Monday, June 6, 2016

The Highest Praise

My mom has Alzheimer's. At 85, every day is a gift and every day is one where life shakes another puzzle piece out of her memory.

We play a game where I lay out photos of all the important people in her life, children, in-laws, grandkids, caretakers, and we sort them into piles. Who lives in Santa Barbara? Who likes to paint?  Who speaks French? Who speaks Spanish? Who's in college? Who is a teacher? Find the photo of your grandchildren. Find the photo of your three children. 

It's odd what sticks and what doesn't, but we go over it, day after day.

Today, she saw my photo and said, "This is Marilyn. She takes such good care of me." I was sitting right there, but it was like overhearing someone talking about me behind my back. It is and will always be the best compliment that I have ever had in my life.

My brother and sister also lift heaven and earth to take care of our mom. Our kid take her dinner over every night and eats with her and makes sure she gets her meds. He is a hero. 

I haven't had much time to toymaking or art. But for now this is my world, 

"Take your time."
"Watch your step."
"No worries"
"I'm glad that you're here."
"Today is a free day."

"Take your time."
"Watch your step."
"No worries"
"I'm glad that you're here."
"Today is a free day."

"Take your time."
"Watch your step."
"No worries"
"I'm glad that you're here."
"Today is a free day."

"Take your time."


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Good Day

Yesterday was my birthday. It was filled with all good things. The boy bought me a delicious cupcake from Susie Cakes. I left it on my desk last night and this morning it had a very suspicious kitty nose print in it.

I treated myself to a walk on the tide pools with my friend Barbara. I've been going there since I was a little girl and I felt old. My feet weren't too happy about jumping from rock to rock, but I managed to wander about without twisting an ankle or having to be airlifted out like a beached manatee. It was a beautiful day and I got some good ideas for paintings.

My mom took me out for a birthday lunch, Chinese food with a good fortune.

 Other fine presents included a JoAnn's gift card, new towels, curry powder and a fine basil plant. 

 I pinned my cards on the hatstand.

My wonderful hub got me gorgeous flowers and a magnificent set of Calphalon pans. I love them so much I haven't even taken them out of the box. I've just been staring at them like they were a bunch of Faberge eggs. I'll get over it and put them to good use, but dang they are pretty things.

My bestie, Julie, presented me with two vintage cookbooks that belonged to her mother-in-law. Now I'm geeking out over how to make white sauces and table settings. I love reading old books about etiquette and home economics.

This awesome fish was carved and painted by my uber talented friend Barbara Malley. It's a treasure.

And my clever friend, Heather drew a Queen of May cat.

All in all it was a perfect day, filled with phone calls and texts from family and friends. Maybe getting older isn't so bad.

Wishing you a creative week,



 Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons.  ~ Ruth Ann Schabacker

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Daily drawings

More daily sketchbook pages... I've been looking at a lot of mid-century ceramics and color palettes as well as playing with playing with geometric shapes. I have absolutely no reason or goal with these drawings other than to amuse myself. 

What is your favorite thing to draw? What is your creative outlet?


 Copy of some fifties wall decor.

 Celtic knots are fun to figure out. 

 The last page in my animal sketchbook... time to start a new one.

 I mostly seem to be drawing birds, fish and suns these days.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Animal Parade

I've been getting into the habit of drawing every day. Drawing people takes concentrated effort, but animals are just fun. Except for horses, horses and their legs are impossible. I'll keep working on the horse thing but for now here are a few pages from my sketchbook.

Sometimes I experiment with drawing animals as stylized shapes, like these birds. These are done in ink with a brush.

 I've also been obsessively drawing Celtic knots. I've got pages of them, they are really relaxing to figure out.

That's what's on my drawing table. What creative things have you been up to? What are your favorite animals?



“I would like to paint the way a bird sings.” ~ Claude Monet

 PS A drawing of a person...

Friday, December 11, 2015

In my Kitchen ~ December

 Healthy Food Mania continues...  I'm still working on lowering my cholesterol which is hard because there is chocolate everywhere. I'm just kind of rolling with it.

 I'm crazy for overnight oatmeal, a half a cup of steel cut oats, a cup of almond milk, a banana and a glorious mix of whatever else is delicious that I can find. Here I've added raspberries, chia seeds, shredded coconut, pepitas, and a spoonful of cocoa powder. I'll eat half tomorrow and the rest the next day. So easy and I swear it's addicting.

The local farmer's market still has a few berries left. They aren't as sweet as August's but they are still pretty good. I cut them up and keep a bag in the freezer.

I cut up my first butternut squash to make soup. I still have all my fingers too, but just barely. Someone should invent a guillotine for winter squash. It was worth it. The soup was good.

Pears can either be woody and horrible or taste like heaven and all the angels. This one was sweet and juicy.

Still baking sourdough. I always split the loaf with my sister, who is a bread lover.

I tried steaming a packet of veg in parchment paper. It sounded so easy, wrap up the veggies with some water, fold to seal the edges, bake in the oven. Doesn't it look pretty? Look at all those colors. It tasted nasty, like someone raided the plastic food from a daycare play kitchen. I don't know why, maybe I didn't let it bake long enough.

It was a major disappointment because I'm always looking for ways to prep my vegetarian food ahead of time so I get more than a microwaved baked potato for dinner while everyone else is eating roast chicken. Maybe I need more seasoning, swap out the water for white wine, try adding garlic and chili. Suggestions, anyone?

I have been getting good dishes from this cookbook. Tons of veggies, people, I'm not kidding.... you'll feel like Peter Rabbit eating his way through Mister McGregor's garden with this book.


 I've made the Rainbow Chard with apples and onions twice now. So easy, red onion, chard and apples sauteed and finished off with lemon juice and sunflower seeds.

I also learned how to make almond butter. It's fifteen bucks a jar at the market. I made this for less than half that.  

Here's the recipe...
1. Put a bunch of almonds in the food processor.
2. Push the button until it it looks like peanut butter.
3. Put your buttery delicious almond butter in a jar. Lick the spoon and think about how you just made Martha Stewart look like a wuss.
4. Put your jar in the fridge and feel smug and self satisfied.

 Christmas came early here. The hub finished building a Morris chair for the living room.

He also made me a  curly maple tea tray.


After ten years and thousands of cups of tea our old teapot was looking like it had been in a bar fight. So I bought a new one, a "proper" Brown Betty just like the old one.

 The cats have been helping with the festivities by getting out the wrapping paper. 


That's about all that's been going on in my kitchen.  Christmas cookie-less January is right around the corner so I'm enjoying a little of everything chocolate now. Mmmm, chocolate. 

May your days be merry and bright,



PS If you are looking for a nice present for someone special, my new book, A Year In The Secret Garden is on sale on Amazon.

A Year In the Secret Garden

Discover the joys of delving into this timeless children’s literature classic and see the Secret Garden through new eyes and a modern twist! Kids and nature go hand-and-hand while enjoying the bounty that the great outdoors brings is not just a “summer thing.” A Year in the Secret Garden is a delightful children’s book with over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for your family and friends to enjoy, learn, discover and play with together. Grab your copy ASAP for the Holiday Book Sale price of $15.00 .


Monday, November 23, 2015


I've been painting a lot this last couple of month. It's soothing and gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I like the buttery feel of the brush and oil paint. I like mixing the colors, even the names are wonderful, Alizarin crimson, Naples Yellow, Payne's Grey, Cobalt, Umber, Cadmium Red, ultramarine... I like them all.

 Here is some of my work from the last couple of months.

3 x 4 Koi falling and flying


 Girl with White Flowers

 A tiny painting that I donated to the Muckenthaller for a fundraiser. I heard that it sold. 

 Warm colors on a cool background. 

 Stormy, the most disappointed cat in the world.

 A Matisse color palette 

Thinking about Edward Hopper.

 A ridiculously Happy Cat

 Monsoon coming to Sedona.

Wishing you a creative week! 



"The world always seems brighter when you've just made 
something that wasn't there before" ~ Neil Gaiman