"Life isn't long enough to do all you could accomplish. And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is.
Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!"--Tasha Tudor

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Celebrate Tasha Tudor Day with Marjorie Tudor!

The Tudor's expert gardener, Jenna, with Tasha Tudor's last Corgi, Megan.

Megan aka "Meggie" Tudor

Greetings, my lovelies! I am so pleased to welcome you, my dear reader, here this evening! Here at The Christmas Corgi we are celebrating Tasha Tudor Day, on this what would have been Tasha's 95th birthday. I am having a cup of tea in Tasha's honor right now. Earlier today, the power went out, as it often does here in my neck of the woods. Rather than embrace the darkness, I went to get a manicure, complete with bright red nail polish. Not a very Tasha Tudor thing to do, I know. But all of my fellow artists will surely appreciate the few and far between manicures we manage to get. We usually have our hands full of paint and clay and so on and so forth. Tasha was famous for her love of her turkey red tablecloths, so when I look at my shiny red nails (which I'm sure will only last for a day or two) I will think of her.

I am thrilled that Tasha Tudor Day is really catching on, as I truly believe that Tasha was a national treasure. She has influenced me in so many ways. When I was a little girl, I remember seeing Tasha's Corgi illustrations and I thought that Corgis were magical creatures. Now, having lived with them, I know that I was right all along. Tasha had so many fans for so many reasons. Her fan base continues to grow. Some people love her for her art and illustrations, some for her famous green thumb and fabulous gardens, some for her lifestyle. She truly incorporated much of her love and appreciation for the 1800's into who she was, from the way she dressed to her daily life. She did what she loved and as Thoreau said, followed confidently in the direction of her dreams. If you are unfamiliar with Tasha, please spend a little time learning about her. You will be so glad that you did.

I am so happy to have Tasha's dear Daughter-in-Law, and artist extraordinaire, Marjorie Tudor here to share some special things with us on The Christmas Corgi Blog today.

Hello Marjorie!

Here is Marjorie with Agatha Kitty.

Marjorie has been as busy as a bee. She just returned from Northern Vermont to spend some time with her colleagues from Boston Children's Theater, with whom she collaborated on last year's adaptation of The "Velveteen Rabbit." Marjorie said, "I had a fabulous time with Burgess, Toby and Daniel. Burgess Clark is the Executive Artistic Director of Boston Children's Theatre, Toby Schine its Executive Producer, and Daniel Blake the Musical Director. BCT is the oldest theatre of its kind in New England and this past year extended its outreach to young folks in the Greater Boston Area from 800 to almost 10,000. I am so pleased to let you know that "The Velveteen Rabbit" is being relaunched for the upcoming 2010 Christmas season, and Burgess Clark's charming adaptation of this classic children's story includes live actors on stage as well as talented puppeteers. It's a wonderful show, so am very pleased. Boston Children's Theatre is over sixty years old. Burgess Clark and Toby Schine it's Executive Artistic Director and Executive Producer, respectively, are working to make it an international presence, which it already is in Germany. We eventually hope to bring this particular show to Japan. Puppetry is very popular in that country. Here are some photos of my Velveteen Rabbit adventure last year, which involved live actors as well as the eleven puppets I made. Of the eleven, four were the Velveteen Rabbit, one of them old and worn out from being loved up by the Boy. The little girl, Lucy, is holding one of the three Wild Rabbits...very soft and wild looking" said Marjorie.

And here they are!

Who could resist such cuteness?

This is where the magic happens at Marjorie's house.

It is her artistic workspace. Isn't it lovely? Below that is her "trusty
non-electric Singer sewing machine made in Scotland in the fifties.
I love it! A beautiful machine!" says Marjorie.

Among Marjorie's many talents is doll making. Here is one of her dolls, Elsie that she made and just could not part with.

Elsie is a twelve inch doll. She has carved and jointed basswood arms and legs. Her head and chest plate are modeled from Pro Sculpt. She is in the collection of Hannah Tudor Wyman.

Marjorie gives doll study retreats at her home. Classes are small, with two or three students at the most, and it is a two or three day deal. She also gives marionette making workshops. Marjorie said, "I just finished one with a delightful thirteen year old girl last week. We had so much fun, and she made a really lovely doll. I was impressed with her work." We will have to have Marjorie back on the blog to tell us more about this and to share more photos of her other crafts that she has made and some more lovely Tudor family traditions ( I'm thinking maybe Christmastime, Marjorie? )

Happy faces with their cut wool owls.
Students from Japan with their cut wool bunnies.
A marionette workshop student.
Tasha Tudor has done so much over the years to delight Corgi lovers everywhere. One of the most coveted prizes that is given out by the Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club of America's regional clubs is "The Tasha Tudor Certificate" for winning Best of Breed at a Corgi Specialty Show. Tasha was a member of the Mayflower Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club in New England, and it was well known that she was very impressed with anyone who dedicated their life to the protection and welfare of the breed she loved so much. I remember having the opportunity to ask Tasha once what was the greatest number of Corgis that she had at one time. With a twinkle in her eye and and impish look, she said, "Oh, twelve, I think. But one can never have just one Corgi." But, as Tasha headed into the Winter of her years, she did have but one sweet Corgi at Corgi Cottage.
"After Owyn passed away," said Marjorie, "Tasha wanted another corgi, and she wanted to get one from an English kennel. So, I researched and found one (whose name has completely escaped me), which offered pups with super dispositions. Winslow, Amy and I drove Tasha down to Logan airport to pick Megan up. What a little angel she was...and in perfect condition. We were sure the stewardesses had pampered her on the flight over. Tasha sat in the back seat with Meggie on her lap all the way home. This sweet little pup never whimpered or fussed, just snuggled up with Tasha until we arrived back home in Vermont.

After Tasha passed, Megan came to live with Seth and me. She is a very good, healthy, and happy little girl and quite a character - keeps my two kitties in line and never leaves my side. Her favorite adventure is to go for outings in my car, and of course, she is the perfect gardening companion, whose self imposed job routing out marauding voles (Timmy Willies), she enthusiastically pursues.
Here are some amusing photos my son Benjamin took of her in a red jacket during hunting season last year. She looks super cute...and also the watercolor I did of her for a Valentine card. Was thinking of offering corgi watercolor portraits at some point. What do you think?"
Umm...that would be a great big YES from me, Marjorie. ( Let's hold her to that one, my little Corgettes. If you haven't signed up for the lovely Tasha Tudor and Family newsletter, you can do so from their website. Some of Marjorie's work and lots of other wonderful things can be found there, so you will be the first to know what is new!)
Here is Meggie.

I think she agrees that she does look 'supercute' in her red vest!

Here is the watercolor Valentine Marjorie did of her.

More Valentines.

Be still my heart!

Winslow Tudor and Megan.

I think Tasha is very happy knowing that her Megan is loved so much.
"I often think of Tasha, often stroll through the old gardens surrounding Corgi Cottage... so many memories" says Marjorie. " We were neighbors for thirty-five years, my children's Granny. To be perfectly frank, that's how I think of her, always ... our Granny. She was my mother-in-law, my friend, my teacher. The knowledge she shared with me, whether it was a gardening tip, or instruction in the arts of watercolor, doll and marionette making, or cooking is priceless. I cherish her memory, not just on her birthday, but every day, and join with, not only our family in the celebration of her remarkable life and legacy, but with all her dear fans. Tomorrow there will be a special celebration at The Rookery. Winslow, no doubt, will bring a yummy cake along with some hand cranked ice cream. Meggie and Annie, Elizabeth Rose and Christina's, Sophie, will be there enchanting us all.
Tasha had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. I'll share a memory about something she found rather amusing. Tea time, one afternoon around four o'clock in early April, Lazarina, the dove, swooped down from her perch on Tasha's shoulder and landed "plunk" in the middle of a delectable chocolate cake. It was very funny, and we had to disengage the discomfited bird, who had sunk completely into it and wash her carefully off. She fluffed her feathers dry on the warming shelf of Tasha's old cookstove while we drank lukewarm tea.
So, dear friends, I say to you, as Tasha Tudor, herself, would say to you ... "Take Joy" and "To thine own self be true."

Jennifer Tudor Wyman, Hannah and "Granny" Tasha

A photo Tasha took around 1963 of her corgi puppies, and below that, Thomas Jefferson corgi. (Recognize him from the Valentine above?)

David Austin's Heritage, One of Tasha's favorite roses.
Thank you, Marjorie, for sharing a glimpse of your creative life, for all of the wonderful photographs, and especially for celebrating Tasha Tudor Day with us. Those of us who hold a place for Tasha in our hearts are truly kindred spirits. ♥ CS

P.S.Be sure to visit the links in my previous post to Storybook Woods and all of the other blogs celebrating Tasha's birthday today. If you are reading this from a feed, just click on over back to my blog for all of the other links. Here are a few links to our past TT day posts. 2008, 2009.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Celebrate Tasha Tudor Day With Us!

Saturday will will be celebrating Tasha Tudor Day along with Clarice, Suzanne, and all of our kindred spirit friends. Do pop back here for a special post featuring Marjorie Tudor, Tasha's Daughter-in-Law. In the meanwhile, hop over to visit Natalie at The Rookery. There is a very special giveaway over at Tasha's to celebrate the day. The Corgis here are getting ready to party in Tasha's honor. xo xo ♥ CS

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

American Holiday Artists Welcomes You To Christkindlemart!

***Christkindlemart in August?***

5pm EST with the GREAT AMERICAN HOLIDAY ARTISTS BLOG GIVEAWAY! American Holiday Artists Studios Marketplace debuts August 25th (today!)

We’re three years old and counting! The American Holiday Artists group expands beyond ETSY and eBay to better serve our collector base with a new Marketplace! Our artist members offer fresh-one-of-a-kind- heirloom-quality seasonal and holiday theme art-from hooked rugs, to whimsical papier-mâché characters, cloth dolls, folk art, fantasy- art, paintings, one-of-a-kind ornaments, artist patterns and more!
All this, straight from the artist’s studio to your home year round, made with you in mind, by award-winning and respected artists. Visit American Holiday Artists Studio Marketplace at http://www.ahaartistsstudio.com/,. Opt in and subscribe to our mailing list and receive our free monthly newsletter-you’ll keep up with new monthly-artist members, new work, artist challenges and future events. New arrivals featured the 25th of each month. And for weekly updates, drop in at our blog: AmericanHolidayArtists.com

To celebrate the debut of our new online Marketplace our artists invite you to indulge in a time out, grab a steaming mug of hot cocoa-okay it’s August- how about an iced caramel latte? Virtually stroll among our members blogs i.e.- “holiday markets” to enter a chance at winning a handcrafted or limited edition work. In the spirit of Europe’s old world marketplace tradition known as Christkindlemart, our artists beckon your arrival to their (blog)“tent”.

So shut your eyes for one brief moment and-

B E L I E V E.

Step into the crisp winter air, the evening stars light your way around our festive town square. Take in the scent of freshly baked gingerbread wafting from the local bakery. Caroler’s gather under the warm glow of a gas-lit lamp. Can you hear the Corgis singing? Ornaments and candy canes, dot the center’s tree, glistening snow flakes sparkle as they spiral down to brush your cheek. Then here you are at our first artist’s tent, share your own experience of this magical night with our artists; leave your comment at each (blog) tent:

Alycia's Art

Back In The Day Originals

Elysian Field Originals

Fantasy Whispers

Folk `n Fiber

Folk Art By Penny

Folk Art From The Heart

Ginny Diezel Studios

Granny Wolf Originals

Grunge Goddess Primitives

Howling Mood Designs

Lowell Country Designs

Mother's Dream Artworks

Seasonal Whimsies

Skellyton Art

Smirking Goddes Studios

The Christmas Corgi

The Goode Wife Of Washington County

The Snippets

Whimsical Endeavors

Wings And Paws Whimsies

At each of these AHArtists sites, you will find a post today about a little GiveAway to celebrate the launch of our new marketplace. All you need to do to win is to leave a comment at the GiveAway post on each blog. That's it! You can win more than once if you are lucky! Each artist winner will be randomly chosen from all of the comments on each blog. Do hop over to visit my new page in our brand new AHA Marketplace Studio. Have fun browsing all of the artist's offerings. We will each post a new original piece on the 25th of each month. Can you guess what mine is for the launch? You'll have to hop over and see!

For my GiveAway, I have decided to offer not one but three prints to a lucky winner. I have chosen 3 of my favorites, but if you already have any of these or would prefer a different print(s) from my Etsy shop, just let me know when the time comes and your wish will be granted.

My three prints are:

"Flying Lessons"

Signed. 10"x8" on a lovely 11" x 8 1/2" Epson matte art paper.

"Jack O'Lantern"

Signed. 3" x 3" miniature print on 8 1/2 " x 11 " lovely Epson matte art paper.


"Mini Corgoyle"

Another miniature print from my Original painting. Signed. 3" x 3" and printed on a lovely 8 1/2" x 11" Epson Matte art paper.

Good luck, my little Corgettes! Winners will be chosen on September 12th. Thanks for your support and for visiting all of the American Holiday Artists! We are so thankful to be able to continue to bring you art from our heart and soul. xo xo CS

Exciting News and American Holiday Artists Giveaway

I belong to a wonderful juried group of talented artists who create the most amazing things. Our love of creating art, especially for Holidays, binds us together. We have been keeping a secret under our collective hats, and well, today is the day to let the cat out of the bag! Announcing the Grand Opening of American Holiday Artists Studio Marketplace! Come back right here at 5:00 PM EST for the link to the Marketplace. But what would a Grand Opening be without a giveaway? How about LOTS of giveaways? Oh yes, my little Corgettes. To celebrate this momentous occasion all Artisans are participating in an online "Christkindlemart" Blog Give-away!

This Give-away will run from August 25th through September 12th. The rules are very simple, and you have a chance to win more than one prize. Here's how it works. First, each Artisan has posted a picture of our give-away prize clearly marked on our blogs. Next we have all chosen a random number. All you have to do is post a comment under each prize picture. Now, if your comment corresponds with the Artisan's chosen number, then hooray, you win the prize for that blog. So, the more comments you post, the more chances you have to win! Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Each of us will have listed our fellow Artisans on our blogs, so all you have to do is follow the list from blog to blog, find the prize and comment. What could be easier?All contest prizes will be posted today, August 25th at 5:00 PM EST. Good luck and Thank You for participating in the American Holiday Artist's Studio Marketplace Great Give-away! -CS ^..^

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Goodbye, My Sweet Indy

My dear Indy lost his heroic battle with lymphoma yesterday. He died peacefully in my arms at home. He let me know it was time. I made the difficult decision to put him down that evening, and then went outside and prayed. Sobbing, I asked God to please take him now because after losing Bridget too, I just didn't think I had the strength to do it, even though I knew it was the right thing to do. I came back inside and laid down with him, held him close and kissed him as my tears fell into his soft warm fur. Just like so many times before when he's been there for me through different events in my life. Except this time, my tears were for him. God answered my prayer. Indy looked at me and I told him that it was OK to fly to heaven with his angels, not to be afraid (he could be a chicken at times) and that I would be OK ~ he was my protector. John couldn't even kiss me without a big woof from Indy. Within fifteen minutes or so, I felt his breathing change and felt the strong, beautiful heart of a champion slow down. His ears that had twitched with every teardrop that fell on them, suddenly stopped and I knew he was gone. I held him for what felt like forever. I put him on a soft cotton baby blue blanket and covered him with a little blanket with hearts. He still had his little plush Christmas toy in his paws that he would not share with the other Corgis. I lit a candle next to him and waited for Mary Elizabeth to come over so she could say goodbye to him too. Indy always answered to 'Sweetie.' And a sweetie he was. My heart is broken and I can hardly breathe. Dear God, please take care of my boy until we meet again. Find Bridget, Indy, she won't be too far ahead. Run free little man. Run free. ♥ CS

CH. Windcrest Zip'N Indiana Jones


12/30/97 - 8/18/2010
Indy, you taught me so much. So much.

You were the BEST dog a girl could ever have.

I will love you forever.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Morning Rain

Need a little rain? Here...I'm sending you some of mine. Serious frizzy hair weather here in the woods. xo xo CS

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chinese Brush Painting With Susan

A couple of days after the tragic loss of Bridget and her puppies during her c-section, my friend and artist/film maker extraordinaire Susan Jacob called to say that she was going to come over to have a 'studio play date' to help pull me out of sobbing in my dark room and pajamas. I resisted her efforts for a few days, but a real friend knows when to keep nudging. Sue finally said, 'that's it, I'm coming over, and I'm bringing stuff to play with.' She and her mom, Linda (a talented artist as well) came over on Friday. Linda brought her laptop and worked on some of her graphics for her original jewelry designs. And what a bag of tricks Sue brought! She has been studying traditional Chinese brush painting for quite some time. I have never tried it and Sue is a fantastic teacher. I love learning something from someone who loves what they are doing.

As soon as she set up everything I realized why she wanted to come and share this with me. The tools of this craft are gorgeous. I loved looking at them all. The first thing we did was to make ink. Even my daughter sat with us to do this. This intricately painted black stone is what makes the ink. You use a tiny bit of water and in smooth circular specific motions ("wax on, wax off, Daniel San...") you 'grind' the ink bar on to an ink stone for a very long time and it makes the ink. I can't tell you how much I loved this part. It was very soothing, relaxing, and really loosens up your arm for this kind of painting. Art therapy is good. Really good. The scent of the ink was heavenly. Sue said that ink recipes are closely guarded secrets that have come down through generations and each one incorporates certain herbs and 'medicines' into each unique formula. I did recognize patchouli in this one because my son always buys some for me at the Renaissance fair. You need to be aware of your posture, your hand, your arm and wrist and your breathing when you make ink. It is awesome.

Chinese brush painting takes years and years to master. There is no 'print making' in this artform. If they want more than one of the same painting, by the time they may want to duplicate it, they have mastered it and can reproduce it. You can't go back to correct anything, everything is done with one stroke. How it is when you lay the ink on to the paper with your brush is how it will stay. You have to leave it alone. It is what it is. I had to retrain my brain to think about what I was doing. As it dries, it slightly changes, getting lighter, revealing more characteristics of your stroke. You have to leave it alone and let it be. It is very freeing. I'm sure there are many life lessons to be learned from this.

Learning my strokes

Gloves must be worn to handle this red cinnabar seal oil, as it is poisonous.

Nosey Stella and Sue with one of my favorite paintings. Sue had made this one a few years ago and its been hanging on my wall. We realized that she hadn't signed it, so she signed it and sealed it with her name in Chinese, which she had translated from the master artist who has taught her this ancient art.

John brought us pizza and salad and beer and wine when he came home from work, which we were SO ready for by the time he got there. (Thanks, honey xo xo)

You can find Sue's contact info at http://www.ambershift.com/ . She will be creating more awesome Corgi and other Chinese brush paintings. Be sure to check out the amazing jewelry she and her mom create which can be found in their Etsy shop which can also be found at that link. One of my favorite pieces from them is their 'dogs rule' cartouche, an enameled piece written in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. I know that Linda is working on more fantastic pieces for this collection which is already on its second casting. I'm saving up for one of their Celtic Corgi necklaces too. (hint hint, John....)

Have a happy day, my lovelies! (I apologize in advance that you will not be able to get the Kung Fu Fighting song out of your head today :) !!) xo xo -Cat ♥