Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ski Trip to Vermont

This weekend we went up to Vermont.  We were supposed to go two weeks ago but that was when one of the many "Arctic Blasts" hit and there's no way I'm driving three hours North to freeze my bippy off on a mountain.  Nuh-uh.  So we waited.  This weekend, it was still cold, but it was downright balmy compared to what we're used to.

Before we went to our lovely hosts' house, we went into the Town of Woodstock, where we were treated to snow sculptures!  Yay!

My favorite was the octopus. (Below.)

Woodstock is a lovely little town with zero CVS's or Starbucks.  Very cute shops.  My favorite is called Unicorn.  It's a super funky gift shop, and I always buy earrings there.  This time, I also got myself a pair of socks.

Skiing at Suicide Six was great.  Mike and I thought it might be a good idea to get Magoo another lesson, since it's been so long since he's skied, but he didn't want one.  He and I did about three runs on the bunny hill, then we hit the Easy Mile. (Easy Mile is my favorite.  I like easy skiing.  No adrenaline rushes for me.)

Between you and me, I like to get a lesson for Magoo because it gives me one hour of enjoying myself on the mountain.  It's difficult for me to just relax and ski if I'm constantly focused on Magoo. But, I will say he did much better this year.  Much more control.  I still had to focus on him, but it wasn't the constant battle of him falling and not listening to me as I tried to explain to him how to get up.  In the past, it has been a very frustrating experience for both of us.

I did very much enjoy my time on the ski lift.  It's pretty.  It's relaxing.  And I entertained Magoo with the story of how I broke my leg skiing when I was in fourth grade.

All in all, it was lovely to be outside and enjoy winter.

Then, of course, we had to come home and the very next morning I had to shovel another 4 - 5 inches of snow off the sidewalk and driveway.  Calgon, take me away!

I hope you all are warm and making the best of it wherever you are!
Thanks so much for stopping in!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ninja Attack at Squadron Line School!

It wasn't really a ninja "attack" but I did do some ninja poses, like Wink, when I presented at the lovely Squadron Line Elementary School on Monday.

That's why I wear pants most of the time.

I had a great time!  I did two different presentations - one for Wink and one for Monkey Ono.  And I visited four wonderful first grade classes and taught them how to make collage ninjas.  Aren't these great?  (The first one just makes me so happy!)

The librarian, Jamie Sepa, was a wonderful host - even providing me with much appreciated chocolate.  The kids were great.  The library - where I did my presentations - was big and bright.  The PTO, which booked me, were so friendly and helpful, and they sold A LOT of books!

HUGE THANKS to all at Squadron Line!  You made me feel like I'd just one the Caldecott.  (Well, I'm assuming it feels something like that.  ;)

In other news:  I have a BUNCH of Skype visits coming up.  My first one is with a class in Mexico, tomorrow.  Then, I have 17 more scheduled over the next two weeks.  I'll be a Skype Pro by the end of it.

This is my door of Skype visits.  (I'm running out of door.)

THANKS so much for stopping in!  I hope everyone is staying warm!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hartford Sled Derby

I like to be inside.  I like outside too, but all my arts and crafts and couch and snacks and TV are inside, so I generally stay in.

But when I do go out, I'm usually glad I did.  And I was SO GLAD that I went out this past Saturday and participated in the Hartford Sled Derby!

Photo by Carl Lantz

My friend Stefanie and I went as two paint brushes and a palette to represent the WeHa Artists Emporium.  The sled was painted, but there wasn't a whole lot of "construction" to it.  Now that I've  seen some sleds, I understand that making a sled for this thing is all about the cardboard and duct tape.  I was glad we didn't wipe out, but wiping out is part of the fun.  I think next year, our design may be more built up and we will factor in helmets.
Photo by Steven Yau

See this one.  Very built up.  Very big wipe out.

These guys had a beautiful polar bear.  So lovely.  And then they all came tumbling down the hill.

Those were some of the best sleds, but there were simple ones too.  One guy tried to go down in nothing but an IKEA chair.  One lady went down on what looked like a sleeping bag banana peel.
Sideways garbage cans were very popular vehicles.  (But round sleds turn and roll.  No thanks.  No barrel rolls for my noodle.)

Everyone there was having a great time and was so supportive of everyone's sleds and wipe-outs.  It was thrilling and the hill was filled with a great positive energy.

We didn't get a trophy - which, I'll be honest, was a little disappointing. 
The Hartford Sled Derby is certainly not about getting a trophy.  But I firmly believe that if you want a trophy and you think you deserve a trophy, then - by golly - go ahead and make your own.

So I did.  I mounted a little clay sled on top of a metal canister filled with chocolate.  We were the only art supply sled there, so it's OK to say we were the Best.  We were!

Photo by Stefanie Marco

I awarded it to Stefanie.  So I got twice the fun - make a trophy and give a trophy.  And, of course, there was some leftover chocolate for me too.  :)

If you want to see more photos of all the great sleds, click here.  And if you're in the Hartford area next year, consider coming along.  It was a lot of fun for young and old.

In other news,
There's a lot of snow here, but we are surviving.
Boston has way more, so we moan, but I think we're all happy that we don't live in Boston right now.

Thanks so much for stopping in!
Be warm!

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Color Series: Animal Edition

Yesterday I finished the final piece in this Color Series.  Now I just have to mat them, frame them, and get them ready for the library in March.  I'm very happy with how they turned out.  They were so much fun to make!  I hope you like them too.

Red Rabbit a.k.a. My Bunny Valentine    2015    j. c. phillipps

Orange Fox Dancing         2015        j. c. phillipps

Yellow Lab with a Uke     2015     j. c. phillipps

Green Frog Waiting        2015       j. c. phillipps
Blue Cat at Sea        2015       j. c. phillipps

Purple Raven Sings             2015         j. c. phillipps

Black & White Bandit       2015       j. c. phillipps

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bunny Hunt

I have been making bunnies.
Lots of bunnies.

Finders Keepers - the town-wide rock hunt that the WeHa Artists Emporium did in December - went so well, that I had an idea to do a similar thing, but with bunnies.

This is sorta hush-hush, but I don't think anyone I know in town reads this blog, so I can share here.  Yay!  But if you are in town or know someone in town, no blabbin'.  M'kay?

Anyway ...

I'm making a lot of clay bunnies and Stefanie - my artist pal and the group's founder - is making flowers.  We're calling it BUNNIES AND BLOOMS and we're going to hide the goodies around town one day in April.  Only one day for this event.

We've invited a few other artists to play too, but ... who knows if they will.  Not everyone is into making stuff and giving it away for free.  That's cool.  But I love it.  And I love it because I have learned that what you put out there comes back to you. 

So I'm making bunnies.

In other news ...

I'm playing the waiting game with a publisher.  He has two of my projects that have both been revised just for him, based on his notes.  My agent doesn't want to nag, but it's HARD TO WAIT!

There's a lot of snow outside.  I'd say it's up to my knee.  And that's the untouched stuff.  The shoveled stuff is up to my waist.

I'm almost done with my newest collection of collages, The Color Series: Animal Edition.  I'm doing the series for an upcoming show at the library.  I'll post soon.

Hope you all are well and warm!
Thanks for stopping in!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Cancer Post

Have you ever noticed how most of the people your own age go through phases at the same time?

The marriage phase.  The kids phase.  The divorce phase.  Then the illnesses come creeping in.

Now, before I continue, I do not have cancer.  But I have two friends who are both in remission and another writer friend who's in the midst of treatment for her cancer.  So, when I got an email from another cancer survivor asking me to spread the word about mesothelioma and Lung Leavin' Day, I said "Sure!"

What's Lung Leavin' Day?  Well, I'll tell you.  But first, this is Heather Von St. James and her lovely daughter.

When Heather was 36, just after her daughter was born, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by asbestos.  She was told she had 15 months to live.  Can you imagine?  You're holding you first little baby and they tell you you won't live to see her turn two?!  Ack!

Heather underwent surgery to have her lung removed - her sister named the day Lung Leavin' Day.  The name stuck.

Heather is still with us and still being an awesome wife and mother.  And although there are always fears in everyone's life, she uses Lung Leavin' Day (on February 2nd) as a way to express those fears and overcome them, by writing her fears on a plate and smashing it.

 Check out her site at http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday/#.VMjvEcacNaQ
(It's a very cool site.) and join Heather in smashing your fears away on February 2nd.

I'd also like to use this post to introduce you to Cynthia Jaynes-Omololu.

 In addition to having a last name that's totally fun to say - Omo-lo-lu- she is a fabulous writer.  (She used to be in a critique group with me - that's how I know her.)  She has three Young Adult books previously published:  Dirty Little Secrets, Transcendence, and Intuition AND one picture book, When It's Six O'Clock in San Fransisco, and her fourth YA THE THIRD TWIN is coming out shortly.

Cynthia is a warm, funny, brilliant woman with a husband and two teenage sons, and she has brain cancer.  Yup!  That sucks! 

It's hard enough promoting your book without brain cancer - but since she can't focus on that right now, a bunch of her writer friends are trying to promote the hell out of it for her.

Here's the Kirkus write-up:

Could an identical twin be a killer without her sister knowing it?
It all began as a joke when Lexi and Ava were little: The identical sisters would imagine they had a “third twin” named Alicia. Now in their senior year of high school, the girls have reincarnated Alicia, using this persona to dress up and date boys they normally wouldn’t. They’ve even gone to the trouble of creating a fake ID and social media site to build a back story for this fictitious sister. The fun ends when Lexi, out as Alicia, is the last known person to have seen Casey, her date and would-be rapist, alive. Told from Lexi’s point of view, the mystery continues as more of “Alicia’s” dates turn up murdered. When the evidence and unusual coincidences all point to Ava, Lexi feels like the person she’s always known best is suddenly a stranger. And because they share DNA, Lexi also becomes a person of interest. As she races to find the real killer, she must also contend with moving on from high school to college, finding her own identity and trying to save the boy she really loves from meeting a deadly fate. Although the resolution may be more out of Hollywood than reality, the dramatic suspense will keep mystery fans entertained.

I love Cynthia's books.  They have rich characters, great plot and tension, and they keep it moving.
THE THIRD TWIN launches Feb 24th! 

I love YA - so I'm getting it for myself.  But if you're not into it, buy it for a teenager in your life.  Pre-order here or at your local bookstore.

So let's break some plates, buy some books, hugs our people, and be kind to one another.

Thanks so much for stopping in!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Days

Hi all -

If you've been watching the weather forecasts and you know that I live in Connecticut, perhaps you are wondering how much snow we got.

Not much.

I mean, it definitely snowed overnight, and I guess the Eastern side of Connecticut is up to about 20", but I think we (in the Hartford area) got closer to 6".  So, yanno, a nice snow.

Mike went out and shoveled this morning, but since I have yet to venture outside (it's only 8:17am) I'm just going to post some of the snow shots that I took on Sunday after our first good snow of the season.

After two months of brown, dead grass and leftover leaves, it's so nice to have a pretty winter house.

Magoo is twelve now, so - being the manly man that he is - he went out and shoveled the walk and driveway with me.  But he's still a boy, too, so he also made a snowman.

Later, when we all went sledding, it was fun to see the other snowmen in the neighborhood.
(It was really good packing snow and everyone was excited to finally get some.)

And it was good sledding snow, too.

We have a lovely little hill in our neighborhood, so we inflated the new sleds, trekked over, and had a great time sledding in the sunshine.  The snow was fresh, the sun was out - it was a perfect winter day to go outside and play.

Today... not so much.  The wind is mighty bitter.  But I'm happy to have pretty white snow in winter, to have a cozy snow day in my little house with my menfolk, and to have electricity.

Hope you're all cozy wherever you are!
Thanks for stopping in!