Geronimo and Georgia O’Keefe Country

Echo Canyon just a mile north of George O'Keefe's Ghost Ranch

Echo Canyon just a mile north of George O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch — a great canyon to play my flutes or chant our Native songs…

The 2.5 hour drive from Santa Fe, New Mexico heading north on Hwy 84 to Pagosa Springs, Colorado is one of the most scenic west of the Mississippi. I am a fortunate one to experience this drive at least once a year, especially now since my son lives with his family in Santa Fe.  The way I feel about this country is like when I drive along the Chilkat River, especially  Mud Bay Road in Haines – my heart and spirit soars!   No other place does this with me like the Chilkat River area in Haines, Alaska and the Chama River area in Geronimo Country in Northern New Mexico…!

The River Chama

The River Chama — my favorite overlook where I will pull out my ukelele and play westerns like “Ghost Riders in the Sky…!”

This country just about an hour north of Santa Fe and in the Abiqui area, in modern-day is nick-named “Georgia O’Keefe Country” – though back in the 1800’s, was known as Geronimo country.  Geronimo was Apache; this is  Chiricahua Apache country.  He was born June 16, 1829 on the Chama River in this awesomely, beautiful land.  There are many books on Georgia O’Keefe, her work, the landscape, her homes and even the interior decor of the way she kept her homes.  If there were books on Geronimo that he actually wrote, I wonder what would be portrayed.

Crossing the New Mexico/Colorado border...

Crossing the New Mexico/Colorado border…

If Geronimo had an iPad or at least an iPhone to take photos of his family, his tribe, his way of life, his landscape and the way he loved, what would we see?  What would he have said regarding the U.S. Government and the wars.  If he had Facebook, what would he have shared?  What would he have written about himself?  What would others have said about him?

When driving through this country, when walking on this land, when camping along the Chama River, only my imagination fills in the frame of each “photo.”

Visit Booth #P-15 Alaska-Juneau Public Market

Grand-daughter Amelie hugs the hand-dyed, merino weft yarns hanging out to dry

Grand-daughter Amelie hugs the golden yellow, hand-dyed, merino weft yarns hanging out to dry — and of course the weft was dry when this photo was shot!

I invite you to visit my Booth ‪#‎P‬-15 at Alaska-Juneau Public Market booth during Thanksgiving weekend at Centennial Hall in Juneau, Alaska!  The booth is right across the isle from Tony Tengs “Chilkat Cones” in the main hall of Centennial Hall.  And please note:  I will be sharing the booth with Tlingit carving artist & silversmith, Israel and Sue Shotridge (

The following is an inventory of items for sale; they include (but are not limited to):

A limited supply of Chilkat weaving and spinning supplies:  Cedar bark without the sap (both whole and split), Chilkat warp, Chilkat weft yarns in golden yellow, turquoise, black and cream, spinning pads, etc.

Books for sale that I wrote, made or co-illustrated include:  “Chilkat Pattern Templates”, the “Chilkat Weavers’ Handbook”; Juneauite author Hannah Lindoff children’s book “Mary’s Wild Winter Feast” — and books that I highly recommend:  “The Intenders” by Tony Burroughs and “Go Pro – Becoming A Network Marketing Professional” by Eric Worre.

Miscellaneous items include:  my button blanket greeting cards, hand-caste paper feathers, limited edition Giclee prints, hand-sewn, beaded, felt Russian Sailor hats,  and gumboot shell earrings made by daughter Lily and sister Dee Lampe.

Come check out my latest 5-piece Chilkat woven ensemble called “Chilkat Child” which will be on display next to my daughter Lily’s 4-piece Ravenstail woven ensemble “Little Watchman.”

We’ll see you in a few weeks during the weekend of Thanksgiving at the Public Market in Juneau (Friday, Saturday and Sunday)!


Starting My Own Tree Nursery


Digging up a Juniper seedling – transplanting this very first seedling to begin a Tree Nursery !

How come I never thought of it before?  After almost 40 years of gardening and landscaping, and after owning a landscape company for 13 of those years, how come I never began a tree (and other plants) nursery?  It only makes sense!

Gotta be careful what I say; holy!  I can manifest some things totally unawares until it’s sprung before my eyes.  Spring of last year in 2013, as I stood about 15 feet in front of my studio, I decided it would be a good, natural (feng shui) barrier to have trees growing between the driveway and the front door of my studio, so I said “…it sure would be good to have a small forest right here…!” Lo and behold, exactly where I had stood, 3 aspen trees began to grow that Summer!  I kid you not!  And as if that wasn’t enough, I wanted more trees on the property, so I said:  “…in fact, we need a natural barrier of trees and shrubs on the back edge of the property, and I want trees over there and over there…!  I want this property to have a forest!”  Guess what?  Trees began to sprout all around the property, not necessarily exactly where I wanted them, but pretty dang close!  I’ve got apple trees, juniper, poplar and elm!  Sounds like a great start to a forest!


In the process of digging up a Transparent Green Lodi apple tree seedling which was growing underneath my first of two Pinon trees in the front yard…

As I planned this Fall, I transplanted all the tree seedlings temporarily into my daughter’s 3rd garden bed where the soil is still rich and moist after her last vegetable harvest.  The trees will be dormant over the Winter, but come Spring next year, I am transplanting them to their permanent homes with good soil, ample growing room and lots of water!   Because elms grow like a weed, I am planting them as a hedgerow to block out all the new homes recently built out below us in the past 20 years, however, I’ll keep the trees trimmed like a topiary of animal shapes for fun and so we can still see the fantastic view of the San Juan mountains and valley.  The poplar trees grow tall and narrow so I’ll use them on the Northwest corner of the property where the broad-span junipers will be planted.

On my morning walks, I’m going to take my favorite tool, a hand pick and a bucket to dig up seedlings along side the road.  —  Oh, it’s so exciting starting my own tree nursery!  Better late than never!

Day-trip to Mesa Verde National Park in Southwest Colorado


Our shadows inside the house walls at Mesa Verde, Colorado

Our shadows inside the house walls at Mesa Verde, Colorado

Yesterday, Dan, his parents and I took a day trip to Mesa Verde National Park in the Four Corners area of Southwest Colorado.  We had a pleasant afternoon drive with a picnic interrupted by a band of black clouds backed by cold winds at the highest point of the Mesa at about 8,700 feet.  We resumed our picnic at lower elevation in amongst the pinon and juniper trees.

The village ruins are tucked under a massive cliff...!

The village ruins are tucked under a massive cliff…!

I hadn’t been to Mesa Verda since the first time in Summer 1989 on my return move back to Alaska from spending a couple of years in New Mexico.  About 10 years ago there were many major fires that swept through the Four Corners region; Mesa Verde was not immune.  Though as we drove through the 20-mile drive up to the “Spruce Tree” ruins (which are pictured here), it was amazing how the landscape had been making a come-back; how forgiving is our Earth — the forest continued to grow regardless of the skeletal remains of the burnt trees.  Because I am a natural-born harvester, I kept thinking about how much the dead trees were just going to rot; there was so much firewood to collect!


The switch-back path leading down to the “Spruce Tree” mesa is just as interesting and well-engineered as the ancient ruins…!


A park ranger’s shadow during sunset…


A restored kiva — place of ceremony…

The Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

TheGreat Sand Dunes between Crestone and Alamosa, Colorado is 30 square miles at the base of 14,000+ peaks

I will learn to take weekends off on a regular basis from creative endeavoring work.  Weekends are a luxury for the self-employed and it’s about time I incorporate this type of luxury, (though in the next two months I have a major deadline to complete the Chilkat robe I am weaving), so I am postponing regular weekends until AFTER I deliver the robe!

Having at least one day off from work helps rejuvenate and revitalize our bodies, mind and spirit.  We need this type of “food” to nourish and support us.  It helps keep our creative juices flowing!

I appreciate a great travel partner who instigates simple great adventures and is attracted to the same subtle and not-so-subtle images, energies and beauty in nature.  Of the many places Dan and I have traveled to and through in Western North America over the past 5 years, from the American Southwestern states up through Montana, Alberta, Yukon and Southeast Alaska, the early evening day trip to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado last weekend captured my entire being.  I felt as though I were walking on holy ground, sacred ground…vulnerable yet spiritually and physically powerful.  I am happy I followed Dan’s lead to this place of mysticism and sacredness.

Patterns made by the wind

These are the highest sand dunes in North America up to 750 feet covering 30 square miles at the base of the Colorado Rockies between Crestone and Alamosa.  We arrived in mid-afternoon when the sun was lowering on the horizon for better contrast of light and dark.  I complained like a kid “…are we there yet!?” because the straight highway drive was absolutely boring, especially after driving through phenomenal scenery driving down from the Leadville area the day before!!

The Great Sand Dunes National Monument Park has excellent signs guiding visitors to respect the environment with do’s and don’ts

I yearn to return to the Sand Dunes.  I imagine just to sit and be there.  In peace.    Alas, I have other commitments and major deadlines one right after the other; I have a Chilkat robe that I have to finish weaving by June 1st, then I have to deliver it, then I have 6 classes to teach in Yukon and Alaska and I do not return back to Colorado until mid-Summer when the Sand Dunes Park will be cluttered with too many people!!! — So alas, we must wait until AFTER Labor Day weekend because we will avoid the crowds.

Dark and light waves has been imprinted in my heart and mind inspiring me to want to paint, draw, charcoal images of nothing but sand dune language!

Dan soaks up the sunset, the silence and stillness

I know Dan and I must return to this place.  Not just for an afternoon but for at least an entire week.  Camp out.  Hike. Bike.  Play flute.  Play a hand drum.  Do Tai Chi.  Take photos.  Paint.  Draw.  Sit and be still at the top of one of the 750 ft. peaks.  I have even imagined living nearby just a few miles South of the dunes, or make a yearly trek in a camper van and just hang out.  I have never been to a place that has tempered me like the way a camp fire tempers me.  I feel a large solid heart filling my entire chest and abdomen – it is obvious the spirit of the Great Sand Dunes has filled me to no end.  We shall return.  Soon.

Who would walk with their back against the sunset?

Click Here … view more photos of the Great Sand Dunes…and better yet, the next time you are in Colorado, check out the power and spirit of this magnificent place!

Love, Love, Love: Happy Valentine’s Day!

The “LOVE” Sculpture at the Scottsdale Civic Center in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona

After over a week, I finally got out of the house a few days ago and attended an outdoor concert at the Scottsdale Civic Center park.   There was this sculpture attracting kids and adults alike to hang all over it.  Isn’t that what love is like:  we just “hang in there” like it’s never gonna go outa style!?

Fishing/Berrypickin’ Labor Day Weekend In Hoonah, Alaska

Humpback whale in Hoonah harbor

After anticipations to teach a weaving class in Hoonah were postponed until next year, I figured I would not be visiting Hoonah during this Summer’s weaving tour – however, a few days before Labor Day, my friend Margie mentioned that she wanted to go to Hoonah, and without a beat I exclaimed “When?…Let’s go!”  We made acommodation arrangements with our mutual friend, Darlene and we were on!

Margaret waits at the dock

I cannot remember when I took a vacation on Labor Day weekend, or if I had ever done one in the past at all!  Golly!  After Margie and I spent the previous week picking berries and preparing them for winter, we jumped the ferry to Hoonah!  Yaaaaah!  We are going after fish and berries!

MV Talatche docked at Hoonah Harbor – it’s for sale

Like all Southeastern Alaska towns, there are various shades of gray:  gray green, gray blue, gray white, gray black, gray yellow,…gray this and that mixed in with a bit of color here and there – the following photos will show you a hint of our color scheme here in our beloved “north country”….

Bull whips mingle amongst the kelp and seaweeds

On our way….

The dock at low tide…

Discovering color…

Darlene heads us out towards Icy Straits

Depth finder and reel

Fishing comrade…

Removing hook from the Coho…

Heading home….(notice the red bogs; Spider Woman!)

Boat 1

Boat 2

Thank you Darlene for taking us out fishing and driving around the mountain sides searching for big blueberries!  We had a great time even if it did rain all weekend!  We Alaskans know that if we waited for good weather to do anything, nothing would get done!  We are born with the color gray!

Boat 3

We brought home the salmon, marinated the strips overnight in a special “Filipino-influenced” brine, ready for the smoker!

Favorite part of smoking salmon is packing the jars before the water bath.


Flying Glaciers: Juneau to Haines

Mendenhall Glacier and Lake

First I gotta say that I apologize for not having posted photographs here that are not perfect scenery shots – they are not bright and totally in focus, they have parts of the airplane wing, and they are not breath-takingly astounding National Geographic material.  I am far from being a professional photographer like my son or first boyfriend or the guy who takes shots of my ceremonial robes!  I am just me taking snapshots for my blog, okay?  okay.  Glad I got that clarified.

the tidal flats and runway of the Juneau airport – you can see downtown Juneau in the background sandwiched between Mt. Roberts and Mt. Juneau range and an arm of Douglas Island

The photos on this blog entry is about my flight from Skagway to Juneau to Hoonah and back to Skagway again all in one day, all for a 5-minute presentation of a button robe that I designed and created for the Huna Totem Corporation’s 40th anniversary – they were hosting a celebration for their shareholders at Cannery Point in Hoonah.  (Click here for blog entry on the only part of their celebration that I was able to attend.)  During the same weekend that Huna Totem was having their celebration of their 40th year, I was in Teslin, Yukon demonstrating Chilkat weaving for three days with apprentices during their “Kus Te Yea Celebration 2013.”  (click here for the blog entry on the “Weavers’ Cabin” in Teslin).   Huna insisted that I come down and present the robe and explain the design, so I agreed to come down for the hour of the presentation because between 16 total hours of travel time, that was all the time I had in Hoonah.   I drove from Teslin to Skagway, took a flight from Skagway to Hoonah via Juneau and then back again, like I said, all in one day.

Mendenhall Glacier, Lake and River – and the main road you see down there is Mendenhall Loop Road

Mendenhall Lake and Glacier

Herbert Glacier

Echo Cove to the right, and Berner’s Bay to the left

Davidson Glacier

The flight from Juneau to Haines was phenomenal; the pilot took us on a scenic flight of the local glaciers in the Juneau area:  the Mendenhall, Herbert and Eagle; he flew over Berner’s Bay, then across Lynn Canal up towards the mouth of the Chilkat River just south of Haines – then we flew UP the Davidson Glacier, flew around the back side of the front range of the Chilkats and then DOWN Rainbow Glacier, passed Paradise Cove (where I once had land to build my dream home), over Pyramid Island and then landed at the Haines airport – Holy what a flight!!!

When we flew up Davidson I cried I was so happy I unbuckled my seat belt and looked out both sides of the plane’s window; I just love this land, I love the Chilkat range, I love the Chilkat river; I so be-long here!  I swear that when I die, I want my ashes spread up and down these Chilkat glaciers and at the mouth of the Chilkat River and at Paradise Cove!

Ice fields behind Davidson Glacier

Rainbow Glacier is a “hanging” glacier – this is the front view with a waterfall — it was hard taking a shot of the Glacier when we were actually flying over it! And besides that, I couldn’t stand still long enough to take a shot because I was enjoying the view in any given moment as it was changing so quickly as you can imagine!

Peaks of the Chilkat Range — I have not educated myself to know their names so I gave them names of my own:  Rissy’s Peak, Shanks’ Point, Rizal, etc.

Such an awesome flight I took a photo of the plane!

Flying into Skagway

Flight Dog – He never made a sound; it was as if he was a flyer all his life, though I placed my hand on him several times because he was shaking, so maybe this was his first flight and he was just silent about his fears…some of us are like that, you know….

By the time I arrived in Skagway, it was 7pm (that’s 8pm Yukon time).  I realized I had been to heaven and was still flying high!   Thank you to the pilot for giving us that extra few minutes of flight time; thank you soooo much!

Chilkat “Tricks-of-the-Trade” – Braids vs. Weavers

Notice the slightly darker shade of the braids than the weaving in both the yellow and the blue – that’s Jennie Thlunaut’s Chilkat trick-of-the-trade #1…   (please forgive the blurred photo:  I’ll replace it one of these days!)

Back in 2006 when I was visiting the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum collection of Chilkat robes, one of the staff members had pointed out that during another weaver’s visit to their collection earlier, they had noticed a difference in color of the braids from the weavers in a very old robe and wondered why that was…guess what I told ’em?

Jennie Thlunaut’s “Trick-of-theTrade #1” – While we are weaving, sometimes we mistaken our braids for our weavers.  To avoid this annoying blunder, use a slightly different shade of braid, lighter or darker, than your weaver.  Oh boy!  Happier Weaving!

Learn Chilkat Tricks-of-the-Trade During Next Few Weeks

The late Jennie Thlunaut’s hands showing Clarissa a trick-of-the-trade…photo by Clarissa during her apprenticeship with Jennie – May 1986

In the next few weeks, I will be posting a variety of weaving “tricks-of-the-trade” – many of those that Jennie taught me and a few I devised from my years of weaving experience.   Some of the tricks are conveyed in my Chilkat Weavers’ Handbook, however, I am too busy to revise and update the handbook, therefore no handbooks.  However, I am on a Chilkat weaving roll right now – anything to do with Chilkat and I’m on to it – and I want to assist my fellow weavers, and any past or future students of mine.   I want you to be a happier weaver as these tricks will help ease your process of weaving – So, stay tuned!

And hey, if you have any weaving tricks, I welcome you to share them!