Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Fresh Start!

Here's wishing you all hope, energy and a song in your heart to start off a fresh new year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


We used this PhotoBooth shot for our cards this year. I love it. I think it looks like we are in front of a roaring campfire, when we are actually all in our P.J.'s snuggled up in front of my monitor. Mostly I think the photo hints at how happy we are to be together. One of the main reasons I love this holiday is for the few days that time stops and we just stay together. Last night we started the holiday Scrabble marathon, all of the ingredients are collected for our Christmas day feast, and the garage is hiding all sorts of presents for tomorrow morning to surprise Annie! She's so excited! Another thing I look forward to is a walk on the beach or in the redwoods before dinner, in any weather, to enjoy the beauty of this time of year.
I'm savoring the warmth and the sweet joy of connection that I enjoy from you and everyone in my life. Thank you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Dog Party

We threw a spontaneous hot chocolate party this afternoon. We tidied the house, made a pot of yummy vegetable soup and laid out some reindeer cookies and a small cake before our guests arrived. Annie and I put on festive dresses and decided to go across the street and invite some of our elderly neighbors to share some holiday cheer with us. When we got home Jasper (our large shaggy dog) had eaten all the reindeer cookies and the whole cake! Ak!

Oh well! At least he had some holiday cheer.

The party was fine, there was plenty to enjoy. The photo above shows the small ornaments I made for our guests. Each one depicts one of our canaries.

Warm Wishes

Visiting the San Francisco Japanese Tea Gardens in December is wonderful! No one is there! Except squirrels. We bundled up really well, enjoyed every square inch of the place, then filled ourselves with plenty of hot Jasmine Tea and a sampling of Japanese cookies. I find it poetic, contemplative and imagining you are in a long-ago private garden somewhere in Japan is very easy.
We both made wishes in the pond and both of us wished for the same type of thing. Connection and love. Mmmmmmmm!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh We'll Bake an Apple Pie When She Comes!

"We'll be peeling some apples when she comes!
When she comes!

We'll be rolling out some pastry when she comes!
When she comes!

We'll be adding some spices when she comes!
When she comes!

Hmm. There's no good lyrics for when she goes.
That's just a sad song!

(O.K. Annie just made up the verse below...)
We don't want LaLa Pat to leave.

Oh, we don't want LaLa Pat to leave.
Oh we don't want LaLa Pat,
Oh we don't want LaLa Pat,
Oh we don't want LaLa Pat to leave!

Come back soon.We miss you already!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Everything is Illuminated

Something about the quality of light during these short days fills me with wonder and pleasure! I also feel my mother and grandmother's love and excitement for this time of year, and I feel really connected to many layers of love!
The combination of senses and memory leaves me close to tears, tears of joy and gratitude, and I want to spend all my time with Annie and Bill. I want to hold hands, listen, be really close, sing, go for walks, and make everything special. Celebratory!


Annie, Bill and I loved our Thanksgiving in L.A. and we missed cooking our first turkey in our new home, so we had Thanksgiving II last weekend. We did all of our favorite dishes, set the table and had a mini-feast. While Papa was in the last hour of roasting, Annie and I went to the beach to do a little crabbing before the sunset, and I snapped a few shots. I think they capture some of the qualities I'm loving right now.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fun & Busy

We're attempting to balance out the busyness of this season with the fun, fun, fun. We are headed to the Japanese Tea Garden today, and yesterday we had a wonderful play date that left us feeling happy and cared about. I've still got a few project to work on, and I want to ship out the few packages I've got no later than next week.

I'm vowing to remain calm.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Portrait of Self-Care

In March of 2002 my mother died of colon cancer.

She was 61 years old.

I was, and still am living with a broken heart.

A routine colonoscopy at 50 would have saved her life.

She didn't get one until it was too late.

Life in it's beauty and mystery has moved forward.

And though I miss my living mother sorely, her beauty is ingrained in me and she is never far from my heart and mind.

I really love the life I live!

And I want to keep living and loving for as long as I can.

So, I had a colonoscopy when I turned 39.

It was yucky.

And I did it!

Now, five years later, at my doctors recommendation, I scheduled another colonoscopy.

It was today.

That last picture didn't really capture how triggering, uncomfortable, disgusting, scary and messy the proceedure is for me, so I'll try and capture it again.

There. That's more like it.

Ak! Now I'm worried that this post will keep you from taking care of your self!

Can I say that these photos don't convey a timetable? The above experience is very short lived. What lasts much longer is the feeling of joy and confidence in living!

Please encourage those you love to get a colonocopy if they are over 50, or earlier if they have any family history.

If you need any further encouragement, go to someone you love and hold them. Imagine holding them and loving them for many, many years to come!

Thank you Bill and Annie for holding my hands, rubbing my feet and going with me today. I love our life together!

Friday, November 28, 2008


We just got home from Thanksgiving and it was a full and wonderful time! Annie had an extremely hard time with the flying part, (full fledged panic-attacks including diarrhea, hives, conferences with pilots and finally flying in the buff with cool ice packs applied to the body) although once we got there it was a full on love-fest! Whew! I feel mellow with gratitude, and floating slightly after being around people I love, love, love.

Mmmmmmm. Thank you Bill, Annie, LaLa, Jordan, Rebecca, Lucy & Hollis.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I wish warm connections and abundance for you this Thanksgiving!
I found this image on Flicker. It's by CrossedFingers.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Virtual Sketch Date

Annie and I have decided to join in and do Virtual Sketch Date.
Each month you do a sketch, painting, pen and ink, whatever, of the image they offer. Then you post your piece on your blog, and then VSK posts all entries and you can see all of the different works others have done of the same image.

Annie and I named this piece
Dapple for obvious reasons.
We did sketches in pencil, then used watercolors. Annie finished hers off with pen and ink.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiday WIP

Thank you so much for the warm and encouraging comments you've been leaving lately about the things I've been making and sharing here! I love to hand-make things for people in my life, and I feel energized and enthusiastic knowing you enjoy seeing them! All my life, especially growing up, LaLa Pat, my Aunt, has made beautiful clothes, toys, jewelry and functional art for me, showing me that anything can be made if you just set your mind to it. My Mom and Dad also made me gifts and those are the ones I remember and cherish the most. I in turn, have made gifts most of my life, and really, buying a gift almost always pales in comparesant to making one.

I believe I have already stated my 2008 holiday mantra here, but for those who missed it, it is officially my Use-What-You-Have-Christmas. My plan, and I've stuck to it so far, is to use only what I already have to make holiday gifts with this year. I'm doing this for two reasons; One, I really could create for an entire year with what I already have in my studio closet, in the sewing room and treasured materials I've tucked away here and there. And two, we just bought a this house and we're flat broke. And I guess there's a third. I hate plastic and junk and I don't think kids or grown-up's need it. And O.K., four. Billys folks love to buy Annie a ton of stuff for her at Christmas and it leaves me off the hook. O.K. I'll stop now, I promise.

So far I've made Annie a few things, with a a set of 18"x18" pillow shams still in the works. Pictured here you will see 10 Owl Ornaments, 8 Fox Ornaments, 8 Teacup Ornaments (with hot chocolate and whipped cream inspired by Posy Gets Cozy), 10 Watercolor Bookmarks, 6 Neck "Cozies" and two sets of Cloth Napkins featuring embroidered leaves, berries and acorns. Not pictured is the huge tureen of home distilled Vanilla Extract that we won't harvest until mid-December.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Catalog CopyCat or Use-What-You've-Got Christmas

Annie got to the mailbox before me and found a MiniBoden catologue. She paged through and showed me a few tee shirts she wants to order. (Ak! $28 each!) The timing was perfect because Cory had given me a bag of great hand-me-downs (with some hardly used Gap tee shirts) and LaLa sent a box of terrific fabrics-everything I need to do a perfect copycat. I still have to add wiskers and finishing touches, and I think Annie will LOVE them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama Doodle

I read tonight that the Obama's are looking into hypoallergenic breeds, including Doodles (which aren't really a breed I guess. A hybrid maybe?) to join them in the White House! How exciting! I guess his youngest Sasha is allergic to fur. A GoldenDoodle is said to be the breed of choice for Malia Obama, and most Doodles have non-shedding hair not fur. President elect Barack Obama was quoted as saying he wanted to get a dog from a shelter. Either way, both directions make a perfect metaphor for this new first family. Blending beautiful (although over bred) breeds to make a superior new one, and finding a dog that needs a home and giving it one.

I already know the joys of the Doodle and a rescue. Jasper is an Aussie Doodle. He was between 3-6 months when we got him through a rescue in Sacramento and I've been in love with him from the moment I saw his picture on-line.
I've narrowed the breeders down, using the Internet, that might have bred Jasper, and they had posted pictures of a litter of puppies, and I can't help but wondering if he was from them. The markings are almost exact.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'll Show You Where the Ladybugs Live- by Annie

Follow me.

Jasper can come too.

It's in Oakland. You have to walk up a very steep hillside and go around some trails then down again. My foot was hurting on the way down the hill. There are redwood, oak, and eucalyptus trees and manzanita. I collected some bark and a long rock that is like a tool. I also found some feathers. Jasper ran off after a jogger but he came right back. When you get to the bottom, near the road, there is a grassy place where the ladybugs were last year. This year there are A LOT more. Millions of them. They are "resting" for the winter. Click here for more about ladybug swarms.

All the red you see are clumps of ladybugs.

I'm wondering why the ladybugs chose this spot?

The ladybugs are running on my hand!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Really Tight

Since taking on a mortgage, we've really had to look closely at what we are spending on and how we live our lives. Ak! What more can we pare down? Will our investment be worth it? Was renting a better deal for us? Should we have waited? Again I'm trying to think of ways to save resources and maybe even make some money. And wishing it could be more simple.

Then I saw this lovely picture and quote and it soothed me, so I'm sharing it.

“We are such spendthrifts with our lives,”
Mr. Newman once told a reporter.
“The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.”

-reprinted in the NY Times tribute.

My life has been full and active. I'm happily into projects and schemes for the holidays and for the 12 birthdays I have between now and Christmas. So for now, a simple MeMe.
I saw it on Posy Gets Cozy first.

Where is your mobile phone? Basket
Where is your significant other? Resting
Your hair colour? Amber
Your mother? Poet
Your father? Charismatic
Your favourite thing? Relevance
Your dream last night? Forgotten
Your dream goal? Connection
The room you're in? Illuminated
Your hobby? Handmade
Your fear?Waste
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Enjoying
Where were you last night? Uno
What you're not? Selfless
One of your wish-list items? Solar
Where you grew up? Mountains
The last thing you did? Wake
What are you wearing? Cozy
Your TV? Off
Your pets? Companions
Your computer? Helpful
Your mood? Thoughtful
Missing someone? Always
Your car? Old
Something you're not wearing? Makeup
Favourite shop?FIDM
Your summer? Eventful
Love someone? Relentlessly
Your favourite colour? Apricot
When is the last time you laughed? Bloopers
When is the last time you cried? Tuesday

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Warm House

After Annie's guests had all left her Halloween/Housewarming party today, she asked if our house was now warm.
It definitely feels warmer to me!

I just wish I could have gotten Vivi the hedgehog and Lily the cat in the picture too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Dark & the Light

That's what I love about Halloween. Life & Death. Trick or Treat? I guess there's not one without the other. Eh?

Annie loves this holiday. She isn't afraid of the dark side. She's asked six friends to come over and play and do funny Halloween stuff with her tomorrow afternoon, so today we made cookies and put up some streamers in preparation. I got a great recipe off of Cooks Illustrated for gingerbread and Ulla posted a great looking idea for decorating them, and that's exactly what we did. We made human bones and skeletons, a chicken skeleton and a few hearts. Now I just have to keep them away from Jasper until tomorrow.

I Consider You My Friend

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't Burst My Bubble

I find myself more and more anxious around this election.
Not that I follow the news or read the newspaper at all. I really only get headlines from my Yahoo! home page and they keep stating the lead of one presidential opponent over the other. Maybe I should change my homepage from here on out because I'm already on edge?

I really believe that all people yearn for peace, care for their fellow human, and crave a healthy planet. When I move out of my bubble, (of no T.V., news, etc.) like I did this week, I have a hard time believing that everyone wants it. Annie and I went to Central California for a few days, the Salad Bowl of our nation, and we came face to face with values so different from ours that I get scared. On more lawns than not, I saw bright yellow 'Yes! on 8' signs and I become aware of how conservative and republican a lot of California is.

I'm not so naive to think that Obama is all that different from McCain. They are both politicians, playing a global, and very established game, but I'll take Obama, and that small bit of difference if it means a slightly higher chance for peace, equality, and hope for the future. Besides, if you do catch the news wouldn't it be nice to see African American girls on the White House lawn, and a young energetic couple breaking the old horrible mold that has been this nations daily diet for far too long?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Roots & Shoots

Annie and I joined the East Bay chapter of Roots & Shoots. Roots & Shoots is a grass roots organization started by Jane Goodall as a way for kids to contribute to their community and to animals. Our first meeting/project is to make cat toys and dog treats and then a tour of the Berkeley Animal Shelter to distribute the home made goodies. Sadly, Annie and I will be out-of-town so we made toys today so that we could contribute even though we will be absent.

Earlier, I set out the toys we made to snap a photo to post with, then Annie and I stepped out for a dental appointment. When we got home, our cat had broken into the studio, played with all the toys and lay completely stoned on the ottoman with the floor littered with toys! Did I mention we filled them with catnip? Bill snapped the photo below before carrying her upstairs and putting her in bed where she slept all night through!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thimble Recommendation

I've always had a thimble (or two or three) in my sewing box. I've just never used one. They never feel right to me and seemed more work than they were worth. Maybe it's that I usually have longish nails, or that I'm just not used to it. Well, LaLa recently sent me a thimble and it is fantastic! I can wear it for long periods and it seems much more ergonomic than the thimble of yesterday. Now I get the whole thimble "thing!" It really does help if you are going through heavy fabrics, multiple layers, or repetitive stitches.
I believe this one was by the Clover company.

Thanks LaLa!