Monday, December 14, 2009

Get your back into it

That's just one of the sassy things Jared has said to me since Saturday, when I really did get my back into it while encouraging the Bird to "jump!" as I held up all 24lbs of her while leaning waaaay over with all the pressure on my lower back. I felt a big pinch and then had to lay on the floor. I was giggling at first, laughing at myself laying there. But the pain didn't go away, and shoot, here it is Monday and I'm not any better.

In order to kill some time this morning (as walking has been replaced by shuffling & I can't do all those normal things like going to the playground, or get out of bed by myself) I set the Bird up with some drawing with markers and pens. She loved the red marker! LOVED it. And it loved her in return!

I have a friend visiting tomorrow which hopefully will provide my entertainment starved child with some fun & a welcome distraction for me too. I met this friend right here through my blog - right Klay? Ironically enough, she and her family moved to the area and we actually get to meet in person now. How amazing is that?

Oh, and my new iphone has been super fun too :o) Christmas came early - thanks Jared!!

Please wish me quickly healing muscle fibers and nerve endings. I've been doing way too much "laugh-crying" over this ordeal. I have a ton of sympathy now for any one with a back injury - I'm a total geriatric.


Monday, December 7, 2009


I'm not a very committed blogger,
but I'm really enjoying my family.

I thought I'd have more stuff done by this time of year,
but I'm ok with it taking longer.

I used to wish the days would fly by but the days are pretty fun now...
life seems to be rolling into a 'normalness' and I like it.

We get overwhelmed by all the work to do around here,
yet can't keep our fingers out of new projects.

And of course the laundry situation is out of control but somehow we keep finding clean underwear.

And I threw my back out yesterday thinking I'm super invincible woman.

And I want to be a textile designer but that feels so far away.

And this is such a random post but totally reflective of my state of mind right now.


Have a lovely week.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Monkey Monster Lamb, Boo!

This is one of those posts where if I take any longer to publish it will feel too dated, but if I never get it on here I'll feel terrible for never sharing these adorable pictures with you (and as sweet memories for our future selves).

We had a super fun Halloween and I ended up making Mbird's costume. I was thrilled with it when she finally had it on (and decided she was okay with wearing it - we were holding our breath). It was a process though..

Sometime in September I picked up this too cute monkey costume from Old Navy. It was on sale for maybe $16 (!) and thought hmm, this would save me some time. I figured I could sew some felt flowers onto the head for embellishment.

The Bird seemed to like it well enough...I don't think she'd ever experienced being completely IN something from head to toe. It had a funny effect on her.

A couple of weeks later I started thinking there would probably be a million costumed monkeys at the Halloween party we were going to, as well as out trick-or-treating. So I hit my favorite thrift store and hunted out a back up plan.

The monster costume was a good find...and ridiculous in its cuteness. However, and this seems to happen to lots of parents? - it was also ridiculously too small! Mbird paraded around in it for a nanosecond (yes, I captured the nanosecond) and then was done - and wanted it off - now.

I had been perusing the Martha Stewart site for ideas - there are tons of amazing costume inspirations on there! I loved the little lambs...and thought how can I do that in a way that is unique and more me? (because until the Bird starts requesting costumes they can be all about me, haha). I decided to make her a technicolor lamb...a lamb that would really stand out from its herd so to speak. Bursting with color, super warm and cuddly, with sewn felted wool ears, and a really simple base of black onesie/pants/socks (plus black shoes) to pull off the rest of the sheepy-ness.

Miranda makes the cutest little lamb, no?

I could eat all that fuzzy yummy cotton candy wool...

By the end of the party there was a lot of incidental felting done to the wooly puffs I had sewn on. But they just needed a little fluffing before heading out for trick or treating the next night :o)

I should mention that there were three monkeys at the party...

That's a bird's nest on my head by the way. You can barely make out the little bird attached to the top.

I'm currently finishing up all the work I've been immersed in for the past few weeks and I'm headed to San Carlos tonight for my first (and maybe the only) sale of the season. I might do one or two others in December...we'll see. But boy, did I chip away and end up making a ton of stuff. I'll share pics - I promise. Cross your fingers I get time to photograph today. I'm outta here come late afternoon and there's a ton to do before then!


Friday, October 9, 2009

The high flying act

This is sort of the parting shot of summer I suppose. One of those last warm days we had. It inspired a little heart stopping (my heart that is) baby tossing. Keep in mind that I've been shooting with a wide angle lens these days...objects in view may not be as far as they seem ;o) But it sure is a great effect, yes?

Happy 16 months (yesterday) to our Bird!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The haircut I've always wanted but was too chicken to get - till now.

Got my hair cut last Friday and of course it hasn't looked quite this nice since then, but I still LOVE it. I never thought I could pull off bangs, but shoot, I think they're pretty great :o)

It helps that my lovely hair stylist Blair is a mind reader. I did have to convince her to cut the bangs above my eyebrows, but she put her own twist on it. She's pretty amazing & wow, did she not waste any time chopping off my almost year's worth of grown out hair.

While down in LG after getting my hair chopped and pressed, I picked up delicious Great Bear coffee (have you been there?? yum!!) and a slice of artichoke quiche which I shared with the Bird. She approved of the change as well.

Sigh, if only my hair wanted to lay down so nicely on its own. I may fold and pick up a flat iron from target. Just for special occasions. I'm way too lazy/busy/caught up in other things to make too much fuss over hair. But it was definitely fun for a day.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Frog Went-a-Courtin' & a Montana Wedding

I've always been nuts for children's books, illustrations, toys, etc. - for myself - having Miranda in the picture means the window's thrown open and I can free fall into the magical world I love so much. One of my absolute favorites is Richard Scarry. Anything Richard Scarry. Jared doesn't quite understand or appreciate it so much...he claims to like just one particular type of Richard Scarry illustration. Of course it hasn't stopped me from filling the Bird's eyes & ears with plenty of "Best Word Book Ever" or "I am a Bunny" (Jared actually likes that one), or "Best Storybook Ever" (my favorite, and maybe my brother's too).

I have a few even older classics...there are the fantastic 1920's Babar books by Jean de Brunhoff, and a gorgeously illustrated book from Mexico - "Nine Days To Christmas" - from my parents (they lived in Mexico City once upon a time).

And then there's "Over in the Meadow" and "Frog Went a Courtin'" by John Langstaff. The illustrations in these Langstaff books are by Feodor Rojankovsky and they are sweet yet rustic, simple yet very deep - colored pencil rendered in a way I could never think to pull off. Even better about the books is that they are actually folksongs so you can sing along rather than just read (I often hear Jared turning Miranda's books into songs while reading to her at bedtime - cute).

I just listened to a great version of "Frog Went a Courtin" as a folksong by Elizabeth Mitchell. While humming along to the catchy fun story of a wedding celebration that in the end goes awry, I was reminded of my sister in-law Stephani & her wedding 2 Junes ago to her sweetie Merlyn. They married in gorgeous Montana, a week after ice storms & just before Summer heat set in. It was an amazing day and I was so privileged to be a part of it. Oh, and nothing really went awry like in the book, it was all very magical and sweet (except for all the clean up we did after the party, hahah ;o). My mother-in-law asked me to paint Stephani from that beautiful day and so I took on the task of a portrait. Sort of a scary proposition, challenging & thrilling at the same time.

And just this week I've finished.

Stephani and a herd of shaggy cows in a lush field beneath green mountains and a great big sky, on a very happy day.

Painted, varnished, and nearly packaged...soon to arrive in Texas.

I'm grateful to my favorite illustrators as well as impressionist painter Berthe Morisot and the amazing Carl Larsson for a wealth of inspiration.

Have a lovely day :o)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Under a rock, in the fog, & not letting go of Summer

I keep meaning to post about our Santa Cruz adventure from well over a week ago but life's been getting in the way I suppose. Miranda caught a cold (??) and has been very needy/clingy. It's about the only time she's ever been sick before which we're grateful for, and she seems so much happier today.

We had a huge downpour of rain last night...if you lived here you'd understand how unusual a heavy rain in September is. I had just come in from a run, Jared was trying to get Miranda to bed (apparently she screamed and cried Mama the whole time I was gone :o(, and the skies just opened up and started to dump. And then dumped some more, all night. Jared scrambled to get all our tools & miscellaneous junk inside while I held Miranda who was thrilled watching the rain.

Our gutters and downspouts are in terrible condition and I had placed a large watering can under a huge stream of water coming off the back of the house. Apparently Jared emptied and replaced it two more times after that - yikes. We are not ready for rain yet!

Over the weekend we rented an auger for a half day and Jared wrestled with it (Ever used one of those? Good grief!) to bore out several deep holes and a trench for our gas line to the bbq island we built. I've designed some neat climbing vines trellises and needed deep holes to hold the redwood posts for the support structure. Privacy screens are in our very immediate future! Privacy screens with purple passionflower that is... That night Jared had to ice his wrist from all that auger abuse, poor guy.

I'm so close to finishing the portrait commission for Jared's parents. Portraits are unusual beasts...I feel like I'm not only painting it for Jared's parents and seeking their approval on it, but also for Jared's sister - I hope she'll feel like I captured her likeness. I know I would feel sensitive about a portrait of myself. How we see ourselves is often so different from how others view us.

The rain last night made me realize Summer is fading away. I've still got a bazillion tomatoes on the vines of course. And the most amazing Charentais melons you've ever tasted. I told Jared my plan for next year is to have so many that I can have one every morning for breakfast :o) I'd die a happy death with a melon a day. This time of year also means a change of focus. Finishing the portrait, moving on to a concentration in textile design, planning for the Fall sale I always do, and thinking about how to wrap up this year in a way that will make me feel satisfied & content that we put our energies & ideas into the right places. Once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator. I heart deadlines.

Well, sounds like the Bird drifted off...I'm off to finish up the painting. Have a lovely Monday and I hope to be back sooner than I promised last time :o)


Friday, September 4, 2009

I'd like purple for lunch please

This is what happened to my sausage, kale, and white bean stew when I thought it would be extra nice to toss in the red cabbage too. Purple everything! Well, except for the kale which has kept its gorgeous green. But purple cannellini beans, purple sausage (appetizing?), even the rice it's sitting next to in the bowl has taken on a purplish cast. Powerful stuff. Oh, and it was actually quite yummy :o)

I'll be back later in the weekend...this little post is all I had time for tonight.



Lately my blog posts have been few and far between and mainly its been due to the fact that its been difficult to take pictures. My Nikon kit lens (which is a really really nice lens!) has been acting up since early August and it's been such a bummer. It seizes up while attempting to focus and spits out these sad whirr-thump sounds :o( My awesome gearhead husband wants to take a shot at fixing it and in the meantime thought it'd be a good time to invest in another lens.

Enter Tokina!

I am not - truly not - a real "photographer". I admire many photographers (my brother is one, so is my sister-in-law). I have mostly taken photos from necessity. To capture and document my work (murals & paintings), for promotion & for my website, and of course for the everyday life moments. But lately, and blame it on the awesome Nikon D80, I have been falling in love with photography and earning respect for all you photographers. There is so much to learn, and wow, when you know how to do certain things with your camera, your photos can really sing.

So while Jared works on my kit lens, I've begun to play with this very interesting Tokina lens. It's a wide angle - 11-16mm. Not super wide, but plenty wide enough. With very little distortion around the edges (way better than the wide angle I had on my Canon powershot). I can literally hold the camera 3 inches from the Bird's face and get a clear shot of her with tons of room around, and beautiful focus. Very intriguing.

I can also capture things like this (sorry, the blogger page I have cuts off my horizontally oriented photos...must.fix.this.soon):

And this:

I'm going to keep learning about this lens and will hopefully begin to take beautiful photos with it. My photos aren't exactly earth shattering, haha, but I'm totally enjoying the process.

Oh, and the post yesterday "Bananas for bananas" - were you wondering what the heck?? It was just that kind of day. A really ehh kind of day. The kind I don't like to rehash and talk about. BUT...that was just till about 4pm. After that things got much better. I'll share more on that as well as share photos from our little road trip and the meet & greet with someone very special whose work I really admire.

If I get time later today I'll post about it. Otherwise probably this weekend. Right now it's time to take advantage of the Bird's nap (halleluia) and work more on the portrait commission. It's looking pretty swell but there's much more to be done.

Lovely day to you!