Friday, September 17, 2010


Photo by Jonathan D. Sabin

Maybe I've seen 'Gladiator' one too many times?

This is a piece that I recently finished for a competition. I find a lot of inspiration in the natural world, museums, history books, etc. But have you ever found yourself watching a movie and you realize that you're paying more attention to the scenery, costumes, props, and most importantly, the jewelry, than the plot? I do that a lot. Especially with a movie I've seen several times, like one of my favorites, Gladiator. In the movie, actress Connie Nielson wears costumes and jewelry inspired by pieces from the era of the Roman Empire. The things she wears in the movie are really beautiful. It all must have cost a fortune. I've often wondered if she got to keep any of it. The jewelry was especially beautiful. Most of it was designed by Martin Adams, who also designed jewelry for movies like Dangerous Liaisons, The Last Emperor, Atonement, and The Kingdom of Heaven. He also made the crowns in the musical Wicked. What a fun job. But it would be a lot of pressure to be very accurate. Thank goodness I don't have that! To see some of the dresses and jewelry from Gladiator check out this link.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Paul, at the famous Big Creek Bridge on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Somewhere near Big Sur.

Seals sunbathing near Cambria.

A Harbor Seal at low tide. Is that not one of the cutest things you've ever seen? I think he looks like a puppy.

The Sun setting into the Pacific as seen from Moonstone Beach.

My friend Abner, who lives at a garden store in Cambria.

The Big Sur coast shot from Nepenthe, a cool restaurant and shop set high above the ocean. The Stellar's Jay looks like he's enjoying the view.

Ranch land along the PCH near the Hearst Castle. Thousands of acres of ranch land in this area still belong to the Hearst family. Still wielding power many years after W.R. Hearst's death. He'd be proud.

Turquoise waters. My mind always goes to metals and gems, doesn't it?

The McWay waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, near Big Sur. I'm so happy such place exist in our country.

We had a great trip to California, though it wasn't long enough. I'm back to work, getting ready for a trunk show at Bead Haven and a show in Fairfield and finishing up a piece that I'm submitting to a competition. I need to take new photos for my Etsy store and I'm teaching a bunch of classes at Bead Haven in the next couple of weeks, so there's a lot to do! Can I please go back to California? No? I thought not.
We flew into San Francisco and drove to Monterey, then onto Big Sur the next day. We spent most of the week in Cambria, a cute little town along the Central Coast. We picked up jade and moonstones (they're not true moonstones, but they are beautiful pebbles of glowing white Chalcedony) off of Moonstone Beach in Cambria. The jade is actual jade and I think I may polish some of it and try my hand at some elementary lapidary skills. I haven't done any stone polishing so if anyone reading has any advice for me on polishing jade, I'd appreciate it! Once, I actually found a big chunk of Malachite on that very same beach. I'd love to polish that!
Along with beach combing we saw lots of Harbor Seals, Elephant Seals, Sea Otters, And even a couple of the impossibly large California Condors. I thought I'd post some pictures of the lovely scenery from along the way.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010




Today was my sweet kitty Sophie's birthday. She had a great day of milk, canned food, cat nip, playing with Lily, and sleeping. All in all, a good day. It is also her sister Baby's birthday. Baby is my sister Jamie's kitty. Baby looks a lot like Sophie, although she is much bigger. She's a good kitty too, with a completely different personality than Sophie. Happy Birthday, sweet girls!


Brucemore with a patch of Bee Balm in the foreground.

A shot of one side of my booth.

Before the breeze blew these over!

Suzi making a sale.

Cindi (peeking out from behind a display) and me.

Last Saturday I took part in the Brucemore Garden and Art Show. Brucemore is a beautiful house on 26 acres in the middle of Cedar Rapids, Iowa owned and maintained by the National Trust For Historic Preservation. The setting was beautiful, the weather was perfect and all of the shoppers and Brucemore people were very nice. I had a great show with the help of friends Suzi and Cindi. The day started out weirdly. On our way we were detoured by streets being blocked off by S.W.A.T. Team trucks and Police. We had to circle around a bit to get where we were going. Thankfully, that wasn't an omen of things to come.
Thanks to Suzi for some of the photos which I shamelessly stole off of her Facebook page!