Laughing Dog Arts

Monday, April 4, 2016

Maggi's Gone

Hello friends,
Been awhile since I have posted anything here.  Today I want to publish a small tribute to a friend who has passed.  I feel a need to do something to mark her passing.

Maggi Birchenough. 
 Maggi and Meg  

We met through blogs back in 2010, and quickly found we had much in common including favorite books, music and a love of art, particularly fiber art, growing things and our pets.  We wrote many long emails, getting to know each other through the years.  Traded plenty of stories and eventually began trading gifts through the mail.  In 2014 she became the Co-rep for SAQA for Europe and the Middle East.  When she found that Portland Oregon was hosting a meeting for that group, she determined to come to the US from her home in the UK and attend that meeting, and, oh yes, as long as she was in the neighborhood, she would come and visit me!
So she did.  We had the most lovely time, walking through my fields 

and sitting on the deck, watching the birds with my cat Tigger sitting on Maggi's lap.  She had to leave all too soon.  After she returned to the UK she was having trouble breathing and had terrible headaches.  Finally she went to the doctor and got the worst news possible, advanced lung cancer.  She struggled but was gone less than a year later.

What did I know of Maggi?  She was kind, thoughtful and generous.  She volunteered at her local animal shelter, walking dogs, petting cats, and adopting one to keep her first cat company.  She missed her husband Robert who passed several years ago.  They had no children.  Maggi had been a teacher and in her later years worked as a dispatcher in a police station.  She was an inspired artist, working in fiber and often having her art quilts shown in big shows, where she also volunteered, helping with set up and showing the art.  She loved to read and to watch car racing!  She kept a blog for years, .
She loved to dye and manipulate fabrics and fibers.  She loved her family and friends.  Loved spending time in her home and yard, tending her garden, watching her cats, Jack and Casper,

helping her neighbors.  She was fortunate to be close with her cousins who were a huge help to her after she became ill.  I know her friend Linda Vincent was also a help during her time of need. 

Maggi and Linda at a quilt show
She was so generous with help to others when she was strong and healthy, I'm glad to know it all came back to her when she needed help.  From my perspective she seemed to accept her illness with strength and pragmatism, not complaining, just doing what she had to and enjoying what life she had left as best she could.  Maggi must have been heartbroken when she decided to give up her cats so they could find new homes.  The shelter where she had spent so much time helped her there, and they found new homes readily.

Her cousins were with her in her home when she passed peacefully, which was brave of them all.  Maggi was loved and will be missed.  I feel blessed to have been able to call her my friend and will miss her, keeping her in my heart forever.

Friday, May 29, 2015

It's been awhile

Worth Having
It has been awhile since my last blog post; six months or more.I hadn't intended to stop blogging, it just sort of happened for no particular reason.  So this is a catch up post, just a little bit.  Above shows a cat mixed media piece I did on a piece of foam core board.  It was fun, I am pleased with how it turned out.

The Wild Horse In Us
I continued in the same vein and created this horse mixed media piece on a card board mailing envelope.  Again, I was rather pleased with it.  Both of these are given away.
Walking the Dogs
 I've also been working in this altered book, the title of which seemed very appropriate, "The Girl In The Woods".  I used a home made stencil on the right hand side, above.
The Only Thing Necessary
 I continue to enjoy using quotes in my art.
The Depth of Winter
 Using a different color palette than I used to, more muted colors.
The key to happiness: Simplify.
Bound By The Beauty
Alternatively working in my Strathmore mixed media journal. 
 Just fooling around and having fun.
Enjoy the Journey
 This one is dedicated to my maternal grand parents, that's them in the photos, and my Mom is the little girl.
Family: Aunt Bertha
 Another different direction is this one I finished last week.  The woman in the photo is my great great Aunt Bertha.  I cropped the photo to use it, her dress was so beautiful, she must have been pretty classy.  No one is named Bertha these days it seems.
Close up showing some of the fun embellishments I used.

Somewhere along the way I acquired two new pets, a cat, Tigger and a dog, Gunnar.

I wasn't looking for new pets, they just adopted me, coming over from the new next door neighbors.
Roscoe and Windy both love Gunnar too, and Charlie cat tolerates Tigger.  It is so much fun watching Gunnar play with Roscoe, he is so gentle with him.  He is a big sweet beautiful dog.  I feel a little safer on my walks now, I think the coyotes are keeping their distance a bit.

That isn't all I've done since my last post, but that's enough for now.  I have appreciated the people who told me they missed my blog posts.  Thanks for noticing!  Till next time,
Be Well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Goodbye Trees, Hello New Fence

It has been a busy month since last I blogged.  This post is going to show some of what has been going on here, and mainly for my own records.

See those two towering fir trees at each corner of my house?  Every time the wind blows hard I fear they might blow down, especially that one on the left.   They were both small trees when I moved here, but this is perfect tree growing country, and grow they did.

It was a difficult decision but we finally decided to cut them down.  My peacocks used to sleep in those trees, and squirrels and birds made their homes in them.
Days before the trees were scheduled to come down I read this poem by Margaret Gibson titled Solitudes.  I wanted to memorize it, it begins: 
"For today, I will memorize the two trees, now in end of summer light".  Then I had to snap some photos showing them in end of summer light. 
They were beautiful trees and I cried to see them go.
We had to get a permit from the county road dept. to be able to drop the trees across the road, and had to wait until the power company could schedule a day that they could drop the power lines.  After waiting for about 3 years, all these things finally came together. 
Chris Davis and Steve

Steve (Chainsaw Man) traded this chain saw, (a Stil 66 with a 42 inch bar for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing) to the man, Chris Davis, for doing the cutting of the trees.  You can get an idea of the size of this tree and yet, it is only about 45 years old.  Yep, I'm older than the trees.

Chris had access to a skidder which he brought over to help with the tree removal.  The power company attached cables high in the trees and Steve and Chris attached the other end through a giant block to the skidder, insuring that the trees would fall where they were supposed to.
Giant block

Luckily all went exactly as planned and the trees fell where they were supposed to, and not on the house.  
 It was a big event and neighbors showed up to watch the trees come down.
 I don't know who enjoyed it more, the kids or the parents!
 Steve and Chris and the skidder (which Chris operated) quickly got the trees bucked up and out of the road.  One car came as all this was going on, and only had to wait about 5 minutes before the road was clear again.  The whole process took about two and a half hours from electric lines dropped to road cleared.  Of course there was still plenty of clean up to do.

Chris, Steve and neighbor Dan relaxing afterwards, plenty of time for clean up later!

old fence
The wood fence in front of my house has needed replacing for awhile but it was impractical to replace it until the trees came down.  So finally it was torn down but first we had to build a temporary fence to keep the dogs in.  I'm not showing photos of that.
entrance to the fenced yard before work began.
 Neighbor Dan came and helped with fence building
Entrance to the newly fenced yard after tree removal.  "Nice gate!" says Windy.

New aspect to the front of the house.  We used fir boards, stained before we put the fence up.  The gate is made from cedar.
Inside the yard looking out through the new gate.  It opens like French doors.
We can sit in the front yard again, it had become very weedy and overgrown before.
The yard seems twice as big now even though the fence is in the same place.  We took out a lot more than just the two big trees.  It was a long time coming but what a relief to have it finished!  Now when the wind blows I won't be worrying about a tree crushing me in my bed, or the fence blowing down either.

Now to bring in our firewood.  One of these days I hope to get back into the studio for serious work.  I've been puttering at odd moments, I'll show what I've done in another post.

Can't go without a gratuitous pet photo!

Hope you all are ready for winter storms or spring showers, depending where you live.  We are having some gorgeous Indian summer weather here right now, it has been in the low 80's.  I love it!  The leaves are so beautiful and everything is crisp and tangy.
So until next time,

Be well.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Significant Birthday

It seems like such a short time ago that I was a little girl, blowing out the candles on my cake.  That was quite a long time ago.   With apologies to Mary Oliver for unauthorized use of her poem Self Portrait:
 "I wish I was 20 and in love with life and still full of beans.
Onward, old legs!
There are the long, pale dunes; on the other side
the roses are blooming and finding their labor
no adversity to the spirit.
 Upward, old legs! There are the roses, and there is the sea
shining like a song, like a body
I want to touch
 though I’m not twenty
and won’t be again but ah! sixty. And still
in love with life. And still
full of beans."
Mary's poem reads "but ah! seventy."  Maybe I will use this poem again in another 10 years.
The group photo above shows me with members of my family earlier this month.  The two men on either side of me are my older brothers.  We are all in the 60's club now!  Everyone else in the photo is not yet in their 60's but give 'em time.

Yep, still in love with life and still full of beans.

Be well.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Family time

I've been enjoying lots of visits with my family this summer.
Nephew Nathan and his wife Becky and their 3 kids and 3 dogs came over.  They all enjoyed touring the yard while the dogs romped.

 Nathan's brother Justin and his wife Brittany also came with their dog. 

The dogs played and played and then they rested.  Mia took full advantage of the fact that we allow our dogs on the furniture.  Justin will have to retrain her after visiting Aunt Jan's!  It was funny because if Mia began to get too rough with Roscoe, Windy would step in and divert Mia.  Such a good big sister she is!!
It was good to see them all.  They might move out this way some day.  I'd like that.
 I gave Brittany this bracelet I made.  Looked good on her pretty arm.
We went to visit my cousins at their place near the beach at Pacific City, Oregon.  Most everyone camped on their property.
 Lots of cooking and telling stories around the campfire.  Plenty of dogs too, almost as many as there were people.
 Windy and Roscoe and I enjoyed walking in the old mossy spruce forest.
 Beautiful trails on the cousins property. 
Plenty of good eating too!
I used to call him Chainsaw man but maybe I should change Steve's name to the Chef because he sure seems to be the main cook at these events!  This is at my brother's.
Our next visit took us to my brother's where 4 of us siblings and our families spent a few days.  My nephew's are so athletic and spent hours jumping on the trampoline shooting hoops.
Of course then they needed their rest.  The little dog is Rosie.  She and Roscoe spent plenty of time playing too.
We managed to snap a group shot although not everyone got in it.  From left to right are Marshall (nephew), Debbie (my sister), Tyler (nephew), Beth (SIL),Rick (my eldest bro), me, Steve (my older bro whose home we were at), Robin (SIL), Dawson (nephew) and Riley (nephew) holding Debbie's dog Lucy.  I think there were 7 dogs altogether here.

So now I'm home again.  The hay got done in July and now we are beginning to put up veggies.  We canned 14 quarts of green beans from our garden yesterday.  The weather has been very summery, hot and dry.  The afternoons are spent being quiet.  I like hanging out in my studio then, it stays pretty cool in there.  
I hope you all are keeping safe and enjoying your summer, if indeed it is summer at your place.  Till next time,
Be well.