Saturday, July 6, 2013


The monsoon season reminds me how very present I feel when I am under clouds.  A rare treat in the desert reminding me of much needed rain for our flora and fauna. They give me such peace and a feeling of human dignity that I am inspired to make quote cards like this too.

If you are a cloud fan too, you may like some of these collections I have been crafting:

  • On Pinterest, I started a Rain is Hope series recently, celebrating our desert storms and ways to harvest their gifts.  The collection is photos of desert rainwater harvesting efforts and art that has an appreciation of rain.

  • On Tumblr, I created a space I call The Desert, Above to let others know about my book of cloud photos called Sonoran Unearthed. I also post some pics of my other cloud creations there like cards, a few pic previews from the book, poems, baubles of clouds and bird mobiles.

On both those sites I have shared many a great photo of clouds by others that I have found as well. Hope you enjoy my findings!

My sister also created this amazing gift for me.  She put my photography into a custom ViewMaster reel.  Then, to makes things even more amazing it got selected to be featured on their Favorite Friday.
Thanks Cady!  I adore it. Now i can review these moment s with the same type of back lit 3D beauty as when I first saw them.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Things to Make My Love Smile

The Dusty Buskers are a big part of my life because it is such an important part of Phoenix's expression and arts family, plus I get to dance along with friends to my favorite kind of music and meet wonderful people in the towns they play in.  It is a very inclusive type of fun, so I enjoy giving back to him in my own creative ways...

This was a fun collage project because Phoenix and Stuart, aka the Dusty Buskers, love the Flight of the Concords.  Do you see how I mixed their imagery? Better yet... do you see the resemblance? A hilarious duo who gets in to ridiculous scenarios, are super talented, yet live these very real and quirky lives.

Bisbee Stiches-  from the Teeny Tiny Toy Store
Mark is a playful toy genius and a big sweetie who will custom make toys for you.  I ordered these two for the guys a couple years back and they still crack me up. Mark even made a tiny tiny merch case to match their real one.  It is fun to make them dance and Phoenix has brought the mini Stuey with him to shows when Stu can't be there. Heehee!  It just like when Jemaine quit Flight of the Conchords and Bret brought the cassette tape of Jemain to a gig.  I told you they were similar!

Phoenix and I came across Spandy Andy on the internets and fell in love with his goal to spread positivity.  He totally engages the audience with his joy and reminds me a lot of Phoenix's performing approach of connecting with people and really believing in making sure others catch on to that energy.  Phoenix kept talking about how he totally relates to him.  I asked Andy to dedicate a video to the Buskers and this is what we received!  Yay!!!

love ya dear
keep smiling!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

You've Got to be Kind to Yourself

Create Intention
My friend James was talking about trying to find ways to be better at taking her medicine, which brought us to thinking about motivations for being good to our bodies.

What if with each vitamin I took, I believed it not only had nutrients, but also kindness within it? What if it was just as important to give yourself affirmations as to take that motion to pop that prescription? If believing in yourself was required to create healthy habits, then we decided to do both at once.

Put Thoughts to Paper

We wrote messages that we need to tell ourselves on little hearts on pretty patterns of paper and taped them to our meds and vitamins.  I made sure to phrase my reminders in terms of the affirmation already being true, instead of an aspiration that lingers as something desired but not necessarily already accessible inside me. I even got carried away and now when I shake salt on food it even gives me a dose of encouragement.  Even my deodorant received a note.

My favorite one is the one I put on Loosey's valley fever meds that says, "I am nurtured and give back love ten-fold."  Here are some other good ones you can use too!

  • I am full of gratitude
  • I am enough
  • I make choices gracefully
  • I am open, accessible and accepting
  • I am resilient and strong
  • Control is an illusion
  • Life is beautiful
  • I enjoy opportunities to give
  • I trust my intuition

Merge Dose of Love with Dose of Med (tape)

Even Spices Provide Charmed Destinies

All Sorts of Goodness
A Moment in Front of the Medicine Cabinet

Here is a video of a song our ingenious puppeteer friend Elysia Hansel made related to the subject:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mark the Occasion!

Good tidings to you!!
Wrapping up the year, I decided to post several of this year's creations made from collaging in Photoshop. These images were all designed to give honor to special occasions or memories.  We humans need our rituals to mark time. 

Tucson has a neighborhood we all know, Winterhaven, which lights up all its houses and decorates like crazy at Xmas time.  The streets close down and everyone walks around.  The background of my Solstice image is from one of those houses. 
I took the moon photos last winter at 2am during an eclipse.  We just had another eclipse last week but I missed it, even though I only would have had to wake at 7 am for that one.:)  
I like the title, because at Solstice, I celebrate the return of brightness (which is implied if the full lyrics of the song start to fly through your mind). 
Tutu really does lay on Lulu like that - not photoshopped!  I love that they have each other.

If you are into technicalities: The house was changed with a gradient map and edge filter. The pups  were adjusted with a posterize filter, single hue saturation and contrast. Me and my beau were saturated in the brown, pink and teal hues and then I put a diffuse glow filter on us. To match and look like we are all there together, I painted my boots by sampling Tutuli's fur and painting with a semi-translucent spray. Of course, I selected and erased all the background objects to change the context of the collaged imaged. The rest of the black in the photo is the night sky of the moon photo.

Creating this image was such an enjoyable way to celebrate my grandma. I think it even portrays Alzheimers in my eyes. It represents to me the way memories are emptied and how I worried that she felt alone and trapped in her head.  But what the disease really taught me was how dedicated family could be to giving good care and how much love creates health, happiness and memories. I used my mom's stories to include granny Hazel's favorite birds. My mom's memory that she recently shared with me was of Hazel looking out the window at the birds and flowers while taking care of the house for the kids.  To me, the birds represent family around her.  

Small details: I painted their shoes blue so that they can have fun and get ready to dance around.  The robins also have a slight red hue which I wanted in order to subtly show though from some secret dimension.

 This one, I dedicated to my grandpa Ted and I made it for the Alzheimers walk, the disease which he suffered from at the end of his life.  I like to hope that somehow, somewhere in there, he left with an internal reality of even more out-of-this-world fanciful musings. 
I gathered the inspiration for it from my dad's fun legends about his dad, including how he made a fur coat for his sister by trapping cats in inner city Chicago (she did not like that when she found out!), dressing up fancy to take my grandma out dancing, living together with his sister's family raising children together so that my dad swapped dad's with his cousins, and renting an airplane to fly his sister around and figuring out how to be a pilot as he went. 
Art comes more readily to me when I am thinking of representing someone.  
My dad made the wreath, in real life, out of grandpa Ted's old tools.  Ted (Thadeus Mierzjewski) was a mechanic for part of his working years.

Techniques:  I added blush to their faces to make them look more present and put a shadow on behind the plane for some dimension.

Collaged card for my Dad's B-Day book which my mom is assembling into an atlas by physically collaging and decorating with multimedium from many friends and family's contributions. Inspired by Dr. Seuss (copied and altered many different pieces and some of the words). The theme was Turing 70, which is why I have 70 tops turning.
Cards and real mail are a real treat... and, when I make time to create the card myself, it feels especially good to have put the thought into them.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh the places you will go (to get your craft on)

Feeling blah?  How or where could you transform that?

You've gotta have a set up at home that entices, but doesn't overwhem! Surround yourself with beauty. Enjoy the art of organization. Create easy access to your crafts. These things have helped me to enjoy my connection and time with art with more satisfaction.  I was just reading a book on the Tao of clearing clutter at lunch today, and loved the imagery provided for clearing obstructions that are in your way of connection to a higher level of life and clear spirited path.

I set up a shelf dedicated to art.  I keep my crafts supplies in suitcases too, because it looks so cute and vintagey.   In the smaller ones, I have projects ready to go to take on a trip or work on at a friends or coffee shop.

Crafting at exuberantly crafty friends houses is always glorious (name a material or tool and Alexandra has it!). Surround yourself with kind spirits who encourage you to pursue your love for creative expression.

Sometimes a separate studio is necessary for all those supplies, especially when your goal is to share it with others as my mom does in her workshops where she hosts artist to teach others.  Fun place to play and visit (BLOOM!). It is as divine to do art guided in someone else's workshop as it is to go to a really yummy yoga class from your favorite instructor. Plus you can dedicate yourself fully in a dedicated environment.

Even the local bike repair collective has an art night each week.  Of course they do, what else would a bunch of DIYers do with left over parts and welding kits.  I have enjoyed quite a few Crafternoons at Bicas.

And of course there are CraftyCraft Craft parties.  Open a bottle of wine, invite friends to bring their projects and get silly :) The last of these photos in this group is a swap of clothes (I consider dressing up an art, hobby, expression and way to add beauty and fun to life). Swaps are awesome for teaching the lesson of sharing and joy of letting go of the old.

 We like to get out sometimes... the local coffee shop doesn't mind our boxes of art supplies and we love the treats to eat.

Ah, lots of good memories and hopefully more where that came from.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beautiful Food!

Ever notice how much hungrier we feel when food is gorgeous! Full of color variety and texture, thoughtfully displayed, or evoking comfort or is an art I don't take for granted when graciously provided.  I bet it keeps us healthier too. I am soooo lucky to have food artists in my life!  I vow to add more of this to my routine.

ps- The art of nurturing through food is another thought that comes to mind.  I know folks who put their souls into this (mom!, Alexandra!, Kevin!).  Such forethought required, such contributions to well being- you are kind souls.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Metals for Sensitive Skin

I weigh the man, not his title; 'tis not the king's stamp can make the metal better.
-William Wycherley, ~1700

One might think that silver and gold are the best choices for our precious bauble, but this is not the case when it comes to those with delicate ears.

I have been getting really excited about earrings for a while now, and the ironic thing is that I don't wear them! I love the old vintage clip-ons I have collected over time, but I am thinking that is just not enough anymore. And, since I started making earrings last year, as part of my fancy for jewelry beading, I have become super ready to start wearing them again.

Part of the riddle was this... why would I ever want to wear earrings again when my skin rejected them every time I tried since I was 8 years old? So I set out doing some research on the best metals to wear in earrings, in order to get past the sensitivities and to additionally use the safest quality materials in the earrings I make for others.

Here is what I found-

The culprits:
  • Nickel is one of the most allergenic metals to humans in the world. 
  • Nickel is found mixed into almost all metals unless they state that they are nickel free. For example, sterling silver (ie 928) is 92.8% silver... and nickel is one of the other things often mixed into the other 7.2%. Same goes for surgical steel, though a fine polish is supposed to seal the surface from risk of nickel exposure.
  • Arsenic, obviously bad for creatures of all kinds, is found in some metals. 
How to stay clear:
  • Bronze has risk of arsenic in it at times.
  • If you don't mind a little risk, just buy nickel-free sliver or gold plated jewelry. Usually this is plated over something like copper. 
  • If you are annoyed that the plating wears off, use safer metals. Gold is especially easily scratched and is not allowed, according to US standards, in piercing studs. 
  • Generally, if you are the sentitive type, then wear metals that are used for piercing studs because they are proven safe with the tender layers of skin. 
  • Copper and brass do not have nickel, but some people have a reaction where their skin turns green. Apparently sweat can cause this reaction.
  • These metals are A-OK: Titanium, gun metals, and Niobium 
  • Several non metals are good too if you have large gauge holes: wood, amber, porcelain, bones, gems, glass, and certain non-leaching plastics. These all need to be cleaned more thoroughly though because of the porosity. 
Taa dah!

a pair of sophisticated bohemian earrings created for a a gypsy on a professional day

Some good sources of more information:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

i heart my camera - a lot a lot

I love taking photos.  I love capturing beauty in a frame.  Weather it is the lighting, the color, or just the moment between people, I think I will never tire.  I try, especially, to find a way to portray the feeling of the day, its warmth or its solitude, whatever it may be. And now that is way more fun with a camera that gives more justice to the vision in my head. Here is a little info on why I chose the Canon G12 camera after ueber researching and also a few links to great photography sites.

I love the low light ability of the camera I got myself last year.  It is almost my one year anniversary of having it.  It is a Canon G12 and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants Single Lens  Reflex quality photos, but a less bulky camera. I decided against the SLRs because although they look impressive, all my favorite photos were created by just happening to have my camera in my pocket or purse at the right time, so I needed something with the same capability and quality, but smaller. It has a great grip, the full ability to adjust settings on knobs instead of menus, and a swivel LCD screen, plus a true site viewer. I wanted a fast camera, great in action shots, low light, zooming in distance and focus close-up.  I waited an extra month for the new one to come out that has HD video as well.  Many do these days.  I love it!  I still need to learn a lot about the manual mode, but the auto mode is wonderful too. I dismissed the preset settings, that come with most every camera these days, to create special effects because they seemed too easy and cheesy to me in the past... but they are starting become a fun tool for me as well. I do enjoy getting to know my tools well.  

More than a few professional photographers have told me that it is their camera of choice as well! If you like something a little smaller and more affordable, I recommend the Canon S95.  I never tried it, but it sounds great in the reviews.  It is essentially the same camera but with no optical view finder, no swivel screen and with menus instead of knobs.  Everyone deserves to have one like this!  As far as an SLR, I think I may have gone with the Nikon D40, if I were to get one.  

My friend at work, Brian, showed me a great site that reviews cameras, which helped me to decide (Ken Rockwell), in addition to investigating tons of reviews to the point of fascinated obsession.  I asked Brian because he has amazing travel and nature photography. (I linked his name to his wonderful desert nature and world travels photography site).  

While I am mentioning other photography sites, you may want to see my freind Chris Coopers' site:  Many of his photos are from mountain top hikes in the Southwest and were taken with film cameras and developed in his own darkroom. Now he does digital as well.
 I cactus you

ps- Whilst in my phase of researching cameras for weeks and nervously talking Phoenix's ear off about my findings, Phoenix realized that Mead is to Cameras as Phoenix is to Video Games.  He teasingly called my camera 'ping pong', since I said his video games were like ping pong to me- meaning an activity I could play when with friends who have it at their house as their hobby, but that I wouldn't have a table at my house - naively not knowing that was a huge insult.  Oh dear. Well the ping pong days are over now and his games are now more fun to call 'piough pioughs'.- that is the distant sound of video game guns, which he made up :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Granny's Jewelry

My dad thinks he remembers giving his mom, my granny Lu, this cream porcelain rose bracelet when he was in high school in the 50's, which I will always think of her when I am wearing.  Thank you Aunt Mari for giving this to me.

Here is a picture of a necklace I a recently made in memory of Granny Lulu complete with a small curly haired cherub who has had her fill of icecream and a birds nest for her love of springtime and watching the action outside her window in later years.

A charm I gave my aunt Mari to keep thoughts warm and let her know were all still with Mari in our thoughts as Lulu is with us.

It feels very healing to create and wear jewelry in memory of someone. Thinking of granny Lulu while selecting beads that reminded me of her because of the colors, golds, rosy antiqueness, was like a meditation for creating peace within me.  The little reminders on the charm remind me to "follow my heart", which I feel is a big lesson for valuing life.

I would love to show my close friends a video I created of pictures throughout Lulu's life to one of her favorite composers, Gershwin.  I am glad that the amazing slideshow tools were readily accessible and learn-able for times like this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adornments for the Adored

Ideas for creations come easy when inspired by the unique qualities of life that I find in friends. Here are some gifts I crafted to suit some friends, which I gave to them for birthdays and holidays, recently and in past years.   
I am already getting started on some Solstice gifts this year because creativity comes most joyfully when it has a spontaneous or relaxed pace for me.  Having a person to think about when making jewelry makes it come out so much better. 

Salvaged feathers strung up like treasures along a variety of earthy colored beads and variety of metals (real silver and copper and gold toned) for Joleen's Bday.  Joleen has inspirational style and an eye for picking out perfect outfits for friends to match and enhance their personalities, so I hope I succeeded as well.  She likes to wear, and got me interested in, asymmetrical things, so this is a earring of one.

Here is the first necklace I made for Rachel for her birthday a few years ago.  Rachel helped me to appreciate shiny things. If it weren't for her, I may have never taken to cut crystals. The shine on this necklace comes from silver and cane glass as well.  The blues are her favorite and I threw in some contrasting colors to make it stand out more.  The glass beads also include some antique opaque whites. The clear beads are not only glass and crystal, but also some stone and resin.  Rachel kindly helped pose this picture for me during our break at work when I told her I was starting this Web site and sharing my hopes to share my interest with others :)

I made matching necklaces for Alexandra and myself years ago,which remind me of the warmest part of desert springs.  I didn't know she would like pinks but she liked mine so much that I made her a earthier version. I think this was before I became obsessed with silver and clear beads but had finally strayed away from hemp and peyote stitches.

A more recent piece for Rachel for the last Solstice.  A little reminiscent of the necklace made her above but added some leaves since she is such a good greenie.  These were some of my first experiments in playing more with wire.