Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Garden Delights

I have always been fascinated by the fact that artists tend to have amazing gardens.
There is something about creating a landscape of texture and color -
so rich, so vital, so alive.
Now I am not saying that I am an "amazing" gardener - I do ok. But the reality is, I plant it and water it and Mother Nature does the rest.

A few years ago, I pulled out many of the flowers that were in my backyard and replaced them with all edibles.
The season is moving fast.
And we are peaking on many of the items.
In a way-it is bittersweet.
I love to fill my dinner table with items that we have grown.
But it makes me sad - because each meal means we are one day closer to the end for this year.

Every year, when I plant I have a hard time imagining how it will grown and look by the end of summer.
How it will become a tangled mess of greens and reds and oranges and purples.

In fact - a confession - I often overplant because of my lackof foresight.
And sometimes, that works against me.

But all in all . . .
it is a delight for my senses.
Mother Nature truly is one of the best artists I know. . .

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Before and After

Before . . .

 After . . .

And for all of you in those parts of the country that have had record high temperatures this summer. . .
I realize that you are ready for a break.
I understand that you want fall.
You are looking for changing leaves and cooler temperatures.
I understand.
My  heart and thoughts have gone out to you over the last few months as you have suffered.

But allow me a moment of selfishness.
In my part of the world - the Pacific Northwest. . .
we got a late start to summer.
A very late start.

It feels like summer has really only just began.
And I, for one, am not ready for the changing of the seasons quite yet.
I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that as of Thursday - it will be September.
It is time for schools supplies and shorter days and the return of crazy schedules.
I'm not ready.
I still want to think about beach trips and lazy afternoons in my hammock (not that I have got to do that as much as I would like . . .but you know what I mean.)

I promise - I will get on board before too long.
But allow me to enjoy the long days of summer just a bit longer please.

Thank you for indulging me . . .

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend Confessions

 Confession time -
My weekend didn't turn out quite like I had intended.
As you know from my last post, I was expecting to spend a good part of my weekend working on building inventory for upcoming shows.
Well . . .that didn't really happen.
Instead, I spent Friday night with my daughter shopping for wedding dresses.
I would post a picture - but her fiance may look and that would be bad luck.
And I, for one, am not going to be responsible for that.

I spent Saturday catching up on lots of chores that have been nagging at me.
My closet for one . . .
If you could see the donation pile setting in my entryway right now you would understand.

I painted . . .a little.
I think I spent 2 hours - I intended to spend about 6!
I went to my bunko group and ate and laughed and ate and laughed some more.
And we played the game - but let's face it.
The game is really just an excuse for a group of 12 of us - men and women - to get together and eat and laugh.
Mission accomplished!

I did get a nap on Sunday.
So I checked that goal off my list.
But it wasn't in my hammock. Too hot for that.

And I spent some valuable time with my family around the dinner table for Sunday dinner.

As you probably know from past posts - this is a pretty regular occurence for us.
And it seems to be even more important now that 2 of my 4 little birds have flown from the nest and are living on their own.

We had a great meal - my son's girlfriend is vegetarian - so I spread my wings and tried an all vegetarian meal.
OK - it wasn't ALL vegetarian. Since my parents were joining us I was kind and grilled up some chicken for those who weren't feeling adventurous.
But I didn't eat the chicken.

Since it is summer - it was actually really easy.
We had lentil burgers on sourdough rolls smothered in hummus. They were yummy!
And so simple.
We will be making those again.
And then we enjoyed some of summer's bounty . . .

Cantaloupe, peaches, blueberries and fresh basil.
Oh my - what a combination!
As pretty as the summer sun.

Fresh picked green beans straight out of the garden.
Drizzled with a bit of olive oil, some salt and fresh pepper.
Placed on a hot grill and . . .
3 packs worth.
We fought over the leftovers.

Ironic confession -
I do NOT like to eat tomatoes. At least not raw tomatoes.
I do love tomatoe sauce, salsa, and most dishes with cooked tomatoes.
But no raw tomatoes - NO!!!
And I have tried them - every single summer I try a few just "in case".
Nope! Still not buying it.
But I do love to grow them and can them and share them.
So I made a simple raw tomatoe salad for those that love them at the table.
Sliced cherry tomatoes (the variety is "super sweet"), drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and fresh basil.
It was beautiful in the dish - and I really did want to like them because they were so pretty.
Those that ate them said they were delicious.
I'll take their word for it!

My husband missed the dinner this weekend. He was away looking at this . . .
But we will be back here at Oceanside over Labor Day weekend for the annual Labor Day art sale.
And while we are there, I'm sure I will get to see a sunset like this.
And walk in the sand. And feel the breeze. And smell the salt air. And listen to the waves crash. And feel my stress melt away.
And oh yeah . . .sell some art!

If you are on the Oregon Coast for the weekend - take a drive and come see me!
In the meantime - go eat some of the summer offerings while they are still here . . .

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Busy Weekend Planned

So it is almost the weekend . . .what do you have planned?
For me - I will be very busy with . . .

Cleaning the house

 Doing some art . . .

Laughing and spending time with family . . . 

Maybe taking a nap . . . 
Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about it!
Seriously though . . .there will definitely be art happening this weekend.

These are just a few samples of the prep work that my handy mr. man is getting ready for me. Lots of priming going on at our house.
The summer shows are all but over and it is time to prepare for the fall and holiday events.
I try to get as much inventory prepped ahead of time as possible.
Every year - my intentions are really good, and then something gets in the way and I am painting like a mad woman right up to the last minute.
I am hoping to handle that a bit differently this year.
I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Bacs of picture frames getting the "once over" . . .


Chunky mini-canvases getting primed and ready for some color magic.
 A few weeks ago when my friend was here, we made a trek to a cool store in the Portland area called "Scrap".
It's located on MLK Blvd., for those of you who are familiar with the area.
Scrap is a totally unique store - a thrift store of all things that can be reused for art projects.
I have heard about this place for years, but never went until recently.
And oh what fun it was!

When you first walk in, it just looks like lots of junk.
But as you peruse and let the creative mind wander, all sorts of possibilities start coming up.

The place is brimming with a enough paraphenalia to make a collager drool, a textile artist's head spin . . .well you get the idea.
We had a great time coming up with projects.
We bought a few things and then two days later went back and bought more.
This is a table "runner" that I created with some of the fabric I grabbed. Shelves and shelves of upholstery sample books were there for the taking. I snatched up three or four of them. All the samples are perfectly cut and shapped. And they are color-coordinated too!
I cut up and stitched and sewed and created something a little out of the ordinary for my table.

I got a sewing machine for Christmas and have never been a fan of sewing - but as I have surfed around different blogs, I am drawn to some of the textile art that is being created out there.
I know I still have a long way to go . . .but this was a start.
And more importantly - it was so much fun to spend some time creating something out of my normal comfort zone.

And the best part . . .this little table piece cost about 75 cents to make!

Vicki started with this . . .
Piles of thick 100% wool felt.
Leftovers from some type of idustrial project, these are from . . .who knows what???
But it was thick and soft and pliable.
We could tell that circles had been cut out of these, but that was as far as we could solve the mystery.
Vicki cut and manipulated and created these. . .

Are these adorable or what???
I can just see these as lapel or hat pins, clumped together on the corner of throw pillow, on the flap of a great messenger bag.
Endless possibilites.
Total cost?
About 5 cents per flower.

Scrap may have become one of my new best friends!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Love

My little man sharing a kiss with his mommy.

Is that the sprinkler???

I just got sprinkled!!!
Now that he is armed . . .this could get dangerous!

I tried to get him to water the plants, but the plants don't run and scream like nanna does. Shooting everyone else with water was so much more fun!

And later . . .a little garden tour. Here we are, trekking through the wild tomatoes.

More picutres from my wonderful friend Vicki . . .
She has such a way of capturing the beauty and simplicity in each moment.

I love the summer.
I love the growth of the garden.
I love the warm sun.
I love looking at things through my grandsons eyes.
I mean - really. How many of us, as adults, would laugh and smile if we were sprayed with water from the hose?
Thank you, Cameron - for reminding me of the joy that exists in the little things right in my own back yard.

Don't forget . . .Saturday and Sunday, August 13 and 14, we will be a the West Linn Arts in the Forest in Mary S. Young park.
Come support local artists!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Looking with Fresh Eyes

 I have returned from my wonderful vacation with my friend Vicki -
I didn't go anywhere special.
I slept in my own bed every night and ate in my own kitchen/dining room - well at least some of the time.
But I did have a total break from my normal routine.
We It was great to have her visit from Canada. I look forward to her visits every year.
When she visits, it just feels so natural and comfortable.
We talk, we laugh, we do art, we solve the world's problems, we solve each other's parenting problems, we inspire and gain ideas for new things. . .
We went to the movies - like in a real theater with a big screen.  In fact we went to movies . . .TWICE!
We ate food at a Parisienne cafe, a Mexican restaurant, a Thai restaurant and even a local fast food place.
We went on field trips and to concerts.
We spent time pampering ourselves with massages and pedicures.
I coudn't have enjoyed myself any better if I had traveled somewhere.

Vicki is a fabulous photographer and I love when she visits-
she takes random pictures of things in my home and my yard.
I look at my house and my yard and I see all of the flaws -
the weeds in the garden, the dirty socks on the floor, the peeling paint on the deck, the places where something bumped against the wall and the paint in the living isn't perfect, the cobwebs . . .

And then she takes photos and shares them with me and I see it with fresh eyes.

I see the charm in the old bike I found at a garage sale years ago for $15 dollars.
I wanted a bike with a basket filled with flowers for a yard piece.
When I saw this bike, it wasn't as "vintage" as I had hoped, but the price was right and I figured it would work. I paid the man and he asked how I was going to restore it.
I told him my plan and he was not impressed . . .he fact, he was a bit disgusted.
It sat on the side of my house for several years, and we finally pulled it out (thanks Cierra), washed off the dirt and planted some flowers.
I love the way it looks.

My moon face man - I acquired him at a sale that we attended in Seattle a few years ago.
The artist makes these beautiful dolls and figures.
Usually when I think of "dolls", I think of . . .well - let's just say most dolls I would not feel a need to purchase and display in my home.
But these dolls . . .Yummy!
They all have enchanting faces and posable arms and legs.
This little guy has a head made out of a poppy-seed pod. His face is molded out of polymer clay.
I love him.
He is sitting on top of the world and looking out planning his next adventure.
OK - maybe not the world, but he is sitting on top of a hand-blown glass ball that looks as if a large tree is growing inside of it.
I saw the glass ball at a local shop and commented on how unique and beautiful it was about 5 years ago.
A little elf must have been listening - or maybe it was my daughter -
because it found it's way under our Christmas tree that year.
Both the ball and moon man are hanging from our light fixture above our dining room table.
Moon man likes to be in the center of the commotion. . .

The last time Vicki visited, we took a trip to the Anthropologie store.
Yes - they have beautiful clothes . . .but more than that - I love the way the store is decorated.
Their window displays and decor are total eye candy.
I snap pictures all over the store.
When we were there in November, they had the coolest garlands and mobiles hanging all over the store. They were made out of recycled colored paper cut in large circles and hanging on a thin string.
I came home and before the night was out I had made my own version. I used pages from vintage magazines and vintage postcards.
I tied the strings to a metal circle - the kind used to make dream catchers.
The mobile hangs in our living room and when the windows are open or the fan is on, it spins and dances.
I find myself staring at it sometimes, mesmerized with how it moves.

There are more adventures that I will post later -
but I have to say "Thank You Vicki" for helping me to look again with fresh eyes.

And now for a moment of personal marketing . . .
We will have a booth next weekend at the West Linn Arts in the Forest at Mary S. Young park in West Linn, Oregon.
It runs August 13th and 14th from 10:00 to 5:00 pm.
Great artists, entertainment, food - this is a good one!