Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mountains and Sea, Rainbows, Sunsets and Kitties...

these are a few of my favorite things!

Haleakala just after sunrise
North shore sandy beach
It's a double - look close!
Over our backyard
Our tropical kitty

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Current Obession...and what to do with all that fruit!

One of the coolest things about our yard is the 'grove' of fruit trees - 14 to be exact - planted by the previous owners. Guava, mango, lime, lemon, grapefruit, star fruit, oranges, papaya, avocado, passion fruit, and one we have yet to identify [no fruit produced yet] hanging from branches just outside the door - amazing!


There is so much fruit, I'm reminded of tomato harvesting season in New Brunswick...what to do with it all? Fortunately, I have a brilliant sister-in-law who suggested freezing it [she likes a frozen lime wedge in her sunset sippy :)] to which I responded, of course! Sometimes I totally miss the most obvious solution, especially when it relates to cooking.  Also, fortunately, I've been obsessed with fruit smoothies for breakfast (can you see where I'm headed here?).  So, last week, I headed to our little orchard with a big basket and collected all the ripe fruit. A trip to the grocery store to supplement my stash with bananas, strawberries, juice and plain yoghurt and I was ready to stock the freezer.

I spent a couple of hours peeling, cutting, preparing the fruit.  The final result was 11 freezer bags in 2-person serving sizes. 

One bag of frozen fruit, half a cup of plain yoghurt, about a cup of fruit juice, and a handful of ice cubes into the blender... 
and YUM! breakfast! 
And, the freezer is stocked for 10 more!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Poem ~ I AM A WILD WOMAN by Melissa Clary

I AM A WILD WOMAN by Melissa Clary

I am a wild woman
I know, in spite of myself
and in spite of what I've been told
that there's beauty in every age
no matter how old

I am a wild woman
I've learned what it means to be a life bearer
to bear children
to create art
to plant seeds of love

I am a wild woman
from the depths of the dirt underneath my fingernails
to the height of my very soul
I am one with the Earth
the winds from the four directions whisper through my skin

I am a wild woman
and the spirit of every wild woman coalesces in me
for we are each wild women
and we are all the spirit of the wild woman
I will follow the voice in my heart

I am a wild woman
I sing from my heart
I dance with the stars
I howl at the moon
I love uncontrollably

I am a wild woman
from the deepest, darkest, most sacred part of me
I am fearless
I cry in strength
I open my arms to the sky and welcome the rain

I am a wild woman
I nurture, love and protect
I stand, strongly, silently, sweetly for my brothers
I walk dutifully, prayerfully, joyfully upon the mother
and I will not be stopped

I am a wild woman.

I stumbled across this beautiful poem and had to share.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

...first photos

...first photos of my new little work bench [I did 'borrow' a small sections of hubs' shop :)] It's nothing fancy but will get the job done!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Playing with a Rolling Mill

I have to admit, I've been a tad obsessed with the rolling mill during my metalworking classes at the art college. Last night, I decided to just play with the mill using scrap bits of copper sheet metal and a variety of bits I brought because I like the texture.  I was so involved, I didn't take many photos but I'll share the ones I have.  Interestingly enough, I did end up with a finished piece after all - these sweet little copper earrings!
Some of my favorite textures were a leaf  'skeleton', a piece of burlap ribbon, paper torn from a spiral notebook and some crumpled foil (I textured both sides with the foil). 
 First, I annealed the copper to soften it to take the textures more easily.  I've been having some problems keeping the metal and texture piece all lined up when entering the rolling mill so I carefully placed the layers in a strip of paper towel and wrapped them three or four times to make a little packet. Part of my practice was to 'find' that perfect tension to easily roll it through while imprinting the texture on the metal.  If it's too tight, the metal will distort and too loose means no imprint at all. My favorite result was the crumpled foil - it looks almost like worn leather! I punched some discs from that piece, filed the edges, domed and polished them. I even love the little scrap left over and am going to make that into a key fob.
Oxidized, polished and scrubbed with steel wool, hand crafted sterling ear wires attached and here you go!
Next class, we are learning to create tube and prong settings for stones - YAY!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Wild Orange Flower Vines in Our Garden

These gorgeous orange flowering vines are meandering wildly through part of our garden! A bit of research reveals the Wild Bitter Melon is not only beautiful but edible as well.  It pops open to reveal red seeds that are also edible.  I love it's bumpy texture!

Wild Bitter Melon

Wild Bitter Melon

Mexican Flame Vine
This beauty is everywhere, falling over the stone wall and completely taking over a tree - it's fabulous!!
 It's amazing learning to garden in this tropical climate - SO different from New Brunswick!
happy sunday :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Beach Lover's Shadow Box and Making a House a Home

"The home should be the treasure chest of living."  ~ LeCorbusier
Last spring, our niece and nephews (and their parents) spent a couple of weeks with us here in Maui. Everyone loves the beach and when we weren't boogie boarding or sunning ourselves, we beachcombed tirelessly, collecting treasures from beaches all over the island. Heart shaped bits of coral, lava and shell were pounced upon like nuggets of gold and we learned that Sophie could spot the tiniest piece of colorful sea glass at 20 paces - it was a blast! I corralled it all in a large clear glass pitcher on a shelf in the family room and have enjoyed the happy memories each time I look at the collection.
For me, (we've done this a few times!) a new house becomes a home over time as life is lived - family and friends get together, experiences are created, stories are told, great dinners are cooked and eaten, laughter is shared, messes are made, family members are stumbled over morning after morning reaching for the cereal box and the bits and pieces that decorate your home have memories attached
I was cleaning in the family room the other day and while dusting our pitcher of shells, my glance fell upon a little white heart shaped shell piece pressed against the glass...AND, I had the idea to make a shadow box with some of these pretties! A visit to the local craft store resulted in a 14" square shadow box frame, several colored and textured scrapbook papers and a new glue gun. The aqua paper matched the bathroom the best so using that as the background I selected and laid out about 25 pieces in a 5x5 grid. Glued in place and secured in the frame, I think it makes a gorgeous, memory-filled art piece for our home.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Oh Happy Day!

Working with the tools and equipment in the studio at the college is wonderful and I have access to several pieces I won't have at home (like their beautiful rolling mill!). The downside is that there is usually someone else waiting for the same tool and some of the smaller pieces are just plain worn out! So, it's nice to have a few of my own bits as well (and I'll admit, I'm outfitting a workbench here too!). Plus, I been wanting high quality flush cutters for ages!  The box arrived yesterday and here are my newest lovelies! Now to somehow convince hubs to vacate his workbench...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Classes have Begun!

A beautiful hibiscus I planted in our back yard last spring -
it's already over 5 feet tall!
So...the call of vacation and home renovations have entirely captured my attention for the last several weeks.  I've thought about blogging but just haven't. There. I admit it [that's the first step isn't it?] :)  I do have dozens of photographs of the work we've done on the house, the garden, sunsets, beach days, our tropical kitty, our home kitty, my metalworking class adventures, other craft projects and the beginning of my collection of jeweler's tools and supplies for my workbench here (come on, we knew this was inevitable!). Stay tuned!
My classes started a couple of weeks ago...I love the art college here and they have a fantastic, fully equipped studio.  Some of the tools and techniques covered include riveting, texturing and imprinting metal and wire using hammers and a rolling mill (this is an amazing piece of equipment!), tube setting stones, and improving and expanding soldering techniques to name several. I've spent some time sketching ideas for earrings and am presently experimenting with sweat soldering and pic soldering with MUCH practice required! Soldering can seem straightforward but it's a tricky business [for me, anyway :)].  I've melted more metal than I care to admit to!
A few design sketches and the main shapes for a pair earrings from
copper sheet.
I've hammered the little rounded pennant shapes and filed the edges smooth.  I've made little 'branches' from 14gauge brass wire and hammered them lightly as well.  The plan was to saw leaves and flowers to add to the pennant but time was a factor so I made some simple spirals from sterling silver wire and copper links for the ear wires.  And now the assembly begins!
Ready to solder pieces together - 'branches' first and into the pickle!
I'll be back with finished photos (assuming I don't ruin them!) when they are done.
It's good to be back!