Friday, February 28, 2020


Pinterest is an amazing way to meet and chat with artists all over the world.
Recently I had the pleasure of talking with an incredibly talented young watercolor artist in Russia 
by the name of Ekaterina Pytina.
I first saw a piece of hers on Pinterest called Eucalyptus
 and I was completely taken aback by her unique use of color and her asymmetrical compositions.
It was love a first site. 
So I put her name in my Google search engine and found her sight and I was off to the races.
I wrote to her telling her how much I admired her style and use of color 
and asked if Eucalyptus was sold.
Sadly it was but she had another marvelous piece called Denhamia
that had a similar feel to it.
It took a good 3 weeks to arrive from Russia but was worth the wait.
And she had packaged it so professionally I almost didn't want to open it.
I'm so excited to share it with you here,
especially to sophomore Madison Plotkin and freshman Itzel Huerta,
ex students of mine who already possess this kind of potential.
One of these days I'd love to share it with you two in person.

I fell in love with watercolors in high school,
and have been playing and trying to master them ever since.
I'm currently enrolled in an online class with Danielle Donaldson,
an American favorite of mine.
I adore her work as well even though it's completely different then Ekaterinas.
One of these days I hope to find my own style.
So much to do,
so little time.
Hot-cha-cha cha

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.