What is a true eclectic to do when her passions lead her in different directions?
This is a blog for the unfocused, the round pegs in the square holes, the short-attention span types, and all those who just can't bring themselves to join the ranks and adhere to a single category of activities or interests...whether sketches, drawings and comics, fixing an old farmhouse in Oregon, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Hour at Miss Delta (02-28-11)

Gary had to help someone from Church move across the river to Vancouver, so I asked him to take me along part of the way and drop me off on Mississippi Ave in North Portland, to give me some time to walk around and take a look at the shops, something I never have the time to do when driving through the neighborhood.

It was raining, and it was a nice opportunity to take in the neighborhood sights at a slow pace, without any crowds. I spent a while at Paxton Gate, an unusual store selling taxidermy-related items elegantly displayed in 19th century-style cabinets.

By the time I made it down to Miss Delta, it was dark outside with my ride still busy helping with the move. I took a long time to make up my mind before finally ordering a Gumbo Mac, the perfect food for cold weather.
Inside Miss Delta
Big guy eating

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hairstyles (02-27-11)

Again, some quick doodles, this time women and men hairstyles, Hip Portland style.

Fashion Sketches (02-27-11)

I truly enjoy doing these and let my imagination run wild...

Party at the Art Museum (02-26-11)

My participation in a study of native French speakers at the Portland French Alliance won me two tickets to the Portland International Film Festival Wrap-up Party at the Art Museum last night. It took me a while to convince Moso to brave the frigid cold and go with me, but the minute I got there, I was bored out of my mind. The place was full of old people dressed in black sipping wine and looking smart. The music was okay, if one likes reggae or calypso (I prefer Techno), and Moso got to talk with the marimba player.
So I resorted to watching people for a while, then decided to do this sketch. It was a challenge because people were dancing or moving from table to table the entire time, and there was a need to keep everything is perspective (larger in close-up; smaller in background). I didn't have the time to work much on the band.
Moso and I drove by KBOO on E. Burnside afterward. It was well past midnight and excruciatingly cold outside. There was a lot of activity in the vicinity of the Jupiter Hotel and, totally baffling, we saw some young women, scantily dressed and probably drunk, walking barefoot on the iced-up sidewalks...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Party for I [Heart] Art: Portland (02-25-11)

A fun party at PNCA to celebrate I [Heart] Art: Portland, an organization that provides professional development workshops for craftspeople, in conjunction with Etsy.
 The huge amazing cake was made by Bakery Bar; for the principle, I had to get a second serving... But the best treat was the Red Velvet Cake made by Isaac Watson, so delicious that I had to get a second slice of that one as well...

Finally, I Made a Complaint! (02-25-11)

Over the last year, I've been crying and whining about the problems we've had with the house, either about the dysfunctional transaction or about repairs the previous owner promised to do but ultimately didn't. And every time I finished telling my tales of woe to whoever was patient enough to listen to me, I'd conclude by stating that I was, for sure, going to make a formal complaint against the previous owner. Then, some catastrophe would happen, and I would be distracted with another pressing issue.

It was like a background nagging, a constant burden. And it was infuriating, especially after moving in and finding out how many problems there actually were with the house, and I am not talking about an errant Hobo spider here or there, although by itself, that would be enough to get me freaked out.

Well, I finally did it! It took me months, but I finished my letter to the previous owner, and sent it off yesterday. In it, I list some of the problems we've encountered and point out that these issues ought to have been disclosed, and ask for payment of repairs to be done, as well as for reimbursement for work already done. For good measure, I also included colors photographs, estimates, receipts, notarized statement from the lady who was renting part of the house, and the 911 report about the undisclosed January 2010 frozen pipe incident.

Depending on the speed of postal delivery, this may have been already delivered today, or maybe tomorrow...

Here is the letter I sent.

[First and last name] and [First and last name]
[Street address]
[City], [State] [Zip code]

14 February 2011

[First and last name of previous owner]
[Street address]
[City], [State] [Zip code]

[First and last name of previous owner’s real estate agent]
[Name of real estate agency]
[Street address]
[City], [State] [Zip code]

Cc: [First and last name of previous owner’s agent’s broker] [Name of real estate agency]
[First and last name of our real estate agent] [Name of real estate agency]
[First and last name of our agent’s broker] [Name of real estate agency]

Re: Disclosure Form
for sale of property located at
[Street address] [City], [State] [Zip code]

Dear Madam,

I am writing this letter in regards to the disclosure form you provided for the property located at [Street address] [City], [State] [Zip code], which we purchased from you on [Month and day], 2010.

In light of problems that have emerged since the purchase of this property, we are notifying you that there were issues you apparently were aware of, but did not report on the property disclosure form even though you were mandated to report them by [Name of state] law.

In light of the fact that the property has been your main residence for several years and was recorded in your name since [Month] 1998 after being in your parents’ name as early as of 1997, a reasonable expectation is that you would have acquired direct and intimate knowledge of any problems that may have emerged during those years.

The problems mentioned above are:
1.     The foundation repairs that were to be done as part of the transaction were not completed; the foundation is in fact in poor condition and this state is likely related to some of the factors listed below.
2.     The large mound of dirt at the back of the property has caused rain drainage runoff to flow and pool against the back foundation wall of the house.
3.     According to the landscaper who installed the sprinkler systems in ca. 2007, French drains were installed, to alleviate drainage problems in the berry garden area “due to a flash flooding to the back of the house during a storm sometime in about 2007.”
4.     Your tenant, Ms. [First and last name], revealed to us that the water pipes to the tenant kitchen burst in winter 2009-2010 and resulted in a 911 call.
5.     Ms. [Last name] also informed us that the pipes to the main house kitchen also burst under the house sometime in winter 2009-2010.
6.     The gutters were in such bad condition that they leaked or poured every time it rained, and contributed to the water drainage problems.
7.     The perimeter of the main house is permanently wet in spring, fall and winter.
8.     Due to water accumulating against the perimeter wall of the main house, there has been some seepage of water under the house, contributing to possible weakening of the foundation.
As the owner and occupant of the main house, you had to be aware of this issue, especially since you agreed to make repairs to the foundation as part of the sales purchase.
9.     The sprinkler system attached to the neighbor’s property (at SE corner) actually waters large portions of our property, including lawns and large shrubs.
10.  The drainage collection pond that we are required to maintain and recorded on the title is not there. As party to this agreement with the [Name] Sanitary District, you had to be aware of this issue and report it in the disclosure form.

All of the above should have been noted on the Property Disclosure form and were either left off, or marked “unknown.” Marking “unknown” to questions pertaining to water seepage or drainage issues does not relieve you of the obligation to be truthful. According to the [Name of state] Association of Realtors, “Answering “unknown” to avoid disclosure of known information can be considered a form of fraud.” ([Website address]). Surely, even you, a real estate agent with an active license in the State of [Name of state] would be aware of that.

The factors above affect the property value in a detrimental manner and, had we known about them, would have fully been influential in our decision to not purchase this property after all. We feel that we have been defrauded by your negligence and request some financial compensation to address the issues in question.

I am including estimates for necessary foundation and drainage repairs, as well as receipts for corrective work already done, such as excavating the mound of dirt to level the ground in a manner that water will not run against the house, as well as installing properly working gutters.

My husband [First name] and I acted in good faith during this transaction and expected the same from all parties involved, including and especially you, since you are a real estate agent with an active license in the State of [Name of state], and are consequently bound by strict ethical guidelines.

We expect to be reimbursed for the costs incurred so far and compensated for those that still need to be carried out. That done, we would give you full release from any further issues with the property, including the foundation.

[First name] and [First name and last name]

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My Beloved Gargoyle (02-22-11)

This week, during the Sketching class I teach at the Walters Cultural Arts Center, we worked on sketching some objects we brought from home.
Wild Thang
I brought my adorable gargoyle, found at Village Merchants several years ago. it makes me think of a Maurice Sendak character.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Profile in Brush Marker (02-20-11)

A quick profile done with one of the Faber-Castell Pitt brush pens I carry everywhere with me. I saw Don Colley's mind-blowing sketchbooks at the Portland Urban Sketchers Symposium last summer and watched the videos where he shows how he uses these pens. I don't feel very proficient using them, but like the colors...

View of the Columbia River Gorge (02-20-11)

I went to the Columbia River Gorge with some friends who were visiting from California. 

This is such a beautiful place, especially in the autumn, with all the leaves falling. On the sketch, one can see the Vista House to the right in the distance...
Viewpoint in Corbett
On the sketch, one can see the Vista House to the right in the distance...
Photo taken from the parking area outside the Vista House.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tree Fall (02-16-10)

One of the flowering plum trees fell down the day before yesterday. It wasn't even terribly windy outside... It was one of the trees that framed the lovely Shade Garden, and I am not sure about what to do for a replacement (like, in case we unexpectedly come into money)...lilacs, or even the cherry tree I got for my birthday? I wish we could just pick up the little plum tree and set it back straight in its hole, roots and all, problem resolved, nothing to dispose of!

Before and After: December 2010 and February 2011
Before and After: January 2010 and February 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Fashion Favorites (02-13-11)

Among the fashion sketches below, these are my favorite.

Self-Portrait with pen and paper

My favorite among all the outfits

Fashions (02-13-11)

Last night, I drew the following ladies while involved in a stressful discussion.

Family Newsletter (02-13-11)

I decided to post the family newsletter we sent to friends and family at the end of November.

The misadventures we've lived through in the last couple of years were easily adaptable to the comics format and were more entertaining to look at than a humdrum banal typed letter...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chaos After the Vintage Flea Market (02-10-11)

The Vintage Flea Market was a great success! (I wrote about it in some details on my No Ducks and Bunnies Vintage blog.) I am now trying to make sense of the things I have brought back from the show.

We've been here for now 11 months, and the house still looks like a disaster. The idea of getting the shed/studio done was a great one, but it's taken way more time than it should have. Despite taking many things to Village Merchants or Goodwill, there are boxes all over the house, some I haven't even had a chance to open yet!

Memories... (02-10-11)

Here is the photo taken with Gary's cell phone on the morning of the Junk Salvation event... with some old-fashioned retouching.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Post-Show Exhilaration (02-05-11)

What an exhausting fun day!

We got up super-early, and thanks to Gary's prodding, got to the fairgrounds early (if things are left to me, I tend to get distracted and leave too late...). Jennifer Hanson was already there; she had rearranged some things and made some adjustments to our booth. It now looked FANTASTIC!
I wanted to take a photo, so opened my bag to pull out my camera, and with horror and disappointment realized that I had left it at home. All the booths were gorgeous, - mine was absolutely lovely -, and here I was, with nothing to show for it. Not even thinking of using my own phone (and this shows how much I am not a morning person), I ran to Wendy Brown's Vintage Market booth phone to borrow her iPhone to take a couple of photos. Wendy has the most exquisite taste, and her booth, with its hand-painted striped canopy, was regal.

We were very busy all day!
Our booth was full. I was glad I'd decided to upgrade to a 10 x 20' space rather than a 10 x 10. We sold lots of small items, such as dishes, small collectibles, jewelry; the single vintage rubber stamps were a clear crowd-pleaser. In fact, we were so busy, I never got a chance to move the lovely trunks or dressers to the front, or to remove the large rug covering our fashion smart little chaise!

Check out the lovely furniture...

I had a chance to briefly walk around the building, and admired the other vendors' booth, ranging from the elegant to the romantic, and the four small travel trailers that had been brought in as part of the show's displays, all restored and decorated. Gosh, they were just adorable!

The day passed as if in a dream, a blur of people streaming in and out. Jennifer sold a couple of her gorgeous mosaic glass windows, and I could hear Gary, ever the salesman, shamelessly flirting with the customers (I'd laugh to myself, thinking I that really enjoy his sense of humor!).

At some point, a group of very pretty young women came to our booth and did a fashion-like photo shoot of one of them wearing the very elegant orange vintage orange cape on our clothes rack. Unfortunately, I never got a chance to ask them who they were, and where the photos might be posted...

Then it was suddenly all over, and we had to take everything down, and pack up. Our three daughters, Monica-Sophie, Valérie and Julia, showed up unexpectedly and helped load things back on the truck.

All in all, this was a lot of fun, and we can't wait to do it again!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pre-Show Madness (02-04-11)

We spent all day getting boxes packed and labeled, loaded the rental truck, and due to a few glitches with the rental truck company, we didn't get on our way until after 12 p.m. I was really concerned since we were supposed to be set up and done by 4 p.m.

My friend Jennifer Hanson was already there; she had brought some of her gorgeous windows to sell in our booth, and thanks to her great organization skills and sense of style, we got the booth ready shortly after 4 p.m.
No Ducks and Bunnies Vintage

The building looked ravishingly pretty all set up, with lots of beautiful items, lots of teal, gray-rose, pale yellow accent colors...

I hope people will like the things we have to sell!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Contour Drawing (02-01-11)

Today was the first day of the Sketching class I teach at the Walter Cultural Arts Center in Hillsboro. Since there was a new show opening in gallery, with a singer and many people in the lobby, I threw my students to the lions by telling them to go sketch what they see.

As for myself, I decided to do something I don't do often: a contour drawing.