Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Building a Shed: Part 2

The shed is complete! OK, let me rephrase that. The shed is nearly complete! It has four walls, shelving, a door, and is already starting to fill up with stuff, but it still needs some love and care before I can step back and say, finished!

I am not complaining that there is more work to be done. Oh, no. If you just look below at the clutter that was filling up one corner of my art studio, you'll understand why I am so excited about this shed. And besides what is in this picture was also the lawn mower and buckets and a million little 3" to 6" sized pots.

It's looking pretty big right now, but it is filling up awfully quickly!

And I finally just took a whole bunch of stuff to the dump. This is stuff that I have had for years, always thinking that someday they may become useful. It never happened.

I found someone to buy our old gas mower (in exchange for a nice bottle of red wine) and now I think I'll be able to squeeze in our wheel barrel at the end of the season to store all winter long.
Now the important part: I need to pick out a paint color. I don't want it to match the moss green of the house and I think I might go with a lighter gray/green. If this weather stays nice, I will hopefully be painting by tomorrow. But now I have to go pick up a 16 year old that swears he can trim our overgrown laurel. I'd like to give the kid a chance since he keeps emailing me on Facebook that he can do it. I mean, really, he can't make it look worse than it already does!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Growing an Eco-Lawn

Above is our gross, over grown backyard as it was before we started our yard remodel in the spring of last year. It was a pretty much dis-functional as a patio, garden, workspace, or as even a place to just sit and relax.

Below is just after we finished the hardscaping and started putting in plants in August.

Here it is today: starting to fill in and full of lumber as we are finishing up our new shed.

We knew we only wanted a small amount of grass compared to how large the lawn had been before. Some friends put "eco-lawn" seed in their yard last year and I like how it turned out and wanted to try that in our backyard as a test run for the larger front yard.

Now, there is no specific "eco-lawn" seed per se. Instead, it is a mix of rye grass, fescues, clovers, yarrow, and/or English yard daisies. Many different blends are available depending on the climate you live in or the type of nurseries near by. Most of the nicer nurseries like to create their own blends. What makes it special is that you only need to mow it a few times a year, it grows slowly and not too high, and gets lovely little flowers in it. It is also more drought tolerant than regular lawn fescue.

Ours has only been growing about 6 weeks, but I am loving the deep emerald color and these little white flowers. When it gets a little higher, we will get purple flowers and red clover. Some spots are still a little patchy because the cats just love to scratch around in the grass, but that's OK, I just keep filling in seed as needed.
I love it! Now we have to dig up all the dandelions out of the front yard so I can move in some eco-lawn up there. It might scare our neighbors though. They tend to be of the mono-seed fescue lawn variety of people.

Good Publicity and A New Necklace

I have been getting a lot of love in the publicity department this week from the Tacoma News Tribune.

First, art writer Rosemary Ponnekanti wrote a nice piece about my art show on the TNT blog that was then printed in the Friday GO Arts section.

Then today, in the Soundlife section, there was an article about recycled art being sold at Matter Gallery in Olympia with a nice shout out to my recycled art work as well: It's a Matter of Art.

Above is a new prototype for a three flower necklace. I can't wait to get the shed built so I can clean out my art studio and make some more work!

Building a Shed: Part 1

I have a serious problem with storage in my art studio. Problem, like every thing we don't want in the house or anything that has to do with the lawn ends up in my studio. So piles of shovels, buckets, potting supplies, the lawn mower, etc, are all taking up valuable real estate in the studio and making me feel a little closed in.

When we put in the fence last summer, we ended up with one corner that was growing weeds and not much else was going on in that area, so we decided a shed would be a great solution to our problems.
What I was originally thinking was going to be a tiny shed is now turning out to be pretty big. The reasoning was, well, it's about the same time to make a 3x6 shed as it would be to make a 4x8 shed, so let's just make the latter. And 4x8 isn't really all that big; it will be filled up within a matter of minutes.

Everything should be finished tomorrow except for the paint. I want to go pick out a paint different from our house color as I am thinking ahead to what we might want to be painting the house a couple of years from now. The house is a faded moss green now. I am thinking of doing the shed another green color, but away from moss. I don't want to think about it too much; I am usually good at just picking out something on a whim and being happy with the results.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Creating a Treasury for ETSY

Maybe you are acquainted a bit with ETSY, that online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods. I have only been selling on ETSY since the end of last year and I am still learning the ropes. I have found that I get more traffic from people coming from Facebook or this blog than random people looking online.

When you start on the front page of ETSY, there is a nice big section with some "handpicked" items; a special treasury of items that maybe have a specific theme, like a color or a certain material. These groups of items are not chosen specifically by ETSY editors. Instead, they are selected out of the thousands of Treasuries that ETSY buyers and sellers make themselves of their favorite items. And you are not supposed to include one of your own items.

Well, I have finally made my first treasury. I have tried several times before, but there was always a limit to how many treasuries could be made at any one time and I always seemed to miss an opening. Well, now ETSY has changed their policy, so that anyone can make a treasury at anytime.

The funny thing is that while I knew it would be easy to pick out beautiful items, it took me well over an hour and a half to organize them just so and pick out pieces that would compliment one another.


Take a look at my new treasury: Dreaming of a Deep, Blue Sea and a Big, Green Forest

And look at my new jewelry I have been posting up.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What A Fun Show

It is always quite exciting to have a show, to make work and display it to the world. But it can get pretty exhausting as well. Too many 10 hour days and too much take away food gets on ones nerve after a while. And then the show goes up and you anxiously await your first visitor to come to the opening and then everybody starts showing up and then you start selling things and more people show up and you pass out Sangria and sell more items, and well, it's a pretty good feeling.
But today, the day after, is luxury. I slept in. We went and drank beer with lunch and watched the England/Algeria game (a draw) and now I have been leisurely working on my new website. This is a nice feeling. But I still have to photograph my leftover jewelry from the show to put on ETSY and finish uploading photos on my website so I can launch it on Monday. Phew. A little breather, but now I need to keep going.

I feel really quite honored right now to have such great friends that make an effort to come to my shows and support my work.
Although I never get to talk to everyone as much as I would like to!

Here's my Sangria recipe.

Jennevieve's Red Bomb Sangria

1 cup Brandy (the nicer the brandy, the better the sangria!)
1 lime, cut in thin slices
1 lemon, cut in thin slices
1 orange, cut in half and then into thin slices
1 apple, any crisp variety, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup grapes cut in half (optional)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 container limeade or lemonade concentrate
1 bottle inexpensive red Spanish table wine/Rioja
1-1 liter bottle club soda or sparkling water, chilled

The night before, combine fruit, sugar, and concentrate with brandy and put in fridge.

Right before serving, combine with Rioja and sparkling water. Stir well and serve over generous amounts of ice and be sure to include an orange slice and some apples and grapes in each glass.

For the art opening I doubled everything except for the wine which I quadrupled and it turned out great! Also, I didn't have grapes, so I put in two apples. Have fun with this. You can also use white wine, yum! Perfect for summer BBQs (and art openings!).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One More Sneak Peek Before Lift-off!

I've got 14 bird sculptures and one painting showing tomorrow. The peacock has by far taken longer than anything else to create. The entire piece is covered with deconstructed tin, most of it in the shape of flowers. I had to hand cut, file, sand, rivet, and tie on each one individually. If you want to see his long, colorful tail, you'll just have to come down to the show tomorrow!

I am especially fond of my little "Clockwerks" piece as well.
I am extremely happy that my show is opening, but I will be happy to get back into the kitchen and out in the garden this weekend. I think we've had take away every night this last week since my husband doesn't cook and I have been too busy in the studio!

36 Things: Paint a VERY LARGE Canvas

Done! It's titled "Raven Steals the Sun" and it is 4 feet by 5 feet. I had to borrow my dad's van to deliver it to Madera Architectural Elements today in preparation for my show tomorrow.

This was one of my more personally challenging items on my list of 36 Things To Do Before I Turn 37. It's hard to get started on any painting sometimes, let alone a large painting. I am glad I did it, but honestly, I really don't think many people have that much space to hang a painting this large in their house. The commission I did last month that was 3 feet by 4 feet was of a much more human scale.

I also have no room to show such a large painting in our house. Every room is full of either doorways or windows! (I hope it sells or the poor thing will have to go into storage. Maybe I can "loan" it out.") Hope to see you at the opening tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nearly There

A lot of work other than just making art goes into putting on an art show. You have to invite people, you have to make the work, you have to price and make tags for all the work, you have to figure out food and beverages, and you have to make sure all your display material is in good shape.

The above photo is before I painted all these pedestals this morning. It is hard to see, but they are pretty dirty and beat up. Below is the after. A little bit of work but, oh, so important! I will be installing my pieces for the show tomorrow. I still have a few things I want to finish so I need to head back out into the studio ASAP! I worked about 10 hours yesterday and finally had to stop because my hands were hurting so much. Twisting and bending and cutting metal beats up your hands.

A little sneak peek at my big peacock sculpture.
I have started making these flowers for both my sculptures and as jewelry.

I am liking how they are turning out. It's nice to have a show coming up but let me tell you, I am looking forward to watching some world cup and hanging out in the garden!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Please Excuse My Absence

Getting ready for a gallery show is a lot of work. It's 8 days away and I feel very compressed for time right now. I have a sculpture of a peacock I am trying to finish. Also, I have been working on getting my new website up and running and that should roll out by the weekend.

I have been spending way too much time on my website. The software I am using is so touchy that if I modify anything in the html at all, it will freak out and send everything back to default even after I have changed and saved things numerous times. But I am getting it done and that is what is most important.
I met with my sports doctor today to go over the results of my MRI that I had last Friday. I like my doc: he is respectful, friendly, and earnest. But I realized for the first time today that he is god-awful short. Normally I am sitting down when I see him or he is sitting down whilst I hop around on one leg, but today we stood side by side to view the MRI and I towered over him.

Good news is that I do not have a fracture. Bad news is that I have tendonosis and a slight ankle sprain and some other incomprehensible verbage of strain, sprain, pull, and general wonkiness. Basically, several things are slightly screwed up, which translates to a whole bunch of exercises in my future.

So, I am upping the special exercises and he has given me and running out (figuratively) to buy orthotics and he approved me using an elliptical trainer. I am about to start researching which one to buy without spending as much as a car or a tropical vacation. Any suggestions? I want to buy one by the end of the month.

So for your enjoyment, I have pictures of my MRI. I had to pay for the disc, but it's my ankle damn it. I like the close up and distorted ones that you can't tell what it is; I think I see a series of paintings in my future.

I especially like these segments; it make you realize how the fibula is awfully skinny. (Or my ankle is extra fat!)
I have nearly 200 of these photos, but I will spare you from the rest of them.