Friday, May 30, 2008


I just received a very happy letter from the folks at the Corvallis Fall Festival, letting me know that I have been accepted into the arts & crafts section this fall.

I can't even express how thrilled I am. I must have jumped three feet in the air when I opened the letter. Corvallis is my home town, and I used to go the this show when I was growing up - so this is an event that I have always hoped to be a part of, even before I was making jewelry.

I have a lot of work to do over the next few months - since this is really the first BIG show I've done - but I have a lot of people I can rope into helping me pull it off - not to mention a good chunk of time to make all the jewelry I'll need to fill up my booth.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I am technically back from vacation, but I have so much to do over the next few days that, after I post this, I'm going to pretend that I'm not here so that I can get it all done. Whew.

Our trip was fantastic. In case you're curious or tempted to try it... bike touring is completely the way to go. We rode around some amazingly beautiful country roads... with golden hills to either side and virtually no traffic... breathing in as much fresh air as we could. We found a farmer's market with delicious local cherries, tasted wine from a fantastic local winery, bounced down the gravel "road" next to the railroad tracks, ate lots and lots of wonderful foods, and explored a new part of the world with new and old friends. A few highlights...

Everywhere we went, it felt like spring. The roads were lined with and the fields filled with wild grasses and vibrantly-colored flowers. Just incredible!

In fact, I was so delighted with the wild grass that I had to smuggle some home in my pannier to work into some jewelry...

Check out Russ' photos too (much more extensive than mine)... here and here...

And a welcome home present! When I checked my email, I had a note from Jan over at ScoutieGirl telling me she had posted a write-up of my work. And it's so lovely too! If you haven't run across her blog yet, take a spin through her posts to discover some really great independent artists. Thanks Jan!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Into the wild blue yonder

Russ and I and our bikes are off on a little (and very much needed) vacation. We're headed up to sunny Paso Robles to join in the craziness of the Great Western Bicycle Rally. And I'm taking some sample head badges along to see if anyone's interested. Photos of the adventure to follow, I have no doubt.

When we get back, I'll have just a few days to get stuff pulled together for the Handmade Revolution show at Viento y Agua here in Long Beach. If you're in the area, stop in and say hi. There'll be live music and lots of local artists.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A little bit of green

One of the things that helps me keep my sanity during the week is a park just a half-block away from my day job. I can wander over there and hang out amongst the greenery for 20 minutes at lunch and de-stress a little bit.

And, even though I love it and it’s what spurs on my art, I constantly find it amusing how much I am drawn to picking up little bits of interesting whatnot amongst the grass. Today, it was bark that had fallen off the eucalyptus trees. It has such interesting patterns and textures... I wonder what I can do with this...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Some Indie Lovin'

Thanks Indie Collective for the lovely write-up!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My very un-scientific method to picking plants

One question I get asked a lot is: How do I know what bits of nature will last and what won't? It's a great question that I don't have an easy way to answer. Because the short answer is that I just guess. (Or, in the words of a colleague, I use the S.W.A.G. method: Scientific Wild Ass Guess.)

Basically, I pick something and try it out and see what happens. Some plants and flowers work really well and some just shrivel up and turn brown. So, it has truly been a long and interesting experiment.

One thing that I have learned which is really important is to make sure that whatever I'm incorporating is completely dry before using it. If I take a leaf or a flower and glue it in and shellac it before it's fully dry, it basically rots from the inside out until it's brown and totally unappealing. (Which is partly why I'm so interested to see what happens with Kait's Project Runway challenge necklace over time.)

What I find most interesting about working with real plants is the variety you wind up with after they've been dried. Some leaves dry flat and keep their green color. Some curl up and turn yellow or brown. Some flowers dry into a really pretty, vintage-like version of what they looked like alive. Some flowers dry into a miniscule version of themselves. And some just shrivel away.

For example...

These big, bright pink flowers keep their color beautifully when dry...

What all of this means is that I'm continually trying out new plants, which means that I'm continually picking up new plants everywhere I go. (Sometimes, I'll clean out my purse and find dried flower stems and leaves crushed at the bottom.) I've actually experimented with so many plants that it's hard to keep them straight, so I'm going to start keeping a notebook to record what I'm finding. (Which will also be a great way to learn the names of the plants that I'm working with.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Finishing up the Project Runway Challenge

For the past few years, I've tossed around an idea to incorporate a little vase into a necklace or brooch that would enable the wearer to carry fresh flowers or a little plant with them as they went through their day. I've never really been able to figure out a way to do this that I was happy with, though, so, at first, I thought this challenge would be the perfect opportunity to explore that idea further.

But then I saw Kait's beautiful piece. And I decided to go off in a different direction and work with dried flowers and plants instead, so as to create something with a look and feel separate from her own work. (The dried flower approach probably makes more sense with the branch neckpiece anyway.)

In planning out what to incorporate into the necklace and how I wanted the finished piece to look, I decided to keep it simple and work with dried purple statice and lemon thyme. They bring in some great spring colors without overpowering the eucalyptus. And here's how it turned out...

I like the way the very fragile dried flowers and herbs look against the sturdy branches (even though it looks a bit like something a Greek goddess might wear on her head).

Don't forget to check out the other variations on this theme by Kait, Alisa (I love those earrings!) and Annie.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Project Runway Challenge

I've been watching the one-a-week challenges inspired by Project Runway that Annie began over at the Imogene blog, and it's been really fun to see what folks have come up with. I've never really been one to jump on the bandwagon for challenges and projects like this, but I'm really delighted by the idea that Alisa came up with for this week.

"the challenge is to make something out of real plants"

It's right up my alley, yet gives me some space to play and let me goof around with some more conceptual art jewelry than I do on a day-to-day basis.

So, this is what I've got so far...

Eucalyptus branches wrapped into a sort of wreath shape with a sterling silver neckwire hidden underneath for shape and a way to clasp it at the back. It's not done, and I really want to incorporate flowers or something else. But, since I was up late last night working on it, I thought I'd post photos of its current state.

Anybody know what language this is?

I was looking at the raw logs for my website this morning (something I get a really geeky kick out of doing) and found out that someone linked to my website gallery in a blog post in a language I can't read, let alone even recognize to be able to figure out what google translator to use. But I think that's a smiley face at the end of the title, so I'm assuming it's a good and flattering post.

Kinda fun to get recognition from halfway around the world. Now if only I could figure out how to ask them how they found me...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Shop Update

I had a mini photo shoot the other night and put up some new pieces on my website and in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Indie Collective Shopping Guide

The Indie Collective Spring & Summer 2008 Shopping Guide is live - and I'm included. Check it out here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Look at those colors

Today, I decided to take a bit of a break and not do any work. So I went for a long walk around my neighborhood, down streets that I don't usually take, with my iPod and my camera, in an effort to try to relax a bit and re-inspire myself. And it's amazing how much you can beauty you can find in your own backyard when you slow down and look.

Friday, May 2, 2008

How the bicycle fits in

A small confession... I ride my bike everywhere, and I almost never drive. In fact, I'm not really sure why I even still own a car. Last night, I hauled some materials home from my day job for an event this weekend - and I lumped them all onto a cargo trailer that hooks to the bike. Really, it's such a lovely way to get around - fresh air, exercise, so much less stress.

My boyfriend markets himself as the eco-friendly bicycling photographer. Which has led to all sorts of questions about whether I'm going to start billing myself as the eco-friendly bicycling jeweler. Well, sort of...

One of these days, I foresee myself hitting the road with a portable studio on my bike and making jewelry along the way. In the meantime, here's a little bit about how my trusty bicycle fits into my jewelry world...

This was me arriving at a show last fall...

And this was my project for last night...

It's a head badge for a friend's bike. I discovered that making head badges is really fun... they're so simple compared to the pendants I've been working on recently, and they're such a different style and form. I may not become the eco-friendly bicycling jeweler, but I wouldn't mind getting into making some "bike jewelry" along with my other jewelry. :)