Friday, February 27, 2015

Happy 'Real Winter' from North Florida!

This is my favorite season of the year in north Florida. I love when my sub-region behaves a bit more like the rest of the North American continent and less like the topics.

Although my family has been in Florida since the early 1800s, my particular DNA has never adapted to our long, hot summers. And so I revel in the cold season here.

Of course, we are not suffering deep snow and blizzards like they are up north. Just beautiful cold days, and sometime chilly gloomy days, at that.

I've used these winter days to work hard in my studio. I plan to work hard on my jewelry all year, to see how far I can push myself to create a strong inventory in my Etsy shop, CityRusticJewelry.

You can see all of my available work in my online shop on Etsy:


 Top photo: darkened sterling silver and purple sugalite cabochon leaf/pod earrings.

Middle photo: labradorite pod necklace with 9 handmade pendants that fan around the collar bone. In sterling silver.

Bottom photo: a commissioned piece using copper from a Florida Bitter Disk, from deep inside the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory's giant research magnet. In copper, sterling and chrysocola.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ArtChain Art Challenge on Facebook...

Facebook has been a lot of fun this week, with all of the nominations and participation in the artful 'chain letter' started by artist Donna Greenberg.

The way it worked: One nominated artist would post a piece of their work every day for five days, and each day also nominate one other artist to do the same. Back-links were created when we tagged the originator of the Challenge and the artist who nominated us.

This promoted a lot of interest and excitement in our work and increased our online traffic such that our Facebook fan bases grew and new people discovered us and our work.

These five photos depict the pieces I used in the five days I took the challenge.

Top: Darkened sterling silver treasure necklace with Atlantisite stone cabochons and carved yellow chalcedony stone blossom beads. Also feature hand-forged chain circle links.

Second from top:  Mixed-metals trapezoid fan necklace with copper, sterling silver and labradorite stone cabochons. Handmade sterling wave links between the copper trapezoids and silver accents on the trapezoids.

Third from top: Fold-formed copper construction I call 'Jellyfish Blossom.' The entire blossom is held together with a single sterling silver cold connection and deep within the blossom is a surprise... a large round faceted lemon quartz bead!

Fourth from top: Abstract gingko leaf earrings in sterling silver and with blue Australian opals set into fine silver bezels. The earwires are built into the earrings and holes are drilled to create texture.

Bottom photo: A trio of sterling silver necklaces featuring golden rutilated quartz cabochons. The stones are shot through with golden rods (rutiles) and are set into fine silver bezels onto sterling silver blossoms. These each have a hand-forged chain. Related, but different from each other. The center necklace and the necklace on the right also feature dangle charms with lemon quartz beads. These will soon be listed in my CityRusticJewelry shop on Etsy.

All of my available work will soon be posted in CityRusticJewelry on Etsy:

I am deactivating my second Etsy shop at this time (TanaMcLaneJewelry). I've decided to centralize and simplify in order to focus more clearly in my studio and online. You can also visit and perhaps 'like' my Facebook fan page:

Friday, January 2, 2015

CityRusticJewelry/TanaMcLaneJewelry 2015... and a Trip to Apalachicola...

A slightly belated Happy New Year to you!

From the week of our U.S. Thanksgiving near the end of November until just this moment, I've been so very busy.

Holiday decorating and gift shopping, an art show, feast days, important family birthdays, Christmas itself, and then New Year's Eve were a blur of breathtaking proportions.

And then, today, my husband and I played hooky from life and took a long drive down the 'Wilderness Coast,' to where the northern Gulf of Mexico laps at our shore. We went for the seafood, some of the best in the world. We went for the drive and the time out. We went for the scenery. And we went for the weather.

We live in the 'Big Bend' area of north Florida, where peninsular Florida and panhandle Florida join. Tallahassee, our hometown, is about 40 minutes inland. It is one of the last places in Florida where the wilderness comes right down to the sea. Where condo developments have not yet intruded. And where one can find peace and wide horizons and artfulness and seafood.

We stopped in first at The Coastal, a restaurant in Panacea, Florida. A working-class restaurant where you can have your seafood platters fried, grilled or blackened. And where the side dishes are at least as good as home cooking. 

Then we drove on to Alligator Point and Carrabelle and East Point and Apalachicola. In Apalach, we drove the old bayside neighborhoods and strolled the riverside village. My father's mother hails from Apalach and her father was a paddlewheel boat pilot on the Apalachicola River and supported a family of seven children. My grandmother was his only daughter. When she finished public school, she moved to Tallahassee and graduated from the university that is now Florida State.

I can still drive by her large childhood home where she and her many brothers grew up. The home remained in my family until about 20 years ago, when it was sold. It's been several things since then: a B&B and a law office, among them. Today it looks like it's again a private home, and maybe still a bit under construction.

Several years ago, there was a magic moment when it was being renovated and the construction workers allowed me to walk all through the house. I had not been in it since I was a child. And, seeing it empty allowed me to examine it in ways I never could when it was filled with Victorian furnishings.

After our spin through Apalach, we turned east toward home. After crossing the river bridge, we then crossed another long bridge out to St. George Island. We drove along the many little roads crisscrossing the island, grateful that the new bridge steers clear of the Florida Black Skimmers' nesting grounds. We toured the island and then crossed the bridge again, back to the mainland, to East Point. We were leaving town when we talked ourselves into stopping in a pretty little oyster shack next to the highway, to enjoy some of the finest oysters in the world.

And then we finally got on the road again, for home. The sun never cracked through the gloomy clouds all day, which was perfect. Colors were subdued and temperatures comfortable. It was a relaxing, healing day with no goals beyond these.


A little bit of an update re: my online jewelry business...

First of all, I have a website at this address:

Please visit my website to learn more about what I do!

Left: New earrings and a Birdhouse Pendant underway in my studio... garnet, charoite, blue star sapphire, black sapphire, citrine and tourmaline!

Secondly, for more than a year I have had two shops on  Etsy. CityRusticJewelry has been the one linked to this blog, and it will remain intact, in status quo.

However, my second Etsy shop, TanaMcLaneJewelry, will become dormant this week. So will its Facebook page.

All of  my online sales will take place in CityRusticJewelry, a shop that takes two forms of payment: PayPal and Etsy's own 'Direct Checkout,' a system that allows direct credit card purchases.

You can find CityRusticJewelry on Etsy here: or by clicking on the 'slideshow' of my work on the right side of this blog post.

When you purchase from my shop, it notifies me. It is synched to my phone and gets my attention. Within the U.S., I ship for free via USPS Priority Mail. Outside of the U.S., I split the cost of shipping with you. You can find those shipping costs in my jewelry listings.

I had strong sales throughout the winter holiday season and am busy adding to my jewelry inventory. So please stay tuned as my online shop receives new listings!

And please visit and perhaps 'like' my City Rustic Jewelry (Tana McLane) fan page on Facebook! This is where I most often post new work and other things for my 'listening audience.'

It is found here:


I hope you have a great start to the new year. Here's to 2015! Peace be with you.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Autumn in North Florida...

From afar, it's easy to think Florida is always hot and sunny and life is lived only at the edge of our Gulf and Atlantic Ocean on sugar-sand beaches.

But living in Tallahassee, in our part of north Florida, is a bit different.

Here, we have rolling hills, an inland forest, and a small city known more for its great universities and for hosting our state government than for our local life on the ground.

In fact, utter the name 'Tallahassee,' and you realize it's usually a stand-in for the functioning and decisions of our governor and our legislative houses.

But, our deeper truth is that this is an ancient land. A land that saw Paleo-Indians, and then Spanish Conquistadors, and later Spanish missionaries. A land that grew shade tobacco just to the west. A land that is the northern-most region for many southern species of foliage -- and the southern-most region for many more northern species.

We're about 40 minutes from the nearest spot to dangle our toes in salt water. And, before we get there, we pass a multitude of freshwater rivers with cold water, snakes and alligators. And holes punched into our karst (limestone) layer that we call sinkholes. Cave divers know our land well. So do cyclists, poets and artists. To those of  us living here full-time, these things are truer for us than the add-ons of college football and the shenanigans of state government.

My yard, these days, is a riot of fall color. These are my trees in these photographs, and my little slice of sky. My Scottish ancestors pioneered near here beginning in the nineteenth century. I'm really a Floridian, and not a transplant from somewhere else. At least not since the 1840s.

I hate our summer heat. My Scottish DNA never has gotten used to it. But I live for this season and the next. Our winters are sometimes very cold. Like below 20F degrees at times. But we always default to warmer temperatures. Last week, two nights plunged to the low 20s and those days were cold (for us), too. Today, temps soared to 80F. And I rushed home to take off my long-sleeved garb and boots and spent the afternoon sleeveless and in open sandals. Even before climate change became a thing, north Florida did this.

I am pleased that our exterior household projects have been completed, allowing me to go back into my studio and be a metalsmith again.

Upon my return, I finally made some of the tiny houses I'd long thought about. And a friend inspired me to make jewelry with rustic stars.

I found a handful of chunky faceted labradorite cabochons in my studio and built my little houses around them.

You can see several of these in my online shop on Etsy by clicking on this link:

CityRusticJewelry on Etsy

These are handmade and one-of-a-kind using darkened sterling silver (with patina).

The Starry series of earrings and pendants feature tiny gemstone cabochons or vintage glass rhinestone cabochons and are encrusted with sterling stardust.

This is a non-glamor shot of the whole group of Starry pieces I have made. Those still available are also in my Etsy shop.

Wishing all of you in the northern hemisphere a wonderful autumn-into-winter, and those of you in the southern hemisphere a wonderful spring-into-summer! Please let me know if I can help you with anything!

Friday, October 3, 2014

I've been busy this summer, but not in my studio.

Oh, I moved my studio back home and set it up and made a few things. But my focus has been on a lot of outside projects around our home.

You see, we finally gave up on the idea of selling our home and relocating sometime in the future. And decided to really put our roots down here for the long haul because it will make our lives decidedly simpler and more enjoyable. But we wanted to make some changes. And we're so happy that we did.

It was the swampiest and most humid of summers in north Florida. Our young workers did an amazing job holding up against the sun, rain and humidity day after day. I ran around in the heat a lot more than usual, too.

Eighteen years ago, we moved into this small house I've long called a 'bomb shelter.' Built for only $9,000 in 1957, I've often wished they'd splurged originally and spent $11,000 so we'd have a bigger kitchen and a second bathroom. Yes, weren't mid-century housing prices amazingly low?

For my studio to move back home, we had to add some storage on our property. And we had to improve some existing storage, because the house itself doesn't offer much.

Now all my art show booth stuff is tucked away with myriad other things. A potting bench has been built and all of our potting materials have been organized around it.

Mowers and tools and bikes have secure homes. And our two cats have nice shelters to scurry to, to avoid the rain.

We still have hardscaping and landscaping to do.  We've only made a small dent in these so far. Soon we'll see cooler weather and that will be our cue to build the stone patios and move plantings to new locations.

It's kind of nice to live in a 'vintage' dwelling on a modest bit of property. Its affordability will allow us to do the traveling we want to do, and maybe even to avoid the hottest months of summer in years to come. We dream of renting for a month or two each summer in the Appalachians, when sun and rain beat upon Tallahassee.
There were several spots around our yard that were muddy and hard to traverse. We've improved those with 'dry streams' made of pavers and river rocks. I love how much cleaner things are where we've done this, and how much more easily traveled.

When we bought our home, it had suffered a 'scorched-earth' treatment from its former owner. The whole property boasted about three pitiful trees. In our first year here, we planted a number of trees and bushes, to the point that our formerly sunny yard is now mostly shady. Our eyesore of a house is now a woodsy parkland abode and we love it. We've even painted it a sage green. Our landscaping phase will see the advent of a butterfly/pollinator garden. I'm very into bees and butterfliesI'm happy to report that north Florida's honeybees are doing quite well. We have colder winters than you might expect in Florida, and the cold holds back the Africanized bees of south Florida and out west. Our beekeepers are so successful with honeybee hives here that we actually rent hundreds of hives to California and other western areas, to pollinate their bee-dependent crops, like almonds. When we get our bees back, they need rehabilitation. And this is where homeowners come in.

Planting flowering plants that support bees and butterflies helps those populations stay strong and healthy. Even a few butterfly plants in pots are helpful to the pollinators. Entertaining, too. I love sitting in my red deck chairs and watching the bugs work. And we've had lots of cardinals and hummingbirds this year. We keep the feeders full and are entertained by busy critters grateful for food and drink. Right now, the earliest clues that autumn is coming can be seen. The light is buttery and the nights are cooler. Some of the trees are a little rusty. This awareness always gets me going: studio time!

The winter holidays will soon be upon us. I'm excited. I always am. I love the energy of the holiday season and the mission it gives our lives. But, for now, I'm content to hang around the house with the nectar collectors and invite my jewelry Muse to lead me back to my workbench. Happy autumn, to all of you in the northern hemisphere, and happy spring to those down under.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere...

Summertime, and the living is easy... maybe even for the artists on the Artisan Anthology team. Each week, this little international team publishes a collage of our recent work and this is this week's collage. 

Here in the subtropics of the U.S., we're having a warm, muggy summer. It's been a little atypical, in this time of climate change, with some cool spells breaking up the heat and humidity every once in awhile.

In the north, artists participate in nearly weekly art shows and festivals, but in the deep south, we hibernate for awhile and then get busy for autumn and the winter holidays. 

Taking a quick glance at my calendar, I realize I must get busy soon!

But this summer, for me, has been about building infrastructure for the next long, happy phase of our lives. Creating onsite storage, new outside living areas, a screened porch and a new home studio has been the work of summer around here.

From that platform, I hope to get back to creating new work. Having my studio at home again will let my nightowl tendences grow more productive again. This time the studio is as far from our bedroom as I can locate it, so I can do all but the noisiest of production activities late into the night.

At this point, my Railroad Square studio is a thing of the past, for me. But my studio mate, Valerie will continue her work there and she's getting a new studio mate -- one of my favorite people! -- in my place. And I will continue my close association with both artists there, even though I'll be working at home.

The focus of my jewelry business is shifting to my online shop on Etsy, a few galleries I supply with works, and a few local activities -- including meeting up with friends for coffee, bringing my work along. If you're local and would like to meet up with me, contact me via my Facebook fan page and leave a message!

The link to my fan page:

And my work is always available in my Etsy shop. See the slideshow from that shop in the sidebar, to the right side of this blog page.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


For the past several years, I have been making my jewelry in a studio outside of my home. During that time, I produced work for the big art shows I have done over the past 20 years.

This past spring, I decided to 'retire' from doing shows I have to travel to.

I decided to put my efforts into building my online business on Etsy. And to move my studio workspace back home. Though I have loved my commercial studio and have produced and sold quite a lot of art jewelry there, I thought the time had come to integrate my creative and domestic lives again, into one. And a health issue has arisen over the past year, requiring me to take full charge of my nutrition and food preparation at a level I'd never had to before. Having my workspace at the same location as my kitchen has become necessary.

Preparing my home and the property around it has been critical to moving my studio home. This summer is all about getting those projects done to make it possible to live and work happily where we live.

I'm excited about having this come together. In a few weeks' time it will be accomplished and I will then take an early autumn trip and then settle down to make new jewelry in my new studio. This pic is one view of my new workspace! (You can see Clover's little bed in the bottom right corner.) This is where the magic will happen!