Ode to Art

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My mother bid Art into my life as she prayed over her ‘babe in womb’—“if the child is a girl let her sing”—then sang excerpts of her favorite arias for my lullabies that wove a musical cloth into my bunting. … Continue reading

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Singing for Health

I am 26 years out from treatment for head and neck cancer, but I remember the after-days well.

After receiving 6,000 rads directed between my jaw bones and clavicle over the course of 6 weeks, (the effect of which was identical to a 3rd degree burn on the inside), I was left with a swollen throat opening about the size of a dried split pea, and it was stiff…so stiff that swallowing was not only painful, but also hazardous because of choking. I had gone from 135lbs to 102lbs and clothing just slid off my body.

I lost my sense of taste. At first, the only foods I could swallow with great care were cooked frozen peas or green beans that were left to cool to room temperature. Ice cream tasted like cold Crisco lard.

Once healing began, I realised early on that if I was to ever speak, let alone sing again, I was going to have to find a way to crack open the scabs that were forming in my throat. The only way to do that was to force coughing by taking sips of water, turning my head to one side or the other, and swallow, then cough until blood and scabs could be expectorated. 

….and that’s how I regained mobility in the throat that allowed for easier swallowing, thus eating, and, singing. 

The surgeries had left me with only one salivary gland….it takes a lot of saliva to sing….and one single note. I am convinced that singing…1 note vocal exercises upon which to build an entire vocal range… also massaged the single salivary gland, which eventually produced enough saliva to actually make sound. 

All of this I did intuitively because I was so attuned to my throat and also the deep desire to return to the stage.

Today I came across a Facebook post made by Vanya Moneva, a producer of Bulgarian National Radio and Music Conductor of Vanya Moneva Choir. I am not ‘friends’ with Vanya, thus I am unable to tell her how important her post is for singers, so the next best thing is to share her post with you, giving her credit.

Trust me, Vanya is absolutely right about Singing for Health.



* Singing communicates to the body the ′′ right ′′ vibes that increase our vitality;

* During singing in the human brain, special chemicals are made that help us feel peace and joy;

* Singing improves blood circulation in the throat area, which has a beneficial effect on vocal cords, tonsils and numerous lymph nodes in the throat and therefore significantly increases local immunity (in other words, we rarely catch colds);

* Improving blood supply during singing leads to brain activity intensification: it starts working more intensively, memory improves, any information is easier to perceive;

* Singing is very useful for lung diseases, as it works as a respiratory gymnastics that promotes the development of chest, proper breathing, and significantly reduces the number of acute lung conditions;* With regular singing, the level of immunoglobulin and hydrocortisone, which are signs of good immunity, increase in the body;

* Methods have been developed that treat stuttering through singing and help improve diction;

* Singing is used even in the fight against overweight: sometimes excessively full people are offered when they feel a feeling of hunger instead of eating to sing two or three songs.

Attention, girls! Singing improves blood supply in the head area and generally rejuvenates the body, skin condition improves.

This is why experts recommend singing at least 5 minutes a day, equating singing to physical exercises. Via AdiDisha Yoga‎

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Borrowed that title from Stephen Sondheim’s song FINISHING THE HAT from his show SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE.

I have a group of neighbors with whom I share birthday celebrations, text messages, luncheons and general support for one another. I dubbed us the CHARBONNEAU CHIZ. This year I have decided to make an amigurumi Coco Chanel (because of the CC) ornament. I have little ‘CC’ charms arriving soon and will attach one to each ornament along with the year in which she was created/given.

What does the phrase Finishing the Hat mean?
Image result for finishing the hat
“Finishing the Hat” is all about an artist who must let the world pass by around him and disappoint those he loves because the art has to come first. This doesn’t mean that he is not feeling, it just means that, to create great art, he has to focus and pour his life force into the project.Sep 23, 2014

When the soul comes THROUGH.

What does FINISHING THE HAT mean for me? Well, quite literally, going from this style


to this!

Coco Chanel Charbonneau ChiZ Christmas ornament 2021
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Doing Good with HookArtZ

When I was 20 years old, I was bedridden with mononucleosis for 6 mos. One day my 90+ year old neighbor dropped over to visit me. She had a bag full of yarn and asked if I knew how to knit. When I replied, “yes,” she sat the bag on my bed with the comment on her way out the door, “Indian babies are cold. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to collect some blankets.” I was taught in that simple way that even when I was sick, I could make a difference for others.

I hope you will consider applying your talents to ‘doing good’ as well.


Perhaps you are already using your HookArtz talents ‘for good’, but while I give away much of what I create, I have not committed in a MAJOR way to ‘doing good with HookArtZ’…..

Today that changes. Today I begin to make Knitted Knockers to give away to anyone in need of a pair.

I contacted the web site to offer my talents and I requested information about the size of organza bags in which to package for delivery….that information is pending….however, I have decided to use ROWAN GLACE cotton yarn, selected from the list of recommended materials, and I’ve identified a local yarn shop who will be the resource for the women seeking them.

It’s a pretty good start for doing good with HookArtZ.

Will you join me?

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Mary, Queen of Scots

I seem to have segued from FIRST LADIES, FIRST, to HISTORICAL FIGURES….

I don’t know why.

It seemed appropriate that since Elizabeth I was her first cousin and the orchestrator of her death, Mary, Queen of Scots was the ^natural^ choice to make next.

Head roll please!

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Le Petit French Lily Motif Tape Pattern


The photo is on Pinterest, but when one clicks, a message pops up that Pinterest has determined clicking will lead to spam…..

Sooooo, there was nothing to do but figure the pattern out myself.

Thank goodness for the photo, because I can count the stitches, and, thanks to a great deal of YouTube Irish crochet videos, and spending more than a year learning various techniques, and taking a couple of workshops from Maire Treanor, I have developed enough ‘proficiency’ to figure it out!

There were many beginnings and rip-outs before I finally found a satisfying outcome, although I think there is a trick yet to be discovered.


Would you like to know how to crochet this Le Petit French Lily motif tape….which is to say, crochet the motifs on a continuum?

The pattern requires that you know how to work with packing cord; that you know how to slip stitch, work in the back loops only; can ADD packing cord as needed, and keep good tension.

Materials needed

Size 10 thread for making packing cord

Size 40 thread for crocheting the motif

Size 1.00mm hook

With size 10 thread, make a packing cord, measured from fingers to elbow 4X’s folded in half (approximately 2 yards, which will suffice to make 4 motifs and 4 ‘stems’, then more pc is required)

With size 40 thread, make a single loop, slip through the fold of the pc and ch 1

Ch 20 around the pc, ch 1, turn, insert hook into the second sc from the hook on the Stem and sc

First Motif


Sc 15 around the pc, ch 1, turn, ss into the back loop only (BLO) of the second ch from the hook and around the pc. Continuing with the pc, BLO sc the next 4 sts.

Sc 10 sts under both threads and the pc to the STEM, ss the last st, ch 1, turn

*Keeping the loop on the hook, gently pull each pc thread. Repeat this step after each petal

Second Petal

Skip first st, sc up to the last 5 sts on the first petal, sc 6 around the pc, ch 1, turn

Ss in the BLO and and around the pc in the second st from the hook, and BLO sc the next 4 sts.

Sc 10 sts under both threads and the pc to the STEM, ss the last st, ch 1, turn

Third Petal

Repeat the directions for the Second Petal. Make an additional sc into the center st at the bottom of the motif

Make STEM following the directions above

Second Motif

First Petal

Sc 15 around the pc, ch 1. With the WRONG SIDE of the first motif facing you, ss into the second st on the side of the Third Petal, ch 1

Pulling the pc between the two petals, ss around the pc and into the second st on the ‘working’ petal.

Follow directions for the Second Petal

NOTE: Always add packing thread at the bottom and middle stitch of a motif in the sc space. There will be pc threads hanging out of every 4th completed motif. Either crochet them into an additional STEM or accent, or sew them into the back of the work to hide.

Continue in this way until reaching desired length

Soak motif tape overnight in tepid water, and soap if it has become stained from handling, then rinse well and pin it out to dry, then iron it between two towels.


I did contact Maire and showed her my effort. She was very complimentary. I told her I still had to work out a couple of things, and she agreed.

I’ll post a photo of my final effort and how I used the French Lily Motif tape.

Le Petit French Lily Motif tape trimmed hankie

If you decide to, I hope you will share your experience making the French Lily Motif tape with me.

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Queen Elizabeth I, The Last Tudor Monarch

AKA, The Virgin Queen

1533-1603 took the throne at age 25 and ruled for 44 years.

People are always writing and talking about men who ‘made a difference’, but there are women who influenced the world in major ways too.

Queen Elizabeth I is one of those women, detailed here.

I used the photo above as the model. She took approximately 50 hours to create her.

I used size 3, 10 and 30 thread with size 1.75mm , and .75mm hooks. There is an open hoop earring used to create the height in the third row in the hair wig.

The Virgin Queen

To form the wee flowers, I chained 4, and in the 2nd ch from the hook, I made 5 bobble stitch bundles.

I may or may not write out a pattern. In the meanwhile, I am tickled with the ‘end game’.

Virgin Queen


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May 25, 2021

He would have been 100 on June 12, 2021, but his long run ended a little too soon.

I’ve lost my Mentor-Maestro-Performing Partner and Dear, Dear Friend…

It is a rare experience to work together with a musical partner in perfect harmony…symbiosis…cantata…. 

We met in 1983 due to the determination of one of my friends, Diana Faville. Diana and I met on the running track of the MAC.

Diana’s husband wanted to learn to play steel drums, and it turned out the foremost expert of Steel Drumming happened to live in Banks, Or. And, said expert happened to be the brother of Norman Leyden, and a very accomplished musician and performer himself.

Jimmy Leyden also taught voice and I wanted to study voice and Diana decided I should study with Jimmy.

(Jimmy Leyden had a very full musical career. He’d written high school musicals; taught steel drums; conducted the orchestra for Arthur Godfrey; was the leader of an octet who sang commercial jingles in the 50’s and the back up singers on a number of recordings for well known artists; and was the director of THE LEYDEN SINGERS for the Oregon Symphony POPS concerts. I am undoubtedly missing a huge hunk of his other accomplishments in the music business.)

Diana ordered the steel drums from Jimmy and had him deliver them to the MAC bar where I was singing so he could ‘hear’ me and she could introduce us. I recall he wasn’t much impressed, but politely sat through an entire set and was congenial when we were introduced.

Unbeknownst to me, from the next day and every week, then day and month after that first meeting, Diana called Jimmy asking him if he’d take me on as a student. He told her, “but, I’m not taking on any new students.” Her persistence paid off… he finally agreed to ‘interview’ me and Diana drove me out his home. 

We spent around 3 hours going through a variety of tunes, and I’d say he was more impressed with my extensive knowledge of tunes and genres than my voice. He asked if I wanted to study with him and of course I unequivocally said, “Yes!!!”

Again Diana called Jimmy over and over to ask when he might begin my lessons. I think he grew tired of the calls after a year and finally called me saying, “I thought you wanted to study voice with me.” To which i responded, “You never called.” “Well, I’m calling now.” And that began a remarkable friendship.

I studied with him for a year and one day after a lesson….lessons always lasted for 3-4 hours…he announced, “Well, I’ve taught you all I know.” “Good,” I said, “now we can perform together and I won’t have to pay you!” “OK”, he agreed. Of course, I couldn’t live long enough to learn all he had to teach.

He prepared me for every POPS Performance. He made certain his brother, Norman, wrote orchestra charts in my key. He rehearsed me for hours and hours, choreographing hand gesture and body position and painstakingly every nuanced note until he was confident I was ready.

I would spend the week before concert reviewing every word in a song and hand gesture throughout the night, then the night before concert I slept soundly.

POPS Concerts were 5 performances and I always gave Jimmy my salary from one of the performances. 

He ran lights during these concerts, and just before concert began he’d drop by my dressing room to say, “Good show!”

He couldn’t travel with me to out-of-town concerts, but he would always call…. he was the voice of calm and confidence and gave me courage to believe myself.

Lunsford & Leyden

Lunsford & LeydenLunsford-n-Leyden

We had a custom….kinda like an athlete who wears the same pair of sox for every game….just before he took the stage, we’d look at one another to say,  “Let’s go make some magic.” 

We wrote ‘customized’ musicals, rehearsed them for weeks and I memorized them for a single performance…..except for one show THAT’S A GIMME! We performed that show several times at various Country Clubs.

At one particular Country Club, we finished the show and got an encore. People in the audience wanted to make song requests, so I told them we would take their requests for a tip. Jimmy groaned, and made a comment about ^saloon work^, but went along with me.

The next morning I counted the money in the tip jar and then went to find him to give him his half. At first he wasn’t sure he wanted to take ‘tips’, but I said, “Well, your half is $150.00…do you want to pass?” He took it and I laughed.

Jimmy had several health challenges over the last 5 years, the last one landed him in the hospital and then to assisted living and all the restrictions and lock down that the COVID-19 Pandemic created. 

Because he couldn’t have visitors, and he was in Gig Harbor and I in Portland, I suggested we have HAPPY HOUR every Friday at 4, and he was delighted to oblige. Each time I called and said “Hi, it’s me!” He responded, “There you are!!”

I would call him and we would chat…mostly about music and working together…reminiscing with abandon together. Those conversations I will forever treasure, along with all my other memories spent in his company. 

During one of our last conversations about music, when he was trying to recall a particular lyric, he said, “I know it…I just can’t remember.” We had a good laugh together over that.

I will especially remember my mentor-maestro-partner-and dear, dear friend at 4PM on Friday.

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

Good-by, Maestro….We’ll catch up some other time….


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First First Lady


She was 58 years old when her husband, George, was elected the first President of the United States of America.


“Martha Washington did not enjoy her time (1789-1797) as First Lady (the term was not then used) though she played her role as hostess with dignity. She had not supported her husband’s candidacy for the presidency, and she would not attend his inauguration. The first temporary seat of government was in New York City, where Martha presided over weekly receptions. The seat of government was later moved to Philadelphia where the Washingtons lived except for a return to Mount Vernon when a yellow fever epidemic swept Philadelphia.”



Still trying to decide which First Lady to crochet next.


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Young Martha Washington

It crosses my mind that I wasn’t really ‘taught’ ANYTHING about FIRST LADIES…..it’s as if she had no history worth mentioning other than being married to a US President. That ENDS now!



Worth noting: The artistic rendering of her was created by a forensic anthropologist.

“Here we see an image of the slim, charming, and strong young woman who ran five plantations after the death of her first husband, bargained with merchants, haggled over tobacco prices and followed her new husband into battle, and of whom patriot, soldier and future first president George Washington was deeply enamored.”

So, before crocheting a FIRST LADY MARTHA WASHINGTON, I was inspired to create a YOUNG MARTHA WASHINGTON as part of the amigurumi FIRST LADIES series. I used the artistic rendering as my model.



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Mary Todd Lincoln


One of the most misunderstood and maligned of US First Ladies….

“Mary Todd Lincoln, the most criticized and misunderstood first lady, experienced more than her share of tragedy during her lifetime. From the time she was six, her life took a melancholy turn from which she never recovered. She suffered from depressive episodes and migraine headaches throughout her life and turned to squandering money on lavish gowns and frivolous accessories during the white house year in hopes of finding relief from the void deep within. ” There’s so much more to read about her.

Of the 52 US First Ladies, you may wonder why I chose to crochet MTL first. I think it has to do with all the turbulence in the nation today, AND, as I scrolled through the list of US First Ladies, MTL kinda hung in my thoughts. Thus, I chose to create her first.

I used the preceding photo as my model. I didn’t quite have the ‘perfect’ hair accessories, so I ‘improvised’ and here is the end result.

I added the hankie and a reticule, also known as a ridicule or indispensable, was a type of small handbag or purse, similar to a modern evening bagused mainly from 1795 to 1820.

Will you, too, create a Mary Todd Lincoln? What will be your motivation? Or, will you choose to crochet one of the other US First Ladies and why?


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