Bedroom redo

I don't think this has been the first post about my bedroom and my plans to change things up. Nor will it probably be the last until I figure out what I want. I've been looking and thinking for about three months now. For me when it comes to purchasing anything, that is an eternity. I really did like a gray quilt from West Elm, but it was backordered until today. I checked this morning (yes, first thing), and the date has been pushed back to the end of September. Urgh.

But, it's a good thing because I visited the websites of some other favorites and things started to come together. Above is the setup that I'm currently thinking about. Well, the picture on the left is a picture of my current bedroom. I'll be keeping the black and white throw pillows but everything else on the bed will be replaced.

Yellow quilt - Urban Outfitters $68 (backordered)
Duvet and pillow shames - CB2 $79 and $19, respectively

I'd probably be posting that this stuff was on its way, but the quilt, like the other quilt I like, is backordered. I guess it gives me more time to figure things out, because I need a quilt or coverlet the most. I really like the duvet because it looks like the doodles that take up the margins of all of my notebooks. But white....

I'll also probably be investing in a new mattress pad and pillows, which makes this whole shebang a pretty decent investment.


Grownup ice cream float

Megs sent me this link the other day, Cherry Lambic Ice Cream Float, and recommended I try it with the Belgian Red from New Glarus Brewery. The brewery is just down the road from where I live, and when Megs came to visit me last fall, we visited the brewery and drank Belgian Red with dinner at a couple of places. The beer is made with Door County cherries, which have changed my opinion of cherries. I've always been more partial to their Raspberry Tart, which is a little sweeter, but the post definitely recommended the cherry beer.

At Megs behest, I stopped at my cute little grocery store on the way home and bought ice cream and Belgian Red. I went with the Schoep's homemade vanilla. Doesn't compare to Bluebell, but I figured it would be a better complement to the beer than vanilla bean.

Probably wouldn't have mattered. I tried it, but I don't think I'll be combining those two again. Instead of working together to make a new flavor, the sweet ice cream just made the Belgian Red seem more tart. I ended up drinking the beer and then eating the ice cream. Don't take my word for it, though, because even the website above for the beer recommends putting it with ice cream to create a float.

I'm not giving up, though, on the thought of a beer float. I'm a big fan of root beer floats, so I'm sure there is a beer float out there that I will fall in love with. I still have ice cream in the freezer, so I just need to try a few more beers. Wisconsin is a good place to try this. And, I'm also willing to try the Belgian Red again with Bluebell, so I'll take a bottle with me the next time I travel down to Texas.

(Sorry about the picture quality. I usually try to take my pictures in the morning to take advantage of all the natural light that comes in, but I didn't think that a beer float would taste so good for breakfast. Even worse, we had a lot of rain and tornado-producing storms which made it darker than normal)


iPhone photo of the week

I meant to post this yesterday. I noticed the star on the ceiling while I was doing my morning situps. Definitely didn't see any light reflecting into my apartment this morning, but the sound of rain was sort of relaxing. 

I'm not going to move my blinds, because I'm pretty sure I would never be able to get everything just right to have the light reflect in that way again. 
Grabbing my iPhone, I laid back down and shot the picture. Then, I went to plug the phone into the computer to download the picture (and also sync my phone). Nothing happened. Not when I pushed the buttons. Not when I unplugged it and pushed all the buttons. Not when I plugged it in to the wall and pushed all the buttons. Not when I pushed all the buttons on the phone in random combinations throughout the day. So, I went to the iPhone store thinking one of two things would happen a) they could give me a new 3G because I had the extended warranty or b) I'd be leaving with a new iPhone 4. I didn't think it could be fixed because it seemed beyond the grave. The sales clerk plugged it in to one of their computers and, lo and behold, it starts to power back up. This phone is on notice - one more bit of refusing to work and it's going to be replaced by the newer model.


Welcome to the Mt. Horeb art fair. Just one week after Art Fair on the Square, and you'd think that I was art-ed out. No way! Here were more artists with different works. I liked many of the things that I saw - photography, wooden trucks, jewelry, metalwork and more. I bought a few things for me and a few gifts. Here is one of my purchases for myself - a spoon ring. I know someone who has one and I've often admired it and coveted it. Now, I have one for my own! I put it on right away.
I also purchased a work of art for my home. The booth was set up a little from the street, but the bright colors made it stand out. The artist, Gisela Magdalena Moyer, was so nice in describing the feelings that go in to her work. It was inspirational to see the wonderful work and hear how her art has helped her through dark times and still remain able to paint with vibrant colors. One of the first pieces to catch my eye was this piece. Mrs. Moyer describes the meaning and inspiration for the hand art on her website:
These works are very meaningful to me. The hand is one of the oldest symbols for the artist in history. Early man dipped his hand into clay and printed the image on the walls of caves to make this statement: "I was here, I mattered, I had a creative spirit!"
My hands are my tools because they complete what my soul conceives. The Butterfly is my symbol for spiritual lightness. Although this series is whimsical, many of my clients are touched by these works.

She told me that she was inspired by someone telling her that if you touch a butterfly's wings it will die. This work means that you should let go of things. She explained the imagery in the work and what it meant to her. The bee is there for growth, because, she says, anyone who gardens knows that you can't have a garden without bees. The flower and leaves on the fingers are each different, as each of our finger prints are different. The oak leaf represents strength, because the oak leaf is the last to leave the tree. Finally, the flower at the bottom represents inner beauty.

I found the perfect place to hang my paper hand with butterfly - right where the sun first comes in, where I can see it every morning when I wake up in the morning. Go to her website and read her story and see more of her remarkable work. 

So, even though it was hot, I had a very nice time in Mt. Horeb. I even got to meet one of the trolls!


Art Fair on the Square, day 1 (cont.)

There were so many artists, that if I tried to comment on all the ones that I saw and liked, I'd have enough posts to last at least a month! I didn't even make it over to Art Fair off the Square, which features WI artists - a major oversite.

I've limited my posts to the folks that really stood out (that I got to see). So, this is my last post on Art Fair on the Square, but not the end of the talented artists. If you're in Madison next year next year the first weekend of July (at least I think that's the date), you should come and check out the wonderful artists.

Sarah Jane Hassler
The first artist that I got to assist. She hardly got to leave the booth for all of the folks stopping by. Her acrylic jewelry was amazing. I really liked a pair of little hoops that were riveted similar to the bracelet at the left, but I didn't make it back over there on Saturday before it ended or Sunday after working with the kids. I hope she's back next year!

Anthony Hansen
I think my childhood is the reason that I'm drawn to metal art. This artist used a lot of automotive scrap metal to make works like the heart you see at the left. These were really big pieces and yet the design seemed very effortless. Maybe next time I'm home the guys will teach me how to use the plasma cutter!

Flinn Designs
This artist uses the proceeds from her work to help save animals that wouldn't have a home. She has a lot with dogs and cats, but I love the shape of the birds. I had the chance to speak with her a little bit more last year. I don't remember a lot of what she said about her technique, but she and her husband are doing remarkable things with their art and through their art.

Laurie Pollpeter Eskenazi Ceramics
I looked really, really hard at these ceramic hearts. This was another artist that I got to spell and spend some quality time looking at everything. The designs are made by pressing antique lace and old embroidered fabrics into the wet clay. I ran into a friend from work buying one of her bowls, but once again I didn't make it back over there for a heart. Another artist that I hope is back again next year!


Art Fair on the Square, day 1 (cont.)

A week later, and I'm still continuing to talk about last Saturday. There was just so much to see! This weekend has also had some events that generated post-worth comments, but I've got more on Art Fair on the Square for you right now.

Mary Gaye Miller
This artist had both 2D (hang on the wall) and 3D (stands on its own) mixed media pieces. There was one that I kept looking at while I babysit her both. It had some metal, glass and mirrors and a big number two. It also had an essay/poem about art and creativity and a bridge. It was a really wonderful looking piece.

Pistol by Ali Dryer
I had a nice chat with Ali about shoes (we were both wearing Dansksos). But, even if she wouldn't have been so nice, I would've kept coming back to her booth to look at the purses. She had different styles of cloth purses with vintage (and vintage-y) fabric and buttons and wood handles. She made all of the wood handles herself. The clutch at the left was my favorite style. The button closes a flap that wraps around the body of the purse and through the handle.

Bill Sargent Photography
There was a lot of photography at the art fair, but this was one of my favorites. I realize more and more that I like photos with people or up close pictures of objects. I'm not a big landscape photographer myself, but I can appreciate the work of others. Still, I'm drawn to the environmental portrait at the left.

'Phill Singer 
This work was on my almost bought list. I would've been on my bought list if I could've found a place in my kitchen to put it. The print was one in a series of other surrealist fruit. The artist also had different surreal wildlife works. Like the lemon at the left, the subject is so real looking that at first glance, you don't notice the surrealism. I know I've seen this artist at the Art Fair before, so I may spend some time looking for a place to put this print and just pray that he's back with a print of this work next year.


Art Fair on the Square, day 2

I got to be an artist as well at the Art Fair on the Square this year. For day two of Art Fair, I volunteered in the kids tent and staked out face painting as my area. Here are two of my customers showing off their artwork. It was so much fun to paint rainbows, balloons, baseballs, basketballs, fish, flowers, hearts, and dinosaurs. I also had two special requests, a track and a space monster. Above is the tractor. It is based off a John Deere, but I didn't have any green paint. Thanks to a certain little boy back in Texas, I got used to drawing tractors, specifically John Deere tractors with bailers. So, when this little boy's mom looked at me with a bit of worry when he asked for a tractor, I assured her that I could paint a tractor.

Working in the kids tent kept me from spending more time looking at the art, but there are some more posts of the pretties that I got to see on Saturday. Unfortunately, I packed my bags and headed out of town shortly after all the fun of Art Fair ended. I'm almost home and back to real life. Keep an eye out for the rest of those artists that I liked!


Art Fair on the Square, day 1

Every year in Madison, artists come from across the country to set up booths around the capitol square and sell their wares. The art ranges from silver and gold jewelry to surrealist paintings to hand-woven scarves to mixed-media pieces.

I've gone to Art Fair every year since I moved to Madison. A couple of years ago, I went with the owner of our company to help pick out art work to decorate our office buildings and schlep it back home. I still get a kick out of seeing the artwork I helped pick out or carry when I'm on my way from one meeting to another.

This year, I volunteered with the Art Fair through the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, which hosts the event. I spent all day yesterday, well from 11:30 - 6:30, supporting artists by watching their booths while they went and got Starbucks or water or went to the bathroom. Con: it was very hot yesterday and we had to wear these polyester-net overshirts, liked you wear in gym class. Pro: I had a lot of time to look at everything in the booths, especially on the street where I was stationed.

Here are some of my favorites.

Repeats from years past:

Keith Grace Designs
He uses magazine and other clippings, a favorite of mine, to create his work. Then, he paints over the design to add dimension. Yesterday, I saw the a print of the design at the left. We'll see if I make it back over there today to purchase it.

Amy Gillespie
Amy won the best 2D medium work award last year at the Art Fair. She creates wood and felt pieces. My favorite piece that I saw yesterday was a small square out of light wood with the felt in a circle around a bunch of small circles. The felt was light blue, which made the work look like a nest of robin's eggs.
Dolan Geiman My first Art Fair piece came from Dolan Geiman. It is similar to what you see at the left, with one yellow wood bird cut in to the barnwood background. I love going by this booth each year. There is also a mixed media piece of the United States that I like, and I would love to own a print. Check out his website, because when I went to get the link, I saw that he is collaborating with Fossil. Exciting!

I've got to run now to go help out in the Kid Tent. I've got several more artists that I want to talk about, as well as my time making crafts with kids today. This should keep me in blog posts for the rest of the week! Check out the MMoCA website for more information, and stay tuned for more artists.


iPhone pic of the week

This is me today. Actually, this is me most days. A couple of the folks at my coffee shop know what I ordered when I come in - large skim latte. I used to drink one every day with the three shots of espresso, but I realized that this was probably too much caffeine. So, I try to go without a couple of times a week. Luckily, my coffee habit accounts for 95% of my caffeine intake.


Happy Independence Day

I don't know what you are up to this holiday weekend, but this is where I'm hanging out. Yep, that's the pool at my apartment complex. I took the photo with my iPhone yesterday during my break from my pool-side afternoon siesta. I'm not sure what I did to get the neat effect, though. Maybe I should try to recreate the photo this afternoon. Then, I might be able to tell you what I did. 

Enjoy your barbecue, potato salad, watermelon, beer, ice cream, lemonade, fireworks, etc. For those folks who have off tomorrow, no fair - I'll be at work.


Work of Art

Have you seen Bravo's latest competition show? They can cook, they can sew, and now, they are making art. I love Top Chef and Project Runway, but I think my favorite is Work of Art. A bunch of artists are brought together to participate in challenges, like the aforementioned shows. The difference here, is that the set of skills is much more varied. There are so many different outlets for art that you could be good at one and fail the next challenge because of your style or skill set.

This was evident on the last episode - which I watched last night on DVR - when the guy who won the previous challenge got the boot during the shock challenge. Not sure how I feel about that, especially because I did what I normally do when I watch these shows and tried to imagine what I would make. I don't think I'm very shocking because I couldn't come up with any ideas. So, not much to say about that episode.

The previous episode - the book challenge - though, I have some comments and ideas. The book challenge was actually the first episode I saw. My friend told me about the show and wondered why I wasn't watching it. I was very happy when I saw covers for books that I loved hanging in the gallery. Unlike the contestants, I had read most of the books there. The only deficit in my knowledge was Jekyll and Hyde. My luck, that's the cover that I would have been assigned if I was on the show. Still, I think I would be more familiar with the story than some of the folks seemed to be.

To comment to the work, I agreed with the judges completely. But, like I said, I always sit there and try to figure out what I would've done. And, then I looked at the book I was (re)reading - The Scarlet Pimpernel. This is a favorite that I was introduced to in high school. I don't think I've had my copy quite that long, but the poor thing was in pretty bad condition.

With the critiques in mind - that the cover should be something that draws you in and catch your eye in a crowded bookstore but also illustrate the story, I got out some supplies and sat down. Unlike the artists, I didn't have an additional budget to get fancy supplies, so I used my Crayola watercolor pencils, construction paper, tissue paper and my computer to come up with this.


I had to break the word Pimpernel because I have unofficially referred to the book as The Scarlet Pimp since high school. There is the flower and my tissue paper attempt at the French tricolor ribbon that all the "citoyens" wore. Yes, I purposely had the watercolor run in an attempt to show the watercolor. And, having never seen a Scarlet Pimpernel, I'm not sure how close I got on the flower. It didn't look a whole lot like the one I printed off to reference.

I really like my cover. I can't wait until I decide to read the book again. I may not have won when compared to real artists, but then, at least I've read the book.

Go to the website for the show to see other covers and other episodes. Let me know what you think.