Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where does the time go?

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since I was in the midst of AU stuff! It took me a few days, post AU, to get out of that "after Christmas" slump and get back into the swing of things. One of the main things I did was go through my kids bedroom, top to bottom. I clean everything out and reorganized. I had TWO years worth of school papers to sort through but I finally did that. I got most thrown away and the remainder put in binders or somethings in special boxes.

However, most of my time has been spent working on class proposals. Right after AU, I threw myself into proposals since I had a Sept. 1 due date for the retreat I will be teaching at in Austin (see side bar). Then proposals for AU 2010 are due Sept. 15. I'm still working on those. I'm writing new classes and making new samples. But, I will also propose my "One Page at a Time" book class again at the request of some people that attended AU. Whether or not it will be accepted for a second year remains to be seen. If you will be attending AU and are interested in this class, write Linda and tell her ( !!! Each retreat has specifications needed in the proposals, not just content but font, font size, etc.. so, I spent some time editing proposals and such. When typing things up, the size font needed is too small for me to comfortably work with so I type everything larger and then scale it down. However, when you do that, it changes the spacing in things so once I change it, I have to re-edit. I also am a Mac user so for every document I type up, I have to convert each to a word document to send it. This has been confusing for me the way things were listed in my files. So I spent some time this week editing files, and then organizing file folders on my computer so now I can find everything for each retreat and all doc. files are in their own folder. Much easier. I also printed out copies of all my class stuff. I thought, what if something goes wrong with my computer in the midst of my writing all these proposals? While I do have back up, for immediate and easy use, I printed hard copies of everything and put them in a binder. That way, in case of an emergency, I could always just re-type stuff without having to re-think it too! Having everything in a binder is actually a good method for me, a very visual person, to keep up with what I have written and what still needs to be done. Then, when the particular retreat rolls around, I can pull it out and see which classes are for which retreat and immediately see the list of items I will be providing for students, which items are listed to be in their kits, etc... I truly wish I didn't like or need paper, but I do. I just like things in my hands. It's easier to remember, for me...

Proposals have taken up most of my time, really. The boys have had some school events, one of which is today... a pancake breakfast/yard sale. We're waiting for Max to get up so we can go. Last week was Bingo Night, which is always fun. Sam won a cool prize (valued at $30) but it's for a yard, which we don't have. However, the box has all the store info and price tag on it so he came up with the idea of returning it! So that is the plan.

Monday is Sam's 10th birthday! I can't believe it. He really wanted a Castles N' Coasters birthday party but there are two problems with that... (1) it's too hot... and the seats would be blazing hot to try and sit on not to mention melting in the heat all day (2) I just don't have the money it would cost to do it. He had even said he'd wait a couple of months for his party but I hesitate to do that because my income is so unstable, what if I still wasn't able to save up the money for it in a couple of months? Then his birthday would be 2 months past and no big shindig.

Last weekend, Sam attended his first sleep over party for his best friend, Winston's birthday party. He had a blast (even though he only got 4-1/2 hours of sleep, came home super cranky, slept for a couple of hours, and woke up sick!) so I think we are going to do a sleep over party for him next Friday. I have to get invitations out this weekend. And then all of you can pray for me!!! I always go have lunch with each of my boys on their birthday so I'll be eating lunch at school Monday.

Oh, I got yummy mail a week ago. Last year, at AU's vendor day, I purchased a handmade hat by Jennifer Whitmer (no blog, sadly) complete with a gorgeous hand-dyed, handmade silk flower by Lorri Scott. I loved my hat but was having some problems with the headband... I have a tiny head which created some issues. Anyway, this year at AU, Jennifer measured my head, took my hat, and reworked the headband for me. I got it back in the mail a week ago and I am in love with my hat all over again! Isn't it gorgeous?
Jennifer makes many different styles, all unique and one-of-a-kind. I would love a whole wardrobe of her hats! If you ever have a chance to shop for one, get one! You will love it! I love the quirkiness of them and am stopped for compliments every time I wear it! I'm dreaming of more in my future.....

Well, time to get dressed so we can be ready to roll as soon as Max does his rolling out of bed. Should be soon....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

OK, here goes...

Well, it's taken me almost a week to regroup after all the activity of Art Unraveled. Vendor day was very fun. It was a learning experience, for sure. I didn't sell a lot of artwork but made most of my money selling the odd little things I find and sell in my VOP shop on Etsy. It was fun to see others recognize the potential in these little odd findings! I've already started collecting things for vendor day next year!

The night before Vendor day, I had a wonderful dinner with several friends, some new, some not... Fran and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary of our meeting!!!! It was a special treat to have some girl time with some of the best!

Vending went from 10-4 that Saturday and a bunch of us girls grabbed a quick salad and headed back to the hotel for the film screening of the documentary of the 1000 journals project. Someguy was there to answer questions about the project and also had several of the journals there, available to be worked in. It was a very interesting film and I enjoyed the question/answer time. However, I was dead on my feet when it ended and way too tired to add to a journal. I just wanted my bed! When I got up Sunday, I felt completely exhausted and ended up having to take a long nap in spite of the million things I still had to prep for my class! Being an introvert does have draw backs some times. Crowds completely over-stimulate and exhaust me, no matter how much fun I'm having!

Monday was the first day of school, which, I found out, started 10 minutes earlier this year and also lets out 10 minutes earlier! My kids start school at 7:30 sharp! Eek! After getting them to their classes, I spent the day in peace and quiet getting everything ready and organized for my class. I had two more sign ups at AU taking my class number to 15!!!! I was so pleased! Tuesday morning, I could not wait to get to the hotel to teach. I was not nervous AT ALL and was jumping with excitement. I had waited for that opportunity to teach for years and waited an entire year to teach this particular class. All the waiting was worth it. The class was fantastic! I had great students, everything went really well even with a few little glitches along the way. We all had fun, learned from each other, and had a very successful day. It flew by! I remember standing there watching everyone working, at one point, and said to myself, "THIS is what I am meant to do!" There is no greater peace and joy than knowing deep in your soul that you are on the path of your destiny. I LOVE teaching! And after it was over, I had the "after Christmas" kind of let down feeling. It saddens me to think that it might be a while before I can be back in those shoes again at that capacity. There are many art retreats now where I could propose classes but proposals have to be sent in months in advance so I'm just learning the schedules. I also have to realize that I cannot go jetting around the country full time because I'm a mom of young ones!
Here's a snap shot of some of my students hard at work sewing their books together! What a joy they all were!

Since I no longer have a camera after my robbery, I didn't really get many pictures. My dear friend, Lynn, came and assisted me in class for a while and snapped a few pictures for me. These are me in concentration mode! One of the biggest problems of the day was trying to figure out why measurements weren't adding up only on poor Sherri's piece... finally, after 3 attempts at re-cutting her fabric and fusing it, I realized the fabric was shrinking when the iron heated it!!! So, I learned a lesson that day... no synthetic fabrics! Once we figure out that was the problem, we re-routed and got back on track. Sherri was so carefree about the whole thing. She was so sweet!

I really didn't spend all my time bent over a mat with a rotary cutter in hand! These just happen to be the pictures!

Anyway, AU is over for this year and it was wonderful. I've already got several ideas for class proposals for 2010, which are due by Sept. 15th. I've also started sending some proposals off for a weekend retreat being held outside of Austin, TX in April. I'm trying to work something out to teach in Denver as well. But, have to get time to make the samples and write the proposals!

On Sept. 8th, I start my once a week job teaching art to home school kids so I need to get my class lessons written up and get ready for that as well. AND, I was called about the possibility of doing hair at a retirement village between November and April for all the 'snow birds' that come here during the winter months!! I'll be going to visit the facility in the next week or so.

So, as you can tell, I am staying really busy and it doesn't look to be slowing down any time soon!
Today, I took the boys to get new shoes and a few things they needed for school. This week, homework will really start kicking in so afternoons will be an adjustment. The boys like their teachers though and enjoyed their first week of school.

Gotta' run now...

Catch up coming really soon!

I promise!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Two more paintings and an achin' back

Well, I got two more paintings finished and today, I spent the ENTIRE day bent over in the floor surrounded by all the artwork I will have for sale this weekend as well as some goodies to create with from my second Etsy shop. I sat there only getting up to eat a little, for NINE hours! I got everything packaged, priced, and created an inventory sheet so when I come home from Vendor day, I can count things up and know what I sold because I know I won't remember everything after that day! I've attended Vendor day for the past 5 years and know how crazy it is! Crazy busy!

Anyway, here are my two latest paintings:

This evening, I was so fried and my back really hurting. I decided that instead of continuing to do more stuff, I took my boys to rent "Race to Witch Mountain" and kick back with them since I will hardly see them over the next two days.

Tomorrow, I have quite a long list of things to do before heading over to the hotel tomorrow evening for dinner with several out-of-town girlfriends who are here for the retreat.. some in town ones too. And then we'll be setting up our booths to be ready for Saturday. Once Saturday is over, I'll have to really crank Sunday and Monday to finish preparations for my class on Tuesday. One thing is for sure, when I have a deadline, I crank! Deadlines are great motivators for me! I'm always amazed at how much I get done in such a short time when I have so much to do within a short time frame to meet a deadline!

Gotta' go get something to eat... and here it is 10:25 pm! UGH!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Crazy Life

Well, it has really been a while since I posted. Thanks to all of you for your sweet notes. Since my last post, we were able to have my step-father's memorial service once mom was released from the hospital. I worked hard creating a memory board for the service and also shared at the service. If you click on the photo to enlarge and wonder about the $5. bill on the board, it was a reminder that Fred often would say to you, "That'll be $5.00!" He tried to pull that and charge you for getting a drink at the house, using the bathroom, anything... it was his standing joke! Anyway, it was a nice, simple service... just how he would have wanted it. In the midst of the aftermath of all this, I had some other critical personal things going on that I do not have the freedom to share here but let's just say, I couldn't imagine feeling more like Job that I did through those few weeks! But, as difficult and painful as it ALL was, I was more overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from those around me, and even those far away. God is always a good and faithful provider. And He is a God of abundance... I was lavished with abundance of blessing during this time. I am so grateful to those who allowed God to use them to love me and my family.Can you believe that my mom and Fred were married for almost 21 years and this event was the first time all of us kids and step-siblings were together to meet?! On the left is my sister, Rhonda and brother , Jeff. On my right, is Pam, Christi, and Doug, who flew in from GA. How sad that all these years we have all never met until we lost our dad.

Mom is doing ok. She is learning to restructure her life into a new normal doing things for herself that she hasn't done in many years. Fred did pretty much everything from grocery shopping, filling the car with gas, cleaning, cooking, well... you get the picture. But, as I told mom, she isn't having to learn how to do anything she doesn't already know how to do. ...except deal with the lawn mower.... she is just having to do those things by herself now. She is doing pretty well and has started attending a support group for suicide survivors, which I think will be really great for her.

I don't think I have fully processed everything yet as grief seems to hit me in waves at weird times. In the shower, driving down the street, etc... when I least expect it.

Now, on to happier things... we added two new kitties to our family!!! One for Max, one for Sam. We got them from a woman who does rescues, tames feral litters, get them their shots, has them spayed/neutered, and finds homes for them. Meet Marvin, Max's baby, who would be the perfect kitten for a little girl to dress up in doll clothes... he's like a very tolerant little ragdoll baby. Marvin was already named and we liked it so kept it. Max calls himself and Marvin the M&M team.

And then there's Bob, Sam's new baby! Sam named him and we mostly call him Little Bob... like Little Joe from Bonanza! LOL! They are so proud of their own babies! Now I'm the only female with FIVE males in the house! LOL!
It was quite an adjustment for Kenzy and took a while for me to determine if he was really being agressive or just playing really rough! There was no hissing, spitting, growling, etc.. but the chasing and biting... however, by watching the kittens with each other, I began realizing that they were doing the same exact thing Kenzy was while they were playing. We allowed them to slowly get use to being around each other and just watching them. When Kenzy gets to rough, I break it up but mostly, they are doing great. Kenzy is like a Papa to them giving them baths. It's so cute!
They are really doing great together and we know we'll have many years of joy with the three of them.

And, I have been crazy, crazy busy getting ready for Art Unraveled! Last night was the opening night for "Meet the Artists" and a short program given by Quinn MacDonald. It was a really enjoyable evening. I loved getting to share my books/ class samples with everyone and meet some of those who have signed up for my class! This Saturday is vendor day. It will be the first time I've ever done a vendor day and I'm like a crazy woman making things to sell! On top of finishing preparations for my class, which I'm teaching next Tuesday! There are only 2 spots left in the class, I think, so it's not too late to join in! Here are some of the paintings I've been doing this past week... more watercolor on canvas, which I'm so crazy about!!!!! Please remember that my camera was stolen so these are terrible photos taken with my computer camera!!! Bleh!
I have two more in progress. I work on them in tandem and then spend time at my sewing machine in between times! Working on some books too.

Oh, and guess what? I was contacted and asked to be the new art teacher for the local Home School Resource Center!!! It's only one morning a week, which leaves me time for other endeavors, and I'll be teaching art to home school kids for this school year! Isn't that great! I'm very excited. I start Sept. 8th.

I also have class proposals due for a weekend retreat coming up in Houston in April. My proposal deadline is Sept. 1 for that retreat. Then, for Art Unraveled 2010, I have to submit proposals by Sept. 15! I'm also in early stages of talking with someone about teaching a weekend workshop in the Denver area! I need more hours in the day to get all this stuff done! there won't be much of a break after AU is over next week as I have to really crank to come up with new classes, write the proposals, make the samples, get them photographed, write up supply lists, hand outs, etc... it's a TON of work! I enjoy it but the time crunch is painful! Thankfully, school starts back next week!!!!!!! Can I hear a "Hallelujah"?!?! This will give me time each day to work in peace! Lord, how thankful I am for school!

Well, I need to get busy painting a bit before I have errands to run! If you here in the Valley, get over here to the retreat and join in a class or two! It's being held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Paradise Valley. And Vendor day is a great event to attend and have the opportunity to buy amazing artwork from many, many artists! Or if you are a mixed media artist, it's a great place to purchase a variety of supplies you can't find here locally! so come check it out on Saturday, starting at 10:00!