About Me

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I am a multifaceted woman, living with intention and passion. I always see the glass as half full (ok, almost always). Currently into: jewelry design, glass beadmaking (aka lampworking), visual journaling, cooking and web design everything. Things that bring me great joy: my family, friends, Scrabble, British period pieces, Shabby Chic, Austin, TX, mini art tiles, autographed cookbooks, chocolate, Chianti, pedicures and beach glass. I don't "do" and/or dig: dishonesty, guilt, intolerance, unkindness, drama and goat cheese (it's a long story, but I love all the other cheeses!) So you now have a teeny tiny little picture of me, with a few warts thrown in. Welcome to my world!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Drive-by post: Art for July 8, 2011

Cut out filtered Ferris Wheel (Click for larger view)
     Today's art work is the result of using filters in Photoshop CS4 with two of my favorite images from the Midway during Cherry Festival yesterday. The first image is of the ferris wheel, shot from below, my husband and daughter were about to get on when I took this one. I used the "cut out" filter to simplify the image and give if more of a painted feel. The "cut out" filter is one of my favorites, it can distill images in my opinion, and these often, but not always, appeal to me.
Stamp filter Swing Ride (Click for larger view)

     The second image is the swing ride, changed with the "stamp" filter. This renders the image in black and white, a stark contrast to all the original color of the
image, but no less appealing to me. Each of the filters I used includes multiple controls to adjust the levels of this or that (a technical term), including sharpness, so it takes a while to play with them and get them just right. Of course, I could use quite a few other filters for dramatically different results, but this is about me and what I am in the mood to create at any given time each day, so this is what I came up with today. I love them, hope you do too.

Foodie Friday!

Chocolate Sunflower Butter
      After working in the Benjamin Twiggs cherry products booth for a couple days this week for Cherry Festival, I got a real hankering to try the peanut and nut butters in the booth across from us. The  Naturally Nutty people were so very nice and the products sounded soooo good, I had to try them. And they were wonderful, incredibly good butters. I ended up buying a jar of the Chocolate Sunflower Butter with flax and hemp seed and also a jar of the White Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter. Holy Moly, are these ever amazing! The kind of thing you just want to scoop out with a spoon and eat without anything else. I love the texture, not such  a paste, like the store brands, but with tiny bits of the nuts to chew. I can't recommend this product enough. And so many varieties, it was hard to choose. Check out their website, most of the products are there. The Cashew Butter was another favorite, but it was a bit too pricey for me, maybe in a few months I'll splurge.
     I almost forgot to mention, she had peanut butter cups made locally at the Chocolate Den with Naturally Nutty peanut butter, 4 for $2. I wish I'd bought $10 worth of those things, put Reeses to shame, let me tell you!
     Ok one last thing, these nut butters are all organic, isn't that a lovely bonus? Makes you feel good about buying and eating it, right?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cherry Fest 2011

Watercolor pencil cherries
     We did it up today! Ate what we wanted, rode the train and walked all over the open space and midway. What a blast we had too! I got my Jumbo Smoked Turkey Leg (really), roasted corn on the cob ($3, no lie), cotton candy and even a Funnel Cake with powdered sugar. Yes, we Lived! My youngest daughter rode a few rides and my husband and I enjoyed her delight. I've never been much for those stomach dropping or spinning rides, but I love to watch my kids having fun.
     The cherries to the left are my art for yesterday, done with watercolor pencils, though not very well, I'm sorry to say. But I have a

Best $8 turkey leg I've ever had!
Drawing I class this fall and I hope the next time I draw cherries (next year) they are spectacular! My National Cherry Festival photos are my art for today. They were so much fun to take. The Jumbo Smoked Turkey Legs shot came out blurry from the train, but I had to include it, too much fun!
The Midway as seen from the train
Jumbo Smoked Turkey Leg and corn on the cob. It was soooo good!

One of two ferris wheels on the Midway
Hubby and youngest posing for me by one of the "fun" food stands
               Caramel apples and Carousel reflection
Fun house, such fun colors!

Bumper cars, we didn't ride them this year

Sinful food row...you can hear arteries seizing up

Swing ride on the Midway

Train ride view of the beach

Bungee Jump, I'll pass thank you!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fab Find Wednesday!

Aladdin alacite lamp
     Although it is easy enough to buy new things in every style imaginable, I love old things. Antique, vintage and hand crafted pieces call out to me whenever I walk through an antique shop. However, I can't really afford to shop in antique shops all the time, so estate, garage and yard sales, coupled with thrift and resale shops give me the chance to find hidden treasures that haven't yet made it to the higher priced antique shops. Over the last couple weeks, I've found some fabulous things, which is always exciting! I have, on occasion, found some really valuable things and sold them for extra pocket money, especially when they are things I appreciate but don't really collect or have a place for among my treasures. The lamp pictured to the left may be one of those things, I haven't decided yet. It is an Aladdin lamp from the mid 1900's, really beautiful with slightly translucent glass (alacite). One of the local thrift shops had it for $8 but sold it to me for $4, I think lamps were half off that day or something like that. I just thought it looked like it was worth more than $8 and had possibility either in my house or as something to sell later on Etsy or eBay. Turns out that it is worth a bit more than the $4 I paid. The lowest price I found online was $84.95 and the highest was $145 on eBay. But I haven't decided what to do with it yet, I kinda think I'm going to keep it.
Vintage Samsonite train case
    Then there is a new train case I found at a new resale shop in Interlochen, a little town just a few miles away. The shop didn't seem like much at first, a bit junky, but after nosing around, I found the train case, in great condition inside and out for only $4.50! And also a cute pair of white, all cotton, summer pajamas, which I had already been searching for new all over town without any luck. I love the storage possibilities of train cases. I like to store my art supplies in them and then tuck them out of the way. Then if I am going somewhere, I can grab a case and take my supplies with me. Of course, these are too big to take and work from at the park or Dr.'s office while I am waiting, but they are great for visits to my Mom and Dad's or for vacation. I just clean them up and sometimes embellish them if they need it and voila! This one is in really good shape, so I don't think I'm going to mess with it at this point, but we'll see, sometimes I can't help myself.
Small harp wall shelf
3" x 3" mirror
     At an estate sale last week, I found a few great pieces for display. The little harp shaped piece to the left is one of them. It was stained dark brown, but I painted it today, along with the small mirror shown here too. I love small little things like this that can easily be hung just about anywhere in the house. They add bits of charm and character and can also be easily rearranged when the mood strikes me.
     I should probably come clean about what I collect. When you collect a lot of things, it is easy to find something you love when you are out and about. Let's see now...I collect vintage platters, the smaller size, mostly American made like Homer Laughlin, china tea cups and saucers, mirrors, single salt or pepper shakers as well as pairs if they "speak" to me, bark cloth, Block Optic depression glass, small rabbit/bunny figurines of all types but resin, heart pins/brooches, single cordial classes, vintage linens and hankies, small fancy frames for wallet photos, lace, silver silver ware and interesting stainless silverware, pansy dishes...I think I better stop for now, you get the idea though. Someday, when I die, my kids are going to want to kill me all over again...
Guild signed vintage air brush watercolor
     My last fab find for today is a vintage airbrush watercolor from the 1940's, signed by Guild. I have no idea who or what Guild is, I couldn't find out too much about the signature, just that there were other vintage air brush watercolors with the Guild signature out there. I fell in love with this as soon as I saw it. It is loose in the frame and the frame itself needs some tightening, but her expression and the softness of the airbrushing is just sublime. I think these type of pieces were done with stencils. I hope to hang her in my bedroom as soon as I get the frame tightened up. It was $45, but I was there on the 1/2 off day and it does have a small scratch on the skirt, so I got it for $14. I looked it up online after I got home and it is going for $300 here! Also, I did find out that there are these types of pieces in the early episodes of "I Love Lucy," and also in the movie "Batteries Not Included," which I have but haven't had time to watch lately. The piece is pretty big, 30" x 35", a nice focal piece. Right now it is on my fireplace mantel, just leaning against the wall, but she doesn't go with the deep turquoise of the room, so she can't stay there. But at least I can admire her everyday.  
     Thanks for stopping by today and checking out my fab finds, if you found something fab, let me know, I'll post a link to your find on my blog.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Torchwood, "M" and Noodle Bowl Supper

     I have discovered "Torchwood." It is a sci-fi British television show that is currently available on Netflix. At first I thought it was a little cheesy and risque (hope that is the correct word here), but it got better and I admit, I am hooked. There is a new Torchwood series starting in a few days and if I am lucky, I will get to watch it on Netflix, otherwise, I'll just have to wait till it eventually becomes available. Netflix keeps telling me that based on my current likes, I should like "Dr. Who," but I don't know. I tried to watch one of those episodes a while ago and it seemed extremely campy, which I don't usually love. I may have to give it another shot though, since one of my favorite tv personalities, Craig Ferguson, loves it. I'll get back to you all on this.
     As part of my new commitment to creating art everyday, I did make a new ATC very early this morning, during a particularly intense period of insomnia (no sleep till 5 a.m.). It is a little tribute to the letter "M," my first initial and all of "Mmmm," which is usually connected to food, but not always. I uploaded the image to Facebook and it is taking forever to show up, so I may end up publishing this post and adding the ATC image later tonight. I don't know why I think that creating an ATC will only take me a half hour or so, when it always takes me at least 3 or more hours to create one. I can only attribute it to my horrible sense of time, it is legendary, just ask my husband.  
Cashew Ginger Chicken Noodle Bowl
     I did get bonus points for cooking today though. I uploaded this image first and it showed up right away. It is a noodle bowl. Cashew Ginger Chicken udon noodles. I made it up. It has tempura shrimp, baby bok choy, carrots, snow peas (from our garden!), and gingered chicken. All covered with a cashew, ginger, garlic sauce. I feel so happy when I get to have a noodle bowl. I love all the little treasures and mix of flavors and textures, all in one bowl. Basically, happiness in a bowl. Tomorrow I work at the Cherry Festival, but I am hoping to make some gnocchi, we'll see if I can get to it. If not, I'll make it on Thursday night. \
     Tomorrow is Fab Find Wednesday, and I have pics of my estate sale and garage sale finds to share, along with some art...stop by and visit if you get a chance.

4th of July Holiday Pledge Do-Over

Vintage 4th of July Postcard
     Okay, okay, okay...I have not posted a piece of art everyday, and even worse, I haven't made a piece of art everyday, as pledged, how lame is that? But I have to say, in my defense, being out of town without my art supplies made it quite the handicap. But isn't that just a sorry excuse on my part? Yeah...I think so. Apparently, I had not thought all this through very well, eh? I see that I am going to have to create a small and portable art kit for the car and travel if I am serious about this pledge. I love to work with my artist crayons, but they stand a good chance of melting in the summer heat, so they are out (plus they cost a fortune!) Little tubes of water colors, with those tiny caps, can easily come open and make a mess, so they are out too (also not cheap.) I need something simple and easy to transport. I think a small pad of drawing paper, pencils and sharpener might be what I need. No melting or messiness. If I include watercolor pencils and a couple brushes, it will be even more versatile. I can make a cool little carrying case to keep everything tidy and portable. Seems like I have resolved the art supply issue, right? So what else could keep me from making art everyday?
     Well, when I moved "making art" into those upper echelons of my priorities, I failed to take into account that there were already other priorities, quite well established ones, already holding court there, some that might be in direct conflict with "making art," at certain times. And that's exactly what happened. The 4th of July holiday weekend festivities included uncomfortable travel (94+ degree heat and no A/C in our car for four hours) and visiting with relatives we haven't seen in ages. How do you "make art" when you are so uncomfortable you don't feel the least bit artistic? Or when you are visiting with relatives, having a great time, how do you "make art" without being rude or separating yourself from all the fun? I didn't felt like I could excuse myself from any conversations and truthfully, I didn't want to. I had a lovely time and was sorry when we had to say goodbye to everyone. I didn't realize that my commitment to creating art everyday would require working in uncomfortable circumstances or sacrificing important things I love, not just the silly telly and Facebook time. Obviously, I really, REALLY did not think it all through. So how do I make this commitment, this pledge to create art everyday when some days I won't be able to or even want to do it?
    I have come to the realization that I am looking at this all wrong. I DO have to put it on top of my priority list, at least for a certain period of time. And during that time, despite difficult circumstances, fun or otherwise, I will have to find a way to create art, even if it is just a simple line drawing or an interesting photo taken with my cell phone. If anything, more challenging situations should force me to be even more creative in my efforts to create. Now that I've taken the time to think this through, I'm giving myself another chance, I hope you will too. I can already hear Tim Gunn's voice in my head saying, "Make it work."
    I feel really good about this. I pledge to create a piece of art everyday, take two!