Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fall is in the air!

Tomorrow is the official start of Fall, one of my favorite seasons. My flowers have spent their last, and their pots are being cleaned and put away until next Spring. I'll miss their bright, happy faces, but I do look forward to the brilliant zest of the changing leaves! Between the crisper days and the holiday paraphernalia, my instinctual need for coziness and hot meals has's time to pull out the crock pot and afghans once again.

Yesterday, I woke up to a special treat: Thunder! All day we had a rip-roaring thunderstorm cracking over our house, with periodic downpours. It was wonderful. I love rainy days like that...everything gets doused and cleaned, and the wet aroma is simply wonderful.

On the work-front, hubby has taken a break from homework to help me with the impending Brownie sale by taping up a wall of boxes for the little tyke.
At least 36 pugnacious little fuzz balls should be zipping out to new homes soon! I'm really excited to see painted Brownies since donkey patterning and coloration can be so different from that of horses. I'm always fascinated to see how painters tackle heavy fur texture, too, since each artist tackles that challenge just a little differently.

Speaking of cozy, I'm cleaning up a Brownie to send down to Joan Berkwitz, so he can be properly baked in earthenware! Yummmm....warm, fresh Brownies, right out of the oven! I'm really excited to see him in shiny goodness -- I think the glaze will catch all the fuzz of his coat so beautifully.

hese cooler months offer a more pleasant temperature in the garage where my ceramics studio is located. Now I can get in there and get to work in muddy goodness without being baked myself! There are a lot of projects in the works for Maury and Big Al, so it should be an exciting Winter!
This little guy (above) is Big Al's "kiln god." He's a friendly little guy who watches over each firing, and he's done a pretty good job so far!

Anyhoo, I love Sundays -- there's such a relaxed feeling about it, an inherent coziness to the day. Pair that with Fall-like weather, and's a good day.

"The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop away from you
like the leaves of Autumn." ~ John Muir


Monday, September 15, 2008

Charmkin Shangri-La

As many of you know, I'm a rat nut. To me, there's just nothing cuter. It's the beady eyes, the goo, the little feet -- those little faces! I go nuts. I love all rats -- yes, even the "yucky, scary" wild rats that roam the streets. In many ways, I'm rattish: I love food, safety, affection, warmth and according to my husband, I'm also prone to random fits of insanity.

The piRats are the mascots of The Boat, and I gotta say -- "dressing up" ratties in pirate clothes with Photoshop® is just too dang fun. Speaking of The Boat, the Summer issue has left dry dock! Phew -- it feels so good to get another issue out, though I've already started work on the Winter 2009 issue. Can never start soon enough with these puppies. I'm so proud how this publication has shaped up now that it's in electronic format. The hard-working proof-readers (Irenne and my Mom), the fabulous regular columnists and the special guest writers all do an amazing job to make this ezine really special and totally unique in the world of equine art. In my opinion, one of the greatest joys of knowledge is in its sharing, and watching it grow and evolve as each mind puts it to work.

Anyhoo -- Who's that in the photo? That's Scruffles! He's peeking up at you from his daily snooze. "Scruff" is a little rescue I scooped up about three weeks ago. He's a curly-coat and the poor little guy had lived his whole life in a stupid tiny aquarium tank -- skinny and dying for affection. Of course he came home with me, and started to fatten on the real food I give him (I've yet to meet a rattie who doesn't love scrambled eggs or tofu boiled in beef broth), and has turned into a "scruffley" ball of love, thriving on the attention he gets from us. Such a wonderful little character! He goes bananas on the "rat couch," the shredded, dilapidated couch dedicated just for "Rattie Super Funtime." Speaking of going bananas, I also have three babies I got a few months ago -- Epi, Wuzzle and Jeepie -- but they won't sit still long enough for me to take their photo -- stay tuned. When I got them, they looked like tiny mice with biiiiiig feet, but boy, they've grown! They've also turned into irresistible love bugs -- such a joy! They're black and white hooded, and so remind me of The Three Amigos, plus they're prone to the same insane antics. Rats are the only other mammal documented to "laugh," and if I listen hard enough, I hear them giggling -- a lot!

My little Charmkins instill such whimsy and happiness in my life -- I can't imagine a life without the sound of little rattie scuffling! Give your critter a hug today, and maybe a special treat, too. The caring bond between species is a rare thing, and we are truly blessed to peer into the glimmer of "The Bigger Picture." So back to work in the studio for me, to again express that bond through my work. Hopefully, I'll have something fun to show you soon!

"A smile starts on the lips, A grin spreads to the eyes, A chuckle comes from the belly; But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, Overflows, and bubbles all around" ~Carolyn Birmingham


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Corn Dogs and Kettle Corn

Hazzah! It's September! That means it's BAM Art in the Park time! That's my Mom in the blue T-shirt and hat, and Hubby, of course, on the left.

We look forward to this intoxicating immersion into arty chaos every year, to again marvel at how clever the creative mind can be! The crowds were out, the weather was beautiful and the vendors had lots of eclectic and inspiring pieces for sale. The festival is a fund-raiser for the Boise Art Museum (BAM), so we always make a point to buy something, although we typically cart bags of unique loot home, regardless. So we ventured out among the tents, well supplied with our ritual sustenance -- me with a wad of fresh roasted candied almonds, Mom with a piping-hot "Pronto Pup" corn dog (with lots of mustard!), and Hubby with a bag of fresh popped Kettle corn.

This year was a particular thrill for me since I got to meet one of my favorite modern artists, Will Bullas! YES---he was there! I shook his hand! He was so friendly and fun! I'm enamored not just with his artistic style, but also with his sense of humor, of course. I bought three prints from him, and he graciously personalized them with dedications. What a hoot! Another highlight was a man who created outstanding "paintings" with inlaid woods and mother-of-pearl, depicting scenes right up my alley -- koi with lilypads, mantarays and sea turtles in ocean scenes, flowers and vines with butterflies and all sorts of critters, in a realistic style, but with a touch of art nouveau, too. You can see his work here, but you really have to appreciate it in person.

I love art festivals -- not only as a feast for the eyes and senses, but also to gain inspiration and ideas for my own work. I always come back with my brain swimming in new directions, with new concepts and renewed energy! It's also good research to see how other artists package their work, and how they present themselves, then watch how the crowds react to them, and their work. It must be exhausting having to be "on" all weekend, and in that hat is off to them! Although all this does light a fire under my hiney to get my tile press up and running in full force...

"When any one of us is aligned with our purpose, there is an inexhaustible source of energy. Once you're aligned with your purpose, the energy is always there to do whatever you need. You never get tired, and you do everything with a sense of joy. It's actually effortless – it's a flow." ~Dennis Kucinich


Monday, September 1, 2008

Chumming For Land Sharks

This Labor Day Weekend was truly blessed. Well, according to my Hubby. Why? That would be because of the first annual Eagle Rib Cook-Off and Spudfest. Things like this are practically sacred gatherings to him, appealing to some deep-rooted primordial need for slow-roasted beast. Honestly, if there's one thing that will always put him into a euphoric stupor, it's the thought of BBQ ribs and brisket. So we toodled down in time for the free samples being handed out by the competitors after the judging was completed. My anxious Hubby was so excited waiting for them to start the lines, and I could tell he was planning his strategy. Everyone was. It was like watching vultures circle a kill. He enjoyed an ample array of samples, and definitely had his favorites. I think he'd make a good judge for next year!

Today is a perfect day. Big puffy clouds, a slight breeze and about 70˚. On a day like this, I just couldn't resist taking a break from The Boat to enjoy the outside. Now we have the house opened up to let all this wonderful fresh air in, and it's great to hear the sounds of the tree leaves swishing. My neighbor is playing his Celtic folk music again, and I love it. Our other neighbor just brought over some garden-grown and homemade sweet pickles--yum!

Anyway, as for myself, I like BBQ, sure, but I don't love it like Hubby does. Instead, I prefer BBQ shrimp! A typical summer day here is like a "surf n' turf," with my carnivore Hubby grillin' a big fat steak and me sizzlin' up skewers of shrimp (basted in a butter-lime-garlic glaze!). He wants a smoker pretty badly, so that might be something to consider down the road, though I know it'll drive all the neighborhood dogs insane. Lots of people brought their dogs to the Cook-Off and I have to say...I felt sorry for them. Their eyes were so full of hope!

I do have to admit, though, that I'm banned from our BBQ. After one fateful afternoon of attempting to grill brats while unsupervised and then practically burning our house down, frying the hair off my face, nearly melting my glasses and crispifying the vines that overhang our patio...seriously...I was Wily E. Coyote after his Acme Dynamite goes off...Hubby ordered, begged and reiterated that I don't even think about touching that BBQ. Ever. Don't even look at it. I misunderstood his instructions! I thought he told me to turn the gas on and let it sit for 20 minutes before lighting. Yeah, I thought he said that at the time, but apparently not.

Anyhoo...I hope your Labor Day Weekend is rockin', too! Though for those bearing Gustav's anger, my thoughts are with you! Hunker down and stay safe!

"I'm not saying my wife's a bad cook, but she uses a smoke alarm as a timer." ~ Bob Monkhouse

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