September 26, 2011

A Leap Year Cometh

Did you know that the year 2012 will be a leap year, with February 29 being added to the calendar?

According to "A leap year in the Gregorian calendar includes an extra day at the end of February. A leap year consists of 366 days, whereas other years, called common years, have 365 days. The extra day, February 29 is the 60th day of a leap year in the Gregorian calendar."

Did you know that a leap year is also called an intercalary or bissextile year?

Did you know that the actual time it takes for the earth to make one complete journey around the sun is about 365.2422 days long,which is why we need to adjust the Gregorian calendar every four years or so?

Did you know that 2012 is less than 14 weeks away? If you are like me, I've already had to look at a 2012 calendar several times to check on dates for next year. Which is why I FINALLY finished up a calendar for Nature Lovers (see first photo) and also a
CAT LADY Mini Calendar for 2012!

I have been meaning to design a calendar since 2009, with the idea of giving it to family and friends as a Christmas gift. Every autumn, sometime around mid-October, I've started working on one. Then *BAM* the holiday frenzy starts and I run out of time and mental prowess to finish up the calendar.

This year my brain kicked in a month early, and I was able to complete the calendar! I used images from my 365 Cat Ladies series of ACEO watercolor artwork... I print 4 calendar pages on each 8.5 x 11 sheet of card stock, then cut it into fourths, making each page 4-1/4" x 5-1/2".

There are 13 loose leaf pages-- January through December, plus a cover. On the back of the cover are important dates to remember, plus room to write in your own special dates (you know, like Kitty Dearest's birthday!).

The calendar is printed on white card stock. The pages are 4-1/4" x 5-1/2" and held at the top with a shiny gold clip. You can hang the calender on a wall using the clip. To use as a desk calendar, remove the clip and display the calendar on a small easel .


[Giveaway is now closed. Winners have been chosen and notified...Thanks for participating!]
To celebrate the completion of this monumental task -- three years in the making -- I am giving away a calendar to THREE different winners (a $14.00 value each, plus shipping worldwide is included).

To enter, just leave a comment at the end of the post, telling me what your favorite day of the year is.
Giveaway ends on Sunday, October 2, when I will draw three names at random.

Please make sure that I have a way to contact you if you are the winner, such as a link to your blog or e-mail address . You may send info directly to my email if you don't want to make your contact info public. If you visit , you will find an email link. Also, if you encounter trouble with the Comments feature, you may send your entry directly to my email.

September 25, 2011

Meet Buttonwillow: Fabulous Feline Favicon and Sticker Model

One week ago, I had no idea what a favicon was. Neither did Buttonwillow.
But that did not stop her from being fabulously fur-drenched.

and wildly glamorous...

and impossibly adorable
in that "don't-I-make-you-want-to-have-kittens" sort-of-way...

And then it happened: with the click of a button on the mysterious word "favicon", my Blogger design page magically transformed my studio assistant Buttonwillow into a favicon!

[In case there is anyone else out there like me -- oblivious to the wonderful world of favicons-- see that little tiny icon next to my blog's URL? The one with BeeDub's picture in it? That's a favicon! It is defined as: favicon: (short for favorites icon), a shortcut icon, website icon, URL icon, or bookmark icon that is a 16×16 or 32×32 pixel square icon associated with a particular website or webpage.]

And as if that weren't enough excitement for one week, we also received something special in the mail: a wonderful addition to Buttonwillow's growing product line.... her very own stickers!

Do you have a black and white cat that looks just like her? Buttonwillow will be the first to tell you: it's your lucky day. Would you like to be the first on your block to own the Buttonwillow series of mini stickers featuring my little bicolor bundle of mischief that looks just like your little bicolor bundle of mischief? Now you can! They are available in my Etsy shop while supplies last!

Use them on your cards and letters or decorate gifts, notebooks, and scrapbooks. You will receive 3 each of 6 different designs-- a total of 18 stickers. Each die-cut sticker is just less than one-inch square. They are printed on thick high quality vinyl with a scratch proof coating. You can find them here: Buttonwillow stickers.

Here's wishing you a fabulously furry,
wildly glamorous,
and impossibly adorable
sort of day!

September 23, 2011

Crazy Cat Lady Collaboration Continues...

Remember that beautiful beadwork pendant that Cat Lady and Bead Artist Chris Maj created using over 1000 tiny seed beads and one of my glass cabochons? [I still LOVE that word!]

Chris has been at it again!
She recently created this pendant and rope necklace set using my ginger tabby and sunflower cabochon!

She used seed beads in the coordinating colors of sky blue, yellow and light orange and then accented it with a cute little copper flower dangle. The pendant is suspended from a beadwoven twisted herringbone rope necklace with coordinating seed beads. The necklace is 19.25" long and is finished with a peyote loop and toggle closure. It is currently for sale in Chris' Etsy shop Beadn4fun, where you can see more of her exquisite beadwork.

And don't forget -- Chris does custom work and will make a made-to-order pendant or brooch using any of the glass
cabochon designs that you'll find in my Etsy shop. Here are a few that are available:

(click on the image to see more available designs in my Picasa photo albums)

Chris says: "I would be happy to make this type of necklace or brooch to order with beads that coordinate with whatever picture you choose". You can contact me here, or contact Chris through her Etsy shop to find out more about prices, time frame, and to make arrangements.

[Psssst...wouldn't this make a fantastic holiday gift for that special cat lady or nature lover in your life? Or better yet, drop a subtle hint to your loved one that YOU are that special cat lady or nature lover...wink, wink]

Happy Equinox!

Spring has Sprung!

You may think tha
t I am in denial about the arrival of Autumn, but I am not. I do see the brilliant yellow, red and rust leaves blowing in the wind and the cheerful pumpkins plumping up in the fields.

But I have it on good authority that today is the first day of Spring... Australia!

Cat Lady Laura of Moags and Smeet should know. She lives there. She says, "Springtime in Australia is beautiful. Our summers are too hot for the type of natural beauty I was accustomed to in Canada, and it is actually through late winter and early summer that most of Australia blooms into its natural best.

"Traditional spring garden plants like daffodils, pansies, and jasmine are all flowering in abundance, native plants like the grevillea are blooming, and all over the countryside fruit trees are in blossom. It is simply gorgeous. Spring also brings some of the most enjoyable temperatures for enjoying the great outdoors, with temperatures in the 20s to low 30s (Celsius), which is much nicer than summer time 40s! Our garden offers up a natural theatre of brightly coloured birds, little lizards and even the occasional flying fox for Tig to watch from the comfort of a sunbeam on his window seat. Purrfect!

[ed. note: I had to google "flying fox" and this is what I found: it is a fruit bat, the largest bat in the world!)

Laura continues: "I have always been a crazy cat lady. Growing up in the countryside of Cormack, Newfoundland, my brothers and I had farm cats as small children, then spent years doting on my Grandmother's cat, before adopting the straggly stray kitten that we slowly nursed into a much-loved pet. Patches still rules the roost at my parents home today at the ripe old age of fifteen.

"Dan and I now have a blended fur-family of our own. Tiger [pictured, left] is a rescue cat whom I adopted five years before moving to Australia - he made eye contact and it was love at first sight. I had to take him home and spoil him rotten. When the time came to move to Australia, there was never a question that Tig would be heading to the land down-under.

"I often joke that he is the most expensive rescue cat in Australia, owing to the prescreening, specialist vet preparations, export and import permits, airfare, and other hurdles involved in his move, but you can't put a price on love! Although it broke my heart to see him off at the airport, he survived the trans-Pacific flight and (eek!) his mandatory 30 days in arrival quarantine before we were reunited in smootches, pats and cuddles.

"Oliver, our Dalmatian, was born in New Zealand and traveled to Australia with my partner, Dan, who is also a Kiwi. The boys get along surprisingly well, and can even be found snoozing together in happy harmony on the bed from time to time."

Find out who is "Moags" and who is "Smeet" by visiting Laura's blog about her jewellery business: Moags and Smeet. (where you can also find out why she spells jewellery that way..!). You can purchase her beautiful creations by visiting her Etsy shop. Also be sure to visit Laura's website Creativity Unmasked, a site that celebrates artists, makers and all things creative!

Thanks for visiting!

September 22, 2011

Update on Custom Portraits

My current waiting list for custom portraits has been whittled down and the end is in sight, however, I will not be able to take on any more orders for custom portraits between now and the end of the year. (If you are a previous customer and we are currently in discussion, or if I am working on a series for you, I will still be able to complete portraits for you)

To those of you waiting for a portrait, thank you for your patience. I've LOVED creating so many fun portraits over the last three years (about 300 of them!), but recent time constraints and new commitments have made it very difficult to give a piece of custom artwork the specialized time and attention it deserves. As my Etsy shop continues to thrive, I'll be devoting the next three months to holiday madness and filling the lovely retail and wholesale orders that I am already receiving.

Thanks for your understanding! And thank you SO much for continuing to support my creative means a lot to me!

All the best, Susan

September 21, 2011

The Planets May Re-Configure Now. Please.

I'm fairly certain that we've all experienced it: the planets align in some mysterious configuration and all hell breaks loose.

Suddenly one's life, or the life of a loved one, or the lives of everyone you've ever met are filled with turbulence, upheaval, calamity, or change. Sometimes it is good u
pheaval, like moving to a new apartment or starting a brand new business, or buying a new house. Sometimes it is challenging upheaval, such as a giant tree branch about to break loose and crush your house, or trying to stave off foreclosure, or the fear of not being able to drive any more, or dealing with life-threatening illnesses.

In the past four weeks or so, all of my loved ones have experienced one or more of the above. It's time for the planets to re-align! I'm ready for some calm. And I've lived long enough now that I know that calm will return all in good time.

I was recently inspired by the story of Cat Lady Judy and her pal Sushi. What would we do without our families and special buddies (in particular, those furry friends), during times of upheaval and change? Here is Judy's story:

"After living on Cape Cod for 29 years, raising two kids (both now in college in Boston), and managing Senator Kennedy's home in Hyannisport, I moved to New York City last year after going through a divorce. I decided to 'reinvent' myself, so here I am and I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have my lovable Ragdoll cat, Sushi, to come home to!

"It's a very humbling experience walking the streets of New York, but there's nothing like having a pet who greets you at the door and won't leave your side :-)

"My daughter and I saw a magnet, 'I'm one bad relationship away from owning 30 cats!' and we had a good snicker over it. I actually have a positive attitude about what the future holds for me. I feel very
fortunate to have a good job, my health and the love of friends & family."

Who could ask for more? Thanks Judy!

September 12, 2011

Oh Deer! I'm Seeing Spots

I've got my hands full!

My Etsy shops will be closed for a few days to allow me to get caught up on special requests and orders, and to get caught up on answering emails. I'm also working on a few new surprises for autumn and the holidays, so stay tuned...

I will still be available for questions or concerns and you may contact me directly at my email (you'll find a link to my email at

Thanks for your continued support of my creative endeavors. It means a lot to me!

In the mean time, I've been seeing spots! Here are a few photos I snapped yesterday of a trio of elegant creatures who wandered through my back yard on their way to the creek. Enjoy!

September 5, 2011

Labor Day Summer Daze

It has come to my attention that there are many different criteria that people use to mark the official end of summer. I decided to conduct a Very Scientific Poll on my Facebook Page and asked: When does summer officially end for you? (you can still participate by visiting this link)

image copyright 2011 Susan Faye

Here are the results as of this morning:
  • On the autumnal equinox, Sept 23rd - 15 people
  • On Labor Day- 9 people
  • On the last day of HOT weather- 3 people
  • When the clocks go back- 2 people
  • When I have to go back to school - 1 person
  • Never. I live in Southern California- 1 person
  • It just began in the NW. Please give us until the end of November - 2 people
Of course we must not forget our friends south of the equator. They are fast approaching the end of winter and summer is but a glimmer of a memory...

As for me, I usually mark the end of summer on the equinox, however, this year I'm leaning toward that last answer--"Please give us until the end of November". Here in Oregon, we had an unusually wet and cold spring, and summer has not been much better. I have a greenhouse FULL of green tomatoes, and I don't want a repeat of my first summer spent here when it turned cold on the equinox and we were left with dozens of not-quite-ripe tomatoes that split open when it started to rain. Grrrrrrrr. Can you tell that I have not quite gotten over it yet?

Now I know that there are people to the south and in the Midwest who have been ready for summer to end since sometime in July due to extreme heat and I empathize with them, having grown up in Southern California. But I vote for more summer. And to help give everyone some sunny thoughts, I've added some sunny new jewelry to my Etsy shop...

I've also added a few new pieces to the Secret Garden collection:

(All of my jewelry is hand-crafted using small glass tiles and details from my various paintings and artwork. A mini print of my artwork is preserved under the crystal-clear glass, sealed on the back, and then a silvertone bail is attached at the top so that a chain or sterling silver earwires can be added. )

So pour yourself another ice cold glass of lemonade and enjoy however many days you may or may not have left of summer. I'm pretending that I don't see the yellow and red leaves sneaking into all that green...

Thanks for visiting!

September 3, 2011

A Work In Progress, Citrus Style--Sneak Peek!

I've had citrus on the brain lately.

It all started with an episode of The Barefoot Contessa. Ina made a big pitcher of fresh lime daiquiris (recipe here) for an outdoor picnic with her dear friends and I couldn't resist. I'm not a big drinker and I've never made a daiquiri in my life. But limes were on sale five for a dollar, I knew how to make simple syrup, and there was a dusty bottle of rum in the cupboard. One sip and I was in love. We've been enjoying our new favorite cocktail about once a week all summer long.

I also love lemonade and it's always my beverage of choice during summertime. We recently found an electric juicer/reamer at a thrift store and I've even been making fresh orange juice in the mornings. No danger of scurvy in this household.

And this summer-long infusion of vitamin C seems to have heavily influenced my most recent illustration. Here is a sneak peek of a snippet of my latest work in progress. It's only logical that there would be an orange tabby in it:


September 2, 2011

The Buttonwillow Look

It was just a matter of time.

After a year of watching every other kind of cat imaginable make its way into our jewelry collection, Studio Assistant Buttonwillow demanded to know: "Where is MY line of jewelry?" Momentarily speechless, I came to the startling realization that nowhere in the collection was a representation of an impossibly adorable fluffy bicolor cat. It was unfathomable.

The oversight was swiftly corrected and we are proud to present "The Buttonwillow Collection" to the world. Just what is the much-sought-after Buttonwillow Look, you might ask?

It's something like this:

Or like this.

Or a little bit like this:

Sometimes it's black and white and red all over...

And sometimes it's black and white and purple all over. Or green, or periwinkle.

What matters most is that there are earrings to match.

And that the little princess is happ

The Buttonwillow Collection is now exclusively available in my Etsy shop, which is really good news if you happen to have an impossibly adorable fluffy black and white cat in your household who needs to be appeased.

The sparkling glass pendant is available in four new jewel tones for autumn and winter: forest green, periwinkle blue, pomegranate red, and phlox purple. The back of the pendant can be personalized with any name that you'd like. Each pendant has matching earrings that feature sterling silver earwires.

Buttonwillow hopes your day is black and white and fluffy all over! Thanks for visiting!