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It’s been four months since my last blog post. As many of you know the day after my last post, my mother had a massive stroke and I rushed to California on the first flight I could get. During her decline at a particularly difficult moment of miscommunication I said to her, “Mom, I don’t understand what you are trying to tell me, I don’t know what you want.” She responded with, “I’m trying to change your personality!!!!” Now at this point I’m thinking, good luck with that because I have been trying to change it for years without any luck! But the truth is, when I look back at the person I used to be, I have indeed changed my personality quite a bit. I am much more confident in who I am. I have more patience and understanding than I used to. I’m less concerned about what people think about me and I’m more interested in what I think about them. I want to be the “somebody” like in this photo-quote from hplyrikz.com.

besomebody_hplyrkzThis might come as a big surprise to some of you but I’m not a naturally optimistic person. (For those of you that really know me…. Not so much of a surprise huh?) “They” say that optimists live longer than the rest of us as if it’s simply a matter of waking up on the right side of the bed. But as any Pollyanna wanna-be like me knows, sometimes it’s hard to look on the sunny side with rose colored glasses! Some of us need a little help. That is the reason I make art. I want to make things that inspire people to remember that life is good and that there is hope. I want to make jewelry and artwork that is a tangible reminder that there is someone that believes in you and is sending good thoughts and prayers. Here is one that I made for my sister to act as a reminder that I love her. She is facing a tough fight with breast cancer but I am rooting for her and want her to “Rise like a phoenix from the ashes.”

Phoenix Rising

Phoenix Rising

My mom and best friend passed away. I was fortunate that my sister and I were by her side when she crossed over. I am grateful for the time I was able to spend with her while she was still lucid enough to understand and talk with me. I am also grateful that the time she was in pain and her mind was confused was short. I am so incredibly blessed to have kind, caring, wonderful friends and students, all of whom wished me well and didn’t complain about me taking off for our summer hiatus six weeks early. I have expressed many times that I think my students are a great group of friendly, talented, artists but the kindness that was showered on me in calls, texts and emails was amazing. My friends from Kaitlin’s Creative Cottage held space for me and flooded me with love. The Southern Arizona Alchemists showed me immense support. My California friends came through for me with such compassion and care. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you for being there for me! You have showed me by example the type of person my mother would be proud to change my personality into. Even in grief…. I’m going with happy!

"I'm Going with Happy!"

“I’m Going with Happy!”

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2016. All rights reserved.

They say, (whoever they are….) that jewelers are just pyromaniacs with a purpose! In some small way, that kind of describes me okay, it totally describes me. Like all hopeless romantics, I love to watch a good fire, crackling in the fire pit, on a cool evening. And I love the way that metal looks when it’s all molten and shiny. But, that’s not what’s been happening around here…. I’ve been in the kitchen, and I’ve been BURNING IT UP BIG TIME!

Now, before you get the wrong idea let me explain. When I was a teenager, my parents had some house guests over, and me, being me, catered the entire meal. One of the guests commented,”That girl can burn some food!” I thought it was an insult and btw, I had not burned a single thing. It turned out that it was a major compliment. So when I say that I’ve been burning it up, it means I’ve been busy cooking, or in this case, baking, and for an excellent cause.

Just a sample of what's in my freezer so far....

Just a sample of what’s in my freezer so far….

I’m participating with the Many Hands Artist, in the NO KID HUNGRY/Share Our Strength national bake sale to help end childhood hunger in America. It makes me so sad, that in a country as rich and generous as ours, that children go to school, and to bed at night hungry. That children dig in the trash at school to retrieve lunch bags that other children have thrown away when no one is looking. I want to do something to help and I’m asking you, if you are able, to join me at the Many Hands Courtyard, at 3054 N. First Avenue, Tucson AZ 85719 on April 16 from 11 AM- 4 PM for our Bake Sale. If you can’t make it to the sale, please consider making a tax deducible, donation on our No Kid Hungry bake sale page by clicking here!  Thank you in advance for your support 😀  ~Marnie

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2016. All rights reserved.

My students are so amazing! I wanted to introduce some of them on my blog today and show you some of the fabulous pieces of jewelry they have been creating in my classes, Addicted to Metal Clay at Blue Raven Art school and Fun, Fast and Fabulous Metal Clay at Tucson stained glass. We have a lot of fun, and their designs just keep getting better and better too! These are just a few of my regular students and I hope to have more students and their work for you to see from time to time…
Dotty is busy making coils!

Dotty is busy making coils!

Dotty's gorgeous, coiled, seahorse piece!

Dotty’s gorgeous, coiled, seahorse piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda is always a delight to have in the Tuesday morning Addicted to metal clay class!

Linda is always a delight to have in the Tuesday morning Addicted to metal clay class!

One of Linda's first pieces and she also did the lapidary on the stone.

One of Linda’s first pieces and she also did the lapidary on the stone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at the fabulous piece Tanya has around her neck that she made in class!

Look at the fabulous piece Tanya has around her neck that she made in class!

Kimmie

Kimmie enjoys the Saturday classes at Tucson stained glass.

Kimmie's work in progress.

Kimmie’s work in progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why not join us for a class if you live in Tucson or I can always come to teach in your vicinity.

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2016. All rights reserved.

 

Do you ever wake up, look in the mirror and think…. oh boy, do I need a make-over? I think that just about every day, but I’m not talking about the vision (let’s not get into what kind of vision) I see in the mirror. I’m talking about my business vision. My web site, this blog, social media, because let me face the truth, I’m just not that “social” on social media! I met with my master mind group earlier this week for dinner at Macaroni Grill (YUM… I’m there for the food and I’m not quite sure why they even let me in a “master mind” group) and we were talking about our goals for the upcoming month and year. Then we started talking about our social media results. Naturally, mine were quite dismal considering how anti-social (media) I am! I just want to live my life, make jewelry, and other cool stuff that inspires me and others, hang out with my friends, teach other people to make jewelry,  and have fun….IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? Apparently, in the adult world it is, go figure, so I’ve decided to put on my big girl panties and give Good Muse Designs a complete make over!

I want this plaque from Zulily! It's sold out but click this pic for other cool ones they sell!

I want this plaque from Zulily! It’s sold out but click this pic for other cool ones they sell!

I bought a web site building program on September 20, 2014, yes 2014, a year ago, and I still have no new web site. Let’s not even get into the fact that I’ve been wanting an update for several years now.

I already have a new logos designed by Lynne East-Itkin. Thank you Lynne! I just love that little spark of creativity she put at the end of the “M”.

GoodMusepinklogomarnieisMusepink

I thinks it’s time for the muse of Good Muse Designs to get serious so I’m calling in my friends and allies (this is the part that where you come in) to keep me accountable. My plan is to have my web site make-over done and published by my birthday, October 30…the day before Halloween… (no gifts please unless it’s really good chocolate 😉 ) and to post my progress as I go along, so that you all can cheer me on…or laugh behind my back, you know which category you fall into… but I love you all!

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2015. All rights reserved.

If I had know how easy rock hounding in Arizona is I would have done it a lot sooner. I actually remember it being much more difficult when I tried it in California, at 20 years old! My metal clay class took a field trip with a couple of really experienced rock hounds last week and we came back with some really fun treasures!

Serious Rock Hounds!

We started out with a tour of the lapidary facility, at the oh so early hour of 5:00 AM  to avoid the heat of the day 11:00 AM because I’m not a morning person. Next we choked down high carb trail mix from the army surplus store that tasted like cardboard, to make sure we had plenty energy. Then Judy prepared a scrumptious, homemade lunch of quiche, veggies, and ice cream sundaes and homemade toppings for dessert! (There is nothing better than ice cream with home made hot fudge while enjoying the view of a well landscaped yard and a mountain view in the background.)  Then we headed out for some serious hiking and digging and excavating…We even had some heavy equipment!

Oh yeah, Tonka means business!

Oh yeah, We mean business!

The hard work was worth the reward!

When you go with the pros the rewards are sweet... and already sliced!

When you go with the pros the rewards are sweet… and already sliced!

IMG_3454B

Many geologist have had the privilege of rock hounding with Judy and Bill but they couldn’t have enjoyed the hospitality and generosity more than the Addicted to Metal Clay, Tuesday morning class. Thank you Judy and Bill for having us to your home, garden and workshops and gemstone quarry. You Rock!!!

FullSizeRender2C

FullSizeRenderC

My yard looks better already…. Amazing what a couple of well placed landscape rocks will do!

*Note the strike-through sections are what I remember from my rock hounding days of old 😉

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2015. All rights reserved.

It’s hard to believe I can find inspiration in this mess! There are a few sketches on my bulletin board.

People often ask me if I design my pieces before I make them or do  I design as I work. I apply both methods, but more often than not a have some sort of sketch that I work from. They are usually just doodles that I make for myself rather than precise drawings. Some times ideas pop into my mind and I quickly put them on a napkin, paper bag, Post-it note or whatever else I can find, before they just as quickly pop back out of my mind!

I don’t worry if I am relieved when the finished piece doesn’t look like the drawing…

 

 

 

This looks like a 3rd grader did it and I don’t even care ;)

Front of Amada Daniel's graduation pendant

Front of Amada Daniel’s graduation pendant

and the back... Perfect for a soon to be Marine biologist!

and the back… Perfect for a soon to be Marine biologist!

 

 

My sister Brenda is the artist in our family. (Check out some of her artwork.) It is because of her that I started making jewelry. She was taking a jewelry class in college that was going to be cancelled due to low enrollment. The teacher asked me to sign up.

I really didn’t  want to sign up because it was a college ART class and I wasn’t good at art…. (Yeah, obviously you can tell from the sketches, that I still can’t draw very well.) but I didn’t want them to have to cancel. To my surprise, jewelry making was really fun! So after years of practice and help from a lot of really talented teachers, I can make jewelry! I don’t know if it was fate, luck, just being in the right place at the right time, or perhaps even divine intervention, but I’m really glad that I took that first class!

I was sketching as the lady that ordered the charm was telling me what she wanted.... No I certainly didn't show it to her!

 

 

Take a look at a few of these sketches and judge the drawing talent for yourself! I was doing the scarecrow charm “artwork” as a customer  was telling me what she wanted on the phone…. No, I certainly did NOT show it to her!

marnie-ehlers-scarecrow.charm

I love to doodle!

I love to doodle!

marnie-ehlers.butterflygarden

Below are pictures of a belt buckle I made for my Dad in 1986 when we lived in Spokane Washington. The sketch came out pretty good on this one but as you can see, there are some changes when it got to the proto type. I had to take a black and white picture to a print maker to have to prototype done. From the prototype I made a vulcanized rubber mold and then cast it in sterling silver. All this was done by hand, before I ever even thought about a computer! Times have changed and so have I. I used to worry about every detail and beat myself up for real and imagined flaws and inadequacies. (Okay I admit it, sometimes I still berate myself, but I try to tell Mary, Mary Quite Contrary to zip it!) The perfectionist inside of me didn’t strive for excellence because I wanted to improve my craft, the perfectionist was driven by the fear of being judged and not measuring up. Now I don’t worry as much about what I can and can’t do. I don’t worry if there are people out there that are better at art, more talented at making jewelry, can write a better blog post (and actually get it published once a week) or market their art like a  pro.

I love my Dad!

I love my Dad!

 

My goals now are to make fun art with my friends, make art jewelry that people enjoy wearing, and to teach and inspire other people to have fun making jewelry too!

 

 

 

 

 

This is the prototype. Dad has the Silver belt buckle.

This is the prototype. Dad has the Silver belt buckle.

 

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2015. All rights reserved.

Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens

When people in Tucson think “March Madness” they are usually thinking about college basketball. The University of AZ has a good chance of going all the way and winning big this year….Yeah!!!! Go Wildcats!!!!

No, I’m not being sarcastic…yet 😉

I’m talking about a whole different kind of March madness, and an entirely different take on spring fling, spring fever, and there’s spring in my step! When I say March madness, I’m referring to the area in my yard that extends past the patio and (trust me) the weeds take on a number of “little shop of horrors” attributes. This ensures that I will be madder than a hornet, contemplating just how I am going to make my yard look like the one that I envision in my mind. I picture something like this one from Better Homes and Gardens.

lilshop weed2What I have in my yard is BIG, GIANT, FULL-OF-THORNS, WEEDS (shown actual size) that when stepped on, put a spring in my step, and when in full bloom, are guaranteed to bring on spring hay fever! Just try to pull them up by the roots and do the spring fling into the garbage pail….. I’ve tired it and I ended up with a garden glove full of stickers and dirt in my hair!

lilshop weed1

Look at the color on these weeds… and check out what this color inspired!

 

Patina inspired by weeds!

Patina inspired by weeds!

 

Let me get in here and help ya out Mama!

Let me get in here and help ya out Mama!

 

rosie and rocks

Amazing Rosie in the maze

But what my new snoodle puppy Rosie-Posey says is, “It’s spring! Look at the flowers! If you look at them closely enough even the weeds look pretty….. and take a look at this round rock thing….it’s AMAZING!” (I know, I know, don’t take it as proof positive, that your sorry attempt at yard décor is fabulous, just because your dog thinks so.)

white weed close up!

white weed close up!

Rosie and I love to spend time in the yard….. we ignore the weeds we can’t conquer…the ones that are imbedded in the hard, dry, Arizona dirt. In a couple of months it will be too hot out for even those weeds. We enjoy the mild temperatures and the sunshine while we can.

 

We love Bees!

We love Bees!

 

 

 

 

 

And my little snoodle reminds me that we have a couple of upstart plants that bring the bees and butterflies and bright color to the yard and that it’s good to take a break and stop to smell the flowers. Getting out in nature is inspiring!

Desert blooms

Desert blooms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2015. All rights reserved.

One project started and only 738 left to go!

One project started and only 738 left to go!

 

 

 

Almost every Sunday night, after my sweetie goes to bed (he gets up really early for work so, early to bed, early to rise…..) I get on the computer and pour through Pinterest! I have to limit myself to Sunday nights because otherwise I get on this site and I can’t get off….literally, hours go by before I realize that half the day is gone!

I have dozen’s of boards, one for “Projects to try” when I get some free time…hey, it could happen, and I have actually even started a bottle cap wind chime! I do it while watching movies with my sweetie, this way I feel like I am doing something constructive while we waste time.

(Please don’t start sending bottle caps, I have enough for about 6 wind chimes already and making all those holes in them takes a surprising amount of time!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a board for “Yummy Recipes” to try like the Guinness cupcakes for St. Patrick’s day. I’m taking them to Kaitlin’s Creative Cottage tomorrow. ( Here is the recipe link for Yummy!)

ss_carbombcupcakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a board for “Oooh I like this” and one for “Yard Art.” I have dozens of ideas for my new craft room on my board “Crafty room ideas.” The cool peg board came from 36th Ave.

Can you believe my Sweetheart actually asked me what I needed pegboard for?

Can you believe my Sweetie actually asked me what I needed pegboard for?

But my favorite board for now is “Mermaid Party!” Why? because the Creativity Chix are having a Mermaid Party in May! Stay tuned for more information! I found loads of great mermaid party ideas at Living well, spending less!

dac04bcfc13ec60263d615a32dadf7fa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing you will find missing from this list………….

My Good Muse Designs pinterest page…..why, I haven’t decided what to put on it yet but I’m open to suggestions!

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2015. All rights reserved.

The Creativity Chix are ready to fly!

The Creativity Chix are ready to fly!

 

We’re flying high……And you can join us!

We’ve talked about it for hours, and hours, and hours, we’ve planned, we’ve organized, and finally my friend and co-founder instigator, Kaitlin Meadows of Kaitlin’s Creative Cottage  and I are launching Creativity Chix!

Creativity Chix are a group of fun-loving, happy, “Chix” that meet for artist adventures, crafting, volunteer events, and retreats. And that’s just the start of what we have planned!

Are you ready to join us for our first outing at Krikawa Gallery at 21 East Congress, Tucson, AZ and then Lunch at Café a la C’Art? Hurry and RSVP because space is limited!

*** If you subscribe by email please don’t hit reply…. the reply email doesn’t come to me. RSVP to goodmusedesigns@aol.com

 

 

 

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2014. All rights reserved.

Be your own muse!

Be your own muse!

She is a dreamer, a hopeful romantic, a child at heart. My muse is a creature of constant delight that playfully entices me to have fun and come out to play. Why don’t I listen to her more often? Why do I allow myself to be bogged down with earthly tasks, the never ending to-do list, and other people’s agendas? What would happen if I ditched the mundane in favor of the extraordinary?

December is the month that I get reflective and start trying to analyze my life (boy that’s a scary thing.) I know I’m not the only one that does this… I suppose it’s human nature. So I make lists (with the help of business gurus and online list making tools, ugh!)

Accomplishments- not enough

Achievements- too few

Wasn’t this the year that was supposed to be successful and just what constitutes success anyway? A business mentor asks me “what would success look like to you?” I have no answer but my muse says, “Success shmukcess, Analyze This—> Go out and play!” I think I’ll take her advice 😉

 

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2014. All rights reserved.