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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Just have to share this one...I think snowy owls are the most beautiful creatures. There's something so magical about them, and I always find myself inspired to paint one or two each winter...

This treasure box is listed on eBay now, and I hope it brings peaceful blessings to it's new home, wherever that may be. :)

♥ Carolee

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Can't Help Myself...

No matter how hard I try to remain true to my normally "wicked" nature, it's Christmas, and cuteness just keeps breaking through....

In fact, one of my EHAG friends recently told me she feared at this rate, I would need an intervention very soon, hehe. :)

I'll admit it, the latest pieces ARE more whimsy than wicked, but who can resist this little angel?

Or this adorable Tuxedo Cat?

I think they're quite fun, and while I won't be taking any orders (They're more than a little labor intensive), I do hope they find a good home. :)

Stay tuned for more pieces very soon, including something for the EHAG Emporium update, tomorrow at 9PM eastern....

Until then,
♥ Carolee

A Home Made, Hand Made Holiday Here!

Warning: Stepping up on my annual soapbox...

By now, most of us in the blogging world have seen this badge, proclaiming a commitment to purchase handmade goods.

I Took The Handmade Pledge!
But how many of us really take it to heart?

Sure, we agree with supporting the handmade movement in principle - but will our friends and family (especially the younger ones) understand and appreciate it? And if they don't, is it our job to indulge their sometimes extravagant wish-lists? Is it our job to put our dollars to work for corporations instead of individuals?

I'm writing this as someone who has admittedly by necessity as much as choice, had to seriously cut back on gift giving the last several years. My husband's two open heart surgeries and subsequent cancer diagnosis, along with my own self-employment in a slow economy, have meant a fairly drastic income cut in our household, so we've had to get creative with gifts; tins of homemade cookies, soup mix in a jar, bottles of home made kahlua with illustrated labels, knitted scarves and shawls, felted purses and totes, painted pottery and treasure boxes, ornaments, and even recorded guitar compositions make up our gift-giving.

This year will be no exception, and while finding the time to create all these gifts is a challenge, I no longer struggle with whether they're appropriate or well received, and in fact, like it better this way, and find more meaning in the holidays as a result. Handmade gifts are filled with love and attention, with time and thought, and give me the warm fuzzies in a way a new sweater or bottle of perfume just can't.

Besides, a gift is just that - a gift; that which is given freely - and with love, not expectation.

Here are a couple I made last year, the top of an ornament chest for my sister, and a scarf and reader's wrap knitted for my niece and Mom respectively...

All of this said, what to do if you're not one of those people who's handy with a paintbrush or needle and thread? If you don't knit or crochet, and aren't Martha or Rachael in the kitchen?

Consider buying gifts from Etsy, eBay or other handmade marketplaces (of which there are no shortage, both online and in our communities!) Put your dollars back into the local economy, in the hands of artists and artisans, rather than in the pockets of department stores and mega-marts. I'm pretty sure their executives have large enough holiday bonuses without boosting the profit margin further.

But the single Mom who works a full time job and spends her evenings making jewelry, for instance, or the student who's supporting herself by sewing, the artist trying to feed his or her family, the retired couple needing to supplement their small income with a little woodworking business; these are the people who could use a bonus this year, and the people who will most appreciate our patronage.

I don't want this to sound like a lecture, and truly realize we all do what we can do. And however you celebrate Christmas or Yule or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, whatever you give and however you spend, I wish you a joyous time of it! I just thought I'd throw this out there as a gentle (I hope, hehe) reminder that there are alternatives to the mall. ;)

♥ Carolee

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Very "Real" Thanks Giving

As another year winds down (just a few weeks 'til 2011!), and we gather with family and friends for the Thanksgiving feast, it's time for reflection on the many blessings we've experienced, not only throughout the year, but throughout our lives.

To say this year has been a challenge would be an understatement. After a lengthy but full recovery from last year's heart surgery, came the news that John's lymphoma (diagnosed many years ago) was out of remission again. As he began interferon and other treatments, we were determined to remain positive, but wondered what the year would have in store for us; two middle aged people, not in the best of shape, with no financial resources to speak of, facing down an illness for which there is no cure, only "management". Add to this the illness of several of our fur-kids, a portion of the roof blowing off in January's blizzard, and the challenges I have getting around with a brace on my leg, and well - I hate to admit it, but we've had more than our share of "deer in the headlights" moments this year.

Yet we remain thankful, because our year has also been filled with incredible blessings; Our daughter moved to Philadelphia, giving us the opportunity to see her far more often (she's even cooking the Thanksgiving feast!). A gift from a complete stranger touched our lives in a way that enabled us to move forward in the midst of nearly overwhelming obstacles. My work was published in a couple of magazines, and we had a successful and incredibly inspiring time at the Ghoultide Gathering. There's food in the pantry, oil in the furnace, and as of last week, a brand new roof overhead.

But most importantly, we're HERE, and we have each other. Like the toys the skin horse describes in one of Courtney's favorite childood books, The Velveteen Rabbit, we've experienced love that has made us REAL:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "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 Rabbit.

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

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"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 the 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."

I suppose that's us - loose in the joints and very shabby. But you know, I'm not sure I would have it any other way...

As uncertain as the future is, we're facing it together, and that's a lot. :)

Wishing those of you who celebrate a most happy and blessed Thanksgiving, and wishing those who don't a happy and blessed November Thursday!

♥ Carolee

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Trio of Boxes and an eBay Speedbump


I can't even tell you how frustrated I am with eBay at the moment. Each month, they take an average of the number of the past year's listings to determine a seller's "status". Well, it seems that this month my average dropped from the 100 required to maintain top seller and powerseller status, to a mere 99. Sooooooo, goodbye powerseller status, and goodbye top seller status, at least until I bump the average up with new listings. It may not sound like a big deal, but eBay search engines give priority to powersellers and top sellers. So I WANT MY STATUS BACK, lol.

To that end, here are three new listings - little trinket boxes I've painted for holiday giving; A white cat, a mouse on the moon, and an adorable little Westie dog...

The large sewing chest shown in the post below this one is also still listed, so if you haven't already, do take a peek!

Look for more new work very soon (this status thing leaves me necessarily juggling commission work and the need to list some eBay items asap!) and look for the November newsletter in the next day or two. :)

Happy Frost Moon!!

♥ Carolee

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Sew Many Blessings" Continued...

Flying in quickly to show you the final result of the previous post's work in progress, an original, one of a kind, Christmas sewing chest...

The interior features a shallow tray, perfect for scissors, needles, thread, bobbins, etc...

It lists on eBay this evening at 9PM eastern. :)

(Back to commissions now!!)

♥ Carolee

"Sew Many Blessings"

It's been awhile since I posted pics of a work in progress, and since I'm having sooooo much fun with this one, I thought I'd share. The piece is a wood sewing chest, which I'm hoping will find a home with someone who'll use it for organizing all those special and ♥heartfelt♥ Christmas projects. :)

After sanding any sharp corners, the background is completed first, with checkers and a touch of shading around the top, and swirly winter "clouds" below, avoiding the areas I've sketched in for trees and angels...

Next, a bit of detail on the angel scene is painted in...

This is as far as it's come - so far. :) Today, I'll work on painting further details, and on filling in all those tiny squares around the top with decoupaged papers, buttons, baubles, ribbon and maybe a few sparkly crystals. There's also a tray which sits inside, which will be decoupaged with vintage looking Christmas paper.

I'm generally pretty good about sending my creations out there into the world, but every once in a while one comes along I truly wish I could keep - and I already have a feeling about this one! (Unfortunately, my mortgage company would disagree, hehe) So sell it I must, and I'll take consolation in the hope it will become a treasured heirloom, perhaps even handed down from Mother to Daughter, and will be the keeper of someone's loving handiwork and the home of "sew many blessings". :)

(Pics of the finished piece coming soon!)

♥ Carolee

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Cat Carol

Okay, so there's this Christmas song that makes me cry every time I hear it.

It's just about the saddest song I've ever heard, but also one of the sweetest. The lyrics (along with the recent passing of our own sweet Cheetah cat) were the inspiration for this Christmas footstool, which I've titled "Catsseopeia"...

The images on the footstool make more sense when you've heard the song, or at least read the lyrics, which follow (you might want to grab a tissue at this point):

The Cat Carol

The cat wanted in to the warm warm house,
but no one would let the cat in
It was cold outside on Christmas Eve,
She meowed and meowed by the door.

The cat was not let in the warm warm house,
And her tiny cries were ignored.
'twas a blizzard now, the worst of the year,
There was no place for her to hide.

Just then a poor little mouse crept by,
He had lost his way in the snow.
He was on his last legs and was almost froze,
The cat lifted him with her paw.

She said "Poor mouse do not be afraid,
because this is Christmas Eve.
On this freezing night we both need a friend,
I won’t hurt you - stay by my side."

She dug a small hole in an icy drift,
This is where they would spent the night.
She curled herself 'round her helpless friend,

When Santa came by near the end of the night,
the reindeer started to cry.
They found the cat lying there in the snow,
and they could see that she had died.

They lifted her up from the frozen ground,
and placed her into the sleigh.
It was then they saw the little mouse wrapped up,
she had kept him warm in her fur.

"Oh thank you Santa for finding us!
Dear cat wake up we are saved!"
..."I’m sorry mouse but your friend has died,
there’s nothing more we can do."

"On Christmas Eve she gave you her life,
the greatest gift of them all."
Santa lifted her up into the night sky,
and laid her to rest among the stars.

"Dear mouse don’t cry you are not alone,
you will see your friend every year.
Each Christmas a Cat Constellation will shine,
to remind us that her love’s still here."

I warned you. ;)

Sooooo, yes - back to the footstool, I'm moving it from the PFATT Marketplace to eBay, and in doing so I've reduced the price (it's available on a buy it now) by a full 30%.

I do hope it finds a good home with someone who loves cats, mice and Christmas!

More goodies coming soon!
♥ Carolee

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An *Enchanting* Home, Studio and Show!

(a.k.a. "The Post that Never Ends", hehe)...

This weekend found me taking off with my friend Hugh for Martinsburg, West Virginia, where artist Paul Gordon was hosting the third annual "Friends in Christmas" show. Not wanting to begin the journey in the wee hours of the morning, we decided to stay over, which put us in Martinsburg Friday evening, allowing attendance at a little pre-show gathering in Paul's beautiful home...

Paul is not only an extraordinarily talented artist, but an avid collector as well, and his home is a feast for the eyes...

I don't know how to describe his style, except to say it's his own - sort of bohemian-vintage meets Victorian-whimsy, and I ♥ it...

Have you ever seen so much collectible eye candy in one cabinet?

It was such a magical place, made even more so by a little music, more than a little wine, and some very interesting guests.

Oh, and almost forgot - there's even a vintage toy room upstairs!

How amazing is that?

And here's our host...

Thank you so much, Paul, for including us in such a wonderful evening, and thanks Hugh, for taking these pics (I'd forgotten my camera).

Saturday morning the doors to the studio opened, and we were treated to another enchanting setting, and even more *magical* work!...

Here are some of Paul's sculpts, shadowboxes and paintings...

We also took a tour of the working part of the studio, which is home to stacks upon stacks of vintage fabrics and quilts, as well as a vintage Santa Claus costume...

And all this ribbon!! (I think I managed not to drool, although I'm not sure, hehe)...

And I LOVE the old shoes and skates hanging from the rafters...

I came home with a few goodies, including two pieces by Laurie Messerol. For the moment, Santa is keeping the teapots company...

And how adorable is this print?

And this darling pincushion by Stacey Bear(the little door opens to reveal a thimble - such fun, and I couldn't resist!)

See, I told you this was the post that never ends! But I get so excited about these things, I just have to share them with you...

Anywhoooooo....for NOW, it's back to work! I have an enchanting bunny commission in progress and a fun new sewing chest to begin - something magical for all those holiday projects, tentatively titled "Sew Many Blessings". ;)

And next weekend, there's another show to check out in Virginia (thinking of doing one crafty type show next year to sell a few personalized welcome signs). My friend Pam does this one, and will be there with some primitive holiday enchantment. And if you are in the Ohio area, be sure to check out the Merry Makers show in Springfield, Ohio! So many shows, so little time (and money, haha).

I'll close here, wishing you all a *magical* and *sparkly* kick off to the holiday season, and leaving you with this tune - one of my favorites (but first you have to scroll down on the right and mute the purple playlist already playing)...

Until next time,
♥ Carolee

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Winter Angel"

Flying in quickly to share what I've been up to the last couple of days (along with commission work)...

While my own pets are cats and dogs, I've always had a special affinity for rabbits, and think no creature better epitomizes the word "Peace"; docile and loving, and like most creatures, we humans could learn a lot from them. ;)

This tea/serving tray is listing on eBay tonight at 9PM (Update - sold), and I hope it brings a smile and inspires a little winter magic.

Back very soon with new work, and pics of a Christmas show I'm attending this weekend!

♥ Carolee

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Of Cats and Christmas...

Thanks so much to everyone who emailed and left such kind comments about our beloved Cheetah's passing. We miss her very much, but know we did the right thing, and know that she'll live on in our hearts, and in the love we give to the rest of the furry kids who bless our lives. :)

Her passing, along with a favorite Christmas song called "The Cat Carol" inspired this month's PFATT Marketplace piece, a one of a kind footstool. The carol (you may want to get tissue at this point) tells the tale of a kind and loving cat who gives her life on Christmas Eve to save that of a tiny mouse. Santa then lifts her up into the night sky, where she becomes a constellation, shining down every Christmas to remind us of her love...

Cats are such special and magical creatures, and there's something about Christmas and the winter season that makes me wish I could save them all, bring them in and offer them a warm bed, warm hearth, and full tummy (things which I'm certain homeless cats everywhere must wish upon the evening star - but I suppose that's inspiration for another piece!)

The footstool show above will be up for grabs on tonight's PFATT Marketplace update (midnight eastern) and go to the first person to email once it's available.

Other Christmas and Yule pieces are in the works, and probably a few Halloween goodies too (after all, it's NEVER too early, is it?)...Now that we've set the clocks back, I seem to be in full winter mode here, anticipating one of my favorite seasons, planning menus and gifts (home made, all) and even scheduling a little time to enjoy the season.

This weekend I'm off to West Virginia with a couple of friends to see Paul Gordon's "Friends in Christmas" show, and I'm SO looking forward to it! And next weekend I'll be traveling to Fairfax, Virginia to see another friend in a show there, while checking out the venue as a possibility for selling crafty type work (mostly personalized welcome signs) this time next year.

In the meantime, I'm working on a couple of commissions and painting a very large sign for our wonderful vet in exchange for services...That said, I'm bound and determined to set aside a few days to just relax and enjoy the season this year!

How about you?

Any holiday spirit yet?

Just in case, I'll leave you with a little inspiration...

This movie

This book

This hot cocoa

Back very soon!
♥ Carolee

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Saying Goodbye

It's been 17 years since this tiny, feral kitten came into our lives, urgently petitioning to be let into the house in the autumn of 1993.

Last night the time came for her to pass out of our lives and over the Rainbow Bridge.

Yes, I know the Rainbow Bridge is an invention of the author, but I think anyone who's ever loved or been loved by an animal companion can relate to the imagery; our friends no longer in pain, running free, enjoying each other's company and waiting for us to someday join them.

Those who've spoken to me on the phone have heard Cheetah's loud, insistent cry when she wanted something (usually more canned food) and many commented she sounded like a baby. Which of course she was. Our baby...

She was also our friend and companion, loyal and loving, and most definitely John's familiar. I remember very clearly in 1996 when he underwent several weeks of radiation therapy, little Cheetah didn't leave his side, except momentarily to eat and use her litterbox. If he walked up the stairs to the bathroom, she'd follow and wait outside the door, then follow him downstairs again. When he slept, she slept beside him. And this time last year, when John returned from a one month hospital stay following heart surgery, she began sleeping not beside him, but on him. It was as if she wanted to make sure he wasn't going anywhere ever again.

Making the decision to let a beloved friend go is never easy, but I know we did the right thing. With the help of our wonderful vet (who drove from home and opened the hospital at 9PM on a Saturday evening to do this), Cheetah's passing was peaceful and painless.

Goodbye, little girl. Run free, and boss all the other kitties around until we see you again. We'll miss you. ~♥~