December 15, 2012

journal page catch-up

just a few random pages in my journal that I don't think I've shown before (sorry in advance for the somewhat blurry pictures; for some reason, I can't seem to get crisp photos of my journal pages):

vintage bird image from the Graphics Fairy website (I think), random paper
and a couple bits of deco tape, along with some coloring (of course).
The page above had background paper on from when I made the book... a pretty floral Japanese paper and a piece of a vintage cookbook leaflet. For some reason, I could not figure out what to do with it from there, though! So, instead of collaging over the entire thing with more paper (I was thinking about it), I decided to do a *whitewash* of sorts and added a thin layer of white acrylic paint to blend the disparate background elements together. ...much better!

Happiness is a Warm Puppy
This page is another that was mostly done back when I made the book; the only things I added to this one were the magazine words and letters, a few pieces of deco tape, and the pen details. I loved this picture of the boy and his dog, and it immediately reminded me of Prescott (and Tom)!

This image was in a magazine article Mom sent me; I liked him, and wanted to save him. This page is a mix of handmade and scrapbook paper, along with patterns made with black marker and Sakura souffle pens.  (I'm using them an awful lot; seems like I just bought them, but I may need to replace a couple of them soon already!)

December 14, 2012

journal page "Into the Crazy"

Turns out this is a bit of a 'before and after' post, considering that this page looks very different now from when I first collaged it back when I made the book in 2010-- lol!

Finished page
This page is one of those 'more is more' pages that I like to do. I started out with the collaged image and background (see below), but when I looked at it, I really didn't like her dress. I started out pretty simply by adding silver dots all over her skirt with a paint pen- I still didn't like it! I thought briefly about covering the entire image with something else, but figured I'd try and salvage it first... I decided it was the huge flower that was bothering me, so I started adding hand-cut paper circles to cover it up. I liked that better, but decided it needed 'more' of something- so, first more circles, and then doodling on top of it all. After all that, I decided the borders looked too plain, so they got doodled, too.

a 'before' shot of the base page:collaged background
with a focal image from a fashion magazine.
The words were also cut out of a fashion magazine, and colored in with souffle and glaze pens. I can't remember what the article title was, but I thought the words I chose fit the image.

close-up of the skirt
Once I got going with the coloring (done mostly with souffle and glaze pens), I almost couldn't stop- whenever I stopped, I noticed a spot that I thought didn't have enough detail! Even some of the colored places have more than one layer of color on, if you look close- lol! This is definitely not one of those 'fall into place in 20 minutes' type of journal pages (it took a good number of hours to do all the coloring), but I do love how it turned out. And, since collaging, coloring, and doodling is my way of 'meditating,' it was quite successful, in my opinion!

December 13, 2012


just a few photos taken last weekend, at my company's Christmas party which was held at the Phoenix zoo... every year the zoo puts on a display containing what had to be millions of lights... neither of us have been to this event before, or even the zoo (why not, right?!? I know... we definitely need to go back during the day, when we can see the animals) so it was pretty neat (and overwhelming!) to see. I do not know how to work my camera well enough to get good pictures of something like this, but here's a few that turned out fairly decent:

I actually attempted to take this so it would be in focus,
but I quite like the blurry effect of all the multicolored lights. 
Our party was really nice (if a bit chilly); it was a whole-family affair, so people brought their significant others, along with their kids and/or their grandkids. We had a (heated) tent reserved right next to the lake, which played a synchronized music and light show periodically; there was a catered buffet dinner, an open bar, a gift exchange and raffle, and Santa (with presents) for the children in attendance.
this row of lighted trees reminded me somewhat of the
bioluminescent plants in the movie Avatar.
Tom and I took a bit of a stroll around some of the grounds, but we didn't go very far because it was crowded, and we didn't want to miss the gift exchange if we got trapped by the crowds on the other side of the lake.

Great Horned owl, close-up (this was done with the zoom
on my camera...we couldn't get up this close to her.) 
They had also arranged for a zookeeper to bring a couple animals to show the kids, which was pretty neat! (The poor zookeeper, though: the first animal she had was a lizard, and apparently all the kids wanted to ask her about was lions, lol!)

a rainbow of lights
All in all, it was a really fun night! The place was packed with people, and now that we've seen (some of) it, we know why. We'll definitely be making plans to go back and see the rest of it!

December 06, 2012

a bit of an explanation...

If you looked at the writing on the journal pages in my last post closely, you may have seen that I wrote a good bit about someone being sick (good eyesight, Mom!). So I thought I'd better explain: Prescott was sick last week, and it was a bit of a rough couple days. (He's better now, thank goodness.)

Last Monday evening, he started favoring one of his hind legs, and that progressed over the next couple days to being so stiff and sore (? we're assuming, anyway) that by Wednesday, he wouldn't really walk at all, which was quite worrying! I carried him down the stairs and to his bed where he rested all day till I could get him to the vet. He just laid there, snuffling with a runny nose, and generally looking pathetic:

here he is, looking pathetic, with a 104.5 fever...
(fyi, a dog's normal temp can go up to 102.5)
I got him to the vet's office where he looked pathetic for Dr. V. and tried to hide behind the exam room chair (not his usual behavior, at all). The vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory steroid and a painkiller to help reduce the pain in his joints, and took some blood for a battery of tests. 

She thought it might be Valley Fever (a fungal infection that's endemic to this area; it lives in the soil and is usually asymptomatic) or tick fever (a bacterial blood infection that can be carried by dog ticks), but those both came back negative (thank goodness!!) and by today, he's almost his old self again...  

almost back to normal!
He doesn't have quite the energy necessary to keep up with Bisbee just yet, but everything else seems normal enough. We don't know what exactly happened to him, but hopefully it was some sort of a weird fluke and once we wean him off the steroid he'll stay his chipper, energetic self! (Like I wrote on one of those journal pages, 'it would be nice if we could all just be healthy for a while!') 

And now, a totally random photo: part of my snowman collection, decorating the niche in the hallway. Ariel keeps trying to jump up here and mess with them, so Tom had to arrange them across the front of the shelf as a barricade to stop her- lol!! (so far it hasn't really worked, either... she's such a stinker!)

December 04, 2012

new-ish journal pages

a few of my latest journal pages-- nothing 'special' in terms of the artwork or the techniques, but at least I've been working in my journal, even if I'm not exactly inspired to make 'great art,' or anything. After all, a journal is a place to experiment, try out new techniques, and basically 'get out' whatever is in your head, whatever form that takes, right? (right!!)

The page above had a collaged background made a while ago; I finally 'finished' the page off with more collage and a focal image. The collage background was painted separately, and added to the book page later- I get into a painting mood sometimes, and paint onto thin newsprint... that way, I can spread out the papers, get as messy and painty as I want with stencils, spattering, and stamps, and then use the papers later on my  journal pages.

Bluejay and Vines page
This page was collaged back when I made the book in 2010; I added more doodling and details to it (the green dots and the deco tape) before writing on it, to make it more 'up to date' with the amount of layering and the types of materials I'm using on the other journal pages. (I just love that pink pompom trim!!)

Flower Garden
This page was also collaged during the class in 2010 when I made the journal, but it looked slightly different then than it does now... I had pasted a vintage magazine focal image onto it, but I never really liked it. The other day I was hemming and hawing about how to make it work, then decided the best way would be to cover it up! easy, right?!? lol! not so easy, really, because somehow I felt like I was 'obligated' to use that image, even though I no longer liked it... but I got over that feeling, and now I like the page tons better than I ever would have before!  

December 03, 2012

a weekend recap: Driving and Dining (courtesy of Triple D)

this weekend, we were 'out and about' both on Saturday and Sunday... here's some photos!

Saturday we started out by driving to Queen Creek, AZ to visit the Queen Creek Olive Mill and restocked our supply of locally pressed olive products: flavored olive oils, dipping oil, and stuffed olives. From there, we headed to the West Valley area to eat lunch at a local restaurant for Tom's birthday. 

photo borrowed from the travelmuse website
Haus Murphy's German Restaurant! We saw this restaurant featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives (thus the 'Triple D' in the post title); Guy Fieri visited here a few years ago, and we wanted to check it out! A couple weeks ago, we visited another restaurant featured on that show, La Piazza al Forno (just a block away from Haus Murphy's, actually)... we really enjoyed that experience (authentic Neapolitan wood-fired brick oven pizza), so we wanted to see how this restaurant measured up. 

The interior is very comforting, with dark wood tables and chairs, and
home-y decorations on the wall that evoke its German heritage.

Holiday decorations in the hallway; I had to take a photograph 
of these handcrafted carolers for the nostalgia factor...

a close-up of the girl caroler:
I remember my sister Jackie making figures like this when 
was little! They're made with a wire armature, cut and 
shaped Styrofoam balls for the heads, hands, and feet, 
and stiffened fabric for the clothes.

Tom's celebratory birthday stein of German beer!!
a 32-oz stein of an authentic Spaten lager (very tasty, he said)

(and fyi, I drove home.)
We had a difficult time deciding what to have (there are lots of really interesting things on their menu; we'll definitely have to go back again so we can try out more of the menu), so we decided to delay the decision of what to order... by getting appetizers first!

Haus Cheese Spead platter: house-made Cheddar cheese spread, 
Gherkins, cocktail onions, and assorted rolls. It was yummy!!

Tom ordered an appetizer of potato pancakes, one of his favorites...
they came with sides of applesauce and sour cream. (also yummy!)
 The appetizers were a great way to start out our lunch! The Cheddar cheese spread was wonderfully sharp, and everything else was extremely tasty as well. The potato pancakes were crispy and flavorful, and really didn't need either of those sides to enhance the flavors.

Tom enjoyed veal brats with German potato salad
and red cabbage, along with house-made spicy mustard.

my plate of chicken schnitzel, with a buttery white wine sauce.
Our verdict? Haus Murphy's was a hit! It's definitely 'heavy' food, since it's authentic German cooking, but the flavors were good, and the service was top-notch. We'll be going back there again (the Sauerbraten is next on the menu, I think).

Sunday morning, we hit the road again for a continuation of the birthday festivities! We headed to another Valley Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives destination, Matt's Big Breakfast, a small diner in downtown Phoenix. When Guy Fieri visited here, they were in their previous location (only about a block away from the current location) and the place only held about 15 people. So, patrons would have to wait for an hour or more to get in. The new place is larger, so we only had to wait about 40 minutes. (and yes, it was totally worth the wait!) 

Matt's uses top-notch ingredients: locally-made sausage and chorizo, local organic honey, cage-free eggs, locally sourced bacon, etc. Tom had chorizo and eggs, and I had griddle cakes with thick-cut peppered bacon. Yum!!

Since we've already gone to three of the 11 places Guy Fieri has visited in Arizona, I think we'll have to make it a mission to visit the rest of them eventually. (between now and then, I think I'm eating a salad or two, though-- lol!)