Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It Takes A Village

Is there anything better than a bowl pull of wooden people pegs? Well, sure. But it's still pretty awesome. I mean, look at all the potential!

Heather and I hit the craft store recently where I bought a wooden castle to add to my little Santa's Village and Heather bought a house. We bought some wooden people pegs, too. Then I went online to Casey's Wood and bought a whole lot more. Variety is the spice of life, you know.

I started with the castle. Magoo started with one of those little fellows with the hat.

We painted all afternoon. (Heather, literally, worked on her house for, like, 4 hours.) After the men were done playing Madden Football, even they joined in. (See Heather's house. It's very fancy. I pulled out some fabric swatches and she installed carpets.)

My village takes up half the mantle now. Here's Santa's castle. Mr. and Mrs. Clause live here and they are protected by Tom Brady, Spiderman, Master Zutsu, Wink the Ninja, and Milan Lucic from the Boston Bruins.

You may be asking, Why does Santa need so much protection? Well, there are robbers afoot!

Magoo made Black Robber and Blue Robber. (See they are in their bottle cap sleds for a fast get away.)

You may remember Eager Bob (He's off to the far right.) We also have a small alien and the mysterious lady in the back. (I forgot to write down her name. I'll have to ask Magoo later.)

I bought a couple brush trees at Michael's but I think I want more of those so I'll have to keep my eyes open.

I love that this craft is becoming a family tradition and I already can't wait until next year when we can expand it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving in Rhode Island

Every year we drive to Rhode Island to Mike's cousin MaryBeth's awesome house. Why is it awesome? Well, for one thing they have a big dining room table for the feast. For another she has three kids so they have lots of toys and things that keep Magoo occupied.

When we got there cousins F and B were jumping their bikes. Woosh - nothing but air!

Then they moved to the trampoline:

I even got on the trampoline but it wasn't for pleasure. There was a new puppy; a three-month old black lab who was all jumps and nibbles. Magoo was a little scared so I gave him a piggy-back ride to the trampoline, but this kept my arms occupied so I couldn't swat the dog off from nipping at my bum. I'm not kidding - I was worried I was going to have holes in my pants! I guess my body is too bootilicious or something. Anyway - I hung out on the trampoline for a good solid fifteen minutes until the dog was called inside. But I got some good shots.

The children did not tire and it was about this time that another three young cousins arrived so the boys played outside, running races and playing lacross...

... while, indoors, N and Pam pursued literary pleasures... (What's that awesome book N is reading?)

... and B introduced Magoo to her hamster, Crystal. Magoo though Crystal was pretty darn cute!

And all the children were in pretty good moods so I was able to talk them into taking a group shot!

I LOVE taking group shots but I understand that it's not always possible. I don't want to fight with children to smile and pose when they're totally not into it. But today I was in luck! Ye-haw!

After the kids ate their meal, the adults finally sat down. For the second year I pieced together a composite shot. I think I took about 19 photos in all. (This year I got into it, too.)

It's pretty small because it's long, so go ahead and click on it to enlarge.

I'm one lucky gal because I married into a fantastic family. Thanksgiving is always so much fun and this year was no exception. So thanks to my in-laws for hosting another fabulous holiday and for welcoming me into your family! (Even though I've been in there for 11 years and you'd need a crow bar to wedge me out.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Magoo's assignment for the week was to make a clothespin Native American or Pilgrim. As you can see, he chose a Native American. I LOVE this kind of assignment. It completely validates my lifestyle. Need some beads - I've got some right here. Need some feathers - hold on a sec - got 'em! Paint? Fabric? Hot glue? Check - check- check. And it all adds up to a little piece of awesomeness. Gush!

But even though Magoo made a Native American - he clearly knows what a pilgrim is. As we walked home one afternoon, he told me this:

A pilgrim is a dude that has a hard journey and wants freedom.

I was dying. I had to repeat it several times so that I could copy it word-for-word when I got home.

In other news - it is Opposite Day at school today. In addition to wearing his sweatshirt inside out, Magoo wanted me to make his hair go up instead of down.

I don't know how long it will last - but he's pretty pleased with it.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels if you're hitting the road or air!

Monday, November 22, 2010


This as a crudely drawn as a cartoon can get - but I'm swamped today!

What did I learn? Perhaps giving my seven-year-old a giant bag of popcorn on a road trip is not the awesome idea I thought it was at the time.

Sorry about your mini-van, Brudz family!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Photo I Forgot

I wrote the whole New York post and I forgot to include this pic:

Notice cute little Curly holding Mary's hand and Magoo punching her in the gut! Guess which kid needs a nanny?

The Moppets Take Manhattan

Yesterday we skipped school and hit New York! (Here's Mo, Magoo & Curly in Times Square.)

But before that happened, we rode in the car for three hours. (More on that tomorrow.) And we had a subway ride into the heart of the city. Oh - the boys enjoyed that. Moreso than some of the other people. (Check out the lady in the background. I used my special thought-reading lens.)

We had about a hour once we got to the theater so we took the boys into Times Square to walk around a bit and lo and behold there's a HUGE Toys R Us! Naturally, we went inside. There's a freakin' ferris wheel in there! Mo, Magoo, and I rode in the Monopoly car while Heather and Curly rode in the Nickelodeon car. I think the boys were happy they didn't get the My Pretty Pony car! But the waiting in line, loading and unloading, all took some time so we have to hustle back over to the theater and get in our seats for the boys' first Broadway show - Mary Poppins!!!

Now, I want to take a moment to say that I've been to plenty of plays in my time and they don't all need to be huge productions to be great. One of the best plays I've ever seen, called Stones in His Pockets, was nothing more than two men on a blank stage in a small theater. It was awesome. But sometimes a lesser theater produces a lesser show. We recently took the boys to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - performed by a local theater company - and it was all fine and good but the set changes were performed by an old guy in black clothing pushing a piece of wood around. It was a little lower scale than I was anticipating. However, when you go to a Broadway show - the one thing I think you can almost guarantee is fantastic stage craft. And OH MY DOGGIE - we got a heaping helping of that.

For one thing, there was a whole house on stage! (This pic is from the internet.)

Then when it was time for a new scene, the whole house moved back and the nursery dropped down from the top of the stage. Mary Poppins flew! Burt, the chimney sweep, danced on the ceiling! The kitchen was destroyed and then magically reassembled! It was all very cool.

It was colorful, lively, and energetic! The below shot (from the internet) is from Supercalifragilisticxmealidocious (which I'm sure isn't spelled right.)

It was a long show at the end of a long day and Magoo was certainly a little jittery in his seat by curtain call. But I think all the boys were impressed and have a memory that they won't soon forget.

On our way out we went through Times Square again and Magoo posed in front of the lights.

The King of Times Square!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Open Studio Weekend: How It Went

It was a watercolor year.

I've been doing the Open Studio Art Show for 6 years now (I think it's six.) and one of the trickiest things is to predict what the people will buy. Over the years I've learned that many people buy original art in collage, but prefer watercolor prints. Few people buy original art from my rack; that's where the unframed older art lives. And, the packs of cards go like hotcakes.

This year I sold every watercolor off the wall except Wildroot - the bookstore cat. And I only sold 3 of the 6 Fable collages. I sold a number of watercolors from the rack. And I have plenty of packs of cards left.

So, you just never know.

The Experiments:

1.) Necklaces
The necklaces were not successful at this venue. I think there's just too much going on to have necklaces too. Some people liked them, but not enough sold. I know I've been saying I should open an Etsy shop for a couple years now but I hadn't wanted to ship 11X14" watercolors - that's no fun. But the necklaces would probably do alright at Etsy.

2.) Softies
People loved the "softies." Master Zutsu was the first to go and I sold the three ninjas - no prob. They would also probably do well on Etsy. Eeeeeasy to ship.

I sold both sumi-e paintings. Granted, they were not expensive. But I had no idea if they would be well received and I'm very pleased that they were. I've been growing a little bored with the standard koi/goldfish watercolors and now I can focus on a new direction of painting. I can also do slightly smaller pieces that are less expensive and it's always good to have a nice range of prices.

All in all it was my best year yet - and that's saying something because last year was FABULOUS!

Thanks to everyone who came out - I am lucky to have such awesome friends, family, and patrons who are so supportive and enthusiastic about my work. You all rock!

And if you live too far to come out - hang on - I may do an Etsy store yet. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Open Studio Weekend: My Space

I got in early at 7:45 am yesterday to set-up. Here's my space:

(The lighting is fabulous for live-viewing but not so great for taking photographs.)

The Master Zutsu doll was one of the first things to go! The lady who bought it just liked him - she didn't know the book or have a young child or anything. She just wanted him all for herself. It wasn't long before two ninjas left to go out into the world. So there's only one ninja left.

The necklaces didn't get a lot of attention. I think most people don't even notice them. I sold one. But that's OK because they are perfect for an Etsy shop, don't you think?

I sold Blue Lobster, The Grasshopper and the Ants, Age of the Crow, and the Sumi-E Sparrows!

Now, to backtrack a bit, after my space was set up I went around hanging little signs in the elevator and stairwells.

Here on the first floor I found (OOPS) one of my signs from last year.

I really can't believe no one pulled that down.

And then on the fourth floor (DOUBLE OOPS) a sign from TWO years ago!

Clearly I'm bad at taking my signs down! Or, could it be that the people who live there just enjoy them so much. They are all artists after all. Maybe they like the little reminder. Art is Fun. OR maybe no one uses the stairwell.

There's a ton of great art this year! If you're in the Hartford area - come on down. 555 Asylum Ave, ArtSpace Building, Hartford CT. 11- 5pm! Wheel-and-Deal Sunday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SUBURBAN NINJA: A Lesson About Teasing

Note: I watch two brothers in the morning and take them into school with Magoo. I've code-named the youngest one Curly, and the eldest Mo.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Getting Ready

Today was Pricing Day! It's the day I take all my inventory (woo-woo fancy word) and put it all out and price everything.

(Above) These are the collages. Fables and some Wink stuff.
(Below) These are the watercolors. We have some fish, some birds, a lobster, a cat and a stick of bamboo. I've grown to like the bluebird quite a lot but I think my favorite is the blue lobster.

And I did manage to pull together one Master Zutsu doll. He's a much more complicated creation than WInk so I'm asking 40 buckos for him - but I won't be sad if he doesn't sell. I want one for myself!

And here he is with his big-headed students.

If you're in town and want to stop by, Open Studio will be Nov. 13 &14th from 11am - 5pm at Artspace, 555 Asylum Ave in Hartford. I'll be on the second floor by the elevator. (Primo real estate!)

The art is packed - not I just have to gather all my little things: business cards, tape, Sharpies, yadda - yadda- yadda.

In other news: I am feeling BETTER! I'm operating at 90% energy, but I'm taking it easy because it's going to be a big weekend! Thanks for all the vibes of good health - I caught them all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Leaf Pile

What's autumn without a big leaf pile?

Magoo had one of his buddies over last week and I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone by raking a big leaf pile for them to play in ...

... and then I'd bag it and put it on the curb. Well, guess which part of the plan didn't happen?

But the playing in the pile was really the most important part of that plan anyway. Right?!

In other news -

UG - I'm sick! On Thursday I felt a huge cold descend on me. My nose transformed into a faucet and my energy went down the tubes. I missed the opening night of the gallery show - which, in all honestly, was no big deal for me. I don't like going to those things. They are loud and crowded. But my friend Angela went so check it out.

I took all of Friday off and sat on the couch and watched Seasons 2 & 3 of Big Love. By Saturday I was feeling better and by Sunday my energy was back up. Groovy, right?! Let's get back to the grindstone.

Not so fast.

This morning I woke up and something was declaring war on my stomach. I don't know if I ate something (although everyone else feels fine) or if I caught some stomach bug - but the first hour of my day found me resting on my bathroom floor. (You know what I'm talking about.) After awhile I felt better and I've been semi-functional today. I got Magoo and the boys into school, I made my signs for the art show, I colored my hair, and I worked on my writing a bit. I also sipped a lot of water, ate two bananas and a small bowl of soup, and took as many naps as possible.

I hate being sick. It blows. But it's better that it hits me this weekend and not next.

I feel confident that tomorrow will be better than today, but I can tell you one thing: there will be no Jillian Michael's Shred this week. No way.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Shut the Front Door!

One of the things on our House: To Do list was install new doors. Both the front and back doors let in a ton of cold air in the winter. Brrrr. That's no good. So finally - we got some.

Here it is newly installed. All white and fresh. It looked good - but the white didn't pop for me and it was really just a matter of a day or two before Java put her muddy paws all over the thing begging to get in. And since the weather (a week ago) was mild, I thought, The time is NOW! and decided to slap some paint on the sucker.

Good-bye white door.

Hello Pepto-Bismol Pink! This is how it looked with tinted primer. Very pretty, no?

Actually one of the neighbors thought it was the door color of choice and was kinda excited about it. I've never been a big pink girl myself. I don't think I own any pink clothes. But even if I did, there's no way Mike would agree to a pink door. No. Way.

This is the door after THREE coats of red.

Much better. It's still not completely done since I need to touch up around the windows. But it's friggin' cold outside now so it might have to do until the next pop of warmth rolls in.

I'm adjusting to the look of it sans door knocker. And since we don't want to put holes in out new door I doubt I'll be sporting a wreath this year. But isn't the color nice? I LOVE IT!

Now I just have to clean up all the dead potted plants.