Monday, June 22, 2015


There's something to be said for the toy camera effect.

And poodle dogs.  There's something to be said for poodle dogs too.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pomp and Circumstance

So there were some graduations last week.  Abby graduated from Middle School.

My picture-taking ability failed me so I don't have many good pictures of either graduation.  Abby's, which was Thursday evening in her school's gym, was uncomfortably warm.  I'm not gonna lie, there was some sweat.  The high school graduation on Friday was early afternoon in Patrick Gym at UVM, and it too was warmer than warm.  Again -- sweat.  All my pictures of Delaney while she was waiting in line for her diploma are crapola, but here she is after the ceremony.

Johan got a fake diploma.  His year here doesn't count as his senior year of high school - lucky guy, he gets to do it all over again when he gets home.

Johan's whole family came from Sweden to pick him up; they spent four days in New York City, took the train to Vermont, stayed for a week, and left today on the train for Washington, D.C.  We can't talk about it because I will get all weepy again.  Ann posted a video on facebook today of their train leaving the station and I cried.  Abby politely pointed out that I cry at everything and I might have gotten offended by that remark if it weren't totally true.  I will just say this:  it was a joy to have Johan around this past year and when we met his family it felt like we had known them forever.  We are all going to miss him, the Thomas family most of all (particularly when they need to reach something on a high shelf).

Okay, new subject.  And a Kleenex.

I gave myself a list of four things I want to get done tonight and I'm down to the last one, which is packing up the painting I'm sending to Derek for the Bigfork show.  I am determined to go to bed tonight feeling the satisfaction of knowing I crossed everything off my list.  This is not a feeling I get to experience often.  Ergo, gotta go.  Heh - that was funny.  This is the painting I'm sending:

It's a 9" x 12" canvas panel and, because I am boring and predictable, I named it "White Water."  It's a hot mess, but in a good way.  I hope.

The end.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Before and After

There are not enough hours in the day.  It has been non-stop nonsense around here but it's too late in the day to tell you about it now.  Not that I have let that stop me before, but there's still a sink full of dirty dishes calling my name before I go to bed.  And I want to go to bed early (meaning by 11:00) so I can read some of the book I got in the mail:

Yippee.  I can't wait to find out how I died.

In other news, most of the painting that has been going on around here happened outside.

Yes, that is the side of my garage and yes, it used to be white.  White vinyl, which meant it was a pain in the ass to paint (scrubbing with a 3-part mixture and then two coats of paint with a brush).  It looks totally different out back now and although I finally got my hammock chair to work and it is lovely to sit out there hanging from a tree, the mosquitoes have been so miserably bad it hasn't been much fun.  I have lost so much blood to the little bastards that I feel lightheaded.

On another note, still paint related, there's this:

It was an experiment.  I think I like the before better than the after even though it's just silver sharpie on a brown background.  The after is in the questionable pile but - no pun intended - it's growing on me.  And speaking of growing, I planted some vegetables.  More on that later.  The only other thing I've painted is something possibly, depending on how I feel about it when I look at it again in the morning, for Derek's next Bigfork show to coincide with Leslie's book launch party.

You know, the book I'm going to be reading later tonight.  

The book launch party I had my heart set on going to.

More on that later, too.  Right now I must empty a sink.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


I've got several weeks worth of random nothingness built up and although I'm not ready to erupt like Mount St. Helens (happy 35th anniversary), it shall herewith pour forth.

First, speaking of anniversaries, Frame of Reference turned 17 on May 1st.  Next year it will be old enough to vote.  Woo hoo!

Second, although I said I wasn't going to document every bit of flora in my yard again this year, I planted tulip bulbs in the fall and they actually sprouted.  In honor of my green thumb, here is a picture of one of the sprouts:

And since 'tis the season of sprouting, here's what is happening up the road:

I wish I had taken that picture with better light - the pink trees are fantastic.

Okay, backing up a bit.  I did the craft show.  My walls worked pretty well - I even had another vendor come over to see how they were built.  Lesson learned, though:  in deference to my neighboring vendors I really need to finish the back sides of the walls.  They looked pretty cruddy and I felt terrible about it.  Nobody else seemed to care, but I felt terrible.  Set up and tear down went smoothly, but that's only because there were four of us.  It probably would have gone just as smoothly with fewer people but it would have taken waaaaaaaay longer.  All in all it was a great trial run for the craft fair in the fall.  The spring show had a steady trickle of looky-loos; it was a hot, sunny, summer-like day so we guessed everybody was out enjoying the weather.  My neighboring vendor did admit this was the first time he exhibited next to a murder victim.  It was particularly funny because in his long-ago murky past he was a murderer!  HA!  We could take that show on the road.  (Full disclosure - he committed his crime during a dinner theater event and I kick it in a book.  But still.)

Oh, here's my booth:

In real life the holes in the pegboard were not a distraction at all, they just appear to be in the photos. The tower in the front is made from four louvered closet doors, assembled upside down so I could hang "s" hooks from the slats.  Worked really well!

Okay, what else.  Oh - here are the two last minute wreaths I finished before the show.  The first is what we are calling "fall balls" because the ornaments are foliage colored.  The second was totally last minute.  I didn't finish it before I had to pack up and head to Hinesburg, so I took everything I thought I would need and, after setting up the booth on Friday evening, I stayed up until 2am Saturday morning finishing the wreath at my sister's dining room table.  Have glue gun, will travel.

Since that weekend I haven't felt like painting anything.  Then last week I started messing around with some tiny abstract stuff.  Like this :

I love all those swirly bits.  And when I say tiny, I mean tiny:

I think those are four inches square.  Here's a 5" x 7" cradled panel:

It's a hot mess, but there's something satisfying about it.  And I have a new secret ingredient that will remain secret (mom - don't tell), and it's only noticeable in real life.  Wait, there's a bit of it in this one:

What's particularly curious about that photo is a lot of the swirly nonsense is only visible because of the flash on the camera.  In real life, it looks more like this:

I had one lonely 4" square canvas waiting for his place in the world.  Now he's called, "I Hold the Entire Universe in the Palm of My Hand."  Lofty name for a wee small painting.

Nothing else new here except Roxie and I spent some quality time with our new best friend last Friday.  His name is Joe:

He is an electric mulcher and we love him.  Except poodle and I are both deaf (what?  what?) because Joe is LOUD and we are both covered in bug bites from these little nasty biting bastards that I didn't realize were biting until it was too late.  Seriously itchy bug bites.  I had a list of things I was going to try and get done over the weekend but kept getting distracted by other things (oh look - a squirrel) so my list is only half done.  One of my distractions took a lot of time, several trips to the hardware store, still isn't done but will be on Friday, and has caused me to have dark green and turquoise snot for two days.  Totally worth it:

I was outside with Joe and suddenly realized that although I have to live with these crappy outbuildings for the foreseeable future, I do NOT have to live with them being white.  I think Roxie likes the flowers.  Heh heh.

That's it for now.  I have to go fight with a toaster.  Over and out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Just in case you were wondering, there is still snow in my backyard

I don't want you to think I've been a total slacker over here, but I've got a To Do list longer than my arm so all you get today are pictures.  I shall save the witty repartee for another time.

First -- big stick, dirty butt:

And one lone crocus.  I promise I won't document every bit of flora in my yard like I did last year, but this poor bugger is out back all alone:

Someone got a new fuzzy wubba.  When she isn't outside hauling giant sticks around she is inside hauling this around:

In the art department, I accidentally painted a ketchup and mustard flower and it looks surprisingly cool:

My rainbow of flowers now numbers ten pieces.  It will be interesting to see them hanging together.

Here's something else that I was sure was going bad when I was in the midst, but now I just love it.  "With a Song in my Heart."

"Conversation Heart" is a bit wonky-doodle:

And speaking of doodle, there's a new rooster.  My favorite part of the painting is the grassy bits on the bottom so I named it "Free Range."

That's a tragically bad photo.

I've got two wreaths to finish before the craft show.  Here are the two I put together last weekend:

That jewel-toned one is so much cooler in real life than it looks in the photo.

Okay, now I can cross something off my To Do list and move on to cleaning the bathrooms.  Oh joy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"Shut up, I'm busy."

I learned something interesting this morning.  I was listening to the radio in the car on my way to work and on Writer's Almanac Garrison Keillor was talking about how April 14th was the day Abraham Lincoln was assassinated (150 years ago) and also the day the Titanic hit that big old iceberg (103 years ago).  Mr. Keillor said that another ship tried to warn them about the ice but the radio operator on the Titanic was so busy trying to get personal messages to the passengers his response was, "Shut up, I'm busy."  Hmmmm.  Bummer to be that guy.

In other news, it was 73 degrees yesterday afternoon.  My yard is still half buried in snow but I got out the rake anyway.  I am wishing I had been a bit more diligent in my efforts last fall.


I brushed her all off and she immediately dropped to the ground and rolled around again.  Then didn't want to move out of the way.

You can't tell from these pictures but there is still a giant snowbank in my front yard.  A bunch more melted today, and I even had a sudden emergence of crocus, but there is still plenty of snow.  At the end of the day I hauled Roxie into the bathtub because she was a dirty brown dog.  Man, she wanted NOTHING to do with it.  The dog who will spend an entire day trying to eat the water out of a garden hose and getting soaked in the process was shaking like a leaf in the empty bathtub.  I tried to get a picture but I didn't have enough hands.  I didn't even have enough hands to use the soap.  I guess someone will be getting her baths out in the driveway from now on.

Kathy, Evan and mom were here over the weekend.  And Ruby.  We took a lovely walk on Sunday and I only have two photos to document the event.

Evan found a spoon in a field.

"I can smell the barn from here."  I always say that to myself when I'm getting to the end of a run.  Unfortunately, at this time of year, we can smell THAT barn from a looooooooong way away.  Kathy was gagging but I thought it was a pretty mild day stench-wise.  Those cows have the best view.

I finally finished the St. Patrick's Day-colored wreath.  Two months later.  Kathy and Evan made a very clever centerpiece, so I had no excuse since the glue gun was already warmed up.

Using my purple wall as a backdrop was a bit of a mistake but the white wall I used to photograph all the other wreaths is now a bright apple green.  My paintings look cool on the purple in real life, but in photos ... not so much.

That's a little 5" x 7" cradled panel.  It's a hot mess, but there's nothing I like better than a good hot mess.

I was also working on a word piece but my spell checker fell down on the job and I didn't quite catch it in time.  I had to do some strategic removal and repair work.  I will finish it tomorrow.  I have a few more pieces in progress that I want to finish this week so the varnish has a good long time to cure before the craft fair on May 2nd.  I'm hoping to build my walls this weekend, then spend the next couple of weeks busting out a few more wreaths and generally getting my shit together.  Deep down inside I'm not the least bit looking forward to the craft fair so there will be a lot of positive self-talk happening around here.  "It will be fun!"  (Ha.  Right.)  "You will get to talk to a lot of people!"  (My fave.)  "The booth will look AWESOME!"  (I can only hope.)  "Your artwork will sell like hotcakes!" (Did someone say cake?)  "GET A GRIP!"  (Okay, okay, take a deep breath....)