Monday, December 28, 2009

Last Week of 2009

Birds of DC
Hello, my friends! I hope you all had a fantabulously Merry Christmas and were able to enjoy your family and friends. We had tons of pajama time, Lego-building and Wii-playing. The boys got netbooks, and are well on their way to becoming computing geniuses. I'm hoping they'll learn all about HTML and CSS and make their mama a fabulous blog template that will finally make me happy.

I took a little time away from the family yesterday, wandered around the National Mall and tried to soak in a little vitamin D. It was one of those rare, sunny and warm days that are occasionally gifted upon us, just to get us through the winter. I also managed to swing into Natural History and sketch a couple of birds in the Birds of DC exhibit. It's been a long time since I've drawn anything - too long, really - and that's something I have to stop neglecting. I seem to find a way to fill my day with other tasks - non-creative, mundane, boring and unfortunately necessary tasks.

Anyhow - the new year is upon us - in a few short days it will be 2010. It's hard to believe that a new decade is upon us - the last one flew by in a blur.  This year looks like it will be no different.

I'm starting the process of setting my goals for 2010 - as always leaving it to the last moment, in true procrastinator style. I'll post something about them next week.

Friday is New Year's Day, and will be the first Blind Contour Friday of the new year. I hope you'll continue to play along, and encourage others to do so as well. I kind of took December off, for sanity's sake, but we'll get back to it this week.

Until then...peace.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Magic

Christmas Magic

The tree is decorated, presents are wrapped, excitement is in the air.

Tonight, we'll have our traditional Christmas Eve feast, with cold cuts of ham and turkey, cheeses and crackers, hummus, fruit and cookies while we watch "It's a Wonderful Life."

Presents from the grandparents will be opened and squealed over.

Excited boys will struggle to fall asleep before Santa comes.

Tired parents will struggle to stay awake until Santa comes.

I love this day - the anticipation, the eagerness with which simple things are accomplished. The casual ease that follows us throughout. The lack of hustle and bustle that would otherwise steal away the quiet moments of just sitting together, building Legos and listening to Christmas carols on the radio.

My hope is that your Christmas Eve is one of sweet family tradition, full of love and treasured memories.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Face that Launched a Thousand Cakes

Happy 10th, Baby!

Two Whole Hands

Created with flickr slideshow.

My sweet baboo is ten today. I can't believe it.  I can remember when he turned 5 and he would hold his hand up and look at me and say, "I'm one whole hand!"

Then I blinked.

Now he's 10.

I'm considering propping up my eyelids with toothpicks from now on. Because if I blink again, he'll be driving.

And wanting to date.

And asking for gas money.

Sigh. Slow down, kid. Mama can't keep up...

Monday, December 21, 2009

I Am...


  1. Worn out.
  2. Happy.
  3. Curious to know if anyone is having problems with the new commenting system. If so, please send me an email and let me know. I would really like to make some big changes to my blog template next year, and I'm exploring some options, so your feedback would be tremendously helpful.
  4. Hungry.
  5. Delighted to have been featured on i am bossy, one of my very favorite daily reads.
  6. Not finished wrapping presents. Wait. Haven't started wrapping presents.
  7. The mother of an almost 10 year old boy.
  8. Near comatose from sugar. And chocolate. And sugar.
  9. Ready for a haircut.
  10. Hopeful.
  11. Missing my friend.
  12. Blessed.

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Saturday, December 19, 2009

    Fairy Texts, Ya'll (Part IV) the Conclusion


    continued from here... italics are mine, bold are Melinda's.

    As her last breath was leaving her body, a single, crystalline tear fell from Fennel's eye. It dropped onto the corner of the woodland fairy's mouth and...

    her eyes fluttered open.  "Oh, Fennel," she sighed. "Oh, Midolina," he sighed. They embraced and kissed passionately and then she pulled back and whacked him on the head with the club. "Did you have to banish the Maytag repairmen for 10,000 years? Seriously? Dude, I live on a mountain of laundry...literally! The washing machine's been broken for the last three years since I sent you out to buy a part to fix it! You never returned."

    He smiled gently at here, eyes brimming with tears from the stinging blow she had dealt. "My love, I have the part right here in my doublet. Let's go home and I'll tell you all about it. I'll even sort the colors for you." She met his loving gaze. They picked themselves up off the floor and walked back into the empty bar. "I'll tell you what." she said. "You head on home and get started. I'll get there as soon as I finish my tankard of all..."

    And so our Queen and King were reunited after three long years. King Fennel fixed the washing machine and Queen Midolina went on to become a very successful pharmaceutical rep after inventing a magic pill that helped with the symptoms of PMS.

    And they lived happily ever after on the diminishing mountain of laundry and poo.

    the end.

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    Fairy Texts, Ya'll (Part III)

    Continued from here. My texts are italic. Melinda's are bold...

    She looked up at him, embarrassed at having fainted and said,...

    "Fennel, is that you? Oh Fennel, the children and I thought you were dead!" She threw her arms around the brewmeister's neck, who appeared alarmed, and then bewildered. He drew back and she shouted, "We'll talk later, but for now, you must stop those Maytag repairmen because...

    everyone knows what happens when giants and evil, belching, flatulent boweevils mix!"She broke free from the embrace and hurried toward the kitchen. The brewmeister sat down heavily on the settee. "Fennel?" he said softly. Could it be that finally someone knew who he was? He had no memories before that fateful dark night, three years before, when he had woken up, covered in boweevil poo, on the side of the...

    road, clutching a Maytag repairman name tag that read SNOGWAT. He still carried with him as it was his only link to his past. He ran to the kitchen where the three giants were scrambling towards the dishwasher when he noticed...

    (snogwat...brilliant! I'll be back after supper)

    the woodland fairy, standing in the doorway as if in a trance. She was muttering quietly under her breath, "cukiot simwit pogrellating rum," over and over. A dim blue light hovered over her cupped palms and grew brighter with each repeated incantation. The giants half turned toward her just as he...

    (Unbelievable...writers block. Working on it.)

    Dude. It's just a text message, remember?

    pulled the name tag from his pocket. "Snogwat!" The largest of the repairment stopped in his tracks, covering the faded spot on his shirt where his name tag once rested. "You won't ingest those belching flatulent boweevils ever again! Your secret is out, your power diminished, because I...

    King Fennel, ruler of the Herbavorian Dynasty, command you to go back to the slimy cave in the Maytagravus Mountains and be bound there for 10,000 years!" At his words, the blue light in the woodland fairy's hands grew so bright that the small kitchen seemed ablaze with it. The giants and boweevils were sucked into the swirling vortex of light just as...

    Fennel shouted, "My Queen! Sweet Midolina! Release the blue light lest you be sucked into the vortex!" So she did, and just in time. The light disappeared with a loud smacking sound as the giants feasted on the boweevils, even as they disappeared. Once more, Midolina crumpled to the ground.

    Fennel ran to her and sank to his knees beside her. He lifted her into his lap and cradled her head. "NO!" he cried. "Midolina!" Her limp body was lifeless - pale and cold. As her last breath was leaving her body, a single, crystalline tear fell from Fennel's eye. It dropped onto the corner of the woodland fairy's mouth and...


    Tomorrow...the startling won't want to miss it!

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Fairy Texts, Ya'll (Part II)

    So, my last post set this whole thing up. If you want to know what the heck this is all about, please click here, and then come back and read.

    It's completely ridiculous and a waste of your precious time, but's the internet. You get what you pay for.

    Just as a reminder, the italics are my words, the bolds are Melinda's. I've also included the asides, just to irritate instruct you further...

    Woodland Fairy
    Once upon a time, there was a middle aged, PMS-ing, pissed off, bloated woodland fairy who lived in a magical mountain of laundry and poo. ..

    One day, the sounds of her woodland fairy children reached a decibal point so loud that it sent the bloated woodland fairy mother into a state of frenzy. She was so desperate that she called upon...

    Woodland Fairy II
    ...the local brewmeister. "Hello, dear sir," said she. "Kindly fetch me a tankard of ale before I turn you into a frog-faced newt." He turned around and saw her red glaring eyes and...

    Was instantly smitten. She, however, was under the powerful spell of PMS and could not see the love in his eyes. He turned to fetch the tankard and the woodland fairy mistook this for his dismissal so she...

    ...slammed 5 acorns down on the bar, grabbed the tankard of ale and whirled around, preparing to stomp to a dark booth in the corner. She was not prepared, however, for the...

    Sudden ruckus that erupted outside the front door of the tavern! Suddenly, the front door flew open and three giants, dressed like maytag repairmen, rushed into the room...

    ..."quickly, man," they shouted, "to the dishwasher!" The brewmeister jumped nimbly across the bar, club in hand, and started toward the kitchen door. As he opened it, 5 green sprites flew out, screaming, hands covering their ears. The dishwasher had become a haven for...

    (you know that as soon as I illustrate this, it's getting blogged, right?)

    Evil, belching, flatulent boweevils. Those boweevils were the only thing in all the fairyland that our heroine feared. Their putrid poo breath made her go mad. She smelled them from across the room, her red-eyes turning soft blue, and trembled. Meanwhile, the brewmeister...

    (I double-dog dare you!)

    Turned toward the woodland fairy and saw her collapse on the floor. He rushed over to her, picked her up and placed her carefully on the settee. She looked up at him, embarrased at having fainted and said,...
    (oh, it's on, baby...with full credits...)

    Fairy Texts, Ya'll (Part I)

    Woodland Fairy

    Okay, so I mentioned the other day that Melinda and I texted for like 4 hours and that I was going to have to share it with you, but as it went on from there for two more days, I'm going to have to make it a serial post. So the rest of the week is going to be all about woodland fairies and poo.

    And I know you're going to want to come back for that!

    First - a little background...
    1. Melinda and I have known each other since, like, puberty. We have no boundaries. I'm sorry.
    2. I actually started the text complaining about my unrelenting hormonal surges of RAGE and my children's inability to speak below the ear-splitting decibel of an F22.
    3. Then, because it was random day, I mentioned that I smelled poop. (refer to point 1, please.) Please understand that there was no poop. It was phantom poo.
    It was at that point that the texts start heading down this very strange path...

    Melinda's texts are in bold, mine are in italics. Our mothers are going to be so proud...
    ...As for the poop, maybe it's a new PMS symptom.

    ...It's my newest disorder, PPD. Premenstrual Poo Dysfunction

    Now that's said poo.

    I love saying poo. It's so much funnier than "s#*t."

    I love it when you say poo, too. So, black or fire-engine red? I dyed mine brunette last week. Couldn't take the faded blonde another day.

    I noticed that in the post for the award and was wondering. I'm going to try and avoid doing anything drastic...but if that doesn't happen, miss clairol is stepping in.

    Try to wait. First attempt was too ashy light to cover blonde, so for a week, it had a lovely, silvery-greenish hue. I was in such a bad mood that I didn't give...(text was cut off)

    I'l bet you looked like a woodland fairy! ;p

    Not so much. I looked like a middle-aged PMSing pissed off bloated woodland fairy.

    I think we should write that story...Once upon a time, there was a middle aged, PMS-ing pissed off bloated woodland fairy who lived in a magical mountain of laundry and poo...

    Okay - so have you ever played that game where one person starts a story and then stops at a critical moment and the next person picks up and continues the story and so on and so on and no one knows what's going to happen next?

    The next three days were a completely spontaneous version of that game.

    Now, the unlimited texting starts to pay off...

    Tomorrow, the tale continues...

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    The Capital's Capitol Loves Random Thoughts

    Capitol Botanical Gardens

    We went to the US Botanic Garden on Friday. It was nice and warm and cozy and humid.

    Just the way I like it.

    Last night, or more precisely - this morning, around 1 AM, I heard a strange noise outside my window and decided to investigate. I looked out and saw the gas company truck, with its yellow flashing lights, in front of one of the townhouses across the street.

    Yep. Just when you thought it was safe to heat your water.

    Ever since this happened in Knoxville, I've been even more paranoid about the potential for gas leaks here. So, I walked downstairs, woke up the boys and had them come up and get in bed with me, as far from the point of gas line entry as I could manage.

    The truck was gone when I woke up a few hours later, but this morning, a guy from UtiliQuest is marking utility lines again. I wonder if I'd get a straight answer out of the gas company if I called them? Hm. I think I'll try in a bit.
    Smarty's plane finally took off and got him to his destination yesterday. Many MANY hours later than was originally scheduled. That fog was crazy yesterday morning, man.
    Melinda and I texted for about 4 hours yesterday. It's hysterical. She double dog dared me to show it to you, but it isn't quite ready yet.

    But it's coming...
    Wait...the gas company truck is back. Time to figure out WTH.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    The Holly and the Random Thoughts


    It's a random thought kind of a day today...

    1. My children are loud. Piercing ear drum, shattering brain case kind of loud. My hormones do not appreciate it today.
    2. Christmas Eve is 10 days away. Doodlebug the Loud will be 10 in 9 days. 
    3. Dr. SmartyPants woke up at 3:30 am to catch a 6:30 am flight. It was cancelled, and changed to a 8:00 am flight. Then he sat in the airport for 5 more hours before he actually got to get on his plane. I hope it is flying, now. Poor man.
    4. I don't understand why belching is so funny. 
    5. My head hurts. See #1
    6. Is it too early for a beer?
    7. Okay, I'll eat chocolate chip cookies instead.
    8. Thank God for text messages from friends who understand you.
    9. I haven't wrapped any presents.
    10. I cleaned the whole house, top to bottom, side to side last week.
    11. Not so you'd notice now.
    12. Wow. That's a big truck.
    13. I'm thinking of getting all my hair chopped off.
    14. Or dyed black.
    15. No. Not black. Fire-engine red.
    16. Never mind.
    17. People are weird.
    18. Except you people who read my blog. You're fine. Brilliant, actually. I love you.
    19. I read the first two Harry Potter books this weekend. Again.
    20. Have a nice Monday, y'all.

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Shadow Shot Sidewalk 2

    Shadow Shot Sidewalk

    I love the long shadows of a late autumn's afternoon.  They make me look like my legs are 10 feet long.

    For more shadowy stuff, visit HeyHarriet, and click on the links!

    Saturday, December 12, 2009



    Well, we still haven't managed to get any glitter, but we did entertain ourselves with a few paper crafts. We stayed simple, and cut paper snowflakes and made paper chains, and much fun was had by all.

    We also learned something really important.


    Cutting out paper snowflakes, while curled up on a comfortable shag rug in the living room and listening to seasonal music is great fun and a worthy distraction on a cold, gloomy day.

    Picking out all the bits of paper from said shag rug is NOT.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Blind Contour Friday - Week 8


    Sorry this is so late in the morning - I got off to a rocky start today.

    Well, that's not exactly true. I was just feeling lazy and spent too long drinking my coffee and catching up on all the Tiger news.


    This is a blind contour drawing made of my son's pencil holder - a plastic molded, old-school VW Bug. I find that I have a lot more trouble with curvy shapes when I'm doing blind contours. My eye wanders more without the stopping places that edges give me.

    For more information about blind contour drawings, along with inspirations on something to draw, click here and follow the links.

    Add your link below, so we can see your lovely drawings, and don't forget to link back here so we can spread the word!!

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Over the Top

    Both Ann and Vicki gave me this lovely award, and I'm finally getting around to thanking them profusely (thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou) and playing and passing it along...

    The rules are:

    I need to pass this award on to five people, post on their blog to let them know I left this award, and then I need to answer a list of questions in ONE word.
    So here we go:

    1. Where is your cell phone?…
    2. Your hair?… 
    3. Your mother?… 
    4. Your father?… 
    5. Your favorite food?… 
    6. Your dream last night?… 
    7. Your favorite drink?…
    8. Your dream/goal?… 
    9. What room are you in?… 
    10. Your hobby?… 
    11. Your fear?… 
    12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?…
    13. Where were you last night?… 
    14. Something that you aren’t?… 
    15. Muffins?…
    16. Wish list item?… NikonD90
    17. Where did you grow up?… 
    18. Last thing you did?… 
    19. What are you wearing?… 
    20. Your TV?… 
    21. Your Pets?… 
    22. Friends?… 
    23. Your life?… 
    24. Your mood?… 
    25. Missing Someone?… 
    26. Vehicle?… 
    27. Something you're not wearing?… 
    28. Your favorite store?… 
    29. Your favorite colour?… 
    30. When was the last time you laughed?… 
    31. Last time you cried?… 
    32. Your best friend?… 
    33. One place that I go to over and over?… 
    34. Facebook?… 
    35. Favorite place to eat?… 

    Now I need to pass this on to five bloggers. Here is my list, in no particular order (although most are Blind Contour Friday participants!).

    1. Melinda, 2. Stephanie, 3. Zelma, 4. Peggy, 5. Lay Hoon

    Wednesday, December 09, 2009


    Cardinal skull

    I started this drawing a month or more ago, set it aside half-done, and picked it up last night to play with. There is still much that could be done - shading subtleties that are missing, etc., but I've decided to call it finished.

    It's a gloomy day today, and we've decided to have a pajama homeschooling kind of day. That's one of those things that make homeschooling completely worth it for me...I don't have to get the boys dressed and into a cold car for a drive in treacherous weather.

    The downside is that I'll have a day stuck inside with two young, energetic boys and no gymnasium in which to burn off energy. They've already taken over my Christmas tree as a play structure for their clone troopers...


    Thankfully, I put all cheap plastic ornaments on it, rather than hauling my pretty blown glass ones up from Knoxville. It's been a great tool for imaginative play.

    So, I'm thinking today will also be a Christmas crafting kind of day, although I've not figured out what we can craft, given that we have no Christmas crafting supplies.

    Like glitter.

    I need glitter.

    We'll just have to improvise, I suppose. We have scissors and paper and tape and markers and watercolors and sticks and rocks and leftover Halloween Candy. Surely we can make something Christmas-y out of that, right?


    Tuesday, December 08, 2009


    Jakey in snow

    Oh, my people.

    It's cold.

    It's dark.

    And I am apparently a mama polar bear.

    I've dug into my den and am hard pressed to leave it. I'm sleepy and whiny and headache-y and extremely put-out. All symptoms of The Darkness, as I've come to call it.

    I'd never make it in Alaska.

    Poor, pitiful me.

    On the positive side, I've been napping lately. I like napping. Especially with my napping buddy...


    He's not fond of the cold weather, either.

    I had to go to the grocery store today, and the very thought of it was excruciating. My poor children were lectured on how they should behave so that Mama didn't rip their sweet little heads off, and they did a good job of preventing carnage.

    Because they're smart like that.

    But then a lady got in line behind me at the checkout and she pushed her buggy right up behind me so that I couldn't move.
    (excuse me for the following digression - in the southeastern United States, we usually call a shopping cart a "buggy." apparently they are known as "shopping carts" elsewhere in these United States. that is, however, wrong. they are buggies. thank you. don't look at me like that when I say it correctly. digression - out)
    I almost hyperventilated right there in the checkout line. I mean - come on - give a girl some space, why don't you? I couldn't even back up to get to the credit card swipey machine. I almost lopped off her head, but I was distracted by the cashier asking me if I had any coupons.

    She has no idea how close she came to headlessness.

    P.S. I'm trying another commenting system, and so far I like it better - please let me know what you think. I promise not to render you headless, regardless of your opinion...

    Monday, December 07, 2009

    Tang It! I Forgot!

    Blue Tang

    If you've ever seen the film, "Finding Nemo," then you're familiar with this type of fish. It's a blue tang, and in the film, her name is Dory, and she has a short term memory problem, as in,

    Dory: I suffer from short-term memory loss. It runs in my family... At least I think it does... hm. Where *are* they?

    This is not unlike my oldest son, although he isn't blue and isn't much of a swimmer.

    D in snow

    Although, he is wearing blue in that picture, and has cute freckles and a sweet smile on his face, so maybe he looks more like Dory than I originally thought.

    He is like her in one really troubling way though - the short term memory thing. Let me illustrate for you... (warning, the following story involves, uhm, talking about a certain, oh let's just say it, vomit, so if you have a problem with that you might want to skip to the end.)

    On Saturday, we got up and had breakfast and decided to head to Target before the crowds got too, well, crowded and get a few things for the house. When Junebug woke up, he said he was starving, and he helped himself to a really large bowl of Raisin Bran and I made him a fried egg white.

    (this is what is known as foreshadowing...)

    Everyone got dressed and we got into the car and headed out. Before we actually got off our street, I turned around to check seat belts and noticed that Junebug didn't look quite right.

    "Are you okay?"
    "I don't feel very well." (Note to self...he NEVER says that. Something ain't right.)
    "What's wrong?"
    "My stomach doesn't feel good."
    "Do you need to go to the bathroom?"
    "No. It just doesn't feel good."
    "Should we go back and just let Dad and D go to the store?"
    "No. I'm okay."

    So. Off we go. The whole way over to the store, I'm checking on him, watching him curl up his legs and grimace, asking questions about how he feels, including the most important..."DO YOU NEED TO THROW UP?"

    He tells me no, repeatedly, and we decide he probably has a little gas and just needs to go to the bathroom once we get to Target (TMI, I know...bear with me.)

    It was raining when we got there, so Dr. SmartyPants dropped us off at the door and went to find a parking place. The boys and I walked inside and started heading immediately for the bathroom. As we're walking, I looked down at Junebug and saw immediately that he was about to revisit his Raisin Bran and I started the run to the bathrooms.

    We didn't make it.

    My poor baby became one of those kids that throw up in public places.


    By the way - in case you're worried - I asked his permission to post this story, and he said it was fine...because it really is going to illustrate a point about his BROTHER.

    Which is coming now...

    I finally got the poor child to the bathroom, and as the door was closing, I looked over my shoulder and saw Doodlebug standing, eyes wide open in horror, hands clasped over his mouth. I told him to wait there until his dad came in, that we'd be back out whenever we could.

    Junebug finished up his, uhm, process, and I cleaned him (and me) up and we finally were able to leave the bathroom. As we walked up, we saw the amazingly kind ladies from Target cleaning up the trail with such sweet dispositions - I mean, really - I couldn't do it. I thanked them and apologized and thanked and apologized and then looked around for Doodlebug.

    Who was nowhere to be found.

    Panic. Deep breaths. Find cell phone. See missed call from the Smarty.

    Okay, I think. They've gone to get the car.

    Phone starts ringing. I answer.

    "Hey. You guys out of the bathroom?"
    "Yes. Poor baby."
    "What do you mean? Oh. OH. Was that him?"
    "Looking at DVDs. We'll be right there."

    He walked around the corner, saw Junebug's white face, and immediately turned back to D.

    "Why didn't you tell me that he was the kid that threw up in the store? You know...when we walked by it and I said, 'Eww,' and you said, 'Yeah, I know!' "

    "Well. I forgot."

    He forgot. HE FORGOT.

    Lord help me.


    We were riding in the car yesterday, on our way back to Target to finish what we didn't quite get started the day before, and I was saying I thought I'd have to blog this event, because I couldn't believe that D hadn't told his dad...because it was pretty dang important information to pass along. Here's what the boys had to say about it:
    D: "Sorry. I'm a really bad communicator."
    J: "Trust me. He is."

    Sunday, December 06, 2009

    Shadow Shot Snow

    Shadow Shot Snow

    The day after the snow, the sun appears, dappling the white surface with blue-gray confetti.

    For more lovely shadow shots, visit HeyHarriet! and click on the links!

    Saturday, December 05, 2009

    Iguana Show You Something


    A little break from our regularly scheduled fishes... I'm Galapagos Dreamin'.


    Yesterday, I was downstairs in the basement, cleaning up the boys' room, changing out seasonal clothing, dusting, that sort of thing.

    And I smelled gas.


    Remember Wednesday? When the gas inspectors found a gas leak OUTSIDE my house? And dug the big hole and, ahem, "FIXED" it.

    Evidently, they overlooked the big fat leak INSIDE the house. Two feet from my baby's bed.

    So, I smelled gas and called the number to report a gas leak emergency (as opposed to a gas leak everyday-occurrence). The lady on the phone advised me against smoking, and told me a technician would be advised and would come out and make it all better.

    And then we waited. And waited and then we waited a while while waiting. The boys and I decided to go outside so that when the house blew up that we'd at least already be out of it. After about 45 minutes, I walked back in and could smell the gas upstairs, too, so I called again.

    The lady on the phone (maybe I should make that The Lady on the Phone) asked me if we needed medical assistance, and I hesitated a moment, wondering if it would get me a technician any more quickly, but then answered, "no."

    Stupid honesty.

    Anyhow...Fred showed up eventually, found A HOLE IN THE METER, and replaced it and we are supposedly okay now. Fred seemed quite perturbed that the team that was here on Wednesday missed the HOLE IN THE METER.

    Thanks Fred.

    Friday, December 04, 2009


    I'm guest blogging over at Indie Fixx today - come by and see what's inspiring me lately, then poke around the site and see what will inspire you!

    There's a sweet crafty project up right now that I think I'll have to incorporate into my house this weekend, as a matter of fact...

    Blind Contour Friday - Week 7

    Welcome back to Blind Contour Friday, everyone! Sorry I missed getting it done last week, but with all the travel related to Thanksgiving, I had to let something go...I hope you'll rejoin me this week!

    All you have to do is create your own blind contour drawing, post it on your blog and leave your name and a link to your post in the Mr. Linky there at the bottom of this post.

    If you're having trouble thinking of something to draw, you can check this great list of ideas and just pick one. Relax, pick up your pen and S L O W down while you observe what you are drawing carefully.

    Please make sure you link your post back here so we can spread the word and add more and more players. If you use Twitter or Facebook, feel free to post it there, as well!


    This week, I took a little tour around the edges of my Christmas tree and came up with this very chaotic, jumbled up mass of spiky and round things.

    Obviously a Christmas tree, no?

    Let's see what you've got!

    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    Etsy Excavations

    I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgivings - I know I did...but I missed the excavating! So here we are again...digging up the gems at Etsy!


    Christine Mercer-Vernon is one of those artists that blow me away with their attention to detail and composition. She paints and draws incredible images of organic shapes, and places them with a frame a way that, although they may be simple, they seem larger than life.

    Oh! And I've just noticed that she's got free US shipping on her watercolors coming up between December 10-24!

    Christine also has a professional website that very nicely displays her incredible body of work…go check it out!


    1. Please tell us a little something about how you became an artist – what is your personal art history?

    as a child i didn't know much about art or artists or even knew that maybe someday i could be one. my brother and i spent a lot of time drawing and coloring. growing up in the 70's we had a handful of TV stations, so kids programming was limited. we spent a lot of time playing outside and when we weren't we were coloring and drawing.

    in elementary school anytime we had to draw or paint i loved it and it was the one thing i could do well. i remember in elementary school getting a bad grade on a book report on dinosaurs because the teacher didn't believe that i drew the illustrations. my mom had to defend me. i didn't understand why the teacher didn't believe me.

    I think the most influential moment for me was in 2nd grade during art class, we had a substitute who was an artist. He took us outside to draw the landscape. I went to Twin Valley Elementary at the time, the school sits way up on a hill, it has an amazing view of the surrounding farms. I was just sitting there drawing the fields and he sat down next time and asked who taught me to draw in perspective. i had no idea what he was talking about. he sat and worked with me the rest of class. it was the first time that i realized i had a special talent. i don't remember his face or name, but i remember his hands.

    after high school i decided to study graphic design, mostly because i didn't really think being and artist was an option and thought i should at least do something where i can earn a steady income. i worked in graphics until 2002, then quit my job and began freelancing from home so i could focus more on painting. i look forward to the day that i can support myself solely from my art.

    2. I read on your Etsy profile that you’ve changed from oils to watercolors for your work. Can you tell us why?

    i really need to update that.. LOL! actually i've gone back and forth several times. i originally worked in watercolors, then made the switch to oils. After I had my daughter, 3 years ago, I had a really difficult time connecting with my paintings. My previous work all came from an emotional standpoint and focused a lot on symbolism and experiences. but having a baby really made the emotional aspect of my work to hard, i no longer wanted to be 'that close' to my paintings.

    i've spent the last 3 years in a bit of a funk. really struggling to find my artistic voice again. most of the time was spent experimenting and then this year i spent a lot of time reading, taking workshops and working on skill refinement.

    out of frustration last year i switched back to watercolors. sound advice i've often given to others... stick with what you know and do well when you are struggling. that was a huge relief. i felt confident again and continued to create small paintings this year while still taking workshops and drawing a lot while i stumbled around on a lot of subject matter trying to find a passion and inspiration to stick with.

    then i came to the skulls... more on that later.

    What are the major hurdles to switching over from one media to another? Can you say if you like one more than the other, or are they too different to compare?

    actually the hardest part for me in switching back and forth is the transparency. in watercolors the white of the paper is your white and it's just a matter of building layers of translucent color. i mix pure color and water it down. with oils, you actually mix with white and that can throw me sometimes. i have to sit and process a lot when mixing.

    i have no favorites between the two, i like them equally, but... i choose the medium based on what i am painting and what i want to say with it. although with watercolor, you can't paint over mistakes so there isn't a lot of room for error.

    3. I love the simple, almost non-existent backgrounds in your still lifes. They really focus the attention on the subject at hand. Take us through a little of your creative process – how do you pick your subjects?

    the simple backgrounds are a necessity for me. i don't like to be distracted from my main subject. if something catches my eye and i am so enamored with it i must draw or paint it, i don't want anything to pull me away from it. nothing to interfere, stay away, it's mine. it's like being obsessed. i want to focus all of my attention on that one thing and make it as beautiful to the viewer as it is to me.

    as for subjects, i have to draw and paint what i love or else i quickly lose interest and will leave the drawing/painting unfinished. right now i am focused on skulls and still processing some floral works. i'm also drawn to trees, that's another obsession, but i'm still working that out through painting.

    4. As much as I love those still lifes, the skulls that you draw are my real favorites. What is the appeal of them for you?

    to most people who follow my work the skulls may seem so random in their appearance, but really they're not. i've always been interested in archeology and bones and skeletons. i'm addicted to watching all of those shows and documentaries on fossil human and dinosaur discoveries.

    i've spent a lot of time studying portrait and figure this year and wanted to draw a human skull, but they're not exactly for sale at target so i decided to try my hand at an animal skull. that was it, i was hooked. i've got an ever growing collection of bones and skulls and have found a new love for my art. i'm very excited and feel like i have direction in my work again.

    5. And now…time for your favorites! (feel free to elaborate!)

    a. Who is your favorite artist?

    one? i can't pick one, so here's my top 5: Ingres, Heade, Mondrian (his landscapes), van Eyck, Modigliani

    b. What do you listen to while you paint?

    oh my, this is embarassing. i actually listen to movies. i have ADD and have a hard time focusing, so i have a rotation of movies that i've seen probably 100 times. i don't actually watch them, but they help me focus on what i am doing.

    c. What’s your favorite coffee?

    i'm pretty simple, i drink new england brand columbian decaf. a lot. hence the decaf.

    d. Who is your favorite author and/or what is your favorite book?

    oh my, i could say a ton of art books, but the truth is when i get to actually read for relaxation, i like to be entertained. my favorite series is by Diana Gabaldon called the Outlander series. I like books set in the 1400-1700's England, Ireland, Scotland.
    Thanks, Christine!