Monday, August 30, 2010




Have you heard? Hats are making a comeback. I’m really glad because I just love to see a man in a fedora or a beret. I think of writer Ernest Hemmingway or all the great movie stars of the 40’s like Clark Gable and Gregory Peck. It’s not just men’s hats that are staging a comeback but women’s hats as well. Just think of all the advantages of wearing one. You can look distinguished, homespun, extravagant, reverent, nautical, whimsical to say nothing about younger since the shade from the hats will usually disguise a few eye wrinkles.

If those points of inspiration don’t cause you to run out and buy or make one, think about this. Whenever I used to sport a hat while having lunch with a friend, who also had a hat on, we would find a drink mysteriously appearing at our table. One time, it was even a bottle of champagne! In that case, the champagne was delivered with a note reading: “It is refreshing to see women who care enough to look their finest-thanks for wearing the great hats.” Or something like that.

Often times people ask me where I come up with the stories I attach to my pieces. I was fortunate enough to have exhibited at art shows for many years and met women from all walks of life and in various stages of their lives. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to really listen to what they were saying because I learned a great deal and was able to include some of their wisdom in my stories. One woman in particular came to mind as I looked at my finished painting. Her name was Rosie. This sweet woman told me she had lost her husband but couldn’t take off her wedding ring. She said that she wore it for many years after he had died. Then, one day she realized that she was living in the past and had to go on with her life. Well, the story I wrote is reminiscent of hers but I changed it a bit so that it could be applied to different situations, like divorce. It’s a simple little story but probably meaningful for many women, whether they are wearing a ring or not.


The bloom and innocence of youth matures and deepens into the serenity of wisdom. One day, without remorse, without regret, the symbol of unity and all that had been, gave way to all that is and will be…Rosie removed her ring.

View of Rosie from the bottom

Our Little Supper Club had a picnic on Sunday. The setting for this particular outing was so striking and had such history involved that I decided to do a complete posting of Nancy Markoff's historic home on another post. We had no major theme for the party except we decided it was a good idea to wear hats. Not everyone did but here are pictures of some of them.

Stephanie in her "Ya Ya" hat

Elizabeth, on left, and Trish, on right wear their squishable travel hats

Yours truly in a hat that I made for the occasion.

As far as the picnic food went, I couldn’t even begin to describe the offerings. It was all delicious but I thought I’d just show you what I brought this time and give the recipe. Even though this cake tart looks and tastes like an authentic French pastry, it is one of the easiest recipes I make. Noone can ever guess the ingredients. I normally do not use pre-mixed anything and I love fresh natural ingredients but I do make an exception with the cake tarts. It's probably not a good idea to double click it if you are terribly hungry right now.

Strawberry Cake Tarts

Strawberry Cake Tarts


1 box of 2 frozen pie shells
1 can of whipped vanilla frosting
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 large jar of strawberry preserves
Powdered sugar

l.Roll out pastry shells and cut in rounds to fit cupcake pans. You can use the large or tiny ones.
2. Fill unbaked shells half full with the strawberry preserves
3. Make the cake mix according to directions on the box and place by spoonfuls over the preserves
4. Bake in a 300 oven til the cake rises-about 25 minutes but check often.
5. Remove, cool completely and ice with frosting and smatter powdered sugar over the top. Yum. You can place in the refrigerator if there are any left. They are even delicious cold the next day. This recipe will make approx. 18 regular cupckaes, depending on how thin you roll the pastry dough. It takes no time at all to make and almost everyone who tastes it, raves about it.

Why not have a picnic or make a hat or even...remove a ring? Have fun!

Rosie is for sale at my etsy shop. Here is a detail of the background in the picture below. I brushed Texture Magic Dimensional Paint over a stencil and then sanded it down a bit and painted to match background color. I love working with this paint because it dries in a relatively short time and works well with stencils. Be sure to clean your stencil off immediately though since the paint is hard to remove.

Detail of stencil work on background

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Monday, August 23, 2010



Organza Collage Box

Terri Kahrs of Pringle Hill Studio was gracious enough to share an image of one of her captivating women. I fell in love with this one and experimented using a lot of different techniques.

Close-up of part of the collage

First I found an interesting picture in a magazine of a woman with her hand outstretched. I used Never Dull, available from WalMart, and rubbed it over the surface so that I could erase all but part of the hand. I also did the same thing to a face I found in another add. I took photos from the Cliffs of Moher and Ross Castle, places I had just visited in Ireland, and created a digital image of them using organza and attached them to an old wine box I had in my studio, using gel medium.

Next, I took Terri’s picture and ran a digital print of the beautiful lady on organza cloth. Once again, I overlayed the organza cloth onto the box with gel medium. I wanted her to have a ghostly look and the organza was perfect for that effect.

I added one of my stories from my book, She Who Whispers, titled Morning Song. I then used tissue paper that I soaked in gel medium that I thinned with water and placed it onto the box in various places. I drizzled gesso around the collage and painted the box with more gesso. I attached gold and silver mosaic pieces around the edge and added an old watch part.

Another close-up

Before tiles are added

I will use the box to house some of my acrylic paints. I’m really pleased with the image of this enchantress. I just had cards made from a close-up of the collage. There’s many other ways I plan to use her. Again. Thanks so very much to Terri!

Cards I had made of the collage

Side view of the finished box

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010



Healing Woman Stoneware Clay Sculpture

City type graveyard in Mexico

A few years ago when I visited Mexico, I was amazed at the large, almost city like, graveyards that I found there. Graveyards have always intrigued me so it was no surprise that I would fall in love with the ones I saw while on the grand tour of Great Britain and Ireland. The Celtic crosses that were in most graveyards reminded me of the legends of King Arthur and Merlin and all other stories related to Celtic lore. Below is a picture of the graveyard at Widecombe-in-the-Moor, the setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”

Graveyard at Widecombe-in-the-Moor

I was thrilled when I was able to view a most unusual shrine while in Ireland. St. Brigid’s Holy Well in the County Clare was absolutely captivating. While the outside was lovely and inviting, a trip through the cave like entrance revealed a sight I will never forget. All types of relics were placed on the walls. There were a lot of sculpted faces with cloth and beads attached and I couldn’t help but to notice how much they reminded me of my own work. I’ve posted pictures below of some of my sculptures so that you can see the resemblance. Little did I know when I created my “daughter of Antiquity series” that there would be a connection such as this.

Brigid's Holy Well

The offerings inside the cave were left by Pilgrims. It is very damp inside and the "rags", which are called “clooties” become ancient looking in a short period of time. They represent an illness to be cured. St. Bridgid was a daughter of a Druid priest. She is associated with water, poetry and healing.

Here is a link to more very clear views inside the cave. Clodagh's photos

Below are the hanging sculptures found inside the cave area at St. Brigid's Holy Well.

Now, here are some of my own "Daughters of Antiquity"


"Within the Within" sculpture

"Healing Woman" sculpture

I just posted Healing woman on Etsy where you can see more views of her. Here is the story I have given to her. I named her this before I knew of the legend of St. Bridgid at the Holy Well and how she was associated with healing. Coincidence? If so, there are a lot of coincidences in my life. I hope you have time to read one of my favorite posts which relates to another “coincidence” in my life. please click on Cigar Boxes.

Healing Woman

Dredged from antiquity..daughter of fire emerges with the healing power of the ages..Voices lost in time whisper to her of healing on many levels.
Energy rises from her very soul as she remembers the responsibility bestowed upon her.
She is the Studda Bubba, the witch, the magician and the shaman..the very essence of the healer.
She calls upon the great mother to share with her the wisdom of her yield.
Knowing she is merely the vehicle of a force far greater than she, and with great integrity, the healing woman delivers her cures as the power moves through her hands of light.

~Cheryl Dolby~

Recently, I found a beautiful blog relating to Celtic myth. I am amazed at the wealth of information I find when I go to Avalon Revisited Hope you enjoy it.

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Friday, August 13, 2010



"Truthseeker"- Crash Glass

While in Oxford England, my granddaughter, Marcy, and I had the privilege of touring Christ Church at Oxford University. The Dining Hall, we learned, has two literary film associations. I was surprised at it’s connections with Alice in Wonderland but not at all about Harry Potter. The White Rabbit was based on Alice’s father, the Dean. The left hand wall, shows portraits of Alice and creatures from the book. There is a large portrait of the college’s founder, King Henry the VIII, who executed two of his wives. Hence the Red Queen’s shouts of “Off with her head!”

Stairs leading to the famous Dining Hall where Harry Potter was filmed

The Dining Hall

Scenes from the first two Harry Potter films were shot at Christ Church. We walked down the dining hall expecting Harry himself to appear at any minute. We gazed at the amazing ceiling which was of ‘hammerbeam’ construction.

Custodians with bowler hats welcomed us and answered our questions

The Chapel

Outside of the dining hall, we entered the Lucy Chapel where there is a Stained Glass window dated 1320. It is a rare pre-Reformation image showing the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. We also saw the chapel where the world famous choir sings daily and has done so since the college’s foundation.

Although we took many pictures, I found this video that really does Christ Church more justice. You can hear the beautiful choir and see the dining hall toward the end.

Stained and mosaiced glass has always intrigued me. I also delve into into “crash glass” from time to time. I used to own a stained glass studio in which I built huge church windows and constructed windows for restaurants and homes. Here is the posting of my shop where you can view the crash glass technique I use. Was my waist really ever that small?

Although I enjoy creating the large pieces, I am confining myself to the smaller, more workable ones.

Crashed Glass piece titled "Truthseeker"

Smaller crashed glass piece titled "Cosmic Light"

You can view Truthseeker and Cosmic Light at my Etsy shop where you will see other views and dimensions and be able to read their stories.

Here is another picture from my trip to the UK for you to use in your artwork if you choose. The church is near Oxford. I love the way the cross and church seem to mesh together on this one. I can picture a ghostly figure hovering above or near the cross. The texture that you see on this picture, when you enlarge it, is not a result of any kind of editing. It is actually the rain drops that were on the window of the bus, where I took the picture.

Celtic Cross at graveyard

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Monday, August 9, 2010



Lily the manniquin

As a brief diversion from my many postings of the trip I took last month to the UK, I decided to post the dinner party our Little Supper Club had just before I left in June. For those of you who may have just tuned in, I belong to a themed based supper club in which we alternate gatherings at members homes. June was my turn and since I have a swimming pool, we decided to do Caribbean.

My garden was in order, my pool was in order and Woodloft was in order. I knew members would take care of providing the feast.

Woodloft pool

Another view of the pool

Front deck garden

"Great room" at Woodloft

Leis awaiting guests. I realize this is more of a South Pacific tradition but we went with it anyway

Stratton (Wayne) St. Clair unselfishly started our Little Supper Club as a gathering of friends he already knew and –get this-he gave an invitation to some “friends” on his Facebook Page, asking them to attend the first gathering, which was about a year and a half ago. We now have about sixteen regulars.

I feel extremely lucky and privileged to have a friend who is a chef. Wayne will tell you he is not a real chef because he is self-taught, but believe me, if you could taste his cooking you’d know he IS a chef! I also consider myself very lucky in that Wayne has agreed to be the resident chef here at Woodloft (my home) next summer when I give my sculpture classes. My students are in for a real treat.

Wayne at the grill

One thing really special about the Supper Club is that Wayne has actually been teaching all of us how to cook. Now, I must clarify, we all knew how to cook but Wayne is teaching us to take cooking and dining to another level. What a generous man! Just the other night he had a few of us over for a multi-course dinner which brought back my memory of true European dining. If you have never tried James Beard’s 40 Clove Garlic Chicken you might want to give it a whirl. Wayne served this, with his usual changes to the recipe. I’ll probably post the recipe in the future. It’s a lovely dish that brings into play slow dining.

Now, back to our Caribbean party. There were so many delicious dishes presented and to be honest, since I was away for a month, I now can’t remember all the names of these specialties.

Stephanie prepares a variety of Caribbean concoctions


Coconut Flan

Rum Punch

Caribbean Shrimp

Plantains with a Chocolate Sauce

One dish that stands out in my mind above the rest though, was the Rum Raisin Pudding that Trish made. Trish decided to make this dish because her oven was not working and the recipe calls for the stove top method. Being my usual skeptic self, I was leary of how this would turn out.

What a surprise. It was fabulous.

Trish's Rum Raisin Pudding

Below is the recipe and a few more party pictures. Hope you enjoyed the Caribbean atmosphere because we will probably be traveling back to Scotland, where it was veeeerrrry cold, on my next posting.

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

2 Small boxes raisins
6T. Virgin Island Rum
1 C. Milk
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Heavy cream
3 T. Cornstarch
1 Egg
1 t. Vanilla
1 C. Overcooked rice

Soak raisins in rum about ½ hour before cooking. In large pan, combine milk, sugar, cream and set aside.
Dissolve cornstarch with 1/4th of milk mixture. In another bowl, beat egg, add vanilla and cornstarch mixture and beat well. Set aside.
Heat original mixture, add cornstarch and egg mixture and whisk. Continue cooking, stir constantly till mixture thickens. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Dean with ice cold margarita

Jason works in the Tiki bar

Mark gathers fresh mint for the drinks

So much fun!

Grover, the party animal

A special thanks to Stephanie Oliver for taking most of the pictures shown.

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