Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Merry

Ah, December 25th. After a flurry of shopping, making, wrapping, cooking, decorating, and stuffing, the day is here. At 36 years of age (ahem, almost 37), all this Christmas hoopla has become an almost tedious ritual (I know, I'm grinch-ish..but don't stop reading and click off in gets better).

Leading up to Christmas morning, Annabelle, our child of almost 2 and a half, has ooh-ed and aah-ed the various seasonal light displays on our neighbor's lawns: twinkling white, green, and red trees, motorized reindeer, glowing inflated snowmen. She has screamed with delight as she spied Santa in a window, on a card, or atop a snowbank. This morning, she actually KNEW that Santa came and left her presents under the tree!! She surveyed the tree and the presents with eyes, wide with awe. She even peeked around each corner to see if Santa had spent the night. Her smile never faded as she unwrapped every present, wanting to play or read each one before she unwrapped another!

And what was the very best gift I got this morning? I got a renewed perspective. I witnessed all the Christmas glories through the eyes of a mother!!! I experienced my child's hope, wonder, belief, excitement, and gratitude for all things jolly, sparkly, and red. Annabelle's belief in Old St. Nick is pure, fun, and entertaining. Now, I look forward to many more years of decorating, making, wrapping, shopping, and stuffing...just to see the look on my daughter's face on Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas from the Quench Bench!!! Oh, and her favorite gift? Mrs. Potato head!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Show Recap

Our first (and hopefully annual) Etsy Maine Team Holiday Craft Show was a hit with shoppers who dared to venture out on a frigid, icy Saturday! Team members displayed their very best: functional and decorative woodware, felted sculptures, upcycled home decor, jewelry creations in glass, vintage beads, mixed media, and metal, stoneware, pen and ink drawings, and lovely fabric items from children's hats to journals. Plans are in the works for more shows in 2009! Here's some pics of the wonderfully creative items displayed!

Heron Cove Wood Carving

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Front Page!

My little filigree ring made her way to Etsy's front page this morning! Melissa from Little Pink House curated this charming collection of handmade goodness! Two other pieces from Mainers, Swallowfield and Betsy Thompson Studio, accompanied my ring on her trip to the big page!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Favorite New Tool

Meet the new love of my life...the rotary tumbler. Where have you been all these years? I knew where to find you, but I denied myself the joy you would bring me. Oh, how I was so wrong!

My new friend polishes a couple of dozen items BEAUTIFULLY, all at once! So, little Miss Jeweler can get back to other bench work while Mr. Tumbler quietly rumbles away. The pic below is the media that works my pieces into that lovely luster...steel shot in various shapes and hard plastic pellets.

A generous squirt of dish soap, a little warm water, and the tumbling media is all that is required. Amazing! How did I get by all those years without one?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Seasonal Views

Christmas has arrived at the Quench Bench home. The holiday muse said her piece and I dutifully listened. Hauling the many boxes of Christmasy bric-a-brac up from the cellar (aka, my studio), I got decorating! With the ritual placement of all things sparkly, shiny, and red, a festive mood took hold and I rather like it!
This evening concludes the holiday preparations with the trimming of the tree. This will be a first in our home with a 2 1/2 year old included in the festivities. Wish us luck!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fruits of Labor

Blogging got lost in the shuffle of the holidays...I sincerely apologize. As an avid blog reader (when time allows, of course), I know there is nothing more frustrating and upsetting than a stale blog...ok, I exaggerated here, but you get my point. I promise to blog more often now that my work load has lessened! I really enjoy blogging,too. So, I shouldn't deny myself blogging pleasure, right?

Here are some soon to be finished rings (need to set the buttons) that I had posted as works in progress last week. 8 total and $15 each. I made these for a craft show I'm doing next weekend. Less expensive and super fun baubles for the holidays! I will NOT list these in my Etsy store. If you would like one, email me or leave a comment.

These are also new earrings with 12 other siblings and cousins headed to the craft show. I will be listing some on Etsy sometime this week. The pairs that do not sell in the show will also get listed sometime after the 14th!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's December?

Wow, this year has accelerated! What happened to autumn? Where did the sun go? Yikes! Guess what we woke to this morning? S-N-O-W. This is our first snowfall this season that "stuck". A fitting way to start the first of December (however, waking to sunny skies and 65 degrees would have been fine with me, too).

I logged in many studio hours this weekend, preparing inventory for a upcoming show. One of life's great thrills, in my opinion, is crossing off items on a 'to do' list. My pen did overtime! I plan to list a few of these items on Etsy and save some for the craft show.

This was another great thrill for me: I was notified this morning that I am the Etsy Maine Team Artist of the Month! I'm grateful, excited, humbled, elated, dumbfounded...just tickled pink! Thank you Maine Team!!! You can check out the blog here. I wrote 2 articles for the blog in November...check them out!

Lastly, how can it NOT be December...look what we brought home! Family tradition indicates that we MUST get our tree the day after Thanksgiving, and so we did. No, it is not up yet...maybe on Wednesday. Wishing you all a happy, peaceful December.

my little family

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Contest Reminder, New Listings, and Thankings

Just a friendly reminder that tomorrow is the kick-off for the Etsy Metalsmiths in Action Team's "Seek, Find, and Win" Holiday Contest. Please check out rules here and prize photos here! If you happened to miss my first blog about the contest, you can find it here. Good luck and have fun!

A few new listings today in my shop.
hollow nickel silver and 18k ring with sapphire

sterling silver 'snowfall' rivet pendant

sterling silver 'snowman' pendant

I had a blast making this little silver stack. It's weight is impressive and could easily become a favorite pendant. To create one in gold would be a DREAM! I'm hoping that the gold price continues to fall...$400/ troy ounce would be excellent!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! With a belly full of turkey, squash, and stuffing (AND brussel sprouts AND mashed potatoes AND cranberry sauce AND monkey bread) I present to you the 5 things I'm thankful for this evening:

  1. My good health and the good health of my loved ones.
  2. My family and friends
  3. Sunny, warm places to visit in February
  4. My husband who did ALL the dishes and kitchen chores rock, babe!
  5. My loyal blog followers!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Stormy Evening's Ramblings

Wicked weather here tonight...I may not get through to the end of this post before the power goes off, again, however, I'll attempt to finish and post. Lights are flickering!!

Latest news from my 2 yo: she learned how to climb out of her crib today! Oh jeepers! So, we'll convert to the toddler bed this weekend and hope that our mornings will not start at 4am with the pitter-patter of little feet running into our room! Also, she has embraced the tantrum like a professional. I give into NO part of her ploy, but she's working it as though she senses my weakness. ~sigh~

In shop related news, I am playing around with props in my photos per the suggestions of a fellow Etsy mate. I come from the school of barren and minimal: let your work do ALL the talking. BUT, in the world of virtual shopping with hordes of competitors, image IS everything. She (who has some of the most divine work that I have seen in a while) suggested that I try creating a "lifestyle" in my photos. So, here's my first attempt. Wooden spools of thread from my Gram's sewing box. Hmmm. Maybe next photo session I'll use chocolate truffles so I can reward myself when it's over!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Seek, Find, and Win!!

Ok, my friends, here's the OFFICIAL rules to the Metalsmiths in Action Etsy Team holiday competetion, Seek, Find, and Win. Just click here and check out our team website for instructions and rules. Lots of prizes, several days of fun and seeking, and many jewelry shops to discover in the process! Here's some of the prizes (ooh and ahh if you need to...I know I did!).
Contest starts this Friday, November 28, 2008, otherwise known as Black Friday. No purchase necessary to play. Happy searching!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

'Tis the Season Preview

A cold and quiet evening here in Maine. I'm avoiding the studio and blogging instead! The temperature is 20 degrees and falling. Yikes! Winter will soon arrive. The pics below are a few winter/holiday themed items I'm creating for the Etsy Maine Team Holiday Challenge. I'm not sure why its called a 'challenge'...its more of a promotional tool.

That little 3 tiered guy is my minimalistic snowman.

Red coral and pearl cluster, the best colors for the season.

My version of snowfall...sorry for the yellow tint. This is a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L piece.

Italian wool cowl
When I'm not working in metal, I am knitting. This has been an on again, off again hobby of mine for 7 years. I have a shameful amount of fine Italian yarn stashed in all corners of our home. This funky, colorful Italian wool will be a shaggy cowl when finished (I have unraveled it twice...don't ask).
5 Helpful Items from my week:
1. hand lotion
2. mouse traps
3. hats
4. chamomile tea with honey
5. my flex-shaft
How about you?

Holiday Contest

I recently joined the Etsy Team Metalsmiths in Action, MSIA, just in time for a holiday contest for shoppers! I donated these earrings as a prize:

If you click here you can check out all the prizes available from our team members! At last count, there were 21 prizes! The link above may not have ALL the prizes posted yet (we metalsmiths would rather pound metal than a keyboard!). But, keep checking. As soon as I have the link for contest rules and directions, I'll post! Fun, fun, fun! AND, good luck!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Listings

New items added to my shop. The photo studio seems to be worth the investment. I'm still tweaking the lighting and backgrounds. More jewelry to make and list in the next few days!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It Has Come to This

I have this romantic notion that a messy bench is a productive bench. A place where mere sketches transform into tangible objects, where problems are conquered, where the imagination knows no boundaries. All that changed 2 days ago.

After feverishly working on commissions and inventory, my bench resembled a demolition site! With tools strewn about, filings amounting to small anthills, and projects scattered nither tither, I lost organization and found chaos. I forced myself to stop making and start cleaning. Now, I have a simply lovely, clean, organized work space. All my projects have there own little work in progress tray (left over from my art education days). I prioritized all projects and felt the burden of disorganization lift!

Here's a preview of new work to be listed in my quench metalworks shop in the next few days. I invested in a photo studio so I can now take pictures INSIDE my home, ANY time of the day! I'm giving the studio a test run today. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pardon me as I crawl out from this messy pile of work to blog a bit. Wow! Busy week...good busy. Friday, my daughter and I drove to Maine's jewel of a coastal city, Portland, to stock up on some jewelry essentials. When in town, one must make a stop at JS Ritter Jewelers Supply. From mallets to mandrels, beads to burnishers, they have what this jeweler needed (which was medium flow silver solder, sandpaper, brooch findings, and round sterling wire). My firecracker of a 2 year old found what SHE needed while mama shopped: a well-stocked children's play area . What a bonus!

The cuffs from my earlier post are complete. And ~sighing a deep sigh of relief~ the customer loves them!!!! Thank goodness for the wonders of digital photography and the Internet.

This was another commission I just completed for an old RISD friend. She's happy, too!!! Happy customers are a very good thing.
10 Helpful Items from my week:
1. my space heater
2. warm socks
3. my little camera
4. my rusty washer collection (more on this later)
5. coffee, coffee, coffee
6. naps, for my girl, not me
7. my burnisher
8. steel wool
9. my fine 1/2 round file
10. my dishwasher (a Bosch if you would like to know)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Get Cuffed

Busy, busy, busy. Feast or famine, right? Ah, so much to do and only so many hours in a mama's day. My ever-darling daughter forgot to read the memo about daylight savings. She's up at 5am and fired up for her day. My internal clock won't adhere to the time change either; I want to be asleep by 8pm!! Send more daylight!

I'm working on a commission for an old friend. He's ordered his and hers oxidized sterling cuff bracelets and will be presenting them to his beloved on a war zone!! True, unyielding love! I am honored to be making these cuffs for this couple. She's currently stationed overseas and he had a staggering 6 tours of duty.

Not to get all political, for this is certain not THAT kind of blog, however, I am pleased and so very proud of my country today. I wish President Elect Obama well. His task is a mighty one.