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Latest Stone Acquisitions

I am a firm believer in investing in quality.  That is one of the reasons that I buy the majority of my stones from Gary B Wilson.  Personally, I think he is one of the top lapidary artists (i.e. stone cutters) in the country.

Those of you who follow my blog know that I am going through a period in my life where I am dealing with the loss of a beloved companion, Bueller.  My dear sister, Lexi, wanted me to have a girls day out and just have some fun.  And so we did.

Yesterday, we went to the Rocky Mountain Bead Society Show at the Denver Merchandise Mart.  Lex had some of her students join us, and I was greeted by some of my artistic friends, Nancy Bonig and Ginny Maiolo.  It turned out to be a “Chicken Soup for my Soul” day.  Thank you Lex.

When the doors opened at 10:00 AM, everyone headed to their favorite vendor.  Gary’s booth was swamped with many of us in search for those treasures that will find their way into our future works.  I found trays with some of my long standing favorites, Willow Creek Jasper, Imperial Jasper, Porcelain Jasper and Tiffany Stone.  This time, I found some new beauties in Burro Creek Jasper that I believe will find their way into my Treescape series.  The picture shows all of those mentioned plus some Mookite and Bloodstone.

Today I’ve been sketching new designs; my future works are starting to come to life.

May all of you have a wonderfully creative day and week.  I’m heading back into the studio to work on some new diversions.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

The Trusty Foredom Flex Shaft

Today’s topic for our Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “What is your Favorite Tool?” The subject was not limited to the tools we use in our respective studios.  There were many that came to my mind.

To qualify as one of my favorite tools, the tool must be practical and functional.  My dad taught me the importance of good tools.  So my narrowed down list ranges from my Chi flat iron (in purple of course!), to my NC Black Hammers, to the pooper scooper (yes, I know eeeiiiiwwww, but when you have doggies, it’s a necessity!!!), to my Husqvarna Viking sewing machine….yet, I kept coming back to my trusty Foredom Flex Shaft!

It’s hard believe that I acquired this tool in October of 2009! I was so overjoyed with it then that it became one of the topics for another blog post about tools. As much as I truly do enjoy the zen of hand finishing my metalwork, I find I go to my Foredom almost every time I work at my bench.  Why?  Well it has a multitude of attachments that make metalsmithing even more fun for me.  It’s a great time saver since I feel I need to make the most out of the time I work in the studio.  Here’s a list of a few of the things it does that makes my life easier when metalworking:

  •  Drilling holes is a breeze
  •  It can perform quick sweep, with the right attachment, to rid the metal of a scratch that could take 10 – 15 minutes or more of hand sanding
  • Adding a bit of texture to the metal with one of those 3M ‘spiders’ (radial sanding discs)
  • Smoothing out a bump in my soldered bezel wire
  • Removing a spot of solder that would take a while with hand sanding
  • Giving an polished edge to a finished piece with additional smoothness and shine

I truly love tools that make my life easier and this is definitely one of those.  It goes to the head of the class and I have found using it invaluable in my studio.

Now lets see what my fellow blog-o-sphere think tankers shared on this fun topic! Please visit their blogs and enjoy the read.  🙂

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
Shannon I’m On A Roll Koochin: http://thebassplayersdaughter.blogspot.ca
Barbara Donovan:  http://barbaradonovan.blogspot.com/
Robyn Hawk: http://flyviewsandreviews.blogspot.com/
Beth Cyr: http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com
Natsuko Hanks http://jewelrybynatsuko.blogspot.com/
Christine http://sistinachapel.blogspot.ca/
WATTO (Mary) http://www.wattoonline.com/news
Wendy Kelly http://www.wendykianakelly.com
Stephanie Clark http://thethinkingsofacoldweathergirl.blogspot.com

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person


Bueller (Showme’s Crown Imperial ~ “Big Al”)
June 10, 2000 — April 12, 2012

All photographs ~ Daniel Krucoff

What can I tell you about a wonderful basset hound we named Bueller?  He graced our lives with love, gentleness and antics that brought us such joy and laughter.  A constant companion.  He was my shadow and my head studio mascot.  He had his spot where he would sleep in the studio while I worked.  I had to share his story with you because he was as integral to my art work, my life as anyone who influences me.

Long before he was ever conceived, we knew his name.   Dan & I were watching the movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when Ben Stein uttered the monotone calling of the name….”Bueller, Bueller”.  Dan looked at me and said that’s the name of our first basset hound.

And so, on a summer day in August 2000, we met our basset puppy Bueller.  He was 9 weeks old and the most confident puppy Dan & I have ever known.  He walked on a leash, tail held high and wobbled a bit with a beautiful round puppy belly.  His official AKC name was Showme’s Crown Imperial.  All the puppies in that litter were named after motor homes.  They shortened Bueller’s name to Big Al, until he became our Bueller.


Puppy Bueller and me ~ 2000

His father was Champion Switchstand’s The Meteor and his mom was Showme’s Lucky Lady Diane.  We first saw his mom in the ring as we began the quest for a puppy.  At the time we had no idea we were watching the mother of our future pup.  On the day he was born, we met his dad, Meteor, at a show.  We were informed that the “meteorites” had landed; a sigh of relief from the breeders that the puppies had safely made it into this world.

While Bueller never earned any show titles, he became what Dan & I considered a goodwill ambassador for the breed.  He did have the heart of a champion.

Hiking Puppy Bueller

He grew, sort of went through a bit of a gangly stage, and then he blossomed.  We took him hiking in Garden of the Gods and other places around Colorado Springs.  He was so sure footed.  Always greeted strangers with tail wags while he waited for their attention.  You see, Bueller had this attitude that everyone should love him.  Dan & I believe that everyone who did meet him, did fall in love with him.  We sure did.


“Big Handsome”

Before you knew it, Bueller had developed into one of the most handsome basset boys I have had the pleasure to know.  He always had a regal look to him and as this pictures shows, he was one stoic hound.

Peak a Poo

In typical basset fashion, Bueller had ways to do things to make you laugh and smile.  Peaking out the doggy door.  Coming at full lumbering Bueller speed when “treat” was used to entice him inside from the far reaches of our back yard.  Bueller never ran, he lumbered.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

He endured my need to dress him as Santa for Christmas card photo shoots.  It’s something every Krucoff basset takes in their stride.  I could sense his embarrassment with these costumes and never asked him or our others to look like this for too long.

Puppy buddies, Bueller & Nocturne

About 7 months after Bueller became a member of our family, Nocturne joined us.  They were only 2 weeks apart in age.  They quickly became buds and were great companions for us and each other.


He always knew the right thing to do for me.

I have always had a special connection with dogs.  The non-verbal communication.  There was a deep connection between the two of  us.  With a look, I just knew what he needed.  I’m fortunate to have that connection with Nocturne and Newton too.

Couch time

He was one big snuggler on the couch.  I don’t know what it was about Bueller, but he could have me asleep within minutes after climbing into my lap!

When Bueller was almost 5, he started to develop a number of medical problems.  First he had a form of cancer that shortened life expectancy to maybe another year or two.  Surgery removed both growths and there was only one reoccurrence.  We thought he beat the odds.  In March of 2006, he was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease.  That disease meant his adrenalin gland no longer functioned, which required steroid shots every 6 weeks and daily doses of Prednisone.  President John F Kennedy had that same disease.  In spite of all of this, Bueller continued to stay strong and beat the odds.  We were blest with a great vet, Dr Kendra Healy, who did so much to maintain Bueller’s quality of life.  She worked so very hard and did so much to help us with Bueller.  She has also become a dear friend of mine too.  Yes, Bueller prevailed over all of these things with that heart of a champion.

We didn’t know how long Bueller would remain with us.  Dan & I felt it would be good to bring another puppy into our home.  Puppy Newton arrived in August of 2006.


Minor tug of war between Newton and Bueller

Bueller was so good around puppies.  He had a lot of patience with Newton.  One time one of my friends, Marilee Epperson, who breeds bassets and helped Bueller become a part of our life, invited us over to see one of her litters.  One of Bueller’s brothers was there because of a dog show.  I brought him over and I could tell the breeders were a little nervous with a big male like Bueller around puppies (6 weeks old).  Bueller was just as kind and gentle with them as he could be.  I was so proud of him.


My Studio Crew! Newton, Bueller & Nocturne (Left to right)

As this year began, more things were happening with Bueller, medically.  Even though the signs were there, we’re never ready when they leave us.  I can tell you Bueller wasn’t in any pain.  He was happy, even playful this week.  He greeted Dan & I with big tail wags every night we came home from work.  Enjoyed his food, those scratches under a perpetually wet basset chin, asking Dan for a bite of cheese, and following me around the house.  All systems normal.

Wednesday night, we had big thunderstorms.  One of Bueller’s favorite things was to come into the house, soaking wet, and expecting us to pet him.  He did that Wednesday night.  He was sort of our weather dog.  If it was snowing, he would come in coated with snow, big tail wags and so very proud of himself, showing us what was happening outside.

When we got up Thursday morning, Bueller was at the foot of our bed, one of his favorite spots to sleep.  I bent down to touch him in order to wake him for his breakfast.  It was then I knew he was gone.  A blessing really that he passed so quietly in his sleep.  The heart of my champion had stopped.  He had beaten all the odds with his various medial problems, but it was his time and he left us quietly in the night.  He was a great friend and companion.  He made our lives so much richer and showed us so much about a very special breed, the Basset Hound.


Bueller and Me ~ August 2006

Bueller, The Basset with a Heart of a Champion

My dear sweet Bueller.  You were a great dog.  I will always love you and when it is my time, I will look for you and those big tails wags to greet me as I cross that rainbow bridge.  Sleep well my Big Handsome.  Until we meet again.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

One of my favorite things is to find something that is functional and helps keep my bench organized. This is the 18″ Magnetic utensil holder made by Magnagrip. I have attached this to the side of my bench. It is very handy for holding some of the tools I use frequently. Plus it helps to eliminate clutter on my work surface.

It was a gift from Lexi for my birthday, along with a number of other practical items that I absolutely love.

I had been looking at this for a while, but never mentioned it to Lex. You can imagine my surprise when it was in my assorted birthday gifts from her!

It works like a charm. The magnet runs the entire length of the holder and is strong. It easily holds these tools in place. I did a quick web search to see who sells these and of course, Amazon came to the top of my search results. I think I have seen these locally at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Just one of those things that I never swirled at and bought for myself. Thanks again Lexi for adding this to my collection of items I love!

If you’ve been looking for something that works very well to hold some of your frequently used tools, give this a try. I think you will like it as much as I do.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.


Classic Elegnace
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

Sometimes I find that the simplicity in a design is all that is needed for the piece to make a real statement.  The stone in this ring is one I bought from Gary B Wilson.  A deep, rich purple in this particular Tiffany Stone.  It’s the first ring I’ve made where I’ve set a stone.

One of the things I am discovering is when I go into my studio and have no idea what I want to make next, I start looking at my stones and pulling a few out as possibilities.  This particular stone has been in and out of my stone boxes as I deliberated.  Sometimes I thought about making a pendant with this one, another time it seemed like something at would work in a bracelet with the right combination of other stones.  But, nothing ever clicked.

A little over a month ago, I was in one of those moods, and started pulling stones.  Of course, this one made it to the ‘pondering tray’.  I also had rings on my mind and had a few pieces of decorative wire on the work bench.  Then it clicked.  Something simple.  The stone would speak for itself.  The metal that would showcase it would be simple, understated.

The pattern on the top band is a classic Greek design.  I’ve used it for bails and other decorative elements.  On this particular day I wanted to overlay it on a piece of silver and then set this beautiful stone.  It just came together.  No sketches, none were really needed.  It was just the fun of picking out a few bits and pieces and visualizing them coming together to make this ring.

Based on the end result, I know I will continue with my creative exercise of what if I put this and this together?  Have any of you done this?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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