Follow along, It'll be fun!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A family year in review!

Slideshow made in photobucket!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Past!

How quickly the day comes and goes! In the end, it is all about the memories. Yes, there were days when I wished it had already passed. Naughty or nice? That was the question of the hour. But in the end it always seems to be "nice" because Santa understands that boys will be boys and deep inside they are good!


And the memories of family gatherings are to be cherished for a lifetime!


Here's to another Christmas Past!

Chalk it Up!

May your future be bright!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Spreading Christmas Joy!

Last year on December 30th I wrote a post about saving for Christmas this year.


The idea was to fill this Christmas popcorn tin with our spare change and what ever we collected would be our Christmas money. Well, when we counted the change a few weeks ago we discovered that we had $50. Not bad but not as good as we had hoped. Turns out, when you use your debit card more often than cash it's hard to accumulate coins. Anyway, the kids and I were trying to decide what to do with the money. First, I thought I would split the money between my two sons so that they could buy Christmas presents for each other. Then my nine year old suggested that we give it to charity. That was a wonderful idea and truly embodied the spirit of Christmas!

Today we went over to Kmart, where a Salvation Army bell ringer was stationed, and the kids joyfully emptied all of the coins into the tin.


We hope our coins can help a family this Christmas.

The kids felt so good about giving the money that they can't wait to do it again next year! When we got back into the car my older son opened the change purse in my wallet and dumped all the change into the Christmas tin. They are hoping to double their total next year!

Merry Christmas!!
Have fun spreading joy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Is it winter already?

I can't believe how fast this year has gone! I was flipping through the pages of my 2010 calender and unlike past years, I had very little written in it. Usually I jot down appointments, birthdays, meetings etc... But this year I kept a running list on my large gold framed chalkboard that I have displayed in my living room, on a floor standing easel. Everyday I look at my chalkboard and see what I can erase from the list. It keeps me focused and on task; however, there is no lasting record of the tasks of the year. :(
This year summer seemed to run right into fall and winter because the kids swam from June til November.

Thankfully the weather has been feeling wintery for the past few weeks! It helps to get us in the Christmas spirit!

Last weekend we took the kids to do some wintery things. Like...
sleigh riding?

Ice skating!

Did you ever see messier ice? It was more like snow skating. My little guy had sooo much fun! He looked like a colt learning to stand. But after numerous falls he finally started to get the hang of it. Now he loves skating!

He wanted to give his teachers a gift for Christmas and thought it would be nice to give them each a framed chalkboard and chalk ink! Makes sense!

I hope they use it in their classrooms to write things like star student of the day!:)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Life flashing before your eyes

I love getting emails from Photojojo. If you love taking pictures with your digital camera (who doesn't) you will love getting newsletters in your email from Photojojo. It's one of the few weekly newsletters that I have subscribed to that I actually open and enjoy!
This week they introduced this fun site You authorize them to access your flickr or facebook account to extract your photos and they create a fun little video. I didn't have many pictures in my flickr account so this is a short video. It is fun to see your pictures put to music(pictures that I haven't looked at in a long time). The transition is very quick because it is meant to show a lot of pictures and give you that "life flashing before your eyes feel" Pretty cool!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Turning a Photo into a cartoon

I spent some time using my new digital art skills by creating a cartoon from a photo of my son, in adobe illustrator. This took way to long for me to do. I really need to work on my speed.

Here's my cartoon version of my son:


And here's his mug on a mug :


HUM...This could be a Christmas present:)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to stay young!

Always keep learning! Take a class every now and then. Try something you've never done before. It's not about how tight your skin is, it's about how you view the world. When you're young everything is new. The world is more exciting and you are less jaded. When you are learning something new you are recapturing that youthful energy. The bonus of learning something new when you are a little older is that you bring some experience that allows you to build on past knowledge. They say youth is wasted on the young. Well not anymore!

I have mentioned before, I started taking Digital Media classes at my local College. I am fortuneate enough to live very close to a school with an excellent Digital Media Program.

Yesterday I completed my third and fourth classes, Vector Graphics I(Adobe Illustrator) and Intro to Digital Media.

I now am proficient in four programs, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Maya 3-D modelling and animation, and InDesign. In addition to a good education, I have made some wonderful new friends, and learned from talented, dedicated and supportive teachers!

It has been a year of growth!

A few weeks ago my school had a really fun event for the Digital Media Art program. It was call "Freaks and Geek." There were gaming contest, graphic art challenges, a juried art show and awards for artwork. It was a wonderful evening! I brought the kids and they even had fun! Two of my art pieces were chosen for the show! And I received an award for one of them!


This is the piece that I received the award for:

I plan on taking more classes in the Spring. I'm not sure which ones yet, but I'm sure it will be fun!

It's amazing, no matter how old you are, you just keep learning and growing. It keeps you young!:)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Adobe Illustrator Still life

It's been over a week since my last post! Wow time is flying! I'm finishing up my fall classes and wrapping up some other things around here. I guess everybody will be doing a lot of wrapping these days:)
I wanted to share my final project for my vector graphics class. The assignment was to create a still life and render it using the different techniques that we learned in class. I used mostly gradient mesh.

Here is the photo that I took as a reference for my still life.


And here is my rendering in Adobe Illustrator


Here is what it looks like in outline form

And here is a close up of the detail in the stem in Outline:


And in Preview view

It feels good to finish a project. Althought, I always feel like I can work on it more, sometimes you just have to say done! and move on!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Another Healthy year together!
Don't eat too much...
If you do you might feel like Macy's newest Thanksgiving Day Parade float!

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Who knew we were so trendy. In case you missed my post about building Mt Rushmore, we were busy last week making our own mini version of the float!

When we were busy paper mache-ing we were imaging it being a big float in a parade and thought "How cool would that be?!" And what do you know, there's a big Mt Rushmore float in the parade this year!! Spooky! (We may have to visit South Dakota this year!)

You can read more about the Mt Rushmore float HERE
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Using the gradient mesh tool

Only a few more weeks of fall semester! Wow time sure does go fast. This semester I took Vector graphics I which is Adobe Illustrator. I also took the Intro to Digital Media which covers Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I'm still trying to decide what my next classes will be.

In my Illustrator class we are learning how to use the gradient mesh tool. It's amazing how realistic you can make your illustration look using this tool.

Here is an exercise that I did using this tool

This is the photo reference:

And here is my digital rendering using the gradient mesh tool:


I think the stem gives it away. I tried to fix the stem a little:)
This exercise was to prepare for the final project, a still life.

Here is a link to a series of GRADIENT MESH TUTORIALS

I had something exciting happen last week, I'll share on my next post...

Busy building Mount Rushmore

I've been busy! I hate neglecting my blog but sometimes life gets a little hectic. I'm sure you know what I mean.
One of the things we've been busy doing around here is building Mt Rushmore (all in a days work:))
Actually, my middle school aged son had a geography assignment to do, which involved the whole family. The assignment was to recreate a monument, either from the US or Western Europe. So, my darling child chose Mt Rushmore! (The monuments will be set up at the school to create a mini golf course! FUN!
Anyway, I found a great instructable for a Mt Rushmore costume. You can get the directions HERE

The whole family worked together! I think the kids were amazed at what they created with chicken wire, wood, newspaper, glue, paint and masks! I know my son was very proud to bring it in to school today. Everybody oohed and aahed.


I shouldn't do this because you'll see all the imperfection. but here's a side by side


If we were to do this again (which we will not) we would keep a photo of the real thing handy to get better placement of the faces.

The only things that we did different from the instructions were:
1.Added the Roosevelt mask( I had to make it from a generic craft store mask. I sculpted the features out of toilet paper and masking tape. )
2. We covered the entire structure in paper mache, front back and masks.
3. We painted the entire structure with brushes, no spray paint (with a 12 year old boy, are you kidding). I added a dry brush technique using white paint to bring out the rough texture of the surface.
4. And of course we made a hole at the bottom with a tunnel out of cardboard connecting the back and front, for the golf ball.

Stop by one of the greatest blog Todays Creative Blog to check out more creative ideas with Get your craft on Tuesday!

Now my younger son wants to make a whole bunch of paper mache structures to create a mini golf course in our backyard!

I'll be back to post more of what I've been up be continued...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to make progress...

Keep a level head!

Ok, so my morning didn't start out that way. First, go on a good rant! Than, relax, think clearly, take the appropriate steps to get things done.

So what am I talking about?
Well, this morning I woke up to a giant puddle of oil under my car in my garage!


I immediately knew what had caused it! It was the giant pot hole that my car fell into on the way home from school last night. It was dark and rainy and the gaping hole was not visible. The car bottomed out hard. I thought for sure the van was done. I slowly moved forward and thought I had escape this one. It wasn't until this morning that I realized that I had not.

I immediately jumped on my new form of transportation (my bicycle) with camera in hand and an axe to grind and rode back to the scene of the crime to take a picture of the hole.


It was already covered up! I guess that's a good thing:)

Anyway, home I went. It was time to calm down and think clearly. And clearly the responsible party was going to pay! But who was the responsible party? I started by calling the county, who directed me to the right division. I spoke to the engineering division/Project Manager. I was kind and respectful and in return was treated the same. He was very helpful and advised me of the steps to take and the people to contact. Within an hour I had completed all of the steps keeping a level head and treating each person that I spoke to with respect, while clearly stating my case. Within an hour the contractor of the job was at my home inspecting the damage and without hesitation took full responsibility, assessed the damage and promised a mechanic would be in my garage to fix the damage this morning. (As I'm typing this, the contractor called and said the mechanic will be here in 10 minutes.) They also promised to clean up the mess in my garage.

When something unfortunate happens it's understandable to become irritated by what may be the carelessness of other. However, as with my situation this morning, it's best to quickly get the anger out of your system before solving the problem.

I'm so glad that I kept a level head. And I'm please with the integrity that others have shown in this situation. I think if we treat each other with respect we can get so much accomplished!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Today is day three of the SITS Halloween Parade and a chance to win a Canon Rebel T2i.

Sadly, the pictures that I took of the day have been lost:). I was upload my pictures from my memory card and my computer crashed losing the pictures from my card and picasa. In an effort to get at least one picture of costumes and the kids awesome jack-0-lanterns I used my phone camera. I tried sending the pictures to snapfish and received errors both times! So, no pictures of this year.:(
So here's a picture from last year. I loved this costume!

In any case, the day was fun! Halloween on the weekend is great! Like last year we went to a pumpkin patch at a local church and the kids picked out two great pumpkins to carve. In Florida, carving pumpkins too early means rotten pumpkins on Halloween, so doing it the same day insures the best results. The weather was beautiful, there was actually a little coolness in the air. When it was dark the kids put on their scary masks and were ready to go. Our neighborhood is great for trick or treating. People decorate and kids are swarming the streets in their costumes. It's one of the few things left of that traditional hometown feel.
The kids trick or treated for a couple of hours and came home with lots and lots of candy! Oh what to do with all that candy?!

If you have any creative ideas of how to use it up without making candy a steady diet for a year I'd love to hear it.

Hope your Halloween was happy, fun and safe!

Don't forget to head on over to the SITS parade!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Getting creative with paint on Halloween

From costumes to door decorations paint is the simplest and cheapest way to get some great effects!

A little facepaint and a skillful hand can turn a cute costume into a WOW costume!
I love this costume that my son wore when he was four. Holding his sweet little face in my hand, while I painting his whiskers and stripes, is a memory that I will cherish forever:)


But the kiddos are getting older and not as eager to have me paint their faces anymore:(

This year I painted a door decor. This was a quick and inexpensive way to add a little creepiness to the festivities this evening.

For this project all I needed (were things I already had)

Roll of white craft paper
Black craft paint
Some old brushes
A spooky picture for inspiration
About one hour of time
A black light

This picture served as inspiration


With properly placed positive and negative space and a few painting techniques, dry brush and texture rubbing, here is the finish painting.

I will hang this painting on the outside of my front door this evening with a black light replacing the porch light. Hopefully it will give the effect that I'm looking for. A little ghostly spirit to greet our trick or treaters!

This is day two of SITS (the greatest blog on the web)giveaway contest!

Happy Halloween! I hope you get lots of treats!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's getting spooky around here!

This is a repeat performance of last year's post. This happened one year ago today! This story has become legend in our humble little house.
(Actually, SITS, the blog with the besting blogging tips ;)is having an incredible giveaway and part of the rules to enter is to post about a past Halloween:)) I really really really want to win this giveaway, pretty please.

Ok, so here's the story...and I'm sticking to it!

I was standing in my kitchen thinking of what to make for dinner tonight, when a cool breeze swept through the room. It gave me goosebumps and made the hairs on my arm stand up.

Lucy started barking in the direction of the sink as she darted from side to side. It was as if she was seeing something that I could not.

Lucy see a ghost

The next thing I knew, Lucy ran into the living room and came back into the kitchen, with the strap of my camera dangling from her mouth, camera attached. I took the camera from between her teeth and looked in the direction she was barking. She continued to bark at the sink. It seemed as if she was telling me to take a picture of that area of the room.

The air still had an eerie chill. Due to Lucy's insistence, I snapped one picture of my kitchen sink and cabinets. Looking at the camera screen, I detected a shadowy figure but it was too small to make out what it might be. I quickly uploaded it to my computer for a closer look.

I could not believe my eyes!

It was the ghost of Chucky standing right there in my kitchen!

Ghost of Chucky

The chill has since left the room. What was he doing there? What did he want? I hope he doesn't come back tomorrow night looking for dinner...

Happy Halloween!!

Imagine what spirits I could capture with my new camera if I win the giveaway?!

Friday, October 29, 2010

And the winner is...

Chosen by
Sara from
All you have to do is email your address to me and tell me which framed 8"x10" chalkboard you would like from my etsy shop

I apologize for the delay
Have a great day!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Working, volunteering, going to school, running a business and being a mom can sometimes get a little hectic!

I have a giveaway winner to announce (will be back shortly to do that)

I the meantime here is a project that I have been working on for my illustrator class. The assignment was to make a logo gel button with your initials.
Here it is

This is my original logo and design! I'm happy with how it turned out!:) What do you think?

I'll be back this afternoon to announce my chalkboard giveaway winner. Time to run some errands before the day gets away from me...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to relax...

Pick up a pen or pencil, grab a piece of paper and draw (doodle).
Read more about this doodle at Doodle it up!

I took some fun pictures with the inspiration for my 30 minute doodle. LUCY!
Here's one:

Looking at this picture and the quality of my pencil sketch it brings to mind the artist M.C. Escher (I am in no way comparing myself)
This is one of his masterful works

I may use the photo above of Lucy, the chalkboard and the sketch as a reference for a future drawing. If I give it a try, I'll post my result here.

Isn't it funny how one little sketch can trigger a series of thoughts and actions.

AND it can still be relaxing!

It's Sunday! I hope you're relaxing!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Make a Wish!


I can go on and on but really you're just too awesome for words!
Take a good look, this may be our president in 40 years!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Some songs just make you feel good...

Love this song. It just has that uplifting quality that instantly lifts your spirits!

Have a happy week!
It goes so fast!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How to figure out what you were meant to do...

Try everything!

In my case, when I was going to college (about twenty years ago) I changed my major every semester until the last year, when I finally declared Fine Art as my major.
Then, with degree in hand, I went out to the real world and worked several odd jobs until deciding it was time to go back to school and get my degree in Education.
With two degrees in hand, I got a job as a high school art teacher. Then came marriage, then came baby, then move to a different state, and start over.
A mural business was the perfect fit. Be your own boss, paint on walls, big and collaborate with clients to realize a vision and exceed expectations.
Paint what you want abstract, minis, sell online. That was fun! I plan on returning to that at some point. (As soon as I find a place to paint again)
With no space to paint computers seems the perfect creative outlet. Back to school to study digital media. I'm on my third and fourth courses now and loving it!
With each course I take I learn a new program and different applications and uses for these programs. I have learned photo montaging, photo restoration, and applications for each in photoshop. I have entered the world of 3-D animation in Maya 2008. And currently, I'm working with Adobe illustrator.
Through the variety of projects that I am assigned to do , I'm learning what I like and what I don't like to do.

Here's a project that I'm currently working on:

The left side is a photo of a computer card and the right side is my illustration. It's a great lesson for learning the program but if I did this for a living I'm not sure how long I'd be living!
Here's a close up of my illustration and some of the details...

tedious work. But I'm sure it moves quicker the better you know the program.

So, try everything to learn what you do like and what you don't like!

I've decided to put together a new blog with just my digital media work.



I will continue to take course and document my progress, assess my likes and dislikes and possibly enter the digital media art world!

Friday, September 24, 2010

How to simplify dinner ...

Homemade+takeout=Dinner tonight:)

For example:
sesame chicken(hm)+Fried Rice(to)=Homemade/takeout Chinese Dinner

boneless chicken breast 1lb
mixed vegetables (cheat-buy precut mixed fresh veges in the produce section of the supermarket)
flour (self-rise)
eggs 2
toasted sesame
oj 1tbsp
teriyaki sauce
honey 1-2 tbsp
Pork Fried rice
Steamed White Rice


The only thing you have to prepare is the sesame chicken and steamed veges

1. Make sure you chicken is sliced thin
2. In a small bowl beat two eggs. Dip chicken in egg to coat.
3. In a large bowl add 1 cup of self-rise flour(self rise makes a crisper crust). Place egg coated chicken in flour to coat.
5. Don't forget to put your mixed veges in the steamer while you make the ckicken.
6. Also before you start cooking the chicken in a large bowl mix teriyaki, honey and oj. This mixture should be right next to the skillet for when the chicken is done cooking.
6. Heat 1/4 of oil in skillet. When oil is very hot add chicken. Cook about 3 minutes per side(until golden brown.
8. Remove cooked chicken from oil. Shake off excess oil. Immediately dip hot chicken in mixture to coat. Remove from mixture and put on a serving dish.
9. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seed. Serve with fried rice(white rice for those who don't like the fried) and steamed veges.

The best of both worlds!
Homemade and takeout!