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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Rooster and friends

Showing along with the shoes are some more 'illuminated' found objects and some paintings:

Food of Love
on a broken up guitar found at Goodwill

Daisies behind a fence 
on an old cabinet door

on stretched canvas

Small Rooster
on stretched canvas

8 1/2 Right , and friends

Been a coon's age since I've been by.... seems like another life.  One of the lovely things about blogging is the last thread can be picked up and attatched to what follows reasonably seamlessly.  So here, following on the heels (couldn't resist) of 8 1/2 Left, is 8 1/2 Right.  In this view you can see the city buildings, the figure at the bottom of the stairs walking his/her dog, and the flock of birds against the night sky
This frame shows the staircase on the instep, more high-rises against the night sky, and, if you look closely, a couple on the balcony of the penthouse suite. 
It seems to be difficult for many to recognize anything done to a shoe as art, so, though they've been getting some attention, the oft repteated question is "why not a pair, so I can wear them?" 
My response to that is below, in the form of: "Once I was a Mermaid"; "Green Footprint"; and  "Light My Fire," presently on display in the 'Elemental' show at a local art gallery.

 Once I Was a Mermaid
Green Footprint
 Green Footprint closeup
Light My Fire

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Size 8 1/2, left

my daughter, the fashionista, donated a pair of shoes to the cause of art. i had this idea that they'd be an interesting 'canvas'. they were originally a 'nude' colour, very smooth and shiny.  i coated them with gesso, then drew on this one with sharpie markers.  i had in mind the idea of what wearing shoes like this feels like to some of us..... like walking on spikes and nails with the points all aimed at the soles of our feet, and tightly bound with rigid bands.  these things are not built for comfort.  

it will be going in an art show put on this weekend by the artists' guild i belong to.  it's our $100 sale, where everything on sale must cost $100.   i had hopes of having its mate ready as well, entitled 'Size 8 1/2, Right, but it's not finished.  that one has the beginnings of skyscrapers and a night-time skyline on it. along the platform sole at the toe is a person walking a dog under the street lamps

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More Quilts!

February already?
.... most easily distinguishable by its lovely increase in daylight, and depressing decrease in daily temperatures.  But I want to talk about something more pleasant than the weather.  
With all of the space at Miramichi house, I finally have a sewing area that can STAY a sewing area.  Which means sewing happens on a semi-regular basis.  

Here are my latest accomplishments: 
a quillow for youngest son;
 Colors in the outdoor shot are not very true, for some reason, so imagine the colors of the folded quillow above, in the full - spread out image below.   

This one is a baby quilt for the newborn son of one of my daughter's employees. color also not great.... very washed - out, as it's actually quite bright.   

And lastly, a baby quilt for the grand-boy of my dear friends Margaret and Gerard, who posed for me with it before we sent it off to Saskatchewan.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas is a-comin'

In keeping with my promise to myself that I will spend a great deal of time doing creative things, I've been surfing Pinterest, collecting ideas for paintings, Christmas gifts, home decor and renovations, gluten free recipes, and much more.  In my pintravels I came across a number of posts showing ceramic items decorated with Sharpie permanent markers. I like things to be practical AND beautiful, so the idea of decorating dinnerware with something so accessible and easy to use as office supplies was hard to resist.  I've been experimenting with this, and after hitting the local Goodwill for some white mugs, & Staples for a mixed pack of Sharpies, a couple of items for seasonal gift exchanges have resulted.

The ridges in this mug at first posed a challenge.  Then I noticed that some sticker letters I had left over from some some other project fit rather nicely between the ridges.  There weren't a lot of letters left to choose from, but one 'H', and one 'O' were all I needed.  I traced them over and over, alternately, with a black pen, then colored them in, alternately, with red and green.  Added a few golden bells and silver snowflakes, let everything dry and 'cure' for 24 hours, then 'fired' the mug for 30 minutes in my oven. I gave it a good rub as I washed it to be sure the color would stay put.  It then went into a gift bag with some gourmet coffee, hot chocolate, home made gingerbread cookies and candy.
This one was for a gift exchange @ the library where I work part time. I drew the name of a lady who had recently lost her husband to cancer.  My first thought when I saw I had got her name, was that what I wish for her, more than anything, is joy.  The needful letters were on the aforementioned sticker letter gleanings, so I stuck them randomly in 3 places around the mug.  Then I began to doodle - a circle around the word, another, larger circle outside that.... hmmm .... could be a flower..... and this is what grew from the first seeds.  The photo was taken late at night in poor light, with a flash, so the colors are not as vivid as the original item, but it's a fair representation. It went, wrapped in tissue paper with 'joy' printed all over it,  in a gift bag.  I dumped a package of Werther's toffee and one of chocolate almonds over top, tucked a few packages of gourmet hot chocolate around it all, and tied a bright ribbon bow on the bag's handle. 

Also found at Goodwill, a mess of little festive boxes and tins for home made cookies and truffles. The first batch of gingerbread is iced and ready for packaging. I found this best of all gingerbread recipes, which calls for fresh ginger and fresh lemon, in Canadian Living Magazine nearly 40 years ago and it's become a family seasonal mainstay. 

It's beginning to feel like Christmas.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Summertime, and the livin' is easy.... 
perhaps, but northerners tend to go into high speed during the short season of warmth.  The garden, even it it's small, takes high priority - it won't be there to enjoy for much longer now. Already the days are noticeably shorter, and the nights so much longer, darker, and cooler.
Spring and summer are the best time to open windows and get painting done - it won't be long before the windows are all closed against the cold wind.  Three of the four rooms at Miramichi House are now repainted, with new area rugs, arm chairs and writing desks.

Summer is also the favored time for weddings.  These 'quillows' are now happily residing in the home of my niece and her husband.  For those who haven't come across them before, quillows are small   quilts that fold up into a self-pocket, becoming......

So much easier to wash than a throw cushion, and so cozy to cuddle up under to watch a movie or read a book.  

This one is a baby quilt, for the newborn son of a young man I've known since he was just a lad.... he's now my carpenter at Miramichi House - he's just completed the stairs to the attic... more on that another time.

And there's the landscaping yet to do, dog walking that never loses its urgency,  visitation of elders in hospital, wedding gigs and preparations for the looming long dark. 
It's all just a blur, really.
....and there are 5 turtles who've been put on hold....  Back soon to write the last installment of their story.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Life in the Slow Lane (part 5)

Life with 4 turtles wasn't much different from life with 2 turtles.  The new guys, came without names.  When we asked what their names were, their former keeper looked at us like we'd grown shells of our own.  So we called them Darlin'- about 8" of shell and timid femininity and Hunka - slightly smaller in diameter - after Elvis Presley's 'Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love. We were told he was a male. His shell was very distinctively differently shaped from that of Darlin', with squarer shoulders and a deeper carapace. They  had spent all of their 20 + years in a tank, so were not immediately comfortable with being free range turtles.

They did immediately discover the under-stairs turtle cave, and unanimously agreed that it was home base.  Turtles don't appear to be territorial - there were no turf wars, and we often found all four of them in a heap together under Superman's cape or a crinoline. Both of the new turtles were bigger than Chili and Somethingorother.... perhaps turtles respect their elders, or don't mess with someone bigger than them... or perhaps they were glad for the company. At first the only indicator that the turtle population had doubled was an increase in things that go bump in the night.

And then there were five..... That summer there was an unexpected addition to the family.  The local Animal Control Officer was the leader of the boys' Scout Pack, and was an old friend to our pets.  He called up with a request for us to foster an injured Mississippi Red Eared Slider that had been found wandering the streets of Peace River, an hour's drive from us.  This unfortunate lady proved to be bigger still, than any of the others. Akela speculated that she may be as much as 30 years old. She had some cuts to her legs and shell (he thought it looked like a dog had attacked her), and a dislocated joint on one of her hind legs.  We gave her a special diet high in vitamins, and lots of time in the tub. She seemed to make a full recovery.  She was also the most sociable of our turtles, seeming to enjoy the company of homo sapiens, when the others merely tolerated us, if they noticed us at all.  We thought that, considering her mature age and apparent health (aside from the recent injuries) and her obvious familiarity with human society, someone must be attached to her, and wanting her back. As notices and advertisements had been posted about her, we felt certain it wouldn't be long before someone came to claim her. As the months drew on, and no one claimed her, we succumbed to our fond feelings for her and began to consider her a permanent part of the family.  We dubbed her 'Sweetie'.  

With 5 turtles in the family, it seemed only right that they should have their own room - at least for the summer.  Next to the greenhouse we dug a hole for a pond, lined it with vinyl, added some stones for basking, plantings for shade, and and built a low fence around it. It was quite picturesque, and most satisfying to see them paddling in the water or soaking in the sun.... once they got over their agoraphobia.  We hardly saw them for the first week or 2 they spent outside. Turtles are wizards at hiding.  And devious.  Just when I was getting less anxious at seeing no turtles in the pen, and ceased to hunt every one of them down in the pen every time I went outside, some primal memory kicked and and they started to dig.  Under the fence. 

The summer was one of repeated crises, as we recovered escaped turtles all over the yard, almost daily.  They spent nights in the house, so never had a long time to plan and implement an escape, but, now fearlessly accustomed to the out-of-doors, they were determined to explore.  We learned to keep an eye on them while they were out, meanwhile wracking our brains for new, harmless ways to barricade them in.  Rocks didn't work, even if we buried them.   They just dug under or around or between them.   Once, when they all got out and scattered in different directions, Hunka almost made the Great Escape. After gathering up the other 4, we searched the neighborhood all day for him, with no sighting. By dark we had given up on him, and gone to bed heartbroken. Breakfast was a morose affair, the only conversation being worried comments on all of the terrible things that could have happened to him.  We were nearly resigned to life without him when a neighbor showed up with him in a box in in his car trunk the next afternoon.  He'd found Hunka in the middle of the road, a block away, heading south. The boys were deliriously happy to see him.  He was indifferent as usual.  We speculated that his choice of travel direction might be an indicator of an early winter.  

By autumn, as it got too cool for them outside, all 5 turtles were once again emptying the bookshelves, or basking in the sunspot on the living room floor.  This was, incidentally, the space I used for violin lessons.   My students soon learned that the thumping under the stairs wasn't the dragon (she lived in the furnace room, and was responsible for heating the house... loudly), but one or more of the turtles redecorating its living space. Frequently someone, usually Sweetie, would wander out during a lesson, particularly if the sun was bright.  These moments were the highlight of music lessons.  One memorable day, my young virtuoso and I were engrossed a new and challenging composition. We didn't notice the arrival of Hunka.  Not at first.  Before long, it was impossible to ignore him. He made his way to the base of the music stand, still unnoticed, until the stand began to move, having wedged its legs on his shoulders.  Mum and I were proud beyond words, of the determined young musician who continued to play from the moving score, following it across the room as Hunka made his oblivious way to the bookshelf for his favorite read.  The show must go on!

With Autumn also came the completion of friend Paula's home renovations, and the day for Chili and Somethingorother to move to their new digs.  Lucky turtles - radiant floors, and more than twice the square footage we had to offer.  They were moving to the Ritz.  

We hunkered down, as the first snows fell, with no premonition of the hardships an exceptionally bitter,  cold, and long winter would bring for our beloved turtles.