Saturday, July 28, 2007

Root Baby

Hello! We spent the day socializing with our buddies, drinking too much coffee, eating bibinka (a tasty coconut cake of the Philipines) and making root babies. These 'plants' are part of a succulent type known only on the island of Carmaris (location my stories take place). They have the ability to wander, to mewl (useful to warn off intruders)and to spit a strange milky substance if threatened. They make lovely plant pets, if given sufficient room to move.
The house is from B.B. Barnes in Asheville. I love that store! Filled with excellent garden art, lovely and unusual basket arangements, and loads of beautiful plants. They only had one variety of carnivorous plant, so I was out of luck discovering more for my bog garden. I bought half a dozen little pots to make more botanical specimens. The one in the picture is for Steve Keegan, who gloated contiuously (which pleased me, of course). The house is quiet now, everyone is out, or sleeping, which means its time for me to work. Good night!

Friday, July 27, 2007

summertime fun

Hi there! We've had a great time visiting with our friends Tony and Lisa Blackwell (returning from a long hiatus traveling around the western u.s.) and our long-time friend from school, Steve Keegan (from L.A.). We just finished tiling and sealing the floors, right before our friends got here, I haven't taken a picture, but I think it looks beautiful. I love having guests! Sheila and I have made lots of food and fancy drinks (the ones in the pictures are of one found in the june issue of Martha - its made with white sparkling wine,peaches,raspberries and basil- so good!). It was nice to have a break from renovating the kitchen (the countertops come next week). Greg has been reading the last Harry Potter book to Azalea and I at night, I want to know what happens, but I want it to last. I've designed some new pieces and worked on my story- it feels nice to allow time for it, like a luxury. Well, it time for some Harry!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Hi there! This is Azalea at Sheila's new studio space at the River Works Warehouse. Sheila loves it. I am slightly jealous. My studio is a wreck and I have no energy to organize it, especially when it will all have to be brought down when the floors come. The kitchen floors are underway, mini tiles of tumbled slate (very natural and amazing) I will show pics when the job is complete. The men are hard at work, laying all the little pieces out. Im pretty impressed, I don't think I'd have the patience. Tomorrow the countertop people are coming-yay! We have been arguing continuously over colors, one is dark slate (almost black) the other a chunky biege. Im for the dark corian, everyone else is like 'its too dark!' or 'soooo masculine!' it will probably end up light. I 've been staring at too many magazines displaying artsy kitchens, minimal and clean. Reality says that the counters are always full of teapots, fruit and jars of goodies. I am a foodie after all. Its exciting to finally get a new kitchen! Next will be my studio, I can hardly wait. Next year I will tear up the lawn, I've been collecting landscaping websites, saving them till its time to call in the design people. I'm getting ahead of myself...its fun to dream.

The last few days have been spent writing furiously. I'm lucky to live with such creative people, willing to listen to me tell my stories and give insightful ideas. I've really enjoyed working on my project, its been awhile since I've had a chance to submerge myself in it. I'm so glad my sis is here to watch Azalea while I work. I was really terrified to put up that little story, but I had to know if others would find it interesting. I was moved by the gracious comments, they really encouraged me, gave me the push to go forth! Thank you, so much for taking the time, i really needed it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mrs. Reppeteaux

This is a short (or vignette) from a book I'm working on. Its a delivery from the 'Beach of all Things Lost' by a bird girl named Loki. I've been developing this imaginary world since I was 16, right around the time my older brother disappeared. You might say it was escapism, or wishful thinking. I just really liked the idea of going to a place where lost things (and lost people) would turn up.

A sound like miniature feet, a tiny scrabbling, came from the next room. Mrs. Reppeteaux jerked awake, startled by the commotion. She got up slowly, her back bent, her hand automatically grasping the cane by the recliner. She shuffled apprehensively toward the dim bedroom, standing in the doorway, searching for the source of the noise. She half expected to see a mouse, but it sounded bigger. Surely not a rat! She noticed the window cracked open and wondered when she had opened it, she moved to close it and saw a small parcel on the bedside table. The package, thin paper folded into a tight square, with deep red thread binding it closed, felt light in her thin hands. The old woman could see spidery writing in the same shade of scarlet on the other side and squinted to read the message : “To Mrs.Reppeteaux, 117 Widdleston Street, I found this ring and thought you might like to have it back. V.” Who was V? She opened the package and stared open mouthed at a ring she had lost nearly twenty years ago. Memories washed over her, she was a child again, walking through the dusty markets of Cairo, holding her fathers big hand, as he led her through the crowded, chaotic streets, the noise and smells swirling around her. A flash of gold caught her eye and she tugged at her father to stop. A gold ring topped with a sitting bird, lay on a square of brown cloth amid other treasures, but all she could see was that ring. Her father had laughed at her intensity and bought the ring, putting it on a fine chain for her to wear (for it was too big for her little fingers). The ring accompanied her everywhere after that warm, happy day, a lovely reminder of her winters in Egypt. She wore the ring throughout college, on her wedding day, when her children were born, everyday for forty years, until the day her husband died. She had gone into the sea, to float on the waves, to let the immensity of the ocean drown her grief. When she emerged, dripping and cold, she saw the white indention where the ring had been and felt a new hollow, empty place within her. It felt like a particularly bitter betrayal for her bird to leave when she was this weak. She had wondered about it everyday since she lost it, if anyone had found it, or if it lay on the bottom of the sea, a piece of her history caught within a forest of pink coral. She put the ring on, it fit perfectly, as naturally as if it had grown there, she looked out the window for a long time, wondering.

A good weekend

Azalea opening her early birthday presents with her Grandma-O, an assortment of sets from Calico Critters (just like Sylvanian Families for those in my generation).

An insanely happy girl, as she goes for the huge dollhouse.
This is my bird Mochi, a blue parrotlet. She is soft and sweet, just like the ice cream balls she's named after.

Hi! We enjoyed a quiet weekend with family and friends. Greg's parents came down from Ohio to enjoy the fine Asheville weather (or should I say the charming company of a certain little girl!). We had a good time going out to eat at local restaurants, picking out toys for Azalea and playing games.It was nice. Azalea had loads of fun and can't wait to see her grandparents again.
We went to see the movie 'Once' and loved it, I've been humming the soundtrack all day ( ) I'm going to order all the music from Glen Hansard's band The Frames right now. So good.
Greg went to Lowes to straighten those folks out, after the fast one that their 'professional installer' tried to pull. I think he was afraid if I went, I would kick down the building in my wrath. He got a refund and deep, heartfelt apologies from everyone, they areclaiming a full inquiry is in order. So we won't be getting our bamboo from there, Which is fine, I found it almost half the price online anyway.
I wrote almost all day. I'm back on track, finally. Inspired, you might say. I'm nervous about my writing, really self concious. I want to post a bit to see what folks think, but I'll probably chicken out. My birds have been looking at me like I'm crazy, talking to myself, mumbling, trying to get a feel for this character or another. Its been a really good day.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Miniatures,seedpods and treehouses

Because I love miniatures and enjoy delighting in how small something could be.

A beautiful photography book filled with up- close pics of strange, alienesque pods and seeds.

Awesome. You will be amazed how creative (and brave) some folks can be!

Look at my fabulous new books! Yes, I love books. My shelves are bulging, threatening to topple at any moment. So I had to get more. Its not because Im addicted - I could stop whenever I want to, I just need these for...reference. I'm not addicted.
We just got back from Lowes, supposedly to sign a contract for our new bamboo floors, but the guy doing the measurements tacked on an extra 200ft to the footage (a 1500$ difference!). What, did he think we wouldn't notice? We got home and measured, found out he was off by miles, now we are wondering what to do next. Should we politely inquire if Lowes hires crooks or ask for a refund for taking such crappy measurements (we did have to do it ourselves). I was so excited about getting new floors! That crack head, raining on my parade!

Oh well, we can deal with that drama tomorrow! Greg reads to Azalea and I every night and we just started The Crestomancy Chronicles. Its pretty good so far, a change up from The Arabian Nights and Grimms Fairy Tales. Well, its story time, good night!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Wonder Cabinet

I found this delightfully strange blog featuring all manner of weird antique collectibles called The Wonder Cabinet ( ) via Ulla's blog. I visit her site often to find interesting art - mostly artists making romantic, fairy tale work. Love it.( ) Today Sheila and I caught an afternoon showing of Harry Potter 5. I had fairly low expectations, fearing more pitiful acting (like the skinny bad guy who kept kept licking his lips -to show he was evil- in the 4th movie). I was pleasantly surprised with this one...I liked it a lot! My brother says there are all these descrepencies, frankly I couldn't remember the book (I found it mediocre), so Sheila and I enjoyed it. Greg and I then went to World Market and found some raspberry saki made by Momokawa and a few different kinds of chocolate. Should be really good. Its after 11pm, time to get to work! I'm a night owl, its nice and quiet and I've had the whole day to think about what to make. We will probably work on our stories, by discussing plots and characters. I have big plans to make a 1/12 miniature of one of the houses in the story. I love miniatures! Construction should happen this fall, when I should be working on new designs. I think making a dollhouse from my world would be more fun, although it would not help business much! We shall see, lately my productivity has been low....too much I need to kickstart my butt into action. Well, have a good night!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

fairy tales

Look at my girls new hair cut!
I've been fairy tale obsessed today (everyday, really) and found a neat site featuring fairy tales , I liked it. I'm reading about japanese fairytales, they are beautiful! The stories increase my love for foxes...I see a fox piece in the future!
Sheila and I have been sucked into Top Chef 3, its pretty good. I feel like getting expeimental in the kitchen. I'm making banana bread tonight, maybe I'll try the indian spin and spike it with cardamon. Or not. I can't stop watching this darned show! Last night, VH1 ran a program on the ridiculousness of the 80's. How could I not reminisce about such silliness?
Greg has worked really hard on a short story serial he started on his blog ( ). Its really good, so check it out! He is a fountain of inspiration and creativity, always writing music and stories. Its nice to be surrounded by creative people and I feel so lucky to have such a talented husband. Well, its time to find out who gets kicked off Top Chef, good night!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Silver Birds

Andrew sent these Sukie hankerchieves,(i love them! ) we use them for bundling objects japanese style. Prawn at the bird sanctuary on Cape Canaveral.

Downtown Asheville and a pair of silver earrings from Honeypot.

Here we are at the beach. Azalea on the porch back home.

The bird sanctuary and Azalea pleased as punch.

Its nice to be home. It felt like we had been gone for ages! We had a great time in Florida, going to the beach, visiting friends, bird sanctuaries and shops. I could watch birds all day, so it was a real treat to sit and relax and feed beautiful white ibis's and blue egrets. I feel rested and ready to make some art! I have loads of ideas (its hard not to get inspired when visiting such beautiful places!).

I felt the need to 'nest' when I returned. To cocoon myself, to lay low. I like to disconnect from the world once and while, turn off the tv, computer and phone and just play with my girl or read a book. I just finished the second installment to Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (its in the same genre of young adult fiction that Im writing my story) and I found it pretty entertaining, it got me fired up to work on mine. That's on my to-do list tomorrow.

We spent the last couple days planning some remodeling in our kitchen and in my studio. New countertops (corian and stainless sink) and slate tiles for the floor. Its not horrible now, but Im not a big fan of laminate anything. We are going to put in bamboo floors in my studio, which I am so excited about! I can't wait till everthing arrives! It should all be finished by the end of the month. There's sickly blue carpet up there now and I simply cannot abide it anymore!
Its a large space and filled with supplies, so Im not looking forward to moving my stuff out. Well, I guess it will be my opportunity to organize. I've been studying decorating books like its my job, in hopes that I might pick up some ideas. The trouble is, I have loads of small things, and not many ideas on how to display them. Well, Im off, have a good night!