Friday, 25 September 2009

Moving on out.....

Last week we found a little house that would suit us pretty much perfectly, put in an offer, got it accepted and now we are officially in escrow.

These last couple of weeks have been manic. I have spent my days looking at houses on the internet, viewing the ones I didn’t immediately discount, putting in offers only to be outbid…blah blah blah. I am glad the madness is about to end….hopefully…I know it isn’t over till the fat lady sings and won’t stop stressing until those keys are in my hands.

The market here is insane right now. It appears there are loads for sale but many of them are short sales which we have no interest in. One house round the corner from us went up for sale on a Friday afternoon and by Monday morning had 75 offers…insanity. And of course now the buyers are getting into bidding wars and pushing the prices up. The sellers aren’t offering to help with closing costs or even doing repairs….if you aren’t interested that that’s fine they’ll just go to the next offer. In some cases people are just driving by and putting an offer in on the strength of the neighborhood and exterior of the house. Told ya it was crazy.

One of the biggest problems we encountered is that we just aren’t a big fan of the typical Californian house. I have no desire for arched windows, floor to ceiling windows, cathedral ceilings or granite countertops.

But, the chances of me finding a little cottage in all of these McMansions was slim.

Our realtor was probably tearing his hair out as he said we were the total opposite from his ‘normal’ client. Most say the homes aren’t big enough….we kept saying they were too big. He laughed that I had more interest in birds nests or hummingbirds in the garden than I did in the kitchen.

But hey, that is us….sure our priorities might be different than a lot of people but, when you are paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars, I wanted to be sure it was the house for us.

The one we are buying appealed to me immediately from the few internet pictures I saw.

It is a lovely little house, described by the selling agent as a Cape Cod, although I am not entirely sure that is what I’d call it. I am tempted to believe that, as it was so different from the norm here, it was just a bit of realtor BS to help sell it.

Still, I don’t care what the style is or isn’t, I love it.

Mainly because it has brick….a lot of brick which is so uncommon down here. The garden definitely reminds me of an English home with all its raised brick flower beds.

It is still bigger than what we were looking for but as it is only 1 story it doesn’t feel huge and it doesn’t have cathedral ceilings.

It does have 4 bedrooms so that means Mick and I will get a workroom each…yay…a room of my own to do whatever I want in.

It also has lots of rooms. There is the living room, a family room, a dining room and a bonus room…what the heck is a bonus room anyhow. We certainly don’t’ have enough furniture to fill it that’s for sure.

And it needs work. The yard hasn’t been watered in forever so most of that will have to be pulled up. Inside it is mainly cosmetic but they seem to have started a number of jobs and not finished them so some floor tiling to be finished there as well. The kitchen cabinets were painted and not in a style I would like so that will have to be done again.

So that is about it for the moment. I am madly packing away…bleh. I started the workroom yesterday and boy what a job that is. I wanted to list a few plants I made on etsy but I don’t think I’ll have time to now. Maybe I’ll get chance for a blog post soon and I’ll show them on there.

The home inspector is going in tomorrow so fingers crossed there isn’t anything major wrong with the place.

I’ll be back as soon as I can…in the meantime keep your fingers crossed it all goes though fine.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Bye bye for a bit :-(

Well life has taken an unexpected turn for us of late.

We are currently renting our home here but have been talking about buying a home for some time now.

When we moved to Minnesota the plan was to only stay 1 year so we rented a 1 bed apartment. Then we decided to stay a little longer and I needed more space for a workroom so we moved to a 2 bed apartment.

Then, when we moved back to California, we had no idea which area was a good place to live so we rented the house where we are now.

Because we knew we'd be moving about so much in the last 5 years renting was the sensible way to go. So, although we kept saying we ought to buy a house, it has never been the right time....until now.

This house has a huge yard....and it is all grass. Not very sensible when you live in the desert huh. We didn't want the responsibility of a huge yard but part of the deal with this house was that the water bill and a gardener were included in the rent.

Until now ! Our lease is up shortly and the new terms are not only a rent increase but also that we pay the water bill. As you can imagine keeping a big lawn green in the desert is not cheap.

So...this has finally been the kick up the backside we needed to buy somewhere. We don't plan on leaving Southern California in the near future so it is insane to pay more in rent that we'd pay in a mortgage payment on a house of our own.

So that's where I've been the last couple of weeks. We found ourselves a wonderful realtor and he has been driving me round looking at homes.

Most of which, unfortunately, looked nothing like the online pictures.

We did find one we liked very much this weekend and put an offer yesterday but was pipped to the post by an offer that was put last in Friday :-(

The market in California right now is extremely tough. There are lots of buyers but very few homes available which means that any house we've seen has already had multiple offers..... even the not so nice ones.

So for the next few weeks I am going to be at the realtors beck and call and going to view places at a minutes notice. Luckily with me being at home all the time I have the advantage of being able to do this.

And I'll be packing. One way or another we'll be moving somewhere shortly, even if it is only temporary rented accommodation while we keep looking so I need to get moving on boxing everything up. A task I am not looking forward to one bit..... in situations like this living so far away from people we know, and help from them, really hits home.

So blogging with be intermittent at best. I won't have time for sculpting or flowers. I will be putting somethings on etsy shortly though as I plan on having a clear out at the same time so I'll let you know when I do that.

In the meantime, I'll be saying bye bye.....but I'll be back :-)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

My gast has never been so flabbered !

There are many awards floating around the blogosphere and I have been the proud recipient of many of them.

But, as much as I appreciate each and every award that I have received, none of these awards bought tears to my eyes. Until now.

I have just discovered that I am the very first recipient of the...

Jodi says....

LOVE your New Doll by the way...actually your first doll. I would strong encourage each and everyone to pop over to see it... just GREAT for your first attempt...I am amazed...

As a Matter of fact.... my dear friend Marie Segal from 'Art from my Heart' ...created a special 'Creager Award' for me...and she said it was one that I should bestow on any individual I felt was deeply connected with their work and showed signs of growth and talent... So I would like to for the first time...pass this award onto you I feel your heart is true, your focus is clear and your desires direction is determined. I hope you will accept this award with friendship and with knowledge that I believe in your talents.


* * * * * * * * * *

What can I say ? Truly I am lost for words.

To me this is so much more than an award. This is pure motivation and gives me the encouragement to forge ahead and be the best sculptor I can be.

I am gobsmacked to say the least. Jodi & Richard I cannot thank you enough.

All throughout this journey into sculpting I have been privileged to have their support.

Every time I hit a roadblock Jodi would be there with encouragement, tips and most importantly, reminding me of the need to keep practicing.

Well it worked....I want to do this and I know I can do this...with practice :-)

To have such talented artists believe in you is just mind blowing.....I never thought I could be more motivated than I was but this has pushed me to a level I never knew existed.

It was many years ago when I came across Jodi & Richards work...long before my venture into blogging. And as much as I love their whimsical, spooky and Harry Potter sculpts, what I really fell in love with was their realistic sculpts.....the Apache Scout, the Shinto Nun, the Monk, Georgia O Keefe, the Grandmothers and Grandfathers and my favorite piece of theirs....the Japanese woodcarver.

I was, and still am, amazed at how a lump of clay could become a real person full of life and character and personality and I knew that I wanted to sculpt more than anything else.

So for years I kept a journal full of ideas. My favorite saying was 'That would make a marvelous sculpt'. Followed, more often than not, by 'oh I wish I could do it'.

Well I guess Mick got a little tired of my whining because one day he told me to quit whining and go buy some clay and give it a go :-)

So I did.

I played with it a little, made a couple of very bad heads and realized that it was as hard as I expected. So I carried on with my flower making but always there was this little voice in the back of my head telling me to stop messing around and give it another go.

Then I started blogging and discovered there were many sculptors who also blogged and my desire flared right up again. But this time I wasn't going to give up when it got hard and, no matter what, I'd sculpt a doll right through to the end.

And I did. Kendo may be rough around the edges but he came from my own hands and I am so proud of him.

I didn't find it easy and there were been many moments of pure frustration when things weren't going the way I planned but, with much support from my all blogging friends, I kept going......I thank each and every one of you for being with me along the way.

I must also offer special thanks to Julie, Debie and Marsha....all splendid doll makers who have offered encouragement and helpful tips....thank you all.

And a big thank you to my friend Patti. Although she lives on the other side of the country and we've never met, I feel like we have known each other all our lives.

Patti is also a sculptor and she has been a huge help to me all along this path.

There has been many a time I've had to reach for the phone to ask her questions. The one time I was so proud Kendo's head was finished and in the oven I called to tell her. She asked me how I'd gotten on with the ears. EARS ???? In my excitement over my finished head I had forgotten them and had to pull him out quickly and add them :-)

She understands what it is like to have the desire to sculpt, we share supplies and she makes me laugh...what more could a friend ask for.

Well that felt like I was writing an Oscar acceptance speech...but honestly, an Oscar wouldn't make me half as happy as this :-)

Jodi & Richard....thank you again, I am truly honored.