Saturday, January 31, 2009

Art Unraveled and stuff

I got word this morning that registration information for Art Unraveled is up on the website. Here is part of the note from Linda:

the Register page and Registration form are now available on the website. The first postmark date is the 10th of February (3rd for those of you outside of the U.S.) and we begin opening envelopes on the 23rd which allows 13 days for the U.S. mail to reach us....Again this year, if you send envelope art instead of a plain envelope, your name will be entered into a drawing to receive a prize. The envelope art will be displayed at AU as always...

So head on over and check it out!

On a different note, I slept like a rock last night. The best nights sleep I've had in days. I went to bed around 9:00 last night and got up about 5:00. Spent some quiet time alone and then headed out by 6:00 to go walking with my step-dad. He has a route mapped out of about 4 miles. It was pretty cold out.. around 40, but I was bundled. It was nice walking in silence in the dark all morning. We got back just as the sun was starting to come up. We're planning to go to the park later this morning so the boys can ride bikes. I'll take my journal for some time alone writing while Mom watches the boys ride. Now it's time for breakfast.

Friday, January 30, 2009

back at it

Well, my foot, while it hasn't healed completely, I can now walk normally and walked this morning for the first time in over a week. I'm SOOOOO glad to be back out. Riding a bike just doesn't cut it for me.

I've been spending a lot of time on the telephone lately just with life stuff. We have a family counseling appt. this afternoon and then the boys and I are going to spend a relaxing weekend with my mom! I'm sure I'll get in a few good Scrabble games. There's also a really nice park by her house so I'll have a nice place to walk tomorrow. I need some alone time with my journal. Gotta' finish gathering clothes and stuff...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


OK, so I finally caved and went to do a little shopping out of sheer desperation. I got on the scale this morning and I've lost a total of 23 lbs. and I'm now in a size 6!!! Haven't worn this size in more years than I can count. So, I went shopping... second hand. I'm a bargain shopping girl. I found a pair of jeans (look brand new) , a pair of cute Liz Claiborne khaki cropped pants (she's my favorite designer for my body shape), a pair of pants to work out in, and 4 tops for a grand total of.....$60.00!!! YIPPEE!!! I LOVE the rust colored shirt and can't wait to wear it. Maybe I'll model my new stuff and have Sam take pictures for me! LOL!

I just picked kids up from school and am now going to eat lunch, finally.. and then do laundry and some other clean up stuff.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just life

Well, I realize I haven't written in a couple of days. My life is taking new turns, decisions being made that are really hard and scary... that kind of stuff. I've spent quite a bit of time online researching some thing and looking for job openings as the salon situation being done here at my home is just not going to work out. I need to find outside employment. It feel discouraging looking because all I've ever done is hair and all I want to do is art.. something creative. I know I'm very good at organizing and administrative stuff. I love planning craft/art programs for kids and love teaching kids and adults but with the economy in such a state, what kind of job can I find utilizing this stuff? I mean, I spent 10 years being the craft coordinator for Vacation Bible school at church where I'd plan, order, prepare, write instructions, organize, distribute, teach, etc.. for 250 kids on a very, very limited budget. I'm very good at that sort of thing. I love brainstorming with people coming up with plans and programs. I one of those weird people that loves meetings! :) Anyone want to hire me?

Anyway... Yesterday, I spent several hours planning Bible study and the art projects for the next 3 weeks then going down to the church to set up for class. I then had a counseling session in the afternoon. Chuck and I both had one in the evening so it made for a long day.

The situation with my foot after my dermatologist visit has been discouraging and is taking a while to heal. It really put a damper in my walking regime. Yesterday I rode my bike and it felt good. I'll go again tomorrow. I did manage to walk down to the school to pick up kids today, be it very slowly. Chuck was gone with the car so I had to do it. No one else was bringing them home! When you are mom, you just do what you have to do.

I desperately need to do some cleaning in my house. I've been gone so much, it's seriously neglected. I have some things I need to do out and about again tomorrow and my boys have early release. UGh, I just walked down the hall still trying to chase my kids in bed and saw a giant pile of clean laundry on my bed that I'd forgotten about. Now I can't go to bed until I put them away. Yeah, just what I want to do after a really long day.

I am a few days behind posting my daily photos on my other blog too. Yikes! Need to take care of that!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

3:00 a.m.

Yes, I have been up since 3:00 a.m. I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. Spent quite a while talking to God, hashing out some things in my life, decisions that are being made, decisions that have to be made, etc... and then finally turned on the light to read for a while.

The sale of Zippy went through successfully so we are now down to one vehicle, which really creates transportation problems. While I just had a counseling appt. on Thursday, I have another one this morning (I told ya'll my life is in crisis) but Chuck needs the van so, my mom is coming over to stay with the kids and my step-dad is taking me to counseling. Mom and Dad to the rescue. I'm very thankful.

I'm also thankful that my bestest buddy, Fran's husband happens to be a Dr. because last night, I noticed that my foot, which I have been limping on since seeing the dermatologist on Thursday, had a red line running from the area cut on at the Dr. office and it was pretty swollen. I photographed it, sent it to Fran, and her hubby looked at it for me. A Dr. visit from home! LOL! I really just needed to know if I should be going to Urgent care or not. He said that obviously some infection was setting in and I'd probably need antibiotics. I just happened to have some, which he said were the right kind to do the trick. So, I took one last night, soaked my foot in epsom salt, and it does look better this morning although the red line is not completely gone. I'll soak it again in a bit and take another pill. I have to tell you that this being crippled sucks for my walking routine! I feel like I'm dying to walk. I'm even considering the possibility of find crutches and going out using those! That's called desperation! I am going to do some yoga today though. That will at least keep my muscles worked. I'll do whatever I have to do to keep from gaining my weight back. Not gonna' happen.

So, I'm not sure what is going on for the rest of the day but I suspect a nap will be needed later on. What is everyone else doing today?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Well, I had my dermatologist appt. today. I'm thankful that he did not want to do any biopsies however, he burned so many pre-cancer places off my arms and the back of my hands that the blisters cause me to look like I have leprosy. And they hurt! GROSS! He finally looked at me and said that there are so many places that are an issue that we will wait until my arms heal and then, on Feb. 1, I have to start using a chemo cream on my arms and legs for 2 weeks. Thankfully, it's still long sleeve weather because he warned me that it may not be pretty. It will only look bad if the skin is damaged.. which mine is. So, I'm not looking forward to that. He also injected cortisone in a couple of scars that needed some attention. I'll have to get that done several more times with hopes of the scars going flatter to my skin. Ugh... being so fair really has it's disadvantages.

Anyway, I have been up since 4:30 designing a new handbound book in my head. I wrote 5 pages of notes and diagrams when I got up so now it's all out on paper... but my eyelids feel like lead. I have to go to bed.

I'll be reading to the kids classes tomorrow, as always on Fridays. Then, I have a phone date with one of my best girlfriends who moved to CO last year. Can't wait to catch up Steph!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Painting finished!

I painted almost all day today! Obviously I had to stop to pick up kids, feed kids, etc... but for the most part, I painted. Ahhhhh! Like a drug, I tell ya'!

Anyway, about this painting. A friend of mine had seen my last painting, the owl, and asked if I ever painted any "power animals" such as a lion, tiger, etc... I haven't but because I love cats, no matter what their size, I decided to try a lion. BUT, I didn't want to do a realistic type painting like I usually do. I wanted something in acrylic, more free and contemporary looking. I wanted to get outside my box. And, I wanted to try a painting that was done "as I went" just painting and allowing the image to start emerging from the paint. So, I prepped the canvas using some fiber paste by Golden's to add some texture to the canvas. I did that a couple of days ago. So today, I just started painting with no real "plan". And miracles never cease... I finished an entire painting in a day! Miracle! This painting is 16x20. I keep looking at this trying to decide if I need to tone down the whiskers with a really light glaze. I can't decide.

I also worked a little bit on a painting I started in Nancy Reyner's workshop last month. It is almost finished as well.

I had a horrible night's sleep last night so I hope to get to bed fairly early tonight. I have my dermatologist appt. tomorrow at 10:00 and then have to be on the other side of town by noon for a counseling appt. It will be a morning of running.


Today I ALONE in my house all morning! It's just so amazing! I love the silence. And I don't wear my hearing aids when I'm home alone either, that way I don't even hear the refrigerator running or anything. It's so peaceful! I decided to paint after I exercised this morning. I'm working on one that I started in the Nancy Reyner workshop last month and am working on a new piece simultaneously. I THOUGHT Kenzy was sleeping on Sam's bed where he usually naps during the day so I hadn't closed the door when I started painting. BIG mistake. In a split second, he was up on the table and I caught him just as his from paws were going into my painting. But, I didn't exactly keep him from getting a little painted. I had red paint on my hand when I grabbed him so no, he isn't wounded! This was after he got to the initial clump of paint before I could get him cleaned up. The little stinker! This was our first painting experience together and I'm a fast learner. The door will remain closed during painting sessions from now on! And here I had hopes of 'sharing' my studio with him.... NOT!

My boys have early release today. ;( I have to pick Max up in a half hour and Sam in a little over an hour. It looks like rain is moving in, which is a bummer to me. Ya'll know how I feel about rain. BLEH! I hope the boy don't have much homework today so I can throw them outside before rain sets in.

Chuck left last night to drive to San Francisco to deliver Zippy to a new owner. For those of you who aren't familiar with Zippy, this is Chuck with Zippy:

And no, Chuck didn't name it, I did. That was the first word I could use to describe this car when I rode in it the first time. Anyway, sad as we are, Zippy had to find a new home. At least we will save money on speeding tickets! ;) (I was always very careful driving Zippy and never got caught speeding although this little thing gets to 50 in 3 seconds so it's soooo easy to speed in it! eek!) So, Chuck is gone and may be going down to L.A. to sit in on a writers meeting for the show Gary Unmarried. Not sure when he'll be back home.

Gotta' go eat something and see if my painting is dry enough to work on again. I only have 25 minutes of peace left for today.

Art Unraveled

WoooHooo! The website for Art Unraveled is up and running! The retreat this year will be from Aug. 4-11th. I encourage everyone to head over and see all the wonderful classes being offered this year at this fantastic retreat held here in Phoenix every year. Such a variety of classes! I'm so honored and excited to be one of those chosen to teach this year. I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One World One Heart Give Away!

It's that time again! It was so fun last year giving stuff away and also winning some things. Well, the One World-One Heart give away officially started yesterday. This year, I am giving away two prizes. The first is a gold tone wire wrapped beach stone pendant. I found this particular stone on the beach on Oceanside, CA.

My second give away item is a set of 6 photo note cards of various winged creatures I have managed to capture on film.

All you have to do to win is leave me a comment! But there are some rules you need to follow with that. You MUST leave me some way to contact you. Please do not leave an anonymous comment with no way to find you! Leave me your e-mail address please! You do not have to have a blog as long as you leave contact information. I will be using the random number generator to select two lucky winners. The drawing for these items will be Feb. 12th so post away!

Follow the One World One Heart link and you will find hundreds of blogs doing give aways during this time so check them out!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I did it!

I got my other blog up and running. I got pictures uploaded, one for every day of this year so far. I'm all caught up. Some are pictures I posted here, some not. Anyway, I'm glad to have that done and look forward to a year in pictures. My own photo-journal. I think it would be cool to (a) print a month at a time on a contact sheet or (b) print the pictures at the end of each month (or week) and crop them into squares to add onto a calendar.

I just finished icing and then doing a hot epsom soak for my foot. I owe my boys a bike walk and my foot is really hurting today. My eyes are bothering me too so I'm going to lay down and elevate my foot and rest my eyes in a minute.

I have been waiting for almost 3 months for a dermatologist appt. with a new Dr., which is coming up on Thursday. I pray there is no skin cancer this time. I do have a couple of places that I'm sure will need to be biopsied but I pray no skin cancer. I'm tired of getting all scarred up with this stuff. I guess it comes with being a redhead. I don't know. I hate it though. I certainly pray no more melanoma. Ugh.... Ya'll pray with me.

I am so addicted to Facebook after only 2 days. It's pathetic! I love reading little updates on everyone and I love the chat feature. Pretty cool!

OK, I'm going to lay down and rest. If you are interested in keeping up with my daily photo journal blog, check it out and subscribe to the feed so you can be updated daily.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Starting something new

Many artists I know are participating in a photography project for the next year. The purpose is to document something in your daily life with one photo every day, for a year. I'd like to do this and am trying to consider exactly what format I want to do it. Many people do scrapbooks, but I just don't have time to deal with that. I think I'll keep it digital for now and am thinking maybe a second blog just for my photos for this project. Most of these projects are called "Project 365". I think I'm going to call mine something like "A day in the life- Up close and personal". Anyway, thought I'd share my picture for today. This is one that very much defines what I do on Sunday mornings as long as there is no rain... I blow my hair out straight. And I know I need to get a haircut when it takes me 30 minutes to straighten it as it did this morning. While I didn't actually take this photo myself today, I had Sam take it but it does depict something of my life.
Obviously this was taken before I got to my make-up. If you have curly hair and want to straighten it, you have to do it when it's wet! If you let it dry much, you never get it straight. I do, however, use a really large round brush. Many people now use a flat iron.

This evening, I took Max to hike the mountain and he really made me feel old. This kid just took off and didn't even get winded while running up the mountain! He really showed his old mom up! And here I was under the illusion that I was doing pretty good going up that mountain. He enjoyed going though and I got a good work out trying to keep up with him. Since they are out of school tomorrow, I have to figure out my walk around them but Max has already requested a bike walk. So, guess that's on the agenda for tomorrow.

Church was good this morning. I'm in a class on prayer and we are looking at our misconceptions and what are the things that shape our view of God and prayer. It was an interesting and revealing morning.

I'm really tired now and am heading for bed already.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

carbing out

Oh Lord ya'll, I've eaten too many carbs today... popcorn has been my weakness for today. Ugh! I'll do better tomorrow!

Thinking about weight loss though... there are some minor things that arise when you lose weight that can be a slight problem. At least, it's been my experience. I'm going to assume that at least 99% of the people that read my blog are women so here goes. #1) When you lose weight, you lose it from everywhere, even places you wanted to keep. For me, it was the bust line. I'm so sad to watch that part of me shrinking while I'm thrilled to watch the rest of me shrinking! I'm totally bummed that I just splurged on a bunch of new bras about a month before I decided to change my diet and start exercising. And girls, you know bras are not cheap! Well, I'm down to ONE that kinda'/sorta' fits so I desperately need to get out and purchase more before this one is washed to death. (#2) Financially, losing weight puts a damper in your budget. Not only do I need new bras, but new shirts and while I reached my goal and got back in pants I've not worn in years, now they are sagging on me too... so I need more new pants! I need money for shopping! ;) I'm hoping that now it will be easier to find things to fit and look good. I usually don't care much for shopping. We'll see....

Oh, and I learned that you should NEVER to a 'touch test' on a canvas to see if the self leveling gel has set. Duh....


Oh Lord, like I needed another thing to make me sit at the computer... I thought blogs were bad enough but I caved and joined facebook this morning under pressure. I can see how addicting it is. I have to go check on some of my canvases. I added self leveling gel on one and fiber texturing paste on another.

Anyway, it's been a really lazy day. I slept in until 7:00 after going to bed at 8:30!!! I did go for a walk and am surprised that I am not sore from my hike yesterday. I've hardly done anything today other than a little laundry, watch Freaky Friday with the kids, and do Facebook! Eek!

OK, I'm gonna' try to be productive in some way....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ending the day

I'm going to bed early tonight after being up late last night and also up for an hour in the middle of the night with Max. It's only 8:30 but it feels like 10:30 to me!

I went and read in both boys classes today and then got to go hike the mountain again. There are several trails to hike and parking at the different trails. The one I usually have done, which is paved the entire way up, only has a very, very small parking place.. like maybe 6 spaces, all of which were filled this morning. So, I had to do a different trail today. Part of it was uphill trail but then you end up on the paved road part of the way. It was a bit further to hike but I enjoyed it. If you look closely in this picture, you can see the hiking trail. My starting point is at the base of the mountain on the right. You can see a light tan trail line. The highest point of the mountain on the left with the radio antennas is the ending point before turning around and heading back down.
I snapped this photo as I was driving and almost to the mountain. I snapped a few photos of the rock. I love the varying colors and formations.

It wasn't quite as hazy out today as it was last Friday. This is the bench at the top where all the little chipmunks swarm stealing crumbs from granola bars!
And lastly, a treasure from the mountain!
Max had a friend over after school and it was a good day since Max has been on restriction from several privileges this past week, including pretty much anything he owns with wheels. He's been tortured this past week. Today he got back the bike, skateboard, scooter, and go cart. The bike and skateboard were the top choices for the day. He stayed out the entire afternoon. Sam drifted back and forth. Club Penguin is his most favorite thing of all but he did play outside a bit today too.

I'm not sure what my day will entail tomorrow. Maybe I can get back to those paintings I started a couple of days ago! ;) OK, that's it for today. I'm ready to fall asleep. What's everyone else got planned for the weekend? Leave me comments and tell me, ok?

Oh! I almost forgot! Don't forget that all of the One World One Heart give aways start on Monday! I have to make a decision about what I'll be giving away and I only have 2 day to decide! Eek!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Eye Dr.

Well, I went to the Dr. this morning and got the prescription for new glasses. The word "bifocal" makes me feel old. Is it just me? But I'll be excited to not have my eyes soooo tired and hurting all the time. I want some cool looking but practical glasses... tortoise shell frames, I am thinking but a little funky and fun.

It's really warm here today! It's 74 degrees out right now. We've had the second year of really mild winters. It's still pretty chilly in the mornings but really nice out in the afternoons. I had wanted to do the mountain this morning but realized how rushed I'd be since I'd made my appt. for 10:00 so I plan to go tomorrow morning.

Kenzy has been a stinker today. This morning, I had just made the boys sandwiches and had them on the counter when I left to go see how Max was doing getting ready. I came back in the kitchen to find the bread still on the counter but Sam's roast beef in the floor being devoured... and the little pig had just had breakfast! And then, while I was dusting, I had no warning but he took a flying leap to climb my leg like a tree and was just hanging there with claws in my leg. I screamed really loud which got him off but boy, I have to watch him! Usually I have some warning that he's going to try to get up on me because he wants to be held but today caught me by surprise! I need to trim his claws.

Just got Max finished with homework and now Sam has 3 pages. UGH! I'm suppose to go to a meeting at school tonight regarding an upcoming all day field trip for Sam's class to some Caverns about 2 hours south of here. I'm planning to go on the field trip with him. It's not until March. However, Chuck can't watch the boys tonight and they ask that kids not attend the meeting so, I don't know if I'll be going. I'm also suppose to go to yoga but that is getting scratched due to Chuck not being able to watch the boys too. Boo hoo!

I didn't get to bed until late, late last night and I'm really feeling tired. This is one of those times I wish I still drank coffee.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photographer Sam

Sam snapped this picture of me and Kenzy, who was giving me some love while I was down with the heat pack on my face. Isn't he the sweetest kitty?! And our hair goes so well together, don't ya' think? Anyway, I just called and scheduled an eye exam for 10:00 tomorrow morning so I'm getting this issue dealt with!

Dr.'s visit

Well, I had my appt. with the podiatrist today and basically, he said surgery for the bunion needs to be a last resort and I couldn't agree more. He said that with things going on in my life right now, the timing sounds really bad since the recovery is 6-8 weeks, although not all of it is being off your feet but he did say the first 2 are not fun. So, ruling that out for now, I'm looking at having special made orthotics done however, my STUPID insurance company won't cover them, of course! How could I ask such a thing?! And these little babies cost almost $400.!!! which I do not have right now. Getting glasses has to come first. I think the fact that I really, really need to give in and get my glasses is a major reason for so many of my headaches... one of which I have now. This one is directly behind my eyes so, ya' think I'm probably right? I just took something for it but think I need to lay down on the couch. I hate wasting my day like that! Bleh! Anyway, I'll ice my foot tonight because I want to go hike the mountain in the morning. I should take my journal and write when I get to the top... maybe...

On another note, I have prepped a couple of canvases for paintings that are still in my head but they will come out. I also started a sketch on watercolor paper for a painting as well. One canvas will be a somewhat abstract lion face. One will be the face of a beautiful black woman inspired by a magazine image. Ya'll know I don't paint white people, don't ya'? Not sure why that is but any faces I want to paint are all women of color. I just think black women are so beautiful and often very exotic looking. They have such interesting features and I love some of the cool things they can do with their hair. Maybe because I'm so white and always wanted that beautiful dark skin is why I'm drawn to paint them. And let's not even start on how gorgeous so many black men are! Anyway, I'll be working on a gorgeous black woman and hope I can do her justice in painting her. My watercolor will be a Siberian Tiger. I had extreme difficulty sketching due to my little furry helper that would sit directly in the center of the paper blocking my view or chasing the pencil as I drew. Kenzy is quite a character and I can alreade see how I will need to be extremely attentive to him being a studio mascot as he is in to EVERYTHING and he likes to chew paint brushes! EEK! Those will need to be put way, way out of his reach! He makes any kind of computer work challenging too. He types and chases the cursor. Here he is being so attentive on my boys computer while they were at school one day this week:Ya'll look past the inch of dust, will ya'? Remember we are doing construction in the house so no matter how much I clean, it looks just like this again in two days, seriously! It's awful and I can't wait for it to be finished around here. I've had ENOUGH!!!

Does anyone else have kids that bring their papers home from school in this kind of condition?

All of Max's papers are crumpled and stuffed into his back pack along with his jacket and sometimes lunch box every day. It's like a paper wad. He could care less. I'm always trying to flatten out his homework paper so he can do it!

I took this picture of Max on Saturday morning while he was watching t.v. I love this picture of him. It makes me want to curl up on the couch with him and just snuggle as I realize how few years I really have left to do that.
Well, I'm going to lay down on the couch now and get a heat pack on my head.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lazy day

Well, I ended up getting dressed and out of pajamas when I realized that silk kimono sleeved pajamas were not practical to have on washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen. Those are wonderful to wear fresh out of a bath to lounge in but not do stuff in. So, I got dressed. I got some things cleaned up and papers packaged for a swap I'm in. (Fran, I know what you are thinking and I promise, it's not a commitment swap... only sending paper that is bound into a journal which will be sent back to me!) Fran holds me accountable in my commitments... if I tell her about them first! LOL! Anyway, got that stuff packaged and I did consider going through some boxes in my studio but since I don't really have anywhere to put stuff yet, it just isn't practical! I ended up taking a really long nap this afternoon! ;) When I got up, I decided that I'd better go walk and try to work some of the soreness out of my muscles. I'd like to take Max on a mountain hike tomorrow and need to be able to actually do it! I still have to find somewhere for Sam to go or it would be like dragging a ball and chain up the mountain. I took the boys on my walk with me, Max on a scooter and Sam on his bike. They enjoyed it and it felt good to go. And oh my gosh, did you guys see the moon tonight? When it was still low in the sky, it was enormous! Venus is really bright and big tonight too. Well, I'm itchin' to do some artwork and can't decide what I really want to work on next. I think I need to paint.. but I'm deciding on the subject matter and if I'm up for acrylic or watercolor. A friend in N.C. asked me the other day if I ever do any "power animals" such as a lion, tiger, etc... Obviously I love cats and that includes big ones. I am brainstorming a lion in my head but am thinking something a little different than what would be characteristic of my style. There is an artist that I follow on my Google reader who does AMAZING paintings of horses that are somewhat abstract and very vivid in color. I love the loose style and think it would be a cool way to paint a lion. And I'm thinking hot colors. I'm brainstorming. I need to find the perfect inspiration photo to use for the face. I also have some unfinished projects I woud like to work on as well.

Gotta' go throw some clothes in the washer.. the never ending job of motherhood....

so cool

Makin' the day up as I go

Last night, I sat and went through all the AMAZING, drool worthy fabric pieces my friend, Jill passed on to me. I mean, silk, cashmere, beautiful patterns and prints.. just fabric to die for, seriously. I sort of put them in piles of color families and then stacked them all in a nice neat pile in a 12 gal. plastic bin. Somewhat organized. I did this while watching a movie rental "Priceless".

Yesterday I did not take care of my foot as I should have and I paid for it last night. I couldn't go to sleep my foot hurt so badly. I got back out of bed and got an ice pack. Then, I opened up a ThermaCare Heatwrap and wrapped my foot with it, and finally fell asleep. While my foot is sore today, it is not so painful. However, I have some very sore muscles from my mountain hike yesterday!

I slept in this morning until 7:00! Eek! And I'm still in my pajamas at 9:15. I haven't had a pajama day in months because of my walking regime. I just finished baking blueberry muffins, making Max and egg burrito, cooking bacon, and now I'm going to make myself a couple of scrambled eggs and have breakfast myself. I think I'm giving my foot a rest today and no walk so I'll do some other exercises at home... maybe some ab and arm work today. Max really wants to hike the mountain with me so I may be able to take him after church tomorrow. I think I'll work on my studio a bit today. I'm so anxious to have it set up I can hardly stand it.

So, what is everyone else doing today?

Friday, January 9, 2009

A great day

I decided to have a day for ME! I got the boys to school and then stopped by my friend, Jill's house to pick up this huge trash bag full of... fabric! Uh-huh! Yep... like, I need more. I can't help myself. But this isn't just any fabric. It's high end upholstery, home decor fabric samples. And OMG, I got chill bumps when I opened that bag! But, I didn't open it right away... I just tossed it in my van along with this basket of LEATHER! Eeks! Amazing, gorgeous pieces of leather that will become books... and some other stuff! Anyway, more about that in a minute. I went and read in the boys classes as I usually do on Friday mornings. Then, I headed straight to meet Fran for a catch up date at "our Starbucks".. it's a half way point between our houses. Anyway, we talked our heads off for almost 2 hours and it still wasn't enough time. We never run out of things to talk about yet we often have quiet time together when we are painting. Anyway, it wasn't until we got ready to leave Starbucks that I broke open the bag of fabric in the back of my van so Fran could take some. We were gasping for breath, I tell ya'. People, is there a name for this illness... this fabric addiction? Anyone watching us must have been quite amused. But those of you who share the illness... well, I know how jealous you are! ;) This is just a sampling of what we got:

Kenzy is checking out the fabric.. but it's really the plastic that he's attracted to. Have to watch the little stinker!
Check out that embossed leather! Isnt' it to die for? Wouldn't you swoon over a handmade journal with this as a cover?! My heart races at the thought!

Anyway, after Starbucks and our drooling session in the back of my van, I decided to hike North Mountain since it was right down the street from Starbucks on my way home. I haven't hiked this in probably 15 years. Even though I have been walking faithfully almost 3 months now, my poor heart and lungs felt like they'd explode. Walking uphill, sometimes at a good 45 degree angle or more is way different than walking down the street! However, the rest of my body did totally fine with the climb. Thankfully, North Mountain has a paved road of switch-backs to the top where a radio tower is so it's easier on the knees coming down. Otherwise, I wouldn't attempt it. It's about a mile and half climb to the top. It felt good and I'll be adding that into my exercise routine. I might see if Max wants to go with me in the morning. He likes outdoor things like that. Sam hates them! Anyway, I snapped a couple of pictures from the top. Unfortunately, they also show how icky our air quality is right now. It's often like this, especially in winter. Oh well...
Just on the other side of the smaller mountain in the foreground is "our Starbucks". This is facing north. Here's another shot facing more east:
These cute little guys were scampering around everywhere:
So, I got home, took a phone call, and have now just eaten lunch and it's already time to go pick Max up! My day flew by! I need to ice my foot a while when I get back from collecting kid #1. Yes, I have a bunion (gasp!) and it's getting more and more painful. I was told years ago I would eventually be looking at foot surgery. I told the Dr. that it wouldn't be until I couldn't walk anymore! Well, because I'm doing so much walking now, it's getting really, really painful. It feels like I have a pin stuck in my joint most of the time. Ice helps. I have an appt. with a specialist on Wednesday. We'll see what he says. Maybe there are some other options other than surgery cuz I really, really don't want to go that route right now. Here I am getting ready to start back working at a job that requires standing all day and now I'm in a routine of exercise which I do NOT intend to stop! I have now lost 20 lbs. and have no intention of regaining them. Exercise is critical to me right now.. not just for my body but for my mind and spirit. I need it. So, I'm going to pray for some other options on Wednesday and hopefully get out of some of this pain!

Since my salon isn't quite ready for me to start work yet, it's the perfect time to start setting up my studio space. After getting my hands on all this fabric today, I'm DYING to create! I need to get some stuff down in that room this weekend!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Experimenting with Chai

OK, so it's not about art but it is about experimenting. A few days ago, I mentioned that I have fallen in love with Chai tea. Since that time, I'm trying different ones. First, it was the Tazo concentrate and you just add milk. I like it but it's a little too sweet and has too much pepper. Next, I tried Oregon Chai.. another concentrate. I purchased the "slightly sweet". Well, it was still a little too sweet for me. Next, I purchased the same brand but in "sugar-free"... only to realize after tasting it, that it was NOT sugar free but contained Sucralose... not something I want to drink... and it tasted sweeter than the previous "slightly sweet". YUK! Today, I was at Fresh & Easy (If ya'll don't have these stores, you are missin' out!) I purchased some chai tea bags figuring I'd be better off and it would be cheaper to just make it from scratch so I can adjust the sweetness myself. I still need to play around with the tea to milk ratio. I'm using Agave syrup as a sweetener because it has a milder flavor than honey. I'm using low-fat milk and plan to try almond milk too. I think I'm on the right track. Does anyone have any experience or advise... a favorite brand, etc... that you'd like to share with me?

Monday, January 5, 2009


After much work, much medication, much heat, and a painful massage from my husband, my headache is finally gone. I feel a little hung over. But now I have a lot to get done today since yesterday was basically wasted. I have catch up to do. I'm walking to my girlfriend's house a couple of miles away for a meeting after I drop the kids off at school! YES! School is back in session! Wooopppiiiieeeeeee! I also have counseling appts. later today, one just for me and one (a two hour appt. ) for both Chuck and I. The later part of the day will just be emotionally exhausting and I hope not bring on another headache. Praying..... Ugh, the bad part of school is homework. THAT, I don't look forward to today. I better pull myself together. Have to go make lunches. I'd love a little time to start sorting through a couple of boxes in my studio too.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Ok, if you do not suffer from headaches, stop right where you are NOW and send up a prayer of thanksgiving to God Almighty. I mean it. Do it! Be grateful! It has been a difficult and painful day. One of my fellow artists left me a comment to use hot, wet towels. Well, by this time, I realized that this wasn't just another headache but a migraine. I don't get them often but when I do, they are hard to get rid of. I took my prescription migraine meds and ran a hot bath. Just before I got in, Chuck came home and took the boys out for a while. So now I didn't have to feed or listen to noisy, fighting boys. Peace and quiet have settled over my house. So, I got in the hot bath and wrapped wet towels around my head like a turban and placed another across my eyes and sunk myself down in the tub low enough to not drown myself. I also spent some time doing yoga stretches for my neck. I have to say that combined with the meds, the headache is easing off a bit. I HATE how the meds make me feel all woozy and loopy but it's better than the pain. So Val, thanks for the great advise. For those of you who suffer headaches, remember this! It helps!

Dreary day

Well, it's raining here and anyone that knows me knows how I feel about these kinds of days. I live in Phoenix for a reason. Thankfully, there are few rain days. For those of you who are doing a happy dance here in the valley today, when you finish your jig, come over and rub my head. Yes, I have a horrible headache. I woke up with it. I had my boys use a little hand held massage machine on me, I've taken a hot shower, I've been drinking a lot of water but it's still here. I just finally ate breakfast (yes, at 11:00) and took Excedrin. My eyes are swollen and I feel terrible yet hate laying around getting nothing done. I'm trying to keep functioning. However, I did not walk this morning (boohoo) and did not get to church either. I hope the headache lifts quickly so my day can improve.

On a happy note, last night, I was poking around on Craigslist and lucked out finding this AMAZING cabinet of 5 drawers to store artwork. I've coveted them in catalogs for years and when I saw one posted on Craigslist for $20., I called immediately and got it! I'm beyond excited!!! At the moment, it's standing up on end so I can't really photograph it but, it measures 35x46 inches and each drawer is 2-1/2 inches deep. Don't ask me how it will fit into my new, much smaller studio but, I really need these! Now I have a place to store completed arwork, parent sheets of paper can now be flat which includes my watercolor paper, and I can even store my stash of smaller canvases in a drawer! I keep walking in my soon to be studio and just staring trying to figure out how in the world I will arrange this room to maximize the space and get the best use of it. It will be my challenge for the next several months, I can assure you.

Ok, my eyes need a rest from staring at this screen. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Do you need some rain? Maybe I can send it over to you! I'll trade...send me some sunshine!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One World One Heart

It's almost time for the One World One Heart Give-away again! Last year there were so many bloggers giving things away, it was amazing! I plan to participate again this year so check back soon to see what I'm giving away! Check out the website for this extravaganza for more info. Just click on the world to your right! This is your chance to win a bunch of cool, artsy stuff so don't miss out! And if you are a fellow artist, it's a great chance for you to get your work out there! Coming up around January 19th so stay tuned!

First complete painting for 2009!!!

(click on image to enlarge)
I have declared it FINISHED!!! I made a few changes on the owl, added a bit more red/brown to the bark, and also hit bits of the bark with highlights (just a tiny bit) so I am happy to have completed my first painting this year... although I started it months ago. Regardless, it is finished. This piece measures approx. 11x14 inches. Thanks to everyone who did leave comments to me here or on yahoo groups!


So, here's where I am with this piece of artwork. I have the owl cut out and assembled in the tree hole but haven't permanently glued him in yet. However, I'm totally bugged by the color in the right side of the owls face. I'm trying to decide if I need to make it lighter but I actually think I need to go darker to create the illusion of the own being more recessed into the hole. I have to look at it for a while. However, having the owl in the hole now, I think the tree trunk itself is finished... I think....

Friday, January 2, 2009


Well, I've had over 100 hits to my blog today and only 9 or 10 comments so, I made a decision about the painting. While everyone gave positive response, I felt the piece was still a bit dark so I lightened some areas as highlights creating more contrast so I'm happier with it and ready to start cutting tomorrow, provided that I can find my exacto knife.

I took Kenzy to the vet and had a microchip implanted. I'm glad my vet isn't far because poor baby hates being in a carrier in the car! And, I'm soooo sad. I just found out that my vet is moving to Wyoming! Booo hoooo! I've had the same vet for all my cats for the past 15+ years. She's amazing! I love her clinic because it's only for cats. Anyway, she spoke very highly of the new vet that is taking over the clinic so I will have to trust her on it. I am going to miss Dr. Branch so much though.

I rented Mamma Mia so I think I'm going to make a cup of tea and watch it... just me, myself, and I, now that the boys are in bed.

Need comments PLEASE

(click image to enlarge)
OK, here is where I'm at with the tree part of my painting. Remember the white area will be cut away for the owl to be added. Now, I need comments. Please tell me. Does this look finished to you? Does your eye travel well over the piece? Is there a funky area bugging you when you look at it? Is there enough light contrast?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Work in Progress

It's always a little scary to put a piece of work out there for everyone to see while it is in progress. However, it is one of my favorite things that other brave artists do as I love seeing the piece change and come to completion. I'm trying to be more brave so ... I managed a few moments today to start working on the tree that my owl will be in. I created texture for the bark using light molding paste by Golden's on 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper. Once it was dry, I started adding some washes of color. I'm tired and stopping for the night but will lay in more washes tomorrow. The white area on the piece will be the hole cut out where the owl (which will also be cut out) will be added to give a more dimensional element to the piece making it look more realistic. So, this is where it is at tonight:
I did this while just standing at my kitchen counter. Hey, with no work space , you do what ya' gotta' do. I have been known to stand holding watercolor paper in my hand and painting just while standing up. Ya' do what works... especially when you are desperate to paint!

no painting ;(

OK, so the idea of painting today hasn't panned out so far. Boo hoo I'm not giving up hope!!! So far, it's been exercise, cleaning, trying to figure the lay out for my salon, watching the boys, making lunch for the boys, cleaning up after the boys... well, you get the idea. Max has been on a spilling spree today. He dropped an opened gallon of milk in the kitchen floor, knocked over hot chocolate, and dropped an open water bottle. Lots of clean up. Sam's friend, Daniel along with his younger brother, Ezra, are over playing. They have always gotten along so well. However, on a dare, Max ended up at the top of a tree and couldn't get down so Chuck had to climb up and get him. Otherwise, they've been good. I made them spaghetti and meatballs for lunch and they all chowed down. It was the first pasta I think I've eaten in almost 3 months! It was good but know I can't eat it on a regular basis any more unless I want to gain all my weight back... which I DON'T!

I have a new love:

Several days ago, Chuck brought home some Tazo Chai Tea Latte and while I like it very much, it's a little too sweet. After eating no sugar for almost 3 months now, things taste extra sweet to me. So, I discovered this other brand a few days ago and it is yummy! I refuse to allow myself to drink as much of it as I use to drink coffee but, it is nice on cold mornings after I get back from my walk. Even though this particular kind is not as sweet, it still tastes pretty sweet so I don't actually use much of the tea in the drink. Instead of using it half and half with milk, I use about 1/3 of the tea to 2/3 of milk. It's a nice treat.

Max has been working on their "fort", which they have named "S.K.A." or "Spy Kids Agency". He talked the neighbor out of bricks and cement block and built a patio, as you can see. This is the boys with Daniel and Ezra today. I can't believe how much these kids have grown. I hope they'll be friends their whole lives. They are good boys. Funny to see these boys in shorts on January 1 while so many are buried in snow in other parts of the country! It's 69 degrees here right now at 4:00 in the afternoon.

Kenzy's latest antics happen to be in his jumping skills. Now, when he wants attention from me, he jumps up into my arms! I have to really pay attention or he'll try climbing me like a tree... NOT gonna' be a habit. The jumps I can handle if I know he's comin' up! He loves sitting up around my neck and just being held. He is such a good kitty. I'm just thrilled with him. His latest favorite spot is on my boys top bunk bed. The boys are really enjoying him too, especially Max.

Ok, back to more cleaning. I wish there'd be a day when there wouldn't be any to do. Just for one day... wouldn't that be glorious?