Sunday, July 31, 2011

Travel Journals –Worth Their Weight!


Good friends called to say they were going to travel to Kenya and Tanzania.  They knew that Peter and I had gone a few years ago and wondered if we had any advice.  Of course we do!  I told them I would look through my journals and send things that might be interesting.
What fun I had going through my journals!  We spent 10 days on a tour mostly in Tanzania with http://www.africa-adventure.com/.  The best part was having our own guide, Firozdin Rafiq. We could stop and take photos and watch wildlife anywhere we wanted and he was extremely knowledgeable about birds to elephants and inbetween.  (He has a fb page).   I think I came home with over 700 really good photos not counting the ones I trashed.  We were interested in everything!
Because we were going in a small plane between Kenya and Tanzania, we were allowed a total of 35 pounds each.  That included the camera, lenses, binoculars and clothes.   I came across the list of what I packed in a small suitcase and my backpack.  The backpack weighed 18 pounds by itself.  Thought I would share that list.  



After I returned home, I created 5 volumes of handmade books with a photo and a caption on each page from my actual travel journal.  They sit on the chest in our bedroom with photos and African masks, carved animals, and beads.  Nice reminders of a great time. 
This week I want to share some of my African experiences with you.   My friends can read about it and get more excited as they plan their trip while you and I get to sift through memories.  So check in often. 
Please sign up to ‘follow’ my blog.  I’d love that!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Ocean and Its Jewels

I love the ocean…any ocean.  I love to watch the waves roll in and out bringing seashells and ocean creatures.  The patterns of the sand can hold my attention for hours.  I love the wind on my face even when it is cold although I prefer a warm breeze.  I love old driftwood and birds at the water’s edge.
I love watching whales blowing water and dolphins playing and sea otters floating on their backs.

The variety of color and shapes of seashells amaze me.  Yes, I have collected many and right now they are in a pile on the guest bath counter waiting for glass shelves.  I have several small pieces of coral in various colors that were given to me by my father who also loved them.  We lived in Missouri so ocean things were always a novelty.  I keep them in a box and once in a while take them out and think about the ocean and its treasures. 

The other evening I wanted to make something unusual and thought about the lovely piece of branch coral in my stash.  I also have coral beads and I found a piece of copper.  I started to play.  The coral would need to be protected and I thought of the shapes of seashells.   One thing led to another and I could see that piece of copper become the protector of the fragile branch.  I wanted the shiny copper to be darker and to have some volume. 
A couple of weeks ago I bought map gas and a torch for another project.  I wondered if I could bend the copper more easily if I annealed it.  I heated the copper sheet to a cherry red with the torch and quenched it quickly in water to cool it.  Annealing makes metal softer and I had never tried it with sheet metal.  It worked!  And as an added benefit, the copper turned a rich dark cinnamon color.
I drilled two tiny holes in the copper and attached the coral with a thin wire that holds it securely in place. Next I wire wrapped the copper and coral and attached it to another piece of coral and strung coral beads with copper chain.  The copper clasp is also handmade. 
 This is the finished product!  Reminds me of the ocean and all the things I love about it.
 






Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Things That Inspire Me

  • Walks in nature
  •  
  • Birds                 
  • Flowers
                                      
  • Combination of Colors
  • Feeling all kinds of textures
  • Fabrics
  • Art
  • Music

  • Farmer’s Markets  with all the sights, shapes, and noise
  • Store Displays – Windows that draw me in
  • Old Buildings with all their details
  • Architecture – past and present

  • History –connections and stories
  • Historical Costumes – how they were made and why
  • Books – all kinds, sizes, shapes, and content
  • Watching and listening to the Ocean
  • Light changing on the mountains

  • Watching the sunrise and sunset
  • Sounds of the night


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Draw of the Mojave Desert or Why I Started Designing Jewelry

When you look at my etsy stores you see Mojave Stone jewelry .  In the 1970's, my father and two brothers mined a stone in the Mojave Desert in the middle of nowhere California!  Actually, the mine was somewhat but not very close to Desert Center.  It had been a gold/silver mine before they staked their claim and began mining stone.  My family lived in Missouri and the stone had to be trucked from the desert after strip mining it.  I was married and away from home so I got to hear the stories of making a road, fighting off bees, surviving the heat, being careful of the critters and all the other 'Wild West' excitement.  And I did not have to rough it!

Dad was going to retire (some day) and make and sell the polished cabochons (a stone cut and polished usually with a flat back and a convex top) for jewelry.  In the meantime, he had some distributors sell it, some metal smiths create pieces, and he trademarked it as 'Mojave Royal Blue' and 'Mojave Stone'.  He had it analyzed and gave a piece to the German Gemological Association, Idar-Oberstein.  It is a unique stone and has a wide range of colors from light greens to deep blues and reds.  Tons of the stone came home.   Lots of cabs were cut and polished and stockpiled!

When Dad died, I was fortunate to receive many polished cabochons.  They were pretty and I liked looking at them.  I did wonder what I would do with them! 

Somewhere I heard about metal clay and became interested.  Growing up my mom and I made ceramics in the basement and loved working with the clay.  The idea of making jewelry from clay that magically turned into metal after firing was really appealing.  So I signed up for  Art Clay Certification Level 1 class taught by Lyle Rayfield with no idea what I was doing.  Lyle was patient!  I was motivated !  And I fell in love with silver metal clay that weekend.


Some of my mother's Mojave stone jewelry is in my etsy vintage shop Brittdesign.  Dad loved to make it for her and she loved to wear it.  There is too much for me to wear it all so I decided to share some of the pieces.  I show the pieces I make in my etsy handmade shop Brittdesigntoo.

Designing jewelry is one of my passions.  It is a way I connect with my parents.  I always smile when I pick up a stone and think, "OK, Dad, let's see what we can do with this!"  And then I make sure Mom would have worn it!

More info on Mojave Stone in April 1980 issue of Lapidary Journal.
'Mojave Stone, Gem of the Desert' by June Culp Zeitner
'What a Hobby Can Do' by Laurence Stalling

The green minerals are basically brochantite, antlerite, and some almost pure albite.  Bisbeeite, linarite, covelite, and other trace copper silicate minerals produce the blue colors.  Hematite, jasper, bornite, tinorite, goethite, euprite, limonite, and barite are mixed throughout the stones and produce the variations of red and browns.  Pure copper, silver and gold are scattered throughout helping to produce the beautiful finish and appearance of the stones.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What’s the story behind “Linda’s Magic Workshop”?

Once in a while a client becomes a very good friend.  We share experiences, backgrounds, thoughts, and are very honest with each other.  So when that person comes to visit my home, they discover many things.  I am not a great housekeeper.   I have too much stuff and everything has a story.  I have many projects going on at any given time depending on my current interests.

A Few of the Stories:
The tall glass pitcher was given to my mother by an American Indian man who took care of my brother and I while Mom finished college at age 44.   I learned the meaning of sharing and giving of oneself.  The pitcher was his mother’s, his treasured possession and he wanted us to have it to remember him. 


After Mom and Dad died, I integrated many of their possessions into my home.  My mother’s paintings hang on my walls. I remember watching her and listening to her as she created them.  Dad’s collection of red glass admonishes me to look for quality along with beauty. 


 

And my Kaleidoscope collection reminds me of the many changes that occur in  life and how my view of the world changes with each one. 
                                                                                    
So when my new good friend visited my home and made the suggestion, “You should make your house look like an interior designer lives here!”  I thought about her vision.  No piles, no ongoing projects like fabric painting or bigger than life rabbits.  I pictured myself trying to keep things orderly, picture perfect and I realized that was not my vision! “This is my magic workshop – my imagination factory.  I live and work all over my home.  This is me.  This is where I get ideas and let my creativity run wild."  I wanted my friend to just enjoy her visit .”   She did and we are still very good friends.

“Designspiration - Linda's Magic Workshop" seems like such a good name for my new blog where I share my sources for creativity with you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Lure of the Cabbage

I love going to the market and seeing all the colors and shapes of vegetables and flowers and people.  Usually I take my camera and capture whatever catches my eye.  But today I decided to just enjoy everything with my friend and buy some tomatoes and and flowers. 

Of course I took a large bag and before my trip was over I had 3 bags full.  I knew that would happen didn't you? 

As I turned a corner and went up another aisle, I was stopped by a cabbage with the largest ruffliest leaves I have ever seen.  I said, 'I want that!  I want to take a picture of it.'  Remember, I had no camera!  The lady in the stall offered to take off the big outer leaves so I would have a normal size cabbage.  I almost grabbed it out of her hands!  'No!! Those leaves are why I want it!"  So she carefully handed my the cabbage and I got it into a plastic bag.   We left soon after that with my bag full of tomatoes, squash, 6 large sunflowers and my ruffled cabbage!  On the way home I imagined jewelry designs I could make inspired by the distinct veins and ruffles.  That will be another post!

Yes, I immediately took pictures when I got home.  I enjoyed looking at the ruffles and the rhythm of those large - at least 15" across- deep green leaves.  

Knowing the cabbage had to fit into the refrigerator, I carefully cut the big outer leaves off.  What to do with them?  I simply could not throw them out. 






Out came the cookbooks and then the recipes on the computer.  Thank you Wasabimon.com and Martha Stewart!  On the Wasabimon site I found Martha Stewart's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe.  This is not a cooking blog but I had to share the results of the 'Lure of the Cabbage'!

  
Yummy!  Cabbage Rolls, Beets, Green Beans


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Travel Journals –Worth Their Weight!


Good friends called to say they were going to travel to Kenya and Tanzania.  They knew that Peter and I had gone a few years ago and wondered if we had any advice.  Of course we do!  I told them I would look through my journals and send things that might be interesting.
What fun I had going through my journals!  We spent 10 days on a tour mostly in Tanzania with http://www.africa-adventure.com/.  The best part was having our own guide, Firozdin Rafiq. We could stop and take photos and watch wildlife anywhere we wanted and he was extremely knowledgeable about birds to elephants and inbetween.  (He has a fb page).   I think I came home with over 700 really good photos not counting the ones I trashed.  We were interested in everything!
Because we were going in a small plane between Kenya and Tanzania, we were allowed a total of 35 pounds each.  That included the camera, lenses, binoculars and clothes.   I came across the list of what I packed in a small suitcase and my backpack.  The backpack weighed 18 pounds by itself.  Thought I would share that list.  



After I returned home, I created 5 volumes of handmade books with a photo and a caption on each page from my actual travel journal.  They sit on the chest in our bedroom with photos and African masks, carved animals, and beads.  Nice reminders of a great time. 
This week I want to share some of my African experiences with you.   My friends can read about it and get more excited as they plan their trip while you and I get to sift through memories.  So check in often. 
Please sign up to ‘follow’ my blog.  I’d love that!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Ocean and Its Jewels

I love the ocean…any ocean.  I love to watch the waves roll in and out bringing seashells and ocean creatures.  The patterns of the sand can hold my attention for hours.  I love the wind on my face even when it is cold although I prefer a warm breeze.  I love old driftwood and birds at the water’s edge.
I love watching whales blowing water and dolphins playing and sea otters floating on their backs.

The variety of color and shapes of seashells amaze me.  Yes, I have collected many and right now they are in a pile on the guest bath counter waiting for glass shelves.  I have several small pieces of coral in various colors that were given to me by my father who also loved them.  We lived in Missouri so ocean things were always a novelty.  I keep them in a box and once in a while take them out and think about the ocean and its treasures. 

The other evening I wanted to make something unusual and thought about the lovely piece of branch coral in my stash.  I also have coral beads and I found a piece of copper.  I started to play.  The coral would need to be protected and I thought of the shapes of seashells.   One thing led to another and I could see that piece of copper become the protector of the fragile branch.  I wanted the shiny copper to be darker and to have some volume. 
A couple of weeks ago I bought map gas and a torch for another project.  I wondered if I could bend the copper more easily if I annealed it.  I heated the copper sheet to a cherry red with the torch and quenched it quickly in water to cool it.  Annealing makes metal softer and I had never tried it with sheet metal.  It worked!  And as an added benefit, the copper turned a rich dark cinnamon color.
I drilled two tiny holes in the copper and attached the coral with a thin wire that holds it securely in place. Next I wire wrapped the copper and coral and attached it to another piece of coral and strung coral beads with copper chain.  The copper clasp is also handmade. 
 This is the finished product!  Reminds me of the ocean and all the things I love about it.
 






Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Things That Inspire Me

  • Walks in nature
  •  
  • Birds                 
  • Flowers
                                      
  • Combination of Colors
  • Feeling all kinds of textures
  • Fabrics
  • Art
  • Music

  • Farmer’s Markets  with all the sights, shapes, and noise
  • Store Displays – Windows that draw me in
  • Old Buildings with all their details
  • Architecture – past and present

  • History –connections and stories
  • Historical Costumes – how they were made and why
  • Books – all kinds, sizes, shapes, and content
  • Watching and listening to the Ocean
  • Light changing on the mountains

  • Watching the sunrise and sunset
  • Sounds of the night


Monday, July 25, 2011

The Draw of the Mojave Desert or Why I Started Designing Jewelry

When you look at my etsy stores you see Mojave Stone jewelry .  In the 1970's, my father and two brothers mined a stone in the Mojave Desert in the middle of nowhere California!  Actually, the mine was somewhat but not very close to Desert Center.  It had been a gold/silver mine before they staked their claim and began mining stone.  My family lived in Missouri and the stone had to be trucked from the desert after strip mining it.  I was married and away from home so I got to hear the stories of making a road, fighting off bees, surviving the heat, being careful of the critters and all the other 'Wild West' excitement.  And I did not have to rough it!

Dad was going to retire (some day) and make and sell the polished cabochons (a stone cut and polished usually with a flat back and a convex top) for jewelry.  In the meantime, he had some distributors sell it, some metal smiths create pieces, and he trademarked it as 'Mojave Royal Blue' and 'Mojave Stone'.  He had it analyzed and gave a piece to the German Gemological Association, Idar-Oberstein.  It is a unique stone and has a wide range of colors from light greens to deep blues and reds.  Tons of the stone came home.   Lots of cabs were cut and polished and stockpiled!

When Dad died, I was fortunate to receive many polished cabochons.  They were pretty and I liked looking at them.  I did wonder what I would do with them! 

Somewhere I heard about metal clay and became interested.  Growing up my mom and I made ceramics in the basement and loved working with the clay.  The idea of making jewelry from clay that magically turned into metal after firing was really appealing.  So I signed up for  Art Clay Certification Level 1 class taught by Lyle Rayfield with no idea what I was doing.  Lyle was patient!  I was motivated !  And I fell in love with silver metal clay that weekend.


Some of my mother's Mojave stone jewelry is in my etsy vintage shop Brittdesign.  Dad loved to make it for her and she loved to wear it.  There is too much for me to wear it all so I decided to share some of the pieces.  I show the pieces I make in my etsy handmade shop Brittdesigntoo.

Designing jewelry is one of my passions.  It is a way I connect with my parents.  I always smile when I pick up a stone and think, "OK, Dad, let's see what we can do with this!"  And then I make sure Mom would have worn it!

More info on Mojave Stone in April 1980 issue of Lapidary Journal.
'Mojave Stone, Gem of the Desert' by June Culp Zeitner
'What a Hobby Can Do' by Laurence Stalling

The green minerals are basically brochantite, antlerite, and some almost pure albite.  Bisbeeite, linarite, covelite, and other trace copper silicate minerals produce the blue colors.  Hematite, jasper, bornite, tinorite, goethite, euprite, limonite, and barite are mixed throughout the stones and produce the variations of red and browns.  Pure copper, silver and gold are scattered throughout helping to produce the beautiful finish and appearance of the stones.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What’s the story behind “Linda’s Magic Workshop”?

Once in a while a client becomes a very good friend.  We share experiences, backgrounds, thoughts, and are very honest with each other.  So when that person comes to visit my home, they discover many things.  I am not a great housekeeper.   I have too much stuff and everything has a story.  I have many projects going on at any given time depending on my current interests.

A Few of the Stories:
The tall glass pitcher was given to my mother by an American Indian man who took care of my brother and I while Mom finished college at age 44.   I learned the meaning of sharing and giving of oneself.  The pitcher was his mother’s, his treasured possession and he wanted us to have it to remember him. 


After Mom and Dad died, I integrated many of their possessions into my home.  My mother’s paintings hang on my walls. I remember watching her and listening to her as she created them.  Dad’s collection of red glass admonishes me to look for quality along with beauty. 


 

And my Kaleidoscope collection reminds me of the many changes that occur in  life and how my view of the world changes with each one. 
                                                                                    
So when my new good friend visited my home and made the suggestion, “You should make your house look like an interior designer lives here!”  I thought about her vision.  No piles, no ongoing projects like fabric painting or bigger than life rabbits.  I pictured myself trying to keep things orderly, picture perfect and I realized that was not my vision! “This is my magic workshop – my imagination factory.  I live and work all over my home.  This is me.  This is where I get ideas and let my creativity run wild."  I wanted my friend to just enjoy her visit .”   She did and we are still very good friends.

“Designspiration - Linda's Magic Workshop" seems like such a good name for my new blog where I share my sources for creativity with you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Lure of the Cabbage

I love going to the market and seeing all the colors and shapes of vegetables and flowers and people.  Usually I take my camera and capture whatever catches my eye.  But today I decided to just enjoy everything with my friend and buy some tomatoes and and flowers. 

Of course I took a large bag and before my trip was over I had 3 bags full.  I knew that would happen didn't you? 

As I turned a corner and went up another aisle, I was stopped by a cabbage with the largest ruffliest leaves I have ever seen.  I said, 'I want that!  I want to take a picture of it.'  Remember, I had no camera!  The lady in the stall offered to take off the big outer leaves so I would have a normal size cabbage.  I almost grabbed it out of her hands!  'No!! Those leaves are why I want it!"  So she carefully handed my the cabbage and I got it into a plastic bag.   We left soon after that with my bag full of tomatoes, squash, 6 large sunflowers and my ruffled cabbage!  On the way home I imagined jewelry designs I could make inspired by the distinct veins and ruffles.  That will be another post!

Yes, I immediately took pictures when I got home.  I enjoyed looking at the ruffles and the rhythm of those large - at least 15" across- deep green leaves.  

Knowing the cabbage had to fit into the refrigerator, I carefully cut the big outer leaves off.  What to do with them?  I simply could not throw them out. 






Out came the cookbooks and then the recipes on the computer.  Thank you Wasabimon.com and Martha Stewart!  On the Wasabimon site I found Martha Stewart's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe.  This is not a cooking blog but I had to share the results of the 'Lure of the Cabbage'!

  
Yummy!  Cabbage Rolls, Beets, Green Beans