Thursday, January 29, 2009


coffeebigI made this little sign a while back for the kitchen. Boy, some days it’s oh so true. I’m not overly grouchy this morning but I just can’t seem to defog my head. I’m on my third (huge) cup and I’m still a dolt. Maybe I’ll wake up before I have to go to work.

journals01I was jotting some notes to myself yesterday afternoon in the journal thingy I always carry with me. Even when I decide that I’m not taking my purse – I carry my book! A customer commented that it was “me” if anything ever was. I can’t argue with that. The book I call “LIFE” started as a tally book. My Beloved works on oil rigs and tally books are everywhere. Most of them have vinyl covers in garish colors with company logos on them.

journals02No problem, we just recover them! One day he came home with some new ones, they had clear covers with a removable insert. Unfortunately for me, he could only grab a few of them. Silly me, I thought he would be able to get more later so I gave two of mine away. And of course, there aren’t anymore to be had. I yanked out the company insert and printed my own. To section off the inside pages, I just in glued papers and tabs. I even made pocket pages to hold coupons, my ID, and my bank card. The inside front cover holds mini business cards with my phone number and email address. The pages have to do lists, reminders, important info I’d otherwise forget, ideas, hastily jotted sketches, my hours at work, you name – it’s probably in there! The other little book in the picture was a mini composition book given to me by the neighborhood crazy woman. She brought it to me saying, “I found this and I knew you’d want it.” The crazy thing is that she really doesn’t know me well enough to know that – but she was right! Chalk one up for the insane! It was pink and yellow, not my kinda colors so I covered it in black with silver stars, threw on some words and moon. Ahhh, now it’s me. I stamped random things on the inside pages, silly things to make me laugh. I showed the altered version to the lady who gave it to me. She smiled from ear to ear and said, “See! I knew!” Yes, yes you did.

Just found a new source for the clear covered tally books that doesn’t require you to buy 100 of them. I really love them but seriously, a hundred? And you can order them blank for a very reasonable price. Guess what I’m going to be doing soon?

I sat staring at my new sketchbook last night. The simple black cloth cover is okay but I can’t have that, can I? But what to do to it? Glue things on? Draw on it? Paint it? Yes! And I know what I want to paint!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Siblings and Upcycling

BEARGIRLI’m slightly annoyed with my brother right now. He pestered me forever (even called me names) about writing him. So I did. Now he’s ignoring me. Why do we still act like we’re in grade school? I have a huge box of his drawings. He wanted me to scan them and said I could have the originals. Then he seemed to think I was Kinko’s and would stop what I was doing whenever he wanted to print elaborate lists of sizes and crap. Like I don’t have a job or a life. Maybe I just want to sit on the couch Embracein my underwear and pick my nose. The point is that he’ll ask for an inch and take a mile. And I finally learned to just say no. The pictures on the left are some of pencil portraits. The weird line on the little girl is from the scanner and stitching the scans.

Now that I have a truck, I’m looking forward to cruising the Tulane/Loyola area for cast offs. Those crazy college students! When they graduate and move on, they toss everything out to the curb. I’ve found some great and very new stuff. But I never had room for the best stuff since I was driving an itty bitty car. But now – now I have room!

buffet02My Beloved wasn’t really on board with my dumpster diving habits at first. He thought it was embarrassing to have his woman picking through the trash. Then we went on a jaunt to the junk stores. There aren’t many here like there are back home. Which is odd when you think about it because the average New Orleanian is way broker than the average J’Viller.

Anyway, we picked up a hutch that was in dreadful condition for next to nothing and a Drexel Heritage buffet that had seen better days. I redid the buffet and my Darling did the hutch. He had the idea to paint it half black/half white. I suggested we skew the dividing line. I think it turned out fabulously.

I was talking to one of my regular customers and she asked if I would put all the content from my long abandoned website up here or somewhere. I’ll try. It will not be easy locating the files now so it will happen slowly. Be patient. I’m old. And tired!

Travel Advice and Goodies

Normally, tourists are a great source of amusement to me. They end up in my neighborhood and always seem to think the French Quarter is just around the corner. They look for intersections of parallel streets (drive all you want but you ain’t ever gonna run into Baronne if you stay on St. Charles). I send them on little tours of my own. Shopping on Magazine or Oak, Art at Big Top and Haiku, neckbones and rice at the Brown Derby. Many times they remark that they’ve heard such negative things about New Orleans and gush about how nice I was and informative. I never have the heart to tell them I’m not from New Orleans.

Today, my tolerance for ignorance wasn’t at its best. Seriously, if you are visiting a new city – BUY A MAP! You can always get a good map with points of interest for any city for under $10. And don’t argue with the residents- you know, the people who LIVE there! A lady asked me “How do I get to the Garden District?” Uh, is this a trick question? You’re in it. I ask what in particular was she looking for. “Oh just pretty stuff.” OPEN your eyes. I suggest that she walk down Prytania to the Cemetery. The walk is beautiful as is the cemetery. She was horrified and looked at me as if I suggested she eat monkey brains. “Why on earth would I want to go there?” Okay Lady, whatever. Next time you ask for suggestions, don’t ask the GOTH. What did you think I was going to say? Aunt Edna’s Tea Room & Inspirational Bookstore?

pencils02After work today I had to run over to National Art and Hobby. They didn’t have what I was looking for but I love driving down Magazine, potholes and all. Then I went to the new Borders. That’s a whole other post. I swore I’d NEVER go there. But my love of books overrode my outrage over the rape of a historic building.

sketchbookYes, I am ashamed of myself. Sort of. I didn’t find any of the books I was looking for but I found some other goodies. I lucked upon a large hardbound 250 page sketchbook – with 100% recycled paper no less. And for only $7.99. And I got the cutest little set of colored pencils EVER. They fit in a CD case. They had some of the most beautiful blank books I think I’ve ever seen. I didn’t buy one but boy, did I want to!


I headed home and to the grocery store. I always scan the floral case looking for black Calla lilies. They had some once. I didn’t buy them and of course, they’ve never had them again. Today huge roses jumped out at me. They were gigantic! I cupped one bloom in my hand and snapped a picture with my phone. They smelled divine too. And I didn’t buy them. I really piss myself off sometimes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Sketch and Journal Pages

journal_spank_shoesFollowing another journal “spank” on my favorite blog – the mission to sketch a pair of Converses. Here’s my version. I sketched them on Saturday but had to zip off to work before I could scan them. Sunday morning I awoke with a killer case of food poisoning. I spent the next 24 hours in bed, sipping Sprite Zero and nibbling on a Saltine or two. Why me? My Beloved could eat road kill and nothing would happen. Me, I eat mayo that’s been out for 2 minutes and I need to go to the hospital.

I finally started to feel better late Monday and checked in on my favorite blogs. A new Spank! And lucky for me, one I’ve already done! Exploration of a color. In my case, purple. I went off on a purple tangent back on the 12th.

I started reading excerpts from a book I have to buy. It’s the first self-help book I’ve found yet that made any sense to me. I doodled some stuff in my journal about it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Yesterday on Ricë’s blog the “Journal Spank” of the day was to grab  whatever was close on your desk and sketch it. The closest thing to me was a little Boston Stapler that sits on end. I did the quick and staplerdirty sketch of it, under a minute – not worrying about shadows and highlights or finding a better perspective. Not that a black stapler has much in the way of shadows and highlights to begin with! I was goofing off and before I knew it – ACK! I was about to be late for work! So this morning I scanned my sketch and here it is.

And yes Ricë, you can come live with me any time you want! I’ll even scare up something pink to make you feel at home!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness and Art

A friend of mine on LiveJournal posted a fun little challenge. Since the readership of my LJ is limited to immediate family and a few people I know in real life, I thought it would be fun to post it on here. Not that there’s a ton of people reading this blog! The difference only being that anyone can read this one. So here it is:

The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.
- What I create will be just for you.
- It'll be done this year (2009).
- You have no clue what it's going to be. It could be anything!
- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch is that you have to put this in your journal as well, if you expect me to do something for you. Share the love, scoobs.

The Power of Three

My boss must really be in a bind without me. I lamented to him on the phone that no one would come get me. He said he would. Let me state that I rode 2.5 miles with my boss once before and swore I’d never get in a vehicle with him again. I must have really been desperate to get out of here by quickly saying “Yes!” He picked me up last Friday and we went to the car dealer we (my Darling and I) new_ride2 had an application in with. I was too late for the Eclipse we had planned to buy. Drats. But then something winked at me, something I really wanted. My boss and I hopped in for test drive. Ha! My turn to frighten him! It was love at first right. What a sweet little truck! While my boss and I were out looking, my Beloved called saying he definitely be home that evening.

We went back to the dealer on Saturday and bought the truck. My Sweetie loved the truck as much as I do. Happy, happy, joy, joy! Thanks to my Beloved, my transportation issues are over. We couldn’t take the truck on Saturday and had to return on Tuesday when the finance company was open. It was a little tough waiting over the weekend to pick it up but I’m sure enjoying the ride to work now!

I missed work, even the insane parts (and insane people)! All the regulars told me how much they missed me and how glad they were to have me back. It’s nice to know that you’re a bright spot in someone’s day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Quickie

So many cool things happened today. They couldn't have come at a better time either as I was getting in quite the blue funk state. Details will come later but here's the main highlights from the list of good things:

I put a down payment on a sweet, sexy little pickup. (+2 points for my boss not scaring the bejeebus out of me with the way he drives!)

My Sweetie will be home tonight!

I won something! Not just that I won something - but it's from Ricë (whom I worship as the Totally Awesome Goddess of Creativity and Inspiration) so it will mean double to me what any old other prize would. Thanks so much Ricë! If you haven't checked out her Blog - DO IT NOW!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Vocabulary Gumbo

I got off on a weird tangent today while giving thought to the journal pages I’ve been working on. New Orleans and the love/hate relationship I have with this town. I adore the city, there’s beauty at every turn. It’s the most of the locals I could live without. But that’s vangogh_glowa whole other rant. I like that the city is a mix of cultures that all at once stand alone and blend together smoothly. The parallel between  the city and myself begged to be heard.

I think I most identify with being a Celt. But I am not Irish. We are Breton French. There’s some Miccosukee Seminole and Creek thrown in the mix. And there’s also a big question mark in the old ancestry trail. Seems some of my mother’s ancestors just magically appeared on the planet in the early 1800’s. A trip to Savannah only added to the mystery. A very old man with the same surname told me, “Pirates! They were pirates and took a  common name when they came ashore for good.” Could that really be true? Maybe there was a reason I was enamored of pirates at a very Abstract01early age. Maybe I came by my love of the skull and crossbones honestly. Who knows?

As New Orleans is a mix of cultures, it has a mix of languages. Everything from from French to butchered English. In everyday normal conversation, words and phrases from other languages are thrown in like seasoning in the gumbo. Delicious. I like the looks on the faces of people nearby when I launch into another language. Since Katrina and the influx of Central American workers, Spanish has really been getting a workout! I have a regular customer who is Bulgarian and speaks many languages. I usually greet him in Romanian and to my great amusement, we cycle through Italian, Russian, and Czech.

I used to speak French but somehow lost the ability. I can still read it and I understand when someone is speaking it to me. Oddly, French words and phrases still pop in my head like long lost friends. I speak Spanish fluently, with the correct accents (I get a kick out of native English speakers speaking Spanish flatly), along with reading and writing it. I speak some Romanian, Breton, Gaelic, Italian, Arabic, and Miccosukee. I can read Arabic words, even if I don’t know what the word I’m reading means. I can write my name and some work related words in Arabic.

My life has included a German step-father and a Miccosukee great-grandmother. My best friends in school were a German girl and a boy from Estonia. Friends now and in the recent past are Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, Turkish, Algerian, Iraqi, British, Jamaican, Swedish, and Spanish (as in from Spain). Romantic entanglements have included a Frenchmen, a Romanian Gypsy, an Argentine, a Mexican, a Hawaiian, and currently, a Chicago Italian with a side of Irish.

I’ve lived in Mexico, been all over North and Central America, a  smidge of South America, and several European countries. I feel that witch_aliceI carry a part of the languages and cultures I’ve been exposed to in this colorful life. So who am I? I’m still a Celt and still a Floridian in my heart. This is me. I love this picture! It’s certainly not the best ever taken (I look a bit pudgy) but I think it captures my personality best. Being silly in Walgreen’s trying on absurd Halloween hats as if I were 5 instead of scaring the hell out of 50. That’s who I am. (Cue the chorus from Javier Garcia’s song, Molly. Yo no soy quien soy, soy quien quiero ser, esta es me historia.) Even if you don’t speak Spanish, the video and music are worth a look and a listen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Today has been a little rough. My phone is giving me problems again. I was wondering why it was unusually silent since yesterday it seemed like it rang way too often. No service. Since I don’t have a land line, resolving the problem meant the joy of online customer service. And by joy, I mean gigantic pain in the ass.

I’ve found it very difficult to stay on task. I keep bouncing from on thing to another. The only thing that stayed constant was my appetite. Which is odd. I’m not usually that way. Today, cheese occupied a far too large part of my brain. All I wanted was cheese!

I lugged the panels back outside to try to paint them. I had been sitting on the kitchen floor with them but my hip was complaining. I got some done before it got too cold and my fingers went on strike. So I lugged them back in and am now trying to finish them on the dining room table (covered with newspaper!). My mind won’t be still enough for me to make any real progress. It frustrates me even more because I really want them done, get them on the walls and pull the Craft Cave of Doom in to order with some sense of a style.

Getting everything organized is quite the opus. I have way more stuff than I should. Seriously. It’s ridiculous how much stuff I have. The left side of the room has a long table and two shelves above. It’s the painting/paper/polymer clay side of the room. The shelves are full and I have storage bins under the table too. And that’s just ONE side of the room! The right side also has a long table but no shelves above. It’s got plenty jammed under the table though! That’s the sewing side of the room. The room has a weird little jog in it because of the central heat unit. In front of the “jog” wall is a tall double door cabinet/bobo armoire thing crammed to the gills with fabric. I knew I should have bought the bigger one! On the wall with the window, there’s more storage bins housing sewing notions, small scraps of fabric, felts, and tools. On the opposite side, there’s my duct tape dress form, a small bookcase, and I plan to put a full length mirror in the only blank space left. I haven’t the courage to post any pics of the chaos that is that room yet. I do have a couple that aren’t so bad, ones of the left side.


This is the left side of the left side of the room. Say that three times fast! The picture doesn’t show the table or all the stuff under the table. The clock just barely in the picture screams or howls every hour. Kinda weird but I like it!


This is the right side of the left side. Mostly paper and polymer clay stuff. Lots of unfinished wood and other “I think I could use this for something” stuff up top! You can kinda see the huge slab of styrofoam I have on the wall. The panels, when I ever get them finished will replace the unsightly but effective styrofoam.

While fussing at myself for not getting much accomplished, I thought to myself, “You used to get so much more done.” Yeah. I used to do a lot of things. That seemed like a good place to start journaling in the “How the hell did I end up here?” journal. I often get mad, sad, or frustrated about the “used-to” thing. But the real question is, Do I want to be exactly as I was before? The answer is no. So I spent some time thinking about the used to list, what I want to keep and what I want to forget. Still working on it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Irish Drunks, Latin Lovers, and Other Myths

Not a craft related post at all this time, just silly musings. I'm still stranded at home. I asked my neighbor for a ride to the grocery store because the cupboard was bare. We went to the small grocer close to home. Since moving out of New Orleans proper, I've had to deal with the stares. No one in New Orleans gives me a second glance. Out here, I stand out like a flashing neon sign brightly illuminating "Not from around here, huh?" We've been here long enough that I've grown on most people. Heck, some of them even like me. But occasionally I run into someone who didn't get the memo that they have a freak/weirdo/goth in the mix. Tonight was one of those occasions.

A couple of middle aged women gawked but didn't say anything. On the frozen food aisle, I was lost in my own label reading world when I realized an elderly black woman was literally inches away from me. She scowled and said, "Can't get used to white people with dreadlocks! It ain't right." She had a young man with her, about 15 or 16 who I assume was a grandson. The poor kid turned red and gave the "I'm so sorry" face. I had to chuckle and walk away. Lucky for me, I don't care if I'm violating the stereotype ordinance. One race didn't corner the market on nappy unruly hair.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gorgons and Princesses

A long time ago I made a bunch of magnets using images from tattoo magazines. I glued the image to the back of clear glass pebbles (the kind with a flat back) and then epoxying on a magnet. I recently did a batch to use with polymer clay and make jewelry out of. Most of them are spookish, crows, bats, skulls, etc. It was close to Halloween and my idea for a costume was Medusa. I figured I could make a bunch of little snake heads and wire them on the ends of my dreads. I found a cool image of Medusa and glued it to one of the larger glass pebbles. I encased it in black polymer clay and rubbed on PearlEx to give it a metallic sheen. I made a simple but cool necklace. I wore the necklace to work a couple of times and everyone, even those who were clueless as to Medusa loved it. One girl in particular, Renee, fell completely in love with it. She asked about making one for her and then I found out it was her birthday - so I gave it to her. I think it was time for me to move on to the Edward Gorey bat anyway.

I've started making journals again. I used to do it all the time. I think it kept me sane(r). And I did some scrapbook pages for my daughter, one for myself. I like my little journals. The one with me as a Simpson (Jessica Simpson HAHA) is goal oriented while the one with little witch is an idea "brewer."

A couple of pages from the goals journal. No major things, the resolutions you can't keep, just things to keep me focused and on target.

The memories page isn't a goal as much as it is an introspection. As much as we try to fight some of the thing of the past, it shapes who you are. Instead of trying to ignore it, use it. Change your perspective.

The second page is for my scrapbook. It's my Baby doing what he loves best. And I love this picture of him.

Then we have the pages I made for my daughter of her daughters. Nana's little Princesses!

The Color Purple

Even though I wear black most of the time, I suppose my favorite color is purple. I write with purple pens in a purple planner, have had purple hair, love purple and black striped tights, and if something comes in a variety of colors - I always pick the purple version.

For quite some time, I have tried to figure a way to have some sort of panel or strip that runs the length of the tables in my Craft room. My first idea was metal so that I could stick magnets to it to hold up all my "ideas." It seemed logical, my guy is a metal artist and we have metal all over the house. But metal, the kind magnets stick to is expensive and heavy. I wanted thin. After pricing the thinnest I could find in large panels, I quickly decided it wasn't going to happen.

Then a brilliant discovery - magnetic paint! We had some leftovers from the panels we surfaced our work tables with. Wow! Nothing to cut - they're perfect. I painted the panels with 3 coats of the magnetic paint. I still can't get over how well it works. I commented to several friends about choosing a topcoat for the panels. The unanimous response was "Black or purple?" Funny! I suppose I am that predictable. I have a scrapbooking paper that I love, it's greens and blues, kinda Retro and very calming. And so not me.

While scanning through me massive amount of image files on my computer, I saw the labels I made long time ago for the Craft Cave. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It's so me. Black, white, purple, and lime green. The design itself is sort of nutty, it reminds me of a old circus freak show. My craft room is its own little circus. Perfect.

This is the design for the panels. I wanted to keep the basic idea from the labels but change it a little, a tad more dramatic. Then I decided that I should do something about the poor excuse for a window covering in there. I have a tacky lace panel up there now draped with a Mardi Gras feather boa. Besides the fact that it's ugly, it doesn't do much for privacy. So I quickly came up with an idea for a valance and curtains for the room carrying forward the "Big Top" theme.

I hauled the panels outside to prep them for airbrushing. Ugh. Since the magnetic paint is slightly textured, my friskets won't stick to them. Plan B - masking tape! I was about halfway done when the once bright blue sky turned black. I scrambled to get everything back in the house before the deluge. I have the worse luck, I swear!

While I was outside taping my panels, someone drove by with their radio up kinda loud. The music was probably Cajun or Zydeco but the melody struck a familiar chord in my head. I started smiling and singing softly to myself, "Start wearing purple, wearing purple. Start wearing purple for me now. All your sanity and wits, they will all vanish, I promise. It's just a matter of time. I've known you since you were a twenty. I was twenty. And thought that some years from now, a purple little little lady will be perfect for dirty old and useless clown." The song took up residence in my head for the rest of the day. Wacky song, wacky head. Perfect fit. I contemplated the color purple while humming along, the correspondences, cultural significance, and other forms of synchronicity. I'm just a purple girl in the Freak Show of Life.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Almost everything I own has a skull on it. Not a fad, been like this for eons. I remember being about 4 years old and doodling skulls on my books. Yeah, I was that kid.

Since making the skull appliqués on my hoodie, I wanted to make a new scarf too. I came up with this cute little thing!

It's two layers of black polar fleece with white fleece patches sandwiched between them. I just serged the edges instead of seaming and turning the scarf. Getting the skull outline on the fleece was trickier than I had imagined. Marking pens, transfer paper, all useless! I ended up tracing the design on tissue paper and stitching the lines. I tore off the paper and trimmed the interior spaces revealing the white fleece underneath. Then I satin stitched around the edges of the design. The skull is visable from both sides of the scarf. Cool! Skullie reverse appliqué!

It was cold when I made the scarf but it's been disgustingly hot ever since. Just my luck, huh?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hope for a New Year

I'm stuck at home again but things are looking up. We found a car for me! Now I am impatiently wearing ruts in the floor waiting for my man to return to shore so we can seal the deal on the car. I sometimes say/think that I would really like to stay home, not work outside of the house. Then reality sets back in. I would lose what's left of my mind if I stayed home. It's fun for a day but then it gets old.

Being at home with no way to go anywhere is like being in prison. Granted, it's a prison with lots of craft supplies but a prison nonetheless. With all this time off of work, I could be getting my big tattoo finished but alas, I have no way to get to town. The weather has been terrible and prevented me from working on some of the big projects I have going. Yep. Not having much fun at all. (*Please note - the tattoo is my own original artwork.*)

Now that a new car is going to be a reality, I need to work on getting a new camera. I never liked the one we had, it takes worse photos than the camera on my phone. That's pretty bad! Even with its horrid pictures, it's useless to me now. My Beloved has dropped it one time too many. I have a ton of projects that I would love to post here but they'll have to wait until I do get a new camera.

I love finding uses for stuff that would otherwise be thrown away. You could call it "green" but I know the truth - I'm cheap. My knack for pulling stuff out of the trash is so well known that at work everyone asks me "Do you want this?" before tossing anything out. I always keep the lids we cut off cigar boxes. I figured I could make books with them. Regular books was what I originally had in mind, the ones with fixed pages. I really need a book that I can divide into sections and have no part of it "fixed." I want to be able to move the sections, move the pages, add stuff, toss stuff, etc. And I need some way of keeping said book closed. I saw a rudimentary version of the book I was looking for and took the basics to make my own. I gathered up stuff I had around the house and off I went.

I couldn't punch holes in the thick cardboard with my regular hole punches and I wanted them a bit bigger anyway, so my wonderful Sweetie made me a punch that would do the trick. It worked beautifully. You can see some of the test holes in this piece of cardboard. I cut off the side of milk jug to make the binding rings, a piece of elastic to hold it shut, and a couple of cigar box lids. An hour later I had a nifty little book just like I wanted.

The elastic band keeps everything tidy. I made sections and pages for the inside that are easily removed or rearranged. I carved out the cardboard where I anchored the rings and the elastic so the papers covering the cardboard would lie flat. It's still a work in progress but I'm happy with it so far.

I saw a cute little blank album at the craft store shaped like a house. Then I noticed the ones that spelled out stuff like "Family," etc. They weren't that expensive but they weren't what I was after that day and the frugal me said, "You could just make it yourself." So as I was tossing some cardboard in the trash on day, it dawned on me that it the perfect size and thickness to make the albums. This is what they look like unaltered. Pretty generic and boring.

A short time later, it looked like this. I wanted a black and white theme. It's nowhere close to finished at this point. So far I just have the cardboard cut to shape and the pieces covered with paper on both sides. I have to cut out the letter overlays I plan to use and apply them along with photos and other embellishments. Then to put binder rings on and then it will be done.

That's it for now. Tomorrow or shortly thereafter I hope to post some of the projects I have going in the Craft Cavern of Doom.