Saturday, December 26, 2009

New art! (sort of)

Earlier this month, I bought the new ArtRage 3 upgrade for myself, and then spent a long time procrastinating actually doing anything with it. Well, that's not entirely true. I did open it up at least once a day and scribble and try to figure out how all the new features work. I finally decided I would use the new smooth inking pen to trace over one of Grandpa Harry's ancient drawings.

This is a photo of the original drawing. It probably dates back to the 1920's or 30's. Ever since I first saw it, I've been wanting to trace it so I could color it in (digitally, of course), but it was easier said than done. The original drawing is sketchy and the paper is all dark and discolored. When I tried to trace it in Photoshop, my traced lines were shaky and uneven. But the smoothing effect in ArtRage made my tracing nice and smooth. I traced the whole frame today and painted it with AR3's new digital watercolors.

I have saved a copy of it as a png file, so hopefully sometime I could use it in some digital scrapbooking capacity. I will also make it available for anyone else who wants it (for personal use only). Just let me know, and I will send you the full size.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Pictures from Santa Barbara

We packed a lot of fun into a couple of days. Here are some pictures on Flickr.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

In a litttle while, I'm going to turn off my computer and try to get the house cleaned up for the holiday. We're not even having Thanksgiving here, but I'm still making a turkey and my favorite accessories and bringing them to Jessi's house. And on top of that, Jerry will be on vacation and in a few days we'll celebrate our 30th anniversary.

I wish you all the best!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A little Death Valley mojo

Only a pair of energetic twenty-somethings can throw some stuff into the back of a truck and take off for Death Valley for a single night and only part of a day. Michael and Jessi did it, and had a great time. They came home eager to share their experience, and their photos. I was grateful for the vicarious DV vibes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The story of Georgie

Way back in the magical year of 1974, I wrote and illustrated a childrens story for a school assignment. I had saved the story, which I had put together into a little book, but it got lost along the way. For the last few decades, I believed that it had disappeared at the hands of an old boyfriend, but it turns out it was at my parents' house all along. Time has not been kind to the pages, which have become yellow, spotty, and brittle. I took pictures of each page, photoshopped out the worst of the spots, and put them on Flickr. You can view the pages in order and read the story.

There was another little story book, lost and found together with Georgie. I will upload it when I get a chance.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And speaking of procrastination...

Here's some of the things I could or should be working on:

Digitally preserving 2 children's books I wrote way back in the last millenium (about 35 years ago) that I thought were lost forever, but turns out my mom had them and she gave them back to me.

Figuring out what to do with an antique doll that is literally disintegrating. Should I try to save and repair her, or donate her head, (the only part not disintegrating), to a doll hospital?

Designing a T-shirt for the arboretum nature guides.

Teaching myself how to use Adobe Illustrator.

Working on the area of my yard where I want to plant vegetables this winter. I have roots to dig out where a large plant was partly removed, and more smaller plants to dig out, and compost to mix in.

And that doesn't even include all the regular everyday stuff that I am continually procrastinating on: Housecleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, exercising. All that kind of stuff. Honestly, some days I'm lucky I manage to work bathing into my day. So what am I doing with myself? Farting around, mostly.

I do my volunteer stuff at school, and at the arboretum. I visit friends. I waste time on the computer. I dote on my 3-legged dog and my 3 legged stick insect, among other pets. I manage to get done what needs doing. There is (almost always) food and clean laundry, and the dog hair never gets deeper than our ankles before I get to vacuuming. The other things, the list above and more, wait patiently. I'll get to them eventually.

Boomer: still in a state of grace

Sometimes I don't post because I've got nothing going on. Other times, like lately, I don't post because I'm too busy, or too full of disorganized thoughts, unfinished projects, and anything else that makes a good excuse for procrastination. But I wanted to make this post about Boomer.

His cancer has returned, in his lungs.

He has shown no symptoms, yet. It was an X-ray that revealed a couple of dark spots.

This is not something unexpected. But we expected it a long time ago, and then when it didn't come, we stopped waiting for it. We just went on with life. Boomie went on with his life. Now that it's here, we are faced with a choice, similar to when he had his leg amputated. Do we just let nature run its course, or do we try to postpone the inevitable with chemo?

A year and a half ago, we decided not to do the chemo. And although the prognosis was 6 months, he's still with us. Now the vet says he may live another 3-6 months without any further intervention. With a metronomic protocol (home-administered chemo cocktail in pill form), he may go another year or more. It's decision time all over again. Or it least it was this past week. We have decided again not to do the chemo. We will continue as we have been for the last year and a half, loving him and keeping him happy and comfortable for as long as we can. This is exactly how we felt last year, except I know his grace period is not likely to continue another 18 months.

Boomer and Marley, hangin' out recently.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Digital scrapbook pages

I made the first layout more or less from scratch. You can appreciate it better if you see the original Emma picture below.

She was sitting under the metal jack o lantern thing. Actually there was more to the picture than this, including part of her mom's legs, shirt and arms, but not her face. So I cropped her
out, and then I decided to really change things up. The next picture is the result:

This was a quick page freebie that I got here. I'm really having fun with these things.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Those 70's ads

Ok, I've been looking through my new-old magazines, and trying to figure out what I am really feeling nostalgic for. I know I long for the energy and creativity I used to have, but these magazines are turning out to be more like a visit to the Twilight Zone than I'd anticipated.

Geez, I forgot how many cigarette ads there used to be in magazines!

Kinda yucky, huh?

Remember these ads, ladies? I sure do. As a young girl, I remember seeing them in my mom's Woman's Day magazines, and wondering exactly what they were selling and how it worked. Or even if it worked. By the time I graduated high school, I was well endowed enough that the ads became irrelevant.

Ok, I don't remember ever seeing a grasshopper ride-on toy for kids. I would have remembered that. Made by the Marx company, according to the ad. I couldn't even find a photo of one of these online. They must not have sold very well.

My childhood dog, YoYo, ate these.

I thought these were pretty.

Oh man, look at that floor! That kitchen needs my green pot, no? I made soup in it tonight, by the way :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

70's nostalgia ladies magazines!!

OK, remember the green saucepan I bought at Goodwill a few weeks ago? Well, that only served to feed a pre-existing but growing desire for 70's era nostalgia. I came of age in the 70's, got married in '79, and sometimes I feel like I've only gone downhill from there.

For about a year, I've thought about finding some old magazines for Fall. Fall never seems to last long enough for me, especially these days when there's already Christmas stuff in the stores, and by the day after Halloween, the Fall merchandise will be all but gone and the Christmas stuff will be absolutely everywhere. I don't think it was this way 35 years ago, and now I am about to find out! I ordered my three favorite ladies magazines from November 1974 and they just arrived today! (and yes, I photographed them on my genuine 70's era kitchen floor!)

And, I haven't opened them yet! Well, actually, I flipped part way through the Good Housekeeping, but stopped myself, because I want to wait until I can relax and savor them. Think of the old recipes they have, the decorating and crafts ideas, and all those old ads! This should be a real treat! I will try to post pictures of whatever seems interesting or inspiring.

Oh, and here's where I got the magazines. Maybe they have some of your old favorites, too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baby Emma this fall

Enjoying her first Halloween.

I got this page as a "quick page freebie" here. Just popped in Emma's picture.

This one, I put together myself with a bunch of leaves and stuff that I've collected over the last couple of years.
I made my first scrapbook page with baby Emma earlier this year. You can see it at the end of this post.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wet dog season begins.

Forget about holiday baking. The most prevalent aroma that fills our house in winter is the smell of Wet Dog. We got just a taste of that yesterday. Boomer and Marley enjoyed exploring the wet back yard. It had been many months since we had a good rain. As I set out a rubber mat to cover a particularly slippery section of patio, I am extra grateful that Boomie is heading into his second winter since his amputation. At this point, he has essentially gone over triple what the vet predicted for his survival.

Here's to one more rainy season of back yard adventures, muddy feet, and the prevailing smell of wet dogs!

Boomie says hi.

Marley and her ball.

Blurry but cute Marley.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sorta like this

This is one of my old Death Valley shirts. I'm thinking about something sort of like this for my arboretum T shirt design, only with just 4 squares. And I'm thinking that simple images would be better than detailed. So I'm working on simplicity.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Here's the cactus. It doesn't quite "go" with the leaf, but I think I'm getting an idea of what I can do. I need to make one with lily pads, and one with a conifer branch with a cone. I don't know when I will even start them, though.

A leaf

I made this leaf in photoshop. I actually have an idea for a series of nature-themed pictures that I want to make into a t-shirt design for the nature guides at the arboretum. While I do like the way this turned out, it's just a first attempt. I need to make 3 other squares, they need to all look like they go together, and the 4 of them need to look like something that will look good on a t-shirt.

But at least I did something today, while we were listening to the Angels win!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Hose doodle

Haven't posted one of these in a while.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Oh, deer!

This isn't a very good picture, but all I had was my cell phone and this was an emergency. Well, not a serious emergency, but definitely a need for a camera. As Seon was walking me out to my car after our visit, we noticed a family of deer in her yard. Hey, we're city-folk, and even though Seon lives in the foothills, seeing such large wildlife is a big deal for us!

Seon alternated between urging me to take pictures of them, and saying we should hide ourselves behind the garage so we wouldn't frighten them away until they had a chance to drink from her fishpond. It was funny and fun, and for a few moments we were like a couple of giddy children. In the end, as they left her yard, Seon practically ran after them to see where they were going. The excitement of the moment gave her a boost of energy. But I will also say she has had an easier time since her latest chemo, something that encourages us greatly.

These were trapped in my phone

I can count on one hand the number of times I have used the camera in my cell phone. I only want to use my phone for a phone. I don't want to text anyone, and I don't need my email or any other "apps", thank you very much. I waste enough time doing those things on my computer at home. But some occasions have come up when I didn't have my trusty little Canon, and then it's the phone camera or nothing. That happened today when we saw the family of deer in Seon's yard. But before I could take a picture, I had to call Jerry first and ask him how to operate that function on my phone!

Anyhow, I managed to take a few really bad pictures, and then I had to wait till Jerry got home to get them out of my phone and onto my computer. And and when he did, these pictures were in there too.

They're from August of '08. I do remember taking them, but after I took them, I guess I forgot all about them. (and then I forgot how to use the phone-camera, apparently. Ah, my brain....) They're painted on the back of a local restaurant. Even the guy you can see part of by the gate is painted.

I was interested in this nice succulent dish garden.

and this little painted birdie was cute, too!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

In loving memory of Pinky

Seon's daughters' beloved Pinky went to Bunny Heaven today :(

Friday, October 02, 2009

The excuses were stacked in my favor

There's a Goodwill store about a mile from my house. I like to look for treasures there sometimes, but I won't usually buy anything unless I can find a good reason.
I bought this pot there today, after noticing it yesterday, admiring it, considering it, mulling it over, then going home and trying to forget about it. After all, I really don't need another pot. We're trying to get rid of stuff we don't need, just like somebody else got rid of this pot.

But I decided to go back today when I couldn't stop thinking about it, and I figured there were enough reasons to part with a few bucks for it. After all, it's my favorite shade of green, and it has a fun floral design on it. It looks like the 70's. (I don't know if it's vintage or retro. It doesn't have any brand name on it that I can tell.) Plus, it was on sale 50% off today. And at this time of year, I can always say I'm buying myself a little birthday present.

When I brought it home, I wasn't sure if I was actually going to cook with it or maybe put a plant in it, but it cleaned up so nice, I'm going to use it for a cooking pot!

Grubby inside before.

All cleaned up!

one matchbook I kept

When I was packing up my collection of old matchbooks to send to Kat, I found this one that I had forgotten was in there (if I ever knew it was there in the first place).
It's my mom. She must have been about 16.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Here is a page where you can add a tribute to someone you know who has/had breast cancer (including for yourself).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New music, and related discovery

The other day, I heard a new song on the radio that I really liked. Of course, I was not familiar with the artist, and I wasn't able to write it down because I was in the car. But I heard it again tonight, and I got the name. The artists are Rodrigo y Gabriela. So I googled them to see if I could find the song online, and I found a blog that not only has the song, it's on a neat little gadget that I could imbed onto my own blog.

The gadget thing comes from RCRD LBL_
and they have an extensive collection of free music downloads. The only thing is, as I started skimming through their list of artists, I realized that I have never heard of any of them. (I hadn't heard of Rodrigo y Gabriela till a couple of days ago.) But after all, it is a site for new music.

Since I listen to a public radio station that plays new (and sometimes weird) music, some of which I like, I may be able to find other new favorites in the future on RCRD LBL_.

In the meantime, enjoy this song, "Buster Voodoo"

Monday, September 21, 2009

This year's Gourd Tunnel

Compared to last year, the Gourd Tunnel at the arboretum has been a little disappointing.

Nowhere near the number of hanging stuff. Even the leaf coverage seems lacking.

There was this one delightfully spiralled gourd though :)

Be sure to stop by my Flickr page to see some other neat planty stuff that I just uploaded.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Henry Gibson, 1935-2009

Remember him, from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In? I googled him to find some pictures, and found some of his poems. Those silly poems he recited on Laugh-In, he wrote himself. Here's a few:

Dogs Are Better Than Ants
Dogs are better than ants
Because you don't have to bend so far to pet them
In addition, they are sturdy old muzzlers
Who fetch us our slippers, papers, and twig chunks
Twig chunks
But most of all, they stay out of jelly jars and
Never go squish if you happen to step on them.

The Thumbnail
Did you ever stop to figure
Why the thumbnail is so hard?
Well it hasn't any choice
With all that skin to guard.
It may look fat and pudgy
But it's heart is good and true.
It's prettier than a toenail
And easier to chew.

How I Saved A Baby Rhino from Slippin' In The Quicksand,
Whilst In Search Of My Fountain Pen,
Last Summer Along The Amazon River
With great difficulty.

Rest in peace.

Monday, September 07, 2009

matchbook collection up for grabs

Another casualty of my garage cleaning: my shoebox full of matchbooks that I have saved for about 40 years or so. If I haven't made a wonderful collage with them by now, I'm never going to, lets face it! I took some pictures of a few and put them on Flickr, just to give you a representation of how they look.
I'll send them to anyone in the US who will pay the postage.
I will send them to my good blog-buddy Kat, as soon as I find a good box.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

More painted memories

This is a painting Jerry made in kindergarten, almost 50 years ago. Created by dipping pieces of string into the paint and then flinging them with abandon onto a piece of paper, his mom treasured it and saved it, along with just about every other piece of paper he ever brought home from school.

Several years ago, after Eleanor died, Jerry had the daunting task of going through all those "treasures" and trying to decide what to keep. Most of them he just kind of looked at and tossed, but this one he kept, maybe because he remembered his mom had it framed and hanging in their living room for awhile. Unfortunately, for the last 5 years it has been in our garage getting all "crapified". It's a dusty, musty relic that only a mother can love, and she is gone now.

We are cleaning out our garage this weekend, and, sad to say, the old string painting has got to go. We are lucky to be able to preserve the memory of it digitally. Like the saying goes, it will last longer.

This is a T shirt I painted for my mom when her grandkids were little, and the youngest wasn't even born yet. (My two are on the right). She came across it the other night when she was cleaning out her dresser. I barely remember painting it. It looks like I used 2 different kinds of marker for the black outlines and lettering. One of them, I suspect, is a Sharpie, and has developed a kind of yellowish hazing around the edges. Still cute, though.

Sometimes I wish my boys were still little like that.

Biodegradable, compostable packing peanuts

Last week, Jerry bought a new iPod for himself. It came packed in what looked at first to be your standard styrofoam "peanuts" . Then we read the card:

Jerry immediately took one of the peanuts to the sink and turned on the faucet. Sure enough, the piece promptly disappeared.
I took the rest of them outside to our compost bin, and captured their biodegradation on video.
Too bad the iPod itself was hermetically sealed in one of those annoying plastic "blister packages". Kind of cancels out the environmentally friendly aspect of the peanuts. Oh well....