Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another giveaway!

Just a quick note to let you know that Molly over at A Foothill Home Companion is hosting a giveaway. Click on over to win a fifty dollar gift certificate to my shop. That's right, you get to pick.

And while you are there, check out the two other giveaways she is hosting. It's pretty much a magical wonderland of giveaways over there now though Monday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Notes From the Jeweler's Bench

A Metalsmith's Morning (Glamorous it is not)

Each day starts with getting the girls up and off to school, followed by a little computer time. Then the work day starts, without fail, like this:

Make a (second) cup of tea

Tape up (to cover the cuts and scrapes that I seem to get every day)

Open the valve of the acetylene tank

Turn on the very high-tech ventilation system (Yep. That's snow out there. Thanks a lot, spring.)

Turn on the listening entertainment (This week, it's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Begin working my way through the scribbled "shop" to-do list

Do you have a morning routine that gets the "work" day started? I'd love to hear about it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Just a quick not to let you know EarthMama is hosting a giveaway of one of my items this weekend. The winner can choose from the pieces pictured above. Click over for details and to enter to win. There's also an interview featuring yours truly.

As a bonus,  I'll be offering a 15% discount for one week to EarthMama readers. Go git the coupon code!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Mentor for Alex

Over the past two years, Alex (also known as "A") has been going through a piano tuning course, practicing on our own piano and tuning the pianos of friends whenever he gets the chance. But he always felt like he was missing something. He needed a teacher, a mentor, and had called a few local tuners to see if they would be willing to take an apprentice. All said no.

Last week, a friend put Alex in contact with an elderly man who is moving out of his home. This man is blind, and had been a piano tuner for 40 years. He had a lifetime of knowledge and piano tuning and repair equipment  in his home, and all he wanted was a worthy person to pass it all down to. Alex is over the moon to be that person.

And so the 80-year-old man whose hearing isn't what it used to be, who hadn't been down to his basement in three years, took Alex down there, blew the dust off a room full of tools and told Alex he could have it all, if Alex would just tune his piano.

He came home with old bottles of then-locally-made lubricants and glues,

antique tins full of tiny instruments used in piano repair,

...and more tools than Alex could  have ever hoped to acquire. Some of them cream of the crop, some clever hand-made inventions of a master of his trade. 

Their weekly meetings are now the thing that Alex looks forward to most, and each week he returns home with boxes of this kind man's lifetime career. Yes, he comes home with his arms (and truck!) full, but I can see that he is full, too. His spirit is soaring, and his brain is buzzing with the knowledge the man is so generously giving him—a lifetime of tips, tricks, and secrets. My husband is brimming with possibilities again, and it is good. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ice Cream Scheme

The other day, I shared this picture of custom-ordered word stones with my friends.  I got some positive feedback and then one person (one of my oldest friends) said, "Can you buy ice cream with those?" I was instantly transported back to one of my favorite childhood memories.

Brian and I were probably about 5 or 6, and desperate for ice cream (desperate!), but neither of our mothers would give us money to buy some. Getting our hands on the good stuff was going to require some ingenuity. So, we spent some time searching for small, round, flat stones—ones that resembled coins—and when we were satisfied with how many we had, we strolled to the corner store. Nervously, we each picked out our ice creams, and placed them on the counter. When the cashier told us the total, we nonchalantly tossed the coins on the counter, looking in every direction but his face. He paused for what seemed like an hour then said, "OK. All set," with a smile.

We were stunned. Our ice cream scheme had been a success! As soon as we were outside the store we broke into a sprint, dying to recount every detail of our "trick" to our older sisters. They were equal parts incredulous and jealous. We were equal parts boastful and guilty. And full.

Oh, what I wouldn't give to hear the kind clerk's version of that story now.

What about you? Do you have any stories/memories involving stones?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thirty Four Seconds

1 package of clay
2 days of clay sculpting/photography
2.5 hours of post production thanks to "A"
3 story boards
10 sheets of construction paper
170 photographs
and countless clay poses

...all equal the 34-second long claymation movie, made by my girls. It features Super Horse and Power Puggy putting a house fire out. It's a real nail biter. (Don't be creeped out. The guy at the end is my husband, who didn't realize that picture of himself got in the mix.)

They'd like to thank the academy and, of course, their parents.

Wanna make one too? We totally winged it, but here's a good resource on how to make a claymation movie, if you're up for the challenge.