AM Time Suck.

Polyvore and Pinterest are quite the deadly combination...
(and yet, I can still kind of justify it because I'm finding shit tons of tattoo inspiration!)

"Thanksgiving" and "Smitten" - Janet Evanovich - 1988 and 1990

I had just finished "One for the Money" and spotted some short re-released novels from Janet Evanovich in the library's paperback section.  I thought they might be cute quick reads that didn't involve guns and murder, so I picked "Smitten" and "Thanksgiving." All I can say is, "BOOOO!"

The men in these two books both fell in love by page 3 (only a slight, if any exaggeration!)

I know series novels are hard to pull off, harder than full length romances in many ways.  Your characters have half the time to fall in love and the reader needs to buy it that they have.  But both these boys are instantly infatuated!  It didn't work for me at all - and I did not finish either book.

I bet the editors hated Austin's moustache...


...he shaved it before the finale and totally blew their editing secrets!  

Mondo's collection for All-Stars is even better than his runner up collection from Season 8 - no giant polka dots!  I'm definitely not a fan of those crazy circle pockets, but I loved everything else.


...also, the haircut I gave myself.

This picture is from Saturday's "Tats for That" charity benefit.  I did 15 tattoos, and honest to god, the muscle that runs along my shin bone is still sore two days later!  It was a good personal test for a lot of reasons, totally worth it and the proceeds went to a very brave young girl and her family.  


Well, it was nearly 80 degrees today, on the first day of Spring, no less - and I had to quickly mop the studio.  So, what did I do? Wear a tank top and yoga pants.  What shouldn't I have done? Look in the studio's full length mirror, apparently.  Alas (well, actually hooray) I did, because now I'm determined to lose this 15 lbs I've put on over the last few years...

I spent some time looking at pictures from The Daily Camera (a hour or so late, late at night) from when we first moved back to J-town in 2008.  I think my weight always went up and down, and in the fall of 2008 I had decided to exercise everyday, got really good at Turbo Jam Cardio Party, had a ton of motivation and determination, got really flexible and pretty fit - and then one day just quit.  Since then I have had spurts of exercise and a bit of weight loss, but I am currently sitting at my highest weight ever.  

This is not a weight loss blog, and I won't bore anyone with more details than those provided above, but they say it's good to make a public declaration, so here it is:

I WILL FIT IN TO THOSE COMFY PAINTING PANTS FROM COLLEGE AGAIN.  Oh, and my capri jeans that I know for a fact I wore for the traveling javelin band when I painted the walls in the hallway...  If I can fit into those two items, I shouldn't have to worry about anything else.  

"One For the Money" - Janet Evanovich - 1994

Cover pre-dates Bridget Jones by 3 years...


My sister has read the whole kit and kaboodle, all 18 of them; one may be enough for me.  I figured I may as well read it if I'm going to be bored one day and watch the mediocre movie version.  I'm not a Heigl-hater, but February release = stay away!  

As for the original novel, I did enjoy it.  It was fast-paced and a quick read.  Set in 1994, it was surprisingly not too outdated, yes, Stephanie has a penchant for spandex shorts, but other than that and the scarcity of cell phones, it's pretty timeless.  I don't read too many mysteries or romantic suspense,  as our library classified this, but I found it much more chick-lit than anything else.  No, chick-lit doesn't usually have guns, but based the growth of the heroine and the amount of page time dedicated to actual romance it felt like it too me.  Which is to say there is attraction and flirting, but it's not the focus like it would be in a romance.  Which makes me question "BJD" and "See Jane Date" by Melissa Senate as the earliest chick-lit novels...


Last night I spent hours scraping, chiseling, and melting with my trusty heat gun.  I have a few scraped knuckles, but I didn't hit the element, not even with the awl and hammer.  So not only does my fridge still work, I have freezer space I've never had before.  I bought these for Matt last xmas, and now we can finally use them.  Also pierogies, so excited!

Spring is here, but it doesn't feel the same.

Blame it on the change in the weather or gold old germs, but I felt pretty poorly last week.  A runny nose and a tattoo machine do not mix, that's for sure...  On the upside, the weather change has been beautiful (and let's face it, freakish and unnatural) so we did a bit of spring cleaning at the studio.    
I did not have a very productive or creative week until Friday evening, when I did the responsible thing and thought about stamina and energy for long tattoo sessions.  I stayed home to work and rest instead of going to a party, and I channeled middle school by chopping off bits of hair and dying the ends with kool-aid. 

My Thursday consisted of naps and a rock show, and the joy of discovering I could watch Season 8 of Project Runway in its' entirety.  Reality tv competition shows are so good when you watch a marathon of it, and by so good I mean they are an emotional roller coaster.  By part one of the finale, I was crying right along with Michael C and even though I knew the outcome, it still hurt to see Mondo lose.   I said from the beginning that they made an All-Star season just for Mondo, we'll find out on Thursday if he gets the biggest prize package of all, and I'll start looking for the controversial Season 6. 

Spring Ahead.

"To Catch a Bride" - Anne Gracie - 2009

Ugh, I hate this cover with the single white rose.  

Apparently this book is part of a four part series focusing on war heroes after returning from the Napoleonic wars. "To Catch a Bride" falls into place as Book Three, but you do not need to read the first two books to enjoy this one.  The references to the other heroes (and their loves) are minimal, mostly contained to the beginning of the novel.  Rafe is attending Book Two's wedding and meets an elderly woman (a childhood friend of his own beloved grandmother) looking for her long-lost grand-daughter.  She believed her son, his wife and only daughter all died of the plague in Cairo, but has recently discovered her grand-daughter, Alicia may still be alive.  Since Rafe's older brother the Earl of Axebridge has just arranged Rafe's marriage without consulting him, he decides a trip to Egypt will be just the thing to piss off his brother and relieve some pent up post-wartime aggression.  As you may have guessed he will fall in love on this trip, but there are monkey wrenches and twists as he does.

You could break this novel into three sections: Egypt, The Journey to England by Boat, and the Arrival in England.  The final section is actually the shortest, and felt a bit rushed.  While the journey had plenty of potential for closeness and tension, if I'm being completely honest the book started off well in Cairo, and went down hill from there.  There were too many added elements and silly plot twists, along with some pretty silly misunderstandings.  This would have made a wonderful novella in an anthology, but does not hold its own as a full-length Historical Romance.  The pacing was off, and I one minute I would really be enjoying it, and the next my mind would trail off to dinner plans or my to do list..

Overall, it was a pretty average story that could have been better.

Wow, this momentum thing is real, and it goes both ways...

I'm on a roll in the kitchen, and the crafty thing is kicking in - but damn, if it hasn't been too long since I've held a machine.  Less than a week, and it feels so strange.  I feel like I played hooky the past few days, but really I was just centering myself.  What's the fun of being self-employed if I can't make my own hours?

Tomorrow it's back to the studio and Saturday as well.  Sunday I am going to force myself to break out the oil paints.  I compiled a list of projects/paintings/promises I need to make good on...


I find it's not impossible to make my own structure - but it is impossible not to take naps!  Next week is back to normal - and back to reasonable hours of waking and sleeping (hopefully!) It almost feels like I took an agoraphobic mini-break, but really, I truly do love the days where I'm working in my room, making real food, hanging out with the best cat in the world and watching tv while Matt writes songs in his head, and only leaving the house for treats and caffeine. 
Lists do help me by organizing my thoughts and breaking down intimidating goals into easier to swallow pieces.  Conversely, when I see items I've been slacking on for weeks (or even months) and in a few cases, gulp, years - I start to get down on myself, and the negative thoughts come flooding back.  I'm going to put this out there anyway. 

Paintings that should have been done a long time ago - they weigh on me the most.

One - A man and his best friend
Two - A tiny girl, while she's still tiny.
Three - Simple Matching

Paintings I conceived some time ago, but haven't even started.  

One - Face/Textures
Two - Walls
Three - Hat/Sunset

On the tattooing side of things:  

3 major compostions for 3 lovely ladies. 
3 watercolor flash sheets
Paint - Birds, DotD girls, and Pandas

Here's hoping it's the magical motivational number, as well!

Some proof of creativity - and I made bread machine bread, twice!

Tins for utencils...

Martha Stewart leaf punch and pre-folded cards...

And just for fun, Preview Image Correction...

V and Co Tutorial

Wrapped twice as a bracelet...

Once as a necklace...
Another pinterest find, this one took me a minute (or 20) to wrap my head around, but the concept is truly simple.  All you need is 1" strips of jersey (or another light fabric with stretch) and scissors - I already had a large piece of fabric so this project cost me 0 dollars. Woot!

I could see lots of different ways to use this skill (which some might call finger knitting/crocheting??) For example, I see long chains of jersey for a scarf/necklace hybrid, or embellishing the chain with a pendant...  It's a bit chunky for a necklace, so I think you really have to push it all the way into statement piece.  I don't think it would work as a headband, but right now I have it wrapped up in my messy bun, I just could not get a good picture of it... The bracelets are super cute, there's a more elaborate method I will be trying since I've wrapped my head around this process.  

Bonus - as with other hand crafts, this project takes the guilt out of mindless television! 

 You may have done this at camp, or understand this concept already, but the instructional video certainly helped me, you can find it here.


MADE - "Sailor's Knot Bracelet

Pinterest could very well (does) suck hours from my life...

Here's why:  so many pretty things to look at, so much good food to make, so many DIY craft projects - SO MANY TATTOOS!  And those are just the regular things I look at - I haven't even begun to really explore.

I am trying to bring the beauty of pinterest into my real life, so I have a digital board called MADE and it's for projects and food that I saw on pinterest and followed through with (I like a little bit of visual confirmation along with my irony). 

The MADE board has 8 different items so far.  Seitan has been very successful, as were the Mexican stuffed shells.

To my surprise cooking has become my favorite part of the life of a working artist (probably because it's actually a stress reliever now).  I always said I would do more if I just had more time... Tonight we attended a vegetarian pot luck, and while I didn't make anything fancy, I did make my Pap's mashed potatoes for the third time in as many weeks - and brought home an empty bowl!


The cooking is going well, but I had my first bomb in the DIY department tonight.

 I've seen tutorials for small scale screen printing before, and I have the hoops and 'mesh' as well as ink, oh and I was a professional screen printer in a past life - but this did not work for me.

Now, my contact paper was purchased for  50 cents at a garage sale, and my mesh was a polyester scarf - so I'm not giving up on this one's potential, I just may have to revise my materials.

Same size, Same pallette.


"One True Love" - Barbara Freethy - 1998

One True Waste of My Time!  
(Despite three love stories and really good reviews, I just could not get into this book.)

"Attachments" - Rainbow Rowell - 2011

 "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell
(Can't believe I found a picture with Billy Elliot on the marquee!)

I just read it again, it's still great.

This time I skipped all the bits about the ex-girlfriend, but read the ending several times over.  In fact, I just purchased a handy dandy book light for a steal - 99 cents at Goodwill - and the batteries died just before the theater scene.  But damn if I was giving up before the end (sure I could have read in another room, but without blankets or a comfy chair, even - please!)  I found 2 AA batteries after searching 2 rooms and fumbling with remote controls in the dark...and sigh, full on heart string tugging.    

Oh, and did I mention the protagonist's name is Lincoln - and this book is set in Omaha, Nebraska?  I read it after Lincoln Nebraska came to live with us, but really, could there be a more perfect favorite book for 2011?