Friday, December 17, 2010

Telling a good story

What is it? How does one do it? What do you mean "good"?

Just a preview of what I plan to tackle in January, along with the regularly unscheduled shenanigans.

I'll leave you with some advice from Gaelic Storm:

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Oy! With the packing and the sewing and the cleaning!

So busy this week but there has been sewings done. Yes there has. Many presents have been accomplished and pictures will be taken though they won't be posted until after Christmas since I know at least my husband has been checking this blog to see what he's getting. Sorry honey, no help here.

So excited about the move to a bigger space where I"m going to have a, drum roll please . . . studio!  I currently take up a corner of the living room. I seriously haven't dared to start some of the projects I've wanted because I just don't have the space to make them. Also, as much as I like being a work at home mom (though Susie Homemaker I am not), I need a place that's kid free. Stepping on pins hurts and I don't want a crawling baby to find one.

So, here's to a professional space and finished Christmas presents!

Monday, December 13, 2010

How Two Outcast Rappers Built an Insane Clown Empire | Magazine

I first heard about ICP in my high school economics course. Somebody had brought in a magazine article about them and we ended up spending the whole period discussing it. We concluded that, if they could get a devoted following and stay true to them, they'd become quiet millionaires. More than 10 years later, I'm very happy to see that our predictions came true.

I was introduced to their music during a rough time in my life by some people who'd had even rougher lives. Though I'm not a devoted follower, I do like several of their songs and I'm increasingly impressed by the Dark Carnival mythos. They are fantastic story-tellers and they seem to encourage that trait in the artists they develop.

If you can stomach the lyrics, which tend to the cartoonishly violent, the ICP discography would be a great listen for any writer.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Heren Istarion: The Northeast Tolkien Society: Call for Papers: Neil Gaiman Collection Planned

Heren Istarion: The Northeast Tolkien Society: Call for Papers: Neil Gaiman Collection Planned

This project looks like one that I have to be involved with. Gaiman books will be sought out and devoured in preparation.

Oh, yeah, like I didn't have enough to do already. LOL, I do seem to be a busy little bee these days.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I spent my day today trying to put together a tutorial for making icicle ornaments. This is a project my mother and I did every year for almost a decade. I was absolutely positive that I remembered how to do everything.

But, the plexiglass I bought was too thin.

I set the temperature for the stove too low.

Then I set it too high.

Then the new plexiglass won't cut.

Then . . .

Well, you can see the problem. So, I took a step back, watched a cartoon with my son and put the project away.

I also sent an e-mail to my mom. She thinks the problem was that I was doing it by myself while trying to watch two kids.

We're going to make them this weekend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Art Discussion

I read about a dozen other blogs, give or take a couple, every day. Some are for fun, some are political, some are religious. I don't always agree with everything but it certainly makes for interesting discussions.

One of my favorite bloggers writes as The Anchoress. Her name is Elizabeth Scalia and, while I don't always agree with her, I always learn something. I also think she has some of the nicest, best educated commenters I've encountered in the blogosphere.

The discussion on a post about an art review, art reviewer and Norman Rockwell intrigued me and I just had to share.

There's too much to simply excerpt and some of the best lines are in the comments.

Go. Read. Enjoy.

Thinking With My Hands

Often, I'll find myself wanting to write but having no idea what to say. I need to find a way to get my thoughts in order but techniques to accomplish this are occasionally difficult to find and implement. The most successful thing I've found has been to sit and sketch. As my pencil moves, I find myself calmer, more able to put feelings and impulses into words.

I thought I'd share some of the sketching I did today. Also, I was having fun playing with Mypaint. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Bunny for Jilly

One day last April, I wanted to paint.

Of course, I didn't have any paint. Or canvas. Or brushes. I could, of course, have gone somewhere and gotten all these things but it was my one day off from work and, to be honest, I just wanted to stay home and paint.

Around that time, a friend had come to visit for a few weeks and he'd brought his computer with him. More importantly, he'd brought his wacom tablet with him. Now, I'd heard about wacom tablets. All my favorite webcomic artists used them. I also "knew" that they were expensive and there was no way I could afford one for myself.

This wacom tablet cost about $50 refurbished and we were able to simply plug it into my computer, open up a paint program, and off I went. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of the controls but after that, I was painting.

I missed a lot of the sensations that I associate with painting. The wood of the brush, the smooth feel of paint sliding across canvas, the smell of the oil paints. One thing I didn't miss? Cleaning up the mess.

I was chatting with my friend Jillybean and told her I was painting a tree. She told me to add a bunny just for her. So I did. It was so easy to do, too. Working with real paints, I would have gotten paint all over my fingers and it would have smeared, possibly ruining the whole picture.

As more and more of my stuff gets packed up to move, I find myself wanting to borrow the wacom tablet again. My creative juices are flowing and need somewhere to go.

Can you spot the bunny?

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Things We Leave

Running errands over the past few days, I keep coming across signs for Estate Sales. These always make me think of helping clean out the homes of some of the people in my life who have passed away and what happens to the detritus of a life well lived. Some things get taken in by loved ones, some passed on to charity, some sold to the highest bidder.

I always get caught up in the pictures. Photos of my grandfather as a young man, where he looks like my brother's doppleganger. School pictures of my dad in first grade where he's wearing the exact same bow tie my son wore for his school pictures. My grandmother in a poodle skirt. My mom with a really awful haircut. Sepia toned pictures of Korea and Japan.
Korea courtesy of Team Frosick

The scrapbook my grandmother made of my grandfather's tour of Korea is one of my favorite finds. Silver ink on black paper, black and white photos and letters back and forth give me a glimpse into the lives of people who I only knew for a very short time. What they chose to create, to write down, gives a glimpse of what was important to them day to day.

Packing and moving makes me realize that I've left very little of myself behind. My children will have stories with few pictures and very little hand-written from me. I plan to be a published author but I also feel the need to leave something personal behind. Maybe I should start hand-writing letters again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fairy Find

Good grief do I have a lot of books. Sadly, not nearly as many as I had 7 years ago. The story of the loss of most of my library is not one that I will relay here. It causes me a lot of grief and anger and I'm just not going to go into it.

As we're moving, I'm going through closets and bookshelves to decide what gets to stay and what gets to go. I've got two boxes of books ready to be traded in for credit at the friendly local bookstore. I've also got a box of clothes ready for Goodwill.

While going through my closet I came upon this dress:

I wore it to an awards dinner 5 years ago and spilled some dessert down the front that the cleaners weren't able to get out. I loved that dress.

As I was folding it up to put it in the goodwill box, I thought to myself, "Fabric like that is so hard to find. It would make great fairy wings." At that thought, I ran to my sewing desk and started pulling out fabric.

Yes, just as I suspected. The colors match perfectly with a fairy costume I'm already making for a friend. I was never going to find another fabric that matched so perfectly. Out of the Goodwill box it came and into the sewing bins.

I love finding fabric in my closet!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Don't I Dance?

I used to love to dance. I took tap and ballet lessons when I was a munchkin. I loved going out dancing with my friends. I signed up for all of the ballroom dancing lessons in high school that I could. I've bought multiple DVD's of Bellydancing for beginners.

Sadly, I never went anywhere with the lessons and the DVD's remain unopened. Why?

I've been in a mental space of blocked creativity for the last 2 years. The only outlet I've felt comfortable using was fabric. Now, I've made some very beautiful things with that fabric but they're unsatisfying. I don't feel like I've been designing to my full potential, either.

Being told I was an artist several months ago shocked me. I've always wanted to be an artist but considered it either too flaky or too presumptuous to label myself as such. I'm just the girl who sews some, writes some, sketches some and feels drawn to oil paints and canvas. Maybe, surrounded by a family that has doctors, lawyers, engineers, animal trainers, mechanics and managers of various sorts, I didn't think being an artist, working for myself doing something I love, was very professional.

Whatever the reason, my lack of creative action over the past 2 years has become a source of great anxiety for me. I started reading The Artist's Way and found myself unable to do the exercises. I didn't feel like I deserved to do it even though I occasionally had the urge to paint a tree on a hill in oil paints on my dining room wall.

I have 2 novels started, one of which will very likely be published if I can ever finish it. Why can't I seem to write?

Starting The Writing Diet, I found myself writing more, painting more and wanting to dance. Oh, yes, dancing. Maybe it's time to re-start The Artist's Way and break out one of those DVD's.