After trudging through January in low gear, it was time to accelerate. The real business New Year kicked into action on February 1, as I joined thousands of jewelers in their annual pilgrimage to gemstone mecca, the Tucson Gem Show. The seemingly infinite volume of gemstones, beads, rocks, mineral specimens, exotic imports is superlatively astounding!

Only part of one vendor’s rose cut stones: a drop in the bucket.

A visual feast of color and texture.

Social HQ. After a long, exciting and exhausting day of gem-shopping, the Hotel Congress lobby bar in downtown Tucson is the place to go for refreshments, catching up with friends, and running into people you haven’t seen in years.

So what will you do with all those stones?

Good question! Pretty exciting to have all this new, inspiring material at my fingertips.
Here are a few recent pieces. I’ve been continuing with the Beach Pebble theme, inspired as I’ve often been by my beachcombing finds collected over a lifetime.

These beautiful pastel pebbles came from a trip to Greece way back in the 70’s. The smooth, organic shapes are a perfect starting point for jewelry design.

Beach pebble necklaces.

While blues and greens tend to hold a siren’s sway over many people, I also love warm, fiery golds and oranges. Not to mention, with imminent spring banishing the long, dark days: the sun is coming!

A shout out to those who came to Baltimore!

It was great to see so many of you at the annual American Crafts Council show in Baltimore. No blizzard this year! I always appreciate and enjoy people stopping by the booth to look at jewelry or just to say hello.

Craig, literally, manning the booth.

The new black displays got a thumbs-up.

This year a group of craft artists from Craft Scotland were special guests at the show. Wonderful, imaginative, and beautifully-crafted work. I enjoyed meeting some friendly Scots, especially because I have a big trip planned there in September.

Enjoying a quiet toast at the end of my 33rd ACC Baltimore show.

You asked for it

More than one of my newsletter readers who I saw in Baltimore commented that, ahem, I haven’t shared any recipes in awhile. So here’s a super easy one that Craig and I love. (If you’re lucky enough to have a Mexican market nearby, that’s the best place to find the ingredients, but I’m sure you can scrounge them up in a regular grocery store.)

Chipotle Love Tacos

Courtesy of chef Aarón Sánchez and his cookbook “Simple Food, Big Flavor.” We’re making tacos here, not much cooking involved. The chipotle-garlic salsa is the kicker that brings the flavors to life. I used slow-cooked beef that our little Guerrero Market sells on weekends, but you could substitute the protein of your choice- pork carnitas, chicken, shrimp, even tofu.

Taco fixings: Clockwise, starting with the beef: finely chopped cilantro and shredded lettuce, corn tortillas, avocado, crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, limes, chipotle love sauce, minced red onion and jalapeño pepper.

Chipotle Love Salsa: Makes 1 cup
1 cup cooking oil, such as safflower or canola
12-14 peeled garlic cloves
3 T chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (full disclosure: we used the entire can, about 6 oz.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Zest of one lime
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Pour oil and garlic into heavy, ovenproof saucepan or pot, cover with foil, and cook until garlic is a nutty brown and really soft and creamy, about 45 minutes.
3. Put garlic and oil into a food processor or blender, add the rest of the ingredients, and purée until very smooth.

Pile all of your fixings onto a warm corn tortilla, squeeze lime over everything, and buen provecho! Mango on the side is a nice counterpoint to the spicy salsa. The salsa is also delicious on an omelette.

Trunk show, March 23-25 at The Gem Collection, Tallahassee

Here is part of the collection I’ll be shipping to the Gem Collection in Tallahassee. The jewelry will be in the store for a couple of weeks, so if you miss the event, you’ll still have a chance to see my newest designs.

My Moment of Zen

This sharp-shinned hawk spent at least 30 minutes relaxing and splashing in our birdbath on a recent freakishly warm early spring day. The bird was unfazed by human presence or movement, probably lives in the neighborhood.

I can hardly believe I’m writing this on March 6, with the back door wide open and grass turning green! My daughter, in transit from L.A. to her new job in N.Y., is sleeping off her long drive to drop her car off with me, while Tammy and Janine are working away in the studio. Another day in the life.

Until the next time,

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