Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The saddest of news

It is today, with great sadness, that I blog about our dearest Dolly being put to sleep on Monday. I didn't have the heart to write about it before, I still don't really have the heart, but the fingers can type - so that will have to be good enough.
Dolly was thirteen and a half years old, and we had recently discovered she was suffering from advanced liver disease. We did the things we could to help, but after several months of very frequent bloody poop, we felt it was time to make the hardest decision of all. The final straw came last week when she started to poop every hour, 24-7. We were exhausted, and she was distressed, so we booked an appointment for Monday.
The weekend was special 'Doll time'. We took her to Carmel beach, out for lunch, curled up on the bed with her, and gave her so many treats and snacks that she has been unable to have for months. It was time well spent, but didn't make Monday any easier.

Now, my heart is broken, but I know it will mend, and in it's place shall be so many memories and thoughts of a truly loyal companion.

I'll probably post a few pics of Doll over coming posts. Ones which make me smile and remember all the great things. Many have probably been posted before, but all are worthy of posting again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Moments and muddles.

My yard is a pile of wood and mess at the moment, as I am having a deck and fence project done. Thought I would share a picture of the pile as it strangely reflects the contents of my head! That too is damp, disorganised and really quite a muddle.

Then we have the gawd, color and plastic 'survive the Apocalypse' exersaucer. Which, whilst horrific to look at, and even 'have' in the house, brings so much joy and pleasure to one (now six month old) Peanut. So - an honorable mention for you.

Next, we have a shot of some sketches I am doodling for a project I am working on with a friend, to illustrate some educational material about Grammar. I am working on A4 printer paper with an IKEA pencil. Yes!! I did say printer paper and an IKEA pencil. This is what I am resorting to as I realise the baby is asleep and I have a moment to do some work. Then - oh, my sketchpads and pencils are in the closet in baby's room (the room formally known as my studio).

Still - I am drawing!! hurray! AND - I am blogging about it, to boot. It's a good day!
Hark! the sweet sound of an awake baby, oh, and a dog just threw up. I'm not joking.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The view from here

It was nice to take some time out to decorate the tree, and of course, the dogs were there to share in the experience. My husband took this picture of Pixie, from her perspective, and it made me realize what a big and scary place the world is from down there! Pictures are rather blurry, but who cares!

Also - the finished tree. Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good reason led her West

Oh how time flys! I have been creative more than this blog shows, and in ways that I would not previously thought of as creative. But I am learning that art and creation come in many forms and it's important to recognize that.

On the visually creative front though, I have managed to finish this simple painting on canvas called 'Good reason led her West'. It's acrylic on canvas, and has detailed little bird, a Junco a believe, in the corner. I actually painted it for my own bathroom, which we have recently remodelled. I really prefer original art rather than prints, so reluctantly set myself the task of painting a picture for the room. (reluctant, as it was just one more on the already enormous 'to do' list) I am very pleased to finish it, but mainly as I can cross it off the list as completed!! So now I can start on other jobs.

The holidays are looming, and a whole new year is right around the corner behind it. I am not much of a swimmer, but find my head just above water, thankfully. Hopefully, even if I sink I can muster the imagination to be able to breath underwater, and embrace that as a peculiar adventure instead. In the new year I will, at some point, roll to the one hundredth post - I'd better start thinking about how to celebrate? perhaps a give away or something?

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Golden Butterfly (part deux) - color!

Here she is - finished in color, I've included a detail shot and one with me in the corner - mostly so the scale can be seen, as it's a large piece of work!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Golden Butterfly

This is a drawing I did for a stained glass window. I completed it at least two years ago now, but the window has only just been finished so It's taken this long to blog about it!

The image is taken from an old 'Kellar's' magician's poster, and depicts the 'latest wonder' known as the Golden Butterfly. It's hard to tell from this, but it is virtually life sized, and the drawing took a good week of full time work to complete. This was work I have been doing for John Forbes of 'Bonny Doon Art Glass', as my traditional glass painting skills are unusual here in the US, so I occasionally work for other studios.

Tomorrow I will post the pictures of the finished glass window. The colors are quite beautiful, and it really is a very good copy from the original poster!

Friday, October 16, 2009

An orange time of year

I was really rather shocked to see that it was September when I last posted, so decided to do something about it! Whilst it may appear that there has been no creativity - in fact there has been rather a lot, which probably contributes to the quiet front!

I have recently been designing for a few glass projects, and am working on one of those currently. Other creative endeavors have included curtains and pelmets for Peanut's room, and I even managed to leave baby at home with husband, to go and blow glass for a grand total of three hours (whoop!) Life has certainly changed, and I am realizing that creativity comes in many unusual forms, and I need to appreciate each bit - no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

I will try and post images of the various works in progress, as I can, but for them meantime I thought these were appropriate pics for the time of year. This was actually taken a couple of years back - this is me and Lil miss Pixie-Stix, choosing Pixie pumpkins for our local 'Magical Glass Pumpkin Patch'. Pixie likes to check each one (as they bear her name) as she will only endorse the best!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tent rocks

On our drive towards the airport on the last day of our vacation, we stopped by 'Tent rocks' for a short hike. These peculiar rocks were formed after volcanic activity many thousands of years ago, and then eroded into their current shapes between then and now.

It was a muggy and hot day in the high desert, thunder clouds brewed over the mountains ready for the daily afternoon pour. The rocky canyon looked like a city of tepees, colored pink and beige - stripped with each strata of ash and gravel, spewed from such violent beginnings.

Only hardy plants and cactus survive here. I was surprised to see the yellow green shiny skin of a cactus, and even more surprised to see the lean body of a jack rabbit beneath it - nibbling at an unknown and scarce food source. As the thunder rumbled closer, we walked faster. When we finally got back to the car and continued on our way, I took the picture of the angry sky through the windshield of our car, as the clouds opened their arms and drenched the parched earth - probably enough to darken the soil colors a hue or two, but not enough to quench.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do you know the way to Sante Fe?

OK - so I know those aren't really the words to the song, but it fits!
We are back from our latest adventure to Sante Fe, and it was a most enjoyable one!
We stayed in a little Cassita three miles or so out of town, and spent the days wandering galleries, museums and shops, and spent the evenings listening to heavenly groans - as the dense black clouds swept over the rolling pink mountains like waves, and the thunder cracked and rumbled until the town was sprayed with rain.

Thanks for the suggestion Laurie - I did get to the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, although was sadly impaired with a migraine, so I have somewhat abstract memories of it.

Little Peanut did great with all the travel, and we were able to introduce her to the joys of art. I took her to see an exhibition of American Impressionism (she mostly slept - perhaps the pictures were to idyllic?) But she enjoyed the work of O'Keeffe, and was carried around by my husband to see all the works at eye level, and he tells me they discussed the merits of each image.

One day we took the high road to Taos, and enjoyed the scenery and many galleries along the way. We took a wrong turn at one point, and ended up having a micro adventure onto an unpaved road, which wound around the mountain side and led us through the silvery skinned aspen trees, that I had seen portrayed in so many artworks around Sante Fe.

I would love to go back in the fall, to see the leaves turn from green to gold - maybe another year!

Here are a couple pictures from our travels! I may post a few more soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This little pig

Here they are - All ten of them. And on her ankle you can just about see the bluish gray coloration of her mongolian spots. Interesting thing - mongolian spots. I didn't know about them until Peanut came to us. She has several: on her ankles and wrists, but the most amazing ones are on her back and bottom. Those are completely blue in color! She could be Veruca Salt from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. Either that or she's been wearing new jeans, and the denim blue dye has stained her behind!

A good friend Kim took this picture. She takes wonderful photos, and has a great lens on her camera.

Monday, August 31, 2009

All better!

At last! Here is the magic bag - restored to it's former glory, hanging on a giant bird house outside my front door. I've never had the pleasure of having giant birds nesting in it - but I live in hope. The mirrors on the bag glistened joyfully in the sunlight when I took this a moment ago, and the zipper flapped in the breeze, ready, I think, for a new adventure.

On saturday we will go on vacation to Santa Fe (New Mexico) and I am ready for a break, so will soon have some exciting new photos to share, I hope.

My current adventures have been odd - in as much that they mostly involve the baby, and those are the ones I am fairly un-able to share here - either in word or in photos, as the adoption will not be finalized for a while. But they are the ones that I wish I could share - as every day has been a new adventure! I have been writing a journal (for Peanut) so that when she is older she knows how and when she came to be with us, and I have been sewing curtains and such for her room.

I have a rather beautiful photo of her toes - perhaps I could share that next time, as I don't think that would constitute too much information!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dolly and the banana slug

Well, Dolly seems to be the one having all the adventures at the moment! At the weekend we took a drive up to Mill Valley, over the Golden Gate- shrouded with fog, and barely visible to the hundreds of summer tourists walking across it trying to take photos.

We had brunch in Mill Valley, at a favourite place called 'Toast' and it was whilst walking around the town that Dolly had the good fortune of spotting the most 'bananery' banana slug I have ever seen!
It was large - thats the first thing. You can tell that by looking at it's size next to Dolly. But it was so speckled with brown, like a banana almost too ripe to eat and better used for banana bread.

I've seen many of these slugs, but all of them have been very yellow, not so spotty. Perhaps as they mature they gain the brown? just like their fruity namesakes? I don't know, but luckily I had the camera handy to take a snap!
I have, at last, finished mending the magic bag! I'll have to post a picture, as it is looking quite restored and fine. Restoration of magic things is always more complicated than ordinary items, as you are never sure how the magic will respond to alteration, but it seems genuinely happy for the attention, and I guess I'll see if my adventures are adversely affected over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dolly again

At the weekend we spent some time at the coast in our 'weekender' camper van. So nice - sitting on the clifftops allowing the cool salty breeze to come in through the open door of the van.

Course - Peanut and the dogs came too, and we made tea, and had tea and cake and snoozed a little. The dogs love these sorts of days, and I'm rather partial to relaxing a little since the baby came along! Dolly was in a thoughtful mood, and also managed to find a comfy spot in baby's chair, whilst she wasn't there!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Happy accidents and dream catchers

Thought it was about time for some art! And as I have been unable to produce any lately - thought I'd delve into the archives and see what I could find.
This is called 'Dream catcher'. It came about after a happy accident: We were making roundels (hand blown glass) at Holy City for the Atlantis mermaid project (she is who I use for my profile picture) and the glass was supposed to be a mix of blue/greens and peach/greens - for her lovely scaley tail.
When glass chunks are in the kiln waiting to be used - they all look pretty dark in color, so the wrong piece got picked up, resulting in a roundel that was red and green. Then, when the piece came out of the kiln, the middle had broken out - but it was beatiful and unusual, so I was determined to use it for something.

I then had the idea for a dream catcher panel. Dreams flow through the holes in the glass - the spidery web bits filter and catch negative thoughts or bad dreams. The other shapes around represent unformed, or incomplete dreams - swirling and forming around.

This is hand blown, sandblasted, stained, dichroic, copper foiled and leaded glass, free hanging 50 x 50cm.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dolly and the bird

Can it really be a whole week already since I posted last? How is that possible! I had great plans for blogs and IF sketches, that somehow got carried away - perhaps rising out of the house with the hot stifling air, the same air that fills it during this past week of 100 degree weather.

I know people have told me that the first few years with a baby go very fast, but I didn't actually realize that's because time itself speeds up. Peanut is now six weeks and counting, and changing and growing by the day!

So - to today's blog. After the mouse adventure comes other little creatures! This little bird flew into our french doors with a horrible thud, so I ran outside SO hoping he was alive. It seems to happen often where we live in the woods (that's what happens when pesky humans build solid structures in them!) And it always makes my stomach turn - waiting to see if the bird survives or not.

On this occasion I am happy to report the bird was alive - but badly stunned, from the experience. I scooped him into my hand and popped him in a plant pot - hoping it would be a safe place for his recuperation (and somewhere less scary). It turned out to be just that - with nurse Dolly on hand (much to my surprise) just watching very closely whilst the little fellow came to and got a bearing on his surroundings, before finally (some 30 minutes later) venturing back into the sky. Dolly watched him flutter away and then returned to her bed, content that her work was done. Another adventure! Tiny, perhaps - for me, and yet huge in so many ways!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mouse adventure!

It's all babies! Besides Peanut, here is another baby adventure that crawled out of the magic bag a little while back!
We were walking in our lovely local town of Los Gatos, waiting to cross the street, when we noticed a tiny mouse on the edge of the road, starting to crawl towards the middle. Standers by squealed at their children not to touch it, and a small crowd started to form. To my surprise it was Colin (my six foot husband) who stepped out to rescue it from certain death.
On bringing it to safety, we were going to place it in a hedge until we noticed that it was only a baby - so young infact that it's eyes were not yet open! We knew that if we left it, it would certainly die, so found ourselves coming home with a tiny grey mouse with white paws.

On the first night, it really seemed touch and go, we'd stopped at a pet store and got a tiny feeder and special baby pet milk, and I furnished an old shoe box with some fabric and tissue. We fed the little mouse several times, and stimulated him with a cottonbud, as we knew his mother would, and went to sleep - half expecting to wake up the next morning and find a tiny body.

To my surprise he was alive! and his tiny eyes were now open! Over a couple of weeks we fed and then weened him, watching him grow stronger and delighting in watching him eat grapes and seeds. We never planned to keep him - especially not as he was supposed to be wild, so we gradually withdrew human contact, and at about 3 weeks after he had come into our lives, I took him to a safe and wonderful wild space, and watched him leave the shoe box - now a grown, strong mouse. Our work was done!

We took a few pictures during his stay, my favourite is one where mouse and Cookie sniff each other hello.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dolly got skunked!

This actually happened a couple weeks back now, but I'm only just getting round to mention it now. It was late (midnight) and The dogs were let out for the last time before bed. When Colin, my husband, went to let them in, Pixie and Cookie came, but no Dolly!

Moments later he shouted 'skunk!' and shut the door, as a skunk stood in the pathway where Dolly should have been. By the time I got to the door, Poor Doll was back on the step, coughing and squinting and trying desparately to snort away the thick yellow greasy liquid that now covered her face.

What a nightmare! the smell filled the entire house in seconds, and I scrubbed her with rubber gloves, 'no tears' shampoo, followed by vinegar, for an hour before having to give up and go to bed.

The next day I called the grooming salon, and by the end of the day she had been as 'de-skunked' as possible, having had all her hair cut very short and special salon shampoo.

At least her coat is now really short for the summer!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

IF: Shaky

A quick sketch this week!

They were big shoes, and she didn't know if her feet could fill them. Her jelly legs quivered, shaky and jittery as her toes wriggled about inside, trying to find firm ground!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The tree house

I had to show you this treehouse in the Santa Cruz mountains near where I live.

It belongs to Sue Cristallo, for whom I had the pleasure of doing a commission a few months back (the free hanging sun one). Each summer, she has a mini rodeo on her ranch, followed by a BBQ, and this was a couple weekends back now, but I'm only just getting round to posting about it.

It is the most incredible building, wrapped around trees and balanced on stilts, with rope bridges leading from the ground to it and other platforms floating high above the ground. It has a magical feel about it, and I am so glad that my peculiar adventures led me there to see it.

In the other picture is me, and swaddled in a green sling on my chest is Peanut! I am, of course, not allowed to post pictures on her directly, but I hardly think a green cotton lump on my chest constitutes one! And besides - it shows how incredibly small she was a couple weeks back, and tells me just how much she's grow already!
Thank you, by the way, to everyone who has posted comments recently. They are all enjoyed, and give me a boost to make the effort to blog, even when there don't seem as many hours in the day as there were before!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I had a quiet determination this week to participate in Illustration Friday, and am happy to say I did it! The subject may appear a little strange, but to those who know about the recent appearance of baby 'Peanut', it should make perfect sense.

I pondered the subject for many days, and kept circuously coming back to the same thing. Not surprising perhaps, as babies are now my main event each day. Funny - the baby in my picture even looks like a peanut! Couldn't decide on tonal pencil or colored - decided to go with colored for a softer look. Who knows - if I get really crazy with my time I might do it tonal as well, just to compare!

So - IF: Worn: As worn as she felt, the sleeping warmth of the new little soul lifted her weary heart!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fabric in glass

A fleeting visit to my blog, as the magic bag lets me up for air - but just for a moment!! I'm still contemplating this weeks IF callenge: Worn, wondering if I'll have a chance for a quick sketch before friday? perhaps it should be a self portrait (joke)

In the meantime, here is a panel I did a while back. The brief was to copy a piece of fabric that the client particularly liked. This was an odd one for me, so I decided to try and make it more interesting by adding irridised glass and by fusing certain areas so that all shapes were not just dictated by lead line. The brief was also only to use clear glass, but again - I sneaked in some very subtle color in the end. The results were quite pleasing! I've shown a picture through the glass, and one reflective picture - so you can see the irridised glass.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IF: Drifting to sleep! A quick sketch of Dolly drifting into dreamy sleep. A quick sketch is about all I can manage myself right now, with the arrival of baby Peanut, and my own lack of sleep which also makes me want to