Monday, December 29, 2008

here she far

Here she is so far. I guess it will be a "self-portrait"of sorts. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been reading Kelly Rae Robert's Taking Flight and was inspired to try some of her techniques. This painting is a work in progress and will incorporate my "one little word" of 2009 {tba}. It has been really fun! But I am trying to let go of the "but you are copying" feeling. I am playing and trying something new out that is out of my comfort zone. I will make it my own somehow. We'll see how she evolves and becomes me. I have to let go of some of the particulars. I like realism. This won't ever be! I am trying to have it represent me...but need to let go of exactness. I don't wear green skirts. I'm a jeans girl. But I wanted to try that olive color and it just went! Letting go is a clue to my "one little word"....

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

inspired by a book

live life - oil and mixed media on canvas

I used some Christmas gift money yesterday to pick up a few things at the art store. I have been reading Kelly Rae Robert's Taking Flight and have been really inspired. A few months ago, before picking up her book, I pulled out my water-soluable oils {an awesome product I discovered in college -oil paints that don't require turpentine}. So I played around with a painting...

...and added to it a little at a time the past few months. But mostly it just sat on my desk. I walked by it everyday trying to figure out what to add. I added two birds. Iridescent dust. Stamped some words with Staze-on black ink. Added some rhinestones. Last weekend I collaged the edge of the canvas with some dark green rice paper. Called it finished. still feels like something is missing.

-Fast Forward to today -

I bought some acrylics a few weeks ago...and some heavy body gel medium and clear gesso yesterday...and love them. They dry so much faster. I had forgotton how much I hated that oils take forever to dry. That is advantage with some paintings...but I like immediate gratification and want to jump into the next part of the project.

I tried some background techniques today from Kelly's book. You will see many similarities in what I did to a few of her background examples. I combined a few techniques she outlines. Used paper towel like a brush. Played with household items {corrugated cardboard from a shoebox} for texture. Spritzed with water and blotted it off to reveal the base color and more texture. Used a bottle cap dipped in white acrylic mixed with heavy body gel medium and stamped circles. I played! I am having so much fun with it! So much more interesting than my first painting...her techniques for building up layers and texture is fun to do and makes for a really interesting background.


I need to decide where to go with it. I have never been one for drawing/painting people. Was never my thing. I used to love drawing realistic objects and landscapes. I moved away from that in grad school and since because I am such a perfectionist it was hard and felt like work sometimes. I still do love doing that type of art at times but with so much going on have needed more freedom when I'm doing art.

If you have seen Kelly's work you know she does these thoughtful, whimsical girls. I'm liking them. Wondering if I could do that? I have never been one to like copying someone else's style of art. But...that is how you create new art I guess. Every artist has been inspired by another. I might try a figure or a face on this painting. I think I'd like to do this piece for my one little word of 2009. A self-portrait of sorts would be a nice visual for this concept. The idea of coming up with a word to live by during the year was an idea I really connected to in 2008. I had my 2008 word "balance" in an art peice in my office and in a frame on my art desk at home. They helped to serve as reminders and I really worked on living up to that word.

I hope to get some more time to work on my 2009 one little word painting tomorrow and next weekend. I'll post it as I go along....hoping to play around with some more techniques and stop worrying about perfection!

I highly recommend this book!

Friday, December 26, 2008


my parent's tree

Happy day-after-Christmas to you all! I hope everyone had a quiet, wonderful Christmas. I did. This marked a year of change for me. It was the first year I wasn't there with my parents and brother and sister to open gifts first thing. Cary and I had our Christmas here and then went to my parents. He had to work Christmas Eve and night but it worked out. I was spoiled with clothes by him. He got me all sorts of sweaters and shirts and pants for work. Beautiful things that I wouldn't have gotten for myself. And truthfully I love them all! I don't want to return anything except for one that doesn't quite fit. Not bad! Yesterday afternoon we opened more gifts at my parents. My mom was about getting useful gifts this year. I got a few new pans and lots of odds and ends from my family. Always very thoughtful gifts. I think Cary had a nice day too although he is a little homesick. Hopefully next year we can make it to Maine so he can be with his family.

Today we are off to make the one exchange, go see Marley & Me (which I cannot wait to see -it is one of my favorite books I swear was written about our old dog Maddy!), and a few other things.

Merry day-after-Christmas to you all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

just a photo


Sunday, December 21, 2008

snow. snow. snow.

Another snowstorm...actually a Nor'easter coming today. Ending with a little rain on the coast (where I am). I love the snow but I'm feeling a little cabin fever today. I wanted to go to Trader Joe's and Michaels. I got my Close to My Heart stamp last night but realized I need a larger acrylic block for it. And I have a few other things on my "wish list" today. Oh will have to wait.

Had fun at Girl's Night last night. I had Cary drive me in his truck because the roads weren't too great. Loved seeing my friend's dogs and Cary got to meet them. She has a yellow lab Jenny who she's had for a few years. But she got a black lab, "Eddie" 7 months ago. I hadn't seen him yet. Truthfully I was a little worried too because I still miss my black lab "Maddy" terribly and she's been gone over a year. Eddie is a cutie. But he looks just like Maddy. Same size and build. Similar temperment. Except his nose is longer. Maddy was a lab/boxer mix and had a shorter nose and a stronger chest. Her dogs were fun though and very sweet.

So to avoid cabin fever's my list of things I want to do:
  • Use some of the $15 itunes giftcard I got in the Yankee Swap last night.

  • Make Christmas cookies and/or brownies. Whatever I'm in the mood for!

  • Finish the page in Cary's album I started for him for Chistmas.

  • Make 2 more Christmas cards.

  • Clean the bathroom.

  • Do some online window shopping/shopping? at twopeas, etc.

  • Do a layout of my own or work on the canvas collage I started yesterday.

  • Burn a Yankee Candle...mistletoe or eggnog.

  • Call my mom.

  • Water my plants.

  • Make beef stew for dinner.

  • Walk on the treadmill for a bit...if I'm motivated. But I don't really want to go outside so this probably won't stay on the list long!

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I bought this treat for myself the other night. A Christmas present of sorts. LOVE it! It is inspiring. Much of it reminds me of what I believe in my work as an art therapist...but I don't allow myself the same freedom and time for my art. I am really enjoying this read and am excited to experiment with some of the I NEED to set aside the time and space and freedome to experiement without worrying about the end result. Just PLAY....

Friday, December 19, 2008

warm inside

Just watching the snow come down. We are having our 1st snowstorm and I'm happy to be warm and for the night. Cary is playing on the computer and I might read for awhile and enjoy the peppermint ice cream I bought! Tomorrow we are going shopping...he needs to buy gifts for a few people. Then I have my Girl's Night at my friend's house. We are doing a Yankee Swap and having a mexican night. Should be fun!

Hope everyone has a good night!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

an everyday day

  • It snowed! but then! Came out of work to find my car encased in a sheet of ice.
  • Was a busy day at work.
  • I'm looking forward to more snow on Friday.
  • I'm enjoying the lights of the Christmas tree.
  • Baking Cary's family chocolate chip cookies for my co-workers and us.
  • I'm playing hookie from running or the gym. Went Monday and yesterday and today I'm hurting!
  • I'm looking forward to a knitting group tomorrow night at my local yarn shop focused on finishing Christmas presents!
  • Is Top Chef! I love that show.
  • Means one more day of work. I'm loving this short work-week stuff during semester break!
  • I'm feeling more relaxed than I have been.
  • I'm feeling loved!

Monday, December 15, 2008

our 1st tree

our tree this morning

Our 1st official tree. This is our 3rd Christmas but only our second Christmas where we will be in the same place on Christmas and last year we didn't get a tree. I just had my little trees up. This is our tree now. We finally got it last night. What a project. Between Saturday and Sunday I went to 5 stores to find a tree stand! 5. And almost as many stores to find a tree topper! Yesterday I found a tree topper. A star. It's ok. It will do for this year but I don't love it. It isn't up yet. That will be Cary's job when he gets up! He did the lights and I put up the ornaments last night and this a.m. I love it! I grew up having white lights and for a few years on my own always had white lights. Truthfully they are what I usually prefer. But this is our tree. Colored lights are Christmas to Cary. So this is my first tree with colored lights. I'm adjusting and they are pretty.

stringing lights - teases when I take pictures..."no press, no press!"

Today I'm making Gingerbread men. By request. Cary was so looking forward to them yesterday but I ran out of time. After did take 4 stores yesterday between looking for a tree stand and tree topper! the apartment smells awesome with the scent of gingerbread! That has to be one of my favorite Christmas smells...right up there with pine trees. We will decorate them yesterday. Cary was telling me a story he remembers from when he was little and was in boy scouts. He remembers taking all kinds of time decorating a gingerbread man cookie with candies and frosting. And then he remembers leaving boy scouts that day and forgetting his cookie. He was so dissapointed and still remembers it! So today he can have his share of 13 of them!

Hoping to catch up on some blogs today. Working on a suprise scrapbook for Cary and finishing the knitted dishclothes for my mom (still have 2 1/2 to go!)....I might not finish!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

oh Christmas tree

Off to get a {real} Christmas tree {this is our little one in the bedroom}...yeah!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Just have to say that Pillsbury "Fun-fetti" cupcakes are AWESOME! These little treats have been going fast...and it's only me and Cary eating them! I got these cute cupcake papers from Macy's home section...they are Martha Stewart and they were on sale for less than $2 for 75 of them. I don't usually treat myself to little things like fancy cupcake papers but it's the holidays and I really appreciate little details! These treats are getting me through a very busy somewhat stressful week. Looking so forward to long weekend that officially begins tomorrow at 2:30pm. Countdown...

Monday, December 8, 2008

more cards

Patterned papers and stamped "believe." Added dimension with some rhinestones and good old-fashioned "puffy" (dimensional) paint in white (just traced the snowflakes on the patterned paper) and glitter!

Some more cards I made this weekend. I think I have finished. I am only sending out about 25 or so handmade cards to close friends and family. The rest of my cards are from Target. I just got back from picking up my car. Yeah! Walked on the treadmill for a bit now that I'm feeling better. Now I'm just heating up a stuffed pepper and some white rice. One of my favorite suppers. Not much else to report's some more cards!

Some more of the owls! Love this stamp (Hero Arts). I made each a little different hand colored with pencils and mounted on different patterned papers.

Used a dotted circle stamp (DeNami Design) to stamp with different colors to create a background directly on the card. "Tis the season" is a rub-on.

Scalloped punch, "Noel" stamp from SEI, patterned paper and some Paper Glaze on the word.

Various "inchies" combined to create this card. Lots of small details and stamps, glitter, dimensional "paint", glittered pen, etc.

Used my Martha Stewart circle cutter (love this tool!) to cut out a circle in white/cream cardstock. Used inks and a Tim Holtz blending tool to create a soft reddish and green background. Stamped a swirl in Gold Brilliance Ink. Added an ornament "top" and a rub-on to create the "ribbon."

A collaged circle. Pattened paper and various holiday word stamps. Stamped a few snowflakes and added dimensional paint and a rhinestone.
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

it's snowing!

view from my balcony

It's snowing! It's snowing! Yeah! I have been looking forward to this since earlier in the week when I saw the forcast! I feel like a little kid. I am missing seeing the snow in the woods from my window a little though. At my old apartment in my parent's yard it is all woods and you can see the snow so much better. But...I'm enjoying seeing it fall from the sky.

I had a fantastic day with my mom yesterday. We went Christmas shopping, bought poinsettias (which has become our yearly tradition), wreathes for the bridge and my patio (more on the wreath tradition in future posts), and had lunch. We ended the day at the grocery store. I really enjoyed spending time with her and feel like I haven't been able to much. It was a needed, fun day. We did talk a lot about the economy though. It worries us both for different reasons and definately effected our usual traditions. Less gifts, less poinsettias. We both used to fill the house/apartment with the flowers every Christmas. We each bought much less.

I have to admit, when I came home from my day with Mom, I felt kind of lonely. Not since I went to school in DC have I felt that. In my old apartment, my parent's house was right there. I could run over if I wanted company or be alone when I wanted. Here I usually have Cary. But with him at guard it is lonely. I don't know what I'll do if he (God forbid) goes overseas or for his long trainings. Usually I'm ok when he's gone. I think it is because I had her company all day and had such a nice time.

poinsettia and a peace lily

Anyhow. Keeping busy helps. I made some more Christmas Cards last night. Hoping to finish them today. I had to make 25 and the remaining people on my list are getting a pretty card I bought at Target. Trying to simplify for myself. Also hoping to make some funfetti Christmas cupcakes today. And then the regular old laundry and cooking supper. I love having one whole day to be home.

snow on my balcony...and my wreath! I'm excited! We are the only ones with one...hey...I don't have a yard so this is it!

Happy Sunday! Hopefully will have some card photos to post later!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

happy saturday

Off to go Christmas shopping with my mom. I'm pretty much done after I send off two online orders. But I love just looking around, taking in the decorations. We also have a yearly tradition of going to the local nursury and buying a bunch of poinsettias. I also want a wreath for our balcony. Then it's the grocery store. And don't forget the bank in there somewhere to pay for all of the above! Hopefully will have some pictures later. I want to finish up some Christmas Cards.
A load has been lifted...I'm almost done with the semester. Just need to do my grades on Monday. Yippee! The students have no idea how excited the professors are to be done too.

Have a Happy Saturday!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

ordinary day, extraordinary sunrise

Today's sunrise was beautiful. The rest of my day was pretty ordinary. Work was stressful and I was so glad to come home. Cary and I got to spend some time before he went off to work. He has guard in Maine this weekend so we don't really get to see each other this week.

I did some work on Day 4 of my December Daily today. So far I've been keeping up with it and taking a few minutes each day on it. I'm kind of liking it. I have to let go of my perfectionism though and just be in the moment with it. Use it as an opportunity to experiment with layers, etc. I have been printing photos on my printer which is actually working out pretty well. For awhile my printer was making terrible quality photos - not as nice as when I first got it...but it seems to have worked out its issue!

And in regards to my microwave situation. I checked out the manufacterers website...and I can get a replacement glass turntable. But the kicker is that the cost of the turntable plus shipping would be almost $50! Wow. I could almost buy a new microwave for that money. So for now I have one of my dinner plates in there and it seems to turn and work ok for now! Looking back...the situation was kind of funny. Cary has been teasing me about it...asking me "Have you broken anything else today?" I was on a klutzy roll yesterday!

My car was supposed to be ready from the shop tomorrow but it is delayed til Monday...and thanks to everyone's suggestions I hounded the guy's insurance company repeatedly and they are paying for the rental. Even though they established it was his fault I think they would have "forgotten" to pay for the rental if I hadn't really been on it. They wanted me to save receipts etc. I was assertive and requested they speak to the rental agency and set up direct billing. But unfortunately, now I have to try and get on them again since the car is delayed four days...they only auth'd payment until tomorrow. I left his company contact a message today and asked her to verify she recieved the message and speak to my auto body shop. Alas. No return phone call yet. Grrr... I can't wait to have my little car back! This has been going on for three weeks. But in the grand scheme it's really not worth my worry anymore. Life is too short and this is too unimportant!

Today I am feeling a little better but not 100%. Feeling guilty that I have had to neglect my new running routine for the past week. I was going to walk on the treadmill tonight but I just had too many other things to finish and I still don't feel like myself. I think this weekend I will make an effort to take a walk and get some fresh air and some exercise. Running can wait til Monday.

Tomorrow I teach my last class of the semester! Yeah! Then comes grades (I already have a head start) and some student meetings. But otherwise I am on mini-break with some short work weeks coming up. I cannot wait! to read some blogs and get ready for Grey's Anatomy. Good night!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Made this little guy last week from an idea in Martha Stewart's magazine this month. He's made out of pine cones and an acorn. A little wire, glitter and red paint. He was a little labor intensive but I hope to make a few more...maybe! I am a little over ambitious sometimes!

I started my December Daily album yesterday and am off to a good start. Printed a few photos on my home printer. It isn't the greatest. The photos tend to seem a little dark but it wasn't awful. I really want to stay on top of it and be mindful each day. If I wait to print photos online I won't keep up with the "daily" part of the album!

Today I stayed home sick. I feel so much better now. I always feel guilty staying home sick but so often I rush back before I feel better and then it just lingers. I was a little off though and klutzy cooking supper....cooked some pork chops. Those came out very good if I do say so. But...

I forgot to pierce a hole in the bag of frozen spinach before microwaving it.

It exploded.
All over the inside of the microwave.

Then while cleaning the microwave I took out the glass plate that is inside the microwave. Balanced it on top of the microwave and manged to knock it onto the floor. Into a million pieces. Arrggh! How do you go about getting a new plate for the microwave without having to buy a whole new microwave??? There must be a way....

We'll see...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Made these chair ties by cutting a Michael's garland into two peices (to make 2 mini wreaths) with wire cutters, twisting it into shape and tying it on with a beautiful olive iridescent ribbon.

Tried to do too much yesterday, as usual! But put up some more decorations...found a few things at Pier One and Michael's. Used my Yankee Candle coupons for some of our favorites. Made little wreaths for the kitchen chairs and a large wreath for our hallway closet. But today I paid for it and ended up leaving work early. Sick. We'll see about work tomorrow. I just want to feel better. I hate being home sick and feeling guilty about that. I always do. I was out sick two weeks ago and felt like I was fighting something. Probably brought on by stress. And now I have a full-blown cold. Boo! I really need to do something about my stress level. I have the perfectionist personality that doesn't help. I need to really LET GO of crap and relax! I am going to try...again! I enjoy doing things around the house. It relaxes me. It's the work stuff that stresses me.

Anyhow...I just did some online window shopping at Amazon and LL Bean. Have stuff in my virtual "bags" to buy later this week. All my Christmas shopping will be almost done. I am definately buying less this year as I'm sure many are....but I think I have picked out things people I love will love. are some more pictures of decoations! I don't have a tree up yet so there will be more to come! And my lighting isn't great so the pictures of the wreath aren't great. I am going to try and check out my favorite blogs before I get some more rest...

Made this with a grapevine wreath I found discounted at Michael's. Added a pretty garland by wrapping it around the wreath and tucked in two glittered poinsettia stems. Everything was 50% off at Michael's so it was a pretty cheap project and took less than 5 minutes to make!

Close-up of the glittered poinsettias. These were really pretty and they had them in many different colors.

I have three really old, cheap trees from AC Moore in my kitchen/LR "pass-through." The wire tree on the wire was one of my Pier One purchases yesterday for $10. It is a card or photo holder. I plan on hanging up cards we receive during the holidays.


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