Tuesday, February 25, 2020


Day I

For the past 2 February's,
Australian Artist India Flint has offered up the most wonderful online Eco-Dyeing workshops
that I've enrolled myself in. 
Last year it was called A Clearing in the Woods,
and this year 29 Days.
In both I've learned so much about eco-dyeing and slow stitching,
and am now working on both simultaneously.
The one from last year I work on in the evenings as I've been binge-watching
various series on Net-flicks, Hulu and Amazon,
sometimes staying up till 4 in the morning.
My newest favorite is Outlander on Net-ficks.
If you want to give it a try it's a bit hard to get thru the first Episode 
until near the end when is roars to life,
then watch out, you'll be hooked.
I'm a bit of a history buff so it's right up my alley based in 1743 Scotland.
So anyways I digress.
Back to this Feb's workshop.

These following pieces were my first attempts from Day 1
The leaves I used where found in my gutters after a big wind we had and were dried up,
so India taught us how to reconstitute them,
other vegetation plucked from my porch garden.
I felt my results were pretty blah on these two that were bundled together on wool/silk broadcloth,
and wool.
Note: we are not mordanting these pieces yet.

When I opened these next two that were bundled together I was a bit more pleased,
especially with the top one.
These were both on two different types of silks I found.
Note:  I did cheat. 
 The string I used to wrap bundles with had been re-purposed from a tye-dye demo 
I did last year with my students.
That's where the beautiful bright greens are coming from,
but the rest of the color is from my leaf choices.

I enjoyed my results on these next two as well,
both on cotton.
These are picking up a bit of greens and turquoise from the tye-dye string
and you can really tell where the Eucalyptus leaves are along edges.

And in these last two that were bundled together,
 I had no idea there was so much dye left in my bundling string.
I really dislike that patch of dark turquoise.
But I do like how my Boston fern printed along with some other plants from my porch.
These were fresh.
The good news is that I was only supposed to do one set for Day One,
 but I wanted to see how the same plants would work on various silks, wools and cotton fabrics.
So far the silks are winning big time!

Stay tuned for Day 2.

Saturday, February 22, 2020


I want to celebrate my ex's 75th birthday this week,
my first husband and father of my children,
Inars Agrums.
And even though we didn't work as husband and wife
(23 years trying),
we still remain the best of friends today since our divorce in 2010.
For the past 10 years,
 every Monday night we have hung out with our daughter Danielle,
doing dinner and watching the Bachelor together,
sometimes even meeting 2 times a week to watch something else that Dani wanted us both for.
We help each other whenever there is an emergency,
like Inars' Open Heart surgery this past year.
We get together for all birthdays, weddings, Thanksgivings, Xmas', Easters,
and other important events that pop up.
My new husband Jim and Inars do manly things together as well;
 moving our children into and out of homes,
fixing plumbing and other household issues,
they have even occasionally gone to the movies together when I was still working.
How about that!!!
It's all about our children,
their happiness and well being.  
Plus Inars and I started off as great friends before marriage,
 and it will be that way until the end.

This pix was taken 2 Monday nites ago
 while Miss Tatum snuggled up to him at Danielle's new home.

I am a lucky woman to have had two solid rocks to live my life with.
Happy Birthday Inars.
Love you always,

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


Congratulations to my beautiful, hardworking husband
 and our gorgeous trainer Gelissa, 
who I gave him as a birthday present this past October.
She has been working with each of use 2 times a week
and it's paid off big time for my husband Jim.
He has lost pds and at least 3 inches or more from his waistline,
and was able to get off his pain meds for his back,
and also off his high blood pressure meds.  
I couldn't be happier for him.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


 The good news is I haven't had a traffic accident in years.
The bad news is this one was my fault.
I rear ended a soccer mom's van at a traffic light.
She was on her phone and didn't go when she was supposed to,
but whoops,
I did.
The good news is that my car is wrapped in vinyl.
Underneath it is a black VW Beetle.
A little cutie convertible.
So what I'm thinking is I unwrap the car.
It's time.
It's been 3 years which is the lifespan of a wrap,
and I was going to do it anyways after my son recently told me my car looks really beat up.
And it does, he wasn't exaggerating.
I figure that after it's unwrapped the bummer will be back to black 
and that ugly bash/wrinkle might not even be noticeable.
 So no need to fix and I'll be able to save my $1000 deductible.
that's my plan.
We'll see.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020


 As my son Zach and his new bride Nicole moved into their first family home recently
in the San Fernando Valley,
a little 1950's bungalow that has been remodeled;
they wanted to celebrate their first night with family and friends by throwing a painting party.
Brave kids!

Nicole had found a video on this super fun painting technique where everyone is successful,
sort of,
 unless you accidentally drop it upside down on the cement
which of course did happen.
No names.
Ha ha

We mixed up standard tube acrylic paints into cups,
thinning each color with water and 2 magic sauces.
One is called Floetrol to help paint flow wildly,
the other is Silicone to create the cool looking cells.
  And you never know what you are going to get.
Then each person got a cup and filled it with their color choices,
placed the canvas upside down a top the cup,
then turned the entire thing upside down again,
lifted up cup then started tilting canvas this way and that letting the paint do it's thing.
There was a lot of oohhing and ahhing,
 screaming and encouraging going on as each person took their turn.
Zach's piece reminded us of a wave above.

But man oh man did we make a mess with a lot of dripping going on,
and the clean up was horrific but so worth the results and fun.

Everyone loved someone else's more then their own and we just couldn't decide on a favorite.
Nicole's above received my son's vote for favorite.
that's my sweet boy!
LOVE rules!

But mine was this one above made by both Nicole's parentals,
Nick and Mary.
Loved the color choices,
red, green, yellow and white
 and how they mixed and worked their way across the canvas.

This last one was my creation.
I limited my paint colors to a monochromatic scheme with silvers and golds as accents.

I wouldn't advise doing this with young children because of the mess
 and because acrylic doesn't wash out of anything, 
including fingernails, sidewalk cement and clothes.

But boy oh boy did we have fun and some great laughs!

Monday, February 3, 2020


This is a sampler I began before Xmas 
that I purchased from my new favorite crafts store in Ojai called Cattywampus.
They were featuring it as a class but I wanted to give it a try on my own.
I have a lovely array of perle cottons that I've collected over the years,
not the exact colors called for in the pattern picture,
but I tried to get mine to match as close as possible.
The pix above is how much I got done before Xmas 
and the pix below is the finished sampler that I finished in January.

Both my son and daughter saw me working on it and wanted to know who I was making it for,
each hinting that they liked it.
Then my son Zach told me who'd really enjoy it was his new sister-in-law Jamie
who is newly pregnant with her first baby.
She and her husband are the sweetest young couple
 who are redoing an old Craftsman in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas.
Zach told me she's crazy about plants and uses them to decorate every room in her home.
 And he also thought it would look great in the baby's room.
When Zach's mother-in-law Mary saw it recently done, 
she told me Jamie is decorating the baby's room in a jungle theme in the colors I put in the sampler.
So Dallas, Texas,
 here it comes!
Woo Hoo!!!
So now I just need to find a frame for it.
If there is anyone out there who has framed a sampler,
do you suggest I put it under glass?
Not sure how to deal with it.
Liz from Texas,
how did you frame out all your incredible samplers?

In case anyone would like this pattern I photoed the maker here.

Friday, January 17, 2020


One of my resolutions was to finish my ongoing projects.
This Infinity Scarf was supposed to be done by Xmas,
but I just recently finished and blocked it,
and gave it to it's recipient,
my gorgeous trainer Gelissa
(who enjoys kicking my butt at the gym).
This yarn is from a company called Knit Collage
 which I was recently turned onto 
thru the fabulous crafts store in Ojai ,Ca. called Cattywampus Crafts.
It's been handspun with added bits of lace, ribbon, etc. and is super fast and easy to knit with.
The label on the yarn recommends a size 15 needle but I found a size 19 worked better for me.
I used the Mistaken Rib pattern which is incredibly easy.
You will need an odd number of stitches in units of 4 with one extra,
like 13 (12 + 1), 17 (16 + 1), etc.
I used 17.
Every row is knit the same:
Knit 2, Purl 2, Knit 2, Purl 2, K1.
You always end with Knit 1.
This was one of my students favorite patterns.  
It creates hills and valleys instead of hard ribbed edges.
A gentler Ribbing.
Another of my Resolutions was to post more.
So far that hasn't happened.
Structure is challenging when you retire.
ha ha!!!
I need someone to crack a whip over me or I need a deadline.
But in this case,
the deadline of Xmas didn't even work.
I'm a mess.  LOL

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


From our home to yours a very Happy New Year.

You betcha!

1.  To continue going to the gym to try to loose weight.
(so far no pds lost but I have rearranged the fat a bit by an inch and a half)
2.  To try to post more often here on the blog and finishing the art students from 2017-2018
3.  To also begin and finish the students from 208-2019.
4.  To finish up at least 10 projects or more,
and try really hard not to start anymore,
even though I have 2 new ones I want to start tonight before 2020.
5.  To begin watercoloring again.
6.  To try not to spend so much time on Pinterest.
7.  To Finish all my online classes (there are about 7 or so).
8.  To try to take at least two trips.  
My daughter is taking me to Waco Texas
for Xmas and my birthday.
(on my bucket list, I want to see Chip and Joanna Gaines Silo Store,
and to stay in a bed and breakfast on a working farm)
(on her bucket list too)

I can already see this list is gonna be a mighty big challenge.
I better start immediately!
So to the gym I go.....

Sunday, December 22, 2019


 Here's wishing all my family, friends, art students and blog followers
Truly Magical Holiday Season.

 Our dear neighbor's cabin this Xmas during right after the big snow.
He went all out this year for his family who came to visit.

Thank you for spending the year with me here,
and for all your heartfelt comments and e-mails.
For the friendships we've made via our blog-sites,
and the inspiration you all have been to me thru your art and stories.
I feel so very blessed to have all of you in my life.
Wishing everyone the best this Holiday Season and always.

Thursday, December 19, 2019


Recently I posted about the record snowfall we had at the cabin.
Well I finally got up to see it myself.
As I walked the mountain with the dog it looked like no home was spared damage.
Every yard had several trees down.
Some in yards, some on roofs, some on cars.
And worst cases,
100+ year old trees that completely came uprooted and fell to the ground.  
I saw at least 3 of those.
They were big thick ones like you see in the background in the photo above on the left.
It was devastating.
Above is a piece of the tree limb that broke and fell across our jeep.
Jim had to saw it off in parts because it was too heavy to pull off the jeep.
So now he's in the process of sawing it into firewood.
But what a mess!

This is a huge tree that spans over my tiny little studio.
In the photo below is a close up of  where the limb broke.
Luckily it didn't crash onto the studio but instead into part of the yard two photos down.

You can see how close it was to the edge of the studio building.

And right behind that tree was another.
You can see where it cracked at the top
and that the front most tree is holding up the branch from hitting the roof of studio.
Don't know yet how we are going to retrieve that limb.

And another tree that has broken in half behind the main cabin.

But the one I'm most sad about was my son's Japanese Maple 
that I've been nursing along for years until he is in his first home to plant it.
Look at how the limb split off from the main stalk.
My husband said maybe I can tape it together and it might fuse itself back eventually.
I'm going to research it and give it my best try.

But we are so blessed that we didn't have more serious damage like others did.

Monday, December 16, 2019


so I'm only a year tardy posting last Xmas' favorite pictures.
It's just how I roll these days.  
I thought I'd better take care of it soon as we are already into this next season's Xmas.
 Here we go.

We've got kitty Lily under my ex's tree on Xmas day while we opened presents above.

And my son Zach who brought about 5 different specialty beers to quiz us on at Xmas Eve
at my little home/studio. 
He is seen here reading off the correct answers.
My daughter Dani got the most correct guesses
(of course she did, she's a bar tender after all).

And here they are,
the glamorous couple of Danielle and Tristin,
  just starting their dog family.
This was when Granger was only about 4-5 months old.
I couldn't decide which pix I liked better so I posted both.

And my ex,
with his pup Bogie who is now getting to be an old man,
Bogie that is
He's got to be about 12 years old at least.
Inars rescued him off a golf course,
thus Bogie  :).
This was when Grandger still liked Bogie,
see how he's giving him a kiss?
Now they just tolerate each other.
We are pretty sure Boogie is a Rat Terrier mix.

And I loved this shot I took of Inars.  
I think I will have it enlarged and give one to each of our children for this Xmas.
We had a frightening year with Inars' health this last April.
During my son's wedding in Hawaii he wasn't feeling right
 and when he got back to the mainland
his doctor had him go in for Open Heart Surgery. 
He had a double bypass.
So we are all so very thankful that he is completely at 100% again.  
It took 6 long grueling months of recovery and physical therapy
but he's feeling energized and oh so lucky.

And of course there are rarely any pictures of me cuz I'm usually the one doing the photographs,
so I couldn't find one from Xmas Day or Eve,
but I love this one in my classroom of senior Jimena Alvarez and I.
She was an outstanding crafts student last year.

Have I mentioned lately how much I miss my classroom,
and how utterly thrashed and disorganized it's become since I retired?

How supplies are being wasted and damaged and not brought back to the classroom.
And just how filthy the classroom has become.

This all just hurts my heart so badly.

Some little birdies and their parents have sent me several e-mails and pix
 because they are appalled how much it's gone downhill in so many ways since I left.

What really saddens me is that I was not allowed to participate in the interview process
like I was promised several times  for many years now.
That I'd be able to pass on my program that took me years and thousands of dollars to build.
There were actually a couple of ex-Whitney art students waiting in the wings for me to retire 
because they wanted to carry on my legacy.
Now it's all gone down the drain.

I haven't been able to share and talk about this with all of you till now.
It just hurt too much.
There is so much more I could say but I think this is enough and you get the idea
of how truly heartbroken I am.

So much for this tangent I went off on.
Back to happier things.

 Wanting to end on a much more positive note 
 here are my husband Jim's grands playing their cigar box guitars Jim made for them.
Notice the "M" on top of Mackenzie's?
They loved them!
Both are growing up so very quickly with J.V. entering his teens.

Much love to all my blog friends this Holiday Season.
Thank you for your constant support and your lovely comments.
Happy Holidays!!!!

Friday, December 13, 2019


Each year my pathetic little pomegranate tree
 which looks like it might expire at any time,
yields to my surprise,
 the most serious poms.
This year it produced six medium sized fruits
 and they all split open in one amazing form after another before I felt the outside skin was ready.
They are not as sweet as the ones I get in the store
but that's ok,
cuz I'm so delighted I was able to keep the little tree going.
After all,
 it was gifted to me by my son many Xmas' ago.
And didn't it photograph beautifully a top my husbands black mustang?
Its reflection is remarkable against the black shiny surface.
Makes my heart so happy to see nature in all it's glory.

Thursday, December 5, 2019


Almost 17 inches.
Thanks to our neighbors I have some fun pix to post.

A winter wonderland at out friend Chris' house
and a peek outside his kitchen window.

Our sweet jeep as the snow is beginning to melt.
We can really see the huge branch that fell on it.
Also notice that some little tracks where perhaps a squirrel is jumping from the branch to the roof.
Jim braved the rain yesterday and drove up to survey the damage.
It took him 5 times to get up our little hill and into our driveway
(glad I wasn't there to try that with him).
And the branch was too big and heavy for him to pull off jeep so he had to saw it off in pieces
to be able to even get to the porch to enter cabin.
Thank goodness the jeep was not damaged.
The electric was out for 5 days, 
so he had to throw out most of the food,
and I guess the yard is one big mess.
I'll go up this weekend to survey the yard work I have ahead of me,
and do a bit of stitching
while pup Sophie plays in the snow.

First big snow for this gentle giant.