Thursday, July 11, 2013

Taft and Washington

I love my neighborhood.  I have not lived in town for over 26 years.  But my house on Taft Street sits on two lots so I have breathing room.  The house has been well loved and wonderfully landscaped with so many flowers and exotic trees that it was "The envy of the neighborhood" according to my neighbor who lives on the west side of me. She is the one who invited me to have Memorial Day dinner with her and her interesting family. I have been working on the yard, weeding, moving flowers and mulching.  Apparently this makes my neighbors happy.

A young man and his father live across the street to the south of me.  The son is a nice, helpful young man who helped me plow out my driveway last winter.  He also brought me mushrooms this spring.  This picture is of a deer that visits their yard every evening.  I was missing my deer something awful last week and I looked up and saw this doe grazing on the clover in their back yard!  When I told the father about it, he said that he has a fox that comes at 4 am every morning too.  My animals have found me I thought...

A few days ago a nice young man was walking down the street with his very blond and curly little girl  I asked how old she was and he replied  in the thick Irish brogue I remember from Catholic school as a girl!  I told him about my grandson, anything, to keep hearing that lilt and accent.  I love the diversity here right down the street.  I have a single mom who lives catty corner from me too.  She and I really relate and have great conversations about our lives, kids and all the craziness that goes on in the world.  I like her.  She is friendly and down to earth.  And the most amazing woman lives across the alley.  She is larger than life and has a huge white, pet rabbit.  Naturally we bonded easily.

I started mowing my yard this evening.  Lovely time to do it, still warm, still sunny.  A jogger ran past, I waved, so did he.  Then a neighbor lady came walking up with her very "chatty" little dog.  She stopped and wanted to visit!  She always worries that her dog barks too much, but he stopped and calmed down as I petted him.  She chatted away, and told me that she misses her grandkids.  She asked if  I mow to get some sun, "No, it is part of my work out" I replied...I like her.  I think she lives in the house with the beautiful roses out front so I should try to visit sometime.  She is nice.  I started mowing again.  The father who has the fox in his yard came over and motioned me to stop.  Now he worked as a greens keeper at a golf course so he knows grass and lawnmowers.   He had something to give me which was a jug of flower fertilizer.  He said, "I don't need this but you do.  It is awful heavy, but you can use it on those flowers.  You are really making this place look nice." I liked hearing that.  I like knowing it even more.   I like the people I have met here and I like that it is quiet and people are nice to one another.  I like that rabbits are everywhere, that deer wander about and foxes slip silently through at about 4 am.   Sweet little neighborhood, my new place to live.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Asher and I had a late afternoon date yesterday.  We drew pictures first.  First we drew one of Gaga and her curly red hair, and then one of Asher standing next to Gaga.  When it was time to draw Asher's blonde hair, I drew it curly.   He squealed, pointed at my hair, his hair and we both said "Curly!"  We played in the sand box for a while, but decided a picnic on the beach would be better.  He could hardly wait for Gaga to pack the stuff, but had me lower the sand pail with beach toys one more time so he could be sure I had everything he wanted.  We took each item out, like a checklist and added it back in.  Both of us nodded and we were on our way.

First things first.  We found our spot.  The beach was still busy from a beautiful weekend, so we wound our way down to the lake's edge.  We pulled out the sand toys and started finding rocks and digging for wet sand.  Asher made me a sand pie.  Now I like rocks in my pie, but he does not, so I had to agree to have them on the side.  That's ok, I think he will develop a taste for them later in life.  We built a couple of castle turrets, but he was more interested in the "GULLS!" and rocks this time.

We ate our snack, goldfish crackers and cold water, and watched the people and the waves.  It was sublime.

The time passed.  We moved from spot to spot as the rest of the beach goers left, one tired group at a time.  The breeze off the lake started to feel cooler as the sun started sinking.  He remembered that our jackets had pockets so we started filling up them up with one curious rock after another.  Gaga suggested we might want to start towards the car...

Now leaving the beach after a wonderful time like this is never easy.  There is always one more shovel of sand, one more rock, one more gull to chase and one more something that delays our departure.  "Wow," he says, "hole!"  He explored it, climbed in, out and all around.  Why do we have to leave yet anyway?  Bedtime?  Naah, Gaga thinks, we won't worry about that tonight.

Once more close to the water.  I wonder if he knew this magical moment was waiting.  Sun dropping, turning the lake into a silver mirror, warm brown sand and a little boy staring into that water with far seeing eyes.   I snapped several pictures and then I stopped and watched as he said "Bye, bye" to his favorite place to play and  laugh and learn.  Some times are special to a Gaga and her precious little boy, but this one was magical and will stay in the heart forever.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My house came with a beautifully landscaped yard.  The gardens are filled with the most amazing trees, shrubs and  flowers, many that I have never see before.  This first spring is like a birthday every day...each morning I go out to see what is blooming!  This beautiful flower is a Sweet Bay Leaf magnolia and the blooms are huge and fragrant.
 This  must be an old fashion fairy rose.  It is so softly pink and tiny and covered in blossoms!  It looks so pretty growing against the white picket fence.

This unusual tree is a fringe tree.  It is covered in feathery white blooms with the softest fragrance.  I looked it up online and a website said it was lovely viewed at night under the light of the full moon.  I will add that an evening of great blues music, a good friend and some tequila add to the experience.

This is another type of magnolia.   The flowers are waxy and beautiful and smell so sweetly of oranges.  The shrub is covered with blossoms and I love to visit it throughout the day.

And here is my peekaboo rose.  This curious bud sneaked out of the slats in the privacy fence on the alley side of the dog park.  So much beauty must burst forth I guess, it just has to fill the world.

There are so many roses planted in this yard, and they are covered in buds.  Shrubs and flowering trees are full of buds also and I can hardly wait to see what they produce!

One of my neighbors told me that my yard was the envy of the neighborhood.  I can hardly wait for more proof!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Show Season Preparations

The spring show season is here and I am really enjoying it.  I just had a wonderful show in Shelbyville, Indiana, where I used to live and raised my kids.  It was busy non stop and I got to see so many of my friends!  It always helps to get the first one under my belt so I can see what people like.  These bunnies were the first to go, better make more!

My next show is a new one for me.  It is called the Indie Arts Vintage Marketplace and will be held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds April 6th.  Here are a couple of links with some more information:

I am sculpting more new items for this show, great ideas that I got at the last minute and just didn't have time to make.   Ben is making lots of dogs, too, and I can't wait to see them!

The Fairy Garden Collection has grown also.  Lots of new animals, birds and fun, tiny, little pieces that will add color and interest to your miniature landscapes.   There are even wee little owls that sit on a pic overseeing all that happens in these tiny forests.

The booth I use is getting a spring overhaul as well.  Living in this cottage has given me lots of ideas about room like presentation.  I can't wait!

New Pins, new life!  It is spring after all.

Yep, it has been very busy here in the cottage on Taft Street!  And that is how I like it.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wren's Nest

Can you see the little nest in the wheel?
A wren can live anywhere.  I had a very determined one on Rabbitville Road, who kept building her nest in my gas grill.  I finally gave up, and didn't cook out that summer.  One also built a nest in a pile of sticks on the patio by my studio.  She often perched on the fence outside the windows and sang and, I thought, peeked in to see what I was doing in my nest.  We had lovely conversations, but I was frequently scolded for coming too near her territory when I came and went. Now miles away, and shaking off the cold,  I opened the back door of my car the other day and realized the reason for some of those scoldings...she had built a nest in the spare wheel that is attached to the back of my car!   Nesting season was over and the nest had been empty, but here was a sweet little remembrance of my old place and my little wren companion.   Bits of sticks and that lovely moss that carpeted my woods were carefully patched into a nursery and a sweet memory.   What a lovely going away present...

Wren on a Pansy Nest
I take inspiration from my surroundings when I sculpt.  I draw on my experiences and interpret them in clay.  That's what artists do I guess.  I have been sculpting these rust colored little bits of energy for a few years now. They completely fascinate me and they let me be familiar, share their lives.   I love the color and the movement, and I love their adaptability.   I see that there is a wren bird house on the garden fence here, so I will be looking forward to making new friends and hearing their songs.  A woman I met up here has asked me several times what I am naming my cottage and I have decided.  No surprise at all...Wren's Nest.  A wren can live anywhere, and so can I.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Morning and Spring is in the Air

It's morning on Taft Street.  I start my day in this sunny kitchen and prepare myself for sculpting.  I do my morning marketing and drink that important cup of coffee.  Then it's off to the studio to work in the clay.

Spring is in the air and I feel it.  The blackbirds are here and singing and the other birds are joining right in with their own spring songs.  The itch to be outside in my yard pulls at me.  This spring will be delightful, watching all these mystery plants come up and learning what is planted in my new yard.  The cottage is delightfully landscaped, and the former owners sent me a list of a some of what is planted.  Roses!  It has been years since I had cultivated ones.  Can't wait.

Taking the dogs out for a break, I see that I have Snowdrops up and blooming already!  And they are right in the fairy garden.  It must be fairy magic.  My grandson and I are going to do a lot of playing in that little spot this spring and summer.

Spring is coming in the studio too.  I am sculpting the Spring Collection for my upcoming shows.  Since I love rabbits there will lots of those, but also wrens and chickens.   New pins and earrings, pigs and promises to be a great season.  These bunnies with their bright, cheery flowers remind me that warm weather is coming, and soon.

This wren perched on a teacup has been tossing around in my mind for some time.  I love wrens and the fact that they will build their nests anywhere, even in a discarded cup.  There's a lesson about happiness there I am sure.

This time of seasonal anticipation fills me with delight.  It's morning, and I am so ready for spring!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Cottage on Taft Street

I'm settling in.  It took me about a year to make it happen, but I moved up near my daughter and her small family this past August.  I now live in a 1939 Cape Cod cottage near Lake Michigan and I love it.  I can tell you it has been a remarkable undertaking, exhausting, monumental and rewarding.  It took me 3 months to find the box with my socks in it and there are still things I can't find.   But I am in, becoming a part of my new community and loving each and every minute of watching my grandson grow and explore.  "Tanks Gaga..." that's all it takes.

But how does this old crabby basement become a studio?  With memories of my lovely tucked in Rabbitville Road work area still tangled in my mind, and a lot of help from my friends, I started in.  Two heavy coats of bright white Dryloc worked wonders.  This past Christmas season, my busiest time of the year, I worked out of boxes, finding each new color of glaze as I needed it.  I had a simple work table and a glazing station.  Shipping happened on another banquet table.  Boxes everywhere but it worked.

Thank you Kathryn for that lovely set of purple shelves.   This is that same corner before hurricane Rita happened.  And I mean this little sculptor, not the weather kind.  (I am sure I did more damage.)  After Christmas shelves were placed and jars of glaze found their homes.  
Those months of intense holiday working gave me a good idea of what to put where.

Scary, isn't it?  I have made a lot of progress in the last few months.  I want to give a big shout out to Brandt and Allyson, Mike and Kim, Lexie, Ben and of course, my little cutie pie Asher.  Obviously there is a long way to go, but wonderful things are coming out of this studio.  I like it.   Asher made his first sculptures here, his first owl.  And I am only 5 miles from Lake Michigan...good decision.  Now I had better get back to work.