remodeling & reuse

Our bathroom renovation will begin soon. The rotting exterior wall’s days are numbered. I wonder what surprises await us.

The impending remodel may have spurred this little project, because as I was clearing out the linen cabinet to prepare for the work crew, I came upon some items I’d set aside for reuse. Then and there, it struck me-- I either needed to find a purpose for my little collection of boxes and bottles or send them off to the recycling bin. Available storage space was too scarce. 

So even though most of my free time was consumed by renovation activities (I was also sanding and painting the molding in the dining room.), I decided to pause and create some of the simple little bath goodies I’d long imagined.

These are some of the pieces that resulted from my disassembling, reassembling, cutting and pasting. They’re tucked into some moss I harvested from my friends’ farm. Isn’t the vivid green lovely? And aren’t the worn wooden edges of the old butter mold beautiful?

I think I’ll place one of the mini matchbox sachets on a bedside table. There’s nothing more soothing than the faint scent of lavender as one drifts off to sleep.


gardening tips

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the Northwest. Our travels included visits with family and friends, as well as a bit of exploring. The flowers I saw on Bainbridge Island were lovely, and our hike through Lummi Island’s fern laden Baker Preserve was breathtaking--in more ways than one. I’m an avid walker, but a 3.2-mile hike upon a trail that rises 1050 feet is not my usual trek.

I rarely see flowers like the island's dahlias and hydrangeas. Occasionally, I come across a handful of these, or similar varieties, at our local market. A few months ago, I found some pink peonies, which I dried and eventually used in this little project.

I thought these mini seed envelopes might be sweet attached to a gardening calendar or tied to a small gift. I consider them little “gardening” tips, each offering a touch of beauty and a bit of simple wisdom.



“There’s always a story.” That’s how my work was recently described by one who knows it well.  And while many other observations may be fitting, this concise statement probably offers the best interpretation.

Why is there always a story? Because there’s always a story, whether it’s about the collage’s subject or the materials that went into its making. I love stories and working with them has been at the heart of my creative career, no matter where it has led me.

Sometimes I form pieces from a position of personal knowledge. For an upcoming show, for instance, I’ve drawn from my experiences with a small Texas farming community. One piece is of a young woman, whose image became my “everywoman”, appearing in a series of collages that explored life, love and spirituality. Two more are of a mother and son. The mother was once a young girl who longed to travel to distant places, but found herself, instead, rooted to a patch of land. The boy was a cowboy at heart. His love of horses spanned a lifetime, from his first solo ride at age two until his last days, when beset by terminal cancer, he found pleasure reading his favorite horse-trading tales.

But there are other times, when pieces begin and often remain enigmatic, leaving ample room for interpretation. The collage materials chosen form the narrative, as was the case with Perdu Saint and its worn holy card, an item I came upon as I navigated a dusty Parisian street and Seattle Girl, which features an over-exposed photograph I discovered in a Seattle antiquities shop. It doesn’t seem to matter if the subjects are known to me or not, I still endeavor to bring their stories to life with an array of vintage and handcrafted papers, often retrieved during my travels, and some of the simple materials I scavenge from everyday life.

I always hope my work may enlighten, inspire, challenge or amuse a viewer as much as it has me, or that it will urge both of us to take one step further, inciting us to better understand each other and ourselves. Maybe it’s even possible that one day, you and I shall meet, I will create, and your story shall be told too, because as both of us now know, there’s always a story.


2 in blue

I remain intrigued. I retrieved these collages from the framer last week, as I was delivering others.

As you can see, blue became the color of choice. The pieces are entitled, Bread & Wine and Timeless. Vintage French documents, wine labels, candy papers and ration stamps are woven within.

I hope to share the other pieces soon, after their framing. They will feature other images and a lovely new paper. It’s almost time to choose my five selections for the upcoming show. Feel free to chime in.


white cup

I am particularly fond of white cups. Some of my most cherished pieces include a delicate white tea cup I used during childhood visits with my grandparents, a crème-colored cup that was part of my morning coffee ritual for twenty-five years, and this one, an heirloom piece I received from my mother-in-law.

I found this cup’s gold, white and blue palette quite beautiful. It not only provided inspiration for pieces like this journal cover, which is currently featured in Somerset Life’s summer edition, but some of my recent collage work as well (more about that later). One never knows what will inspire the imagination . . .

Images:  Somerset Life Summer 2016 Copyright © 2016 Stampington & Company, LLC



Is there any greater freedom, than a sense of belonging . . . to this life.


morning light

“When God demanded light,
he didn’t banish darkness.
Instead, he invented
ebony and crows . . . “Why Are Your Poems So Dark, Linda Pastan

“Pensive” is a word that has been used to describe me, yet my father referred to me as someone who would look for a pony when presented with a mound of manure. Sometimes I’ve speculated that my “pensive Pollyanna” emerged from curiously studying and occasionally “excavating” the mound.

At times, my work is construed as “dark”, and every now and then, I’ve wondered if I chose an artistic career so I might examine some of the places I’ve feared most. Having grown up in a small town, in a relatively conventional family, my experiences were limited. Yet even then, I silently questioned many proclaimed truths. Only later did my creative work shed light on some of life’s darker regions, challenging many of my long-held beliefs.

I think this piece, drenched each day in the studio’s diffused morning light, evolved from that shadowy plane. It began simply, but grew in complexity as I layered each item-- the shattered body, the dark butterflies, the Sylvia Plath verse. But not until I selected the final piece, a broken chain, did it reach its unexpected conclusion. The chain was what remained of a necklace I’d received from a family friend, someone who’d brightened my childhood days. Yet the fragment’s selection reminded me that my friend, like Plath, had taken her own life-- unbeknownst to me, sitting under a tree.

Throughout my lifetime, I’ve found my closest friends to be those who shared the darkness as well as the light. Conversely, I’ve found my greatest betrayals to be the moments I was unwilling to stand in the dark with another.  Perhaps my artistic work urges me to confront that deficit.

The day I received an "award of excellence" for this piece, I felt both an affirmation for my work and my friend- an acceptance, or perhaps a reconciliation of some of the dark and light of our lives. It seemed a creative force had been cast upon us, gently freeing us from crippling expectations, many of which were our own. We, too, for a brief moment, seemed awash in the morning light.