Friday, April 30, 2010

Thank you Lisa


... for blogging this, and to Kelly Rae for posting it, and to Kelly for saying it. Something this important needs to be said time and time again....

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

From Lola to Jake; A Message of Love

Dear Jake,
Woof!!
You are one of my best dog buddies, and I *Ruff!* love you very much. When we play at the park, my favorite thing to do with you is jump in the air with you, (grrowll!) and tumble on the ground. I love to chase you, but even more, I love it when you chase me! Jake, when my mom took this picture of the pillow with you in it, I couldn't help myself, I had to be in the picture with you too. 'Cause Jake, ^sniff sniff^ wherever you are is where I want to be too.
Your #1 buddy,
Lola

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Magical Morning


Lola and I walked by the beach and the bay this morning. Even though it was a grey, grey start to the day, we didn't mind. It's our favorite walk in Coronado.

We are entering a funky weather period of the year for me (can you tell I don't like it?!), where it heats up inland, and pulls the foggy, low grey clouds onto the coast. Many days, Coronado clears up mid morning, but sometimes the grey clouds can linger all day long. This morning, the grey sky was the same color as the water, one shade blending imperceptibly into the other. The white breaking waves were the only other color, that and the sandy beach. I do love walking this beach walk on a weekday morning. The still and quiet go as far as the eye can see. Despite the grey, it's absolutely lovely.

We got to the area where the surfers sit and wait for the best waves. Two surfers were there, wearing black wetsuits, so I didn't see the dolphins initially. Sometimes the Seal Team is there, swimming the new recruits and practicing their "water work". I guess that's what I thought I was seeing. Finally, I noticed the fins and sleek black bodies sliding along the water in the calm between the waves. A closer look saw they were dolphins! A pod of about 10 or 15 or more. They were magical and perfect.

A calm, sweet start to a grey day... the dolphins made everything very much okay!

Hope you had a magical day too :o)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

We Are All The Most Important One


I stumbled on Katherine Center's blog and website. Her post was titled "body poems: $1". All about people who could get painted with a body poem when they have something they need to tell themselves. (You can check it out here.)

I really love this concept. I'm one of those people who has about a million 'body poem' type messages running through my head each day. I've just never considered writing them on my person! I do write them into my paintings (love that), and write them all over my journal.

I've recently picked up a book called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It's a simple book with a big message about finding one's purpose in life. There's a lovely bit about discovering what you want, and the universe conspiring in helping you to achieve it. I love this because I'm certain this has been going on in my own life, from a very early age. I learned, when I was very young, to listen to my heart, follow my dreams, and pay attention to the different omens and guidance from above. Have you been lucky enough to know your life's destiny? Perhaps you feel like there's more to this world than you're receiving. Well, pick up a copy of The Alchemist and get yourself back on the right track! In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few of my body poems with you.

Journeying towards courage
goddess of Hope
Heart wide Open
her Fearless dreams are coming True
Patient heart Hopeful spirit
journey of faith
and even,
Queen of Obstinance
then, here's my favorite:
wrapped in Love

Pretty soon, I'm going to do it, I'm going to paint the body poems on my person. In the meantime, they will continue to appear in my paintings. Got one on the table now, just waiting for it's creation. Jot me a note and let me know what your body poems are, or better yet, shoot me a photo so I can see them embellished in paint :o)

All photos courtesy of KatherineCenter.com. Thank you so much!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Winchester Legacy at the Coronado Historic Home Tour 2010

Today must be my blogging day. Wow, two posts in the same day!

Well, my studio work this week is all about painting and collaging, as I prepare for the 2010 Coronado Historic Home Tour on May 2. This tour is called "The Winchester Legacy", as most of the Craftsman style homes were developed by F.C. Winchester between 1909 and 1911. The one exception is the home where I'll be perched. This "folk-Victorian" home was built in 1896, the same year as the Hotel del Coronado. This home shares many details and similarities with the Hotel del Coronado, the most notable one is the identical railing pattern.

I have been invited to be a "Garden Artist" at the Historic Home Tour for the second year in a row. (Sounds better than a "house painter", doesn't it? I didn't get much response when I referred to myself that way last year!) I am honored to prepare and present for this important event. Coronado is my home town, and it's charm lies in it's lovely and unique historic homes. We own a lovely historic Spanish Bungalow, and after we restored it, I vowed I'd do what I can to help Coronado's preservation efforts in maintaining their historic homes.

So, just what the heck is a garden artist? you might wonder. Well, it's where I take my paints and easel, set up somewhere in the garden, and paint away during the home tour. I think the best subject matter for these events is the actual house where I'm located. I will be perched on the front porch of that lovely folk Victorian. I'd better wear some period garb in order to blend in!

Though I paint during the Tour, I have a lot of interruptions and chit chatting going on around me, which isn't too conducive to concentrating on the painting. So I 'pre-paint' by having some finished paintings to show, and I start a painting or two, doing the most demanding work, a day or two prior. This also lets the paint set up and cure a bit. I like to paint in oils, and you have to deal with drying time, or you will be facing a mushy mess if you want to finish a painting in one sitting. Well, at least that's how it works for me!

The other thing that I'm all about right now is painting on a prepped collaged base. This preparation involves alot of tools and working fast. I will definitely NOT be doing this during my garden sit. Best people don't see me in action during this harried and fast worked process. Lots of cries of "Yikes!" and other unprintable things, with running trips to the sink, paper towels, rag bin, etc. You get the picture.

Here's a finished painting of the Myers family home, a Winchester home on C Avenue. I couldn't resist painting this gem, and including important messages in both, like "History matters" and "Remember". I've held myself back from getting too specific in the text department. I'm sure people don't want many of my historic preservation messages shoved down their throats. What I've really wanted to say is more along the lines of "QUIT TEARING DOWN THE CORONADO COTTAGES" and "Once they're gone, they're gone for good", and last but not least, "Your Newly Built Monstrosity Ruins the Fabric of Our Quaint Beloved Town". Heck, I just have to use that last one. I'll just paint over alot of the message so it's there only if you look for it. Look reeaaal hard!

Finally! Scene 7 Style Awards Video Posted!

Okay, you asked, and I finally managed to figure out how to post it. I had to upload the Style Awards Fashion Show, scene 7 video to YouTube, and after two failed attempts, it worked perfectly! Greg was doing the filming so I could watch the scene, and run back stage to meet the kids after their part finished. My four outfits are the first four you see in the scene. You can see photos of the outfits here. The other outfits are by sisters Kit and Heather Haas, of Five Loaves Two Fish.

The singer is a 13 year old boy. Oops, young man. Isn't his voice amazing? Unfortunately, Greg got a bit bored with the song, so you can see how he assuaged his boredom. Sorry. Just had to get to the part where I stepped out on stage on my two tall towers! Too fun!

If you want to see the video of me walking the catwalk, click here. That was scene 11, where all the featured designers came out to walk the catwalk and hear applause for all their HARD WORK. Yep, there's plenty of hard work in putting together a line. Now, I have full experience in this department, and I know just what goes into it. Heck, Project Runway, here I come! (jk)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Girls Were Needlefelting Fools

Okay, the photo is poor, and I'm so sorry about that, but the students were fantastic, and talented, and most eager learners. What more could I ask for?!

The Needlefelted Embroidery Hoop class continues to be a popular one for learning the art of needlefelting, fabric piecing and embroidery techniques, and it is one of my favorite to teach. It is one class I've developed that really encompasses all I do with regards to needlefelted decoration techniques. It's one where you can learn a great deal in a relatively short period of time. I hope you will sign up for an upcoming class soon!

Pamina, Cathy and Celeste, I'm so sorry I didn't get a photo of YOU, for you all were the ones who made the class so special and FUN! Thank you! (And, thanks, Pamina, for taking that dang rose thorn out of my thumb. I am so grateful :o)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Wrangler And A Recap

Meet Wrangler, the one responsible for stealing my heart at the Helen Woodward Animal Center benefit. I am still thinking of that pup! Maybe it's just that I am partial to black and white dogs, heck yes! But Wrangler cannot come live with us, even though he's wrangled his way into mine. He is part Lab and part Border Collie, and we have those dreaded allergies over here, so we need dogs like Lola, our wonderful Portuguese Water Dog. Good thing she is as cute and even more personable than Wrangler, for she's our girl, and the love of our family's life.

I do so hope Wrangler will find a good home too. He certainly deserves one! Don't you think he maybe needs to come and live with you?! Go and give him a visit over at the Helen Woodward Animal Shelter, but don't say I didn't warn you. He's sure to wrangle his way into your heart too!

Our evening in Rancho Santa Fe was not only filled with adorable pets looking for homes, but pet lovers galore. I thought I'd take a moment to post a few of my new pet pillows for you to see. It's so crazy, but this first one, the Bear Dog, looks awfully similar to Wrangler. Don't you agree? Heck, I sure do have black and white dogs on the brain!





I couldn't resist including just one birdie pillow... The secret is that I can't go on to other things until I get those birdies out of my system. Somewhat sick but true. Now you know why birds get top billing for my subject matter!


And lastly, the recap. Well, we've been a bit sad of late. My father in law passed away last night. My husband, Greg, had to fly to Denver on emergency mid-week, and after three tough days in hospice care, George made his transition last evening. This is the first parent we've lost, between Greg and I, and it seems as though we've reached a new stage in life... At least George lived a good long life, and was generally full of beans up until the end. So, with a prayer and a sigh, and a wish that the angels take good care of George, and bring him peace and solace in his afterlife. xo to all the Heberts in Colorado. I'm sending off lots of love until my Greg comes back to us, we hope very soon.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jake, A Work In Progress

My special pup, Lola, has a playmate, and it's Jake. Jake is a Wheaten Terrier, who had a bit of a hard start in life. Jake's "mom and dad", Edry and Bob, have taken Jake into their lives, hearts and home, and have given Jake heaven on Earth. What a lucky boy! Because Jake is somewhat fearful, he doesn't do well around other dogs, but he and Lola just love each other! So, Edry and Bob have been kind enough to "adopt" Lola 2-3 times a week so Jake can have one on one time with his special pup pal. How can Lola and I ever thank Edry, Bob, and especially Jake, for these mid week play sessions that leave Lola as drained as an old wet rag?! Well, we are trying. We sure hope they will love a special needle felted pillow of Jake, made with heart and soul, and Lola's sniff scent all over it. We're making sure of that! Take a look at our progress:

Here's the start of the needle felting, where I lay down the colors of roving, and get an idea of the general shape of the subject matter, in this case, Jake! I follow a photo during this process.

When I'm ready to work on the face, I attempt to follow the photo as closely as possible, but it often changes quite a bit. In this portrait, I'm loving how Jake's face is interacting with the viewer much better than his face in the photo.

After the design is fairly well set, I put the entire portrait through my needle felting machine (Yea! I am SO loving my new needle felting machine!) The machine really felts the roving in place, so there's less worry that the roving will start pilling and coming off, like there is when I hand needle felt.

Now, I double check the pose to make sure everything looks like it could pass for Jake. I see that his face needs to be longer on the right side, and I need to reposition the angle of his back. He's also missing his tail, eee gads! So, I add these things, check the colors once more, and, I'm done with Jake's portrait! This entire process takes me several hours.

Now, I need to sew it up into a pillow, stuff it with heavenly natural bamboo, and he's ready to be presented to his very deserving "parents". Lola and I will make sure to wrap it with a dog bone, and a big tail wag. It will be a special day when we present our Jake pillow to this deserving family!

Just so you know, I can make a custom pet pillow for you, or for anyone you know with a special pet. All I need is a photo (email them to me), and for you to answer a few questions about the home's decor. I am able to needle felt portraits of cats, birds, and of course, dogs! You can find a listing for this special purchase in my etsy shop, click here, or just email me and we'll work out the details directly. Thanks for your interest and support. This is truly one of the most touching gifts you can give, I have tons of testimonials to the fact.

I will be at a fundraiser for the Helen Woodward Animal Center on Wednesday, April 14, from 5-7 pm at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by to see me and say Hi! Some of my other pet and dog pillows will be on display. I will have some to sell, as well as scarves, sweaters, and the like. I hope to see you there!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Have A Friendly Sort of Easter

The Friendly Stuffs and I want to wish you the happiest of Easter wishes, with hopes that Spring finds it's way into your home, yard and heart in the most colorful of fashions! Happy Easter to you :o)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Are You A Wanna-Be Fabric Designer?

... like me?! Do you know about Spoonflower? This fantastic company lets you upload your art designs, modify them using their awesome software, order a test print, and finally, prints your fabric in the quantity you want, on the fabric blend you desire. Then, if you feel your design is especially stellar, you can enter your designs into their contests, watch the votes come in, and maybe even have your design be chosen for "Fabric of the Week"! It's a fantastic concept.

What I love about Spoonflower is that I can find unique designs from independent designers, and support their creative efforts. Look at this fantastic scientific fabric I just bought! It will be the inspiration for a great mad scientist look in an upcoming boy outfit. Cute, cute!

Take a look at a few of my favorite fabric designers. These links will take you directly to their Spoonflower page. Scarlet Fig's fabric shop (I just LOVE her fabrics!), Emily Burger's designs (so sweet- or should I say "sew" sweet?!), Sammy K's fabric (pictured above), Danielle Hanson's bird calendar fabric, and look at this SewBettie boxer fabric! How creative is she?! Then, there's this Circus fabric by TotallySevere. All I can say is "wow"...

One day, when I have a bit of free time, I will try my hand at designing some extra cute fabric. Something with a few birdies, perhaps? Or, maybe farm animals... dogs, even? Heck, once I get my ideas straight, the fabrics are going to come whizzing out of me. I can just feel it! So, go and check out Spoonflower, and get your fabric fix of the day!