Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Suck At This

Apparently, I'm really, really bad at posting everday.

But there's a lot going on.That's not really much of an excuse, though. Look at the Soap Crone. She's a teacher, a publisher, a soaper, a mom, and she still manages it. But not me.

Ah, well.

Zoe has been having nightmares. Multiple nightmares a night, which make it hard for her to go to bed, or to go back to sleep after she's had one. Danny is not very sympathetic in the middle of the night, since he never had nightmares as a kid. I did however,which my Mom will surely attest to. Many, many nightmares. And it was terrifying.

So I'm a bit more sympathetic, but was still getting dragged down by all the being up in the middle of the night all the time. Solution: We're keeping an air mattress in our room. If Zoe has a nightmare, she can come sleep there. And everyone is back to sleep in 2 minutes. Zoe's still having nightmares, but she's not as afraid to go to bed, and we're all better rested.

In other news, Danny has agreed that if I can manage to actuall get regular freelance illustration work, enough to qualify as a 2nd income, we can get out of here and go home. (I'd love to go to the east coast, but he doesn't think it would suit him. And this definitely doesn't suit me.)

So, working on a kick-ass portfolio. Then I'll find an art rep, and hopefully get into the educational illustration market. Textbooks and the like. If I'm lucky. That's the plan, anyway. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 12, 2009


I still can't believe it's October. Also, it seems that we went straight from summer into winter, with only a couple of autumn days in between. It's cold, dark, and rainy. Kind of feels like a Seattle December. But everyone promises me this isn't normal, and we should still have some nice days lurking around the corner.

But regardless of the weather, October is moving fast. There's still a lot to look forward to: Halloween, get-togethers with friends, the new Tinkerbell movie (hey, my daughter is 4, it's better than princess fare.)

Then November. Thanksgiving. Cold weather that sticks around. Nanowrimo. Danny's already working on his plot. I'm debating whether or not I should take part. And I'm leaning towards yes, though it usually drives me crazy. Any of you taking part?

Friday, October 9, 2009


I can't believe it's finally the weekend. Tomorrow will be busy, with a visit to an art studio, a field trip for Zoe, and a pot luck in the evening.

But even with all that, I'm hoping to start a new miniature painting. Perhaps I'll even finish it by Sunday, and can post it here.

I really need to move on to a new animal - I seem fixated on foxes whenever I pick up a brush or a pen. Any good suggestions?

And, yes, Iknow this is dull, but I'm trying desperately to post every day, even when I have nothing much to say. So there.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This Is NOT My Skill Set

Two days of sewing, two stuffies to show for it. They're not what I think they should be, and they took HOURS. Apparently, sewing is not something I'm good at. ;->
(Sometimes I wish people came with owner's manuals.)

But at least D and Zoe are charmed.

Morning Surprises

In my quest to master sewing, I've been making a lot of little stuffed animals. Cats, mice, bunnies...
And while I'm not always pleased with the result, Zoe loves waking up in the morning to find a new little stuffie sitting on the couch. And you just can't argue with a happy kiddo.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stranger Than Fiction

I heard a great, true story at the playground today.
A family was visiting the zoo in St. Louis. The parents turned around and discovered that their 4 year-old son was missing. They couldn't find him, and much panic ensued. After nearly two hours of searching by parents, zoo staff, and the police, the boy was located. He was just fine - he'd just wandered off and was doing his own thing.
He was soundly scolded and the family got in their car for the 4 hour drive home. Not wanting to get into more trouble, the boy failed to tell them something.
2+ hours into the drive, he asked his Mom if she'd be mad if he told her that something.
That something was... he had a penguin in his backpack. A live penguin.No one figured out how he got ahold of it, but the family turned around and drove several hours back to hand the penguin over to some very confused zookeepers.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's Still Tuesday, Really

I'm not going to miss two days in a row! I did forget yesterday. The Campfire Kids Halloween Party made most of my brain into mush, and I just totally spaced it.
Zoe loved the party - and I'll admit it WAS fun - just loud. Nothing like large numbers of preschool kids running around in the dark with glow sticks, screaming, to deafen the adults.

But it was totally worth it - and tomorrow I may even post some of the pictures.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


As promised, the pear tart. It's delicious, and super-easy.
I didn't even use an actual recipe. Just your basic lard crust, then I mixed 6 peeled and sliced pears with about 1/3 c. of sugar and maybe a teaspoon of cinammon. (I didn't measure - just sprinkled it on til it looked right.) Put it in the crust and spooned some caramel (the ice cream topping kind, but good quality) over top. Added the leaves and acorns (also easy - used cutters from Williams Sonoma) then baked at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes. Then cool most of the way and serve with vanilla ice cream. Mmmmm....

And if you're in need of a good crust recipe, here's one I always have good luck with.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Best Intentions Never Put a Tart In the Oven

I really intended to make a tart. But I know you don't believe me. I wouldn't, either.

I woke up with a nasty case of allergies this morning. I had a fat lip and puffy, itchy eyes. So most of my day was devoted to benadryl and cold compresses, which is never fun.

But I managed to depuff enough to go out with D tonight! Our first date night in months! Zoe stayed with her friend Lily and her family, where she played, watched a movie, had dinner, and did Halloween crafts. She was one happy, tired little girl.

And D and I got to have a dinner where we didn't have to tell anyone to turn around and sit down, and then browsed in a bookstore. Very low-key, but wonderful. It's amazing what a date night can do for your sanity. What little I have left will abide a bit longer, thank the gods.

Friday, October 2, 2009

With a Good Book, Size Does Count

When reading a fantastic book, it's such a joy to know that it's 1500 pages long.

No Tart

The day got away from me. After a vet trip with a sick kitten, a fussy daughter, a haircut for said daughter, a papier mache project, and grocery shopping, the pear tart has not happened.

But tomorrow is another day, and a Saturday to boot. Perfect for baking.

It's getting cool here, and Danny's tomato plant is dying off. But it's determined to have a last hurrah - it's ripening small tomatoes like mad,more quickly than it did all summer. Each night, we pull another few ripe tomatoes off, and watch a few more brown leaves fall. The plant is valient, and we're enjoying the early fall fruits.

But I do dream of a greenhouse, to have fresh, homegrown veggies all winter.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1

It's still October. I've got another 40 minutes before I screw up the first day of NaBloWriMo.

Not much to say today. Did some papier mache. Cleaned the house. Dreamed of being in a little cottage in a coastal, New England town. Started a rag rug for Zoe.

The kitten has runny eyes and an almost constant sneeze, so we need to take her in to the vet tomorrow.

Could this be any duller? Tomorrow I'll work harder at actually having something to say. I'm planning to make a pear tart, so maybe I'll post the recipe and a pic.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Argh. And NaBloWriMo.

October is National Blog Writing Month, and I've signed up to participate. So expect a new blog post each day in October.

Expect much of it to be frustrated - I've decided to learn a new skill. Sewing. I'm not a complete novice - I can sew buttons, hems, and the like, but I've decided to REALLY learn to sew. Garments, curtains, costumes, stuffed animals.... It seems like a skill a mom should have.

I borrowed a friend's sewing machine, and spent the evening figuring it out. All I have to show for it is a small, slightly lopsided, beanbag cat. With a shorter tail than I'd planned. But it is sewn, from 3 calico parts, 2 felt ears, and a braided yarn tail. I even used embroidery floss to sew a little kitty face. Danny seems charmed by it, so it can't be quite as bad as I think it is.

And, hey. I can only get better, right?


I cannot believe I haven't posted here since May. Shame on me.

But I promise I'm going to go back to blogging. Really and truly. As Jocelyn Jackson would say, "Little pink sock."

Anyway, since it seems the midwest has stolen my ability to paint, I've been spending lots of time with Zoe doing crafts. We recently tackled papier mache, which was, perhaps, not the best idea with a 4 year-old. By the end, she had painted her whole body with paste.

But here's the end result of that session: Halloween Cat! I'm pretty pleased with how he turned out. And yes, there is glitter on the spots.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Welcome to Kansas

Well, we made it, and are settling in.
The tornado shelter sign greeted us at the entrance to the botanical garden.
The lion sculpture is in the art museum. The museum, btw, is spectacular. I was suprised to see works by Rembrandt, Monet, Cassat, Seurat, etc.
Most of the other pictures are from the children's farm, which is run by parks and rec. Zoe caught her first fish, bottle fed baby goats, hand fed geese, both adults and babies. She also rode a horse and took a hayride, but the pics of those didn't come out so well.

And truly, I promise, tomorrow I start drawing again. Really.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stolen Magic

Esri Rose is a friend of mine. And her second novel, Stolen Magic, is now available from Amazon.

Adventure, romance, humor, elves... you know you want a copy.

She's also running a contest.

Somewhere on this site is a "Secret Elven Code Word" - find it and link to an entry form for the contest. You can win a weekend at a green, Boulder hotel, boutique gift certificates, restaurant dinners, elven jewelry, and bookplates from me!

The winner of the bookplate can have any piece of my art customized into personal, bookplate form, or request a commissioned piece.

Here are a few bookplate art examples:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Owl, and Music To Paint By

If you haven't yet found, and you like music, check it out NOW!  It customizes a radio station for you, using artists and songs you like to find other music you'll like. And it does it well.  I'm ecstatic. Finally, the perfect music to paint by.

This painting, Owl, Take One is available.  It is an original watercolor, unframed, and is app. 5x5".
$35 + $3.50 s/h. (Plus tax, as calculated by PayPal.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fox Miniature, Redux (Available!)

Since I won't be able to enter the miniatures in the show, due to the move, I'm listing them here.


The fox is the first. Image size is 2.75" x 3.33" Watercolor. Original painting. $135. Unframed.
(If you are interested in prints, send me a message. I can certainly make acid-free prints available.)

Coming Soon...Lots of Changes

Many of you already know, but Danny and Zoe and I are gearing up to move.... again.
This move is driven by the economy and Danny's new job. When things are like they are now, you do what you have to do. So... here we come, Kansas.

This also means no art show for my miniatures, as I don't know what my return address will be, and we're in the midst of packing chaos. We also need to find someone to lease this house.

In brighter news, I'm going to start listing paintings for sale right on this blog, with PayPal. I hope to get the first up tonight. Eventually, I plan to post (almost) daily paintings, but don't count on that to be consistent until we get settled in our new place. But it's coming, I promise.

And I hope you're all enjoying spring! Things are finally getting green and bright.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Sorry I've been so quiet lately, but there's a lot going on. We're hoping Danny will get the job he interviewed for last week, so we won't have to move to Kansas. (Well, I'm hoping, anyway.) We should know by this weekend, and are keeping our fingers crossed. Any good vibes, thoughts, prayers are welcomed. It's a good job, with a good salary, at a good company. I so hope he gets it.

Also, I've been painting the guest room. The prior tenants had painted it dark, camoflauge green, even the ceiling, with neon green trim. It's.... unspeakable, really. The color I'm doing is called porcelain, which is a perfect color for an art studio, which is what it will be if we don't have to move. Finally, an art room. It will be so nice to not have to clean up whatever is in progress every night at dinner time. If you're serious about art, and doing something more than just pen and ink or graphite, the kitchen table will not suffice.

Tonight, I completely 70% of the primer coat. Ceiling, at least, is done, though I'm feeling that in my neck, shoulders, and back. Ouch. I'll finish the primer tomorrow and paint it on Wednesday. (This is one of those jobs that becomes three times as long and involved when you have a 4 year-old who wants to be with you all the time.)

Then we'll move the easels in. (Mine and Zoe's.) The wonderful thing about this room is the double-size north window. Perfect painting light. Perfect.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Miniature Great Horned Owl

Yeah, I know. Another owl. But this one is MUCH smaller.... ;->


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tiger Eye Miniature

Here's the next... I would have finished this yesterday, but unexpected events got in the way, and I spent the entire day out of the house.

Again, very, very small. I worked on this over three days. But in this picture, you can see what Zoe accomplished while I was finishing up details this morning. She's prolific, that girl is.

I have discovered a new art "game" that's good for how I feel about finished work. Last night, I was looking through my art books. (Coffee table type, mostly wildlife art.) All the paintings were spectacular, of course. But then.... I started looking at them as if *I* had painted them, to find what I would have been dissatisfied with if I'd done the work. And I found bits I'd have considered flaws had I been the artist. But when I was looking at it and admiring it as the actual artists work, I never saw the flaws. This is making me feel a bit better about never being completely happy with my paintings. Perhaps no one ever is.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fox Miniature

I've added a penny into the picture, just to show the scale. This is, to date, the smallest painting I've completed. But tomorrow I'm working smaller - 2" x 2.75". It's hard on the eyes, but it's also great to complete a painting in an evening.

(I'l be entering this one into the miniatures show.)


Monday, March 30, 2009


In honor of the owls nesting up at the lake, here's a weekend watercolor. 
I'm not 100% happy with it, but then, that's usually the case. But I learn a little more with each one. 

This watercolor is 5"x5",  which might seem small. But I'm working on paintings for the miniature show at Parklane Gallery, the largest of which is 3"x5".  The smallest, if it turns out, will be 2"x2".

 If I'm going to keep painting miniatures, I need to buy a mat cutter.  The framing people look at you like you're missing a few marbles when you ask for a mat cut that small.  But I love the immediacy of it.  Even with my level of detail, I can finish a painting every day or two.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Toad-em Pole

Here's a copy of the latest pen and ink. My hands and eyes are both hurting after this one!
This is the black and white version - I'm not happy with the visibility of the top toads, with the busy-ness of the background. So this weekend, I'm going to add watercolor, and see if I can get the toads to pop more. (And since this is safely scanned, even if I screw it up it won't be a disaster.)
This afternoon, I'm going to start working on a piece w/bees and butterflies. It's going to be smaller. Part of a smaller series, actually. I like working small. (the toads are 9"x12", and took forever)
Pen and ink lends itself to smaller work, and I like the rush of finishing a piece. (As, I'm sure, all artists do.)
In other news, Danny is still under consideration for the job in Burlington, VT. It would be quite a change, but probably for the better. I'd certainly love to get back to Eastern forests!
Wish us luck!

Friday, March 13, 2009


8:10 AM.
Zoe is spinning and leaping through a sunbeam in the living room.

"What are you doing?"

"MO-OM! I'm chasing dust motes!"

Ah, to be that easily amused.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Key

Busy day, but since Zoe had a playdate, I FINALLY finished this. It will be a bookplate, but I always do the "ex libris" as a separate piece, and combine them in PhotoShop. That way, this can be used for other things.... Such as coffee cups.

This design is available at Cafe Press. Click here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

As you can see, Zoe had a fabulous birthday. This is the party room at the WOW Children's museum. After cake and presents, they spent the rest of the time running around like loons hopped up on sugar. I still can't believe my baby is 4! Happy Birthday, Zoe!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where The Time Goes...

As a parent, I sometimes wonder where the time goes. Today I figured it out.

I set out an hour to devote to work. I set Zoe up with a movie (yeah, I know... kids should never watch movies or TV.... blah, blah, blah....), some fruit, and some juice, and a firm explanation that I needed to draw, and set to work with an eye on the clock.

Here's the breakdown of that hour:

8 mins: Searching for my eraser and .35mm archival ink pen (somehow, they were in the dollhouse.)
11 mins: Getting more juice, more snacks, cleaning fruit off the floor.
7 mins: Letting cats and dog in and out and in and out.
4 mins: Showing Zoe, on the calendar, how long until her birthday party.
10 mins: Removing towel from the toilet and cleaning up afterwards.
3 mins: Providing tissues and helping with nose blowing.
17 minutes: Actual work.

I did get some sketching done, in preparation for a drawing tomorrow. I should have been doing some cut-paper illustration, but have a nagging knot in my shoulder due to the last 3 days of cutting. So, back to the pen and ink for a day or so.

Also, I just watched the Presidential address. And I think Obama did a fine job. Why do people think he should have fixed things already? Did they think this was fixable in a month? Afraid not. It's going to be harder than that. But I very much approve of his take on healthcare, education, and growing the economy through green energies.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not a Good Start

Woke up this morning to Zoe complaining that the toilet wouldn't stop. She'd thrown half a roll of toilet paper in before flushing.

But of course she doesn't admit it - she tried to blame it on her "Anty Friend." When I explained that you can't blame things on imaginary friends, she relented- halfway.

"You're right. Ants don't have hands. But I didn't do it!"

So we hopped out of bed to find a flooding bathroom and realize that - somehow- our plunger didn't move with us. (Plungers are things that you don't notice until you need them - especially if they're not there.) So we turned off the water and sent Danny to the store for a plunger - at 7:30 AM.

Then plunging, mopping, and the washing (with bleach) of many, many towels.

At 9, I called a friend to see if her daughter would like to come over and play with Zoe this afternoon. Alas, her Grandma is in town, and she's not available. Zoe's reaction? She burst into tears, and threatened another flood.

Not a great start to a Friday.

Now I'll get some work done - check back tomorrow for a new paper cut.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Landscape of Dreams

One of my favorite writers has suggested that everyone has a dream landscape - the place that is so much a part of their soul that they often return there in their dreams.

Mine is the New England woods. Growing up, we were lucky to always have woods to explore - usually right behind our house. And my sister and I spent much of our free time exploring them. When I dream, I often return there. My woods are a mishmash of the woods I've known and loved - mostly the woods behind the house in Lunenburg, MA, but with bits of woods from New Hampshire thrown in.

Like many women, I have nightmares of being chased. (Though not so frequently now as when I was younger.) When these take place in a city or a house, I'm always just barely ahead of my pursuer, and terrified. But when they're set in the woods, my woods, I'm always pulling ahead, getting away. Enough so that I can stop to look at flowers, talk to an animal, or climb a tree. I confuse the pursuers, lay traps, etc.

When I'm in my dream landscape - my woods - I' in control.

What is the landscape of your dreams?

Friday, January 23, 2009


A friend asked for a badger watercolor to be turned into a pendant.

This is the resulting painting. The reason it's only a "portrait" was to avoid losing too much detail when it was reduced to 1" x 1" for the pendant.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Need a Room

So much art, and so many art supplies. I need to get to work on transforming the camo and neon green guest room into something with white walls, that can function both as an art studio and a guest room. Working on the kitchen table just isn't cutting it any more.

But I do enjoy my mornings spent drawing at the table, while Zoe draws beside me. Her skills are improving by leaps and bounds, and jet-pack assisted flights. Give her 10 years, and she'll be outdoing me. (Which is a good thing. A very good thing.)

I won't have much spare time tomorrow, so I'll post a few pieces, basically studies in pen and ink, that I worked on tonight. I'm wanting to put together a mythologically based pen and ink series to try and jury into a few art shows this year. My fingers are crossed. Well, except for when they're holding a pen or a brush.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We did Storytime at the library today. During a story about a pea who didn't want his candy for dinner, the librarian asked all the kids what their favorite foods are.

"Cheese pizza!"
"Mac n'cheese!"
"Hot dogs!"
"Chicken nuggets!"

All the usual. But when she got to Zoe...

"Clams and ciopinno!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Better Late Than Never

As promised, here is the picture of what Zoe wanted to take with her if we needed to evacuate because of the fire. Note the dirty laundry.

Also, here are a bunch of scrabble tiles, with some of my art on them. Once I get some bails, these will be turned into pendants and sold on Etsy. (Scrabble tile pendants are all the rage, right now.) And yes, I will be doing more with more art. Just have to find the correct bails, now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

She's Definitely My Daughter

Last night Zoe woke up screaming and crying from a nightmare. She just couldn't calm down, so she ended up in our bed. (Which meant Danny ended up on the couch, because three cannot sleep comfortably in our bed.)

This morning, when asked what the dream was about, she said, "It was a painting nightmare."

"A painting nightmare?"

"Yes! I wanted to paint green, and it kept coming out blue!"

Danny didn't understand, but it made perfect sense to me.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hedgie and Woolly Bear

This is a quick painting I did last night, in order to make a nametag for Zoe.

I started at 6:30, when Danny left for game, and finished at 12:30. I like the way the hedgehog turned out, but am not thrilled with my greenery. If I'd had more time, I would have been happier with it, I think.

But I did get it done in time to make a nametag for Zoe to wear at UU this morning. And when it's shrunk down to nametage size, the lack of detail in the grasses bothers me less.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Boulder is Burning

There have been 3 separate brush fires today.

One of them is only a couple of miles from the house. Friends of ours were evacuated, and said they could see the flames as they left. Winds of up to 80mph aren't helping the fire fighters - they put one section out, and wind-borne embers have set another area alight.

Two of the fires, including the one near us, are completely contained.

The one in the foothills is huge, and, last time I checked, 0% contained. They've expanded the evacuation area for that one. So far, 2 houses have been lost, but I suppose we're lucky that so far it's been limited to 2, considering the conditions.

We talked about packing some things earlier, just in case the winds whipped it in our direction during the night. (Not worried about that now, TTGs.) Zoe made a pile of what she wanted to take if we had to leave. Her pile includes a doll she got for Christmas, stuffed animals, books, Littlest Pet Shop stuff, some undies, and a pair of dirty socks.

I took a picture of her pile, and will post it tomorrow. The dirty socks were one of the few laughs we've had tonight.

If you want to see pics of the fire, go here. Then take a minute to give thanks for the brave men and women who are out fighting this thing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

First Attempt - Knotwork

Give me a few more tries, and this will be much improved.

Also, I need to find some gold paint for embellishment.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Old, New, Whatever

Stay tuned for some knotwork in the next few days. I've been learning to draw it for the past week or so, and will spend tonight adding color to the designs.

I printed some dot paper from Aon Celtic Art, and it made drawing the knotwork so much easier. Miraculous, what a difference it made.

Here's hoping I don't mess up with the paint tonight...


I have finally loaded some new items into my Etsy shop. There will be more to come, later.

At Etsy, apparently it's better to stagger your listings, to get more exposure. So, though it's hard to wait, that's what I'm doing.

Along with a friend, I'm moving in a different direction - selling pdf files of art and items that you can print yourself. It's certainly cheaper, and there's no shipping cost.

Here's an example of a printable bookplate:

Here's the direct link to the shop:

Thanks for looking, and I hope everyone's January is off to a great start!