Saturday, September 29, 2012

In the Navy

I love my nieces and nephews very much.  I don't live anywhere near any of them, but we try very hard to see them as often as we can.  Just this spring we ran over to Wizard of Oz land to see my nephew's Eagle Ceremony (way cool) and this summer I took on two tweenagers for a couple of weeks.  It is important to note that one is a very sporty girl and one is a Twihard freakette.  Love them.

Last weekend my brother and his wife had a little get together for all of us before Navy Girl gets shipped off to Great Lakes Naval whatever.  Now, this just happened to be the week Swim Girl and her dad (Grocery Boy) were already planning on running down to STL for the Cardinal game.  That was on Thursday.  It was the only time they could go during his week off.  It figures.  So here is what that wonderful man did.  He went down to the game with Swim Girl on Thursday morning and drove back on Friday, arriving home around 3 pm.  Then, we went down for the party on Saturday morning and drove back with Swim Girl (she stayed with the parentals) on Sunday.  Gotta love that man.

Anyway, we had a lovely time having Thanksgiving in September since Navy Girl will be unable to join us at the normal time.  I highly recommend this approach.  I think the pilgrims screwed up.  The weather is better now, there aren't five million things to do right after Thanksgiving in September and well, you just don't feel pressured to do anything but eat.  I move that we change this holiday to the ninth month of the year.  Who's with me?

Yes, here is Navy Girl.  Enjoy that couch now kiddo!  I found out that you can't even have your own underwear at boot camp.  Navy issue.  I just know it will be granny panties.

Her wonderful, beautiful, amazing sister.  

Her other wonderful, beautiful and amazing sister.

The sweet cake her dad and mom got.  The insignia was really cool.  

And her best aunt in the whole world made this apple cranberry pie and hauled it all the way from Iowa to STL along with a caramel apple pie and cookies.  I know the most important parts of a dinner.

On the left, grandma and on the right great aunt.  It was great to see everyone.

That might or might not be Navy Girl's dorky aunt from Iowa.  

Monday, September 17, 2012


I am taking a cool art journaling workshop online called 21 Secrets.  It started in April and because I am so organized and in touch, I just started watching videos and practicing a week or so ago.  Hey, Swim Girl moved back home and I remodeled a bathroom and traveled and laid around outside all summer.  I was very busy.

Anyway, this workshop is hosted by a wonderful artist named Connie Hozvicka.  She has a cool site called Dirty Footprints Studio.  I love her just from the name of her site.  She has gathered together several different artists (um, I don't know, maybe 21?) and they all give us lessons on different aspects of the art world.  It might be technique driven, project driven or thought provoking.  I love experiencing all of the teaching styles and learning new methods.

That brings me to today's post.  I am learning to become FEARLESS.  In painting, that is.  I am still a weeny and I just got scared the other day when I watched Paranormal Activity 2.  And it was even still light outside.

To become FEARLESS in your art means just that:  go for it.  Trust me when I say that is scary.  A little over two years ago, I would have never even thought of doing a blog.  Why, I was embarrassed for people to see my scrapbook pages.  Then, I don't know, I must have gotten smacked upside the head by a heat gun or something and all of a sudden, I can't get enough of ART.  Who knew?  I didn't, that's for sure.

Maybe it stems from still being a kid at heart, but I love to get messy and play with all of my supplies.  It's probably a good thing that I teach preschool since that is my mind's age.  Doing art like a kid isn't a giant leap for me.  More like a baby step, I'd say.

Anyway, here is my first attempt at painting FEARLESS.  Thank you, Connie Hozvicka, for turning on that light bulb.  It has clearly illuminated a dim corner of my little pea brain.

You all know how I love me some bright colors.  I actually like the two greens together.  Regardless, I was able to use some very old tubes of paint in the process.  I think one even got thrown out, praise the Lord.  Now I can go buy more.  See how that works?

This went many places before it wound up here.  I won't bore you with the details, but I like where it ended much better than where it was going before it got here.  Got that?

Dude.  I tried adding chest hair, but I wasn't feeling it (I actually LOL'd), so he has lots of layers.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Playing with Baby #2

I finally broke Baby #2 out of her box.  It felt so good to start snapping away!  I is a happy woman.

I finished my little Halloween project.  I want you all to know that they were inspired by a wonderfully creative artist by the name of Junelle Jacobsen.  You can find her here.

You are not allowed to laugh at my little canvases.  The kitties look a little strange I will admit, but they are my first little kitties that I ever made in my whole life.  One is bumpy.  But they are my creations, so I adore them.  I am in love with the little ghosties.  There is a special surprise on each one.  I used some Glow In The Dark paint around the edges and on certain other things.  Can't wait to get that phone call from the parentals.  But it will be worth it.

Here are the kitties.  I had a heck of a time with those whiskers.  I tried everything and settled on paper.  He is paper pieced, painted and inked.

Here is Bumpy Kitty.  He wasn't this fat until I mistakenly added a green paint edge to him instead of the intended glow in the dark paint.  I had to cover that up and now he looks full of undigested mice!  Fatty.  My attempt at heavy bodied paint.  Now that's funny.  

I know it's silly, but I love his expression.

And here are the little ghosts.  I have actually been sketching a bit thanks to some videos I have been watching.  I love art classes.  

This guy reminds me of Charlie Brown for some reason.

The bag is washi tape on a piece of card stock.  I dotted on the candy with paint pens.  I have the oddest things just laying around the Batcave.

My first tree.

A scary trio.

I will let mom and dad pick the three they want and the others will decorate my home for Halloween.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Baby #2 and Doing Laundry

Update:  I finally found out about my baby.  My Canon EOS Rebel T3 baby.  I love my baby.  I take good care of it.   Well, except for that one time when it fell out of my lap onto the pavement.  I rarely go anywhere without it and I specifically buy purses that will hold it.  I will remove other things from my purse so that it will fit.  That is how much I love my baby.

I have a new one.  Apparently whatever I did to baby #1 was fatal.  They had to give me a brand new one.  And because they gave me a brand new baby, all bets are off with the old warranty.  It is used up.  Kapoot. I have to go in and buy a new warranty.  I hope I don't need it.  Don't count on it.

I am old school in a few ways and one of those is with the laundry.  I actually hang it up outside when I can.  I usually manage it for most of the summer and part of the spring and fall.  We have one of those nifty umbrella style clothes drying things that you stick in the ground, open up and voila!  You can hang clothes, let them dry and put it away.  I love this thing and I have been using it for years and years.  My husband put a piece of white pvc pipe into the ground and I just slide the tube of the clothes hanging thingy right into it and it stays nice and upright.  No leaning.  No worries if the ground is too soft from rain.  Works like a charm.  There is only one problem with this system.  Sometimes that white pvc pipe is dang hard to find.

I was looking for it yesterday.  My husband was directing me from the window.  He finally got frustrated and came out to show me where it was, dang it.  He couldn't find it either.  Now there are two adults out in the yard with their heads down, walking around the same small area.  We would bend over occasionally and brush the ground with our hands or swish a foot over an area.  We couldn't find the pvc pipe.  He was getting cranky.  I was getting embarrassed.  I got a hoe.  

Now there are two adults with their heads down looking at the ground.  One has the clothes drying thingy.  One has the hoe.  We are scrubbing the ground with this odd combination of items.  How much more stupid can we look?  I found it.  Finally.  But not before the entire neighborhood witnessed this humiliating display.  Sigh.

Now you see it.

Now you don't.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Because It's Iowa

Yesterday was a brilliant, windy September day here along the Mighty Mississippi.  Swim Girl and I grabbed  our jackets and headed down to the Farmer's Market and annual Beaux Arts Fair held at the Figge Art Museum.  We had a lovely time wandering through the markets and wound up purchasing a watermelon, some Lemon Dip (mix it with cream cheese, yum) and some funky, metal art for the yard.

I got this stapler bug for my dad.  His birthday is in November.  He will love it.

At the Beaux Arts Fair, I picked up some colored chain necklaces and had a wonderful conversation about textures with a local artist.  It was here, amidst all of this wonderful, big city culture, that I saw it.  The complete and utter recognition that we were, in fact, still in Iowa.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will let my pictures speak.

There are absolutely no words.

May I move, please.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Witchy Ladies

Surprise!  I have actually completed two little 4x4 inch canvases.  They are so cute!  I am working on a series of 3 that will be for Halloween.  I will gift my parents with one set of 3 and then, I get to keep one set. Yeah.

So, I bought a 9 pack of the fat 4x4 canvases at Michael's.  These are so adorable.  I prefer the chunky ones to the thin ones.  I don't know why.  Maybe because I'm chunky.

Anyway, I pulled out 6 of them and since I was going to dry brush them with pale violet and pale green, I went ahead and applied a layer of gesso.  You don't have to do this because most canvases like these are primed.  I just like to do it because I am a control freak.

I've actually been practicing my sketching.  I am no artist, but sketching is starting to be a necessity for some of these little projects.  I wanted to paint and sketch some of these things this time.  Big gulp.  Here goes.

Bling Witch

Ta da!  Here she is!  I paper pieced her hat and added some bling.  

I pulled some burlap threads, tied them with another burlap thread and hot glued it onto the tip of her hat.  I drew in the critters with my wonderful doodle pen that I adore.

Okay.  I couldn't help it.  There need to be more curly haired witches in the world.

Gray Witch

I know, I know.  It's a completely boring name, but I couldn't think of anything else.

I think the doodle details are the most fun.  Sorry about the glare, but I still don't have my baby back.  This was take with a great little p/s with a Leica lens.

Now you know why I called her Gray Witch.  I used my new Derivan Liquid Pencil for her hair.  It is yummy and comes in permanent and rewettable.  Yikes!  I may need some more colors.

So, there is a peak at my little witches.  Next up...oh wait.  I don't want to tell you.  I will give you a little hint.  Lots of black.  That's all.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Something's Stirring

UPDATE:  I finished one project, a wedding card, but forgot to take pictures.  Sorry.  I just ran off a couple of copies of the invitation, cut them up, mod podged them onto a folded piece of watercolor paper that I had painted on a little.  Then I did some watercolor flowers over that, put the names on the front, messed it up a bit, wrote something inside with my new Derivan Liquid Pencil (yum) and stuck a check into it.  It was okay, but could have used more focus.

I still miss my baby.  She isn't back yet from her maintenance visit.  I wish that they would call.  Soon.

There are some things flying around in the Batcave though.  They are a little unformed as of now, but I have a couple of sneak peeks for you.

I will give you one little hint.  These little guys are for a little later in the fall.

What would I be doing with cut up pieces of paper and a watercolored piece?  Hmmm.  Not sure yet, actually.  I just hope it works as it is for today.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Girl, One Old Lady and a Cube

Moving.  Yes.  How I love to help my children move across the country.  The only good thing I can say is that Alaska Girl and Computer Boy have never requested our help moving.  Yet.

Swim Girl had done her homework and reserved one of those pod-like cubes.  I think that hers was called U Pack.  She had done as much packing as was possible, but you know how it goes.  There was still a lot to do.

Here is how this works.  You reserve the cube.  They deliver it on the day requested.  You pack it.  You provide the ginormous lock and lock it up.  You call them.  They pick it up.  They call you to let you know when it will be delivered to the new place.  They drop it off.  You unpack it.  You call them.  They pick it up.  Easy.

How cute.  Look at the little cube.  Note how close the little cube is to the curb.  This will factor prominently into my story.

We haven't even started and she looks cranky.

We have to do what?

It is a great idea and all very easy except for one little thing.  You pack it.  Now, imagine two women; one with a new knee, bad back, sore arms from the face plant in NYC and just generally old parts, doing this.  Kinda makes you laugh out loud doesn't it?

Luckily for us, there weren't too many heavy things to move.  Mattress, box springs, two dressers with glass fronts (yikes), couch, table.  The rest was boxes.  Swim Girl lived on the lower level and I was able to just put the boxes on the ground off of the patio.  Cool.  I am not sure I would yet be recovered if she had lived on the 3rd floor.

She had mapped out how things would fit.  After two trips to various stores to gather the correct supplies, we were ready to load.  Uh huh.  The mailman had to help us with one of the freakin' dressers.  Jeez.

Now, fast forward to around 9:30 pm.  It is dark and we are still finishing up with the last item:  the box spring.  We wrap it up in bubble wrap and a big plastic bag.  Unfortunately, this makes it so slick the girls (her wonderful roommate, Teacher Lady, helped) couldn't grab it.  Luckily they thought of grabbing a couple of beach towels and they slipped those under each end.  Voila.  Movement.  Until we get to the stairs.

Bear in mind that by this time I am hurting so badly that I am not sure I will be able to walk the next day.  Therefore, I am basically useless.  I did hold the flashlight.  The girls managed to get the box spring up the one flight of stairs, out the door and up the outside steps to the sidewalk.  They walked it up to the cube.  Then we attempted to put it on top of all of the rest of the stuff.  It should have worked.  I mean, we used a tape measure and everything.  What we didn't realize was that the cube was next to the end curb of the parking lot.  We couldn't swing that door open far enough to get the full width of the unit.  Very heavy sigh.

Picture the three of us outside, in the dark, trying to lift this thing up and onto the top of everything else.  I held the flashlight again.  Many attempts later, we just decided to stick it in the very front of the rest of the stuff, shut the door and hope that the box spring wouldn't break into pieces.

(I really wanted to take pics of this part of the move, but I was afraid that Swim Girl and Teacher Lady would throw things at me.  Heavy, hurtful things.  There are no pictures.)

Because I am brilliant, we had a nice, comfy hotel room waiting for us at the Hampton Inn.  We got there around 10:45.  We had to get up at 5:15  because Swim Girl was still working and everyone knows that swimmers love early mornings.  I had to take her so that I could get back to the apartment and start cleaning and organizing the last of the things.  I get more mommy points here.

We left her place sometime after 4pm, drove 6 hours with a drugged cat and stayed somewhere in Kentucky, I think.  Or maybe it was West Virginia.  I know that we took the more mountainous route because we wanted to 'see' the sights.  Hard to do that in the dark.  Harder still to drive in the rain while they are working on the highway the whole freakin' time that you are driving in the dark.  Did I mention that this is the last time I help her do this?  At least until the next time that she moves anyway.

Something I can do.  Clean!

This is all that is left to box up on the day we leave.  Not too bad.  Swim Girl did a great job!

Swim Girl and Teacher Lady

This is what the packed pod looked like.  Note the box spring just fits.

Home at last.  Now, who is doing the unpacking?  Not I, said the mommy.