Posts tagged sterling silver jewelry
You Are Invited To My Annual Studio Sale

It seems like forever since I have posted on The Pickled Pearl. The summer just got away from me this year. I have been very busy with markets and family for the last few months.

And now my annual studio sale is just a few days away. It is the one day every year that I make a special point of really showing my appreciation for my customers and all those who have helped me believe in myself and my craft.

My studio sale and open house will be this Tuesday, November 24th from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. My entire inventory of handcrafted sterling silver jewelry will be 15% off. I will have some finger food and beverages for all. Even if you don't need to buy a little something as a Christmas gift, stop by to say hello. I would love to see everyone.

For the first time ever, I will be giving away a few door prizes to those who subscribe to The Pickled Pearl. Just to show you how grateful I am for your encouragement.

I hope to see you on Tuesday! 



November 24th
1:00 - 9:00 p.m.

10201 Hollymount Drive
Richmond, BC

Message me on Facebook at The Pickled Pearl if you need directions or have questions.






Another Day

Today is my 50th birthday. I have had a hard time with this one. My 40s were amazing, the best decade of my life. Turning 50 has made me feel remorseful. It isn't just the getting older part that I am struggling with.

I often feel like I am at the beginning of my journey. That I am where I should have been twenty years ago.  These sentiments are related to my craft, silversmithing. I am at a point where my technical skills are catching up with my vision. I am developing my own voice. Underneath everything, there is the fear that I started down this path too late in life. And that I am crazy for thinking I can do something with it.


I am inspired by people like Lisa Congdon, who took her first art class at 31 and is now a successful painter and illustrator. She has written about getting older (we are about the same age), determination, and perseverance.



In one blog post, I felt like Lisa was speaking to me personally when she wrote:

That painting class changed my life. Not in a big explosive way. And not overnight. But it set me on a trajectory that led to what I do today. Fifteen years later, I am a working artist. At first it was a hobby — a hobby that gained momentum and grew exponentially as I grew artistically and as I began to share my work on the Internet, which was relatively new at the time. Then several years later, in 2007, I left my job and began my self-employed life.

Along the way, there was no guidebook for me. I was self taught, and I'd never gone to art school. I was intimidated by the art world and had no clue about the worlds of illustration or licensing. Even selling my work on a platform like Etsy (also new back then) felt overwhelming. But over the course of time, I asked a lot of questions to whoever would listen and I read as much as I could. I tried new things. I kept a blog. As awkward as it felt, I began to spread the word about what I was making through all the ways that were available to me — in hopes that people would buy it, or want to hire me for an illustration job, or ask me to be in a gallery show.

And for a few years, all that effort felt frustrating. Stuff happened (the sales, the illustration jobs, the shows), but it came slowly. My income didn't add up to as much as I wanted or needed. But the art-making part was so fulfilling to me (in a way I had never experienced) that I kept at it, with the hope that some day I would hit a tipping point and begin to make a regular, full time income as an artist. I was determined.



I have been thinking about and planning my birthday for some time. I told Roger that I didn't want a party or a big to-do. All I really wanted was to be someplace else. I envisioned taking our little trailer to a remote lake and spending a couple of weeks camping with our dogs.



Things often don't work out the way you think they will. As it turned out, we had to change our plans and see my family. So Roger and I drove to North Idaho, with the dogs, and trailer in tow. While it hasn't been the trip I pictured, it has been lovely. We are situated on ten acres of beautiful forested land not far from the Canadian border. The dogs spend their days playing or basking in the sun. Roger and I spend our days quietly- cooking and doing a few chores. In the afternoon, I work in the little outdoor studio I have set up.

Cutting links for a bracelet

Cutting links for a bracelet

A frown of concentration as I try to solder in the wind

A frown of concentration as I try to solder in the wind

Khai loving the morning sun

Khai loving the morning sun

Kagan is always happy when there is a ball involved.

Kagan is always happy when there is a ball involved.


In the evening, we sit on the deck and watch the hummingbirds take turns at the feeder. They have such fierce hearts for such tiny, delicate creatures. Hummingbirds will even take on crows and hawks to defend their territory. I marvel at their spirit and determination.


 I look towards the next decade. I know where I want to go, but am not sure how I am going to get there.  The path will be full of hills and valleys, a few bends, and likely some brambles and thorns.

 I believe the key is determination paired with daily work. I aspire to have the heart of a hummingbird.

 50 will come and go. I will work in my studio today. And tomorrow. And the day after that.

 Roger and I will have a lovely dinner tonight with candles and champagne, set outside on this exquisite piece of land.

 One more day will pass.  The dishes still need to be done and the dogs have to be fed. There is joy in that simplicity.

On my 50th birthday. Unedited, unretouched. Just me.

On my 50th birthday. Unedited, unretouched. Just me.


Mother's Day
My mother and I when was about 18 months old. See, I told you I was born bossy.

My mother and I when was about 18 months old. See, I told you I was born bossy.


My mother's birthday is soon. You might be wondering why that is important and what it has to do with The Pickled Pearl...

We almost lost her last year. It was Christmas Eve at our house. My husband, Roger, and I were planning our usual feast for Christmas dinner. Turkey, ham, browned butter and garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, and homemade pies. You get the picture. 




Mom and I spent all day in the kitchen prepping food for the next day. I hadn't seen her in a few months and we had a great time together, like we always do. She is an expert washer and chopper, and I was my usual bossy-pants self. I planned, shopped, and orchestrated the steps that would turn bags full of groceries into a delightful, gut stuffing, gastronomic event.

By dinner time, we were sick of the kitchen. With enough food laid out to feed a small army the next day, we just couldn't face starting all over again to cook that night's dinner. So we did what any self-respecting, food obsessed family would do. We went out for Chinese food.


Silver Heart 2


We ate lemon chicken, minced beef lettuce cups, and whatever else struck our fancy while we gabbed. We just enjoyed being together again.  After dinner, we had a glass of wine at home, and then decided to call it a night.

I had settled into bed with my book, and Roger was watching TV. All of a sudden my dad started screaming bloody murder. As I raced to grab something to put on (standing in front of my dad in my birthday suite wasn't an option), I was thinking that this wasn't going to be good.

I burst out of our bedroom. Roger was right behind me. I ran across the hall, and as soon as I opened the door to my parent's room, I knew my mom was dead. Among other things, I have been an emergency room nurse, and I know dead when I see it. She was a horrific shade of violet blue, indicating that she had been without circulating oxygen for some time.


Sure enough. There was no pulse. I started CPR. Roger, who is a paramedic, called the ambulance, got the oxygen and defibrillator out of his truck, and opened the front door so the ambulance could see which house needed help easily.

By the time he got back to the bedroom a couple of minutes had passed. We stopped CPR to check for a pulse. Unbelievable gratitude and relief washed through me when we felt the bop, bop, bop of a slow but strong heart beat.

I won't bore you with all details of several days in ICU and battery of tests. What I will say is that my mother made a 100% recovery and is now the proud owner of a brand new pacemaker.

So my mother's birthday is soon. And I haven't seen her since she was released from the hospital and drove home to North Idaho. I planned a surprise visit. She is turning 70, and I want to be with her.

I gave her a new sewing machine last fall as an early birthday present. She is crafty still and loves to sew. Her old machine dates back at least to the 1960s. Still, I wanted to give her a gift that she could open on her actual birthday. But what?

I have a new hydraulic press, and am currently fascinated with hollow forms. I also had some acrylic silhouette dies that I purchased on Etsy. And then it struck me. I would make my mom a heart.

 I textured. Then molded it with my hydraulic press. Then soldered and drilled.

Silver Heart 3


Added a bail, and set some stones - a garnet on the front and a white topaz on the back.

 And finally polished.

Silver Heart 4


I hope she loves it.

My mom is such a good friend to me. I am thankful beyond belief that I get to spend more time with her.  Please remember to cherish your mother while you can.

 Happy Mothers Day, Mom.  You are, and always will be, my favourite




Silver Heart 6