Monday, November 30, 2009

Post Thanksgiving Post

This isn't going to be the wonderful post holiday post I was planning on. But that's the trouble with planning...the universe generally has other things in mind. Best laid plans and all of that...
Thanksgiving itself was busy and slightly crazed for me...but turned out wonderful; an awesome feast. It truly was worth all the stress and work. Both my sons were home plus my sister and her family and my in-laws. The house was full...and so were we.
You might know (from occasional mentions in our respective blogs) that Cindy of Vagabond Artistry is my well as my best and dearest friend. We truly are partners in crime. She is married to my husbands brother. Saturday, her hubby--Bob-- had to have emergency surgery on a badly infected knee. He's doing well and is still in the hospital; we're hoping to have him home today. I would truly appreciate it if you all could pop into Cindy's blog and send her some thoughts and prayers. This is an unforseen complication for them and we are all hoping it turns out okay. Her blog is
I do truly love this holiday season. I have such wonderful memories from childhood. Of course, as a child you've no idea the work and time and stress involved in the creation of this wonderland of family and decorations and parties, etc. As an adult, it sometimes seems like there's no where to turn where there isn't another thing to do or make or send or clean,etc.
Tomorrow I have the oil man coming to service our furnace and tanks. At first I was irritated because I have to be home waiting for him to come and then home while he works, which wouldn't be getting my errands and such done when they needed to be. Then I took a breath and thought...well, I have to be here anyway so, tomorrow I'm going to head up to the attic and start hauling boxes and bins down. I have one half of a farmhouse attic full of bins of Christmas decorations and stuff. Time to Deck The Halls....and everything else.

I'm not planning on joining the rush to the mall any time soon. This year money is super tight and I think it's more special to either hand make gifts or purchase handmade from any number of the wonderful artists I've encountered in blogland.
All I really want for Christmas is that feeling I get whenever I watch It's A Wonderful Life...which is fairly often. You know...the part where everyone comes together for George Bailey and his family and the bell rings and we all know Clarence has finally gotten his wings.
Just put that in my stocking...with a candy cane or two and I'll be all set.

Please don't forget to send thoughts and hugs to Cindy @ Vagabond Artistry....I know she could use them.
These lovely glowey photos in this post are ones I took last week of the setting sun coming in my kitchen window and shining clear across the house to the bookcase in the family room. I think that glow is the personification of the feeling we all wish to carry through the holiday season.
I recently recieved two lovely blog awards. I promise I will post my thank yous and pass them on very soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful Things

Thankful this year for family and friends and this wonderful old house that welcomes them and shelters them and shares love and caring with them. Thankful for the stresses and work of this holiday season because it means I have plentiful blessings to share thanks for... Thankful for all the wonderful people I've met on this recent blogging adventure I've been on...
Thankful for being able to remember to be thankful for these simple, yet awesomely wonderful things in my life.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cinnamon,Coffee,Vanilla...oh my...

I love a good mess. I think I became an artist so I could have a great excuse to make lots of messes. When I was really little, my mother attempted to have me be the quintessential sweet little girl. I had darling ruffled dresses and pretty hairbows and fancy shoes with lace trimmed socks. And I climbed trees, jumped in the mud, picked fights with little boys and found a thousand ways to make a mess. My father hand painted signs in our garage as a supplement to his other income; I would hover around watching everything he did and managing to get as much paint on myself as possible. My poor frustrated mother... So...we come to today. I am in my kitchen with a big bowl of coffee-vanilla-cinnamon, dredging fabric through it and soaking fabric in it. I have grounds and drips everywhere, but I am having so much fun.
I'm like a kid,trying different types of fabrics and different colours and prints to see what will turn out.

The mess is fun, but the baking is the best part. My kitchen and now my whole house smell absolutely awesome. Of course, the clean-up will come eventually and it will have to be a good one. I'm having a small party tomorrow night and it would be really difficult to explain why theres coffee grounds all over my floor. inner little girl is having almost as much fun as if she was making mud pies.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Girls Day Part Two

I've been rediscovering my love of pen and ink. As much as I love seeing my little girls done in colour, in paints and pencils...doing them in black and white brings them even more to life for me. It brings back memories of being a little girl and watching my father at his drafting table working on pen and ink illustrations. I found it so fascinating to watch him create all these shades and textures with just this one thing. In his pen and ink work...everything was so fine and delicate.
Of course, I've also always loved the work of Edward Gorey. Not just for his dramatic pen and ink, but also for the wonderful names and titles he'd give his drawings and books.

I am so happy with the way these have turned out.

From the top they are: Ondine (still in progress), Hester, Alice and Arabella. These are the first things I've done where I am seriously considering having prints made...and maybe finally getting an Etsy shop underway.
I spent yesterday divided between these girls and my poppet dolls. I feel like I am finding my own 'voice' again and not just following every beautiful inspiration. I think the dolls and these girls are very connected with my inner world; the one that gets fed with books and romantic, old movies and fairytales and visiting amazing historic houses and places. I love the unusual, but I also love the simple and ordinary. I love to juxtapose one with the other and see what results.
Maybe magick, maybe a mess...but always something interesting.
This Girls Day In was wonderful. I spent time with myself and really listened to the directions my heart is giving me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Girls Day... Part One

Today I have the entire house to myself. Hubby is away overnight at a model railroad convention and I'm relishing my chance at a Girls' Day In.To celebrate, I took some pictures of my favourite 'girly' spots in the house and a few 'girls' in progress who are spending the day with me.
This is my bedroom. Kevin and I both love this room so much. Its beautiful and bright and spacious. The bay window holds one of my favourite sitting/reading nooks. The colours of this room just fell into place; the wallpaper and curtains were already there and everything else just fit. The furniture was my grandmothers and the bed was a 1st anniversary gift from Kevin to me.
I love this little scene, set atop a chest of drawers given to my mother by an Irish sister, Sister Josita, who was like a beloved aunt to us.This was my mothers Anne of Green Gables doll. She got her on Prince Edward Island.The teacup she gave to me one Mother's Day. The teapot holds the 'toss' bouquet from my wedding.

This is another of my poppets. She's being very patient, waiting for me to finally stitch the lace trim in place on her skirt. I pinned it there two days ago.
Here's a closeup of my sitting/reading nook.

And last, but not least, here is a closeup of Hester. You might remember her from an October post. She was just a pencil sketch then. Now she's been done up in pen and ink; which has brought me so many memories of my father. Pen and ink was one of his best and favourite mediums to work in.

I actually have several girls done in pen and ink right now. I think it's part of my November inspiration...the gothic charm of pen and ink and finding ways to work changes in tone and texture with it.
Right now, it's rainy and dreary outside. I have the kettle on and as soon as I make a pot of tea I'm going to get back to my girls.
I've got a stack of 'girly' dvds: Pride And Prejudice, Sense And Sensibility, Notting Hill, The Lake House,Hope Floats. I've been washing fabric all morning and going through books for sketch inspirations. I didn't tell hubby how much I was looking forward to this weekend, but I was secretly hoping for 'nesty' weather. You know, the kind that makes you want to stay in your jams or comfy clothes and light scented candles and do cozy things like sew or paint or sketch and drink tea and eat sweet warm baked muffins and cookies. I'm so happy that it's yucky and rainy out right now. Nothing to lure me out of my jams and slippers.
The kettle is boiling so, I'm off to make tea. I hope you are all having an equally wonderful Saturday...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November Inspiration

I actually took these photos in late September--on my anniversary--at Lyndhurst, in the village of Tarrytown. Lyndhurst is just one of the many gorgeous 19th century gothic mansions that dot the hills of the Hudson Valley. It's one of my favourites. If anyone is familiar with the Dark Shadows series and movies; external shots were filmed here as well as some interiors too. This place is just breathtaking. I come here and I want to be every heroine in every Victorian gothic novel I've ever read. Walking around in jeans and a sweater doesn't seem right. Every time I've visited this house, the weather has been 'perfect': rainy, dreary and chill, which obviously adds to the atmosphere.
The house is stunning and the grounds are also breathtaking...with so many scenes and vignettes to photograph and keep for future inspiration. These are just a few of the many I took on this past visit. It's such a romantic and amazing place.

I am completely inspired right now, by Lyndhurst...esp. as captured in these pictures. It probably helps that I'm currently rereading Jane Eyre. I can picture the whole novel taking place here. I think I was secretly waiting for Mr. Rochester to come galloping offense to my sweet husband. (He loves Lyndhurst too, because it was owned by the 19th century railroad baron J. Gould. My husband is a tremendous train and local history buff)
I think this house feeds my romantic heart; I can see pre raphaelite heroines roaming the grounds and every setting seems as if it was lifted from a painting.
So, for November my inspiration comes from this gorgeous place...with a sprinkling of Poe and Barnabus Collins and a liberal dose of Jane Eyre.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Remember These Two?

Remember these two? My 'naked' little poppet dolls stitched together that seemingly long ago October day...sitting in the sunny yard with my little dogs 'keeping guard'.
Yesterday afternoon...on another glorious,sunny,warm fall day--albeit unexpected in November--I sat in the yard and finally gave these two lovelies some clothes. Hand sewn skirts from coffee,vanilla and cinnamon dyed fabric accented with bits of vintage lace and antique mother-of-pearl buttons.

The poppet on the right has been claimed by my sister already.
They look so pretty in the setting sunlight...and also in my red chair...
Hooray for unexpected lovely November weather and another opportunity to sit outside and sew and eat apples and watch geese fly overhead and listen to the peep of chickadees and nuthatches. I even saw a last robin of the season! Truly something to be thankful for: this wonderful day...

The Sundial Sisters' Successful Craft Fair!

I haven't had much time in the last week or so to update my blog...because I was hard at work getting ready for The Sundial Sisters' sophomore effort at craft-fairing! We really should think about changing our name to The Doubtful Sisters, because right up til our first sale of the day we were doubting our display and set-up; we were doubting our wares (or lack there-of) as compared to the tables and displays around us. We were telling each other that we should just pack up and go for breakfast. And then.....surprise! Cindy ( sold a parliament of her wonderful owls as well as a den full of cozy little teddy bears and more. I sold out my wool yarn Yule wreaths and a sweet little flower fairy named Zu-Zu. We gave away loads of business cards; plugged our blogs and our website....and met some wonderful fellow artists and crafters. It ended up being a wonderful day that was capped off with a trip to IHOP for a pancakes and coffee dinner and then a trip to Hobby Lobby where we basically spent the days earnings. Well, we're encouraged enough by this sophomore effort to do another fair in December, so back to the grindstone.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day Of The Dead...My Memory Altar

This year the Day Of The Dead...and actually this particular time of year is laced and woven through with so much emotion for me. Both my parents have passed; my mother this past April, my father six years ago. He died on October 28th and my mother's birthday was November the 4th. This period of days, this particular year is full of ghosts and memories and emotions. I think of them everyday and miss them every moment, but right now the ache is almost a living thing. I will set extra places for them at my dinner table, I welcome them into my home. I have no formal graves to visit. My parents wishes were for their ashes to be scattered in the Hudson River. So I go sometimes and stand by the river and watch her changing face and moods and marvel at her beauty and thank her for carrying my parents to a happier place...somewhere beyond the horizon.
I keep this altar year round, in what is essentially, our family room. It began as a memory altar to my father and, following my mother's death, became a place for both of them. The things gathered there have great meaning to them individually and to them as a couple. I feel a comfort looking over these things and including them in my life and the continuing life of my family. The harp was my fathers, given to him by my mother. The painting on the mantel was done by him using his harp as a model. It is called Song Of Ireland and tells of all the sons and daughters of Ireland and their marks on the world.It's fitting that these things can be gathered together before a cozy hearth in a room that welcomes family and friends. These were things that my mother and my father both held dear: the warmth of home and the love of family and friends.

In this season, On this day....I remember you Thom and Carole; mom and dad. Know that I love you and carry you with me always. You are always welcome in my heart and home. I miss you.....