Wreath Meister

I believe the best way to decorate for Christmas (and for anything and everything else, too), is to go out into my habitat and simply collect what catches my eye.  To open my gaze to the sleepy, delicate textures of wintering plants.  To pick them carefully, one by one.  To bring those things home and translate them into cohesive beauty.  All it costs me is some of my time and the glory of elevated senses as I hunt for the bits and pieces I need to create.

This is my high desert wreath for the year, made from plants and brambles and brush I collected on the walk down to the river from the farm.  I found the sheds here, too, last winter while running the rim rock on the mesa.  To bring my outdoor home into my indoor nest is one of my greatest pleasures in life.

NOW CLOSED :: Christmas Offering :: A Thank You

Thank you all for dropping your names in the hat for this giveaway — your comments were really and truly heartwarming…a marvelous way to end 2015 and push me forward into 2016 in the studio.

The winner is:
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Congratulations, Melissa!

Happy New Year, everyone!


7I9A8088 7I9A8098 7I9A8100 7I9A8121Moonstone, chrysoprase, glass, pyrite, turquoise, silk and my “Bend and Not Break” motif in sterling silver makes for a simple, festive thank you for your support in 2015.  And this small thing I have to give away is so inadequate!  Your support puts diesel and gas in our trucks, pays our mortgage (or now, our rent), helps pay for further refurbishing work on our Airstream (our summer home), buys our groceries, covers our health bills, teeth cleanings, eye exams, vet bills and perhaps most importantly of all, it puts kibble in the dog and cat food dishes.  When you choose to support me as an independent artist, you support my family.  We are nothing without you.  You hold us up.

I thank you, we thank you, with all our hearts.

I hope to continue to serve you as best as I can with cameras, words and metal in 2016.

In the meanwhile, if you’d like a chance to win this necklace, please simply leave me a comment in the comment section of this post so I’ll know you were here.  I’ll draw a winning name sometime after Christmas.


I am giving away a second necklace through my Instagram account.  Head on over to double your chances.

Have a beautiful, restful, meaningful Christmas holiday, dear ones.


Jillian, et al.

7I9A80817I9A8016[The tree this year is a vision, wild and sublime, featuring a mule deer rack as a topper, a simple festooning of pheasant tail feathers and elevated by a couple of feet on a huge cottonwood round — I cannot even express how merry it makes this little strawbale house of ours.  We are blessed, we are warm and joyful of soul, we celebrate with every cell of our beings, the birth of the Savior.]

Belated Good and Merry


Well!  A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from us to you!  Life whisked us off to the strawbale house before I could prepare any sort of holiday posts for you, then Christmas had us galloping to California and back again, then a pair of colds we picked up from our darling but virus ridden nieces and nephews had us on our knees for the better part of a week (bless their squeaky little souls).

  Lastly, I started skiing and the rest is history, as they say!

We hope you spent the holidays with your beloved friends and family, that you were aware of the magic of the season and that you felt the full and glorious peace of God in your hearts despite the chaos reported in the news both in the wide world and here at home in the USA.  It’s a funny thing to feel troubled and outraged by world events while sitting tucked away safe in a little house on a beautiful river in a quiet desert with nothing but a man, dogs and books to keep company with.  Life always seems to be a clash of the senses, a cacophony of emotions, discordantly melodic in the best of times.

I thought of you much, over Christmas, and held you uplifted in my heart (and continue to).  I hope you felt it, over the distance between us.

I haven’t really had a moment to dream up any resolutions for the year however, I do plan on printing off Susannah Conway’s end of year/start of year paper thingy again.  I filled out most of this workbook last year and found it an enriching experience.  It helped me to roughly plan out my year and make a handful of goals (some of which I met, some of which are CONTINUING goals).  I’ll be doing the 2015 workbook a little late this year but better late than never!  I encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already done something like it.

And finally, to loosely tally 2014 for you:

Mason jars home canned and put up in the pantry (jams, pickles, marina sauce, whole plums, relishes, etc.): 172

Flat tires on trucks: 2

Antelope harvested: 1

Tea roses planted: 4

Pellet stoves installed in the studio: 1

Pairs of spring green clogs purchased: 1

Rafting trips:  8

19 inch cutthroat caught on the fly on the south fork of the Snake River: 1

Companies employed by as a freelance photographer: 11

Escargot consumed: 0

Trips to California: 2

Trips to Saskatchewan: 2

Magpie chicks in the nest in the Austrian pine:  3

Peaches produced by the peach tree:  4

Pairs of cross country skis brought home from ski swap:  2

Desert bighorn sheep spotted: 5

Badger hole investigated: 1

Cavities filled: 1 (tiny little bugger)

Gyms joined: 0

IMG_9280Come on, come on 2015.  Bring the light.  Bring the dark.  We’ll weather your storms and bask in your sunshine.

To Hug A Doug And Other Things

I was out on the land this afternoon, decompressing, wading through the spring creeks, shuffling through the snows, relaxing in the aspen groves, sidling up side hills, snaggling my wool tights on sagebrush, hugging on my very favorite Douglas fir tree.  It was just what I needed.  When I rolled back down the mountain into town, I felt restored, less tired, re-young.  Are you ready for Christmas now?  I’m never ready for Christmas.  Perhaps this is one of the secret themes of Christmas — unreadiness.  Unreadiness but willingness.  Unreadiness and willingness and perhaps miracles too — if you still believe in miracles and the impossible, that is.  I’m like a child that way.  I always believe in the impossible.  Miracles, too.  Sometimes everything comes true.

I bet you are huddled up under a quilt on your couch in the living room, sniffing the swirling scent of your Christmas tree (douglas fir?  balsam fir?  pine?), sipping egg nog or an herbal tea or a fine glass of merlot, knitting, thinking about the winding down of another year of life, thinking about the crazy things going on in our world, thinking about the beautiful things going on in our world, thinking about the steady battle between darkness and light that takes place constantly around us on so many different levels.  Thinking about grace, mercy, love, hope and joy!  Wondering if you’re going to have to shovel the sidewalk in the morning.  Wondering if your flight is going to be canceled.  Wondering if you’re going to have to spend the night in a cheap hotel in Reno, Nevada (…oops…that’s what I’m wondering…darn that Donner Pass over the Sierra Nevada…).  Daydreaming about what is to come, what has now passed, where you are headed, where you are coming from.  Maybe you’re reading a beautiful book.  Maybe you’re rubbing the belly of a cat.  What a beautiful night it is, right?  These Christmas nights.  They’re all a twinkle.  I think I have a tiny, tapered candle lit in my very soul…