Category Archives: Uncategorized

Autumn in North Florida…

From afar, it’s easy to think Florida is always hot and sunny and life is lived only at the edge of our Gulf and Atlantic Ocean on sugar-sand beaches.

But living in Tallahassee, in our part of north Florida, is a bit different.

Here, we have rolling hills, an inland forest, and a small city known more for its great universities and for hosting our state government than for our local life on the ground.

In fact, utter the name ‘Tallahassee,’ and you realize it’s usually a stand-in for the functioning and decisions of our governor and our legislative houses.

But, our deeper truth is that this is an ancient land. A land that saw Paleo-Indians, and then Spanish Conquistadors, and later Spanish missionaries. A land that grew shade tobacco just to the west. A land that is the northern-most region for many southern species of foliage — and the southern-most region for many more northern species.

We’re about 40 minutes from the nearest spot to dangle our toes in salt water. And, before we get there, we pass a multitude of freshwater rivers with cold water, snakes and alligators. And holes punched into our karst (limestone) layer that we call sinkholes. Cave divers know our land well. So do cyclists, poets and artists. To those of  us living here full-time, these things are truer for us than the add-ons of college football and the shenanigans of state government.

My yard, these days, is a riot of fall color. These are my trees in these photographs, and my little slice of sky. My Scottish ancestors pioneered near here beginning in the nineteenth century. I’m really a Floridian, and not a transplant from somewhere else. At least not since the 1840s.

I hate our summer heat. My Scottish DNA never has gotten used to it. But I live for this season and the next. Our winters are sometimes very cold. Like below 20F degrees at times. But we always default to warmer temperatures. Last week, two nights plunged to the low 20s and those days were cold (for us), too. Today, temps soared to 80F. And I rushed home to take off my long-sleeved garb and boots and spent the afternoon sleeveless and in open sandals. Even before climate change became a thing, north Florida did this.

I am pleased that our exterior household projects have been completed, allowing me to go back into my studio and be a metalsmith again.

Upon my return, I finally made some of the tiny houses I’d long thought about. And a friend inspired me to make jewelry with rustic stars.

I found a handful of chunky faceted labradorite cabochons in my studio and built my little houses around them.

You can see several of these in my online shop on Etsy by clicking on this link:

CityRusticJewelry on Etsy

These are handmade and one-of-a-kind using darkened sterling silver (with patina).

The Starry series of earrings and pendants feature tiny gemstone cabochons or vintage glass rhinestone cabochons and are encrusted with sterling stardust.

This is a non-glamor shot of the whole group of Starry pieces I have made. Those still available are also in my Etsy shop.

Wishing all of you in the northern hemisphere a wonderful autumn-into-winter, and those of you in the southern hemisphere a wonderful spring-into-summer! Please let me know if I can help you with anything!

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Autumn in North Florida…

From afar, it’s easy to think Florida is always hot and sunny and life is lived only at the edge of our Gulf and Atlantic Ocean on sugar-sand beaches.

But living in Tallahassee, in our part of north Florida, is a bit different.

Here, we have rolling hills, an inland forest, and a small city known more for its great universities and for hosting our state government than for our local life on the ground.

In fact, utter the name ‘Tallahassee,’ and you realize it’s usually a stand-in for the functioning and decisions of our governor and our legislative houses.

But, our deeper truth is that this is an ancient land. A land that saw Paleo-Indians, and then Spanish Conquistadors, and later Spanish missionaries. A land that grew shade tobacco just to the west. A land that is the northern-most region for many southern species of foliage — and the southern-most region for many more northern species.

We’re about 40 minutes from the nearest spot to dangle our toes in salt water. And, before we get there, we pass a multitude of freshwater rivers with cold water, snakes and alligators. And holes punched into our karst (limestone) layer that we call sinkholes. Cave divers know our land well. So do cyclists, poets and artists. To those of  us living here full-time, these things are truer for us than the add-ons of college football and the shenanigans of state government.

My yard, these days, is a riot of fall color. These are my trees in these photographs, and my little slice of sky. My Scottish ancestors pioneered near here beginning in the nineteenth century. I’m really a Floridian, and not a transplant from somewhere else. At least not since the 1840s.

I hate our summer heat. My Scottish DNA never has gotten used to it. But I live for this season and the next. Our winters are sometimes very cold. Like below 20F degrees at times. But we always default to warmer temperatures. Last week, two nights plunged to the low 20s and those days were cold (for us), too. Today, temps soared to 80F. And I rushed home to take off my long-sleeved garb and boots and spent the afternoon sleeveless and in open sandals. Even before climate change became a thing, north Florida did this.

I am pleased that our exterior household projects have been completed, allowing me to go back into my studio and be a metalsmith again.

Upon my return, I finally made some of the tiny houses I’d long thought about. And a friend inspired me to make jewelry with rustic stars.

I found a handful of chunky faceted labradorite cabochons in my studio and built my little houses around them.

You can see several of these in my online shop on Etsy by clicking on this link:

CityRusticJewelry on Etsy

These are handmade and one-of-a-kind using darkened sterling silver (with patina).

The Starry series of earrings and pendants feature tiny gemstone cabochons or vintage glass rhinestone cabochons and are encrusted with sterling stardust.

This is a non-glamor shot of the whole group of Starry pieces I have made. Those still available are also in my Etsy shop.

Wishing all of you in the northern hemisphere a wonderful autumn-into-winter, and those of you in the southern hemisphere a wonderful spring-into-summer! Please let me know if I can help you with anything!

via Blogger http://ift.tt/1yFob8y

I’ve been busy this summer, but not in my studio.

Oh, I moved my studio back home and set it up and made a few things. But my focus has been on a lot of outside projects around our home.

You see, we finally gave up on the idea of selling our home and relocating sometime in the future. And decided to really put our roots down here for the long haul because it will make our lives decidedly simpler and more enjoyable. But we wanted to make some changes. And we’re so happy that we did.

It was the swampiest and most humid of summers in north Florida. Our young workers did an amazing job holding up against the sun, rain and humidity day after day. I ran around in the heat a lot more than usual, too.

Eighteen years ago, we moved into this small house I’ve long called a ‘bomb shelter.’ Built for only $9,000 in 1957, I’ve often wished they’d splurged originally and spent $11,000 so we’d have a bigger kitchen and a second bathroom. Yes, weren’t mid-century housing prices amazingly low?

For my studio to move back home, we had to add some storage on our property. And we had to improve some existing storage, because the house itself doesn’t offer much.

Now all my art show booth stuff is tucked away with myriad other things. A potting bench has been built and all of our potting materials have been organized around it.

Mowers and tools and bikes have secure homes. And our two cats have nice shelters to scurry to, to avoid the rain.

 

We still have hardscaping and landscaping to do.  We’ve only made a small dent in these so far. Soon we’ll see cooler weather and that will be our cue to build the stone patios and move plantings to new locations.

It’s kind of nice to live in a ‘vintage’ dwelling on a modest bit of property. Its affordability will allow us to do the traveling we want to do, and maybe even to avoid the hottest months of summer in years to come. We dream of renting for a month or two each summer in the Appalachians, when sun and rain beat upon Tallahassee.
 
There were several spots around our yard that were muddy and hard to traverse. We’ve improved those with ‘dry streams’ made of pavers and river rocks. I love how much cleaner things are where we’ve done this, and how much more easily traveled.

When we bought our home, it had suffered a ‘scorched-earth’ treatment from its former owner. The whole property boasted about three pitiful trees. In our first year here, we planted a number of trees and bushes, to the point that our formerly sunny yard is now mostly shady. Our eyesore of a house is now a woodsy parkland abode and we love it. We’ve even painted it a sage green. Our landscaping phase will see the advent of a butterfly/pollinator garden. I’m very into bees and butterfliesI’m happy to report that north Florida’s honeybees are doing quite well. We have colder winters than you might expect in Florida, and the cold holds back the Africanized bees of south Florida and out west. Our beekeepers are so successful with honeybee hives here that we actually rent hundreds of hives to California and other western areas, to pollinate their bee-dependent crops, like almonds. When we get our bees back, they need rehabilitation. And this is where homeowners come in.

Planting flowering plants that support bees and butterflies helps those populations stay strong and healthy. Even a few butterfly plants in pots are helpful to the pollinators. Entertaining, too. I love sitting in my red deck chairs and watching the bugs work. And we’ve had lots of cardinals and hummingbirds this year. We keep the feeders full and are entertained by busy critters grateful for food and drink. Right now, the earliest clues that autumn is coming can be seen. The light is buttery and the nights are cooler. Some of the trees are a little rusty. This awareness always gets me going: studio time!

The winter holidays will soon be upon us. I’m excited. I always am. I love the energy of the holiday season and the mission it gives our lives. But, for now, I’m content to hang around the house with the nectar collectors and invite my jewelry Muse to lead me back to my workbench. Happy autumn, to all of you in the northern hemisphere, and happy spring to those down under.

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I’ve been busy this summer, but not in my studio.

Oh, I moved my studio back home and set it up and made a few things. But my focus has been on a lot of outside projects around our home.

You see, we finally gave up on the idea of selling our home and relocating sometime in the future. And decided to really put our roots down here for the long haul because it will make our lives decidedly simpler and more enjoyable. But we wanted to make some changes. And we’re so happy that we did.

It was the swampiest and most humid of summers in north Florida. Our young workers did an amazing job holding up against the sun, rain and humidity day after day. I ran around in the heat a lot more than usual, too.

Eighteen years ago, we moved into this small house I’ve long called a ‘bomb shelter.’ Built for only $9,000 in 1957, I’ve often wished they’d splurged originally and spent $11,000 so we’d have a bigger kitchen and a second bathroom. Yes, weren’t mid-century housing prices amazingly low?

For my studio to move back home, we had to add some storage on our property. And we had to improve some existing storage, because the house itself doesn’t offer much.

Now all my art show booth stuff is tucked away with myriad other things. A potting bench has been built and all of our potting materials have been organized around it.

Mowers and tools and bikes have secure homes. And our two cats have nice shelters to scurry to, to avoid the rain.

 

We still have hardscaping and landscaping to do.  We’ve only made a small dent in these so far. Soon we’ll see cooler weather and that will be our cue to build the stone patios and move plantings to new locations.

It’s kind of nice to live in a ‘vintage’ dwelling on a modest bit of property. Its affordability will allow us to do the traveling we want to do, and maybe even to avoid the hottest months of summer in years to come. We dream of renting for a month or two each summer in the Appalachians, when sun and rain beat upon Tallahassee.
 
There were several spots around our yard that were muddy and hard to traverse. We’ve improved those with ‘dry streams’ made of pavers and river rocks. I love how much cleaner things are where we’ve done this, and how much more easily traveled.

When we bought our home, it had suffered a ‘scorched-earth’ treatment from its former owner. The whole property boasted about three pitiful trees. In our first year here, we planted a number of trees and bushes, to the point that our formerly sunny yard is now mostly shady. Our eyesore of a house is now a woodsy parkland abode and we love it. We’ve even painted it a sage green. Our landscaping phase will see the advent of a butterfly/pollinator garden. I’m very into bees and butterfliesI’m happy to report that north Florida’s honeybees are doing quite well. We have colder winters than you might expect in Florida, and the cold holds back the Africanized bees of south Florida and out west. Our beekeepers are so successful with honeybee hives here that we actually rent hundreds of hives to California and other western areas, to pollinate their bee-dependent crops, like almonds. When we get our bees back, they need rehabilitation. And this is where homeowners come in.

Planting flowering plants that support bees and butterflies helps those populations stay strong and healthy. Even a few butterfly plants in pots are helpful to the pollinators. Entertaining, too. I love sitting in my red deck chairs and watching the bugs work. And we’ve had lots of cardinals and hummingbirds this year. We keep the feeders full and are entertained by busy critters grateful for food and drink. Right now, the earliest clues that autumn is coming can be seen. The light is buttery and the nights are cooler. Some of the trees are a little rusty. This awareness always gets me going: studio time!

The winter holidays will soon be upon us. I’m excited. I always am. I love the energy of the holiday season and the mission it gives our lives. But, for now, I’m content to hang around the house with the nectar collectors and invite my jewelry Muse to lead me back to my workbench. Happy autumn, to all of you in the northern hemisphere, and happy spring to those down under.

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Summer in the Northern Hemisphere…

Summertime, and the living is easy… maybe even for the artists on the Artisan Anthology team. Each week, this little international team publishes a collage of our recent work and this is this week’s collage. 

Here in the subtropics of the U.S., we’re having a warm, muggy summer. It’s been a little atypical, in this time of climate change, with some cool spells breaking up the heat and humidity every once in awhile.

In the north, artists participate in nearly weekly art shows and festivals, but in the deep south, we hibernate for awhile and then get busy for autumn and the winter holidays. 

Taking a quick glance at my calendar, I realize I must get busy soon!

But this summer, for me, has been about building infrastructure for the next long, happy phase of our lives. Creating onsite storage, new outside living areas, a screened porch and a new home studio has been the work of summer around here.

From that platform, I hope to get back to creating new work. Having my studio at home again will let my nightowl tendences grow more productive again. This time the studio is as far from our bedroom as I can locate it, so I can do all but the noisiest of production activities late into the night.

At this point, my Railroad Square studio is a thing of the past, for me. But my studio mate, Valerie will continue her work there and she’s getting a new studio mate — one of my favorite people! — in my place. And I will continue my close association with both artists there, even though I’ll be working at home.

The focus of my jewelry business is shifting to my online shop on Etsy, a few galleries I supply with works, and a few local activities — including meeting up with friends for coffee, bringing my work along. If you’re local and would like to meet up with me, contact me via my Facebook fan page and leave a message!

The link to my fan page: http://ift.tt/1iY6rKp

And my work is always available in my Etsy shop. See the slideshow from that shop in the sidebar, to the right side of this blog page.
 

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