Monday, October 30, 2006

By the letters S and W

S is for scrapbooking

When I lived in Germany in 1991 and Prague in 1995, I kept scrapbooks, one in each place. They were pretty simple. This was shortly before the explosion of scrapbooking as a serious hobby (or perhaps, the re-explosion), and although I decorated the pages a bit, my focus really was on keeping a visual record of what I did while I was in those places, to supplement my journals, as opposed to making intricate layouts. And I'm glad I have them, because they do help me remember. Maybe one of these days I will post some pictures.

In the meantime, however, you can take a look at the scrapbooks of L.M. Montgomery, one of my two very favorite authors (the other is Madeleine L'Engle).

W is for work, writing and walls

Today I go back to work on a freelance writing job, so my entries may or may not be sporadic.

The office hit another snag this weekend, but one which I believe we solved. We primed the walls and still found that we could see the drywall tape through the walls and it looked awful. So we came up with a solution which I think is beautiful but which took us an extra day to implement. Pictures to come. Now we are on track to prime tonight, paint tomorrow and, I hope, lay the hardwood flooring over the next week, in pieces each evening after we are both finished work. Thank you to everyone for your kind comments and encouragement!


... to my little sister, Olivia, born October 29, 2006.

I look forward to building a great friendship across the 31 years that divide us.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cool and Not-So-Cool

I switched this blog to Blogger Beta because the site feed wasn't working (at least not as a Live Bookmark) and that bothered me, because I keep up with all the blogs I read through Live Bookmarks, and if my own doesn't work, that's not fitting.

So the site feed is working again (yay, hooray, huzzah), but now I can only post comments on Blogger Beta blogs while signed into my own blog. Stuuuuhrange. The way around this is to post as "other," but the fact that the problem exists is baffling to me.

Still, who's complaining? I am grateful for Blogger; I think Blogger and Google are both wonderful, and if they take over the world, well, it could be worse. There are other companies and individuals trying to do the same whom I happen to not find wonderful.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Glue Ikea to Art

Take a look at this:

This to That

Wish I'd known that existed a lot sooner. And what a perfectly named web site.

And this:

Ikea Hacker

which makes me very happy. I've "hacked" much furniture, but the table below is one of the things that I know came from Ikea originally (although I wasn't the one who made the purchase; it was a hand-me-down, but I was the one who decoupaged it). I actually miss Ikea for the little things and cheap curtains, a lot, even though I swore I'd never buy Ikea furniture again after a certain disaster with a should-have-been-beautiful desk.

I adore this table, though. It is my single favorite piece of furniture that I own.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Tupperware Design Contest: Now, this is pretty cool. I've searched for more official photos of the winner, but even at the main contest site, they have nothing new posted and the links don't work, and the Tupperware media room doesn't have any photos, either. Bummer. But here's a press release about last year's winner, who replicated a stained glass window. It's lovely, but all I can think is that, with the price of Tupperware being what it is, wouldn't it be cheaper to buy a real stained glass window? Same goes for the wedding dress in the CNN story. Still, very cool.

On the other hand, I have long been of the opinion that if you can't afford something you want, then make it. You know how I'm impressed by people who knit scarves? Well, now I am really impressed.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


And here I thought there was something really strange about the way Moleskine notebooks make my heart go all a-flutter and my skin get tingly, even if the name always makes me think of, well, mole skin. But see, it seems I'm not the only one.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Free Photographs for Creative Uses

Morgue File is a photograph database, the purpose of which is "to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits." So cool.

Found through's painting site.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I can't get the dust out of my clothes.

Sometime soon, I will be back in my "honey moon"-painted painting (and everything else) studio, and I hope to bring you REAL befores and afters then, but here's what we've done so far.

The 9 days we had set aside to fix our foundation, gut the office/studio and refinish it, and replace the bathroom floor have passed, and we have accomplished ALMOST everything we intended to do. We would most likely be done -- we were two days ahead at one point -- but I got very sick early on, and missed about two days, and was only at 50 percent for another day or two.

Here's a sample of our progress. The rest of the photos are here.

At the beginning, there was a cart. And then there were five carts.

Who says punching your fist through a wall isn't fun?

This, times five thousand, came out of our ceiling and off our walls.

I thought I would never want to see this avocado green linoleum from the bathroom again, but now I gleefully stare at the photo and shout, "You are GONE! Bye-bye!"

This is the hole Al cut in the floor to ease the pouring of the concrete to support the new foundation posts. Yeah, that bathrug? It didn't survive. That's okay. The bathroom is next on the list to be renovated from top to bottom, and we'll get a nice one, then.

Here's Al with some of his handiwork. Do you SEE how nice that new beam/floor joist/whatever-it's-called is? Do you KNOW how nice it is to have a level floor where once there was a four-inch difference across the room and every time I took a bath, I was certain the tub would crash through the rotted floor in the middle of the bath?

All hail my husband, the lifter of houses.

This is how we intended to tile the floor. And I still think it would have been lovely. But even after all that work and the pouring of leveling compound, the bathroom floor still is a bit wavy, and we decided the tiles would crack too easily.

So we did this instead.

And all that time I was afraid to carry the boxes of tile, for fear I'd drop one and the tiles would crack into a thousand tiny little pieces. (The grout still needs to be cleaned up a bit, but it will be a while before the bathroom is totally renovated, anyway). By the way, that's our new toilet. It flushes with just one finger. Not only that, but the seat is a fancy schmancy seat, and if you tap it ever so lightly, it closes ever so slowly, all by itself. I spent a good 15 minutes tapping it and watching the seat go down with a quiet whisper, whoooooooooooooosh, and I am not ashamed to admit that.

When the ceiling in the office came down, we learned that the attic floorboards above are made of recycled materials:

I left the packing list there for the discovering pleasure of anyone who might someday redo this office again.

This was the first piece of drywall to go up:

Then followed many days of effort -- sweat, tears, frustration and satisfaction -- with a little help from my friends (sorry, it's the only photo I've got, Laurie and Jess):

Here's me, measuring drywall with my 24-year-old big yellow Brownie pencil (I knew I would need it someday), right about where my painting chair used to be:

And yesterday, last night around 7, precisely, Al put the last piece of drywall in (well, not technically, because there's a small piece to put in the closet after all the flooring comes out of there, but it certainly FELT like the last piece to me):

So, what did we accomplish?

We gutted the office, raised the foundation (which involved much concrete pouring and heavy lifting on Al's part), replaced the bathroom floor, leveled the floors (150 square feet?) with leveling compound, tiled the bathroom floor, installed a new toilet (worthy of an entire blog entry in istelf), and put up new drywall in the office.

We still must: tape, mud, prime and paint the drywall in the office, put up the new ceiling fan-light fixture in the office (if, that is, the ceiling isn't too low), and install our new bamboo wood flooring in the office and hallway.

I apologize to anyone who has emailed or called in the last week and is waiting to hear back from me. Please bear with me. We'll be working in the evenings for the rest of this week, too, and probably next weekend, and then, we hope, we can put all the furniture back in place, and get back to a semblance of normal life. Until, that is, we renovate the bathroom.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Status Report

This was my office/studio on Friday:

This is a slightly older but wider shot:

This was my office on Saturday morning (Al stuck the hammer between some of the nails I used to hang drying paintings):

This was the office Sunday night:

This is the office this morning, with leveling compound laid down on the floor:

I have been pretty sick for the past two and a half days, and unable to help Al much, which put us back some, but I think we'll be catching up now. And many thanks go to my friend Laurie, who not only helped us demolish and clean on multiple days, but came over last night to make me chicken soup from scratch:

Saturday, October 14, 2006


So our house is about to fall down, so we will be using this week to jack up our house, so we spent quite a bit of money at Home Depot last night, so we filled five carts of stuff (like 16 sheets of drywall, plywood, 5 gallons of paint, two jacks, 4x4s and 2x4s, 7 cases of bamboo flooring, a brand new miter saw and so on), so we are going to refinish the office/studio, too, since we might as well, so we have emptied the office, so the computer will be disconnected temporarily.

But I have set up shop in the dining room, so I should be able to keep painting and I should be able to get back on the computer soon, so I should be able to post pictures, perhaps, so you all might or might not hear from me in the next week.

But it will all be worth it to have a studio painted in "Honey Moon." Gotta love a paint called that. AND there will be THREE electrical outlets when we're done. Even more worth it. Hoooooray, renovations!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Mmm, my lucky day!

So it's Friday the 13th. Good things have always seemed to happen to me on Friday the 13th.

And today, I have good news... yay! There's more fun stuff up in the Etsy shop... five new quote plaques and a painting...

All the Wonders (in green), 5"x7"

Always Green, 8"x10"

Christmas-specific hangings will be up very, very soon. I am working away at them right now and having a blast!

And there's also some new stuff in the Cafe Press shop: a set of clocks of which I am very, very proud:

Also... this so exciting to me, I feel like I am going to start giggling maniacally at any second... I just received my order from Cafe Press of a few of my designs:

These are the Bar Harbor postcards... I took this picture while there on a shoot a few years ago and I've loved Maine ever since... good thing, too, since I have family roots there:

This is the Lake Tahoe Journal, taken at Emerald Bay by a Bristlcone pine (certainly one of my favorite trees at absolutely my favorite place in the whole world, and someday, someday, maybe I will be able to live there and drive a Subaru like everyone who already lives there). I am so amazed that I can now write in a journal with my own photograph on the front:

And most exciting of all, I think, are the clothes:

That sweatshirt is one of the most comfortable items of clothing I have ever put on. So soft and warm and cozy, like a portable fireplace! The shirt, on the other hand, is a bit small. Somewhere between a small and a medium (or a small-and-a-half, you might say), even though it's supposed to be a large (good thing I ordered a large, since I normally wear mediums). I'm a little disappointed, and might take it out of the store, but I do love it so, anyway. If you do, too, just be sure to order at least one size larger than normal.

And while we're on the subject of shopping, I normally hate, hate, hate shopping. With one exception: shopping for art supplies. So, two days ago, I took a jaunt to the fabric store and came home with all these treasures to use in displaying my wares (you can see I used one for the journal backdrop).

I am so delighted by these fabrics.... they are sweet and spicy and drinkable all at once.
And I got some Christmas fabric too, for those things I'm working on now:

I am a little concerned about the way my camera has been moiring things lately; I don't have the slightest idea why it does it with some and not others, but I imagine it has something to do with the all-powerful, overwhelming, could-light-the-way-for-a-train-in-a-tunnel, blinding flash. I'm always trying new ways of shooting with it to compensate for that flash, though, so I'll just keep trying. Please forgive when the pictures look a little strange.

In the meantime, here's wishing you all a wonderful, delightful and very lucky Friday the 13th!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wheeeeew. Finally.

All right, I think this will be the last MAJOR template change, at least for a while. I liked the last one (the orange one), but I had a lot of trouble fiddling with the HTML, and for some reason, I don't have as much trouble fiddling with the templates designed by this particular designer. And I like the nice, clean, black lines, for now.

Thank you all for your patience during my virtual renovations (the real renovations begin on Saturday, as Al and I totally gut our bathroom, hallway and my office and revamp them in one week. So posts will be iffy. Until then, I am working like a madwoman to get stuff up online for your shopping delight!).

There are already new designs available at Cafe Press in the graphics section (some GREAT clocks -- I am very excited about them), and there will soon be new paintings up on Etsy, which, you'll remember, still has the Paint and Ink name.

Lots of color and paint and fabric and packages and excitement around here these days... more details to come! Soon, very soon, I promise.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I can knit my brows together, though.

My friend Jessie, for whom I did a comission recently, loves to knit and has opened her own Etsy shop with her creations. Please take a look... and go back again soon, because I think she will soon have many items up. She knitted some beautiful items for my soon-to-be-born baby sister.

I have great admiration for Jessie and am even slightly jealous because I have tried to learn to knit THREE times (including a fantastic group knitting lesson), and each time I have completely forgotten how to do it within 24 hours. I give up. I do keep the knitting needles around, though, to remind myself that I gave it a fair chance and to use as a weapon should the fire extinguisher not work.

Art Supply Addictions

This is a very funny posting about art supply addictions from a messageboard on Canadian artist Violette's site. Violette's art is beautiful and inspiring, and her blog is a delightful, glittery, magical journey. If I'm down at all, I read her site for a cheerful pick-me-up that never fails. Take a look.

I admit that I personally have massive amounts of art supplies... but what I find is that everything gets used in some capacity, eventually. I have no shame.


This kaleidoscope creator is as good as the Jackson Pollack site. I wish I could give credit for who directed me to the kaleidoscope creator, but I bookmarked it a while ago and just rediscovered it yesterday.


As for other things, I am not really satisfied with the look of this new template -- it looks too old for my tastes, as in how websites looked 7 or 8 years ao. Yeah, I know, like that was so long ago. But in the internet world, it might as well be prehistoric.

Getting all nostalgic here: I remember my dad's first modem at work, which was one of those slabs with two round spots on it, and you took the old phone receiver and placed it on the two round spots. Like this one:

I also remember the first time I ever heard the words "electronic mail" -- I was on a tour of the University of Pennsylvania campus and the guide, a student, said, "Oh, yeah, most of us students have electronic mail now." It made an impression because I remember just nodding my head sagely as if I knew what she was talking about, and meantime, thinking, "What the hell is that?" I was too shy to ask. By the time I actually arrived at USC (the school I chose), in 1993, "e-mail" was already the preferred term. But it was still a novelty, and most of us only checked it once a week or so. Only one person I knew actually had a modem in his dorm room -- in fact, many people didn't even have computers. They used the computer lab. By the time I graduated 4 years later, I was using internet research pretty frequently in my paper-writing, and by the time I worked as a features reporter for the South Bay Weekly (which no longer exists, apparently) two years after that, I started all my research for stories by going online first. But, as I recall, I kept a list in Word of my favorite websites.

And now, I actually have two online businesses, two blogs, and a bookmark list that threatens to jump out of the computer and take over the world -- and it's all been such an adventure and I'm so glad I can take part.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sweet Autumn

Oh, I love, love, LOVE fall. I love the cooler weather and low humidity, I love Halloween, I love the clothes, I love it all. I'm not the biggest fan of either winter or summer, at least not here on the East Coast, but I do love fall, and spring runs a close second.


What a lovely set of illustrations this is:
The Ward-O-Matic: Janet La Salle's Better Living illustrations


Al and I started a drawing class yesterday, except that he wasn't able to make it, so I brought his assignments home for him. The class is based on Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards (which I've had for ten years but never actually used, hence the class. Sometimes we all need someone to stand over us while we work):

and taught by artist Barbara Hennig-Loomis of Small Canvas Studio (who did a very kind and informative job of standing over us and motivating us while talking in her soothing voice).

I have great faith that this class and book will improve my drawing skills dramatically -- and sometimes faith is the most important ingredient.


I ordered this sweatshirt for myself last week, along with this shirt (I would've ordered the heart design but I hadn't put them up yet), this journal and these postcards, and they arrived today. I am so excited! It is quite a rush to receive your own design in the mail. I just hope I don't send us to the poorhouse ordering my own products because I'm so tempted to go shopping again. Pictures to come.


Painting will be going slowly this week because I have a two-week freelance writing assignment that will be taking up a great deal of my time. But I do have a few finished items I have yet to post, as well as a few new things that will end up in Etsy, and I will keep you informed.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Products, Painting, Philosophy and HTML

*** HTML ***

Good morning, my dears. I have spent most of them morning deeply embedded in numbers and letters as I try to make heads and tails of HTML code... I picked a new, less corporate-looking design for my blog this morning. I like this new template, but of course I wanted to add my own mark, so I am fiddling with colors and details. Learning by doing, that's my new motto, but I felt that I should say, "Excuse the mess," and "Thank you for your patience while this site is under renovation."

*** PRODUCTS ***

I also wanted to make a quick mention of some new products at CafePress featuring my designs (Again, you'll find most of the new items in the Graphics and Holiday Magic! sections of my store, but new artwork and photography products will follow shortly). These below are just a FEW of many products I have available in my store... go explore and see what else there is!

Circle Star Sweatshirt

Black Circle Heart T-Shirt

Metalmouth T-Shirt

Cactus Journal

Grand Canyon Greeting Cards

Colors of Christmas! Tote Bag

*** PAINTING ***

And not to worry, I haven't forgotten my little Etsy shop... more little quotation paintings coming soon. I am starting to think there is nothing so satisfying as seeing globs of paint everywhere, including all over me. It's a sign of a day well spent.


And a few nice tidbits of wisdom for your day...

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind. -- Samuel Johnson

To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can. -- Sydney Smith