Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Bird...

... could lay these eggs?

I was inspired by this "nest" we saw during a garden tour in Grand Marais to create my own version.

My version is a bit more free form and includes a moss lining. It's about three feet across and nestled into a very shady spot in my garden where nothing wants to grow - not even ferns.

I discovered it's not easy to build a nest and I doubt the birds would approve of either my technique or the final result.

But I'm very pleased with my efforts (it's better in person!!!) and while it may not survive the heavy winter snow, it cost nothing but a bit of my time - maybe I'll need to join the birds in nest building this spring - do you think they'll give me some pointers?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

And so it Begins...Or is it the End?

Autumn color is here, but it doesn't start with brilliant leaves falling from the trees; you need to look a bit lower, as autumn color starts with the undergrowth and it can be every bit as stunning as those flaming leaves.

These plants are at the end of their lifespan, but they're leaving us in a blaze of color - just look at the golds, limes and brown stripes.

Thus the inspiration for my September "Cycling" piece:

This ended up as one of my favorites, especially the interaction between the various finishes of beads - matte, opaque, transparent, etc. There's well over two dozen different colors in this small piece. Autumn is beginning and summer is ending - the cycle continues to turn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Projects don't always go the way I envision, actually almost never!!!

I had turned three pieces of found driftwood into cabochons, expecting they would become part of Ripple Effect, but I changed my mind.

And then I made the herringbone chain for New Stitch = New Ideas, and I just knew the technique could give a really organic look with the right bead choices.

So when you put those two ideas together, what do you end up with?

"Adrift" - both a necklace and bracelet.

The largest "cabochon" received a bit more embellishment and became a large focal pendant, the smallest became part of the clasp.

And the medium size was just right for the bracelet, functioning both as a clasp and a focal point.

I'm happy with them - they express a sense of water or sky and definitely represent how ideas can drift and change with the current of new perspective!

What do you think?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Double Duty

The necklace base of this piece may look familiar, I created it to feature a fabulous gutta percha locket.

But that piece will only be worn a few times a year, with my 1860's ensembles and it just seemed a shame it would sit in a drawer the rest of the time.

So I decided I really needed to create an alternative pendant for the base and I couldn't be more pleased with the results. I started with a brass medallion, added a beaded bezel and a bit more embellishment.

It's quite versatile, working with both casual and dressier outfits; modern but with a just a touch of vintage style.

According to Native tradition, the Heron brings messages of self-determination and self-reliance. They represent an ability to progress and evolve. The long thin legs of the heron reflect that an individual doesn't need great massive pillars to remain stable, but must be able to stand on one's own. In Egypt the heron is considered the creator of light. In China the heron is a symbol of strength, purity, and long life.

Monday, September 6, 2010

How Many Shades of Blue?

Sky and water - innumerable shades of exquisite blues, just another day here on Mackinac!

The impromptu artists have been quite busy, there must be hundreds of structures circling the shore, some simple, some immense and some showing both creativity and ingenuity - here's Arch Rock in miniature and on the north side of the Island:

And a couple more interesting pieces near British Landing:

I love the ephemeral nature of these constructs, they have such a fleeting lifespan.

It's proof positive that Mackinac is full of creative inspiration, visitors taking the time to create these types of structures, using only the natural materials at hand.

How many shades of blue?

Impossible to know, they change as we watch and does the number really matter...or is it more important that we paused, took a moment to observe and absorb our surroundings, allowed them to fill us with creative inspiration?

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I was delighted to happen upon this sight: dozens of Monarch butterflies feeding on a rather interesting plant - Joe-Pye Weed.

Joe-Pye Weed, Eupatorium purpureum, is an amazing plant that is an herb, a wildflower, a butterfly plant and an ornamental for the flower bed.
It obtained its name after a Native American herbalist, named Joe-Pye, cured fevers using the plant. Joe-Pye is also known by the common names Queen of the Meadow, gravel root, kidney root, mist-flower, snakeroot and purple boneset.
Though we tend to think of it as a wildflower in the U.S., it's long been an ornamental in England where cottage gardens are so popular. Joe-Pye is perky and full of blooms when many other plants are finished and it lasts until hard frost.
If you have a butterfly garden, then Joe-Pye is a must have plant! The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Great Spangled Fritillary, Pearl Crescent, Monarch, and the Tawny-edged Skipper are just some of butterflies known to love Joe-Pye.

This particular patch of Joe-Pye is being grown as an ornamental, in a garden near the boardwalk, which made capturing these images a challenge due to the constant wind off the lake.

The best gardens aren't just about plants, a truly fine garden will attract additional beauty in the form of birds, bugs and other wildlife - this garden is a great example!