Monday, April 30, 2007

I finally gave in!

With temperatures in the low 70's these past three days I just couldn't resist the temptation to work in the back garden. All it took was a trip to the Home Depot to push me over the edge! Oh, the glorious color of flowers pushing their little faces towards the sun! You know, I think Home Depot may even use one of those aromatherapy machines that dispense wafts of freshly tilled dirt to get people excited about getting in the garden! Those dirty rotten scoundrels! Don't they know I have bears to finish?!! (sigh) I am but one little bear artist. They won me over with the smell of dirt!! Ahhh, but who really won?!! Not a flower did I purchase!!

I did, however, spend eight hours in the garden yesterday. Boy, oh boy, do I feel it!! I still have at least that amount of time again before the garden is really ready for bedding plants. It's a start though!

Today, I'll be in the studio stitching bear noses. There will be no gardening for me. I couldn't lift a shovel today, if I tried. Ha!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A little Euphorbia!

I took a little stroll around my garden yesterday and much to my dismay this past winter took a heavy toll. Boo hoo! The hardy Jasmine? Not so hardy! My Banana Palm.....buh-bye. (sigh) There is much work to be done to get my sub-tropical garden back into shape. What is that you say? A tropical garden in Oregon? I have pictures to prove it! I just have to figure out where I put them!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Favorite Artist!


My order from Lisa Kaus came yesterday!! If you haven't yet visited her website listed in the Lovely Places to Shop over there on the left then you're simply missing out. I absolutely adore Lisa's work!! It's charming and whimsical and fun and colorful....and just plain fabulous!! I don't know if you can see it in my photo but the artwork is actually presented a skosh atop the card surface giving it dimension. The card is a perfect gift in itself!! Totally suitable for framing...and each card is signed!! Can you tell how over the moon I am about Lisa's work?!! Now look closer at the piece with the wire hanger. I think she's calling those her Mini's. Love, love, love 'em! Need more!! The problem is...it's so hard to pick favorites when I adore them all!!

My next photo shows the way I've chosen to display Lisa's Mini. Did you really think I would just hang it on the wall for goodness sakes? If you answered yes to that question, you haven't known me for long, have you? Ha! I collect French children's mannequins. Bizarre behavior, I know. Me, collecting things. (giggle, wink!) I've chosen to hang Lisa's Mini around the neck of one of my mannequins! It looks lovely...and really showcases Lisa's art. The deep rosey pinks and blue greens really catch my eye. I think this may be the color palette I use for my new studio!! Lisa, if you're reading this, you are a true inspiration!! And yes, we should go antiquing sometime!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta




Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fat Quarters



Here's a little peek at the sweet little fat quarters I've been collecting for my Storybook Bears line. Three styles seem to be emerging from the stack. Polka Dotties, Rosie Posies and ????. I haven't thought of a name for the Aunt Gracie prints yet. I'm sure something will come to me. Think, think, think.

I placed an order with InterCal for more mohair this morning. The lighter colors seem appropriate for these little bears....cream, old ivory, antique peach, golden and white. They even had a lavendar tipped cream color. I don't know if it will work for the Storybook Bears line but it sure sounded lovely! I only bought a small piece to give it a try. I hope I'm not sorry I didn't buy a gob of it!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

P.S. Thank you to everyone peeking in! Bless you for your comments. I've finally figured out how to respond to your comments now too! It sometimes takes me awhile to figure out the simplest little thing. (sigh)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Barn Sale & Spring Social!

I'm two days behind...that seems to be the story these days! Oh, but what a glorious Saturday. Teddy bear friends, Willow Nest and baby time!! I'll start with the Barn Sale at Willow Nest.

When I started this Blog, I started with a post about Willow Nest....one of my most favorite places. Now mind you, they are only open for select "events". This past Saturday was a Barn Sale. This is where many of the artists who show their wares throughout the year hold a SALE! Oh, the bargains to be had!! I walked away with two bags of lovelies. One of my favorite vendors is Martha Kohley, Vintage Trifles. She creates fabulous (and I mean FABULOUS!) mixed media art pieces. She had tatted laces, vintage millinery, a down filled pillow with MOP buttons and assorted other goodies for me in her booth! Heaven, just heaven! I'm going to post a link to the Willow Nest site over there to the left under lovely places to shop so you can be jealous and drool all over the eye candy in the pictures!

Moving along to the Spring Social now. Several times a year our teddy bear club, Portland Paws, gets together to raise money. The money goes to buy teddy bears for children in, shall we say, difficult situations. These get togethers are always so much fun!! Most everyone attending these get togethers are teddy bear collectors....both men and women! It's a perfect venue for showing off artist bears!! In my centerpeice I included one of my bears (of course!), a bear made by Shantell Whitney of Apple Dumpling Bears (another Oregon artist), and Diane Kennedy of Wee Scones, a UK artist.

I am now officially, and publicly, putting Shantell on notice that she needs to get
out in front of collectors with her bears.
There is a collector show coming up in October in Portland, Shantell!! It's only a little over an hours drive. You can do it!! The collectors LOVED Shantell's bear. She's the biggest one of the bunch in the little enamelware pot. Cute, isn't she?!!

And lastly, and most certainly ranking of most importance.....baby time with Lillian Grace. (sigh) A most beautiful 5 month bundle of love. I got to hold her most of the evening!! Oh, so precious is a wee one. I did realize, however, that I need to get my arms in better shape. Babies are heavy little creatures!! You can't just sling them over your shoulder like a cat. ha!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta




Friday, April 20, 2007

Pile it on!

Why is it, when I have a full plate, I seem to think that I can pile on even more? Case in point. Since coming back from a weekend getaway....not even a REAL vacation....I have been insanely busy. I got a note in the mail reminding me of the Spring Social our Portland Paws chapter of Good Bears of the World (a charity organization I belong to) was hosting tomorrow. They were wondering if I had signed up to decorate a table. So, what do I do? I say, "If you don't have enough people to decorate, I'd be happy to decorate a table." WHAT WAS I THINKING? And, what do you suppose I did all afternoon? I ran around town finding table decorations, fresh flowers and party favors, OF COURSE!

I do love decorating. I do love parties. I admit it, I really was in my element. First, I went to my favorite antique market....Monticello....and picked up two white enamelware pieces. One is a bucket with wooden handle and red trim. The second piece is a child's chamber pot with the same red trim. Those pieces combined with a chippy white child's chair and a select few small bears and voila!.....Spring centerpiece!! Next on the list....a trip to Costco for three bunches of multi-color tulips to put in the enamalware bucket. Centerpiece complete. Whew! Next.

Serveware. No kitchen facilities. This requires paper plates. White=boring. A trip to Party City. Yellow tablecloth. Check. Pretty multi-color paper plates with flowers and butterflies. Check. Cups=Red. Check. Yellow napkins. Check. Oh, but wait! White doilies as placemats!! Pretty!! Double check! Good think'n Lincoln! Already have crystal/plastic forks, knives and spoons. Whew! Next.

Oh geeez. I'm down to party favors. Nothing weird and cheesy. Hmmmm. Ah-ha! Tar-jhay! Okay, Target. Browse, browse, browse. Perfect. Useful, cheerful, pretty. Done. (I bet you're dying to know, aren't you?) Ha! You'll have to wait until tomorrow!!

Did I mention that tomorrow is also a Barn Sale at Willow Nest? Willow Nest.....only one of my favorite places on the planet.....besides Monticello Antique Market. Early buy in is at 8am. I have time. The Spring Social doesn't start until 11am!! Hot diggety dog!!

Oh, and then there's dinner at Rick and Kacie's at 5pm. They have a 5 month old baby girl. An angel by the name of Lillian Grace. She truly is an angel! Yay! Baby time!! (sigh) I love babies!!! I'm still waiting to be a Nana. Hi Bee!!! (wink, wink) See previous post for clue as to who "Bee" is.

Now you have a clue as to how my mind works. I'm adult ADHD. Never a dull moment around here!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Busy, Busy and Birthday Wishes!


Since arriving home late Monday, I've hardly had a moment to just be still. That's the way it always is around here....life moving at warp speed! I'm back working in my mess of a studio. I really need to get the rest of the upstairs rooms finished so I can get organized again. Working in such disarray is distracting at the very least. I'm normally a total neat freak....a place for everything and everything in its place. I think it's time to make a to-do list and get back on track!

Here's a quick little snapshot of three of the four bears I'm presently working on. They're kind of funny looking at this stage!! Many bear artists detail the head with ears, eyes, noses and mouth before attaching the head to the body and then they rest the heads in jars or bowls until the body is finished. Is it me, or is that kind of creepy? Perhaps I'm the odd duck. I like to finish the details as the whole bear is sitting in front of me. It's like having a lovely conversation with a friend.

Speaking of a lovely conversation with a friend....I'd like to wish my girl, Brittany, a very Happy Birthday! Hi Bee!! I love you, beautiful girlie!! This is my favorite picture of Brittany. It was taken by my Mom on Brittany's wedding day this past August.
Warmest bear hugs, Aleta



Monday, April 16, 2007

There's no place like home!


The suitcases are empty, toiletries put away and laundry started....I'm home! What a lovely anniversary getaway!! We flew into Reno, Nevada on Thursday and then rented a car and drove an hour and a half to Nevada City, California that afternoon. Several of my friends were showing (and selling!) their bears at the 24th Annual International Teddy Bear Convention, April 13-15th, in Nevada City. Upon arrival, Bill and I checked into a wonderful Bed & Breakfast, The Parsonage. No television, no internet, just pure relaxation. Oh, and yummy for the tummy breakfast!! Ahhhhh.

The show opened on Friday at noon and there was a long line to get in the door to see the artists showing their bears and wares. I love bear shows!! This was no exception. Probably the best part though.....I wasn't showing my bears. I was able to take my time and visit with my artist friends and really look at all the bears. The show was very busy....a great start to the three day event!!

On Saturday we headed back into Reno, Nevada. We always have a fabulous time in Reno!! Our favorite hotel? The El Dorado.....they've been very good to us. If you're in Reno, you simply must have dinner at La Strada. It's located in the El Dorado. Ask for Christopher to be your server. He's exceptional!! More often times than not we come home from Reno with a few pennies in our pocket. This time we came home with nickels!! Wahoooo!

Tomorrow it's back to work in the studio!! I can't wait!! Vacations are delightful, but.....there's really no place like home.

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

P.S. The house pictured is The Parsonage Bed & Breakfast.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Celebrate!

April 11, 1981
Bill and I have been married 26 years today!! I'm sure there were some people that thought it would never last....and some that wished it wouldn't! Ha! We showed them!! The secret? Communication and something Bill's mom said when we told her we were engaged. She said, "Marriage is never 50/50. It's 80/20." She was right. Sometimes you give 80 percent and sometimes you need 80 percent. The key is knowing the difference and communicating it.

No laughing at the picture now.......remember, it was the eighties!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Spring Blessing!

What a Spring Blessing! A wild bunny came to join us yesterday for our Easter celebration. A real visit by the Easter bunny!! How cool is that?!!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Friday, April 6, 2007

Dolls? Yes, dolls.

Spring brings with it flowering cherry and pear trees, daffodils, tulips.....and lots of new designs!! I seem to be a pattern making machine this month!!

I'm particularly excited about these dolls! My goal was to create fabric dolls to go with a few of my bears. I started with two basic, yet different, designs.....skinny and chubby. Sophie is the skinny one. Collette is the chubby one. Hey, I've designed my sister and me! I would be the chubby one!! I digress. As you can see from the picture, they're quite different. Collette is all one piece, while Sophie's legs and arms are sewn on.

Moving on to faces now....I drew dozens of faces. I started out drawing rag doll faces. While they were very cute.....they were just that...cute. I wanted something different and unique to me. A thumbprint if you will! The faces that made the cut were centered on the doll head to see if I liked the placement of the features. Hey, just the square picture of the face on the doll head looks like the start of an altered art doll!! Yet another idea!!
Anyway, cutting a long winded post short.....here are the finished dolls!! I think I'm most fond of Collette. Her proportions fit better with my bears. I'll be adjusting my pattern a bit (For starters, I think Collette would like it better if her feet pointed forward rather than to the side!) and then onto making patterns for a wardrobe. What's a dollie without a wardrobe?!! Nekked!! Ha!!
Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A little sneak peek!



Here's a little something I've been working on.....a line of 6 inch bears I'm calling Storybook Bears because they look like little bears one might see in old storybooks. This pretty little girl is the prototype. She has a very round tummy that pushes the flounce of her skirt up in the most endearing way. She's also a bit pidgeon toed which makes standing all by herself really easy. I'm still pondering whether these bears will have airbrushed details or not. At this moment, I'm leaning towards sweet simplicity.

My Storybook Bears won't be available until sometime in May. I'm hoping to find a source for those darling little shoes! Those she's wearing are a pair of my vintage doll shoes. If I can't find a source, I suppose I'll have to make a pattern for shoes too! Let's see, I've made the bear pattern, the dress pattern, the hat pattern and now quite possibly a shoe pattern!!! How hard can a shoe pattern be? I may just regret having asked that question!! Ha!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Monday, April 2, 2007

It's curtains for me!

I finally found curtains!! In the most unlikely of places, a virtual fabric warehouse, I found the perfect curtains for the first of two guestrooms. Where? The Fabric Depot. Yes, it's the Home Depot of fabric!! You can't even imagine the size of this store. Ginormous doesn't even fit the description. If you're a fabric junkie.....you'd be in heaven....with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Seriously. I think Portland, Oregon has the two largest fabric outlets on the entire planet. The other? Mill End. But that's another post. Back to these fab curtains!!

The fabric is crisp but not too stiff.....like a satin tafetta. A cream color ground with satin stitched antique gold scrollwork. OMG!! It matches the scrollwork on the antique bed!! Oh Glory!! Can you tell how over the moon I am about these silly curtains?!! (sigh) It's really rather nuts to be so thrilled with curtains, isn't it? I really need to get a life outside of bears, don't I?

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Sunday, April 1, 2007

What have I done?!!

Even my old bears are whispering about all the "doings" upstairs. She's doing this and moving that. I hear the whispers....and the giggling! What have I done? I ask myself this question several times a day. What have I done??!! I've created an even bigger mess to clean up!! That's what I've done!!

Was it really my idea to downsize my studio? What bit of folly was dancing in my brain at the moment I decided to jump into this monumental task? Perhaps I had this thought after having a late night Lemon Drop martini. And perhaps it was after the second martini that I thought the idea had merit......moving the contents of four entire rooms....two guestrooms, a workout/gym room, and my studio! Well, there you have it. Judgement is altered when drinking Lemon Drop martinis!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta