Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Longest Month

Well, I can't say that I haven't seen my share of sunrises just lately. Here's one of them! Rudy's health is hanging in the balance, and being Nursie 24/7 doesn't allow for a lot of sleep. That said, I will gladly wake up five times every night for the next decade, if we can get Rudy through this nasty infection that is plaguing him so unkindly. After an especially challenging few days, Rudy is home from the vets and I can give a high-five and a handshake to a successful morning with him. Here is my boy, nesting among the leaves.
Our vet has been wonderful and every doctor in the clinic knows of Rudy and his troubles. Even during the worst days, he charms everybody he meets.

We are sinking literally thousands of dollars into medical expenses. Our intended trip to California this Christmas has been cancelled, and thank goodness for having a family who is willing to drop everything and visit us instead! I am considering training Felix to be a butler. He just might be handsome and attentive enough for all the holiday hosting that is coming our way. (I'll have to keep his food-service tasks at a minimum, lest he eat somebody's dinner before it reaches the table). Hmm.

Forrest gets major applause for bringing home the good bacon, especially with most of my time being dedicated to Rudy-Care this month. But perhaps perhaps haven't bought your Christmas cards yet? Hand-printed snowflakes! Ugly Christmas Sweaters! Pop into the LouPaper store to see our  festive card sets and singles.... click here...or here....or here!

Oh, and I just realized I have committed the frowned-upon sin of mentioning Christmas before Thanksgiving. Forgive me, I am English! But I'm looking forward to a Turkey Day gathering with some friends and family tomorrow (we are hosting to earn Rudy extra cuddles from our guests!).
Happy Thanksgiving to You!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Smoky Mountains and the Big Brave Rudy.

One of my favorite things about where we live is the close-ish proximity to Gatlinburg. Scrape up some pennies, get some friends together and break out the camera. It is beeeyootiful.
Lucky for me my parents and Auntie have been visiting from my native land of Eng. There may be no better place to celebrate a reunion. That said- the start of their visit was spent on the white sands of the Florida panhandle and I'm fairly sure I already declared that it doesn't get any better than that. In many ways, it has been a very charmed month.

The view from our cabin, of another cabin (with more cabins behind it).
 It's very cabin-y around these parts.

This photo of my sister basically sums up family holidays for me. Tea and games, games and tea. 

My main concern this past month has been our eldest Fluffy: BigRudy. After discovering he had a fungal infection in the bone of his leg, we endured an extremely nerve-wracking few days when it was grudgingly decided he had to have his leg amputated. The world has been spinning at a blur-inducing pace lately. 
Despite my tendency for profuse worrying, I am happy to report Rudy is putting forth great efforts towards recovery. His surgery seems to have gone well, and the surgeons all fell under the spell of Rudy's sweet and gentle personality. Nobody is resistant to the charm of that boy. 
He is showing some teenage-like distaste about the cone-collar that is a necessary addition to his daily attire, but admittedly I enjoy his spirit in the matter. We are hoping against hope that the infection didn't spread beyond his leg and that the amputation has taken care of the issue. Bravest boy that he is- three legged-ness will certainly not defeat him. Plus he has received all manner of fancy new toys, bedding and accessories. Our bank account is crying some pretty big tears! My heart remains clenched, but we are hoping for positive reports from our vets in the coming weeks. 

All this talk of Rudy and it's almost as if we forgot about Felix! As if he would allow such a thing.
Luckily, my wonderful parents took it upon themselves to keep Felix very busy while I was Nurse to BigRoo. Never has one dog received had more ball-throwing, play-dates, walks and attention than has been bestowed upon Felix this week. I suppose it was inevitable that (eventually) he would find a comfy chair and take a nap.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sunburn and Falling leaves.

It has been a wonderful and terrible few weeks. It is a strange sort of stress when the very best and very worst things are happening all at once. From the fabulous-news department, my beautiful sister Kate got married to Hans after 13 years of dating! Well, it was worth the wait. Beach wedding in Florida? Don't mind if I do! I also had the fun task of playing photographer for the day. Most of the photos are still being worked on, but I am excited to share some more of them soon. Such a memorable weekend, not least all the men in the party dancing 'gangnam style' post-ceremony. So festive.

On the heartbreaking side of things, our beautiful boy Rudy has been battling with a sore leg that has turned out to be a very rare and aggressive fungal disease in the bone of his hind leg. After numerous visits to the vet and specialist, it has been decided that surgery is Rudy's best chance for recovery. As such we are currently preparing for his transition to three-leggedness. His surgery is on Monday morning, so wish him luck!

Thankfully we have still been able to do gentle exercise with him, which worked out perfectly while my parents-in-law were visiting this week. A trip to the lake helped everybody's mood, and Felix indulged in his signature brand of mischief to keep a smiles on our faces....

Fall is putting on quite a show here in Tennessee. Hope it's just as lovely wherever you are!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thank You!

I send a lot of cards- the result of having my friends and family dispersed across two continents. Plus I'm old fashioned, with my penchant for snail-mail. As such, it was high time I made some 'thank you' cards! So I whipped out the linoleum, carving tools and got pretty messy. I'm really still getting into this block-printing thing, but a uniquely printed image is very pleasing. It takes the concept of handmade to a new place for me. A cosy sort of place where it's warm and there is probably a cup of tea and a blanket waiting for you. I like this place! (the cards are also available at the LouPaper store).

Speaking of thanks, I am reminded daily of how grateful I am for my friends and all the brave men and women who are currently serving in Afghanistan and Kuwait. We all have our own opinions on the situations overseas... but regardless of the politics, some of my best friends are out there representing American interests today. They are wonderful people who work hard and have a lot of heart. Forrest and I had a lot of fun putting together some Halloween care-packages. It is my hope that the plastic rats will  assist in some excellent pranking. Plus...there is nothing like a Box of Boogers to boost morale. Ha! We miss our boys!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Work & Play

I have achieved a fine balance of work and play just lately. Especially when work feels so playful.
My wonderful friend (aka my deployment wifey) Jessica and her husband Norm, are soon-to-be-parents of a bouncing baby boy. Her baby-shower theme was 'Under the Sea', and I was tasked with the honor of making her 'thank you' cards. Jess's request for the design was described roughly as 'A baby floating in the sea, please' (yes. really). And as such, I came up with the card that is here before you..... 

 I think I did well, under the circumstances!

I also waved a bittersweet farewell to one of my most treasured friends last week. Lesley has ventured to pastures new, pursuing her career as a nurse. I look forward to all the future adventures we are sure to have together, but I will miss the dog-walking, gym-going, wine-drinking routine we have nurtured fondly as neighbors this past year and a half. (I also love the starring role of the shark featured on this picture of the two of us. It clearly thinks we are dinner). Thanks for the memories!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Some days look a lot like this....

Sometimes the dogs just rule my world. That has especially been the case this past ten days whilst puppy-sitting for friends. Baby Charlie (trouble-maker-in-chief) has been keeping Felix on his toes and warming all our hearts. Rudy has gradually adjusted to her, though he initially spent much time hiding from the puppy whirlwind. Gentle giant that he is, this morning I caught a glimpse of him offering her a tiny toy when he thought I wasn't looking. Felix served as the frontman of the welcome committee, and has been used as a climbing frame, chew-toy and partner-in-crime ever since they first laid eyes on each other. Such a good sport!

We also rescued a cottontail bunny from a very close shave with a neighbors lawnmower. Forrest can be seen here sporting his 'I've got a new pet' face...but alas Baby Foo was shortly released into a patch of clover, based on what we hope was our better judgement. We really should build an ark for all these guys though. In other news, I've been kind of busy with linocut and the printing press. More on that soon!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Way a Summer Ends

Long weekends pretty much come with the unspoken expectation of lake-time and dog days. The boys can practically smell it. Regular weekends bring their fair share of head-tilts and wide eyes, but a long weekend? We'd better be high-tailing it to some water-hole by 7am, or live with Rudy's SadFace. I dare you to try.

'Land Between the Lakes' on the Tennessee/Kentucky border is our go-to place for splashing our toes and breaking out the picnic goodies with our friends. A perfect day.

From the department of wonderful news, has come whisperings that Forrest and I are to become an Auntie and Uncle! This is fabulous news indeed, and so with a paintbrush and a flourish, I set about designing a card. Inspired by my favorite scene in Dumbo...and plus, that is where baby's come from. Right? Congratulations Smanth and Rob!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Parts of the whole.

Like most people, I was afflicted with Olympic Fever for those three weeks of sporting entertainment. Being a British transplant here on American soil, I was quite glowing with national pride, and the abundance of Union Jacks on the TV was a heartwarming sight indeed. As flags go, I'm pretty much a fan of ours. So much so, that I set about this little painting project- a nice representation of the tea-drinking, chip chip cheerio-ing member of this household. It was probably long overdue!

Last Summer Forrest was sweating it out in Afghanistan whilst I was here in Tennessee trying to settle into our new house, train a crazy puppy and generally stay afloat in the mess of those circumstances. I am very dramatic. It really wasn't bad. On the other hand, having my husband here this year is a delight. Family lake-trips, neighborhood BBQs, and somebody to clink my wineglass with. 
The Good Life.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Rainbow A Day.

I make lists as if my life depended on it. Open any notebook in my house and there will be a list. Actually 100 of them. Among these volumes and catalogues of my intentions are 'project lists'. Forever is how long I've been meaning to design some notebooks (stuck somewhere in the middle of a list, no doubt). I have this great idea for them and I'm excited. But then. Oh Then... I get sidetracked. This is what happened here when I started designing said notebooks, jumped on a tangent and ended up with something completely different. Totally. Entirely. Oopsy.... But I rather like these ones too! Rainbow Jotters, anybody?

Mister Fluff has been an almost constant presence in  my studio lately. Every day he inches closer to crossing the line between dog and human. He has a habit of sitting on things in a way that makes me expect him to throw on some reading glasses and open a newspaper. Any day now. Any day.

The garden has offered a welcome break from the magnetic lure of my desk. I'm not sure if it's wishful thinking or if it is in fact slightly cooler, but the vegetables seem to be breathing a sigh of relief that July is a thing of the past. Tomato plants are loving life, and grasshoppers and other crawlies are getting their share. Next I'll be living the dream (well, my dream anyway) and getting down to some canning. Proud of me, Mum? 

Rainbow notebooks, the newest addition to the LouPaper store. Come and visit!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Details that make up a Day.

May I just say hooray! My first official order from the LouPaper shop is about to ride off into the sunset. Safe travels, little package! And thank you to my first customer (who is not a friend or family member...little steps, little steps!)

Other small delights arrive in the form of ripe raspberries and a pocket full of tomatoes. These little 'yellow boys' were from a volunteer plant (our home-composting really paid off!) and some of our most delicious harvests yet.

The carrots definitely underperformed this Summer, but they sure do look purdy. Curious George is always trying to find his way into the vegetable patch, but not this time, little man (probably next time. He is very sneaky!)

On the last weekend of Forrest's Summer leave, we were dutiful tourists in our State of Tennessee, and moseyed down to the Jack Daniels distillery with our neighbors. Here is Forrest with his 'back-to-work' haircut, and loaded up like a packhorse (his pockets are probably full of my junk, also! Good husband!). I could spend the rest of my life smelling whiskey more than I could drinking it, but it was a pretty beautiful place with a neat little tour. Sadly that marked the end of our Summer vacation, and Goodbye July.
(Greetings, August. I hope you are cooler!)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Endless Summer, occasional bummer.

Mostly it's been a Summer of weird looking bugs and spirit-breaking humidity here in Tennessee, but we squeezed a slice of Florida into July to balance things out. Swapping creepy crawlies for white sand and ice cream? Go on then, twist my (un-tanned) arm!

Felix, the reluctant swimmer has come on leaps and bounds (though he still whinnies like a horse as he paddles along). Rudy on the other hand cannot be contained at the sight of water, and is halfway across the lake before I've even stepped out the car, usually. Here he is safely anchored to a picnic bench, since he cannot be trusted to stay dry for more than 5 seconds otherwise.

August looks a little less promising on the vacation front, but at least we have the Olympics to cheer about for a while longer. You may notice I have not posted much art-related content this month.... Cough cough. My studio has been neglected, but now I'm back to work (or more accurately- make a mess, clear it up, and repeat), while I try and ignore the sunshine which turns me into such a terrible fidget. In fact, I think there are some zucchini seeds that need planting. And off I go!

Hope you are having a magical Summer, and avoiding 'horned tomato worms' more successfully than I! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday Schmooze-day

I have always had a soft spot for Tuesdays.

and yesterday proved to be a fine day for BBQing with friends, soaking up some sunshine and inventing  cocktails. Blood orange + berries + mint  + rum had Forrest begrudgingly accepting that all his favorite cocktails are pink. Ha, macho man.

 And Rudy melts my heart in his 'scared of the vacuum' mode. BigRudy? BigBaby!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer at a Snail's Pace.

Print-making! A delight and a frustration all at once, as I cover myself from head to toe in ink, mostly.

Veggies from the garden are growing colorfully and deliciously. Slow-roasted tomatoes? Yes please.

And who's been sleeping in my bed? (asked Mummy-bear).  Felix! 
July has brought us a pair of hotdogs. Nobody feels like moving, much. Maybe only to go and grill some dinner. Or jump in a lake. Or....nope, that's pretty much it.