Tuesday, April 13, 2021


A very special shout out to Senior Nerie Crisologo
who was accepted to 3 outstanding Colleges for her Nursing Degree. 
 So very proud of you and glad I was able to be a part of your journey. 

Nerie designed and sent me this wonderful card 
to thank me for writing her Letter of Recommendation. 
I was seriously impressed with how well she nailed my image.
I never learned computer graphics,
it came way after my time, 
but I do marvel at how the youngsters of these newer generations have learned to navigate it.

Thank you Nerie for this card and the heartfelt messages you sent with it.
I wish you much success and happiness.


Friday, February 12, 2021

A LINA KIM UPDATE (see previous post)

                               Lina's Nude Torso from her senior year 2018- 2019 in Ceramics II

                Lina shot me an email today to say how much she enjoyed her post from 2 days ago.  
                                                  And here is her most recent yearly update. 
                                                     She has declared a Major in Sociology 
                                 concentrating on Law, Crime and Justice along a pre-law track. 
                                                                        Now get this, 
                                she is Minoring in Banking and Finance, Art History and English.
                                                                     Is Lina nuts?
                                                           Nope she is just that capable.
              Plus she will be headed over to the Cleveland Art Institute for more Ceramics classes!!!!!!
                Liz Ackert, she loved your comment but her mother says, "No, her pieces are not for sale".
                                          Sorry...if it was up to her she would gladly sell you a piece.

      What was striking to me is I haven't seen her in two years since she was a senior in my class,
                          and this is the first time I'm displaying her Nude Torso she made for me.
                 Then she sent me those pictures last year from her first semester at Chase Western
                    along with a newsy email of her life updates that still sounded so very youthful.
                                 But a year later, today, her email sounded so much more grown up.
                                                                I wonder if I'd recognize her?
                                                                      They grow up so fast.
                                   I look forward to next year's update Lina, and I wish you the very best.
                                                         You are going to be a busy girl, ha ha
                                                              Love you to the moon and back!

                                                        Now let's see more of that Nude Torso
Lina's torso was so very tall that we could barely put the lid down, 
and I had 2 very large kilns. 
Also we were deathly scared it would tip over during the firing
 due to the shrinkage that occurs at 1800 degrees,
bisque firing temperature.
We were both on our tip toes as one of us held it in place 
while the other put those heavy posts all the way around it.
We were also scared of cracking;
that often occurs when you build a piece this large over several weeks 
due to the uneven shrinkage of the plastic clay as it dries out.
But we got lucky,
I believe there was just one tiny hairline crack.
But I could be wrong,
it's been 2 years after all.
Here it is back into the kiln for it's glaze firing.
You can plainly see that Lina has layered and dripped 3 different glazes over the body,
then brushed on Cobalt Carbonate Oxide over the spikes so they would turn blue.
And it did.
Woo Hoo!
Sadly here you can see that the glaze and Cobalt mixture melted down thru the middle of torso 
and adhered her piece to the bottom of the kiln.
Yes, it was permanently stuck!
This happens frequently to all the students because glazing is a very tricky process.
If it's a tad too thick it will drool because we take the kiln up to 2500 degrees for this firing.
Glaze has a Silica base and it becomes completely molten at that temperature,
and when it's placed on a vertical surface
gravity takes over.
Look out! 

Lina had to masterfully chip away first to get it unstuck from the kiln shelf,
then even more skillfully chip the excess off the base of the torso.
In the process some of the base was also chipped away 
but miraculously it still stood without falling over,
 sort of.
The pix was taken leaning it against a wall,
just in case!
And some close-ups.
We were so thrilled it came out as well as it did.
 maybe it bothered Lina way more then me because she is a perfectionist.
I am too most of the time,
but this was such an incredible piece to begin with that the drool was only a minor detail for me.
I believe Lina glued the base down to a wood block when she brought it home for more stability.

I want to take this opportunity to once again thank my Art Assistant,
Alyssa Olea Morales,
for the wonderful pictures she shot for me.
Speaking of Alyssa,
I just wrote a letter of rec. for her application into Cal. State Fullerton's Teacher's Credential program.
Only one more year till she is officially a full blown Art Teacher.
Way to go Alyssa!!!

Monday, February 8, 2021


It's been a long while since I've posted any student art, 
and these pieces were created over a year ago and have been waiting for me to put up.
Sorry Lina for taking so long to get to them.
But I'm also thinking it was worth the wait because they are fabulous!

I adore the slit she built into the side of this torso.
And the beasts look so very natural which is extremely difficult to achieve in sculpture
as all my Ceramics II students have found out. 
Lina is at a small private research U in Cleveland, Ohio
 (my mother's hometown was Garfield Heights),
called Chase Western University where she is finding the classes engaging and fascinating.
All of these pieces were made in her first semester there.
I found it interesting that the professor took the kids out to a local farm
 to be able to do an open air raku firing for this piece.
How fun and very cool!

I think this next one is beyond remarkable for one so young.
What Lina,
19 years old?
You are such an old soul.
Lina told me this one took the longest of all the ones I'm sharing.
I can see why,
it's just lovely as well as being highly difficult to handbuild!
I also really like how you glazed it with the pinky-purple accents.
Was that an oxide brushed over the glaze?

This next one was the easiest she said made for a platter assignment.
I like how you glazed it with the overlapped turquoise. 

And this is Lina's second Rainstick.
She learned to make one in my Ceramics II class when she was a senior,
and she told me that both the other students as well as the professor
 were super impressed with this technique and the sound it made after firing.
Another very difficult piece to build,
but so worth the effort.

And this last one was the first piece she made at Chase.
The assignment was to build a stemmed vessel.
She added additional sculptural elements to the vessel which I bet pleased her professor.
The fluid waves create movement and forces the eye to circle around the pot.
You are an amazing designer and craftswoman Lina,
thank you for sharing these pieces and allowing me to post them.
I'm so very proud of you!!
what's your major anyways??
Let us know, 
and please send more pix from your second semester.

Thursday, January 14, 2021


A few months ago my children and I went on a cacti and succulent buying mission
to a grower in the Sunland-Tujunga area of the San Fernando Valley 
by the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains.
An adventure just finding the place!
There was so much to choose from and this succulent was chosen by my daughter.
When she made the purchase it wasn't in bloom,
but this is what happened about a month after bringing it to her home.
The most remarkable flower I've ever seen on a plant.
We were all in shock over how very unusual it was.
It lasted a good week and then it disappeared.
It almost looked like it was made from a plastic material.  
I couldn't believe what I was seeing at first.
I thought 
"No way!"
But it was real.
Can't wait to see more of these in the future.
Her brother bought two other varieties and are growing a couple more from seedlings.
But so far no blooms on any of these.
But we are very patient people.
I believe these come in as many as 23 varieties.  

Monday, December 28, 2020


Not Not giving up is my mantra on this Night Shift Cowl by Andrea Mowry.
But I have to tell you I've messed up and ripped out more then any other piece I've ever made. 
I finally have reached section 6 (there are 7 all together),
and as you can see, 
the pattern moves way more into the bluish yarn.
I'm still so in love with it,
but it's not a project I can take anywhere with me to work on.
It just requires too much concentration and focus,
so Andrea recommends having another project going at the same time that is much easier
that you can switch on and off with.
So I'm trying out Free Your Fade by Andrea,
something else I've been wanting to do.
It also calls for 3 different skeins of yarn.  
I just happen to have some Worsted Malabrigo in my stash that works well together.
And oh my, 
it's fast and so much easier,
but still good brain WORK.
Have I frogged back on this one,
you betcha,
but not nearly as much
The rows of eyelets are a real ball buster for me,
and I can't talk or watch T.V. when I'm doing it.
It's like knitting lace,

Thursday, December 24, 2020


When my mother,
 Rose Patricia, 
passed 13 years ago at the age of 92 after a 10 year battle with Alzheimer's,
I gathered her favorite Xmas ornaments that she treasured and several she had made, 
and started the tradition of decorating a separate tree for her at my husbands home
(I also decorate a larger tree at my home/studio with all my children's ornaments).

When I married Jimmy,
 he had a smallish, very lovely cashmere tree that he gave me for my mom.
But I've got to be honest here,
many of my mother's decorations that she loved or made were pink,
and as a child and teen growing up I hated those and that color!
And she always said to me.
"Debra Ann, 
when you grow up and have your own home,
 you can decorate your tree however you want,
and you'll be able to tell your kids too bad if they don't like it."
 my kids never complained as they were growing up 
and loved helping me put up the tree and ornaments.  
Maybe because the tree was mostly all about them,
Ha ha!
Below is a picture of one of my mother's trees when I was growing up,
This one is from 1968 with myself and first pup Petite
(of course my mother would dye her "pink" at Easter time,
but that's a whole other story).
Let's see,
 I would have been 13 here I wearing one of my Square Dance dresses
 because it was the only red garment I had for Xmas.
Yes, we square danced in the 1960 and early 70's,
with my moms Square Dance Club.
I came to love it eventually.
But what is so funny is that as I've aged into my golden years,
I'm 64,
although until a few days ago I thought I was still 63.
I find I'm very drawn to antique pinkish ornaments
 that I buy and add to my mother's tree in her memory.
These are the two I found and purchased for her this year.
She would have gotten a big kick out of my change of heart.
Funny how things come around. 
This sweet little cupcake is less then an 1" by an 1".

The acorn is from a friends private collection and was gifted to me this year.
Very old he told me and I love the decorative cap that it hangs from.
You don't see that anymore.
It's about an 1" by 2" long.

This next one I found last year in an antique store up by our cabin and it's one of my favorites.
Anything to do with home and hearth resonates with me.
Very tiny too,
about an 1 1/4" by 1 1/2".

Another favorite from several years back is this slow stitched piece made by Deliana Park,
ex-English teacher and dear friend at Whitney High.
During her free conference period she attended my Beginning 3-D course and learned to embroider.
I adore this tree design she came up with.
Another year she also took my Beginning 2-D class and learned to draw.
I always loved having the teachers at Whitney take my classes with the kids. 
And the students loved it too.
They got to know their teachers on an entirely different more personal and fun level.

And this little beauty is a new purchase this year from one of my favorite art galleries in Tustin.
It's a hand blown Rutabaga,
again pink just seems to be calling me.
My mother must be pushing me into this "pinkish" zone.
I love that she's still with me and guiding me.
I especially miss her during the holidays.
Xmas is not the same without her handmade Italian cannoli's.
Only one relative has finally mastered her recipe.
Several have tried so I give a shout out to my cousin Linda Ann.
Merry Christmas to all of you and have a Wonderful New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


I know I've spoken of my son's mother-in-law Mary often in her fight against Cancer,
but realized I haven't shown you all her picture recently.
Well here she is at her home this Thanksgiving which also fell on her birthday.
Mary is in the middle of her 5th year round of Chemo.
Once again she is in the process of loosing her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows
and she won't wear a wig. 
She is extremely confident in who she is 
which is something I wish I could say for myself if the situation were reversed.

She hosted us this Thanksgiving and cooked the Bird.
She continues to teach her Yoga classes 
and has visited/traveled to see her 1st grandbaby in Dallas, Texas several times this year.
She averages between 11,000 and 12,000 steps a day,
and continues to be one of the most positive, dearest people I know.
She is truly remarkable and an inspiration to me, her family and friends.
And pretty much says FUCK Covid while still staying safe.
God I love her!

Monday, December 21, 2020


After browsing Pinterest a couple of weeks ago I came across the Fiber Art of 
Berenice Mollet of Roujan France.
She had covered a lovely stone with a piece of eco-dyed and embroidered fabric.
It was love at first site!
So of course I searched the whirled until I found her and her shop,
and of course bought a few of her pieces to show the gals I'm currently teaching.
From left to right are an elongated notebook,
a rust printed trivet (she included as a bonus),
a medium sized notebook,
then underneath those a zippered pouch.
As you can see above her slow stitching is impeccable,
her designs delightful,
 and her sewing construction of her pieces so perfectly crafted.

What was really difficult was to choose an embroidered covered rock.
It was between an eco-dyed one that had a smaller baby stone attached,
but then I saw this indigo covered one above/below and felt very pulled to it as well.
So I thought about where I'd be displaying it and realized I wanted it in my indigo styled room
at my son's home that he and his wife are allowing me to decorate.
What I also loved about Berenice's blog site
 is she posts a lot of tutorials. 
She takes pix of how she builds her pieces during the classes she teaches throughout France.  
She is very generous with her creative processes.
I hope you get a chance to take a peek thru her site and shop.

Friday, December 4, 2020


It's been almost 4 years since I've taught Siddhant in my classroom
when he was in the 7th & 8th grade,
but this dear young man continues to keep in touch and check on me in my retirement.
He is now a junior in high school,
16 years old with a fresh driver's license,
Siddhant was a challenging 7th grader in my Art Wheel class,
right Siddhant?
He definitely gave me and his other teachers a run for our money.
As an 8th grader he started to mature a bit in my Beginning 2-D course.
But as all the teachers at Whitney know, 
because we are a 7th thru 12th grade jr/sr high;
 it is the summer between the 8th and 9th grade where real changes start taking place.
Very positive changes.  
The squirreliness disappears along with the attitudes and smart months,
and the 9th graders come in as gentle as lambs.
Well most of them anyways.
So Sid,
it's been refreshing to see you grow into the wonderful young man you've become.
Sid tells me he's looking into a possible 12 year college program
because he wants to specialize in either cancer research or cardiothoracic surgery.
I can't even begin to tell you how very proud I am of you,
and I wish you the very best in following your dreams.

And know how much it means to me that you continue to check the blog from time to time
 and keep me in your thoughts.

And don't forget to tell the young men who eat lunch with you outside my old classroom
 to throw away their trash!
Ha ha!!!!
( private joke)

Thursday, November 26, 2020


During this crazy, 
difficult year,
 thank goodness we still have so many things to be thankful for.
A lovely home with beautiful gardens to surround us,
healthy successful children who have found their way,
four grands who are delightful and keep us smiling,
and yes our good health,
even though as we age we find our bodies slowly breaking down.
But we continue to work thru that by exercising and eating as clean as possible,
for us anyways.

In the bigger picture,
I'm so thankful that my son-in-law Michael continues to fight against his brain cancer tumor.
He is almost done with his Chemo treatments and the tumor has shrunk a bit.
To look at him you would never know he is sick.

My son's in-laws,
Mary and Nick,
 are now both struggling with different kinds of cancers.
Mary is in her 5th year,
 and her 5th round of treatments.
Her 5th time to loose all her hair,
she is the bravest person I know and again,
never complains.
She inspires me daily with her strength and will to live.
And we just found out recently that her husband Nick has a rare form of bone cancer. 
Luckily it was found early and is treatable by replacing his blood twice a week.
No pills yet, 
and no chemo or radiation.
He is the picture of health and well-being.
We will be together today to eat, drink and be merry for another year round the table.

Today I find myself giggling over this most recent find in the potato bag.
I'm in charge of the mashed potatoes,
which are not "clean" at all.
Full of butter, sour cream, whipping cream, cream cheese with a hint of garlic and rosemary.
They are my specialty and are asked for on this day of giving.
So I could not bare to cut up this wonderful discovery for the boiling pot.
I will take it with me to share and make everyone else laugh with me.
I cannot tell you what my husband said about it,
but I'm sure you can imagine.


Monday, November 23, 2020


Couldn't decide which photo I liked better so I just put them both  up.
There are 7 Sections to get thru and I'm 3/4 thru number 4.
The leaves down the hill here have finally started to turn and they are stunning.
The ones in the photo above are Ornamental Pear 
and I've been Eco-Dyeing with them this and last week.
After our rain over 2 weeks ago I noticed that their leaves left a print on the sidewalk
so up they were scooped for the dye bucket.
So far the chocolate brown and yummy turquoise yarns have not been paired together.
Really looking forward to that coming up in Section 5.

Sunday, November 15, 2020


Discovering super star knitter Andrea Mowry has been delightful.
I found her on Knit Stars about 2-3 years ago now 
and have been drooling over her patterns ever since.
But alas,
they look so difficult,
so I've been stalling for quite some time before getting started on one of her smaller projects.
Recently I got brave enough to attempt her Shift Cowl,
and it really is excruciatingly challenging for me.
Not because the stitches are difficult,
it's basically Stockinette and Slip Stitches, 
but because I constantly loose track of where I'm at in the pattern.
Plus I'm carrying two different color yarns at all times. 
It actually took me 4 tries just to get started and that's even after I watched her tutorial-
several times.
But it's totally worth it.
I look forward to the challenge all day long.
I know I've mentioned this before but I won't allow myself anything fun (craftsy) 
until after all my work is done and house is cleaned up.
I know I'm weird that way.
Wondering if anyone else does the same thing?
I can't seem to allow myself to play unless everything's in it's place.

So what I've found,
 that is working somewhat for me,
 is a journal to tell myself where I've left off for the night,
to help check off rows,
to help me keep track of how many rows to rip off and put back on 
because I see a mistake several rows below.
The list is endless of all the mistakes I've made in this piece.
Pretty frustrating at times.
I'm also trying to watch and listen to my Netflix shows while I knit,
and I need Closed Captioning 
because I won't go get a hearing aide that was recommended 2 years ago.
But that's another story.
So I can't look up,
 and if I do I goof up.
I have never had to pay such close attention to something that usually is so relaxing
 and comes so easily to me.
But I love it,
I know it's good for my tired old brain.
Speaking of that,
have any of you tried Prevagen?
It's supposed to help with short term memory.  
And if so, 
have you noticed a difference?

In case you are wondering,
 the yarns are by Malabrigo and they are Sock Weight/Fingering.
I adore knitting with them and the extended color shifts.
Super soft and yummy plus a fabulous color selection.
Andrea actually uses Spincycle Yarns in a thinner weight.
Gorgeous to look at on the Internet.
Ordered and tried them but for me they were stiff to the touch and hard to knit with,
plus almost double the price.

Monday, November 9, 2020


This is our newest little one, 
a rescue that my son found under his home.
Abandoned by it's mother at two weeks,
sick, dehydrated and blinded by gook in his eyes;
 my son and his wife brought him into their home,
took him to the vet, 
bottle feed and helped him go potty.
(I had photos of all this except I lost my phone recently and lost all my contacts and pictures :(
My daughter and I drove out to meet him at 4 weeks here...
and we both fell instantly in love.

 This is our boy now at 10 weeks.
Still deciding on a name, 
for now called little Tuna.
He has also been raised by a Grandfather Rocky,
an Uncle Dinkers and Step Mommy Little Farter.
So this will now be their 4th cat,
unless he gets adopted by us or perhaps one of their friends.
It was so very hard not to bring him home with me this weekend.
But our pup Sophie would be devastated and her nose so out of joint.
Soph has been an only child for nine years now and rules the roost in our home.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

PUMPKIN LOVE - part two

Displaying my son and daughter-in-law's homegrown pumpkins at the cabin...
and putting up all the harvest decorations throughout home and yard.
That's huge love for me.

Putting out artist/illustrator Patience Brewster's mini 3-d designs come to life,
along with fiber artist Barbara Nelson's stuffed whimsical creations
on a Halloween tree design by Patience is always something I look forward to.
Barbara is still going strong at 87 although this was the first year
the Artistic License Art Show wasn't put on due to Covid where her work is featured.
I've collected one of her whimsical creatures almost every year since I was in my 30's.

Creating pumpkin designs with my new fiber students and and long time dear friends,
was so enjoyable this year.
Aileen Perry,
Whitney High's Biology teacher,
 along with her sister Suzanne Campbell,
Whitney High's Principal's secretary and I have been spending the last 5 months together,
meeting up once a week at my home studio for chatting and creating.
And yes there is mask wearing and social distancing going on!
This is satisfying my need to teach as well as keeping me abreast with all the goings on
 at my beloved school that I continue to miss so very much.
Aileen gifted me with the lovely ochre pumpkin in the middle
and inspired me to design my own pumpkins for gifting and display.
Now the gals want to learn to quilt,
so I'm teaching them to eco-dye first to learn about all the dyes that can be extracted from plants.
This will them a rich array of color on cottons and linens to design their quilt with.
Then they will learn to hand stitch and embroider
doing a little preliminary on felt before constructing a mini quilt.
It's up to them where we go after that.
Possibly basketmaking, weaving , felting, bookmaking;
it's all so much fun for me.

It was Aileen's idea to try and make a child's mobile using a few of the characters from Harry Potter.
She has become an avid knitter in only a few months.
Above is the Sorting Hat I demoed for her
(a fairly challenging pattern).
We've also completed the snake and hedgehog and are working on the lion right now.
I'm not a big Harry Potter fan so I used my Sorting Hat as a Halloween display.

Another big love for me during this time of year is collecting and pressing fall leaves.
I just found these from last years collection when I was looking thru a big Coffee Table book.
Amazing how they haven't lost their color in a years time.
Now what to do with them?

This is also the time for us here in Southern Ca. to take down our dried out summer gardens.
This weekend I helped my son remove all his dried up pumpkin and squash vines
and tah dah, 
we can see his backyard again.
I think I might have mentioned a couple of posts back
that when he and his wife moved into their home,
they gutted their backyard.
We amended it with bucket loads of steer and chicken manure,
so the sunflowers they grew were pretty ginormous...
as you can see here.
I got to take one of these beauties home with me yesterday,
 and I'll scatter the seeds next spring at the cabin.
Well, maybe not all of them.  
I'll give a lot to our always hungry Blue Jays.