I was recently commissioned to make a knife with micro-mosaic scales. Having never made a knife, we compromised and decided I would modify a knife. The knife we chose is made of damascus steel, a layering of metals for strength, durability and beauty.
I reworked the knife a bit, polishing the edges and refining the filework patterning while I had it taken apart to add on the new sterling silver scale which would hold the micro-mosaic. I replaced the scale on one side only as the customer requested a clip; it can be worn inside or outside a pocket.
A recent cuff commission commemorating a happy memory rafting down a river with dragonflies. Watch the process below from drawing to stone setting, to inlaying the micro-mosaic.
Hand-engraved personalization by Melissa Veres: visit her website here.
This is exciting: I invented a gluten-free, dairy-free graham cracker.
This warrants a blog post, right?!?
All the way back to....1978. "Cookie Expert" at two years of age; not surprising then that I might make such an exciting gluten-free discovery at the age of 40, right?!?
These grahams are crunchy, tasty with a hint of coconut, and best of all I can make them for my friends who don't eat dairy or gluten and I enjoy them too. No cardboard and sawdust here!
Anyway, I won't make you wait any longer for the recipe...Enjoy!
Gluten and Dairy Free Graham Crackers
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/8 cup millet flour
1/8 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons cold Earth Balance Soy Free/Dairy Free Buttery Spread
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine flours, bran, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of your food processor and process until combined. Add the cold pieces of butter substitute and pulse until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the honey and vanilla extract and pulse until the batter clumps together.
Scoop the dough out onto a piece of saran wrap, form dough into a flat rectangle, cover and refrigerate for about an hour to firm up.
**GF doughs are softer than wheat based doughs, so this refrigeration step is necessary unless you choose to try a spritz cookie press. I think it would work great and no refrigeration required. I'll try it and make a note when I get a chance.**
Once dough is firm, open up the saran wrap, leaving the dough in the center. Sprinkle with a small amount of millet or coconut flour to keep the rolling pin from sticking to it, and gently roll it out to a 1/4" thick rectangle on the saran wrap. Cut into 2" squares, but the dough will probably be soft again, so don't try lifting it from the saran wrap. Instead, lift the whole thing onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate for another 15-20 minutes to firm up again. Remove from fridge and move the cookies one at a time to a cookie sheet, spaced at least 1/2" apart (they don't spread much.) Poke holes in each cookie with a toothpick or fork if you want--no biggie if you don't.
Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Gently transfer to a cooling rack--remember this dough is delicate. Once these cookies cool they are deliciously crunchy.
Makes approx. 24-30 two-inch square cookies.
p.s. I don't often write recipes down, so if you have questions ask me, I'm sure I can make up an answer. ;)
If you want to make Grahams with all the "bad stuff" here's the recipe:
All the Gluten Graham Crackers
3/4 cup whole wheat and oat flour combined
1/2 cup all purpose flour and oat bran combined
1/4 cup wheat bran
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 tablespoon mild flavored honey
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
You use a total of 1 1/2 cups various flours for this recipe. Doesn't really matter the proportions, as long as you have a little wheat flour--and a higher proportion of oat flour and bran to the wheat yields a sweeter tastier cookie.
Follow the basic instructions above in the GF recipe, though you won't have to refrigerate the cut-out dough before transferring to a cookie sheet to bake.
It's been several years since I made this necklace, but due to ever-changing technology I was locked out of several years' worth of files. After getting some tech help I can finally tell you about it. (I've saved up several blogs to share and now that I have images, I'll be posting more often.)
I was commissioned to make a suite of jewelry based on the feathers of a beloved pet. Sparky is a beautiful Pionus parrot who "sparked" (pardon the pun) a whole new set of ideas for me.
Of course, when I made the Sparky necklace, I thought how amazing an entire collar of feathers would look, so decided to figure out the engineering of such a piece and jumped in. With so much weight in the front, I added a counterweight to the back, which is removable and adjustable. The necklace may be worn all together, or for daily wear the counterweight may be removed and worn on its own as a pendant. With matching earrings, of course.
My color inspiration came from the feathers of a red and green macaw:
I commissioned Karen Healy, a local box maker, to create a Shaker-style bentwood box for it:
As featured on the cover of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads catalogue:
I believe that daily we are gifted with opportunities; that an observant person can see them as glinting bubbles floating in their path to either pass by or burst open and examine.
I have a friend, Aundrea, who has been battling cancer longer than I've known her. For a long time she didn't share this information--really not until it started interfering with her work did she begin mentioning little things that made me realize she was fighting a struggle I knew nothing about.
Aundrea is a jeweler, and the first thing she mentioned was neuropathy (damage in her fingers due to her treatments)--a difficulty feeling the amount of pressure she was putting on a piece of sterling silver wire. She kept breaking it, using too much force. While she struggled to find alternate clues as to how far she can push the metal, her body struggled to fight vaginal cancer.
For a while, words of encouragement, helpful hints and comments were enough as Aundrea fought to keep MAKING things. But now she's fighting for her life, on her third and last possible round of chemo and radiation. She is in constant pain, has stopped visiting her workbench, and yet her faith and her spirit, her sense of humor and warmth endure.
Many of us--several of her metalsmith friends on Facebook--have banded together: Team Aundrea is at work now, trying to find ways to relieve stress, keep her spirits up, help pay some bills, and even pray. There are atheists in this group of people praying for Aundrea, because it is her strength and her beliefs that are most important in her fight to (as she says,) "Kick Cancer's Ass" and we support her in her fight. We are making jewelry as thank you gifts for donations, planning art auctions, and using social networking to garner support.
We cannot end all suffering in this world. But every little bit counts. Every time you lighten another's burden, the world at large becomes a better place. Ripples of kindness move outward and intersect with other people, new needs. If nothing more, I hope this story encourages you to think of someone near to you--in proximity or in heart--that you can help. Offer to cook a meal, clean house, drive to and from appointments, entertain the kids, watch a movie together, listen....help and support come in many forms. With observation you will know the appropriate response. Sometimes it is enough to just BE with a person. And if you have a little extra and would like to help Aundrea, here's a link with her story: http://www.gofundme.com/zck6nw and here is the Facebook site where auctions and giveaways will begin soon:
"Knot Ashamed" pendants--a gift for donors to Aundrea's fund, made by Team Aundrea--are based on her "Knot" series of pendants which celebrate all the things cancer cannot take from her. In an artist’s life, our legacy is our work: may Aundrea’s “Knot Ashamed” pendants be a reminder of her strength, resilience and absolute will to survive this. Visit http://www.gofundme.com/zck6nw to learn more about this necklace and how to get one.