Friday, May 27, 2011

A Product Review (or 2)

We took a trip to the art store to buy canvases the other day- and I picked up these while were there...

mostly because of this
(while searching for the link I found them @ Amazon for $1.99 a pack- what a steal!)

and they are SO MUCH FUN!!!  (yes- they are standing on the kitchen table)
Great purchase!  Give them a whirl- you won't regret it!

Product #2- not quite a review (haven't used it yet), but more of an announcement.
As my anniversary present- D got me an industrial strength pizza stone.

I LOVE making homemade pizza- I've posted about it numerous times.  Here's the dough recipe that I use from an old Living mag- it is simply THE BEST!  But, it is not as good if it's not cooked on a stone (as I found out last week).  You see- I have cracked and subsequently chucked 3 stones since I started this hobby----yes, I said 3!
I know! and I agree- and thankfully D was listening as I complained about the poor quality of all the past stones.

So he found me the ultimate stone, it's good to 750 degrees, can be left in the oven all the time and even helps to regulate the temp of your oven!

I was finally home all day today and had time to "prime" it properly.  Of course today of all days had to be 90 degrees!  Priming entailed cooking the stone starting at the ovens lowest temp for an hour and increasing it 100 degrees every hour- then reaching 500 and cooking it at 500 for 2 hours.  My house was a darn inferno.  Luckily the little ones are in a play-outside-naked stage right now- so we were all good!

I will keep you posted on the pizza making process once I get to try this baby out!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Collaborative Artwork With Babes

I finished a couple new "lil guys" this week- (that would be my little 5"x5" paintings).
The special thing about these two is that they are collaborative paintings with my
Mini-Main-Man Mosie:)

First I gave him 2 mini canvases and bunch of watercolor pencils- and let him go to town. I decided to use origami cranes as part of the printing composition in these 2 paintings.  Moses' bedroom design has cranes in it on the horizontal stripes around the room. 

I had this thought that I will give one of them to him, and keep one for myself- so, some day when he is all grown up and moves away he will always have this little part of something that we made together- pretty special:)

I first started making these collaborative baby-mommy paintings when Z was tiny- she and I made these 5 together when she was a little over a year.  They now rest on one of the window sills in my studio.  For these- I painted the surface color and etched into the wet paint and created a textured design. When they were dry I  gave a her a bunch of various pencils to create with.
I love children's artwork- especially baby/toddler artwork before it is "representational"- this is true abstaction to me. LOVE

I also made this piece for D fathers day 2 years back.  Z and I drew flowers on the canvas beforehand, and then I created a painting inspired by our collaborative drawing. (You can see her scribbles under the flowers, she also painted the "stems" of the flowering trees)  This is one of my favorite pieces still- and I love how you can see the inspiration and feeling of my leaf series in this painting even though I hadn't started them yet.

You should try doing a collaborative piece with your little one today!  I suggest getting a canvas- and picking a few colors for them to work with- let them inspire you!

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Story Of Us

It's been 7 years- to the day, that D and I have been married- it's a little crazy to think about really.  We have been "together" in total, nearly 12 years- now that's REALLY crazy!- nearly half my life!

I thought it best to do a list about my man, here it goes:
  1. Aquarius (best aquarian quality- humanitarian, can talk to anyone! & worst aquarian quality- tie between emotionally detached (at times) & inability to compromise (I think this one might be a Scorpio quality as well;)
  2. appreciates freshly baked sweet goodies
  3. likes cherries and strawberries;)
  4. super-calm headed
  5. thoughtful gift giver
  6. inability to identify famous people accurately (i.e Shakiel Oneil/Sammy Sosa)
  7. good at making decisions
  8. curious
  9. always up for an adventure
  10. hard worker (with a little encouragement)
  11. super-duper Daddy
  12. excellent launderer (of clothing)
  13. great vision & ambition
  14. female fashion critic extraordinaire (years of retail experience during college years;)
  15. supportive of my passionate, feisty, fiery, cranky, sometimes difficult matter what...
Since before we tied the knot, I have been creating a book for him- there have been multiple editions to it- as we grow as a family.  I started making it in 2003- right after we got engaged, and update it every few years or so:)
(I love making books- I will do a post in the future of my method and other little books I've made...)

"The Story of Us"

At one point in time- when I was running out of space- I took the original pages and put them into a new book- with extra pages in the back- above is the back cover with the dates of new editions.

and below are the very first 2 pages- explaining our love story:)

and a couple more favorite memories...our wedding ( I used one of my favorite wedding shots as the inspiration for this illustration)

and our first house, which we still own- and I sometimes wish we still lived in:)

and, of course our Angelbabies...

I could not ask for a better partner to be traveling with on this journey. 
I love you B- with all my heart

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Little Backyard Friend

I've been feeling a little down lately- not sure why- probably a bunch of little things all adding up- and then being magnified by hormonal slump on top of it all...
so last night- I pulled  a VERY old book off the shelf- for  a little inspiration

and it totally helped:)  I got a couple of Sark's books back in high school should check them out- they are the perfect before-bed reading material!

Back on topic:
We have been spending the past couple days outside- which has been wonderful- especially after a week of rain.  I was weeding while the kids played yesterday and came across this little guy...

I have a major affinity for "mini-creatures" and my children do as well- so we were all talking to this little snail in teeny-tiny voices, squeaking and cooing at it like a puppy- a little absurd:)

It kept us occupied for about 30 minutes- until we decided he would be happy and safe in the hydrangea plant.
The possible names we brainstormed:
#1- Snaily
#2- Cinderella
(both Z's recommendations, in case you couldn't tell)

But, isn't this one of tiniest little snails you've ever seen?! (pardon my old man hands- old because they are covered in an elephant skin, and man because they are as big as most men's- you get what you get- and I'm not upset- just thought you deserved an explanation).

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Not A Whole Lotta Dining Happining Here

In our dining room that is...
it was the one and only room that we did not repaint before moving in (21/2 years ago) because we have this big "dream" that we will one day take the wall down between the kitchen and dining room and turn that side of the house into a huge custom kitchen/entertaining I guess you could say we've been "waiting" for this huge renovation to happen...which will not be happening for a VERY LONG TIME.

The room is currently used for children's art, storing table linens and extra kitchenware, sunning house plants, driving cozy coupes, the occasional roller skating...that's about it.  Eating does not happen in here.

I recently had a change of heart- during the art show Lola had her work hung in the "dining room art gallery" and I saw the tremendous potential- and in turn, the waste of space that was occurring!

Then I watched a DVR'd episode of Color Splash Miami- and the couple that David was working with used the Viceroy Miami as their inspiration- it's a crazy-gorgeous hotel in Miami designed by Kelly Wearstler- it's insane! They showed the amazing lobby/elevator hallway and it hit me....
TOTAL INSPIRATION!!!! Here's a peek from their website

and here is my very first "inspiration board" for the space:

The sources:

Wall mural inspiration: Viceroy Miami (free- since I'll be painting it;)
Rug: Pottery Barn, twisted albaca rug ($559 for an 8'x10')
Roman Bamboo shade: JC Penny ( $24.99-55.99 depending on size)
Settee: Shades of Light, found via Elements Of Style ($2,499)
Chandelier: Regina Andrews, at Tonic Home ($1685.00- Uhhhh this is a wish list item:)
Dining Table: Ebay ($650.00)
Dining chairs: West Elm wrap chair in tumeric ($79.00)
Drapery fabric: F.Schumacher, Durance embroidery
Settee fabric: F. Shumacher, Wired
Chest of Drawers: vintage family heirloom

I also plan on redoing the whole "built in buffet" thing we have going on...

Ill keep you posted on my progress!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ink Blot Commision

A few weeks back I received a lovely email from a customer who saw my Decoded ink blot painting here- on the LGN feature.  She wondered if I would sell the painting- my response- HECK YEAH!  Even better- I offered to make a custom piece (which I honestly like even more than the first one).

So- after the art shows had come and gone- I was able to get started on the project- which I finished earlier today- I LOVE how it worked out- It was a fun a process- and Stephanie was a great customer- we emailed back and forth mid progress- and I was able to customize the piece to her liking.   So exciting!  Check it out-

also check out her fabulous blog- this post is a design board for a super-unique and chic living room- which has a couple of my paintings in it.  I particulary love the navy couch with the touches of gold in the print, ceiling lamp, and awesome draperies.  LOVE the look of the room!!!  I can't wait to see the print in her space!

Thanks so much Stephanie!  It was a pleasure working with you!

Contact me if you're interested in a custom monoprint!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Family Hike=Bliss

It doesn't happen as often as it should- with me working every other weekend- and us both having family/friends that live in the area (we are booked solid every other weekend with activities through August...) so- when I suggested that D take the day off Friday to have some family time- he jumped at the chance- and I jumped for joy!:)

These two little rascals were troopers!

Granted- we rely HEAVILY on child-wearing when going on any sort of excursion such as this- and always people stop and ask us- how old are they??? You can still put them on you like that? Doesn't it hurt you????

The answer is NO- not at all.  Here's why- when your "wear" your children on you from birth- your body and muscles adapt to the child as they get larger and gain weight- so even though we are wearing them and they are both over 35 lbs.- we can totally handle it...and really, it makes it so much more pleasant of an experience because you don't have to deal with the whining.... you just throw them on your back (my preferred method).

We each had a carrier the other day (D had the Mei Tai and I had the Ergo) and we wore them both on and off through the entire 3 hour hike- and they really did awesome!

Our goal was to find this HUGE rock formation out in the woods that we had come across by chance years ago (the day we got pregnant with Z to be exact). We were so excited to actually find it again!!!  It was bigger than I remembered....

D wore Mosie up the whole way-I  took up the rear- and Z and Beau walked in between- Zella made it whole way up on her own, well...almost on her own- she got strength from these "magic rocks" that she picked up along the way:)...and proceeded to carry them for the remainder of the hike- hey, whatever works... we roll with it.

when we finally got to the top- we were HIGH  up, like- scary for Mommy-high up. I tried to be chill about the edge- but I was scared for the kids, dog, and myself- it was nearly 200 ft down. scary. SO glad I had snacks to encourage sitting in the shade out of danger:)

I attempted to get a nice sibling portrait- but they were set on including their snacks in it- the direction for the second shot was "please put your apples DOWN?!"

But we managed to get a family shot in- not common since I'm the one usually taking the pictures.

We got a little turned around at one point- but made it to the stream we visited a few weeks back- and were happy to cool off in the water with a happy little frog:)

It made me wish life was just simpler, you know?  It puts things in perspective- all the obligations that stress me out on a daily basis....we need to find a way to make this type of day happen more....


Friday, May 13, 2011

New Etsy Shop Stuff

So- after having 2 recent shows- I've come to conclude that the best avenue to sell my fine artwork is through local exhibitions (rather than online).  I feel like it's hard to get an idea of what my work looks like on the computer screen, and hard to pay the price of fine art sight- unseen.
So- I've decided to use my Etsy shop as a platform for selling decorative art- as opposed to "fine art".  I consider the Rorschach print I made for our living room, and posted about here, as decorative art-art made purely for its aesthetic value- It's both less tedious (both physically and mentally) and also based off of someone elses direct idea. (In the case of the ink blot prints the direct inspiration is a Warhol painting entitled Rorschach)  The good thing about this new development is that these pieces will be priced considerably less than my paintings!  The little green guys below are $25 a piece!  I personally think they look awesome as a set-and could look really cool in a set of rainbow colored ones!  They make a very modern, yet classic statement in a space!

The green prints above are each done on 8" x 10", 1.5" deep canvas- and can be hung as is on your wall.
I'm planning on adding more prints- in different the gold one in the living room

and maybe I'll add some drawer pulls like the ones I made for the kids dressers.... (Z's has birds and orchids, M's has beetles and gold leaf)

and possibly some curtain panels eventually:)

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Recent DIY Project, Art Sold!, and Crazy Beautiful Kids

I apologize for the long- unrelated posts lately- but I figure that I should post a lot since I am not able to post very regularly:)

Having an art show at my house was motivation for me to get my act together and complete a few projects around the house.

Here's a recent ceiling repair that I tackled.  This damage was done from our horribly overdue roof that was (thankfully) replaced this spring.
The eventual plan is to replace the entire ceiling with a thin layer of dry wall- but I thought I'd attempt the "quick fix" option and remove the bad plaster and patch the hole with a piece of drywall cut to size.  Here's what I did:

First I cut the plaster in a rectangle where it was sagging...(using a utility knife)

This was INSANELY messy- I was wearing goggles, a mask and had a vent fan in the window.

Plaster is NOT easy to cut straight (I do not have any experience with this- and I do not have a lot of upper body strength). I'm thinking  hoping  this is something that must get easier the more you do it...

then I purchased a 2'x2' piece of drywall at the local HD ( happened to be assisted by a part-time HD employee- full-time drywall specialist (how lucky was I?!)- he gave me a brief tutorial- and I went from there...
With a utility knife in hand, I scored and snapped the drywall after measuring the opening of the hole- (getting it as close as possible)- also not an easy job...

Then I found the stud under the lath in the ceiling (this wasn't too tough since it was visible when looking through the laths.)  YES- I screwed the drywall in upside down- it's okay though- it still worked out fine!  Oh- and you might notice the large hole in the corner- I ended up adding another small triangle of drywall later- and used a whole bunch of patching compound to fill in the spaces...

After taping the gaps- I applied 3 coats of mud to the seams (letting it dry at least 12 hours in between coats).  Then I sanded it smooth.
Then I applied a coat of oil based primer and a coat of latex ceiling paint (and semi-gloss trim paint to the damaged trim)- and VOILA!!!

The improvement is immense!  Perfect- uhhhh- no- but so much better!

Here are the pieces that sold at my show...all going to very good homes:)

and last but not least- the crazy-beautiful children...the baby is Baby B (whose nursery I blogged about here).

Now, the crazy-beautiful children.....I was literally laughing out loud at the antics in my back yard today.

She is a Dancin' Queen (note the reference to last nights Glee:)
The hat that sits upon her head on the picture below is what prompted the outfit/character change to "Little Bo Peep"...
Then- we have the little guy- he's a handy man...D had the idea of giving him a "small" drill (sans battery pack)- and the little guy is LOVIN' it.  He drills cars...

and trees...
and, apparently his nose?!

I've had the honor of caring for little B a few days over the past couple weeks while our friends waited for the their new nanny to start. It was a good trial kid #3 for me- and although their were some minor glitches...(tired baby)
in all it was refreshing spending time with a little one again- and watching my babes interact with her was fascinating- I think I could handle another couple;)