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.