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The Halloween Vacuum

I was honored this year that my manager asked me to be responsible for decorating a room at the restaurant for the Halloween bash they throw every year. This is my favorite holiday and I so miss being a part of the veterinary clinics haunted house (Joel!), that I naturally said, “Eff, yeah!” Her only parameters were, “Haunted and creepy, not cutesy,” to paraphrase.

clay bonesbone wreathI had a super grand idea to turn the Garden Room into an ossuary, but I don’t have access to huge amounts of bones anymore (I used to walk over all manner of animal bones at Oceano Dunes when I worked out there), and buying bones, even fake bones, gets expensive. I did find some great budget faux animal skeletons at various shops. I had to scale back my plan to make the budget and resort to dollar store purchases, thrift stores, coupons, and good ol’ ingenuity. I’m particularly pleased with the modeling clay vertebrae that I made for the wreaths, black and purple bouquets,  and spider-web-bone-bundles. Excavated a bunch of scrap fabric in my closet to add texture to the  wreaths (I knew I kept these scraps for some reason), which I am the most proud of. I finished out the room with the assistance of my neighbors who do flowers and fabrics for weddings; they let me borrow 100 pounds of beautiful driftwood and curly willow to round out the room (Thanks, Laurel and Matt); I’m sure I brought much entertainment to Downtown SLO by wheeling it down there on my wagon.

howl garden room

1. clay bones in the bouquet, 2. glow stick emptied into jar (not my idea, but it does look cool), and 3. the cheesecloth has a skull in it!

I am sad Halloween is over (Can we do it again? Do I really have to wait a whole year?!). I am stuck in a vacuum now that these projects are finished, but don’t worry. I working on reordering my project priorities. I’ve been toying with the idea of making more seasonal jewelry items and featuring birthstones. I also sewed a new costume this year, and it went together fast, which has me all excited about a new sewing project every month. I’ve been meaning to do a series of vests for ages. You’ll see some more beautiful projects before too long.


November 3, 2016 at 2:44 pm Leave a comment

The Uninspired is Repurposed and The Emotional Challenges of Online Jewelry Business

I think we can agree that the picture below is not my best work. Clearly, I was not inspired when putting this together. I may have been experimenting with colors and trying to emulate the Sundance Catalog jewelry, but this necklace never really did it for me. It’s not boring, but it’s not remarkable.


So, I pulled it apart last week so I could make a fringe with the chips. We can agree this new item is inspired, no?


The cabochons and chips from this piece are a mystery to me, as I bought them in an assortment. My nearest guess for the chips is amethyst, but it could be purple fluorite. The cabochons could be glass, though I’m sure one of them is amethyst because of an occlusion (you can’t see it unless you pry it out) that looks like other amethyst occlusions I’ve seen. The very left is glass or aqua colored gemstone. The 2nd from the left could be iolite or colored glass. I do just love this color combination; Mrs. Partner and I went to see a Cartier exhibit in SF (Palace of Fine Arts, 2009) and she got me a book picturing amethyst and turquoise together in jewelry, so of course I’ve been waiting to put those colors together ever since.

Meanwhile, it’s been about a month since I starting putting products on StorEnvy and Etsy. I’ve been taking careful pictures of my favorites and new items I’m proud of. I’m tagging all my items appropriately and writing good descriptions. It’s everything I can do without spending money on promotion because that money is earmarked for Two Broads. Predictably and despite my efforts, I’m not getting much attention; the views, favorite-ing and “envies” are few. There is so much jewelry out there for people to look through, it’s a wonder they find my stuff at all. It’s rather disheartening to think, “what am I doing here?”– an existential crisis in jewelry. But I’m going to stick with it. I can hand out cards to people who compliment my items in person, and I can keep writing blog posts, and you can view, “envy”, and “favorite” items, perhaps even on Pinterest. That’s right, readers, I need YOU to help me be seen. Help me shamelessly promote my creative obsession.

In other news, it’s my birthday weekend! There will be dressing up with my jewelry, photographs, and the consumption of lots of sparkling wine. Stay tuned for pictures.



August 18, 2016 at 11:11 pm Leave a comment

Deco piece

My new piece. I pulled it apart about 8 times to get it right. I may  have to shorten the neck a bit to make it hang right. Techniques used are herringbone, peyote and seed bead embroidery. Materials are Czech seed bead, Rocaille seed bead, red agate and black agate.

May 3, 2016 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

One of the Two Broads

It’s finally happened. No, not slightly mad. Well, maybe a little.

Mrs. Partner and I are finally starting our dream business! We’re making cider and mead at a place called Two Broads Ciderworks. We are the two broads.

What does this mean? There may be fewer posts on this blog, but lots of posts on the new blog! Check us out.

February 28, 2016 at 5:12 pm 1 comment

Madonna Inn Wedding Cake Bread Pudding

She will no longer be called Miss Partner. I can know officially call her Mrs. Partner, or state sanctioned spouse, or wife person. That’s right. We done got hitched last month. We surprised all our closest friends at our weekly “meeting” called date night; well, except for our deputized officiant and our first witness (the two people vying for second witness had it out with rock-paper-scissors).

898394_origOur officiant surprised us with a Madonna Inn Cake of the Raspberry Delight persuasion. If you have been to the world famous kitchy-kitch-super-camp-extra-pink Madonna Inn, their cakes our well known for their decadence. If you know the sizes of the slices of cake they sell at the Cafe and Steakhouse, you know how difficult it’s going to be to finish this fluffy cake before it drys out. Someone brilliant at date night suggested french toast, which is just a pan-fried bread pudding.

I buttered a pan. Reserving the white chocolate curls for later, I scrapped off the frosting and blenderized with with 6 eggs and about 12 ounces of beer, because I had no cream or milk or coconut milk in the house. I cut the cake to fit the buttered pan, and poured the custard, now tasting much like beery egg nog, over the cake. I let it sit overnight and baked it for 20 minutes with foil and 20 minutes without foil in the morning. That’s what I call breakfast. I took one pan to work and we ate the rest of it all week…

January 14, 2016 at 2:00 am 1 comment

2015 Jam Report

I’ve been jamming! Thanks to Tim for the lovely apricots, Terry for the lovely plums, and Amber for the lovely peaches! I also had a wonderful trip to Julian with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins for apples. I’ve continued with the Single Fruit Single Spice/Spirit theme and almost exclusively fruit butters, because, why not. Here’s what I’ve made so far:

  • Apricot and Albarino (yeah, alliteration!)
  • Apricot and Amaretto
  • Yellow Plum and Ginger
  • Yellow Plum and Rum
  • Peach and Cardamom
  • Cinnamon Bourbon Apple Butter
  • Nutmeg Gran Marnier Apple Butter

Not as big a season as last year, but citrus season is right around the corner…

December 31, 2015 at 12:44 am Leave a comment

Black Friday 2015 at

Have you been drooling over the jewelry I make? Well, good news. It’s all half off this Friday. That’s right, 50% off storewide (and other catchphrases of commerce).

Fine print: Shipping will occur the following week. Sale available Pacific Standard Time. No returns. Select items limited to single quantity.

My hope is this will get my inventory moving and then I can make more beautiful things.

November 22, 2015 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment

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