Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Lucy!

Our baby Lucy is one year old today.  Thank goodness.  She sure is cute but it's been a year of extreme patience....I forgot how difficult puppy rearing can be!  She is a very intelligent, loving girl, a good watch dog and F U L L O F B E A N S....  but the training "ain't over" yet! Her favorite pass-time is digging up my husbands veggie garden (after he spends an entire day planting and weeding).....

Her first year .....

Monday, March 29, 2010

Our Rosie Ojai Abode


(when it's tidy, thanks Lucinda...she took photo this while housesitting!)



(for only a couple of weeks....I took these today!)

"If spring came but once a century instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change. " 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

So Proud!

It's been 12 years since I first met my step-daughters.... they were only 4 and 6.  I was so nervous that I meditated and prayed, hoping that they would accept me.  My future husband picked me up on the way to the beach and I hopped in back with the youngest .... doing my best to be funny and silly.  I took a big sigh of relief when they smiled...whew!  We ended up having a great time and of course, I let them bury me up to my neck in the sand.  It was the beginning of a special relationship.  

They are now both lovely young women..... intelligent, compassionate, conscientious, courageous and artistic.  The eldest is already off to college and the youngest will be leaving for boarding school in the fall.... How did the time fly by so quickly?  All I know is that I cannot image not having them in my life.  I feel very blessed.

Here's a peek of their budding creative talent....

Rachel in New York, New York

Elizabeth in Venice, Italy....Athens, Greece

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sketchbook beginnings

As an artist, I am always interested in other artists sketchbooks....and to see how their final finished pieces transformed from their first draft.  So, I thought I would share a few pages from my sketchbook and drawings.  Some were just graphic designs in and of themselves and others were specifically drawn as jewelry pieces.  All drawings have a link to the final finished fine silver metal clay pendant.

Originally a birthday card for my mom...
 transformed to the Mandala Meditation pendant. 

The top design became the Cosmic Mandala.

This design, which is about 3x3 is now ....
the Sacred Talisman pendant.

This was the first necklace I designed for metal clay.
The finished piece is a bit different...not bezel set stone.
I still need to give it a proper name.

This is another small 3x3 design that I originally made into a card.  
The necklace from this design became....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Sweet Stella

Our Stella had her babies yesterday... six of them!  Three black, three brown.  Such a good mama she doesn't even want to leave her babies....

We haven't seen Stella now for about 9 weeks.  She has been busy getting pregnant, being pregnant and having her litter.  We miss her so!  Before then, we were a guardian home for her for 3 months.  In eight weeks from now, after she nurses and weans her pups, she will be spayed and ours to love forever.

Stella is the mama of our pup Lucy, who will be turning one year in about a week.  I first saw Stella when I went to meet Lucy (from Stella's first litter), at Brasken Kennels in Atascadero, and fell in love with Lucy AND Stella.  I inquired about what happens when the mommies are done breeding and was told that the breeder looks for a guardian home.  I put my name in... and was surprised and elated when they called us just a few months after we took Lucy home.

My husband and I strongly believe in rescuing dogs whenever possible. Our beloved Georgi Girl, who passed on just over a year ago,  was rescued from the Ojai Humane Society.  She was a saint of a dog... pure love.  We looked for months to find a rescue lab -poodle mix (which is what Georgi was) but to no avail.  We finally picked another sweet dog from the Ojai Humane Society that we called Nala.  But alas,  Nala loved me but was not happy around men or children which was just not going to work in our household with my husband and 4 year old.  We decided that it was important for the safety of our small child, to go ahead and find a reputable breeder and get a puppy.  I searched high and low to find a breeder that   was not a puppy mill who care for and love their dogs like we do.  I feel so fortunate to have found Brasken Kennels.  People can say what they want about "designer" dogs, but our "labradoodles" are the most amazing dogs.... loving, gentle, funny and so intelligent... AND allergy free (which is a must in our household).  

For those interested, Stella is 1/2 lab and 1/2 standard poodle.  Her pups are 1/4 lab and 3/4 standard poodle.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sparkling Starburst Mandala

Here's my latest creation for the Gandhara Collection on Etsy.  I'm calling this fine silver metal clay pendant the "starburst mandala".  I'm having fun experimenting with tiny cubic zironias in metal clay before I try using the real thing...diamonds.  These CZs are so small that setting them is NOT easy... especially with my deteriorating eyesight...  that these days I need to work through the magnifying glass!  This design is from a sketch I did several years ago that was inspired by an ancient Indian jewelry design.

Anyone interested in east Indian jewelry should own the incredible book called Traditional Jewelry of India.  It is one of my treasured possessions. You can peek through the book on Amazon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Vernal Equinox

About two months ago, we were told that our gorgeous giant live oak on our side yard was very sick and must be taken out.  We were heartbroken but better the tree gone than our heads (the tree could have fallen into our master bedroom).  Once the deed was done and the rains came, we were left with a huge gaping muddy hole and very unattractive side yard.  So, I got to work sketching out a landscape plan with all my favorite drought tolerant plants and realized I better consult an expert for final approval.  In comes Cathleen Lynch of The Essential Garden in Ojai to the rescue.  

Cathleen has an enthusiasm for plants that is contagious.  She guided me towards a few more suitable and interesting plants that I had never heard of, massaged my plan a bit and drew up a beautiful revision. She even purchased the plants and helped me place them. Thank you Cathleen!  

After some additional grading, new drainage pipes,  fence, gravel (thank you Abel at Mar Gardening) and butterfly chairs along with the olive trees, new plantings and uplights (thank you Chris the electrician!) we finished just in time for the first day of Spring!



It will take a few years to fill in properly but it's all about the process, right?  When I went to pay Cathleen, she said she wanted to see my jewelry first.  And low and behold, she wanted to do a trade for her design time.... I am so flattered!  Here is the necklace she picked.....

metal clay pendant 
from antique Afghan bronze die 
with amazonite (?) drop strung with
faceted peridot and Thai silver beads 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Fine Silver Springtime Dream

I just finished this new metal clay Gandhara Collection necklace last night and  I posted on Etsy this morning.  I call it Springtime Dream... a little corny I know.   I usually get excited to list something new to sell but I'm having a difficult time because I do not want to part with it!  It's so spring-y and I'm in such a spring-y mood.... 

I found the beads on EBay. They look like colored glass but they're real stone.  I have never used  rainbow fluorite but now I think it may be added to my favorite stone list.  This stone reminds me a bit of tourmaline as it can go from pale pink to green but rainbow fluorite also has purples, aquas and lime-y greens and pale blues.... just amazing.  The colors are even reminiscent of beach glass.... and Easter!

According to Krystal Love,  rainbow fluorite "brings order to chaos, and elevates intuition and mental achievement. It also provides for the purification, cleansing and elimination of disorder, both physical and mental. Various colours have particular effects: blue- orderly thoughts, calm, clear communication; green- cleanses chakras, eliminates negativity from a room; purple- rationality, psychic and spiritual growth. Fluorite aids in dissipating colds, flu, staph infections, herpes and ulcers, and to protect against contagion. Blue- eye, ear and throat infections; green- stomach and intestinal disorders; purple- bone and bone-marrow disorders."

Check out the following groovy rainbow fluorite items...

carved rainblow fluorite bowl from gem-dragon

egg from ebay

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Incredible Discovery

While surfing the net the over the weekend for any historical information I could find on Afghan bronze jewelry dies, I came across a groovy website that sells ethnic jewelry called beadparadise.com.  I wasn't looking for a shop but I decided to browse anyway.  Suddenly I saw an incredible Afghan necklace that reminded me of an antique one that I bought in Islamabad. As I looked closer, I noticed that the centerpiece of the necklace looked almost identical to one of my vintage Afghan bronze jewelry dies.  I pulled up a photo of a pendant I made from that die and my jaw dropped.......it was EXACTLY the same design!  Could it be that the die that I own was used to make this necklace?? 

I emailed Ruth, the owner, and told her of my discovery.  She believes the necklace to be 75 to 100 years old but wasn't sure where in Afghanistan the necklace was made.  She said that these dies are not that uncommon to find but I would LOVE to know if these dies were duplicated or one of a kind.... and, I want to learn how these brass dies are made. Were they designed by men or women? AND, are they still made today?  Does anyone out there know?

necklace from Bead Paradise

 Afghan bronze jewelry die

my metal clay creation made from the die above

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Spring

When I first laid eyes on our little piece of heaven in Ojai, I got dizzy.  After my tour with the realtor, I ran home and burst into tears.  How can we do it?  Is it possible?  Could we really own a piece of land with it's own little babbling brook?  Somehow all the pieces fell into place and here I am.... so thankful.  

The last few weeks have felt like an Irish spring.... everything is so green and lush.  I'm really enjoying this time as I know that soon the Ojai summer heat will descend and my little babbling brook will be dry.... and our fields of green will look like straw.  

And since it's St. Patrick's Day, I have to admit that I was always so jealous of the kids at school who REALLY could celebrate ....I wasn't allowed to eat the special green frosted cupcakes in 5th grade because I wasn't Irish and it still bugs me!  And now, more than 35 years later... after many late nights on Ancestry.com (just ask my husband, I was obsessed), I find out that I AM Irish!  Well, I guess my babbling brook makes up for lost cupcakes...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award!

I was so shocked to check in on Saturday to find that Cynthia from BeatnHeart had picked me for the Beautiful Blogger Award (and truth be told, I'm such a newbie I had never even heard about it!).   Blogging has been a fun journey for me and I'm thrilled that someone out there is happy that I'm sharing my inspirations!  I am honored and flattered, thank you Cynthia.

The rules of the Award:

#1 thank the person who gave you the award 
#2 share 7 things about yourself..
#3 pass the award along to 15 others.
#4 Contact the bloggers you picked and let them know about the award... 

Here it goes:

1.  I should have been born a lizard as all I want to do is lay in the sun... or play in the sun...or work in the sun.

2.  My husband is a Virgo Tiger and I'm a Virgo Horse... it's a great match!

3.  I've lived in California, Alaska, Louisiana, Paris, Bangkok and Islamabad (Pakistan).

4.  I love my houseplants and can't live without them...but I hate watering!

5.  I'm growning out my bangs for the second time in my life (I was born with bangs i think)... and it's driving me crazy.

6.  I got my first speeding ticket at 16 while driving my dads white '67 Pontiac GTO at a speed over 100 mph while eating a hamburger ...showing off to my first boyfriend.

7.  I am truly blessed in every area of my life.... knock on wood!

My pics for BBAward (i'm only picking 10...)

1.   cobaltviolet
2.   eye poetry
3.   studio jeweler
4.   such and such
5.   erin pettit designs
6.   hidden in france
7.   5 precious things
8.   la porte rouge
9.   my castle in spain
10. rare bird

Monday, March 15, 2010

More rainbows

I just can't help myself... spring is almost here and I am consumed with color!

I want share an amazing artist I just came across.  Her name is Yuko Adachi and her use of color is intoxicating!


Another emerging talent is Benjamin Herring, 4 year olds.  He has a creative eye and loves photography....... and is showing promise! (these are NOT cropped)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Monica Ros School Fundraiser


Tomorrow night is the annual art auction fundraiser for Monica Ros School in Ojai, the sweetest elementary school you can imagine.... little stucco cottages nestled under the oaks, fabulous caring teachers, lots of art and music.  We are very fortunate to have our little guy attend (and his big sisters years ago)...  it is a little slice of heaven. Every year, the school has a theme to encourage the students to learn about something historical.  This year, the theme is The Renaissance.   To benefit the school, I have donated the precious metal clay necklace above..... which seems to reflect the schools theme I think!  I'm excited to see how high the bidding will go..... I'll let you know!

You might want to see what the pendant looks like in its original design, before the hole was cut in the center and hung beneath.....see my earlier post "Mandala Meditation".

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Arbolada Rainbow - White

Today is the last posting for the Arbolada Rainbow and though you may not realize it, white IS a color! And though the Chinese may associate white with death (maybe it's because people see white light at the end of the tunnel??), most colors associate white with purity and goodness.  

When I was growing up, I was told that if I ever felt afraid or ill, I should visualize myself wrapped in white light which is supposed to protect one from negative energies.  Through many personal experiences, I have come to believe this to be true.   I feel that white light is pure positive energy..... pure love.  Why do you think so many people lay on the beach or grass and soak up the rays?  It feels fabulous! 

I love.....

cumulus clouds
white linen
Soft lambs wool
white sand
vanilla ice cream
ice cold milk
bubble bath
fluffy white towels
Santa's (or Grandpa's) beard!
polar bears
big toothy smile

What else??????

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Arbolada Rainbow - Blue, Indigo, Violet


Blue ... peace, calm, purity, loyalty, truth
Indigo ... solitude, insight, contemplation
Violet ... nobility, wisdom, enlightenment

Throat ... Third Eye.... Crown 

Communication ... Imagination & Intuition ... Wisdom

clear skies
sea urchins

"Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight"
John Ruskin

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Arbolada Rainbow - Sage



I just got home from my fabulous yin yoga class with my lovely glowing teacher, Lisa Luckenbach.  This morning I walked into class and the air was filled with the scent of burning sage.  I find the smell so relaxing and comforting for some reason.  In Ojai, there are several different species of sage (Salvia is the botanical name) that grow wild in our hills. White sage is the type that can be picked for bundling and smudging (once it's dry) and is used for physical and spiritual healing by helping release negative energy.

There were no wild sage plants to photograph on my neighborhood walk but many plants that share the beautiful color with sage..... blue fescue, cabbage, succulents, silvery olive trees, giant agaves.  Along with the scent of this plant, I find the color soothing as well.... I even chose it for my bedroom draperies and pillows!

Last but not least, the word sage comes from the latin word "salvus" which means "healthy".... and it sounds pretty close to the word "salvation" as well!  So it makes sense that the physical and spiritual healing of sage ...... and a good night's sleep..... bring health and salvation!