Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Vintage Cate

And what a fine vintage you are. Hronia pola, koritsi mou.


(YiaYia and her friends say: Five-Oh? Po po.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Here are five hints.... to where I was and why I wasn't blogging.

If you guessed Cheryl was on the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies you were right!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Yes, I've been doing my daily art. Yes, I will at some point continue the correspondence between Miss Emmerton and Sir Frazierfield but hey, I had an unscheduled ROOT CANAL today, people. I am hurting and tired and about 5 minutes from being unconcious.

Fame. Such a burden.

So for now, I will post some things I have done that aren't (only) tiles. I hope you don't mind.

Cigar box assemblage with tile and feathers held in with tension.

Detail of above.

ATC using the tile as a focal point.

By the way, I am going to be teaching in Saluda, NC at Random Arts. September 22. Come see me. Maybe the Novocaine will have worn off by then, hindering my Sylvester Stallone impersonation.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Greetings from Paradise

My Dear Sir Wendell:

How good of you to worry yourself over my well-being. Let me assure you that you needn't come fetch me. I am quite well and our party has arrived safely in Italia. Your descriptions, however colorful, did not prepare me for the magnificent beauty of this place. The deep blue of the waters, the heavy smells of coffee and baking bread wafting through the streets, the delightful contrast of the rough clay houses and jagged cliffs against the Mediterranean sky. It is everything you promised and more, offering an array of beautiful landscapes for me to practice my watercolors.

There is a beautiful painting in my chamber of one of the noblemen who once owned this villa. It is done in the style of the old masters and is likely quite valuable. I have spent hours studying this portrait and wondering about its subject. He looks to have been a quite intellegent and handsome young lord.

The dear Widow Applecross, whom you still address as Mrs. though she's been without her husband for nearly five years now, secured for us a lovely villa -- blessedly pigeon free --with a view of the sea from nearly every window. She speaks fondly of you.

Though it is true we are all well, having arrived in Italy without incident, I must tell you that I do feel there is one cause for concern with regard to our beloved Widow Applecross. There is an Italian "gentleman" who has been quite attentive to her since our arrival. A very small fellow who, though he assures us he is of noble blood, looks to me like -- (please do not disclose this to anyone Sir Wendell, as I am sure this information could easily sully the name of Applecross in our social circles) -- a, well, a MIXED breed. To be perfectly honest, I am not even certain that he is even one-half Italian!

I have, of course, kept my suspicions and fears to myself, not wanting to offend the Widow Applecross nor cause young Lilly alarm. But this "gentleman" I refer to, Botsotini, seems to always be lurking about the shore in front of our villa or just strolling by the cafe where we take tea, with his great, shaggy oaf of a "valet." (Believe me, I use the term quite generously as the only purpose this unkempt creature seems to serve is to attempt to make Senore Botsotini more fragrant and cultured and noble by comparison).

While it is true that I have no evidence to this fact, I feel quite sure that Botsotini is a villain! He asks many questions as to the wealth and inheritance and property of my hostess. I cringe at the thought that this shedding, twitching Botsotini may actually be winning Widow Applecross' affections! He is quite beneath her in every way! However, as you have said so many times about Amalfi, one could fall in love quite easily in such a beautiful setting --- even with the wrong type of suitor. I am concerned that Botsotini is playing the part of the serpent in this Italian paradise.

Reviewing the above passages, Sir Wendall, I realize that by the tone of this letter I may seem quite hysterical. I must be clear: Botsotini has done nothing (thus far) that could be construed as inappropriate. However, it is very obvious to me that the Widow Applecross' trusting nature and benevolence are causing her peril.

Please advise me as to what course of action to take. I cannot stand idly by when in my core I feel such unrest as to the character of this man. I only wish you were here to counsel me and offer your trustworthy advice as a voice of reason to our dear friend, Widow Applecross.

Warmest regards, I eagerly await your reply.

Miss Antigone Emmerton

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Dear Miss Emmerton,

I received your letter. So sorry to hear of your misfortune. You must have caught a grippe on Uncle's boat. One must always keep one's paws dry on such occasions or suffer the consequences. Please use greater caution and discretion for the remainder of your time abroad or I shall have to come and fetch you!

As for you mother, she is fine, busying herself digging in the garden and, of course, fussing over your dear sister's upcoming nuptials. There is much commotion over the table linens and the necessary procurement of a particular kind of lace, but I cannot give you many details as I am careful not to involve myself in such matters. Any display of even the faintest interest could result in conversations about the pedestrian qualities of the Battenburg variety for an indeterminable period of time. Mysteriously, your father's work has kept him in the city these many weeks.

Signing off for now. Please give my best to Mrs. Applecross and her young daughter, Miss Lilly. I am sure that the warmer climates and hearty fare of the Amalfi Coast will do wonders for your health. I do hope the accommodations are better than those you described in your last correspondence (dreadful pigeons!) though I'm sure you'll make do and have another delightful misadventure to report.

With warm regards,
Sir Wendell Frazierfield

Monday, March 5, 2007

St. Bernadette of the Broom Factory

My Grandma Lena had a St. Bernard named, you guessed it, Bernadette. Kinda like naming a wiener dog Heidi. Or Oscar. Grandma and her sister, Aunt Mary, had previously owned two standard poodles: Percy and Pierre. Maybe that's why her bathroom door had a tiny black poodle door knocker on it. Go figure.

I remember riding Bernadette like a pony, but she was only one of the many fantastic attractions at Grandma's house, an old frame two story that had been converted from a broom factory sometime in the '20s. The basement had a dirt floor, there were fabric accordion screens instead of doors in the rooms upstairs, and her pantry had in indescribable smell and a near magical quality.

Gram had a fridge with the freezer drawer on the bottom where we'd pull out delights such as orange sherbet push ups or ice cream sundae cups we'd eat with flat wooden spoons that came wrapped in paper. Gram had lots of tricks. She used to fill a 2 litre bottle half way up with tap water -- not just any tap water, Chicago City Water, the absolutely coldest, most delicious water in the world -- and lay it on its side in the freezer. Once it froze, she'd fill it the rest of the way up and put it in the fridge along side her carton of Salems with it's half frozen side slowly melting, ensuring a brain freeze for the drinker. We all drank straight out of that bottle and felt like we were doing something forbidden that our parents would never allow at home.

One particularly scorching summer when the tar in the street was molten and we were all too wilted to move, some boys opened up a fire hydrant across Roosevelt Road. They held a piece of 2x4 in front of the spout, diverting the gush into a wide arc . Kids came from several blocks away to run through that gloriously cool spray of Chicago city water until the CFD showed up and stopped our fun.

(I know, this tangent doesn't have much to do with the dog theme, but there was a fire hydrant reference.)

Lena and Mary in front of their old house on Campbell Park.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

A dog teaches a boy fidelity, perseverance,and to turn around three times before lying down.
--- Robert Benchley ---

Conn, Reese & Trumpet at Dog Beach in Florida.

A boy and his dog. Trumpet and Conn at Grandma's.

Trumpet on vacation. I greased him up with SPF 30

Somebody smelled Burger King.
Trumpet has his sites trained on Conn's hamburger.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Sporting Breed

I don't know if I'll continue the dog theme all month, but why stop a good thing now? Here's a noble hound from a piece of paper ephemera I found at, where else? Lakewood 400. Bobby the paper junk guy has a truckload of such treasures delivered once a week!

Here's the original scrap -- I may do all seven breeds, despite the fact that they have omitted the breed of choice. I think this image would look great on a pillow with lots of gold bullion fringe.

For some fabulous Doggie "Works of Arf," check out Krista at Retro Pets. You may see someone you know in the puppy personals.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Trumpet dot com

I caught Trumpet (pictured above) surfing the Internet. Again. He was looking at some dog-fancy sites. Dang parental controls don't work on wily wiener dogs, I guess. Anyway, he told me that he doesn't know who said it, but prescribes to the following point of view:

If you can start the day without caffeine,
If you can get going without pep pills,
If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics,
Then, my friend, you are ALMOST as good as your dog.

Do you think he's trying to tell me something?

Giving credit where credit is doo-doo

Errata: Hat Tip to Georgie Porgie for forwarding me the dog quote(s). How could I forget? It is, after all, all about him. And you, Cate.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

March: Month of the Dog?

"If there are no dogs in heaven,
then when I die I want to go where they went."
-Will Rogers
(old playing card, vintage Pinapple Crush label, paint, stamp)