Monday, March 30, 2009

Back to Green

I've said before that I don't have a favorite color, but green is a color that moves me so! Something transformational happens to me. I feel happy and hopeful and full of wonder. All the shades and hues, all the variegation and variety of greens fill me with contentment.

I took these photos Sunday while walking in the Oakland hills with Bill and Annie. What was most notable from our time in the woods was the sound of bees! Either we were near a hive, or hives, or it was just a great day to be out and about for all species. We collected some small stones from the brook plus some moss covered pieces of bark for our terrariums.

Oh yes. And we saw a beautiful fairy girl resting near the trunk of a tree. She reminded me of someone...

The sounds - Relax With the Sounds and Sights of Nature

This time last year on MakingPeace.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Baby Loves Blue

I went through some of Annie's most recent PhotoBooth files tonight. She's up to 2427 self portraits now! A few caught my eye, and they had a blue theme so this little collage was just begging to be made. Her collection of self portraits are really amazing to me. She is daring, brazen, introspective and really funny.

The nine photos shown here are a few that she was willing for me to post. If she had her way I would show the crazy one's where she's stark naked or has her finger in her nose.

I've never had a favorite color, but Annie always has. From a very early age she declared that her favorite color is BLUE and she's never wavered. It's funny because her dear birthmother Patricia's favorite color is blue too!

This time last year on MakingPeace.

The song is Deep Blue by Brian Eno.

More Green

Annie and I spent the day sewing. I finished a set of cloth napkins and some darling baby items for baby William, Annie's upcoming nephew. I also made her this new nightie. Annie worked by my side and made some wonderful clothes for a doll.

The music - The Bay of Donnegal by Matthew Mascolo

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rainbow Post - The Feeling of Green

I made this little painting for Billy after Annie's third birthday. Bill wanted to take us to Ireland to celebrate Annie's turning three. He also wanted to take LaLa Pat. So we all went. It was magical. He carried Annie down lanes, onto stormy beaches, through muddy fields, into 14th century castles all the way from Dingle to Sligo. He and Pat hiked out to see views, ancient cemetaries, and primitive structures. We rented a stone house where he cooked us a lamb dinner with mint salsa that we still talk about. It was all so perfect! So this post is not about the color green, but the feeling of hope and gratitude and an eternal feeling of newness that Bill brings to my life.
Thank you Billy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rainbow Cookies

I saw this recipe on LaLa in La.
It is supposed to be a sugar free, fat free cookie but I couldn't handle it at the last moment and put a little in. I think the dates would have added a lot of sweetness, but I didn't have any. Any changes I put in parenthesis.
They are really good!

ainbow Cookies

1/2 cup dried apricots, cut up

1/2 cup golden raisins (I used dried Bing cherries)

1/2 cup dates, cut up (I used dried cranberries)

6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate

1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg, lightly beaten (I used two small Bantam eggs)

1/2 cup canola or safflower oil

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

(At the last minute I added 1/4 cup brown sugar, and about 1/4 cup butter cut into little pieces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In small nonreactive saucepan combine apricots, raisins, dates, orange juice concentrate. Simmer 10 minutes and let cool. Combine oat, flour, salt, baking soda in large bowl. Add egg and oil and mix well. Stir in cooled fruit and seeds. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten with spatula to 1/4 inch thickness. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on rack and store in airtight container.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


It seems that I always have a project going, and yet, I can't seem to find much of anything that I've hand-made around here for the Colors of the Rainbow project! My motivation for most of my making is to gift. I love to make things for people I love. Of course I've made plenty of clothing, toys, paintings and little precious things for Annie, but they all seem in the same theme. So when Annie snapped this shot of me this morning, I thought Orange! I'm orange.

Follow The Colors of the Rainbow on these blogs

The music - Tangerine by Lennie Tristano

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Me, According to Annie

I interviewed Annie today on the subject of me. Just a simple one. It's illuminating for to see how she perceives me. Or maybe I'm amazed at how little she "sees" me as separate from her. I think it will be fun to annually interview her, about me, and other subjects too to see how she grows in perception.

Along with the interview are some favorite photos from the past. Annie as Peter when she was almost three. I loved that phase! She even wanted us to call her Peter, and we did. So fun! And the a photo above I love (thump, thump! Huge swell of love looking at that one!) of us when she was about four months...our love fest already in full-swing.

Here's the interview;

What is something I always say to you?
"I love you"

What makes me happy?
"That we're together."

What makes me sad?

How do I make you laugh?
"When you cross your eyes."

What did I like to do when I was a child?
"I think you liked to draw pictures."

How old am I?
"I forgot."

How tall am I?
"I forgot again!"

What is my favorite thing to do?
"Clean up the studio and play with me."

What do I do when you're not around?
"Have a date with Papa."

If I become famous, what will it be for?
"Dancing or to open a famous cafe."

What am I really good at?
"Drawing realistic."

What am I not good at?
"Wrestling for a long time."

What is my job?
"Watching over me!"

What is my favorite food? "Cesar Salad."

What makes you proud of me?
"That you're my mom."

If I was a TV or book character, who would I be?
"You would be Tweety Bird."

What do we do together?

How are we the same?
"We both have the same brown eyes."

How are we different?
"You have orange hair and I have black."

Where is my favorite place to go?
"The spa."

How do you know I love you?
"Because you say it all the time."

I saw this interview Six Thirty-Seven and at Mariposa.

The music - Lady Love by Mama Cass

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

There She Goes!

Annie has not had much interest in biking. She had a trike but she really didn't care. Then she had a bike with training wheels, but again, not interested. Well, yesterday she asked me, after not getting on the bike for months, to take the training wheels off the bike and voila! She's been riding a two wheeled bike ever since! That was that. What I love about it is that she followed her own interest. She never bowed to pressure (I won't name names) and really waited until she felt ready and interested. Woo hoo!

What I don't like about Annie learning to ride a bike is that again and again, she goes riding off! Bye bye Mama! Of course she turns and comes back, but I get a sense of what's to come. (*I'm imaging Annie riding on the road with cars, and someday driving a car. Ugh!*) There she goes! Gosh, she gets going pretty fast! She's not that great at steering, turning and focusing on the road yet, and ak! falling, crashing, and all those cars whizzing by only feet from the sidewalk. I guess her lack of interest has sheltered me from these thoughts.

We're taking the bike to the ocean path in a few minutes so she can really get a taste of the wind in her hair and pumping, pumping, pumping. Deep sigh! I'm happy and just a tiny bit sad too! As you can see, it's not just I. Jasper whines at the fence watching her pedal down the street. He's not used to her going off on her own either.

The music - I Want to Ride My Bicycle by Queen

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Secret Garden

We've been wanting to do terrariums for a while now...
I knew it was going to be a perfect project for us. Miniatures + fairies + plants + easy.

So, today, ignoring the ear pressure and drainage (sorry), Annie and I dressed, brushed and gussied a bit before leaving the house, entering the outside world at last, our sites set on the nursery.
(See Jasper smiling for the camera?)

We had charcoal and plants on our list.
The rest; glass containers, moss, gravel, soil and figurines we had.

It's simple; gravel for drainage, charcoal for eliminating bacteria, moss to contain the roots, and soil to grow in. There are a few good YouTube tutorials too. I bought two types of Babytears-type moss, a very tiny tiny mint that smells fantastic, some small indoor plants, and some mini variety of Sedum.

Above is Annie's. It turned out so charming! She did a "dry" riverbed using some shiny stones we got at Beverly's for another project. Then she used an old aquarium bridge, and most of the plants we bought. Yesterday she had two deer by the river, today she has a small dragon overlooking the bridge. We're keeping a basket of ornaments (dinosaurs, mammals, Asian ceramics, etc.) on the table and we've been shifting them around daily, creating a completely different woodland, or desert landscape.

Time will tell how these enviornments and varieties will do. Some will thrive, others will not. For now, we watch. I know over-watering can be a problem, so we are watching closely. Annie wants to water and mist them every few hours, so I'm re-directing her outdoors to work some of it out. The great thing is you can SEE how much water is down at the gravel level, and SEE how moist the soil is. I'll let you know how they grow.

The song is Secret Garden by Bruce Springsteen

Friday, March 13, 2009

Domestic Bliss or Carl Larsson Moment

Does it ever happen to you that something undefinable shifts, and you see everything in a slightly different light? I mean "see" as in how things actually look. A moment (or longer hopefully!) where all objects, living creatures, hopes and dreams all seem connected to each other, perfectly placed, the light touching down in just the right spots, with colors, sounds, smells, temperature, all adding to an overall perfection?

Ahhh. So rare.

So wonderful!

I had a moment like that today. I will try and capture it...It was mid afternoon, we were still in our nighties Annie and I, me wearing a favorite multi-pocketed apron and knee high rain boots, the both of us going about garden/aviary tasks, granting a few of Spring's many requests. Our silly hens were walking single file around the edge of Annie's trampoline, while Jasper warmed himself on the patio instead of chasing the poor dears. I'm aware of, but not tracking, the on-going conversation that Annie's is having (to herself?) as she talks to the birds and tucks fine strands of nesting material through the wire of the aviary for all the busy, nesting pairs. I turned to grab the broom and oh! Everything pulsed in unison, and I'm seeing all my deepest wishes and loves and dreams merging together in a few moments of suspended joy. Oh! The intense pleasure of sharing this day with my child in all her vitality and connection + the animals roaming freely with their humor and earthiness + the safety and embrace of my own back yard + and myself, hair in a scarf, still not dressed, gliding from morning to late afternoon following my bliss as it presented itself. Could I have dreamt up this life exactly?

Much later,
I thought of Carl Larsson. When I look at some of his work it hints at his ecstatic moments of domestic bliss. I love how he captured his family, going about their lives, in the garden and in the rooms of the house they shared together, all on a sheet of watercolor paper.

Brita In The Flowerbed
Carl Larsson (1853-1919)
(My apologies to Carl for tinting Brita's hair to try and match Annie's.)

Earth Watercolor

Blah, blah, blah.
I've tried to write a few happy, inspired posts but they all sound like blah, blah blah. Which is still how we're feeling. Ak! I hate admitting it. I am sick of being sick. The only thing that makes me not freak out is that I know of a few families that have all gone through this particular bug and it took two weeks or more. So, we've done some water coloring (see above "The Earth" by Annie), made and cleaned up breakfast and lunch.
Now I need a nap.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thanks Michelle

I've been a bit on the pity pot,
Annie and I being sick and all.

So when I saw Michelle's latest post
calling for companionship in her anti-
SAD campaign,
I jumped on it.

I went right upstairs to get this little present
I painted for Annie on her eighth month birthday,
photographed it, and it is my first Celebration of Color,
or Fighting Off the SAD post.

I don't think I will be able to move through the rainbow as Michelle is doing, since little of my creations fall on the monochromatic side.

I will try and post for seven days featuring
(mostly) things that I've created that represent
vitality, hope, love, and inspiration.

Please join in if you'd like.

Sweet Connection

Isn't is amazing when you don't see someone for a long time and then, when you get together, it's like no time has passed? You pick up with where you left off? It was like that for Margo and I and for Annie and Melody. Seven months no see, no speak, then easy, sweet connection. Until next time, thanks for coming you two.

Monday, March 9, 2009

On the Mend

I thank you God for
this most amazing day!
for the leaping greenly spirits
and a blue true dream of trees
and for everything which
is natural
which is infinite
which is yes

e.e. cummings

I'm feeling better. Thanks you for all of your well wishes and concern! I'm not 100%, but on my way. In my convalescence, I've been looking through photos and family records to send them on to Bernie in England so he can finish our branch of the family tree. It has not been an easy task. I find it very stirring! I found so many sentimental and meaningful photos, notes, letters, drawings and records. So many feelings. Now I'm sitting here scanning photos and watching episode II of Wives and Daughters. I'll post some of the ephemera in the weeks to come, and I'll leave you with this watercolor that my mom did using a poem of e.e. cummings.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wrestling With the Dragon

I've been up and down all night wrestling with whatever virus Annie had. Ugh. It's a fierce opponent. Mine hasn't been the violent hurling. I've gone with the extreme download, with unrelenting cramps (including moaning, and Lamaze breathing), sweating, teeth chattering chills, and what felt like the waves of early labor. I'm still nauseous, but it seems to be lightning up. I'm going back to bed now.
Aren't you glad I dragged myself to the computer to share?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Hello Bernie, Peggy, Peter, Michael, John, Vincent, Damian, Colette, Pauline, Maureen, Kathleen, Theresa and Mum

Earlier this week, LaLa Pat got an email from Bernie from England asking if she was the daughter of my grandmother Frances and granddaughter of my great grandfather Thomas? If so, we were family. After an email or two between them, it became clear that YES, we are all connected to the same family! How fun! Bernie lives in England with a large extended family, and has been piecing together his family tree. Seems with the Internet, he was able to pick up the trail with on-line records and some of the genealogy sites, and voila!
My grandmother Frances and his aunt Peggy (my great grandfathers niece) had kept in touch by letter until WWII and then the connection was lost. Fran and Peggy were just young teenagers at the time. Aunt Peggy is now in her 80's and has always wondered what happened to Fran. So sad that Fran is no longer alive. She would have gotten a huge kick out of this!

Pictured above is my Grandmother Frances Farrell and her dad Thomas Farrell. She wrote in her diary about a long train trip to New Orleans to see the worlds fair. Maybe this photo is of that trip. I've gotten out her journals and I will try and date and place this photo. Don't you love her dress?

Below is Aunt Peggy! Hello Peggy!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Room With a View

When I look out of my window, from either my studio or from my living room, I am greeted by this wonderful old shingled house. It's in great shape and the brown color is soothing to me, plus for the last few weeks, the huge, showy, blossoming tulip tree against the house is totally alive and singing a song of Spring!
Ahhhh! I love the view!
The house is owned by a charming woman Corinna. She's probably in her late 70's, I'm guessing. I see her out there gardening and she loves a visit from us. Really I think it's Annie that brings her the most pleasure though. Our plan was to take over the watercolor sketch pictured above that I did, (with help from Annie) this morning, but Annie has the stomach-flu-from-hell and we are only going as far as the bathroom then back to her bed! Ugh!
I believe we've got everything we need to make it through this bug thanks to Dr. Nieters (a million thanks you's!) who made a surprising house call around noon. He did a check-up on Annie and gave her herbs and medicine to keep her from getting dehydrated and to stop the vomiting.

Send Annie any healing thoughts if you can! She's miserable.