Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday wishes...

To everyone who finds their way to my blog during this season, I wish you all a peaceful, abundant, magical holiday season.

I wish I could have posted more frequently this month, but for me, "tis the season" to be overwhelmed with all that I still have to do, so blogging falls to the bottom of a very long list...I am sure many of you feel the same way.

I will leave you with a few pictures of my Christmas tree, which is a skinny little fake tree that I still think is beautiful and charming. I hope to blog a little during the next week, but if not, I will be back in January with lots of art & life.

Fa la la la la
la la la la!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

At the market...

Okay, this is one little shopper who would never bother me in the market - check out her pint-sized shopping cart. Apparently, this is a new grocery store near my sister's home outside of Boston, and they have little carts for the little people. I am sure that eventually one of these little munchkins would annoy me, but I just love this one!!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Truth in blogging... addendum

I re-read my earlier blog post and realized that those of you who do not know my sister might conclude from my previous description that she is perhaps materialistic and spoiled, and since she does not have this forum in which to defend herself it is only fair for me to mention that along with her great haircut, beautiful manicure, and designer bags, she is one of the most caring and generous people I know, and she would break every one of her perfectly polished nails for her friends and family --- I know. Annoying, isn't it?

Also, I wanted to add this to my list of "some people who annoy the crap out of me"

7. I forgot grocery aisle hogs - those people who park their carts in the center of the aisle so that you cannot pass, and they look oblivious -- or worse -- annoyed, when you say excuse me while they're comparing brands of peanut butter. Of course, they're probably ranting on their blogs right now about the crazy woman who flies around the corner of each aisle as though she's competing in "Supermarket Sweep." (for the many who are probably unfamiliar, this was a game show before reality TV, where contestants had to rush through the aisles trying to end with the highest grocery bill... I would have been really good at this game. I do it without even trying because I love things like pine nuts, olive oil, and really good cheese.)
...and 7b. People who allow their children to "drive" the cart in the grocery store. That's like giving your twelve-year old the keys to the car. They can't steer, because after the beverage aisle, the cart weighs more than they do; they're never in a hurry, which means they're inevitably in my way; and they simply don't care --- if they even notice, the homicidal look I toss in their direction.

Okay, I swear I am done ranting for awhile. (well, it is Christmas time, so I may have one holiday shopping rant left, but not so far -- that just illustrates how far behind I am.)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

My November Ta Da List

Wow. November came and went and I completely forgot my Ta Da List. This month has been busy with just about everything but art. I've discovered over the past couple of months that I'm doing a lot of reading and less of other things. While reading fills my imagination and is wonderful creative entertainment, it is also-- for me-- a form of avoidance. It fills my head with other people's ideas so that I can avoid making decisions... an making art... and making decisions about my art. I've been avoiding my studio lately, because I am feeling a certain loss of direction, or more accurately, I am heading in too many directions, and I'm still not sure on what I'd like to focus. I want to be able to combine my painting and mixed media with digital collage, but haven't quite worked it out in my head yet. I also want to continue with some writing projects which incorporate my art.
That said, these are the things I did accomplish on the creative front this month, beginning with the books I read, of course!...
The Seven Sisters by Margaret Drabble
Ada Blackjack... A story of survival in the Arctic by Jennifer Niven
Dry by Augusten Burroughs
Dave Barry is from Mars & Venus, by Dave Barry
Sula by Toni Morrison
I've discovered that I like to mix up heavy, emotional books with some light reading. I get very "into" the books I read, and they affect my moods, so Dave Barry was the perfect antidote to the rest of my picks.

When I wasn't reading, or raking leaves,
I initiated an altered art challenge, and I have lots of ideas for mine, but I have not yet done much, because I keep changing my mind!

I had an artist's date with my friend Debbie, but it had been so long since we've gotten together that we spent most of the day catching up and eating, with just a brief sojourn to her studio. We did get together again for a couple of hours later in the month, and I helped her to design and post a blog header, as well as to familiarize her with "new" blogger. (She is quite brilliant, and surpassed my technical expertise within minutes).

I designed a freelance brochure for my husband's company, which was a self-mailer with a CD pocket. I actually love taking on a few freelance jobs during the year because they're usually quite different from the materials I design in my "real" job; oh, and because I get paid too!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Truth in blogging...

My sister Jennifer's boss has come to the conclusion after reading my blog for awhile that my sister and I are nothing alike.

In some ways, this is absolutely accurate. My sister fancies herself somewhat of a princess -- by her own admission -- which would make me the court jester, or a serf, I think. For example, she has her hair done at an expensive salon and "mani-pedis" on a regular basis. I have had two manicures in my entire life and I've never had a professional pedicure. If I had better bone structure, I think I would shave my head, or at least wear a very short pixie cut, as I hate even thinking about hair maintenance. I am happy when my hands are not covered in bandaids from the minor injuries I regularly inflict on them - oven burns and minor knife wounds usually. My current "purse" was originally a vendor giveaway -- my sister's many purses are named after people like Kate Spade. Our local mall has some new stores this year, and we are both equally excited - she can't wait to step foot in Sephora, a store devoted to high end makeup, fragrances and skin care items. I am thrilled that I can now try on my L.L. Bean duck boots before buying them! I have a dog on whom I spend more money for grooming than I do on myself. She barely tolerated the pets she was forced to share a home with when we were children. I can spend an entire weekend reading a good book, and I would guess I read about 30-40 books a year. My sister recently confessed that she's reading a lot more these days too. She's finished three books this year.

But beyond these superficial differences, his conclusion is based on the fact that he knows my sister very well - the way that colleagues who spend many years working together do - and he knows me primarily through my blog, where I exercise the right to edit my thoughts so that readers see what I want them to see. Although we are different, we are also alike in many ways that he doesn't see, because I have crafted a certain image of myself here.

I do want my blog to reflect my authentic self -- who is, in addition to the artistic, nature-loving, dog-crazy woman I've portrayed, also a moody, self-centered, short-tempered, and contradictory individual at times. So I've decided that every now and then, I am going to share random details about me that I normally would not. By the way, I am not implying for one instant, that this is how my sister and I are alike-- that she can be moody, self-centered or short-tempered...just ask her boss.
I'll start with this list I've been compiling in my head for awhile -- That's right. When I'm not pursuing loftier goals like art and reading, this is the crap that fills my head...

(Some) people who annoy the crap out of me...

1. People who stand in lines while talking loudly and animatedly on cell phones. I think this is a form of noise pollution. Such people should maintain a reasonable distance from those of us who are forced to listen -- like stay at home until you're done talking. I don't want to hear your half of an annoying conversation that could have waited until you were in your car talking illegally while driving (which I also hate).
2. People who can't park their cars within the white lines, thereby wasting a space that I could have parked in. I may walk two miles a day with my dog, but I want to pull up close when I'm dashing into the liquor store!
3. People who don't have their cards and deposits ready at the drive-up ATM when they get to the window. Am I the only person who fills out the deposit slip and gets my card ready BEFORE I am parked at the window? If you're not ready when I pull up behind you, please pull around and get behind me.
4. People who don't use turn signals. When I'm tailgating, you'd better let me know that you're turning, or I might accidentally rear-end you.
5. People who have daily bowel movements at the office. Is this really necessary? How can you even relax enough to do this within such close proximity to your colleagues? And how do you manage to disappear so that it looks like I LEFT THAT odor when I leave the restroom?
6. People who are dieting and then explain in minute detail all the little bitty things they barely ate today. "I had green tea and half a rice cake for breakfast, then a lowfat string cheese for a snack, then the hard boiled egg - but only half the yolk for lunch, and 18 almonds - I must confess I like the salted ones, so I mix them with the unsalted so they're not as bad." Oh shut up. I had a turkey sandwich at 10 am, with chips and a pickle, and then in the afternoon, I tried to steal someone's microwave meal out of the freezer because, of course, I was hungry since I ate my lunch at 10 am. And I can't wait to get home and have half a pound of pasta with pesto sauce, garlic bread and a glass or three of wine.

So there it is...another side of me. I hope I don't run into any of you on the drive home...literally.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I looked up

from beneath the tree in my yard, through to the blue sky above, on another beautiful autumn day.

This tree (which came with my house, and therefore I do not know its species)is a visual delight in every season. When it loses it's leaves in the fall, these wonderful yellow berries appear. In winter, they turn red, then brown, and even when it is bare, it's a perfect silhouette of snow and ice. In spring, it flowers in white, but if you look closely at the petals, they are rose-colored in the center. In summer, the white petals blanket the ground and green leaves greet me again.

In spite of the fact that I am essentially allergic to the fall (mold, leaves, hives, itch, horrendous, two weeks, end of story!), this has been one of the most beautiful seasons I can remember. We've had perfectly mild weather in the day, chilly and crisp for sleeping at night.

Art stuff...

I organized one of my many journals last night =-- my IDEA journal -- and it was a good exercise to remind me of all the sketches I made and ideas I have for holiday projects and also for techniques I want to try. As this year rapidly comes to a close, I am looking back at the year to see what I've accomplished, and making my list of intentions for 2008. Those who know me or have followed my blog for awhile know that I used to dread (and avoid) making resolutions or intentions, because my logic was that if I didn't do them I would feel badly, whereas, if I never admitted to having them, I could not fail...

Of course, this was very skewed logic. I certainly wasn't fooling myself. I still felt awful when a year would go by with nothing to show for it. With the help of a wonderful creative coach, I was able to see this flaw in my logic. So now I declare my plans and intentions -- often quite publicly in this forum -- and just such a simple declaration makes them real, and is the first step to realizing them.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


We have a total of 10 participants, including myself, and I will be packing up the sets, along with brief instructions, this weekend. Because of the Veteran's Day holiday on Monday, sets will go out by the middle of next week. Thanks to all the participants!!

What IS an altered art challenge, anyway?

For anyone reading my blog who is not a mixed media artist, here's the deal:

There is no theme for this swap, and the goal is to turn the set into something unrecognizable as its former self. Some participants may create some kind of functional art piece; however, the end result can also be some kind of assemblage or sculpture, with no practical purpose. I do not supply the participants with anything except the same identical chess set. They can use anything at all to alter it and if they prefer to chop it into pieces, that would be permitted -- although women don't usually do that sort of thing, and all the participants happen to be women. The participants are primarily paper and fabric artists, so they will most likely use paint, collage, fabric, found objects etc.

Such a collaboration usually results in new friendships and new ideas, and makes me seem just slightly less crazy for having purchased a dozen sets of a game that I don't know how to play. Right?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I know it would really mess up the whole calendar/time/clock/seasons thing but I would love to add an extra hour to every weekend. My Sunday seemed so leisurely, which is rare. That one extra hour seemed to multiply for me, and I felt both accomplished and rested for a change. In my extra hour (and then some)I treated myself to a budget-conscious shopping spree at two of my favorite dollar stores and the Goodwill store in town, and as always, I found many treasures. Here are just a few of my finds. My most exciting find were these portable wooden Chinese chess sets pictured here. I don't even play American chess and have no desire to learn to play Chinese, but the tiles and boxes were irresistible!!

I've never done any kind of interactive blog challenge before, but I am starting today. I have 10 extra chess sets to send off for altering... so here's the scoop!!

I have a chess set for myself, a set for my friend Debbie, and 10 additional sets, so I can accept a maximum of 10 participants. If you agree to the rules below, and I hear from you within the first 10 people, I will mail you a chess set to alter. I anticipate that the sets will go out no later than Nov. 23, and possibly earlier.

1. For the sake of contact privacy, click on my "view profile" in the upper right of my blog, and email me with your contact info (name, email address/mailing address). Don't leave your email or mailing info in my comments section, as that is public.

2. You must agree to return your altered chess set to me by mail, at your expense, along with a brief explanation of how you completed the project. I will take photos for posting on my blog, and prepare documentation in the form of a color printed booklet for all participants. I will return your altered set to you, at my expense, with the documentation, when the challenge is competed.

3. Depending on the results of this challenge, and the agreement of all participants, we may decide to submit this project to one of the major altered art magazines along with an article for publication. If this happens, I will make arrangements for the future return of all of your sets at that time. I had several articles published in 2007, and all of my items were returned unharmed.

4. Deadline: Because the holiday season is busy for everyone, and particularly artists and craftspeople, the deadline is Friday, January 25, 2008.

5. If you wish to participate, I'd like feedback on whether you think this challenge should be holiday related (i.e. for Christmas of next year -- or Valentines day 2008, since that will be upcoming, or if it should be anything goes, or if it should perhaps incorporate some other theme. I will share suggestions and we can see what is most appealing to participants.

6.As you can see from the picture, the set includes a wooden box and 32 pieces. You may alter it in any way you wish, using as many or as few pieces as you need to create your work of art.

7. If I don't hear from at least 5 people, I may decide to postpone this challenge to a future date, and I will notify anyone who signs up. If you think you'd like to participate, but the deadline presents a problem let me know. I am totally flexible with this project!! I am making it up as I go!!!!

That's all I can think of right now!!! I look forward to hearing from you!!! -- If you know of a friend or two who would like to participate, please send them to my blog as well.


Monday, November 05, 2007


My sisters and I got together for my dad's birthday on Saturday night. I cannot say enough good things about my sisters. We all have busy lives now, so we don't get together as often as we'd like, but when we do, it's the most comfortable of relationships, where we know each other so well that there is no effort at all involved in being together. They are smart, funny, energetic and just really good people.

It was a rather typical family gathering - a delicious dinner, a fabulous dirty martini (okay two) made by my sister Cheryl , my sister Jennifer making sure that everything runs smoothly, a little meltdown from my 3-year-old-niece, who has been battling all of the usual plagues of daycare, and quiet conversations as the evening wound down. I had also meant to stop on my way into town to take a picture of the Catskill mountains a little beyond peak for leaf peepers but still a breathtaking backdrop to my home town, but when approached the turn for dad's, I was anxious to get there, as I always am, and didn't take the moment to stop. I should have, because by the time I visit again, the mountains will be bare, or snow-capped. One of these years, I will actually slow down and take it in.

Friday, November 02, 2007

My 200th blog post!

An interview...with myself

I noticed about a week ago that I was approaching my 200th post (blogger keeps a count), and I have been trying to think of something original to post, that is consistent with my art & life blog focus. I've decided to interview myself...Fortunately, I was available. This was the result of my interview with me...
"Do I mind if I smoke?," I asked myself.

"Yes," I replied. " Actually I do mind. I don't smoke."

"Right, I was just seeing if I was paying attention. Do I mind if I drink, then?"

I rolled my eyes. "Of course, I don't mind. Let me pour the first round," I said.

"So, let's start at the beginning, with the obvious question: When did you know you wanted to become an artist? Was there a defining moment?"
I could see the spark in my eyes as I answered myself...

"I remember one day in the womb, toward the end of the third trimester, and I was floating around in the amniotic fluid.... Okay, I'm only kidding. I have no in-utero memories, but I was very young.

"I don't remember the exact play of events, but I can still evoke the feeling of excitement I had the first few times I saw my mother or grandmother pick up a pencil or paintbrush, and create an identifiable image on a blank piece of paper. And I knew at that moment that I wanted to be able to do that. I know I was very young - probably two or three years old, and I thought it was absolutely magical. I still look at illustration and painting that way. I love the endless possibilities that are created every time a pencil or paintbrush touches a surface."

"Describe the perfect artful day," I encouraged me.
"I'd get up around 8 am, and walk Max for an hour in cool, sunny weather. Then I'd make a pot of coffee with cinnamon, and have some breakfast, while reading a library book for a half hour, change into comfy clothes, and quickly brush teeth and hair. I'd bring a second cup of coffee into my art room, and turn on some music - right now it would be James Taylor's October Road or Hourglass. Then I'd get started making things. I might decide to paint, collage or plan a class. Often I start by priming a canvas or sorting through bins of collage materials just to get the juices flowing. I'd work for a couple of hours, and then take another outdoor break with Max, and have some lunch. Usually by afternoon, I am in "the zone" and the ideas and images flow freely. The rest of the day flies by. I'd break around 6 pm to start dinner and give Max his evening walk. I'd have some wine and dinner and (more) wine, and then work until bedtime. I might catch a little food network or hgtv before bed. That's one idea of a perfect artful day. My alternate perfect day would be taking art classes and workshops all day with friends.. Of course, I rarely have the perfect artful day, and I certainly don't wait for it. I try to strike a balance between maintaining a home, enjoying the company of friends and family, working full-time, and making art. I never have enough time to do it all as well as I'd like."

"What do you hope readers learn from this interview?" I aked myself.

"I hope they ask themselves if they are doing what gives them the most joy, even if they can't devote all of their time to it. We all need to ask ourselves what makes us excited, and spend time doing the things we are passionate about, whether it's painting, music, physical activity, social causes -- whatever makes you real."

I want to thank myself for taking time out of my busy schedule to talk with me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My October Ta Da list...

So here it is folks. The list you wait all month to read. This is where I've spent my creative energies this month. I do not include the endless mundanities (is that a word?) of life, like cleaning, yardwork, laundry etc., but I do include cooking, if it's my recipe and I enjoy it, as cooking can be a wonderful creative outlet.
Wow, I can't believe it's November already. Where in the world did this year go?? I really felt quite productive this month, although from the looks of this list, all I did was sit around and read. I actually have no idea how I managed to read this many books in one month. I usually only get through one or two. Of course, if you were to take a look at my yard, I think you'd find the answer to that question.

So, without further ado...
--I painted four acrylics on canvas - this was by far the most fun I've had just making art for me in a very long time. I really do love the process of painting. It is so meditative to apply brush and paint to a canvas and see what emerges.
--I made Halloween-themed ATCs for a monthly swap.
--I began a new writing journal.

--I read 6 books!! Reading is one way in which I fill the well and feed my imagination, so I always include it on my list:
- Through the Narrow Gate by Karen Armstrong
- The Spiral Staircase by Karen Armstrong
- I feel bad about my neck by Nora Ephron
- The Italian Girl by Iris Murdoch
- Within Arm's Reach by Ann Napolitano
- Light on Snow by Anita Shreve

My favorite book quote of the month, from Through the Narrow Gate:
"As soon as I stopped trying to exploit my literary skills to advance my career or enhance my reputation, I found that I was opening myself to the text, could lose myself in the beauty of the words and in the wisdom of the writer. It was a kind of ekstasis, an ecstasy that was not an exotic, tranced state of consciousness, but in the literal sense of the word, a going beyond the self."
..At its best, that is what making art means to me. If I manage to make some kind of success of myself with my art, it is secondary to the process of losing myself in the act of creating.

--I also re-designed my blog header (again).
--Created this digital house quilt.

That's about it for October. I am hoping that as the yard and garden work comes to an end for this year, I can redirect some of my energies to my art studio and nestle in for winter. I do not love the extreme cold, but I welcome the change of seasons for the way they make us shift our priorities.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!

Hist Whist
-- e.e. cummings

hist whist
little ghostthings

little twitchy
witches and tingling
hob-a-nob hob-a-nob

little hoppy happy
toad in tweeds
little itchy mousies

with scuttling
eyes rustle and run and

whisk look out for the old woman
with the wart on her nose
what she'll do to yer
nobody knows

for she knows the devil ooch
the devil ouch
the devil
ach the great




Monday, October 29, 2007

Confessions of a serial journal killer

Though I've attempted to keep many written journals and diaries since I was a child, I have almost nothing to show for it. It always begins and ends the same way: I get a new journal/notebook/diary. Some have handmade paper covers, some are leather or metal. Some are simple notebooks with cardboard covers. Regardless of the form, I love the potential that the clean, crisp, empty pages promise. I believe that I will fill this book with amazing ideas and thoughts and stories. I begin by writing a page or two. I do this for a week, or a month, at best. I go back and read a page or two. Not only are they not brilliant, they are embarrassing. What is this drivel? Why am I writing these inferior thoughts down? What if I die and someone else finds this and discovers what a complete idiot I am? And then I destroy it. If it was a "good" journal, I might begin by tearing out just the incriminating pages, and using the remaining pages for sketches, doodles, to-do lists, etc. If it's a simple, spiral bound notebook, I waste no time tossing it directly into the trash. Phewf. I am saved onced again from posthumous humiliation.

Of course, my blog is a journal of sorts, but it is public, so I am cautious with what I choose to share. I edit. But there are things I'd like to write about that I am not brave enough to let anyone else see, and there are events I'd like to document for myself, just to remind me that they were real, to chart my progress as an artist, as a person. And whenever I read about people who are living fully creative lives, most mention journaling, and how much the practice helps them in their creative discoveries, so I am seduced to try again, and again.

I do keep a number of art journals, and while I frequently write in them, they are not about the written word, and the stories they tell are more visual, sporadic, experimental. They do not serve the same purpose as a written journal. In fact, because the messages in my art journals are more vague and open to interpretation, I do not feel the urge to destroy them. Their true stories are hidden.

But this week I began again. I invested five dollars in five colorful composition notebooks. Yup. Five. I've already admitted that I never complete even one, so I bought five. There is nothing logical about this urge. Also the book came in four primary colors and white, and for a dollar each, I didn't have to choose a favorite color. And they look so nice together, for when I file away all those stories, right? I really like compostion books for journaling. They're cheap, so when I throw them away, I will not feel guilty. They're durable, although why this is important to someone who will throw them away is a mystery. Perhaps so some landfill archaeologist can find them and read them and laugh at me. They have lined pages, but they're bound, unlike spiral notebooks, so you can't just tear out a page without leaving evidence that you've altered history. I can't cheat in my composition book.

I write only on the fronts of the pages. I don't like the ink to bleed through. So far, I have filled seven whole pages with words that I will probably find unbearable to read next week. I would love to hear about your journaling experiences. Are they similar? Different? If you journal regularly, what motivates you?

Friday, October 26, 2007

People I've known #1 - Debi Mazar

This is another new theme I am going to explore from time to time, to highlight some of the interesting (or not) people who've crossed my life's path. They will not always be famous people - in fact, given the number of famous people whom I've known, this may be the only famous one.

I am not a big viewer of regular TV series' anymore. I prefer the food network and the HGTV variety of shows, being the domestic goddess that I am. But every now and then, I see Debi Mazar on tv, (right now, she's on HBO's Entourage), and I keep meaning to write about her... because I went to school with her.. and she rode my bus as a kid...really. For those of you who rub elbows with the rich and famous on a regular basis, this may not be much of a claim to fame, but she's about as close as I've ever been so far (besides Figaro Minnick of the Velmas).

I was in fifth grade, I think, when I first met Debi Kojak -- which was her name back in 1974. She had lighter hair back then, brownish blonde, was always cute and petite, and she had a bit of a lisp, which you can still catch in her performances if you listen carefully. On her, it made her more cute, unlike on me, who would have just been a chubby, homely child with a speech impediment. She was extremely outgoing and lively, and I was drawn to her, as she was everything that I wasn't but wanted to be at that age. I remember snippets of conversations we had on the bus. She told me excitedly one day that she was wearing a bra, "size 28A" and I relentlessly pestered and pleaded with my mother for the next year to buy me a bra. After all, I was chubby, so I was at least a 34A, and if I squished my arms together, I almost had cleavage. She also declared back then, in no uncertain terms, that she would be an actress someday. And sitting next to this, compared to me, worldly, confident, lively girl, I could feel the energy in her words, and I believed her completely.

I don't remember ever paying any attention to the house she lived in when the bus picked her up or dropped her off back then. I do recall that it was on a very rural road, off of Route 23A in Catskill, (near Zwickel's hill for you locals) practically in the woods. If you read any biographical information about Debi, all reports say that she was born and raised in Queens, and she does not admit to having ever lived in the Catskill mountains, but she was there for a couple of apparently forgettable years as an adolescent. In eighth grade, I finally escaped Catholic school and we were classmates for a short time, though I don't recall seeing much of Debi beyond the bus. I was practically invisible in eighth grade, and it would be years before I rubbed elbows with the "popular" crowd.

After eighth grade, (in fact, possibly sometime during eighth grade) Debi vanished from Catskill Junior High School, and I never saw her again until I was watching an episode of LA Law in its eighth season (93-94), and she played Denise Ianello. I recognized her immediately and I shouted excitedly to my husband, "hey, I went to school with her." He was unimpressed, but I waited until the credits rolled and saw that Debi Kojak was now Debi Mazar, and I knew, in spite of the jet black hair, that the cute, lispy friend on my school bus and the cute, lispy, fashionable actress were one and the same.

And while I did not begin this story with any point in mind, other than to illustrate how totally almost famous I am by association, I do have one...

Declare your dreams and intentions, loudly and often -- believe in them as you say them -- like Debi did on the school bus all those years ago. You'll be amazed at how the universe steps up to meet you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I have such a great sense of humor...

that I almost had to get my resume in order...
It happened like this.
My colleague asked me to forward an email photo of the new president of our organization to her. She referred to an image that appeared on page 10 of our monthly magazine. I looked on page 10, and there was no photo of our president. So AS A JOKE, I sent this image instead. She's not our new president, as you might guess. I expected to hear a chuckle from my colleague's office, and then a smart retort via email to send the correct photo.

Instead, I heard nothing. I wanted laughter - or a response - something, so after a few minutes I sent another email asking my colleague to check the photo I sent to make sure it was the right one... and her response to me was:

"Nice - I just sent it to the [name withheld to protect the guilty] newspaper...without checking it.
Our boss is gonna love us now. I copied her on the email."

Fortunately, our boss did not open the attachment, (because she trusts us!!) so she has no idea this is the photo we sent. And we did immediately send a correct photo to the [name withheld to protect the guilty] newspaper; unfortunately this is a rather small, NYC weekly union paper -- the kind where you'll find a diverse range of characters pictured all the time, and they might not distinguish between our esteemed president and, well, this woman.

So I have been anxiously awaiting a copy of this newspaper for over a week, to see whether I should be looking for a new job.

And it arrived yesterday, and it does not contain this photo.
So I still have a job.
This week.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Paint what you love...

I am forever fascinated with how other artists and successful people find their way, when they finally know they are doing what they were meant to do. I suppose this is because I feel like I've not quite answered that question for myself yet. I still tend to flit from one artistic medium to the next.
The stories are many and varied, but the common thread always seems to be "do what you know" or "do what you love" or "do what comes naturally" or "tell your true story." For that reason, I am really quite pleased with this painting. -- A woman and her wine. Now that's something I know. Really. I loved making this painting - the bold colors, the glass in hand - I almost resorted to using a collage hand rather than trying to paint one, but it's not too claw-like - she's got the correct number of fingers and a good grip on her glass, which is important. You won't find any spilled wine in my paintings (oh, the tragedy!!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Two steps forward... step back.
the path to success is not always a straight line of steady improvement toward a goal, particularly as an artist. Sometimes it is a meandering path, and a climb up a steep hill, and as lot of twists and turns, and that is how I am feeling about my artistic journey right now. My first painting this month was bad and messy, but I expected that, as I got my feet (and brush) wet after a long hiatus from paintbrush and canvas. I felt that my second and third paintings were improvements in shading and detail over the first, but this fourth painting looks a bit flat to me and I think I rushed it a bit. Painting is teaching me patience, among other things, which I need.

And today, in spite of the fact that it is going to be a glorious sunny 70-ish afternoon, and a perfect day for fall clean up gardening, I am going to make a pot of soup (tortellini and white bean with sausage - my current favorite) - and sit in my sunny art room painting. I may regret this decision when the winds start to blow and I am out in 40 degree weather cleaning up my yard, but today, I will live in the moment and enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My crush of the month...

Todd "Figaro" Minnick, of The Velmas
This month, my crush is a guy I just discovered recently. I've actually met him several times over the years, and I thought he was just a mild-mannered insurance executive with the patience of a saint, (he's my sister's boss), but it turns out he has this totally other life as bassist in a band that is named after my maternal grandmother -- so he's got this artsy side that I knew nothing about AND a stable job with health benefits. How cool is that? Plus, he's going to give my sister a HUGE bonus, so that she can fly "the girls" all to Hawaii for our next female bonding weekend - so what's not to like?? (C'mon Figaro, just take it out of the team-building account!)

I must confess that as I write this, I have yet to hear a single note of "Velmas" music, but I am not terribly hip in the music department, and they seem to be.

Okay, I must confess, that I am also hoping to become an honorary member of the Velmas street team, which qualifies me for all kinds of cool Velmas merchandise.

Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to meet, stalk or otherwise pursue the subjects mentioned in my monthly "crush." I just think it's a fun way to highlight someone who piques my interest each month.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pencil sketches

While trying to improve my painting skills this month, I decided that it would help to get back to basics - like drawing - to improve my painting. I always begin my paintings with a basic pencil outline, so this seemed to be a good way to practice improving the bones of my paintings. It's also something that I can do on a whim -- while watching tv or waiting for an appointment, or when I am too tired to pull out my paints at the end of a long day. These are a some images from one of my little sketchbooks.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Experimenting with acrylic and oil pastel

While vigorously neglecting my lawn and yard this weekend, I have been experimenting with acrylics and oil pastels. So far, I think my painting is a bit derivative of others whose paintings I gravitate toward, but I am just letting it flow and seeing what happens. I am hoping that if I can paint one or two a week (and more when time allows), a style will emerge that is all my own. These two are a combination of acrylics, oil pastels, and rubber stamps for texture.

I am also experimenting with different facial shapes and trying to improve my shading and general brush skills. It does not come easily for me, which is good. If I catch on too quickly, I tend to undervalue the skill and lose interest.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I luv me mum(s)

It has been a truly beautiful fall. The weather has been mild, with cool mornings and evenings and warm, sunny days... and mums, one of many reasons I love the fall...(oh, and pumpkins too!)

My friend Ali tipped me off to West Shaker Farm, where they sell 3 pots for $14!!! Needless to say, I bought lots of mums this year.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My September ta da list...

Almost every month, as I write this list of creative accomplishments for myself, I am usually surprised at the length of the list when I get done -- proof that I need this monthly reminder that I am moving forward creatively -- even if the progress is slow at times. Well, this month the list was almost non-existent until Saturday, but fortunately I was able to dive back in over the weekend, ignoring dustbunnies and piles of unfolded laundry in pursuit of art...

So this month, I...
Read 1,000 days in Venice by Marlena De Blasi (true story, wonderful - colorful - visual);
Made ATCs for monthly swap (the theme was favorite foods - mine is takeout chinese, so I made miniature place settings complete with chopsticks - unfortunately they do not photograph well at all, so I am not featuring them here);
Worked with my event planner friend to design the program for a fundraising luncheon;
Refreshed my polymer clay skills to teach a fall class using polymer clay tiles to make bracelets;
Found some little polymer clay faces I made a year ago and turned them into a Christmas ornament project (I'll show them here closer to the holidays);
made a pot of tortellini and white bean soup w sausage (yum, I love soup-making when the weather gets cool)!!;
Started painting - Here is my first attempt at acrylics on canvas with no collage - just my primitive style and a rubber stamp to add texture - I've had a major urge to paint lately, so I am going to run with it. I am not at all happy with the results -- too messy, primitive, not enough facial shading -- but that's why I am bravely sharing it. I hope that each attempt shows improvement and that I can see progress at the end of the month;

and finally, this curious discovery...
Over labor day weeiekd I had finally moved into the larger, brighter spare bedroom that I've coveted for the past three years, but something was wrong. I could not pinpoint it, but the room felt "off" and it wasn't inviting me, in spite of the fact that I've wanted to be in this larger, light-filled space for such a long time. This weekend, I finally had time to actually sit down and create, and within the first hour, I figured it out. My art table was in a left-hand corner. This may sound ridiculous and trivial, but I am left-handed, and not at all dainty in my movements, and my movements were just too constricted (or my mind was) with my table in this placement. I need to have my left side 'open.' It's amazing that this has never occurred to me before, as I've been re-arranging my art spaces for years, but I think that by some coincidence, I always made sure that my table was open on the left until now. So a quick turn of the table onto an opposite wall, and I could move!!! Of course, now my back is to the door, which I think violates some basic feng shui principle, (right Sisser?) but I can counteract the bad chi with a mirror or something.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Damn, this traffic jam...

how I hate to be late
hurts my motor to go so slow
this traffic jam
time I get home
my supper'l be cold
this traffic jam

well I left my job about five o'clock
took fifteen minutes to go three blocks...
just in time to stand in line
with the freeway lookin like a parking lot
-James Taylor

I was stuck in traffic about a week ago on my way home from work, and I decided to take a side road -- but so did everyone else, so I was still stuck in traffic,so I took out my digital camera to capture some scenes along my slow ride home...

The one with the car was a complete accident that I think turned out pretty cool. The car wasn't there when I focused on the tree in someone's yard, but by the time the shutter depressed, it zoomed by. Of course, I was just getting to enjoy this project and traffic started moving again so this was the extent of it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Elvira, and...

my sister Jennifer, all know the truth.
We were meeting a friend for dinner last night, and my sister arrived at my door in black pants, black tank, black shoes, and black accessories. Since I had the air conditioner set to sub-zero to compensate for my latest hormonal rebellion, Jennifer decided that she might be cold at dinner, (in fact she was already freezing), and asked to borrow a sweater. I handed her a black one, but then offered one in a color, so she wouldn't be completely shrouded in black. My sister's immediate reply as she snatched the black sweater was "You can never wear too much black."

In spite of the fact that I'm an artist, and I love color (just look at that blog header), I have to agree. In clothing, black has so many positive attributes. It's slimming (halleluja), it matches everything, (if for some strange reason you want to wear it with a color), and you can find just about every type of clothing and accessory in black - shoes, panties, pantyhose, pants, skirts, shirts, belts, scarves, and jewelry, to name a few. And it's a fact -- most people just look cooler in black. (Not all people - black is just a color, not a miracle worker -- and okay -- black is not really a color either, it's really the shade of objects that do not reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum, but I digress.)
In fact, the only bad thing about black is its mortal enemy - WHITE - as in pet hair, lint, deodorant, powder, etc. So now I have to go up to my attic and take down my fall-winter clothes, which are about 75% black, 15% gray and 10% other colors, for when I'm feeling mischievous!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Autumn with Abigail

...the Argiope Aurantia

In spite of her frightening appearance, this femme fetale is harmless to humans (though I did not sit her on my shoulder to see). Abigail has taken up residence on my front porch, where she wove this stunning web between an arborvitae and a boxwood. She is often referred to as a garden spider, for her tendency to set up house in gardens, and though harmless to us, you do not want to fly in her midst if you happen to be a bug or butterfly (and I would not want to find her cozying up to me on the sofa!). I'm hoping she hangs around until Halloween. She's such an authentic decoration, don't you think?

If you've noticed an absence of art on my blog lately (as well as an absence of blogging generally), it's because it is my crazy season at work, which will end blissfully at about 10 am tomorrow morning, when my colleagues drive off in a rented minivan for our annual convention in Atlantic City. As the graphic artist, I spend the month of September designing and overseeing RUSH printing jobs for books, fliers, brochures, buttons, stickers, giveaways, cds, and display units. The RUSH part happens because everyone enjoys the last warm, lazy days of summer until Labor Day, and then they panic when September arrives and they've not given a thought to their convention projects. I've become accustomed to this panic, which sets in immediately on Tuesday morning after labor day, when the rested and suntanned return from vacations at the Shore and on the Cape. My voicemail and email boxes are full of exclamations and exclamation points stressing how urgent their projects are, even though they were not given a thought just a day earlier.

So after 10 am tomorrow, I will take a deep breath, a sip of my diet Pepsi, and hopefully get back to a regular pace at work, which allows my mind to wander in creative ways so that when I return home, I can blog and make art again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New blog topic - My crush of the month...

Now and then, when I listen to a new cd or read a good book, or watch tv, I think hmmmm, I like that guy. So once a month, or not, since I make the rules on this blog, and I can do whatever I want, (so there) - I will share my crush of the month, whether or not you care.

This month it's Vern Yip, whose current claim to fame is as a judge on HGTV's Design Star show, and a new show called 'Deserving Design' which is on too late for me to stay awake for, so I'll have to catch it during the week in reruns. You may also remember him as one of the designers on Trading Spaces in its early days (when it was good). He was the one who made the participants cry with joy, unlike Hilde and Doug, who put fur on the walls and pissed everyone off.

Anyway, isn't he just cute? Plus, he decorates really well. And I love take-out Chinese food, so I think we may already have something in common. (What, you didn't expect this to be very deep, with that title, did you?)

And I know what you're thinking. He's a designer, he's neat, he's single.... he's gay.
I googled him, and of course, he's evasive about his plans for the future, (except that he'd like to have children,) which means, I know... he's gay.

But what do I care? Actually, I do care. Even if I can't have him, I think it's a shame that so many guys with his stats end up on the other team. It's just not fair.

But, I know. Life's not fair.
Feel free to share you comments on this new blog topic, or just tell me who your crush of the month is...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I've moved!!!

I didn't relocate under a toad stool as this photo might suggest, although my husband wouldn't have minded moving all of my art supplies there. I just saw this singular 'shroom in the middle of our lawn and wanted to snap a picture. I will post with a picture of the room once I take one!!!

I've moved - Nope! not my blog, and not my house, but my art room!!! I moved one room to the right, to the brightest room in the house. I have been wanting to do this almost since we bought the house. When we moved in, I chose the smallest room for my studio, not realizing it was also the darkest, and really, way too small for all of my stuff.

I had to swap what was in my new room (mostly my husband's tools and ebay hobby), with my room -- which was a monumental task. I wanted to do it right, i.e., empty a room, spackle, paint, install new shelving and furniture, etc., but I am nowhere near ready for that, and I just got tired of waiting.

My husband and I have lost a number of friends and an elderly family member this summer, which always forces one to reevaluate one's life and goals. In my case, one of my reactions was to say - do it now!! You never know if there will be a tomorrow!!! Another great motivator was the fact that this is my last long weekend for awhile. So while my husband (for whom moving creates great anxiety) was at work on Friday, I summoned Herculean strength to swap two enormous oak armoires and all of our "stuff" from room to room. Max is utterly perplexed, and followed me back and forth about 200 times on Friday, not resting at all and not helping at all, I should add, but he's slowly getting used to it. The room is a bit bigger, and very bright, which will be particularly welcoming in the fall and winter.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My August Ta Da List...

My greeting card designs - in Take Ten Magazine, Autumn 07
Well, it's that time of the month again - no, I don't have cramps, just my monthly "ta da" list. I have really been in a bit of a funk this month, for a variety of reasons, some of which really don't exist. I don't like myself when I get mopey and self-pitying, which only makes it worse. But I am trying to drag myself, kicking and screaming, out of my bad mood, and reminding myself of my creative accomplishments does help.

I gave my blog a face lift;
I made and mailed some handmade wire-wrapped rings to Cindy Dean for a jewelry swap;
I planned a class to teach wire-wrapped rings;
I designed a brochure for my father-in-law's new business - he makes pet coffins and cremation boxes, which are truly lovely - please inquire if you need a handmade resting place for a treasured pet;
I participated in Art Connection's monthly ATC swap - the theme was fairy tales, and since I am jaded and don't believe in them, I wrote my own satirical mini version of the frog prince;
I did a lot of sitting around and reading: Paint it Black by Janet Fitch; Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult; and The Pact by Jodi Picoult - here's a tip - don't read depressing books with lots of depressing characters when you're already in a funk!
Worked with my event planner friend to design a freelance invitation project;

And another of my art projects was published... in this issue of Take Ten magazine, which is one of my favorite's for inspiring and quick greeting card designs. In this issue, my work appears on pages 33-35 - I made a greeting card using dried berries, and they solicited me to make more cards with natural elements. One of my first loves is making simple, elegant greeting cards, and I loved working with nature on this project. Because I was asked to do this in February, when all of nature in Upstate New York was either frozen or buried in snow, I found natural elements in dried flower arrangements and potpourri at local stores.

This is the last of my published works until January, as the creative magazines plan their stories many months in advance of pubication.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

An unsent letter...

On August 4, 2007, my sister's friend Jodi passed away unexpectedly, after complications following surgery. Jodi was also a friend of the family, and had just recently celebrated her 50th birthday. This is the letter which I now wish I had written to Jodi for her birthday, but I did not, because I thought I had plenty of time to tell her how special she was to all of us whose lives she touched.

Dear Jodi,
Happy 50th! It's been an incredible pleasure knowing you these past ten years. There is hardly a conversation that my sister has about work that doesn't include you, and your friendship and humor. You have been such an important part of her life that I felt like you were family from the first moment I met you. Thank you for making her laugh, for taking care of her, for offering advice, and for knowing when not to! I also want to thank you for all of the ways in which you embraced my family with your generosity and talents. Somehow, you knew that our family would appreciate bashing a peppermint candy pig into smitherines with a hammer more than most families, and we awaited your Christmas Eve call each year so that we could share our enthusiasm with you. Thank you, too, for the beautiful, artistic cakes you made to help us celebrate family milestones, and for everytime I asked for a helping hand on behalf of Jennifer, and you always said yes. I hope that your 50th birthday is the beginning of a wonderful new time of life for you and I look forward to sharing many more memories with you. Love, Kerri

I choose to believe that Jodi can see this message and knows how much she is loved and missed, and I will do my part to keep her here in memory and spirit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ride with the tide and go with the flow...

(Sorry about that. I made my husband look up JT and Carly last night on You-Tube and I have Mockingbird on the brain.)

I am in a creative lull this week, and I'm just riding it out, because I know it's necessary to have down time, to let ideas germinate, to fill the well. I am reading a good book, which does compete with my limited free time for art, but that's only part of it. When I go into my art room, I am just not moved to sit down and create. Usually, I can't wait, but every now and then, I come to a screeching halt...and that's where I'm at right now. So I'm thinking art, and I still scribble ideas in my journals and notebooks, but I am not forcing the process.

Two hours later...
I do believe that it is important to do all of the things I mentioned above, and that creativity is a flow that should not be forced, but sometimes, it's just a matter of switching gears. I am not in a tactile art mood this week, but I decided to do a quick digital makeover, and this was the result...

On the left is a greeting card that I made... actually several years ago. I don't even have the card anymore, but I used to scan a lot of my card designs so that I could remember them if I wanted to use the ideas again later. Instead, I decided to open the scan, and alter it in Photoshop. The result is the collage on the right. I'm pretty satisfied with the transformation, though I may still take it a bit further.

One great thing about digital art is the way you can re-invent previous works. I don't have to start with a blank canvas. I can start with something I've already created, and turn it into something fresh.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Blog makeover in progress...

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you will notice that I've made some changes today. Blogger kept prompting me to update my template, because they improved things and made them more user-friendly, but they also warned that I might lose my links and other items that I've customized on my old blog.

Fortunately, I wanted to give my header a face lift anyway, so it was no biggie to replace it...and most of my links at the right remained intact. My old header is at the right. Not a drastic change, just a little more texture and color.

My next goal is to set up an etsy shop and also to figure out how to make a cute little flickr button at the right, like I see on so many blogs. I also want little thumbnails of the publications I'm in, but one thing at a time, I guess!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

It's a Blog Party!!!!

I was invited by Kari (aka artsymama) to join her blogger party today, in celebration of Artful Blogging magazine and to generally celebrate artful bloggers everywhere. Kari suggested that we post a technique or tutorial if possible - or any kind of artful inspiration. I didn't have time to pull together a step by step photo tutorial, so instead, I'm featuring a few pages from my one of my art journals, along with some tips for creating quick easy journal backgrounds...

Visit Kari's blog to join the party!!!

Experimenting with background techniques is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. One thing will lead to another, and before you know it you’ve filled page after page with color and texture. A few you you might try...

Apply ink pads directly to pages, creating blocks of color. Use 3-5 colors and overlap them in spots. Paint a light glaze over the top with Lumiere paints or any translucent glaze.

Scribble circles or lines or lines with watercolor pencils. Add water to make the color move. Then add a light glaze of Lumiere paint in a translucent color (same as above.) — or add some embossing ink and a translucent embossing powder over the entire surface.

Mask off sections of a journal page with removable tape. Stipple chalk inks. Move masks and layouer colors. Add pattern or word stamps in a contrasting color to create texture.

Scribble or doodle shapes onto a page with colored pencils. Fill in with regular crayons. Add embossing ink and a translucent embossing powder, which will melt the crayons and blend all of the colors together.

Mask off sections of a journal page with removable tape. Use re-inkersi nspray bottles to apply color. Move masks to layer. spots of Krylon pen for some shimmer.

Mix artist's cement with reinkers and paint a thick coat onto a page. Coat a large, not-too-detailed stamp with embossing ink and stamp into the paste. Sprinkle with glitter & let dry.

Take a kids set of plastic magnetic letters and numbers and toss them onto a page. Spritz around them with watered down acrylics in a spray bottle. When dry, remove letters.

Monday, August 06, 2007

"Heart song"

Beeswax collage on canvas paper - mosaic wall hanging
I decided to try my hand at beeswax collage recently, and this is my first finished piece. My friend Debbie showed me some techniques months ago, and I was particularly intrigued by the way the wax saturates papers and makes them translucent. Although I've seen wax manipulated with a heat tool, I really liked using a quilting iron to make the surface smooth. I deliberately selected old music book pages and thin handmade papers that would become translucent when coated with wax. I decided to make small mosaic squares, so that if I did something irreparable, I could just toss the square and start over. One of the best features of beeswax is that it's almost impossible to do something irreparable -- just reheat the wax, and items can be moved or eliminated from the collage. The wax also serves to preserve the papers beneath, so it requires no additional fixative. I also love the texture that the beeswax leaves behind when pressed with the quilting iron. I will definitely continue to explore this collage medium. I was also pleased with the simple, colorful graphic nature of the piece.

To construct the wall hanging, I punched tiny holes in each of the squares, and used parts of round black paper clips (clipiolas) as jump rings to hang them. The piece looks particularly striking when hanging in a window, where the musical backing shines through to the front, and the hearts glow a fiery red.

This piece is dedicated to our friend Jodi Pitcheralle, 1957-2007 - I will dedicate a whole post to Jodi in the future, but I can't right now.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My mom was the costume design consultant for Flashdance

...okay, she never got paid for it... but I'm sure that years ago, the wardrobe spies spotted my mother in a hacked off turtleneck and thought of Jennifer Beals. Alright, not totally likely either, but I can tell you that long before Flashdance, my mom INVENTED cutting up sweatshirts and tees, particularly removing necklines, sleeves, and hems. I know. I watched her, and I've inherited the compulsion (I could have called it desire, need, etc, but it appears to be a spontaneous urge to hack the crap out of inexpensive tees, etc. that just don't fit quite right, so it's more of a compulsion, I think)... I've also inherited a number of other traits from my mom, but we'll save those for another time. (Excuse me while I pick little pieces of lint off the rug that I just vacuumed.)

Why did this become today's blog topic? It's not like a Flashdance reunion weekend, and to my knowledge, Jennifer B. and her co-stars didn't die in a freak plane crash. (although my mentioning it will make that happen now, just watch!!)

It came to me last night while I was hacking away at a "Hanes for Her" t-shirt -- in this extreme NY summer heat and humidity - the need to find a shirt with minimal fabric drove me to grab scissors and tee. While I was cutting so confidently to make the crew neck wider & cooler, I thought of my mom and started to laugh. She always insists she's not creative. And I knew that she was wrong. And that so many people don't recognize all of the ways in which they are creative.

... I thought of her again, a half-hour later, when I took my dog out for his evening walk, and the new, larger neckline kept falling off my shoulders, to reveal the straps of my sport bra.

So go out there and create!!!!

You're "a maniac, maniac..."

Monday, July 30, 2007

My July Ta Da list...

For those of you who stop by regularly, you already know why I do this, but I can't stress enough how it has helped me and why everyone should keep some kind of record of their important achievements -- even small ones! Maybe it's just that I suffer from extremely poor short- and long-term memory, but as the months go by, I frequently feel like all I've gotten done was the mundane... the laundry, groceries, yardwork and housework, over and over again, and I feel as if I'm spinning my wheels artistically. The crazy part is that it's not true, but my mind minimizes my creative accomplishments -- which are so important to me -- and maximizes the drudgery and chores. I don't know why that is, and this list is helping me to strike a balance and to remind myself of all the goals that I actually achieve -- even little ones, as long as they fill a creative purpose in my life.

We are what we think - so think good, happy, creative, powerful thoughts!!!

So without further ado...

I was published in first edition of Artful Blogging magazine (p 20 -23)
I was published in Somerset Home, Volume II (p42)
I helped coordinate and promote a huge rubber stamp sale at Art Connection which was very successful!!
I devoted time in my art room to beeswax collage techniques - I have a half-finished piece that I will post very soon!!
I spent a wonderful half day with my friend Marilyn to teach her Photoshop techniques for her new website & other creative ventures!!
I participated in Art Connection's monthly ATC swap - this month's theme was Bastille Day
I read two books: Mercy by Jodi Piccoult, and Rescue, by Elizabeth Richards
Inspired by a wire-wrapped ring that my sister purchased on Martha's Vineyard, I taught myself some wire-wrapping techniques and made some rings -- pictured- they are much prettier in person, if I do say so myself - particularly the ones made with mother of pearl buttons
I also have a few other art & writing projects in the works, but I'm keeping them under wraps until they're finished!!!

...and in order to do all of these things, I let the house get quite messy, and my lawn really needs mowing, and that's okay!! (alright, it's driving me a little crazy, but it will all wait for me!!)