Monday, February 21, 2011

Yes, I Stole Her Birthday.

If I could get my dial up to wander over to Chinamommy's site I'm sure I would find mention of how I stole her birthday luncheon and made it all about me. What ever whiny stuff she wrote be assured she's being way too kind. I hi-jackd her day. I falsely presented the idea that we would be gathering so that I could present her with her gift and that we would spend the day in the sunny light of togetherness. Yeah, right, sister!

First, after she finally called in (something about a 5K she ran that morning, blah, blah, blah) and said where should "we" go I set the expectation that we go somewhere with wi-fi. I needed to do something with my blog and my internet is becoming worse every milli-second. How about Panera or the book store? "Well, ok, but....I'm really hungry and...we always go to Panera..." That means we know we're not going to get the food we need to fill her belly at the book store. "Ok, see you at Panera unless, you know another place with wi-fi." She didn't.

In the car racing over to Panera (really- racing away from my family) I called her. "Lets not go to Panera. We go there all the time. How about Chili's or something?" I got there first. She wasn't there. I went next door to look at bathtubs. When my phone rang I decided not to answer it as I was enjoying making music from my pocket. She ordered right away. A huge hamburger. Very unlike her. I....well, I couldn't decide...I wanted a steak except that it was early in the day and it was almost 20.00. I really didn't want to drop $20 this early in the day, on food. Marguerita grilled chicken sounded great! Except for the boring ole chicken part! A quesadilla? A fajita? What's the difference- I asked. She patiently explained. Why don't you get the sampler platter, she said?

"Look, I'm just gonna tell you now. I know its your birthday lunch. But I haven't been out of the house to have fun since Christmas when I saw you last. Its almost March. I did go for lunch once with friend Barb but I had to take the girls and I was just starting to get sick with this malady that I will only refer to as 'my future hysterectomy, knock on wood'- it doesn't count. I need to have a day. A day that's all about me. So I know its your birthday but really- today is about me. Here is your present. Don't you love the vintage theme I wrapped it in? Hope you like it as I am second guessing everything in it."

"Ok" she said. She was a little weak with hunger at that point. Very malleable. I ordered the sampler platter and it was exactly what I wanted. It was delicious and came in at just under 15.00. I had two cokes. I almost ordered a beer. But I was still a litte afraid of becoming "violently ill" or looking across the room into the eyes of the Principal of our school.

(She looks a little bit afraid of me, doesn't she?)

So then, we went to Costco, where she's a member because I needed her to help me choose glasses. "I can't see what they look like on me because I'm blind and you have good taste. Therefore, you must help me." It almost got ugly though- she chatted up the clerk FOR-EVER. "I almost had to be rude and you know how I hate rude people! What took you so long?" "Well, I was asking on the sly how you could buy the glasses on my know, I had to ease into the question with a little small talk...." "Fine! How do these look? Twenty minutes later it was obvious to me that I was in no state to make decisions. "Take picutres of me with your phone!" I commanded. But she did this wierd thing that made me really nervous. She put the camera about 12" from my face. I somehow felt invaded. "its too close, make it go away, I feel bad....this isn't good..." I don't know what was going on there but I think a visit to the shrink was needed right then.

Then I made her go to TJ MAXX to look at bedding. Then the book store where we tried to have coffee but there was no place to sit and we ended up in the only two vacant chairs left in the store- right by the restrooms. We made ourselves at home and discussed when it would be the right time to tell our girls about sex. I hold true to the same method that I came to know about it- the movie in 4th grade and tv commercials. She bought a book.

By this time it was after 5:30 and I was thinking my family would be offended that I was gone all day. (I'm not really that good at running away- my joy is dampened by feelings guilt and unworthiness)Plus, I was exhausted. I'm almost better from the meds that made me nauseous for 14 days but not quite. Trust me, I will hold up the last month and a half in comparison to any 5k race and all of its prep- I win.

So when she called her husband and he said her parents were on the way...well, lets just say...I felt it was really important that she see them. "I just saw them Tuesday! Don't you want to go to Salvation Army with me??" "Well, you know, THEY won't be around forever......" (REALLY, I said that!) Followed with a "I'm going to walk you to your car...I just need to get a hug before you go...." (REALLY, I said that.)

OH my gosh! It was quite a day. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did! NOw, there you have it! That's the true story as I lived it!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Paper Mache` vs. Creative Paper Clay vs. Paper Clay Recipe!

For those of you who work in figurative sculpture, or are art doll makers, or just like to putz around in an artsy way this post is for you. If you don't fit into the categories above this post may just be a yawn. Sorry.

The following is a comparison of my experiences using three different products. Paper mache`, Creative Paper Clay, and paper clay recipe.
This picture is a good example of how I like to mix up my mediums. The round flower is Creative Paper Clay. The 3-petal blossom is made from the paper clay recipe found on line. Both of these flowers adhered quite well with out any glue to the paper mache` background.

In my Cloth and Clay group I have a discussion going about a paper clay recipe vs. purchasing the manufactured paper clay. I wanted an alternative to the little bricks and my dependency on whether or not my local hobby stores would have it in stock or not. And, truthfully, at the time with a rather large sculpture in mind I knew I would eat through those little blocks in a wallet blowing way.

In asking around one of my fellow Cloth and Clay members hooked me up with a link to a website and a paper clay recipe. Scroll down through my posts-the link is in there somewhere. I cooked it up, messed it up, fixed it again and now have grown quite used to it and use it regularly. So I thought I would share with you what I have learned in the process.

I usually start my projects with a wire armature. This satisfies the mechanical side of my abilities. Nothing like twisting and cutting wire and then wrapping all kinds of tape and stuff around it! And to satisfy the miser in me I use a base layer of paper mache`. It fills up nooks and crannies quickly when used thickly, is really quites strong, and can be smoothed out to be very thin layer (HA! Paper thin as a matter of fact! I kill myself with my obviousness!) that will allow the texture of the mesh/screen to show through.

Then on the surface layer I would use paper clay- as we all know- it sands up beautifully, paints easily and is an all around joy to work with. I discovered along the way that if you didn't want to sand you could use a paint brush and water to smooth out the surface. That discovery led me to create a 'slip'- really watered down and mixed up paper clay which I then brush on the surface. This creates an interesting grainy finish. By the way, I have kept this slip in an airtight container in my frig. for months now, no sign of mold or mildew. I'm surprised no one has tried to eat it.

This flower is uses a big round ball of paper clay smooshed on the surface of paper mache`. I needed the paper clay's dryish consistency to maintain the shape of each petal as I dug into the clay and lifted the petal up. Neither paper mache or the paper clay recipe would have given me this fine detailed result.

The paper clay recipe does not have the same finish as Creative Paper Clay. It is an entity of its own, truly a mix between paper mache` and Creative Paper Clay. It dries up hard. It reminds me of a cast you'd see on a broken arm. I haven't used it in final stages; I've stuck with the Creative Paper clay. But the recipe is more 'pose-able' than paper mache and I can manipulate it into small shapes such as flowers or glop it on where I need structural strength. I get more done with it for less $$$ than the Creative Paper Clay. Its a real time saver because its already mixed up and waiting for me. I have not been successful storing mixed paper mache`.

I've also found that, using the same tools I normally do I can get a fair amount of detail into the paper clay recipe. It dries fairly quickly and your working time can be extended by adding water- either spritzing it on or dabbing with a paint brush. By the way, the paper clay recipe can be smoothed out with a paint brush while still wet. It will however maintain a textural surface, don't expect it to be perfectly smooth.

I keep the paper clay recipe in a ziploc bag in the fridge next to the slip. It feels like bread dough. I actually prefer to let it set up a few days before I use it. I have a tendency to not squeeze all the water out of the TP. and usually have to add more of the other ingredients to make up for it. I don't have specific amounts to pass along. If you are used to Creative Paper Clay- keep the texture of that in mind as you make your decisions. For, myself, I enjoy making up the recipe as I feel even more creatively bonded to the future piece of work. I'm also pleasantly taken back to the time when I was a new mother as the linseed oil's fragrance reminds me of the Desitin lotion I used on my daughter's diaper rash. Just a side note there.
So there it is, a three way tie as I could not do what I do with out all three of them now. Feel free to share your experiences- I'm always up for learning new things! I'll check for spelling tomorrow, right now my former Desitin user wants to cuddle! Goodnight, all!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Some Not So Nice Things to Hear all in one week.

You know....there are just some things don't really need to be discussed. There are... some things that you just don't talk about in polite company. Its just not mannerly. That's what blogs are for!!!!
So if you are squeamish or uptight- this is your departure point. Fair warning.

I'm going to take you through a tour of my last week in an organized manner. I'm going to give you the defining sentance and then the back story. Funny but they all seem to be directed to my attention....
(I'm going to use an alias here, for obvious reasons and because sometimes I'm paranoid that the police are looking for me.)

1. "Mrs. Collier- could you hold for Principal Smith?" Back story- I'm in tile store shopping and chatting with the salesperson who unfortunately knows and sees me on a regular basis when my cell rings and I see the school phone number. I swallow and try to act natural.

2. "Mrs. Collier, I'm sorry to bother you but there's a problem. Kayla brought some little bottles to school in her backpack. She took them out at lunch today. She says she thought they were food flavoring and I believe that but...they were alcohol. I've checked the policy book and unfortunately Kayla has to be suspended for 1/2 a day. I'm so sorry but could you come pick her up?"
Backstory- two years ago for my 40th birthday I was given a sample pack of schnapps, four different fruit flavors. I don't drink sweet alcohol. I'm German/Irish and prefer a nice beer. I'm also the child of hoarders so how could I throw out three perfectly good, free, pretty little bottles of schnapps when we all know the minute I throw them out I will need them for something. At that moment I had to decide if I should go in to all that with the principal just to let this kind, decent, upstanding man know that I am not a raging alocoholic or if I should please ask him to return all four bottles so I can hit them in the parking lot before I go home with my child.

3. "Mrs. Collier, this is your doctors office returning your call about the perscription...we don't really believe your pharmacy when they say that the medicine is backordered and no one can get it. If you could call around to all the other pharmacies and then let us know we'd then be happy to call in the script to that pharmacy. If you could do it right away- we leave for the day in twenty minutes." Backstory- I'm sick. I have a temp of 101. I barely made it to the phone and I want to cry but sure, in order to keep medical costs down across the country, I..."I" will call all the pharmacies looking for a drug I can't pronounce. And then I'll call you back. No prob.

4. "Mrs. Collier, I need to advise you about this medicine you've been perscribed. You can't have any contact with alcohol while you are on it and for three days afterwards or else you will become violently ill. We mean mouth wash, cold medicines, etc. And some people have become violently ill just being in contact with lotions or perfumes containing alcohol. We recommend you avoid using any product with alcohol in it."

Back story- Whoa! Stop right there! Sir, this is not the medicine for me. Violently ill? Doesn't that strike fear in the heart of every woman on this earth? But wait, good news! I now have confirmation for the principal that Kayla's parents are not raging alcoholics true fear is not, I say, not going without alcohol but rather....going without hairspray. Yep. Lots of alcohol in hairspray. Lots of ugly in my flat limp hair.

5. "Yes, Mrs. Collier, that is a normal reaction to that medicine. This is the one that gets all the girls. Extreme nauseau is completely normal when taking a medicine of this strength. Your body doesn't recognize that the medicine is here to help quite yet and is fighting back. Have you started with the diarhea yet?"
Do I need a back story there? Like I said, if your squeamish your departure point was way back. Like way, way, back, before you clicked on his blog!
So, friends, I have not been to your blogs recently and I do apologize. However, when life returns to crazy normal instead of complete and utter hell (I can do anything but queazy, anything, its my Cryptonite.)then I will be right back with you, hairsprayed and all!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Please stand by....please, a little blogging help....and chocolate is always welcome!

Hey, I'm making a few changes to my blog! I changed the name in the title in case I every actually do open the Etsy story they will co-ordinate- Good idea, Chris! I finally figured out how to get rid of that awkward space between my posts and the header. And I gave my blog a facebook page. But, I need advice- I really don't know what it means to have a networked blog, how to use it-etc. All I know is that I have been blogging for a couple years and the first year I was very secretive about it. I really didn't want people to know it was me ranting and raving and that I actually thought I might be an artist. But I'm out of the closet now! So I want to reach more people, have more followers , open the store, spread peace and good will, lose twenty pounds and get rich so I can hide out in my art studio rather than face that cold hard world every day! Oh, and by the way- can anyone tell me how to get my spellcheck icon back on my new post screen? I stay up to the wee hours of the night doing art, over book myself on a regular basis, have a little stress in my life and apparantly have lost all spelling skills in doing so! So if you can help me- explain what a networked blog means to me in my world, tell me how to get spellcheck back and if you like my studio name and how to finally start the etsy store???
Yes, I just had my morning coffee!