mid September

September 13th, 2012

“From time to time, to remind ourselves to relax, to be peaceful, we
may wish to set aside some time for a retreat, a day of mindfulness,
when we walk slowly, smile, drink tea with a friend, and enjoy being
together as if we are the happiest people on Earth. ”
Thich Nhat Hanh

The color are slowly shifting. It is obvious that Summer is leaving us. So much of it was too hot to enjoy; it was not a good year for the gardens and the smoke from regional fires has made getting out of town an iffy prospect.

Every morning the weather forecast includes red flag warnings and smoke alerts. Maybe this weekend I’ll venture off grid, go check on the treehouse

and remember what silence is outside the bounds of city life.

Here at home and in the office things are happening:

The new “coaching website” is up and running. Right now professional rates are fairly low. They will go up when I hit my optimal daily client limit.

There is still a lot of free content available to you in the pages section – look in the right hand column of this blog. You can expect to see some of these expanded with visual content added and for some of the info to become available as downloadable e-books. in the near future. Editing and anthologizing (not necessarily in that order G>) takes time.

Also in process is an anthology of the Museletters – I’ll keep you posted.

The musletter service is available to you at no charge, (subscribe here) but I have recently begun accepting donations to help defray the costs.     thanks for your generosity.


wishing you a fruitful harvest if you garden, whether it is out of doors, in studio , or in imagination.

all best, laura





who knows where the time goes?

August 29th, 2012

Do you remember that song? Sandy Denny, what a wonderful voice, what a beautiful song!

Last week a friend visited from out of State. On Friday we drove the Beartooth Highway, all the way up, then back down to explore Red Lodge (I lived there in the 70s and it is a charming town, just 62 miles from where I now live)

Charles Kurault referred to this highway as the most scenic of all. He was right, but driving it can be a challenge. Hairpin turns, people hugging the center line when there’s no margin for error, fast motorcycles, etc. Still, every time I have visitors from elsewhere and the road is open, we take the Day Trip. Debi B was awed and took hundreds of photos.

All these photos are credited to her. I was driving, so my camera never came out, even when we stopped <G>.


This one is for Bob! Last year, August 5, 2011,  there was snow on these rocks. Dressed in shorts and a tee, he climbed to the top. I wished we had documented that. He was not warm when he returned to the car. This formation is on Hellroaring Plateau. at approximately 14500′ elevation. The wind is constant. We began our day last year (as this year) in  Billings in the high 90s. It might have been 40 above up there.



From the highest elevations we can look down at sterling lakes. This is an example. Our disappointment this year was that the air was smoky due to fires all around the region. If you are not from here, you wouldn’t notice the haze.





And now it is the ending of August. There’s a Blue Moon on Friday and the earliest signs of seasonal shift are here. The river is very low. I will collect cottonwood roots, either this evening or early tomorrow before meeting my dog walking friend, K and her border collie.

Beau, K’s dog and ms. Gracie all do very well together as they are all herding dogs, very very smart and with similar temperaments. Gracie keeps up with the big dogs, despite her youth and size. This is an important clue. Having a border collie pup presents particular challenges. I am resolved to protect her “wiring”, to not expose her to neurotic dogs or their people, to  help her become the best dog she can be, given the absence of real sheep in her life <G>. Finding “substitute sheep” is a lot of fun <LOL>

Now it’s time to think about a museletter. Maybe later this evening, or in the morning after my walk. There are only so many words available to me at any given time <G>. The concept of writing ahead of time and scheduling ahead of time just does not fit for me. Maybe some day.

***Big and important news flash: There is a lot of demand for the Coaching I am currently offering. The fee as  listed under “coaching” on the side bar to the right will change as of September 3. Registration before then will be honored at the current price.

Beginning the 4th, fees will go up. At that point I will offer a discount for committing to a 3 month plan instead of month to month. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, go make something or weed in the gardens, or sit and watch the sky.

Fill your well.


thanks for visiting!


this was NOT supposed to happen

August 21st, 2012

For the last week or more, one of my dog walking buddies had been telling me about a 4 month old pup her daughter was trying to find a home for. One of a litter of Border Collies, discovered under an abandoned trailer house. The mama and the pups were adopted out. This young female went to a rancher. He didn’t like dogs. Then she went to a young family for a while. They moved and left her behind. Then she went someplace else but after a “welfare check”, my friends’ daughter discovered the pup was being left alone, on a chain with no shelter etc. She has a dog, her DH said absolutely no more and she was desperate to find a home. Well, that did it for me.

I offered to foster the pup, get her healthy and started on her training and then through my wide circle of groomers, trainers and other excellent dog people, find her a forever home.

They brought her over this morning. Within 5 minutes, Beau had brought her toys, dug up bones for her and in general, adopted her. He has always been good with puppies.

Within an hour, mz. Ella had greeted her, no issue. Not much later, mr. Otis, who is generally shy and unaccepting of changes in the household, had also made her welcome.
She came to us with no name, but now answers to “Gracie”. She sits, waits, understands “down” and can walk on a leash. So far she appears to be bright, inquisitive, alert, doesn’t bark and has good manners. Beau is delighted. I am amused.

Tomorrow we will walk the Island and begin the socialization process. I expect it to go smoothly.

Absolutely no housework was accomplished today and I fear it will be minimal the next few days. A friend is coming to visit, I hope she finds this as amusing and entertaining as my cats, Beau and I do.



“the new normal”

August 19th, 2012

We had a stunning walk this morning, saw white pelicans for only the second time this year. They breed on the Yellowstone but Winter on the Gulf. I have the sense (unsubstantiated) that their population was hit hard by the oils spill a couple of years ago. I know the blackbird populations were. I hope they recover. We watched a Kingfisher working a side channel. It was cool and clear, a welcome change from the unrelenting heat of the Summer.

We’ll get up to 85 this afternoon, perfect!
As a result of this lovely weather, the new shrubs are in and settling well. I chose for toughness (sub 30) and drought tolerance, as well as for height to provide privacy . The french door opens up the house in some unexpected ways. Grasses and weeds getting pulled. At some time I’ll have to tackle the inside work but am in no hurry. The studio repairs are getting worked on a little at a time. Mostly they have to wait for a helper to be available.

I am honored by the great response to my opening the Coaching Practice again and the greater interest in  the subset, “Women in Transition”.

I can only work with so many individuals at a time. If you are interested, let me know!

meanwhile, go make something, collect interesting textures or just sit in the sun, reflecting.


As a reminder, in my sidebar, you will find various pages with technical information. Let me know if you have questions or would like more of these pages. What materials might you be unfamiliar with but wanting to try> Perhaps i can help shed some light.



a much delayed update

August 12th, 2012

The new roof is on, complete, lovely. It took only two and one half days, a crew of five, working 7 a.m. to 9 pm. and they were wonderful. Yes, it was a dirty, noisy and messy process, but it is finished.

It was pretty cool to see the bare bones of the house from inside the crawl space:

  The roofers took off three layers of old roofing, started from scratch and now, everything is to code. What is charming is the grace curve of the roof line, invisible with all those heavy layers. My house is breathing more easily.




Our weather has continued to be brutally hot with brief respites here and there. Today is in the 80s, a welcome change from triple digits. The sunflowers and cosmos, vines, weeds and grasses are thriving. My tactic this years is to let it be. I’ll water just enough to prevent crisp grasses. In the Fall, when it cools down, I will dig our the perennial beds and replant, once again thinking about xeriscaping: minimal maintenance, minimal water requirements. It seems to me that these new weather patterns will be with us a while.

Right now the goldfinches and chic-a-dees are loving the holly hocks and cosmos.


In other news, I am renewing my coaching practice, after a long hiatus, Details here.

Spaces are limited so don’t delay!

It is also possible that a group of “Women in Transition” will be forming soon. if this interests you, send a note.

To subscribe to my Museletter click here.

My wish for you as August matures is that you are enjoying the Summer, exercising your creativity, relaxing and making stuff!


putting on the lid -part one

July 28th, 2012

The materials for the new roof were delivered this past week. Demolition begins Monday.The new roof will be completed in four days, they say (that is exactly how long they took on the house next door, I am optimistic.). Then the studio can be gutted and repaired! Hooray! It’s time to get back to work.

It will be great to have the major construction tasks completed. Noise, dirt, major messes and having to be aware of other people’s schedules can get wearing.

The process of off loading the materials was a lot of fun to watch. A few hours of entertainment on a hot July day.














Looking at these photos of the materials being delivered, I am struck by two things. First, that’s a big tree! It’s good it and the others were pruned out last Summer, we’ve had major wind storms this year. Second, my house looks dwarfed by that tree as well as the truck, [It is a small space, but that small?]



In other news, there’s no sign of a change in the weather here in South Central Montana. We are expecting the high 90’s and low triple digits through September. I’ve given up on the gardens for the year. Just keeping them alive is my current goal. Perhaps I’ll have a chance to dig them out and replant this Fall.  The clearing out has come to a halt as well, for now. I’m trying to organize the other spaces in the house and am working at the dining room table. The intention is to avoid creating too much clutter. Snicker if you want to, I am laughing as well. The operative word was “trying”. It’s a lost cause. Everything that might be used in any given creative endeavor must be out, where it can be located by scanning. That results in clutter on a good day, messes on other days. I need my studio space back! Soon, they say, soon. Meanwhile, the process of photographing and posting work for sale continues, and will for the next few days. Details are in the post “Putting a Lid on It”.

Do you have tips for staying cool to share? The only thing I’ve come up with, apart from judicious placement of fans, is putting a cold wrap on the back of my neck. What are your solutions, apart from AC?

putting a lid on it!

July 22nd, 2012

After years of water damage (and inadequate repairs) to my studio ceiling I am finally getting a new roof! Actually the entire house is being re-roofed in the next two weeks, but my insurance does not cover the studio roof.

My challenge is to raise  the money to cover this major repair, in addition to my deductible so here’s the deal:

It’s yet another SALE!

There are new items on the store page, new small works on the gallery 4 page (and more coming this week, including works on paper and in wood).

Any order that totals $50 or more will get a bonus of a small embellishment potluck for mixed media/fiber artists.

Orders totaling $100 or more will get the above as well as a choice of one of my two .pdf workbooks.

$500 or more will get a bonus of the two above as well as a small artwork, ready to frame. (my choice on this one!)

This is my final sale of the season. I am looking forward to getting back in the studio this Fall following the re-roofing and remodel of the interior. It’s interesting how unearthing and clearing out  all sorts of stuff this Summer has helped renew my creative energy. Now to get the rest of the work done so I can explore my ideas in an adequate space. The dining room table is fine but gets cluttered so easily.


goodies and treats?

July 7th, 2012

No, it’s not Halloween, just getting to the bottom of the year long clearing out process.

Between the studio (which needs a gutting due to prolonged roof leaking) and the wood shop, which has been mostly emptied but still has a ways to go, to the yard, where only the rusty bits I like are left, it’s been an adventure. A lot of potluck boxes, fabrics, fibers, threads, etc. have been added to my store page. Now we are looking at different materials.

All the tools that I can’t use are gone, a lot has gone to salvage, a box is being put together for the H for H Re-Store, and now the real treasures are emerging from the bottom of boxes, bins and drawers.

Now, some of you will not see the value in any of this but there’s more than I can use, and who in their right mind would pay mega bucks for slickly prepackaged replicas from a clever marketer. (Well, I have, and so have some of you, but these are real, have substance and history and would welcome new homes.)

I think my DH saved, collected or acquired, literally, thousands of keys. Then there are the various washers, interesting small gear shaped things and more. Collage artists use these, mixed media artists use these, book artists use these. Rather than send them to salvage, I am pleased to pack them up and make them available to you.

See them and oddball bits from the studio at:

Additional interesting bits are being added daily. Thanks for visiting!



June 23rd, 2012

Temperatures are projected for the high nineties all week. This means any out of doors work needs to be done in the morning and that the sun/shade patterns must be honored.  This is also the week the robins are fledging. There have been a many as 7 adult robins dive bombing my cats in the morning. The cats don’t like it, but they are confined to quarters for the next week or so. I prefer unhappy cats to dead or upset birds. Interestingly, Beau is curious but shows no sign of trying to retrieve the ones that get away. Mice on the other hand…

“Wafting in the Garden” <LOL>. Those of you who have had workshops with me know exactly what this means and does not mean. Suffice to say, the big floppy hat is in place but the long flowey skirt is not.And I am working HARD. Today I planted a twining honeysuckle to replace the dead grape vines, and a variegated dogwood in front of the South facing front windows. – behind day lilies and iris etc. I want year ’round visual interest. It seems to me another privacy screen plant would be a good idea,  but not today.

Next on my list is to procure chilled beverages and rebuild the side fence. Now that the steps are in (I did it! I got tired of waiting for other people’s schedules to clear and took matters into my own hands. I did it, all by myself.)  The steps  are level and to code but still require a railing. Designing the stone/brick foot path into the garden is an interesting process and will be fun – later.

Then the process of prepping for my “crazy woman clearing out the studio” sale begins. We’ll have an early bird reception Thursday, 3 p,m and the Public sale  Saturday. 8-3.

If you are in the Billings MT area, drop a note for the address and please, spread the word. All this stuff has to go so I can gut my studio, finally!


I hope you are having beach time but protecting your skin., that you are making stuff and doing well.


what the river shares

June 16th, 2012

Photos, few words, maybe more later.

    On Thursday and Friday, Beau and I did not walk the Island. We walked alone, down river to see how things had changed since last year’s record high water.


Here are two views of a massive cottonwood, brought downstream from who knows where – someplace between Billings and Yellowstone Park. The lines in the wood reflect the lines the river leaves behind in sand and silt.






Here’s another Magpie photo from our walking buddy, Mike. Last night Beau and I visited Mike’s first exhibit of paintings. Vibrant color, rich texture, all evoking the mood of walking the Island in the morning. This was Beau’s first art opening. he conducted himself well.