Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fall is in the air

I love the changing seasons. Up here on California's north coast we have a very temperate climate. Occasionally we see temps in the low 70's or low 30's, but usually it's somewhere between 55 and 65 all year round. Without much temperature variation time has the tendency to run together. I mean how can it be winter without snow or summer without sweltering heat. It took this southern California transplant a while to figure out that up here the signs of the seasons come in the form of wind, rain, fog, daylight, and food. I'm always sure Fall is on it's way when I look outside and it's dusk at 8pm. Another sure sign is the abundance of blackberries, apples, and zucchini that start popping up everywhere. Suddenly everyone has a jar of jam or applesauce and a loaf of zucchini bread to gift. This year I had such a great time in the garden myself that I decided to increase our vegetable area and put in new raised bed for a fall garden.

Bare bones of the raised bed

This 9.5' x 3.5' x 11" bed was created using 24, 3.5 to 4' salvaged redwood fence boards (not treated) and took a couple of hours. I am by no means a woodworker, but with a little imagination and a few choice words mumbled under my breath I got the job done! I put down a layer of window screen followed by a layer of weed guard and finally a layer of cardboard boxes under the frame. This may have been overkill, but we have some seriously hungry gophers as well as a very tenacious "lawn" that somehow made it's way UP through our 2' high raised beds. So while some may call this overkill, I am going with determined.

Mixing soil

After doing the math on how much soil I would need to fill this monster I decided to start with a 4-6" layer of straw. Our local farm store had a lovely bale for just $8.99. I only used about a third of it and set the remainder on it's side to try my hand at strawbale gardening as well. Why not?

The beginning of a strawbale garden

I filled the rest of the bed with a 1:1:1 mixture of perlite, peat moss, and compost. It took about 4 cu feet of each to top off the bed.

Prepped raised bed

Now all that's left is to wait for the starts to mature. I've got a nice variety of cool weather veggies sprouting in our tiny pop up greenhouse including kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, leeks, and cucumber. I'm a little skeptical about the cucumber, but we will see. All of my seeds came from and they even sent me an extra Kale starter kit with my order!

Kale and spinach starts

Fingers crossed that this venture yields some yummy veggies!

Meanwhile, on the bench this week I'm working on big hoop earrings. The perfect fall accessory to pair with layers, sweaters, and jackets. I love sweater weather! You can get your hands on a pair of hoops in my Etsy shop and use the coupon code FALL20 so save 20% shop wide through the end of August 2014. 

Copper and Silver Hoop Earrings

Happy planting and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

3xR 34: What to do with the Copper Discs

I have a handful of copper discs that I purchased years ago without really paying attention to what I was ordering. They were a little heavy for the earrings I was making at the time, but I figured I would hang on to them for enameling or something.

This week seemed like the perfect week to finally put them to use. I pulled out my dapping block and got to forming the discs into nice domes.

I rummaged around for a few bits of silver scrap and formed them as well.

A bit of soldering, filing, sanding, texturing, some patina, and a pair of ear wires later I had a lovely pair of mixed metal earrings to add to the Remnant Collection! 

For a look at what the other 3xR (reduce, recycle, reuse) artists are up to head over to the 3xR 2014 Flickr group!

To purchase one of my pieces from the 3xR challenge head over to my Etsy Shop and use the coupon code "Fall20" for 20% off through August 30th!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Making Metal Jewelry

So honored to have an article, "Cold-connected Pin Backs", included in Art Jewelry Magazine's special edition Essential Techniques: Making Metal Jewelry!

This mixed metal and Jasper brooch from the Rosewater Collection makes an appearance...

...and so do I! Complete with a shout out to my alma mater, Humboldt State University.

This special issue covers a wide range of techniques including finishing, texturing, piercing, dapping, patinas, etching, findings, cold connections, forging and more. It's packed with projects, great info on tools, and a ton of metalsmithing tips. To get your hands on a copy head over the the Art Jewelry Magazine Website

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

3xR 33: Remnant Posts

I love these little posts so much that it's never long before I spend my time with the weekly challenge creating a new pair. This week I made two!

For a look at what the other 3xR artists are up to head over to the 3xR 2014 Flickr Group. To get your hands on a pair of Remnant Posts head over to my Etsy shop

Thanks for reading! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

3xR Week 32: Layered

Continuing with layered geometric forms I gathered up the remaining partial bezels from the last necklace (week 30) as well as some bits of silver wire, a roller print test sheet, a portion of copper sheet from a previously failed project, and a lovely fossilized coral cabochon.

I let the shapes of the partial bezels guide the design for this piece creating echos on subsequent layers and connecting them with silver rivets.

Head over to the 3xR 2014 Flickr group for a look at the complete project.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

3xR 31: Remnant Cuff #3

I love a distressed copper cuff. This is the 3rd copper cuff I've made in the remnant collection that has emerged from this project. The first one was created for week three of the challenge. The second was created for an article that will appear in Bella Armoire Magazine alongside three other pieces from the project! You'll have to wait until the issue is released for a look a that piece. In the mean time here is week #31:

This week I pulled some copper scrap that had been used to make a few spray paint necklaces years ago and some silver bits from eyelet lace leftovers. I started by cutting the copper into strips that just happened to already be marked. I love when it's that easy.

Next, I made some marks on the copper for the overlap areas by tracing the eyelet pieces.

 After I cut everything out I played with layout until I was happy.

I cleaned up all the edges, painted each piece with flux, and laid out hard solder on the copper and medium solder on the silver.

When everything was soldered together I cleaned it all up and formed the cuff on a bracelet mandrel (sorry, I seemed to have skipped the photographing of those steps).

If you're really paying attention you'll see that I had the copper strip on the left flipped upside down when I partially flowed the solder. Whoops. Instead of cleaning it up and starting again I decided to go with it and instead made an adjustment to the design. I think I like it more after the mistake. Besides, one of the things I love most about metalsmithing is the problem solving, which means mistakes are often just opportunities to go another route. 

You can check out what all the other 3xR artists are creating over at the 3xR 2014 Flickr Group

Thanks for reading!