Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Adventure Time!

Probably one of the sweetest animations I've seen in awhile...captures the spirit of a child (12 year old in this case) so very well.

Molly Ivins

Very sad news about her death today...she was a great writer- witty and truthful.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fairy girl in red for Illustration Friday

Just thought I'd do another illustration for fun on IF.


Inspired by "Ma Vie en Rose" ("My Life In Pink")

Stormy weather...

Well, actually snowy weather...snow is pouring down as I write this. It's a wet snow and I wish the flakes where bigger. But this will do. I have developed an appreciation for snow now that I have my yak tracks. I'm not afraid of the ice as much (though, very respectful of it) and feel like I can at least walk safely to and from my car.

We got back from the market just as the snow began to get a bit heavier. It was a long over due trip. I got something I swore I'd never get again...top ramen noodles. You know, the cheap kind that are 15 cents (wow!) and remind everyone of college days, poor days and such. But I really don't care. I got a 12 (or more) packer and let me just say, a warm cup of noodle soup (how ever high salt) is quite good on a day like this. I'll drink extra water...

I've figured out that making 5 plus trips from the car in snowy weather is not fun. I pulled out my trusty pull cart from my single days and loaded that baby up. It took only two trips. Thank goodness. A few things fell out along the way, but it's just snow and a soft landing.

In other news, my youngest has found the 3rd floor and has decided to make trips there without me knowing it. At least she likes to forage like me. As long as it's not loading up the bathroom sink and splashing water everywhere...or spilling soap all over the kitchen floor, etc,etc. Just part of the three year old scientists mind.

Well, I feel pleasantly recharged. I may have to scan a few pics of my favorite mag, Home Companion. Their Valentine stuff is in and so delightful. And mom, if you're reading this I will be sending you a subscription shortly. I really love this magazine. I don't get my self treats often but this is one of them.

Off to the grind...clean up after a day of cutting paper, kid rampage, and threads and such from me. Be safe, watch out for ice or just slow down when driving and take time to visit the arboretums. I still have to find a few around here...ah, memories of the LA Arboretum. love that place....

Yummm!!


Yummm!!, originally uploaded by emily999.

I baked Nan-i (Barbari) bread. It's a traditional Persian bread that is usually served with mint yogurt. I saw Julia Childs show on Saturday and her guests were making this. I knew I had to try it. Let's just say, the recipe I tried is very easy, fast, makes your house smell delicious and I'm planning to make more!


I have to get some plain yogurt, mint leaves, garlic and a dash of salt. Mix together and there is the dipping sauce to go with this delightful bread. Even my gals liked it!

I used this recipe (but I omitted the milk and used water)


Nan-e barbari (persian flat bread)
Categories: Breads Asian Middle east Yield: 1 servings
¼ cup Warm water
5 cup All-purpose flour
3 tablespoon Sugar
2 cup Warm water ¼ cup
Sesame seeds
1 pack Active dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoon
Salt 3 tablespoon (I reduced the salt to teaspoons)
Butter, melted
milk
Pour 1/4 cup warm water into a bowl.
Sprinkle yeast over water and stir until dissolved.
Place 5 cups flour in a large bowl. Make well in center.
Add yeast mixture, salt, sugar, butter or margarine and 2 cups of warm water.
Gradually stir flour into liquid mixture in well until dough is thoroughly mixed.
Dough will be sticky. Turn out onto a floured surface.
Knead, adding more flour if necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place in a large greased bowl. Turn dough to grease all sides.
Cover with a dry cloth towel. Let stand until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Punch down dough. Divide into 4 equal portions.
Shape each portion into a ball. Place on a floured surface and sprinkle with flour.
Cover with a dry cloth towel. Let rest 20 minutes.
Roll out each portion of dough to a 12 6 inch oval.
Place on ungreased baking sheets.
Use the side of your thumb to make ridges 1 inch apart lengthwise on each oval.
Brush with milk. Sprinkle each oval with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.
Let rest 15 minutes. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from baking sheets and cool on racks.
Serve warm or wrap cooled bread in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
(The ridges are typically Iranian). Makes 4 flat breads.
VARIATIONS: Armenian Peda Bread:
After making ridges in dough, press with fingers all
over surface of dough to make the traditional surface pattern.
Continue with recipe. Batons: Cut each oval into 12 1/2-inch strips.
Brush with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 12 batons. Bread Rings: Shape each ball into a log. Cut log into 4 equal pieces.
Roll each piece in a 7-inch rope. Shape into a ring, pinching ends to seal.
Place on baking sheets. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheets.

Baking Nan-e bread (Barbari)


Baking Nan-e bread (Barbari), originally uploaded by emily999.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Things that make me cry...

Mandela calls for Gandhi's non-violence approach

I hope this works and I hope this starts to take place in some of the most war torn places on this earth. I know I need to learn from this.

before the paint

westie quilt


westie quilt, originally uploaded by emily999.

New quilt of a sweet Westie!
Lots of new miniature paintings too!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Collage piece


because it's for the children, originally uploaded by emily999.

"...because it's for the children"

I'm sharing this piece for the topic "Red" for Illustration friday.

New at my cafepress shop


, originally uploaded by emily999.

New at my cafepress shop

Quote of the day

"Allow me to dream and I will fly"

-emily dimov-gottshall

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Valentine!


Valentine!, originally uploaded by emily999.

I have this one up at my cafepress shop too...http://www.cafepress.com/emilyinkstone

I think it came out rather cheerful! I'm thinking of doing more like this and incorporating some vintage material. I have another card of a guinea pig and it has a little block quilt my mom made in the back. Very sweet!

Weather wise, today was cold, windy and at times blizzard like. We stayed inside all day. Nice, though I feel a bit like I have cabin fever.

We baked our turkey from Thanksgiving finally. So, there is lots of turkey sandwiches in the future. The girls had fun waiting for this...Nelson was actually a good dog and the cats were extremely patient. Otherwise, quiet and slow day.

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I started some skirts for the gals and am tempted to make one for me. We'll see how that goes.

Otherwise, a quiet day. : )

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cafepress cards for Valentines...


Took a new twist on some Guinea pig work and created this new goodie:

You can get the cards here at my cafe shop!

sparks in the dark


Looked through some older works I did and thought I'd share this one. I like the feel of it.

I know it's silly but I'm a bit down as I missed another ATC swap for Valentine's day. I just feel bad, I guess. Plus, I had joined another swap and I wrote to my swap partner...but still haven't heard a thing. So, this is depressing too.

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I found a good thing out about small rugs. They make a difference in softening the room/warming it up. Glad I finally got two rugs washed. It's a pain as they were nearly ruined by Nelson but we gave them a good scrubbing in the basement and they dried out well. I have a carpet cleaning machine but nothing beats a good hand scrub.

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Sparklers to chase away the darkness....


Quote of the day:

"When God blesses a land, he gives it a wise prince who keeps peace; when God wants to punish and plague a land, he gives it a raging tyrant who, without reason, wants to settle everything with his fists."

-Anonymous from the 1500's

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

she heard the fairies call


she heard the fairies call, originally uploaded by emily999.

Clouds that pass

The sky is a gray blue and snow falls slowly, gently. It comes and goes between drips of a warm roof and the freezing of ice. A strange mixture of staying and going. I feel sad for a friend of mine. I wish disease would be cured. I wish this and yet it goes on no matter how much we wish.

I feel sad that people can so easily disappear. I'm not saying we should last forever or that we chould all make our mark. But I do feel like we need to remember people and their stories. Stories are the most important, I think. This sharing of experiences, things we learn from and help us carry on.

And I feel sad that another friend of mine is carrying so much in him. I hope he begins to see that some people can't do that; see. I learned that and keep relearning this. It's strange to realize some things are as unchangable as a mountain unless we destroy the whole mountain. Do we really want to do that? Or should we just climb the mountain and move on? The mountain will go away with time. What we do, only can do is to respond or not respond to the mountain.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ah, Los Angeles...blessed quiet in the roar of the city

I just read this story about the LA River possibly getting a Federal grant to create a wildlife refuge. I love this idea and it's just what makes Los Angeles so unique and beautiful. When I lived in LA on the border of Highland Park, I loved going for walks. Sure, there was always something to watch out for, gangs, fast cars, and some sick people but usually you were all right. And once you'd reach the concrete river, the rushing world seemed to fall away.

I'd ride my bike along the edge of the river...the smell of algae and plants growing was amazing. Sometimes it smelt stagnate and still I'd often see plants thriving in this strange and nearly forgotten place. At Cal State LA (where I got my art degree) I was part of the Creative Writing Club. Besides, poetry their focus was cleaning out the river every year and maintaining plants that are native to the area. I never went to a clean-up but I loved the feeling of saving/protecting this little bit of wild in a city where everything is bought and sold. I'd share poems I'd written, as well as others. It was a good feeling.

I hope the LA River gets the grant and people can make this place even more accessible to those who love it and use it for trails to walk or ride bikes. It's so important for a very urbanized area to have this; how very precious these quiet places are. Now that I'm blessed in PA with rails to trails, I'm even more grateful for what I experienced in Los Angeles.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Forgot to show...


a recent quilt I finished. Totoro inspired Guinea pig! 9 by 9 inches, art quilt

I'm cold.

My joints and body are achy from cold. I'm wearing my winter coat at the moment until I defrost or the tea is ready. However, my feelings of global warming feel a bit less stressed out as it feels like Winter! I definitely know global warming is there and I'm glad more people are aware of it. However, I'm also not going to stress out about it. I feel like there is a bit of return to balance though, I'm a bit stir crazy from being cooped up all day. Also, we forgot to go to UU.

In other news, I had the worse charley horse in my life last night. It ripped me out of my warm covers and felt like my leg was going to fall off. Awful! I think it's because I was wearing slipper, the kind you have to grip with your toes when you walk upstairs. Not good.

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We've watched the first season of Red Dwarf. At first, I thought this was going to be bad but after five minutes, I realized this was brillant! I love Red Dwarf. Talk about great writing/acting. The writing is excellent as it integrates economic class/labor/sci-fi/humor. It's very good.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Soon it will be Spring


Soon it will be Spring, originally uploaded by emily999.

Illustration friday : Super hero



for illustration friday's word of the week, Super hero. I actually did this painting last year around this time. I added some color via photoshop...I like how this one came out.

Friday, January 19, 2007

bits and pieces...

It's way past my bedtime (nearly 1 am!) and I just finished two more cards to send in (actually, I've finished a bit more than this...I work rather fast). Plus, I'm working on a new batch of ACEO's to put up on ebay and several other paintings. I need to get more watercolor paper and I plan on creating two (or more) abstract/flower painting...I love this new look and once I finish a smaller version of the one I gave away as a gift (and stupidly forgot to photograph), I'll share that.

I really need to go to sleep as I'm starting to feel light headed...not a good sign. It was snowing today and it seemed all I did was drive around. At one point I couldn't see any farther than 50 feet but fortunately, was only a few blocks away from home. I'm amazed I'm getting better at driving in this weather. The number 1 rule of driving in snow/ice is go the speed limit or 5 miles slower. Apparently, if you do this, you also increase your life expectancy. Interesting.

Today was a day I tutored as well and I took a longer route there. It was so beautiful with the sun hitting the snow. I didn't stop for photos but if tomorrow is a little like today, I'll drive up and grab a few shots.

One part of Winter that I like is the line of trees against the sky. Gray, blue, and purple branches seem to hold the light in their essence instead of leaves. I love this. I want to do a painting of this soon.

Sad news of a friend...her husband has cancer. My heart goes out to them and I hope recovery is quick. Even with this news, I'm so glad we have treatment and help. Still, it's very depressing.
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On a lesser note, had to take two rats to the vets. Jane has a scratch that the other rats were picking on and Fergi is getting over an eye discharge. Fortunately, it's a matter of separating Jane and Fergi is on the mend. I know Lydia was worried about the critters, so I'm glad to have this done. Our albino, Abby, seems to be going blind. I didn't realize albino animals have reduced eye sight...rats even more so. I wondered why Abby's eyes had a film of blue...cateract of some sort...poor dear. This probably explains why she's looking a bit rounder too. But she does sniff around and is quite alert. Amazing, really.

well, off to bed.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

To see the stars


To see the stars, originally uploaded by emily999.

I was going to submit this to some card companies but I'm guessing this might be too unusual. I think I'll make it a cafepress card for me shop, however. The colors are so rich and beautiful...they came out rather well...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More good news for PA

Universal health plan unveiled in PA. Hope this happens...

Chilling...

When I hear different reports from California such as the 1 billion dollars worth of damage to the crops grown there freezing nights...everything from oranges to flowers to avocados, I know it's global warming. When I hear that Australia has had it's worse drought ever and have to shear their sheep to the quick of their skin because of fly infestations, I know it's global warming. When I saw the pictures of people trying to escape from hurricanes at their most powerful, I know it's global warming. Lately, I've heard people say it's El Nino. But I'm starting to think "El Nino" combined with Global warming is absolutely frightening. Apparently, it's causing extremely dangerous curves in weather changes and I hope this will wake up the rest of the US and realize how this is going to effect them, effect our dollars and our future generations. And don't get me started on the Doomsday Clock! Good grief!

All in all, I think we're very lucky. Most people will be reading this and think, what? What's lucky about all this? Well, for one thing we have the knowledge of what's happening. We're not going around blindly not knowing what's happening. I'm grateful we have the ability to see the problem and know where to fix it. One thing we can do is recycle/reuse way more than we do. We can reduce by taking a day off driving and start carpooling. My husband does this. He drives a short distant to a car lot designed for this, meets his group and then doesn't have to drive the rest of the way to work (for 3 weeks). More of us can do this.

Recently, our trash pick-up made it easier for us to recycle and we've taken that up. It's a good feeling knowing we're doing this. We also compost and I'm going to do this even more. I wonder how much I can reduce my waste. Oh, and don't forget freecycle!

Besides all these things, remember to find out where your products are coming from. Does the company you're buying from make active steps to be part of the solution? Or are they stuck in a different time/mentality? This is something we need to be more proactive about. It's remembering that you have the dollar and can spend it where you want to. You make the choice and support the companies that either create positive change or would rather send people to war for oil and don't mind if they get kids addicted to cigarettes. Once such company that gives lots of ideas is called eartheasy.com I still have to check out a lot of what's there but so far it's got lots of good practical things to do. Yes, it's a change in mentality but as they say, if you want to keep your brain active and growing, the best way is to learn new information. Also, thanks to Bobbi for the link!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Beet soup...

Just made a simple beet soup or hot borscht. My version is cut beets into small pieces and boil in about four cups of water. After they have boiled about 15 minutes, scoop out two big spoonfuls of juice and beets into a bowl. Add salt, Mrs. Dash and cream. Eat! Very easy, fast and filling. Other recipes include more vegetables and the cold version is actually sweet! I may have to try this one too. But for now, on a cold night nothing beets hot soup. ;)

Cookies on my brain....and complaints

horses seen on one of our drives


I've been feeling like having cookies for the last few days but am not up to baking anything, yet. Oatmeal cookies sound esp. good. I think if I make them, I'll do one batch plain and the other with chocolate chips/raisins. I noticed A LOT of store brands (except for Nature's promise and maybe 1% more) have transfat in them. I was shocked. I also found out that all big named peanut butters have huge amounts of transfat. We've switched to the healthy brand that has to be mixed and refrigerated. Some people think there is no difference in the type of fat...but the real problem is that transfat is a preservative and is the kind that clogs arteries as well as is the hardest to exercise off. Moderation does not work with a manufactured fat that is used to give food good shelf life! That's pretty gross when you think about it. I feel icky knowing I probably consumed a heck of a lot of this junk over my life time. It's also pretty horrible that most inexpensive foods have this crap in them. If a person is trying to live on a budget, getting the cheaper food means that 99% of the time getting the stuff with transfat. It's no wonder a lot of people struggle with their weight...I'm one of them.

As I mentioned, I have been making our own cookies and I use the transfat free vegetable oil. I'm still amazed that so few cookie industries have changed their way in this regards. I know a few food chains are changing, like Wendy's but McDonald's still is stubbornly using transfat.

What I wish there was, was a fast-food place that did vegetarian or Middle Eastern type of foods. I would love this. I use a lot of garbanzo beans in our diet and that (from the can) is full of sodium. I'm not a health food junkie or anything but I don't like having swollen feet or not be able to climb steps...so I try to watch it. It just baffles me that there is so much backward thinking in companies.

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This is where I start complaining even more!....
I had a dentist appointment today for my eldest gal. Due to rain, we drove slowly and got there about 15 minutes late. I go to tell the secretary we are here and the first thing out of her mouth is, "Do you know what time it is? It's 3:25 pm. You're appointment was at 3pm. IF we didn't have a cancellation at 3:30pm, we wouldn't take you." All this was said loudly, in front of another client and with an air of "you are sh**". I was shocked. I've seen this "secretary" before, I've talked to her and now to get this attitude? I was ready to leave and go but I was stunned. And I knew Lydia was looking forward to her teeth appointment and I had Norrie ready to learn from seeing Lydia.

The odd thing is EVERYONE else is nice at this office. Even the other secretary is nice and considerate. This person is so unprofessional and just mean. I've heard her talk to other clients in a disrespectful way as well. I'm going to write a letter to the dentist and hope he gets the letter. I'm still amazed that this person is a secretary there. What a horrible attitude! I truly hope someone treats her just as she treated me today. I'm almost positive she attracts this sort of energy as she certainly didn't make me feel even human for arriving late. For goodness sakes! It's not like there was sun and blue skies! It was pouring! Geez!

When she asked if I have the same insurance and I mentioned we were switching (saying the new name) and then I remembered this wouldn't effect our dentist work, she icily said, "Well, we DON'T take that insurance..." I have no idea why she is acting like she's in charge of a battleship or a section of hell. I am even considering changing dentists because of her! The only reason I don't is because the dentist is so nice and friendly and very good. He should really get rid of that secretary and find someone professional and considerate (at the least).

Enough complaints...I won't even go into the driver that practically ran into us as we were going to the dentist. Let's just say, there are nutty people driving around in the rain at 45 mph in neighborhoods (plus, their windows were all fogged up...and they honked at me!). It's just one of those crazy days.

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Thankfully, tomorrow is Tuesday. I will be staying home (if it's rainy) and working with my 24 hour kids. We're going to try Kindergarten in the Fall. I'm not sure where, but we have a few options. Lydia is so ready, I can tell. She talks about friends, back packs, learning to read and write and all that good stuff. I'm very glad she's all right with this and that I'm here for her. Plus, I'm nervous as heck but that's to be expected.

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I'm starting to see change as a good thing in regards to cleaning up house. Sometimes change, at first, seems bad and overwhelming. But then, suddenly, it starts to become accepted and definitely for the best.




I wonder if we'll get the ice storm...I hope Jon can call tomorrow off and stay home. The storm sounds really, really bad. Be safe all in the Northeast and Midwest!

Tomatoes

I love this picture as it shows the green tomatoes with winter in the background

It may be the beginning of Winter but I have tomato plants! I actually saved these from my compost pile just before the first cold spell in Fall. I dug them up, gave them fresh compost/dirt and plopped them in our front window (our only Southern exposure) and waited. I wasn't sure if they'd take or grow, but it seems like they are staying! I'm amazed. I staked them up and slowly but surely little blooms appeared. Next, I made like a little bee and helped spread pollen and low, baby tomatoes!

I'm thrilled!! The tomatoes are small and still growing but I have them there. I'm hoping they continue to get bigger, but time will tell.

One thing about having a tomato plant growing in your window is the smell. I will touch the plant and instantly, wonderfully I'm in summer and I can feel the warm earth beneath my feet and the watering can in my hand. Lovely! The smell of tomato leaves lingers in the air and even Jon appreciates this small patch of Summer. He remarked that he felt like it will be summer soon enough and had similar feelings of warm days to come.

My girls have helped water the plants, admired the blooms and now like to point out the tomatoes as they grow bigger. I feel like a green house wouldn't be such a far fetched dream... maybe next year, I'll try an indoor Lemon Tree.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dreams...

I had a strange dream this morning. A little back info, my husband is/was a Civil War reenactor. He's selling a lot of his Civil war stuff (he's planning to go into the Revolutionary war stuff in the future) and it's been laying around. I guess I've thought about this on some level.

The dream starts off in this field of a park, filled with trees, ancient buildings and more open space. There is a group of people that are coming toward us(I guess it's my family, or me and a few people) and they look like something from WWII. They have all the propaganda, slogans for war and are dressed ready to fight. They are frightening and we try to run away from them. The people coming at us keep marching/running. Then more people come out and combat the people. They're from a different time too...like Civil war. I begin to realize it's a reenactment in my dream. It gets to be more and more fighting until everyone is crazed with this.

Suddenly there is a break as a new group comes out and they do not have any weapons. They are simply dressed and carry a huge piece of burlap. It's a sign and on the sign are the words:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

For some reason, this made a lot of people calm down and stop fighting. I guess I have this dream for what's happening right now in our world.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Icy

Today warmed up but with the weird patterns of freezing, ice was everywhere. I slipped and did a dramatic speed skater pose, and caught myself before landing on cement by jumping onto the frozen grass. Jon wasn't so lucky. He exited his car only to fall on his hip in the parking lot at work. Ouch! He's got a bruise on his butt and will be carrying his yak traks from now on. I'm going to be doing this too. I think all the warmer weather made us forget how cold it does get around here.

We just finished devouring the handmade pizza I made. The crust came out different this time...sort of flat and had a thin crust feel. Very good, actually. It's funny, I ran out of pasta sauce for the base of the pizza and had to use ketchup. I added some basil and Mrs. Dash and it came out rather well! Who knew...and probably a tad less salty.

I love adding spam to our pizza's. If I have a can of spam, on it goes. I like putting cheddar cheese (grated fresh), olives, and garlic. I forgot the garlic this time but it came out really good, anyway. I'm going to have to do this more often...I've been lacking creative kitchen feelings lately...

I'm feeling better after yesterday. I was so tuckered out, I think from Wednesday laundry mania. And lately, the gals have been bored or scared or I don't know what but end up in my bed, kicking me, etc. I've got to stop telling them scary stories. I must admit some of them are pretty good, however. I may have to write one up...just to see how it looks on paper. :)

I tutored today. Nice break in a hectic world. But boy, the road was slippy...talk about hair raising. But I made it there in one piece.

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Nelson, I thought, had only done one bad thing. But as it turns out he did two. For some unknown reason he tore up my netflex return envelop. He tore it right where the code is. Why did he do this? I do not know. It's not like it was covered in peanut butter or something. Then, when I came home today and after I just was telling everyone what a good dog he is, I find a trail of dog poo by the fireplace. I'm like, "Good God. What the he**!" All I could find was the window cleaner to clean it up, until I refilled the general spray bottle. I did all this, calmed down and forgot to put the window cleaner away. About a half hour later, the gals found it and sprayed all over the room, the table, TV, and their toys. Sigh...so I had to clean that up too. In cleaning up their mess, I found a barf spot (I'm guessing it's Nelson's) on a doll and had to clean that up too. Let me just say, it smelt horrible and I almost threw up. I'm starting to feel sorry for my self, again...I'd better stop and focus on good things. Good things such as: getting some walking in with the girls and we didn't find a bit of ice. It was a pretty annoying day but at least I got a pizza done and the house is sort of clean.

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I had a cute overload looking at some early pics I found of my gals.
Norrie about 1.5 yrs here

Looking back at these, I'm reminded how quickly time does fly. And how much I love my gals.
Lydia's second birthday


Funny how pics can do that to you...

Lydia about two years old





Nelson last year

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Finished a batch of chocolate cookies....

the house is a bit smoky as I found out Norrie put some paper in the oven and a stamp sponge. I had a mild panic attack as I thought I had burned something on the oven and was releasing harmful chemicals into the air. I aired out the kitchen/oven and proceeded with the cookies. I'm still nervous about that...

Kind of a tired day...back aches, feel a bit exhausted from yesterday. I must have done eight loads of laundry (cats/ leaky diapers/back log) and have gone up and down those steps a dozen times. I must admit I do feel stronger.

I'm trying to clean out the house but find it's impossible today. I feel so tired. I feel an urge to sweep everything into the trash and start fresh. Even my unfinished projects...yikes!I know what needs to be done...I need a few bins, shelves, and I'll be fine. Just frustrating right now.

It's already 3:45 pm and the sky is easing into sunsets. I really don't like this. I want light. I want Jon to come home before it's dark and not have to drive two hours on the road every freaking day even w/ carpools. I didn't sleep well as the girls kept me up and I had insomnia again. It's one of those annoying days.

I walked around the yard and saw the Walnut tree we planted last summer. The bark on the base is being gnawed by something. Strange.

I think I'll clean up the studio for an hour tonight. I feel a bit down/achy...wish I had some of the energy I had yesterday. The good news is I found out my nasal spray works really good! I've been stuffy for about 3 weeks and finally remembered to do this. What a difference!

I'm also frustrated about finishing this project I started for a gift. It's a pain and was meant to be a Christmas gift and is driving me nuts. I'm feeling guilty that it's so late and sad for myself...I'll feel better once this is finished and I can show it off. I know, I'm pathetic.

Sweets


Sweets, originally uploaded by emily999.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It is cold....

Well, we are finally having cold, winter weather. It's 18 degrees (Fahrenheit) and brrrr. Had a bit of snow, less than an inch and it's muy cold. We did a number of activities today as we had to keep moving or freeze. Just kidding...just felt good for once. I think the snow has dampened the dust or something so I've been less congested with allergies. Of course, I have a few handfuls of golden rod in the back of the car (my eldest kindly picked them for me)...and there they have stayed. I'll probably get them out and see if I can use them for some craft. We shall see.

Looks like the Senate passed the minimum wage raise! It's a start but just the beginning...esp. when one considers if minimum wage kept with the times, it should have been somewhere around $9. I wonder where businesses get the idea that if they pay their employees pennies, they'll somehow have good workers, good service or employees that care about their work? I've heard A LOT of people complain about customer service and usually these are at establishments that treat their workers like servants. Hmmm, I wonder if the servants will rebel? I think there really needs to be more of this, actually. Protests, walk-outs, etc.

One interesting fact about California...did you know that in California, most groceries are unionized? For some reason, in PA, this is unheard of. Certainly, there are a few manufacturing jobs with union but not very many. Why is it important to have unions? Well, unless you want to work for $5 or less, have no health benefits or any regulations about how many hours you can work or have your children at the ripe age of 8 start working, you want to have unions and laws.

It's funny, I've heard of people saying oh, how complicated our lives have become. How awful, how stressful...but really, I don't think it has been that stressful. I'm glad I don't have to scrub clothes all day with my hands, that I have access to the internet, that I can go to a doctors and get treated for an ear infection and I can drive there instead of walk in bitterly cold weather. These things are definitely good things. And yes, there is stresses everywhere but it's so much better to be informed and know what to do to create positive change and balance.

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Ha, the furnace just kicked on. I'm wearing a sweater, socks/shoes and I'm still cold. The furnace is set at 59...and yes, it's dern cold. I guess I like the Jimmy Carter mentality when it comes to using the furnace...though I do worry about Odie (our cockatiel). He's placed directly in front of a heating vent so, he should be all right, poor guy. Maybe I should get him a little heating pad or something...hmmm.

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On the painting front, I've added some cute Valentine's to my cafepress shop. Just a few bits...and otherwise, trying to organize the beast in the studio. Good God is that place hard to whip into shape. But it's progressing...as well as a mountain of work I'm doing. But it's all good, as my brothers would say.

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I've been enjoying a bunch of animation on youtube. I admit I've become a bit of a animation junky of late. Everything from early Betty Boop to Flight of the Dragons (excellent) and Bakshi stuff (slightly crude, ahem).

What I would love to see is the "Last Unicorn". This seems like a nice relaxing and pretty way to spend an evening. I hope it's family related...it certainly looks magical. But I'll have to wait until I find a copy somewhere.

Oh, and one last mention...if you haven't seen it, Pom Poko is fantastic. For me, it's a metaphor for how we must see Earth as our only home and band together to protect it. Oddly, we're protecting it from ourselves...

I did see the Fantastic Planet on youtube and this was esp. moving in light of the Iraq war. The attitude of the aliens is so errie...how we invaded Iraq and treated the people there like ignorant children. If you haven't seen Fantastic Planet, take a look at youtube.

Lots of interesting/good things in the news...

First of all, I couldn't believe it when I got the headline about Arnold, gov. of CA, proposing to insure all those who weren't insured with health insurance. I'm amazed. A republican saying this? Signs of the times, I think. Looks like California may have gotten a Teddy Roosevelt after all. ;)

Then, I hear the cry for National Healthcare. Why is this good? Well, if it's a NATIONAL healthcare system, that means businesses would not pay for it. I wonder if this would increase most minimum wage to a living wage and then extra money for whatever that business wanted. Would I support this? Heck yes. I think most people would and even be happy their taxes went to this rather than war!

Elections in the world have brought on more progressives and leaders truly with the people in mind. I feel like 2007 will be a different year and I hope, I hope it's something to write in the history books with pride.

Monday, January 08, 2007

space...

Since cleaning out most of the 3rd floor and trying to keep it maintained (with four cats, this is very hard to do) I've felt like I've gained an extra room. A little more tweaking/cleaning out and this space should feel comfy and ready to be painted. I've got so many walls that need to be painted, it's pathetic.

Rooms to be painted:
Lydia's room (still need to finish that)
Bathroom (shame on me...been two years since I started/stopped)
Basement (nearing completion)
3rd floor (half way done, than I stopped...got too cold up there).

After these rooms, I'll have to touch up and repaint a few other places as they are starting to look careworn too. Good grief. I did all of this, I'd have arms of steel. Good excuse to paint, I guess.

We're getting some cold air/wind...nothing like it's supposed to be. I've seen people going around in tee-shirts (!), sweatshirts, and of course there are people like me, insisting on wearing thier heaviest winter coats. At least today, I felt this was about right.

Sent in some cards to a card company. I've got my fingers crossed. And I'm sending in a few more tomorrow. I'm almost done with two more paintings for RPC and hopefully, these will be good enough. Also, I'm working on two bigger pieces with an abstract theme...more on that later. My "pond" piece is coming out better than expected and I had a flash when I raised it up on how to create the edging on the painting/collage. I'm going to build siding to look like a pond edge. It's hard to describe, but I'm working on it. So much to do but such good stuff to do.

I think the worse thing in life would be thinking there was nothing to do. I can't imagine this. I'd rather work...and better yet, work at what I love. It's a good feeling and one I hope everyone has a chance to feel/create.

I was reading the news the other day, and it stated something about toys helping to increase the IQ of children. Besides the obviousness of this statement (food would be 1000% better as well as a safe/loving environment), it was sad to realize that so many children don't have basic needs met. This is where we should be fighting and pumping money into. Want to end war? Feed the hungry and give them production/equal rights/living wages. This is what we should be doing but instead, we invest in wars, waste our time watching TV and use extra money for stuff we could live without. We really have so much.

There is this one fellow, I can't recall the name, but he tithed himself 10% of his wages to give to charity. That's all. Imagine if we all did this regardless of what we believed/didn't believe. What charties would you give to?

I know this probably sounds all preachy/soap box, but I guess I was long over due to standing on my little mount and shouting this out loud. It's funny how, when I'm worried about my own finances, there is always someone who is so much worse off then me.

Anyway, enough of that. It's a new year and good things are brewing.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Trashed Mowry marsh outlook


Trashed Mowry marsh outlook, originally uploaded by emily999.

mowry marsh trashed


mowry marsh trashed, originally uploaded by emily999.

what a terrible surprise to come to. We drove over to one of our favorite spots to view the change of the seasons only to discover some people had kicked out nearly all the pegs on the viewing deck! Very sad. It looks even worse in the above picture.

View of Mowry Marsh


marshwin07, originally uploaded by emily999.

View of Mowry Marsh


marshwin07, originally uploaded by emily999.

Illustration Friday: Buzz

A cutesy idea of love bugs buzzing...


Illustration Friday

The daring heart


The daring heart, originally uploaded by emily999.

New work on ebay!
http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQsassZnutkinsQ2dnest

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fizz


I'm having a productive day...taking a break now as I'm enjoying a late lunch and my limbs are all tired. Basically, I'm cleaning out the 3rd floor/aka my previous studio. Boy, it was/is dirty. Good God. Let's just say, I'm glad Jon got most of the stinky cat piles and now I'm dusting, vacuuming, throwing out, cleaning up,etc, etc.

Also, I had some good news about my art in the card world. I got contacted by Recycled Paper and am sending in a few things more. This is really exciting and I hope I can get one thing or two approved. For some reason, I started getting superstitious and wanted to keep it a surprise or I don't know what. I couldn't stand it any longer and have to blab it out. lol!

I'm fine tuning some work and will send it to a few other places as well and honestly, I feel like things are going to go well. I feel like I'm getting better at handling my work professionally. When I was younger (about 10 years ago), I would not be able to handle people saying something needs to be added/taken away from my work. Now, however, I've matured and made quite a few more paintings/art pieces since then. I think this is a big part of my maturity...creating more.

Oddly, two of the biggest developments, I feel, in making my work was selling on eBay and Lynda Barry. The first one because I dealt directly with the public. I know what is liked, what will work and what doesn't. I know there are certain venues and styles as well as subjects that interest people. It's very much like being a little company. You're responsible for EVERYTHING as well as ALL production.

The latter, Lynda Barry, inspired me to try Chinese ink. I worked solidly for about 2 years in black and white Chinese ink and later explored Chinese ink in four basic colors. I feel these several years made me sensitive to shadings, dark/light, and subtlety of color. I re-discovered watercolor about 2 years ago and felt like I had fallen into liquid rainbows. It's interesting to see the difference in my work from my earlier time.

Another aspect with eBay is, I challenged myself to meet certain goals. I would have 10- 20 new paintings per week to have up on eBay. I did this for three months intervals and then would take a week or two off. I sold quite a bit and was thrilled to see how much I could accomplish. In this time, I saw my style develop, ideas flourish and could experiment to a certain extent.

Trying new things and seeing what worked and what didn't in my work, has helped me gauge what I like doing as well as seeing what will attract buyers. I started a cafepress shop and this has been going well too.

The best thing about all of this is I could keep try to painting what I like best, animals. I find enjoyment in them to no end and am thrilled people seem to appreciate this in my work. I have a few new goals for this year professionally. I'm honing in on several card companies as mentioned before, creating several bigger works to submit to galleries and finishing illustrating a children's picture book. I'm excited for this new year and feel very blessed. I'm blessed for having a healthy family, good friends, quirky relatives and a home I can have the freedom to express myself in.

Friday, January 05, 2007

How I feel

about the recent events in Iraq.

Just read this article...

I'm with you Stallone!

I definitely believe we can solve problems without building more walls.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Spice orange delight


Spice orange delight, originally uploaded by emily999.

Spice oranges


Spice oranges, originally uploaded by emily999.

hello kitty cookies


hello kitty cookies, originally uploaded by emily999.

Late Christmas package from my sis found we had Hello Kitty Cookie cutters. We HAD to try them out, apparently and thus, gingerbread hello kitty cookies were born.

let's have a kiss!


let's have a kiss!, originally uploaded by emily999.

it's just a little mud, mom


it's just a little mud, mom, originally uploaded by emily999.

paper collage tufted titmouse in purple

I did this with cut paper...though after looking at some fresh photographs, I'm going to do one in blue. They are SO cute!! Plus, today I think I saw a nuthatch. Do they migrate for the South? I don't know...have to look them up.

Just looked them up...and it seems I saw one very similar to this one.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

new banner

Inspired by Joleen for the new year!

Carried away by the rain close-up

carried away by the rain


carried away by the rain, originally uploaded by emily999.

Early

Did my work out (yeah!) and scanned some work finished art work. However, I'm at a loss on several things. 1. How do you scan/photograph bigger pieces without losing quality/detail? 2. I'm annoyed that I can't just scan everything on my flatbed. 3. I do quite a bit of work on wood that has been primed, this makes for horrible scans, as I learned and I am feeling numb to photography because my camera is busted and won't do close-ups. It's been like this for six months or more. I've been point/shooting without too much worry/concern for detail until now. I guess I'll fiddle with some of the dials and see if I can get a clear shot w/out flash for some detail pics. Reason this is important, I'm sending off a few CD's to several card companies and want work to look at it's best. Is this hard? You bet.

Anyway, I feel good. Yesterday, we dusted and cleaned off computer table which was starting to look shabby (in a bad way) and the dining room is starting to look kind of good and light. The basement/studio is looking too messy at the moment. We also started painting the last drab wall down there. The girls helped! They're so good and sweet. I wish I had taken their pics...so cute! We had fun and the wall is looking 100% better. I admit it was sort of freaking me out having that dungeon look. Good riddance! Only one more wall facing the outside and under the steps...this will be a biggie job but now I know bit by bit we can get it done. Jon is having thoughts of a second bathroom down there...we shall see.

I saw the moon this morning and it is magnificent! Oh, talk about beautiful!! It's funny how when you look at the movies or photographs and you're breath is taken away. But when you see something in real life for your self, wow. How much more meaningful. I'm in good spirits as the sky is blue, the sun is bright and though there is frost on the yellow grass, everything looks so fresh and alive.

One thing I've learned about living in the East and seeing the difference between having lots of sunlight and little to nothing, I'm sensitive to light. I definitely have to make sure to have some light. In Southern California, all you'd have to do is open a curtain or shade and there would be sunlight streaming in all day long. Here, you have to grab the sunlight when you can. I live around a lot of houses and they block a good majority of natural light. If I could, I'd put reflectors all around the house to "catch" light and draw it in. I know that sounds strange but it's just very dark around here.

I remember reading about these light tubes. You place them on your roof and they funnel light through your ceiling, etc. There are better ways now...something to do with fiber optics, I believe. I really love this idea and would have this all through my house. Not only does it save energy but it's actual sunlight! Anyway, until then I'm researching little lamps that aid in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

rice krispies, yum


rice krispies, yum, originally uploaded by emily999.

Sociable

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