December 12, 2011

still here! a photo post--

yup, we're still here, and still doing stuff- I just haven't done anything with my photos lately! (I'm actually embarrassed to say that most of my recent pictures are still hanging out on the camera...) But, here are a few of them that I did rescue from photo cyber-purgatory!!
we took all three dogs to the groomers a month or so ago; no way are we patient enough to deal with all that hair!! Melissa and her staff at Puppy Love Pet Stylist always do a great job with them- Doesn't Krista look happy?? (Bisbee and Prescott are probably thinking, "come on, let's get home- it's dinnertime!")
a cool-looking early evening sky (the colors were much more vivid in real life)
everyone waiting at the door- must be dinnertime!!
Prescott's "olyphant" toy hanging out at the top of the stairs, waiting for him to come back.
"unpacking Christmas" from the coat closet. (I'll post some pics of the decorations, too!)
yesterday afternoon we went out for lunch, then attended a performance of Handel's Messiah given by the Scottsdale Choral Artists and Scottsdale Arts Orchestra. [The performance venue was a (large) Lutheran church-- notice all the organ pipes in the background? We didn't get to hear the organ yesterday, but I would definitely love to- it's one of the largest church organs in the state, and has over 5,000 pipes!]

October 25, 2011

pattern and color; details

I was messing around with cropping and color saturation in Picasa. I'm still not sure what I think about street art overall in terms of its legality (I believe the artwork in all these photos was sanctioned by the property owner), but the amount of work that went into all of this is just phenomenal.
And when you looke at it closely, the colors and patterns are amazing! (be sure to click on the photos to see them larger.)

October 21, 2011

a sign of the season:

I don't eat any of these, but I know when I see them in the store that Halloween (and candy corn!!) can't be far behind!

October 20, 2011

ArtFest- random photo wrapup

This post includes some of the photos I took that didn't really "fit" anywhere else in this series of posts... (or pictuers that I forgot to include earlier- lol!)

this is a detail photo of decoration on a car in the parking log- some people go all out with their art!!

this pic and the one below, are of the "Art Asylum" which was really the lobby of my dorm building. Since there was a classroom in my building, the tables were set up there all week long, for us to use at night. Lots of art-making, project-completing, and sharing creative ideas went on there! (and the Art Asylum is why I got very little sleep the entire time I was there; I was up till after midnight every night, working in my art journal... I just couldn't turn off the creative impulses in my brain that easily-- I guess I figured I'd sleep when I got home.)
This is my area in our dorm room, the night before we had to leave, when I was trying to sort it out to pack-- I made it "just like home" during the time I was there! You might laugh at this statement, but if you ever saw my crafting space when I'm in the middle of a project, you wouldn't-- Tom will just nod his head (somewhat sadly) when he sees this picture, I'm sure.
these two pictures (above and below) were taken in the Seattle airport... these were inset into the floor in the terminal, and I had to take pictures of them. I'm sure some of the other travelers wondered what I was doing taking pictures of the floor, but really, you never know what you'll see when you take the time to look around!
my plane didn't really look like a whale (thank goodness, since I don't think whales can fly) but it did get me back home-- as always, I was glad to get back home. And extra-glad, and surprised, to see Tom waiting for me inside the terminal, rather than at the curb!! (not so glad to unpack, though... lol!) Thanks for sharing in my ArtFest experience! I would love to go back again sometime; there's just something magical about being in that sort of environment, where you can practically "feel" the creativity and inspiration in the air.

October 19, 2011

when did this happen??

it seems like just yesterday we brought home this little ball of fur...
And now he's 13 months old already!! (and still growing into his legs and ears- lol!!) He's still really gangly and clumsy (and he's huge for a Sheltie), but once he finishes growing in his coat-- which could take a couple years-- he will be an absolutely beautiful dog. (Not that he's not now, you understand; he just looks a bit "unbalanced" with that big mane of hair and a "still un-Sheltie-like" look to his body.) this side-long look says, "enough posing; throw the darn frisbee, already!!" He is the master of the side-long look, that's for sure.

October 18, 2011

eye candy-- or, I almost wish I could sew (but not really)

When I was in line at the Bazzill warehouse sale, I was chatting with a couple other ladies in line (you gotta pass the time somehow when you're waiting 1 1/2 hours, right?). One of the ladies mentioned that there was a SAS Fabrics store very near my work, so a couple weeks ago, I headed there after work to check it out. (check out their website by clicking here.) The tagline on their website is "fabrics by the yard and by the pound" and they are not kidding: this is the chaos you see when you walk into the store-- shelves of ribbon and trims, piles and piles of fabric, and boxes upon boxes of charms, sequins, buttons, and doo-dads. My first thought was, "oh my gosh!" (On the other hand, I was also thinking "oh, boy!! there's gotta be some good stuff here!") I didn't buy anything that day (I only had about an hour to look around before they closed), but took some photos and got some creative inspiration from the riot of colors and textures. (I will definitely go back again-- probably on a Saturday, when I can spend lots more time digging through the boxes and shelves for those hidden treasures.) Till then, enjoy the photos!!
Row after row of rick-rack, pom-pom trim, and fancy braided trims. these colors remind me of fruit-flavored sherbet.
I don't know where they get the huge rolls of trims they sell; lots of the labels look vintage, to me.
this huge table is just piled high with bolts and end-cuts of fabric.
At the end of the ailes, there are shelves just chock-full of narrow boxes; each box holds a different kind of charm, button, or trim.
more rolls of woven trims- I love, love, love that tan trim with the fruit; it reminds me of my Grandma's house, for some reason. I would have bought it, but I couldn't really think of what I would do with it. (I don't really think this is one of those stores; it's more like "buy it and figure it out later."
a look inside a box of embroidered patches for 25 cents each. The box was about as tall as my waist, and about 2/3 full. (oh, and by the way, there were two of these boxes.) I could have spent hours here, just digging to see what I could find.
Another view of the fabric table, with some other shoppers next to it, so you can get a sense of scale. Creative chaos for sure, right?!? :D Like I said, I almost wish I could sew!

October 17, 2011

it was sort of like a rock concert...

A couple Saturdays ago, I got up early and spent my morning at a warehouse in Chandler, AZ. This was one of those times I realize I'm lucky to live where I do, since I wouldn't have gotten this opportunity anywhere else--

I spent my Saturday morning at the Bazzill Warehouse Sale!! Now, only a fellow papercrafter would really be able to relate to this, but just substitute your most favorite "thing," whatever it is, for the paper, and you'll get what I mean... they hold it once a year, and sell overstock and discontinued merchandise right out of their warehouse at dirt-cheap prices. The biggest draw (for me, anyway) is the paper-- luscious, heavyweight, 12x12 textured cardstock in hundreds of shades (they didn't have all the colors for sale, but enough of them), but I managed to find a few more things while I was there- haha!

So, how was it like a rock concert, you ask??

--there was a long line: I waited over 1 1/2 hours to get into the building (which might sound crazy, but again, if you love paper like I do, you understand.)

--it was pretty crowded: there was some pushing and shoving, just like at a crowded concert (none of it intentional, though- we scrappers are a pretty polite bunch, for the most part)

--there was loud music: they had a stereo going, playing some bouncy, upbeat oldies tunes while we shopped.

--there was a celebrity: Mr. Bazzill-- aka Doug Jones, the company founder-- was in attendance. Actually, he was acting as the doorman: keeping track of how many people were inside the building at any one time, and letting us in a few at a time so as not to get any fire code violations. (this also helped to prevent any riots by the paper racks, I'm sure.)

now, on to a couple pics of my loot:
my pizza box full of cardstock: over 120 sheets of smooth, textured, and specialty cardstock. (over $65-70 value for $20) Isn't it beautiful?? I just want to shuffle through it... I took a couple pieces of patterned paper with me to color-match, so as not to pick pretty-but-not-useful-to-me colors (like bubble-gum pink, taxi-cab yellow, fluorescent purple, or anything like that...) This pic is something I've been wanting to try: Bazzill makes stitching templates, so you can stitch on your scrapbook layouts. I think these were $2 each, and each one has 4-6 different designs in. (I also got a few other things: some chipboard, a couple accordian albums, and a package of fancy-shaped cardstock...) now, just to find the time to put these new supplies to use!

October 16, 2011

a well-deserved relaxing weekend...

after a grueling couple weeks for both of us (Tom had tests, quizzes, and mid-terms the entire week, while I worked overtime for the past two weeks getting ready for an external audit at my work), we deserved a relaxing weekend to make up for it. We slept late on Saturday, then drove up to Cave Creek, AZ and had a leisurely lunch at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in the area, El Encanto. This restaurant has indoor/outdoor seating and is situated around a pond where you can interact with the resident ducks, birds, and turtles while you enjoy some great food and drinks.
the pond in the middle of the restaurant. (I borrowed this photo from their website: see more photos in their gallery by clicking here.) The food is wonderful, and the atmosphere is non-stop... they were busy when we got there; we waited over 20 minutes to get a seat, and after we were seated, the service was a bit slow (a bit out of the ordinary compared to the last time we ate there).
this photo is, of course, sweets with my sweetie-- haha!! :D Because of the wait, they gave us a complimentary dessert-- fried ice cream with strawberry sauce.
a few of the resident ducks, trolling for corn chips. (I happily obliged.)
This sad sight was in front of one of the stores-- a sign that we were not the only victims of the dreaded agave weevil. (It doesn't make me feel any better about our agave dying, but at least we weren't alone in our misery.)
ooh, this caught our eye right away when we saw it-- a saguaro skeleton floor lamp!! We don't really have a place for it in our house, but if we had the $1800 on the price tag, we would definitely find a place! (file this one away in the "someday, when we build our adobe Santa-Fe style house" style file, I guess.) The day was topped off with a fire in the fire pit, a cigar, and some stargazing... the best way to end a relaxing day!

ArtFest: Vendor Night and Show & Tell

this post is kind of photo-heavy, but I wanted to show you some of the wonderful pieces of artwork made during ArtFest 2011. Along with a bit of craziness: this pic is the line of people waiting to get into Vendor Night... the instructors set up tables and sell pieces of their artwork, supplies, etc. And it was CRAZY!! (see for yourself, below)
For quite a while, it was practically impossible to even get close to a table, let alone see anything on that table. I didn't buy much; I got a necklace made from WA-state-beach pebbles, to remember my trip by, and some unmounted rubber stamps. And then I got the heck out of there, to catch my breath! The rest of the pics in this post are examples from Show & Tell; everyone could bring pieces made during the classes, to show off. This gives everyone a chance to see what was made in the other classes, and to see what the artists were teaching (to get ideas for picking future classes!)
a beautiful encaustic wax collage. (not sure who taught this class, unfortunately)
I think these pieces were from the class "OverSaturated Polaroid look by Lisa Bebi"... making photocopies look like color-saturated photographs.
a sewn "prayer flag" I think, one of Karen Michel's classes.
a fun journal. Jill Berry class.
this is a blury photo, but I love this piece-- a collage made on a vintage book cover. (I believe this class was taught by Tracie Lyn and Marilyn Huskamp)
this wonderful Santos is entirely handmade (and about 18 inches tall). (not sure who taught this one)
This fantastical creature really intrigued me: this class was all about making a 3-D sculpture on a wire armature, using sausage casing to make the "skin." The sausage casing was wrapped around the armature when it was wet, then would shrink onto the frame as it dried. (not sure who the instructor was for this one, either.)
wonderfully collaged mail-art postcards. (class by Orli Avineri, I believe)
polymer clay quilt, class by Laura Mika. and this is my Show & Tell scrapbook page: I printed small photos of some of the artwork, arranged them on the page, then collaged other bits and pieces around them till the page was filled in (except for one small space I now see, that I still need to fill in- lol!) This page actually took 2-3 hours to complete, but it was a lot of fun in a meditative sort of way.

October 11, 2011

ArtFest- The Art of Silliness

My third class at ArtFest was another one that had me kind of wary: The Art of Silliness, taught by Carla Sonheim. From the class description:
Here are the Top Five Reasons to take a Silly workshop: 5. You get to complete activity worksheets, third-grade style. 4. The drawings you create are meant to be silly, i.e. not perfect, i.e. not stressful, i.e. FUN! 3. You can mix metaphors all you want and pretend you did it on purpose. 2. You want to lighten up, in your artwork and your life. 1. The supply list is not a list. (fyi, the supply list was only one item: a black marker or pen) And also, there was this: "As a workshop teacher, I try to help adult students recover a more child-like approach to drawing and art-making. To loosen up… shed those fears, and just let the joy of creating be the primary focus: That’s what this workshop will be about."
I was wary because-- well, frankly, because I find it difficult to do that-- the whole "shed those fears, and loosen up" thing. It was a rewarding class, and it did made me think, about a lot of things-- but did it help me to loosen up in my artwork and in my life? To be perfectly honest, probably not much. (But that's not Carla's fault; that's all me-- it was still fun, though!)
Anyway, we did lots of fun (but kind of scary-to-me) things in that class, like drawing with our non-dominant hand, drawing without looking at the paper, drawing without lifting the pen / pencil from the paper, things like that. Below are some of the results:
On the left is a drawing I copied from a book for one of the drawing exercises. The point of the exercise (if I remember right) was to draw the "shapes" and "bulk" of the object without drawing the "outline" of the object. On the right is one of my "one-liner" (draw very quickly, without lifting your pen off the paper) drawings. I actually quite like how that cat turned out... I think he gives off the "essence" of cat, and he makes me laugh when I look at him! (I think what makes me laugh is that he's sort of cross-eyed, and that his whiskers look more like a droopy mustache than whiskers).
We also got to fill out elementary-school-style handouts throughout the day... filling out a worksheet takes the pressure off, somehow-- it really does take you back to that elementary school feeling. (FYI, Carla also offers this periodically as an online class; she sends fun worksheets like this to your e-mail inbox, along with othr fun stuff like photos of sidewalk cracks, ideas for doodling, etc. For more information about her classes, you can check out her blog by clicking here. ) The ship on the left was an exercise in randomness and using your imagination-- we ripped sticky-back foam into random shapes, then arranged them into an "object" and used the resulting image as a printing block. (a bit messy, but fun!)
This is the afternoon's exercises: we also got to make a sculpture!! (To be perfectly honest, I was not enthusiastic about this at the start-- my brain works much better in 2D than 3D). We made the wire armatures, then "filled" them in by wrapping yarn and fabric scraps around them. My bird didn't want to stand up, unfortunately-- he's tired, I guess! Then, we sketched our sculptures, and used Pan pastels to shade them... I actually like how these drawings turned out-- much looser than I would normally do, but again, I think they give the "essence" of the bird (as odd as he is!).
These are sort of amusing-- I don't remember the exact exercise- it was either "draw with your non-dominant hand," "or draw with your non-dominant hand without looking at the paper," I don't remember which. Whichever it was, the results are pretty funny; I was really worried about not going off the edge of the paper on that scrunched-up one, I guess!!
This little guy was one of the objects we drew for the "draw without looking" exercises...
I quite like how my drawing of him turned out! (see scrapbook page below)
And finally, here is the scrapbook page I made to document this class-- I included a couple of the actual class exercises on this page including my sad little dog scribble, and I used a pretty "loud" patterned paper for the background, because, well, it's all about being silly, after all!