Friday, December 27, 2013


The sweet little family, smiling on Christmas Day in the hospital.

Things are looking up.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

And a Happy New Year...

This Christmas we spent walking the halls of an Austin Children's hospital when our darling girl was diagnosed with a bone infection.

Luckily we had lots of family support and took shifts staying with her so she was never alone. 

The good news is she's improving rapidly with drug therapy, which she will continue to get for many weeks.
We've still got a bit of a long haul but the outlook is good.

We distilled all the holiday hoopla down to the bare minimum and still it was a heart felt time, opening some presents in a family lounge, laughing at her delight in new toys.

I got everything I could hope for, baby smiles and hugs, knowing she's on the mend and seeing those around her grow in strength and love.

If life teaches me nothing else it's to cherish every minute with those I love.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas in Austin

Hopping aboard a big shiny Southwest Air jet this week for a fast trip to Austin.  This will be my first Christmas with my babies in four years.  We also have a first birthday to celebrate, little G will love all the commotion.  I think I'll just buy her a lot of boxes to play with, the all time favorite baby toys.

The boys will be guarding the house and their beloved house sitter.

Is it right to want to be there but not want to go?  I think a good bit of my reluctance is the general exhaustion I'm still battling from this killer cold.  And airports, ugh, and hoping I don't get a coughing jag on the airplane.  I bought lots of cough drops.

However, nothing can keep me from this cutie patootie...

And the rest of my darlings.

For all my friends and family I'm sending you wishes for good health, hugs in abundance, buckets of smiles to give and to receive, smooth sailing through the storm and true knowledge of what's really important.


Monday, December 09, 2013

Sick, who's sick?



But, I find sitting in front of the nice warm kiln comforting so at least a few things are getting done.

I want to have some new things for the Open House at ASIF this weekend.

Blue Bell and Red Raspberry to be layered with the bronze pieces.


Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Cuddled up

In my home, in my bed with it's fluffy comforter, in my new robe, coffee and oatmeal, watching the rain drip off the deck overhead and the trees.  It's misty out there, the forest is obscured out into the distance.

It feels green and good.

Where is that baby?


Monday, December 02, 2013

A glass of wine and thou...

Sheer bliss, wine, the boys sacked out on the couch looking blissful themselves, vegetables roasting in the oven, Patty Griffin singing Heavenly Day, ah.

These dogs are amazing traveling companions.  Of course, they know when we stop they get to read and leave a ton of peemail and then it's FRISBEE time, the perfect activity to tire them out for the next leg of our journey.

I headed out from Austin on Saturday morning, stopped for the night in Las Cruces and planned another night in Ehrenberg AZ but changed my mind and decided to push through as far as I could get.  Holy cow, that was close to a bad decision, as thousands of Californians headed home from Phoenix.  The mad traffic started there and continued all the way to Banning, the last 30 miles stop and go.

Jeez...really?  I've been driving long distances for years and my Dad taught me to watch the trucks and do what they do, make it easy on yourself.  Watching all those idjits race up to fill in a space almost made it easy for me to shoot myself.  Or, as we were driving on the Sonny Bono Memorial Highway, splat ourselves up against the nearest light pole.

I made it though, pulling in to my driveway about 8 am this morning, 24 hours after I left Las Cruces.  I hit the wall twice and slept a couple of hours in a rest stop.  I can't believe how many people actually pull in to rest stops to sleep at night, it's kind of cool.  Of course, my two most excellent companions made me comfortable zonking out, knowing they would raise the alarm if anyone came close.

So the day has been filled with bustle, interspersed with short power naps.  Unpacking, cleaning up, sorting mail, a trip to the gallery, then the market for some veges, call friends, text friends, email friends, let my family know I'm home.

The biggest change is my housemate has moved out, which leaves the house feeling a little empty.  It also gets my planning brain moving along, deciding what will go where and the best way to make the upstairs a serene retreat for guests.

I'm sure you know by now that organizing makes me happy.  Hell, I just realized my 2013 photo folder is about done and thought about how fun it will be to create the 2014 folder and fill it with photographs anew.

Tomorrow I'll be in the studio, my space at the gallery is looking bare and this weekend I'll be participating in the ASIF jewelers trunk show and sale.

I'm tired but the mountain air has cleared up some of my cold symptoms, dry is good for me, except for my hands.

But I had this revelation today, partly because I'm missing my girls but it's a change in general for me.  I'm lonesome.  I'm tired of being alone all the time.  I want someone who gives a shit that I'm home and maybe even comes with a hug and a kiss.  It's time.

Hear that universe?

Peaceful dreams.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Biscuits and Groovy

The three of us hanging out at one of our favorite places, big old biscuits, cream gravy with sausage and eggs, yum.

Then things got silly.
My kids crack me up.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Austin Daze

It's a weird blend of family fun, wishing I was home, not wanting to ever go home, sleepless nights and peaceful days.

I talked to other Grandmothers who experience the same thing with far away family, which helps keep me from feeling guilty for wanting to be home.  I love the space I've crafted in Grass Valley, it nurtures my soul in so many ways, peaceful, beautiful, serene, right smack in the middle of hiking trails and my funky little town, my gallery and the trees, the sturdy pine, the oaks and maples and liquid ambers.  My dogwoods will be done with their fall show by the time I get home in December, but then I've got snow to look forward to and I'll have to run out and shake the limbs so they don't break.

This month is two years since I bought my house.  Now that the deck is built and the yard is shaped up a some there are very few things to do.  A few old windows to replace and down the road a hot tub in the backyard.  I want to sit there in the dark, watching the moon flirt between the trees and hoping to hear the coyotes sing in the distance.

I've reached my nutso point not working.  Today I'll drag out some metal and see if I can do something with it.  Missing my studio with my bench the most, the ease of reaching for something and knowing it's right there in it's place makes it difficult here.  Oh well, quit being a whiner, that's not what this trip is really about.

In three weeks I'll be home.  There will be a major reorganization because my young housemate will be moving out.  I'll miss her but having a really nice guest room is the positive aspect.  The negative will be finding house sitters while I'm away because I never leave the house empty, in cold country it's too easy to have a heating failure and come back to a burst pipes disaster.  I like spending time here so I've got to make it work.  I'm so lucky to be able to craft this lifestyle, it satisfies my wandering nature.

Last night my son Grant came over and charmed the little lady.  He was thrilled.  She grabbed his shirt and would not let go.  We know she's missing her Daddy a lot but he'll be home soon.

Have you ever heard of private dinner clubs?  We have one in Nevada City called Polly's Paladar.  They put on amazing feasts once a month.  The next one is called The Perfumed Garden.  I'll be there.

And the annual Small Works exhibit at Artists Studios in the Foothills is going on right now.  Don't miss this if you can get there, it's fabulous!

And, I've shamelessly lifted this photo of Eddie the Elf's house which is located in Nevada City, CA.  Here's his facebook page Eddie the Elf.

Eddie has been charming children and adults for 28 years now but this is his last year.  Evidently he's been promoted at the North Pole.  If you want a magical visit this is your last chance, be prepared to wait.


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Rock Star in Training

Right now Raffi is her main man but she also gets her groove on from Bob Marley.



Monday, October 28, 2013



The boys and I headed to Austin for a long while this time.  I'll be working on enameling and playing with my family.

It was strange to leave this.

And three days later see this.

But we did see some interesting things along the way.

The boys enjoyed visiting rest stops in four states, checking interstate pee mail is their job.

And, my treat was to see Little Radar open for Surfer Blood in the outdoor stage at Red 7.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Falling into winter...

slowly, slowly, drifting down like the leaves.

If I could freeze the calendar, stuck in mid October, warm days walking in the sun, cool nights under soft cotton blankets, leaves swirling down off the trees, crunching under my feet.

But no, the trees will soon be bare and yet it does seem like it's possible to capture those colors, at least in my jewelry.

These are going to Art Works Gallery.

More will be coming soon, but from Texas as I'm heading out there for a bit to work and hang out with my family.

There will be new adventures ahead, no doubt.


Wednesday, October 09, 2013

First weekend

The first weekend is done.  This is the first time I've participated on the tour as an individual.  I was pretty nervous, not sure what to expect.  My Sister came to help, having her laughing self around made all the difference.  We had a good time and in between groups of people we sat on the front porch, rocked and talked about all the things sisters talk about.

I got a lot of nice comments not only on my jewelry and my interesting studio processes but on my cute little house and my collection of artwork.  One lady wanted to know if the art was for sale, I said, "Nope, sorry".

The arts community in this area is really strong and we like to do trades, so we end up owning pieces that we could never afford, it's wonderful.

One more weekend to go, which I'm now looking forward to, because most of the work is done.  I ripped through my inventory and pulled out large handfuls of good quality jewelry that I either don't make anymore or that I've had too long.  It all went on the "island of misfit jewelry" table, "Make me an offer.", which ended up being sort of fun.  I heard a lot of bargains were available from many artists on the tour.


Thursday, October 03, 2013

Rowing - Day One

Question: So what's it like getting in and out of the boat, does it feel like you will fall over?
Hell yes.
I used the boat ramp rather than the dock.
I'd rather get my feet wet than fall in altogether.
So you get in and the seat is sliding back and forth.
The oars are lost and you can't reach one of them, jeez, try to stick a foot out and snag it, almost tip over.
You're trying to put your feet in the feet holders, and strap them in.
Which is merde.
The last goddamn thing I want is my feet strapped into this deathtrap.
And the boat is rocking back and forth sideways like crazy.
And I'm thinking, "Can't drown in a foot of water, can I?”.
Hopefully not.
Finally, got the oars, lookie, if you turn them the right way they actually make the boat move.
Yowsa, that’s right.
And then the ramp has buoys and mooring buoys all over the goddamn place.
And you are backwards.
Why am I loving this?
Running into every frickin' one of them.
And you have to coordinate rolling the seat forward and feathering the oars so they don't drag on the water.
Thus fucking up the boat again and rocking it like mad.
Is it too late to buy a kayak?
And then you run into another fucking buoy.
Which is about the size of a very large beach ball, but floating concrete, scraping it's way down your new boat.
Is it too late to put on my PFD?  Can I even reach it?
I'm sure I was talking to myself, thank GAWD the lake is empty.  Do those houses have binoculars?
And gradually it came back.
Slide forward, bend the legs, hands forward, reach, feather the oars, grab the water, drive with the legs.
All the way, then pull with the arms, open the back just a little.
Feather the oars, slide back into a crouch.
Oh, then the oar handles are long enough to hit each other.
So you have to decide if your left hand is going under or the right is going over, or what?
And you keep forgetting that, and your shirt catches on an oar and gets stuck and jerks the boat around and punches you in the chest and you curse again.
You let the oars drop, large outriggers that steady the boat, and you float and look at the sky and the water shimmering in the sun, the birds wheeling and squeeling.
You can be rowing in a few trips, perfection takes a lifetime.
This is the perfect time to get out there.
Worse would be running into boats moored.
Oh, excuse me.
Don't mind me.
Not a great way to meet new people.
Then again.
They'd invite you on board and give you a drink just to save their boat.
Can’t wait to row again.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

New girl on the block...

A dream come true.

It was probably 1984 or 85, I was taking rowing lessons in Sausalito, loving every minute of it.  Everything in my life was beautiful and alive and that time has never left my heart or mind.

Then came a baby boy and a move to the Midwest and eventually a baby girl and life was amazing, filled with happiness and joy.

The kayak day set something in motion inside me, a wish to take charge of my dreams.

So, here she is, she's an Echo rowing shell from Echo Open Water Rowing in Marblehead, MA.

Tomorrow I'm going to the lake and I'm going to go out and no doubt make a huge fool of myself, but that's ok, I've earned it.


Sunday, September 29, 2013


That's the general term for what's happening around here.  I'm finally in high gear in the studio and it translates into high gear everywhere.  And now I've got my feet up and a nice cuppa tea, savoring.

The Ruffoni has been filled up with various yummy things, here's the sink full of the bitty yellow plums and the syrup bubbling away from last week.  Man, is this stuff good, tart and sweet, over pancakes, yogurt, muffins, and a few drops in some pan drippings would make a fine meat sauce.

Here's today's pot of deliciousness, it's a variation of Giada's marinara sauce though I've turned it into more of an Arrabiata sauce for those of you who can roll your r's.  It's spicy with the addition of Ro-tel tomatoes and lots of red pepper flakes plus a mad cruise through my well stocked spice cupboard. 

I'm cookin' in the studio too, fusing a lot of fine silver earrings in the last few days.  I love to wear these, they are shiny and very eye catching, quite long but still lightweight.  These are attitude earrings, you can't help but get some when you wear them.

And, tonight I started putting together a couple of heavyweight fine silver bracelets.  These are just FUN, big, bold, heavy, substantial pieces.  The metal is 10 gauge fine silver, really hard to shape but so worth the effort.

We're looking at some rain so I soaked the yard today to guarantee that we'll get some.  As an added incentive to Mother Nature I cleaned out the fountain, emptied the dog's pool, washed my truck and dug a good rain ditch in front of my garage door.  Please...the forest is thirsty.

Pretty things in my garden, it still tickles me to have these things grow almost like weeds around here.  I scattered some lychnis seeds and have been encouraging the hollyhocks to spread some too.  The leaves on the flowering dogwoods are just starting to turn red.  The Open Studios Tour is the first two weekends in October, so they'll be putting on a show for the second weekend here.

So, back to eating bon bons now.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Satellite - Enamel Bracelet Final

You'll have to use your imagination and place a small lobster clasp at the end of the safety chain.  Rio Grande ran out, which sort of made me tear my hair out until they got more.  Don't they know I'm getting ready for a studio tour?  And that I'm out?  And that I have a gazillion leather cords to make for the gazillion pendants that need to be made?  I know, breath in, breath out, repeat.

You can see the way the clasp works.  I'm pretty happy with it, there was a great deal of tinkering involved, raising the blue cup high enough off it's metal base so it would slide into it's dock.  I had to made a very tiny round spacer to put in between.

And now to our regularly scheduled madness...

Two years ago I attended a concert at the North Star house to see Aaron Neville, swoon.  This year they have Dr. John and Alan Toussaint, maybe not so swoon worthy but it will be fine to be outside and hear some good music in a beautiful setting.  It's gonna be a bit damp and cool as it rained all day yesterday and last night but we'll have a great time anyway, enjoy a picnic and do a lot of laughing.

Then onto preparations for the tour and other things that I will share with you as they happen, fun things, exciting things, things that make me do a happy dance.

And back to Texas later in October, suck up some baby smell and baby giggles and those hands and those eyes and those wonderful baby smiles and those fat little arms and legs.....ah, I'm missing her like crazy and her Mama of course, and her very entertaining Daddy, and her Uncle, Mr. Ultra Cool Musician Dude.

I scored a couple of bags of bitty yellow plums which are right now stewing in their juices, ready to press and sugar and cook to a tart sweet syrup.  I certainly don't need more but as a card carrying Squirrel I'll fill up the cupboard and sprinkle golden jars of sunshine on my family and friends this winter.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Scrap to Sheet

The easy way...

I've been tediously torching my fine silver scraps, which takes forever with my little butane torches.  I know, I know, I have the big torches but don't have the tanks anymore and have not bothered, basically.

But I got lucky and bought this wonderful little melting oven from a retiring jeweler friend, bless his heart and his skill.

The tricky part was figuring out how to keep it going.  It didn't trip the breakers but I finally figured out the outlet had a reset, oh, so I unplugged the chest freezer and used it's outlet, which seemed to do the trick.  It's amazing what an electrical idiot can figure out by trial and error.

You put all the little scraps in the cup and wait until it gets hot as shit, or 1800 degrees, same, same.  Then you freak out a little and pour the molten metal from the black cup into the little ingot mold, right.  It's like pouring milk into a thimble, not easy and it spilled out all over the table, luckily on the soldering board I put down under the mold.

Here's the first ingot released from it's mold.

How freaking cool is that?  I learned you have to pour it all at once and not try to top it off, it cools quickly.

I rinsed off the ingot and sent it through the rolling mill a couple of times, here it is.  It's still got lots of trips through the mill before it gets to the gauge I need for further projects.

Much better than the old method, of course, you need the oven.

Fun stuff in a geeky chick sort of way.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Inspiration and Testing

I'm gearing up for the fall Open Studio Tour.

I saw these stones up for sale and I'm using them as an inspiration for some scraffito enamel work.  The metal blanks will be covered with dark brown, then the other colors will be sifted over and before they go into the kiln I'll scratch lines to show the dark brown underneath.

Here are my first color tests, I still need a deep green and that warm orange, but so far so good.

Another challenge to look forward to.

Peace to you

Enamel Bracelet Continued - Part 3

It's getting there.

Here you see the discs have all be enameled and I'm working on attaching them to the plates using a riveting process.  Here you see me experimenting with clasp ideas.

The riveting gets a little tricky, often the enamel cracks but that will be fixed on the final trip into the kiln.

My goal is to make a clasp that blends in completely.  The first idea was to slip a disc through a slotted plate, but the loop on the bottom is too big, scratch that.

Here's idea number two, which might work but relies heavily on bracelet tension.  I'm going to try it but there are a lot of reasons it might not work.  In the end I may just use a double lobster clasp but it's fun to experiment.  However, I've got only a few weeks left until the Open Studios Tour so it's time to move on.

Ready to tumble.

Starting to put the plates together.

 I love these sorts of challenges.  This will be the Satellite bracelet.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Row, row, row...

Here's where I started, the humble rowboat.  I used to row myself across the inlet from our dock to the neighbors dock so I could water his yard.

I've done this too, but not that well.  There was the time I tipped the canoe over, but we saved the beer.

Yesterday I was here, Scott's Flat Lake.

Where I tried this for the first time.  I had a great time, the lake was practically empty and I got to stop in the middle, dangle my feet in the water and just breathe in the quiet and the water.

But here's my dream, from those first lessons in Sausalito, skimming quickly across the shipping lanes, this has always been my heart's desire.

I'd forgotten...

And now I've remembered and now it's a goal, own and row a rowing shell.  Of course, the near perfect shell is made and sold on the East Coast, hmmmmm.

We shall see, on down the road, what happens.  After all, what's a person without a dream?


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Silly Songs

I just got done skyping with my daughter and granddaughter, how cool is that?  I think I fear most that Georgia Belle won't remember me because I can't be there enough, but this will definitely help.

Life is pretty damn good.

The house is great, the dogs are silly and happy and nurturing, my friends are funny, my family is healthy and I'm feeling better and better every day.

I'm committed to trying some new things though you have to wait to see what.

My relationships are really good, sweet and sincere and always improving in various ways.  I really love participating and I love watching the stories unfold.  I'm not really expecting things anymore, things will happen, it will be good no matter what.

I'm moving into my studio slowly, putting together materials lists, getting stuff ordered.  Once I submerge I won't come out for quite a while.


Saturday, August 31, 2013


Yes, I've been checked out in a major way.

The studio is calling, faintly.  It's been drowned out by the screams of the dirty floors, dusty shelves, the yard that needs watering, the dogs who need walking and bathing in a big way, the bug encrusted truck and the friends and family to catch up with.

The friends and family are the good parts.  I've been laughing and hugging and spending sweet time with the people who sustain me, filling up my depleted well, setting my head on straight again, it's all good.  It's so true that you find out the depth and measure of people when you need them most, strengthening the bonds of trust in a big way.

My Uncle Warren passed away, leaving my Dad the last of the three Hupp boys alive, the name hanging onto his strong shoulders.  It's interested what memories surface at this time.  Warren was a mason who was involved in big construction projects in SoCal but I remember him laying the slate entryway in our home in Big Bear Lake.  His careful craftsmanship creating something beautiful and enduring.  His smile and ready laugh will always make me smile.

The gallery is keeping me busy, especially this busy holiday weekend, come on in and see me if you get the chance.

Here's a rather lengthy video of Bode and Jolie playing morning bitey face while Dandy does his thing.  If you really like dogs you'll appreciate the intricate give and take of this kind of play, the pauses and postures are significant in dog interaction.  Bode is a fully mature, intact male, Jolie is a mature alpha female.  It's fascinating.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I will always love you...

This song, done by this guy, yes.


The Lion

Happy Birthday to my Dad!

He's still going strong at 87.

He teases and smiles and his eyes twinkle.

We're all so lucky to have him in our lives.

He was the strong male presence that led me out of hard times in my young life.

He gave me 100% of his confidence and I did everything I could to live up to that.

Early on I decided I had to make a choice, what kind of person do I want to be?  I wanted to be like him, strong, smart, friendly, helpful, supportive, funny, subtle, considering, thoughtful, loving.

Life is good.