Thursday, August 17, 2017


I may have mentioned once or twice that I rarely finish an art piece,
especially my clay demos.
But this last school year I used this mask that I made a few years back
 to demonstrate how to apply the metallic oxides.
The kids have four to choose from:
Red Iron (the brownish one),
Rutile (the pumpkin color),
Cobalt Carbonate (blue-black),
and Chrome Carbonate (greenish).
For some weird reason the Chrome rubs off,
even after being high fired to 2150 degrees (Cone 5),
but I've found that if I brush the Cobalt over top of it,
then sponge the two off together it doesn't rub off
 and I end up with a wonderful turquoise-ish shade. 
Love it!



both at school and on the blog.
I've still got pages and pages to do from last school year
 that I know all my students have been waiting to see.
So I'm starting with my sweet 7th graders from 3rd Quarter.

This Winnie the Pooh and Tigger are adorable,
and so beautifully crafted as well. 
 Notice how Sriram Muraknoda even took the time to outline his piece in ink.
Needless to say,
I was really impressed.

I felt like this next one was so clever and cool by Ashley Lee.
I love the ants working so hard and how her piece tells a story.

I'm not sure what's going on with my camera lighting/correcting (pink tones),
but I sure like how it's making this next piece by Tiffany Cheng look a little erie

The kids were also required to put in a visually pleasing border treatment,
and I really like how Anisha Hemnani balanced her piece using more spheres.
I also love how she put in the backdrop with delicate bands of pencil.

And a super talent who came in this year was Gail Baltazar.
Can you believe a 7th grader coming into a survey class 
with this much drawing and design skill going on?
She blew us out of the water and made us look forward to each of her next pieces.  

We end with this crazy colorful border by Madison Plotkin.
Love her and the effort she brought into all her artwork!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Most of this summer was also taken up with helping my ex husband and our children
 pack up the family home after it sold in June of this year.
My ex continued to live here and kept it up for the past 6 years since our divorce
due to his double income.
That had been our agreement,
so that we could continue to get together here for birthdays and holidays to try to keep our family unit together and as normal as possible.
Our children are young adults now, 
and they along with my ex and I,
 were finally ready to let the home go.
But it was painful when the For Sale sign went up,
and I had a bit of a hard time saying goodbye to this beautiful home 
where we made so many memories with our children. 
And where I had a large hand in designing not only the inside but the landscaping as well.
So I started at the front and went around the home taking my last pictures of it.
Because it was the end of spring the flowers were in bloom around the entire place.
The Agapanthus with their lavender heads reaching to the sky.
The periwinkles reseeding themselves into lush clumps.
And the petunias just coming into bloom for the summer.
The Cannas along the front side wall with their bright orange flowers
(my daughter's favorites),
and the two willowy Birch trees that have grown from single baby shoots.
The apple tree loaded with a bizillion fruit 
which we encourage the neighbors to help themselves to.
And of course,
 the daffodils,
 that have continued to multiply and come back year after year 
from a packet of 12 that I planted that first year in the home.
Our side Serenity Garden,
as my ex called it,
had stepping stones with each of the children's hands and our dog's paws.
(now up at the cabin)
And a close up of an Amaryllis my dear mother gave me as a gift one year.
One of my favorites,
the hydrangeas scattered about the property.
In the side back yard,
 two orange trees and a lime I put in that first year as well.
And smaller but getting stronger, 
the grapefruit tree my son and I planted when my mother passed away.
She loved grapefruits, 
sprinkling sugar on top and eating the individual morsels with her special serrated spoon,
now in the possession of my daughter. 
Also the colorful multitudes of nasturtiums that come back every year 
that my son put in from a single plant.
And the azaleas that continue to hang in there even though I always forgot to fertilize them.
And underneath that trumpet vine is a brick wall.
The vine has grown to be at least a foot thick or more.
Another favorite that I was able to help design was the swimming pool,
and barbeque area.
Working closely with a landscape architect was a blast!

When I shot these pix all of the gorgeous teak patio furniture had been sold off,
but it used to look so nice next to the pool and under the umbrellas.
Even though this has been a labor intensive summer with dividing up property, 
packing up, 
the children reluctant to deal with all their things I kept for them since childhood 
(they will thank me when they are older I hope),
doing a huge garage sale, movers & moving day, and unpacking,
 as well as a painful process for our hearts,
the good news is that a charming couple with 3 young children brought our home,
and I know they will create wonderful new memories in this incredible place.
I wish them the best.

Friday, August 4, 2017


Trying to get back into the groove of blogging again.
I've had one of the busiest summers ever,
 and this is my first time to turn on the computer in a good month
(too difficult to blog on my phone).
So thank you all for your patience,
especially my dear students.

One of the things my husband and I have been doing this summer
is a lot of thrifting for school art supplies and treasures 
for school and the two spaces I went out up on our mountain.
Because my inventory is moving fairly well up at Trinket Trader in Crestline,
I rented a larger space this month,
and we just got it put up with lots of new areas to hang things from.
I'm just tickled with how well everything is fitting together
and I wanted to share my joy.
Above is the side you see first when you walk thru the store.

This next shot is more of a frontal peek
and below the back side.
Recently included in this new space are dolls from my childhood, 
pictures and antique clothing from my mother,
Play Station games and Warcraft goodies from my son,
 a fun lamp from my daughters bedroom,
and some artsy fartsy clothes of mine from the 1980's.
Dawn and Lonnie Roberts who own Trinket
do a great job of moving my things around as they sell out,
until I can get there with new treasures.
Below a bit more of a close-up.
My husband told me this morning 
that I have over 50 pages of inventory now between the two stores.
We are not making even close to enough money for me to quit my job,
this is more a labor of love.
Who knew I'd be a junk dealer!!
hee hee.
Life sure takes you on a lot of twists and turns.

Monday, June 26, 2017


It amazes me that roses can survive the snowy winters cold,
and will come back so beautifully year after year.
My very favorite, 
this 4th of July variety.
Petals are so few and fragile that Ive learned not to try to cut and put into a vase.

I don't have a name for this next beauty, 
but these are it's first buds of the season.  
They are hardier,
 and I cut them and hang them upside down to dry and enjoy the rest of the year.
What I've learned about this rose is that it's first blooms are the most vivid,
the next bunch that opened up last week are much more yellow then orange.
Those I cut and place in water to enjoy.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


A lot of sleeping,
going to the gym (got a good 20 to loose with 4 down and 16 more to go),
gardening and keeping plants at three homes hydrated thru this already hot summer,
hanging out with Little Guy Syd and teaching him to swim,
sunning at the pool, 
with lots and lots of reading.

But I'll be back to finish off the 2016-2017 school year.

Friday, June 16, 2017


What a perfect ending to your 6 year journey here at Whitney High School.
I'm so glad I was able to be here to cheer you all on as you walked across the stage.
I'm one very proud mama and art teacher.

Thank you for taking the time to drop by to say good-bye
 along with your touching heartfelt notes and gifts.
It was an honor to have taught this very special group of students from 7th to 12th grades.

I'll be posting more of you and your artwork this summer,
but am taking a bit of a break this week  and probably next to rest.

Much love to you all
Debra Agrums Sposa

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Recently our dear neighbor Chris up at the cabin
rescued the sweetest baby chipmunk he named Alvin.
Alvin had been mauled by some nearby animal and had been left in front of Chris' home.
He was still alive so Chris put him in a box,
gave him water and food,
cleaned and put neosporin on his cut,
then researched chipmunks and what wonderful pets they make.
I was surprised by how tiny he was.
Chris wasn't sure if he had opened his eyes yet since he ran into the walls of the box several times.
 Sadly Alvin just didn't have the strength left in him to make it and passed away.
I don't think I've ever seen anything so tiny and helpless.
It was heartbreaking.
Bye baby Alvin.

Thursday, June 8, 2017


which one was more beautiful so I had to put both up.
Freesias from Josh Berger's Succulent Garden this spring.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


charcoal on paper

Really missing this wonderful group of adolescents.
 It's such a welcome sight when they stop in to say hi.
As you will see,
their charcoal work is just as special as they are.
The eye loves diagonals,
they create movement and lead your eyes thru the art piece.
Well we all loved this one by Madison M.
I was also impressed with how she knew to break her cast shadow up the wall. 
Great job kiddo!

Love the simplicity of this next one by Anisha H.
And the way she styled her background is so beautiful.

This one by Bianca P. is just too cute,
and check out her smooth style,

But it was Ashley L's backdrop that really got the kids oohing and ahhing.
Simply AMAZING!!!!
What an inspirational piece!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


To senior Ashley Iseri and her sweet & thoughtful mother for this lovely lei made for me.
Ashley brought it to school for me last Friday
and I was thrilled with this handmade gift.
I told Ashley that carnations are one of my all time favorite flowers.
In fact,
I loved it so much that it rode with us up in our jeep between my husband and I 
to the cabin,
and made the most fragrant addition to our little place over the weekend.
Now I will place it next to the lei 2015 Alumni Kaili Hamada's mother made for me 
in my home office so I can enjoy it for years to come.

Thank you Ashley for the gift you shared with all of us this year,
and your innate designs and skills with the clay.
You were an absolute pleasure to teach and a joy to get to know.
I'm hoping you will keep arts & crafts in your life as you continue on your next journey.
Much love to you Ashley.

Monday, June 5, 2017


At our recent Open House,
the terrific & supportive Superintendent of our ABC Unified School District,
Dr. Mary Sieu,
stopped by to check out the student art.
She fell in love with 8th grader Loren Kim's lovely Dreamcatcher and
wanted to purchase it for her son & daughter-in-law who collect them.
Loren was thrilled and agreed to sell it.
Dr. Sieu was not able to take it with her that night
because the show runs for a couple of weeks,
so she agreed to come back at a later date to pick it up.
And true to her word, 
she dropped by last week to meet the artist and have their picture taken together.
I have known Dr. Sieu now for the past 37 years.
She has held many positions on her way up to Superintendant at the District Office.
I even taught her son art back in the day.
And I have never seen her in jeans and sneakers.
Always she is in a very professional business suit,
but she was headed over to one of our other high school sites to help them out 
with something that was going to require blood, sweat and tears.
So it was really fun for me to see,
 for the very first time,
 her looking so adorably comfortable.
We love you Dr. Sieu!
And thank you for always supporting us!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


newspaper, starch, cardboard, muslin, dowels, string, scrap fabric, wood embellishments,
watercolor & acrylic paints, paper scraps for collage

It is such a pleasure to show off more of these amazing sailing crafts.
As you will see the kids went all out in both their ship shapes and their sail designs.

Love what junior Jullian Morris did with the tip of her boat the Nebula,
building that curve with paper mache' was no walk in the park,
as well as how she painted the hull with the starry night design.
Giving you a view of the front and back 
because she took a lot of care with fabric selection for her sail patches.
And check out the sweet bow at the top of the mast below.
And a close up of those translucent beads she found to glue to the sides.
It's little details like those that make these extra special.
And of course I like how she took the time to fray those sail edges
which softens the design.

Spectacular is how I would describe this next vessel,
from the hull design to the multiple sails.
Senior Vicky Hur spent a lot of time making her boat extra.
Everyone loved her anchor she crafted from copper craft wire.
Note how she also incorporated the wire at the bottom and top of the mast?
And I was crazy about how she dripped her paint upside down on the hull.
Vicky received a very special award from me tonight at the Senior Awards Banquet.
Top Honors for her work last year in my 2-D class, 
and top honors this year in 3-D design and construction.
Congrats Vicky.
I'm hoping when you go off to college 
you will form a crafting group and keep the arts alive with your friends.
Alumni Cindy Ryoo is starting a Ceramics program at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Hint, hint
Vicky's sails are even billowing in the wind,
a trick we learned from nationally recognized repurpose artist Ann Wood.

Another class favorite was this very feminine and delicate ship by 8th grader Dana Ahmad.
It reminds me of what Peter Pan's Neverland ship might have looked like.
My favorite part is the lace bow at the back of the ship and how she painted the hull.
And check out below her clever boat name Seas the Day. 
I also appreciate the work it took her to string all that rigging.
And look at the adorable lace sea shell floating along one of the rigging ropes.
Then Dana brilliantly ties all the colors together with her floral patch.

Now check out the perfect craftsmanship on this vessel by senior Crystal Lai-Ton-Nu,
another award winner tonite 
for her lovely designs and craftsmanship all year long in 3-D Art.
Crystal also needs to be congratulated on having the most pieces up at Open House this year 
besides senior Shreya Sheth.
That's quite a feat because the show is juried.
I would have loved to have worked with Crystal at least on more year in Int. 3-D.
I sure hope you also keep arts & crafts in your life Crystal.

Next up we have 8th grader James Lara's boat.
I really like the double sails and especially that clever crow's nest on top. 
And of course the antique flower button and sea shell on the tip are a great compliment as well.
James even made a tiny wooden pirate but he lost it before I took the photos.
It was adorable, 
just like him  hee hee

8th grader Dylan Lin crafted this really fun ship with a cannon ball hole blown thru it's hull,
as well as the way he aged the hull with paint..
Such a clever design move Dylan.
And I really like how he also aged his sail by sewing on the same color patches
and fraying their edges.
It really looks like a ship wreck below the sea. 
Bravo young man!

Next up is another Peter Pan feeling ship by 8th grader Loren Kim.
I loved the look of this one so much that I bought it from Loren to teach with next year.
One of my favorite design moves that Loren made was to elongate the length of the sails,
and of course the effort she put into fraying each of their edges.
She also ties everything together with her Analogous color scheme,
and the dried flowers overtop the wooden buttons are such a nice detail.
A close up of her frayed edges,
sweet patches and little flags.

Also purchased by myself was this tiny but mighty sailing vessel by junior Lynette Lee.
Of course not all the ships were for sale,
the kids decided if they wanted to try and sell their work or not.
I got lucky that Lynette had hers up because I really wanted to show off her craftsmanship 
as well as the way she rigged the top of her sail. 
I also loved the way she applied her paint on the hull,
exposing a bit of the newspaper of the paper mache'.
I've always loved text in artwork.

We end with senior Sarah Woo and her super duper vessel design.
It kind of has an Asian flair to it that really catches your eye.
And the visual flow of all the parts and colors couldn't have been more perfect.
And I love, love, love how she painted her boat,
first with the transparent watercolors (so we can see the paper she used thru the paint), 
then glazing her stripes on.
Exquisite Sarah.
Another top Award Winner tonite in both the 2 and 3-D category. 
I have one more photo to add tomorrow of the back side of Sarah's boat.
But it's getting late and I've got to get to bed.
So stay tuned.
Sarah crafted a ladder that is to die for.