Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tree of Life Cufflinks

We had a custom order for the holidays - Tree of Life Cufflinks. They came out great and the recipient loved them! We will definitely be adding them to our store - what a nice bridal party gift for the best man!

Monday, December 29, 2008


My buddy Gia drove up for Christmas last Monday - driving between storm fronts. Sadly she needed to be home on Friday and had to leave on Christmas before the next storm came through - which would have trapped her until Sat!! Even though the holiday was disrupted we still had a good time - did some baking and cooking and even managed to play with PMC and enameling!

Friday, December 19, 2008


The only thing I don't like about the snow is cleanup. Constantly sweeping the porch and Sammy. :)It sure feels Christmasy here!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thank You

I want to thank all our existing and new customers for their business! We've happily been working away in our snowy mountain home - only taking trips to the post office to make deliveries. We hope that you and your loved one enjoy the gift we've created for them! It's so exciting seeing all the places our jewelry is traveling to. Hope you have a great Holiday!

Picture is our road - really only making trips to the PO right now. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

We got our Christmas tree this past Thursday. (I've been waiting anxiously for 2 weeks after we got our permit.) It was a lot of fun. We drove outside of Alpine towards Big Lake a few miles then 100' or so up a hill and there it was! I spied it through the forest. It was marked for thinning so it would have been cut down anyway. Instead it get's to be enjoyed - not be cut down and wasted. The pictures are of Mark next to the tree in the forest, by the truck on snowy Big Lake Road and the tree decorated at home. Sam also had a great time on our trip! It's snowing right now - around 6" today. Supposed to get 1-2' tomorrow! I'll post pictures. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Casting Tree of Life Pendants

Mark did casting tonight. Actually all day. The wax has to slowly burn out of the plaster "flask" up to 1300 degrees then the flasks need to come down to 1050 to cast into them. Pictures are of Mark heating the metal (where the flame is blue) to just before casting (where the flame is gold.) After the metal is melted he releases a spring and the caster spins throwing the it into the flask. The last picture shows how molten the metal still is just after casting.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Press Coverage

We're soooo excited about our current press coverage! We are in the Dec/Jan gift guides for Seventeen Magazine and Pregnancy Magazine. Please see more details on our website

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Paisley House

I'm so happy for our neighbor Heidi Beaubriand! This is the new home of her coffee house, bistro and gift shop Paisley House in downtown Alpine, AZ. Pictures don't do it justice. It is the cutest old house and the rooms downstairs make up the resturant area (pics coming soon - too many customers today:) The rooms up stairs are the boutique area. There's a great outdoor eating porch with comfy lounge chair. The area by the window as you come up the stairs showcases her delicious all natural soaps and soy candles. She has a creative light menu which is a great break from yummy - but not healthy country cookin' from other local resturants. If you ever come up to Alpine this is a must stop. Congratulations Heidi!!

Santa's Workshop

Here's some pictures of our workshop - yes it's very small and cozy - just the two of us. (Casting is done outside.)
Alll ready to fill orders. :)
Mark's Bench - the Santa Hat (because he IS and Elf this time of year)

November Jewelry Winner

Susan Williams of Sun City, AZ won our November jewelry drawing. Just waiting to see her selection so we can send it out to her. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Escudilla Mountain After The Storm

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving

We did - I made the whole spread then packaged up three huge plates that went to friends - including pumpkin pie. :) We did get a little snow before the holiday. This is a picture I took driving up the mountain from Springerville. The top of Escudilla (almost 11,000') was covered by clouds and still getting snow. We live on the opposite site - driving around the base to the right.

After Thanksgiving we had a few days of wind. All weather reports said gusts up to 20mph - we are pretty sure we had sustained winds 25-30 mph and gusts 50-60mph! It sounded like a freight train constantly for those few days then a switch was turned off at 3am this morning - it's calm and beautiful now!

We're drawing the November jewelry winner today - I'll post the winner by the end of the day.

At our recent shows many people told me that they read my Blog. Thank you and thank you for your condolences about Belle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Last Show Of The Year

Sorry I haven't written much lately. We were at the Fountain Hills Craft Show last weekend - can't remember the last time I spoke to so many people! They estimate that 250,000 people visit over the 3 days - what a whirlwind blast! This week we've been catching up on some recent orders -one of the national magazines we are in hit stands this past weekend - more details on that once our press page is up and running next week. :) We're in Artfest of Scottsdale this weekend at the Civic Center - our favorite show location! It will be a pleasure compared to the frenetic energy of the last show - this one is calm and relaxed with only 50,000 visitors! Our Last Show of the year.

Picture is of Fountain Hills Show

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thank You

Thank you all for your understanding of how important she was to us and your loving support. It's been a tough week but we'll get through. Still haven't found the puppy album - as soon as I do - which may be some time from now I'll be posting some really cute pictures. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Belle "Starr" Mead

Belle "Starr" Mead - February 19, 1998 - November 3, 2008 - Best friend, confidant, protector - loyal, affectionate, inquisitive, goofy - so many different things to the two of us. Mark, Sam and my heart are broken. The house is so empty this morning.

We've had Belle since she was 6 weeks old but knew her from the day she was born. She survived double ACL surgery when she was 7 but couldn't survive her cancer diagnosis yesterday morning so we had to make a difficult decision so she wouldn't experience future suffering.

You'll always be missed but never forgotten. We love you.

As soon as I can find her puppy album and feel up to writing more I'll post again.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Punk Squirrels

I'm cheating with a snow picture (because I don't have any current squirrel shots) but I have to complain about these little guys we enjoy watching so much. As it gets colder we buy seed and corn mix for all the critters but right now we're on a peanut per visitor ration - which could be many peanuts per visitor because they go stash the nut then come back for another. We keep a ceramic canister on the back porch to store the nuts. Guess we've been really focused and not paying enough attention because yesterday they vandalized the back porch and broke the peanut jar to smithereens!!! We'll forgive them. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall In Alpine

Well, it's officially fall - or have we jumped to winter already? It's been around 25 at night and around 58 during the day.

This is Escudilla Mountain with Aspen blazing!

We're home for a glorious 2 weeks to work. Shows back to back every weekend are hard. Come November it starts up again.

Expect to see a more active BLOG over these 2 weeks. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

September Jewelry Winner

It made us kind of sad this month. We contacted the first jewelry winner and she never got back to us to choose a piece of jewelry. We then contacted the next two names we had pulled out and they too never got back to us. We'll be drawing two winners for the October drawing because of this. Time to get our jewelry contest section up on our website so people can read about it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sedona Arts Festival

We were part of the Sedona Arts Festival last weekend. One of the nicest shows we've been in to date! Artists came from all over the country to be part of it. Unfortunately we had some wicked rain on Saturday which kept the crowds away. :( Sunday was ok but we are all feeling the effects of this economy. We're beleiving that things are going to work out so we keep moving forward. We're all in the same boat - things have to get better! Here's a picture of our new booth layout - fresh for the Sedona show.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scottsdale Magazine

We were contacted by Scottsdale Magazine to be part of their October issue with Mark's gold jewelry! There we are on page 57 - Frills: Jewels of the Southwest. This Bisbee Turquoise ring was featured. We're both so excited for this wonderful opportunity and recognition of our designs and hard work!

Friday, September 19, 2008


When we go to shows we have to leave our two loved ones Belle and Sam at home. Most places we go allow dogs so we get to have doggie lovin' where ever we go. Frieda, our vendor neighbor had a very special one that we got to visit with all weekend - Rosie - the cutest and most lovable Welsh Corgi you ever met!

Village of Oak Creek Craft Show

We were at a show in the Village of Oak Creek near Sedona this past weekend. You could not beat the view of the majestic red rocks! It was also a treat to stay right where we did the show and have access to a great Thai, Chinese and Pizza place!! Met a really nice couple while we were there - Gina Crump tried on our large Fire Agate ring and it looked beautiful on her! We'll always attend shows because you get to meet nice, interesting people from all over the world.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Elk Welcome Us Home

It has been so good to be home for 4 days - feels like a luxury!! The Elk welcomed us home on Monday - 8 of them in the back yard! Hard to get their picture through the trees - but it's still just 150 feet from us!

Route 66 Days Flagstaff Arizona

We feel like gypsies - on the road every weekend! Last weekend we were at the Route 66 Days Classic Car Show. It was a lot of fun - there were 366 classic cars on Saturday! Here's some pictures of the top 6 that were judged best of the best. Met lots of great people, the weather was beautiful and the DJ entertained us with 50's and 60's music all weekend. Great time!

Jewelry Drawing Winner

Sandy of Chino Valley, AZ chose an Arizona Amethyst Tree of Life Ring for her jewelry choice in our monthly drawing. Thanks for joining our mailing list Sandy! Hope you enjoy your ring when you receive it!

Friday, September 5, 2008

August Jewelry Winner

It's been a while since I posted - traveling to shows messes up the home schedule. :) We've just drawn our August Jewelry Winner - Sandy Holdren of Chino Valley, AZ. Congratulations Sandy! Hope you love your free jewelry item! I'll post the choice when we receive it.

Please refer your friends to our website. If they like our jewelry and want to join our mailing list they too will be added to our Monthly Jewelry Drawing! Thanks!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New High Grade Bisbee Turquoise

Mark's Brothers was here again with some beautiful new High Grade Bisbee Turquoise cabs - just waiting to be set in jewelry! The smaller cabs are approx. 125cts total and the large cab - near the Silver Dollar is Gem Grade Bisbee Turquoise - 116cts total! Beautiful one of a kind rare stones - almost impossible to come by!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pine Sawyer Beetle

We see these guys every once in a while. He was on our porch this afternoon. Looked him up and he is a Pine Sawyer Beetle - usually don't attack healthy trees. Larvae help decompose dying, recently dead and felled conifers. They may have a little city going in our wood pile right now! Mark put his finger near him and he latched on to his nail with his mandibles. Creepy little amazing beetle!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tree of Life Jewelry Casting Process

I thought it would be interesting to document the casting process that Mark uses to create our Tree of Life Jewelry and Sonora Star Jewelry. 1)Pulling the wax model from the rubber mold 2)Sizing of each ring - in the wax - he does this so each completed ring does not have a solder seam 3)Wax 'Tree' - he attaches each individual ring to this. A step that is missing is when he surrounds the Tree with plaster, lets it harden then bakes in a kiln to burn out the wax. 4)He then casts them with a centrifical caster. Here are Cast 'Tree's 5)Pieces are cut off the 'Tree' to work on - here you see raw and semi-finished castings. From here they filed, sanded, polished, bezels soldered, colored, stones set then polished again! Overall, there are a total of 14 steps to create each piece of Tree of Life Jewelry.
Each one is made by Mark with care and love.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Belle, Sam and I went for a walk today and I found this beautiful Sunflower. As soon as I took the picture it started hailing and we had to run to the car! I love this wildflower time of year!

Great Weekend

Had a GREAT visit with Bert & Kristen this weekend! I wish they could have been here longer. Went to lunch at the Bear Wallow Cafe before they left today (this picture.) Hopefully they'll come back again soon. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I am so excited! Kristen, my friend and designer of our website and her husband Bert are coming up this weekend to celebrate her birthday. I have a batch of Chicken Marbella marinating right now - it's so nice to cook for people you love. I look forward to friends visiting - it makes me appreciate where we live - I can see it through their eyes. We live somewhere so beautiful and when we're busy working we take it for granted. NOT this weekend! Going to have some fun in the great outdoors!!

Lots of exciting things in the works for Black Mountain Jewelry right now. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

New Bisbee Turquoise Ring

Mark just made this beautiful High Grade Bisbee Turquoise ring in 18k and Palladium with diamonds - hand wrought, one of a kind.

Summer Wildflowers

Took a drive around and found these beautiful Mountain Lupine, Wild Columbine and Daisies.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We Are Silver Circle Finalists!

The results are in and we are Silver Circle Finalists in the 2008 Halstead Bead Business Development Grant competition! It is a total honor to have this recognition amongst our peers.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

July Jewelry Winner

Claudette Field of Scottsdale, AZ won our July Jewelry Drawing. Her choice - Sonora Star Desert Rose Drop Earrings in Dusk. We'll be sending them out to her this coming week.

If you know of someone who would like our jewelry please refer them to sign up for our mailing list and they'll be entered into our August Drawing - winner will be drawn 9/1. Thanks!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What's New

Not much new right now - sent out another batch of press releases. I hope someone finds interest in our product so we can reach people nationally! Mark's been casting away on the silver. He has lots to do!! I'm trying to figure out the time to make new things. I have ideas in my head but haven't had the time to freely and creatively sit down at my jewelry bench.

Just a reminder - this month's jewelry contest drawing is 7/31. If you or someone you know wants to be added to our mailing list we'll add you to our drawing. If you miss the deadline there will be another 8/31! Good luck!
This cactus is out by Luna Lake - pretty extreme cacti with the cold we get.