Thursday, November 29, 2007

One done! A bunch to finish!

So you see, I have been in the studio all week!! What a smorgasbord of bears, huh? It kind of tells you where my brain is....rather scattered these days. There are traditional bears (not pictured), Truly Silly bears, and two new prototype bears. I know, I know! Why on earth am I designing new bears?

Well, I suppose there are lots of reasons. The biggest reason is that I'm not content to rest. Design is my passion! Be it art, gardening or interior design. Staying in one place has never been my thing. Speaking of which, I've been sitting in this office chair much too long today already. There are bears to finish!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Merry Merry Pink Wednesday!

A sweet little feather tree dressed in all shades of pink baubles and candy canes greets guests in the (what else?) pink guestroom this year. Ha! Don't you just love the simplicity of feather trees?! Each ornament has its own glory when displayed on a feather tree. I love that!

This little tree is soooo unlike the family tree in the livingroom. That one is just dripping with glass figural ornaments. Well, okay, not exactly dripping.....a wee exageration.....and kind of a weird one at that.....but there are lots! When I first started collecting glass ornaments years ago, we would hit the after Christmas sales and load up on ornaments to fill out the tree faster. Now, however, I'm very selective. 1. Because the tree is pretty full now and 2. the ornament has to have significance for that particular year.

For example: Last year I bought a lovely white frosted glass wedding cake as a reminder of my daughters wedding. Oh, and I can't forget the asparagus ornament! Bill and I discovered our love of steamed asparagus last year too! Okay, so that one is kind of offbeat. It is us! Asparagus. Imagine that! ;o)

Warmest bear hugs on this sunny Pink Wednesday! Aleta

Monday, November 26, 2007

Getting back into the Monday groove.

Whew! What a whirlwind weekend! It was down to the wire but we did enjoy a lovely turkey dinner. It was probably one of the best ever I might add! It's amazing what you can do when you're put to the test. So I had to prepare the stuffing and the turkey in the laundry room while Bill put the sink in the kitchen, it's all good. Bill got the cooktop in and working as I was peeling the potatoes. Twenty minutes before dinner was served, I once again, had a full working kitchen. Yahoozer doozer!!

Friday was spent cleaning and cleaning and cleaning some more. Granite dust and sawdust was everywhere. I will never, and I mean never,
have granite installed in my house ever again. Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. I did afterall, have three bathrooms, a laundryroom and a kitchen done. I don't know why I didn't think it would make that big of a mess. Hand me the idiot stick!

The rest of the weekend was fun and fabulous! Bill's sister was here with her friend and when we all get together we laugh and laugh and laugh hysterically.....over the silliest things! Her visits are always so good for the soul. Here we all are pictured at Multnomah Falls. Dave, Kim, me and Bill. My sweet girlie, Brittany, came along too. (She's the one taking the picture!)

How crazy are we to drive up to the falls when it's only 43 degrees outside? Brrrr! They had all the trails closed because of ice so we were only able to view the falls from the base. It was still a lovely trip even if we all did have Rudolph's red nose by the time we got back to the car! Now that would have been a funny picture!! Ha!

All in all, what started as a wild and wooly week, ended on a high note. I am so blessed to have children and in-laws I thoroughly delight in. Life is truly grand!!

Now it's back to work for me! I'll actually be in the studio all week finishing up bears and other projects. Yay!!

Warmest Monday bear hugs, Aleta

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

At this moment the sky is blue and the sun is shining! I'm sitting here counting my blessings and being ever thankful for my family, friends and health. What I'm trying not to do is to focus on the fact that I do not have a working sink or stovetop and that Bill is still sleeping. I'm thankful for my kitties. The granite guys, being true to their word, were here till almost midnight. 11:26pm to be exact. I'm thankful I have a home. The turkey has to be in the oven at 10am. I'm thankful that Bill is healthy and has a career that pays him well for his talent. Now if only he would put is talent to work, get out of bed, and get my sink hooked up! I'm thankful that my daughter, Brittany, will be bringing green bean casserole for dinner. It may be the only thing we have to eat besides tea rolls. I'm thankful that we have food to eat. Oh but wait! We have leftover pizza too! Green bean casserole, tea rolls and pizza!! It may end up that we don't have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but, we'll all be together and that is indeed something to be thankful for.

Warmest Thanksgiving bear hugs, Aleta

P.S. Oh goodness! I almost forgot! Make sure you blog on over to Q.D.Patooties (over there under bear artist blogs) to view the 1st Annual Thanksgiving Softie Parade. Yours truly designed her first official softie!! :o)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankful for Pink Wednesday!

This sweet bunny with his pink little nose, ears and ribbon has found a happy place tucked in an antique white linen stocking in the pink guestroom. It's tiny bits of pink, but nonetheless these tiny bits make me smile.

These tiny bits make me smile all the more today. It's been absolutely nuts around here. My house is a complete disaster and there is sawdust and noise everywhere. Oh, and the delivery of the granite has been delayed. Go figure. Ha! It should be here by noon but the leadman on the job said they'll be here till midnight. Oh. But wait! That means pizza all around tonight!! Now there's something else to be thankful for!!!! Pizza!!!

Warmest bear hugs on this Pink Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Aleta

Monday, November 19, 2007

10 Things!

It's quiet and calm this morning. The rain is falling gently on the autumn colored leaves that have carpeted the front garden. I'm taking deep relaxing breaths. Oooohhhmmm. Why? Here is a sample of the rest of my week:

1. Unload all the cupboards in the kitchen, master bedroom and two guest baths. Counter tops will be removed on Tuesday making way for new granite on Wednesday. Yes, I do realize that Thursday is Thanksgiving. Bill assures me that we will have a working sink and cooktop by 9am on Thursday morning.

2. Sort through boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations. This will be a great project for me while my kitchen is being ripped apart. Booms and crashes from all areas of the house will disappear from my thoughts as Bing Crosby croons Christmas carols in the background.

3. Take pictures of my Thanksgiving Parade entry and get them to Lisa, pronto! The deadline is tomorrow. Egad! Tomorrow!

4. Prepare the guestrooms for......guests!! Yes, I have guests coming. Cross your fingers that the bathroom sinks will be back in working order.

5. Think hard about entering the TOBY's again this year....or not.

6. Work on a softie design for an upcoming issue of Art Doll Quarterly. Find out from Lisa exactly what constitutes a softie.

7. Design 5 handmade Christmas cards for giving in a card swap.

8. Start December swap project. Deadline: December 1st.

9. Put everything back into cupboards, sorting keepers and donations.

10. DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, deviate from this list and add anything new until next Monday.

I have my list now. Ready, set.......GO!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's all about flexibility.

The best laid plans never seem to go exactly according to plan sometimes. I had planned to finish up two bears, help get the rest of the moulding down, and get a good start on my holiday decorating. Well, I got a little off track.

Friday, Bill's day fell apart (that means no work for the day) so he called on his way home asking if I wanted to go to an estate sale he'd read about in the paper the night before. Two seconds hesitation.....okay!! And off we went. And off went the rest of the weekends plans.

Oh, but look at the wonderful treasures I found!! A fabulous old red and white quilt, perfect for holiday decorating. A sweet white crochet edge table topper. An old wood drum with the original sticks!! You know one of my old bears will be sitting atop that drum for the holidays!! Let's see.....oh, and an old Horsman doll in exceptional condition. Okay, she's missing her hair and she's not dressed, but I think I may have something she can wear. *wink, wink*

One of my favorite new found treasures is a pair of crystal salt and pepper shakers. Even the screw on tops are glass! There's also the silk embroidered doily with pretty violets. That's another weakness of mine.....old silk embroidery work.

I have to dash off. My girlie is coming over to help me drag out all the Christmas decorations. So I'm a little behind. I'm flexible. I just need a few more cups of coffee to catch up!!

Warmest Sunday bear hugs, Aleta

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I love wide mouldings!

It's almost done!! The new baseboard trim is down in the livingroom and diningroom. Only the entry hall is left to do. Yay!! I painted, what I hope to be the last of the trim and baseboard yesterday. Installation finishes tomorrow!! Wahoozer doozer!!

I really don't mind painting trim and baseboard because I know how great it looks once it's done. Crisp white mouldings, they're timeless. For me, the wider (or taller) the better.

So, here you see all the livingroom furnishings piled into the middle of the room. It's a dark picture, I know. Those rooms are so light filled that it's hard to get a good photo....with or without the flash. Even with the shades down! Hey, I've tried.

Next is the before.....then the after. Now see, huge difference!! I love, love, love wide mouldings!!

Tonight we set up the Christmas tree so I can fluff the branches. Yes, it's just another hat I wear......Branch Fluffer. HA! Merry Merry!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pink Wednesday!

Something old, something new, lots of pink! I am a collector of little pink pretty things. Actually, I'm a collector of a lot of pretty little things. Pink, white or otherwise!!

I say it's for the bears, you know. I find these things and say, "Oh, this would look lovely with a bear." Funny thing though, I don't make enough bears to delight in all the treasures meant for them. Ha!

Happy Pink Wednesday!! Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What's that in the bottom of my pool?

I could hear the wind howling outside as I got up to feed my cats. It was 6am and still dark outside so I flipped the outside lights on in the back garden to see how everything was fairing. No sooner had I turned on the light when a big gust of wind, and I mean a BIG gust of wind literally picked up one of lounge chairs AND my potted palm tree and threw them into the pool!!! I kid you not. It is a scene that keeps playing over and over in my head. Imagine my shock and horror! "OH NO!! WE HAVE A LOUNGE CHAIR AND A PALM TREE IN OUR POOL!!"

All was completely calm again late yesterday afternoon, but not before much damage and destruction had been done around the Portland area. Some people lost their entire homes when trees fell, knocking them completely off their foundations. Mother Nature has officially put us all on notice that it really is November in the Pacific Northwest!!

Today is sunny and absolutely beautiful. Not a cloud do I see. Oh that Mother Nature....she can surely be a wicked one!!

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Friday, November 9, 2007

Back in the studio...but just for the day.

After a whole host of distractions this week, I'm finally back in the studio....and sewing like a mad woman! I did manage to to get at least one thing accomplished this week. All the new baseboard trim is painted and ready for installation this weekend. That's right my dear blog friends, no fun adventures to the area antique stores for me this weekend. Boo Hoo! (sniff, sniff)

Instead I will be helping to measure lengths of baseboard. Holding it in place. Filling all the little nail holes and then touching up all the paint. I don't mind the work. Especially because I know I'll love the end result!!! I'll try to remember to take some before and after pictures.....

A lovely weekend to you!! Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

In celebration of the color pink!

Today I'm celebrating the color pink! Actually, I think I shall try to post a pink picture every Wednesday until the end of the year. Pink Wednesday!!! Sounds like a cocktail doesn't it?

This little pink composition features an original art piece by one of the loveliest gals you'd ever want to meet, Lisa Kaus. I've talked to Lisa on the phone and purchased cards and other wonderful bits from her, but I finally had the opportunity to meet her in person at Art and Soul this past month. Walking into her booth was like wandering into the most delightful confectionery shop....without calorie guilt!! Yummy, yummy!!! Oh, and before I forget, you simply must visit her blog because she has the most wonderful tiered cake box featured. You simply must see it!! It's supremely divine and I covet one for myself. Only mine must have a crown on top.....but that's another story for another day. Today is Pink Wednesday!

Warmest bear hugs and pink frosted cakes to you!! Aleta

Monday, November 5, 2007

In print! Art Doll Quarterly!

A Silly the winter issue of Art Doll Quarterly!!!!! What a true delight to see Miss Teapot in all her altered art glory gracing part of a page and the table of contents spot. I'm absolutely tickled pink!!

It was Lisa Kaus who actually sent me a note telling me of the call for submissions. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lisa!!

As well as getting me to really think outside the box, Miss Teapot was a lesson in patience. Normally when I design a bear it goes from paper to mohair to bear in a lovely rhythm. I could almost put bears together in my sleep. Not so much with Miss Teapot. Assemblage of mohair to porcelain to wire required waiting for industrial strength glue to dry 24 hours at each stage. It was that lurching forward and stopping again thing. I was not about to rush this stage though and have my lovely Miss Teapot fall apart at the slightest twirl of her frothy lace covered skirt!! Egad!

It was all worth it in the end! I'm very pleased with the way Miss Teapot turned out. I see more altered art bears in my future.....many designs are already drawn up! Now, if I could just find more hours in each day to create all my drawings!!! A wand....I need a magic wand. (sigh)

Warmest bear hugs, Aleta

P.S. Thank you to Art Doll Quarterly, Michelle Flores and Stampington & Company Magazines for the opportunity to feel all sparkly. :o)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Busy hands, more bears!

From yards of mohair, to parts and pieces. This is what I do while watching evening television! For two or three nights I'll draw my patterns onto mohair. The next few nights are spent cutting them all out. Evening television.....a great use of time!! Who knew?! ha!
The next step is to trim the mohair away from the seams with the electric razor. Oh boy, what a mess that makes! Bits of mohair fluff cover me and everything else in a four foot radius. Then begins the job of pinning and sewing, pinning and sewing. It's actually one of my favorite steps because I turn the music up really, really loud and just work away.
And what do I listen to? Lately it's Amy Winehouse and Rihanna. Although, I have to say, yesterday I spent a lot more time dancing around than I actually did working!!
Warmest bear hugs and a lovely weekend to you!! Aleta

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Goodbye Boo!...Hello Merry Merry!

I'm busily tying up loose ends today and putting away my Halloween decorations as well. I can't believe I'm almost caught up's details! There are so many of them, aren't there?

Before I pack away Halloween though, I wanted to share a picture of this beautiful doll made by Mica Garbarino, Garboodles. Talk about details!! This dolls face is simply exquisite!! With her pumpkin pal she's one of many favorite artist treats I bought myself this year.

Out with the with the Merry Merry!! I'll be in full holiday mode all next week. Until then, I'm carefully packing away boos and ghouls, giving the house a thorough cleaning, and doing a little interior painting. Not to worry, I'm finding time for bears too!!

Warmest November (November?) bear hugs, Aleta