Monday, June 23, 2008

Soap Talk, episode 1

For a long time now, I have been wanting to tell you about my favorite soapmaker in the whole world. Her name is Amy, and her company is The Foil Hat. Amy is one of the most generous and kind people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She is also one of the few people who can really make me laugh. I mean full belly laugh. In addition to being an all-around talented and sweet person, she also makes the best soaps on the planet. Really. They are the best!

I have talked a bit about her wonderful soaps in passing, but I want to do a whole post just on them. I have used FH soaps for over two years now, and have become one of Amy's official soap testers. I think I have tried every single product and scent that she makes. I love the range of scents, too. Not overpowering at all (most commercial soaps really make me sneeze), and there is a scent for everyone.

What do I love about Foil Hat products ?
1. I have extremely sensitive skin, and usually break out from bath soaps. This has not been the case with FH soaps. If anything, my skin has gotten softer and smoother with the consistent use of FH soaps and scrubs.
2. The site is orderly and easy to navigate. Amy's sense of humour permeates the whole site, and makes shopping fun. Her consistent references to herself in the third person used to freak me out a bit and remind me of Smeegul from the Hobbit books, but I am used to it now.
3. The range of scents (or flavours, as we call them in this house) and the fact that the soaps are pretty. As I said above, Amy has a wide range of scents, from manly to feminine, scents that Gramma adores, and fun scents for the kids. The soaps are so very pretty, too.
4. The lather factor. My Mama is getting older, and in addition to not seeing, her nose doesn't work as well as it used to, so for her, the scents of the soaps are not very important. She thinks they all smell good. What she absolutely loves is the lather of Amy's soaps. They lather up rich and thick, whether your water is hard or soft. I always love a lathery soap- makes me feel like I am getting cleaner, I guess. And it is fun to see how big of a soap bubble I can make.

Okay, now that I have told you why I like these soaps, let's talk about specific products and scents. First of all, I do have some favorites.
The salt scrub is amazing. I use this about 3 times a week, and it makes my skin feel soft.

The sugar scrub is really helpful in the fight against teenage acne, especially around the hairline.

The liquid soap is a miracle. It is great in the kitchen, both for hands and for the countertops. It is also very good for cleaning paint brushes. I have tried other soaps on the brushes, and they just didn't do a good job of getting the paint out of the bristles. FH liquid soap really cleans the bristles well, and leaves them soft, not stiff.

I also really love the shea butter. Mmmmmm. This stuff is so good for those of us with rough skin. Amy will make this in any scent you wish, but my fave is patchouli lime. Wonderful.

There are so many different scents, I will have to do a whole post on them, but for now, if I am just going to recommend two:
Alpine Spring: This scent is hard to describe, but it brings to mind images of a field of daffodils, blowing in a gentle spring wind. I love, love, love this scent.

Herbal Citrus Sorbet: This scent is described as "Fresh, clean with hints of basil, citrus and a cool breeze." I think that says it very well. This is one of my hands down favorite scents. When I am unsure of a scent to suggest for a friend, this is always the one that wins out.

If you have never ordered from Amy, you should do it today! Try a scrub and soap combo- it is so much fun to have matching scents.

That's it for this issue of Soap Talk. Visit Amy today, and tell her LB sent ya'!


I haven't been journaling as much as I would like. Here is some inspiration for all of us.

Here are some tips on collaging in your art journal.

I want this book. It has come up on websites, and in conversation 3 different times in the last week. Must mean I need it.

Tidbit: Angst

I am so fighting mother angst right now. Why is it that it just doesn't seem to matter how much I accomplish or how positive I have worked to be- there is always something very important I didn't get done, one more nice thing I could have said, etc.

Monday Musings and Weekend Catchup

Howdy Folks, and welcome to Monday and the weekend catchup.

Just after I finished blogging on Friday, I had this weird feeling- I had to get to Joann Fabrics NOW- something I just had to have was waiting for me. Ask Gramma- this 6th sense kinda thing happens sometimes, and when it does, you ignore it to your pocketbook's peril. So off we went. I was rewarded in the fabric paint department. You know how I said I needed some Lumiere paint? Well, this particular Joann's was having a closeout on certain colors, and they were available not for their normal retail price of $4 to $4.99, but for .25 or .50 or .99 each! I had the Girl do the math, and she came up with these figures: We bought 17 jars of paint, for less than $11. that was worth $58. How fun is that! There weren't a ton of colors left to choose from, but I got several I use often, and a few I hadn't tried yet. No citron, but that's okay. I will use them and be very happy about this bargain.

Saturday morning I lost one man at the airport, and picked up another in his stead. Meaning the Dude left for Hawaii at 9:30 am, and the Fine Young Man flew in at 9:30. We picked him up, and headed to Applebee's (I have to say that I actually think Denny's does a better job and a cheap, yet hearty breakfast.) for brekky, where we sat for over an hour, sipping orange juice and bottomless lemonade while listening to his adventures in Las Vegas at Nationals. At one point, he had us laughing so hard we were trying not to pee our pants. He had a fabu time, learned a lot from watching others, made new friends, and strengthened relationships. After that, we drove to two different Joann's, hoping to find more paints on sale. No such luck, but we had a wonderful time together.

I have heard from my Dude several times. He made it safely to Heelo, but it took all day Saturday to get there. He has been so sweet, sharing this adventure with me over the phone. He had Sunday to play and sightsee a bit before he starts working today. So far, he has let me listen to birds and frogs over the phone, taken me hiking to a volcano, shared his dinner with me a couple of times, and (the best part) showed me a wonderful hawksbill turtle in a tidepool, waiting for the tide to take her back out to sea. We have looked at the beautiful green water, watched sunrises together (He is 3 hours behind us instead of the usual 3 hours ahead when he travels.), and have enjoyed people watching. Isn't it amazing how much can be done over a cell phone? Seriously, his open sharing about how amazing a place Hawaii is has made it much easier to be gracious about not being able to share it in real life with him.

Sunday was spent at Unity, and then with Gramma. Man do I feel blessed that she is here to enjoy several times a week. She makes my day whenever I am lucky enough to be with her.

I had a hard time sleeping last night, so we got up on the late side this morning. I am just getting ready to make a do list for this week. There are errands to run, meals to cook, chores to be done, gardens to weed, bills to pay, kids to teach, and art to make. The usual.

Kids are out on the back deck, grilling a steak. The Boy is very confused by the fact that I asked him to grill a steak for brekky- I guess he hasn't tried steak and eggs before. The steak was starting to go, and this way we can nibble on it here and there. After brekky, I will hang out the wash to dry, and weed the blueberry bed. I also have a zillion phone calls to make.

Talk soon.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shopping list with a bit of product review

I guess I have been doing a fair bit of work in the studio, otherwise, I wouldn't be out of or running low on so many things! I know some folks don't like reading blogs with lists, but too bad- this is what is on my mind today.

1. More soy silk roving. For now, I will content myself with someone else's dye choices. Here is what I am looking at- one of every color she has- I wish!

2. Dye-na-flow paints. The last time I bought these, I did so in the 2.25 oz. size, as I hadn't used them much and I wanted to sample the bright colors. The next time I order, it will be in the 8 oz. size at the smallest. I need more bright greens and more blues. These have proven to be a very versatile paint, that works well on silk, cottons, and the good-quality homemade papers.

3. Lumiere Paint in Citron. I use this color more than any other. (Side note: If anyone had told me 20 years ago that I would fall in love with the lime green color family, I would have laughed in their face. I used to be so married to blues, and told myself I hated greens. Now not only do I love lime green, but there really isn't a color I would label as ugly- not one.) I also love the Halo colors- blue gold, pink-gold, and violet-gold. I was recently introduced to Stewart Gill paints- specifically the Byzantia and Metamica lines, and told they compared to Lumiere. I bought a couple colors of each line and have been playing with them a bit. They are nice-very rich colors in a thick paint, but the colors are very similar, so for the price, I think Lumiere is the best deal.

4. What I do want to try from Stewart Gill are their Bijoux Blends and Fresco Flakes. I think these would be fun to experiment with, on some of the big panels I want to do. These are pricey too, but I think they might be worth it. I will let you know if I get some.

5. Another thing I need in larger quantities are some gel mediums. I am very disappointed in Michael's. They stopped carrying all Golden products in favor of the Liquitex brand. I am not nearly as satisfied with Liquitex- it is cheaper (which was Michael's excuse for carrying it versus Golden), but it shows. The quality is just not near what Golden's is. To be honest, I could have been getting my gels and mediums online at cheaper prices for some time, but I was being nice by buying locally from Michael's. Not anymore. Funny thing is, the day I went in, the man who helped me said that I was the THIRD person that day to ask what happened to the Golden products. I think they may seriously regret the decision to not carry them. Rant over.

I need fine garnet gel (I can't wait to try this!), more fine and coarse pumice gels, and some Micaceous iron oxide, which I hear is fabu to use with water pastels and crayons. I really want to try this, as I have discovered that they don't work too well with gesso. I also need some self-leveling clear gel, and some more molding paste, both of which you can read about here. These last two items are used with the acrylic paints I love so much, mostly for collage techniques.

6. Some other things I need but am not sure where to get them are good quality (but not too expensive) stencil brushes and also some stencils and stamps. I really, really love the inexpensive abstract (a pattern, but not a duck or a star) foam stamps you can get at Joanne's and Michael's, but have all the ones they sell already. I am thinking of checking out the dollar stores.

7. Another type of product I have tried recently and fallen in love with are the color wash sprays. These are wonderful ways to add color to the fabric paper I have been making.

I have tried the Radiant Rain misters by Luminarte, which are bright and very sparkly, but have a distinct and icky odor that lasts after it has dried. Luminarte is the company that makes the fabu Twinkling H2O's that I love so much, so I was surprised how unimpressed I was with the misters.

Another color wash spray I tried recently is the Adirondack color wash spray. The colors are interesting on these, but the sprayer doesn't work well, and I keep ending up with drips and dribbles instead of a nice even spray. I put some into a cheap spray bottle, but if I am going to spend money on these, I think they should come in a better quality spray bottle.

I have also tried the Tattered Angels Glimmer mists. I really love the colors on these, and want more. The coverage was great, the colors bright, and no yucky smell when using them. I want many more of these colors. They are a bit pricey, but the colors are amazing, the bottles large and the sprayers are good quality.

When I was in Alabama visiting Dy, we went to a HobbyLobby store, where I convinced her to spend a lot more money on art supplies for the kids than was probably necessary, but you know already what an enabler I am when it comes to kids and art, right? Anyhow, while there I came across a Memories Mist spray in a lovely blue, that was almost half off the price. I should have grabbed them all. This has become one of my faves, and I want to order some more colors of it too. The only even slightly negative thing about these is that the mist area is quite small. That you can control it that much is good for some applications, but it made it hard to cover a large area of paper or fabric without using a lot of spray.

That is all I can think of for now. I have been researching online and looking for the best prices. I wish there was one store that had everything for the lowest prices. Joggles has almost everything I need as well as exquisite service, but their prices are not low. Dick Blick and Jerry's run head to head on prices, varying only a few cents from product to product, but Dick Blick is more likely to have the larger sizes. Jerry's sends out email coupons all the time, but you usually have to spend a minimum of $85. to use them. Dharma Trading company has the best prices on the fabric paints, but you have to order in quantities of ten or more to get those good prices. Not always worth it, and not always possible to do when each container of paint costs $10. or more.

So in order to get everything I need at the best prices, I will most likely have to do 4 or 5 orders. This will take me some time. I think it is time to start a price book for art supplies. To keep track of who has what for the best price. Like I don't have enough to do!

Talk soon,

Question of the Day:

So, speaking of learning to dye fibers, does anyone know how to dye soy silk roving? Are there any tutorials online that anyone knows of? This is one thing I have come to love, and would be willing to learn to dye myself. It is so much cheaper to purchase it in it's natural state, and I am using a ton of it.

Updated to add some info (gotta love Google).
Here is a blog article with some instructions on dyeing soy silk.

Wow! Where did that week go?

Uh oh. It has been almost a week since I posted again. Where did this week go? Life has been so very full and busy, and we have done lots of good stuff, but it is hard to remember it all. In no particular order, just to catch you up a bit, since last Saturday:

We have seen Gramma twice- On Sunday the Girl mowed her lawn while I pulled weeds and talked to my big sister, and the Dude walked around the yard with Gramma, trimming this, and cutting that. On Wed, we took her shopping and visited a bit.

We had an enjoyable visit with the B family and our group of friends there Sunday evening. Ribs and salmon, and chocolate cake (Pamela- yes, it was the same cake we made for your hunny oh so long ago- the Choc. Town Special.) were had by all. I even let myself have a Mike's.

The Girl has been catching up on her Latin and Math, and she met two new neighbor girls, with whom she has been riding bikes in the evening, while I walked around the neighborhood with the Dude. My goal (one of the many!) is to really dig in and start exercising daily. It has been nice to just have the Girl around, focusing on her, and spending time with her. She is growing up so fast, and is really showing signs of being a teenager.

I did some studio work this week. I completed all of the lessons in the online classes I was taking that involved techniques I hadn't done before. Several of the techniques in the class were not new to me, so I chose to focus on the ones that were new to me. I have also been working with silk fusion a bunch, and have started my first long panel of that. I will take pictures once it is completely dry. I made a couple of silk hankie bowls, but am not really happy with them- they just aren't appealing to me, took a lot of silk paint (need to order more Dye-na-flow paint), and just aren't very interesting or practical once finished. But I learned a lot from doing them, and that is what counts.

I have always said that I didn't want to learn to dye my own fabrics- too much effort, time and money spent- that I would rather spend time working with predyed fabrics instead, but I have been dabbling a bit with dyes and paints in these classes, on silk, and on paper. I have had a really enjoyable time painting (dyeing) the papers. One of the goals for this summer is to build up a stockpile of many surfaces- paper, fabric, lutradur, dyed paper towels, etc. that I can use this winter when I am stuck outside. I am slowly transforming the back deck into an outdoor studio- the plastic picnic table is great for dyeing, and painting; and the clothesline and water faucet are both very close to the basement/studio door.

In other studio news, I am working hard at building up a bunch of stuff to post in the Etsy shop. I met a wonderful woman last week who gave me a bunch of tips on using Etsy effectively, so I am following her advice on that. So far, I am finishing up several UFOs and getting several small projects finished. My goal is to have a bunch of stuff ready to go into the shop by the end of June. So far so good on that plan.

Speaking of the clothesline, when I got back from one of my recent travels, I discovered the kids and the Dude had rehung my clotheslines, and added more, so that I had 6 of them! I was very happy with this surprise. But the clotheslines keep falling down, so we need to get them restrung, and done stronger so that I can use them.

The Boy hasn't been in contact much this week, but I have talked to him a couple of times. Although he did not make the first cut at Nationals, he is having a good time. He is learning a great deal from watching rounds in other events. He comes home tomorrow morning, and it will be good to have him home and hear all about his trip.

The Dude and the Boy will literally be passing each other at the airport. The Boy comes in and the Dude leaves, both in the nine o'clock hour Saturday. The Dude is headed for two different island of Hawaii and will be gone all week. He is very excited (and I for him) to get to see this part of the world, and all its flora and fauna for the first time. I am only a bit nervous at the thought of parenting alone all week.

That is it for now- I need to get the Girl up and moving, and I want to do a bit of gardening before it gets too hot out (supposed to actually get into the 70's today!!), and then get some work done in the studio. I am not sure what I will work on- I need to make a list I guess.

I do just want to say that I am sorry I am not blogging regularly- I know I keep saying that, but honestly, I still haven't figured out how to get the balance right. I am no longer wasting all day away at the computer doing nothing- my house is (fairly) picked up, I am in integrity with the laundry, and I am in the studio several hours a day. So I am living life fully, and it seems I haven't figured out yet how to work the daily blogging (with photos, sigh) into that equation. But I will.

Okay, really signing off now- create a great day for yourselves!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tidbits: short and sweet

Howdy folks!
I am busy again, so here are just a few tidbits for you- link away!
1. The Fine Young Man is here. Think First Place Thoughts! And no, I am not locked up. I have come so far from when my baby girl traveled a year ago.
2. This is what Piano Girl and I did last night. We had a blast, and met lots of fun new folks.
3. This is my new phone, with which I am becoming acquainted today. This was my old phone. Quite a difference, hmm?

Okay, off to plant seeds, do laundry, program my phone, and make art.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Random tidbits.

I am here, busy excrutiatingly busy. In no particular order, I am charging my new cell phone (old one died this week), trying to get more work done on my online classes, washing laundry, helping the Boy to pack, ferrying kids to this and to that, buying chicken food, picking up the Boy's suit from being altered, folding laundry, paying bills, running downstairs to add another log to the fire, or to add a fresh layer of paint, running errands to the post office, and the grocery, supervising piano practice, doing dishes, copying cake recipes for friends, ordering high school transcripts, blah blah la la la la la.

What else? I have created my Etsy shop, and am taking photos of items ready to add. It should be up by Sunday. The only things left to plant in the garden are carrots, beets, and radishes. Hopefully do that tomorrow. The Boy leaves at 6 am tomorrow morning. I don't want to talk about it. I plan on doing as much art as possible while he is gone, to use my time well, and to keep my mind off the fact he is in Las Vegas, trying to be first in the nation in Humorous Interp.
We are supposed to go to the B family's on Sunday, after visiting Gramma, for one of our barbecues. I will try to update soon.
I have been taking photos, will hopefully post them this weekend. Lots to do, lots to do.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tidbit: Weird weather

Dy is gonna hate me for this post, poor thing. It has been normal weather for her- hot and humid, with an extra side of hot. I so wish she could be here for some of this wonderful, yet weird for this time of year weather.

Here in the pacific northwest, it has been very strange. In the mornings, it is 45 to 50 degrees out. It sometimes gets up into the mid 60's during the day, and then heads back down at night. It has been raining, raining, raining. Raining the way most folks think it does on a normal basis here, but really doesn't. Usually, living in this luscious temperate rain forest, we get rain spray, or when someone asks if it is raining, we can say, "Nope, it's just spittin' at us.". Usually, we don't really need an umbrella. But lately, the rain has been those big fat drops that mean business. And the wind! It has been so very windy here that Papa had to tie down the baby fruit trees! It blew so hard yesterday, the power was actually out a few hours. And there was snow in the pass yesterday! They were expecting a foot of snow. Can you believe it?

For some folks, this would be cause to complain. They are missing our normally sunny weather. But not me. I am loving it. The sun will come eventually, and I will be hot and uncomfortable, and wish for the wind and the rain. So for now, I am enjoying this for all it is worth. I have chili cooking on the stove, and a fire going in the woodstove in the basement. I am wearing a sweater and thick socks. I love it. Sorry Dy. You remember that commercial where Brooke Shields says, "Don't hate me because I am beautiful."? Well, don't hate me because it's only 55 degrees here.

Cooly yours,

Tidbit: Enjoy it while you can.

I have been doing my very best to be in bed by 10 pm, so I can be rested and up at 7, getting the kids up at 8, and being intentional with my time, so they get their schoolwork done, I get household chores done, and then can feel free to be in the studio. Except for today.

Last night, when I went to bed at 10:30, the Dude was already asleep- in the middle of the bed, stretched out in an X shape, so that with his arms and legs stretched out he was taking up the entire bed, and was doing that snoring/apnea thing where he snores and then doesn't breathe for a second. It freaks me out, and I worry about him, but he refuses to do anything about it. Anyhow, it was very hard to find a little spot to curl up in, and I really didn't want to curl up, so I went down and slept on the futon couch in the living room. The things we do for love, hmm?

Aaahhh. It felt good to stretch out with the cats, and it was nice to make my multiple middle of the night potty runs without having to blindly negotiate the stairwell. I actually slept very well, and woke up at 7, and was checking my email and blog-cruising. Until my dd got up a bit later, complaining of stomach cramps. She crawled onto the futon, laid her head on my lap, and crashed. I sat there, reading blogs for a bit, stroking her hair, and then it just hit me- how big they both are, and how they aren't little babies who want to be cuddled any more. So, I did what any mother would do, given this chance. I put the laptop down, skooched her over a bit, and laid down with her cradled in my arms; listening to her breathe, I conked out happily for an hour. Now it is past 10 am, and we are a couple hours behind our normal routine, but I am very happy to have been able to be with her like that. Happy mama sigh.

Off to cook bacon,

Monday, June 09, 2008

Paper quilts lesson 3

And here are some finished (and almost) finished projects from Lesson 3.

In this lesson, we used a stiff interfacing (I used Stiffy, and yes that is the brand name, and no, you cannot make off-color jokes about it.), Misty-fuse, and commercial scrap-booking papers to make an interesting surface.

For the first one, I tore 1 inch pieces of the papers. I was supposed to make a triangular vase, but could not get into the idea of that, so I procrastinated for a week, going back and looking at the surface every now and again, and then I decided to make a bowl.

Here is a 5 X 7 piece of the surface. I can turn this into a card later. You can get an idea of the colors and stitching on this piece.
Here is the bowl. This photos shows the inside surface.
Here is the bottom of the bowl. When I make these out of fabric, they are reversible, but the paper surface made this very stiff, so it is not reversible.
Here is my Fine Young Man, taking a break from his studies to hold the bowl for me so you could see it in scale. It is twelve inches square. Isn't my Boy handsome? I am working on not hugging him constantly in anticipation of his being gone all next week at Nationals.
Here is the other surface I made for this lesson. For this one, instead of squares, I ripped strips of paper, and then Misty-fused them to the Stiffy. Stop that. I heard you giggling. Then I stitched it down, and stamped it up a bit. This is supposed to be a kleenex box cover, but I think I will turn it into a box.

That is all for now. In order to post more, I need to get my bum down to the studio depths and do some more work. You have no idea how messy it is down there right now- when I am working hard, the floor is just covered with threads, paper bits, etc. Guess a messy, creative studio is better than a clean, empty one, hmm?


Photo update: Paper Quilts lessons 1 &2

Here are some photos from my Paper Quilts class. Here are my finished assignments from lesson one and two. The first thing we did was to make some fabric paper. I had made this before (see this post, and this post.), so was familiar with the technique. This time, I wanted to make a rainbow of colors of fabric paper to have on hand to use. I used both the wet technique of putting dyes, inks, and color sprays on the wet fabric paper; and the dry technique, where I painted the white paper once it was dry, with watercolor crayons, and twinkling H2O's. I really like the results I got using the last method- the colors seemed brighter and more intense.

Here is the pile of fabric paper in a rainbow of colors:

In lesson one and also in lesson two, we were supposed to make a little paper quilt of tulips. Instead, I made 3 birthday cards, which I needed to get done by Saturday. Sorta killed two birds with one stone in that I needed to make cards, and each one has fabric paper in it. I attached the 5 X 7 paper quilt to canvas cards. Simple beauty.

The first one is so shiny and glimmery- I love the color variation on the tulip and the leaf.
This next one did not photograph well, but uses green and purple fabric paper, Angelina fibers, and a scrap motif of a paper fan in the shape of a peacock.
This one is a bit different, and you have to look sideways. This is a batik fabric frog patch, surrounded by strip piecing of more batiks, that I had in my UFO drawer. The dark purple border around the edges is fabric paper.
There is one more project I was supposed to accomplish in lesson 2- when I get it finished I will post it.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Yay! Art Content! One Assignment complete!

Howdy folks! I actually have accomplished something in my online art classes! I have several sheets of fabric paper, and other surfaces completed, and now I am working on turning those surfaces into actual things. One of the assignments was to make a triangular vase from 3 long rectangles out of a fabric-paper surface. I wasn't inspired by this vase at all, and kept putting off it's assembly until it hit me- I could use the surface to make something else! So, I made a bowl. I love how easy to assemble these bowls are, and they are simply elegant. (Note: Blogger is not cooperating at the moment, so I will post a photo as soon as it will let me.)

Today is East Side day- Youth group at 6 pm, and taking Gramma shopping before that, as well as making sure school work gets done this morning, but I am hoping to squeeze in a bit of studio time before we leave. I have already washed, dried, and folded 3 loads of laundry (I am telling you- it is so much easier to be integrity with the laundry when I am only responsible for the Dude's and my clothes, plus the linens!) this morning, the dishes are done, and the kitchen has been swept. I was actually okay with the moms coming into my living room during art playdate on Monday. I like having a bit of order in the house.

About that studio time I mentioned above- I am working hard at being intentional in my studio time, and finishing some projects that have been sitting unfinished for close to a year now, so I can put them into an Etsy shop. This is another step towards being a "real" working artist, rather than a wanna-be artist who never finishes anything. I am focusing on being intentional, and being committed to my art as a career (in addition to being good therapy as well) from which I can be contributing to my family.

And a note about homeschooling- I have been homeschooling the kids formally for over 10 years now. Those who know me in real life know that over the last several years, this has become less enjoyable for me, and a great deal harder as the kids have become teenagers with attitudes, and as their work has gotten harder. I have decided that I will not be schooling them next year. We are looking into several online highschool/homeschool programs, and my role will become that of supervisor/cheerleader, instead of planner, executor, and administrator- in other words, I am giving them much more control of their education, so that I can focus more on the things that are meaningful to me. This should give me much more time to dedicate to my art. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this new change- don't get me wrong- I still believe in home education in a classical manner, but it just hasn't been working well for us lately, and I am just so ready to be done, and on to new things in my life. I have been putting the needs of my children before mine for the last 17 years, and I need to be able to focus on my own life without feeling guilty or selfish about it. Congratulate me and the children as we begin this new adventure! Of course, we will be schooling hard this summer to finish this year's work.

Well, that is all for now. I am going to head into the studio, and see if I can finish something else, and then when Blogger lets me upload photos, I will have a few for you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

2 word meme

What the heck- I have nothing better to do and I am awake. Got this one from Miz Booshay over at Quiet Life.

Two-Word Meme

1. Where is your cell phone? charging, table
2. Where is your significant other? snoring, bed
3. Your hair? ultra short
4. Your mother? loving, intelligent
5. Your father? no contact
6. Your favorite thing? smiles, hugs
7. Your dream last night? Jungle Book
8. Your favorite drink? pomagranite juice
9. Your dream/goal? successful artist
11. Your hobby? reading, blogging
12. Your fear? armed break-in
13. Where you want to be in 6 years? successful artist
14. Where were you last night? at home
15. What you're not? thin, patient
16. Muffins? cinnamon rolls
17. One of your wish list items? art supplies
18. Where you grew up? Oregon, WA
20. What are you wearing? bath robe
21. Your TV? no cable
22. Your pets? 3 cats
23. Your computer? broken, overused
24. Your life? busy, blessed
25. Your mood? insomnia-laced
26. Missing someone? Dy, Mom-Bob
27. Your car? Manly Mazda
28. Something you're not wearing? hair bands ;-)
29. Favorite store? art supply
30. Your summer? garden, art
31. Like someone? every one
32. Your favorite color? all colors
33. When is the last time you laughed? just today
34. Last time you cried? during headache

Midnight tidbit from the studio depths

Howdy. I want to be asleep, but am wide awake. I slept soundly from 10:30 to midnight, then woke right up. Happens sometimes. Doesn't help when the queen size bed seems to shrink- what with the 6 ft. tall Dude sleeping in the middle, the two cats occupying the bottom, and these pesky hot flashes, the bed seems much smaller than it is. So I am down here in the basement depths, in the dark, hoping to get sleepy again soon. Seven am is going to be here before I know it!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday Tidbits

This weekend was full but good. On Friday, the kids cleaned (I supervised and cleaned the pantry/laundry room some more) the living room, kitchen, and bathroom in participation of having a little party for on of the Boy's Debate team members (I have written about her before) who was turning sixteen and hadn't ever had a party. She ended up coming over by herself on Saturday, and we ate fruit and chips, and gifted her with a ginormous chocolate cake, and a promise of a "real" party next year. And boy, did my living room just shine, it was so clean! Loved that I didn't have to do it, but wish it would get done with less constant supervision (Notice I didn't say "nagging".)

Early Saturday morning, the Dude and I headed for our local nursery, and got some more tomato plants, for a grand total of 38 plants this year. Less than we have had in the past, but they are in a smaller bed, and it is just crammed full! I also bought 2 peppers (which still have to go in the ground), two kinds of lettuces, bok choy, and some chard and kale starts. Those are all in the big bed now. All I have left is to plant some seeds: carrots, beets, radishes, and beans. Our friend from the debate team helped plant and did some weed-wacking with us. This most definitely is a young person I enjoy and would love to have hang around with me this summer.

I got a little bit of art done this weekend. Still plugging away at the lessons in the two online classes I am in. One of them has ended, the last lesson is delivered today on the other one. I still have four weeks to get stuff done for both of these classes before the yahoo groups are finished. I am making headway, but need to really push myself if I am to get the work done this month. Whose big idea was it for me to take these classes during a month when I was going to be traveling?!

Sunday I woke with a big headache that just got bigger and bigger as the day went on. I did do some studio work through it, but not as much as I would have liked. I didn't get over to see Gramma, either, which saddened me, but I will try to fit an extra visit in this week. I ended up sleeping much of the day, which was the right thing to do, as I awoke this morning feeling wiped, but not as headachey.

Today we have our art playdate, and are hopefully finishing up our fabric journals. After this, the girls want to start on sewing doll quilts, and doing some clay work for the summer. That should be fun! This has been a nice, low-key way to spend some time with three of my fave teen girls, and still do a bit of teaching.