Friday, October 14, 2011

DIY Halloween Gravestones

Hey friends! What's new? Not a whole lot here. Joe and I have the day off together (!!!) and we're going to try and find a super huge washing machine so we can wash our 10' round flokati. Oy.

But before that, I wanted to show you a fun weekend project for you and yours. DIY gravestones with fun epitaphs. Easy, cheap and sure to make you laugh, I encourage you to try your hand at these on your next free day.
Check out the DIY over on Houzz! My favorite part is coming up with the epitaphs. 

Okay, well off I go! Have a great weekend. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Studio Action

It seems to be around this time every year that I find myself with inked fingertips and a yearning to cut up my (dwindling) stash of old medical books, gathering a pile of clippings to be carefully tweezered over and glued onto new art pieces.

Ready to be towed through the escalating pour of evening darkness, I started this piece a couple nights ago and it has been slowly (slowly) progressing, as they generally seem to do. One of my favorite things about mixed media is that I don't have to work as quickly as I do with block printing. I can shuffle my scraps around throughout the course of the work and nothing has to be entirely trusted until it's glued down or penned out...and even then, I can always undo the liars.


A few scraps have been added since taking this photo, but now I'm pretty much at a standstill as I broke my almost $30 nib. Uuugh fckshtdmn. I'm not sure if I'm more bummed about the fact that I have to shell out $30 that I will have to wait until my next paycheck for or if I'm bummed that I have to wait in general. Probably both. I got to a point last night that my ideas seemed to stream together and I was excited to start drawing my raindrops. Ah well, worse things have happened. Like the time a customer at my work said "I really like that shirt!" and I replied "Oh, thank you!" only to realize she was talking about the one she was buying. Rather than playing it off like any halfway decent person would, she had to make it awkward for me. Come on, lady.

And speaking of ladies, Moonshadow is my studio mate and she excitedly follows me to the basement every time I go down there. She really likes to be involved and seems to enjoy when I'm doing things around the house, whereas Clementine is more of a couch kid and would rather me stay on the couch so he can lounge on me (as he's attempting right now.) Plus, Moon likes to go down there because it's musty and she can find piles of sawdust and cobwebs to roll in. I like to call her Pigpen. Sometimes I envision those little squiggly lines following her around like they did to Pigpen on Charlie Brown.
So anyway. Other than art stuff, I've been doing the year end yard thing. I have to admit-- I am so very glad that garden season is over. I left the garden high and dry sometime in June or early July...I think I mentioned that...and really haven't had the desire to go back out there all year. I avoided it like the plague, unless it was dark out. The yard generally seems to overwhelm me, which is really quite a drag; it's 1.68 acres and there is always a bunch of shituff to be done. Of course, I don't really *have* to do most of these things. But that's the problem- in order for me to be able to chill out and enjoy the space, it seems as though things have to be a certain way, and for things to be a certain way takes up almost all of my free time and by the end of the day I don't want to sit and enjoy what I've just done, I just want to get away from it. And then I resent it. It's a vicious circle, really. I hate it. I think that will be my next goal in self improvement, although I am a bit nervous as it's kind of a far-fetched goal. We'll see. For now I'm going outside to attend Ganglefest 2011. So far I've cut down 5 juniper bushes and have 7 or 8 more to go...I have no idea where I'm going to get rid of all these branches. They're huge and prickly and would be a bitch to cut them smaller and an even bigger b to set flame to. 

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Welcome to My New Purple Kitchen

So I have a feeling that when I mention that I painted my kitchen purple, most people usually think PURPLE. You know...Royal purple...Grape juice purple...Minnesota Vikings purple...Dimetapp purple...Crown Royal purple...All things-that-I-don't-like purple. It's easy to see why so many people have negative connotations toward the hue. I mean, just look at that list. Yuck, right? But the purple I chose is more of a fuchsia-y tone, and I couldn't be more pleased.

I had been set on re-painting for a little while now, but always leaned in the direction of slate blue. The first time around didn't turn out as dark and chalky as I had hoped, and I kept envisioning this beautiful slate blue wall to frame the view into our long, snowy Wisconsin winters. I thought the contrast between the slate and the snow would be pretty much perfect.
But then one evening after work I was sitting at the kitchen counter, dragging about being in such an anti-cooking funk that had started sometime around the melting of the snow. I remember staring at the walls for a while and thinking that it was to be blamed on my summer schedule. I don't get home from work until 7 or 9 in the summer, and by that time concocting a full meal sounds less than appealing. The problem with this idea was that my summer schedule had gone through the yearly rotation and I had recently transitioned to my winter job. The latest I'd get home from work would now be 4:30 or 5. 

So I decided that I'd get some new wooden spoons and a couple other things I'd been wanting, paint the room slate, and then I'd be good to go. Of course, I would have to start planning meals again but that was fine. And then it occurred to me. Changing from "steely blue" to "slate blue" was the furthest from what I actually needed...I needed a color that was fun and bold. 

While I do appreciate and even envy color in other people's homes, it's something I've never had an easy time with in my own. Our house is in a quiet town. It's rare to see more than 20 cars drive by in the day. Whenever I come home from Madison, it's like I dip into this mental valley of somber. So after driving through the golden flats surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, and pulling into my driveway to see the pale blue facade of my home, the last thing that would feel right would be to walk into a house filled with oranges, yellows and reds. 

I knew that purple would be zingy enough to wake me up and would hopefully give me the energy I was seeking. It's still on the cool side and it matched the tone of my living room quite nicely. Rather than spending a lot of money on paint, as I naively did in the past, I read some terrible reviews on the paint I had found, cringed a little, and decided that I was going to try it anyway. Something I never, EVER do if I read bad reviews. But something told me I'd be okay. So off I went to get a gallon of Behr Forest Berry. It's a paint and primer in one. I know, something you should never use, right? Well, whatever. It worked just fine for me.

And I love it. I think I danced around Joe and sang how much I loved it all week long. It's fun and refreshing and so much more lively. It fits my recent mental status perfectly. And the funny thing is, I hadn't realized how depressing the blue was until after I painted. It's made a huge difference in my mood when I'm in there and has even prompted me to be a little bit more okay with color throughout the rest of the house. The color makes me feel like I can add more warmth in the living room...I've been thinking about a new rug so I can move the flokati into a different room.  But before I get off topic, especially since I've already typed your eyes out, here is what it looked like before:

So so much better, right? Yeah. I really love it. A ton. Although, I must say, the blue was a huge improvement from what it looked like when we moved in. Ugh, that was just terrible. Here's a quick photo for kicks:

So yes. There is still a lot I want to do to the kitchen, but for now I will try to be happy with what it is rather than what it is yet not.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Hey It's October

Did I do this last year? Totally cut out for like 2 or 3 months and then swoop back in? Well I suppose I haven't really totally cut out. I did check in here and there. But that aside, I think the end the lull drawing closer and closer as the days tick by. We'll see.

Today we went to Dr. Evermore's Art Park, which absolutely blew my mind. I'll be sure to get more photos the next time I go, but for now just imagine living in a heavily surreal carnival-like world filled with herds of welded metal creatures in every direction you turn and endless amusement over the fact that you can actually touch these things. Oh man. I was totally geeking out the entire time. I highly recommend a visit if you're ever traveling through central Wisconsin. For real.

Later this afternoon, Joe and I also started Operation Shrub Removal: Part II in the yard, which was mostly gratifying except for the fact that now we have to fill these areas with different shrubs because there are huge holes everywhere now. The ones we got rid of today were junipers, and I'm pretty sure that one of them had a span of about 10'. Ugh, those things are so gnarly. I called it ganglefest, because they are really ugly and gangly and you have to lop like mad before you can even think about sawing them. I made the task more fun by naming my loppers Cindy. 10 points if you get the joke.

Anyway, that's all for now. But like I said, this house and project hiatus that I took this summer seems to be ending, which can only mean that there are more blog posts to be had in the near future. So till next time...