Dec 5, 2009

an evening to home...alone...

So a few weeks ago Scott and I had the unexpected pleasure of an unscheduled night to ourselves. Both kids had sleep overs, so we took advantage of the situation and had a wonderful dinner out and saw a very mediocre movie, Men Who Stare At Goats. Don't bother.

The next morning we went on a bike ride through Paradise Valley where we ogled beautiful homes, or tried to, as we whipped by them around curves and up and down hills.

Here I am again, on a Saturday night, with two kids sleeping at friends' houses. But this time Scott is out of town. I calculated. I racked my brain. I am quite certain that this has been the first night I have spent in my own home, ALONE, in ten years, seven months, and at least thirteen days.

Of course I've spent nights away from my family, with friends and my extended family, in other cities. But this here tonight, it's been a long, long time.

I spent a good part of it in a Christmas decorating frenzy. I tied ribbons, repaired a wreath, and decorated a sled. All the while indulging in the guilty TV pleasure that Scott does not share, Desparate Housewives. I polished off three episodes. That is totally the way to do it!

Arden was worried that I would be lonely. And to be honest, the sleeping dogs were pretty poor company. But I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude and the uninterrupted surge of creativity as I attempted to transform the house for the holidays. One night, though, is enough. Maybe a little more often than every ten plus years, but I'll be happy tomorrow night when everyone is back home with me. That will "make me happy" too!

Nov 26, 2009

ceramics from a beginner

Long ago, in the lonely town of Palo Alto, my friend Donna and I took a ceramics class. I don't remember much about it other than being completely disheartened after my few attempts at the wheel. I have nothing to show from that class, and that's probably a good thing.

Twenty plus years later I'm taking a class with the City of Scottsdale. My teacher is a laid back and very accomplished ceramic artist, and a great instructor. Along with a few other middle-aged women (and one fascinating 87 year old and her small dog), I've learned from the earth up. We've made pinch pots, experimented with slab building, created spheres, and learned texturing and a little glazing.

I like things to look organic and textural. Perfection is not really my aim when it comes to hand-built things.

My first pinch pot, made the first night, is lopsided and an ugly color since I just used the glaze the woman next to me had chosen. Yet somehow it satisfies me. It's currently holds our spare change. It's an improvement over the cracked plastic drinking glass I had been using.

The next assignment was to create a bunch of small balls and two pinch pots. The two hemispheric pinch pots were joined together to make a sphere. The balls were placed inside to create a rattle. I misunderstood the directions and instead of texturing the surface, I glazed the whole thing. The teacher was pretty sure it would blow up in the kiln, but it survived! It makes a beautiful soft sound and I dig the stripes.

The last piece worth mentioning is another pinch pot that I textured. I like how the glaze darkened and really took on a totally different hue where it pooled in the depressions on the surface. It sits on my kitchen counter and holds my grape tomatoes.

So last Monday evening-- after experiencing the usual guilt of leaving the kids to complete their homework without me, and Scott to feed everyone based on the paltry contents of the refrigerator -- I was thinking 'this better be worth it' as I headed out to class (at the local senior center). It was! I spent the entire three hours on the wheel and made three respectable bowls. This teacher is good -- she conveyed all the nuances of positioning your hands. I finally slowed down, tried hard, and did it!

In a few weeks time, I should have some other things to post - less organic and probably more balanced. Please check back.

Finally, I bought myself an early birthday present. I had been keeping my eye on some different and utterly beautiful pots at the Desert Botanical Garden's gift shop. They announced a sale and I jumped at the chance. (They are not cheap pots.)

The artist is Mike Cone. This coming weekend is the second of two art studio shows called Hidden in the Hills. This artist will be showing so I'm hoping to go see him in action and discover what else he creates. I'm all for inspiration at this point.

p.s. Thanks, Kristin, for reminding me I have a blog.

Aug 6, 2009

caught in a downpour on the Brooklyn Bridge

After a ferry ride to South Street Seaport, a trip through the "Bodies" exhibition (amazing), and a very late lunch, Liz, Meade, Arden and I decided to walk home via the Brooklyn Bridge.

Maybe we should have known better, but it looked like the dark clouds were moving AWAY from us.

It was dramatic, wet, and exciting.

Some of us enjoyed it more than others.

For more photo highlights from our travels this summer, check out my album on Snapfish.

Jul 13, 2009

kids in a candy store

I've never seen anything like it. The room is well hidden at the very back of a surf shop in downtown Nantucket. The space is about 8' x 12' and is filled floor-to-ceiling with candy, plus a table in the middle of the room covered completely in the 5-25 cent variety.

We ventured in with seven kids. They were all happy campers. Most of the goodies were gone before we even pulled in the driveway at home.

Jul 11, 2009

an afternoon at Dionis Beach

Cousins! We have been so excited to spend time in Nantucket with our cousins!! Yesterday we went to the beach late in the day. There was boogie boarding and sand castle building.

Believe it or not, corn on the cob was successfully eaten two nights ago.

Jul 10, 2009


What follows are some images from our visit to Terrace Park. Lots of cloudy days and cool temps, which were a welcome change. Though we spent less time at the Swim Club than we had anticipated, we completely enjoyed hanging out and catching up with lots and lots of our friends. In addition to staying with the Gatches, the girls had a total of five sleepovers... They were running on fumes by the end.

Riding home from the Louisville airport upon our arrival. Eating jellybeans and catching up.

A walk in Red Bird Hollow where we loved to go with Fergus and Nick. We had to pretend they were there with us and not, in reality, lounging in the bathroom back in Arizona.

Full 4th of July regalia during a spectacular backyard fireworks display.

Ahhh -- welcome to the Dolphin Bay Spa where all of us were treated to marvelous facials, massage, hair and nails by four young entrepreneurs.

The older girls dressed for some type of princess/ prom/ cotillion-thing out by the backyard castle.

Wishing I had taken A LOT more pictures. Now we are in Nantucket and I've got my camera all ready to go with us to the beach. It's a gorgeous, cool and sunny day. I am happy.

Jun 12, 2009

peace, love, beep, beep

Just got this door stop back from the finishers. It completely makes me happy! Bright colors, a little shimmer and glitter, and smiles. This one is for my room ;)

Jun 4, 2009

a birthday pillow

I made this tiny pillow for Meade's 8th birthday. It's only about 8 inches wide. I think she likes it.

The one frustration I'm finding with needlepoint is the complete lack of attractive canvases. They are either old fashioned or Holly Hobby queer. So I took it upon myself to design this one. I downloaded and enlarged a favorite font for the "M" and copied a cool graphic from a desk calendar for the spray of flowers.

I was a little nervous about taking it to the finisher. They once put a hideous dark green moire on the back of a Christmas Santa - bluck! So, I gave strict instructions to use an "apple green velvet" and lo-and-behold, they hit the mark exactly. I'm so pleased. Let's hope she keeps it off of the floor.

summer fun in the pool

Remember the George Washington?

May 29, 2009

Chihuly Glass at the Desert Botanical Garden

We were able to visit the exhibit twice, once during the day and the next time at dusk. It ends in two days. That it is short-term makes it all the more amazing and compelling. I'd love to know more about the process and installation.

Scott's brother is visiting us, and he spent 4 hours at the DBG this morning -- hummingbirds, herb garden, butterflies, cacti, and glass.

May 24, 2009

an afternoon to myself

So I'm in Seattle with Scott for a conference, and while he's in meetings, I've been wandering through the waterfront, Pike Place Market, and the "retail core." Yesterday was unusually sunny, so everyone was out basking in the warmth. The views were spectacular -- with a clear shot of Mt. Ranier behind a bridge (below), and cruise ships setting off for Alaska out front of our hotel.

I walked from 11 am to 5:30 pm, only sitting twice to try on shoes. So many cool eateries, coffee shops, boutiques! I was even lured into a knitting shop (wondering if Andrea was here earlier in the week.)

The true highlight was the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). Ironically, I'm not a big museum goer, but I totally enjoyed this trip. I was lured in by a show from Yale's American art collection. That was great, but the permanent collection display was even better. Small galleries of thoughtfully put together works around a theme. Some aboriginal paintings, lots of contemporary art, some Asian ceramics -- a handful of plum vases but spanning centuries. My favorite was a bead quiz: beads from throughout history, beaded Native American bags, modern necklaces, and found object stuff. A video showed four bead artists working with glass, polymer clay, found objects and filigree. All were so humble and matter-of-fact as they talked about the process, yet they were each making the most unique things.

Couldn't find images of my favorites from that room or the aboriginal stand outs, but did (illegally) download my favorite American works. Things I've studied forever, but rarely seen in the flesh: two Homers and two Eakins.

An Adirondack Lake, Winslow Homer, 1870

Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910)
Old Mill (The Morning Bell), 1871
Oil on canvas, 24 x 38 1/8 x 1 in. (61 x 96.8 x 2.5 cm)
Yale University Art Gallery, Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916)
Maud Cook (Mrs. Robert C. Reid), 1895
Oil on canvas, 24 1/2 x 20 1/16 in. (62.2 x 51 cm)
Yale University Art Gallery, Bequest of Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844–1916)
John Biglin in a Single Scull, 1874
Oil on canvas, 24 3/8 x 16 in. (61.9 x 40.6 cm)
Yale University Art Gallery, Whitney Collections of Sporting Art, given in memory of Harry Payne Whitney, B.A. 1894, and Payne
Whitney, B.A. 1898, by Francis P. Garvan, B.A. 1897, M.A. (Hon.) 1922

I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy art.

May 18, 2009

my new bathroom

This winter we had our partially-renovated-yet-still-antiquated (1979) master bath and closet overhauled. It wasn’t a huge project -- it only took three weeks -- but oh the joy and satisfaction it has brought me and Scott.

The original had the same granite countertops as in the kitchen (huh?) and a slate floor (also formerly in the kitchen), yet retained the original, moldy pink tile and dirty glass door in the shower. The closet and the shower/toilet area were tiny, while the sink area was a vast waste of space.

Enter Kenny and Mike. These guys had already laid our wood floors and tiled our patio and entrance, so I knew they were reliable and very able. Plus they make me laugh through the process of ripping up my house. They also provided surprisingly insightful design advice, and so together we reconfigured the space: much bigger closet, still spacious vanity area, pocket doors for privacy to the bedroom (it was open before), and a pony wall between the shower and vanity that allows for the circulation of light and air.

The floors, shower walls, and vanity top are all “seagrass” limestone. The shower floor is dark grey river rock, and accents in the shower and back splash are a smokey blue/grey glass mosaic.

The closet is a highlight. All Elfa products from Container Store. Gliding drawers, room for shoes, a jewelry drawer (!) and storage space that we can never get enough of. Not once but two or three times, Scott has walked into it and said, to no one in particular, “I love this closet.”

I have been meaning to email Liz and Mel pictures of the finished project. It was on my “to do” list for ages. Eventually, this task was the seed that led me to create this blog. So until you can come to AZ in person, this is a preview of “my new bathroom!”