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!