Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Here's one I made Earlier - Penguino

Here's One I made Earlier 
Penguino is an original design, made out of felt and is the first of a many penguins currently in production (well on the ironing table.)

Copyright. DesireeB.2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Non - Painting Chronicles

I shot the chicken but I didn't shoot the deputy. ( Sing to Bob Marley)

That bloody chicken, last night it sounded like it was being attacked by a ferile cat the amount of flapping it was making. Early this morning it was squawking away and generally making a racket. Let me be clear about this, we live in a city, there are no farms nearby that I know of and it would be like a chicken walking around a cul de sac in Ladbroke Grove. Apparently its a bantam chicken and those are expensive said my neighbour. My other neighbours had seen the chicken this morning and contrary to popular belief that it was being attacked it was just happily and casually strolling up the alley, clucking away. Those darn sleep bandits. In the evening as I chatted to the neighbours we spotted the chicken on the fence, slightly obscured by a table. I got the airsoft gun and using my valuable TA experience crouched into position and aimed. I think one of the plastic balls ricocheted and possibly hit the chicken ( I doubt it though) but the noise was enough to startle it, and it flew away. This may seem cruel but I can safely say I don't mean to harm the chicken I just wish it would find somewhere else to live, like the country. I think we are going to have to fork out for a fishing net if we have any hopes of capturing it . It's like the Usain Bolt of chickens. We would of course find it more appropriate accomodation. It's either that or a wanted ad on Craigslist. Chicken: young, agile, social and talkative seeks full time carer. Free, pick up only.

2 Days later Chicken update. So, yesterday in a scene reminiscent of Lord of the Flies the kids on the street decided to chase the chicken. There were about 7 of them. I know I fired at it, but it was indirect only and one of these kids had a blue shovel ! The chicken was flapping about like nobody's business. They weren't hitting it as far as I could see, merely poking bushes, but they were chasing it like a relentless mob and they trapped it in the Apartment complex across the road. Well, we didn't see chicken the next day and feared the worst. Note use of the word fear, due to the nature of it's capture I felt really bad like someone who sees a crime being committed and just closes the curtains. Those kids are out of control. To quote my neighbour " If you want to figure out who the next serial killer will be, look no further." I exaggerate but a shovel ? I'm happy to say Chicken outwitted them all, he was heard happily clucking this morning much to our relief. It is imperative that we capture chicken, he needs to know its us or the kids. We'll find him a nice patch where he can be free of the daily stresses of living on the streets. Still he better steer clear of the Santa Fe.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Picture Moment - The View from I-5 & Raccoons

Naturally with an 8 hour journey the sky is going to change but it was pretty dramatic. All pics were taken from the comfort of a moving vehicle.

These little muddy prints are those left by the rowdy raccoons after a night's camping at Caspar Beach.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Here's one I made Earlier - TV Table

Materials: Primer, Spray paint, adhesive numbers, tray table

Method: Make sure your tray table is free of dirt and dust. Lightly sand. Mask off areas that you don't want to paint. Coat with primer. Leave to dry and repeat. When dry attach numbers to table. Grab your colour spray paint and coat. Leave to dry and repeat. When fully dry peel off the numbers carefully and Ta Da moment. You can use any type of stencil I just happened to have a sheet of numbers.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Non-Painting Chronicles

Back from a week long vacation. Vacation would imply rest and relaxation but as I mentioned in a previous post there were a couple of anti-sleep bandits in force namely 7, yes 7 dogs who at the mere sound of a branch breaking would start a howling festival. There were also the roosters about 3 I think who like to get everyone up before six and that was when we had four walls and a roof. After a short stint at the donkey ranch we set off for our roadtrip down Highway 1. In theory beautiful coastline, the roar of the ocean and sea breezes. In actual fact some parts were near terrifying, hairpin bends one after another after another some with shear drops down very very steep embankments. I was more holding on than admiring the view. We didn't prepare for the fact that we would be on these narrow, steep, winding roads for hours on end. Our first stop was the Emerald Forest and Patricks Point. We camped and were fairly optimistic, we had bought provisions earlier in a grocery store, chicken, pasta salad, potato salad and bread and butter pudding. The husband had seen the bread and butter pudding at the counter and asked to try it and he then promptly purchased a big slice. We also had some doughnuts to roast over the fire, a little camping secret we were told when camping last year. The frosting melts and they are delicious. Cue dinner, very nice thank you. Doughnuts unfortunately were a wee bit on the dry side, two fell in the fire and they didn't really melt. They weren't krispy kreme and just didn't work so we soon abandoned that idea. Exhausted we retired to bed, the first thing I noticed as I lay in the tent was the snoring, it wasn't coming from our tent. I tried and tried to block it out, I listened to my own breathing I sang songs from the Sound of music in my head, nothing worked... The snoring was so loud it would have registered on a decibel counter. I said to myself if I don't open the tent to look out then I can pretend its not real. Needless to say I unzipped the tent door and looked for clues. It wasn't coming from the immediate vicinity, it was further than that. If I had had a bee bee gun I would have happily have shot a few harmless plastic pallets into the snorers tent. I also imagined a design for a soundproofed tent which I realised had actually already been invented, its called an RV. Add to this, the husband got up twice to hurl in the middle of the night so 1st night of trip, Sleep Bandits 1 Sleeping 0 My husband spotted the snorer the next day, he was on the larger side shall we say and was driving a motorcycle. "How do you know its him." I asked. Apparently he had had a friend who would fall asleep in front of the TV and snore really loudly. He was also on the larger side. So conclusive wouldn't you say ?

You can see where this story is going its not a tale of blissful enjoyment of being at one with nature. The next day we visited the beautiful redwood forests and went through The Drive Thru Tree, all very nice and then we drove and we drove and we drove. Twisting, turning, light, dark, light, dark, slow car, fast car, brake, brake, brake it was a wonder we didn't all get car sick. Miraculously we made it to Caspar Beach for another night's camping. Cue another food disaster, I forgot to mention the delicious bread and butter pudding which my husband tasted and was about to eat being the cause of his night hurls. As I looked at the pudding, I saw a tiny white patch of MOULD, I screamed "STOP" just as he was about to take a large bite, so upset stomach was narrowly avoided for a second night .

Safeway, pretty well known store to stop off at. We bought good donuts this time, choc chip cookies, and decided to buy some of their hot soup which they'd run out of but would warm some new stuff up for us. Great we thought, just what we need. We'd bought a stove with us but alas no pans or propane to light the stove. So excited about having found the campsite and it was fairly sheltered from the looks of things. We settled down to some dinner one spoonful of soup and it was stone cold. There was no way it had been heated up, it was so disappointing. So the husband went off and to his credit found a microwave and disaster was narrowly averted. When you are sleep deprived the smallest things can seem like crisis.
The road work began about 5, we could hear the sound of drilling in the distance. The sleep bandits were at it again but I was confident I could block it out. Exhausted we retired to our nylon tent, we'd also forgotten pillows and the makeshift towel pillow wasn't really making the grade if you know what I mean. In a moment of inspiration I took the detachable chair headrest and wrapped the towel around it, much better. I don't know what time it was when we started to hear strange sounds outside of the tent. "What's that ?" said the husband. "I think its someone throwing their trash out." I replied. The sounds continued and next thing I know my husband tells me, in a very serious tone. " There's a bear outside, open the tent and shine the light at it." Bear expert I am not, I am still at heart a city dweller and the thought of a flimsy bit of nylon being the only thing standing between me and a bear. Well, I was terrified. Still I stuck my trembling hand out of the tent and waved the light. I was officially done with camping at that point. My husband continued to strongly urge (read shout in a low voice) to wave the bloody light which I obviously was. The light trick having not worked the husband figured out it wasn't a bear and unzips the tent whilst I hold on to the dogs. We have raccoons, (where were the warnings!) in our sleep deprived haze we had left the donuts, chips and cookies out. The husband did some excellent hissing impersonations and threw rocks, a log, plastic bottle of water at our unwelcome friends. But still they came back again and again and again. The husband to his credit went out in his boxers and socks put everything in the car and threw some bigger rocks and finally they got the hint. Once they had left we could enjoy the sounds of the Seals honking at the beach. I am being sarcastic obviously! Sleep Bandits 2 Sleeping 0. I couldn't wait to get the tent down and get out the next morning, it was wet and cold. The raccoons also took a tupperware container with dog food in it. So sneaky.
Two nights of not sleeping and suddenly the ocean, well who cares its blue, ocean I'm over it. We decided we were going to get on the 101 as soon as we could so that we could actually make some distance. The locals were not altogether forthcoming in their direction giving. Something along the lines of head to Valley Forge and ask there for directions to Petaluma. As it was we found it just fine. Through Big Sur, no vacancies lots of trees, more winding. We would push on and stay in a motel. We didn't have the willpower to put the tent up again, we were weak, tired and in need of warmth. We passed one motel and then absolutely zip for about 40 miles a long time. We passed Hearst Castle. "Its a national tourist attraction there's has got to be some motels." I said hopefully. Miracle of miracles we found a motel and it took pets, we were going to sneak them in. The 20 pounder would have been easy enough, the 50 Pounder would have been a challenge but we walked them in, legally. Oh how we appreciated the beds and hot shower, we slept like babies. OK, so this motel stop wasn't without incident as I went to the car to grab some things in my pyjamas my Birkenstock made contact with a 1 inch tile ledge which sent me flying Superman style onto the cold, hard tiled floor. This fall follows the ice-cream trip in Big Lots where I landed on a shelving system which had I seen the Ice-cream I would have obviously avoided. Still, Sleeping 1 Sleep Bandits 2. Over the course of the journey home I talked a lot about Vanagons and other sleep/drive vehicles being a really good idea. There was some beautiful sights that we experienced but I know we have to plan more in the future. I won't be camping any time soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thrift Store Find

Thrift Store Find - Cowboy Boots
Yee-haw I found myself some vintage cowboy boots. Very comfy and after they'd been polished they looked divine.

When at a donkey ranch.... Male miniature donkey admires boots.
The donkey looks like he'd like a pair.
I tell him they were less than 30 bucks and he can't believe it.

The husband says I can't wear them with shorts. We'll see......

Friday, September 11, 2009

Non-Painting Chronicles

It's Too Nice Outside
I can't help it the weather has been gorgeous and I've been to the beach three times this week surfing, boogie boarding and walking. Hard to believe I was a teacher once who was really hard on homework less students on a Monday morning. Labor day saw a reshuffling of the craft room and the sewing machine was put through its paces after a bit of dusting. I made a super cute penguin and started some new furry travel buddies. I am also a proud owner of a dyson with ball, it drifts it turns, aah the satisfaction of knowing that the war on fleas is going to be fiercely fought with the dust sucking giant on my side. I wanted the lightweight one but the canister was the size of a pepsi litre bottle and I knew it wouldn't be enough. I love emptying it, its very satisfying.
I am drained, another 5 ish awakening by the neighbour taking her dog for a walk. For a second I thought I'll go surfing but I love sleep. Also and this is rather disgusting Sanford (small dog), who has a habit of making himself at home on our bed slept at our feet. When I woke up my foot felt something wet and disgusting. In vain I tried to convince myself it was just the cold sheet being half asleep and all but alas the little man had thrown up on the sheet and I had put my foot in it . I showered my feet before grabbing a load of loo roll and the Oxyclean, my newest friend in the cleaning department. Honestly its great and I don't know how I survived without it. It was a brownish colored puddle and it really didn't smell good at all, not what you want to wake up to at all. The husband proceeded to sleep through this of course. It was only when he got up that I found the other patch with what looked like a divet of grass all matted together. He doesn't have a good sense of smell. So before the crack of dawn or 7am, the bed was stripped, oxycleaned and put in the washing machine. What's the moral of the story ? Don't let your cute dog sleep on your bed? Well, in hindsight if he had thrown up on my new and foolishly white pure wool ikea rug I think I would have been a lot more distressed which as his dog bed sits on top of it, would have been a distinct possibility. We have a chicken a bantam apparently, his feet are furry and he has an owner who said he'd pick him up last Wednesday. Over the last week the neighbours have tried in vain to catch it but the little blighter is hot footed and flies when he has to. So what's wrong with having a chicken hanging out ? Well for one it POOS EVERYWHERE you can barely get in the garage for all the poo drips. No ones feeding him so ....I don't need to elaborate. Two it has started making himself at home on peoples cars, that was the breaking point for the husband. Its one thing to make Sanford throw up because of course he probably ingested some chicken poo but its another thing to mess with the paint work on the Santa Fe. As I write he may be buying a fishing net with which to trap and then release the chicken far, far away where it can live a happy life.

I cleaned all my art brushes finally, I'd let them sit in odorless turps for a while, I know very bad but they don't seem to have suffered unduly. I have painted, honestly but the camera is in the car because I took a picture of the lovely sunset before I went swimming in the sea on Wednesday. It was quite spectacular I wondered why we hadn't gone before but its madness in the Summer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Here's One I made Earlier

Filing Card tin and Cards.
Materials: Spray paint, screenprint decals and old filing tin, index cards, stickers, cardboard box, primer.
Method: Super easy this, rummage around a thrift store and find a metal filing tin. Go outdoors, use a cardboard box to create a spray booth of sorts. Prime and leave to dry, you'll only be able to do a bit at a time or you'll get finger prints from moving it. Repeat with nice coloured spray paint. Carefully place your screenprint decal (I got mine at Urban Outfitters but they have them at Scrapbooking places) Follow instructions basically rubbing and peel backing off carefully. If you want to be super thorough coat with clear varnish.
For the cards, take ordinary index cards and a bunch of computer printable stickers. Type out your letters and print out 2 of each. Stick one onto a piece of card making sure you have a bit left over, stick onto index card and stick the second letter onto the back. The card makes them sturdier. Also very important make sure they are not too tall or they won't fit in your box.

I didn't make him earlier but seeing as his paws are in most of the shots. He likes to help, bless him I thought I'd include a whole picture.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thrift Store Find - Amaretto Tin

Thrift Store Find - Amaretto Tin
I like tins, containers, boxes even more so if they are brightly coloured or have great graphics. I already had a tin like this one but its square that someone had thrown out and which now happily lives in the studio. So when I found the same tin different shape it was a no brainer. I haven't found the perfect items to go in it yet, too short for pasta but I will.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thrift Store Find - Things Jar

You can definitely see a recurring theme of storage with the TSF. I love this jar it's ceramic and I didn't have to change it at all. I'm on holiday at the moment so there won't be any painting chronicles for a week. I was taking photos from the car as we drove up, in 9 hours of driving you get to see a lot of scenery. Some of them will make it onto canvas. Still trying to get sleep, we left city chicken behind but gained 5 roosters who think 5.30 is an acceptable time to start crowing! Its a conspiracy I'm convinced. Still I'm off to some new thrift stores in search of cowboy boots. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Non-Painting Chronicles

What a day. I’m exhausted. It started badly when I was woken up at 5am by my neighbour taking her dog for a walk and then again when she came back at 6am. Early riser I am not. Its been a week of fitful sleep, there are roofers that begin at 7am with no regard for anyone. They have no inside voice probably due to all the hammering they do. To be woken up by “Hey John, do you want a bagel?” is not a good way to start the day, but that was last week...So I decided to make the most of my interrupted sleep and went to work early which was largely uneventful and drama free. I cycled home, the dogs were fine, the sun was shining. I decided to let my neighbour’s dog out for a pee as I knew the dog hadn’t been out all day. (My neighbor has only had the dog since Saturday) I put the leash on and led her downstairs. You know what’s coming next, my worst fear is what. No she didn’t poo on my shoe if that’s what you’re thinking which given what did happen I would have happily taken the poo. My dogs were strolling about leash free, so pee time over I led them all upstairs closing the gate behind me. All three dogs seemed happy enough going between the two apartments and then my neighbour’s dog took herself home.

So I’m about to close the door and the dog decides its not going inside after all and stands by the gate at the top of the stairs. She looks at me and in a split second she jumps over the gate and down the stairs and starts RUNNING. I’m wearing trousers, a top and flip flops. It’s still about 90 degrees or so it feels and I start running after her. I try to stay calm. No, this can’t be happening. I run faster but this old gal who has previously never given any inclination that she liked to run becomes a greyhound. I call her name in as non-threatening way as you can when you’re out of breath running in flip flops. Things are not going well, I pass a man jogging with a stroller. “Does she bite ?” “No, I reply.” S***, s****,s****. The dog reaches an intersection and is now in full flight. Adrenaline is pumping through my veins. She has no road sense and runs across the road. Huge expletive at this point. A car hits the breaks. This is followed closely by me running into the intersection, yelling “Stop her, at the top of my lungs.” My plea for help is heard and a girl who was in the car that hit the brakes gets out and starts running with me. This is America after all a nation of dog lovers praise be. Her boyfriend is in the car breaking traffic laws in hot pursuit, closely followed by a police car that is also trying to apprehend the dog followed by a man on a bicycle who is also giving chase. Bike man reaches out to grab her and she evades him. The police car stops and tells me to get in. The scene before me is a 6 lane busy intersection, how am I going to tell my neighbor I killed her dog ? How do you even begin that conversation ?

We almost have her but she slips away, back in the car again we manage to get her off the main road and into a parking structure. We have her pinned behind a parked car. The police are on one side, me on the other and the couple and bicycle boy cover the other outlets. By this point I have run a mile and a half in flip flops and I am so relieved that the dog is OK I want to burst into tears. I don’t have a leash so improvise with a lanyard and the lovely couple in the car that almost hit the dog, offer to give us a ride home. I am a wreck. I thank everybody profusely, the nice policeman and the bicycle man. I think they are glad it was a happy ending but there is no way I would have been able to do it by myself. I am so relieved that the dog is OK. Is the dog relieved ? I can't tell, she's not all that enthusiastic about going home but I'm firm this time, there will be no second bid for freedom on my watch, ever.

So I pet my dogs who thankfully are blissfully unaware of the last half hour. It felt like so much longer, maybe it was. I set about making some dinner, I can’t find the tray I need for the chicken (husband) so I substitute with an inferior tray. An hour later I turn the chicken over, bad, bad, bad error some of the fat comes off the tray, next thing I know the oven is spewing clouds of black smoke. I open the oven and it’s on FIRE, there are flames! I panic. I swear and finally come to my senses and switch it off, I take the chicken out and the flames die down. It’s all too much.

What on earth has this got to do with painting ? Zero ,but I had no energy to paint after that, and yes I might have watched The Real Housewives of Atlanta to take my my mind off the traumatic events.