Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The finished product. Look at all the room I have for more tools!

My lovely drawing. 

 At the lumber store. We chose Poplar for the cart, which the kid working there kept calling "Popular". I had little confidence in his skill set. 

Paul cutting the wood for my project. He may or may not have been afraid that I'd cut my hand off with the circular saw. He was too nice to say so, however.

 One side done.

 The other side.

 All done, ready to be sanded and stained.

 One coat down, one to go!

 One last rub with steel wool and it was ready to load up.

 Finally, a way to organize that's worthy of my collection of hammers!

Organize, a verb, according to Webster that is defined as "to arrange into a structured whole; order".  This is an elusive concept, at least for me in the workshop, that is. I suppose it's an elusive concept for any of us that create for a living. Especially when what you create involves lots of small bits and parts and lots of tools. Lately I have heard lots of chatter on Facebook on this subject of organization. It might be that autumn makes us think of getting organized for the winter months, a nesting of sorts. I always feel a sense of anticipation this time of year that teeters towards anxiety involving getting things ready for winter.
I decided after my last show at the end of August that my next project would be to once and for all figure out a way to better organize my space. I bought some great metal cabinets for organizing stones and beads. Not only are they functional, they're an awesome shade of lime green that matches the light fixtures that hang over my work table. I'll show you those later on after I get them a bit better organized. I'm getting rid of books and magazines that I no longer need (this one is hard for me!).  I'm organizing my bench and tools into a better working state, also a difficult task, but I'm getting there. All of my tools for student use are packed up into a bin so I know where they are when I need them. I have even sorted all of my metals into new bins by type and gauge. The one thing I couldn't buy was some kind of organizer for my hammers. For non-jewelry types I'm sure this sounds funny, as in "why not just toss 'em in a tool box?". Hammers made for metalsmithing have polished faces that need to stay that way if you don't want to transfer dings onto you your work. Plus, many of them are just so pretty that you just can't let them get banged around. I've never found any kind of commercial holder or rack that really served my purpose. I decided the only thing to do was to build my own. I lurked around on Pinterest checking out how other people store their tools and I found a few ideas.
I don't have much experience building things so this was a real challenge for me. I spent some time deciding on size, dimensions and exactly what I wanted to store on it. I did a crude drawing, and I do mean crude! My drafting teacher in college would be so disappointed in me. Paul helped me figure out the dimensions of the lumber I'd need and he also pointed out some flaws in my design that would have made my cart tippy, like the fact that the casters needed to extend beyond the body of the cart. Then off the hardware store we went. Paul cut most of the wood out for me and I built it in about 3 days with applying the finish. I was pretty slow, but at least I didn't make any mistakes. I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's going to make finding the tool I need much easier, plus they look so darn pretty displayed like that!

Sunday, October 6, 2013


 Oak leaf Hydrangea

 Autumn Joy Sedum



Today the weather was cold and rainy. It felt like fall is really here. Something different in the air.  I love fall, but these early days always make me a little melancholy. I suppose it feels like the end of something instead of the beginning of something.  Soon, the sky will be blue, the air will be crisp and hopefully we'll have  a really long Indian summer. That's fall in the Midwest. I wish everyone could experience fall the way we do in places where the seasonal change is obvious. The smell of the air, sweaters, pumpkins, apples, the gold of harvested fields against a crystal blue sky. All of these things are a beautiful part of the place that I grew up.
Today I picked what may be the last of the produce from the garden. All that was left were lcouple of eggplant, the rest of the basil and a bunch of tomatoes. Maybe it'll stay warm enough for a few more tomatoes. That would be a bonus.