Thursday, September 27, 2007

Little Owl Nomads

I've sold several owls and little owlings lately from my shop and just think it's so cool that they're going all over the country and even the world (yay netherlands!). It makes me feel like my little universe of San Jose, CA, is bigger and bigger all the time, which is good because I sometimes feel like 'what am I doing here?". Who knows, we could be here a really long time and that would be just fine with us, but I like to feel like we could go anywhere at anytime. And for some reason being connected to people all over the place through my little soft creations makes it feel sort of like that :o)

Speaking of going anywhere at anytime...we're leaving for europe in a few days!! Jared is being sent to Germany with work, and little ol' me is going along for the ride. He'll have to work for a couple of days in Aachen, Germany, and then we'll be free to explore for about a week. Paris for 3 days...the Rhine Valley for another 3...then a day on the race track (nurburgring) for Jared before we pack it up and come back home. I can't tell you how much we're looking forward to it...a vacation for just the two of us is a really wonderful thing - so is having work pay for one of your tickets! ;o) I promise to have photos galore...I'll probably upload to my flickr while we're over there actually.

Here are some of my lovely owling babies from the past couple of days...

And on a funny note...I picked up a little inexpensive pet bed from target the other day in the hopes of appeasing the little yapper dog that lives next door to us. Our neighbors have taken in some family members (must be hard times...) and now I'm pretty sure there are 10 people living there - yikes! Plus the little dog...who I don't think has been treated so well and that's why he's kind of nasty. I have a heart for the little guy, though I admit I've sprayed him with the hose through the fence a few times when he won't quit barking at me and Phylo. He's just such a little yipper and it makes it really hard to be in our backyard. I don't get why his owners won't tell him to be quiet. The only one who says anything is the home owner, but he's often not around...or, I'm convinced - they're just used to all the barking?? Anyway, my thought was that if he had a cozy place to curl up maybe he wouldn't be so agitated and listening for the tiniest sounds he can get upset about (like me washing dishes next door with the windows closed...).

So I'm ready to enact my plan and take the bed over there, but today Sanguine crawled into the bed and hasn't gotten out of it for like 5 hours! She loves it...and it fits her ultra fluffy (not fat) body perfectly. I'm not sure what to do...Brandy the barking dog might not even like it, though Sanguine may decide to never get back in it either. I suppose I'll give her a few days.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Busy days and nimble fingers

I got accepted into Bazaar Bizarre!! Just got the email this morning - woo hoo! :o) The sale is December 15th in San Francisco and boy do I have a lot of sewing and painting to get done. It is one of 9 or 10 sales/shows I have between now and Christmas. I will keep everyone posted on all the dates!

So between errands and Phylo's vet appointment...I'm working on a stack of adorable owlings and have gorgeous fabrics picked out for penguins too. Look for a couple of the owlings later today in my shop!

And Melville was adopted from my shop yesterday! He's very excited for his travel ahead but will be missed greatly...he's a terrific little penguin. I'm really loving making penguins!!

& in case anyone is curious...this is one of my jobs this week (I'm still very much a full time mural painter even though I've been so busy with Devon Industry...all good!). This is a mural I painted for some clients about 2 years ago and just had to take down temporarily because they were remodeling. I brought it to my studio (just's huge!) and added a couple of things then took it back and 'wallpapered' it into its new spot. I'm going back later this week to add some more fun stuff and make little tweaks. The story of the mural is personal for my clients - this is their favorite place, Mariposa; a little piece of heaven in California. Almost everything in the mural is something they wanted included and has meaning. A very cool piece to create for them!
(another photo at my flickr page)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Melville delivers mail

That's Melville up newest penguin plush. He's a dapper little guy and seems French to me...I don't know why :o) But he does - hence the name Melville.

I'm off to the post office to deliver elephants, penguins, and owls! Then it's back to the studio to work on whole new flocks of various feathered creatures. Look for them later this week in the shop...and check out Melville later on today! He can't wait to show off his stuff - oui!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More penguins it will be...

I was SO ecstatic to find that Pascual the penguin had sold from my shop within an hour of posting him. I know for a fact that he's going to a very lovely home, along with Patsy the whale. :o) I'm thrilled. And it's just the encouragement I need to get me making more little penguins like Pascual. I knew he was cute, but now I know other people think so too! Thank you! to the post office I go...followed by a desperately needed haircut and some random errands.

I should have these pretty new Wooly Flora pins in the shop later on...come check 'em out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Little Penguin Love

I don't know how I fell in love with penguins. I mostly love the lines of their bodies and how such simple lines make me want to dress them up in all sorts of fabulous colors and patterns. And I suppose most appealing is just the habits of the penguins themselves - how they pick a partner and stick with them and then guard their unhatched eggs so carefully. I've been making soft penguins for about a year and now have another little penguin that I'm quite pleased with :o) They're a bit smaller and more like little sculptures than my current penguins that are more like pillows. I think they're going to go well...I hope so! I'll have Pascual the penguin my shop today. I'm very happy with him and can't wait to make more.

I have a few bundles of fabric coming in the mail...keeping close watch for boxes on the porch! Not that I don't have enough fabric, but it's about fresh and new and being inspired. I think the more fabric you have the more possibility there is of the most amazing color/pattern pairings.

I LOVE so many fabrics at one of my favorite online shops - repro depot. Can't buy them all...some are quite expensive really - like the awesome Marimekko fabrics. But eventually I will get these two and will frame little pieces of them like art on the wall.

Mmmm...made a veggie stew with creme fraiche last night, plus cheddar bisquits to dunk in. When we put all our kitchen stuff away for the remodel, some of it got squirreled away too well and I couldn't find my round biscuit cutter. I found the star cutter so we had star shaped biscuits.

Come visit my shop and check out my Pascual pretty please! If enough people like him I'll definitely plan on making more. I can only make so many just for me :o)

Time to walk Phylo...and pack up Miles the sleepy owling baby who was adopted yesterday - many thanks!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bread and Penguins

The weekend was pretty great...good food for sure. We have this nice kitchen that we've been working on since March so Jared has been piping up lately that we need to make 'really awesome' stuff. It's easy to guilt me (maybe from the tiny bit of Irish Catholic in me...) so Saturday night I made a 'red beans & rice' variation that had some kick from spicy chicken chorizo sausage. I had made bread that morning and it went perfectly with it...hmmm! Sunday we continued the yummy food trend and made a huge BLT salad with baby spinach, nieman ranch uncured bacon, tomatoes from the garden, cheddar chunks, and an avocado dressing (avocado, olive oil, rw vinegar, orange juice, chopped basil, s&p) - delicious!

The bread I made Saturday morning is the easiest thing EVER! It's an Irish soda bread and has 4 ingredients - 4 cups flour (I use white whole wheat), 2 cups buttermilk, teaspoon of baking soda, teaspoon of salt. Mix it all together in a bowl, turn it out onto a floured surface, knead for 30 seconds and shape into a round. Then plop onto a tray with an 'x' cut into the top, then bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. I then wrap it in a damp towel and let it rest for 8 hours (the hardest part as you just want to dig in...but it really is better with rest (aren't we all?).

We also worked a bunch more in the kitchen. Jared got the rest of the cabinet handles installed and put up most of the remaining toe kick and filler (we ran to ikea wednesday so we were ready for the weekend). I got the tile wall ready for grouting and worked on designs for the kitchen curtains. I have some fun ideas for them. I'm thinking of quadrupled layered sheer blue linen I got for a song several years ago; patchworked with 2 lovely amy butler fabrics in small hints. It's going to be a bit of sewing...because even if I try to go simple it always becomes complicated!

I added Maurice the penguin plush to my shop today! He's a really cool penguin - fun and playful enough for kids, but also perfect for home decor (like a pillow). I just love him - he actually looks really good in our living room, but I'm not going to tempt myself by keeping him out there. So he's hanging with other plush pals in my studio until someone adopts him.

I'm working on some new Wooly Flora felted brooches today and have some mural work to do this week. I'm also dreaming up new plush penguins - yes! - and another very intriguing plush idea that I'm oh so excited about. Will have lots to show hopefully soon...have a beautiful day...I know it's Monday but it'll be okay! :o)

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Blurry Friday

Blurry for many reasons...that Friday came so quickly somehow, all the random interruptions and extra stuff that have made the day a little fuzzy, and for some reason my contacts are also not focusing like they should. I think I need a nap! Or at least a Saturday snooze-in.

But I have been busy despite those things. I made the cutest little elephant plush for my friend's little boy. She commissioned me to put together an elephant with the leftover fabrics from her son's room - they are all so nice. Basilio is his name and I just love him...I need to go drop him off later today.

I also have two new baby owlings in my shop. They're so wonderful & really seem to have distinct personalities. It's funny - I sew my owlings from the exact same pattern and wind up with completely different outcomes every time - just one of many things that makes it fun :o)

I also put together a little mix of some 'Devon Industry' stuff - sort of a collage of plushes and wooly flora and prints.

Well, all for now I guess...I got to run out with Basilio and a jar of homemade apricot jam, plus some little gifts for another friend. Should be fun - it's always nice delivering presents!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Polka dot surprise

Just a quick little update's been a busy one! I just finished Franco the elephant plush and he's in my shop! I just love him and can't wait to make more elephants - I'm actually working on a special one for a friend's little boy right now. I think he's really going to like him :o)

Also today....finished up a toy box for a client. I have to say I'm really into the polka dot interior of the box. I think it's always a hit to have fun pattern where you least expect it. The exterior of the box is simple and elegant and you open the lid and...polka dots!

I'll be back tomorrow with some adorable owlings I'm halfway done sewing. Now I've got to go help with dinner :o)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Leaving Neverland

'Leaving Neverland', gouache on paper

I love the idea that one could go back and forth to a strange magical place like a 'neverland' or 'netherworld'. I think I could feel totally at home visiting a place where animals are painted in bright outlandish patterns with huge eyes filled with shy curiosity. And vines would creep into all the nooks and crannies and burst with blooms that attract myriads of odd insect creatures. I think a lot of things would be pretty 'off' - some a little creepy, along with all the beauty and wonder. It makes me think of the most amazing movie I saw a little while back, 'Pan's Labyrinth'. It's really a trip down the rabbit hole.

Along the lines of these current little painting, 'Leaving Neverland'. I'm very happy with this little girl and her bunny bag...check her out in my shop. There are prints available. While painting it up I was filled with all sorts more thoughts about what my own 'neverland' would look like. Can't wait to get back to drawing and painting while my ideas are fresh.

detail from 'Leaving Neverland'

Today I'm working on much different things though. I've got a toybox waiting in my studio to be painted for a client. They're bringing their baby home from the hospital tomorrow and the toybox will be the final lovely detail in her room. I'll post it in my mural studio blog when it's all finished. Today I posted my 'Ocean Life Nursery' mural - it's a super fun mural, hope you can check it out!

Monday, September 10, 2007

new habits & clean spaces

I was away longer than I had hoped but it's been a productive few days away as you'll see, with more kitchen work, cleaned/tidy spaces, a craft show Friday night, and much more sewing/painting. So I wasn't just sitting on my duff watching the beginning of football someone i know :o) Well, a start of a season is always exciting so I suppose I understand. I've never been a big football fan though - growing up in Panama we never followed football. We had our own sports like the 'ocean to ocean cayuco race' from the Pacific to Atlantic. 52 miles from one end to the other. I competed for 3 years - the 3rd year our crew won first place (female cat.) and set 4 new records - thanks very much! ;) It's funny that I'm thinking about this as it's been over 10 years since my racing days. But one of my dearest friends called yesterday and mentioned she might try outrigger canoe racing and wondered if I was interested (!!). I said 'hmmm...probably, yes, thanks for thinking of me'. Then about half an hour later I called her back with 'I'm really, really excited about it - please tell me when you know more!!' Guess I haven't gotten it all out of my system :o)

So here's the lowdown from the last few days...

I learned (thanks to KCRW's 'Good Food' program) that polycarbonate plastics are not safe for drinking and eating out of - especially as they age and especially when exposed to heat from the microwave or dishwasher (or sitting in the sun in the car...). So for me that meant the water bottle I've had by my side for nearly 9 years (craziness really) has been leaching a chemical called Bisphenol A into the water, and into ME! Not to mention all the times I've grabbed leftovers in plastic storage containers from the fridge and tossed them in the microwave, then eaten right out of them. I'm pretty disturbed by it all to be honest. I actually feel a bit wronged. Apparently Bisphenol A has been shown to cause all sorts of issues including messing with reproductive systems and causing miscarriages. Why are these things still for sale on the shelves at Target and everywhere else?? Do yourself a favor and put 'em in the recycle container. Switch to glass storage containers, and heat up leftovers in regular ceramic dishware, not plastic.You can pick up a stainless steel water bottle for drinking (make sure it doesn't have a plastic liner inside, as that defeats the purpose obviously). We ordered 2 'Kleen Kanteen' bottles from amazon and they're on their way!

On Saturday I cleaned up my 'lil office/studio. Jared was a sweetie and put together pull out shelves for my printer and scanner - works like a dream! I tackled the FABRICS - whew! Who knew I had so much squirreled away. I loaded up the bookcase with the fabrics organized by color families. It is SO nice to be able to see what I have right in front of me without having to sort through bins.

On the left was how my bookcase looked Saturday morning. By the afternoon I had arrived at the photo on the right - much better! Sanguine the cat got replaced by Bessie the cow. No, I'm not making the allusion that my cat is a cow...she's just fluffy! :o) See more pics at my flickr page.

Ahhh, nice tidy long will it last? I promise to make the effort...I WILL put things back where they belong, will file papers, and will not leave the remnants of 4 projects scattered all over the place!

I had a show/sale at Anno Domini in downtown San Jose this past Friday. It was super lovely...lots of great music and nice people. Actually pretty decent people watching now that I think of it. San Jose can be a fairly conservative place and it's nice to see the creative ones coming out of the woodwork for events like these.

I had lots of prints:

And new Wooly Flora (this one I had made just that day...I sold all but one) :

On Sunday we worked a wee bit in the kitchen and got the skinny glass subway tile wall put up:

It's SO pretty - I can't wait to get it grouted later this week. You can't really tell in the pictures and because it's still behind plastic film, but it is the most luminous shade of pale gray green/blue. It looks like it flows right from the ceiling.

And I have 2 new owlings in my shop today! Ella and Etta were adopted from my etsy shop so quickly I had to hustle and get Billie and Gillespie finished up and on there. I love 'em - they're both super cute and have vintage Japanese fabrics and super soft blanket fabrics in their construction (best-o-both worlds!).

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

summery september, how sweet it is

it may be september but it's still nice and toasty here in san jose - i love it. i complain so much about the dreary, rainy months that i have no right to cry about the heat! so i'm soaking it up and enjoying it :o)

we had such a fun and FULL labor day weekend. let's see...lots more kitchen work was completed including all the caulking of edges and every where caulk was needed for now, the vent hood was installed and is beeyooteefull! i will have pictures of it on flickr soon. it has 4 lights so it nicely illuminates the island and cooktop - hooray for being able to see what you're cooking! the trim, windows, and door are finally all painted. i used 'air 01' by yolo - a paint brand i truly love and recommend to all - it is zero VOC and ended up being the perfect 'white' for the trim (sort of creamy).

i needed more green paint for wall touch ups (also yolo brand, 'leaf 03') and had a hankering to take phylo to the beach so we packed up for santa cruz and left for the evening. traffic was really really awful...usually takes 35 min, but this time it took over an hour to get into town. but it worked out great - picked up our paint from the lovely greenspace shop on soquel, got jared some goods from the o'neill's sale, picked up dinner to go from the coolest/cheapest taqueria (jalapenos), then hit the beach. we got there with not much time before the sun had totally set but we still had a blast. as soon as phylo's paws hit the sand he was off like a hopping jack rabbit! SO fun to watch him. he loves to run to us so jared would go off down the beach and have phylo sprint to him, then phylo would turn around and run toward me as fast as he could. am i going on like a proud animal parent?? sorry... :o) just love my little guy so much.

we also made good meals and ate lots more watermelon. i finished up a couple of new owls that will be in the shop soon and started some new 'wooly flora' felt brooches (till jared told me he couldn't sleep with my incessant stabbing of the felting needle...then i decided the weekend was over and went to bed!).

i'll be out all day tomorrow on a mural job...colorful children's furniture, should be fun! hopefully i can stop in for a post before or after...not sure, sometimes mural job days are c-r-a-z-y!

one more thing... i finally captured on camera the method in which jared talks on the phone. it's really pretty funny. he will walk all over the house and rarely sit down - if he does sit it's for maybe a couple of minutes then he's back to the pacing. all i had to do was sit in the dining room in one spot and sure enough he passed me by at least a half dozen times. so here's jared in full fledged phone conversation:

see ya tomorrow!