Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Homemade Christmas Gifts

This year, Templeton and I had the idea of making a lot of our Christmas gifts for our family. If you have been following my blog at all, screen printing has been a hobby of mine lately. So I decided to screen print some gifts. Other gifts not shown are a photo book of photos from Thanksgiving for my grandmother and parents. A watercolor portrait of my newest nephew for my brother. And a favorite photo I took of my niece and nephew printed on a large canvas for Temp's sister. Maybe you will get some ideas!
Custom stationary. I designed the art for our mom's. Temp did most of the screen printing.
A close up. Floral pattern inspired by the Art Nouveau movement and their initial in an oval. Designed in Photoshop
Custom totes. My parents love their Great Pyrenees, and mom mentioned needing some bags to carry little things. The canvas material didn't take to the ink as much as I had hoped, but it worked.

The letter "o" for O'Connor

My dad adores his dog, so I designed and printed 2 t-shirts for him.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Birthday Present

 Templeton got me a Canon Powershot, I needed a camera to fit into my pocket or pocketbook for those "on the go" shots! We each had a Pentax, but actually wore them out! Templeton also planned for us to go on a horseback riding tour by Williamsburg, but it was canceled due to the weather.
 Anyway, here are the first pictures I took:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowstorm Dec. 2010

On my birthday eve, we get a crazy snowstorm...Templeton and I bundled up to go play in it. Saw some cars swerving on Granby Street, one pick-up truck get stuck in the snow. We went to a church playground and went down the slides which was SO much fun. Went to another playground and did the same thing. For artsy pictures, go to flickr
We came home and went to the backyard and discovered one of our favorite cedar trees that had a beautiful canopy above the corner of our deck snapped. We just have bad luck with trees...so we are going to try to let it fall naturally (the branches), in the meantime, we knocked the loose snow off the branches to take off weight of branches that didn't snap.
Temp climbed the tree to even get snow off...

broken tree branches

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Deck!! Deck!!!

So the decking is all on! We are so happy! All that is really needed in the spring time is staining of some of the wood (non composite), put in the built-in bench and planter. It looks so beautiful, weeks of hard work!
steps off of porch, side of house
full shot

we're happy!

Temp taking it all in!

fine craftsmanship by Templeton

Sunday, December 12, 2010

art not war

My National Art Honor Society kids came up with a new design for the school year for their t-shirts. We have a contest for best design, then burn screens, and spend an afternoon screen printing our t-shirts, hoodies, totes, whatever they want to bring in.
The goal this year is to also sell the shirts to their classmates. I really like this design, simple, direct but a good statement.
 This idea of making t-shirts has gone so well, 2 other clubs in the school want us to do theirs as well! Why pay businesses when we can do them ourselves!?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

jasper helping unload tree decorations

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Our first fire

Templeton found a fireplace setting (screen and tools) craiglist for $75. We needed one, and we were excited because it was Pottery Barn too! We drove out to VA Beach yesterday, and Temp ended up getting it for $60, it's in great condition and matches our decor!
We got our first fire going, it was very nice. It made us feel like adults, and the kitties really enjoyed it too!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 6 of Deck Building

from the backyard
This weekend was all about getting the stringers up (the structural member in a stairway that supports the treads and risers). We had to make sure our post holes were in the right places, and big enough. Cut all of the stringers, cut the posts, attach them to each other, then put in the bottom baseboards of the steps. It may seem easy, but everything has be properly measured and fastened. Plus, since our corners are 45 degrees, that makes things a bit more complicated.

During the week, we will put cement in the post holes and put on hurricane straps. Inspection, then decking.
this is on the side of the house, so we access there as well

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting my "herb" on

So years ago when I had a foot injury, my orthopedic recommended this natural gel called "Arnica". I have had it for 3 years and it works wonders! Anytime I have muscle pain, I rub it in, and it makes the pain go away!
Sadly, I ran out. There is an Herbal "Farmacy" on Granby Street I have always been curious about (but Subway and Mi Hogar), and wanted to see if it was there. Temp and I ran over there and it was...uhhh...different. A couple of rooms that looked like run down offices, and a pharmacy counter. Rows of shelves of giant canisters of herbs, and then more shelves of random asian herbs.
I asked them if they had Arnica, he said no, but he said something that would work for pain. He put together a concoction of peppermint, lavender, and I don't know what else. Said to rub it on the pain, and listed off all kinds of places where I could put it, "on your arm, on your head, on your leg, on your ear, etc". He offered me a sample size for $3.50, I said why not! I really am becoming a fan of more natural healing stuff.
So I get an unmarked bottle and he says, "for your headaches, rub it on your temples, wipe it off your pinky, and put your pink up your nose and rub it around, but don't inhale it!" That made me laugh!
Fortunately I am just putting it on my arm because of a strain from working on the deck.
I will let you know how it works, I am about to use it now!

Update: 6:53
It feels like IcyHot. It's strong. It's opening up my sinuses, feeling tingly, but I think it's working. I don't know if the IcyHot feeling is just masking the pain though....

Update: 7:46
Not impressed really. It feels like IcyHot, but I still feel pain. It could be me, my paint could be a pinched nerve or something where I don't think this remedy would help. I will try again on a definite sore muscle, but in the meantime, I am going back to the Health Food Store to get more Arnica!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lots of deck progress

This weekend Temp's parents came into town and helped us work on the framing of our deck. It takes a lot of careful planning, measuring, and things are looking good!

Next is the framing of the steps, inspection, then putting on the decking! Almost there!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You never know...

 So I was on my way to Target, and I hit every red light...traffic....construction. I was frustrated because a 15 minute drive ended up taking 45 minutes. Did my shopping, and on my way home, more traffic. But the cause of it was a 4 car accident in the lane I normally head home on.
I decided to sit and be grateful. If it took me the normal time to get to Target, I easily could have been in that accident.

Moral of the story: bad things may happen, but there might be reason, life is too short to stress the small stuff.

I am home safe with one kitten on my lap, and one next to me...life is good.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Some more deck progress

Temp driving the 17ft truck.
Templeton and I had to rent a truck on Saturday to pick up our composite. 55 pieces, 16 feet long. The guys that worked in the yard first offered to deliver it for us, and that was a selling point to buy from Home Emporium-but then they called and said their trailer was broken, and we'd have to get it ourselves. Grrrrr...
So we rented a UHAUL, and picked up the composite. It took them at least a half and hour to figure out HOW to load it in the truck, an hour total getting it in there.
We came home, unloaded the truck with the help from the Werners. Then we got to work. We needed to start the framing. This part is crucial because you want everything level--everyone wants a level deck! Teamwork and determination got us this far, more in the coming week. It's really starting to look like a deck, and it's nice to really see how big it's going to be!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Conference Conclusion

Me- doing my thing.
So I think things went really well. Everyone showed up, and had some extras that just wanted to watch because it was "sold out" (you had to get a ticket to attend). One thing I wasn't expecting was for people to finish their projects, but most did!
They made their own cartoon character, traced the characters on transparency, painted their characters with at least 2 coats of acrylic paint, then did a watercolor background. The transparency lays on the background and you have an animation cel!
Here are pics from the event:

They all worked, the whole time, and it was really quiet...it was kinda crazy!

In progress...

This one was a little more simple, but she definitely got the gist of it!

One of the finished products. This woman had never made a cartoon before!
 Everyone really seemed to enjoy the lesson and expressed their gratitude for a new lesson in the classroom. I am glad I challenged myself, stepped out of my comfort zone, and I think I have grown from the experience!!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

VAEA Conference 2010

Today thru Saturday I am attending my first state art educators' conference. Today I went to a "whimsical clay workshop." We learned how to make cool clay heads and bodies. Turns out I ended up picking a really cool workshop with a good instructor. Here is what I made, kinda of a cross between an old school bank robber and a french dude! Obviously it's not finished, we had a very limited time, but I know I want to do something similar with my kids!

Tomorrow I am presenting a workshop on making animation cels called "Animate Yourself". I am really nervous, I get nervous about presenting in front of my peers. I feel like they are more judgmental. Plus I don't have the pleasure of running to my cart or closet for supplies I may have forgotten. This project entails acrylic paint, 3 different kids of paper, watercolors, brushes, pencils, worksheets, comic book strips, power point, and even more. I went to the room I am presenting in this afternoon, and it seems big! Here it is below.

I wanted to present to challenge myself. I feel like my lesson is fun and creative and I feel that more teachers need to have fun with more contemporary projects. Most kids are successful at this project, and all come out looking differently, so you can't lose!
Tomorrow I will post some pics of how it went!
Think of me between 1:50-3:50!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Deck progress...putting in posts

 So this next step was to put gravel in the bottom of each hole, put the post in hand mix cement, and scoop it in.
 TE + KE 2010, had to make our mark!
Me putting in gravel and doing measurements

Sunday, October 24, 2010

October weekend-Survive Norfolk, Survive Deck building

Survive Norfolk pics:

 our friend Adam who was participated, next year Temp and I want to too...

 the first zombies to chase the humans
one of the zombie chases...it was fun!
Temp and I worked on digging the holes for our deck posts. 21 holes, 16 inches deep, 8 inches wide. Phew!