Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Interior

It has been many years since I've worked full time.

Well, worked a job full time. Going to school was definitely full time, plus some. But there was flexibility. There were mornings, afternoons, and weekends. Now, my weekends fall on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and every other Sunday.

This means that blissfully, I have the whole house to myself for two days each week. As a gal who really needs a good amount of alone time--quiet time--this is sacred. I generally spend one day working on the house (more on that soon), and one day in the studio. Wednesday evenings are reserved for Studio Time with my dear friend (and semi-student) Eddie. He is a woodworker/banjo maker/leather worker and I've been teaching him a thing or two about metalsmithing.

Funny enough, I've been spending more time in the studio in my spare time than I thought I would! Between having a student, and handling repairs and custom jobs for the store (as seen above), as well as my own jewelry, I've been in there a lot.

Above is a custom order I recently finished for one of our very good customers. Using the customer's Larimar, I set it in 18KY bezel, with labradorite and amethyst charms as well. The gold accents are all 18K and the rest is sterling silver. I really hope she loves it.

Today I'm taking a mini-break, though. Today I am working on the interior. The home.

We live in a two-bedroom apartment with our two kitties. With us both working full-time and having engagements outside the home, there hasn't been quite as much effort put into the interior design aspect of our living space. That paired with renting. Recently, after lamenting about not being able to buy our own home, I sat myself down and said, "Put that effort into the space you have now. Work on the garden. Invest some money. Paint if you must. Put up shelves. Make it yours."

These are all things I remember reading in Apartment Therapy years ago, and they are finally sticking. I recently went to the Rebuilding Center and fell in love with massive chunky lengths of wood that must have been cross beams or something. They're rough and barely sanded. I had them chop them into 4' lengths and have been slowly installing them all over the house. The kitties now have window-sills to sit on and gaze out into the world. The bathroom now has a shelf, and I have space for my books. I have never been so excited about shelves in all my life. That and soaker hoses (I finally got some to expedite the watering of the garden and am so glad I did! I need a few more, and to install the edging in the back, but that will come).

I want to be surrounded by beauty. I want to feel at home in my own home. Art is going up, things are shifting around. After 2 years I am finally settling in.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Summer Sale!


One of my favorite things about making and selling jewelry is when it finds a new home.

There is a certain joy that comes with someone finding that "perfect" piece of jewelry to add to their collection/wardrobe.
Summer is here, and a lot of my work fits in great with this time of year--big earrings, long necklaces, bright stones. So....

I'm having a Summer Sale!!! 
Everything in my Etsy Shop is 20% OFF for the month of July. 
Get it while it's hot, and I'll keep adding new pieces!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On being present (and letting go of a few things...)

Life moves so quickly. Suddenly, that week you thought you had to do x, y, and z is gone.
I can't really remember when time didn't move so fast, though. Time has always been a strange thing for me--one week often feels like two or three. Perhaps it is based on how much I experience/do/absorb in that time period.

I have been thinking a lot lately about simplifying. On my days off work, I have a hard time motivating because it feels like there is so much to do. The garden, the house, the studio are all calling my name. I have taken to writing lists for myself again. Schedules. It may seem silly but it simplifies things for me.

That, and getting rid of clutter. Not just personal belongings, but things like social media. I wonder, who is out there? Who is paying attention? Why am I spending my time on this? Reflecting back to my senior year, I remember one of our presenters telling us "Find your outlet, and just focus on that." For him, it was instagram. And it worked for him! With social media, there's this weird pressure to have our names/presence in every space. Facebook, twitter, blogs, flickr, instagram, etc. etc. In the back of my mind, I have been mulling over this (I do that, a lot). Where do I want to be seen? What do I want to spend my time on? What do I want to be known for? Do I really want to spend my time searching for and posting interesting articles that have nothing to do with me? Not necessarily.

So...I'm taking a step back from a few things. I'm refocusing. Twitter is the first to go--it's good for me catching up on news and such, but it's not really where I want to "be." I love facebook for its social aspect, and to be honest I have actually found a lot of opportunities through it (AND I've met some amazing people). I don't know how much time I'll really be spending on it going forward though. Flickr is interesting but has already fallen to the backburner.

What I want to put out to the world is images, and words. I want to show you what I'm making--and be known for it. I want to "talk" to you (whoever "you" is) and write. I'm not a writer per se, but I have always explored through words. Now that time is so precious, I want to make it quality time. It's all about prioritizing, my dears. What do you prioritize?

As for what I have actually been doing with my time....
At the top, you'll see an image of some new explorations. I was trying to create a hollow form for a special project--at first I played in paper clay (I am definitely not a ceramicist), then moved on to sheet metal, and finally to this lighter version in wire.

I am making a few things to have at Silverado Portland soon--earrings galore! Exploring ideas old and new, and playing with my signature shape. Above are Spirit Earrings at their beginnings.

Explorations with my signature shape.

 And, exciting news--my dear friend Eddie Miranda has been joining me in the studio lately for some collaborations! Eddie is a woodworker and luthier, but has some experience in metalsmithing. It's been so nice having someone else to share the space with.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Endings and Beginnings

Whew! I tell you, it has been a time. The past two months have seen some big changes in my life. I have been working 6-7 day weeks for two months straight, and by last week, my ability to filter or process much was just gone. I was exhausted. Luckily, I was also dog-sitting so I was able to get some much-needed alone/quiet time in the evenings.

I have finally retired from nannying. That was probably the most major change. I have been with the same family for 9 years. Almost an entire decade! When people ask if I want kids, I kind of laugh and say, "Nope, I've already raised kids." I love those kids like nothing else, and when I made the decision to leave, I nearly had a panic attack. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity I was given. Now that things have settled, I can schedule some time with them!

I also left my post at OCAC as Studio Manager. I thought my new job was going to be part time, and that I could handle both jobs...not so. I ended up working full time almost right away, and barely made it through May in one piece.

Which brings me to the new beginning--you are now looking at the Assistant Manager at Silverado Portland, a jewelry store in Bridgeport Village. I am loving my new job. It's fun, it's fast paced (most of the time), we have really lovely customers, and I get to sell jewelry without worrying about making it. Plus, we represent some great artists. Perk: I get to wear different jewelry every day. I am in charge of their website, social media, marketing, and am also working on repairs and custom pieces (I'll be starting a very exciting one this next week!). Soon, I will have more balance as well, and can really truly get back into my studio.

In the meantime, I have been sneaking in some studio time to finish my piece for The Contemporary Jewelry Exchange (I can't wait to show you!!!) and have discovered some fun things along the way. I'll post pictures soon.

Yesterday and today were my first weekend in two months. I definitely felt the effects of exhaustion this morning--spacey, tired, unable to focus. But I had a date at the spa, and spent a bunch of time in the garden, and felt much, much better. Back to work tomorrow!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Ups and Downs

Life has been full of ups and downs lately. There are so many transitions lately that all I can do is stick my elbows out and get carried along with the flow.

I got a new job at a jewelry store--it's very fun, eclectic, and my co-workers are wonderful.

I finally, finally, retired from nannying. When I got the new job, and realized this was going to happen, I had awful awful nightmares.

I am still having nightmares. But I figure it's all part of the process.

My body needs extra care lately. Some very real repercussions are taking place whenever I eat something I'm not supposed to (wheat, alcohol, coffee, sugar, etc.). It's scary and I'm doing the best I can to tweak my diet and be good. I am even sipping bone broth as I write this.

Today was my first day off work in 3 weeks (hello, transition period!) and I took myself to the art museum to see the Italian Fashion exhibition. It was wonderful and made me want to look further into my great aunt's life--she was a contessa in Vicenza during WWII and after. I am so curious about her life. I am blessed to have some of her belongings, including two scarves from Dior with little notes written on them by him.

I read my friend's suicide note. It didn't answer any questions and really threw me off for a few days. I have to work very hard, every day, to keep a healthy frame of mind about her suicide.

Our collaboration pieces are going to travel far and wide! I am so grateful.

Due to the current state of teaching at universities in America, I have postponed my going to grad school indefinitely. I still want to...someday. But with the state of things, I just can't justify the debt when the job prospects are so dismal.

Like I said, this is a seriously transitional time. It is kind of strange, but I'm just going with the flow as best I am able.

Oh, and Amber is limping. And falling. She can barely jump--I'm hoping it's just arthritis but we'll see.

I can't wait to get back into the studio tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

I have some new and wonderful wares in the Etsy Shop! Head over to check them out and be on the lookout for more, coming soon....

Friday, March 20, 2015


Life has been a whirlwind of events. It's like one of those beautiful, blustery days in the Gorge--wind coming at you in all directions, blowing this way and that, followed by moments of calm. On those windiest of days, those moments of calm are a true blessing.

So has been life. After working for months on the Co:Operation Garnish pieces, followed directly by preparing for a craft fair, I have been blessed by two weeks of quietude. Two weeks that I have enjoyed silence, yoga, running, and the beautiful sunlight that has been gracing the Northwest.

Yesterday (Thursdays always seem to be my day to do these things), I ventured out with a girlfriend to the Smith Bybee Wetlands in North Portland. We wandered the paths and wetlands, commenting on the cutest teeniest birds, and gawking at the gorgeous Blue Herons that flew past.

New pieces are in the works, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you! 

It has been a beautiful time. Happy Spring!