Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Vacation Bliss

Vacation weeks seem to fly. Already Wednesday, really? Had a great trip to my Mom's down in Massachusetts yesterday. We chatted up a storm and went out to lunch. Mom is 84 and sometimes a bit forgetful, so its nice to chat and not really notice any signs of that. 
Mom lives down in Central Massachusetts, so being 2 hours south there is so much more blooming and greening up than here in my neck of the woods in New Hampshire.

So great to see the spring flowers and little leaves starting to pop out. Spring sure is an exciting time of year.
Even though it was cloudy and only 43 degrees yesterday.
So here's my plans for today.
Studio time! So excited to have several hours of my day all to myself in my play space. Been feeling lately like I haven't had even close to the amount of studio time that I want, and I am hoping this week makes up for that.
I need to make a quick run to the grocery store also and am thinking of hitting up Redbox and renting a movie or two to watch later on too. Its suppose to be chilly, grey and a little showery today so I am all for these big adventures.
I think I am going to spend most of the next 2 days at home and just be able to watch the rain falling outside. No need to get out of my pjs if I don't feel inclined. I don't get to just hang out at home and on these grey vacation days, nothing is better. Sip tea, watch movies, get inky painty fingers, take naps and read my book.
Au revoir for today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Road Trip

Today I am taking a little road trip down to visit my mom in Massachusetts. Just for the day- its only a couple of hours each way. Harl is going with me for company, and he's a dog who loves to ride. Usually that means he'll fall asleep for most of the trip.
Yesterday I had some great studio time. I managed to play for 4 hours before this New England Puritanical work before play ethic kicked in. The work I did was getting out into the gardens so even though it was work it was enjoyable and something that isn't a chore to me.
I think I have managed to convince myself that I only have a week off so there is no sense working away the whole vacation. Putting relaxation and play as my priority will only make it feel more like time off when next Monday rolls around and I'm back to school.
So yesterday in the studio
mostly I worked on my explorer journal and fought the urge to make it more of a scrapbook/ journal, which most likely it will turn into one since I do love to keep a scrapbook. I call them my scrap-journals because they are a mix of a scrapbook and journal page. Here's a couple of pages I made yesterday.
This page looks much better in person than it does here. Here it looks all like a bunch of pieces layered, but finished it doesn't look quite so much that way.  Funny how photographs do that sometimes and sometimes make pages look better than they are.
You can notice my style is kind of art journalistic,  messy, and not exactly the kind of pages a scrapbooking magazine would publish.
Like an art journal might be. I love to play with backgrounds. Maybe a bit too much vertical on my pea-soup page.
Oh well.
You might also notice my photo colors are really off-not sure what the issue is with my printer but think it needs to head off into retirement and be replaced.
Here's a few other rather routine and not too exciting photos from yesterday.
 A sign on my walk and below, my daffodils are just waiting for some warm sunny days to pop open and bloom.

Harl (my dog)  going up to the back door after out walk.  My cat Leo strolls down to greet us. I love it. A greeter cat!

Walking down out street.

A selfie on my walk. Still cool enough the scarf felt great on my neck.

Look, my rhubarb is coming up.

My pea soup was delicious!

Until next post- au revoir.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Studio Day

My plan today is to spend some time in my studio, doing a bit of art and maybe even a bit of cleaning. If the weather holds, I might end up outside a bit too, but who knows.  The weather this week isn't looking very encouraging, but at least they are NOT saying snow!
Yesterday I got back to my paintings a bit.
 I added some cloth seaweed (I made  by cutting some scrap cloth I had) and some die cut sea creatures. I also went to dig to out some pearl beads I had and found these plastic starfish I also had. Forgot I had those, but don't they work great?
 Getting close to being finished, but not quite there yet. Letting the paintings simmer in my brain, seeing what I come up with to complete them.  Maybe I'll  get back to them today. Or maybe I'll do something else.
Love having that choice.
So yesterday was a pretty low key day. Along with my studio time I read, watched the Amazing Race and the Game of Thrones, and made a nice dinner for my family before we brought Katie back to school. I also made some Pea Soup. (For my lunch today-YUM!)

I used this cookbook. I've made pea soup before, but never thought of making it with chicken stock and bacon like the recipe here. The only thing I didn't do is puree it because I don't mind my pea soup being chunky. Overall, it was so easy that I will be making it again.
What I am wrestling with right now is something that always happens to me when I am home for a one week break.  I feel like I need to do all these chores, and then I get mad because I don't have enough fun and low key time. A week isn't all that much time, and it flies right by, so finding the right balance is important.  And I think I need to do more fun than is vacation after all.
 Does this happen to you?
Or am I the only obsessive one?

Adios for today.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Starting My Summer Journal

Started my Explorer Journal the other day.
Very happy with my title page. I watercolored the background and then I made my clouds with gobs of white acrylic paint and some Martha Stewart sparkle medium. I purposefully made the tops of the clouds heavier than the bottoms, and I think that gives them so great depth and realism. I cut out the letters of my explorer word after drawing them out on some paper (October Afternoon) and stamped the Wicked Good and the Journey words. I also stamped the little airplanes (Hero Arts).
I also made a tag for this journal too. The background is made with paint, Dylusions spray ink,inked dots, painted dots, Sharpie doodling and some oil pastels. The gorilla was first cut out from a 7Gypsies tag, then colored, and glued onto a black circle I doodled. Then I doodled the frame around him. Finally I used some Glossy Accent to make the gorilla into more of a popped up, epoxied style embellishment. 
Here's the back of the tage. I used another 7Gypsies image cut out of the tag it came on. I also colored it and used Glossy Accents on the eyes to make them pop.
This face is how I felt all week with those crazy kids at school.
Planning on time in the studio today. Have a lot of projects I want to work on, including more of this journal. My house desperately needs some picking up and cleaning too, but since I'm off all week I have plenty of time to that.
Yesterday was the first day of my vacation. I ended up going to Costco and spending way too much cash! Was a lot of fun though, especially since I got to go with my daughter. Plenty of time for some good girl talk! Plus we got some good stuff at Costco!
Until next post-

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I'm on Vacation!!!

Not trying to rub it in, but my spring break starts today. 
No big plans-
in fact I haven't really decided exactly what I am going to do, but I do have a list of things I'd like to do.
I pulled this book off my shelf and decided I am going to make an explorer journal. Won't finish it next week but plan to start it, and hopefully do LOTS of art.
Main goal-to get a bunch of studio time.
I need to do some summer trip planning.
Maybe a few small chores- like painting around a closet so some new trim can get put up and finish doing my clothes change over-maybe I'll even clean some more in the studio (which has slowly been my on-going project since the start of the year).
Cook a few yummy things.
Get out walking every day.
Go visit my mom for a day.
I'd like to go out for a day or 2 on some small adventures.
And once the weather gets back into sunny and warm (which I hope it will) and not so windy, do a bit more yard work.
Maybe even get my screen porch opened up for the season.
And who knows what else????
I might not do any of this list but I might do it all.
Isn't that the beauty of having a week off with no big plans?
I think that potential is VERY exciting.
I've also finished reading this book.
Didn't even know there was a rally from Peking (Beijing) to Paris but I guess there is one every few years. The first was in 1907 (or 1908, numbers don't always stay in my head), and then they skipped a whole lot of years until 1997, and 2007, and then 2013 and the next one will be 2016.
This book was interesting and I learned a lot about the race and about how the author had a lot of stress with her role as a navigator.
It is quite the undertaking and this book told me a lot about all of that.
I could have used a bit more about the trek, but there was enough to spur me to look up more about this race and I found this book written about the 1997 race. The author is English and is a novelist, although this book is not a novel and she actually was a navigator on the race- like Dina Bennett was too.
This book is a little better written- as the author is a novelist of several books and obviously has more writing experience, but I wouldn't put the first book down as poorly written.
So now I am reading about this race in another time through another woman's eyes.
I have another book I want to read while I'm off too.
They're saying not so wonderful weather through Tuesday at least so I'm hoping to make some reading time.
So that's what's going on in my life.
Doesn't sound like much but I am ready to relax a little bit and break up the usual routine.
Everybody needs that every now and again just to get recharged.
How about you?
What's on your agenda?
Hope you stop back soon.

Friday, April 25, 2014


In college I studied biology and now I teach biology at the high school level.
Inside, I am a geek.
Major geek.
A creative geek none-the-less, but still a geek.
And today, for us biology geeks,
is a very notible day.
DNA Day.
On this day in 1953, Watson and Crick
the 2 guys you see here-
published their  paper in Nature outlining their "discovery"
about how DNA is constructed.
I say discovery in quotes because it is questionable if they
actually discovered anything.
They just used other people's information to figure out how the DNA molecule
was configured.
Here are the 4 main players in this story.
(There are a few others, but for the sake of a blog post versus a novel, I shall leave it to these 4.)
James D. Watson (far left) and American who was working with Francis Crick (not so far left) at Cambridge University. These are the guys who made the model.
The 2 on the right are Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, who both worked at Kings College London. There were some not so pleasant "issues" between those 2 in the x-ray crystallography lab. They just did not get along with each other and Rosalind was a woman in a very old fashioned man's world. She couldn't even join her co-worker's in the lounge as it was for men only, yet she was a woman scientist with a PhD and some very very impressive credits to her name.  Rosalind took a very distinctive photo

which shows that DNA, the stuff of our genes, has a double helical shape.
(For those you you who may be saying Huh?, helical means a spiral-like shape. You can tell this is a spiral because if you can picture looking down from above onto a spiral, you would get this X like shape where each part of the double spiral cross. That's a very simplistic description, but again, for the sake of simplicity, I'll leave it there.)
Somehow Wilkins got a hold of the photo.
He passed it on Watson, quite innocently perhaps.
Or maybe not.
But he had the photo and he showed it to Watson.
This allowed Watson and Crick to build their famous model, write their paper which was published today in 1953 in Nature, and to become known as the men who discovered the structure of DNA.
Wilkins gets credited too, as he was working at one point on DNA xray crystallography, and Franklin does get credit also, although I don't know if she ever really realized what role she played since she left Kings College and then shortly after that died from cancer in the late 1950's. She was very young- if my memory serves me right like 37 or 38. Both Wilkins and Franklin also published papers along with the Watson and Crick artical- all 3 were published together. Unfortunately Watson published a best selling book about this event called the Double Helix in the 1960's which didn't portray Rosalind Franklin very nicely. This in turn started the whole idea that Franklin was not given the credit she deserved, and now there's a whole bunch of science geeks like me who are very much in credit in giving this lady the credit she deserves. Afterall, neither Watson nor Crick could have built there model without her photo.
For a couple of good films on this science history- the BBC put out the film race for the Double Helix in the 1970's with Jeff Goldbloom and also there's a Nova documentary called The Secret of Photo 51. (The photo I showed you above was photo 51.)
And then there's bibliographies of all these people-
if you really want to geek out.
Personally, I think its a great story.
But then as I have told you like 50 times already today-
I can be pretty geeky.

Thanks for visiting-
and remember,
you wouldn't be who you are without your deoxyribonucleic acid!
(Or DNA)

The Next Set

I love this painting thing.  Making canvases. Mixed media playing.
This time I am doing a series of 3.
Ocean themed.
Embossing my own design.
 Here's my hand cut original stencil.
 Quite the masterpiece, eh?

I painted some watercolor paper first in this cream colored acrylic (Liquitex) and thought it was too creamy for my backgrounds so then I stenciled some gesso over it.
Here's one of my scallops. Still too light.  I used some Distress stain to darken it a bit and the embossing is a lovely resist.
I also added some Viva Gold sand media at a spot here and there.

My 3 canvases- UNFINISHED!
Getting there though.
I want to add some depth to this big scallop and something else where I left it blank and not embossed.
Posted to
Thanks for visiting me.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Painting Some More

 This week has not been a big art week. Traveling for Easter, some nice weather for raking, meetings, a doctor's appointment and my daughter's senior project presentation all kept me busy on this past weekend and this week after work. But last week I spent a lot of time working on my next painting series.
This is showing 2 of the 3 canvases. Lots of texture, ocean colors, a little paper and molding paste for texture, and some embossing.
Tomorrow I'll show you the next steps, as I'm not finished with these yet.
Sometimes art pieces have to sit a bit so I can mull what I really want to do next.
 That's the beauty of being able to have several projects blooming in the studio.
Have a great day
and thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Not?

Here's one of my recent cards I made for my daughter.  I thought why use one ice cream cone when you could use 9?
And why 1 sailboat when you can have 3?
I will admit my sun- which was suppose to be a little distressed looks more splotchy than distressed.  But I do like my sparkly waves.
 Images on the cards are from Paper Smooches.
That's all I have to show you today.
Just a couple more days until my vacation!

Oh and by the way-
thanks for visiting.
Your visits make my day!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Good and the Bad Side

 Ok, today I'll show you some faces I like
and some I really don't like.
 Practicing some French by doodling the words-
Some of it looks like little kids drawing.
Also letter playing-

More from my discovered drawing journal.
This is the stuff you usually don't show off I think.
But this is my post for today so  I guess you get to see it.
Have a great day.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Can You Notice a Trend

Hope everyone had a great Sunday and a nice Easter if you celebrate. We ate too much but had a very nice visit with my family down in Massachusetts. My parmesan cheese potatoes which I thought I could partially cook and then finish at my moms were a little crunchy (oh no) but my lemon cream pie was delicious. The only problem is half of it came home with us and that means it will be sitting in the frig tempting me (and Dave) to eat. Oh no. Unless I can have pie for breakfast. Which might not be the worst if I can justify that the cream topping has calcium and milk value and the lemon is fruit and vitamin C.
No?  Doesn't work?

One thing I love about having the elliptical out of the basement and in my living room if that I use it. Well I have to bribe myself. Even though I am serious about shaping up. Dropping weight. I have been on a good (though not perfect) eating routine since last fall, but man oh man, the exercise makes a huge difference.
My trick has been to pull an old movie while I sweat.
Find something in the drawer that I haven't seen in a long time.
The exercise feels good but I LOVE watching these movies.
To be honest, I am more motivated by the movies than by the exercise and if that's what it takes, it works.
Here's what I've been viewing as I sweat and tread along hoping it might make some kind of a difference.

Can you pick out the theme that I am obsessed with right now?
Maybe because I am in countdown mode to my spring break.
No plans firmed up yet. But at the end of this week I get a week off, and I can't wait. I'm hoping for a week of playing, doing a few LITTLE chores, getting outside and a taking  little road trip. Not sure where or even whether it will all really happen, but whatever I do end up doing is perfect since at least I don't have to get up and go to work. For a week.
I am excited for the break.
I've rented a few movies to watch lately too.
I want to see this because one-all the teenagers at school are talking about it (and so it has to be good if teenagers want to see it) and because the woman who did this movie-Jennifer Lee- is a grad from the University of New Hampshire and she's speaking at this years graduation-which I will be at since Katie's graduating.

Not the best X-Men movie, but hey, its good entertainment and it has Hugh Jackman in it so it can't be completely bad. 

This movie was really well done, totally surprised me at the end and had interesting characters. I see why it got a nod by the Academy. I can't say it was really my kind of movie, but I am glad I saw it.
And this movie was excellent.  You've probably seen it by now but it is worth it.  What a great story and so well done.
I have a few other movies I want to rent and see. They include August-Osage County, Philomena. 
Any other suggestions?
What are you excited about lately?