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Completed Cow and Genetic Dogs

March 1, 2021

Happy March!

My brain is already running crazy with the recent test results from our two dogs. I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s step backwards to the cow completion:

Completed Lunar Ox project
side view of the lovely cow
On display at The Arts Center of Corvallis Oregon

Here she is complete with a pink tongue sticking out. The stand is cedar with a round of gold leaf. Cow is 94% Oregon wool, 4.5% wool from Italy, 1% foam, 0.5% wire. The Italian wool/fur is so amazing! She turned out pretty close to what I envisioned. Working so large has been quite a challenge and I’ve learned so much for the next project (starting very soon!).

During the cow creation, I took a small break and made a quail head for my girlfriend’s birthday. Hopefully I’ll start dedicating more time to bird head explorations in wool. It was very fun to create.

Now, on to the dogs!

I finally turned in Hazel and Moby’s cheek swabs to the Embark company. After several weeks of waiting the results are in and a total surprise! First dog is Hazel:

Hazel’s mothers line is total Mini Schnauzer and her father is the mixed terrier line. The Supermutt has traces of Manchester toy terrier, Chow, and Australian Cattle dog. Such a total surprise!

Now Moby:

Are we surprised by the GWP? No, but 100% was a shock! He’s still a wacky dog and I think it’s time to get his brain back into Nosework. He would really appreciate having some fun with life again.

Ok, I think that’s it for now. Artwork, Artwork, Dog, Dog.

Oh, and I’m starting a new sculpture for an upcoming show at The Arts Center! Right now it’s just a bag of carded wool that will turn into something related to science and climate change…

More adventures to come! Including a 700 mile challenge!

Thanks for checking in! Stay safe and healthy out there.

Mooo-ving Forward

February 3, 2021

Last week I started a post talking about the amazing snow that we were having. Talk about short lived! Oh well, that’s winter in the Willamette Valley! It’s still possible to receive some more during the month of February.

Chickadee and warbler on the feeder

In honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year, I’ve been working on a cow/ox head sculpture. Yes, year of the ox is almost upon us. Last year I started the new tradition of creating a zodiac head just before the new year. Since felting seems to be my current muse, I jumped into this head with gusto! Below are a few images as it’s grown.

started with an interior of foam
I’m using wool from my friends sheep.
The head is growing!
Getting the horns on was a big step and made it start to feel like a real cow.
size comparison against me!
Snout work!
Figuring out eye placement and eyelids.

Tuesday I chose a specific breed : American Milking Devon. This is a heritage breed and boy is it RED! I’m in love with their color! They are a versatile variety that can cover about everything a farmer wants. However, their coat color is going to be an interesting blend which I stressed over. Rather than ordering from my usual Texas supplier, I went to a specialty shop in Maryland. For over a year, I’ve wanted to order from this group. I actually emailed them for recommendations on what fiber to purchase because I wasn’t familiar with the blends. The order has been placed and fiber should arrive early next week? The due date for this piece is Feb 16th.

One of the reasons I chose this breed is the color. The color red symbolizes prosperity for the new year. Red Ox for the New Year!

More to come!

Materials used: Local Oregon Wool, 18g wire, foam

You can also follow along on Instagram


First of the flock out the door

January 14, 2021

It felt good this morning to have an order waiting on my computer for a sheep (with hats). This gal is heading about 45 miles south to live in Eugene. She will be well loved!

I’ve been a bit turned off of ETSY for many years, but right now it seems like a safe way to market and sell art. It’s nice to start the year on a positive and I’ll leave it at that!

Now the shop is empty and I need photos to restock. Marketing is not my strong point and I totally recognize that fact. Sometimes I wish my husband would handle that part of the business. Maybe when he retires in 5+ years! Maybe by then I’ll be selling at art fairs…. certainly something to work towards!

The day is beautiful and more work is calling before a dog walk…. sigh….


you can find my shop at

Gathering energy in the new year

January 11, 2021

The light is returning! Happy New Year!

The new year has started slowly as I figure out my focus for 2021. Last year I created 100 laundry dryer balls and I already have two orders for the new year. I think this might be a good product to continue making on a serious level in order to fund my other projects. With wool felting taking up more space on my work bench, I’ve had to rearrange things yet again so drawing and felting can co-exist. Yes, drawing is part of my 2021 focus areas. I want to finally complete numerous images waiting in the file drawers. First back on the table is a drawing from last spring of Remy the Black Labrador. I’ve loosened up my colors, thanks to the blue sheep of 2020, and have shifted Remy into the blue/purple zones. I’m working with Prismacolor colored pencils on a very soft printmaking paper. Below is her current stage of development:

She has lots more to go before the image is complete, but I feel confident on the course its taking. There’s also several more colorful sheep in the works too.

On the sculpture table: Barney the Basset mix is slowly coming together! He belonged to my bro-in-law who lives in Austin TX. He was a sweetheart and a total slobbery mess. Oh, the drool! As a memorial, I’m creating a felted version (without drool) of the sweetie. Below is his current stage of development (and I can already see areas I need to fix!):

On a sad note: The end of December were the last days with our old cat MeMe. Her struggles with kidney disease culminated with euthanasia on December 31. She was 17-18 years old. What a way to end 2020! The amount of energy & care keeping her going ended and I was exhausted for days after that. However, there is a collective sigh of relief having passed through the life of MeMe. Now on the other side, the animals are all more relaxed, not having to be on the lookout for where she might be. She struck fear into both dogs and cats. Everyone was on edge when she came upstairs to drink water. I had to be on constant vigil for everyone’s safety. With that intense energy gone, the house feels empty but those remaining are starting to change. After years of not touching the litter boxes, the dogs are snarfing kitty-roca again. EEEEW! I had forgotten about those bad habits and didn’t want them to return! Her presence near the cat boxes kept the dogs away, but now are fair game. The other cats are relaxing into life not under the rule of “the old lady”. Fiona is blossoming with affection and becoming my new studio cat. Pippin continually causes chaos and gets locked out of my zone. Home life will be better in 2021!

Fiona and Pippin, the new studio buddies

Long live Queen MeMe’s memory. She will be missed greatly.

Thanks for checking in. More dog sculpture/image progress reports to come.

Happy 2021!

Mid December Push

December 15, 2020
Carl the gnome. 10.5 inches tall

I’m not sure what brought about the current flurry of activity, but I’ve actually settled into the studio for work. What’s been created? Well, numerous wool laundry ball orders have been finished and sent (sparking a focus on how to package the product plus labeling). Seven long legged felted gnome sculptures were also created and two found homes. Sheep seem to be a theme over the past several months, so I dove into learning to create a more realistic sheep sculpture, but not quite achieving anywhere close to a real phase yet. Three were constructed but not pushed onto the sales table yet. I also needed a drawing to finish off the sheep ball label, which pushed a totally different sheep image and quite colorful! Yarn production and wool dying has slowed for now, but that’s alright. I also normally create a holiday card, but that just hasn’t grabbed my attention this year. Chock it up to the strange world of 2020

Here are some images of the creations:

example of 3 laundry sheep balls
cotton sewn bag that fits 3 laundry balls
Santa Party Sheep.
Blue Sheep, colored pencil

I still have a few more wool balls to create for another couple of orders. The Blue Sheep sparked interest from different people, so I’m contemplating drawing a few more wild sheep and making cards or something. Then there’s a loom waiting for attention. I purchased three beautiful spools of thread to make plain woven kitchen towels. Warping the loom is a bit daunting as a newbie, but eventually I’ll jump in and go. Can’t be too hard.

I will be pulling up my etsy page into a true sales spot. is coming back to life.

If I don’t write again before year’s end, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful end to 2020!

Going blue

November 3, 2020
Dyed roving

I’m glad that this election season is coming to a close with hopefully a tidal wave of blue to wash away the pain we’ve experienced. Blue brings a calming feeling, memories of intense blue skies, the blue of a lake or ocean. Calm without the fighting. So, I’ve embraced blue for the new project. Wet felting is an experiment for depleting the overwhelming wool stash piled around the studio. I dyed up 4 oz of roving and was pretty happy with the color. The deep blue was a mix of turquoise, violet, periwinkle, and a few flicks of hot fuchsia. The lavender was a dye pot exhaust: the main batch of wool didn’t take up all the dye so I needed to toss in another round of roving to mop up the excess color. Hazel is modeling the size after round one of felting. I took it a bit farther in order to create a denser material for sewing. I might attempt a cat cave on the next round, but possibly too ambitious at this stage. Wet felting takes quite a lot of body work.

Hazel modeling the felt

I’ve learned quite a lot with this larger attempt. First: don’t use the wool roving straight from the bag/ dye pot. Put it through the drum carder to get the fibers in alignment and not clumped. Second: work in the garage where there’s more elbow room. Definitely not a kitchen counter job! Third: if you discover holes or thin places, needle felt back over to patch and know that another round of wet felting is always an option. Hopefully I will get better with more practice to achieve a more consistent material without holes.

sleeping MeMe kitty

MeMe kitty hasn’t been a happy camper over the past several weeks. For those of you who might not know, she’s well over 16 years and has kidney disease. I took her in Monday for a full work up and they checked off quite a long list before discovering high blood pressure! Cats are normally around 150, often going to 160 during a vet visit. She was at 220! No wonder she’s had that pained look and howling at all hours day and night. While she was in they drained her giant cyst. Her fighting weight is even lower than July, putting her at 7.6 pounds. I think that’s feather weight category for the kitties. The behemoth girls are almost 16 pounds! Not a fair fight, but they still happen. I’m hoping the new blood pressure med can help sooth her body and gain weight.

I’m off to finish scouring the final batch of wool for the season. It sat in the outdoor vat for over a month and is super stinky! The forecast is looking like rain for days to come so the drying might have to come indoors if we can handle the smell. I still have 4 fleece waiting for a wash but they will have to wait for spring!

Worth the time

October 22, 2020
In the studio during the auction! Wearing my Maasai necklace with the zebra block in progress behind me.

Last night was the auction finale for Makindu Children’s Center. As you might recall, I donated a hand made Gingko Leaf lamp. That little lamp stirred up quite a flurry of bidding, topping out at the second highest amount in the auction. The lamp went for over double the normal retail price! I was shocked and so happy that it could raise that sort of funding for those kids. I’m looking forward to mailing it once I receive the address!

Empty garden except for herbs and late seedling starts.

The season has certainly shifted bringing a chill to the air! This morning we had a light dusting of frost on rooftops and railings, which probably means the garden was touched as well. Monday, the plumeria plants took a crazy journey up the hill and were deposited in the garage for the winter with supplemental heat (no greenhouse this year). I’ve spent several days dismantling both garden boxes: yielding 10 pounds of green tomatoes (to be turned into salsa), green beans, cukes and peppers which are now tucked into the refrigerator. Yesterday I cooked up another big batch of applesauce destined for the freezer and there’s still another 10+ pounds remaining!

Persimmon starting to shift towards a yellow-green color

Other things to note: the vultures have migrated south! I keep track of when I last see those big black birds knowing the clean-up crew won’t be back until late February. Moby killed another possum almost 2 weeks ago and we hoped it might entice a vulture to pick apart the remains. The cameras were aimed and ready! Unfortunately, the birds weren’t interested and only looked from above. They must not have needed extra calories. See you next year vultures!

An artist friend and member of the Calapooia Gallery started pushing for me to apply for membership. I’m impressed at her tenacity to keep prodding, since this has been ongoing for several years! It’s a beautiful space located in historic downtown Albany and super close to home. The current members are all very lovely people who create amazing work. However, I think they want me to submit the lighted creations and I’m kind of on the fence with that line. It takes me weeks, rather than days, to create a lamp. Psoriatic arthritis hasn’t been kind with my finger joints. Hence the reason I’ve been exploring other creative ideas like wool. Hopefully our paths will cross during the Saturday Market so we can have yet another talk. So much to think about. In the meantime, I have received a lamp commission. Time to pull out the paper again! I thought I was done with lamps and papercutting????

Thanks for reading to the end. My body is doing better this week for those who emailed and called. I stopped eating large amounts of tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes can increase inflammation. Kind of hard when one loves the flavor of a big summer tomatoes! The tomatoes are gone so life can become less puffy… maybe?

Have a good weekend everyone! Remember to wear those masks and wash you hands!

Changing colors, changing focus

October 16, 2020

It’s hard to believe that we’re half way through the month of October. Weather patterns have shifted towards a wetter, cooler experience. Temps have not yet reached freezing, mainly staying in the 40’s at night and fluctuating from the 50’s to upper 60’s during the day. I’m keeping track because we still have temperature sensitive house plants outside. Originally I hoped to have a heated greenhouse constructed by this time, but that’s not the case. We don’t move at lightening speed at this house. There tends to be quite a bit of debate and wrangling of ideas before anything moves forward, often getting stalled due to discussions. This is probably why most of our home improvement projects never get completed (and we have way too many to count!).

So what has been happening?

The donation to The Arts Center sold quickly. The lamp donation is currently up for bid until October 21 at 6pm Pacific Time. If you’re interested, please click HERE. All proceeds go to help the orphan children at the Makindu Children’s Center in Kenya Africa. I purchased 4 pregnant goats for the kids this week and will probably do more before the auction end.

Creating a sampler with the existing warp. The white yarn is scrap acrylic.
Creating a sampler with the existing warp. The white yarn is scrap acrylic.

I’m learning yet a new way of using wool: Weaving! I guess it’s kind of inevitable, having an overload of wool and a desire to always be learning. It came about because of a friend who needed to move her small table loom out of the house. The Nilus/Leclerc table model has 4 shafts and can produce almost a 14″ wide piece of cloth. Not huge! I’m hoping to change the warp out soon and start trying my hand at creating cotton hand towels or wool table runners. This isn’t a field I’m familiar with so everything is totally new. Very similar to spinning wool a year ago! I tend to jump in and run with it until my attention is pulled elsewhere or the body can’t function. Fortunately, the loom will be staying with me for a while until the friend has cleared out her home and eventually can reunite with her art passions. If I, for some reason, want to work larger I could possibly borrow a loom from my sister who has numerous. Kim started a weaving journey about 20 years ago to complement her love of quilting. If I look back into our mother’s lineage, there was a line from Ireland that were weavers and textile folks. Maybe I’ll research that when the genealogy bug strikes.

Another reason for attempting new artforms is to balance the arthritis problems. I get tendonitis easily and it doesn’t go away even though I’m on several heavy medications. My body is currently in a major flare up which slowed my internal drive this week. It looks like I need to start physical therapy yet again to get over the newest hurdle. I just need to find more patience with my body and try not to aggravate the situation by consuming inflammatory foods (even when those foods taste soooo gooood!) or doing overly physical yard work.

Probably not much else worth sharing except ballots arrived yesterday and I’ve already voted. So happy our state of Oregon has been entirely vote by mail, primary and general election, since 2000! Get out and vote!!!

Stay safe and have a great weekend wherever you live!


September 24, 2020
Snowball bush September 23, 2020

We slid quickly into autumn with leaves changing without our even noticing. Part of that was due to the smoke in the valley. We were stuck indoors for many days, not being able to get out for walks until the hazardous air cleared. Now, we’ve been pretty much smoke free for a week and taking advantage of the outdoors!

Douglas Fir cones, September 23, 2020
Garden September 24, 2020
Still waiting to try a Prudens Purple!

A new storm is brewing with winds pushing through before the rain arrives. I spent a bit of time picking produce from the garden. The beans, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, peppers, and zucchini continue to produce. I tried to glean as much as possible before the predicted 4 day stretch of rain. The large Cherokee Chocolate and Sweet Million tomatoes continue to sprawl over the ground, making for a disappointing yield. Is it still worth trying to tie them up? It might make them ripen quicker, if I can manage to get the heavy vines bundled together. The Prudens Purple continues to increase their fruit size, but we have yet to even try one. The first one is blushing in the above photo.

With this new storm comes wind and rain that could cause more problems with the wildfires burning. Up north towards Portland, the Riverside complex has reached 138,117 perimeter acres burned and is 31% contained. The Beachie Creek fire, closer to us, is 192,775 perimeter acres burned and 46% contained. Towards Eugene, the Holiday Farm fire has consumed 173,175 perimeter acres and is only 27% contained. Most evacuation levels have been stepped down with some people able to return home. Hundreds of home and structures have been destroyed between the three fires.

One thing I have finished this week was the donation to the Makindu Children’s Center. They will be having an auction Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 5:00-6:00pm Pacific Daylight time. For further information, please check their website HERE. The Ginkgo lamp stands 12.75″ x 7.25″ x 7.25″, comes with the electrical system and an LED bulb. The lamp base is Hemlock. The hand-cut paper lamp features a Ginkgo design with gold leaf accents on each panel. The entire piece, including the base, was constructed by my hands. It will be interesting to see how much money it can raise for the kids!

Me holding my donation to the Arts Center’s 8×8 fundraiser.

The Arts Center is holding their Art for the Heart Virtual Auction on Saturday, October 10, 2020. Please click HERE for additional information! I mounted one of the Moby “The Lick” reduction screen print for the event. Hopefully it too can raise a few bucks for an incredible arts organization!

I think that’s about all for now. I could go into all the dehydrator work happening in the kitchen, but that can wait. I need a break from the garden world.

I hope everyone is staying healthy!


Wildfires Burning

September 11, 2020
September 8, 2020, 8 am. View South under the smoke blanket.

Many of you know that I live in the state of Oregon on the west coast of the United States. We have copious amounts of beautiful scenery, old growth forests (in some locations), beaches, rivers and gorgeous mountains. We also have massive wildfires burning throughout the state right now. Almost a million acres have burned in just this past week. That’s larger than the state of Rhode Island. Over 500,000 people are in level 1-3 evacuation zones due to the rapid spread. Our air is filled with smoke, not just here in the Willamette Valley, we’re talking about the entire state. This morning the air quality index for Albany was 507 (255 as of 2 pm) . My sister & brothers in Eugene woke to 544 (400 at 2 pm). At 150, air is considered very unhealthy.

What’s occurring is unprecedented for our state and we can only hope for a weather shift to aid in controlling the spread. Change has been happening slowly. The initial wind storm started Monday afternoon and went through Wednesday. The winds were from the North East and super dry! It was like having a late fall/early winter windstorm but without the rain and humidity. Trees & branches fell on power lines, starting many fires. Normal humidity levels dropped to 10%. Today we’re back up above 50%! Early next week we should be receiving a little rain which will aid reducing air pollution. The firefighters will need weeks to gain control of the blazes. It probably won’t be until sometime in mid-winter they will be extinguished.

Firefighters are receiving help from the National Guard on Saturday. Teams are coming from other countries. Help is coming forward.

September 8, 2020, 8 am. View East. The deep red color is accurate.
September 8, 2020, 9:30 am. View East.
September 8, 2020, 9:30 am. View South.
September 8, 2020, 4 pm. View South
September 9, 2020, 12:50 pm. View South.
Two days of ash accumulation on my car windshield.
September 11, 2020, 2 pm.

I don’t have other images to share of actual fires and forest destruction. You can all search for those online. Please ignore the crazy false stories that the fires were started by extremist groups, because they weren’t. Check the fire maps at Northwest Interagency Coordination Center or for further information.

Stay safe out there!