Sunday, December 9, 2012


And you thought Jenga was just a balancing act.  Well, when a 7 year old is bored you never know what they will come up with. Tonight, we watched as Jenga became art.  All his idea too.   I prompted him to do more that his original (first photo) and he was game.  He even took most of the photographs though I did crop them.  It was his idea to use the Instagram filters and turn them black and white.  My little guy is really getting the artsy eye!  I then uploaded them to the computer for a little additional contrast/boost and voila.... 


......or maybe we should call it


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fall in Paradise

Yes, this is Paradise... Paradise, California.  There IS such a place and it IS a paradise.  If you haven't heard of it, not to worry.  Just drive about 2 hours north of Sacramento, and between Oroville and Chico you will find this little beauty.  Lots of pines, lots of oaks, lots of maples, lots of sycamores, lots of nice folks.  And lovely colors this time of year.  These were taken on Thanksgiving while visiting my in-laws... in their front yard.  I hope you are enjoying fall while it's here as it's almost over!

Lovin' Labradorite and Labradoodles

I've said it before....I LOVE labradorite!  
Not sure if I've said it before .... I LOVE labradoodles!
.... see below for the contrasting beauty of both species.

According to, labradorite was discovered near a town called Nain in Labrador, Canada though usually mined nowadays for jewelry quality in Madagascar.  And the labradoodle dogs "ancestors originated on the island of Newfoundland, now part of the province of Labrador, Canada."
 Has anybody ever been to Labrador?  Sounds like a pretty nice place to me.

My cousin saw the combo above (a labradorite briolette, my floral "shield" pendant and tiny faceted labradorite beads) before I put it all together and said I'll take it!
Thanks Cuz!  
So if you're down near San Diego way and you see this on a pretty know who it is : )
Which brings me to say that I will be making another soon.... if any of ya'll are interested let me know!  
And, I have just had a mold made of my pmc pendant below so now I can have lost wax casting made in sterling.  I'm thinking of experimenting with castin in gold too.  I need to hold my breath when I ask for the quote!

And if you're in Ojai, California and you see these funny looking pups... please don't be afraid.  Their bark is just them sayin' hello.  Their names are Stella (red) and Lucy (cream)... mother and daughter.  No, these are NOT their beds .... though they sometimes think otherwise!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Summer was fast, furious and fun.  Not much creating or lounging but lots of adventures, lots of taxi-cabbing for a small boy, lots of birthday and birthday party planning for August... a 7 (son), a 21 (daughter), a 50 (hubby), a 70 (mom) and a 75!(mom in law). My wedding anniversary was somehow in the middle of all that too.  Summer was over in the snap of my fingers.

I'm still busy as usual but ever since school has started back up a couple of weeks ago, I've actually had a little me time. I think I may have said that last September.   I've been creating in my studio while enjoying my new windows...yay!!! I've been walking ... yay!!! I've been meditating... yay!!!  And, I celebrated my birthday with my dear friend Dana at Lotusland.... yay!!!  

Here are a few pics (I love Instagram) from this truly amazing enchanted property in Montecito near Santa Barbara.  But if you are interested in going there, you must make advance reservations.  Created by Madame Ganna Walska (1887 - 1884), Lotusland has the most spectacular botanical gardens I've ever seen... especially the cactus gardens.

"As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world."

~ Buddha ~

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Huntington Gardens ... a shared experience

My sister Lucinda and I are both artists, we both have blogs (hers is cobaltviolet), we both enjoy photography and we often go on outings together.  After most of these excursions, I often find myself getting a post together to find out that she has beat me to it and blogged on the same subject with very similar photos.  Oiy vey!  (spelling anyone??)  As we have some of the same followers I sometimes just pass on posting the same basic story.  But not today!  I'm not going to go on about how fabulous the Huntington Library in Pasadena is and how amazing the gardens... I 'm just going to post a few of my favorite images from our day a few weeks back.  If you want to know more about our trip, check out my sister's blog posts....  She took some great photos of the gardens and paintings and is quite prolific on this subject.  But I am proud to say it was my idea that she start a blog...  I'm glad she took my advise for once!

I will say that it's the Chinese and Japanese gardens that keep me coming back.....

I'm cracking up right now....I was just looking for a quote on gardens and I found this one on!!!

"Eventually my goal is get a place in Ojai where I can have animals and a big garden. Just drink wine all day and hang in my garden."
~Michelle Branch~

.....maybe I ought to call her over for a glass of wine?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Santa Barbara Tide Pool Treasures

It seems my jewelry career has been put on hold lately with so many school activities, household obligations and making plans for summer activities.  It's all good and my creative juices will just have to be bottle up for awhile to age like fine wine. I am enjoying this time with my little guy and I'm  goin' with the flow.

This last Tuesday, a caravan of parents, first graders and teachers journeyed up to Hope Ranch beach in Santa Barbara to enjoy the beautiful weather and explore the tide pools.  We were fortunate to go to this private beach as one of our teachers just moved there and will sadly not be returning to our little Ojai school next year.  The kids had a surprise waiting for them at the shore....they each were given a beach bucket filled with a sand shovel, flower lei (and real grass skirts for the girls), seaweed snacks, goldfish snacks and a beverage.  Thank you Mrs. Stovesand!  We had a fun day of exploration and treasure hunting.  The kids saw shore crabs, hermit crabs, sand crabs, star fish, sea anemones, limpets, mussels, lots of seagulls and a few other creatures which names escape my memory at the moment.  During lunch we even spotted some dolphins! We came home with a nice collection of sea glass and shells as souvenirs along with tar covered feet. And I found a bunch of rocks with holes in them... my favorite.  I love to use them to tie onto gifts with ribbons or hang with leather cord for necklaces.  I might even play with aboriginal type dot art on them for wearable art. The adults had as much fun beach combing as the children. Below you can see some of the bootie we brought home... and made a little art display for daddy. 

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.  
~Isak Dinesen~

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Amazing Beverly Black Harris

Beverly Black Harris celebrated her 90th year on March 1st.  She is by far, the youngest 90 year old I have ever meet, seen or heard of.  She was born in 1922 in Maricopa, California.... her father was an oil driller and her mother was a writer.  She spent her early teen years during the depression living in one room with her mother and father in Los Angeles.  She married at sixteen and had four daughters by the age of 26.  She worked the gas station my grandfather owned, cooked, cleaned and sewed all her daughters clothes.  While her daughters were growing up she also managed to act, sing and design costumes for the local theater.  At 36 years old, she was a grandmother and now has a total of 9 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.  When anyone has been in need, her house has always had an open door ... for a day, a month or a year.  She was married more than 50 years until my grandfather passed away.  She is also an amazing artist... paints and draws ..... donating her time and artwork for local fundraisers.  She survived cancer ten years ago and hasn't sat still since.  She still plays the guitar and sings with her 95 year old boyfriend, Monty.  She is a strong, loving, spiritual, creative, beautiful, talented woman whom I admire immensely.  I am lucky to call her my grandmother!

Beverly at 12 in Los Angeles during the Great Depression

Beverly at 14 in 1936

Beverly's glam shot

We celebrated her birthday last weekend in Ojai.... 

Beverly and daughters

"A house needs a grandma in it. "
 ~Louisa May Alcott~

"If nothing is going well, call your grandmother. "
~Italian Proverb~

**Ojai photos courtesy of Jeff and Beth Underdahl....thank you sweet cousins!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Winter Holiday in London - Conclusion

Day Three -
My last day in London was spent at the British Museum.  Again, there was so much to see that I barely skimmed the surface.  I made a bee line to the ancient gold jewelry of the Minoans and Mycenaeans, then through the sculptures of the Parthenon into ancient Assyria, Egypt and Mesopotamia.  Of course, this is where I always go, creature of habit that I am.  This time I took photos and notes.  There is a special energy in these rooms which I cannot explain but is definitely awe inspiring.  After browsing the antiquities, I had a fabulous lunch in the upper atrium cafe which included the most beautiful caesar salad I've even seen then off to browse the fabulous bookshop.  As I was leaving I walked quickly through a room filled with Native American antiquities as I was late for a meeting....Ohhhhhhhhh....had I known!  There are so many more treasures yet to see.  Maybe someday I will live in London for a time just so I can see every inch of this magnificent museum.  I ended the day with a visit to a  dear high school friend who is a full time resident in the UK and her delightful business partner and friend .... a great end to a lovely trip.

I took more photographs than I can share here but here are some highlights....

atrium at British museum

gold & carnelian necklace from Cyprus 1400BC

Minoan earring from Crete 1850-1550BC

Aphrodite 2nd cent. AD Roman

flying eagle necklace from Turkey 1400BC

goddess Hathor 1400BC Egypt

Nebamun, Hatshepsut & daughter hunting the marshes 1400BC

Egyptian limestone game "mehen" 2890BC

Egyptian faience necklace

Assyrian limestone letter and envelope 1850BC

funerary headdress & necklace from Ur 2500BC

Pheonician carnelian & gold necklace from Tarros Sardinia 500BC

Hellenistic oak wreath from Turkey 350BC

"If you are truthful you will have as much gold as you want."
~ Greek proverb ~