Life is the falling drops of the waterfall

Rosa, my beloved feline companion of 15 years, has passed on three days ago. She went peacefully by euthanization at the vet as I held her on my lap with Rob by our side. We are deeply grieving as our bonds with her were even deeper. Rosa is the last of my 3 cats to pass on, so there is an unfamiliar emptiness to our home, an emptiness which is amplified when I walk through the front door and am sorely reminded she is not here. I was hesitant to blog about such a highly emotional, personal event~ that it may somehow trivialize her passing, but I've come to realize that loss is something universal.

The Native American Indians have a saying, "Today is a good day to die". Crazy Horse famously said this to his troops; so it has been attributed to acts of bravery or honor during battle. It can also be interpreted as "live your life with no regrets", "be unafraid of the circle of life and death", for we are like the little separate drops of the waterfall that will rejoin the great river from which we came. For my dear Rosa, her day of parting was beautiful, warm and sunny. Yes, it was a good day, her favorite kind of day, as the winters were harsh on her diminutive 5 lb body. And it would seem the summer loved Rosa in return, for on that July afternoon, her spirit was absorbed into its eternal warmth.

How I miss you, my extraordinary little friend.
Thank you for sharing your life with ours.


Still lookin' for love~

*Big hugs* to those who gave my new Wee bears & the pink ellie loving homes from my update on Tuesday! I have shipped out all your orders yesterday and hope your little ones arrive swiftly and safely.

There are still two blue sweeties remaining~ Miss Teaberry the ellie and the wittle Wee bear Peponi. They are keeping each other good company since their mates have left the nest, but wonder if they too will find a forever home? *Miss Teaberry & Peponi have found a home! thank you!


The True Art of the Elephant

Rama, an Asian elephant in the Oregon Zoo, trained to paint. And I thought my art college years were rough!

Maybe you have seen the videos circulating on the web or You Tube of the elephants who paint pictures. I've always found it disturbing and quite unnatural, yet amazed (well, maybe not so amazed 'cos I know how highly intelligent they are) at their ability to memorize certain strokes in a certain stacking order that add up to a recognizable image~like an elephant painting a clearly defined image of an elephant. Others are allowed to paint freely in an "abstract expressionist" way. The Elephant Sanctuary, whose mission I've long admired and support, has released this statement in their latest newsletter, and summarizes it well:

"Tarra's Art Will No Longer Be Sold
With the recent exploitation of young elephants in Asia for high dollar paintings, and the news that baby elephants are being removed from the Lek Chailart's sanctuary -- The Elephant Nature Park in Thailand -- in order to be trained to paint, we feel it is important that we do not confuse the issue by selling Tarra's art on our site. Although Tarra has not painted in more than a decade, reproductions of her artwork have been on sale in our gift shop. The Elephant Sanctuary will no longer be selling Tarra's art, Tarra's Art Cards, or the video/DVD of Tarra painting. We encourage a close examination of the reality of the lives of those elephants who are enslaved to turn a profit by painting." ~ the Elephant Sanctuary

To my eyes, the elephant in and of itself, is a masterpiece. And a life lived in freedom is the true art.

Photograph: Steve Bloom/Getty Images


July Joys! New Wee's N' Ellies!

Here they are! Available for adoption on my web site, www.peng-peng.com. Happy Day!


New One-of-a-kind Wee Bears this week!

Yes! New *wee bears* plus a little ellie or two, will be posted on my web site early this week! I'm aiming for Tuesday afternoon, so stay tuned! This is a super cute group of colorful, summery one-of-a-kinds. If you're on my private mailing list, you will receive notification when they are posted.

To join my mailing list, sign up on my web site: www.peng-peng.com


Lost Little Ellie needs a home!

Goodness me! How did this ellie go astray from her herd? Perhaps taking a bit too long at the drinking pool? She'd love to join your herd, and promises to stay close by your side...

"My name is Binah and I'm pleased to meet 'cha!" (sorry, couldn't resist!). Binah measures just 3 1/2" seated but very wide! Hand dyed slate blue Schulte mohair (nice effect with darker backing), hand painted glass eyes, hand dyed pink wool felt foot pads, tiny jointed limbs, very old vintage feedsack neck tie, polyfil/ encased steel BB's for a nice feeling in your hand. One of a kind. $225 USD. SOLD


Your Home is Your Castle

It's good to be back in my 'castle' in Chicago! T'was a whirlwind of activities during our long weekend stay with family in Connecticut. We visited two very special historical homes; the circa 1750's home of my sister in-laws family, and Gillette Castle, (built 1914-1919), the former home of actor William Gillette ~ the original Sherlock Holmes! And how appropriate, being that I'm on a complete Sherlock Holmes kick right now. It was in fact Gillette who added his own touches of deerstalker cap, cape and curved pipe, which has become synonymous with the character.

There's way too much to go on about the eccentric Gillette and his amazing stonework castle that he designed, so check out these links that go into depth about it here and here. I'd like to quickly add that he had 17 cats, each wore a bell and had individual birthday parties. Some pals that would be guests back in the day, oh just Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin (two brilliant people I hugely admire). If the walls could talk!

The windows of both homes offered lovely picturesque views, so I thought it interesting to take some pics looking through the glass:

Inside Gillette Castle, this medieval window has a breathtaking view of the Connecticut river.

Lots of amazing glass lamps and look at that confetti-like window! I need one of these!

Good bye Gillette Castle! A view from the little Hadlyme Ferry ride that took us (and our vehicle!) across the river.

We stayed at my sister in-laws Deb's historical Waterford home. The house was passed down for generations, a cedar shingled beauty built by hand circa 1750's. Lots of love and good vibes here. That's me and Rob in the convertible his brother kindly lent us during our stay, hence my hat/ sunglasses/ long sleeves/ and SPF 30 (at my age, premature aging is always avoided, lol).

Now, let your eyes and soul rest upon this serene morning mist (click on it to see bigger). Deeeeep breath.... aahhhh. This is the 'backyard' of Deb's home, on Jordan Cove, situated in the Long Island Sound. How jealous are we?

A translucent display of old blue glass in the dining room window that looks into a 3 season porch (where we enjoyed our breakfasts), which then looks out onto the cove. I love the inside/ outside feel of it.

Sweet casement windows in the guest bedroom, right above the beds. These are the ends of a row of 4 windows. At night it is magical looking out into near total darkness over the water, with only a few twinkling lights in the distance.

Star fish window, looking from the outside in~

~and the inside out...

From the second story, a view of the wishing well.

A little girl's tombstone, with a weeping willow tree carved motif. It was found on the property many moons ago, when my in-laws were cleaning up the yard. No one knows if there was an actual grave or perhaps left behind by a tombstone carver. It's a mystery!

Antique silver spoons in a primitive wooden rack. This hangs in a quiet corner of the 2nd dining room, or the formal dining room. Just another detail (of hundreds!) I found so charming.

Hi kitty, kitty! One of three resident cats enjoying the perch overlooking the stone patio. An idyllic life indeed.

A bit of imagination goes a long way: This old 'flower truck' has been parked in front of a Niantic, CT garden nursery for years. Now that's recycling!

Hoped you enjoyed our New England jaunt, and seeing the inspired homes we visited. It's been eons since I've left town, and even longer since I put on a bathing suit and took a dip, so I was glad to accomplish both things this past weekend :O)

Have fun wherever summer takes you! And may your castle be a special place that reflects who you are with room for dreams.


Happy Fourth... and Eighth!

Yep, that's me and my bro posing in front of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, sometime in the 1970's. And what a fine era that was. My fashion sense hasn't changed much since then! Check out my snappy "Philadelphia" logo tee, and my brother's Superman Underoos tank (he'll hate me for sharing this picture, but hey, I wore Underoos too so don't laugh). We were born & raised in Philly, so there'll always be a bit of the "City of Brotherly Love" in us :0)

Liberty Bell trivia: On every Fourth of July there is a bell ringing ceremony. However, the most famous ringing occurred on July 8, 1776, to summon citizens of Philadelphia for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. So Happy Fourth and Eighth to you all!

~We're taking a short trip to Connecticut to see family and friends. This will be my first excursion out of Illinois state lines in a few years, and it's loooong overdue! Hope to post some neat pics from our trip when we return. Aaaaand, there will be delightful new *wee bears* & perhaps an ellie or two available... I'll update you when they are ready for adoption.

Remembering last years July 4th posting: when elephants fly!

Enjoy the long weekend! xo