Art Journal #113 – #120

Posted in Art Journal, Main, Mind Wanderings at 12:19 pm by carrie

There goes a tumbleweed!

Blogs are becoming abandoned ghost towns on the internet… so, I chose to put most of my new art, adventures etc on our Facebook page and Pinterest boards.

But then, something funny happened… Facebook is hiding posts, requesting payment to show said posts to followers and overall… regulating everything I do there. And Pinterest is turning into a similar world of promoted pins and things you can buy. It’s getting overcrowded and claustrophobic over there, metaphorically speaking.

So, I’m going to come back to my little blog a bit more…

Here are some art journal posts from 2014…

Art Journal #113 – Basset Hound bridesmaid without glitter

Art Journal #113 with glitter

Art Journal #114 – Christmas door with skates

Art Journal #115 – Christmas tree room

Art Journal #116 – Christmas door wreath with cute dog face

Art Journal #117 – Old barn Christmas door

Art Journal #118 – Christmas Carmel CA beach cottage

Art Journal #119 – Vintage Christmas bungalow

Art Journal #120 – Cotswold English country house


Sad News…

Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings at 1:59 pm by carrie

The day I’ve dreaded for years has come and gone. It all happened so fast, but it still feels like everything was going in slow motion. How can cancer move that quickly? How can she be spry, happy and wagging one day and not be able to walk the next? I wish she could have told me how she felt, what hurt… how not to touch her… what drugs to stop giving her or which drugs she needed more of.

She was taken by Osteosarcoma. A very aggressive bone cancer that doesn’t show up until it’s usually too late. When OS is detected, it usually means the disease has been present for almost 2 years. She started limping one day and after multiple xrays, ultrasounds, a leg amputation, splenectomy, 3 different chemo protocols and almost 4 months later, the cancer had moved into the lungs, kidneys and her back legs. To go from no visible signs of cancer on November 10, to a huge mass in her lungs by mid-February… we’re in shock. Our vets were perplexed at how her cancer was spreading, and by how fast it spread. Dr. Shaw and Dr.Staatz at Sage Veterinary Clinic in Campbell, the UC Davis Vet School Oncology Department, Dr. Juergens & Joanne at Trivalley Mobile Vet Clinic, Dr. Ruslander and all the staff at VSH… I can’t thank you all enough for your help through this incredibly hard time.

The fact that we are treating these animals better, letting them live inside and making them such a big part of our lives means that they are living longer and more folks are willing to pay big bucks for more treatment options if their pet gets sick. New canine cancer specific drugs are being developed and we were able to try one of those drugs. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for us, but it’s exciting that they are making new breakthroughs. We also tried to get Meg into a few different Osteosarcoma studies, and because her cancer was acting so “strange”, we did not qualify… but if you are battling dog cancer, I urge you to look into it. One such ray of hope is a groundbreaking study that started recently that focuses solely on Golden Retrievers called the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. They are looking for 3000 purebred Goldens under the age of 2 to participate. They want to follow these 3000 dogs throughout their lives and see if they can get some clues to why 60% of Goldens die of cancer. Goldens are the 3rd most popular dog in the country, and along with Labs and German Shepherds, they are used as therapy and working dogs. I had wanted a Golden since I was a teenager and I can attest that they have a wonderful even temperament, are great with kids, love to go on adventures and are a universally well-loved breed. But, they are prone to cancer… which I didn’t know when I picked her out of a pile of puppies in 2003.

It took me a long time to even talk about it and even as I write this the intensity of the last few months is starting to creep in. Most of our friends had no idea she was even sick. I just couldn’t bring it up. I didn’t want it to be true. Denial is one of the steps that I kept reverting back to, I suppose.

With the care-taking, changing our entire first floor to accommodate a “tripawd”, lack of sleep, hoping, praying, researching, contacting other oncologists on top of “normal” life stuff… work etc (oh, and we moved across the country… AGAIN)… we’re exhausted over here. But not having her here… cuts deeper than any of it.

I have never loved a creature as intensely and deeply as I love this girl… her face makes my heart skip a beat!

We will miss you every single day, sweetheart. Thank you for the best 10 years of my life!!



Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings at 12:59 pm by carrie

I’m not naming any names (but the finger is pointed at myself) but I somehow confused the renewal of violetsareblue.net and violetcottage.com and violetsareblue.net expired this morning :(


So, all my pictures are broken, my email is going out to spaceland and I’m feeling very stupid and panicked about it.

I’m behind on stuff… obviously. But I have something FUN to share today!!!! (Well, I think it’s fun, anyway).

Hope you are all having a great day… :)


One of Two-for-Tuesday

Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings, two for tuesday at 11:59 am by carrie

The other night we watched the film Play Time by Jacques Tati.

Well, I have to admit, I actually fell asleep for some of it… but it’s so dream-like anyway, it kind of felt natural. (My film teachers would hate that I said that! lol)

The sets were amazing… cartoon-like yet futuristic and surreal. It’s a satirical “slice of life” film that doesn’t really have a plot. You sort of breeze in and around characters doing everyday and tourist-y things. It completely reminded me of the circle vision film at Epcot Center (again with the Disney) at the France pavilion (I bet that they copied Tati!). Both films take you on a journey… you don’t really get to know all the characters but you get to see beautiful settings, everyday things happening and you get a “feel” for a different country or lifestyle. Very cool… and even better if you have a solid attention span!

It was shot on 70mm film, and I’ve read that you must see it on the big screen in 70mm to truly be absorbed by it’s beauty… So perhaps we’ll get that chance, someday! :)

You can really see the heavy-handed use of gray in this film… very much reminds me of all the monochromatic home furnishings that you are seeing everywhere these days (Pick up the Restoration Hardware catalog… you’ll see what I mean). All gray, blue, tan, brown with hints of modern silver and lots of glass… beautifully melancholy decor ;) (Which is making my home and blog look more and more like a circus in contrast! hehe).


Getting back to normal…

Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings, outings at 10:19 pm by carrie

The last month (+/- two weeks) has been sort of a blur. Between getting some bad news from the West Coast, and having to deal with some things going on with our girl, Nutmeg.

Meg had a lump in her hind leg that got incredibly large in the span of a few months. We were told this lump was a lipoma and that the only way to remove it was through surgery.

The day of her surgery, though, the vet told us it was an “invasive” or infiltrative lipoma. It was burrowing into her little muscle and wrapped up in there so tight that our vet couldn’t get it out. She said it was beyond the scope of what she could do… and had to sew the leg back up. At this point, they weren’t 100% sure it was even a lipoma.

About a week later, we got the news that it wasn’t cancerous and we should see a specialist. A doggie oncologist, actually. So, we scheduled surgery #2.

In between the two surgeries, we had our girl at home… resting comfortably in little outfits that would cover all of her legs (so she wouldn’t be tempted to get to them). Not only was she interested in her sutures, she was interested in where the IV had been. Very interested.
I didn’t think our girl was capable of removing 8-10 sutures out of her own leg. She is our little princess, after all. Alas, our princess removed all of those sutures… in less than 10 minutes. And, she was super happy about this… wagging while displaying the new hole in her leg. She was oh so proud. Oh, to be reminded that she is a dog ;)
So, we rushed back to the vet, they were kind enough not to say “I told you so”, and we implemented the cone… and some antibiotics. Meg did not like the cone.
Meg went in for a second surgery, where they successfully removed the fist-sized lipoma from her back left leg. Our surgeon was amazing… she got in there and got the whole thing out in one shot. The relief… was a bit overwhelming.
So, déjà vu… we’re here again… sutures and healing. This time, we kept a very close watchful eye on her at all times. She refused to sleep while wearing the cone, so instead we put her in an outfit that covered her legs and then wrapped her up like a burrito in a sheet and clipped all the ends. She actually really liked this and slept really well (I think some of the drugs helped with this, too… but these drugs also did a number on her tummy. Emergency vet visit #2, more antibiotics. Yippee).
The weekend before her first surgery, we managed to get in a little day trip to the outer banks. We got really close to the Currituck lighthouse on Corolla (Near Kitty Hawk!). We ventured down a little rickety deck nearby, which opened up to a gorgeous little marsh and a perfect view of the lighthouse. There were signs everywhere saying there were wild ponies nearby, but we didn’t see any. Maybe next time :)
Meg had her head out the window… almost the entire trip out East. Wearing her doggles, of course!
So, the first half of September was stressful; venturing into the unknown… getting other sad news from home… so it just felt like our little doggie world was sort of closing in on us. The last half of September was filled with a little bit of stress, a whole lot of healing (in every sense of the word), not very much sleep and I missed a very important wedding. A very bittersweet month, to say the least. But, through it all… all I can say is that we are so grateful Nutmeg is healing so well and getting back to her happy, joyful, sweet self.
So now Meg can get back to mothering the two new puppies across the way :)

Needless to say… she’s got her hands full ;) :)

Please give your pet(s) lots of love tonight… they deserve everything they give to us… and so much more!!!!

P.s… The emergency vet (which is also the specialty vet… in the same building) got to like Nutmeg SO much, they may put a picture of her in their annual calendar that they send out to their clients. Yep. Our girl might be the vet’s new spokesmodel ;)

Life… it’s funny. And so unpredictable.


Ink Correspondence – The “Week of Ink”

Posted in Main, Mind Wanderings at 6:42 pm by carrie

When I want to say “hello” to someone… I don’t pick up my phone or a pen… I go to Facebook, send them an email or text message.

How forgettable.

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve gotten really lazy when it comes to connecting the proper way with the friends I care about. I hide behind the online social networks and say my hellos in bulk… or with a simple “thumbs up”. I need to be re-trained.

Not to mention that those online comments will be there for all time… so you better get it right! (The pressure!!!)

I own two large shoe boxes (A Van’s and a Doc Martin’s Box… thank you very much) FULL of little hand-folded, hand-written notes on notebook paper from all my friends in elementary, jr. high and high school. I treasure them. I served detention for a few of them. I EARNED them.

Do kids even pass notes anymore? (Maybe it’s a good thing they don’t, I dunno).

I got this crazy idea… this week… I’m going to not check in on Facebook. Instead, I’m going to send postcards and letters to my friends. Shocking, isn’t it?!?

I invited my Facebook friends to send me their snail mail addresses so I could do just that. I’ve only heard from one person so far, so… maybe my enthusiasm and idealism is creepy or something ;)

Care to join me in the throwback “week of ink” ? :)

I’ve got a stack of old postcards that were supposed to go out to friends & family while at the destinations where they were purchased. Better a decade or two late than never? Instead of “wish you were here!”, I can say… “wish we were both here!” :)


Happy 4th Blogiversary :)

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main, Mind Wanderings at 8:58 am by carrie

Four years of blogging. Almost 300 posts and over 2100 comments. Wow.

I really wish I could make this a more regular occurrence, this blogging thing. I just need to go out and do exciting things and be creative so I can share more often ;) Having the store made it easy to share. There was so much to talk about all the time.

It’s been just over two years since we closed Violets are Blue. I miss climbing the steps to the store, iced nonfat caramel macchiato in hand, opening the door to the familiar Violets are Blue collective scent, hearing the beep of the alarm… opening the little squeaking shutter door that we fixed dozens of times and setting my purse down and turning on the CD player. Keys onto the bulletin board that I wish I would have kept. Using that strange little metal key to turn on the hose, hearing the traffic whiz by me on foothill blvd, cordless phone clipped to my back pocket as I watered the plants. Lavender and roses. Go back inside, wash my hands and start tidying up a bit. The first little bell jingle of the day at the front door… is it UPS Brian, Joe, Michele or a customer? I really didn’t realize how wonderful all of that was until now. (But dang it, I complained about the holidays every year, didn’t I? lol)

I’ve had dreams lately that I’m in my old space but the landlord doesn’t know I’m there. I sneak inventory in and out at night and refrain from advertising or posting a sign. I think it vaguely resembles a speakeasy. Towards the end of the dream, I’m driving my Volvo up to the store in the night, in a panic, thinking that the store is gone, empty or the locks have been changed… that I’ve been found out. Then I wake up in an overly-emotional panic and ask myself… “what was THAT all about?”

I know that Maylene has several photos of me scraping the hand-painted logo off the window… with a smile on my face. I turned to her after the flash to say “Gee, I’m not emotional or sad at all… I’m really surprised by that”. Bits of paint flaking off to the ground, in a little blue, purple and white dusty puddle. I sweep it up and throw it out with little more than a “goodbye”. Looking back, I should have saved those paint shavings in a little box and put it on the mantel.

That’s morbid, isn’t it?

Switching gears now…

So… today… what am I doing?

I’ve started several projects. Scratch that, my husband and I started a few projects and I have started multiple projects.

First off… starting businesses with friends? Not so much a good idea. Makes me really sad to say… but it’s the truth. Unless you have a bullet proof business plan. Just. Don’t.

Moving along… we joined a film making group and made one little film. We’re always coming up with other ideas for new films and animated pieces, which is a lot of fun.

I started selling digital art sheets on etsy and have done pretty well with it. I’ve also thought about doing interior decorating, party planning, photography, production art for websites, animation, graphic design… just to name a few. I guess I’ve been reinventing myself a bit, and working on a portfolio is part of it.

And there’s also violetcottage.com, amazon.com and the reopening of my ebay store. Mostly my favorites from Midwest, but I’m branching out into other areas, too, including more handmade things, which I’d like to start creating daily. I like pretty little things, what can I say?

I think I’m a gypsy or… what’s the term… I’m a renaissance woman? That’s a good thing, right? :)

Several of you that used to come to Violets are Blue have emailed me to say hello. I have a folder called “Love Letters” for these emails. I reach into that folder when I’m “Blue for the Violets” and it really brightens my day. So to each and every one of you who have reached out… a HUGE thank you. I miss you all more than you know!!

I think “Violets” is a part of me… and it will continue to exist in one form or another for as long as I can imagine, even if it’s only in cyberspace. But wouldn’t it be nice to be back on that busy Boulevard with the familiar schedule… which included that daily caramel macchiato ;)


oodles of doodles…

Posted in Art Journal, Main, Mind Wanderings at 9:11 pm by carrie

I’m a doodler. When I’m on the phone, I doodle. When I should be paying attention, I doodle. I doodled all through school to stay awake in classes that were yawn-fests. I made teachers angry. I just can’t help myself. That’s why I loved being at Calarts, they encouraged aimless doodling.

I have tons of little fun sketches and doodles on shopping lists, notes, to-do lists… they are everywhere. So, I decided to cut them out and keep them in a drawer to collage with later. I even have stacks of fun receipts, scratched lottery tickets and other “slice of life” slips of paper… all telling a story. (Sort of like Babs’ 10 foot long Ralph’s register receipt of 30+ animal cookie boxes when I was 5? hmmm?)

Here are two of the collages…

I water colored a quick background on the first one… then glued down my house sketches from our Oak Island trip, some of them I punched holes in, then added some texture with colored pencil on top. Voila… an art journal entry!

The second one was from a month of doodling. I wish I would have put down a background color first, but… it’s a start. This page sort of tells a story of that month. I remember each little sketch and my level of boredom during each. Splendid!

On that note…It’s sort of strange how you can look at a piece of art you created and recall the emotion you were feeling as you made it, or at least what you were doing when you put it together. I used to be able to pick up a necklace and remember which sitcom or movie I was watching when I wrapped that wire… sometimes, I would name the necklace after the TV show’s theme, plot line or character. I went through a Sundance Channel phase where everything was named after artsy documentaries, an odd subtitle or things you’d find on Robert Redford’s ranch or in his catalog. I love theming, don’t you? ;)

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