Friday, September 12, 2014

Topher says . . .

“I need a haircut, please.”

“I’m just a wee bit too shaggy to see properly.”

Ginger says “Ah, now. That is much better.”

“Let’s celebrate with pizza please.”

signature  &  toph_signs

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I learned a new word a few months ago: habituation. A friend explained it like this. You buy a house and initially you see things that you would like to fix. Perhaps the door squeaks or a cabinet doesn’t close properly. Times passes and fixing these things becomes less imperative. After a little while you don’t even notice them any longer.

Often it is because of habituation that we don’t see our own locations as interesting or special. For instance, we have cardinals here in North Carolina. It is our state bird. They are bright and colorful and easily seen. I seldom take photos of them but I still notice them. But I may not pay quite as much attention to them as say, someone who isn’t from here for whom they seem unusual because they come from a place where these birds don’t live.


Now I have never been to Paris but I have seen photos of the Eiffel Tower. There are people walking by it who see it every day and don’t look at is as anything special. If anything, it could be all the tourists taking photos of it may even be annoying. Living and working around that iconic structure has become routine for a lot of people in Paris.


That is one of the reasons I find travel so intriguing. And it doesn’t have to be to an exotic location for me to be captivated by some place new. I am fascinated by people who live in small towns or people who live and work in the shadow of a mountain or those who live day in and day out by the ocean, hearing the break of the waves as the tides come in and go out.


When we have company, I love taking them around to visit places that we see all the time because we get an opportunity to look at our own city through new eyes. We get another chance to appreciate the good things about living here and see things that might be unusual but that we take for granted.

If you were to come for a visit, I would show you this


and this


and maybe drop by here for a hot doughnut.


I could take you to #34 of the top 50 coffee shops in the USA. In fact, we could walk there from my house.


Where would you take me in your neighborhood?


Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Last Quarter

No, I’m not down to my last quarter. The title refers to the last portion of 2014. That would be October, November and December. I am working on some bears for my upcoming show in November which I hope will be ready for their close-ups before too much longer. (Stay tuned.) And with Christmas following shortly behind in December, I have received a few secret requests. There wouldn’t be many surprises on the day for some people if I were to show exactly what I have in progress at the moment but I can show you this.

What is that you asked? “Um . . . it looks like a pile of debris.” And you’d be right. It was once a label on a cigar box which I had to remove for a project. This is some glamorous life I lead, eh? All in the name of something more interesting down the road. One can only hope.

So between the bears and the requests and the project which I began and then stopped to do a little more research, there are projects underway in the studio, on the porch and in my mind but not much I can show here at the moment. Besides – just a glimpse into my mind would be right scary and it’s not time for Halloween just yet.

As always, thanks for reading!

Until later,


Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Nice Little Family (& a surprise)

For those of you who read about the deer mama and her twin babies (here and here and here and here) this past spring, I have an update for you. People often ask us if we have seen them since the last one left. And it was several weeks, but we did catch a glimpse of the mom and sometimes we would see one baby or the other.

One morning Jay said he saw one baby outside our fence and s/he and Topher had a stare off. It was one of those “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” kind of moments.

But then . . . just this evening, after a thunderstorm and heavy rain, as we pulled into our driveway, in the neighbor’s yard we saw this gathering.


It caught us by surprise. But there they were. All peacefully enjoying the evening together, the mama deer, the twins and what is that?! A new little one?! Yes! A new little one.


If Topher had only seen them! I think he might have been stymied by seeing four at one time.  Seeing this many around here is kind of crazy.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wide Open Beginnings

Hello from the porch portion of the studio! These are some good days weather-wise and it’s been nice on our porch with a big table to work on. In the upstairs studio, there are still bears underway. My porch project is the next bears&boxes piece I have undertaken.

I’m trying a different method this time. It’s probably not a whole lot different but I hope it will help contain the proliferation of supplies and materials. Enter The Box. See arrow below. This box is meant to contain possibilities and options.

I have a germ of an idea and to get going on it, I have visited almost all of my stashes and gathered an assortment of items which may (or may not) make it into the finished project.

In fact, once that first bit of paint or glue or medium goes on, I might end up going in a completely different direction.

As it stands now though, the direction I want to go seems pretty clear and I probably need to rein in some of the options. It will be interesting to look back when it is complete and see how many and which of these items makes it into finished piece.

Right now, at the beginning, it is wide open. I can see how each item could contribute to the overall theme. I can see them transformed. I can visualize this going in a lot of different directions but . . .

a lot of what goes into one of my pieces is as much about what I choose to leave out or leave off as it is what to include.

It’s a case of more not always being necessarily better.

So I shall begin and see where I end up. Hopefully with something fun – maybe cool.  Hopefully.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Works and Naps in Progress

There’s always something going on in the studio – mostly things under construction as you see in the photo below.

Topher has his own agenda – sometimes it is to distract me from projects like the ones pictured here.  And sometimes it’s to make the most of any available lap.

Today was a great day for working on the porch.  Tomorrow might be different because I heard the humidity is returning along with warmer temperatures.

Yep, some of us have works in progress and others of us have naps in progress.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Artists Tables at TBAI

During set up for the show at TBAI, I had a few minutes to walk around and take a few photos. I knew that once the show opened it would be much more difficult to get photos. Not all of the artists are included here because I only took photos of those tables that were completely, or near so, arranged and ready to go. I did try to get a few pictures of individual bears if they were available. Let’s start the tour!

Dagmar Seibel – DS Baren, Germany

Darlene Allen – Raspbeary Bears, Florida

Pam Kisner – The Bear Maker, West Virginia

Art Rogers – Chatham Village Bears, Missouri

Amy Thornton – Mutz Tootsz, Wisconsin

Stevi T – Stevi T’s Alpaca Encounters, Pennsylvania

Martha Bumala – Waverly Crossing Bears, Virginia

Susan McKay – Bears of the Abbey, Ontario, Canada

Barbara Ayers – Bug Bee Bears, Florida

Dian Pete – Bears for Pete Sake, Florida

Martha Burch – Martha’s Bears, Wisconsin

Armella Dana- Bears ‘n Buds by Armella, Iowa

Sharon Edwards – Bear Hugs, Ontario, Canada

Donna Griffin – Donna and the Bears, Virginia

Candy Cannavino – Candy’s Bears, West Virginia

Penny French – Penny’s Backmountain Bears, Pennsylvania

There was quite a bit of temptation in the showroom and so much more to see than I have included here.  The bonus to attending TBAI, as with all the shows, is that you get to pick up and hold these furry friends.  Some are weighted and some are soft and squishy.  That’s one thing this little bit of technology can’t quite convey.  I hope you enjoyed this stroll around the showroom before it was officially a showroom! 

Until next time,


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