Thursday, January 31, 2008


A Place to Bark is still in 5th place! Click here to keep track of the rankings.

This is your last chance to help those saved-from-death-row dogs and cats build a new home. Please click on the "donate" button in the right hand column and donate your minimum amount of $10 if you haven't already.

On this crucial day in the contest, Bernie is keeping up the good work by transporting 42 (!) dogs to their new homes. (driving from Tennesee to Chicago!) In the last two days she has rescued 15 dogs from execution at local shelters. When the contest ends she will still be on the road. It would be a wonderful gift for her to arrive in Chicago and find that she has won the grant. Sweet gal that she is, she has already thanked us all (on her blog) and made peace with the outcome no matter what it is. She even wishes the other organizations good luck.

Clearly, she's a winner already.

Artists, Poets, and Crusade #16 (again)

I believe I told you that I joined the ZNE Artists and Poetry group last month (the month before? Yesterday? I can't keep track these days.). This month's project was to participate in a group poem called a Renga. There are many ways to organize a Renga, for example each person writes a stanza in the form of a haiku (you know I love that haiku!). What we chose to do was just two groups of 5 with each person writing just one line. The first person in the group would choose the topic and write the first line.

I was first in our group so I wrote the line, "I dream of dancing on the crumbled fragments of my youth." From that, I decided that the topic would be "future plans." I decided I didn't want to go with something from nature, a traditional haiku or renga subject.

This is our result:

I dream of dancing on the crumbled fragments of my youth,

a new melody leading my moonlight waltz,my heart fills with hope.

As the sun rises, I shall be born beside the day, anew.

Swaying to music written by my life, I sigh...

Written by: Laurie Blau-Marshall, June Sanders, Erin Leeper, Jodi Barone, Cathy Minerva

After everyone contributed their lines we were to then create a piece of art relating to the renga from our group. What you see above is my piece. On the shards of stone underneath her feet are words that describe things that can be lost as one gets older. They are: edge, independence, kind, cry, grow, joy, desire, endeavor, friend, light, sparkling, studious, true, discover, commence, think, bright, extravagant, stronger, affectionate, romance, courage. The dancer in the bottom, right corner symbolizes rebirth with her white dress, butterfly wings, and flower; as does the rising sun.


Considering this month's Art Crusade, I thought I would journal about this entry and then put the journal entry about the blog entry onto the blog entry. How's that for convoluted?

It was so convenient, I had a blank page across from some sketches and a practice painting that I did for the piece. That page was just waiting for for a journal entry about a blog entry!

This makes me realize how easy it could be. I guess it always seems like a big undertaking, but this only took me about 10-15 minutes. It could be better looking, but it's okay. I wrote what I was doing re Crusade #16 and what I felt about the Renga experience. Then, when I ran out of room, since I had made my lines so large, I flipped the book over and started writing in the other direction!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


A Place to Bark has slipped to 5th place! She has to be in the top 4 to get the grant! We're all hitting our refresh buttons like crazy to keep track of the race. If you've been thinking about it, if you've be meaning to do it, now is the time to donate! They take PayPal! They take credit cards! (I sort of feel like I'm doing a public radio fundraiser, "...if you listen every day and you want to keep your favorite programs on the air...")

Hey, I just checked out Claudine Hellmuth's website and there is a loooooooong list of artists donating prizes to people who donate to A Place to Bark! Plus, Claudine and Tim Holtz are each donating original artwork as prizes. You could be a winner just for donating a mere $10!!! Well, you'd be a winner in my book anyway if you donated to this competition, but you'd be a winner of some cool art, too!

This is a great, kind, generous community; let's rally around one of our own for an important cause.

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your donation.



Ooh! Look! A New Book!

Many of you know Stephanie Lee from the classes she teaches or her fab work. She has a new book coming out, Semi-precious Salvage: Creating Found Object Jewelry. On her website she is offering a fantastic pre-sale opportunity that I just had to share with you. In addition to getting a personally signed (for you) book, she will send with it "a special packet of alterable artifact tags...designed especially for the release of the book" and "a frame-worthy art print of one of (her) original paintings." On top of that, she's offering one of her $40 Chunky Bezel Pendants for only $25 (!) along with an image designed exclusively for this pre-order special sized to fit the bezel. How great is this package? Hop on over to her website if you haven't seen her work before. She does some amazing things with plaster!

AND we only have until tomorrow, January 31st, at 3pm EST (hey west-coasters, note the time difference!) to get A Place To Bark that grant! Tell your friends! Call the neighbors! The competition has been heating up and Bernie has already been pushed out of her 2nd place spot. We're in the home stretch - it's time to push! If you haven't already clicked on the badge at right, please, please consider doing so!!! Your minimum donation of $10 could traslate into $50,000 (plus the additional matching money for every dollar that is donated up to $35,000) and a comfy new shelter for some saved-from-death's-door dogs.
We can do it!!!
(for more details about A Place to Bark and this fundraising contest, see this blog post or go to Bernie's blog.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Puppy Pictures and Good News!!!


Bernie's A Place to Bark (and meow) is now in 2nd place! Additionally, another foundation, the Zoline Foundation, had pledged to match any funds up to $25,000 (this is in addition to the $50,000 grant) and due to the overwhelming response - they've upped the amount they will match to $35,000! It looks like Bernie will be building an actual "shelter" for her charges for sure now (As opposed to bringing them all into the house when it gets too cold - in addition to the ones already in the house). There's one more week! The other charitable groups are still going strong, too. Can you help secure A Place to Bark's grant? Just click on the badge to the right. The minimum donation is $10, but of course more is always welcome.

Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone who has donated.
OH! And tell your friends, too!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Art Crusade # 16, Journal Your Blog

This was a toughie. The Art Crusade # 16 assignment was to pick a blog post and (art) journal about it, then share the journal page on your blog. First, I wanted to pick a blog post about which I had something to say. It seems logical to pick one about art. But which one? Well, it turns out that once I've said something my art, I'm kind of done. Which left me with this post about some pieces I was painting for my cousin for Christmas. That is problematic because they are hardly more advanced than they were at the time I wrote the post. Now I'd have to admit to the world what a deadbeat non-finisher I can be. Ugh. Then, ironically, when I took the picture of the unfinished tryptich, I put the canvasses right in front of another unfinished painting! Sigh.

Another thing; usually my journal pages are not so nifty looking. I never pre-prep the pages with paint and ink and stuff(although this one did happen to have a coat of gesso on it - the only page in the journal that does). While I occasionally go all out on a journal page, I typically just grab the journal and scribble down ideas and lame sketches to remind myself of them later. I really wanted to prettify it for this. Make it more like the journal I wish I kept. Below are a couple of typical pages.

Look at that vast expanse of white. Yeesh. So I am not entirely shamed, I will share another couple of pages where I actually did make a little effort.

I was reading what Michele wrote about visual journals and feeling somewhat guilty; which naturally led to feeling whiny... I already have mountains of dishes, laundry, and household filing piling up around me. Taking more time to work on a journal just seems like it would take away from the time I use to make art and post on my blog. Plus, I'm already so solitary, I don't really want something to make me more solitary. Which is how journalling occurs for me. One reason I'm so drawn to art is that it is a way for me to communicate with people outside of myself. A way to say, "See? This is how I think, how I see." I feel like I'm writing something blasphemous here... Sorry, Michele.
Strangely, this is akin to a conversation I was having a couple nights ago at the Room 206 gathering (which I will blog about at another time). When I admitted that I hadn't owned a pair of jeans for the whole of the 1990s, I think there was kind of a jump in time or something. I know it seems strange, especially here in the States - and even more specifically, here in the Northwest - but for me it was very practical. I only made a certain amount of money and so I really couldn't afford to buy anything that I couldn't wear to work. Since my free time was spent holding cocktails rather than walking sticks or shovels, it was a choice that made sense.
How that story relates to visual journals is in the practicality argument. What with Rexy and her therapy and housekeeping (such as it is) and family stuff, I barely squeeze in time to work on artistic endeavors (including blogging - it's 1:07am right now) as it is. When faced with a limited amount of time, I choose to paint rather than journal. And every time I cut something out with the intention of using it in my journal I inevitably think to myself, "Why waste this (time and resource) on the journal when I could use it in a piece of art?" It's an easy decision for me. Maybe if I were a little more "type A" I would use my time more efficiently and I wouldn't have to make the choice. I don't know.

When Rexy goes to school for a full day rather than just 2 1/2 hours maybe I will be able to be a little more free with my time - able to journal and socialize. Until then, I'm pretty sure my journal will continue to be a collection of vast, white expanses dotted with notes, doodle-y sketches, and snippets of poems.
Hopefully no one hates me now for not being an avid art-journaler (hmm, I pretty sure that's not a word). Does anyone else feel this way?
Join the Art Crusade! Visit the GPP Street Team blog.
Don't forget A Place to Bark!

Screamin' Sale on Canvasses! I got 16!

If you live in Texas, California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and a few other states (see their website for specifics) you can go to Aaron Brothers Art and Framing for the best sale. They are having their semi annual Buy-One-Get-One-For-A-Penny sale on canvasses and frames. You know those really big, thick framed, gallery wrapped canvasses that you want to try but don't want to spend $50 on? This is the time to try one! You can mix and match sizes all you want. They also have some lower priced canvasses in good sizes that are astoundingly cheap. A 2-pack of 18x24s for $9.99, and the second pack for $.01! A 2-pack of 8x10s for $4.99 and the second for $.01! 4 canvasses for $5.00! Can you beat that??? That is cheaper even than making them yourself! Am I emphasizing this too much?

And check out their frame section, too. I found some shadow box frames for 50% off plus the one penny sale. I got four (4!) 9.75" x 12.75" shadow boxes for $15.00! They actually had a longer size for the same price, but I was a little bit afraid of it. (What would I put in all that space???)

To top it all off, I had a $100 gift certificate from my aunt - Whoo Hoo!!! For $100 I got:

four 8x10 canvasses - gallery wrapped, standard edge
four 11x14 canvasses - gallery wrapped, standard edge
four 18x24 canvasses - gallery wrapped, standard edge
Two 18x24 canvasses - gallery wrapped, 1.75" deep edge/heavyframed
Two 10x30 canvasses - gallery wrapped, 1.75" deep edge/heavyframed
Four 9.75 x 12.75, 2 inch deep Shadow Boxes

16 Canvasses and 4 Shadow boxes. I feel rich! Of course, I spent more than my gift certificate. I got brushes, paints, and pens, too. Unfortunately no astounding sale on those things. Ouch, especially the brushes. I had to get new brushes for my upcoming oil painting class. I'm really specific about the brushes I use for oil. Sadly, that means they're more expensive.

The sale goes until January 27th, Don't miss it!

Here is the - as yet unfinished - painting I did for my sister for Christmas. (Incidentally, on a canvas I bought at last year's Aaron Brothers sale.) I have to adjust all the skin tones and shading on the skin. (not to mention, work on those arms) Because I'm not used to acrylics yet I keep having my nicely mixed fleshtones dry up before I'm done painting with it. When I try to duplicate my mixing I can never seem to get the same color...sigh. I'll get this yet!
Speaking of Christmas, here is the gift that arrived from my dear, old, friend Pam Carriker. Those are actual pictures of us. (I'm on the left, she's on the right - she very kindly trimmed off my double chin! Thank you!) On the back of the box are pictures of us at 16 and 15 years old from the time we double-dated to the (1979!) homecoming dance. I forgot to take a picture of the back so you'll have to wait for that embarrassing image. (perhaps for quite a while...muahahaha!)

And here is one of the gifts I received from my ZNE Design Team secret sister, Julee Herman! How cute is this? She also gave me an equally cute, soldered, glass slide Christmas ornament and 4 little silver bell charms. (Have yet to scan those, sorry - I'm very behind, notice how I didn't address the fact that I still have my sister's Christmas gift in my possession? - oops.) It was a great gift and so fun to receive in the mail, not knowing who was sending it.

Lastly, I am once again copying the brilliant Kelly Rae Roberts. She put a picture on her blog of the books on her to-read pile. I thought that was great! I love seeing what other people are reading and it also seems like a good way to be somewhat accountable for reading them. Now that you've seen the picture I'll have to get off my magazine-junkie a** and get back into reading actual books so that I can report back to you! (Because, of course, you will be hounding me with "Have you read such-and-such book yet?" comments - right?) Well, okay, some of them are more eye-candy books than literature - but they've been sitting around my house, unviewed, forever! Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm one of those people with books all over the house that I'm "meaning" to read. Very soon. Really. (No - really! I mean it! ...I do!)

Oh! And don't forget about A Place to Bark and the $50,000 grant! See the post below for details. She's in 2nd place right now! Yippee! We can't rest on our laurels yet, though. There's still 2 more weeks in the competition. Tell your friends and neighbors! Have a lemonade sale! Keep those individual donations coming! When you go to her blog and see the astoundingly adorable new puppies she just saved from certain death at the pound you may even consider blackmailing your ex-boyfriend into donating the paltry $10 minimun donation they are asking for. (You kept those pictures of him, didn't you?)

To put the A Place to Bark donation badge (seen in the upper right of this page) on your blog; just click on the "share" tab on the badge, click on the top "copy" button, open up a new post on your blog and place it in the post using the "edit Html" tab (if you're a Blogger/Blogspot person - if not, follow the directions for your blog's server). Or, if you want it to the side, like I have it, go to the "Layout" section and click on "add a page element" in your desired section. Choose "add html/Java script" and paste the code into the "content" box. (Again, this is if you're a Blogger/Blogspot person - if not, follow the directions for your blog's server)

Good night, everyone.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Give to a Good Cause - and multiply your gift by thousands!

Many of you know Bernie Berlin,author of Artist Trading Card Workshop; she runs a no-kill dog shelter called "A Place to Bark." She takes in dogs (and sometimes cats, too) from shelters that would normally put them to sleep and she rehabilitates the dogs, gets them total vet care (medicine or surgery if needed), and finds them loving homes. She has been known to drive hundreds of miles to deliver a dog to an adoptive family, and to do a follow up visit to ensure the safety of her charges. She names each and every animal that comes to her and showers them with loving care. Check out her blog, the love she feels for our 4 legged friends just bursts from the page.
She is currently participating in America's Giving Challenge. If her badge (that's it, on the right) can get enough donations to be in the top 4 badges, her shelter will get a grant of $50, 000 (Yes, fifty thousand dollars!), which she can use to keep the shelter in operation and expand it to house more animals. Right now she is #5! We have until January 31st to push her into the top 4.

Will you please help by giving even just the lowest allowable donation of $10? If you would like to give more, thank you! It will not help, however, to do more than one donation (i.e. 3 donations of $10 each). Each donation needs to be from a new person with a new credit card, otherwise it will be cleared out at the end and will not count towards the challenge. If you are not a member of ZNE, please include my name in the dedication section at checkout so that Bernie knows where you heard about A Place to Bark. If you are a member of ZNE, be sure to include your contact information when you donate and you will be entered into a drawing to win a nice prize as a thank you for participating.
Thank you everyone,

(And tell your friends, too!!!)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Award Day!

The first award is "The Daily Dose," those blogs that you want to visit every day; That you can't wait to see the next entry from.

I got this award from Dana, so I guess I can't give it to her - but she's definitely a daily stop for me. I'm awarding this to:
1. Gina at Lily's of Londonish (She's so prolific - there's something new on her blog every day)

2. Suzan at The Thrifty Collage Artist (The work she does while watching Gilmore Girls - wow)

3. Judy at Red Velvet Creations (prepare to have your breath taken away)

4. Kat at Altered Kat

The next award is the "You Make My Day" award. Isn't it nice that in this blog world there is someone who makes your day almost every day?

I got this award from Kat, check out her blog and her store, and also from Gina. So, I'm going to try to narrow this down...

1. Dana at Eccentricities Studio

2. Jodi at Wild Vines

3. Chel, Queen of ZNE (I'm pretty sure she already got this award - but she still makes my day quite frequently so I guess she gets it again!)

4. Pam at The Bag Lady's Art (who keeps giving me fantastic gifts even though I'm a deadbeat)

5. All the nice people who comment on my blog posts! It makes my day every time I check my email and see that someone has stopped by. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Oh! Newsflash! Jan Thomason of the Polka Dot Barn is back! After a series of serious and/or potentially fatal physical maladies she has rejoined the blogging world. Please stop by and say hello to her.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why we'll never have a flocked tree again...and some art stuff.

Our Christmas tree! A little blurry, perhaps, but festive! I like too many things to do those nice, color coordinated decorations that people do, so our "theme" is multiple colors. We have enough decorations for 2 (or three) trees, so we usually try to just put on the ornaments we have have purchased together plus a few of our old favorites. How cute is that felt tree skirt??? After years of stubbornly not using anything until I could find one I really liked, I found this one last year at Marshalls for a steal of a deal. I couldn't pull it off the rack fast enough! The tree topper is a vintage piece that is one of the first things we ever purchased together while browsing an antique mall.

I've been putting off posting because I have soooo much to post, but I decided to just do it in increments. By the time I get done posting about the last two weeks it should be coming on Spring.

First, the most hilarious thing - sort of. Remember when I said that Rexy loooooooved snow now? Well, she loved it so much that she thought it needed to be in her room. And, since she had that nice, flocked tree handy...

I don't know if you can get a good look at those socks, but they are covered in flocking! As are the leggings. I heard her singing the "I Love Snow" song from The Backyardigans and thought, "Oh, I bet she's doing some cute dance or something. I'm going to take a look." I peeked into her room and oh, man! This picture doesn't really capture the white glow that the rug had. The ends of the tree branches look like they belong to a Charlie Brown tree now - they've been stripped bare. I decided to just let her be - although I did tell her to stop taking the snow off her tree. But since it was already done I figured I would let her play with it for the day. What didn't occur to me (Why? Why?) is that she wouldn't just stay in her room the rest of the day! Pretty soon there was flocking on the living room rug, the bathroom floor, the couch, the chairs, everything I was wearing, and the kitchen floor. It was still kind of funny, though. When her Dad came home I told him to take a peek in her room. He came back in and said, "Is it okay that she's throwing it up in the air and letting it land on her head?" Groan.............bathtime hairwashing, always a joy anyway (not), was more challenging that usual.

All was forgiven when (okay, it was forgiven immediately anyway) she brought this home from school:

Next to it is the little mosaic tile she made us and wrapped in handpainted wrapping paper. She was so excited that she had a gift for us that she wanted us to open it right away, but we managed to convince her to wait until Christmas. (The tile, not the gingerbread house.) I know these are the same things that everyone's kids bring home - but we were thrilled and charmed to the core anyway.

And, sound the trumpets! Start the parade! I finally finished her stocking a mere 2 years after I first bought the felt for it! Yahoo! You sewing gals will be laughing when you take a good look at it. I hot glued everything but the blanket stitch around the outside (of course) and the chenille loop/hanger at the top. The embroidery letters are completely laughable, hopefully she'll find them charming as she gets older. I made the trees and the gift and bought all the other embellishments at a local scrapbooking store; except for the ornate, dark green, felt ribbon on the chartreuse tree and the gift - that I got from They have the best sales! And I don't even do scrapbooks. Definitely get on their mailing list if you're not already.

And lastly (for this post), here is the necklace I made for my Secret Sister in the ZNE Design Team Secret Santa exchange - it was for Chel! It's hard to see but I fashioned a cherry out of some beads and wire and hung it from the bottom. Cherries, Black, Red, Polka Dots, Gingham, Pin-up Girls, Glitter, Retro, and Tattoos were the things she said she liked so I tried to include them all in a pleasing way. The tattoos are represented by the word "Saucy" that I glued to her upper arm. Retro is in the picture, the gingham, the polka dots, the cherry, and the little ladybug beads. I idiotically forgot to include the card with the box when I sent it (there it was, sitting on the dining room table, when I got back from the UPS store), but she figured out that it was from me for the gift exchange - and that it was custom made especially for her!

Can you believe that this is just part of what I have to blog about? Yikes. In any case, the rest will come later - or not. For now -


I wish you all love, creativity, laughter, and happiness in the coming year.