Work in progress

I made a few more open shank rings last weekend. It’s amazing to me how much faster (and more neatly!) I’m producing things than I was at the beginning of the summer.

Sapphires

Gradually working up the courage and skill to work with smaller stones and gems. These are 4 mm sapphires from @rosecutselect. I am equally thrilled and terrified to set them! Stay tuned …

Homemade donuts

Covid has resulted in all sorts of weird supply chain issues. One of those has been the disappearance of our usual gluten-free muffin mix from the grocery store. While we wait for case to arrive from the manufacturer, we thought it would be worthwhile to try something new – gluten-free donuts. I didn’t glaze them, but the boys loved dipping them in chocolate sauce!

Neighborhood beauty

I’ve been trying to get out of the house and exercise a little more regularly. The area around our home is so beautiful it is a pleasure to be out and about!

Lilies

I think playing Animal Crossing has given me a new appreciation for lilies! They have all just burst into bloom around the neighborhood, and I just love the variety of color when I’m out for my morning walks.

Cherries

Cherries are my very favorite fruit … and although life during the Covid-19 pandemic is not a bowl full of cherries at the moment, it’s still a pleasure to enjoy the season!

I don’t think of myself as being particularly sappy, but I do love when hearts pop up in unexpected places. 🙂 Look what I found in the tray of our ice dispenser this morning!

Happy rocks

There is a small group of families that paints rocks and puts them around the neighborhood. The designs vary a lot but they always make me smile when I’m out for a walk.

First peony!

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First peony of the season!

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These purple flowers are tiny but incredibly fragrant.

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I love the subtle touches of color on these.

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We now have over a dozen flowers – they exploded into bloom overnight!

Full bloom

Our crabapple is in full bloom.

We still have many daffodils, and the tulips are starting to bloom.

First tulips!

And a new Spring bouquet in the kitchen.

Homemade latte

A beautiful homemade latte, made with cashew milk. A super special thing for me, since it’s been about six years that I could have coffee or nuts on a regular basis. I made the cashew milk with a device called the Almond Cow.

The azaleas

Our purple azalea is just about to burst into bloom.

The white one is a bit further behind, but coming soon.

Playing with patterns

Last winter I patterned these four pre-cut copper discs in a rolling mill. Yummy, right?! I *really* want to do basse taille (an enameling technique where you reveal some of the metal) on them, but it is waaaay harder than I anticipated, especially with the equipment I have. In this work in progress shot, the dark blue is counter enamel (for the back of the piece).

Vinyl resist

Last winter I put my first vinyl resist on steel plate, but it was too cold to work with the chemicals outside, and too dangerous to have them in the house. So, these plates have been waiting for months for an acid bath. It’s finally warm enough outside, so stay tuned to see how things turned out!

Patterning metal

I have been inspired by and super curious about patterning metal since I first started taking classes at @LillStreet last year. Here is a steel plate that I bought last season, along with a pair of earrings that are a work in progress.

Daffodil assortment

I just love these …

We have never had a Spring garden quite like this before. It is such a pleasure to go outside, and see all the beautiful new flowers. I had no idea that there are so many varieties of daffodils, or that they smell so amazing! I bring in some cuttings every few days and it has really helped me focus on all the positive things that Spring represents.

Workshop improvements

Even with layers of cold weather gear on, around Halloween last year it got too cold for me to do any more metalsmithing in the garage. I was feeling really discouraged about it, and not sure how to channel all the creativity energy I had at the time.

On a whim, I had a handyman come and assess what it would take to overhaul my little corner of the garage. Knowing that I would not be able to metalsmith for a few months, I gave away the rickety table I was using, as well as a bunch of mismatched shelves. He put in butcherblock, shelving, and overhead lighting.

Continue reading “Workshop improvements”

Texture plates

I’ve been wanting to etching steel plates so I can make my own patterns on metal. The technique I’m using here is one that I learned from a Leslie Villareal YouTube video.

I like the idea of having end-to-end control of the creative outcome on these plates, and being able to create patterns that aren’t generally available. And it’s a bonus that I can prepare the vinyl resist during the winter months when it’s too cold to be in my garage workshop.

Homemade jump rings

One of the many things I love about metalsmithing is that I have Beginner’s Mind – I have no illusions about my level of mastery. I derive so much pleasure in learning how to use new tools, and then making components I would have purchased in the past. Here are some pictures from a few weeks ago, when I successfully made my own jump rings.

New growth

My mom brought some cuttings for me when she came for Thanksgiving, and a couple of months later I finally got around to planting them. This guys seems pretty happy now – I’m excited to see buds and some new growth!

Spring blooms

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It is such a pleasure to watch the changes in our garden as the days go by.  I think it’s so important to see the beauty, to appreciate the incremental changes, and to realize that – for most of us – life goes on as our Winter turns into Spring.

Also, I did not realize that our peonies (in the last photo) are so ugly at this time of year?!

Signs of Spring

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Signs of Spring amidst a global pandemic.  I find myself seeking out beauty (however small) to stay positive during these dark days.  March 2020.

OMEBs

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Reading the Smith College alumnae magazine, and I came across this acronym.  OMEB – Ordinary Moments of Extraordinary Bliss.  I love it, and I’m going to spread the word (literally).

Lunches at home

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One of the real pleasures of working from home is that I don’t have to get up super early to pack all my meals.  Since I am doing intermittent fasting at the moment, I block some time on my calendar at 10 am, and I make a meal from the leftovers we have on hand.  Lately that has involved a lot of salad, which I vary with radicchio, endive, and other greens, as well as whatever meat we have left over.  I often mix in with radishes, peas, sliced tomato and some delicious new cashew cheese that adds a wonderful bit of salty taste.  It’s really satisfying, healthy, and beautiful too!

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