Monday, February 28, 2011

Snow Day

Last week, Portland was hit with a late winter snow storm.
Not alot of snow - but we are usually blessed with a layer of ice on all the roads with the snow.
Since my day job is at a school, I was lucky enough to get a snow day.
The morning was a bit mucky and I was grateful that I didn't have to drive - but as the day progressed, my hubby and I headed out on an adventure.

I am getting ready to convert one of the rooms in our home into a new art studio. Due to the type of work that we do, we are seperating the messy and the messier.
My husband does alot of work with sawing, drilling, sanding, etc.
I do the painting part.
So we are seperating the work space so that the power tools don't get mixed up with the paint brushes.
This is good for both of us
and especially good for our marriage - if you know what I mean!.
We need to change the flooring in the room that I will be taking over.
In an effort to do this as cost effectively as possible - we headed to a Portland treasure . . .
The Rebuilding Center is a thrift store for building supplies -
and it is a treasure trove for an artist!
When builders tear down and do remodels or . . .whatever -
they can donate the resuseable supplies to the Center for resale and repurposing.
This place is brimming with old cupboards, toilets, bathtubs, lumber, light fixtures, door knobs, shelving. . .
the list is endless.
Everything has been used - much is rather "dated" - and it is all cheap!
And I mean - cheap as in - "what a great deal".
And the RBC practices what it preaches in the construction of the builidng itself. Let's go on a little tour . . .

The main entrance - it's  cob construction and sculpted to look like old growth trees. So unique. I love it.
Look at the texture and detail on those trees. And all of the windows are reclaimed.

I love this look - Old paned windows "collaged" together to create a wall.

Doors, doors and more doors. There are rows and rows and rows of old doors. Just think of the murals that could be created!

Lumber, siding and flooring . . .oh my!

These would be just perfect for some weather garden stakes.

Need a window? Single paned? Multi-paned - more windows than you could possible imagine.

I love tis flooring - made with old doors - randomly cut and put together like a quilt. Old siding boards create a gorgeous walkway.

Unfortunately, we didn't find what we were looking for while we were there. And since we went on one of the coldest days of the year - and a good portion of the building is open and not heated, we didn't spend quite as much time as I would have liked - but it was a great field trip. And my creative brain was a hoppin' when we left.

Thanks for coming along on my little field trip with me!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Birth of the Wine Barrel

If you are my "friend" on FaceBook, then you have some photos of this project . . .
but here is the full progression.
The barrel is completed!
So first - a little history on this project.
A friend of ours traveled to the Napa Valley this last fall for a wedding.
Good friends of his were getting married and he was the best man.
I saw photos of the wedding at the vineyard - WOW - so beautiful!
After our friend got back he sent me a message and said that he had purchased a barrel
from the vineyard and wanted me to turn it into a work of art for a wedding gift.
Talk about a humbling request . . .
his instructions were simple -
1.try to reflect the essence of the vineyard
2. Include their names and wedding date
3. Include the quote that was on their wedding invitations
4. Put my "mark" on it . . .
I think I accomplished all of the requests.

The before . . .in its all it natural glory.

The first layers of paint. The "house" and basic landscape were taken from the vineyard itself.

The back of the barrel - continuing with the hills and creating the rolling vineyards.

The vineyards are laid in . . .but now it needed some vines and grapes.

Finished up - on side. the straps were painted black, the detail has been laid in, and it is all sealed for protection. I love how the sealer makes it glisten and look like satin.

Another view . . .from a different angle

The "front"

Another view . . .

And yet another . . .

The top - including the quote and the couples name, date of the wedding and name of the vineyard.

That's it -
now when people aske what types of things
I paint on, I can truly answer . . .

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fortune Reading

A dinner out with my honey.
Where shall we go?
Someplace simple
Not too fancy
How 'bout Chinese?
We eat. We talk. We catch up.
The server brings the bill and the obligatory fortune cookies.
I have this thing for fortune cookies.
I love their crispy texture and the almondy flavor.
Not too sweet.
And that oh so fun surpise inside!
I like to ponder on things going on in my life when I open them.
And then read the printed words.
I crack open the cookie and eat it.
Grandma told me years ago - the fortune won't come true if you read it before you eat the cookie.
I'm not willing to take that risk!
Finally. . .I get to read it . . .

"Your life will be prosperous if you use your creativity"

I'm so glad I didn't peek before eating the cookie.
I want this one to come true.

And in many ways - it already has.

And now for a commercial announcement:
We have just set up a display in a new shop!
Plaques, mirrors, lazy susans, prints, long boards and short boards, oh my!
Pasha Boutique
101 s.state s.#140G Lake Oswego, Or 97034

If you are in the Lake Oswego area and need a bit of cheerful color for a gift or just because,
be sure and stop by and say "Hi" to Heidi.
If not - check out her items at heron-line store.

Thanks Heidi - for letting us be a part of your great store!
Hmmm . . .maybe the fortune is working it's magic already.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Power of the Song

Do you ever have one of "those" days?
you know the kind - you wonder why you got up in the morning
you feel like you just can't find your groove
you feel like you have lost your way
you wonder if you are making a difference
were the efforts you have made over the last 20 years of your worth it?
did anyone notice? did anyone care?
you wonder if you are moving forward or just treading water
you wonder why? how? what for?
Yea . . .
you know the kind.

I had one of these recently
or maybe I had 2 or 3, but whos counting.
I came home from the day job feeling no joy or inspiration or desire to do. . .
And I'm not just talking about artistic inspiration.
I'm talking about all I really wanted to do was crawl in bed
pull the covers over my head
and let the tears flow.

So rather than choose the bed and covers -
I did go out in the studio.
And I got out some color
And I put on my ipod.

I generally have my ipod set on randon play.
I have what I have dubbed "musical ADD" or MADD for short.
I get really bored listening to a whole cd of the same artist.

I wasn't really paying attention to what was playing.
I found myself singing along a little while I painted - but I wasn't really engaged in the music.
Until one song came on . . .
"Bellavia" by Chuck Mangione.

Now if you are much younger than I am, you probably haven't even heard of Chuck Mangione - especially in the jazz/insturmental scene.
But he was big when I was in high school and since I dated a guy who played the trumpet and flugal horn, we listened to alot of him.
I even saw him in concert in the 80's.
Anyway - moving on . . .

The song Bellavia never played on the radio.
It never won a grammy or received any commercial validation.
But the first time I heard it, it burrowed it's way into my soul and has held on ever since
When I hear this piece of music it causes me to
stop and pause
to listen. . .
every single time.

It came on the ipod.
I slowed down. I listened.
I pushed the repeat button.
I turned the volume up . . .way up.
And I let the music wash over me.

And my mood began to shift.

I felt joy.
I felt hope.
I felt warmth and color.

There are so many pieces of music that speak to my soul.
I hear them and I remember emotions, smells, the weather, where I was, what was going on in my life,
where I first heard it . . .
Can you think of anything else that can have that effect on us?
I really can't.
Not to that degree.
Never underestimate the power of a song.

And just in case you have never heard Bellavia . . . click on over and let it wash over you.

And don't forget to crank the volume up!

Share your favorite song - something that is a "go to" song for you..
Maybe we can all find a new favorite.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


One of my dearest friend's daughter is turning 13 this week.
 I have known this young lady all of her of 13 years.
I met her when she was just about an hour old.
I have known her mother for 17 years.
To honor her daughters birthday, she has asked friends and family who have played a significant role in her life to write or draw or create something for her that can go in a book.
Then when life gets hard
or she is questioning something
or she needs "advice". . .
she can turn to the book.

So I wrote a list of lessons that I have learned.

And when I finished - I wasn't sure if the lessons were for her or for me?
This was a great opportunity to think about the things that really matter to me.
Things that I want to continuing embracing in my life.
Things that I need to embrace a little harder.
Here are my lessons for now . . .

1. You are a unique individual. It is good to be unique! Your friends may want you to be just like them, but embrace all the things that make you . . .you! That includes the clothes you wear, the way you wear your hair, the things you choose to spend your time doing.

2. Middle and high school only last for a short time. It may seem like forever while you are there – but it really won’t last for very long. Have as much fun as you can, but don’t let the drama take over. (I'm not in middle or high school anymore - but I am in the "workforce" - and this rule hasn't changed at all!)

3. Your mom and your dad have been there before. Listen to their stories. Listen to their advice. They love you and only want what’s best for you. You may reach a point where they seem “dumb and embarrassing” – but they are some of the coolest people you will ever know. (I'm so glad I am past the "embarassing" point).

4. Find that “thing” that you are passionate about. Whatever it is. And make time for it every day.

5. Laugh . . . a lot! Everyday. Big, make-your-belly hurt laughs!

6. Play – no matter how old you are.

7. Family first! There may come a time when you want to put friends first – but friends will come and go. Family will be there forever. (True when I was younger - still true now).

8. Don’t worry too much about boys and dating. There will plenty of time for that. And being a teenager is complicated enough. But whatever you do – don’t sacrifice your very special girl friends for a boyfriend. When you break up with the boy, it’s those girl friends that will help you get through it. And if he doesn’t like you spending time with your girlfriends, then he doesn’t deserve you. (I've been married almost 25 years - but my girlfriends are still a key element to making the journey worthwhile.)

9. No. You may never need algebra. But you still need to do it. And later in life, you may not like some of the things you have to do in your everyday life (I still don’t like to clean toilets!) – but you will still need to do them. The sooner we accept that lesson, the better we can learn to balance our time to do the things that we like!

10. Try new things – new foods, new adventures, new activities. Who knows – you just might like it.

11. Dream big!!! If you want something bad enough – you can make it happen.

12. Once you know what your dreams are . . .ask yourself everyday –“is what I am doing taking me closer or further away from that dream?”

13. Treat yourself well – and expect others to do the same. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

14. Know when to be selfish and when to be generous. Sometimes we have to take care of ourselves first so that we can help others. Helping others feels great and makes us better people – but you have to feel good about yourself first.

15. Learn to cook – and never underestimate the power of sharing a meal with people you care about.

16. Learn to do laundry – trust me. This will count the first time you turn your favorite white shirt pink!

17. Work! And work hard. The world doesn’t owe you anything. If you want or need something, you have to work for it. And if you do – you will appreciate and cherish it so much more.

18. Learn the difference between “wants” and “needs”. This simple concept can save you time, money and heartache. (I'll admit it . . .I'm still working on this one.)

19. Be kind . . .to everyone. Remember, everyone is fighting a battle.

20. Be brave! Brave enough to go places you have never been, to talk to new people, to try new things . . .to be yourself!!!

21. Never stop learning. We spend a lot of time on this planet. The journey will be a lot more enjoyable if you are always learning and growing.

22. And last but not least . . . when it feels like you can’t take anymore, remember that “this too, shall pass.”

Let's face it -
I'm still learning lessons and there are many more I could list.
But this is a good place to start and keep me grounded.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Time to Plant

We are getting ready for Spring.
Mr. Husband Man once again took my cryptic messages and scribbles on
napkins and built me some supports for planting peas and beans.
We've been ammending our beds and giving them a little compost.
I was allready to go out and start planting the peas this weekend -
and what do I wake up to this morning???
No! No! No!

Now I understand that it is still officially winter.
I understand that a garden is about patience.

This is ok -
I am a creative, artistic person.
I majored in theater, for crying out loud . . .
I can imagine!
I can close my eyes and imagine that all of that brown and sad parts of my yard
are full of lush green growth, with little pods of
sweet beans hanging off of them.
I can imagine the vines of squash and cucumbers climbing out of the
confines of the beds.

I can do this.
I can make it.
I can hold on until the days start getting a little longer.
Until the brown is replaced with bright colors.

I can make it . . .and it will be worth it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Shoes!

You know that song by Paul Nutini . . .New Shoes?
He talks about starting his day and opening his closet; he puts on a pair of a jeans and a shirt
and a pair of shoes that are ripped and falling apart.
And he says - "these shoes just doen't suit me. . ."
So he gets some New Shoes and suddenly 'everything is all right!"
Now I am a strange girl.
I'm not into shoes like many girls are.
Maybe it's because I have a hard time finding shoes that fit - and I have a bad knee, so heels are not a good option.
But enough whining - I digress . . .
I have my favorite basics.
I live in them.
But eventually - you need to get new shoes.
Which I did recently.
But the old ones weren't completely ruined - so I couldn't just throw them out . . .right?
That would be wrong!!!

So they got a makeover . . .

Now I tried a pair of these about a year and a half ago -
I repainted my old clogs.
I used my acrylic paints and they looked great . . .for a while.
Eventually the paint cracked and peeled off.
They were a novelty and I still wear them around with my jeans.
But I got on a bit of an obsessive quest -
Is there something out there that will work on shoes and not come off ?

I consulted my expert friend Google.
I found that there is a line of leather paints specifically engineered for things like shoes and jackets.
I bought some basic colors. Followed the directions and they turned out great.
Now we will see how they wear.
These were fun to do and now I am on a quest to find some more to paint.
I mean - if I don't have a lot of shoes - and least I can have unique shoes - right?

What about you - have an old pair of leather shoes that you want painted?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Soup Anyone?

Bacon, carmelized onions, carrots, celery and potatoes all sauteing in the pot!

Saturday was a crazy weather day. It started sunny and quite pleasant. In the afternoon, the wind started whipping and the rains came a tumbling down!
By Sunday morning, I just felt the need for comfort.
 Comfort in a bowl to be exact.
I don't know about you, but I could eat hearty yummy homemade soup just about every day in the winter.
And my favorite?
Navy bean.
Thick, creamy, full of vegetables, navy bean!

Add the dried beans . . .saute some more! Ooh - don't you wish you could smell this?

After the addition of broth, some key seasonings and a few hours of slow cooking - we are ready!
Paired with some toasted pita bread . . .our patience is rewarded.
The perfect end to a winters day.
Well . . .almost the perfect end.
We did finish if off with a game of dominos -
that made it perfect!

Now I am ready for the week!
What is your perfect comfort food? Do share . . .

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How Did You Spend Your Saturday Morning???

I woke up this morning and read a few blogs and was then overcome with a need to experience a little nature. 
I wanted a walk - but not the typical around the neighborhood walk.
I needed to be a little closer to the real thing.
Fortunately - I have some of that almost in my backyard. 
And Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helen's were looking particularly fine this morning.
Enjoy this little postcard from Portland . . .

Now that I had experienced some of God's art work, I am going to work on some of my own . . .

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That. . .

Last Saturday I attended the Seattle Gift show. We were doing a little research and investigating if this was something we want to get involved in in the future. It was fun, it was overwhelming, it was inspiring . . .
We tried to talk about it on the way home and I finally just had to say -
Enough! I need to process first.
So I am processing still.
It was an exciting environment, but when you see the rows and rows of hundreds of vendors all vying for the same business, it really is amazing. Talk about a humbling experience.
Anyway . . .
while there we met Amy. Amy has a wonderful business making soy candles and yummy smelling things.
I have a really hard time with "artificial" smells -
they make me sneeze and give me a headache
and feel nauseaus.
I avoid the laundry soap aisle at the store at all costs! 
Real scents from real essential oils . . .I have no problem with.
Amy makes these great candles, and linen sprays and things with natural essential oils
and they are Yummy! 
And the massage candles!!!
Have you seen these before?
This was a first for me. I feel like I have missed out on this great thing. But now my life can go on. . .
I L.O.V.E. them.
Light the candle, and as the wax melts you have the perfect temperature massage lotion made with soy, shea butter and essential oils.
It is the perfect temperature. No too hot like I expected.
And it makes your skin sooooo soft.
Did I say I LOVE them???
Check out her website and think of her for gifts for you, your friends, your spouse. . .everyone!

In other news -
I am working on the wine barrel. I am working on some other projects. I am trying to rebuild inventory.

These are a few examples of some 4 x 4 inch wood blocks that I have finsihed up this week.
I love working on these.
They just feel good when they are done.
A little piece with a big impact!

I'm also working through an online class with my hero.
I have never met Alisa - but I stalk her blog every single day.
I want to be just like her when I grow UP!
She is conducting an online class on sketching.
I doodle alot - but I don't really sketch.
Yes - there is a difference.
And I set a goal for myself to take more classes so that I can be inspired by new styles, new ideas, new approaches.
It's tough sometimes to attend a regular class, so I am sold on these on-line classes.
I'll keep you informed of my progress.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A completed project -

A few weeks ago, I wrote about returning from a mini-retreat and the fact that I had been overcome with the need to KNIT - a typical thing that happens to me every winter.
After all - who wants a big, warm knitting project draped over your lap when it is 80 degrees outside!
But when it is cold and the winds are whipping around . . .that's a different story.
Well . . .last night I finished the
knitting project . . .A prayer shawl made out of a thick, soft yarn - purple and black because . . .well just because purple makes me giggle with happiness!
After finishing it up, it looked a little too plain - so I added a little extra excitement with the fun colored funky yarn. I sewed it in.
 I didn't know if I liked the effect when I started and then I reminded myself - when I am painting and I don't like what it looks like, I just keep painting. When I don't like something - it usually means it's not finished yet.
 So - I took my own advice and kept adding on until it looked "finished".

And here it is . . .

I am excited to have a little something unique to wear over my shoulders when I'm a little chilly.

And since winter isn't over yet - I'm starting another project.
This time - a blanket for my daughter.
I wonder if I can finish it before the weather warms up.  Hmmmmm. . . .I'l keep you posted.