Sunday, May 31, 2009

There's still time! Until June 6th!

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "What? Why didn't you tell me sooner, you hoser?" Well, sorry. It's just that I've had issues. With my own health. But I try to do this ride each year to support my Mom (who has diabetes) and some other people I love who struggle with this disease. I didn't do it last year because I was too worn out from being a new Mom. And baby was too small to go on it. But this year she's big enough, in fact she's an avid cyclist with Daddy in her little sidecar. If you go to my TourdeCure page, you'll see a picture of us together before a ride from last September, when she was big enough to go on a ride, and you can sponsor me there, too, for any amount. Anyhoo, if you can support me at all, please do. You'll be supporting a cure for diabetes. Just a few dollars helps. I have to raise at least $150 in a week, because it's next weekend. I know, I know, I really waited until the last minute. Sorry. Bad blogger. But it's a good cause.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pause for Poetry

And now I would like to share a poem, because I used to read a lot of poetry and haven't done in a while, and sometimes my toddler pulls books out of Mommy and Daddy's bookcases, and I am reminded of some really good reading I have.

This is by Louis Jenkins, and he only writes prose poems, which means they're like compact little stories crammed into one paragraph and sometimes have lots of run-on sentences. From his book The Winter Road, here is


Out on the great plains, where I was born, the wind blows constantly. When I was a kid I'd get 35 cents and run as hard as I could to the Lotta-Burger or the movie theater only to find it had blown away. Going home was no better. Sometimes it would take a couple of days to find my house. Under these conditions it was impossible to get acquainted with the neighbors. It was a shock to open the front door and be faced with the county jail, the Pentecostal Church or Aunt Erma carrying two large suitcases. Trash from all over the state caught and piled up at the edge of town and during the windiest times of spring sometimes whole days blew away in a cloud of dust. I feel my natural lifespan may have been shortened by the experience. Still, it was a great place to grow up. As the old boy said, "You can have those big cities, people all jammed together. Give me some wide-open spaces." In the morning out on the plains, you have a couple of cups of coffee, get all wound up and go like hell across an open field, try to bounce, clear both ditches and the highway so you don't get caught in the barbed wire, fly from one fenced-in nothing to another, hit the ground and keep on rolling.

Jenkins is from Minnesota and he has a great sense of humor about the Midwest. I like how it starts out normal and quickly goes off where you didn't expect it to. And yet you still know what he means, it's not that abstract. It's just a funny kind of lens to look at life through. I've seen him read once and he has a very quiet, deliberate delivery. It's kind of a thrill to watch. Which I can't say about a lot of writers. Some of them should never leave the house. Anyway, I guess part of why I thought of this poem right now is that it's been such a windy spring here. Very windy. Oh, yeah, like the first art fair day, with 36 mph gusts all day. Okay, maybe I am still having issues about that experience. But still. It's a great poem, idn't it?

Goin' On a Journey

An artist's journey, that is. I feel like I should start singing the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies. But then I watched too much TV as a child and it warped my brain.

Anyhoo, on Monday I'm going to start methodically going through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron with a couple other women from my local art group. I wouldn't have done it by myself, although I tried to several years ago, but it was too lonely. I'm hoping the interaction with the other artists will really give me a boost. I just still feel so let down and blah since that art fair. I feel like I shouldn't, but there it is. I do. Maybe it's not the art fair. It may be my medications, they're in flux right now and so I feel depressed for no apparent reason sometimes. Oy.

So I ordered the book (cuz I don't have it anymore) from Amazon Marketplace and had it shipped "expedited" and it's all screwy. Amazon says expedited means 1-6 business days from shipping date. Then when you go to pay, it says 2-6 business days. Then I get an email from the Marketplace vendor saying it will be here in 3-7 days. Uh, what? I asked the vendor and she said she was saying 3-7 "to be safe." Well, so what did I pay for, so you could pad your estimate and then look good if it comes earlier than you said? Kind of irks me. Irk. Irk.

New Artfire Item! Doodle Discs

So here's my newest doodle collection for you to color. Only this time I didn't do a little book of them, I made them round and spray-mounted them to old CD's that were sitting around waiting to be upcycled.

Right now I have these eight different designs, and each disc is $1. I love making these things, they are so fun. I named each design, and my favorite name is "Spaghetti and Fuzzballs," which is the one on the far right on the blue board. They are in two separate listings, the blue and the red boards, and you just specify in an email to me which ones you want.

Personally, I thought this was a great use of old CD's. I didn't want a door curtain of CD's. And I think that's about the only thing I've seen them used for, besides making them into sets for altered books.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Artfire Item! Altered Clock

I'm starting to get a bunch of stuff listed in my Artfire shop, especially all the stuff I had ready for the disappointing Johnstock fair. So here's one of my favorite altered clocks that I did. I thought it would be boring to just list them by color so I'm naming them. I know, I'm nuts. Meet Holly Sue.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When Does the Guilt Stop?

I was reading my friend Tammy's blog about the art journaling prompt "diamonds," and thought she asked a really interesting question.

I do hope the history of my diamond does not include exploitation, murder, human
rights abuses, conflict, and war in Africa. Does anything we enjoy
and take for granted in our lives not have such a history? Isn't that our

The emphasis is mine, and it just really made me realize how I constantly think about that. Today I was at the thrift store and I bought a CD rack that was originally from Pier 1 Imports, and it was made in some 3rd world country and I just instantly thought "exploitation," and then wondered if I was any better of a person to be buying it in the thrift store than the person who bought it directly from Pier 1. Maybe that's not the way to frame it. I just mean, am I less guilty of exploiting 3rd world workers, buying this item second hand, than the person who bought it for full exploitative-big-corporation price? And I didn't think about this for ten minutes. It just went through my mind in about a second, like an unconscious response.

So, I don't know, I don't have the answer. But it's a good question to think about. Even if you don't like diamonds (I don't happen to).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Good Karma

Well, I must have earned some good karma points, because on Friday morning, I stopped by a garage sale near my house, just on a whim, and I got this 1972 Fisher Price Garage,complete with cars, people and even the separate lift, all for $5. $5!!!! This is the one I had when I was a kid. And Lily LOVES it. She has been playing with it non-stop since I got it. It's in really good shape. The paper on the top had some water damage and was peeling off, but I just got my Mod Podge out and fixed that right up. Score! I love finding toys for her.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Pics of our art fair booth

These are dolls Sue made from fleece and other scraps she found at thrift stores. This was one of those items we were in disbelief about that no one bought. They were like $12. And so colorful and cute! I wanted one. The only reason I didn't get one is that Lily would probably take it and pull the button eyes off. Aren't those cool buttons? She said that was the only thing she bought new, from JoAnn's. I can never find cool buttons like that at JoAnn. Sue also does jewel-encrusted mirrors, jewelry boxes, and even magnets. She sold a lot of magnets.
Here you can see the trays full of Sue's magnets, alongside her golden birdhouses. That's Sue, sitting behind the table, trying to warm her hands on a cuppa. The other half of the table is mine, with my zine, zippies, coasters, stamp tray (this is day 1 so the set up is different).

And here's Jen's stuff, Tiki!!! She's very into Tiki, and wildly talented at it. She does Art-o-Mat with some of her small tiki paintings, and I bought one. We all bought some of each other's stuff, and that was fun. We also bought some of the other artist's wares, which weren't overpriced and there were some really creative items. I got a bracelet made from an old belt. It has a movie poster on it about "What all women know" or something like that, and she's in the arms of a cad. Very 50's. And what I really love is that it has the place it was playing--Encino at 11p.m. Encino. Ah, California, how I miss ya. I'll have to go get the artist's card so I can plug her stuff. She had a funny motto, too.

Overall I guess it was a good experience, and now I can say I've done my first art fair. But what a let-down to sell almost nothing. I just have really mixed feelings about it. Has anyone else out there had a simliar experience at their first art fair? Or have you already blotted it out of your memory?

Me at the Art Fair

Sorry no posts lately, I've been recovering from working my butt off for the art fair, and kind of licking my wounds. I sold NOTHING the first day and about 4 things the second day. I feel like I shouldn't even admit that, that people who previously liked my art will now think, oh, nobody bought her stuff, she must be a LOSER.

Jen, one of the two other women who I did the booth with, said you just never know how it's going to go at art fairs. Even so, I have to admit it was a big let-down for me. Saturday it was horrible weather--cold and wind gusts of 36 mph all day long. We could not get warm. We couldn't put up the walls of our tent (we tried) because it just turned the tent into a giant sail. People all around us had card racks that I was sure we were going to be impaled by on the next gust.

This picture is of me on the second day, when it was nice and sunny with no wind. I'm still wearing three layers and long underwear. I'm standing in back of some of my stuff--some clocks, some zippies, coaster sets in baskets facing sideways to the camera, and doodle discs, a new creation I came up with about 2 days before the fair: I made some CD-sized doodles, then made a bunch of copies and spray-mounted them onto old CD's that have waiting for some craft project. You can color the doodle yourself, send it as a postcard, stick something on the back to hang it from the wall as art, whatever. I thought it was brilliant. I don't think people understood it. Maybe it will sell better on my online store. That's the next big project, getting pictures of everything and putting them all up for sale on Etsy and Artfire. At least I don't have a deadline on that.

So I'm kind of recovering still, plus this is a big headache week, and with Spring finally here, I'm having loads of allergies. So I just haven't done much. Caught up on TV shows. Finished a book I've been reading forever and wasn't impressed. Today I did finally finish a project for my daughter, putting up these alphabet cards in the upstairs hallway. They're about 8x10 in size and have a big letter on each, along with original art of lots of things starting with that letter, like hedgehog for H, etc. For months I only had it up to F. Now all the letters are up. It took a while as I nailed them in rather than use any tape.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No Monday Giveaway this week

Too busy with art fair. It shall return soon.

Done Stuff for the Art Fair in 4 days

This clock turned out really nice.
I made one of my stamp trays, just on a whim. Mixed up a blue color I liked and painted it, then chose a bunch of interesting stamps with lots of blue in them. I love making these but I don't think I'll have time for another before the show.

After. It's an old GE electric clock and I think it still needs a little something, maybe a row of yellow split peas glued along the top...

Before. Well, sort of. I didn't take a before pic of the above clock but I have this one, too and it's the same exact model. Only this one is a piece of crap. I don't trust Savers anymore. I got the other one at Value Village and it works great. This one was more expensive and when you plug it in it sounds like it's going to explode. I thought, well, maybe the noise will go away after it warms up or something. After 30 minutes I wanted to rip my hair out. It actually sounds like old sci-fi sound effects from a radio show. You know, like a rocket taking off. Only it never stops!! The other jewel I got from Savers that same day had the price sticker covering the fact that one of the knobs on the back of that clock was missing. Now come on, that's not fair. Plus I can't get their stupid sticker glue off. Grrrrr. Savers bad.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Clock That Ate My Brain

Actually, it just took a lot longer than I thought it would to color. It's a 9-inch diameter face and you can see why it needs a new face. I mean, nothing against Hannah Montana, but it needs to be arted up. So, as I was coloring I learned a lot.
WARNING! Extremely boring pen discussion ahead! Only read if you're into coloring and obsessed with pens like I am. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I decided that after this clock, I needed to have a full set of Staedtler triplus fineliner color pens, made in Germany. Because I liked that one the best of the three pens I was using, and out of anything I've tried so far. I'm using three different types of pens here, just because I liked their colors, and I'm finding that the red Staedtler gives the richest color, shows up really smoothly when you're coloring large blocks, and doesn't smear the black ink of the Prismacolor pens that I used to outline the design. Triplus just means the pen barrel is triangular-shaped, which does make it comfortable to hold. I don't know what kind of magic ink they use in these pens, but they have this "dry-safe" feature that means you can be a dope and lose the cap for days and the pen won't dry out. I don't remember how much I paid for the individual red pen. Probably less than $2. I just bought the full set of 20 for $26. I might have gotten it cheaper online, but instead I supported my local art store that I love, Wet Paint.

The purple pen is a Le Pen Marvy from Japan, and I only got it because I liked the shade so much. Most purples are too too dark or too pastel-ish for what I was looking for (actually this shade is called Amethyst. Whatever. Thank God it's not Lavender.). It doesn't smear, but I don't like how it shows the lines when you color large blocks. I think it's better for writing letters and such. Just not coloring so much. It does have a really solid point, which is nice. Also cheap, less than $2 each.

And finally, the yellow (I like using only 3 colors in one piece, at least if it's abstract), a ZIG Millenium, which I was the most disappointed with, as it smeared the black outlines really easily, so I had to color really carefully near the lines, which was difficult in some detailed areas. I guess because it's pigment ink it's going to smear everything. Annoying. Well, it's meant for scrapbooking, not coloring, I guess. And spendy, about $3 each.

A note about the black outliners I used: I've used the Pigma Microns, and they're okay, but I find I like the Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Markers (sizes 08 and 01) better because they are smoother. I can draw a long flowing wavy line across the page and the tip doesn't catch like the Microns sometimes do. And I don't have to go over it, the ink flows perfectly smoothly out of it.

So, anyway, that's what I learnt. I hope some of you got some useful info here, I know I am always baffled when I try to choose pens for a project. It's like choosing a breakfast cereal. You just stand in the aisle and gape. Oh! One more thing, as I was looking for links for the pens in this post, I found a fun-looking pen blog, called, of all things, Good Pens! Check it out.

Gettin' Ready

Here's my studio in a semi-cleaned up state, with my pieces for zippies and coasters somewhat organized. Ahh....

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Monday's Giveaway!

PRICKLY BLOGGER ALERT!!! there, I warned you.

Update: HEY! What is it with you guys? Am I making my commenting requirements too hard or what? Why am I suddenly only getting one person commenting on my giveaways? What, are you busy with your LIVES or something? Do you think this is a piece of crap? Sorry, I woke up with a headache so I'm crabby. But seriously, why are you all ignoring me? I'm in the middle of a mad scramble to get ready for my first art show and I'm still taking the time to do the giveaway and only my best buddy Chris is following me? Or maybe you're just not into doodles. I don't know. But you're making me very depressed. This might have to go under "Things I want to punch in the face," when my giveaways get ignored.

Here it is, the Zendala! I know, it's not mounted on black cardstock yet. It will be. I'll update the picture.

Sorry it's bad lighting, I took this late at night, because I'm working frantically trying to sew like the wind to get ready for Johnstock, which is less than two weeks away now. Eep!

Anyway, for this giveaway, let's have comments on doodling. Do you have a favorite book or artist that is doodly? I like the children's author Maira Kalman . She is a very doodly person. The endpapers in her picture books are full of line art doodles, of dogs, people, and everyday objects. I mean, look at these. And Doodlage just turned me on to Yellena. I could study one of her drawings for hours. So hook me up to some doodly stuff! Ready, go! This giveaway will be open 'til Wednesday-ish midnite.