"If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud." ~ Emile Zola

27 July 2010

My Items Featured!

Thanks to Kala of Vegancraftastic and Glenda of Starfirewire for including me in their awesome Etsy treasuries! :D

New Jewels in My Etsy Shop!

I've finally been catching up on listing in my Etsy shop, trying to add all of my inventory that I've been making for shows and haven't gotten online. It feels good! Most of my stuff never makes it to my shop because I sell it at local events before listing.

I haven't really been making the sterling silver jewels I used to spend so much time focusing on, as I have found working with old findings, components, and jewelry so much fun and so rewarding. Not sure when I will return to that, or how much.

You'll see in my new pieces some very unique and colorful vintage (likely antique) enameled pieces- flowers, butterflies, owls, and more. These were an extremely lucky find at the Yart Sale (artisans selling used and/or unwanted supplies) at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts a couple of weekends ago, and are very rare! I have found them incredibly inspiring, which makes me triply excited to be meeting tomorrow with the woman who sold them to me to see what other treasures she has tucked away.

I've also been using a new background for taking my pics- vintage book plates of Art Nouveau images, black on white. Not sure I quite have it down yet, but I'll continue to play until something works. I would love feedback on the new images, whether it be praise or constructive criticism. Please share!

Anyway, here are a few favorites from my new listings (a couple aren't listed quite yet). Feel free to check out the rest in my shop!

Alice in Wonderland-ish, don't ya think? The little butterfly on this vintage locket is one of the enameled pieces I mentioned above. It's so little and sweet!

This is one of the pieces I posted about a couple of weeks ago, made from a mysterious, key-like brass or copper piece I discovered at local used building materials retailer Construction Junction. One of the best things about this necklace is the amazing vintage plaque chain it is hanging on- I love it!

One of my first attempts at upcycled men's accessories! This tie clip also uses a random hardware piece from Construction Junction. I used the silver steel piece as a base for an antique copper bird stamping adorned with an old glass stone. The steel has this cool iridescent coloring that goes really well with the deep-toned copper.

Both the lovely enameled flower and the silver heart came from the local woman from whom I bought at the Yart Sale! The tiny copper butterfly is a vintage stamping that is also very rare, and part of a lot of tiny copper birds, hearts, and leaves from a recent purchase. I adore them!

A very antique brass escutcheon (key hole) forms the centerpiece of this necklace. It's heavy and very beautifully detailed. Over the key hole I added a vintage West German glass cabachon in a fantastic iridescent color called "black iris." The key hole is still visible if you flip the pendant over. This one isn't listed in my shop yet.

This isn't listed yet either, mainly because I am having trouble parting with it! The setting is heavy and solid with a dark patina that has naturally occurred from age. With the vintage glass cab (also West German from the 1960s-early 70s) and unusual vintage copper and brass filigree chain, it is sweet indeed!

I hope you enjoy all of the new stuff! :D

Oh, and before I go I have to mention the awesome new widget I just got for my blog from Craftcult that displays all items in my Etsy shop in a super cool slide show, as well as links directly to my hearts and other shop info. Take a look at the upper right corner of my blog. :)

26 July 2010

Outdoor Frolic

With T on vaca from her massage clinic recently, we finally had a chance to do some fun outdoor activities we've been wanting to do- a hike at McConnells Mill State Park and a kayak trip on the Allegheny. Yay summer fun!

T loves being on the water, and while I love the water and being near it, I don't love being ON or IN it for reasons that will go unexplained here. Well, after years of insisting I would never go kayaking, I decided to go with T on her birthday. It was a BLAST! I love, love, loved it! We took out a tandem kayak from the North Shore of downtown Pittsburgh and up the Allegheny River to Washington's Landing, then back- a total of about 4.5 miles. I thought I did a great job at the front of the kayak, but T cracked up the whole time about my paddling. :P The waters were strangely calm and quiet, perfect for peaceful reflection and avoiding the fear of getting bowled over by a bigger boat. Fun times!

Another adventure was a trip to
McConnells Mill just north of Pittsburgh, 2,500+ acres of the Slippery Rock Creek Gorge created by the draining of glacial lakes thousands of years ago. A gristmill was built there in the 1800s to harness the power of the water. We chose a difficult, hilly hike that would take us near several falls and down into the gorge, and it was an awesome trip. The falls were fast and rushing, the trails were wet and shady, and the pathways were lined with colorful mushrooms (pics of those in another post). :)

This one was taken from the inside of an old lime kiln.

If these video boxes look empty to you, play them anyway- the images and sounds of the falls do show up. :)

23 July 2010

Which came first...?

...the kitty or the egg? HA I love this picture!

22 July 2010

Eating Out Loud: West African Groundnut Stew (vegan)

Not quite the type of recipe you'd expect to be posted on a sunny, summer afternoon, but the warm, aromatic and delicious spices of my very favorite stew/soup ever seem to me to fit with the hot and vibrant day. When I first tried this stew, a friend made it for me for dinner at her home. I was blown away by the excitement in my mouth and warm exuberance in my stomach. Sweet potatoes, ginger and garlic, a kick of pepper and spices, and the unexpected and unusual mixture of tomatoes and peanutbutter made me fall in love with this extraordinary dish, and I am sure it will do the same to you! :)

West African Groundnut Stew
(author unknown- if you know, please inform me so I can credit them)


1T canola oil
1 med onion
1 red or yellow pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t minced fresh ginger
1 cayenne or serrano chile, seeded and diced
2 c water
2 c tomato juice (I sometimes mix tomato paste and water)
1 14oz can stewed or diced tomatoes (preference)
2 c sweet potato, diced
1 T dried parsley
1 1/2 t dried thyme
1 1/2 t cumin
1 1/2 t sea salt
1/2 c chunky peanutbutter
2 c shredded spinach or chard


1. Saute onion, pepper, garlic, ginger, and chile in oil 4-5 minutes.

2. Add water, tomato juice, tomatoes, sweet potato, and spices. Simmer 25 minutes over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until potato is very tender.

3. Aggressively stir in peanutbutter.

4. Add spinach or chard and return to simmer, stirring frequently.

5. Remove from heat and let stand 5-10 minutes.

The recipe suggests serving over couscous or rice, but I prefer it with a crusty, fresh ciabatta instead. Enjoy! :)

20 July 2010

Yoga Kitty

My Sophie loves it when I do yoga, and gets super happy when I get out my mat. She runs over to me and hovers close, anticipating a stretch on my mat and then a snooze on me while I stretch on my back at the start and end of my practice. In her desire to be near while I move through my asanas (poses), she often plants herself in the middle of my mat so that I have to maneuver around her. On this day I decided to document it, very unyoga-like. :P I love my kitty!

In the first two, I have just unrolled my mat and am standing on it. I love the look in her eyes. :) How could anyone resist?

In this next group, I have stretched out on my mat for a warmup, and Sophie, as usual, immediately climbs onto my chest and relaxes. I usually linger here for her... **Please ignore the deodorant ring on my tank. lol**

I've displaced Sophie and started to move here. She doesn't make it easy.


Sivasana- rest time. We've done a lot of work.