Friday, May 27, 2011

Painting plaid

This was a baby gift for a friend who recently had her first child. The plaid design matches the Pottery Barn Kids madras print John's mom & dad picked out for his nursery.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

10 things that make me feel better

Some are self-explanatory & some are not...

1. Chocolate.

2. Naps.

3. Sweatpants. Call it “loungewear” if you want to be hoity-toity about it, but I would be happy to wear clothes that are only suitable for the gym all the time. But I don’t want to go to the gym.

4. Yoga makes me happy, which is great because it gives me a plausible reason to wear gym clothes.

5. Organizing something. Anything… even the silverware drawer. Gretchen Rubin knew what she was talking about when she said in her book, The Happiness Project “Outer order creates inner calm.” There is a direct positive correlation between the level of sadness I feel & the number of trips I make to The Container Store. That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement for The Container Store, but I should point out that it doesn’t actually cause the sadness. It makes it better.

6. Writing. Even if it is just making a list of things that make me happy.

7. Reading. Especially David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs… I once started laughing so hard at a David Sedaris story while in an airport, I completely lost it & began to cry hysterically. As I sat simpering & trying to mop up my tears with a Starbucks napkin, a little elderly lady stopped to pat me. She thought I was actually crying because I was sad… which I found to be so funny that I started sobbing again. I no longer read David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs in public. They make me ugly-cry… but in the happiest way possible.

8. Reading posts on It isn’t so much the innocent-text-messages-gone-horribly-wrong that make me laugh, but the quick-witted responses from the person receiving the accidentally profane text or the horror-stricken fumbling explanation from the sender. Either way, this website can make me really happy really quickly.

9. Dancing. Strange, but true.

10. Ron Burgundy. It’s hard to be sad when you have a formerly-homeless cat doing everything he can to sit as close to you as possible while purring so loud you can’t hear the TV.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Doodles: Ralphie joins the circus

If Ralphie decided to run away & join the circus, he would be a fantastic 'strong man', the guy the carnival barker boasts can pull a freight train with his teeth. I think he would be great if for no other reason than his girth. He's definitely built for it. Not that we have to worry with Ralph testing my theory- he prefers to stay close to the steady stream of canned cat food he gets at home... so close in fact, that he loiters on the counter by his bowl & if you wander in the kitchen, he reaches down & pats the front of the cat food cabinet with his big paw. "Hey, you with the opposable thumbs... could you be a dear & top off my bowl?"

Monday, May 16, 2011


Each time I pass this bench in Hot Springs, Arkansas I crack up a little. No loitering? Really?
I find myself in a bit of a creative cul-de-sac, which happens most often when my “grown-up” job requires me to be especially logical, budget-oriented & diplomatic. After walking into my studio innocently enough, to return something to its proper place, I find myself hovering by my art table. Loitering. I am loitering, wanting to pull out the chair, sit down & make something with my hands. Now is not the time.

So I just loiter for a moment, half in & half out of the room; pulled in one direction by the creative carnival in my head & in the other direction by time constraints of grants & committees, by half-finished home-improvement projects that hold their collective breath as I walk on by.

For now, I will have to be a responsible grown-up & get some things marked off my list… I’ll step away the stacks of supplies that peer at me hopefully from the shelves in the studio.

I’ll be back in a week or so, when I can do more than loiter by my art table with my creativity whispering in my ear. See you soon.

Friday, May 6, 2011

An army of children with painted faces

International Fest 2010: Clearly Andrew liked what he saw
Today is 'International Fest' at an elementary school in Little Rock. Because my best friend's daughter goes to school there, I volunteer to paint faces each year & it is possible that I enjoy it as much as the kids. It's one of the free activities so I spend a few hours surrounded by a large group of children who are offering advice and suggestions for whatever little face I am working on at the moment.

It is loud & fun & hearing all of the little conversations & giggles going on around me reminds me not to take life so seriously all the time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Birds for Gram

Here's a little 'thank you' gift I made for my friend, Gram.
She heard I got a sewing machine & gave me some of her "how to sew" books.

Gram loves birds so I thought this project in my 'Stitch Alchemy' book would be perfect.

When the book arrived in the mail, I took it to her house to show her how the author makes
paper fabric & paints it before sewing it into something.

I was a little nervous about sewing the birds & I'm sorry to say one of the little fellows almost lost an eye in the process.

I mailed the finish project to Gram & her granddaughter tells me she hung it on her door. She's a lovely lady & I'm so lucky to know her. That Gram... now she is a REAL artist!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Growing a family tree

Remember this mess?

It finally grew into something.
Because one side of the family was much larger than the other, we decided to use different colors of green for each side instead of having a lop-sided tree.

Each branch has leaves representing a different part of the family: great-grandparents, grandparents, great-aunts & uncles, aunts & uncles, cousins & then baby Gemma's immediate family.