Sunday, December 26, 2010

Musings from a Journal of Yore

In my 20's I used to keep journals.  Though life is an ongoing educational process those were the first years truly on my own; out of college, out of the nest, and away from home. A time for testing the waters and finding out about who I was. This morning I picked a journal up and opened it to no particular spot. Here is what I found:

January 10, 1971

Clear light, clear energy
A very seeing day
There is time and no time
Eternities and brief moments
Find no distinction
Soft awareness, no edges

Next to it was two quotes, the first from William Faulkner

"I believe man will not merely endure, he will prevail. He is immortal not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance..."

The second from Steve Miller
"You've got the power to open the door
You've got the power, it's been done before
Once you get there you're sure to see
You open your eyes and love will be easy"

Different philosophers, different eras, but meaningful none the less. Accept who you are and revel in that, but never stop exploring your boundries and the possibilities of your life.
Thank you once again to the talented artisans of Etsy who help me illustrate my thoughts.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wednesday Wonders

A salute to the grace and beauty of wild horses and to my friend Trisha who now rides free with the clouds
Happy Birthday

Cherish what is important in your life, sieze the day and forget about the little stuff that always seems to get in the way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It Takes Two to Tango

My husband and I have been together for almost 30 years. We live in a small house and travel in a small camper. We noticed early on that we danced rather well together (literally and lyrically) in small spaces like the kitchen and love to be in wide open spaces.

19 Ought 80 Something

We also seem to share the ability to find what the other can't ~ the forest for the trees kind of stuff. We had Thanksgiving here for the first time in years and I pulled out my grandmother's china, crystal wine glasses for the table, the whole nine yards. I'd had almost forgotten how to set a table and had to borrow cloth napkins from my friend Nancy!

We decided to replace our old wooden salt and pepper grinder for the night and put them in the kitchen. After Thanksgiving neither one of us could find them. We looked in every cupboard, drawer, and pantry cabinet. We called our friends on the off chance they might have been put in one of the bags of leftovers everyone took home.

I came in from my studio the following Monday and Rod says "Where did you find them?" I give him this totally blank look and he pointed to the shaker and grinder sitting next to his knife rack on the center island. "I didn't find them anywhere, I guess they'd been there the whole time". We just fell in heap laughing.

This is known in our circle of friends as a Whippo and when one happens you must call and report it. It kind of keeps us all humble and provides great entertainment value as we age together.

"Blessed are we who can laugh at ourselves
for we shall never cease to be amused"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Little Did I Know

November 23, 2010

Little did I know a laugh filled conversation with my friend Trisha on the 21st would be our last,

Lost Coast

Little did I know that the email I sent today about plans for her birthday and what she was bringing for Thanksgiving would never be read,

Little did I know that I would never again hear her voice, see her face, share her laughter or another adventure.

The Great Benbow Adventure

We wake up each morning with the reckless expectation, born from our own experience, that the sun rises every day and with it, the illusion that we'll always be there to see it. Take nothing for granted and live each day to the fullest as Trisha did. She went mid stride doing what she loved to do: working her ranch, riding her ponies, dancing and traveling.

 Excerpted from Henry Van Dyke

"I'm standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Someone at my side says ‘There she goes!’ Gone where? Gone from my sight...that is all. And just at that moment there are other eyes watching her coming and their voices take up the glad shouts ‘Here she comes!’” 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Talking with the Owls

We have several great horned owls that reside in the redwoods near our home. Sometimes when we're out in the back yard soaking our bones in hot water the owls start their nightly hoot fest and I've gotten pretty good at joining in the conversation. This local trio all chant the usual hoo~hoo~hoooooo.

Last night we were out in the rockers on the front porch relaxing when we heard a new voice. My husband at first thought it was our neighbor Mike messing with us. But we then we realized the sound was about 30 feet up in the redwood, not Mike.

I read up a little on Great Horned Owls when we came in. This is the beginning of the courting season for these magnificent creatures of the night. We think it is a female, because the hoot is deeper than that of the resident owls.

Heart Hill Forest

Each time she hooted I answered back. She started with a deep hoo~hoo, then a hoo~hoo~hooooo, then hoo~hoo~hoo~hoo. This went on for a bit and then we were totally caught off guard by a series of different cadences that I repeated back (according to the reseach it isn't unusual for them to have a repertoire, but we'd  never heard these before). This "conversation" lasted about 5 minutes. The owl either didn't realize I wasn't another owl or was indeed playing with me. Her last response sounded like a hooted wolf whistle.

Perhaps she is new to the neighborhood or it's a young one finding it's voice. But whatever the story we were delighted by the magic of the experience. We are so lucky to live out in the country.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Change in the Weather

It's mid November on the North Coast of California. In the last week we've experienced everything from 85 degree sunshine with evening cricket serenades, 

to partly cloudy with chance of showers and awesome sunsets,

Photo from our front porch

to rain and wind,

and the chance of snow in the foothills tonight.

Part of the charm of this time of year is seeing what surprises are on the horizon in the morning. Part of the challenge is learning how to dress for it. Now go outside and play!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Marketing Close to Home - Part Deux

I did a blog on August 21, 2010 called "Marketing Close to Home" as a tutorial for artisans interested in doing craft fairs. I wanted to make a few additions after finishing my first two fairs of the season. 

Pricing: Make sure you add sales tax into your posted prices. You do not want to be dealing with adding it on at the fair. Trust me you and your customers will appreciate the effort. 

Credit Cards: Wow! I've doubled sales by being able to accept VISA and MC. I did my reseach on what was available and chose to go with ProPay. Most of our fairs are in small towns that rarely have wifi or cell reception. Problem solved, I purchased a portable MicroSecure™ Card Reader through their site that allows me to swipe credit cards and store information. I process the cards by plugging the reader into my computer at home. If you do have cell or wifi reception at your fair you can process sale on the spot.  

Special Receipt Book: I set up a special receipt book for my credit card sales with information for the customer on the original receipt and information for my needs on the yellow copy. I used address labels printed on the computer and add stickers to the receipt book before I go to the fair. It's much easier to fill in blanks than to remember what you should write down.

(1) Original receipt (customer copy) - at the top of the receipt add a label with your name and whatever information your credit processing company tells you will show on customer statements.  Point that out to your customers when you give them their copy of the receipt. With ProPay either your phone number or email address is going to be what shows so that's what I added to mine. 

(2) Your copy - add a label at the bottom with the following information and a "_____" next to it to fill in: customer name, phone number, email address, credit card expiration date and credit card code. The phone number is so you can reach them if there's a problem. When your process their card there is an option to email a receipt and the other information is or may be required to process the card.

(3) Detail what they bought and have them sign your receipt book, so it shows on both copies. This is your proof that they made the purchase. 

Mailing List: Several customers asked about a mailing list. There are a couple of ways you can approach this. (1) find a spot on your table for a small notebook and pen. Bring it to your customers attention if they'd like to know about pending fairs or sales. (2) I always copy my checks before depositing them so if I want to send out a postcard about upcoming shows I have a mailing list. (3) If you decide to take credit cards you'll have the customers email address. Caveat: Use your resouces wisely or you may drive away possible repeat customers. No one wants to get inundated with solicitations.

Business Cards: Make sure your website, blog or online store addresses are on your card. Post your fair schedule on those sites and let your customers know that.  I made a sale at a craft fair this summer and included my business card. She just made a purchase through my Etsy shop and let me know she'd met me at the fair.

Engage your customers: I don't know about you but when I go to a fair or bead show I always check everything out first before spending my hard earned cash. It's primarily your wares that will draw customers back, but sometimes a fun conversation is also a magnet. Keep a smile on your face and no whining (there's a $5 fine for that!)

Bring a tall stool to sit on: That way you're at eye level with your customers and your feet will thank you!

Now go out there, share your creations with the world, and most of all have fun!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Fabulous Mr. Fox

We live out in the country on a dead end road. Our vegetable garden and a small patch of eating grapes are down in the pasture below the house. Just before I went to bed last night I heard an unusual barking and wondered if Mr. Fox was back. We hadn't seen him in a while. I stepped out on the porch at the same time my neighbor came out with a flashlight to see what was up. Sure enough we spotted him down by the grapes.

He's a handsome little guy with a taste for gophers, mice and moles (a friend indeed). During the summer we've watched him groom down in the grape patch, enjoying the afternoon sun and periodically picking a bunch to munch on.

I was perusing Etsy this morning looking for a photo to illustrate my post and found instead these delightful creations that range from social commentary to flights of fancy.

Support independent artisans and take a minute to check out shop links to see more of their work. You may find something amazing!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Halloween Tale

I simply had to share this Letter to the Editor published this morning in our Santa Rosa Press Democrat from Santa Rosa High School English Teacher Jessie Kroeck.

Beyond the smashed pumpkins, egging and over-turned garbage cans, I want to share a trick-or-treat story that shows our teenagers at their most creative and whimsical selves.

One of my students, Antone Cernokus, and his buddies Josh Bjorklund, Keane Kheva and Alonso Cisternas dressed up in family attire — one even as a baby. They then walked around the neighborhood carrying a door. After ringing a doorbell, they hid behind their door. People from the house would open the door, only to be confronted by another door with a sign that read, “Please knock.”

So they would knock. Surprise! The teenagers would open their own door and exclaim, “Look, we have trick-or-treaters!” And to the astonishment of the adults, these crazy teenagers would give them each a piece of candy.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Fool Is In

We live out in the country on a dead end road and we never had trick or treaters until our neighbors had kids. Their ages range from 3+ to 5+ and they are a total delight. My husband is of course just an overgrown kid himself so preparing for Halloween is now a big deal: from carving pumpkins, to baking cookies, to putting together the perfect costume.

The Wizard Clown Fool in Boots

I wonder what he'll come up with for a new look next year?

He is a master with the pumpkin carving and his cookies are do die for so I'll give him a little slack for the costume. Are these guys cool or what?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Looking Up Part 3 - Full Moon Rising

"Three things cannot be hidden ~ the sun, the moon and the truth" Buddha

I love a dark sky so that I can see more stars, but when the full moon rises I'm totally mesmerized. We've been lucky enough to experience this captivating "nightlight" from the Pacific to the Rockies, from Canada to the Southwestern deserts. It's always magical.

One of the best views is from our own back yard accompanied by the cricket and hoot owl band that resides close by. Last night the incoming storm clouds danced around the moon, constantly changing the light and depth of the sky and giving us moonbow with hint of faint color. No matter what went on during the day, all was right with the world standing there hand in hand. Here are some wonderful full moon interpretations from fellow Etsy artisans.

Howling Wolf

Moon Over Lake Ontario

Mt. Ranier National Park

Dragonfly Moon

The Harvest Moon is at its best tonight. Take a few minutes and toddle outside for the best "reality" show, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Looking Up Part 2 ~ Light Show

When I was a child thunder and lightning scared the poop out of me, but I've grown to love its shear power and beauty. Amazing experiences on Mt. Robson in Canada, and in the Colorado Rockies and New Mexico seeded my new appreciation of nature's strength. Here are some remarkable works by Etsy artisans that help to illustrate the magic, the links to their shops are below.

"Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does all the work." Mark Twain

Cassiopeia and Thor II

Southwest Monsoon

Seasons are changing and with that comes changing weather, hope you experience some of your own magic this year. Looking up is good exercise for your neck and your mind. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Looking Up Part 1 ~ The Milky Way

If these don't set your imagination to wandering I don't know what will. Enjoy these amazing photographs from Latvia, New Mexico and London artisans. 

The Milky Way

Centauris Southern Milky Way

The Milky Way

Unplug from your television and computer, go outside, throw a blanket on the ground, grab your favorite headrest and open your eyes to a truly magnificent reality show.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reality and some Great Friday Finds

I live out in the country and my poor Jeep rarely gets washed. The other day I noticed lichen growing along the window frames on the side of the car that faces north. This inspired me to do a lichen search on Etsy and I found some awesome photos. Nature never ceases to amaze me. Don't forget to look down once in a while.

Shop link is  
Shop link is

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Along the Trinity & Klamath Rivers

On September 24th we looked at the calendar and realized we had a string of days with no promises to keep. Any woulda, coulda, shoulda, or hadto lists were conveniently buried where we couldn't find them. It was time for a road trip! 

The rig was packed in record time and we were prepared to camp in warm or cold weather, to fish, photograph and hike, to cook over the campfire and sit on a riverbank or curl up inside and read.

Trinity River along Hwy 299
Headed north along the Redwood Highway (101) and spent our first night out near Trinidad at Patrick's Point on the coast. After breakfast we turned east on Hwy 299 into the Six Rivers National Forest headed for the Trinity River. Late afternoon we turned north on Hwy 3 looking for the Forest Service campgrounds we saw on the map at Trinity Lake. 

We were absolutely slack-jawed flabbergasted to see a dry lake bed, with what I'd called a large puddle of water down near the dam (no global warming here boss). With hopes high we dropped down to Lewiston Lake and were pleased to find the Ackerman campground almost empty and the Trinity River flowing at a good clip below the dam. 

After dinner stretched out on the picnic table and watched the skies. When you get away from snivelization you can see so many stars and galaxies, depth and dimensions you don't see at home.

Trinity River at Ackerman Campground
Evening Walk on the Trinity
Next morning continued east and picked up I5 towards Yreka to turn left onto Hwy 96 to explore the Klamath River on our way home. We stopped a few times so Rod could do a little fishing. I was in the middle of the "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and had my camera so I was happy as a clam whenever we pulled over. 

In the late afternoon stumbled upon the Dillon Creek Campground and decided to stay for a couple of days. The space was up in the trees at the end of the road, no one else was around and the Klamath River was directly across the highway. Fall and Spring are the best times for road trips.

Dillon Creek
A short walk from our campsite was a small sign that said creek access, a bit of a perilous path but worth the trip. There was a huge pond of crystal clear water with small rapids at either end and orange and white rock formations along the edge that looked like dinosaur backbones. 

Now, I'm a woman of varied interests. I love the soothing sounds of water flowing over the rocks, loud cars at the race track and the roar of jets in the sky. Two out of three wasn't bad for a Tuesday afternoon. We were sitting at the creek with our feet in the water chatting and all of a sudden we hear a roar. Directly above us one, two, three fighter jets screamed down the valley just above the tree tops. It was awesome, a wilderness sideshow, totally unexpected. 

After dinner we stretched out in the middle of the campground road to again take in the stars. We saw a number of shooting stars and wondered if there were two other people in another galaxy laying on a campground road watching the stars just as we were and wondering about what was out there?

Rod in his element fishing the Klamath
Last night out we returned to Patrick's Point for a hot shower, and a campfire dinner of grilled pork chops, roasted beets from the garden and Shelley Potatoes (diced potatoes, garlic, onions, Mrs. Dash and a little olive oil wrapped in foil and grilled). Oh, and dark chocolate with raspberries for dessert!

Somewhere on the road we saw a license plate that said "Y Whine" and I have to agree. So much of what sucks up our time, focus and energy in the day to day is trivial. Take account of all that you have and run with it. Now go outside and play!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Huzzah, Long Live the Queen

The Queen Arrives

On September 18th Sebastopol's first annual Renaissance Faire transformed Ives Park into the village of Fenford for a day of living history. Passports were issued to students to encourage exploration of the fair, to ask questions and learn about the ways of their forebears. Activities ranged from archery, rat-a-pult, rounders, the dunk tank and tug-o-war to wheat-weaving and storytelling. 

Guilds demonstrated period arts and how to make such things as head garlands, chain mail bracelets, herbal sachets, and wooden shields. There was a variety of fine food from grilled turkey legs to crepes and refreshing libations at the Pip and Vine Tavern. The weather was perfect and the predicted rain held off until Sunday. Simply put, it was absolutely magical.

It was great fun and a very successful fundraiser for Park Side, Pine Crest, Brook Haven and REACH schools. It could not have been accomplished without the dedicated army of volunteers and sponsors who were ready to do anything needed: sharing ideas, skills, financial support and time. There is talk of extending the celebration to two days next year.

Members of the Queen's Court strolling through the park

Our Sticks and Stones booth was opposite the Fenford stage under a stand of redwoods. A perfect location. We had music, dance, song, and Shakespeare to enjoy throughout the day. It's great fun to step outside the everyday to dress up and play a part. We're hoping there will be a class on conversational Olde English before the next faire so that we not only look part but can translate it.

Ye Olde Shopkeepers

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wonderous Wednesday

I was browsing Etsy this morning looking for something spectacular
to illustrate fall color and found this gorgeous print.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Journal Entry September 8, 1976

Wednesday evening
The silhouettes on the skyline
Capture my thoughts
There is something about
This color of blue
Christo's fence has begun
To breathe

Photo by Wolfgang Volz
The Running Fence was an art installation piece by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, completed on September 10, 1976. The builders removed it 14 days later, leaving no visible trace.

It consisted of a veiled fence 24.5 miles long extending across the hills of Sonoma and Marin counties in northern California. The 18-foot high fence was composed of 2,050 panels of recycled white nylon fabric hung from steel cables by means of 350,000 hooks. The cables were supported by 2,050 steel poles stuck into the ground and braced by steel guy wires anchored to the earth. The route of the fence began near Hwy 101 and crossed 14 roads and the private property of 59 ranchers to reach the Pacific near Bodega Bay. A majority of the work was done by volunteers.

I was working at the Bodega Marine Lab in Bodega Bay at the time. The fence actually bisected the small town of Valley Ford about 12 miles to the South. My boss allowed me to take the morning off so I could watch the fence panels being unfurled. It was truly an awe inspiring sight.

There is a wonderful online exhibition and story of how it all came about at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The link is:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Did They Trade the Family Cow for Magic Seeds?

Our neighbors to the West took a long neglected property and turned it into an amazing showplace, a garden of eatin' not only for themselves but for the birds, bees and butterflies. We've been enjoying the color changes each season as different zones come into bloom. They do constant battle with the gopher nation and give new meaning to two words from the I Ching, perseverance furthers.  

This spring they planted a huge sunflower bed along the fence line that runs between our properties (I use the term fence loosely since it's barely standing and hard to find unless you're right next to it). We watched the sprouts come up, and then noticed one morning they had reached to top of the fence. A couple of weeks later we can no longer see the house and only the tops of the redwood trees. Whoa, these puppies are at least 12-15 feet tall. The sunflowers are the size of dinner plates.

Our precocious little volunteer sunflowers are about 7 feet tall. My husband thinks, like Jack and the Beanstalk, the family cow was traded for some sort of magic seeds. Whatever the case we are enjoying the spectacle and the birds are going to be too fat to fly after their fall dining extravaganzas.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Yikes, There's a Dragon in My Yard!

We've had a foggy, cold and windy summer, or as someone quipped the other day ~ a mild winter. Fall color is just starting to show around the neighborhood. Several days ago I walked down to our garden in the late afternoon. The sun was low in the sky and surprising warm on my back so I just stood there for a few minutes soaking up the heat. As I opened the gate and I looked up and to my right and was shocked to find a huge red dragon on the edge of the pasture. She was an impressive sight, at least 25 feet long from nose to tail.

I think she is a friendly sort. Though you can't see them here, our neighbor's black cat and two chickens were lounging in the shade of her long neck. I was actually able to get close enough to snap a picture of one of her fiery scales.

Here there be dragons came to mind, something I once saw printed on an old map. I decided to see if it was an authentic quote. I found that one of the more recent sources of the quote is that it's the first in a series of books about an "extraordinary journey of myth, magic, and mystery" from the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica by James A. Owen. You know what's really cool, the second book is called "The Search for the Red Dragon".

Friday, August 27, 2010

Add an Etsy Treasury to your Blog or Website

I was bummed when could no longer provide artists with the capability to do spotlights. I used spotlights frequently to go along with my blog themes. Enter Etsy Treasuries and a whole new venue to get some incredible work seen and build networks with other artisans. 

I always email the artists I've featured with the link to the treasury. This enables them to find it without going through thousands of pages. They can then post the link to their blog or website and leave comments for you.

If you're featured in a treasury, I encourage you to click and comment. It gives feedback to the curator, increases visibility for artists, keeps the treasury active and someone may click on your shop after reading your comments. You know, it's a pay it forward kind of thing.

Here's a short tutorial on importing an Etsy treasury to your blog:

1) Open your photo processing program, I work with Picassa but they all have similar functions.
2) Open your treasury.
3) Go to "view" on your toolbar and reduce percentage to a point where you can see the title and all 16 thumbnails on the screen, 65%-68% works for me.
4) Use your print screen function (Control/PrintScreen) and Picassa will capture the page.
5) Go into Picassa and crop the treasury.
6) I then "Save As" and give it the treasury name (I save photos that will go on my blog or Etsy shop in desk top folders, then I don't have to go hunting for them).
7) There won't be an active link to artist's shops like an Etsy mini or a spotlight, but you can add a link to your post to take visitors to the actual treasury, which does have links directly to artist's shops.

Thanks to Molly at
for getting me on the right path. It certainly does take a village.

Link for "Fire and Ice" treasury is

So off you go: Create a great Etsy treasury, share it with the world and share it with the artists. If you're featured in someone else's treasury or want to promote one you've done you now have the tools to do it. Happy Trails.