Monday, June 26, 2017


It amazes me that roses can survive the snowy winters cold,
and will come back so beautifully year after year.
My very favorite, 
this 4th of July variety.
Petals are so few and fragile that Ive learned not to try to cut and put into a vase.

I don't have a name for this next beauty, 
but these are it's first buds of the season.  
They are hardier,
 and I cut them and hang them upside down to dry and enjoy the rest of the year.
What I've learned about this rose is that it's first blooms are the most vivid,
the next bunch that opened up last week are much more yellow then orange.
Those I cut and place in water to enjoy.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


A lot of sleeping,
going to the gym (got a good 20 to loose with 4 down and 16 more to go),
gardening and keeping plants at three homes hydrated thru this already hot summer,
hanging out with Little Guy Syd and teaching him to swim,
sunning at the pool, 
with lots and lots of reading.

But I'll be back to finish off the 2016-2017 school year.

Friday, June 16, 2017


What a perfect ending to your 6 year journey here at Whitney High School.
I'm so glad I was able to be here to cheer you all on as you walked across the stage.
I'm one very proud mama and art teacher.

Thank you for taking the time to drop by to say good-bye
 along with your touching heartfelt notes and gifts.
It was an honor to have taught this very special group of students from 7th to 12th grades.

I'll be posting more of you and your artwork this summer,
but am taking a bit of a break this week  and probably next to rest.

Much love to you all
Debra Agrums Sposa

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Recently our dear neighbor Chris up at the cabin
rescued the sweetest baby chipmunk he named Alvin.
Alvin had been mauled by some nearby animal and had been left in front of Chris' home.
He was still alive so Chris put him in a box,
gave him water and food,
cleaned and put neosporin on his cut,
then researched chipmunks and what wonderful pets they make.
I was surprised by how tiny he was.
Chris wasn't sure if he had opened his eyes yet since he ran into the walls of the box several times.
 Sadly Alvin just didn't have the strength left in him to make it and passed away.
I don't think I've ever seen anything so tiny and helpless.
It was heartbreaking.
Bye baby Alvin.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


which one was more beautiful so I had to put both up.
Freesias from Josh Berger's Succulent Garden this spring.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


charcoal on paper

Really missing this wonderful group of adolescents.
 It's such a welcome sight when they stop in to say hi.
As you will see,
their charcoal work is just as special as they are.
The eye loves diagonals,
they create movement and lead your eyes thru the art piece.
Well we all loved this one by Madison M.
I was also impressed with how she knew to break her cast shadow up the wall. 
Great job kiddo!

Love the simplicity of this next one by Anisha H.
And the way she styled her background is so beautiful.

This one by Bianca P. is just too cute,
and check out her smooth style,

But it was Ashley L's backdrop that really got the kids oohing and ahhing.
Simply AMAZING!!!!
What an inspirational piece!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


To senior Ashley Iseri and her sweet & thoughtful mother for this lovely lei made for me.
Ashley brought it to school for me last Friday
and I was thrilled with this handmade gift.
I told Ashley that carnations are one of my all time favorite flowers.
In fact,
I loved it so much that it rode with us up in our jeep between my husband and I 
to the cabin,
and made the most fragrant addition to our little place over the weekend.
Now I will place it next to the lei 2015 Alumni Kaili Hamada's mother made for me 
in my home office so I can enjoy it for years to come.

Thank you Ashley for the gift you shared with all of us this year,
and your innate designs and skills with the clay.
You were an absolute pleasure to teach and a joy to get to know.
I'm hoping you will keep arts & crafts in your life as you continue on your next journey.
Much love to you Ashley.

Monday, June 5, 2017


At our recent Open House,
the terrific & supportive Superintendent of our ABC Unified School District,
Dr. Mary Sieu,
stopped by to check out the student art.
She fell in love with 8th grader Loren Kim's lovely Dreamcatcher and
wanted to purchase it for her son & daughter-in-law who collect them.
Loren was thrilled and agreed to sell it.
Dr. Sieu was not able to take it with her that night
because the show runs for a couple of weeks,
so she agreed to come back at a later date to pick it up.
And true to her word, 
she dropped by last week to meet the artist and have their picture taken together.
I have known Dr. Sieu now for the past 37 years.
She has held many positions on her way up to Superintendant at the District Office.
I even taught her son art back in the day.
And I have never seen her in jeans and sneakers.
Always she is in a very professional business suit,
but she was headed over to one of our other high school sites to help them out 
with something that was going to require blood, sweat and tears.
So it was really fun for me to see,
 for the very first time,
 her looking so adorably comfortable.
We love you Dr. Sieu!
And thank you for always supporting us!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


newspaper, starch, cardboard, muslin, dowels, string, scrap fabric, wood embellishments,
watercolor & acrylic paints, paper scraps for collage

It is such a pleasure to show off more of these amazing sailing crafts.
As you will see the kids went all out in both their ship shapes and their sail designs.

Love what junior Jullian Morris did with the tip of her boat the Nebula,
building that curve with paper mache' was no walk in the park,
as well as how she painted the hull with the starry night design.
Giving you a view of the front and back 
because she took a lot of care with fabric selection for her sail patches.
And check out the sweet bow at the top of the mast below.
And a close up of those translucent beads she found to glue to the sides.
It's little details like those that make these extra special.
And of course I like how she took the time to fray those sail edges
which softens the design.

Spectacular is how I would describe this next vessel,
from the hull design to the multiple sails.
Senior Vicky Hur spent a lot of time making her boat extra.
Everyone loved her anchor she crafted from copper craft wire.
Note how she also incorporated the wire at the bottom and top of the mast?
And I was crazy about how she dripped her paint upside down on the hull.
Vicky received a very special award from me tonight at the Senior Awards Banquet.
Top Honors for her work last year in my 2-D class, 
and top honors this year in 3-D design and construction.
Congrats Vicky.
I'm hoping when you go off to college 
you will form a crafting group and keep the arts alive with your friends.
Alumni Cindy Ryoo is starting a Ceramics program at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Hint, hint
Vicky's sails are even billowing in the wind,
a trick we learned from nationally recognized repurpose artist Ann Wood.

Another class favorite was this very feminine and delicate ship by 8th grader Dana Ahmad.
It reminds me of what Peter Pan's Neverland ship might have looked like.
My favorite part is the lace bow at the back of the ship and how she painted the hull.
And check out below her clever boat name Seas the Day. 
I also appreciate the work it took her to string all that rigging.
And look at the adorable lace sea shell floating along one of the rigging ropes.
Then Dana brilliantly ties all the colors together with her floral patch.

Now check out the perfect craftsmanship on this vessel by senior Crystal Lai-Ton-Nu,
another award winner tonite 
for her lovely designs and craftsmanship all year long in 3-D Art.
Crystal also needs to be congratulated on having the most pieces up at Open House this year 
besides senior Shreya Sheth.
That's quite a feat because the show is juried.
I would have loved to have worked with Crystal at least on more year in Int. 3-D.
I sure hope you also keep arts & crafts in your life Crystal.

Next up we have 8th grader James Lara's boat.
I really like the double sails and especially that clever crow's nest on top. 
And of course the antique flower button and sea shell on the tip are a great compliment as well.
James even made a tiny wooden pirate but he lost it before I took the photos.
It was adorable, 
just like him  hee hee

8th grader Dylan Lin crafted this really fun ship with a cannon ball hole blown thru it's hull,
as well as the way he aged the hull with paint..
Such a clever design move Dylan.
And I really like how he also aged his sail by sewing on the same color patches
and fraying their edges.
It really looks like a ship wreck below the sea. 
Bravo young man!

Next up is another Peter Pan feeling ship by 8th grader Loren Kim.
I loved the look of this one so much that I bought it from Loren to teach with next year.
One of my favorite design moves that Loren made was to elongate the length of the sails,
and of course the effort she put into fraying each of their edges.
She also ties everything together with her Analogous color scheme,
and the dried flowers overtop the wooden buttons are such a nice detail.
A close up of her frayed edges,
sweet patches and little flags.

Also purchased by myself was this tiny but mighty sailing vessel by junior Lynette Lee.
Of course not all the ships were for sale,
the kids decided if they wanted to try and sell their work or not.
I got lucky that Lynette had hers up because I really wanted to show off her craftsmanship 
as well as the way she rigged the top of her sail. 
I also loved the way she applied her paint on the hull,
exposing a bit of the newspaper of the paper mache'.
I've always loved text in artwork.

We end with senior Sarah Woo and her super duper vessel design.
It kind of has an Asian flair to it that really catches your eye.
And the visual flow of all the parts and colors couldn't have been more perfect.
And I love, love, love how she painted her boat,
first with the transparent watercolors (so we can see the paper she used thru the paint), 
then glazing her stripes on.
Exquisite Sarah.
Another top Award Winner tonite in both the 2 and 3-D category. 
I have one more photo to add tomorrow of the back side of Sarah's boat.
But it's getting late and I've got to get to bed.
So stay tuned.
Sarah crafted a ladder that is to die for.

Monday, May 29, 2017


clay, glaze, oxide

Let me introduce senior Sarah Chang,
my top most Ceramic student this year.
We've seen several of her pieces throughout the year, 
but I couldn't resist taking this pix of her...
with her joyful smile as she shows me her finished pot.

And what a cool pot it is.
A combo. piece where she is combining a bit of everything,
coils, slabs, pinching and paddling.
Plus she had to work to a larger size and make a lidded container.
Love the ebb and flow of the design.
Sarah is truly a master craftswoman and a fabulous designer.
She will receive my Highest Ceramics Award on June 1,
at the Senior Awards Banquet Nite.
Oops, was that supposed to be a secret?
 ha ha

Congrats Sarah,
you have been an absolute pleasure to teach,
such a self-starter and so very mature and patient as I tried to handle 4 classes at once.
Thank you for always knowing what you needed to do,
even before I had a chance to tell you.
Also know that you were the faster learner I've ever had to master the potter's wheel.
I will miss you greatly.
You are in my heart and I love you so very much.
Can't wait to see where your life will take you from here.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Ferns and Passion Flower Vine
at the cabin

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


brunching with my children down in the Long Beach Marina,
then walking it off 
watching the boats sail thru the bay to Catalina and the ocean beyond.

On another Mother's Day note,
I planted this lavender rose up at the cabin last Mother's Day in honor of my own mother,
Rose Patricia.
It survived the winter's snow and rains,
and has been blooming since one week before Mother's Day and is still going strong.
My mother's favorite color in her later years,
When my mother turned 60,
 I was 20 years old working at Ann's Flowers in Buena Park, Ca.
For her birthday present,
 the owner of Ann's helped me find 60 lavender roses to give her.
I will never forget her delight and surprise.

I miss you every day mom,
and talk about your goodness and understanding to your grandbabies as well as my students.
Right Eunice? 
Your grandson Zach has found his mate for life,
and you would have loved her.
She reminds me of you.
Gentle with an inner strength, astute, nurturing, understanding, a lover of nature and the ocean,
a gardener, a thoughtful listener, thankful & giving, a hard worker,
a lovely, good person.
And most importantly,
she loves your boy with all her heart.
They are so good together,
and I cannot wait to meet the babies they will make.
I only hope I will be able to be as wonderful a grandmother as you were to my babies. 
Happy Mother's Day

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


project inspired by Ann Woods
newspaper, starch, cardboard, muslin, dowels, string, scrap fabric, wood embellishments,
watercolor & acrylic paints, paper scraps for collage

Another school year is almost over 
and our seniors will be all sailing off in all different directions.
But before they do let's take a look at their and others vessels.

Like nationally known Mixed Media Artist Ann Woods builds her ships,
this is a repurpose assignment with not a lot of expense.
Most of the money went into purchasing the wood accoutrements:
dowels, beads, tiny pots, etc. 
We begin with Coach Milan,
one of our Paraeducators,
and his Donald Trump ship called Fire Pits.
No one realized till he was almost done
 that he had collaged President Trump's face all round his boat.
I really appreciated the time he put into fraying the edges of his sails,
and also the thought he put into the form of his ship.
Fun piece Milan,
and so very current!

This next one is the work of 8th grader Selina Luo.
The stitching on her sails is so beautifully executed,
as is the craftsmanship on the entire ship.
She ties both the ship and sails together thru the analogous colors blue and purple.
I especially like how she solved her hanging requirement by plying string to itself 
and attaching it at either end of her boat.
There were so many requirements these kids had to work to 
with over a hundred points to be earned.

One of my top 3-D seniors,
Hannah built this spectacular creation for us all to enjoy and exclaim over.
Fabulous attention to detail in her dragon boat.
Check out how she built the wings,
with buttons and copper wire.
And of course the lions on the sails were the bomb!
I also really liked her color scheme with her complimentary reds and greens.
Bravo young woman!

And I couldn't do a post without showing off A.P. English teacher Donna Hall
and her swan ship.
To die for!
She's calling it the Sea Mist, 
and like Hannah above,
 she is giving this everything she has.
The lovely form from the head to the wings,
the frayed sails that bring such softness to her piece.
Those gorgeous buttons with the plied cotton rigging.

Cutting the heart shape out of fabric and backing it with netting before she stitches it down.
Her delicate choice of buttons on the sails.
It just all flows so beautifully together.
Thank you once again,
for having the courage Donna to join us,
and allowing us along on your journey..

One of my personal favorites was this pirate ship design by 8th grader Palmer Patel.
The cannons on the side, 
the multiple flags,
using a Sharpie and bravely drawing out his skull and crossbones.
The plied rigging connecting the sails,
and the actual ship design with the captain's cabin.
Totally cool Palmer.

And check out this beauty by senior Alexis Bilas-Imperial called Wanderlust.
Lovely analogous color choices with a bit of sparkle.
The wonderful curve at the front of the ship that we all loved so much,
and the time it took for all that fraying along the sails.

We end Part I with junior Rachel Kannampuzha.
Impeccably crafted,
this is a true sailing ship with it's bottom fin.
We all really delighted in the fact that she coiled her rigging on the side,
and attached the anchor she built out of wire to the other.
Also check out her main flag at the top.
Doesn't it look like it's blowing in the wind the way she has shaped it.
I wonder if she stuffed it?
I'll have to ask her.
I also really appreciate the gentle patches of white against white,
and that she pinked some of the patch edges to catch our eyes.
Now did you notice the tiny pieces of metal she attached to hold her sails to the rigging?
How dang cool is that?
Well thought out young woman.
Just love showing off your designs.