Sunday, March 28, 2010

Some Weeks Are Like That

Balance seems to bee one of the recurring themes in my life. I seem to gravitate towards all or nothing. I either clean my house or paint. I either spend all day working on a project or all day playing with my son. I am constantly reminding myself that I need to do a little bit of each daily in order to feel more balanced. And also that the perfectionism has to be relaxed a little. I can have a clean kitchen floor but probably not one you would want to eat off of, and that's OK. I don't have the time to spend on the things that really keep me grounded when I'm spending all of my time on cleaning. Clean is clean enough. Organized? Well, that's a different story. Let's not talk about that one, shall we?
This week I had a bazillion things to do but in the end, I felt like I balanced them pretty successfully. I really tried to do things a little at a time and it really does make for a better week. We women sure do have a lot of things to do. Here's hoping that we all have a balanced week this week. Good luck with that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Lexie!

I can't believe it's been a year since our family welcomed Lexie. We were so excited to finally have another girl and my sister in law was especially excited to finally get a girl in their home. She's certainly the princess in our family and she really likes me. Aunt Jo is her favorite. Well, OK, Grandpa probably is, but he cheats because he feeds her ice cream. How am I supposed to compete with ice cream? My sister in law asked me to make Lexie's birthday cake and here it is.
And, because, what would a first birthday be without Lexie's own cake to destroy? Here's a little one just for her. I try to make little cakes from buttercream because fondant is just too hard for one year olds to find the cake. The get bored with it and give up.
Well, I'm off to spend the next 6 hours protecting my creation from my 3 year old and look for my kitchen under all of the cake stuff. I'm sure it's there somewhere. Then we'll go to this sweet girl's birthday party.

Happy Birthday Lexie! I LOVE you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More Art Journal Pages

Just taking a few minutes to share some more pages from my art journal. I have been spending most of my extra minutes, here and there, working in my journal. It has been a great experience for me. Some people call it cheap therapy, but in all honesty, I've probably spent enough on art supplies to afford at least an hour from a good therapist. Yikes! But I am LOVING experimenting with different types of paints and techniques. If there was an art supply store around here, I'd probably spend more trying all different types of paints and things. LOVE IT!
This page is about courage (obviously) and since I NEVER seem to use purple, I decided to be brave and force myself to do something purple. I wrote all the things that I didn't want people to see in 3 different colors of Sharpie going 3 different directions then painted over it with diluted gesso. Then I laid down a purple watercolor wash and began splattering it with some glittery watercolors, just to see what would happen. The metallic watercolors acted somewhat like a salt resist and then I splattered it all with rubbing alcohol for an additional resist pattern. It looked really cool once it dried. The henna pattern is based on one that I found somewhere on the internet.
Here I was just playing around with my acrylics and came up with this background. I also had been sketching faces. I love the quote by Da Vinci and before long it became this in my mind.
Well, I'm off to make a 1st birthday cake for my niece and the good news is, there are no birthdays in April so this is the last one for a while.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hope & Beauty

Here's a little page from my art journal. It is a little primitive, but that's kind of what I was going for. Many years ago, I had the opportunity to take some watercolor lessons from Ruth Sauerbreit when I lived in Pocatello. Ruth is an amazing artist and I loved learning from her. After my kids came along, I let life take over and my paints and brushes ended up dusty in the basement. Little by little, while working with my art journal, they have found their way into the light, and I have missed them! It's like finding old friends.

I tend to paint everything "tight" instead of just letting things go and going with the flow. Once Ruth told me (jokingly, I think) that I needed a few drinks to loosen me up. Which is tricky considering I don't drink. I just needed to care less about what I was painting. That's what I am trying to accomplish with my art journal. I'm learning to not care what it looks like, as long as I have a good time making it. All without the use of alcohol. I just keep reminding myself that if it really is attrocious, I can just cover it with gesso, and Mod Podge and make it all go away.

Anyway...the story behind this page is: I have been struggling this winter and when I saw the new primroses at the store, I was so excited. Primroses mean that spring really is on the way! After it snowed a few weeks ago, I decided I couldn't wait for spring and when the primroses went on sale, buy 2 get 1 free, Alexis and I picked out 3 for the kitchen windowsill. I love those things. They are absolutely beautiful. Then my son brought home a cup of dirt from Primary on Sunday with what I can only assume are seeds buried in it. Jake wasn't really full of much information on the specifics but he was really excited so we put the cup next to the primroses for some sun. As I was looking at my beautiful primroses next to Jake's cup of dirt, I was reminded that the primroses once started out as a cup of dirt too. With a little hope and care, who knows what can become of a little cup of dirt. That's what I am reminded of every time I look at my kitchen windowsill.

Know a Deserving H.S. Senior?

I just have a quick minute before I head out the door, but I wanted to let you know about my most amazing friend Bree's contest over at her blog. Bree is a super talented photographer here in Eastern Idaho and her business, THE FRAME is having a contest. They will be giving away a FREE senior class picture session to the most deserving senior people send into vote on. Believe me, a free photo shoot with The Frame would be AMAZING. If you have a senior in mind you have got to nominate them. But hurry up. The nominations end tonight at midnight. You have to check out all the details on her blog and while you are there, be sure to take a look at all of her amazing photos. You can find the details HERE. Well, I'm off. Have a good one everybody.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Tyler!

Today is my nephew Tyler's 4th Birthday. He found a Star Wars cake at the Wal-Mart with little guys on it and their tiny light sabres lit up. Needless to say, I was off the hook in the cake department. How could I possibly compete with tiny light sabres THAT LIGHT UP! They were really spiffy. He kept going between Transformer and Star Wars for his birthday party theme, so he had mostly Star Wars with a Transformer pinata. My son and I went to the store to find him a present. We planned on getting something either Transformer or Star Wars. Imagine our excitement when we found a Star Wars Transformer. Well, of course, we had to get that. What could be more perfect? We came home to wrap it and my daughter offered to make a birthday card (of the hook, again). When she showed it to me, I just had to take a picture.
This is the front. She made cake that was black and orange with tiny light sabres for candles. Isn't that the smartest thing? Well, maybe I'm a little biased, but you have to admit, that's pretty clever.
Here's the inside. Two Star Wars guys holding, what else, but light sabres. Tell me that is not the cutest thing! Tyler recognized them immediately, so I know she knew what she was doing. I loved this card. I could have spent 4 hours making a most amazing card that would have nothing on this one. Love my girl!

While my kids were at the party I came home and did a little painting in my art journal. I am really loving that thing. I might even share but the light at night is not so good for picture taking, so maybe I'll take a picture tomorrow.

Well, I'm off to bed. Happy Birthday, once again, to my sweet little Tyler man. Your aunt Jo loves you tons.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Well, Here Goes

The last little while I have been working on art journaling but I've been too chicken to share my creations.

Well, Friday was NOT a good day. Everything seemed to be going wrong. I was sad and mad and down right depressed. I came home and wrote a stream of consciousness entry in my journal and when I got done I found it to be mostly not nice things about myself. It made me mad so I took my watercolor crayons and scribbled over what I had written. Then I poured a puddle of gesso onto it and smeared it around. I ended up with WAY too much gesso so I used a plastic knife to scrape some of it off. It left a cool texture so I left it. Then I just left it alone to dry. I decided to make a trip to the bookstore after the kids went to bed. I LOVE going to the bookstore. The art books and magazines (can you say Somerset Studio?) make me happy and excited to work on something new. I had decided to buy the latest Somerset Studio, Art Journaling magazine. I'd had my eye on it for a while but it costs $15. After the day I was having, I was mad and I was buying it! When I got to the bookstore, I searched high and low for my magazine and guess what? That's right. It was gone. I was so disappointed. And I added it to things to ticked off about. I was just going to leave and go home and sulk but I decided that since I was there, I would just go look at the art books. It didn't take long for me to feel better and I was glad that I didn't just go sulk. I was just about to leave when I found this:
Journal Bliss by Violette. She's so cool, she's like Madonna or Prince. She only needs one name. She even lives in a purple house. I loved her doodles, the colors, the textures. It spoke to me and I became an owner. I came home and read the first page. She begins with telling you to put on your "magical boots" as you begin your art journal. I looked at my gessoed over ugliness and became determined to turn it into something happy. I decided to make myself some "magical boots" (pink, of course). I used watercolors, alcohol resists, acrylics, permanent ink pens, old book pages, glitter, charcoal pencil, and two kinds of Mod Podge. And I ended up feeling SO MUCH better because I turned all those ugly things I had floating around in my head into a pair of "magical boots". How often can you say that?
So there it is. My own magical boots. Shiny and glittery and pink. I love them so much. I'm not sure how often I will share my journal. It's still a little hard for me to just smear paint around and make a mess although I am getting better at it. And let's face it, messy paint is so much fun.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Karon!

Here is my final cake for the week. It is for my mother-in-law's 70th birthday. We are having a family get together this afternoon to celebrate and my sister-in-law asked for a small cake. This is my first real attempt at gum paste roses and they were super fun. I am so grateful that they turned out! I hope she likes the cake. She is such a great mother-in-law. I love, love, love my husband's family. They are so great. Whenever I hear someone's mother-in-law horror stories, I give a silent prayer of gratitude that I have been blessed with such a good one.

Well, I'm off to get ready for the big party. I have an entire week before I have to start thinking about the next cake. I'm grateful that there isn't a single birthday in April. I can have a little break from cake.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Isaac!

Today is my nephew, Isaac's 2nd birthday. I can't believe that he is already 2. Time goes by so quickly. My sister asked me to make him a train cake and this is what I came up with. I hope that he likes it. I also hope that nobody is offended by the disaster behind this cake. I just barely finished it and am currently sitting with my hair in a towel, as I speak. In fact, if I don't make this quick, Isaac's cake won't make it to the party on time. Needless to say, I didn't have time to set up a beautiful backdrop and professional lighting. It is really "true to life".
I so LOVE my niece and nephews like my own and I hope that Isaac has a great day and enjoys his party. Which reminds me, I better get going.

Monday, March 8, 2010

More Digital Learning

I haven't had a chance to work on my Jessica Sprague class in a while. I have been working on my art journal and making cakes. I made a giant blue and gold cake for our Cub Scout's banquet and this week I am making a train cake for my sweet nephew and a small cake for my mother-in-law's 70th birthday. So this is probably my only post for the week. After that I am making a cute 1st birthday cake for my niece. March is turning out to be a busy cake month around here.

Here is my latest creation for Jessica's class. Once again, most of this was already done, but I did learn about brushes in Photoshop. Those are pretty cool. Well, I'm off to get my house in order to work on cakes the rest of the week. Hope you all have a good one.