Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good news and a snow day to boot!

A wonderful piano technician helped me yesterday. She squeezed me in with the hopes that the piano would be useable for my afternoon lessons. What a difference experience with this caring lady. She looked the piano over and went to work. She got the whole thing tuned (which the other guy said was impossible) and had some very viable ideas for restorating the piano. It wont be inexpensive, but I'd much rather invest in my dear piano than invest in buying a new one. She'll be back later this week to fix the string I broke and give me some numbers to look at. I'll probably have to let her take it to her shop for the summer, but I dont teach then anyways so it wont hurt my income at that time. I'm so very happy and relieved to know that she can be saved. With the investment, she'll be good to go for another 3-4 generations after me. It makes me furious that that man came into my home and said all those horrible lies. I will be writing a letter to the company who sent him my way. I need to write instead of calling to complain because I'd just start yelling and not get my point across as professionally as I can in a letter.

Today we had a big snow storm come through. Everything shut down including the community college so my polymer clay class was cancelled. I dug out my supplies and put together the 2 books pictured here. I made the covers out of double layer clay with some of the top layer peeled away to reveal some texture I had added to the bottom. I used Pearlx and acrylic paint to make the stampings I added pop out. I cut out some cardstock and tried to sew together the pages. I'm not sure they'll stand up, but they look good tonight. I glued in a tie to keep the journal closed and then glued a black piece of cardstock into the inner covers to cover where I had glued all the strings on. The books are approx. 3" x 4.5". I need to investigate how to hold the pages in better if I'm going to attempt this again.
The snow picture is from about 7 this morning. I had just finished up my morning walk and the world was so beautiful with the snow clinging to everything. I ran in grabbed the camera and then stood in the middle of the road to take this picture.
Thank you to everyone who left such nice posts to try and cheer me up. You all added hope when I really didn't think there was any. I'm so thankful things are going to work out with this new ladies help. What a difference between the 2. I wish I had never called the first man, but he is from the "elite" shop in Toledo so I thought I was going to get the best-definetly didn't expect to get screwed. Live and learn. You can bet every student I deal with from now on will be educated on who not to call for help.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Possible loss of a good friend

She has always been there. From my very earliest memories, she sat in a place of honor in the dining room. She was overlooked in terms of playing, but she was dutifully dusted and always had a shine to her. I begged to learn how to play her. I think I really started asking to around age 4. I still remember the excitement when mom said I could finally start taking lessons. Once a week, I'd get off the bus at my aunts house and she would guide me. I used the little red "Teaching Little Fingers to Play" by John Thompson. It was love from the start. I've had many teachers since then, some terrific inspirations who I try to emulated when I teach now, and some that I learned what not to do while teaching. I truly love the piano. I was the kid who would sit for hours and play. I didn't care what my brother and sister were out "doing" I could immerse myself in song after song and just drain all that adolescent angst right out of me. Every tiny emotion that I was feeling could come out as notes in a song. I was never great at writing, or speaking, but I could express myself in music. My piano was always there. It was my great grandmothers piano. It was built in the 1890's. She traveled all over the U.S., and the piano went with her. My parents gave her to me when I got married. We put her in the back of my dads truck and I played her the entire 8 mile move. I'll never forget the wind whipping through my hair, dad driving and singing along and me just playing away with a huge smile on my face. I started teaching on her shortly after I finished my graduate degree. I didn't like classroom teaching, but I loved the one on one private lesson. She's heard so many student turn into talented musicians. She has been a true blessing. On Saturday I had a technician out to give her a tuning. He came in with bad energy surrounding him and I tried to ignore it at first. He looked at her and started grunting away. I soon moved to another room of the house to get away from his attitude. Shortly thereafter he emerged and stated that she was junk, wouldn't hold a tuning and I should scrap her. I was almost in tears. I asked if I could pay for some restorative work and he was adamant that it wasn't worth it and he wouldn't do it. Then he charged me a service fee and left her with only a few noted tuned and sounding much worse than when he came in. All day yesterday I was on the verge of a breakdown. This morning wasn't much better. I have lessons scheduled for Monday afternoon and she was not useable the way he left her. I did some talking at church and found someone who had a tuning tool that I could borrow. I came home and started working on her. I was doing ok, and then a horrible - BOING - I broke a string. The tears did come then. I tried to pull myself together and got out the list of tuners who I was going to call to come give a 2nd opinion. I dialed the first one who was somewhat local and said they did "piano restoration". A nice lady picked up while I was in the middle of leaving my message. I explained my predicament. I told her what the first man had said and I told her that I really dont want to scrap the piano and am willing to pay for some restorations, but that I really need her tuned for lessons. I even swallowed my pride and admitted to trying to tune her on my own and that darn broken string. She was very nice and she is squeezing me into her schedule tomorrow to get her tuned! She'll have to do the string another day, but it'll work for my lessons and she's got some good energy about fixing instead of scrapping. I truly hope she can help my dear friend. I dont want to lose her

My hubby is the greatest. He went out to get our groceries while I was freaking out trying to tune my friend. He came back with this. I see these every week when we go shopping and I've always said that someday I was going to buy one just because they made me happy to look at. He wanted to cheer me up so he brought this home for me. Wasn't that the sweetest?

I've stopped all my tears and am hopeful that the piano lady will have better news tomorrow. In the meantime, I have gone and played with my friend a few times today to try to release some of the stress I've had build up. She's still there for me and is still helping.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Running Love

What kind of dreams do you hold deep down inside? About 3 years ago my hubby and I started doing the Body for Life diet/exercise program. We both lost weight and built muscle by doing the program in its initial time frame-I think it was a 3 month thing. Anyways, after we finished doing those months, I tapered off and eventually went back to my old ways. (I can tell you this now because since then, I have lost the weight and I now exercise regularly and have stayed within my weight "range" for 2 years now.) My hubby however, never stopped exercising and eating well. He started running races. We both did a 5K on Labor day of 2005. It was the first race either of us had ever attempted. He ran it, I walked the majority of it. He tried his first duathalon later that fall (Run 5K, Bike 10K, Run 5K), and has since finished many 5Ks (which I now can run the whole thing), 10Ks, half-marathons, duathalons, triathalons, and his first full marathon. He is truly an inspiration to see progress with better times and longer distances. For valentines day I made him this race record altered book. It is divided into sections for each type of race and I've written in date, race name, and finishing time. Its made on industrial (carpet?) tags I found at a garage sale and "had" to have. By using the tags, I can easily expand the pages as necessary. I used acrylic paints and mulberry paper to embellish it, but not my typical glitter as he just wouldn't of appreciated that. On the reverse of each tag I included a quote about strength, commitment, and other values I see in him. This is one of my favorite things I've done in awhile and watching him open it was so rewarding.

So, what are your dreams and what are you doing to reach them? Nothing is impossible with the right amount of patience and practice. Go for it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Wonderful day

I had such a wonderful day yesterday. I think my favorite V-day ever. I was the lucky winner of 3! OWOH giveaways. I am so thankful to be choosen and cant wait to receive art in the mail. Laurie is sending me a lovely heart pin, Lisa has created a beautiful poetic postcard that I'll be getting, and Kaycee is sending some original notecards! I'm feeling so lucky and blessed. Thank you ladies for adding to my happiness.

I had a lovely day with my DH too. We went for a nice lunch and then stayed in for the evening. I went to a new Borders bookstore after lunch yesterday. It was incredible. They had a whole digital section where you can download music straight to your ipod, they're hooked with Shutterfly so you can make your own digital albums there, and had many other cool things. In the cooking section they actually had 2 computers with printers where you could find and print out recipes (no limit to how many either!) It was such a comfortable place. They have a stage in the back (not just in the kids section) and a long list of people coming (both authors and musicians) and I was just blown away by the whole thing. I love bookstores anyways, but this went beyond anything I've experienced before. It was such a nice part of my afternoon to browse this new store.

I found a new craft book that looks really cool. Its "The Big-a@@ Book of Crafts" by Mark Montano. The project on page 148 is how to make your own Ultrasuede art case. I remember seeing these cases maybe 2 years ago on the Oprah O list and then in a shop, but they were way out of my price range. I will need to dig out my sewing machine, but if I can make one of these it'll be so cool!

Todays art is a mixed media collage. I love frogs and this one just popped into my art journal one night, peeking out of the tiara. I just love it. I painted, modgepodged some art paper accents, glittered, and glued on fake jewels. I used lots of metallic paints of course too. It was fun.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you had a lovely Valentines day and have something special happen to you today.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Pink Artist

I made this 2" x 2" square as my contribution to the pinkartist group. " 'the pink artist' is a community of artists joining togetherto create one joint art doll to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.When doll is complete, it will be mailed in to Art Doll Quarterly™before finally being auctioned off on eBay at a later date." I was very excited when I found out about this project as I've been an active participant in the Breast Cancer 3 day walks for years now. (This year will be the 7th and 8th I'll have participated in). I love how innovative people can be in fundraising when they really put their mind to it. My square has a beaded ribbon and polymer clay holding hands. I think the importance of friendship and support are irreplaceable when someone goes through a hard diagnosis and treatment. It is in honor of the friendships I have formed and have witnessed at the walks that I dedicate my square. My deepest desire is to have this devastating disease irradicated within my lifetime.
On to a happier subject. I have spent my entire day working on something I thought about last night. It was incredible to dive in and have the whole thing go so smooth. Everything worked out just as I had envisioned. Where a vision hadn't been forthright, I just "knew" what to do when the step came up. I cant wait to share it here, but it will have to wait as its a gift for someone who might be reading this. What an incredible day its been.
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday-the first day of Lent. At my church service I had to laugh at how some pop culture really invades our thougth process. Pastor said something about the ashes being symbolic of us originating from dust, and in our death returning to dust. All that popped into my head was a quote from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" "Dust...Wind...Dude." I almost laughed out loud. I just love those movies. Maybe I'll watch one tonight. I hope each of you finds something that makes you laugh today. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I've been having so much fun visiting all the participants in the One World, One Heart event. It is so inspiring to see all the talent that is being displayed. Its so inspiring to see all the varieties of mediums and everyones special style. I've definetly found blogs I'll stop by often. I'd like to thank everyone who has stopped by and left so many encouraging words. The effect of them you may never know, but I've felt such a boost in confidence that I'm tackling being a pink artist which I was draggin my feet about before. I'm also going to enter a contest that I've know about for a long time, but had pretty much brushed off the idea of participating with. I know I probably wont be a finalist in the contest, but I can challenge myself to do a big project and work with a deadline. These are both things that I need to tackle head on right now. Its so easy to be scared off from trying new things but I really feel I need to put myself out there in new ways no matter how frightening it may be.
I made this art doll using the same technique as the fish. Lots of paper, tape and modge podge. Its the first art doll I've tried. I wanted to be able to look at here and be inspired. I definetly need to work with fibers more so I can become more comfortable with them. I'm not real thrilled with her hair or arms, but I used what I had on hand and she's a good start. I'm working on the pink project and the other bigger contest right now, but I think I'll try another doll in the future. I might even break out my sewing machine and sew a fabric base the next time. I really hate sewing, but I love other art dolls I've seen with the fabric so I think thats the direction I'll go next time.

Friday, February 1, 2008

One World One Heart

Here are my giveaways for the one world one heart event
I could not choose what media I wanted to giveaway, so I'm going to draw 3 names (assuming at least 3 people show up here). The rules for the event are to leave a comment on this days post, you need to be a blogger, and I'll draw names on Feb. 14th. I'll leave the winners names on my blog and also try to follow your comment link to notify you and gather your shipping information.

The first prize is my colorful "Be Yourself". I used Pinata inks for the background, metallic acrylics for the dress, arms and legs, trimmed the piece with an art yarn. I used a polymer clay face (made with a Maureen Carlson mold) and gave her hair trimmed from a boa. She's a very wild woman.

My second prize is an original design beaded necklace. I used 2 shades of pink seed beads and accented with fire polished glass beads. A flower design appeared when I started playing. I finished the piece with a sterling silver s clasp.

My last prize is one of the stuffed paper fish. This one is the prototype I used before my girls night. She is made by cutting out 2 paper shapes, stuffing and taping shut modgepodging tissue over top and then decorating.

I am really excited about this event as its the first time I've done something like this. I did go through a bit of panic and stress when picking out what to offer because that old fear of no one will want your work came up. Sometimes my confidence just disappears on me and I have to go look for it again. It has been a blessing for me to recently discover the artistic blogging community. Its therapeutic to see other souls inspiring, encouraging and supporting each other. I thank each and every one of you.

And the winners are:
Junierose who will be getting the necklace,
Kathy was will receive the fish, and
Stacyzimmerman has won the "Be Yourself"

Thanks to all of you. Your supportive comments have made a tremendous difference to my self confidence. It will be a pleasure to peruse all the new blogs I've found throughout the coming months.
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