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Saturday, December 31, 2011

And Here's What Came From My Hands

After the nest, the silver flowed and this is what came forth.
Inaudible Dialogue Necklace
Sterling Silver and Turquoise
One hollow-formed pendant plays host to a nest of sticks, leaves, stones and a single turquoise cabochon (one the the very last from the buried treasure stash), swinging freely like a prayer censer on a bar of sterling.
Back.  Forth.  Breathe in.  Breath out.  Release.  Take in.
* * *

Happy last day of 2011!
~ Umber ~

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A True Story

Once there was a gal.
Most days she was light of heart, quick to grin, optimistic to a fault even.  But every now and then, a gray cloud would cling to her shoulders the little things would add up.  One particular day she felt the grittiness of the cloud hanging close by and a hard little rock of frustration crowding its way into her ribcage.  It was sticky and constricting and she couldn't expand her lungs with it lodged right there along her sternum, so she decided the best thing to do would be to take a hike with her pack in the cold December air.
They trekked along the river bed, sludging their way through muddy ruts and clambering up slopes of stone.  Bare scrub brush caught at their legs and high over head the geese honked.  Every now and again the sun would sneak a golden stream of light through the fog and the world would become dazzling in its damp glory.
As she walked, the gal thought to the wholeness of certain practices in her life.  She began to breathe mindfully; on every exhale she took a tiny piece of that gray matter and sent it into the light.  On every inhale, she pulled in the pureness, the goodness, the holiness of the creation around her.  It became a dialogue between breath and earth, between heart and sky.  And somewhere between the rapids and the grassy knolls, that little ball of frustration disappeared entirely.  The dialogue shifted; rather than exhaling bits of darkness she exhaled thanks.  Expansive, deep exhalations of gratitude.  And the sunlight rained down like gold.
And then, almost as if an unseen hand directed her gaze, she craned her neck and gazed upward into a tree she had passed more than a dozen times before.  There, about eight feet up, cozied into the crook of a dry branch was the most perfect nest she had ever seen.  The inside was lined with crushed down and the occasional white horse hair.  The exterior was built of grasses and mud.  The whole thing was smaller than the palm of her hand.  The inhabitants were long gone, fully feathered and grown.  She knew it was for her, gently snapped the branch and smiled, because this was no ordinary finding.  This was a gift.
* * *

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Day in the Life of the Dove: Christmas Day Edition

[A photographic account of a single day in my life, Christmas day to be exact, spent in California's chilly central valley with the jubilance of family]

- Sunday December 25th 2011 -

7:08 am
7:56 am
8:39 am
9:15 am
10:09 am
10:47 am
1:09 pm
1:39 pm
2:29 pm
3:05 pm
3:56 pm
5:34 pm
7:24 pm
8:47 pm
9:32 pm
10:12 pm
11:48 pm
* * *
I hope your day was just as merry and bright!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hello My Wintery Birds

It's the 23rd of December!  
Can you believe it?
The presents are wrapped, carmel corn is baking in the oven (the scent, OH the scent is to DIE for), and my merry-christmas-to-me present showed up just in the nick of time (I think everyone should indulge and buy themselves at least one gift for the holidays).

But really this evening, this is what I'd like to say:
I wish YOU all the happiness and gentleness and joy that you deserve.
Because you do.  This tribe, these women (and men too) are some of the deepest of heart, strongest of soul and most true I've ever met.
Truly, TRULY I am blessed to know you.

So however you spend your holiday, I wish you the biggest and brightest.
Thank you for being in my life - you truly make everything just a little sparklier.
Cheers my birds!
~ Umber ~

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In the Evenings

This is where you'll find me.
About a week ago, I carried the watercolor essentials down from the studio and took over the dining room table:
torn cotton paper
water-filled jelly jars
river rocks
enameled trays
a smattering of paint tubes
and of course the usual suspects as well: pencils, brushes, sketchbooks and at least two sets of arm wear.

It's felt cozy, familial, to perch up on this stool with a little black puppy curled around my feet.  To see the tree twinkling out of the corner of my eye.  To have the tea kettle at the ready, or a handful of dried cherries should the mood strike.  To trade carbon-dioxide for oxygen with twenty-one growing, reaching, breathing plants in this tiniest of rooms.  To feel my whole little family close.

And of course, to watch the paint flow.
* * *

Tell me, what have your December evenings held?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Super Friends

Faster than speeding bullets,
Twice the mud,
Thrice the slobber.
Saving the world one woof at a time.
* * *

And I almost forgot!  Outtakes from tonight's romp...
They are loving life.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Fondness

In the name of seeking joy, I painted a small tribute piece to the feathered finch of my daily delight.
A Fondness
A Fondness
5"x7" Watercolor on 100% cotton Arches watercolor paper

It is no secret that I harbor a great fondness for the feathered creatures that inhabit my property. They are the original survivors, the songmakers, the joy bringers, the gifters of grins and scatterers of seeds. 

Sometimes it just feels good to paint with nothing but joy and thanks in your heart.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Good Tuesday to you!
It's been chilly here.
I finally got my wish: the thermometer has dropped steadily into the 20's, my fingers have ached while running the pups, and a hard crystalline layer greets the dawn.  It's one of those things I need to feel, in order to know that time is moving along at it's ever steady clip, the click of seasons and the shifting of wardrobe.
I can't believe it's been a whole week.
I'd love to launch into some sort of fabulous tale of where I've been and the adventures I've had, but truly, TRULY the most action I've seen has been the raising of one tea cup after the other.  That bug laid me out something fierce, I recovered, pushed too hard (hello type A), and found myself quite immediately back on the couch.
Le sigh.
I'm not a good patient.
Never have been.

with that done and past, I'd really love to show you some of the metal work dancing about in my studio! Care to take a peek?
Tidal Earrings 
in two sizes: A Petite Swell and A Rolling Surf
I've thought a lot about the push of pull of the tides of my heart.  Somedays I can walk for miles with a gentle swish of surf cooling my toes, on others the sneaker waves break in a sharp, dark froth.  On those days my skin feels raw in the wind, the waves crest so high and the sand beneath my feet shifts.  But this I know, just as surely as the sun will rise and the moon will shine: The tide will always shift.  The moon will pull back and the shoreline will reveal its treasures.  You will walk steady in the sand, the sea will send its lightest foam dancing in the breeze.  This is life.  This is the good that is so good, and the dark that makes the light ever brighter.
You can count on it.
Flirting With Yourself Earrings
A delightful return!
And just because I love them so,
Ten Thousand Small Histories No. 3
Sterling Silver and two utterly fabulous bits of beach pottery, plucked right here on the high beaches of Northern California.  This particular necklace features a FIND and a HALF of a bit: scrolling blue arcs on weathered porcelain - be still my heart!

(consider the shop updated...)
* * *

So tell me what have you been up too!
I've missed you so!
~ Umber ~