Sunday, December 19, 2010


Snowflake Candles

Snowflake Candles

Last Christmas, our little town had over 22 inches of snow on Christmas week. This is a time I treasure each year because so many wonderful things seem to happen so fast. I was snowed in alone for the first time in my life and felt very nostalgic as I wrote my blog post. People have told me all year that it was their favorite of mine and have asked me to repost. I’ve always loved this phrase, and now I get to use it... “Back by popular demand,” I am reposting my Snowflake Candles. Hope you like it.

This is the first time in my entire life that I have been snowed in alone. It’s quite remarkable really, considering that I spent many years living in the snow belt of Lake Erie and Warren Ohio. Oh yes, we were snowed in quite often there, but there were always children then and lots of family. Now, my children are grown and live in their own homes. In many ways, the snowstorm has allowed me to experience calm and peace. How can anyone ask me to go anywhere or do anything for them now? I am trapped. I am snowed in, with no hope of emerging for many days. Oh, so sad..tee hee.

Our Virginia Department of Transportation is working overtime trying to clear Interstate 81. Travelers are trapped in their cars. Until the trucks that frequent this highway that were abandoned for lack of gas and heat, are towed, the crews cannot clear our city and county roads much less Interstate 81.

In many ways I feel fortunate. Other storms in the past, have caused power outages here at Woodloft. My lights flickered only once this time so far, in a teasing way. Being alone with heat and lights makes it all so bearable. But…the quiet…it is so quiet…so surreal.

Candles displayed in the snow

Another display in the snow

When I first stated that I was going to post my Magical Christmas week, I had no idea what was ahead. Sometimes it’s best to take things as they come. I am now in tune to creating a beautiful Woodloft Christmas, even if I may not have the food or the gifts I had hoped to purchase. One way or another, Christmas will happen at some point but, I never would have guessed that I might be having my own “Merry Little Christmas.” Me? The person who loves to entertain and loves a crowd, especially family?

My friend Kyle offered me a bottle of water a few weeks ago on the Farmer’s Market. She and her husband Dave have a booth next to mine. I was amazed at the beautiful bottle in which the water was held. It had dazzling snowflakes all over the surface. Kyle and Dave create kiln fired glass bottles shaped to become cheese trays. Kyle told me where she had purchased them. She said she hoped I’d give her the bottles after I drank the water. She wanted to “smoosh” them. That is the way she and Dave describe the process they use to kiln fire the bottles.

I took Kyle’s advice and bought many of the Evian bottles of water. I knew I wanted to do something unique with them but was not sure what at the time. I thought about putting water inside and adding a single rose or other flowers. Then the idea came to me to use a simple white candle in each bottle.

I had to drink a lot of the water over the last few days but here they are, serene and delicate looking, just like snowflakes.

Aren’t they beautiful in the snow? I’ll move them inside soon but for now, I am luxuriating in their splendor.

Single tapered candle

Sometimes, the simple things we do in life can have a profound effect. I love this candelabra and it cost me only the price of the bottles of water and inexpensive white candles. I am so glad I shopped for the white candles for the bottles last week, otherwise, I might be showing you plain bottles in the snow.

Tomorrow I will tell you how our family devised a new way to celebrate Christmas by spending very, very little cash for presents. We call our Christmas game, “Naughty Santa.” Wait till you see how much fun it can be. But until then, I will sit at my computer, perhaps work in the studio for awhile or maybe I'll just gaze out of my windows as I take my nostagic winter journey inward with glorious memories of Christmas past.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010




Very unusual "time" piece

I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of time capsules. When my children were young, we gathered together some of their toys and other everyday items like coins and newspapers. We placed them into a metal box along with a poem that we wrote and buried it in our yard in St. Louis. The poem started something like this:

“Woe be it to he, she and they who open this box before this day.”

The actual poem was longer but I can’t remember it now. As we placed the box into the ground, we were excited thinking about someone from another century finding it. We imagined the look on their faces when they discovered what life was like back in the twentieth century.

Jax's Time traveler book

It was with that in mind that I created this storybook for my new grandson, Jax. I decided that I wanted to fashion it after a “Once Upon a Time” type of story with an outer space theme.

"Once upon a time" and the Visitors from outer space

It is hard to believe that I actually found the very old time keeper ( I don’t know what it is exactly) that I placed on the front. It was stored away with steampunk type items in my studio and worked out perfectly. I set the date to his actual birthday.

Front of mysterious box where book is to be kept

I also wanted to have time appear to stand still on the day he was born. I think I accomplished it by showing each and every one of his relatives on the Dolby side of the family, as we were on that day. I know that right now I would love to have a journal or album created especially for me, exclaiming and proclaiming my birth. I would love to be perusing that sanctified book and viewing my aunts, uncles, cousins and entire family as they were on the day I was born.

View of some of the inside pages

My son Cameron, Jax's father

My parents, "The Greats"

Skyrockets and explosions from deep space...Jax is born!

I crackled and textured the box and added a mysterious key and the time keeper I had found. I placed his special book into the mysterious box I created for it.

Book placed inside of box

I’m headed for Washington D.C. this morning and I will surprise the parents with Jax’s book. I’m posting the blog just as I leave so that they can view it when I get there. Hope they like it.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010



Healing Woman soap and cream gift package

Many of you probably wonder why I have named my blog, “Healing Woman.” Even though my postings are very diverse and don’t always lend themselves to the subject of healing, I like to think that the stories I attach to each of my art pieces are in some way therapeutic. Words can be powerful healers and thoughts do turn into words. It is wise to choose the good ones, as Tut reminds us.

By focusing on good thoughts and words, illness can be turned around. It is important to be atuned to our bodies and I do believe that illness doesn’t shout, it whispers. Listen for the whispers.

Three soaps available now-Lavender, Rose Geranium and Lemongrass

A few years ago, I decided to create healing soaps. I wanted them to be extremely special. They couldn’t be just any soaps. I read endlessly on the subject of soap and searched until I found ingredients that I believe to be good for your skin.

Closer look

Naturally, my soaps have faces. It seems that almost everything I create has a face but I never guessed I’d be creating “soap” faces. It’s amazing where art takes you.

I decided to use all natural ingredients. I chose shea butter as the base. Unfortunately, others have discovered it’s healing properties and many cosmetic companies are having a hard time keeping it in stock. I sometimes have to wait for months for my shipment to arrive. Shea butter derives from the Karite tree which is grown in Africa and well known for it’s restorative properties. I whip the butter which makes it very creamy and luxuriant. One of my customers told me that she puts water on her face before bed and then just a little of my cream. She said it has made a tremendous difference in her skin. Her face is almost completely wrinkle free. I never have used water as the base but I’m going to try it.

I use other emollients such as coconut oil, emu oil (very good for joint pain) olive oil, just to name a small portion of the ingredients. I vary the ingredients with each new batch I make. I also use these same ingredients in my Goddess Magic Creams

Gift box

Sometimes I grind herbs such as lavender and lemongrass to a fine pulp and add them to my creams as well. I also use essential lavender oil, not the fragrant oil. Fragrant oil is synthetic and is probably the reason why some people sneeze when they are around certain fragrances. The essential oil is pure and derived from the heart of the plant.

I have packaged my soaps and creams into a gift box which includes the cream and soap and a scroll describing the healing ingredients I use.

What I have available now is lemongrass soap with lavender cream, rose Geranium soap with lavender cream and lavender soap with lavender cream. I’ll be posting more in January when I have time to make them.

You can e- mail me and we can make arrangements for shipping. I take Paypal or checks. I’m pretty sure they will arrive in most parts of the USA before Christmas with priority shipping.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010




Isis Sculpture

Sekmet’s breath blew hot across the dessert and the sands shifted. The ancients were gathering in the temples. The pieces were once more in place, for it was time…


“I always knew that one day, you would create a sculpture or other piece of artwork just for me.” These were the words of Leslie Pelton, one of my all time best customers and now friend.

Years went by and I was busy with my shows and family. Life went on. Finally, I agreed to create one of my Goddess Ceremonial Necklaces for Leslie. When I told her I was going to start on one soon, my intentions were good but in the back of my mind, the necklace was only going to be the beginning of what I had planned for her.

I wanted to create something for Leslie that would speak of her life today and more importantly, I wanted to create a sculpture of Leslie’s past life in Egypt. For surely after everything Leslie has related to me through the years, she just had to have lived there eons ago.

Leslie was patient, thinking she was waiting for just the necklace. She had given me several special pieces of her own jewelry to incorporate into it and I know it must have looked like I was dragging my feet, but in reality, I was letting all that she had told me about her life in Egypt simmer in my brain. I wanted to be sure that the necklace and the sculpture would speak to me, as well as her. It had to be right.

I started working on “Sekhmet’s Breath” by sculpting a female figure who would reside on the wall. I have named these type of sculptures, “Daughters of Antiquity.”

Beginning the Isis sculpture

As I picked up the clay to start the piece, something strange happened. It was as if time had stood still. I was no longer standing in my studio but felt like I was in some far off place. I discarded the books and information entirely and my hands began slowly and methodically sculpting. I think other artists experience something similar to this. It is as if the creative spirit or muse takes over. Hours passed. Yet to me, it was as if no time had elapsed at all. As I stood back to gain perspective on my piece, I had an eerie feeling. It was as if Sekhmet’s eyes were following me as I walked around her. It was as if she were alive!

Isis begins to come to life

I wanted to write a story to go with Leslie’s sculpture as I usually do for the necklaces but I was at a loss for words at this point. All I could think about was that this was indeed a very special sculpture and I wanted the story to match.

Fortunately for me, Lisa Wright, of The Wright Stuff, came along. Lisa is an extraordinary writer. I love going to her blog postings to read her magical stories. Much to my surprise, Lisa volunteered to write Leslie’s story. I was overjoyed. After reading what Lisa wrote, I was more than overjoyed… I was ecstatic. It was as if Lisa had jumped into my mind and created a perfect story. I think you will agree.

So, sit back because you are about to take a trip to another time and place. Perhaps you will be in Madagascar or Casablanca or even in Istanbul, or perhaps you will be in Egypt….

Sekhmet’s Breath

Sekmet’s breath blew hot across the desert and the sands shifted. The ancients were gathering in the temples. The pieces were once more all in place, for it was time…


I tried not to feel nervous as I reluctantly admitted I was lost and alone in a foreign city. I’d allowed myself to be willing victim of the cacophony of sound, light and smell that wrapped and carried me with the excited crowds. I’d drifted and dreamed and not noticed when the rest of my travel group and their tight agenda moved on.

The tide had left me now, the surf and surge of humanity retreating and I stood in a dusty alley, my body adorned with dangling tourist paraphernalia and looking around in desperation for some clue back to familiarity.

The wind had picked up and sand stung at my eyes as I made my way through the strangely silent labyrinth of alleyways. Where had everyone gone? Where were the gaudy tourist shops, the hawkers and scurrying children? Where was the ever-present soundtrack of traffic and voice?

My heart beat furiously and panic rose in my chest which was hot and tight. I reached instinctively to touch the heavy necklace that rested there with its medley of the strange charms I’d laboriously collected over the years and added to only this morning.

The final piece it seemed had found me. While taking in the streets this morning before the heat took grip, a young woman approached with her basket of cheap tat, hoping for a sale. I tried to avoid her, not wishing to get involved in unnecessary haggling but there was something strangely compelling about the babble of language coming from this stranger. She took my hand and gazed deep into my eyes. Her own were the color of the market spices flecked with sparks of gold. She pressed a tightly wrapped packet into my hand. I tried to protest but a jostle from the crowd made me lose my footing and when I regained balance the woman had gone leaving me with feelings of guilt and unease. This only increased when I unwrapped the brittle paper and lifted a clay face of such exquisite beauty to the light. I began to tremble because something began to tell me that the answers to questions I had long sought were about to be answered. I reached to the necklace and slotted the face into the space reserved for it. The space my dreams had told me to craft – just as the positioning of the emerald, the dolphin, the feathers and other charms and the push to find them in the oddest collection of bazaars, antique stores and auctions around the world had been mapped out for me.

As the clay sculpture took root in the perfectly cast setting, I felt a blast of heat course through my necklace, or was it just my own adrenalin-fuelled reaction? I had no idea what to make of the turn of events but guessed that if I waited, perhaps the answer, just like another piece of the necklace, would find its way to me.

It seemed I was right. Here I was clutching my talisman in fear, lost in a strange city where suddenly nothing felt the same. The wind was picking up drifting into dust devils down the alleys and seemingly whispering secrets. The sand stung at my eyes and I ran in blind panic – straight into the arms of… surely not? I looked again at the strange costume, the ancient headdress and the exact same powerful eyes I had seen just seen yesterday at this Goddess’ temple. But this was no portrait, no carving or representation. This was living, breathing flesh albeit surrounded by an other-worldly glow. This was ancient Egypt wrapping me in sheets of light and lifting me from the ground. “Come with me” smiled the Goddess Isis, “For Sekmet is wild and free again, and only you can stop her”.

The adventure was just beginning…



Sekhmet's Breath Goddess Ceremonial Necklace

Hours and adventures later, at last there was time for Isis to explain the significance of the necklace. Each piece held its own magic but together lay their strength. As each jewel and amulet had joined its sisters on the chain, so the metaphysical powers of its wearer would increase. She would see what others couldn’t, instinctively know the lessons of her past reincarnations and resolve the issues that time took away from them.


The scarab beetles are a symbol of your regeneration and creation. As the centuries have unfolded, each of your lifetimes has been recorded and saved.


The dolphin is symbolic of water. Water cleanses problems from past lives and rejuvenates the soul. The dolphin represents the death of a past lifestyle and the birth of a new life. The dolphin also connects mankind with the world of the sea, is playful and intelligent and guides your adventures.

The Sphinx adores the sun - Ra. It waits for it to return each day. It is the Sphinx's adoration for the sun that causes it to rise out of itself, out of the earth from which it is made, to reach continually for the higher level of its being, called by the light. This adoration causes the life within it to become holy: forever striving, Life meeting Light. Sekmet, daughter of Ra, feeds her power to you through these forms. This represents your desire to return to your life in Egypt.

Double headed Sphinx

Even though the earrings placed at the lobes of Sekhmet hold no long history, they are meaningful to you because of the power they invoke. They are a part of your current life and bursting with energy and love.

Leslie's earrings

Your green stone stores the knowledge of your forebears - it is full of love and healing and can soothe a troubled mind.

Green stone

And the final piece – the human face of Isis, the Goddess of love, magic, fertility and healing. Not often shown to the world (for she preferred to hide behind animal representation), Isis protects you as you journey through each life and will be there to help you fulfill your destiny.

Isis Face

So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed Lisa’s story as much as I did. If you’d like to know more about Lisa and visit her wonderful blog, please check her out at Lisa Wright and The Wright Stuff. Also, I have some good news. Lisa has agreed to write the story for the next custom necklace I create. If you would like one, just click my e-mail for details and Lisa and I will go to work to create a very special piece for you.

Many thanks Lisa. You were able to bridge the gap between the USA and Egypt all from your computer in the UK. What a wonderful world we live in.

Oh, and I almost forgot… what happened next?

… I awoke suddenly with pains in my head in a dusty tomb at the feet of a statue of an Egyptian Goddess. A crowd of tourists is gathered helping me to my feet. I was totally disorientated and confused. Where was I? Where was Isis? Sekhmet? A woman gently called my name and I recognized her as one of the members of my tour party. "You fainted dear" she explained.

Fainted? Was I dreaming then? Had the events of the last days been nothing but the illusions of a fever-stricken tourist?

I was sure in my heart that what I had experienced had been real. As my legs regained their strength I looked up and noticed for the first time the statue at whose feet I had awakened. It was labeled 'unknown Goddess'. I knew different. It was Isis and she was wearing, carved in stone, the identical necklace to my own...

A close up of Isis

Another picture of Isis

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Saturday, November 20, 2010



Close-up, please double click for a better view

Although I tried to come up with another name for this painting, I could only describe her as “Mesmerized.” I think there is something about her eyes that makes her a look a little... well, a little "off." A better way to put it would be that she looks like she is completely spellbound. I found an old piece of thin lace and attached it to the wooden canvas with Golden Gel Medium and then painted over the entire surface with acrylics. This is a very large painting of 32"w x 48" H.

Double click to see the texture of the wood frame and then hold shift key down and click +

I was delighted to find the old mirror frame in my stash and it worked out perfectly. I distressed it by dipping tissue paper into a thin coat of white glue and then layed it onto the frame. When it dried, I painted it with linen acrylic paint. I think the linen gives the entire painting a soft look. I attached butterflies of all types with encaustic wax and added tiny crystals to make the hands look like the butterflies are emerging from them. My daughter, Kelli, modeled for me so that I could paint her hands.

Here you can see the textured lace dress by double clicking

Now that the painting is finished, I can use a digital image of it in any way I choose. I was so excited to finish this journal that I drug all my art supplies to my kitchen table since my studio is occupied at the moment with a large custom piece I am finishing. I will be posting about the piece in early December and I'm also very excited about the fact that my friend, Lisa, from The Wright Stuff will be my guest blogger with quite a story to tell about this very special project. Wait until you read about Sekmeth's breath!!! It will truly leave you mesmerized and spellbound!!!

Some of the materials used for the journal

I created the journal by machine embroidering around the image, which I had already placed on quilt backing. I placed it onto a Canson journal book in which I had already added the flat lace to and painted it with acrylic. I then added more lace, faceted jewels and butterflies with encaustic wax. I tied yarn and ribbon to the spine and voila! Mesmerized journal is now born!

Finished journal

Close-up of butterflies and wax

Close-up of the lace.

Mesmerized journal is for sale for $65.00 You can view her on my Etsy shop by clicking here

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Sunday, November 14, 2010




"She Who Knows Her Own Sacred Sound"

When I started making my “Giver of Light” switch plate covers, I knew I was on to a good thing. Each time I would make one, and this is true today, it would sell. Finally, I decided to keep a few for myself. I have placed them on most of the wall switches in my home. It is wonderful to turn on a light and be greeted by a Goddess!

Giver of Light with small lizard

Some of my “Givers” are ornate, others are a bit simpler. I give them names because I believe anything worth owning is worth naming. I have named my car B-dazle, my home, Woodloft and the list goes on.

Giver of Laundry Room Light

This one is a bit masculine

I just finished creating two new “Givers.” The first one is “She Who Knows Her Own Sacred Sound.” I think we all have a sacred sound. It is sometimes a melody that flows through our minds as we go about our daily tasks. It is sacred to us as the tune plays through our very souls, becoming the mantra that brings harmony to our lives.

Sold. Thank you Kyle


The second one is She Who Seeks the Path of the Ancients, I am always in pursuit of clues to our civilization’s beginnings. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew the answer to life’s mysteries? I sometimes imagine myself finding a special book that solves that mystery or having a dream that would explain it all.

I used stoneware clay that I fired in my kiln and embellished each “Giver” a bit different. They are 4” wide by 8” high. Hope you love them as I do. You can find them at my Etsy Shop by clicking the name.

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Friday, November 5, 2010



Crone Art Box

The crone story has been very popular at my art shows and galleries. Whenever I sculpt or paint a woman who seems to have cronish qualities, the story goes with her.

I found a very interesting cigar box, at least I guess that is what it is, (it may have held cigarettes) at the flea market the other day. I fell totally in love with it because of the 1” height. Most cigar boxes are much thicker. I immediately knew I wanted to create a box that would accommodate art pens, pencils, watercolor pens, sculpting tools, and so forth. This size is perfect.

Look how beautifully these all fit

My favorite part of the box is that it is only 1" deep

I textured and painted a cronish looking face and attached antique hardware and watch part.

Double click to see the texture and crackling effect


Winged woman of flight..
the all-mother of humanity..
wise soothsayer
Or hag.

Her eyes burn with the wisdom
of antiquity..
Her voice murmurs a truth that
cannot be heard by the
unreceptive masses..

She has passed through the
great change and she lives
on to rewrite the burned chronicles
of ..Her Story.

She allows each wrinkle to
act as voice to proclaim and
reclaim her power.
~Cheryl Dolby~

Someone at one of my shows told me that the correct age for crone apprenticeship is 60. Where she got that number I don’t know but I’ve been quoting it ever since. My girl looks a bit younger than 60, but then again, she may have taken care of herself throughout her life, or she may just have good genes Think about allowing your wrinkles to act as a voice to proclaim and reclaim your power. What if our image of beauty changed and we revered wrinkles? What an interesting new world this would be.

The Crone would make a fabulous gift for an artist in your life, or for yourself. The markers are not included but can be added according to your preferences. I’ve priced her at only $58. and I will ship anywhere. Just e-mail me to make arrangements at

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Sunday, October 31, 2010



Spell Box

There definitely was magic in the air for my Samhain celebration. It started out at the Roanoke City Market where I show my work. I took pictures of some of my friends who dressed for the occasion. The first one is of Pauline, who owns Shades of Color Boutique. Pauline is a really spiffy dresser and created this dynamite cat outfit. Next is of Linda Jo, who creates fabulous jewelery. She is probably the witchiest witch I have ever seen. I used no photo editing for any of my pictures.

Pauline in front of my art car B-Dazle

Linda Jo

I took a few pictures of some of the costumes the children wore and of course people had their pets all dressed up for the occasion.

Devil Goat!

Suzanna and Daisy the Dog

Next stop was the Samhain party our Little Supper Club had. We chose a New England (Salem) dinner theme and our hosts were Dian and Tom. We wore costumes to this one, which is a first. I decided to be the Gypsy that I really am. I went as myself basically but dressed a bit wilder than I normally do. I took my spell box that I created just for the occasion. Gypsies chant just like witches but mostly they chant for material things, like money.

Spell box with key and chant

With that in mind, no spell box would be complete without the appropriate spell or chant. Here is the one I offered to help attain money.I figure it is a good one to use since we all could use a bit of extra money these days.

The spell being read and chanted

Light your candles and incense. Sit for a moment and think hard about the exact amount of money you need. See the money, see yourself holding it, counting it.

Here is the chant:

Suddenly I see the pile,
Suddenly I hold the sum,
Suddenly I end the trial,
For the money –it has come!
For the money — that I need.
For the need that is so strong.
For these words that I do read,
Brings the money right along.
Brings the money without waiting.
Brings the money right to me.
Brings the answer to my waiting.
Suddenly I will be free.
Look hard into the smoke of the incense and, again, see the money in your hands. Again chant:
For the money that I need,
For the need that is so strong
For these words that I do read,
Brings the money right along.
Brings the money without waiting,
Brings the money right to me.
Brings the answer to my waiting,
Suddenly I will be free.
Close your eyes, place your fingertips on your temples and again see the money in your possession. After a few moments of this visualization, open your eyes again and chant:
Suddenly I see the pile,
Suddenly I hold the sum,
Suddenly I end my trial,
For the money –it has come!

The costumes were wonderful. Even Tom and Dian’s post was dressed for the occasion. They decorated it with an alien that was a reconstruction of a costume their son wore years ago.

Alien Post

Val and Dean-The Vampire and the man she turned

I think there was more food at this gathering than any other. Chef Stratton made his New England Clam Chowder and it was dynamite. He worked as a chef in New England so you can imagine what this tasted like. Wayne came as Orson Wells who was also a gourmand.

Stratton, looking very Orson Wellish

Jason as cow..probably the funniest costume yet

That's me, with the skull cup, as my gypsy self

Em's Pumpkin Custard Cups

Dian as pirate and Tom as hippy

Another table shot

Nancy and her sister

I decided not to list my spell box on etsy but if anyone is interested in purchasing it, it is $42.00 plus $8.00 shipping. I'll throw in the key and the chant too. Just e-mail me at

Sold. Thank You Shelley!
Happy Samhain everyone!

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