Thursday, July 30, 2009

Black and White, Cha-Cha-Cha

Wow -- I was looking for something totally unrelated and in my hunt discovered this cha-cha beauty! Funny, when I made this bracelet a thousand years ago, it seemed really BIG, even for me; and today, it looks just perfect. Guess it is all relative and perhaps I was a bit before the trend on the really big jewelry.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mermaid Dreams

This hotter than hot weather, yes, it is 104 in this part of the country, is making me long for my long-ago-life at the beach. I'm telling you, if I was anywhere near the ocean, a river, or a pool of water of any type, I would jump in, clothes and all. Of course, this longing for cool shores was boosted when my brother-in-law sent me a video of a surfer in Huntington Beach catching the perfect ride at the U.S. Open (surfing not tennis) a few days ago.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Rare Moment in Time

Since I had just finished nine new necklaces, I figured it was a good time to step away from the studio for a break. When I came back to it -- I took one look and tried to remember when the tornado had run through the place. As I work, the area gets loaded down with "stuff." While I like a clean work area -- I have never been one of those designers who spends more time cleaning than creating.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tiny Treasures and Eclectic Mixes

A while back I took a pix of the flowers on the table in front of the sofa from above looking down. Today I was going through some old files and when the image popped up on the screen I saw much more than the flowers. You see, that table houses a collection of small treasures that take me to different places and times in my life. Let's see -- rocks (yes, rocks) from Central Park in NYC; a strange flip-out kind of extension ruler that was my dad's way back when -- I remember playing with it "carefully" as a kid; my dad's wallet which still holds his stuff (wow, I wasn't prepared for the tears); an amazing purple blown glass ornament/ball -- a gift from Bubbles, a dear friend in NYC; a beautiful tooled leather wallet that belonged to a friend's mom, sand dollars from the different beaches I called home, a very small photo of the windows of a cottage on Nantucket Island; a photo of a bundled up me (it was December) and Agatha in Central Park in front of the scary London Plane tree (these trees always remind me of those in the animated film Fantasia) with the rooftops of Fifth Avenue in the background (that was the day I met Mike Nichols and Diane Sawyer on Madison Avenue and yes, we actually had a conversation in that "only in New York" kind of way); a Baccarat crystal heart from an old beau, a small photo of an "always" love hugging my little Norwich, Agatha, in NYC; vintage spools from woolen mills in New England that now serve as candleholders; and, a photo of a dear sister-friend and her big ol' love of a dog. I think that about does it. I look at each tiny treasure and I am immediately taken to that moment in time. While it might look like a hodge-podge of stuff to others -- to me it reflects much of what has crossed my path, helping to create the person I am today. Hm-m-m, a little philosophical today.

I realized that I do like little snippets of life and tiny things. I have always believed that life happens in moments and that's where I like to put my attention. I think that is why I love designing and making jewelry -- I get to use lots of pretty little things, stringing them together to make pretty bigger things! Kind of like life -- little moments that mix with other little moments, adding up to make a totally great experience.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Surprise in Purple

I walked around the house today on a side that isn't my normal path -- wow! Look what was there waiting for me. And, wasn't a spider, although I am quite sure there are many living just beyond my line of sight in that exact spot. Thank goodness I wasn't wearing my glasses. The surprise was a good one -- this glorious clematis (would the plural of that be clematii?) in full bloom, climbing up a trellis and spilling over the roof. Of course, I had to run inside and get my Blackberry so I could capture their beauty. It is just too hot out there to get shots with the "good" camera and since my BB camera seems to do a good job, I just went with it. Then I thought it would be cool to crawl around on the ground and get a pix of the tiniest little fuchsias in the world -- I think they call these Tinkerbell fuchsias. The entire blossom is only about one inch long; and since my uncle and dad have always called me Tinker, I like anything that reminds me of that. If you look closely, the inside petals look like deep purple velvet.

Okay, I admit, I am a bit of a purple freak but in a quiet kind of way. I never thought about it much before, but I am drawn to things purple -- like flowers and gemstones and glass beads. I don't think I have any purple clothes, at least that I can think of now; but I do have a Rebecca Moss purple business card holder that I got in NYC many moons ago. Oh, and I do have a pair of purple reading glasses. And, I do have a dogtooth amethyst bracelet similar to the one shown here. When I found these gemstones in Tucson I had to grab all the vendor had left. I don't see this gem that often and when I do I get giddy! And, I hear that purple is a BIG fashion color for the fall-winter seasons. Giddy?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Making Hay While the Sun Shines!

Yesterday evening was the raking, baling and stacking event for the grass seed acreage that surrounds the Beck Farm, the name I have given my friends' place just on the other side of town. I get such a kick out of watching the different equipment used to get the various jobs done. Clever engineers out there somewhere. I'm geeky enough to enjoy those "How It's Made" shows on Discovery and watching it first hand is nifty. Did I just say "nifty?" Yesterday's process followed the cutting, the threshing, the loading and hauling of full trailers of grass seed (yes, large trailers that hook on to a truck) that took place a few days earlier. It's amazing, the equipment arrives like a swarm of bees and in a few hours they have about 60 acres complete and then the team moves on to the next field on the the long list. And, yes, they travel to the next job on the street, so pity the fool that gets stuck driving behind them at two miles an hour. Now that the baling is complete another team will come in and cut the grass very low and the whole process starts again for next year. It's a busy (and dusty) time here for anyone involved with farming.

That includes the dogs who went wild all evening -- running up and down the fences of the property making sure that those "monsters" stayed on their side of the fence. Needless to say, little Beatrix has been zonked all day -- but I think by providing the "back-up" all week for Missy, her sister at the farm, little Bea is finding her girlish-figure again. Maybe I should take a page from her book...tomorrow!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Peek at Things to Come

I had a ball on Thursday at the offices of a fairly new publication, Willamette Woman. Marion, the editor of the magazine, invited me to be the focus of a really fun feature they do in every issue called "In the Bag: Peek in a Purse." Of course, I was thrilled to be asked. I showed up and was taken down to the basement of the Statesman Journal offices in Salem where they have a little photo studio set up. Little did I know they were going to take my bag from me and unload it on the tabletop! YIKES. Luckily, I have a fairly organized messenger bag since one of my pet peeves is to see a woman pawing through her bag looking for something. My way of avoiding that is to have everything inside placed in a variety of smaller bags -- from my Lisa Jenks wallet I bought at Barney's way back when to celebrate a new job, to a Walker bag I bought when I lived in Mill Valley to a beaded frog bag I got off a street vendor in NYC. "Two dollar, two dollar, two dollar. Three for five." So, it really wasn't all that bad. It is interesting, though, to look at your personality through the things you carry in your bag/purse/backpack and how you organize or don't organize them. Anyhow, I also have a little pouch of "lucky" gems, rocks and beads that I carry with me -- they got photographed so will see where the editor goes with that. The issue doesn't come out until September -- and when it does, I will post an image least, I think I will. Guess I have to see the end product before I make that commitment!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Flip Side of the Coin

Yesterday when I went to get a new passport photo (poop, I look like a convict in the pix -- the photog tells me the rules have changed and you can no longer smile for your passport pix) I was again reminded of the rich and diverse history in this little community. This house sits in the middle of a short block of four magnificent old beauties (and I am not talking about the owners of the homes). I stopped to chat with one owner who was taking care of biz on the front huge wraparound porch. While I didn't ask when the house was built, my guess would be early 1890s -- it is a splendid work of art and a beautiful example of a renovation that I am sure took tons of blood, sweat and tears. One day I'll get the nerve to ask her for a tour. I discovered that the photog heads up the historical group here in town. So once I apologize for my grim behavior upon seeing my passport photo, I'll see if he can arrange a tour for me of the houses on the block, including the house that is now his photo studio.

I have long been fascinated by the jewelry worn by women during the Victorian era -- well, women of "means" that is. It was so intricate and most likely the design depicted some hidden message -- specific flowers had specific messages, for example. So romantic. Remember these were the days long before it was okay to shout "I love you" to your

beau standing on the
other side of the street! I wonder if the women who settled out west and lived in houses such as this brought their jewelry with them when they made the long journey out. The historical society here has some info but sadly many things aren't documented so I have no idea. If they did have it, I want to think it would be a scaled-down version of the "Victorian-inspired" necklaces and bracelet in these pix.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fields of Green

Seems to be a lot of sod-growing in this part of the country. You know, sod...the stuff you lay out in your yard to have an instant lawn. I pass several of these fields on the way to get berries. Just a few weeks ago the fields were brown and dry. I'm always a bit amazed at how quickly the grass grows and everything turns green. They are especially lovely when the high sprinklers are throwing sprays of water in the sunshine -- I tried to capture the rainbows here, but with the camera on my cell phone, some detail is lost. Janice, a friend of mine, always thought it would be neat to live next to a sod farm. All you would see for acres and acres and acres would be fields of green. Lucky her, she lives on a little farm on the other side of town -- surrounded by grass seed fields, so she kind of has the same effect, just a bit scruffier.

The Infamous Berry Shack

So, I ran to the Berry Shack to pick up my weekly fix of blueberries. Oh joy -- you can only imagine my excitement when I saw boysenberries lined up in their little boxes. Of course, I had to have a sample for good measure and came home with a few of those in my Boones Ferry Berry Farms box, too. When I was a little girl, way back when, my uncle Fred had boysenberries growing in the field behind his house. He would send us kids out there with waxed paper tubs -- kind of like the bucket you get when you buy popcorn at the movies. We would pick until our buckets were full. I remember eating more than what I put in my bucket. While he knew we were eating them all, he didn't care. He would give us a hard time but in a joking way.

Oh, and I just remembered Ruby's, the hip and happening malt place in town -- we used to go there and get Purple Cows. Some wonderful concoction of rich, creamy vanilla ice cream and fresh boysenberries. Ah-h, those were the days -- long before we thought about cholesterol and our weight. It was a simpler time, I suppose.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Something seems to be amiss with the dating function for my blog. Trust me, I didn't write all those posts on July 5th -- so hang tight while I try to figure things out. Seems to be a gremlin in the system somewhere. Hm-m wonder if she wears jewelry? And, if she does wouldn't see look lovely in this fire agate beauty?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Jasper Skies

Today the sky looked like jasper. Not sure which one; but silver mist comes to mind. Blue with mottled wispy white and gray. The cloud formations in this part of the country are interesting. I think it is because the "prairie" is so flat that the wind patterns mimic the land formations below so many times we get long flat-looking clouds. Please don't bet any money on my "scientific" explanation for these particular types of clouds -- especially if you find yourself in the Cash Cab in NYC.

I wanted to post a pix of a silver mist jasper design from the TRL inventory, but I realized that I had sold them all quite some time back. Inspiration hit! Do some new silver mist jasper First, though, I have some other "surprise" pieces to finish up, so I put the jasper "in line" on the workbench. Oh, I also discovered some Mexican Lace agate while mining my stash of gemstones. Now I am thinking that the sky looks like that rock as well. Could it be that I am going nuts -- seems that I see the essence of gemstones everywhere I look. I guess that is better than seeing images of Elvis...right?

Speaking of Cowboys

All this talk about rodeos and cowboys made me want to share a few photos done by my brother, the photographer extraordinaire. His photographs do so much more than just capture an image. Somehow he works his magic and captures the spirit of the subject. I think these two images are great examples of his gift. No Photoshop, no retouching, basically no fiddling with them -- just magic. To me, it always has been and always will be an amazing thing. Magic, that is.

Believe it or not, this grand creature is named Doodles. Don't you think he should have some mystical fairy tale name?

Yes, I Said Rodeo!

Solid proof that I was not stretching the truth when I said there were two, count 'em two, rodeos going on in neighboring towns. This results in a lot of horse trailer traffic, as horses and riders are shuttled from one rodeo to the other. This horse trailer, not only confirms my reporting; but it also gives those of you interested in attended the rodeo in Washington that appears to be coming up some contact info. It's funny -- while living in NYC the only animals I saw, besides dogs and squirrels (oh, and rats and mice) were the police horses and the animals that were used in the Radio City Hall Christmas Show. Strangely, walking to work one morning, right by Rockefeller Center I saw a camel being walked. Yes, a real live camel. So, I guess it is true what they say "New York has it's wildlife."

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth!

I feel like I should be posting a pix that represents the 4th of July -- but I have nothing like that in my photog file and it is much too hot to go out in search of something that fits the bill. So, I thought I would post a lovely image of one of my all time favorite Kazuri bead bracelets -- and, yes, it just happens to be red. A bit unusual for the 4th -- but lovely none the less. I spent the day yesterday mucking out my jewelry studio -- it gets a little out of control when I am working like a mad woman on the biz of jewelry. Guess what I found? More red Kazuri beads that I bought last year -- yes, last year. I am so excited as the red beads are getting more difficult to get. So there will be more red designs coming out of the studio soon. Meanwhile, there are a few available on my site so you might want to scoot over there and see if one might be just perfect to add to your collection. Hope you are all having a fun and safe day. Oh, did I mention I am loving the blueberries again today? Can a person eat too many I wonder?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Gatch House

On the way back from the blueberry farm this morning I decided to finally stop and take a quick pix of this building just a few blocks from where I live. I believe it is the Gatch house -- owned by an long-established family here in town. Today it serves as the Senior Art Center and Gallery. It's really cool -- just needs some horses, cowhands and all the acres back that used to surround it. The house stands on Boone's Ferry Road -- a main thoroughfare in the state. And, yes, i am told there actually was a ferry that crossed the Willamette River, in fact, I am thinking that it might still be there. The thing about Boone's Ferry Road is that no matter where you are in the state you can always cross Boone's Ferry Road -- a fact that was always confusing to me when I lived here all those years ago. You can close your eyes and point to anywhere in the state on a map and there's a good chance your finger will land on Boone's Ferry Road.

I always think it would be cool to be able to be transported back in time just for a day (or until I needed to take a shower) and see what life was like in this part of the country so many years ago. I hear stories of Native American settlements along the river from old-timers (well, they actually still call them Indian Settlements) and about the stagecoach stop in town and other great stories about the wild, wild west. Oh, and did I mention the two big rodeos going on in the neighboring towns of St. Paul and Mollala? Yes, i said rodeos. It is an interesting place this Pacific Northwest.