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Friday, December 21, 2012

Solstice Dance

Solstice Dance
I wish you a joyous Solstice!  May the long night wrap you in her gentle arms, may you release one notion that no longer serves you, and may the sun rise tomorrow and welcome you back.

For The Trees Who Sing

Druidess Necklaces
(sterling silver and prehnite)
Druidess Earrings
(sterling silver and [in order of appearance] aquamarine, lapis lazuli, turquoise)

For the Trees who Sing,
For touch of ragged bark,
For the shelter of canopy,
For the whisper of leaves,
For the rustle of seasons,
And most importantly,
Those who stride out through it all.

(you can find the whole collection in the shop right now!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snow Day

"We awoke to snow and instantly I am five"
We awoke to snow and instantly I am five.  Peeking through the blinds, clapping and squealing, shivering in my underwear because I'm too excited to pull on pants.  Bundling up: double cowl, fleece leggings, slouchy green hat, one very wet snowball that finds the center of BC's chest, soaking through.  The pups have never seen snow.  It is a marvel, soft and crunchy all at once, perfect for running tail tucked down, ass on fire, as fast as possible around the trees, up the bank, over the retaining wall, yipping the whole way.
Coffee (creamy).
Eggs (poached).
New sweater, clean leggings.
Speakers turned all the way up.
Candles lighted.
Sage burning sweetly.
Blue lace agate in a pocket (for peace I am told, for inspiration).
Sculpting twigs in sterling, one, two, five, nine, twelve.  Pushing metal, tapping knees, the UPS man laughing at my [perfectly on key] singing through the open windows.  Prehnite, turquoise, lapis, the rain drums along the roofline and my precious snow gives way to puddles, blackened moss and sneaking crows.
Send me your snow friends, mine seems to be melting already and I'm not ready for it to leave.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Druidess Earrings
(sterling silver and turquoise)

Just a little treeish-leafy-earthy magic for your lobes - the apple out back told me to!  I've got a small handful of these babies heading to the shop momentarily!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Somedays I fancy myself a druidess.  Or at least a tree gnome.  But as I don't think they make gnomes in my size, I'll stick with druidess.  Plus, I'm pretty sure they get the better outfits.

I just realized I've been remiss!  The deeply beautiful Vibeke over at A Butterfly in My Hair has been hosting an advent calendar giveaway.  There are some truly amazing women artists who have gifted of themselves to this; I count myself honored to be in their midst.  There is a new giveaway each day; if you're speedy you can catch a chance at the Odonata Necklace I'll be sending to one lucky lady!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sketchbook Writings

~ From my sketchbook writings, December 10th ~
Up on Rattlesnake Ridge
Up on Rattlesnake Ridge (King of the Castle)
The fog makes times stand still.  There is no back, no forward, there is hardly even up or down.  I no longer remember when I woke or when I should bed.  There is only now and the ticking of dew rolling down curls.
Three bald eagles in two days.  This land has swallowed me in exchange for raptors.  I puff along like a bright red steam engine, collecting speed, collecting shapes, lines, curves, textures, like a greedy architect.  I'll use some later, and what ever else is left rattling in my mind and [too shallow] pockets will be tipped out of those checkered panes and given to the ravens.  They'll take it all.  They always do.
Up on the ridge the trees, not expecting company through the long winter, have slipped out of their summer finery and grown shaggy green coats.  We're all a little rough around the edges but this is how I know we're old friends.  There is no need for pretense here, just a swinging gait, green scent of rot, and mud caked on boots.
* * *

I spent yesterday on Rattlesnake Ridge.  Days like that give me few words, halting descriptions, like trying to explain the scent of freshly baked bread to a newborn.  So I use my hands to tell the story.  And as ever, they are far more eloquent than my tongue.
Land Tribute
Land Tribute: A Mountain Narrative Necklace
(sterling silver and a small pebble plucked from the Eel River in Northern California)
* * *
Stay warm friends; I'm off to pick up a hot bowl of soup and run to the post; calendars are fluttering to homes across the globe and I can not thank you enough!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lunching: A Rustic Tomato Soup Recipe

I've been meaning to share this utterly simple and perfectly basic recipe with you for a few weeks now, but somehow I manage to eat every last drop before snapping a single photo.  We've had alternating hail storms, bitter winds, and generally chilly weather which has had me in the mood for hearty, warming dishes.  However, what I've not been in the mood for is long hours at the stove when such exciting work is happening in the studio.  This soup fits the bill; it's a snap to make, chances are you have everything rolling about in the panty, and it tastes far fancier than it looks.  While I love to whip up extravagant courses, I also put a lot of stock in being able to make magic happen with a couple cans and an old clove of garlic.
~ Rustic Tomato Soup ~
you will need
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 of a medium-to-large onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp of dried herbs (I'll talk more on this later)
2 cups broth/stock (I often freeze bags of homemade veggie stock, but today I emptied a left-over carton of beef broth from a stew earlier in the week)
2 14oz cans of tomatos (organic, no added salt/sugar if possible.  These can be diced, stewed, sliced, it matters not)

how to make it
Heat olive oil in a largish stock pot on the stove.  Toss in onions, cook for 3-4 minutes or until beginning to turn translucent, stirring often.  Add garlic, cook for another 1-2 minutes.  Add sea salt, brown sugar and dried herbs (I've been using a dried Bouquet Garni mix which includes savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, sage and tarragon.  However, I've also used hearty pinches of basil and oregano alone, and once, chopped up some fresh sage and threw in a bit of rosemary.  Truly, I think you can get away with any combination above, just go light at first and taste along the way), continue cooking and stirring until the onions begin caramelizing and barely crisping at the edges.

Add stock and both cans of tomatos, juices included and stir well.  Allow everything to warm up on medium heat for 5-8 minutes.

Now, if you're fancy and own an immersion blender, bust that baby out.  If not, puree in batches in a blender before returning to the pot.  Either way, you want smooth, without any hunks of tomato or onion surprising you later.  Once your soup is looking thick and lovely, allow it to simmer for another 5-10 minutes while all the flavors get to know each other.  
Finally, serve it up!
Some crusty bread (hello rosemary-olive oil loaf) would be glorious here or even a homey grilled cheese, but if the cupboards are a bit bare and the grocery store is not on the plans (ehem, as it is here), then slurp it up as is.  And of course, if you can pour it in a handmade bowl and sip from a vintage spoon, all the better.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Members of The Tribe (and THREE winners to boot!)

Tribe Rings
Happy weekend to you!  I welcomed mine in at the diviest karaoke pub this side of the Rockies (no, no singing for me last night but I did smack some pool balls around whilst wearing a fitted skirt - how sassy, I know - and drinking questionable nameless beer.  But to answer the question, if I were to have grabbed the mike, I would have gone either Miranda Lambert or Lauren Hill.  Always crowd pleasers.  Once the crowd is wearing their beer-earmuffs that is).

You'd probably like to know who the 2013 UmberDove Calendar winners are, yes?
I'll spare you the boring screen shots of, but do know the numbers pulled by that mysterious bot were full of randomness!  But first, I just want to say THANK YOU so very much for leaving your comments; I read each and ever one with great relish and appreciation!  You ALWAYS make my days.  Truly.

My three winner-winners:
Rebecca Rebecca and her 7-year old animal-loving daughter
The illustrious Bon*Bon-mashed-potatoes
MmGood the magical urban gardener

Ladies, drop me your mailing addy at and I'll post your bundles pronto!
* * *

I'd like to tell you a story.

Members of the Tribe
 Several weeks back I dreamt of walking.
I was striding though idyllic hills, green, rolling, like the coastal California wine country in it's emerald spring.  Trees dotted the landscape, yellow flowers bloomed in vernal pools, the sun was mild and the air was sweet.  I listened to the dull thud of my footsteps on shorn grass, and realized it was the only sound on the air.  I was utterly, utterly alone.  No birdsong, no mammals crashing through the brush, not even a breath of wind.  The loneliness sat on my heart with incredible weight and I felt sadness descend, descend until I cried out "who will walk with me?"
Immediately I felt warm breath on my leg and looked down to see a coyote trotting close enough to brush her back under my palm.  A second later, a flicker lighted on my shoulder, flashing orange tail-feathers and her crescent moon chest.  I looked around and realized I was surrounded, as far as the eye could see, by furs, hooves, wings, tails, padded feet, flippers, every creature I knew walking alongside. The cacophony was a deafening joy: grunts, neighs, snorts, stomps and fluttering.  Glancing to my side, a massive horse jogged carefully through the din, carrying a young girl in blond curls.  Me.  I looked at myself, threw my arms wide and with a grin spoke:
"This is your family, see?  This is your tribe."
Tribe Rings
Because sometimes our family walks on all four, wears fur and feathers, and howls at the moon.

(100% sterling silver, and heading to the shop momentarily)
* * *
Be well and be full this weekend friends!
~ Umber ~