Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mischief Managed-Again!

The Harry Potter Mania continues.  My watercolor class members showed up to help with preparations for the upcoming Harry Potter camp at Bishop's Ridge in northern New Mexico.  

Wendy, using an inherited Singer sewing machine for the first time, merrily sewed lots of Hogwarts student hats.

In the background, you can see Barb, Betsy, and Deborah adding glue gun designs to the mirror of Erised.

Deborah took my pinned image of a DIY Deathly Hallows necklace and made a pattern.  She and Betsy made a box full of parts for the campers to finish.

Hopefully, the finished necklaces will look like this...

Saturday, May 7, 2016

My Three Sons

Did you love the old TV show "My Three Sons?"  I thought it was cute and charming, but never really related to it as a child.  As an adult I had only daughters and spent a lot of time on girly things.  It never occurred to me that one day my daughters would provide me with some sons!  And now I have three of them.

With apologies to their natural mothers who raised them, I must say that I love them all to pieces and feel very proud of them (even though I had nothing to do with how they turned out!)

David, Tim, and Colin have brought such richness to our family life.  They are each so very different from each other in their gifts and talents, but have common values and goals.

David, Sara and Caroline
David spent years as a journalist for the Washington Post, but when he married Camille, decided to go to law school so he could afford to better support a family, which he and Camille created instantly by having twin girls, Sara and Caroline, both of whom he is teaching to love baseball.  Don't ask him about baseball trivia unless you really want to know! His journalism skills have been a good foundation for his career as an attorney.  He is calm, careful, cautious, fiscally conservative and politically liberal.  When Camille and David visit, we laugh as we (introverts all) sit with our computers or books in the evenings instead of watching TV.  Occasionally one of us will look up to share something we have read.   David still loves to spend time in coffee shops and read the New York Times and Washington Post.  In his role as an attorney, he works to insure free speech.   We can count on David to always know what is going on in politics and in the world.  Movie star gorgeous as a teenager when courting our daughter, he has matured into a handsome father and husband who graciously shares his family with us and always welcomes us warmly when we visit his home.  Camille and David are loving the small but charming house they purchased in Albany, CA.  You can their Spanish Revival casa at The Vintique Object.

Tim making bread
Tim and Eliza in front of one of Tim's gorgeous designs

Making Connor giggle.

Our "bigger than life" Tim is an architect and artist.  His wide ranging interests include photography, scuba diving, gardening, raising chickens & mushrooms, making wine, brewing beer, making furniture, skiing, hiking, rafting, and camping.  And, of course,  Eliza, (now almost four) his year old twin boys, Alex and Connor, and our daughter Alethea.  His current work projects include homes in Lake Tahoe, Hawaii, and  multi-million dollar homes in the Steamboat Springs, CO area.  To see his stunning photographs visit Tim Stone Photos. If you are a design junkie, you might like to visit his website Kelly and Stone Architects. 

Colin and Brittany
Colin, far right, helping to introduce Sara and Caroline to rafting (Eliza was an old pro)

The youngest, Colin, loves our Brittany.  He and Brit are currently renovating a home in Albuquerque's Rio Grande valley "on the ditch" which in arid New Mexico is a very valuable asset because they can irrigate their land.  You can see some of their DYI projects at Brittany's blog, Kitchen Come Undone.  Colin, a civil engineer is co-owner of a consulting engineering business which he started with a little help from Brit who has her master's degree in Business.  He is has all these titles behind his name.....
                       EIT, LEED AP BD+C and PE.  
I only have a vague idea what they mean!  More importantly he is a favorite uncle to my three granddaughters and two grandsons with his million dollar smile, cheerfully donning his "Wild Thing" Halloween costume to chase the two sets of twins, "flying" Eliza on his feet in a circus move that he learned in a class with Brittany, cuddling all five and reading them stories, and buying all sorts of things like sleds and snow suits and hula hoops to encourage his nieces and nephews to love the outdoors.  Colin also loves to cook when he can chase Brittany out of the kitchen, likes to cross country ski, snowboards, hikes, rafts, mountain bikes and can fix anything mechanical or digital.

After many years of being the only male in the family, Norm is delighted to have some sons to share his interests and I am blessed to finally know what it is like to have a house full of sons and grandsons.  

A Happy Mother's Day to my son-in-laws birth mothers, Kristi, Elsie, and Wendy, and hats off to you for raising such fine sons and sharing them with us!

Building Hagrid's Hut

It has been a couple of years since I have worked on the miniature Hogwarts castle that I began to share my sister's passion for miniatures.  She died almost three years ago, and I realized that a lot of the fun went out of the process without her However, the upcoming Harry Potter Camp at which I play Professor McGonable,  a recent purchase of a number of miniature figures from a fabulous vendor on Ebay, most notably Hagrid, has inspired me to work on it again.
Photo by Ebay seller, Roberta at seashells_santas

Hagrid is by far the best artisan created piece that I own.  Not only did the artist capture his likeness, the clothing is beautifully sewn as well.  Unfortunately, the doll is not signed and the original collector did not provide the artist's name, but I have contacted the seller to see if she can provide it.  Update:  Doing a little research online, I discovered the artist who made my Hagrid.  Her name is Teresa Dudley and more of her work can be seen here

I did not purchase the room box, just the contents to add to my in-progress Hogwarts.  However, after placing most of the dolls, furniture, and accessories here and there in Hogwarts' rooms, I decided that Hagrid needed his hut and have begun to construct it.  Yes, even before finishing the castle itself!  Why do a lot of creative people start a new project before finishing the last one? In my case, I am reluctant to start Hogwarts' exterior finishes because I have never worked with paper clay before.  But I will do it one of these days...

In the meantime, here are the beginnings of Hagrid's Hut.

For inspiration, I looked at images online. 

 This one from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be the one from which I will work.


 I did make the windows much larger so that viewers could see into the hut from several directions. 

Foamcore is much easier to work with than wood since I don't have a table saw. I purchased the wood circle from Lowes to give the somewhat fragile hut a good foundation.

Glad I did not get rid of my wood carving tools from years past when I did some woodblock prints, because I decided to carve Hagrid's initial on the doors.  

I mocked up the interior with furniture to decide where the windows and doors should be placed.

 Notice the ceiling beams.  Not yet set into the walls, but very necessary from which to hang the multiple cages, and other gamekeeper equipment that Hagrid stores in his hut. Not to mention the lighting.

Hagrid checking out his new digs.

Next up, exterior stone walls, interior stucco, staining the wood floors, doors, window frames and bed, building a stone hearth with wood box underneath to increase the size of the too small fire place, building a loft to store more "stuff," making cages and crates to hold "beasts" which are still to be made from Sculpey, Sculpey pumpkins to feed Buckbeak, and of course food for beasts and wizard's alike.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Print, Cursive or Calligraphy?

Image Via

In our fast-paced world of text messages, hasty emails, and scribbled notes to communicate, the controversy over whether or not to teach cursive in school seems a bit quaint and yet...

There seems to be a growing interest in creating art works using the ancient tools of calligraphy.  On blogs, Instagram and Pinterest  people are showing photos of their handwritten quotes on blackboards, in frames and sitting on tables, painted on pillows, and on rustic signs.  Is this a nostalgia for another time and place, or are we recognizing that the slowing down into the meditative, intentional writing of words quells the frenzy of modern life?

In Albuquerque, a group of calligraphers meet together and practice this art.  
Click here to go to the Escribiente newsletter
Several times a year, Escribiente (Spanish for scribe or writer) Calligraphy Society show their works at different art venues.  In January and February you can see their works at St. Mark's Sacred Arts Gallery at 431 Richmond NE.  Hours: 9 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to noon on Sundays.  All photos that follow are by Evelyn Costello.  Here is a sneak peak...

If you are live in the Albuquerque area, don't miss this show.  Apologies to the artists for not including their names.  Will update next time I am at St. Mark's and can verify the names.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Surprise from the Fairies

Fergus and Merribelle, our high desert fairies, are usually in Mexico for the winter, but this year they paid a surprise Christmas visit to our mountain home.  I bring their fairy garden in for the winter because of the frost tender cactus planted in it, but that was no problem for them.  I had forgotten to lock the door and they let themselves in to sleep in a warm place.

They left me a note...

"We were so surprised that there was no Christmas tree in your house.  We know you are sad that none of your grandchildren could come for Christmas, but that is no reason not to have a tree!  So we decorated the one in our garden for you.  

  Fortunately we watched you make lots of miniatures for your miniature Honeydukes, and we borrowed a few things from it for our garden Christmas decor.

We especially like the little ice mice at the manger.  

The Christmas story might give you a hint about the other surprise we have for you, but you will have to wait until we return in the spring for it.  Enjoy your tree, have a cup of Christmas tea, and Merry Christmas!  Tell Sara, Caroline, and Eliza we hope to see them in the summer.  

By the way, the tree tells us it would like more water.  That wood stove is awfully warm and dries it out.  The cactus, however, are very happy and may grow to large to stay in our garden.    Love, Fergus and Merribelle.

A Blessed Christmas to all of you.  Hope the fairies visit your house on occasion.

Monday, August 3, 2015

High Desert Garden Hazards

As if decomposed granite soil, drought, ground squirrels, blazing sun, and wind weren't enough of a challenge to my gardening skills, now I am on high alert for more deadly critters.  We have live on the side of the Sandia mountains now for seven years with only a friendly tarantula making occasional treks across the gardens.  On my return from an extended time (almost five months!) in Colorado helping my daughter, Alethea, while she was on mandatory bed rest for two months before the birth of her twins, afterwards while she recovered from a C-section, and then Norm and I did some traveling.  Apparently the lack of traffic at our isolated house was noted by.....
Yes, indeed that would be the noisy end of a rattlesnake, first noticed by my brother-in-law, Larry because the cat was cautiously stalking this intriguing looking tail. 

Sati assiduously keeps the rock gardens clear of mice and lizards...

 so I was not surprised at her interest, but fortunately some innate caution kept her from attacking.

My husband wisely threw pebbles at Sati to chase her away and then despite the protests of my niece, Shan, and myself, he ran for the IPad to photograph this unexpected visitor.  

 Rattle up, but never used!  Very calm, complacent snake.  However, if it had tried to rattle, I understand the recent rains may have dampened it's sound.  This snake was very fat, so if it had been eating in our gardens, we expect no problem with mice trying to get into the house for the winter!  It slithered off to parts unknown, and we are praying that it was just "passing through."  Wonder if any of my friends will be brave enough to visit now?  Norm took a video, but I have not been able to successfully upload it.  Maybe a too slow internet connection?

Still despite the hazards, my gardens manage to survive...

And for those of you that are close friends, here is a photo of the twins...

The newest twins, Alex on the left, Connor on the right, Eliza, their sister in the middle, and the six year old twin cousins, Caroline on the left, Sara on the right.
Two of my three daughters have had twins!  The third daughter is thinking that being an auntie is a fine choice!