Laughing Dog Arts

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.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I made some plain fabric prayer flags and hung them across my yard a couple of years ago.  I thought I'd show you what has become of them.
 I used batik fabrics and hung them in the summer of 2012.  Interspersed between the flags were strips of sari silk.  They were lovely and colorful, blowing in the breeze.

Sun and rain seems to have done this to me, also.
 At least the flags aren't all wrinkled up.  The silk strips have mostly totally disintegrated and fallen off.  A few of the scraps got picked up and incorporated into dooleybobbers.
Life is fleeting.  Live it to the fullest.

Be well.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Progress is being made in a couple of areas.  Best of all, the progress between Charlie and Roscoe:
One might think such a large cat would have no fear in the first place of such a tiny dog but one would be wrong.  Charlie hid in the basement for more than two weeks after Roscoe arrived.  I finally began carrying Charlie into the house slowly when Roscoe was tired and calm.  The next thing I knew, Charlie followed me into the house on his own one evening and spent the night on the bed next to me and Roscoe and things have been just fine ever since.  Yay!!  It is so nice to have everyone getting along, no fears!

In the meantime, I have been stitching on my latest Ghost Dog series piece:
 This one represents the first dogs I had after moving out of my parents home.  Bilbo was part Collie, part German Shepherd and probably the smartest dog I have ever had.  Then I got Heidi and Gandalf, brother and sister, part Dachshund, part Beagle.  Oh I loved those dogs!  They were with me through many transitions in my life and all are buried here on this property.
I rummaged around in my "jewelry" box and found Bilbo's dog tag so I put that on there.  I also found some puppy teeth which you can see in the first photo, they are glued on the strip of red fabric.  I'm still putting some finishing touches on this, and when it is finished I'll hang it on the wall outside the studio.
Here is the studio wall so far.  I hung the small colorful quilt up there today.  I've had others up there before but only for a day or two at a time because I didn't want them to become weathered and faded.  This one I plan to leave in place.  Why not?  It has been aging in a box for years.  It is kind of a weird experiment that didn't really turn out that great, so now its colorfulness will slowly fade in the sun but I rather like it up there.  My other pieces of the Ghost Dog series are hanging to the far right of the door.

Just a quick post for today.  I wanted to share my excitement about Charlie and Roscoe.  Hope you all had a great Summer Solstice.  On that day I went to the wedding reception of my longest term friend, Larry.  We have been friends for 43 years!  Sheesh!  I really like his new wife and am glad I was able to attend this event.  Forgot my camera though dang it.  It was a grand way to celebrate the solstice.

Till next time, be well.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New news

Been busy with outdoor work and also finding time for some art.  One other thing has been grabbing my attention but I'll get to that later.  First, I'll show you my recently completed art work. 
 This is sort of a Dooleybobber.  Rather different from the others but then they are all different, aren't they.  I used some cut off pieces from another work and then needle felted, stitched and beaded it.  I had my embroidery stitch book open and was trying different stitches, it was fun. 
 Most of the threads I used were some that I got from Maggi.  The colors are gorgeous.

This is what it looked like in the beginning stages.  Sure looks a lot different after the stitching and working on it.
 I did a challenge/trade with my creative group after being inspired by an article in a recent Somerset Studio magazine article, the Jan/Feb 2014 issue.  These are ATC/Matchbox art.  Fun!
I used a paper napkin for the background of all mine.   I have a bazillion of them but did you know you can buy single napkins on ebay?   Who'd have guessed?  What a selection!  Now I have two bazillion.
 I decided to experiment with some non woven fabric stuff I had laying around after seeing something like it on a blog somewhere.  Sorry, I lost the link so can't share that.  I used different paints on pieces of this stuff, I don't know what it is but it starts out white.
 Then I rolled them up and hit them with the heat gun and they turned into these neat beads.
I found that if I painted different colors on either side, they looked cool on the edges with the reverse paint peeking through.  If anyone wants some of this stuff just ask and I'll mail you a piece.  I have a huge chunk of it.


I have begun a new series that relates to the dogs I've loved.   I started to say all the dogs but I can't quite say that, there are too many to make art about all of them.  Above you can see the first of the series, it shows a photo of my family and our first dog, Mike.  He was a German Shepherd mix.
 I love this photo.  It captures my love for dogs beautifully.  That is me, gazing into Mike's eyes with love.
 Our next dog was Duke, a German Shepherd.  Duke followed me everywhere through my growing up years, walking with me through the neighborhoods and to the store, waiting patiently outside, unleashed.  Can you imagine now, seeing a big German Shepherd dog sitting outside a big grocery store, not tied or muzzled or anything?  He used to get in ferocious fights with other neighborhood dogs.  I'm glad I know better not to allow anything like that to happen any more.
See the brown/orange plaid fabric at the back of the piece?  That was the scarf I wore when I was a teenager.  It is rather moth eaten now but I have held on to it and finally found a use for a piece of it.  I also still have Duke's collar, 40 some years later.  (No I'm not a hoarder!!) I am going to hang the collar from the wood hanging rod.  The plan is to display all these dog pieces outside and allow them to weather.  I might hang them out in the woods or maybe just on the wall outside the studio.  The coyotes (Trickster) tend to steal things I put out into the forest.
This is the next one of the series, I started stitching on it today.  It shows the first three dogs I got after I moved out of my parents home, Bilbo, Heidi and Gandalf.  Yes, combining my love of books and dogs with these names!  I'll show a better photo someday after it is finished.

Now, for my big news!  We got another dog!  Windy has been seeming lonely without a friend to play with so I got her a puppy;-)  Meet Roscoe, a 10 month old Chihuahua/Dachshund mix.  He is such a sweet boy and so playful and happy!  I call him Roscoe Bean, he has sure brightened up our lives around here.  He and Windy play and chase each other and the squirrels.  Charlie cat is not happy about it but he is beginning to venture out of the basement and testing the waters with a dog smaller than he is.  He'll come around, he always does.
Heidi from long ago

 Never before have I had such a little dog, I was wanting a bigger dog but this guy came along and I couldn't get him out of my mind.  Maybe because he reminds me so much of the first dogs I had on my own, Heidi and Gandalf were Dachshund/Beagle mix, brother and sister.  They were closer to Windy size though at around 30 pounds.  Roscoe is only maybe 10.  He is learning not to chase llamas or cows or horses or CATS!  Squirrels are okay, they never catch one.
 Here is Roscoe and Windy, snuggling in the bed together in the studio.  Oh, and Roscoe likes to sleep under the blankets with me at night!  I've never had a dog do that before.  Probably a good thing since most of my dogs have been rather large.  

Well, that is about it for now.  I'm sure I'll be sharing more about Roscoe in the future.  He is so stinkin' cute! He came with that name and I decided to keep it, it suits him.  Hope you all are well and enjoying your lives.  Till next time,

Be well.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Miss you, Mom

I have wanted to write a blog tribute to my Mom for quite some time now but things keep coming up and I kept putting it off.
So today, in honor of Mother's Day I am finally putting together my tribute to Patricia Ruth Cherkezov.
Patsy Ruth Cherkezov

 When she was a little girl, growing up in Portland, Oregon, she was called Patsy.
Mom's parents, Theodore and Betty Cherkezov

 Her parents emigrated from Bulgaria to Portland, Oregon in the 1920's.  That is a whole other story that I will tell on another day.  I'm sharing this photo of my grandparents because I love it.  They played music together and sang Bulgarian folk songs.  I have Grandpa's Dobro mandolin but I gave Grandma's guitar to one of my nephew's.  He is very trustworthy and knows that it is a special guitar with history.

Betty Cherkezov and baby Patsy, 1931

 Mom's parents spoke mainly Bulgarian at home and so did Mom as a child.  She didn't learn to speak English as her main language until she began school.  I recall her telling me that there were words in Bulgarian that had no counterpart in English.  For instance, in Bulgarian there was a word that meant what your socks do when they fall down inside your shoes and bunch up around the arch of your foot.  I don't remember what that word is though.  The only words I remember of Bulgarian I can't say here.

Patsy, her brother Stan and Sparky

I must have gotten my love of animals and especially dogs from my mom.  Funny that I remember the dog's name too.

Mom graduated from Grant High School in Portland, Oregon, must have been in 1948.  Soon thereafter she met my Dad, Bill Brattain.

Pat and Bill

They got married in 1949 and the babies started coming.  First Rick, then Steve, and then me!
Unfortunately that marriage didn't last and they were divorced in the mid 50's.  Mom stayed slim and pretty and always had a great tan.  She loved laying out in the sun, listening to the radio and smoking her cigarettes.  That was what got her in the end, those cigarettes. 
Mom and little Jannie

She loved music, loved to dance and joke around.   She loved Elvis Presley and Waylon Jennings, always had the pop or country music station on the radio.  Everyone called her Pat during the years she was raising us kids.  She married a second time and she and Dex had my sister Debbie.
Rick, Steve, Mom, Jan, Debbie, and Mike, my first dog.  I love this photo of us.  See how I only have eyes for the dog?

Mom was a typical housewife in those days, staying home, cooking and cleaning, ironing, smoking cigarettes, taking care of the yard, growing flowers and vegetables, visiting with the neighbor ladies who would stop in for coffee and a chat.  We lived in a typical little suburban neighborhood with houses all around.  Once when she came to my school play, wearing a turquoise blue blouse and a modest black skirt with flat shoes and I knew she was the prettiest Mom there!  Mom and Dex liked to get together with friends and play the record player loud, drinking beer and partying till the wee hours.  We didn't have a lot of money but we always had enough of what we needed.  Mostly what we had was Mom's firm hand that wasn't afraid to give us a swat on the butt when needed and I'm sure we needed it plenty of times!  But the love was definitely there and we all grew up to be good people.  We siblings are still close, thanks to our Mom raising us well. 

Steve, Jan Debbie, Rick and Mom

 I can remember hearing her in the kitchen, cooking beans for dinner, singing a silly song from the radio, "♫My mommy said not to put beans in my ears, beans in my ears, beans in my ears!♫"

She did her best for us but I think she wasn't as happy as she could/might have been.  She had an artistic side and I wish now I had one of her oil paintings.  I have an afghan she knitted and a small stained glass hummingbird she made.  Her marriage to Dex wasn't all sunshine and roses and ended in the '70's.  She worked in an office to earn money after that.  She was a very fast typist.
She took pride in us kids.  She raised us to be healthy and happy adults.
 Sometimes we raised her!

Hal and Patty

She had a boyfriend for awhile who called her Trish (her full name was Patricia), but then she met Hal and married one last time and it was a good marriage.  Not so wild as her days with Dex.  Hal and Mom were both slim and youthful and liked to go out dancing.  I loved seeing them together, they were the cutest couple.  Hal took the most loving care of his Patty after she got sick.  I remember the doctor at the hospital asking if they were newly weds because they were always so lovey dovey but they had been married about 18 years by then.  They would sit in one chair together, both so small they could fit.   Hal was such a blessing to Mom.  He stopped working and took care of her at home.  She passed in her own bed with all of us kids by her side and the radio was playing a song by Neil Diamond from the Jonathan Livingstone Seagull album, something about flying away up to the stars.  It seemed so appropriate.  I know Mom is flying free now, no more worries.

Aunt Edith, Mom and Me in 1992, the summer before she passed

She lived her life as best she could.  One of my favorite memories of her in her later years is watching her in the living room, holding her little black cat Toro in her arms and dancing around the room, singing along with Bob Segar, "♫Keep playing that rock n roll, that kinda music just soothes your soul, I like that old time rock n roll♫"

Love you Mom.  Miss you always.  Happy Mother's Day.