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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!)



















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!















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




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.


The answer is YES…. The Mirror Creativity Retreat was FUN, FUN, FUN. Great friends, fabulous food, a gorgeous, relaxing atmosphere and creativity….It doesn’t get better than that!

Registration at Mirror Creativity Retreat

Registration at Mirror Creativity Retreat







mirror retreat 1_R

Hmmm, What do you know about design?




mirror retreat 2

Applying the elements of design!










Redesigned Journals

Redesigned Journals

Party in the bar!

Party in the bar!

MMMM, Yummy food!

MMMM, Yummy food!












S'mores were rained out...  but oh what a storm!

S’mores were rained out…
but oh what a storm!



Can you name that lizard?

Can you name that lizard?











Very Creative Women!

Very Creative Women!

I hope you will consider joining us next year!

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

Summer Relaxation  at El Rancho Robles

Summer Relaxation
at El Rancho Robles

I’ve been conditioned to believe that there is something about summer that makes me think of vacations, fun, and endless hours to laze around and relax… the reality is that those things don’t just happen because the season changed. Come on admit it, you have been conditioned to believe it too! Where did we get this idea? Well first of all there is the “school’s out for summer” system. Every year, for years and years they let us out of prison school for months at a time! Then we were thrust into adulthood where suddenly we were expected to work all summer long, even when we know in our minds that it’s “summertime, and the livin’ is easy.” Now we long for the “sweet days of summer” and “hot summer nights!” Well my friend Doris and I have decided to do something about it! For years we have talked about doing a summer escape, beat the heat, women’s creativity retreat and it’s finally going to happen! We have joined forces to bring you the “Mirror Retreat” at the beautiful El Rancho Robles guest lodge in Oracle Arizona. This weekend get-a-way is designed to recapture the summer vacation camp-out experience…only better! Skip the tents and outdoor plumbing. Skip the planning and cooking and packing. Relax and enjoy the outdoors in style.

We believe creativity is vital to everyone for a vibrant and joyous life, so we have designed this weekend retreat to nourish and liberate your creative spirit. Creativity is a gift that each of us holds. The challenge is to awaken that gift. In our everyday world of obligations, deadlines and outside stress, creative thinking can refresh our routine, boost self confidence, increase problem solving skills and remind us of our spirit within….not to mention, it’s just plain FUN!
Escape with us to a climate that is cooler than Tucson. Immerse yourself in nature, enjoy the support and connection with other women, learn to silence your inner critic and release your creativity. At the Mirror Retreat you can:

El Rancho Robles Oracle Arizona

El Rancho Robles
Oracle Arizona

The weekend will be filled with relaxation, creative exploration, and friendship. You deserve the down time to immerse yourself in hands on, judgment free activities and pamper yourself with chef prepared meals.  For more information and to join us please check out “Mirror Retreat” on my web site. Hurry, space is limited and you’ll want to get in on this fun before “summer’s gone!”

Escape to El Rancho Robles










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

A portrait in SS metal clay

A portrait in sterling metal clay

Fired and finished metal clay portrait with patina.

Fired and finished Sterling Silver metal clay portrait with patina.

Do the minds of creative people work differently than the minds of others? I know my mind isn’t anything at all like a mathematician’s mind. I knew this at a very young age….it wasn’t that I couldn’t do the math, I just didn’t want to do it. (You may be wondering what this has to do with the interesting woman featured on the cameos. Don’t worry, I’ll eventually get to the connection.)

At age seven I was pretty sure I would never need math, so when the other children were diligently working away at addition and subtraction, I was inventing personalities for all the numbers and using them as characters for my own amusement. I have creative friends that tell me they had similar experiences as children. My friend Kaitlin is a story teller, and instead of figuring out those ridiculous math word problems, she would write elaborate stories explaining where the people on “the train going 25 miles an hour” were traveling and why “the other train was going 100 miles and hour”…. never quite bothering to solve the actual problem.

I still like to make up characters and scenario’s for my own amusement, only now I write them out in a writing circle I attend and people think I’m a jewelry artist/writer (it’s mostly because of the company I keep and not because I have actual writing skills, which is evident in this blog.) One of the women in the group, Anne, often writes stories that she calls “polaroid chronicles.” The way these stories come about is ingenious. While Anne is out and about, she sees a person that catches her eye for one reason or another and she mentally snaps a picture of them. Later she recalls that mental image and makes up a story about them.

That was the inspiration for this cameo. I was at my grand daughter, Dylah’s first birthday party at a park and I noticed this woman pushing her children on the swings. Perhaps some day I will write her story but I really wanted to do was capture her beauty and strength in metal.

So tell me, do the minds of creative people work the same way as other peoples minds? Am I an artist because I have an aptitude for it, or do I have the skills because I’ve completed the Jewelry Arts program at the California Institute of Jewelry Training, done coursework at the Revere Academy, and continue to take jewelry making classes to keep my skills honed? Would I have put in hours of practice to learn and refine those skills if I didn’t have a love of art? After all, art was always my favorite subject from the very beginning, even though I wasn’t very good at it…. I really wasn’t! While other’s in my class were making cool t-rex’s and brontosaurus’ I  made a Pterodactyl that looked like a big, brown X. Fortunately for me my artistic abilities improved and somehow, through the persistence of my teachers, I even managed to pick up some math, English and history through osmosis!


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


Ehlers 6732 ver 2_comprMarnie_Ehlers.the-cocktail-ring.compr












Boy oh boy has this been a busy month? All of the sudden I looked up from my to-do list and realized that it’s already the last week of March! YIKES! The weather is already heating up here in the “Old Pueblo” but I am happy to be able to still play outside in the garden without the worry of sunburn and complete dehydration within minutes!

I have been busy in the studio working on some new ideas that I hope to share with you soon but many of you have wondered (even though you don’t comment on here…I’ve heard through the grapevine….) What ever happened to “my precious”? Or more specifically, “Did Marnie ever finish that BIG A** ring?” I am happy to report and show you pictures of…..drum roll please……The Cocktail Ring, (Make Mine a Double!) I’m pretty pleased with the results even if it did take me two four tries to get it right. No, it doesn’t look exactly like what I had in mind when I started, and yes, it did give me fits. Actually, it had me pulling my hair out but, fortunately I have enough that the little bald patches are well hidden. But in the end this ostentatious (somebody actually said that about it, to my face, can you believe that?) ring is exactly right! I love it when a plan finally comes together.

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

LOVE Valentines day! I know it’s a commercial holiday but hey, they are all commercial holidays in this day and age, besides, what’s not to love? Chocolate, hearts, flowers, and in Tucson it’s Girl Scout cookie time! Yeah I know it’s a Pollyannav-day2014M.Ehlers view, and I know that there are lots of people out there in the world without someone special in their lives, or that have health issues or problems that can’t be fixed with a paper note, but life is like that. The dark, dark, dark, times make the good times so much sweeter and more interesting. I wish that during these times it would be easier to look ahead. I can remember the time in my life when I created the heart portion of this collage art piece. My heart was being hammered, broken, and stressed beyond what I thought I could endure.

Here’s the short story on that time: The only thing I really ever wanted to be was a mother. I grew up as my neighborhood “pied piper.” So the 12 years of infertility and ectopic pregnancies weighed heavily on my heart. When we finally decided that adoption was the path to take, that was another life lesson in endurance…. We were finally selected as birth parents and spent months taking our birth mother to appointments, planning for the arrival of a new baby, trying to not get too attached. Our birth mother made it impossible to keep our expectations in check by pushing us to decorate the baby’s room, calling us often with comments like “your baby has been very active today”, and other things like that. When the most beautiful baby I had ever seen was born we were at the hospital. We held her, and named her, and took pictures…. and fell instantly in love. We waited the few days that you have to wait to bring her home. Moments before we were out the door with our car seat buckled into the car our social worker called……… The birth mother had changed her mind the night before. I felt like someone had ripped my heart from my chest and beat it with a baseball bat.

Shortly after that we became the parents of our two boys. They came to us as a set when they were 6 and 3 1/2 years old. They also came with a set of values that were completely different than the ones we lived by. They came with distrust and attachment issues. It turned out that I wasn’t very good at being a mom but I made it through (barely!) Those were some tough years. Pollyanna had left the building planet. My rose colored glasses were missing and then found smashed under a rock in the back yard a few years later, they couldn’t be salvaged. Yes, I made it through those years…. older but wiser is the phrase that comes to mind.

So what does all this have to do with Valentine’s Day? What does it have to do with giving paper hearts and candy and flowers and jewelry? (<——shameless plug).  Valentine’s Day reminds me that there is hope, that Love is never wasted. When I see all those red heart balloons, heart shaped boxes of chocolate and cards with pink and red envelopes in the grocery stores, I remember that even bruised and battered hearts have the capacity to love. I think I’ll send my now grown up sons a valentine and let them know how much I love them, because they survived having me as a mom and believe me, it wasn’t easy!

*Here is a little Valentine’s Day love for you too. Use coupon code: ShowMeSomeLove for $10 off any jewelry or class purchase on my web site of $50 or more this month! The password is case sensitive.

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

roses-in-winter_comprYes, I know it’s easy for me to say I have roses blooming in January when I live in sunny Arizona, but I have to appreciate them when they are actually blooming! Timing is everything and all summer long this rose bush struggled. When traditional rose season was going on and all my other roses and flowers were thriving, this scraggly bush would just put out buds only to have them die on the vine. If one or two buds did manage to bloom it was spent before the day ended. I babied it, fertilized it, shaded it, kept a close eye on it and made sure it had enough water…. then I considered giving it up for another plant all together. Sometimes I feel like that about being in business for myself. The inventory, the marketing, the paperwork, doing the taxes, etc, etc, etc, can be overwhelming for the right brain part of me. (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m not even sure I have a left brain!) But when I create that one great piece, the one that I dream up from my imagination, and it comes out exactly like I want it to, or when I receive joy from a student that tells me I helped them make a piece of jewelry that they never thought they would be able to make, that’s the rewarding part of this business.

I want to encourage you to take a breath if you sometimes find that things aren’t going the way you want them to, when you want them to, remember that like the rose that is now thriving in my garden…. The effort isn’t wasted, the timing just may not be right! And by the way, this picture was taken on the Winter Solstice, December 21, 2013 and it still has all the blooms today, January 10, 2014!

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

"Floral Fantasy"

“Floral Fantasy”

You may (or may not) have noticed that I am not blogging as much as I used to. Not that I was ever setting the world on fire with this humble little blog but I was trying for once a week…. now I’m trying for once a month. Why? Well, I’ve been trying to prioritize my to-do list. No matter how much I do, the list seems to get longer, and longer, and longer. I have spent so much time doing all the things that everyone else said I should do in order to run a successful business….(you know, Face Book social networking, blogging, newsletters, shows, networking groups,,,,,the list goes on and on.) I found I had significantly less time to actually work on jewelry! I recently came upon this quote from Lou Danziger, “No matter how brilliant, talented, exceptional and wonderful the student may be, without work there is nothing but potential and talk.” Wow, I thought to myself, if even the brilliant, talented and exceptional must work to become more than ‘potential and talk’, then how much more should I be learning and doing and actually working on making my jewelry better? The saddest part of it is that I am actually so focused and happy when I am creating in my studio, and so not happy when I am only doing all the other stuff. It’s not that I don’t like being social and blogging, I do, but my priority has shifted and I am putting a plan in action to focus on my students and on becoming a better (working) student myself! So forgive if I say, I don’t want to talk about….. talk is cheap, I’m taking action! By the way, “Floral Fantasy” pictured above is a piece of my latest work.

Copyright © Mary M. Ehlers, Good Muse Designs 2013. All rights reserved.