Thursday, December 16, 2010

Striped Sunflowers

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. It seems like every time I have the intention if posting regularly work becomes an avalanche. I'm not complaining... really I'm not! I just am a little behind in the things I have been wanting to share!

Isn't this an amazing flower?!? My husband came home with a beautiful bouquet that had several of these beauties in it! I couldn't tell for sure if it was dyed or natural but it seemed too unnatural to not be dyed.

I love the colors and the textures. It reminds me of the circus.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Life Shift

I haven't really been doing much art in the last year. I am currently in a much needed and long overdue life shift. A lot of things have been changing around here. After many years of struggling with fatigue, back and strength issues I finally feel my strength getting better. I still have to be careful that I don't overdo it but I have been able to do things that I haven't done in years. So as a result my focus has been on things that I've neglected for too many years like ripping out my flower beds. They had gotten too overgrown with weeds because it hurt too much to keep them up and my husband doesn't do that kind of stuff. I am proud of myself too because I was able to do it all myself and break it down into manageable parts. It took a few days but it is done!

I have also taken on a work out regimen and diet change. About 10 years ago I became lactose intolerant. With my other health issues, I wasn't able to do much more than just eliminate dairy. I've realized through the years that I also have to change other aspects of my diet as well to make sure I get all of the right nutrients and maybe part of my fatigue and strength issues lie in not getting the proper nutrients. So I have been cooking much more and trying new recipes. I have been trying more vegetarian meals as I find they are much easier on my digestive system than a meat-centric diet. This has helped my energy tremendously.

I have also been spending some time working on some websites for other artists. Even though it has been challenging at times learning this stuff, I am really enjoying being able to create something that helps other people. I feel that, at least for the time being, most of my creative energy will be spent in this arena. An updated site with more extensive portfolios of my design work for web and print is in the works. When I get it finished I will post it here.

It's funny because even though I am doing all these other things and focused on making this shift, I am feeling much more inspired and motivated. I have tons of ideas for new work. I have a few more things on my list to catch up on and I will start "making art" again. I am hoping it will only be a couple of months until then.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Summer Trip Part 2

Here are some more photos of my trip. These were all taken in San Francisco in the Ferry building and along the waterfront.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Summer Trip Part 1

In August, after 3 years, we were finally able to take a vacation and headed out west to sunny California. We started in San Francisco, drove down the Pacific Coast Highway and ended up in Los Angeles. We not only got to see some great sites but also some great friends as well. Although I missed my Fuji(it is officially not worth using anymore) I was able to take a ton of pictures with my husband's Canon PowerShot recording things that interested me and came out with some pretty nice photos. I found myself being drawn toward textures and unusual views and thought I would share some of them here as I haven't posted in a while. The break was much needed and I have come back home inspired with many ideas for new work. Here are a few of San Francisco and the beach... You can click on the panoramic for a better view.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Garden Update

Here are my first tomatoes from the garden. Can't wait to try them.

Here's my basil which I have been harvesting for about a month or two already. It's been a yummy ingredient in my orzo pasta salad.

Here are some garlic chives.

Here is my spearmint for tea.

And finally lavender just because.

Most of my other stuff hasn't survived the heat this year. I also think I started it too soon. Oh well... live & learn.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Storm Clouds

A few weeks ago we had some good storms roll through our area. Just before they came through I looked out the window and was amazed by the color of everything. It was dusk and everything looked pink... not just your normal dusky pink but an intense pink that was surreal and a bit unnerving. It looked as if there was a pink spot light on everything that was intense enough to make the asphalt pavement look purple.

I went outside and saw these clouds in the sky. As I am sure you are aware, the camera never captures the full color or intensity of what is being photographed but I thought these showed enough of the color to give you an idea of what I experienced. Being trained as a painter and loving color I am always amazed by the intensity of Mother Nature's palette. This was pretty spectacular!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Project: Rain Barrel

I have been wanting to get a rain barrel for my yard for quite a while now because I use a LOT of water on my plants and garden. For my indoor plants I keep a couple of 2.5 gallon plastic water containers in my kitchen. I usually go through at least one a week and I like to fill the containers and let them sit overnight to let the chlorine and flourine dissipate. I had heard that is healthier for the plants and seem to have good luck with it. I also knew that it would help cut down on my water bill and I had not only one good spot to put it but two. So with that in mind I started my search for the "perfect" barrel. Unfortunately, I ended up quite disappointed. I wanted not only a nice looking barrel but also a reasonably priced barrel. Most were $100 and up for a 50 to 55 gallon barrel and the ones that were under $100 were usually only 20 to 30 gallons. Of course, I wanted a bigger barrel. After much internet research I finally decided to make my own. YouTube has a bunch of how-to's on rain barrel making and I combined instructions from several to come up with my own. I did learn that it is better to have barrels made of food grade plastic so they don't leach chemicals into the water and that it is especially critical if you are using the water for a vegetable garden. Initally I had a hard time finding a used food grade barrel. All I could find were companies selling new food grade barrels and at $70 a pop I knew this wasn't going to save me much money. I had heard that you could get used food barrels for nothing or next to nothing but couldn't figure out where. Thanks to my husbands sleuthing abilities he found a local company that recycles these kinds of barrels and off we went to get my barrel. A couple of trips to the hardware store and to the home and garden center and I now have a rain barrel that cost me less than $40. Here are photos of the project...

tools and supplies: tin snips, silicone, hacksaw, drill, 1" circle cutter drill bit, screen, duct tape, spicket/faucet, o-rings, expandable water diverter
not shown: RotoZip and bit, pvc elbow joint, pvc threaded collar, 3 8"x 8" cement blocks, zip tie

recycled/ upcycled food grade barrel

Drill 1" hole, centered on the 2" mark.

Screw in 3/4" faucet with o-ring.

Seal faucet with silicone.

Cut hole in top of barrel for water to enter.

Make it bigger than your downspout so when it rains heavy it will go into the barrel and not splash out.

Drill 1" hole for over-flow and screw a threaded pvc collar with o-ring from the inside. Can add the optional elbow joint at this point if you want or not. (If you are going to chain more that one barrel together don't use the elbow.) Place a small piece of screen over the collar on the inside and secure with a zip tie so mosquitoes can't get into the barrel.
***NOTE*** If you get a closed lid barrel like I did (closed lid = attached lid), make sure you drill down far enough otherwise the plastic is too thick and you won't be able to add your over-flow spout. You can see where I had to drill two times before I was able to drill through on the third try.

Cut a piece of screen bigger than the hole and duct tape in place. If you have an open lid barrel (open lid = removable lid) then you can silicone the screen in place.

Add three 8"x 8" cement blocks to raise barrel off the ground.

Cut downspout, add water diverter and secure with strap.

One of the major problems that I had was with the closed lid. I wasn't able to put a collar on the faucet because I couldn't reach into the barrel that far. I also had trouble adding the overflow spout and screen for the same reasons. so next time I will get an open lid barrel to resolve these issues. Also there isn't enough water pressure to use a hose on the faucet. I'm not sure if it is just the length of hose of if that wouldn't matter. My guess is that it wouldn't matter.

Since I have made the barrel it has rained like crazy and other than the issues stated above, everything works great!

If you want to make one yourself I would suggest going to YouTube and doing a search for rain barrels. There are many different ways of making them and it just depends on your situation which way will work the best for you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New "I Bake Therefore I Run" Designs

It's hard to believe but it's already been a year since I designed the first set of "I bake therefore I run" designs and posted them here. There have been a few more that I've wanted create but haven't had time to work on them until now.

Here are the next two in the series:

Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookies

They are now available in my Cafe Press shop on t's, hoodies and tanks.

***NOTE***Google "Cafe Press promo codes", "Cafe Press discount code", "Cafe Press coupons", or other similar and you can find some good codes for discounts on shipping and products!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ahhhh Summer!!!

Summer is almost here!

I am enjoying the greenery, extra daylight, warm weather and fresh air.

It refreshes my soul...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Sneak Peek

Here is a peek at what I am doing in my spare time...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A New Do!

My hair is FINALLY long enough to donate! I am so happy! I really don't like my hair long so it has been a struggle at times while it has been growing out. It has taken almost 3 years to get enough length to donate but I did it. It is just over 11 inches. I got it cut yesterday by my cousin Sara who gave me a fab new do! I feel great! Thanks Sara!