Saturday, January 30, 2010

More fun in the studio

Our daily fifteen minutes in the field playing ball is my dogs' favorite time of day. 

Yesterday while I tossed a ball for Penny, Katie cornered a poor little field rabbit. After a moment of panic, he decided to make a leap for it. 

And right then another piece of art happened.

Back to the studio to bring it to life.

And here it is: one of my favorite sayings, snipped with love!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mary Engelbreit

I've always admired Mary Engelbreit but never more than when I met her in Atlanta a couple weeks ago.

Strolling with my friend Jane through the showrooms, we happened to find her in a showroom alone. What a lovely little chat we had before the crowds came in and she got back to signing prints and taking photos.

The thing that delighted me about her most was the way she has stayed true to herself. She's not full of herself, she's ordinary in the very nicest sense of the word, a friend-next-door kind of woman. I have admired her art for years but now that I've met her and talked with her I would honestly have to say I like the Mary behind the art even more than her art.

Three cheers for Mary Engelbreit and the other artists whose imagery makes the world a brighter place. 

And here's to imagination, creativity and gumption. And cherries, scotties and lovely women like Mary.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A little bit blue

"Honey," I told myself this morning, "You know what the problem is? You've got the good old fashioned blues."

And I do, just a little bit.

Usually I'm the irritatingly positive Susie Sunshine but today I've got  a bit of the blues.

Being sick for five weeks has worn me down a bit. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

So I began to look at the blues... literally, that is.

Peeked through my archived photos of hyacinths and hydrangeas, summer skies and morning glories. Found hints of the blues in a robin's egg and pondered the cerulean in the high country lakes of the Sierra Nevada. And I began to think...

...maybe a hint of the blues now and then has a purpose...

...maybe new doors of opportunity wait on the other side of the blues.

I am struggling to recover from December's emergency surgery and weak as a kitten.
Tired of trips to the doctor's office and prescriptions.
Longing to get back to strength and health and off clear liquids.
Blue is the color of reflection.
And this season of the blues, when I'm stuck at home recuperating is giving me a rare gift of time to step back and reflect in a way I don't have when I'm running as usual.

Maybe a touch of the blues is what teaches us compassion, lends depth & perspective and adds sweetness to all those days when we are strong and healthy and life is going smoothly.

Just looking at my photos of the blues reminds me how beautiful they are, and what purpose a season of difficulty can serve. I am going back to rest again more content now.

Tomorrow will be brighter. Every window has two sides and I will be on the other side soon, enjoying the sunshine again.

If you struggle as I do on occasion, rejoice with me in the wonderful way the hard times make us stronger and give us the depth and clarity that comes from a season of difficulty, but never staying blue for too long.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Little things

 Sometimes the smallest things can catch your eye.

When you look closely there is so much beauty in the symmetry of a little feather in the grass, caught the golden light of a fading afternoon.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

A new skill

I bought some yarn and dug out an old crochet hook, and made a wonderful pair of fingerless gloves last week, and while the gloves were a satisfying project it only ignited that old simmering wish...

I've always longed to know how to knit... to accomplish the magic of turning a simple ball of wool into a sweater, a pair of socks,  or a cosy of blanket to drape over the back of the sofa.

So this weekend when Emily showed up, knitting needles in hand, we couldn't resist a trip to our local yarn shop, which is packed with delicious yarns of every sort.

Soon Em had me casting on, knitting and purling with glee.

What a perfect pastime for a chilly January evening.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Outside the studio window

What fun to look out the window and see glorious blue skies and sunshine!

 I pulled on a jacket, called the dogs, begged Russell to join me for a lovely romp outdoors.

And hurrah! What a morning!


The first snowdrops were budding yesterday, and today they were in full bloom. Snowdrops seem such a hopeful sign of spring ahead. They're one of my favorite flowers...


 I especially love the way they look with the sunlight streaming through the fragile petals...

Steve and Katherine's willow is looking gorgeous at Dunbar Gardens just down the road. No wonder Katherine's handmade baskets are so gracefully lovely... she starts with her own amazing willow crop. Click to see her work or learn to weave a basket yourself  here.

I felt just as happy as this horse, who rolled on his back and kicked his legs in the air at the sunshine, then turned over and shook his whole self for joy. I bet the bees in the hives behind him were waking up and doing the happy dance, too.

Nothing better than fresh air and sunshine, and the faintest scent of spring in the air.

Are you feeling that glass more-than-half-full sunshine feeling, too?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Atlanta Gift Market

Once again Atlanta Gift Market was a whirlwind of activity... back to back meetings, the joy of seeing one's work in the showrooms and the pleasure of friends reunited.

Here my artist friends Barb (her work is at and Susan (the children's clay artist at and I sit down for a minute before dashing off again. I am bursting my buttons with pride at having such gifted friends. Their images are in stores everywhere, their creative genius seemingly knowing no bounds.

And yes! My hair is getting a bit longer, just about where I want it. We women are so hair conscious, aren't we? But I digress...

Here's a peek in the Demdaco showroom...



The new ornaments and plates are out for Christmas 2010.

When I left the Demdaco showroom, I ran straight up to CNF, where my darling friend Julie Ueland ( was doing a signing. I was lucky enough to nab her before she was surrounded.

Then I dashed off again, and happened to come across none other than Mary Engelbreit, all by herself in another showroom. Had a lovely leisurely chat. Mary was so down-to-earth and genuine I couldn't help but adore her. Very little makeup and no fancy "I'm special" feeling about her at all.  Had my photo snapped with her and Santa and she gave me a print. Gush. What fun.

 And speaking of gushing, my friend Brenda's son in law is head chef at the Four Seasons Hotel (find Brenda at Oooh-la-la! We went for dinner. I tried to be discreet as I swooned but my goodness, that place is so luxe! I even snapped photos in the ladies' room. Sad to say most of them didn't turn out well enough to show you. But if you get the chance, the Atlanta Four Seasons dining room is truly the best eating you'll ever find.


So now I'm home again, with my fingers already inky as can be and an alphabet underway. Stay tuned. The creative juices are flowing, my friends!


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sleepy winter garden

 The birdbath is freezing, thawing, freezing, thawing...

The strawberries look so beautiful when they're frosty...

and though it's only January, if you look hard enough you can find signs of the approaching spring.

The seeds of spring make my sleepy winter garden so inspiring, as I lay abed gazing out the window.

I've been snipping peacocks and drawing like there's no tomorrow... getting ready for a marketing trip to Atlanta.
I've been shamelessly resting, recuperating in my jammies, pots of glue and ink at my elbow, looking out the window at the wintery landscape.

Are you enjoying the chilly season in your own garden? Or flying away to distant lands?