Tuesday, January 26, 2010


ReLove Projects cards have been improved! I now enclose each card in a biodegradable plastic sleeve (made from corn!), and stick them shut with my logo printed on recycled craft paper. I also include a sticker in the package- to put on the envelope, the card, or whatever else. Even though this is such a small thing I feel so much more professional now. You can find my one-of-a-kind cards here!
Right now I just have a few in the store, but more will be listed this week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The curse of the road trip part 2

So remember how in my last post I wrote about how I have bad luck with road trips. Yeah.... Here is my conversation with my friend in Taos, the day I was supposed to leave:
Her: "Have you checked the weather? It's snowing here, we have about a foot right now, and we're supposed to get tons more. School is cancelled. The roads are still open but it seems risky..."
Me: "Crap."
I was so bummed- I made arrangements to get work off, to have the dog I'm sitting for taken care of (I decided to bring Rosie so that I'd have some company!), I cleaned my house, I bought road trip food. I was ready to go! And I needed to go. With my luck though, I was not going to head out with such a bad forecast. I was whining to my dad, and he said, "Maybe you can visit your sister." (In Steamboat, about a 4 hour drive, the opposite direction from Taos). Brilliant. So I went with Rosie and quite a bit of trepidation. Besides forgetting to bring an extra pair of socks (and learning that the hard way), the trip there was easy. I made it there quickly, safely, and with mostly good weather. I spent the whole weekend feeling smug and accomplished.
Saturday night I was watching the news. Southern Colorado (which I would have passed through to get to Taos) got 4 feet of snow, high winds, and in some places there were 20 foot snow drifts. Holy moly, I made the right decision! More smugness.
Next time I have any feeling that even slightly resembles smugness, I need to remind myself to get ready to eat it. The drive home was not sunshine and daisies. It was snow snow snow, driving 10 miles an hour, limited visibility, and pure fear. My hands still ache from gripping the steering wheel. But I got through it. I made it over the pass, through the bad weather, and into Kremling, the first city after leaving Steamboat. Then I got to Silverthorn, my next milestone.
I started heading up a big highway hill (I-70, on the way to the Eisenhower tunnel), traffic stopped. And went. And stopped. And went. And so on. It took me 45 minutes to go a few miles. Snow started blowing. As I inched up the hill, I noticed a strange smell. I thought, "Who could be baking here?" That's really what it smelled like- cookies. Then a guy started waving in the car next to me and pantomimed that my engine was smoking, and it was. White smoke was seeping out the cracks, getting thicker and smelling not so much like cookies anymore. Rosie started pacing in the back seat as her muscles shook. I was scared. There was nowhere to pull over, nowhere to exit, nowhere to turn around. After what felt like a long time (but was probably just a few minutes), there was enough of a shoulder for me to pull off.
I'm a wuss when it comes to car problems. I wish that I were one of those tomboy types that could figure things out, but I'm not. There was once when I got a flat tire on a mountain road and thought I knew how to change it. I got out the tools and kept telling myself, "How hard can this be?" I was flailing around with the jack when a truck pulled up. Two guys jumped out and without saying anything, changed my tire, got back in their car and drove away. Maybe I make a better damsel in distress? Pathetic.
So there I was, sitting on the shoulder of the highway, with an insane mountain drop on my right side, traffic on my left, nowhere to go, and a smoking engine. I started crying. Why did I decide to take a road trip by myself? How is it that I am so inept with cars? What could I even possibly do? Then traffic stopped with me. People got out and stretched. One guy near me opened a beer and was running between the cars whooping and having a great time. I laughed. Rosie stopped pacing and laid down with a grunt. My engine stopped smoking. My phone worked and I called my sister and her husband, who very gently talked me through my options. My sister said, "Ok, open the hood of your car." I don't even know how to do that! My car maybe overheated, maybe blew a hose. Finally, the best idea seemed to be: Let the car sit for a little bit, start it, and then drive to the next exit with the heat blasting (to prevent it from overheating again) and figure out what to do from there. Traffic started moving again. I started my car and kept my eye on the temperature gauge. It smelled horrendous, like car chemicals, but it ran fine until I got back to Boulder a few hours later.
Now my car is in the shop. Hopefully it is something stupid and harmless, like my dad's theory that my wheel wells were full of snow and ice.
I now officially believe that I have some sort of road trip curse!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Road Trip

This weekend I'm going on a little road trip. In all my life I've never driven anywhere alone. I've always had company of some sort (even if it was a sleeping toddler). To be honest, I'm a little nervous. I have bad luck with road trips.
When Hana was 2 I decided that I wanted to visit a reservation in South Dakota. About 20 miles away from our destination we hit a serious blizzard and had to stay with an elderly couple I met in a diner. Overnight 3 feet of snow built up. When I called the tribal leader I was supposed to stay with he simply said, "Better not come. The roads aren't marked. Better not come."
When Hana was 3 my mom took us on a road trip to Santa Fe. Again, we got stuck in a blizzard, the highway was closed, and we had to stay in a Red Cross shelter in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
Last April I tried to go to Santa Fe again, and my car got stuck in snow before we even left! Then the windshield wiper broke and we stayed in a hotel in Denver, about 40 miles from my house.
So wish me luck! I'm hoping for sunny skies all the way.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Boat

I made another boat! Thanks again, Ann, for posting such a great tutorial. This guy is smaller than the other one, and once again needs some extra trimmings. But I did it! That's one project finished! (I am so embarassed to admit that I made this for a Christmas gift. I don't know why it took me so long to finally finally do it. Sheesh!)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Painting over

Today's project was unexpected and came up quick. My daughter decided she wanted to move her bedroom into was was previously "The Lounge"- the room I've always associated with the men that have come in and out of my life. First it was my daughter's father's room... Then it was Paul's, and then it was David's lounge. When Paul was living with us he chose a brown color with a hint of.... green? yellow? Whatever the color, it was very dark, very masculine, and very unsuitable for a pre-teen girl. So we went to the hardware store last night where my daughter chose a plum color for one wall and a cream color for the other three. The closet was in poor shape so we painted that plum as well (top photo).
All day I painted painted painted. I forgot what hard physical work painting is (my arms feel like they might fall off). I forgot how it always takes longer than I think (how does painting a tiny bedroom take 7 hours?!). And I forgot the thrill of how great a simple change in color can look I'm done. It feels so good to paint over the reminder of failed relationships and create new associations in its place. (more photos coming soon!)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Time to kick my own ass

I recently came across my old friend's blog The Diary of a Man Sometimes Lost. Adam and I went to high school together. He was always the guy doing his own thing, not caring what anybody thought (in high school that in itself shows what a huge person he is). He would rally crowds people to try and fit into the ancient Ford Fairlane (it fit a lot of people, 17?), jump into the pool with his clothes on, and give high fives in the hallways. He's one of those amazing people that has the ability to make anybody feel good- great even- for being just who they are. So knowing Adam, and knowing that everything he writes about comes from a good place, his most recent post opened my eyes to some hard ugly truths. Go read it, then come back, and read the rest of this. Here is the link again, just to make it easier for ya!
So on the issue of telling your friends the truth and having them return the favor: nobody told me how lame it is that I haven't updated my etsy store in.... how long? Nobody said anything about all of the incomplete projects I have laying around. No one even hinted that much of what I've been doing lately has been half-assed. Of course I have my reasons and excuses, but after whining about those I still have an empty etsy store, no new projects, and this yucky feeling that comes with me not doing my best. I haven't been doing my best in life either. I've let relationships slide, I've neglected my body, and I've been taking the easy road every time I'm given the choice.

Telling the truth can be hard and scary, especially if it's to someone you care about. And telling the truth can hurt. And man, when I'm called out sometimes horrible human things come out of the closet to play- Shame, embarrassment, defensiveness... Usually the worst part is that I didn't see it, I wasn't truthful with myself. I got lost in the excuses, the fear, the denial. But no more. I've looked in the mirror and told myself the truth: It is time to make new work, take care of my etsy store, finish projects. It's time I start submitting work and actually get to a place where I can support myself with my art. I need to get back into yoga, running, walking, riding my bike, and all those great active things that I truly enjoy doing. I need to call all the people I love and tell them so. I need to finish painting my kitchen.
It is time to kick my own ass.
Thanks Adam, for being a friend and helping me to see my ugly truths.
And now I'll be your friend too- What ugly truths have you been hiding from?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Love this

Fermatic Wilderness (Detail) Acrylic and hand-cut paper on panel

Fermatic Pandemic
72″ x 36″ x 3″
acrylic and hand cut paper on panel
I just love the art work by Charles Clary. It's interesting- months ago I started doing something similar with clay. Less colorful and complex, but it is layers of blobish things mingling together. Similar, but also very different. Now I'm inspired to add some color to my pieces! I found this here over at Art Milk, also a great discovery of my Monday.
Ahhh, I just love Mondays now. One full day of doing what I love to do. Today I worked on my banner, or bunting, or whatever. I need to get a different color of thread, but I'm making progress. By next week I should have little flags of happiness hanging around! (this is a really dark photo, but I like how much the fabric stands out). My bunting is made with a recycled vintage table cloth that was stained and torn. Unfortunately in my gusto I wasn't very careful and have a big ole' stain on one of the flags. At least it is just for me. I can live with imperfection (and often prefer it). I'm thinking of making a few for my etsy shop... Any thoughts or ideas?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Inspiring artists

I am so inspired by Sophie Blackall! She is an illustrator/artist living in New York. She has a few blogs and websites: her blog, Missed Connections, her website, and her shop. I especially love her 'Missed Connections' series. She looks on craigslist for some interesting missed connections, then illustrates them. Sometimes when I'm tired of news and disasters and all of the sad happenings in the world, I'll read the personals. Where else does one paragraph have the potential to change your life? And how often are we required to sum up ourselves in so few words?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bunting! (AKA cute flags, banners, garlands)

I've been seeing these adorable fabric flags in all sorts of places. When I tried looking them up 'flags' didn't show me what I wanted, 'banner' was unsatisfactory, but 'bunting' was golden. Wikipedia's definition of "bunting" is a term for any festive decorations made of fabric, or of plastic, paper or even cardboard in imitation of fabric. Typical forms of bunting are strings of colorful triangular flags and lengths of fabric in the colors of national flags gathered and draped into swags or pleated into fan shapes.
I learn something new every day! Here's some inspiration found on Etsy:

Little Scalloped Flag Garland by SparklePower Street Party8x8 inch photograph by Opart

I'm going to make a few for myself to hang in my house. I think it's the perfect way to brighten up any space! Women's Day has a tutorial (for 'Halloween Pennant Bunting'- I'm sure it'll be easy to modify and de-Halloween); Maya made has a tutorial using newspaper if anyone else has the itch to make some! And I'd love to see if you do.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Out of chaos

One of my Christmas gifts was a beautiful desk that is surrounded with drawers. So many drawers, I don't even know what to put inside all of them! It is the perfect piece of furniture for me and all my doo-dads. I've already resolved to try and keep this in order- keep the top of it somewhat clear and not allow dishes and water glasses to pile up (one of my bad habits). Starting that process has led me to de-messy other parts of my studio as well. I've been trying to work up the energy (and courage!) to reorganize the amoire that stores all my sewing supplies, paints, printing materials, and lots of this and that. I can't even remember the last time I went through it. Every time I open it up I have to wade through all the ribbon and zippers and whatever else I have in there and usually don't even find what I'm looking for! I finally tackled it. I spent hours going through every last thing. I took everything out, then put back what I needed/wanted in the appropriate place. It is so nice to have a cleaner space- even looking at it from the outside feels better. And I came across so much fabric that I forgot I had- and with that all the ideas and intentions.

I now have an organized studio, new ideas, and inspiration- I can't think of a better way to start the year!