Friday, May 27, 2011

A Little Cupcake Indulgence

You know how the story goes, you're watching calories, and all you can think about is food - specifically sweets.  I saw these two sisters on one of the morning talk shows and enjoyed hearing their story.  And man, do those cupcakes look goooooood or what?  Both sisters left their corporate jobs to open the bakery.  They had started baking when ages three and four along side their grandmother.  They learned how to bake by folllowing their grandmother around the kitchen and imitating her.  So, armed with only their grandmother's recipes, they opened the first cupcakery in Washington D.C. called Georgetown Cupcakes.  It literally became a sensation overnight.  And they even have their own reality show "DC Cupcakes" on TLC - perhaps you've seen it. They produce thousands of cupcakes a day (and now have a second location in Bethesda Maryland). The key to their cupcake success they say is using the finest ingredients and knowing how to make a moist cupcake.  The secret's in the mixing and timing.  

And here's one of their nice ice cream cupcake cupcakes "how to" video.  If you like to bake, you can find a number of their recipes online.  I might just have to make some of these ice cream cupcakes. . . I'm weak I tell ya! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Out of the Studio

We had a little sun here in MA today so I was inspired to bring my iguana lawn ornament inside for a new look.  Kinda cute, isn't he?  I love the look of the natural rusted metal, but what happens is he kind of disappears into the landscaping. 

So, I figure I'll clean off the metal today and start the process.  This iguana was purchased last summer up at the Sunapee Show (League of New Hampshire Craftsman) from Junker Studio.  Their website doesn't have lots of photos, but they always have a great selection every year at Sunapee. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Marvelous Monday

Lisa and Scott Cylinder have been creating jewelry together since 1988. Somehow, they obtain discarded musical instruments, deconstruct them, add metals, resins and wood and resurrect them into new pieces of jewelry.  Their compositions are sheer delight!

"We share a love of materials, and we have allowed ourselves to be free to explore any materials that we feel are appropriate for a particular piece, whether they be found, manufactures or made by us"

Bing Clarinet Key Brooch

Cherry Tree Clarinet Key Necklace

 Scarlet Damper Piano Brooch

 Seahorse Bass Clarinet Key Brooch

Enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Out of the Studio

I've been scurrying around trying to finish up that kit/tutorial I spoke of earlier this month.  But alas, it's finally complete.  I contacted Christine Dumont to do another tutorial launch.  So, if you want to get a sneak preview as to what it is, head over to Voila! now.  And watch the site early next week (hint, hint) for when it goes live if you want to be one of the three lucky winners.

And funny how life takes its twists and turns.  I did on post here on "making connections".  I'd been doing a lot of thinking about coaching, mentoring, connecting, etc.  I mean think of it, it's all around us.  Isn't that what a lot of the reality shows to some degree are doing?  Now we've got the show "the Voice".  What an opportunity for these kids to be coached by such big names in the business.  Last weekend I had a really cool experience which had to do with coaching.  I went back to Yale with my daughter for a basketball tournament.  Turns out, 3 of her 4 games were held in the Payne Whitney gym - the same building I used to train with Robert Kiphuth.  So I just had to go upstairs and look at the old practice pool.  When I opened the door and saw the pool - man did it bring back many memories.  Hard.  I took my cell phone out to take a photo (ok, I admit, I've never uploaded a picture from my phone yet onto the computer) when a woman sitting at one end asked me if she could help me.  She introduced herself as Christina Teusher - the head swim coach for Yale's Women's Swim Team (and, um, didn't know it at the time, but a 2-time Olympic metal winner herself).  I told her my story and heard probably for the first time in my life some history about Robert Kiphuth.  We had a rather lengthy conversation and I've also learned a lot about him through the internet since.  So . . . it got me thinking - why in the world would a Yale and U.S. Olympic Swim Coach want, agree to,  and even select 6 kids from CT to train under his auspices?  And with Yale's Men's Swim Team?   How did that ever get approved?  There was no reality show, commercials, or endorsements.  Looking back, I'm seeing it from a totally different perspective.  It was an incredible opportunity and pretty life-changing as well. This weekend, we're headng down to my sister's in CT and my brother is in from Colorado.  They've both heard the details of my weekend experience and we are all looking forward to getting together, kickin' back, remembering and talking about the good ole' days!    

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

BAO Color Challenge

After a long weekend, I'm trying to get back on track with business as usual.  Every couple weeks, the BAO team does a color challenge.  I haven't posted one of the challenges here for a while but figure there's no time like the present.  Here's an image of Bali which was the inspiration for the work of 5 BAO members.  You can go here to see what they created.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Honestly, Can You Tell the Difference?

Just this week I saw two posts regarding alternatives to silver as the price for silver is high and still fluctuating (the spot price for today is $35.09/oz.).  One was about copper (can't remember whose blog that was) and the other was about polymer clay (Polymer Clay Today).  I wanted to do a post about this but was delayed due to blogger problems.  Anyway, another option is nickel silver.  After polishing some nickel silver pieces, I took this photo - honestly, can you tell the difference?  Scroll down for the answer . . .

Left - silver, middle and right - nickel silver.  And just a fraction of the price!

Going Back

This weekend I'm attending yet another basketball tournament.  This time it's in New Haven, CT.  One of the games will be held Yale.  I used to swim there everyday as a kid with the Men's Swim Team (before Yale went co-ed - I guess that kind of dates me a bit).  Anyway, it's been 45 years since I've been there.  I'll never forget my first experience with the coach.  He told everyone to get bands and tie up their legs.  Then to hop in and do a warmup of 100 laps.  I thought he was joking . . . he wasn't.  And this was a 50 meter pool.  I think I cried in the water the whole time!  But it got worse.  At the end (this was at the deep end), I untied my band and it fell down to the bottom of the pool.  When the coach saw this he yelled at me to go get it.  I tried but my ears made it impossible to get down there.  Then he screamed at me when he saw I swam back up without it.  I still have to smile when my mother yelled at the coach to stop making me try to get the band.  He then threw her out of the pool area and she was never allowed in again.  Needless to say, on the way home I told my mother I wanted to quit.  She told me I had to give it one more try.  I don't know how I got through it, but I did.  I ended up practicing with them for probably 2 more years until the coach passed away.  Things were so different back then.  To this day, I have no idea how or why 6 kids, ages 11 - 15 were practicing with this team.  It's funny what feelings and memories come up when I think of that time.  I remember the guys on the team used to talk about the clubs they would go to.  It was the whole beatnik era.  Does that bring back memories to anyone?  Jack Kerouac perhaps?  Here's to going back!  Have a great weekend!

"I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.”  -Jack Kerouac

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Making Connections

I remember when I first started this journey how I felt pretty much on my own (as I'm sure many of us have) to figure things out.  I remember thinking so many times how much easier it would be if there were someone I could network with that might be helpful.  I tried networking groups but the two I met with didn't seem to be a good fit.  Fast forward . . .  12 years later.  I've been reflecting on how things fell into place for me.  Probably about 8 years ago I joined my local art society.  Through that group, I met two women who became an important part of my life. And I met a third woman (I've spoken of Mary in the past) in a metalsmithing class.  Each of these women are unique and have helped me in different ways.  Years ago, three of us used to talk about forming a mastermind group.  The group was never formed but these mastermind sessions do take place on a regular informal basis.  I cherish these friendships.  I have my team. We are constantly exchanging information and learning from one another.  Recently I joined the Boston Metal Clay Guild And through that guild, I met others who are starting to sell their work or need website help, photography help, etc.  I see things that I can offer people and things I can learn from others. So, my question to you is - do you have a team?  Do you belong to a local guild or some sort of networking group? 

Recently on the Metal Clay Yahoo Group forum, Tonya Davidson from Whole Lotta Whimsy invited people to join the Sunday Social Circle on the WWW facebook page.  There, you can share your Etsy page, website, FB, Twitter, etc.  The goal is to connect + collaborate + create together.  Just another opportunity . . .  thanks Tonya!

And this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning my Etsy team.  The BAO team has been such a great resource for me.  They offer wonderful support and promotion for their members, and an opportunity to network with others on a deeper level than you may have otherwise. If you sell on Etsy, teams are a wonderful resource well worth looking into. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Marvelous Monday

I'm back from my short break.  I needed to free up some time and something had to go.  I've been cleaning and purging.  First it began with my closets.  Have you ever wanted to seriously take everything in your closet and just get rid of it?  And, in conjunction with that, I began a diet - probably the first real diet I've ever done where you have to actually be accountable.  I had "cut back" my food intake but I wasn't getting any results.  It wasn't so much how much I ate this winter, it was more about when I ate it.  Dinner (and my biggest meal) at 8:00 or 9:00 in the evening is definitely not healthy. I've been working out religiously 3 times a week and walking on off days and nothing was changing. So I joined weight watchers on-line.  Great diet - but it can be a little time consuming - finding points, entering them, and finding recipes that I would enjoy and wouldn't leave me feeling hungry took a lot of time.  The first day of the diet I spent SO much time online, not fun but necessary as I was pretty clueless as to point values.  It's been fairly simple to follow and my first week was a huge success.  Nothing like positive reinforcement to keep you going!

I also cleaned the studio, yet again.  However, one week later and you'd never know it.  I've been working on another project as well.  It's another tutorial, but with a different spin.  I hope to have it done sometime this week - so stay tuned. 

And now - for my inspirational photos for the week.  I selected the work of Sydney Lynch.  Her site has a wonderful home page.  I could get lost watching it forever.  And she has many, many pages of fabulous jewels to look at. And if you like the combination of gold with oxidized silver, you'll love her work.  Her designs are really incredible - I would love to own any one of those pieces!  Doesn't the boulder opal resemble a skinner blend???  LOVE it!  Hope you enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!