Monday, December 10, 2012


For a simple gal at heart, I have to wonder where I get these ornate compulsions!
This has more 'bling' than my entire closet.

Honestly, a lot of my wraps are that way. I think in my past life, I was a royal jeweler. 'Here, peon. You must show my wealth by using all of these gems in a piece of glory that will shame all others.'

So, I decided to develop mini bling. Hey, I can't completely suppress the wild wire in me, but what would I wear?

I still love the look above, a style developed by Eni Oken (I want that name!)

So I went small. My delightfully small cabs I made this summer. And I wrapped them. This, I would wear!

I also renamed and am filling up my Etsy again. I called it 'studiodct' and I'm having fun this time. 

I hope it shows.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I wrap's not new that I dabble in things. Seriously dabble. Serious hobbiest? Serial artisan!

I do chainmaille
Whatever. I make alot of stuff.
I silversmith

I knit

I sew

I Etsy too. But to fit my different 'personalities' of creative outlets, I created 2 stores.

I just can't keep track anymore! I had to create 2 emails, and I honestly forgot all about the one for my jewelry shop, and so when I finally located the email and password, I had posts months old that went unanswered. Bad shop owner!

So I need to consolidate. My old(er) brain just can't keep track of things as well anymore. It's beyond making lists, I need to write down EVERYTHING or I WILL forget. It just drops away, without a care.

When I was younger, at least I had that niggling feeling that I'd forgotten something.

Older, I am blissfully unaware. A blessing for some things in life, I'm sure. But not this.

So, good-bye 'OrganicMetallurgy' and 'Sockdiva' is getting a make-over! The Sockdiva has all my feedback and history, and I will have to offer at least one pair of token socks, just to amuse myself.

My goal for 2013 is to have 100 items listed by the end of 2013.

Wish me luck. I'm surely going to need it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Handknit socks make everything better

Bunnies and reindeer, knit it various combinations of Felicity sock yarn superwash merino from Knitpicks.

That is one thing I LOVE about getting older. I used to primp as much as the next gal, with the make-up, the uncomfortable height enhancing shoes and more form fitting clothes. At my age, I've EARNED some comfort!

Instead of being a Red Hat Society, I'm my own off-shoot, the 'Happy Sock Society'

Maybe I should make some buttons!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hug a Teacher

Sadly, I haven't touched rocks and metal much since another school year started.

It happens every year.

Ah, I have to be so careful what I write!

All the teachers I work with have a passion for teaching. We know we make a difference. But we're human.

And this human is tired. And it's only October! I'm not the only one at my site, either.


Thursday, August 16, 2012


Some of my favorite stones made into rings, now up on my Etsy! Next batch will focus on greens and blues out of the SW and California Big Sur Jade, and interesting metallic rock~~

Of course I'm in love with silversmithing. Seems to suit me. All the steps suit my rotating moods. Cutting slabs with my Blue Monster. Peaceful meditating of choosing slabs. Noisy trimming of slabs. Focused concentration with cabbing. Then the silversmithing, and the many steps to produce a ring!

Friday, August 10, 2012

First Ring

After 5/6 classes with Chuck at UCD Craft Barn, my first  ring is finished! 

I was never interested in silversmithing before, and Margot would talk about all the sawing and sanding, and I always liked the immediacy of wire wrapping, but...I love this! 

I love how the solder flows. I love using a dremel, and putting compound on wheels. I enjoy sawing through metal. I love the solid feel of the piece. 

I need to improve my cabs, though, for bezels. I always did a continuous curve, like Sam Silverhawk, which is perfect for wraps. But not so much for this. 

And believe it or not, considering how over-the-top I tend to wrap, I am not inclined at this time to embellish the rings I plan to make.

I wish I had another summer!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I need to reinstate FRUGAL to start, I'm staying home instead of going out. I've been pretty bad lately, justifying it by saying I'm 'setting myself up' for expanding my jewelry skills. But now I'm largely done, and while I hemmed and hawed and delayed to purchase what I did, and then when I did, now I seem to hear another voice in my head that says, 'Go ahead and get it. It's not much....' who is that??

Today, it was going to Michael's to use a coupon to get a head start on the holiday, but really? I have the materials at hand, most likely. It would just be easier to go buy it, because I don't remember the fiber content. And then of course, to save on gas, I would stop by big box store to get things that are low (but not gone) and Costco, because it's such a good deal and I'm sure I would find MORE food that I would then have to come home, and find a way to fit it in the fridge. GAHHH!

I'm staying home. I don't want to: strangely I feel I need to go and get things, but it's false. I don't need any of it, I can be plenty busy at home.

Sewing! I really love making these, I just run out of hours.

A bouquet of preforms! Morrisonite, Ocean Jasper, Tiffany Stone, Hell's Canyon Petrified wood, Chrysocolla/malacite, plumes, and Amazonite.

Summer is too short.

Friday, August 3, 2012


...on socks.

Look, sir. Look, sir. Mr. Knox, sir.
New socks
Two socks
Whose socks?

Geewhiz' socks!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


SO MUCH fun! I have been ordering the materials and tools I feel I need to create what is in my mind. I had ordered copper bezel and solder from an Etsy shop and I tried it out today. Of course, after my success of pickling in household vinager, I thought I'd save $7 and make my own flux out of Borax and Salt.

The homemade flux was a failure. The solder beaded up and didn't flow at all. Luckily, I had bought a liquid bottle of pickling flux, and it worked beautifully. So of the 4 I had measured and cut, those 3 worked out well!
Bezel rings
Top is a commerical ammorite, the bottom is dino bone, and the green is malachite

However, I lack a jeweler's saw, so my bezels have no bottoms. Yet. I also lack the tripod on which to solder it together, but soon.

And of course, I'm slabbing! Here are some recent cuts:
Hell's Canyon Petrified Wood, See the heart?

Labradorite. What a bear to cut at the right angle for shimmer!!

Tiffany Stone. Can be very difficult to cab. We'll see.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I got my saw dirty. And it was SO good. That is all.

My first slabs!

Rainforest Jasper from Austrailia

Crazy Lace from Mexico

More Crazy Lace

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Saw part 2

Handsome Bubby the Builder
I have the perfect man. Not only does he love chickens, cooks, rides bikes with me, games with me, and countless other such wonderful things, HE BUILDS ME THINGS!

Here he is building in custom worktables in my new shed. In return he got blueberry scones for breakfast, and taken out to dinner and frozen yogurt. If he wore jewelry, I totally would make him some. Covered with pretty rocks.

'Deepholm' now has shelves all the way around, to the left is Big Blue, to the right will go Twilight-Jasmine Genie, and in the back is where I'll play with torches.

The plan tomorrow is to get more oil to feed the beast, and fire her up!

I'm very excited.

Monday, July 23, 2012

New saw!!

Lortone 12" slab saw arrived today!! Bubby sweetly put all the parts on, while I got in the way.

Notice my 'studio' in the background. This has been the summer of my shed. The outside shelf is already loaded with my many rocks, with boxes below of slabs, and rough. This next week, Bubby will be building me a table and workbench inside the shed.

Here is Daisy, my little tile Workforce saw, next to it's big sibling. It still needs a name.

...and a better shot of my shed! Who am I kidding? It's my very own playhouse. But instead of playing house with the boy next door, I'm playing with rocks and metal. Sweet.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday!

Still knitting socks! Finished a special pair for siblings Anna and Eli from Spring Fling, and now back to Happy Socks. I just have the toe to go, and then on to it's match. I'm using lots of Knitpicks superwash sock yarn and patterns from a new book I purchased by Alice Starmore.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fabric Napkins

Ever since we got back for Bubby's sister's house in NM, where they used cloth napkins, we've been wanting to move to cloth from paper towels.

Yes, I've lessened using them a bit from using my cloth rags, but every meal, we grab paper towels for our mouths. It was so seamless (lol) to use cloth at Chelo's house. They were plentiful, and thrown in with regular wash loads, no added wash and dry cycles.

 My frugal self balked at buying them for anywhere from $4-6 each for handmade. So I went to ask my best friend, Google.

There are great blogs about sewing your own napkins, and even how to sew the corners neatly! I read quite a few. And on this hot afternoon, I stayed inside and sewed and sewed.

Here's the result. 24 handmade cloth napkins.

So easy! All it takes is a fat quarter (about 17" x 22") and a doubled over 1/4" seam. I mitered the corners, fast and dirty, and they didn't turn out too badly~

I used happy fabrics from my plentiful stash, and ones with patterns (to hide messes when in use) and we'll be trying them out tonight!

I'm a happy camper, as making cloth napkins was on my summer 'to do' list. Check!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Poor Being a State of Mind

I'm trying to ride out my spending splurge.

It was/is planned, and I'm in no danger of losing my job, but I continue to have mild panic attacks about it.

BUT... my Rock Shed, aka 'Deepholm' is coming in two weeks.

How cute is that??

And after, the plan is to get my saw.

And then the spending will STOP. All my summer classes will pay for the saw and the rest towards taxes for teaching those 4 weeks of classes.

I think the way I worry about money in a very similar to the way I worry about my weight.

I fret after every single meal, every time I get on the scale before a shower. Heck, I fret during my meal, when hunger usually wins over the 'second helping and an after meal handful of nuts' fret! A 1/2 tsp. of sugar in my coffee? Yep, then too. And yet, to just about everyone that sees me, I'm not overweight at all. True, maybe constant fretting has kept me within 5# of my ideal weight, but mentally, it's exhausting. And not fun.

I wonder how much healthier it would be on all levels, to relish and enjoy the bites I DO take?

I find I'm the same way about money. My recent rock splurges have that same base 'WANT' that my second helpings do. Like scratching an itch. And then I beat myself up for it. True, these last few months I've been spending more than I bring in, but I also have a tiny bit in savings to cover it, and no bills will be left unpaid.

True, I have and use a home equity line of credit that I got to replace my leaking roof, and YES, I'm putting my shed on it too, and all of it will be paid off now in less than a year. Do I lose my Frugal Membership because I use credit? Will I be booted out when I get a new car to replace my 20+ year old truck in a couple of years and not pay cash??

Dear Universe, please don't let me turn into the little old lady that lives with one lightbulb on and no heating, and moans about not having money, then dies with tens of thousands of dollars in the bank.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Paypal isn't real money, right?

{{WARNING: this is a rambling post. 4 more days left in the school year. I'm surprised my brain is still thinking at all!}}

In my mind Paypal money, unfortunately, is akin to Monopoly money, or gold in World of Warcraft. Not real. My inner shopper comes out in spades with pretend money!

I had sold a couple of pieces, and the 'money' was there.

But I had a goal. I wanted to apply to the Artery, an artist coop here in town. And I felt I needed more rock~ so buy, I did. It was very pretty rock.

Ocean Jasper

Boulder Opal

TIffany Stone
So now pretend money is gone, and I did not get accepted into the artist coop.

Sad panda.

I have a new goal, however. In August, there's an opportunity to be accepted through a jury of my work into an Open Door Arts Studio space here in town. It's brand new, grass roots, and friends have already been accepted. But fresh from licking my wounds from my recent rejection, I feel my wraps are too common. I heard they had rejected a quilter and a knitter. The judges, one of whom I'm familiar with, obviously have a distinction between 'Art' and 'Craft.'

I have stopped pushing the wire, and had made pieces that I thought would be more acceptable to the artist coop.

... and now I feel I have to get riskier to be seen as 'arty' enough to be accepted as a possible tenant for these studios. Which means more tools and materials to take it in the direction where I want to go. Heavier gauges, micro-torch and dipping my toes into silver smithing.

(Frugal aside: I had taken a class in high school in jewelry making. And I had kept all these 35 years, the pad that you solder on. I was so excited! I wouldn't have to buy it, and I knew where it was! When I showed it to Bubby, he looked at it carefully, googled, then pronounced that it was asbestos. Asbestos!! Argh.)

I only have 7 years before I retire, I say to myself. I need things in place before my regular paycheck disappears. Things that came up this year were Bubby quitting his job and going into business for himself. New roof. New air conditioner.

There are more things on that list in this 7 year time span. Pay off my mortgage. Get a new vehicle to replace my 22 year old gas guzzling truck. And sell my jewelry.

I really feel that this Open Studio is a wonderful opportunity. The idea of becoming part of a community and be around other artists is exciting! So....I guess I'm still on my spending spree.

P.S. No shed for me. They didn't even show up! What kind of business is that? Grrrr.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

AAHHHH! I'm about to splurge. I've kept my yarn diet, but I'm about to use the money I've been squirreling away for years for a for a shed! Not just a shed, but my very own shed that I will not share with anyone. Not my kids, not my boyfriend, not the chickens. ME. MINE. ALL MINE.

You see, I have a tendency to be easy going, and so I tend to let things go, whether it was the only new car I ever bought in my life that ended up going to my daughter and had me on my bike through one winter, or my space which looks akin to a garage filled with things that aren't mine, or borrowing my vehicle (a 30 year old toyota pick-up) because I can easily walk to work.

And I don't really mind, I don't have many needs. So I'm a little surprised at my thinking when it comes to this shed.

I think it has to do with age.

IF I don't get the shed now, before I retire, I'll never get one.

And I want one. Before I die.

I think this is along the continuum of a Middle Age Crisis. I guess I'm a late bloomer.

OR I just have repeating episodes of mild versions. I thought I had one at 50 when I joined the race team and suffered in race training rides twice a week, felt like hurling often, limped in with a flat on the one official race I rode on the windiest day imaginable, and one concussion.

At least being Queen of a 6' x 8' shed is safer.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I'm Very Fond of my Rags, tyvm

I don't think I'll ever to paper towel free. The jury's out as far as over all impact: washing and drying vs. paper, but I had absolutely nothing important to do one afternoon, so I decided to make myself some rags!

Not just from anything. I found 3 well loved items. One was a light blue pair of sweatpants I've owned for over 25 years. Another was a purple tank top that was retired when I got a swath of rubber cement on it at work (don't ask) and the last was flannel pj's.

Then I simply got scissors and cut those puppies up into various rectangular shapes, down legs, around bodies, skirting pockets. I sewed the seams, and ta da!!

My own private, custom, designer rags!

Yeah, my daughter thought she misheard me when I told her what I was sewing. Fortunately, she's used to me.

BUT cross my heart, when I pull out any one of those rags to wipe a damp counter, or a minor spill, I get a little bit of a warm fuzzy from my history with that square of fabric. That has to be worth something.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Blob, part 2

I hate it when I bite my tongue. Hard to limit it's use, with one mouth and all. Kept re-biting it, I talked funny, it stung.

That was the state of my tongue after I had started my Kombucha culture from the Blob that day...and my eyes rested on the light colored fluid left in the glass container that didn't fit in the starting pitcher.

Well, in a moment of derring-do and recklessness that serves me well to get me on the road on 23mm wide wheels dressed in lycra, rolling next to tons of metal and steel on the road, I poured it over a glass of ice, and took a sip.

Fizzy, tangy, refreshing, it was delicious! A bit stronger than the bottled KT, but I liked it. No, I LOVED it.

And moments later, I realized my tongue didn't hurt.

Rather than a 'miracle' I figured it was the ph of the KT that agreed with my mouth. Curiously, I ate one of those evil Cadbury chocolate eggs that have been a nemesis to the extra rolls around my waist...and immediately, the stinging came back with a vengeance.

Are tongues like my inner intestines? Can my body signal good/bad so easily?

At any rate, I'm hooked.

(I'm careful, of course. Any sign of mold or an unhealthy scoby, it will feed my earthworms. But I think of it in line with canning, preserving, more traditional wines and beers, sauerkraut, chutney and kim-chi.)

For my frugal self, instead of paying $3-4 a bottle, I can have a gallon for pennies.

For my healthy self, it beats any kind of soda or iced coffee, and I already know it 'agrees' with my body.

For my inner mad scientist, it's loads of fun! Will the Blob climb out of it's jar and take over the Republic of Davis? Instead of test tubes, I play with nifty tea brewing gadgets than drain from the bottom, and mysterious herbs with names like 'Snow Leopard,' 'White Monkey,' or 'Temple of Heaven.'

Blob Jr. says 'Hi'

Bottoms up!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Blob, part 1

During Spring Break, I got to do what I love best. Find new things to spend money on. I mean, find ways to make my life healthier, and save money in the long run. Yes, that's it.

That's when Kombucha flitted across my screen, caught my attention, and reignited my interest...

I had done kombucha years ago. I found an offer on Freecycle, and raised my virtual hand, and soon picked up a lovely little round rubbery disc to adopt, feed, and drink the resultant liquid. I enjoyed the taste, but in my youth, experienced no miraculous relief of assorted ailments...and then I got tired of feeding, brewing, and so on, and let it sit on top of my fridge, growing steadily, and averted my eyes when I noticed it. 

(For those that aren't familiar with kombucha, it is a fermented drink created from tea, sugar, and water in which the SCOBY ( Sybiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) resides and converts the tea brew into something that's reminiscent of vinager. You can find bottles of it in most health food stores, with words like 'enzymes' and 'probiotics' and 'antioxidants' on it. Along with the $4 sticker price.)

Anyway, my former neat little scoby grew into an alarmingly large mass of bacteria/yeast, and with a great deal of guilt, I eventually laid it to rest in my compost pile, not knowing what else to do with it.

And here I was, maybe a decade later, a decade older, and thinking of adopting another. 

50's is tough. Joints ache, getting up from sitting is sometimes painful. My sound sleep is a thing of the past. My digestion is shakier. Small, superficial skin injuries don't heal and disappear anymore. Winter weight no longer melts away when my cycling increases in the warmer weather...

So even if most of the folklore surrounding the healing properties of Kombucha weren't true, it would be a nice drink I could brew myself and save a lot of dollars for those times when I crave the flavor of Kombucha~

SO I did what many would turn to in this time and age. I asked on Facebook. And that's how the Blob came into my life.

M replied to my request. And I could come over right away and pick it up! I rode my bike over, and M met me outside, and I went in. Everyone else in the household was asleep, and she starts telling me about 'ET'. Not a neat little off-white disc here, ET looked huge, and floating slightly folded over in the mason jar, and a few shades of brown. 

She was  mine now. I carefully rode her home.

Reservations? Sure! I had no idea how long ET has been in the jar, how ET was kept, or where ET has been. But I followed through and washed my pitcher with soap and hot water, brewed a few miscellaneous teas I found in the cupboard, and threw in a cup of white sugar. Letting it cool to around room temperature, I slid in the Blob ET, and poured in most of the liquid. I placed it on top of my fridge, and tried to convince myself I would drink the result.

Does this look appetizing to you?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Let's talk baggies

Being the frugal gal that I am, I bring my lunch to work every day. Over this last couple of months, I noticed myself tossing 1 or 2 plastic baggies from my lunch bag everyday. My frugal alarms went off, harmonized with  knowledge about the disturbing Great Pacific Garbage Patch that has moved into one of the unmarked cubbies of my brain ever since I heard about it.

Then I saw this. Reusable wraps that double as placemats! Cute! Not too expensive! WANT!

But wait. It's basically a hexagon of fabric, thread, velcro, and plastic. Did someone say fabric?


A Google later, I found fabulous directions from To Be Charmed .

Changes I made is that instead of using purchased generic plastic that may not be food safe, I cut up a Foodsaver bag. They're PBA free, microwavable, 5 layers of plastic and nylon for strength, and I had them on my shelf. ;)

Ta da!

The sushi wrap is for my sandwich, the chicken one has a slightly different velcro placement for my snacks.

Oddly enough, it's making me look forward to going back to work after Spring Break so I can try them out...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I know what I WON'T be when I grow up...

It was a grand idea. A tower of Martha Stewartish beaoootiful cupcakes, decorated with freshly tinted coconut, festooned with candy flowers and chicks! Tumbling, carefree and joyful yellow confections of chirp, dancing down the tower of festivity, celebrating the union of our chicken loving friends!

Twenty five dollars, 2+ hours, amid miscellaneous mounds of  mush, our dreams of confectionery acclaim came to a screeching halt.

I was laughing so hard, tears were running down my face. Back to the drawing board!

... and I can safely remove 'Pastry Chef' from my retirement career options.

Onward! Here is something else I accomplished this weekend-

Tomatoes are planted. Hidden from fowl and freeze are Black Trifele, Black Krim, Carbon, Sungold, Lemon Boy, Celebrity, Beef Master, San Marzano Redorta, and Yellow Submarine.

I know. The WoW's aren't filled.

I'm just a livin' on the edge kind of gal ~

Friday, March 23, 2012

FO Friday!

For the uninitiated, FO is 'Finished Object' for a knitter~ And here's mine! Need more knitting eye-candy? Clickie here for more to go to Tamisami's site where the FOs congregate!

This was knit in Knitpicks Chroma and regular black sock yarn. The pattern is a freebie from Paton you can download from here simply called 'Fair Isle Socks.'

Honestly, I started them last year,  stuck them in a Sockbug, and sort of...forgot about them.


Happy Friday everyone!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Can I Keep Him?

So there I was, rolling along and playing tag with cloudbursts, when my ever wandering eyes landed on something green along the side of the road. I slowed down (I'll take any excuse to slow down) and started to focus on the sprouting un-weed like green that popped up every few yards.

They were big. Bigger than any of my seedlings. They were bold, growing away from the newly furrowed fields. Rebel plants, sprouting in the shoulders of our very own Yolo! And a mystery. Tomato? Sugar beets? Sunflowers... or some spliced super-duper genetic marvel? I didn't know, but I knew one way to find out. And that's when I hatched my plan...

Today, I came home right after work, and for the first time this year, didn't have to cajole, bribe, or argue with myself.  I pulled on the layers of lycra, strapped on my carbon soled shoes and helmet, and hastened my bike out the door. With plastic bags, a hand trowel, and Sports beans, I was on a mission. A rescue mission.

Okay, pics are better. 

I wish I had centered more, but I was a very nervous seedling rustler. 

"Honestly, officer, I was just taking pictures of the view...."

I know. I've lead a pathetically clean life. Until now! 


1001 Uses for a Bento Box. 

Unfortunately, I had a ways to go before I could get home. Riding on my top bar was less than ideal, getting whipped up by the wind, and hit by my knees.

So it was into my sweaty back jersey pocket for the 45 minutes it took to get home.

But these super-duper engineered and genetic monsters are hardy.

Little Shop of Horrors, anyone?