Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taste the Rainbow!

Can you taste your rainbow? Take a moment today to think about what you want in the new year. Visualize your life, your work, your health, your family just as you want it to be. Hold that thought!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Happy Holidays to everyone!!!! Our snow is melted, but we are still very merry. I lift my shot of eggnog and toast to: Family, Health, Friends, a hopeful new president, the creative life, nature, and a wonderful new year to come.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Inside the Studio

Ah, a peek inside Bliss Monkey Studio? How about first thing on a sunny Oregon morning? Light filtering in, heaps of fleece on the cutting table, a rainbow of thread waiting..... it's pure bliss for me to enter the studio, ready to work, the full day ahead of me.

The Etsy holiday rush is mostly passed. I'm working on wrist warmers and fleece socks for my family, and all my secret projects. Ssshhhh! I've taken to gift wrapping right away to keep things hidden.

Max and I and the kids made tons of cookies and passed them out to our friends and neighbors over the weekend. Grandmother's fudge recipe didn't turn out this time, (unless you want to give it out by the spoonful). And the kids got carried away with decorating the gingerbread snow men...."uh, ok, just ONE anatomically MALE snowman, but THAT one will be for Daddy's plate!" But cranberry pumpkin bread loaves, chocolate stars, russian tea cakes, and almond biscotti all made for a nice plate.

The snow melted outside! Makes getting around easier but we miss the pretty snow.

January plans? I have many new projects to unveil, and a fun give away on my blog to celebrate the new year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday MORE Snow!

We woke to a fresh blanket of snow this morning (view straight out back- I love the sky!), and the last day of the school before vacation cancelled!

So far today, the kids and I have played, built a snow CAT outside, did some office work (me not so much them, though they did work on holiday gifts), and I stitched up a few new pairs of wrist warmers to ship out. We had a long walk in the snow and out for "second breakfast-es" like hobbits do, and over to the store and back home. It's nice to be able to go places without the car.

I've just discovered that I have several rolls of vinyl in my studio (from a long time ago) and that my new machine sews it up nicely.....hhhmmmm, what will be come of THIS discovery?

Can you spot my item in this neat treasury?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Treasury on Etsy

Here is the link if you would like to go over to the treasury and actually click on any of the items. It's always fun to find myself in someone's treasury!

Snow storm due in again tonight.... ooooOOOOOoooo, exciting!

Monday, December 15, 2008


We experienced a practice snow fall on Friday, much to our delight, but woke to REAL snowfall this morning. Ta -da! It's fairly unusual for us, on the valley floor, to get this much snow, let alone have it stick. What fun.

This is Saffron experiencing his first snow. Both kitties think it's so fun. They keep going in, and out...... and in and out and in..... and out and um, no, in, then right back out, then oh, in, then out...... brrr! In and out and in. Out. Ooooowwwt. In.

I had a lovely walk with our dog Toli this morning. He was so excited, I wanted to let him off leash, but he's not so well behaved yet. We met up with another off-leash lab and they played and played and played. The friendly dog owner and I chatted away, went back to her house to get balls for the dogs to fetch, then she showed me her back yard where the dogs could play together in future. (This is how dog owners in Eugene are! That's how we roll. Friendly bunch).

I fell right in love with a hand carved elephant she had and she was like, "Oh, I'd like to get rid of it. Would you like it?"
WOULD I????!!!!!
(Max don't read this!) :-)

Happy winter wonderland. Time to take kids sledding!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cookie Monsters

Afterschool on Friday, we baked cookies with M & Ms. Big huge ones. Mudslide Sydney (the little guy) asked if we could frost them. Mmmm, nice idea, but sounds way too my reply. He considers carefully, thinking of an agreeable compromise: how about if we frost them with peanut butter and add more M's to stick on top! A little protein with that sugar? OK! Sounds good! Says mom.

Here are the resulting master pieces. (Now, mind you, I do NOT need that much extra fat on my snacks, but those guys could put it to good use!)

Later that day, Max took them to the rock climbing gym to help children with visual disabilities enjoy some climbs. They've been rock climbing for about two months now and are getting so strong and agile on the wall. Nice!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stitched Jewels

Here's the book cover! I wrote a tutorial for of my textile jewelry pieces called, "When Life Gives You Lemons- Make Art" for the book. One of many gorgeous and fun projects you can learn to do in this book. Due out in the spring. :-)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Open Letter to Obama, from Alice Walker

This is so gorgeous. Give yourself a true and quiet moment to take it in. Do not miss the last line.

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us
being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you
know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But
seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year
after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be
struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost
more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended
to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of
all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It
is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations,
that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of
the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was
part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely
on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors
of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that
the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for
bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do
have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a
schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your
gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your
family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon
become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their
wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles
so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to
lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about
all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From
your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that
so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and
houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can
manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to
them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of
almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most
damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those
feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a
certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have
enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It
is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United
States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand,
completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with
which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be
no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more
dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already
happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where
this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by
the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts
the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the
soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All
else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to
peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic,
also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle
with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression
of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and
relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and
brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

© 2008, Al

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Dance That Will Make You Smile

(or at least he makes me smile)

This dancin' guy video goes out to Gentiana and Christopher. LOVE him! And if you like that one, he's got more.

And Milkshake.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Week of Buddhas

How many Buddhas can I find and photograph in a week? NOT counting any inside my house......

I love this big Buddha head with the glass reflecting the sky and people outside.......IN the midst of all our human-ness, busi-ness, thoughts, feelings, to-do lists, Buddha images remind me to take a deep breath, smile to myself, and feel my feet on the earth.

I feel grateful for everything, and all of you in my life.

Love, Alysse.

Meet Your Maker Dec -Indie craft show

I was really glad I got into the Meet YOur Maker show this month. I had returning customers happy I was there, and people who had seen my write up (along with many other local etsians) in the Eugene Weekly Gift Guide. The show was great for me. Thanks for a great monthly event all year, Amy and Megan.

My crazy-full display table. I had a small spot and was NOT messing around! Bin of big plush gnomes, TREE with ornaments, bin of coffee cozies, bin on wrist warmers, bin of applique wrist warmers...... fun fun fun!

Mushrooms, gnomes, gift giving monsters, and colorful birds.....

Very famous model Scott Cunningham working the runway with my Pebbles and BamBam wrist warmers. Hot hot HOT! And girls, yes, he's single. :-)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Local Markets

News: I will be at Meet Your Maker show tomorrow after all!
Broadway Winebar, downtown, 5-8 as part of the First Friday Artwalk in Eugene (each month). I am bringing all my cute new ornaments, the big gnomes, wrist warmers, and coffee cozies. See you there!

Photos from Eugene's Holiday Market below..... yes, it's every weekend till xmas, but I was there only last weekend. If you want more of my items before the holidays, email or convo me. Thanks!

Our big Holiday Market three day weekend-- I shared a space in Alley, Pracital Rabbit's booth. It was fun, it was colorful, it was busy.

My display rack with wrist warmers, coffee cozies, and brand new gnome stuffie ornaments. See the big gnomies in the bin below? They were a pretty happening bunch.

Booth front.
Practical Rabbit's amazing display of needle felted gnomes, mushrooms, and monsters.