New house in old

February 16, 2008

I spent the whole day cleaning and reorganizing our pantry. It is sunken, a bit like a cellar and actually needs to be rebuilt. It is an eyesore and dirt collector and drains my energy daily.

But today I attacked it with new resolve and creativity. The northernmost whitewashed wall was all moldy and I scrubbed it with vinegar, it looks stained and old still but whiter and cleaner.  

Determined not to just ‘take everything out then put-it-back-in-but-neater’, I browsed the web for kitchen storage solutions, then I used what I had on hand to solve some of the most serious storage problems.  I banned the chemicals and painting materials to the shed and took away lots of plastic bags and hanging and standing objects that were getting in the way. I need to find another place for our paper recycling.

What gives me such a feeling of accomplishment and joy is that I have directed my longing for another house into making this one more livable. The pantry I have recreated is quite simply a piece of our yet to be new home. It is clean and ordered and sparse and gives me humungous pleasure.

My wise guy hub just said to me,’Gee it’s half empty, we need to fill it up with more stuff’. When I threatened unnameable torture and death for even as much as an extra pea in there, he said, ‘So we get all that unused space in the pantry and have all this junk clogging up the rest of the house’. Yep.

Because the rest of the house is my next project!

He was only joking luckily.

February 6, 2008


Photo by Rende Zoutewelle

Lucie is turning out to be so completely her own person, well….dog.
Our last dog was also a female fox terrier and had a terrific character all her own.  There are, of course similarities because of the breed, but it is such a pleasure watching Lucie develop and discover the world.

When we picked her up at the breeders, we were privileged to meet her father, Avalon.  Yes, privileged. I have never met an animal who commanded such instant respect and admiration. He simply radiated stature, but was also very sweet-natured. I was very impressed by him and touched as well. Later we heard that he has won the European Championships for the second year in a row. 
Her mother is also a lovely, good natured dog.

Lucie is brave- she will feel fear at new, large and noisy things, but will go out to meet them with her head and tail up.
She is super-intelligent, living up to her full name, ‘Lucida Bright’. When she was about 5 months old, we taught her to open a door by taking a knotted rope in her mouth and pulling. It took her a little over a week to catch on.

When we are playing with the ball and I say in my best down south accent, ‘Give me Five Lucie honey’, she ‘hits’ me with her open paw and races away again.  She has this wonderful prancy little dance she does with the floss/string in her mouth, twirling around and shaking it. She is mischievous and energetic but insists on climbing on our laps for a cuddle when we watch DVDs at night. We are just finishing up her favorite series,  James Herriott  (she isn’t allowed to look if a dog gets really sick or is mistreated).

As I said, once I start………. 

Doggy blog

February 6, 2008


Photo by Rende Zoutewelle, starring ‘Miss Lucie’

Maybe the reason I haven’t been writing about Lucie is that once I start I’m afraid I may not be able to stop.

She is now 9 months old and  stunningly beautiful. OK, here she isn’t shown off to her full glamour, but sometimes just catching sight of her takes my breath away.

Here she is loose in an abandonned orchard not far from where we live.  She runs (on the leash) with Rende alongside the bike as if she was born to it. 
She is starting finally to understand the meaning of ‘Heel’; we’ve been working on it for months and I’ve sometimes felt hopeless, but the last days she hasn’t been pulling at all. I have never  met a fox terrier that walked calmly beside you without nearly tearing your arm off at intervals.   She is responsive and obedient except when other dogs are in the vicinity, but she is so intelligent I have hope that she will even listen to us then.

All the colours you can eat

February 5, 2008


As promised, the box open, showing maybe three quarters of all the 120 colours. I am spelling colours the English way in this post because these gorgeous things seem to deserve the extra ‘u’.

And they beg to be imbibed in some way, if not through the mouth then through the eyes.
Another idea would be to actually use them, but that seems like such a shame.

A song of Sennelier

February 3, 2008

Excuse me if I am waxing poetic, but a beloved friend just did something unbelievably nice for me.

I need to wind back to last year for some background. Judy Lee of five and a half featured my studio and work in her lovely series of artist interviews, ‘Tools of the Trade’.  One of her questions to me was, ‘What are the ultimate art materials you dream of having’?.
I answered that I was in love with a French oil pastel brand, Sennelier, and would love to have the mahogany coloured wooden box housing, more or less, their complete range. 

I remember my first glimpse of this treasure. I was on vacation in London in a really cool graphic and fine arts store in Covent Garden just browsing, and stopped in my tracks when I saw it. I remember just standing in front of the open box consumed with lust and somehow loving the sensation of wanting something so much.  Here in Holland I can get them, and do buy them one by precious one when I need specific colours.  But this was an abundance of glowing colour almost too much to take in at once.  It was the kind of  luxury I didn’t even consider purchasing for myself.

Sometimes dreams come true.  A few weeks ago a package arrived here.  Alice had seen the interview on Judy’s site and just went ahead and bought them for me. You do understand the the pastels are made in France, Alice lives in the US and they were sent airmail to Holland, right?  You must be thinking I am really lucky to have a friend like this, and you are right. 

Here’s the closed box, if you are very good, next I’ll post a picture of it open.