Thursday, December 27, 2012

But the fire is so delightful

I have a few odd favorite days of the year.  One of them is the day in the spring when we turn the clocks ahead and suddenly it's light until late.  One of them is New Years Day.  One of them is the day after Christmas, when all the world is sleeping off their excesses and no one expects me to work.  This whole week between Christmas and New Years is my time to rest and celebrate the end of the busy season for another year.  Right now I'm in front of the wood stove, looking out at the beautiful frosted trees decorated by the first snowfall of the season.  The driveway is shoveled, but I don't have to go anywhere.  The cat just weaseled his way onto my lap between me and the computer.  Contemplating a second cup of tea.  I'll be back with you in a few days....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

doh doh doh

I recently cleaned out a closet, and found some good stuff tucked away in there.  There was the box my friends Heidi and Jeff sent me a dolphin skull in.  There was my Duran Duran record collection (that's right).  A bunch of Christmas decorations and a stray menorah.  A pile of old calendars awaiting re-purposing as envelopes.  AND my baby book and school-days book....which included this awesome photo of me at 2.5 years old, with our old dog Arne in the background.  I now recognize that the flowering shrub behind me is still alive and gigantic in my parents' yard.

I'm pretty sure I won't be sharing my 9th grade photo with you anytime soon, sorry.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

oh the winter winds are coming in...

This is just a sweet and pretty song which I discovered this fall on my road trip.  It's become a favorite sing-along song at my house...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Don't forget your towel

Well I realized somewhere around when I last made a blog entry during my epic road trip that I'd rather be experiencing the adventure than writing about it.  Really there's too much to share without writing for hours and boring you to tears. 

In summary, the basic trajectory starting from my last entry was to fly over to Kauai for 11 days (love love love), then a red-eye back to Seattle on Halloween where I picked up my friend Jenny.  (She makes amazing woodcut prints, you should check them out.)  We started with a ferry to Whidbey Island (my other favorite island), then headed on back basically along the I-90 corridor with a stop in Yellowstone and the Badlands, and some friends and family along the way.  By the time we got to Chicago, I was feeling ready to be home, which is a good feeling for this restless girl.  Of course, now I want to do it all again, but not necessarily immediately because sitting in a car for 8,919 miles makes me want to run for miles just to leave the feeling of the car seat far behind me.

And now the Christmas season is in full swing.  However, instead of feeling all burnt out and tired as I often am by this part of the season, I say BRING IT ON.  I have some events coming up, which I won't list here but you can read about them on my website calendar.  More about that later.  And, ahem, I'm ready to ship out any card or calendar orders immediately, should you feel the need for anything from my website.

I've been letting the trip settle in, and here are a few key observations and travel tips for you, gentle reader.

1) My stars, I am RICH in friends and family.  The hospitality and kindness shown by my lovely network of people who were willing to take me in and feed me and show me around their worlds was really awesome.  I am blessed and grateful to have such good people.

2) I think I definitely got a better feeling for what it means to "live in the moment."  People say that all the time, but I didn't get it until about a week into this trip when I realized all I was thinking about was what I was doing that day, instead of planning out every moment of the next week and keeping so many things in the air at once like I usually do.  Of course, it's easy to "live in the moment" when that particular moment has you sitting in a tree on the beach in Kapa'a with a cup of good decaf looking at waves.  But I'm trying to keep that ability and flexibility going as I'm back home, to focus on what needs to get done today and let tomorrow happen tomorrow...and to enjoy whatever is happening at any given time.

3) If you are in close proximity with someone for a long time, in a situation where it's important to get along and have a good time (i.e. 12 days in a car), the question to ask is: "what do you need?"  Then say what YOU need, and then make sure all those needs are met.

4) Practically speaking, food co-ops are the way to go for road food.  Liz and I figured this out on the drive out...find the co-op in the town, get some good deli food and maybe some kombucha, and you're set for lunch and snacks without having to be at the mercy of fast food and other desperate junk. 

5) Feel at home in yourself and you'll feel at home wherever you are.

6) Carry tea.  Carry a travel mug that you really like.  Bring a fork.  Throw a towel and pillow in the car.  Keep things organized enough that you can then FIND that towel.

I'll put a few more photos up here in the next day or so, but for now I must get back to work and live in this moment of my Wednesday morning...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Palm trees and rainbows in the water

Aloha my friends!  A quick update this morning before I head out to the beach.  I'm on Oahu, reconnecting with cousins and exploring an new island (and spending an unfortunate amount of time in terrible traffic in Honolulu, there's only one main road artery and there's no escape).  I have two photos to share this morning which sum up my last few days.

Yesterday I went to the USS Arizona memorial at Pearl Harbor.  I've flown over it many times, and have always wanted to go see it and learn more about this chapter of history.  My aunt grew up in Honolulu, and has a pretty powerful tale to tell about living through this attack and subsequent wartime life.  She was on the Arizona the night before the attacks for a band concert.  The memorial is sobering and respectful, I'm so glad I went.  The Arizona holds 1,177 sailors who died in the attack, can you imagine?  The ship is still leaking a little bit of oil to the surface, which makes a constantly-changing rainbow slick called the "Tears of the Arizona."

I also had some beach time yesterday, and time to explore the island a bit.  Here's a classic view of the island known as Chinaman's Hat, on the east side. 

A friend of mine is apparently quoted as wondering whether I'm coming back, because I keep going farther and farther away, and to nicer and nicer places....

Friday, October 5, 2012

Go west, young woman! Part II

Time for another photo essay on the Great Trip West.  I'm writing to you from the comfort of my brother's pub, the Brewers' Union Local 180 in Oakridge OR, and I'm happy to say that my shiny red car has gotten me this far comfortably, safely and stylishly.  I have a few more photos to share today of the second week of the drive WEST, just a brief taste of the many small adventures and long empty roads between Colorado and here.

When we left Durango, the first stop was one of my long-time dreams...Mesa Verde National Park.  Whoa, this was as cool as I had expected.  I love thinking about what it must have been like to live in these cliff houses.
 Then off to the Four Corners, through some of the craziest open country I've ever had the pleasure of dropping my jaw over.  It was so big and open and weird that there was no way I could take photos of it.  We chased rainstorms through the desert all the way to the fine little town of Bluff, Utah, where we scored the last hotel room for miles.  The next morning the clouds and storms were still present, and made the drive through the Valley of the Gods moody and exhilarating.  I almost cried, this was so cool.
Then off through the desert until a welcome oasis: Zion National Park.  We planned two night here, to allow a day of exploring the canyon and resting up.  Zion was particularly nice because the HUGE red rocks (we've seen a lot of big red rocks in the last week) was balanced by the coolness and shade offered by the Virgin River.  Really a beautiful place.
After this, Liz and I blasted through Las Vegas (seedy and abandoned on a Thursday morning), through the desert by Area 51 where we saw a disappointing lack of aliens, and on through the evening to get her home to Nevada City.  That was a long long long drive, and it's frankly a bit of a blur although I do recall seeing Mono Lake.  Nevada City was a welcome break, and a beautiful little mountain town with charm and history and a perfect climate and I confess to fantasizing about moving there.

Then I ventured out on my own for a few days.  Had another dream-come-true by visiting Donner Pass, where I ate a twix bar.  Here a photo of the pass from Donner Lake, you can see why those poor souls with their wagon trains in the snow were unable to get over that wall of rock.
 A little time exploring Tahoe and Reno and generally enjoying the Sierra Nevadas, and then I drove and drove and drove because I decided I wanted to camp on the coast and say I had driven all the way to the Pacific.  This was a success, got the last campsite, and had a leisurely drive up the 101 and then over to Oakridge.
More soon!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

For the folks back home

Sabbatical update photo essay!  Huzzah!  I'm one week in on the big trip, and all is going super well.  I'm traveling this leg of the journey with my friend Liz, and we are getting along like peas in a pod.  Really, I even sing in the car in front of her.  We've been experiencing the blessings of the road, serendipity and hospitality and happenstance.  I'm writing right now from Durango, Colorado, and it's time for a quick tour of the trip to this point.

We had two great visits with friends in Pittsburg and Goshen, IN, but the photos only get interesting  once we cross the mighty Mississippi.
Then we had a great night in Iowa.  Really, all my preconceived notions of Iowa as a flat corn-riddled wasteland were shattered, it's a beautiful state full of rolling hills and big skies.  And llamas.  We stayed with Becky and Brian in their cool geodesic house and got up at the crack of dawn to walk the llamas in the Iowa sunrise.  I now love llamas.  Becky and Brian are fantastic hosts.
Even though I named my cat after Nebraska, the less said about this next leg the better.  We drove through a whole of stuff that looked like this.
But then we got to Colorado!  Spent a few days in Denver catching up with friends, work, dinosaur tracks, altitude and sleep.  And exploring Red Rocks!  You can see the famous amphitheater in the middle distance, and we also took a hike around through the rocks.  Bonus to the beauty was that a three-day Grateful Dead "Further" concert was about the start, and the place was hopping with a dose of Dead culture and it was pretty entertaining.

And then off through the mountains, where the aspens are peaking RIGHT NOW and the mountainsides are bursting with incandescent golden craziness.

Bonus serendipity was a random stop at a place called the Pony Espresso in Jefferson, CO, where the lovely women who own the shop decided on the spot to carry my notecards!  I can't fill the order until I get home, but am excited to have a presence in CO in such a sweet place.

Tomorrow, on to Mesa Verde (a life-long dream) and points west.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The year in preview

The calendar is done!  As you know because I kept harping on it, I've been pushing for the last few weeks to get this new series of paintings done.  Here they are...and they are at the printer even as I type.  Lord willing and the creeks don't rise, I expect to have them on my website and at the market this weekend.  Which is your favorite?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Autumn creeping in around the edges

Well hello there September.  Where did August go?  I was just having a nice conversation with summer, but he seems to have left the room.  It's suddenly September, with little leaves on my running trails, and I needed socks yesterday.

Happily though, I haven't been blogging because I've been creating.  August was a busy month.  Remember those 360 wine glasses that needed to be painted?  The LAST load of them is cooling in the oven even as I type.  I'm concentrating on getting my 2013 calendar paintings done, and have the lofty goal of getting the calendars to the printer on Monday.  I'm in Handwork now.  And I'm leaving in just over a week for my mini-sabbatical and need to get cracking on the packing.

Sabbatical!  YES!  I wanted to do this a few years ago, and it didn't come together...but now the stars are aligned and I'm taking off across the country in my shiny red car to see the world outside of Ithaca.  I won't be back until early November, so many stray ducks also need to be aligned along with the stars.

 Here are two watercolor paintings for the calendar, Miss February and Mr November.

PS- I've had some inquiries about the baby chicken...sadly, she disappeared one night a few months ago.  I went out in the morning to let everyone out, and the front door of the coop was wide open.  It's a mystery.  The flocks is doing very well though, the new hens are laying now and they are friendly and hysterical.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Artists' Market!

Last Friday was the annual Ithaca Artists' Market, and my booth was absolutely gorgeous if I do say so myself.  I took all the shoes, loads of paintings and prints, and a smallish selection of cards and other goodies.  Borrowed a rug, and my booth was palatial and included some lights.  Makes me want to re-do my regular booth.  The event was a success I would say, definitely a different crowd from the usual weekend market shoppers, and they were focused on buying ART which is always nice to be around.

Today you also get a bonus photo of my new flocks of hens, almost all grown up and being very cute as they run around outside.  Their names are Potato, Olive, Snow Flower (her toes are crooked, and they remind me of bound feet, poor dear), Carmella, and the interchangeable Ginger, Mary Ann and Mrs. Howell.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Out like a lion

July is going out like a proverbial lion!  Two big things are going on during this next week which YOU should know about.  First, I will be at the Ithaca Artists' Market this Friday, July 27th.  This event runs from 2-8 PM at the farmers' market pavilion (which means I get to spend three days in a row there this weekend), and includes over 70 artists from around the region in a variety of media.  Plus food and libations and music, you can make an evening of it.  I will be in booth #43.  Please come, support the local arts, try on my painted shoes, bring me snacks!

I am also joining Handwork, a cooperative art and fine craft store in downtown Ithaca, starting next Monday the 30th.  I'm excited to have a place to present my Wingtip shoes in a gallery setting, as well as a whole lot of my cards and calendars.  They are open every day except major holidays, so if you are local then you need never run out of my cards.

In general, this week is a little nutty.  All of the above, plus a major home improvement project involving carpets which I won't go into here.  I do have some nice new art to show you though!  I've started my new watercolor paintings for the 2013 calendars, and here is Miss February, working from a photo I took of a Thai temple dragon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

He's a handsome devil

Here's my beautiful cat Nebraska in the sunshine spotlight on my counter this morning.  He knows he's handsome, and is secure in how much I wuv him.  And yes, this is most likely the same cat who left the semi-eviscerated-but-not-completely-dead mouse outside the bathroom a few nights ago, which dragged itself in to surprise me while I was brushing my teeth.
I heart mice, but only if they're still moving
My cats are generall picturesque, and I photograph them all the time, but these little iphone photos are perhaps the coolest I've taken.

Friday, July 13, 2012

glasses, glasses everywhere, and not a drop to drink

Every now and then I end up with an unusual freelance project and my house gets taken over with unusual art supplies.  A few months ago, a friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in taking on a job for a local charity, painting some wine glasses for a fundraiser.  It's a good cause.  "How hard could THAT be?" I asked myself...always a dangerous question that ranks right up there with "What could go wrong?"and "Think I should have another?"

So, the local Family and Childrens' Services have a long-standing annual fundraiser, where the well-heeled can buy a ticket for a tour of even more well-heeled houses, and sample some local wines and eat delicious food at those houses.  There are musicians and artists involved as well, and it's a lovely evening.  At the end, the guests take home a hand-painted wine glass as a memento. 

I talked to my awesome arty friend Ben, and asked if he would be interested in splitting the work, since there are  (ahem)  THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY glasses to be painted by the end of August.  With unusual paints and squeeze bottles, and they all have to fired in the oven.  He agreed (good man), and we made a plan.  Then I got sick with Lyme and didn't do anything beyond survive for a few weeks which set back the process considerably.  And now it's time to get crackin' because it will be the end of August before we know it, and there are FIFTEEN CASES of glasses in my basement that need to be painted! 

But now we've found a production method.  Ben does the design, and I fill in and add details and the sponsor's name.  It's actually pretty fun, each one is turning out differently and the clients are happy and I'm eager to see how they are received at the event.  We do need to keep painting two cases per week to get them done in time...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

For those who like frogs (and you know who you are)

This one is for you.  Taken at Forked Lake last week.

Monday, June 4, 2012

La Isla Cocina

Cooking up a few new things in the kitchen these days!  I often work on the big open island in my kitchen, even though I have a perfectly serviceable studio upstairs.  Perhaps I just like being close to the tea and snacks.

I recently got hold of some awesome little journals, locally made and recycled, the perfect size for putting in a pocket or glove compartment or purse or man-bag.  Had some fun printing them with my collection of linoleum blocks, and they are selling nicely at the Farmers' Market.  Not sure yet how to put them online though because they are all different.

I also spent some time recently doing some matting and framing.  It takes a certain kind of energy to spend a day cutting mats, and I generally require some music to sing along to.  My cats like to get involved.

Speaking of days full of energy, or lack thereof...I recently found a deer tick on my leg, then came down with flu-like symptoms a week or so later, and then panicked about Lyme Disease, and am now taking antibiotics in case that's what happened.  Feeling pretty good now, but I keep losing days to extreme fatigue.  It's kind of that feeling you used to get in that 8 AM organic chemistry lecture in college, where you think you can still listen if you close your's a painful kind of tired.  I'm a very active person with a business and a garden and bikes and a waitressing job and a million things to attend to, and slowing down when I need to has been a challenge.  But I suppose spending a few weeks napping isn't such a bad thing in the larger scheme of the universe.  So check yourselves for ticks, unless you're looking for an excuse to take naps too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Otters and Hedgehogs

...are two of the cutest animals in the universe, yes?  Well, one of my projects this past winter was a book cover that involved both, but with a twist.  A local author, Karen Eccker, wrote a young adult version of a classic Sherlock Holmes story called Henry and the Adventures of the Speckled Band, set in the Netherlands and starring a cast of animal characters.  A young hare fears for her life after the mysterious demise of her sister, and calls in the expertise of a hedgehog detective and his otter sidekick.  Raccoons, a badger and an owl are involved, and the story is interesting, amusing, educational and comes to a satisfying conclusion.  A great read for curious young minds.

This was a very challenging project for me.  I've drawn any number of animals, but giving them personality and character and appealing large eyes was a good stretch for my limits.  People are always saying, "Oh, you should illustrate children's books!" but really, it's not all that easy.  The final version is in watercolor and pen, with a bit of Photoshop enhancement, and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. Here's the cover after the design work was done.

The book also just went up for sale online, and you can read more here and even order a copy!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Watching too much Mad Men

I'm working my way through the Mad Men TV series for the second time.  For those who aren't aware of the premise (hi MOM!), it's set in the late '50's in an advertising company in NYC on Madison Avenue, with a debonair and complex and beautifully-costumed cast.  I'm also working my way through a 1953 Woman's Day magazine I found in my parents' basement.  Keeping those two things in mind, let's deconstruct the following two ads.  Your thoughts are welcome.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A good week

It's a good week for me.  Here are two photos of two exciting things.

First, I put up my Wingtip show at the Finger Lakes Wine Center yesterday afternoon, and here's a quick look.  The reception/party is on Friday evening, please come as the Wine Center folks promise lots of snacks and interesting Cinco de Mayo inspired cocktails.  AND I'm running a sale on the shoes for just that evening!

And second, I tried to get a photo of the wee new baby chick, but Pauline keeps fluffing her feathers and blocking the view.  The baby is so tiny and cute I can't stand it.  Florence, who shares the coop, seems to be indifferent.

It always feels good to get a show up.  Today, Wednesday, seems to be my Saturday for the week, so I have big plans to clean up around here, take a long run, and attend to all the stuff that falls by the wayside when I'm working.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ridiculously excited about this

Quick note from the hen house, for those who care about the wee drama of my small flock.  I've been keeping an eye on Pauline, aka Ms. Broody, and yesterday I caught her off the nest for a moment.  I took advantage of her absence to check on her three adopted eggs, and saw this:
I was ridiculously excited about this, and could hear the little chick tapping away with his or her egg tooth, and then the egg started cheeping and I almost fell over.  Can't tell what's up with the other two eggs, but today or tomorrow we should know if they are viable.

Pauline came right back, and now she's extra defensive of her new baby, swelling up to three times normal size when I open the door and gives me the stink eye.  Can't see what's going on with all her feathers in the way, so I hope the wee chick is doing alright and that she'll let us get a look soon.
(the reddish light is from the heat lamp, it's been COLD at night lately)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shoes all over my living room

I have spent most of my free time in the last week at the delightful solitude of my painting desk, working on shoes and belts in a frenzy of inspiration.  Having a looming show is always shall we say inspirational to the creative inspiration.  Also, I'm actually caught up on freelance work and it feels great to have the time to follow my own painting bliss.  I'd like to avoid too much freelance work for the next few months as the summer market season heats up.

Here's a bunch of photos of what came out of last week! They are all listed on my Etsy site, and destined to be shown at the Finger Lakes Wine Center in the month of May. More about that show and the opening party as the time approaches.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pauline and her biological clock

I haven't updated you on the hen coop in a long time, and there's two exciting dramas going on.  I know SOME of you care about this stuff, so here goes.

First, there are 11 baby chicks growing in a cozy crate in the hallway.  I didn't expect to be taking on the raising of these little darlings, but due to a long story involving some local politics and a teacher's aversion to chicken poop, here they are.  Six Barred Rock, two Auracanas, two Speckled Sussex, and one little Golden Comet named Potato.  I took this while changing their bedding yesterday, they are 2 and 3 weeks old.

And interestingly, one of my remaining two adult hens has turned broody.  I've never experienced this before in my little flock, and at first thought Pauline was sick because she was just sitting on the nest and wouldn't move...except she was very plump and glossy and bright-eyed.  But I realized what was going on, and that her wee chicken version of the biological clock was kicking in.  Perhaps she got wind of some baby chick pheromones from inside the house.  Since we don't have a rooster, and she was sitting on a completely empty nest, I tried booting her off the nest several times a day to break the broodiness.  She was indignant, and persistent in returning to her misguided vigil.  Let me tell you, a broody hen is a single-minded force of nature.  So yesterday I took to feeling bad for her, and started to think that maybe it would be best to go with the flow of nature.  I called up my neighbors who have a flock of hens and a big rooster, and begged three eggs for her that might be fertilized.  She was so excited to get the eggs, and immediately tucked them right under herself and proceeded to fluff up and hiss at me.  Chickens might not be very bright, but their instincts are strong.

(Insert mental movie clip from "My Cousin Vinny" with Marisa Tomei stomping around on the porch in her flowered catsuit yelling, "...and my biological clock is!")

If the eggs really are fertile, there might be MORE chicks on April 30.  Meanwhile, I'm researching whether I can possibly introduce the younger of the baby chicks to her.  And also meanwhile, trying to figure out the logistics of having one adult free-and-happy hen, one broody hen with eggs, and 11 babies who are outgrowing their childhood home, and one chicken coop without a fence...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In which I go to the big city, and see two-headed babies in jars

downtown Philadelphia

My internet has been out for most of the last week, giving me two bits of insight.  First, I miss being tethered to the mothership, and second, I don't really miss it that much.  Anyway, I'm back online and back to my blog, and I have loads to tell you all about.

Before I get to the two-headed babies, I have to say that the Ithaca Farmers' Market starts up again this Saturday!  Hurrah!  This is, of course, I am looking forward to the social crowd and the lovely customers and the flowers and fresh greens and Cambodian curry and regular income.  On the other hand, I'm mourning the loss of the weekends until next January.  This is the start of my TWELFTH season there.  Please come down and say hello, booth #84.  I'll have my painted belts out for sale for the first time.

In anticipation of the start of the market season, I took most of last week off to go visit friends in the Philadelphia region.  Everything was flowering there, cherry trees everywhere and little just-born-green leaves popping out on the bigger trees.  There was some shoe shopping involved (my maiden voyage into DSW, Designer Shoe Warehouse but also known as Danger Shoe World), and a total score on awesome sparkly tango shoes for $5 at a fantastic thrift store.  And my friend Karen and I took a trip into the big city itself to hit up some science geeky museums.  So there was the Franklin Institute, walking through the giant heart model and avoiding the crowds of hyper schoolkids running amok in the electricity exhibit....that was fun, but the real star of the whole trip was going to the Mutter Museum.

This deserves it's own paragraph.  By the way, there should be an umlaut over the U in Mutter, but I can't figure out how to do this.  The museum's promotional materials were very keen on letting us know about the umlaut.  This is a museum of medical oddities associated with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.  You can read up on the history with a little google searching, so I won't reiterate it here.  I had been working myself up to visit to this museum for a long time, knowing my inherent squeamishness about oddities and aberrations, but I found quickly that sqeamishness was replaced by fascination and compassion.  Ok, so there's a freakish plaster cast of seriously conjoined baby twins...but it's accompanied by a little card with their story of their separate personalities and how they lived to be 13 months old and were cheerful.  And then you turn the corner and there's a gigantic stuffed colon (and I mean gigantic) in a tasteful glass case.  AAAUUUGGGH!  But wait, there's the man's story and he was a real person who had to live in a sideshow.  There were so many gruesomely fascinating things...if you buy me a pint I will tell you all about them (the sad story of the dwarf and her baby, the jar of skin flakes, the ossified embryo, the lady with the horn on her forehead who lived well in to her 80's), but I will spare my more sensitive readers the details.  What really struck me was how so many of these people would have been spared their afflictions in these days of advanced surgery and nutrition and medicine, but also how so much of what we know now rests on the pain these people went through.  And thankfully no one really gets rickets anymore in most places in the world.  It was fascinating, and well worth the trip....and for those who are also squeamish I can reassure you that it is tasteful and respectful and Not That Bad.

See you at the Market!  (Don't worry, I probably won't be making a line of notecards of medical oddities.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

More ways to keep your pants up

Been on a roll painting belts.  Market starts up again in a few weeks, and I want to have a nice collection of new things for my loyal customers.  I also have discovered the joys of having a steady stream of British murder mysteries on hand (thanks, Netflix!), which gives me the ability to sit still long enough to work on these things.  Both belts, and many others, are available on my Etsy site.

Speaking of Wingtips, I'm excited to announce that I have a show lined up of my hand-painted shoes!!!  At the Finger Lakes Wine Center, in the month of May.  That's right in downtown Ithaca...going to be a fun time, and I'm excited to show the shoes in a more formal, gallery-like context.

And speaking of shoes (one thing leads to another in my thought process), I was not chosen for the Fluevog contest.  But then again, a whole pile of Really Cool ads came in at the last moment.  I will use this as impetus to do something better next time.  It's good practice.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Space-based eye candy

This is the coolest ever.  Cooler even than the giant railroad trestle (although I am aware that I'm one of only a few people who think that's cool).  Check out the thunderstorms, and the northern lights, and the crazy glimpse of beautiful.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My local history obsession

Once in a while, something can really capture my imagination and not let it go.  Ever since I saw these photos years ago, I've been somewhat obsessed with the idea of a gigantic railroad trestle that once went across the Brooktondale valley.  This is my quiet little hometown in upstate NY, in a valley formed by a largish creek.  I've driven down the main road through town easily 1000 times in my life, and there's a small historical marker next to some trees under a very empty sky that stands where a large railroad trestle once must have dominated the landscape.  I can barely imagine this gigantic thing spanning my little town's valley.

The wooden trestle was built in 1875, and lasted until 1894, when it was replaced with a simpler, sturdier steel structure.  It was part of the Lehigh Valley train system, connecting Elmira and Ithaca and then on to points north and east.  Tiny towns, little stops along the way.  Trains ran through this route until 1935, hauling passengers and mail and milk and coal.

Today there are still beautiful little train stations scattered around, which have been turned into gift shops and B&Bs and history centers.  The train tracks are gone, but the right-of-ways are still there.  Two of my favorite running trails are built on the former tracks.

(I hope these photos are in the public domain, I apologize if they aren't.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Still life, with tulip and cat

A friend who works in a greenhouse gave me a couple of gorgeous tulips yesterday, with the condition that I either photograph or paint them because they were perfect in their last throes of exuberant color.  I love tulips, they speak of spring and simple elegant flaming beauty.  Nebraska is pretty cute, too.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Put a bird on it!

I know I'm coming to "Portlandia" a little later than the rest of the hip world.  But then I came to Netflix a LOT later than everyone else...and the combination of this factors brings me to share these clips with you. 

Portlandia is a show about Portland, OR, organic hipster central.  I live in Ithaca, which is a smaller, east-coast version of this phenomenon, home of the bumper sticker that says "Ithaca, NY: 10 square miles surrounded by reality."  So let's dive in.

First, the free-range chicken sketch.  I find this particularly apt, as I am a member of the farmers' market AND a server at a pub that serves really tasty, very local food.

And one more.  I'm completely guilty of this!  And, it WORKS, people love birds on things.

Friday, February 24, 2012

$1000 worth of shoes

Writing from the comfy chair by the wood stove while avoiding freezing drizzle again.

I'm ready to unveil the frivolous project that features the kimono lady from the last post.  You see, when I need some online distraction, I either shop for airplane tickets for dream vacations or stalk the Fluevog website to check out their fabulous, expensive shoes.

And, well, Fluevog offers the occasional ad design contest.

And, well, I'm a graphic designer.

Who likes shoes.

In a moment of weakness I downloaded the design brief for their latest contest, and decided that my graphic design skills may as well come in handy for fun projects as well as work.  I could win $1000 worth of shoes if my ad is chosen, which obviously is exactly what I need.

Here's the ad I designed, to their specs and with their copy and shoe photo:

After some hesitation and fussy tweaking of details, I uploaded it (well, why not), and you can see it in their gallery of other submissions.  You can also read there about the reasons for the imagery I chose: half moon, Chinese garden moon gate, tall wooden shoes, etc.  You can vote for me if you wish (that's not a link, it's a subliminal suggestion), and if I end up in the top four, well then you can vote for me again.  If I win, I promise to post photos of me in my fabulous new boots.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Ok, so I was supposed to be working on a newsletter, or perhaps on finishing up a painting, or something actually useful.  But it's a day that features "freezing drizzle," an Ithaca specialty, and even after having breakfast with the Happy Light (TM), I ended up in front of the wood stove in the comfy chair, working in a very desultory manner on whatever it was that I supposed to be doing.  So instead I started playing on my computer on a completely unrelated project, and then got really into the Photoshop (also TM) zone, and ended up with this lovely kimono lady.  If that Completely Unrelated Project (not TM) comes to fruition, then I will post about it more thoroughly later.