31.8.11

Inspired To Make

I'm dying to get my hands on a bottle cutter to turn some wine bottles that are currently wasting away in the recycling bin into beautiful glass tumblers.  Are't they pretty?

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30.8.11

Lost Family

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?  Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
~Kahlil Gibran

My Grandmother died last week and there hasn't been a lot of time for me to think deeply about it.  I sent a bouquet of flowers to my Grampa, not a great replacement for my own presence, I know.  But, I have never felt a part of my family.  I have never known them to fill the shoes that 'true family' could (or so I imagine).  So in all of the disappointment over the years, i have distanced myself more and more.  I prefer avoiding all of the drama, competition, and selfishness that I see in their relationships with each other, but I am grieved by the emptiness, the absence of extended family in my life and my children's lives.  And, in the wake of my Grandmother's passing, I am more aware then ever of the brokenness of it all.  I'm not sure how my Grandmother ended up in such a dysfunctional family, I remember her canning peaches, shopping at Pendletons, having bridge parties, teaching us kids Skip-Bo.  I know my love for turquoise jewelry comes from her, and my insistence on a perfect Thanksgiving dinner as well.  All I can think to do is remember her for all the good that she was, and hold on to the idea of a family where love and support comes before judgement and money, and offer that to the next generation that I am raising.  I wonder if she wanted more?  I wonder how things became so convoluted.  I wonder if my Grampa got the flowers, or if he was moved by Kahlil Gibran the way I am.  I wonder if she felt like she lived a full life.  I hope her spirit is dancing in a field of flowers, free and happy and loved.

29.8.11

New Metal Jewelry

I'm not sure if I would yet call my little Etsy shop successful, but I have made 9 sales to date!  Yay!  I feel really good about making sales with such a new shop and it being summer, the slowest part of the year for business.  And, most importantly I'm enjoying the work.  It's really such a rush to find out you have an order, get the jewelry all prettied and polished up, package the entire thing, and mail it off for someone else to love.  (I've had two orders from Canada--Canadians must love my work, don't you think?).  So, all in all it's been rewarding in more ways than just a little extra income.

Here's what I've been working on lately:

Khafra Pyramid Posts

Truth Seeker Sterling Silver Link Bracelet

Traditional Basket Earring Textured
One thing I find challenging about selling online is that your buyers aren't able to physically hold or try on products.  One of my latest infatuations with metal is in hand making chains.  They feel amazing, with the weight of the metal and the texture that only hand made chains have.  I want my buyers to experience it!  That especially makes me want to try a brick and mortar store soon...or maybe a craft fair.  But for now I am focussing on the back to school vibe coming this way.  I can't believe the kids go back in less than two weeks.  Time to arm them with new clothes, pencils, and backpacks, and prepare for the jarring reality of schedules and the daily grind.  (I am looking forward to some quiet around the house and more time to work out, shhh don't tell the kids.)

26.8.11

Two Nights On The Clackamas, Reuben Style

Lucky us to find a sweet spot on the Clackamas River that was perfectly un-manicured and mostly deserted, making it the best accommodation ever for Reuben the dog.  He is very whiny and obnoxious around anyone he doesn't know and love, which makes him extremely not compatible with your average campground camping spot (you know the type with fencing, electric cooking options, massive RVs, and speed bumps (ugh)).  He requires the true rustic getaway (my preference anyway!).





Camping provided some much needed leisure and I was able to finish my book, lay in some very warm sunshine, pick huckleberries, and linger around the campfire.  The last night, a very aggressive summer thunderstorm hung just over our heads providing quite a show of lights and rumbling!  A perfectly adventurous end to the trip.

21.8.11

A Delicious Book

Here it is, my companion for the last few days, and probably not much longer the way I am tearing through the pages!  This book is a little mix of mystery, history, fairytale, and full of underlying trials and triumphs that are at once relatable and foriegnly shocking all the same.  A perfect summer read, I promise!



What are you all reading this summer??

20.8.11

A Good View From the Catwalk

Oregon International Air Show




The last time I was at an air show, it has been reported that I spent the time crying from the noise and wanting to leave.  I don't remember so I must have been very small!  As you can guess, I wasn't too excited to go to the air show going on this weekend...and I wasn't too sure how much the kids would enjoy it either.  But, as the wife of an Air Traffic Controller, I think it is a kind of requirement to attend these things (I am already more knowledgeable about airplanes than I care to admit).  Anyway, there are perks, and one of them was that we got to watch the show from the catwalk that wraps around the top of the control tower!  It felt a little like royalty up there, like I should wave slowly and methodically to everyone down below and maybe throw a kerchief.  Later in the evening, the kids were even taken into the tower to spy on the airplanes with binoculars.  They had a blast pretending to be controllers and practicing their foosball techniques (a common past time in between shifts at the tower).  We also had our own personal beer garden and BBQ out on the lawn.  I'm definitely going again next year, and this time no dragging my feet!  No Blue Angels to report, but, there were fireworks, ice cube fights among the kids, and parachuters.


This summer is just flying by with too many fun things to document!  Next week, we are heading out into the deep woods for some primitive time with our cookstove and tent building skills...should make for some more good photos.

16.8.11

What's to See at an RC Air Show?

Note:  This is my husbands hairy leg, my leg hair is much blonder

Loudspeaker that can be heard continents away

Remote Control Planes


We drove out into the far reaches of Banks, Oregon, past cherry trees, vineyards, and u-pick berry farms.  Finally we arrived at the 30th annual RC (Remote Control) Air Show.  There was an old fashioned loudspeaker (standard military issue style) hanging from a tree.  A sweet old woman passed around stick planes to the kids (it took 5 minutes before I was fishing one out of a tree).  A neat band was playing Johnny Cash remakes and the like under a tarp awning.  We ate really good hot dogs and I drank really bitter coffee (think trucker flavor).  Unbelievable airplane stunts went on in front of us that would make any pilot hurl and any passenger file a lawsuit, if these were actual life size planes.  We watched a flying lawnmower do loop de loops.  There was air combat.  I loved every minute of it.  I think I'll go back next year.  Here's where to find this fantastic (and obscure) outing.

15.8.11

Why This Will Never Be A Fashion Blog

Not that I don't love clothes and shoes and looking pretty....but fashion will never make it to the top of that daunting priority list.  Ever.  I love comfort too much to throw on skinny pants and heals!  My favorite summer dress code includes cut offs or jeans with holes, flip flops or loafers, and a plain boring tanktop or tee shirt.  So, sorry to disappoint, but I will not be blogging about fashion.

This is as fashionable as it gets here:



12.8.11

At the Bench Lately

Dream Weaver Turquoise Earring

Bitty Studs: pet Goldfish

Bitty Studs: Buzzy Bee

Bitty Studs: Menkaura Pyramid

I just LOVE making these little tiny earrings!  I keep coming up with new designs and they are so cute and fun to make!  They have also been selling in my shop, yay!



I am currently infatuated with locket making, and have begun work on a large brass locket.  I had to take a break because there is so much metal involved in this design that I was needing a larger flame than the torch I use provides...but guess what I got for my Birthday??  A bigger torch!  Soon I will post the finished piece.  I am also excited about a tiny silver locket that I started.  Aren't little secret hiding spots neat, especially in jewelry?

10.8.11

A Summery Sleuth & My Birthday (again)


Wearing Handmade Cuff By:  MyGirl
Well, I had another birthday.  It was pretty great as long as I conveniently forgot which year I turned.  I swear, it seems like the time just gets more precious the older I get.  I am happy to report one great thing about getting older:  I get power tools as presents.  Yes!  My honey surprised me with a new torch head AND a tumbler (which means my jewelry has had a complete makeover which I cannot wait to photograph in all of its shiny splendor)!  We ate some cheese cake.  MyGirl made this beautiful cuff for me all by her nine-year-old self with felt and beautiful stitching (I'm super proud), and MyBoy created a very nice piece of collage art that I must frame.  Possibly the cutest birthday event was my morning puppet show presentation of the "Happy Birthday Song".  So, to another year.  Cheers!

6.8.11

Another Beachy Getaway + Air Museum


You may know that I can't stay home ever, and am always wanting to discover new getaways.  This week's adventure found us heading towards Tillamook.  We wanted to check out the cheese factory.  Did you know that they make blocks of cheese that are 45lbs?  But that place is a zoo, I recommend getting in and out and not even bothering for free samples.  Rather, we drove back down the road towards the Blue Heron French Cheese Company which was much more quaint and relaxing.  How can a petting zoo and wine tasting not be??  We bought some cheese curds in lime and dill which came in handy when we decided spur of the moment to stop at the Air Museum.  We ate our cheese and watched through the wind shield as a guy armed with GPS was trying to act nonchalant while (obviously) searching for a geocache.  Hilarious.  Inside the Air Museum, my favorite things were the old hand painted graphics on the planes, the mannequins serving to depict what war was like back in the 40s, and the huge wood structure that housed it all (15 stories high and worth the trip just to see that).  Meanwhile my adorable husband (who is an air traffic controller and completely enamored by anything with wings except birds) explained things like...umm...well I can't remember, but I know he was especially excited by the Tomcat because it has movable wings.  You'd think that would all have been enough of an outing for one day but no, we continued on to the beach listening appropriately and coincidentally to NPR about WW11 and why it has been concluded by scholars with no political preference (of course) that the bombing of Japan was unnecessary in ending the war.  We took extra long getting to Rockaway Beach because there was a horrible accident involving a bicyclist (still sending hope that way).  I've always thought I was just a baby about riding in traffic, but now feel my concerns have been validated.  All that was left of the bicyclist was a shoe and a lot of blood.  Scary.  Finally arriving at a lovely uncrowded stretch of Rockaway Beach, I actually took off my sweatshirt and  got some sun.  I realized that it's not so cold if you stay close to the warm sand.  I read a book.  The kids made sand castles with Matt.  We ate leftovers from the cooler.  As the day ended, the waves turned silver, pelicans fished swooping in line with each other (dinosaurs in our modern sky), the temperature called us back home, and I thought about being thankful.

5.8.11

On Packaging & Branding & Etsy

I thought a lot about those things before I opened my Etsy Shop and actually before I even started making jewelry I wanted to sell.  Everything from the type of jewelry I make, the name of my shop, the way I package sold items, my business card, and the way I take my photos has been thought out completely.  This is branding.

I love creating a look, coming up with a feel or brand for something and then having that trusty theme to fall back on for every visual challenge there is in having a business.  It makes things much simpler when you have the ideas from the get go, but it's also important to let these things grow naturally.  I am constantly re-shooting jewelry as I get better at taking close-ups.  I re-edit my listings when I think of something that could sound or look better.  It sounds tedious and it is.  But I think in the land of online marketplaces, that branding is the most important thing a seller can do to promote themselves.

I hope my shop speaks to the ideas of "natural", "rustic", and "antiqued".

One of my favorite things about my Etsy shop besides making the jewelry product is the packaging that I came up with (and admittedly my hubby has a big part in).  I got to mail another package off today and It makes me feel so good every time!  Would you love to get this in the mail?




The cost of making this little wooden "crate" is calculated in my shipping costs, I really love the way it looks and the handmade message it sends.  Matt makes the box.  I pencil on the Shop Name and then Matt burnishes the letters into the wood.  The order is packed in the crate with eco-friendly wood shavings and then the whole thing gets ribboned and surrounded in cardboard.  That's it!  Makes me smile every time.  I feel a little like Santa too.

An artist is not paid for his labour but for his vision. ~ James MacNeill Whistler

2.8.11

Stay Summer, For Just A While Longer






Their hands in everything, knees scraped up, freckles coaxed out from their winter hideout by the sun.  Summer, please stay and hold us capture in these perfect moments.

1.8.11

No Hillbilly Hot Dogs Here

These Ain't No Hillbilly Hotdogs





















These Ain't No Hillbilly Hotdogs:


Simple Ingredients-  pear, hotdog, bun, brie.


Directions-  Find a really nice hotdog (no oscar meyer crappy dog here) from somewhere like Whole Foods or New Seasons that is 100% beef and won't make you sick thinking about its ingredients (this is important).  Grill the dog sliced open and add fancy cheese (brie) and pieces of a yummy thinly sliced pear. Put this all in an artisan bun for the best tasting hot dog you will ever eat, I swear.


PS


I may have already blogged about this, I'm not sure.  But if so, it's because these hot dogs are THAT good.  Best summer BBQ recipe, really.


PSS


I'd like to thank my hubby for surprising me with these perfect hot dog ingredients yesterday after he worked all day and for grilling up a divine BBQ dinner just for us.