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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


Pikes Peak ~ Photo by Daniel Krucoff

For this month, our Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank question is:

 “What is the favorite thing about where you are located?”

Easy.  My answer is the mountains!  I can see Pikes Peak almost every day, depending on the weather.  Just this past week, it received its first coating of snow as fall starts and I always find it breathtaking.  It is a constantly changing landscape, depending on the lighting.  Ever since I caught my first glimpse of a mountain, I knew I needed to live close to them.  I am very thankful that I do.

Another view of Pikes Peak ~ Photo by Kathleen Krucoff

Please visit my fellow bloggers in the think tank to see their responses to the question:

Andes Cruz: http://andescruz.wordpress.com/
Mary Watson / WATTO http://www.wattoonline.com/news
Wendy Kelly http://www.wendykianakelly.com
Thomasin Durgin http://metalriot.blogspot.com
Andrea Bell:  http://feathersfreesiasandfishingtackle.blogspot.com/
Stephanie Nocito Clark http://www.thethinkingsofacoldweathergirl.blogspot.com
Barbara Donovan  http://barbaradonovan.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.

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: www.andescruz.wordpress.com

Laura Flavin: http://modernbirdjewelry.blogspot.com/

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

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

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

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

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

Shaun Young http://shaunyoung.ca/

Pal Gooz http://pmgart.blogspot.com/

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

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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