Saturday, July 31, 2010


These past couple of weeks I've enjoyed smith play-dates with my friend Jodi (I'm sure you've read mention of her or seen pics of her on my blog). Thursday she sent an email announcing she was on her way to pick me up and we crashed the studio in Alexandria, best move I made this week. We were both so exhausted for various reasons, and yet we went and forged our way with some metal. (get it? forged? tee hee...)

During our smith time in her studio (which I've come to love btw) we tested out her etching materials. (both of us have experience with this in class, doing it at a home studio seemed more daunting)

All I can say is it's wonderful, it works, and V for ventilation!!!
My best tip
Do not use a new iron with auto shut off, nor have it on steam setting. An older iron is your best bet. Upside down in the vise!

Here's Jodi doing it right...almost, we discovered (yet again Nick was right) the paper towel underneath simply added air and kept direct heat from the silver and once removed it took well)

This is me outside, I went first, used the newer iron, and held used it in the vise, the smart iron turned itself off (tsk tsk it was upside down in a vise!)  My blue paper didn't stick as well, but I got some really cool design anyway (repetitive design works well for mistakes)
So, I'm just waiting for the stuff to eat away the silver (I probably should have better shoes on for this)

One of my favorite window treatments in her studio
(of course these are hand made by artists from Etsy)

Isn't Jodi, so...scientific?

say "cheese"
Jodi is working hard at her bench

Hoping to show pics of  my piece soon. I've also got some other goodies recently made. Thank you sweet souls for purchasing my latest pieces! :-)

Jodi's piece (from our day of etching) turned out perfect, and if she gets it up on her blog I'll link over to it for you.

Hubby and I are going to hang with some friends who just came back from spending 2 weeks in Spain and France~ we're looking forward to hearing the stories.  These folks are well traveled. Their teen son got an education on the beaches of Spain, so we hear (*cough*) I'm sure he had questions, and/or was a bit mystified/mortified. It's wonderful to experience the cultures in this amazing world. Can't wait to hear about the foods, and wines....I'm not a cheese person, but I'll hear about the cheeses too!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We miss you Puddles

Puddles (Puddles Champ Miller) 1990-2010

We lost a great companion today. Puddles..., the cat, lived an adventure filled 20 years with us and anyone who had the great pleasure to meet this furry guy knew he was an integral part of life in our home.

Carolyn recalls that upon meeting little kitten Puddles for the first time Marty said “this cat’s going to have a long life”. This was so because Puddles was one cool, relaxed cat. He could get fierce when the situation called for toughness, but most of the time his heart beat and breathing were slow and calm.

He dragged himself home one rainy night many years ago after a run in (we assume) with a car. A broken hip and he survived. In his younger years he wore a collar with our phone number attached. Twice we received that call. Once he followed a woman into the elevator and up to her third floor office. Another time from a guy who was roller-blading in an office park and Puddles decided to hop in his car and ride home with the guy.

He used to wander next door and watch soap operas with our neighbor’s mother when she would visit. He scared the dickens out of that same neighbor once when the gentleman awoke from a mid-afternoon nap to find the Pudster on his pillow snuggled up to his head.

Angelica has known him since she was 8 years old and some of her friends carried him over to her. They had found him in a school playground. We posted notices in the area of the school and never received a call and so it was meant to be that he would join our family.

2 ½ years ago the vet told us he may only have 3 to 6 months to live due to his failing kidneys. He has endured with great dignity the every other day subcutaneous fluid injections administered by Carolyn. In the end his old body was just not holding up and he had recently developed some breathing issues. While enjoying one of his famous full belly rubs we said goodbye.

We miss you Puddles

By: Jonathan Miller (via FaceBook)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sweet Sale

A lil sweet sale to say thank you to you lovely customers. Each order placed will include a complimentary pair of my Lil Shiny Hoops, made with sterling silver. This is a good time to shop for birthdays and holidays.

It's really hot hear near DC, is it hot where you are? Yesterday I swam some fast laps (actually I used my new aqua-jogger) in the pool. I'm feeling it today. Hoping to get to the pool later ...

My friend Jodi is on her way over to AutumnLeavesJewelry studio. I think she's going to be working with my bracelet mandrel...not sure yet. Hoping to get pics of our smith play date for you  later! :-)

Simply place order and I'll package these up for you, great for gifting or keeping :-)

In other personal news, my father has moved across the country to live in San Diego. He really loves it and says the weather is amazing. I think this equates to year round golf, watching sports with his brother(s) and not shoveling snow anymore. Dad travels a lot, and he has his wonderful circle of West Point buddies...we had dinner with him to say bye-for-now the other weekend.

Me and Dad

Johnny and my Dad

There's a very cool sculpture of a bunny outside of Sweetwater Grill

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Listing New Items Now

...and back in the studio...

Some Gorgeous Plain Jane Byzantium-esque Earrings...but they aren't for anyone who is plain, because no one is plain...we are all special and unique. These are for the days when we want to rock the silver without the stone. The back of these beauties are really the front. The silver has been hand rolled by me to give it an organic free-form texture. The back had my makers mark, and is stamped .925. Both sides of these earrings are so pretty you'll find yourself touching them as you wear them. :-)

All of my Love Feather Earrings in Sterling Silver

Birdie Wing on a Feather Earrings

I Love You to the Moon and Back Pendant

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Modern Twist on Byzantium Earrings

Not too far from the original but with a little color. I've been channeling  6th Century it seems...I just love these so much. I  needed a change from the same ear wire treatment for a bit, so here they area, I hope you like :-)

Will be listing these later today, I've vowed to take a day off from the studio, it's been a super fun long week working at home, at Jodi's of The  Magpie's Treasure and in Old Town Alexandria...

A pretty rolled pattern with simply Sterling Silver

Little blooms in my window flower box

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Items for AutumnLeavesJewelry

Hello from the DC Metro Area. I spent the day smithing with a sweet friend, Jodi, of The Magpie's Treasure today. The air was humid and full of icky stuff, but we had a blast, results and pics from that soon.

The other day I finished a sweet batch of goodies to list in my shop, AutumnLeavesJewelry.
Here are a few samples, more to come...(more items and pics tomorrow) :-)'s so late I can barely keep my eyes open so, Bart is at the end of the bed chasing his tail and nuzzling under the bedding, Puddie, the Elder is watching him.

More pics, more items and descriptions tomorrow as promised.

Thank you dear sweet sweet customers who have ordered from LuxeCoop, the 50% Off Sale continues, there are still amazing finds at LuxeCoop! I hope you haved a look and stay a while!

Sweet dreams


 if you read this I had so much fun with you today, your studio is SO incredibly inspiring and so are you

Saturday, July 17, 2010

LuxeCoop Etsy Shop Sale

as mentioned in a couple of previous blog posts, LuxeCoop is clearing out most of its items for new ones.

We hope you find something you love!
These are all marked half price...:-)
Descriptions of each item may be found by clicking on our shop link and perusing our items. Thank you! :-)

Shop News

Hello :-)

Its super duper hot hear near DC. The air quality is icky. Hubby just came home from a local golf tourney and is pretty overheated. The reason? He walked in lieu of taking a cart. Needless to say wifey was not happy to hear this. I've been nursing him with Ibuprofen, water, a banana (for potassium) and he's now in front of the TV with remote watching the British Open. His voice sounds so awful. (I think from the really bad air quality) IF he's allowed to play in the tourney tomorrow this wifey will insist on a cart!

I just closed the windows in my studio as the air is just so bad. All of my newest pieces are almost finished. (Restocking my AutumnLeavesJewelry Etsy Shop). Hopefully I'll be able to get some snazzy shots for you later today. I'm excited to be adding some more 'Native' looking works. These are from my soul, which is full of memories of my grandmother, and the feeling of being connected to my Eyak Alaskan and Santee Sioux (Dakota) blood. (i love you grandma...)

EXCITING news! Angelica has been working on her latest items...and while we would like to list them, we'd first like to offer every item listed in LuxeCoop at 50% off of the original price. Angelica's knit items are so beautifully made and her work is outstanding. She has lovely feedback from items sold in her old shop on Etsy ( it is The Icing On The Kake. :-)

So...Please take a few minutes and peruse our collaborative shop. These pieces will be one of a kind treasures for you, with a sweet sale from us to you :-)

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Natural" Pickle vs. Sulferic Acid Pickle/Your take?

As this morning ticked along I realized it's time to change my pickle.
All of you metalheads know what I'm referring to.
Recently, because of possible long-term health issues (or unfounded paranoia) I've taken the leap of faith and switched to this "natural" pickle everyone's raving about. Admittedly so, it does work fast...however, I've noticed not long after my heated solution begins to turn green. In fact it adds a green patina to my copper tongs. By this time, my solution no longer removes the flux and junk from my torched silver. It's become a bit of a nuisance to change it out so often, all in the name of this natural solution.
Also, the guessing game of the ratio of the vinegar pickle is just that, a huge guess. (though I've seen that folks are using a hit and miss guess to get a good ratio.)

My friend Cynde has offered to come over and experiment with it and find out the solution. (yes she is a geology science geek, er person). These sorts of things intrigue her.

I was on MSIA's website where there is information about the handmade pickle. I recently ran across this comment about the solution, and I think it's fine to quote it here as it was left by Anonymous:

Anonymous said...
When using the vinegar and salt mixture, be aware that hydrogen and chlorine gas is released, it is generally very little. You can just use the vinegar without the salt.

As the salt vinegar mix is rust producing patina mix for ferrous materials

Interesting, because of the green discoloration of my copper tongs.

While the smell of this vinegar in the studio does remind me of eating vinegar chips (mmmm) I think for now I'll go back to the old fashioned way and use my (admittedly) toxic solution. It's very easy (and super important) to neutralize your metal right after the pickle bath using baking soda and water! (which I also did with the "natural" pickle...)

Yes dear instructor (you know who you were right as you almost always are...)

I wonder about what basis others are using their pickle solutions. I'm of the school of thought

Don't believe everything you read on the internet. I'd like to know more about the vinegar pickle before I continue to use it. Until then...

My mask is on, windows open, fan on, and Happy Smithing metalheads!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Man it's a Hot One

I've got 2 more spinners sized and ready to go~

My 'Oh She Spins' 14k Rose Gold with Sterling Silver Spinners
size 4 1/2 is ready for a new home

(this is wide,  not super chunky, and cannot be resized)
she's so pretty, and petite!

Listing for 14K Rose Gold Spinner Size 4.5

'Dreamer Spinner'
Very chunky, wide, size 9 is ready for a new home as well.

(cannot be resized)

I spent the day out front weeding and trying to tidy up our garden(man  it is really hot out) Hubby is in our master bathroom repairing drywall, and he's so sweet. He kept coming out and making sure I had water, and one of those cool off wet thingies you wear around your know the ones? They are emersed in ice water, they inflate and feel SO good on a sweaty day! (we used to wear them when we autocrossed the Mini the pavement heats up so bad...)
So, hubby gave up a day of golf to do this drywally thing...I'm a little jealous of his tools, but hey, I've got my own. (...i think he had trouble finding his tools for a while so he could watch car racing and golf on TV...) I also think we both decided to hire out someone to finish the old upstairs bathrooms (circa 1966)

In big personal news my dad is moving to San Diego in a week. I still can't believe he's leaving the DC Metro Area...I think he'll be so happy to have nice weather and be able to golf any day he likes in California, and he'll be closer to his siblings (who also love to golf).

We had dinner out with our close friends last night, and had to call ahead because this place (apparently) gets packed and the wait time is about an hour. They're known for their micro-brewery selections. I wasn't thrilled (my taste buds were not pleased) I tried a tiny sip of a porter, and man was it tangy. So I settled with a brown ale, which was pretty hoppy. The watier said it's Hoppy & Wheat time of year. (they didn't have my beloved cream ales on tap) sooo...I gave it a one thumb up. The food was soooo not pub style imo. However, everyone else liked their selections :-)

There's a bunny outside the restaurant

Here we were leaving the parking lot

Our friends are headed  to France and Spain for a nice holiday, lucky lucky them!  It was good to go out,  have some belly laughs and see them before their trip.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Back in the Studio..

...and it feels so good!

Here's a glimpse of things to come...

as promised, all kinetic pieces... I only yelled "Ow" about a dozen times, when I cuss, I try to keep it to German, it makes me feel less of a ne'er-do-well (lucky for me most of the missed blows to my left thumb were from the rawhide hammer)

Here's the same piece opened up/or shown backwards

I've got most of the bedding washed from the stay of our lovely visitors.
My sis in law texted me asking to mail her all those boxes of cereal...oy...She made it home last night Tucson time, then worked her full night shift as an RN, she was up for over 24 hours, poor Roo. (love you Rooey)
I missed my regular jaunt to Old Town Alexandria to smith the other day, making beds up for their last nights stay (okay I really am not trying to rhyme)...looking forward to next weeks class with Jodi.

My neighbor was biking by as I snapped these shots out front, one of my biggest fears, not him (Kevin- he's very nice and funny..and he wanted to see what I was photograhing but I couldn't let him smell all the gunk on me or see my new creations as they didn't feel hatched - can you relate?) I also had on  little red shorts and a tank top, not what I would normally where at my age outside, but like I said,  I'd been smithing, a girl with tools has got to stay cool right?

I did get his email address,  so if you're looking Kevin and Joanne, HI! Kevin and Joanne have put up with loud karaoke and who knows what else as our direct neighbors :D

Exciting News from LuxeCoop
Angelica and I are planning a half off sale in the shop in order to rotate some new items. She has been painting (yes painting) bustiers...(reminding me of her runway gigs in DC all those years ago before she attended FIT) So...I'm also thinking of adding my newest jewelry pieces to LuxeCoop. If you are interested in my latest pieces, our HUGE half price sale and a glimpse of Angelica's new work please check the shop very soon :-)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Nomads Are Back

...sort of...I'm starting to feel a little (wee bit) sorry for our family members visiting from Arizona. Mostly because they are moving all over the DC Metro area to see family. They'll be back at our house (soon) today.

...and...according to my sis-in-law Roo, they are STILL carting boxes of cereal to each family they visit o.0 It sounds like hoarding to me, actually it sounds like something  I would do if I had two little ones who could rely completely on one main thing they are used to during all these days away from home...a meal that comes from a box. (I grew up on processed food, what can I say?) Unless I was at Grandma's (which was often) she cooked some awesome meals.

So my only issue today is~

prepare an easy (but heavy in the heat) meal - double batch of awesome lasagna?
BBQ various things and have a cold salad and fruit?

The use of the oven today will be brutal. (still have blinds and shades shut because  of our heat wave)
If we BBQ hubby will be in and out of the muggy air, and it will make the AC work harder.

(I feel grateful that my biggest issue today is deciding on a meal...)

and even more happy about this! (thank you Dearest Daughter!!!)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Family... Everything... *eep none of the comments are showing up, not sure if this is a Blogger issue?*

As I mentioned in my vlog, we are enjoying the company of my sister-in-law and 2 of her 5 children. (Aly, the eldest, was able to stay for a week and headed back to Arizona)
Yesterday my niece Dana and I had a date in my smithing studio. She wanted to make a Tomboy Spinner...and guess what? She did!

Daughter Angelica and niece Dana at work...

I'm not sure  what happens to a person's concept of time- Dana was sure  the time went by fast, I was sure it was slower...I hope this means she had fun :-) (I sure  did!)

after soldering components for the spinner ring Dana was hard at work scrubbing,
and scrubbing (and more scrubbing) the outer spinning ring with baking soda

see? it really looks...white!

After many steps of soldering, hammering and gauging, she was ready to start the flaring process of her spinner ring- she was so careful and thoughtful with the tools and the piece!

I tried  to dissuade her from the dreaded (imo) LOS! (liver of sulfur) but she decidced she would like the black texture (it really did make the ring pop- and agreed about how bad it smelled!) Here she is holding it after we carefully neutralized the ring in baking soda and now we were ready to make it shine!

This was probably the most boring part, sitting and watching the tumbler do its thing!
(Sal if you see this I took your advice and lined my soldering area with tin foil, what a difference clean up can be!!!) uhhh..."can be" he he

I had to get a pic with this  amazing child...

FINALLY! The end result, a gorgeous Tomboy Spinner Ring made by Dana!

Yes, I made her wear one of my vintage aprons, she said it made her feel like an old lady, but it did the job keeping gunk off her clothes...

Thursday, July 1, 2010


the feel of soft metal under my fingers.  Yesterday I was in Old Town Alexandria taking my ongoing class and actually had on nail polish. Black Cherry. Can you imagine? I was pleased to see half of it chipped off by the end of the day. It felt so wonderful to be back with the old gang learning, sawing, hammering, observing, making mistakes, making headway and loving the rythym of fellow artisans I shared space with.

My huge HUGE (have I mentioned it is huge?) sale will begin on the 3rd. This piece sold this morning...

to a happy home

I  hope  to have lots of NEW goodies in my shop next week...I've been working in a new direction...and upcycling silver...

kinetic pieces