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needles float down

October 18, 2014


PicMonkey Collage fall '14

The pine needles float down so slowly that they feel very companionable as I circle the house with the dog. There are so many beautiful colors textures and patterns now to add to the inspiration list in my mind.  The veil between the worlds seems thin and I often feel I can see the molecules spreading to give me a little peek into the mystery. I am looking at things and thinking things and playing this song over and over and over.

                “Magnet and Steel”

the seduction of the dog days

September 1, 2014

liv dog days

when the dogs lay in around me I can never move. their peaceful energy fills the room and I feel sure nowhere else could feel better than this.

Happy Birthday Chocolate

July 4, 2014

our cake


On the first day after her wedding and in her new apartment the neighbor across the hall came over and brought my newly wed mother this chocolate cake with the recipe. The neighbor’s name was Madonna Smith. That was back in the 1940’s and was I am told a common neighborly gesture. This cake became THE cake and it was baked by my mother at every single one of our birthdays until she passed over. I continued baking it for my daughters also.  July is their birthday month and our country’s. Here is the recipe -

Bake 350 degrees

1/2 c crisco       1 c sugar       1 c  brown sugar     2 eggs     2 c flour    3 sq melted unsweetened choc

1 c hot water with 1 tsp soda       1 tsp vanilla

Mix shortening with both sugars   add eggs    melt choc and add to mixture    add sour cream

add flour and water alternately    add vanilla      pour into greased and floured cake pans

Frosting    1 package confectioner’s sugar    8 tsp cocoa   mix with about 1/2 c of milk with some melted butter in it

add slowly as you mix it with the confectioner’s sugar  add 1 tsp vanilla

Bake for about 22 minutes.  WATCH CAREFULLY AND DO NOT OVER BAKE

Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th of July weekend.

And we all so thank-you Madonna Smith for that long ago gesture of kindness that has never been forgotten! Our family has gathered around this cake and had so many many of our best of times.

marks on wool

June 19, 2014

wire marks 1 wire marks 2


The female shape I formed from black annealed wire. The fabric is a cream wool. I dampened the wool and placed the wire image on top. The wool with the wire piece was put between two blocks of wood and bound tightly together with black annealed wire. This wood block ‘sandwich’ was placed in a vegetable steamer and there is was steamed for 20 minutes and then unwrapped. The outer edge is created because the top block is a bit smaller than the bottom one. The piece of wool is 3 1/4″ and the image is 2″. I will move on to test an overall marked pattern and other images. This element looks like it could be used to help tell stories on my totems and even in certain kinds of necklaces or embellishments on clothes. The mark is made from the rust in the iron.  The durability of this mark is unknown at this point and will be tested later. I have found rust marks to be fairly permanent in the past………..and while one fuddles around testing in fly more “friends”……fun ones!

design book


Path to the studio

June 6, 2014

The portal was opened and I was beckoned. But running through the portal was never my style. My style is more ponderous but then I did see the lady slippers ( and have found one more since). Thoughts about what I was working on when I broke off have surfaced. I need to see.

totem heart path 2

This is the last piece I completed.  And here I stand staring at the crossroads hoping my choices are driven by the heart. (Technique notes: on this piece , if you can see it, I put short cut lengths of binding wire in the tail section of the crow to give a raised texture under the white opaque enamel. Textures on the other metals are rolled in the mill with plates I have etched or were directly etched.)

And here is the last experiment I did in trying to bring the fabric/textiles into my totems forms.

woman on wool woman wool technique

This is fairly small about 3″ x 2″. The fabric is wool. In metal work we often use dies – pushing the metal into them to make a raised form in the metal. I used the same idea here but used cloth. I cut the shape of a woman in a piece of copper. For my ‘pusher’ I used bubble wrap next to the wool. I put one or two other open pieces of metal on top so the pushed up part had a little space to go before it hit the block of wood. I put this all between two blocks of wood and bound it tightly with wire. I put the whole thing in a vegetable steamer for awhile. Then took it out and let it cool and dry for quite awhile. I did not think of the bubble wrap making marks like it did  but felt I was ok with them.  I then used blue acrylic paint to outline the figure a bit to give it more definition.

I will use this element ( and it can be any shape and embellished many ways) with the various metal forms I make in my totems. I can sew it to a metal frame or wire to hold it in place. Bringing in even a small scrap of cloth always puts a huge layer of emotion into a piece for me. And this widens considerably my choice of contrasting elements which is what is my big fascination- new combinations.

The next test was using the wire to make the shape on the cloth. That will be in my next post.

There are 5

May 29, 2014

lady slippers


Pink Lady Slippers are a wild flower of the orchid family. Even though they have only two leaves and one stalk they take a long time to grow, but can live over 20 years.

Their seed does not have any food so to live and grow they must have a fungus to help. The fungus breaks open the seed and passes on nutrients to the plant. The mature Lady Slipper then feeds the fungus.

Unlike other flowers it is closed in form and once a bumblebee enters the flower his only route out is to push past the stamen which covers him in pollen. Upon entering the next Lady Slipper he leaves the pollen from the first plant and picks up some from the second. Without the bumblebee no new seeds can be made. In most areas they are now protected.

Tonight, once again, I write a diary entry that I repeat often. “Dear Diary, nothing happened today, but everything is going on.”

(This photo is of two separate plants that are growing side by side so very close together.)

LjB Jewelry – my daughter’s beautiful work

May 22, 2014

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I am so proud of my daughter’s very artistic metalsmith journey. I feel so lucky to be around her creativity and to daily be able to be inspired by her wonderful art.

You will find her work on these links:


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