Nancy Troske ~ Jewelry Artisan

I would like to introduce Nancy Troske a skilled jewelry artisan with some beautiful designs in silver and copper. Nancy studied her craft here in the San Francisco Bay Area at the renown California College of Arts & Crafts and at the prestigious Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts. She currently resides in Princeton, NJ where she now teaches the art of jewelry making.

           The first thing that caught my eye in Nancy's collection were her Porcelain and Enamel copper cuff bracelets. I have recently become fascinated with the idea of working with copper and enamel and hope to begin experimenting soon.  I like the width of Nancy's copper bracelet and the swirls and depth of the color in the enamel. Several coats of enamel porcelain are fired separately, layer after layer until the desired effect is achieved making each bracelet unique. A nice touch is Nancy's signature in the cuff.

 The next piece from the collection that I would like to spotlight is called Ancient History which appeals to my love of travel and archeology. Nancy is a collector of ancient artifacts and has acquired a cache of ancient glass which she sets in fine and sterling silver. These unique rings also have three little 24K balls as accents in the center of the glass. The deep mediterranean blue of the glass looks great with the gold. The back of the ring is signed and has the inscription  Ancient Roman Glass 350 - 150 B.C.

Lastly would be something I've been thinking about giving as a gift to my husband for some time now, cuff links! We make it a special occasion to see an opera every year at the San Francisco Opera House and I think these would be perfect. This is one of two designs in the collection that are made of cloisonne and enamel set in fine and sterling silver in a wonderful abstract design. For more information on the ancient art of cloisonne see  Nancy's website:  All Nancy's jewelry is carefully packed in an earth-friendly gift box, a gauzy drawstring bag or a small little gift "purse."


La Marinera ~ the Dance of Peru


This video is soooo cute I just had to share it! The traditional dance of Peru, there is the Northern version "La Marinera Norteña" and from the capital "La Marinera Limeña". The video depicts the northern version where the male uses a wide brim hat and the female dances in her bare feet. This dance is very graceful with a lot of movement and these two little dancers do a great job. The little girl in particular dances with so much expression and maturity. The city of Trujillo in northern Peru is the heart of this dance as can be seen on the video where the little couple dance in front of the famous ruins of Chan Chan just outside of the city. Enjoy!


Eco-friendly Acai & Tagua Jewelry

On my last trip to Peru I purchased beautiful Acai seeds and Tagua nuts dyed rich vibrant colors. It wasn't just the wonderful hues and smooth to the touch forms that attracted be to this natural material but also the fact that they are eco-friendly. Here are a few of my new designs and more information on these beautiful natural elements.

The Tagua Nut is also known as "vegetable ivory" and is indigenous to the rain forests of South America. The nut when it is dried resembles Ivory and can be carved into jewelry, buttons, and sculptural pieces. A sustainable and renewable resource, harvesting these nuts has little negative impact on the environment since it is the nut, and not the tree itself, that is used.

Tagua is a renewable resource that furthers important environmental and socioeconomic goals by stimulating the local economies and micro enterprises in South America, providing an alternative to rain forest destruction and prevents elephants from being killed for their ivory tusks.

Because of its incredible likeness to animal ivory, tagua is also being used as an ivory and bone substitute, so similar in fact, that it is being used for many museum and historical reproductions of elephant ivory artifacts.


  The Acai Seed - Sustainably harvested the Acai Palm Tree is not harmed in any way when harvesting the Acai berries. The actual berry is only about an inch in length and is similar in color to a blackberry. The berry contains a large seed in the center. The actual seed is not only a beautiful natural material but is also an eco-friendly byproduct of the harvesting of the Acai fruit. Instead of simply discarding the seed it is repurposed into beautiful jewelry and provides additional economic resources for the native people of the rain forest. 

To see more of my jewelry using these eco-friendly materials click here


Gabriel Alegria ~ Afro-Peruvian Jazz

If you don't know much about Afro Peruvian music let alone it's fusion with Jazz this will definitely help. It's an excerpt from the liner notes of the above album written by Jazz trumpet artist Bobby Shew :

              "Several years ago, I was fortunate to be invited to perform at the now legendary Festival Jazz in Lima Peru. My first musical concepts relating to Peru were the Incan pan-type flutes that you always hear ....When I arrived in Lima, I got the surprise of my life !

Gabriel Alegria, the leader of this project, suggested I go hear one of the local groups - Peru Negro. I grabbed a seat. These people proceeded to blow me away with what they were playing. I had never heard anything like that. It was obvious that it had some African influence, something slightly akin to salsa music as well, but it was rhythmically different. I could feel the music but I had a difficult time locating the clave that I was accustomed to feeling in "normal latin music".  The feeling being projected by these musicians was overwhelming and stimulating and did not use a clave! I was buzzing at the end of the concert almost in tears from what I had heard. I felt like a brand new world had opened up for me and I could hardly wait to get home and delve deeper into this music.

Gabriel and his group are opening new doors musically for us all.  The combination of these native rhythms with American jazz and latin traditions will in time prove to have been an important step forward in crossing cultural lines and mixing them in a very cohesive way."

You can hear my favorite song from the album "Summertime" on my Mixpod on the side bar to the right of the page.


Yurt Sweet Yurt ♥

Yurt is the more common name  for the Mongolian felt tent or Ger and is one of the oldest forms of indigenous shelter still in useA Ger consists of a wooden frame, is covered with felt and can be assembled and dismantled in approximately 2 hours. The beautiful photograph above was taken in Mongolia by Dimitri Mundorff, one of the winners of The Lonely Planet photo contest.

My husband and I love traveling and
may never get to Mongolia but we do get to stay in a Yurt on occasion. When we're unable to travel out of the country we drive up north to Oregon.  Several of the Oregon State Parks have rustic yurts, though there a few with deluxe styles.

The features of a typical rustic yurt are : Sleeps 5, futon sofa (converts to a double bed), single and double sized bunk bed, small table, heat, lights, electricity, outdoor fire pit and picnic table, venting skylight and locking door.  The small photos to the left and right were taken at the Valley of the Rogue State Park in Oregon near the Rogue River where we stay often. Considering all these features you can be quite comfortable for about $40 a night. During the winter it's even cheaper which is a great deal since the yurts are heated, it makes for a very cozy get away. Making  the trip even more enjoyable is the fact that Oregon State Parks are well maintained. The campground's bathroom facilities are very clean and most are heated during the winter. So you too might get hooked on this little home away from home.   ~ To see some more amazing travel  photos from all over the world click here Lonely Planet photo contest.


Cooper Organic Hoops

  In February I was in New York visiting my sister and she mentioned she'd love to have a pair of big copper hoops in a rustic design. As soon as I got back I started working on them and fell in love with the warm glowing color of copper. Hand forging them gave them an organic rustic look. I immediately felt that Turquoise would be the perfect complement for copper. Inspired by the colors I added several rows of dangling blue and green Turquoise pebbles to the design.


Wasn't sure if my sister was going to like the little embellishments, but she loved them! This earring design is now available to purchase in my online shop and I named them after my sister, Aimee ♥   




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