Thursday, May 31, 2007

Yummy Vegan Cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix to combine in bowl:
2 cups pastry flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cups chopped pecans or almonds

In another bowl, whisk to combine:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 T water
1/2 tsp salt

Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

3/4 cup carob chips

Spoon onto baking sheet and flatten to shape.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.
Makes between 15 and 20 cookies.
We like to double the recipe so we have enough to last about a week.
(I'm a cookie monster when these are hiding in the cupboards:)

Art Nouveau "Hanging Gardens" Necklace

My newest listing on Etsy, I've finished the third of my Art Nouveau-inspired stained glass necklaces. Although, the first two were gone before I was able to take pictures! Oops!
Spring Cleaning is in full force, so there's not much to add to this post, except that the bathrooms and the kitchen are clean!! Yea!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Who knew?

My friend, Caitlin, mentioned this video to me tonight at work. We had been talking about politics, and it spurred her to think of this video.
Who knew that water buffalos could actually organize and fight back?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Welcome to the Napa Valley La Strada dell'Arte Street Painting Festival!

The Mitcavish Glass Studio "Cherub" square. And then, of course the rest of the beautiful art:

Friday, May 25, 2007

Alanis Morissette, revisited

I saw this video about a month ago, and the song ran through my head for the rest of the day. I think it's so much better when Alanis does it!

Enjoy this great video parody:)

Driving traffic to your site and getting press...

While checking email last night, I read Tammy Powley's Jewelry Making newsletter.
She had a list of jewelry blog sites that I clicked through quickly.
One of the sites, by Peggy Li (who has recently had some of her jewelry featured in Lucky magazine as well as on Grey's Anatomy), offers some really great advice on driving traffic to your website, as well as gaining press (You'll also find great links to other in-the-know sites.) You should check them out pronto, if you're into that sort of thing:)

The Postcard Game - Sounds like fun!

I stumbled upon a blog by Jennifer Dangerfield (what a great name!) and she's recently started to turn her jewelry design into a business, it sounds like.
As a way of commemorating and celebrating, she's started The Postcard Game.
Here's what she has to say about it:

The question is this: would you be willing to send me a postcard (kitsch or cute, reality or technicolour touch-up, beauty or beast - the choice is yours) from wherever you are in the world to me in little old England? In return, I would like to offer you some beautiful jewellery as a prize.

Briefly, if you email me & tell me that you'd like to play, I'll send you a code number for every postcard that you'd like to send. Whenever I receive a postcard, I will scan it & post a picture of it along with the code number on this blog. Come the day of the draw to be held in, let's say, a month's time after the start of the competition, I shall press-gang my MILlie ( Mother In Law) into drawing a number out of the hat. Don't worry - there'll be some innocent bystanders to ensure justice."

She's also decided to donate $1 for every postcard she receives (cut off at $250) to Ovarian Cancer Action. Like me, she lost her mother to ovarian cancer after her mother (and Drs.) mistook the symptoms for menopause. I think it's a great idea and a worthy cause, so if you're reading this, I think it would be a nice gesture to head on over to Jennifer's site and comment so she can send you an address for the post card! (Oh yeah, she's also holding a drawing with prizes - her own beautiful jewelry!)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Spring Minestrone with Brown Rice

From the book Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

I was reading the free magazine, "edible San Francisco," when I ran across this delicious looking, asparagus filled minestrone recipe. I can't wait to try this one out! Yummmm...

Serves 4

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup medium-grain brown basmati rice, rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half diagonally
8 spears asparagus, trimmed and diagonally sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the shallots and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes until soft.
Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute, then add the stock and bring to a boil.
Cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the rice is just tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

Add the sugar snap peas, asparagus, and green peas, and season with a few healthy pinches of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes and serve immediately; this way the vegetables stay crisp and bright.

1) For an Asian-inspired soup, Heidi suggests adding a couple handfuls of edamame in place of the peas and finish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
2) For a more traditional Italian-style minestrone, substitute shelled fava beans for the peas and finish with a bit of shaved Parmesan, lemon zest, and shredded basil.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Nice Color Primer

I was browsing and found a great site, Color Matters, which has a nice primer on color theory.
The topics cover color harmony, how color effects us, historical color uses and color for e-commerce. There is even a section that explains why colors will look different from screen to screen on the web.

Looking for some Inspiration?

Or maybe just want to learn some new techniques?

Recently, I read through The Penland Book of Jewelry - Master Classes in Jewelry Techniques:

The Penland School of Crafts is located in the Southern Appalachian region of North Carolina and has been teaching crafts (lovely art) for more than 75 years.

From their website: "Penland offers one-, two-, and eight-week workshops in books & paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking, textiles, and wood. The school also sponsors artists' residencies, educational outreach programs, and a craft gallery."

But even if you cannot make it to the school in person, Penland has put together a series of books that offer intermediate-level technical information. This book is the third in the series and includes not only a wonderful, inspirational gallery of pieces created by Penland artists and instructors, but also features 10 projects and detailed instructions for creating breathtaking jewelry pieces of your own.

Featured artists and techniques include: Marilyn Da Silva (Nontraditional Color on Metal), John Cogswell (Forging), Jaime Pelissier (Alloying), Rob Jackson (Fabricating with Steel), Heather White Van Stolk (Casting), Jan Baum (Die Forming), Tom McCarthy (Alternative Stone Setting), Maria Phillips (Electroforming), Mary Ann Scherr (Etching), and Douglas Harling (Granulation).

Each section begins with a sampling of the artist's work in the technique being focused upon. The featured artists have all written introductory essays to accompany the tutorials. Following the detailed lesson is a gallery of other artists' works selected by the featured artist.

If there were no lessons at all, the amazing pictures alone would be reason enough to get this book! Full color, highly detailed images allow you to examine the work closely, giving you "an insightful look at the creative process."

Ever wondered what goes into making a fine art print?

Well, Kathryn Semolic has a post about her decision to purchase a fine art printer and her blog covers other considerations...
Also in this post, she points out everything to be considered in offering prints of fine art.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

La Strada dell'Arte, day two

I had to leave early during day one, so I was surprised to see how much of the background was colored in at the beginning of day two! When I arrived, Michele was busy blending blues and whites and green for the sky...
Sharon was keeping things together in the booth. Thankfully, today wasn't nearly as windy as yesterday. Due to the wind and the way we had displayed some plates (on plate stands), we had a couple of casualties on Saturday:( But, we picked up the pieces, and hopefully they will be incorporated into another piece.

Kaila showed up to help fill in the details. She had to work a double yesterday, so was anxious to get her hands dirty today.
So, after a bit of blending and definition, we took the tape away from the borders and Voila!
The proud artists: Carrie, Kaila, and Michele

A Fair(y) Use Tale

WOWsers! This must have taken forever to put together. And how well done it is!
I saw this on tonight and just had to share it.

La Strada dell'Arte, day one

Today was a beautiful day in Napa! It was also the first day of the "Italian Street Fair" at Copia (the Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts). Below, Michele and I are filling in our square, which is a recreation of Michelangelo's Cherubs.
The artists all started setting up at 10 AM or earlier today. First, we began by blocking off our area with painter's tape, so that when the masterpiece is finished, it will have a nice clean edge.
Next, we snapped chalk lines onto the pavement, dividing the square into a grid for correct proportion.

Then, we began to fill in the details...
Tomorrow, we'll start again early, and hopefully, by the time I have to leave to go to work, we'll have it all finished so I can get more pictures up to share!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall....

Who's the fairest of them all?

I'm almost finished with the stained glass mirror that I've been working on. Just a little patina and clean up, and it's ready to hang!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Stepping Stone Unveiled...

I got the original pattern for this stepping stone from a book in Michele's library. However, the mold it used was much bigger than the molds available in the studio. So, I had to sketch it out and scale it down before making the pattern pieces for cutting the glass.
I don't think it's visible in the photos, but I used iridescent glass for the hummingbird's heads. I also threw in some white iridescent glass in the background to give it some sparkle when the sun hits it. For the background, I used the mosaic nippers to break up a bunch of different colors of blue and white pieces to puzzle together.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Playing with Powders

Today, I played around in the studio and got quite a bit accomplished, I'd say.
First, I cleaned up a couple of mosaic-ed stepping stones and poured the cement for mine. I'll have pictures up of that Monday or Tuesday, I imagine. The cement we used, Quikrete, takes 24-48 hours to set, depending upon the size of stone made.
After pouring my stone, I UV glued the bases on some of the Intermediate Glass Class Final Projects. So, that means that mine is finished:) Here are pictures from all angles:

I used a quote from As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen, "Dreams are the seedlings of realities."
When viewed from the side or the top, you can see the layers of glass used. There were three 1/4" thick pieces of glass "painted" with powders, and two 1/8" glass spacers to add depth. It was on one of these spacers that the quote was written on.
The piece is translucent, and from the back you can still see all the layers, although it's not as impressive from that angle...
After gluing this piece to its base, I soldered up the rest of the pieces for my stained glass mirror. It is now ready to assemble, apart from the cutting of the actual mirror.

Lastly, after loading the kiln, I started on a "palette project." I have decided that I really like working with glass powders and the painterly effect that they offer:

I started this one as an example for my fusing student and it evolved into a princess and dragon scene with a few paramecium thrown in for good measure:)

I love the shadow that the piece cast, and I'm thinking that I'd like to make a series of sconces.
So, my "palette project" consists of using different powders together to come up with a palette of colors for use in future "paintings." I'll post pictures when I have the samples all finished and fired.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Soldered Pendant Necklaces

Finally, I've assembled not only the soldered pendants, but I've gathered all the components to actually piece together the entire necklace. I've got two beautiful necklaces so far...

These are both made with Czech fire-polished glass beads, about half of them have an Aurora Borealis coating which gives them a gorgeous shimmering effect. Both necklaces are finished with pure silver findings and silver chain measuring a total of 16".

I also thought that my fused plaid pendants could use some dressing up, so I wired this one together with silver chain and assorted glass beads:

Glass-making 101

From Stained Glass Step By Step, by Patricia Ann Daley:

I love this book for its plethora of information, from the process of making glass to types of glass to leading and foiling methods of assembly. The projects focus on different types of assembly. A list of projects includes: a Fleur de Lys Panel (
Lead Came Method), a Butterfly Sidelight (Copper Foil Method), a kitchen wall clock, a mosaic-ed vase, a six panel lamp, and an Alaskan Totem Light (Sculptural Element).

The first 10 page chapter tells about the process of glass making, as well as describes the different types of glass...

First and foremost, glass is a liquid. Mind you, it's a solid liquid, because it moves so slowly that we don't notice it. However, if you were to examine a large cathedral window that has been standing upright in the same position for many years, you would notice that at the bottom, the glass has flowed downward and become thicker.
Glass is made from silica sand with 1% iron, soda ash, limestone and borax, plus added metal oxides for color: dichrome=green; copper/cobalt=blue; cadmium=lighter reds, oranges, and yellows; gold salts=deep, rich reds, gold pinks and purples.
Generally, most glass that is on the market today is machine-made. The process begins with a carefully measured dry mixture that is place in a crucible, a large "bowl," and then placed in a furnace to slowly heat the mixture to white-hot temperatures. After reaching the high temperatures, the glass liquid is ladled onto mixing slabs where the glass is twirled with a two pronged fork, similar to the way salt water taffy is twirled to mix it. The color changes to a bright orange and the consistency resembles taffy as the glass begins to cool.
The glass is now ready to be rolled, and this is the point where it is textured. The bottom roller gives the texture to the glass and is engraved with the texture. For standard glass, the thickness is now at 1/8" and the color of the glass mixture becomes a dull orange/red as it has cooled even more.
At this point the glass enters the annealing lehr, a conveyor line that slowly cools the glass by moving it from the hottest end of the "oven" to the cold, room temperature side. The glass is ready to be cut and packed into crates for distribution.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bullseye's e-merge 2008

"A juried kiln-glass exhibition for emerging and intermediate-level artists"

Yowsers! Talk about exciting news! Bullseye has announced its juried contest for 2008.
From their postcard:

"e-merge 2008, the fifth in a series of juried kiln-glass exhibitions, aims to recognize students, early-career artists, and those artists not regularly represented by the top-flight national and international galleries...e-merge 2008 is your opportunity to compete for $5,750 in awards and representation in a full-color catalog documenting impressive kilnwork by the rising talents in the field."

The great part about this announcement is that the submission deadline isn't until February 22, 2008. Plenty of time to implement those great ideas that have been brewing!

For more information, check out the Bullseye website at

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Types of Stained Glass...

from Creative Stained Glass - Modern Designs & Simple Techniques:

There are two main categories of stained glass: cathedral and opalescent.
Cathedral glasses are clear or transparent, while opalescent glasses are, well, opal.

Antique Glass is made to look old. If it is machine-made, it will have a slightly distorted texture but be fairly even in color and thickness. If it is mouth-blown, it will be more varied, and show distortions, some bubbles, and differences in color intensity.

Bevels are thick, flat, precut glass shapes that sometimes come in prepackaged clusters for inclusion into stylized designs. They act as prisms, refracting the light that passes through them into rainbows. Bevels are usually clear, but may be glue-chipped.

Glue-chip glass is a textured cathedral glass that has been treated with hot glue, which then peels away to create a pattern.

Iridescent glass can be cathedral or opalescent. It is coated with metallic oxides that produce a rainbow effect when light reflects off of it.

Hammered texture glass also comes in cathedral and opalescent. The "texture is similar to that of hammered copper."

Glass nuggets are small globs of glass which are flat on the bottom and rounded on the top. You've probably seen these in your local craft store in the floral aisle.

Ring-mottled glass is an opalescent glass that is mottled with small, circular patterns, similar to a tortoise-shell.

Ripple glass can be cathedral or opalescent and has a rippled texture.

Rondels are mouth-blown glass pieces spun into a flat circular shape. They are similar to the bottom of a wine bottle and are usually transparent.

Seedy glass has many seed-like bubbles trapped below the surface.

Wispy glass is made by mixing cathedral glass with another more transparent color.

Streaky glass is made up of one or more cathedral colors mixed together with a white opalescent color, creating a thinly streaked, multi-colored glass.

Wavy glass has the appearance of a "gently rippled lake".

So that's about it for the types of glass section of this book. I'm actually fairly disappointed with the descriptions given for the types of glass. I have been reading another book, "Stained Glass Step By Step" by Patricia Ann Daley, and I think I'll have to do another post that gives some of her explanations. They are a little more explanatory and make much more sense.

"Creative Stained Glass - Modern Designs & Simple Techniques" by Christine Kellmann Stevenson has a few intriguing patterns towards the back of the book and is heavy on leaded glass patterns that seem to mimic one another. All around, I wouldn't recommend this book, although it has gotten one (of one) good review on

Monday, May 7, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Mark and Lindsay!

Our friends Mark and Lindsay got married last year, but at the time, we had no idea what to get them. So instead of just getting something for the sake of getting something, we opted to wait until inspiration hit. And Wow, did it hit.
Check out the spread on this plate!

I have fallen in love with the Spectrum 96 glass that I've been working with lately. It does all the work, and I just cut!
However, the plate would have been entirely too naked presented all by itself. So, Todd and I went to Rainbow Coop in San Francisco to pick up some wonderful cheeses to accompany the tray.
I have to say that it was very difficult to pick a favorite, they all had their own appeal.

On the top left side of the platter is a Vermont, Taylor Made Farms Maple Smoked Gouda, sweet and milder than hickory-smoked gouda.
Top middle is the Welsh Red Dragon, a smooth, firm Cheddar made with Welsh brown ale and mustard seeds.This cheese is buttery and a bit spicy.
On the top right side of the platter is a Dutch Delft Gouda, a cow's milk blue cheese that was slightly crumbly but still a bit creamy.
We had an Ubriaca del Piave (from Bellunao, Italy) a couple of months back and it was wonderful. However, it is only on the market for a few months. So, when we asked for Ubriaca this time, we were guided to the Drunken Goat Cheese from Spain.
It is washed with wine as it ages.
The Carr Valley Mobay sits in the middle of the platter at bottom and is made in two halves with grapevine ash in the center. One half is made with goat’s milk, the other with sheep’s milk.

Nestled in the middle is a spicy hot, organic, Springhouse Cheese Co., Mike's Firehouse Curds from Petaluma, California, flavored with jalapenos, red peppers, parsley and cilantro. At the bottom right of the platter is the Belgian Chimay Bier cheese, which has the consistency of a soft brie and is washed with Chimay beer while it is aging.

As we assembled the plate, we decided to add some dried fruit: Bartlett pear, mango, gogi berries, hunza berries, cape gooseberries and rainier cherries.

To accompany the cheese plate, I fired an oil and vinegar tray and a smaller salt dish. We also filled a 375-mL wine bottle (that I etched with a bamboo pattern) with an extra virgin manznilla olive oil. For salt, we gave them some Black Lava Salt and 'Alea Pink Salt from Hawaii.

All in all, I think it makes a wonderful gift! I hope they were even half as excited about the whole thing as I am:)


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