Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Marching toward 2017

What an interesting year this has been, grand events, much needed changes, wonderful gatherings and traumatic near misses. Each has impacted my life in significant ways, though I could have done without the near miss.

This was my taking chances year. A time to get out of my comfort zone, take some chances, put myself out there and be bold.

I'd been hibernating for quite some time, immersed in my art, loving my friends and family and the boys, but down deep continuing to grieve my lost companion. Alone was better than accepting anyone into my life who didn't enrich my days and nights. And in the spring, when he came back, I was wary and cautious but gradually my trust grew as we started from scratch to rebuild. Life is good with someone who understands and celebrates who and what you are. I could not have accomplished so much nor weathered the storms without his strong arm to lean on and his big heart to hold mine.

I continued to make wonderful art and entered a piece in the CA State Fair, winning two ribbons in the process and firing up my imagination for future projects.

Then another wee babe came into our lives, this cherished and delightful baby, who makes us all stop and say, "I just love this baby!". She's enthralled her big sister and all of us. Now we have two delightful little girls to play with, love and watch grow up much too fast.

Limping into 2016 I decided that living with pain wasn't going to work any longer. So I put into motion the hip replacement that I so badly needed, dreading the surgery, pain and lack of independence. It's been 11 weeks now, walking through pain and fear, finding joy in the lack of pain and the improved movement, each day is better than the last. I'm so glad I did it and often now I can walk without limping which is such a grand and glorious feeling. We are looking forward to bike rides and hiking the back trails with our furry friends.

Family time and watching my man enchanted by my 3 year old Granddaughter has been one of the best things of the year.

My son is pursuing his dream on the road, playing music coast to coast. We got to see him in Santa Cruz recently, who would have thought a couple of 60 year olds would end up being band groupies? Check out Walker Lukens and the Sidearms, they are going places!

While my creative side has taken a back burner to healing it's definitely still alive and itching to get going. I'm only flexing my fingers at this point, loosening up for some fun in the next few months. I continue to love enameling bu the tray of natural turquoise is calling me for some stone setting.

And into each life some rain must fall.

Reminding me that life is short, my beloved Hank and I were in a terrible accident. Hit and sent spinning into the opposite lane, hit again, shuddering to a stop, eyes closed, waiting for the next hit. This is my nightmare life right now, waking to horror and fear, knowing the final hit could have been a large truck. It's really, really hard to deal with, the shattering of confidence. I didn't experience outward damage but the inside damage is still to be determined and dealt with. I will deal with it and move on and hopefully find my confidence again, along with some measure of trust in my fellow drivers, but it's going to take time.

And so here we are, looking forward to much more, more family, more friends, more adventures, more traveling, more creativity, more loving life in each minute. I am so grateful to be here.


Friday, October 07, 2016

New hardware...

Okay, this is hard, painful, discouraging and completely exhausting, and yet I'm very happy to be getting through it. I'm one week past my hip joint replacement surgery and am actually doing pretty darn well. It's been a rollercoaster for a couple weeks. I had to use all my courage to face down a very scary surgery.

First off, if you're looking at joint replacement surgery good for you. I'm sure you've carefully considered the implications of a drastic, life changing surgery. If you know someone heading into any kind of joint replacement please listen up. Do not tell your friend not to be scared, bullshit! What's not scary about having the top of your leg sawn off and a gigantic metal prosthesis shoved down into the bone? If you're not scared you're either nuts or taking way too many pain pills already.

Don't tell them they should do this method or that method. Save your wikipedia medical knowledge for when you're playing a doctor at Halloween. If you've had the Anterior method I'm glad it's working for you. Do not tell me that I'll be sorry if I don't do it your way and that I should pack my bags and travel to another state to have this done. Really? Are you gonna take care of me while I'm there? I'm smart and I have a background in the medical field. At 20 I was sticking needles in people, dispensing meds, checking iv's, suctioning trachea's, changing dressings on brain surgery patients and ever since then I've read Medical Journals for fun. I know where to find information. I know what a good study is and what's a bogus bunch of crap. I've talked to several docs and gotten info from the source. I also don't have time to interview 12 doctors. I want the doc who is so busy putting new joints in people that he doesn't have time to waste. Yeah, him...

Don't blather on about how this is done everyday and that this is the easiest of the joint replacement surgeries, again, see above, cut top of leg bone off....

Do tell them that you're proud of them for being courageous enough to want to take their life back. Courage is being afraid but doing it anyway. Do tell them that you'll be there to listen to them cry at 11pm at night when they just can't face another night of pain. Do stop in to visit if they are ready, bring some lunch and a cookie. Do send them a text once a day just to check in. Do offer to bring some tasty tidbit for late night snacking. Do keep them in the friend/family loop, so they have something to look forward to.

Do not bring them the latest fad from the local witch doctor. Do you know exactly how that herbal interacts with the combination of opiods and beta blockers and salicylic acids? Just don't, really.

Do remind them that the end product has to be better than the constant, endless pain and missing out on activities they love.

Because sometimes it's a bit hard to see around the big fat elephant of pain and loss and fear that sits on your chest late at night, the endless loop of...ouch, is my leg warm, is that a blood clot forming, ouch, damn, have to get up and pee again, dammit - ouch - fuck - hurt, can I have more pain pills, have my bowels packed a suitcase and gone to China, oh no - I'm getting a cramp in my foot, my foot is cold, is that a blood clot, ouch - shit - ow, no - don't move like that, back hurts now, hmmm - drugs are working, did I take too much, am I gonna sleep or quit breathing, oh man - wish I could sleep on this incision, ouch - ow - really - ow, no crossing legs, will I ever walk normally again, what color pads should I buy for my crutches, eek - holy shit - now it's the shooting nerves, I'm thirsty, pondering moving vs a mouth a camel pooped in....ouch, ouch, ouch...

I did it, it's done and gratefully I have the best caregiver imaginable, loving and giving and wrapping me up in big old hugs, teasing me out of my mini Pity Parties, rubbing my sore legs, feeding me, bathing me, just caring in incredible ways, being there in every way. I could not do this without him, my rock.

And all the fine people who make my life such a rich tapestry, checking in on me and being so giving of their love and time.

I'm so glad I did it. I can't wait to get back to hiking my beloved trails. This will be harder and longer than I imagined, but that's okay, the end product will be the same, less pain and more fun.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The future...

Oh boy, life is so interesting.

A new baby has arrived, all pink skin and froggy snuggles. I spent two weeks in Texas playing with my darling girls and the wonderful man who loves them.

 Wee Hazel is here, charming us all with her wonderful calm baby energy. She's the second baby you hope you get when you've already got a three year old to keep up with.
 I could not get enough of holding her and watching my daughter hold her and cherish her and fall in love with her again every minute of the day. I so enjoyed caring for my daughter, being the Mother I didn't have, serving her and allowing her to rest and grow into her new role as a mother of two.

And this one, who loves to dance half dressed in her butterfly wings adorned with my biggest earrings. Who couldn't find her enchanting? She's a pistol, sometimes hard to keep up with but always loving. She's loving her baby sister and is very helpful in a not so helpful way. She came running into the guest house every morning, calling loudly Grandma, Grandma! She says she didn't want to scare me so she made lots of noise. Of course, I was awake early to crack the door so she could get in, but we won't tell her that.

Then I came home to get ready for my Dad's 90th birthday, with various celebrities flying in, like my son and even my ex husband, all to celebrate with my Dad. We had a marvelous time with dinners and a workshop party featuring melted metal and lots of joyful friendship.

The best thing is to come home to loving arms. I'm blessed to know this man. We've been through a lot of trials but the path ahead is open and filled with fun. Being part of his family and having him be part of mine is the best thing ever. We'll be sailing in blue waters next spring but find joy in kayaking in our local lakes and working together in his fine workshop. The holidays ahead will bring my family all together here and I know they'll enjoy his company as much as I do. I cannot wait to see him juggle the baby.

I'll be reporting the realities of a hip replacement soon, but I've got lots of great help so it should go well and once again we'll be hiking the back country. This comfort lover wants to try some camping, at least once. But then again, with the right company anything is possible.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016


Oh boy, I love what I do and every day it just gets better and better.

I'm trying to push my enameling skills hoping one day to be able to call myself an enamelist, instead of a rank beginner.

The beginner title suits me. Enameling is a lifetime achievement type of endeavor and since I only have 30 more years or so I'd best get moving. If you know me you'd hear me giggle right now.

My bestie and I are heading to a class with a Master Enamelist this fall. We're both so excited we can hardly stand it.

I think this is my third cloisonne piece ever but I'm definitely loving it and my skills are improving rapidly.

Here's the beginning. I built the fine silver frame, fused it and then started bending the small, thin, fine silver cloisonne wire to make the design.

It's working, layering more and more enamel, one coat at a time, adding the 24 karat gold foil into the middle, adding more and more color.

And now for some shading, the dark pink and some opalescent white. This one just knocks me over, all of a sudden it's really gorgeous!  Next up will be a couple coats of clear, then stone it down so the surface is smooth, then back in the kiln to make it shiny again.

Couple more weeks to the State Fair awards ceremony. I wonder if I'll get a ribbon? How thrilling!

Life is good, in every way. A dear friend recently posted a wonderful thought about realizing that she's got everything she ever dreamed of. She happens to be a person who finds amazing grace in her every day life as well as the bigger things. It's certainly a good way to live. When I get weighed down with the negatives in life I have only to think of those I love and the joy they bring into my life and my heart lifts. Then the corners of my mouth follow suit and soon I'm happily back on track. I know I only have this minute to feel joy.

I wish you joy, this minute, the next is up to you.


Saturday, July 02, 2016


How does that happen that we zoom from January to July in just days, hours, minutes?

It's being happy, spending quality time with friends and the perfect lover, those that sync into my life in perfect rhythm, sharing so many interests and loves, absorbed in hours of bliss.

I count my blessings every day, waking up to knowing how grounded I am, in my life, in my art, in my friends, in my family, in my love, feeling the rightness of being that so few can ever attain.

We traveled to Texas recently, played with mad abandon in music, food, water, loving family and friendships that will be better as time grows, solid feel good time, surrounded by love, talent, passion, striving to be better, calm hours of talking, never lacking.

The final test is traveling with a person, can there be joy in the best of activities? And oh yes, there was, generosity of spirit, interest in the greater world, opening to new worlds and new people, ever expanding our horizons, reveling in being together in each minute's light.

I am courage, I am steadfast strength of character and will. I walked into the fire alone and came through clean and new and ready to face my life on my terms. I am the noble eagle. I am the wise raven. I am the sun and the light and those who truly live will be drawn to that unerringly. I am above all, love.

I am.


Wednesday, June 08, 2016

2016 California State Fair

The wait has been excruciating. I was hoping that I'd at least get to be in the Fair for my very first entry.  Well, it's better than I thought, 1st Place and Best of Division with some nice comments from the judge.

I'm a very happy jeweler.

I guess I'd better start planning next year's entry.



I woke up one day craving bangles.

I went down to the local hardware store and bought a piece of fence post and a round file and managed to make a very crude tool.

It worked very well. I managed to make these.

I used a wonderful how-to video from a well known jeweler and then went off in my own direction. The trapped stones are my favorite and more will be coming soon.

A very talented friend offered to make me a more elegant tool. Who's gonna turn that offer down? This is the next generation of tool, which works quite well. I'm still trying to figure out how best to  attach it to my bench, especially since bench space is at a minimum around here.

I love it, being the tool junkie I am and having something made is even better.

These are in progress, terrible picture from my bench but you get the idea. I'm going for a thicker, more frilly bangle, so far, so good.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


The holy grail of enameling, especially for those of us who enamel on silver, is the color family of pink through red. The metal reacts with the enamel, often resulting in delightful shades of......brown.

For two years I've been looking for an enamel that would fire true. I wanted pinks and roses and reds and time and again I'd get....brown.

Whew, discouraging, expensive, ugly chunks of brown coated enamel started to pile up. I tried several different bases (flux) but had no success. I talked to enamel experts and got the same line, try this, try that, this works, nope, it didn't. Sometimes the browns were quite lovely...

One recommendation turned out successfully, a raspberry that turned a strong, rich, gold toned red. I used that color over and over and actually got a pinkish shade with careful control and multiple flux coats.

Luckily I have a wonderful friend who toddles along with me in enamel land. She tried another color, it wasn't bad and in fact made even the raspberry quite beautiful. The pink continued to elude us. But having an inquisitive friend for encouragement is a fine thing. I tried another possibility and was completely astounded to get this!

Gorgeously soft and beautiful pink that was consistent in it's beauty, we did the happy dance. We're following this line of color adventure into even more gorgeous colors of purples.

I'm so lucky to have an inquiring friend to share these adventures. I'd certainly have given up before now, wandering alone in a complicated field.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

There and back again...

Ah, back to my little cottage, which is wrapped in petals of white and bright dots of pink.

My bestie  and I are awash in pink enamels, determined to find that alchemical combination that will fire true. Bring me pinks and lavenders, all soft and sweet! I've been cutting paper and copper to find the next few parts of my imaginary garden. Having time to explore is one of the best things in my life. I've been rearranging my overbooked schedule so I have those ultimately productive hours. It's not possible for me to fit creativity into some small block of time. In my wanderings over the last month my Muse showed me the expanses she craves and I took it to heart.

I woke up here one cold spring morning and felt so extraordinarily alive. My heart expanded and my thoughts clarified (even as my lungs labored a bit at 7800 foot altitude). From there it was get home, get to work, got things to make, ideas began to coalesce into reality.

I finished this as soon as I unpacked.

And then started the experimentation:

More soon I hope!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tick, tick, tick...

I noticed that my intro on this blog says I'm 50 something, which is only going to be correct for a little over 9 months. Then I'm going to have to change the clock to 60 something and start the count down to 70 something.

Actually, I'm a little excited about 60. My 50's were fraught with changes. I'm leaving my 50's with my thoughts turned firmly to the future. That great wide open plain of possibilities, sprinkled with leaping antelope and grazing bison, circled by tall mountains and sheltering trees waits for me, beckoning.

This new year is so delightful already, what's not to look forward to?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Much fun!

Lots of projects going on, some completed, some still in progress. I've left it all to travel around the SW, visit some family, see some sights, wallow around in Granddaughter land. 

I love organic shapes in jewelry, flowers are the best. My Imaginary Garden keeps blooming in one way or another.

The Petal series has shaped itself into something that I'll explore much more.

Here are the blanks, cut out of fine silver sheet. I textured the ends that will show.


These three show the gradual forging of the metal to make it curl into itself.

Then I turn it over and forge the edges so they curl backwards.

This shows the batch of earring and pendant sized petals, ready to enamel.

It still seems so strange to me that the enamel powder turns from white to yellow and even reds. This second pic shows the strange contraptions I come up with to keep the pieces from sticking to the trivets in the kiln. I want these smooth and sleek.

Here are a few of the petals plus some other things in progress.

 Here are the stamens getting soldered together.

And then inserted into the petals, ready for the final additions.

I'm very happy with these pieces, more to come.

Soon I'll be heading back, taking plenty of time to explore New Mexico and Colorado. I think about three weeks is all I can handle before I miss my private space and workshop way too much.