Friday, December 31, 2010

It's been awhile...

The past few weeks have been deliciously full of family, friends and good food. In fact, tonight we are hosting the grown-up New Year's Eve party while the kids host their own shindig next door. I'm done with the cleaning, the champagne is chilling, balloons are on the way but I need to get cooking (and do a little something about my appearance). I want to thank all of you who have visited me here over the past 12-rocky-emotional-unbelievably-unsettling months and who have taken the time to offer encouragement and support. I love it here and I'm looking forward to a creative-roll my sleeves up-and-get-busy-2011. So I will see you Monday Morning with the start of some new pieces but until then...
I wish you a happy, happy New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 20, 2010

On my doorstep today...

This gift from a dear friend is so super welcome in my home and on my holiday road trip. I have six Splendid Table podcasts ready to go but will add this to my collection of things to do in the car other than bug-your-partner-while-he's-driving-and-fidget. Of course I also have a knitting project in my bag and a New Year's Eve Party Menu to plan. But this book will undoubtedly eat up my time. If there is one thing about living in The Bay Area that I miss most it is the abundance of good bread(there are lots of things but that is one of the biggies). I'll be making starter (from this book) and trying out the recipe for the "country loaf" in the New Year. I've got a mid January deadline for the ETA 9 show which I'll be participating in so there will be lots of new small paintings in progress to share here in addition to the bread baking. Time has slipped away from me and this is not exactly the post I had planned but I'm checking out until January 1st and look forward to seeing you all in the New Year (with new work, new food and new fun).

Warm Wishes for a Happy Holiday!

ps: if you have a minute (or five) check out this tartine bread video:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gezelligheid* Concert

Tonight I'm going to this place to hear this man. I am anticipating nothing short of magical. Happy Friday : )

* Gezelligheid (Dutch pronunciation: [ɣəzɛlɪɣhɛit]) is a Dutch abstract noun (adjective form gezellig) which, depending on context, can be translated as convivial, cosy, fun, quaint, or nice atmosphere, but can also connote belonging, time spent with loved ones, the fact of seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness. The word is considered to be an example of untranslatability, and is one of the hardest words to translate to English.[1] Some consider the word to encompass the heart of Dutch culture.[2]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

food and craft...

Wednesday already? Not quite sure how that happened but we've been filling our days with baking, making, wrapping and talking. Lots of talking going on in these parts. The cold seems to have given new life to our family dinners and everyone is ready to stay at the table a wee bit longer and there are lots more laughs too. There also seems to be more time reading on the couches (instead of in bedrooms) and we have a new reader in the house who loves to keep me company as I knit. This year (back in our home) the traditions we missed last year feel like a warm hug on these single digit days. And that is something to celebrate : )

Friday, December 10, 2010

warm and wooly

There's been a lot more knitting than painting going on around here this week. Well, actually there was a bit of furniture painting (a great alley find i couldn't pass up). Knitting is just so easy by the fire, at the kitchen counter, in the car waiting for kids. There was also a bit of fabric dying for some special gifts and some batches of sugar cookie dough made for this weekend's Christmas Cookie Extravaganza. Ok, it's not really an "extravaganza" but colored frosting, sprinkles, coconut and m&m's = a big mess and big fun : )

Have a lovely weekend!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Old Man Winter...

bring it on!
This weekend brought 5" of snow, a Christmas Tree, a high school entrance exam, a snowball fight in Millenium Park, a new window and the knowledge that we aren't in California anymore.
Things are feeling quite cozy around here (thanks to the new window and the twinkle lights). So what are you doing to ready yourself for the season of darkness and cold?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A piece of my mind...

knowing (what to keep and what to let go)

just between you and me (less is more)

work in progress : )

No, it's not what you think silly! It's just that I have found few words to share here these past few weeks. Since the summer my head has very slowly been wrapping itself around being home and I've struggled a bit to find my voice. But there has been a shift recently and images are beginning to flow into my notebook and onto scraps of paper which I tuck away for safe keeping. It feels good. And so for now there will be more pictures than words, more show than tell, but I'm sure that will change soon as all things do...see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

it's that time again...

The snow began falling today and there were many hearts warmed by these first dancing flurries. I love this time of year as the skies grow dreary and grey but the house glows with the warmth of the fire, the scent of fresh bread and pots of soup (which become staples) and piles of knitted hats, scarves and mittens near the door. It's at this cold and quiet part of the year that my home feels most like a haven to me. Spring is exciting and awake with possibility, Summer is a big out breath, Autumn is lovely and a bit wistful but Winter is deeply nourishing to me. If I had to choose I would say that Autumn is actually my favorite season but I need them about you?

Monday, November 29, 2010

the start of something...

With the festivities over and a very quiet house I'm hoping to see more of you this week : )

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

It took a lot of work to pull this all together...but I loved every minute of it : )

Hope you are all healthy, happy and full this holiday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Simple can be deceiving....

For the love of all things knit I was about to give up on this simple tank top. I finished the knitting of it last Thursday (after 10 long months) and I was all set to sew it up and post pictures of yet another completed knit project when things took a turn. The pattern is two identically knit pieces which are supposed to be matched up one right sided and one wrong sided with the front and back seams showing. I had a big problem with the seam as the two sides kept spooning when they were laid out as opposites. I must have sewn and undone the first seam 6 times (including once with the sewing machine which was a big mistake). The shoulder seams had similar issues as I was undecided about the seam showing or being invisible and every way I joined them they just looked sloppy. So after many failed attempts at getting this thing together I decided to flip the 2nd half and show the purl side of both pieces. This piece frustrated me to no end but I was determined to finish it (it will go with this skirt which i plan to finish before next summer) and this morning I'm happy to say it's moving to the finished pile. The less there is to something the better every bit of it has to be ( i know this to be true with food and yet sometimes i forget to apply it other things in life). So another yarn monkey is off my back and I'm ready to get back to painting tomorrow. Although, I did really enjoy the ease of the crochet edge around the arm and neck openings and started seriously thinking about starting some granny squares for an afghan. Any one know of a good tutorial on crocheted granny squares?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New work for the shop...

I just finished listing these three little blocks and a few other pieces on etsy. With the holiday season quickly approaching I think it's time for a bit of free shipping. Yep, free shipping until the end of November. Happy Day : )
See you here tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I'm just about to roast the potatoes and leeks for tonight's soup but I wanted to share this new painting which I was able to finish up over the weekend. Lately I find myself drawn to layered images and text. I'm finding the grey areas of my life so much richer and fulfilling (although messier) than what appears to be in front of my eyes. I was speaking to a friend yesterday and we laughed over the fact that we are both cursed with optimism. Not that there's anything wrong with optimism per se but I'm learning that if I can move beyond what I expect to happen I will arrive at what was supposed to happen. My optimism leads me to believe that things will work out and for the most part they do...but I guess I have a new appreciation for what gets us there. Life is in the details, right?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Easy peasy...

Just popping in to share some week night yumminess. This 20 minute white bean soup and the kid made sticky buns were a perfect ending to a long week ( i used bacon instead of pancetta and skipped the crostini).

Happy weekend : )

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

just in time...

Two scarves completed just in time for the chill which arrived today (with a grey sky which seemed a bit too wintery if you ask me). The pink and orange scarf has been in the works for two years (for real) and the blue one just about a year. What can I say.... I like the beginning of making, the picking colors, imagining what something could be. It's a time of excitement and possibility, you know? But lately I'm in the mood to wrap things up, finish old projects and give life to half finished beauties I have laying around. Anyways, I will be sharing a few of these old projects from time to time and will be sure to share the embarrassing amount of time each has been in progress. The painting pictured is coming along nicely and I have a few others in the works as well. The kids have a half day and there are things to take care of today and tomorrow but I'll see you over the weekend (or possibly Monday) with a few finished pieces.

So, are you into starting fresh or finishing things up these days?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tricks & treats x 3....

Yeah, I know.
Being home alone with this drawer after two weekends worth of company and lots of sheets to wash, laundry to do and dishes to clean could be dangerous. But as I've mentioned I'm much more savory than sweet so the kiddos stash is safe with me (well maybe just one tootsie roll to help me with the vacuuming) ; )

ps: see you tomorrow with some new works in progress...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quince paste (all's well that ends well)

Quince paste was on the ever-growing-never-ending list of things I want to create. Have you tried it? It's addictive and it's it's been on my mind ever since I first tried it at a party right before I left California. A friend brought a small piece that a friend of hers had made and then just a few weeks ago my sister-in-law served some when we visited. It never fails to amaze me just how much yummy goodness is out there just waiting to be stumbled upon. Like the grilled corn and roasted delicata squash dish with a dab of garlic aioli I had a few weeks ago or the out of this world locally produced rosemary smoked bacon a friend got her hands on. In all my years of wine drinking and cheese nibbling I can't figure out how this luscious treat never revealed itself to me. Anyways, I checked a few cheese counters in my area and found lots of fig paste but no quince so I decided to try and make my own. Once I started researching recipes I realized just how magical this fruit is. It looks like a cross between an apple and a pear with very firm white flesh which is not edible raw. As the fruit cooks (with sugar and lemon juice) it transforms from tough and white to a rosy, velvety aubergine. Things seemed to be going pretty well in steps 1-5 pictured above but then things took a turn for the worse. After an hour of cooking I felt the paste was not deepening enough in color (it was a gorgeous pinky-apricot color but not aubergine) and it didn't seem to be "set" enough to pour into my mold. So I cross referenced a few other recipes and turned up the heat and stirred and in an instant it was "too set" and I had glue instead of paste. The pan, the wooden spoon, the mold I used all required repeated soaking and scouring to get clean (a big shout out to C for helping with that). I was determined to serve quince past to my company last weekend so back to the store I went. And right there prominently displayed in the cheese area was a lovely tower of "Membrillo" (quince paste). It didn't take more than a second for me to scoop a few packages up along with some Manchego cheese and a bottle of Cava....delish!

ps: if you've made quince paste and have any tips I'd love to hear them : )

Monday, October 25, 2010

a quick hello...

secrets revealed::the messenger

Two new painting for the shop this Monday. It feels so good to be back in the studio creating and pouring my thoughts into the wax again. I need to make this quick as someone in this house turned 14 today and is patiently waiting for me to wrap up on the computer so she can unwrap her birthday gifts (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET PHOEBE!!!). Hope you are all having a lovely Monday and I see you later in the week with more work...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

In the studio (painting and thinking)

Hi there. I'm just taking a quick break to have a bite to eat and clear my head. I've been in in the studio for the past few hours working on some new pieces which need to be submitted for consideration tomorrow (yeah i know the old me would have been more on top of this deadline thing but the new me likes to meander and explore on the way to completed paintings). The mash-up of image, idea and text is falling in place and after just a little more thought and work I should be able to finish these up and photograph them. I'll be back tomorrow to share the finished work....

Friday, October 15, 2010

friday happiness...

This is the family photo wall in progress (i love that the wall slightly resembles a denyse schmidt quilt right now). I'm using a group of frames I already own but spraying them all a muted gold to tie the wall together. Trying to choose the images to use is the hardest part to be sure but we are having lots of fun going through boxes of old photos. I am welcoming this weekend with open arms and looking forward to making scarecrows, a trip into the city and some studio time...

TGIF : )

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


i'm here
playing with wax
thinking about subtle shifts

i'm thinking about how amazing it is that i can notice something new in a thing that has been if front of me for like ever. in that moment it's as if a secret is unlocked. the fact that this happens over and over (when i least expect it) that's the best part.

what have you seen with new eyes lately?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Friday...

Just checking in before we hit the road for a quick visit to my folks house in Michigan. The weekend is going to be full of family, food, football and a trip to the cider mill (it's nice to be within driving distance of family again). For the foodie festivities tomorrow I am making the decadently delicious Hush Puppies with Green Zebra Tomato Jam. I'm not usually big on frying but I came across this recipe in an issue of Food and Wine over the summer and had to give it a try. I've been smitten with the idea of tomato jam since I had a mind blowing version served with a cheese plate at Picco last year. Anyways, the puppies and the complex and yummy jam were a big hit and make great finger food for a crowd. I've tried this version as well (but i used fresh tomatoes) and it was perfect on sandwiches. So what are you doing with the last of this season's tomatoes?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday already?

Well Monday kind of snuck up on me after a festive weekend full of old school shenanigans and soccer. So let's just say the Party Girls and Glamour Girls are fashionably late, shall we? The girls (and a few other new paintings and some works on paper) will find their way into my etsy shop later this afternoon. I'm so happy to have a group of work completed after what has been way too long that I feel inspired and energized. In addition to listing all of this completed work today (which always takes so much longer than I expect) I'm cooking up some chicken pot pie for supper (i actually have 3 different recipes for pot pie but hands down this is our favorite). I made the crusts this morning and will start the filling just before the kids get home from school so the house is filled with warmth and yumminess. See you soon...

ps: the curlers from my last post worked wonders on my curls : )

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Night

Three words:
Mad Men Party. Yep. Should be fun. I haven't seen the show but C is a fan and so he got us tickets for this school fundraiser. Not sure about the whole velcro roller thing. See you Monday with some new party girls for the shop...

Friday, October 1, 2010


Soup season has arrived. It's my favorite time of the year. All of my veggies mix and mingle and every bit of autumnal goodness is put to use. The idea of a one pot meal is timeless and comforting and communal. For this garden in a pot soup I combined onion, carrots, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, kale and cannellini beans. The broth really came to life with the addition of fresh basil, sweet paprika and a parmesan rind thrown in for good measure. It was delish! So, what's in your pot these days?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

starting lots but finishing little...

Is this happening to you as well? I've been in and out of the studio for the past few days but am just not up to getting anything finished. So I find myself scouring newspapers and magazines for text, laying out images and then reconfiguring them after the wind whips in the window and bits and pieces of paper take flight. Then I get distracted by a new idea and start all over. So I have a small group of paintings forming but I can't see how they will all come together yet (that's just the way it is sometimes). My plan is to keep putting things together and taking them apart until they make sense. Where are you finding inspiration these days?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

and the winner is...

Wanda Miller!
Thanks to everyone who left a comment and shared a little bit of themselves. On this picture perfect fall day I'm off to soccer practice(knitting time), a college football game and then dinner in the city with friends. It's shaping up to be a lovely weekend around here and I hope the same is true for you...see you Monday!

ps: wanda please email me with your info : )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Inspired and inspiring...

A friend of mine did something beautiful (you can find out more about it here). Everyone has a story....have you found a way to tell yours?

Monday, September 20, 2010

give away postponed (until wednesday)

Sorry about that. There was a little mishap with encaustic block I was working on for the give away and I had to scrap it and start over...sigh. Pictured above are a few other blocks in progress which I was working on when the unfortunate event occurred . I need to get back in the studio and get busy but I'll see you back here Wednesday...

Friday, September 17, 2010

then and now...

I love being a mother and creating and I can't imagine one without the other. The two roles are wrapped up in each other in a really cool and confusing mash-up kind of way that makes me happy and crazy at the same time. I was asked by my dear on-line friend Leililaloo to be a part of her "Balancing Series". She is hosting a series of interviews where artists who are mothers answer questions about doing creative work and mothering. Dana was my first blogging friend and I love the beauty, honesty and energy of her blog. I encourage you to grab a cup of coffe or tea and check out the whole series on this lovely Friday. I'll be back here Monday with some new work and a give away!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Your thoughts?

Today I'm working on ideas for the on-line class I'm going to be teaching in January (all of the class materials need to be ready by the end of November and so it's time for me to busy!). The really hard part is deciding what the "Encaustic Love Block" will look like. Here is one idea. This is a photo of a custom piece I did a while back but you could use a love letter or a favorite bit of poetry in her dress so everyone would create the same block but it would be unique and personal. What do you think? If you were going to take an encaustic class what techniques would you be interested in learning? I'd love to hear your thoughts....

Monday, September 13, 2010

1+1=good stuff

These are a few things from this past weekend that went together:

a strip mall + amazingly delicious food
me + studio time
soccer + knitting (this is going to work out well)
lots of tomatoes + new recipes from old books

Happy Monday : )

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Here's what I've been up to:

Hi peeps! I know it's been a few days but things went a little crazy-in-a-good-way around here as the kids finished up their first week of school. My mom came to help me hang the honeybee wallpaper on Thursday and Friday (my mom is a rock star when it comes to diy projects) and then my sister and brother-in-law stopped by for dinner with their girls on Friday evening. Sunday we attended a bbq with new and old neigbors which wrapped up the summer perfectly. So today with a few projects checked off the list and a house back in a kind of bearable state I stepped back into the studio and got to work. My head is swimming with ideas and I have a feeling I'll be seeing you here more often...

Oh and-isn't the change in weather dreamy?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I have the attention span of a gnat. The kids started school Monday and I was so excited to get the work groove going again but something happened once I turned up the music and pulled out my boards. I only managed to gesso one board when the following happened:

::i remembered i wanted to burn a cd for -r
::delivered the cd
::remembered that the last wall i painted needed touch up
::repainted the entire wall
::folded (the neverending) laundry
::prepped food for dinner
::called my mom
::cut up strawberries for an after school snack
::walked the dog to pick up the kids
::went to the beach
::made dinner
::helped with homework
::read a bit of "the girl with the dragon tattoo"

But, before I climbed the stairs, I poked my head in the studio and smiled at my single gessoed board. It wasn't much but it was a first step towards something : )

Monday, August 30, 2010

A painting for friends....

This was the last painting I completed before leaving California and I delivered it my dear friends G & C just days before our move. They had commissioned the piece months before and only asked that it be a bit larger than normal and reference their love of the ocean and G's work as a Marine Biologist in some way. I painted the background right away but put off committing to an image for a long time until in one night it all came together and made sense. As I worked into the wee hours to finish it up I just kept layering imagery and adding color and text until the piece felt like it was singing. The next day when I was sharing my work with Sage (age 6) he commented that the rainbow turtle in the upper corner was his favorite part. I hadn't even realized I had mirrored the turtle's shell! I had added love, home, work and nature to the piece and titled it "how we put it all together". But what I realized after Sage's observation was that I guess we really don't know how we put it all together we just do and sometimes it's messy, sometimes it's confusing and sometimes it's really good. Here's hoping something really good finds you today : )

Friday, August 27, 2010

i love chicago...

...and this is one of my favorite places. This past week and a half has brought small stirrings of order to my big messy moving pot of a life. There have been good and not so good things going on but it's all starting to feel normal again. Moving cross country twice in a year is a lot but I'm a lover of order and I always forget to give myself time to settle in. I want things done quickly but want them done right and those two things don't always go together, you know? In addition to interior painting (which will continue well into the month of September) there have been daily visits to the beach or pool, an impromptu dinner with friends, an outdoor concert downtown, visits to new schools and a great meal here. This weekend promises to be lovely and includes a bonfire at the beach and some time in the studio (finally) all leading up to the 1st day of school for my 3 kiddos on Monday. It's been a crazy summer and I am truly ready to turn the page and step into the next chapter. Happy Friday and thanks for reading...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

my home is my canvas....

Please step away from the paint can woman. Seriously, I may have bitten off a a bit too much this time around and I keep adding projects to the list. I am not one to do things half way and my funds are limited so I am doing lots of sanding, staining, priming, painting and of course cooking (the baked sedanini with pancetta and peas was excellent). I am loving the way my home is lightening up but am a bit overwhelmed by how much I still want to get done. I'm not sure how it is for you but it's hard for me to clear my head enough to get in the studio when projects are hanging out there unfinished. I did however, purchase the giant roll of brown paper I use to cover my studio tables (it's a step in the right direction even if i was at home depot to buy paint for an old pine bookcase...). I love to be able sketch ideas and bits and pieces of titles as I work. Also, the oilbars and wax are pretty messy and so every couple of months it's great to start fresh with a new table cover. A few more days of hard work and I'll be ready to get into the studio. What do you need to work creatively? Quiet? A clean sink? No laundry? Loud music? Do tell...

ps: Remember the on-line class I mentioned? Well it's going to be on Jenny Doh's fabulous site "Crescendoh". Her first on-line class "crafting my best life" went live this week (my encaustic class will take place in january). Please check it out and let Jenny (and me) know what you think!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

i love this teeny-tiny space...

and i'm so ready to get back in here and work. However, I'm headed to D.C. for a few days to visit with my in-laws and take in some of the sights and sounds of our nation's capitol. I'll see you back here next week with some more info on the encaustic love block class (on-line in january) and a few sketches of new work which will hopefully be happening soon...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Project # 2 (and some exciting news)

The kid's bathroom. This bitty space measure 40" x 60" and had only the open cabinet pictured for storage. With a teenage girl and two boys sharing this one small space we had to find a way to maximize it's potential. Thank you Ikea. You are a small space wunderkind and this sink with 6 storage cubbies (which i need to find baskets for) and two interior shelves turned this into a truly functional space which is now ready for back to school mornings. In order to go from an 18 inch sink to a 24 inch one we had to replace the toilet as well (we found one with a 15 inch tank). The new sink/cabinet is more shallow than the old one and so the room feels bigger and the new faucet, light and extra long mirror all lend a sense of openness to the room which is still too small to hold two people at once but feels just perfect for one.

Onto the exciting news. It seems that one of my paintings in the ETA LA show was purchased by a production company to be used in a movie. A big movie. I'm so excited. My little 10x10 painting will be in the apartment of a character in her mid-20's and I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that I will be able to see it in the background. The movie comes out next Spring and I'll share more info then. The other really exciting news is that I have been invited (by someone I really admire) to teach an e-course on her great new site. My class will take place in mid-January but the site goes live next week and I'll share more details then.... for now Happy Monday to you!

ps: i probably won't be in the studio until the end of the month. a trip to dc to visit my in- laws and last minute school preparations and orientations promise to keep me busy in the coming weeks but then i'll be back to work. i can't wait really but my head is still sorting things out : )

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Project # 1

The fire place. When the house was built in 1870 it was a coal burning fireplace. Sometime between then and now someone converted it to a shallow gas burning fireplace and tiled the surround and hearth with large pieces of dark green granite (it was always a bit too dark and a bit too formal for me). During my time in Northern California (this past year) I discovered Heath Ceramics and their fabulous little outlet just behind the pottery minutes from my house. I was at the factory store buying a thank you gift and I walked back to the tile room where I immediately spotted the small box of matte white diamond shaped tiles and it was love at first sight. Luckily for me they were on the odds and ends shelf so they were 75% off and there was just enough for my mini project (seriously, i only had 4 tiles leftover!). The tiles are from the not yet released dwell line and were left over from an installation at Cowgirl Creamery (you know how i feel about cheese and they are one of my faves). They couldn't be more perfect.