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February’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is “What are some of my priorities?” I took some liberties with the title, generally things for this month will center on what are some of our top thoughts, concerns, or focuses?

I must admit I do have a lot on my mind.

For whatever reason, I seem pulled to consider the options available if Dan & I choose to move to the Pacific Northwest. This type of move is not in our immediate future that I know of, yet, the pull to research the possibilities is strong. Right now I’m doing my best to focus on the present.

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The desire to be in my studio and practice my craft is a constant. Most days I get in there and do something. The pull to work with my hands, coupled with developing new designs is formidable.

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There is an awareness that I need to spend quality type with Dan and the bassets. We do out best to have date night on the weekends. Dinner out, a late lunch or movie, discussions about the events during the week and plans for the future. With the dogs, I try to avail my lap for snuggle moments with the pups every day. I know they need to spend time with me as every morning, as I attempt to eat breakfast, I am buried under a pile-o-bassets.

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Paring down on the unused and unnecessary articles of clothing, decorations, etc. One of the good things I saw on Facebook in the past week was related to Lent. Completely different from the normal 40 days of ritual, use this time as a benefit to myself and someone else by going through my closet and selecting an article of clothing that I do not wear. One item, each of the 40 days, to donate to a worthy organization that will help others in need. I like that, so I’m doing it. It helps with removing the superfluous things, plus someone else benefits. Bonus.

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Disclaimer….this is NOT my closet….yet!

Preparing for upcoming exhibits is a must. Added to that, I am considering what avenues will work best for finding my target audience. I have yet to find a satisfactory answer.

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My journey in faith, while I mention it last, it is my number one priority.

Those are just a few of the things that continually bubble up to the top of my priority list. I know I can’t do it all at once, so I do my best to carve out bits of time to focus on just one thing.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to say on this topic:

Andes Cruz:
marie bell
Robyn Hawk
Beth Cyr
Diana Bell

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

 

MartinQuoteWithStarfish

January’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere think tank is, “What has had an impact on me lately?” It was this quote from Steve Martin, shared by a Facebook friend and social media guru, John Paul Aguilar.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I have this quote in a number of places so I can see it every day.

Why did this resonate with me? Well, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced being snubbed. In the art world, where I think I can feel a bit more vulnerable, it has happened. Generally, I find this type of behavior, to make someone else feel less than adequate, tends to come from shallow, insecure individuals. I just do my best to brush off the negative feelings I experience, as they serve no purpose.

When I saw this quote, it made me smile in its wisdom and simplicity. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Yes! That’s it.

Thank you Steve for saying this. Thank you John for sharing. May this have the same positive influence on you that it has had on me.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have to share on this month’s topic.

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person….oh yes, I am going to be so good, I cannot be ignored.

HappySpace
One of my happy places

June’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is post ONE picture of your happy place.

This is in my studio space. My bench looks like an explosion hit because I have been in a serious creative mode. Now I could have tidied it up for this post, but that wouldn’t give you the ‘realistic’ picture, so I thought “What the heck? I’m happy in this space so I will share.”

There’s lots of natural light with a great view of our back yard. I can watch the bassets play when they aren’t keeping me company in the studio. I can pause and watch the weather. When I enter this space, I feel a calm, soothing effect; Zen moments where I can relax and be at peace. Priceless.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have posted on this fun topic.

Andes Cruz
angelojones
Beth Cyr
Allegra Sleep

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


PURPLE!!!

Yes, I have loved the color purple since I was a child. Pretty much all shades in that color family.   In fact, I’m using purple colored text for this entire post.

This is just a small sampling of my purple nail polishes.

I have the only purple soldering station in the world….at least the one’s Lexi sells.  It was a custom color for me.  Thanks Lex!

Gorgeous purple stones from Tiffany Stone to Sugalite to Porcelain Jasper to Amethyst Sage and more!

One of the variations on my logo.  Even my website has a purple theme!

Purple glass!

Purple flowers.   Dan & I had 5 dozen purple roses for our wedding.

I find it a powerful color.  It is one I truly love.

Let’s see what my fellow Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank friends chose as their favorite color:

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
Beth Cyr: http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com
Natsuko Hanks: http://jewelrybynatsuko.blogspot.com
Barbara Donovan: http://barbaradonovan.blogspot.com/
Pencilfox www.pencilfox.com

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


The Grand Tetons at Snake River
Photo by Daniel Krucoff

March’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank covers the topic of what photo or image inspires you?

Being at The Grand Tetons has always served as a place were I can meditate, reflect and just find tranquility.  There are so many awe inspiring vistas there that is is hard to pick just one.  Yet, this view of the Grand Tetons, is my favorite.

Dan took this photo during our last visit there in October of 2008.  Hard to believe it’s been that long since we’ve been back.  As is my custom, I will sketch, take my own photos or just relax as he’s setting up to take his landscape photographs.  On this particular day, the temperature was perfect, the sun felt great and I just gazed at his subject matter.  Those rugged shapes that form that beautiful set of mountains.  I was completely relaxed soaking in that breathtaking view.  You know when you have that feeling that there are a pair of eyes watching you?  Well, as I turned to look in Dan’s direction, he snapped this photo of me.

It was a wonderful day and trip.  Probably the best fall colors we’ve seen there too.

I’ve been so inspired by The Tetons that I created this stained glass window that hangs in our home.  I’m thinking it’s time to create some more stained glass windows!!!


The Grand Tetons in Stained Glass by Kathleen Krucoff

For me, it’s a very special and inspirational place.  I hope that Dan & I will travel to The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone again in the near future.  It holds unlimited inspirations for me.

Let’s see what my fellow blog-o-spere think tank members had to say about this topic:

Andes cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com
Thomasin Durgin: http://metalriot.blogspot.com/
pencilfox: http://www.pencilfox.com or www.astorynontheless.blogspot.com
Renée Dolling: http://www.floatinglightsphotography.com/blog
Shannon Bet You Forgot About Me Koochin: http://thebassplayersdaughter.blogspot.com
Beth Cyr: http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com
Kathryn Cole http://kathryncolejewelry.com/blog/

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

This month’s topic from the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: “What is your favourite past time activity?”

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, one of my many favorite past time activities is playing with our basset hounds. This was at the end of a ‘photo shoot’; taken about 3 years ago.  You see, when you are at their level, anything is fair game!  They had had enough of the picture taking session and it turned into some wrestling on the floor.  The bassets won!

There is something about spending time with the dogs.  Ours have great personalities.  They know my emotions and during those times when I may feel a little down, at least one of them will come and rest their head on my foot or leg.  Living with a pack of hounds has all sorts of great moments.

It goes without saying, but another one of my favorite past time activities is spending time with Dan.  I know, awwww.  But it’s true.  He’s my best friend and soul mate.

Lately, I’ve been able to resume a regular swimming schedule and that is also at the top of my list.  The morning zen after a swim is one of the best ways I know of to start my day right.

Working with my hands feels like a past time activity, even though making my jewelry is not …it is one of my passions and I love that it affords me an opportunity to do something that feels so relaxing.

My fellow think tank members are sharing their thoughts on this topic too.  Please stop by and find out what some of their favorite past time activities are.

Andes Cruz www.andescruz.wordpress.com

Mary Spencer (WATTO) http://www.wattoonline.com/news

Stephanie Clark  http://thethinkingsofacoldweathergirl.blogspot.com

Shaun Young http://shaunyoung.ca/

Beth Cyr http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com/

Shannon Koochin http://thebassplayersdaughter.blogspot.com/

Brad Severtson http://hammeringoutaliving.blogspot.com/

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

This month’s Blog-O-Sphere Think Tank question is: ” favourite quote(s)?”  (and why? if you want to share..)

I definitely have one….actually I have several, so here is my short list aka my Top Five.

1. “Well behaved women seldom make history” ~~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I stumbled across this quote a few years ago.  It struck a chord deep in my soul.  I could and probably should write a book about finding oneself and coming into your own.  Let’s leave it at, the Genie has left her bottle and she ain’t ever going back in there.  So when I found this quote, I thought, YES!  Well  behaved women seldom make history.  Joan of Arc, Kate Hepburn, and others come to mind.  If you are going to leave your mark on this world, I’m not so sure being a well-behaved woman/person is going to achieve that.  So it has become one of my signature tag lines for my email and something I live by.

2. “I am not afraid…I was born to do this.” ~~ Joan of Arc

The determination that echos in this quote from Joan of Arc helps reinforce the understanding I have that fear is the worst thing any of us can feel as we approach a daunting task, make a decision, or anything else for that matter.  Do not give fear the power to hold you back.  Know that each of us is born to do something special.  Joan of Arc inspires me with her courage, strength and faith.

3. “Destiny is made known silently” ~~ Agnes De Mille

Thanks to the Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, I was introduced to this quote early this year.  When I am experiencing self-doubts, I find this quote lifts my spirits and my understanding that my destiny is right there, right in front of me, no matter how quiet it may seem at the time.  I believe in letting my work speak about who I am as an artist, a person.  Yes, I believe destiny is made know silently.  Meditate on that one.

4. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~~ Albert Einstein

Mr Einstein was a genius; still is in my book.  This quote just makes me smile and feel child like.  Exhilarated, filled with anticipation.  How true is it that we are only limited by our imagination? I agree that our imagination gives us a preview of life’s coming attractions!  It’s one of my alternative email signature tags.

5. “Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person” ~~ Kathleen Krucoff  🙂

Yes, it’s my quote and what I like to use at the end of my blog posts.  I like how positive this sounds and I want to encourage others to Aspire, yes, Aspire to be more as an artist….and also as a person.  Strive to achieve what you aspire to be.  I hope you find it encouraging.

These are my top 5 favorite quotes.  What are some of yours?

Please see what my fellow blog-o-sphere think tank compadres have shared as their favorite quotes:

Andes Cruz: http://www.andescruz.wordpress.com/
Brad Severtson:     http://hammeringoutaliving.blogspot.com/
Wendy Kelly: http://www.wendykianakelly.com/
Mary Spencer:http://www.wattoonline.com/news
Stephanie Clark: http://thethinkingsofacoldweathergirl.blogspot.com/
Barbara Donovan: http://barbaradonovan.blogspot.com/
Laura Flavin: http://www.modernbirdjewelry.blogspot.com/
Beth Cyr: http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com/
Thomasin Durgin: http://metalriot.blogspot.com/
Shaun Young: http://shaunyoung.ca/
Kathryn Cole: http://www.kathryncolejewelry.blogspot.com/
Natsuko Hanks: http://jewelrybynatsuko.blogspot.com/

Andrea Bell:  http://feathersfreesiasandfishingtackle.blogspot.com/

And yes, I leave you with: Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.  🙂  I truly mean it.


From the Blog-o-sphere Think Tank, the question posed to the group is: What is your favourite movie (or book!) – and why? Mine in Avatar, hands down.

I have a lot of favorite movies, but Avatar resonates with me.  I have seen it more times in the theater than any other movie and I cannot tell you how many times I have played it since we got our first copy of it on DVD.  When I’m working in my studio, I always have music or the tv on, and many run in the background as I work.  Avatar is one of those I go to when I need inspiration.

Why do I like this movie so much? The geek in me loves how the characters were brought to life through CG.  I found Pandora to be  such a beautiful place. The colors, the wildlife, the plants, the Navi.  Say what you like about the story line, I loved it.  It has inspired some of my jewelry designs.

I’ve always enjoyed science fiction.  Showing possibilities. It fuels my imagination. Our creativity is only limited by our imagination, so this movie spoke to me on many levels.  As it started, Jake describing his injury that left him in a wheelchair, yet he had dreams of flying.  When he first synchs with his avatar, the sheer joy he experienced because he could walk again, run again…that was joyful.  Jake’s first flight with his banshee…his dream of flying becoming a reality.  The purity of his spirit as the wood sprites were surrounding him & landing on him, giving Neytiri a sign that Jake was something special.  His courage as he becomes one of the People and fights for them.  It just inspires me.

So many powerful emotions. The bond that develops and grows between Jake and Neytiri.  The loss of Hometree.  The perceived betrayal.  The ultimate redemption.  It all works for me.

I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow blog-o-sphere contributors share.  Please take a moment to check out their responses to this question:

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


Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

In the last 30 days, one of my online friends, Andes Cruz (she’s a talented art jeweler BTW), started a Blog-O-Sphere Think Tank group on Facebook. She asked people if they would like to blog together once a month on the same topic, linking back to each other. It sounded like fun and a nice diversion from the regular blog posts that we do, so I signed up. The other bloggers who are participating in this theme post will share links to their blogs and it will be a great way to see what everyone has posted. I have links to their blogs at the bottom of this post. I hope you will enjoy this diversion.

The topic for February’s post is “What is your favorite winter meal / recipe?” That was so easy for me because Dan had just made Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo on Superbowl Sunday. It was the perfect day for that kind of comfort food. We were in the midst of another blast of winter and I was coming home from a weekend meeting with the CoMA (Colorado Metalsmithing Association) board members. When I walked in the door Sunday afternoon, not only was I greeted by our bassets & Dan, but that wonderful aroma of gumbo! Yum.

Dan is a great cook and he does most of the cooking. This recipe is one he modified from Emeril Lagasse’s Louisiana Real & Rustic.

Here’s the recipe with Dan’s modifications:

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, 3 bay leaves

3 cups water, 3 cups chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups chopped onions,

1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1″ chunks

1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup chopped bell peppers, 1 teaspoon Rustic Rub (Emerils)

1 pound chicken sausage *** (Dan frequently changes this up with different types of sausage like andouille, smoked turkey, kielbasa), cut the sausage crosswise into 1/2 inch slices

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1/2 cup chopped green onions,

1 tablespoon filé powder

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Directions:

1. Combine the oil and flour in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 20 – 25 minutes. This makes a dark brown roux; chocolate color.

2. Add the onions, celery, & bell peppers to the roux; continue to stir for 4 – 5 minutes or until wilted. Add the sausage, salt, cayenne, & bay leaves. Continue to stir for another 3 – 4 minutes. Add the water and chicken broth. Stir until the roux mixture is combined with the additional liquid just added. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for about an hour.

3. Season the chicken with the rustic rub and add to the pot. Simmer for 2 hours.

4. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, creen onions, and filé powder.

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We like to cook some brown rice and start off with some rice in a bowl. Add several scoops of the gumbo over the rice and then add a dash of our favorite hot sauces to spice it up a bit. A slice of fresh sour dough bread on the side and you are set!

Here’s the list of my fellow participants in this month’s post. I hope you’ll stop by their blogs and see what they’ve posted.

Andes Cruz: www.andescruz.wordpress.com

Stephanie Nocito Clark: http://thethinkingsofacoldweathergirl.blogspot.com/

Kirsten Skiles: http://www.kaskiles.com/

Natsuko Hanks: http://jewelrybynatsuko.blogspot.com/

Shaun Young: http://shaunyoung.ca/

Brad Severtson: http://hammeringoutaliving.blogspot.com/

Wendy Kelly: http://www.wendykianakelly.com/

Beth Cyr: http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com/

Kathryn Cole: http://www.kathryncolejewelry.blogspot.com/

Hope you enjoyed. What are your favorite winter meals/recipes?

I’m headed back to the studio, pieces are almost finished and I’ll be posting new work soon. Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Kathleen Krucoff


Artist and Metalsmith

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