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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Peace and Tidings

1. Whip up 3 gallons of flippin' fantastic carmel corn (check)
2. Wrap the last of the presents (almost check)
3. Load new audio book onto Mr. IPoddy-McPoderkins - that's really his name. (check)
4. Hand-wash my lady-wear (procrastinating)
5. Last and final post office trip before Christmas (check)
6. Pack (yeah right, we don't leave for another 15 hours - plenty of time)

And just like that, Christmas is upon us!

I'll be spending mine in the warm embrace of family, with steaming mugs of hot cocoa, with stories read in my father's voice, with handmade gifts given and received, with sticky buns straight from the oven (please and thank you Mums!), with crackling fires and card games, with the scent of pine and the blue of a California sky.

And for you my friends,
I wish you the best and brightest,
the most merry
of all.

Sending love and light to
one of you,
however you celebrate this season,
- Umber

Thursday, December 17, 2009

They're finally here!


I'm a bad waiter. No, not talking "would you like everything on your baked potato (although I have put in my fair time hauling trays, mixing martinis and arriving home stinking of strawberry margarita - and no, it's not as appealing a stench as it may seem...)," we're talking order something online and why can't it be here ten minutes later? I'm waiting for someone to invent the purchased-goods-teleport-system. But in the meantime I'll tryyyyyyyyyyy to be more patient.

But now you don't have to be! Because my new Postcards are here, approximately 17 days later than they were supposed to be! But here none the less and I'M SO VERY PLEASED WITH THEM! They've got a sturdy weight, a glossy finish and honestly, they just feel good in the hand.

I've popped them right-o into the ol' shop and they are quite beside themselves over how lovely they look propped up along my window ledge while I type.

We're already getting along well,
so you can just imagine how they'll beam up at the postman and sashay their way right into the homes of your penpals!

In other news, if you happen to be in Seattle tonight, drop on by La Familia Gallery. Tonight is the closing reception for the "5 x 5 by Thirty" show, which is where so many of these guys have been hanging out for the past month so you know where I'll be!


Monday, December 14, 2009

An Epic Battle and a Grand UmberDove Winner

The lines have been drawn.
The names have been written.
The jar has been filled.
May the last name still standing (on the desk) win!

The gladiators size each other up, paunches tensed, strategizing.

The first blow is landed!

Through his superior size, Marcus Thai-us wins the first match.

The hunt for a winner (and cat nip, and greenies) is on!

He wastes no time weeding out the week.

Until Maximus Sing-amus regains the pit and takes up his own fight against the paper names.

The tiny folds fall under his claws.

There is no mercy.

But then the victor reveals herself, last paper standing, to great cheers and applause.



Miss Good Girl, drop me an email at with the name of the print you would like as well as the address you'd like it shipped to and I'll send it out pronto!


Because the kitty boys are generally generous sorts (unless we're talking tuna, then it's each for his own) they decided to give a second prize, ONE SET OF THE PHANTOM POSTCARDS WHICH SHOULD BE ARRIVING ANY SECOND NOW** to the soggiest name (eew):


Elly, drop me an email as well and I'll pop those postcards in the mail for you just as soon as they arrive!


And to all my reader-friends who have come out and supported me in the last week, I really can't even thank you enough! You have each, individually, made my days, put a huge smile on my face, encouraged me in this business, and strengthened my faith.

but I'll say it anyways,

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cold SNAP!

There's a strange thing happening out here in ol' North Bend. I think people call it acclimating. I walk out in the mornings, into this wild cold-snap, where "warm" temperatures of 3o degrees are apparently laughable, and watch the patterns of my breathing trace thought bubbles in the sky. My fingertips looked ruddy and chapped, matching my lips, but there is something about that slap of icy air that keeps me coming back for more. I think I kind of like it.

ALSO: Pay no mind to the small vermillion stick in my freeze-dried fingers. It is most certainly not anything that rhymes with "dead ticklish" and even more certainly not something completely devoid of all nutritional value. It's probably just a stick, and a trick of the winter lighting making it appear reddish because I would never be caught with a guilty secret stash of licorice hidden behind the rice cakes and nutella that BC doesn't even know about and that I would sneak in the solitude of bachloretteish afternoons (if, of course, such a thing even existed). So keep moving, nothing more to see here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sliced Bread doesn't stand a chance!

Are you sitting securely, both feet firmly on the floor, back straight, elbows resting at your side?
Are you holding a steaming beverage, perhaps a perfectly frothed cappuccino or a maté latté?
I suggest you set it down.

Because I have one of the biggest announcements in the history of UmberDove and I'm ready to crack that egg of knowledge all over this blog (confession: I watch more "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" than is good for anyone).

But first, in the name of delayed gratification (which I am most certainly not a fan of, but occasionally enjoy teasing others with it), I want to introduce to you a newcomer to the flock:

"Unexpected Enlightenment" 4"x 4"

I really can't help it. The avian population here plays a very different game that those of the city. Here, good looks don't go as far. To survive these woods one must be terrible clever, surprising innovative, endlessly resourceful, genuinely gracious, and most of all, unshakably faithful. And these birds do it all with song on their black-tipped beaks. Every time I walk these fields I feel I take a chapter in their story, tuck it inside my 27 layers (good Lord it's cold here!), and read it over and over until I begin to understand.

How I love my birds.

That's right!

With great flourish and enthusiasm (drumrolls, snowball-rolls, popcorn ball-rolls), I'd like to introduce to you my brand new Etsy shop:

After much thought, debate, research and preparations, I've decided to open shop WHOOT! offering select prints of my work, original paintings and (as soon as they arrive via stork) collections of postcards. ZING! I couldn't be more excited YIPPADOO! about it (and just in time for the holidays I might add...) as you may be picking up. I'll be spending much of the day today listing up a storm BUT if there is a particular print you'd like to see, just let me know!

To celebrate the grand opening, to thank all of you who have commented in the past, who have emailed words of encouragement and advice, who have supported me in all my ventures, I'd like to offer a contest. All you need to to is leave a comment on this post between now and Sunday December 13th, letting me know that you were here, and I'll drop your name into my fuzzy felted bowl for a random drawing. The lucky little bird whose name is drawn...
will receive
one print
of their choice
from my el shoppo!

I'll be drawing a name on Monday December 14th, so be sure to check back then!

Additionally, for all orders placed this week (Monday December 7th through Friday December 11th), I'd like to offer free shipping! Just leave me a note in the "messages to seller" box that you are a bloggy friend and I'll cheerfully refund you the shipping costs!

What a morning!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baby it's cold outside

the great white frost-hunter,

- Umber

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On the Subject of Apronoscity

That may not be a real word.

But I'll tell you what is, or, more exactly, what three real words are:

In case you were wondering, the answer is yes. My needle has been pulling some tricky stunts lately. Just when I think I've got it all figured out, an idea pops into my head and I've got to sweep everything off the table, choose some gaudy thread for experimenting, and create something new. Which is how I recently ended up with an apron-I-love-like-none-other. And wear everywhere.

Sorry Ladies, this one's staying home with me!
But this one is flitting over to my little shop of wonders pronto (or after I finish my turkey sandwich)!

It certainly took me long enough but I've finally begun digging into my precious stash of vintage fabrics. This baby features a charming floral swatch of flour-sack that has passed through the fingers of three generations of my family; my own baby blanket, a patchwork quilt strewn with the most amazing fabrics, includes quite a lot of this exact flour-sack. Cutting into that last remaining scrap of cloth and carefully stitching it, knowing another woman would wear this apron well, felt like the best way I could honor that lineage. I love the idea that years ago, one bit of fabric was used in the kitchen, washed and carefully folded in drawers, only to be cut, quilted and slept under by a child, later to be pressed and stitched into an apron. There is something about that handing down that resonates deeply with me and I understand that history in my bones.

All of that to say, an apron is thing of fabulouscity (also, perhaps not real). Three cheers I say!


The house is so quiet I can hear the buzz of the radiators
The sky offers watery bands of light through a milky gray haze
They break on the white-tipped grass and slide down ivy colored trunks
I feel a bit in a fog myself (12 hour drives will do that to you)
But I'm enjoying the stillness before torrent.

When the crunch of gravel welcomed us home (late, late Sunday night)
I was reminded, yet again, of just how much I have to give thanks for
I could easily begin that list and keep on shouting my thanks for days
What I really want to say
Right here
And right now
Is Thanks to

You, fabulous reader-friends, continually make my days a little bit brighter
Encourage me when I most need it
Make me laugh and snort into my coffee cup
Cause me to marvel and remember the beauty of humankind.

When I began this blog (truly, honestly, I only expected me mum to be reading)
I had no idea the friendships it would lead me to find,
Across town, across this continent, and across the earth
And for that I have no more words
Other than
Thank You
You really do mean the world to me.

Oh yeah.
One more thing:

Paul Bunyan agrees. We're tight like that.

Yeah, that really is the same booted foot in both photos! Trees of Mystery and Paul Bunyan? Sigh, I really do miss California somedays!