Reticulated and Recycled Silver

It's been a while since I played with reticulation silver. Reticulation silver is a combination of sterling and copper so that when you heat the metal, the different melting points of sterling and copper create a tiny network of wrinkles in the surface of the metal. I like to layer the reticulation silver with little melted beads of recycled sterling silver that I heat fuse to the surface.

sterling silver, reticulation silver, blue chalcedony, and patina
I had forgotten how much I like the effect until I recently saw one of my customers wearing this one-of-a-kind ring that I had created for her in 2010. It's actually one of my favorite pieces to date!

Last week, I created a handful of new pendants and earrings using the reticulation technique. Some of the pendants already sold at the Arts Around the Lake show at the University of Richmond last Sunday, but the remainder will be available this weekend at Occasion for the Arts show in Williamsburg, VA.

I hope you can make it to the show!



Wow! It feels like we've sprung into Fall like the Mad Hatter dashing off to his next tea party date.  I can hardly believe the art show season will begin again this weekend.  I have shows for three weekends in a row, then a small break to attend a wedding in the mountains, celebrate my hubby's birthday, and hopefully get started on our next renovation project, before another show mid-November and some holiday travel.  

Since that doesn't leave much time for social engagements (or much of anything else), I hope you will come visit me at one or more of these fabulous art shows! 


Arts Around the Lake
University of Richmond Campus
Sunday, Sept. 30
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

An Occasion for the Arts
Downtown Colonial Williamsburg, VA
Sat. Oct. 6 & Sun. Oct. 7
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Steward School Spartafest Bazaar
Steward School - 11600 Gayton Rd., RVA, 23238
Fri. Oct. 12 & Sat. Oct. 13
Fri. 1:30 - 9:30 p.m. & Sat. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

7521 Comanche Drive
Richmond, Virginia 23225
Sat. Nov. 17 
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  And remember you can always find a selection of my handmade jewelry at Dream Spiral Art on Etsy and at GlassBoat in Carytown. 



You may have seen my Silver Leaf Earrings online (or perhaps you are one of the lucky few, who own a pair) but have you seen my Silver Leaf Necklace yet?  If you see me in person, then the answer is probably "yes", because I wear mine all the time.  I've been keeping this treasure to myself for some time, but I've recently decided to release this lovely design in my Etsy shop!  Previously, I only made a couple of these pendants to sell at shows, but now you can win one on Etsy!

My Silver Leaf pendant is effortlessly graceful, hanging 1.5 inches in overall length. The width of the pendant is about 3/4 inch at it's widest point. Each pendant is entirely handmade and comes with a matching sterling silver ball chain. Hand built from scratch, I use both fine (.999) and sterling (.925) silver. Lovely and organic, the silver leaf is highly textured and reflects light beautifully! A hand-applied satin finish helps the details sing!

This pendant was designed to coordinate with my Silver Leaf Earrings. The Earrings come in two lengths: 


Brand New Ring-A-Ling

Between home renovations and a nice, full slate of massage appointments these past few weeks, my little hands have been very busy... just not in the jewelry studio.  Finally last Friday, between working on a custom Captured Collection piece and hammering out some earrings that sold to a lovely customer on Etsy, I was able to carve out a few moments to create a fun, new ring!

And here she is...

I constructed this ring from sterling silver and set it with a 5 mm round pink tourmaline cabochon (October birth stone). This one of a kind ring fits a U.S. size 8 finger.

Now available for purchase in my Etsy shop!



 The garden has been steadily making a come-back after the recent heavy hail damage and hundred plus degree temps of the last two weeks. I've been picking okra, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers and Japanese eggplant every few days. The sugar snap peas have finally fizzled out due to the heat. Sadly, the zucchini and yellow squash may not last much longer either. But prior to the hail and heatwave, we harvested a whole bunch of zucchini!

We were able to capitalize on this bumper crop by making A zucchini puree that we freeze and use as a soup base throughout the winter. This is a wonderful recipe, particularly for utilizing those giant zucchini (almost as big as my head) that tend to be tougher and more seedy.


To make the most of a boutiful garen, preserve zucchini by freezing them in a puree with onion, green or bell pepper and herbs. They retain fresh garden flavors and nutrients for months in the freezer and are convenient for making hot or cold soups or a simple casserole. 

Wash but don't peel about 6 pounds of zucchini. Cut in thin slices (we use a mandolin slicer). Add 2 green or bell peppers, sliced, and 3 thinly sliced large onions and 3 cloves of minced garlic. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 6 tbsp. of butter, saute onion. Add 1/4 cup of water, stir in zucchini, pepper, garlic, 2 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cover and cook for 3 mins; then turn heat to med-high. Continue cooking covered, stirring often, until tender. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup parsley sprigs and 1 cup fresh basil leaves. Let cool somewhat and then puree in blender. Cool to room temp and pack in freezer containers. This amount will fill about 6 pint-size containers. 

For our hardy winter soups, we defrost a container of the puree and add 1/2 cup of milk or cream, cheddar or Parmesan cheese, canned chicken (including the juice), a squeeze of fresh lemon and sometimes dill weed or tarragon.

To make a casserole, beat 2 eggs, stir in zucchini puree, and pour into a greased, shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.



Things Are Heating Up!

So it has been a steamy last couple of weeks with temps in the triple digits here in VA. We've also experienced some major storms at the farmhouse recently that resulted in quarter-sized hail (not good for the veggie garden or pear trees... not to mention my car), 80 mile an hour winds, a few tornado clouds, and power outages across the state. 

The poor pear tree twins take another beating.
 During the first power outage, our little generator caught on fire and almost blew up! The Mister managed to grab a fire extinguisher just in time and thanks to his volunteer firefighter training, he saved the day. Fortunately we keep several fire extinguishers in the house between my jewelry studio and his wood shop.

My favorite spot in the jewelry shop - where I hammer and use my torch!
In honor of the heat, I have been firing up the jewelry torch lately to create new enamel work. Experimenting with different colors and shapes, I fire each copper enamel piece by hand. Traditionally, enamel work is fired in an electric kiln that is set to a specific temperature so that you have control over the results. Preferring a raw aesthetic and an element of surprise, I fire pieces individually with an open flame.

Here are some of my latest colorful creations. Most of these elements will become either earrings or pendants. A select few may be set like gemstones in sterling silver, as I do in my Jetson Collection.

See any you like?



Come see the entire Dream Spiral Art Jewelry Collection this weekend at the:
Stockley Gardens Art Festival  
Saturday, May 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. &
 Sunday, May 20 from noon to 6:00 p.m.
Stockley Gardens Park, located off Olney Road in the Ghent section of Norfolk, VA 
Looks like the weather is going to be perfect. The festival is FREE and held outdoors in the park both days.
This is my last show until the Fall! 



Two years ago today, on May 15, 2010, the Mister and I were taking our life-long vows of commitment to each other (see the wedding here). Although it feels like I have known him my whole life, today is only our second wedding anniversary. We originally met seven years ago, however, on my sister's birthday, May 12, when I made a brief, 36 hour trip to Richmond prior to relocating here.

When we married, we had only one living grandparent, my husband's grandmother, Lillian. And at the time, we weren't sure she was going to live to attend the wedding. But she was a stubborn, determined woman (my husband takes after her, by the way) and she said she wouldn't miss it. "Grandma" as I came to call her, was 90 then, and had been in and out of the hospital several times just weeks before the wedding. Amazingly, Grandma recovered in the nick-of-time and lived for two more years, until last Saturday, May 12, when she took her final breathe and departed this life.

Exactly two years from our wedding date, the family united once again - only this time for a funeral. So today we celebrate life and all that it entails: beginning, middle, end.

 We love you, Grandma, and we miss you.



I'm excited to report that we are 90% finished with our farmhouse kitchen renovation! The Mister and I have been working in diligent fits and spurts (as time and money have allowed) since January of last year. It has been a long, sometimes stressful, but very rewarding process, throughout which, I am proud to say, that these Do-it-Yourself-ers did ALL the work with our own two hands!

Here's the quaint little kitchen BEFORE we began renovating:

 Wall-to-wall knotty pine wood paneling, linoleum stick-tile flooring, no pantry, no dishwasher, minimal storage, dated laminate counter-top, tiny sink... oh yeah, and what's with that weird beam in the middle of the room?

 Notice the basement door on the right side of the refrigerator (Guess what? we moved it!)

The tiny stove was bent in the middle so nothing cooked evenly (I may have knelt on it once when trying to reach something in the upper cabinets... ahem).  Even Albus, the cat, looks sad and confused in this dark and dated kitchen.

We had a huge TO-DO list and this is what we've CHECKED-OFF so far:

*Replace old, white appliances with new, stainless steel appliances
*Replace linoleum tiles with wood laminate flooring (beautiful mahogany finish)
*Move basement door to recess refrigerator and add new cabinets/counter-top between stove and refrigerator
*Replace overhead wooden light fixture with stainless steel fixture
*Install a dishwasher!!!
*Install new farmhouse sink (large enough to bathe a small child in) and new fixtures
*Add slate tile back-splash behind sink
*Replace old counter-tops
*Build walk-in pantry with floor to ceiling shelving and overhead switch-operated light
*Reface all cabinets and doors --- paint white
*Add multiple electrical outlets and replace old wiring to bring up to code
*Deep clean and reuse current stove-top hood and fan
*Install dry-wall over wood paneling throughout kitchen
*Paint dry-wall (Buttercream with Eggplant accent walls)
*Replace all cabinet hinges, hardware, and pulls (brushed nickel finishes)
*Paint all trim and moldings white
*Build additional counter-tops and cabinets between stove and refrigerator --- paint white
*Mount microwave on shelf above new counter-top
*Add window treatments

(90% finished with renovation):
Don't you just love wood on the floor so much more than on the walls?

Notice the door on the left? Since we couldn't move that beam in the middle of the room, we incorporated it into our new walk-in pantry that features floor-to-ceiling storage.

I repainted the entry door and commissioned a custom birdie valance, handmade by Miss Muffets Tuffet on Etsy

I just love this slate tile backsplash! The eggplant accent walls play up the purple brown tones in the slate so nicely.

Moving the basement door access out of the kitchen and around the corner allowed for a recessed refrigerator and extra counter-tops and cabinets between stove and refrigerator. 

A handmade owl tea towel, purchased from Zen Threads on Etsy 
and a colorful print from Artful Escapes add finishing touches to this handmade kitchen.


*Restore, sand, prime and paint original crown molding... scratch that... not able to reuse existing molding
*Purchase and paint brand new molding from our local lumber mill, Siewers.

 We picked out a wider molding with a little more pizazz than the original crown molding had. We will carry the new molding throughout the downstairs of the house as we continue our renovations (the living room is next).


*Install crown molding
*Install vertical trim along exterior pantry walls
*Install floor trim
*Paint behind and install trim around recessed refrigerator
*Replace windows with energy efficient and historically accurate wood windows $$$
*Add built-in double trashcan cabinet on left side of stove
*Complete final touch-ups 
and eventually...
*Remove baseboard heaters and install HVAC system and vents in entire house $$$$$

Total Cost of Kitchen Renovation: 
$5000 ($2800 went to new appliances, mind you).  

Not squabbling over whose turn it is to wash the dishes anymore: 



I will be exhibiting the full collection of my jewelry this Sunday at Forest Hill Park in Richmond,VA from Noon to 5:00 p.m. Hope you can make it out for:

 Live music; 
RVA Hoop Lovers & hula hoops; 
Yummy food, including free treats and ice cream for kids (while supplies last); 
Police, Fire and Sheriff' equipment displays; 
The famous Bike Rodeo by RCOP complete with giveaways; 
Children's activities including a moon bounce, crafts, games, magicians, Jonathan the Juggler, story telling and puppets;
 Tree climbing with Tru-Timber;
Richmond Raiders and Risky the mascot visiting and selling game tickets; 
Bruiser Wrestling Federation;
Environmental displays, programs and activities;
Urban Chicken display and educational outreach;
Nature walks, history & trolley car display, Stone House tours;
Catch and release fishing at the lake;

Whew, where else are you going to find all that in a lovely outdoor setting for FREE! 
See you there.



With my first 2012 Art Festival right around the corner (this Saturday), I thought I'd better list my Spring show line-up. All shows are held outdoors - rain or shine. Hope to see you there!


Fool for Art at John Tyler Community College
Saturday, April 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
800 Charter Colony Parkway
Midlothian, VA

Sunday in the Park with Friends 
Sunday, April 29 from noon to 5:00 p.m.
Forest Hill Park in Richmond, VA

Stockley Gardens Art Festival  
Saturday, May 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. &
 Sunday, May 20 from noon to 6:00 p.m.
Stockley Gardens Park, located off Olney Road in the Ghent section of Norfolk, VA

This year I will not be participating in any summer shows, but I'll be back for a few favorites in the Fall. And remember you can always find a selection of my handmade jewelry at Dream Spiral Art on Etsy and at GlassBoat in Carytown. 

Here's a sneak peak of some brand new earrings that will be available this Saturday at Fool for Art.

Beads are back! Paired with a careful selection of gemstones and pearls, braided sterling silver hoops shine in these dangly handmade earrings.



Last weekend, my hubby and I enjoyed our first whole weekend off together in over a year! Inspired by the gorgeous Spring weather, we decided to use the time to finish landscaping around the front of the house. With a generous birthday gift from my mother-in-law, we were able to buy mulch, flowering perennials, and even a Viburnum tree at our local plant nursery, Ed's Landscaping. (We support local, small businesses whenever possible and this garden center is truly excellent!)

Just for perspective, below are some before and after photos. 

When I moved in with the Mister in 2006, this is what the landscaping looked like (actually the raised beds were a big mound of dirt with no plants in sight). Eager to paint on a blank canvas, I immediately spread and tilled the soil and began to fill it in with perennial splashes of color.  

Within the next couple of years, we re-painted the entire stucco facade white, screened in the front porch and painted the exterior trim around the sunroom, my beloved jewelry-making studio.

Yes, we still have work to do on this old house. More trim to paint, windows to replace, walls to repair. And each year there will be weeds to pull and plants to water and prune, but WOW! the rewards of our labor have been amazing. Caring for a garden and renovating an old home is a continuous work in progress.

But I must admit that after almost 7 years of being together, I am pretty pleased with our progress. (:


Covered in Cat

It has been liberating to replace the robust hum of the boiler with the sounds of Spring peepers and chirping birds. Needing neither heat nor A/C, we are in that glorious place between seasons when the air is so mild that we open windows and invite it to play. Most afternoons, the cats come and go as they please with an open-door policy to the screened-in porch. 

But this time of year, the nights are still cold, dropping sometimes to 38 degrees. Inside these stucco walls with no insulation, the first story of the farmhouse is cave-like, maintaining a 55 - 65 degree constant. Before the afternoon sun can heat up the house, the mornings here are chilly, leaving me wonder if perhaps we packed away the down comforter too soon.

But never fear... like me, the kitty-kids do not like to be chilly. So I've found myself a new kind of down comforter. With Sprout wrapped around my head, Potter nestled against my right side and Albus on my left (they always snuggle in this formation, by the way), I wake up covered in cat almost every morning. 

The post-winter world is waking up with greens that push through the soil, yawning with outstretched tendrils, shaking off sleep.

 And I wake up 
covered in a 
pile of cat.


Lepidopterans in my Shop

So for the last few years I have been using resin in my jewelry to encapsulate organic materials such as birch bark, moss, flower petals and lichens. (You can view my entire "Captured Collection" here). Last fall I found a few discarded butterfly and moth wings and have been excited to try my resin technique on them.

Sterling Silver, Resin, and Butterfly Wing
Sterling Silver, Resin, and Moth Wing remnant

Sterling Silver, Resin, and Buckeye Moth Wing

If these lovely Lepidoptera pendants make your heart flutter, be sure to catch one before they all fly away.  Each piece is one of a kind and available in my Etsy shop now.

By the way, I'm getting ready to email a top-secret coupon code for my newsletter subscribers only.  If you do not already receive my newsletter and would like to, be sure to sign up by clicking the text "Subscribe to my Newsletter" in the column on the right side of this page.  I only email about 4 newsletters per year, but each one contains show schedule updates, new product info, and exclusive coupon codes for subscribers only.


White Blankets

Well, on February 19, we finally got our first winter snow! About 3 - 4 inches blanketed Richmond and up the East coast to Northern Virginia.

However, the cold weather didn't visit for long. It is back in the high 40s today and the snow is quickly melting back into the ground.

 Because it has been such a mild winter thus far, not only are the daffodils confused....

 but so is Potter!

On the topic of white blankets, check out our new find for the Red Room from World Market. This is a great, soft throw to protect our antique chair from the kitty-kids (as well as provide them a nice sleeping spot since they practically own the Red Room) until we have the chair reupholstered. 

I'm having trouble deciding on the fabric for the chair. We recently had the ottoman reupholstered in this vibrant red/gold print. I was thinking I'd go with a quieter print or solid in a matching red for the chair, and then add a throw pillow in the red/gold to tie it all together.

Or maybe I should go bold and hunt down more of the red/gold print and do the entire chair in the same fabric. 
What do you think?