Thursday, August 29, 2013


We all go through valleys and hills with most everything in life, right?  friendships, work, mood, inspiration, self confidence - hills and valleys, right?  I go through this with my work a real lot.  Not so much with liking and disliking my work but feeling like I don't know what the hell I'm doing or why.  I have never been able to put a finger down on exactly what inspires me.  and that's always kinda bugged me, especially when my work mood is in a valley...some days I get bothered or worried about my work being all over the place, not super consistent in terms of look or theme.  I see other metalsmiths whose work is immediately identifiable and i'm a bit jealous of that.  But I get bored.  I am quite possibly the most inefficient worker on the planet earth.

rich, coffee colored druzy paired with a simple white agate.  
the back simply says "starry eyed" - for that day dreamer in you...

This is a good guess at what my typical work day looks like:

coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee.  In that order.
Evaluate where I left off yesterday
Look at my clip board for what needs to ship soon (I have the best of intentions at this point)
Start on the order needing to go out next
Barely get started on that and then start making a band for a ring I haven't even started
Dig through stones to see what might go on said ring, play around with design
Pick up the unfinished necklace from 3 days ago, try to sand off the solder that oozed off to the side
Answer one or two emails
Print one or two orders
Go back to current orders and start another one
Package up a smattering of finished orders and take them out to the mailbox
Finish the two orders I started
Make more coffee
Clean up my bench because its covered in steel wool dust
Photo a piece in progress and Instagram it
Start another order
Go back to the ring and make the bezel(s)
Go kiss Tom because he just got home
Make Tom come look at the unfinished pieces and have him tell me if I'm on the right track
Skitter around a bit more before I decide if I'm gonna work all night or go watch tv with my pack

I'm very much an - oh look, a quarter! kind of girl.  jump around, jump around!

 "Be gentle with me."  This might be one of my favorite pieces I've ever made.  
I am in love with the back (pictured above).  
The layers of silver and the banner of text...its just so personal, so raw.  And the bright white, large, matte finish agate has the stark quality that is such a contradiction to the text on the back - it just really feels like there is a secret hidden there...

I was not what anyone would consider and excellent student when I was in school.  Part of the problem was that what I was good at I was pretty darn good at, but what I was bad at, I really sucked at it.  My senior year I was in advanced placement English and MOCE (mathematics of consumer economics) aka how-to-use-your-calculator.  When I had to study for any of the subject I didn't relate to I would start by cleaning my room.  By the time I was done with that I was too tired to study and would go to bed.  That lovely practice has followed me into adulthood.  If you ever visit me and my home looks nice and clean and tidy, it's a safe bet I'm avoiding something.

My point: if I'm not feeling creative my day might begin with straightening, cleaning, and organizing my studio.

But this is how I work.  It used to bother me, but somewhere along the way I realized that if I force something from start to finish I almost always make bad choices.  But at the same time I envy people who start a big, project piece and work on it all day and complete it.  That day.  Wonder what that's like?

Oh my lordy lordy!  This druzy is like a big chunk of candy!  I dare you to not bite into it!  My friend Jaime Jo said it looks like a sno cone!  It so does!  It's frosty and sugary and I want to eat it up!  But it is all snuggled up in sterling silver and accompanied by a copper enameled leaf.  The back of this beauty says "rebel rebel" - I had the David Bowie song and the Billy Idol song in mind when I imagined this hunk 'o love.

Recently I was reading another artists blog and I had kind of an oh-my-goodness-I'm-not-a-loser moment! She said something about being bothered by not having a distinctive look to her work but then realizing that that's ok, that she is inspired by too many things.  It felt good to read that another artist who I admire feels worried sometimes.  And even has similar worries to my own.

I've made a couple of rings in this new buoy series that feel conservative to me.  
But I am guessing that to a lot of people there is nothing conservative about this ring...
but in my brain this is conservative.  
I imagine someone who wanting desperately to branch out wearing this ring.  
The band reads: "gracin' the edge".  It is absolute perfection for you - you know who you are!!! 
 You are trying so hard to push out of that comfort zone.  You are gracin' the edge!
The red in this carnelian is just ridiculous!

I'm starting to think, if i really stress my brain for an answer, My schizophrenic work might come from two parts boredom and one part being over inspired. Not that I am bored by my work per se...but some things do get a little repetitive This opens a door to another one of my perceived inadequacies - where my inspiration comes from.  I've tried being inspired by nature, its a no go.  By poetry, movies, my dogs, weather, books, relationships, food, a good pair of shoes, anything!! - nope.  I read about these other artists who go to art shows and botanical gardens, book readings and fundraisers and "draw my inspiration from the emotions that welled up when I saw the brush strokes of blah blah blah blah blah". Don't get me wrong, I might sound cynical but really I'm jealous.  I want to BE that person.  But I'm just so not.  I like poetry, I'm a nut for Anne Sexton, oh, and Rod McKuen, but I don't read it every day.  I love art, but never ever go to art openings or see anything new...that said I have been known to cry my eyes out in museums over works I thought I might never see in person.  In fact the de Kooning retrospective I saw at the MOMA a few years ago is in the top ten experiences of my life.  So why don't those things inspire me?  One night I was whining about this to Tom and he said, kinda matter-factly, "for you it's materials".  I thought about it for a minute and danged if he wasn't dead on.  It's totally why I skitter around, my hands need to touch different things. I see some vintage charm and I want to use it, I find some cool pastel at Jerry's art-o-rama and I build a whole necklace around that that color, I hear a brilliant song lyric and I need to slap it onto a bangle, I accidentally crush a druzy so I pour the crumbs into resin...none of it goes together.  At all.  Is that okay?  Maybe it is.  I guess what I'm happy about now is just learning, figuring out a little bit more about how I work, who I that I know it maybe I can figure out what to do with it...  and maybe, just maybe this new work of mine is heading somewhere...

Dragon's Vein Agate super simply set in sterling silver with the words "fire in my soul" mushed right onto the back - don't we all need to remember that burn, that yearning for something...

ps...... I'm planning to post all of these babies in the shop tomorrow morning, so if something is just begging to come live with you, stop by the store soon.

my lazy weekend. yeh right.

I had the best of intentions for a lazy weekend.  I had one order I had to finish but otherwise I was gonna relax!  But the thing is, things rarely go as intended...

I worked a bunch more than planned.  There was this large order to get out...
I think I've settled on this for my new packaging.  What do You think?  This was for a bride, all custom bangles.  Fingers crossed she likes them.

And I finally finished the fossilized sea urchin ring.  I made the bezel for this sweet creature weeks ago and it sat, patiently waiting for an inspired back plate and words that felt right...  I settled on *sing in the silence* for this baby.  The idea that there was once something alive about this is profound to me.  And I do believe she sings in this silence.
I cleaned my laundry room.
That is an understatement.
My parents bought a new washer and dryer and were kind enough to give us their gently used washer and dryer.  Sounds simple enough, right?  But if you have never moved a wash and dryer let me warn you: the space under which they sit is Ger-Ossssse!  Gross.  There was a paint scraper involved if that tells you anything.
And we had to raise a cabinet.  And I hadn't painted behind said cabinet.  So I found the paint in the garage and painted.  Then touched up several other spots around the room.  And then the paint dried.  And it was not the same color.  Lovely.
And then Tom hooked up the washer and dryer.  Started our first load.  And within a couple of minutes the entire drum of water emptied onto the floor.  Apparently the hose had popped out of the drain while wedging the dryer into place.  After throwing 172 towels onto the floor we pulled the washer out and I held it, teetering off the giant base that they sit on while Tom climbed behind it like a monkey to reroute the hose.
Mopping, lots of mopping came next.

And all the while I was battling some kind of infection that made me want to curl up on the couch knitting and watching West Wing.

So that was my weekend.  How was yours?

it took me a full four days to finish this post and now its almost the next weekend.  Lordy.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

happy birthday three Shews!

Ten years ago today I brought home five dogs the size of gerbils.  I'm not kidding, if anything they were smaller than gerbils.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was late in the evening, Tom and I were watching tv.  The Blue Dog phone rang...I let it go to voice mail because it was late, but I checked the message.  A semi hysterical woman was blathering on and on about how "I have these five puppies, they are 3 days old, their mom died, I can't take care of them, I have to go to work tomorrow!  I need someone to come and get them TONIGHT!"  Now normally I would be totally put off by someone demanding my help.  And I was put off.  But all I could think of was those puppies.

I got in my car and drove over.

I walked into the apartment and there was a box of mice.  I seriously thought someone was trying to pass off rodents as dogs.  As I got closer I could see that they were, in fact, some sort of miniscule dog.  Chihuahuas it turns out.  I would find out the next day that the largest one weighed 3 whopping ounces!

I asked the story and soon wished I hadn't.  Why oh why did I not just take the puppies and run?  Why?  But I asked.  Apparently there was some desire for a new car or something and "if my dog has more puppies maybe I could make enough to get a car!"  So apparently she bred and bred and bred her little chihuahua...poor tiny thing had six puppies.  Momma and one puppy died during the birth. 

I was so incensed.  I felt like I had to leave for fear the woman would start to see the steam pouring out of my ears.  It drives me bonkers when people don't realize that you are cleaning up thier mess.  They think dog rescue is some service provided by, I don't know, God or something, and that they are entitled to it.  Makes. Me. Nuts.  There was no "thank you".  It was like I was the post lady just round to do my job (that I'm not paid for by the way!).  I recognize that I am bitter and I am currently seeking help.  Moving on...

I got the babies home and Tom looked in the box, looked at me, looked in the box...I think we both thought there was no way we could keep them alive.  They were the size of a minute.  I'm not sure what we even did that first night...I guess cuckoo pants lady must've given us some milk...anyway, we were clueless.  There is quite a lot to know about raising motherless critters.  For example, did you know puppies do not poop and pee on their own?  I was painfully unaware of this fact before signing up for this task.  They also eat every two hours.  Well, when you have five puppies, by the time you've fed, weighed, pooped, and peed them all its already been two hours!!  For four weeks Tom and I would pass through the house like zombies, mindlessly relaying the details from the last feeding.  For four weeks we had to pack them up and take them everywhere we went: to work, to dinner.  every. where.  
And oh dear lord the smell.  My friend Natalie's son was still in diapers at the time and when he got his diaper changed he would giggle and say "shewie!" Well, our puppies were shewie!  They were 10x beyond shewie!  We began to say it so often that soon they were collectively called "the shews".  That seems real clever at 4am on an hour and a half of sleep by the way.

It's one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've ever done.

We lost one baby, sweet little Truvy, after three days.  But four of these darlings thrived.  My friend Lisa adopted the tiniest of the four, baby Ouiser (who she named Wittle). And then there were three.  And like the true idiots we are, we kept them all.  It was so danged emotional.  The thought of sending them away from us, from each other, from the only thing they was too much for me.  I know they would have been ok.  Better possibly.  But I was selfish.

So today we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of our three Shews.  Monkey Shew, Clishy Marie Shew, and Veruca Jane Shew.  My three little birds who add joy and laughter and a little aggravation to my life on a daily basis.  Happy day my Shews, happy day.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

a pile of random.

Observations from today:

My hands look old.  It's an interesting phenomenon if you'll let me explain.  My hands do not in fact look old.  I'm looking at them right now.  Not old.  However the minute I take a photo of a ring on my hand or I see a photo of my hand: olden, old, old lady, haggard hands.  When exactly did this happen?

Most everything adventurous sounds good to me the day before.  On the day of, said adventure almost always sounds utterly terrifying and I will back pedal like mad to get out of it.  I would like everyone to think I'm an adventurous person but I'm actually a scardy cat in sky divers clothing!
side note on adventure: 
depending on the day, adventure, according to the dictionary of Laura, could be anything from flying off to New York City to going to the grocery store.

I'm finding it fascinating the way the mind works.  For the past couple of months I have not felt like doing a lot of things that I used to do regularly.  Other things I'm doing way more.  For example, I used to cook almost every night and bake once or twice a week.  I would knock off work to go bake bread.  Now I will look up and it's nine o'clock and my poor husband looks faint and I'm like, "huh?"  I just have not felt like being in the kitchen.  Conversely I could put a cot in the studio and work around the clock.  Wonder why our bodies or minds drop off or pick up on things when times are tough?  Any psychology majors out there that wanna tell me what's up with my noggin?

White tile in a house with 12+ dogs is just dumb.

Rain is to Texas as a unicorn is to, well, reality.  
The other night we heard this odd sound and ran outside to see water falling from the sky.  My mom and I stood there going, "can you see it?" "I hear it but I can't see it". "Oh wow, yeh, there it is!  Yep, it's raining!"

Lovely post lady: could you do me a solid and just pick a time that you will swing by my house?  Not a specific time, just a general time.  Morning, mid day, afternoon...I ran to my mailbox five times yesterday, after packaging each order for fear I would miss you!  Utterly inefficient!  You picked the mail up around 11am the day before - yesterday it was sometime after 3:30!  Humph!

And lastly, Seven, my sweet wobbly girl, if you're gonna take your socks off (with their non skid soles) can you do it in the house or on the porch instead of out in the back forty?  If you do leave your socks in the back forty can it be your hot pink skull and cross bone socks instead of your brown stripe socks?  Those are just hard to locate.

Ok, that's it for the day.  A big ole pile of random.
Happy, happy Thursday my dears!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

what do you live on?

I was combing through one of my old college journals yesterday looking for some metalsmithing technique that I could've sworn I had taken notes on oh, 15 years ago!!!  Every semester our professor required us to journal.  It could be info on things we were learning, sketches, notes from a visiting artist lecture, our inner most thoughts and feelings, you know, what ever, and at the end of the semester we had to turn them in for a grade.  I found it a little intimidating and I never did very well.  It should've been an easy A for me because I like that kind of thing.  Not sure why i was so pitiful at it back then.
Anyway, I was looking through this journal and could not find what I was looking for.  But I did find:
  • a xeroxed photo of Andy Gibb that I had glued down 
  • a cheat sheet on ring sizing 
  • my friend Chris's doodles of metal band logos 
  • recipes for metal patinas 
  • a note from a beginner student wanting me to teach her to etch in my off lab hours (why did I feel the need to GLUE that into my journal?  I must've been desPERate! for content!).  
  • There was a photo of Tom around the time that we met looking like a baby!  
  • There was a postcard of Willem de Kooning in his studio.  
  • There were sketches 
  • lots of song lyric snippets and Rod McKuen poems 
  • ideas that never came to fruition and a few that did but shouldn't have.  
It was a big ole mish mash of stuff.  But as I was flipping through, at the top of one page I had written:
 "What do I live on?"
I immediately wrote that exact sentence into my current journal.  What do I live on?  What an amazing thing to ask yourself!  I mean really, there are so many ways you could think about that.

There's the obvious : food
The lesser, but still pretty obvious : love
But then what?  I started really trying to dig deep.  What do I live on?  What sustains me?  What do I NEED to even get through each day?  For me, I've decided that the question can also be put: what can you simply not live without?  What do you live on?
My marriage. My marriage sustains me in the very worst of times.  It is a life vest in times where I might otherwise not care to wake up in the morning.  It makes me proud, it gives me a stable base that I can put everything else on top of, it's the very definition of comfort.  It is everything.

The support from my family.  Sometimes, I'm embarrassed to say, I might take this for granted.  I don't mean to, but sometimes, when you've had something your whole life and you have no clue what life is like without it, you can take it for granted.  I am extraordinarily happy and lucky to have never known life without the support of my family.  And the only reason I even know that this is a big deal is because I have friends who do not have this.  What a bizarre circumstance!!!  My family, and by family I mean my mom, my dad, my best-brother-in-the-whole-wide-world, my grandparents (all of them, then and now), my aunts, uncles, and cousins, from the family I was born into, to the family I got when I was about 13, to the family I married. They ALL encourage me and brag about me to friends (really, they brag about me!  It's nutty!) whether its jewelry or dog rescue.  They tell me they are proud of me.  When I wanted to change majors to get a metalsmithing degree they said "ok" (and paid for it all I might add!)...
they might not always agree with my decisions but they let me make them, and they let me make my mistakes too.  And I learn, and they help me up, dust me off, and push me out there again.  I'm damn lucky.  When I hear about people who are criticized by family for what they do, who they love, their up and downs, I want to say "here, come to Thanksgiving at my house.  It'll all be ok."
My work.  I would curl up in a ball in the furthest corner of a room if anyone told me that I could not do what I do anymore.  I love making. I love taking a pile of ingrediants and turning it into something recognizable.  Whether its sheet silver and wire that becomes a ring or flour and milk that becomes a loaf of bread.  I want to make things.  I need to.  I do literally live on it, both physically and emotionally.  And how insane is it that I do get to actually live on it?

Pleasing people.  I'm not sure if this is good or bad.  But it's who I am, good or bad.
I have this great need to please people.  I'm sure it has a lot to do with why I love making things - when I make something, be it a necklace or a pie, and I send it off, it's making someone on the other end happy.  And, good or bad, I need to hear about it.  I want to know that you loved your pie (insecure much?)!
I just want you to be happy (read with a desperate tone).  
None of this is to say that I don't displease people from time to time!  I certainly do.
And it's like the worst thing in the world to me.  I can't stand it when someone is upset with me!
I literally cannot sleep, I obsess on it.  Tom will say "just let it go!"  Umm, okaaaaaaay.  Well how in the heck do you do that?  Sign me up for that workshop on letting go because I am the thing that comes before novice when it comes to letting go.
Laughter.  I neeeeeed laughter to live.
My friendships.  I have friends that I simply couldn't go on without.  Friends who understand who I am and let me be.  Who don't want more than I have and know i'll give every bit of me when I can.
Coffee.  Don't judge me.

And there are things that I can't live without, but I am.

And then there are the little things, the things I do live on that maybe I shouldn't, but life wouldn't be nearly so fun without them....gummi bears, a 2:12 person to dog ratio, New York City, air conditioning, butter, cream, magnum pi, perry mason, & Law and Order,
yarn, a bath tub, my iPhone, kitchen aid mixer, Miz Mooz shoes,
James Taylor, Lyle Lovett, Van Morrison, and Nina Simone's version of Here Comes the Sun.

What do You live on?

Monday, August 12, 2013

working it out

I have always prided myself on making work that is affordable.  I've believed that art should be accessible to anyone and everyone.  In my case art just happens to be wearable.  But that has been one of the driving forces of what I do.  But lately every thing that I want to do is uber time consuming, like we're talking hours and hours, days and days...not to mention big ole hunks of silver and tremendous stones and time consuming resin these things start to make stuff a tich more pricey.  What's that?  You don't know what a tich is?  Well it's a tad.  But I might be underestimating a tad when I say a tich.  This new work is just flat out more expensive.  So I'm having to reconcile that with the part of my brain that's always said my work has to be in a less expensive bracket.
sterling silver, resin, and a lovely coral colored drusy, the ring band says "strong as an ox"

 sterling silver necklace, resin, a pink drusy, and copper enamel
the back says "if I'd had wiser eyes"
Oh, and meet Vivian Corinne Caldwell.  Vivian, this is everyone.  
Vivianne is my mannequin and she is beloved by all except for those who she scares.  You know who you are.  Joanne.

So what do I do?  Seems like an easy answer.  Do both.  Right?  Weeeeellllllll, yes, maybe.   But I think, in order to afford myself the time to work on these more ambitious, time intensive little sculptural gems, I might need to edit down my other offerings.  
I was perusing my etsy shop a few days ago and I had six pages of items for sale.  Good gravy Marie!  So I'm gonna do a little slash and burn serious editing!  I want to still make the really sweet, personalized bangles and such...because I do truly love hearing all of your dear stories about why you choose for your bangle to say "sidewalks" or why you love the lyrics to that Paulo Nutini song enough to wear it on your wrist...I need to keep hearing about these little moments of your life, it keeps me connected...
the back of a sterling silver necklace, the entire piece includes resin, a pink drusy, and copper enamel

But once i got back to work after losing Clarence in late May I started pouring myself into these more time intensive, work intensive pieces.  I've found it really difficult to talk about how I'm dealing or not dealing with life now.  I feel words climbing up my throat but they won't come out.  It's strange, I've always been a talker, needing to work things out on the outside.  I'm not an internal problem solver.  But this is so different than anything I've experienced, at least how I have responded or how i'm processing it is so different, that I don't really even know how to articulate it.  Sometimes I start to talk to Tom about something and I can feel what I want to say and it's very clear inside of me but when I try to form words to get it OUT of me, I can't make it happen.  It's like there's some force field between my soul and my brain.  I don't know.  I've also never in my life felt this angry.  I'm not a person familiar with anger, its one of my least experienced emotions really.  But I have it in spades right now...

So I've completely rambled off my point which was, what was it?  Oh yeh, I think, for the first time ever, I'm literally WORKING out my feelings.  I work and work and work and it feels good.  My work is such a good friend to me these days.  I can hammer it to all hell, break down mid solder, make it ride out a 14 hour day, I can get frustrated, over joyed, and fulfilled, I can push it hard and when I leave I know my friend will be there for me the next day, or at 5:15am which seems to be the new time my body is saying "GET UP!" These days.   
But this friendship is a two way street!  I'm putting chunks of my soul into my work right now.  I'm stretching myself more than ever, pushing myself to do everything More...think more, sketch more, clean more, file more, sand more, hammer more, fire more, layer more, no cutting corners, slowing down and feeling each step of the process.  

I've posted some of this new work to the etsy shop.  I'm planning on posting the rest this afternoon.  I hope that some (or all) of these babies of mine will find homes with you.  If you do decide to make one yours it will make me genuinely happy (that is such an understatement).  You will be taking home part of my journey.  A very positive part I think.  There is strength in these pieces, there is hope I think, there is a lot of love, and there is healing.  I hope that you will be able to look at the back of the piece you chose and feel, literally feel, Every intention that I had when I made're so cool, I hope you feel cool.
sterling silver and large redish pink drusy agate.  the back says "you're so cool".
I have this whole back story made up of who would wear this ring.  
I'll have to share it with you...
next time

Sunday, August 11, 2013

a day full of We.

Curled up in bed just now.  I need to apologize in advance for any typos, Tom is sleeping soundly across my lap and I'm typing with one arm propped across his shoulder.  It's a challenge but I don't want him to move an inch so I'm typing very gently!

I spent the day finishing up a few pieces in the studio.  Tom spent most of the day with me, helping me with a few ideas I've been toying with.  We mixed up a batch of resin so we could play around more with this new idea I have of drawing or painting with resin. We had so much fun doodling in resin.  We ended the afternoon, turned early evening, with Tom rushing off to the shower hollering, "how do you get this stuff off your hands?!?!?"
  We we we we we!  I love the days that are so full of WE!

Tomorrow we will shoot all of the new work as well as a little how-to video that has been on my to-do list for months!  It's gonna be fun!  Then I hope to share it all with you on Monday.
Here's a sneak peek...


Hahahahahaha!  I just did a quick proof the first line, before I even acknowledged the probable typos,I typed "inbred" instead of "in bed".  Classic.  I think, since its 2:40am, I might be in need of some sleep!
  G'nite sweethearts, its time to go...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So, I drew a name last night...

First off I need to apologize for the not so nifty photos.  As promised we set about preparing to draw a name around 9:30 so lighting was not optimal.  But I hope you will see them in the spirit they were intended.  There were 45 names to write out and I can honestly say that I enjoyed and appreciated writing out each and every one.  I felt gratitude welling up inside of me.  Reading your comments, the time you took to share your stories, your memories, your ideas, your family history, your plans for future generations of goodie boxes ...well, i wish I could have a goodie box from all of you goodie-box-experts!  And I wish I could make a goodie box for every single one of you. 
I learned in doing this little give away, maybe I should say what I have relearned, is that giving is always better than getting. 
I also hope that those of you who had memories of your own care packages, the ones from savvy parents, thoughtful nieces, grandparents who always want to keep you fed, I hope that you enjoyed recalling these memories as much as I enjoyed hearing about them.
What would make me happy as a clam is if this inspired you to go make a goodie box...if it did will you promise and pinky swear to come back and tell me all about it?!?!
 Please rest assured, because I know this was worrying you into the wee hours, that I was not wasteful in jotting down your names.  Each one went onto the back of a former to-do list of mine, scarily unchecked off I noticed as I cut them up...  I piled them into my very favorite bowl...inside it says:
"I carry you with me...deep within my the bottom of my footfall........................
in every cloud............that brushes by.........." 
 it was made by a wonderful artist, Kylie Johnson.  I got it shortly after we lost our precious Big Man, Preacher.  I knew instantly that I had to have it and it made me feel better... at a time when noting else really could.  And now it seems a very poetic, perfect spot to place your names.
 So with out further ado...
the winner is...
 >>>>>>>>>>>> elbee <<<<<<<<<<<
Thank you for your very sweet comment about my dad's letter.  
My dad, this particular dad, and I have a, let's say, unconventional relationship.  I don't see him very often
So when he sends these packages I feel connected.
So I really appreciate you acknowledging his kindness.
And I am THRILLED to send off your goodie-box!  I hope that you will either treasure the contents yourself
know just the right person to give them to.
I will email you to get your address tout suite!

One last thing, I made a pie.  I am not ashamed to say that Tom's favorite dessert is my lemon meringue pie and since he had been away I wanted to give him a proper welcome home.  And said pie produced a happy by product, or should I say pie product!  ba dum ump!  I'm a terrible joke teller and pun maker. 
Anyway, I made goodies!!!!  
And I will send them off to elbee in the goodie box if I get the address straight away so that they are still fresh!  And if you feel weird eating food from a not-your-own kitchen, I totally get it.  Think of them as homemade cookies for the dog...considering how much I love dogs, that wouldn't offend me one iota!
Thank you, thank you, thank you again.  Thank you to each and every person who visited and commented.  This work path I'm headed down is new to me and I wanted to send the first piece out into the world as a gift.  And thank you to those who shared my little give away and my blog...I write this stuff and often I have no idea if anyone reads it.  But when you do it warms my heart in a big way.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

teensy tiny bit of a drama queen

I woke up this morning drag, drag, dragging!  It's the first morning in awhile where I have not felt like working.  Not at all.  Ok, I'm about to share something, don't judge me!  I have the occasional bout with restless leg.  I will pause now for laughter.  But it's true!  I know it totally sounds like a made up thing but I've dealt with it since long before it became a "thing".  After quite some time I finally figured out that mine is medication induced.  Any kind of medication that has something that causes drowsiness - Benadryl, Tylenol pm, that kind of thing.  So I don't take it.  Well last night I took some new thing my doctor gave me for back pain.  Well apparently it has the devil ingrediant in it and it gave me the most restless night that I can remember having. Flipping this way and that, kicking my legs like a mad woman, ugg.  Laugh all you want but it truly is one of the more frustrating things.  And try explaining it, "I can just feel my legs!"  Of course you can, everyone feels their limbs.  "NO!  I can feeeeeeel my legs!"  Argggg!

So I woke up grumpy, tired, kind of hot and cold.  Bleck!  And no desire to work.  I started to worry.  Is my insatiable work apatite fading?  Please no.  I sat on the couch for a bit, wallowing in my worry and fatigue.  After a couple of hours of nearly convincing myself that I had the flu I got up and made coffee. Then I watered the garden, I cut a wild little bouquet of stuff from my garden including some lettuce and mint that I let get waaaaay too leggy, I washed the dishes, I made the bed, I fed Berklie (the cat), and then along came my second wind, or I guess technically it was my first wind of the day.  Tragedy averted.  I made a beeline for my studio and proceeded to work until 7pm.  Then from 7-10 I edited photos and posted items to etsy.   Then, around 11o'clock I made dinner.  Grits.

Can you tell that Tom is out of town?  I am far more dramatic when Tom is away.
<<<<<<<<<< oh, and then this happened >>>>>>>>>>
I went to bed all set to have a very restful night.  I was reading for a bit before turning out the light.  All of the sudden I felt a bug fly into my neck.  I started flailing around to get it off me.  I didn't see the bug but it seemed to be gone.  I read a bit more then went to turn off the light.  That's when I felt it.  THEBUGWASINMYSHIRTANDITWASAROACH!!!!!
If you know me at all you know that aside from losing a loved one roaches are my GREATEST fear.
I flipped and flailed and screamed and gasped and hyperventilated!
I know it's a bit irrational but I am terrified of roaches.
Give me a snake, a spider, please give me a rat!  But roaches?  Why are they here??  E-gads they are awful!  It was horrifying.
So much for my restful night.  

<<<<<<<<<< oh, just one more thing >>>>>>>>>>
I am doing the drawing tonight when Tom gets home.  So I will announce the winner tomorrow.  Swears!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

a dog of dreams

Last fall, I think it was last fall, my wonderfully nutty best friend called me about a pregnant dog in a shelter near Dallas who was set to be euthanized.  She was in a complete tizzy.  If I remember right she had promised her husband that they would take a break from fostering for a bit...and now she wanted to take a majorly pregnant pit bull.  Real easy to adopt out (read that with as much sarcasm as you can muster)!  I discouraged her.  Not because the dog was a pit bull, not because she was three hours away, not because she was pregnant, but because I like my friend's husband and I want her to keep him.

The next day I get a call and all I can hear is squealing children, oh-my-gosh's, and just total ruckus.  Then Kim says, "you there?"
Me: "Yes.  What did you do?"
Kim, sheepishly: "We got her."
Me: "Are you serious?"
Kim: "YES!  She was going to be put down TODAY at 3:00 and she might have these puppies while we drive home!"
Me: "Do I hear the kids?"
Kim: "yes, my mom and both the kids drove with me.  Oh, hang on!!!!"
Me: "Is she having the puppies?!?!?!?!"
Kim: "omygodohmygodohmygod!  she just had diarrhea all over the back of the car!"

This is how Hannah Blue entered Blue Dog Rescue.

She didn't have her puppies that day, it was a couple of weeks later.  I think she had 10, only one baby didn't make it.  She was an amazing momma.  Perfect with her puppies but willing to let people hold them and interact with them.
All of her puppies have long since been adopted but Hannah Blue is still waiting.

She's not my foster dog but I've been babysitting her for the last couple of days so I am experiencing her first hand and I've decided something: there is not a sweeter dog on this planet.  She is so full of sugary sweet love that she doesn't even begin to know what to do with it.  It shoots out of the tips of her toes!  I can see it in her face as she runs around looking for a place to put it - she wants to share it with me, with my cat, with any of the other dogs (who are all old as the hills and want none of her bounty of love!).

Yes, she's energetic.
Yes, she's a pit bull.
Yes, she's strong as an ox.
No, she is none of the bad stereotypical icky pit bull stuff.
Yes, she is ALL of the good stereotypical pit bull stuff.
Yes, she's a bit of a handful but you will never meet unconditional love like this.  Not ever.

Sweet Hannah Blue, you deserve a home that will think you hung the moon.  A family that will put your Christmas stocking right next to theirs.  You deserve a precious little girl to put her princess crown on your head and try to paint your toe nails. You deserve a soft bed and kind words.  You deserve someone to love you so much that when you leave this world one day they won't know how they will ever live without you.  I want that for you sweet Hannah Blue.

Monday, August 5, 2013

It's my birthday and I've got a goodie for you!

I've decided that it's time for a little class participation again.  It's been ages since I've done any kind of give away.  I've been doing all this new work and I just want to share it.  I'm super anxious to get it out there into the world.  I decided that my birthday is the the very best occasion for me to give You a gift.  I made this necklace just for this purpose and I'm over the moon about it. It felt good to start a piece with the intention of giving it away.  I found that I put a whole different kind of energy into it...I have to admit, once I finished it I was so happy with it that I briefly considered keeping it.  But that was never my intention, I want to give her away and I've got a few other goodies to send along, some yummy chile powder my dad sent straight from New Mexico, some pretty paper that I've been hoarding, just some bits and bobs...

The focal piece of this necklace I hand cut from a sheet of silver and then built a little frame to hold the resin that I hand pigmented and "painted" (a new technique I've been playing around with) into the sterling silver, oxidized cavity.  Hanging from a silver bar is a bit of copper that I hand cut, hand formed, and then enameled.  This piece is very representative of the new way my work has been going.  I have several new pieces that I will post to the etsy shop tomorrow morning.
 Sterling silver, resin, copper, and enamel.  She would be $225 but I'm giving her away because its fun to just give stuff away sometimes!!

Two quick stories to explain the randomness of this, my gift to you...

My dad (I have two dads.  and I never differentiate when I'm talking about them.  I always just assume that by the context of what I'm saying people will know which dad I'm referring to.  So good luck with that.)  So my dad sends me these amazing packages.  They are filled with the most random stuff your little head can dream up... one box might include some freshly ground chile powder (I will be sharing this with one of you!), an old, disassembled vintage rifle (is it legal to ship firearms?), a vintage fiesta cup and saucer, an itsy bitsy pocket knife shaped like a high heeled shoe, a little leather pouch (that I'm sure he made from some animal he, ahem, killed) filled with Susan B. Anthony dollars, some old photos of my grandparents, an old Altoids tin filled with sterling silver scrap (from where???), some teeny tiny drill bits, and a card, with a picture of one of his dogs or horses on the front, a sweet note, and a two dollar bill tucked inside.   This is how I learned the proper way to make a goodie box.

 My most recent box of this 'n that!

 Now, how do I know what qualifies as a goodie?!?  When I was a little girl my Nana made pies all. the. time.  The best pies you've ever tasted, all from scratch, no recipe, just pinches and handfuls of this and that.  But there was always left over pie crust.  She would roll the bits and scraps out into a thin circle and then sprinkle it with loads of cinnamon and sugar, then roll it up and bake it, she'd slice it into little rounds and they were scrumptious!  She called them goodies.  Goodie might be my favorite word.  It reminds me of my Nana (who I miss tremendously every single day) and its the little left over thought that gets turned into a star. 

Me and my Nana.

So now that you know the definition of a goodie and the very best way to create a goodie box - I would love to know what your dream goodie box would hold.  Or if you are already an expert goodie-
box-creator, tell me what you like to tuck between the layers of smudgy newsprint. 

Just leave me a little comment here (and your email address so that I can give you the good news!) and your name will go into the drawing.  If you wanna enter twice, yes, two times the chance to win the goodie box, just share the link to this post on your facebook page then come back and tell me what a wonderful sharer you are!  I'll randomly choose a winner by writing down all of your names, tossing them around in a bowl, and have Tom close his eyes,  reach in and choose the winner winner chicken dinner!

Thanks y'all!

ps   I'll close this little drawing on Wednesday (August 7th) evening and let you all know who has a package headed to her, or his, doorstep!