Monday, June 29, 2015

Surfacing...

Yes, I know - it's been awhile.

And just when I had resolved to be a better blogger, LIFE came along and got in the way...

Where to start?

As some of you know The Mice President (a.k.a. my husband John), has been dealing with quite a few health issues the last few years; congestive heart failure, lymphoma, and COPD to name the top three, but there have been others as well. He amazes me with both his positive attitude and his resilience - so much so that I often forget how many challenges he's facing.

A few weeks ago it was his heart, which was beating dangerously fast and resulted in a two day hospital stay and another cardioversion (where they shock the heart back into rhythm), and just a few days after that, he was back at the same hospital with severe breathing problems. His COPD is very advanced now, and with each hospitalization, we're learning to cope with a new normal. I'm happy to report he's home now, but also dealing with diabetes, which was brought on by some of the meds.

Soooooooo.....that's where I've been; running between the hospital, home, caring for the pets, trying to get some painting in, and generally stressing over his progress, and my ability to juggle everything. Most days I do OK.  

Knit Night at The Lancaster Yarn Shop has been a sanity-saver, and I have a new project to show for all that time at the hospital (my first attempt at lace knitting)...


 Painting was on hold for awhile, but has now resumed with a vengeance as I try to play catch-up with both commissions and bill paying. I painted this Innkeeper's sign today, and as of typing this, it's available in the Etsy shop...


 And a few days ago I completed this Kitty Cat themed Wheel of the Year (now sold, but I am accepting orders for similar pieces)...


A huge thank-you to everyone who's been so kind through this whole process - friends and family, and also those I only know on Faceboook; artists and collectors, who've offered up prayers and sent good wishes and positive energy our way.

We're taking it one day at a time, one step at a time, and remembering that despite the challenges, we are truly blessed.

I don't expect anyone to believe this, but I WILL be back with an update sooner this time, I promise...

In the meantime, it's back to the work table, where there's a Fairy Garden sign calling my name. ;)

Much love,
Carolee

P.S. On a completely unrelated subject, *LOVE WINS!!!* How awesome is that?!? ;)






Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cats, Cats, and more Cats....

Well, so much for my New Year's intention to keep up with the blog, eh?

No excuses, save that life has been insane lately, and I'm desperately trying to catch up on commission work, while also offering a few new goodies.

Cats have been on the work table this past week, so I thought I'd pop in and show you some. All except one yawning Tuxedo kitty have been claimed...






"Soooo Sleepy", the yawning little guy you see above is still looking for a home. I try not to think of him as too lonely sitting there in the Etsy shop, and hope he gets adopted soon. ♥

Aside from commission work, the next piece is likely to be a large one - a Wheel of the Year, also featuring cats.

In the meantime, it's lots of commission work to finish as I head off to the studio this morning. Thanks as always for visiting, and I WILL try to update more often. 

No, really. ;)

Carolee

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Saint Gertrude of Nivelles

As the feast day of Saint Gertrude approaches (she shares her special day - the 17th of March - with another, more well known saint, Patrick), I once again felt inspired to paint her....


Gertrude of Nivelles was a seventh century Benedictine abbess, who is the patron of cats and gardeners, and I believe of travelers as well. She is sometimes invoked against mice too (notice the tiny mice included in the tapestry-like border).

This particular piece is a bit larger than I usually paint, and at 14" x 18", cannot be scanned, so no prints will be available. The edges are painted, leaving framing optional.


I truly agonized over her price, and in the end, reduced it quite a bit in an effort to find her a home right away. She'll be available on today's PFATT Marketplace, at 1PM eastern time, as always on a first-come basis by emailing me at carolee@kingofmice.com.

In the meantime, it's back to work for me - there's a VERY cool commission in progress, and I must finish it! ;)

Until next time,
♥ Carolee

Friday, February 27, 2015

"Blessed Bee"

Hello again!

It's EHAG Emporium time tomorrow night, and this month's offering is an homage to our friends the bees - and a bit of a springtime play on the magical phrase "Blessed Be"....


 The birch wood box measures 10" x 5 1/2" x 4 1/2", and is painted in acrylics, finished with a clear, acrylic varnish, and has a little sculpted, bee skep handle. Oh, and take a peek inside - there's another little bee!


The EHAG Emporium updates as always, on the last day of the month at 9PM eastern, and this piece will be available on a first-come basis once the update goes live. 

I've already received several comments and messages from people anxious to capture this one, and while I  sooooooo wish I could paint faster and offer more, my art would lose the fine detail I'm so passionate about, and then it wouldn't be my art anymore. So thanks to everyone for the very kind words and feedback I've received on this piece, and I look forward to seeing where it will find a home!

Until next time,
♥ Carolee

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Becoming Real

"What is REAL?" the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse one day. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit .

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand. But once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
One of my fondest memories of being a young Mother was reading Margery Williams' book "The Velveteen Rabbit" to my daughter - and this was my favorite passage.

Truer words were never written. It takes a very long time to become Real; to become loved and cherished for who we are, to come to a place in our lives where what truly matters is the love we feel, the love we give, and the love we inspire. It's a journey, and if we're very, very lucky, we become.

It was such a blessing to paint this piece, and it's one of those I'm sorely tempted to keep, and to eventually pass on. But part with it I must, and trust that it will find a home where it is cherished, with someone who loves the book and the quote as much as I do, and someone who aspires as I do, to one day be Real.

The original wooden platter measures 18" in diameter, and is available in the Etsy shopUPDATE ~ SOLD.

Thanks for visiting, and I'll be back very soon with new work and/or more ramblings. ;)

♥ Carolee

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Absent Minded Artist....

...Creeps in, and hangs her head in shame....

Yes, it's been well over a  month since I've updated my poor, neglected blog here - and right after a New Year's intention (I don't do resolutions, and you can see why, lol) to be better about keeping things current here!

I hardly know where to start, so I suppose I should pick up where I last left off...

The holidays were truly wonderful, and this was the second year we spent Christmas with daughter Courtney and her beau in Philadelphia. Every time we travel into the city, I'm reminded how much I love it - such great energy, wonderful little neighborhoods, and a really marvelous mix of old and new, contemporary and historic - a really unique vibe I've never felt in other cities. We returned resolved to visit more often (although at 150k miles, were nursing the Beetle along as carefully as we possibly can, so are also limiting long distance trips!) That said, we'll definitely venture in for the Impressionist exhibit this spring/summer!

Did you click? Doesn't it sound incredible?!

Things have been as busy as ever in the studio, with progress made on both commissions and assorted other pieces. The next offering will actually be tonight, for the monthly EHAG Emporium; a couple of *magical* little wizard pieces...


 They make me smile. :)

On the home front, we've had a few challenges with John's health again, this time several skin cancer surgeries, the last of which required over 50 stitches. He's facing it as he's faced the heart issues, the lung issues and the lymphoma, with amazing perseverance and grace. I marvel at how he takes these things in stride, and it makes me want to be more stoic about my own health challenges. ;)

On still another front, I've been immersing myself in some selfish knitting (all for ME, lol), and am very pleased with the results. This "shawlette" is a recent project...


I liked it so well, I've started another in a different colorway...


With a wind chill of six degrees below zero, it's very good knitting weather!

It's also very good soup/stew weather, and our crockpot has been working overtime with healthy, nutritious, and relatively low cal recipes, like this chicken and apple stew. (It's one of John's favorites!)


So aside from a few gorgeous, but not too heavy snowfalls, that's about it for the last month's doings. I know, not very exciting, hehe. I won't promise to be back very soon, as I tend to set myself up that way - but I will try!

In the meantime, I hope everyone is staying warm and cozy, and enjoying all the blessings this beautiful Winter has to offer.

Much love and appreciation for sticking with me, even when I'm a neglectful blogger,
♥ Carolee


PS. After a few requests on Facebook for the stew recipe, here it is, courtesy of a wonderful collector friend of mine, Susan. I usually tweak the recipe a bit by added small whole onions instead of the sliced onion, extra veggies, an extra apple and a bit of chicken stock/broth to cut the sweetness of the apple cider. Enjoy!

Apple Chicken Stew

4 medium potatoes
4 medium carrots, cut 1/4"-thick slices
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 - 1/2 caraway seeds
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1 large tart apple, peeled and cubed
1-1/4 Cups apple cider or juice
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
minced fresh parsley

Layer potatoes, carrots, onion and celery into crockpot. In a small bowl, combine salt, thyme, pepper, and caraway seeds. Sprinkle half over vegetables. In a skillet, saute chicken in oil just until lightly browned. Drain off drippings. Transfer chicken to slow cooker. top with cubed apple. In another small bowl, combine apple cider and vinegar. Pour over chicken and apple. Sprinkle with remaining salt mixture. Lay bay leaf on top. Cover. Cook on High 4-5 hour until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. Stir before serving. Sprinkle bowls with parsley.
I have made this several times, usually adding more vegetables than called for and adding more cider as needed. The last time I made it, I used half sweet potatoes.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Peace Angels

Just popping in to share the latest batch of ornaments...As I type this, one has been claimed and four are available...


They're $45 + shipping. To capture one, just shoot me an email at carolee@kingofmice.com.

Thanks for visiting, and I'll be back very soon with new work!

♥ Carolee