Saturday, March 27, 2010

A scary thing happened at work last Friday

I worked as a substitute nurse's assistant at the middle school last week. It was rather routine-- lots of headaches and stomachaches mostly because the kids don't eat breakfast with a few kids trying to get out of class. But Friday an announcement came over the intercom to go into lock-down. A group of us were crowded into a small storage room where the coffee maker is. After a few minutes of everyone thinking it was just a drill, someone poked her head in and whispered that it was real. I don't know what everyone else was feeling at that moment, but my heart jumped right out of my chest and onto that worn linoleum floor. I couldn't help but wonder if my time was up. We spent the next 55 minutes or so in near silence; is it possible to be nervous and bored at the same time?? When it was all over, the rumors were rampant--that 3 students were handcuffed and lead away by the police, that someone brought a gun to school, and more. But the truth was that an angry or upset student texted another kid saying that he was going to bring a "clip" to school. The friend was wise enough to show the text to his parents who brought it to the attention of the school.
After the trauma of Friday :) I recovered by going to Arts @ the Oval this past weekend. It's a small annual art fair held at the ice skating rink just two blocks away. I spoke to a number of artists and was both inspired and intimidated by their talent. I almost bought a patina'd copper sheep pin but the lady hadn't brought it with her. I just may have to email her...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rough patch

Wow, it's been a rough couple of days. First, I think I lost the closest person to a best friend that I have. She and I had a huge fight over my intervening in a disagreement between our two boys. I reprimanded her kid, which is a touchy subject and often a no-no. The way her boy was treating my boy was yet another display of lack of respect of every member of that family towards myself and Alexander. I guess I'd had it.
Then Alexander came down with the stomach flu yesterday. The poor kid was really suffering and there was not much I could do, which is a horribly helpless feeling. But kids are amazing in how quickly they bounce back, and today he was acting normal although still not eating well.
But one good thing that has happened is that I finished this plaque. It started out as a plain wooden heart that I probably got at Michaels for a dollar. I applied lots of layers of patterned tissue paper and some stenciled-on paint, then a gel medium transfer of my Cupid. I like how it turned out. Oh, one more bad thing--I dropped the plaque and it cracked in half. Bad things happen in 3s, right?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

This photo brings a little twinge of loss to my heart. No, I've never herded sheep in Ireland but it sure would be fun! I miss the challenge and competition of herding for titles and even the physical hard work of raising sheep. I'm 10 years older now...can I still do it??
I never pursued herding here in Minnesota. Several years ago, I went out to a small farm north of us and watched some training in a round pen. The dogs and sheep and handlers were slipping on ice and trudging through snow--it just did not look like something I wanted to be doing. I suppose if the dog I had was a good herder I'd be out there- just not in the winters. But my old lady Cupid was never very talented; she thought the sheep were for dinner apparently.
In closing, an Irish blessing:

May you get all your wishes but one,

So you always have something to strive for.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Signs of spring? Or a visit from Kokopelli?

I took this photo yesterday after about a week of welcome temps in the high 40's (that's Cupid's ear in the bottom right corner). As of yesterday, the snow has finally melted off the gardening beds and there were little patches of green! After months of brown leaves then white snow and gray skies, it was a welcome surprise to see these colorful signs of life.
It's a common Native American story that the flute-playing Kokopelli is responsible for the end of winter and coming of spring. As he visits villages the sun comes out, the grass grows, and the birds sing. I think we may have had a visit from Kokopelli today because it was absolutely glorious. It was bright and sunny and 63 degrees, which was as warm as Prescott Valley, Arizona, where my mom lives. Unfortunately, we'll be back down into the low 40's again by the end of the week. But the signs of spring are noticeable: there have been geese loudly announcing their return with honking overhead. I spotted 3 of our neighborhood red squirrels, out of hibernation. And the evergreen trees are starting to green up from their winter grayish tones. My personal, never-fail sign that spring has come is when the chipmunks reappear from their underground hibernation homes and start begging for nuts. I can't wait.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A card

This is the going-away card I made for Scott, my therapist. The whole group signed it. I had to whip it out the same day, which is completely against my nature, but I got it done. I used the Cavallini & Co. set of vintage bird stamps and a bunch of paper scraps. I like the color scheme.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wabi sabi

Here's the wabi-sabi textured background I made a little while back. I did transparency and alcohol gel transfers of a Navajo tree image that I found on a Dover CD. The inspiration for this piece initially came from Cloth Paper Scissors magazine. Then as I was working on it, I was invited to join the BluePeaceArtists group which was hosting a wabi-sabi challenge. A little bit of synchronicity perhaps?
Wabi sabi means "wretchedness mellowed by use" and the texture in my wabi sabi painting comes from several reused materials, including teabags and corrugated cardboard. For more information on wabi sabi, you'll want to check out Elizabeth's (the owner of BluePeaceArtists) wonderful blog.