Friday, August 31, 2012

Sticker Art

To practice painting, I'm using a sticker book for inspiration.

There are pages of holiday icons to work with.
First I pick one or two and stick them in my journal...

 Then I sketch in pen the ideas that pop in my mind.

 Finally a bit of watercolor for fun.
The only downside is that we don't have any cupcakes to eat...

But we do have donuts!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where's Vladi?

This time of the year all of the grasses are turning gold, and it gets more difficult to see Vladi.  I can walk right past him calling his name, and sometimes he just hunkers down in the tall grass, out of sight.  Other times, he meows back softly and jumps out to join me.  Yesterday I looked, and looked, and looked, but couldn't find him on the trails.  See if you can spot Vladi in the photo below:

Yep, he's curled up on the chair, facing the bird feeder.

I must have walked past him half a dozen times.

I think he fell asleep waiting to go back inside for dinner.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

T Gets His Way

It was super windy outside, I was tired, and all three boys were soundly sleeping, so hmmmm, maybe its a good day to stay inside.  I cooked up some food and curled up on the couch to catch up on TV.  This time of year we head out at about 5:30 p.m., and I was finally going to have dinner instead!

However, this is what really happened...

5:29 p.m.: Tanji appears on the ottoman.

 5:30 p.m.: He's waiting "patiently."

 5:31 p.m.: Ears are moving back, and the smile is disappearing.

 5:32 p.m.: T is trying to make eye contact.

 5:33 p.m.: The whining begins.

 5:34 p.m.: Mushy eyes and sad kitten meows.

5:35 p.m.: Defeated look.

So yes, we all headed outside at 5:35 p.m.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Car Wars

Vladi is posing in the perfect light...


Uschi shows up and doesn't like what he sees...

What's he doing on top of my car?

An amazing leap and dominant tail flick later,
Usch is back in charge.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Spoiled Sweet

I just can't keep my hands off Uschi when he's napping.

Mooooommmmmm, I'm trying to sleep!

Tanji always comes running when Uschi makes any protesting noises.
Lick, lick, lick (notice I still can't stop petting U, he is SO soft!).

Usch is only half awake, he's trying to lick Tanj back,
but he's just licking whiskers and air.

Uschi is at his best when he's the center of attention;
spoiled and sweet.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Vladi has as much fun watching the hose fill the pond
as he does watching water pour into the tub.
The ripples are mesmerizing.

Sometimes it looks like he is going to jump right in.

V likes to pat and drink the pond water, but ever since
his Giardia infection (which is much better),
he's not supposed to play with the water.

Whatever, I was just looking.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Recovery Step 3: Christmas Cat Books

In 2009 I was obsessed with painting and writing about two things:
Christmas and cats.  The last paintings I did were of the boys
counting down to Christmas.  It was a lot of fun!

I've been putting together the art pieces from 09 in my journal.
I really wanted to develop a book about cats and still do; an
illustrated journal of the little joys of cats + Christmas,
with a hodge-podge of art and ideas.  I'd call it
"Christmas: Merry and Bright."

And then there was the picture book idea...

As my art skills were dwindling in 2010, I wrote and
storyboarded a picture book called "Vladimir's Christmas Gift."
I want to bring this one to life.

It'll take a while to remember how to do everything.
("Home for the Holidays," Oct 2008)

So first to rebuild skills: "Christmas: Merry and Bright"
and then full speed to "Vladimir's Christmas Gift"

I get to dig through holiday books, stowed away for this rainy day.
There can't be anything more appealing than the colors, smells,
sounds, tastes, and wonderful feeling of Christmas.  

 I have big boxes of vintage Christmas cards too,
its pretty impossible not to smile thumbing through them.
Nutcrackers, fruitcake, stockings, ornaments, candles, jingle bells,
the list goes on and on...  Bear with me, there will be a
sprinkling of Christmas spirit in the blogs to come.

Thank-you for all of the support!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Recovery Step 2: Journal, Journal, Journal

I kept journals for years, and kind of fizzled out in the early 1990s.
It is a blast looking back and remembering some of the wild times!

Fast forward to 2009, I was looking for a new art project and
remembered how much fun journaling was.  I finished
about half a dozen new journals in no time, and the
two cat art journals are still my favorites.

I drew the page on the right while Mark was having surgery in 
September 09.  I thought we had made it through that O.K.,
but a series of unfortunate events had already begun, 
and I started slowly slipping into depression.

I journaled a bit into 2010; first the colors disappeared, then the
art lines got shaky, and then the writing stopped altogether.
I'm amazed now that I was oblivious to the change.

Well, enough of that...

Its time to journal again!
My purse (U-approved Vera Bradley) is filled with art goodies...

Watercolor palette, water brush and ink pen, Moleskine journal,
a date planner, and wallet (well, an old Vera Bradley luggage tag).

Now anytime there are a few minutes, its time to journal.
The boys have been hanging so close, I've even been able
to write a few things on our walks, before chasing
after them down the trails.

Oops, Tanji just zoomed off to the right, time to go :).

Tomorrow: Recovery Step 3

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Recovery Step I: Walking the Cats

For some years I have been experiencing depression.  The pain and feeling of detachment can make it hard to get things done.  I have been getting much better since some changes in March, even the migraines I had regularly for years have melted away.

However, last week I felt I was slipping backwards a bit, like my brain was retreating and leaving my body behind.  Luckily this time I had a strategy to battle back, and it includes taking the boys out for a walk every day, rain or shine.  Unfortunately along with depression, sometimes comes the weird combination of lethargy and anxiety, so it was hard to even get them harnessed up and out the door, and then I was super-stressed they might wander off too much.

Amazingly the boys seem to get it, and have stayed with me every day out as I regain my bearings...

Tanji is ready to go, but I'm still sitting down.

The little speed demon would like to be racing up and down the trails,
but instead he flops on the ground...

 ...and waits while I write a few things in my journal
(that's recovery step #2 :).

I make it out to the chairs, and Uschi sits next to me (rare)
and is rolling around like he's happy I'm there (even rarer).

Vladi is keeping an eye on me too, from the comfort
of his dirt-rolling spot.  Everyone really wants to GO,
so that gets me up and moving to the west pond.

 Tanji runs ahead of us, and Vladi is close behind.
I can't resist petting his dusty little body, and it feels wonderful.

Even Uschi shows up and rubs against my legs (who IS this cat?).
I know all of this good kitten behavior won't last,
but its already seen me though to sunnier days.

Tomorrow: Recovery Step 2