Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Deep in the Thick of It

It's not all about the shi-chi puppies (but since I mentioned them, 3 week old puppy pics will be coming in a day or two)....we do still make and sell art....though I must admit that the last week has been very rich in living life and enjoying family and friends. It has been a beautiful couple of days. Memorial Day in Michigan arrived after two dark, contemplative, rain-filled, incubative days as a spectacularly bright, sunny, shiny day. I must admit that the dark days were lovely in their own right and oh, how all of the new gardens desparately needed the rain.

Ann Arbor, a great city for families and people in general, has a fabulous string of community pools and parks that all opened this last weekend. My daughter and two grandchildren and I walked the 10 minute walk from their new house, to their neighborhood pool at Buhr Park, where other family members joined us. Our extended family spent most of Monday afternoon up to our necks in cool, beautiful water and then we topped off the day with a barbecue in the evening.

We discovered that my almost 2-year old grand-daughter Juniper most likely has mermaid roots. Being a Michigan baby she hasn't been exposed to much swimming time, but she took to the water with enthusiasm. Michael, her older brother is already a fish. He was a Key West boy for the first 5 years of his life, where swimming in crystal clear, white sandy-bottom, carribean waters is a daily event so it was hard for him not to grow fins.

The day was ideal....there was literally nothing wrong with it from start to finish. Winter is officially over.

Back to work on Tuesday, which is always really, really nice after a fun-filled, work-free, few days. I'm always ready to get back into it. We have a full schedule of orders on the bulletin board, including an order from Somerset Jewelers Gallery, who we have sold to for the past 4-5 years, in Ocean City, Maryland. I'd love to include a link to their store but they don't keep a website. We're pulling everything together, working simultaneously on cats, flamingoes, suns, fish, flowers.

The photos above show a cat before it's features have been added and a fish in the early stages.

Flamingoes with their base coat, waiting for glass, eyes, wings.

Large Flower tops primed and ready for action.

Flowers in progress with cat eyes on the table too.

I haven't been getting to my paintings as much I would like. The arrival of summer is directing any extra time that I have, outside to dig in the garden, fill my front porch flower boxes with new soil and flowers, spray paint the wicker furniture I picked up on craigslist, have cook-outs with the whole family at our friend (and my daughter's mother-in-law) Yvonne's house (we share grandchildren) the less exciting tasks of renewing licenses (YAY- Michigan driver's licenses mean we can start using the library), going to doctor's appointments, shopping for art materials, and all of that other necessary and very time consuming stuff that we have to do to keep everything working. Don't even ask me how the inside of my house looks today. Total disaster zone.

Life has gotten speedy all of a sudden, but I keep telling myself it's all a matter of balance. I'm with you new friend who carries our work at The Red Shoes in Ann Arbor was just talking about the busy-ness of her life the other day, and how easy it is to feel hectic. Indeed, and in spite of how crazy it can make you feel trying to figure out the way to get it all done, it's much better than feeling bored. No boredom here. Too, too busy making life happen.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shi-Chi's: Week Two / Very Sad News

Michael, our grandson is with us after school today. I enlisted him to help me take 2 week old birthday photos of the puppies this afternoon. At the time of this writing Michael hasn't been told yet that his dog Jack, who I showed photos of a couple of days ago, accidentally escaped from the yard during the chaos of the move into his family's new house, was hit by a car, and has died today.

Michael is already going through a lot with the move to the new house, a disruption in his life. He is losing his neighborhood friends, which is very hard. It's a very good move for the family, but it can be a very big adjustment for kids, especially at first. Now, losing his dog too, will be very difficult. We picked him up right after school today, but it is appropriate that his mother and father tell him the news themselves so we haven't said anything. Watching him with the puppies this afternoon has been touching.

It has been a very sad and tragic day for all of us. My daughter Liz's family and all of our extended family, who live nearby, and knew Jack well, are in mourning for him. We all loved Jack. He was a superb very sweet dog.
Jack, the charming shih-tzu, and handsome father of the shi-chi's.

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Shi-Chi's Week Two: Introducing Corky

Here's the big boy who I had to encourage to come out and play.....the puppy boy, not the human boy (the human boy, our grandson Michael, always wants to play).

After laboring for longer than his mother Lucy should have had to, it was clear I was going to have to go in after him. The only part of Corky that was out were a pair of teeny, darling feet still encased in his placental sac.

My puppy delivery (whelping....if you want to be technical) references told me that after the length of time that Lucy had been straining to deliver the puppy, if I didn't go in and try to pull him out manually, his mother Lucy might die. I've whelped three litters of pups but this is the first time of having to face this dilemma....... and chihuahua's are so little. It also said that the puppy might die in the process. Naturally, our dog Lucy was giving birth at 3:00 a.m. so we were on our own. My poor husband Markel, sat by me the whole time, helplessly, but helpfully supportive.

Trembling with panic and fear I put my gloves on and managed to slip my hand around his little body and pull him out. Lucy was not happy. In shih-tzu/chihuahua terms he seemed huge and as I slid him out he kept on coming and coming and coming out of his mother. There is no way he would have come out by himself. He was tightly wedged in there. I really had to pull and Lucy was so exhausted by her efforts. I am so grateful that it was a success.

I was worried that I had hurt her or introduced infection until the next day when we took the whole litter and mama into the the vet who pronounced mother Lucy and her babies healthy and having come through the birthing process with flying colors, in spite of the initially tenuous situation.

I have decided to name the little guys for the time that we have them, until they go with their new families at age 8-10 weeks.....puppy one, puppy two, puppy three just wasn't cutting it anymore.

We call this little guy, (puppy number one), Corky, because after the cork (him) was out of the bottle, the rest of the puppies were born with ease. He is very calm and cuddly. I'm thinking that he will actually lighten up and be blond or taffy colored like his mother Lucy, or he might be a little like Lucy's father, who was a beautiful dark brown with gold tips, a long-haired chihuahua named Winslow, who we knew in Key West and who fathered Lucy and her brother Pippin.

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....and Peanut- the champion nurser

Peanut was born second, soon after I pulled out or should I say freed his brother Corky. Peanut was born face first , very easily, with no trouble. He immediately, after being licked clean by his mother, began nursing and has been enthusiastic about his favorite pastime, eating, ever since. He has inherited his father's coloring. He will grow lighter in all of the areas that are brown . He is a complete dear, the last one to open his eyes.
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....and Angel- The last one born, the littlest of the three

Here he is. Outside on the front porch for the first time in his short little life. Looking at his face in the photo I am noticing the striking white marking on his forehead.
So sweet. He has a very laid back personality so far, and was the first of the three to open his eyes. I must admit that he is the one I have been leaning toward if we decide to keep one, but who knows, I am in love with all of them.

Below is a photo taken immediately after birth, and here we are today, at exactly 2 weeks old. Now it's going to get fun. They grow rapidly in the next three weeks. Lucy remains an attentive and devoted mother. Their coats reminded me of little seals when they were born.
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Friday, May 18, 2007

purplebabydaddies at Red Shoes in Ann Arbor

Here we are....our flowers gracing the front of Red Shoes. I am really glad that our Michigan customers can find us now. The store is located at 332 South Ashley in Ann Arbor, one block off of Main Street, behind the Ark (telephone-734-913-5554).
This is a close-up shot of the fairy door. If you look to the bottom right of the front door of the shop, you'll spot it. It often has tiny gifts left by people for the fairies. Inside the shop, you can leave a note to the tiny inhabitants.
this is the fairy door from the inside, looking out.

Red Shoes.....check it out.
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Room to grow

The big news of the day is the house that my daughter Liz is moving into. I got to go with her to pick up her keys and share in her first moments of life in the house. We walked through, examining every nook and cranny, musing and dreaming of designing those rooms. I could see the wheels turning in my daughter's mind as we studied the rooms. This is her family's first house, as opposed to an apartment or duplex. That means a fenced in yard of their own, a bedroom for each of the kids, a finished playroom in the basement and her own washer and dryer right at the bottom of the stairs. Big stuff for a hard working girl. They will probably be here for a long time to come.

Beautiful, green Ann Arbor in May. This is their new street from their new front yard.....
....and the backyard, complete with a sturdy play structure. During our exploration of the yard we found among other things, peonies, lilac bushes of every color, and a generous patch of lily of the valley.....
Inside there are sweet rooms, lots of windows and gorgeous wood floors. Oh boy, now the work of moving (with a 2 year old and 7 year old) begins.
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This is Jack, the Shi-chi's father

Handsome Jack with the sweet face, the fluffy, 100% shih-tzu, part of the new little puppy equation, the shi part of the shi-chi mix. The puppies have short hair now, but even shih-tzu puppies have short hair when they're born. In the next few weeks the pups will be fluffing up.
Jack has his summer hair-cut here; normally his hair would be extremely long. He's a great dog, sweet-tempered, great with kids, tempering the chihuahua personality which can be high put it mildly.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

studies for a new painting and design work in progress

In the midst of making the design work going to galleries, I'm about to start another painting and have taken some preliminary photos to get started.....more original work here

I have been drawn to fruit bowls as a subject for a long time now. When I paint them, they symbolize to me, abundance, beauty, health, the whole idea that the most important things are simple, that we can be fulfilled without needing/having a lot of stuff....good friends, good food, books, a good garage sale, dance, art, learning, music, conversation, family-this is what we need more of, what we can't have enough of.

Have you noticed how hard it is for human beings to share fairly? We have so much on this earth, in this country, and yet so many people are starving, don't have what they need, even in my own town, right here in Ann Arbor. Then other individuals are so rich, with so much more than they need, and they crave more, can't have enough. The people who are really puzzling are those who, even though they have so much, don't want anyone else to have as much as them, or anything at all. Some human beings can be a little over-rated I think.

Still, I think I see more of an awareness growing and I hope that I am seeing an expanding consciousness. Certainly, we can't all truly be happy till everyone is taken care of. Giving up hope that human beings will evolve into a kinder species isn't worth the pain.

If we were logical, the future would be bleak indeed. But we are more than logical. We are human beings and we have faith, and we have hope, and we can work. -Jacques Cousteau

"Wait'll next year" is the favorite cry of baseball fans, football fans, hockey fans, and gardeners.
-Robert Orben
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Shi-Chi's at one week

purplebabydaddie puppies. We've made it to the one week mark with these little guys, the first week being the most critical. They can't regulate their body temperature, are completely dependant, like human babies. They can't see until their eyes open around day 13, can't hear, but they have a keen sense of smell that motivates them to crawl toward their mother in order to nurse, which they do with gusto. Look at how fat they are.

Lucy, their Mom is great. She had a few tough days at the beginning when she needed to go out every hour to go to the bathroom, even through the night. Changing her diet helped that. We made a big pot of chicken soup with brown rice and vegetables and separated a large portion of it, before spicing it for human consumption. She has loved the soup. We add a lot of water to it at the suggestion of the vet, because she wasn't drinking enough. Lucy seems calm and happy. She spends most of her time with the pups either nursing or just all curled up together.

We're going to be getting to the fun part. They really start to develop quickly between the 2nd and 5th weeks. I'll keep on posting about them each week.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

purplebabydaddies in Ann Arbor at Red Shoes

Tadaaaaah! Finally. It's taken us a little while but we are finally showing in southeast Michigan, in Ann Arbor, where we got started on this crazy stuff such a long time ago. We're at Red Shoes ,a most creative and jam-packed with goodness store. We are back in Michigan after 7 years in the Florida Keys and we think we are better than ever, wiser and more seasoned.

Red Shoes, Catherine Thursby's delicious store, is off the beaten track at 332 South Ashley (located just one block off of Ann Arbor's fabulous Main street) If you haven't discovered her store, you are missing something special, and when you do go, you're in for a big treat. Catherine, the lovely owner, features her own artwork which is funky and great, vintage finds, art by other's (like us), and other yummy things for the home, you and the kiddles in your life. I want one of everything when I go in there. Her hours are
10-6, Monday through Saturday.

We are extremely honored that she will be carrying our work locally. We dropped off fish, a hummingbird, a butterfly, some flowers. We'll be adding more to her store over the coming weeks, including suns, mini scupture, a little of this and a little of that.

Make sure you click on the link above for Catherines entertaining and witty blog where she posts all of the wonderful new things that she has added to her store, talks about her latest projects and other people type things.
Click here, Red Shoes website for more info....oh, and make sure and check out her fairy inhabitants.

Fair Warning: The next few posts are all about puppies, kids and our new, Michigan front porch. For more purplebabydaddies art keep on scrolling.
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Monday, May 14, 2007

mother's day

Happy Mother's Day to all! Back to work this morning, but we had a lovely weekend with puppies, parties, kids, food. Our front porch is ready for action- the more the merrier. Come on over!
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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Junie B. and the Shi-Chi's

Junie B. and the shi-chi's (shih-tzu/chihuahua mixed pups).....but not together, together, because Junie would love to squeeeeeeeeeze them.

If you're looking for purplebabydaddies art work you'll have to keep on scrolling and scrolling because we are having a little too much real person, living-a-life-kind-of-fun for a few days...birthdays, mother's day, puppies, gorgeous weather.

Last night we had a houseful of friends and family for a potluck to celebrate my b-day and mother's day. My mother and father brought a big pan of their famous lasagna and a home-made strawberry-rhubarb pie. My childhood friend Sue, who I met in 5th grade when we went to Catholic school together, came too. We bonded immediately when as 10 year olds we discovered that we had the same birthday and we have been friends ever since.....many, many, many years. She brought her daughter Jillian and was laden with food and gifts (which is so her) plus the most decadent home-made chocolate torte cake, that was more like fudge than cake. I am the happiest when my house is filled to bursting, which it was. I had the camera all set and then proceeded to forget to pick it up the whole night.

I am truly blessed. It was a great party, but as usual I missed our daughter Eva who is having a big life in New Hampshire and Vanessa with her equally big life in NYC..

Update on Lucy and the pups: The whole little family, Lucy and the puppies, took a trip to our neighborhood vet, "The Affordable Vet" (and it was), only 2 blocks away, yesterday morning. Mother and pups were pronounced healthy and safe. We loved the vet and the staff there and found out that the vet tech, who has whelped many litters of her own, used to work on Marathon Key at the Dolphin Research Center which we know and love. The vet asked Markel and I if we had named them.....nope, so far it's just One, Two, and Three.....

Lucy has come through this as a champ. She wasn't too happy last night though with the house full. She was sequestered in the bedroom tolerating tiny peeks from family and friends, but she wasn't happy, she yelled (in bark-speak) at all of us to keep it down......"I have little babies in here you know". As soon as everyone left she settled down. I think every woman who has given birth knows how protective you are when you have that new little baby. Lucy is a stellar mom.

Other good news of the art related sort. Dyan from Island Style, in Key West, called on Wednesday because someone came in to her store and bought an entire grouping of pieces, 13 in all, and wiped her out of all her flowers in various sizes. We have to send her an emergency shipment. Just for the record, the most sold at one time was 24 pieces to a woman at an art fair in Chicago, who bought 13 for herself, and then came back the next day and bought 11 more for her sister, because she knew her sister would want her to give her some of the ones she had bought for herself and she didn't want to have to.

Other, other good news.......we will be selling our work locally at the most delightfully winsome store, RED SHOES, 332 South Ashley in Ann Arbor, owned by the most adorable proprietess, Catherine Thursby, who sells her own artwork, a to-die-for collection of fantastic vintage finds, other artist's art work, and assorted charming goodies. Going into her store is an instantaneous way to lift your spirits. I will be posting pics of her store soon after we get some of our work to her. We are so honored to be added to her collection of wonderful things.....and you know she has to have something special going on there because she has been graced with fairy inhabitants....check out the link to the fairy door stories, Urban-Fairy Doors, above right, for something very, very cool.

I've added a link to Catherine's store, Red Shoes on the top right of the page. Please take a look even if you don't live in Michigan, because her website is pure eye-candy. She also writes a delightful blog, Red Shoes Blog, also linked above, that is sweet, always entertaining and fun to keep up with. More about her store soon, when we bring her our work, but right now mama Lucy is whining to go out, so more later.

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