Sunday, January 30, 2011

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge

Broken Pieces
I found out after I came up with this challenge last week
that I have far less broken items than I thought I did.
Though I'm a saver of things I might need someday,
apparently I only save what's still in one piece!

I have been saving this broken plate for years though
because it was far too pretty to throw away.
It was sent to me (unbroken!) by my aunt
along with 3 others, wrapped in a quilt.
Either she didn't write me a note to
say the plates were in the quilt, or I neglected to read it,
and the plates came crashing out on the floor.
Three of them shattered on the spot.
I guess I'm lucky one is still intact.

Anyway, I finally found a use for the pieces.
This is my brokenhearted princess, surrounded by 
cold stone, snow, and with darkness descending.
But there is hope for the future in the tiny red roses
still blooming among the stones.
Plus, with a red camellia in her hair, how could
she be completely brokenhearted!

I've been so amazed by the beautiful,
creative entries this week at Inspiration Avenue.
Stop over and check them out.
They will all be posted Sunday afternoon,
as soon as I finish this post here and pop on over there.
Thanks for looking!  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pittsburgh's Going to the Super Bowl!

Travels of the Terrible Towel
In case you are wondering what the splashy yellow dish towel at the top of my sidebar is, let me elaborate. Anyone from Pittsburgh would recognize it in an instant, and maybe even fans of other football teams besides the Steelers would know it's Myron Cope's Terrible Towel.

First let me tell you about Myron Cope.  Cope was an American sportscaster and journalist who is best known as “the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers”.  According to Wikipedia, “Cope was a color commentator for the Steelers’ radio broadcasts for 35 years. With his distinctive, nasally voice and an identifiable Pittsburgh accent...he celebrated a level of excitement rarely exhibited in the broadcast booth.”

He is much beloved by Pittsburghers, who mourned his death in 2008. In 1987, he was named by the Hearst Corporation as a noted literary achiever, along with Mark Twain, Jack London, Frederic Remington, Walter Winchell, and Sidney Sheldon. At its 50th Anniversary, Sports Illustrated selected Cope’s profile of Howard Cosell as one of the 50 best written works ever published in the magazine.

So what's with the Terrible Towel?
Before a playoff game in 1975, Myron was looking for something to excite the fans. In his own words:
“I said, what we need is something that everybody already has, so it doesn't cost a dime. So I says, ‘We'll urge people to bring out to the game gold or black towels,’ then I’ll tell people if you don't have a yellow, black or gold towel, buy one. And if you don't want to buy one, dye one. We'll call this the Terrible Towel.”
And so the Terrible Towel was born. 
It became possibly the best-known fan symbol 
of any major pro sports team.

In 1996, Cope gave the rights to The Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. The school provides care for more than 900 people with mental retardation and physical disabilities, including Cope's autistic son. Proceeds from the Terrible Towel have helped raise $3 million for the school.

When the Steelers won the playoff game against the Jets on Sunday night, thus advancing to the Super Bowl, plenty of people give credit to the thousands of fans in the stadium waving their Terrible Towels. 

And it didn't hurt that January 23, the day the game was played,
was Myron's birthday.

Alright, on to the travels of the Terrible Towel.
Steelers fans are everywhere.

See you in Dallas!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge

Waiting for June

Another fun challenge over at Inspiration Avenue,
this time brought to us by Judy.

What month is your favorite above all others?

I had to think a bit about this which is why I am late.
In fact, this piece is not finished but I'm hoping I can
squeeze it in under the wire and work on it some more later.
It's a spread in a board book I am working on.
I scanned it rather than photographing it to save time, 
and it doesn't fit completely in the scanner.
Ugh, I am such a dweeb.

is clearly my favorite month 
now that I have given it some thought.
I can not find anything wrong with June, at all!
It's a wonderful time in the garden dreaming about 
all the delicious things you have planted.
Savoring the flowers, which you know will look
even better in July. Listening to the bees
busily buzzing around, doing their work.

May is my birthday month, but I arrived a bit
early (last time I've been early for anything ha)
and I was meant to be born in June.
Meant to be a Gemini rather than a Taurus.
But as it is, Gemini is my rising sign.

May is sometimes lovely, but I remember
so many Mother's Days when the weather 
has been trying to go right back to winter.
In June, the cold weather is pretty much over.
So, June comes out on top as my
favorite month of all time.

Update on January 24:
I forgot to mention something about June.
It's really my absolute favorite thing about it...
my mind must have been weighted down
under the January darkness to have forgotten it:
all of that wonderful daylight during the
longest days of the year! Divine!

What's your favorite month?
Visit Inspiration Avenue to see
lots of other favorite months!
It promises to be intriguing!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What's New on Etsy

What I've Been Doing Lately
It seems I've spent more time since the new year filling
up my Etsy shop than working on my art.

I thought I'd post some of my new digital sheets
and then get busy with some painting or mixed media project.
At least I hope to...maybe if I clear off my art table
so I can at least see the top I'll be more inspired.
Hmmm. Maybe my muse is asleep under there.
I shall go look.

In the mean time...
Here are some new sheets available in my shop:
You can see them HERE.

Have a cozy weekend!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge

Coming Up for Air and Inspiration
This week over at Inspiration Avenue, the question is:  
What inspires you? brought to us by Shelly of Pics by Shel. A very tricky question indeed, since I have been "under the weather" this week both literally and figuratively and haven't been too inspired at all.

Above is the view from my third floor window...
early morning, snowy, serene, looking over the rooftops of our little town.  Just on the other side of those trees is the mall and the hustle and bustle of Route 30. But it's much more inspiring to add a little photoshop filter and imagine it's an impressionistic painting by one of my favorite artists...maybe's a little too serene for Van Gogh.

While I've been sniffling, moaning and sneezing inside the house all week, this is what's been going on outside:
I'm surprised I'm even showing you this, I was a very bad gardener and forgot to clean up my pots for the winter. I do like the way the garden light has grown a mushroom cap!

Inside, is quite a contrast. Being sick with a nasty cold is the perfect excuse to accomplish very little besides reading books. I've become addicted to Philippa Gregory's books. Luckily, she's written many of them! No chance of running out soon!
Here is my cohort Oliver, who likes neither coffee nor books, but never passes up a chance to sit in a basket. In fact, he's been very uncomplimentary about my choice of reading material.

"*sniff* yes I read that...I was not impressed. Her historical facts are inaccurate. Tsk tsk," he said.

Well, who cares about being accurate, I say. It's a rollicking good story! If you want accuracy, go read a history book! (And even then, good luck getting the true story.)

So, I'll stay immersed in Tudor England for a while longer. I'm actually feeling a bit better but I'm practicing my sniffles and sneezes in order to stay under the covers a little longer.

If you like historical novels, here are a few others I've read, and they kept me thoroughly engrossed.
The Other Boleyn Girl, the story of Mary Boleyn, Anne's sister; The Red Queen, the story of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII; The Constant Princess, the story of Katherine of Aragon; and The White Queen, (from her series The Cousins' War about the Wars of the Roses) the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the mother of Queen Elizabeth who was married to Henry VII.

I cannot remember whether book titles are to be boldface, underlined, or italic, something that concerned me in my graphic design days, but which I am happily uncaring of now, heehee. So if I got it wrong, sorry! If you let me know, I'll fix it...see, I do still care!

Take a moment to visit Inspiration Avenue here to see the entries in the challenge for this week. Take a peek at what inspires creative people! You still have time to enter your own "inspiration" for this week ~ and you'll be entered in the monthly drawing as a bonus incentive!

Ta ta for now...I'm only about half through The Constant Princess, so must get back to it :)


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Inspiration Avenue Weekly Challenge

A Midsummer Day’s Dream
The challenge this week at Inspiration Avenue

Do You Dream in Color?

I know I must, but I rarely remember what I dream.

So, coupled with the view outside my window
which practically has no color,
and my longing for the lazy warm days of summer,
I chose green to depict a summer's daydream.

I would never say green is my favorite color,
maybe because there are so many different hues of green
that one can't possibly like all of them.
But green may be the one color I could never do without...
I can't imagine life without green.

I had some fun in Photoshop with this picture
of my backyard in summer.
Wouldn't I love to be daydreaming about fairies
hiding in the blackeyed susans while listening
to the trickle of the little fountain?
Ah, well, maybe in 4 or 5 months...

Thanks to Stephanie of Dragonfly Design Studios
for this colorful challenge!
Visit Inspiration Avenue to see all of the entries.

Gotta run, because as usual I'm late!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Simplicity and Chaos

Simplify, Simplify
Even though I loved all the flitting merry
Christmas birds, I thought it was time to
neaten things up a bit so I've changed my
background once again.

Truth be told, I was ready to tear my hair out
trying to read what was on my blog roll
as it scrolled over all the pine boughs and holly.

I don't know how long I'll keep this streamlined look ~
I'll probably be longing for some chaos soon...

Speaking of Chaos...
There's a charming Mexican restaurant in Capistrano Beach
called Olamendi's. It's right next door to where we stayed.
Convenient to go there even when it was raining
like the day Noah launched the ark. 

The food is good, but there is much good Mexican food
in Southern California. The interior of the restaurant itself
is a feast for the eyes! There is stuff hanging around that they
have most likely been collecting since it opened in 1973.
Just a little hole-in-the-wall place that hasn't changed in years.
Along with the odd day-of-the-dead skelly are pictures 
of celebrities. I didn't have a chance to examine them closely,
but Richard Nixon figures prominently in the line up, since he
had a home down the road in San Clemente. 
Presumably he was a patron. I'll just say
I won't hold it against them.
Truly the pictures don't do justice to the color
that is in this restaurant. All four walls plus the ceiling
are covered in the most delicious eye candy!

And More Chaos...
The last time I went to Mexico, I vowed I would not go again.
It's not like it used to be and it just seems a little dangerous.

But, as often happens, not everyone shared my views
and it was either let hubby and son go off without me,
or join in the "fun". We only went as far as
Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana.
Tourist-y. Dirty. Dusty. Smoky. Where the proprieters
of the shops accost you in the street to come in and buy
their wares. All claiming to have the best prices.
Some of the shops are charming...
Jesse had to snap a pic of the poor little Mexican
donkeys dressed up like zebras. 
There is one on every street corner.
I told him the "zebra's" owner may not like him taking the photo,
since the purpose is to sell a picture to a tourista sitting
astride the little animal. But he snapped this photo from
across the street without being noticed.

And Simply Uncalled For...
In the end, I decided the danger in going to Mexico
might lie in getting back across the border 
 and not in Mexico itself. I do believe the 
US border patrol agents are a little stressed out lately. 
As we waited in line to go back into the US,
 the agent in our line put up a gate and walked away 
without a word. No explanation. No comment.
Of course we were all wondering if he was coming back, 
if he just decided to go home, or what.

A guy behind us made a somewhat rude observation. 
The guy (just a punk kid, really) started to get off the line 
and walk up to the agent's station, complaining.
Phew, in no time there were six big, armed, angry
border patrol agents on top of him.
They had him handcuffed and dragged into a
separate room where we could hear a lot
of altercation going on.
Believe me, when the guard walked up to our line 
and asked if anyone else had a problem,
we all lied and said No.

Now, I believe most of the people on that line were US citizens.
Or had the correct paperwork to enter the United States.
Yet we all felt as if we were suspected of being criminals.
 The agents working there seemed to be just a teeny bit tense.
Is it because of the drug cartels that have been
causing trouble along the borders?
Is it because of terrorism? Maybe a little of both.
But, geez, talk about stress on the job...


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Weekly Challenge ~ Inspiration Avenue

Do What You Love
The challenge this week at Inspiration Avenue
is to think about what you have accomplished in 2010
and what you hope to do in 2011 ~ to imagine
what you may be looking back on
as you write a blog post one year from now
on December 31, 2011.

Oh, too hard, I thought.
I'll use the excuse of being far too busy
with the holidays, settling in from a 10-day trip,
yada yada yada. Just not enough time!

But of course it comes down to the wire
and I realize I can't miss the opportunity
to get myself some goals for the new year.
If not now, then when will I do it? 
Never, naturally!

So thank you Linda of Becklee Cottage Designs!
It's the perfect challenge at just the right time!

I'm going to try to make this short.
Even though I can't see you, I don't want to
imagine anyone's eyes rolling back in one's head
and forehead hitting the desk as you pass out  
from excruciating boredom. Ha.

In 2010, I am so happy that I:

Began to take some art classes, namely Suzi Blu's
and the lovely and generous Tam's of Willowing.
Suzi is responsible for helping me discover that
my long-ago love of creating art is still alive.
That it's OK to do what you love. 

Continued sharing with all my wonderful
friends at Inspiration Avenue.
Actually, before I discovered that I love taking
online art classes, you all were the "inspiration"
that prompted me to return to making art in the first place!
From Tam's Art, Heart and Healing class

Even though this isn't a complete look at 2010,
I'm going to move on to 2011:

I have been selling digital images in my Etsy shop
for nearly 2 years, and although it's not
making me rich, it's gratifying
to know that people enjoy them and
are using them to create their own artwork.
But this year, I am hoping to begin
selling my own art 
What I have to figure out
is exactly how to do that. Will it be online,
or somehow in "person", a brick and mortar shop,
craft shows, hmmm...I'd love to hear opinions
on the way my readers sell their art! 
It seems it's very hard to sell art on Etsy...

I will be taking more classes in 2011.

I'm going to try to enter more
No excuses, there are so many intriguing
ones out there, and they are great
for kick-starting one's creativity! 

I have a difficult time working in a sketchbook,
so I'm going to try harder with that.
All that blank paper!! 
I always want to go right to paint and canvas,
never mind sketching. But a 
can be a work of art in itself .
 There is a great new challenge,
that I may give a go. There is a theme
every month, go check it out!

Did I say this would be short? 
My apologies, if you are still here.

All of these goals have to do with my art.
I won't list my other resolutions here, 
although I do have a few more.
Except for a last one, very important!
It has to do with
starting and finishing

Me, dithering

I dither around, thinking too much
and I only start half of what I want to do.
Then I only finish half of what I started.
I'm no math wizard, but I think that comes out to 
completing just a quarter of my ideas! Bleh.
So, perhaps this will be the hardest
challenge of all, but I will work on it!

Visit Inspiration Avenue today (and everyday :)
to see the inspired entries in the weekly challenges.
Join us, if you don't already, with your own entry.
Rules are on the IA sidebar (Very few rules, I promise) 

Happy New Year everyone!