Category Archives: painting

Tis the (crafting) season!

The kiddos and I have been very busy, crafting our way through the month of December.  Some of the things we have made are gifts, so I can’t show them just yet (Hi Mom), but all the construction paper decorations?  Brace yourselves.

Here we have both the paper chain that Joe and the kids (well, mostly Joe) made, and also the Fruit Loop garland that Violet and I made (while Jonas ate them by the handful out of the bowl.  It was like a race to see who would win – would we get a decent length of garland?  Or would Jonas eat too many before we could string them.  And if Jonas really at that many Fruit Loops, who would be responsible for cleaning up the technicolor puke 30 min later?  Competivie crafting – gotta love the adreniline rush.)  I think this is the happiest, most fun tree on the planet.

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What is the secret to photographing these things?  Should I have stood outside to take the picture?  I guess then the would look white instead of black. I did the top two of these, Violet did the other three.  We are the snowflake masters.

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Killing me with cuteness.  I’ll never buy a card again.  She came up with the format for these all on her own – Christmas tree on the front, picture of her and the people she was sending the card to inside, “from Violet” and a bunch of hearts on the back.  Sooooo cute.  (This one is to Aunty Suz and Uncle Matt.  If you look you see Violet, then Suz, then me (not sure how I snuck in there), then Matt.  Matt is obviously the one that works outside – look at that tan!  I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that the other three all got some kind of skin color added, but I stayed the color of the paper. Hmph.)

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When we ran out of glue sticks,  it was time to try something new.  Enter the shrinky dinks –


Please excuse the cookie crumbs on her face.  We’ve also been doing a lot of baking.

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I found this lone set on the shelves of the NEX and snatched it up.  We started by making these charms, and then I added them to this necklace, along with some tiny bells.  She. Loves. It.  She has been wearing it every day, and is so besotted with the concept of making her own jewelry (which is pretty exciting for me, as I got her a big charm maker thing for Christmas.  Watch this space for tons of very chic jewels. )

After we had exhausted the plastic accessories options, Jonas and I made this ornament –


Can you see his hat here?  The top section is  a black hat.  I don’t know why I have the need to point that out, but there it is.

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– which I looooooove.  It came out exactly like I pictured it, and it was a fun and simple project that the toddler could do with me.  I drew the circles, he colored the heck out of them with a white pencil, and then he directed me while I drew on the coal, carrot, and scarf.  We cut them out together, he punched the holes for the jump-rings, then we watched the magic that is a shrinky dink in the toaster oven.  Now when people walk in the door he’s showing them “LOOK at DAT!  Do you see dat ornament? I MADE DAT!”

We’ve  also discovered that shrinky dinks can make some pretty awesome gifts for loved ones…  but that’ll have to be a January retrospective post. 😉

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And finally, when construction paper and glue sticks and incredible cookie creations (seriously – check out my mom blog for pics of the most elaborately decorated Christmas cookies of all time.  It was a tough call on whether they should go over there or over here.  Works. Of. Art.) and science experiments with plastic and heat are just not enough, it’s time to pull out the big guns – poster paints and sponge stamps.  Oh, yes – we made our own wrapping paper. 🙂

Making it was fun, but photographing it was a freaking hoot –


This roll of brown paper was significantly cheaper than fancy wrapping paper, the process was fun, and I think the end result rocks.  I would love to get a present wrapped in this.  My holiday shopping list is getting smaller and smaller – no more cards, no more wrapping paper… what else can I force the kids to make for me so I can save a buck?

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Oh Mommy!  What are you doing?  Are you taking pictures of our paper?  We want to be in the pictures, too!

Uh, ok – but how are you going to get in a picture of paper?  Do you want to hold it, or…. oh.  Interesting.


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Laying on the paper.  Not the direction I thought we were going to go. Ok, we can do this, but can you maybe  get your fingers out of your mouth, Boo?  And V – what’s with the evil Grinchy-Claus smile?  If we’re gonna do this, let’s do it right.  Big smiles, everyone!


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Huh.  No.  Really, guys, can you just look up at me and smile?  No binocular eyes?  No big heart with the hands?  Just, you know, smiling for the camera?  So I can get a nice picture?  Of you and your paper?  Please?  Yes?  Ok – here we go…


Another thing going on here – Jonas refused to put on a shirt because he wanted his “nickels” to be in the picture.  He’s very proud of those nickels, and he’d like the internet at large to be able to appreciate them as we do.  So, internet, enjoy the nickels.  Merry Christmas.

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GUYS!  You know, Santa’s watching!  Oh, nevermind.  Let’s wrap the presents.


Yes, Jonas can spell and write his name now.  My baby.  Sniff.  (I love how when he ran out of room, he just put the S right on top of the N and A.  He’s two (for another 9 days), cut him some slack.)

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Fabulous!  Next we will have to work on replacing all these shiny bows with something made out of paper.  Ooh!  Or yarn! Hmmm….

Hope you all are having a fab holiday season, and that you’re not being exposed to Shrek the Halls nearly as much as I am.  Merry merry.

-J


Mmmm. I love the smell of paint in the morning.

Now if I could just get a bright, sunny day behind it for good photos.

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The window progresses. The smell of the Gallery Glass paint is kind of like Elmer’s Glue. It’s almost not there, but it is. There is not an overwhelming fumey smell, but once you back away you realize maybe you’re a little dizzy. Maybe some fresh air would be good. Because to do this, you basically have your face 3 inches from the paint. And it gets to be a bit… gluey.

I’m totally digging these late summer nights where I can put Jonas to bed between 7:30 and 8pm, then stay in there painting while the Twink reads me stories until 9:00. More daylight = more time to work on this project. Just another reason to love summer. 🙂

I can see myself finishing this in under two weeks, unless I go absolutely bananas w/ the texture and the color layering and just… can’t… stop. This is a major concern, considering that I swore I would not start messing with any of that until I had the whole thing colored in and… well….

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Whoops.

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Ooooh. I love those little dots beyond all possible reason. They bring me such joy. I’m imagining how crazy fun this window is going to end up, then I’m imagining going back and messing with the other two, then I’m imagining myself in paint streaked clothes, attacking people on the streets with Gallery Glass and adding swirls and stripes to their glasses and headlights.

Could be the fumes are stronger than I thought.

Score!

For years I never threw anything away. I saved old clothes that I hated but thought the fabric had potential. I saved sheets and pillowcases with stains or holes or that fit a bed we sold 5 years before. I bought interesting fabric remnants and carefully added them to my pile of crap that I never, ever did anything with.

When we moved here, I finally got rid of it all. In Arkansas I had a room for my junk. Sure, it was the “guest room”, but if you ignored the bed what it was was a room full of paint and fabric and buttons and yarn and beads and a sewing machine. That never got used. I knew that here there would be no extra room. I had an extra kid instead, who would be selfishly taking up the third bedroom with his trucks and books and changing table. It was time to purge.

I got rid of so, so much. So very much. Stuff I had saved for YEARS because, dammit, I could MAKE SOMETHING WITH THIS. You know. “One day.”

Now, that I have no stash, and no easy access to Walmart or Joann’s… NOW I’m finally making stuff. Regularly. It’s ironic, no?

All this to explain just how freaking excited I got when I scored THIS at the thrift store… FOR A DOLLAR!

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That is a size 3XL pink prom dress right there. Enough tulle and pink satin to outfit an army of preschool princesses. 🙂

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I saw it at the shop the week before, and asked the price. 15 bucks. Are you kidding? Do I look like a woman willing to spend 15 bucks at a thrift store? Hell – I’m barely willing to spend 15 bucks at the regular all-this-stuff-is-brand -new-not-pre-owned store.

The next time I went in, there was a big sign saying “TODAY! All clothing only $1!”. I went right to it. What a freaking steal.

Now the question of what to do with it. The Twink has demanded that I simply make it small enough to fit her. “Don’t change ANYTHING! Just make it SMALLER!” She seems to think that my skills include being able to alter a dress from a 3XL to a 4T. Yeah.  While it’s nice to know she has such a high opinion of my abilities, it’s a little daunting to think that all I can do there is disappoint her.

While I ponder that a bit, I did manage to rack up major Mommy points by turning this –

Wrap that came w/ the dress. Yeah – all for a buck, baby!

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into this –

Not only is it a new “princess skirt”, it’s one I let her wear out in public. It’s like I’m running for office or something. My polls have never been better.

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This was, hands down, the quickest and easiest sewing project I’ve ever done. Ever. This was easier than turning a tiered dress into a skirt. Everyone with a little girl should go check out their local thrift shop for formal dresses that come w/ wraps RIGHT NOW. All the ends were finished. It was a big rectangle of fabric with four finished edges. It literally took me less than 10 minutes to turn it into a skirt. Me. Slowest Woman On The Planet. All I had to do was fold over and sew a casing, thread the elastic through (half of my time was spent on this), then sew the short edges together to form a circle. There was no hemming, no folding over twice, no french seams. Finished edges = easy project. 10 minutes later the Twink was in new-skirt-heaven, and I was getting all the hugs and kisses and praise that should, in a fair and just world, be mine to receive every damn day. I’ll take what I can get.

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In other Twink-pleasing-yet-crafty-news, I’ve started her window.

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The problem with painting for bigger kids is that they have OPINIONS. “Flowers and hearts and stars… IN CIRCLES. Not all crazy like Jonas’s window. “

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I managed to sneak in the random sizes and placement of the “circles”. Also – she hasn’t seemed to notice that they’re really *not* all that circular. She likes it. When I first drew them on she said “Hey! They look like stones!” Ok, I can go with that. Painted stones with flowers and hearts and stars. 🙂

This is my last window, and I have tons of paint still. I’m planning to go very experimental here. In the past I’ve always treated these like a coloring book. First I draw the lines, then I color in the spaces. Done. This one I’m going to treat more like an actual painting. When I’m done coloring in, I’m going to go back and add texture and maybe color on top of color. At first I felt really restricted by her ideas for the window, but now I’m getting pretty excited about making it as interesting as I can within those restrictions. Watch this space – experimentation begins this week.

Uh… Hi!

Well hello there, 47,000 strangers.  Who knew that coming out of the Craftster closet would have this effect on my blog.  Two days ago I got 4 views.  Now I’m a “hot new project”, a “fastest growing blog”, and have had my stuff posted in a foreign language.   (We tried to translate that, the best we could do was

Great window car park , car park even if to him …. ……  possibility lady …… sea ……. paint. ……  much even if beautiful ripe. Look at ……, here and here.

which is killing us.  If anyone speaks Turkish and wants to fill in the blanks (or explain the car park thing), feel free to help out. )

For those of you who have been reading this from the beginning because you are related to me or just love me (all four of you) and don’t know what Craftster is.. check it out.  It’s over there on my blogroll under “places that get me into trouble.”  Go.  Get into some trouble of your own. 😉

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Now – back to our regularly scheduled blogging. (AKA – Jenn’s faux-modest bragging.)

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Wait – there’s a method to my madness..

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I know, I know.  You are (quite correctly) saying “Hey!  We’ve seen this!”  But have you?  Have you seen the actual finished product?  I don’t think you have!  Because those thin stripes down the sides (and across the top, not that I can actually capture them with the camera) were not painted until last night.  They’ve been sitting there, unfinished, causing me no little amount of pain and anguish (mostly because they were a very easy target and Joe gave me an endless amount of crap for leaving the window undone for so long.)  Now that I’m actually done with the ocean scene, and knew I had some blue (as opposed to thinking “If I paint these borders blue, then run out while attempting to finish the underwater paradise, I’m going to have to throw myself  into Vesuvius.”), I could finish them up.  And I think they really make the window.  It looks so… serious now.  Complete.  Done.  Like it’s supposed to look like that.  Like “What?  You don’t have crazy rainbow circles on your windows?”  I love it.

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I swear, I am not just recycling these images from the old post.  They are brand new.  Look!  You can almost see the top border in this one!  I swear, it exists.  Sure, both the sides and top only exist because I’m too lousy at math to take up the entire window space with the exact number of the exact right size circles, but whatever!  They look great!

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Also, with my newfound internet rockstar-ness comes helpful readers.  Margarete writes in to let me know the German word for this style of stained (fused?) glass is Butzenglas or butzenscheiben, to help me  be a more effective Googler.  And look!  It works!  Butzensheiben! Butzenglas!  See?  I’m not just making this stuff up!  (Of course, now that I’m able to Google this I see that most of it looks like that second example – where the rows of circles are staggered to reduce the negative space to little triangles and I like that look SO MUCH BETTER it’s KILLING ME.  Joe has already started the “Huh.  I guess you’ll just have to peel it all up and start again now.” campaign (just his latest effort to drive me crazy.  One day it will work and then where will he be?  Dead, that’s where.)

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Madam is all ready for me to paint her (organized, not crazy) window now.  I, however, feel like I need a break from Gallery Glass fumes.  We’ll be driving up to Venice next week, so it’s time to start figuring out what knitting to bring.  Maybe she’ll finally get that little wrap sweater for ballet (just in time for summer!)

So, for all you newbies – hi.  Welcome.  Come again.  I’ll try to post more than once a month (stop laughing, Mom.)  To all (four of) you regulars – don’t worry. They’ll be gone soon, and it’ll be back to procrastination and never finishing projects. 😉

Ahhhhhhh.

You feel that?  That’s a smug sense of accomplishment.  I’m blasting it out over the internet, straight into your homes.  Yes, folks, after a measly 2 1/2 months (oye), Jonas’s window is done, done, DONE!

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It casts this crazily beautiful and peaceful blue light all over the room.  I was trying to get it here, but it seems impossible to capture with the camera.  Trust me – it’s like a color-therapy room in a spa.  Whether it has the power to calm my little Terrorist… well, I won’t hold my breath on that one.

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I love it.  I mean, I really, really love it.  Sure, there are some parts I hate.  There are always some parts I hate of everything I make.  The thing that I hate about this window are the fish that are so pale they look white.  Particularly the big one right above the octopus.

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Yeah, I’m talking to you.  You freaky albino freak.

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My original plan was for all the fish to be orange, red, and bright yellow.  Then I painted the stars and octopus and thought there was too much orange, red, and bright yellow already on there.  So I used those blah pastels.  Now, with the the water all filled in, I see that any measly amounts of warm colors are completely overwhelmed anyway.  There is definitely not too much orange on this thing.  Next time I do a big, complicated one like this I will have to remember to paint the background FIRST.  It makes such a difference in how the other color choices work (or don’t.)

Also – that fish looked yellow before the blue went on, I swear.  Now it looks white.  Annoying.

This is a lot of ranting, when overall I’m extremely pleased.  More pictures of my lovely –

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Love the way the tentacles look against the blue water.

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I no longer have any anger towards either of the turtles.  Once the background got painted, they both look great.  Too bad I can’t say the same for that sickly fish…

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Still the best part.  I experimented with using the clear to add texture after I had already painted with a color (look at the blue eyes – see the swirls?)  I love it.  I may have to go back and texturize the entire thing.  (Spell check is telling me that texturize isn’t a word.  I can use texturing or moisturize.  But I have faith that you guys know what I mean.)

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Two windows down, one to go.  Next up is Violet Jayne’s “Organized window.  Like the living room. Not all crazy like Jonas’s.”  Hmph.  Turns out she’s Joe’s kid after all.

Instant Gratification

The window is slogging along, I haven’t picked up my knitting in months (I have given store-bought baby gifts to 4 babies in the past 5 months. Shameful.), I still have not even started sketches for the Jonas sign for his room, the fabric I bought to make him a quilt is folded up and laying on the floor of my room, and when I went looking for binding for it I discovered the still pinned-together quilt top that I was making for Violet when she was still in the crib.  (So THAT’S where all my pins went!)

It was time for a 30 minute project.  Something I could start and finish while the kids watched Blue’s Clues.  Something to give the crafting mojo a boost.  And, hey – if it solved the “I’m meeting people for lunch in an hour and have nothing to wear” problem, too?  All the better.

I bought this dress because I liked the neckline and the colors.  Also, because I am physically incapable of passing up just about anything in my size that’s marked down to four bucks.

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Pardon the mess behind me.  Joe is trying this new thing where he doesn’t harass me about my mess.  I think he thinks that his silent disgust will get me to clean it up.  He should talk to my mom – it never worked for her, either.

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Unfortunately it was way, way to short to actually wear as a dress (while I’m thrilled you can’t actually see my undies in this picture, trust me when I tell you things would be different if I was bending down to pick up a squalling two-year-old.) It also looked weird over jeans at this length.  And it had these huge pockets that, while nice in theory, got really wrinkled and bunched up when it was washed, and then made my hips stick out an extra 2 inches on each side (and really, who needs that?)  I considered ironing them for about 3 seconds, then remembered that I have no idea where the iron actually *is*, and just decided they had to go.

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I thought these pictures were coming out blurry, then I looked at them FULL sized on my GIANT screen and discovered the truth – my mirror is really, really streaky.

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The pockets took me the longest because I’m not that smart.  All I did was chop off a few inches, hem, cut out the pockets, sew them shut – voila!  A tank I will actually wear.  Like 3 times already since Thursday! 🙂  Joe came home, saw the sewing machine  out (What?  You thought sometime between first thing in the morning and dinnertime I would have put it away?  It’s like you didn’t even see that picture of my bedroom floor.), and said “Ooh!  The sewing machine is out!  That’s a good sign!  What did you make?” and I gestured to myself and he looks at me and says “Oh – was that that ugly dress?”  Nice.

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I have been painting this window all weekend.  Sewing that top got me back in business…

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This isn’t exactly what the colors look like.  Next time I take pics I’ll try to do it earlier in the day.

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I’m actually further along at this point. If all goes well tomorrow (RE:  Two little terrorists get over the MommyMommyMommy thing they’ve been going through this weekend) I could be done and moving onto the next one.  Woo hoo!  (It occurs to me that this blog means I’ll know exactly when I start a project and how long it actually takes me to see it through to the end.  Hmm.  Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.)

For Suz –

– who complains daily about my lack of blogging. I have to be in just the right mood, ok? Nobody wants to read bitchy rants every day. Geesh.

Anyway – on to the actual blogging….

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Hello gorgeous!

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I’m getting as much done on the window as I can, which isn’t much. Joe is out of town and with nobody else around to distract the kiddos, I can’t do very much painting. Jonas didn’t bother me when I was working on the living room window, but maybe because this is in his room he feels possessive? Or maybe in the months since I finished the living room his love of painting has really blossomed and now he can’t stand to be left out? Whatever it is, he doesn’t give me a moment’s peace. “JONAS PAINT THE WINDOW!” Exhausting.

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Pay attention to those turtles – there’ll be a quiz later.

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I’m trying to paint it in pieces, instead of just starting at the top and working my way down. A whole fish. All the stars. A turtle. Etc. That way it’ll look like increasingly cool sun catchers  until its done, instead of a half-finished painting. I think its coming along pretty nicely. The whole “I only have so much paint and this is the color I have the most of so this is the color I’ll be using” aspect of it is making things interesting. Jaynie insisted that “Octopuses are PURPLE!”, but this one is orange and that’s that. I think he’ll look awesome against blue and purple water.

Speaking of color – see that color on his eyes? Not the blue, the color of the (rings? outlines?) around the whites? The name of that color is “Charcoal Black”. “Black” is in the name of that paint. Not “practically clear unless you squint and tilt your head and look at it just right.” Black. Come ON Plaid! You can’t make a darker color for your “black”? So much for the brilliant idea (Joe’s!) to have black around the octopus, like he was inking up the water.

Speaking of color again – those turtles. Those turtles are taunting me. I painted the one on the left having never used the celadon (body color) before, and was really disappointed in how blah it was. The shell was awesome, the body was… blah. I stressed and raged and bitched to Joe about it, and then painted the second one with an emerald body instead of making them match. Somewhere in my brain was the thought that maybe when I was done I’d go back and peel up the celadon (am I spelling that right? Spell check seems to have never heard of the word. Yes, I could go check the paint bottle, but that would involve getting up.) and repaint the blah turtle to match the other.

Now that the 2nd turtle is dry… I really think I hate it. Too much jewel tone. Somehow with the body that color, you can’t even tell there are three colors in the shell. It looks like its all emerald and big splashes of lime. The first turtle is way more interesting to look at. The blah body was maybe juuuust right for that fancy shell. So, do I –

  1. Leave them be – one is a boy and one is a girl and that’s why they look different
  2. Peel up the emerald and repaint w/ the celadon
  3. Peel up both and try yet another shade of green
  4. Get drunk and attempt to forget the damn turtles ever existed

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Joe says I need to just let it go. Just leave them be. Then he ruined it with this argument – “Who is this for? Jonas? Do you really think Jonas cares what color the turtles are?” Are you kidding me? Would Jonas care? Hellloooo! I’m going to pour hours of my life into this painting, then leave it a color that doesn’t make me happy (truth be told – downright pisses me off) and walk away? So instead of looking at the window with pride and joy, I can always stare right at that ridiculously bright turtle and wonder WHY I felt the need to use the LAST of my emerald green in such a horrific way? Grumble bitch moan.

(When I feel this unreasonable anger towards the turtles, I just stare into the octopus’s lovely blue eyes and know that at least he loves me. He’s well behaved. He hasn’t pissed me off just yet. Of course, I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do w/ his suckers, so we’ll see how I feel about him next week.)

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Also in the works – a quilt for Jonas. I bought a twin sized duvet cover from IKEA and I’m turning it from a cute blanket into a work of art. Stay tuned.

Hmmmm… Ooh. And I’m making a “princess skirt” for Jayne out of stash fabric and some tulle. She pawed through everything I had and picked out some hot pink w/ white polka dots, some cream w/ pink flowers, and pink tulle. Considering the kid usually walks around with more than one skirt on, it doesn’t surprise me that she’s wanting a layered look. Now I have to decide if I’m making something I want her to wear out in public, or if I’m just going wild and making her yet another dress-up skirt. Decisions….

I’ll leave you with this sweet face…

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What? You thought it would be one of the kids? They’re terrorists! Not “sweet”! (Can you tell I’m on my own here? Two measly days he’s been gone and I’m bonding with the octopus and calling the children terrorists. Its possible I’m being overly dramatic here……… but probably not.)