Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Plans

As some of you might already know, I'm in the middle of getting everything ready for my summer vacation - I'm leaving this saturday.
What first started off as a forced "vacation" [my student visa expires and I was told I had to leave the US 2 weeks after I was done with school], quickly turned in to what looks like a pretty amazing summer ahead of me.
First I'm heading to Germany. Düsseldorf to visit my dad, followed by Munich and Berlin, to visit some of the most important ladies in my life.
Germany is followed by Spain, so it's back to my roots (this is where I grew up) and spending some time with my mom.
Spain is followed by Norway: back to my boyfriends roots, visiting his extended family.
After Norway we're heading back to Spain, where we have to sort out all our paperwork for the US.
We've been working our butts off, struggling with papers, contracts, timelines, translations, etc. I don't know if any of you have ever been in a situation where your choices for your future aren't really your choices. It's not much fun, let me tell you. It's been hard enough to try to figure out if we want to spend the next years of our lives in the US (we've been living here for the past 3 years), but even if we had that part clear, it's still not really our decision to make. It's the USCIS, who decides if you can stay or not.
What I'm saying is - I really deserve this vacation :) I earned it.
You might have noticed that I have no return flight. Well, that just sums up how I've been living the past year: going with the flow.
If everything works out, we'll be back in Los Angeles sometime in August. If it doesn't, we'll be back anyways to pick up all our belongings and I'll be offering you my NIMO. jewelry from Europe. A big shout out for the WorldWideWeb!
Life's an adventure - better enjoy the ride!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Week in Pics

My first week of vacation and the beginning of summer!
As most of you may already know, last wednesday night, June 23rd, was the beginning of the summer solstice. Back home in Spain it's a big deal (who would have thought: such a pagan rite in such catholic country! Oh, the irony - love it!) and it's celebrated with huge bonfires on the beaches and an assortment of rituals (jumping the fire, walking into the sea, etc).
Pure coincidence had it, that we were to head out to Catalina Island for an overnight camping trip just on that day. As you will see in the pictures, Avalon (the main city on Catalina) is a gorgeous little place and it somehow reminded me a lot of Europe. We went with two friends and two kids and had an amazing time: lot's of walking (cars are extremely restricted on the Island, a cabdriver told us the waiting list is about 30 to 50 years!!!!), we rented tandem bikes, had a bbq (including marshmallows), played tag in the dark armed with flashlights, spent a day at the beach and I event went for a quick swim in the ocean!
View of Avalon from the ferry.
Instead of cars, everybody on the island drives golf carts
a very minty looking house
Dog taking a nap in a golf cart - judging from all the stains on the seats it wasn't the first time ;)
Me, making funny faces on the back of the tandem
Mikki, making funny faces in our tent
Boats on the way to the beach. Who names their boat Huevos (Eggs/ balls, depending on the interpretation)???
Hmmm... iced water with lemon on a hot beach day = perfection
Every summer I face the same issue: finding a summer dress. I either don't like them, or they don't fit. So this time around I decided it was time to sit down and make one. It's a military green knit dress with black trims. I opted for a racerback top and an a-line shape for the skirt. I'll take pics when I wear it!
Then I received the cutest letter from my friend in Japan! I don't know how they do it, but even magazine pages and color swatches look much more special over there.
On saturday I finally finished my latest necklace. It's a one of a kind piece. The pendant is made out of a thick sheet of faux bone, which I then sawed and filed into the shape of a C2 cervical vertebra. To make it more interesting I added a little "spark". Faux bone is a fun material to work with, but it's a lot of work. I'm happy with my result - so worth the infected blister on my finger!
No, I'm not in Germany (yet). This is at a local Biergarten in Silverlake: The Red Lion. Although the name sounds more like an irish pub, they have really good authentic tasting german food. The inside is quite austere, but the outside space is perfect for summer evenings.
Apparently all the soccer/football craze turned this week into an culinary experience, because we watched the Spain-Chile game at Tinto in Hollywood, the day before heading to the the Red Lion. The food was pretty authentic, too. The gazpacho had been made by the owners mother, not the chef! Too bad that it was pretty pricey.
Hope you had a great start into the summer, too.
Have a great week, xx

EAT. {Stink free fish}

So I'm pretty easy with food. One thing I sometimes have trouble with is fish. I'm not a 100% sure what it is, but I'm pretty sure one important factor is texture. Don't get me wrong, I'll devour tuna sashimi in no time, I just have to feel like it.
The point I'm trying to get to, is that we've been trying to incorporate more fish in our diet, and eating less meat.
One thing that really makes me shudder is the smell of fish in the kitchen, so instead of frying it in the pan, I'd rather put it in the oven!
I found this recipe in the book "Happy Days with the Naked Chef" by Jamie Oliver. Like most of his recipes, this one really lends itself to personal variations: so that's what I did.

You'll need:
White fish fillets (I've used Hoki and Cod - I prefer the first) they can be fresh or thawed.
Cherry tomatoes or chopped normal tomatoes
Mozarella Cheese (I've also used Parmesan - and I liked both variations)
Pesto (my personal touch!)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

What to do:
Preheat the oven.
Coat an oven dish with a little olive oil.
Put the fish filets on the dish.
Coat them with the pesto.
Chop tomatoes and cheese and put on top of the filets.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for approx 10 min at 450ºF (230ºC)

Done! Easy or what!?

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Week in Pics

Endings are just Beginnings
This week was the end of my last week at the local college. The end of a chapter in my life, where I'm attending an american college. Over the last three years I attended a selection of jewelry, screen printing and fashion classes. Three certificates later, I feel like I have gained so much more. It has been a fun adventure, submerging myself in american culture. I have finally (after starting off with photography, then switching to graphic design) found what I can see myself doing for the rest of my life (or at least the next decade -ha!) And I have met a handful of very dear friends. So I'm ending this experience with a great feeling of fulfillment on so many different levels! Bring on that summer vacation :)

Drawers at my screen printing class.

I had some really colorful food this week: wild alaskan salmon on a bun for breakfast and a mexican interpretation (hence the avocado and cream!) of the spanish Gazpacho (a cold tomato soup). I must say it was quite good, apart from the fact that the only thing it had in common with the original dish was the tomato ;)

I also got to work on some new pieces of jewelry. I promise I'll update my shop by next weekend. I'll be out of town during the week, so I wont get my etsy-worthy shots done till friday.

Mikki's band is finally complete again. I had the pleasure of witnessing one of their first rehearsals. It was fun hearing the new songs performed live, after listening to bits and pieces in the studio.

The weekend highland was a trip with the girls to Silverlake on Saturday. We had lunch at LAMill Coffee - definitely a must go, if you're in the area. The picture above is their award winning organic iced coffee, and I must say: the award is very deserved!

If you venture to LAMill, just down the street is "lawson-fenning" a interior decor shop with an amazing book section in the back (the books alone are worth the visit: everything on art, fashion and architecture). I want almost all their furniture and their books! Now!

After indulging on the coffee and strolling through the neighboring furniture shops, we headed to the Sunset Junction, for more window shopping!

I have to admit this visit to Silverlake has me yearning for a huge industrial loft, polished concrete floors, bare lightbulbs, nice furniture (I can't wait to replace our Ikea-catalog home with something more personal), and a humongous bookshelf with a ladder. Sigh!

I believe summer is finally here: schools is over, iced coffe, long talks sitting outside at dusk, washing the car by hand :) Can't wait for the beach and pool part!
Have a great week everybody,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Step by Step: the Crossroads Pendant

So finally I have had the discipline to take pictures of my working process. I have been toying with the idea for some time now to show you, my dear blog readers, how I work.
So without further ado, here comes the photographic documentation of the making of the Crossroads Pendant. (I only realized while gathering the pics for this post that it's not a complete 'step-by-step guide', because at some point it looks like I got carried away an forgot to take more pictures!).
I usually start my design process with a simple drawing in my sketch book or on a piece of paper. I then scan the image and work on it in Illustrator. However this piece emerged from rearranging bits and pieces of my Peggy Pendant.
Then I print out the outlines and glue the paper to my metal of choice. This time it was a sterling silver. Once the glue is dry I cut out the piece with a really tiny jewelers saw blade.
When cutting out inside shapes, I drill a tiny hole in the shape I want to cut out...
...and insert the saw blade in it to proceed to pierce out the shape.
Once I'm done with the sawing, I peel off the paper and file the edges, getting rid of imperfections and making them smoother (so they feel nicer to the touch).
I cut out a round shape of sheet brass and looked for a bezel that would fit my cabochon: Lapis Howlite.
After sanding the areas to solder (to make sure they're clean) it's time to fire things up. I first soldered the sterling silver shape to the brass circle using medium solder (a metal alloy that acts like a glue, fusing metals together. Hard, medium and soft/easy describe how quick it melts). Once this is done I soldered the bezel onto the center of the piece with easy solder.
Time to clean things up a little. I used my cheapo flexible shaft with a new set of "Advant Edge" polishing kit, that I purchased at riogrande.
And apparently at this stage I got too carried away to take pictures in between each step :)
Once the surfaces were clean and I decided from where to hang the pendant from a chain, I drilled two holes for the jumprings. I oxidized the silver, using black max, making it completely black (as the name indicates). Then I carefully sanded the piece a little, taking away any excess blackness and giving the piece a matte, aged finish. I placed the cabochon in it's bezel and pushed the frame around the stone to secure it. After attaching different chains, I finally settled for this copper ball chain, because I think it goes well with the color palette and it's not overwhelming - making the pendant truly the center piece.
So, what do you think? Did you enjoy this look "behind the scenes"? Let me know. Have a great rest of the week,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer 2010 Trade

I'm super stoked to participate over at oh, hello friend's summer '10 Trade. I jumped at the opportunity to take part in this very cute idea Danni had to encourage a little fellow shop support.
It's not too late to take part in this little trading adventure, just head over to Danni's original post and comment with your shop link.
But even if you don't have a shop, "Oh, hello friend" is definitely worth a visit. So head over there to get a peek at all the goodies Danni so generously shares with the blogworld.
Hope you're having a great day,
Yep, that's the little NIMO. Phoenix necklace over there at #5.