Friday, October 25, 2013

Inner Excavations...I Open My Heart...

Poor Inner Excavations...with all the shiny things that distracted me, I let this work fall to the wayside a bit.  But I did not forget it entirely...I just had to circle back...the long way around.  But here we are...

Chapter 6 in IE is called "I open my heart..." and deals with community and encourages collaboration with another artist(s).  Which are awesome things!  

I've said it before and will say it again...I would not be where I am if it weren't for all the dear friends I've been lucky enough to get to know because of the art journaling, through Facebook groups or here on the blog.  I love each and every one of you gals!  I wish I could smooch all your faces and give you gigantic real life hugs!  I can't say enough about the encouragement and wisdom I've received.  

I love art.  I love art journaling.  I like to think I would feel the same way even if nobody ever saw my work or cared about it or thought it was good...even if everyone else in the world thought art was stupid.  BUT I'm so glad that I've met people who share my love.

I think community encourages growth.  For me, the lovely friends I've met turn my guys help me to look at things in a new way.  I can't count the number of times I've made something I thought was REALLY bad and shared it with you all and it never fails that someone will look at it and point to something about the piece that they liked.  It makes me look at my work with new eyes!  Or somebody will use colors I might not pick and it will turn out so wonderfully it makes me want to try those colors.  Or when someone finds a new technique or thinks of a really unique prompt and they share guys get my wheels spinning all the time!  You give me a gentle push to try things that are a little out of my comfort zone...and that's a big part of progressing as an artist!

So with that in mind, here is what I made for this chapter's spread:

Look at all the fun stuff!

For this, I used a lot of goodies from care packages I've been lucky enough to receive.  I also used some ephemera that I had in my (not so) little box of random stuff.

The clover image is a tag made by my friend Jana.  The crackling I did on it by covering it in UTEE and then cracking the UTEE coating.  The scarf on the lady is also from Jana, it's a piece of a tea bag.  The cool envelopes are from Anna (even though on the black ones I just used them flat and not folded up like envelopes...) I love the map one!  Anna also gave me the washi tape (except the polka dot one and the birds on wire...they're from my stash) and the big number ones.  The picture in the middle with the stones on it is from Laura, as well as the orange bus pass.  And then the blue dress in the bottom right of the picture is from my Pamikins.
On this side, there are things from my friend Rose (that 7, which I adore!) and my friend Rachel (the chevron paper and the green sparkly flourish and (I think) the yellow tickets) and my friend Christina (the sheet music, and the two die cuts that look like plants).  And the sequin waste stencil in the background was from my friend Jackie and my sister Marian!  

The thing I really like about this spread is that it reminds me so much of my friends!  The bright colors of the background remind me of my friend Boo...she likes bright colors.  The face in the middle I made during the 29 Faces challenge, so when I see it I think of all the new people I got to meet by participating.  The collage aspect reminds me of others friends I know who have collage work as a special talent.  And then all the bits and pieces were sent to me by my friends and fellow artists!  The more I look at this spread, the more I love it!  All those interesting pieces "shouldn't" go together, but somehow they work together to make a cool image.  I like that you can look at the spread as one piece, or that you can look at each individual element and it's interesting either way!  And this spread made me realize that I like long as I don't have to cut out the pieces!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


So last post (the extra talky one) I mentioned that I had some art to share, and so here's one of the things I did during my 12 day blogging hiatus:

"Try looking at it another way..."

Of course, she is in my beloved Gregg journal, stuck in the page with some scrapbook paper bits and some washi tape.  You will be surprised (I am!) that I actually like how the writing on this page looks...that NEVER happens!  I don't know why I like it...I just do.

I got the line for this page from James and the Giant Peach...I'll admit it: the movie version.  I don't know that I've ever actually read the book!  That seems an awful shame too, because I think of it as a classic kids book.  And I LOVE kids books!  If you've never seen the movie version, though, it's worth a viewing, even for an adult with no kids.  It's a little naughty, but my favorite part of the movie is when the grasshopper and the centipede get into a fight and the grasshopper says "You, sir, are an ass!"  I'm giggling even now thinking about it...

Anywho, even though I love that line "Try looking at it another way..." and I think it's very good advice, it doesn't really apply to this piece.  I like her quite a lot upside down, which is how I added her to the book.  But if you turn her the other way, I don't like her nearly as much!

See what I mean:

I think if you look at her this way she looks like a creepy version of Julie Andrews.  It must be that haircut...

I do really like her pose though...head all the way back staring up at you like she is.  It's different than what I've done before with faces.  

After 29 Faces was over, I thought I was ready for something other than a face/line drawing...and I was...for a whole five days!  Actually, I didn't do any art for that whole five days, so I guess I was just a little burnt out on all things artistic...for those five days.

I did get the book Creating Art at the Speed of Life that I had the giveaway for, and I've been enjoying looking at it and doing the first couple lessons in it.  It's pretty interesting.  I like how it is set up, teaching a lesson (the first few are on color and that's what I've done so far) and then asking you to evaluate your own work.  I'm a big fan of realistic self-critique (e.g.- seeing what needs improvement without overlooking the good), so it's one of the things I like about this book.  I'm not very far into it yet, but I have enjoyed what I've done and I've learned things even in the first lessons.  Here's the link for the book if you want to check it out:

As far as recent art, I'm actually still not being very prolific.  I've been doing a little hooky hooky with crochet and a tiny bit of artsy fartsy, but more often, I've been cleaning.  I KNOW!!!  Gross.  I don't know why, but when the urge hits, I gotta go with it...because it comes so seldom.  And of course, I've been having fun with Fusco the drop-off wonder dog.  He's an interesting character for sure.  I am still working on my pieces for my friend Anna, who I'm sure thinks I'm the most procrastinating procrastinator EVER!  Soon, my Anna, so soon!!!

And on that note, I'm off to take Fusco for a walk and come back and work on Anna's pieces some more.  Until next time, my darlings...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Where have you been? With Fusco...

Wow...I feel like I haven't posted in FOREVER!  To be honest, I haven't been doing much computer related anything since 29 Faces ended.  My internet friends probably think I'm dead.  It's been a few weeks of busy nothingness for me actually.  Just daily life, bill paying, work going, busy evenings...I guess it's fall catch up time for me.  

Fall is my favorite season...I may have mentioned that before...but I could say it a million times and it wouldn't be any less true.  When the weather gets cooler, I feel myself trying to breath out all the yucky stuff that has been accumulated throughout the year.  

I feel like I want to 'sink in'.  I just want to get more calm and more peaceful feeling.  I want to pick up my crochet hook and make scarves.  I want to cuddle under blankets.  I want to put on a jacket and meander around town after dark with a coffee in my hand.  ...but all that comes a little later.  It's still warm here...not hot, but warm.  And so in these first days of fall, I am just working to get to those good fall things. Cleaning up the house a little...withdrawing from the world a little...even vegging out in front of the television. 

I'm trying not to let myself withdraw too far this year.  I have a tendency to want to isolate myself completely, but too much isolation is not good.  I tell myself that constantly, but I seldom listen.  This time, I'm trying to be different.  Hence the post today.  

Not much art related stuff going on around here...I've got two things that really need to get done, for my friend Anna, but I'm taking it slow because I want them to be awesome.  I always make myself get nervous when it comes to making art for others.  I just want to do a good job, I guess!  So when I'm done here, I'm going to work on those things for Anna some she doesn't think I forgot about her!

I do have something pretty interesting to report.  Wednesday night, when I came home from work, there was a dog tied to a tree in my yard.  Someone just left him!  We live on a road that only has two other houses on it, so we're pretty much by ourselves, even though we're less than five minutes from town.  In other words, perfect drop off spot for unwanted animals.  Truthfully, I'm surprised it hasn't happened before.  

So, even though I'm not surprised that someone left a dog at my house, I'm totally shocked at what they left.
My friends, I give you...the drop-off: 

This is Fusco.  I'm calling him that because I think he looks like Lionel Fusco on the tv show "Person of Interest".  My husband is still trying to give him other names, but I've already made my choice.  Besides, Fusco likes me better...even after just a few days, he's clearly MY dog.

Yeah, can you believe someone would drop off a dog like this?  Me neither!  I am pretty sure he's full-blooded boxer.  He sure looks the part anyway.  His ears and tail are not cropped (hooray...I'm always sad when people crop their dogs for no reason...) and he's still got his dangly boy bits (which is less exciting for me...I've got three boy dogs and they're all he may go in for the snippy snippy when tax time comes...).  He's between eight and ten months old, definitely in the awkward puppy stage...the time of their lives when their heads look too big for their bodies...  He's a little bit skinny, so I've been fattening him up a bit.  Boxers are supposed to be barrel chested and then go in at the waist, but you're supposed to be able to see the ribs, not count them.   So he's been getting some good food and extra healthy treats.  Other than being on the thin side, he's clean and healthy and looks like he was well taken care of...his toenails had even been trimmed pretty recently.  With all that, I thought maybe he'd been someone's dog and he just ran off, but he was definitely tied around the tree on purpose and no one's come back for him.  I even thought maybe he might have been micro-chipped, but he wasn't.

If I told you all of his good qualities, you would probably not believe me...but I'm going to do it anyway!  He is house trained.  He can sit on command.  He takes food very gently if you give it to him.  If you toss a treat in the air he catches it.  He comes when he's called...even when he's outside.  He plays fetch!  He walks pretty well on a a million times better than my other dogs do...and with a little effort, I think he'll do even better.  He loves to ride in the car.  That one is huge for me, because all my other dogs get carsick.  He's not protective over his food or toys...if he's eating you can put your hand over his food or take his dish away and he's ok with it...well, minus the fact that he tilts his head and looks at you like he was saying "Why'd you take my food away?"  You can touch his ears, feet, tail and stomach and he's totally cool with any of it.

Best of all, he reminds me of my dog Dingo who we had to put down earlier this year.  At the ripe old age of 19.  I'd had her since I was ten and she was the dog that made me be a dog person...before her, I was cats all the way.  She was the best dog in the entire universe.  And Fusco does so many things just like Dingo used to.  Like sitting on my feet when I'm standing still.  Or if I'm eating, he'll watch me eat but when I look at him he turns his head away.  Or putting his paw on my leg when he has to go outside.  The list goes on.  So even though it's only been a few days, Fusco has kind of wormed his way into my heart.

There are a few things he does that I'd prefer he didn't do, but not big things.  He growls at everyone that comes in the door.  I know boxers are protectors, but I'm not a fan of the growling.  Again, I've only had him a few days, and he's already getting better about not growling.  He is a little skittish/nervous, but he's still getting used to us.  He might growl, but he's not aggressive at all.  My other dogs were sniffing and barking at him, and he doesn't care.  He doesn't like to be by himself.  Even if I go in the bathroom, he whines at the door for a few minutes, then lays down outside the door and waits for me to come out.  Right now he's laying down next to me with his head on my legs.  I'm not used to a dog that's so...underfoot (?)...for his sake (because I'm REALLY clumsy), I want him to learn to give me a few more inches and to learn to be by himself a little better.  (I may or may not have already tripped on him, so he's learning this lesson pretty quickly...)  I'm training him to go into a crate at night and while we're at work.  The first night it was a little hard to get him in there...there was some treats and trickery involved...but last night, I said "Go to bed" (which is the phrase I used with all my dogs) and he went right in without a fuss.  

I honestly think he's a really smart dog, so he's going to be easy to train...but smart can also mean destructive in the wrong circumstances.  They get bored, so they have to make their own fun...which usually involves mischief that you'd prefer they not get into.  My dog Dingo was VERY smart, and she was a shoe chewer when left alone too long.  

Fusco's also a high energy dog, which is different for me.  My other dogs are older and not very energetic (even when they were puppies), so I'm getting used to his...rambunctious personality.  We've got a big yard, so I take him out and play fetch with him for a while and let him run around like a maniac...I'm still getting used to the fact that he actually brings the ball back to me!  My other dogs will run after the ball and then take it and go chew on it...again, they're not too energetic...  Fusco, on the other hand, will bring it back every time and plays till you tell him it's time to go in.

I'm also trying to get myself in the habit of walking him on a leash.  A nice long walk every day.  He's not the only one who's got to learn!  We've been on two long walks so far.  One with my nephew Michael on Friday (that I didn't get any pictures of, even though there were many a photo opportunity!) at Steele Creek Park in Bristol (where he lives, about 45 minutes away from me).  And then one today, just me and Fusco, around the historic section of Elizabethton (which is the town I live in) early this morning.  And I did get a few pictures on that walk:

Pretty roses, covered in rain from last night

Lovely morning of my favorite flowers... with the river behind it.  

A blurry Blue Heron standing in the river

The pictures above were from today, and it's overcast and cool.  The pictures below were from a walk I took with my mom a few weeks ago (when it was still hot and much more sunny), but they're taken in the same place as we (Fusco and I) were walking today.

This is Elizabethton's covered bridge...look how pretty it
was with the blue sky and the mountains in the distance!  

This is the view in the opposite direction as the picture
above.  Doe River is just gorgeous!

Fusco and I walked all around the historic section of town this morning...we spent the better part of three hours taking in the sights and smells.  It's really nice to have a pal to ramble's been a lo-o-o-ong time since I've had a good long stroll.  My legs are letting me know that as I sit here typing!  Despite my the fact that I am wimpy, I had a really good time today!  I know that the more I walk with Fusco, the less wimpy I will feel and the more my happiness level will increase.  

I had bought him a nice new collar and leash at Petsmart on Thursday, which were a sound investment.  I got him a leash that has a "traffic loop" on it, which is just an extra handle on the leash close to the clasp so that you can have the dog up close when you need.  I think that's a cool feature.  Anywho, after our walk, I stopped at the store and got him a bone and some dog doo clean-up bags (because walking around with a bunch of walmart bags in my pocket made me look super pregnant...).  

I'm sure you'll be hearing more about Fusco in the future...he's so cute and sweet, it's impossible to stop talking about him...

So, you may have notice a new look to the blog...I thought it was time to change it up a little.  Some brighter colors to cheer it up and bigger letters to make it a little bit easier to read.  I'm giving it a while to see how we like if you've got any thoughts on it, please let me know.

In addition to the new look, I'm also going to try the Amazon Associates program.  I'm not going to inundate you with products, but if I find something cool, I will put the link in for the product (if Amazon has it) I'll earn a little bit of moolah if you buy the product through my link or my Amazon store.  I'll only put links for things I actually have and like, not for a bunch of random junk.  And if I got the product somewhere other than Amazon, I'll let you know that too.  For instance, the leash I was talking about earlier.  I got it at my local Petsmart, (who had it cheaper than Amazon) but you may not have a Petsmart near you, so here's the link:

I got a green leash and a matching collar.  The collars are nice, because they are padded (with neoprene, like the handles on the leash), so they're a little nicer than the standard nylon's the link to the collars:

I was a little worried about the plastic clasp on the collar...I didn't know how hard Fusco would pull and I was scared it might get I put a metal chain type collar on him too...what people call 'choke' chains...(that was about three sizes too was a little comical) in case the plastic clasp broke or something he would still have a collar around him and he wouldn't be loose in traffic, but the clasp on the Kong collar was really secure and I don't think I'll need the chain collar in the future.

I'm a little bit of an Amazon-aholic, so I really do get and use a lot of things off the site.  Now I can share what I've found, and maybe make a little money to buy more stuff with!

Anyway, that's what I've been up to lately and what the current goings on are.  I've got a little bit of art to share, but that will have to wait until next time...this post ended up being much wordier than I thought it would be, and besides, Fusco is recovered from our morning jaunt and ready to go play some fetch!  Until next time...