Sunday, January 30, 2011

Getting ready for some football....

No matter which teams end up competing for the Championship in the Superbowl, I always enjoy watching the game with my friends...even if I am not really rooting for either team.

One thing we do every year is make a betting board before the game starts, everyone writes their initials under their 'guess' and puts $5 into a pot.
We keep track of what happens during the game and at the end, the person with the most correct guesses, gets the pot of cash.

It keeps the game interesting, and its always a lot of fun with 10+ people.

I am really excited about the Superbowl this year. I always love getting together with all of my friends.

I also love getting together to eat SuperBowl snacks....Someone always makes chili, cheese dip and all sorts of other yummy foods....This year I am bringing:

Smoky Bacon Wraps

White Bean Chicken Chili

The Superbowl party is really the best excuse to pig-out in the winter months....there really aren't many other 'food' holidays between Christmas and Easter. (Unless you go out for Fat Tuesday--and we have a favorite place in town with a great Marti Gras Buffet)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Working with a team of artists...

On Saturday, I had the awesome opportunity to collaborate on a really cool project. Every year, a thousand area 3rd graders visit a local art center. The students get a chance to see the show, make some art to take home and also help create some sort of large-scale project. Last year, students painted a patch of some huge murals, this year, they will be helping create an outer shell for a large-sculpture.

The education committee at the art center, (me included) came up with the idea last fall and recruited a local artist to help build the armatures for the sculptures. It was decided that we would construct 3 armatures of welded metal covered in poultry wire and then the students, over the course of 3 weeks, a thousand kids would help cover the surface of the wire by tying, wrapping and weaving bits of paper, fabric, cardboard and other materials to the surface. At the end, we hope to gesso or modge podge a final layer so the sculptures can stand outside.

The sculptures are designed to resemble artwork from the current show that is in the gallery. Linda Mitchell is a truly inspiring artist. I love animal paintings and her website does not do her work justice, her work is seriously so beautiful. If you are in need of some new inspiration, definitely check her out.

Saturday, under the smell of the melting welded metal, and the sound of the an iPod set to shuffle, we worked at the amazing studio of another artist, Jorge Leyva. Just to give you an idea of how cool this studio is his painting studio....
Here is the breezeway connecting his painting facility to the sculpture garage:

And here is the place where all the magic happens:

And by magic...I mean this:

 Taking a painting, making a sketch.....forming the metal and connecting the pieces....
 To make something great.

I am in awe of artists who can take an idea and make it totally 3-D.

Jorge constructed the metal skeleton of the form by welding together rebar, while the rest of wrapped the chicken mesh around the form to give it some bulk. We zip-tied the wire to the metal form, and after many scraped fingers, ripped thumbnails and some blood, we had finished the elephant on the box....and the body for the rhino. Jorge is still working on the head. He is also going to create a large dog so that we will have 3 sculptures for the 3rd graders to cover.
Here is phase 1 of the sculpture project. It was so much fun getting dirty and working in a real artists' studio. I almost don't want to waste these sculptures on little kids...I want to help finish them myself!

 The elephant-in-a-box in all its glory.
 Josie Mai and me. Saying 'I helped wrap the head' is a little like saying 'I carried a watermelon'....yeah, I helped, but she totally made this thing happen, I was a little more like the errand boy/assistant to the regional manager.
 The 3-D chest of the Rhino.
 The hot boots.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of this project. The kids will be visiting the art center starting next week. I can't wait to see these finished.

Find new inspiration from these artists: 

Linda Mitchell
Josie Mai
Jorge Leyva

Please leave a comment with feedback if you check out any of the artists linked above ;-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bloglovin, and a random cute cat.

Blog readers, if you are looking for a way to keep track of your favorite blogs, try Bloglovin. I thought I would give it a whirl, so far, so good!!

I just signed up. Click here to follow my blog:

Follow my blog with bloglovin

And here is a random picture of my cat. Chillin' on the fireplace mantle. He gave me a sultry wink before I scooted his booty right down from there!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How about a New Year's PHOTO Challenge?

I need to motivate myself.
I need a photo challenge.
I have another snow day--it is 4 degrees today so I won't be going out to play unless it warms up a bit.

Here is a photo scavenger hunt. 
I created this list for a class I am teaching at the local art I need to try to take these shots myself so that I can instruct my students and give them tips and suggestions.

If you want to play, challenge yourself  to use your own creative style to photograph the following. Post a link in the comments, I would love to see your photos! Even if you only do 5 from the list, I want to see!

Five different red items.
A linear composition.
Three generations.
Hands and feet.
Book spines. Or books lined up like dominos.
Instrument. One or more.
The horizon line.
Flower. One or more. (Its winter, be creative.)
Light filtering through tree leaves.
Sand, dirt or stone.
Road sign.
Natural wonder.
An animal.
Your handwriting.

Good luck and happy shooting!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Yay for snow!

Yesterday after school, I went out while the snow was still coming down and played with a fun little contraption.

I attached a lensbaby muse lens to my Nikon D5000 and wandered (freezing) around my neighborhood. The muse is designed to shoot fast and loose. Squeeze the Muse to focus, and bend your Sweet Spot around the photo.

This is the hideout of the famous Bonny and Clyde. 

Today, I am enjoying a day off school, watching movies, editing photos. I need to get motivated to make some art.

Just haven't been feeling super creative lately.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Year in review...and looking ahead...

Year in Review. I am too lazy to do a photography year in review, because that involves accessing photos from my external hard drive...and I don't really feel like making a bunch of links back through all of my posts....But luckily, Kara inspired me to make a list similar to hers in regards to last year.  These are the thoughts that I will remember about last year.

1. Went to Vegas for the first time
2. turned 27
3. wore lots of wigs
4. went on a super fun road trip from Lake Havasu, AZ to San Diego CA and back to Vegas with my brother and his family
5. Went to the Costa Mesa Swap Meet
6. took lots of Holga photos
7. learned how to print in a darkroom
8. entered a 3-minute film competition and got 2nd place
9. hosted and organized TWO women's crafting retreats
11. went to a Monday night football game
12. my house got robbed
13. improved my sewing skills--made like 10 aprons
14. spent Halloween seeing Roger Waters in concert and then Power and Light--best costume party EVER
15. learned how to sleep in on the weekends
16. went to a Lady Gaga concert
17. sang karaoke duets
18. finally visited my grandparents in Texas
19. took scuba classes
20. threw lots of really fun parties
21. played hours worth of Words with Friends
22. read almost 10 books (I think)
23. started a Lomography club in Joplin
24. volunteered at a local charity over Christmas Break--the Ronald McDonald House
25. served on the education committee at Spiva (time spent sitting in meetings, working at local events and donating my art for fundraisers)
26. set up my own art exhibit at a local art walk
27. made a new friend that I met in an online class
28. took several online crafting classes
29. mentored a student after school once a week/'adopted' a student--by purchasing her some new clothes
30. taught my 5th year of elementary art

Goals from Last Year Revisited:
1. Give back more. My main goal for this year is to do more volunteering. I want to give more of my energy, time and money to people who really need it.  I think I did a pretty good job of this. Always room for improvement, but I feel like I did my best.
2. One little word: GIVE
This year, my one little word will be give. It is such an easy thing to do. I feel like I have a lot of things I can give to my students, friends and family...but also to those who are really in need. This goal should be measurable and even if it isn't something I can do every day or week, I know that I will reap the many benefits of giving...generosity, spreading random acts of is important to me this year. An on going goal...I haven't set my One Little Word for this year. I tried to be as giving as possible, but I know I can always do better.
3. I want to continue with project 52. I ordered another journal and I intend to do it again. I will probably include more photo collages printed on cardstock from Picnik....maybe one every week or for major events. I decided not to do project 52. I still have the calendar, I may do it again in a year or two, I stated a couple of journals from various online classes. There isn't as much journaling involved, but I save keepsakes and play around with photos and found papers so it is good.
4. Write more quality blog posts. This is always something I strive for. I enjoy reading blog posts that are funny, entertaining and that have a good message. If I am not inspired, I try not to force it. If I haven't done anything creative, I don't load my blog with fluff. I haven't been posting as often this winter, but I am hoping to feel more inspired soon.
5. Continue my card swap club--super fun! The card club stayed alive, but died in the summer. Poor attendance....people stopped making time for it. Maybe it just wasn't as cool as I thought. I had a lot of fun and built up my card stash. I donated a big pile of extra cards from the swaps to a care package bound for a soldier shipping out to Afganistan. I actually haven't stamped since September-GASP!
6. Host a scrapbooking retreat: Nelliepalooza (in April for my birthday). I live in Joplin Missouri...if you are interested in finding out more please email me or leave a comment, it is going to be awesome! It was awesome. I even hosted part deux in the fall and am planning Nelliepalooza the Third this April. Can't wait!
7. Travel. I am planning a trip over spring break to Las Vegas for a few days and then over to Lake Havasu to visit my brother and new nephew--YAY!! I can't wait! YAY! Lake Havasu and Vegas in March...and then again in July, plus SoCal, a St. Louis weekend, a Branson weekend, a couple of KC nights, and a trip to Dallas in November. Not bad!
8. Concerts. I want to see more live music. Period. Two major concerts--Gaga and Rogers...Plus a few random local shows.
9. Really work on crocheting. I want to be able to crochet stuff. I suck at crocheting. I gave it a good go...and I might pick it up again this winter, but I am impatient.
10. Make some clothes, bags and other accessories using my new sewing machine. I really want to get good at sewing...maybe make some stuff for my Etsy shop. I haven't posted anything in my Etsy shop in a year, it is so much work to photograph, edit, write descriptions, post items, advertise, keep current, re-list, package, ship, etc. I have gotten better at sewing, I wouldn't say GOOD....I have probably made 10 aprons, and started using stitching in my crafty creations.
11. Photography. I want a Fujifilm mini 7 instant camera. Bad. I also want to work on taking more photos with Holga....and I want to invest in more equipment so that I can do some senior pictures, family pictures and kids photos for a profit....I got an instax and I love it. I recently posted a photo wall with 90 photos from last year in my living room (photos coming soon!). It is such a fun camera. I have started learning darkroom techniques and want to put a dark room in my basement--more for fun and experimenting than anything. This year, I want to get a negative scanner.
12. Cook more. I truly enjoy cooking a beautiful meal. I typed all of my favorite recipes into a book for my sister for Christmas. I am going to print out a copy for myself and add to it throughout the year. Ha! I just printed the recipes this week. I just need to cut them apart and organize them into a book. I have done pretty good with cooking, made ham and beans, potato soup, biscuits from scratched (they sucked), pulled pork, rolls, katherines potatos, roast, deviled eggs, all kinds of delicious things this year!

Goals for 2011:

1. Keep volunteering.
2. Make and give more handmade gifts--especially sewn things for new babies.
3. Get my photos organized
4. Get a new comforter--I really want something awesome from Anthro
5. Frame more of my Holga and darkroom photos, get artwork ready for a real show in a real gallery and photo competitions
6. Organize the files on my computer
7. Work hard to create a successful and amazing summer art program at a local art center
8. Seriously think about what I want to do next....masters? move? teach forever?
9. I got a membership to the gym....I hope to work out at least 10 times a month ;-)
10. Watch one foreign film every month (this month I watched 3 streaming on Netflix)
11. Be more spontaneous
12. Don't schedule so much stuff to do--make more time for my family. I envy that family on parenthood, they see each other all the time...I want to do that too.
13. Be a better friend. Have more real conversations, be more supportive, more loving....

 All of the photos in this post were taken on my mac, with the photo booth. I converted them to B&W using picnik...and the Holga-ish application. Quick and easy way to create a coherent series of self-portraits.