Playing with Towers and Turrets

A few weeks ago, I started an exciting online class that combines mixed media collage with metalwork and resin. Called Of Towers and Turrets, it’s taught by the artistic dynamic duo of Sharon Tomlinson and Deryn Mentock.

In this first step, I’ve created a painted collage with stamps, words, images, gel pens and, of course, paint. I was a bit nervous to paint a face as I’ve never done that before but once I got started, I absolutely loved it!!! I used the Golden brand of paints, both the heavy body and the liquid acrylic. Love, love, loooove these yummy paints! And my 30% off A.C. Moore coupon helped fuel this new addiction.

Stay tuned for some unique jewelry creations like nothing I’ve ever created before…

Saturday Morning Tea

On this breezy, late summer morning, I can feel a change in the air as a new season steadily approaches. Hello fall. I’m looking forward to your clear, rich colors and letting the haziness of summer go.

As I watch the tree limbs bow and sway outside my window, I quietly sip an herbal infusion from the Yerba Mate plant.

Ilex paraguariensis is native to subtropical South America and is a member of the holly family. Like the tea plant, yerba mate is a shrub or small tree. Its name translates to “cup herb”, referring to its popularity for infusing and drinking.

Drinking yerba mate from a shared hollow gourd is a common social practice in many South American countries. A metal straw, called a bombilla, is inserted into the gourd for sipping.

I steeped my yerba mate for 8 minutes in just below boiling point water.

Interestingly, while all other herbs do not contain caffeine, this herb does. However, studies have shown that the components found in the yerba mate leaf produce a different effect on the body, working directly on muscle tissue instead of the central nervous system as caffeine usually does. Further studies have also shown that it lowers cholesterol and has an anti-obesity effect.

The golden yellow liquor is mild with a pronounced sweet, grassy flavor that is quite delicious. I also found it to be incredibly smooth with the sweetness lingering on in my mouth, leaving a refreshing taste.

I think that this is a great herbal drink to explore if you are caffeine sensitive and looking for a beverage to refresh but not overstimulate.

What are you drinking this weekend?

“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”

~Mary Byrant

Creating outside of the box

I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. A wondrous experience for me, a person who has often been referred to as a “Rule Keeper”. A person who feels most comfortable with order and organization. A person who likes everything in its place. (except don’t look in my studio right now, lol)

When I first started making jewelry, everything had to be symmetrical. 2 beads over here, ok, so then the same 2 beads over there and so on and so forth.

My, how things change…

I found the mother of pearl circles and the rainbow “dotty” beads at Michael’s and knew immediately that they were destined for each other in a necklace. So, I sat down in my studio one day and started pulling out all sorts of lovingly stashed things from long ago, including this gorgeous Raku donut and beads purchased at a bead show in Watertown, MA.

I challenged myself to make a free-form style, asymmetrical necklace with neither a right side or a left side. Something with a light summery, watery feeling to it. I transformed the focal Raku donut into a toggle clasp by making a bar from 16-gauge copper wire. I’ve been wearing the donut focal off center when I wear this necklace and I just love that.

What do you think?