Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanks for being our dinner, turkey!

Turkey for you and turkey for me. I can't believe the Mets traded Darryl Strawberry..

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Home sweet home

Ok, so...I'm "home"...sort of. I mean, it's my parents' house, but I didn't grow up here. I lived here for about eight months in 2001. I didn't think I was a "roots" kind of chick until I got off the plane in NY in 1999 to spend Christmas with my aunt and uncle - I was Home. Even though I hadn't lived there in 10 years, had only visited twice in that time, it felt like my place. It still does...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Short paper!

I LOVE this paper - smooth bristol. I love really smooth paper. Whenever people talk about how their paper has a "nice tooth" it makes me cringe a little. Why do I want my paper to bite me? Anyway, I got this paper at Michael's:
And it's a quarter of an inch short! See that red line that's just above the paper? The paper should be all the way up to that line. Now, I know a quarter of an inch isn't a BIG deal, but still. I emailed someone at Strathmore (two people, actually) and have gotten NO response which I just think is RUDE. Of course, it's not going to stop me from buying this deliciously thick, smooth, wonderful paper. But still.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Mommy, sweat and pee are cousins."

Did you know that? I mean, it's logical. Makes sense. And yet, I was hope Mini Me heard this on TV somehow and didn't make that connection in his head. First of all - he doesn't have any cousins. Second - that seems WAY beyond what a three-year-old should be able to understand.

I tried doing an Internet search (I hate using the word "googled" because I don't use Google and I think people will look at me funny if I start saying I yahooed something...) and I came up with the question posted on The Slap. The Slap is a fictional blog based on a character (Cat) on the Nickelodeon show Victorious, which he loves. So I'm hoping someone on there said something. AND while I was yahooing, I somehow ended up at the site for the actress who plays Cat and her name is Ariana!! I've never met another one who spells it the same way as I do! She probably pronounces it differently than I do, but in my head it sounds just like when I say it. (Same with Ariana Dumbledor)

I've been trying to break the Moleskine habit (no reason, I'm just not thrilled with Moleskines and I feel like to spend $17 on a journal I should love it) and drew this in the journal I'm taking to Florida to use as my "travel" journal. She's not too bad, but they always look worse once I add color.

PS I'm going to Florida to visit with my BFF who moved to London nine months ago. I haven't seen her since January and I'm SUPER excited! Hence the camera panic...still can't find it.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Camera. I know I say I "can't find it" all the time, but it's actually been several days this time and I have NO IDEA where it is. No clue. I hardly ever leave the house (no car) so it's almost impossible that it's not here in my (small) apartment somewhere, right? Either way I'm starting to get freaked out about it - it was not a cheap camera and it has a card in it with photos on it. I love pictures, I've taken 11,000 since I got the camera in 2006. It's so weird to think I might not have it anymore...

This was painted by Mini Me. It's a city (he said so) and it's the palette paper. I poured out a small amount of five colors onto this paper and gave him two brushes and a new journal, draped him in a too-big t-shirt to catch any mess, and walked away. This is what he painted. Not a single drop in the journal. Love it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


OK, so here's my journal problem: I LOVE the paper in the Moleskine sketch. It's smooth, it doesn't curl or buckle when I paint in it, it loves my PanPastels and my Prismacolor pencils, I can erase pencil very easily. It's awesome paper, for reals. However, it's small. I use the "large" one and it's pretty small. The next size up is HUGE - letter size pages - and the paper is horrible. It's thin, tears easily, buckles, and the buff color erases off. So if you're erasing your pencil lines, the color erases and you're left with white smudges. How annoying is that?? So I've decided it's time to just make my own. Now, I've made and posted a few on here, but I use those ones for a different purpose. Sometimes I don't feel like arting, or my brain feels fuzzy and scattered and I just want to WRITE in a journal, but I hate the really thick ones with the lined pages where your words seem to stare back up at you accusingly the next day. So I make then with white cardstock, paint the pages, line them with scraps ala Teesha Moore, and stick a picture on there to doodle and write around. I could just do that in my regular journal, I know, but these pages are already prepped. The whole journal it ready and just waiting for my doodles and ramblings and I don't have to wait for paint or glue to dry.

ANYWAY (I tend to babble. I think it's from lack of adult contact - I spend twenty-four hours a day with a three-year-old who likes to argue and it gives me brain damage.) I want to start making my regular journals. So, I got some paper. Three different types: Stonehenge, Fabriano Artistico, and a cheap one (maybe Canson?) that I forget the name of, but have in my notes. I cut the papers down into 10x14 strips, folded, punched, and bound two 10x7 journals with one signature of each type of paper. I labeled them A, B, and C, and I'm not telling Kelly which is which (and I've already completely forgotten, so no worries there) so we can test them.

OK, here they are:
Kelly's front
Kelly's back
I've already learned something. The importance of endpapers. If you've never bound books or don't read a lot you're probably thinking "What the hell are endpapers?" Well, they're important. Just so you know.

I made this smaller one from the leftover Stonehenge and it's about 5.5x7. I'm thinking about using it as a travel journal for my upcoming trip to Florida. It's in my bag already, but I'm not sure that I'll actually use it.

And this one I made from two sheets of Fabriano Artistico. It's the same size as the others, 10x7, but is quite a bit thinner. I'm thinking this will be a Christmas gift.
They are all hard bound, very sturdy. I'm pretty excited about using mine and testing all the papers. Pretend you're excited for me, OK?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Meditation exercise

At Suzi live chat today, we did this meditation thing. We used crayons and spent a minute just breathing, and two doodling. It's supposed to be what we're feeling. I don't know how to put what I'm feeling into words, ever and I HATE trying to meditate. I just suck at meditation. I'm not a calm, Yoga-doing, health food-eating kind of chick. I'm a coffee/sugar/poptarts eater. I think sleep is boring, meditating is boring, Yoga is SUPER boring. I don't know how to relax, hence the bees in the belfry ATCs.

But this was surprisingly pleasant. It doesn't have to be pretty, it doesn't have to BE anything at all. It's crayola crayons my son's teacher sent home from school (it's an income-based program so I can only assume they think we can't afford crayons) so I'm not even using my "good" supplies. It's a journal I don't really use, again not my "good" one. But so what if it was made with Copic markers in my $17 Moleskine? It was peaceful. I don't know why I'm so surprised by this (and I was drinking coffee and eating cookies while I made it) but I enjoyed the doodling and coloring.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Look what my friend Tal did for me!!!

The Adventures of Red Mole

Isn't it the cutest thing you've ever seen? I can't even tell you how awesome I think this is. I'm so, so, so, so, so in love with it!! (Lola is my mermaid name, in case you're wondering!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Story of Red, the lost Moley

I lost my journal. The one I always have with me. Doodle phone number in. Dates. Grocery lists. Ah-hah! Must be at the grocery store, right? No, how could I have left it there? I haven't even been to the grocery store for DAYS. I would've noticed I didn't have it Must be someplace closer...Hubby, have you seen it? Yes, the one I painted red. Yes, with the little card on the front with the heart. No, it's not in my bag (like I didn't look there???). So, I call the grocery store. I tell the guy on the phone I think I left a little red journal there. He asks if it has a heart with wings on the front! Yes, yes it does! They have Red! Of course, I don't have a car and it's literally freezing out so I can't make Mini walk the mile and a half to the mall to pick him up, so I had to wait.Then when I get there - no one knows where he is! They look in the same red bag and big gray bin several times and I'm just about to freak out because really, who wants someone else's journal?? But they insisted he was there and "I know I saw it today" and now he's home safe and sound and in my bag to have an adventure another day. Maybe today, I've been wanting to check out Frabriano paper...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Guest CT!

So, I got to be a guest CT member at Cookin' Up Creations in November! I've been dying to tell you, but I had a "reveal date" at the gallery and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to say anything until then. So today was my day and here are my LOs!

Silly Boy Time

Corn maze!
(I used a template by VissyMac for this one.)
Kelly :)

Apple Picking
(Another template, the one by Beruthie)

How cute is that kit? It's called Autumn Bliss and is by Designs by Krista. It was really fun to work with, great colors and patterns - I love patterned papers! This was super fun and I'm going to do it again for December!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Mess!

I was talking to my friend Wendy today and I mentioned that I like to leave the back of my artwork MESSY. I know this is a no-no, you're supposed to pretty up the back of things, ESPECIALLY if the things are leaving your hands and going to someone else. But I don't wanna. It's the biggest thing that makes me hesitate to join "real" ATC swaps. A message was actually sent out to the Yahoo group that I'm in about it, making sure the back is nice and has all this info on it that I don't want to spend time writing. Once I'm done with a piece, I just want to fling it aside and work on something else. Wendy said it's like a tapestry - the front is bright and beautiful, and the back is dark and messy. She also said that life is the same way. She's right. Totally right. And I often spend a lot of time focusing on the mess instead of the beauty. Silly, right? Because the mess is necessary for the beautiful part to happen. With out the BACK of the tapestry, there is no FRONT.

Here is the back of an ATC that I'm sending to Wendy. Will she care about this mess? I don't think so. She will focus on the front, and on having a friend who made her a (tiny) piece of art. Here is what my painting desk looks like right now (yes, it's small, I put whatever piece I'm working on in my lap):
And here is what I painted today. I'm a lot more likely to show this to you. But why? Would you like me less because of my mess? People WANT to say "No, of course not, I would like you anyway!" but it's so rarely true. People want to see perfectly dressed, washed, polished OTHER people. I don't know why that is. I'd much rather see the tattooed, blue-haired people with paint on their hands.
The other day I was painting and I found myself TOTALLY amused by the fact that I had paint on both hands, all over my pants, and one of my feet. I was like "I'm totally blogging this!" because it was really funny in my head. But every time I look at the picture I took, I decide not to post it. It's not what people want to see. The just want to see the painting. The pretty side, not the back. It's taken me 30 years to figure out that this is the reason why I have so few friends, so few people who want to spend time with me. I'm too low-maintenance. No need to vacuum before I come over, I'm not going to notice the crumbs. But by the same token, when I wash my hands after I pee, I'm just trying to get the germs off - I don't even notice the paint. Right now my hands smell like a lovely combination of Tilex and Clorox Anywhere spray but there is teal paint on one thumbnail and pink paint on the other. My hoodie is at LEAST eight years old, and it and my pants are both streaked with paint (and soggy Oreo - a little piece broke off after I dunked it in my coffee and I wiped it and it squished...). I know the people reading this are going to immediately think (and type) things like "Oh, I would totally be friends with you! I wouldn't care about the paint on your hands/shirt, etc." But it's really VERY seldom to find someone who doesn't NOTICE. Who just looks at me and sees ME - not my outfit, not my shoes, not the paint. Just Goog, plain and simple. I don't know how to learn to care about the paint on my hands.

On a sillier note (sorry, didn't mean to get onto my soapbox there) - I took this picture of the screen of my iPhone WITH my iPhone. For reals. WHAT is the purpose of this feature? For reals, people. What the F? A picture of my phone taken WITH my phone.
PS If you find this fascinating and HAVE to know how to do it, just press the home button and the power button at the same time. I don't know why it's useful, but hubby claims to do it all the time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Margaritas make You Suck Monday a lot better!

"You Suck Monday"

It's the second Monday in a row when I've had a sucky art day. I know what a lot of people are thinking - Mondays suck. But, see, there's nothing about Monday that's any different than any other day for me. I'm a stay-at-home-mom. Mini doesn't have school on Mondays and hubby isn't off on the weekend. My days mostly run together. I didn't even realize it was Monday until Kelly pointed it out. I've been trying to make mermaid ATCs but I have to just stop. Every single one looks bad in a different way. Poop on Monday.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Self-guided Workshops at Suzi Skool!

OK, I know I talk about it a lot, but I love Suzi Skool. I think Suzi is a really fun instructor, she explains things in a very clear way, she is very encouraging, and also TOTALLY approachable. She convinced me I can draw. And paint. She is the reason that I can SAY I am an artist. Maybe you don't think I am, but Suzi does. Maybe you don't think YOU are, but Suzi does. Anyway, she's offering some of her previous classes as self-guided workshops. Only $35 for THREE classes. "The Goddess and the Poet" which is realistic stylized faces, "Piety and Passion" which is 3/4 and profile faces, and "Angels" which is kind of a mix between Petit Dolls and more realistic faces - but there is something about this class that I just loved. I can't really pinpoint what it was, it was just a special class to me, I really enjoyed it and think the whole world should take it! So, a "self-guided" workshop means that Suzi will not be a presence in the classroom. The videos are your to download and keep forever, which I think is amazing (and it means I can watch them on my iPhone wherever I happen to be at the moment), and Suzi's ning is just a very special, safe, wonderful place. I've made real friends there. Friends that I have met in person or face-to-face skype. Friends who visited the hospital when my son was sick, and friends who want me to spend holidays with them. Friends who drove 16 hours from Canada to spend the weekend on my couch. Friends who I text and chat with every single day. Now, something that bothers me is when someone expects you to sign up for classes but you can't really tell what kind of teacher they're going to be. THIS is Suzi's YouTube channel. I still like to go back and watch the old "Art Journal Playshops" videos because they're amazing. So if you're looking for a class to take that's not a whole bunch of money, this is the way to go. It's TONS of videos and I really think you'll love them. Oh, and I'm a moderator for the classroom, along with my friend Wendy, so there ARE people available for questions if you've got them!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yin and Yang

I have a friend, we met about two months ago: Kelly. I speak of her pretty often on my blog, we get together about once a week for play dates. We met at Suzi Skool, in mermaid class. Kelly is a certified copic marker instructor and I want to learn to use copics. She wants to learn Photoshop and I've been using Photoshop for years. She's great at stamping and I suck. I'm great at making a sloppy mess when I'm painting, while she's learning to loosen up. One day when we were talking about these things Kelly stated, "We are yin and yang. Sounds like a journal page. Which do you want to be?" I said I wanted to be Yang.

Friendships are not easy for me. I am not the easiest person to get along with. I don't try to impress people, and I don't care if they don't like me. I'm 30 and I love Harry Potter and Twilight and think that My Life Is Average is the best website ever created. I am perfectly happy sitting in silence, and have nothing to say about pop culture or reality TV. If you start talking and you didn't say my name first to get my attention, I'm probably not listening to you. I do not eat my vegetables and I don't make my kid eat them. I usually have paint on my hands and my clothes. I refuse to feel bad about ANY of this. I am who I am. I don't like vegetables, I like chocolate. I don't like the news, so I don't watch it. If the paint on my hands doesn't bother me, why should it bother anyone else? It's so refreshing to meet someone who doesn't judge. Who expects you to wear paint-spattered clothes and drink coffee by the gallon since you can't sleep anyway. Who doesn't care if you don't brush your hair (ever). So I'll be Yang.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Uninspired days...

I don't know why, but I've just been feeling "blah" the past couple of days. Not really indigo, just sort of "whatever". Usually when these days come, I sit on the couch in my pajamas with my computer and blog surf for hours. But I'm tired of these says, so I've been trying to fight it - today I got up and showered and put on real clothes, got Liam ready for school, put away some laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, skyped with Kelly. Showering, real clothes (and shoes), talking to friends - these are all things that usually help me snap out of the blahs but it's really sticking with me today. It's so funny because usually when I'm feeling "off" Liam starts acting weird, as if he can sense it. He hasn't slept well for the past couple of days and he's been kind of emotional, but not in the toddler tantrum kind of way. It's hard to explain. Anyway, I always think painting will help with the blahs, but I was feeling very uninspired so where did I turn? YouTube, of course. Megan's "Sing Your Life" video makes me smile and so I used her idea and made some ATCs.
What I really liked about her painting is the way she made her wings. A line at the top, but then she just sort of makes short strokes with the brush so the bottom doesn't have a defined edge.

I was worried about the stamp I used, and the ink pad being too juicy so I tried to just ink it a little and kiss the paper with it, not being really firm, but I actually like the "dirty" looking ones the best. Who knew? You can't tell from the pictures, but after I inked the edges, I dipped parts of them into embossing powder. The color is "enchanted gold" but it's just iridescent clear. I'm going to randomly send these to people whose addresses I have. Why not, right?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ugly art

As you can clearly see from previous posts, I have no problem showing the world (OK, the 18 people who follow this blog...) my ugly art. My art is not me and I am not my art - ugly or otherwise. But this piece I'm going to show you really bothers me. I really, really hate it. Kelly things it's because I drew her on You Suck Monday, but it's Wednesday and I've worked on her for a couple of days now and I still think she's horrible. But I kind of like the process and where I went with her. Strange, I know. I'm very complicated in my neuroses.So, here we have her. I feel like the shape of her head in the back (left side as we're looking at her) isn't right. There should be more head. After playing with it for several hours, I gave up. I journaled on her, just about what I was feeling at the moment.
Slapped on a little paint. Instead of glaze, I used matte medium. I don't really like things to be super shiny, and I wasn't sure if I was done journaling on her. Went back in with the pencil (just a plain Papermate pencil) and redefined the lines a little.Here I added a little paint to her eyes and lips and also some smudgy charcoal pencil. I think the smudges are her only redeeming quality - I really like that part.The lips were crazy bright, so I added a darker color and some more charcoal because I was having fun with it. Then I realized (with the help of a friend) that her nose was a little too curved, too far to the right, so I painted over it and attempted to "fix" it. I think it looks worse now, but I refused to give up on her and chose to just live with it.Here I've added some journaling to her hair (a bit about You Suck Monday) and I doodled in her eyes a little. My girls' eyes always seem a bit dead to me and I'm king of not sure what to do about it. Maybe she needs those little white "reflection" spots. I could try adding those.I sneezed while taking this picture and started cracking up. Have you ever been in a room completely alone and just laughing hysterically at yourself? I do it all the time! No one else would see this as funny, but I was totally amused so I'm sharing it with you. Here you can sort of see the stars I added to the background I used three different blue pens just for my own amusement. You can only sort of see them on there, which is what I wanted. You see, the stars are always there, even when we can't see them. Even during the day, even on the cloudiest of nights.
And so she's finished. While I still don't feel like she's anything to be proud if you just give her a glance, she is the first page in my new journal and I'll remember every time that I look at her that I didn't give up on her. I think that's something to be proud of.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

InkJet image transfers

I know, I know - I said I couldn't do it and them I tried again anyway - twice. I can't help it, I'm stubborn! Here's the original picture...
And it was the last page in my journal and I figured I'd just try it again...didn't work, obviously! For this one, I put the gel medium on the page and stuck the picture to it - it looked like it was going to work until I tried to get the paper off.

This one I put the gel medium on the picture and then stuck it on the page. It started to distort as soon as I started burnishing. I left it to dry completely (overnight) and tried wetting the paper and rubbing it, but you see where it's completely yellow again? The whole thing just rubs right off.
Failure, again.
Oh, well! Guess I'll just have to leave this particular technique out of my work, huh? Well...maybe I'll try the photocopier method...we'll see. I know I should just consider myself incapable of transfers, but I'm VERY stubborn. Determined? Yeah, I like that better. I'm very determined.

Monday, November 8, 2010


We live (hubby, Mini, and I) in a two bedroom apartment with a little tiny room called a "den" off the living room. Now, I always think of a den and a living room as kind of being interchangeable, but that is NOT the case with our den. It's little. It has been home to my sewing machine and several desks that were theoretically where I would paint and sew and otherwise craft. But it seemed so small and cramped in there and my sewing chair is REALLY I've been doing all of my art at the dining room table (we don't eat together, hubby works nights). Even so, Mini Me has always called the den "Mommy's office." Recently I decided the art "mess" was getting out of hand and I really wanted to move production back into the den, so I spend several days rearranging furniture and bookshelves and piles of stuff. I was thinking to get rid of this one small desk with really minuscule drawers that's just sort of been taking up space. But I thought that instead it might be a nice place for Mini to keep his markers and crayons and journals. When I told him it was going to be space for him he shrugged it off like a three-year-old will do, but he's decided it's his favorite place in the world. He absolutely LOVES it.

On this particular night, he kept opening and closing the drawers on his desk and it was making me crazy so I was trying to get him to go play. I ask him, "Liam, don't you want to go play in your room?" and he replied, "No, I have work to do in my office." I nearly peed my pants laughing.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Failure IS an option

I can't do image transfers. Can't. I don't know why. At first I was convinced it was my printer - it's InkJet, everything I read said it had to be LaserJet. Then I read that my particular printer WOULD work. It's an HP with Vivera inks and apparently everyone on the planet can do image transfers except me. I've tried everything - letting the gel medium dry completely and then wetting the paper and peeling it off, burnishing then peeling while the medium is still wet. I've tried gloss gel and matte gel. I just need to stop, I know, but everyone's doing it...

Here's the page:
The spread:And after failure was apparent, I did what any self-respecting mixed-media artist would do: covered it up. First with gesso, then water soluble crayon, a little collage, some drippy paint. I might add some words, but I won't bore you with my thoughts.

One last picture. This is the ONLY successful transfer I've EVER done, but it wasn't done like you're "supposed to" do it. It's Mini Me's little face. He was only six or seven months old, just starting to pull himself up onto things (mostly the legs of my pants) to try and walk. He's got his little head on my knee and is staring at me adoringly. He was the sweetest little baby. Anyway, I did this one by applying gloss gel medium to the image, not the transfer substrate. I let it dry overnight and applied another coat, let that one dry all day (I was determined to make it work!!), and applied a third coat. The next day (or maybe even the one after) I soaked it in water and when I rubbed away the paper, the image peeled away like skin. It was actually kind of cool. But it doesn't give that shabby 'transfer" look that everyone seems to love and be able to do. Sigh...guess I have to accept my limitations!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Beauty and cigar boxes

Today I was blog surfing (one of my favorite things to do), and I came a across a post where someone had shared a bunch of nature pictures and declared them to be the "beauty of her day". I get it, sort of. I mean, flowers are pretty. But the beauty of my day? Here it is:Compared to flowers? I win hands down. Sorry, nature.

On a different note, I finished the cigar box purse I've been working on for my BFF.

"One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives." - Euripides

Super Tami!


The bottom. I almost forgot to take a picture of it!

This one is a bit of an inside joke. The words are "You can pick your friends..."

This is a quote from Monique Duval. "He offered her the world. She said she had her own."