Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things that make me smile: #24

#24:  The sight of a Buc-ee's on a long road trip

I know it may sound strange to love a gas station. 
But I just can't help it!  They have the best restrooms you'll ever find on a road trip and they have
"Everything you ever needed.  You just didn't know it." 

I love Buc-ee's!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Things that make me smile: #25

#25:  Discovering a new artist

I love visiting museums and discovering
the works of artists I am unfamiliar with. 
Last week I saw this painting: 
Tree by Mark Tansey

I love it and as soon as I had the chance I hit
 the internet to discover more about the artist,
including what inspires his painting .  
Learning about art makes me smile!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things that make me smile: #26

#26:  Spending time at museums with people I love
I love spending time with my daughters.  And it's even for fun when we do it in museums.  Here are a couple of shots from our latest visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston that really make me smile:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things that make me smile: #27

#27:  Random Outdoor Art

We saw these statues in a field in San Antonio, TX. 
I love the combination of metal and hay. 

If I ever own a hayfield, I'm making some of these!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Things that make me smile: #28

#28:  Finding cool products in stores that I can make myself.

While at the MFAH with my girls last week
I saw these* in the gift shop:

Bowls and Frames made of recycled magazines
They were so cool and immediately brought a smile to my face because I thought, "I can make that". 

So I came home and googled it, and guess what?  There were TUTORIALS online.  Yea! 

Can't wait to make some!

* I may have broken some gift shop rules by taking the above pictures.  This was done without any help or approval from my 19 year old daughter who refused to
be an accomplice to me blatantly ignoring the request which was made earlier that
I not photograph the store's products.  (So much for honor your mother!) 

I really am sorry Ms. Museum Gift Shop Worker.
I tried, but I could not help myself.
I promise to try to do better in the future.  
Please don't ban me from your store!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Things that make me smile: #29

#29:  Big Papier-Mâché Heads

My nephew is serving a two year mission for our church in Mexico.  This is a picture he recently sent home that really made me smile.  I would love to try to make one of these! 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

End of Summer Count Down: 30 Things That Make Me Smile

I can't believe how fast summer is flying by.  Since I want to really enjoy what little time I have left with my family, I've decided to just post snippets of things that have made me smile this year.  30 days left of summer, so #30 is:
Mr. Cat
 I saw this cat in a tack shop in Tomball, Texas.   He was sitting on some saddle blankets and was not amused by me taking his picture.  He is fat and sassy, and I love his face.  I want to use him to illustrate a children's book I wrote years ago. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

We Came, We Saw, We sniffed!

We couldn't take the wait any longer and finally broke down and went to see Lois.  The lines were long, and of course we got stopped right out the door.

Let us in!

Finally we got to see her in person

The room was hot and humid. The Stink-o-Meter was at 4
--which turns out to be not so much of a stink.

  But we got the general idea...

...and we didn't leave smelling like Lois (which we are told will happen when she is in full stink mode).

Wish the girl would have been faster
so we could have seen her in full bloom mode.  
But it was pretty cool anyway. 

She is a very unique flower! 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Painting, Part 2: Fun with Craft Acrylics

In 2003 I was swept up by the spirit of Halloween, and felt the need to paint something.  So I grabbed a piece of cardboard and the acrylic craft paints I had in my craft closet and painted my version of The Scream. 

Shortly afterwards I started making stepping stones and bricks, and really didn't pick up my paints again until last week when we painted with the girls in our church's youth group.  Here is what I created:
I like it.  I like it a lot!

This is Bridget.   
I like her a lot too.

And she really liked painting. In fact, the painting activity was her idea.  She was less than pleased with what she painted on Wednesday night, so I told her to come on over to my house the next day and we would do some more painting.  And guess what?  She did, and she brought her sisters. 

Painting party at my house!

Once again we were painting with acrylic craft paints instead of artist grade paints.  The paint was cheap, but that we still made masterpieces. 

It was a great afternoon.

I need to paint with friends more often!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Painting, Part 1: Reflecting on Watercolors

 I want to learn how to paint.  This isn't a new development, I've actually thought about it for many years.  But even though I have a goal to become a painter, I have never really have focused on this goal.  Sure, I have looked at the painting classes offered at my community college.  But the drawing prerequisites have always scared me off.  I'm just not brave enough to go in a class and where I have not only draw, but then present my work for critique.   It's true, I'm a wimp. 

I did manage to overcome this back in 2002 when I took a watercolor class.  I love watercolor paintings and was so excited for this class.  I thought it would be an easy thing to learn.  Wrong!  The class gave me a new respect for watercolor artists. The good ones are truly amazing, because painting with watercolors is hard! 

I knew from the start of this class that watercolors and I were not going to get along to well.  You see great watercolor paintings require the use of white space.  And I am not good at leaving white space.  I want to cover the entire paper with color.  Once my teacher showed me how to start painting an apple.  She did the outline and left a small spot of white as a reflection.  Then the she told me to keep finish it.  First thing I did, paint over that white spot.  She just shook her had and walked away.  Opps!  Another problem I had was adapting to the fact that watercolors do not allow you to add light colors to areas where you have painted with dark colors.  I like to layer my colors and when I make a mistake I want to be able to let it dry and simply paint over it.  This cannot be done with watercolors. 

Although I had a good time painting things like this

and this:

I really wanted to paint pictures like this: 

The Open Barn by Roland Lee 

But I was just a beginner, so my paintings ended up like this:

Now I know I cannot compare my work to a professional like Roland Lee, but I wish the shading on my building was more like his.  And I wish I could have fixed the shadow I tried to paint coming off the roof.  But this was watercolors, so I couldn't just paint over it.  I'm sure if I took the time, I could learn the techniques needed to overcome these problems.  I may never be a Roland Lee, but I am sure I could be happy with what I produced.  But to be honest I really want to work with a paint where I can put it on thick and create real texture.   And I just don't think there is way to to that with watercolors.  That's OK.  I'll just keep playing with paint until I figure out what I'm looking for.

Houston We Have Progress!

Lois is making progress! 

Here she is last night at 7 pm:

And here she is today at 11 am:

Here's hoping the girl finally blooms tonight!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thinking of Paris!

Some close friends recently returned from taking their daughter to Paris on a graduation trip.  I love Paris, and looking through our friend's pictures almost made me homesick.  I know how strange that sounds since I have never lived there.  But it's true--I am homesick for Paris.

So as I sat here and thought about how much I'd love to be in Paris right now, I remembered another Photoshop project I did for my class.

One of the things we love to buy as souvenirs when we travel is postcards.  On our last trip to Paris last summer, I couldn't find a postcard that I really liked.  But I did get some great photos that I thought would make wonderful postcards.  So with the help of Photoshop, I took one of my favorite photos from the top of Notre Dame:

And turned it into this vintage postcard:
 Now I have two images unique images that I really love. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Annoying Flower Update

Lois, the HMNS Corpse Flower has turned out to be more annoying than stinky.  We watched and waited everyday for her to bloom.  She did not.

She is making progress.  Here is what she looked like she first started to bloom:

July 5

July 6

And here is what she looked like this weekend:
Saturday, July 17:

Sunday, July 18:

She really has grown dramatically, but her progress has slowed to a snail's pace.  We are starting to doubt Lois is going to bloom at all.  How disappointing it will be if she turns out to be a dud! 

Ready or not, we'll probably go see her on Thursday.  Until then we'll be sending her this telepathic message:  Bloom, Lois, bloom!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Art of Couponing

For the past several months I have been trying to turn over a new leaf.  A money saving leaf.  In my 24 years of married life I have never used coupons on a regular basis.  But at the first of the summer I started seeing the facebook money saving posts of my friend Houston Coupon Boy  and I decided it was time to try again.  So I took a couple of couponing classes, and got a newspaper subscription for 5 Sunday papers. (Hey, I'm from Texas--we do everything BIG!)  I started clipping, and saving money.  It felt really great!  I got excited about the great buys I found and would talk about how much stuff I got for how little of money.  I was becoming a couponing nerd.

And then reality hit.  I didn't mind using the coupons or looking for the bargains.  But after a few weeks the sight of this: 

I just wanted to doing this:
Why?  Well Let's face it, instead of doing this:

I'd rather being doing something like this:

I had burned out on couponing!  My coupons sit unclipped longer each week (right now I'm two weeks behind).  And on more than one occasion I have thought seriously about cancelling my newspaper subscriptions.  I love the money I save when using coupons, but I absolutely hate how long it takes every week to clip those stupid coupons and was about to declare my couponing experience over. 

But that all changed today.  I subscribe to a few couponing blogs that send me updates about the bargains they have posted on their sites.  While catching up on my couponing emails I discovered a post from Saving With Shellie that has me back in couponing bliss.  Shellie's ORGANIZATION TIPS describe a system that has you file each week's coupons together and then only clipping the coupons you will use.  Hallelujah!  I think I just found the solution to my hate of clipping coupons.  Can't wait to try this new system out.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Creating Digital Art

Another fun part of my digital imaging class was creating digital art.  I learned how to take my photos, such as this:

And by intensifying the shadows and playing with colors, I turn it into art like this:

I think its kind of Andy Warholish

Another project was inspired by poetry.  Reading a piece written by James Montgomery reminded me of this photo I had taken while trying my hand at micro photography: 
I love the dew on this thorn!

And with the magic of Photoshop I was able to combined the image and words to create this:

But I think my favorite project was my tribute to Edgar Degas:

Degas is probably best known for his depictions of ballet dancers. In this piece I combined an image Degas's The Little Dancer, three of his paintings of dancers and one of his seascapes. I really love the end result.

I learned so much in my digital imaging class.  And although I have decided against getting a degree in graphic design, I am looking forward to continuing to learn more about Adobe software and seeing where that knowledge can take me creatively.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Art of Waiting, Part 2

Still waiting on Lois

She is being so slow! 
I'm tired of waiting, but guess the
lesson of the week is patience is a virtue.


Went to Wicked last night for the first time. Wow, what a wonderful play!  Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Where I'm from, we believe all sorts of things that aren't true- we call it history!"

I don't cause commotions, I am one.

We can't all come and go by Bubble!

He's distant and moodified, and he's been thinking, which really worries me.

I can't harbor a fugitive, i'm an un-elected official.

Now, wait just a clock-tick.

Great play, great music.  If you ever get the chance to see Wicked, do it!

Oh, and a bonus of the evening was seeing this mural in the Lobby of The Hobby Center:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Art of Waiting

Still waiting on Lois. 

Who would have thought it possible
that a tiny little flower could preoccupy
a person so completely that there simply
wasn't room for any other thought....

                                                 - Sophie Scholl

OK, she isn't exactly tiny.  But she
does have me very preoccupied.

Open Lois, open!