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A WALK IN THE FOG

| November 1st, 2015 |

I’m back!

There have been more than a couple of stories told between now and the last time I blogged. Life seems to be moving fast and furious these days – both in my own little world and that of the people I see riding the currents along side of me. I’ll start with a simple tale of images, just a morning spent walking through the fog, and above it to the sunny hilltops.

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SPRINGTIME IN THE DESERT

| March 1st, 2015 |

Heat brought an early spring to the deserts rain fed flowers. These images begin in the Sonoran desert in Arizona, where a storm that offered two inches of rain left behind a wake of lushness and plumped up cactus. They progress to the Anza Borrego desert where unseasonable high temperatures pushed spring bloom to center stage. As I traveled northward, the almond trees were in full blossom in Northern California.IMG_0948

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WHITE SANDS NATIONAL MONUMENT

 | February 2015 |

Refueled and rooted anew by the love and reality of family in Colorado, I am off to the southern deserts.
My first stop, out of curiosity, is White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, a long days drive from where I departed this morning. This natural wonder is about smack dab in the middle of southern N.M.
An area in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin, it comprises the southern part of a 275 square mile field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world, and rather awesome to frolic in at sunrise.

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THE RELUCTANT TRAVELER

| January 11, 2015 |

I’m not really that intrepid.
In my natural state I am much more inclined to park myself indefinitely on the ideal homestead.
Regardless, a few years ago I found myself boarding a plane for a flight halfway around the globe. Asia. Specifically Nepal this time.

I thought I was headed there for an intoxicating trek in the mighty and sublime Himalayas. Why couldn’t I just walk out the back door for a week of hiking in the North Cascades?
I felt “a calling”.
It’s worth pondering the prudence of listening to those voices.

But my delusions were deeper still: until I arrived I really had no concept that I was indeed, once again launching on another solo trip into a third world country. Sigh. Why do I repeatedly do this to myself?
As a spoiled westerner, traveling in third world countries is just plain hard. Double difficult if you are a woman, alone. Woe is me to have had the opportunity.

Nepal is “India light”. But I was psychologically unprepared for the big reality face slap of anything even remotely resembling India.

I landed in Kathmandu, second only to Mexico City in world class pollution rating. As it turned out I spent much of my trip there, coming and going from short treks in the nearby mountains, and periodically recuperating from a constant state of diarrhea and vomiting.
I haunted that city, or more truthfully, it haunted me. It was REAL.

In America, we tuck the mess of aging and death away whenever possible. We even tuck religion away, and for the most part conventional western spirituality is saved for one day a week.  Death gets no disguise or face lift in Nepal, but is everywhere. With such a high infant mortality rate, life begins with a nod to death…and an offering to one or many of thousands of deities. Every day. Throughout the day. Both the sacred and the profane are fully accessible, indeed unavoidably intertwined and all pervasive in this little corner of Asia.

In the stew of Kathmandu there is a stupa or temple every few feet, and the smell of nag champa and curry constantly fills the air. The colorfully dressed women are luminous in their bright sari’s; graceful flowers going about their daily rituals of washing laundry in the Kali Ghandaki, or tending the tiered fields of grains, and mustard.  Other sights and smells equally overwhelm the senses: those of rotting food, excrement and the burning ghats, disfigured lepers, endless dead or starving dogs, the sickly yellow eyes of nearly every native man I saw; poisoned by the traditional rakshi drink perverted into a crude beverage more resembling grain alcohol.

I was both repulsed by and inexorably drawn to the reality of the place and the bare truth it offered; a bigger than life metaphor for the very thing we sign up for dropping down onto this planet. Duality. In all it’s opportunity, beauty and horror.

Most of the time while in Kathmandu I wanted to retreat deeply inside myself, hoping to just survive, counting the days until my flight left (told you I was a sucky traveler). But I also recognized I was being offered an opportunity in not resisting my surroundings; that if I allowed all that it was to infuse me as much as I could bear, somehow I would leave with a little more resiliency, and gain the gift of knowing how to surrender. After all, isn’t that what all of life prepares us for?

These images are a celebration of the life and beauty I encountered there: one half of the whole of our world. If your camera pines for them, there are plenty of lovely images to be had in Nepal.

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RETURNING TO MY ROOTS

| December 14, 2014 |

In mid November I left the salt air elixir of the Northern Oregon coast. Although a coveted destination for many, I gleefully shortened my intended year long sabbatical there to three months. My soul gratefully sighed as the cold, grey and damp ocean receded behind me in favor of arid, golden hills with snow capped distant mountains. I am desert born, and sunlight infused land is more the stuff that fills my cup.

I stopped briefly in my beloved Methow Valley, then headed further east into the rising sun to rekindle the bonds with my mothers side of the family; toward Colorado, toward the front range foothills, and beyond toward the wide open prairie fanning out below the Rockies. The prairie of my mothers birth, and also the wind blown landscape where she came to rest – far too young. I feel the thread of that life, one half of who I am, held loosely and tentatively in hand. I feel as though I am reeling it in, a bit bewildered as to how it will coil back to me, and yet I’ve felt compelled to return here for ever it seems, the pulse of it all a steady background heartbeat, patient and insistent: The past. That which you are. Family.

 So I have returned to the Colorado of my mothers roots, the dust bowl land where she road her ponies, to gather the lost pieces of myself. IMG_0252

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FALL AT THE OCEAN

| Late November, 2014 |
I spent this fall on the Oregon Coast, an adventure that is rapidly receding in the rear view mirror at this point, but I wanted to share a few images before they get shelved.

This is looking down on the ocean town of Manzanita, a sweet, small town, rather like Twisp in the Methow Valley where I am from. I rented a place two blocks from the beach, and most days walked the beaches a couple of times a day with the poohound.IMG_3877

A dewy, early fall morning after the rain.IMG_3832IMG_3872

Manzanita is a very dog friendly place, the beaches welcome freely romping, well behaved dogs.IMG_4478

My penchant for smooth beach stones was well sated.IMG_3893

…and hand made stone buttons abound from the loot. (Check out the previous blog if you want more info. on buttons: http://manitoubeads.com/button/)IMG_4363

I’m not exactly sure what these are, but they washed up on the beach by the thousands in September.IMG_3781IMG_3804

…as did the dead seabirds in frightening numbers, once the winter storms began in October .IMG_4414IMG_4415

The aforementioned wilder sea and skies of winter.IMG_4330IMG_4343IMG_4342IMG_4466

 More mysterious beach detritus. The inner inhabitant had evacuated by the time this house floated to shore, but the remaining crystal-like, spongy husk was most intriguing.IMG_0198

Monster kelp piles also rolled in with the turbulant wind and waves.IMG_4425

 I felt blessed by my time at the ocean, and the gift of this farewell sunset.IMG_0107

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BUTTONS FROM THE BEACH!

| November 25th, 2014 |

Here they finally are folks!
After more than a decade of waiting, I give you Stone Buttons.
Frequent have been the requests for hand made buttons from stone since I first started making stone beads over ten years ago. The past three months spent haunting the beaches of the Northern Oregon coast have enabled these pretties: the perfect round/ oval, ocean tumbled, surf worn pebbles that wash up are the ideal material for buttons!

These range from $5.00 – $20.00 a piece. Some are smooth, some are rough and quite large, making a great toggle for a big wool cape or leather bag. Contact me to special order yours: shaulametow@gmail.com / (509) 423- 1472 (new phone number).

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Nostalgia

| October 12, 2014 |

As the warmth gives way to fall, I’m reflecting on the Poppies I so enjoyed that graced my yard all summer…IMG_3583IMG_3363IMG_3438IMG_3454IMG_3455IMG_3457IMG_3459IMG_3550IMG_3469IMG_3588

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MAKING BEADS

| September 21, 2014 |

This is how I do it: First I start with raw rock, very little of which I just pick up off the ground…IMG_2406_2_2

Most of my rock comes from the annual gem show in Quartzite, Arizona, where I migrate to in the winter and hand select the stones I will work up in the coming year. This is a vast outdoor gem show where you can find stones and (eccentric) people from all over the world (rock people are generally pretty weird).
Before I work with the stones they go through a process where I balance and cleanse them. This is a stage I consider imperative for the stones to embody their natural attributes and vitality, so they might truly assist you. All minerals have been heavily mined around our globe, leaving what are essentially energetic holes in the planets grid. Thus, this cleansing process involves a balancing and recharging of these minerals directed to their earthen source, which thereby imbues the final beads and pendants with the energy they were originally intended to carry.

 

blue slabSTEP 1) Using a diamond coated saw blade and lots of water, the rock is first cut into slabs. At this stage, with the thickness of the slabs I am also determining how thick my beads and pendants will be.

 

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DSC_0101STEP 2) The slabs are then cut into long rectangles.

 

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STEP 3) Long rectangles are cut into a number of squares.

 

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STEP 4) Here you can see the bead begin to take shape: as the corners are cut off the squares they roughly start to resemble a bead.

 

blue drillingSTEP 5) Now I drill a hole in the bead (hopefully that and not my fingers). It’s a bit of a challenge, trying to create a small hole by braille using a nasty and wildly spinning diamond coated drill bit. This process is done with both the bead and bit submerged under water.

 

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STEP 6) I poke a chopstick into the freshly made hole and begin to shape the bead by turning it on the first diamond coated wheel.

 

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STEP 6) The second diamond coated wheel starts to smooth the bead quite nicely.

 

DSC_0162STEP 7) The last step. I use a diamond coated rubber wheel for the final smoothing and polishing.
My beads are complete at the end of this process. I used to tumble them for several days in a vibrating rock tumbler that also artificially polished them with a tin oxide polish (which coats every conventionally worked stone bead you will ever purchase). The stones told me they didn’t care for that much and that the tin oxide was toxic -for everybody- and clogged their pores making it difficult for them to do their healing work. Duh. Appropriately reformed, I’ve eliminated the tumbling/oxide process.

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Farewell to Leecher Creek

| September 14, 2014 |

Most of you folks in my facebook/ blog circle know that my former home washed away in the flash flood in August. I blogged about it at the time on behalf of my neighbors Bob Elk and Janie Lewis, whos need for recognition and support in regards to the event was much greater than my own. Having just moved out of the cabin I lived in for twelve years a hairy few weeks prior to the flood, my butt was safely up valley enjoying a potluck while the neighborhood went underwater. I haven’t said much about it since but, those unpredictable waters also ran deep.

I spent twelve delightful and blessed years on Leecher Creek on behalf of the good graces of Richard and Cheryl Wrangle who owned the land and cabin I lived in. It was in many ways a rare opportunity and a charmed life. What started as a temporary living situation while I sought a piece of Methow property for myself turned into a long term love affair. The Wrangles and I fell head over heels in love (who could blame me). They didn’t particularly want me to leave, and the more I came to know them and my new hood, the less I was inclined to. The tradeoff was that Leecher Creek offered a primitive lifestyle, without hot running water or indoor plumbing, and without any sunlight in the winter – at the bottom of that cold canyon, but it was lovely in its own right, with the creek running quietly and consistently fifteen feet outside the back door. For twelve years that was my constant sound track.

There is no longer any trace of that previous life I lived remaining. Not one speck. It was completely and entirely washed away in the flash flood that swept down our canyon last month. The blessing in that is a clean slate to completely reinvent myself. How timely. But it has been a bit haunting to think about what would have happened had I not heeded an urge to leave NOW when that call came.  
For the past year I have been planning on relocating to the Oregon Coast for a while – a change of pace. Loving the Methow as I do, I kept putting off the departure, until the fires started. It was strange, I found myself packing that day with a driven frenzy, knowing somehow this wasn’t a normal fire year: it was going to be BIG and it was suddenly and urgently time to go!
And so I have.
I’m writing this now from the comfort of my three bedroom two bath, washer/ dryer, dishwasher, (yup lots of hot running water) new home, two blocks from the roaring ocean, in Manzanita, Oregon.
The contrast is shocking.
Farewell to the life of solitude and simplicity that I chose for many years. Those circumstances created the opportunity for a rare spiritual journey.
No evidence remains of that sparse life of austerity…except what I carry forward within me.

Farewell Leecher Creek. This blogs for you!

IMG_8222The creek Herself, flowing faithfully and consistently year round, (with the occasional exception). All of the Wrangle’s, Bob and Janie’s and my domestic water came from here. It sprung out of the ground just an eighth of a mile up the canyon, so pure you could drink directly from it. I remember one year a fluffy duckling came bouncing down the creek and landed in the pool at the bottom. He hopped out and waddled around on the rocks then jumped back in and disappeared down the culvert. I’ve still no idea where he came from, or ended up.

IMG_8355A perennial beauty in one of my flower beds. This huge and drunkenly scented Asiatic Lilly is the offspring of one of Bonny Stevens bulbs – a local marvel. What does she feed them???

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 After twelve years of playing in Eden, I had the yard pretty parked out, and the cabin was nicely fluffed too: I re-did most of the interior and banished all the pack rats to the farthest reaches, intruders suffered the consequences (that was over one hundred reckless rodents in a dozen years!)

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My big fire lit bathtub next to the creek. Every day I’d heat a two gallon pot of water and bucket-bathe outside. All year round, even in -20. Taking a tub was more of an event and so deliciously rewarding. It was deeply satisfying to fill the tub with gravity feed water and heat it with fallen branches and pine cones from the surrounding woods, cleaning up my yard in the process. I’d usually heat extra water and haul it aside to do a few loads of laundry too. The whole process, off the grid.

IMG_5059I believe this beauty is actually a fungus in the orchid family. Most years it would pop up in the backyard near the bathtub.

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This one would be fungus, and nibbled upon at that.

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I enjoyed frog company every year. There were also wee cotton tail bunnies, flying squirrels, and a rare water vole that lived there too. The vole had me mystified as to its identity for quite awhile, rapidly racing across the surface of the water.

IMG_8054The top of Leecher Mountain, looking down on the foothills above our homesteads.

IMG_0804I loved stepping out the back door for a hike. Seemingly endless hills to stroll.

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IMG_2691To the big mighty Methow and all you peeps there who have touched my life, thank you, every one of you.
I will be mostly at the ocean in Oregon for awhile, until I once again return to the valley and probably my families homestead where I grew up, to nestle in.

*This blog is associated with my jewelry website, but also comes with many personal stories. If you’d like to receive the postings when they come out please sign up here: http://manitoubeads.com/blog/

 ***Extra special mention as noted by Karen Krieger: “The circle of flags were made by Janie. She had a dream about them and then brought them to life in this field. They were so powerful and shimmered in the sunlight.” There is a bank account at North Cascades in Bob and Janie’s name to help them out, perhaps some donations could be sent specifically to fund Janie making a new circle of flags?

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OCEAN INSPIRED

| September 7, 2014 |

I made a move to spend more time at the ocean recently. It’s quite the contrast to the high desert I’ve lived in for the past twenty five years. Here are a few tidbits inspired by my new surroundings.IMG_3796

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AND NOW A FLASH FLOOD

| August 23, 2014 |

I’m not ashamed to admit it, I cried buckets when I bade a clinging farewell to my Leecher Creek neighbors Bob and Janie, just a few short weeks ago. For the past twelve years we’ve lived next to one another, a wee country  highway between us. Not too far to shout “Wahoo!  Good morning!” “Hey keep it down over there.” or “Cookies are out of the oven.”.

To my long and unending list of neighborly needs for a hand  (“Can I borrow your power drill?”,  “Help me move my cast iron bathtub? Umph”)  they never once said “no”. Well, Bob always said “no” and then he’d grin and amble over – his teasing way.
Our friendship surpassed “neighborly” years ago, nurtured by many cups of tea over the kitchen table and conversations that seemed to have limitless boundaries.

True to this summers theme of epic natural disasters in the Methow, an unimaginable flash flood roared down the canyon behind where I lived and through Bob and Janies  homestead late last week. In minutes, what would have been a typical summer thunderstorm gratefully drunken in, bounced off the tender, parched, exposed landscape, raindrops merging and building into a roaring mass of mud, picking up speed and debris, uprooting trees and burying everything in it’s path, or sweeping it along with it –  all the way out to the ocean.

I’m so thankful my neighbors are alive1 I’m so grateful I moved a few short weeks ago! There is nothing remaining of the cabin or the slightest trace of the peaceful parked out oasis I called home for over a decade. The devastation on my side of the road was swift and complete. I am still coming to terms with such a close call. The wreakage on Bob and Janies side of the road was equally thorough. They will be coming to terms with the destruction to their entire homestead for many long days ahead.

This loving pair, who’s kindness and playfulness has worked its way into their entire communities heart needs that community now, and it is a community that is bone weary from the past two month of relentless natural events, surpassing anything any of us could have wildly imagined; unprecedented wildfires, gale force winds, more wild fires and flash floods.
This loving couple may need help from folks beyond their community.

Walking through the aftermath and taking it all in yesterday I was unreasonably overjoyed to see that my old cast iron bath tub, they eventually traded me for a power drill, was one of a few things in their yard that hadn’t gotten washed down to the Columbia. To think that a bit of something I’d kept around for so long to put in my own future home would soon go into theirs brought  a smile through the tears.IMG_4129This is looking to the east side of highway 153. It’s what’s left of what once was my home and yard. My cabin was on the back side of the barn like structure that would have stood in the right side of this image. Said “barn” was actually the oldest gas station in our valley.

IMG_4089My old cabin is now wrapped around the front of Bob and Janie’s shop.

IMG_4086…and her car is parked inside the shop. That long pole would be a casually tossed tree.

IMG_4092This new abyss is yawning between their shop and house. Bob’s truck was swept up and washed to the bottom where this meets the river.

IMG_4132Front door of their house. The yard now rests at window level.

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The “many cups of tea” kitchen.

IMG_4103Janie’s daughter Autumn, with her husband Bill dug out several of the farms chickens that were found trapped in the mud the next morning.

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*If you can offer support in any form to these two, please contact me through my website: http://manitoubeads.com/contact/. I will be compiling  a list of Bob and Janies needs as they become clear. For you local folk who have the steam left, right now they need lots of help just in cleaning up.

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WILDFIRE

| August 17, 2014 |

The most insatiable wildfire in Washington state history began consuming my homeland over a month ago: the beautiful Methow Valley, in the Eastern foothills of the North Cascades. This fire has been widespread and unpredictable in its capriciousness. I know so many who have lost their homes. In our hope we imagine it is winding it’s thirsty way down. It seems there is little left to burn, yet more fires have erupted – the offspring of thunderstorms. How we need the rain. How we fear the lightening.
On it’s heels, between fires, there have been powerful winds, blowing down huge old remaining trees, blowing the ashy land into a fog bank of dust that approaches so strangely, like the legendary desert dust storms. One of my girlfriends homes survived a fire that consumed her neighborhood, only to have a tree fall through her daughters bedroom while their family was huddling safely in the basement.
Yet we still have much to be grateful for.
A reprieve came late last week, on the wings of clouds. Substantial life giving rain. The roasted and parched earth could not entirely absorb it all in it’s hydrophobic state. Charcoal flash floods washed down many canyons
Only a handful of days later there is the springing of new growth. At the base of blackened aspens future trees are bursting forth. Next spring the grasses will be thick and lush and the wildflowers memorable, new Ponderosa pine seeds sprouting now freed from their cones by the fire. There will be ample morel mushrooms to feed the entire region. We will rebuild. The community will shift, will strengthen. We will thrive once again in the land of milk and honey.IMG_3974_2_2

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JOSHUA TREE STONE

| August 10, 2014 |IMG_2608

It’s rather infrequently that I make beads from stones picked up on my walk abouts. This stone is one exception.
Joshua Tree National Park is an unusual place. It is known as a climbers paradise but the hiking is a best kept unsung secret. The hanging out is another matter entirely: the longer you linger, the more Joshua Tree reveals to you.
The first couple of times I went there I just buzzed through, the wind (which can be fierce – yard sale in the campground!) moving me along. Then one year I was doing my usual “Just passing through” and got distracted. I stayed for three months!
So these beads are ode to Joshua Tree. They are made from stones I picked up around that area. If you have a mutual love for the place and want to keep her close to you, I can probably still dig up a few soft buff beads for a talisman.

 

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NEPAL I

| August 3, 2014|

I went to Nepal a few years back. In my work with stone jewelry I  am still drawing inspiration from the trip.  The riot of color is unprecedented.IMG_0522 08-13-24DSC_0039

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NEW EARRINGS

| July 27, 2014 |

Funky fresh new earrings…

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 Check ’em out: http://manitoubeads.com/product-category/earrings/

 

 

 

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GALLERY ENSEMBLE

| July 15, 2014 |

This set is headed to the Confluence Gallery in the Methow Valley for their fall show: Fall In The Methow. The exhibition will be on display from August 2 to September 20, 2014. Those folks have been creating some fantastic shows. Don’t miss this one!

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BEADS AND EGGS

| June 29, 2014 |
In making stone jewelry I choose a matte finish with my beads and pendants and forgo the tumbler and oxide polish that coats most beads made of stone. The soft and receptive way these beads feel in my hands compares to cupping a batch of small birds eggs, the same raw, earthy texture. IMG_0880 IMG_2438IMG_7924


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ROSE PETAL HONEY

| JUNE 21, 2014 |
IMG_1175I love Amber. It has weight, being a stone that is deeply connected to the Ancestors, and yet it is the lightest rock imaginable. I have yet to work with it in my stone jewelry, as I understand it is somewhat toxic to expose. The color of Amber draws me to it like the warmth of the sun. The closest color in all the world  to amber is honey from bees.  I am thinking of amber today as I plan to harvest rose petals to infuse in honey. I am thinking of the warmth of this seasons sunlight I am tucking away for winter dreaming.
The Wild Roses are blooming. It is yet early enough in the season to not quite be spring anymore, and the heat of summer still just a promise. It is a day to delight in rose petals.
To that end, I head out the door this morning, poohound in tow generally directed to the backyard hills. We navigate around a large alfalfa field of cows to an upper meadow where the wild roses are ample and loaded with bloom in the sunlight. And I pick….And pluck….And drift on home with a bag of blossoms. 
After harvesting the petals, they go into wee glass jars, gently packed full. Pour honey over the top, stir patiently to thoroughly mix the honey into all the petals, add more honey.
Such a simple, sensual pleasure, rose petal honey. This elixir is a tonic for any occasion that calls for brightening or celebrating, spread on buttered toast or add a spoonful to peppermint tea. Mmm.
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MOOKAITE JASPER

| June 8, 2014 |
Mookaite Jasper is said to provide a useful balance between inner and outer experience, imparting both an openness to new experiences as well as the serenity to face them. This is a stone of flexibility and versatility. It brings clarity around the opportunities and options that present themselves and assists in choosing the right one. Physically this stone is stabilizing. It fortifies the immune system, heals wounds and purifies the blood.IMG_7343IMG_1432_2IMG_7078IMG_2904IMG_8952

 


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RAIN WASHED MORNING

| June 17, 2014 |
A Beautiful fresh clear late spring morning for a hike/bead photo shoot
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Enjoy the picies!
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SECRETS

| May 21, 2014 |
Took a trip to one of my favorite places in the whole world today. The Mediterranean blues of this lake in Eastern Washington feed my soul. The precise location is best kept secret, but its hue has inspired my love for certain stones and color combinations – the very colors of the first stone beads I wore…and the wild Penstimon was blooming!IMG_8210IMG_8680IMG_0485IMG_8211


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AW SHUCKS BABY!

| May 14, 2014 |
In over ten years of making original stone jewelry the greatest and most honest compliment I have ever received came this spring from a lovely baby. Her mama wore this necklace through pregnancy and birth, and the tot took possession of it early on, already  knowing this totem will ultimately be worn by her. Thanks to her ma for sharing the image.photo_4


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MASON JARS

| MAY 7, 2014 | IMG_2561

A large part of why I love what I do as a jeweler is working with stones that are refined enough to be worn yet retain their essential natural appeal. This element is reflected throughout my life: I love refinement but deeply appreciate the thread that always leads me back to the earth, whether it’s how I adorn myself, or how I feed myself. I’m particular about my food having had a happy life – animal, vegetable, or mineral. It’s probably why I grow or harvest much of it myself; I always know who it’s parents were.
Before I step into my stone jewelry shoes today, I am harvesting and processing some herbs this morning, loading up my Mason jars.
So many good things come in a Mason jar: dill and butter pickles that give a tuna sandwich meaning; strawberry jam, to color winter toast; the amber of honey; and the whole brewing world of magical fermented foods. Mason jars make me think of canning sunlight. For those of us who live in northern climes, they preserve the colors and flavors of summer to provide fortitude through the winter, or as Gregg Brown, one of my favorite down home minstrels puts it “Taste a little of the summer, Grandma put it all in a jar”.
With the fecundity of spring growth, right now I am making fresh herbal infusions in the morning from the wealth of just picked weeds and herbs in the yard, but I’m also drying some of the abundance for winter nourishment. Here are a few just harvested and dried this week: Nettle, Raspberry, Peppermint and Horsetail.

 

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EARRINGS

| April 7, 2014 |
I’ve been a whirlwind in earring world the past couple of weeks. Below is a sample of the creative storm.

To see what’s now available go to my Current Offerings page.

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SPRING HIKE

| April 1, 2014 |
A hike in the back yard offered a refreshing bead making break this afternoon.  I’m enchanted with the billowing storm brewing spring clouds and how they mirror the cotton candy blossoms of the Saskatoons in full bloom. Inspires me to wear a strand of dreamy white Moonstone beads dotted with a couple of gray/blue Pietersite.IMG_0407IMG_0860IMG_0863IMG_0802IMG_0806IMG_0804IMG_0823IMG_0829IMG_0845


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HAIR STICKS

| March 28, 2014 |
IMG_0250These Hair Sticks have been a playful project. The style evolved over the course of a couple weeks…well, years. I started playing with them almost a decade ago- wanting some hair sticks for my own unruly mop- and came up with the basic design of a single pronged, wiggly stick. Upon request I’ve finally gotten around to making them available through this site (see Current Offerings under “shop”). They started off pretty simple with the wiggly single pronged theme…those morphed into double pronged wiggles, and lying in bed one night with my imagination unfurled before sleep (of course), the inspiration for the spiral design was hatched; lots of pounding and twisting. Big fun! (The striking pink stones above are Cherry Quartz and Thulite).

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THULITE

| March 11, 2014 |

IMG_7253Thulite is a rare stone with powerful links to the life force, stimulating healing and regeneration.
This is a supportive stone for the introvert who wishes to venture further outward, encouraging curiosity and inventiveness. It is helpful wherever there is resistance to be overcome. It can assist one in coming to terms with the human condition, as it affirms the marriage of love and logic. Emotionally it encourages the expression of passion and healthy balanced sexuality, in a positive and constructive manner.

This stone can help with calcium deficiency and digestive problems. It also enhances fertility and eases diseases of the reproductive organs. As a strengthening and regenerative stone it may soothe nervous exhaustion.

Thulite is fairly uncommon and availability is limited. There are two known sources in the world: Norway, and ironically, about thirty miles as-the crow-flies from where I grew up, in the Methow Valley.

Recently I have been drawn to wearing Thulite as stone jewelry to support my heart. It has a gentle, soft nature that feels expansive but grounding.

(The pendant shown here is Orange Thulite, apparently very rare. One usually finds it in pink with forest and moss greens).IMG_4068IMG_8851IMG_1870


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CEDAR WATERCRESS BOX

| March 11, 2014 |IMG_0913_2
When I’m not making stone jewelry, occasionally you will find me working with wood. Although an unsophisticated carpenter, I still find pleasure in the process of tree solidifying into another form, and the softening  and revealing of grain as the wood is sanded.  I just finished this box out of cedar, to store some current knitting projects in. Hoping the cedar will help deter those munchy wool moths – I also dripped a generous amount of cedar oil all over the inside for good measure.

The bottom board was a little funky so I decided a paint job would disguise its flaws. I juiced watercress for my “paint”. Whew, that stuff is one thing to enjoy in a salad, but takes on an entirely different personality when you run it through a juicer – eye watering mustard fumes. But I like the green. Probably should have mixed it with a mordant as I suspect a wet rag would rub most of the “paint” right off.

Much of this yarn is hand spun and dyed by my girlfriend Tania “TEGO”. The Confluence Gallery now carries her beautiful homespun.

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GEMSTONE BLUE CHALCEDONY

| January 3, 2014 |

IMG_6940Blue Chalcedony is a semi precious gemstone known for its ability to constantly cleanse itself. It has many other lovely attributes as well. Here are just a few: It is a creative stone and opens the mind to accept new ideas, helping one to embrace new situations. It enhances both listening skills and communication, making it a great talisman to wear near the throat. It encourages one to be lighthearted and optimistic.

As a healing stone it physically has an anti-inflammatory effect, stimulates the flow of lymph, and enhances the immune system. It helps to clear illnesses associated with changes in the weather.

This is a stone found in many locations around the world: US, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Iceland, Mexico, Britain, New Zealand, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Morocco.
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