Making Stuff, Chapter 5

Posted by on Mar 28, 2013 in Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Tile, tile, everywhere!

Anyone out there aware of Pinterest? I’ve heard it can suck you in, turn you into a materialistic and self-centered spoiled brat who wastes hours looking at stuff, wishing for stuff, and collecting pictures of stuff.

Me? It just makes me want to make more stuff. Useful, functional, beautiful Real Stuff.

I kept seeing these wonderful garden ornaments on Pinterest. They seemed like gazing balls, but they weren’t reflecting. Instead, they were . . . yep, you guessed it. . . TILED!

After chasing a few links, I learned these were bowling balls. Tiled bowling balls?

Where does a non-bowler find an old bowling ball? If you are me, you ask your friend Bill, the source of anything cool or unusual or necessary in the unending journey of Making Stuff.

After Bill sent me a bowling ball, I looked through my mosaic supplies. Whoa! Check out the teacup handle! That’s also from Bill.  This is how the bowling ball looked when everything was attached but not yet grouted.


There isn’t much planning available when tiling a sphere. You just pick your colors, get your pieces together, and begin attaching.

Don’t try to pick this up by the teacup handle, ‘k?

Making Stuff, Chapter 4

Posted by on Mar 27, 2013 in Thoughts, Three Rivers | 6 Comments

Usable, functional, beautiful, real stuff  that I made myself. This is the grown up version of a toddler saying “Me do it!!” No pipe cleaners (are those actually for cleaning pipes?) or glue guns for this chick!

Last time I warned you not to put tile on things that were rotting.

This time I am warning you not to put tile on rusty discs that will then contain water. This was a beautifully tiled bird bath, welded from a couple of discs, a pipe and an auger tip by Cowboy Bert. The water and the rust caused the tile to discolor, and then the tiles began to fall off. Well, bummer. Now I just repaint it blue every year. It’s time again, wouldn’t you agree?

This is a weird little table top that is secured onto a weird little concrete pipe. It is the perfect place for storing your can of Off, which is necessary when you are sitting in your Adirondack chair while BBQing in the evening. (There is an abundance of mosquitos in Three Rivers.) Perhaps you should be pulling the oxalis instead of just sitting.

My friend Bill either made or salvaged this table base for me. He is the source of many cool items, most of which are the basis for more coolness.

In fact, Bill is the source of many of the tiles I have used in my quest to cover almost everything I own with bright colors and grout.

But Wait! There’s More!

You didn’t actually think I was done showing you all the tiled items and other things I have made? I wasn’t kidding when I told you that I love to make stuff!

Making Stuff, Chapter 3

Posted by on Mar 25, 2013 in General, Thoughts | No Comments

I love to make stuff, real, usable stuff, things that enhance life both in usefulness and beauty. You can keep your pipe cleaners, glue guns and felt – I want things that function and that last.

I learned that tile can be used in many ways. (I was not kidding when I said I went nutso over this stuff!)

My friend Bill made the table and gave it to me to mosaic. The plan was for me to sell it, and we would all go to dinner. The table didn’t sell, I use it every day, and the restaurant closed. Thanks, Bill!

This drinking fountain is sort of low. So what? It is eminently cool, particularly with its matching stepping stone. Have you accessorized your drinking fountain?

This step had to be tiled twice. Don’t put tile on a rotting item. It doesn’t work. Don’t put a fabulous doormat in front of a tiled step. No one will notice the step. Everyone will notice the doormat. Everyone will ask if you made the doormat. You will have to admit that your friend bought it somewhere for you. Everyone will studiously ignore the step, and you will wonder if it is weird. You will decide that it doesn’t matter, because you love the step.

Would you believe there is more stuff that I have tiled, and more stuff that I have made, and more stuff that I want to make, and more stuff that I have persuaded other people to make for me?

Making Stuff will be continued. . .



Mural Make-over

Posted by on Mar 24, 2013 in Murals, Three Rivers | No Comments

Happy Birthday, Audrey!

Nope, that’s not the subject of this blog post. But, sometimes an aunt has to do what she has to do. I’m in awe of my niece, proud of her, and so pleased to be her aunt.

In March of 2012, I painted a mural on the side of the building that was to become Sequoia Outdoor Sports. This is a business that is needed in Three Rivers, where thousands pass through on their way to Sequoia National Park for camping, backpacking, hiking and snow-shoeing.

I thought it turned out well, in spite of the fact that they requested sequoia trees where there are none. I am a hired paintbrush, and it is my job to make the customer happy (even when it causes a slight tic under my left eye).

The mural faded. This is highly disappointing, since I use high-end mural paints that are formulated to be lightfast and very saturated. I work from just the primaries, so I order the blues, yellows and reds with the highest lightfast rating. Apparently, even the magic of chemistry is not enough to compete with the sun on a south-facing wall.

Heehee, this reminds of those horrid photos they take of people right before a makeover. Weird unbrushed hair, no make-up, icky facial expression . . . in this case, it is shadows on the mural. That’s so you can fully appreciate the contrast to the final product.

Okay, now I know people will be slamming on their brakes, chattering excitedly to one another, “Where did that come from? What sort of business it that? We must check it out!”

I agree! You should check out Sequoia Outdoor Sports. It is a classy place, with a tremendous amount of great gear for camping and backpacking and who knows what else – ummm, they do! Why lug your old gear to Sequoia when you can travel without all that stuff, rent the best, turn it in at the end of your trip and not have to clean it up? Hmmmm?

P.S. In the local paper’s annual Best of Kaweah Country, this mural was voted the favorite in Three Rivers! In my humble opinion, it was because it was the newest that year. But, thanks, Three Rivers!!

Fridays are for Mineral King

Posted by on Mar 22, 2013 in Mineral King | No Comments

Someone took a trip up to Mineral King. It wasn’t me. I was working on The Cabins of WilsoniaMy camera had a nice time. There isn’t much snow. It might be a good idea to pray for a March Miracle in the precipitation department.

Want to Paint On A Mural?

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Murals, Three Rivers | No Comments

A year ago I painted a mural for a store in Three Rivers that had not yet opened. Sequoia Outdoor Sports had a grand vision to supply visitors to the area with the equipment they need for backpacking and camping. It is a great idea, because there are so many folks who fly over here from other places without their gear.

They asked me to paint  a trail scene and include Redwood trees.


The store is great, but the mural has already faded.

Today I will touch it up. If you would like to put a few brush strokes on it, stop by!

Making Stuff, Chapter 2

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Thoughts | 2 Comments

Happy Birthday, Big Sister!

That’s not what the post is about, but I wanted to send the message to Melinda in Salem. I always thought she was smarter, faster, more creative, prettier, a better dresser, tuned into what is cool, had a very neat closet and she could color better than me any day. That’s sort of the way all girls view their big sisters.

Back to Making Stuff:

In 7th or 8th grade, the art class at Ivanhoe School got to do the coolest project in the world  We glued tile pieces to a disc (a farming thing – this is Tulare County), then grouted it. I made the most beautiful green and blue butterfly pattern for my Grammy. (Wonder where that thing is now. . . it weighed a ton!)

A few years ago (feels like 5, so it must be closer to 15 years), I bought a couple of fabulous tiled stepping stones. Okay, I bought one, and my friend Judy bought the other one for me. (Hi JudyO!)

I had to, HAD TO, was terrifyingly compelled towards with a scary laser-like focus, MAKE THESE!!

After several very schlocky attempts, I found my groove. In fact, I went nutso. For awhile, I hauled these around to the various shows to supplement my other inventory. Sales were brisk for about 2 shows, and then Bam. Nothing. Now they are all over our property.

Leading into the studio

Under the archway

Leading to the herb garden


But Wait! There’s More! Chapter 3 is coming. . .

Making Stuff

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Thoughts | 6 Comments

This is the beginning of a new series about Making Stuff. It is a peek into the head of a California artist, outside of her working hours.

As a California artist, I draw and paint.

As a regular chick in my non-working hours, I like to make stuff. Always have. This could possibly be the driving force behind my career choice.

My poor mom probably just groaned every time I said, “Mom, I want to make something!” She would send me to a stack of Highlights magazines, which usually had projects requiring things we didn’t have on hand. Or, the end product wasn’t anything that I considered worth the effort. Usually Mom didn’t want the mess – she had her own stuff to make, like clothing for 3 little girls, and dinner.

What I really wanted was to make useful stuff that was Real. Not toys, not crafts, but Real Stuff for Real Life. In my 30s, I developed an overwhelming appreciation for willow furniture. My neighbors (Hi Bill and Peggy!) had made a chair and had a file of info about willow furniture, which they generously shared with me. I began looking for plans and photographed willow furniture wherever I saw it.

We, (Michael and I, not Mom and I) began looking for places that willow grew so we could cut it. (Nope, not gonna reveal my trespasses here.) I was determined to make real, usable, beautiful chairs. It took Michael’s help because he knows tools better than I do, and he is stronger, plus he is driven by perfection rather than mere completion.

This is one of the results. It is a Real Chair, and it has lasted at least 18 years so far. We’d like to make some that are beefier, sturdier, and less wobbly. But, we are busy making other things now. Stay tuned. . .


Fridays are for Mineral King (tee shirts)

Posted by on Mar 15, 2013 in Mineral King | No Comments

Hey, have you seen this yet?

This is a Trail Guy tee shirt. It matches faded denim, has a custom embroidered Mineral King logo, is 100% cotton, comes in M, L, and XL. It costs $25 with tax and we’ll mail it to you for free. If you buy enough, we might be able to get a more professional model.

Size: Medium
fits chest 40″/Price: $25
[wp_cart:M M tee:price:22.99:end]

Size: Large
fits chest 44″/Price: $25
[wp_cart:M L tee:price:22.99:end]

Size: X-Large
fits chest 48″/Price: $25
[wp_cart:M XL tee:price:22.99:end]

This is the women’s version. I don’t like boy clothes and usually don’t like clothing with words on it. But this is a special case, and I love this color. Besides, it is 100% cotton, tagless, and comes in S, M, and L. It too is $25 with tax, and we’ll pay the shipping.

Size: Small
fits 4-6/Price: $25
[wp_cart:W S tee:price:22.99:end]

Size: Medium
fits 8-10/Price: $25
[wp_cart:W M tee:price:22.99:end]

Size: Large
fits 12-14/Price: $25
[wp_cart:W L tee:price:22.99:end]

Buy a lot so we can pay some decent models, would ya?


Three Rivers Oil Paintings all called “Kaweah”

Posted by on Mar 13, 2013 in Three Rivers | 2 Comments

A couple of oil paintings sold, so I moved them from their pages on the website to the Sold page. In the process, I realized that several paintings are not on the site that should be.

Kaweah River in Fall, 10×10″, $125

 They won’t load. Technology confounds me once again. Just when I think I can manage my own website, I have to go running to the web designer.


Kaweah Post Office VII, 11×14″, $175

These are not brand new but they are among my newest paintings. You might remember seeing them awhile ago. But, should you want to buy them, technology might confound you too! So, here is another opportunity to see them.

Kaweah Post Office VIII, 8×8″, $75