Monday, December 31, 2007

possible last IFN - topic "Alone with Others"

Since Steve is contemplating closing the site, and Switch is moving on - I posted what could be my last IFN post, oh well.

The scanner here at Mom's is just TERRIBLE. The colors have come out all wrong, and you can't see the background grey color, but it's there. Perhaps I'll rescan it when I get home and re- load. If you can't see if the top banner is pink with "sweetness and" and all of the others are things like "" and "" etc. It's funny to me.

Either way, - what's done is done.

More late Sunday night

The folks are in bed, and I'm wandering the house, cleaning a bit, picking up papers - packing up for a Tuesday AM departure. I went into the garage to look for a cardboard box to send some books home in (Main Street Bookstore - don't miss it!) and found the usual flotsam and jetsom of family life. I started thinking about what gets thrown away thru the years and what doesn't...and what should and shouldn't. Both of my parents are pack rats, but unorganized ones. I can find a pile of old envelopes - odd sizes; in the same box as an old tape recording of me singing at "4 yrs old".
Mom has her old tap shoes in the garage closet - she started tap dancing at 70 or 75 and kept it up for a few years. She won't do it anymore, her balance isn't good enought. Why keep these shoes? This was a short stint on the local community stage, there can't be too many memories involved in these shoes. Should I sneak them to Goodwill? Someone could probably use them.

A needlepoint that I did when I was about 13 is carefully wrapped up with "Miri's needlepoint - green frame" on it. I'd throw it out but appreciate that my mom wants to keep it. It's a clumsy needlepoint, not worth keeping even for sentimental reasons in my view point.

My grandmother started painting when she was 62 and newly widowed and we must have 30 REALLY BAD paintings of her's in the closet - the better ones hang on the walls. Are we hoping that she can become the next Grandma Moses, or can we simply not get rid of these paintings by a well loved mom and grandma. I may take pictures of all of her painting and follow one of Lynn's idea and do some kind of a quilt.

I keep momento's too, and also like to keep them in unorganized fashion but for a reason. I like to stumble upon lost moments. I open a drawer and find a diary with the date circled of my first date with Tony - I'll always remember that night. I know that I should be a bit more organized about keeping things in some order, but most of my life is ordered and this is my secret and loved chaos.

When my sister in law died two years ago, we didn't go to help clean out the house, which I really regret. Not because we were really needed - there were a ton of people there, but because MIL is NOT a pack rat and she threw out so many potential cherished items. She just told me the other day that she threw out 30 years worth of letters that Lucile kept from friends and boyfriends. I was literally heartsick to hear this, what a legacy this could have been for her children - for them to continue to learn about their mother in later years. MIL only kept things that she felt were "valuable" or that she knew the provence of. That's the type of throw away that I don't understand. Yes, keeping valuable things is good, but keeping priceless items and memories is even better. Sorry Lu - I wish I could have prevented that random toss. I love MIL but she does do random tosses yet goes to flea markets and buys chipped china. Go figure.

So OK, this is another end of year, end of trip review. Sorry. But it all had to come out.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Enough of this end of the year stuff already

My ATC trading group is doing a trade with ATC's from your hometown, or "Hello from" etc. In the spirit of a frugal New Englander, I did paper, scissors, magazine images and colored paper ATC while not having my supplies with me. I like this constraint, and am going to try this a little bit more. ( I do see the disturbing tangent in the lobster one, but decided to ignore it)


It's Sunday night. Spent the morning with my 88 year old aunt, showing her how to use her new phone and then went to the beach for a few hours. Now we are getting ready for the social event of the day - Dinner out with my 'rents. Rolling walker and all!!!

New Year - is Switchsky shutting down? Maybe. I am not a big fan of change, and fight like hell to keep an even keel in my life, but stuff changes - right? Or maybe I can do a Pleasantville thing to keep things the same ALL the time. Imagine writing the same posts over and over again. (minor claim to fame; Bill Macy went to Goddard at the same time as me - that's where it ends)

Something tells me that this will be a year of change for alot of us. Sort of a tickling in my toes right now.

Ah well, time to go home for a few days, work awhile and then come back for Dad's 94th. Grant him many more, oh ye the great birthday giver.

Illustration Friday - December 28th - Soar

I am in Florida at my folks house, and only found paper and pencil around to do anything for this topic - it's a good challenge. Great colors can be found in magazine pages. I only had one of those giant scissors so details were out of the question, but I had fun doing this and isn't that what it's all about?
I've always wanted to Soar thru outer space - would love to be in zero gravity.

New Year resolutions????

In Loretta's blog she outlines her approach for New Years resolutions and I like the way she has prioritized her hopes for each category. I love lists, but usually find NewYear resolutions too overwhelming - I like this approach and am going to do the same.

Heart - continue to be open to family and friends, be supportive of my husband and LISTEN to him with a more open mind. (30 some-odd years can dull the hearing abilities). I want us not to regret any moments spent together - and to treasure each other for the individuals that we are. Have fun with him, and try to keep up with his activies.
Tall order, neither one of us is an angel - but it's worth a try isn't it? He really is my whole heart.

Family - help my family go thru the changes that come with aging, at all ages! Be supportive and helpful to mom and dad as they both go thru the next year, try like the dickens NOT to tell them what to do, but to work with them to make sure they are happy, healthy and that the bills get paid. (that story is for another post). Be there for my nieces, two of whom are going thru personal growth issues and changes. Treasure my nephews and see them as much as possible this year. (love those boys like crazy)

Wallet - be a little bit more frugal this year Stella! Stop buying unneeded art supplies. Try to sell some quilts. Diversify. Invest wisely, or at least as wisely as possible. Right now there are no looming costs, but being prepared for a rainy day is always in my sights.

Health - Get this weight issue taken care of once and for all for goodness sakes! I don't know exactly what will work, but that darned honest mirror just won't lie to me! I did make some inroads recently, but we're talking major changes here in lifestyle. With our February move to a work site MUCH closer to home, I plan to get back to the gym and begin a regular routine again. But health isn't only about weight is it? Work on the other stuff too - get back to the Dr. and get going on other delayed issues.

Create - sign up for more art classes and complete 3 projects. Go to Virginia in May for Art and Soul. Enjoy art. Draw. Don't worry about the outcome. Have fun.

Work - Do a darned good job but LEAVE work at work and keep home for home. Remember, no one ever regretted not spending more time at work.

Spirit - I don't belong to any organized religious group, and don't plan to start attending temple. I simply haven't found one that meets my needs in any way. What would do my spirit good is to get a dog. Work on this. Use my journal more as a guide to how I feel about issues, and my resolutions.

I think that's the main issues covered. There is still the list which includes things like: clean my closet, find all the tops to the tupperwear containers etc etc etc. but all that can wait.

Happy New Year to all

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Grateful again

I just found out that my friends mom passed away yesterday and we had a good cry on the phone. So sudden and so sad, her dad is inconsolable. 56 years married or something close to that.

It ain't easy being a human is it?

love to all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wah, wah, wah....

I know I'm supposed to be angelic this week , but my wireless won't work on my computer, and I also can't get my iPod to sync with anything that I have gotten on line. ARGHHHH. Deep breaths. I know it's the gosh darn (how angelic of me - that's not what I wanted to say) computer which is a work computer and a piece of shit but it is so god-damn frustrating. Especially after two days of cooking meals for many. And old people who need their food kinda mushy.

I digress - we have been having fun - but I'm not a cook!! or a computer person, and not being able to use my iPod makes me nutty.

Any hints?

I did get a lovely sketch book from Hubby that is so lovely I don't want to draw in it!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blessings and being thankful

A good friend has parents that are a little bit younger than mine, and who have been in good health except for the usual bumps and bruises. The family has been planning for a Holiday feast in the traditional Italian style, with a large gathering at a sisters house and family coming from all around. I got a sad phone call today from my girlfriend with the news that her mom was in the hospital in very bad condition from what might have been a stroke - altho she fell and hit her head so no one knows.

It's all so sudden. One minute you're fine and shopping at the Stop and Shop and the next minute - you're on the floor. Then intensive care. Then doctors with grave faces. Bad news, some hopeful news, bad news again. The family gathers and waits.

You can't say anything in these situations except to hug and send prayers, possibly provide food for the family. We've all experienced the sudden bad news situations, and we all pray that it doesn't happen to our loved ones.

What has me so befuddled is how to reconcile the day to day and the extraordinary. How can one be a human being in this crazy world, and yet truly take the time to appreciate family and friends? How will you know who will be around tomorrow? How can you tell everyone how much you love them, and to not sweat the small stuff, and to enjoy life, to dance, to sing, to draw to enjoy. How do you not worry about a dirty floor, or chores to be done, or work to go to.
Greater minds than mine have struggled with these questions and there are probably dozens of self-help books that guide one thru some kind of process. I don't know - I don't read those books.
So, to write my own self help book - or to try to live a bit of a better life, I plan to kiss more, to love more, to stop criticizing, to cuddle babies, and old people and to try like hell NOT to sweat the small stuff. I WILL enjoy my folks more, I will smooch with my husband more, I'll stop obsessing about paint colors, and with all of this angelic behavior, I'll still remember that I am human and that I have to love me most and first.

Happy Holidays to all my friends out there. FY - have a wonderful Oz trip; Deb - I'll see you in Sarasota. Switch, Michelle, Kerstin, Mr P., Sarah - and all who read this - I have come to depend on you and appreciate knowing you all so much; the exchange of ideas, and feedback from all of you has made me so much braver than I was a year ago.

Off to Florida tomorrow to visit my folks and I plan to have a lovely time.

Illustration Friday - December 21st - Horizon

The topic this week is "Horizon" - and here is one of my first digital paintings. I like this painting for a few reasons, I love the color, and love the idea of traveling a road that goes over a hill - going out of sight - not knowing where you will end up. I love that idea.

Additionally, I've shown this watercolor before, it shows the horizon view out of my brothers window in California - wonderful to drink your morning coffee and gaze over this view.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

NOT mine - but I wish it was

I found this drawing hanging around Tony's studio and thought I'd show it. See what I'm up against? You certainly can see where is light source is coming from...

Ain't he good? I wish he'd draw more but I guess 30 years as a graphic designer has worn him out. But oh boy, if I had his talent, his way of seeing things - what fun that would be for me at this time in my life.

I want to frame all of his work and put it up around the house but he doesn't want that. I guess his standards are high, but I am so proud of his work and love it so much. Hmmm... a Christmas present for his mom??? maybe...

It's snowing again here....

I'm going to keep taking pictures of my back porch chairs and when they completely disappear, I'm going to go to Florida and work remotely from Mom's house, or in our Tampa office. It really is beautiful snow, and I am watching it right now thru the sun room windows as I decided to work from home today. So I am not driving in it, which makes it enjoyable. We don't expect much today, only about 3 inches so that's not too bad.

My basement "studio" is almost finished, we just have to put up something on the ceiling and get down a warm cozy rug. I've been itching to sew and don't have a table to do it on! I was using an old dining room table, which was hurting my back and was a bad shape (round) for sewing on - so I forced myself to put the table somewhere else and force myself to buy some kind of a sewing table. Any suggestions from sewers or quilters? I was thinking of one of those craft tables, but it would be nice to have a place to store the machine and threads also. I don't want one of those old fashioned sewing cabinets like my grandma had, I didn't find them very useful. I've been looking on line at the cabinets that fold up into nothing and then open up to show some great space. So any hints or suggestions would be appreciated. I have two or three quilts waiting to be constructed and also need to finish the quilts for my nephews.

I'll show a picture of the finished basement soon, I'm also thinking of doing the white lights around the ceiling edge. Trite, but pretty.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Haven't been on line in a few days...

I have been so busy with work and parties and buying presents and painting/cleaning the basement that I haven't even been able to read anyones blogs for a few days. So it's nice to have a few minutes at lunchtime to catch up.

While cleaning the basement I found a lot of old doggy stuff that I decided to give to the local no kill shelter. Gave them a cat carrier, and a doggy door and a few other items. And of course, I stuffed my usual money into the bin and bought dog treats for all of the inmates. I go along the line, talking to all the dogs and giving them little treats and pets. Buddy Dog is a great place to find dogs - not that I have gotten one from there, but I do know people who have. I don't know how Bernie does it - it just breaks my heart to look into their eyes. There was one dog who gravely took the treat that I offered and went off to nibble on it. When I came back around to his cage, I offered another treat and he rejected it...all he wanted was to be petted. He gave me his paw, and offered up his back for a scratch. He was a solemn dog and very serious about having human contact. There was a gorgeous chocolate lab - who gave me that special Lab look, but when I went to ask about him at the desk , it turns out that he is part of a duo - his other half is a Weimaraner- not my favorite dog. There were two Boston Terriers there - another set of dogs, and they were so cute together!

Lunch is over - back to work!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

You have HOW much snow?

Actually it isn't that much, we are used to this around here. It's just that the past few years have gotten us spoilted, as they've been "open" years with little snow.
Here is a picture of my back deck with table and chairs on Friday morning.

Here is is tonight - Sunday

Not that much different. To me the difference is between having to drive in it or not. We stayed home today all day, cleaning the basement, while the snow fell on and on. I understand that it has now turned to sleety rain - all the more reason to stay inside - altho snowshowing in this would be alot of fun.

Craftland visit - Saturday

I had the painter here until 1:00 PM yesterday and then dashed out of the house to go to the touted Craftland down in Providence RI. That is 1 hour away, but I had a good book on tape to listen to (can't remember the name) and it is presented by Alan Bates and he is so lovely to listen to. God, I remember him in Georgy Girl - my first "grown up" movie. I was SOOO in love.
I digress.
Craftland was not what I expected it to be. Perhaps they were all sold out by this time, but I really didn't see 150 artists' work - at least I don't think I did. I'd say more like 30 artists. And it was mostly kitch-craft. And I don't mean kitchen. I tried to analyze what was disappointing about it and finally realized that there appeared to be little design thought. Mostly low end fridge magnets and kitchy address books. I am exaggerating of course, and I could tell that there were some pieces that were thoughtful and took alot of work. I guess I was expecting a higher caliber of work since I was in Rhode Island School of Design land. I did buy a nice little fused glass pendant and a hand made sketch book - but that was it.

Across the street was a bookstore, a magnet for me. loved it the minute I walked in. I have spend so many years buying books at Borders, and at an airport and this was more of an independent store with very interesting stuff. This is the first time in years that I have seen "Howl" by Alan Ginsberg on a shelf in plain view. I picked up a few things that should fill the snowy day today with some good relaxing hours.
Don't forget to read the post below this one about an art swap.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Oops - a follow up PLUS a great idea!

I think that in order to vote for my portrait, you have to send an email to this address ( or else leave a comment in the comments section. I'm not 100% sure - but I'll give it a try as I vote for myself.

Debra Kay and I think that it would be a great idea to exchange art stuff, supplies and things like that - not great value - maybe $ 8.00 t0 $10.00 and just swop them around. So...if you sign up here to join, I will coordinate the addresses. We should probably stop at 5 people otherwise it would get burdensome and expensive. What do you think? I think it's a great way to trade supplies, without getting all worried about it. Paper supplies, glue sticks, embellishements - whatever! Since I am in the middle of cleaning the basement and I have some great stuff left over I'll all for it!!!

So post here, or email me and we can have some fun!

Random thoughts

I entered the contest at Laketrees for a portrait, and Kim posted my photo. So now I need votes!!! Go to this site and scroll down and there I am with Mom. Yay - Vote for Mim!! I promise to put soda in all the water fountains (isn't that what they said in grammer school when running for school office?)

Thanks for all the comments on the onions/strawberries/beets especially about the color combinations. I have an interesting theory about my relationship to color. When I was a kid I had bad eyesight and didn't get glasses until I was 10 or 11. Since I couldn't see far, I spent my days with my "nose buried in a book". So I can tell you the subtleties of page colors, printing ink, thickness of paper, smell of a new or old book. What I can't tell you is the subtlety of colors in a tree - I saw them as brown trunks and green blobs. Switchsky has a idea of pressing your nose against a tree and just staring until you can see the colors. As I mentioned to her, I have literally done this - and mostly can just see grey or brown altho' other colors are starting to seep thru. I believe that in my early days my eye's couldn't see color and therefore my brain did not get wired to see shade and subtleties of color - and I didn't spend enough time looking at reproductions of paintings, maybe that would have helped. I do believe that one's brain can be rewired, but also believe that there are certain wirings that can never be fixed, the cells have died or atrophied from lack of use. Oliver Sacks says quite a bit on this subject which I find fascinating. So this is why I try to take such a scientific approach to color and try to understand what mixes with what and how to enhance colors by using other colors that frankly, make no sense to me. Recently I wanted to draw a picture of a little Santa statue that I have. I placed the little statue in front of me and couldn't even start - he has a while beard? How do you draw a white beard? What colors do you use? Well, I just stopped and did onions instead - working with my instructional book. Red onions - OK ; white beard - not so OK. Anyway, the gist of it all is that I am learning in my own way how to use color, it's alot of fun, and I'm not showing you all the failures!!! One technique that I have learned to use is to scan in a picture, go into photoshop and highlight an area and have the color identified. It's always a surprise! What - that's green? I thought it was blue...and on and on.

I spent yesterday afternoon and night cleaning up the basement after the painting was finished and I am only about 1/2 way done. The painter still has a few spots to finish but he completed my room in a fairly nice color. We need to put up something on the ceiling to hide the insulation and then it will be done. So I started cleaning and putting things away, what a task! I have started two big piles, one for trash and one for the Goodwill. LOTS going to Goodwill. When I was in my box making decoupage stage, I bought lots of cigar boxes on ebay. I still have about a dozen. Anyone want a cigar box? I have wooden ones, the paper covered ones, small ones and big ones. Email me or comment here and I'll send you one or more. I promise, in front of all the online gods and people, that I WILL NOT PURCHASE ANOTHER ARTY THING until I can work my way thru these piles. The problem is that I didn't (and still don't) know which medium totally suits me so I try them all. I went from decoupage, to painted boxes to drawing and painting and everything in between. It's been a roller coaster ride, and I've enjoyed it so much, but it is time to settle down with if I could just figure out what that should be??? I also don't know what things do what - so I try them all. Gel medium? what the heck, try all different kinds for all different things. Adhesives? I must have a million. Oh well, I try to be philosophical - someone will benefit from my excesses and I've learned alot. Of course the other problem is that I can't throw anything out. So up on the wall is the photo-turned-oil painting picture of my great grandma in her mink stole. I never even knew her but my mom was crazy about her. I always loved her because of mom and spoke fondly of Grandma Tilly. But just this year I found out that "wonderful" Grandma Tilly dis-inherited my mother when she married Italian Catholic Dad and "died before she could change her will". I think that's a load of crap - my folks were married for 4 years before I was born. Supposedly after I was born the old goat changed her tune and was going to change her will. Oh well, Mom still loved her, so there is her portrait in my basement looking down from the wall. I actually enjoy the painting and dare not get rid of it - the rest of the family knows that I have it.
There's also alot of stuff in this room that doesn't need to be there - what is that big plywood slab doing down here? Neither of us remember, but of course - we can't get rid of this! But there is also stuff for future projects. See that round wooden table top? That's going to be a decorated coffee table, complete with decoupage plates and forks and knives and interesting decorated paints. Just you wait (and wait...and wait)

When I think of all the things that I do in this room, it really isn't so bad. I paint, and craft, and draw and sew. All of our important papers are stored here in plastic bins - like 2004 tax returns. All of Tony's old art materials, old sofa and chair. It will be nice when it's done and I've purged all the stuff I don't need. I still do need a sewing table and am looking for one of those ones that fold up into a nice little space when not being used.

At least I still have my sense of humor! That counts for alot I think.

Have a happy weekend! We're expecting another storm so today will be Christmas shopping and tomorrow - MORE CLEANING~~~!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

While it snows

So it snowed and snowed last night and I was warm and snug at home - especially when I watched Tony do the snow removal thing with the snow blower. I stayed inside, organized presents and drew what are supposed to be red onions, but kind of look like strawberries to me. Either way it was fun and a new background technique with the colored pencls. Maybe a little blunter end on that front onion will help...I'll give it a try.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Night of Snow

We got dumped with about 1 foot of snow. It was the worst drive home that I have ever had but great to get home into the warm. This is my favorite time with snow, when it's all lovely and clean - and amazingly magical.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


While working on "100 things to do with a tin can" for our 100 things project, I ran out of thoughts at # 23 or so and started doodling while also watching "How Green Was my Valley" a true tear-jerker. Perhaps that's why these faces look so worried. Or are they worried about the paint color....

See, this is why it is so dumb to be worried about Paint Color. Here's Debra, stuck with no power, cold animals, scared people all around..and I'm worried about paint color. What an idiot I can be. Deb - please let me know if there is anything that we can do to help.


I may go here this week and get some Christmas shopping done. Has anyone ever been to one of these large craft shows? Not me, so it should be either fun, or not. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Picking Paint for my basement studio.

My entire house is painted in "Navaho White" which means that it is bland, bland, bland. I cannot pick colors for walls - it absolutly terrifies me. Tony is good at picking colors, but also has a savoir faire attitute about color - if it doesn't work he thinks about repainting - but only after years of thinking about it. That means when I pick a color I have to live with it whether I like it or not. Hence the Navaho White.

So we are painting the basement and I picked what I thought was a peachy color and I went down tonight to find a horror of a pink-flesh colored room that is just awful. It's like being inside a lit womb. Opressive, awful. I went nuts and am insisting on another color, poor Tony is ready to pull his hair since the guy bought the paint and whatever.

Here it is. What do you think? Would you be bitchy and repaint?
As my mom would say " this should be your worst trouble" so of course on top of being unhappy with the color I am miserable about being miserable about the color. Oy....

Apples on a table. Drawn in PEI in a hotel room

Not much more to say about this. Colored pencil in a drawing pad. Left apple could use more white that I know what white space it. Learning techniques from a colored pencil book - which is great fun.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My last post( of the day) !!!

Gosh - I've done alot of these in the past few days - it's either feast or famine with me. But I really like this collage I did for IFN - topic: rack 'em and stack 'em.

I started thinking about stacking or stacked, and then racks and deer and stacked deer - and on and one. So this one got born. It's like "Attack of the 50 foot Woman" - anyone remember that Sci-Fi film?

What IS a Patty Play Pal doll

In 1959, Ideal Toy Corporation began issuing a beautiful series of dolls that were large enough for a small child to hold by the hand, making them the perfect playmate. Just like the original, our Patti Playpal replica is crafted of collector-quality vinyl with rooted hair, and blue eyes that open and close. She wears a similar version of the original dress, and shiny Mary Jane shoes. Patti stands a full 35".
Having a Patty-Playpal was having a doll your exact size, and she would wear your clothes and when you pulled her hand she even walked a bit. For a small child in a family of giant kids - she was a lifesaver. She had little Mary-janes on her feet and you could comb her hair. Sadly you could also cut her hair and make her look like a complete horror. Once she was trashed, she was scarily real and could be rather "chuckie" like (from that doll horror movie). But I loved mine and slowly walked her around the apartment trying to keep my little brother from trashing her. I can't remember what year I got mine in but I know that she was the walking version.
And, I promised to answer the question about a cellar and a basement. In my old house, which was built in 1795 we had a cellar. This cellar had the washer and dryer in it, but little else aside from a dirt floor, and millions of bugs and spiders. It's dark and very dank.
A basement is a fully poured concrete foundation - dry and warm and you can put ALL your crap down there and no one ever knows. What is so funny is that while I love our basement and spend alot of time down there...I was facinated by our cellar. It was poorly lit and mysterious and I always felt that there was some secret treasure waiting to be found. I never found it, but I did have some good scouting expeditions down there.

First attempt at drawing a cat

Second actually, as the first looked like a grey blob. First time I've ever used white space. Scary.

Win a Portrait - Sure I'll try

Kim over at Laketrees has posted a challenge for a free portrait. Have you seen her work - it's amazing. So I think I submitted this picture, but being somewhat challenged in where and what to link I may not have actually entered but what the heck! I posted this picture of me and mom taken a few years ago - as I can't imagine holidays without my family. I also told about the one time that we celebrated Christmas in our house. I was about 6 and I don't know what made my parents decide to give us this treat. Dad's family is Catholic so perhaps it was being exposed to all their Christmas celebrations that gave them the idea. Perhaps it was us kids begging - I just don't know. But we got a tiny Ceramic tree that plugged in and had tiny little colored lights, and the next morning there were presents on the living room chair. My brother was too young to know what was going on , but I was overjoyed with my Patty Play Pal and recorder and totally overwhelmed that Santa had visited us. I'll never forget that moment of pure surprise and joy. Kids who have christmas all the time may lose that feeling, but I still remember the thrill.
We never celebrated Christmas again in our house and I don't think that I expected to. Once was enought and was totally magical.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

100 things - Draw Your Bike - #10

For Number 10 in the 100 things project with Kerstin and Casey; I drew this bike picture from memory, as my bike is put away for the winter. Tony's only comment beside "hmmph" was that it looked a bit wonky to ride, but he grinned. (my in house critic) Plus he wanted to know where the light was coming from - yeah yeah. .. someday I'll get that going too.

Top 101 Artist Blogs

Kim over at Laketrees has compiled a top 101 blogs. I don't really understand the polling method but it was interesting to see some of my blogging friends listed : Emila who I know from Monday ArtDay ATC, and Teri from blogging comments and her great blog and Casey from our 100 things project (and a remarkable artist) are listed in the top 30.


Even more amazing is the fact that I can't change all the lovely links that I put into this post - Blogger won't let me and they don't show up very well. What a drag! So I'm putting them in bold - perhaps they'll show up better - let me know OK?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Illustration Friday - December 7th - Little Things

It is the little things that count, isn't it?

Cleaning House

In the spirit of the Cleaning Ghost of Christmas - I am selling my little stroller quilt on Etsy
( It's a lovely little quilt and comes with it's own teddy bear and pocket. It's all cotton and natural cotton filling and it's only $25.00! Don't you know a little baby that needs to be warmer this winter????

Friday, December 7, 2007

Before picture

This is funny. We are getting ready to paint the basement and I took pictures of a packed up basement to post as "before" pictures. I am so embarrassed. I HAVE SO MUCH CRAP!

Okay - deep breath. Here's the story. We lived for years in a tiny antique cape without a basement, only a cellar (those of you who don't know the difference - let me know and I'll explain) We built this house about 5 years ago and it had this enormous basement and I thought - " all that space, I'll never run out of room again". Famous last words. Now nothing get's thrown out - it just goes into the basement. It's like we've gone crazy with the available space, and we just have to fill it up.

We have the second fridge down there, and a table and microwave - a genuine basement italian kitchen. We really don't use it, except for the fridge, but we're reluctant to get rid of it. Why...well we have the space so why throw it out?

We have a workout area (no- not me!) and a washer and dryer, and a ping-pong table that is perfect for cutting quilts out on. And then we have "my" room, which started out with an old sofa and chair and an old TV. And then I started making decorated boxes - so I bought stuff to do that craft. Then I started watercolor...then acrylics...and more crafty stuff...and more art stuff...and quilts. And my miniature rooms (altho' I've been doing miniatures for years) It's all gotten so out of hand - I feel a bit overwhelmed. And it's so damm embarrassing.

We decided that the basement needed some work, so we got more electricity down there and heat. Now it needed painting as the grey cement walls are just so ugly. I was hoping that the painter could wait until after New Year but oh no...he's coming Monday to start the job. Okay - I've been traveling for a week, going to company parties, and I have to pack up ALL that crap that I have accumulated over the past few years and get the space ready for painting. And take the cork tiles off the wall and scrape off the macho glue that I had to use on the cork to get it to stick to the concrete.

I am determined to give stuff away this weekend. All the paints that I don't use anymore, causeI know better now. Alot of the crafty stuff that I never used in the first place. I'm going to get the place painted, and then sorted, and put things in boxes with labels, and give stuff away to the Goodwill. Container store - here I come. I really really hope that I can end up with less stuff, and therefore, more quality time. Right now I spend too much time cleaning up - just trying to make a space to work in.

There is alot of talk about cleaning this week. Perhaps its the season?

Home again, home again

Got home last night after hours and hours on planes, dashing thru Montreal airport, grabbing luggage, security again, customs. I am exhausted! I think it would be easier to drive from Boston to PEI.

But it's Friday, which is great. I have all weekend to clean out the basement to get it ready for painting, I'll do some little drawing and relaxing.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Snow on PEI

I'm staying in a lovely hotel, an old fashioned but updated Inn. Out my window is a classic scene - gaslights (well, really not but they look like gaslights) and white light - lit christmas trees up and down the street. It's been snowing since last night, there is alot more snow on the ground than seen in this picture and I can hear the plows trying to get the streets clean. I don't have a 4 wheel drive up here, so will take it easy on the roads and get to work when I can. I am with a few others so have plenty of friends to hang with for the day. Perhaps I'll draw. Perhaps read. It's nice not to have to worry about driving into the city.

It could be worse - eh?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Disappearing without a trace

The blogging world is an interesting place. I started reading blogs about 1.5 years ago, and focused in on a few a bit later than that. Then I started my own - venturing into new territory for me. I blabbed and blabbed and started to meet people on line, working on little art projects. So here I am, 300 posts later, and I really like posting, reading other's posts, watching my own and other's personal and art growth. I've joined art groups, put my stuff out there for all to see - and love the feedback. I like the people I have met and value their discussions. I feel tentative friendships growing, and valuable connections.
The hard part about this is that people can just disappear! Perhaps they are tired of blogging, or tired of the artwork. Tired of running their site, or things change and there isn't time anymore to keep up with writing, or posting. You have no idea if they just got tired...or they're sick...or sick of the internet world. I am finding this very disturbing - and plan on giving a close friend my log on and password so that if I disappear for some reason she can post my obituary or whatever!
Don't just disappear people! Leave a note! Send a goodbye letter! Your online friends will miss you.

PEI in December

This is a lovely Island but it really is remote! It took all day to get here as we had to go thru Montreal and get a connecting flight. In the summer there is a direct flight from Boston but not in the winter!

We got here and yes, there is snow on the ground and it is COLD! Thank goodness for down jackets. This should be an interesting week.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Screw Asylum 2

I just had to do another one.

Altered Book

I am taking a collage class and we are attempting our first altered book. The theme is "Threads" and we each do own own book cover, and a page, and then complete 4 other pages to share with the other people in the class for them to put into their books. In return I get 4 different pages from everyone. Here is my cover - work in progress of course. Woven paper, gelled, stitched, embellished.

Here is one of the inside pages.

It's fun to stitch and embellish and glue and find things to put on top of other things.

One other piece for another student - I like the little paper quilt.

New Blog for ATC trades

I started a new blog just for ATC trades over at Monday ArtDay ATC's. Fun group to work with, and some great ATC's

Illustration Friday Night - December 1st

Screw asylum - not bad mr. P. Lot's of mental images (no pun intended)

Illustration Friday - December 1st - Excess

I did two drawings/collages for this one. I think I could have gone on forever with this theme - lot's of excess in my life.

No time for other thoughts/ writing - I am off to Prince Edward Island for the week - and bringing my warmest coat!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

100 things and a question

When I was coughing fit to break last week I did work on alot of the 100 things. It was something to do while at my folks, it was very relaxing, and while I sat at the table drawing, Dad talked alot, sort of like he was thinking out loud. I took advantage of it. Many of the 100 things are active projects so I picked most of the quieter projects and did them sitting at the outside table, out of the sun but in a light area, and drew, coughed and listened.

My mom went hysterical laughing over the flying saucer oreo cookie, and I went hysterical over the egg that looks more like a haystack. The "almond" also started out as an egg - but turned into an almond pretty quickly. Eggs are hard to draw. What the hell color are they? The tomato-y thing is supposed to be an orange which I didn't buy but PICKED in the back yard.

I did offer to do the grocery shopping and while my actual list did not include all of these items, I liked drawing them so made allowances.

Please check out Casey's blog - she's joining the project with her wonderful style. We hope Ms. K will still play as she is about to be a published artiste.

So the question is this (and it has nothing to do with a grocery list) . Does your significant other/husband/wife/lover/whatever, know that you have a blog and do they ever read it? or leave comments? Kerstin you can't answer cause we know B is very blog-supportive.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

100 things - circles - # 34

Kerstin and I now have a new partner, Casey Toussiant - who will join us in the 100 things project. I've said before how much I like this project, both Kerstin and I are finding that one thing/project leads to another. A drawing of a tree leads to thoughts about trees, and drawings of more trees, and thoughts about growing up in the city or in India. I'm finding that it's a bit of a 100 things journal - more than just a project. Casey's wonderful drawings will be a treat to see.

So, I did # 34 - "draw small circles and fill them in with color". This was a great exercise for me, I started off in my usual slapdash manner and found myself slowing down, adding color, outlining some circles and not others. Even as I look at this today, I think I might add some shadows ("where's your light source mim?" - continuous question from Tony). But the other thing that I like about this project is that it's totally on our own time, no deadlines, no competition - and I can add color as I please. Lovely project.


My good friend, Ms. Forever Young tagged me to tell 5 random or weird things about myself. Okay FY - here I goes.

1) I too am a member of the mile high club
2) Underneath my frantic activities I am lazy, lazy, lazy!
3) I love early mornings, before anyone get's up, before the cars are driving.
4) I think I suck at just about everything but that makes me try even harder.
5) I like and love my family from mom and dad to littlest grand niece.

I am not going to tag anyone cause they've all been tagged! Maybe later -

Tree Love

In one of my last posts, I wrote about my favorite trees and showed a picture of one of my little fir buddies. A lot of people have commented on what their favorite tree is, and Kerstin has gone onto drawing different trees for our 100 things project.

My relationship with trees in interesting when I think back onto it. As I've mentioned, I grew up in Brooklyn, New York - where we actually did have magnificent trees lining the streets. I was a very nearsighted child (my parents didn't figure this out until I was 10 - but that's another story) and because my world was circumscribed by what I could see, I tended to be dreamy and did a lot of reading. We all played outdoors in our cement courtyard - stoop ball and the like and I didn't interact with trees much aside from using them as bases for stick ball, and walking the dog near the tiny patch of green around the base of the tree. Google earth comes in handy to show a picture of our old apartment building. We actually did have more trees on the streets when I was a kid.

But I did spend time on the fire escape in our building which overlooked the wide avenue in front of the house. We lived on the fourth floor of the building and I would spend hours looking down into the leafy head of the street trees. I distinctly remember seeing a fuzzy, dreamy swath of green - no distinct set of leaves, but just light and dark green, usually dappled by sunlight. To me this was nature, and I would imagine who might live in those leafy houses - little beings? Magical creatures?
In later years, I established different relationships with trees; awe at their color changing abilities and caring for the trees at my old house - but this first fuzzy tree relationship started me off on what I consider to be the right foot.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Illustration Friday - November 23rd - ZOO

This drawing was inspired by Forever Young's post. Her post reminded me of the time that I was 4 years old and at the zoo with my dad. I was feeding the elephant some peanuts, and he reached out and took my entire hand into his trunk. Way into! I don't remember being scared, just thinking that I must not have held the peanuts correctly. Of course my dad was panicked and yanked my hand out of the animals nose! Perhaps that elephant was really just reaching out for a touch, some connection with another animal. I'm sure he didn't want to be in the zoo.
I've always had a soft spot for elephants, and love to watch their pack habits. They have a matriarchal society and are very social animals, with aunts and cousins and mom's. I feel so sorry for elephants in the zoo, mostly because they are alone and must be so lonely. It just breaks my heart.

As a sideline discussion, while we were at Disney, they have an Animal Kingdom area and I took pictures of this elephant. The guide assured me that this bull needed to be a loner - but I'm just not buying it.

100 things - Favorite Tree

I love Kerstins drawing of her favorite tree, and wanted to get mine done while I still can get out to the trees without stomping thru snow.

Picking my favorite tree here at this house was easy, we mostly have pines around the house and I'm not in love with the tall white pines, but do love the Blue spruce so drew that. I was tempted to go back to my old house, as that house was surrounded by wonderful trees. We had a giant, beautiful, useful maple right in front of the house. Besides being beautiful, it shaded the house in the summer and let the light thru in the winter. I just love(d) that tree. We also had a beautifully flowered catalpa tree, a horse chestnut, a plum tree, and two apple trees, two butternut trees, a rowan tree, multiple ash trees and for many years, an old and wonderful elm tree that had not yet succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease. That tree was just magnificent - tall and reaching it's branches upwards, just inspiring to see. It finally did succumb to the disease and we had to have it cut down, if it had fallen it might have taken the house or barn down. I didn't go home the day it was cut, and then had a young cousin come over to split and stack the wood.

So, the decision of which tree to draw here was easy. I would have been hard pressed to choose at the old house - each and every tree was my buddy.

100 things - Drawing Red things

We're back from Florida, and I'm now feeling exhausted. I have the sort of constitution that will keep on going until I get a chance to relax and them ....wooph. Down time needed! So Sunday will be a true day of rest for me this week, before going back to work.

But I did get a chance to do alot of 100 things this week. Here are examples from "Drawing Red Things" ;

Red Grapes (kinda purple)

A red silicon potholder - more about the words later

Red Purse

and of course, Cranberries

and an apple...

I sat at the kitchen table in Mom's house drawing - it wasn't the best place in the house but Dad would sit at the kitchen table and talk to me while I was drawing. He told me about an uncle of his named Tony Pinelli, who was a musician and artist. Tony would draw pictograms letters from his travels and send them to my grandmother. He'd draw a little picture of each of the aunts (there were 5) and incorporated them into his letter somehow. The actual letter's haven't survived but Dad told me that his mother got such a kick out of them. He also told me that Tony Pinelli was a guest conductor at the Met, and that somewhere there was a picture of him and Toscanini at the Met. I don't know who has that picture now. Tony Pinelli died in Mexico after being hit on the head with a large bell. This story sounded strange to me, and Dad said that his father (who was a doctor) was very suspicious of this story also but no one could prove foul play.
Interesting the things you can learn while sitting quietly, doing a quiet task and just listening.

Here is the link to Kerstins latest post. I got a giggle this morning comparing our two notebooks. Mine is becoming smudged and worn out. Kerstins still looks beautiful and clean. There is more to this project than just doing drawings and posts. I'm likin' it.