Saturday, July 26, 2008

That's Not My Dog!

(The night before. DD stuffed Clemie into her little 'princess' shirt.)

My loveable puppy has mats in her fur. I've done my best to brush and brush her but her adult fur is growing in and her puppy fur is matting into it (She's a ShihTzu, so long hair is inevitable.) I've had her groomed 2 times. 1st time she came home with fleas and they missed a mat and a tick. 2nd time was 3 weeks ago and when I went to pick her up, the mats were mostly still there and I had to hold the pup myself so she wouldn't bite, while the lady shaved mats out left and right. I left with a lopsided dog and covered in fur. Pup is scared when you try to shave her. Noises like that scare her. She STILL had more mats in her fur too and they never trimmed her nails. (I am filing a formal complaint at PETCO.)

We went off on vacation. When we came back, her mats the groomer had left were huge behind her ears and all over her body. So I called a professional groomer this time. The lady let me know I had done wrong by taking Clemie to a non-professional, scolded me like an Italian grandma might and told me she would whip my dog into shape (ie: teach her not to bite while being trimmed). But first we had to rid her of her mats. This is what I was greeted with when I went to pick her up. I swear they gave me the wrong dog, except she comes when you call her name. lol

The lady did a great job and already started getting the pup to obey her. I just hate that the last people screwed up so bad we had to get to this point where my pup looks like a Muppet. Animal from the Muppets maybe? Muppet shrimp from Muppets Wizard of Oz? What about a little like Harry Connick Jr?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Art Journal Love

(the spread on the right was a practice I did while watching a SuziBluTube video. - see below for link)

This week I started an art journal. It's nothing fancy. It's probably the 5th journal I've started in my life. It's the only one that made it to a page 2. I'm actually going to work on page 4 today. Hallelujah. I'm not saying I'll stick with it daily, that would be too presumptuous of me but for now I like working in it. Some of the journaling has been smudged out. It's kind of personal, kwim?

Oh, and don't laugh too much on my self portrait although, yes, I do have that double chin. Too many late night Taco Bell runs I'm sure.

So, being the normal obsessive type person that I am, I started searching on all things Art Journal related. And boy, did I hit the jackpot! I found Flickr art journal pictures:
Thrifty Collage Artist
Aashild Ruud

I found YouTube tutorials (if you know of any other really good videos, share!):
SuziBlueTube (she has lots of entertaining videos)

I found blogs & websites/articles:
Artists' Sketchbooks
Girl and her Journal
Visual Chronicles
Moss Hill
How to Keep an Art Journal
Intuitive Creativity
Journal Junk
A Creative Journal
Craft N Swap
An Altered Fairy Tale

I even asked my fellow Twittering artists their favorite pens to use, over paint, ink, paper, plus I joined this recent yahoo group, Art Journals and they happened to be discussing pens as well!
Sakura (my favs being the Glaze pens
Sakura Souffle
Zig fine-tip pens
Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens
Krylon Metal Leafing & Paint pens
Zig painting pens
American Crafts Slick Writers
Stampin Up Write Markers
Koh-L-Noor (don't ask me, I have no idea what they are)
Stadtler Calligraphy Pens
Poster Paint pens
Calligraphy ink and pen nibs
(for fabric) Pilot Fabric Marker Pens

I am still very extremely new to this art journaling. You should see the art journals for sales on Etsy and Ebay. Amazing! I didn't take the time to list them here. If you have art journals pages you've done, would you share them with me please? I would love to see. If you know of other informative blogs, websites or youtubes that would be good for me, please share those as well.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New Blogs, Drawing, New Art

I've been trying to get back in the swing of things since vacation. Catching up on blog posts, emails and stuff like that. Several new people visited my blog in the last month and I'm so happy about that. It is a whole new list of blogs for me to visit and share with you!

New & returning Blogs:

Artwords Clan
Ilka' Attic
Beth's Babble
The Artistic Diva
Creative Flutter
Easily Amused Hard to Offend
KrissiSandvik (She's such a sweetie, awarding me the yellow award above and the honor of being in her blogroll.)
Swell Designer
Rhonda Stamps
Lind Art
Earthtone Studios
Poppy Cat
So Distressing
Then & Now
Inara Scraps
Miz Katie
Mama n Jack Jack
Sweet Repeats
Bag Lady's Art
The Art Sook
In The Tree Top
Scrapping Away
Heather's House

Also, I found this drawing, ends tomorrow night. I thought I would share. The quilt is to-die-for! Go enter. Hopefully one of us will win! Enter here.

Book reading update: I'm working my way through the following books if anyone cares. lol What are you reading this summer?
Thursday Next in First among sequels (4th in series) - Jasper FForde
The creative family - Amanda Blake Soule
Junk beautiful - Sue Whitney
Semiprecious Salvage - Stephanie Lee
In this house - Angela Cartwright
The Art of Personal Imagery - Corey Moortgat
Plush you! - Kristen Rask
Vintage Vavoom

Last of all. I received a certain scrumptious sumpin sumpin in the mail this past week from The Crafty Chica. Something I can play with. Can't be more specific than that but I'm uber excited and can't wait to share what I'm working on! Stay tuned.

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter, for all my nonsense and art related posts. You know you wanna know about all the mundane unimportant things I'm doing and saying! lol My Twitter

Idiosyncrasies & Quirks

Idiosyncrasy: \ˌi-dē-ə-ˈsiŋ-krə-sē\ noun - a: a peculiarity of constitution or temperament : an individualizing characteristic or quality b: characteristic peculiarity (as of temperament)

Quirk: \ˈkwərk\ noun - a: an abrupt twist or curve b: a peculiar trait

What are yours? Do you have a lot of quirks? Are you like me and need to ask others 'what are my quirks?' I'm sure people will tell you, in fact, I think my family was suspiciously overeager to tell mine. lol My family told me many, including that I pick my lip when I think, I have to unpack in a hotel no matter how long we're staying, and I like Chipotle (not sure that's a quirk, but the kids say so.)

This week's Creative Therapy challenge is:
Create art around one of your quirks/idiosyncrasies. Remember, you can participate in the challenges too. There is a random prize given out EVERY WEEK. Kick start your art and come play along!

After I looked up what 'idiosyncrasies' and 'quirks' meant (so I could be clear), I explained to my children and asked them mine.
The very first thing they both said was 'you make lots of faces.'
I said 'What?'
'Like that!' they laughed.
Okay, so I do. I'm an expressive person. I use my eyes, mouth and gesturing hands to convey what I'm saying. I don't do it on purpose, its just how I'm built. My teen says I can change my persona just by making a new face. I guess I'm creating myself over and over again. I see some of the same expressions in my mother and now my littlest daughter is becoming a carbon copy of me. Both my kids and I are big eyerollers, grimacers (is that a word) and exaggerated shock face showers. It's just how we roll.
I wouldn't want to be any other way.

Techniques: My favorite little trick on this piece I learned from Corey Moortgat's book 'The Art of Personal Imagery'. I swipe painted the background aqua, around my head. Let it dry. Then I randomly dry brushed olive green over that paint. Then I took a big paintbrush, dipped in water and flicked it onto the paint. I waited until the paint was dry and then wiped off the water, removing the top layer of paint where the drops were, revealing the bottom color. Love that.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Beach Postcards

I brought this big bag of art supplies to use while on vacation. Didn't spend much time with them really. I need to remember that every time I go somewhere. As much as I 'want' to use them, I probably won't. I did manage to collage 3 postcards and draw 3 postcards for family. I sent them from St. Pete so hopefully my fam gets them soon.

The collaged cards use scraps, paint, stamps, images from brochures from our trip and ladies from
Altered Pages collage sheets. The sketched cards were fun to do, although drawing isn't my thing. I found images of a boat, beach chair and lighthouse and sketched them. I cut the postcards to shape before I left, glued a Florida map piece on each and rubbed Antique Linen Ink pad all over to age them.

The last day we were there we had a bit of time before we checked out. DD decided to make a note for the maid, to put our tip in. I sat down with her and my supplies and drew the postcards you see below. DD also picked some flowers off a bush to give to the maid. I thought it was a pretty sweet thing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

Coming home from vacation there is always that let down. That feeling of 'I should be doing something' creeps in your subconscious and pounces on your nerves. While on vacation, you have that 'ehhh, we can do something or we don't. Doesn't matter. We're here to relax.' I want that feeling at home or at least some of it you know? Trying not to let the subconscious control me. Not going to make a to-do list either. It's like a mini guilt trip list. I'll either do things when I think of them, or not. Not gonna bog myself down with busyness.

Yesterday, 1st day home I should have done lots of things. But didn't. Bags were mostly unpacked, no grocery shopping done (ordered pizza.) Needed a shower, needed to clean my art desk already. Instead I think I opened mailed, paid bills, watched 4 episodes of Lost (with DH) and took 2 naps. lol DD watched TV half the day and I refuse to feel like a bad mother. We're just catching up I guess. Today we're slow moving as well but hopefully I'll get my patootie in gear soon.

Here are the final trip pics to be shared.

Sunday was spent at the pool and watching people fly their windkites. DH found several beautiful shells on one of his beach walks. We bleached them and brought them home.

Monday everyone was sun shy. Teen DD got a burn and didn't want to step foot near the outdoors. We spent half the day laying around. DH and I finished Lost, Season 1. We promptly ordered Season 2 from Netflix so it would be waiting on us when we got home. In the afternoon we ventured back to St. John's Pass for more Cherry ice cream and some shopping. Then we headed into St. Petersburg to check out the pier. It's a beautiful location to see far out into the bay or whatever we were looking over. DH and little DD went to the small aquarium on level 2. My friend Paula, told me about the Cha Cha Coconuts restaurant on the top level so we had dinner there. Very eclectic dining area, plus we could see the water. As we left the pier, we saw the sun was setting behind the buildings. So we missed seeing it set over the water but I think this was just as beautiful.

On our way back to the hotel we saw gorgeous buildings in St. Pete. This one caught my eye (I may use pieces of it in art sometime.) We headed down to the end of the St. Pete Beach island and found this little concrete pier jutting out into the water. The waves were crashing up against it loudly. So beautiful. We met lovely people fishing off the end of the pier. Beautiful ending to a beautiful trip.

Our last day was eventful. We spent a couple hours in thrift stores, buying little things. I came home with yet more trim (yes, I know I didn't need any, but it was cheap!) and old hankerchiefs that my mom and I collect. DD came home with lots of shoes. Like she needs more shoes. *eyeroll here* What can I say? She's a teenager.

Our flight out of Tampa was delayed several hours. The airport was shut down due to yuck weather but our flights were smooth. I met a lady who was about 82? She was born in London and came to America on a boat in 1946. She has lived a varied life. Met Eisenhower, danced/partied with Robert Taft (grandson of William), married 3 times, 5 children, has a granddaughter trying to make it in movies. I hope my lifestory someday can read like a book, like hers does.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

4 day Vacation Update

Warning - this is a photo laden post. Full of pics from our vacation.

P.S. Don't know why this showed up as 'Thursday's Post' but it was written on Sunday.

Every time we walk down to the shore I can just feel the people laughing at us and saying "oh here come those newbies, the pasty white people.' lol We are so un-tan compared to all the people there. Although after this week I'm sure we're starting to fit right in. Almost all of us got a bit of shoulder & back burn. I think this is part of the initiation process into the cool tan people's club.

I am surprised and a little bit shocked to see all the walks of life here. We have 80 year grandmas in bikinis with speedo clad hubbies. The largest family staying at this hotel speak fluent german and flawless english. The newest arrivals speak french and dd (who is studying it) has been sidling up near them to see if she can interpret anything they say, just to see if she knows anything. It's like a big ole' melting pot isn't it? We are most surprised to discover that the majority of people we see on the beach are not speaking english. Maybe this is because of our economy right now and the price of gas? Everyone is home taking 'staycations'. I'm so glad we were able to secure tickets before the price hikes otherwise we wouldn't be here either.

** UPDATE: Found that a Twitter friend (her blog) belongs to a group having a Staycation Workshop. If you need a kick in the pants artwise this summer, you should go play along. It's free. **
Here's the first week's challenge
Last Friday's Challenge (week 2)

On Wednesday, after a morning at the beach, we spent the afternoon at St. John's Pass. It's a boardwalk next to a drawbridge. Lots of lovely stores to shop in.

We had visited there 2 years ago but most of the stores were closed then, because it was September.

We ate ice cream at the fudge shop and Alex and I discovered we love Traverse City Cherry.

They're opening a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant.We're hoping its opened before we leave Tuesday but we're not sure.

Our anniversary dinner was spent at Crabby Bills with fried clams, hush puppies, king crab and more. We could see the beach from our table. Heavenly.

The sunset was a little lackluster compared to the night before but anything is preferable to what we see from back home.

Thursday dawned gorgeous and bright. See how the beach melts into the sky? Alex was not ready to wake up I think, because she kept trying to sleep in the pool chair. We spent the morning in the pool and the afternoon out. We tried out a few malls, watched Wall.E which was a cute movie and then took in the Dali Museum. Dali's paintings are so interesting. Makes me want to paint. Dinner was Gigi's Italian Restaurant. Best Ziti I've had in a long time.

Friday we swam the morning in the pool. The afternoon we just chilled in the hotel with lunch, and TV (DH and I are working out way through the first season of Lost so we watched a bit of it.) It's an addicting show. We spend each evening before going to sleep watching a couple episodes. Something new to bond over I guess.

We decided to go look at 'Florida's Largest Bookstore' or so it claims. It's a great new/used store with wonderful unique books, especially older books. I was in the arts section for quite a long time. The only thing the store was missing was current magazines. And I guess a coffee shop because we felt the need to find a Starbucks after we left there. We're such a spoiled country aren't we? Green Tea Frappuchino anyone?

Dinner was a collective trawl of fast foods and grocery stores. Everyone wanted something different.

Yesterday was just the prettiest overcast day. We spent the morning on the beach, and then it started to rain around lunch time. We headed in to leftovers and secured a table near the pool. It's a day of turnover for the hotel so we saw lots of new tenants. Most seemed to have unruly children so the pool was crowded. We stayed up there all day, eating dinner off the grill (steak and brats yum!) What a wonderful day. One of my favorites so far, just sitting around doing nothing. Read a lot of my book 'Something Rotten', a Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde. I think its the 3rd or 4th in the series. The sunset was one of the prettiest yet. I don't think we've missed a sunset since we've been here. It's my favorite part of the whole beach experience.
(the first couple pics are of the clouds. They're so vibrant and uniquely shaped. I've been practicing my drawing lately and the clouds here make me want to draw them!)

I've seen so much down here that makes me want to do art, paint, draw, collage. I guess all experiences can contribute to your artistic endeavors. Okay, I'm sure that's enough pics for now. Family is waiting at the pool for me. Guess I should throw on my swim suit for another burn in the sun. I'll be back later for some art from my trip.