Oscar, Otto & Orson have flown the nest


My three little retro lovelies have taken off. All three were sold today from the store Most Everything where they have been living for the past month. I’m so glad these fellas were all bought by the same person – kind of like adopting all the kids – keeps the family together.

Alisa, the owner of the store, gave me a ring to let me know of their departure. While the call went to voice mail as I was in the trenches of despair (a.k.a. my back yard) I was mighty excited to listen to the message.

While my happiness with my work shouldn’t be dependent on sales, it sure as heck is reaffirming that maybe (just maybe) I am on the right path. The news came at a good time – I have been in such a creative slump lately. I wish I could blame it all on summer & kids being underfoot, but it wouldn’t be true. True that kids are underfoot, but not true that they are stopping me from creating! It’s not exactly like they are duct taping me to the couch. No, it’s more like my backside has become velcro and gets stuck to the microfiber of the sofa. Way too many movies lately.

I have been forging ahead on the Alice outfit and I am so excited to share the progress. It’s actually turning out rather well. I’m a bit shocked at how well it’s turning out. It really feels like Alice has come from the pages of the book….that’s all I’m saying for now. Promise to share soon.

Looks like I need to get making some more owls. Ozzie (or Blue Owl) sold at the beginning of the month so I’ve gotta get cracking. And Alisa reminded me that Christmas is just around the corner (REALLY????) and that I may want to start thinking little owl ornaments. I haven’t even set off one firecracker for the 4th of July and I’ve got to start thinking Christmas? Here’s to American retail.

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Art on Alberta

So my friend Sharon and I used to have what we called the Friday Art Club or F-art club for short. Yes, we know it’s not a very attractive name, but we rather liked it and it worked for us. For our F-art club we’d go out on a Friday and try to soak in any art related item of interest – areas of town, shows, stores, restaurants, whatever and where ever. Well, life happens and the F-art club went by the way side. As this was the last week of school for our kids we decided to resurrect the F-art club and make a day of it on Alberta Street in Portland. Only, as it was a Tuesday when we did this we had to rename ourselves the T-art club. I think I like being a T-art better than a F-art.

So kids shoved off to school, we headed out to Alberta Street to make the rounds. We started with breakfast at Petit Provence. YUM is all I can say about that! Well, actually, I can say a bit more. Deliciously fresh food, bold coffee, good service and a warm, welcoming environment made this dining experience superb! Giving it two thumbs way up.

After our late breakfast we just wandered up and down the street of Alberta.

It had been a year or so since I’ve been to Alberta and honestly, I don’t remember all the fabulous wall art we came across. So many wonderful murals and street art for the eyes to fest on.

I really admired the variety of artistic expression and appreciate that people can create on such a large-scale. I’ve never attempted so large – makes me wonder if I could do it or if I’d freeze up with such a large space to work with. Makes me curious to give it a try some day. I have had this crazy notion to move everything away from one of the walls in my house, pin up a king sized sheet I have and use it as the backing for a large-scale fabric collage.  Seriously, why can’t I invoke the bravery, courage and energy of this kick-ass street angel and just get to creating?? There is nothing that holds me back except my own self. I’m my problem, but I’ve recently heard that I’m my own solution too.

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Down the rabbit hole

OK people, this is the most challenging rabbit hole I am going down to date. My daughter and I had an idea for a ‘Wearable Art” fashion show hosted at Gallery360. We thought it would be fun to create an “Alice” dress using the pages from the book. Hmm….sounds interesting enough and potentially really cool. Right? Well, at least that’s what we thought. But how the frick do we do that???

I thought I’d use a shell of a dress as the base. So I found this one at Goodwill. That was step one. We took that step a couple of months ago and completely scored by finding an old, illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland at Powell’s Books (what doesn’t Powell’s have??) And there we sat – stuck at that first step.

Now with the deadline for entry a few weeks away it’s time to get cracking. I thought we’d try out this technique in one of the many inspiration books I have purchased over the past few years. The book is called Stitch Alchemy, and while I’ve looked at the pretty pictures, I’ve never actually attempted a technique from the book. Well, let’s just say my daughter and I are rather disappointed with the results. Gluing fabric and paper is not as easy as it would appear. We got horrible results. This left us in a total pickle. We had banked on this technique to create our dress.

So now we are back to the drawing board. I have an idea for another technique, but honestly don’t know if I can pull it off. I will be working on this all tomorrow & we’ll see how it goes. I’m going to be so bummed if this doesn’t turn out. Maddie (my daughter) and I had such fun discussing the design and the thought of creating designs for all the characters in the story. Have I ever mentioned I tend to dream big? Actually accomplishing those dreams is a different story. I’m working on changing that but Alice is giving me a real pain in my backside.

I suppose I should be taking some advice from the White Queen. She instructed Alice to believe in impossible things – why, when she was Alice’s age, she had believed in six impossible things by the time she had breakfast. Unfortunately, it is the Queen of Hearts voice I hear – shrieking “Off with her head!”.

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Lady Divine

So I am absolutely forcing myself to write this entry. This isn’t how blogging should be is it?? I will be the first to admit I struggle something fierce with our modern technology – blogging, Face Booking, Tweeting, e-mailing, and whatever else ends in “ing” and involves machines. Hence, almost a month has passed and I have not posted to my blog.

So I thought I’d call on my Lady to pull me out of the rut. Here’s the thing about me and ruts – I tend to move in. Arrange furniture and hang pictures on the walls. It takes a moving van to get me out of a rut. Or some serious divine intervention. So I thought I’d try the divine route this time. I made this piece about 7 or 8 months ago. Little did I know it would be the beginning of my exploration into the spiritual side of my creativity. Don’t get me wrong – I love my silly little owls & they totally serve a purpose for me – they allow me to play. But it is creating pieces like this one that really touch my soul. They seem to come from deep within – they materialize before my eyes.

Lady Divine basically came about in a couple of days. I had the design all drawn out but was struggling with the color choices & fabric. I wandered to a local fabric store in search of a fabric that would work. What I got was a whole color scheme and bam! she was born quickly. That’s a case of when I’ve just allowed the fabric to guide me on what needed to be done. If only fabric could guide me in this blasted world of technology…..can it? Hmmm.

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Ready. Set. Go!

O.K. folks – the day has arrived…..the trunk show. It’s a darn good thing that I really don’t know what to expect or else I may be totally freaking out right now. I am as prepared as I can be considering I am blissfully ignorant of what awaits me. Today will be a huge lesson in what to do for next time. I feel like I’m going to the classroom of life today and taking a test for which I never studied. Excited, scared, anxious, nervous – just a handful of adjectives to describe how I’m feeling. On-the-verge-of-puking is another adjective, but that’s a bit long-winded & perhaps a bit too descriptive. But totally true!

The two owls you see above are Olivia – 3D and 2D. It’s the first time I thought to cross over to 3D from a 2D design. I must say I’m really pleased with how they both turned out. 3D Olivia is my own design this time. I made another 3D bird named Roger, but I had used a pattern from a book for that one. Olivia is created using some of the techniques I learned from the other pattern, but I just sat down and started drawing out my 2D design on freezer paper. I even made a small gusset for the head area – had to throw that out there because I never knew what the heck a gusset was & now I feel very much the seamstress to say I made one! I even got inspired to make a Olivia jr. out of paper clay using the same colors and fabric – she is very cute & I will have to show the photo at a later time. Oh, and I made a dog tag style necklace using the same colors & fabric. So I have to say I really liked the idea of taking one design & color/fabric scheme and translating it into various mediums. It was fun & challenging to see where the fabric would take me.

O.K. I must dash now, get all the last-minute stuff done, throw it all into the back of my little green VW bug and get ready, set, go! Wish me luck!

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Suit Up & Show Up

So this is my latest creation – blue owl, which looks oddly like pink owl from an earlier post. That’s because it’s the same design, but I used different fabrics. This is what I love about fabrics: a piece can look so different just from switching out the fabric and color choices.  And yes, I know the photo quality is still crap – varnish reflection issues. And yes, I know my titles are not so clever – ‘blue owl’ is not exactly brilliant and neither was ‘pink owl’. But I’m working on all that.

I made this owl for an upcoming trunk show I will be participating in at Divine Consign on May 7th. This will be the first time I put myself ‘out there’ as a craft business. I am both excited and terrified. I have been fighting discouragement all week. I had planned to get so much more done, but now time has just run out on me. With the varnish process I have to do on my pieces I won’t have enough time between now and May 7th to get anymore pieces done. I have also been fearful because I’ve never done a show & I don’t have any clever ideas for set up. I don’t have tags. I don’t have gift bags. I don’t have a business sign. I don’t have a lot of stuff I think I need to be a success. So I should just throw in the towel, right? Quit? Not show up?

Well, that’s the point I was at when I had to have a ‘mom talk’ with my son last night. I found out that he got himself out of a track meet yesterday because he was afraid he would lose his race – he believed the other school had a better track team. So I had to pull out the June Cleaver talk on how it doesn’t matter if you come in first or last place, the important thing is to show up and run the race to the best of your ability. By not even showing up, we lose. So as I am speaking these amazingly wise words, it dawns on me that perhaps I, too, could benefit from hearing them. Win or lose, we just need to suit up and show up.

And so, regardless of how many pieces I have created, how my table is displayed, how I am lacking a sign and so on, I just need to swallow the fear and show up next Friday and run the race to the best of my ability.

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Wise Women


So I was at the library the other day searching for books on iconographic art, Madonnas, basically anything in the religious type art category. While combing through the book shelves (who needs to use a card catalog…..well, whatever they call it nowadays) I came across this book –


Now, you tell me, how can anybody NOT take this book off a shelf and look through it? The woman’s face spoke to me  – there was to be a message in this book. Come to find out, it’s not just one message, but many messages by many different women – all older (and I do mean older in some cases).

The book is Wise Women by Joyce Tenneson and it is full of incredibly beautiful photographs of women in their twilight years. I do not know how a photographer can capture such emotion and feeling, but Joyce Tenneson has done that in this collection of photographs. It gave me chills to look at these women. They stared off the page at me. They spoke to me – some whispering, some yelling, some laughing. Each had a tidbit of wisdom to share – some gem learned through their many years of life.

I don’t know if it’s because I am the ripe age of 41, but I read the words of these women and took them to heart. I studied their faces, their bodies, their wrinkles. Of course the whole time I’m thinking “Is this what I will look like at that age?” I wonder if I will embrace age as beautifully as these women have – I sincerely hope so.

Here is one of my favorite photos from the book of a 93-year-old woman. She says “I can still remember what it feels like to love with all my heart”. Love seems to be radiating from her. That’s what I want for myself as I begin this aging journey – love with all my heart & let it shine through my face.

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