Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Arting through the Lows

My friend Lee was the Major General --and was FANTASTIC-- in a local community theater production of Pirates of Penzance. I told him I would do artwork for their next show, for free even, if they'd please, please, please let me help them with their backdrops.  I may not be the worlds greatest artist, but, well, it's better than them not having an artist at all.

He took me up on the offer, and I've been decorating fans for the upcoming Mikado. I've finished the flowered fans for the women, now I'm working on the big buff manly-man warrior fans for the men. 

This project has been a lifesaver for me. Struggling with being tired all the time, I've had to cancel all kinds of things because I have zero energy. But sitting in my chair and sketching out forms with a white colored pencil has activated my spirit in a way that is encouraging. I don't feel frustrated, or sad, or useless when I'm drawing.

So while my energy levels are still low (I seriously needed a nap after doing the first fan) this project doesn't make me feel tired on the inside. I pull out that silver Sharpie and get to work, gritting my teeth and forcing myself through the tired because I'm excited to see the finished result.

silver sharpie on black nylon

silver sharpie on black nylon

And nope, these are not my own original images, let me say that right up front. They are a study in black and white of some very talented artists' work. Ecept the demon. I looked at a bunch of oriental demons and came up with something that I thought would work on a fan.

black and silver sharpie. first lines drawn in w/ white colored pencil

Are they perfect? hardly. Will they work as props in a play? I think so. I'm not sure about that demon, though. I need to rethink some lines that blur or conflict or are maybe too thin.

At the end of the day, it's nice to be useful. And drawing with sharpie doesn't take anything out of me, leaving me feeling all used up. Instead I feel... filled? Does that make sense? Physically I'm tired, but I woke up in a happier place this morning after yesterdays Art Harder marathon. (thank you Chuck Wendig)

Monday, August 19, 2013


In May we adopted two six-year old sister beagles.

A couple of weeks ago there were two sister kittens in our back yard that we've been feeding and keeping safe. In spite of various family member allergies, I can't seem to bring myself to part with these cute little fuzz-balls.

At first, the dogs were very not happy about this. They had those kittens cornered under the table in my back yard and were proud of their hunting skills, darnit. Now, the dogs come sniff the cats and go about their business, and those little kitties fluff out and hiss and spit, and I laugh so dang hard, because they're so teensy.

So here, have some pics of the kitties and the dogs.

Ten Books That Make Me Smile, Laugh, and/or Giggle

I seem to be in a "List" kind of phase now, so what the heck, I'm rolling with it.

Books that make me laugh, smile, and feel good.

1 - "Summon the Keeper" by Tanya Huff - Paranormal - Magic, ghosts, cats, and Hell in the basement. I laugh so hard every time I read this. I think there are three?? books in the series, but this one is my favorite. I can't even count how many times I've read it.

2 - Discworld by Terry Pratchett - Satyrical Fantasy? - I don't even know which book to recommend first. The Tiffany Aching series is fantastic, it's probably middle grade or YA level. The illustrated Last Hero is also not to be missed. Dragons! Dragons!, Going Postal... it doesn't matter where you start, each book is stand-alone yet they all fit together in this beautiful world that makes me giggle, belly laugh, and enjoy the ride.

3 - Incarnations of Immortality Series by Piers Anthony - Fantasy - Piers Anthony's Death is quite different from Terry Pratchetts, and I must admit that it has been over twenty years since I've read these novels. I do remember thoroughly enjoying his take on gods and myths and not being able to devour the books fast enough. Looking them up on Amazon reminds me that I need to purchase copies for myself.

4 - The Princess Diaries Series by Meg Cabot - YA Real Life Fiction? - (is that even a genre?) Normally not my favorite genre to read, but when it's good, it's this good. Mia makes me laugh, the silliest things happen to her, and I just love her. Always a giggle to be found no matter which book it is. And lovely enough, the books don't have to be read in order if you can't find them that way.

5 - A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck - YA Historical Fiction - At first I thought this book was going to be similar to "Walk Two Moons" in that it would be funny, but it would be more poignant and sad. (Don't get me wrong, I loved Walk Two Moons. It totally earned it's Newberry Medal, but it made me cry, so no, it doesn't get on this list.) I was pleasantly surprised. This book is full of awesome, and it didn't make me cry. I think Granny is my favorite character, ever.

6 - "Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs" by Molly Harper - Paranormal Romance - Hilarious. Can I say it again? HILARIOUS! The 'adult moments' are a little explicit, so if that makes you uncomfortable, don't read it or skip those bits. But I was rolling, seriously rolling on the floor laughing. I have had to find a copy of everything she's written because I love Molly's sense of humor.

7 - Myth series by Robert Lynn Aspirin - Fantasy/Paranormal - I was introduced to these books when I was sixteen. Oh my goodness. For one, I liked the puns in his titles. For two, I remember giggling through every story. I loved the way his magic worked.

8 - The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher - Urban Fantasy/Noir - This list would not be complete without Harry Dresden. He's a wise-ass, smack-talking wizard detective whose view on Fae, magic, etc, makes me laugh out loud. He gets his butt handed to him over and over, but he always somehow comes out on top. Well, by the end. But not always. I wanted to write a ranty letter to Jim Butcher at the end of Changes, let me tell you. But Harry, he's good people. I LOVE Harry's attitudes and his sheer determination. And, well, Bob the skull... what more can I say? They crack me up!

9 - "The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump" by Harry Turtledove - Urban Fantasy/Noir -A friend of mine lent me this book a couple of weeks ago. Imagine the 1980's powered by magic and imps. This was fun to read, because I like a good mystery and I like the tongue-in-cheek humor. It's a little dark for this list, but it was a fun read. :)

10 - The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede - YA Fantasy - Princess doesn't like the prince she's supposed to marry, so she runs off to be a scullery maid to the dragons. And princes still show up at her cave door to beg for her hand. Read these out loud to my daughter and we giggled and laughed our way through it.

I really want to put Charles de Lint on this list. I used to have several of his books, but I think I gifted them during a move. I know the book I'm thinking of was a Jilly Copperfield novel, and I remember being delighted at the urban fantasy elements and that she was an artist. I'm not sure I could say the books were 'humorous' but I remember they made me feel good, not gritty. Even though they had grit. There was always something wonderful and hopeful that made me light up with delight when I read them. So. Go read everything by Charles de Lint and find out for yourselves how awesome he is. Me, I think I need to buy them all over again.

 What are your favorite novels that make you laugh?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Top Ten Life-Changing Books

I woke up this morning with a top ten list of books in my head. Not just any books, but books that changed my life.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Plethora of Thoughts

On Doctors

July marked the two year anniversary of moving into this house, as well as my first ever surgery. I had my appendix removed and while they were at it, they fixed a hernia I didn't know I had and removed a cyst on my ovary. That experience is why I refuse to go to doctors now. It wasn't because of the doctor, the nurses, or the hospital. They were great. It was because of my experience recuperating. Never, ever, ever again will I put myself in a position where I can't do anything but lay in my bed for a few weeks.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Painting with Alcohol and Sharpies

A friend of mine is directing a local theater company's Mikado and has asked me to help him with props. I'm painting fans for the players.

I'd never painted on fabric before, and I pulled on what I'd learned from a colored pencil class in college when I learned how to use washes with colored pencils using fabric brushes and denatured alcohol. Since the fans are made out of nylon, and all the dyes and fabric markers suggest cotton, natural fibers, or a poly blend, I figured why not try it with marker. It's just as permanent as paint, right?

First I colored in the border with a pink crayola marker. Does that look pink to you?? Me either. I didn't like the look at all.

Friday, August 9, 2013

On Being Different, but not really

We're different at our house. And just a titch crazy.

I think people who think differently make the best of friends. They have the best conversations, since they see points from different perspectives. People who agree all the time don't have much to talk about, I would think. People usually have a few things in common, sure, but I think differences are the spice of relationships. (unless you disagree violently, in which case it's probably better for all involved to just keep your distance)

Saturday, August 3, 2013


So in between and after various camping trips this summer, I've made a couple of logo's.

I'll share, shall I?

For Jwelr's Cakes

for my cousin, MontE, because he capitalizes his E, and because he's Uncle Monkey :)
That monkey e there? Illustrated type. Finally, I can mark off that I've officially done it, now.