Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Friday before last Friday!!

There are times in your life when you meet people and feel an instant friendship. Such was the case the Friday before last Friday with Christine Crocker of Deerfield Farmhouse. Many of you recognize her name, I'm sure. Her doll Sophie was the inspiration behind Princess Mirabelle's design and creation!!

I had written Christine to say we would be passing through Madras on our way to Bend to visit my mom and thought it would be lovely to meet and have our picture taken together with Princess Mirabell and Sophie. We met at a wonderful little natural food deli in Madras. I wish I could remember the name.....the food was delish!! Bill and me and Christine talked of our families and deer and peppermint and tractors.....and a little about our art too. Although, funny thing was, we didn't talk art as much as you might have thought. We just talked and talked about life things like friends do.

Before we had to leave, Bill took a few pictures in hopes that at least one picture would turn out. I have this horrible habit of blinking with the sound of the camera shutter. Bill had to take soooo many pictures, by the end Christine and I were giggling!! It was such a great time!! A fabulous memory forever captured on film!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Pssst.....there is a link to Deerfield Farmhouse over there to the left. You simply must peek in on Christine's work!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A million zillion!

I'm behind.....AGAIN. (sigh) Have I mentioned Bill and I are hosting the Portland Paws picnic again this year? I've known it was coming. I volunteered again way back in February. Am I prepared? Well....(wrinkling nose)....kind of. Well, okay....not really. I have a million zillion things to do!!! Make a list and prioritize. I'll get right on that.

I so wanted to share my last Friday with you though. I guess it will have to wait until this Friday (insert pouty face) because I still have to download the photos. I will catch up....sometime in August!!

Oh, but I did manage to list a couple of bears on my website earlier!! We'll see how they fair. I can't sit and hold my breath though........waaaaaaaay too much to do!!! Besides, purple really isn't a good color on me. Ha!

Warmest bear hugs on this beautiful Portland day!! Aleta

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Finished! Nine airbrushed bears!!

Yes, I did say nine!! Four Storybook Bears, three Silly Smiles Bears, and two traditional bears. It's amazing what I can get accomplished when I actually sit my rear end in my studio chair instead of buzzing around here, there and everywhere!! All that said though, I'm taking the next couple of days off and going to visit my mom. It's her birthday next week. Happy Almost Birthday, Mom!!

On Sunday I'll heat set the bears and add their finishing touches. New listings will begin on Tuesday. However, I'll only be listing one or two bears at a time rather than the whole lot at once. Oh, I know, I know..... so not fair! Please understand that I have to do it this way in order to get my charity bears done and to prepare for the Bear show here in Portland in October. Besides, truth be told, listing a whole lot of bears at once really didn't go over that well.....and you know it!! Ha!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's back to work for me!!

I'm back in the studio full time today. Finally!! I'm ready to create again. It's actually a perfect day to go back to work. It's 70 degrees and raining!! The dry, dusty air we've had for weeks is gone!! The freshness of rain is taking its place. Windows are open wide for natures air conditioning. What a fabulous day!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Monday, July 16, 2007

The house is so quiet.

My sister and niece flew back to Alaska yesterday afternoon. The house is so quiet. You would think I would get a lot accomplished today. Not so much. I did get a second coat of paint on the new floor trim for the studio done.....and then realized the door trim wasn't painted like I'd thought. So I sanded and painted the first coat of paint on six eight foot sections of door trim. Oh, and I watered all my pots outside! Woohoo!! Still, it's only almost 2pm. There are lots of hours left in the day!! Perhaps I'll get some studio time in afterall!!

First though, I'll share a few pictures of the Portland Antique Expo. Here is my sister, Michelle. My niece, Sarah. And me. We were waiting in line to get our tickets. Silly me thought the Expo opened at 8am. Ha! Try 9am! So we were a little early!!

It was hard to get photos of the booths. The Expo was jammed with shoppers!! There are three buildings full of booths and an outside area as well. 1850 booths in all!! As is always the case, the weather was perfect....sunny and warm!! Bill and I always shop the outside area first thing in the morning. Otherwise, it's just too darned hot in the afternoon!! This day was no exception. When we left at 2:30 it was 89 degrees!!

I didn't find a lot of goodies this time. However, I was specific in what I was looking for. The most wanted item on my list? An antique italian tole chandelier in soft shades of yellow, pink and green. There were quite a few tole chandeliers but the colors or the size were all wrong. Bummer. As much antiquing as I do, one is bound to come along at some point!! Patience.

My great find of the day was this little 1930's compo baby doll in near pristine condition. Now this isn't just any compo baby doll. I look for the dollies with the molded loop in their hair for a ribbon. Isn't she just the sweetest little thing?!!

Other items that are always on my list are vintage posies. I found lots of those!! Antique baby dresses were available in abundance. However, the prices on most of them were outrageous!! I did bring home one very pretty little dress for a lucky bear at what I felt was a fair deal though.
My sister ended up buying lots of lovely things. She was lucky she didn't put a couple of things down after looking at them. If you put things back down after looking at's fair game for whoever picks it back up!! Michelle caught on pretty quick to this idea. Darn her, she just wouldn't put that little red 1940's Christmas box down!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Friday, July 13, 2007

Summertime Fun!

Summer. I love it! I love the heat. I love eating popsicles on a really hot day. I love that we have a pool and that everyone comes to visit! No, that's not me to the right. That's my niece, Sarah, visiting from Alaska! Look at that big grin!! She's been in the pool every day....sometimes several times a day! She's twelve. I remember being twelve. I lived in Alaska. No wonder Sarah loves coming to visit during the summer!! Ha!

Sarah is here with my sister, Michelle. Tomorrow we're going to the Antique Expo!! 1850 booths!! I'm taking my camera. Oh, I'd better go plug it in!!

Happy, happy summertime! Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

P.S. I was able to sneak in four hours in the studio yesterday!! Wahoo!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Alaska grows the prettiest of them all!!

These viola's were in a planter box on my mother-in-law's deck in Alaska. I think Alaska grows the most lovely viola's and pansies....the biggest too! It must be the cool summers and round the clock daylight!! My grandmother used to grow pansies. I remember picking them from her garden by the bunch and bringing them inside to be put in a little vase for the table. Oh, the lovely memories viola's and pansies bring to mind!! Whatever you call them, they're natures gift.
Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

An evening full of surprises!!

My husband, Bill, insisted we make the trip to Las Vegas. He told me this may be a once in a life time experience. As it turned out, he was so right!! Little did I know as we walked into the banquet room I was in for an evening full of surprises.

The first surprise came as we entered the banquet room and looked for a table. My eyes went to a table toward the back of the room. I was wearing my contacts so things were a little fuzzy around the edges but there was something oddly familiar about one particular person seated. I cocked my head to the side and walked closer. OH MY GOSH!!! It was my daughter, Brittany!! And my son, Justin!! And my son-in-law, Jeremy!! As a grand surprise, Bill had flown our kids in for the weekend too!! It was a good thing I was wearing waterproof mascara!! As it turns out these wouldn't be the last happy tears to fall.

We had a lovely dinner, eating and chatting. It was a very good meal by the way. No rubber chicken here!! As soon as the meal was finished the awards were underway. The DOTY's were presented first, with the TOBY's following. This was a first class presentation, let me tell you. All the nominated pieces were presented on a large screen then the screen would cut to "And the winner is....." and then the winning piece was shown exclusively. I truly wish every nominee could have been there to experience it. Truly, FIRST CLASS!!

I was busy cheering on all the nominees. So many of them I know from the Teddy Talk chat forum I belong to. Each category was presented and a winner announced. Then came my category: Large Artist Bear - Dressed/Costumed. Nominees presented. And the winner is...... And there was a picture of Princess Mirabell and Sophie. What? WHAT? I got up and walked up onto the stage. Mindy Kinsey, the Editor of Teddy Bear and Friends magazine asked if I wanted to say a little something. Me, say something? Intelligent? I think I may have whispered something like, "Oh no, I couldn't possibly." Public speaking? Me? Just get me off this stage!!

Most of the rest of the announced winners were a bit of a blur until the end when the announcement for Best of Show was presented. And the winner is........ Oh my gosh!! There was that picture of Princess Mirabell and Sophie again!!! What? WHAT? My bears? Really? At this point I am really trying to keep my composure. It wasn't working really well. Tears were welling up as I made my way to the stage. There was Mindy again. "This time you have to say something." she said. Here I was, trying to keep from bursting into tears, and I have to say something? Oh goodness. I was so NOT expecting all of this. I had nothing prepared!!! Deep breath. Deep breath. Don't make a fool of yourself and remember to thank everyone. Deep breath....."I'd first like to thank...." Somehow I made it through and made my way off the stage before the tears streamed down my cheeks. A once in a lifetime experience...indeed.

Thank you Teddy Bear and Friends magazine, to all who voted, and to my husband Bill. I am so blessed. It was an incredible evening! One I will never forget.

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta
P.S. A very special thank you to Christine Crocker of Deerfield Farmhouse for creating Sophie for me. Sophie was a collaboration and the inspiration for Princess Mirabell's design and late 1800's costume and accessories.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The start of a most lovely dream!

I'll start by saying my thoughts are still a jumble and now that I'm home I think it may have all been a lovely dream.....except, there are TWO crystal TOBY statues on my mantel. So, if it was a dream, where did they come from??!!!

Wouldn't you know that my husband's 30 year class reunion in Alaska would fall on the exact same weekend as the TOBY awards presentation at IDEX in Las Vegas? For those who don't know, the TOBY (Teddy Bear of the Year) awards are presented by Teddy Bear and Friends magazine. Receiving a nomination for a TOBY is one of the industry's highest honors.....akin to receiving an Academy Award nomination.....and being recognized as one of the best in your field.

I insisted Bill go to his class reunion. He insisted I go to the TOBY's. We are rarely without each other so that left only one solution. We would go to both! That way we would visit family and old friends in Alaska (Bill and I both grew up in Alaska and still have family there) and we'd arrive within a few hours of the TOBY award presentation. Never mind that I can't seem to sleep on an airplane and the flight and layover in Seattle combined took over 9 hours!!

We arrived in Alaska late last Tuesday evening and had most every day scheduled with family and friends right up to the class reunion Friday evening. Time spent with family and friends is priceless. The class reunion...(sigh)...catching up with friends that had been lost to the passing years. Friendships rekindled, e-mail addresses exchanged, and promises to stay in touch. All, priceless.

We left Alaska in the wee hours (2:30 am) of Saturday morning with my best friend, Carlee, in tow. Carlee and I have known each other since the third grade!! What a supreme treat for me to have her along!! (The picture above shows Bill, me, and Carlee enjoying the Blue Man Group on Sunday evening. What a fabulous show!!! Highly recommended if you're going to Las Vegas.)

We arrived in Las Vegas to 100 degree plus heat. Coming from Alaska's 72 degrees it was a bit of a shock. I felt like I was being blasted by a giant blow dryer on high heat!! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the heat!! Going from 72 to 111 takes a wee bit of getting used to though!! It was late morning. I was tired, cranky and felt sick to my stomach from lack of sleep. Not the best state to arrive in for the impending TOBY awards!!! Not only that.....I was PMS!!! All I wanted to do was grab a pillow and make the world GO AWAY!!!

A two hour nap made the world a much better place. It didn't make the red eyes and tired look go away but at least I didn't feel like I could rip a phone book in half!! It was a good start!!! Ha!

I'll share more tomorrow. It's late and I can barely see straight.

Bleary eyed bear hugs, Aleta

Monday, July 2, 2007

I'm back home again!

I have some lovely news to share.....but it will have to wait until all the pictures are back. I've just returned from a trip to Alaska and Las Vegas. It was a whirlwind trip but one that I wouldn't have missed. Family, friends, and really wonderful surprises. The BEST surprises!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta