Sunday, November 30, 2008

Studio Sale Approaches...

So, I've been clearing out my studio and have found some really cool things, but either have ten of something, won't ever use it, don't know how to use it, or simply thinks it belongs to someone else who will better appreciate it.  I have my heart set on finally killing off some of my credit card debt.  Ring in the New Year on the right foot and all!

I'll try to get everything posted on Ebay by Tuesday.  Expect to see owls, CDs, books, beads, vintage tintypes, old photos, jewelry (pieces that were featured in Stringing Magazine), costume jewelry, FANCY sunglasses, and craft tools, OH MY!

Not only am I being proactive about reducing my debt, but I'm also letting go of stuff.  This is a really big step for me.  I'm a hoarder and could be very content on piling up every inch of my living space.  However, in an effort to prevent me from being trapped in an avalanche of my own stuff, please keep your eyes out and bid appropriately! 


"My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep.  The more I give thee, the more I have, for both are infinite."

Left:  Detail from a woodblock print by Japanese artist, Hiroshige.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pink Lemonade by Jen Tong...

While I celebrated Thanksgiving with the amazing Jen Tong, I was fortunate enough to secure my very own copy of her silk screen book, Pink Lemonade.  It is such a beautifully crafted labor of love.  (If you've ever done multiple layered color separations and registrations for silk screens, then you know exactly what I'm talking about!)  Not only has Jen Tong made a very handsome book – illustrating and printing it herself – she's also woven together a charming story of the power of friendship with the quirky and colorful Lemon Head World.  This is a MUST HAVE holiday gift for any art enthusiast!  CLICK HERE to email Jen for inquiries on this limited edition gem!

Beaded Links... Jewelry Making
Tammy's drooling over the big and beautiful cloisonne beads.

Inspired by Steam -  Art Bead Scene picks for Steampunk Style.

A holiday gift to you: a sale on downloadable patterns from BeadStyle, Bead&Button, and Art Jewelry magazine.

Getting to know Barbe = 7 random things post!

It's time to get started on those Holly- day projects, here's one from Jennifer.

Cyndi has rounded up a few fast and easy projects from some of her favorite suppliers.

See what fun baubles Jen and her collage artist buddy Traci Bautista come up with this week.  Hint:  There are vintage cupcake toppers, chunky plastic chain and fabric involved!

Jean thinks this class with Anne Mitchell and Gail Crosman Moore would be a fabulously fun and educational experience.  Make this upcoming February a truly special one!  Read all about it here!

Melissa is inspired by astrolabes and orreries to create a pendant from a beautiful lampworked bead.

Magic Words – Text-based jewelry components can be a great source of inspiration.  Andrew investigates these worded beads and pendants in six new designs.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Making the Day...

The delightful Nancy Schindler, who makes wonderful ceramic components, wrote about getting her package in the mail today!  She's one of the participants in the Artist Trading Card exchange.  It made me extremely happy to know that I brightened someone else's day.  CLICK HERE to visit her blog.  

Nancy is such a sweetheart!  Her blog post came at a very good time!  Even though I had a grand time visiting and feasting with my friends Liz Sherwood and Jen Tong for Thanksgiving, I was still a little blue.  I imagine that it's because I miss my family and the bleak weather is reminding me just how much I miss them.  Reading Nancy's post did much to lift my spirits!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today (and everyday) I am thankful for you!

Magic Words...

In my post about Finding Inspiration, I briefly discussed jewelry design as a mode of visual language.  We opened up our creative toolboxes and went over using color, texture, shape, nostalgia, and literary allusions to enrich and inform our work.  In this post, I wanted to explore a more literal approach to visual language and examine pieces made that incorporate components that brandish actual words.

I approached this challenge by creating five new looks and reconfiguring a sixth.  In addressing this inspirational source, I will let the pieces speak for themselves.

The piece above features a "Seek Wisdom" link from my family at Green Girl Studios that I wire-wrapped into a natural brass finding from Vintaj.  This focal piece is accentuated by a rose gold plated leaf, copper-colored Swarovski crystals (from Fusion Beads), copper chain from Ornamentea, and an assortment of pearls from Talisman Associates.

"Just breathe."  I'm reminded of the song by Telepopmusik.  In the midst of a sea of cyanite, potato pearls, labradorite, and jasper (all from Talisman Associates), I featured an electric blue ceramic link by Melanie Brooks Lukacs of Earthenwood Studio that simply states, "Breathe."  I also used a few Swarovski crystals from Fusion Beads and a pewter swirly bead and sterling silver toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios.

Pablo Picasso was noted as saying, "Art is a jealous mistress."  Heather Wynn captures the quote in polymer clay with this new stamped piece.  I've used the Heather Wynn piece in a mix of sleeping beauty turquoise, various kinds of chain, sodalite, and pearls (all from Talisman Associates).  To give the piece a little warmth and a little extra bounce, I used copper wire in parts of the piece and gold-plated cornerless cubes from Saki Silver.

One of my favorite bead artisans is Anne Choi.  She simply is divine.  One of the things she's known for creating are "poetry" beads.  In most cases, she uses a barrel bead to feature lines of poetry and snatches of literature.  In the piece above, I've featured one of her pieces.  It reads, "Lux et umbra vicissim, sed semper amore."  That translates to, "Light and shadow by turns, but always love."  The necklace is made up of seed beads from Jane's Fibers & Beads, Swarovski pearls and Golden Shadow crystals from Fusion Beads, a mix of chain from Ornamentea, a bird clasp from my family at Green Girl Studios, and a sterling silver cast heart from Candice Wakumoto.

I've spotlighted another poetry barrel bead by Anne Choi.  This one sports a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that reads, "Nothing can bring you peace but yourself."  I've used it in a piece I created with Czech pressed glass, faceted pearls, and moonstones (from Talisman Associates), Swarovski crystal bicones from Fusion Beads, a lampwork bead by Patti Cahill of Dyed in the Fire Designs, and a clasp from Saki Silver.

Capturing one of my favorite poems, Anne Choi crafted two barrel beads donning words by Francis Thompson.  The first reads, "All things by immortal power. Near or far, hiddenly to each other linked are."  The second reads, "Thou canst not stir a flower without the troubling of a star."  I've used them with wooden beads from J & M Gems and Things, rutilated smoky quartz, blue sunstone, and pewter daisy spacers (called Pewties) from Talisman Associates, Hill Tribe silver from Hands of the Hills, a Egyptian crystal from Beads and Rocks, and a sterling silver small flowers clasp from my family at Green Girl Studios.  I reworked this piece.  CLICK HERE to see the earlier version.  I wanted to really do the Anne Choi beads justice and create a better balanced piece that has a more even visual all-around weight.  (I also wanted the Egyptian crystal to have more movement and not be as stiff.)

The pieces above are just a few examples of jewelry incorporating text-based components.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Early Christmas...

A surprise was waiting for me in my mailbox today!  My dear friend, Candice Wakumoto sent an early Christmas present all the way from Hawaii.  She enclosed a card crafted by Cora Yee, an owl friend from a local ceramicist named Marie Kodama, and an assortment of Hawaiian snacks.  Her present reminded me just how much I miss Hawaii.  Oh, how I miss it!  

I can't wait to go to Tucson this year!  I always look forward to the Best Bead Show; it's one of the few places that I get to catch up with Candice and Paul and see what masterfully wrought PMC pieces she's been working on.

From Sea to Shining Sea...

I packed up and sent out all of my artist trading cards today!  Eek!  It was a lot more work than I anticipated, but I am excited and feel very good about this project.  Out of curiosity, I decided to make a map of where all the cards were sent.  Above is a map charting the cards' new homes, spreading across the country – from sea to shining sea.

Back Alley at Dawn...

While I was working on some projects in the pre-dawn hours, I noticed that the sun came up bright and warm this morning.  It's been cloudy and sort of drizzly the past few mornings.  So, I thought I'd take advantage of the morning light and capture a couple of shots with my camera.  Above is a glimpse of the back alley behind my apartment building as seen through my house-plant.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fantastic Fiction 2...

I've found myself at Books of Wonder a lot lately.  Not a week or so ago I was there for the first Fantastic Fiction event featuring Robin Wasserman, author of Skinned.  Earlier this evening I was in attendance for their second installment of Fantastic Fiction.  The round-up included Tamora Pierce, John Hulme and Michael Wexler, Allegra Goodman, Peter Howe, Richelle Mead, and my favorite, Holly Black.

Having just finished the last of the Modern Faerie Tale books, Ironside, this event came at a good time.  After spending several hundred pages together, it's hard not to get attached.  The result is the acute pang of withdrawal.  Holly is all tied up finishing up the Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles series, working on the next book in The Good Neighbors series, and working on a new novel called, The White Cat.  Sounds busy to me!  So who knows when or if she'll return to the world of the Modern Faerie Tale... oh, wait... LOOK HERE, I found a short story she wrote that's based in the same urban Faerie universe published online via The Endicott Studio of Mythic Arts.

The event was thronged with fans and young adult book enthusiasts.  The writer regulars from 'Wichcraft were also in attendance.  It was good to see them and Holly and catch up a bit.  They're all such genuinely nice and funny people, it's hard not to like them – especially since they are all very talented and pen books in one of my favorite genres.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Remember these Artist Trading Cards that I did while I was down in Asheville?  I came across them the other day while I was organizing my studio.  

I'd love to share them with who ever is interested.  I would prefer that they go out into the world and have a life with someone who will hopefully enjoy them.  That would be much preferred rather than having them sit around at the bottom of a box in my studio.  Would you like to own one?  If so, let's trade!

Now, I know not everyone does artist trading cards, but that doesn't disqualify you from the running.  We can still trade.  Just send along whatever you think is equal in value.  (Don't send me a dirty gym shoe though; I'll cry and get back at you by posting your name and address!)  Dirty gym shoes aside, part of the excitement is the surprise of seeing what people will send.  Will they send a small work that they created?  Coffee?  Chocolate?  Beads?  Doll parts?  What will they send?

Here's how to play:  Leave a comment with your name, the number (found at the bottom right) of the artist trading card you'd like and a way of contacting you (i.e. an email address, a link to your blog or website address).  By the way, the number is not actually on the card itself – just in the picture to facilitate the process.  First come, first serve, and one card per household please!  (Make sure to check the comments to see if someone else has already claimed the one you want.)  Once I get your snail mail address, I'll promptly put it in the post WITH a surprise of my own.  I'm not going to say what it is, but I'm going to throw in an extra goodie to go along with the card.  I'll include my address with the package and you'll send your surprise trade over.  Once I get all of them back, I'll post pictures of the trades!  (So don't send anything you won't want me to put up a picture of!)

I'm really excited and hope this little experiment in trading works out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

True Blood Season Finale...

After the trip to the flea market, I rushed home to bake a red velvet cake for our True Blood season finale party at Jenny and Sisha's.  I've only made it once before and my memory seemed to glaze over just how much food coloring goes into the cake.  (My sister Sheila would have probably choked to death were she to even eat a bite of the cake.  She's allergic to red dye and this cake was loaded with it!)  I spilled some of the cake batter on accident and it looked very much like a scene out of the show.  If you follow along with this HBO series, you know just which kitchen scene I'm referring to.  EEK!

I enjoyed the finale.  It left me with a lot of questions and I simply can't wait for the next season.  I'm totally hooked – like someone addicted to V.  Between now and the start of next season, I'll have to sate my True Blood thirst with the Sookie Stackhouse books the series is based on by Charlaine Harris.

Hell's Kitchen Flea Market...

Today I went to the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market.  I take great pleasure in digging through boxes and sifting through trinkets.  It's kind of like a game.  The goal is to find a good deal on the little things that will make you happy.  I can just imagine some anti-consumerist out there rolling their eyes right about now, but it's a simple pleasure that runs in my family.  Some of the best times we had as kids were when we rode around with our parents looking for the ever elusive Yard Sale to end all Yard Sales.  

Alas, my deal hunting was pretty limited today.  It was pretty dang cold out and made walking around not as much fun.  My fingers kept freezing up and my joints ached a lot.  So I was forced inside quicker than I would have liked.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Exploring Elegant Armor...

  Above Left:  Cocktail Ring by Ruth Radakovich made in 1969 of 14k gold and titanium rutile.  Above Right:  The Museum of Art and Design in its new location in Columbus Circle.

Left:  Nova Bronstein, student of Jamie Bennett, demonstrating enameling techniques. 

Today I had the pleasure of attending, Exploring Elegant Armor.  It was a day-long look into the Museum of Art and Design's collection of contemporary jewelry featured in their current exhibition, Elegant Armor: The Art of Jewelry.  The event encompassed studio techniques, from standard enameling to cutting-edge CAD (Computer Aided Design) based Polyjet and Perfactory 3D Printing, ideas of contemporary art jewelry in a pedagogical environment, a guided tour of the new inter-active jewelry gallery by the museum's jewelry curator, Ursula Ilse-Neuman, and a panel discussion between artists and educators, Jamie Bennett, Iris Eichenberg, and Stanley Lechtzin (moderated by Ursula Ilse-Neuman).  

I feel as though the new Tiffany Gallery at MAD is a rare shining jewel that reflects the unique and diverse possibilities in jewelry – expanding upon the field, fleshing it out, and showing it in three-dimensions.  I particularly enjoy how broad of a definition they give art jewelry.  It was exciting to see the different veins of inspiration and conceptual underpinnings, and how it translated into wearable (sometimes not-so-wearable) adornment.

I was really inspired by this trip to the museum.  I think it is easy sometimes to lose sight of the outside world when you're locked up in your studio.  Today was particularly remarkable in that my eyes were opened a little wider and that I walked away feeling good about the field.  Iris Eichenberg made a really good point during the panel discussion that stuck with me.  She talked about how she didn't want to approach the (jewelry) artist in a self-deprecating way, but to embrace the luxurious role of being someone who has created an object where another person has to walk away with said object and decide to cherish it – decide to value it, to love it, to hold it precious.  It made me feel like an alchemist, not merely of metals and materials, but of memories and magic.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Beaded Links... Jewelry Making
New Gathering Leaf Project - Use a chipboard sticker and some wire to make a leaf necklace for fall or to wear at the Thanksgiving table.

Art Bead Scene reviews their favorite tools.  This tool gets around!

Always wanted to publish a beading or jewelry-making book?  Kalmbach Publishing Co. is looking for authors.

CHA Winter Show and Trends – Join Katie as she shares trends from the upcoming CHA Winter Show.

Carmi decides to make a name tag she'll actually wear.

It's not beaded, but it's quite entertaining!  Carter shares some of her other creative talents this week.

Jennifer's showing some funky sticks for your hair this week.

Kerry Wilkinson works with resin and... fruit?  Well, ok, it's really polymer clay!

Naughty Secretary Club and Etsy team up for a fun bracelet how-to project and a shopping guide for kitschy cool jewelry supplies.

Jean could easily picture herself as the lead in the book, The Secret Garden.  Come play dress up with some jewelry using Green Girl Studios components!

Melissa gets inspired by a favorite strip from "Peanuts."

Finding Inspiration – Andrew explores a few examples of where he discovers inspiration and how it relates to the jewelry he makes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finding Inspiration...

I've often times been asked where I find inspiration for my jewelry design.  The truth of the matter is that I find the Muse in almost everything around me.  Some of the most mundane objects and scenarios generate great ideas.  One of the things that I consider when I sit down to make a new piece is visual language.  Visual language is the communication of an idea through seen objects that I, as the artist, create or arrange.  It is my goal to create pieces that are easily identifiable and convey a particular meaning.  To pick a topic, boil it down to the bare essentials, extract a message, and then translate it into jewelry isn't always the easiest.  That's why I utilize a lot of really basic and common imagery and household experiences to facilitate the process.  I use my handy digital camera and Google Image Searches to stock my visual archive - literally and figuratively.  

The piece above and to the left is titled, "Miel."  It means, "honey" in most Romantic languages.  Miel was a semi-finalist for 2007 KGI Worldwide Design Contest.  I wanted to create a piece that would seemingly drip off the wearer's neck and embody the characteristics of honey.  To tie the piece together, I used a bee emblazoned box clasp designed by family at Green Girl Studios.

I'm not sure who originally said it, but the words still ring true today:  Mother Nature is the greatest painter.  I studied painting in college and learned that one of the first technical hurdles is mixing colors.  I often times use nature as a direct source of color palettes.  "Ode to Autumn," the piece above and to the left was inspired by the brilliant colors of the fall foliage.  The challenge here was finding the right materials to simulate the warm chroma of the leaves.  I used a lot of different saturations of the same kind of stone, primarily carnelian, (with sun stone and red tiger's eye accents).  To pull the piece together, I used a shibuichi clasp from Saki Silver that has its own warmth and richness.

I can remember the first winter I spent in New York.  I was cold, miserable, and probably more than a little suffering from seasonal affective disorder.  Growing up in Florida, I wasn't used to it or how spring would make me feel once it arrived!  Coming out of months of darkness and freezing temperatures, I was positively giddy!  Flowers were blossoming on trees, birds were singing, the sun had come out, and Love was in the air!  To celebrate, I took a stroll through Central Park.  I was thinking about my newly found love interest and felt all those feelings one sparkles with at the start of a budding relationship, when I came across Cherry Hill.  What I saw took my breath away.  The hill seemed to be magically transported from some Candy Land and made of cotton candy; it was covered with saccharine pink cherry blossoms that covered it in total.  At the very top, near the trunk of the tree posed a newlywed couple in full regalia and wedding finery having their pictures taken.  Everything seemed to converge at that moment - the weather, my feelings, the scenery, the symbolism, everything.  Years later, that particular love interest has faded into the shadows of yesteryear, but that moment, suspended in time, has not.  It still remains vibrant and crisp.

Color isn't the only source of inspiration.  Nostalgia is an ingredient that can be added to design.  While it reaches into one's own personal imagery, you'd be surprised how many people have shared similar feelings and can relate to, (if not have already experienced) the same or nearly same circumstances.

Sakura, the necklace above and to the left, was featured in the 2008 Summer issue of Stringing Magazine.  I didn't use just color and nostalgia to make this piece.  Using wire-wrapped links comprised of rondelles sandwiched between pearls and rose-colored Swarovski rounds, I mimicked the shapes of the buds and burgeoning cherry blossoms.  Shape is another visual aid in your toolbox to convey what you mean.  To emphasis the cherry blossom theme, I galvanized the message with the addition of a silver barrel bead by the talented Anne Choi and a small flower clasp from my family at Green Girl Studios.

Inspiration doesn't always follow a straight line.  Seemingly random events and images can come together, react, and results in new directions in design.  For instance, what do break times spent reading classical literature, a Dead Can Dance tribute album, and a trip to the Botanical Gardens create?  In this particular case, The Lotus-Eaters featured in the 2007 Summer issue of Stringing Magazine.  From the very start, when I could pick up a book and read it, mythology was one of my favorite subjects.  It nurtured my curiosity about how the world worked (far better than hard science ever could) and set ablaze my imagination.  For the longest time, I would carry a paperback copy of The Odyssey and read and re-read the epic poem on my breaks in between lawn-care jobs.  Eventually I graduated to Tennyson and beyond, many whom were still firmly rooted in classical mythology.  One of my favorite bands is Dead Can Dance.  In 2004 a tribute album came out of their work, redoing and reworking some of their songs.  Needless to say, I wore it out listening to it.  The album was titled, "The Lotus-Eaters."  A few years later, I found myself at a Botanical Garden and seeing a luminous pale green flower emerging from muddy pond water.  It seemed to be a pure and shining example of sheer beauty.  Not long after that I was at a bead show perusing Marsha Neal Studio's booth.  I honed in on the ceramic pendant with the lotus image on it and everything clicked into place, and suddenly everything buried in my subconscious surfaced and manifested in a design.

The process of making, "The Raven Queen," (which was also featured in the 2007 Summer issue of Stringing Magazine), happened a bit reversed from that of The Lotus-Eaters.  I had all the components.  I had the ceramic raven pendant from Raven's Journey.  I had the twig charms from Scattered Light.  I had all the stones.  I had the clasp from Saki Silver and I even had the ceramic piece from Marsha Neal Studio.  But all of them rested in my bead stash independent of one another.  That is until I started reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.  When I looked out the window, taking a break from reading, I saw a HUGE raven outside my window that had alighted in the branches of the dead tree.  I grabbed my camera, ran to the window and caught the bird just as it took flight.  The rest fell into place, even the eventual gender change of the original title of, "The Raven King" to "The Raven Queen." 

Inspiration is all around us.  It's up to us, as designers, to utilize our creative toolbox to harvest the gifts of the everyday Muses.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recent Found Objects...

To some, this may just look like a pile of garbage.  To others, a pile of treasures who's full potential has not yet been realized or achieved.  I'm one of the latter.  To me, these newly found objects are full of possibilities.  (The only thing not found in the picture is the Pacific Merchants plate, but even that was a bargain – and bargains are some of the very best kinds of finds.)

Usually I come across a lot of beach glass.  The beach definitely had glass on it, though it wasn't smooth and wasn't really worn enough to warrant its transition from the distinction of "broken liquor bottle" to "beach glass."  However, I did find several devil pods or bat nuts (also known as water caltrops).  Apparently these are either good luck charms or offerings to dark gods.  Either that or a prehistoric nutritional staple.  Being that these particular ones come from a water source with hypodermic needles, used condoms, and feminine hygiene products floating around in it... I will resist the urge to try and eat them.  That and the possibility of potentially getting an infection from an intestinal fluke makes these for decorative purposes only.  (Parasitic illness is not one of the kinds of possibilities I'm looking to explore!)

I also found an odd assortment of hollowed out crab claws, sun-bleached bones, old toy parts, light-bulbs, a two of hearts, driftwood, mermaid's purses, shards of pottery, and worn aggregate stone.  I think a good haul!

Blissful Sleep...

Last night was the first night that I was able to sleep more than an hour.  I've been having trouble sleeping since I came back to New York.  I think that my body is just adjusting to the light and the cold.  Often times I just lay in bed, trying not to move or think, but inevitably just stare at the ceiling and listen to what people are doing on the street (which has significantly decreased since it is cold out).  It probably does not help that I pound a bag of Kona coffee-covered macadamia nuts that I got in Hawaii.  Or that I drink lots of coffee and tons of soda.  But the nuts are so delicious and just because I'm awake doesn't mean I'm alert and the coffee and soda helps with that.  I've got my fingers crossed that tonight I'll be able to sleep better also and that the trend will continue.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coney Island Creek Revisited...

One of the filthiest beaches I've ever seen is Coney Island Creek Park.  I've often times heard jokes about how Coney Island is very dirty, but just down the way, this canal-facing beach has no rivals.  Despite my disgust at all the litter (and incidentally the people who are the root of it), there is a beauty here.  It's not a conventional beauty.  It's the beauty of flaws, of broken things that need repair.  It's the beauty of loss and decay.  The Artist and Spiritualist in me finds purpose in transforming and elevating this once neglected and unloved flotsam and jetsam into something a little more sacred – cherished.

Broken glass lays glittering on the wind-swept dunes.

Chilly winds and foreboding clouds run through with shafts of fading light roll in on this seascape featuring the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
Laying derelict, this boat now only serves as shelter for beach critters and as a receptacle for garbage.  
Seen from another view, this picture focuses more inland and down the canal - the canal that's eating away at the trash-strewn beach.

Another curious looking structure of concrete and rusty metal sinks in the sand and is slowly being worn away by the constantly churning waves.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cold November...

The temperature just dropped and with it many of the remaining leaves on the trees.  The ginkgo trees have transformed the ordinary sidewalks into Yellow Brick Roads.  But this is no Emerald City.  It is Gray Gotham.  The shadows are longer, cooler, deeper.  4 o'clock in the afternoon and it's already dark.  It is cold out now and they say it might snow.  Winter is knocking at the door.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vegetable Strata...

In an attempt to expand my vegetarian cooking skills and utilize the Greenmarket goodies, I put those purple potatoes to use and made a vegetable "strata."  First, I whipped up a mixture of green beans, pigeon peas, coconut milk (and flakes), carrots, and raisins.  I seasoned it with turmeric, chilies, saffron, and lots of garlic.  I then caramelized some onions and layered it all with slices of boiled potatoes and grated cheese.  The result was a unique combination of savory and sweet.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

(True) Bloody Marys...

Our friends, Jenny and Sisha, had us over to their apartment for dinner and a True Blood mini-marathon.  Dinner (served with Bloody Marys) was absolutely delicious!  I can't remember having scallops that good before.  It's funny, because we got so caught up in catching up that we didn't actually get to watch the show.  

Speaking of vampires, apparently Stevens Auction just auctioned off this authentic vampire-slaying kit for $14,850.  CLICK HERE for the review of the Jimmy Pippen estate sale.  Apparently this isn't the first vampire killing kit to go on the market in recent months, CLICK HERE to read the USA Today story about another kit that went for $12,000. 

May it never find its way to Bon Temps!

Greenmarket at Union Square...

After the book signing at Books of Wonder with the delightful Robin Wasserman, a stop on the way back to the apartment at the Greenmarket in Union Square was only natural.  In fact, the late autumn harvest demanded it!  I couldn't resist pulling my camera out for a few quick snapshots.

How 'bout them apples!

Ugly-beautiful, yellow beefsteak tomatoes.

Reddish-pink baby carrots.

Cute mini-pumpkins.

Left: More apples.  Right: Purple potatoes.
Pretty parsnips.


This morning I headed over to my favorite book store in the City, Books of Wonder.  A panel of authors was talking about and signing their new books.  Among the many authors was one of my regulars from my former job, Robin Wasserman.  Not only is she wonderfully nice and quite accomplished as a young adult writer, but she has a mutual love of chocolate cookies.  She and her posse of authors would come in nearly every day to write and were often times the highlight of my day with their witty banter and day-to-day mishaps.  Now that I'm away from the restaurant, the only non-stalker-ish way of seeing them is through their public events – such as this one featuring her new book, Skinned.  I can't wait to delve into the futuristic world of Lia Kahn and her second life as a downloaded mechanical girl.

Friday, November 14, 2008

To Be Organized...

Most of today was spent in the studio unpacking boxes and trying to get organized once and for all.  Some of the boxes I opened hadn't been opened in years and had survived (unopened) through several moves around the country.

The shot to the left looks like absolute chaos, but I actually get a good feeling from it.  Already a pattern is forming and things are beginning to divide and sub-divide and eventually everything will have a home and a specific place to be.  Sure, the random turkey baster is thrown into the lot, but a kitchen box got mixed in with my studio equipment and is just another example of me weeding through things and organizing them.

The process hasn't been the quickest –  I've been very careful of going through things.  I've made several trips down Memory Lane and continue to sort and re-sort.  As impossible as it sounds, it's very meditative.  I want the studio to be set up perfectly and for me to know where everything is and really use what I already have on hand.  Believe it or not, I have over two gallons of white Elmer's Glue, six mini-paint rollers, and dozens of unopened packs of batteries.  Right now it's all about laying everything out.  Next it'll be about cutting back.  And ultimately the goal is to have a perfectly organized studio.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Before my most recent trip down South, I didn't really notice what kind of pliers I used.  They were the run-of-the-mill ones you can pick up at any bead shop or bead show.  While I was helping Cynthia with her book, I was fortunate enough to use her tools.  Today I started a simple wire-wrapping project and after a couple of minutes I definitely felt the difference.  She's got a set of Lindstrom Pliers, in particular the Lindstrom Precision Tools Rx series, and they feel like heaven in comparison to my old ones.  The Lindstrom pliers have ergonomic handles that really reduce the impact on your wrists. (They are also so sturdy that they can easily bend and manipulate stainless steel wire!)  Lisa Kan also carries a set of magic Japanese cutlery-grade steel ones, but I haven't used them myself.  I wonder if they'd do the trick since they're designed for finer gaged wires.  Anyone else have any suggestions?  I'm looking to upgrade and I wire-wrap a lot!  A good set of pliers can get pretty pricey and I want to make sure that I invest my money wisely. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What's For Dinner...

Tonight was a special occasion and I decided to celebrate by cooking a fairly fancy dinner.  I made sirloin steaks that were pan-seared and then roasted in the oven with lots of butter, garlic, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms.  On the side was a simple bell pepper salad, which consisted of sliced bell peppers dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and some sugar.  I also whipped up some garlic and cheddar mashed potatoes.  The meal was paired with a pinot noir from a great little winery called, The Thirsty Owl Wine Company.  Not only is their wine good, but they've got a GREAT mascot!