Pebbles on the Edge

Pebbles on the Edge
Lake McDonald, 2014

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Processes of Reclamation

I decided I needed to do something with my old fine silver scrap. Torching it into dirty balls of casting grain didn't seem like enough because they just sat there in a little box gathering dust. So I torched the scrap into blobs, put them into the tumbler, and started hammering them flat. Then I textured them between layers of old t-shirt with a hammer, finished the edges, polished them, drilled them for jump-rings, and finally dapped them into subtle domes. It's an interesting process and I like the results.

scrap ready for torching

that bright orange glow

in the quench

before tumbling

after tumbling 
before and after hammering

some finished pieces, textured, stamped, drilled, and domed

This is my process for the reclamation of fine-silver scrap. I have some nice pieces, where it was useless junk before. If I don't like the way something turns out, I can always remelt it and start over.

Friday, September 27, 2013


Since I fell off a ladder in July and injured both my shoulders (tearing rotator cuffs and facing surgery), and then dragged my suitcase all over Scotland for two weeks, I've been "fired" from deck-painting, gardening, standing on ladders, trimming trees, lifting anything, driving distances in excess of 10 miles, and most cleaning tasks--in short, anything using my arms in any but the most limited (envision T-rex) fashion. So, I am relegated to writing and sewing until this gets resolved.

Yesterday (or was it Wednesday?) I visited my local Goodwill store in hopes of finding some old lace tablecloths or curtains to use for sewing some Boho clothes, remaking stuff I have. Instead I found 3 formals, 3 costumes, 3 shirts and a name-brand silk dress (for $6.99). After some research, I discovered the silk dress was originally very likely around $300-400.

At any rate, with the exception of the silk dress, I washed everything, including the formals and the silk shirt with sequins (very ugly sequins), tried it all on, and found that I could at least squeeze into the little dress, and that with some alteration I could make it fit better. Then I had an idea...

Blouse with sequins...ugh, and silk dress

After 2 hours with a seam-ripper: no sequins

Side by side

Next, I have to figure out how best to remove the sleeves from the blouse and put them on the dress, expand the band below the bust, and add the neckline of the blouse to the dress. All very fun and challenging, since I haven't sewn anything for years. Altogether, I'm out about $13.00 on this outfit, and after taking apart the other dresses, I have some nice shimmery yardage and some tulle.
Scotland pictures coming soon, for those none of you who read this.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Wave Action

Souveniers from our beach trip to the Oregon coast in June.

Sand waves

Whirlpool within

Morning light

The same wave

 Altogether, it was a great weekend, with family and friends to celebrate my retirement and my birthday. My only regret was that it wasn't longer. I love the ocean.
Splashing on rocks

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Summertime Fun

Finally, a new blog entry! So far, retirement is still sinking in and I've been busy going through boxes of school stuff and closets full of clothes, sorting and washing and boxing for give-away. Yesterday I took the first things to the charity shop in downtown Echo. Still have lots to do.
We've been refinishing the decks with heavy-duty deck paint, and I've been growing tomatoes and eggplant in pots, pulling weeds, hoping to get some things transplanted, and taking lots of pictures of the wildflowers. I'm glad to say that I have three thistle plants which are starting to bloom. Something is eating all my shade plants (probably pillbugs and snails) so I've set out an experimental beer-trap in hopes they'll have a great time while dying.
The redecorating of the guest bedroom is moving along. It looks as though I'm going for a kind of flowery-seashell theme, with turquoise and lime and a kind of periwinkle blue-lilac.
The new bedspread, pillows, and lamps.
The little green monkey.
And some of the hundreds of flower pictures I've been taking and messing with in PS.




Blue flax

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sugarman: Sixto Rodriguez

Sugarman...I first heard of Sixto Rodriguez while I was searching around for stuff having to do with surfing, being a newish fan and all. I came across part of a film called "Lost Atlas" by Kai Neville, about some young cutting-edge blokes surfing remote locations. It was just a snippet of the film, but the soundtrack intrigued me. "Woman, please be gone/ You've stayed here much too long..." It sounded old, like from the 60s, but I had never heard a voice like that, or words that scorched in just that way.

Thanks to the internet, I was able to type those words into Google and voila: it was a song called "Hate Street Dialogue" by Sixto Rodriguez. I discovered that he was from Detroit, that his music was (and still is) awesome, and that if I'd heard of him at that time, I would certainly have bought his records. He only made two that went nowhere in the States. But in South Africa, and Australia, he was huge.

I finally just watched the documentary film about Rodriguez, "Searching for Sugarman". It made me cry. What a humble man. He still lives in Detroit, still plays some of his music, still works hard every day. What little money he's made from his music he's given away to family and friends. Here's a sample of some of his songs:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

For the Love of Cooking

In spite of the fact that I love to bake, I have rediscovered (or perhaps discovered really for the first time) my love for cooking. I began in fourth grade, a very long time ago, at the age of nine. I didn't like it all that much, as I recall. It seemed a boring chore. But now my kitchen is MY kitchen, where some sort of magic happens, and where a recipe is just a suggestion. It also helps to have good knives. I have a set of Wusthofs, and hope one day to have some better cookware and a gas cooktop.

Last night I made delicious faux-tatoes with cauliflower, cream cheese, and butter, whirred together in the processor with salt and pepper. Then I roasted bite-sized chunks of butternut squash with garlic in olive oil, all to go with the chicken wings William put into the oven. For dessert was the simple but delicious pear galette I invented.

This morning I made a quiche, for the first time with a pastry crust (I usually leave the crust off because of the carbs, but sometimes I don't care anymore). I think it's probably the best quiche I've ever made. My pastry crusts, I must admit, are pretty good...

Since I normally don't take photos of food, here are some nice still lifes with pears...
and not-very-good pictures of the quiche.

At some point, after retirement, I plan to garden, put up preserves, and experiment with new flavors, especially Italian ones. Viva la cucina!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Memories of Italy: Food for the Soul

Some eye-and-spirit-candy from 2008...memories of the sun in Florence, Italy, and the lovely days full of art, everywhere, and light, and food, and sweetness, and heat...
Skyline: Firenze, from a hilltop

Lion in quatrefoil

Il Duomo, Firenze

Torre Giotto
That was a trip to remember, and being there was every bit as sweet as the memory of being there. I was awed, humbled, thrilled, to finally be in Italy, in Florence, the ancient city I dreamed of in art history classes. Everything was delicious: tiny streets, hidden squares, the Arno and Ponte Vecchio, churches great and small, trattorie, cobblestones, gold like the sun, sky like a robin's egg, tangy green olive oil, freshly made mozarella, the everything and everywhere. I loved it, and I will go back.

Friday, February 8, 2013

On Recovery

I am finally over being sick; at least I'm well enough to have returned to work on Monday after a week-and-a-half of fever, chills, horrendous coughing, and excruciating lower back pain because of it. Lying on the sofa for the better part of a week, including some nights when the bed was just too flat, I managed to read two books on Tutankhamun, another on archaeology, and began a fourth on Tuscany, which I am savoring in memory of our brief visit there in 2008. Ah, Italia....

And now that I'm back, going into the second half of my final year of teaching, I decided to make the best of things and teach my photography students as much about Photoshop 6.0 as possible for the rest of the year. To that noble end, I have not exempted myself from learning a few things as well, or re-learning them, as the case may be. Here are some interesting results:

Apples, dark

Apples, gradient mapped

Apples, gradient mapped and something else that I forgot because I can't replicate it...

Curve rust

Original birdbath

Iron leaf, gradient mapped

first glimpzse of sunrise, abstracted

Ice crystals...interesting texture

Spider plant with sun and table

Interior, desaturated with steel-bar gradient map
Most of these involve gradient mapping and/or curves. Some of them are quite nice...I am having a good time with my new camera.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Garden In Winter

There's something peaceful and magical about a winter garden. I felt temporarily well enough after a shower this morning that I ventured outside to shoot the diamonds hanging from needles and branches in my garden. It had rained earlier, all night in fact, so capturing them was easy.

We are planning to move one day from this area. My only regret will be leaving this yard and garden we have worked so hard to make beautiful. Over fourteen years we have toiled (or my husband has!), and we still have lots more work to do, but there was literally nothing here when we moved in, not a stick or branch of anything, just bare dirt the consistency of powdered sugar. Now it is not only a haven for we humans, but one for birds, frogs, deer, and other wildlife. We see birds fly by every day and when the osprey return every spring, it's thrilling to see them soar within feet of our windows, often carrying steelhead in their talons. I will miss it, but until then, I will enjoy the quiet and lovliness, and even the hard work, of my ever-changing garden.
A Blackbilled Magpie