It Might Be An Obsession

I know, I know, what happened to resolution number three? Getting my post done early? It’s only December 29th. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.) Back to my mad scientific experiments once again. I was at Michael’s Crafts yesterday and saw unfinished wooden frames for a dollar. Intended for Valentine craft projects they have a cut out of a heart. Not that I in any way needed another project or more supplies, but I was curious about what I could do with them. I figured at the very least I would do something with them and put them up for sale on etsy. Time to play in the studio. I painted the first one white and then added some dimensional paint on top of some stencils, when the dimensional paint dried I painted that white as well. Then added a little antiquing mixture for patina, and finally a quote about love. Nice enough, but not where I was hoping to go. I decided to try the burnt glue technique. I figured if it works on paper, why not unfinished wood? It works beautifully. However, unlike the paper/glue burning technique, the unfinished wood needs to sit for a half hour or so to cure. When it was completely dry I dry rubbed in some antique bronze and pewter acrylic paint. Amazing! I made the addition of a vintage key and vintage door plate and I love it! You know it couldn’t end there. I started thinking about other things that might be possible candidates for this technique. The cat? Too much cat hair, although I did see that crafting with cat hair book at the store… Searched the studio and found an empty cigar box. So cool. I’m obviously a little obsessed. I won’t have time to finish the cigar box tonight, but it is well on its way. I have a few ideas for additions to the top, but those will have to wait until tomorrow, meanwhile I’ll be thinking about what I can cover next. A wooden chair?????????? It may be time for an intervention.IMG_3420





Feeling Merry and Bright

Dare I say it? I’m feeling just a little merry, as in Christmas. We went out today to get our tree. It’s really sort of a non event for us. We don’t have little ones who are excited. There is also the fact that as we chose our tree I was taking photos in the garden center at Home Depot to torture my sisters with. (Come to think of it that made it worth the trip.) I knew it was snowing in Chicago and it was eighty-four here. The temperature also affects the way I feel. When you grow up in the Midwest you want a white Christmas. The only snow I see here is on the tops of the mountains which are more than an hour away. I’m not complaining. I’m getting older, and I am getting to the age where every injury I have sustained in my life is tapping me on the shoulder to say, “Ha, forgot about me didn’t you?” I hurt in multitudes of places depending on the day. I can only imagine what some nice icy weather would do to me. I think I miss the idea of a white Christmas more than anything else. Didn’t I say I was merry? Doesn’t sound like it, but I am, really I am.

There is also this, before we moved to California we cut down our own tree. Our home was outside the city and we lived only a few minutes from a tree farm. I have fond memories of going with the kids in the cold picking our tree, coming back to the house and drinking something hot, and decorating the tree. The experience isn’t quite as picturesque at the home improvement store when I’m too warm to wear a jacket, but once the tree is in the house, and the boxes of ornaments come out, I’m in full holiday mode. I am a very sentimental woman, I remember nearly every ornament and when we got it. My favorites of course are the goofy ones that the kids made, and one that my mother in law made. It is in the tradition of the old German ornaments made with cotton and cloth with the exception of a cut out from a photo of Jessica’s face. It was really cute when it was new, but as the years have gone by it has gotten really creepy looking. I make sure to put it front and center. The tree wouldn’t be complete without creepy Baby Jessica.  Every year I am also reminded of an ornament I made a very long time ago. It was in the third grade. When I was a kid there weren’t many of the current safety regulations in place. We created an ornament with a Styrofoam ball, toothpicks, paint, and glitter. I remember mine was orange. We had to stick the toothpicks all around this ball, dunk it in paint, and then again in glitter. It wasn’t an ornament, it was a deadly weapon. Like a giant porcupine ball, or some Medieval instrument of torture. (Possibly a craft idea inspired by the Inquisition?)  I can’t imagine a school these days allowing kids to make anything close to it.  Of course once the ornaments come out, the snowmen come out. I’ve mentioned my dirty little collecting secret before. I haven’t taken them out of the boxes quite yet, they are awaiting my attention in the morning. (Photo tomorrow night)

Tree trimming in our house usually starts with Vince Guaraldi and the music from Charlie Brown Christmas. It sets the tone perfectly. Dan really likes Charlie Brown Christmas so a few years ago I made him a Charlie Brown tree and painted an ornament red for him to hang from it. I also painted a few ornaments for him as a gift.  They will have to suffice as my art project for the day. I spent the morning creating my Dad’s five Irish fairies. (Much thanks to my cousin Lorna in Ireland for giving me the correct spelling of Merry Christmas in Gaelic.) One of the things I truly love about the artistic abilities I have is that when I want to make something special for someone, I have the skill to do so. It makes me very happy…I mean merry.12 17 (3)

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12 17 (2)And finally, a few Irish fairies.

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Under The Wire

Late night tonight. I was here most of the day but was doing a million other things besides art. It is the one bridge I have yet to cross, the one where I make art a priority in my day. I didn’t begin to paint until a little over two hours ago. I’m not quite sure why. As I said last night, I am feeling confident, things are coming easier, but I am still doing my “homework” at the very last minute. It’s how I got through high school, but high school was a very, very long time ago. Admittedly there were days at the beginning of this project when it did feel like homework, but that feeling has long since passed. Yes, there are days when I’m not quite in the mood, but once I start working its fine. I need to start earlier in the day so that I’m not painting when my eyes are closing, or worse yet, painting in the yard when it has gotten dark. I can’t continue to work at the last minute.

I grabbed the acrylics again tonight. I admit, I was getting frustrated. Oils are so easy for shading and adding highlights. I find acrylics so difficult. Tomorrow I’m going to look through my vast amounts of crap to see if I do indeed have one of those delay drying additives, if not I may have to go get some. The painting tonight is based on the photography of someone else. Who? I have no idea. I have a lot of photos in my computer that I scanned because there was something that appealed to me, the spade that I painted was only part of a magazine page. I have been trying to stay away from painting from work that isn’t mine, but it was late, I was tired, and I just wanted something simple, (or at least I thought so) so hats off to the photographer. Thanks for the inspiration.


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