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Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank Topic for the Month of January

What are you hoping to accomplish in 2013?

I have a fairly lengthy list, so I will do my best to condense it to a few of the top items on my radar to accomplish this year.

If not now, when?

Several items fall into this category.  Dan & I are heading back to Zion National Park this spring and one of the things I want to accomplish during this trip is the hike to the top of Angels Landing.

AngelsLandingThe trail heading to Angels Landing.

When I make it to the top, in addition to taking in the breath taking views, I want to sit there and bask in the sunlight, mediating and giving thanks that I made it.  Sometimes I have not done things out of fear and last year I experienced a personal awakening.  With that came the question, “If not now, when?”.

Another item that fits in that same category is entering an event where I need to train regularly and test my physical abilities to accomplish the task at hand.  I never considered myself very athletic as I grew up, in part I think because I grew pretty fast and that awkward stage of what to do with long limbs left its mark.  But now, I have done a lot of cycling, swimming, yoga and feel it’s time to commit.  So I have entered an event that is called an Aquabike that will take place in June.  The swim course is 1500 meters in open water followed by a 30 mile bike ride.  I know I can do this; the key is I’m working toward doing it faster and in better condition than I am right now.

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 5.15.28 PM

Follow the Simple Abundance Path

This is my third year reading Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance.  Why?  Well, for the past two years, I have started the book and somewhere along the way, I get behind on the daily readings.  This year, I am reading the passage for the day and following the principles.  It’s the first year I started my personal gratitude journal, which she says is key to success with finding Simple Abundance in your life.  It did make a difference in my life in the past two years, but not like it already has this year.


Experience the Benefits of Meditation

Last year was the first time I started to practice meditation thanks to Dr Wayne Dyer’s Wishes Fulfilled Meditation CD and Deepach Chopra’s Creating Abundance Meditation Challenge.

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 5.26.40 PMI never really understood how one could go about the process and feel all calm and centered.  Well, it takes practice and patience.  Once I started to receive the benefits that come from meditation, it has made me hungry for more.   My goal is to enjoy the positive outcome of a daily meditation practice.

Grow as an Artist

I am looking forward to continuing to expand my body of work as an Art Jeweler.  My goal for this year is to have my work represented in at least one or two more galleries.

Another area where I want to experience artistic growth is in my writing.  Last year I enjoyed the 30 day writing challenge and while I didn’t complete my novel, it was a very fun and interesting experience.  So much so that I want to explore writing and see where it leads me.  I have started another WordPress blog that will strictly focus on my writing efforts, if you’d like to follow me in that journey.

This is my condensed list!!!  There’s more, but I think this gives you an idea that I definitely have A LOT I intend to accomplish in 2013.  Who knows, maybe Dan & I will finally get those room darkening curtains hung in our bedroom too!!!  🙂

Let’s see what my fellow Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank members shared on this topic!

Andes Cruz:
Robyn Hawk:
Shelagh Blatz
Natsuko Hanks
Christine Esovoloff:
Sierra Keylin:
Barbara Donovan:
WATTO Distinctive Metal Wear:

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


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:
Beth Cyr:
Natsuko Hanks:
Barbara Donovan:

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:
Shannon I’m On A Roll Koochin:
Barbara Donovan:
Robyn Hawk:
Beth Cyr:
Natsuko Hanks
WATTO (Mary)
Wendy Kelly
Stephanie Clark

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

Another question from the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank.  What is one of your best childhood memories?  Pretty intriguing, isn’t it?  I’m curious about how all of you would respond to this one.  I am torn between a couple of answers, like my first BIG sled on Christmas, my Dad being ever so quick to pull out a bee stinger and slap mud on the sting area, my Mom taking me to Chicago to see the Ice Capades, the day I got my first puppy, but I think one of my best childhood memories was the day my Dad taught me how to ride my first bicycle.

It seemed like my parents didn’t believe in training wheels and I am grateful for that because it really was easy to ride my first ‘two wheeler’ thanks to my Dad.

My first bicycle was used, but she sure was a beauty to me because she was mine.  This bike was one that must have been a hand me down for many kids.  I called her Big Blue.  She had been spray painted many times and when she became mine, she was this sort of rich dark royal blue.  She had super wide tires that lent themselves to a very comfortable ride.  I felt pure joy.

With much anticipation, I looked forward to learning how to balance on Big Blue and all the adventures we would share.  The anticipation of what our future rides would be was thrilling.

Dad & I were in front of our house and he explained how this learning how to ride a bicycle would work.  He got me up on the saddle.  He firmly gripped the handle bars and the back of the seat.  I knew I was safe.  We were on the sidewalk in front of our driveway.  Dad explained he would run along side of me, holding on, so I could gather some speed.  All I had to do was peddle, well I already knew how to peddle and I really didn’t have any fear.  We took off, made it past our property and then he let go and I was riding.  I was giddy.  I turned around to look and see where he was and he was smiling, that big broad smile of his, with all the warmth, love, and pride he had in his little girl.  She was riding her first bicycle and on her first try!  I fondly remember that day.  It was one of the best feelings from my childhood.

Please visit the rest of my compadres with March’s Blog-O-Sphere posts and see what their best childhood memories are.  The participants are:

Andes Cruz:

Laura Flavin:

Wendy Kelly:

Stephanie Nocito Clark

Brad Severtson:

Andrea Bell:

Natsuko Hanks:

Shaun Young

Pal Gooz

Beth Cyr

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



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



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.


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:

Stephanie Nocito Clark:

Kirsten Skiles:

Natsuko Hanks:

Shaun Young:

Brad Severtson:

Wendy Kelly:

Beth Cyr:

Kathryn Cole:

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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