Sunday, July 28, 2013

Anvil Envy

Whoa, proof that time flies whether you're having fun or not!  I imagine that summer is a whirlwind for most of us.  Hoping that you all are having a wonderful time, whatever you are up to.

We've had a few adventures, a little excitement and a few unexpected surprises since I last blogged.  And boy do I have some photos to share with you.  We had a little stay-ca over the 4th.  We took day trips and then slept at home each night.  It was a pretty fun, non-stressful way to spend a few days.  Such a welcome mini-break.  There wasn't time to travel out of state to go visit all of the friends and family we're missing, so we explored our new digs around Texas.  Here are some of the things we saw and thought you might enjoy seeing too....

The restored courthouse at Waxahachie.

A cool little town recommended to me by my hairstylist, who grew up there
and shared all of the must see's with me.
Thanks, Corene!  We had a great time!

I loved this texture on the walls.
How cool would this be on ceramic beads?
Petra, what do you think?

The ceiling was amazing.

We saw three of these.
Drool. and again...and again.

One of the courtrooms. 
Not a bad place to await your fate for cattle rustling, eh?
Look at that curved balcony.
The carved wood was so beautiful.

I love the rich details of old buildings.
The craftmanship of making utilitarian items, objects of beauty.

The bullethole in the door.
Story goes that a girl smuggled a gun into her boyfriend while
he waited in a secure room for a jury to decide his fate.
No, he didn't get away.  Neither did she.
If I remember correctly,
 she ended up with a sentence of 20 years which was more than he was facing initially.
Things that make you go hmmmmm.

Another story goes that the stone carver used his beloved as the model
for the beautiful face to grace the Courthouse's outside columns.

And the story continues that you could tell how they were getting along
by what the faces looked like.

This face says it all, eh?

and who told us all these fascinating tidbits?

This guy did...

Michael Navarro
the Ellis county Auditor.

Who had quite a hand in the restoration project and knew all the good stuff.
We just happened upon him while we were exploring.
I didn't think we could just go in and check out the place, but turns out it's
one of the last open courthouses where people are allowed to just wander about.
He graciously offered to show us around.
Thanks Michael! 
It was wonderful getting to explore the nooks and crannies of this magnificent building.
Secret rooms, hidden staircases, sequestration areas...all of it!

Michaels office took up most of the third floor.
What a beautiful place to go to work each day.

This shot was taken from the third floor balcony.

next was a bit of junking er, I mean antiquing, Texas style...

You'll see more of these later on.
With slightly more attitude. 

Wagon wheels.
There were lots of these!

Tin elephants!

Then off in the opposite direction looking for the local canoe launching site.
On the way we stopped in Mineral Wells.
We saw this amazing building... 
 The Baker Hotel.
No, not the Bates Motel,
but close.
Creepy place.
We stopped to take some pictures and a couple of ladies and their kids
who were also exploring
filled us in on all the local lore about the place.

  This shot was taken through a broken out window.

Love the patina on this light fixture

 A charming view.

My very favorite shot of this abandoned 9 story hotel was this...

Abandoned decay in it's most glorious state.

The courtyard at the back of the building

It must have been breathtaking at one point

Well, it's actually still breathtaking......

But for a completely different reason.
That's black mold growing all over the outside walls.
The smell was unbelievable!

Now onward to find that local (local being a relative term in a state the size of Texas)
canoe rental spot.

We spent a few minutes checking out a state park on the way, then on down the road.

I vaguely recalled that there was supposed to be a good fossil spot somewhere around Mineral Wells.
Lo and behold we found it!

 I lasted all of ten minutes in the extreme heat.
What a wimp.

Lots of little crinoids. 
Very little or "micro fossils" as Mr. Wonderful refers to them.

As we were leaving that area, these guys caught our eye...

 Long horn steers

He was not amused.
A few minutes later, turning his backside to us and just standing right there,
making sure we got the point. 
Pretty funny actually, considering that there's not alot of
paparazzi continuosly bothering them around there.

 This was on our way too.
When I saw this group of buildings,
I thought of
how completely opposite parts of Texas are from Colorado, Florida, Illinois or Virginia.
A world apart from places I've lived previously.

Then there was this building with it's specific purpose...
which made me think of how the passage of time has changed artisan spaces.

It made me think of all of the artists studios people have been sharing via their blogs lately.
Petra creating her fascinating ceramics in the conservatory at her beautiful Treetops
in the middle of her lush English garden.
(Ok, Petra didn't actually blog the pictures but she did share them privately and trust me,
 it's gorgeous)
Or Tracy being entertained by masses of delightful hummingbirds as she saws, and solders and
forms amazing metal in her inspirational studio.
And Kim in her Garaj Mahal in Alaska with resident moose stopping by her picture window  
or her desert studio in Arizona.  Two completely different environments to inspire her.
And Lucie in France working patiently at her bench in front of her sundrenched window,
inspired by the plants with names such as Ruins Of Rome growing in her charming garden .
Or Fanci living in the heart of downtown Chicago,
working crosslegged on her hardwood floors, surrounded by her mass of unusual supplies.
(Thank you one and all for sharing your studio spaces with us)

What made me think of all these talented ladies?
(as well as others that I am omitting, not because I am intending to slight anyone,
 but because I suffer from a spotty memory)


This is how they used to do it. 
old old tools on the porch.

the highlight being....

the sudden onset of severe anvil envy.

ok, getting on with the plan for the day.....

Mr. was impressed with the size of this wild cactus
growing in a grazing pasture on the side of the road.
By now it's probably looking magnificent, loaded with all those buds in full blossom.
But you're getting the idea, I think, and rightly so, that nothing is close by here.
So Nope, not going back to try and catch it in bloom for you.
I know you all have vivid imaginations you can put to good use.

We eventually did find the canoeing spot, so now we know where it is,
which was the whole objective of that day.
Tidbit, you don't know about Mr. Wonderful. 
He takes ladies he's trying to impress, canoeing for a first date.
Smart man. I was impressed.
I'll go canoeing on the Wekiva in Florida any day.

Then back to the city, which is always a welcome sight.
Being from Denver where we could quickly escape to the mountains,
 I love the getting away from the traffic and people 
and I love the getting back.....
 to civilization.

Where we have these...

Seriously, we do.

In front of the restaurant where we ate dinner.
It was wonderful.
 Numinosity Kim, this picture is especially for you.
Granted, the real live baby and mama moose right outside your window
trumps this any day of the week.
But hey, I do what I can.

Now would you like to see the treasures we found junk-tiquing?

Well, that I found.  Obviously this is girly, jewelry making stuff.

oooohhhh awwwww

New photo props!
Which I've already put to good use.

I've got a few new things listed in the etsy shop.
Well, some of these aren't so new now as it's been a whole month since I last blogged.
Which blows my mind.  Blink and another month has flown by!

 These rustic dangle earrings feature multi-sized rings of mixed metals surrounding an etched and domed copper disc. The largest hoops have been soldered for added visual appeal. These metal hoops of sterling, brass and copper hang beneath simple hammered metal connectors that have been oxidized for a rustic yet refined look.

Yes, more of the cut and paste listing info.
I still can't believe it took me so long to try that out!  sheesh!

 recycled tin earrings in bright tones of pink, red, orange and coral embellished with polished stones of the same colors and with etched and antiqued copper circlets that compliment the brass flower beadcaps cradling the vibrant stones.

Which have since sold. 

The mysterious raven looks as if she is flying with her treasured gift held firmly in her beak, framed by the rays of the sun behind her.
These mixed metal earrings feature brass birds that I have colored black with cold metal enamel, textured brass and hammered copper.  The gift of the raven is a ceramic egg dropper made by the talented Petra of Scorched Earth on Etsy.

I have a question for you guys since this is something new I've just started doing.
Is it too much to include all this listing info in the blog or do you enjoy reading
what I did with each piece?  I'm asking for your brutally honest feedback here.

 These are sold so I'll spare you the lengthy details.
Soldered wire wreaths with verdigris beadcaps and onyx
or is it black agate?  Don't remember at the moment.

 Same as above with caramel-brown agate.

 Mint rhinestones, etched copper and mixed metals for our family songstress.

 These unique assemblage earrings feature metal hummingbird skulls paired with richly colored slabs of orange howlite. Further adorned with stone and glass beads in red, green and orange.  The stone slabs have been embellished with textured, antiqued copper wires for visual interest. 

 I've soldered assymetrical sterling silver arches to eco friendly, recycled tin in shades of red, turquoise and butter yellow. I've applied a subtle texture to the tin and oxidized then sealed the metal for an aged, rustic effect. Below, I've dangled sparkling turquoise stones (Amazonite, I believe), vibrant red stone beads, deep turquoise crystals and sparkling turquoise rhinestone rondels. 

  The colorful combination of the vintage micro mosaic pieces, the positive and negative spaces in the kuchi metal, the amazing hooped- assymetrical ceramic drops by Scorched Earth on Etsy and the lime and deep red embellishments, together add up to a richly colored and textured visual feast. Beaded leaves draw the eye to the delicate yellow flowers in the micro mosaics. I've oxidized the entire earrings to heighten the drama and preserved the patina with micro wax.   

 Another view.  They've also sold.

 I've imprinted a boho gypsy design onto raw aluminum with my rolling mill. Then cut the metal into these romantic teardrop shapes, oxidized them and preserved the patina with micro wax. Dangling below are crusty green ceramic spikes by Scorched Earth on Etsy. The soft matte texture of the aged aluminum compliments the unique finish on the spikes perfectly. For a tiny bit of sparkle, I've added textured sterling beads and mint green rhinestones to the sterling earwires. The effect is one of bohemian elegance. Mysterious and down to earth at the same time.

It appears I've been on another Petra kick.
And why wouldn't I?  Can't go wrong with her glorious bits.

 These rustic, eco friendly, recycled tin earrings in bright tones of pink, red, orange and coral hang below arcs of matching glass beads. I've overwrapped these beads in a random, rustic way to look organic and rough. A faceted orangy-pink crystal hangs from each arc. I've textured the tin then oxidized the entire earrings.

I've imprinted the intricate design of a sea fan coral onto raw aluminum with my rolling mill.   Dangling below are fabulous deep red droplets by Scorched Earth on Etsy. 
The fan coral texture compliments the crackled red glaze
on these luscious ceramic drops beautifully. 

  I've imprinted a flower design of a onto raw aluminum with my rolling mill, then hammer textured it to resemble stylized clouds.   Dangling below are fabulous platinum and soft soldier blue droplets by Scorched Earth on Etsy.  You have to see these to appreciate the way the soft patina of the aluminum compliments the lustrous platinum and muted blue glaze on these luscious ceramic drops .  The matte finish of the aged aluminum pairs beautifully with the highly polished sterling beads and earwires.The effect is contemporary with a hint of understated sophistication.
To be listed soon.
As are the mini "spoken For" earrings below....

  I've imprinted the texture of alligator skin onto raw aluminum with my rolling mill.   Dangling below are fabulous bronze droplets by Scorched Earth on Etsy.  

and a few new things in the attic....,
which much to my surprise and utter delight has already made a few sales!

 The Red Collection
Vintage tin, metal Romeo and Julieta cigar tube with screw on lid, old stamps,
wooden chess pieces, red tickets, vintage dice
and a sassy pair of legs.
With red high heels.
Because everyone needs an extra pair of red shoes.

A vintage Dog all in plaid.
Lest you think he's all good looks and no substance ...
not so... 

he has a tape measure attached to his tail!

 Vintage floral needlepoint purse on a dramatic black background.

 A vintage red courderoy jacket with
princess seaming, oversized fabric covered buttons
and three quarter length sleeves.
Love this!

 The Yellow Orange Collection,
a garland of silk ribbonwork in soft shades of peach, green, yellow and white,
a metal cigar case similar to the one above, but in a different color,
A fabric covered button in printed redwork of a little boy on a natural background,
vintage buckles, trims, flowers, needles and buttons.

 A divided serving dish that I used for storing jewelry making supplies in my studio.
A wonderful chippy finish in my favorite light aqua color, with
a romantic couple on a porcelain cabachon
adorning the top.

Some of you may remember these from the blog tour of my new studio.
Headpin storage otherwise known as Art Deco style salt and pepper shakers. 

 Fancy, exotic dancing ladies on a vintage purse with black background.

These adorable little girls already sold.
Yes, you guessed it! 
I uploaded these pictures days ago intending to post this,
but it's taken me till now to have time to fill in the dialogue! 

Now for the local critter pictures, cuz you know it's become "a thing"

This poor bird is having heatstroke in triple digit temps.

You guys thought that last spider was scary?
Get a load of this.....

My new swimming buddy.
Yes, he's in the pool.
That's right where I reach in to get the thermometer to check the temperature!
Runs screaming like a girl.

Remember the rattlesnake I told you about?
After telling you how much I hate spiders and snakes.
Please meet our lovely friend, Paula.
And the not-so-lovely-snake that bit her dog.
She looks pretty happy to be getting rid of this thing,
wouldn't you say?
Thank you Paula!

It's kind of scary even though I know it's dead.
And frozen. You can see the frost crystals on it.
Definately dead!
Paula's husband warned me that the fangs can still deliver venom even in death.
Which makes me grossed out about snakes all that much more.

 Now to find a taxidermist who will tan the skin and clean the vertebrae,
which no one wants to do.
Go figure.

 Just in case you ever wanted to see a rattler up-close.

 On that note, I shall bid you adieu.

Have a great time everybody till next time
 and thanks for stopping by!


  1. funny how so many of us adore and cherish each other! the circle i guess. wonderful work. asking my mr. for my torch back as you have inspired me! stay kays are fun. thanks for sharing all the yumminess!

  2. once you get it skinned, just take the carcass & boil bones (outside, I know this ) or find a big anthill, put carcass on top & cover w/ a 5 gal bucket, (this takes a while)

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  4. What a great city to visit! We visited there several years ago though not as in depth as you. I'd love to go back.

    Your jewelry is amazing and I do like reading all the details.

    Had to close my eyes when the creepy spider/snake photos came along. I'm such a whimp!
    Have a wonderful week!

  5. You have been a buzzzy bee. Thanks for sharing the tours. Finding fun haunts and gathering many friends around your new home. Less one spider.

  6. I vote to keep the item descriptions. I learn more about your process as well as new sources for supplies. So, yes.
    Also loving your jewelry.

  7. You certainly have been very busy...and the earrings are gorgeous (as always!)

    But, geez...that is a HUGE rattler - and I could do without seeing it!!! I grew up around them & they give me the creeps still.

  8. I like seeing your descriptions because I just might not get around to reading them when you list them but I will always look at your picture and read you blog.
    I love your historic tour and seeing that slice of your life . You learn so much about someone when they show you what interests them don't you think?
    Your earrings are the spectacular usual unusual and I was tickled to see them on my friend at the farmer's market up her the other day. Those headpins made a nice long round trip didn't they? Now I have to stay away from your shop. I have tried to ramp WAY BACK form my vintage-ing forays. I'm hoping to call the last 5 years a phase of sorts and in my mind I am hoping to downsize and realize that is is probably only my mind that is downsizing!
    Thanks for the bronze horny guy.. He kind of goes with the anvil in a heavy kind of way. xox

  9. That courthouse is wonderful, thank you for sharing it with us. Sigh your tin earrings keep getting better (if that is possible). Love those pierced forks you found!

  10. Stone the crows, another Janet corker of a post!! That stairwell and the drawers - too fabulous!! Wow, you had a busy break, and looked like a load of fun. Thank you so much for sharing it with us - especially nice for me all the way over here!! -Oh, and yes, I do happen to be in a very textury frame of mind at the moment!!
    Oh wowzles - your new pieces!! That thing you do with my tiddlers is just tooooo good!! The little white bobblers are heavenly with those ravens, and ok, ok - I see what you mean about the droplets, which are helped no end by your wonderful rolled aluminium. LOVING those Verdi caps and the soldered wreaths - YES, ditto on keeping all the details!! Oh, and the orange howlite - how damn gorgeous is that???
    Oh boy - the snake I can handle, but that leggy thing is really in the pool with you???? aaaaarrggghhh - I'd be a complete gibbering idiot if that came anywhere near me!!! How much would I like to roll some clay over that serpent's back though?! A LOT! That reminds me - I still have a decomposing fox somewhere ...........
    Fabulous post as always!!!
    xxooxoxoxoxoxo :O)<3

  11. I've really enjoyed the story of your travels and your always amazing, gorgeous pieces.

    About the descriptions in the blog...I really prefer your chatty tone. The descriptions are a bit forced, in comparison, that is so with all of us, we use a different voice when listing :)

    And now that I am kind of making a wish list... could you please spare us the creepy critters? I'm such a woozy, they creep me out. What is wrong with cute? :)

  12. Oh come now, people....the world would not survive without spiders and snakes. I, for one, love both of them. Janet, as always, I am a big fan of everything you do or say or create, especially the creepiness of the critters, just stay away from ROACHES. Texas must agree with you and Mr. Wonderful. Stay lovely.

  13. I see you're still into can take the girl outta Gatorland but you can't take Gatorland outta the girl! There's a 12 footer in a lake down here they've been trying to catch! I am loving the gator skin earrings though! I bought a couple gator teeth at a bead show...still deciding how to use them.

    Your eye candy is to die for as usual! Gorgeous! And those fossils... oohhh la la!

    Thanks for sharing your courthouse tour and junk-tiquing with us. Absolutely cool!

    Speaking of cool, what kind of spider was that? The rattler on the other hand... eeeewwwwwwwww!!!

    Glad to see you've been having fun though!!!

    XOXO, bond girl

  14. p.s.

    I like the way you're telling us how you create your beauties under each photo!

  15. You had some fun and it's such a treat to read your adventures!!! About the local critters, you can keep your texan ones, I prefer my tiny yellow spiders, haha!! That snake is my worst nightmare!
    You're kidding, 10 minutes to hoard all these fossils, I'm green!
    I'm in love with your embossed aluminum series+Petra's drops, stunning! and I really admire the way you combine bold colors, and that red tin with flamingos, looking forward recognizing them in some earrings! and yes for the description of your creations, even the sold ones! (even if I agree with Star of the East with the official serious tone of the description compared to the chatty rest)

  16. what a sweet post with so much variety. arent quirky little towns the best? and i was so happy when you mentioned me!!! eeee. and you mentioned my floor-loving ways, lol.
    i wouldnt mind a little MORE info on the earrings like - do you cut your aluminum with snips, saw or some kind of die? how do you oxidize aluminum, when i try to it just turns to dust. and smells like rotten eggs as an added bonus. but those alumimuns with the petra drops are glorious. just snagged myself some crackle drops from her, squeee.
    also, when you paste the descriptions, the reader can always skim if they want. maybe use quotes so we can keep track of whats what. also you had a few that could be described similarly and proly didnt need each description pasted in, to save yourself some effort. whatev, i love it all. and i liked the creepy critters- i mean, its not every day you see a giant tarantula in your yard! it brings us a taste of your texan life. (other than the poisonous ones, i never did see why people were so upset by snakes...)

  17. Hi AA - always good to drop in and see what you are up to - but also always overwhelmed with the vast amount of activity etc in your post. Loved the old light fitting ; and loved seeing what you are creating - good to see the creative muse is with you. Go well. B

  18. Hello' just finished reading properly, I never like to rush your blog. Rattle snake looks well scary, love the building details, I have a fascination for decay and loving the earrings, like that green, red, black combo lots. Love your cheeky chappy bird models, but feeling sorry for the dog with the tape up his bum!

  19. ARGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! PROLIFIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and GORGEOUSNESS OVERLOAD!!!!!!! can't take it any more ... i need to have a cold shower after this :p
    woah ... that rattle is something isn't it, even in death it looks ... indestructible (excuse the pun) but really, it's a real piece of work. my brother used to have pythons in the house. i even borrowed one to photograph with during my wedding shoot. pretty cool !!
    love that quaint house with the expose beams + ANVIL... been watching a LOT of home restoration by BBC while crafting lately ... totally, totally stoked with period buildings. wish we had them here ... well, we have, but not in the style i want *sigh* ... i need to move to the UK.
    finally ... LOL!!! that cactus plant!!! Looks like a LOT of tangled FOOTS ... FEET ... no FOOTS sounds better!!


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