Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Watercolor Paper and Ball Point Pen

Re-posting form my blog:
February 2012: Early Morning

My last couple of sketchbooks were a little odd - craft paper or thin dry media paper (though I gave it quite a lot of watercolor and gouache coverings:) And I longed for a good old white sturdy watercolor surface to work with. When the time came quick review of the "reserve" box showed that I have this watercolor "Pen and Ink" horizontal book stored - COOL! I splashed some color right on the first spread!
However most of the pens in my "usual rotation" were bleeding, scratching, and overall misbehaving. While running some tests I picked up bic ball point and... what can I say - 1/3 of the book is filled now and most of it is black and white, done with the same bic ballpoint... see below :)
February 2012: People
February 2012: People
February 2012: Conversation
February 2012: People in the Park

Michael Jordon Lists Multi-Wing Mega-Mansion

SELLER: Michael Jordon
LOCATION: Highland Park, IL
PRICE: $29,000,000
SIZE: 32,683 square feet, 9 bedrooms, 15 full and 4 half bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Simmer down tater tots. We know we're a bit late to this particular rodeo. That's because, for better and/or worse, Your Mama spent this morning frying up a very different celebrity real estate fish.

While Your Mama got busy shucking, jiving and making petty jabs about Little Kimmy Kardashian and her recent (and alleged) real estate activities, the celebrity real estate pooper scoopers over at The Wall Street Journal revealed that long-ago-retired but still much-beloved professional basketballer and sports world entrepreneur Michal Jordon pushed his multi-wing mega-mansion in the upscale Chicago suburb of Highland Park (IL) on the market with a super-sized and publicity-ensuring $29,000,000 asking price.

Even Your Mama, who does not know a tight end from a power forward in the athletic sense, knows well that Mister Michael Jordan is one of America's most adored, accomplished, and highly paid professional athletes and product endorsers with a half billion dollar-plus fortune and fat property portfolio to prove it.

Mister Jordan was expensively divorced from his first wife Juanita in 2007; It reportedly cost him close to $170,000,000 or, seen another way, ten million clams for every 17 years they were married. At about the time of their legal severance of marital ties the family's long-time Highland Park estate was transferred in to a trust. Unfortunately, Your Mama has no specific intel about whether Mister Jordan (along with his new fiancée Yvett Prieto) or ex-Missus Jordon occupied and maintained the premises over the last five years. Whatever the case, the suburban estate with its mall-sized mansion is now up for grabs.

The electronically-controlled front gates bear the number 23, which Your Mama thought might be the property's street address until we did a little due diligence and discovered '23' was the number that appeared on Mister Jordan's jersey throughout his illustrious career on the hardwoods. The gates swing open to a tree-lined black top drive that swoops across the thoroughly landscaped 7.29 acre estate and around to a massive, tree-shaded circular drive that has far more in common with the motor court out front of some random resort hotel than it does the driveway of average American home. The snaking drive continues beyond the circular drive, past two separate (but attached), climate-controlled, three car garages, curves around to a pair of small parking lots and winds up at a rear motor court where there appears to be another three-bay, climate-controlled garage.
Listing information shows Mister Jordan's mega-mansion measures in at a titanic 32,683 square feet with a total of 9 bedrooms and 15 full and 4 half bathrooms. It doesn't take a bejeweled abacus to figure out that's a total of 19 terlits, an amount that ensures the owner/resident of this beast of a house employ a full-time minimum wager tasked only to locate and lave all 19 bathrooms on a twice weekly basis. The Wall Street Journal pegged the manse at "more than 56,000 square feet of space," an figure we think—but can not confirm—probably includes the colossal compound's "indoor basketball complex" and "three bedroom guesthouse."

The Wall Street Journal also reported the mansion was constructed between 1993 and 1995 and images show it retains its original, well maintained and liberally curvaceous 1980s-minded exterior articulation. The interior was extensively renovated in 2009 with a decidedly sleek and very contemporary aspect that skews vaguely corporate due in part to the large scale of some of the rooms. Interior spaces, according to listing information, marketing materials and/or previous reports, include hotel ballroom-proportioned 1,056 square living room and an almost 800 square foot family room with floor-to-ceiling glass sliders on two opposite walls and a massive triangular sky light that runs like a spine down the center of the 37-foot long room.

A circular dining area's soaring ceiling is topped by an octagonal sky light and the adjacent, sculptural kitchen has a huge center island (with cook top) that appears to float in the center of the room, full-height pantry and storage cabinets, and—one imagines—the most expensive appliances money can buy. We realize this kitchen will not appeal to those who see kitchens as the emotional heart of the home but for all those folks who prefer their cooking centers be more Maserati than mini-van, this one will surely make them pee their pants with culinary equipment desire.

Listing information indicates Mister Jordan's mansion also contains a 500-plus square foot second level library, a 600-plus square foot den on the main level, an office and a study also on the main level, and at least one laundry room the size of what would pass for a good-sized bedroom in a modest suburban ranch house.

The various and vast patios and terraces that extend off the back of the house drop down to high-maintenance manicured grounds that encompass acres of flat lawns with an amoebic putting green, tucked away tennis court, suggestively-shaped deep-water pond, and a children's playground with two elaborate jungle gyms. Both The WSJ and listing information we peeped indicate Mister Jordan's estate includes a swimming pool although we're unable to locate it listing photos and/or aerial images of the property.

The property's pièce de résistance—and also perhaps it's bête noire due to the obvious fact that so few people in the Chicago area who can afford it will actually want to own or maintain it—would most certainly be the fully custom, state-of-the-art indoor basketball complex completed in 2001 and equipped with, as per The WSJ, "a full-size regulation basketball court with specially cushioned hardwood flooring, adjustable backstops and baskets and competition-quality, high-intensity lighting. The complex has a sound system tuned to provide perfect acoustics within the court space."

As best as we know from our research, in addition to the Highland Park beast Mister Jordan heaved on to the market this week His Airness currently maintains a penthouse pad in Charlotte, NC (where he's part owner of some professional basketball team or another that we know nothing about), a major mansion in the a gated, golf community in Jupiter, FL that is either newly completed ought to soon be completed, and a substantial ski house on almost 4 acres in posh Park City, UT.

aerial photo (top): Bing
listing photos: Baird & Warner

Happy Sadie Hawkins Day!

How did you spend this leap day? 

We finally had a day off when the weather was picture perfect :)  The Redbuds have been calling me and I knew I best take advantage and sketch one while they still had their flowers.  They started blooming early this year by about two weeks.  The leaves are already starting to pop on this little beauty.

Your Mama Hears...

...through the Tinseltown celebrity real estate gossip grapevine that reality television denizen Kim Kardashian has packed up her industrial-sized booty and moved into a leased mansion located just down the road and around the corner from a number of other trouble-making tabloid superstars like Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen and Robbie Williams.

Hardcore celebrity real estate mavens and reality television aficionados may recall Little Kimmy Kardashian followed up the $885,000 sale of her 3 bedroom Los Angeles, CA kondo krib in January 2010 with the February 2010 purchase of a nearly 4,000 square foot faux-Tuscan villa high up above Beverly Hills, CA. The 5 bedroom and 4.5 bathroom mansion, gated, heavily secured and set very close to the street on a cul-de-sac that runs up a narrow ravine just below Mulholland Drive, cost K.K., according to property records, $3,400,000.

In late January of this year, in the turbulent wake of poor K.K.'s quickie marriage and divorce from some hunky Midwestern fella whose name we can no longer recall, an unhinged fan—let's call him Mister Delusional—showed up at front gate of K.K.'s Bev Hills home with luggage in tow. Mister Delusional claimed he'd flown into town all the way from North Carolina to work on the one of K.K.'s reality programs that include the long-running and exceedingly lucrative Keeping Up With the Kardashians and Kourtney and Kim Take New York , a program we've never seen but are absolutely sure is nothing less than scintillating and truly meaningful. Clearly Mister Delusional was, well, delusional and K.K.'s team of quick-thinking security guards snatched the wannabe intruder up and rang the po-po who, natch, escorted from moe-ron from the premises and—we imagine but don't actually know—served the nimrod with a well-deserved restraining order.

It wasn't long after that ugly incident all the gossip glossies and celebrity-based blogs reported K.K. was so freaked out by the whole thing that she wanted to move from her current residence in Bev Hills to a nearby guard-gated community that would provide her with an extra layer of security in addition to her body guard(s).

Well, dontcha know butter beans, according to an often in the know source (and the peeps The Daily Mail who beat us to the punch), that's just what K.K. did. The entertainment industry global superstar and entrepreneur—who does not, as far as Your Mama can tell, sing, dance, act or have any other showbiz-y talent besides near-shameless self promotion—(allegedly) leased a 6,775, square foot mock-Med meets Asian-infused Craftsman-style mansion in the celebrity-filled and guard-gated Mulholland Estates community. Some of the other high profile residents/homeowners in the 'hood include Vanna White, Judith Light, and rock 'n roller Slash who pushed his 11,000 square foot Mediterranean manse on the market as a pocket listing in mid-2011 with a $9.5 million price tag, since cut to $9.1 million.

Although it's absolutely a luxury development where the tree-lined streets are lined with multi-million dollar (mc)mansions, some of the children will surely see Mulholland Estates as a somewhat curious choice for someone concerned about their security since the community has over the years been a bit of a hotbed of crime: Paris Hilton's high-glam house was burgled by the infamous Bling Ring in 2008 and in 2010 some guy showed up on her doorstep with a knife; Besides all the illegal activities that surely took place inside his house Charlie Sheen has had not just one but two Mercedes Benz stolen right out from his damn driveway and run off a cliff in to a nearby ravine.

Anyhoo, listing information for the house in question Your Mama managed to tease up out of the interweb shows the 4 bedroom and 6 bathroom mansion K.K. (allegedly/reportedly may have) leased in the Mulholland Estates community was built in 2003 and last on the open market as a fully-furnished rental with a hefty hefty hefty $40,000 per month price tag. We can't say for sure if K.K. rented this house but our research did turn up evidence the nearly half acre, Balinese resort-inspired spread, owned by a brainy businesswoman/philanthropist/heiress to a billion dollar-plus biomedical fortune, was also available for purchase an asking price of $10,950,000.

Interior spaces (shown above) include an intimately-scaled foyer that bursts dramatically into a double-height entrance hall with celeb-style curved staircase and stunning Lagos Azul limestone flooring that continues into the formal living room. The cocktail-party friendly living room, divided into two section by a pair of columns, has a fireplace, several sets of Craftsman-style glass doors that open to lushly landscaped gardens, and a grand piano just in case K.K. wants to tinkle the ivories.

Another pair of columns stand between the entrance hall and formal dining room where there's more blue limestone underfoot, another fireplace and over-sized windows with backyard and swimming pool view. The limestone carries on in the chef-friendly, eat-in kitchen complete with sizable center island, snack counter, a full complement of high-grade stainless steel appliances, and custom Shaker-style mahogany cabinetry topped by bull-nosed granite counter tops.

The floor material switches to wide-plank wood in an adjacent family room spacious enough to accommodate a pool table and a seating area oriented towards a paneled wall with fireplace surrounded by five—that's right 5—flat screen televisions, one big one in the middle with two smaller ones stacked on either side. Wide, Craftsman-style glass doors on two walls open the room (with its mostly beige, black and burnt orange day-core) to foliage ringed patios and terraces.

If the lavish-living K.K. really did rent this residence she no doubt fell head over Jimmy Choos for the sprawling master suite privately situated at the back of the house where it takes advantage of canyon and city views through huge windows and glass doors. A chunky and very contemporary three-sided concrete-faced fireplace separates a private sitting room (with Juliet balcony) from the bedroom area where there's a small, built-in shelving and entertainment center tucked into the corner next to the fireplace with wall-mounted flat screen tee-vee for watching Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Handler, Saturday Night Live and/or more lusty and lurid fare.

The over-sized attached master bathroom has stone flooring (that we can only hope has radiant heat), two sinks and vanities, a concrete-lined and glass-enclosed steam shower with long concrete bench, and an oval-shaped stone soaking tub set into an elevated deck in front of a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. A pair of custom-fitted, boutique style walk in closet/dressing rooms surely appealed to a clotheshorse like K.K. who does not, it seems to Your Mama from what we see in all the tabs and gossip glossies, leave the house for any reason whatsoever without the laborious and expensive efforts of a wardrobe stylist, hair doer and make-up gal. All the image effort seems positively reedonkulous to Your Mama who can't be bothered to put on a proper pair of shoes most days, but we get it. When yer a reality tee-vee lightening rod of controversy like K.K. is you always always always gotta look on point for the public who will gleefully shred a publicity seeking beehawtch for showing up at at the CVS in Calabasas or proto-suburban Sherman Oaks looking the least bit janky.

The lower level of the house opens out to a variety of patios and entertainment areas that include a curtained and vine-draped pergola lounge area that flows out to a second lounge area under the stars. At the other end of house a dining area nestled into a crook of the house has built-in bench seating, and a Palapa-shaded outdoor kitchen/barbecue center has bar seating. A sensuously curved sunbathing terrace snacks along the rim of a black-bottomed swimming pool and wood bridge spans a narrow arm of the pool to an elevated terrace with sunken spa set into a ring of palm trees from where night time hot tubbers can see down the house-dotted canyon and across the sparkly carpet of lights of the pancake-flat San Fernando Valley.

As it turns out, way back in early February after it was reported K.K. might want to move house, the leggy lady at Trulia suggested K.K. might want to consider this very house.

For the record, Your Mama has no direct knowledge of K.K. looking at or moving in to this house and, it should be noted, she recently tweeted the following:

So funny I was reading some magazine that showed pics of my new home...home is nice, but never seen it before! LOL who makes this stuff up?

Make of that what you will.

aerial photo (at top): Pacific Coast News
listing photos: Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills South

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hakim Ingatkan Angie, Jika Bohong Kena 12 Tahun Bui & Denda Rp 600 Juta

Rabu, 29/02/2012 14:19

Angelina Sondakh
Jakarta - Angelina Sondakh terus diimbau untuk jujur memberikan kesaksian dalam sidang Nazaruddin. Hakim mengingatkan Angie jika berbohong bisa dikenai 12 tahun penjara dengan denda Rp 600 juta.

Peringatan tersebut disampaikan ketua majelis hakim Darmawati Ningsih kepada Angie yang bersaksi dalam sidang terdakwa Nazaruddin di Pengadilan Tipikor, Jalan HR Rasuna Said, Kuningan, Jakarta, Rabu (29/2/2012).

"Dalam UU Tipikor khususnya pasal 22 menyebutkan setiap orang dengan sengaja memberikan keterangan tidak benar dikenai pidana penjara minimal 3 tahun dan maksimal 12 tahun penjara. Saksi juga didenda minimal Rp 150 juta dan maksimal Rp 600 juta," papar Darmawati.

Angie yang mengenakan kemeja warna putih dengan rambut digerai dan dijepit itu terlihat menyimak peringatan sang hakim.

Hakim lantas menanyakan pada Angie apakah dia tetap pada kesaksiannya dalam sidang sebelumnya,
termasuk dalam kepemilikan Blackberry. Angie menjawab bahwa dia tetap pada kesaksiannya.

sumber : detik

Sandy Williams - Tracks in the Snow

On my walks with my dog I often wonder what she senses as we stroll down the paths in the fields.  I feel at a disadvantage with only my human vision to scan the landscape.  All that changes when it snows.  All the visitors leave their tracks behind and I can see that the place I thought was isolated and private is, in reality, a hubub of activity.  This sketch was done in my moleskine with a crow quill pen and Higgins black ink with Derwent and Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils.  The writing was done with Noodler's Lexington gray in the fountain pen they give away for free when you buy the ink.

From the Archives: Emma Roberts

BUYER: Emma Roberts
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,250,000
SIZE: 2,142 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Yesterday Your Mama discussed a Los Angeles, CA post-modern perched on a ridge above Laurel Canyon and recently purchased by rock star and reality tee-vee judge Steven Tyler. Today we fish into our previously un-discussed celebrity real estate archive and come up with a modestly sized contemporary a few, short but twisted blocks away from Mister Tyler's new nest scooped up way back in December 2010 by up-and-coming young actress and Showbiz scion Emma Roberts.

A little nepotism never hurts in Hollywood and Miss Roberts, the 21-year old daughter of actor Eric Roberts and niece of Tinseltown royal Julia Roberts, got her big break as a teenager in 2004 when she landed the starring role as a high school art nerd in the very popular (and long ago canceled) teen-oriented sitcom Unfabulous, a program Your Mama had never before heard of until today. The well-connected lass went on to do a bunch of coming of age movies Your Mama ain't never heard of (Wild Child, Lymelife) and most recently she's dabbled in a growing list of rom-coms and dram-coms like the syrupy Valentine's Day and other silver screen gems we've never heard of like The Art of Getting By and Celeste and Jesse Forever.

for better or worse, Your Mama, more likely to read a gossip glossy than pay good money to see a romantic comedy our too-cynical and too-fat ass will most assuredly not appreciate, is far more familiar with Miss Roberts' date mates than we are her professional achievements. While still in her teens she was romantically squired by English actor/model Alex Pettyfer who hastily tattooed Miss Roberts' name on his wrist and just weeks ago rather ludicrously stripped down on Ellen Degeneres' daytime talk show while a bunch of lusty women and a few gays hooted, hollered and shrieked like there was no tomorrow. Miss Roberts, apropos of nothing real estate related, was widely reported to have recently split up with pouty-mouthed blond Chord Overstreet from Glee who Miss Roberts had long treated, so the salacious story goes, like her boy-bitch.

Sometime in 2010 and for reasons unknown to Your Mama, young Miss Roberts, then not even old enough to drink legally in a barroom, decided it was high time to decamp her rented West Hollywood condo and buy a single family house. Presumably she looked at any number of properties but according to multiple reliable sources eventually settled on a modestly-sized (if not exactly inexpensive) residence tucked discreetly into a fairly non-descript cul-de-sac high in the hills above Laurel Canyon.

Property records reveal pretty Miss Roberts, almost as generously lipped and wide mouthed as her Auntie Julia, paid either $1,246,000 or $1,250,000 for the gut-renovated residence. Listing information shows the low-profile but highly stylized house was originally built in 1949 and completely re-designed from 2008-10 by low-key L.A. based interior designer A.J. Bernard who may be modern-minded in his approach to living situations but kicks it Old School and does not appear, as far as Your Mama can tell, to maintain a professional presence on the interweb. The designer does, we were assured by someone we know who would know, have a email address for anyone who might like to engage his decorative and design talents and services.

Anyhoodles poodles, the sharply articulated but warmly finished single-story residence measures in at 2,142 square feet and includes 2 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms in the main house with another bathroom in the attached, two-room guest house that extends off the back of the house.

Listing photos suggest the previous owner used the smaller of the two rooms in the guest house (bottom two photos at top) as a fitness room/yoga studio and the larger room, with a pair of wood-framed French doors and canyon view, as a music studio. The variegated, medium-dark wood floors in the guest house—reclaimed from an unnamed French chateau according to listing information—are even more decoratively delectable than the undeniably magnificent (and straight-up expensive) 12-inch wide plank French oak floors that run throughout the main house.

A solid wood door with stainless steel—or maybe nickel—hardware and accents opens into a fairly narrow corridor that connects primary living/dining/entertaining areas that include a living/family room with marble-topped wet bar, puzzle table with a pair of Nakashima (or Nakashima-like) chairs, and a complete wall of custom-built, floor-to-ceiling oak cabinets that house and hide (among other things) state-of-the art audio and visual equipment. Hinged pocket doors open to reveal a flat screen tee-vee and smartly slide back and disappear into the cabinetry. Wood-framed glass doors stretch along one entire wall fold back accordion-style to a slim terrace that steps off to a flat expanse of lawn perfect for piddling pooches and child-sized Slip 'n Slide but missing, as far Your Mama is concerned, a spa and/or a plunge-sized swimming pool.

The dining area of the eat-in kitchen, anchored and defined by a massive concrete fireplace with raised hearth and inset display niche instead of a mantel, has a built-in buffet and a single, very minimal (and completely appropriate) floating shelf for the uncluttered display of knickknacks, gewgaws, bagatelles and/or other hoozymagoozies and what-have-yous.

A center island with two-seat snack counter and unusual, in-line range top separate the dining area from the sleek but hardly sterile kitchen where custom oak cabinets hold a plethora of integrated Euro-style stainless steel appliances. The counter tops, according to listing information are book matched Calacatta gold and make Your Mama's skin go goose pimply with real estate envy. The children will note how Mister A.J. Bernard thoughfully thought of that household's animal occupants and designed the island's marble counter top to water fall dramatically over the edge and connect to a swank marble pad set into the floor for the dog or cats food and water bowl.

Each of the two bedrooms in the main house has access to a private and well-equipped and -conceived if not particularly huge bathing, ablution and evacuation facility. The guest bedroom—with but a sad, sliver of windows set above eye level—makes use of a standard-sized bathroom with Old-Timey honeybee tiles on the floor that, to be totally honest, feel a bit tense against the graphic linearity of the much more contemporary feeling (and lovely) custom-built oak vanity.

Like the living room the master bedroom, large enough for a separate sitting area with built-in floating bookshelves and various other niches, spills out to the backyard through a complete wall of folding floor-to-ceiling wood framed glass doors. The attached sky lit master bathroom has a marvelous Calacatta gold marble vanity and a curtain wall of frameless glass that separates the bathroom area from the over-sized steam shower with built-in marble bench.

The backyard may be far from huge but it is notably large and flat for a house in the Hollywood Hills and probably large and flat enough for Miss Roberts to install on small in-ground swimming pool were she so inclined.

Prior moving on up to the tippy-tops of Laurel Canyon Miss Roberts shacked up for a short time in the legendary Granville Towers building in West Hollywood, a 7-story, French Normandy confection once home to scads of other medium- and high- profile entertainment industry peeps like Nicole Scherzinger, Portia di Rossi, David Bowie, Rock Hudson, Mickey Rourke and Marilyn Monroe.

Not content, perhaps, with just a west coast abode, Miss Roberts was also spotted as recently as last September poking and peeking around for a pied a terre in New York City's tourist- and shopper-packed SoHo neighborhood. It's not clear to Your Mama if Miss Roberts was looking to lease or purchase a pad in the The Big Apple and, since we don't know a donkey from hand puppet, Your Mama has absolutely no idea if the second tier starlet leased or purchased a place in New York City.

aerial photo (top left): Pacific Coast News
listing photos: Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills North

Monday, February 27, 2012

Double Whammy: Steven Tyler (2)

BUYER: Steven Tyler
PRICE: $4,800,000
SIZE: 3,000 square feet (approx.), 2 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: As far as Your Mama knows we were the first to "report" the details of a property purchase in Los Angeles, CA by Aerosmith front man and American Idol judge Steven Tyler but we are far from the first property gossip to get around to going on about the $4.8 million ocean front hideaway on the Hawaiian island of Maui the sixty-something and still rocking rocker and long time lady-pal and soon-to-be-third wife Erin Brady scooped up in December 2011.

We're not sure which snitch is responsible for letting Mister Tyler's Hawaiian real estate cat out of the bag but it it appears it may have been the well-connected gals who pen the Private Properties column for The Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ and listing information provided to Your Mama by a kind soul shows the gated, pentagonal-shaped dwelling sits all by itself on a promontory of just over a quarter acre of ocean front property. The house measures about 3,000 square feet and contains a pair of bedrooms multimillion dollar ocean views and 3.5 bathrooms. Listing information also reveals Mister Tyler's and/or his people negotiated a serious as a heart attack 25-plus percent discount on the property purchase as the pristine beach pad was last listed at $6,495,000.

Wood-framed floor-to-ceiling glass panels on both floors slide back and completely open the traditional pole-built residence to the elements. When completely open, the redwood and ipe wood structure functions as a luxuriously appointed covered terrace with flagstone floors and a floor-to-ceiling (and costly to maintain) aquarium on the lower level. Breezy, open air sleeping porches on the second floor have vaulted, exposed wood beamed ceilings, wood floors and postcard perfect ocean views.

The kitchen area has exquisite, custom ipe cabinetry that (one hopes) tolerates the damp and salty seaside air and includes shiny black granite counter tops with long expanses of prep area, a 4-person snack/booze counter, and top-of-the-line, commercial-quality appliances. Marketing materials we saw do not show any of the 3.5 bathrooms but listing information does state there is "marble in the bathrooms" and we expect they are as spiffy and ship-shape as the kitchen.

The upper level bedroom open to a narrow balcony that runs around the residence and the lower level living/dining/kitchen area spills out to a lava rock-lined, black-bottomed infinity edged saline swimming pool and grassy terraces girdle by rugged lava rock walls and connected by steps carved into the lava rocks.

Although the house and grounds appear to be quite and pleasantly private, it also appears from Your Mama's research that there's a very small but very public beach/swimming area located just outside the gates of Mister Tyler's residence.

Mister Tyler and his soon-to-be new Missus were photographed by the paps in late December (2011) taking part in some of house blessing ceremony with leaf-crowned woman believed to be "a local religious official."

listing photos: Century 21 / All Islands

Double Whammy: Steven Tyler (1)

BUYER: Steven Tyler
LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,325,000
SIZE: 3,100 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3.25 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Late last week Your Mama dissed and discussed the just put up for sale Sherman Oaks (CA) mock-Med mini-mansion of former American Idol judge Paula Abdul. This week we're gonna start with a Celebrity Real Estate Double Whammy about a pair of recent real estate transactions by Aerosmith's scarftastic front man and current American Idol judge Steven Tyler.

Mister Tyler has been shaking his money maker in the Bizness of Show more than 40 years and he's the recipient of multiple Grammys, AMAs and MTV Music Awards. He's lived, much to the delight and intrigue of fans, the electric and punishing life of a rock star, not the new fangled sort of rock stardom of juice fasts and Buddha statues but the Old School kind of hardcore drugs and indiscriminate recreational sex. Nowadays, although still every bit the rock star with his somewhat androgynous maquillage and high maintenance hairdo, he comes across as an easy-going, kind, thoughtful and genuine man who walks pretty damn squarely in the sincere but sometimes loopy Loobeetawns of his A.I. predecessor Paula Abdul and who—bringing us back to topic—went on a bit of a real estate buying spree last year purchasing luxury abodes in both Hawaii and Los Angeles, CA.

Fashion writer and celebrity gossip Merle Ginsberg reported in early August 2011 in the Hollywood Reporter that an unidentified woman walked into the swank, star-studded Sunset Tower Hotel on the Sunset Strip and was overheard tattling to the desk clerk she needed to book a room for a month or two because—so the story goes—sixty-sumpin' year old rock star Steven Tyler and his long term gal pal-fiancée Erin Brady had toured her nearby house, which she (allegedly) explained had been on the market for some time, and offered to buy the house on the spot with everything in it and with all cash if she agreed to leave that night. Apparently (and allegedly), the lady agreed to those rather absurd terms.

Listen puppies, we are nobody compared to the well-regarded Miz Ginsberg and we do not question that she reported what she heard accurately, but it seems simply ludicrous to Your Mama that Mister Tyler would make that sort of demand of a person selling their home. We might expect that sort of real estate nonsense from one or another of the more demanding American Idol judges but not of the oddly, surprisingly and pleasantly down to earth-seeming Mister Tyler. Then again, what do we know about anything? Certainly nada-zilch-nil about Mister Tyler's allegedly stiff-armed negotiating tactics.

We also do not, natch, have any idea if that disturbing and sad story of celebrity entitlement is true or not but we do know from The Bizzy Boys at Celebrity Address Aerial that in the last days of July (2011) the wide-mouthed and long-haired Demon of Screamin' did indeed acquire a house high above L.A.'s legendary Laurel Canyon. However—and make of this what y'all will—the property in question was not sold, according to the property records we peeped, by a woman but rather a man who owned the house since at least the late 1990s and over the years borrowed regularly and heavily against its equity. Twice in the mid- and late-Aughts, public records show, lenders initiated foreclosure proceedings. Finally, just in the nick of time, along came Mister Tyler (and soon-to-be-third Missus Tyler) who snatched up the 3-story, ridge-line residence as a short-sale in late July 2011 for $1,325,000.

Listing information shows the post-modern minded main house was built in 1987 and measures about 3,100 square feet with three bedrooms and a total of 2 full, 2 half and 1 quarter bathrooms. The house, with a front facade partially perforated by a rigid grid of pin-prickish windows, sits privately on a flattened promontory above Laurel Canyon with what can quite legitimately be called a thrilling, sweeping and, yes, jetliner view across Los Angeles from east of downtown to, on a clear day, the Pacific Ocean.

Laurel Canyon, music lovers and celebrity real estate watchers well know, is steeped and gilded in music and showbiz history and lore. The rugged ravines, steep hillsides and snaking ridges have a long history of residents that well qualify as music industry icons such as—to name a paltry few—the incomparable Joni Mitchell, deliciously irreverent and experimental Frank Zappa, hard-driving howler Cass Elliot, Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, super-groupie Pamela Des Barres, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, and the Rolling Stones who in the 1970s shacked up en masse for a short spell in the same Appian Way house atop Laurel Canyon where Marilyn Manson lived and recorded in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Mister Tyler's new west coast abode sits, according to property records, three small but separate parcels. The usable portion of the land makes an flag-shape as its stretches back from the street with the main house perches on the hillside at the extreme ass-end of the property, well out of view of looky-loos, garbage men, and dog-walking nosy neighbors on the street.

A 4-car, electronically gated carport is about all that can be seen from the street. At the rear of the car port a short set of steps ascends to a door set into a windowless wall that forms the rear boundary of a detached structure of unknown purpose that is definitely not the main house and may (or may not be) a guest house, pool house, recording studio, home fitness center, potting shed and/or whatever.

Because the main house sits as far from the street as the geography and building restrictions allow, in order to get to the front door a person must not only walk the entire length of long carport and up the stairs to the entry gate but also traverse the property's primary outdoor entertainment area along a narrow brick walkway that parallels the entire length of the swimming pool.

This somewhat unusual set up with the black-bottom swimming pool set in tight proximity to the house, in what is effectively the front yard, probably works just fine once you're on the property. Howevuh hunties, Your Mama can assure the children that our imperious house gurl Svetlana and any number of our boozier and hence less stable friends would surely balk at having to schlep the long distance from the car port to the kitchen with hands full of cocktails and armfuls of groceries and cleaning supplies. No doubt ol' Sveta would insist we supply her with a golf cart or electric scooter to ease her burden. Imagine for a moment, if you will, attempting to make that walk at 3:30 am in a pair of cockamamie pony heels (and downright criminal multi-color hose) after three too many gin & tonics. Mister Tyler may be sober now but we still suggest he consider keeping a speedo-suited lifeguard on duty at all times just in case any of his less sober guests partake a tipple or two of something merry making and possibly illegal.

Anyhoo, details of the house are few, but listing information and marketing materials Your Mama dug up out of the interweb do show the living room has very blonde and lustrous hardwood floors, a fireplace, and a pair vast expanses of asymmetrically-paned windows that frame and cut up the otherwise unobstructed rock star view, at night a magnificent shimmering expanse of winking and twinkling lights. We know there are a lot of people who loathe Los Angeles for any number of (probably legitimate) reasons but, butter balls, even the haters have to acknowledge the night time view from Mister Tyler's living room above Laurel Canyon is—when weather and smog permit—nothing short of spectacular.

Your Mama hears through the celebrity real estate gossip grapevine that Mister Tyler had leased a very contemporary residence near the one he just purchased (as seen in this May 2011 interview with Matt Lauer). In addition to his new house in Tinseltown and his new Hawaiian hideaway, which we'll get to in a minute or two, Mister Tyler's property portfolio also includes (but may not be limited to) a large, lake front house in Sunapee, NH and a high-walled and gated estate tucked into the tail end of a shared private drive in the upscale and scenic seaside town of Marshfield, MA, about 30 miles outside of Boston.

listing photos: Nelson Shelton & Associates

Our journals can see us through stressful periods!

drawing is calming

I find that my stress levels drop dramatically if I take the time to draw carefully from nature...I posted this originally in our Sketching in Nature blog in the summer of 2009, when we were going through a very stressful period indeed, with Joseph's mother in the last stages of dementia.  Long phone calls, both from her and from his sister happened several times a day, always with the upset of the day.  I found that my journal was my best friend (after Joseph!) during that calming as meditation.

Of course if you've been a longtime reader of this blog, you know about the fantasy journal I kept during that period, too!  Journaling and humor are terrific tools for handling life's challenges!

I've always loved cicadas--their sounds, their abandoned amber husks, the lacy wings of the adults. This page even has a time-lapse video of an emergent cicada--and this one tells some interesting facts about the noisy summer creature.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Interview #18--meet the peripatetic Jennifer Lawson!

And yes, you're right, this time we didn't have a teaser post!  Jennifer and I have BOTH been so busy, we just decided to jump right in.  I'm delighted to have had the chance to update her original interview, because I knew a lot had changed for her, what with a whole lot of travel and a brand new, high pressure job.  

This is one of the mixed media images I chose to include in Artist's Journal Workshop...
I love her bold, lively work, including her Bali  sketches, animals, travel works, and home in Maine...that's one of my favorite places, so I've really been looking forward to this!

Let's jump right in--and thank you for waiting for us!

Jennifer, how did you get started journaling?

I started sketching the summer of 2007. I took a very long break from art, focusing on my career working as both an art director and creative director after getting a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in college many years ago. The only drawing I did for years were thumbnails and layouts producing thousands of catalog pages. It was that summer five years ago when I became aware that I needed to fill my creative spirit with some sort of artistic expression. Over the years I had bought sketchbooks only to have them sit unopened. I remember that summer grabbing a cheap sketchbook and a pencil and starting to sketch. I was horrible! However, suddenly the whole world changed for me. I found creative fulfillment, I enjoyed trying all sorts of mediums, teaching myself to watercolor, starting a blog and discovering all the wonderful people from all over the world that share my passion and…I even got better.

Jennifer's sensitive, energetic portraits are always a treat...

Tell us a bit about your and what difference in approach, medium, or feeling they call for.

I spent two years living in both Maine and Bali, Indonesia. Moving to Bali is the reason I taught myself to watercolor. It was a transportable way to get the bright intense colors I love into my sketches. The experience of living in Bali was a wonderful way to document the new and exciting life that unfolded everyday. I have wonderful journals that account my time in beautiful Bali.

I love her sketches of animals, both at home and in Bali...

I started with a small box of cheap pan watercolors, but now I only use tube colors (mostly Daniel Smith) because the consistency and the colors are far superior. Also, I could change colors depending on where I was living. I learned a lot by reading other artist’s blogs and seeing what they were using. Living on the coast of Maine, I tend to use more darker blue gray colors like Payne's Gray, Lunar Blue, Moonglow and the earthy golds and browns. In Bali I used more clear blues like Antwerp Blue along with more yellows and reds and being the tropics, I had to make a lot of greens, which is harder than you would think. I love Quinacridone Gold and Cerulean Blue and go through a lot of both colors wherever I am sketching just about anything. I enjoy getting varied line weights in my sketches so pens are very important and I've tried them all. I always have a Staedler .03 pen, a flexible nib fountain pen and a Pentel Pocket brush pen with me.

What’s your favorite subject?

When I first started, I would draw mostly inanimate objects, landscapes and my pets. My dog Sophie has always been one of my favorite subjects. Being an animal lover, when we moved to Bali I would draw all the Bali dogs that roamed the streets of the villages.

Sophie's "in the swim"--the energetic lines here really give the sense of motion.
Eventually I started to draw the beautifully costumed Balinese and their colorful life. I took a reportage course with the Dalvero Academy and found that to be a wonderful way of seeing and recording the world around me. I started really focusing on the figure, which was such a challenge for my out of shape drawing skills, but with practice I got better. I tried portraits and found I loved doing those—friends, family, and strangers, Julia Kay’s Portrait Party on Flickr...anybody. It's fun! I also went to the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Lisbon Portugal in 2011. What an amazing experience to meet other artists and draw the people and places of that beautiful city. I hope to go again—Santo Domingo in 2012.

Colorful Lisbon!

So how many of us will get the chance to sketch one of the most storied mountains in the world?

Jennifer, sketching on the spot on Kilimanjaro!  THAT is dedication...

Do you see yourself continuing to journal?

I will hopefully do this for the rest of my life. I can't imagine life without sketching. It is who I am. Though I do not live in Bali anymore, I continue to travel as much as possible and record those events in my journals. I recently climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and did as much drawing as possible in the rugged inclement mountain conditions. We hiked all day long and with the cold temperatures at night I only managed a small sketch or two a day for the 8 days we were on the mountain. When we would get to camp I would usually start a sketch before dinner and finish it huddled in my tent, all bundled up in my sleeping bag, drawing by the light of a headlamp before I would fall asleep after a day of hiking 2,000 to 3,000 vertical feet. It was an experience I will never forget and along with the memories and photographs, I have these quick sketches in a small Moleskine watercolor journal that are wonderful reminders of that amazing adventure. Lately my creative consulting job keeps me very busy and it has been harder for me to find time to sketch as much as I used to. I am now realizing it is time to take a step back and carve out some time for what I love to do.

I love Jennifer's food sketches, but especially these simple, colorful bowls of soup from the top of the world.

DO you use your journal sketches to plan future paintings or are they stand-alone?

My journal sketches are all just drawings of where I am in that moment. I wish I could plan future paintings, but honestly, I can be a little unfocused and drifty when my days are not scheduled by the structure of corporate life. So most are just spontaneous sketches in sketchbooks and loose pieces of paper. Most of my loose sketches get filed (actually stuffed) in a large paper grocery bag never to be seen again. If I want to paint, I get out the oil paints and start from scratch.

Other thoughts? Whatever else you feel is more important, personally, to YOU...

It's such a gift that I discovered drawing, sketching and journaling in my life, now it IS my life. It's part of who I am whether it is the major part or not so much as it is these days. That will eventually change, as the impermanence of life will offer up new opportunities and possibly more time to sketch.
I continue to learn and grow everyday through my sketching. I never leave the house without a sketchbook and a pen or the least. Better late than never, right?

Thank you, Jennifer, this was terrific!


Don't miss her blog at or her Flickr, where there are LOTS and LOTS of images to enjoy...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flickr, Facebook, Urban Sketchers and the world!

Back when I first got started sharing my art online, there was just Yahoogroups,...and then Flickr, and my online classes...and then blogs, and Facebook...and it's a brand new world that's opened before us.  Sometimes I'm overwhelmed, sometimes humbled, and always challenged.

I LOVE seeing art from all over the world, and getting to know people in Singapore, Tokyo, Brazil, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Egypt, India, England, Canada, Sweden, and more...

Being included in Danny Gregory's An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers, writing my own Artist's Journal Workshop and inviting a number of my favorites to share their work and words, and now being part of Gabi Campanario's wonderful The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World, I'm astounded at how my horizons have expanded in such a relatively short time.

The other day I was re-reading Urban Sketching and thinking about the amazing people I've "met"--some in person, most through our art and words online.  I'm not the hermit I once was...

Thank you all for the inspiration...and if you don't see your name here, I just ran out of time and space, and my brain finally melted!  I know you're out there...

Let's Pause...

...for a wee gander a some serious SoCal architectural gorgeous, shall we?

The Schwimmer Residence, designed by innovative and experimental architect John Lautner and set into four desirable hillside acres high above Benedict Canyon in the 90210, was commissioned and built in 1982 by a Dr. Alden Schwimmer and his interior designer wife Nina.

Doctor and Missus Schwimmer sold the castle-inspired house—Lautner reportedly described it as a "horizontal castle"—in 1998 to former fashion designer Harriet Selling-Canepa who renovated and updated the house and, property records indicate, sold it off for an unknown amount of money in January 2009 to L.A.-based real estate executive Fred Droesch who currently has the eye-popping and iconic crib up for lease at $35,000 per month.

Situated well above the tree tops for picture perfect panoramic canyon and city views, the architecturally taut and nature-minded house hugs the hillside with its gentle curved shape, measures around 6,000 square feet, and contains, according to listing information, 4 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms.

The main living areas include a voluminous open-plan living/dining area with fab stone floor, two massive stone fireplaces, wood-framed glass doors that connect to cantilevered terrace and runs along the back of the house, and a soaring, high-drama, rib-like wood ceiling with curved rafters. A more intimately scaled den—also with soaring, high-drama, rib-like wood ceiling with curved rafters—has herringbone patterned wood floors, a second massive stone fireplace and built-in bookshelves and desk space.

A series of hollowed out turrets made of Bouquet Canyon Stone solidly anchor the cantilevered two-story structure and serve a variety of purposes. One is a wet bar, another is a pantry, a couple house bathrooms and storage spaces and the one in the master bedroom functions as a pee-in-your-pants perfect sky lit shower enclosure.

Certainly Miter Lautner's Schwimmer Residence hasn't been maintained as a time capsule or museum piece, a fact some architectural purists will surely point out and poo-poo. Any number of alterations (improvements and upgrades) and have been made such as in the very airy, center island kitchen outfitted with sleek wood cabinets we suspect may not be original to the house and high-grade appliances that include full-sized, side-by-side fridge and freezers that are most definitely not original to the house.

Alterations aside, we are in unrequited and deep real estate lust-love with this house. Although it seems utterly preposterous to anyone frugally inclined like Your Mama to spend $35,000 a month on rent even if you can well afford to spend $35,000 a month on rent, were Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter ever to be in the position to pay $35,000 a month to rent a house—and we don't expect to ever be—we would be powerfully tempted by this house.

Some of the larger nearby estates are now owned by the somewhat mysterious Igor Greensberg whose mega-mansion rivals those in Beverly Park in both size and opulence and Dr. Phil McGraw.who dropped $29,816,500 for his 16,000-plus square foot mansion around the corner in July 2010. At the bottom of The Schwimmer Residence's hair pin-like gated driveway is the famous (and sadly bulldozed) Falcon Lair, a stunning Spanish style residence built in the 1920s by silent film stud Rudy Valentino and owed for nearly 50 years by American heiress Doris Duke. And just down the hill a bit more is the property where Charles Manson's minions murdered a handful of people including Sharon Tate in 1969. That property is now owned by sitcom writer/producer Jeff Franklin (Laverne & Shirly, Full House).

The ever-industrious kids at Curbed toured The Schwimmer Residence last summer and posted a couple dozen drool worthy photos that show other parts of the house not shown here that include a red-carpeted spiral staircase, the most decadent and dee-voon laundry room Your Mama and our imperious house gurl Svetlana have ever seen, and a sensually serpentine entry lined with curvaceous Richard Serra-like Bouquet Canyon Stone walls.

listing photos: Sotheby's International Realty

UPDATE: Kristen Bell

A couple of weeks ago Your Mama discussed the secluded Studio City, CA residence of young actress Kristen Bell (House of Lies, Gossip Girl, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Veronica Mars) falling into the ugly maw of foreclosure.

Yesterday Miss Bell's former pad popped up on the open market as a bank owned property with an asking price of $1,995,000. A couple of quick clickety-clacks of the well-worn beads on Your Mama's bejeweled abacus shows that's a significant $1,105,000 less than the $3,100,000 Miss Bell paid for the 2.6 acre spread in November 2006.

Current listing information shows the privately situated and somewhat bedraggled two-story house, built in 1969, measures 3,867 square feet and includes 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms plus a possibly unpermitted wing with an additional 2 bedrooms, study, 2.5 bathrooms, and a laundry closet.

listing photo: Parsi Group Realtors

Tearing Paper to Make Your Own Journals

Last year I got a criticism on one of my teacher evaluation forms. (Yes it does happen.) One student wrote, "I don't know why we wasted time on learning how to tear down paper and didn't spend all the time on sewing."

Now the evaluations are anonymous but I can tell you something about this student—she already had a way to tear down paper that she liked, or she owned a large paper cutter, or she was a member of the MCBA Co-op and had access to their equipment, or she is used to taking classes where the teachers prepare all the materials in kit form (and therefore doesn't make books at home on her own because she really hasn't learned hands on all the steps).

The class however was open to students of all levels. And my approach to bookbinding is to tear your own paper without expensive equipment—something anyone can do at any level.

Frankly I can't see how you can make a book without knowing how to tear paper, so it's an essential part of the process of bookbinding to me. As an instructor I believe it's important to go over the process of tearing, and in that discussion also bring up the various qualities of the paper, and of course demonstrate the proper technique. As a time management tool it also eliminates a bottleneck of students at the cutting machines and keeps class moving more quickly than it otherwise would. It is even more important to teach this skill when a book structure requires fussy tearing of a sheet to get a page size that can't happen simply by folding in half and in half. Showing how to measure in those circumstances is an important skill to teach.

So while I'm sorry the student was frustrated and I do try to pay attention to critiques, I won't be changing my approach—it is a foundation of my philosophy.

I know a number of the readers of this blog either already make their own books or would like to make their own books. Some of you may not know how to tear down paper. Today on my blog Roz Wound Up I have posted a video demonstration of me tearing a 22 x 30 inch sheet of Folio (which is a heavy weight printmaking paper). Along with the video I have provided a few additional written tips and recommendations including links to my posts on determining grain direction and also how to fold and collate your torn sheets so that you have matching surfaces across a page spread (some papers have markedly different fronts and backs). I'll be following up with another post discussing fussy tearing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Paula Abdul Gonna Give Up Her L.A. Mock-Med

SELLER: Paula Abdul
PLACE: Los Angeles, CA
PRICE: $1,899,000
SIZE: 4,679 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Although this dish was surreptitiously whispered to Your Mama ten days or so ago at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, CA, we are hardly the first property gossip to get on the Paula Abdul real estate train and discuss the Sherman Oaks, CA mock-Med mini-mansion the Emmy- and Grammy-winning singer/dancer/choreographer/reality television personality officially listed just yesterday with an asking price of $1,899,000.

Miz Abdul started her long and circuitous slog up the slippery ladder of fame as a cheerleader for the the L.A. Lakers. She eventually became Emmy-winning choreographer and Grammy winning pop star who, after a long professional dry spell in the 1990s and early 2000s, emerged in 2002 as the sincere and compassionate but sometimes downright wacky acting judge on singing show juggernaut American Idol. She sat in that seat next to blunt-tongued Simon Cowell for 8 seasons before they both went on to the judges table on the first season of the American version of The X Factor. Miz Abdul, bless her heart, was unceremoniously axed from The X Factor after the first season. No doubt Miz Abdul was straight up mad as a cat in a crick but we suspect she'll be just fine. No stranger to staging a comeback she'll whip up a cheer leading-based exercise video or twinkle her toes on Dancing With The Stars and be right back in The Big Business of Show.

Miz Abdul purchased her Sherman Oaks property in September 2000 for $1,285,000 and, alas, it has been the scene of a number of ugly situations for the tabloid controversy magnet. While taping her (blessedly) short-lived reality program Hey Paula in 2007, a gal named Jill Kohl slipped, fell, and busted up her back but good in the sloped driveway. Miz Kohl eventually sued and the busy gossip beavers at E! reported just yesterday that Miz Abdul—more accurately, her home owner's insurance company—agreed to pay $900,000 to settle the legal matter without a trial. (The production company for Hey Paula reportedly agreed to cough up another hundred grand for Miz Kohl's pain and suffering.)

Celebrity watchers and tabloid readers will recall that in late 2008 wannabe singer and disturbingly obsessed "fan" Paula Goodspeed was found d-e-a-d-dead of a drug overdose in her car parked on the street a few doors down from Miz Abdul's abode. No doubt that rattled Miz Abdul's cage. How could it not? Given all the tragedy that's taken place out front of the house, it's no miracle to Your Mama that Miz Abdul has finally decided she's gonna give the house up. We only wonder what took her so damn long to git to it.

Anyhoo, perhaps in anticipation of her impending move, Miz Adbul had an estate sale at her home during which she sold her select pieces of furniture, fashions, footwear, a fancy antique clock or two, several gee-tars, tray after tray of sparkly (presumably costume) jewelry, various vases, and other objet and ephemera.

Current listing information shows the gated, two story abode, situated near the tail-end of a long, ridge line street above ur-suburban Sherman Oaks, measures a good-sized but far from grandiose 4,679 square feet and contains a total of 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. Your Mama has it on good authority that Miz Abdul has vacated the premises and that nearly all (if not every bit) of the perfectly ordinary furniture and day-core seen in listing photos was placed there by Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota.

Of course the property and house have a serious, celebrity-style security system but as far as we can tell the surprisingly low metal gate at the street doesn't provide any real security or even an illusion of privacy for the front of Miz Abdul's mock-Med mini-manse which sits fully exposed well above street level. The electronic gate slides open at the push of a button or entry of a code to the aforementioned sloped driveway that bends up to a front-facing two-car garage and raised entry portico with red tile roof held up by a pair of slender black columns. Double front doors—wood doors, thankfully—open to an airy, eager-to-impress-the-guests-style foyer where twin staircases with elaborately scrolled wrought-iron banisters flank an arched doorway that Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota in turn flanked with a couple of curlicuing (and probably fake) miniature cypress trees, or whatever they are.

Luscious looking mahogany-finished hardwood floors in the foyer—which may or may not be mahogany—extend through the wide archway opposite the front doors into the "formal" living room with over-sized fireplace, surprisingly low ceiling with glitzy black glass chandelier, and a contiguous series of wood-framed glass doors that connect the living room to a deep, covered dining terrace that overlooks the backyard swimming pool.

A second archway stuck into a corner of the living room, this one adorned with black faux-columns no doubt meant to mimic the black columns at the front entrance, link to an open plan dining room/kitchen where a black glass chandelier identical to the one in the "formal" living room looms over a perfectly serviceable if very ordinary table likely selected by Staging Lady in a Pink Toyota or one of her minions.

On one side of the dining table a wall full of wood-framed glass doors open to the backyard and swimming pool. On the other, a peninsula with rounded end separates the dining area from the country style kitchen outfitted with high-grade commercial-style stainless steel appliances, green-flecked granite counter tops, and honey-colored cabinetry. Upper cabinets have glass doors for displaying comestibles and cookware and lower cabinets have what appears to be a (most upsetting) series of crafty-looking, hand-painted tin panels set into each of the many doors and drawers.

A bedroom and attached bathroom behind the kitchen provides direct access to the garage and could be used for any number of things that include a guest room for over nighters who don't rank high enough to sleep upstairs, a home office, hair and make-up room, Pilates or painting studio or, natch, live-in domestic staff quarters.

The meant-to-impress but entirely unnecessary twin staircases in the foyer ascend to a second floor landing with inset display niches. One end of the landing opens to a large den/media room with vaulted and cross-beamed ceiling overhead, striped two-tone beige wall-to-wall carpeting like one might expect to find in a conference room a mid-priced business hotel underfoot, and some unpleasantly swagged brick red fabric hung over a wide wall of windows.

Double doors at the top of the stairs, included, we imagine, to make a grand entrance, open to a long, rectangular master bedroom with more lustrous hardwood floors, a raised ceiling, fireplace, and row of wood-framed glass doors that open to a terrace with backyard, canyon, and San Fernando Valley views. The master bathroom looks impossibly out-dated with it's awful and so un-chic (but well-maintained) coral and beige tile color scheme. It is, however, sufficiently sized and appropriately equipped with double sinks, make-up vanity, over-sized soaking tub set into a bay window, separate steam shower with built-in tile bench for leg shaving and other things, and a separate windowed cubby for the evacuation and ablution apparatuses. Naturally, Miz Abdul's boo-dwar contains a celebrity-style walk in closet with built-in center island dresser/dressing table and floor-to-ceiling shoe racks for storing the ABCs of female celebrity footwear: Atwood, Blahnik and Choo.

The second floor encompasses three additional secondary bedrooms and two more bathrooms. One of the three guest/family bedrooms has lovely canyon views through wood-framed glass doors that open to the terrace that runs the full width of the second floor at the back of the house and at least one of the other bedrooms opens to a narrow balcony with tree top view over the driveway.

Lower level living areas spill out to a covered dining and entertainment terrace that surrounds a fairly (and oddly) narrow swimming pool nestled into a visual gully between a tall row of hedges along one side and and a curving concrete wall that holds back a slope that flattens out to a tree-shaded grassy pad with canyon view. The canopied Tibetan prayer house meets swinging park bench thingermabab set into the trees on the backyard's upper level is probably a perfectly shady place to whittle away a summertime cocktail or two but otherwise we find it an unspeakable mistake.

We're not quite sure to where Miz Abdul has decamped but, as mentioned earlier, we have it on good authority that she's done decamped for greener real estate pastures, whatever and where ever they may be.

Miz Abdul's immediate neck of Sherman Oaks isn't known for its big name residents but there are a couple notable neighborhood denizens who include (as the crow flies) Tinseltown's big daddy of celebrity gossip Ted Casablanca and Emmy-winning former child actor (and recently out of the closet lesbian) Kristy McNichol, her long time lady-mate and—ironically—their mini-dachshunds. Think about it for a second. Right...You got it: lesbians with wiener dogs. You can't make this stuff up.

With that, butter beans, we're off to the market and other errands require to prepare the house for the undoubtedly cacophonous arrival this evening of our dear Sister Woman, Brother In Law Man and their pair of sassy, hair-obsessed pre-teen off-spring.

listing photos: Postrain Productions for Coldwell Banker / Beverly Hills North

Fresh Artist Interviews for the Spring Session of Creative Courage

Hi everyone! I'm delighted to finally share the details about my new Spring Session of Creative Courage, which will start April 9th and run through May 25th, 2012. Creative Courage is my international e-course about finding, following, and realizing your creative dreams. 

We have been having a wonderful time this session, and I am personally thrilled about the creative friendships, collaborations, and connections that are being made by Creative Courage participants from all over the world!

I'm also very happy to share the next 12 expert guests who will be joining us for exclusive Creative Courage interviews this spring. We'll get tips and advice on how to move more quickly in the direction of our goals, as these women us tell their personal stories and explain how they are finding and following their creative dreams.

Our talented special guests include:

This amazing group of women from around the world will share their secrets on how they have  published books, built online businesses, created workshops and e-courses, and are now thriving as successful, creative artists, illustrators, authors, coaches, crafters, and writers.

As an extra bonus, we will be taking another *virtual field trip* - and this session we are going to Paris, France. I will be sharing my private photographic tour and impressions live from Paris during Week 4 of the course, and I will even send you a personal collage postcard directly from Paris if you'd like!

The Creative Courage e-course is only $99 for seven weeks of fun, color, encouragement, inspiration, love, a supportive community, 12 exclusive expert interviews, and a virtual trip to Paris, France!

Simply click on the "Add to Cart" button below, and you will be directed to PayPal to complete your transaction. You will receive a confirmation email that guarantees your space in the course.

Add to Cart 

The last two Creative Courage sessions sold out, and this session is already filling quickly. Please don't hesitate to sign up early and avoid disappointment.

I encourage you to register for the Creative Courage e-course, open your mind and heart, and start listening to your deepest, truest wishes for your life.

For more detailed information about the course, please click here.

I hope you will join us to get your extra boost of creativity, courage, and motivation this spring! 


p.s. - If you are a returning student, simply enter welcomeback as your Discount Code to sign up for only $69!