Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Give Away!

and so it goes
(she celebrated the future still standing in the past)


It's that time again! Time to celebrate the ebb and flow of the years with the wave of 2011 on it's way back out to sea and the small swell of 2012 just a bump on the horizon. I'm still learning how to ride out these years, the good and the bad and the mix that most of them are, but I always feel optimistic at the beginning. I always feel like the new year is something to be met head on and greeted properly and so I stand on the shore and lets the first wave gently wash over my feet. In celebration of the new year I am hosting my annual give away. Anyone who leaves a comment on this post between now and midnight 12/31 will be entered (in a random hat drawing) to win the 3.5"x5" block painting shown above.

Warmest Wishes for a Happy New Year and best of luck!

ps: the writing at the bottom of the painting says 'beautifully suited to share a glass'. i raise my glass to all who have visited this little blog in 2011. i have truly appreciated your insight, your time and your support throughout this crazy year and i thank you for stopping by....cheers!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

cookie love...

(they are almost too cute to eat this year)

I always start to second guess decorating the sugar cookies as I mix the frosting, fill the pastry bags and set out the coconut, candies and sprinkles. But it's so worth the mess and everyone is always so proud of their work. This year we added a Welsh Terrier cookie to the line up (note the black and tan dogs on the rack). I'm signing off until next week but wanted to send a round of warm and yummy wishes your way : )

Monday, December 19, 2011

these two x 3...

these two (are almost where they need to be)
take one::take two::take three(sold)



This is exactly how this time of the year feels to me. I'm swimming in the thick of it and enjoying the journey through murky waters. Many things have now been checked off my holiday to do list and most of the running around has been done so this week is about home and tradition. Today after school there are many sugar cookies to be decorated and tomorrow there are gifts to be wrapped and placed under the tree. There are Holiday performances and parties at school. There is Christmas Eve dinner with friends and a drive to see family Christmas Day. And then there is the realization that another year is coming to an end.

Thank you for taking the time to stop in and visit and happy, happy holidays!

ps: there are also many, many eggs now : )

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Q&A...

what we think and what we know
3.5"x10.5"


Have you ever noticed that once you know what question to ask you have a pretty good idea of what the answer could or should be? It's in those moments when we step back from what's in front of us that the questions begin to form. Big picture questions that lead to subtle shifts in our thinking, which in turn, slightly alter our actions and interactions. Dreams are amazing because they allow the mind to wander out of the clutter of our daily concerns and often lead us down paths of discovery. I would like to bring more of the open-minded-much-less-cluttered-way of-dream-thinking into my life. What are you wanting more of in your life these days?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What's been keeping me up at night...


As you may or may not know I am a huge fan of the Chicago band Wilco and this week they are playing five shows at five different venues in the city (each one smaller and more intimate than the one before it...love that). Chuck and I went to the opening night at the Civic Opera House (with Theo) and it was a gorgeous and inspired show. They unexpectedly opened the show with this song which is the kind of long rambling song that you can drop yourself into and wander around. The evening ended with Wilco, Nick Lowe and Mavis Staples on stage and it was truly magical. We went to the 2nd show last night (with friends) and will go to the 3rd show on Thursday(just me and C). That is a lot of late nights but I'm loving the vibe at the shows (and all of the energy, joy and dancing). During the days I've been busy wrapping and shipping art work (thanks to all who have visited my shop lately!) and packaging up gifts to far away family. I have one painting so close to being done that I look at it every day and think... today I will finish you and then for one reason or another I just don't get to it. But today after a trip to the post office with an armload of packages I will head in to the studio to finish that little piece and start on three others. So, I'll be back here tomorrow with a good night's sleep under my belt and a new painting to share.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh my...


This morning when I went out to give the girls fresh water something caught my eye in the sand of their run. And there it was...the 1st egg. Followed this afternoon by the 2nd egg casually laid in the center of the back lawn. This is a very exciting development and I can't wait for the kids get home from school to share the news!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

PLAY IT LOUD.


I'd say there is a 100% chance that I'll be painting and playing this in my studio this evening...beginning to end it's really, really good.*


*i'm especially loving this tune right now



Monday, December 5, 2011

Hello darkness (and light)...


Contradiction, I so get it. While the days are nearing their darkest, I am loving the warm glow of holiday lights inside and festive white lights strung in the yard near the chicken coop (over what will soon be our 1st ever skating rink!). And, I am happily preparing to say goodbye to 2011 (such a difficult year) and opening my arms wide to what 2012 has to offer. Over the past week I've been away from the blog, the camera and the studio. My parents were back in town for my 13 year olds performance in a local production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which was so, so good) and my in-laws arrive on Thursday to see next weekend's performances. We hosted an unexpectedly large sleep over for five 15 year old girls and still managed to get the tree up and the pantry restocked for the week on Sunday. The time away is filling up my creative bucket and I am and doodling ideas in my notebook and clipping bits of this and that to use soon. And while I may find a bit of time here between house guests, baking, making and wrapping I expect that most of my ideas will patiently wait for the quiet of January to make their way into the world. I love everything about this time of the year, don't you?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Let the cooking begin...


I love Thanksgiving. I love the traditional dishes, the family gathering, the moment of reflection on the good parts of very tough year and the smells which fill the house and take me back to all the other Thanksgivings I've ever celebrated. We spent a busy weekend cleaning and reorganizing parts of the house for our six house guests who will be arriving Wednesday. We also spent a little more time cleaning things up outside and going through tubs of winter gear to see who needs what this year. The house is in good shape and I'm turning my attention to the basics of the Thanksgiving Feast starting early this morning with the gravy base. I find gravy to be the lynch pin of the meal and the one thing that can throw off the rhythm in a kitchen full of people. I was so happy to find this make ahead gravy recipe in the NY Times a couple years ago and have used it every year since. That gravy base and this method for cooking in just the turkey (in just 50 minutes!) have turned my holiday into a pretty stress free event with delicious results. Our guests are bringing homemade rolls, pies and snacks and lots of love and laughter and I'm looking forward to their arrival. But right now there is work to be done so I'll see you back here next week and no matter how you celebrate or what's on your table I hope that it is fabulous...Happy Thanksgiving!



oh and....free shipping in the shop now thru 12/17!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New girls...

::so beautiful::
::the surprise of memories::
::lost in wonder::
:: finding the poetry::
::growing strong::
::only in dreams::
::no sleep for a beauty who seeks adventure::


These little mavens hold many messages which I have gathered over the last few weeks. In the past I have created small groups of Party Girls (party hats) and Glamour Girls (crowns) but this time I added a few Dream Girls (black caps) to the mix. Each of the girls wears a dress of inspiration and carries a golden heart filled with love, patience, kindness and forgiveness. I love that no matter how many of these girls I create over time they all have something different to say. The four girls in the top row are 3.5" x 4" and the three girls in the bottom row are a wee 2" x 3.5". I'll be adding them to etsy later today or first thing tomorrow. I'm off to runs errands and tie up loose ends...what are you up to on this gorgeous Tuesday?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Block Party...

Block Party
(it takes all kinds)


Not much to report today except that I'm happily busy painting, baking bread, trying to finish Annabel (the curse of the simple sweater is that it allows your mind to wander and so I found myself repeatedly making mistakes and having to pull stitches back), folding loads of laundry, giving the chickens some free range time and starting on a weekend of yard clean up with three kiddos who had no school today. I finished the painting right up there very late last night and am loving the colors, the mood and the energy in this piece. I know which house in Block Party would be mine the question is...which house would be yours?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

lost in wonder...


The first snowflakes drifted through the air this morning so light and sparse and beautiful. It was yet another reminder (along with darkness at 4:30 pm) that autumn is behind us and we are heading gently into winter. Right now as I try to write this post, four men are cutting concrete and using a sledgehammer right outside my studio window. I'm not sure what they're doing or how long the mind numbing noise will go on but luckily I have a field trip planned. I'm heading to Owl Lumber to pick up a few large boards and some hopefully lots of scrap wood for painting. The collage I put together in my last post led me to an a-ha moment about a way to work larger and I'm super excited to get started on something. I was planning to start on a group of Party Girls and Glamour Girls this morning and have my wings, words and blocks all ready to go but they will have to wait until this evening. They are very patient girls and I realized yesterday just how long they have been missing from my shop. I worked late last night and have almost completed my 2nd 6" x 22" painting and will share that tomorrow. I've got beans in the slow cooker for dinner, just ordered lots of the best bacon ever to put in the freezer for soups, pots of beans and sunday morning breakfasts which is another sure sign of winter is upon us. Stay warm, be well and may you find yourself lost in wonder today.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

In between dreams

in between dreams
6" x 22"


(a closer peek at in between dreams)



You know that time of the night in between dreams when rogue thoughts randomly appear and interrupt your slumber? This piece is kind of about that chain of events which changes the course of your thinking ever so slightly but just enough to matter. This is about those visual or verbal morsels which hang over your dreams like a cloud waiting for a break in the action to make an appearance. They can come from your something you saw, something you heard, something you meant to do. They can be from just yesterday afternoon or from your childhood. But, they are like a string to unravel and follow, a key to what you know to be true, a treasure waiting to be discovered.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

late night work...


Hard to believe it's been two weeks since I've been in this space. The days have fluttered by with many good things for which I needed to be fully present. There were two birthdays to celebrate in ways big and small, visits from family and an emerging writer's work to see performed live on stage, bulb planting with oh-so-many first graders, days way to warm to let go and days much to short to seem real. So after an unanticipated absence I'm back here and in the studio giving voice to the images and ideas that have been finding there way onto to post it notes, the backs of receipts and scraps of paper. I am in love with this time of the year and the sense of gathering and that it brings. Looking back, looking forward and remembering to enjoy the in between is what has been on my mind as I've been away. Last night, when the house was finally quiet I found my way back into the studio and started on the 6" x 22" panel shown above which had been patiently waiting for me. Once I started working it was hard to stop so I took some advice from Earnest Hemmingway who was known for saying he never stopped writing until he knew what came next. That makes perfect sense to me. Having somewhere to start is a good thing and though it doesn't necessarily mean you know where a thing will end it opens the door to finding out. See you soon...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

nesting and knitting...



A new round of houseplants have found their way into my autumn nest. As I washed slipcovers, vacuumed out closets and tidied up before my mom and dad came to visit last week I had to face the fact that another couple of indoor plants had died. I'm great with outdoor flowers, shrubs and trees and I'm rocking the raised bed garden and have huge pots of herbs thriving just outside my kitchen door. But once a plant crosses the threshold and comes into my house it seriously has no more than 6 months to live. I water them, talk to them and need their cheery green company but I just can't seem to meet their needs over time. So, I have a couple of new, gorgeously alive plants and as usual I'm very optimistic about our relationship : ) Over the weekend I received and rolled six lush and lovely skeins of Quince and Co. yarn and started Annabel. It's been so long since I've knitted something on size 10.5 needles and it is knitting up so quickly I find it difficult to put down! If I can tear myself away from the meditative garter stitch I will begin working on two beautiful 6" x 22" panels that I picked up in the city yesterday on a mini field trip with a friend. I hope the middle of this week finds you all warm and well and I'll see you in a few days when I have some work to share.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Side project...


Hi there. I think I've mentioned before that I'm helping out with Sage's elementary school garden and now it's harvest time. Over the past week when I wasn't in the studio or getting little people (and not so little people) where they need to be (or finishing up knitting projects and reading this book) I've been busy helping parents and children harvest what's growing in the school garden. I am in charge of coordinating the dishes to be served at the "taste of the garden table" at tomorrow's Harvest Festival. Things were a bit stressful earlier in the week but everything is falling into place with lots of volunteers and helping hands now. I chose to pick lots of tomatillos for my dish and am also busy cooking other things and cleaning for my parent's visit this weekend. However, for dinner on this chilly and rainy Thursday, I'm planning to make a quick pot of tomato bisque to serve alongside it's bff grilled cheese. I couldn't resist the super lovely watermelon radishes (pictured above) at the farmer's market last weekend and am wanting to use them in some type of salad tonight...any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Going, going but not quite gone...

::places from the past colored her dreams::
::tick, tock (she found herself lost in the poetry of the seasons)::

As I finished up these two paintings in the wee hours I was thinking about how much more color has found it's way into my recent work. I am still smitten with (and wearing) lots of oatmeal, faded blue, lavender, rose or any shade of grey but my latest pieces have a bit more vibrancy than all that muted fall beauty. Maybe it's the lingering summer temps these past few weeks. Or, maybe it's the gorgeous zinnias growing in the raised beds (where all but the pole beans and chard are done for the season). Or maybe it's something more, something inside, something yet to be fully realized.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Waxing and waning...

most of the time i can't tell if i'm coming or going
(one)


most of the time i can't tell if i'm coming or going
(two)

This kind of says it all...see you Monday.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Art in the everyday...



Art takes many forms around here and this week I'm loving art in the form of the-oh-so-perfectly-me handmade shoes from the Aurora Shoe Company. I spotted their shoes on Soulemama's blog and was smitten with their product, their story and their commitment to craft (love.love.love them). The other everyday art I'm celebrating is the first home baked bread of the season. My starter died over the long hot summer and so last week when the skies darkened and the weather cooled down I created new starter and yesterday I used it to bake my first two loaves of Tartine's Country Bread. Grilled in a bit of olive oil and topped with an amazing pesto from the farmers' market (basil, greens, spinach, garlic & asiago) it was nothing short of food as art. As I was enjoying my meal I read a detailed NY Times article about Steve Jobs. Having already composed this post in my head I was really struck by his amazing and inspiring gift for putting art into everyday objects. He had the ability to create something we needed and make it something we wanted. I love both the art and science of my Mac and my iphone.

What everyday art do you celebrate?

the art of making a shoe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9ndaEUA1Fw

Monday, October 3, 2011

Falling into place...

night shift
(under the full moon dreaming)



earth, sea, sky
(everything & still so much more)



Good morning to you on this beautiful Monday. I'm happy to report that all kiddos are back at school (although the oldest seems to be coming down with something) and that the weekend was just exactly what I needed it to be. I finished the two pieces pictured above over the weekend and am really loving the way the background color in the top one so perfectly captures the skies of the past week. And the whale, what can I say, I love that creature. Things seem to be falling into place with the school year one month in and after school activities in full swing. I have stumbled a bit finding my rhythm in this new (and very favorite) season. But I think the shift has occured and I am painting, cooking and knitting with a new joy and energy. How about you, have you settled into the season yet?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Embracing what is...

embracing what is
(she held her dreams close)




embracing what is
(she nurtured a deep sense of place)




embracing what is
(she quieted her mind)



Have you ever had one of those moments, kind of like an epiphany of sorts? The kind of moment in which you just realize things are-what-they-are and the only thing you have control over is yourself. Your actions. Your words. Your thoughts. That's it. It's a moment I have to keep having over and over. It's a lesson for mr about embracing the moment, who I am now, what I know, who I love and the things I hold dear. The rest of the stuff comes and goes and works itself out, or it doesn't. This week I've had sick boys home all week. The big one went back to school Wednesday but the little guy is still here only slightly improved. So this week has been yet another lesson in letting go of expectation. A week of realizing that by letting go what I expected or wanted to get gone and just embracing what is I am left with what is most important. I'm off to join what is most important on the couch with a blanket and some knitting : )

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

embracing almost...


Hi there. It's been a while, right? I can tell you that had I not embraced almost it would have been a lot longer. I thought I would have the above knitting projects finished up over a week ago and ready to share but as it turns out knitting 15" of a sweater bottom is an endless task and so i'm showing the almost done sweater in all it's knit-from-the-top-down glory and moving forward. The fingerless gloves are a must have item now that the chill in the air is here to stay (i'm wearing them as i type...see how handy they are?). And the hat was inspired by some lush yarn I had in my stash. The knitting has been keeping my hands busy at soccer games, doctor's offices and pick up lines at school. After setting the needles aside for a while it's a great feeling to pick them up and turn out some wooly goodness. Since I was here last we've had a fox visit the henhouse (early one morning) and raccoons two nights in a row (picture me in my yard. broomstick in hand. 3am. scolding a raccoon for bothering my girls. seriously.) Needless to say, I haven't been getting much shut eye (the coop is super secure, still I worry). Over the weekend we attended the The Hideout Block Party and saw the inspiring and legendary Mavis Staples and the uber talented Andrew Bird perform. And then on Sunday we were part of the Windy City Chicken Coop Tour. We were only expecting 2 or 3 people since we were the only location this far north of the city and it was pretty rainy and cold. So.Very.Wrong. We had 50-60 people show up over a three hour period! It was crazy fun talking about chickens all afternoon with so many kind and curious people. Well, that pretty much gets you up to speed on the happenings around here. What in the world have you been up to lately?

ps: I've been working on some new paintings as well and will share and ramble about them tomorrow : )

Monday, September 26, 2011

the whole love-

Oh Monday, you just keep getting better and better.

I have more to share tomorrow but right now there are some tunes to be played and dinner to cook ...see ya!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

My, how they've grown...


This week has been full and good for me and I hope the same is true for you. I have a few things in the works, a few things completed and a few things I need to start (i should be ready to share photos of the knitting, painting and dyeing projects on monday). As you can see from the photo above the hens are almost full grown. They are expected to start laying eggs sometime in October (at 4-5 months of age) and we are all very excited about that. We have started letting them out into the yard at least twice during the day and they are loving it. Someone is always outside to keep an eye on them and with everyone back at school and work that someone is usually me during the day. I'm finding the time I spend out there with them knitting, reading or working in the garden slows me down in such a very good way.

Do you have something that makes you slow down just a little bit each day?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Looking back...

9/11/01

Ten years ago yesterday I filled the kiddie pool and gave my two little ones popsicles while my heart broke over and over and over. All I knew how to do in that moment was to make them feel safe and loved. Yesterday I shared my experiences from that day with them and we watched a documentary about 9/11. My heart broke over and over and over like it was just yesterday.

I'll see you here in a few days with new work...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Shiny and new...

up and away
(she gathered the memories of a colorful past)



night magic
(the flower bed dream)

Here are the two new pieces I've been working on this week. I'm going to add them to my shop and then I'm dashing off to lunch in the city with friends I haven't seen in seven years.
Happy Friday and have a lovely weekend...

ps: this weekend soccer/knitting season begins!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Parenting is kinda like this, right?


I'm back. Actually I've been back from Northern Michigan since Monday evening (later than expected) but can't seem to catch up with the week so far. We are into week two of school but there are still some issues being ironed out, lots of meetings going on and team stuff and clubs starting up for the kids. In addition to all that I have this overwhelming need to stock up on groceries, plan meals and make sure everyone has enough socks, jeans etc. (i think all of the 9/11 anniversary talk is subconsciously kicking my nesting instinct into high gear). But today, all of that is done and I'm heading into the studio to continue work on a piece I started last week (which I promise to share tomorrow). When I saw the picture of myself swinging in the tree (up north this past weekend) it so hit home as a visual image of what I'm experiencing as a parent with kids ranging from 7-15. There is the overwhelming joy of swinging, the stomach turning feeling of spinning and the need to hold on tightly. But there is also the need to recognize that you are only 2 feet off the ground and it is ok to let go. The letting go is the tricky part. Sometime you fall off clumsily and stumble other times you just step off with very little drama. And actually, I'm learning, the stumbles end up being the moments you remember, the special times, the laugh out loud funny times, the extra hug times. It's all good here and I hope the same is true for you...see you here tomorrow : )

Friday, September 2, 2011

Opening...


The 10th Enormous Tiny Art Show officially opens today. If you are anywhere near Portsmouth, New Hampshire stop by and check out all the tiny goodness. If your not in the neighborhood be sure to take a look at an amazing collection of work here. We are off to Northern Michigan for a long weekend of canoeing, fishing, hiking, knitting and board games.

Have a lovely weekend : )

Monday, August 29, 2011

goodbye dear summer...


We sent summer off with some good old fashion fun at the Chelsea Fair. We attended the figure 8 demolition derby and tractor pull, saw a baby cow being born and visited lots of other farm animals in the five barns at the fairground, went on a few rides with the kids (yep, i went on that one), drank $1.00 lemonades and had many bags of fresh popcorn. We enjoyed time and meals with cousins and grandparents and got ourselves settled back in and ready for a new school year. Today the house is quiet and I am busy in the studio and out of the studio. It's only the 1st day but I welcome the routine, the quiet and the time. That, and I know we have a long weekend in Northern Michigan just around the corner : )


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Make room for beauty...


Hi there. This is the commissioned piece I mentioned a few posts back. It is finally complete (except for a little paint around the edges) and it makes me really happy. It took me so very long time to complete this 16x20 inch piece but it found it's voice and taught me a few things along the way. The title is "Make room for beauty" and while it's hard to see the detail, the top is covered in silver leaf and the phrase "make room for..." is repeated many, many times with many different words (tears, joy, yourself, magic, etc...). It is for a special young woman and I hope she loves it : )

ps: we're off to my parents for the weekend so I'll see you back here monday on the 1st day of school!

Monday, August 22, 2011

new work x 7...

once she accessed a place of wildness (there was no turning back)
hindsight (she learned to treasure unexpected bits of wisdom
enormous tiny thing (a curious detail shifted her perspective)
the past drifted through her dreams (like a poem she used to know by heart)
magical thinking (or how ideas take shape)
she came upon a whisper (and it spoke a hundred truths)
elements of order (the sum of what is)


This collection of work is heading to New Hampshire and can be found on line here within the next day or two. A big high five to the amazing women who run Nahcotta for putting on 10 great shows filled with tiny goodness!

Happy Monday : )

Monday, August 15, 2011

early morning roasting...


As the last two weeks of summer begin to play out here they promise to be full of work time, play time, nothing time and everything time. I woke up today thinking about food (which is often the case around here) and realized we had not made use of the oh-so-gorgeous sun gold tomatoes we picked up at the farmer's market saturday so I set aside a handful for lunch today and then quickly tossed the rest in the oven with some olive oil, thyme and salt so they can be used in omelettes, pasta or on pizza later in the week. They smell divine and should be ready within the hour so I thought I would pop in here to say hello. We had visitors over the weekend who are now safely back home and yesterday as the weather took a autumnal turn I caught up on laundry, cleaning, marketing and still found time for knitting and sipping wine with friends. So this Monday I feel industrious and well rested and plan to get busy finishing up my pieces for ETA 10 as well as finishing up a last detail on a larger commisioned piece I created for the friend that visited. The self imposed pressure of creating something for a friend had tied me in a creative knot for some time but I worked through it and I'm happy to say that she loved the piece the minute she saw it. My soon to be high schooler has track practice twice every day, there are dentist and orthodontist appointments and school supplies to shop for as well as trip to my parents to enjoy a small town fair and a trip to Northern Michigan to Canoe, swim and fish and eek out one final hurrah as we kiss summer goodbye. I am looking forward to all of these things and am looking forward to sharing new work here as well as I get my creative mojo back in full swing. Sometimes I can get pulled under by the energy shifts that occur with the seasons and sometimes they wash over me and I feel renewed. So what's on your plate as summer winds down?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

pieces of the puzzle...


After weeks of filling my days with summer follies I made time to get into my studio and get to work on my pieces for ETA 10. I've had the boards for quite some time but had put off getting started while I slowly accumulated snippets of newsprint and bits of color that inspire and scribbled titles and ideas in my notebook. Yesterday (when rain cancelled our plans for the beach) I went to work putting together the pieces of the puzzle I had gathered and I'm so happy with the way things are coming together. For me the real work is in the gathering and getting started, after that it's just working the pieces until they sing and that's the part I love. My parents were in last weekend to see my 13 year old perform shakespeare in the park (an adaptation of twelfth night which was fabulous) and a dear friend and her son are coming to visit and explore Chicago this weekend so I may not be back here until early next but these pieces should be ready to share as my 8/21 deadline is just around the corner!

Have a great week and thank you for stopping in...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

when there are enough hours in a day...


We were supposed to be visiting my parents in Michigan this weekend but the excessive heat, violent storms and our recent travel led us to postpone our trip until later in August(thank you mom & dad) and it was a solid decision. This weekend was that unexpected one where you gain time and it magically unfolds in slow motion and you are able not only to do the hours of yard work that need to be done but also to visit the farmer's market, cook*, bake* and take time to enjoy it all. The past few days have been full of physical labor in my own garden and the elementary school's garden, time in the kitchen and time with board games, lots of time in the kitchen and time at the table, time in the studio and time reading the paper (and snipping bits here and there for new work) and at the end of each night a walk for the dog and a glass of wine in the chairs by the the coop with C as we watch the chicks enjoying their new digs.
This was a full circle weekend around here and I can only hope the same is true for you : )


(also made these which were awesome)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

last week (or a few things that go too fast)....

time on the water & time to notice things

go karts & being seven

17 years & dusk at the beach

Time with family is one of those things that always goes by too quickly. After a few days together in a lovely house set up for twelve you kind of get into the rhythm of living large. There's lots of noise, someone always around, someone always cooking something or making plans to set off to the beach, go for a bike ride or walk and once we part ways I always feel a little melancholy (it's as if I instantly feel nostalgic about events that happened only days ago). We've done a handful of these trips thanks to the generosity of my in-laws over the past 12 years and they have become a treasured means of looking back for our family. But now we are home and settled in, unpacked and trying to stay cool as the temperature hovers around 115 : ( I am on a mission to keep the chickens cool now that they are living outside 24/7. So far today I have fed them frozen baby peas, cool cantaloupe and blueberries and misted them with the hose (they didn't like that last one). I have also set a small plastic tub on it's side in their run and put a few frozen ice packs in it so it it a bit like a cooling room. They haven't come around to lying inside the tub yet but I'm going to keep putting treats in until they get the idea. I'm so happy to say that the office is cleaned up and put back together and my studio is calling my name. I have a looming deadline ( ETA 10!) and nine boards prepped and ready to go. I didn't realize how much the chicks sharing my space would hinder my ability to work. The heat lamp, closed door and fine layer of dust that took over the room led to zero painting being done for a number of weeks but now life and painting go on. I'm hoping to share the foundations for these new pieces within a few days and am looking forward to working on a large family of pieces which is something I haven't done in a while. What are you up to during these dog days of summer?



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Down to the wire...


Moments after I started this post yesterday morning I received a phone call about the darkening sky. Within 10 minutes I was on my belly in the coop gathering wet and scared chicks into their coop (see the area under the coop...it makes gathering them in a hurry a wee bit tricky) in the middle of an insanely powerful storm which lasted only minutes but brought down trees, crushed cars and skylights, and left us without power for the 3rd time in two weeks. I only have a few moments before the cab shows up to take C and I to the airport. We are off to The Outer Banks of North Carolina where the kids have been since Friday with their Grandparents, Aunts, Uncle and Cousins. But before I take off I wanted to take a minute here to share the finished coop and the fact that the girls have officially left my office/studio for good. We put the finishing touches, locks and claps on Sunday and the chicks spent their 1st night in the coop. The timing isn't great for our trip since they are not yet in the groove of going into the coop themselves but we are so, so grateful for a few friends and neighbors who enthusiastically offered to chicken sit. We realize it's a lot to ask but then again who doesn't want to hold a chicken? Have a lovely week!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

for a special someone...

wings give her flight
(but the stars hold her dreams)


What you can't really see in the photo is that the wire
between the two antiques screws in the top hold
countless little silver stars from Germany.
When the piece moves they shimmer
like real twinkling stars (like magic).
I hope she likes it!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

how summer is playing out...


Summer has been a bit tricky this year with many distractions involving summer school, a two day power outage and chilly temps (just to name a few). These happenings have left me a little late in getting my summer groove on. But a brief get away (on my own) this past weekend with very special friends and a beach town set things right an I'm moving into full time summer mode. Tara inspired me to fire up some homemade pizzas but I have a problem. I have so many great crust recipes I can't decide which I like best and which one consistently results in a beautiful blistery crust. So this week we are doing our own little pizza cookoff to determine which recipe will be our tried and true favorite. I'm also experimenting with toppings and am going to start with black olives, rosemary and roasted garlic, spinich, feta, slow roasted tomatoes and pine nuts and pesto, roasted red pepper and goat cheese. In other kitchen news I am addicted to sweet and spicy goodness of the caramelized cashews with cayenne pictured above. I've made peppered pecans and candies walnuts in the past, and while they are lovely, they've got nothing on the buttery cashew encrusted with crunchy maple syrup with the kick of cayenne and warmth of cumin (although i have been using 1 tsp ground cumin instead of the 1 1/2 whole cumin called for). In the studio I've been working on a block print which still needs a bit of tweaking. I've gotten the image where I want it to be but still have to fool around with the text for the dinner plate. This week I will surely find my way back to encaustics and hope to share some new works by the end of the week. I hope your summer is in full swing!

ps: what's your favorite pizza topping?

Friday, June 24, 2011

This week and this guy...


Over the past seven days I have celebrated a 16th wedding anniversary, Father's Day and a 44th birthday with this guy. There is so much I could say about Chuck here but once again I'm going to let Billy Collins do the talking for me:

Litany

You are the bread and the knife,

The crystal goblet and the wine...

-Jacques Crickillon


You are the bread and the knife,

the crystal goblet and the wine.

You are the dew on the morning grass

and the burning wheel of the sun.

You are the white apron of the baker,

and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.


However, you are not the wind in the orchard,

the plums on the counter,

or the house of cards.

And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.

There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.


It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,

maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,

but you are not even close

to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.


And a quick look in the mirror will show

that you are neither the boots in the corner

nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.


It might interest you to know,

speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,

that I am the sound of rain on the roof.


I also happen to be the shooting star,

the evening paper blowing down an alley

and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.


I am also the moon in the trees

and the blind woman's tea cup.

But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife.

You will always be the bread and the knife,

not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.


Billy Collins

Monday, June 20, 2011

discovering what they were meant to do......

Watching these chicks over the past two and a half weeks has been like a meditation of sorts. Witnessing their journey from cute and clumsy balls of chirping fluff to their first outside experience where in an instant they discovered their inner chickeness has been fascinating.

this was day one...

They were such sweet, clumsy, chirping balls of fluff just over two weeks ago!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Some summer news...

seen but not heard
(there's so much more to it than this)


sun, rain and a sea of color
(hello summer)


everything has it's place
(but some things are always shifting)

Summer is up and running in these parts with a bit of rain induced coziness. It's funny how even on a 70 degree day the wind and rain can bring about a chill that makes the wool socks a must in June. My oldest is attending a 3 week prep class at the high school every day and while she gets out the door early with Chuck the house seems so quiet with just the boys, the dogs and the chicks. Actually the chicks are getting louder by the day and flitting and flying about in their new expanded digs. I'll share a few photos (or maybe a video if i can figure that out) of them soon. We'll be taking them outside for the 1st time this weekend if the rain holds off and the temperature really reaches 80. I can tell these girls are ready for a little outdoor adventure (of course they will be safely enclosed in hardware cloth to protect them from the foxes, raccoons, hawks, falcons and stray cats we have around here). I am so happy to let you know that I was invited to be a part of ETA 10 which runs from September 1st thru October 2nd at Nahcotta Gallery in NH. I love being a part of this amazing series of shows and have started a small body of work for the show which I'm really excited about that I hope to share a bit of next week. The other summer news is that 2 of my paintings were selected to be a part of the "Autobiography" exhibit at this years' Milwaukee Avenue Art Fair here in Chicago(7/29-31). I haven't shown work locally in a while and will be sure to post more details once they are ironed out. I hope your summer is off to a creative, inspiring and engaging start...