Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Contest and Sale and Love - OH MY!!!!

Enter to win the Heirloom Orphan Ring!!! - Leave a comment: tis all!!

This is a big big deal, ladies and gents. A big huge, pass-it-down-to-your-children-deal...

Contest closes October 31st at 7:00 PM Pacific Time

Sale in the Metal Shop ends October 29th at 7:00 PM Pacific Time - be sure to mention the video for your 20% discount!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mama's Got Three Brand New Bags

1. Robins in the Nest - someone so near and dear to my heart read the blog, fell in love and is now going to receive the bag.
I shall blog about her and her sister, whom my sister and I call 'cousins' because we love them so freaking much.

If you're reading, S, the back is finished and it makes me so tender-hearted that I know you'll be happy :) I just know it!!!

2. A long-awaited custom order from several custom cycles ago: I am too thrilled about its progress!

3. A double koi clutch, which will have a piece of stone inlaid between the beauties: I think they'll be spotted koi. Yup.

And yet I don't know what the stone should be: any suggestions?

When I am making bags all other things go by the wayside.

If I could express how hard it is to make one bag, let alone three it would be a modern dance piece full of long arms and barrel rolls, in which I spell out the word "oof" with my gestures in seven different languages.

I love modern dance.

But more than loving modern dance, I love making bags. It takes all my concentration, and yet the tasks are deceptively simple:

trace patterns
punch holes
punch holes
tool (ha ha ha this word should have seven syllables, as it takes forever - 'tool' sounds so amazing and short for what it really is - long as the day is lovely!)
set stone
loudly and soulfully sing Celine Dion songs (sorry neighbors!)*
listen to Chopin waltzes*
get weepy to the sound of Andy Williams*
dance to Stevie Wonder in between finished steps*
show husband progress every day

(*during all of the above bag steps)

and so here I am in the middle of these processes somewhere for two of the bags, the koi clutch is yet a baby and I am deciding what fabric to line it with: so exciting!

Right, Jones?


Wink ;)


Monday, October 25, 2010

Lost and Found Days

There are days where you start late
even though you woke early
Miss your favorite yoga class
end up in a tears over something small
and sit, defeated.
For hours.

Bits of grace can shine on days like this,
oh yes I know it is the truth
because even though I didn't get to the post office as planned
the post brought my solace:

I hold on to this rock
and remember she whose hands crafted its art...

I meditate on the One who brought sand and silt and water and earth together
and made a vessel out of a human dove
so that my heart could be mended
from across the miles
under this wing.

There is magic in her hands, my friends - you might do well to be healed a bit, too.



Eclipse Stone in sterling, 1 inch square studs - dramatic in size, light in weight.

Mojito Earrings: onyx and vintage glass beads with turquoise ends!

The most stunning opaque ocean jasper post earrings: 1 1/3 inches long with whimsical details along the bottom edge...

And my personal love, the turquoise teardrops....

in this batch of earrings, I played around with the length of time I left them in their Liver of Sulfur bath: the first color that comes over the metal is yellow, then red and then blue and finally the blue-grey that I most often use:

In every pair of earrings this week there is a bit of color: in the seams you can see swaths of red, blue....

I wanted to have everything come alive a bit more, dance with the stones I chose....

I am so excited and inspired by the result!!!!

In the Metal Shop today!!!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Orphan Ring

Are you my mother?

A stunning collector's Laguna Agate cabbed by MOI, set into a sterling canvas full of granules and sprouts and growing things.... (the sterling is unoxidized and clean in the picture above: try picturing it as a finished piece, with my usual gorgeous dramatic light-to-dark of blackened sterling brushed well.)

This is likely the last Rainbow Laguna I will set for a very, very long time as I have a tiny amount of the material left.

In this cabochon you can see a rainbow.....clear gemmy yellow and a pinkish outer edge, followed by the lightest sage green banding, orange, cherry red, light salmon, grasshopper green and a middle tone of light lavender chalcedony.

Send me a convo in the Metal Shop if she belongs to you: can be made in any ring size!


Friday, October 22, 2010


Dearest Ladies,

This week I picked up several packages at the post office, received a heaping helping of cards from friends and family for the birthday and generally felt a
surplus of love pouring in from continents near and far via digital missives and Facebook wall posts.

It fills me with a gratitude so big that I scarcely believe it can fit into this little body and heart of mine.

"Plunge Boldly into the Thick of Life"
-- Goethe

That is the quote on the front of one of the cards the usps brought my way today and I am taking this opportunity to say "I will!" and to encourage you to do the same this lovely Friday, this weekend and beyond.

Let's live big, beautiful, compassionate lives full of love and generosity together!

Know that I am so grateful every day to read your stories on your own blogs and to have a sense of community that comes alive with electricity and trickles beautifully into physical life until the steady flow of friendships are evident all around us:

what on earth did I do to be so lucky?
To what do I owe this creative life full of love?

I'll just let the mystery be, as Iris Dement would say, and silently send you each and every one a big slice of gratitude as rich as tres leches cake and just as sweet.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Sale in the Metal Shop


Simply Complex

A gorgeous dome and a gently asymmetrical piece of rather outrageously beautiful Boulder Opal from Australia....
cabbed by yours truly

Working with opal makes me feel most tied to the earth because so much of the matrix is just that: a fine, silty dirt that shears off in water with this grace and muddy wonder....

underneath there is a layer of opal, whose depth is unknown: grind or polish too far down and you lose your best fire.

It is a lot like gambling and it makes the heart race to cab boulder opals.
Under the water I am sure I was sweating when the green fire emerged from this stone....

"If she makes it, I promise a simple, elegant setting," I mused as I spent time on the 1,200 wheel.

And so, here we are: a small, sweet silver package for a stupendous stone.

Size 8, in the Metal Shop this evening.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Dear Ladies,

A quick note for you while Allison is sleeping (appallingly, I might add) in the hideous yellow-walled 'room' through the kitchen - God knows how I'm even working this dadgum contraption you kids call 'modern technology', but here I am, typing like an underpaid secretary.

I read your obtuse and doltish comments yesterday and today and found myself compelled to leave 'posts' after each one that said, "MEDIOCRE".... or "INEFFECTIVE" - just that; simple one-word responses to your mockery of my job as inner critic for this useless blonde artist woman I have been assigned to for life.

(and ohhhh, how long life really is...)

I didn't come to this job as an I.C. without a tremendous resume to back up my scathing performance reviews - no!!! Why, I've had a lifetime of thumbing my nose at poor quality!!

When I was but a lad of three my mother put a bowl of chocolate pudding before me in my high chair, pudding I had watched her make (how in earth this gruel took three hours to create I will never understand) in the kitchen over the tops of my misshapen wooden blocks, 'playing' as all children are required to do.....

She laid out a small spoon on a pathetically folded napkin and said, "Chocolate pudding, Munson!" while her eyes positively dripped with ham-fisted anticipation.
I took a bite: watery, drab and completely lacking a certain "Je ne sais Quoi" that chocolate pudding must have to be considered edible....

Lacking the ability to form these complicated and terribly French words, I managed to spit out "BAD!" Fair, honest, upright.

As I watched the color rise to my mother's disappointed cheeks, I knew I was destined be a critic for the rest of my days, for better or worse.

Some things are meant to be, as warbles the buffoonish "King" of rock and roll, the overrated Elvis, he of overdose and fried sandwhich fame...

So foist your fedoras and mundane cocktails on another, less concise and discerning old man: I know if I continue to show you 'creative types' the error of your ways in bothering to 'craft' anything the rest of us can get along more efficiently for the lack of noise and distracting sight gags you call art. And music.


Good Day, Pedestrian Amateurs,
Munson the I.C.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Necklace for When You Lose Your Path, Artist Edition

Ah, the dreaded Creative Block: writing, quilting, woodworking, what have you, we all get blocked from time to time and likely everyone always feels like this time it is really really never going to go away....

that we will live out the rest of our art-less days pining for the elusive Muse, who has gone from Goddess to Withholding Harpy in the course of this angst....

Every idea feels like a failure and every initial triumph gets deemed "Mediocre" by the middling internal critic.

A note on my internal critic: His name is Munson, and he is a short man in his seventies with pure snowy white hair and this uncanny knack for standing up in the middle of my vocal performances to deliver a monotone, "Boooooo......."
He wears thick black glasses and a shapeless grey suit.
I am still working on ways to make peace with him, trying to figure out a way of putting him to work that appeases both of us simultaneously.
If you have any ideas, do let me know - he's a DOOZY!!!!

I made this necklace for those times, with a combination of elements meant to ward off despair and stop you from rending your garments and gnashing your teeth.

The first piece in the puzzle is the quiet mind from which ideas can and DO spring.
5-15 minutes of earnest meditation done two times daily (or even one if there's no time) will markedly improve not only outlook, but also gives room for good ideas to see and take root.

Never have I seen a cabochon that embodies these principles before this month: can you believe it? Dendritic Agate with a clear "head" space and a series of gorgeous dendritic inclusions resting on top of the cranium like so many artistic urges bursting out into the world!

Holy Moley.
We are off to a good start!!!!

Secondly we have this clear green luminous gem Chrysoprase to act as a lantern, clearing the way before us, ensuring that we can work no matter if it is day, night or the in-between grey times.

Shine on, little piece of Australia!!!!

Lastly we have the most macabre part of the design: a trio of scuffed and worn skulls.

These skull represent the trinity of unHoly muck:

Fear of the Judgment of Others

Together they are a quicksand recipe, once slain they are a trio of bones you wear knowing that your mighty powers mean their demise, over and over again, no matter how powerful they purport to be:


forever and ever amen.

In the Metal Shop this evening.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lucky Strike

I am not a joiner.
It is an accurate forecast to say that I will never be part of a group, organization or gaggle in the way that others may wish to be: I am a hermit;
A loving, caring big-hearted hermit, but being secreted away with a goal or an artistic vision is one of my most favorite things in the world.

My husband and I are the same that way, and that is why our union is so blissful: we know when to give space, when to come together to discuss, celebrate or laugh.

Lapidary helps me shake off the fear that my way of living life is less than healthy:
solitary time with rocks (and Steve on Wednesdays, a bit of socializing!) makes me feel like I did when I was a kid playing with Legos, building something amazing...

I feel closer to God, who made all of these beautiful things you see in these pictures: Lucky Strike Agate from Oregon, where rock hounds go when they die.
Technically the descriptions of the colors you see can be given using molecular charts, mineral content reports and geological surveys
but you cannot tell me for one second it's not also PURE miracle.

I may never see plume agate like this again in my lifetime, though I can surely hope.
Do a google search of any kind of 'thunderegg' and you may see some prized Pridays, and surely a lot of Oregon eggs, but there may never be anything like these moss and plumes:
taken in sunlight
the slabs wet with water
a very accurate picture of what the colors will be when the rock is cabbed.

The plumes will change: grinding the edges down and doming the rock will alter the picture and bring out different colors you never thought you'd see: with every cabochon there are moments of "Darn!" and
as the picture changes from what you originally intended.

Nature is nothing if not constantly changing: why should lapidary be any different?

This is not the slab I will be cabbing first: I am not trying to throw anyone off, I just want the results to be a surprise...
this will at least help you understand why the resulting jewelry will not be a monetary 'deal' - this is the real deal stuff of legends here.

I may not be good in crowds
I may be wary of the things groups of women and men gather to discuss
and I might not be the first person to go to the mall with a friend

but I can see God in the rocks
and that makes it all feel ok.

With this post I feel compelled to ask you to support your local lapidary artists: there are so many mass-produced cabs out there on Etsy and every other conglomerate website -
it warms my heart when my fellow bloggers speak of their 'local cab supplier' or some of my dear lapidary inspirations on Etsy
... it means the hearts and hands of the men and women to whom rocks sing are
making at least part of their living from it, and that makes my soul glad.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Waking Up...

To a new season

To Wallpaper from a bygone era

textural richness

To remembering the beauty that can be found in looking down

up up up

and slightly underneath...

Waking up to touch

and exuberance
(the woman you see in this picture is none other than The Dove, whose artful life is well documented at the link, whose very presence reminds me how lucky I am to know her and whose height is so great that my great leap above barely touches her willowy peak!!!
She documented our meeting here, and it would be redundant to post pictures of our playdate from my lovely camera when Pierre lustily captured it with panache!!
Our time together was just so sweet, so full of heart...I cherish its memory already!!!)

to friendship's climbing vine
(isn't she the beautifullest? Gosh!)

I woke up to the redwoods in the LadyBird Grove

And the clouds traveling through gave us a light show that I've never seen the likes of before.
My joy was audible.

On our way out of town my husband and I stopped by Glass Beach and he found me two HUGE hunks of red beach glass, true red, the rarest of the rare.
(this is why I love him: He searches for beach glass the way he lives his life:
he knows what to find and he goes for it with all his might. He innovates, he excavates and all the while he astounds me. That's my man, baby!!!)

I found beautifully battered 70-year-old metal pieces for a dear sister-friend of mine
and enough beach glass and shells to refill my color palate



On my way up I was lucky enough to come across a few slabs of Lucky Strike Agate with plumes whose colors I cannot even describe....
angelskin coral comes to mind,
rose petals....

I will post some slab pics in the coming days
and in the coming weeks I will be cabbing a few and making them available first-come-first-serve-no-pre-reserving or anything:
these are ONCE in a lifetime pieces of agate
and they will be worth a king's ransom.

I will give plenty of notice when I post them.

Tomorrow is my birthday (and anniversary) and I will be spending it doing Tibetan Heart Yoga in the morning, slabbing with Ed and cabbing with Steve during the day
and in the evening I will return home and
my Schmilly, grateful ever to be his wife, one year older and wiser.

Love you,

Thursday, October 14, 2010



The Moon and the Sun necklace:
Moss agate with gorgeous white 'moon' orb
and a copper sun on the back, against your winter skin: warmth!

My beautiful original volcano necklace with a sweet little piece of Mexican Fire Agate: don't let the camera fool you: it's rich with subtle green, red and purple fire.

Little sterling granules along the edge of the mouth...

Luxe chain and a wonderful open design: lots of circles in this piece!!!

Both will be in the Metal Shop this evening and then I depart for Arcata and Agate Cove so that Anthony and I can have a little getaway together: it's our two-year anniversary and we are sorely in need of a featherbed or two after an action-packed few months.

Viva la relaxation!!!

Love you,

Your Wife

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Orphan Ring


Are you my mother?

This above is an unfinished ring, rich with vines and gorgeous green prehnite and California's own state rock, Serpentenite.

It can be made in any size, with a band that says anything at all.

I just feel this is for someone specific and I didn't want to size it without giving her a chance to claim what is hers.

Please feel free to convo me should this beautiful orphan be yours.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


The Peas to my Carrots left early this morning for Minneapolis....
I miss her like crazy already, but I find comfort in the fact that we had four days
of uninterrupted sisterhood
and we made some of the best memories I will tuck away in the bank for a rainy day.

your little seeeeeester loves you :)