Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh mah gosh!

Did you guys watch the New Girl last night? Well, if you did not, you totally need to find it online and watch it. I laughed hysterically throughout the show, and I haven't done that with a new show in so long!

This year, I have been infusing lots of vintage into my wardrobe at school. I am super inspired by Mad Men and vintage looks I have found on Pintrest.  Here are some of my favorite outfits.

Okay, now I am going to get back to my many shows premier this week, my DVR is already super full!!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Nelliepalooza the 4th

Wow! What a lovely weekend!!

It was the perfect rainy, stormy weather to stay in and work on crafts.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Nelliepalooza.

I'm planning another crafting retreat March 30th-April 1st, if you are interested, email me for details!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shrinky-Dink Rings at Nelliepalooza

Live blogging at Nelliepalooza!!

This weekend was my 4th Nelliepalooza crafting weekend with friends. The first night we had 10 girls stay the night, with 14 staying the second night and about 3-4 that were in and out all weekend. Many people worked on scrapbooking and photo scanning/digital photo books.

Some worked on cards (like me, 100 days till Christmas and my cards are done!). And others worked on a whole assortment of crafting projects. My friend Karalee showed everyone how to make shrinky-dink rings. Super easy and fun.

How to make Shrinky Dink Rings:

1. Cut the shrinky dink to 5 1/2 X either 1" or 1 1/2" or 2" depending on how wide you want your ring.
Then draw a design in permanent ink. (think sharpies!)  Many of us had our stamps so we made some great rings with Stayz-On ink and stamped images.

2. Heat up the oven, following the directions on the package.

3. Remove shrinky dink ring from parchment-lined cookie sheet, fresh from the oven, using tweezers
Lay on a pot holder and quickly and carefully roll around the barrel of a plastic 'thing' about the same size as your finger. I used a glue pen, others used markers, or glue sticks.

4. Enjoy your custom rings!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Charlie and Me.

Have you ever seen that movie Marley and Me?

Well, I have not seen it because that kind of stuff makes me way too sad. I remember bawling my eyes out when I watched the movie Beethoven.

Have you ever read Where the Red Fern Grows? Well I did in 5th grade and it was the saddest book I had ever read. I remember crying, and crying, and crying so much for the dogs, Big Dan and Little Ann.

I hate sad pet stuff.
I get super emotional when someone loses a best friend.
A dog can bring so much joy to a person, so much comfort.

This week, my mom went into the hospital. Her dog (and my dog) Charlie came to stay with me while she is getting treated. She will probably be in there for a few weeks. Don't worry, mom will be okay, she is working on getting healthy, this is a good thing.

Charlie is a very special pup. I bought him when I was in college after I had broken up with my long-time boyfriend. The two of us had a daschund together, and when we broke up, Ace when with the ex. Charlie helped me when I was feeling lonely.

I soon realized that having a dog would not work for my schedule. I was in college and working and I never got to see him so it was going to be hard to potty train him. Mom became the 'grand-dog-sitter'. Soon, Charlie moved in with mom full time and she fell in love with his company.

Charlie slept with mom every night. At that time, mom lived in a trailer and Charlie would run around like crazy, making laps around the whole place. When mom moved into her new apartment, Charlie went with her. He had a favorite stuffed red bone, that we called his baby. If Charlie was chewing on a raw hide, we knew to stay away because he would growl ferociously if anyone came near it.

Holding Charlie, you could say 'who is my baby dog?' and he would collapse, limp in your arms and let you cradle him like a little baby.

When the tornado hit, Charlie managed to find safety in the apartment. I remember carrying the 20+ pound, wet, scared dog to my house when mom rode in the ambulance to get her foot stitched up.

Over the years, I have tried to help mom with Charlie as much as possible, like she had helped me when I first brought him home. He is loyal to my mom in every way, keeping her company when she is sick and in pain. He is right by her side. Sometimes, the only reason my mom gets out of bed, or off the couch, is to take Charlie out. He is her 'therapy' dog, her best friend.

This week, when I went to pick up Charlie, he wasn't himself.  He has been down in his back and has been in and out of the vet (at an astronomical $2,000 bill in less than a week). His issues are related to a back injury that happened a few years ago. Mom's jumbo fat nurse aid stepped on his back recently, causing a major flare up.  Charlie became incontinent and wheezy from the steroids.

Soon after Charlie came to my house, he took a turn for the worse. He licked a hot spot on his leg. It went from a raw area, to a deep hole, to a big gaping wound in about 24 hours.

Dogs tend to lick hot spots when they get anxious. I am sure not having my mom around, being in a new place and in pain, and being alone during the day for so long made him very anxious. 

After trying a neck cone, bandages, and special spray to keep him from licking, I tried diapers, and bathed him and tried to keep his 'bed' area in the bathroom as clean as possible but his leg became infected.  I could not keep him from licking that spot.

Those doggy diapers did not work. And I've never really been good at changing a baby's diaper, so trying to put a diaper on an lame, obese, incontinent wiener was ridiculous. The diapers this hole in the back, for the was just weird. But it was worth trying.

Poor Charlie looked so pathetic in his neck cone and diaper. It was so sad.

Charlie managed to wriggle out of the diaper pretty quickly meaning that he was just sitting in pee, on the bathroom floor.  It started to become impossible to keep him completely clean for very long. Especially since I leave the house at 6:40 a.m. and don't get home until nearly 4:00 or later, I couldn't keep enough towels clean for his 'bed' on the linoleum.

After realizing that I could not care for Charlie, mom certainly isn't healthy enough to care for him, in such a condition, we agreed that it was time to think about Charlie's quality of life. Specifically, we were keeping Charlie alive because he made us feel better, but the truth was, it was just wrong to make an animal suffer like that.

Charlie wouldn't even lift his head when I went into the bathroom by Friday morning. His leg wound was infected, he hadn't pooped in days and he was depressed and in pain. I made an appointment for him at a local vet for that afternoon. It was all I could do to put on my 'Mrs. Mitchell' act at school. All I could think of was poor Charlie.

I've never had a dog that needed to be put down before.

Saying goodbye to Charlie was incredibly sad.

And not just, like 'oh, hey this is the right thing to do, he is an animal and he is injured and its hard to kill a cute animals'....


More like, 'oh, hey this is someone's best friend, and you have to kill it because it is the right thing to do, and now your mom will be all alone because you couldn't save him and you failed and life isn't fair and you need to hold his paw and look him in the eye because he shouldn't be alone when he dies, he needs you to comfort him, and remember Where the Red Fern Grows?, well this is sadder than that times a million, yeah, it is that sad.'

Looking into his big, sad brown eyes, knowing that in a few minutes, he would go from being Charlie, to being gone, was heartbreaking.

The vet was very kind. She explained the procedure. I tried to comfort Charlie, but when I tried to tell him 'its okay Charlie' as the injection went into the catheter,  my voice came out in a squeaky, choked, whisper sob.

Knowing that my mom did not get to say her last goodby to him, or be there to hold him one last time can imagine how guilty I felt....but I knew I couldn't make him suffer until she gets out....

In one second, he was alive...and then he just wasn't....

At 6:00, I went up to visit mom. I handed her a small stuffed daschund, black with brown paws, and she started crying, big shoulder-heaving tears, holding it up to her cheek. She stared into the little toy's alabaster eyes and whispered 'you are a good baby dog, you are my sweet baby dog, its okay, Charlie, now you don't feel any pain.' 

After a few minutes, I gave her some photos that I had printed for her, and we held each other crying. We told stories about Charlie and we would go from smiling to crying again, realizing how unfair life is and how much he will be missed.

Mom said she wants to go to build-a-bear together, to have something special made that she can snuggle with at night, since she won't have Charlie to curl up beside her anymore.

I had to write this.

I am sorry if it made you sad. It feels like I am reading some sort of super sad book, and I just keep reading the sad part over and over again, making myself cry. But this isn't some sad book, and I can't just put the story down and walk away. It is part of me is my story...and I had to tell it so that I could set it free, move on to the next chapter...the happy one...where I get to take mom to a toy store to build her new best friend, one that will never get sick, that will always comfort her and lay by her side.

Thanks for reading.

Rest In Peace
Charlie Silver Bear
May 29th 2004--September 9th 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

Photo Collage Friday {Number Seventeen}

After the art auction in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago, we visited the studio of an artist living in the Crossroads District. He had many interesting things in his friend Meg thought it was one of the weirdest places she had ever been...This might not be my favorite photo collage ever....but I did find his studio interesting and there was some cool stuff hanging and hiding amidst the clutter.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Joplin Community Mural Project

In July, I mentioned that a team of artists was working in Joplin to create a Community Mural. The team met with children, and adult members of the community to create a vision for Joplin's mural. The design is now complete and the team is working on the painting stages of the mural.

Here are a few iPhone photos from the first community painting day.

 And here are a couple of Lensbaby photos from that first community painting day:

I would also like to share a conversation I had with a man on Facebook...he commented on the local newspaper's article link about the mural on August 24th:

Man: Is this free to the city? 

Newspaper: The chamber's Cultural Affairs Committee received grant funding as well as assistance through the Mid America Arts Alliance and funds raised during the "Dancing With the Stars" event.

Man: I'm just curious because there is local artist who would have gladly donated their talents to a project like one of the co-painters of the Hope Wall on 20th and Main I have been working with others to try to get more projects like this going...the hope wall with its thousands of signatures and messages from survivors, volunteers and organizations also became a "community based mural" by artists who donated their time to give something back to our city...dont get me wrong I'm not against this mural but my goal as an artist since this terrible event has been to do these things with minimal costs so that money is spent on rebuilding our city...lack of art or artists in this community is not in jeopardy but as more and more debris is removed the lack of homes, businesses and even something as simple as trees seems so much more important to me...I hope this isn't taken the wrong just passionate about helping joplin recover from this tragedy

Me: 'Man's name', what an amazing opportunity for you!! The mural team is a group of incredibly talented artists working throughout the Midwest to create murals in rural communities. They are working artists (because artists can't donate everything they do, or else they would never eat!), who are affiliated with the Mid-America Arts Alliance Mural Project. Dave Loewenstein is incredibly talented at gathering the insight from an entire community and its vision for a mural design. The grant was in the works as early as last year, and was approved in March. The team arrived in Joplin in July and has been meeting with community groups to develop a design for the mural. You should definitely head down there this weekend to talk to them, you have some great insight on keeping their community art momentum going after they leave!! All artists are welcome to donate their time and talents and be part of this amazing mural. Wow, I am so excited about this project, after seeing what has been painted in other small towns this is a really amazing opportunity for Joplin!!

Man: I work Saturday...may go up Sunday   

I am watching comments on other post relating to the mural...One woman said: 'I think that is cool what they r doing there but wish they would of did it the way ppl did it at 20th an main wall by the station....'

I really, really, really cannot wait for people to see how incredible this mural will be when it is finished!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Destruction in the heartland...September 5th...Part 8.....Cleanup.

Memorial Day weekend 1 week after storm
If only it were so easy to forget and move on.

About 80 days after the storm, I had to bring my mom to Joplin to close her old checking account and get a new I.D. card with her new address on it. She said that she wanted to go by and see her old place.

When we drove up and saw how much of her old home was gone, she was very upset.

She said, 'I didn't even know it was a tornado. I was never scared of storms and I'm still not. I just thought it was a mean man, hitting me in the back with the door. I didn't know what was going on.'

A week or so later, a severe thunderstorm came through. There wasn't a tornado warning, but the thunder woke my mom up. She called me. She was scared and upset. I think a lot of people were afraid that night.

The cleanup in Joplin is miraculous. Here are some pictures I took last month around Joplin. I tried to take them to 'match' the photos I took immediately following the storm. 

About 80 Days after the tornado

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Art Gallery + Kaleidoscope

A few weeks ago I went up to Kansas City for an art auction. Before leaving town, we stopped into the Kemper Art Gallery. This is one of my favorite places in Kansas City.

In one of the galleries, enormous Jules Olitski paintings filled the walls. If you have never seen a Jules Olitski painting in real life, it is hard to describe how the large Color Field paintings can make you feel when you are standing in front of them.

I wasn't allowed to take photos in the exhibit...but I did have a bit of fun with a cheap wood and plastic kaleidoscope lens. It sort of took the viewing experience to a whole other level....

Here is a photo of the exhibit program through my iPhone lense+Kaleidoscope lens. If you can imagine looking a room full of floor to ceiling paintings through this lens, this is sort of what it was like...only better.... was amazing.

Here is the kaleidoscope I am referring to....picked it up at a little toy shop in Eureka Springs for a couple of bucks.

Since we couldn't take pictures inside the gallery with it...we took it outside and put it up to the iphone camera to take a few shots of the famous Louise Bourgeois Spiders.

Here are a few more shots from my iPhone of the Spiders.

The kaleidoscope is a really fun iphone 'attachment'!!

And just for fun...I saw the picture below a few weeks ago on a blog and it made me smile...using the kaleidoscope made me think of it!