Monday, November 30, 2015

Doodle Jewels

There was a perfect storm this long Thanksgiving weekend; a bunch of tangle artists with extra time on their hands discovered several  'Jewel' tutorials that started popping up in Facebook Groups last week...Voila! There was a 'jewel storm' on the boards all weekend long, and the results were amazing! I had such a good time looking at everyone else's work, that you know I had to try it myself! I suspect this is exactly what caused the storm!

While I love color, I'm not very good with it... but I gave it the old college try. I drew a bunch of circles and just started trying the different techniques and color combinations. I'm still not satisfied. I have wicked 'jewel envy' from looking at other's work, but it was fun. 

Practice Sheet (tone on tones)

 Practice Sheet Two:Sakura shadow technique (Note-paper was two thin and it totally warped)

Practice Sheet Three:Trying to throw an odd color in every now and then. 


Have you tried Jewels yet? It's a great way to add a pop of color to black and white tangle work.  If you can't find the tutorials let me know and I can help you out! Happy Tangling!

Guys On Ice

As a present to myself, in celebration of my 50th successful mission completely around the sun, I bought myself a ticket to see the play Guys On Ice in the Stackner Cabaret at The Rep in Milwaukee.
I saw this play about a year ago in Madison at the Barrymore and fell instantly in love. It's a sweet, simple story about two guys who go ice fishing, but it has a deep current of philosophy and life lessons running underneath.  I can't really fully explain my fascination with this play, but I feel a deep connection. It makes me happy and homesick all at the same time. It evokes happy memories of snowy, Northern Maine afternoons spent in the smelt shack with Daddy and Poppie and makes me long for those days where we were all together and times seemed so much simpler. I had never been to The Rep before and won't drive in Milwaukee for just any old reason so you know it has to be pretty special!

I found the theater with no problem and even bumbled into the right parking place completely by accident. [Note to self: next time, make a note of what floor you parked on so you don't get to take the grand tour of the parking structure afterwards.] I was early so I spent a bit of time looking over the Milwaukee Center building and surrounding area. What a beautiful part of the city, They are all decorated for Christmas, and the weather was great, so it was pretty and festive. This is the tree in the Rotunda.

It finally came time to go to the theater and when the usher showed me to my seat, I thought there was some mistake.  My seat was practically on the ice with The Guys! The Cabaret is a small space; it was like having the play in your living room! You are seated at big round tables with other patrons. I got a group of 6 women who claimed they were all family but they were pretty toasted by the time they got there so I'm not sure how much of what they said was the cocktails talking. They were a nice group though and funny as heck.

The play itself was amazing. I knew it would be since Doug Mancheski and Steve Koehler were playing the main 'guys', Marvin and Lloyd. They were in the Barrymore production and on the DVD of the play that was taped up in Peninsula State Park at Northern Sky Theater last summer. Lore has it that the role of Marvin was written with Doug in mind and he has performed it thousands of times since it's inception in the late 90's. You would think that it would become rote and stale but it's so totally not- it's amazingly fresh. He IS Marvin. How does he DO those things with his face?!?! His expressions are priceless!

The play is a musical and the actors both have beautiful singing voices but Steve Koehler's solo of 'Everything Is New', which took place directly behind our table, was particularly good. He has a wonderful, rich, tenor voice which brought a tear to my eye during each of his sad, solo songs. Doug's two solos 'The Guy From TV' and 'The King' are two of my favorites of the whole play. And the songs they sing together are perfection-especially the Snowmobile Suit song! Rooty-Toot-Toot!

 For an hour and a half, I forgot everything around me and was that little girl curled up in the corner of the smelt shack just like the old days. What a wonderful gift! And afterward I got another special treat. I had sent an email to the theater to see if I could get my copy of the DVD signed and they said that I could, so after the show, Doug, Steve and Bo Johnson, who played Ernie The Moocher in this production, all signed my DVD and CD! They couldn't have been sweeter, more accommodating or adorable. It was a perfect birthday gift! [ And after I toured the parking garage, I made it back through the road construction and traffic to Madison unscathed.  I like to think Daddy and Poppie were watching over me from that big smelt shack in the sky!]

So if you haven't seen it, GO! GO! GO! It runs through now through January 17. The information can be found here- Guys on Ice at The Rep! You won't be sorry!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Diva's Challenge: Hollibaugh

Thanksgiving for The Turkeys 2015

I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer at this year's 'Heartland Thanksgiving For The Turkeys' on Sunday. It snowed on Saturday and when I got to the farm it was a balmy 15° but gorgeous at the farm!

These three little pigs were not interested in leaving their snuggly bed!

The goats were in coats.

But the turkeys were all excited about their Thanksgiving feast. 

They even invited some of their chicken friends. I wish I had gotten a picture of Reggie (the larger chicken in this pic) when he was standing dead center in that 'pie' looking all proud of himself!

After Thanksgiving was over and the mess cleaned up, I fixed a Thanksgiving feast of cranberries, stuffing and sweet potatoes for the new mini pig, Percy. He is the dearest, furriest little thing. He tucked into his dinner like it was his job; making the cutest little grunting and chomping sounds!

Since it was so cold, I dug out my box of woolies for the first time this season and rooted through it for appropriate barn wear. Of course I had help.

 Seriously, he doesn't LOOK like the essence of pure evil does he?

So it was a wonderful morning. The visitors were super generous and everyone had a great time. I froze my nose, fingers, and toes, but the Heartland Farm gang always leaves me with a warm and happy heart! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Diva Challenge #244: "Tripoli Triptastic"

Two weeks in a row! Now that summer and autumn are winding down, I have a little more tangle time on my hands. This week's Diva Challenge was to use the tangle pattern : Tripoli.  This isn't one of my fav tangles. I want to make it way more perfect than I have the ability to draw it. It's a simple concept-a grid of triangles, but I lose control of it very quickly-especially if I draw it small, so I thought I'd make it big for this one, Didn't make a difference-still got wonkey triangles.  But I had fun anyway-doing something different with it that using it as a filler.

Thanks for another great challenge, Diva!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Hornet's Nest

I've been watching this beautiful wasp's next all summer. It was in a tree outside my office window,

As soon as we had had a few cold nights, I checked to make sure it was empty.  Yup! Nobody home.
[As a side note, I KNEW it was empty, but when I was cutting it down, the tree showered down all these little leaves and when the first one hit me, I admit I did the light fantastic, flailing and slapping, for a minute.]

So I went out with my pruning shears, a trash bag, and an elastic, I put the bag over the nest, clipped the branch , and wrapped the elastic around the top...just as added insurance that there weren't a few sleepy stragglers in there.  Oddly enough, when I unwrapped it later, there were no hornets, but there were numerous Asian Ladybugs. Kinda felt bad about commandeering their winter lodge. 

I find nests like these miraculous. Hornets and wasps just have an overall bad attitude, and yet they create this delicate paper structure, in beautiful blues and browns. And I love that this leaf fell onto the nest in a rainstorm and was absorbed into the paper. 

I never thought about it before but obviously the nests must eventually dissolve in the rain with no one around to repair them. That's why you don't see billions of them around everywhere I guess. Although this year, I've spotted three in my immediate vicinity. I can't remember ever seeing that before. Is Waspmageddon upon us?

Anyway, I thought I would share some of  Mother Nature's art since she is far superior to anything I could do.  What has she created around where YOU are?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Northern California

I was fortunate to be able to visit with family in Northern California recently. I've been to central and southern parts of the state, but the northern part was an a wonderful adventure in new flora and scenery

You know you're not in Wisconsin any more when the palm trees start showing up...


And the prickly pear cacti are more than a foot high and bear huge fruit...

This looks like desert, and it is I suppose. Because of the drought, this part of the American River Parkway biking and walking  system, which is usually under water, is dry.  The river's levy is more than a mile away from the river's edge right now. 

And the next two photos are of Folsom Lake. This is usually a huge thriving lake with boaters and swimmers.  Now it looks like a big puddle. The water normally comes up to where you can see the earth tone change in the bottom third of the photo.

If we had had more time, I would have loved to go stomping around on the lake bed. The DNR out there has posted signs not to pick up artifacts from the old towns that were flooded when the dam was put in. The water is so low they are showing up again.

And this is a pic from the Oroville Dam about 1.5 hours north of Sacramento. It normally processes megatons of water and has a huge deep lake on one side. Not today it doesn't. Californians are praying for El Nino to make good on his wet winter promise to them. It's been a 5 year drought! 

This is North of Sacramento as well. It was taken from a moving car, but if you look closely on the left half of the photo you can see some awesome mountains called 'The Buttes'.

This is my quintessential Northern California photo...Sunshine   through the branches of a walnut tree along the parkway.

A a great visit and saw so much more but decided to live it instead of photograph it. We also went to Folsom Prison (where my family slowed the car down really slow and looked at me ominously), Old Sacramento, (the original old west frontier buildings from when the city was formed), the Sierra Mountains to the apple orchards, and through miles and miles of every fruit and nut tree you can imagine-even Kiwi which blew my mind.  It was beautiful as it was but hard to see so much splendor struggling for water just to survive. I'm keeping my eye on you, El Nino. You better keep your end of the deal!

Monday, November 09, 2015

Diva Challenge: Just a Tiny Taste

I haven't done a Diva Challenge in a gazillion years. Life has been moving pretty fast around here this autumn, but now, as winter approaches, maybe I'll have more time to sit a spell.

This week's challenge really intregued me. It's called Just a Tiny Taste because the goal is to leave the majority of the tile blank. This is a real challenge for me as I tend to fill up every available millimeter of space available to me. But I gave it a shot; a couple of times really. I like the concept but they just feel unfinished. Baby steps.

The first one doesn't leave enough of the tile blank and it still looks 'naked to me.

This second one is more in keeping with 'the rules' and it's killing me to not add more pizzaz somewhere! LOL!

It was a good challenge because I need to leave more space in my work for the eye to rest.  Here are some of the latest doodles from my sketchbook.  See?!?!? Every inch of space.  Way too busy!

There has to be a happy medium somewhere, no?  Back to the drawing board!

Cooper and The Garden Guest

I discovered earlier this summer that finches aren't the only thing that like my thistle seeds. Even though there is a plethora of seeds...