Saturday, October 25, 2008

Where Have I Been?

My goodness it has been a long time since my last blog entry! Where've I been, and just what the heck have I been doing? Well, in the beginning of October I started a new job as a Jr. Business Analyst and my job requires me to travel every week. With my new job I'm living in Oklahoma City during the week and on Friday's I fly back home for the weekends. That makes my commute on Monday morning a whopping 884 miles! Needless to say, I've been pretty busy trying to adjust to this new lifestyle! BUT I am loving the new challenges in my life and am so lucky because my friends and family have been very loving and supportive of my new career. (Remember guys, I love emails during the week and I promise to write back.) I was long overdue for a new career path, and now I get to use my Technical Writing skills.

Not to worry, I haven't forgotten my love for art! I've already found an excellent Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City, and I picked up some small ATC paper packs. This will be something fun and easy to doodle on in the hotel room at night. I'm also packing my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen this week too. I'll get back to doodling, posting, and reading my favorite blogs very soon! And even if I can't scan and post my art during the week, I plan on blogging more about my travels. I promise to be back soon!


"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour."
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good Charlotte - My First ATC

So this is my very first Artist Trading Card. I've titled it Good Charlotte.

Behind the Scenes: The paper is watercolor paper from my little handmade ATC journal. For the background I used my Winsor & Newton half pan watercolors. The images were copied and clipped from odds and ends I collected. I used a pewter sunshine charm that I bought at Michael's for .88. With a needle and a bit of blue thread, I did some stitching at the top and added a shinny green ribbon to the at top and bottom of the card to make it glimmer.

If you make ATCs and have a website, please leave me a comment. I'd love to visit your page! Making these little trading cards may become an new favorite pastime of mine.

Good Charlotte,
Where do you want to go?
What do you want to do?
You glow everywhere you go,
and everyone expects sunshine from you.
Now it is time to take up your light,
carry it at your side,
and don't fritter it all away
to those who don't give at least a bit back.
Save the rest for yourself.
Because you are the one who appreciates it the most.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Scanning for Collages and for Scrapbooking

It has been a super productive night for me! What did I accomplish? Well -- tonight I scanned some small pieces of clip art that I've gathered. I'm planning to make a few ATCs with the things I've scanned. I will be sure to post after I've done a few. I'm only as far as watercoloring the background for one and having the basic layouts determined for two of them. And let me tell you, it is a challenge to work in the small space of 2.5 X 3.5 -- but this is a challenge I'm ready for! I love tiny so Artist Trading Cards are right up my alley!

I also went through a disk of scanned pictures of my family. These are very old pictures of my grandparents, family, and baby pictures of my mother. I tried to go through them and write who was in the shot for for each numbered picture -- but it was pretty tough. I need to sit down and ask my mom if she knows all of the people in them. Since she is the baby of the family, she may not. So I may have to ask my Uncle since he is 16 years older than my mom.

Here's one of my very favorite pictures. It is my Grandpa's High School Graduation picture. Isn't he cute? I might add that of our family he was the first to graduate from Bismarck High School. This is the same High School my mom graduated from and then I followed later. So I was the third generation to graduate from good old BHS.

Going through this one disk of very old pictures has got me excited to get scanning the rest of our pictures. It will be quite the project! A good one to tackle over the winter, for sure!

Here's a quote to leave you with...but let me just say that I'm not referencing my grandpa here. Just thought this quote was cute and maybe something he would have said to us because he always liked to make us laugh.

"Families are like fudge... mostly sweet with a few nuts."
-- Author Unknown

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Long Overdue Update!

It has been forever since I've posted on my blog. There have been more than a few reasons why. The biggest reason has been my computer being "out of order." I hope to have it back tomorrow, and with a new hard drive it should work like new -- I'm hoping! Right now my brother is graciously letting me borrow his computer to check on my email.

What have I been working on lately? I started to make a few Artist Trading Cards (ATC) and came up with a theme for them. When I have my computer back, I need to work on scanning some of my clip art that I plan on using for my ATCs. I also found a book that I'll be ordering from amazon on Artist Trading Cards.

I've also bought more Creative Memories products to start my "Christmas present surprise" for my mom. All I can say is that it will be super cool! I promise to post it when I'm done for all to see. One of my next major projects will be to scan our family pictures. So much to do! So much to do! :)

Hope everyone has been having a great summer! Hard to believe it is almost over! But you won't find me arguing too much. I love fall and fall weather. The best time of the year, in my opinion!

Just thought I'd post a quick update to let everyone know that yes, I'm still alive and I will be back to blogging and catching up on reading all my favorite blogs shortly! :) I've missed you all!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't Forget the Past When Looking to the Future

Anyone who is close with me knows that I've had a really busy, challenging, and rough month at work. It has been full of both rewards and disappointments. And I don't want to get into the details at all. Instead I just want to share a few very important life lessons that I've learned recently:

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the thought of our futures and who we want to become that we forget our past and who we really are. This is my advice to you if you are going through a rough patch in your life right now:

Be proud of who you were, who you are now, and who you want to become! And don't let anyone stop you from reaching your dreams. And if things don't work out the way you want them to -- remember that everything happens for a reason and the rough times help shape us and make us stronger. And it may be very possible that something even better may be just around the corner waiting for you! :)

The above picture is of me and my Barbie Dream House -- my favorite toy from back in the day. I'm not sure how old I am in this picture because nothing was written on the back, but I'd say no older than 7. I spent hours playing with my Barbies in this doll house. My Grandma Frankie who lived in New Mexico sent this to me for Christmas one year.

My super-awesome Barbie house came complete with furniture, little plants, play food, plates & the works. My dad struggled for hours because he was the one that got to put it together. The doors and windows opened, and you could move each section of the house apart -- and he had to build it from scratch with really bad directions. Thanks Dad! :) And even the cat loved Barbie's posh digs -- she loved to climb in the middle of my Barbie Dream House, sometimes making it go "CRASH" in the night.

On Sunday, my mom and I spent all afternoon going through 2 large tubs of pictures. We had a good time laughing and talking about the good old days. And we've decided to start a new project -- organizing all of these photos and putting albums together for her/dad, me, and my brother. Also, the majority of our pictures were taken with a crappy instant Poloroid camera. So many of our pictures are falling apart and fading and getting ruined slowly. So -- we will be scanning them too. A great project for this fall/winter. Also right up my alley for scrapbooking! I have a feeling that I'll need to buy more ink and paper for my photo printer. :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Day of Scrapping

Yesterday I attended a Creative Memories Scrapbooking Workshop. A few consultants in the area host this get together every month. For a reasonable fee, you can bring your scrapbooking projects to this all-day workshop and use the tools that the consultants bring. This way you get to play with new tools and decide what you want to spend your money on next! And oh I found lots of really cool tools that I want to purchase eventually.

I arrived at 11AM. One of the last times I remember looking at a clock, it was 6PM. Suddenly after that it was 8PM! The day simply flew by! But it was a very productive one for me.

Here are the items I purchased: A Power Sort Mini Box, a PicFolio Minutes Album, A Storybox set of papers, and a Tape Runner. Also not shown, I bought three packs of stickers to use. The tiny little pictures scattered around in the picture below are very small pictures I printed off.

The blue and green box with polka-dots is a Power Sort Mini Box and holds up to 600 photos for storage. It is so nifty! here are a couple close up shots. Each side has a closure as shown in the second picture. And if you tip your box upside down your pictures will stay in place and will not move around. They also sell bigger Power Sort boxes that hold many many more photos. The larger box will be one of my next purchases, but I plan to use this small one to hold current projects and the smaller Storybox papers that I used for my PicFolio Minutes Album.

For my first project I wanted to start out small and do something fun that I could display. My friend introduced me to the PicFolio Minutes Albums. I immediately thought this would be a good thing to work on and take to work to display on my desk! It is always fun to have pictures to look at while at work. Especially if you are having one of those days and you just need to remember where you came from.

Here's a picture of what the album looks like all closed up. It is magnetic and you can unwrap the beige closures and open up the album like an easel. Then you can display your pictures and flip them around to whichever picture you want. I have ideas to make a few of these for gifts. They are easy and fun.

Here's one of my favorite pictures that I put inside my album. This was taken at my friend's Bachelorette Party. (She's the one in the middle. My Creative Memories consultant friend is the one on the left, and I'm the one on the right.)

Both of these friends were at the Scrapbooking Workshop and we had a blast working on our individual projects, talking, and joking around and being silly. I look forward to attending these get-togethers and maybe even a Scrapbook Convention out of town for a couple days. I'll start saving my pennies for that now.

I'm not quite done with this first project. I made 10 of the 24 pages for this album. The pictures inside are of family and friends. So I'll continue to work on this and decide how I want to begin my travel album for my France pictures. I think I will also make an album for my baby pictures.

What did I learn this weekend? Scrapbooking is a lot of fun! I'm excited to keep working on my projects with my friends because that makes it even more fun -- to create something that is meaningful while surrounded by good company -- that's special.

"Remember, the greatest gift is not found in a store nor under a tree, but in the hearts of true friends."
~ Cindy Lew

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Being Introduced to Scrapbooking...

I'm excited because today because I'm going to be introduced to a new creative outlet. I have a friend who is very creative and we have a lot in common. We both love to read, write, and she's a consultant for Creative Memories, which is a scrapbooking company. So I'm heading over to her house to see her scrapbooks and what she's got to sell. She's also having a scrap day next Saturday where you can bring your stuff and work on it, and of course you can buy new scrapbooking supplies to use. But from what I understand many tools will be provided to use at this Scrapfest. So I'm gearing up to get my scrap on! Now that I have a new camera, lots of new pictures, lots of old pictures, and a photo printer, I can really dig in and start my own scrapbooks!

A couple of possible projects come to mind. One in particular is to scrapbook my trip to France. I have lots of pictures in an album that I don't really care for. So why not make a new travel scrapbook? This may inspire me to get out of the country again and take another wonderful trip!

More to come on what I discover and what I decide to take on as a project! :)

Here's a picture I took of the Eiffel Tower from ontop of the Arc de Triomphe, a beautiful site!
Happy Scrapping!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Happy Independence Day Weekend to all! Hope everyone had a fabulous 4th full of family, friends, and lots of food. There's nothing better than a long holiday weekend in the summer!

Here's how I spent part of my 4th. I took out Kali's pool for the first time this summer and filled it with water. She immediately knew what was going on and when she went outside to her pool, she walked around it getting drinks from it. Yes, Kali it is not only a pool but a really big water dish that you can stand in the middle of and get a drink from! :) Of course I brought my camera and took a few videos and pictures. This video below was filmed by my mom. The three of us had fun laughing and playing.

Here are a few more pictures....

She looks a bit like a drowned rat when she's wet. And her fur is so strange that it dries almost instantly. My mom and I kept laughing because for the entire time her tail was the only part of her that was totally dry. Must be nice to have a waterproof fur coat!

"Too many drinks...buuurp" says Kali.

Ah....the cool water felt good to the feet. My mom and I got in on the fun and kicked up our paws with Kali. She loved the splashing and continued to kick up her own paws.

"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too."
- Samuel Butler

(I've used the above quote before -- it has become a favorite of mine and entirely appropriate for this post, I think.) Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Homemade Journal

About a month ago Soulcomfort and I got together at her house, and we made our very own homemade journals. Although both were made by hand, they were very different from each other. Mine was simply a journal made from a Composition Notebook with manila file folders sewn into the cover of the notebook. Rita's was a bit more homemade than mine and had a Coptic stitch that is really neat. To see both her journal and mine, you can visit her blog entry from Tuesday, May 27, 2008. She's even got pictures of both of us and the outcome of our afternoon. It was a fun time! And for someone like myself, who can barely sew a button on a shirt, it was fun to say that I was able to make my own hand-sewn journal!

About a week after making the journal, I decided I wanted to cover it with some paper and make it pretty. Off to the local scrapbooking store I went. I picked out some funky paper and took out my Mod Podge. After covering my journal, I dubbed it my Pop Culture Mixed Media Journal. Here are a few pictures!

It may be hard to tell but the two black objects on the left hand side of the front cover are cassette tapes. I also bought and added the rub-on transfer "This Girl" to the cover.

Here's a shot of the pages. That's right - they are plain old manila file folders. Good heavy duty and thick paper. Perfect for collaging and mixed media art!

Above is a close-up shot of the paper and the front cover. Pretty funky huh? This paper really caught my eye in the store. It has keys, airplanes, light bulbs, cassettes, and even spacemen. It's a lot of fun!

Where did I get the idea to make this journal? From a great mixed media artist on YouTube by the name of samanthakira. She's a very creative lady! Here's a link to the first part of her instructional video to make your own "Easy-Peasy Journal." It was cheap (less than $10), easy, and a lot of fun!

I followed her directions for the most part. I made my own adjustments, of course. For example, I took and cut one file folder to the size I wanted them all to be, and that file folder was my template for the rest of the pages. She cuts them crazy with an Exacto knife. I wasn't that brave. I just sat with a pen and my scissors. I used my template to mark each file folder and cut them one by one.

I haven't started filling the pages yet but will very soon! I also bought a few more composition notebooks and a box of file folders to make another journal...or two...or three! :)

Happy Journal Making!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Where Has June Gone?

So June has been super busy!! I've been sketching a bit. (More posts to come soon.) But mainly I've found myself in my little art corner working on my Wishbook which is really just a visual journal that inventories what I really want out of life. This activity has made me really think and realize that a lot of change needs to happen and that I need to get busy!

This weekend is going to be a busy one. Last night I attended the Relay for Life rally in Valley City. I'll post more pictures and talk about it in an upcoming post. It was an amazing and very uplifting event!

Today I really need to get busy because one of my very dear friends from my Minnesota State University Moorhead days is getting hitched! And I'm helping out. It will be a grand time. Many other mutual friends will be there and I'm planning on just enjoying life tonight!

I have a feeling that things will slow down just a little bit in the next week and soon I'll be able to get back to posting and creating and sharing on Blogger. Until then I hope you are enjoying a busy summer complete with great memories!

"He who's not busy being born is busy dying."
~Bob Dylan

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Trip to the Twin Cities & the Saga of the Pentel Pocket Brush

Over Memorial Day weekend, I escaped town for the day with my best friend, Tickpuppy. The plan was to go to the Twin Cities to hit used bookstores for the day on Saturday. (We both are big readers and love books.) I also had another destination in mind; I wanted to find an art store called Wet Paint. And our trip was a huge success! We visited three Half-Price Bookstores, including our favorite location in St. Paul. AND we even managed to find Wet Paint. And once I walked in to the independent art store, I was in heaven but quickly became a bit overwhelmed. I had more than a few wishlist items on my mind and no idea where to start!

I also had a special pick-up request for my friend, Soulcomfort. She wanted me to pick up a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. (Just one more item that was also on my wishlist.) But I quickly found other things I wanted, so I decided to get my stuff and then purchase Soulcomfort's pen for her.

At the counter, the girl who helped me told me that she hoped the Pocket Brush was for me. I told her it wasn't but that it was for a friend. She immediately told me I needed to get one too because I would love it. I thought about this. Yes, I wanted one but had already spent tons of money on books and also already hit my limit at the art store. She continued to persuade me by getting out their sample pen for us to try. So both Tickpuppy and I tried it, and IT WAS SO COOL! I was very very tempted. But I was good. I said, "No, I better not get one today." She said she understood and told me I could call them to order one and that they'd ship it to me -- if I changed my mind.

So after I paid, we were on our way. Sadly, me without my Pocket Brush pen. But Tickpuppy didn't let me get too far. We just left the store and were taking a few steps away when he asked me, "Are you sure you don't want that pen?"

And man! Do I have will power! I thought about it longingly but once again answered, "No. I better not get one today."

To abridge the saga a bit, Tickpuppy turned me around, took me back in the store, and bought me a Pentel Pocket Brush pen for an early birthday gift! JOY! :) So after all the employees in the store teased us for coming back to get the pen, I did walk away with my very own pen with special thanks to him! AND it is my new favorite pen to draw with! Thank you Tickpuppy!

Here are a couple of drawings I did over the weekend with my beloved pen!

This one is called "Sleeping Kali." As you can see my dog is very serious about sleeping, and she's good at it too! Lots of practice taking naps.

The 2nd one on the left side of the page is titled "Kali on Her Tummy." The 3rd drawing is a bit of nothing. I was trying to capture the way her ears looked while she was napping in the recliner. From where I was sitting on the couch, that is all I could see -- her big radar ears. This also made me realize that when sketching her, her ears capture a lot of hidden/comical expressions that I don't normally focus on.

And that's the story of my new favorite pen! If you have one, you already know what I'm talking about. If you don't have one, go and get one! They are awesome!

~Click here for a link to info about the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.
~Click on the link to purchase a pen or refills for it from the Wet Paint store in St. Paul, MN.

"I dip my pen in the blackest of ink, because I'm not afraid of falling into my inkpot."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Almost Birthday Time!

Yes, it is true. In a few days I will turn 28 years-old...that is hard to believe! But more of a reality when you receive mail reminding you of the upcoming birthday! After work tonight, I found a super cool Birthday card from my friend, Jason, waiting for me in my mailbox. On the cover are those goofy cartoons named Hoops & Yoyo. It reads, "Do you know what time it is??" It opens up to read "Just Checking. Happy Birthday!" The best part when you open it is the wild and crazy birthday cheer. It instantly made me laugh. And the birthday wishes from Hoops & Yoyo go on for quite awhile.

I couldn't resist. I was on my way to my parents' house, so I put the card in my bag to see what sort of reaction my dog would give upon opening the card and showing it to her. AND I even brought along my camera so I could video it.

Kali gave me a couple of her famous Cairn Terrier head tilts. At first she's curious, but then it is almost like she tries to ignore the funny noises coming from the paper. However, she really can't resist; she has to look at it, as if to try and figure out why the card is talking. At one point she looks up at me as if to say, "Is Birthday time over with yet?"

Jason -- Thanks for the birthday wishes and for the entertainment! Although, I don't think Kali was as impressed with the special effects as I was! :)

The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.
- Samuel Butler

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession

On Thursday, I made my first trip to The Plains Art Museum with Tickpuppy to take a guided tour of Auguste Rodin's famous bronze sculptures in a visiting exhibit called Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession -- and it was amazing! If you live in the Fargo/Moorhead area, there is only one more Rodin Gallery Talk and Tour left, and it is on May 29th at 6:30 PM. However, the exhibit will be at our local museum until July 13th. So even if you don't make it for the guided tour, you can go and check it out on your own. So get out there and go!

It was amazing to see some of his most famous sculptures both in life size sculptures and also in smaller models called maquettes. And seeing a mini version of my old friend The Thinker took me back to seeing it for real when I was in Paris years ago!

The guided tour lasted for about an hour and was full of very interesting tidbits regarding one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century. Like other artists of his time, Rodin constantly struggled to showcase his talent and abilities amid many harsh critics. I was very taken with the story of Rodin's Monument to Balzac. Rodin was commissioned to create this monument of the French writer Honore de Balzac forty years after the famous writer had died. This meant that Rodin had to study photographs for years in order to compose a physical portrayal of Balzac. When he finally finished it and presented Balzac to the public, he received very harsh reviews for his work. This affected him so much that he never cast the final sculpture during his lifetime.

Other personal favorites of this exhibit for me were The Kiss, The Gates of Hell (which Rodin was unable to finish during his lifetime and only pictured and modeled in mini form in the exhibit), The Mask of the Man with the Broken Nose, and Rodin's sculptures of hands (The Cathedral and Large Left Hand of a Pianist.)

The picture of Rodin that was displayed outside the exhibits was full of character. Tickpuppy took out his cellphone camera so we could take pictures of ourselves beside this great sculptor. He took a very nice picture of me with all of the words in the background. When it was my turn to take his picture, I ended up accidentally cutting off the words on the wall but thought it was better to capture his pose. *grin* We had a great time!

If you have a chance, go and support the museum and see this exhibit! It isn't very often that we have such an opportunity to see such a wonderful collection in our state. It is definitely a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.

To learn more about Rodin, visit these sites:
The Plains Art Museum

A quote to leave you with:

"I see the truth, not only what is on the surface."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Irish Blessing Sketch with Color

It has been awhile since my last post, hasn't it? Well, I have been busy being creative. I promise! Besides spending some of my tax refund money on art supplies for Altered Art, I brought out my watercolors and finally added some color to my latest Moleskine sketch.

What do I absolutely love about watercoloring? It is such a challenge, but at the same time it is so relaxing. I'd say the end result is as rewarding as finishing a challenging Crossword Puzzle or even a Jumble where you spent 15 minutes of your lunch break trying to solve the super-lame clue without looking at the upside-down answers. (Wink...wink Tickpuppy.)

This little flower pot, the two birds, and the shamrocks were quite the challenge. I even dug out my Masking Fluid and covered all the little flowers in the pot before touching my brush to my paints. I always feel like I should get out a clothes pin or wear a SARS mask when I crack open that little bottle of masking fluid. Stinky! But what would we do with out it?

After masking while holding my breath (OK maybe not), I attacked the greens. After the greens were done and I let it dry for awhile, and of course I had fun pulling off the masking with my eraser. However, after I removed the masking fluid, I always get a bit steamed because the brand I use has a slight yellowish tint to it. I like this color when working on white paper because it is easy to see where I've masked. But after pulling off the glue, it leaves a slight yellowish hue to where it was applied on my paper/canvas. I suppose it doesn't really matter because I covered everything up with paint. Even though, maybe I didn't want it to turn that nasty color underneath.

Next were the flowers. I also did the leaves in the flower pot and spattered a bit. (I "heart" spattering! My first painting when I was about 4 years-old was a spattering project. My Grandma clad me in an old shirt, covered the table and floor around me, and gave me a paint brush and some some watercolors. I remember being in awe at the different colors I could create. I guess that is when you could say I got hooked with watercolors. Later she had my spatters framed. That silly painting always made me feel proud. I think my mom has it now, I'll have to check.)

After the plant and flowers were finished, next came the pot and finally the little birds. In my mind I thought the birds were going to give me problems -- but they weren't too bad.

For whatever I work on next, I need to slow down a bit more and take the time to blend more. I naturally want to make my colors bright, but it also takes talent to really use the water in the colors in order to blend and create contrasts and shading. This worked out in a few areas here. It is a goal of mine to be able to create more details with the paints rather than to rely on my pen or pencil. Wouldn't that be wonderous?

Happy watercoloring!

"A little amateur painting in water-color shows the innocent and quiet mind."
~Robert Louis Stevenson

**Any comments or tips for improvement always welcomed!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

10 Masterpieces in One Night?!

That's right, I created 10 pieces of art with one of my favorite mixed mediums tonight...nail polish. This is the first time I've painted my toes for spring. (It's the little things in life that make it exciting, right?) Now I just need to work on getting my 10 little white piggies some sunshine. Sorry for the glare in the pictures. I promise to work on my tan as soon as the sun starts to really shine in ND.

I had to put on my favorite pair of very worn Earth sandals. They're the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. Earth shoes help alleviate back pain and posture problems because the heels go down in the back instead of up. Because of their unique build, they also help you burn more calories and tone your legs. I definitely recommend Earth shoes. They may be a bit spendy but are worth every penny in my opinion, especially if you have back problems.

It's sort of hard to see, but I also added little yellow flower decal stickers on my big toes. Fun! For those of you out there who love nail polish, I highly recommend OPI Nail Lacquer. It stays on longer than any brands I've tried. Especially if you use the base coat and top coat. The color I used to paint my toes tonight is called Japanese Rose Garden.

OPI Nail Polish "Japanese Rose Garden" NLF04

What have I been up to lately?

Well, I've been buying tons of stuff to start working on Altered Art -- cheap acrylic paints, brushes, Mod Podge, & etc. My favorite new color is called Parisian Pink. And it isn't normal for me to like pink. In fact, I'm not quite sure why the background of my blog is pink. I think the color is actually growing on me. I might just turn into a person who likes pink. It has been years since I've admitted this. I went through a pink-is-my-all-time-favorite color phase when I was about 8 or 9. But I got over it and started my purple-is-my-all-time-favorite color phase after I started reading the Sweet Valley Twins book and one of the twins (Jessica) belonged to the Unicorn Club -- where purple was the color only club members could wear. (Oh how I loved those books!)

Lately I've been stuck in the land of YouTube. It is so easy to get sucked into watching artists create all types or work, see tours of their studios, and hear them talk about their techniques and current projects. But I seriously need to stop doing this and put my own creative art corner to use. I just need to create! I hope to play more this weekend and have something to share.

Just for fun, I'll leave you with a link to a web page about The Sweet Valley High Series. (Of course, I also grew into these books when it was time to leave the 12 year old twins behind.) Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield were the coolest!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Very Special Gift From My Friend at Creative Solace

I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me in the mail when I got home from work on Friday! It was a package from my new Online friend, Heather. She is the owner of an amazing Mixed Media and Collage Art Blog named Creative Solace. Check it out! She's a very gifted gal full of creativity!

And now for the pictures of my beautiful piece of art that was made from a cigar box top...

Isn't it great? I adore it! I won it by entering her "Art Giveaway to Celebrate 20,000 hits" on her blog. That's a lotta hits Heather! Congrats! And Thank You for sending me this charming little boy on his elephant. After a rough week of being sick, this was such a lift for me to find this in the mail!

His new home will be on the top of my writing desk. This is the first piece of Collage Art that I've received. Collage Art or Altered Art is something that I'm very interested in and want to start doing. So having him sit at the top of my desk where I can see him will be very motivating! I've already started gathering pictures, papers, and found objects for making my own Collage Art. So I'm on my way!

"A true Friend is the best Possession."
~Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Sick Day Sketch

After being sick all weekend long, I still didn't feel up to par this morning. So, I stayed home and slept until noon. I'm not someone who likes to stay home sick, and I rarely do. In fact, I've been lucky enough to stay healthy all winter long. Figures that I'd catch a bug after the snow disappears. But I'm on the mend. This cold won't dare to stick around much longer!

I've been sitting in my big armchair watching daytime TV with my trusty box of Puffs Plus by my side, and used tissues are scattered everywhere. I finally got up from my chair to grab a small wastebasket, but I also grabbed my sketchbook and my new 64 mini set of Crayola Colored Pencils (that I found for $2.60). I just wanted to have a bit of fun and made myself feel like a kid who was staying home sick from school. The colored pencils were flying. And here's my first scanned image from my new EPSON RX595 All-in-One :)

Random Thoughts:

  • I must really not be feeling well. I've got the TV on Oprah interviewing Tom Cruise...Bleh. Turning TV now.
  • I just printed the Everyday Matters list of weekly sketching challenges so I can start sketching. I've really been enjoying the posts from the people taking part in the Everyday in May sketching challenges on my Yahoo Group. It is truly a group of inspiring people!
  • Whew! I've finally added links to others blogs which I try to visit daily. Some of these links are Online friends, real life friends, and people from my Yahoo Groups. All are those who I admire as not just writers/artists but also as very uplifting people.
  • I can't stop thinking about France lately. This has made me realize that 1) I need to start a "I'm going back to France" vacation fund. 2) Now that I have my new scanner, I can scan all of my photos and also begin sketching them. 3) That I really want to create altered art with a French theme. (I've got a few ideas beginning to bubble.)
  • And now I've got to venture outdoors to the bank for quarters. My massive pile of laundry has my name written all over it.

Stay healthy! Here's a quote to leave you with...

"If you treat a sick child like an adult and a sick adult like a child, everything usually works out pretty well."
~Ruth Carlisle

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Remembering Mont Saint Michel - France

I'm working on putting together a list of my favorite links to blogs and other websites. In the meantime, I've been dreaming a bit about France today and came across this funny video on YouTube. It is just a group of friends dancing around to a song, but they happen to be dancing in front of a magnificent French background - Mont Saint Michel. This was one of my favorite visits when I was in France. And when you watch the video it can't help but make you laugh a little -- the three friends look like they're having a great time enjoying each other and enjoying France! They better dance fast though, it looks as if the tide is beginning to roll in.

Follow this link to to learn more about Mont Saint Michel in France. Someday I hope to go back again to visit this beautiful place and definitely recommend a visit for anyone visiting France. At any rate, don't take life so seriously all the time. Remember to let loose, unwind, and dance around a little.

“Sing like no one's listening, love like you've never been hurt, dance like nobody's watching, and live like its heaven on earth.”
~Mark Twain

Update: After searching around YouTube further, it turns out that David aka Davey, the guy in green, has made dance videos from places all over the world. There are also a few more set in France. Just go to YouTube and search for "Davey Dance Blog." Happy dancing!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Springtime Sketching - An Irish Blessing

I thought I'd take a moment to share my latest Moleskine Journal Sketch. Watercoloring my sketch is next. I asked my Everydaymatters Yahoo Group about using Masking Fluid in my Watercolor Moleskine and several people assured me that it would be ok. So my plan is to mask the flowers and create a cool splash of greens in the background of the plant and add a bit of purple here and there. Here's what the sketch looks like before color... color coming soon!

Hopefully this will be one of my last photos of my artwork because I just purchased an Epson RX595 Photo All-in-One, complete with scanning capabilties. The only problem is my computer is a little bit sick right now. It has a virus (or two or three) and is running really slowly. I'm hoping to take it in somewhere this week and have it fixed so I can load the software for my new All-in-One! Oh the fun I plan on having with my new Epson! Just wait and see.... :)

This has been a crazy busy week and everything finally caught up with me because now I'm sick. That's right. I waited all winter long to catch a cold first thing Spring arrives! Now I'm going to curl up on my couch and continue to drink fluids so I can beat this cold and finally enjoy Springtime!! It is finally here!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Apartment Rearranging and My New Craft Corner!

At the beginning of the week I was very tempted to move down the hall to a larger 2 bedroom apartment. To make a long story short, I felt as if my apartment manager was pressuring me into making a decision too quickly. With the increase in rent, I just felt I couldn't move at this time. So I told her I couldn't right now. At first I was frustrated and sad because I'd like to have a bit more room, and my plan was to devote the 2nd room to painting, crafting, and writing.

But at the same time, I really do like my little apartment. On Monday night I was sitting on my couch and the thought came to me..."Why don't you rearrange your apartment?" So I called my mom, told her my idea of moving things around, and she came over straight away to help redesign my space. We sat down over a BLT supper and came up with the new floor plan and she helped me lug everything around. (Thanks Mom!) And now it is like living in a new apartment without spending the extra money each month.

Here's a couple of pictures of what my apartment looked like before. The first picture is how I used to set up for painting. (It worked OK but was a bit smooshy.) The 2nd shot is of my desk and dining table in my dining area. I would use my dining table for my easel but always wished for a bit more room...

I had a bit of blank space on the wall where my couch is. This is shown in the 1st picture. So I about move my bookshelf there? Here are before and after pictures. I ended up moving my couch down and moving my chair across the room so we could fit my bookshelf on the wall.

So now I had a blank space in my living room where my bookshelf used to be. That is where I moved my desk that was in my kitchen. Here's a shot of my living room now....

Here's the best part! Here's what my kitchen/dining room looked like after the desk was moved. I was seeing all sorts of visions in my head for my new crafting area! Just enough room to get a folding table to put against the wall by my microwave cart!

On Thursday night, with the help of Tickpuppy's larger vehicle and his muscles, we went to Lowe's and I bought a folding table. (Thanks again Tickpuppy!) It fit perfectly in my corner.

Today I set up my table full of my sketching and watercolor materials and easily lost track of time sketching in my Moleskine. (Will post sketch a bit later.) I also played around with my watercolor pencils. Eventually I would like to get a bulletin board so I can post drawings and any type of little pieces of inspiration.

As you can see, I'm set! No need to spend extra right now on rent. I'm delighted with the changes I've made with my space, and this whole experience has really made me appreciate what I do I have. More isn't always better, is it? Sometimes it is best to work with what you've already got.

"What a miserable thing life is: you're living in clover, only the clover isn't good enough."
~Bertolt Brecht, Jungle of Cities, 1924

Monday, April 21, 2008

I'm tagged "IT"...Games are fun!

Ok. Leah over at moxiephotoanddesign tagged me about a week ago, and I've been "IT" for way too long. It's time for me to dump the playground gravel out of my shoes, share a some useless facts about me, and more importantly tag some of my favorite bloggers. Here goes...

Here are the rules for playing....

...the rules of tagging if you are inclined to following rules {if rule following is not your bag, do as you please, but heed the warning: the next time i am at your house i will dip my finger into your peanut butter jar. it will be awkward for all of us.}

1. link to the person that tagged you.

2. post the {very important} rules on your blog.

3. list 6 very unimportant, random nothings about yourself {should be an easy one}

  • I live across the street from work, but yet I sometimes drive to work. (Silly, huh? But you may not live in ND where the weather can be treacherous during the winter months.)However, now that it is spring I've been walking and plan on making this a habit. Gas is too expensive to waste.

  • I've kept a journal regularly since the age of five when my grandpa gave me my first "diary" that was made of pink velvet with mini gold hearts and had a lock and key. My goal is to get all of my jourals throughout the years typed...I've got a huge box full.

  • I will always be a die-hard fan of the movie NEWSIES, and I've probably watched it hundreds of times. (Can't say that I've watched it in the last year and a half though.) Back in the day I wrote NEWSIES fanfiction stories as Twobtz and had a website called The Santa Fe Sun where I posted my fanfiction stories. It was an ongoing project with my childhood bestfriend. Good times and great memories of being teenage girls.

  • Many of my friends (and family) come to me for advice and tell me they can trust me with anything.

  • I've been told that I must have a very old soul because I'm very understanding. (wink wink Soulcomfort.)

  • I never get bored. I always make the most of where I am at, what I am doing, and I adapt well to my surroundings. I'm always looking to grow and learn from every experience.

4. tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Modern-Day Jane
Knitting Painter Woman

Monday, April 14, 2008

Side Profile Sketch of Kali Mazoo Michigan

What would we do as humans without our pets? Here's a side shot of my puppy. Her full name is Kali Mazoo Michigan but goes by Kali or just Mazoo for fun. (I already posted this picture but will do it again because I also did a rough sketch of her using this photo.)

What do I love the best about my dog, besides her Cairn Terrier attitude? It has got to be her fuzzy ears but her teddy bear button nose comes in at a very close second place.

I'll also type the blurb I composed quickly with my sketch, it may be hard to read since I used my camera to take a picture. (I hope to have a scanner soon!)

"Kali Mazoo Michigan was adopted from a family with 7 kids, 2 dogs, and one tabby cat. She was just a pup at the age of one - but her family went inside and outside constantly. Her favorite passtime was to escape out the door for a breath of fresh air by herself. Her favorite place to run to was the nearby golf course. This is when her rather large family decided that she needed as smaller home...

And that's when we found her and fell in love with her Terrier personality. So we safely attached her leash, and she walked out the door to her new home with us."

This will probably be the first of many Kali sketches, pictures, and stories. (I'd also like to watercolor her.)

If you've got a pet, give them an extra treat and tell them how much you appreciate them. They work so hard to please us!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Adding a Bit of Color to My Moleskine

Friday night was a quiet night at home that inspired me to get out my new watercolor set. After I set up my tray table, plugged in my trusty red Ipod into the stereo, and started the latest audiobook on my playlist, I was ready to use my half pan set. And I have to say it was quite relaxing to paint while listening to The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. (I'll write more about this book after I finish it, but I'm really enjoying this read.)

First, I made a palette on paper of the colors in my set -- just to test them out, so to speak. I didn't take any pictures of the color tests and mixes, but I do have pictures of my Watercolor Moleskine sketch after adding some color. The picture below shows my tray table full of space, but I made it work.

I had fun mixing the colors for the flower buds and was impressed at how the colors on the packet of seeds turned out. Below is a larger picture of the outcome.

And that was my Friday night. On Saturday my mom had the day off and we did a bit of shopping at the craft stores. And today, I still had the bargain bug and went to Office Max & Office Depot.
Here are some of my finds yesterday and today:
  • A 12 color set of Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils for 40% off. This will be a great starter set for me to begin with.

  • My other really great find was a mini set of 48 Crayola Colored Pencils for a whole $2.60!! It even came in a cool plastic carrying case with a mini pencil sharpener. Can't get a better deal than that!

  • Fleur-de-lis doodads! I've loved fleur-de-lis for years and suddenly you can find them everywhere. I'm starting to look for dangles to decorate my journals and to decorate other projects.
The weekend is great for bargain shopping and now garage sales will begin! To all those who spent their weekend like I did, I hope you also found some great bargains!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend before Monday begins!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Snowy Beginning for April

Today was a lazy day indoors. No venturing outside today. Instead I listened to Danny Gregory's Everyday Matters Podcast, surfed the Internet, and took pictures of North Dakota's snow in April from indoors. That's right...just when we think it is snows in April. I'm not even surprised anymore when it happens. It's like a rite of passage into Spring for the Midwest. And you have to admit, the snow in April is beautiful because it isn't as cold as in December or January. And you can't complain too much, because you know that it won't stick around for too long. Here's a picture of the tree outside my balcony -- loaded with snow.

I snapped the photo above around noon and watched outside my patio window as the branches became loaded with more and more snow. They were very weighted down at around 3 pm, but by 5pm the wind blew some of the weight off.

My snowy tree had a Springtime visitor, Mr. Robin. When he sat down in the middle of it all, I couldn't help but imagine that he was a bit disgusted with this snow, being that he's just flown up here for spring weather. A few moments later he even let out a sharp song, and in my mind he was proving that he was a bit peeved. Later he landed on the railing of my balcony, looked up at the remaindered nest settled in the drainpipe, and I saw him fly up to the nest. Maybe he's found a new home? At least a bit of shelter from the snow.

Today I started reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I'm no stranger to her wonderful books full of ways to unblock blocked creativity. The last book I read by her was The Right to Write, shortly after I graduated from college with my BA in English. I even did morning pages for awhile. Now that I am to work by 7AM on Monday through Friday, Morning Pages might be more of a challenge -- but I might give it a try again. Or see if I can, at any rate.

As far as surfing the Internet goes, I've been finding really cool websites and blogs out there! I'm gathering a list of friends' blogs and other blogs that I visit on a regular basis so I can add a list of favorite links to my blog. I also found and feel that I may becoming addicted to it. is like having a mini blog within your blog. Not necessary, but just fun.

Other random thoughts running through my mind:

  • I think I might begin collaging and working on other crafty-type projects.

  • I also have been dreaming of moving is all that seems to be on my mind. I live in a one bedroom apartment and feel like I'm outgrowing it in a hurry. Wouldn't it be wonderful to move into a small house or townhouse? With a couple extra bedrooms or basement I could have my own art/writing room!

  • My Dad has me thinking about selling used books, antiques, and/or other odd things on Ebay to make some some extra $$$. I might just do this on the side...I'm going to seriously think about it anyway.

  • Gotta take my garbage out. That means I have to get socks, shoes, and a coat on, empty all wastebaskets, and haul it out to the dumpsters. (Ah...gotta love apartment living! But I could be shoveling heavy, wet snow covering a long driveway belonging to my dream house instead -- so maybe it isn't that bad to haul out trash for now.)

  • I really should knock the snow off of my car and put it in my garage, but I'm not sure if I'm that ambitious tonight. I hear people spinning their tires outside. I think she'll just stay outside with snow on her tonight!

  • Only in North Dakota in April can you kill a spider indoors while it is snowing outdoors. :)

Have a great night!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Springtime Sketches

So, I have Spring Fever! For the last couple days I've been walking to work. This is the plan now. I only live across the street from where I work. And now that the weather is getting nice and that it is actually light out at around 7am when I go to work, the short walk is beautiful. And this morning I saw and heard my first Robin -- a sure sign of Spring! Soon the tree outside my patio will have leaves and that Robin I saw on my way to work this morning will probably try to start building a nest on the drain pipe on my patio. I live on the 3rd and top floor of my apartment building. Birds seem to try this every spring, and it never really works out well because there is no protection from that harsh Fargo wind. So as soon as they have a small patch of muddy grass plastered on the nook of the drain pipe connected to the roof, the wind picks up and blows all of their hard work to the ground below. But who knows, maybe this year will be different for the hopeful family of birds?

Over the weekend, my spring fever travelled to my sketchbook. I was looking at a gardening book at my parents' house and found some neat quotes that helped spark this sketch and made me remember my Grandpa's backyard/garden. When I was little, I remember my Grandpa planting Sweet Peas in March -- probably just around St. Patrick's Day. He had a trellis in his backyard, by the garden. Whenver I was playing outside, I used to check on delicate blooms and watch their progress up the little fence. I thought they were the most beautiful flowers -- and still do, really.

Yesterday I journeyed to Starbucks with my sketchbook, my Watercolor Moleskine, and I resketched so I can add a little bit of color with my new Winsor & Newton Half Pan set. I haven't gotten as far as painting yet, but will be sure to add the aftershot when I do! I want to try and make the color appear aged (on the packet of seeds and on the book), so we'll see how that goes. Below is my Moleskine sketch. Since this sketchbook is a bit smaller, I couldn't fit all of the quotes. I also realized that I need to practice lettering or Calligraphy.

What will I be sketching next? Here's a preview of my furry model... I want to do a sketch of my puppy, Kali Mazoo! Her side profile is so charming. Her fuzzy ears and teddy-bear button nose can melt anyone's heart! More to come later... Happy Sketching!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Joy of New Art Supplies

By Friday I finally chased down my Fed-Ex package from And although I haven't used my new Winsor & Newton Artists' Water Colour Compact Set yet, I've been admiring its beauty. It wasn't until today that I brought myself to opening the 14 colors wrapped in foil that made the tiny pans of color look like Pez candies.

Besides the beautiful compact set of watercolors, I purchased a Staedtler Pigment Liner set of four pens (0.1 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.5mm, and 0.7 mm). Since they are waterproof, they'll be great for using with watercolors. And along with my purchase, I got a free tube of SMALT (Dumont's Blue), which is a special edition Anniversary Colour. Out of curiosity I went to and found an excellent site! There are all sorts of interesting facts about the History of Pigments and about Winsor Newton products -- one of the best brands, IMO, for watercolors.

The picture above shows how the Compact Set unfolds and has palettes above and below the pans for mixing colors, and the little water holder moves from the middle where my thumb is and attaches to the side. This is a cute and dainty feature, but I'm not sure if that little water spot will be very effective -- it's pretty tiny. But overall doesn't it look perfect for gripping and mixing it up?

After making a pile of wrappers from the half pans, I took out a sketchbook and my new pens. I ended up with a rough sketch of a plant of Shamrocks and violets with a couple little birds nearby. After I've got a decent sketch of it, I'm going to add some color! It will be fun to test out the colors. I'll be new to using the half pans -- I've just used the tubes in the past -- but I know I'm up for the challenge and change. I'll enjoy using this little set and since it is compact, it will be easy to carry with me. Who knows, maybe this spring I'll take it outside and use it? Or maybe it will eventually travel with me overseas to Paris where I can sit and sketch and paint in the park by the Eiffel Tower. A girl can have dreams, can't she? :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Battle of My Muses

My Writing Muse and my Artistic Muse are at battle with each other lately and I feel pulled in both directions at once. I want to start writing creatively again, and have done so by creating a new writing journal. But even more so I feel the need to be artistic. In the last couple of weeks I've been sketching and surfing art blogs on the net and I'm really inspired! There are some amazing artists out there on the Internet and also amazing groups for artists! So I'm poking around in that area a bit more.

I also made a order last weekend, and to my disappointment I missed my Fed-Ex delivery with my purchases today. Let me just also add that if you are a working person, Fed-Ex isn't cool. At least with UPS you can go and pick up your missed delivery; whereas Fed-Ex just continues to drive around with your order. (Bleh.) So my new watercolor set and pens are probably sitting in a dark Fed-Ex truck as I type! *Sniff-Sniff*

Besides splurging on art materials, I also made a special trip to B & N for a large Moleskine watercolor journal and I've slowly been getting out my brushes and paints. I'll be posting more pictures of my new purchases and maybe even some sketches soon!

As for my poor Reading Muse, I think she needs some Ritalin because for the life of me I just can't sit down and read lately. I shouldn't say that because I have started reading Atonment by Ian McEwan and I am enjoying it -- but for some reason I can't seem to concentrate on reading for long periods of time like I'm used to doing. So -- Creatively I guess I need to quit trying to turn pages already filled with words and write, draw, or to paint up blank pages.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Happy St Patrick's Day!!

I-rish you a very nice place to live,
I-rish God's greatest gifts he'll give.
I-rish you health, and wealth, and more--
I-rish your smilin' face were at my door!

Being Irish, I love St. Patrick's Day! My Great-Great Grandparents on my mother's side came over from Ireland and it is a dream of mine to travel to Ireland someday!

When I was little, my grandpa always made St. Patrick's Day special for me and my brother. He made us green JELL-O, Grandma even baked Chocolate Chip and Pistachio cookies, and he even recited a few Irish Limericks. Some of which we laughed at and some of which Grandma chided him for without us really understanding why.

Grandpa told us great St. Patrick's Day tales, and we always listened in awe. But what really made it magical was when the Leprechans would come and visit him every year because he was Irish. They were always making a mess and playing tricks on him. When we asked where they were, he told us they were tricky fellows who were very hard to catch site of. He even described what one looked like to us and told us a story when he actually caught one pulling a trick on him. And to our amazement one year, they even rang the doorbell and left my brother and I an Irish surprise - Green candy of all kinds! *Wink, Wink* They must have felt bad for playing so many tricks on Grandpa :)

So Grandpa was our Leprechan, but he made us believe in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow -- and for that I'll always have fond memories of his great Irish spirit!