Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fast Away the Old Year Passes...

Am I just getting old, or are the years flying by far too quickly?!

As challenging as 2010 has been in many respects, it's also been a year of marvels and wonders and incredible blessings, not the least of which is that we're still here, still kicking, and I'm still painting and doing what I love most - spending my days with paintbrush in hand, tea within reach, and furkids at my feet. I can't begin to describe what that means to me, and how truly blessed I feel.

One of the true marvels of 2010 came very near to the end of the year - the total lunar eclipse which fell on the Winter Solstice. Although I stayed up until the wee hours hoping to get a glimpse, we were sadly cloud covered all night. But I saw it quite clearly in my imagination, and was inspired to paint a large commemorative piece to mark the occasion...

This large ornament chest sold within seconds of posting it to eBay, but I'm toying with the idea of making it available at some point as a limited edition print, so stay tuned. ;)

I also have six small, commemorative trinket boxes in progress to mark the occasion, which barring any computer glitches, will be available on eBay tonight (Dec 29th), beginning at 9PM eastern at five minute intervals...

For now, the plan is two cats, two rabbits and two witches, lots of twinkling stars and a few snowflakes, but we'll see. ;)

*Update*, hehe!! Here they are...

They're dated 12~21~10, and hopefully infused with a little solstice magic. ;)

New Year's Eve will be quiet here, but we're expecting a few friends over on New Year's Day. No pork and sauerkraut (a Pennsylvania tradition), as a) it's icky, lol, and b) I believe we make our own luck - and definitely no football, hehe...Just good friends, good food, good wine (well, OK, cheapish wine, but after the first couple of glasses, who cares?) and probably a couple of guitars. :)

That's it for 2010, except to say I'm sooooooo grateful for your visits and friendship, and I'll see you all in the New Year...May it be one of health, happiness, love, light and abundance!

Artful Blessings and Much Love,
♥ Carolee
PS - if you scroll down on the right, you'll find the purple playlist updated with some January tunes. No particular theme, just a few tunes I enjoy while painting. :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

♥ With Heartfelt Gratitude ♥

The tree and decorations are still sparkling, but the house is completely quiet now. John has taken Courtney to meet her ride back to the city, the fur-kids are sound asleep, and I have a few moments for reflection and writing here while awaiting the season's first snowfall.

2010 was a challenging year, no doubt about it. No sooner had John recovered from his second heart surgery, than we learned his lymphoma was out of remission, and had spread to the blood. The subsequent treatment has also been challenging, both physically and logistically, and needless to say the time taken off work has resulted in some rather serious financial challenges as well.

Yet we remain optimistic, choosing to focus on our many blessings, and believing that while we may not have a say in the course of the disease, we have an absolute say in how we handle it.

Balancing optimism and honesty here on the blog has been a challenge too. I want the news here to be "real", but often hesitate posting about challenges, lest I appear whining - which I absolutely loathe, and no one wants to hear anyway. ;)

But several people have read between the lines, and brightened our days and our Christmas in such special and touching ways, and I'm feeling the need to express my - our - heartfelt gratitude (you know who you are!).

Presents have arrived at the house almost every day this past week, gifts not only from friends and family, but from collectors, most of whom I've never met in person, but who took the time to send some Christmas package *love* across the miles. ♥

There were teas and soaps, ornaments and sweets, two memorials to our beloved Cheetah, and even two Mouse Kings (a figurine and an ornament). As I type this, the camera batteries are recharging, and most of the gifts are unwrapped and tucked away, so photos of each and every gift isn't possible. But having photographed this one as soon as it arrived, I'll share this tribute to Cheetah - a commissioned painting of her on agate...

I think the artist did an amazing job, don't you? It brought tears to our eyes.

Another friend and collector made a shelter donation in Cheetah's name, which also touched us deeply, and I know our former feral girl is smiling somewhere.

And as I type, my peripheral vision is resting on one of the two King of Mice, sword in hand, standing guard at the computer. ;)

Add to all these gifts the many, many emails and ecards offering prayers, positive energy and good wishes, and one rather overwhelming gift that quite literally saved the day and brought tears to our eyes, and well - our Christmas cup runneth over.

I don't know what 2011 will bring, but I do know we'll face it together, and stronger for the amazing support from friends, family and collectors.

And in the studio, I know these blessings will continue to manifest themselves in new and *magical* creations, enchanting characters, and wicked, whimsical wonders. ;)

I'm truly blessed, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, and I wish you a 2011 filled with love, light, health and abundance!

♥ Carolee

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Blessings

This post will be shorter than I'd originally hoped, as it's Christmas Eve, and here I am once again, working until the last minute, and flying around the house in a cooking and cleaning frenzy (I know, I know - I'm not alone, hehe)...

I just wanted to pop in and show you our (John's and my) Christmas present to other.

With resources tight, and our hearts still heavy from the loss of our beloved Cheetah, we decided to open our hearts to another bundle of furry love, in need of a home this Christmas. So last week we visited our local Petco, where the wonderful Catworks organization was holding an adoption event.

Meet Lady Guinevere....

Isn't she beautiful??!

She's just 10 weeks old (best estimate) and is soooooooo soft and affectionate. She's also very bold, and we've decided she must be channeling a bit of Cheetah. ;)

Most friends have congratulated us, most family think we're either crazy or irresponsible (two dogs, three cats, lots of fur and and limited resources). But as one dear friend said "you can't put a price on therapy".

With John facing radiation treatments in the near future, and spending time at home recovering, I think this little girl is just what the Dr. ordered.

She needed a home.

We have one to give.

A Christmas blessing for all of us, simple as that.

I'll be back again very soon with more Christmas and solstice tales, and a photo of very special piece, now in progress.

Until then, wishing you and yours all the blessings of this most beautiful season!

Much love,
♥ Carolee

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Moon Magic ...

....And a blessed yule!!

It's quite late as I write this, and I'm looking forward to ushering in the Solstice by viewing the lunar eclipse (the first eclipse on the Solstice since 1638)!!

I'm neither astronomer nor astrologer, but I'm sensing a shift in energy tonight - the longest night of the year and the moon in complete shadow. It's enchanting in a sort of dark, mysterious way, don't you think?

It feels very much like a new beginning, and beginnings are always good. :)

It's also crying for commemoration of some sort, something conceived and painted on this day, something with a Moon Goddess, or Mother Moon. An heirloom piece to celebrate the season, and mark the day for future generations to remember. More on this after I begin the piece...

(I expect the day will also be marked with a small nap, hehe - I'm getting too old to pull all-nighters.) ;)

In addition to painting - or at least beginning - a special Solstice piece, I'll also be honoring Mother Nature by feeding our feathered friends, keeping a candle burning throughout the day, baking cookies for gift-giving later in the week, and making a large kettle of homemade soup.

Do you have any special traditions or plans on this day? Please share!

In the meantime, I'm off to see if those big fluffy clouds are still obscuring the moon! Fingers crossed the eclipse will be visible...

♥ Carolee

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A New King of Mice Page on Facebook!

Since I'm rapidly approaching load limit on my personal facebook page, I finally broke down and created a "business" page, where I'll be posting updates on new work, pics of works in progress, info on upcoming shows, etc.

So if you're on facebook, click HERE, and click "like". :)

Thanks so much!!
♥ Carolee

Monday, December 13, 2010

♪♫ It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas! ♪♫

Which around here means it looks a bit like Santa's workshop EXPLODED. ;)

I've been busier than a Christmas elf these past few weeks; finishing commissions and last minute orders, trying to paint a few eBay offerings, making all the Christmas gifts (we're committed to hand made here) while trying to deck the halls a bit, and do some baking.

The first project was the dining room china cabinet, which turned out very festive if I do say so (try to ignore the hideous plaid wallpaper, hehe)...

I collect teapots, and these are a few of my Christmas favorites.

The stockings are hung by the, woodstove, with care. I'm not overly fond of the cutesy snowman, and have been meaning to cross stitch something with which to replace him for YEARS, but well...the best laid plans and all that. ;)

And tonight - the TREE!! The photo here is way too dark, but you get the idea - lots of glass ornaments and beading, with multicolored lights this year...

It feels soooooo good to finally have it finished, hehe. :)

Work continues in the studio as well, and this little guy listed on eBay this evening...

There's something so cute about Christmas mice, don't you think? Maybe it's all those Beatrix Potter tales I read as a child, but I'm having enormous fun with these little meeces. ;)

Next up: Commissions, painting La Befana, and baking like mad: toffee, bourbon balls, peanut butter fudge, sugar cookies and pizzelles for starters, and if there's time, thumbprints and Russian teacakes.

How about you?? Are your halls decked and gifts bought or made? Come on, make me feel better - I can't be the only one in last minute panic, hehe?!

That's about it for now. I SHOULD be off to bed now, but there's a meteor shower in a few minutes, and I'm not one to miss wishing on a falling star. ;)

Until next time, wishing you all the *magic* of the season!
♥ Carolee

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Commissions, Commitments and General Craziness

Okay....(deep breath here).....Today is December 9th.

That gives me about ten days to finish three commissions and more than a few requests for trinket boxes and such.

Not to mention half a dozen batches of cookies, decorating the tree and whipping the house into some semblance of order.

Then there are gifts to be made, and cards to be sent.

And a day off next week for John's radiation oncology appointment.

I think if any household needed elves, it would be OURS. I'm just sayin'...

In the meantime, here are a few goodies I consider a start; five little holiday trinket boxes, perfect for gift giving. Two will be on eBay this evening at 9PM eastern, and three will be up for grabs on the PFATT Marketplace...

Next up is another La Befana piece. I'm so smitten with the notion of a Christmas Crone, I need to paint her one more time, and larger. So look for a "Buon Natale" sign very soon....

In the meantime, I hope your season is bright and sparkly, and you're accomplishing all you'd set out to do!!

And if you know of any elves who'll work for cookies, do send them this way! ;)

♥ Carolee

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I have a recipe for you.

A seriously good recipe, especially if you're bowled over by salty-sweet. An easy recipe, perfect for gift-giving or keeping all for yourself, hehe...

Ghirardelli Chocolate Saltine Toffee

Some saltine crackers on parchment paper...

Bubbling butter and sugar...

A few toasted almonds and some Ghirardelli chocolate pieces (not shown, but you can find them in most markets)...

Pour the sugar mixture on the crackers first, then sprinkle on chocolate pieces and spread them out as they melt...

Top with almonds, freeze, then break into pieces.

Soooooooo good. CLICK HERE for the recipe. ;)

You're most welcome, teehee. ;-)
♥ Carolee

Saturday, December 4, 2010

New Work and Some Thoughts About the Season

Well, it's that time of year again - just a few weeks left to paint all the Yuletide goodies (OK, SOME of the goodies) I'd hoped for eBay and Etsy sales, several pressing commissions to finish, cookies to bake, halls to deck, presents to make, cards to write, and friends to visit.

Each year I make a vow that things will be different NEXT year; I'll be better organized, won't have to work so much, will get an earlier start, will have more funds...but around comes December, and well, some things never change. ;)

I'm managing to paint a few things in between commissions, and have had great fun returning to my roots - if just for a few weeks - as a dog and cat artist. I sooooo love painting our four legged friends, but I'm also remembering why I moved away from it - the requests for different breeds, different colors, different markings can be overwhelming, and while I MUST, I don't like telling people "no, there just isn't time". If you'd like to take a peek, here's one listed on eBay now, a little French bulldog...

In a beret no less...

(John says he should also be smoking a cigarette, but that's just WRONG, haha!)

I also painted a little La Befana box, but she sold right away. She's very folk-artsy, and a prelude to a "Buon Natale" sign I have in the sketching stage...

I love the concept of a Christmas crone, don't you? If you haven't heard of La Befana, click here - she's truly a fascinating character!

I'm also hoping to complete a small chair in the next week or two, and a large, wooden ornament chest. And more trinket boxes and signs, of course. ;)

On a personal, and more serious note, I'd like to update friends and family on John's situation. It seems the interferon is not bringing about the improvement we'd hoped, and it looks as though (with decent Christmas sales and all the planets in alignment with pet-care) John will be starting radiation treatments in the New Year. Your prayers and positive energy are much appreciated as he faces this challenge, and I thank you in advance. :)

He's had a rough road these past couple of years, but the support we've received has been incredible. And while I may as above, lightheartedly bemoan the craziness of the season, I know for certain it's not about the trappings. It's not about the mall, or how much we spend, or the latest electronic gadget. It's not about family feuds and frustration and short tempers. It's not about tinsel and cookies and stockings.

It's about LOVE.

So hug your significant other, hug your kids, hug your pets, and say a prayer to God or Goddess or the Universe or whatever power or energy you believe is out there, in gratitude for every moment you get to spend with them.

And thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting my work. Despite the ongoing challenges I feel as though I'm truly blessed.

♥ Carolee