Another Art Adventure

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I haven’t really had an adventure in a great long time. At least not the kind you’re used to seeing here. My latest adventure is learning to teach chair yoga. Sounds easy? Not so much. It turned out to be a lot harder than I’d ever imagined. I teach seniors. I’m a senior. We all have limitations.

But I am trying some new things in my art world. Here’s a picture of a piece of silk I’m embroidering with floss and beads. It is stuffed in the trapunto method. Later it will be combined with leather to make a bag.


I am also making a different style of earrings. These are fabric with semi-precious gem stones added. I have them on display at Gilger Designs in Ames, Iowa. He has this great fine design shop and I am honored to have them there. And they are such fun to make. I made a pair for my niece and my nephew’s girlfriend. I made me some too.

Of course, these are in progress here, but they turned out beautifully.

Now, a friend of mine is setting up an Etsy shop for me–another great adventure in the art world. Everything takes time and energy. But creativity is the domain of us all. We are by nature creative and for me it has become a real need. I suspect it is that way with all artists. For this new year I hope you all have lots of time and opportunity to create the things you love and that this brings you great joy and peace.


Spring Has Sprung

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I know, I promised to share my adventure with learning WordPress, but I got distracted! I get distracted a lot. This time it’s a script treatment that caught my attention. I have the script written although it needs work, so I’m writing a treatment. Maybe someone will want it. It’s a murder mystery, which is no surprise. That seems to be my choice in novels these days. I don’t read often because once I start, I don’t stop until I finish the book. I love Lee Child!

So, my next project will be a new blog page about writing a book. That and the script are my major focus, but I must pause for Spring. It’s here. I live in the desert Southwest and the Laural bush is in full bloom and the cactus have multitudes of buds waiting to pop. I want to go to Death Valley and see the wild flowers. What a sight!

So, today was a clean the yard day, one of many to come. I hope you are all as lucky as I am where the weather is concerned, but I fear many of you have great adventures ahead. My prayers go out to all who will face flooding when the thaw hits. Blessings.

It's look at that sunset

Just look at that sunset!

Today’s Adventure Begins With WordPress

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jewelry 9-14 013This a picture of a Storyteller that I created. I love them because they represent one of my passions. Writing. Truth is, I’m writing a book. In order to write the book, I have to read books. The book I’m reading is, “WordPress for Dummies,” by Lisa Sabin-Wilson. While I read it, I’m suppose to do what is being explained. There is hope on the horizon. I am going to learn how to make my page function like I want it to and to help people find me.

The things in life that bring me joy are (in descending order): family, friends, dogs, writing, creating art, reading,  hiking, cooking, yoga, gardening, camping and movies. Which means that I am enjoying the process of creating something that will, I hope, be an inspiration to people to be the best human they can be. While it’s true that nobody is perfect, we can allow our “reach to be greater than our grasp.”

I tell my yoga students that it isn’t about the end result, it’s about the journey towards it. Sure, it’s nice to have a great outcome, but is it necessary? Joy is found in the doing, in the being. I believe that’s why we’re all here: to actively create a joyful experience, or not. Maybe there are those who are here to create a miserable experience, but the fact is, at some very deep  level, you get to choose. Of course, I believe in a free-will Universe in which we are all just “experiencing.”

That being said, I intend, to the best of my ability, to share this little journey with you. Of course, you can buy the book and do it alone, but what’s the fun in that? So, here’s to WordPress and ” WordPress for Dummies”.

A Big Thanks

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Thanks to all who liked my recent post. I am still a neophyte at this, so I don’t know how to thank you personally. I am learning and I will get better at it. My generation didn’t grow up with computers. We still used pencils, paper, dictionaries and encyclopedias. You can bet the only spell check we had was the teacher. So, we are a little challenged. But I’m pretty smart, so I can figure it out.

And speaking of joy: I taught a yoga session on opening to joy the last two days. It went so well that one of my guys whistled as he left class. The poses are meant to open the heart chakra and it seems they do a pretty good job of it. Even with the gloomy rain outside, I left class feeling pretty great. Joy, like everything else of value is found right inside you. If you’re looking for something or someone to bring you joy, you’ll be looking a long time. And if you think you’ve found it outside yourself, you’re bound to suffer disappointment.

Dogs aren’t feeling so joyful today, though. Too wet for their desert run, so they’re lying around looking sad and soulful. At the mere word, “go” they jump up and head for the door. Too bad little ones. No go today.

It’s hard for me too. My chemistry gets off when it’s gloomy out. They even have an official name for it: SAD. Seems appropriate, although grumpy is more like it. It explains why people in the Northwest drink beer and coffee so much. I lived in Poulsbo, Washington one year and nearly went nuts. If I remember right it’s the melatonin we have problems with, but don’t quote me on that.

So, I’m signing off for now to do a little inner work.

Adventures With Grandkids

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I promised I’d write a post about the visit of the ankle biters. Well, one of them is a little older than that, but still young. They are both males, but with really different personalities. That’s how it goes with kids.

The youngest had never met us, but that didn’t seem to be a problem as long as we acted like loving humans, which how could you not do? They were lots of fun, but I’d quite forgotten what young ones were like to entertain. We gave them art stuff and took them on adventures and everything worked out fine. I now have pictures on my fridge done by both of them. Now, that’s art.niles family

So, we loaded up food and the two dogs and the boys and headed out! Dogs can be more unmanageable than boys, but they really were quite good on this trip. I worried about all of them getting too close to the cliffs, though.

I am including a photo of this adventure: the Devil’s Fire, or as some call it, Little Finland. By either name it is totally awesome. The trek to it is a bit daunting, but neither of the boys had to be carried. As we approached the hills, the boys (Finn and Jude) noticed white staining on the rocks, so I taught them how to lick rocks (I’m not too sure mom appreciated that) to tell what it is. In this case it was alkali or salt. They got quite a kick out of licking rocks! Me too, for that matter. The desert is full of alkali areas, so they can lick rocks to their heart’s content.

We climbed to the top where the really special stuff is and right-away showed them petroglyphs on the very rock they walked upon. These glyphs are probably as much as 10,000 years old. I can’t even imagine that span of time. And to think humans were here then is awe inspiring.

I look for special rocks and twigs whenever we are out as I use them in my art. We found Moki marbles for the boys–round bits of sandstone rock. I have many of those, as well as chert and round rocks and just rocks I love. That would be most rocks. I figure we have about 50 ton of rock on our property, and aside from the landscape rock, we’ve carried it all in–from little to large. Needless to say, they had rocks in their pockets when we got home too!

It was great to have them here, and it seems they liked it to! Now we look forward to the next great adventure with them.

Been gone a long time from this blog

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So sorry to be absent so long. I will be returning with new adventures in art. The next great adventure is a conference called, The Business of Art. I will post what I learned, so stay tuned for some hot tips. And, I’ll post some new jewelry and art objects. I’m learning to work with some new media, like rocks! We recently did an art festival in Kayenta, Utah. Although it wasn’t as successful as we’d hoped, the location is awesome–red rock, sand, cactus! We worked hard to provide new art for sale. Randy made wooden jewelry boxes! They were beautiful. I am also making spirit dolls for comfort and support. Here’s one. Well, I tried, but I’m on my iPad and it is hinkey after the latest update. I’m going to try one more time from my computer.jewelry 9-14 041

We Survived the Grand Wash Bay Death March

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Death Hike

I’ve been absent awhile–crazy busy with work and art and family, but I’m taking a few minutes to share an adventure with you that was pretty scary at the time.
We have some German friends that we take into the desert when time and opportunity permits. We’ve always taken them to places that we have scouted out first and have run out of those, so Randy decided he wanted to see if we could get to the river from Lake Mead.
Several years ago, this would have been impossible without a boat, but the lake is down by more than 100 feet, so it isn’t anything like it used to be. There’s actually a sandbar you can cross to reach a point where you can see the river.
We first unloaded at a spot we could hike from, set up and ate lunch. Then we headed out across dry (or not so dry) lake bed, thinking we had about two miles in and two miles out. That’s what google earth showed, anyway. Turns out to be way more miles than any of us had anticipated.
Let me interject here: our friends are 70 and 73 and we are 63 and 62–not young ‘uns anymore, but not cause for alarm at the beginning of the journey. They live at the edge of the desert and take long walks when temperature and weather permit. But, neither had hiked for several summer months.
After crossing the lake bed, we encountered an area overgrown with Tamarisk trees or bushes really. These monsters were imported for erosion control and have taken over the water ways throughout the southwest, choking out native vegetation and destroying native habitat. Well, they nearly destroyed us.
After we fought our way through the bushes, I and the Germans decided we didn’t want to see the river afterall. Randy suggested we cut across and then head back along the lake shore, as it looked easier. Looks can be deceiving.
Randy headed for the River and we cut across the old lake bed completed congested with Tamarisk.
Part way through, I discovered that our male friend had mild diabetes and didn’t have any water with him. He began to stumble and fall and I began to get worried. In hindsight, I sould have insisted we go back, but it seemed like this was an easier choice–turns out we were caught between a rock and a hard place.
We often encounted areas where there was still water and fisures where the mud had dried and shrank up. Let’s not even talk about the branches that grabbed, tore at and tripped us up.
About two-thirds of the way through, I started to get really concerned for my friends. I made haste to the shore where Randy waited for us. Bu now it was four o’clock in the afternoon with only one-and-a-half hours to dark. Randy took off for the car and flashlights and water and we trudged along the shore.
Our friends were already exhausted and out of water, but there was nothing to do but carry on. The terraine was so rugged that I knew we would never make it out before dark and I was worried about getting the 73 year old diabetic out. He had fallen many times. And his wife was complaining about cramps in her legs. She, too, had no water.

I moved to the head of the pack and scouted easier routes for them, all the while getting more and more scared. Not of wild animals, nor of spending the night in the desert, but of losing our way or of my friends giving out. As night fell–thank god we had a full moon, the way got harder and I felt lost in the wilderness.

My friend shook his head and said that we were going to die out there. I don’t remember ever feeling that way because I knew that Randy would find us, but I just didn’t know if we were where we should be. Finally it got too dark to carry on and I knew we needed to stop and stay put if we were to be found that night.

My friend insisted we walk 300 more yards and it’s a good thing we did. Over the crest of the hill I could see a light coming our way. Until that point, I didn’t even know if we were headed in the right direction. Once Randy reached us with water and lights we headed out again, my German friends supporting on another and Randy and I leading the way. There we three huge ravines to cross and an uphill climb to reach the truck, which Randy had pointed out way and left running.

My trust in my husband was rewarded, but I’m not sure my friends will ever want adventure again, and I can safely say that I don’t want that much adventure either. The truth is that we could have died out there. One of us could have fallen and gotten seriously hurt.

Please, if you head out on a hike, make sure you are prepared for anything that might happen. And listen to your gut. If I had, we would have turned around and been safely at the truck long before nightfall. As it was, we hiked at least 6 miles in unforgiving terraine. Amazing what you can do when survival is at stake.

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