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Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Look Back at My Year....

Yesterday I saw Kate had looked back over the past year and listed her accomplishments. I thought it was a great idea so I decided to do the same thing. I have to admit that Kate had a lot more accomplishments than I have but here are some of mine....along with some art from each month. You've already seen all this art before so I hope it isn't boring to see it again.

January

1. Learned to use my new camera
2. Did a drawing every day
3. Participated in One World One Heart giveaway
4. My daughter moved away


February

1. Continued to do a drawing every day
2. My blog turned three years old
3. I "went" to the Academy Awards with Matt Damon (in my dreams!)
4. My son went back to Alaska after spending 2.5 months with us

March

1. Took a Prompt a Day art journal class with Kelly Kilmer
2. Created a page in my art journal every day of the month
3. Took the Texture and Layering class with Gary Reef
4. Carved stamps for the first time

April

1. Took the stencil/spray paint class with Mary Ann Moss
2. Continued doing a page in my art journal every day of the month
3. Made my own stencils for the first time

May

1. Took the 30 Day Art Challenge with Gary Reef and made art every day for 30 days
2. Took Graffiti Chic class with Alisa Burke
3. Continued doing a page in my art journal every day of the month (in addition to the 30 Day Art)
4. Took Layer Love class with Julie Prichard

June

1. Created a page in my art journal every day of the month
2. Changed the look of my blog and went from The Lavender Loft to Just Me and My Art
3. Began painting faces

July

1. Took a Prompt a Day art journal class with Kelly Kilmer
2. Created a page in my art journal every day of the month
3. I participated in a special commemorative book for Michelle Ward
4. Took Fantasy Altered Book class with Patty at River Bend Ranch

August

1. Took a Prompt a Day art journal class with Kelly Kilmer
2. Created a page in my art journal every day of the month
3. Participated in Getting Arboreal with Julie Prichard
4. Finally got around to doing the "I Am From" poem
5. Took Art Journaling Super Nova I with Julie Prichard
6. Took Stitched and Stenciled class with Mary Ann Moss

September

1. Turned 66 years young
2. Did my first "pulled art" paintings
3. Took Point and Shoot Journaling class with LK Ludwig
4. Took Art Journaling Super Nova II with Julie Prichard

October

1. Took Gut Art class with Mystele
2. Created several paintings and experimented with my style


November
1. Definitely fell off the art wagon this month!


December


1. Not much art again this month....I was sick for a couple of weeks
2. Began Remains of the Day scrappy journal class with Mary Ann Moss
3. Began the Painted Patterned Printed journal class with LK Ludwig
4. Joined SuziBlu's Angel group

It seems that I start out strong and then fizzle out near the end!! I hope that doesn't happen in 2010. I'm hoping to do art every single day in the new year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things....

I'm baaack!! And feeling pretty darn good, too. HB and I had a quiet Christmas just the two of us. I had phone calls and cards and letters from all my kids and grandkids so I was happy. HB baked a ham (for himself!) and we had au gratin potatoes and asparagus for dinner at our new dining room table. It was our first meal on it.

Now I'm ready to get back into doing some art! We're going to start taking down the trees today. I usually wait a little longer but this year I want everything done and put away by New Year's Day. I want to hit the ground running....I'll have three classes going by then and I'll need all my concentration to be on art.

And speaking of art, I've acquired quite a few new books and magazines over the past month or so. I have read through some of them while I was sick but not all....



I got these (above) earlier in the month and have pretty much gone through them.



These are the latest additions and I've only skimmed through them. So many books, so little time!! And speaking of books, I've noticed several people doing reading challenges for 2010. I haven't ever done one but I do keep track of the books I read and this year I've read 50 books. That doesn't include any art books....just novels and such.

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Yesterday I began playing in the studio for the first time in weeks. It felt good. I worked on some of the pages for Mary Ann's class called Remains of the Day. Here are some pics of what I've done so far....we're making a scrappy journal.





These pages are waiting for more stuff to be added. We were supposed to begin with the cover but being the rebel that I am, I started with the pages! This is going to be a fun class!! I sure made a heck of a mess in my studio though! I was pulling out paper and books from everywhere....things were flying and I was laughing and grabbing more! I'm sure you can picture it!!

I'll leave you with a calmer picture....these are our two kitties relaxing on their sadly disintegrating "condo"....they like to sit/lay here and look out the window. That's LuLu at the top and Harley on the lower shelf.



That's about all I have for today. I'm trying to get back into blogging and doing art so I hope you'll hang in there with me....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays to Everyone!!!!



As you know I have been sick recently and Christmas cards did not get mailed out....so this is my way of wishing you Happy Holidays!

Thank you for continuing to visit me and my blog, and for all the comments you’ve left me over the past year. It’s those comments that keep me going and keep me creating art. I hope to see you again this coming year. I plan on doing lots more art and have several projects already buzzing around in my head.

For now, I wish you all the best for the holidays, I hope that Santa is good to you, and that you get to spend time with family and friends. I wish you peace, and love, and all good things, and most of all I wish you happiness in your life.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our Gift to Ourselves....

Just when I thought I was over it....I started feeling bad again! So for now I'm just going to take it very slow and easy and not do much until I feel 100% again.

HB and I aren't exchanging gifts this year. It seems a bit ridiculous when we both buy whatever we need or want whenever the need arises. Neither of us has a lot of things on our wish list so we decided to buy something we could use in the house. We bought new dining room furniture for ourselves....still has the tags on it!



Any of my family reading this will appreciate that next year on Thanksgiving they will have comfortable chairs to sit on!! We were going to buy something in time for Thanksgiving but then we heard there was going to be a big sale the day after so we waited for that.



It's difficult to get a good picture because there are mirrors on the back of the china cabinet plus a lot of windows/light in the room. I don't think that little plant will stay on top but HB wanted to see what it looked like.

So this is our Merry Christmas to each other this year. In fact there is not one single wrapped package under either one of our trees! It does look a bit bare but that's the way it is this year. We've sent off gift cards and money to all our kids and grandkids so there's nothing left to do but sit back and enjoy the lights, the fire in the fireplace, a few Christmas carols, and some eggnog.

Wishing you the best holiday season ever! (Now I'm going to take a little nap and hope I can get rid of this "bug"....)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

She Lives!!!

Hi Everyone,

I think I've finally turned the corner on this thing....whatever I had, cold or flu, it set me on my butt for a few days. I'm never a good patient....I hate being in bed for long periods of time but I can tell you I slept for at least two straight days. HB has been a very good nurse!!

Today during the afternoon I began to feel human again but I'm still not rushing into anything. I intend to take it easy and not over-do for a couple of days so I don't have a set-back. Thank you to everyone who sent me emails and comments wishing me well....it helped me to feel better just knowing that someone cared. I say it often but the people I've met here in Blogland are THE BEST EVER!!!!

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Wouldn't you know that two of the classes I've signed up for began this week....and I haven't been able to participate. Just in case you don't know (and might be interested) I'm taking LK Ludwig's Printed-Patterned-Painted Journal Making class which began on Monday and I'm also taking the Remains of the Day class offered by Mary Ann Moss which began on Tuesday.

I haven't even started on those latest two classes and I'm already lining up classes for 2010! If you don't already know about it, DJ Pettitt is offering a great class beginning in January. It's called Memories and Manipulations and will be a Photoshop class. This is something I have been trying to learn without much success so I'm thrilled about this class. If you're interested HERE is the link to read about it.

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If you remember, my word for this year was GROW. Looking back over the art I've completed I think I can safely say I lived up to that word. When I look back at my flickr pages (which is one way I keep track of my progress) or go back to the beginning of this year on Artopia I can tell a big difference in what I've accomplished.


This ATC was the first artsy thing I posted this year! Pretty basic, uninteresting stuff!

Most of my growth is due to all the great classes I took this year....a few of them are listed over there along the right side of this blog. I recently went back and made a list of all the classes I took this year and it surprised even me!

I haven't definitely picked a word for 2010 but I might want to use LEARN because that seems to be my main focus. I want to learn as much as I possibly can. I don't ever want to stop learning. I want to learn new art techniques and new ways to use the tools that I already have. I want to learn about all kinds of art mediums and try them out. I want to expand my abilities and create better art. For now though I think I'll just concentrate on getting back to 100% so I can participate in the classes I'm taking right now. Stay tuned for some progress and hopefully some show and tell!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Down for the Count....



She actually looks a LOT better than I feel today! I've been in bed since yesterday. HB is taking excellent care of me....hot tea, chicken soup, and jello are on the menu. Don't expect to hear from me until I get over this. I miss you all!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Little Bit of Decorating....and Fellin' Yucky!

I know I said I was making Christmas cards this year but guess what? I never got them finished!! So you may not get a card from me this year. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm just not feelin' the Christmas spirit at all. And then to top it off I came down with a killer head cold last night and can't breath at all today. I've been in bed until just a few minutes ago and after I post this I'm heading back.

I took a couple of pictures last night before the bug hit me. This is what HB has done....


I was standing in the dining room when I took the photo above. Then I turned around and took a picture of the window in the dining room....


These aren't the best pictures but you can get an idea of what he's done. We have that big archway between the living room and dining room with the open area above and then the window across the room matches with its arched window. It looks so pretty from the street because you can see straight through from the window above the double doors.

OK that's all I have right now. I'm taking my stuffy nose upstairs and having another nap.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Christmas Meme....with Ornaments

You know I like doing memes so when I saw this one that Julie did I knew I had to do it. She had lots of beautiful Christmas paintings interspersed among her answers but I'm using some of our ornaments from the tree in the family room.

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?

None to do....HB and I already have our Christmas present this year, and since most of our family lives out-of-state we send money or gift certificates. Easy peasy!!

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.

We don't have any hard and set traditions other than the usual ones such as putting sentimental ornaments on the tree, baking cookies for my kids, and opening the presents on Christmas morning. And we try to buy one special ornament each year. The ones I've shown here are a few of those.



3. Are you a Black Friday shopper?

You must be kidding! I barely shop on any other day of the year (unless it's for books or art supplies) and I sure wouldn't get out in the madness on Black Friday.

4. When do you put up your tree?

We usually try to get the trees up the weekend after Thanksgiving but some years it doesn't happen like that! This year we put the trees up around the 5th but they stood naked for several days until HB took pity and began adding ornaments.

5. Do you travel at Christmas or stay home?

We stay home.



6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?

This isn't really funny but it's one of my clearest memories. As a kid I wanted a piano. We lived in a small house and there was absolutely NO room for a piano not to mention the fact that my dad thought learning anything like that was a waste of time. Still, I wanted a piano and one year I was sure Santa would bring it to me. On Christmas Eve I went to bed but I couldn't fall asleep. At some point during the night I heard lots of banging and bumping and the tinkle of bells....I was sure it was Santa and the reindeer bringing my piano. I was soooo excited. The next morning I jumped out of bed, ran into the living room expecting to see a beautiful piano sitting there but no such luck! I don't remember what I got that year. All I remember is, I didn't get the piano. As I got older I realized that it was probably my mom making all that noise as she always put out the gifts that Santa brought. I don't think my dad ever participated.

7. What is your favorite Christmas movie of all time?

I like "It's a Wonderful Life"....I've seen it a million times but I still enjoy it.



8. Do you do your own Christmas baking, what’s your favorite treat?

Yep, I love to bake. My favorite treat is anything that's sweet! I love cookies, just about any kind. I bake cookies and send them to my kids. They love the mocha nut balls I make every year. I miss my grandma's divinity candy....she made the best! I like fudge and maybe a candy cane just for the memories it brings back.

9. Fake or Real Tree?

I love the smell of a real tree but hate the thought of all those trees being cut down for decoration so we have artificial trees. One 9' tree in the living room and a 6'5" tree in the family room.



10. What day (as a mom) does the actual panic set in to get it all done?

I'm way past that point in my life! I had a few years when my kids were small when I couldn't find the one thing they wanted most. But I usually made it in the end.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?

Sometimes I have in the past but not much anymore. See #1.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?

Just being together, opening our presents, and then having a simple meal.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?

Over the years I've done a lot of Christmas crafts but nothing I would want to do again! I do enjoy making cards though.



14. Christmas music. Yes or No, and if yes what is your favorite song?

I like Christmas music at the appropriate time....like right around Christmas....NOT before Halloween! My favorite song is "Oh, Holy Night"....not because of the lyrics so much but for the music itself. I love how it builds and builds to a crescendo.

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?

See #1 again!

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The last ornament pictured above is one of my favorites....and it's very sentimental. I used to love little cinnamon candy red hots and ate them all the time! I sometimes ate so many of them that the inside of my mouth would feel as if it was burned! This ornament is a small bottle filled with red hots and has Christmas greens around the top. Molly gave it to me one year for Christmas. She was a young teenager at the time. I didn't open the bottle, resisted the red hots and have hung it on my tree every year since then. I'm sure those candies would be horrible by now but I love the ornament and will keep using it on our tree.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What I Love About the Holiday Season....

Kate had a list of some of her favorite things about the Christmas season so I thought I'd do one. Maybe that will get me in the spirit of things!

So here goes, in no particular order....just how they come to mind....

Seeing all the lights and decorations on houses in the neighborhood and around town

Chilly evenings with a fire in the fireplace



Cookies and candy and all the other yummies....did I mention I have a sweet tooth?!!

The soft glow of the Christmas tree in an otherwise dark room

Candles flickering everywhere

Baking....I hate to cook but love to bake. It's that sweet tooth thing again!



Christmas cards arriving in the mail and then displayed on the mantel

"It's a Wonderful Life"....I try to watch this movie every year

Christmas carols....my favorite is "Oh, Holy Night" but I don't like hearing them before Halloween!

Having my family here when it's possible

Wrapping presents and putting fancy bows on them. I love making packages look pretty and special



Seeing all those packages under the tree

Finding just the right gift for someone

Parties....we went to a party on Tuesday evening. Lots of food, music, raffles and giveaways, and a reason to get out of my jammies, comb my hair, and wear something nice!

There are so many other things that I love about this season but for now I'll stop. What are some of your favorite things?

PS - all the images above are from Google images.
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I showed you my fall wreaths earlier. Here are the ones I put out for Christmas....


They're fairly plain but anything with evergreens doesn't show up too good on the dark doors. I keep thinking I'll dress them up a little more but I don't.

Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Things Change....

There has been a teeny tiny bit of progress made on the Christmas decorating front. Yesterday I think HB got tired of looking at the naked tree in the living room so he started adding ornaments! It looks very nice....he did a good job. The little tree in the family room however is still standing in the corner naked and shivering without so much as a string of garland to brighten it up! I'm just not feelin' it this year!

Maybe because it will just be me and HB for Christmas. There won't be anyone here. My son couldn't get away this year and my daughter is in Delaware now. So I'm not too excited about decorating because all I can think about is taking it all down again in a couple of weeks!!

I did manage to do something maybe kinda halfway artsy. Last night while HB was watching TV and I was sitting there trying not to pay attention to it (!!) I got out my moleskine and some Prismacolor pencils and added color to a few of my old drawings. I know that isn't much but it's about all the creativeness I can muster right now. Kinda like having my own coloring book!

Here's what I did....you may remember these old drawings.


The shading on her face is a little weird but I had done her originally with the Shades of Gray markers so I was working over that.


Her colors are somewhat muted and don't scan true but I like her.


I like this girl much better now that she has color!


I think the eyes on this one are a little too much!

It's amazing to go back and look at these drawings that I did back in 2008, and see how much my art has changed since then. These faces seem very childlike but at the time I thought I was doing pretty darn good.
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Back to the Christmas decorating....I had thought about changing the look of my blog to go with the season but I have such a time coming up with something for a banner that I decided to leave it just the way it is! Maybe after I take the Photoshop class with DJ Pettitt I'll be able to create something I can use as a banner. Until then you're stuck with the same old look....sorry!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Come For Tea....

OK, I know you won't believe this but I actually spent some time in the studio this morning and have a couple of journal pages to show you! Nothing great but at least I'm getting back into being creative again.

I think it might have something to do with a book I'm reading...."Life, Paint and Passion" by Michell Cassou and Stewart Cubley....the sub-title is "reclaiming the magic of spontaneous expression". I like what they have to say and it sort of spurred me on to do something....anything....just pick up a paintbrush, a pencil, anything.

So here are the two pages I did this morning....



I did a thin wash of paint, added some collaged borders (some of them were cut off by the scanner), a couple of images from a magazine, then used my inktense watercolor pencils to make some shapes, Sharpie poster paint pens to add some dots and write a few words....and Voila! Want to come for tea and play?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

My Computer is Back Home....

My desktop computer came home late yesterday afternoon. It was $335 for an "on" button! What a rip-off. Dell doesn't make a replacement for the on button so we had to buy a used shell and have everything transferred over. But at least I can now get out anything I need and we can look for another computer.

It's very windy again today and getting colder. I'm baking cookies to send to my son and my daughter. I might sneak one or two for myself!! HB is watching football so it's a nice quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon for me.

I told you I'd have some photos when I got the computer back. I'll start with this one showing my fall wreaths on the front doors....



I use these wreaths every year through the autumn season. I've got my Christmas wreaths out now but I haven't taken a photo of them yet. Maybe tomorrow.

I also took a photo of the tree in the backyard with it's carpet of leaves....


I think these photos are clickable to view larger.

I'm sure our gardener loves this time of year! He came the other day and had all the leaves cleaned up and just a few hours later you couldn't tell he'd been here!

The neighbors have this huge tree....


and it sends lots of leaves tumbling into our yard. It's a beautiful golden color right now and looks great against the blue sky. I love the colors at this time of year.

HB and I went to get our firewood the other day....



He and I loaded and unloaded all of this. Here he is stacking some of it....



Since he's somewhat picky about how it gets stacked I let him do the stacking and I did the unloading and carrying. Sounds like I got the worse end of the bargain but I don't think so! Here it is after we were finished....most of this is almond wood.



This photo was taken from just inside the garage looking out at the wood pile. We will probably use every bit of this during this winter. We like having our fireplace and use it often.

And just to remind you that we really do live in Southern California, I took this photo just one day before I took the firewood photos....



This rose and a few others are blooming just outside the front doors. If you're looking at the doors in the top photo the rose bush would be just to the left. They're still blooming today and they look so bright and pretty even though they sort of clash with the Christmas wreath!

Ok, I need to check on the cookies now. Maybe some art pictures soon. I hope you're having a great Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It's Beginning to Feel a Little Like Christmas....

Gee, didn't you just know when I said the computer was supposed to be back by Tuesday that I was dreaming! Here it is Saturday and still no desktop....plus I fear the bill is going to be about $500!!



I could have bought a new one for that but I had to fix the old one because there's stuff on there that we need....and it's the "on" button that's broken. Technology is such fun especially when you haven't got a clue about things and people take advantage of your ignorance.

So today we're trying to get in the Christmas spirit. We're putting up the tree in the living room....maybe the one in the family room too.



The wind is howling today but it's sunny and bright. I think we may get some rain next week so yesterday HB and I went to get our firewood. We loaded it, brought it home, unloaded it and stacked it all very neatly. I have photos but can't show you yet. Look out when I get my other computer home....you will get sick of seeing all the photos I have stored up!

Not much going on in the studio. Still just making lots of backgrounds. I have a couple of classes coming up mid-month. I signed up for this class and also for this one.

Hopefully my computer will be back by then so I can share the photos along the way.

Ok, HB is almost finished setting up the tree so my job begins....the decorating of it. Guess I better get busy. Keep your fingers crossed that I'll have my computer back by the time I post again.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

How I Named My Blog Day....

Another post without art! Pretty darn boring, huh! So today I'll tell you a little story. Jeanie wrote a post about how she named her blog. She is participating in How I Named My Blog Day, started by Ruth. After reading her story I decided to play along.

If you've been a long-time reader of my blog you know it has had more than one name. When I first began blogging it was named "Just Bee-cause" I chose that name because my little blog was created mostly so I could go around and comment on other blogs I liked. Since my initials are JKB I decided to use Bee-cause as the spelling. I never dreamed that I would actually get readers! It remained "Just Bee-cause" for almost two years.

Then I decided that it didn't say anything about me so I tried to think of another name. I ended up using "The Lavender Loft" but I was never happy with that one. I used Lavender because you all know my love of anything purple. Then I tried to think of something "artsy" to go with that and Loft was the only thing I could come up with....like an artist's loft. That name hung around for almost another year.

Then I finally came to the conclusion that since "The Lavender Loft" really didn't fit either I would name it again! This time I simply called it "Just Me and My Art" which is what my blog is all about....well, most of the time. It's plain and simple like me; straight and to the point which is how I like things; and it's easy to remember. I'm probably going to stick with this name....at least for now!

Names are interesting in all forms. I've written about my name here and then again here. I've often tried to come up with another name for myself but nothing seems to fit....not even Janet! I don't have much in common with this Janet....



Or with this one....



(I was able to add some photos from online so this post isn't completely naked!!)

If you could change your name, would you? And if so, what would it be?