Que Sera, Sera...

Sitting and sewing my painting (Rest #10)next to our propane heater that glows red~ pretending it is a roaring fire...and daydreaming of all sorts of things. One being the closing of 2008 and the opening of the year 2009... I heard a funky remake of that 50's song Que Sera, Sera today and it made me smile...

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here's what she said to me.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

When I was young, I fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows, day after day
Here's what my sweetheart said.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother, what will I be
Will I be handsome, will I be rich
I tell them tenderly.

Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.

Because I've been wondering what will 2009 hold for us???
of course.
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.


One More for Rest

Just finished up this piece for my "Rest" series. I feel pleased with how it turned out. I am starting to really enjoy the challenge of a series. I was daydreaming while I was painting... How many chairs can I paint? 100? 500? What would the 500th chair look like?... would it even look like a chair by that point? Would I go crazy?

Christmas day

It was a wonderful holiday for us. Christmas morning Alex, Lili and I woke up and drove down to Becca's house to meet Becca, my Mom and Paul, and my Dad and Amy. I am still in awe that my divorced parents and their respective partners can not only co-exist in the same room, but be friends and share holidays together. All the tumultuous high school years during their divorce I NEVER would have imagined us all in the same room laughing over the presents we got each other. That is the truest testament to healing and forgiveness I have in my life.
Anyways. It was such a warm (emotionally and weather-wise)day together. Breakfast, stockings, big dinner that took a good amount of the day to cook... We waited a little too late in the pre-nap day to open presents and Lili was a little fussier than I wish, but it was still fun. She is enjoying her new books and toys now. Being a parent and grandparent just keeps getting better and better it seems.

(If you look at the first picture you will see that Lili befriended a red pepper on Christmas. She carried it around and kissed it for hours. One of those completely random things that leaves you mystified!)


Wishing you all a very joyous and love-filled holiday week...


and the stockings were all hung from the unsanded post with care...

Lili didn't have a stocking so I decided to make her one. I used a cute striped sweater I got at the pay-per-pound goodwill. I made the inside layered with a soft blue sweater material. I just cut it all out, pinned it together, did one line stitch around the edge, a blanket stitch in red string around the edge after I turned it right side out, and then sewed a top out of gray wool. All in all it was a super easy and fun little project. And I am so excited to see Lili reaching into it to find surprises tomorrow.



Our dear friends Jason and Michelle have included us in their traditional holiday ceremonial dinner for the last few years. The 9 course meal starts at sundown on Solstice. This Slovakian tradition was a beloved part of Michelle's childhood, and she has brought the tradition into our circle of friends. I went searching the internet for a more definitive definition to give you of this tradition and quickly realized the way we are celebrating varies dramatically from the "traditional" Velija celebration. The closest thing I discovered was this pertinent sentence: "As is true with all countries, customs and traditions vary from region to region and family to family." The way we do it is this:
The day begins with each family making a part of the feast. Alex and I make the bread and help Jason, Michelle, and Anne roll the bebikies (baa-bike-ies: a boiled dough that is served with oil, salt and pepper)Here Jason is rolling the dough. The next photo is of them cooking.

The breads Alex made: whole wheat walnut, olive, honey french, and foccicia.

The meal is served in courses. Any food or crumbs that are dropped on the table are to be pushed to the center for our ancestors. You are served in groupings, sharing a bowl or plate with about 4 or 5 other people. Now this is a germ-a-phobes nightmare, but the first two courses of the meal counter attack this problem.

To begin: A hearty toast of grattitude and coming blessings.
Course #1: A shot of good whiskey. (apple juice for the kids)
Course #2: Cloves of raw garlic and chunks of bread.
Course #3: Smoked Salmon (traditionally pickled herring).
Courses#4&5: Sauerkraut soup with a scoop of mashed potatoes in it.
Course #6: Babikies
Course #7: Split Pea soup
Course #8: Sauteed Shitake Mushrooms.
Course #9: Stewed Prunes.

As you can see, this is not your typical holiday feast. As weird as it all sounds, it is delicious. I love eating in courses, I find that I pay more attention to what I am eating. It is refreshing to experience sharing a bowl of soup, or breaking bread with your friend so intimatly. I love the few older family traditions I have, and it has been fun to create our own traditions as a family as well.


I hope the shift to a white is okay... I always knew that someday I would change it because I would want to post a painting and wouldn't like the background color next to it. I feel torn about it though as I liked the color... I will see how it goes this way.

I got a scanner off craigslist. I won't bore you with my story of the headache of trying to figure out what scanner to buy and from where. It was painful... What I have right now is an Epson perfection 1660 Photo I am crossing my fingers that this series is as it proclaims: perfection. This journal page is the first trial using it. Now that it seemed to go pretty well I am off to scan and get some decent images of my smaller paintings for my Etsy site. Finally. YAY!!!


Happy Winter Solstice!

The word solstice derives from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

The shortest day or the longest night of the year. The winter solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observers hemisphere.
This is a special salt dough ornament that our friend Katie made for us last year. It is two sided with the sun on one side and a dark spiral on the other side. You keep the dark side facing out until Solstice and then you flip it around. Symbolic of the light returning, and the gratitude for both the darkness and the light on this sacred turning day.


We had a nice slow day today.
Last night was the Carmona's Cheesy Holiday Party in which everyone was decked out in gaudy Christmas gear. Lots of Holiday sweaters, appliqued shirts, and general cheesiness all around. David did his facial hair up special for the event of course. This party was also Ema's birthday party and this was a dream of hers, so she was in heaven.

This morning we squeezed in our little house to do a brunch (puffy pancakes, homemade biscuits and sausage gravy, navel oranges, scrambled eggs and coffee)with some friends and afterward Alex and I took a nap with Lili in the middle of the day! Later I made some soft ginger cookies with real shredded ginger in them and we walked around our neighborhood and delivered some plates of cookies and some ornaments we made. When we got back it was dark and we ate leftover homemade gypsy soup.
Everyone should take days like these. I wish I did more often too.



This morning I was goofing off with Lil and holding her upside down and I caught a glimpse of white far back in her upper gums. I tickled her softly and craned in to see... Yep, a molar was half in already. How did I miss that? Looking back now I see some restless nights sleep last week, and there was some excess drooling. I feel a little guilty that I didn't see it before... not that I could have done much for her. But, it feels strange to feel out of touch with her even this small amount. A small sign she is growing up and is less of a baby. And once more I am reminded of the slow process of letting her go that began with her birth.



snail mail!

The obvious way into my heart?
Snail mail.

As I mentioned before, I won Daisie's giveaway recently, and today was the day it came in the mail. It was chock full of handmade little goodies like little crocheted flower hair clips, and the skate ornament, and a little bracelet for Lili, some cards, and more. I was SO touched. Thank you SOOOO much my friend across the sea!


Laura Ingalls Wilder

I picked up an old softcover version of Laura Ingalls Wilder's book "Farmer Boy" a few months ago at the thrift store. The book is divided into seasons, and I have been ripping out pages from the winter section to use as the underpinnings for many of my paintings. I loved these books as a child but can barely remember any of the details. I didn't reread this book before I started cutting from it, but now I am skipping around reading it one page at a time. The sentences are like gold and I have reawakened to her beautiful and simple writing all over again. I searched for images of her today and found this picture of her which I thought was beautiful. I also found a gingerbread recipe that I want to try, and this letter that she had written in which she tells of Almanzo dieing (Almanzo is the farmer boy and a prominent figure in the book I am "reading"). I was struck with a wave of sadness when I read it. Then I quickly realized that everyone in the story has passed on. Laura herself passed in 1957.


1 cup brown sugar blended with
1/2 cup lard or other shortening.
1 cup molasses mixed well with this.
2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 cup boiling water
(Be sure cup is full of water after foam is run off into cake mixture).
Mix all well.

To 3 cups of flour have added one teaspoon each of the following spices:
ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Sift all into cake mixture and mix well.
Add lastly 2 well-beaten eggs.
The mixture should be quite thin.
Bake in a moderate oven for thirty minutes.
Raisins and, or, candied fruit may be added and a chocolate frosting adds to the goodness.

Well I am going to go back to spending the day with Lilikoi, listening to Pandora's holiday stations (So far my favorites are the Ella Fitzgerald holiday and Bare Naked Ladies holiday) and making snowflakes for our windows (in honor of the snow everyone else got!).


hey baby hey baby hey...

...you get to me like old time religion did

in my heart when i was a kid
you're sweet gospel music to my ears
you know how to ease all my fears
and from my heart to yours all i can say is
hey baby hey baby hey baby hey

and as we go On through the deal i
i know that we won't always feel
real wonderful
life ain't like that

but I want to stay right by your side
check Out The view enjoy the ride
with all our loved ones

i want To plant a little garden with you now
take care of a piece of the earth somehow
and tend it when we're old and gray and
try to straighten up and say, well,
i'm so glad to See you today
hey baby hey baby hey baby hey.

~Greg Brown


O Christmas Tree

We set up our Christmas tree today. Last year we foraged a very Charlie Brown tree from the woods, and this year we bought one. (Less likely to tip over on Lili)
I love this time of year, and I love having a decorated tree inside our house. I can't stop staring at it although Lili hardly seems phased by it at all. We got home late last night so the tree spent it's first night in our shower and when she passed it by she looked at it mildly curious, but not even enough so to bother pointing at it. And now that it is set up she has tried to rip a couple ornaments off, but mostly she stumbles by it as if were just another random thing piled up by the front door.

Growing up my family had the big opaque colored light bulbs. When we went light shopping last year my desire was to recreate that in my own home. Alex and I spent forever in the Christmas light isle of Target weighing the options. Basically aesthetics vs. morals. The horrible/wonderful fact is that they now make LED lights that waste almost zero electricity compared to the regular Christmas lights that suck LOTS. It is these wonderful, energy happy lights that go against the foundation of my lighting aesthetic. I like my lights to be colorful and soft. A warm yellow and a pinkish red. These LED lights are glaringly bold and primary. They make me feel like I am at a Phish concert right in my own living room. *sigh*
Oh well. I will just pray that someday I will get the best of both worlds with my lights. In the meantime I will just light a few candles around the room...



So as I mentioned in the previous post, Alex and I got a winning raffle ticket at the Big Crafty. The raffle had a crazy amount of beautiful things in it, and the way it worked was when they called your ticket you could go up to the table and pick out anything you wanted. Anything. It was very hard to make a decision but I settled on something completely impractical for me: this little baby hat. I just kept coming back to it and I fell in love with it. (It was made by a local woman, Leigh Anne Hilbert, who uses recycled wool sweaters to make these hats. Click here to check out her Etsy site.) Now, I did the math, and that means that it would be a perfect gift for someone who gets pregnant in the next couple of months as it is a winter hat that fits a baby 0-6 months. Soooo... if you are feeling like you are a friend of mine, and you too love the hat, it could possibly be yours if you get pregnant!This isn't the actual hat just one that looks like it. Our hat is orange and light blue.I borrowed this picture from the artist's Etsy store and I think this model is her son. He has to be the cutest baby ever. I wanted to get a picture of just the hat, but was then won over by the baby too.


The Big Crafty!

The fair was wonderful.

The night before the fair, at about 9 PM, I had a little freak out. I was thinking through all that had been done the last two weeks to get ready for the fair. I made a little checklist of everything left I wanted to do and had a passing thought that no amount of money I could make would make it worth it. Then I checked my email and the organizers of the event had sent out booth assignments. I scrolled through the 100 vendors and found my name. #67. I scrolled through the map of the museum and found my spot. It was in a room that appeared to be out of the way of the beaten path. I groaned. Then out of curiosity I looked up the two vendors who were stationed on either side of me and checked out their sites they had listed on the Big Crafty website. Two very intimidating painters (here and here). When Alex came down I was staring at the computer screen bleakly. I was picturing my booth, with the Christmas lights that would be wrapped around it all pretty, and my artwork looking frilly and silly next to these two serious artists. (Okay, before you go clicking at the comment section to reprimanded me that I am a serious artist too, please remember this was a momentary lapse in confidence.) I told Alex the bad news: I am in a remote location, stationed next to two very scary looking men. He asked to see them. I pulled up the first page and he nodded.
"Not exactly scary Kelcey..."
"Look at those dark circles under his eyes"
"Well, I do like his work. Show me the other guy.......Him???" He looked at me laughing as he scrolled down through this guy's flicker site.
"Okay" I conceded. "He does have a photo collection of heart-shaped things..."

So that was my weakness. My strength came the next day after we set up the booth and Alex left me alone as he took Lili for a walk. The fair opened and people started walking by my booth. Before anyone had given me any feedback I felt this overwhelming belief in what I had created, even if it was just making ornaments and not something more "serious".
I ended up having some good conversations with the scary guys- and of course (as really I had known all along) they are just a couple of artist's trying to forge there own way. They were not scary.

Although I didn't sell any paintings I sold 5 transfer prints and 63 ornaments. I felt more than satisfied. Best of all, I made some new friends, I made some great new contacts, I won a prize from the craffle-raffle, and tons of my business cards left my table. As I was convinced before my freak-out, the marketing alone made the fair worth it to me.

Asheville has some AMAZING artists, and they all seemed to come out of the woodwork for this one. I was very honored to be part of it. I was so busy and caught up with the excitement of the day that my camera never left my purse :(
So unfortunately not one tiny picture of my cute booth and how all my art looked so good. But I searched the The Big Crafty flicker group and uploaded a few key pictures to give you a taster:

Three kegs of free beer...
That is my dear friend Becca Johnson behind the suitcase, selling her one-of-a-kind journals.
The Carmonas! doing there Christmas shopping local.
(I have to say it is weird to find pictures of people you know in random places...)
Courtney Murphy
Align CenterJeff Martin's pottery



I have had two strokes of blog-o-sphere fortune this past month that I wanted to share. As much as I can recollect, I haven't ever really won anything aside from my big win: the Forth of July grand prize that I won when I was 10 (100 gallons of fuel oil). So that is why this month is particularly special. The first happening was that Supria from Encaustic Musings gave me an honorary prize on her big giveaway (because I commented so much...) The prize took it's time (weeks) to meander through the Canadian/US customs, but when it arrived I was in complete awe. She painted me this incredible and personal little painting. See?

I hung it up in my little work space, and have been inspired by it everyday since. Thank You!!!

And THEN, today I was going through my routine of checking in at the blogs I love- and long and behold there was my name: I had won Daisie's (see here to check out her blog) giveaway! It is this super cute little skate ornament that she made by hand. So, Thank You SO much!!!I have a bad habit of feeling guilty when I win anything- I guess because that means someone else doesn't win. I probably would have more luck if I lost this habit. And as I can see from my win from Supria- winning isn't always black and white either. There are always plenty of surprises in life to be had...



Here is a few of the almost completed ornaments (they still need eye hooks and ribbon) that I have been working on this past week. Alex hasn't been able to find work the past two weeks so he has officially become my studio helper. It isn't nice that he has no work, but it sure has been nice to have so much family time and all the extra help with my upcoming show.

My Mom is a potter and so I grew up in a household that went through the unique experience of preparing for a show or craft fair. My Dad would help out in any way he could, and my Mom would spend long days the week before preparing. Even doing all-nighters...Despite the fact that our regular life got put on pause while they scrambled to cram in as much as they could, I have fond memories of both the anticipation and the actual fairs. As I was counting up my inventory after I had put everything away today I realized how funny it is that this is one of the first craft fairs I have done and yet it doesn't feel that way at all. I attribute this to all of the days helping my parents when I was little. And so it is weird to find my family helping me prepare for my own craft fair.
It is like I am choosing to wear my Mother's shoes.

The Carmona Guys


crafting away the hours

The last few days we have been hiding out in this wonderful house that "Gramps" (Alex's Dad) rented for his stay. The weather was dreary and we lounged around being terribly lazy for days. I wore my PJs for 2 days straight, took 2 luxurious baths, read, watched football, chased Lil around the non-baby proof house, ate a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers, and lastly, crafted. I am part of The Big Crafty next weekend, and I still have so much to do to prepare for it. These are the beginning of some ornaments I am making. I am aiming to have 75.
Well I am off to create some more~ missed you all while I was away!