All posts by tonya

Country living mama to a 10 1/2 year old daughter, herbalist, crafter.....

And a band is formed. . .

With some nostalgia I just found Zoe’s trip to Nashville Contract we drew up last year. ! Some of you might remember last Feb a deal was made…Zoe was challenged to write 12 songs (1 a month) and her reward  would be a road trip to Nashville.

You can read all about it here!

February came and left without a road trip to Nashville. While she has not written 12 songs (though close if you add co-writes!,  her progress and growth has way exceeded expectation. The intention of the challenge was to give her a goal to help her stay focussed and learn to work though the hard part, to journey on instead of just giving up, to see what  can come from perseverance.

She has developed so much musically in a year. Her love of music has deepened and she now embraces so many different types of music. Just a year ago it was mostly Taylor Swift and top 10 pop radio. Now it includes the standard teenage angst (Nirvana, Paramore) as well as some oldies, classic rock, RnB, new electronic music, old protest songs and even some folk!  She reads and writes way more poetry. Her guitar skills have improved tremendously and gets excited by a “hard piece” that she has to figure out and work on for a long time or a piece that causes frustration along the way that eventually comes together!

During the the Summer at the IMA pre-teen girls Rock ‘n Roll Camp along with 2 friends the wrote a song and from there a band was formed “Felixis Jinx” They spent the remainder of the summer making a music video and entered it into the Ashfield Film Fest.

In September they were invited to play their first gig at the Tri County Fair a stage sponsored by the IMA.IMG_2230

They played a few more small gigs in the Fall. They practiced, picked up new instruments, learned covers, wrote songs, and practiced more. Come Spring they were ready for a few more gigs, and luckily several came their way plus their dream opportunity to open for one of their favorite musicians Hayley Reardon

As well as gaining confidence in the band as a performer and songwriter,  a community of young creative people was forming in the area and Zoe found herself part of the organizing committee for their first event Goshen Rocks! A sense of belonging and a community added to her confidence!


Just a few weeks ago this happened!


and it struck me! wow how much can happen in a year…how much a motivated 12 year old can achieve in a period of time. And then just last week  she performed 2 original songs (1 was a work in progress) solo at a middle/high school open mic (not her school).

Zoe performing her new song “She likes Girls”

Songwriting Workshop for Teens

We are so excited to be hosting this workshop for teens with singer/songwriter Hayley Reardon

March 12th 2016

Ashfield MA


In 2012, The Boston Globe Magazine named her a Bostonian of the Year for both her music and her work to pair it with a message of teen empowerment. The feature article characterized her as “a confident, radiant teenage singer/songwriter who is helping to pen the next chapter of the Boston folk scene….while Reardon is rapidly making a name for herself under the stage lights, it could be said that she’s having a bigger impact on her peers across the country as an effective teen-to-teen ambassador, sought after by schools nationwide.”


Join Hayley Reardon in this intimate setting as she leads a workshop for teens on Song Writing.
This workshop will focus on the process of songwriting and offer tips for getting started and fleshing out initial song ideas. We will discuss chordal and structural choices and how they can influence the direction of a song. Beyond the practical aspects, the workshop will emphasize uncovering unique, authentic voices as artists and songwriters, as well as the power of learning to express ourselves (through song or whatever art form you might choose!) Lastly, we will touch upon performing and creative confidence.

The participants are invited (not required) to come prepared with either a song idea/concept or unfinished song that we can work on together by developing a list of related images and outlining a structure.

Noted for her thoughtful, vivid songwriting and engaging stage performance, Hayley has spent the past five years sharing the stage with acts like Tom Rush, Peter Yarrow, Buskin & Batteau, Christine Lavin, and opening for the likes of Lori McKenna, Mark Erelli, and Catie Curtis. She has been selected for official showcases at Folk Alliance International and New England Regional Folk Alliance, as well as The Boston Folk Festival, New York Songwriter’s Circle, and Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist Showcase.

Workshop limited to 15 participants
for more info /to register please email

Hayley will also be performing a concert that evening! with local youth band “Felixis Jinx “opening!HayleyReardonPoster (1)

odds and ends

Spend the last week finishing up some odds and ends so that we can head out on our Spring Travel Adventure

The canoptic jars are finally finished! Here is Zoe’s Anubis headed canopic Jar


The picture is while glazing pre final firing. It turned out beautiful! The red was striking!

And Zoe completed her Coursera Guitar class. This was no easy feat! it took a lot of patience and sticking with it. But the certificate of completion made it all worth it!

Coursera guitar 2015

and now off on our next adventure!


Canoptic Jars, Blue Period, Bulbs and Basketball…


We are still plodding along.

In concluding Zoe’s study of Ancient Egypt we headed over to a friends house, who is a potter and she led us in a Canoptic jar Project….Canoptic Jars were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the viscera of their owner for the afterlife. They were commonly either carved from limestone or were made of pottery.


Though still fired and glazed the building stage is done. We used the coil method and slowly built up the jars.


Here she is working on her Anubis Canoptic JarCanoptic jars

My canoptic jar became more of an urn! I have had this owl head for years and finally found a use for it!


The poem inscribed on the jar/urn is a Mary Oliver poem- Thirst! I’ll post more photos once they are glazed and fired!


As for art studies we discovered a new favorite artist a German artist Mary Bauermeister and her Lens Boxes, also known as her NYC Decade- There was a showing at the Smith College museum of Art, followed by a hands on art project! Very Inspiring.

Here is a sampling of her work followed by our projects…



I loved the combo of natural findings and ocean items, and the botanical art look, with a zentangle feel. Reminded me a little of another favorite, self-taught artist Joseph Cornell (1903–1972)who also created boxes using found objects, pages from old books, and dime-store trinkets,  transformed everyday materials into curiosity cabinets … He was a kind of magician, turning everyday objects into mysterious treasures.

IMG_5520 IMG_5521




Here is mine, I am now eager to make a natural curiosity lens box coffee table! Already collecting items for it!


We have also been studying Picasso specifically his Blue Period, and the beginnings of abstract art and Cubism.  Here is her interpretation of abstract cubism! (collage and pastels)

Picasso Guitar

A trip to the Smith College Botanical Gardens bulb show last week introduced us to Impressionism…..when we are done with Picasso we will move onto the Impressionists. The flower show was a great way to introduce Impressionism and to compare to the abstract, realist and cubist styles. Zoe seems to really like history of art and history of music.


Being at the flower show also allowed to take some pictures as she has been eager for good photo project

Here are creation:

Zoe photoa

In other non art related news! Basketball Season finally ended! We have Saturday mornings back! But rejoice not for long as baseball/softball season begins tomorrow!



The song writing is coming a long well….as soon as i get a chance to record her I’ll post her newest song “Send Romeo”

We are using the rest of April for finish off some loose ends, finish the Coursera Guitar Class, complete our Black History Month, finish up our Picasso unit, complete reading the Lord of the Flies, and focus on a mini women’s history unit which consists of  “The Diary of Anne Frank” and a biography on Elizabeth Cady Stanton. While still moving ahead with Math (Khan Academy), writing/spelling unit and latin.

Keep calm and carry on!

“Write 12 songs and I’ll take you on a road trip to Nashville…..”


Did I really say that?

My little dreamer has completely romanticized the Nashville music scene! She dreams about sitting at cafes writing songs, jamming with friends and meeting musicians! I think it can be traced back to reading Taylor Swifts Biography…but wherever it began -she is serious, all business

After watching an episode of Modern Family last week  when Hayley is promised a car if she stays off electronics devices for a week, she crafts a bar soap into a smart phone, paints it and spends the week talking into that- but after she wins the bet, the parents decide go back on their word,  Zoe decides we need a written deal- Well, now there is written proof.

Twelve songs gets her a trip to Nashville next Spring.


Song number 2 was written today inspired by the Biography of Langston Hughes and his “Dream” poems.

(here is the first draft. she is still working on the chorus and bridge.)

I wonder……What happens to a Dream Deferred? 

ef466cf9fddcf8a1a00529ab36e1507a(b y Langston Hughes)