Monday, July 27, 2009

And Inspired and Productive Week!

I just LOVE weeks like this...where the inspiration is coming faster than you can imagine, and everything just seems to flow...

First, there was the Spells and Potions chest - one of my favorite pieces EVER, which actually didn't make the reserve price I'd set, so now I'm deciding whether to re-list it on eBay or offer it up on Etsy....(Or keep it here, hehe!)

Next, there was the wicked cool cake/treat/display stand ("Eat, Drink and be Scary") which is listed on eBay now....

And today, there's "Firefly Magic", inspired by the gazillions of these little guys flying around the backyard. Two beautiful felines on this one - a sleek black cat and a long haired tuxedo. Sooooooooo much fun, and also up for auction on eBay now. :)

Then there's a commission in the works and a super large order of new pieces arriving Thursday (Happy birthday to me, hehe!)....The new pieces include a few large tables and boxes, so look for the first Halloween game of 2009 very soon!

That's about it for today...I'm off to grab a very late dinner. Would you believe I've been working since 7AM and it's nearly 10PM now? Ah, the joys of self employment....

(Good thing it doesn't feel like work!!)

Back again soon with more goodies to share.....


Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Birthday Surprise (and Eating my Words!)

What a weekend!!

After admittedly lamenting the fact (here on the blog, in fact) that we wives and Mothers typically end up planning our own celebrations, my family and friends took me by complete surprise yesterday with the PERFECT 50th party!

Given John's recent cardiac issues, I had put any thoughts of a celebration out of my mind - assuming that 50th or not, such things would be put on the back burner for awhile...

Well, while I was busy assuming, daughter Courtney and niece Sarah were busy conspiring (along with friends Jen and Dustin) to host an absolutely enchanting gathering in my honor....

A large white tent, lit with fairy lights and set in Jen's beautiful garden....

An absolutely delicious menu, which included grilled shrimp and chicken and assorted salads and vegetables....

Beverages galore, including an amazing concoction called "electric lemonade" (sooooooo good, and REALLY sneaks up on you, hehe!)

Key lime and vanilla cupcakes for dessert....

And best of all, so many of the people who are dear to me; my family and friends, some of whom I haven't seen in far too long, and who drove many miles to help me celebrate....

What a blessing to have such a thoughtful and caring daughter and niece (I love you both to the moon and back!) and what a blessing to have these amazing friends; family really...I'm truly fortunate.

As for hitting the half century mark, well, it hasn't happened yet. I still have a few days in my forties. But it's bothering me less and less. I'm seeing age as an awakening, a realization that life is what we make it, that there are still so many new things to experience, new adventures to be had, new paths to follow, new art to create...There's a freedom in aging I think. You worry less about the small stuff, and, as the saying goes, most of it is small stuff. ;)

I'm still hoping to host a little giveaway here soon, in honor of hitting the half century mark, so stay tuned! In the meantime, I'm painting madly and counting my many blessings....

Happy Birthday to me. ;)

♥ Carolee

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Work, New Tunes, a Little Craziness, and Much Love ♥

SO many things happening here at the moment, and just not enough hours in the day to keep up with it all...LOTS to share today, beginning with with a sneak peek at the new work. *UPDATE* - Listed on eBay now. :)

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this one was soooooooooo much fun (I can't help it - they're ALL fun!)...I love these chests because they're so versatile - in the kitchen for herbs and spices, on the dresser top for jewelry, in the studio for art supplies, in the bath for makeup and perfumes...endless possibilities for this one. :)

It's listing tonight at 9PM eastern, with a "buy it now" option, so stay tuned....

Oh - and before I forget, I updated the playlist. I seldom set it to start automatically (I just know some of you are reading this at work, hehe) but if you'd like to give a listen to some of the painting tunes, just scroll down to the purple playlist on the right.

You may have noticed I mentioned craziness? Well, yes....As those of you on facebook know, it looks as though another heart surgery is in store for John, and soon. The mitral valve repair done last year has tightened, leaving him short of breath and pretty exhausted most of the time. The minimally invasive surgery is not a option this time, so we're looking at open heart, and probably an artificial valve.

I know he's strong, his attitude is positive, and he'll come through this just latest challenge just fine...But it's going to mean a big lifestyle change for a while as he goes through another hospitalization and recovery. Assuming they schedule it sooner rather than later (there's one more test we're waiting for), I'll be dividing my time between the hospital and studio for a while, as painting, commissions and show preparation need to continue. So it's quite possible - likely in fact, that I'll be absent from chat and groups, and prioritizing emails for awhile.

I also want to thank all of you who've left comments here and on the FB page, for all the prayers and positive thoughts - you're all just wonderful to think of us, and I can't tell you how much it helps to feel so lifted up. :)

And to those of you who've been so generous with your bids and art purchases, I can't thank you enough! Your support sustains us in a very real way, in a very difficult economy. Sending you back MUCH ♥ collector-love ♥, and I promise as soon as I have a few minutes, I'll try to work in a giveaway as a more tangible expression of my gratitude!

That's about it for today....There's a commission and a whimsical Halloween cupcake platter calling my name, so I must run....

Until next time,
♥ Carolee

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Recipes, Spells and Potions....

I'm not sure what's up with my kitchen obsession these days - maybe a longing for autumn? It is, after all, the season of comfort foods, the season of the harvest...

Whatever it is, it's certainly making it's way into the work this week...

This is the most recent offering, listed on eBay now - an old fashioned recipe box. I love the little place on top to set the recipe card while you're working. Even in the age of internet recipes, where everything can be found with a click or two, and printed out, I have to admit I still love my hand written cards. Nothing beats recipes passed on from friends, or handed down through generations.

In fact, I should really share a couple of them here, perhaps as we get a little closer to autumn? I have an amazing pumpkin pie from scratch recipe. Once you try it, you'll never use canned pumpkin again.... Oh - and cider-baked butternut squash soup - sooooooooo good! (Note to self - must share favorite autumn recipes!)

Speaking of which, the latest work in progress is for recipes of a different sort, hehe - a new "Spells and Potions" chest. There's still quite a bit to be done on this one - painting, decoupage and the addition of some antique hardware. Here's a sneak peek...

I'd like to say it will be finished tomorrow, but I'm afraid tomorrow will find me down in Bryn Mawr with John, for a visit to the cardiac surgeon. Some major challenges ahead on that front, but I know we'll make it through.

I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and kind words, for the thoughts and prayers - they're much appreciated! I'll keep you posted as much as I'm able these next weeks and months, but between this latest challenge, all the works in progress, the commission schedule and the upcoming Ghoultide Gathering, I'm likely to be working every minute God sends. ;)

That's about it for now...I'm off to the Land of Nod now, determined to get more than four hours sleep for the first time in days. I can go along like that for ages, then just hit a wall and absolutely crave a good eight hours!

Until next time,
~ Carolee

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kitchen Witchery

Being a bit of a foodie (or at least as much of a foodie as a vegetarian can be) the kitchen has always been a magical place for me. Like painting, cooking is a creative endeavor; something done with lots of love, and a wish not only to nourish but to nurture family and friends...

We're fortunate to live in a place with some of richest farmland and freshest produce in the country, which makes cooking even more of a pleasure. So every once in a while (like this morning) I take a break from the painting to visit one of the local farm markets and pick up provisions. Here's one of my favorites, just a couple of miles away....

This is the view of the main road from the parking lot. Check out the old water pump in the front yard of the house across the street. It's one of my favorite houses - whitewashed, with a bright red door, and sit sits right on the Conestoga Creek...

Oops - sorry, getting off topic, hehe. Back to the market....

Although they weren't on my list, I just couldn't resist these blueberries - the plan is to freeze them for smoothies, but I may just have to set a few aside for blueberry muffins. ;)

And the green beans - yummmmmm....steamed crisp-tender and served with a splash of lemon juice.

And watermelon - summer's perfect food! I found a recipe for watermelon salad I've been dying to try, with feta cheese, cucumber, cilantro and red onion - almost like a watermelon salsa.

And finally, a post about Lancaster County farm markets and local food just wouldn't be complete without showing you a local delicacy - the whoopee pie.

Two cake-like cookies filled with a shortening and sugar concoction sure to send children bouncing off the walls for hours. Now, what I'm about to say is sacrilege, but I really don't understand the appeal of these things. Unless you're like, five years old or something....Can't say that too loud around here though - disliking whoopee pies is like, well - like disliking scrapple, or red velvet cake (also guilty!)... But to get back to my original point, the produce in this area is truly amazing.

Well okay, and the snickerdoodles. ;)

I also have to share, with the spirit of kitchen magic in mind, I painted another kitchen witch piece this week! I'm loving the plum, turquoise blue and sage green combination....

This one is listed on eBay now, on just a three day auction. Look for more kitchen witchery as autumn approaches - a witch's pantry is waiting in the wings too. :)

That's about it for now.....Back to the kitchen I go (thought I was going to say back to the studio, didn't you?!) Actually, we're hosting a little gathering tomorrow, and I'm baking a batch of chai-latte cupcakes for dessert. Easy to carry around outside, and no need to wash dessert plates, hehe.

However you're spending it, I wish you all a magical and creative weekend!

♥ Carolee

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Good Fortune

"Black cat, cross my path,
Good fortune bring to home and hearth
When I am away from home,
Bring me luck wherever I roam."

I just love this old English black cat charm, and of course, as someone who's owned by a black cat (and several others) I know them to be good luck. ;)

This handsome fellow is painted on a pine plaque, after our own Mr. Merlin, and is listed on eBay now. I haven't told Merlin he's famous yet, 'cause he already thinks he's all that and a bag of chips, hehe.

So yes.....good fortune. Been thinking about it a lot lately, as we face some challenges around here, and I've come to the conclusion that just like our friend the black cat here, a great deal of fortune depends on our perception. I mean, we really can choose to see life's challenges as either stumbling blocks or opportunities; as a reason to complain or a reason to celebrate.

Those of you who've been reading here for a while know that my husband John went through heart surgery last year to repair a damaged mitral valve. Complications and heart failure followed, so recovery has been a bit of an uphill battle.

Well, long story short, we found out yesterday he needs another surgery - most likely an artificial heart valve this time.

Not the news we'd hoped to hear.

But then, maybe it is. Because it means there IS something that can be done. There IS a fix. What a blessing that is! To be living in a time when life saving surgeries like this are even possible. It's a miracle, don't you think?

We'll know more next week, but in the meantime, we're taking it one day at a time. We have each other, we have our beautiful daughter living close by now, we have an amazing support system of family and friends, and we have our optimism.

And that's fortunate. ;)

♥ Carolee

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Double, double toil and trouble"....

..."Fire burn and cauldron bubble"...

Just had to share what's been keeping me so busy the last couple of days; a little footstool with three ghostly witches, and the quote from Shakespeare's "Macbeth" around the edge. Soooooooooo much fun, this one! It's listed on eBay now. :)

You know, this verse used to remind me of act 4, scene 1 of The Scottish Play. But these days, thanks to the soundtrack, it also conjures up images of the Harry Potter movies, hehe....

And tonight's the night! Since this is the final movie, or the first part of it anyway (ETA - I stand corrected! There are two more after this - yay!!) I was toying with the idea of braving the crazy midnight showing, but I left it too late. They're already sold out. So I've put the last movie in our netflix queue, which we'll watch as a bit of a refresher, then probably hit a matinee of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" later in the week. If you haven't seen it, here's the trailer.

Much as I LOVE these movies, I loved the books even more, but it's always that way, don't you think? The imagery and characters we create ourselves are always so vivid, so perfect...then the movie comes along and alters our perception. I mean, Daniel Radcliffe IS Harry Potter, yes?

One of my absolute favorite reads is Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series. It took friends MONTHS to convince me to give the first book a try, and being a bit of a snob about the historical romance genre (bodice rippers are always soooooooo poorly written) I was sure I'd dislike it. But OMG!! Talk about completely HOOKED, hehe...It's got everything - great characters, Scottish, English, French and American history, time travel, WITCHES....need I say more? I read the first five books in about eight weeks, the sixth as soon as it came out in hardcover, and September 22 will find me at Barnes and Noble as soon as they open the doors, to pick up the seventh book, "An Echo in the Bone". Not that I'm a fanatic or anything. ;)

Anyway, there's been talk of a movie based on the series for years, but I'm not sure I want one. I already have the perfect movie playing in my head. :)

Another favorite book is Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon". Has anyone seen the movie? Actually, I think it may have been a television mini-series...I avoided it at the time because I was immersed in the book, but I suppose I could add it to the netflix queue now.

So yes - books and movies, movies and books....Not that I have all that much time for either these days....

EBay, Etsy, The PFATT Marketplace, commissions, the Ghoultide Gathering, Twitter, facebook (yes, I'm on both now)....There just isn't a spare moment. Seriously, I'm beginning to resent the hours I have to spend sleeping, hehe!

Speaking of which, I must fly now (sooooooooo much to do today!) but I'll be back very soon with a little giveaway.

In the meantime, have a magical, creative week - and those of you are seeing the movie - enjoy!!

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`• ~ Carolee

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer Fun with Halloween and Christmas, and Thoughts on Creating Mindfully

What's that, you say?

Summer and Halloween and Christmas don't go together?

Well, I suppose not in the real world, but this is most definitely NOT the real world (as my commuting, office working husband is ever so fond of reminding me, hehe)...

In this world, holidays are inspiration and cause for celebration 365 days a year!

Take this piece (a sneak peek at tomorrow night's PFATT Marketplace offering!)...It was created "mindfully" (something I've been experimenting with lately). You can click on it to make it larger:


To explain the whole "mindful" thing, a couple of years ago I purchased a book called "Knitting for Peace". It's basically all about the tradition of charity knitting, and was the first time I'd read about creating something while meditating or praying for the person who will be receiving it. I was hooked. (I've completed two prayer shawls now and am working on a third)

And it got me thinking - if I can do this with knitting, why not with art?

I mean, sure - I think about my subject. And I try to set the right mood while I'm painting...I brew tea, I light candles, I play inspiring music. But it's not usually a conscious meditation.

So what would happen if I were deliberately mindful of the feeling I'm trying to convey with a piece? If I'm wishing, praying, meditating - whatever you want to call it - for a specific intention as I paint? What would it do for the art? What would it do for the recipient? Would it make the piece more special to them, more treasured? What would it do for me? Would it feel like even more of a blessing to create it, to send it out into the world?

It's of course a positive way to create anything, whether we're painting, cooking, gardening - whatever. And I think it does improve both the process and the outcome - not to mention doing wonders for the soul as we create.

So this piece was created with peace in mind. With the blessings of the season, and a world without turmoil. Peace, serenity, beauty...those things were the focus, and I hope I succeeded in conveying them. :)

TODAY'S piece is another story entirely, and the focus is just on whimsy and fun: "Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble"....a magical, whimsical Halloween footstool....Stay tuned.

I'm going have another go at mindful creating over the weekend though, with a piece about the blessings of hearth and home, and perhaps another about cats. I'll try to post the progress. :)

That's about all that's going on, except for the boring, mundane stuff like grocery shopping, which I'm also doing this weekend.

Oh! And cooking, which is NOT so boring and mundane. I'll be doing a bit of that this weekend too. In fact, I'll leave you with one of my favorite summer recipes, a very simple fruit salad. Soooooooooo simple you don't even have to measure:

cantelope pieces
fresh blueberies
a good squeeze or two of fresh lemon
finely chopped fresh mint

That's it - mix it up in a bowl - instant, refreshing summer side salad or light desssert. ;)

I'm off now!! Back again soon....

♥ Carolee

Monday, July 6, 2009


With the craziness of the holiday weekend, I completely forgot to draw a name for the Mad Tea Party giveaway! (Just a trinket, really - the "Drink Me" bottle show in the June 27th post). The winner is Bella Dreams. :)

Would you believe I'm STILL visiting tea partiers?! Yep. I'm trying to stop by a few blogs each day, but with so many, it may take awhile.

Just call me the White Rabbit. ;)

Okay, off I go....visiting for a few minutes, then PAINTING! Look for a "Witch's Kitchen" sign some time this evening!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Witches and Goblins and Ghosts, Oh My!!

Now that the Fourth of July is behind us, it's time to kick Halloween preparations into full gear, teehee!!

Around here, that means new work galore; sketches and notebooks strewn all over the house, orders placed for materials and supplies, and pieces in various stages of completion for eBay, for Etsy and for the upcoming Ghoultide Gathering (don't even get me started on how excited I am about this year's show! BEYOND excited!!)

I listed a very special piece on eBay last night (probably silly timing on my part - I mean who, at least in the US, is on the computer looking at Halloween art on July Fourth?) Just couldn't help myself though - had to share this one right away. It's a large, wooden ornament chest, featuring my own little version of "My Favorite Things"...

I had a lot of fun with this piece, especially the calligraphy around the edge...

I'm offering to personalize the inside too - a family name, a favorite quote, or what have you. I think it would be a nice touch, don't you?

It's listed now, with a "reserve" price of $295 and a "buy it now" option, which as I understand remains in place until the reserve is met. But I thought I'd add the option just in case someone doesn't want to deal with the bidding process.

Oh! Can't forget to tell you about the wee break I'm taking from Halloween too! Not a long break, I promise, just a piece or two....

The PFATT Marketplace is hosting "Jingle Time July" beginning at midnight on the tenth, so I'll have a Christmas offering for sale there (first come basis on this one!) No clue what it will be yet, and I probably won't know until I actually begin working, hehe....the most FuN thing about this "job" is that every day, every piece, is an adventure. Soooooooo, stay tuned. :)

I've been making great progress on commissions too, with three completed and three more to go (waiting for materials to arrive on these). Due to time constraints, I'll probably only accept another two or three commissions this year, so I can devote the rest of my time to preparing for the show. So if there's a piece you want, now is the time to email. :)

On the home front, there have been some challenges with John's health again, but we're staying positive and taking things one day at a time. I don't mean to be cryptic, and I certainly don't want friends to worry, but we'll know more after the next visit with his cardiologist, so I'll post something then. In the meantime, he's doing fine, cracking jokes, and just...well, just being his general smart-assed self about the whole thing. ;)

That's about it for today. I'm off to grab a quick breakfast, put some tunes in the CD player and get to PaINtInG!! (No rest for the wicked, eh?)

Have a wonderful rest-of-the-weekend!

♥ Carolee

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Won!!

Tee hee...Doing the happy dance here!

Michelle over at Faerie Dust Dreams drew my name for her very generous Mad Hatter giveaway - a gift certificate to her Etsy store!! Sooooooooooooo many goodies there, I can't wait to go shopping!!

Tomorrow, that is. ;)

Have a wonderful Fourth, everyone!

♥ Carolee

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Quick Update and Etsy Sale :)

Well, the eBay auction ended and the "Mad Tea Party" chest is still looking for the right home.....To that end, I've substantially reduced the direct purchase price and listed it in the Etsy store, along with a little tortoiseshell kitty trinket box which is also reduced (paypal only on these). :)

I'm also offering free personalization if anyone would like to snap up the tea chest for a gift....

Back very soon with that ornament chest!

♥ Carolee

"Living Seasonally"

The first time I heard the term was when we joined a local CSA farm many years ago.

The concept of appreciating each season for what it is, living in that moment, enjoying each season's bounty and being in tune with the planet's natural cycles is certainly not new. It's the way we were meant to live. Or should be.

But in this age of easy accessibility - where we can enjoy tropical fruit in the dead of winter, and arctic, air conditioned temperatures in the midst of summer - it's pretty easy to lose touch with the seasons. And probably moreso for those of us whose work always seems to be a season ahead; spring and summer are spent thinking about autumn, autumn is spent thinking about winter, and so on.

So yeah....where the work is concerned, I'm immersed in Halloween and will soon start thinking about Christmas. But where life if concerned, I'm trying to keep it all about summer now....

Harvesting lavender from the front walkway and hanging it to dry...

Cooking with fresh basil from the herb garden...

Sitting outside at night enjoying the pond's waterfall and frog songs....

Then there are summer concerts! I just love listening to great music under the stars (looking forward to Susan Werner and Richard Shindell on the 26th)...

And while we're on the topic of music, it too changes with the seasons. I know I'm seriously dating myself with some of the selections, but if look to the right and scroll down a bit, you'll find a playlist with some favorite summer tunes. ;)

The upcoming fourth of July weekend will be spent painting, of course, but I hope to take a break for a cookout at some point. To be honest, I'm not big on the flagwaving thing (nothing against it, and am probably prouder than I've been in a long while, but just tend to think more globally), and have come to dislike fireworks for the way they strike terror in the fur-kids...but I'm ALWAYS up for a summer gathering with friends. :)

Summer is also the season of productivity, of taking advantage of longer days and more natural light, which means painting, painting and more painting! This is the latest work in progress - a wooden ornament chest for storing Halloween treasures.

I'll post photos when it's finished.

In the meantime, I wish you all the blessings of summer, and a happy, safe and *CreAtIvE* holiday weekend!

♥ Carolee