Friday, October 26, 2007

Why haven't you been blogging, LB?

I am here. Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I have been very busy with life. Not very interesting, but busy as anything!

I have been up at 4 am several days this week, in order to take the Dude to the airport. I actually stayed up after I got home, resulting in feeling low-energy and tired most of the week. From now on, I go back to sleep when I get home! It works better for my body.

I had a lovely toddler fix yesterday while Piano Girl had a lovely lesson (she is doing very well right now). I am reading Mere Christianity with her piano teacher, and loving it.

I have washed dishes, done laundry, bought groceries, and vacuumed rugs. My house is really run down right now, and I need to give it some attention. With what time?

I have been engaged in high-level teenage parenting all week. I find this exhausting and worrisome. I hope I am doing this right. Being a teenager in this day and age is very different than it was 30 years ago, and I am trying to be there for my kids, but I feel out of my element. I am good with babies. I am not sure I relate well to teens. But we have them now, and I am coping. We all made it through the week in one piece, and that is what matters.

I used up an entire tank of gas playing taxi driver, which on Wed, for example, looked like this- Take the Dude to the airport, home for a bit, to the high school, to the bank, up north to run an errand, back to the school, home to pick up other kid, to the post office, across the lake to church for youth group, stop at Mom's, downtown to take her to supper, drop Mom off, back to the church, down to the airport, and back home. On Wed. alone I used a half tank of gas. Thursday involved two hour-long drives to and from piano lessons. Saturday will be more taxi driving- drive one kid and several speech and debate kids an hour south to speech tourny, get the other kid to group piano lessons 2 hours north. Then reverse the directions to get everyone home. Sigh. I love my job, I love my job.

I have done no art at all this week. I feel empty and stressed on this subject. I need the release of creating art, and I haven't made it happen. No blogging either. Sigh. No wrong-making here, just need to do this for me, and haven't.

That's it. That's all I have for you today.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tidbit: Parenting is a rough gig.

Whoa man! I cannot believe how stressful, challenging, and exhausting this parenthood gig is. I cannot believe I thought newborns and toddlers were challenging. Teenagers are tough- and not so tough. This is taking all my energy today. I have some art in my head, but it will have to wait for a bit while my hands and heart are working so hard with these kids. These amazing, beautiful, inteligent people who are inbetween childhood and adulthood, and for whom life is so big and scary and exciting.
God grant me the serenity to parent them with grace, patience, and understanding.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tidbit: Papa's comin' home!

Yay! We are just leaving to go pick up the Papa Dude from the airport. Yay! I hope he's not too tired to make up! ;-)

And yes, I had a delightful day with my borrowed toddler. Oh how I love him. He so reminds me of when my Fine Young Man was little. He is very sweet and very intelligent, and makes Thursdays so much fun and very relaxing for me.

I came home, did the dishes, folded a bit of laundry, helped both kids do some school (history, latin, biology, and math), and then did a tiny bit of art journaling. I will try to do and post more tomorrow.

As Pooh says,

Tidbit: piano day and toddler fix

Hey! Good Thursday morning to ya!
We are supposed to have winds up to 40 miles today. I am just hoping it doesn't stop my Dude's flight home today.
Off to all day piano lessons (Piano Girl has a performance this weekend!) and my toddler fix for the week.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tidbit: tar gel and Mama time

Between dropping the kids off at youth group, and seeing my Mama, I stopped off at Daniel Smith, and bought myself some Golden clear Tar Gel, some sepia walnut ink, and a teensy-weensy skinny brush. I am so bad. I don't want to wait to play with these new "toys", but tomorrow is our all-day piano lesson day, so I do have to wait. Sigh.

My time with my Mama was spent plucking her chin hairs (don't laugh! Someday *I* may be old and blind and need my Girl to do this for me!), and setting up her fancy-dancy new books on tape system (through the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library). Her first selection: Nathaniel Hawthorne's House With the Seven Gables. I hope she likes it. It was a great visit, and she seems to be doing well. I love her so totally, I am so blessed to be able to spend time with her and do things with/for her.

Okay, gotta get up very early, so it is off to bed with me- the whole big bed, all to myself, sans snoring. I love my man, but could do without the snoring.

What goes up must come down, and then go back up.

I felt so on top of the world last night, things were going great, but then just at bedtime, I got into an argument with the Dude. Don't get me wrong, I love him to pieces, but I HATE fighting with him. It puts me in a foul humour, and I end up all puffy because I don't rest all night, and I am puffy enough as it is! Hate going to bed when someone is upset with me. Hate it. Hate the example it sets for the kids, too.

We've talked since this morning, and we're ok, it's all okay, but I was still very upset when I got up this morning- a dark, dark cloud over me. That is what inspired today's art journal. I was so upset, I forgot to even gesso my pages, just took black and red paintsticks to it, making a big jaggeddy broken heart on the paper. Then I gessoed over it, making sure to let some angry black and red peek out. I then used pink, bright red, and dark crimson to make a pink heart- very rosy and happy-looking, over the black broken heart. Drizzled and brushed Lumiere around the edges, one side silver and darker, the other gold, with pinks and blues. I used a match to scratch words into the heart- "How many times can a heart be broken and then mended?"on one side, and "Love, peace, grace" on the other. The black and red shows through the scratch marks. I like the contrast between the warm and fuzzy pinkness, and the angry black underneath.

I may add more to this, but not today. We are headed out for the afternoon/evening. Kids have youth group, and I get to go see my Mama. That will be all the salve I need.

How is that for opening oneself up on the internet. I am all for just keeping it real, ya' know? The breakdowns happen to us all, and without them, the breakthroughs would be fewer and farther between. Ya gotta have those downs to appreciate those ups. And I knew that people used art for therapy, but as I experience it for myself, I can see how powerful it can be!

Keeping it raw and real,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tidbit: Believing in ME

Funny- Three different people today reffered to "finding your bliss". I seem to have found mine, and it seems to show. I am still round, I still deal with migraines, and I still have two teenagers, a Dude, 3 cats, and 8 chickens as well as this farmhouse to cope with daily. But I am not the same, or if I am, I am newly acknowledging a deeply hidden part of me.

Interesting- a year ago if asked, I would describe my heart/self as restless and apathetic, with a powerful yet undefined yearning". Today, and many of my nowadays, I am left with a comfortable feeling in my heart. Of knowing contentment, bliss and passion. And all it took was the finishing off of one corner of my basement, several hundreds of dollars' worth of paint, paper, and pretties, and a tiny belief in my heart that I *could be* the artist I *knew* I was as a five-year-old child. I just had to believe in myself to find her again. May I model this love of life and self-confidence for my children on a daily basis.

So when last we met, this is where my art journal was. I had covered up my doubts and excuses of why I couldn't be an artist with gesso and bright and shiny new Shiva paintsticks.

Here is how it looks now. I got to use my new Lumiere paints for this! Yay. I don't know if you can read the words on the right, or if they just look like a big grey cloud, but they are there, and say basically what I said in the paragraph above. The photo is of me at about five years old, when I KNEW I wanted to be an artist, and believed I could. I again believe I can, and that I am.
That's it for today. I have to take Papa Dude to the airport at 5 am, so it is off to bed with me. See you tomorrow.


art supplies

The goodies started trickling in on Saturday. First I got a back issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. The box it came in got very crumpled, as did the magazine, but that is ok. I am excited to read some new ways to use lutradur in this issue.

Ooohh, now look at these fun goodies! These are the wool felt beads I was telling you about. Don't they look wild against this batik fabric? Can't wait to start playing with these!
Another fun thing is this daisy-chain lace. This will be great for more work with the lutradur, but I may keep one or two out- the pastel centers are so pretty.
And the paint! The colorful painty jewels have arrived! Here they are upside down, so you can see the bright colors. The 11 bottles on the left are the silk paints- Dye-na-flow. The bottles on the right are the Lumiere metalic colors. Yummy!

I also received the undyed silk cocoons, but didn't take a photo of them yet.
Talk soon, I am fixing some hash browns for lunch, and then I am headed back down to the studio depths!

Random stuff

Okay, so I was so inspired by the video (I ended up watching about 20 of SuziBlu's art videos this morning!) that I started an art journal. I have been wanting to do this for awhile now, but had lots of excuses why I couldn't start it just yet. Now the excuses are all gone- or rather, I covered them up- I wrote them on these pages, then covered them in gesso, and then played with my new irredescent paintsticks. This isn't done yet, but I started it. Yay for me. I am so an artist!
Today's workspace- lest you thought I would leave it all pristine and nice. No such luck. My friend (for whom I cleaned this all up last week) did not come today, sigh, but I didn't let that stop me. Looky the great fun mess I made! See all my new ink stamps? The fabric paper I started last week is looking so colorful and different now.
See? Lots of stamped images (even more now than what you see here) and layers of paint and gesso. I am liking it more and more. I cut the big sheet up into several smaller pieces, from which I can make other stuff.
Here is the pinky-purple-orangey one, too. I really didn't like this one, but it is so pretty now.
And as usual, my partner in crime who keeps me company whenever I am in the studio depths, Sassy-Cuddlepuff. She is probably cleaning the paint off her fur in this photo- she had just laid on my freshly painted fabric paper. Sigh.

That's it for now- I still have an art supply post to get up today.

Tidbit: New inspiration

Found the video below at Donna Downey's blog, Simply Me. I don't know her, but I already love her. Very inspiring.

How To Keep An Art Journal by Suzi Blu: #1

My inspiration for the day- I now share it with you. More about where I got this later.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tidbit: sorta here, sorta not

Hey all,
Hope you are all well, and that none of you get the crud that is sneaking it's way through our house right now. It never really grabs you all the way, but for about a month, all of us have been fighting something low level. Tummy symptoms one day, then runny nose and a cough for a week, then ache-y joints and a sore throat. I think my poor immune system just had all it could take and I seem to be getting all the yucky symptoms at once. Very headache-y, tummy troubles, aches in my joints, etc.

So, I haven't been on the computer, haven't downloaded photos, haven't been in the studio since Saturday. But that's ok, rest is good. My art supplies are starting to trickle in, all the rainbow colors of paint came today, as did the undyed cocoons. I will take more photos tomorrow, and try to be a good blogger and artist. But for tonight, I have 2 new books (Fabric Leftovers, and How to Paint with Jacquard- I know, how interesting!), a sketchbook and pencil, and some StarTrek episodes to watch. I am heading up to my warm bed, and my Dude is cooking something to spark my appetite. I smell zucchini, olives, and sausages. We shall see if I actually eat any.

So that is my day- what have you been up to?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

tidbit: studio progress halted by migraine

Worked in the studio a bit today, till the headache really sunk it's teeth in to my temples. Have photos to post but need to rest- will get back to work asap.

Tidbits: Run-on sentences, and Questions of the Day.

Cat-lovers, what can I do to keep my cats off my tables? Is there some "place" I can create for them in my studio that they will be able to share my space with me, in a way that doesn't mean cat dander on my art and art-making space? That was my run-on sentence of the day, and my sincere question of the day to you.

Peace from the studio depths,

Friday, October 12, 2007

Unread books meme

The below listed books are the top 106 books most often marked as being unread by LibraryThing users.

The instructions are simple: Bold what you have read, and italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish. Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once. Highlight (or underline- i can't seem to locate my underlining feature!) those on your ToBeRead list.

I surprised myself with how many of these I have read, and also notice that there are a great many titles I haven't even heard of before. It also makes me realize how many art books I have read in the last 5 years- the time I spend reading those means less reading from lists like this, but that's ok. On the other hand- I have made my highschooler read many of them- does that count for something?! Hat tip to Carrie @ Mommy Brain.

Ta Ta For Now,


Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov

Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner

Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Mi'serables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela's Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A short History of Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: A Novel
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey

The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

A Thank You Post

One of my loyal blog readers and commenters is the kids' Godmother, Pamela. She is one of my fave humans, ever. I love her with all my heart, and hope she knows it.

Well, for my birthday this year, she gave me a really beautiful, yummy gift that I was saving for just the perfect occasion. Well, I never really came up with a perfect occasion, butI used it this week, and I loved it. She gave me some some lovely green tea from a company called Tea Forte', called Oasis, in these beautiful silken, triangle bags, and two cute little Tea trays to catch the drips. I used my fave mug, and the cute tea pot I gave Papa Dude for his birthday, and took it downstairs to the studio to have while I was working. Wonderful flavor, and very fun ritual.

This was a wonderful gift, and I still have the cute little trays- guess I will have to get myself some of this fun tea so I can use them again.

Tidbit: WIP snippet for Amy

Amy wanted to see this- this is what is pinned to my design wall at the moment, and is the next part of my WIP screen project, using my Lutradur and Lace challenge pieces. Hoping to finish this before my rep. friend comes on Tuesday (yes, I thought she was coming last Tuesday, but I was a week early!), so I can show it to her. And Amy, this is what I do when I am talking to you on the phone!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Coming soon to a studio near you: new art supplies!

I hate shopping. I really really hate it. Unless of course it is for art supplies. And frankly, I don't much enjoy it then, it is just a tad bit more interesting to me than the other items I shop for: looking for clothes to fit my chunky short body, or buying expensive food that I am going to have to cook later, and won't last very long in this house of teenagers, or really pricey text books that my kids will only get half the way through, but thoroughly use enough that they lose their resale value.

So, it took me all day, to be tough with myself and only order what I felt I really need, in small enough quantities so as to be frugal, but large enough that I won't need to order again for a couple of months. Here is what I ordered, all online. I can't wait till it all gets here.

First, from JoAnn, I ordered a Crop-a-dile. I was able to use my 40% off coupon, and saved myself $16. I was so proud of myself. I plan on using this specifically for making screens and wall-hangings with the lutradur and lace panels I made. I hope it works like it says it does, if so, it will save me a lot of noise and aggravation!

Next, I needed more lutradur and wanted to get it in a roll, not folded, and in quantities larger than a yard. That really limited me when I was working with it. It took me so long to find the manufacturer, but once I did, ordering was easy. I was able to order it in two different weights (thickness), so it will be fun to experiment with this again.

Then I needed more paints. I found that I could buy both the rich and sparkly Lumiere and the bright, dye-like Dye-na-flow paints for significantly less moolah at Dharma Trading company. They also carry the irridescent Shiva Paintsticks for less, so I ordered one of those to try. Those puppies are so pricey! But I love what they do, so I will just order one or two at a time. You get a discount if you order ten or more of each type of paint, so I did that- I ordered the smallest size jar in lots of colors so I can experiment and see what I like and use the most of. The next time I order, I can do it in larger sizes, and get what I really use.

I also needed undyed, uncut silk cocoons, so ordered some of those here. I love this company, because they ALWAYS offer free shipping! Works for me.

Next, I put in an order at Joggles. If you have never visited this site, you are in for a treat. So many art supplies, so little time. I ordered a lot of wool felt beads in many colors. I have been wanting these for so long, and I can't wait to use them! This was probably the most frivolous purchase I made today, but what the heck? An artist (hey, that's me!) needs materials to work with, to inspire them. And although it seemed like I spent a lot, I thought about how much this same amount of supplies would have cost me if I had gone out and bought them locally, and I realized I really saved darn near $50. by comparison shopping on the internet. Maybe shopping isn't so bad after all.

I also bought Biology tests, but I will not post a link to those, lol.

Two more after photos

This is now how the pantry area looks. The brown cupboards hold all my canned goods. The chair and table were just there for photo taking, and can go out into the room now. I still need to sort some of the stuff in those tubs on the left there, but most of them are empty. Yay! I made the Boy mop the floor and clean up the litter mess, too. This is my painting table, near the back door. Look how neat it is! This is the only table that has stuff under it, and it is all organized neatly. Yarns and fibers, angelina fibers, ribbons, etc. in the plastic drawers, and all my painting supplies neatly in the wire shelves. I love those wire shelves and want more of them. When I am painting, I can just pull out the bucket of brushes, and the box of paints specific to my need, and go for it.
Okay, now I am done showing you my after photos, and can get on with the creating!

new WIP- Fabric Paper

This Work-In-Progress is one of the October Challenges from the Fibre and Stitch online magazine, issue #1. This is the first step in making fabric paper. This consists of a crumpled sheet of tissue paper laid out on top of muslin. I soaked them both with a PVA (glue)/water mixture, and then sprinkled my brand-spanking new Dye-Na-Flow paints on them. I watered the paints down some, and think I would like them better full-strength next time. I used a brush to blend the colors all together. Notice the crinkly texture that the srinkled tissue paper gave the fabric. I know it doesn't look too spectacular yet, but it isn't finished. Now I will add some more detail to it- a little gesso, some stamps, maybe a bit more texture with some bubble wrap, etc. That will give it lots of texture. This will be a background fabric, in a paper quilt, and I will probably use it for postcards as well. And Pammie, these photos DO look better when you click on them!

Here is the blue-green one. Reminds me a bit of a Monet's garden scene.
Close up. I do think this one would have really stood out more with full-strength paint.
The purpley-pink-orange one. Note- too many colors make it look muddy.
Close up. Reminds me of a rainy day- a little dark, but not too dreary.
Look for more photos of this fabric paper next week- and hopefully they will be more interesting! I really like this technique and am looking forward to doing more of this.

Studio After Deep Cleaning

From the back door again- sorry about the lighting- it was bright and I couldn't get it right. Notice the clear table surfaces, the lack of crap on the floor, and the empty space under the tables.Hey look! You can see (and use) the stove! And there are no big piles of junk next to it anymore! Look at that freshly vacuumed carpet!
Neat and clean table tops- ready to get messy with new projects! And everything that was piled here and there is put away and neatly stored.
Here is my paper cupboard. The plastic drawers and baskets on top are all full of collage materials- mostly cards, paper napkins, and specialty papers. In the bottom of the cupboard are kid-oriented craft supplies- perler beads, stuff to make flower fairies, felt, etc. The small drawers next to the paper cupboard hold more collage materials- chipboard shapes, skeleton leaves, paper flowers, etc. I love these little drawers- they are easy to access and keep these supplies (relatively) neat.
These are the shelves on the stairwell wall. They are tucked behind my design wall- two 4' X 8' panels covered in cotton batting and on casters so they move like closet doors. I can have both panels open, or one or the other only. I can move them to access all the shelves, or close them. I love this feature of the room. I really use the whole design wall. Notice how neat the shelves are- from top to bottom we have everything from silk rods and cocoons, to buttons and beads, to every issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Quilting arts, as well as other art technique books. I also have bottles of water (no sink in the studio yet) and wipes for easy cleanup, and cd's to listen to.
I think you can get an idea of how much better it looks, but I think I still have more pics. Do you want to see more?

Studio Before Deep Cleaning

Okay, Dy convinced me that my faithful readers would still love me if I posted before cleaning pictures of my horrible basement. I will test the waters with before photos of my studio. I have one corner of the unfinished basement, that as most of you know, the Dude finished and presented me with this last Christmas. I have filled almost every inch of this space to the brim with art supplies. I have some art that I love, but I haven't put that up yet. Pamela, you can enlarge these pics, but it will embarrass me to no end, so just don't tell me that you did, ok?

First off, before I could do much of anything else, I had to deal with the piles of stuff. There were piles everywhere, 3 to 4 feet wide, and 3 to 4 feet high, of stuff that needed to be thrown away, or put away. This is what my fabric cutting/sewing/ironing table looked like. No room to do any of those things- and more piles.
This table came in very handy this summer, and fit right over the stove, giving me more usable space, but as we are heating our home with the stove this winter, I needed to ditch the table. You can see the chimney in the center, and the basement door to the left. The chimney is the "wall" of my studio, and where it ends. Back in the left corner behind the basement door is where the laundryroom is going to be, hopefully soon.
This photo is taken from the basement door area. You can see my messy tables, and my fabric wall. The wood cupboards on the left and in the middle hold all my paper/craft supplies.
Lookie here- more junk piles! And a filthy floor, and a view into the messy pantry area under the stairwell. On the right of the photo is the paper cabinet you saw in the last photo. It was so messy in the pantry area- this is where the litter boxes are, and there were so many boxes and piles of junk, you couldn't even turn around in there. Really yucky and a waste of space.
Notice how there are just boxes and piles everywhere. Not very efficient use of space at all. Check out the next post to see what it looks like now.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tidbit: Studio is cleaner than ever!

I got the studio cleaned up! It took all day, but it is very, very clean! I took some before and after shots, will try to get them up tomorrow- right now I have a burger cooking, and some fresh corn on the cob waiting for me- dinner at 8:30.

Tidbit: new project, WIP, and cleanup

Hi. I see it has been awhile since I have posted again. I seem to really be struggling with this! I feel like someone just learning to juggle, but I have been handed 7 balls instead of two, and can't seem to keep them all in the air.

I have a friend coming over tomorrow to see the studio and to look at some of my work. She has a business selling fine art and gifts and knows of a show I could have some art in that happens in February. She hasn't seen the studio yet, and wants to see where I work, and what sorts of things I work with in case she can help with anything.

I started a new project in the studio, too. I am hoping to take pics today. It is another challenge from the first issue of Fibre and Stitch. So there is paper, and fabric, and paint everywhere.

So I need to get the studio cleaned today- a deep vacuuming with the shop vac (to get the stoopid cat litter out of the grooves in the stoopid carpet), dusting, and decluttering. Need to get rid of the piles of boxes, and I need to move the table that I had standing over the wood-burning stove, so we can start using it soon.

I also need to mail my charms for September's swap, help the Dude pay bills, get flea treatment for the cats, do laundry and dishes, change the linens on the bed, and figure out what is for supper. Not to mention that the tomatoes need to be pulled, the potatoes dug up and stored, and the punkins picked.

Too many balls, to few juggling skills. Think good thoughts for me.
Ta Ta For Now,