Tuesday, November 25, 2008
My memories go back to the time when the children were all in elementary and middle school. I have fond memories of sitting around the dinner table. It was generally casual. I love to cook, but hate the cleanup. Often our dinners were dished up at the stove and we carried what we needed to the table. In my childhood, dinner required "setting the table" with plates, glasses, napkins, knives, forks, spoons, and all of the accompaniments like butter, salt, pepper, jam, etc. Each meal was an event. And it was lovely. But I often choose a more casual approach. . .
Once we were all settled, I wanted to engage in conversation with the family. We would play "High Low". One by one we would go around the table and tell about the high point of our day, and the low point. Some days, we would have wonderful, exciting "highs". Mostly; however, it would be simple things like who they played with at recess or completing their homework on time. This simple ritual gave me a wonderful glimpse into my children's daily lives when they were away from me.
We will play a similar game around our Thanksgiving table this week. Each place setting will contain three pieces of candy corn. Each of these pieces represent an item of gratitude, which we will take turns sharing. This will be followed by a prayer of Thanksgiving and Gratitude before we begin our meal. Then - considering that my children don't sit around the table together often anymore, I am sure that it will resemble the "wild rumpus" that is oversaw by Max in the book "Where the Wild Things Are",(which is my favorite children's story -and hopefully, there won't be any gnashing of terrible teeth.
Although I try to maintain an attitude of gratitude throughout the year, I wish to take this time to express my gratitude for the wonderful blessings I experience in my life everyday. I am grateful for family - my wonderful husband of 22 years, and my children; I am grateful to still have my parents in my life and my ability to pick up the phone and talk to them any time I want; I am grateful for some amazing friends (you know who you are - I have awesome girl friends!!!); I am grateful for my job; I am grateful for my talents and the opportunity I get to use them every day; I am grateful for my home - it's not perfect, but it protects me from the cold and rain; I am grateful for so many of my daily conveniences like good cooking utensils and my gas stove, a washer and a dryer, a refrigerator, indoor plumbing, a warm coat . . ." I could go on for hours! May you all take time to recognize those people and things which you are grateful for and may your Thanksgiving be a day surrounded by friends and family.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Here is mermaid chair hanging on the wall of the display.
Is that a Laurie Miller design? Yep! One of my other product lines that you can see at my shows this season. . .heavy cotton tote bags with unique black and white designs. Perfect for groceries, school books, or a bohemian purse.
Thanks for sharing this experience with me. It was really wonderful . . .now I need to return to the studio to finish up all kinds of treasures for my upcoming shows! Hope to see you there.
Monday, November 17, 2008
This is one of several designs created with pen and colored pencil. Each one is sold in a double mat, ready for framing. You'll have to come and visit me to see the other designs.
Here is an example of my hand mirrors. Perfect for daughters, your hair dresser, a friend . . .everybody needs a hand held mirror. This is one of several designs.
So here is the deal - my big sale is in Seattle. If you are in the Seattle area, be sure and visit me on December 6 & 7 at the Phinney Winter Fest. Otherwise, if Portland is a little more doable for you - I will be showing a variety of "giftables" at the Scrooge Lives Holiday Festival on December 3rd and 4th at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. The hours are from 10:00-6:00 on both days. Other than that, I will be doing a private sale - I will post the date when I have more details. Make this year something special and think about a special hand made gift for those people who are close to you. Contact me if you need a special order.
I want to thank those of you who commented on how they are going to try to cope with the chaos of the holidays. It seems like alot of you are looking at doing more service. In fact, I am going to a holiday party the first week of December. We are going to do the traditional "white elephant" gift exchange. But this year, we are putting a new spin on it. Instead of cleaning out junk to pass on to someone else, each person will wrap up a description of a service they are willing to do for someone else. An hour or two of housework, a batch of cookies, an offer to teach something you are really go at, etc. I thought the idea was brilliant. What a great way to share the holiday spirit. Keep those ideas and suggestions coming. Maybe you will share something that no one else has thought of.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Cierra and Auntie Michele -
Auntie Michele listening to our creation.
Chrissy and Jon working on the mix and playback.
So here is my question? As the season approaches, what is your family doing to keep the spirit alive and to limit the chaos?
Here's to a wonderful and peaceful holiday season!
Monday, November 10, 2008
As an artist trying to grow my business while working at an 8-5 job, my days off have been spent . . . painting. For most, we are entering into the Thanksgiving season. For me, I am full blown into the Christmas season. I am working hard to build my inventory up for the holidays.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I actually didn't mind the concept of serving. In a way, I was kind of looking forward to it. It was a new adventure! An opportunity to go downtown and feel the energy of the city. I used to work downtown every day - in fact it was where I met my wonderful husband - and I sometimes miss that energy. Nowhere else can you find that feeling. The "city" has it's own sounds, feel, and smells. So I gathered a few items to occupy my time while waiting and headed off on my adventure.
The first thing I encountered was the traffic. Oh my goodness!!! I had forgotten what the morning rush hour commute into downtown is like. I was a bundle of nerves. How do people do that every day and keep their sanity?!! My daily commute to my job is 15 minutes with very limited traffic. And then there was the parking. I found a smartpark garage near the courthouse, but those things are nervewracking. I drove around in circles forever trying to find a spot where I could park and then actually have enough room to get out of the car!
At the courthouse, it was the security check. They ran my bag through 4 times. I carry basic art supplies with me everywhere I go. In my pencil pouch was a compass for drawing circles. They finally decided that I would not be able to do any serious damage with it and let me go - the lady behind me with the miniature scissors for her sewing was not so lucky. She had to surrender those or not come in. What a sad world we live in.
Once in the courthouse, I checked into the jury room. There was a sea of people - a few hundred of us. I walked around looking for a space to become my home for the next few hours. I found my piece of real estate at a round table surrounded with chairs. I sat down and scanned the room. All types of people were there - business professionals, students, retired people . . .and not one person would look at another. No one said hello, or engaged in small talk. In fact it was so quiet, I felt self-concious moving my chair.
People had books, mp3 players, laptops, cell phones, knitting, and crossword puzzles. We were all there together, confined to a single room. According to our instructions, we could most likely be there for the next 8-9 hours. But we were all alone. Obviously people wanted to talk to someone - so they pulled out there phones and talked, completely ignoring the people surrounding them. Others buried their faces in their computer screens rather than making eye contact. It was truly one of the most isolating feelings I have had in a long time.
Now don't get me wrong - I love technology. It frustrates me, while at the same time amazing me with it's power. But as we have embraced technology, we have forgotten how to be human. People would rather communicate through a piece of machinery that to make the human connection, soul to soul. My children send over 3,000 text messages a month. They prefer that to talking on the phone. Emails have replaced handwritten letters.
I never did get called onto a jury - no one did. In fact they ended up releasing most of us by noon. But I left there with a renewed desire to connect with friends and loved ones. I challenge anyone reading this to call up a friend and go meet them for lunch, or coffee, or hot chocolate or tea or whatever you like. Pick up the phone and listen to each others voices. Or handwrite a special note. Let's remember we are all in this together and share the most valuable asset we posses - ourselves.