Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The art of a New Year

As 2014 fades away and a bright new shiny 2015 waits to leap in the door, I am in a happy frame of mind. At the end of 2013 I had a terrible fall and it took me most of 2014 to recover. It was only in about late October early November I felt my stength - physically and mentally - was back on track. I am very grateful it is, although I realize I'm wandering deeper in to the old fart category age wise, my mind is still thinking young. Every so often my body has to go "Whoa there kid... remember your age."
Every New Year I reflect on special friends I've met around the world and I always have a quiet toast to them to say thank you for being in my life and for your friendship. ANd I hope to see each and every one of you again sometime soon. There are those I'll never see again. But what joy they were to know and there's a few I know have got together up there and are having one hellva party.
So - to my old friends and the new ones I'll meet soon... here's my wish for you.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The art of love for family and friends

Every Christmas Eve my family - where ever they are in the world - lights a red candle and, with bubbly, toasts our family and friends who are far away from us on other continents. Got my candle set, the champers chilling and thinking of you all with love.
                                            Cheers to us all....and big hug

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Art of Christmas Tree ornaments

It's the week before Christmas and we got the tree up early. I am not in the least bit religious but I do love my angels on the tree. We collect ornaments as we travel and I thought I would share a couple of my favourites with you. Part of the fun for us are the memories as we decorate the tree. We have some funky ornaments - like the decorated shotgun bullet from North Carolina mountain country or the drunk bourbon swilling guy from Kentucky and the swinging ring within a ring from North Pole, Alaska! But it's all about the angels this time. 

My very favouritest of all is my delicate cotton beauty from Prague. I bought her in the Kafka House up behind the imposing castle. His tiny home now houses a shop selling handmade goods by physically and mentally challenged crafters.

The lovely tree top angel has been with us since we lived in Nevada. We bought her at a Christmas market and she is made with shaded handmade glass.

The white beaded Zulu angel from South Africa takes pride of place each year. I love her billowing dress and gold headdress. This year the new African angel joined her. She is very mod - all red patterned and angular.

 After Hurricane Katrina we lived in the North Carolina Smokey Mountains for 5 months courtesy of very kind friends. We went to a quilt show by the Smokey Mountain Quilting Guild and picked up two delightful handmade angels, this is one of the sweet faced angels.

When we lived in Georgia we went to a Christmas market and couldn't resist this folk art angel - her base is an old fashioned clothes line peg. The lady who made them was a character of the first order.

Our angel from Istanbul was made for us by a dear friend who also lived there. She's sassy and quite the loud dresser with curly locks. My friend said she used me as the model - at the time I was sporting wild curly hair. The first and only time in my life my hair had any body to it!

Last but not least is our Babushka doll - not really an angel but why not include her. She's lovely. The Russian dolls are ubiquitous and hardly a novel item but we bought her at a Russian market near the Georgian border on the Black Sea. It was when the Soviet Union was crumbling and Russians poured over the borders in to Turkey selling all kinds of wares. We picked up a lot of really pure caviar for a couple of bucks a jar and a set of the dolls featuring Russian heads of state from Lenin to Gorbachev and Yeltsin. We also bought this sweet wee doll all on her own - no doll within a doll. She is an individual. That market was fun - and sad. Some of the vendors were desperate and selling anything they could. We saw one selling just one shoe.

So.. these are some of my Christmas angels - may your holiday ... whatever you celebrate ... be joyous and carefree. I wish you all the best for 2015 - may be it a good year for all of us.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Art of an e-Book

I'm proud to announce my, well, Chaussette's really since it's in her voice, first mini e-book in the series of living with cats, The Toe Terrorist, has been published by Smashwords. It has now been approved for sale on the online stores of Apple, Barnes & Noble, WH Smith's in the UK, iBooks, Kobo and many more. 
It's a 35-page illustrated book and a percentage of the profits will go to no-kill animal rescue shelters. The first shelter I will donate to is the Georgetown SPCA in Delaware. They do amazing work and have incredible success in getting dogs and cats adopted. They work closely with Just Us Cats & Kittens from Lewes, Del., the group that rescued my Chaussettes.
I gave a large donation to Just Us Cats & Kittens this summer. The second book (if this one sells enough!) donation will go to the rescue group that train the rescued dogs as therapy dogs for the Wounded Warrior program.
It costs $3.99 - less than a low cost bottle of wine... but you get to enjoy it for a whole lot longer and never get a headache!! Please help me help the animals by purchasing one and encouraging others to do so.  If you want to search, the ISBN # is ISBN: 9781311280992
You can also buy it directly from Smashwords... click that link and off you go.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

The art of giving and receiving

So... I had a short break from just about everything with a marvellous trip to Puerto Rico and St. Croix, USVI. I loved PR... we were in Isabella on the N shore on the Western end and drove all over that area which is not touristy and was a delight. I especially loved Ponce. It's got the charm of a European city, is laid back and beautiful. The Puerto Rico people are just delightful and friendly. The island is clean, relaxed and beautiful. St. Croix was like going home for me - it reminded me so much of Durban .. the vegetation, the climate (except it's more comfy because the trade winds keep the himidity down). We ate too much, relaxed and enjoyed ourselves at both airbnb 's we stayed at, nice places and nice folks.
And then after that trip, Thanksgiving arrived and I decided to extend my holiday!! So.. I am back! Fat and happy.

And now some exciting news... Book 1 of my mini book series on living with cats  is out today... all the news is in my new magazine! Also.. some of the profit from the sales of these books will go to animal rescue and shelters. Chaussettes and Geordie give us such joy, so we feel we have received and thus must give back ... please help me spread the word. Thank you.
                               Click here to link to the magazine

And,finally, here are a couple of sketches from our trip to Puerto Rico and St Croix

Arts & cultural center in Ponce, PR

The pilots of the Caribbean. We flew from PR to St Croix in a 6 passenger Cessna with 2 character pilots
Villa Morales, nice restaurant near Fredericksed, St Croix