Thursday, May 27, 2010

Art Update

Just a quick update during my lunch break.

North Viele Pasture, one of my woodcuts, made it into "A Celebration of Block Prints" Etsy Treasury.  Yeah, thank you Milatropolis!

Three of my linocuts (White-Breasted Nuthatch, Stripes, and 'Watch'Dog) were all accepted into a staff and faculty art show here at the University where I work.  To cap it off, White-Breasted Nuthatch was chosen to be shown at the Everson Museum of Art this fall. A real museum- holy cow! So excited I could pee my pants-!!!

No other news. I'm pretty much done with packing all non-essential stuff in my house. Two more weeks One more week before we move to interim housing in the Boondocks. My cameras are still in NYC being evaluated. My art supplies are all boxed up. My books are all sequestered away in storage. Ick!! It feels really crappy being in an "in-between" transitional stage, but I started a Tae Kwon Do class which is great at relieving the stress and frustration of it all. And the boys, Cliff and Jack, have been great. Jack DID break into one of my moving boxes, pulled out all of my large tabletop candles (I have them for cases when the electricity goes down) and eat them. All of them. Sigh. They were scented, so he probably thought they were food.... I guess?? Ugh. Oh well. Other than that "mishap", packing has been seamless.

I have some great plans for June, while living TV-less and internet-less in an empty house in the Boondocks: work on some linocuts. Experiment with Monotypes (Monoprints). Work on the sketchbook. There will be no distractions other than my two pups and some rednecks living next door. Woot, woot!

That's it for now, I guess. Happy Thursday to everyone-

Jen

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Studio Daydreaming....

I'm getting ants-in-the-pants crazy waiting to move into my new house. It seems like the end of June will never get here!!! But in the meantime, I'm daydreaming about paint colors, the garden and... of course... my new art studio. I've kind of become obsessed with finding new furniture for it. I don't NEED new furniture... I have a drafting table, and two tables to hold my presses and inking station... but they are kind of old and new furniture seems so exciting. Today I visited Marty's and oggled over the all the unfinished furniture they have; desks, bureaus and hutches (oh, they would be wonderful to hold art stuff!). Some of my ideas:

Wouldn't this be FABULOUS as a new art desk? All the compartments great for holding art supplies, artsy books, etc... YAY! And I could sit anywhere I wanted... each side is accessible and useable... I could work facing the kitchen, the windows looking outside, or facing the living room... ogg. I am in love with this! It's a little more modern than the look I'm going for, but it's just so fabulous, I can't help but drool.


This is another option. More standard desk-looking, and kind of Shaker-ish (not my favorite look) but I like the L-shape. See, my new art studio won't have any "walls", really, to butt things up against. One wall is all windows and built-in bookshelves, and the other "wall" is the kitchen area and hallway to the front door. So all my furniture will need to sit in the middle of the room? If that explanation makes sense?

I love Flickr, too. The photo site (the bird too, lol). I've found some great groups that are all about sharing photos of peoples' art and craft studios. Check out Etsy Member Studios, and then Art Studios. It's SO inspiring to see where people make art - some folks have their own gorgeous outbuildings, and others just a corner of the dining room table... but they make it work!! I love looking at their tables, their storage units... everything. It gives me so many cool ideas.

Speaking of art, I am working on a new linocut which is a bit stressful because of the packing and general disarray. I haven't gotten far, just putting the image on the block, but it's moving along. I'd post photos BUT I can't... I have packed up my 2 digital cameras and my old film camera and sent them to NYC to be traded in for a new Canon Powershot SX20. No reason to have 3 cameras laying around... I really only need one, right?

Countdown to moving to our interim housing in The Boondocks. Three, two...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ballfield Playdate

Spent the night at Mom and Dad's. They have some great fenced ballfields near their new house so this morning I took Jack, Cliff and their youngest pug Amos (Cliff's BFF) over to run around a bit. Some fun pics:

Amos tries to keep up with the big dogs, LOL...


The ol' man can still run! ...


Even after his Big Saturday in the Adirondacks, Jack had a ton of energy to zoom around the field a few times...


Handsome Amos...


I am very impressed by Cliff's progress. Getting him back on Glucosamine & MSM and occassional Gabapetin have been miraculous. I noticed his corn came back, so we've been hulling it out and doing the old duct-tape treatment again, too. I wonder if his bad limping a month or so back was a result of the corn growing up, unseen, under the surface of the pad?  Dunno. You can tell he's much more comfy walking on soft surfaces like dirt and grass, compared to road and sidewalk.


Look at his smile!!...


... the boys...

Now that our fun vacation weekend is over, it's back to packing-!

Jen

Brandy Lake Hike

I've never stopped at the Brandy Lake trailhead, although I pass it every time I take Rt. 28 into the mountains. After hiking Rondaxe (Bald Mt) and then window shopping in Old Forge, I thought... "What the heck? I still have some pep, and Jack is young and frisky. We have a few hours to kill before dusk... let's explore!" I probably wouldn't have acted on this if I knew the trail was a round trip of 6 miles!! Alas, it didn't look that long on my map... [famous last words].


I've never seen any cars at the Brandy Lake trailhead, and we were the only ones there this day as well (yay). The trail was fairly gentle, with a couple easy hills. Three miles in, three miles out.


LOTS of mushrooms/fungus around. I need to get a guide.

The first Jack-in-the-Pulpit I've seen this year (at least, I think that's what it is. I'd check my ADK flora book, but it's already packed in a box somewhere!)...


Brandy Lake was serene and beautiful. Unfortunately my camera has too-big a lens to capture anything but *part* of the shore...


Jack in the Witch Hopple... I love that stuff. It grows around waterways, lakes and rivers. It rolls off the tongue so nicely too. "Witch Hopple." :o)




I was SO psyched to find some Marsh Marigolds!!! They are my favorite wild flower, and I've only ever seen them south of Ithaca, near Danby State Forest. It was exciting to find these...


Beautiful patterns in the water along Brandy Lake...


After Rondaxe (about 2 miles), Old Forge and then 6 miles at Brandy Lake... we were pooped!! Cold and sometimes cloudy, but it ended up being a nice day.

Jen

Jack's New Friend


After climbing Rondaxe Mt., Dad met us for a lunchtime snack in Old Forge. Across the street was this huge stuffed-animal raccoon that Jack LOVED. He charged up to it, wagging his tail like crazy and sniffing the 'coon's shirt excitedly. It was so hysterical... we decided to pose for a picture with Jack's new "friend" LOL. Dad took the pic- thanks, Dad.

Rondaxe Mountain



This weekend I decided to head up to Old Forge for Paddlefest 2010, in hopes of trying out some solo canoes, attending some seminars, and doing some hiking. *Sigh*, typical me... I got the date wrong... Paddlefest is NEXT weekend. Ooops. Oh well... I got to see my parents (who babysat Cliffie for the day) and visit the North Country, at least. :oP  First trip to the mountains this season, yippee!

First stop (after figuring out my Paddlefest Date Blunder) was hiking up Rondaxe (Bald) Mountain, just north of Old Forge. I've gone up to the Adirondacks for years, but never had much interest in climbing. I prefer more secluded and scenic hikes, around ponds and especially bogs (plus, the mountain paths are always crowded- the lake, pond and bog hikes aren't). And with Lucy and Clifford- well, the past several years they've been slowing down and strenuous hiking just wasn't in the bag. Today, I decided to try climbing a mountain with Jackie-Pants. He's young, he's strong, and I need to sweat off a few (well, more than a few) pounds of winter weight. Jack could lose a pound or two as well (a woman at the Old Forge Hardware store was kind enough to comment, "Well, he's certainly stocky for a greyhound, isn't he?" Um, thanks.). He's not THAT bad, and gets walked twice a day, but *sigh*, he's an eater. That's a good thing and a bad thing!

The mountains in the Old Forge area are certainly nothing like the High Peaks region, so Rondaxe/Bald Mountain would be a nice starting point for us- I could test our endurance, see how Jack handled the ascent, etc. I was a bit ruffled pulling into the trailhead area- it was packed with cars- not my ideal-! But I have to say, for most of the ascent we were alone which was really nice.

Up....


...and up...

...and up...


...nope, still not the summit...


...up, up, up-!

 
...almost there-!...


...The Summit! Finally!



It was really a beautiful hike, just under a mile each way. And can I just say? Hiking with a young dog is DIFFERENT. At first I was really paranoid as the trail went up rooted, steep areas and across huge boulders with NO shoulders to speak of. But Jack's small, tight feet gripped really well and he had no trouble at all scrambling up the steep areas or leaping over logs and huge roots. Towards the summit the trail went over rocky ridges that fell steeply off either side (you can see in a couple of the pics above)... he wasn't fazed at all even though my heart was pounding a mile a minute!!... and was very steady and sure, like a little mountain goat. I wonder if Lucy and Clifford were that agile and brave in their younger days? I don't remember. In 2005 Lucy (then age 8) and Cliff (then age 7) tried to ascend "family-friendly" Baker Mountain in Saranac Lake, and it was a huge Cluster, if you know what I mean! That was the first and last mountain we did together, LOL!

I did find out one thing about Jack's hiking abilities... he has absolutely ZERO navigational skills. I mean that in a trail-sense... I get the feeling he couldn't follow a trail if you paved it in front of him, LOL. Twice on this hike he led us off the main path on smaller side-paths, and I didn't notice until we were really far into the bush and we had to back-track. Cliff is like that too. I tend to think, though, that Clifford just lacks the ability to follow a trail? That he's kind of clueless-? Whereas Jack just doesn't care, LOL.

But that's okay, we all can't be good at everything right?

More pics from the trail:







Thursday, May 13, 2010

Packing


I'm afraid this post won't be terribly interesting! The big news is that my purchase offer was accepted HOURS before the tax credit ended, so we have a house to move into... hooray!  Since then, I've been in a cleaning and packing hell. It's really amazing how much STUFF you accumulate over 6 years. Several pieces of furniture that won't be coming with us have been broken down and moved out of the house. Heavy boxes are growing and growing around here. The boys were curious about the activity at first (especially Jack) but they seem fine now. It's driving me insane though... never-ending packing... cleaning... boxes and clutter scattered all over, waiting to be picked through and packed... it's like living in a tornado.

In between my house closing here and closing on the new house, we'll be homeless for about a month. I'll be living in my parent's house, which they've been trying to sell but haven't been as lucky as I was. It's closer to work but in the boondocks. And I won't have TV. Or internet. Or any of my stuff, because it will be in storage. June is going to be a looooonnnng month, lol.

Jen

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Etsy Update!


I've been long overdue to update my Etsy store, but I finally did it. Check it out here!

It's been crazy busy recently, so I haven't gotten to as much artwork as I've liked. I've also postpone a few of my daily after-work doggie walks with Cliff and Jack, which upset the pups a bit. They are so used to routine! But I couldn't help it. I have to say, selling you house- searching for a new one- buying a new one- yeah, it sounds fun. And on some level it is... but other levels it isn't, LOL.

I found a great house for us in the Lincoln Hill neighborhood of Syracuse- close to work, a few houses away from the park, charming 1890 bungalow- and scrambled to put together an offer (another person was supposedly also scrambling on the house). It was accepted, hooray! Did all the paperwork, hooray! Began dreaming about what furniture would go where, hooray! Had the home inspection... and it BOMBED. I mean... asbestos in the basement, illegally installed furnace with no lining/fluting, lead pipes bringing drinking water in the house, the roof was less than a year from needing full replacement, and the kicker... one 10-foot section of foundation along the house had been REMOVED and replaced with a sheet of flipping PLYWOOD. Yeah, that was the only thing holding up that section of the house. How did I miss that on my 2 visits, before putting in the purchase offer?? Anyway, the house was obviously sinking dramatically in that area, and the other side of the house had foundation that needed re-pointing and re-sealing. Wah-wah-wah.

Needless to say, we (well, I) backed out of the offer. I mean... I'm willing to deal with a few issues when I buy a house, but not huge ones like foundations and roofs! Oye vey.

Then the scrambling began. I mean... I'm closing on the sale of my (current) house on/about June 5, thereabouts. I NEED A PLACE TO LIVE! And it's been so hard finding anything affordable on my salary in a safe neighborhood, you know? But I'm really lucky... I happened to come across a beautiful, artsy, REALLY fabulous 1-floor house (with a loft!!) and HALF ACRE backyard, already privacy-fenced and beautifully gardened, right on the edge of the city this week. Put in a purchase offer. The seller then had an emotional breakdown and decided she WASN'T going to sell the house. There was a day where my realtor and this woman's realtor were playing counselor as the woman cried about her house on the phone with them and I sat with pychotic butterflies in my stomach, wondering if she'd sell me the house. The woman inevitably decided to go forward with the sale, but only if I put in a full-price offer so she could pay her bills. I agreed, because the house is UNBELIEVABLE and I wanted it sooo badly. Dad did an inspection and gave it his blessing, but we have a "real" inspector coming Tuesday (Bridget, that's at noon if you want to come?). We even got all the paperwork signed before the 5 pm Tax Credit deadline, so I'm getting a rebate (hooray!).

The house is amazing... windows that go from ceiling to almost-floor, built-in bookshelves all over, a little fireplace, a "Florida" room... SO much light...really awesome. The backyard is to die for. The only downside to the house is that it doesn't have a basement, only has one bedroom (which doesn't matter to me, but I'm sure would turn off a lot of buyers), and is on a main street. But that's okay. The rest makes up for it.


I can't believe it, but it was in the 80's today... insane! This morning was the first GWC walk in quite awhile, newly under the reins of Glen and Kelly S. It was at Onondaga Lake Park, and quite a few folks showed up with their Greyhounds (we also had a Frenchie and doxie mix join in). Even at 10 am, it was sooo humid and oppressive, though. Jackie had a blast but the heat really wiped him out and he slept soundly all afternoon, woot! Make that a double-woot.



So...  back to the House. When you're buying and selling, every time the phone rings, your heart jumps in your throat and you feel like spontaneously vomiting all over yourself (at least, that's my experience). Last weekend the phone rang while I was napping and I quickly tried roused myself from deep sleep. After two rings I was sufficiently awake and took off at a dead run through the house, trying to find the phone. I was booking full speed because I was afraid it would be my real estate lady (which it was) and I'd miss something important (which I didn't). While sprinting through the art studio around the corner into the kitchen, I slipped on the floor and fell in a horrendous, horrific BAM. Yeah, did you hear some sort of thunderclap last Saturday, around 2 pm? That was me falling. I twisted my ankle pretty badly and lay there moaning loudly for a few seconds. Then, gathering myself, I clambered to my one good foot and booked to get the phone. Looking back... dang, I fell... the house shook... I lay there wailing in agony... and neither of my dogs even got up from their beds to see what happened! WTH? So much for women's best friend, maybe I SHOULD have gone with diamonds instead lol.

Jen