Inspiring Treasures

The Best Tibetan Beads at Pema Arts

Ok- I’m squirreling away for Fall.  I’ll start posting some of the things I’ve found this month to inspire new creations.  A friend asked me to make him a talisman, so I thought I’d start here with

Norbu at Pema Arts .  They have such an amazing collection of Tibetan beads- amber, turquoise, shell, resin, silver of varied types, dzi beads, and old necklaces made by the Himalayan tribes of Tibet, Nepal, & India.  You can feel so much history when you visit his site/booth.  He goes to all the bead shows- so keep your eye out for he/his family and their fine collection, new & old.


Filamentous dance. Curious, fully extending into

the blue. Trust, beyond their variegated halves

splits them open, taking-in whatever

passes by. Present

(or what does it mean to process the world through poetry?)

Not words.

Not the brain directing traffic

(even as amorphous mass).  Just bivalves

just opened, their minute antennae reaching out

waving.  Filamentous dance.  Curious, fully extending into   

the Blue.  Trust, beyond their variegated halves

moved to take-in whatever passes by.


in good time~   edgy electric, spiny sweet succulent

or bad~    passing shadow, memories,  stinging cells

that may slam them shut.

No matter.  “Water

never navigates the thermocline

the same twice.”  Soothes vertical.  And hunger

always erasing, invites, opens

the animal again in hope.

Just looking

for something good

to eat.

Gift for Elma

New Fall Jewelry~ Carnelian, hematite, onyx- for Elma

It’s Elma’s b-day today.  I made this for her and gave it to her last night before we took off to see the Cult (!)   Woo-hoo! fun show.

It’s made of nuggets of carnelian- a stone I can’t get enough of these days.  To me, carnelian is a harbinger of Fall;  warm and grounding.  There are also hematite chunks and rounds, jade and sterling.  The pendant is removable, etched onyx pendant with a dragon on one side

& phoenix or…peacock? on the other.

Elma is really special; a very grounded, wise, woman who is a bundle of energy & the *coolest* mom on the planet.  She’s creative (sews & makes jewelry) and is always going out to see shows and other fun cool things.

Elma- I’m so glad you were born & I feel very lucky to have you in my life as my buddy and concert date! (Thank you Mandy for connecting us~ we miss you!!!)

Green & Purple~ Succulent Gardens, songs, & jewelry

Inspiration from succulents and gardens inspires succulent jewelry. Hidden, but everywhere you look- the message of endurance in the face of all odds makes the desert an ocean full of inspiration. And of course, there is nothing more inspiring than a desert in full bloom.

One of the first things I did after coming home from our North coast CA tour was plant small succulents and cactus in little pots.  Amy inspired me.  😉  She has tiny pots of single cactus and succulents in window ledges inside, and sweet succulents artfully placed amid flowers & herbs all through her North coast CA garden.

Since I haven’t been home enough this summer to plant my own garden- others work makes me swoon and melt.  We really enjoyed just talking & hanging out with Bob & Amy in their sweet garden backyard, soaking up the Zen-ness of it all.  I so admire the hard work others do to create beauty in this world…

So once home, I planted a pot of small cacti, and placed them outside in the afternoon sun.  The next day- they were scorched!  Apparently not the hardy species evolved of the great American southwestern desert… I was informed by the nursery man that hothouse cacti must be slowly acclimated to sun.  Wow, how odd.  This never occurred to me.

I named a previous band “The Succulents” precisely because of the rich strength & vitality that pervades the desert- especially the rock solid flora & fauna of the American southwest.  Hidden, but everywhere you look- the message of endurance in the face of all odds makes the desert an ocean of inspiration.  And of course, there is nothing more inspiring than a desert in full bloom.  Besides seeing the redwood forests of Northern CA, and the Autumns of the East Coast forests, everyone should visit the desert during its springtime bloom.  As a child growing up in Arizona, I had to take the required preschoolers desert survival classes.  They told us that there was really little to fear in the desert; that if it was really so inhospitable there would be no life at all there.  And then there was the practical stuff; keep your clothes on;  build a lean-to, and fashion tools to search out certain cactus for water.

Here are lyrics from “She’s so Succulent”

Smooth on the outside/ fleshy on the in

Oh you want to touch/ but the spines lay hidden.

Never thought you’d find her/ alone in this place

(With a few havalina and some tumbleweeds

And the lizards that roam the desert seas.)


In her element (She’ll weather all)

She’s so succulent (saguaro stand tall)

Little bit o’ truculent (but you’ll never mind)

Just listen, watch, wait.


And here is a necklace & bracelet inspired from those hearty, secretly fleshy, gems of the wild-at-heart desert world!  Made of green quartz nuggets, amethyst, flourite, jade, & sterling findings and chain.

Fall Jump Start- New Pieces

OK- so I can’t wait for the rains (my Texas and Atlantic Coast friends can send their clouds our way any day),   I’m craving carnelian, and anything orange, red-orange, yellow… Found this mixed howlite in a store in Trinidad, CA.  I don’t normally get dyed stones, but it looked so cool.

I was serenaded the whole time I made this ring of Native American seed beads from Arizona, by all the coyotes y caballeros!

Trading Muses~ Fighting the Funk w/ more Creativity

I’m trading the Musical Muses for the Poetry and Crafty Muses this month! Stay tuned for jewelry and other gems that will float by like the leaves!

I’m not sure how people do it- blogging from the road.  I’ve just kick started this blog, & haven’t done so well these past few months of getting to computers while traveling.  But I really want to get better at it- and I welcome advice from others!

Now that I’m home for awhile, it feels like I can counter this patch of blue burnout that’s been slowly brewing over the last few weeks.  Since releasing a new CD in May, and working hard to get the word out, traveling short tours (Texas, China, US- Northwest coast, Southwest,…), doing distribution & radio campaigns-  I need some creative down time.  I’m just happy to be able to do this from home for the next few weeks.

Funny, It’s not enough to write the music, record it, find great musicians to perform it.  Being “independent”- unsigned & with no record label support- musicians have to do everything themselves now;  record your own music, find distributors for it, book shows & tours yourself, do all your own promotion, find the funds, travel with little down time, run your own radio campaigns, constantly live on a shoestring, pay bills with crazy low shifting incomes (haah!), and of course wake up happy & energized to keep inspired day after day.  I’m really not complaining- I’m just amazed how much work it takes to try to be an independent, full-time musician.  You definitely have to have a thick skin, and like the journey more than anything else.

Ok so some Good news now!:  It’s not all for naught; I put my heart & soul into my latest CD (Tortilla Western Serenade ) culling what I think have been my best songs over the last coupla years, writing lots of new ones, working w/ cool musicians I never thought i’d meet much less work with.  I’m really excited about how it all came out- it is my opus so far. 😉   I named it Tortilla Western(spaghetti western meets Tex-Mex & rock), to fill a void, a confluence of influences I just didn’t hear & wanted more of.  The reviewers have been kind. Right now, over 50 US radio stations are playing  it (eeek!), its been 7 weeks in the top 25 roots rock/Americana charts; European stations are spinning it; old & new fans are listening & responding so sweetly (which inspires like nothing else!)

I make music not only to serve the hungry Muses that channel through me, but to hopefully put something into the world that is refreshing, unique, hopeful, uplifting, loving, inspiring, provocative, fun, & vivid. It really is an offering- from the Muses & me.  As reward, I just want to eek out a small, modest mode of survival. (ha!- but don’t all artists!!?)

So yes, suddenly I need a break.  I actually kinda shut down 2 weeks ago.  & last weekend (Labor Day) was my first such break of sorts; so I laid low, read Neil Gaiman, wrote a poem, listened to Peggy Lee, & started getting my jewelry space organized to start making things again.  I need this as therapy- am desperate for it~ Someplace to run into & not come out of until soothed.

So Musical Muses! Thank you for so much presence this past year; I treasure you…

But now, I need to nest up for Fall & make some new treasures.  I haven’t made anything in (omg… 2 years!?) But I’m thankful for friends who are asking about my next trunk show, or asking for pieces.  The challenge is on;  its Fall!  Between shows & travel, I’m getting busy 😉  yay!