Thursday, October 2, 2014

Inspiring Client Follow Up Post

As a follow up to this post Inspiring Client~ 
I wanted to share a couple of shots of all four pieces I did for my most awesome client JR. The original post shows the first piece a created for him as a memorial to his beloved Grandmother who had recently passed away. Her name, Rosemary :)

I was in such a hurry to get them off to him I didn't realize I hadn't taken the best shots possible and I was working with a brand new camera to boot. So apologies for the photo quality!

Happy gardening~
The name "rosemary" derives from the Latin for "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea".

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Carpe Diem or Etched Bullet Shells~

When the cat’s away the mice will play. So the saying goes.

JD is in Wyoming building a custom garage for his friend who moved there last month. He’ll be gone about 5 weeks. I have wanted to try some new techniques and designs but never seem to have the time…

Carpe Diem! This week I seized a day or two and tried etching some brass bullet shells. I have wanted to do this for so long. Since I was trying it out for the first time and was uncertain of how they may come out I have to say I kind of scribbled on them, threw them in the solution and crossed my fingers.

Surprise to me! They didn't come out too bad for a first batch! 

~Hot off the press ~ Focal beads~

~These will be earrings when finished~

Birthday gift for a friend ~ Happy Birthday Kika!

~Inspired by The Secret Life of Bees~

Happy creating~

Monday, July 28, 2014

Smoked Figs with Honey, Feta & Balsamic

Figs, food of the gods. Ambrosia~

I picked the first figs of the season yesterday. Sadly, the birds had feasted on as many as I got.

Since we were firing up the smoker for some chicken I decided to try this recipe that I usually roast in the oven on the smoker. They only need about 10 - 12 minutes and it added a very subtle smokey flavor which I really enjoyed! When the temperature is in the mid 90's who wants to turn the oven on anyway?

Rinse figs with cold water and slice into halves. Drizzle honey over the figs, add a little feta cheese to the center, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with fresh ground pepper.

All of this is to taste, a light sprinkle of salt is good too. Place on a baking tray. Transport to grill or smoker preheated to 350°. Cook figs for 10 -12 minutes~


Fast, fresh, delicious~ 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Building Horse Jumps - Part 2

Click for part 1

The next jump we built was a Straight Plank and was the easiest one of all. The materials used for the plank were 1" plywood and 1 x 4 lumber and staples. The plywood was cut into two sections at 4' 6" for a total of 9' long and 12" tall. As mentioned in the previous post, the customer already had standards and 10' poles so everything we built is 10'.

Straight Plank
I need to make a correction here, the ends are all 6" NOT the 3 1/2" I previously stated. A mars / venus thing...

The plywood is stapled between the two 1 x 4 boards and a 6" section of 1 x 4 is stapled into the middle on the ends for durability and stability.

I had to put a smile on JD's face because I said this was fun and his face did not express that in this shot. He was saying "hey bartender put the camera down and get me a beer!" He looked like he was about to howl at the moon.
I decided to add a hat because hey, it's PicMonkey!

Here's a preview of the Wall and Roll Top for my next post~

Happy trails~

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We Built Horse Jumps & It Was Fun~ Part 1

And I used some junk hose

JD is a carpenter by trade so this project was easy peasy for him. But some of these jumps could be built by anyone who has a skill saw, a staple gun and the desire. 

The Gate
The Gate was built 100% from 1 x 4 lumber, 12 ft. lengths. The lady we built the jumps for already had standards and 10" foot poles so these jumps are finished at 10'. Unfortunately I didn't start taking pictures until this one was completed. JD cut the 1 x 4's into 2' sections and stapled to a 10' board with 4" spacing. Then he sandwiched between a second 1 x 4 top and bottom. He allowed 6" on each end of the top board to accommodate the cups.

Brush with Flower Strip
For the Brush with Flower Strip we considered using pallets as that's what the customer suggested. We didn't have any pallets in the proper size and after walking around the property measuring every pallet JD declared "I could have made it by now"... so back to the garage. This jump is constructed similar to the gate but also uses 2 x 4 lumber for the 3 vertical boards to allow room to add "brush" to the middle. The top horizontal piece is also a 2 x 4 holes were drilled across the length for a flower strip. Small scrap 2 x 4 pieces were used in the bottom rail to add strength and stability.


Picket Fence Plank
The picket Fence Plank was built with 1 x 4 lumber and common landscaping stakes the customer supplied.
The pickets were cut to 1' and the customer will use poles above to create the height she needs for beginners to more advanced riders. 
JD spacing the pickets

Cutting more pickets

Part 2 will show the 3 other jumps we made. A wall, plain plank and a roll top. We delivered all of these unpainted per the customer but I'll also update later after she's painted them and set up the course!

Wishing you nothing but clear rounds~

Friday, July 18, 2014

Using Every Little Scrap~

I love to use every piece I can when working with the vintage silverware. Sometimes you make a mistake when stamping or bending and end up with odd pieces. I have been or will be turning these odd pieces into beads, buttons, guitar picks, toggles and anything else I can think of so nothing goes to waste.

To that end here are 2 new listings of items I have made using every little scrap~

I Pick You (sold)

This pick was hand cut from a 1930's spoon bowl I flattened. It is silver-plate over brass & it does show some wear from it's previous life as a spoon. I have filed the edges so smooth it's like butter. I drilled a small hole off center so it could be used as a charm if you don't want to use it to play.

 It's truly one of a kind ( OOAK ) if you like food and music and want a pick with an 80 + year old vibe rather than some mass produced blank from overseas, look no further. This is a no waste, upcycled product.

I Pick You had only been listed for a few days with 2 views when it sold!
I consider that real success! I already had another one I was working on and decided to show a before and after. 

Next time I'll have to do some progress shots as well~

This pick was hand cut from a 1916 era spoon bowl I flattened. Holmes and Edwards Silver Inlaid Pat 04 ~ Jamestown Pattern circa 1916. I tried purposely to leave as much of the original patina on this one as possible. The back side has a lot, the front lost a lot! The soul of this pick is almost 100 years old~

I almost always listen to music when I'm creating whether it's my art or cooking. Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of my favorites to cook with and create by.

Here is a rare video of SRV

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Follow Up - Collecting Arugula Seeds

I saw something while I was perusing Pinterest and had to post! 
This is cute on it's own but it's also a follow-up or more like an addition to my seed collecting post (here)

Woman's Day offers us this darling mini pattern and accompanying label template:

And as one is prone to do clicking about Pinterest and one click leading to another I found one more for us seed collectors:

This one from Heavy Petal

Happy gardening & seed collecting~

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

10% Off Coupon for Blog Readers~

In celebration of 1 month of blogging I'm offering a coupon for 10% off any purchase over $10.00 ~ This coupon is good for one week and expires on July 8th!

Please use coupon code BLOG1 when checking out! 

Thank you & enjoy~

Saturday, June 21, 2014


I've been working on the order for my awesome client JR (see this post) and decided to see what other sayings or poems I could find about rosemary. What a fun adventure!

Rosemary is an herb native to the Mediterranean with small needle like leaves. It has a rich history. According to an article written by Master Gardener Madeline Wajda, the first known reference to rosemary is on a cuneiform stone tablet from the fifth millennium B.C.

When researching the history of rosemary one will find that is rich with ties to ancient goddesses such as Venus, Greek physicians, religious lore and medieval witchcraft. One old myth suggests that the best rosemary cannot be purchased or cultivated from seed, but must be stolen from a witch's garden.

~Rosemary along with basil & sage in my herb garden~

When I went out to take this picture I counted the rosemary shrubs on my property and surprised myself, I have 17~

There is an old saying I kept running across "Where rosemary flourishes the lady rules" another take was "where rosemarie flourishes the missus is the master" evidently this saying originated in Medieval England, author unknown.

Wedding and funeral references abound as it is well known rosemary is for remembrance.

“ Young men and maids do ready stand,
With sweet rosemary in their hand,
A perfect token of your virgin's life;
To wait upon you they intend,
Unto the church to make an end,
And God make thee a joyfull wedded wife. ”

Shakespeare wrote quite a bit about rosemary. His Ophelia says in Hamlet, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember!” 
He also mentions how the English once placed rosemary in coffins and around graves in Romeo and Juliet when Father Lawrence says,
“Dry up your tears, and stick your Rosemary

On this fair corse.”
For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long:
Grace and remembrance be to you both!
(The Winters Tale)

One of my all time favorite gardeners in history is Gertrude Jekyll. Below a quote from her about rosemary:

‘I plant rosemary all over the garden, so pleasant is it to know that at every few steps one may draw the kindly branchlets through one’s hand, and have the enjoyment of their incomparable incense; and I grow it against walls, so that the sun may draw out its inexhaustible sweetness to greet me as I pass ….’

As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul. - Anonymous

I'm off to steal some rosemary from a witches garden...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Faerie Folks are in Old Oaks~

I was researching poems, rhymes, songs and sayings for rosemary for a client and as we are prone to do while following links on the interweb I stumbled across some fun rhymes that had nothing to do with rosemary but were so good I had to use them~

Fairy garden markers have always been popular in my shop and now I have added a new one.

It is said this old rhyme originated in the New Forest, southern England and goes “Turn your cloaks, for fairy folks are in old oaks!”  it was thought by turning your cloak or coat inside out you could ward off the chances of a faerie encounter~ (I don't think I'd want to avoid that...)
The oaks are considered the very symbol of longevity and fertility, generation and life. It was common to carry an acorn in your pocket for luck~

Rock & roll gardeners this one's for you! Available now~

Here's another in the shop now:

And a few others we've done that are in new homes~


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More Junk Hoses in the Garden - Words with Hose~

The Junk Hose Birdhouse is my most viewed post to date. In honor of that here’s another fun thing to do with an old junk hose in the garden. Use them to write words on your raised beds!

Here I have used an old grey hose that I had butchered so badly with the mower I had to put the mower on jack stands and unwind its tattered-ness out of the blade housing where it was all wound up and sliced almost through in several places... what that means is there wasn't enough to do a large birdhouse. Or a small one for that matter. 

When I saw JD trying to bury it in the dump trailer under some real trash we had words, some of them were colorful. I have been known to cuss like a sailor and when my good junk is threatened it's all hands on deck! I got the "these pieces are to small to do anything with" argument. Right matey! Are you kidding me? 

Truth be told I didn't know what I was going to do with some of these smaller pieces but thank goodness I'm quick on my feet because I wasn't going to be the one walking the plank on this day. It just so happened the dump trailer was backed up the drive near the junk raised beds we had completed but had not yet finished decorating! Que the music from Jaws. Dawdumph, dawdumph dawdumph! Next thing you know I said you go get the drill and some screws and I'll meet you back here with scissors and a pencil.

I beat him back and started lightly sketching in pencil the word "Grow" on the wood. When he got back with the drill and wood screws I had already cut the G and was holding it in place to take the first screw. 

This is a simple, easy and fun project for the garden.

Ahoy! I mean happy gardening~

Friday, June 6, 2014

Inspiring Client~

I have this client who just flat out inspires me. He causes me to challenge myself which I love!

He sent a request earlier in the week and my sticking to being on a break this week (see post below) I let it ride until I found the desire to go for it.

He has commissioned 4 custom pieces, below is the first, made yesterday. I'm looking forward to creating the next 3. Thank you JR!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Collecting Arugula Seeds

Yesterday I signed off to go collect arugula seed from my garden. There’s all kinds of info on the net on how to do it; here is my process. Make sure it’s been about 24 hours since watering, 48 for rain. Do it on a warm dry day (rarely a problem in CA) moisture in the seeds is the only enemy here.

I use a glass jar so I can see what I’m getting. You can use a paper bag or a bucket too. Arugula seed pods when ready to harvest burst open if pinched in the middle. I hold the jar under selected pod and pinch. The seeds, and sometimes parts of the pod fall down into the jar.

Once you are done collecting you will need to remove the seed pod parts. A fork works pretty well.

I let them sit in the jar for a day, stirring a few times to make sure they are all dry and we don’t have any moisture. Now it’s time to store them. You have some options here.

Williams Sonoma offers these awesome seed storage envelopes by a company in England.

Or you can make your own out of regular envelopes or do like I do and use a brown paper lunch sack. I place about a tablespoon of seeds into a packet like this one below for my own use. If I'm gifting, I will fold over again so it's closer to the size of a postcard (and less likely to spill seed) and I'll place a teaspoon of seeds in the sack. 

I'll be collecting more seeds soon and if I pack any for gift giving I'll follow up with another photo!

Happy gardening~