Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Molly Bee's Big Door County Adventure

I went to Door County last week to attend a couple of shows at Northern Sky Theater in Peninsula State Park. I went alone as a gift to myself-some down time to explore and reflect, and of course see Doug Mancheski in 'Lumberjacks in Love' and 'No Bones About It'.

I stayed in Egg Harbor and the view from my room was stunning. You can't really tell from the pics but it's on the top of a high cliff. The terns were flying below my balcony at times!

To the left

Straight ahead

To the right.  Yep! not a bad seat in the house. I spent an hour before I had to get ready to go sitting out here and just watching Lake Michigan. Bliss

The plays were so good! Really funny musicals. I felt bad for Doug and the other actors because it was so hot and humid and they all had on long-sleeved, flannel costumes and were dancing and running around.  I got to visit with Doug between shows. He is a kind, gentle, intelligent, soft-spoken guy off the stage. On the stage, he is such a goof. I love a man who can make me laugh! Actually, I'm glad I got to see 'No Bones About It' because he didn't have as 'wacky' a part as he does in 'Guys On Ice' and 'Lumberjacks in Love'. The boy gots skillz in the acting, singing, dancing department!

The venue is a small amphitheater nestled in the woods right in the park. During the course of two plays, the sun set and the moon rose in the pine-scented air; absolutely breathtaking. It reminded me so much of home I could have cried. The whole experience was pure magic. 

I toured up one side of the peninsula and down the other the next day. In Sister Bay, there is a restaurant (Al Johnson's) with a sod roof and goats to keep it mowed. They are wicked happy up there. My 'all purpose animal calling' protocol (consisting of making smoochie sounds, scooching down, holding out my hand and crooning, 'Come here, Punkin') didn't work at all.

I was standing along on a boat ramp in a deserted park when this guy zipped by me and straight into the lake. I couldn't decide if it was just that hot, or if there were Pokemenz to be found in the water as well as on land. 

I went to Cave Point County (thanks for the correction, Lisa)! Park. The lake was kind of calm, but the waves crashing into the caves sounded just like Thunder Hole in Acadia. 

I stopped at every little park and overlook I felt like until I got to White Fish Dunes State Park and then waded in the waves for a while. 

Lake Michigan LOOKS like the Atlantic...

But it smells different and the lobster fishing is awful!!! On the plus side, there are fewer things in it that want to snack on you. 

It was a balm for my tired soul and I enjoyed every minute of the sand, water and solitude. I didn't listen to news or tv. I let everything just go and was all the better for it.  All too soon it was time to come back to Madison/reality but now that I've done it once, I am absolutely certain that I will be returning to Door County much more often!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Weekly Challenge #277: Running 'round in Circles

This week's Diva Challenge was to use circles as a string. I'm not sure if this qualifies or not (it's not a typical string and the tile is large-6"x6") but I'm claiming it anyway. It's kind of a two-fer because our Challenge tangle for next month's Wisconsin Tangle Artist's Coalition meeting is 'Reticulated' which I used to fill in each outer circle around the doodle-jewels.  I had a great time making it. Very relaxing compared to last week when we had to tangle while moving and I made myself motion sick! TMI?  Without further ado...Diva Challenge #277:
Thanks for another great challenge, Laura! PS-Loved your vacation pics!

Cranes In The Hood

Imagine my surprise when I peeped out my front window the other morning and saw the new neighbors out for a walk. 

I guess they've been around all summer-living large on the backyard bird feeders. 

They pulled this little stunt and got a lecture from me about the proper use of crosswalks.

No self respecting 'crane' would want to be accused of 'jay' walking!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Diva Challenge and Zentangle Expo

This week's Diva Challenge was to tangle while in motion; in a car, on a bus, plane, swing, etc.  Since I am the primary driver at our house, don't own a horse (how cool would a horseback one have been), and I don't have any flights to exotic destinations planned, I fired up my old rocking chair and set off. 
This is a pan pastel stenciled background that I did at Zentangle Expo a couple of weekends ago. I kind of wish I hadn't wasted it on a tile I knew was going to turn out wonky, but if you squint, tilt your head sideways and view it at a distance of precisely 12.6 meters, it looks alright...sort of. It was a fun challenge to do even though I got a little motion sick!

You can see the background below among some others we tried at Zentangle Expo. The ones that looked like I blew ink around with a straw were made by... blowing ink around with a straw. The two colored ones are made with pan pastels and stencils and the black and white is a Japanese method called Notan. (click on the word for a description).

I really loved the Notan. Here is that same tile tangled. 

I also took Chris Letourneau's class on Tangled Gardens. It was really interesting to plan out your tile with a gardener's mindset with regards to height, features and accents. Chris has us make little books to keep our tangle ideas in . 
I took Connie Soba's 'Go With The Flow' class about choosing tangle patterns with common elements that make them flow one into the other. This was the tile from that class. I really need to work more on this concept. I like the feeling of this tile. 

When I got home, I made some of my own pastel backgrounds. I love the colors, but you have to be really careful and use a piece of tissue paper under your hand when you tangle them because the pastel is chalky/crayon-y and rubs off easily. You have to spray them with workable fixative before you tangle and regular fixative afterward. 

So, since Expo, I  have been a tangling fool!  This is a blended, pan pastel background I did on a while tile and tangled it with dragonflies in black, white, purple and silver. 

And this is tangled on a hand colored tile that Tess Imbogersteg did. I'm pretty sure it's ink. It was in my packet of goodies from her class. Since it was her tile, I used her 'Breakers' tangle in the lower left corner. 

Expo was an amazing experience for the third year in a row. Kudos to Katie Butler and her crew! It just gets better every year! Lots of new experiences, techniques and friends!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's NOT Jake....And He's NOT From State Farm

Last night, I had another one of the amazing adventures the likes of which only I, Molly Bee, can get herself into.  I have a couple of spots on the tattoo that I got in November that I would like touched up, so I called the place where I had it done and asked for my Tattoo Guy, Jake. The reception lady said that Jake had moved to another parlor, was kind enough to tell me where, and said that I should contact him there. I called the new place and they told me to just stop by and Jake would take a look, so off I went.

As I got closer to where Google Maps said the place was, I noticed that I was not in Kansas anymore. The neighborhood got dodgier  and dogier until I arrived at a sketchy-looking bldg with even sketchier looking clientele loitering around outside. It was getting dark and raining a pour which didn't help the ambiance a bit. But I parked the car and took a deep breath. I tried to remember how well it went with the 'gangstahs' I met in Target a few weeks back. Don't judge a book and all that, so I set out for the shop.

You know in the Westerns when the stranger comes to town, goes through the swinging saloon door and everyone in the place spins around, pistols drawn and it's so quiet you can hear a pin drop? Yeah. It was like that. I thought, "So this is how it ends. I did not see that coming!" What if making friends with 'gangstahs' only works if I'm on MY home turf (Target). The place was packed wall-to-wall with patrons. I was the only one not wearing a Harley t-shirt or leather. And I don't have even one facial piercing. Talk about feeling like I had brought along an overcooked linguine noodle to a gun fight!

After a couple of tense moments, the natives went back to playing poker, wooing Miss Kitty, and drinking sarsaparilla, and I asked the nearest guy to me for Jake. Jake came out to talk to me and I realized that I had never seen this giant man before in my life! He looked equally puzzled to see me! After I few minutes of discussion we discovered that the man who did my tattoo was JACK. (I knew I shouldn't have tossed that business card!) but JAKE couldn't have been sweeter and we discussed what I wanted done and he gave me advice and told me to call Jack, who still works in the posh, sterile, hygienic parlor that I called in the first place. A couple of the other artists, chimed in and I realized that I had broken my own rule, I had judged on looks. These rough-looking, pierced, tattooed guys were polite, articulate, friendly, helpful and very good at their jobs. I looked at some of their work and each one was an amazingly skilled artist.

I thanked them for their help and got back to my car safely. (I still drove home feeling like I'd barely made it out with my life, more because of the neighborhood than anything else, but that was unfounded because there was a STRONG police presence everywhere. ) I laughed to myself when I thought about what it must have looked like from their point of view, when Miss Prim and Proper with her little, pink, wrist tattoo came timidly through the door. Probably one of them is writing a blog post about it right now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wisconsin Tangle Artists' Coalition Meeting June 11, 2016

Still catching up a little on my blogging.We had a great WiTaC meeting a couple of Saturday's ago. Katie demonstrated Chameleon Markers which I'm still trying to wrap my mind around. They are alcohol based, start out light and go to dark as you use them so you don't need 12 different hues of each color marker to create shade and  depth. She gave us each a chance to play with them and they were amazing! If I used a lot of color, I'd definitely go for these. 

Tess did a presentation on watermarking your artwork. I've never really done this but guess I should. Folks were talking about finding their artwork on Internet sites for sale as posters, tee-shirts and what not, without their permission. That is a risk of posting your work on the computer. Everyone has access and some people's motives are less than pure.  She gave us several tips for either manually or electronically watermarking that I definitely will play around with.

Our tangle of the day challenge was to use 'Agora' by Lynn Woods-the pattern that looks like a window, in the back ground.
In an attempt to use some new tangles that I had just learned, this was my first tile. I didn't really like the clunky composition.

So I made a second tile that I liked a lot better.There is something about a black background that makes me HAVE to throw stars in there!

During the meeting, we had time to visit and tangle. I wanted to try out a new tangle called Plum-lei by Dawn Collins which is the flowers in the bottom right. I really like it and will add it to my 'flower arsenal' of patterns!

I love tiles like the bottom one. It's not a particularly great one, but it's one where I was visiting with and listening to others and kind of on autopilot, so when it was finished I was as surprised as anyone else to find out that Egypt showed up to the party! I started with the simple diagonal triangles called Pharah by Simona Cardera.  That led to Snake Eggs by Nancy Robinson before I knew it there was a palm tree, desert, Middle Eastern sun and The Nile. Fun!

Zentangle Expo is coming up next month-July 8 and 9th. I signed up for a ton of cool classes. It's at the Marriott West this year by Greenway Station near Middleton. There will be a gallery in the main atrium of the hotel, which, if you've seen it, is GORGEOUS! There will also be a market where you can buy new things, as well as a kind of 'swap meet' where you can buy supplies that tanglers bring in to sell. Can't wait! If you're in the Madison area, you are welcome to come! I hope to see you there!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Diva Challenge 272: Black and White and Red All Over

It's been a while since I've been able to do the Diva challenge, but the stars aligned on this solstice to I tackled this week's. It was to include a splash of red in your black and white tile.

So much fun to add a pop of color! Thanks again for a great challenge, Laura!!!

Ops in Action: Heartland Farm

Earlier this year my workplace awarded me an opportunity to work at the charity of my choice for one week without using any vacation time. It's an amazing program that they offer each year to two applicants from the Operations group. I was thrilled with the award and immediately contacted Heartland to tell them that I was available for whatever project I could be most useful doing. I envisioned building sheds, repairing fences or stalls; things of that nature. It was a pretty big surprise to me that it all shook out for me to help out with one of the weeklong kid's camps! 

I showed up on Monday and surveyed my 'office' for the week. The view from the boardroom was amazing.

The meeting rooms were fantastically decorated.

My coworkers were definitely adorable. 
 The only thing I was apprehensive about was the kids. You know me....Miss Worst Case Scenario. If I can envision the whole thing going up in flames, I will be prepared to do something about it.  A lot of the kids I see around are raised so differently from the way I grew up. We were used to running around in the fields, the dirt and the bugs. Would these kids be ok with the 'less glamourous side' of being at the barn for an entire week? What is someone got hurt? We didn't have video games when I was young. Would these kids be surgically attached to their electronics so it would be a battle all week to get through to them? What if they asked me questions that I couldn't answer like,

 "Why does that sheep have three butts?"

What if the llama went on a rampage and held the swingset hostage so the kids couldn't play?

In the end, it turned out like it usually does.  Things went well. The kids left their cell phones at the door without a word.  Kids got dirty, scraped, stung and nipped. The llama DID hold the swingset hostage briefly. But everyone arrived at the end of the week cleaned up, bandaged, salved, happy and better humans for the experience. And I learned so much that it warrants another entry altogether. So Opps in Action? A success!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Texas Tells Tall Tales

While I was in Paris a couple of weekends ago, Sister Shiela asked me if I had seen the biggest knitting needles in the world. Me, being wise in all things knitting and stuff, was astonished to have to tell her' no'-never even heard of them. Seems they were just down the street from the campground so we jumped in the car and drove over to Casey, IL to see them. They were in a charming yarn shop on Main street. As a bonus, they also had the world's largest crochet hook!

I would have paid to have been there the day they worked up the sample on them.And I complain about working on anything bigger than a size 7 needle!

After we came out and got looking around, I realized that Texas has some 'splainin' to do!  They always bang their 'everything is bigger in Texas' drum, but I'm here to tell you, there is something in the water in Casey! Casey is home to:

The world's largest wind chime. You can even ring it! It makes an awesome deep sound.

The world's largest birdcage. I went for a ride on the swing inside. 

The world's largest rocking chair which I immediately claimed as my own because it was so cool. I do that sometimes. It's a throwback to my toddler days. MINE! There was no way to climb up into it so I guess I was literally 'off my rocker'.

The worlds largest wooden clogs (only one is pictured). I could have sworn I saw an old woman living in there. She seemed to have so many children she didn't know what to do!

The world's largest mailbox. We climbed up inside. The thing closes, you can put the flag up, and yes, you can even mail a letter up there. I think it's only for 'up in the air' mail though. 

And the world's biggest pencil for writing down big ideas. Don't worry! There's a big eraser on the other end for fixing big mistakes. 

I found out later that I missed the world's biggest golf tee, table fork, pitch fork and ear of corn.  So what say you Texas. It's put up or shut up time because, Casey? It's kind of a big deal!