Sunday, December 16, 2007

more new stuff...

You can also find our christmas stockings for pets at Green Dog Pet Supply. They're made from 100% all new wool material...mostly left over scraps from Pendleton products. Waste not, want not!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cactus Pete & Company in the Oregonian!

Thanks to our friends at Green Dog Pet Supply, our placemats were featured in this morning's Oregonian. I can't thank Christine and Mike enough for offering such a great variety of locally made and sustainably produced products for our animal friends. Green Dog is a fantastic resource for healthy foods and treats...We can't ever walk by the shop without Abbie and Cooper dragging us in for some love and treats!
So hike on up to NE Fremont and check out the cool stuff at Green Dog!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

think locally

Wow! Camp Cactus has never looked so good! With the help of some fantastic friends and relatives, the gigantic mess was sorted out, arranged, tidied, fluffed and fussed over until it was transformed into a magical and cozy shop full of cool handmade stuff. Come on over and check it out!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

are you on the mailing list?

I'm so excited! It's our first four-color, non-xeroxed postcard ever! Whaddaya think?
That reminds me: would you like to be on the Camp Cactus mailing list? (we send out about one postcard per's all we can afford) If so, send us an email with the subject line "mailing list" and we'll put you on. (We'll only send you info by emails if you ask us to - we wholeheartedly support the U.S. Postal Service!)
Our address:

Friday, November 9, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

which list are you on?

Santa's coming to Camp Cactus! The elves and I have been very busy in the workshop these days, what with the holiday sale at Camp Cactus, and the upcoming show at daVinci Middle School on December 7th and 8th. The number of artists who will be joining me at Camp Cactus this year is very exciting. I'll be posting photos of some of their work soon...stay tuned!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thursday, November 1, 2007

new arrivals

Some new critters have arrived at Camp Cactus...fleecie little bunnies, bears, cats and pups perfect for snuggling, nuzzling, or just plain dragging around by the ears!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

camp cactus fairy infestation

Last week, while working in the studio at Camp Cactus, a sudden small movement outside the window caught my eye...I crept quietly outside and caught a glimpse of tiny purple wings and the most melodious singing I think I've ever heard. As I watched and listened, I slowly became aware of the faint strains of a tiny mandolin accompanying the otherworldy voice, and began to notice

more and more movement and sounds, much like when you stand very still in the forest and slowly become aware of the trees, the leaves, the dew and the insects and the birds: all the layers of the natural world come into focus when we're still and attentive. Just as I realized what I was witnessing, these little creatures started to speak to me (No, not really...this is what you might call a fairy tale) and told me that they were drawn to my little studio to help me spread joy and magic to the neighborhood. I asked them if they'd like to visit the Camp Cactus Holiday Sale, and they assured me they'd be there. (The little granny fairy made sure to request that I lay in supplies of moonshine and blackberry wine for the party on opening night)
Hope we see you there!
Friday, November 30 from 6-9pm
Saturday & Sunday, December 1 & 2 from 10am-6pm
Stay tuned for the location soon!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

camp cactus needs your art!

The Camp Cactus holiday sale is a Portland tradition now in its 14th year. Set up like a small shop/gallery, this cozy studio in the Hollywood district gathers artists and artisans together to sell their work on consignment, and has become a yearly venue for many artists. In past years, artists have offered paintings, ceramics, mixed media, mosaics, fused glass, photography, furniture, and jewelry, as well as handmade items for the home and garden.
Both experienced and emerging artists are encouraged to apply for this juried event.

DATES: Friday, Saturday & Sunday ~ November 30, December 1 & 2
Artist's reception Friday evening, from 6-9pm

REQUIREMENTS: All art must be original works, handmade or decorated by the artist. Use of recycled/repurposed materials is encouraged, but not essential.

FEE: 25% commission on all sales



*****5% of all sales will be donated to Oregon Food Bank*******

Friday, September 21, 2007

this blog is movin'!

Ok, so here's the deal: I'm moving "Buenos Burritos" to a new address, because I want this address to post news and photos of my studio events and new work. So this blog has been renamed Camp Cactus, in the hopes that it will make more sense that way...Does it?
Must have more coffee...

Anyway, in case you forget this most important fact, there's a link to it on the right.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

a day at the beach...

We just got back from a swell little trip to the coast...ostensibly for our anniversary (32 years! Are we really that old?!), but it was also a good excuse to take the pups to see the ocean for the first time. After checking out our room (overlooking Mo's seafood joint, and just beyond it, the ocean) we went down and turned 'em loose on the unsuspecting beachcombers below. Fortunately, they didn't run over anyone, but we learned an important lesson: it's useless to shout into the wind for your (mostly) disobedient dogs to "COME!" They usually act like they're deaf anyway, but still, it's better to be downwind of them so they can at least get your scent when they've run toooo far away, and conveniently forgotten to look back.

Loving nothing better than to run flat out at a dead gallop, Abbie takes off for the far horizon, with Cooper right behind her all the way. She's the adventurous one of the pair. It's not like they've ever run off and not come back. I had a dog like that once: my first dog, named Snowball...he wanted nothing more than to get as far away as possible. It just occurred to me that maybe he didn't think he had the idyllic life we envisioned he had. Anyway, these two crazy twins don't seem to want to escape so much as just get out some excess energy and maybe find something disgusting to eat or roll in while they're at it.

We finally figured out that if we let one off leash at a time, they don't tend to run as far. (it's not as much fun when your partner in crime can't follow you) When they're together, it's like they share one brain. (OK, they're mostly Lab, so half a brain is actually more like it) So, after a bit of chasing them up and down the beach, we were all pretty tuckered out and made an early night of it.

All in all, I think walking your dogs on the beach with your soul mate is way more fun than candles and expensive restaurants...just ask Abbie and Cooper.

Friday, August 17, 2007

maybe atlas just shrugged, but it's not that easy for me...

Too many sleepless nights lately. This difficulty in turning off my brain, or at least lowering the volume a bit, is a getting to be a little disturbing. My body feels like it's gearing up for something, needing to be alert and watchful 24/7. Who knows? Maybe it's just hormonal, or maybe it could be some kind of instinctive warning signal, like animals going nuts just before an earthquake. To say I can feel it in my bones is an understatement. (And it's not like I'm hearing voices or anything, it's just getting a little hard to ignore the fact that the world seems kind of out of control lately) I used to have this recurring nightmare about a nuclear disaster...probably a by-product of being a kid during the Cuban missile crisis and the Cold War. Haven't had that one in awhile, but there are just so many other dark possibilities to choose from! I guess it's time to update the emergency supplies and make sure that base is covered.

I just don't understand why we (humans, that is) have gotten to this point. Is it just greed? That seems to be the one underlying theme to most of the grabs for power and control. Control of resources, control of people, control of governments, control of religion, (my God's better than your God! nyah nyah! God bless America! ) I don't know about you, but I'm getting kinda sick of the whole thing. Coming from a strictly Catholic point of view, whatever happened to "Thou shalt not kill"? or "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor"? or even "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's stuff"? (Not a commandment, but don't forget "Love thy neighbor as thyself"?) Maybe we shoulda left that ten commandments monument in the Alabama courthouse. I mean, seriously: so what if it's of religious origin? They do make pretty good sense, (okay, maybe the last five make more sense than the first five...) but maybe common sense just isn't so common anymore....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


cheese slice posing as a frenchman in a beret...
Why do I see this stuff?!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

vacations...mental and otherwise

I can't believe it's August already. Yesterday I harvested our first ripe tomato, and this morning when I got up the air felt all crisp, like the planet decided to cut vacation short this year, and to just move on directly from July to October.
It's simply not fair to us procrastinators. Just when I decide the garden needs more flowers, it's too late to get anything other than fall chrysanthemums and any day now, daffodil and tulip bulbs. Boy, all I can say is, I'm glad I'm not a little kid anymore...The back to school sales started about two weeks ago, and that's depressing even for grownups. Before you know it, there'll be huge crates of pumpkins outside of the supermarkets, and the christmas decor will be half price inside!

I really don't have any reason to complain... I've had lots of time off this summer and got to do some fun stuff. We took a trip to upstate NY and Cleveland, Ohio courtesy of Dave's sister, and enjoyed catching up with family and friends. I got up early enough one day to go out and take some pictures with my new brother in law and got one or two nice's one I took at Menden Ponds in Rochester. Early morning light rocks! (That is, light in the early morning hours...not light rock early in the morning. There is a difference.) One afternoon we had a picnic on Lake Ontario. The beach was closed to swimmers, although the water smelled so bad, I doubt anyone would be tempted to stick a toe in, much less immerse themselves in it. I immediately missed Oregon, where even the Willamette River, notorious Superfund site that it is, still smells okay. (To be fair, though, the first time I got a whiff of the paper mills across the Columbia in Washington, I thought Portland must be in the middle of a garbage strike.) I'd also forgotten how old everything is back there on the East Coast. Both Rochester and Cleveland are trying very hard to come back from the recessions of the 80's and 90's. Lots of abandoned storefronts and crumbling infrastructure. People in Rochester don't seem to walk around town much, or commute by bike like they do here. For one thing, there don't seem to be many sidewalks, and I didn't see a single bike lane the whole time we were there. We did take a walk along the Erie Canal, and shared the trail with lots of bikers and walkers. You can even rent barges and float down the canal, like they do in Europe. Rochester seems to have lots of county parks and wildlife areas close to town, which was nice.

In Cleveland, we got to go to an Indian's game at Jacob's Field. What a cool ballpark! Right in the middle of downtown, it's a pretty intimate park, a few blocks from Lake Erie. (Which didn't stink) Tom and Rose got us great seats down the first base line. I had no idea Rose was such a big baseball fan. She was yelling and cheering Kenny Lofton, her favorite player, and brought her team jersey for good luck- but alas, they lost. We had a good time anyway: We ate peanuts, hotdogs and crackerjacks-the total ballpark experience. Dave and I have had this fantasy vacation dream for a long time: travel around the country and hit as many major league ballparks as possible. I guess we'll just have to do it one or two at a time. Maybe if we win the lottery, we'll go after we've spent a month or so in Hawaii...

Monday, June 11, 2007

the ties that bind

The week began with a funeral. This morning we attended a mass for a neighbor we didn't know well. He was a gaunt, tough old guy who looked as if life had not given him an easy run at it. A father of eight, several of whom have had troubles with the law, drugs, and bad choices all around. Troubled or not, they were all there today at St. Rose of Lima, a tight knit family bonded together by love, or circumstance, or faith...I'm guessing a combination of all those things. Isn't that really the embodiment of family? I'm not sure that we get a choice what family we're born into, but we're deeply connected at a level we don't always want to acknowledge. Death has a way of pointing directly at that most visceral connection. A finality. An understanding that we can't go back to the way things were. That life is forever changed in ways we don't always expect.

Walking home, I listened to the birds singing and looked at the flowers, surrounded by the green and brown softness of the earth and the velvety blue of the sky, wanting to smell and see and hear and feel and appreciate this place and these neighbors and this time. We're all family, and in the end, how we care for each other is the only legacy that counts.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the tincup times revisited

Today would have been my dad's 92nd birthday. He was a pretty unusual guy by most people's standards: writer, editor, musician, carpenter, sometime artist, cook, and most of all, an inveterate writer of humorous letters and postcards. I have a thick file of his correspondence dating back many years, and I think that many others do also. It's hard to throw away something written with such humor and craft.

He was a copy editor, columnist and correspondant for such illustrious publications as The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, PM, The Papermaker, and The Stars and Stripes. When I got my first typesetting equipment, Dad (old newspaperman that he was) had me set up a letterhead for him entitled "The Tincup Times" whose motto was: "All the Views Unfit to Print". He had it copied and used it as the masthead for many of his letters, which were sent on a regular basis to numerous friends and relatives around the world. My favorites were and still are the ones with the quirky address lines he would make up, like one he sent to me addressed "Calamity Jane, Camp Cactus" from "J.R. Tincup, Tumbleweed Towers", or to "Bedlam Gables", from "The Fractured Arms". He was also known as Mesquite Manny, Tumbleweed Tim, Boardwalk Benny, Diamond Jiminy Crickets, Lord Feeley of Letchworth (don't even ask) and his favorite, I think: Ta Ta.

So, tonight I'll raise a glass (Dad's drink of choice...a Screwdriver. A pretty pleasant way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C, according to old Tincup himself) to Tumbleweed Tim, a man of letters.
Cheers, Dad!

Monday, May 21, 2007

be careful what you wish for...

A rainy Oregon Monday morning. The birds are singing, but it's not as joyous as on sunny days. It sounds more like the hangover after a wild weekend...kind of wobbly, and a bit resigned to being wet. Or maybe they're all just too busy stuffing big fat worms into their beaks to make much noise. Last night at sunset the low, grey clouds suddenly moved on, and left these billowy, monumental, Maxfield Parrish-esque thunderheads in the turquoise sky.

I have this snippet of a poem running through my head: "After the rain, good weather. The universe spreads out like a beautiful brocade. Light breezes, high in the trees. All the birds sing at once. What is more natural? After sorrow comes joy."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

sunny days

In the winter, the dark, wet days seem to stretch out endlessly and I begin to wonder if I'll ever see the sun again. Dave sits at his light box in the mornings, trying to at least get some artificial daylight to lessen the effects of SAD (seasonal affective disorder-aptly named) and just when I think I can't take another drop of rain on my addled head, spring comes!

Now the days are warm, and I have trouble staying inside the studio and working when the sun is shining. I've been waking up in the morning to what sounds like a million birds having a wild party outside my window. I go out to get the newspaper in the morning, and before I know it, I'm off the porch in my pajamas, weeding the front flower beds... The garden is going crazy! I throw seeds in the ground, and they seem to sprout without any encouragement. Here's a picture of a climbing rose, called "The Impressionist", that grows on a twig trellis outside my studio. It's in full bloom at the moment, beckoning me outside to paint it. (silly me, I thought I'd photograph it and paint it later, but it still drew me out of the studio nonetheless...) Sighhh. Maybe it'll be cloudy tomorrow and I'll get some work done.

Monday, May 7, 2007

random thoughts on creativity...

Ay Caramba! Sometimes I feel like I've accidentally tapped into some vast, uncontrollable creative force, and I'm just here to channel it all...