Monday, December 22, 2008

Rayne's Embroidered Mexican Blouses

Rayne Wolfe is another buddy from the Press Democrat - a really talented reporter, and super fun gal. She's the one with the laugh you can hear across the office. She's an incredible jewelry designer, and has recently found a niche doing embroidery on a basic Mexican blouse pattern. She & I share a passion for poultry. And vintage stuff.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Here's Dave, playing his bass in the garden:

And onstage: "Bass Solo!"

A Nice Review of The Venice Chronicles

I like this review of "The Venice Chronicles" because she did a great job of capturing the feel of the book. And she included some of my favorite watercolors out of the book.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wet-felted Mittens

I've been wanting to try wet-felting mittens for awhile now. Here's my first try. I over-did it and made these too thick. (Dave says they look like oven mitts, and he's right) Plus, it took me 5 hours!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Today Sib & I rode our bikes up to Luther Burbank's Experiment Farm. Sib & Ross had discovered an incredible outcropping of amanita muscaria mushrooms - the big, orange/red ones with white spores on top. It was so beautiful - for whatever reason, they loved growing under this one particular tree - a Chestnut. We walked all over the property looking for more, and found several other varieties, but no more of the amanita muscarias. I can see how people can get into mushroom huntin'. It's kind of addicting - like looking for pretty pebbles on the beach. I had to be very careful not to step on any of them.

Amanita Muscaria

I've never seen so many mushrooms.


Breaking Ground, literally.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Dust Bathing in the Sun

Looks like a Chicken.


Dust bath!

Oh, yeah ...

Don't Disturb Me.

All Done!

And looking fine.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Bass Girl

I seriously doubt she misses her bass as much as I miss hearing it around the house!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Laid off again...

I've been laid off before, but it's never come as a shock to me.

"Nancy, the company is announcing layoffs today, and your job is one of them." The words of my boss last Friday. Completely out of the blue - I had no idea they were even talking of layoffs. This company just does not communicate with its employees. In the 6 months I was there, I never received ONE company-wide office e-mail. Which was a blessing in a way, but kind of weird. I would overhear things that indicated they were ok, like, the machine shop's running 20 hours a day, they've added x number of machines, the fin shop is working Saturdays to keep up with orders, etc. And they had hired a bunch of people earlier this year... Now, I'm told, due to order slowdown at the boat builders, they decide to lay off 14 of us - that's about 10% of the company. And besides coming as a shock, I had to pack up my stuff and leave immediately, which was really bizarre. I drove home at 11am and just drifted around the house, mindlessly doing stuff like cleaning out the fridge, not really knowing what to think. I'm still waking up in the middle of the night, going "what the ... did that really happen?" "Aren't I supposed to be getting ready for work?"

Such a bummer; I was really hoping that I could hang with this job for the next few years - So now it's apply for unemployment, update my portfolio, hope that something opens up...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Main St. Sebastopol by Kathy Goetzel

Another talented Graphic Designer I worked with at HP was Kathy Goetzel. Kathy is an amazing painter, and has returned to her art in the last few years. She has painted many of the animals at Safari West, as well as botanically-correct local flora - you can see notecards of her work all over Sonoma County. She also illustrated the amazing book, "Miss Hallberg's Butterfly Garden." I love Kathy's work, because it always represents the things I love about living here in Sonoma County. This one is my absolute favorite! It depicts Main St. Sebastopol - the same intersection I photographed with the Buggs Bunny! I love it because of it's whimsical style, and cool perspective. I imagine myself in an old-fashioned hot-air balloon floating above Main St. I also love that she snuck a dachshund dog in, and because it shows "Earthchild" toy store, where Amelia worked for several years.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Two Art Exhibits of Note

For many years, I sat next to Pat Haley at Hewlett-Packard. Pat was the corporate photographer. He was my photography mentor. As I was taking photography classes at the JC, he would invite me into the photo studio and let me use all his equipment. I even got to fill in as his replacement while he was on vacation. This was in the days of film - using large-format and medium-format cameras I got to shoot a lot of products for HP. I learned a whole lot from Pat, and am forever grateful to him for his mentorship.

Pat is retired now, and lives part-time near Puerto Vallerta, Mexico. He has been able to get back to his painting, and has a studio in Santa Rosa. He has a show going on currently called "Impresiones de Mexico" at Uribe Studio on Sebastopol Ave. The show is open from 11-6 Fridays thru Sundays until Nov.25. His paintings are large-scale and depict life of the locals in Mexico. I especially loved his Folklorico paintings.

And, "Innovations in Fiber Art IV" is now going on at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. My "Popeye Gang" felt sculpture is in the show. Dave & I went to the opening on Thursday, and the show is super-impressive. Mine is definitely the least-Innovative piece, but it is the only felt sculpture. There are quilts made of hand-dyed tea bags, coats made of hog casings, weavings of wire, pine needles and more. The Gallery is open daily - M-F 11-5 and Sat & Sun 1-4. The show runs through Dec. 7th.

I Love Sebastopol

This is the main intersection of Sebastopol. One day, driving to work, I happened to notice something atop this building...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Venice Chronicles is here!

Hooray! Today I received 2 copies of Enrico Casarosa's brand-new book!(Yes, Amelia, one copy is on its way to you!)

Isn't it cute?
"The Venice Chronicles" is Enrico's watercolor/sketch journal of a visit to Italy with his girlfriend Marit and her parents. It is an endearing love story - with amazing watercolor artwork, and laugh-out-loud humor. I can't wait to share this book with everyone who crosses my path - so watch out! And here's the amazing part -- Enrico included, at the end of the book, a photo of my Enrico and Marit felt dolls that I gave to them last Spring. I'm so incredibly honored!

This little book will charm the socks off anybody - Especially anybody who loves watercolor, love stories, Italy, and humor... and who would that not include? If you are interested in getting a copy, (I guarantee you'll LOVE IT!!) it's available at Amazon, or at Enrico's website.

More Enrico Goodies:
Animated Birthday wishes for Marit
Movie of one of Enrico's paintings for the Totoro Forest Project (the look on the little boy's face says it all)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Paint by Numbers

I came across a woman at the Petaluma Antique Fair a couple of weeks ago that had a bunch of Paint-by-Numbers paintings. I couldn't stop looking at them - it brought me right back to my childhood. My guess is that most those paintings done way back then no longer exist. In my mind, at least, they didn't seem very worthy at that time. Now I'm all sentimental about them. I bought this one.

Whoever did it never got around to painting the number 1 - white.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What is Hip?

Lucky me. I got the nicest Birthday greetings today! Thank you!

I love music. And fortunately, most of my favorite musicians perform regularly, so I get to see them. There is one artist, however, who stands above all the rest - always has and always will be my favorite, and that is Ry Cooder. This sounds dramatic, but I would count some of Ry's concerts as way up there on a list of highlights of my life. Ry doesn't perform anymore - doesn't have to - doesn't want to. I've seen him perform several times years ago, but the last time I saw him was in 1992. He lives in Santa Monica and makes a record every few years. I've been reminiscing about those old concerts a lot lately for some reason, and lamenting about how much I would love to see him again, and that it'll never happen. I even scoped out YouTube a few weeks back and posted a clip from one of those old Ry concerts on this blog. There's nobody I'd rather see, and that'll never change. There's just something about Ry.

Thanks to a heads-up from Michele, I found out that Ry had agreed to play two nights at Great American Music Hall as a benefit, on Oct. 3rd & 4th. We were able to go to last night's show. We traveled with Doug and Barrett Jayne, who made the evening even more fun. Doug's the only person I know who's into Ry as much as I am; to the point of naming his son Ry! To make it even sweeter, the show was called "Guitar-Bass-Drums" and it was with Jim Keltner and Nick Lowe - It was an amazing evening. One that I will probably have to cherish as the last time I'll ever see Ry, and perhaps Nick Lowe too. We've all changed a lot in 16 years, and although Ry looks pretty good, Nick looked really old. But I think if he'd shedded his "Mr. Rogers" sweater, he could have looked 10 years younger! Word has it there were lots of "stars" in the audience, many in town for Hardly Strickly Bluegrass, including Robert Plant and Allison Krause. Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris were there Thursday night. Elvis Costello was there both nights, and perfomed both nights, too. The songs were mostly Nick Lowe songs, which were great songs, but I would have loved to hear more of Ry's pieces. They all sounded great, and needless to say, I was in heaven. Sarah Palin, that thing that seems to be on everybody's mind these days, crept her way into the lyrics of Ry's "How can a Poor Man Stand Such Times as These?
Some of the other pieces they did were: What is Hip, Pretty Baby?, The Beast in Me, Without Love, What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?, The Best that You Can, Take It From a Fool Who Knows, Gai Gin Man, Fool For A Cigarette, One of these Days, Never Bring My Baby Back To Me, Half a Boy and Half a Man.

Joel Selvin of the Chron wrote a full review of Thursday's concert at
(sorry; can't get this link to work, but you can copy & paste if you want to read it.)

Then today, Dave & I went over to the Sonoma Valley to another benefit concert at BR Cohn winery. An entirely different experience, but very enjoyable. The lineup was The Turtles, Todd Rundgren, Kris Kristopherson and the Doobie Brothers. The Turtles were surprisingly FUN - we loved them, and Todd was fantastic. Kris was a bit boring, and we left shortly after the Doobies started, because we just weren't quite into them. Although we thought Todd rocked, I don't really think he fits in very well with the Doobie crowd. But it was a really fun day of laying around in the hot sun and the warm rain, drinking beer and munching on yummy food and listening to music.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We are going to the Harvest Fair

Maybe I should call this photo "How I spent my summer!" I started this "family" back in May, inspired by the early Popeye Cartoon drawings by Elzie Crisler Segar.

On Monday, I yam goingz to takes them to the Harvisk Faire! If ya goes, be sures to stopsk by an sees them!


and a close-up of Alice:


I think Cornsnakes are beautiful. Of course I do; they're orange. So I made this one out of wool. Her body is basically wet-felted, and her pattern is needle-felted on top. My friends Ron & Carol have a real one, but I'm not that brave. Today she got to go outside and play in the grass, the redwoods, the cactus and the apple tree.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Town

Once a year, Graton closes down the street, opens its doors and throws a party. There's a creative, bohemian spirit to this little town. The highlight of the day is the parade, dominated by dogs and Burning Man vehicles.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Alice The Goon & Swee'pea

Alice the Goon appeared in the Popeye cartoon in 1934. As slave of the Sea Hag, Popeye's eternal enemy, the idea was that the horrible beast would eventually battle it out with Popeye and be disposed of. The nude character with hairy legs and arms struck fear into the readers. She spoke in oscilloscope language, proving that she was not of earthly origin. Newspapers received so many letters of protest - that she was frightening small children, that a stop order was received from the syndicate to drop Alice. This was a blow to Segar, Popeye's creator. After a respectable length of time, Alice was brought back clothed in a polka-dot blouse and skirt with a red hat and perky flower. She became attached to Swee'pea, and became the family baby sitter.
It is because of this character that the word "Goon" is in our language.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wow! Totoro Auction raises $201,236!!!!

This is a correction to my earlier post -- I had read some incorrect information, and just now found out that the Totoro Auction raised well over $200,000!

I first heard of this on June 21, at a Sketchcrawl, when Enrico Casarosa asked Amelia & I if we might be interested in contributing something. We worked furiously hard to meet the deadline (we were definitely afterthoughts) and turned in our pieces on July 15th.

Enrico, Ronnie, Dice and Yukino (and hundreds of others) have worked long and hard on this project all year. Can you imagine? Herding over 200 artists, and then organizing all the logistics and collateral material and resources to create an auction? There must have been over 500 people there last night. Lots & lots of volunteers working the floor - serving food, monitoring the bids, doing the sound, checking i.d.'s, etc. All their hard work sure showed. What an amazing feat to pull this together -- and they all have full-time jobs to boot! I hope they all slept in today!

It was like a night amongst the stars of the art world. The caliper of art was amazing. I wish Amelia would have been able to be there, because she knows who these people are. Me, I was just wandering around oblivious to who's-who, because most people didn't have name tags. But I knew for sure I was in the company of greats based on the art on display. Of course, I recognized John Lasseter, Mark Andrews,Pete Doctor, Ronnie, Enrico, Dice, and a few other artists I'm familiar with. Mostly I recognized names on the art -- and had no idea which face matched the name.

The food and drinks were amazing; from smoked duck pizza to seared sesame halibut with white miso aioli, green tea macaroons, white peach cheesecake lollypops, sake, etc etc etc. It was a beautiful, casual evening, with wonderful company, and we were treated like kings. They know how to throw a party!

The art was mostly silent-auctioned, with certain pieces set aside for live-auction. A select few hot-moving silent auction items were then moved into the live auction. It would really get interesting when a certain section of the silent auction would get near closing. Mark Andrews and Derek Thompson would wander around with wireless mics describing the art and pumping up the crowd. They'd give a 5-minute warning, and then do a 30 second countdown before closing.

The silent auction was amazing. There were 18 pieces - the cream of the crop, and most went for $2- $3,000.00 Some went for over $4,000. It was fun watching Lasseter bidding - he ended up the winner of quite a few pieces last night. Ronnie's was one of the silent-auction pieces. Although he obviously has nothing to worry about, he told me later his heart was pounding. Can you imagine? That's really putting yourself out there - to be up in front of your co-workers, peers, executives of your company --- hoping that somebody will bid a worthwhile price on your art! Of course, his painting of "Nina" went for over $2500. I can't imagine doing that. I was so happy to wander around being an unknown nobody, and if nobody bid on my piece, nobody would know it was mine! Something to be said for anonymity!

Amelia's watercolor -- I'm so proud -- sold for $200.00! My felt piece scored the lowest bid of the evening at $65.00! Which is completely appropriate, based on the caliper of the other artwork. I'm just glad somebody bid on it -- thank you very much. I would have hated to have to bid on my own piece, or worse yet, have no bids at all! I really felt, and still do -- that I had no business being involved in this thing. Enrico just has a heart of gold to invite us. I enjoyed the process, the anticipation of the event, the online gallery and bidding action, and the event itself. It has given me a huge boost of enthusiasm for creating my art, and with Amelia being gone, this is a great time to dive into something and give it my all. I feel more motivated than I have in a long time.

Pixar does not allow cameras, so I can't post photos like I usually do... boo-hoo! But there were plenty of professional photographers wandering around, so I'm sure there will be photos up on the web soon.

All the art is still online at

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Whoo - what a weekend. It had to happen someday! Is it easier if you have more than one kid? In the realm of potential heartbreaks between parent and child, I guess this is a relatively easy one. After all, she's off to the College of her dreams. She's dreamt of this day since the CSSSA summer of '06. She had to be there. She's hungry to learn. And I feel confident that she's amongst enthusiastic, like-minded sponges like herself. I think she'll be happy at Cal Arts. And, after this weekend, I feel confident that she'll be safe.

But the house felt empty this morning. It wasn't easy waking up realizing that, not only is she not here, but she won't be here till Thanksgiving. I don't know yet whether that will get harder or easier to accept as time goes on... we'll see. We'll sure miss her, that's for sure.

We went out to La Vera on Sunday night for a farewell dinner with Mary, our "other daughter."

A couple of Sonoma Cownty Girls:

Monday morning, we took off for the long drive down I-5. Amelia drove the whole way.

Here's the dorm -- can you tell she's in Southern California?

One of our biggest anxieties was ... the roommate. What if she got stuck with a lunatic? What a relief it was to meet Tahnee! She's a total sweetheart. Cal Arts did a great job of pairing them up, I think. We hit it off immediately with her parents, and found that we all have a whole lot in common. Both girls are only children, both musicians, and both in the Character Animation program. We loved the two girls next door, too - who are also practically roommates, since the two rooms share a bathroom! Here's Amelia, Tahnee, Adeline and Sabrina: (All four in Character Animation) "Go Girls!"

And if it gets too hot, there's always the pool.

Dave & I took a tour of the campus. We discovered so much that we hadn't seen before! It was soooo cool. We wish we could turn back time and go to school there ourselves!

Here's Dave in the Shop. Yeah - she chose the right school.

Check out this way-cool shop floor: (Wood ends!)

This is a "Cube". Each character animation student is assigned one of these (although I think freshmen may get more of a "group-cube." This is where they practically live while working on their film projects. This one is empty. Apparently students get pretty creative decorating their cubes. Amelia already has a rug for hers. Probably so she can sleep on the floor.

This is Cal Arts' new Amphitheater; named "The Wild Beast"

and back at home ... Somebody's missing you, Amelia.