Monday, November 29, 2010

Of Girl talk and tmi

Remember the good old days? That was back when I used to say whatever popped into my head. Anything really, seemed like I was full of self deprecating humor regarding my escapades.  And I told lots of stories. Like here and here. Or here.
I was funny. Or perhaps only in my own mind (hmmm, note to self).

Then I started putting myself out into the teaching realm. And for some reason I thought I should conduct myself with a tad more decorum. So I tried to be serious. Talk about art, stick to sharing art related things. Reduce the number of cat stories and certainly eliminate my body issue talk.

But now I'm wondering if you'all (my reading audience, whoever you are) might miss me being a little more loose, showing my true self on occasion, vapid though it be? 

Thus the motivation behind this story. Shared on the day when most everyone else in the Cyberworld is having a sale. But I didn't think of that, so nothing is being sold here, just kick back and get a laugh at my expense.

You all know I have this TV gig on Great Day St. Louis, right? Duh, of course you know cause I talk about it all the time, it still friggin' amazes me that someone puts me on television and that folks actually watch. Or maybe I am simply so enamored with my own image that I am the only one watching the clip over and over, analyzing my hair color, whether I possess the ability to do my own makeup, blahblahblah. Yep, I am that vain, sad to say out loud.

Anyhoo, last Wednesday, I was set up to do my gig and John decided to go with me so he could see the set and meet some of the folks and, well, it was raining and he was going to drop me off at the door. Have I mentioned how much this man indulges me?
It was during the drive downtown when I realized that my front-snap bra had popped open and my, well, you know.....the girls were hanging out. Or down as is the case considering my age and the fact that I breast fed a baby many moons ago. OMG, I couldn't believe it, I mean this has never happened to me before, let alone right before a television appearance I mean Good Lord, like I needed something else to worry about.

KMOV -  set for Great Day St. Louis
Needless to say, I had to go through some unseemly physical gyrations in order to get them harnessed back into place - we were in a moving car after all. It would really be tmi if I told you that whole story but it involved me hunched over in the passenger seat, attempting to move the girls out of the way so I could see the little hookie device, while attempting to simultaneously move the girls back into their place. And to accomplish this entire maneuver without my reading glasses which I sadly need more and more frequently, that being a topic for another day. All while trying not to attract the attention of fellow travelers.

So we get to the show and I can't shake that nervous feeling it might happen again which is when I shared my story with Deb (she being the person who gets me miked up which often involves clothing adjustment hence my personal relationship with her). She absolutely snorted out loud, "Shut UP, girl, you gonna improve our ratings!!!"

And so the show pretty much went downhill from there. You can see for yourself as I glue a portion of the project to the tablecloth. And Kent Ehrhardt, the host, cracks me up, as usual. Watch the clip and pay attention to when I say "you need to grab your little drawers." Tee, hee, this one will go down in history, but at least there was no ahem 'poppage' during the show.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Countdown Calendar

This is a project I will demo on Great Day St. Louis this coming Wednesday. If you are in the St. Louis area, set your DVR for Channel 4 at 10am on 11/24. Come back here to get the details and make the project for yourself.

I think this could be used as a 'countdown' for whatever you desire. I am making two of these for my grandsons (don't tell them!) as a Countdown to Christmas. But I think they would be super cute for nearly any occasion; think about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Spring Break, End of the School Year, Birthday, etc.

glue gun
wrapping paper
decorative doo dads, as desired
scissors, ruler, cutting mat
glue stick or white glue
paint or colored markers
black marker or rubber stamps of numbers & ink

1.  Decide how many matchboxes you need. I am using 25 since I am making a countdown to Christmas. Empty and discard all the matches and pull the drawers out.
2. Count out nine boxes (the outside sleeve part of the box) and glue them together using the glue gun. Then glue seven together, then five, then three.
3. Cut wrapping paper to cover each section of boxes. Here are the dimensions you will need for each section:
2-1/8" x 12-1/2"
2-1/8" x 10-1/4"
2-1/8" x 8-1/4"
2-1/8" x 6"
2-1/8" x 4"
4. Using the largest piece of wrapping paper (see above), glue it around the section of nine match boxes. Glue the next largest around the seven boxes, then five, then three, the one, until all the boxes have been covered.
5. I took some decorative ribbon and glued them around each section to embellish further.
6. After this is all finished, glue the sections together as shown to make the tree. I found the glue gun kept the overall tree more sturdy.
7. Embellish further if desired, see pom poms I added above. You could add glitter or whatever you want.
8. Using a red and green marker, paint the front of each of the match box drawers.
9. Number the drawers from 1-25 using either rubber stamps or simply write the numbers on the drawer.
10. Assemble the drawers randomly making sure that drawer 25 is on the top.
11. Gather tiny treats to put in each drawer - candy, stickers, erasers, etc.

Obviously, there are tons of options with this project so have fun and vary it as you wish.
Enjoy your countdown!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

How about a little trip

Part of the deteriorating wall around historic Quebec City
Chocolate Museum
The Wall

Pastry shop - I had Cafe au lait and a scone
Quebec City street

I never got around to sharing any pictures from our vacation. We went up to Canada, to Quebec City and Montreal, after I taught at Squam.  John flew over to meet me (I had the car) and we took off on a driving trip. I could not tell you the last time we had a 'real' vacation, one that didn't involve work obligations, visiting family, etc.; this was utterly divine!

Old Quebec City is a walled city, the oldest in North America. I was absolutely fascinated by the wall as you might have guessed, me and my rock thing. We walked on top of the wall in some areas and I imagined what it must have been like 'back in the day' when it was needed for protection. Such a concept to think about. Old Quebec City is fantastic for walking; I don't think we used the car once, walked to and from dinner each night which was marvelous and reminded me of when we lived in SF and used to walk oh-so-much, I adore that sort of lifestyle.

And I used some of my very rusty high school French, throwing out words here and there with my abominable midwest accent. I wanted to pretend that I was more sophisticated than I am, possibly of French descent of something more exotic than just being from Ohio, but ya know, I just can't pull that off. Ha!

Basilique Notre-Dame
So anyhoo, After Quebec City we went over to Montreal and had some truly stellar food which for some reason I didn't photograph. We went to one of those uber hip restaurants where you have to know where it is to eat there. Like they have no sign, just a pink light. It was jammed with people, tables crushed together and we sat next to a Canadian couple who were delightfully friendly.

I seldom pass the opportunity to visit old churches as I find them to be the ultimate in eye candy. Basilique Notre-Dame was no exception; for some reason I did not expect it to be so B-L-U-E and it just took my breath away, almost like Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night, that kind of blue with glimmers of gold. Ah, just gorgeous with inspiration at every turn.

My favorite pic
And how 'bout this biker babe? Is she cool or what? I want to be her, perhaps in my next life, that is the life when I will be tall and thin.
I bet she speaks French too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can you say Obsessive

Me, oh no. Never. Mwohahaha (evil laugh).
Anyway, last week I went to the monthly meeting of the St. Louis Collage Club and Barb O'Brien, one of our members, did a demo on patchwork  collage pieces. She was inspired by a Cavallini journal; you can click here to see what I am talking about - the Flora and Fauna ones all have patchwork backgrounds that are oh-so-sweet.
These are very easy to make and a great way to use up scraps.
Here are a few I have made and the steps to make them.
Step 1 - Gather a bunch of paper scraps, cohesive colors if possible, also get a few 'neutrals' like text, sheet music or the like. Use your paper cutter to randomly create squares and rectangles of all sizes.
Step 2 - Select a background - use whatever you have, doesn't need to be good paper, I used cereal boxes for mine. Cut to whatever size you want; a bigger one can be a motherboard.
Step 3 - Run your background through the Xyron to coat it with that sticky stuff.
Step 4 - Start your assembly by putting your pre-cut pieces down on the sticky background. Butt them up next to one another in a mosaic fashion. Re-cut pieces as necessary so they fit together.
Step 5 - Trim overhanging pieces.
Step 6 - Embellish with ribbon, Stickles, glitter, doo-dads, whatever.
Step 7 - Cut into smaller pieces, mount onto black paper (if desired, see John's b-day card from my last post) and assemble into greeting cards or just whatever you might want. I think they would make adorable tags for gift giving so I think I will pull all my old Christmas cards and make some tags.

The sky is the limit, this is a fun project to do while watching TV cause it is pretty brainless. And they are just so cute! I adore them. Thanks Barb (and Cavallini) for the inspiration.

Anybody wanna come over and make me stop!?!?!?!??!?!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An auspicious day

Birthday card I made for John
Today is my sweetie's birthday. It's a big one. I can't say how many years, but let's just say our health insurance will actually go down cause he starts Medicare. If you can believe, we are actually celebrating that too, haha. Anyway, we are off to party with the family, having a big old fried chicken dinner, yes we are. It will involve gravy (the white kind), need I say more?

So Happy Birthday baby, to my lover and my best friend, my hubby John. He is truly the best man I have ever known. I feel so lucky he is mine. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Linky dinky do da

See this........'s my book. On Amazon. How friggin' cool is that??  I can barely stand it I am so excited, hee!! Anyhoo, just wanted to share. And yeah, you may want to pre-order. But you may also wanna wait cause I am going to offer some uber cool sumpin if you order direct from me. Just saying.....

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

When one door closes....

Those of you who read my blog regularly know about the juggling act called 2010. In addition to writing my book; I have taught locally and nationally; I have been a partner in a retail operation; I have participated in outdoor Art Fairs around the Midwest; I designed and promoted a line of stencils; I did monthly TV gigs for Great Day St. Louis.
I wore myself out.
Yep. I just said it out loud. I have been wiped. The juggler whose game never came to an end. Lots of people suggested this would happen to me, but naturally I poo-pooed that. Because I thought that I could do it all. And yeah, maybe I could.....for awhile.....
But you know what?
I'm going vertical now. And loving the red.
I no longer want to do it all. I want to focus on the things that mean the most to me, are intrinsically rewarding; the stuff that makes me jump out of bed in the morning.

So I am trying something new. I am saying no.
Several months back, John and I went to a book signing of Anne Lamott. I love her and had never seen her in person, but I hung on every word and could have listened to her speak all night long. She said something that resonated with me sosososo much. She was talking about how she used to say yes to every opportunity that came along, how she was so scared to say no because it might not be offered again. Uh huh...sounded so familiar to me. But then she finally learned to say no. And....this is the part that got me....she said, "NO is a complete sentence."
I have thought about that a lot.
And I resigned my partnership in the store. I am still exhibiting and teaching there, just not partnering.
I have also decided that I will not do as many shows next year, possibly reduce to only one or two.
Instead, I am focusing on doing what I love. Teaching, designing, making my art, developing new ideas, techniques, products to share with others. Because that is what I love.
And you know what?
My brain has kicked back into gear. It's as though a weight has been lifted. I feel alive and fresh and new, with ideas coming every minute. And the opportunities, oy vay, it is exciting. I will say Yes to the ones I adore and will say No to others. It is such a feeling of freedom.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Red Rocks

And the rocks continue

Finally. I have some painting time and it is simply mahvelous, dahling. Oh my oh my, I am like a pig wallowing in, well, you know....Except I don't really wallow in the paint, it just looks like it sometimes.
I am moving further along with my rock series. I love finding ways to create texture by poking, prodding, scraping the mediums. Fun!
See the send to last section - the one right before the bottom.....glued some more Mica onto the painting, a process best saved for closer to the end as the beautiful finish dulls down if you get paint on it (you can 'fix it' by gently using alcohol though).
And that red part? Palette knife work.

And psssst, wanna know a secret? I have brand new bouncing baby stencils on the'll be the first to know, so stay tuned.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Rocks, rocks, all the time rocks

You can see that I have abstracted my rocks.
Here are some completed images from my prior post. A funny thing happened while I was working on them. It was last Sunday. I was all wound up, just a bundle of energy, jazzed about my rocks and felt like I was on top of the world just exploding with new ideas. John walked into the studio to tell me it was time to leave for the kids for Halloween. I gushed out about the new work, like I tend to do and John inspected it, then commented, "well, they're not done....."
This was inspired by the Wall around Quebec City.
 Splat. That was the wet blanket I imagined that he threw; it enveloped me. Butbutbut.....I sputtered, then got defensive about how I was trying to be more neutral. Then I got mad. Naturally I pouted during the 20 minute drive to the kids house. 
More Ruggles Mine inspiration - see the little Mica circles? Bought those from Dan Essig when I was teaching at Art Unraveled.
But Monday morning, when I walked into the studio, it was all clear. And he was right. They needed more work. Which I believe I have accomplished. These are now done. I am hopeful you can click and enlarge them, give it a try. Lots of interesting texture.

And yeah, I did apologize to John. Right after I thanked him for his honest feedback. See, he always says he doesn't know anything about this, like he thinks his feedback couldn't possibly be valid. But his heartfelt response is very helpful to me (once my ego moves aside) and I hope my rude reaction never discourages him from speaking his mind. Geez, I know I am a pain but criticism can be tough. And despite what we say or how we behave, we artists have thin skins, don't we?

Monday, November 01, 2010

I know, I know.......

It has been forever. I apparently took a blog sabbatical as I have been struggling to find my painting mojo, oh where oh where has it gone? Actually, it isn't the mojo itself that is missing; it is simply this thing called L-I-F-E that has intervened.

Lately I seem to find my inspiration at the exact moment when I have to go take a shower cause we have theater tickets. Or it is time for us to celebrate Halloween with the kids. Or even time for a lovely dinner that John has created for me.

These are the rock paintings that continue.....
Geez. I feel ugly and ungrateful when I am like this and I understand why so many artists have chosen alternative lifestyles. Cause 9-5 is just damn difficult. It's not like there's a switch after all and oy vay, if only!!!
Cause you see, I had been telling myself (all year) that I would immerse myself in a new series. After the teaching. After the shows. After vacation. Blahblahblah. It was my carrot, my reason for living (ok, I'm being a tad drama queen about this but seriously).
And more, a closeup of one, see the Mica?

And another, I love this one, I really let loose on the composition.
The inspiration, sitting on my work table at all times.

So here I am, weaseling a little bit of time here and there, between classes and this and that. Trying to find meaning in this pile of rocks. Puttering along like everyone else, grateful and extremely possessive of each and every moment I spend in my studio, always pining for more and feeling the hunger.

Life is good. Bountiful. Wonderful.
repeat three times