Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Friends are coming...

There's another photo shoot on the calendar so the studio is humming with activity.

Today Annie and I are scrubbing and scrambling, trying to make order from the chaos that is this hard-working little cottage in the garden.

The roses are blooming by the door...

Just beyond the back door cherries are ripening, hopefully perfectly timed for the Artist Retreat happening here shortly.

Beside the cherry tree the gazebo is covered in heirloom roses and clematis I bought for fifty cents at a plant sale at the edge of the road a few years ago...

Inside work goes on fast and furious, there's so much more than the preparations for the artist retreat.

There's another cartridge in the works for the CriCut machine and loads of greeting cards and other fun products which are still in the works at this point.
Napkins and guest towels have just gone into production and there's much, much more.
Here's a sneak peek at a napkin:

The new fabrics are about to ship from Clothworks Textiles.

and the tea sets are arriving from Pine Ridge Art.

And hooray! The Artist Retreat here in just a few days is keeping me hopping!
I'll share the preparations, and then while the friends are here I know I won't be able to resist showing you peeks at the fun.
 BrendaSusanBarb, and Kristen will be here... we'll miss having Caroline, who is the absolute essence of Southern Belle (and by the way, she's having some juicy giveaways on her blog this week!)

We're planning lots of artsy goodness, bike trips, ferry rides and other Pacific Northwest adventures. I can hardly wait to share it with you!

Each of the artists will sketch away in a handmade book like this one.

I'll show you how to make them soon, so you can do one of your own!

Monday, June 28, 2010



[juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn] – noun, an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast.
I love juxtaposition. Light and dark. Sweet and salty. Drippy and dry.

Without contrast life would be plain boring.

But if the truth be told, contrast can be a bitter pill to swallow. I would rather live in sunshine than gray skies, and choose the easy path almost every time.

Have you wondered why I've skipped posting lately?

It's all because of juxtaposition.

My sunny skies turned gray. My laughter turned to a heavy heart.

I have spent a few weeks learning again that when one must, one can.
Mr. Wonderful had a frightening crisis, and I became his nurse.

He has been the soul of patience, and I have been brave, too.
And now I think~ I hope~ we are emerging from the clouds, at least for the moment.

Hard times make us strong, the darkness makes the light shine brighter.

Now we find ourselves emerging from the clouds, enjoying the home comforts even more than before...

... the shadows have made the sunny moments more precious. 


Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.

The clouds have parted, the storm is passing, and summer is barely begun.
The contrast of sickness and health, joy and sorrow, winter and summer have brought a precious reminder to treasure loved ones while we can, to savor the pleasures of today because they are fleeting. 

Juxtaposition... the act or instance of placing close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast... 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Little beauties

Little beauties have sustained me recently through a series of misadventures.

When a routine crown at the dentist turns into a double root canal followed by a defective crown that needs to be drilled off but it goes wrong and your face turns black and blue and swollen...

you can find particular joy and comfort thinking about the happier things in life...

bees, for example...

and honey... a million shades of pink...

and lavendar and green...

... the smell of elderberry flowers and more bees!

Just as I was musing on that my friend Terri Conrad wrote a wonderful post on her blog. Click here to read it, and enter her drawing for some lovely gifts.  Terri hasn't had a completely smooth path either, and she's using her art to make the world a better place.

Even now the first strawberry is almost ripe, and other good things await us all. There is joy just around the bend. Can you feel it?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

reasons to love being home

I've been counting my blessings all day.

 It started when I was talking with a neighbor, telling him how very rich I am in all the things that are priceless. It has nothing to do with a bank balance and everything to do with contentment.

What makes you feel blessed beyond belief?

Isn't that what fuels the best creativity? 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Early summer in the Valley

Today it's the first blue-sky, warm-outside, feeling-like-summer day! And everyone has come out to welcome it.

The agricultural workers were planting like mad and some of us were out in the garden weeding and singing. (Sun can do that to us Northwesterners, who are wholeheartedly sick of clouds and giddy at the warmth of today's sunshine!)

I will never tire of the ordinary sights in our little valley. Its simple beauty still astonishes me.

Steve's crops are up and growing and those of us who prize his farm stand are downright gleeful. There is nothing better than Steve's produce.

The raspberry canes have flowered and the fruit has set. It won't be long before our fingers and lips are stained red with happiness.

The potatoes are up and growing, too. 

And I am growing as well~ growing in my artistic vision, ideas sprouting. There's an airbrush on its way to the studio and new sketches littering the studio.

What's growing in your home town? What creativity is sprouting between your ears?

Do tell! I would love to hear from you.
And by the way, did you notice you can now subscribe by email? If you are willing I would love for you to try it and let me know if the posts arrive nicely in your in box. I am questioning my technical skills over here!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Joyful inspiration

A photograph can lift the spirit, inspire a person, transport you to another place and time.

Which is what happened this afternoon as I did a little research for a new project.
I dug into the photos I did last time I visited the Met, one of my most favorite places in the entire world.

I felt like dancing as I recalled my afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art... 

...remembered the lovely details and the grace of the big picture, too.

In my mind's eye I once again stood transfixed before the glass display...

and drank in the details once again.

Oh the beauties of such fragile glassware preserved through the years!

Do you see the lion's head? the primroses? the sweeping swags of foliage?

Did you know I used to engrave metal? My, how I adore lettering. Of course the samples I saw in the Met were breathtakingly gorgeous.

I remember staring at this amazing urn, so lovely in form and so complex it almost took my breath away!

Look closer... what breathtaking details!

Now it's time to leave my pictures, to carry them about in my imagination.

I am about to dip into my ink pot and snip away again, inspired and refreshed. 

Are you energized, too? Perhaps tomorrow I will share a bit more of my afternoon in the American section of the Met. You might be just as transfixed as I am.

This isn't quite as good as actually being there but a bit of the shine might rub off on your creative side and cause you to dream a wonderful dream... 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

NEWS! Convenient way to get the blog posts

Would you like to get my blog posts via email? 
Click on the button at the top right and you can have the posts simply and easily delivered to your inbox. 

If you enjoy my blog, this will put a cheerful message in your box and hopefully add a bit of gladness to your day.

What have you been doing?

"What have you been doing?" I asked Katie as she plodded into the house needing her paws wiped.

Silly question. One glance at her muddy nose and the well-licked bone give a clear-cut answer.

Digging. Again.

But I can't fault her too badly because I understand. I am rather fond of digging, myself.

Mr. Wonderful and I are out with our shovels all the time, even in the rain.
We love the results.

Everybody here digs. And loves it. 
Even the chickens, as you can see!

The raised beds are looking happy outside the studio door, and we are fighting the slug wars, banishing the weeds and loving the salad greens.

So I really can't fault Katie for loving the dirt. I know how she feels. 
Another wipe of the paws.

What have you been doing? Any digging going on in your neck of the woods, my friends?