Monday, November 22, 2010

yes please

The family room. This is the room we spend most of our time in. The floors are cold, to put it mildly, and, well, ugly. Unless you like stained lime green vinyl. And chilblains. DesignSponge is hosting a giveaway, the winner will receive a beautiful, ethically made, 100 % wool Bev Hisey dhuri rug. And I wouldn't mind winning it, which is why I'm unabashedly posting this here pic of our lovely floor in the hope that it will soon be covered in something my little ones can play trains on without catching their death, and that I can actually look at without my artsy eyes having a conniption fit. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 13, 2010

recipe box

Our neighbours two doors down sold their home, downsizing to a more manageable place. They are original owners, their house was built, like ours, in the late fifties, and it will be sad to see the moving truck arrive this Wednesday. After going to their open house a few months ago, I finally mustered up the courage to ask if they would ever consider selling me their mid-century, Danish-looking which they replied: "What, those old things?". I am now refinishing them. Stripping is just not as much fun as I thought it would be! But they will look terrific in our living room once they are all sanded down, oiled, and sporting freshly covered cream cushions.

This afternoon there was a knock on our door. I found the retired engineer holding a box for me, things they no longer need from their kitchen. Many spices, some of which are vintage (I'm not joking), a set of cheery Christmas mugs, and last but not least, a small wooden box. A treasure. With fifty years' worth of recipes. To be honest, had he dropped off a box of his wife's knickers, I would have felt less uncomfortable. There is something incredibly odd and personal about looking through a woman's recipe collection that spans more than half a century. I know some families whose recipes are top secret, often taken to the grave. I feel like I'm snooping. These are mostly desserts, some are recent, many are cutouts from magazines and newspapers. It is obvious which were her favourites, tattered, corrected, splattered. And then there are recipe cards from friends. And I wonder, are these women still alive? Were they close friends? There are a few from Grampa. There is Mom's Favorite Tuna Casserole. And then there's the small stack of yellowed cards held together by a defunct elastic band, written with a fountain pen in a rather elegant hand. Some of the words are smudged, as though they have been rained on. Cried on? Were these given to her when she married? From her mother? Grandmother? How long have these recipes been in the family? And why me?? I see children and grandchildren visiting the house, helping with the upcoming move. I assume this box was seen and unclaimed, set aside with the other unwanted items. Perhaps none of them cook. Perhaps it is too much a reminder of their mother's decline into Alzheimers, her inability to decipher the once familiar words.

One day, hopefully, I'll get over the feeling that I am snooping, and I will have to give these a try. I've always wanted to make my own Buche de Noel, and Grampa's Stolle looks good, judging from the rather beat up recipe card.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

acupuncture and art

Some of my paintings and prints are now up in my acupuncturist's office! So now you can enjoy my art while getting treatment from Tristin, founder of Bird & Bee Acupuncture. She has helped me tremendously, particularly with my painting shoulder. I tend to get slightly engrossed in my work, and have the tendency to forget that I've been holding my arm up for oh, say, 5 hours straight, or that I am ravenous and it's freezing in my studio/garage and my nose is about to fall off. And that's the shoulder that also holds a fussy toddler while cooking dinner, walks the dogs, does the weeding, and props the sleepy head of a nursing child. Needless to say, it's well used and gives me much grief. Or rather, used to. Tristin's gentle treatments allow me to leave her office pain free and ready to tackle paintings and screaming toddlers all over again. For which I am very grateful.

Other news, Maia starts school next week. Part of me is looking forward to getting back into a routine, but part of me is also a little sad that summer is coming to an end. Those lovely, unstructured days of little ones running around the garden, through the sprinkler and straight to the dirt pile before coming into the house and rendering all of my white furniture a nondescript shade of grey. Hmm, maybe I am ready for the school year to begin after all.



Monday, July 26, 2010

BAM artsfair 2010!

It's Monday, July 26th, and that means I have officially survived the weekend! Hooray! I spent the last three days at the Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair, selling my paintings and prints. And yup, I was nervous as hell last Thursday night, this being my first big, juried show. But an hour in, I had sold my first painting and was already blushing (beet red actually) at all the really lovely, positive comments. The long hours ended up going by very quickly as it was busy, and people wanted to stop and chat, which was lovely. And I had lots of friends stop by too, which always helps!

I lucked out and had great booth neighbours, Martha Monson Lowe with her incredibly graceful baskets, and Paul Counts who was as cheerful and entertaining as his colourful blown glass teapots and vases. All in all it was exhausting but fun! Lots of great folks and good art. A good combo. My two favourites of the show were there again: Brian Blackham with his monochromatic jars, and Diane Culhane who speaks to my fauve-loving soul. I wouldn't exactly mind sacrificing some (or all!) of our wall space for their work, and if Greg Klassen could please furnish the place then I'd officially be living in heaven...ah well, a few more artsfairs before I can treat myself to some of those goodies!!

I'll leave you with some of the comments I heard about my work. Apparently I don't do dark and tormented all that well, which is just fine by me. I'll take smiles and laughter any day:







You've made my day and I've only been here 5 minutes.


You look like one of the characters in your paintings.


and the best...

"Your lipstick matches your work!" Er, that was intentional of course.



Wednesday, June 2, 2010

spring update

Seems I fell off the blogging bandwagon these last few weeks! I do have a decent excuse though: I've been working hard getting ready for the Bellevue Arts Fair. I am almost finished my last large piece for the show, then it's on to matting and framing. I think there's light at the end of the tunnel!

And last week my baby, who will always be my baby poor kid, turned two!! How did that happen?? He got a ridiculously large Tonka truck, which he approved of, and a quiet celebration at home with us and Grandma, and, of course, a chocolate zucchini cake. And for the long weekend we went up to Canada to celebrate all over again with our family and friends in my parents' new home. They had moved in two days prior, already had paintings up, and my mom navigated her new kitchen as though she'd been cooking there for 10 years and served us a delicious lunch. And to make a good weekend absolutely perfect, my dad and I escaped to a book sale and, both being bookaholics, each returned with a large box of books which we've wasted no time devouring.

What else has been going on...inspired by this blog, and utterly disgusted by the gargantuan islands of plastic trash in our oceans, I've been on a mission to have a plastic-free kitchen, and have replaced (donated) all our old, scarry plastic tuperware with glass storage bowls for leftovers and canning jars for grains and dried foods. I've also become keenly aware of the ridiculous amounts of plastic packaging that is used for food, and have begun opting out of these irresponsible items. Thank goodness for Farmer's Markets, bulk sections, and re-usable bags. I had my first ever all plastic-free shop today and I'm happy to report that it wasn't all that difficult. Even with a toddler in tow.

And last but not least, we've ripped up a big chunk of grass in our front yard and replaced it with raised flower and vegetable beds. Looks great, involves less mowing, and hey, what's better than eating your own front yard?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

snail-mail and caterpillars

With e-mail and facebook and all these modern ways of keeping in touch, who needs snail-mail??? Well, I do! Especially when it looks like this. And when it comes all the way from my dear friend in London, it's even better! Now I need to convince her that what she really wants to do is move to Seattle and fall in love with a geek, but she's not convinced about the whole geek thing. Yet.

And today Miss Maia came home from school and announced that she NEEDED to paint again (hmm, looks like there are some artsy genes at work here). This is a caterpillar shedding it's old skin in the spring rain while walking through a maze. Oh to have such imagination.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Well, when it rains it pours and we have been juggling work and parenting and illness and I can't wait for life to slow down, but at least the sun is out and the kids have been making the most of it! C'est le printemps!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

blog gossip


Just found out that my work is to be featured on yet another blog tomorrow, oh the fame is hard to handle but I'll manage. That's a joke by the way. May I never be famous, or pretentious. Or both. Anyway, no idea yet which piece it will be. Find out with me tomorrow at Indie Icing, a blog that is, in these bloggin' gals' words "your delicious dose of indie handmade".

And now it's time to put those cranky kiddos to bed so I can watch Bright Star with my husband.



Saturday, February 27, 2010

good news!

Six years after getting hitched, we finally made it to Maui for our honeymoon! Two kids, Grandma, and my youngest brother in tow meant a little more luggage and noise than we had first envisioned for our honeymoon, but we managed to find a ridiculously large taxi van to stuff everything and everyone into, actually made it to the airport on time, and even managed to have a lovely, relaxing week away.
And now it's back to reality. Which for me means finally setting up a proper studio space in the garage, followed by nail biting and a series of panic attacks, followed by prolific painting and much swearing and record-breaking consumption of goat cheese. And maybe a glass of wine or two. Why? Because I got into the Bellevue Arts Museum arstfair!!! Which is kind of a big deal. Promise me you'll stop by to say hello if you're in the Seattle area this July, it's quite the show.

Alright, I'd better get started on that studio space...

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!



Friday, February 5, 2010

pickled pink

Has it really been a year since I started this blog? Apparently so, as here I am posting valentine's crafts once again. Maia made all 25 cards in one go this afternoon, phew! And she's planning on making more for family and friends outside of school. Needless to say I was thoroughly impressed with my 4 year old's ability to sit and concentrate and see the project to completion.

The mason jar stamp was perfect for a little girl who loves all things pickled! And in the process we all got covered in glitter and I think we'll be sparkly for the next 50 years at least!

Good to eat, apparently!

Friday, January 29, 2010

green kitchen

Two sick kiddos and a mama with a sore back do not go well together! But that was all last week, and I'm happy to report that the kids are no longer sticky, and after a trip to the chiropractor followed by a visit to my acupuncturist, I am back to normal. And apparently that means throwing myself into yet another spontaneous home decorating project. I am currently sanding down kitchen cabinets, re-painting, re-finishing, and generally making a lot of mess and noise. Lonny was so impressed he was convinced I had another bun in the oven. This is no nesting instinct, just the hazards of being married to an artist.

When we bought the house 3 years ago, and up until a few days ago, the kitchen was a hodgepodge of original teak cabinets, cracked tile, wood, and confetti countertops, almond appliances that made a racket, deep raspberry walls and lime green floors. We called it our hippie kitchen, all it needed was a pot plant on the windowsill. Of course we'd LOVE to rip it all out and install one of those immaculate and streamlined Ikea kitchens, but we don't have a spare arm (or a leg for that matter) so we're making do with what we have. Not only is this budget-friendly, but it's sounding rather eco-friendly too. Which makes us terribly trendy (not that there was ever any doubt there of course). I'll keep you updated with photos as we make progress! In the meantime, here's a hint of what is to come:

Gas range from Craigslist, previous owner was upgrading (?!) again. Perhaps she wanted her new stove diamond encrusted? You can see the new paint colour on the walls and lower cabinets, and the birch countertop to replace the scary grout. Lighting is awful in the photo but there was no natural light left!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

noel 2009

Blessings for the new year and hoping you all had a lovely Christmas! We certainly did. Our little house was full full full, as were we after turkey dinner. And the children got spoiled completely rotten as usual.

We started the new year by adding another Greyhound to the family. Apparently it wasn't crazy enough around here. Bella is sweet and gentle and settling in nicely. On the sofa, more specifically, with kids tucked around her. We are madly in love with her and can't possibly imagine life without her.

:: Christmas Baubles ::

:: Same baubles about to be turned into miniature terraniums ::

:: The sun made an appearance for breakfast ::

:: I was quite happy with the results apparently ::

:: Digging in ::

:: Outdoor fun on Christmas Day ::

:: The celebrations continue at the Deggan house a few days later ::