Sunday, October 17, 2010

Buy Art. Build Wells.

Half of everything I make from what I sell from my etsy store (see my link on the right) from now until December will be donated to Lifewater International. The money goes to help build wells in places where it's hard to find access to clean drinking water.

Buy art. Build wells.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Camera of Adventure

So this summer I'm babysitting two incredibly awesome elementary age girls. We have a long action packed summer ahead of us, insured by our list of "Cool Things We Want To Do". Each day we try to do one or more of the activities, which range from: Going to DC, to Reading.... from Riding Bikes, and Hiking, to "Spa Day" (this is today).

I realized that we needed some kind of documentation of our journey through the summer, so on our first day together of the summer we biked to Giant to purchase a disposable camera in which we capture our activities with fun photos. I'm hoping to help them build scrap books at the end of the summer, so each day I have them write a little about what they thought about what we did.

It's only been a week, but so far we've biked, read, played board games, been to the spy museum, and gone ice skating.

We call the camera "THE CAMERA OF ADVENTURE" which I losely coined after a day 3 years ago when I had students for 4 straight hours during SOL testing. We certainly couldn't do the same thing for 4 hours, so I allowed creativity to go unbridled with some cardboard boxes, paint, and fabric and the result was a decorated 4 foot "boat" with a mast and sail, and holes cut in the bottom so that 2-3 people could actually carry the 'boat using interior shoulder straps. Ridiculous. This boat was called (phoenetically spelled) "GWATAHMALAH- The Ship of Adventure."

Kids crack me up.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Unfinished Phoenix

Working on it now. If you're interested in purchasing it, look for it soon on my Etsy site. My goal for the summer is one artwork per week. And off we go! =)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Another Epic Fail

Okay, so this is NOT me on the bike. I tried to find a different image, but this worked because it's an epic fail and hilarious and my story involves my bike.

A year ago I got a used bike from a friend who sells bikes. I was with my (then) boyfriend (now fiance) who used to be a sponsored cyclist. I trusted them when I got the bike, considering they know about bikes and I... well... don't.

Ride 1: First ride around the neighborhood. Distance: less than a mile. Up hill # 1. Good so far. Stephen was with me and we ran into a neighbor of his... he gets to talking and I head down the big hill. Good so far. I head back UP the big hill #2 and my back tire falls off halfway up. Stephen is still talking, I'm slightly hurt with a broken bike on the side of the road. I get tire back on and continue.

Ride 2: Bike to grocery store and other stores. Distance: 5 miles. No problems other than the incredible amount of grease getting all over my pants. It seems like A LOT of grease. I ask Stephen if it's normal, he says it's fine. Okay.

Ride 3: Bike to Stephen's house in less than an hour. Distance: 14 miles. No problems. I now trust my bike. This, unfortunately, is a poor decision.

Ride 4: Bike to Stephen's house in less than my previous time. Distance 14 miles. Halfway through, as I'm making INCREDIBLE time, the chain breaks and rolls off the back of the bike. Stephen has to come get me. We get the chain 'fixed'. I now am beginning to hate the bike.

I didn't ride the bike for a long time because... well... I wasn't too fond of it at this point... it's wheel-falling-off-greasy-chain-breakery had put a foul rusty taste in my mouth... that of sucking on a copper pipe.

Then, this past weekend I decided, oh hell, I need to exercise so I'll ride to Stephen's place.

Ride 5: Bike to Stephen's place from my new apartment. Distance: 19 miles. I'm not racing myself, but 1 mile into it my chain pops off the bike. I fix it, getting my hands all GREASETASTIC in the process and continue. Then, it seems like smooth sailing when I come around a corner and a BASTARDLY VERIZON truck is blocking the path. I'd been in a high gear and had to completely stop before I could downshift. I gingerly walk my bike over the curb and then try to get going again on the flat ground and SNAP my chain rolls off the back of the bike. Once again, Stephen had to come get me.

We took the bike back and within a couple hours, our friend had hooked me up with a used bike that had almost never been riden. It's so purdy and red and I can't wait to kick some trail a** now!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend of Awesome

One week left until the joyous summer arrives! How exciting!

That being said, this weekend was fantastic. It started a little bit busy because Friday was graduation BUTTTTTT Saturday Stephen and I woke up early, ate breakfast and then headed to Clarendon where I got to see my first street bike race!!!

Stephen used to do these, so he was able to tell me all about them. It was awesome because it's both exciting and FREE! He said he thinks I'd kick A** at it. I think he's right, so maybe this summer I'll practice. Who knows? Maybe I can get a new hobby!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Paint Questions

Student to me, "What kind of paint is this?"

Student hands cup of paint to me. I can't tell by look, but acrylic and tempera have distinct smells, so I pick up the cup of paint and sniff it.

Another student in the room says... "She's smelling the paint!"

I look to her and say, "Explains a lot, huh?"


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Erin McGann- Goals for the Summer

1. Eat more salad. Really great stuff. Probably this will end up with me drinking more beer instead but hey, whatev!

2. ACTUALLY DO Power90 Extreme. I tried to do this last summer, but I'm one of those people who- once motivation is lost, it is GONE. Power90 turned into Power9 and then turned into Couch Potato60.

3. Read more books. I am re-entering this interesting world of words. Every few years I get on a reading kick and I'm in one now... unfortunately I'm the slowest reader on the planet. No seriously. I read about one page every 5-10 minutes. I have 100 page books that I've only gotten half way through after 2 months, so I'll probably only finish 2 books over the summer if I'm lucky. Sidenote- Tests that included 2, or god forbid 3, pages of reading followed by questions were my WORST NIGHTMARE!

4. Paint one painting per week, or at least do some kind of art per week. I'm gonna need some models for this. Any volunteers?

5. Walk/Run and Bike to Stephe's house.

6. Take a trip somewhere. Anywhere really. Well... anywhere except Pittsburgh. I'd have to be bound, gagged and thrown into a trunk for that. KDR... no ideas please. ;)

7. Do Yoga EVERYDAY. Even if it's only 5 minutes worth of it.

8. Learn how to make myself invisible and/or fly.

9. Try to rockwall climb, at least once, even if I only get 10 feet off of the ground before becoming paralyzed by fear.

10. Climb to the top of Mt. Everest. Okay okay, so Stephe has already nixed this one. He says something about... bladdy blah blah, risk of death, blah blah, freezing cold 100mph wind... blah blah, you don't even know how to climb blah blah. Then I will say to him, "Um, yes I do. See number 9 for further questions." And if he still says no then I'll just find a low oxygen chamber and hang out for a few hours. Done and done.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Today we found out that one of our students took his life over the weekend. It's sad, confusing and frustrating all at the same time. I didn't personally know who he was, but it's the second student in the last 4 years who has taken their life. Many of the students didn't know today, but word was traveling by the end of the day and tomorrow will most likely be harder for them than today was.

One student and I were discussing why suicide and what it means.

She said something I thought was very meaningful and thoughtful, after voicing that she didn't understand how someone could get to that point without reaching out. I told her that by that point some people don't want help. She said, "Well, we aren't supposed to decide when we go."

I agree. I can only pray that he can find some sort of peace whereever he is now.

Monday, May 31, 2010

5 minute fancy hair

If you can't tell by my face/ hair it is 12:30 am. I've been sweaty and gross all day and this is what you can do with hair in about 5-10 minutes. NOTE- I recommend that hair be wet, but if you have long hair you can do this dry easily.

Step 1: Part hair diagonally.

Step 2: Take a large chunk of bangs and separate it from the rest of your hair. Pull the rest of your hair back into a pony tail (just to get it out of the way). Spin the chunk of bangs downwards.

Step 3: Twist the spun hair into a spiral (I like to spin it behind itself as I go so that it hides the end pieces). Then bobby pin it starting in the middle. Don't worry that it shows now, you can hide the bobby pin better once you're done.

Step 4: Take the top portion of the rest of your hair (like a half pony tail) and then twist it like you were doing a french twist, and then push it up a little and then pin it with several bobby pins until it feels secure.

Step 5: Take what is left of your hair as if you were going to make a low pony tail. Then flip it and twist it upwards (like you were doing a french twist). As you secure it with bobby pins, make sure to tuck in the top pieces.

And there you go! Quick way to look sexy at 1am~!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ants Ants everywhere

My latest discovery is that I have a bit of an ant problem in my apartment. This- initially- didn't worry me too much. EH! What's a few ants? I'm bound to get them, living on the first floor. I'll just kill the 5... 6... 10....40 holy crap I have a lot of ants!!!

I thought I'd found their entrance into my domain in the corner by my sliding door. A likely location, since it already leads outside I decided to take the 'all natural/ eco friendly route' (I know... shocking right?) and found that simple baby powder will detract ants from coming in. Did it work. YEP! ..... in THAT location. Little did I know that they are sneaky bastards and are trying to destroy my life. After putting out FOUR poison traps around the apartment, after finding ants in my bathroom carrying my all natural wheat kitty litter crumbs back home to feed the 'queen', and in and around my bedroom (this disgusts me the most) and at various other locations (none in the kitchen... go figure) I STILL spent 45 minutes 'taping' them to death.

Half a roll of masking tape later I am finding less and less, but I know there will be more. Hopefully they will start eating the poison stuff and leaving me alone.


NOTE- a small part of me thinks back to how I rooted for the ant to win over the scorpion in Honey I Shrunk the Kids.... and that part of me feels sad to be murdering ants by the dozen. But obviously not that bad. I'll say a little prayer for them tonight.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


So Stephe finally popped the big question two weeks ago! and I said, "Venti cafe mocha with whip". It was DEE-LISH! Okay okay, just kidding. He asked me to marry him! Stephe and I went to a movie, and then to a nice Italian restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, and then he took me to the Canadian Embassy, and with it's beautiful columns and quiet atmosphere he asked, "How do you make something a surprise when the other person knows it's coming." I said, "You don't. You just do it." And he did.

Stephe is my best friend. I'm incredibly lucky to be with someone that wants to be with me for the rest of our lives. I'm lucky to have found someone to put up with my stresses and mood swings, in addition to my ecclectic personality. Stephe supports me and I support him. I think when you are meant to be with someone, your strengths and weaknesses will compliment one another. I think you will not only share in interests but also bring new things into one anothers' lives.

I couldn't be happier because I get to marry my best friend!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

For The Love of Teachers- a note to parents

I've been thinking a lot about this one... whether or not to write it for fear of offending anyone. I came to the conclusion that it was a good decision and that my intention is a genuine one made not to offend, but to offer insight. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Dear Parents,

First off, I don't have children of my own. I have not raised a baby. I haven't changed a diaper since my long lost babysitting days (though I continue to babysit, it is not often infants). My viewpoint comes soley from that of a professional teacher, and as a person who cares very much for all 150 children that I 'take care' of yearly.

I feel some clarifications and advice are needed to all parents in hopes that our 'tomorrow's future' will be brighter. Do I think I am perfect? NOT AT ALL. But as a teacher I get the advice without the ability to return some in most cases, so here is my chance.

First off I want to thank all the supportive parents who write with words of encouragement, who sign your emails with a "Thanks for all you do!", who confront us with questions about your child's grade without accusing us of grading unfairly, who understand that your children will twist the truth to cover themselves to make us look at fault, and despite them being your children you still support us and come to us for the truth before making any decisions. Thank you to those parents who enter parent teacher conferences with open minds, who understand that we love your children too and do our VERY BEST to get to know them as individuals on a daily basis, who recognize that when your child is upset or sad that WE feel that sadness and will spend the weekend worrying about them. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

Now for some clarifications and minute advice.

1. Have reasonable expectations of us. We are humans too. We want to get to know ALL of our students, but unlike parents who often have only a couple, we have 150 of them and only one year to get to know who they are, what they need, what their strengths are, and where they need additional support. In a 90 minute block with only 30 minutes of instructional time and 60 minutes of work time, your child would fairly receive 2 minutes of one on one. Any more than those 2 minutes would take away from other children's one on one time. Like I said- we do our very best to meet every student's needs but it isn't always possible to meet the highest expectations- even if the child requires extra help.

2. Have sit down dinners and talk with your kids. So many times we hear of kids going to parties on the weekend, or having no limitations. This is TERRIBLY damaging to your child. It is these children who tend to not do as well in school, who express nonchalance, who could 'care less' about assignments. As teachers, we are able to curb some of this but it's a tough battle. Set expectations high for your child and they will rise to meet them. Don't let them go to parties if you know there won't be parents there, or if there will be illegal substances. You set the example for them first and foremost.

3. They will never desire our approval the way they desire yours. This goes off of the last statement. As a high school teacher we are unable to fix a situation for a child that has been broken for them. Kids want YOUR guidance and honestly (though it may not seem like it) they WANT the boundries and the guidance from you. One day, they will thank you for them. I have my parents to thank for this one... had they not kept a tight lease on me I would have never have accomplished what I have today and would not be striving for more.

4. PLEASE don't give up on your kids or let them 'be responsible for their grades'- SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many parents let their kids 'go' once they get to high school, which is a time that they need just as much help as they did in elementary school but in different ways. Parents of kids- EVEN the really smart kids- eventually realize that a 15 year old isn't capable of being responsible for their own grades, but often times it's too late and the damage is already done. Good Lord, some COLLEGE students aren't able to be responsible for their own grades. Keep checking in with them about their grades. Email us to find out information AS SOON AS you suspect you aren't getting the whole story. You are the number 1 link to helping your child succeed. Don't give up on them. Don't let them be responsible quite yet... they have their whole lives to do that. All you have to do now is check in and set boundries, and if they don't meet your expectations, then set consequences and don't bend even if they try to convince you otherwise.

5. Hold your child responsible. If your child gets a grade of incomplete or 'not handed in' there's a pretty good chance that your child's teacher has verbally reminded them at least 10 times BEFORE the work was due, posted it in the classroom, told them to write it in an agenda book, perhaps posted it online, and maybe handed out homework reminders AFTER it didn't come in on time. At the point that you understand that your child has had a moment of irresponsibility, hold them responsible for this action so that it won't happen again. Don't make excuses for them, and more importantly don't expect us to follow your child home with a 'homework banner' or to tattoo the assignment on your child's forehead (haha)... just hold them responsible. Your child knows not to do it again, You don't have to worry as much, and we don't have to waste instructional time defending ourselves. Win-win!

6. Don't swear in front of your child. EVER. Your child will potentially pick up and use swear words anyhow, but when you swear in front of them they will more than likely tend to use it in the classroom. Like I said before- you're their role models and they will do what you do. When this happens it affects other children, and wastes instructional time when the teacher has to stop and discipline your child. Even if the teacher fills out a referral after class it still takes away from their time that they could be spending prepping or making really fantastic lessons for your child.

Okay, that's about all. Just remember that we call them 'our kids' too because whether or not we have our own kids, we love and care about them and want the VERY best for them. You children come to us with personal issues about boyfriends and girlfriends, they share with us their goals, their dreams, and their let downs. We stay after to let them cry and we hand them tissues and reassure them regardless of the issue. We know when they have games and we go to them. We remember to find out if they win, or what position they play. We attend their plays, awards ceremonies, concerts and shows. We encourage them to be better and we believe in them. We accept them and don't judge them if they aren't the smartest or fastest, or if they don't make the best decisions. Each and every day we welcome them with open arms. We stand outside of our classrooms to make sure that someone greets them with a 'good morning' and says 'have a great day' every afternoon. We give them our own food when they forget lunch or don't have money to buy it. We purchase our own supplies when the school doesn't have enough because even if the country won't acknowledge the importance of schools being funded, we understand that children deserve the best. We come early to work and stay hours after school so that your child can have the opportunity to make up work, even on days that we haven't slept much the night before, or have things to do that we cancel so that we can stay.

Please- as a parent- do your very best to give just as much to your children, and from them, expect as much. They are not grown at 14, or 18 or sometimes even beyond that. We don't give up on them, or swear in front of them, or let them get away with doing minimal. Please don't either.

From a caring teacher,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In at 3rd

At the show this past friday at the Arlington Arts Center I came in 3rd in an art contest! The winner was my dear friend (we made the paintings the same day!) and another professional artist.

It feels SO good to be back in the art scene again!! One more thing on my list of things to do (full time professional, babysitter, grad student, practicing artist) but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this part of it all!!!

In other news...
...Stephe and I will be celebrating our 1.5 years of being together on May 2nd!! I don't know what he has planned, but I'm getting my nails done just in case. ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Phoenix Bikes Show

Despite a couple personal bumps in the road in dealing with this show, overall the Phoenix Bike show was FANTASTIC! Phoenix Bikes is a non-profit that helps teach kids how to build bikes, and gives them something really positive. The kids were actually there and some of them did a portion of the announcing, and all were really great to see. The show had all kinds of silent auctions and giveaways AND 7-8 artists artwork lined the exterior of the room. Mine was one of them, so I was really excited to get to experience the show.

There is something really neat about watching people look at your art. The piece that I did incuded a lot of recycled materials and was based on the 'story' I received. I layered paint, paper, and pen in various ways. I included mini quotations from a homeopathic tea bag that said "Your choices can change the world" and from a vegetarian and yoga magazine. I included cutouts from art magazines, a portion of a cardboard box that had the recycle sign on it, and several portions of paper grocery bags from whole foods.

All in all it was a lot of fun.

Tonight is the Arlington Arts Center show for Doorways (women's shelter). Hopefully I'll sell something over the next couple weeks! Pricing art is SOOOO hard, so I hope I'm in a good range. We shall see!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stay at Home Person

You'll need a glass of wine to help swallow this one kids! haha.

This is my new goal... to one day be a "Stay at Home Person". Perhaps I'll have kids, perhaps I won't have kids. All I know is that I want an easier life and being a stay at home person sounds like the thing for me. Why, you ask? Well, I'll tell you why in a concise series of points. Please see below.

1. Staying at home with no job and no grad school will allow me to do BASIC things such as: sleep, eat without doing reseach at the same time or prepping for lessons, shower without having to figure out a way to multi-task while in the shower. You might laugh and think that I'm kidding. I'm not.

2. Staying at home will allow me time to exercise, or have things like 'energy'.

3. Staying at home will allow me time to do things like run errands, such as buying food to live off of before I'm down to dried split peas and a stale tortilla shell.

4. Staying at home will allow me to spend time with my cats who now think that I'm 'the stranger' who feeds them while running around like a rabid animal grabbing at things before flying back out the door.

5. Staying at home will allow me time to clean, vaccum, or lie on my couch enjoying my clean apartment.

6. Staying at home will allow me to rest enough to have energy to actually wash my face before sleeping in day old makeup, or brush my teeth EVERY night before I go to bed.

7. Staying at home will allow me time to cook meals that don't involve cereal and soymilk.

8. Staying at home with kids (for shiz and giggles let's pretend that I'm as selfish as that earth murdering family the Duggers- who, btw, have now taken up the slots of NINE sets of people who might have wanted to have kids without over populating the world but now can't... okay... rant over and breathe) as I was saying, EVEN if I had 18 kids like an insane person it would STILL be 72 LESS kids than I deal with on a daily basis.

9. Staying at home would allow me time to read, or crochet, or perhaps paint more than one painting every 4 months.

10. Staying at home would mean HAPPINESS!

Why the sudden desire to be a "Stay at Home Person"? Because I've spent almost every minute of every day for the last several weeks doing research for teaching, or grad school. And I babysit. And I try to be a practicing artist when I can.

Yesterday... had to stay late at work 1.5 hours. Ran errands and went to bank after, got home at 6pm, ate, passed out by 6:30-9pm, got back up and drank a cup of coffee and did work until 2am, passed out, woke back up at 4:45 to continue to do work until leaving for work at 6am-2pm. Did grad work until 3:30pm. Grabbed food on the road and ate while driving to grad class. Grad class 4:30-7:10, then to the library to do research until 9pm. Then met up to drop off painting for art show tomorrow. Finally got home at 10pm.

PUNCH. ME. IN. MY. FACE. Tomorrow will be just as bad.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Contests Galore

As promised, here are two of the images that I'll have in upcoming shows and contests.
This image will be shown this thursday for the Phoenix Bikes extraordinary ride writing competition. It will be given to one of the winners of the writing portion of the contest. I won't 'win' anything for this piece, but hopefully it will give me some exposure.

This piece will be submitted to Doorways in Arlington. It's for a competition being held by a shelter, and it's goal is to promote positive relationships. I'm not totally done with the piece, but it's close enough for now.

These last few images are just my doodles of birds with human thoughts and emotions. They'll be for sale on etsy for a couple bucks each starting today. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It's Been a While...

Sorry I've been gone for so long... for a while I didn't have internet, and then I got EXTREMELY busy and overwhelmed with work and school, and then I climbed back up the long rope that dangles over the end of the earth and here I am.

So some exciting stuff if happening in my artsy world.

Fisrt off, I have the Phoenix Bike event coming up soon in which a painting of mine will be on display and then given to the winner of a writing competition. Whether or not I feel he deserves it is something else... cough cough NOT... but that's another story. I'm just hoping that it will be an opportunity to get my name out there, perhaps talk with some people who might be interested in my art, perhaps hand out some business cards... who knows.

Secondly, I will be finding out how I did in the competition for the Fall for the Book poster design. I'm sure that I will be up against a lot of digital art work, and I know that they have narrowed it down to the last 3 submissions, but I don't know if I'm in that bunch. I did a hand drawn/painted poster design which means that it isn't totally perfect since even tracing doesn't mean exact lettering, but it IS better than the one submitted last year. Whether or not I win, it is good to get my work out into the work and at least TRY to win. If I'm lucky and win I'll get $500 and my work will be used to promote the festival which would be super amazing. If not- oh well. You can't win if you don't try. I'll try to get a picture of it posted sometime soon.

Lastly, I'm entering another competition with a friend of mine. We spent about 5-7 hours yesterday spread out on sheets of cardboard on his hardwood floor with paints and canvases and brushes. He JUST moved so we had boxes around us and his paintings propped up around the walls as we fought the new found heat in bare feet. We took some pictures to document our artmaking- just as Pollock, or the Surrealists did. One day I hope that grandchildren look at those photos of me in my rolled jeans, barefeet, tank top, and scarf in my hair with paintbrushes held like a wand or stuck in a funny pose above my upper lip and think that I had a fantastic life.

I DO have a fantastic life. It is beautiful and filled with just the right amount of friends that bring creative and unique aspects into my own life which make me feel as if I'm extremely blessed. I hope to never give that up or let it fade. Thankfully I have supportive people who encourage me to be who I am and don't judge me or criticize me.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Two years ago I had long blonde hair. Then I got the 'perm from hell'. It was so bad that my when my brother asked what I did to my hair, I told him I was going to an 80's party-- and he thought it was the truth! Needless to say, my long pretty blonde hair became dry and brittle, so I tried dying it and put all kinds of stuff in it to try to fix it- to no avail. Two months later I decided the best route was to chop it all off. And if I was going extreme... why not take it almost all the way? Right? And so came the fauxhawk. It was super fun while it lasted, and I'll probably never pull this off again, so ENJOY!

HUGE ART SALE until March 15th

In hopes of clearing out a bit of my art before it crushes me (in a hoarders kind of way) I've dropped prices on ALMOST all of my art. I lowered prices as little as $1.00 per item, to as much as $220.00 per item. I want my art to go into the world and live happily on someone else's wall, instead of being stuck in a portfolio under my bed. It's dark and cramped and dusty under there.

Please visit to see the new prices (old prices listed in the description).

Peace and LOVE!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Farewell Poem

Good bye to snow days
It was such fun
I finally had time
To get stuff done
I had time to do
Arts and crafts
To watch funny shows
To have some laughs
I will be sad
to see you go
Feel free, father winter,
to send MORE snow
It's okay with me
It'll be fine
Just keep it snowing
Until summertime!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Panties or Buttons

Okay okay okay, so the title sounds a bit more scandalous than it really is... I'll explain.

Today was valentines day so Stephe and I did several fun things...we went to Quiznos because, let's be honest, Quiznos is awesome especially because they put guacamole on their veggie subs. We got a veggie sub and they forgot the guacamole, but it was cool because it tasted DEEE-lish anyhow.
Then we went to see Romeo and Juliet at GMU. After half a show of 'over-acting' and what I like to refer to as 'topple flailing movements' (you know, where actors take too small of steps and make weird sweeping gestures with their arms and look like they are going to fall over at any moment) Stephe had fallen asleep at least three times and I was bored out of my mind. Leonardo DiCaprio did a better job.

So, my alternative to fill the second half time slot of R&J until our dinner date was to go get some cute undies (boy cut undies for you thinking scandalously) and mostly because, well, every so often you just need new undies. We go Michael's first because Stephe and I have been doing a lot of art lately. Then we headed to Walmart for undies (because it was next to the Michael's) and what do I walk out with? YARN, SCULPY, LOAFER-esque SHOES and BUTTONS! and NO undies. I forgot to get them! Walmart and it's tantalizing craft section with all it's glorious 'things' black holed my mind and I got completely side tracked. Arg.

I went in thinking like this:

And in my failure, came out thinking like this:

Oh well!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Meditation and Free Association

As a Christian I comprehend that there is something bigger out there all the time, and yet my beliefs also include an environmental side, and the idea that there is an energy in each of us that- when tapped into- can bring us relaxation, peace and understanding of who we are, and who we are in relation to the human race.

Tonight I made my first attempt (with any understanding of what I'm doing) at meditating. I started online to find a video on youtube. I learned that mantras are thoughts of the minds, and the goal of meditating is to let go of thoughts- so no mantras. The focus should be on the breath, but not in a concentrated way.... just accept and focus on the breathing in that it exists within us. When thoughts begin to take hold, go back to the breath. Eventually there is to be a point reached where the mind is totally relaxed. I didn't quite get there, but I noticed a HUGE difference in how I felt afterwards. Much more relaxed and in tune with the world and within my body. Yoga does this for me sometimes as well.

Another way to tap into a part of your brain- your subconscious- is through a 'free writing' exercise. The Surrealists used to do this, and I do this with my students and most recently did it because my grad teacher had us do it. Bascially- for 10-20 minutes you write out whatever pops into your head. It may be observations, thoughts, sounds you hear, a repetative letter or word... the only thing is that you don't stop, you don't go back and read it until the end, and you don't worry about punctuations or capitalizations. Write quickly and keep going.

Here is one of my free writings as an example. It will be different from yours, or someone elses. This is MY subconscious. Enjoy!

"In the problematic schematic recession of click writing formidable comprehension i can't spell smell of the trusting lightworthiness within the orange world of wonder expresses thoughtfully the unexplained gray shadow of the night sky with pulses and breaks as glitches to neurons and electricity the pulsing escapades of relieved tension breaks our spirits and crushes our diminishing capabilities for love and acceptance or perhaps forgiveness of pain within the deeper parts of our subconscious the tactile infantile memory forgets as if the world doesn't exist as a sphere but floats gloriously random as though fields bloom for them. silence lays sleeping impossible in line to show its face and shock the world into awareness and white light blasting from a power struggle source. thankfully there isn't a chance in hell, awareness brings truth and only privy people should accept its fate within their lives, the artists, writers, poets, always the ones who are misunderstood."

So try them out. Let me know how it goes! If you end up with a cool free writing, feel free to post it in the comments.

Peace and Love,

Day 14 of winter break #2

So the snow has been super beneficial in my doing things like relaxing and making art. After hours (and hours and hours and hours and hours) of working on my latest piece, I've finally finished! I'm calling it "Through Snowy Branches". It was done from a photo that my grandmother took of her backyard in the winter time. When she passed away a few months ago, some of her (millions of) photos of nature came to us. My dad let me have a couple of them. I sold the one I painted ("Winter Silhouette") already, and now the other is for sale on my etsy site. I like to think of my grandmother when I do my art. She was a practicing (and professional) artist, and art was something that the two of us bonded over. I like to think that she'll help me in making my art sell over the course of my life. I know she's watching over me, and I know that she's happy I'm working on my art.

In other news, Stephe has been drawing up a storm and is going to try to start his own etsy site. He does realistic and surrealistic kinds of environments that have a repetative elephant in it somewhere. I've been teaching him about shading and the importance of creating a background in some of his pieces. He's been doing a fantastic job and is a quick study. I'll get some of his art up here soon.

To everyone, happy (pre) valentines day! The holiday might be silly, but sharing love certainly isn't, and according to the Beatles.... it's all you need. =)

From one of my favorite movies...Across the Universe.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Pieces

In my excess of time- due to the snow weeks we've had off, I've had a chance to work on some of my art. I've posted a few more pieces on etsy in the past few days. They're below. Thanks for taking the time to look!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life in Love with Stephen

For those of you who don't know much of my relationship with Stephe might not realize that my boyfriend is a quadriplegic- which means that he has limited use of all "four" of his limbs. I put "four" because that's the definition... but he is missing his right leg from the mid-thigh down.

HOW HE BECAME PARALYZED- About 6 years ago he was riding his motorcycle with his friends at nighttime and his friend was having some problems with his bike and waved Stephe ahead. Stephe looked back to make sure his friend was okay, and in doing so missed that the road curved off to the left. He went straight into the guardrail at about 60 mph, breaking both his motorcycle and his body into pieces. His right leg was amputated within a couple days since it took most of the impact, and he spent a long time in recovery. But Stephe is one of the most inspiring and motivated guys I know and he doesn't let things stop him, so a little over a year ago I met him 5 years after his crash.

HOW WE MET- Online. Stephe sent me a message, and I was intrigued. I honestly wasn't sure how the date would go, and I was SO nervous to go on a date with someone in a wheelchair. Part of me felt that it was the nice thing to do, but he was very handsome in the pictures. I THOUGHT we would just become friends. BOY WAS I WRONG! Stephe and I spent hours talking at the Starbucks, and then he took me around Occoquan and when I suggested dinner he was all for it. We even joked as we drove past some really pretty houses, "Oh when we get married and have a million kids we can live there!" "Yeah, I totally think our parents would be supportive of us getting married on the first date." We're not engaged... yet. ;)

STRUGGLES- We have trouble every so often with doing things with the ease that we'd like to.
Parking lots- Stephe has a van that he drives from his wheelchair (that locks in) with hand controls. He gets into it using a ramp. A few times people have parked across the white diagonal lines in the parking lots and have made it impossible for Stephe to get back into his van because he can't get the ramp out. I have had to back his van out while standing in the place where the driver seat would be, while using hand controls. Not exactly the safest thing.

Other Drivers- Stephe has rods in his neck and therefore can't turn his head very far. Usually if I'm in the car I help him with traffic, though he's capable of doing it himself... it's just easier for me to look. Sometimes people have been really rude and not let him over. Because he uses hand controls to accelerate and brake, he can't always use his turn signal, but even when he has them on some people are really rude. It is in these times that I have sometimes lost my cool and shown people my... 'finger version of the washington monument'.
Furniture- Because Stephe's power wheelchair is higher, we sometimes have trouble getting him under tables (especially at restaurants). At my apartment I have a table with adjustable legs that I got from IKEA, so he can roll right under with no problem. I've also had to put my couch on risers, which makes it looks like I have stadium seating in my living room, but I've gotten used to it.

KITCHEN STUFF- Stephe's hand's don't work the same way as everyone else's, so we have certain mugs that work for him better. One was from IKEA and the other I got at an Art Festival. He loves his coffee just like I do, so these were a necessary investment. =) Also, he needs lighter silverware because he can't grasp it the same way. He's fine with my stuff, but at restaurants sometimes it's tough.

SNOW- Today I went out to shovel out his vehicle (from the 30 inches of snow we received) and a nice family that lives upstairs saw me with my kid sized shovel and came out and helped me! It still took about an hour, but it would've taken me for FOREVER if they hadn't helped.

With Stephe, I do the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, the dishes and help him get ready for bed, and up in the morning. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work, but Stephe is always so understanding about everything, so usually I don't mind.

WHAT STEPHE DOES FOR ME He tries. If I need something from the grocery store and I'm busy, I'll ask Stephe to run out and get it and he does. He returns movies for me. Recently when my car acted up, Stephe drove me 45 minutes north to drop off my car at 10pm, and then 3 days later took off work early to take me back up to get it. He tries to bring over the dishes to the counter when he can. He gets he own toothbrush ready and brushes his teeth without my help because we got the toothpaste dispenser that he can just push down on.
BUT, more importantly, he supports me. He helps me with my art, and does art with me. He doesn't make fun of me being a pescetarian and went pescetarian himself after we started dating. He doesn't mind that I have 6 feral cats eating on my porch, or that I have two cats of my own. He doesn't complain when my apartment isn't neat. He tells me that he 'has the most beautiful girlfriend' when I'm in mismatched pj's and haven't showered and have no make-up on. He makes me laugh all the time. This year he did my taxes for me. He takes me to fun shows, like Chicago and Sheer Madness and RENT because he knows I love them. He is more thoughtful than anyone else I've ever been with, and makes me feel beautiful and loved all the time.

So, are things difficult sometimes? Of course. Sometimes I get really frustrated, and sometimes it makes me sad that we can't do things like go for a hike. But the truth of the matter is, when it comes to someone I want to be with for forever, Stephe is fantastic and we get along wonderfully. We don't argue, we don't yell... we just love one another in all that we are. I accept him and he accepts me, good and bad. And that's how it should be.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Artist's Scarf FREE Giveaway- part 1.5

I told my boyfriend I made $45 dollars today. He asked how. I said... "Working the corner." Apparently 'winks' don't translate well over the phone, so he did not find this funny. But I chuckled. Aaaannnnnnnyhow.....

So, this just goes along with the other blog entry from yesterday....I wore the black "Artist's Scarf" to work... partly to stay warm and partly to use to get feedback. I got a wonderful comment on it within a few minutes! "Thanks!" I say... An hour later we have the same planning period, but because I've been under the weather and it's hard to focus on grading when you don't feel great, I brought my latest "Artist's Scarf" I was working on. The same lady offered to buy it! I said sure! This is the scarf I made for her.
HOW EXCITING?! But it gets better!
Then another lady came in and SHE wanted one in a different color! Holy Moly! Two sales in an hour!

Then there is a third lady who wants one. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which leaves me really encouraged. These are so fun, and cozy like a full scarf, but way less bulky or in the way of whatever it is you're doing. I call them an "Artist's Scarf" but perhaps for you it's a "Mommy Scarf", or a "Chef Scarf" or a "Fashion Scarf". The fun thing is, you can dress them up or down.

The Giveaway is still on... and I'm also currently doing personal orders. $15 a pop for now and you get your choice of color, and whether you want buttons or ribbons. Once they go on Etsy it'll be harder for me to customize and I'm going to ask $20 so nows the time kids. Shoot me an email and I'll be happy to work with you.

The Crocet Queen of the Night