Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thanks for the Mention!

What a nice surprise yesterday!  I found out about this cool tool on the internet that searches Etsy treasuries to see if someone's featured you.  It's called Etsy Treasure Hunt.  How flattered was I to learn that another local designer chose my Turquoise and Carnelian Circle Necklace to include in her beautiful treasury of local Austin artists' work?

You should really take a look at her crochet pet collars at her Etsy shop CrochetPetCollars.  They're way too cute!  Don't think for a second she's not forgotten us!  Check out her lovely adornments for your two-legged friends as well.  Very elegant and delicate lace-like crochet necklaces, chokers and cuffs can be found at ModernNeedlepoint.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thanks for a Lovely Review!

Today a review of my work was published by the Feminist Review on my Freshwater Pearl and Blue Topaz Earrings.  I was really flattered when they found my site and contacted me with an interest in doing the review and happily packaged up and sent samples. 

The Feminist Review is a collection of 20 editors and 200 writers around the world.  Their daily reviews include books, movies, music, fashion, jewelry and a whole slew of other interesting items from a feminist perspective.  Not to mention, I love that they support independent artists, which is really great.

Many thanks to the Feminist Review and to Mandy Van Deven for a lovely piece.  Definitely check out their online publication.  You can folow them out at http://feministreview.org.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Seed Planting Success!!

Ah...what luck!  It stopped raining almost long enough to get my little seeds in the ground.  Right as I was finishing up, it began to sprinkle, but I persevered.  I tried to keep my seed packets as dry as possible, covering them in their little plastic bucket while outside but they did get a little damp (so did I!) so I've laid them out to dry.  I'm sure they'll be fine.

So now I have several heirloom lettuce varieties, Swiss chard, a few more herbs (can you really ever have enough?) and I managed to get my collard green transplants in.  Grow, damn it, GROW!!

As happy as I am about the rain, I must admit I was a bit frustrated not having been able to plant more yesterday.  It's meant to rain most of the week.  I've been staked out at my computer near an open window listening for my opportunity.  Thankfully it came!  It didn't take nearly as long as I expected it would.  The rain continued all day yesterday.  About the time the sun was going down, I noticed the sky out of the front windows was a pinkish hue, despite the rain.  Hmmm...there must be sun somewhere...and sun+rain=rainbows.

(My view from upstairs yesterday evening.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wouldn't You Know It...

Aside from making jewelry, I love to make things grow.  When we lived in Houston, my husband and I built the most lovely potager garden...and then were relocated a couple of months later.  Sadly, I never was able to enjoy or take care of it once it was planted.  Now two years in Austin, I've been working on my new garden this year.  We live in the side of a hill, which provides some challenges, but it's not that bad.  I have a raised bed bordered in native limestone running down the left fenceline of my back yard.  It makes me happy.

Since we have mild winters in Texas, we can pretty much grow year-round.  I've begun planning and planting my fall garden.  I'm probably a bit over organized (read "neurotic") about it.  There's a massive spreadsheet...a map of my garden plan, coded for each variety I have (and this is only a section shown). Don't tease...I did admit to being a bit neurotic about it!

I do grow organically and have a wonderful nursery/garden center here in Austin called The Natural Gardener that emphasizes organic methods.  The owner even has his own line of organic products "Lady Bug" brand and is a contributor for Organic Gardening magazine.  A great resource to have locally since I'm still fairly new to this! 

My dad plants by the Farmer's Almanac gardening calendar, and it works for him, so I follow it too.  Whether or not there's anything to it or all old wive's tails...who knows.  The Natural Gardener plants by the moon as well and their gardens are beautiful!  I figure if the method has been in practice this long, there must be something to it!  Last week was good for planting root crops, so I'm starting to get little sprouts of French Breakfast Radishes, Parmex Ball, Adelaide Baby and Nantes carrots and beets (I grow a mix of  gourmet heirloom varieties - Bull's Blood, Chiogga - which are beautiful, and Golden).  You can see my tiny radish and beet sprouts in the photo.

Today is supposed to be good for planting leafy vegetables.  However, it's raining.  Not that I'm complaining!  I love the rain and we desperately need it.  My sweet husband came home to spend an hour and a half with me before leaving on a business trip.  I was itching to get outside.  The rain had stopped.  He feigned hurt feelings with a laugh and I told him, "Just watch.  It will start raining the second you leave for the airport!"  Well...guess what?!  Woudn't you know it!  The very second he backed out of the garage...and it still hasn't stopped!

Oh, well.  I still have tomorrow too!

(The last of my Listada de Gandia eggplant from my summer garden)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Now, About Those Emerald Earrings...

Ok, ok...I should have posted this months ago...

Back in May, I mentioned a pair of emerald earrings I was working on. Well, I finished them ages ago and thought it was high time I shared them! I have a couple of strands of beautiful faceted emerald rondelles and I'm so happy to have finally put them to use.

I first shaped the hoop section of the earrings and hammered them to give them a bit of texture and sparkle. I love my hammer. It's actually a bit sentimental. When I moved into my first apartment, my dad gave it to me so I'd be able to hang pictures on the wall. He said, "Don't lose it. Your mom's father gave it to me." Many years later, now that I'm married, obviously we have more than one hammer. So, my husband helped me polish my grandfather's to a mirror shine to use for my jewelry.

I love the way these emeralds are strung with a gradual fade from the darkest green to the lightest. I was careful to keep them in this order as I wanted that same gradient shading in my earrings. So, I lined them all up carefully, poised on their vermeil headpins, to ensure I ended up with the effect I wanted. I added vermeil brushed wavy disks to the top-most emeralds for a bit more shine and texture, fashioned the eye end of the headpins with my pliers and finally put the whole assembly together and hung them from French earwires.

I'm really pleased with the way they turned out, though I'd love to hear your opinion. There's more photos and details on my website. Now they just need a good home!