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Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say hello and meet the girls at today’s Mt. Lebanon Earth Day Festival. I loved seeing so much excitement over keeping backyard chickens. Also wanted to show everyone the three gorgeous eggs that the girls laid as soon as we got home. It was hysterical to see them dart from the crate, across the yard, into the hen house and up the ramp into their coop. And then, like, magic, these:

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Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions about chickens. I will do my best to answer or direct you to great resources. Email foxbury [at] mac dot com.

OK – I am NOT tooting my own horn, here. I don’t like to do that and I cringe when other people do it. What I’m talking about here is the loveliness in something – anything – that is so clearly made by hand. Yes, I did some illustrations for Wendell August but their artisans turned them into something really worth putting on your tree. I was happy with the photos I saw in their catalog and online but when I received the samples in the mail this past week, I loved what I saw. You can tell, looking at each ornament, that someone – a real, live person, touched every piece of pewter and softened the rough spots and polished the surfaces. Each piece is stamped on the back and – gasp – the stamps aren’t uniform! I love it. I am so thrilled to be a part of this great group of people in Western PA that appreciate the value of the handmade.

Contrary to what this blog would make you think about our lack of progress on the house we have been working like crazy. Our recent big project was a hen house for our girls, Chunky Penny, Lady Whistle and Ms Jackson.

Naturally before building a hen house we thought we should go ahead and tear out the non-retaining retaining wall that the previous owners “built” out of broken bricks and concrete blocks. Here’s a quick BEFORE shot to make you see just how heavenly our back yard looked when we moved in:

FULL DISCLOSURE: the yard didn’t look this nice when we moved in. I took this the morning we started the new retaining wall which was just a couple of months ago. Since we moved in we added the butterfly bush and the rain barrel that will eventually catch the run off from the garage.

Anyhow – after a day of building the wall and learning that our next-door neighbors are really amazing, wonderful and generous (even moreso than we previously suspected) this is what we had to look at:

 

 

The next step was to build the hen house. Little Brother Anthony arrived (in jorts) to aid in the construction.

 

 

We made a ton of progress that weekend and then promptly walked away from the project for awhile due to work, travel, etc. You can see by the change in attire and the leaves on the trees how much time passed.

TIME WARP:

This is much nicer to look at, no?

Now the girls live out there as happy as can be. I love to look it every day as more leaves fall and it settles in to look like part of the landscape.

This project would not have been possible without the help of friends and family who donated time, supplies and food. I feel like I’m dedicating a book. Huge thanks go out to Anthony for jumping in and getting us moving on the construction; to Sierra and Tommy for helping to engineer and build the wall; to Ton and Sonja for lunch, tea service, gravel and dirt moving and all around moral support (and for giving birth to Sierra all those years ago); to Tammy, Barbara, John, Eric and Jan – neighbors who donated scrap lumber, chicken wire, shovels, etc.; to Dad, Kate L, Terry, Natalie, Cliff M and Janice D for donating license plates; to Mom for hanging out with Whistle and most of all, to Steve, who continues to indulge every crazy whim I get.

I am so happy to have built something for the hens to live in that makes our home a more interesting, fun place to live, with the generosity and kindness of so many people involved. My heart swells.

 

 

Wendell August Forge is America’s oldest and largest forge, producing hand-wrought ornamental metalware and elegant giftware in aluminum and other metals since 1923.

It’s here! I’ve been working with Wendell August since early this year and I’m excited and proud to announce the first launch: Gifts from the Sea. A hearty thanks goes out to Hilary Meurer for hooking me up with the great team at Wendell August and making this collaboration possible.

The first step was to create a thumbnail sketch for a 9×12 piece of art featuring shells and their names. Below is my sketch.

And here is the final illustration:

From there the craftsmen at Wendell August made their magic happen and hand-hammered the design to create a mold from which to cast the products in the collection. I am going to head up north soon and take the tour of the factory and learn more about the production but in the meantime their website says this: “This process includes Die Engraving by a master engraver, Material Selection and Cutting, Repousse (Hammering), Surface Anvilling, Edging, Carbon Coloring, a three step polishing process, and Forming. ”

I am thankful for the opportunity to work with Wendell August as so few things seem to be made in America anymore, let alone made with care by artists and craftsmen who love what they do and take pride in it.

Today feels good.

Oh, little orphan blog. I haven’t forgotten but I have been wrapped up in living. Whistle and I took a week-long trip to New York and upon our return I jumped into preparing for the National Stationery Show next month. And Spring is springing so I’m constantly outside checking out the progress of the perennials.

The sort-of-secret project I was working on is coming to fruition and I hope to have some new photos and info about that soon.

I also swear that we have been making progress on the house. I just have been terribly remiss at posting pictures. Well, actually I’ve been remiss at cleaning enough to take pictures. No sooner than we get a room “done” we fill it with our messy life.

So – thanks for your patience and I swear to get busy on this soon. In the meantime, some NYC photos.

Whistle took this one.

(and this one)

Opening Friday, NOV 19, 2010

I am busy busy busy getting ready for my upcoming show at Wildcard in Lawrenceville. I am collaging and sanding boxes and burning screens and mixing ink and printing and repeating. And repeating. And repeating. I am so thankful to Rebecca and Brian for giving me this opportunity.

Now, back to work.

More details and photos (maybe NOT from my phone?) to come. Until then…

Last week my friend, Ryan, posted some phone pictures that his cool wife has been taking around the house. One of the pictures included a bag that I made for their adorable daughter, Tessa Tangerine.

Wait, you probably already know this which is why you’re here in the first place. I know this because you are not related to me and you’re reading my blog and that only happens when Ryan posts something that includes my name.

So I won’t waste your time. You know Ryan. You know Cole. You know LB. You know Tessa. Enough said.

I am very touched that my bag made it into the Panic Family Photo Archives and that a few of you have reached out to me to make bags for your sweet spring-offs or spring-offs-of-friends.

Long story short: I would LOVE to make bags for each and every one of you (that want one).

Shoot me an email foxbury at mac dot com and let’s work it out. I’m easy. A small sampling of bags that I’ve made in the past.

Recently a super terrific woman contact me through my etsy store and asked if I would be open to creating four “boxes” for her son’s room. The jumping off point was this print:

She requested that I use this and another illustration of a tractor that I had already done. Additionally she wanted a hay truck and a hay squeeze. “Oh sure, a hay squeeze,” I said. Of course. A hay squeeze. Who doesn’t know what a hay squeeze looks like? I could draw one from memory, with my eyes closed – like those art class exercises where you had to do “contour drawings.”  But fret not, Fox, she was kind enough to send me some photos of the very hay squeeze that her husband drives.

I loved this project. I was super bummed to package them up and ship them off. But just last week she sent an email and said (and I’m for real quoting – hope she doesn’t mind) “they are perfect! My son and husband are completely mesmerized with them.”

I am blushing.

14″x14″ screenprints on wood. Four coats of varnish.

I am so excited to be taking part in a printmaking show in Northampton, MA. The show opens Friday, July 9. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend the opening but I’m hoping to post pictures of the show once it’s all hung. Special thanks to Shoshana Philips of Red Horse Press for making it happen.

I am so happy to have been asked to put some screenprinted pieces into a co-op show in Massachusetts. Shoshana Phillips, of Red Horse Press, is putting the show together so it promises to be a terrific one. I will have more details soon!