Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ho Ho Ho!

When we were kids my brothers and I all had Santa mugs. I remember drinking milk out of mine and dunking cookies in it. I liked it, even though none of us ever really believed in Santa as kids, and as an adult I think Santa competes with Jesus for attention at Christmas. This year I decided to make new Santa mugs for all of us as a nostalgic reminder of our childhood Christmases. I started painting them traditionally but didn't get any farther than red hats before I got bored. Here is the result of my boredom.

I laughed myself silly over these. I love them, particularly the zombie Santa. I know, I'm sick. I don't know why I find the idea so appealing and humorous. Lucky for me, the recipients also liked them :D

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Alpine Holiday Festival

Yesterday I participated in my first ever art/craft fair. I was very nervous about whether I would have enough inventory to fill a whole booth, and whether my first time amateur greenness would look chintzy next to the seasoned veterans of the craft fair circuit. I need not have worried. I totally over-prepared. This is my booth:

I really like how it turned out. I think it's homey and cozy and inviting. Our neighbor vendors were all so friendly and helpful. One of them loaned us an extra table and one offered some peg board to help with the display which we didn't end up using, but the offer was much appreciated.

So many people as they walked by said they had never seen anything like my book art and how cool and impressive and intriguing it was. Equal numbers of people remembered seeing old Reader's Digests folded into angels or Santas or Christmas trees.

My friend Coral came with me for moral support. She also had a few books to sell of her own. We did all right. I figure we about broke even, after the booth rental fee and the gas to get there and the supplies and all. Not to mention the money I spent at other vendors' booths ;) It was fun. I'd totally do it again.

When we arrived in the morning to finish setting up there was a diminutive visitor to our booth. I know the photo is blurry and horrible, but we considered it a sign of good luck that the ladybug decided to grace us with her presence. We liberated her from the confines of the building after quickly taking her portrait :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Firstly, This weekend I've been asked to participate in a holiday art/craft fair. Woo hoo! I've never done a fair before. I'm nervous about the booth setup. I don't want it to look lame and amateurish. But I'm excited. Coral and Abby are coming with me, so even if we don't sell anything we'll still have fun girly time :)

Secondly, I'm being sued. Remember that ice storm accident I had almost two years ago? Apparently one of the children in the suburban I slid into was injured and the lovely billion dollar multinational corporation for whom I work hasn't paid her medical expenses. Her parents are suing the company... and me... for negligence to the tune of $104,5oo, or something like that. The $4,500 is the medical bill, the $100,000 is for pain and suffering. Every time I try to talk to my boss about it he says, "Don't worry about it. The company will take care of it." But he gives me nothing tangible to make me believe it's true. Their idea of "taking care of it" might be hanging me out to dry. Anyway, Monday is the deadline for the company to respond, so one way or another I suppose I'll know soon.

Thirdly, I got a new calling at church. They released me from teaching Relief Society :( and called me to teach the sunbeams in Primary. Gaaah! I haven't been in Primary since I was 12, and I know next to nothing about 4 year olds. Thank heaven it's team teaching because I think the little rug rats would eat me alive if I had to be in there alone with them. I'm sure it will be good for me, I'm sure I'll learn a lot, and hopefully I won't warp the little ones too severely.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The man in my life

Casper's human, (my brother) has gone to Hawaii to visit our Dad and has left his gorgous and nearly perfect kitty here. He looks a little cranky in this photo but he is a very good humored creature, and very affectionate. His human is flying home tonight and will undoubtedly be greeted with enthusiastic mews and demands for attention. I love Casper, but I will not miss being jumped on in the middle of the night, or having everything I own covered in long white hairs... but I will miss his furry little face.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I feel like all I ever do is post doom and gloom and whine about it. I apologize, but I genuinely can't think of anything cheerful to write about at the moment. Since last posting I had dinner with my soon to be divorced friend and had to call 911 because he rushed out of the restaurant intent on doing himself harm. The police caught up with him and took him to the hospital, for which I am intensely grateful. I hope they keep him long enough to do some good. He's been talking about drowning and carbon monoxide poisoning and running his car into trees, among other things, for weeks now. I told him I wouldn't stand by and let it happen, that I'd have him committed. He can hate me for the rest of his long and normal life.

On a lighter note, here are some photos of Coral and I at our friend Laura's birthday party, and of the plate I made her:

Googly eyes rock.

Paging Nurse Simmons

I don't even know what to say about the last few weeks, but I'm tired out. Two things have been going on that independently would be manageable for me, but concurrently they are taxing my strength and sanity. Firstly, my beloved mother has been unwell. She had surgery yesterday and is now home. I've taken some time off work to care for her and am happy to be able to look after her. She's taken such good care of me over the years, it's nice to be able to return the favor in a small way :) But it is stressful. It's hard to see someone you love in pain, which brings me to the second thing.
My good friend is in the beginning stages of divorce and is relying heavily on me for emotional support. He is in the first, most agonizing part: the pain, the self doubt, the depression. And I am his only friend. And it's hard to see him suffering. And of course it reminds me of my own divorce.
Watching other people suffer is almost worse than suffering yourself. I am strong and am happy these people can lean on me for support, but I am tired. I hope I make it to the end of their trials without failing in some major way. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Freeze Frame

Here are some recent projects. The first two were birthday presents for my nieces. The third is a Christmas present for my mother, which she already knows she's getting because it was originally meant to be for one of my darling nieces and Mum saw it and drooled so excessively over it that it wasn't fit for consumption by anyone else... Not really. No actual drool was produced. She expressed a great liking for it, so I made another one for the girls. The last frame is for my lovely friend Lynda who doesn't read my blog so I can post without her knowing what she's getting :) Is it wrong that the one with my photo in it is my favorite?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

RIP part deux

So... my computer died. I had been telling myself since we got it 2 years ago that I needed to back up my photos and documents. Now they're ALL GONE!!!! WAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sniff sniff. I still haven't quite regained good relations with the beastly machine since the reboot. I hate Vista passionately. I blame all the quirks and crashes we suffer through hourly on Bill Gates personally.

On the up side, there's pie. Marionberry, mmmmmm......

As you know, I spend a great deal of time painting pottery, for my own amusement and for easy gifting. I rarely make anything for myself. In fact, in the history of my pottery painting I have only ever made one thing for myself, a gnome called Xenophilius, who I love.

I have many projects in progress and a shelf full of bisque waiting its turn. Among these items is another gnome, to be a friend for Xenophilius. I know exactly how I want to paint him and have been waiting to start him until I get a little further along with my Christmas projects. My friend Jonah has painted two gnomes for himself and has been eyeing my gnome for the last month with envy. He wants to make seven, all in Nascar uniforms, to be the pit crew for his favorite driver, Tony Stewart. (Does that make him Snow White?) He has been hinting broadly that I should let him have my gnome since I have so many other things to paint. They are apparently difficult for the shop to get and the next shipment won't arrive for another month, if ever. Jonah has other projects as well, but none he enjoys as much as gnomes and he has been making it known that he thinks I'm selfish for wanting to keep my gnome. I am feeling browbeaten into giving him the one thing from my shelf that is for me. Am I being selfish? Or is he being a jerk? Or both? I've told him no a dozen times and he keeps asking me. I gave in today and let him have it, not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had to in order to preserve good relations. But I resent it. What happened to no means no?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cruel and unusual punishment

I'm not feeling very good about myself today.

Yesterday was one of those days against which one measures good days. It was the opposition against which cheerful, calm days seem sweet. In other words, it sucked. My bus was crowded most of the day with the loud, crass, disrespectful element that seems to crawl out of the woodwork on sunny weekends. Externally I was my usual serene self, but internally I was screaming most of the day. I wanted to be anywhere but there. The crowning event of the day was when a passing truck paused by my open window long enough to yell "stupid fat bitch!" at me as I was stopped to pick up some passengers. I have no idea what I did to piss the driver off. I hadn't stopped suddenly or failed to use my turn signal. I was just doing my job. I think if I had been able to respond, or had understood why he was angry, I would have been less bothered by it. And I'm fairly certain that he wouldn't have said it if he was actually on my bus, facing me in person, and would have had to deal with the consequences of his rudeness. Coward. And he was sporting a fairly sizable beer gut himself, and driving a Ford, so who is he to be questioning my intelligence? At the last conference I went to in Seattle one of the speakers said that there are multiple realities of our identity. If I catalogue my attributes according to this man's assessment: stupid, fat, bitchy - all of that is true sometimes, as well as lazy, selfish, ugly, slovenly, gluttonous, sinful, etc. The list could be endless, really. But other things are also true. I am sometimes generous, kind, beautiful, hard-working, compassionate, intelligent, diligent, faithful, etc. and it makes a difference which list we see as the truth. People are too apt to believe list A about themselves while seeing list B in others. And I am more guilty than most, I suspect...

The second source of my disquiet today is a result of lesson preparation. I read the next two lessons I have to teach in Relief Society. One is on Family Responsibilities and the other is on Eternal Marriage. Who am I to be teaching classes on these subjects?! It's ridiculous. I'm supposed to stand in front of a room full of wives and mothers and teach them about their responsibilities? I must stand there and tell them that a person can't be exalted without temple marriage, and teach them how to prepare their children for temple marriage? Because I'm such a sterling example of having learned that lesson for myself. Why would anyone put value on anything I could possibly have to say about these subjects? I have failed utterly and should be a cautionary tale. I don't relish the position I find myself in. It's enough to make me want to quit my calling, which of course I won't because that's not done. I have never wanted to be released until now. Generally I love my calling. But this seems cruel, as if I will be held up to public ridicule for my failures. The best I can do is stand there and say "do as I say, not as I do", which seems hypocritical to me. Not that I expect the sisters to be at all unkind. They are lovely and supportive, but surely it must occur to them that I have no wisdom here.

In less depressing news, a few months ago I was in Browsers book store talking with the proprietor, telling him how I was going to use the books I was purchasing. He asked me to bring one in and they would hang it, so I did:

This is the largest sculpture I have ever made and I love it. It's made from a book about Beethoven, which I read before transforming it. Speaking of marriage... Beethoven never married... There are all sorts of faithful men who have died without marrying. Perhaps one of them is for me. But if I get to pick, I choose Beethoven :) He seems like my kind of guy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Are you tired of photos of my work yet? This was my Mother's Day gift to my Mum. These are Henry's wee footprints. He screamed bloody murder when we put the paint on his tootsies. Boy, he didn't like that one bit!

This was one of John's birthday gifts. The others were fabulous but I haven't photographed them yet. Next time I go stay up there I'll shoot them and post them with info, so stay tuned, because they're seriously cool.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Our Greatest Fear

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others."

—Marianne Williamson

I heard this in a talk I went to this weekend in beautiful Bellevue, Wa. I had a lovely, relaxing weekend away. Lovely weather, lovely people, uplifting messages, for the most part. As always, one gets out of these conferences what one puts in, and I went sort of half hog to this one. I was friendly but not outgoing and so people were friendly but not overly so with me, which suits me just fine. I am, however, slightly embarrassed to admit that instead of going to the dance on Saturday night which was supposed to be the big mixer, I stayed in my hotel room and watched Avatar and the Parent Trap simultaneously. (I hate small talk and events like that one are slow torture.) (much like watching Avatar...)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

This delightful little bowl was left for my mother, one can only assume by the Easter Bunny... via the Pottery Place :)

Most of the pieces I paint are pre-made bisque that I get there off the shelves, but I made this one myself. It started life as a lump of clay and under my expert touch (cough) it became the beauty you see before you. I might have to make more. A flower garden of poppies :)

I love how this one turned out, although it took FOREVER to carve all the white.

They look well together, do they not?

Urgh! This basket of Easter chocolate should NOT be sitting so close to me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gail's Plate

As I suspected, Gail has posted much better photos of our plate here:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Service Please

At long last, I finally sent Gail's plate, so I can now post photos for your viewing pleasure ;) This was my first attempt at etching.
In other news, I attended two funerals this week for ladies I knew from church. The first was for my Mum's dear friend Rachel, who lived a few doors down from us. She was 92 and had bladder cancer and was very ready to rejoin her husband beyond the veil. She was a cheerful, generous woman with a smile for everyone and she will be missed. The second funeral was for Carol, a woman who was very kind to me when I was an obstreperous teenager. She always made me feel loved and special at a time when I was probably least lovable. She also had cancer and was at peace with her imminent departure. She and her husband Harry were college sweethearts, married for 59 years. At the funeral all their sons and grandsons, big strapping lads, got up to sing 'their song', a Kiss to Build a Dream On. Very sweet... and sad to see Harry sitting by the casket listening to the song they fell in love to and danced to all those years. Carol was a doer, always busy, very unlike myself. It is impossible not to evaluate one's own life in the face of such examples. If I live 40 more years I'd like to think I will have acquired some of the kindness and generosity of these women. They were both such sterling examples of serving selflessly. I need to do more.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sir Ovis Aires

Woo hoo! I sold 2 books today :) :) :) :) :) And with my new found wealth I could have fed the hungry or clothed the naked... but instead I purchased this: I've been drooling over it for months. It's from one of my favorite Etsy shops, I love her stuff. I think it's hilarious and if I ever remarry, be forewarned. I'm going to register for an entire set of Star Wars plates from her as my wedding china.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

AaaaaaCHOO! sniff

Hooray for good health, a blessing I take for granted except on the rare occasions that it desserts me. I just spent an uncomfortable 5 days curled up on the couch with tonsils swollen to the size of Easter eggs and muscles aching like I'd run a marathon, (as if). Yes, I was visited by the streptococci fairy, who left me a colorful basket of germs that my body found irresistible. Bless you Alexander Fleming. Bless you a million times over.

"But wait!" you say... "You don't have a couch!" Too true, very observant friend. I was cat-sitting at my uncle's at the time of the infection - another source of gratitude. No one was in danger of catching it from me except the cats, and they're antisocial enough with me that even if strep liked kitties there would have been no danger. I'm quite happy none of my family, friends or colleagues can have possibly been infected by me. Of course the downside is that there is no cable, no internet and no cell phone service at my uncle's house, so I was bored off my nut. I spent the ENTIRE time watching dvds and sleeping. I think I watched a minimum of 50 hours of entertainment. And what was the first thing I did when I got home?... I turned on the computer and watched the 2 episodes of House I'd missed while I was away :D

I did fold a few pages while I was there, but I mean a very few... like 10 maybe. I had such big plans, alas. This photo is of one of the first books I ever folded which I am just now getting ready to list. I love how it turned out :D

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What up?!

By the way... I know new posts from me have been pretty thin on the ground this year... but I'm not the only one. Every blog I follow has slowed WAAAAY down from last year. What's up with that? Has the novelty worn off? Is blogging giving way to some newness that I'm too technologically disinclined to know about yet? I miss all my daily communion with my artistic sisters of the world. Now it's more like a monthly communion. One of my favs hasn't posted yet this year!!! Come on peeps! I too will try to do better.

Peter Piper Perfectly Painted Pleasant Purple Pots

I've been spending a lot of time at the pottery place lately and I'd love to be able to post photos of everything I'm making. Unfortunately for my blog, but fortunately for those who read it, most of what I make is for gifts and I don't want to spoil the surprise by posting before gifting. I might not be able to wait, in which case I'll just post without disclosing the intended recipient. Then it will be a guessing game :) Although I run the risk then of friends and family being disappointed that they got piece A instead of piece B...

This piece has already been gifted, so I can gloat publicly about it now. This was the most last-minute, haphazard piece I've ever done, but I like how it turned out, more especially since I don't have to look at it every day :) The photo in the frame was taken with my wonderful friend Gail at Crater Lake. (Poor Gail still hasn't received her birthday pottery from me. She's moving. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!)

In other news, the display case which was going to house my ninjapony works has disappeared from the building with no word of explanation from the owner. I don't know what's up with that, but poo on him for poor communication skills. Just as well. I haven't posted anything to my shop in months, possibly due to the amount of time I spend at the pottery place. Heh heh. Christmas is just around the corner, folks. But really I have a dozen or so book sculptures ready to post, I just don't seem to do it. The photographing is daunting for me. I never feel I do it well. Suck it up Simmons. Time's a wasting!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Welcome Henry!

I have been totally remiss in not informing the world of Henry's arrival, over a month ago. My great-nephew. That sounds so odd to me. My great-aunts and uncles were all in their 80's when I was a kid. I don't feel old enough to be anyone's great-anything. Of course, I'm sure my SIL and bro didn't expect to be grandparents in their early 40's either... Isn't he a dear? Last time I saw him he was dressed in a little plaid button up shirt and khaki's just like his daddy, and he had started to lose his hair on the top of his head, like many babies do, so he looked like a little old man. It was awesome! I hope his Grammy got photos because it was too cute.

Happy Birthday Kimi... 2 weeks ago...

I sent my wonderful and highly gorgeous friend Kimi a birthday package and now that it has finally arrived, (no thanks to me - I sent it to the wrong address,) I can finally post a photo of what was inside :) Naturally, I made her a plate :) And again, I went to take photos, got one shot, and my battery died, so here is the one and only photo of my lovely plate. This is my fav so far :)

Gloat, gloat.
My other wonderful and highly gorgeous friend Gail's birthday is tomorrow, NZ time, but as I still haven't posted her package yet you'll have to wait for photos of whatever it might contain...
In other news, I met with an acquaintance today who happens to own the old JC Penny building downtown which now houses Starbucks and Noah's bagels, among other things. He has display cases in the main lobby/hallway/entrance of the building and starting soon, Ninjapony Paper Arts will be there for all to see, admire, love and purchase :) Yay me! lol.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Charity Never Faileth

I just returned from a very frustrating weekend away. I went out of town to help someone who had requested assistance and ended up feeling totally taken advantage of. The assistance was monetarily costly and basically ineffective. The people being assisted were disrespectful of our time and resources. I generally try to give people the benefit of the doubt regarding their motives when I feel hard done by, but in this situation it almost feels like a con, like the things that I'd like to chalk up to absentmindedness were, in fact, deliberate attempts to put me in the position of being long-term financially responsible for something they couldn't afford. I hate feeling like this. I don't like to think someone I love could be capable of such calculation. But either way, whether it was deliberate manipulation or egregious disorganization, the end result for me is the same. I'm out a chunk of change, I've lost respect for someone important to me, and I am that much more cynical about helping those in "need". I'm sure in a week or two I'll have talked myself into a more softhearted state of being, but right now I'm pretty pissed.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

The year started well. I slept in and had a lazy breakfast which was interrupted by my brother ringing to say 'meet me at the theater across the street in 10 minutes and we'll see the new Narnia movie'. Lovely film, lovely company.

After we got home I took a tumble down the stairs and sprained my ankle, (yes, again! Left ankle this time. Could have been MUCH worse) followed by a trip to the vet to have our sweet little pet rat Bella sent to rattie heaven. She had a HUMONGOUS tumor and was starting to have mobility issues, so it was time for her to go before life became too painful for her, but I still cried like a baby. I don't even kill spiders or houseflies. It was very difficult to say to the vet, 'yes, go ahead and kill her'. I firmly believe in animal heaven and I know she's happier now and thankful we did what we did, but it was still sad. We buried her in the flower patch out front. In the spring she'll be surrounded by fragrant blooms. Man, I'm all teary just writing about it. Silly. She was just a rat, and she only lived with us for a month. And it was for the best. Yes, for the best. Humane. Sigh.

I wrote this bit a couple of weeks ago:

This last week was the 9th anniversary of my divorce. I kept my husband's last name after the divorce, mostly because I couldn't be bothered with the paperwork of changing it back. I had just finished getting all my ID and accounts changed over, it felt like, but I always said if I were still un-remarried 10 years after the divorce I would choose a new name for myself and keep it forever. That will be next year, which incidentally will also be the year I turn 40. Seems like as good a time as any for reinvention. And I do feel like I need to reinvent myself. I don't like myself much. I mean I guess I'm nice enough on a superficial level, but I'm not a dedicated person. I skate by on pretty minimal effort. In order to really approve of myself as a person I need to be more actively engaged in bettering myself, spiritually, emotionally, socially, financially. I need to cultivate more discipline in my life. So perhaps as a 40th birthday present to myself I will take for myself the name of one of the kindest and most industrious people I know; my grandfather Elmer Hansen. That's right. From now on you can call me Elmer. Just kidding. I'll keep Leah, but I'm serious about the Hansen part. The new me will not wait for the life she expected which hasn't occurred, and will attempt to cease repining for what she doesn't have. The new me will go forward with her life as a single person who has contributions to make and who deserves a full life, not a life of continually disappointed expectations. Not a life of waiting. I'm done waiting. My life is what I make it now, independent of anyone else.

Since writing the above I've made some specific resolutions for the coming year. Just two. Number one - I would like to take to heart the advice I heard in General Conference and become an early-to-bed-early-to-rise kind of person. I think I will feel better physically and be more organized if I get more sleep... so I'm going to try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Since my new work schedule starts at 6 am that means I'll be arising at 5 am every day Gah! And going to bed at 10 pm.
Number two - I will try to be nicer to people. I realize that's very vague, but I mean to try to be of good cheer, particularly at work, not to let little totally unimportant things get to me, not to let little annoyances ruin my whole day. I'm going to try to smile more, even if I don't feel like it. We'll see how it goes :)

And lastly, just because I can: Some days at work I think deep and meaningful thoughts. Those are few and far between. Some days I think frivolous thoughts. Those are many. Sometimes my frivolous thoughts amuse me to such an extent that I have to share them and today you are the lucky recipient of my confidence. Yesterday I witnessed an altercation between a driver and an unruly passenger who's language left much to be desired. It got me thinking about this poor young man who has yet to realize that profanity doesn't earn you respect, it marks you as a particular kind of person - one who can't hold their temper and has a limited vocabulary and therefore a limited intelligence. I started to think about the art of insulting intelligently... is there such a thing? Anyway, this is the result of my ruminations. Judge me if you dare: "If my canine companion were as unpulchritudinous as your mother I'd use a depilatory on her gluteus maximus and instruct her in the art of hindward perambulation". Bah hah!