Monday, June 26, 2006

Ciao for now, amici

Je reviens.

I like the word ciao because it means both hello and goodbye, but in this case, think a little more goodbye than hello. Of course, there's that Zen saying, No coming, no going, and in the cosmic grander sense of things, this is true, too. For now, ciao. I've got things to do and a portfolio to submit.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

teapot no. 68

Acrylic paints on 100 lb. Bristol board.

I painted teapot no. 68 seated at my drafting table looking west through the backroom windows. These little teapots are my Yixing pots that I use for Puerh and oolong teas. It began to rain while I was painting, a welcome, delightful downpour. I yelled yeeha with joy.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Desert-y photos & Blog Anniversary

One year ago I began blogging, thanks to seeing the blogs of my MIIS MATESOL classmates, Yuki and Jeff. At first I was shy about this whole thing--being revealed on the internet--but have come to enjoy the friendly interaction and community I've met, especially on And, the uses for CALL (computer assisted language learning) are endless. I, myself, have experienced a great leap in my French, Spanish, and Japanese language by communicating in writing with my friends on Flickr who use Japanese, French, and Spanish. In addition, one can read the native speakers' comments (on Flickr) and learn from this written, yet casual language usage on the blogosphere. Viva flickr, Viva!

Monday, June 19, 2006

teapot no. 67

Still life with breakfast dishes, watercolor sets and cactus garden.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Teapot updates

teapot no. 66:

teapot no. 65

teapot no. 64

teapot no. 63

This morning over tea (2 weeks ago)

Mosaic no. 2 showing teapots no. 37-66.

You can view Teapot mosaic no. 1 here and the entire 100 Teapot Set to date, here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

107 degrees today, but cloudy

Remember that little book about a frog and a pond that was only pictures? You could make up the story and write in in the blank space under the illustration.

What do you think is happening in this picture? I already know. I'm asking you.

It's supposed to be 108 F (42.2 C) tomorrow!

p.s **I drew the above sketch with a Japanese mechanical pencil on a fluorescent yellow post-it note**

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Recycling, reusing...resourceful!

Presenting my short visual lesson on interior and exterior decorating with style and resourcefulness for next to nothing. We can find an abundance of the things we need (and do not need) in yard sales, dumpsters, thrift stores, and from friends, etc.

Here are some recent finds for my current Tucson home:

I found this chair next to a dumpster on the Saturday that was really Friday. It's now under my ramada on the front porch.

Purple wooden desk with an old blue metal chair from Shankara's yard sale.

This blue dresser makes a good stand for my flute. My flute needed a stand.

Laundry basket from a thrift store.

I liked the orange flower-like lamp bottom with stand that looks like bamboo all the way up, so it went home with me.

The paper shade gives off a warm golden glow when the lamp is turned on.

The papasan rocker is from a yard sale five years ago that I let go of when I moved to Monterey. I found the tray table at Casa de los Ninos thrift store; it's all wood and the sliding parts are spring loaded. I think it was made in the 50s because the manufacturer's sticker on the underside looks like it is from the 1950s.

I found this mini chest-stool-seat at Shankara's sale.

Jesse needed a piece of furniture to eat her food away from Yuki's reach. This not-so-elegant piece has added benefits: the secret hiding place for Jesse in the bottom and the top that lifts off for storage. The Japanese calligraphy on the wall says hakusetsu or shirayuki (white snow) and was written by my calligrapher friend, Inso, from Pacific Grove, CA.

My new drinking glasses. Three different colors of textural glass in pink, blue, and green with raised ovals, lines, dots, and curvy lines. They're not too small or too large and they're fun to drink out of. Fifty cents each at Casa de los Ninos--you can't beat that.

I needed a shelf or something to put between my little O'Keefe & Merritt stove and the fridge. I found this cabinet with shelves inside. Jesse likes it, too.

We have a small pond right in front of my house that we keep filled up for the visiting and resident birds, but it's always nice to have extra little bird baths for our feathered friends. I've placed this shell-shaped bird bath beneath the salt cedar (tamarisk) trees in an area that stays shady for most of the day. Already, I've seen the quail family and some doves enjoying the water.

At Casa de los Ninos I found a bedspread from which to make covers for my newly acquired UA bleacher seats (two for $3, one for $2). The bleacher seats have padded bottoms and backs and fold up compactly. I sewed covers for each of the three seats that still allow for the folding action. Since I like to sit low and near to the ground, these little seats are perfect for the small tea table that my neighbor lent me until I find or make my own little tea table.

Jesse enjoys the little seats, too, but the real reason she is sitting there is to snatch some kim from the table. Kim is Korean style laver seaweed, similar to Japanese nori, but seasoned with sesame oil and salt.

With some of the extra material, so far, I've made coasters and the small pouch below.

Viva dumpster diving, gleaning, reusing, sharing, gifting, and trading!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Buddha head

Here's the story:

Today I thought it was Saturday all day until my neighbor Carol came home and I told her the story of the buddha head. I went out this morning (thinking it is Saturday morning) to go "yard sailing". I wanted to find a few items for my place. Oddly, I only saw two yard sales. At the second sale, I greeted the three women and started looking around. I recognized one of the women as a former barrista at Bentley's Coffee House, a favorite local hangout. Soon she brought out some sage and asked if she could smudge me. I smiled. Definitely a Tucson thing--smudging. With the scent of sweet sage around me, I found several items I could use: a purple wooden desk, a blue wooden chest of drawers, and a funky old floor lamp. On the purple desk were two turtles, one a carved piece of onyx and the other a little ceramic turtle that looked familiar to me. Sure enough, i turned over the familiar looking turtle to see my name and the date (2001) inscribed on the turtle's belly in my clay signature--a piece of my former life as a pottery instructor. I told Shankara (whose sale it was) that I made the turtle. She said, "then we have met; you are Nicole from the Zen rock garden." Shankara is moving to Albuquerque, hence the need to let go of things; I am creating my home space again and in need of some things. Back to the Buddha head. Shankara reminded me that we had met in the Zen rock garden and that I had told her to take whatever she wanted and to leave whatever she wanted--this was an integral part of the Zen rock garden art installation. One of the items she took, and that was in her front yard along with the familiar looking turtle, was this clay Buddha head I had made (by carving a mold). Sometimes things return. Sometimes they don't. So, I snapped this photo of the Buddha head that made a reappearance. I left it in Shankara's garden. Maybe she'll bring it to Albuquerque; maybe she won't....
How I found out it was Friday today and not Saturday, is that I expressed to Carol my surprise that I found only two yard sales. "That's because it's Friday," she said.

Want to know more about the Zen rock garden/art happening? Read my July 28th, 2005 blog entry.

Ciao, amici.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mele kiki bobo

I am in the desert again. Yuki, Jesse, and I are all content and comfortable in our little, quiet desert community of adobe houses near horse property (stables), the rillito (long, mostly dry river bed that goes for miles and miles with jogging and cycling paths on either side), and the 30-acre nature park down the block.

I plan to be here at least through September, with a lot of work to do between now and my MATESOL portfolio submission date in mid-September. So-o-o, I've decided I need to focus and concentrate on my work. I may not post here for a few months. Or, maybe I will find a few minutes to write after I re-establish a portfolio work routine.

Wishing all my friends, relations, and readers mele kiki bobo. I read this Zulu (?) phrase, which means: be courageous, be compassionate, be creative, on Trevor Romain's website. Trevor Romain, who was born and raised in South Africa, is one of my favorite illustrator adults because he is dedicated to children, artistic creativity, and to nurturing love and open-heartedness no matter what. He writes an awesome blog, too, peppered with his unique paintings and drawings.

Where desert and ocean meet.
Adobe on old redwood board embedded with Monterey Bay sea otters' cast off abalone shell pieces, Asilomar seashells, and bits of a broken dish. Made at Song Mountain, Hearst, Mendocino County, California.

Ddo manna yo (that's Korean for "see y'all later").


Signing off from Turtle Land.