Friday, June 1, 2018

Camp Gaga!

Summer is here.  School is out and the weather has finally warmed up.  It's time for Camp Gaga!

My grandkids and I have lots of fun.  We do a lot of crafts, we study the world around us and we revel in the beauty of nature.  But when summer comes, we just can't wait for the official start of Camp Gaga!!!

Wednesdays are our fun days.  We gather in the morning and head outdoors to monitor the growth of all of Gaga's flowers. As the summer progresses, we anticipate the ripening of service berries, raspberries, black berries, and cherries.  We plant a garden and we keep it weeded.  We eat the vegetables when they are ready!  We study seeds, plant them and watch them turn into beautiful bouquets that we pick for mommy.   We soak up the sun.

We feed the birds and talk about what each kind eats.  We listen for their songs and we watch the nest boxes for mama bird's head and then the babies' to peek out.  We run and play tag.

Then we head inside to cool off and do some crafts.  And one of our favorite things to do is cardboard sculpting.  Gaga learned to sculpt as a child by putting things together.  Gaga had two large cardboard tubes from bubble wrap rolls that she thought would make wonderful castle towers.  But these creative kids had ideas of their own.  "I know" he said, "I want to make a control center, a headquarters out of this pressed paper!"  And she wanted to make a telescope and goggles for Gaga!  It pays to save toilet and paper towel tubes, ribbon rolls and the pressed paper that comes in boxes packing fragile thing or tools.  It gives you material to cut, create and tape together.  We love tape at Camp Gaga.

We play a bit and then it is time for our science experiment.   Gaga has books of fun science things to do, and watches Instagram for ideas.  This time we learned that gel food coloring is NOT the same as the good old liquid kind.  Our science experiment didn't work but we will try it again and report back on that.   We love donning our lab aprons and safety glasses.  We love science.

We have just plain fun at Camp Gaga too.  We play lots of board games.  My grandson loves board games and usually wins.  It is a miracle when Gaga wins one to be honest.  We laugh a lot because Gaga often has to miss a turn or go back to the beginning.  We laugh and learn to be good sports.  My grand daughter is learning to play them too, but she drifts off and plays with our doll houses. We roll the dice and advance either forwards or backwards depending on where we land.  Yep, we learn that life is like that; forwards or backwards...but always full and rich and blessed beyond measure.  Summer is here, Camp Gaga is in session and we are really happy about that!

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Jelly Wars, or The Orioles are Back!

   A flash of orange caught my eye early last week.   I ran and got my camera and so began the annual invasion of Baltimore Orioles.  I had put out their favorite grape jelly in anticipation of their arrival.  I usually see one or two, but this year I have counted up to 5 at one time!  Males, females, juveniles, all hungry and ready to stop in the Gaga Cafe.  Word has gotten around.
I call it the Jelly Wars.  They are waiting up in the maple tree above the feeding station every morning.  Waiting, hopping from limb to limb till I go out the door.  I put more jelly and orange halves in the feeding tray for them and add more worms for the bluebirds.  They fuss and fight and argue over the best place in line.  Some of them wait patiently and some butt in line, squawking all the while.  Now that I have hung up the hummingbird feeder, some will go straight to that.  I think some just like to dive bomb the others and cause a flurry of bright orange feathers.  I love it.  

This was during a particularly wild encounter.

 Over the weekend I watched and studied them.  The feeder is right outside my kitchen window, so I can see them clearly and if I don't make any sudden moves, they don't notice me much.  It is my bird blind.  The oriole on the left is a juvenile female.  The one below is an older female.

Mostly I just watch them eat.  I have noticed other birds sharing the jelly; catbirds and a Swainson's Thrush really like it too.

Since they are gobbling down at least a third cup of jelly a day, I was sure glad to see this on sale sign at the grocery store!  Now that I have really looked them over and have good pix, I am ready to try to make a couple.  Stay tuned for that!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Spring Flowers and Warm Sunshine

It's been a long cold winter.  Just look at this little bluebird, all puffed out to keep warm earlier this spring.  He can relax now, because the temps are warmer and the sun is out!  I am so happy for the warm up, I can hardly stay in the studio to do my work.  Spring has finally come!

The spring flowers are finally popping out.  This Virginia BlueBell is stunning.  It sits next to some tall phlox.  The bit of pink on tiny buds contrasts nicely with the full blown blue of the older blossoms, and the green leaves are a perfect background.  I love this wild flower.

The Jack in the Pulpit is unfurling and Celadine Poppy is just beautiful.  Spring!  Color!  Warmth!  It all makes me so happy.  Time to be outside as much as possible and enjoy the gardens and the birds.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Time in the Southern Part of the State

It's been cold up here.  The cold and dreariness has lingered and I have not enjoyed it.  After my show in Louisville in March,  I got right on my taxes, and then prepared for an Art Fair in warmer climes.  Funk in the City is held at Haynie's Corner Arts District in Evansville, IN, and I am enjoying participating again.  Hoping we would have nice sunny weather I couldn't wait!

Ben and I set up the booth early, early Saturday morning.  It was warm and sunny and people came in droves to enjoy the day.  I got to see so many old friends and made lots of new ones too. People loved what we brought!  And we loved standing in the sun drinking up the warm weather.  I can't begin to tell you what that did for my attitude.  It must have had the same effect on the other fair goers because I heard over and over again how happy they were to have a nice day with no snow or cold winds.  Yay!

We took down the booth when the show was over, 
and I drove up to see my dear gardening friend
Gail Woodruff in Mitchell, IN.  Her yard was way ahead of mine and the flowers were just beautiful.  Her serviceberry had really bloomed out.  I helped her put support rings around the peony plants we mulched last summer.   I had lunch with some of her good friends from church.  It was a nice meal.  We did a few other gardening tasks also.  We talked about quilting, art, cooking, grandkids and just about everything we always do.  I love my visits with Gail.

I left Sunday afternoon after a wonderful visit and headed to up to see my son Ben in Fountain Square.  He was relaxing after our show.  We had a nice dinner at The Red Lion Pub and hung out in
his studio.  Of course we had ice cream cones from the tiny Dairy Queen down the street.  He had to get up early for work, so I got ready and headed down to Sanders Jewelry for a visit with Nancy and Doug Seeman, and Peggy Phares too!  We had fun and we switched out some spring items and I left some fresh pieces for the store.  They are truly fine people and I love being there! 
What a treat.  Seeing all of these good friends and soaking up all of that sunshine.  Still, I was missing my grandkids and it was time to head back up to Chesterton and my little cottage.  I was happy to get home and see my flowers blooming and feel the warm temps up in my neck of the woods.  Farewell to Indiana's southern coast, and hello to Indiana's northern one!  And finally, I welcome Spring and being able to comfortably be outdoors!  

Thanks to everyone for my nice trip, good sales and sweet friendship.  ❤️

Monday, March 26, 2018

Consider Boutique!

I held my first show at Consider Boutique on St Patrick's Day!  Ben and I worked hard in preparation,   sculpting all our best ideas.  I drove down on Friday, and Louisville Team Rabbit Captain Clarice Denoux and shop owner Casey Emrich helped me set up.  

Casey had a place all picked out for our tables.  After all the boxes were in, Clarice and Casey started placing the pieces to their best advantage.  It looked wonderful!

Clarice and I went back to her house and relaxed.  While she cooked a yummy dinner, I priced some more pieces.  It's always so nice to visit after setting up.

Clarice is a wonderful cook.  We talked and caught up.

This is Toots the shop dog.

The show was great!!!  We had a good crowd and great visits.  I want to give a big shout out to Team Rabbit members Clarice Denoux, Debbie Uhl and Mary Jane Emrich.  They make my shows fun and doable!  I also want to thank Shopkeeper Casey Emrich for letting us have our show at Consider Boutique.  I love this shop and having them represent us.  I left a good selection of items for spring, so be sure to stop in and get that perfect hostess gift or addition to your own collection.  I have already made some tiny "pocket ritas" to send as soon as they are ready.  

So, if you need a rita or a ben, stop in at

107 S. Bayly
Louisville, KY

(502) 409-6300

Consider Boutique is located one block south of Frankfort Ave, turn on Bayly between Porcini's and Carmichael's Bookstore.  

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spring Show in Shelbyville, Indiana

We just had a fantastic Spring Show in Shelbyville, Indiana.  I lived there for over 22 years and it will always feel like home to me, so when I go back for shows I am always excited for the homecoming feel and the chance to see my lifelong friends!  It takes a lot of work getting ready for one of our shows, getting the ideas, sculpting the pieces, firing them, glazing them, and then firing them a second time.  After all of this creating part is finished, then I have to pack it all up and take it to the venue.  By this time I have set up the show, publicized it, worked with Team Rabbit to help me and made arrangements for Leon to stay with my daughter and family.  That is important.

We pack very carefully in boxes that have dividers that I have made to fit the boxes.  It's precious cargo!

Team Rabbit helps unpack and place the items for the show.  We have a great visit and get to catch up on all the latest news.  Steve Kehl unpacks pieces in this picture, while his wife Susan gets her wrapping table ready in the back ground.  Team Rabbit rocked this show.
After we are set up, we go get something to eat at one of our favorite places.  We love the fish sandwiches at West Side Pub and Grub.   Team Rabbit Captain Nancy Seeman and her husband Doug always know the best places!  They are the owners of Sanders Jewelry Store in Shelbyville and they carry our work in their store.  I stay with them when I am in town.  It's the best.  

Team Rabbit bakes and brings the most yummy treats.  Here we see Ben with Susan Kehl, Nancy Seeman and Mary Kay Cortelyou right before the show.  Sandy Learned and Marcia Kuhn were there to help too.  After taking this picture I went outside to visit with the eager shoppers waiting in line.  We had fun and then it was time for the doors to open.  I am sorry I don't have pictures of the crowd during the show, but the girls were using my phone to take credit cards and I was busy visiting and answering questions.  It was a lovely whirl of shopping, visiting, and lots of hugs.  Oh, and sharing pictures and stories about grandkids.  Thank you Team Rabbit and thank you to all of my dear friends who came to visit and get their ritas and bens.  XOXOXO!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Art Imitates Life or, Life inspires Art

Probably the question I am asked the most is "Where do you get all your ideas?"  It's usually followed with very much appreciated comments about my creativity, sense of humor and whimsy.  I'm always at a loss to answer this very important and sincere inquiry because honestly my mind works overtime with suggestions for what I should make next.  What my eyes see my hands often want to put into clay.  How does this happen?  Let's take a look.

One of my neighbors gave me this wonderful bird bath.  He thought I should have it because I love nature.  So, I might look at this and start to think about how to sculpt it.  Then I see the birds gathered around one of my bird feeding stations and I start thinking about that.  This might dance around quietly in my head for a few days or weeks and it finally comes out like this birdbath with delightful little bathers eagerly awaiting their turn.

Here's one more.  The birds in my garden constantly amaze and amuse me.  Last year I had two successive and successful blue bird nestings.  The Mr chose it, the Mrs agreed and I had bustling, busy, chatty flashes of blue all summer long.  So of course, I am making lots of birds and birdhouses this spring.  I am not a realist in my work.  I think I should be classified as an Impressionist, because I like to bend and alter colors, attitudes and activities to match what I see in the aforementioned crazy brain.  And besides, it's really hard to get that color of blue...

Back to the two cutie pies and the clay piece at the top.  My grandkids are always up to something.  I love that about them and I try to keep my phone/camera ready.  When I started making gates, inspired by my blue million trips to the fenced in garden for Leon's potty breaks, the first one I HAD to make  featured the rascally bunnies sneaking into a garden with a locked gate.  My grandkids inspire me like everything else.  And I am thankful for that.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Time in Fountain Square

I was tempted south by warmer weather earlier this week.  I needed clay and glazes, but mostly I wanted to visit my son Ben in Fountain Square.  This is an arts district in Indianapolis and I really enjoy being there and experiencing the area, the food and the fun.  Ben lives in a beautiful older home with hardwood floors, high ceilings and a great big kitchen.  His studio is downstairs in his basement and is a cozy, creative space.  I took a few pix during my visit, but mostly I well...visited!

 This is Ben's cat Heimdall.  He is a great studio cat and frequently sits in Ben's lap while he works.  Ben has another cat named Porch Cat who is very shy, and a wiry rescue pup named Bacon.  Bacon is too active to photograph, but he loves when Gaga visits.  He always dances for me.

Ben is a landscape architect by profession and works for the city of Indianapolis, making their parks wonderful.  But he has been sculpting since he was very young and has always enjoying working in the clay.  I am so proud of his work in the park system AND the wonderful dogs he makes.  He throws on the wheel too, but right now we both are gearing up for the Spring Show Season.  It's wonderful to share my business with him and plan new seasonal pieces, shows and techniques.   


One of the most enjoyable parts of my visits to Ben's house are the delicious meals he fixes for me.  This time he prepared flounder in lemon and herb crumbs, wild rice and my fave, green beans.  We also ate at Edward's Drive In after we got our supplies and I ate my weight in onion rings.  Yummy.  

So.  Well fed and loved, armed with a fresh supply of clay and new glazes, hours of interesting talk about everything and more, I headed back up to the frozen north.  I loved my little art to heart getaway and am steadily back at work.  Thanks Ben!  I can't wait to see what you make with your clay!