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The topic for March’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: what are some of your favorite quotes? We’ve covered this topic before, however, it’s worthy of a revisit. As a result, I have new favorites. Here they are:

“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”  – Zig Ziglar

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
– Napoleon Hill

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
– Pablo Picasso

“Follow effective actions with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
– Peter Drucker

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
– Oscar Wilde

And one last one from Zig….love this because I heard him say it during a speaking engagement.  Talk about resonating!

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”– Zig Ziglar

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have shared on this topic

Andes Cruz
marie bell

Until next time, I aspire to be a better artist and person.



January’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere think tank is, “What has had an impact on me lately?” It was this quote from Steve Martin, shared by a Facebook friend and social media guru, John Paul Aguilar.  It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I have this quote in a number of places so I can see it every day.

Why did this resonate with me? Well, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced being snubbed. In the art world, where I think I can feel a bit more vulnerable, it has happened. Generally, I find this type of behavior, to make someone else feel less than adequate, tends to come from shallow, insecure individuals. I just do my best to brush off the negative feelings I experience, as they serve no purpose.

When I saw this quote, it made me smile in its wisdom and simplicity. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Yes! That’s it.

Thank you Steve for saying this. Thank you John for sharing. May this have the same positive influence on you that it has had on me.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have to share on this month’s topic.

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person….oh yes, I am going to be so good, I cannot be ignored.


December’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is: What I am Looking forward to?

Where do I begin?

The holidays for sure. I get to spend some quality time with Dan, our bassets and my studio! We are going to enjoy a break from our day jobs and have a stay-cation. I just love being home. Projects to finish and begin. Snuggle time with the bassets. Date days/nights with Dan. Perfection.

In 2016, many things are coming to light. I’m looking forward to my first exhibition with fellow artist, Jo Gaston, who is a very talented oil painter. We are collaborating on a joint show that will start in May at Commonwheel Artists Coop in Manitou Springs. The theme will be botanical. My focus will be with my Chasing and Repousse works.

I look forward to what life has in store. The possibilities. Sometimes it just boggles my imagination to think about what the future may hold. It’s exciting. It has also taught me to keep myself as firmly rooted as I can in the present, for the present moment is truly all we really have. Enjoy life at this very moment in time.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to share on this topic!

Andes Cruz

marie bell

Beth Cyr

Diana Bell

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.


Obviously this is the perfect topic for November’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank members to write about.

I am thankful for so many things, it is hard to know where to begin and where to stop.

I have immense gratitude for:

My husband Dan


Our love, friendship, understanding, support and so much more

Our basset hounds


The God given gift to be an artist


My studio space


People who enjoy my work and become collectors


My day job


My intellect, sense of humor, stubbornness, determination and all those qualities that make me me.


Being creative and a problem solver

My parents; their work ethic, their values and love






These are just a few of the things for which I am extremely grateful.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to share on this topic:

Andes Cruz


Until next time, aspire to be more as a person and artist.


“Why do I do What I do?” is the starting point for this month’s topic of the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank discussion.

Initially, this question stopped me in my tracks. How do I answer this? Then it became clear.

There is a force that is part of my personality. It drives who I am. I am compelled to be creative. I need to work with my hands because I find it fulfilling. I have done this for as long as I can remember. Whether it was coloring books and not staying inside the lines. Knitting and dropping a stitch. Sewing and needing to rip out crooked seams. Stained glass and dealing with glass fractures. Metalwork and melting bezels. With each exploration comes a fall; the proverbial scraping of the knee and then healing.

The joy of expression that I love is the creative process. Sure there are failures but that just means I am growing as an artist. If I wasn’t trying new things, I would remain stagnate and I find that unacceptable. As long as there is breath in my body, I am going to be making things, experimenting, learning and yes, growing.

Each of us are born with gifts; a particular talent or talents unique to who we are. I know this to be true. As I was meditating and reflecting earlier in this year, it was as if my eyes were opened and understanding grew like a sunrise in my mind. Maybe that’s where the expression “It dawned on me” came from….a glorious sunrise enveloping everything in bright warm light making the obscure visible. I finally knew and understood that I was given the gift to be an artist and express my interpretation of God’s creations.

Those who know my work, know I am drawn to trees. They are my muses. For years I attempted to interpret their unique beauty. Now I have found a niche through my Treescape and Botanical series to express my love of them.


Dendritic Opal Pendant Set in Sterling Silver from Treescapes


Aspen cuff in Sterling Silver  from Botanicals

Please let me encourage all of you to find your inner gifts. They are there. You may already be using them. Or they may be fighting to come out. Either way, living deep within you is the drive and the force to be seen and heard. They are fighting to reach the surface of your being because they are an essential part of who you are. Listen. Allow those abilities to manifest. Will there be moments of disappointment and discouragement? Yes. These are inevitable as you seek to discover your gifts. Please do not let perceived failures dissuade you from your true path. Please ignore to the inner and outer critics. Be fearless.

Know this. Joy awaits you as your inner gifts awaken and grow with your loving attention and nurturing.

Now lets see what my fellow bloggers had to share on this topic:

Andes Cruz 


Diana Bell

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

What kind of a title is that? Well, for September’s Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank writers, one of our own, Tosca Teran, came up with the suggestion to select from your favorite blog, book, or reading material, the 4th and 14th words (that aren’t “the” or “an”) and then drop them into this phrase:
“_____ is the new _____.”

So my title came from one of my favorite books, The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg.

I will say this is a very interesting writing challenge. It did take me a few passes through this book to find something that I felt would work for me. My preference is to keep things positive and uplifting. I feel this phrase, “Divine is the new Great“, does that and more.

For me the word ‘divine’ has a very positive, joyful connotation. My preference has always been to choose to be happy and find the good, even in adversity. If everyone had that goal, seeking things that are uplifting, and being that ray of sunshine in others lives, that would most definitely be the new Great.

Now lets see what my fellow Think Tankers found and wrote about:

Andes Cruz
Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

August’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank:  “How do you envision the possibilities for the future?”

My husband and I have been thinking about this with greater focus for the past couple of years. We’ve been doing a lot of research about where we would like to live, because as my husband puts it, “Retirement opens a whole new world of opportunity”. Why not consider relocating?

As I have thought about the future, my future, our future, these are some of my expectations, hopes, wishes, goals and more.

Where ever we choose to live, I want to get up every morning and enjoy some form of exercise. Whether that’s walks with the dogs, workouts in the privacy of our home or refreshing swims. It’s important to me to keep active. It clears my mind, releases those lovely little endorphins and keeps the blood circulating.


I want to be more involved as an artist. Work in my studio every day. Get together with fellow artists. Be part of the local art community. Continue to find new venues for my work. Being creative is essential to how I want to live.

Location, location, location. Where will we live? We’ve been exploring the NW. Washington state has an appeal for all its beauty, proximity to the ocean, mountains, wildlife, hiking, photographic opportunity and artist community. We love living in Colorado. It has much of the same appeal as Washington state does, yet the winters in Colorado can be more cold with more snow. We are still undecided on this topic and fortunately, we still have plenty of time to make decisions.

It’s my opinion that you have to prepare for the future you want. That doesn’t mean that you need to become obsessed with it in terms of the “I’ll be happy when…” syndrome. It just means that there needs to be some awareness of where you want to be and what you want to do as you make decisions in the present. Those present day decisions will have an affect on your future.

I can say I am looking forward to what the future may hold and trust that it will be good.

Let’s see what my fellow bloggers had to say about their anticipated futures:

Andes Cruz
Tosca Teran
Diana Bell

Until next time, I continue to aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

One of my happy places

June’s topic for the Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank is post ONE picture of your happy place.

This is in my studio space. My bench looks like an explosion hit because I have been in a serious creative mode. Now I could have tidied it up for this post, but that wouldn’t give you the ‘realistic’ picture, so I thought “What the heck? I’m happy in this space so I will share.”

There’s lots of natural light with a great view of our back yard. I can watch the bassets play when they aren’t keeping me company in the studio. I can pause and watch the weather. When I enter this space, I feel a calm, soothing effect; Zen moments where I can relax and be at peace. Priceless.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers have posted on this fun topic.

Andes Cruz
Beth Cyr
Allegra Sleep

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person

The view above my bench.
Center Photo of a door in Tuscany by Susie Rieple

It’s December and what a perfect time for this question, posed by our Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank founder, Andes Cruz.  “What was the best gift I’ve ever gotten and why?”

I must admit that had this question been asked a couple of weeks ago, I would have answered differently than I’m about to now.  You know, it would have been something from a Christmas long ago…perhaps that wonderful sled  when I was in grade school or a special piece of jewelry from Dan.  As great as many of my material gifts have been, I received a gift on Friday, December 7, 2012, that supersedes all of them.

The best gift I’ve ever gotten was an answer to a prayer.

Whatever your faith or belief system, I will understand if you choose not to read any further.  I am not going to stand on a soap box and preach.  No.  I am going to share, with those of you who wish to continue reading, an incredibly life changing story that just happened to me.  The reason I feel so compelled to share this is I want others to know that the worst case scenario isn’t always the one that happens.  Have faith in a positive outcome.

For the men, and maybe some of the women who follow my blog, this may not be a topic you care to read more about.  I understand that too.  It is a health issue, mainly for women, but some men are afflicted with it too.

Spoiler alert, I will tell you that all of this has a very happy ending for me.  So again, if you do not want to read any further, just know that I received great news, in answer to my prayers (and those of a few others who knew).  I am in perfect health with new doors opening for me as I write this.

If you want to find out about why I posted the picture of the view above my bench, you will need to continue reading.

This is my story about the best gift I’ve ever received.  

On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, I went in for my annual mammogram.  My mother’s sister, Mildred, died of breast cancer in the early 90’s.  Recently I’ve been told that it is the direct descendant linkage to breast cancer that is a bigger concern than that of a maternal or paternal aunt.  You see, I had always been compared to Mildred as I grew.  There were times when my mom said I walked and talked like her. Because I was so similar to her, I felt like that breast cancer cloud was hanging over my head.  My mom reassured me, doctors too, that my chances were almost nil because my mother never had it and neither did either of my grandmothers.  So every year, I dutifully schedule my appointment for the ‘mash‘ as I view it.  At the end of my appointment, the tech, who has done my films for most years, smiled and said,  “Everything looks beautiful!” as she always did.  Out the door I went, but I had a nagging concern because I thought I saw something.

Two days later, Thursday, November 29, 2012, I got the call.  Yep, that one we never want, the one where we are told “Don’t worry if you get a follow-up call, it just means they need a closer look, as something has changed since your last exam”.  Right.  Breathe.  Research.  What if?  The calm, pleasant voice on the other end of the phone said my films showed an abnormality and more films were needed.  Ok.  My heart is pounding.  My inner voice is screaming “Noooooooooo, this can’t be happening”.  And then, thankfully, my centering inner voice said, let’s just wait and see what the next set of films show.

Well, the earliest a follow-up appointment that could be scheduled was for the following Friday, December 7th at 10:25 AM.  Over a week.  I had to live with this uncertainty for over a week!  Lots of deep breaths.  Many conversations with Dan.  All the thoughts.  I have to live normally for the next 8 days, get through a Holiday Weekend Show, smile, engage, continue my routine.  Dan was with me while I listened to the pleasant voice on the other end of the phone.  He saw my notes.  I hung up and we looked into each others eyes.  A loving smile was exchanged between the two of us.  The unspoken communication followed by the verbal affirmation that we would get through this together.  It could be anything, it could be nothing.  The one possibility, we would tackle it together….we would tackle any possibility together as we always have.

One of my first thoughts was my breasts do not define me.  I can live without one, if needed.  There are things that are tons worse in my mind.  I have an artist friend who has brain cancer.  I have a friend who has lost most of his sight.  I thought to myself, the loss of one of my hands or legs or my eyes or even my physical mobility through a spinal cord injury….that would be worse.  I can live without a breast.  Whatever the outcome, I knew I would be fine.

Initially, I only shared this with one friend, Andrea, who had invited me to begin Deepak Chopra’s 21 day mediation challenge several weeks prior to this.   What a God send that was.   We went to see Dr Wayne Dyer together in October and one of his mantras is “I am perfect health”.  You can rest assured that became my mantra, along with “I am perfect breast health”.

Remarkably, as those 8 days passed, I was able to get through them with a smile on my face and thoughts about future plans Dan & I had.  I would get through all of this.  I have the love and support of a man who is my best friend and soul mate, Dan.  I couldn’t ask for more.

I found myself going through a series emotional phases; denial, calm, anger, fear, numbness, disbelief and more.

The weekend of the Holiday Market, I knew I was tired.  I managed to sleep pretty well in spite of some of those thoughts that went from the worst case scenario to the best possible outcome.  One of the artists at the event, Susie Rieple, had a photograph of a beautiful red door, partially open; it’s pictured at the beginning of this post.  She took it in Tuscany during one of their trips.  That photo spoke to me and I knew that whatever was happening, doors are opening for me.  So I bought that photograph and it hangs over my bench; an inspiration, symbolizing hope of the abundant possibilities that exist as one enters.  I told her how the photo symbolized a door opening for me and she asked what I thought it was.  I told her I didn’t know yet, as I truly didn’t at that time.

The day before the followup appointment, another dear friend from Iowa, Carol, sent me an email.  We were brought together years ago, and I consider her my sister.  I helped her when her dad was dying from cancer and she helped me after my parents died.  We’ve always been there for each other through many things.  Initially, I didn’t want to tell her about what was going on with me because I didn’t want her to worry.  Her sister had died of breast cancer.  Their was a history of cancer in her family.  But I knew she would pray for me and help me no matter what.  So Carol is the only other person, besides my friend Andrea, that I shared this news with, knowing I would have my answer the next day on Friday the 7th.  Dan and I felt it would be best not to tell more people and have them worry.  Now that’s wisdom.

The day arrived.  Dan & I went for our morning swim.  Each day we had worked out in our normal fashion, each day I found myself wondering how restricted my activities might be if I had to go through a recovery period.  Swimming was my healing time, positive thoughts and mantras going through my head as I swam.  Dan accompanied me for this appointment.  The ride to the downtown facility was mixed with some laughter, some silence, a few tears in my eyes as that most evil of all emotions, fear, tried to creep into my thoughts.

The breast care center is located on the third floor of a building I had been in numerous times before.  I reached for the doorknob to the office, it felt like time froze, I took a deep breath and thought, I’ll know….one way or the other, today I get the news.  That morning I had told Dan I’m too busy for this.  We were planning a trip back to Zion National Park.  I told myself, this time, I’m climbing up to Angels Landing.  I had a new gallery for my work.  There’s the prospect of a basset puppy in our future.  Thoughts rolling through my mind as I looked at that door handle, thinking, this is it, let’s find out and deal with it.

I checked in and registered.  The TV was droning on in the background, some woman’s talk show with Kathy Lee Gifford and someone else.  Meaningless babble in my mind.  Life is too important to waste it on such dribble.  I pulled out my phone and listen to The Moses’ Code Mediation as I waited.  I held Dan’s hand and tried to hold back tears.  I keep telling myself, you don’t know, you don’t know…wait to find out and then deal with it.

Lucinda called my name and off we went to what I refer to as the pancake machine.  She had been the tech who had taken my films the week prior.  She knew where my nerves and head were.  She’s a wonderful person.  Lucinda shared that last year was the first time she had been called back for a followup like this.  She knew how hard the last week had been, with all the attempts to not worry because this can happen and be nothing.  The more we talked, the more I relaxed.  She said sometimes as the tissue is compressed, it isn’t compressed in the same way as a prior year and that can cause fibers  to cross, producing phantoms.  That’s what had happened with her and in the end, nothing was wrong for her.  I told her what I thought I had seen.  She said, no, that’s  not it…what I saw was my normal fibers.  Then she showed me the spot.  It was like a speck of dust, so close to my chest wall I thought there’s no way I could have ever found something like that with self exams!

We proceeded.  This time, retaking the normal set of films plus two extras that zero in on the area in question.  I told her Dan had come along as moral support.  She said she would bring him into the room while the radiologist reviewed the new films.  She also assured me that I didn’t need to worry if the radiologist wanted to have more films taken as they were wanting to make this go away and it may mean more x-rays.  I told her that was no problem.

Let me just state that I am married to one of the most heroic, brave men in the world.  I love him with all my heart.  To see his smiling face when she brought him back to wait with me and listen to Lucinda’s explanation to him about what was happening….now that’s priceless!  As we waited, we talked, and it was the most relaxed I had been all week.  We were optimistic.

Lucinda came back.  We need more detail.  That spec was so close to my chest wall I was going to have to stand on my tip toes and the pancake maker was going to have to press even harder.  I can do anything when I have to.  Know it.  Believe it.  Round two for the day.  Success.  Off Lucinda went.  Minutes passed.  Dan & I exchanging glances and smiles.  Laughing a bit.  Relaxing a bit more.  The door opens, it was the radiologist followed by Lucinda.  I think my eyes got as wide as saucers when I looked at him! I could tell he saw my reaction and he knew he needed to clear the air right away.  “The first thing I want to tell you is it is good news!”  he said.  I’m beaming, laughing.  I felt like Scrooge did the morning after he woke up from the night of being visited by the three spirits.  Pure joy.  Immense gratitude.  I never thought I could feel that kind of deep, spiritual gratitude.  It’s amazing.

The radiologist explained everything.  There was no doubt in his mind that my tissues were healthy and clear.  Pure music to my ears and Dan’s.  We beamed at each other.  I hugged Lucinda.  I’ll see her again next year.  I was free to go.

Dan & I hugged and kissed in the hallway outside the breast health offices.  Elation doesn’t even begin to sum it up.  I texted my two friends, Andrea and Carol, that knew what I was facing.  Carol was the first to respond with joy & relief.  I caught up with Andrea when I we returned to the office;  she knew by my smile all was good and we hugged with happiness.

I am here to tell you that material things are very nice, but they pale in comparison to answered prayers.  Believe.

I wanted to share this because I want to give others hope.  When you receive news, it may be the worst, it may not.  Wait to hear, pray for the strength to handle whatever comes.

Now let’s see what my fellow bloggers posted on this topic:

Andes Cruz:
Robyn Hawk:

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.


Yes, I have loved the color purple since I was a child. Pretty much all shades in that color family.   In fact, I’m using purple colored text for this entire post.

This is just a small sampling of my purple nail polishes.

I have the only purple soldering station in the world….at least the one’s Lexi sells.  It was a custom color for me.  Thanks Lex!

Gorgeous purple stones from Tiffany Stone to Sugalite to Porcelain Jasper to Amethyst Sage and more!

One of the variations on my logo.  Even my website has a purple theme!

Purple glass!

Purple flowers.   Dan & I had 5 dozen purple roses for our wedding.

I find it a powerful color.  It is one I truly love.

Let’s see what my fellow Blog-o-Sphere Think Tank friends chose as their favorite color:

Andes Cruz:
Beth Cyr:
Natsuko Hanks:
Barbara Donovan:

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Kathleen Krucoff

Artist and Metalsmith

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