Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I May Not Be a Cobbler...

  ...but a shoemaking class was just the ticket I needed to learn a whole new style for jewelry making. Earlier this year, I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a leather workshop held at the Chicago School of Shoemaking. http://www.chicagoschoolofshoemaking.com     

I'd been wanting to incorporate more leather into my designs and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Not only to learn more about leather working techniques and skills, but to approach it from a different angle- other than from a jewelers point of view. Master Cobbler, Sara McIntosh, runs the school and workshops from her quaint lower level stone studio in downtown Chicago. Her space is beautifully organized with all its hammers and awls, punches and stamps. It was floor to ceiling eye candy!

For the workshop project, I decided to try my hand at making a purse. It actually turned out far better than I imagined it would. My favorite element was using the raw edge of the lightweight leather as a fold over opening... just a touch of "rustic". Maybe my purse turned out so well due to beginners luck.... but then again, I'd rather give the credit to the very talented and patient instructor we had.

So here I sit tinkering around and smiling at the new addition in the corner of my studio. Armed with a whole new arsenal of leather crafting tools and knowledge, I dive right in. Some ideas have worked... and some not so much. But this past week I went through my box of metal widgets and wonders and pulled out an old pocket watch backing. Having always been fascinated by pocket watches with all their tiny gears, pinions and wheels, I wanted to add it to my new leather cuff I was creating. So here's a peek at one of my first pieces to marry leather and metal together. Now I just need to come up with a name for this "time" series... mmmm.... what do you think?

"Time to imagine"
"Time stands still"
"The right time"

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I (heart) Audio Books

A Dog's Purpose: A Novel for Humans | [W. Bruce Cameron]I started listening to audio books a few years back in order to make my morning commute more interesting. But once my driving routine changed, I stopped listening. Though I still read a good book every now and again...I began missing the guilty pleasure of having someone read  to me.

I realize audio books can be a bit more costly than an actual printed book.  But listening to these stories makes me more productive. Instead of selfishly relaxing with a book, I'm able to carry on with my day to day activities with great enjoyment and anticipation. And as an artist, it's interesting to see my work take on the style or mood of the day's tale.

Which brings me to the wonderful book I just began, "A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron. A sweetly sad and emotional rollercoaster of a dog's love and insight.  My creations today mindlessly gravitated towards blue and green tones. A quick search on google tells me this reflects feelings of love, kindness, devotion and emotional depth. Yep.... today's tale, filled with tears and laughter, can be seen on my workbench.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lots of New Katcando Designs on ETSY!

I've been busy creating lots of new jewelry pieces in my studio lately... Here are a few of the new items recently added to my ETSY store:




Sunday, April 15, 2012


Have you ever built a home, remodeled or even dreamed of doing so one day? Then here's a contest for you! Just send me your favorite tip(s) for what you did, wished you did or hope to do someday. I will then enter every "tipster's" name in a drawing for a free pair of 2012 Spring Katcando earrings. Winner will be notified by end of May and will be given a choice of 4 different earring styles.You can also enter on my Katcando FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Katcando-Jewelry/185934511426951.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Latest Obsession...Book Folding

Last year while shopping at one of my favorite antique/upcycle shops, I stumbled upon a book that left me with a lasting impression. Not because of the title, story or even the cover.... but for what was on the inside. As I picked it up and examined the simple, perfectly folded pages that ended in a single symmetrical point going cover to cover, my heart began to beat faster.... my mind raced... and I drove to the nearest resale book seller! Sure we had tons of hard backed books at home that I wasn't personally attached to (my husband's stash of course) so I would have to wait for the right moment to invade "that side" of the bookshelf... But in the mean time, I would have my own stash to play with.

Okay...fast forward a few months later, a dozen or so vintage hardback books purchased and loads of book folding research-trial and error- accomplished. I learned a lot during that short time. Mainly, my love for vintage books doesn't always make them the best candidate for folding. Often times the older ones have fragile pages that crumble when manipulated. I also learned I could move the folded design, vertically, away from center, even just half and inch can make a pleasing visual change. I learned certain designs are not meant to be mindless exercises done while watching an episode of Modern Family! And lastly, I learned the entire book doesn't need to be folded. Sometimes I'll make the design only in the middle section of the book with plenty of loose pages to the left and right. I love it when there are no rules!

I've lovingly added my book sculptures into our home decor (mantels and of course bookshelves) as well as placed them in my art show jewelry displays intermingling with wooden crates and such. They're adaptable to all types of decorating styles... because they're books of course!

Below are two more photos of my book sculptures. Note that the bottom photo has a more rustic feel because it uses an older book with pages that are a bit tattered and brown. In order to make crisper designs (as shown in the hearts above) a newer book is required. So if you are inclined to try my latest obsession, too.... make sure you use discarded or no longer loved books, as to not harm the feelings of your fellow bibliophiles. Happy Folding!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hide & Seek with my Great Dane

Today I played Hide & Seek with Blu....She found me a little too quickly though, must have been the sausages I had for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My visit with an "Animal Communicator"

Yep... I went to see an "Animal Communicator".  Nope, not an animal psychic. (bet you didn't know there was a difference...but neither did I) An animal communicator doesn't look into the future or make predictions, they use telepathy to put words to the visual cues they pick up from our pets. (apparently we are all capable of doing this, but we have lost our telepathy talent as we grew up and became more logical thinking adults.)

So begins my adventure. This afternoon I brought my 2 great danes and 17 year old (non-believer) son to meet the animal communicator. We didn't all fit in the office space she was using so we made do with a park bench out front. No problem, she said, about moving to the new public location (apparently all the other dogs walking by wouldn't be "talking" to her at the same time- thus distracting her from the 2 big tasks at hand). 
Let's begin...
Blu at the lake

First up, Blu, our 3 year old great dane. First thing Blu "communicated" was that she didn't like wearing a winter coat. She felt silly wearing it and didn't like when we laughed at her. (okay, yes we may have laughed at her at first, but it wasn't the coat she was wearing, it was the booties! but I didn't bring that up...) apparently Blu is quite sensitive and doesn't like to be made fun of. Then Blu wanted to know why she couldn't have peanuts? (very, very strange question to us. our son has a peanut allergy and we never have peanuts in the house... weird.) Then she jumped to discussing the garden hose. Yes, she does get excited when the hose is turned on, but could we please stop spraying her with the water. (smile. yep, guilty as charged). Next she told the communicator that she thinks she's more popular than Zoe (our other great dane) but that Zoe didn't really care to be popular. Blu then said she wants to be the boss, the Alpha dog, but Zoe is. Then she began to describe her favorite toy that we don't play with anymore... a stick with a ball on the end. (yep, we have a dog toy that's sort of like that) we promised her we would find it and play with it again. The Animal Communicator looked at her watch and said Blu was just rambling on and on and could talk forever, but that it was our turn to ask her questions. We only had a 15 minute window! So we asked pretty boring stuff about her favorite things to eat and why she knocks all of her food out of the bowl with her nose.... Blu's answer, she wanted to see the different shapes and what she was eating and could we please feed her more wet food. Oh, and she likes chicken. How does she feel about the cats we asked. Blu's answer was that she thought they antagonized her and it wasn't her fault that she chased them. (mmm.... partial truth)  We asked if she liked riding in the boat? It's okay- she would rather be where we are than left home. And she doesn't like when it goes fast or if it's bumpy. (all true!) I asked if she liked going to the kennel. She answered yes. She thinks she's popular there, too. She told us that she's a favorite of a young guy that works there- but he gets in trouble because he isn't a hard worker. (big grin, yes, this made sense to us, too) And finally, we asked her if she liked skijoring (the dogs wear harnesses and ski in front of my husband) Blu said it was okay, she likes the running, but doesn't like the pulling. She thinks my husband could help more. (OMG! big laugh!)

Next up, Zoe, our 7 year old great dane. First thing Zoe said to our Animal Communicator was that she would like a treat and did she have any lunch meat? (yep, sounds like Zoe. She's not fat, but she always lets us know when its dinner time!) Then she asked if we could have popcorn tonight? (another one of her favorite treats) Then Zoe told us her neck hurt on the right side and could we please rub it for her. (mmm...we obliged and she seemed to be enjoying it) Then Zoe said she didn't like human company and could we please not have any more company over? (wow... that threw us! What dog doesn't like company? But as I think about it, Zoe does come over and say hello to our "human company" but then goes back to laying down or doing whatever she was doing before she was so rudely interrupted. She doesn't hang all over them like our other dog.) Then Zoe told us she likes to sleep. a lot in fact. And could we please get Blu to stop waking her up all the time. And... she wants Blu to stop taking her bed. (I wasn't sure which bed she considered hers... so I asked the "communicator" to find out for me) It's the soft one next to my side of the bed. (oh, I replied). Then she was back to food again. Could she try jelly? (sure, I guess. Where did that come from?) Oh, and no more dogs. Blu was enough. Then I asked if Zoe remembered Brutus (our male dane that died 3 years ago). Of course she did. "He taught me a lot of things. He didn't like me at first but he came around. And he liked tacos." (here we go again, back to food!) My last question for Zoe was why she always attacked the TV? (Zoe has always rushed the TV-barking like crazy- whenever an animal is on.... and don't get me started about the Aflac duck!!! geez!) Her reply was exactly as you would think.... "it's my house". 
Zoe, protecting us from TV intruders

So what do I think now that it's over? I really do think the Animal Communicator was picking up on something. It intrigued me. And yep, I'd go see her again. And my son? Well, he's still a non-believer. But it's not the first (or the last) time we haven't seen things quite the same way.... he'll come around.

So did I peek your interest? Our Animal Communicator says she can do the same thing over the phone!So if you don't live in the IL/WI area, give her a call. But be sure to report back: http://www.kindredspiritsanimalcommunication.com/Consultations.htm

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Junk Garden

I've been working in my flower garden at the cottage all week.... and now that I'm back home I'm reflecting on why I love being at the cottage...
• lax rules... i.e., "oops, drilled a hole wrong... no problem, it's a cottage!" or "Darn, spilled on the sofa.... no worries, it's a cottage!"
• makeup not required
• unscheduled meals... eat when you're hungry
• computer-free
• the silence
• the birds
• the push mower
• reading
• listening to the water while laying in bed
• the smallness of the cottage

Here's a pict. of my funny little garden fountain. I got an old wash tub and watering can at the flea market last weekend... and voila!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trompe- l'oeil (tattoos!)

okay... you may or may not be a tattoo fan, but you must admit the artistry of these tattoos! I've never seen anything like these before:

The bracelet tat's are temporary tattoos by Chanel for their 2010 spring line... pretty cool. Here's a link to purchase some for yourself:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I (Heart) this Blog...

so many blogs-so little time. 
some i visit when i need a laugh. 
some i visit to learn. 
and some i visit for inspiration. 
here's one that fits all of the above: http://artsyville.blogspot.com/.  aimee- the author- is a masterful doodler.  her art is freeing. spontaneous. fun. makes you want to dust off your sketch book and pens. her haiku's make me chuckle.what a delicious combination of words, type and art. pure fun.

and if you're in a "i want to make something really cool" sort of mood... check out what aimee says about making these wonderful tiles using alcohol inks. a beautiful explosion of color. wouldn't these be an inspiring addition to your creative space? be sure to stop by her blog and add "artysville"  to your favorite blog list, too!