about the artist

Archive for December, 2005

Left-over Day

Monday, December 26th, 2005

In much of the world this is boxing day. Many Americans think this means it is a day to pack up boxes or to return packages to the store for exchanges or refunds. Reduced
to it’s simplest essence, its origins are found in a long-ago practice
of giving cash or durable goods to those of the lower classes. Gifts
among equals were exchanged on or before Christmas Day, but
beneficences to those less fortunate were bestowed the day after.
We can be happy that it is an archaic holiday and celebrated in name only!!

Around here it is left-overs day. I don’t cook and we hope the kids didn’t take all the left overs home with them! We had Lisa’s excellent lasagna for lunch along with Christmas cookies. Tonight we will have the left-overs from Christmas dinner.

Lisa left for home yesterday. Here she is Christmas eve. Oh and the next picture is Steve masquerading as Santa:

lili  santa?

I have not posted many pictures of my son. He is quite handsome as you can see. He looks a lot like me, except he is very tall!!


He brought his new girlfriend Jaymie. We had never met her. She is
a lovely young woman that Mark has been dating for a few months. She is from Tempe, but works in San Jose now. She is a lot younger than Mark, but is very mature. She is quitting her job in June and going to take pre-med classes at San Francisco State. Here they are together:


Mark said they had an escape plan in case Jaymie was not comfortable with us. I am happy to say, it was not needed. They stayed until this morning!!

Here are the pillows that Steph and Lisa made for Mark. They used the same fabric:


Here are some goodies that I received that I love:


Click on photo to see it enlarged.

OK, that should be really neat tote bag from Lisa. Mrs. Mel, do you have an NPR map?

Steve is calling me to go out to K-Mart to get some big plastic totes to start storing my studio stuff while the house is on the market. We have and appointment with the Realtor on January 15th. A strange thing happened yesterday while we were sitting around in the living room. A very well-dressed woman drove up in a fancy schmancy Mercedes. She got out with a camera, walked in front of our house and took a picture. What was that about? Here is my fantasy. The work is out that we are selling the house. She represents someone who really wants a house here and they are going to show up at our door next week and offer us an insanely high offer without my ever having to clean a closet or empty my studio. What do you think the chances of that are?

It’s Not Christmas Without…

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

What goodies do you have to have at your home to make Christmas just right? At our house there are two things: Christmas Tree Coffee Cake and Chocolate Mint Brownies.


I used to teach bread making classes and I made and sold my "healthy" whole wheat coffee cakes at a folk art store in Los Gatos back in the 80’s. This version uses whole wheat pastry flour and is filled with dried cranberries, sugar, butter and cinnamon.

The brownies have mint flavoring and green, mint flavored frosting with a chocolate glaze. I also made sweet potato pecan tarts and peppermint candy puffs because Lisa had a craving for something with crushed peppermint sticks!


Lisa arrived yesterday and she is making her famous lasagna for supper tonight. Mark and girlfriend Jamie, who we have never met, are due to arrive soon. Tomorrow, we are having grilled tri-tip because it is so balmy here.

An update on Stephanie and family. She called from NC. The kids are doing fine, but she has pneumonia. they took her to the doctor, and she had a chest x-ray. I told her to stay in bed and let Jack and his family wait on her hand and foot!!!



Christmas Booty

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005


I’m sorry! I couldn’t help myself! This is my Christmas present from M & M – Puddletown boots. Aren’t they cool!

We arrived home this morning – after arising at 4:30 am to catch our flight back to California – joining the throngs of travelers clogging the airport. We left a house full of sick family members. Miles had a relapse today and was running a high temp and after a trip to the Dr. and some antibiotic they are all heading for North Carolina tomorrow.  I am praying for a successful trip for them. It is hard enough to fly across the country with two kids and when they are not in the best of health, it can’t be fun.

We did have fun last night at our little Portland Christmas party. Mia absolutely loved her Art Bag and I got lots of hugs and thank yous. I came home basking in the glow of a few days with M & M.

Steve and I babysat on Tuesday so that Steph and Jack could get out to finish their shopping. Yesterday, Steve and I had a great time shopping in downtown Portland. I just love the city that will become my home. We spent some time in Pioneer Square, then off to the Pearl District to find the Patagonia store. The up to NW 23rd to get an important gift at Urban Outfitters. Then we drove around the area of Portland that we are interested in and looked at some houses that are currently on the market. All the while the Portland mist drizzled about us. In California it pours. In Portland it sort of drizzles.

I have to get up early tomorrow and get the house ship shape and do some baking. Lisa and Mark are arriving. Mark is bringing his new girlfriend!! This should add some spice to the normal Christmas activities.

Baking Cookies with M & M

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

We arrived in Portland yesterday. It was cold with slushy snow. Miles had a virus with a high temperature and spent most of the day sleeping – he is a very wise child! So we spent the day entertained by Miss Mia who received this awesome birthday present from her aunt Lisa:


Lisa found this in a thrift store and restored it for Mia who is a big Little House on the Prairie fan. We managed to get it here in fairly good shape.

Today, Milo was feeling much better. So Jack and Steph went Christmas shopping and M & M and I made ginger Spritz cookies. Mia helped measure all the ingredients and get things mixed up. I pressed the cookies – Christmas trees, wreaths, and Christmas flowers – and Mia did the decorating with sprinkles and cinnamon red hots.


Miles mostly watched!

Here are cookies fresh from the oven:


Mia offers cookies to everyone:



Stephanie made the cutest Advent Christmas stockings that are hung in  the dining room. Each day there is a treat in a stocking. You can see all the stockings here. Tonight there was a note that said look under the green scarf on the stairs and there were new Christmas jammies. Here they are after a bath and ready to go to bed in new jammies – what could be better?


I have to wrap presents because you can’t bring wrapped stuff on the plane. I have a lot to do because I brought stuff for Mark, too.

Seasonal Insanity

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

I spent most of yesterday afternoon stuck in traffic. They closed the main road back to my house because of a multi-car accident. The other route home  was clogged with traffic and was made slower by another accident. Arrrgh! Not how I meant to spend my afternoon. I had a 12:30 hair appointment then stopped to mail some packages. I hoped to be home by 2:30. It was 4:30 when I arrived home. I finally finished the Christmas tree cards and they got mailed today. Between church, a neighborhood party and a Christmas concert tonight, I didn’t get much done. The color and composition exercise will have to wait until I get back from Portland and maybe after Christmas.

Yesterday was Mia’s birthday. She is six. She had a sushi party with lots of Japanese decor and attire. You can see pictures at Steph’s blog, here.  Tomorrow we are flying up for a belated birthday celebration and an early Christmas. They are all going to North Carolina on Friday to visit the other grandparents.

My Christmas gift to Mia is art supplies. I wanted to put them in a nice container. So I got an idea. This is one of the vinyl bags that I have from attending Empty Spools seminars at Asilomar.


With the new Janome, I made a little label that says Mia Barnes  Art Bag. I appliqued that to some sparkly, starry fabric that Mia loves. Then I appliqued that to the vinyl bag.



Here the art supplies:


And  here it is ready for Miss Mia!


We have to get up at 5 am to leave for the airport at 6 am. I am so far behind on reading blogs. I’ll try to check up on everyone when I get to Portland. I’ve packed gloves, boots and a warm hat cause it is cold up there!!