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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On Gratitude and Gizzards

A List of Thanks that I have to give 
(plus one video to offer you the gift of laughing at me).
1) For Terrariums inside (yep, still really excited about them), for green moss outside that covers the cold concrete of my city like balm.
2) For the cold snap of November that chills my fingers and scratches my throat but makes me feel alive.
3) For hot tea in handmade mugs.
4) For two furry little kitty boys who know just when to snuggle up and offer the love, purring away to ease my mind.
5) For a studio space that is all my own, for painting, for writing, for thinking.
6) For healthy, beautiful relationships with family, with friends, with my husband.
7) For inspiration in its myriad of forms, that never leaves me.
8) For radiant heat, toasty on the frostiest nights.
9) For the crows whose harsh calls speak to me of melancholy beauty and the chickadees whose trilling songs bring a sly grin to my mouth.
10) For new gloves in a crisp hounds-tooth print.
11) For being a regular at the very best cappuccino stand in the city.
12) For my first gallery show in Seattle this year.
13) For take-out sushi and cheap steaming bowls of pho, and the conversations BC and I have shared over both.
14) For friends I have made in the last year, who have touched my soul, honored my moods, laughed at my jokes and celebrated my successes - whom I have still never stood face to face with.

Please PLEASE forgive me this terrible sideways video.  I spent far too long on the computer this morning trying to turn it right but only succeeded in removing all the volume - and believe me, the soundtrack is worth saving!  This was BC and my first time hosting Thanksgiving back in 2002 and believe me, I've come a loooong way!

15) Not having to prepare the turkey this year!

Ok, Whatever you eating, whoever you are sharing it with, I wish you the very most peaceful day of thanks and remembrance of blessings!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

All the Way from Australia!

My mail swap package just arrived in the post! Well, technically my dear mailman gave his typical resounding door knock (I know his knock, and always come running to greedily snap up any packages he brings) and left me this colorful little box.  Just to catch you up, a little while back The Wind Hover proposed an alphabet themed mail swap which I jumped on (due to my previously mentioned ravenous love of mail).  The packages were mailed out last week, and lickity split, mine just arrived all the way from The Wind Hover herself full of the letter B."

It was a very blue package, full of bookmarks and butterflies, blue pens and buttons (oh the hedgehog one is my very favorite!), bookplates and birthday books.  But I think my favorite of all, and the one I will be using ALL the time is my new yoga bag with printed bicycles.

Thank you so much my dear Windy Hoverings!  I love the work of your hands and this gift has absolutely made my day.  Now on to Sun Salutations and Warrior Poses!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birth of a Mosserrarium

And then I made two more.

That's just how I am.  Something grabs me, and I become a complete maniac, forgoing food, sleep, drink, everything in favor of the creative pursuit that is [obviously] the most important thing in my entire life [right at that second].  The only reason I stopped this afternoon was that I ran out of appropriate containers (I was faced with either eating an entire jar of pickles or stepping back and resuming breathing.  I chose breath - but not because I don't like a good kosher dill!).  I think the entire neighborhood must think I'm a nut job.  
"There goes that tall girl again, always digging around in other people's yards, dragging home sticks and containers of dirt, scooping up moss with her big metal spoon, squatting on the sidewalk looking at dead birds, wearing crazy outfits and talking to the chipmunks."

But really.  The idea of making terrariums has been kicking around my head for the past three years or so - from an early issue of Domino Magazine featuring "alternative" house plants (although I do think that some of my neighbors think all that).  And sometime over the Summer, terrarium making exploded on Etsy; you can't click on the front page more than once in any given day without a mossy little bundle staring you in the face. Finally (like I really needed anymore encouragement) I had a chat with a certain boisterous little bird whose love for her own little climate-controlled garden convinced me I could wait no longer.  The rest, well, you've already seen it. 

BC better watch out.  
And eat some more pickles.

Tweetle-dee my mossy little friends!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kelly likes Billy

I have a new crush.  His name is Billy.  I keep sneaking off for quick rendezvous in the afternoon when I'm supposedly working and slipping in just a few minutes with him just before bed.  

Did I mention he's a poet?

And just to be truthful, I've never met him, only his books, but I am infatuated with his stories.  So I thought, on this rather melancholy Tuesday that we were all in need of a spot of poetry, especially one to grin and snort over (which I do every time I read this particular one).  

The Country

I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice

might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.

Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe

behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match 
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,

the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time - 

now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night
Who could fail to notice,

lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice, onetime inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chocolate frosting under my nails
Wet sand stuck to my toes
One feather worn behind my ear
Unruly hair tossed in the breeze

The sun and I played hooky today
Leaving November to finish our chores

I read poetry to him 
While he stretched out across the sand
Stories of benevolent gods, aging bikers,
the baths of Istanbul, and one roadkill badger

We vowed not to loose ourselves again
In the flurries of seasons
Swore on a slice of driftwood
That I held tight in my fist

And the Winner is...

Jenn, lovely Jenn, congratulations!  I tried to be fair and wrote every one's name down on little snips of paper but Thai, he just insisted on picking out the winner (and I think he has a little kitty-boy crush on you anyways!) and he picked you!  I'll be sure to bundle up your new calendar with lots of love and send it your way in hopes of a brilliant year ahead.

Seriously, I had such cheeriness yesterday reading all your comments and [truly amazing] emails [that made me want to cry in joy].  I was so distracted all day by the magnetic pull of my computer that I barely managed to put in a full day of work.  BUT, I can think of no better audience to share with than you, and so I am grateful.


To further the fun, I decided to do another special treat this weekend for my beloved bloggie friends.  From now (the wee hours of Saturday morning, Nov 15th) until Sunday night (November 16th), when you purchase one of the Oh-So-Fabulous 2009 UmberDove Calendars, leave me a love note in the "message to seller" box saying you've read my blog and receive free shipping (which I will refund to you promptly via your paypal).

Ok friendly friends, the bewitching hour is long past and this Dove needs her beauty sleep (and please do excuse me for any horrible typos, my fingers are two steps ahead of my eyelids tonight...).

Sweet Dreams,

Friday, November 14, 2008

Drum Roll Please...

Oy! So much excitement is crackling in the air here! The calendar will be officially for sale in my little shop o' wonders as soon as I tackle the rest of the photography but I just couldn't wait any longer to give you the sneak peeks.

And the big news, yes mame, the website. I swear to you, there is nothing more sure to cause the grandest of elation and the surest of panic attacks than publishing a website to, well, EVERY ONE. There are still a few tweeks to be tweeked, and a few more paintings waiting for their photo shoots but my heart is full up to bursting (and it just might! It's that kind of excitement where you just don't know what to do with yourself and NO ONE is answering their phones, not even your mother and you tell your bestest man and he says "yes, I'm really excited too and I have been sitting here the entire time and I do know all about it, yes even how you changed the color of that one font..." Ok, sorry, regaining control). But seriously, you should take a look (not a peek, but a loooooooooook) because these paintings, this outpouring of my soul, this voluntary sharing of my heart, is who I am on the very deepest level of self.

So with out further ado,

So here is the way things will be going down: Just leave me a comment (and no anonymous comment bombers either, after all, how will I let you know when you win?) saying that you stopped by today, Friday November 14th and you will be entered into the drawing for a free UmberDove 2009 Calendar. That's it. Well almost. You will need to come back by tomorrow (Saturday November 15th) because I'll be announcing the winner. Cross your fingers, toss some salt and good luck!

Wishing you all the swiftest of Fridays and plenty of smooches,


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Make Apple Butter, Not War

Oh, yes. Apple butter. I've been doing my part this last week to keep our whole building smelling sweetly of cooking apples and baked goods while putting up roughly 30 jars of apple butter for our consumption and Christmas giving (it might be a 50/50 split, as I am pretty greedy with the apple butter).

As a side note, I love the term "putting up." It makes me feel so "frontier woman" doing my part to eat with the seasons, canning in small batches, cooking with real ingredients (corn syrup is the bane of my existence) bought from the growers. I love it. Really truly.

While we're on the subject, here are some things you might need to know about me in the kitchen:
1) I sit on the counter tops. A lot. There is just something about the kitchen that just radiates the heart of my home, it is the natural gathering spot that everyone wants in on. This is a tricky business being that the floor space of my kitchen measures a cool 2.5 feet wide by 10 feet long.
2) I do not own an apron. I probably should (but the two chef aprons that *mysteriously* ended up in my possession after a long stint bartending at a particular well-known establishment both made their way to my studio and are thusly covered in oil paint).
3) My favorite thing to wear when really getting my "cook on" are my white lounge-y pants.
4) In said lounge attire I continually play with fire by peeling pomegranates (my favorite, yes, hands down favorite fruit on God's green earth. While in Ca I bought a huge sack and hauled it through airport security as my carry-on, making flirty eyes at the personnel hoping they wouldn't notice the 15 pounds of fruit I was transporting), making Chocolate-Chocolate Cookies, chopping tomatoes for salad and beets for roasting, and then eating on the sofa, plate in lap. And I need to say, they still look pretty great. I would like to say it's because I am ever nimble, but I think that might be stretching the truth *just* a bit.
5) And just to round out the story, yes, all 30+ jars of apple butter saw some quality white lounge pant action.

Good times.

I tell you, it's a vivacious life I'm living up here in Seattle. Watch out!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Save the Date...

... because the new and breath-taking UmberDove 2009 Calendar is right around the corner! You can clap your hand or squeal in merriment because that is what I am doing about it. I'm pouring in the work right now, finishing up all twelve watercolored paintings that form the basis for the twelve calendar months of the year.

Want a sneak peak?

Of course these ones are still in progress, but you are looking at the proud, future months of January, July, December and June (and I'm not telling which is which - got to keep some suspense around here!).

The 2009 Calendar will be officially available for purchase Saturday November 15th through my little shop o' wonders, all ready for giving and getting (did I mention Christmas is a really great time to give an UmberDove calendar?).
And stay tuned in for the Calendar Give Away Kick Off Party which will be happening right here, on this blog, Friday, November 14th (you don't even have to bring anything, just show up, read the post for that day, and leave me a comment and a free calendar could be yours! Now don't you wish you had a calendar to mark that on...).

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Trees and I, we dress alike

Of course this is no surprise because inside this fragile human skin, there is a redwood with bones grown from the detritis of the past, blood pumping in crystalline shades of amber sap. The trees woke me this morning, singing the song of November, a swinging tune to the bright snap of the wind. The maple and I hum to the cherry blossom trees, lulling them to sleep with promises of a winter gifts and a brilliant spring to come. They stretch and grunt in the breeze, snuggling into autumn, bedding down before the snow falls.

We will all sleep well under this warm blanket.