Sunday, June 5, 2011

A pony post.

The past few weeks I have largely focused on riding. My first recognized show is in 2 weeks and I've kicked it into gear to prepare.

The last schooling show was abysmally awful. Cholula warmed up beautifully - she was sharp and responsive, she cantered when asked, and overall she was quite lovely to ride. Unfortunately, there was a big wait between the end of our warm up and our first test, and that wait did us in.

I had just a few minutes to work with her before our test, and the horse that I rode earlier had apparently taken a vacation. Both tests were big fights that I lost so badly my trainer hopped on afterward for a quick come to jesus.

Needless to say, I questioned everything at that point, especially my decision to show at a "real" show in June.

2 days later we had a clinic with another trainer, and I have to say it was exactly what both of us needed. I was worried the clinic would be just as unproductive as the show, but the trainer taught us some new warm up exercises that have been the ticket to getting her attention on me. We start with these before every ride, and the amount of time I spend getting her in front of the leg has lessened with each session.

In addition, my trainer has been riding her every Monday. She will also be riding Cholula at the show - first level! I am terrified but my last few rides have been stellar so hopefully we're on the right track. Today we had a nice long trail ride that involved a lot of galloping the last stretch her canter was smooth, easy, and steady.

Here are some photos I took 2 weeks ago of my trainer and Cho:

(My favorite)

Cho trying to grab the bit...sigh.
Finishing the ride with a gallop up my favorite hill

Cho looking quite pleased with herself
I DO have a few new things to photograph and post as well, so stay tuned!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

On open houses.

Twice a year I'm invited to sell my jewelry at an open house (literally, at their house) of a wonderful jewelry-making couple in town. It's been an incredible opportunity and I'm so grateful for the chance to show my jewelry there. I have learned so much from the both of them - about selling, about gem-buying, bench tips and tricks, about the great jewelry world outside of my little etsy bubble. (Etsy, despite its size, is really a little bubble...and one that I feel I'm outgrowing a bit).

This spring's open house came at a bit of an odd time. I took a month or so off from making jewelry, as you know. The stress of a job change and other things going on consumed me, and the last thing I wanted to do was sit at my bench. Gradually, the desire to do these things came back, and I started making again. But I wasn't in "open house" mode, that is making things I know will work well with the crowd. Like earrings. These past few months I haven't much felt like making earrings, so I haven't.

I brought a metric ton of necklaces with me, though! And most of them came back with me, too. But that's ok. Some things found homes and I had a fantastic time. I'm feeling especially renewed and refreshed and excited about jewelry after the last 2 days. I want to take classes and I want to make rings until my fingers bleed and I get it just right and I want to learn more stone settings and improve all of my technical skills and learn a whole book's worth of new ones.

It's a good place to be in.

Because, no matter where this goes, it's something that I really enjoy doing. And I think it's good to be good at the things you enjoy, even if they don't make you rich or even pay your bills. Cholula certainly isn't paying any of my bills (more like creating half of them), but I work really hard to be a better rider and overall equestrian. It's important to me to be knowledgeable and have the ability to teach horses things. It is also important to me to make jewelry.

So! Onto the next phase. I am currently looking into branching galleries. It's a really scary step, especially with having a full time job that is completely separate from my jewelry endeavors. But I think it's really time. I've been frustrated with etsy and my lack of time lately...I can't spend forever on social networking, online marketing, etc. Look at this neglected blog! I've had wonderful reception on etsy, and decent enough sales, but if I ever want to do this as my's not enough. I also think that now is a really good time for me to spend just creating what I want to create. Etsy has limited me, in a way. It's the nature of the beast. I want to allow myself to not be influenced by etsy: what I think will sell, what I absorb from that being my main source of jewelry sales, etc.

At this point, I'm not planning on leaving etsy completely, but I'm not relying on it as I have for the past few years.

And on that rambling note, have some jewelry! These are the last pieces I completed before the show:

Chubby bird necklace:
Is this not the most adorable necklace ever? It sold. I would have been ok if it stuck around for awhile though, because it's SO CUTE! I'll be making another in the near future, I'm pretty sure.

Cocoon Earrings
I had a little fun with heat-treating copper one night, obviously. I LOVE how it turned out on these! Also sold.

A little collage:
A wee sterling collage with a wee wire-wrapped green tourmaline.

Coral Ring:
I really need a better photo of this as I'm cringing at the quality (damn you, broken camera). This one is filled to the brim with TEXTURE.

Dew necklace:
Remember those earrings from the previous post? I thought I'd try and do a set. The earrings sold, this did not. This necklace is a reminder to never buy opal beads ever again, because they break.

Pinwheel necklace with carnelian:
The cost of silver prices has made me open up my eyes to all of the scrap laying around my bench. That little pinwheel charm? That's been hanging out for awhile, and I haven't been sure of how to use it. Obviously this necklace was the answer.

Retro Kitchen necklace:
To match the fab (sold) earrings, of course. I ADORE these serpentine beads!

Sneetch necklace:
This may look familiar, as it was one of those "pick your size" things I tried once upon a time (and didn't give much of a chance to). I opted to make this into a necklace, had to do a really fun and weird bail for it, and am overall really happy with how it turned out. Doesn't hurt that the slice of imperial jasper is dreamy.

Spring Pea necklace:

I got this mystery agate from the local lapidary and I'm super thrilled with how this turned out. It sold too!

On, as a size reference:

Tree Rings necklace:
This cab of chrysocolla is amazing. For a blue that vibrant to exist naturally? Oh my. This was from last year's trip to Tucson and I've been holding onto it for sometime.


That's all for now...hope to be back here before June!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why yes, I do make jewelry.

I've settled into my new job a little more and have been working away in the studio for a few weeks. It helps to have a little fire under my feet - the spring open house is only 2.5 weeks away!

Here are some things I finished up on Sunday. They won't make it to etsy unless they don't sell at the open house, but I'm willing to take reservations on pieces.

Sadly, my camera seems to be dying. I'm trying to figure out what to do to replace it until I can save up for the camera I really want: a Canon 50D. I was able to mess with it enough to get these pictures, but I don't know if it'll cooperate next time!

Botanical Necklace, with turquoise and moonstone:
I am so excited for this necklace. It turned out exactly as I imagined it onto paper. I often sift through all of my sketches (I have dozens of pieces of loose paper everywhere with jewelry sketches...I know I should get a sketchbook, but I always forget to carry one around) to see what strikes me at the moment. I'd love to make everything as I dream it up, but so many ideas take a back seat to newer ideas that take a stronger hold on my brain.

Anyway, this was one of many that I chose that day!

Copper Drops, part 2 (I made a similar, shiny pair of earrings a few years back):
I've had these copper pieces cut out for over a year. I didn't want to remake the earrings I last made with that template, but wasn't sure what else to do. These are a prime example of what happens when silver is over $40 an ounce and I'm limited on supplies...make do with what you have!

Crumpets Necklace, with a lumpy agate:
Quite pleased I opted for a necklace instead of the ring this was going to become.
I have been eating crumpets for breakfast. They are wonderful and squishy and I feel very sophisticated saying I take my tea with crumpets and jam.

Rain Water earrings, with Peruvian Opal:
The wire wrapping on the right earring is a little special. I know it's probably not very professional of me to point out flaws, but there you have it. They are meant to be rustic and a little messy and what can I say, I'm a sucker for imperfections.

Earrings, with Serpentine (I don't have a clever name for these!):
I really love these ones...I took them for a test drive today and they have a fabulous swing to them. They are probably my favorite from this batch!

Lastly, Tumbleweed earrings:
I made these for myself but I'm not entirely sure I'll keep them. We'll see.

Cholula and I have our first show on Saturday! It will be quite the test...can we really canter at the exact time we're supposed to?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Riding the Cholula mare

Rex was in town last week and agreed to come out to the barn and take photos of me! It's so rare that I get photos of myself riding, so this was a nice treat.

I have been planning my year of ponies:
1. Schooling shows in April & May
2. Recognized show in June

Anyway, here are some photos:

I have a terrible habit of bringing my leg up and back. Working on it.
We also worked on conquering puddles. When I was leading her from the pasture to the barn, she actually climbed a freaking snow bank to avoid stepping in a puddle. SIGH.

This is what she looks like most of the time.
And this is perhaps the most unflattering photo of her ever taken. Yes, she does have a giant weird tooth in front.

The end!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

one by one

Today was a good day. Not for any particular reason, mind you, it just was. I'm trying to make the most of things: be it the new job that has pushed me to this or just happening to be in a place where this is possible, I can't be sure.

But I really am trying.

I'm both sad and excited for winter to be over: coats and boots and hats and mittens and scarves are becoming a bit cumbersome, but the knowledge that I can always get warm is a comfort. I am loving snowshoeing and getting outside (last week we stomped around a small herd of buffalo and visited the owls and hawks, ahh!) as much as I can. Cholula seems to relish the colder temperatures and is always more up in the winter.

However, I cannot wait to go on our first trail ride of the season. And gallop around the hills. The confines of the arena are getting old and we are so much better than we were last fall...I can't wait for this year!

I'm trying very hard to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Some days I want nothing more to be a self-employed crazy artist. Other days I miss academia with every fiber of my being. I'm content in knowing that no decision is a bad decision. None of this is finite: if I don't like where I end up, I can change where I am.

I don't know what the future will bring but I know it will be


Thursday, February 17, 2011


I just thought I'd show you the size of this beast of a ring. It is ginormous. It is the largest ring I've made to date, and I have to give lots of love to Cate for coming back for more jewelryz AND being super patient with me.

I am working on a new TWO STONE ring right now. It's pretty big. I love pieces with multiple stones, but I feel like I have a little bit of a handicap in picking out stones that go well together. I see others' work and it's as though they effortlessly find stunning combinations.

So, the other night I set out to find 2 stones that wanted to be friends. I pulled out all of my little drawers of stones and pawed through baggie after baggie. Eventually, I settled on an olive green druzy and one of my favorite little ovals of sugilite.

Sugilite. Ohhh sugilite. For a girl that doesn't care for purple, this is one of my favorite stones ever. Why do I always pick the most expensive things to love?

I'm still trying to figure out balance. If I thought I had a difficult task of it last year, this year is impossible. Perhaps as the days grow longer I'll find a bit more motivation. Right now, weekends are my saving grace. I also now have the spring open house to work towards to, and I always work better with a deadline! Etsy takes so much time and energy that I'm finding it difficult to keep up. It's such a wonderful community and I don't plan on leaving it anytime soon, but I'm thinking about branching out to galleries and local places.

Thank you, lovely people, for sticking with me. I'll find my way back eventually.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Despite carefully portioning out my life into segments: jewelry, barn, work, sleep, reading, cleaning, eating (not necessarily in that order, mind you) I've found myself filled to the brim with anxiety and doubt and discontent.

It's not pleasant, I assure you.

So, I backed off of jewelry for a few weeks. I didn't want to make anything. I focused on other things, other distractions. I stopped reading. My apartment exploded its contents in what seemed like overnight.

All of this over the start of a new job. My brain and emotions went into overload, even though this is just a job.

But I don't think you understand. Maybe not you, specifically, but anyone who thinks I'm dramatizing my life and the difficulty of change and not knowing what I want or where I want to be. My hands need metal and stone and pencils and glue and burlap and the weight of a camera. All of the time.

Not just in my "free" time. Not just when I can fit it in.
All of the time.

I forced myself back into the studio on Thursday, and then yesterday, and then today. I made myself make things. Sometimes that's what you have to do. Small steps.

I can't promise I'll be back to regularly blogging, but I will be here when I can. In the meantime, these are the things I've finished recently:

(Customly made for Cate)
Fordite & sterling

Firefly Ring:

Nesting ring with Mexican fire opal (deep red opal & bright green flash!):

Umba sapphire (PINK!):

Lastly, a poppy jasper necklace that has been on my bench for nearly a year. This necklace just did.not.want. to work for me. But, I finally finished it!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today is new.

Things have been slow-moving on the jewelry front, and really I'm quite content with it all.

I have 2 rings I need to polish and set stones in, and truthfully they've been ready for this next step for nearly a week. Lazing about is part of winter though, isn't it?

One of the rings is quite and odd thing indeed. I'm not so sure about it. I think I've watched too many spaceship movies and such lately. (Ok, really I just watched the entire Firefly season within a few days, following it up with Serenity.)

I am currently reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It's slowed my reading down considerably (I was being sort of crazy for a bit, there) - not because it's boring or hard to read or anything, it's mostly just the timing of things. I'm not quite 2/3 of the way through and I'm still eyeing it suspiciously. The experience is reminding me a bit of watching Mulholland Drive.

Today I'm officially ordering my snowshoes! I'm quite excited about this. I really kind of like the cold once I acclimate to the winter here (it always takes a bit). Now I can go exploring or at least have something to do while I wait for Cholula to dry off after our rides.

And, the last bit of news is that Cholula has a new friend. I have been looking for someone to half-lease her for some time: I just can't get out to ride 5-6 days/week, and it's important that she stays in full work. I found a girl in high school who has been riding for several years but is new to dressage. They get along great and I think she's really having fun with Cho. AND we have tons of canter progress! I'm really hoping we can make it to some shows this year.

Apologies for the lack of photos. Again, lazing about. I do have these...

Zeus does not appreciate the notion of sharing his human (notice the horse to the left, who is apparently getting too close):
Such a face!