Peeling Off the Layers

They’re power-washing the house in preparation for new stucco, and it’s fascinating to see the layers of color underneath the yellow. It looks like this house started off with a bronze color, then it was painted a deep blue-green, then white, and finally yellow. It’s only been painted four times in 85 years? That’s kind of surprising.

Stucco paint layers

Stucco paint layers

Stucco paint layers

I’m thinking of olive green for its next incarnation!

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Field Trip to Farm Sanctuary

Guess where I was today!  Farm Sanctuary — one of my very favorite nonprofit organizations. They have a small shelter near here in Acton, CA, where they rescue abused farm animals and rehabilitate them. These lucky animals then become the ambassadors for all of the other farm animals through Farm Sanctuary‘s education and advocacy programs.

I’ve been a long-time supporter of Farm Sanctuary since their inception in 1986, but I had never been to any of their shelters before. The Acton shelter is relatively new and smaller than their other two shelters in Watkins Glen, NY and Orland, CA.

It was delightful to see and spend some time with these gentle animals. I’ve been around cows before, but I’ve never seen cows this big.  The black and white Holstein is the height of a large horse.

Farm Sanctuary cows

Farm Sanctuary cows

The pigs like belly rubs!

Farm Sanctuary pigs

And the goats like to be scratched under their chin.

Farm Sanctuary goats

Farm Sanctuary goats

The Farm Sanctuary presentation exposes the cruelties of factory farm practices and the myth of so-called “happy meat.” I highly recommend that you check them out and consider your choices about what you eat for health, environmental and ethical reasons.

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Caterpillar Munchies

Look who I found on one of the manzanitas, and they’re not even planted in the ground yet! I love his colors.

Caterpillar

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Peony and Parakeet Post

On her Peony and Parakeet blog, Paivi Eerola featured my paintings in a really fun post where she tried one of my techniques out for herself. She combined the pulled paint technique with some collage and pen and ink work, and this is what she got:

Peony and Parakeet

It’s a rooster! Can you see it? Read the full story of her experience here. She does an excellent job of describing her process, and she’s someone you might want to follow!

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California Natives

Some of the plants I bought last week are starting to bloom already, even though they’re still sitting in pots on the deck, waiting to be planted in the yard. These are all California natives, and most of them are from Matilija Nursery in Moorpark, which specializes in California native plants. Some were chosen for their flowers, some for their scent. Some were chosen to attract birds, butterflies and bees, and some for the dye colors that they give.

This first flower is Ceanothus, which is a beautiful purple-blue and smells heavenly. The bees love it.

Ceanothus

These next two are Sticky Monkeyflowers — Mimulus.

Sticky Monkey Flower

Sticky Monkey Flower

Two different Desert Mallows, with their soft pinks and orange.

Desert Mallow

Desert Mallow

And this is Blue-Eyed Grass, a native member of the Iris family.

Blue-Eyed Grass

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Mysterious Message

There’s a voice in my head that has been repeating the same message every day for the past few months — sometimes several times a day. I should probably pay attention, right? Here’s the three-word advice that this voice gives me: “Pillsbury Bake-Off.” What the heck does that mean?

Pillsbury Bake-Off

I confess that I was fascinated with the Pillsbury Bake-Off when I was a teenager, and I may have submitted recipes once or twice. I remember coming up with an avocado bread that was bright green on the inside and like banana bread, but made with avocados instead of bananas. Alas, my avocado bread recipe was not selected for the finals, and I never had an opportunity to compete at the live event.

These days I wouldn’t dream of eating Pillsbury’s processed food products, because they’re loaded with fat, sugar, preservatives and other ingredients that I avoid. So what can this message possibly mean?

Is there some way I can bring healthy eating to the Pillsbury world by inventing a recipe that is reasonably healthy using one of the Pillsbury products? Maybe something like a kale-Pillsbury cookie dough smoothie?

Or perhaps the message “Pillsbury Bake-Off” has some other meaning, like an event I could create that is reminiscent of the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Do you have any ideas about what this cryptic message could possibly mean?

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Getting There

The studio is coming along! It now has a plywood roof, and they installed the six Velux skylights today. The insulation is in place, and after tomorrow’s inspection, they can start on the drywall.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

The screened-in porch is ready for stucco and the finishing touches. The new sliding glass doors are fabulous, and the cats enjoy sitting in the morning sun.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

This is the new broken concrete walk in the front yard, created from recycled concrete removed from the back. The front yard is ready for planting, and I’m in the process of deciding what to put in. It’s going to be a drought-tolerant garden — mostly California native plants.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio Ventura

It’s all very exciting, and I can hardly wait until it’s done!

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Charmlee Update

I drove down to Malibu today to set up a new computer for my parents. But now that computers come preinstalled with almost everything you need, it only took an hour. So afterwards I went for another hike in Charmlee Wildnerness Park.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

This is my selfie taken from Fossil Rock overlooking the ocean.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

I love this grove of ancient rocks and oak trees. Chumash Indians lived here at one time.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

It has only been four weeks since I was here last, but it already looks different. Wildflowers are just beginning to bloom. In another month or two the colors will be spectacular.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

The poison oak is coming out of winter dormancy.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

It’s the most beautiful natural park I have ever seen.

Charmlee Wilderness Park Malibu

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Raise the Roof!

Today they nailed plywood walls onto the outside of my art studio and put the bow trusses for the roof in place. It’s starting to look like a real building now! Before it looked small to me, but now that it’s mostly enclosed, it looks huge. And I love the raised ceiling. I can’t wait until it’s done, but we still have a ways to go.

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio

Cassandra Tondro Art Studio

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Angry Bird Kite

We’ve had really strong winds the past couple of days. Yesterday afternoon I was standing at the kitchen sink, washing dishes, and I saw this fly by. It appears to be an Angry Bird kite! Maybe from the park across the street? It got caught on the top of the garage, and finally worked it’s way down to the ground. I thought someone might come looking for it, but no one showed up. It looks kind of cute there, don’t you think?

Angry Bird Kite

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