Sunday, December 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by monpon.

Our smiling snowman only lasted a day and then the rains shrank and melted him into puddles that ran down the sidewalks and gutters. There was rain on Christmas day this year, but more snow came a day later, light and puffy and white. Today the robins and cardinals pick happily at winter berries in the tree branches. Little tufts of snow sit on my lawn chairs and table and we crunch and squeak and slide our boots down the walkway. We sat by the fire drinking sparkling juice and coffee while opening our gifts Christmas Eve, missing those that could not be here to celebrate with us. We ate chilies and eggs wrapped up in tortillas for brunch, nibbled on coconut cookies dipped in chocolate. drank more coffee and opened more gifts as Christmas spread itself out over the last three days. But I keep thinking back to before the rains melted the snows; there was the word "lucky" spelled into the snow at the edge of the driveway. No one know who wrote it or why, but to be sure, it is indeed what we are.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Milkweed Project - crocheted creation

The Milkweed Project, organized by artist Shan Bryan -Hanson, is a collaborative fiber arts project using knitted and crocheted pieces to link people and the natural word together. People from all over the world have created pieces in response to the milkweed seed and pod forms and they will be exhibited in a giant milkweed pod. My piece along with many others is pictured here at the Sticks and Stitches website. There are some amazing knit and crocheted pieces in with a wide variety of shapes, textures and techniques. I personally tried to create a piece that had the elements of softness and lace like the the seeds and the sturdiness and solidity of the pod. I was so happy to have found this project to keep me connected to fibers during this heavy metal period! More rings and metals projects to come...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Autumn Nature Birthday Party

So what do you do for a November Birthday Party?  It's too chilly for an outdoor picnic, but there is still a lot of inspiration in the changing nature of autumn.  

Nature collection from our autumn walks ready for kid crafting.

Party hats! Bamboo and recycled paper from Smock

Goodie Bags with acorn, squirrel, owl and tree stamps with lots of glitter.

Leaf, owl, acorn, pumpkin and butterfly cookies with lots of frosting.

Japanese bound coloring book.

Woodland animal coloring pages from First School

Nature and air dry clay sculpture made by the kiddos. A variation of the Montessori flower arranging activity we did here

Gathering around the table for autumn-colored chocolate cake.

Blowing out the candles; thanks for holding up the hat Willie!

Smiling faces; Cute as cake!

Autumn woodlands scene.  Holztiger toys from Moolka.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Happy Fourth Birthday Mai Mai! What a wonderful four years it has been! From infant to toddler to almost school-age, my Maia can now brush her own hair (!) draw beautiful pictures of her family (with hair and long legs and many arms!), sound out three letter words like Mom and Dad and Pop and Dog and says the sweetest things like "Mom, you are just what I always wanted."

She was amazed by the bed Grandpa made and said "I can't believe he made that by himself," and "I want to work on a tree bed when I'm grown up."

She also wanted a little brother or sister and requested three babies by the names of Percy, Emily and Thomas (can you guess the inspiration?). So we found her a lovely little sister named Hazel hand made by the lovely artisans at Bamboletta who was then renamed Stella, like our dog.

Auntie Steph came through as well with a baby sister for Hazel/Stella. And just look at that handmade quilt for the baby (who is also named Stella!)

So happy birthday dear Maia, you big four-year-old you! You are just what we always wanted!!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Birthday Bed - Lofted tree house

Grandpa Mike, artist, designer and carpenter!

Fully installed lofted tree bed made for Miss Maia

Decorated with butterfly lights and birds

Underneath the loft is a reading nook

Grandma's Butterfly blanket

Side view - opens with a hinge to create more play space

Maia's first reaction - what a surprise!

Peeking through the branches

Happily decorating

Lights at bedtime - a magical treehouse

In her new bed!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Fall Faries

These little girls have been spending quite a bit of time together lately, playing hide and seek and dress-up, making pictures with paint and glitter and sharing a good book together. Summer is not quite 3, but looks as big as Maia which doesn't work so good in the hand-me-down department.  But they can share dress up skirts and Summer is getting pretty good at keeping up with her cousin.  They had their first sleepover on Halloween night.  Maia punched out first and Summer tucked her in and made sure her ponies were nestled in nearby. I'm certain there will be many happy play dates to come.  

Maia's fourth birthday is coming up and with her love of nature walks and animals, we are planning a woodland party in a few weeks.  This must be a popular theme because there are a lot of party ideas on the web right now. We are skipping the fairy stuff and going straight for the woodland animals, forest crafts and fall colors.  I love the mushroom and woodland gnome cakes and the fall themed cookies.  The felted acorns and party pom poms are pretty fun too. I also loved checking in with this site Party Perfect which is full of party inspiration.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Elm's Gone Golden Leaves

Wintergreen oil transfer print

The Maple's scarlet foliage
And the Elm's gone-golden leaves
Let loose upon a cooler air
To ride a whimsy wind

They loop-the-loop
A dart, a glide
A pin-wheel turn, then
Angle towards the ground

I shuffle through their quiet gatherings
Chase them into rounded piles
Cupped and curled like hands waving
They are off in a rustle of laughter

I know these tricks
But still I stare
At gaunt limbs
And barren branches

So soon their clatter softens
And dampness presses secrets deep
Into earth-brown beds for quiet sleep
Under Early snow.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Copper Book Bracelet & Silver Rings

My first metals project was inspired by a poem I wrote last Spring and by the book form.  The text was etched using blue press and peel and bathed in ferric acid.  The arm bands were roller pressed so a slight imprint of string is visible, then soldered onto the base text piece.  The texture was made with a chasing hammer and everything is held together with a chicago bolt.  Liver of sulfur is the next step, along with lots more sanding and filing and fashioning of some sort of closure pin to keep the pages from sliding open.

Two rings complete, one cut and soldered the other pierced.  Many more to go!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Metals Gallery

Susan May - Tall Ring

                                   Meghan O'Rourke  Jali Rings 

                          Joanne Haywood - Blue Bells

                                                                    Sharon Massey Preciousness Necklace                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Meghan O'Rourke  fold out bangles                       

                        Miriam Verbeek Necklace

We started our intro class with a few rings, using basic skills in sawing, annealing, piercing, drilling, riveting and filing.We have learned how to solder, how to clean the metal in warm pickle pot, how to anneal copper until it glows, how to texture with hammers, imprint with a rolling mill and how to etch using asphaltum and PNP blue.  We've used flux and scribes, mallets and ring mandrels, doming blocks and punches, flexshaft motors and firebricks as we began our first project; a tool/jewelry object.  It is due next week and I've got plenty of work yet to do.  But I needed a little inspiration and found lots in the images above.  I love the variety of materials used (crochet and fibers!), the designs, textures and colors.

Inspiring Books: 
Stitched Jewels - Jewelry that's sewn, stuffed, gathered & Frayed by Marthe Le Van
Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet by Mary Hettmansperger

Images from Velvet da Vinci and artist's websites.  

Friday, October 02, 2009

Late September Camping

Fishing off the dock on Lake Kegonsa near Madison: It was cool and overcast, but the sun poked through enough to keep us warm. This campground has two playground areas, a boardwalk through marshland and lots of hiking trails.  
Ko was the keeper of the fire, making sure my kettle was hot for "tea" and dishwater.
Julian kept the fire burning, the logs stacked and the poker hot.
A cool day for the beach, but rock hopping and toe dipping was fun; lots of holes, canals and castles were dug in the sand. We avoided the rain, ate lots of good food and stayed warm around the campfire while the fall foliage began to dry, change color and blow down around us. Acorns crunched beneath our shoes as we spotted rotting black walnuts and wild turkeys in the forest around our campsite.  We woke to the loud honking of Canadian geese flying towards warmer places and held our cups of campfire coffee close.