Saturday, September 11, 2010

Our last camps at the studio

Drawing the big pepper tree 

Today we finished Camp #13 at Art-Works Studio, our business that we sold in May.  We are Independent Contractors right now, helping the new owner, training new teachers for classes, etc...  The studio had 13 camps over the summer, they are day camps and we do amazing projects with the kids.  I think we have done about 150 camps over the past 10 years.  They are a piece of cake, fun, easy and casual.  We worked a few in June and then 1 the end of July after we returned from our first teen camp in France with our new business Raison d'Art.  Then we took August off and came back for the last 2.  

It's strange to think we will never do another summer art camp at Art-Works Studio.  A bit bittersweet, but we had a good run and it's time to move on.  We had a great group of kids the last 2 weeks.  We had a girl named Emily in both camps.  Emily started at the studio when she was just 6 and today she turned 14!  We are very close with her and her family and it was great that our last 2 camps had her in them.

print by Emily

Abstract Tree


Next week we will be at the after-school classes, but we are slowly turning things over.  We only have 4 more weeks until we leave for France.  It will be good to see everyone coming back for Fall classes, kids we haven't seen since May.  We are putting out an email this weekend to all our customers letting them know that we'll be moving in October.  Many don't know that we are leaving, for good.

At first it was hard to let go of the studio, it was our baby for 10 years.  But now it's done, it's not ours anymore and we feel really good with the new owner and what she's doing.  She's psyched and excited for her new life as the owner and we are excited and psyched with our new life in France.  A win win for all of us.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Getting ready for the movers

5 Weeks.  35 Days until we leave Los Angeles.  Let the countdown begin.  We are starting to get ready for the movers, who come in 2 weeks.  We are using Rainier Overseas Movers.  We had California Relocation services come to the house to do a survey of the things we were taking.  They work with both of the companies we looked at, so they both had the same information.  We decided on Rainier because they were a bit (not much) cheaper and No Regrets for Me also used them when she moved to Brantome.

We are looking at what we have, how much it's worth and if we should pay for it to be shipped or could we buy a replacement in France.  Things like the old couch won't go, we'll get another at Ikea.  Things like my cookware and such will definitely be going.  It's not cheap to ship your stuff and since we are paying for it ourselves, we have to smart about what we'll be taking.  I'm not a hoarder and really have no sentimental ties to my "stuff",  so getting rid of things is no big deal to me.  There are a couple things, like these etchings my mom got in New Orleans about 50 years ago, an antique dresser and a few other things that I would never give away, but that's about it.  I don't like clutter and believe in less in more.

Once the movers pack us up, we won't see our stuff for 75-90 days.  Luckily the village house we are renting in St. Antonin will come furnished until our stuff comes.  The hardest thing is that we will be  without our bikes for 2-3 months.  We'll have to run, rock climb, do yoga and join the "club du musculation" the local gym in Villefranche so we can stay fit.

We'll leave Los Angeles and head east to Michigan to see my family for a few days and then we'll drive down to Chicago.  When we left on our sabbatical in 08 we drove to Chicago and left from there, because it's only 7.5 hours to Paris, 12 hours from Los Angeles.  We have the dogs and 12 hours is a long time.  7.5 isn't too bad.  They have done the trip before and they were fine.  We are flying United again, since they took such good care of them last time.  We have decided to fly to Brussels instead of Paris this time.  We are going to spend 2 days there looking for a used car.  The used cars in France are very expensive and they are not so in Belgium.  We are looking for a good reliable car, a bit newer than Claude (our 1985 Peugeot station wagon we had last time we lived there).  We are thinking of a Peugeot 305 estate (station wagon) or a Skoda estate.  We had great luck with Claude and all the french mechanics know how to work on Peugeots.  We want a wagon, so we can pack up the bikes or the dogs and still have a bit of room.  Once we find a car, we'll drive down to St. Antonin.  I have heard that the Brussels airport is so nice and easy, CDG in Paris is a nightmare!

Claude our 1985 305 estate

A new 307 estate

I'm also going to start throwing pottery again.  I haven't thrown in almost 2 years.  I couldn't find a place to throw when we were living in France last time and then when we came back to the states last October, we didn't move back into our house (my studio was in the garage) and I had no place for my kiln.  I sold my wheel and just sold my kiln and slab roller.  We'd like to find a small space to rent in the village where we can have our studios.  I'll throw and Bruce will paint.  We are also going to offer some art classes on Wednesday and Saturday for local kids during the school year.  We'll focus on our art in the winter/spring and hopefully get it into some galleries/shops.

some of my pottery

For late spring/summer we'll focus on Raison d'Art  our new business.  We'll have women's retreats in May & September and Summer art camps for tweens/teens June-August.  Our first trip this July was a huge success and we know that we can offer kids a very unique experience, something they will never forget.  We'll take kids from all over the world, but the focus next year will be on the US and England.

Right now I'm a bit nervous but super excited.  Our one year sabbatical was amazing and life-changing and we knew we wanted to go back for good, but when it's only 5 weeks away it's a bit scary.  No turning back.  The business has been sold, the movers are coming, the one-way tickets have been purchased...we are so ready for our new life!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Last few days in Mammoth

We spent 2 weeks up here the first week of August, went home for a week and then came back up last Tuesday and stayed until Sunday.  We woke up Sunday morning to snow on the ground and covering the car...burrr.  We were so lucky to have 3 weeks in this magical place, it's been amazing.  Our friends E and K and their daughter K came up with us last week and we  relaxed, hiked, playing games, ate great food, drank great wine and hung out.  It's been so much fun.

We took them on a beautiful hike at Rock Creek.  It's about 6 miles round trip.  Beautiful scenery, lake after lake after lake.  We took an amazing picnic lunch and relaxed by one of the lakes for a bit before heading back.  Perfect day.

Rock Creek 

The day before we left we went to Rainbow Falls/Reds Meadow.  We stopped to see the falls, which are stunning.  We also saw Devils Postpile.  Which was amazing.

Rainbow Falls

Devils Postpile Monument

We are back in LA now and back to work.  We are teaching 2 more weeks of summer camps and then start fall classes on the 7th.  We had an amazing month off, with wonderful memories of Mammoth.