I'm a little Tea Pot, short & stout....

When visitors come to our home the first few times, they seem to feel obligated to bring bags of groceries. Its not that they think we won't feed them, but the concern is that because we live  far from civilization, provisions must be brought, lest we all miss out on favorite foods. While Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are a mere 40 minutes from our home, I don't dissuade this bringing-of-food. I like to see (and eat) this manna from my friends and am always intrigued by what each guest feels is necessary.

Our last guest went even further. He brought his favorite kitchen utensils as he is the dweller of a small-kitchened condo, and he wanted to stretch out and cook dinner in our large kitchen with a view. I fully encouraged this turn of events. If he wanted to cook, I would happily vacate the area for him to play.

While Brad oriented himself to his weekend bedroom I rummaged through his food bags to see what delights awaited us. I came across a little red aluminum pot that sprouted antlers. Intrigued, I set it out and studied it.

What that?

I was instantly in love. Whatever it did, I had to have one. While I put away the groceries, Brad demonstrated his little machine and made me an incredible cup of espresso. This little machine works like a percolator, once the water is hot enough it bubbles up through the coffee, into its antlers, and streams espresso into cups. It was the best I had tasted. So not only was it cute, but its simple, Italian, and made the tastiest espresso our house has seen. I now NEEDED one.

Within 15 minutes I had googled it, found one, and ordered it. Filled with espresso from Brad's machine I spent the weekend bouncing off walls. Mine came a few days later. And it is in daily use as I make my morning lattes. Now I need a new song + new lyrics to go with my new Italian Bialetti stove top espresso maker.

Rudy-Our new Bialetti stovetop espresso maker

Great Zeus! - Zot! - Eureka!

"I so admire how creative you artists are. Where do you get your inspiration?"

.....waiting for inspiration

Good question. Every time I am asked that question I am flummoxed. Inspiration is a tricky thing. When I am very lucky, or very good I walk into just the right spot in my studio and ZOT! a truly great idea comes to me in a flash. The 3 rings in my top banner were a marvelous Zot moment.

My friend and fellow jeweler, Jack, challenged me to get over my prejudice to diamonds. I'd always thought they were over-hyped, stupid stones, boring, transparent, clear, no color; plus there are millions of them around.  Bah humbug, who needed them when there are so many other fine stones in the world. But Jack nudged some of my thinking around and I started relooking at diamonds.

My main gripe with diamonds is that much of the jewelry made with them, makes it all about The Diamond. I am a metal worker. I want my work to be all about well... My Work and the diamond's just a punctuation to my designs.

My 3 rings above came from this double-dare of Jack's. The idea formed in a quick moment of insight, fully-developed. I even found some colored diamonds to use. Bliss. I regularly thank him for his goading.

But mostly my designs are hard fought.

Jestsam & Flotsam
Jetsam & Flotsam

I am currently working on a design I know isn't that good. But the damn thing will not vacate my head until I make it. I know it will end up in my scrap pile...I have days like this. Its like clearing a plugged drain. Once I have design out of my head and at least partially realized I can go on to other things. I have a whole pile of dumb ideas that I poke at from time to time, trying to figure out why I made them. And sometimes they lead to inspiration, often not.

Usually my designs are evolutions from past work. No Eurekas! just hard slogging work. I make something like it or love it, look at it, start to examine it, think about it, and have a better idea of how to do it next time. This drives Dave-the-husband crazy. Why must I keep messing with great designs?  Why do I move on to my next NEW IDEA, when I have so many old great ideas I can still make? I  dunno. I think that's what it means to be an artist. We are always looking ahead to see what's there, how we can do it better, how it can change, evolve, morph into something else.

So when I go back to work, and I do find its work; divine inspiration is a rare event, no matter how good I am, or how many different places I stand in my studio waiting for it to happen.


Yeah, I'm going to marry it....

When small, my son would ask his sister, when she said she loved something, if she was going to marry it. Three years younger, he thought he had devised the bestest of snarky remarks with which to bug his sister.

This month I have found something I want to marry. I'm not often in LOVE with technology but a new point and shoot camera has totally won me over. It started with me wanting an inexpensive "pocket" camera. A quick glance at camera reviews led me to Costco and just before we left for 2 shows, I bought one.

This little jewel is AMAZING!  First it was cheap. Under $200. It of course shoots great photos, plus it keeps voice memo's-so you remember why you took some random photo, it rotates the images as I review them, it chirps when I turn it on, and WOOFS when I snap a pic. The woof tickles the heck outta me. Drives my photog friend Tom, crazy.

But best of all, this deckofcards piece of technology takes movies! And not bad movies at that. No more will I try to capture a series of photos to get the sense of something too big for a 4" x 6" picture. Now I can just slide the button over to movie mode and off I go.

Vermilion Cliffs-Northern Arizona, on a VERY windy day

The dot sez I've reached a new level of dorkiness. The son sez, "No, I don't need a new camera, I have a REAL video camera, Mom." Well, yeah, but not one he can slip in his shirt pocket.

If you need a new camera, get this one. Canon PowerShot SD790IS. Itsa hoot. AND yeah, you'll wanna MARRY it.


We've been Burgled!

My friend Jan left my house laughing. I had delighted her. She was sent in to retrieve a piece of equipment we had left behind and ship it to us at a show. Our house was tossed, tumbled, destroyed!messy-house

She immediately called us as we drove south to the show, to tell us how much she enjoyed plowing her way through the our getting-ready-for-the-show house mess. She felt so much better about her housekeeping once she'd seen the mine.

My inner Oscar smiled at her amusement. I do what I can to make my friends happy. My hubby's inner Felix, sighed. After a long marriage he's given up trying to keep order in every day of our lives. Sometimes, more often then not, mess happens.

As Jan & I hung up, I observed...."Well at least if the burglars break in they will take nothing....they'll figure someone else got there before them." Felix/Dave, smiled, rolled his eyes, and drove on. :roll:



Holey Moley Cows!

We live in Oregon's outback. Our part of Oregon is desert filled with juniper, sage, lizards, coyotes. Its not the soggy wet green zone most people picture when they think of Oregon. We love it. It has sun, huge skies, open spaces. We live far from a town, where no one drops by for a cup of coffee and a chat. Trips to town are planned for maximum efficiency in use of time and gas. Errands-to-do can be an all day event. Daily, as weather permits this time of year, the hubby and I ride our bikes for exercise and the sheer joy of it. We have miles of rural roads to ride populated by horses, cows, piggies, sheep, goats, irrigation canals, sagebrush, & juniper.bike-ride-road2

It is a place designed for peace and quiet, an artist's dream spot that offers long contemplative time periods for creating art with no interruptions....or so it would seem.

Thursday was a "still good" Fall day and we wanted to get in a ride before winter descends on Oregon's high desert. The husband-Dave was way ahead of me-so I can ride alone, while we can still do it together. The sky was alternately grey and blue and white, sunny and shady, and I was in my happy place.

As I passed a group of cows all hung together waiting for whatever cows wait for, I heard a metallic thumping. I stopped, remembered to to unclip my feet, and went to investigate. A cow was in a round water trough, totally upside down, head bent to the side, FULLY TURTLED, flailing with her legs. The trough fortunately had very little water in it so she was wet but not in danger of drowning. Good grief! How do cows figure out how to do these things?

Only a man with a tractor was going to unstick this lady and I knew it was far from feeding time. The rancher wouldn't find his cow until early evening and I didn't think she'd last that long.

Our area has many small ranches but most of the people who work them also have town jobs to pay the bills. Would I find anyone home to help StuckCow?

Looking at my disappearing husband's back I turned to find the most likely home of the cow's owners. I pedaled to a ranch house knocked, yelled, looking for a helpful human. As I looked back to the road I could see Dave had now doubled back and was pedaling like a soul-possessed looking for me. I yelled but he was too far to hear me. I took off after him but realized he was too far gone for me to catch and I returned to the hapless cow.

I needed help and my helper was gone in search of me. I flagged down a pick-up and asked the man to: 1st catch my husband and 2nd go to the little local store and tell them about the cow and hopefully they would know how to reach the owner.

I went to comfort StuckCow and let her know I wouldn't leave her until her legs pointed down. She flailed her thanks. Dave returned, panting, happy I wasn't in a ditch with feet still clipped in.

We decided he would continue on trying to find someone home and I would stay with StuckCow. I gave her a pat on one of her upright legs as Dave pedaled off. But I couldn't just stand there. I flagged down the next pick-up that passed. We again conferred on a solution. He knew the owner and would call.

I went off after Dave. What a fun day of cycling we were having! Dave too, had found the owner and the rancher with tractor was coming to unstick his cow.

Bouncing down a dirt road, with bucket raised the rancher and his tractor made his way into the  pasture. StuckCow stopped flailing and listened. The other cows who had gathered around to offer their support parted to let him get in position. He wrapped a huge chain around StuckCow's neck hooked it to the bucket on his tractor and yanked her to her feet. Once on her feet she bounded out of the trough, stood long enough for the chain to be removed, and moved quickly away while giving the trough a long dirty look. Problem solved.chargrined-stuck-cow1

How does a cow get turtled in a water tank? Most likely she was going for a drink and some cow friend came up behind her and accidentally bumped her into it. I pictured a cow doing a full somersault landing on her back. It happens the rancher said, but not often. And yes, a full day of laying upside down most likely would have meant "hamburger" for that cow. She now lives to graze some more.

Dave & I pedaled off, happy to have helped SC, and happier to live in such a wonderful place to bike.

Friends ask what I do all day. No one to interrupt my work-we live too far away, no Starbucks, exercise gyms, places to shop. We must have an inordinate amount of time to get things done. But still we're behind just like everyone else is. Too many things to do, too little time. I dunno why. Life just seems to fill my days up, despite my best of plans.