Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year and Blue Moon

This is my latest food discovery. Bob's Red Mill Eight Grain Cereal with added walnuts and Martha Stewart's recipe for Cranberry Sauce plus a nice amount of half and half. It's perfect for breakfast on New Year's Eve; all festive and tummy-cozy.

My latest journal pages. Yeah, I kinda went crazy with these images what with my last post and new banner but I'm taking PhotoShop out for a walk so that's what happened.

John brought me a bouquet of Rubrum Lilies for Christmas that I almost forgot to share. Heady fragrance, goes nicely with pine and kisses under the mistletoe. I started out with 12 items on my list this morning and have already crossed off half of them - YAY! Plus meandered all over the net laughing and crying with all youse peoples on your blogs. Prayed for a few people with big challenges and laughed with others.

Enjoy the Blue Moon tonight and remembering the ups and downs of 2009. Thank you for every hug and kind word; it's the love that goes around that makes life incredible. I'll toast you and me and everybody on the planet at midnight; gratitude for the light we all share.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quiet Days

Snow. Beautiful, fluffy, ginormous flakes; how excited we were!

I quickly located my camera and captured a few shots in the fading light.

Everything is moving so slowly. I feel like I'm under water, sounds muffled, colors distorted.

Reading novels, sweet escape, enjoying my home life, being lazy and languid like a very fat and satisfied cat.

This is a shot of our winter camellia, blooming through the snowfall. It's been blooming for several weeks; Kanjiro is the variety. Blood red and full of the promise of new life.

I've discovered a wonderful blogger named Havi. She has the wisdom.

It's been a roller coaster over here. The usual winter ups and downs. Maybe I just notice my moods more in the winter when I have the luxury of time. Very well. I'm rolling over and going back to sleep now. Wake me in time for the Maypole.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I am grateful today for having a family that can celebrate the traditions together. Gone are Bettie and Ralph, Justine and Hubert, Bessie and George and so many giants of my childhood but here today is the new crop; Nathan and Shellie and Rich and Stephanie and Susie; my heart's delights.

Stephanie was our hostess this year; we had 12 shining faces around the table. Our merry band is aging though, we range in age now from the 20's to the 80's. Unless you count the dogs which we certainly do. Then we have a 3 year old and a 4 year old. That would make 14 around the table.

How did I get this old? Surely I am the fresh faced one in the middle. But no, I am the matriarch now and the glue that holds the family together. It is a role I love playing.

Wishing you smooth sailing through the holidays.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Joyous Noel & the Doppelganger

Yesterday was amazing. After weeks of just futzing around being stuck in one place I finally found my mojo again and got back into the studio. In fact I finished one project for someone else's book, booked my flights to Australia (yay, only one stop in L A) and my daughter/friend Shellie came over and wrapped me in duct tape to make a dress form.

John shot these mercifully blurry photos of the procedure. There are many, many videos showing how it's done; we plunged in with me wearing a shirt of silk underwear, sleeves cut off, and a wrap of saran wrap around my hips and neckline. First Shellie wrapped me in the black tape.

My goal was 3 layers of duct tape for rigidity but after 2 layers and a mounting feeling of claustrophobia, we stopped. I didn't have the silver tape so I used a bunch of colored tape I had instead.

If you decide to do this, don't do it 2 days before Christmas after a month of eating pumpkin pie unless you want the water retention version of your body. ha ha. There is a lot of laughter and personal humiliation involved.

Here she is, stuffed with a pillow and lots of packing bubbles. Mounted on a big Christmas tree stand with a paper tube pushed through a layer of cardboard at the bottom. The whole thing came together in around 2 hours but I already had the stuff together before I started. Now I'm set to make amazing clothes like those divas on Project Runway.

Two more journal layouts. In the first one I am floating, dreaming, sleeping in that lull before the holidays. Full of pie and sugar plums.

I'm attending Mac classes and learning learning learning my new computer. Things will probably look a little wonky for awhile. Thanks for coming back here even when my posts have been sparse. Things will pick up for sure. xo

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Fog Rolls In

I stepped outside the kitchen this morning to catch this shot; it is surely a reflection of my present state of mind. The plaster party goes on in the background but this week there will be a Solstice celebration, Christmas with the family, huge waves of joy and sorrow as all the memories of past holiday seasons flood in. I dreamed I was standing on a rock with rising water all around me. I put my hands over my eyes. I woke up.

If you feel a little buffeted by the waves of emotion during this season, imagine that we are holding hands here on the inner net; that we make each other stronger, firmer and less alone. That's what I'm doing. xo

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Still Here

The elves are still working madly in the studio. Lots of plaster flying around; aprons so crusty and stiff that they can stand up by themselves. Big, heavy objects to paint, sand, form and give pleasure. Girl reporter has been busy with other tasks; blogging has slowed to a standstill.

Meanwhile the studio is a shambles of plaster dust, plaster flakes, plaster paperweights and plaster disaster. Hot, frenzied, inspired ideas boinging off the walls.

Hot is a word that we've not used recently. But our cold snap is supposed to be ending this weekend and right now it is raining softly at my house with no ice forming. Keep your fingers crossed.

Lots of journal writing. A life isn't fully lived until it's been digested in the journal (thank you, Theo).

Oh pooey. John just reported that we are having freezing rain after all and the ice on my rhody leaves proves it. Dang. Good thing I got all my laundry caught up. I'd better get this posted before the electricity goes off. The dreaded ice storm cometh.

These photos from the kitchen. Chilis soaking for a Chilacas con Puerco.

Xochonostles (tunas from a certain type of cactus) ready for deseeding and stewing up in a wonderful soup. Since John got his new computer (no more needing to wait for mine) he has come up with loads of new recipes to try out on us and yum yum have we ever been eating good.

Zanahorias, pickles carrots with chilis and onions. He's tried many recipes but finally found the perfect one. What a wonderful way to get your vitamins.

I had a phone order yesterday for a gift certificate so I thought I'd make it official here. You can paypal me $33 for a gift certificate that I will e-mail back to you and then your giftee can choose a print off my site and I will Priority Mail it out right after Christmas or whenever you wish. Eventually I will post this on my website but I'm in the first stages of a whole new site so it may be awhile.

Busy. So very busy, happy, full of the Christmas spirit. Light a candle and hug a friend. 'Tis the season.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Call for Plaster Art

Time to let the cat completely out of the bag. I'm very busy right now getting the first stages completed in the book writing process. Stephanie Lee and I are co-authoring a book on the use of plaster in art and we are both up to our necks in plaster projects, writing and organizing images for the gallery section of the book. To that end, I know a lot of my readers are artists who have worked in a variety of materials and that many of you have plaster projects you have done that you'd love to share with the whole world.

To have your work considered for inclusion in the gallery section of the book, we ask that you send us a high quality jpg file sized 300 dpi at 8x10" (ideally) or 5x7" at least for our consideration. We hope to have all the files assembled by December 15th and then follow up with a release form and photo credit shortly after that. We are really excited to get a book out on plaster and mixed media because no one has done one yet and we love plaster for so many reasons.

Think casting, sculpting, painting on a plaster substrate (or joint compound) and the like. The book is scheduled to debut early 2011 and it's going to be wonderful.

On other fronts I am getting more familiar with my new iMac, my new printer and PhotoShop. I've not put Elements on this computer because I know I will fall back on that for speed if I have it and I want to make the full transition now. Everything goes slowly at first as anyone knows who has looked at all the tools in PhotoShop for the first time. It's overwhelming.

We had our first killing frost here last night so the yerba santa is drooping sadly outside my bathroom window. I will miss seeing those verdant boughs first thing each morning - I see winter is officially here, even if the calendar says we have a few weeks to go. Snow in Houston? And possibly here by tomorrow? Brrr, time to get out the woolies.

Haven't painted in the wee book except for this one face. And today I'll be mixing plaster for the next project. Music, garlicky food, wine at night, sun shining through the big windows in my studio, fragrant face creams, putting on my apron to work in the studio. These are the things that make me very happy today. That and finally posting to my blog. I have big plans for the future. More sharing with you here; more blog tutorials and inspiration, lots of reaching out. I love feeling connected after so much time to ponder and work in solitude. I need both. How about you?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I'm Still Here

I haven't dropped off the planet but I have a new program to learn on the computer and it's eating my brain. Wow, Photoshop CS4, who knew? And getting my new printer calibrated (not yet). And then the whole new operating system on the new computer. It's all a bit much.

(Not to mention a week with my sister visiting and a really wonderful Thanksgiving with my family. Ahhhh, enough to make you love winter.)

Plus I'm taking several online courses this winter (painting, photography and Photoshop) and I'm amazed at how much I love them. Being able to watch the demonstrations up close and over and over. It does have me thinking. Maybe next winter I will offer one too. I have about a half-dozen teaching commitments for 2010 that will keep me busy until then.

So I won't forget to check in from time to time with an update. I am painting and writing up a storm in the studio. I'll share all of it soon.