Friday, December 19, 2008

I'm baaaaaaaaack!

Yes, that's my child. Still in her pajamas at noon.

What? That black stuff? Oh, yeah. That's the pretend chicken pox she drew on her face - like Pingu - with a marker. No, it's not enough that she gives me this never-ending plague - she also has to use a black marker on her face mere days before we go face the relatives. I did manage not to laugh so as not to encourage her - but I had to take a picture - and that encouraged her. When I went to get the camera, she went over to the mirror with her marker - to get the places on her face that she'd missed!

On the bright side, though, it came off pretty easy. Turned out she'd used a dry-erase marker. Phew!

Winter Haikus

Blue Stellar's Jays hanging out in our snowy plum tree.

First, I'd like to share SueAnn's Haiku:

Frost fills the air; cold
etching glass with swirls and curves
Watching breath turn white.

Isn't that beautiful? It so perfectly captures our ideal version of winter.

And from Kayce, as always, making me laugh:

December is cold
chocolate and Schnapps
mug is all i need

Eyes peeking at me
a hat too big, scarf too long
torture is my game

From Teresa, I wish I was in Texas right now myself!

A chill in the air
Does not snow in South Texas
but very rarely

And lastly, from Liisa; although it was Thanksgiving turkey that brought her parents together, we have turkey for Christmas dinner, too.

Nineteen thirty-three,
farm girl raises turkey chicks,
sells one to my dad.

Thanksgiving turkey!
Without him there'd be no me!
You can ask my mom.

(well, that wasn't really the last one, mine is down at the bottom of the post.)

Frosty, the mini snowman

Frosta, the mini snow-woman

We're snowed in. If you live anywhere but the northwest or a warm climate you will laugh at the next sentence. We are snowed in because we have 10 inches of snow. Yep. Ten inches. (Okay, possibly as many as 12.) The Seattle area pretty much comes to a standstill at about 3 inches. I think there's about 2 snowplows and .62 of a road sander for every 100 square miles in this area. Seriously. Right now there is a huge suburban neighborhood completely without gas in their gas stations because the tankers can't get to them. The situation is almost the same in the state's 3rd largest city. In our defense, we average about 3 inches of snow a year - and we got eight inches in one night! Also, we are an area of hills, hills, and more hills. So while the main road might be passable, you may not be able to get out of your neighborhood, or even out of your driveway due to steep inclines.

What this means at our house is that my DH has been home, Rexy has been out of school, and both of them have been needing to be entertained! Rexy and I have been doing lots of crafts. The DH and I have been watching movies. And the DH has been monopolizing the computer! I started this post 4 days ago and have been stealing time here and there to fill it in.

The barn at the tree farm, appropriately named The Red Barn Tree Farm!
During my blog absence, we went to get our Christmas tree from my aunt and uncle's Christmas tree farm. I wrote about the farm extensively last year in this post and this post.

The stove used to heat the inside of the barn
I thought I would just post a few pictures from the excursion. Rexy was the happiest girl in town when I let her play in the giant mud puddle. Her hat kept slipping down over her eyes, so all of her pictures make her look eyeless - or nearly eyeless.
She's still in love with the flocked trees, but after last year's indoor "It's snowing!" experience in her bedroom we are never doing that again. (I was still finding that flocking stuff in July!)

When looking at last December's posts, I saw the free images I posted in honor of Chanukah. If you didn't get them then, here is a link to all of December's posts from 2007 which is where the freebies are posted.

And finally, some art! Well, works in progress anyway. I've been finding it strangely difficult to work on things with everyone at home. By the time they go to bed, I'm feeling so wrung out and cranky that I just want to vegetate. During the day, I find myself thinking longingly of my computer games! I guess I didn't realize how much I have come to rely on that block of time when Rexy is at school and Phil is at work and I can just be by myself. I feel like I should be a model mother and be happy to bake cookies, fold laundry, and play Chutes and Ladders with my child every day...but I'm just not that person. I love my family soooo much - but I 24/7 togetherness just makes me cranky. Am I the only one? Am I a terrible person? (Do I really want an answer to that question???)

This is a gal I'm working on and (and my last Kelly Rae background), obviously, I'm trying to figure out what color to paint her dress. I was going to ask for your opinions, but since I took this picture (4 days ago when I started this blog post!) I decided on dark red. It's almost done. I'll post a picture as soon as it's complete.
The canvas below I started about 2 months ago. I'm sort of in quandary. I'd like to use some pretty paper to add texture to the painting, but I can't quite find the right color. And I'm nervous about painting blonde hair. I'm certain I'm going to paint a woman, though. The mood of the painting lends itself to that, I think. We'll see.

In closing, I would just like to extend my gratitude to each and every one of you. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read and comment on my blog. The last two years have been thrilling and heartwarming and full of your lovely, generous spirits - and I thank you for that. You make my world better a better place.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Chanukah!

Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy New Year!

Basically, may happiness follow wherever you go.

My winter Haiku:
Snowmen standing guard
our ice castle safe and warm
holds us close inside.
Next Haiku challenge, lets make the deadline after the holidays - January 5th, - and the theme is Beginnings.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm late! I'm late! - but look what I (sort of) found! Plus, Haiku Challenge #4!

By the time you read this post it will be 2 days late (or more, if you read if after tomorrow of course). I sat down at the computer on Monday evening to write my Haiku Monday blogpost; but before I came here I thought I should try to catch up on some of my discussion boards, groups, etc. That was moving along fairly swiftly until I got to my EtsyRain discussion board. Anandi, one of the more active members had posted about a new craft sales site. (She called it "cheating" on Etsy.) The site is called 1000 Markets and it's really cool!

There are no listing fees and all payments are made through the Amazon payment system. After a sale you are charged 5.5% + 50 cents and Amazon doesn't charge you at all. When it's all added up, it's cheaper, definitely, than eBay + PayPal, and although I haven't done the math myself, one of my fellow EtsyRain-ers says it is also cheaper that Etsy+ PayPal. (That may be a record number of commas for one sentence - I knew I was going wrong there but I just couldn't stop myself!)

There is a catch. It is "lightly juried." In other words, you have to apply. They are quite specific about photo quality (which terrifies me, I'm not at all confident in that arena), the quality of your banner and avatar, and even the way you word your profile and store policies. None of that is a bad thing, just nervous-making.

One of the things that Anandi said that made it attractive to me is that she felt like it was a site for an older market - older meaning not 22 years old - and that that made it a site that welcomes a more varied "look." I took that to mean that Etsy has a very specific "look" that attracts a very specific market and that this place might have a wider customer base. I don't know about you, but that's very appealing to me. Interestingly, they also have blogs in each store. Your latest post shows up on your store's homepage. I try not to spread myself too thin, blog-wise, I seldom use the blogs. However, I know that a lot of customers are interested in the artistic process and it occurred to me that this store blog would be a fantastic venue for that sort of thing. It would also be great for little how-tos, or pics of whatever it is that you sell in use in real life (like the Ikea showrooms!).

Anyway, I decided to mosey over and see for myself. Big mistake. I finally tore myself away at 2:30am! I opened an account, but haven't applied for a store yet. I want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row before I apply. I want to make a new banner and avatar, and write up my profile and policy. I did test of all those things - and then I explored other people's stores and promptly decided to scrap what I already done. I think this could a great venue!

On to Haiku!

Via email, Liisa Mannery sent the above pic to go along with her Haiku submissions using the "Change" topic. She was concerned that she had used a previous week's topic, but I say, "Don't stress!" Haiku, and any poetry, is a gift to the reader - I'm thrilled to get it whenever you want to send it!

Here are Liisa's poems, beginning with the bread:

Flabby, pale mass - you
grow in warmth and solitude.
Ah, fresh homemade bread.


Change has many names,
Birth and death are two of them.
Life goes on between.


Fall rocks my senses,
Blazing a trail for winter.
Spring will come too soon.

Sweet SueAnn offered this one:

The song fills my soul
wonderful thoughts fill my head
You move me sweet friend.

From Kayce, these fabulous poems:

A simple comment
from their imagination
fills my week with fun


I watch him in awe
a man of ease married me
He makes me my best

and my subject matter - humanity:

A look, eyebrows raised,
a secret smile you keep close,
what goes on in there?


The past and its scars,
the way a person survives,
shows on each one's face.

And so that brings us to Haiku Challenge #4 which I am going to extend - due to my lateness in posting - through next week. So #5 will be posted Monday, December 8th.

And! our theme for this time, Haiku Challenge #4, is Winter! Go count some syllables!

p.s. If ever you have an idea for a challenge topic, please tell me! Especially if you can make them more original than mine!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Eek! I forgot to post this on Wednesday!

Sigh...My memory is like a sieve.......
This moves me every time I read it. It applies to so much in life.

(Belatedly for) A Day of Sharing Words

Statement of Purpose

I do the work because I want to.
I do the work because I like to.
I do the work because I know how.
I do the work to explore myself.
I the work to engage others with thought, word, and deed.
I do the work because I have something to say.
I do the work because I have seen something beautiful.
I do the work because I have seen something ugly.
I do the work to be the kind of person I want to be.
I do the work to earn money.
I do the work to stay when I must go.

- Cautrell

Monday, November 17, 2008

Words! Words! Words! (and a few free images)

Everyone's blogs are about words lately! Not only Haikus; Donna Cook has a great blog post - that I will partially relate here - about Six Words to Inspire a Nation and Judy Wilkenfeld posts LK Ludwig's Day of Sharing Words invitation - that I will partially relate here.

Free Images
Also, since all my artwork is still in progress, I decided to post some images that you may copy freely. Theoretically if you click on each image you will get it at full size and then you can right click and copy it. I say theoretically because blogspot and I have a troubled past when it comes to images. Tonight, when I first uploaded these pics, I uploaded all in one bunch - and blogspot told me my images had been uploaded. And yet when I came back to the post writing page there was not one image. Who knows where they went? I ended up having to upload each pic individually.


I will start with today's Haikus - belatedly, I admit. It was nice outside on Sunday so we did a bunch of winterizing around the yard all day. By Sunday night (when I would normally do this post) I was so exhausted, stiff, and in pain that I fell fast asleep on the couch. Oops! So here I am at 11:42pm turning Haiku Monday into Haiku Tuesday! I may have to rethink this weekly thing...

The subject this time was "Change"

First, the beautiful and fabulous Teresa from Attic Rat, some of you may know her as Cedar Junction:

change is good
if it improves your situation
otherwise it bites

From the amazing and prolific Kayce at World of Whimm:

boy in pajamas
seconds before the bus leaves
calmly reading books

kids are playing well
errands to run before five
driving screaming kids

(these made me laugh, they totally remind me of my life)

from me:

For once it's welcome.
Change is gonna come to me
And I'm not hiding


Where have those keys gone?
I was getting organized!
Some things don't change much.


Discarded, unloved;
Craft beauty from dirty junk
And proclaim it art

In light of the next 2 subjects about words, I'm going to officially declare the topic for Haiku #3 to be Inspiration.

Six Words to Inpire a Nation
"Seek Justice, Love Kindness, Walk Humbly"

SMITH Magazine and the National Constitution Center ask you to help President-elect Obama inspire America.

In six words, give him guidance. Or offer ideas for his inaugural address. Or share six memorable words for January 20th and beyond.

In six words, a President can say a lot: "Malice toward none, charity for all," "Nothing to fear but fear itself," "Like a thousand points of light."

So give your speechwriting a try. Submit your words before January 5, 2009

A Day of Sharing Words
(From Judy Wilkenfeld at Red Velvet Creations)

LK Ludwig is hosting this day of sharing words. Here's what it's all about...

The idea:
We have words that touch us, move into our hearts and resonate, creating a feeling, taking us some place- past, present, future- perhaps some place we have never been and may never go, but for whatever reasons, the words pulse in our blood. Meeting new words, new poets, new poems, new ways for my heart to beat, is an intruiging concept. Want to go on this adventure with me? It will be easy to travel along.Many of us already do this sharing; this idea is just to help us find each other and hear the words we have to share.

The Date:
Wednesday, November 19.

The Plan:
On your blog, post a poem that moves inside you, touches you, reaches you. (quotes and song lyrics welcome). Include the author (or composer or musician) and source (book, album)- perhaps also the amazon link if there is one. no explanation required, no other revelation necessary.

One last thing:
Perhaps add an image. a photo. a video. a painting. a collage., if you would. Come here to this post. Add a comment with your link.I'll create a typepad page with the links, so others can hear the rhythm of the words, see the image and share in the experience.The Request: If you are intrigued enough, post on your blog about this Day of Sharing Words- encourage your friends to post.

Who couldn't use a few new poems in their treasury or new songs in their hearts?

So I think I'm going to try these two things. I have a little idea for both of them. I'll reserve my poem, etc., for Wednesday; but I'll share my six words now.

(Fair warning: mildly political - but non partisan - opinion to follow)

I'm not sure how inspirational they are for the nation, they're more in the "guidance" category. I feel pretty strongly about this.

"Always remember America is your boss."

I feel like that's a fact that most elected officials seem to forget. In my mind, it doesn't matter how powerful the office makes you, America pays your salary. You still work for me - and my neighbor Laverne - and my 93yo grandfather. Yes, it's a pain in the a** to work for us because we all have different agendas and we're all pretty demanding - but we still pay your salary. Sometimes trying to accomodate the most bosses possible is going to inconvenience you and some of your friends - but that's part of the job. Sometimes trying to accomodate the most bosses possible is going to really pi** off some of the others - taking those lumps is also part of the job. And we still pay your salary. A good employee does not lie to, cheat, or steal from his boss. In return we give you your power - and pay your salary.

(stepping off soapbox now)

One last Haiku...

Change. It is coming.
I don't know what it's bringing,
But it comes gift-wrapped.

Remember, next Haiku topic (#3) is Inspiration.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Short Blog Post? Can This Be True???

I checked out Joseph Cornell, Navigating the Imagination from the library last month. It's the companion catalogue to the exhibition. It weighs nearly 6 pounds! It is so chock-full of information that it's sort of hard to read. It was definitely a labor of love by the exhibit's curator. Unfortunately, due to the denseness of the text, I have not finished reading it - by a long shot - and I just realized it was due Monday. I was really trying to go cover to cover, but now I'm conflicted. Should I take another day, skim through the pictures and return it tomorrow? Or should I just return it today and put myself back on the waiting list? Sigh...I should probably return it today because people are waiting for it. Then I can at least go through the pictures at my leisure next time, right? I just hesitate to let go of it because I waited so long for it to begin with!

My DH found this site, Oobject, on one of his vintage bike sites. It is fabulous! It's just chock full of photos of amazing things, organized by (sometimes wacky and imaginative) categories. Like, for example, Bubble Cars. And they usually have little tidbits of information to share in each category, like, Founding Fathers' Invention Myths. It's a fun little site.
Speaking of my DH, look at the grocery list he gave me the other day:

Pretty cute, huh? Yes, that says "Elephant (to ride)." He and Rexy were making that list together and that was her contribution.
OMG - if you don't already read Yarn Harlot's blog, you'll have to go visit this entry about her caffeine nightmare! She is sooooooooooo hilarious! You don't have to be a knitter to appreciate her. I love her writing and I don't think my once-yearly scarf knitting experience qualifies me as a bona fide "knitter."
Lastly, guess what??? I sold four paintings on Tuesday! And, as soon as I figure out the shipping cost to Canada, another one will sell today or tomorrow! Yippee! Plus, 2 necklaces, 3 pairs of earrings, and 5 cards! Hurray! I know I should be able to just find satisfaction in the process of creating things, but I have to say the validation of selling something is pretty sweet. Don't you think?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Challenge! Haiku Monday #2

First things first. The topic for Haiku Monday #2 is ...............Change! I thought the topic would go well with current events. See this post for details.

Now on to last week's results...

So I arrived here at Sunday night/waaaaaay early Monday morning and realized that I had not written a Haiku! Nothing like a little Haiku action at 2a.m. on a Sunday, right? So I wrote this solemn little thing:

Dark, mysterious,
my companion, my refuge;
I welcome the night.

Hmmm...a little dramatic, maybe.

Then I decided to write a Haiku to go with the painting I painted today:

My coolness has fled.
I’m silly, sloppy, and loud.
Happy in myself.

(FYI it's 10 x 4 x 1.5 with painted sides - background and dots carry over - I'll be posting this on Etsy when I get a chance)

So! A HUGE thank you to the participants. It's been so fun for me - and you, too, I hope! Several people also posted art to go with their Haikus on their blogs. Please check them out! A link is provided for each person.

From Teresa at Attic Rat:

Too much candy gone
Gooey chocolate fingers
My butt will expand

From Pam Carriker at The Bag Lady's Art:

Angels from above
Whisper words of gratitude
silently to me

From Colette at Dreaming Stone:

Gratitude for love
silent and unbounded gift
Coming from above

From Glenda Bailey at Two Cool Texans:

Reaching reaching up
knowing the answers are there
keep on reaching up

From Kayce at On a Whimm:

Passion in a child
A Paleontologist
Feels it in his bones

( a very sweet pic of her son's well-loved dinosaur book was her inspiration)

And 2 from Gina Smith at Lilly's of Londonish:

Love your Etsy art!
Wish I had money to blow;
Then I'd get me some.

(Thank you, Gina!)

and her second entry:

That Haiku was lame,
Not as witty as I thought.
My muse ran away.

Thanks again to you all. It was so delightful to check my email and find Haiku! Thanks, too, for posting about it in your blogs.

Lastly, this beauty, below, is a drawing that my brilliant child did (I have no humility when it comes to my child, I admit. My DH and I think she's the best thing going.). Can you tell what it is? Its first letter is right there, too. It's a turkey! I think it's fabulous. She did that while sitting at the dining room table trying to draw a picture for every letter of the alphabet. How fab is that? Note its little wing. She told me that she liked my bird picture, above, but "It's just missing one thing." "What is that?" "Mommy! A wing!" Then she laughed like I was being deliberately silly. (Guess I'm slow...)

A last Haiku for today:

New Haiku fever
can't stop counting syllables;
a poet is born.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

CHALLENGE!!! Haiku Monday #1

What do you think?

Let's start something!

If you're a longtime reader then you know that I love Haiku. Well, I decided to start a Haiku Monday challenge. Last year (I think...) I had a little Haiku challenge and got lots of great responses. Many people had never written a Haiku before - some still didn't, you know who you are, Jan! (Miss 30 syllables instead of 17, love you for that!) - and were delighted to discover how easy it was. That's the great thing about Haiku, it's totally accesible.

Traditionally, Haiku is about Nature (yes, with a capital "N"). We're not going to be all serious here, though. Your Haiku can be about anything - even nature!

Spring! I dance for thee.

My skirt! With so many holes.

Panties! A good thing.

(both picture and Haiku are from the blog Threadbared)

Here are some guidelines:

If you google Haiku you will find much discussion about the rules and whether you should use them. I say let's just start with the basics and if you break them a little...well, we call that artistic license in this house!

The pattern we'll be using for Haiku is the following:

Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables

If you would like some examples, check out this site full of Haikus about lint - yes, as in dryer. My favorite might be the one that ends in "Lint, you complete me."

This is one I did for last year's Altered Art themed Haiku challenge:

Altered art passion.
New beauty made from old things.
It makes my heart sing.

Here's my thought about art and Haiku; while art is totally (completely!) optional, wouldn't it be nice to make a little 'zine full of art and Haikus? The details for that have to be worked out still. Liisa is a 'zine veteran, so I will pick her brain about that part and work out the details at a later date.

In any case, art or no art, all submissions from the week will be posted here the following Monday with a link to your blog (if you have one). In other words, I will post the topic sometime on Monday; accept submissions in the form of a comment or an email all week; create a blog post the following monday announcing the next topic and publishing the previous week's submissions.

(artwork and Haiku courtesy of the kind and generous Margaret Etzler)

So, to begin the process. This week's Haiku/art theme is:


There is so much to be grateful for in our lives, be as mundane or as esoteric as you like. Want to write a Haiku about the squeaky toy that keeps your pesky dog busy while you paint - go for it! Want to write a Haiku about the kind nurses in your mom's post-op ward - excellent! The way the sun shines on the leaves on your morning walk - well, you get the idea. Whatever you want to write about that expresses the topic "gratitude" for you is welcome. I look forward to seeing what you write!

Depression Cooking Ep: 3 - Poorman's Meal

Ok, I'm a little video happy, I admit. But, after browbeating you about voting, I thought I would share this charming video I found on

Real blogposts are coming, I promise!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Awards and How many times have we said, "I'm sorry it's been so long...?"

My dear friend Pam Carriker, of the Bag Lady's Art, gave me a couple of awards eons ago and I am now passing them on. First, the eternally soul-beautiful Jan Thomasson, of the Polka Dot Barn, whose sweet emails always lift my spirits. Second, the eternally amazing Suzan Buckner, of The Thrifty Collage Artist, who provides so much inspiration for me on a daily basis. And third, the eternally generous Donna Cook, of Bonnie Blue Denim, who so generously shares herself not only with us but also with her world at large. Please visit these fabulous women, you'll be glad you did. (note: especially the Polka Dot Barn, Jan's mom is in the hospital right now and I know she would love your thoughts and prayers)

Have you seen this?

I've seen it on a few fellow bloggers' sidebars, but didn't know what it was and didn't investigate. Well, I finally followed the link. For those of you who are as behind in the information race as I am, here is the meaning of the sign:

It's from a post titled "Blogging without obligation" from Tartx. She starts the entry with "After coming across what seemed to be the 4000th or so post on somebody's blog starting with "I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile." I decided it is time to rethink what makes a good blog..." She going on to make some good points and I thought I'd share them here with you:

Blogging without obligation:
  • Because you shouldn't have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.

  • Because its okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.

  • Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.

  • Because sometimes less is more.

  • Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.

  • Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.

  • Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be "bloggable".

  • Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won't be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .

It really hit home with me because I seem to be writing that apology on just about every post! I truly love my blog - perhaps more than is clinically advisable - but sometimes life is just a little too full, you know? Sometimes I just want to fool around on a computer game instead of blogging - AKA "vegging out" for a little while. I may steal her tagline, "Blogging whenever I fu*#%ng feel like it since 2006." (I also love swearing more than is clinically advised. Can't do it with the little ears around these days. :-D )

Well, I'm brimming with ideas right now and I've got the dining room all cleaned up because we had company Monday, we're having company Saturday, and Rexy's teacher is coming for a home visit next week. Sigh... I'm terrified I'll make such a mess that it will overwhelm my limited powers of tidiness and then Rexy's teacher will see what a terrible slob I really am. I don't think I can hold out for a week and a half though. Already things have slipped since Monday's company. What I wouldn't give for a studio with a door that closes! There's an article in the newest Cloth, Paper, Scissors Studios Magazine in which the writer describes her ideal studio and it's as if she's reading my mind.

Ahhhhhh, the dream...

~~~ an airy, light-filled room with open shelves at one end so that I can see all my supplies (out of sight, out of mind); a counter that runs the whole length of the building (did I mention it was a building?) with 2 big sinks; a long, comfy couch for naps and friends; Several work tables for different media and one big, table-topped, rolling cart for taking work outside when it's nice out - ooh, and one of those super cool, gigantic easels that you see in the art supply catalogs with so many bells and whistles that it practically makes your coffee in the morning; windows, windows, windows - but still plenty of wall space for art and inspiration boards; double french doors that lead out to the open porch/deck/patio (I can't decide) or a really cool, windowed, sliding barn door...or maybe both! ~~~

What's your dream studio?

Friday, October 10, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Hopefully this still counts as a Friday announcement, since it's (barely) before midnight! I guess I should have used a green background with these pics to coordinate with my blog template. Oh, well. I was in a polka dot mood.

Since I was taking pictures of the event, I decided to use the fancy scissors. Oh, yeah. I'm going all out for this!

Okay, I'm not exactly sure what kind of hat it is; but it looks very Napoleonic. Phil bought it years ago for a costume - or maybe just because he liked it, I forget which - and it now resides practically in the middle of our living room on top of a painted-gold(metallic)-distressed-with-black, Easter Island, tiki-head statue. I'm not kidding. He's very attached to it. I just try to pretend it's not there...

He was so shy about having his picture taken while doing this that I agreed that he could just be a hand model. I was playing with the "lighting effects" control on PSE in case you're wondering about the odd spotlight effect.

And so the winner is...Lorraine of Glimmering Prize!

(PM me on the ZNE network with your address Lorraine and I will pop your new painting in the mail to you.)

Thank you so much to everyone who participated! It was fun! I need to have more contests, I think. I hope I will still know you all when I get to 200 posts. It's a priviledge and an honor to know you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And Now News from the Sale Front...

Okay, it's been more than a month - ack! almost 2! - since the Showcase Tacoma sale - finally a recap! I didn't want my 100th post to be about that, so I was waiting. And waiting and waiting...... BTW, make sure and leave a comment on that post to be eligible for the drawing!

(Currently on Etsy)

Anyway - I did fantastic! Well, I sold 15 things. But that's the most non jewelry things that I've ever sold in one place! And......SEVEN of those were paintings! Whoo hoo! And this wasn't the busiest festival, that's for sure. There were times that the only people you could see were other people with booths. I do admit that I had things priced to sell for the most part, but they were no differently priced than I had them on Etsy. Jonah from Maluhia Designs posted a pic of my booth on her Flickr site. (She makes the cutest things out of Japanese fabric!) We all shared a gigantic, 10' x 40' tent; I was third from the end. When I saw this pic I was apalled at how wrinkly my table cloth was! How did I miss that? Sigh...another lesson learned.
It was really gratifying to do so well and to receive a lot of compliments on my work. I think it was that little push that I needed to convince me that this is the direction I should be going in. I also had several inquiries about classes. Coincidentally, my friend Liisa recently asked me if I would be interested in teaching a class sometime. Now, what should I teach?

One thing that helped a couple of times is that I can now take Credit Cards. Have you heard of ProPay? It's awesome! I got some carbon CC slips at the bank - they just gave them to me - and I filled out all the info by hand and then when I got home I just went online and processed them. It's super fast and super easy. And they transferred the money to my bank account very speedily (unlike you-know-who).

(Currently on Etsy, this is the full view of the above pic)

I also managed to successfully avoid spending all my money at the other booths - my usual problem at these things. It was tough, though. A woman two booths away from me, Kayce of NueToMe and World of Whimm and On a Whimm (3 etsy stores!, she's a superwoman - read her blog), has adorable kids' dresses made from recycled adult sized t-shirts (hard to explain, but very cute), and fabulous soft sculpture crowns and mermaid tails. The crowns were especially hard not to buy. Rexy took to them immediately and wanted to try on every color and every size. But I just kept repeating, "Pre-school, pre-school, pre-school..." to myself until the urge died down. (Unfortunately, we couldn't get the $$$ together and so we're going to revisit the pre-school subject after the holidays.)

Yes, I did say "Rexy." I hadn't planned to take her, but we found out at the last minute that a friend of Phil's from college had died and the funeral was that afternoon just a few miles south of the festival. It didn't make any sense to take 2 cars all the way down there - approx 40 miles. My cousin was able to come up and entertain her for about an hour, but my sister who lives about a mile away from the venue unfortunately had to work. So it was just us for about 5 hours. She was an angel. Any 4 year old who can behave well for such an extended period of time in such a cramped space deserves a medal. Any autistic 4 yo who can behave well with a continuous stream of strangers going by deserves two medals!

Anyway, on to more recent things. I was just visiting our friends at FH Design, Kerry and Rachel, and they had been tagged with a food meme. I thought it looked interesting, so I stole it! It's a list of 100 foods from the Very Good Taste blog. Here's the text from the blog:

Here’s a chance for a little interactivity for all the bloggers out there. Below is a list of 100 things that I think every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life. The list includes fine food, strange food, everyday food and even some pretty bad food - but a good omnivore should really try it all. Don’t worry if you haven’t, mind you; neither have I, though I’ll be sure to work on it. Don’t worry if you don’t recognise everything in the hundred, either; Wikipedia has the answers.

Here’s what I want you to do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at Very Good Taste linking to your results.
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
(I couldn't figure out how to cross things out - so I'm made them in red print instead)

1. Venison
2. Nettle Tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak Tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black Pudding
7. Cheese Fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba Ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J Sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot Dog from street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black Truffle
18. Fruit Wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed Pork Buns
20. Pistachio Ice Cream
21. Heirloom Tomatoes
22. Fresh Wild Berries
23. Foie Gras
24. Rice Beans

25. Brawn, or Head Cheese
26. Raw, Scotch Bonnet Pepper (but I may have eaten it cooked once or twice)
27. Dulce de Leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna Cauda
31. Wasabi Peas
32. Clam Chowder in a Sourdough bowl
33. Salted Lassi
34. Sauerkraut

35. Root Beer Float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (not at the same time)
37. Clotted Cream Tea
38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried Goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal

44. Goat’s milk (unless it counts in cheese)
45. Malt Whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken Tikka Masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea Urchin
51. Prickly Pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. Mcdonalds Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty Gin Martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine
60. Carob Chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (apparently it’s used in toothpaste)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ Legs
67. Beignets, Churros, Elephant Ears or Funnel Cake (I don’t think of Beignets and Elephant Ears as being the same thing...

68. Haggis
69. Fried Plantain
70. Chitterlings or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and Blini
73. Louche Absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang Souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a 3 Michelin star restaurant
85. Kobe Beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash (Hungarian)
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo Chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft Shell Crab
93. Rose Harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole Poblano
96. Bagel and Lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
100. Snake

Well, there were several things I had to look up – salted Lassi? But I was pretty surpised at the number of things I had had. 63, to be exact. Unlike Rachel, I used to be known as the kid who wouldn’t try anything! (As Karma would have it, I now have a child who only eats about 5 things.)
Well, I could go on and on but I 'm going to go have my first cup of coffee for the day instead.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

At Last!!! Post Number 100!!! How About a Giveaway?

Wow. I can't believe I've reached 100 posts. It seems both quick and also like it should have happened long ago. Starting this blog is one of the best things I've ever done. It may have saved my sanity. Here's my blog story...

We moved to the suburbs about 2 weeks before Rexy was born. Being city dwellers, we only had one car that my DH now had to use to get to work. We lived with that situation for more than 2 1/2 years. That meant that I was stuck at home every day with only a baby to talk to. (you can only force the relatives to stay on the phone for so long.) Of course I loved being with my baby and am lucky to be able to stay home with her. It's the stuck part that got me. Most of my old, city friends worked during the day and the ones that didn't lived 30 minutes away - on a good traffic day. My family all lives 45 minutes or more away - on a good traffic day.

(I know it sounds like we were crazy to live here, but this really was the best choice. We could afford it, for one, and it's generally recognized as a great place to live. Seattle Magazine recently wrote, “Shoreline turns up again – just as it has in the last few years – as a top-value neighborhood. A lauded school system, lots of parks and decent commute times to the city add up to a good family community...” This was in an article that rated our neighborhood number one overall as the best place to live in Western WA.)

I was also not working for the first time (for any signifigant length of time) since my first job started a month after I turned 15yo. I was 41. My last day of work at my very public (I physically interacted with 200-300 people a day and talked to just as many on the phone each day) was also 2 weeks before Rexy was born. Yes, I quit my job, bought a house, moved, and had a baby all within about 6 weeks - talk about life changes! Anyway, suffice it to say, I was going crazy being essentially by myself every day. On top of that, I knew something was up with Rexy but I didn't yet know that it was Autism. I was worried about her lack of speech. I was depressed, I was lonely, I gained about 900 pounds.

(Gina Smith)

Then I discovered blogs. Beautiful, lyrical, sweet, friendly blogs! What a world! What a life! What amazing people! And they liked what I liked! It was a revelation. It all started when I started researching ATCs on eBay...

(Jan Thomason)

I was researching my new love, altered art, on eBay and I noticed that all the art I liked had a little note at the bottom of the listings that said "proud member of ZNE." Hmmm. What was that? I finally came across a listing with a web address for ZNE and lo and behold! A whole community of like-minded artists! Then I found the groups on eBay. And the groups on Yahoo. All of a sudden there were hundreds (if not thousands) of people who liked what I liked. As the days went by and I read more postings in the discussion forums of eBay, Yahoo, and ZNE, I noticed more and more people talking about blogs.

(Suzan Buckner)

Blogs? Weren't those just journals for techies? So I started clicking on links and you know what happened next. That link led to another link, which led to another link, which led to another link...suddenly it was two hours later and I was immersed in whole new world! It was love at first sight. I could never have imagined that so much beauty lived online. Could you?

It took me 6 months to start my own. December 16, 2006

Why such a long delay? I dont' know. I think I worried about posting the "wrong" thing. I think I thought I should have a more exciting life. I perseverated over every post at first. Wrote it, rewrote it, wrote it one more time....Silly. I was certainly not that critical of everyone else's blog. I was, and still am, happy to read whatever anyone writes. If you want to share it, I want to read it.
(Pam Carriker)

And here I am today. A happy blogger; proud - and delighted - to be a part of such a beautiful, diverse community. Most of all, I am grateful. Grateful to you brilliant, lovely, kind, generous, and brave readers and fellow bloggers who put yourselves out there in your blogs and in your art - day after day - sharing yourselves with the rest of us. You set a fine example, one you can be proud of. If I could give each and every one of you a big, huge gift, I would.

(Lorraine Reynolds)

I can't do that, but I can give one gift - so I will. I will put the name of every person who comments on this post in the next two weeks into a hat. On October 10th I will draw the name of the winner. The winner will receive an original piece of my art. And this is it:

Friendship in Our Hearts

The larger, cut-out words read, "Sing to me of friendship, laughter, and love." and the hand written words on the edges both read, "I remember my first friend and my last friend equally well. No matter what now keeps us apart - or unites us - we will always have that friendship in our hearts." It is an 11" x 14" acrylic and paper on canvas. The colors are magenta, pink, brown, and aqua. I painted it specifically for this giveaway.

(slightly larger detail)

In this post I have included links to some of the lovely blogs that I have come across in the last two years. Each picture (that isn't mine) is a link to that person's blog and each link in the body of the post - each underlined word - is a seperate link to a different blog.

Note: Each picture here is of artwork that is copyrighted solely to each artist.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My 99th Post! Look for a giveaway on my 100th!

Go Your Own Way

This is my 99th post! Look for a giveaway on my next post!
(Whenever that is! Posts have been skimpy here lately, haven't they? Read on and find out why!)
Hey! I'm in a Treasury on Etsy! Check it out!
I've recently become fascinated with Steampunk, as I know many of you have, too. On a Steampunk group on Indie Public I found this link to pics of a San Francisco based game company's office. They are amazing. What a fun place to work that must be!

Once again, I'm sorry for the long delay in my posting. Usually that would mean that this post would be a juicy, long one - but nooooooooo! Not today. The leaders of the Seattle Etsy Street Team, Etsy Rain, have organized another group show for us. What a fabulous job they do! I hope everyone is as lucky as we are to have such great leadership on their street team. Anyway, they negotiated a group spot for us at the entrance to Artist's Alley at the Showcase Tacoma Art Festival. I'm only taking mixed media pieces - which is terrifying to me. I know how to sell jewelry, I usually do well selling jewelry, and I'm fine if people don't like what I do in that arena - but the paintings and assemblages are so much more personal. I'm not sure how I'll feel if I don't do well. It's Friday and Saturday - keep your fingers crossed for me!

Naturally, I'm working like a madwoman to build up my mixed media inventory. I've got 5 paintings going at once and I'm about to start on 2-3 more backgrounds. I am, of course, in a panic.
The Crow Queen Speaks of Love