Monday, December 10, 2012


My sweet girl has been helping me take it easy over the past couple weeks while I haven't been feeling all that great. It's pretty amazing how much our pets can help us avoid slipping into a mood of doom and gloom...and even if we *do* find ourselves in a deep dark rut, they're always quick to pull us back to level ground. At least for a little while. 


Friday, December 07, 2012

It's December!

Hey it's December! 2012 is almost over...which is kind of a bummer because '2012' looks and sounds way cooler than '2013', doesn't it? I think it does. 

So how's everybody's last month of the year going? Basking in your glory of completed resolutions? I didn't do a 2012 resolution thing, but I did write my list of goals for my 27th birthday and I'm pretty close to crossing everything off. :)

Anyway. I don't know when this turned into an art blog again....I guess probably when I realized that house projects are really just not my thing, as much as I looked forward to them before we bought the house. I am so damn thankful we didn't get that fixer-upper we talked about. Yeesh. That would have been a mess. I'm not much of what you'd call a "weekend warrior." Mostly because I work on the weekends, but partly because I like to move at a more leisurely pace.

But back to what I was stuff. I finished this piece earlier today and now I'm working on a new one that's a little bit different than my usual style. Maybe I'll post photos in a few days. Okay, well I've gotta run. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


The leaves surrendered 
to the sharp breeze,
and stuttered across the field.
Next they're swept up 

by a metal pronged rake, 
and into a pile they're reeled.


This was the first one I've done with leaves in quite a long time...I think another one is due. I'm hoping to cruise over to Home Depot after work tomorrow so I can get some more wood and get it cut before the temps drop. We'll see. I'm going to go make quesadillas now. Check ya later. :) Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Etsy Sale

Everything in the shop is 15% off. Enter code "fifteen" upon checkout.

At the Edge of the Field

Across the windswept golden field
stood a pine, so tall and frail.
Beneath the branches and needles and sap
fast asleep, a tired snail.


I've been hammering out some new tree pieces over the past couple weeks and I'm hoping to keep going. They're usually about 6" x 10" or so, but I've been meaning to pick up some wood that I can cut to about 12" x 24" and make them horizontal. They'd be the same style with the 2 blocks of color, but just horizontal with more trees.

Monday, November 05, 2012

New Pieces for Yellow Canoe

Hey everybody! How are things? I don't really know where I've been...I suppose work and class and doing things around the house have probably been occupying most of my time. I've also been writing for a new website, so that pulls a couple hours away too I guess. Oh...and I started running last week after a 4 year hiatus, so I'm pretty excited about that! I've also had more weekends off than I'm used's been kind of weird spending my days with people rather than by myself.  

But! I do have most of today off, by myself, and just finished six new pieces, which I'm pretty amped about. Well, I'm probably just overly excited about having the day off by myself without having to be anywhere [until 6:30 tonight, anyway] or share it with anyone. To be honest, I'm feeling a bit of a social-overload right now so I'm just going to sit here and suck on my grape-flavored blow pop...I hate grape but the only other snack in the house is cool whip. I think that means I should *probably* go grocery shopping. But before I do that [I probably won't do that.....] I'm going to continue listening to silence and then catch up on cleaning. Maybe even read some of my book. Package a few things that need to be shipped. You know, typical weekday-off type stuff. 
Anyway, the pieces. I'm really digging how the red one and grey one in the middle came out. Not quite sure how I feel about the others yet, but that's okay. I've been thinking about branching out and trying a new tree design [do these puns just set themselves up or what...] but I haven't decided what I want to do yet. I've been thinking about my art a lot lately and what I can come up with that feels fresh and new without diverting too far from my style. I've got a couple ideas, but I still haven't found exactly what I'm looking for. I've been kind of tossing around the idea of having another show soon, but with the holidays and class and work, I'll probably end up wanting to run away. I don't art show/birthday hoorah would be kind of fun if I could find the right venue. But that would mean that I'd only have...let me count......84 days...and that sounds like an awful lot of work. We'll see.

Anyway. I'm done with my grape blow pop so I should probably go do something now. Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Life Has Been Good

I was lying in bed this morning under an oversized down blanket and plaid woolen throw when I decided to finally look over at the time- 5:20 a.m. I went to bed kind of late last night and I only grabbed a few hours of sleep the night before, so I was still a bit tired. After trying to fall back asleep and realizing that I was getting nowhere with it, I decided that I'd rather enjoy the morning on the east side of the house while the sun crept up rather than from the back of the house buried beneath my heap of blankets. And so I got up, filled a cup of coffee and crawled beneath another woolen blanket on the couch. Of course, the sun doesn't rise until about 6:30, but I was okay with waiting.

This past week has been really great. Joe and I spent 5 leisurely days off together and celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. We went camping and canoeing, did a couple house projects and planted a crabapple tree. We've decided that we are going to plant a new tree every year for our anniversary and call it our anniversatree. This year we chose a Donald Wyman crabapple and a Velvet Pillar crab as well. I thought the deep cranberry-plum colored leaves would look good in front of the paint we chose for the exterior of the house.
I was pretty excited that the weekend was cool enough for long sleeves and a knit hat. And I was even more excited when I realized that my hair is actually long enough now to where I don't look like I'm bald when I wear a knit hat. Always a plus. We really like the tree and after a visit to the UW Arboretum, we're pretty giddy in anticipation of it getting bigger. The birch that was tiny when we moved in has grown to be taller than the house, so I figure it's just around the corner that this tree gets big too.
A couple days before we got the tree we went to Mirror Lake State Park which is one of my favorite places in the area. We invited our friends who have never gone kayaking before and we ventured off to the water after we made dinner in our dutch oven. I didn't get any photos of the canoe/kayak excursion because by the time we got down there it was already past dusk. Canoeing in the dark is always fun...the bats swing down and glide just above the water before darting back into the sky and the coyote ramblings carry out from within the bluffs. It's so so cool.

The weekend before last was really great too. Our friends Mike and Jodi who came kayaking with us were burning down their old farm house. Mike is a firefighter and he donated the house for fire training. He invited my department which is just the next town over, so it was a lot fun for me to go to a fire. There was a bunch of interior fire training which was awesome since I hadn't been in a house on fire before that. And then after like 15 different interior drills it was time to burn down the entire house. I'm standing on the left in the yellow helmet. Most of the other firefighters were hanging out up on the hill behind the house. I went up there for a bit but decided to come back down because it was a lot cooler on the side I was on.
It was a good time and I learned a few things too. I wasn't able to be on any of the teams that were putting out the interior fires since I haven't finished my classes yet, but I did get to hang out inside while Mike lit the fire and then we waited for awhile and watched it build until it took over the whole room. It was a nice opportunity for me to get more familiar to the SCBA mask-- I had a hard time with the mask at first and will probably still have a hard time for a little while. It's a psychological thing I suppose, but I can get past it if I can distract myself with other things that are going on. Plus I'm a little better off now that I am more acquainted with the way it works. It was fun to wait as the fire and smoke and heat built. I started fire classes last week so I'm looking forward to see what's next. I think this fire thing is going to be a good fit.

Today I'm painting the house a bit more and cutting a bunch of wood for some new art pieces. Hopefully I have enough sand paper to get everything ready to paint, but we'll see. Cutting the wood is my least favorite part.

But anyway...what's new with you? 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Art Show Recap

A crimson red line has been pulled across the note that reads "have my first art show" on my 2012 goals list. Yesterday I went to the gallery and tucked all the pieces back into their boxes for a safe trip home. The show was pretty incredible and I'm still a little awe-stricken over it.

Joe took the day off to help me set up which was a huge time saver. We got to the gallery around 11:15 a.m. and finished setting up at about 6:10, which included our quick trip over to Trader Joe's. The gallery is on the third floor of a really cool industrial building in Madison.

The space was pretty expansive but the huge gridded windows helped a lot since they ate up such a long stretch of wall. Earlier this summer when I looked at the floor plan and noticed that the gallery was over 70 feet long with walls and rooms all over the place, I had a bit of a small freak out...but then when I saw that there were these gigantic windows strung across the wall it helped ease those crickets crawling all over my stomach.
I didn't have much of a plan for where I was going to hang things, so I started the process by laying everything out on the floor. It actually came together pretty well and I didn't find myself teeter-tottering much about things like I usually do. One thing I learned over the course of this art show process is to just pick something and go with it. It usually always turns out fine and I hardly ever end up regretting or questioning the decision I went with. I try to live my life without any regrets so I think that's part of the reason why I'm always so bad at decision making. I am getting a lot better, though.

Another train of pieces. The first one in line ended up selling to our friends who just built a new house. They're going to put it in their guest bathroom. I'll be excited to see it in their new place; they're having a house warming party on Saturday, and by house warming I mean house WARMING. They are burning down the old farm house they lived in that's on the same property, so it's a burning down the house party. It should be really cool. It's going to be used as training for the fire department so that will be a lot of fun. I'll try to take photos.
This photo was taken after the show because I wanted to get it in the natural light rather than under the track lighting. Around the corner there is another room where I had a bunch of stuff as well, but somehow I didn't find myself in that room as much as I had thought I would. I guess everybody just tended to hang out in this area.
I was so focused on making big pieces for the show that I almost forgot about making small ones. With less than 72 hours to go, I spent an entire day making these pieces. I'm so glad I did- they all sold within the first hour! I had people telling me that they wished I had more...I'll have to get on that. They are my favorite ones to make because they come together so much faster than the big ones do and I don't have to *think* as much.

Here's what that one piece that seemed to keep showing up on the blog ended up looking like. A lot busier than I had originally intended....that seems to keep happening to me, haha.

So about 10 minutes to 6:00, somebody walked through the gallery doors and I just figured it was somebody using the conference room. I glanced up and saw that it was my greatest friend Kait who had just driven 2 hours to come! It was so good to see her. Definitely calmed the residual tension of a pre-show freak out that I had about my severely infected eye. And when I say freak out, I don't mean like kicking and screaming or anything like that...more just freaking out that my eye had really gotten as bad as it did and that I could potentially be on the brink of losing my vision and that my eye doctor told me that if it got worse to call him and it was Friday night and he wouldn't be around till MONDAY. I almost thought that Joe was going to have to run the show because it was so terrible. Ugh. But I am happy to say that I can still see and that, although still infected, it's not nearly as terrible. So yes- anyway, Kait came up and it was awesome. I hadn't seen her since my birthday in January so it was really nice.
Joe was on picture taking duty during the show.........but he was really busy so I have hardly any pictures. Dang it. Next time I'll have to either hand my camera to a friend or set it up on a timer or something. Especially since you can't even tell that we're at an art show here! Haha, it's okay though. I remember the night pretty well so it's all good.

So I haven't read my comment/email address book yet but I'm going to after I'm finished typing this up. I wanted to do it while I had coffee in hand. My favorite time to sit and take things in is in the morning.

After the show I realized that Joe and I didn't have any photos together, so I took this one when we went to the gallery a couple days ago. I like how it turned out AND it's one of the only photos I have from the other room that had stuff in in.
And that pretty much covers it! I had a really great time and I'm already looking forward to the next one. I'm hoping for early spring, although maybe I'll find a place for mid winter that lets me have a good, heavy beer [this gallery had a no-alcohol policy] and of course some hot chocolate. One thing I learned after this show is that I never want to have one in the beginning of Sept again unless I'm working less because it seriously sucked the last month of summer right from me and I didn't even realize it until yesterday. We have a half painted house and it's looking like it may stay that way throughout winter, unless we can find ourselves a few more days in the 70s and nights in the 50s. We'll see.

Oh, and another thing I realized after the show- I can finally buy some Frye boots that I've been wanting to buy for years and years and years without feeling bad about it. I was really hoping this would be the case, but I didn't think I'd be able to without pulling from my bank account as well. I'm excited to report that this is not the case. I'll let you know which ones I end up going with. :)

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Aaannnd....It's September.

Oh hey it's September! My show is in less than a week and I've been spending lots of time out in the garage. The art thing has gotten to be more and more fun over the past couple's helpful that I've had more free time since I haven't been spending quite as many hours at work.

The hardest part for me lately has been that I've had to tell so many friends "no." Usually it's not a huge deal...but when "no" falls out of my mouth for the fourth or fifth time to the same person, it starts to eat at me a bit. It's difficult because I really enjoy being alone so I start to get in this cycle where it's all I look forward to. It's not that I'm avoiding's just that I really need to be at home getting ready for things and it's easy to do when I don't mind doing them alone. BUT- enjoying time with friends is the first thing on my list once I take my show down on the 13th. I put my notice in at my summer job and am leaving a couple weeks earlier than I usually do so I can have some extra squares on the calendar for being with Joe and my friends.

This is a piece I started on a few days ago and I think it's quickly become one of my favorites. I just like the punchy blues next to the muted greys. I'm still working on the tree...I need to add a few branches but I think it's just about finished. Joe is camping this weekend so after work I've been gluing myself the garage with music and some kind of hoppy beer.

Right now I'm listening to music and getting my playlist together. I kept fretting about how I was going to stream music since I don't have a good medium sized music machine, so I've decided that I'm just going to drag my stereo with the floor speakers along with me. Shouldn't be a big deal. The gallery is on the third floor of the Madison Enterprise Center but there's an elevator so it won't be too bad since I can take the whole stereo up at once rather than 3 extra trips up and down 3 flights of stairs. 

But anyway...I should finish this playlist thang and do a few other things before heading to work today. I've been applying a matte finish to all the pieces since the weather has been good for it so I might go check the wind factor and do some more of that. Off I go. I hope you're all enjoying your holiday weekend if you get time off. :)

Friday, August 24, 2012


Please excuse the new color choices. I'm working on finding something new, but I'm not quite there yet. 

I just finished my event was one of those things that I would have probably spent way longer on for no good reason if I let myself. But I made it a mission to finish it in like 10 minutes, and I think I clocked in at 13 minutes. Not bad.

I've gotten pretty far with things over the last 2 days. I spent most of yesterday in bed, however...But I guess it was a good day to feel like hell-- it hit 96 degrees, which proved to be too mega hot to be out in the garage for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Anyway, just wanted to stop in and say hello. If you find yourself in the Madison area on September 7, I'd love to see you. I know my reader base is like 99% non-Wisconsin, but I did meet a couple new Wisconsinites online over the past couple days so I thought I'd throw it out there.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

More Art Stuff. Surprise!

The minutes are slipping by and I've got something like 17 short days to go. I just took inventory for the first time and I'm feeling pretty okay about where I'm at [ha, yeah I'm not.] My goal was to have 27 pieces [for my 27th year, of course] and I have 25ish right now; 5ish of which are still being worked on. I have ideas for about 7-12 more, although I don't know if even 7 are obtainable. We'll see. Chug chug, puff puff. Maybe I can just chill out for a sec and scale back to smaller sizes. This medium to large business is so much different than what I'm used to.

I'm kind of behind on promoting because of that dumb thing called work. At least that dumb thing will let me get the boots I've been swooning over. I think they will be my gift to myself at the end of the year for reaching all my goals. I'd feel good about a purchase like that rather than a purchase just because. Then every time I wear them I'll proudly think back to this year. Yeah, I should probably get them. And then I'll have to buy some leggings and cute tunics. *Sigh.* Anyway...I was hoping to have flyers up by now but I don't even have them ordered, let alone designed. Maybe tonight. Probably not. I have no idea when I'll be able to pin them up around Madison. Some random hour in the night I guess...I'll have to find a buddy for that one.

It's 8:33 a.m. and I will start getting ready for work in about an hour. I work the late shift tonight but I finally have 2 days off after today. I'm sitting on the chaise lounge section of my couch and I can hear some terribly awful music. I was wondering where it was coming from...I don't think any of my neighbors listen to music, or at least they don't listen to it at the same levels I choose to enjoy my music at, so I was starting to wonder where it was coming from. For half a second I thought it was garbage day and that I'd lost track of what day it was...our recycling service struts a tan colored truck that pulls a long, dented up horse trailer that's been faded to a light red. A guy climbs down from the driver's seat at each house to sort the recyclables on site. Sounds like hell to me. I don't know how he gets through the days, sorting all those cat food cans and pickle jars. Too repetitive for me. He usually listens to Shania Twain or Z104, the area's main pop station. And so I thought that maybe that awful music was coming from his truck. 

And then I realized that it's coming from my garage. Welp, too late to fix that problem...the song ended about 5 minutes ago now. But, I should go out and check on my paint to be sure that it's drying okay. It's kind of chilly this morning- 46 degrees. Not ideal for printmaking, but super ideal for hoodie wearing. Maybe it's gone up a few to find out. Talk to you all soon. Have a good couple of days. [PS: I wrote this 2 days ago and never hit "publish"...damn.]

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Moving Along at Glacial Speed

It's been a frustrating couple of days. Lots and lots of hours in my project lodge of a garage. At least I prepped my mood with the expectation that the jigsaw thing wasn't going to go so well. Made it a little easier when it, predictably, did not go so well. Didn't really anticipate spilling half a quart of watermelon-pink latex paint on the garage floor. Maybe it was less. I don't know. 

Wasn't too terribly excited when I realized that I had to gouge out a loose knot of wood and fill it and sand it, three separate times, even after I had already painted, with wood filler. We won't talk about that. And of course there was the touch-up job with the paint that was somehow half a shade off from the original color. I noticed that part a couple hours after I jotted a few strokes on the surface. 

Burnt out light bulbs at 9:00 p.m. always suck, but not as much as the light bulb that burns out 3 seconds after you screw it in. What a charmer. And to think I was all proud of myself for taking all the appropriate their proper change the light bulb before I went and rifled through the cabinets for it. You know- just little stuff. Moved a few cinder blocks so I could move a couple tables. Had to unplug some things from the outlet that's behind some other things. Walked into the jigsaw blade that I had just taken off the table and set on the ground when I was going to move everything. I was wearing sandals. Went the the backyard in the dark to get the ladder. Fortunately, nothing bad happened during my blind jaunt around to the back of the house. Set the ladder up and trekked to the top [okay, so it's like 4 rungs] and opened the light fixture only to have half a pound of dead bugs scatter all across the fresh paint. It was the piece with the gouge I had to fill 3 times. That thing is cursed by now. 

Screwed in the new bulb, smiled that SOMETHING finally worked, began to crawl down the ladder and jumped half a mile high because of the loud pop of the new bulb dying. Ugh. UGH. UGH. I'm surprised that none of my knuckles are broken or bleeding yet. Punching something crossed my mind half a dozen times. It's not frequent that it does...but seriously. The last couple days have sucked, mega style.

Joe came out at some point and asked how it was going. It took a lot of energy for me to keep myself from turning into the sister of Incredible Hulk and not seem like I was entirely fed up. And it took even more energy to erase the thought that I had just wasted so. much. time. when I'm only 25 days out and I don't have many hours away from other commitments during that period. It's okay, though.


I'm happy to say that I have finally made some headway [it's the next morning now...] and I think I may be able to crank out 3 pieces today. It's that whole cut/sand/prime/paint thing that takes so dang long. Especially when I mess things up. But, like I said- I did move forward last night by a small amount.  
And that small amount was that I got my beetle carved and printed! It was the first thing that went right all day like 6:30 p.m. And to think that I started my day at 6:30 a.m. The entire time I was carving I kept thinking that it was going to turn out horribly, but when I peeled the inked block away from the paper during the first test print, I pretty much jumped with glee. If I could do cartwheels I would have. And then I went inside to eat chicken apple curry for dinner and try to gather some more electricity for round 3. I went back out an hour later and printed with my new beetle. This morning I went out and got a few more things ready for printing and then cut and glued some scraps.
So I made a deal with myself- if I can finish 3 pieces today, I might drive to Madison to buy a new camera and some red printing ink. Well, I made that deal 5 hours ago and I think only 2 pieces are going to happen, but that's because I am kind of taking it easy. Tomorrow starts a new chain of work days and I'm really, really not ready for it. But I'm not going to think about that because then the pinchy claws come out and I turn into a crab.

Whew. Okay. End of...whatever you want to consider that. Anyway, what have you been up to lately? Any fun plans for the end of summer/beginning of fall? I don't know about you, but I am so looking forward to boots and scarfs and sweaters and cider and donut holes and hockey. Not football. Hockey. Fall = Hockey.

Monday, August 06, 2012

House Painting: Exterior

The sun is strong this morning and the ground is still under a dewy web. It's 8:45 and I'm sitting in the living room, enjoying coffee that can hardly pass for lukewarm and some yogurt that may or may not be expired. I tossed a handful of Grape Nuts in just in case. I figured I could just focus on the bite of the cereal rather than the bite of aged dairy. It seems to be working. In all honesty, I'm pretty sure it's not expired. But it is the yogurt that I kept stacking new ones on top of after each trip to the grocery store, so I can't be too careful. And I think it says something about July on the container. Moving on.

I have today off and then I work half a billion hours again. Working a lot always confirms my decision that a) I don't really want to be a mom and b) I'm usually more productive at home when I'm stacked with hours at work. This week's fun? We started painting the exterior of our house. As of August 15 we will have been in this house for 3 years...I think it's a good way to round out the third year.

This is pretty much what the house looked like when we bought it. Dusty Grandma Blue. Not like a dusty grandma but more like dusty AND grandma. Busy railings and too many giddy bushes to keep tamed. Stupid river rocks that ended up taking us hours and hours and a mountain of buckets to remove. There was also blue carpet on the porch, but I ripped it out before the photo was taken.
You may recall when I posted about removing the bushes a while back. Those things were pretty gnarly...the roots were incredibly smitten where they were and put up a damn good fight. I was so happy to have them gone. Ugh. We removed the railings on the same day. And by "we" I mean my mom and I. She's a bit more gung-ho than I am when it comes to house stuff, so it's nice to have her around when I need to get shit done. She's coming over in about an hour, actually....and I have a lot to do before then. Blogging isn't supposed to be one of them. Whatever, who wants to spend 45 minutes sweeping, mopping and vacuuming when you can try your luck with 17. Funny how fast we move under pressure, isn't it?
Anyway, here you can see what the porch looked like after the shrubs were yanked. You know that interview question on interior design websites that goes something like "what's your biggest embarrassment?" Well, my answer would be "The entire front of the house." Yeah, it has looked like this for some time now. I won't say how long, but some time. We are finally moving forward. It's about damn time...I don't know how much longer I could keep parking the car with my eyes closed. That blue was really getting to me.
And so, as of yesterday the dusty grandma blue is finally on it's way out. After about 12 trips to various hardware stores and Sherwin WIlliams and 30 swatches later, I ended up with 7 samples [mostly all on different days, of course.] And then, after almost pulling my hair out, I finally [FINALLY] found the right one. I didn't realize how hard it would be to find a good green. But alas, I did find it after much perseverance. 

And here's the craziest part- I picked it from a swatch. Yeah. After spending lots of time and money on all those different samples, I was at my wit's end. The paint store is 21 miles away-- not really what I consider to be convenient. What was convenient was that they were having a 40% off sale. The problem was that I became short on time and had to just PICK something already. So, after shuffling a million swatches that I marked "too gold"..."too blue"..."too brown"...and "too green" I took the plunge and asked Joe to get 5 gallons of Sherwin Williams "Meadow Trail" while I was at work. I looked at the swatch for the 50th time and just knew it had to be the one. I felt kind of bad sending him on a Sunday,  which I thought was the last day of the sale and was sure to be crazy. Turns out it actually ended on Monday. Oh well. 

So yesterday we painted for 6.5 hours. The beer helped. I didn't intentionally include it in the photo but I guess it just happened to be there. Central Waters Ouisconsing Red in case you're curious. Anyway, we are really excited to be able to paint- the heat here has been keeping us at bay for weeks now! I'm extremely happy with the results...if you are looking for a good rustic green, you should really try this Meadow Trail color. I can finally look at the house without cringing-- it fits in much, much better than that blue. Next up is new exterior lights, some chairs and paint for the porch. A walkway is in the works as well. I can't wait to decorate for the holidays now! Before I never wanted to because frankly, I didn't want people looking at the house. I know- it wasn't THAT bad....but it wasn't that great either. Definitely not something to be proud of. 

So a question for you: have you painted the exterior of your house before? What color did you go with? What do you think of it?

Friday, August 03, 2012

It's August.

Welp, as of a couple days ago I can march around and say that my show is next month. I'll most likely hang a right on a side street so I can skip away from the parade and hide.

I've been working a lot over the past week. Office job in the morning, outdoor job in the evening. I'm not good with working a mega ton, but I'm managing. I just need time to sit, think, process, enjoy. Yeah yeah, I'm sure everybody does. But some people are better at working than others and I like when tasks are sorted to people who are good at them, haha. I do appreciate the fact that my day isn't typically a carbon copy of the last...I don't like the thought of 9-5, M-F. I've never had that but I don't think I'd be so good at it. 

Anyway. Back to it. I made a list yesterday and sorted my [art show] to-dos for the next month. Of course, I'll probably do exactly opposite of what the list says, but I'll deal with that when it comes up. I'm looking forward to doing the things like "jigsaw 9-12 wooden circles" and "start 3 medium sized pieces: sand and prime". I thought about using a router for the circles but then I stopped and thought about how much of the process of each piece would be gone if I did that. A router would just do the work for me and make all the edges perfect. And I'd have to figure out how to use this router that has a million pieces that my brother scored for me. So jigsaw it is. More on that soon.

One good thing about working lots is that I'll finally be able to get a new camera. For now just pretend it's 2004. It will make the photo look way better.

I'm starting a bigger piece that's going to have lots of beetles on it. I've always been kind of fascinated by those dawdling bugs, all buttoned up in their cute shiny jackets. Something about them just makes me smile. There will probably be 27 beetles in all if I can pull myself to draw 27 beetles. Or I may just block print some and draw others. I haven't decided.

One nice thing about taking a 5 day training course that only covers things I already know [hey, i had to find something good in it to keep me from going out of my mind] is that it's given me a lot of time to think about how I'm going to set things up at the show. I really can't wait until it all comes together. I don't think I would have come up with the same ideas if I had just sat down at home and thought about it, so I think a few coffee shop visits are in order as well. I had stopped going because my computer is all sorts of effed up when it tries to connect to wi-fi, but I don't need a computer for this kind of thing.

Okay, well today is my LAST day of training [for now] and I have to figure out what to wear for casual friday. So rough. I'm locking myself in the house after work to finally spend more than 30 consecutive minutes on show prep. I asked Joe if he could give me some time to just do my thang. Hopefully that means he'll go shopping and buy me things. He won't, but I can still dream. 

And hey- thanks for sticking with me lately. To everybody who has emailed and left me sweet comments on here, I can't tell you how much it means to me that you took the time to do that. Seriously.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Violin Mantis

I just snailed my way across 3 days off and what do I have to show for it? Well, not much art stuff...but I did get some garden projects moving along and some house cleaning and exterior paint sampling done. And, of course, I am still undecided on the color. I'm thinking about mixing Sherwin Williams Messenger Bag with Olive Grove but I haven't tried it yet. I'll be back with the full report once I've decided...I only have like 24 hours left before their super-mega sale starts, meaning that I really need to reel it in and PICK ONE already.

In other news, my camera has officially died. Thanks for helping that along, Clem. You're a peach.'re a Clementine but you can be a peach for today. Anyway, if you've followed the blog for more than a year or so, you'll remember that I've talked about replacing the camera for a good 3-4 years now. Just one of those things I guess...I have bought 2 and returned both because I didn't like them even though they had stellar reviews. I think I tried Sony and Nikon. I guess I'll stick to what I know and stay friends with Canon, but until I move forward with that quest, here's a crappy scratched-lens-camera-phone shot:

This is 1 of 4 in my insect series. Although, neither 2 3 or 4 exist yet, so I may be stretching the truth a bit. I don't know. The letters aren't glued down, I just cut them out this morning. In case you ever need to calm down and chill out, you should try cutting letters out of book's a lot like gardening but not as strenuous or dirty and you don't need a wheelbarrow or a shovel. So maybe it's not like gardening. My point is that it's very calming and you should try it sometime.

So yeah. I'm not sure if I want to add anything above the words or not. Thoughts? I have a hard time stopping when there is still blank space, but I'm trying to challenge myself here. Ugh, speaking of challenges, the other thing that I'm having a *really* hard time with is pricing. I have never, ever had a hard time with this before, but I was always under the "I want people like ME to be able to afford my stuff....people who don't have a ton of extra cash." But the problem is that after 10 people tell you that you're underselling yourself, it becomes a little more difficult. And...I'm not going to have the internet barrier to protect me at this show thing. So we'll see what happens. Oh. I should also point out that this mantis piece is my biggest one yet...I think it's like 26 x 30 or something.

Okay, well that's all for now. I should start getting ready for work. Only a high of 82 today, and after the pattern of 100+ degree days, I'm about ready to wear some jeans. Hope you're all doing soon. Oh yeah- T-minus 51 days. Eff.

Monday, July 09, 2012

T-Minus 60 [Days]

60 days to go and I'm actually kind of excited. Not freaking out like I was 40 days ago. Not stressing like I was 20 days ago. Just having a good time and accepting those things that had been crinkling around the good ol' think-box. At least for the time being, anyway. Ask me how I am next week and that could change entirely.

It's been really, really hot here lately and I kept using it as an excuse as to why I hadn't worked on anything. And then I stopped and thought about this for a minute. I snapped out of it and realized that it's okay to lay low sometimes and that I don't need to find an excuse when there's an actual reason. And the reason, that I finally happened upon after secretly celebrating the first couple hot days that would magically keep me out of the garage, was that I was in a rut. It's really that simple. I just wasn't feeling it. I'm sure you've felt the same way. The good thing about mulling this over was that I wasn't at war with myself anymore, which meant that I eventually found my way back to my path. So off I went to set up the sawhorses and find my saw. Of course, re-finding the path happened when it was still 106 outside, but thankfully it was toward the end of the heat wave. Yes, that's me wearing jeans in the heat and yes that's my super cute vintagey green air compressor and yes that's my canoe hanging by the rafters. And yes I wore safety glasses when I cut the wood. Sun glasses? Hmm.
So um, as you can see here, after the whole "hey it's effing hot out" ordeal was over, I have inched my way into the kitchen. Remember how the garage was the only space that was working for me? Welp, looks like the kitchen is the new line leader [do you remember line leaders? i was always too shy and chose to be at the back of the line, mostly because i didn't want people to get upset at me that i was in front of them. first grade logic.] But anyway, yes- so I'm in the kitchen now and I just painted a couple boards. Wood is the only material I've ever worked on and I really like it. One of the pieces is this really great pea green color. The biggest hassle about being indoors now is the cats. Their fur landing on the paint. Their potential paw prints on the paint. Clementine's bitching and moaning. It's all kind of annoying. I'll live, although they might not.
I've been learning a lot about myself during this whole making process [and also being reminded how much I dislike drawing....] and it's been kind of a fun venture. Minus not liking to draw. But anyway, I've taken to heart the fact that I need to switch things up a lot and it's a lot less of a battle now that I've accepted it. Not only with my environment, but general routines as well. Schedules, repetitive processes, and planned activities tend to make me a bit edgy and withdrawn and I'm thankful that I've [recently] learned how to deal with this. I just change my schedule or environment or mosey onto a new venture and like a rabbit in a hat, it's all better. I encourage any of you restless thinker types or creative creatures to try it some time. There's actually a good article on something similar over on Psychologies UK. The only concern that this has lead me to is the fact that maybe I shouldn't find myself what they call a career after all. The other problem is that sometimes all that swapping leads to lack of fulfillment. I've definitely trudged that ditch before. Like, last week. Dumb.
Okay, so back to drawing. One thing I learned during my short stint in design school [ school...i miss you so much.] is that trace paper is my saving grace. It's really good if you get frustrated with drawing like I do. Because then you can draw and draw parts and pieces over and over until you get it right without having to erase anything, because eventually you just trace all the parts you like and come up with one entire image. Yeah, it takes forever but that's the way I do it and the only way drawing is any form of enjoyable for me. Aaannnnd you don't go through erasers as quickly. So onto my most recent tracing- a Violin Mantis. They're pretty charming, yeah? This will eventually turn into a screen print but until then I might just transfer the image and ink it up. I don't have a Rotring Rapidograph pen with a nib that's large enough in diameter, so I may have to bust out my Koh-i-Noor Rapidograph pens and curse them for 3 hours until they work. So I'm off to do that now...and feed my always bitching orange boy cat. Ugh. [I love my cat I love my cat I love my cat I love my cat...wait, what's the number of times you need to tell yourself something before it's rooted into your brain? shit. i'll tell you when i figure it out i guess.]

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Guess You Can Say it's Kind of Like My Baby...

You know when you have a blog that you visit for years and then they have a baby and SWEAR that they're not going to talk about the baby thing forever, but then forever comes and they're still talking about the baby? Well, I'm going to try my hardest not to talk about my [art show] baby...but I guess when something tugs at most of your free time, it becomes your life and most people who blog write about....wwwaaaaiiit foorrr iiitt.....their life.

This piece is taking forever and I think it's because the background is white. I had the hardest time with this one, which is white as well, so it only makes sense that it could be one of the reasons. But I think I've gotten through the bramble now. And really- where's the challenge if everything's easy? Anyway, I'm going to add more blue to the middle and a few more rounded shapes to soften the edges. Ha....if only I could just "add" rounded shapes to soften my own edges. Actually, I suppose I COULD do that now that I'm thinking this through a little more! Coins are round and coins buy THINGS. Happy pills are round too. Thin Mints are round and Thin Mints buy a few minutes of glee. I think I might be onto something here...more on this later. Back to my would be awesome if I could finish this piece today but the weather people are in a frenzy about the heat and I don't want to move all my stuff from the garage to the dining room table.

Other than doing art stuff, I've been spending most of my time doing house projects [just small things...i'm slowly coming to the realization that i really don't like doing house projects. DAMN those DIY blogs for convincing me that doing projects is COOL!] Hmmm. Some firefighting stuff as well, but not too much of that yet. Hopefully I can start taking classes for the fire thing this fall, but we'll see. I'm not going to get too excited- it is SCHOOL, after all.

My new cards came in the mail the other day. Rather than calling them business cards, I'm referring to them as my "social networking cards." I'm pretty happy with them and I'm so glad that they turned out as well as they did! They're printed on the front and back and I got a good deal so I went for it and just ordered 500. 

So yeah, that's about it. I got up early this morning and watered the gardens and tried yet another paint sample on the exterior of the house. I think I may have found THE ONE! Bamboo Shoot by Sherwin Williams. We'll see...I was pulling for a color called "Sir-Moss-A-Lot" but he's a bit too boss for me. Which makes sense, because moss is boss. And since I'm rambling about moss, I might as well mention that I'm reading a book called Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It's my second book this year [hey this is a big deal for me since I suck at finishing novels] and her writing is like soft fingers on a harp. But anyway, back to paint...I am going to go bake myself in the sun oven now and measure the house. Sherwin Williams is having a sale and I need to get on it already.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Can I Ask a Quick Favor of You?

So umm, I don't know if you guys are looking for something to do right now, but maybe you could "like" Yellow Canoe on facebook if you're feeling so inclined [my page for the art stuff.]

I'm trying to get to 200 by September...a pretty low number. But you know, just to gather a few friends before the new people show up. And by new people I mean the ones who may end up there after the show.

It's kind of like when you're in a long parade of cars traveling 53 in a 55. All it takes is one person to go around the slow-ee before the fire is fueled. If that person doesn't end up going around, and they will if they know what's good for them, chances are the other people wont either. biggest pet peeve ever. I face this on a daily basis during my drives across the hills and valleys before I get to Madison.

Anyway, I would be so grateful if you took a peak at the facebook thing. Of course, I don't think you should "like" it if you don't indeed like it. But if you do, that's cool. Thanks a bunch for any help. Sorry- a little forward compared to my normal tendencies but I am trying to come out of my shell a little more. 

*the piece above sold a couple years ago. i admit- i was a little sad to see it go. i hope that wherever it ended up is a house that fun people live in. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Adding Layers

A quiet, sunny Thursday morning here; my favorite time of day. I seem to find the most spark when the sun begins to lift or when the moon hangs high. I think that's pretty common.

I started this piece with the intention of keeping it quiet and low-key. You know, just simple and to the point. And then I got going and kept staring right through it as if it were glass...Shuffled a few scraps of paper and stared through it some more. It felt sheepish and meek. And while I'm usually a pusher of "less is more", I usually need the things that I make to really pack a punch. 

And so, after a few trips to the basement for inks, blocks and tools, I started to print. I kept telling myself to keep it calm and restful...but I still think this thing is going to find a fork in the road and choose to veer. The same thing happened with the last 2 pieces...I guess part of the reason is that the challenge of balancing and composing while adding and adding and adding some more is a fun challenge for me. And I think the other reason I always layer more and more is because when it's still or quiet, all the imperfections prod at me even at a half glance. I don't just always seems a bit amateur or something. Not to say I'm a professional or anything. But you know what I mean, right? Maybe? Anyway. Here is where it sits right now...

Yellow arrows, inked to surface. The paper scraps aren't glued down yet. I spend a lot of time staring at the thing before I ever glue. Haha, and to think I wanted to finish this the same day I started...Yeeeahhh. Right.

I read this really great article by Douglas Eby the other day and it made me feel much better about this slow, chameleon-like process. Sometimes I need to step back and remember why I do this in the first place. So far it's the only thing I've found that sustains flow for as long as it does. My other 2 things are solo canoeing and gardening, although gardening isn't as good at it. Well, writing is good too, even though I'm always finding myself in fits with who I am vs. who I'm not. I think that started when I began writing for Houzz. Anyway...back to this article I read. It basically talks about how affected artists/designers/creative minds can be by their environment, which is something I mentioned in my last post. It was reassuring to read it from somebody else. One of my favorite parts from the post is: 

"1. Acceptance. Accepting things as they are is a great way to give yourself permission to be exactly where you’re at in your creative process even if that means struggling to maintain motivation or coming up with ideas. In other words, not judging your current situation as good or bad, but that it is what it is."

Something I need to remember more in my personal life: that things are what they are. Thankfully I'm pretty good at this when it comes to dealing with others. But during my own personal feats I always tend to be pretty hard on myself which is never fun. Annnyyywaaay. That's where I am with the art things right now. 

So my question for you is: What have you learned about yourself in your creative processes? I'm always curious about this sort of thing...I'd love to hear what you think. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Art Show Stuffs

Last month I felt like crickets were crawling up the walls of my stomach every time I thought about this whole art show thing. I kept thinking in circles..."Oh...4 months? Is that all? How the hell am I going to pull this off in 4 months? What am I doing to myself?! Is this venue really over 70' long? There is no way I'm ever going to fill that much space."

I honestly can't remember the last time my stomach tingled. I'm not much of a butterfly trap. I usually cut to the chase and just pass out if things go amok. And although this was nowhere near any stage of amok, I was pretty much kinda sorta on the verge of freaking out. Why? I don't's stupid. I mean come on, this is my show. I make the calls. It's up to me and only me to have things the way I want them. Oooh. RIght. Duh...that's why I'm freaking the fuck out. 

So anyway, after a few pep talks from myself to myself, I think I'm doing okay. Although, haha, funny thing- as of today I now have only 3 months know, like 90 days. I still have a LOT to do. The same amount as I had 30 days ago, actually. Well, just about. I did buy some wood and I did go shopping for some screen printing stuff. I started some business card designs. I've had the table saw with a huge piece of plywood resting on top as my work space in the middle of the garage for about, oh, a solid 3 or 4 weeks now. Yeah, that's right. I have an entire basement, an extra bedroom, a kitchen table, a back deck, a front porch...lots of places to set up shop...and I chose the garage. The only place out of all those spaces that is actively used for something else every day. All of those other spaces are generally vacant. Joe has been so incredibly patient and I'm really surprised that he hasn't asked me [told me?] to move my stuff so we can park in there again. Ugh. I don't know....something about the garage just feels right. I wish I wasn't so affected by my's kind of a pain.

But, thanks to my garage, I did start this one today. Not quite finished and needs to be touched up a bit. The flashcard has to be glued down along with a couple other things. Oh. The white fuzzies are from a towel I shook out. I didn't really see them when I snapped the [chitty camera phone] photo.

Anyway, moving on. I have lots of ideas for new pieces. Tons of ideas, really. The problem is that I am a Gold Medalist when it comes to waiting until the last minute to do things. Seriously. I'm always training and I've become quite good at it, hence the gold medals. Sorry, I don't mean to brag. . . . .

We'll see how things go over the next few weeks. I'm feeling good now that I've gotten my feet wet and I think I'll be able to hold onto the baton for a bit. I'm sure you'll read all about it in the coming months. For now I'm off to bed.

Monday, May 14, 2012

House Tour: Main Floor

It has been so refreshing to read all these recent blog entries that have been mingling with the idea of "Hey look, I'm not perfect." For awhile I was having a hard time with a lot of the blogs I used to love reading every morning. I was starting to find myself cranky, annoyed and a little bit frustrated, and more often than not, a lot of these blogs made me feel bad about myself. It was really no good and I eventually cut out most of my daily reads. I've been much happier since.

When we moved to our house a few years ago, I absolutely loved it. And then I went through this phase where I'd cringe every time I looked around, always finding things I didn't like. It became hard for me to love something when I wished it was something else, and although I knew that I could make it something else, with time and money, I started to feel myself slowly pull away from it. I wanted to move back to Madison and I was afraid of becoming attached to it...the problem with this was that I was still got annoyed with things whenever I looked around. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, when I joined the Fire Department, I was surprised how quickly I felt calmed by a sense of connection. For the first time since moving here I actually felt like I lived was no longer a place where I just came to sleep and I didn't find myself wanting to be in Madison on all my days off. In fact, I have actually gotten to the point where I would really rather not be in Madison. Of course, I do still enjoy going to visit friends, but it's not somewhere I find myself going to just to get away from my house anymore.

I've been wanting to show you my house for awhile and although I have posted photos of rooms here and there, it always comes with a little stress. I've never felt like I could show very much of it because it's not "finished." Or things aren't how I would like them to look. Or it's messy. Or whatever is wrong with it on any given day. And then the other day I walked around the house with my camera and snapped random photos. I didn't move anything around or clean anything up, and I didn't take a photo only to realize that something had to be moved 3" to the left so I could take a better one. 

After I uploaded the photos, I realized something-- my house isn't really that messy, even though I often feel like it is. And it's really not as ugly as I make it out to be, even though I often dwell on things. It's just that all those damn interior photos of "perfect" houses start to warp my brain and twist my perception a little bit. I could go on, but I'll spare you. Here is my house. I only took photos of the main floor and some photos of the back yard. The basement didn't make it. Maybe next time.

We enter the house through the garage, which walks into the kitchen:

We really like the subway tile in the kitchen, but would like to replace the oven with something that doesn't look like it's from a 1970's Sears catalog. I've also been in search for an old wooden counter-height table to replace this counter with. I'd like it to be a bit longer than this one and I don't want it to have that weird rounded edge. Oh, and this area seems to be our "catch all" since it's right by the door.

Eventually I will replace that scalloped trim above the sink with a piece of wood that's not all fancy-like. I'd like to get new hardware for the cabinets, but it's going to be costly since we have so many. Plus, chances are likely that I'll buy the hardware and change my mind. We've only used the dishwasher once. I should probably give it another shot. We wish that it was a different color, along with the fridge, and it will come with time:

This is our dining area, although we rarely eat here. We'd love to replace the sliding door with French doors, but it's a dream that's far off. The fan will be leaving shortly and will be replaced with a drum pendant. We're going to do some kind of wooden ceiling when we find what we're looking for to eliminate that weird drop down piece. Recessed lights are in sight as well, and we'd like a different table and chairs.

This is the view past the sliding door. We hope to fill our yard with more trees over the years and I have big plans for making the hammock and garden area feel more connected.

Here is the view if you look to the left. Those sliding doors are off my bedroom. It's a luxury to have sliding doors that lead to the deck. I don't use them as much as I should...

This is the living room, which is the next room you walk into from the kitchen. We used to have a giant flokati rug on the floor, but it's really not conducive to a high traffic area. I've been in search for the right rug for about 2 years now...

This is the view towards the hallway, which leads to 3 bedrooms and a bathroom.

This is the first bedroom of the 3, which is the guest room. I have big plans for it, but since we only have overnight guests a few times a year, I decided it's not a priority. The huge mirror on the bed is from the bathroom we're redoing.

Here's said bathroom...

The next room is probably one of my favorites; I love the vibrant colors. This is actually Joe's bedroom. Yes, you read correctly, Joe and I don't sleep in the same bedroom. No there's nothing wrong and I get really annoyed when people raise their eyebrow over this. We have very different sleeping habits and it's what works best for us. Thanks to this solution, we both get a good night's sleep unlike when we used to share a room.

Oooh-kay, so this is where things get a little odd. Directly across from Joe's bedroom door is my bedroom. This is where you enter. I have no idea what the intentions of the previous owners were or why they would have built it this way, but whatever. Here we have the bathroom, which will thankfully be remodeled and un-weirdened soon. Yeah, it's effed up.

This is the view to the other side of the bathroom/hallway weirdness. I have a big sliding mirrored closet door which comes in handy for practicing dance moves. As you can see, I haven't bothered to switch my blinds yet. I don't really like spending money on things that are only temporary. I'm hoping that this is the next interior space I work on after the other bathroom is finished.

I won this rug on eBay for like $3 or something. It's one of my favorite things. It used to be in my studio down in the basement, but then I realized that I never see it there and so I moved it to my room.
Aaaaand here is the bedroom. I'm hoping to put some French doors in this opening. It's pretty wide and there's no real door right now. The eventual goal is to knock out those 2 closets and add floor to ceiling windows.

The view to the left when I walk into my room. I'm excited about changing the paint color, if I can ever decide on one. I am looking forward to the day that I can get rid of the ugly paneling on the bottom half of the wall to the right. For now, this is my hang out spot. I like to swing in my pod chair and think. The hooks are my only solution to keeping tons of clothes off the floor. It seems to work really well for me, and it also keeps them from becoming wrinkled or full of cat fur.

A really bad photo, but this is my sliding door. Most of the plants live here since it's the only room with South-facing windows. I am looking for a better solution because I really don't like them here. I'm hoping to add more windows to this wall as well sometime in the near future.

This is the view out that small window between the two closets. I am really super excited about those big windows I'm after. I can't wait to wake up and look out the windows to see my big yard. The falling snow will be really cool to see in the winter, too. Oh, and that's where our flokati rug is currently living right now. I need to move it.
Last but not least, my bed. I never make my bed. I am anticipating the day that I have bedding that I like and a nightstand that is more of a nightstand. I usually have a bunch of magazines and notebooks on the bed with me. This is usually where I read or write when it's dark outside. I'm looking forward to having a desk in my room one day. I'm going to put it where my hanging chair is because I don't really like to write in bed.

So yeah, that's the main floor of my house. I really like the layout and hope to live here for a long time. There's a lot of potential and it's great for entertaining. My favorite part is that it's really quiet and we have quite a bit of privacy. I really do love it. Thanks for coming along for the tour. I'll show you the bathroom when it's done...for now I'm off to sand it.