Monday, October 27, 2008

Journey's End

My train dumped me back in Durham last Friday night, and my two guys were there to greet me. How sweet! I was treated to a proper greeting of a pink tongue straight up the nose (I'll let you guess which fella gave me that one!). After a week's absence, and two 10 hour train rides, it was so good to see their fuzzy faces. Here they are relaxing after the drive home from the station:


I had a fabulous time with my mother. We did everything we planned and more. We had lunch at JB Winberries in Princeton.

Nothing says "Welcome home" like a nice glass of wine and a cheddar cheese-and-beer fondue!


We watched a movie... in a THEATER (I haven't been inside a theater in two years!). I highly recommend this film. Bring plenty of hankies, but know that it does have a hopeful message. What an actress Dakota Fanning is! If she's this good at 14, I can hardly wait to see what she does when she's an adult. All the other characters were very well cast and, as an ensemble, made a formidable team. It was beautiful, heartbreaking, and uplifting all at once. I loved it.

Dinner afterward was at The Big Fish Bistro. What FUN! The lights hanging from the ceiling were clear round plastic made to look like bubbles, giant fish sculptures were everywhere, bubble machines on the wall, and exquisite food. I'm definitely going back to square one on my diet when I get home.

We did some Christmas shopping at Peddler's Village in Lahaska, PA.

Just one of many shops there, this one specializes in French goods. The colors were beautiful, and the lighting at that time of day was amazing.

There was an ongoing scarecrow contest while we were there. This one was my favorite:

Year-round, the grounds are gorgeous...


Wednesday we spent the day at Mom's weekly painting session with friend, Mikkey T. Mikkey paints with a joyful combination of color mixed with a considerable amount of humor. This is her recent composition of cows:

Image used with Mikkey's permission

There was a WHOLE LOT of giggling going on that day...

I kept myself busy with a sketch...

...and played with Mikkey's doggies


Mom spent time showing me her most recent watercolors, and oh man, has she come a long way for a woman who hadn't painted until 12 years ago!

"Desdemona and Lisa" (Desdemona is the Arabian horse)



"New Mexico Rocks"

**all painting images used with permission of the artists
And wouldn't you know it? I found my new "favorite" bead shop right down the road from Mom's house! The interior is spacious, yet PACKED with sparkley little beauties, and is decorated in a very sweet, restful palette.

My tote bag was a WEE bit heavier on my return trip home :)
My trip ended the way it started, only we dressed up more. Fine dining at the Brothers Moon restaurant, inside what used to be the Village Market. Fabulous food! Read this review for more info. Stop by, if you're in town!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Back To The Drawing Board

I've had a love-hate relationship with pencil and paper for so long now. I love the magic they can make together, and yet hate the struggle to find my own inner mojo. Ever since that first life drawing class in college, I've been in awe of the fact that my hand can put on paper what my eye can see. And I've stuck with that - just putting down what's in front of my face. When it comes to translating images in my head, well now, THAT's a different story!

At least until this last week. I spent several hours making a drawing of my own composition, for the first time pulling together elements I found in different photographs to make up my own story. Here she is:

I had a lovely photo of a seated young girl looking at a book. I'd intended to just draw her as-is, but I had such trouble with her hands! I worked and reworked, and finally felt I was in danger of spoiling the whole thing, so I put something in her lap to hide the hands altogether. (I know, I know, it's the lazy way out.) In the process of making this basic change, I had ideas falling out of my brain onto the paper. (EEEeeewwwww!)

I made the thing in her lap into a large flower. To add context, she morphed into a faery seated on a mushroom which I drew from a picture in Somepinkflowers' recent post (thanks, SPF for providing inspiration!) The other mushroom pictures came from my own back yard. It all came together so beautifully, I actually surprised myself! I know it's not High Art, but it does feel like I turned a small creative corner. It's just like Bob Ross used to say: "There are no mistakes, only happy accidents".


In other news, I'm finally getting my vacation! Saturday morning I’m hopping the …

for a 10 hour trek to central New Jersey.

I’m packed and ready to go

with my important Amtrak survival kit:

This is my long-awaited retreat. Marble Man got his when he went to the beach with his family last summer. Now’s my turn. While Marble Man stays home to dog sit, I’m heading North for some overdue Mom-and-Me time. I talk to her several times a week, but haven’t been to see her in over three years! We’ve planned meals out, trips to the movie theater, art sessions with her watercolor group

...and who knows what else (certainly lots of giggles!) ? I'm bringing my most recent sketches for a critique. Here's hoping she'll have some pointers for improving my faery drawing exercise so I can do even better next time.

I'll be without a computer while I'm gone, so I'll see you when I return on the 24th. Have a great week everyone.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm "It"! I've Been Tagged

Last week I was "tagged" by Terri at Originals by Terri, sorry it's taken me this long to get around to it. The rules of the game are:

1) Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog
2) Share 7 facts about yourself, some random, some weird
3) Tag 7 more people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4) Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs


7 things about me:

1) I was born into an artistic family. My dad built harpsichords for a living, as well as played them.

My mother used to be an organist, and is a fabulous painter.

My brother is an artist and graphic designer (I can't believe I don't have any of his work to show you!).

I have an art degree in printmaking. I used to play harpsichord and classical guitar... not so much, anymore.

"Moonlight", etching

"Untitled", Hand-colored Dry Point Etching

2) I watch way too much tv. (You mean, there's an "off" button on this thing?!?)

3) I'm fanatic about watching Dancing With the Stars. I like to pretend it's me out there on the dance floor. While in real life, if I tried to dance, I'd look like the dancing hippos in Disney's "Fantasia" - if they were on crack!

4) I'm a collector: demitasse cups, beads, Victorian sewing toys, stamps, whatever. It drives Marble Man insane.

However, I do regularly clear things out so there's not so much STUFF around... or I try to anyway.

5) I love to cook, which is in direct conflict with my weight-loss struggle.

6) I have a crazy fascination for shoes. Stilettos, boots, funky, beautiful - I can't seem to get enough.

7) I love dirty jokes. Clever, funny ones, not gross. And bodily noises make me laugh like a maniacal hyena.

Here are the people I'm tagging:

3rd Eye Muse
Arterial Excursions

A Whimsical Bohemian
Boxing Day
No Side Up
Rhinestone Armadillo

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cleaning out the Project Graveyard

This weekend, I finished up some pieces that've been hanging around the studio for a while. In a previous post I showed you my Ginkgo Leaf Button Necklace in progress, and here it is finally finished:


The Square Button Necklace is also done:


I've got closets and drawers FILLED with unfinished work. I don't know what my issue is! It seems as I'm approaching the home stretch on something, my brain jumps ahead and plans the next three projects. I get so excited thinking about what to do next, that I abandon the current piece just as I'm about to finish it. Pretty stoo-pid. Now, I have a new attack plan: before I can start something new, I must finish two pieces from the "Project Graveyard". It seems to be working *crosses fingers*. Dangle a King-Sized carrot like a new project in front of me, and apparently this donkey CAN see something through to completion!

The "New Project" reward for finishing up these two necklaces was this Peyote Stitch bracelet:

I LOVE, Love, luhv doing beadweaving, and have meant to learn Peyote Stitch for a long time now, but found it tricky to teach myself from magazine basic instructions. I set aside a good chunk of time, and picked out some larger seed beads than I would normally have chosen, and started to figure it out. Once I got past the first three rows, it was easy, peasy! I used two darling little ladybug buttons and loops for a hidden closure in the midst of the flower beads. It's very fun to wear! Click on the pictures for purchasing information, if you are interested.

Now, as I rootle around in my unfinished projects, I'm thinking "Who wants to be finished next?"