Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Finished some art: Chinese New Year Monkey deco

My local art group is doing a Chinese New Year deco, and I chose to do the Dog and the Monkey. Well, I think we started this back in March, like whenever Chinese New Year actually was...and I finally finished the Monkey. I had to get my butt in gear because one of the people is auctioning off her finished book to raise money for Heifer International, and the auction is Dec. 7th. It's a good cause, the philosophy is kind of "If you give a man a fish," etc., only it's a cow or a goat. Something like that. Helps end world hunger. So the Monkey page, eez feeneeshed. I'm happy with it. I tried to draw a monkey but the head looked more like the swamp monster or Creature from the Black Lagoon, so I just used my monkey stamps instead. I have three monkey stamps! And I think I need more. I love monkey things.

I did paint the backgrounds and was really pleased with how those turned out. I have to admit my dumbness, though. I painted on this watercolor paper that I've had for like 5 years and never use. All the pages are glued together and I didn't know they were supposed to be like that when I got it, so at the time I called the store and told them and they corrected my ignorance, that it was a "block." Oh. But they didn't tell me how to get the pages apart! And I felt too stoopid to ask at the time. Now I would be like, "...and?!" So today my Mom's helper showed me how to separate the pages because she used to paint watercolors and has used this kind of "block" before. Now I can finally use it! And it's really nice, thick paper. This is what comes of being a "self-trained" artist, I guess. Moments of foolishness and complete ignorance. That some people will mock me for. That's okay, there's other nice people like N. who showed me how to do it and didn't laugh at me or anything. HA!

Fun for Thanksgiving in the 21st Century

I always like to reflect on Thanksgiving and think about what I'm thankful for, be it my sister who's my best friend (even though we beat on each other mercilessly all during childhood) or finding the best gluten-free brownies on Earth only 5 minutes from my house (Cooqi bakery).

So I thought it would be fun to do an easy "swap" of 5 things you're thankful for, specifically, ON THE INTERNET. It can be a blog that you read regularly that inspires you, a shop that you love for craft supplies that has the cutest things you can't find anywhere else, a youtube video that makes you laugh, whatever. Just something you're thankful for that you find on the net, so it needs to have a link.

You'll have 10 partners, and you can just send them all the same list of 5 links. It would be really nice if you could say what you like about each link, but you don't have to.

I'm making this deadline (join by 11/29, send by 12/2) so that you do this over the Thanksgiving weekend. Then hopefully at times during the next month of craziness up to Xmas, we can all take a little break and try some fun new links.

So, please, join my swap!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Still Without a Voice

Yeah, the hippo just didn't work. So I'm going crazy not being able to talk. I'm trying to when I should be resting my voice, but it drives me nuts when J. keeps saying "what?" when I try to tell him something.

Let's talk about something else. I've been watching a new show, or at least new to me, The Eleventh Hour. At first I didn't think I would like it because the main actor is kind of weird looking, or maybe I saw him in something else where he was weird, I don't know. But I like him. He has a great character, a genius biophysicist working for the FBI on strange cases. So, I like the characters and the stories, about strange phenomena, but the endings are always disappointing. It's like we're going along fine with this interesting biophysical event, and the relationship between Dr. Hood (the genius) and others is developing and holding my attention, and then poof! Scooby Doo ending. The obvious guy is the culprit, he tells all when caught, just like the villians in superhero movies, and I can almost hear him saying, "If it wasn't for you meddling kids!" Oh well, I guess you can only expect so much from network TV.

On a more upbeat note, I've started watching stuff on Ovation TV, which is like all art all the time. Last night I watched a 2-hour (well, yeah, I watched it over 2 nights, I do have a toddler) documentary about photographer Sally Mann. It was fascinating and her photos are beautiful and controversial, and they make you think. And it was just very inspiring to hear an artist talk about her philosophy about art, and about life, and to see how she works. Of course it's inspiring to see a really prominent woman artist, a woman with a family.

On a related note, I just read last week that David Foster Wallace is dead. I can't believe it. And he killed himself. Another genius commits suicide. He evidently suffered from severe depression. Is it our culture that sends some geniuses into such a pit of despair that they figure nothing is worth living for? I just think it's so sad. I loved some of his writing, it was so funny and full of sincere emotion and insight.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Talk Like a Cheeky Hippo Day

I've lost my voice today. I mean, really lost it. It was rusty yesterday but now I can't talk at all. So I gotta go to the doctor. And meanwhile, I have to write down everything when I want to tell J. something, or answer a question. What a pain!! So his suggestion was just to use the hippo pictured here whenever I want to talk. It's a happy meal toy that a friend gave me for my daughter. I guess it's a character from the movie Madagascar. When you shake her, she says one of three things:

Let's go!
All righty, boys.
I know that's right.

I'm not sure if I can get by on that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Day of Sharing

Today (or actually now it's yesterday because I'm up late) is a day to share poems with each other in blog world, by order of LK Ludwig, along with a picture to add to the ambience of the poem. So when I saw one of my all-time favorites, Not Waving But Drowning, on Chris' site, I knew I had to participate. After getting that post out of my system about how poetry got ruined for me, I'm feeling open to it again. I wrote a poem in the middle of the night the other night about my daughter eating strawberries. And there are still poems that move me, now that someone asks me, I realize there are. But I can't choose one. Here's the first one I'd choose (today):

Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
for nothing now can ever come to any good.


I love this poem because it is genuine in its selfishness about grief. Grief is one of my big subjects I like to write about and I find this one sweet and somehow funny.

Next: Merc tries to choose an excerpt from a Walt Whitman poem and Blogger crashes from spacing issues.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My latest recycled art thingie

Vinyl window clings, right? Not that I'm normally into these. Ginormous lawn art butterflies on the side of a house frighten me. But this is for my daughter's room. So the butterflies are actually from a condemned shower curtain. The bottom was all moldy and grungy and I'm allergic to mold (and probably grunge) so it was time for a replacement curtain. But instead of throwing out the whole thing, I cut out the butterflies (leave lots of room around them) and then just cleaned them off and cleaned off the window and plastered them on. It's an ugly cold winter day outside but the butterflies are cheery, no?

I think this could be really fun with a geometric pattern. It would make your window look all mod. People would walk by your house and look at your windows and say "That is sooooo cool."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Finished My Zine!

Yes! The long awaited (at least by me) story of my brush with gun violence in retail world. I've been trying to write this story for a long time but was too much of a perfectionist about it to ever get through it before. Well, I got over that. I think having a baby does that to you. Sorts out your priorities. Makes you get things done. No dawdling. Anyhoo, you can read my exciting adventure for a paltry sum. Just go to my Etsy shop and buy a copy. And can I please remind you that I want your stories for the next issue? See this post for more details. Have I harped on that enough yet?? Maybe after you read this issue you'll be inspired. I hope so. I have been reading a really fun zine that I want to plug here called The LaLa Theory. It's a fun look at language and it's the kind of writing that inspires me to write, which I just love. She has many different zines and I just ordered a couple more. I hope she comes to visit my lil' blog.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

photo frame decorating

Which I've never done before aside from painting it. Well, there was the one I made for W. with the dog pics, but that didn't start out as a photo frame, I made it into one. I digress. So I had fun with this. I don't usually post pics of my daughter on this blog, but this was my craft today, to get this picture of her in her Halloween outfit into a frame and decorate it. It's actually part of a hanging triptych of frames, so I think I'll just draw Xmas and Bday stick figures for the other frames for now so I can hang it and it doesn't look totally stupid. But I loved decorating this frame. Stickers, ribbon, and beads was all it took and it looks great. Here I'd been searching for this Halloween frame I'd bought a year or two ago and I couldn't find it and finally gave up and used this and I'm glad I did. I'm better at decorating a plain frame, so there.