Monday, March 29, 2010

Reliving my March Madness (2009)

Couldn't let the month of March pass me by without sharing last year's birthday festivities. You know, kids' birthdays these days have gotten a little out of hand, if you ask me. Parents (myself included) tend to go overboard for their kids on their "special day". I don't know, maybe it's because we didn't get all the hoopla when we were kids so we want to lavish it on our own now. I have to tell you, the only birthday I remember as a kid was when I shared a party with Karen Foster at Dapper Dan's and I cried when they placed the clown ice cream cake in front of us and sang happy birthday. Why did I cry? I don't know. I cried a lot as a kid. Still do, but I digress.

Anyway, last year I joined the ranks of parents who over-do-it for their kids on their birthdays and threw a homemade "Mad Science Lab" party for Wesley. Many hours went into the planning and preparation for this scientific extravaganza. And I know I was more excited about it than anybody!
Like my invite?


Family Fun Magazine was a huge inspiration for this party! I made lab coats from men's t-shirts. Each kid got to wear a pair of goggles, an oversized bow-tie and could get their hair moosed-up like Einstein. Their name tags were fun too. Adapted from the "Captain Underpants" books,  each "Professor got to follow the silly instructions to figure out their official names. I laughed out loud thinking up the names. Here are a few samples:

Needless to say, every experiment I meticulously planned and demonstrated for the kids failed miserably to the point where one neighbor kid asked, "Are there going to be any experiments that actually work?".  But it was fun! Boy-oh-boy, was it fun! Luckily, my hubby, arrived home early from his swim meet and saved the day recreating all the experiments correctly. The Beaker cake was a hit and the grand finale lift-off of the U.S.S. Wesley rocket entertained the entire neighborhood in all it's carbonated glory. My all-time favorite though, was the "Build-a-bot" activity. I collected cans and miscellaneous hardware for months leading up to this moment. All the parts fit together with magnets (hand-glued on by yours truly) Each kid got to make their own robot. They loved it! Success! Check out more pics on my Flickr page.
So I'm done with the boys' birthdays this year. I was going to do a big Indiana Jones blow-out for Jackson, but I thought better of it and we just did the family thing instead. To tell  you the truth, they didn't know the difference. Whewh! And there's always next year!

Friday, March 26, 2010

10 things I really should do, but can never seem to find the time:

1. Fix the plug on the light above the piano so Wesley can read his music better (bad mom).
2. Ride the stationary bike we bought in 2006.
3. Go through my magazine collection (dating back to 1999) and pull ideas and inspiration. Then throw the rest out.
4. Sort through my clothes and give away the 80% I don't wear anymore.
5. Update the family tree for my dad.
6. Walk Max and Birdie three times a day (like our neighbor, Will, does with his dog Cody.
7. Clean out the closet in the guest room.
8. Vacuum my car out.
9. Fill the two frames in my bedroom (that I got as wedding gifts almost 11 years ago) with pictures.
10. Change my extended-wear contact lenses every 30 days as directed.
Reason for doing #2 on my list above.
Funny how I found the time to devour all these snack-size sensations.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Week-at-a-Glance as of March 25th

WEEK-AT-A-GLANCE:  What a crazy week it's been, and it's not even over yet! I started my Mixed Media class Monday. Very fun. Painted the poppy-ish kind of flower (see below). Wood burned a sign for my neighbor's husband's outdoor kitchen. Then worked on some promo materials for Fund Education Now and the "Rally in Tally", going on as I blog. And today is Wesley's 8th birthday! He asked if I could bring Dunkin Donuts to school for his class and he wants to eat his birthday dinner of choice at the Mall in the Food Court. We're in the big time now!
Used miscellaneous papers in my stash to make the flower petals.
 Lined the flower with dyed organza, then beaded each petal. 9x12 canvas board.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Try something new...

Thought I'd try something new this week to celebrate the launch of my new ewe hooo! blog design. And surprise, surprise— this is my first piece for sale on! Just click here on "Try something new" to get to my Etsy page. Yikes! I'm so nervous! Hope you like it. I sure do. Maybe I'll by it back for myself:)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Baldwin Park Art Festival

It was a perfect day for an art festival. We dropped by the Baldwin Park Art Festival before heading to my niece's birthday party. Actually, Chandler dropped me off and took the boys to get hamburgers while I fast-tracked it down the lone isle of booths. I could have spent all afternoon there, but I had to take what I could get.

I got to visit my acrylics instructor, Sally Evans. She's been painting since she could hold a brush. I love her colorful style. That Lab looks just like my Max! And I had just enough time to pop in to see my wonderfully talented friend, Jennifer McCully.  I worked with Jennifer years ago and now she's doing exactly what I want to do! Creating for a living. Someday Melanie. Someday. She actually introduced me to the blogging art world last year when we ran into each other at our kids' swim practice at the Y. Thanks Jennifer! You need to update your blog girly!

Couldn't resist the nuns. I love 'em!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No More Left-Turns

One time in college, I was driving across campus in a big hurry to get somewhere when I remembered I forgot something back at my apartment. Not thinking, I attempted to make a left turn from the far right lane. As you might have guessed, I didn't make it and slammed right into an air-conditioning truck. So typical of my life. I'm always in a hurry to get somewhere and something gets me side-tracked.
Fast-forward XX years and I'm really making a concerted effort to focus on my art in 2010. Nothing's holding me back now. Chandler (hubby) has set me up with all the electronic bells and whistles. "No more excuses!" he says. I've cleaned up my studio. I'm taking a couple of art classes at Crealde in Winter Park to freshen up my skills. I'm joining some fellow artists online with Marisa Haedike and Creative Thursday for an e-course, "In the Fish Bowl—Life as an Artist. Online."  And I've started this blog. Woohoo! I'm on my way. Finally! Hoping I can stay on track with this. No more left-turns! 

Here are a couple of questions us "fishies" have been asked to answer in our e-course this week...

Q: Why do you love what you create?
A: I feel so blessed that I have an artistic talent. When I am creating whatever it is, a painting, a craft project, a Ben Franklin costume for my son's 2nd grade book report—time flies. It's what I truly love to do!  I feel like when I'm done with a piece, I know I'm done. It's the best it can be. And therein lies my problem. I'm a perfectionist, when it comes to creativity (not cleaning house, mind you) so I spend way too long on a project. Or worse, I stop what I'm doing in the middle of it because I know I can't put in the time needed to make it the absolute best it can be so I don't finish it. That's what I do with a lot of things in my life and that's why I'm taking this e-course to help me focus on being an artist with something to show for it.

Q: What are you working on when you lose all sense of time?
A: Oh, give me a few minutes of free time and I can get lost for ya! I can be out in my studio painting or making something crafty. I look up at the clock and it's 9pm, then I look again and it's 1am. How does that happen? I can also spend an entire evening just surfing the web at different blogs and web sites. My friend, Kelley and I call it ADH-GOOGLE-D. I'll start with a goal in mind to just check out my usual sites, then suddenly it's four hours later I've gotten nothing accomplished, but I've discovered 14 new projects I want to start. I love it and I hate it! Then there's deadline creative. Being in advertising for 15 years, deadlines are a way of life for me. I usually leave projects until the last minute waiting for my ah-ha creative moment. And when it finally comes (it always does, even though I stress that it won't) I go full-force and drop everything for the sake of the project. The kids might get chicken nuggets three nights in a row. If we run out of milk, we'll just have to do without until my deadline is met.  I'll search every morning through the unfolded basket of laundry for underwear and socks (for all of us). The dogs wait patiently while their morning walks are put on hold. I go through the usual routine with the kids: school, homework, swimming, piano, baths, books, bed, bla, bla, bla. But the entire time, my head is in the project, burning the midnight oil trying to make it better and better. Then, anywhere from 8 to 72 hours later, my project is done. I've met my deadline. And I walk out of my studio and back in to reality...and a very messy house. But that creative high carries me for days!

Q: What is success to you? (in terms of your art)
A: Success to me is a finished piece of artwork, or creative idea that I'm proud to say I did. That's short term success anyway. I also let that get in my way. I tend to  feel like I can't do it again (as in create another work of art). Long term success is something I haven't achieved yet, but am hoping to in the coming year. It's becoming an artist online; selling my pieces on etsy; being in art shows; getting to know other artists online and learning from them; sharing what I've learned... and making money while I'm at it.


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