Saturday, December 26, 2009

Candlelight


I hope everyone had a good day yesterday. Hopefully your day wasn't a "celebration of obligation" as a person near and dear to me calls it. It was a low key day around here. Watched a Dr. Who Christmas special from last year via Netflix in the afternoon and then went to my Mom and step-Dad's place around 3. This year due to finances the whole gift giving hullaballoo was scaled way down. Yeah!!!! The gifts were fewer but more thoughtfully selected it seems. I would be happy if we skipped the gift giving totally but that is heresy as far as my Mom is concerned. As it turns out, I am quite glad we didn't skip it totally. I received an Aebleskiver pan from my brother! I am thrilled! I will report on the outcome.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

HAPPY CLUCKMAS!


This year's Christmas card. I struggled for weeks trying to do a collage card with images of happy Victorian era children and jolly Santas. It just wasn't coming together at all, even after Hannah and I had our crafty evening. I was packing up my artsy, craftsy Christmas stuff when I came across some of last year's hand carved stamped cards. I got an itch to carve some more stamps. This chicken is based on an image I saw in a British magazine a long time ago. I combined her with some of last year's holly and flower stamp and bingo! A card is born. Inside for those folks who don't cringe at bad plays on words I have stamped Happy Cluckmas! For those who cringe the standard Happy Holidays gets stamped as the message. I also carved a virgin Mary stamp and had fun doing some mail art for my mentor and friend Jill.

I took a collage class at Jill's awhile back that used an exercise to kind of just let go and not get attached to the outcome. At the end of the class we all (4 of us including Jill) agreed to send each other mail art using the technique we learned in the class. It took me awhile to get them done but I mailed them off last week (before taking pictures, Doh!) As the base for the collage I cut some cardboard boxes to postcard size and slapped some paint on them and then wrote and glued and painted and pasted and wrote some more and then I wrapped clear packing tape over the whole thing and mailed them off. So much fun! I loved getting cool artsy mail and loved the process of letting go and seeing where things ended up.
I attended Jill's Solstice party on Sunday and thought I would do a collage as a thank you for Jill. It was a lovely evening and thought it would be fun to send her some art using techniques I've learned from her. I used a test stamping of the Mary stamp and added some other stamps then collaged some scraps and just had a good time. I think I will be doing more of this in the new year.

Big news on the Buffy front...she laid her first egg last Saturday! Buffy is a Bantam as is her surrogate mum, Betsy. Betsy's small egg is the white one, Buffy's is the even smaller brown egg. She seems quite pleased with herself these days.
I hope you all have a happy holiday time.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....


Sort of. My friend Hannah came over yesterday afternoon for some crafty fun. I had hoped making Christmas cards would get me in a Christmas frame of mind. It hasn't sunk in yet that Christmas is less than 20 days away. I had a good time with Hannah but still not feeling the Christmas spirit.
The weather is doing its best to remind me it is December. It is clear and cold. The Willamette Valley is being visited by an Arctic front. Lovely but freaking cold. I went to a holiday faire on Saturday. My friend Alysse from Bliss Monkey Studio was there selling her fabulous fingerless gloves. My pair that I have will be worn tomorrow at 5:30pm at 5th Street Public Market here in Eugene MoveOn.org is hosting a Cost of Delay Candlelight Vigil. There is likely a vigil in a city near you happening. If you feel that the US needs a public option for health care NOW then please make your voice heard and attend a vigil if you can.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mellow Sunday




Listening to Pachelbel's Canon in D and enjoying the morning. It is foggy, but looks like it will burn off soon. I have been slow to get started on Christmas this year. I am not going to go nuts this year with either baking or making. Most of my family and friends are scaling back and being frugal. I do have a few presents made....


These are the exposed spine French Link books that I learned how to make from Jill Cardinal a local artist and teacher. I have made three so far and I am fine tuning the process as I go along. You'll probably notice I used the green with white polka dots paper as end papers for two of the books. What is not to like about green with white polka dotted paper?










I am making a few nichos for some friends as well. I am also working on a sweater for a very good friend of mine and some dish towels are in the process of being embroidered.
I am getting the Christmas decorations down this afternoon! Need to break out the Dean Martin Christmas CD....maybe not quite yet...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!




This is what I saw as I was drinking my tea this morning. I had been thinking of all the things still to be done in preparation of going to my Mom's for dinner. After grabbing the camera and taking these pictures, I came back in with a calmer mind. Some deep breaths and some thoughts of what I am thankful for later, I am in a better head space. I hope all of you have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guess What?


CHICKEN BUTT!
It's been awhile since I posted last. It isn't that I didn't want to post, it is just that I have been busy. I have been doing some artsy things as well as some not so fun stuff. I went to Art and Soul in Portland at the end of September. That was amazing! Overwhelming at times but so much fun. I am still processing things I learned there. I took a class from one of my favorite blog artists, Misty Mawn. I also took a great bookbinding class taught by Jill Cardinal, here in Eugene, at Oregon Art Supply. I went up to Portland again a few weeks ago for some relaxation and creative fun. It just hit me a few days ago that Thanksgiving is next week! Wow! Time really flies. It is sunny but chilly today. Absolutely beautiful, I am off to run an errand and go for a walk by the river with my new (very basic) camera!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New spectacles and a quick update


The lack of blogging seems to be a recurring theme for me lately. I have been busy, but really not all that busy. I've just been a bit
slack. A wonderful friend sent me an iBook laptop. It seems I will be almost in the 21st century sooner than expected. I can now blog from a variety of locales. We'll see if my blogging output increases.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Birthday for me and the blog.....


I have been a bad blogger lately. I have been taking a break from blogging in general. I did want to show off the best birthday present! Meet Heinz, originally from Germany, but had made his way to a flea market in Switzerland where he was found by a dear, dear friend of mine.
This blog turned 1 on the 12th. I have often wondered why I started it, but feel, even as I am on a small break from it, that it is important to me. That said, I am off to pick tomatoes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weekend update...

I didn't take my camera last night to Faerieworlds and am seriously kicking myself. My friend Elena and I went to see Faun.
The concert was amazing and hanging out with Elena was so much fun. The event itself was a lot less hassle than either of us expected. All in all a great evening. I hope everyone is managing to get out and see some live music this summer.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

self portrait saturday




I just can't get it together today. I have a doctor's appt Monday morning so I scheduled the day off. I have a three day weekend. I should be psyched but all I want to do is sleep. It is supposed to be really hot today. Like over a 100 degrees hot. Listening to David Bowie sing about Modern Love. I love the opening line, "I know when to go out, I know when to stay in, get things done" in that accent...
I have an art group dinner tonight. Yeah! I am bringing a salad from Ina Garten's book, Barefoot Contessa at Home. I am thinking either the pesto pea salad or the guacamole salad. Maybe both...so glad I don't have to turn the oven on.
Feeling much more settled today than I did all week. Ohhh, Thursdays are clogging night. Guess what song we put on? Come on Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners. I know, D-O-R-K! I am ok with that. Oh, that song just makes me a grinning idiot. It is perfect for clogging to. Click below to see some clogging http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghPtn26gAA0

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's all about perspective

This week's drawing class was about perspective. You know, the artist holding up his/her thumb in front of whatever it is they are drawing? Always wondered why...now I know. In class we actually used bamboo skewers, (The kind used to ummm...skewer things, like veggies, to make shish kebabs. Yes, I know other stuff is skewered on them but not in my world.), to serve as a unit of measurement. I did not like this class one bit. My arm hurt after an hour or so of holding it out, putting it down, forgetting the measurement, doing it again, putting it down, double checking... in front of a bunch of boxes stacked on top of each other. It didn't seem artistic at all, it seemed like math to me. When you start in one place you need stay in that place because if you move it changes your perspective. I got frustrated and felt a bit rebellious so I sketched what I saw without using the skewer. When the instructor came around to critique and offer words of wisdom, she paused in front of my easel and pointed at the free hand sketch. "That is what I am talking about, good angles, nice placement, good perspective," she said. (I said thanks and chuckled to myself.)

Last Sunday I was checking my gmail account. It is one that I don't check regularly. I was scanning through and noticed two emails from a name from my distant past. This wasn't someone I expected to hear from ever, so I honestly thought it was a mistake. I opened the more recent one first. It was from the person that I knew oh, 23 or so years ago. Someone, that while not looking for me, found me because of the title of my blog. Unbeknownst to me the song by Donovan Catch the Wind had been associated with me in this person's mind at one time. We never listened to it or talked about it and the association was made after we had parted ways. Apologies of past behaviour were made. Apologies for what? I wondered. Given the years of non-contact and my age at the time (young) and his age, young (but older by, ahem, some years) I had a pretty tight lid on that period in my life. Thoughts of him had dwindled to the random, I wonder what he's doing these days? Explanations and apologies were provided in subsequent emails and filled in some of the blank holes but strangely, instead of feeling settled I feel angry. Would it have made a difference knowing that I had actually mattered to this person? I've always treated that time in a rather cavalier fashion because it hurt too much to treat it with the importance it deserved. I chalked it all up to something in me that was lacking or wrong. To find out that I was special and cherished while at the same time being pushed away for reasons unknown to me (at the time) is gratifying to a point. I have been given a new perspective on a pivotal time of my life. It is requiring some changes in how I view my past and present. This shift has been unsettling to say the least. Ultimately I think it is a positive thing and I am grateful to this person for taking the time to make contact. (Although the bouts of random tears are growing tiresome.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Guitar hero and lyric writing god...

I have been playing guitar again after 20+ years. I was never very good, probably because I didn't practice. I started taking lessons this week after a couple of weeks of working on chord transitions on my own. I was really blown away by what I remembered from my lessons almost 30 years ago! I am still in the beginning stages but find myself picking up the guitar and running through some arpeggios just for fun. If you would have said 6 months ago, "Tonia, you are going to start playing the guitar again and you are going to practice for hours at a time." I would have laughed at you and asked you what you had been smoking. I mean really, one more thing to add to the list of things to do. Now it is bumping some things off the list. I am borrowing the guitar from my brother who is very, very good.
I have many things to thank an ex-boyfriend for but introducing me to the music of this man
is at the top of the list. Here is a link to a youtube video of him and his son, Teddy, If you get a chance and are at all curious, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3DS6xglAfQ&feature=PlayList&p=949B816F6EA4314B&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=28
They are performing one of my favorite songs, the video is lame but the performance is excellent.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

You know where you can put your fireworks...

I detest the 4th of July. ABSOLUTELY DETEST IT. The amount of money that is spent on fireworks, legal and illegal is appalling. The noise is upsetting to animals and snarly old bitties like me. My neighbor, (the lame one that doesn't control his dog) and his normally nice girlfriend are setting off some really loud ones. No pansy assed sparklers for them. Nope, they have chosen some stuff from Mexico. They are going with ones that you feel in the pit of your stomach when they go off. I am not sure what is being celebrated? Are we celebrating our independence from a nationalized health care system, the civilized custom of tea and some of the sexiest accents in the world? Sorry, I can think of other things that I would rather be free from. Things like monster trucks, red neck yahoos that drive monster trucks and really inconsiderate neighbors. I would gladly celebrate freedom from those things.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Breeze and a tale of woe from long ago...


"Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune..." One of my essential summertime albums is Seals and Crofts' greatest hits. Yeah, I am a dork. While I am at it I may as well tell you that "Rocky Mountain High" is one of my favorite songs. John Denver, Seals and Crofts, Led Zeppelin and the Grateful Dead got me through one particularly horrible summer about 20 years ago. I was working three jobs trying to save money to get to England. I was slowly coming out of my Deadhead phase and had spent some time over in Bend, Oregon with some friends from UO. These Bend boys were the cream of the Deadhead crop. Mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and partying. I came back home from my own personal nirvana to my parents fighting and all sorts of ugly words like adultery being slung around. My little brother hated me because I had deserted him. (He was 16 at the time.) I was living at home in what felt like a war zone. I managed to somehow work in a deli/coffee shop, work at Agripac (one of the levels of Hell) and work in the concession stands at the Lane County Convention Center during the weekends and some evenings before my graveyard shift in Hell. Essentially I would get home from the graveyard shift at Agripac for a couple of hours of sleep before going off to the deli job till sometime in the evening and then a few more hours of sleep and laundry and playing marriage counselor to my Mom. Good times. Anyway while standing at the conveyor belt at 2 a.m., sorting ears of corn and trying to not fall onto the belt as the never ending river of vegetable matter hypnotized me, it was important to stay coherent. The cannery, as the ancient ones still working there called it, was the taker of many a finger or hand or occassionally more from those who let their attention slip. To ward off the loopiness I would sing out loud to myself. I worked my way through Seals and Crofts, John Denver-especially Rocky Mountain High, the Dead, Zep-you name it, I sang it. Normally I do not let anyone hear me sing, I can't hold a tune even if it is handed to me. At Agripac there was no worry of anyone hearing me. If you have never worked or been in a cannery, count yourself lucky. The smells alone are not for the faint of heart (or stomach.) What really got me was the noise. Hissing steam, ca-thunk, ca-thunk of the seamers (the machines that seal the cans), the constant rolling thunder sound of the conveyor belts. I wore a hard hat and hair net and earplugs. The first week or so I felt shell shocked from all the noise. Then I got used to it, to a point. It started to become familiar and almost comforting. When a conveyor belt went down-broken or for maintenance, the noise level dropped dramatically and I remember feeling panic as new lesser heard sounds were able to thump or clank their way into my consciousness. Anyway I would look up once in awhile and every person on the conveyor belt line would all be singing to themselves. It was kind of like the opposite of karaoke. You could sing to your heart's content in public but no one could hear you.
Anyway I did get to England, my parents did divorce (albeit several years later), my brother and I are close and I still like Seals and Crofts and John Denver and the rest.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I sit down to write something on the blog and all my incredibly witty, thoughtful and insightful comments go on holiday.
So I guess it will be the less than scintillating, mundane stuff. I have been busy working on the backyard. This is the year that all remaining lawn will be gone. Last weekend I worked for hours each day removing the grass from the part closest to the house and then slowly during the week I carved away at the bits closest to the studio, which is at the back end of the yard. Just a bit more to go and then to have it hauled away. In place of the grass there will be wider raised areas and more paths and more raised beds. I don't do regular rectangular raised beds, in fact I removed the ones that were here as soon as I got settled in 7 years ago. (They were the worse for wear and needed replacing anyway.)
Where the large rocks are on the left hand side of the picture, to the left of those will be filled in with soil, making the tomato and basil bed bigger. To the right will be either bark or something else for the path.

Patio pots

Front porch plants.

Back patio again.

Buffy (reddish one) and Betsy (black and red one), I am having a hard time getting a picture of Buffy's feathery pantaloons.

Another picture looking towards the back of the house. Where there is dirt, there used to be grass. You will notice the larger pile of sod piled up waiting to be hauled off. This picture is taken from about a third of the way back from the house.
Front yard path.
Other than working on yard and the day job, not too much has been going on. Hope you all are enjoying your summer!