Jolly Squirrel

Please do not feed the squirrels.
It may lead to squirrel obesity.
She does make us smile, though.


Expression of Gratitude

Pie. Pie. Pie.
Happy Thanksgiving!

with help from my little apprentice


The Tree

The girls and I decorated the Girl Scout Tree at the Visitor's Center today. It doesn't look quite as lovely as I had imagined. I think it's not so much the decorations, but my hasty and haphazard decorating technique.


O Christmas Tree

Remember this post from November 2?
Even though I am completely overwhelmed by trying to manage two Girl Scout troops, I volunteered to take on this project. I organized a Girl Scout event in our Service Unit (two neighboring towns) to decorate a Christmas Tree at the Lake County Visitors Bureau - Indiana Welcome Center. As an artist I dislike the typical, buy-in-bulk craft foam kits that most people use because they are "craftfuly challenged" (not my words). The overuse of them is what inspired me to step up and say I think this is my area of expertise.

All decorations are made with recycled Christmas cards (and a little bit of ribbon). The ornaments are an old fashioned project I made as a kid. My brownie troop loved making them 2 years ago. I invented the garland using fun, fun craft paper punches. The stars are glued back to back and the scalloped circles and flowers are threaded on to the ribbon.

I had a great turn out of almost 50 people and everyone loved the projects. I let them know that it's not just about recycling - to me there is magic in making something out of nothing. We will decorate a whole Christmas tree with about $6 of ribbon and a little glue.


baby radish

Why is it that anything tiny is just so darn cute?
I love radishes.



Ellie and I checked out the clearance bin at the scrap-booking store next to dance class. I found some cool cardboard letters. I told Ellie we could buy an "E" and she could collage it with magazine photos. She wanted to spell her whole name, but they didn't have an "I". When we got home she made her own letters. All she asked for was 3 magazines and completed the entire project with no help from me. It hangs from her loft. On the top of the first L it says "Life is Good."


Time to Breathe

I only worked until 11:30 today. The girls had a half day of school. It's hard to believe I don't have to be four different places today. I can't remember the last day I didn't have run, run, run, go, go, go. The girls made two more cookie deliveries today, but the rest will have to wait. They both have colds and we all need rest. I've got the cookies all sorted out and somehow we made a mistake. Someone must have gotten the wrong cookies? I was short 2 Trefoils, but had an extra Thin Mint and Do-si-do? I better get back to painting soon. This is not the sort of blog I would like to read.



It's been a very long day. Tonight I am opting for Chamomile rather than Merlot. No art to post because I still haven't found the time. I can't even find any older work to post.



A beautiful weekend. We went to Wisconsin for my little cousin's wedding. Congratulations Annie and Dave! Everything was beautiful! I especially love the cupcake wedding cake with lego bride and groom and beautiful children in beautiful clothes giggling and twirling. Congratulations to John and Rhonda on their beautiful new home. Glad we got to see it on our way home from Appleton.



I strive to simplify my paintings
as I strive to simplify my life.


Don't Give Up

Another little sketch from a year and a half ago. This is from my outdoor landscape painting class. I'm digging up old work in the effort to renew my interest in painting. Now I know how Tom feels when I tell him I am not painting or that I'm just going to put it off a little longer. Today Mike said he's thinking about quiting writing. "What!?" I said. "You can't" Don't give up Mike and I won't either.


Fall Fun Foiled

Yesterday I noticed the girls were across the street in the neighbor's yard. I went out to check if they had knocked on their door and asked permission to be in their yard to rake leaves. Maya proudly said "Yes, they offered to pay us, be we said 'no'. They insisted and we said we would rake for 1¢." After a short while I realized the kids were really not interested in doing a thorough job of cleaning up the neighbor's yard, but they only wanted to bring leaves from across the street into our yard so that they would have a larger pile of leaves to jump in. I can imagine their disappointment when they get off the bus today only to find out the "leaf sucker truck" came by.



Four days before Election Day, when Barack Obama rallied in my town, I was surprised by fearful comments people made about him and about his race. I have not discussed racism or prejudice with my daughters yet, because – why fill their heads with that when they are so accepting and innocent? It was that day, five days ago, that I mentioned to Maya - regardless of the issues or what he believes in, some people will not vote for Barack Obama just because he is black. Maya said "But when Obama wins, people will see that a black person can be a really good president." "You're right, Maya."

Until last week I thought it was a non-issue. Race did not play a big part in the campaign. People voted for the best candidate. Many first time voters showed up at the polls because there was someone worth voting for. We voted for HOPE and everybody wins.


United States?

I've recently joked that we are so polarized that we should just divide the country into two parts and live our own separate lives. But, could the left side of the country all be liberal and the right side of the country all be conservative? No. We need everyone and we need balance.

I think many people are pretty scared right now, on both sides. I've never wanted to talk politics, but in trying to remain optimistic and in trying not to offend anyone I'll say this... This is an exciting election and I think it is all good. This country has never seen a time when so many individuals have felt that voting was an important responsibility. Sadly, many people I've talked to seemed extreme and fanatical, were not educated, and were only voting out of fear. At least they felt empowered by having their privilege to vote. We are still living in a democracy even though it doesn't always feel like it. I am looking forward to this day being over so we can get past the rhetoric, call ourselves "United", and start building a future for this country. I feel that McCain and Obama are both good candidates. And for the first time in a long time I didn't feel like I had to choose the lesser of two evils. Both candidates know that this country needs change. Maybe that's why voters are worried. How many times have we maintained comfort with a horrible situation because we did not want to face the unknown?


Denying my Spirit

This is not a recent work. It is a little playful watercolor sketch from 5 or 6 years ago when I considered myself to be just a beginner. I had to make a conscious effort to loosen up. It seems here that I successfully did that, but instead of continuing on in the flow, I went right back to my obsession to control and organize.

Lately I have felt that not much has changed since then. I still feel like a beginner and I still feel like I have to begin again, and begin again. Not just with paint, but in life. 

I am described as a spiritual person and I don't want to be. In denying my spirit I have recently (consciously and subconsciously) tried to ignore everything that I know I need to do. For months I have been indulging in caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and meat, watching TV, not exercising, not painting, and allowing myself to become angry and bitter towards others. As you can guess - it's not going well.

Currently I am living in a vicious cycle of feeling stressed out and calming my stress with a glass of wine, a cup of coffee, mindless television. All of these things are adding more stress to my life. All of this has made me conscious that it's time to let go and loosen up. Not with a glass of wine, but by giving up my obsession with trying to control and organize the world around me.


On My Desk

Halloween has passed, so must we immediately immerse ourselves in Christmas? I must. This is the beginning of a big tree decorating project that - while I am completely overwhelmed by over extending myself - I am thrilled to be doing something inventive, creative and yet quite repetitive. Look for the final result around Thanksgiving. I may be going over the top a bit, but it's one of those ideas that I just want to see executed. I've had a much longed for surge of energy with the thought of what I might be capable of creating.

Still toying with the idea of participating in NaBloPoMo [National Blog Posting Month], but I did already miss the first day.

If I did find the time to post, I was going to show you this...

Yesterday, on November 1st I officially picked the last of the harvest. The garden has been neglected for over a month now. Every once in a while, curiosity would lead me to the back of the privacy fence to see if anything was still alive. Just the occasional green chile pepper. I had completely given up, but while the kids were out there playing, they shouted "Izzy found a great big cucumber." It was a little bitter, but I had to eat it. November 1st! I added lots of salt and a little sour cream.