Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Tonight we gave a dinner party in honor of Ben's grandparents, who are in their nineties. They are active, intelligent and lovely. They inspire everyone around them.

Yesterday and today were for making everything about the setting and dinner extra special.

That meant things like polishing silver and cleaning every corner. Then making things like prime rib and extremely delicate and persnickety chocolate sauces.

It was for choosing the right linens and candles and scents. It was for dozens of other details. Everyone who's ever put on a formal dinner party can appreciate the work involved.

So then, I cut the tip of my right ring finger at about 5pm, and Aubrey had to step in and finish a few things for me. Good experience for her. She hopes to own a specialty bakery one day, so improvisation is good practice.

It was so very worth every effort. But next time...I'm hiring help.

Anyway, the thing is... I had this really interesting sort of epiphany this afternoon. Taking the sage advice of the previously blogged life hacks, I made a note to write about it later instead of killing myself trying to get it written out now. It can wait.

I hope next year I make many things you enjoy. I hope next year we learn a bit more together. I like traveling through time and space with you.

I thank you for being with me this past year. Your input has relevance to my life and my work. You make me think. You make me laugh. Thank you.

Pete has gone to drive Ben home. Aubrey and Matt have gone to a party. I am not even really in shape to drive even this keyboard, between the dinner wine and the ..uh, cooking wine. Oh, then there's the huge bandage on my finger, which is throbbing nicely. That too.

So I'm going to put on comfy clothes and play Super Mario Galaxy with Orion. That, I can drive.

In the words of my beloved Sponge Bob Square Pants "You don't need a license to drive a sandwich."

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Orange you gonna stay on target? Don't shave that Yak!

I start the morning by surveying the holiday carnage rife in every room of our home, in every corner of what used to look like an art studio.
A familiar feeling, like looking over a deep abyss, steals over me. I ask first the question of where to begin?
I could motivate myself with a nice bit of panic. No need. I have coffee.
Deep breaths instead.
It's reset time for the household and for the studio. This means there are long lists of things to prioritize, delegate, schedule and do. This year we have several large projects and many smaller ones and more humans involved. After the New Year holiday we'll 'hit the ground running'. We've been gearing up to this for months. Now, here we are. A bit scary, a bit exciting.
The good thing is that we work smarter than we used to. The good thing is that there is lots of work to be done. The good thing is that we are aware of many terrible things around us.
The good thing is that we will make every effort to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. The good thing is that we'll accept our human responsibilities without wasting time on guilt. The good thing is that we'll marvel at new technology. The good thing is that sometimes we'll screw up. The good thing is that we will make art. The good thing is that we're traveling through space and time, living our lives. The good thing is that it is we and not me.
They are all good things. Like the oranges I picked from our front yard today. Bigger inside than out, worlds unto themselves. But too many good things can roll us over if we don't stay on target.
Creative sorts of people tend to go off on tangents. This is often a good thing---my best ideas seem to happen when I'm busy at work already. But side trips can eat up our time, get us lost.
This sort of wandering, (particularly bad for types like me who tend to approach projects like we're fighting fires) can lead to distraction and frustration. One of the best bits of advice I've ever heard on this subject comes from life hacks Danny O'Brien and Merlin Mann.
In an article from Make Magazine (I cannot say enough about Make) they write:
"Solving the world's problems is something good hackers achieve, often as a side effect. But you don't have to spend all your time lost in your own life's subroutines - even if that's where the best fun is to be had."
If you find yourself deep in plans for the coming year, or trying to clean up the mess from the last, you might want to give things a closer look before you start. Seems to me that we could all use a good refresher course about yak shaving.
The new year approaches with all that comes with it. I think I'll use these last few days to clear my head, breathe deeply and stretch. It's never a good idea to run (or swim!) without warming up and stretching.
I know many of you are standing on similar starting lines. I'd like to hear your plans and ideas for implementing them.
Here we go again...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ho Ho Ho. And cake.

The holiday tree sits in a bucket of water, ready for standing and decorating. Aubrey, Matthew and Orion will decorate and Pete and I will actually leave the house, brave the world and do some gift shopping.

It's our wedding anniversary today. We have brand new matching his and her colds, so are saving the fancy dinner until we can actually taste it. Instead, a simple night of shopping and later, a movie at home near the fireplace. We rented Angel A, having seen a preview at the local theater where we see most indie films.

We'll remember the wedding--the white paper pinwheels and gossimer in the breeze, the hundreds of candles, the mysterious mime on the dancefloor, which friends got drunk, who stepped in the fountain, that sort of thing. But not for too long, because we like now.

Now is pretty good.

And tomorrow is my birthday. Same plan. Simple and warm, but with cake.

Everything is better with cake.

And Gurtie, of course, says "whatever."


Ravyn has listed some of her painted foals on ebay and says they can arrive in time for hanging on the tree. You can't really appreciate how tiny and detailed these are until you see one in person. I have some, and I was surprised and delighted when I opened the packages.

Off to shop for silly things.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Truly Extra Ordinary

This has been a weekend for ordinary things. Several deadlines have been met, the rest are in the hands of others for the moment; shippers shipping, craters crating, printers printing and authors authoring.

Tomorrow very early, Ben and I are to begin the studio remodeling/reorganizing project. Then I'll start posting photos of studio work again. After a full year of projects and no clean up, we are(ok, I am) ashamed to show the state of our workplace.
Not to mention the massive tool migration. Screwdrivers and clamps, lying down together--I tell you it's madness.

Then there's inventory and restocking. Okay, the restocking is fun. It's partly comprised of drinking coffee and flipping excitedly through specialty tool catalogs. Happy Holiday to us!!

I'll likely show a couple of new pieces--several are very close to being finished. But mostly January will be for organizing and working on book projects, some Poppety and some---well, sheesh, I guess they're all Poppety in one way or another.

So yes, this weekend was about not hurrying and eating lots of food. I did brush my teeth, but I don't think I brushed my hair even once. I wore my favorite ratty jeans and a baggy sweater.

And it was for sleeping in a bit, with cats and kids. Well, one cat and one kid--but they require the space of two.

Pete and I watched the A & E presentation of Blazing Saddles with commentary, which gave us a whole new appreciation for a movie already a favorite.

We installed a new faucet in the kitchen. I'm pleased to say we were only squirted once. It's shiny. It doesn't leak at all. And it's shiny.

I liked the blue tv light on Orion's face as he watched 'The Grinch" (the animated one, with Boris Karloff.) At night before bedtime, he watches an episode of Samurai Jack. He likes the dubbing in French. He asks me questions. He reminds me that I speak French quite poorly.

And then there's this:

Just go to Media Matters to read the article.

Does Poppet laugh, fear for humanity, or both?
And, what would Bender say?

I'm glad for "off" weekends. Less news, More Mel Brooks.

have a good Monday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Packing, Shopping

Today Orion is home from school with a croopy cough. Yes, it is winter in the desert. I'm finishing up the Play with Toys packing. Having fun with it, actually, working up front near the fireplace where it's warm and I can whisk Mr. Croop off to the bathroom for steam if need be.

The studio is very chilly today. No place for artists, unless they're Bent, who is somewhat like a polar bear.

And, shopping online. As every day, shopping online. If I'm not ordering studio supplies, I'm ordering gifts. Mostly books, lots of books. I'm thinking that this year I'll have done at least 80% of my gift shopping this way. But what about the romance of getting out in the nippy weather downtown? Forget it. Downtown Palm Springs can be fun, but it looks nothing like a city and everything like a strip of tourist shops at the beach. Except for the mountains.


Angie (aka studio rookie) sent this little clip called "Shopping in Texas." Short and cute(?). Even though you already know what's coming, thought you might like it.

Anyone take their Poppets shopping? I'd like to see some Downtown Poppets on Tour. Uptown Poppets?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cinnamon Reindeer Games

Ravyn sent me this Reindeer-costumed Foppet. Cinnamon Poppet makes a near-perfect playmate, so I paired the two to wrap up the holiday sale. Please forgive me for adding it on late, but it is so cute I couldn't bear to let it sit until next year. (Though I could've been persuaded to keep them for myself.)

It's Monday, and the last two weeks have seemed to be made up of 48 hour days and not much sleep.

It's like that during the holidays. The business is, well, busy. The museum project deadline is upon me and others, including the Strange Roads cover.

And this weekend Alison and Logan visited, Orion's best buddy Sophia had her birthday party...

it goes on and on. All of them good things, like loads of happy, healthy kids running around the Discovery Museum, sweet baby kisses and shopping for gifts online.

And yes, packing Poppets with notes to collectors.

Still, it's A LOT of good things.

So last night became one of those nights when I kept waking, thinking of lists and deadlines and worrying about things I could control and things I couldn't.

Trying to convince myself that I'm more 'enlightened' than the exhausted, stress-out human tossing in her covers didn't help a lot.

Even my favorite pillow seemed to be working against me.

So I found myself sort of lost in a blizzard of loose thoughts, stumbling much like the Poppets from my header, toward a vague light ahead where things can be sorted out with clearer vision.

Today I'm not so lost. It took a step back, a cup of coffee, watching a geek-humor-laden Simpsons episode with Pete and appreciating a view of the snow on the mountains. I know a good life when I see it, stresses and ow-my-back included.

I don't have to be superwoman today. I'll be happy to be a person who gets the day's orders shipped out and the plants watered.

Wish you all safe passage and hot chocolate in the winter weather.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ghostly Pony, Wheels and Creeps

I received Foppets from Ravyn to join "Play With Toys." We have a big pony--and perfectly, slightly, ghostly -- for the Little Pink sculpture.

And a Foppet on wheels to go with a special Poppet painted meticulously with jacks and balls.

Also, artist RB DeWolfe stopped by the studio yesterday. I met her several years ago at the studio of the late bronze artist, John Kennedy.

You can see her work and learn more about her here.

Luckily, I managed to wrest a couple of pieces from her for the sale; a "Creep", this one, Nosferatu, and a "Smidgen" Nosferatu. I've listed them both at introduction prices and a bonus Little Red Poppet.

I had to. They're just too weird not to share.

Hope you're enjoying the Play With Toys pieces and your winter, so far.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

We like changing our hats

I like it when Orion decides to join me for creative time. He says, "Today, I am a painter."
Which seems a poppety way of looking at things-- as they are, without pretext or qualifications.
It doesn't occur to him to think "I will be a painter," or "I might be a painter."
He paints, therefore he is a painter.
When the music went to an upbeat track, we gave each other that crazy look, took off our aprons and our jig, polka,
kung-fu combo took over.
We danced and so for the moment, were dancers.
For the moment can be a very good thing.
Tomorrow more Poppets will be sent on their various journeys. Then I'll be a painter too for awhile.
Tonight Pete and I saw "No Country for Old Men." We saw a window this evening to catch a movie and jumped a the chance to see a Coen Bros. film, knowing little else about it. I found it sparsely beautiful and well acted and early on was stuck by the quality of the writing. Sometimes, it's not a terrifically easy film to watch. The credits revealed it is based on Cormac McCarthy's 2005 book of the same title.
That explained a lot.
I read McCarthy's The Road this year, finding it one of the most moving books I've ever read.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Poppet Tricks

Today the voice of sanity spoke up and told your artist it's time to rest. This piece, called "Poppet Tricks" will wrap things up except for a couple of Foppet's Poppet (arriving in the next couple of days from Ravyn) and two other ooak Poppets. All adorable, of course.
The other art pieces will have to wait until January, for I must turn my attention now to completing the cover painting for Strange Roads.

And, I must start getting some sleep. Otherwise I'll be known as your late artist.

So there-- those of you bidding on pieces in the sale can know where things are, and that I won't spring a must have on you at the last minute. As much as I like trying to wow you, reason prevails.

Anyway, here is a little video of Poppet Tricks, an illusion box that proves most difficult to photograph, especially for a tired artist in a paint-stained apron in need of less coffee and more dreaming.
As always, I truly appreciate your enthusiasm and love of Poppets and other creations. Ebay doesn't allow mention of donation, but each sale sends support to organizations including, NCAC, NORML, CBLDF and The Bill Hicks Wildlife Foundation.

Because Poppets are more than pretty faces. As are you, dear readers and thinkers.

It begins to feel a lot like winter. Stay safe! Time for feet up and the joy of TiVo. (I do look forward to spending some time with that darling "Reaper" devil. As Bugs would say, "Ain't he a stinker!"

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Play With Toys!

Saturday morning.

Play With Toys is officially open!

I'm happy to introduce "Whirligig I", the latest Bent/Lisa collaboration and "Goodbye Kitty", the newest RatBag rat sculpture.

And, sigh. We're still not done. It's terribly windy here with rainy, cloudy, changing skies. Not so good for photography. Not so good for artist types either, as we tend to linger at the windows.

Still, everything should be up by Monday, so please check back for new listings.

Play with Toys! Have fun.

and... Happy Almost Winter!