Category Archives: Family

A Summer Garden, a Birthday, Something Old, and Rust!


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I haven’t been working on art this month – mostly just playing in the “garden” and organizing things.  The “garden” has bloomed beautifully with summer coming so early to Portland this year.  I’m using quotes around the word “garden because I have only a deck and a lot of pots for my garden!

July 2013 004Here’s one of Mary of the Roses – she’s gotten a little faded this year and now both of her hands have broken, so she stands behind the roses, serene and beautiful.


This girl had a birthday on the 3rd, my dancer daughter, Cait.

1002443_10201406342105175_627311788_nShe and her husband celebrated her birthday in Hawaii this year.  When Cait was born my mother found her so beautiful and perfect, she said, “Oh I wish I could have another baby.”  Which made us all laugh, but set me to thinking about her statement!

The following year remembering  what she had said I decided to make my mother a doll for her Christmas gift.  A life- sized baby doll, just like Cait.  I came across these old Instamatic photos recently and thought I would share them for a laugh!


I had no idea what I was doing.  I just went out and bought some stuff called “Sculpy,” a new product that you could sculpt and bake in the oven or air dry and paint.  I don’t think it was meant for large projects, but more as a way to make small figurines, or jewelry parts. I had bigger ideas! I made the head and even though it wasn’t exactly solid, it weighed a ton.  I thought it might grow less heavy as it dried – but not so much.

scan0002The arms and legs were fairly easy, and I hollowed them out pretty well.  I was very disappointed as I recall, because I couldn’t achieve a porcelain looking finish with the acrylics I used to paint it with.  Also I couldn’t get the surface smooth enough – I didn’t know I could sand the stuff.  (no internet to research the answers back then)

scan0003Painting the face is when I really began to despair.  It really didn’t look too bad before I painted it.

scan0004Don’t laugh!!!  They say its the thought that counts, right? – and that’s what I kept telling myself, determined to finish the thing now.  I made it a stuffed body so it would feel cuddly (ha).  I can’t imagine what it would have weighed if I’d sculpted the whole thing! Of course my mother thought it was wonderful and carried the thing around all evening.  It weighed as much as a real baby, and the head was very floppy because it weighed so much and I couldn’t figure out a way to attach it so it didn’t flop!  But it was fun, and now a memory I always recall on Cait’s birthday.

Rust 003This is my new batch of rusty things I just got them yesterday from Etsy.  Yes.  I am rust deprived and have to resort to purchasing my rust!  I have two more packages coming – I can hardly wait!  The hammer to the left of the photo is the cutest little thing. Its a claw head hammer about 8 or 9 inches long.  The handle is wooden, and the head is metal, rusty, of course!


Merry Little Christmas


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  Here are some of the little creatures I’ve been sewing for my daughter, Cait’s, new shop; Coyote Hill Garden and Design in Multnomah Village in Portland.  We have a lot of urban coyotes in this area of Portland, so the name seemed fitting!  These are made from wool felt, up-cycled clothing and sweaters, and felt made from recycled  plastic bottles.  I did all the designs myself by looking at photographs of animals and trying to create a few simple lines to suggest the animal.  This is a fox, not a coyote!

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The little red doll is from a design I created years ago from a teddy bear pattern, sans ears! The squirrels hold a vintage green glass acorn bead.

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The owls are made from a thrift store sweater and a wool blazer with vintage buttons for eyes.

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A little flatsy elf I sent to my grandson.

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Gotta have some Christmas mice!

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More snow suit babies to hang on the tree.


Owls and squirrels, foxes and racoons!  Oh my!


A couple of snow boys and their sister, and a baby!


Here’s my first visit to Santa – do I look a little unsure about this large man with a fake beard who asked me to sit on his lap?

Leaving you with the wish for the happiest of holidays to each and every one.  I’m off to Denver in a couple of days to spend some time with my grandson, his new puppy, and Christmas!

Happy Birthday, Mama


Today is my mama’s birthday.  This is a photo taken in 1944, she was barely 20.

Born Martha Ellen in 1923 during the great depression in Tulsa Oklahoma, the heart of the dust bowl.   Ten brothers and sisters.  Her mother and father,   my  grandparents, made,  sold, and  transported “boot leg” whisky during prohibition to help make ends meet.

California 1944. Wiping something from my hand and face, probably dirt, I was about nine months.

Thanks, mom, for taking care of me, teaching me, cleaning me, helping me to grow.

1948 with (in my opinion) my unnecessary  younger sister.   I remember when this was taken.  We were downtown, Enid, Oklahoma where we lived after the war had ended.  We went downtown every Saturday, and met my father for lunch where he worked at Gorton’s Furniture.  Mr. Gorton always gave us a long red and white paper bag of popcorn.  They served popcorn every Saturday at the furniture store.  Sometimes we would go and eat a hamburger at my great-uncle’s hamburger stand, where you could buy a burger and fries for a nickel!  no kidding!  They were big burgers and my mom, sister, and me, always split just one!  Daddy ate one by himself.   If I was lucky we would run into my grandpa and he always had change in his pocket.  He would take it out and if I could guess how much each coin was worth and add them all up I could have the change!  it was a big deal to 5-year-old me!

My mom decided on the spur of the moment to have our picture taken.  It might have been near Christmas since we were wearing very scratchy wool sweaters and wool skirts, but I don’t remember wearing a coat this day, so it might have just been fall.  This is pretty much how we looked most of the time – not just for a photo.  Weird compared to today – the fluffy hair (what a job for my mother) and pretty ribbons.  My sister’s hair was naturally curly, but mama had to curl mine with these long strips of sheeting called ‘rag’ curlers.  You wound the hair around the strip then wrapped it up with what was left of the strip and tied it at the top – my arms got tired holding the top of each strip until it was tied, and  it was very uncomfortable to sleep on!  I’m sure she made our skirts – she sewed all our clothes.  I don’t remember what color they were.  I think our sweaters were navy blue.  Mama’s jacket was cream color with charcoal gray stripes.  I’m wearing nail polish and I can see its chipped, so is my mothers!

I haven’t got any artwork to share right now – I’ve been busy going here and there and everywhere getting ready for Christmas, and flying to Denver tomorrow to spend Christmas with a very wonderful 3-year-old!  Let it Snow!!

A Week in Denver



Cait and I just spent a week in Denver visiting Elizabeth and Christian, and my beautiful grandson, Cabrin.  The weather was very warm, several days of 100 or more!  So outside time had to be managed a little, but we still found plenty to do!   One hundred or more doesn’t seem as hot as 100 in Portland.  Its very dry in Denver, so not much humidity.  (Our week was dry and warm, no thunder storms or rain.)  We went to markets, fairs, the aboretum, parks, creeks, antiquing, shopping, and spent hours on the deck talking and playing with Cabrin who will soon be three-years-old! 

 Riding in his covered wagon at the Farmer’s Market, Dad pulling the wagon.

Trying to make a giant hula hoop work by picking it up and running in a circle!  Hmmmm? 


“What’s going on here,”  he says.


 A small treasure for Mairwen Rose, who couldn’t come with us — she just got a new job!  Yay for her!

A small treasure for me!  A rusty, broken, and old, kitchen utensil! 


Sisters!  Cait (on the right) and Elizabeth.

 This was a fun day!  It was too hot to stay outside for long, but I found a seed pod(green) from a tree,and it has a green pea seed inside.  I can’t remember the name of the tree – it was so hot that day my brain was addled!  And a little black  seed pod from a Hyacinth bean plant!  The flowers were so beautiful, I hope I will be able to grow one next summer from this seed!

Lilly pad with flower at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  I wish I could say I took this photo, but I didn’t.  Elizabeth is our talented photographer in the family!  Visit her website here



A “Cookie” in a wheelbarrow!”

A boy in a wheelbarrow!

A boy on a tricycle with a funny helmet!


An “extra-terrestial” in a cup of milk.  Hmmm?  What’s going on here?  “Mama, ET is stuck!”

Auntie Cait and Cabrin in front of his home.

Elizabeth and Christian (my son-in-law)and Cabrin (making a silly face).

Wearing “Mimi’s”  glasses and looking a little unfocused!

Wearing my glasses again!  He says, I see two Mimis!

A little wild bunny in the back yard.

Denver was a lot of fun, but time to get back into the studio and make some art.  My first project is to put together my travels in Denver book for 2011!