ones and family!




This is Puddy Pie, he is so old...he's resting (as he does each day) in a little box in my studio. We hang out a lot together. This old boy is so loved.






Where I saw, dap, hammer, cut, drill, file, and do other things to my metal that doesn't involve chemicals or the torch




Above my solder table, I'm lucky to have a room lined with shelves



Eye level looking left to Solder Table