Friday, January 25, 2008

Winter haiku...

Footprints in the snow
chilly march across my deck
for a peck of seed

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blah, blah, blog...

I think that sums up my blog lately. A bit lackluster. I am working on a number of art projects but they're not ready to be unveiled yet. So, I've decided to spice up my blog a bit by posting a nude photo of myself. Just click here.

I knew you'd look...and as you might have guessed, that's not me...if it was, I would be walking around nude everywhere, and I'd have a nude profile photo at the right. But it's a good segue into the story I wanted to share today -- another minor office catastrophe -- the kind that keep my colleagues amused and from which I escape, still employed, but with just a little less dignity than the day before.

I was at work one day, several years ago, and I received an email from one of my female colleagues whose office is just down the hall. The subject line was something vague, like "information for you" and when I opened the email, there appeared to be a photo attachment, named: "me-nude.jpg"

Well, of course, I opened it -- just like you clicked on that link -- and it unleashed some kind of nasty virus through my computer. I knew immediately what I had done, as my monitor blinked and my cursor flew around on the screen. And I also knew that, now, I'd have to tell my I.T. guy what I'd done...and how I'd done it. It went something like this."

K - "Hi, John, this is Kerri. I think I just unleased an email virus on my computer."

J - "Uh, oh, what exactly happened?"

K - "Well, I received an email from Nancy A. with an attachment that was named "me-nude," and well, as you can guess, I opened it, and bad things started to happen on my monitor."

J - "Why would you want to see Nancy A. nude?"

K- "I didn't exactly WANT to see her nude, but if I'm sitting at my desk and any colleague sends me an attachment named "me-nude" I'm going to look. Wouldn't you?"

J- "(laugh) No! I don't want to see most of our colleagues clothed! I'll be over in a minute to fix it, but first I have to send an email to everyone here to warn them not to do the same thing."

Great! Please tell this story to the other 85 employees here.

Footnote: Nancy wasn't sure whether to be flattered or a little scared -- probably she was both. She resigned the following year, and she didn't give me her new email address.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Not every dog is as lucky as Max...

Some need people like Bernie to help them find a good home, and people like us to help them do what they do.

Hi blog readers. Today, I added a button at the right to donate to A Place to Bark, a no-kill animal shelter in Tennessee run by artist Bernie Berlin. She rescues dogs and cats from certain death, brings them back to health and then finds good homes for them. This donation challenge is awarding the charity with the most individual donations at the end of January, with an additional $50,000, which would enable Bernie to do so much more for her rescue operation. The winner is not the person with the highest total donations, but the one with the highest number of unique individual donors, so three individual $10 donations from different people is better than one $50 donation. Please help. And if you enjoy a good cry now and then, visit her blog and look into the eyes of the recipients!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Two of my favorite philosophers

An uncanny likeness, don't you think?
I cannot take credit for this observation, however --- It was my friend Alison who pointed it out to me, and one quick google search later, I found these two images, which I could not resist sitting side by side. I should mention that I actually think Ellen is quite attractive, but isn't it amazing what happens when you place her next to Thoreau? She looks much better next to Portia de Rossi. And then of course, there are some of my favorite quotations by each of them:

Henry David Thoreau...
The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.

Ellen Degeneres
Human beings only use ten percent of their brains. Ten percent! Can you imagine how much we could accomplish if we used the other sixty percent?

In the beginning there was nothing. God said "Let there be light!" And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.

I'm a godmother, that's a great thing to be, a godmother. She calls me god for short, that's cute, I taught her that.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is.

and the motto by which I've lived most of my adult life:
I don't need a baby growing inside me for nine months. For one thing, there's morning sickness. If I'm going to feel nauseous and achy when I wake up, I want to achieve that state the old fashioned way: getting good and drunk the night before.

See how they have the same powers of observation, too?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Size matters...

...and sometimes, smaller is better.

I have always preferred smaller formats in my artwork, from greeting cards to paint canvasses to my graphic design work --(I hate designing bus shelters and billboards -- and fortunately, I have a colleague who likes that work, so she takes on all of the "big" design jobs, whenever possible.)

So when I started following the latest mixed-media trend of creating "inchies," I was not at all surprised to find that I love them!!!! I think the trend originated with fabric artists, who began by making and swapping 1-inch by 1-inch squares of fabric, quilted and embellished with beads and fibers. I saw these miniature masterpieces for the first time last year on someone's blog, and I knew I wanted to try my hand at paper versions. I must confess that the first few I made were a real challenge. A one-inch square is a very, very small art canvas, so it's easy to overdue it. But a dozen inchies later, I was hooked!

I developed some design guidelines for myself that made working in this teeny, tiny format very satisfying, and I'll be sharing them in a class that I'm teaching at Stampassion (a wonderful rubber stamp and mixed-media arts store near my home) beginning this Saturday. This is the display board I made for the class, with my first (but definitely not my last) "batch" of inchies.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Shout, shout it out...

shout, shout, shout,
shout it out!

(Sorry, that was just a brief flashback to my cheerleading days, before my reindeer jump became a bunny hop.)

I have been waiting to post my annual list of things I hope to accomplish in the coming 12 months -- call them resolutions, intentions, goals -- my buddy Cindy prefers goals, and I think I agree. It's an action word - like "Dave Beckham scores another goal!!" Anyway, I digress.

I wanted to give some real thought to where I hope to see myself at this time next year.

First and foremost, I am setting a goal to be healthy and strong- both mentally and physically. I did not take the best care of myself in 2007, and at 43 years old, this neglect is beginning to take its toll on me. And let's face it, if we don't feel well, the rest of what we set out to do suffers. (Okay, it's January 4, and everyone in the world has made this a resolution, but I mean it.)

Second is my main creative goal for 2008. I plan to write and illustrate a children's book, for which I already have a story concept and ideas for the illustrations, which will be hand-drawn but with a cool digital twist. I have a lot of research to do regarding the children's book market, and how to get published, so I do foresee this project taking a good chunk of time. I hope simply to have a refined draft to present to a publisher by the end of 2008.

Beyond those two goals:
I will continue to develop and teach classes at Stampassion in Latham, NY;
I will treat myself to one good creative art class of some kind this year.
I will continue to seek magazine publishing opportunities that fit my schedule and whims;
I will create some mixed media collage pieces for sale and open an Etsy store on my blog;
I will develop a proposal for a class at a new venue - possibly something in the Troy, NY area, which has some wonderful alternative art opportunities - I am thinking of an art doll class of some kind, specifically.

...and that's it.
My creative coach, with whom I am looking forward to some new sessions in the new year, taught me not to make this list too long, because then, instead of focusing on the things that I did achieve, I might focus on the others that I did not, and feel failure when in fact I was actually quite successful. That is too true -- she is wise and knows me well (many of us, actually). This list of just seven things is probably already way too much, because some of these things are rather large projects, but I have listed them in order of their priority, so if something at the bottom finds its way into 2009, that's just fine with me!!

So if you have not already done so, declare a goal, an intention - something more than a wish - and work to make it happen this year! Just by bringing it into the open, forces start working to help you reach your goals!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My last ta da list for 2007

Holy crap, it's January 2008.

Why do I attach so much expectation to the turning of the calendar from Dec. 31 to January 1? It's just another day, another "x" on the calendar, another 24 hours in a lifetime of thousands, but I always hope to feel differently -- to be filled with more hope and promise and energy than I had the day before. And in some ways I do. Even if it is just another day, the dawn of a new year is a strong reminder of the passage of time, and the importance of using it wisely.

And I feel better about hanging up a new calendar this year than I often do, because I declared out loud (and on my blog - in writing) my goals and intentions for 2007, and I achieved many of them. Among them were getting my work published, and as of this month, my work has appeared in six different magazines: Somerset Studio, Somerset Home, Somerset Life, Take Ten, Artful Blogging, and Crafts & Things.

I will be declaring my intentions out loud again this year, but today, I am going to start with my December Ta Da list, which is modest, as the holidays took just about all of my time an energy. Still, here is a list of the ways in which I spent my life creatively in December...

I prepared for the holidays by decorating, cooking, and making handmade cards for a very long list of friends and family;
I planned a new class to teach at Stampassion in January this month - called Intriguing Inchies;
I made handmade holiday ornaments for the "stamper chicks" (which I have yet to share with them, as our holiday gathering was postponed to mid-January due to and ice/snow storm)
I made gift baskets for friends;
and I made ATCs for a swap - the theme was Portals (very fun)!
...I also took almost a dozen books out of the library - not one of which I opened this month -- why did I think I'd have time to read?
And an article that I wrote back in Dec. 2007 was finally published in the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Crafts & Things magazine. I write this announcement with mixed emotions, as I had submitted the article to The Rubber Stamper magazine, but the magazine was sold to the publisher of Crafts & Things while I waited for actual publication. While this magazine has made improvements to its content in recent months, I was a bit disappointed with the photography that accompanied my article, which was small and did not highlight my samples as well as I had hoped. Also, I have been teaching classes at Stampassion for many years, and the Rubber Stamper would have been a better venue in which to highlight this article and project. Still, it was goal achieved, and I was even paid for my efforts, so that was quite rewarding.
As I write this, some of my work is also in the newest issue of Somerset Life, but I have not received my copy yet, so I haven't actually seen it. I will post a picture and a big whooptie-doo when I get my copy.

I wish you all a happy, healthy, creatively inspired new year.