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. :)