DIY Wall Art

Gadora has been doing some creative work for Rent-a-Center. And it’s been pretty dang fun. Over the summer I was asked to produce a DIY art story complete with pics, the how-to’s and a finished project. I was on the road with nary an art supply in sight. After some thought I pulled into a few small-town thrift stores and grabbed some albums and magazines, and waited until DC to procure my Mod Podge. The result? An inexpensive DIY art project made from decoupaging album covers.

See the full story here


Summer 2016 Roadtrip


I did it! In January of this year I, as Gadora Wilder, set out to create a little adventure for myself. In between jobs, and wanting to discover a different way of utilizing my skill set upon my return, I set forth on a month-long adventure to see some of the US. Specifically I aimed to get on the road, drive through mountains with wind whipping my freshly shorn hair, talk to interesting people, see new towns, dip my feet into unknown waters, and return a little better for it.


One of my goals was to be wildly open to happy accidents, not on the road of course, but while on it. Discover vibrant small towns simply by asking people in the previous one. Learn about these communities by the stuff they discarded in architectural salvage yards, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and such.


I would marvel at every outstanding specimen of a tree I passed often turning the car around to get a closer look. Along the Appalachian, Great Smoky Mountains and a few spots along the way I found them. And waterfalls, and secret caves, and babbling brooks, and sulfur pools, and places we often take for granted. Often I was alone.


In the end, I had my adventure. It has moved me. And it was grande. My 12 year old Mazda 6 Wagon performed like a champ. *A special thank you to Mike at Austin Automotive Specialists for ensuring I was set for success. She (The Paiger) carried me to places where I’d leave her safety to sit and stare at the sheer beauty of it all.

Road trip by the numbers:
4,983 miles covered
$491 spent in gas
33+ random new towns ventured into
29 days on the road
11 State lines crossed
10 steel arch bridges traversed
3 trees hugged
2 covered bridges marveled at
1 terrifying white-knuckle rain/hailstorm
0 speeding tickets or arrests…

In Search of Miracles…


Gadora is back and readying for a monumental solo road trip across the South and up along the Appalachian Valley. I’m zigging and zagging 2,000+ miles towards Washington DC from Austin during the month of July. And though I’ve planned certain stops in uncertain towns, I look forward to the tiny divine (and monumental) discoveries, both inside of me and outside of my old cranky wagon.

I will talk to strangers – engaging townie folks who offer unsolicited advice on where to find the best coffee, dipping spots, up-cyclers, community do-gooders, etc. There’s a zillion ways to slice a road trip: in search of the best hamburger (tho- not in my case), roadside oddities, best hiking trails… etc. I aim to focus on “happy people doing their thing” – and if their thing happens to create some kind of art, or conversation, then I yearn to make their acquaintance.

Scott and Jen

Enter MNAE. Museum of Natural and Artificial Ephemerata. An Austin roadside attraction, if you will, along the East side of town where the urban landscape is rapidly changing. I’d discovered their in-home museum whilst looking for local oddities (= genuine humans who unapologetically do their thing). A friend was in town so I thought this the perfect “tester” outing – there’s safety in numbers – a prep for grandeur on the open road. We arrived, as did a handful of other folks, to the lush surroundings of a welcoming couple (and museum’s curators): Scott and Jen. A few minutes early we were encouraged to mill about their outside garden and help ourselves to the early bloomers on the mammoth fig tree. Don’t mind if we do.

Jen w Wall

Once inside our host Jen jumped right into our welcome. No house rules (I mean, the museum is IN THEIR HOME). No formalities. Just a lovely welcome. While her children handed out our program, and a free postcard, Jen got busy showing us around. We started on The Celebrity Collection. There was one strand of Willie Nelson’s hair. George Bush Sr.’s Chocolate Eyeball. Marilyn Monroe’s Last Smoked Cigarette. And a few random items from famous folks I didn’t even know. Jen gave us a story about each of the artifacts. And paused for our processing.

Curiosity Wall

We moved from there to the Naturalia and Artificialia collection (only needed to pivot slightly to the right). The wallpaper alone was worth dissecting a while. This collection was the stuff of fairy tales. A Narwhal Tooth Replica (didn’t the Narwhal have a horn?), a raccoon penis bone, the Contraband Stalagmite from a Missouri Cave, a decaying vinyl leaf from Disneyland and a pink flamingo “rescued” from a dumpster outside of the Smithsonian. A real flamingo head, with a rod in his neck. I couldn’t stop staring at it.


A reflection of Penny and I in hallway just off main (and only) room…


The Urban Phantasmogoria wall was pretty r-a-d. A piece of melted glass from the first World’s Fair – London’s Crystal Palace Carte de Visite (and an informative story about it’s origins), Incubator Air and Infant Nightie from Coney Island’s Incubator Baby display, replicas of Siamese Twin Fruits, Barnum’s Organ Grinder Monkey Skull and so much more. The collection was varied, but Scott wove the pieces together. The curation is tight.

Below, a selfie in their black-lit bathroom. Complete with glow-in-the-dark space men and blow fish hanging from the ceiling.

Flourescent Bathroom

I got the sense – or at least strongly suspected – that much of what our Curators said stemmed from their fantastical imaginative reappropriation of items pulled from dumpsters, found in between the pages of random books, artifacts handed down from the museums originators Mercury Curie and Rasputin Zaplatynska (aka Rolls Joyce, Jr.), and so on. I chuckled through their stories bc I thought, wow, y’all are GOOD. On the way out, under the fig tree, we stopped to canoodle one of their cats. Jen approached and said she was once a famous hoop-jumping kitty, but has long since retired. Mmm-hm. Right. We’re certain this sleeping cat was all about that. 


It wasn’t until writing this post that I found the above pic. It put everything else into perspective.

MNAE Front

Thank you for opening your home, and our minds.


“The Museum was founded by Mercury Curie and Rasputin Zaplatynska (a.k.a. Rolls Joyce, Jr. ) in Tucson, AZ, on November 7th, 1921, in the early afternoon, during a monsoon storm, as winged ants took to the sky. Their goal was to explore histories and forms of collecting, with an emphasis on preserving endangered modes of collecting (saintly relics, wunderkammern, and dime museums in particular) — a sort of zoo for museums. Although the original curators passed away in the 1940s, the current curators, Scott and Jen Webel (Scott being Zaplatynska’s great grand nephew) reopened the museum in Tucscon in 1999 before moving to Austin, TX, in 2001. In Austin, we began curating community themed exhibitions to expand on our signature displays in the impermanent collection.”

First Animal Print of 2013: Peepers

A friend-of-a-friend recently found Gadora while looking for someone to paint a portrait of a pup. The watercolor was for her Sister-in-law and would eventually be a gift for Peepers’ human Mom. Awww, Peepers! Oh how I miss my own Peepers. It will be 3 years this April, and while I still miss her, time has healed some of the sorrow. Peepers’s portrait would be a sweet Valentine’s Day surprise.

Peepers DONE
The Peeps ready for a picnic.

The pics Gadora originally received were from the client’s Instagram < check out Gadora’s set of pics – and thus a teensy bit small, but very telling. Peepers was a sweet, sweet pup.

3Peepers Instagram3
Sweet Peeps. 

I noodled around with the portrait, and was finally ready to send. Peepers was the first watercolor portrait I’d actually send with a name scribed on the paper. I scribbled a little heart right by her name.

2Peepers Instagram2

After sending Gadora let a few days pass, then checked on her recipient. “Just got it when I got home from work today — it’s beautiful! Thank you!! Can’t wait to show it to my mom tomorrow!  :)”

1Peepers Instagram
Picnic Peeps.

The following day, this arrived. “My mom loves it!!!!! It really looks just like peeps.  :)” And if you’re counting, that’s two smiley faces in her reply! Thanks Lady, glad the family loves their Peepers. xo

A haiku.

Two thousand thirteen
full of possibilities…
You will be my year.

Alter to 2013.
Alter to 2013.

2012 shaped up to be a good year. Rich with friends and family. We added a new member, my nephew, whom I loved before we ever met. 2013 included adventure. And surprises. Some heartache – but nothing insurmountable. Food discoveries. Lots of laughter. Loads of skating. And all while in good health. I am grateful for each and every day and experience I had in 2012.

For 2013 I will wish and work for much of the same. It will only get better. I’ve enjoyed connecting with friends about what they’ll do to ensure a great new year. Resolutions. Eating black eyed-peas. Alters with fruit, water, coins, etc. For mine, Gadora opted for a 3D visual of my resolutions and set to work pulling the bits together. Hung in the entry of my kitchen there will not be a day I’m not reminded of what I want out of 2013. Each item placed on my alter with meaning. A black and white snap of me holding skates. In 2013 I will skate more. Sand for travel. I will see more places. Seeds for growth. A Prosperity Frog, a gift from a new friend. I will create more wealth. His and Her tea cups ready for filling. I am open to love. Brushes for creativity. I will spend more time creating. A heart for continued good health. And the converted-building drawing Gadora believes one day can come to fruition. Looking good already.

Two thousand thirteen
full of possibilities…
You will be my year.

Always be a unicorn…

Crafternoons at The Gardens are in full swing. Gadora has been itching to play, and a recent score at Goodwill yielded the perfect mini project. My Hustlers have been toying with unicorns. Originally designed as a team who paid tribute to the female sports stars of the seventies (think Farrah Fawcett in her heyday), we’ve been working on overhauling our uniforms for 2013. It is a new year, and we are ready! We often giggle about the ridiculousness of the single-horned mythical creature. After all, a few of the Hustlers were reared in the seventies, and all recall fantasizing we’d one day have a unicorn of our very own.

Well, now I do.

Unicorn - before.
Unicorn – before.

Gadora was supposed to bring a used gift to the Hustler holiday party. We’d just named 5 women to the team, and Scrape was poised to wow them with my White Unicorn gift. But… I like the finished product so much I’ve decided to keep it through the holidays. She was hornless when I spotted her. A sad little unicorn on a dirty shelf sat near three wicker baskets, a gnarly spatula and a terrible mason jar sand sculpture even a parent couldn’t love. A marble for a horn, I contemplated if the $2.99 was way too much.

Unicorn ~ close up.

Gadora had visions of grandeur. The marble would have to go. At first I thought I’d repurpose a tiny cake decorating frosting tip, but the thrift store didn’t have that in store. Never mind. I used my hair dryer and pumped some heat on the marble, tapping it lightly with my hairbrush as it heated. A minute later it freed… and my unicorn was ready for the next treatment.

Unicorn ~ with painters tape.
Unicorn ~ with painters tape.

Painters tape is a unicorn-makers best friend. Gadora painstakingly placed teeny pieces around all the bits I didn’t want sprayed.

The bits...
The bits…

Unicorn covered, I took my project outside and sprayed her down.

Unicorn ~ sprayed.
Unicorn ~ sprayed.

All the pastel bits covered, I wasn’t fully satisfied. So I broke out the glitter paint.


And the baby blue nail polish… only thing left was to appoint a horn. I sat with her for a minute. Then remembered I had a smallish box of holiday ornaments. I dug out an icicle and the tacky super goopy glue. And voila!

Unicorn ~ with horn.

Another shot.

Unicorn ~ revisited.
Unicorn ~ revisited.

Gadora was so proud of her transformation, I walked her right outside to the neighbor. We giggled on our stoop at the ridiculousness of it all. She confided, “funny you brought her over. I have something I want you to hang.” Who me? I followed her upstairs, and there it was…

Always be a unicorn.
Always be a unicorn.

I thank the Universe for the opportunity to revive a crappy tschotske and for a lovely afternoon.


Post-election Aristo-crap…

Nothing seems to split a nation like some good ole’ fashioned politics. So tonight, exactly one day after a narrowly re-elected 44th President, Gadora pays tribute to some creative Americans who valiantly exercise their right to peddle their artsy politico crap. And while we’re a nation divided, both sides of the camp get in on this equally. And while politics are indeed serious business, let’s relax for a minute, shall we? And take a romp around Etsy.

Mitt Romney ceramic party cup

The last few months of Politicking drive you to drink? LittleChairPrinting‘s ceramic nod to an iconic brand allows you to toast your candidate while enjoying your favorite libation. Though Romney wouldn’t join in if it were the adult variety. 

"OH YEAH" politically charged acrylic mixed media.

Ever since Gadora’s discovery of Dada artist Hannah Höch, in Madrid’s Museo Reina Sophia, I’ve entertained an affinity for mixed media. The moment I spied this piece from Achristocraft, I belted my favorite political anthem…. “America F- Yeah!” Obama— now THAT would have jazzed up your supporters prior to your acceptance speech.

MITT FOR MUTTS: Mitt Romney Dog Toy People Will Love
Mitt for Mutts

Mitt for Mutts is one of four dog toys in Annika Sandback‘s series, “Throw Them to the Dogs!” “Grab the politician who drives you crazy and THROW HIM TO YOUR DOG! Or, keep him for yourself!” Turns out Jada (pictured) didn’t like Mitt for Mutts one bit. “A real beauty from Brooklyn and all muscle, Jada tried her best — without success — to rip him to shreds. Guess she heard about the dog on the roof!”

Bow-Wow Barack.

Rather sacrifice the incumbent? (See Bow-Wow Barack above.)

Enemies Enemy - Original Painting
Enemies Enemy by Jon Stich

Jon Stich is quite the gem. For this 18 x 25 acrylic painting he simply offers, “Five of the Republicans competing for the 2012 ticket, all guised as Batman villains.” His Isaac vs. Romney is pretty incredible too.

Obama Vs Zombies 2012 8.5x11 digital print - Use the code WEAREDOOMED for 15% off
Obama vs. Zombies.

With that, it’s only appropriate Obama gets his play time. Thanks TinaSeaMonster for sharing your handy work. Bam!

Tribute to Michelle Obama
Klimt-inspired Michelle Obama

Let’s not forget about our lovely First Lady. For $8,000 (yep, that’s with three zeros), you could proudly display this massive Klimt-inspired tribute to Michelle by New York City artist Hannah Laufer-Rottman. “Oil on canvas – 52 x 35 in. Have any questions?”

Yeah. That’s right.

I prefer the more simple art. Graphic in nature. Something more in line with this succinct print from Checker Press. Yep, ain’t no party like a Democratic party.

Faces of Obama - A series of 6 busts
Faces of Obama – A series of 6 busts

This Christopher Genovese guy is mad genius. I can’t get over the detail. He doesn’t give up much in the way of technique or inspiration. But you’re looking at a “Hand painted series cast from an original clay sculpture. Individually numbered and signed.” Kudos.

Sure, there’s a lot at stake during any given election. We get heated. We take sides. It is a grand responsibility for us all. And while I may not agree with your candidate, nor you mine…. We are in this together, folks. This is OUR great nation.

And in the end I ask you…

Why can't we all just get along T-shirt


Te Amo Amigos…

There was a time long ago when I believed everything was perfect. Gadora (before I assumed the moniker Gadora) had taken an exciting editing gig in The Big Apple, moving there from The Big D. I hadn’t figured my new life would afford any friends, I was there for work… and fearing NYC was cold and soulless, assumed I’d simply work. I would simply only work. But sometimes life offers us a needed diversion, and when a friend from Dallas introduced me to some friends who also called the city home we quickly became a tight-knit group of independent women. We led our lives, each on a path of discovery and self-fulfillment, and came together as often as time would allow. It was a glorious, magical time. We enjoyed the shit out of one another. Then slowly the picture began to fade. We took chances on new opportunities, or fell out of love with our hurried, cramped city lives, and systematically began the exodus. Sometimes even with the most ardent plans laid out to the contrary pieces will fall into place. I swore I’d never—never ever—return to Texas. But in fact life would prove otherwise. I did, eventually. And luckily one of my NY lady-loves was already paving the way in Dallas, as if she knew I would eventually return. Our new lives would prove busy too, and though Dallas never felt like home… being in Penny’s presence did.

Life happens. Gadora would find happiness in Texas. It’s true—Austin IS awesome. And Penny found love. She and her Love moved to Salisbury, NC many moons ago, and it wasn’t until this past weekend that I’d see her again when we original five starlets ALL gathered to be with her as she married her Bride. She’d been busy planning her perfect wedding—sewing canvas butterfly boxes for each guest, crafting what looked like hundreds of Mexican paper flowers, and choosing a discerning menu. All I had to do was get there. This post isn’t about their wedding. Though it was one of the most personal and delightful small weddings I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. This post pays homage to the lovely home Penny and Laura have made for themselves. It’s filled with all the interesting bits the two have collected along their own life-journeys and now share together.

The Gathering Room

Theirs is a roomy mid-century Ranch on a sprawling leafy parcel of land. Much of the gathered family found their way to the kitchen, and spilled into where to spread was laid, natch! They were eager to show their space off, and where they weren’t… Gadora simply helped herself. The metal hanging lamp, originally purchased for the roomy pantry, was relocated to the dining room. And it was a perfect, perfect choice.

Curious curio cabinet.

Opposite the wall shown above was a lovely shabby chic cabinet with a collection of candelabras. It’s hard to spot in this shot, but get a load of the bigger-than-human hand-carved, French antique wood fork that rests beside the cabinet. A less nosy guest might have missed it. But Gadora went in close, even touched it.

Day of the Dead cups…

A pair of porcelain Day of the Dead cups, by American artist Michael Corney, glared back at me as appreciated the contents of the dining room’s nook. I. Love. Them.

Comfy quarters…

The dining room spilled into the cozy family room. Just last week the duo reworked the wall of mirrors, added a rug and brought in seating for their guests. Just outside the glowing wall of windows, the pair’s pups swirled in their spacious yard. The same robin’s egg blue from the dining room found it’s way in here. The effect is positively soothing.

Give ’em a hand…

Various collections of themed trinkets found their way to one another, and together made the prettiest vignettes. To know Penny and Laura is to understand their deep appreciation of ritual. Their collection of Buddha hands (in various gestures) dotted the warm brick mantle.  The winged sculpture was a show-stopper.

Love and lounge and lava.

Years ago Laura gifted Gadora a sweet “hand with heart” ceramic sculpture. Placed prominently above my stove, it gives me a smile each and every day. I’m not so sure, but I think this is Laura’s heart, and me thinks it’s from the same Dallas artist. Laura?

Fiber corner.

Opposite the family room the kitchen gave way to a converted carport. I imagine this is where Penny spent her hours crafting for her big day, and from the wicked, golden velvety couch we three freed from a landfill-fate long ago. It’s hard to make out, but the golden coil in the spindled lamp is a lighted Buddha figure. Clever girls.

Making music.

Towards the front of the room, Laura had her nest. A corner filled with musical instruments, and trinkets and things to please the soul.

Harmonica head.

Case in point. Any less-witty musician would simply have a harmonica. But Laura rests hers on this Mexican carved skull. At that very moment, I wished I could channel Big Mama Thornton. Oh Mama!

Lady Liberty.

A colorful homage to the State Laura grew up in, a decoupaged paper mache Lady Liberty, from folk artist George Dukov, beckons passers by to try her on. Gadora didn’t then, but knows there’s a story in there somewhere. Laura mentioned, “he started this whole mask creation with George Bush, Monica and Clinton, and then the lady liberty series.”

Peer into the yard…

A world of space separated the living and sleeping quarters in their home. A stroll between the two offered another glimpse into the early autumn yard. It’s so nice here, Gadora sighs. The neighbor’s hand-constructed 1-room barn sits just out of view.

A hole where her heart belongs…

Each spacious sleeping room was warmly appointed, just as the more trafficked rooms had been. Gadora toured them each with the same appreciation as the one before. This Joan of Arc sculpture is from closer to home, a duo of of San Marcus “Eye of the Dog” ~ Billy Ray and Beverly Mangham. Savoring pictures of their sleeping quarters without the aide of an iPhone, they each told a story of love, and life, and welcomeness.

Te Amo Lady Loves…

I saved the best for last. Life is about our journey, isn’t it. We find happiness, and we’re challenged with disaster, and it’s about how we navigate between the two. And in the end, it’s not the things that make our lives grande… but the people we fill it with. Penny and Laura have made a lovely home in Salisbury, and are making friends of their own. They’re all a talented bunch. Robert Crum and Cherie Turner, friends whom we can now address the same, painted a surprise wedding portrait of the two. It will soon find its place with the other sweet things Penny and Laura have filled their home with. A reminder of their big day, and that they are loved.


• • •

Some of Laura’s other faves (some how I missed snapping a pic of their wares on the tour):

Mary Fischer – above the ledge where I snapped the lounging figure and bright red heart, stood a mini village of buildings (all white with black tracings). Laura adds, “They are my VERY favorite top loves….”

Recycled Reads…

Last week my company—in a global endeavor to b:generous—offered a multitude of community activities for we BVers to participate in. Our belief is as a growing, successful company, and as individuals, we have a responsibility to give back to our local communities. I spent a portion of Monday making crafty non-sew cat beds, Tuesday in a 1-hour yoga session to benefit Room to Read, Thursday afternoon painting Armstrong Community Music School and Friday morning sorting books at Recycled Reads.

Found objects…

Mindy met our group at the door and invited us to make ourselves at home. The 5,000 sq. foot retail Recycled Reads is “run primarily by volunteers with materials withdrawn from the Library’s collection and the community’s donations.” And an impressive part of their mission, the store “is an active participant in the City’s Zero Waste Plan by ensuring obsolete materials are handled in an environmentally responsible way by keeping these materials out of landfills.” I got lost for a moment in this wall of found relics.

Geometric folded book…

The store is set-up more as a retail space rather than a library. While we waited for the rest of our group to arrive, I took a few minutes to familiarize myself with the space. What stood out, besides their robust collection of books, was their collection of books as art.

Paper wreath…

The collection of paper art was inspiring.

Triangular Folds…

Gadora flipped through the pages making mental notes on the folds needed for certain outcomes.

Hardback garden…

How clever this little garden was. A few books stacked together, with the center removed. A plastic liner makes sure water stays with the roots.

Maps as art…

Gadora has a thing for maps… and this Atlas manipulation was fun to stumble upon. It sat atop the Youth Fiction, and while most might instead get enthralled with J.K. Rowlings, Gadora wondered where her maps are stored… I sense another project coming on.

Walled off…

I love the way this book sat against the wall. Impromptu and random art. It’s simply smart.

Horizontal display…

Our team spent 4 hours sorting books into categories, breaking down the boxes they were delivered in, removing date stamp sheets from the books’ former library days, putting the books out on the floor and reorganizing each as the shelves as we worked through them. We all had a really great time, and discovered a great new resource for very, VERY inexpensive books, periodicals, albums and old movies.

Thank you Recycled Reads! We’ll be back!


A study in lines along the Cotton Belt Trail.

Straight lines go too quickly to appreciate the pleasures of the journey. They rush straight to their target and then die in the very moment of their triumph without having thought, loved, suffered or enjoyed themselves. ~ Rene Crevel

Not exactly what Gadora was pondering as I traversed Colleyville’s Cotton Belt Trail during a recent early morning jog, but the happy stalls in exercise allowed a deep observation of the lines along the trail. The rising sun made its mark along the way.

I’ve been working on the…

The sun rose slowly as I, and it, heated up the trail. There really wasn’t much in the way of nature, but I was determined to find the beauty.

Hot water.

Gadora was only a quarter way into the run, and already wished I had remembered to bring my own water. But the trail stretched flat out in front of me for as long as my eyes could focus, so I’d be keeping on.

Feel the power.

Power lines played against the emerging morning sky.

A fine sign.

I meandered along the desolate, meandering trail head… snapping pics along the way. Kept running, but was heated. I paused often. The sun was blaring and it felt like a month of Sunday’s since I’d actually taken a good, long run. An intersection approached. And I was quite pleased it was at the crossroads of Pleasant Run and Stop. It was my sign to turn it around, and take it home.

My friend.

The Cotton Belt Trail is smack dab in the middle of Middle America. And save for the one cow, and one ass (you’ll see her next), there was hardly another soul on the trail. I paused to chat Miss Patty up, and observed the lines along the grass between us. She was apprehensive, and a few hurled niceties wouldn’t convince her to bring it over.

Hello Sweet Ass.

This lone ass along the trail was shadowed. There were no lines around her, but I snapped her mug anyway. Upon further review, there appeared magic in the lines of her ears. She didn’t have time for me, or my small talk, but I enjoyed our interaction none-the-less.

The Little Red Caboose.

Speaking of backsides, I paused a(nother) moment to bask in the shiny red of Brandsford Park’s caboose. It took a wading through the misty morning grass, and an empty railroad crossing, to get to it. The sun glistened off her exterior, and for a moment her story consumed me.

Double Lines.

Making my way back towards my Sister’s place, I noticed this pair of transmission towers. An average jogger might not recognize the beauty in their latticed structures. Birds fluttered off their lines and chirped hello to both me and the morning.

Along the way…

Initially, I felt a little silly bringing my phone along the trail. I couldn’t seriously run with it in tow. But it was to be a good, long walk/run after all. And as the trail was quietly desolate, I ran as if no one was watching. I paused to snap pics as if studying Civil Engineering. And no one was there to stop me.

Swedish artist Paul Klee might have said it best, “A line is a dot that went for a walk.”


X-ray lamp in its new place…

Gadora had a particularly fruitful day not long ago. By fruitful, I mean monetarily. In one single day, I’d sold and collected monies for two Still life watercolors I’d placed in our first-ever Office Art show, received payment for another Still Life sold through Spruce, AND was alerted via email that my beloved X-ray lamp had sold on Etsy. Happy to be in the money I was somewhat sad to see the lamp go.

I hoped it would go to a good home. In our email exchanges its buyer offered, “It’s actually a gift for a friend of mine who collects X-rays and is notoriously difficult to shop for…”

X-ray lamp at home.

“I will tell her to take a photo of it for you though, she’ll have to take one for me as well since I’m in a different state from her. ❤ (she’ll probably be thrilled to show it off to be honest!)”

X-ray lamp close-up.

When the pictures arrived, this morning, Gadora was told: “:)  She adores the lamp though and the only problem is she keeps finding other places for it that are just as fabulous.” Thank You both for sharing. I’m so happy you ❤ it (too)!

Meet Mr. Arlo “Shmoo” Guthrie…

Gadora relishes the first sighting of an Animal Print “subject.” Some pictures of your pets simply make me squeal. There are a plenitude of fine- and funny-looking pooches, kittens and guinea pigs out there. The Etsy request for Arlo “Shmoo” Guthrie’s portrait—German short-haired pointer-mix adopted from the Humane Society—came with a slew of pics. Which pic to choose from? (You’ll see them after the jump.) This is one. stinking. cute. canine.

Mr. Shmoo's Portrait

Arlo’s portrait is to be a gift for “his best friend,” Cristin’s boyfriend. Of the first pics (below) Cristin offered, “I adore this photo of Arlo—he is in his element. A true lover of outdoors and adventure, he never fails to look out on the world with his wise eyes. What I love most about this image in particular is how he looks while doing so… ear cocked, bird fluff hair blowing in the wind. What you don’t see, however, are his beautiful squinting eyes. (If you play with the contrast you can get a glimpse of them, which is all I really want… just a hint of two eyes. Oh, and maybe to lose the camera case in the bottom right.)”

Puppy on perch

Continue reading “Meet Mr. Arlo “Shmoo” Guthrie…”

Vote: Scrape Myrtle’s new logo.

Perhaps more fascinating than the bewildered and excited expressions of family and peers, when they discover I’m a derby girl, albeit a TXRG Rec-n-Roller Derby girl, is the wealth of talent and professionalism that comes from the pool of women I regularly go round-and-round with. Take Sinnerfold for instance…by day a devoted Mother and Wife and co-creator of her own design company Blase Design; by night a vicious and speedy derby contender.

She’s slaved over a few designs for Scrape Myrtle—my own snappy alter-ego that allows me to skate like the wind. I know my favorite design, but I defer to you(s). The challenge: channel the Texas state bush that I draw my name from, but make it easy to see (= simple) and even make it a lil fierce.

Vote (a).

Exhibit (a): A Texas star incorporated into Crape Myrtle flower.

Vote (a).

Continue reading “Vote: Scrape Myrtle’s new logo.”

Mighty fine agave watercolor.

Waaaaay back in June, Gadora posted a lil something about my love of the Century Plant. I’d recently accompanied a certain highfalutin Roller Gal to a gallery opening at Gallery Shoal Creek that a client of hers was a part of, and fell in love with the work of Alexey Krasnovsky.

Maguey (diptych) by Alexey Krasnovsky

In person his “Maguey” oils were so vibrant. So alive and layered. I wanted to put a little Gadora spin on an agave watercolor of my own. I teased you with a mention about a recent watercolor completion and a big reveal. Well here it is… (click on image to enlarge it).

Gadora's Agave Watercolor

In person, mine is vibrant and layered too. And I’m rather pleased with how it turned out. On a recent trip to Marfa, Gadora set her eyes on many a Century Plant in bloom. I even discovered a squatty black-tipped agave I’d not seen before. The unusual rain here, gave the West Texas desert an opportunity to be alive much later than typical. There’s a good chance Gadora has already sold this first agave watercolor, but I promise to do more.

Tibetan Terrier Scarlett.

A recent request from Horse-country, Texas: “I would really love for you to do a watercolor of my beloved Tibetan Terrier, Scarlett. How does the process work? How long does it take? I’m including a photo of Scarlett in the hopes that you will think she is as adorable as I do!  Please let me know.” *See Scarlett’s adorable pictures after the (more…). And to answer her questions (also for any would-be Animal Print inquiries): We agree upon a photo for Gadora to work from, I forward a secure PayPal request, and roughly 1-2 months. Here is Scarlett’s finished Animal Print.

Scarlett snugged up on the Sofa.

Leslie, Scarlett’s proud Mama, ordered an 8×10. The original photo was not without want. Scarlett’s mug was a little blurry I couldn’t really see her sure-to-be-telling eyes. Leslie sent more photos…

Continue reading “Tibetan Terrier Scarlett.”

Daisy dog.

A noble request came via Nevada (and another from YoungHouseLove): “My husband’s beloved yellow Labrador retriever, Daisy, passed away in February. I  think he would be so touched to have a portrait of her.”

Daisy at the beach.

Continue reading “Daisy dog.”

Making furniture (and such) out of car parts…

Sadly, Gadora’s Wonder Wagon was in a fender-bender last week. See my sad face? This week I was able to drive “The Paiger” to a few repair shops to see about getting her fixed back up. They’ll reload her with a new bumper and a refurbished trunk. Got Gadora to thinking, what might happen with my used and broken car parts?

Thanks DailyCandy for the e-introduction to Joel Hester, of Dallas-based The Weld House. L-O-V-E his work! He faithfully scrounges salvage yards turning mangled steel into coffee tables, consoles, beds and such. Hard to say he’d find this kind of inspiration from my Mazda wagon as he’s more an old school kind-of-guy… but he just might.

BEFORE: A beater with a personality begs for transformation…

62 Ford Galaxie

AFTER: As Joel says, “the hit the car took buckled the hood but the skin separated from the underside of the hood and the sheet metal was not kinked or bent. Once I cut the sheet metal skin from the hood’s underside, it was back to its flat condition. Lucky on many levels.” We’ll say.

Finished 62 Ford Galaxie

Continue reading “Making furniture (and such) out of car parts…”

Freddy’s portrait hung with care.

Gadora, while playing on her Facebook page, received a note from Marissa. Remember her? She had Gadora paint an Animal Print of her pup Freddy and rescue-dog Shelby. She appreciated my work so much that she turned right around and ordered 5 more pet portraits (including another one of Sir Fred) for her Mom. Her note included Freddy’s photo…

Freddy's Animal Print

Her note: “Freddy approves if where we picked to hang his picture!! He says woof you!” Thanks Marissa! Love it.

Pot-bellied piggy planters…

Spring has sprung: the birds in The Gardens happily chirp and the few blades of grass are greening. And with each day that passes past winter, Gadora’s thumb turns a little less brown. My stoop beckons a spring-time make-over. Since I’m an apartment dweller, and avid vegetarian, only makes sense I have some fun with container gardening. And what better way to dress up my “Spinster Gardens” stoop than a whimsical, and ridiculous, piggie planter to house delicious herbs and what-not? Gadora’s got a sense of humor and this seems a perfect time to flex it. Google to the rescue.

First up? A leggy terracotta planter from Fired by Guatemalan artisans, this one-of-a-kind vessel would make any herb a little spicier.

Leggy terra cotta planter, $59.
Leggy terra cotta planter, $59.

Etsy’s Fruitflypie offers this adorable yellow piggie planter. The ceramic swine was poured from a 60s-era mold and is fired with a glassy lemon yellow glaze. Happy little planter! And if your own green thumb is rather questionable, the pig is also available in a piggy bank.

Fruitflypie ceramic pig, $34.
Fruitflypie ceramic pig, $34.

Another from FruitFlyPie as seen on beautifullycontained.

FruitFlyPie as featured on Beautifully Contained, NFS.
FruitFlyPie as featured on Beautifully Contained, NFS.

Check out this snarkier ceramic bisque with terracotta glaze piglet from seller EnchantedMushroomLand. Also from a vintage mold, the seller refashioned a piggy bank into this planter.

Enchanted Mushroom Land, $18.

Also on Etsy, BloominHappy2009 has a starter piglet with air plant, technically a Tillandsias, up for grabs. $10 is a teeny investment to live high on the hog.

Silver planter from BloominHappy2009, $10.
Silver planter from BloominHappy2009, $10.

This aged pig planter, by Cyan Design, is pretty pricey but he’s a little porkier than the others at 24″ wide.

Aged pig by WeGotLites, $360.
Aged pig by WeGotLites, $360.

If you’re still uncertain you’ve got the goods to keep a plant growing out of a hog’s hide, there’s always this option. The fool-proof Chia Pig. As Gadora recalls, it’s as simple as spreading a few seeds on the back of your sow, giving it the occasional water… and viola. In 1-2 weeks, you’ll see the fruit of your labor.

Chia pig from Amazon, $22.
Chia pig from Amazon, $22.