Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cindy Wimmer is celebrating the re-design of her web site by offering 3 prizes in a terrific give-away. Go to to enter.

Very cute belt buckles at!

At a party last night, I met a vivacious young woman named Christy who creates the most wonderfully artistic belt buckles.

She has the buckle bezels made especially for her, and then she fills them with layered paper art which she covers with resin.

She has a web site. Take a look:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Renewals: Days with my brother

My brother Chris seems under two dark clouds these days, because he suffers from both Parkinson's disease and a failed marriage. He spent the last three days with me, and I hope, in his heart, they were days of lightened worries. I felt a true renewal of our relationship, and it was so good to be with him once again. We looked through old family photos, reminisced, and enjoyed a shared hobby -- photography. Chris snapped these two photos of hummingbirds visiting the feeder hanging outside my kitchen window:

We also went to the beach -- the Bolivar Peninsula where Hurricane Ike ravaged our beach community. This is an aerial view of my beloved beach after Ike. What remains of my beach cabin is in the middle of the image. Don't strain your eyes -- Only a concrete slab and a few pilings were left after the storm surge washed away my cabin and hundreds of others:

Here's a close-up of the pitiful remains of my cabin:

This was the marshland on the peninsula, immediately after Ike. Click on the photo -- vehicles were washed hundreds of yards into the marsh and half buried in the sand:

Chris, who no longer lives on the coast, wanted to see the results of Ike's fury for himself, so we drove down. What a surprise we found, though! The beach is in the midst of renewal. The marsh, which Ike buried in salt and sand, is greening. The mountains of debris have been cleared -- kudos to property owners and Galveston County. Some brave folk are rebuilding their cabins. And the Louisiana brown pelicans are back in even greater numbers. Chris and I snapped these pelicans -- squadron upon squadron of them -- as they soared along the beach on their way to Galveston Bay to roost for the evening:

To me, those pelicans -- strong survivors of a horrendous storm -- are a metaphor for my brother. He perseveres despite the ravages of Parkinson's disease, and he does so with strength and humor. And his heart is rebounding from the sorrow of his failed marriage. He will survive his storms, with renewed energy to live his life with dignity. We left Bolivar Peninsula just as the sun was setting on a green marshland:

Renewals -- Have faith that they will occur.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Happy Father's Day, Dad. I miss you.

Happy Father's Day, Buddy. I love you.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sea Talisman necklace

A week or so ago, I created a cross in silver clay for a commissioned rosary. I had leftover clay that I didn't want to waste -- It's way too expensive. So I made these charms, it being summer and my mind inevitably being drawn to the sea.

I pressed a tiny starfish into the largest charm, and then cut a star from more clay and textured it to resemble a starfish. I stamped the word "sea" into the smallest round charm, to remind me of my inspiration -- the place that I always want to be.

Silver charms belong in a piece of jewelry, all the better to wear them and admire their sparkle. So on my very messy worktable, I piled beads in every color of the sea -- gemstones, pearls, and Swarovski crystals --

and began putting them together.

At first I thought a strand of labradorite, with its flashes of blue, would be perfect to offset a huge, gorgeous chunk of faceted moonstone that I bought in Austin where I was there last. I used copper wire (before committing to expensive silver wire) to work out my ideas for a charm holder to attach the charms to the necklace.

Fiddling with another tiny charm and some copper wire, I decided that crystals would add weight and sparkle to the charms, and that wire shaped like tendrils would add even more interest.

I shaped a charm holder from sterling silver wire, and attached the charms -- now accented with beads -- to it like so:

The labradorite beads that I first admired, now seemed too dark and too brown. I wanted more ocean colors, so I stranded together tiny Swarovski crystals -- opal ones and transparent ones. I like the effect. This faceted moonstone has such fire, and Bali silver beads set it off just right.

I combined gemstones, pearls, crystals, and Bali silver beads to create more links for the necklace

and added a double strand of sea-blue freshwater pearls accented with round moonstones, aquamarine barrels, and a few labradorite spacers with the bluest fire.

Here's how it looks on my mannequin (the only model who doesn't complain about how long it takes me to snap a photo!):

I'm not quite satisfied, though. The necklace needs a few more bead links, so it can be worn long, as a talisman necklace, or wrapped twice around at collarbone length, like so:

I'll post a photo when it's finished!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hammock Days

Early June -- sun blazing down through the trees -- temperature above 90 degrees before mid-day -- must be Texas!

Stay out of the sun, or risk getting scorched.

Buster agrees -- He'll chase the squirrels, but only as far as the shade reaches.

It's too hot for chores, or even to go to Walmart. In a hammock is where I want to be. Grab a glass of lemonade and join me there. It's a good 20 degrees cooler under the trees. A fresh breeze is stirring the air, and the cicadas are singing us a lullaby.

Stay cool, my friends.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Girls' Weekend in Fredericksburg, Texas

I just returned from a wonderful, refreshing trip to Fredericksburg with my sister Judy, and nieces Jessica, Jamie, and Julie:


(Jamie and Jessica)


Fredericksburg is one of those terrific little Texas towns just full of great shops and restaurants, and beautiful little houses.

It's smack in the middle of Texas hill country, surrounded by rugged natural beauty.

In the springtime, wildflowers abound.

This beautiful area was the perfect place for us to reconnect, to just be girls together for a while, to have uninterrupted time to enjoy each other's company.

My favorite time was the end of the evening . . . sitting on the porch of our bed-&-breakfast ("Geovanna's Cottage") . . . sharing a glass of wine . . . listening to live music at Auslander's Restaurant across the street . . . enjoying the beautiful night sky over the heart of Texas.

Let's plan to do this again soon, girls!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Caribbean Cruise: Cozumel and Return to New Orleans

First of all, and with gratitude to God, I'm healed! Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome and De Quervain's tendonitis was successful, and I can finally get back to writing my blog, snapping photos, making jewelry, sewing (doing housework, weeding the garden -- yuck!). I had to wear a cast for 10 days after surgery, but now I'm cast-free and have only small scars on my wrist. Thank you, Dr. Todd Clarke of Beaumont, Texas!

Neely and I signed up for an X-rail car expedition to see the country behind this port city. Here's one of our guides in front of an X-rail car:

and here's Neely preparing to drive the X-rail (no way was I going to drive!), complete with helmet and bandanna -- These excursions are unbelievably dusty!

Our destination was the beautiful "Jade Caverns." We descended a stairway from the trail to find a jade green pool.

The pool is not totally enclosed, though -- The cavern's ceiling is partially open, and tropical vegetation grows on the rim:

I can't describe the peace and serenity of this place. Sunlight poured through holes in the cavern's ceiling, filtered through green ferns and palms, glimmered with the water's jade color.
Too soon, we left this oasis and forged our way back along a dusty trail. Our guides led us to another low cavern where they pointed out coral formations on the ceiling. This entire area was undersea in eons past. No photos here -- I'm a bit claustrophobic and the cavern's ceiling was a bit too low for my comfort!

After the X-rail adventure, a short bus ride took us back to the port. Cozumel is the stereotypical cruise port city, packed with tourists who have a few U.S. dollars to spend and vendors competing to collect same. We found Andrea and Patrick enjoying the main street. They had purchased a few loose diamonds in another port, and Andrea found the perfect setting for her new "rocks":

Perhaps because it was our last port of call and I was tired of haggling for "best price," but I didn't enjoy the street's energy. We made our way to Pancho's restaurant -- a shady, peaceful retreat from the noisy, sunwashed vibe of the street. Margaritas were plentiful and delicious, and we ordered a little bit of good food to wash them down!

Yikes! I look like I've spent a week in the Outback, but I couldn't miss a photo op with my favorite son-in-law Pat!

Cozumel bid us farewell with a glorious sunset at sea:

and New Orleans welcomed us home with an equally glorious sunrise:

Yep, we must be back in New Orleans!
I'm thankful in so many ways for this memorable trip: to God, who makes all things possible -- to my dear husband Neely, who gave us these memories -- and to my sweet daughter Andrea and my wonderful son-in-law Pat, who joined us and made the trip so special for us.
Kids, where shall we go on our next trip -- Alaska???