Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sophie...The Flying Dog

Faster than the speed of sound, that's Sophia Jean, riding shotgun with me to visit her boy toy, Bogie Agrums below. Recently she had a 3 day sleep over with Bogie when Jim and I went to Vegas for New Years. It was love at first sniff between the two of them, Bogie even went so far as to share his favorite chew bone with her. Now I take her over for brief visits to keep the love alive. And let me tell you it sure was no picnic shooting that pix of her leaning out the window, while holding onto her leash for dear life and trying not to drive off the side of the road. But what can I say, I can multi-task. LOL

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Last Weekend

When I got home from school last Friday night I didn't feel like cooking (never do LOL), plus the weather was so beautiful and warm, I just knew I wanted to go to Laguna and watch the sunset with Jimmy. We got there just in the nick of time. Parked by Las Brisas and this is the sequence as the sun went down.

Jim thought it would be cool to shoot these palms below.

Saturday night Jim asked me out to dance at a small sports bar in Brea called Shady Nook where his buds were going to be celebrating his best friend Dan's birthday. The band playing "Acoustic Conversation", were friends of ours, so we had a wonderful time. The venue was so small that they couldn't fit their keyboard player and their drummer had to leave his drums in the car and instead play his cajon. What a cool instrument. Jim says he has one and he will teach me to play it, then we can jam in his garage, oh yeah!

Dan is in the red sweatshirt, he was the birthday boy.

Sunday morning my son Zach called and asked me what I was doing and if I wanted to go anywhere. I definitely didn't want to stay home and watch the play-off games, that's for darn off we went to our favorite garden center in Newport Beach called Roger's Gardens. This is the place I was telling you about Harry. You got to check it out.

This time round my battery was charged so I was able to show you how gorgeous and large the place is. But also very pricey :( Above is one of the first showplaces that you encounter when you walk in. They change it seasonally, so it's always different every time we go. And below is the other side in a completely different colorway.
They always have a beautiful display of hydrangeas, one of my favorite plants.

Below they also have this huge slope that they change out seasonally as well. Right now they have those plants that look like large white cabbage growing mixed with red bark Japanese maples. It was so pretty.

They have lots of pathways you can meander along and enjoy the foliage above, and below, large expanses of fountains mixed with scrubs for sale. This is where the richy rich come to shop for their gardens. If I do buy here it's something special that I can't find at Target or Home Depot.
Our favorite spot here is in the succulent garden below. They have some terrific specimens, and all are super healthy. Zach and I both collect cacti and succulents, and then I try to place and grow them in pots I've made especially for them. It's a visual flow kinda thing :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Teacher and the Student

Poor Jim got more then he bargained for when he stopped by school to say hi today. He watched a demo. with my students and I sorta encouraged, maybe twisted his arm a bit, LOL, to sit down and participate. I can just kick myself for not getting a pix of him sitting amongst my 7th graders, watercoloring along with them. It was a Kodak moment that I missed. But at least I got a pix of his watercolor. I was teaching the 7th graders wet into wet techniques involving layering, shifting and charging. My demo piece is the top one and here is Jim's underneath. Not bad for his first time with watercolors. Good job baby, and thanks for stopping by. What a nice surprise!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Slab Footed Bowls - Student Work

As you can see the beginning clay kids are starting to get the hang of glazing and manipulating the clay, as well as bringing in some interesting surface design. These little beauties just came out of the kiln. Enjoy them with me. Top right belongs to senior Andy De Avila, and the sweet bird next to it was created by senior Dong Song. Both boys have exceptional craftsmanship.

Above we have a close-up of senior Christine Joy Castillo's hard work and attention to detail. Didn't think I knew your middle name, did ya? LOL By the way, thanks again for all your help on glazing days with clean up, just let me know where you want your extra credit points. :)

Above we have the crazy, wonderful work of super talented senior Freddy Perez. Now that is some cool foot! Freddy is an outstanding designer and spends a lot of time critically thinking out his projects. Below we have a terrific piece, both in design and glazing by senior Kevin Pascual. Both boys really love working with the clay and spend many extra hours perfecting their pieces.

And lastly, we have these sweet pieces below created by seniors Matthew Ramos and Christina Lee. Matthew has created a very elegant foot while Christina has brought in some exceptional surface design in her greenware.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Soap Scrubs - Student Work

My 7th graders had too much fun recently making their wool soap scrubs from scratch. Just look at the beautiful marbleizing that Thomas Kang was able to achieve above in his bar. I think for most of them the best part was deciding what colors to use to surround their soaps in, and then the actual felting process with hot soapy water. Boy, did we have one big mess to clean up when they were through.

I loved the colors and the sculptural effect that Raj Susaria was able to get in his, above right. And then the very pretty one to the right belongs to sweet Lauren Lee. Below we have Sabrina Dagoc, top middle is Liana Chie, bottom middle Amber Wu, and then far right is Jonathon Lin. Fantastic job all of you, and thanks for cleaning up so well without me having to nag! Much appreciated. I'm sure gonna miss you sweet babies.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Slab Candlesticks w/ Beeswax Candles - Student Work

Every year when I began my slab unit in the beginning Ceramics class, I start with slab candlesticks. It's a fun, simple way to ease the kids into making their more difficult slab boxes later on. And it's also an assignment that introduces them to clay embossing with laces, leaves, burlaps, wire mesh, and other found items around the room. So 2 sides were embossed, and the other 2 sides I had required them to use their cylinder rolls & stamps that they made early on out of clay that we bisque fired to make them usable. So lots of Surface Decoration!!! That's what it's all about clay kids! :) The pieces above were done either last year or the year before, I'm sorry, I've lost track. And the ones below were just finished up. They had a choice in how they finished them up after the pieces were sawdust fired. They could either paint a 50/50 mixture of Elmer's Glue and water over the surface, or they could have rubbed them with metallic compounds.

From left to right are seniors John Balagtas, Harry Trieu, junior David Hyun, and seniors Andrea Acosta and Andy De Avila. Very cool pieces your guys. And yes, they made their own beeswax candles to put inside them, but they had already been sent home so you can't see how they looked together. Bad planning on my part. Sorry!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Short Day Trips over the 3 Day Weekend

If you follow my blog you know that one of my favorite places are the Tide Pools in Corona del Mar. My kids take me there every Mother's Day, but the weather was so glorious over this last weekend that I asked Jimmy to take me to the beach, after doing a bit of garage saleing that morning (mostly we were at Mickey D's tasting their new oatmeal, not as good as Jamba Juice though LOL) Fortunately, he enjoys the Tide Pools as much as I do so off we went. It was perfect there, not too warm or cool, just right. We laid out and soaked up the sun for about an hour and then we explored the pools.

I was surprised by how many people were there doing the same thing, kids were playing in the surf, divers were out in the seaweed clumps (yuck), and lots of fishing and pleasure boats too.

The tide was out so we were able to walk amongst the sea creatures and observe. The pools are policed, you aren't supposed to remove any rocks, shells, etc., but that's way too hard for me. I took home a piece of beach glass, and Jim found a rock in the shape of a heart. He stained it mahogany when we got home, shellacked it and put it on display over the fireplace, alongside our other treasures. :) Couldn't resist taking a shot of this sand castle below, the tide hadn't gotten to it yet. I loved how it was totally decorated with beach wood and shells.

And just look at the patterns in the sand below, they looked like leaf shapes that day. Soooo Cool! That was Saturday morning.
Sunday morning Jimmy asked me if I'd like to take a drive down to Fallbrook. I had heard that it's somewhat of an art community, so of course I wanted to check it out. Let's Go!!

As we were driving south on the 15 towards San Diego, the hills just kept getting more and more lush. Everywhere you looked it was breathtaking. Above is the Fallbrook off ramp. You can see how green everything is.

We got there at lunchtime, so we were definitely looking for a fun place to eat. It was blazing hot, so to cool off we went down this little walkway, above, and found the cutest place to eat called Le Bistro, below. They were serving Sunday brunch and it was delicious. I would recommend this spot.

After lunch, along the main drag on Main St., we found the Fallbrook Art Center. It's a combination arts and crafts gallery, right up my alley. They have an area where they showcase local artists and their art work is for sale. The main show this month was High School Student Art from the neighboring areas. This watercolor/pen and ink truck above was done by high schooler Chandler Lowe, grade 11, from San Pasquel High. It was my favorite piece in the show. Below were several mixed media deconstructed books from Mission Vista High, grades 9-12, all anonymous. I thought they were a really clever assignment, something I'd like to try with my 2nd or 3rd year 3-d students.

These mixed media paper mache' hand sculptures were also pretty darn amazing, the top one done by Shannon Claque, grade 12, from San Pasquel High. Jenna Hansink, grade 10, from Vista High did the one below.
And then the last piece that really caught my eye was this woven basket form, made by Janetta Bracey, grade 12 from Vista High. She used painted acrylic strips that she wove together. Another great idea to teach from.
On our way home from Fallbrook we still had some time so we stopped off at Old Town Temecula, founded in 1859, (below). What a fun stop that was. Like an old west town with lots of great shops and places to eat. We discovered that it's also a biker town, cuz of the huge Harley store where all the bikers show off their rides. I saw so many chix on bikes, it was way cool. I think I want to learn how to ride. Jim has a bike, I think it's time he taught me. Whatcha think????
I wanted to shoot more pix of this place but my memory card was full. So maybe next time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

7th Grade Collaged Boxes w/ Wire Pendants

I'm soooo sad, it's almost the end of the quarter and time for my 7th graders to change classes again. What a terrific group these kids have been, so very sweet and so much positive energy. I think those qualities come thru in their colorful collaged boxes. My teachers donate old jewelry boxes that these kids turn into well designed and crafted little works of art. The 3 above were done by Juliene Porciuncula, Katherine Ku and Sabrina Dagoc.

Here is a peek inside Sabrina's box. We see her very cool stamped tissue that she designed to flow with her box, as well as her wire wrapped pendant that she crafted. Great job Sabrina!

Above we have 2 gorgeous boxes with their stampings and pendants by Jenna Llamas and Amber Wu. And below is Thomas Kang's adorable wire pendant. Look at his fabulous stamped paper. I think it goes really well with the panda. I'm gonna miss these young ones. Only two more weeks before we switch.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Happy 70th Birthday Bette

You look FABULOUS! Have a wonderful celebration this weekend and tell everyone Jim and I say hello, and so sorry we couldn't get down to Ft. Lauderdale to be with you. Hoping to come this summer when school is out. Love you so much!

See post below for EXTRA CREDIT for one more night.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Life Changes

I had and made some huge life changes in the past 2 years, I lost my mother, 2 aunts and an uncle, as well as did much downsizing in that time from my lovely Yorba Linda home, above, to my sweet new home/studio space, below in Anaheim Hills. The downsizing was the result of my divorce process after 24 years of marriage. Now my kids vacillate easily between the 2 homes. Thank you God! What I miss the most about the larger house is the yard that I had a free hand in designing after we gutted both front and back. I used to spend between 5 to 7 hours a week hand watering, pruning, designing, planting and weeding. A highly therapeutic process for me.

But now I divide my time between 2 homes and 2 garden patios, mine and Jim's, and they are easy walking distance from each other. Above and below is my home and garage before my short sale went thru, and before I made any changes.
So I thought it would be fun to document those changes, so here we go, my before and afters. And it only cost me about $10,000!!! LOL Let me start by saying the new place was filthy. The man who owned it before me was a chain smoker, so every surface was stained and covered with smoke. The first thing I did was to hire a heavy duty cleaning company to come in and rip out the carpet, and scrub down every surface. I also had an ozone treatment in both house and garage to get rid of the heavy smell of smoke. Surprisingly, it really worked. I also had special paint (Kilz) put on the walls to help kill the smoke smell. So now when you walk in it smells oh so good!

Above is a shot of the entry, and the door leading into the garage. All of the befores where shot before the cleaning crew came in so you can see how dirty every thing was. In the after you can see the new stone flooring that Jim laid for me, and also a shot into my new studio space.
Below is a small alcove next to the entry leading you up the first flight of stairs. There are a lot of stairs in this place, a great workout for my backside. :)

And just look at that nasty carpet, above, leading you up to the main living space, and the same stairs afterwards.

Above is the main living area, and below is the after shot, looking out to my cute little patio. Many of the art pieces on the walls were either done by my students, myself or professional artists whose work I collect to teach with. And then a few pieces were found at garage sales that Jim and I love to scavenge thru on Saturday mornings. Michelle, look what I have hanging over the couch, that beautiful embroidered jacket you sent me to wear to my art award presentation last year. It's the focal point in the room and I used it to base all my color choices on. Thank you again for that gorgeous piece.

Oh, there's my worker bee Jim fixing something in the dining room area, and below is the finished room. Love the rich mahogany flooring that Jim laid for me here. In fact, because of Jim, and his thrifty ways, ideas and help, I was able to save a lot of money putting this place together. Thank you baby!

In the shot above, you can see the bedroom's loft edge. It's a great place for displaying antique quilts and handwoven rugs from Mexico and the Navajo trading posts that I love to collect and teach with.
Check out the smoke stains on the kitchen cabinet above where he had a small calender hanging, yuck!!
The kitchen and dining room afters.

Stairs leading up a half a landing to the bathroom, above.

Surprisingly, the bathroom was the cleanest room in the house.

Here are a couple of shots of the bathroom finished. In the pix below you can see the same stone flooring that Jim laid in the entry, he also put here in the bathroom. Thank you honey :).

And once again, another set of stairs leading up to the loft bedroom. And then the after below.

I had the cleaning crew rip out all the window coverings to let in as much light as possible. And I had my daughter Dani help me pick out a new bed frame and coverlet, below

The twigs over the bed came from Ikea, and I cut them down a bit (they were really long, and the pieces I cut off I put in the vase in the corner) and then reassembled them into a hanging sculpture. Easy and fun!

Here is the other angle of the room, and how I finished it out below. Because this top floor gets so very warm, Jim installed a fan system in the window, so that I don't have to always turn on the air conditioner. The man is always saving me money! The round barrel chair in the corner, covered with the maroon throw, belonged to my mother. As a child I remember going into her bedroom where it was at and spinning myself silly in it. In case you are wondering, it still spins really well. LOL

Here is my sweet little second floor patio before I did anything with it.

And here are a few shots of the plantings I put in. Poor Jim had to lug all this stuff up many stairs. The tree and barbecue were especially rough to bring up. My son, Zach, helped him out whenever he was around with the heavy stuff.
There is a really cool store down in Laguna called Green Cube where I picked up this wall sculpture of succulents, and those very clever plastic bags with plants growing in them came to me after they took them down from their window display. All I had to do was ask and they were more than happy to give them to me. Believe it or not, those plants are still alive today after 5 months of brutal SO. Ca. weather (winds, rains and punishing heat last summer).

My favorite redo was converting part of my elongated garage into my home/studio space but still having enough room to fit my car in. There was this home gym machine that the previous owner left behind so I gave it away to a friend and then the games began.

Jim and I decided that to save more money we would do all the painting ourselves. Both my kids even pitched in and helped a bit. The hardest decision was picking a wall color. In my last home studio I had lime green, orange and yellow walls and ceiling. So this time I wanted to try to tone it down a bit. But I love yellow walls, they make me soooooooooo happy, but we decided that this yellowy orange was a bit overwhelming on this long wall above, so when I got home one day Jim had painted me a love note over it before we changed to a lighter color :). But now when I look at the after below, I almost wish I had kept the darker value. Oh well!
In the photo above you can see my floor loom that I haven't touched in sixteen years since my daughter was born. I'm hoping one day that I will weave again. Sandra, there's that picture that I was telling you about above the leopard cabinet. :)

Here is the view from the opposite direction. I did keep that darker yellow on a couple of the smaller walls and overhangs. And I found this really cool screen at Ikea to put up to divide my car space from my studio space.

And to cover and hide the washer and dryer, Jim installed a wooden pole so I could hang the drape covers (they are made with hemp so they kinda smell like pot LOL). He also installed wonderful lighting so I could see inside this very dark space. We still have to paint the small area above the drapes. Probably this summer. The floor is especailly cool, the wood is from Africa and Jim did a beautiful job installing it. He's a mighty handy guy to have around, and I'm a mighty lucky girl that he's all mine! LOVE YOU SWEET MAN.
All in all, this whole transformation took us from May 1 until the end of August this last year. So a good 4 months. And it was a blast! For EXTRA CREDIT: on a piece of yellow paper LOL, cut into the shape of a house with roof and chimney, put your name and period on one side and on the other tell me which transformed space you liked the best.