Saturday, April 30, 2011

Preempted by a tornado

Konami's Tornado Outbreak listed on GameFly...wait, what? photo
Photo courtesy of GameFly

Several tornados, in fact. You have undoubtable heard about them attacking the southeastern US. Well, our TV spot was moved to tomorrow morning at 8:15 to make way for tornados. So, there you have it.
Watch us on Channel 6 tomorrow morning at 8:15 to see Val's Art Studio and Austin's gallery tackle gift ideas for Mom's, Grads and Proms. Don't miss it. We only have 3-4 minutes! I will try to post a link to the spot here on the blog so you can see it too :o)
x, Val

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's all in the dress

Or, is it the shoes? Heck, I can't keep it straight. Well, for me, it's the dress. I put a lot of emphasis in the dress, and if I can find a pair of shoes that accent the dress, then it's all good. Yes, very, very good.

So, I made this dress. I made it out of recycled cashmere, and then I needle felted it. I made it to fit me, and then I wore it. I wore it to an art gallery opening/wake for a client of my husband's who passed way too soon in her life. So, even though it was a wake, it was also a celebration of her life, about her life, her art, her design. I was wearing a pair of earrings she had made that my husband traded work for, and I thought they looked great with the dress. I didn't intend to take anything away from the celebration by wearing the dress. But, maybe I did, just a little bit. The party kind of halted when I came in wearing that dress. The first people we talked to looked straight at me, and asked me a question about the dress. They asked me this:

"Who are you wearing?"

Um, ok, that is probably the best question I've ever been asked in my life. (Well, besides when Greg asked me to marry him!) By the end of the party, the dress had pretty much been a topic of conversation. Then, we headed out to a wine bar.
Same sort of thing. Women would veer in my direction on their way to the restroom to find out about the dress. OMG, it's just that good. Wow. I handed out many business cards during that evening.

I haven't had the nerve to wear the dress again since. I have taken it out of the closet to wear it many times, but it just hasn't made it out of the house. Well, I have some good news; It's coming out this weekend! Yes! I am going to be interviewed on Channel 6 in a news spot about what's hot around town for Mother's Day and Graduation/Prom, etc, and I am going to wear that dress!! So, stay tuned, because as I find out more about the time, I will let you know. You can tune in and check out the dress, and then let me know if you think it is that good. I wonder if you'll agree?! I feel a little bit giddy. It's the dress. :o)

Sometimes it's history...

... in the final minutes, just as the last details are added to the painting is when the decision is made whether it stays, or it goes... under a new coat of paint, that is! Many times, if I can wait a day or two after finishing a new painting, I can be more objectionable. Less cut throat. I finished a new painting yesterday (not the one pictured here), and as of today, I hate it even more than yesterday. Not a good sign. Certainly, it's destined for going under. So sorry. After all that work, and scrutiny. Ah, well, it's just how it is.

The painting pictured here, Let History Matter, is nearly done, so I'm happy enough with it at this point to post it here. I still have to add a few more details once the paint dries a bit more. I am pre-painting a few pieces before the Coronado Historic Home Tour, which takes place on May 8th, Mother's Day. I have been a Plein Air painting artist at this event for the last several years, and it's something I very much enjoy doing. Mostly, I enjoy that it gets me back to oil painting, one of my favorite things to do. It's one of the most challenging art forms I enjoy. I really don't get as much personal satisfaction from finishing anything as much as I do when I feel I've been successful at a painting. One day, I hope I can paint -oil paint, that is- without distraction... I wonder if that's even possible... hummm...

On a side note, Drew is happily ensconced at his new school (thank the Lord!), and he is learning the art of glass blowing! He's made his first two paperweights, and will begin to make blown glass pieces this week. He is such the budding artist, and I am so proud of him :o) He is interested in learning ceramics too, and has asked to take a pottery class with me! All this from a teen boy who couldn't bear to be seen with his mom, much less look at her, two months ago. What a relief. Now, please excuse me while I go set up those pottery classes. Heck, painting full time without distractions will just have to wait a little bit longer!

x, Val

Friday, April 15, 2011


- to have Happy Hair (yes I do, thanks to my awesome hairstylist, Saylor.) Thank you, Saylor, I needed hair work so, so much!
- to have hard working Michelle come and set me right this week, helping me get my work mo-jo back (yesss!) Thank you, Michelle :o) You, as you know, are awesome. Plus, we are due for a "Toast Mark" throwing session very soon. (Toast Golf?!)
- to have my oldest son back home, start his new school, and be happy with it (OMG, YESSS!) He actually told me yesterday that there's this class, and he really likes it, and he can't figure it out, but the class just goes by so fast... (he has never said anything like this about school, ever in his life)
- to be invited to an Invitation Only Art Show. (Yea!) I said Yes!
- to get an Intern from High Tech High (technically still working out the details, but I will have one soon!!!) I'm so looking forward to this!
- to feel real, honest, gut wrenching relief at the results our family experienced since Drew came home from Outward Bound...heck, I'm still stunned.
- realizing I've talked enough about OB, feelings, mismatched emotions, etc. I think I'm ready to resume a normality now I haven't felt in a long while. Dang good....

Love to you and yours. Have a blessed week...
x, Val

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In these moments

Having fun with my new hipstamatic app on the iphone

I'm learning...

Learning to let go of all the preconceived ideas that have had me trapped... as a parent, as a team player in a family (working so hard on this). Letting go as an artist, as a maker, as a handcrafter (working very, very hard on this). Getting better at accepting myself as I am, learning what strengths are my own, trusting that what I am doing is just right, just exactly what I'm meant to be doing (yes). Learning and accepting that the moments of utter despair and heart breaking disappointments are really ok. Really. It's these moments that transport me (us) to new places, and new levels of understanding. Moments I never thought I could endure or even survive, are actually pathways to a whole new world, leading towards a new reality of truths and ultimately a new sort of happiness. Somehow, I must have signed up for this sort of 'trial by fire' learning (really?), and I am learning to embrace it for all the joy that it ultimately brings my way.

So, yes. These moments are teaching me great things, and for that I am supremely thankful.

(on an entirely different note) Some Tattooed Friendlys will be debuting their cuteness and head-shaking wackiness this weekend at the Coronado Flower Show, where I will be a vendor along with the Austin's Gallery artists. Come and visit if you are a flower show affectionado, or if you just want to get a taste of that aforementioned head-shaking wackiness :o)

xx, Val

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Knitting My Troubles Away

Scarlett out of Noro Joy, knit in Matsuri, shade 3

Into each knit stitch, a little of the worry goes
Into each purl, a tuck away of trouble
Stitch away those fears, and what comes to pass?
A heart free from fretfulness...
(And a lovely sweater to show for it!)

One week after bringing Drew home from his Outward Bound course, and we are continually amazed at this sure young man who's come back to us. He has matured in leaps and bounds, and has changed in so many positive ways. We are praying the lessons he learned continue to weave their way in to his very being, establishing this path as the foundation for his moral consciousness. It has all been so very good.

Though I have much work to do in the studio... for I have a big show next weekend... all I want to do is sit, muse, and knit. I've already started my next piece... out of Jared Flood's Shelter. Oooh, I'm so excited to bring it to life! I will certainly be knitting all my little insecurities away. Let's just hope it stays that way! (insecurities... little... away... please!)

I thank you so much for your kind words of care and hope during these last few months. Thank you for being there and listening. It means so very much to me :o)

xx, Val

Monday, April 4, 2011

Best Weekend of My Life

It's the feeling after riding your bike 100 miles in one day and you make it to your destination, or walking back 5 miles to the great looking campground you passed on the train... with a 50 pound pack on your back... or, the backbreaking goodness after doing a solid weekend of restoration work on the old home you love. It's the best feeling ever!

Our weekend with all the incredible people from Outward Bound Intercept was seriously one of the highlights of my entire life. And the best part? Seeing Drew. Sharing in his adventures, his learning, his accomplishments... his failures... his making it back up on top. Meeting his course mates; 7 other young men going through their own personal struggles, and coming to terms with positive change. It was the most powerful, healing, touching, amazing experience, and I haven't cried this much in a very, very long time.
Tears from the heart for the paths we have all traveled.
Tears of relief for the strides these boys have made.
Tears of joy for seeing our son find his moment of connectedness and realization.
Tears of wonder, remembering when I forged a similar experience in my own learning.
Tears of thanks for others who dedicate their lives to helping very special young men and women find their way.

"There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less." -Kurt Hahn

Thank you, Outward Bound. I am a supporter of what you do forevermore.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Needle Felted Russian Frieda and Friends

Ladies, your creativity astounds me! Your willingness to venture into the unknown, wielding a sharp stick (needle), blindly working fluffy wool and taming it into a manageable form, tricking the needles to make your smile look like a smile, and an eye do what an eye is supposed to do (look cute!). Taking a risk to give your sculpted wool a unibrow, buttons on a too wide belt, mixing wool color like paint. You were all wonderful students, and make my "job" way too much fun. For that, I thank you....

Dania went the extra mile with the unibrow. So cute!

Awesome needle felters Linda, Estella, Dania, Tekla, and Penny. Robin and Belle had to scoot out before this picture was taken. Here are their creations, many still a work in progress...
You can still sign up to take this class, wanna-be-needle-felters! Call over to Paper Tales, and sign up quick before all the spots disappear. You will be so happy you did!!