Friday, February 27, 2009

Life Gets in The Way

I feel like I have been away forever. We have all been down with varying degrees of head colds, sore throats, coughing and not sleeping through the night. This is especially hard on the little ones.
We have also been house hunting, which I find very fun. But it is very emotional and time consuming. DD thinks she has found another house that she would like to put an offer on, only this time she likes it much more than the other. The location is perfect for her and the yard is really nice. She and her Dad are going to meet a realtor there Saturday morning. I really want to go, but someone has to stay home with the girls.

I had the most unusual phone call yesterday. First some background - I took some "math tutor" posters to the local junior college in August of 2007 and an instructor friend of mine hung them on bulletin boards in the hallway and in the math help room. I never heard from anyone. Now to the phone call - I answered and a young man said, "Is this the math tutor?" You must understand that my son is always calling me and pretending to be someone else. At first I thought this must be him, but the voice sounded natural and not at all like his. At any rate, I am tutoring him on Saturday morning. He is in a Calculus class and would like some help.

Of course, the first thing I did was dig out my old textbook, thinking I'd better do some relearning, since I hadn't done any calculus in almost 2 years. What a wonderful surprise! I remember it all. I looked through the first 6 chapters and there was nothing that looked foreign at all. I had the notion that Calculus would be something you would lose if you did not use it, but it is just like an old friend. I am really looking forward to this session and hope it becomes a routine. It would be nice if he continued with the tutoring and told friends about it and I could get a few more students. I am thinking selfishly of the art supplies I could buy without dipping into the family budget.

I have to go pay property taxes today and go to the post office to mail the ATCs I am trading. I am hoping the baby will nap today so that I can do some painting. My art journal is calling to me. It has been too long since I worked/played in it. Yesterday when I put the baby down for her nap, I did a core workout with Cathe and then did 30 minutes on the treadmill at 5 degrees incline at 3.3 mph. If you are unfamiliar with Cathe, you should check her out. She is my favorite workout guru to date. Tomorrow is the last day of February and is weigh and measure day. I am excited and hopeful that I have lost more pounds and inches!

I workout with the iPod so don't hear much local noise while walking. Imagine my surprise when I got done to hear the little sobbing and calling, "Nana!" Certainly got no art done yesterday. She never did go back to sleep. She is a delight but such a busy little girl.

I am hoping to post some new art work tomorrow. I dislike posting a note with no pix, but it is surely better than not posting at all!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I am Still Here

Boy, things have been rough around here lately. The hubster is sick, the daughter is sick, the baby is just getting over being sick and still has a cough and runny nose. That means that I am not getting much art time these days.

I did spend some time yesterday while the baby was napping and made some ATC cards for a private swap. The person swapping said she likes unicorns, elephants, parrots and dancers. I find I much prefer hand drawn cards rather than collaged ones and hope she likes these.

I have also been trying to drawing something everyday. I haven't been posting them every day because some days I just don't get time to post and other days I don't think they are worthy of posting. That doesn't mean that I think the ones I do post are spectacular in any way, but I do think they show some growth in my drawing skill. I would still like to learn about shading and gesture drawing. I will have to keep my ear to the ground and see if I can find a class. I have read many library books, but think that in this instance I need more than I can do myself using a book.

I am coughing a bit as I type this and find it hurts my abs, my chest and upper back. It is a good pain, though. It means that my workout yesterday really did something. In the morning I did my upper body workout with my 5 lb weights and then did the uphill 30 minutes on the treadmill. Later in the day, I got out my balance and did a core workout with Cathe and then did her stretch on the ball. What a great workout!

I haven't been getting much sleep lately, so I have got to finish up and get to bed. As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sketching, EDM and CED2009

I have gotten sidetracked a couple of times in my art room this week; once to pickup/rearrange and once reading about 20 Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazines an art friend loaned to me. The cleaning desperately needed to be done. The perusing of the magazines began because I was waiting for a layer on a 4 x 6 card to dry. A couple of hours later I was interrupted by the baby's shout to be gotten up from her nap. It was a most delightful couple of hours I've had in a long time.

The house is quiet this evening and I am working on some art swaps I need to get in the mail. I have completed about half of my commitments, but in my hurry to get them in the post, I neglected to take pictures. Oops!

I have, however, been trying to sketch something every day and am posting them here even though they are not necessarily noteworthy, they keep me drawing. The drawing of the slip on was in response to a Sunday Smackdown from Voodoo Cafe and the rest were quick sketches of things I either saw online or in magazines that I was drawn (pun intended!) to. I know, I know "to which I was drawn".

I am also posting a really cute ATC I received in a personal swap with an art friend in Kentucky through the ATCsForAll site.

Meanwhile, the hubster and I are planning a week's getaway to the near south through the Smokies and into northwestern South Carolina. I am planning to take a sketchbook along with colored pencils and a small watercolor set and am hoping to try my hand at some gesture sketching as well as some drawing of stationary objects.

I will be taking my iBook with me, so hope to post while I am away.

The only thing about going south at this time of year is that I will have to shave my legs several months earlier than usual. In the far north (southern Michigan) there is no need to shave in the winter months. And in all honesty I am a redhead and don't grow much hair and what I have is very light. Nevertheless, I will get out the Nair and do a number on them and dig out my capri pants and sandals. I suppose I should get a pedicure, too.

I am still doing an upper body workout with 5 lb weights and doing a killer workout on the treadmill every other day and can't wait for the end of the month to weigh and measure again.

As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm Still Here

I don't know where the past few days have gone. The baby has a constant stream out of her little nose and is coughing, so she is not sleeping; which means that I am not getting my "art break" while she naps. Today was my day off, but I had an appointment with the CPA who does our taxes and had to go back in the afternoon to bring some things I had forgotten and I had to redo some of the reports I had brought her. I also went to Michael's to get some Xyron adhesive cartridges for my 5: create a sticker machine. They were 40% off. While I was there I also bought the brushes that are recommended for the Faces class I am taking in early March with Paulette Insall. I have been waiting for this class since early last Fall, and am thrilled to be taking it soon.

Needless to say all that running around didn't produce any art. When I left the CPA office for the second time, I headed to Meijers to do some grocery shopping, then came home and made meatloaf and baked potatoes for dinner. It is the 6 year old's favorite meal.

I am now in my room and have begun the background of the next double spread in my art journal. I also have a list of 8 things art related that I have to do. A couple of them are for organized swaps and the rest are for private swaps. I need to get busy.

I also found out today that I was a lucky winner for some lovelies from SkinnyLaMinx. I can't wait to see what I won. If you are not familiar with her, you should pop over to her blog. She makes some wonderful designs.

I hate to write a blog post and not have any pix to go along with it, so I will include a couple that I did last Fall. The first one is a background of my favorite colors and the other is a sketch I made while looking at a famous painting. Do you recognize it? I hope to have some new art soon which I will show you.

As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Where'd the Nice Weather Go?

Well, it is only February after all! We are cold and gray again. I really can't wait for Spring to arrive in all its wondrous glory!

I have finished another double page spread in my art journal and am really liking it. Sorry for the shadow at the top. I had to hold it to take the photo. I have been reading many blogs where many of the women feel they have been labeled either because of a job or an illness or something. And I gather from the writing that they are not comfortable being labeled. This made me realize how I work hard not to be labeled and brought about these pages.

I hope you like them. I am still exercising on the treadmill every day but Sunday and working out with 5 pound weights for upper body every other day. I am intending to get out my balance ball and do some serious core work with Cathe on DVD. She is a tough taskmaster and just what I need.

Happy Valentines Day. Remember to live in the moment!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

CED2009, Everyday Matters, and Whimsical Cat Swap

I had a very productive day today. I am still working out regularly on the treadmill and doing an upper body workout every other day. Today I went back to the program that I like on the treadmill. It is 30 minutes, the incline ranges between 6 and 8 degrees and the speed alternates between 3 and 3.5 mph. I love it. According to the machine there is a 245 calorie burn in that time. The instructions tell you to hang on while walking - duh!!?? I swing my arms and walk as naturally as I can. I think I am perhaps burning more calories because of that.

I also finished my whimsical cats for the swap on ATCs for All. I was thinking I would do a few a day and then mail them in well before they are due on March 15 (the ides of March, YIKES!). But once I got one done, I couldn't wait to try another and before I knew it, I had them done.

I've joined a new Yahoo! group called Everyday Matters. It is based on a Danny Gregory book and there is a weekly prompt for sketching. I think this might help me to keep drawing every day. I know I need the practice.

I haven't decided yet what I am going to do with the pages in my art journal that I posted yesterday. I am thinking that as much as I like doing backgrounds that maybe I would go ahead and do more of those and then go back to add to them when my muse comes back from lunch.

As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

A Wonderful February Day - 59 Degrees

I had a lovely day today (actually, I guess it qualifies as yesterday since it is after 1 in the morning of the next day). The hubster had to take some bluebird houses he built in to the dentist office this morning. One of the hygienists wanted to buy them. I also had a couple of insurance checks and a balance to pay. This gave us a great excuse to spanort about town.

Usually the hubster doesn't want to stop and shop around, but I actually got him (without any whining or pleading) to stop at Big Lots, Goodwill, The Dollar Store and Meijers. That was after he took me to Bob Evans for breakfast. It was a beautiful day so I only had a hoodie on instead of the usual winter jacket.

When we got home in the early afternoon, I brewed a pot of flavored coffee and we sat out in the screened porch in rockers in the sun. Ah, heaven!

I played a bit in my art room for much of the late afternoon. I finished up the background for the 10 whimsical cat drawings I am doing for a swap,

I began a two page spread in my art journal,

and I did a quick sketch of part of my hand holding my sketch book.

The hubster made a new recipe for dinner - chicken thighs with tomatoes and onions over linguine. It was delish!

Tomorrow is a work day (babysitting the grandies) so I'd better finish this up and hit the hay. As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

Monday, February 9, 2009

As the World Turns

Catchy title, huh? I can't help but be reminded how the earth tilts on its axis this time of year to get us closer to the sun. The sun actually has a lot of warmth in it as it shines through the car window, and if you can find a spot out of the wind, it feels heavenly to feel the sun on your bare skin - skin that hasn't seen the light of day without cover in a long, long time.

I am feeling hopeful that this long, snowy period may actually come to an end sometime within the next 6 or 8 weeks and am so looking forward to spending time in the open air. My body craves the warmth and fresh air after being cooped up indoors for far too long.

I began my day today by sitting on a stool in front of the mirrors in the bathroom and drawing a blind contour self portrait. I had read that these were usually simian in appearance and mine certainly fits that description. I am going to have to spend time with lots of different objects doing both blind contour and regular contour drawings until I begin to 'see' better.

I finally began to develop my background to be cut into 4 x 4 pieces for my whimsical cats. I have sprayed it with a dark green and a medium yellow so far. I think I need to add something darker and am thinking of a wine color - not much - maybe just filling a paintbrush and spattering it randomly.

I have an art friend coming over this morning and we are going to make a trip to Hobby Lobby and other points as yet undetermined. We will have lunch out and talk about art and other things. We were trying to get together a couple of times a month, but family health and holiday seasons got in the way. I am looking forward to a lovely day. Although it is only 23 degrees right now, the sun is shining and the predicted high for today is 48 degrees. YAY!

Don't forget to enjoy this time and live in the moment!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tough Times Hit Home

My son was one of 80 people laid off from his job today. I think he is planning to take advantage of this "one door closes, another opens" situation to go to school. How much longer can we wait for an economic turn around?

Meanwhile, I am trying to focus on the positive in my life also. I have gotten behind on my watercolor journaling class assignments, and spent a little time this morning to get a few done. These are really enjoyable, much more enjoyable than the color mixing ones.

I am also planning to finally make a background using some type of plastic wrap method on a large piece of watercolor paper that I will then cut into 4 x 4 fat pages so that I can begin my whimsical cats. I am so looking forward to this swap. I find cats fun to draw, especially when you get to be whimsical.

I intended to clean up/reorganize my art room yesterday, but spent all my cleaning time in the house proper - I just love a clean house. I am hoping to spend a couple of hours in this room before I begin my large background piece. I can be so much more productive when my surroundings are organized.

I am going to an open house tomorrow with my daughter. She is getting excited to begin her search for a home for herself and her two girls. The pictures online look really nice and it is quite close to a very good friend of hers with little ones that her girls like to play with.

The baby was up most of the night crying so none of us got much sleep. DD took her to the walk in clinic this morning and found that she had a double inner ear infection. Poor thing - no wonder she cried every time we tried to lay her down. We are all sleep deprived today. It is a gray windy Saturday, so a good day for a nap.

But first I have to do my upper body workout with 5 lb weights and then do my 30 minute, 200 calorie walk on the treadmill.

As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Voodoo Sketch Challenge

I subscribe to a great blog, Notes from the Voodoo Cafe, in which Rice is posting a challenge to sketch nearly every day. Today she had a photo of a hypodermic needle and a paper clip. I make myself draw with black pen instead of pencil. If I use pencil I erase and redo over and over until I am totally frustrated and the tooth of the paper is totally ruined.

I think my sketches are recognizable as what they are, but the size and perspective are pretty bad. This challenge thing is just what I need to get the juices flowing and push myself beyond just drawing what I usually do.

Thanks, Rice!

Please pardon the quality of the photos.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Journal Pages and CED2009

I am still working out on the treadmill each day except Sunday. I am trying to get 200 calories burned in 30 minutes. I really think I am burning more than that because it is figuring based on a person holding on and I always swing my arms while I walk. For the last two days I have been walking at 3.5 mph with inclines between 3 and 4 degrees and am meeting my goals. It sure feels good to be working out again!

I have completed a couple more 2 page spreads in my art journal. They both were very intuitive and really came about without any planning on my part at all. I am really surprised sometimes by the end product when I begin to play.

Tree of Life

Soul Journaling

Hoping to have more time to play tomorrow. I have some ATCs finished for a swap that I should get in the mail tomorrow and then I really must start on the whimsical cat fat pages. I need 10 of them in the 4 x 4 size.

As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Taking Flight Giveaway


Gotta give you a head's up regarding a wonderful giveaway at Jennifer Williams' blog. It is the book, "Taking Flight" by Kelly Rae Roberts.

Go over to her blog blueskysunburn to check it out.

I've been trying to reserve this book through the statewide library system, but they don't have it yet.

I've heard lots of raves about it from people who have it and now I really want a copy.

By the way, I finished a couple more pages in my art journal. I was thinking about my word for the year and persevere seemed to resonate. For one thing there are lots of wonderful words to be found in that word: preserve, serve, reserve, veer, peer, seer, verse...Of course, there are a few not so wonderful words also: perverse, pee, peeves.....

Anyway, I found myself drawn to all things red (maybe it has something to do with February and Valentines Day). I think these pages are a bit busy for me, but this is what happened when I let myself go, so I am keeping it.

Also, today is my brother Mike's birthday. I caught up to him for a couple of days, but today he turned 58. Interestingly enough, he catches up to our sister Molly until her birthday on March 6 at which time she turns 59.

As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog's Day and CED2009

It is the hubster's birthday today. I will make him a German chocolate cake later today. That is his favorite. Maybe while I am out today I will pick up some ice cream too.

I participated in a personal profile swap lately and posted a picture that I had drawn, but when I got the other person's card, it was digital collage. So I scanned my drawing and made a digital collage out of it. I think I like it.

I am planning a short trip with a girl friend today - perhaps I will get to Hobby Lobby for their 40% one item sale. I really want some colored Pitt pens.

For now I need a shower and then have to get the kindergartner ready for school and on the bus. I usually have Mondays off (that is why I scheduled a day trip today), but her Mom is working through Thursday. The good news is that she then has Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off, which means I have them off as well. YAY!

As for you, don't forget to live in the moment!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Books I've Read in January 2009

In December I decided to read 50 books in 2009. I have gotten away from reading fiction; most of what I read is related to learning something new - mostly art related.

This month I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the following:

1. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
2. No! I Don't Want to Join a Book Club by Virginia Ironside (seemed familiar - may have read it before)
3. The Kingdom Where Nobody Dies by Kathleen Hills
4. The Tenderness of Wolves by Penny Stef
5. Past Imperfect by Kathleen Hills
6. Hunter's Dance by Kathleen Hills

I have just begun Disappearing Act by Jodi Picoult so will include it as #7 in February.

Exercise Results, Award and CED2009

What a fantabulous day! I was a bit apprehensive to weigh in and take my measurements today because of missing almost 2 weeks of the treadmill workout due to injured knees, but I needn't have worried. I lost a whopping 4 pounds and 7 inches. I am thrilled and even more committed to do a treadmill workout every day but Sunday and do an upper body workout with my 5 pound weights every other day.

The Marie Antoinette
Real Person, A Real Award

On top of that, I was honored with a blog award from my dear friend, Brenda, of Crafty Chook. This is truly a great award. It is the Marie Antoinette, Real Person, A Real Award.

Here are the rules associated with this award:

1. Put the picture of Marie Antoinette on your blog.
2. Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3. Nominate at least 7 or more blogs.
4. Link to those blogs from your blog.
5. Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know you've shared the award with them.

This is so tough. There are so many worthy bloggers out there. Here are the ones I have chosen (in alpha order):

Kathryn Antyr
Karen Blados
Kristy Christopherson
Ricë Freeman-Zachery
Andrea Joseph
Patty Szymkowicz

Be sure to check these out if you don't already subscribe to them. They give me lots of inspiration and add to the sense of community in this world online.

Last but not least (at least I hope not) I have done another spread in my art journal and would like to share it with you. I am not getting much time in my art room these days, but am able to do a little every day. This one took two days (not because it is complicated at all) because I had the girls all day for the last two days. I have tomorrow and Tuesday off - can't wait!

As for you, don't forget to be creative!