## Thursday, January 28, 2010

### Hogging the Road

This is a painting that was commissioned by one of our clients in January. We didn't ask for particulars, I just went ahead and painted what they had asked for. The client was pleased. Needless to say, we've had a few giggles over it. We haven't yet had the opportunity to see 3 pigs riding motorcycles in outport Newfoundland, but if we ever do, you'll be the first to know!
(If we ever DO see a pig riding a motorcycle, I suspect quite a lot of red wine will be involved. Pigs often lose their inhibitions with a glass or two of red wine..... a little known fact, but in fact, a true one)

Photo:" Hogging the Road " by Cara

Acrylic on Canvas

## Sunday, January 24, 2010

### The Tortle Theorem

We just finished working on a clock for a group gallery show . We are doing it based on The Tortoise and The Hare. In my mind, I was thinking that tortles had antennae, and SHE said they didn’t.
So, I drew a snail instead (with antennae) and thought we could do THAT.
I was really feeling attached to the idea of antennae.
SHE said no. She said the story wasn’t about the Snail and the Hare.
Why not? Snails and tortles are both slow.
She told me to stop staying Tortle. She pointed out that there was no such thing as a tortle.
WHAT? Well, what would happen if a turtle went on a date with a Tortoise? What then?
SHE said, that if a turtle and a tortoise went on a date, they would take one look at each other, realize that it could never work between them, and go their separate ways.
HA! What if they went on a BLIND date?
Tortle.
After a few rather tense moments (I could see the wheels turning - she couldn’t really dispute my tortle theorem) I gave in.
The Tortoise and the Hare it is.
At least I won the argument about not having numbers on the clock. I don’t know how it works, or what time it is, but it looks nice.
Photo: CLOCK The Tortoise and the Hare by Cara and Pam
Hand-carved wood/mixed media/acrylic

## Friday, January 22, 2010

### Yes! We Ship Our Work All Over the World! Free cat with every purchase!

We've been working all of the hours in the day (which is a GRAND thing!) and just completed this piece (above) for a client in Alberta. It's quite large and you should have seen the chaos when I was trying to package it for shipping. Tape, tissue, bubble wrap, cardboard...EVERYWHERE. All of the cats were on their worst behavior and decided to dive-bomb me at every turn. Coco had a roll of tape stuck to her back and ran in circles for 5 minutes before I could catch her. Disaster!
After a great deal of frustration, the piece was wrapped, bubbled and boxed. I used 3 rolls of packing tape. No one is going to get into that thing. (I think it will take our poor client at least 3 hours to open the box).
When it was all over, I put the kettle on and thought I'd take a break.
A simple coffee break? No such luck....after several counts, I realized I was short 1 cat.
Photos: A look at the various stages of
"St. John's Narrows, 2010" by Cara and Pam
Hand-carved wood/acrylic/mixed media

## Thursday, January 21, 2010

### Gretel Joined Plate Watchers

Wee Gretel is 15 pounds overweight.
The veterinarian says she must go on a diet. Pronto.
She even has a scheduled weigh–in, in one month’s time.
The pressure is on.
She doesn’t look horrifically monstrous.....she does get a lot of exercise and we play ball and catch several times a day on our walks. (Sometimes Gretel comes, sometimes she stays home....I am quite fond of “ball” and could almost be considered an expert)
Gretel is not allowed any more wet food. She is on a low-cal, dry food diet.
This is proving to be quite stressful for everyone, as Gretel is an emotional eater and has very low self-esteem. The cats torment her. They are bullies. It is hard for her to cope. They are constantly eyeing, and obviously making fun of her facial hair. Hateful beasts.
Now, 2 days into her new diet and we are at a stand-still. She does not want her new food. She sits and looks at her plate, rolls her eyes and turns her back on us. She stares at the plate, stares at the food, willing it to disappear. She doesn’t even mind that the cats have had a go at it. No takers. The vet said that eventually, she will be hungry enough to eat the new, ugly food.
Hmmmmmm.
This has not happened yet. I DID see some boiled egg on her chin, though. And I did smell the faint aroma of beef stew on her breath. Now I, who am a complete sucker for large, sad doggy eyes, have given in on 1 or 2 occasions, feeding her a tiny bite of this or that.
Clearly she was STARVING!
What I didn’t realize was that SHE was giving Gretel all of HER leftovers too!
At the rate we are going, wee Gretel will be as big as a house at her next weigh-in.
The large, sad, doggy eyes are a complete farce. BRILLIANT!
I am currently studying Gretel’s facial expressions. I have the big, "sad eye" look down perfectly. I am still working on making my eyes tear up, just enough, without letting a teardrop fall. That actually takes some skill.
So far, I have gotten half of HER eclair (after mine was gone), got HER to do the dishes, (TWICE!!) AND a Starbucks latte (even though we were on the other side of town).
If I can just get that teardrop thing perfected, I see a new easel in my future. (And MAYBE a bite of her coveted shortbread cookies...but even THAT would take a true professional!)
P.S. She decided to keep me! Most of the paint came out of Her jeans! I am being kept!
(I know it is because she has no clue how to work the French coffee press, never mind the bean grinder)

## Tuesday, January 19, 2010

### SHE is Hijacking the Blog Today!

Hello. SHE here.
After reading a comment by Julie which queried how Cara could possibly have put on such long jeans without noticing, there are a few things I would like to say.
Firstly, I highly doubt that the jeans were rolled up when Cara first pulled them on. I imagine, knowing Cara, that once she had pulled the jeans on, she may have wondered for a second whether her legs had shrunk or if her pant legs had stretched. That’s all. Then she would have proceeded to roll them up because whatever had happened, either her legs were now too short or the pants too long, she needed pants. Problem solved. I am 98% sure that this (if any) was the thought process as my longest pair of jeans became a rag.
Secondly, I’m okay with that. I’ve learned over the years that life with Cara is like that. It has actually become one of my great pleasures to discover that Cara’s brain doesn’t function quite like the rest of ours. After many years of wondering what might have been misfiring or which pathway in her brain may have been severed, I have decided (with certainty) that Cara’s brain is actually wired in such a manner that is far more efficient than mine-and likely, most others. Her brain is equipped with a unique map of shortcuts. Because of this, she has an advantage that I lack. Where you or I would spend time preparing an area in which to paint (tarps, rugs, cloths, etc.) and take time to seek out old, painting clothes, Cara makes it to the paintbrush AT LEAST 15 minutes ahead of us. Where you or I might follow a trail AROUND a swamp or bog to get to the other side, Cara sees a tree on the other side that she thinks would suit a piece of furniture, loses all interest in the trail and proceeds to trudge, in a bee line, through mud, water and moose poop towards said tree. I follow her. To be there when she falls. As she certainly will. And does. Enviously, I watch others head towards the tree along the dry, trodden path. 10 minutes later, upon arrival at the tree, wet to the bone and covered in a mud-poop slime, I realize that we got there well ahead of the trail walkers. I wonder, aloud, had she worried that the other folks would have seen and taken the tree had they gotten there first. Not at all, said she. She was just excited to inspect the tree. (NOTE: Gretel did not give ME rubber boots for Christmas)
On a final note, have you noticed the new packaging that baby carrots come in? It’s like a ziplock bag-resealable. Brilliant, right? The carrots won’t turn white
too quickly and they won’t spill out in the fridge. Or so you’d like to believe. In Cara’s world, this packaging is nothing more than a nuisance. It apparently doesn’t allow her to reach in and grab the right carrot. What I want you to observe in the photo is that she didn't poke one, but TWO separate holes in this brilliant carrot bag and the zipper part of the bag has not been opened. EVER. Cara saw the carrot she wanted, tore through the bag and got it. PRESTO! You or I would have first sought out scissors (which could have been anywhere), cut the strip of plastic above the zipper, and then grabbed our carrots. In the meantime, Cara is done eating her carrots and is back to painting in my jeans. Genius. Nothing but genius.
So, after all of my observations and resignation that nothing I own will be untouched by paint, I decided long ago that I would keep her. What I haven’t mentioned is that I sort of have keep her as she knows all the passwords for everything. And she’s a really, REALLY good cook.

## Sunday, January 17, 2010

### Farewell Dear Friends...This May Be My Last Blog.

I am in BIG trouble. The biggest trouble EVER.
SHE has been away all morning and I have been painting with my oils.
I am not allowed, under ANY circumstances to EVER paint with oils in my "good" clothes. I am not sure, but I have my suspisicions that THAT rule would also apply to HER "good" clothes.
You'd have to know me, but when I am working, I tend to get carried away...I forget about things like dripping paint, spatters on walls and what I might be wearing. It is an illness.
WELL, I started painting, hours went by, and wasn't I having a grand time? I happened to look down at my legs and realized that I had been wiping my brush on my thighs. Such pretty colours.

AHHHHH!
I WAS WEARING HER GOOD JEANS.

SHE ONLY HAS ONE PAIR.

SHE HAS A 36 INCH INSEAM.

IT IS HARDER TO FIND JEANS WITH LEGS THAT LONG THAN IT IS TO FIND A CANNIBAL AT THE CIRCUS.
(Clowns taste funny).

I am writing this as the long, long, long-legged jeans soak in the sink. I have scrubbed and rubbed and used all of the soap. I have to have them washed AND dried by the time she comes back.
If you don't hear from me by Tuesday, I didn't make it.

Until then......fare thee well, fine friends. Farewell.

Photo: "Poppy Was a Fisherman, The Finest Man in Town"

Oil on Canvas (perhaps the last) by Cara Kansala

### I Had to Put a Lock on The Liquor Cabinet

We've done a lot of custom commissions lately of pets. Moreover, we've done one large commission FOR the pet. It is terrifically funny.
One of the photos above (Sequin's Wash Day) is a picture of little Sequin's dresses and outfits, hanging on her mama's clothesline. Seriously, the little star has far more clothes than I do. I am very jealous.

The Lovely Sequin has sailor suits and denim jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts and ruffle-sparkly-fluffy dresses. More hair doodles that Crystal Gail.
Our poor cats look on with such envy every time she comes over.

I am going to make a sailor suit for Mr. Lily and a matching one for me. SHE can have one too, but I suspect She won't be up for it.

Until then, Lily has opted for the eastern European look. He is reading Kundera and I have my suspicions that the clear liquid in his water bowl isn't water.
Photos:
Munchkin and Toby - Commission
Hand-Carved pine/acrylics/mixed media by Cara and Pam
Wee Sequin
"Sequin's Wash Day"
Hand carved wood/acrylics/mixed media by Cara and Pam
Mr. Lily can tie his own kerchief.

## Friday, January 15, 2010

### Can You Keep A Secret?

Isn't it funny when someone forgets to tell you that something is meant to be a secret???
For those of you who didn't read our blog yesterday, I will explain in the near future! OoPsY!

Please Visit http://www.craftcouncil.nl.ca/ SO many amazing products from so many talented, fabulous craftspeople!!

Photo: Grampy’s Capelin, 10 x 14

Oil On Canvas, by Cara Kansala

## Monday, January 11, 2010

### HOW TO CLEAN A FISH

How to Clean a Fish (According to Me)
You will need:
1 recently deceased fish
1 pair of old rubber gloves
1 tub of warm water
1 scrub brush
1 to 2 tablespoons of Palmolive dish detergent
1 old towel
Put on rubber gloves before handling the fish to prevent “fishy” smells from permeating your skin. Place fish in water. Add detergent and scrub the fish with the scrub brush for 5 – 10 minutes, making sure to get under the gills. Try to avoid the eyes as scrubbing this area can cause an upset stomach (for you, not the fish).
Dry the fish with the old towel.
Done!
(Instructions for how to clean a moose can be requested by email. I will not post them as it is a very long and somewhat embarrassing process.)
Upcoming blogs will include “How to Dress a Turkey” and “How to Stuff a Pig”. If you are interested in pre –blog preparations for either, I suggest purchasing some tiny, old clothing, a live turkey, a live pig, loads of food the pig might like to eat, a hockey mask, a suit of armour and some iodine or peroxide.

Photo: "On the Way to The Splitting Table"
Oil on Canvas by Cara Kansala
10 x 14

## Sunday, January 10, 2010

### Quince-a-palooza!

Our fabulous book club met last night. Our book was "Reading Lolita in Tehran" by A. Nafisi. Lucky for HER, the dinner had a Middle Eastern theme. She knows how to cook one thing and one thing only. Poached quince. As you can imagine, we don't have this often. Once a year, the quince arrive in the post from Ontario and everything comes to a grinding halt as she prepares her one and only dish.
Poached quince require the cook to place the quince in a pot of water, add 1 cup of sugar and simmer for 3 hours. That is it. That is all. Done. Bob's your uncle.
Somehow, She manages to make this a bigger production than the presidential state dinner. Every pot, spoon, knife and plate is dirtied. Everyone must stop what they are doing every 5 minutes and peer into the pot to admire the simmering quince. Oohhing and ahhhing is required.
Yesterday, She made poached quince for eight. I will be cleaning up the disaster for days. I don't mind because everyone loved them and they are truly delicious. SHE is a star. And it will be sad that we have to wait a whole year to do it again.

P.S. Everything at the book club dinner was amazing....the roast, the crispy potatos, the terrific salads and OH, the red wine sauce was to DIE for! I don't think I will ever get all of it out of my hair and left ear, but THAT is another story for another day.
Thank you END for sending the quince!

## Friday, January 8, 2010

### Che Fortuna!!! A Magic Wand!!!!

I love everything Italian. The country, food, wine, people.......all magic! I have painted an Italian lemon grove in my kitchen. My cupboards are covered with Italian words. Italy is my bliss.I have been teaching myself to speak Italian for 4 years from tapes and cd's.I tried it out on our last holiday in Campania and it worked! Well, sometimes....

Today SHE came in from her workshop and handed me a fancy stick. It had a bell at the end. What is it? I asked.SHE answered....it is a magic wand for your spells. All day long, you are casting spells...."UNO MOMENTO!" "BONJOURNO!" "UNO MOMENTO" you sound like someone from Harry Potter and you need a magic wand. For your spells.

Now, some people would take offence. I, on the other hand, am going to take Italian level 1, at Memorial University starting January 27.

Put THAT on your pizza Mrs!

(I do admit, I love my magic wand and waving it in the air as I practice my beloved language has actually helped my intonation immensely)

### Cats and Oil Don't Mix!

I have started painting with water-soluble oils. I love it! I am like a maniac and can't stop. So different from acrylics. I have done 6 new paintings since Christmas, but will have to take a break from the joy to start a few "real" projects that have actual deadlines.

She is not happy to have given me the gift of oils. Though they are less toxic and clean up with soap and water, they are just as difficult to remove from cats. The fact that they take days/weeks to dry is worse. Having huge, wet, oily pictures everywhere is proving to be quite messy! The paintings change every day because I keep wiping my finger across them to see if they are dry. It is all GREAT!!!

Photo: "Full Moon Over Kyres Cove"

Oil on Wood Panel by Cara

## Monday, January 4, 2010

### If It's Ugly, Does it Cost Less?

We had a call today from a man who wanted to order one of our "Not so Ugly" ugly sticks. He wondered if he could have his at a discounted price if he ordered one that WAS ugly. After I made sure he wasn't pulling my leg, I explained that it would be just as much work to make an ugly one as a not so ugly one. He decided that he WOULD like to order one, but since they were the same price he would like one that wasn't so ugly. I had to take 2 Tylenol. Extra strength.
For anyone who doesn't know what an ugly stick is, they are home made, musical instruments used in Newfoundland. Usually, they are made from broom or mop handles and have an old shoe or rubber boot at the bottom. Different things from around the house are attached so that when you hit the stick on the floor it makes a loud noisy noise. Our ugly sticks are made from carved birch trees, have big honky horns, hammered metal spoons and all kinds of nifty things.
Photo: "Honking in the Loveshack"
Custom order ......Not so Ugly Ugly Stick by Cara & Pam

## Saturday, January 2, 2010

### So Many Booboos, So Little Peroxide.

I had a few orders for "Scarfickles" this year and made 5 others for gifts. I really don't know if I should go on with these felting projects as they are proving to be quite risky indeed! I used to do a lot of felting when I was a wee girl of 18 and don't recall so many injuries, accidents and curse words!

Just since November, I have gone through 2 boxes of Nexcare bandaids(Dora the Explorer and Winnie the Pooh), had a fight with HER about NOT getting a tetanus shot, scalded my hands in boiling water and dyed my mothers good tablecloth ugly, ugly red. (Yes, that is a real colour).

Perhaps I should just stick to painting and woodenly things that don't require barbed needles and boiling water. Perhaps I should, but I won't. If you are ever at emerge, I'll be the one with the felting needle sticking out of my thigh as my jaw locks. No comments, please.

Photo: Orange Scarfickle "Alison's Rainbow"

Green Scarfickle"Spring is Here!"
P.S. Some of the yarn used in my scarfickles is from Island Sweet...the most magical yarn in the universe!!!!