Friday, November 5, 2010

Every Vote Helps Decide the Winner!

Please help Southeast Community Weed & Seed Project win a $25,000 grant from Pepsi! Vote for us every day at! The money will be used to begin a program to teach soon-to-be-released offenders sheetrocking and woodframing skills so that they have a trade. This will increase their ability to get a job when they are released. This project is a partnership between volunteer carpenters, the Newport News Sheriff's Office and Weed & Seed.

Please vote every day!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Made My Reading Goal for the Year!

I just finished reading my 75th book this year, which was my goal for 2010. Yay! Most of what I read was good, some was bad, some was just boring. I joined in January to help keep track of what I read, what books are on my wishlist and get suggestions and feedback from other readers. I've made some online friends there and enjoy the LT community. I broadened my horizons and read books that didn't fall within my normal interests. Read a few classics like I try to do every year. 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was my 75th book, and it was sooo good! It is a composite of several familiar stories: The LotteryThe Running Man and others. However, Suzanne Collins' story blends them all in a way that sucks you in and doesn't let go till the book is over. I love the fact that Katniss Everdeen is a strong female lead who doesn't compromise herself, even in the midst of the "love story." I especially like this in a YA novel. I'm so ready for the next books in the trilogy!

Here's the premise: A postapocalyptic United States, called Panem, is divided into 12 districts. Every year, each district must supply 1 girl and 1 boy between the ages of 12 & 18 as tributes to the Hunger Games. In the Games, the youth are placed in an arena and must fight to the death. The Games are televised live and everyone is required to watch. The location and climate of the arena is different every year - a forest, the mountains, a desert (which didn't work out so well for ratings that year because the tributes were freezing and dying of hunger instead of fighting). Despite how horrible and dismal this sounds, the book really is an awesome story of survival and humanity, and a commentary on big brother, mindless reality TV and a community's responsibility to its residents.

Thank goodness for audio books. With my life as busy as it is right now, I don't have time to read traditional books. However, I can listen while I'm in the car or working on art or doing something else with my hands. CDs and Playaways are the best! Check out my widget on the side with books from my LibraryThing!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tangled Backpacks

My goddaughter and nephews love for me to draw designs on their things. I tangled my goddaughter's notebook and pencil case for school, but I'll post pictures of those later. They now have personalized cinch backpacks for swimming and karate so they can tell them apart. No fighting over who has who's pack any more! :)

Beanie wanted me to make her bag for her gym clothes different from everyone else's. Can you believe middle schoolers have to pay $20 for a gym uniform? When I was in school, you wore what you had at home! Anyway, here is one more cinch pack with tangles on both sides. She asked for all black. I guess that's  in case too many colors are not cool. :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Latest Mug

My aunt Audrey requested geometric patterns in a dark color on a large mug. This is what I came up with.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Painting and Zentangles

Starving Artist Studio is one of my favorite places. The owners and staff are down-to-earth and so friendly. The place is surrounded by art - paintings, jewelry, lighted bottles, and of course painted bisque. I've been doing zentangles on the mugs I decorate for family members' birthdays. 

My cousin Esha loves Mickey Mouse, but I didn't want to just paint a traditional red, yellow and black Mickey, so I made this one:

I love how it turned out!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mixed Media

I took a mixed media class at the Art & Soul conference at the Hampton Convention Center this spring. I've done a little mixed media, but not with paint. I had a ball getting my hands dirty and being pushed to try new things. Working quickly was hard for me. I'm used to taking my time to select just the right pieces, not just grabbing what feels right or what will work right away and using it. The class also forced me to do more layering than I'm used to.

This is an altered book. I thought we were going to use pieces of the book, so I chose a book by Bishop Desmond Tutu, Believe: The Words and Inspiration of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, because I liked the feel of the paper and the messages in the book. However, you can't tell what it was now. :) It was a small book, so I had to rip out a page and tape it to another so that I had a large enough canvas to work on.

It was difficult to make something that looked decent (we had to work quickly so decent was the best I could do in such a short time frame) and then be asked to tear it up with scissors or paint over a magazine picture you chose because it had some meaning. However, I liked what I ended up with. I haven't finished this second one, yet. I know, I know...I started it in the spring and haven't finished...but I will! I'm still in awe that I was able to do this in just a few minutes (not counting the time it took to wrap the pages in masking tape).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Zentangles are so relaxing

As much as I love my beads, I have abandoned them for the last few months for zentangle. *said in a whisper because I don't want my beads to hear.* For one thing, you can't really mess up a zentangle. You don't know what it's going to look like when you start, so you don't have the pressure of trying to get it right. For two things, you start with a 3 x 3 inch square, a manageable size, so you can finish one in a reasonable amount of time. I do them at lunch sometimes or at night to unwind. It's easy to get your mind off things that bother you when you're drawing something simple, but cool. I'm surprised some of these photos came out okay because at least two of them were taken with a cell phone.

This is my first official zentangle that I did in class, using an image transfer.

 These are tangles from my notebook that I work in at least 3 or 4 times a week, if not every day.

I love round images, so I do a lot of circles.

 If you've seen my past blogs, you know I like mandalas. Now I have zentangle mandalas as well.
Technically a zentangle is black and white. However, I love my sepia pigma pen, and I just bought some other colors as well. In class, I was told that designs in colors besides black would be considered zentangle inspired designs. However, I don't think it's that serious.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Catching Up

I haven't posted in months and to anybody who reads/used to read my blog, I apologize. I've been creating art, but I just haven't been sharing. As a matter of fact, I'm headed to a local art gallery in a few minutes to deliver a self-portrait that is going up as part of an exhibit.

I like the black and white version better, but the gallery asked for the color version. This is my first time working on canvass and I like the finished pieces.

I took a Zentangle class at the Art & Soul show in March or April (I can't remember which), and I've been tangling ever since! I've worked on one almost every day. I'll post some later. Nothing is safe from my oil pens, Sharpies or pigment pens these days - t-shirts, backpacks, notebooks, the cases where I keep my art supplies. 

I haven't beaded in a while, but I plan to get back on track with the BJP. I refuse to start and not finish two years in a row. 

I took a mixed media class at the Art & Soul show as well, so I've been working on several mixed media pieces. And I am still painting at least once a month at the Starving Artist Studio. I'm combining what I've learned in several projects - using mixed media on a mug that I painted, painting zentangles on pottery. Since I work so much, I ecstatic that I am actually making time to do some art.

Take care!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Locked in Frustration!

So I was expecting March to be so much less hectic and stressful than February since the grant I administer closed on Feb. 28th. Silly me! I only had to oversee the final programs, write final reports and close out all the finances. In addition, I'm seeking other funding sources to keep the coalition moving while recruiting new partners. 

Although many of the partners are helpful, nobody knows the ins and outs of the partnership the way I do. That's partly my fault for letting people slide without being able to speak about the group the way they should. That left me with another overwhelming, chaotic, rushed month. I'm excited and hopeful about the future of the community because of the way things are going, but I cannot continue to be the only one responsible for keeping it together. 

I need a personal life that's not squeezed into the few minutes I have between sleep and a 60-hour work week. However, did manage to go out a few times, and I completed the March BJP during the month of March! I was worried that I would get off track early in the year like I did last year. All the chaos of my month must have sparked some creativity as well. Trying to express what I feel couldn't be done with beads alone, so I ended up with embellishments and writing on my piece, too. I liked the process and the end result.

This is definitely more complicated and not as "safe" as the first two. Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Trav'lin' Light

This has been one hectic month! I mentioned before about all the traveling I'm doing for work. I still have one more conference next week. And being in Baltimore with all of the snow was interesting. I've never seen that much snow! Even when it wasn't actually snowing, the wind blew the top layer so hard that it was like getting your face sandblasted! Needless to say, the conference goers were pretty much snowed into the hotel when workshops weren't going on. However, Gaylord National is huge with several restaurants and things to do, so we weren't bored. 

I managed to pack everything into two carry-on bags like I wanted so I was trav'lin' light!

In addition to traveling, the grant that I administer ends this month, so I am in charge of encumbering all funds by the 26th that we plan to expend. The local government is the fiscal agent, so there is all kinds of red tape in order to make it happen, plus all the documentation. STRESS! But I'm still making time to be creative.

Even though I like my February BJP, it feels too safe. I'm on the edge of a creative epiphany, but I don't know what it will take to push me over. Maybe when I can slow down at work next month, it will hit me.

I am so glad I chose a smaller canvas this time around!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February Theme

After all the snow this past weekend and the snow that's predicted for this weekend, I am soooo ready for spring. I like cool weather, but I'm more of a Fall or Spring girl. Winter is not my thing. So this month's theme is partly about being ready for next season...

I'm attending 3 conferences over the next few weeks - two next week and one the last week of the month. Who goes to two conferences in one week? I hate checking luggage, so I have to pack enough into the carry-on so that I have what I need, but I don't go over the weight limit. And I need a big enough "purse" to carry all my other stuff. So I guess I'll be travelin' light!

Unlocking My Creativity

I've been collecting keys for no reason for the last year or so. When I change a lock or get a new "art" key, I keep the old ones in my scrap craft drawer. I've kept other people's keys when they were going to get rid of them. At work, there was a whole box of leftover keys from doors, cars, bikes and other things and I went through them to find odd shaped or odd sized keys and put them in my collection as well!

Well, I have found a use for them. They are the basis for my theme for the year: unlocking my creativity. Each month I will have a theme that deals with "the key" to some lesson I'm learning or "unlocking" something I need to let go of and I'm going to use at least one of the keys I've been racking up.

January's theme is the same as the overall year: unlocking my creativity and I used a master key. 

Last year I chose the size of a cd. It ended up being too much and I didn't finish. I decided I like the circle shape, but this year they are just under 4 inches across. I think I can handle that! I like to use a lot of seed beads, so I need to go smaller if this is going to be fun and not just one more thing on my "to do" list.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Craft Hope for Haiti

Want to help but feeling helpless? What can a lone crafter do to help alleviate the suffering? Check out or crafthopeforhaiti where you can donate your crafts which can be sold for donations to Doctors without Borders.

January BJP

I finished my January BJP piece this weekend. I'm not sure if we're allowed to post pics, yet, so I'll wait for the rules. I can't remember if we shouldn't post at all or shouldn't post to the main blogs for the first three months. Anyway, I'm just so happy with the way it turned out and I can't wait to start on February!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Homemade DVD Cabinet

I've been wanting a dvd cabinet for a while, but store bought ones are so expensive! And none of them was the right size for me or the right shape or color, so what does a creative person do? Build their own! I drew what I wanted and my uncle helped me decide on the materials and my brother helped me put it together. I love it!

It's not complete, yet, because I plan to paint dragonflies and paisleys on it. I have dragonfly "things" in my living room already and I painted the hallway light switch plates with paisleys. So this will tie everything in together. The colors fits my living room since I have red and blue furniture and an asparagus green on the accent wall.

Please ignore the junk underneath...more craft stuff and my kettlebell. :)

Throat Chakra

The blue chakra is at the throat, which makes me think of a tube or vertical lines, so I'm creating blue stripes inside the mandala. I've just started so I only have 4 shades of blue incorporated so far.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Heart Chakra Complete!

Finished the green heart chakra tonight! I like it if I do say so myself. Only three left - blue, indigo and violet. 

Can't wait to get started on the BJP! I actually have ideas already. I plan to test some out this weekend so I can make up my mind.