Friday, July 30, 2010

A day in my life

Happy Friday, people. It has been a weird ole week around here. No favorite things to report today. Instead I give you a peek at my visual diary for Wednesday - when the weirdness began (if you click on the image above, you should be able to see a larger version). 

Anyhow, here's to weekends and fresh starts on Monday!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toof Pain

Crying Pulled Tooth 6x6 acrylic painting by Jelene

Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday, loyal readers. I had some dental work yesterday that kicked my butt so I was down for the count. My friend actually witnessed me drool on myself yesterday as the numbness was wearing off, and I was slurring my speech like a drunken sailor.  My mouth feels a bit better today, but geez. I don't know about you, but as I get older going to the dentist seems to be more and more of a pain in the toof.

How cute is this crying tooth painting? More tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July Giveaway Winner

Hi all! I'm here with a short post today to announce the July Giveaway Winner! Number 55 on my mailing list mallorym! Mallory, I'll be emailing you soon!

Thanks for playing everybody. Sorry for such a short post today. My internets and phone went down this afternoon for about 3 hours so I was unable to do a thing! I'm always shocked at how dependent we are on the old interwebs.

More tomorrow..

Monday, July 26, 2010

faux bad

I have no idea why this song was stuck in my head the other day. Does that ever happen to you? And why is it always the really bad songs that get stuck in there?

I danced to this song at my 8th grade dance - with my date, one of the only dudes in the entire school who was as tall as I was. He'd had a skateboarding accident the week before and had broken his femur. But for this song, he put his crutches in a corner and leaned all of his 6 foot tall, 120 pound frame on me so we could sway to a little Ozzy. I think this was kind of 'our song' for the whole 2 weeks that we dated or something. So cheesy.

With the song and that memory running through my head I had to look at the video. Wow. I just love how the 80s was full of faux badness. The ripped jeans, the huge mullets, the freaky 'badass' faces like Ozzy mugs in this video, dudes in eyeliner. A tiny part of me wishes this brand of bad would make a comeback.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Favorite Things Friday : Canada Edition

We just got back from an exciting little jaunt up to Whistler, Canada. Our close friend owns a time share up there and was kind enough to ask us up for stay. I'd never been to Whistler in the summer. It was beautiful, and the people watching was just as satisfying in the summer as it is in the winter - all those crazy winter snowsuits were replaced by equally interesting summer attire.

So this week I give you a list of my favorite things from O Canada:

1. Motherboard leggings by Douglas Coupland for Roots Canada. There is something about these that completely appeals to my inner geek. I'm going to watch these because I am sure that they will be on sale - because no one but me would probably ever buy them.

2. McVitie's Chocolate Digestives. I know you can totally buy these in the US, but I have to have them in Canada whenever I go. 

3. Not getting eaten by a black bear. We had a close encounter with a baby black bear while there. It sauntered up to us as my hubby was handing our kid a cookie. In the bear's defense it looked nothing like this hideous sculpture

4. Dominoes: on this trip we were introduced to the dominoes game "Mexican train". I have no idea why it is called that but it was fun - we played every night and I discovered that making my hubby drink a lot of beer made him less likely to win. So I guess Kokanee should go on the list too.

5. Winegums. Why don't we have winegums in our candy aisle? Probably because they have the names of alcoholic beverages printed on them! For goodness sake. I ate an entire bag on the drive home.

6. New sweatshirt. If you know me in person you have also become acquainted with the black hooded yoga sweatshirt I wear about 4/7 days a week until someone wipes their little nose on me or smears hummus on it. Get ready because it has a new friend! 

By the way, the headless mannequin creeps me out! As a kid I had a really vivid dream once that my mom turned into one of these, but could still talk even though she didn't have a head or a mouth. Still creepy all these years later. But the sweatshirt? Divine. 

And with that I bid you a happy weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'll take Holland

17 years ago today, I walked out this door and left a big piece of my heart behind.

It was on this day all those years ago that I said goodbye to Holland and the people who had been, and who had become, my family during my stay. I hadn't planned on becoming an exchange student after high school. But a year that had kicked my ass in many ways left me looking for an opportunity to get as far away from my hometown as possible - and becoming an exchange student seemed like a good solution. I filled out some paperwork and sent it off, not knowing if or where I'd get to go.

This was pre-internet days (can you imagine?) so I just had to wait for an old fashioned call or a letter. It was a long summer. One super hot eastern Washington day, while working at the front desk of the city pool the phone rang. A man from New York was asking for me. He informed me that the agency had two families left and I could pick. One was in Holland and the other in Czechoslovakia. The only information the guy had was that the family in Czechoslovakia kept chickens and that the Dutch family had two cats. Armed with that super important information I made a quick decision - "I'll take Holland" I said. On the other end of the phone he shuffled through some papers and read me the names of the people who would be my family. I still have the paper, all the names are horribly butchered and wrong.

On the other side of the globe, my Dutch sister had just returned from an exchange of her own in the United States, one that didn't go so well. She felt that one way to redeem her less than great experience was to have an exchange student in her home and help that person have a better time. That kind of attitude is just one of the many things I grew to love about her.

Little did I know when I saw her emerge from the car that day to take me "home" that I would name my firstborn after her (or that she would name her firstborn after me). Or that the art lessons that the family gave me for my 19th birthday would ignite a spark in me to make art for the rest of my life. Or that some of the friends I made that year would still be with me all these years later. That year I spent in Holland was like a really exquisite dessert I'd been waiting for my entire life. Even though there were bumps and difficulties during my stay - looking back now I can only remember the wonderful, delicious parts. And there were many. To say I am grateful for that experience doesn't even sum it up.

Half my lifetime ago, I walked out this door with my life completely turned around, and took a whole new person home.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Year of Handmade: progress report

Last week was my step- dad's birthday, and I decided that I should stick to my 'year of handmade' challenge. He is a big BBQ enthusiast so I made some different dry rubs that I found in The Joy of Cooking. It was a fun, easy project to do with my kiddo. I also made some horrible, yet homemade BBQ sauce that got chucked right down the garbage disposal. To round out the gift, I broke down and bought a nice bottle of wine. So, not a complete success with the 100 % handmade, but it is a start.I think I am learning that I better stick with things I know are going to work out or start way, way early!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sleepytime Gal

No Favorite Things Friday today, friends. I've worked myself into a stupor this week - staying up too late, getting up too early, keeping up too busy in between the getting up and going to bed.

My grandpa always feel asleep listening to a huge stack of records. The guest room was right next door to his room so when I stayed over, I feel asleep listening to stuff like the song above. No wonder I have such a soft spot for music like this.

I guess I do have a favorite thing to share today...  a nap, which I am going to take right after I press the 'publish post' button at the bottom of this page. See you next week!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From my desk

As promised, here is a little peek at some new stuff I am working on at the moment. I've been playing around with pencils and patterns and just trying to let the wackiness flow a bit more. I've been longing for those days in my past (again) when I just made stuff just 'because'. Without thinking 'will someone buy this' or 'would someone hang this in their kitchen'? Etc. 

It is hard to explain but going to art school, and then design school, and then doing freelance design/illustration can at times suck all those core creative urges right on out of me.  Inasmuch as I am thankful for all that I have learned and been able to practice - I always come back to that need to just make art.

That's what I'm hoping you'll see here over the summer. No thinking - just doing. 

I think.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Etsy Wall Wednesday #9:

Music To My Ears  $40 18" x 12"  
{ High Quality Digital Print by Pam Wishbow }

Photographic Memory $20 8.2" x 11" 
{ Digital Print on archival paper by Zara Picken }
Matchbox Cars Case $20 8.5" x 11"
{ Print of original gouache painting by Amanda Kindregan

Beer $15  11.25 x 17 { Original Silk Screen Poster by Fred DiMeglio }

Happy Wall Wednesday one and all. I'm pretty much in love with all of these images found this week on Etsy. No real theme this week, maybe subliminally just things that make me happy: music, taking photos, playing with toys, and beer.

Take a hop over to these talented folks' Etsy shops or say hello on their blogs - what a super amazing bunch!

Back tomorrow with a sneak peek from my drawing table. Until then, hope your day includes one of the above.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July Giveaway Time!

I haven't done a giveaway in months! Sorry folks - my bad. In honor of summer (I'm still debating weather or not it really is summer in my corner of the world) I'm giving away a copy of Shine from my "Friendly Little Reminders" series. No matter where you live, this sunny little number is guaranteed to brighten up an otherwise sunless corner in anybody's home or office.

Shine is a  8 x 10 inch giclee (pronounced zhee-klay) print. Professionally printed in the US of A, on Legion Entrada Rag Bright 290 (a fine art, 100% cotton paper) and with Vivera Archival Inks, giving it an archival rating of 150 years. It will slide easily into any 8 x 10 inch frame (not included), leaving no excuses for blank boring walls. Shown here in the Room Essentials 8 x 10 frame available at Target for $17.00.

I'll be drawing a name from my newsletter subscriber list on Friday, July 15. Get your name on the list HERE! Volume 2 goes out Thursday!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Thrifty Treasures Party

Last week I ran across the fun blog Southern Hospitality and learned of their feature called "Thrifty Treasures Party" - bloggers from all over post photos of their recent thrifty finds. It is so much fun to see all the stuff people find and how it differs region to region. I had to join the party!

Here are my most recent treasures, some from a jumbo junk shop in Eastern Washington and some from the local Value Village. 

King and Queen salt and pepper shakers (above). They were marked as being from Japan in the 40s, and are HUGE. The King stands about 8" tall. He caught my eye first, with his wispy mustache and shiny crown. I had to rummage around to find his queen. She was on a completely different shelf. Reunited, and it feels so good. $12.

Russell Wright Creamer & Sugar Bowl with wooden lid. I had never seen this set with a wooden lid, most are ceramic. After doing some research I'm pretty sure it was added by someone else but I really love the wood and pink combo. $15 for the set

Russel Wright Pink cup and saucer. I love love love this cup. My morning cappuccino looks even better in it. $10

More men's shirts for my Year of Handmade challenge. Let's just say I had to go back to the drawing board on my project - thank goodness there are lots of men's shirts out there. These are very heavyweight 100% cotton Abercrombie shirts. Nice and boxy which means plenty of fabric. $6 / each

T-shirts for re-purposing. I have been loving Dana Willard's blog, Made. Dana is genius, and her ideas have been keeping me up late at night. She uses tee shirts and etc. to make adorable clothes for her kids. Her site is full of easy to follow tutorials for both boy and girl clothes. Since my kid has a wardrobe that would make SJP jealous, I am going to make some t-s for me. My seam ripper and I have been taking apart some of my favorite old shirts and making patterns. Exciting! $2-6 / each

That's it! This week promises to be another good one. Coming up: The Monthly Giveaway, A sneak peek at my next new print, Wall Wednesday, and other goodness. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Favorite Things Friday!

It is that time of the week again, folks! Time to recap some of my favorite stuff from this rather busy, fulfilling week.

1. Friends. I got to catch up with some of dearest pals this week and it was beyond lovely. I also witnessed my kiddo play with a preschool pal at the park this week. It was a huge milestone for her and so sweet to watch them talk and play together. Thank you miss Abby! Here's to friends old and new! These  adorable friends for your wine bottles by Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object caught my eye this week as well.  I have been a fan of Sarah's for years - all of her stuff is just plain awesome. Such an inspiration.  

2. Sewing. I've go so many projects going through my head after yesterday's Year of Handmade post, I had a hard time sleeping last night.

3.  Dining al fresco. I got to eat outside a lot this week and it is hands down one of my favorite things to do.

4. Penny pinching. Yep. you read that one right. After our budgetary meeting this week I was forced to think on a budget since we are saving up for some big ticket items (new car, new roof, and a studio) I have been shocked and plain grateful for all the creative ideas I am having as I (begin) embracing living on less dinero. I may be short on change, but not on ideas! Woot!

5. Popsicles. My big daily treat this week. Mine came from the store in a moment of desperation but you can find lots of DIY popsicle recipes here.

6. The Library. For having air conditioning and so very many ways to daydream an afternoon away.

What made you happy this week?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Year of Handmade begins!

Yep. I was serious about those resolutions. This morning I dusted off my birthday calendar to address Mid-Year Resolution # 2 (send cards to family and friends) and realized that I have a few birthdays coming up for friends who I love giving gifts to. As I sat there I thinking about Resoultion #3 (give only handmade gifts) I thought, "why not start now?" Delayed gratification has never been my thing. 

So, off to the local  St.Vincent de Paul for a few men's cotton dress shirts. What will they become? I'll show you next week. They mark my official beginning of a Year of Handmade Gifts.

The dreaded "budget talk" happened last night and while it wasn't as bad as I anticipated I think this Year of Handmade Gifts challenge makes monetary cents (haha) along with just feeling a heck of a lot more meaningful. My brain is going nuts with possibilities, and I think I'm going to become better friends with my serger and sewing machine. Whoo-hoo!

For those of you who tune in for my art stuff - I realize it has been lacking in the past weeks. I'm very busy with freelance projects at the moment (theater poster mania!) - so you'll be seeing a bit more of this kind of stuff for a bit. Think of it as the stuff that keeps my creative juices flowing when I can't spend hours behind the computer. Stay tuned though - I will be adding new stuff to my shop - that is all just taking a bit longer right now. 

I hope you'll enjoy reading about this handmade challenge as the year goes on!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mid-Year Resolutions

I'm not a big one for New Year's resolutions. Too much pressure, and besides - I'd rather stay up late sipping on fancy booze and wearing ugly hats than make some unattainable list of goals that I'll forget by the time I'm downing that entire heart shaped box of Valentine chocolate. Whoops.

But lately, I've been feeling the need to set some goals, and it dawned on me that I could make some mid year resolutions. So much less pressure this way. And somehow goal setting seems so much more exciting in the midst of summer rather than the dead of winter. I'm sharing these here with you partly for your entertainment and partly to make myself accountable! I'll report back here on my progress.

So, here goes:

Numero Uno: Get a calendar that fits in my purse.

Ok, that sounds easy enough doesn't it? Read on. I've been having a major calendar issue for about the last 5 years. Do you want to know my problem? I can't find one that has 'good enough' typography. I'm serious! So, because of this I live in an overshceduled world full of forgotten appointments and general anxiety. So, like a good designer I designed my own day planner, and it worked for a while but the darn thing didn't fit in my purse. So, back to the drawing board. Still not sure how to solve this one. Make one or just buy one, even though looking at it will probably burn Times New Roman shaped holes in my eyeballs. Any thoughts on this one would be appreciated. Because right now the system I have going on makes about as much sense as this lego calendar. 

 2 Send birthday cards to all of my relatives and close friends

This is anther lofty goal. I have a huge family and a lot of friends I love - and that is a lot of cards. But recently, my brother in law commented on how much it meant to him to get cards in the mail and it really struck me. It is such a simple gesture that really does mean a lot. So he'll be getting something like this lovely letterpress "you are rugged and manly" card from DudeandChick.

3 Give only handmade gifts

Yep - I'm setting the bar super high right there. I'm still not sure how committed I am to this one, but if I can pull it off I think it would be awesome. I've already started planning for Christmas and I think it is doable. My goal would be to start with Christmas gifts and go from there,  working ahead of schedule (so unlike me) and stockpiling home made goodness for birthdays that fell after Christmas. Maybe some of you will be getting gumdrop lollipops.

4 Sell more stuff & embrace marketing my work.

Pretty self explanatory. If I want to keep bringing home the crafty bacon, I need to find a way to market my work that doesn't feel like drudgery. I will be looking for ways to get my work out in front of people, and will be sending out that newsletter I promised to send out monthly! Yes. I. Will.

 5 Start the process of designing our outdoor studio.

We are having a big 'money talk' this week, and I think one of the budget items that might be slashed is renting my studio. I'm a bit sad about it, but saving that money and building something on our property would be beyond wonderful. So, I need to bust out my high school drafting skills, research building permits, and start pricing materials. This design by Modern Shed will be a jumping off point. 

Wow. I think I need some fancy booze now. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Giddy Up

Hi everyone! Just a quick hello from blog-town. It seems like summer has finally (finally!!) found my corner of the globe. Unless you live in the Pacific Northwest you probably won't understand why this makes me so giddy. I'm so happy that my brain is doing a stupid dance like Bobby and Elaine here - hey, I never said it was pretty to look at. Nothing could make me combine super fringe with disco track pants, however.  This is just crossing a line.I do like the way Bobby's head gets completely covered in fringe at the end. Sexy.

More tomorrow, peeps.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Favorite Things Friday!

Time again for another Favorite Things post. Here are a few things that made me feel happy this week:

1. Fresh Strawberries. They are in season in my part of the world, and I helped polish off an entire flat of them this week. We got ours from Spooner Farms.

2. Professional House Cleaning. I treated our house to a day of pampering, and wow. I never thought paying someone to scrub your neglected showers could feel so liberating. Thank you, Joyfully Clean

3. Russell Wright Pottery. I scored a few vintage pieces at a large antique mall last week at ridiculously cheap prices. I love the way the cup feels in my hand.

4. Grandmothers. Both of mine. I got to see and visit with one last week in my hometown, and this week, my other grandma turns 93! Happy Birthday Grandma! I love you. (The wonderful grandma doll is one of Mimi Kirchner's wonderful creations, visit her etsy shop here - someday I aspire to own one of her amazing pieces).

5. Hostess cupcakes. Which I used to make the three hour train ride with my little kid a success. Bribery, people - works every time. Lean how to make your own Hostess knock-offs here.

Happy Week- ending! See you next week!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Get Away

There are a number of reasons this song has been running through my head in the last week:

1. I took a little break for the cold, bleak, lame excuse for summer weather in Sea-Town and headed east, to my childhood hometown.

2. While the weather in my hometown was awesome - the music on the radio was not. I listened to my fair share of songs like this one.

3. Which took me way back in time to my first ever live concert - Chicago - in 1985 at The Gorge, that pivotal summer right before I started public school. Yikes.

4. And like the song says " Even lovers need a holiday / Far away, from each other". I needed a break from you, dear blog. But today I sing this song to you, in my cheesiest Peter Cetera voice - "I will make it up to you! I promise to!"

5. And finally, after watching this video - I think the song will be stuck in my head for a good long time thanks to all that crazy neon, the plasticine look of Peter Cetera, and the huge paintings of ladies flipping off the camera with their Virginia Slims.