Monthly Archives: September 2012

In the Works… Chile Pepper Earrings!

Yesterday we went to Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Chile Pepper Fiesta. What a fun event! I’m a low-spice person, but there was plenty even for my type to eat, and much to see, too. I learned about the Ghost Pepper and Trinidadian Scorpion Pepper. Don’t those names make you want to stop everything and go find some for lunch? On a design note, there was some great, creative work among the food packaging.

The day before we went, as I was getting pumped to go, I had an inspired idea… chile pepper jewelry! Oh, yes. Funky spicy bling. I’d like to make that happen. So yesterday, among the abundant tents of free samples of hot sauce, pickles, mayo, kimchi, spicy honey and more than a dozen varieties of chocolate (oh, my tummy) I kept an eye out for the right tiny pepper, one that could be recognized by its shape without its vibrant redness. I’m not sure I found the one, but I found a good candidate. It’s on my work desk, and we’re watching each other. We’ll see.

I did find leaves than seemed just right for silver leaves, including ginkgo, and a tiny intact acorn.

More photos of those soon. But now, la fiesta:

I felt bad… I had to spit this candy out! The hottest thing I tried all day. Excuse me while I walk in circles and suck on my tongue for a bit. And this was the “mild one.” The other flavor was “100 times hotter.” Hahahaha. No.

And of course the garden itself is splendid.

There is something magical about these flowers within flowers.

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Real Leaf, Silver Jewelry

Presenting… new leaf earrings, made from real leaves! When we were out and about in the park the other day, we came across a tree that had begun to drop leaves with a sharply defined vein structure. They struck me as being classic “leaf” shape, perfect for one of my favorite special projects.

I really like the results of this project, and how each piece is absolutely unique. I wore the earrings out the other day for our spin in the convertible. They are incredibly lightweight and moved so nicely in the wind.

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Upstate Appleversary, With a Pooey Ending, but That Happens Sometimes

We’ve been making a concerted effort to not let our stress best us, and our method has been to close our computers and go outside. Yesterday we undertook our annual apple picking anniversary adventure. We asked the Internet which local apple orchard would be fun for this weekend and settled on Lawrence Farms Orchards in Newburgh, NY.

The drive up in the Zipcar convertible was a little chillier than last year (please fall, stay warm until our wedding!), but the farm itself was charming and sunny, and quite popular. This place has regulars. Bunches and bunches of kids in bouncing red wagons (cleverly rented out by the farm). They have corn, cabbage and many varieties of apples, although by this weekend there were already several rows of trees with no fruit left.

We ventured off away from the crowds, and as it turned out, the venturing about was our favorite part of the farm. The grounds are quite attractive. The farm is on a hill above a valley that can be properly described as sloped and sweeping. The Hudson River is just below out of sight and we agreed the hills on the farm itself would be perfect for sledding.

Because we had trouble finding what was left of the u-pick apples, we wound up doing some off-road picking.

There was an abundance of non-cultivated plant life.

Arthur kindly helped a little girl who wanted one particular shiny red apple that was more or less in the middle of a tree. It was difficult, and there were thorns. What a guy.

There was a split pea soup lake! (filled with bobbing apples!).

There had been deer.

They also have u-pick purple grapes. Concord grapes taste so… purple. Frankly, they were a little icky, much too snotty in texture for my liking. A good taste in the skins, though.

I wore my new leaf earrings for the day and am happy to report that they are convertible-proof. Leaf earrings coming soon to the shop!

And… just before we turned for home, two hours out, the convertible top broke in the down position! After failing to fix it, we drove back to Brooklyn as the sun was setting, in the wind, with the car dinging that the roof was loose whenever we were moving over 20 miles per hour. Which was almost the whole way. We cranked the seat warmers and huddled behind the windshield and listened to scratchy rock stations as loud as possible to drown out the dinging. What a test of patience! And we arrived pretty much ok. Ain’t that love 🙂 Happy two years honey!

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Happy Bride, Happy Me

I received an email recently that made me do a happy dance. It was from a friend-turned-customer, for whom I’d made a silver sunflower pendant, which was to be a wedding gift for her best friend. The bride planned to carry a bouquet with a sunflower in the center. Beautiful!

The pendant was a good size, so it needed to be thin in order to not be too heavy, and that meant careful, close work. Technically speaking, I’d never made a piece with quite so many parts that needed to be assembled and reinforced.

In the end it was unmistakably a sunflower and pleasantly asymmetrical as requested, but it’s not my opinion that counts, ultimately, on custom orders. I always hope to please, but this was so, so happy to hear!

She absolutely loved it — so much that she wrapped it around her bouquet when she walked down the aisle. As soon as I have a picture (the photographer took one) I’ll send you a copy. Thanks again. You really helped me make a very special gift for my best friend bride.

This is what it’s all about. Woohoo!

Sunflower pendant on the bouquet

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Prospect Park Afternoon

Hello there. What am I?

We took a little walk in the park today, despite our looming to-do list. It is beautiful out, and I spent all daylight hours yesterday working on a big jewelry order, and we don’t spend enough time in the park. So, the park it was.

What a happy place. The air inside is cooler and sweeter, and the squirrels are the cutest in all the city. Just kidding on that last part.

We saw a beautiful bird! At first it looked sick. It was sitting with its eyes closed in the middle of a path. It didn’t seem to notice us crouching in front of it. For a few minutes we watched it. Then it opened its eyes and hopped a few feet down the path, and we moved on. I’m not sure what kind of bird it is. Do you know?

Arthur spotted this bit of arboreal humor.

And I found a heart. Park love!

Heart leaf

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New Design: Celtic Cross

Blue Dot Celtic Cross

My honey made a special jewelry request for the first time, and I said… but of course! A longtime friend of his family’s, a sister of St. Joseph, is celebrating her 60th year of religious life this weekend.

I’d never made a cross, but I knew it would be a Celtic cross. Both myself and this sister are Irish gals.  I appreciate the detail in them, and was intrigued by the challenge of creating one, although I knew it would be more simple than they sometimes can be.

I enjoyed figuring out how to braid PMC. Actually, I enjoyed the whole process.

Once I tried it on, I didn’t really want to take it off. But it’s in the mail today, with our blessings.

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Color

Now and then I see something so intricately, brilliantly colored that I wish I worked in a medium that could express those layers. Silver is beautiful, but wow these colors make me think about expression in a different way.

20120912-011535.jpgBoth photos taken in Brooklyn!

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Remembering

Our office is not far from where the towers stood. Today lower Manhattan feels different, more aware, more present. It’s a bright, clear day for reflection and remembering.

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Exploring Dead Horse Bay (More Fun Than It Sounds!)

Path to the beach

For years I’ve only known of this area by its bleak name, and its history as the location of several horse rendering plants, and then as a late 19th-century trash dump. I had no interest in visiting.

However, the dump has begun to resurface, bringing glass, ceramics and other treasures to the tide’s edge. We learned this through an article that Arthur stumbled upon earlier this week. It inspired us to take a de-stressing day trip down to see what we might find.

The bay is simple to access, just to the west of Floyd Bennett Field, via the Q35 bus. We walked another half mile past the bus stop, along the road and then through a stretch of lush dunes, to find the beach. It’s unmistakable. I’ve never see a beach strewn with so much stuff.

Much of what is there is just trash, but more than anything there is glass, in every color and shape. Some old bottles and some new. It was clear that things had been combed through by those before us, but we had fun toeing every glass bottle and jar that looked like it might be intact. (Be advised, there are still horse bones among the mix, yeesh, and we saw quite a few dead horseshoe crabs.)

My ulterior motive was to find pretty patterns that I could use in photographing my jewelry, and I did find a few tiny porcelain fragments that I’m looking forward to working with.

It was a beautiful day. We only saw one other couple doing what we were doing.

This is our haul, a slice of Americana. Among them: an Omega Oil bottle, a Whitehall medicine bottle, a Waterman ink bottle.

Our finds

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Honey, Bees and Apples

Wedding honey

I’m thinking about honey today. I’ve just finished filling 100 little jars of honey for our wedding, which was a fun and sticky process. My mom found and shipped the honey from Portland so that we can have a sweet bit of Portland (in addition to my beautiful friends and family) at the event. The wedding will be so Brooklyn-filled otherwise, she pointed out. True, true! The woman who sold it to her was a little horrified at the prospect of us filling these mini jars by ourselves, so she gave my mom the tip that we should use a syrup serving container (like the ones found in a diner) and it worked quite well. It would have been a much more horrifyingly honey-covered project without that tool. The next step is to top the jars with bits of fabric and tie them with tags. I’ll post a photo of the finished product.

I also have bees on my mind because these were my project last night. I sell more of them in the fall than any other time.

Blue Dot Hive & Bee necklace

It makes sense, as bees remind me of autumn, apple picking and apple cider — hard or otherwise! You too? I’m glad this time of year has arrived. I’m ready for hunkering down inside with a sweater and hot mug of tea while rain beats against the windows. Reminds me of the Portland of my childhood.

Just a few more photos. These are from when we went apple picking last year at the lovely upstate Applewood Orchards. We’re itching to go back. How peaceful their farm is. They have cider, honey, local produce, pumpkins and goats!

Applewood Orchards

Apple picking at Applewood

Last one

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