Friday, March 30, 2012

Make your own plein air watercolor set

I've really gotten into watercolor painting and with spring here, it's fun to go outside and paint something beautiful I happen across.  However, it's kind of hard to schlep all your gear around.  The answer to this is a traveling plein air watercolor set. Plein air means "in the open air"

It's how us creative types try to feel all worldly and crap.
:p

I found a couple tutorials online on how to make your own mini plein air kit, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Start with an altoids box (or that approximate size) and a block of white sculpting clay.  Get the brand that you can bake in your home oven.  (Fimo, sculpty, etc).  You'll also need some glue and a can of white spray paint

This altoid tin is really a blank I bought years ago to do something crafty with and never did it apparently.  I think I was going to use it for a scrapbook.

Didn't happen.

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1. Normal people would probably spray paint first, but I ws anxious to get started so I just opened the fimo, worked it until it was soft and pressed it evenly in the bottom.

2. You can see where I'm starting to make some wells for my paints.

3.  I used the handle of one of my steak knives to make my wells because it was about the right size, flat on the end and "retangle-ish".  After you do all the rows, you will probably have to come back and do them again and and again as the fimo will displace and distort the other wells as you go along.  Just keep working it until you get them all even without a lot of distortion around the edges.

4.  Bake the fimo in the oven according to the directions.  I believe I baked my for 20 minutes.  After it cooled, I could see that it shrank slightly from the baking process so I used a little tacky glue as kind of "caulking" around the edges.  I didn't want water to get under it and cause rust.


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You can add paints now if you like but if you haven't spray painted it yet, don't be like me and do it now.  Cover the well area and spraypaint the lid white.  You want it white so you can see if your colors are mixed to the shade you want.

Once your paint is dry, add your paints.  Leave the top open until they are dry.  You've just created a traveling holder with 10 pans of paint! (you can tell which are my cheap ones and which are the expensive ones lol)

Now I can just drop it in my purse and go.  I have this brush in my purse all the time.  I keep a little waterbucket in my glove box (which is a single serving ice cream container) so if the urge ever strikes, I can paint when I wish.

You can make these even smaller if you like.  It's almost a contest to see who can make the smallest travel set.  I saw one that fit in the cap of a water bottle - and worked!

This isn't a 100% true "trash to treasure" because it was all new materials, but find yourself some altoids (who can resist those tins?) and make your own!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Boo Kitty's bachelor pad

03-29-boo

I have a boyfriend.

His name is Boo Kitty.  He adores me.  It's kinda nice having all these guys that just fawn all over you like you are some kind of supermodel or something.
(made out of catnip)

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Boo Kitty lives on our deck.  I'm sure he thinks it's the Taj Mahal.  Thing is, he'd be living on the foot of my bed if I wasn't married to a grumpy old man.

Anyway, he spends most of his day on the deck, taking naps, hanging out, waiting for the food machine (me) come outside and give him some krunchies and some rubbins.

I was feeling kind of bad, we had about a week of rain and he was wet all the time.  I'd stick blankets under the bench but he wasn't interested.  Then Tanner decided to make him a condo of his own and he's been thrilled ever since.  He has spent many an hour there, especially if it's rainy or cold out.


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It's an old cat litter box (clean) with an old comforter on the inside, and a blanket to cover and keep out the wind.  Then a piece of granite on top of that to keep out water. 

Oh.  And a plant.

Every nice house needs a plant.



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He's as happy as a pig in slop.

Poor delusional boo kitty.
Just how I like my men.

I bet this is how they get cornish game hens

03-28-chickens

I think it's safe to say I am sooooo over chickens in the house already.

I think it's time for a long term chicken vacation, and not just one to the back yard for a few hours. Sadly it's a few more weeks before they can go into a more "outdoor assignment" since they don't have all their feathers yet.  They are officially awkward ugly-teen-stage birds.

They also stink.

And they try to fly out of their playpen "bedroom".  (I caught two sitting on the edge of my dining room table.)

Hey, but look at the bright side, the second wave of chicks will be here tomorrow.

Shoot me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

chick chick chick chick

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It's that time again....
BABY CHICKS!!!


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This means lots of peeps and squawks. Pecking and sleeping. Heat lamps and special chick feed.

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And chicken snuggles!

Another local photographer had a special mini easter shoot and wanted someone to take the chicks when she was done - because she's a responsible person, unlike the girls I saw carrying baby ducks into the wallsmart.  Something tells me they'll be snapping turtle food in about 4 weeks.

:(

Anyway, yep, you don't need to clean your eyeballs.... they are colored.  She colored them herself carefully with some food color.  They are ok - don't fret.  They'll lose all this color once they lose their baby downy feathers. 

In just a week, they are a good 30% bigger.  Soon they'll outgrow their tub which is in my dining room.  We'll set the playpen up again and watch out, it'll be a real treat.

Watch this space for more photos of chickens than you ever wanted or dreamed of.


In semi-related news...

RIP Daisy Chicken.
*sad face*


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Tanner found her next to the lilac bush.   Poor Daisy.  No idea what happened to her.  I've had several chickens die recently unexpectedly.  From what I understand, chickens are really good at hiding when they are sick so you don't know what's up until it's too late.  Thinking back, I haven't really seen much out of Daisy the past few days.

She was such a good chicken, and was the one I'd go find when a kid wanted to hold or pet a chicken.  She was docile because my neice Tayen packed her around like a kitten the first 5 months of her life.

She was also a little bit dumb, which I have found makes for a pretty good pet.
Don't tell Jingles I said that.

I know some people think it's "just a chicken" but she was still a living creature that lived here and we got much enjoyment from - much like other people's dogs and cats.

We'll miss Daisy Chicken.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I have a "special sock"

I have a special sock. 

No... not a "special sock" you big weirdo.

It's just a sock that I use regularly.  You see, Gene and I have a gas fireplace in our bedroom we use for heat.  It works REALLY well btw if you were wondering, sometimes it gets really hot in there.

And the fireplace makes it really warm too.
;)

(haha.  sorry to the relatives that just read that.)

Anyway, a couple years ago Gene had surgery on 2 hernias and we ended up spending the entire summer together because he couldn't work. 

I only wanted to kill him 14 times. 

It was a magical summer.

When he was in the hospital, they gave him some socks.  They are ugly.  Gray with some rubberized marks on the bottom so when he got up to walk down the hallways, he wouldn't fall down and break a hip or something.  Which ended up being a real possibility.

When he went home, they sent the socks home with him.  Quickly one disappeared leaving us with one lonely rubberized sock.

What does this have to do with the fireplace?  Well let me explain.  Sleeping in the bedroom with a fireplace is vavoomromantic, but it's also a pain in the arse when you want to go to sleep. 

You see light and shadows dancing across the ceiling all. night. long.
Even through your eyelids.  Which makes sleeping kind of a challenge.

Gene came up with using a sock as an eye shade.  BRILLIANT!  He, however, quickly moved on to a night mask - which I don't know why I didn't buy me one too, I just didn't get around to it.

I started using gray sock as my night shade and now I have a hard time sleeping without it!!

Rubberized feety part sticks to my face and helps it from sliding off.  (I never thought I'd say that sentence.)  It's long and covers my whole dang head from ear to ear and it's super thick so no light will sneak in.

But the amusing part is when I lose it somewhere in the middle of the night.  Trying to find gray sock in a bed of quilts, sheets, pillows and a glass man is frustrating.

Maybe I should put a little strap on gray sock to make a mask or pin him to my pajamas like a note on a kindergartner.

Summer is coming - spring is most definitely here - and there's no longer a need for a fireplace in the bedroom for heat. 

In the meantime, it's time to wean myself from gray sock.

Someone hold me.

03-16-socks

Saturday, March 17, 2012

They didn't even discount this loaf of bread! wth?

03-15-bread


While standing in the checkout lane with Gene, I realized I forgot to buy some bread.  He ran over and came back with this loaf with a big dent in it.

I pretty much had him convinced that it probably looked like that because of the urine trail left by the rats as they ran across it.

Through a queasy look he says "should I take it back?"

"Nah".

I have virtually no "quease factor" .  Sorry in advance for getting a chuckle out of trying to make you hork.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Aaaaaaaaaachoooo!

03-15-jingles

I'm not the only one loving spring around here.

So few windows that we can get a little fresh air in (the storm last summer took most of our screens). One that does have a screen seems to be clogged up consistantly with a cat.

Gives "springtime allergies" a whole new level of sneezing doesn't it?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I dreamed of being a Gunne Sax girl

When I was a kid, there was this store in my home town, it was called Turners.  Turners was pretty amaze-balls considering that it was such a little town and it was a (mostly) clothing store that actually had some current fashions.

It also had a dreamy selection of expensive fabrics that I rarely got to buy. (I've sewn since I was about 12).

Turners was a little pricey.  Usually out of the price range for my fairly poor self.  No, we weren't eating dirt, but we didn't have a lot of extra money to spend on something as unconventional as fancy dresses and "high end" pretties.

Around the time I was in junior high/high school, the craze ran through the local fashion of "Gunne Sax".  Remember those?


03-15-gunnesax

Yes my friends, we clothed ourselves in pretty calico dresses with lace and ribbons in apparently some attempt to look like Laura Ingalls.

*on purpose*

Yeah, I have no idea why either.

If you didn't find the dress or shirt you wanted, there were always patterns available so you could make your own!  Complete with matching Gunne Sax fabric in the back of Turners.


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BUT, you were nothing unless you had a Gunne Sax dress. Girls were wearing them to dances and I seethed with jealousy.

I would go to the back of the store when I had a chance, and finger the fabrics, touching each bolt, pulling them out to check the price on the end of every bolt but most of the time the fabric itself was out of my price range - which was zero dollars.

Then one day, I was looking through the racks and ran across a pretty gunne sax top for a few bucks.   It was long sleeved with a high collar.  Ruffles around the collar and sleeves.  Cream colored with blue flowers.  So "Little House on the Prairie" it was sickening.  I think it was $7.00. Finally in my price range!

No idea where I might have had the money to buy it.  I always seemed to have a few bucks and I was (and still am) the best bargain shopper.

I loved that top and wore it at least once a week, twice if I could get away with it.  I even had my class photo taken in it.

I don't know what ever happened to it.  Probably ended up in my grandma's quilt fabric bag.  I should check my quilts to see if I have a swatch.

I wanted to share that photo with you, but can't find it!  (i'll share when I do someday).  In the meantime, enjoy this photo of me in high school with a skeleton instead.

Check out the hair... business in the front, party in the back.
I also rocked that belt and pearls. 


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PS.  I still have that letterman's jacket.  I loved that thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Delicious Pi

03-14-pie

In honor of "Pi Day" I decided to buy a cherry pie and have a slice with ice cream for lunch.

Actually, it was more like in honor of "Ohhh PIE Day".

The ice cream is just in honor of "I Don't Think My Butt is Big Enough Yet Day"

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Have a barrier of trash around the house isn't ALWAYS bad

03-12-boo
I still have a lil' critter that hangs out at my house.  I haven't talked Gene into letting him be an inside boo kitty yet, but considering my last post, I feel we're closer to that point yet.

*evil*

Even though he's kind of a little guy (it's all relative, my other cats look like small panthers compared to boo kitty), he eats a lot.

No.
a. lot.

I couldn't figure out why he was eating so much.  I commented he probably had a tape worm the other day as I went inside to fill his bowl of water.  Before I could get back outside the cat food bowl was teaming with chickens!!!

So he had kind of a tape worm - 15 of them and they were all chicken shaped.

To keep them out I finally  had to do this:


03-12-boo2

They are so confused, but there's less chicken poop on my deck now!

Dear Tanner,
You have excellent gate making skills.  You are also my very favorite 17.5 year old in the world (he had a half birthday yesterday).  Your first job this spring is to make me a gate to keep the chickens from eating the cat food.

And pooping on my deck.

deck poop is bad.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Harley Davidson Haiku

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{2010 Harley Davidson Dyna Wide Glide}

Gene's Harley Haiku:



Still a little boy
Expensive kind of bauble
He's very spoiled


Do not be stupid
There is no need to die yet
need more insurance


Lana's gonna want
something so very sparkly
to get even here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

That there is some pretty plain air - but it smells like chicken crap

As I said a few days back, I've taken up watercolor painting. In that, comes a flurry of purchases that I probably really didn't need, but wanted them anyway so I did it. :p  Something I'd been wanting to do, almost from day one, was plein air painting. 

Plein air means "in the open air".  I love watching videos of people finding awesome little spots and painting on the fly.  It's called "watercolor sketching".

So I assembled my purchases - a moleskin (actually, this isn't the official moleskin, I have one of those too!), my watercolors (totally random placement), a water bowl (which is the blue bunny ice cream container and the perfect size), a pencil and two brushes. That's what those gold things are.


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See how pretty those brushes are?!
These are escoda kolinsky sable travel brushes.

Have I told you that brushes are ridiculously expensive?  Some of them each hair is laid in BY HAND.  No lie.

I saw a brush that was $1100.  *one brush*

I said "wow, a brush for $1100!"
Moving on.



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Here is my cheap water bin from a single serve ice cream container.  I couldn't afford anything else after buying brushes. LOL. 

Please note the seashell I found in my yard.
How did a seashell get in my yard?

Anyway, after sitting outside for about 12 seconds, I realized it was pretty farkin' cold!  Don't let those sunny 47 degree days fool ya.  That's still cold.

Unwilling to just give up, I decided to just sit in my jeep and paint something I could see.  My waterbowl is in the console. 
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I decided to paint the view of the big tree in the back yard, which isn't terribly exciting as it's still pretty brown out, but it was a good exercise in restraint.

As I put the painting on the dashboard to dry in the sun for a few minutes, I hear a "thump thump thump".

What was that?

"Thump thump thump" again.

What in the world?



that's when I see this:
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A chicken, with her wee little brain with 7 tiny neurons flashing, decides it's a great idea to jump up on the bumper and peck all the bugs off the jeep.

Did I mention that the radiator is fairly exposed in a jeep.  yes, it's a really stupid design.
And I had a chicken pecking at it.

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She fled as soon as I came around the corner.

And with that I say, every pain in the arse chicken I've had so far is one of those damn black barred rocks.

Something tells me I have chicken noodle soup in my future.

And a car repair bill.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Get an album - 25 cents

UPDATED - New album out

Want an entire album for only .25 cents??
Guns and Roses Greatest Hits

Passing it along because it's like 99.5% off!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bessie the cast iron skillet that broke my will

03-08-pan


A couple years ago, in an attempt to be more like Laura Ingalls, I impulsively bought a cast iron skillet at the wallsmart while shopping one day.

I knew the basics of cast iron - don't stick it in the dishwasher.
That was about it.

So it basically started out with points against it.

I made a few acceptable things out of it.  For example, I like to cook rolls in it in the oven.  They turned out fat and fluffy. Kinda like me. 

I had a hard time keeping the seasoning.  Probably because I was hell bent on using dish soap to clean it - to hell with 200 years of pioneers ahead of me.  I wanted that beoytch clean!

Finally, the ultimate slap in the cast iron skillet's face (actually it was my face), was when the skillet was left sitting on my light colored granite counter top for an entire weekend.
Right next to the sink.
Where it was wet.

I still bemoan the rust color in my counter top.  It took me months and months to get it to the level where only *I* can see it. (If you're wondering, Oxiclean is the answer.  You'll have to spread it on, put plastic over it and leave it for a few DAYS).

Just for the record, the person that left it there has a penis.
He's still apologizing for it.

So because of how pissed I was, I went back to my good old Paula Deen teflon pans and relegated the cast iron slag hag to the cabinet with the roaster.  I vowed to only take it out when I had enough people over that I had to run 4 burners at one time. 

Which is never.

*insert a year here*

The one day, I was reading online about teflon, and how it's really not that good for you.  Especially when the bottom of your pan looks all "fluffy".

Oh hey Paula Deen.  You kinda let me down there.
I don't fault her really.  Like EVERY damn teflon pan eventually does that no matter how careful you are.

So sadly and begrudgingly, I threw away my super favorite saute pan that I used for pretty much everything, and dug back out old Bessie the beoytch that stains your counters when you're not watching.

It was like she peed a ring of rust around my stove to lay claim to her territory.  Or maybe she just wet herself when she got close to the sink and saw the dish soap.  Kinda like my cat does.

Regardless, I vowed to live a ever so slightly better life by letting some iron leech into my food on a regular basis.  This means Bessie and I will have to come to an understanding.

I understand that:
1. I have to fry bacon once in a while so that seasoning stays nice and shiny.
2. Dish soap is bad. *shiver*  I use hot water and a scrubby pad and that seems to be working.
3. Towel dry only.  This means immediately.  Not on Monday after a weekend of partying on T-bones for dinner and bacon for breakfast.  Like... now.

I vow I will never:
1. Put her in the dishwasher.
2. Leave her unwashed for a few days.
3. SET HER ON THE COUNTERTOP.

Here's the deal though.  I feel like I'm having to put more oil into my food which I DO NOT NEED.  So, my question to you is this - give me your best tips on cooking in cast iron.

Which really isn't a question, really more of a commandment.
Unless I put a question mark on the end....

Give me your best tips on cooking in cast iron?

Makes me sound less bossy but kind of spineless.
Which is exactly how a cast iron skillet on my counter has made my husband feel.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Just a boot. Stuck on a fence.

03-03-boot

Somedays you just feel like stickin' a boot on a fence.
Gotta do something with them right?

Shot in Iowa.
Processed with VSCO.
Be checkin' out my new logo.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Who's in your tribe?

03-1-greetings

I'm kind of glad February is over.
really.

Long story short - it sucked.  Family is difficult.

I need a cheerful greeting like, yesterday.

Gene and I have been talking a lot over the past few months on the family vs. tribe mentality.  I've known this for a really long time and you if you know me, you'll know one of my favorite sayings is "Your family is thrust upon you, but you get to pick your friends."   If you're lucky, those people might overlap, but not always.

I tend to be a person that always says "why?" and that has caused me difficulty in life.

"Go to bed, it's late."
"Why do I have to go to bed, it's only 8 p.m."

"Do well in calculus or else"
"Why?  I'll never use it."

"This is the rule, so we need to follow it."
"Why is this the rule, it doesn't make sense?"

People don't like for you to question their reasoning.  It makes for quickly pissed off people. 
Sorry 'bout that.
I don't plan on changing.  Someone needs to stand up and ask questions rather than following like a blind sheep.

So when I was a kid, I always questioned the "why" of family.  Why do I have to be so loyal to so-and-such?  Just because he/she is related by a random pool of genetic material?

How about this instead - how about I pick those around me that I deem to be my homemade family and I'll call them my tribe. 

A Tribe is a groups of people that choose to be together.  Once in a while a tribe will pull in a new member (sometimes againt their will) to help spread around the genetic pool a bit, but as a general rule, everyone is there because they choose to be, not because they are forced to be.

My tribe is small.  Mainly because my trust of most people is fairly slim.  (I know, that's sad).  I feel like people have little loyalty anymore.  "I'm only going to do this if it serves me." and once it no longer "serves" them well, they are out. 

Lather. Rinse. Repeat dozens of times and you have the foundation of mistrust of the human race.  Truth is, I really have little faith in most people.

This is something I struggle with on a daily basis.  Trusting others.  Moving past the mistakes and misgivings of others.  Opening up my heart again so if the opportunity knocks, then I'll be available to let someone in.

Which seems to be working for the most part.   New friends are being made.  I feel like I found a place I fit in once again - art class.  Just like high school all over again.  Full of the art nerds, the true talents, the goof balls and the geeks.  We're a little clan of sorts - but that's soon coming to an end.  I found my voice enough the other day to voice that I really didn't want it to end and can we get together more.   Many said yes.

Maybe that's my art tribe.

And while I open my heart a little to let people in, at the same time I grieve for my husband as his closes up more and more.  People  you think you love and trust keep disappointing him left and right and it's hard to watch.  My mamma bear is strong and I want to kick a bunch of faces in.  But instead, all I can do is give him a hug and be his best friend.

Because he's mine.

Yes this is a venting post.  I try not to be so much of a downer if I can but sometimes you have to be real.

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