Friday, June 28, 2013

My Video Interview (from RAW:Omaha Expressions)

On May 23rd I participated in an art showcase put on by RAW: Natural Born Artists in Omaha. It was an awesome night. Each of the artists had a video interview filmed, and they were released on YouTube yesterday.

Check mine out! I'm talking all about my Aquatic Avenue Crew jewelry line (check out my watercolor submarine shop for examples). I like how it turned out, but it's always strange to hear or see yourself talking. The first thing that goes through my head is, "Do I really sound like that?" I guess I do - I have recorded evidence!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Find Your Voice Week One

One of my never ending goals is to continually challenge myself creatively so that the things I create will forever be evolving - whether it's a new line of items for Tangents, a fresh recipe for supper or a new idea for a comic for my blog. So, to encourage my creative spirit this summer, I've joined a free online storytelling seminar called Find Your Voice (Check it out HERE.)

The first week of the seminar involved a worksheet with a variety of questions about storytelling and what it means to us as individuals. I finished my written "homework" and decided to expand upon one of the questions for my journal. I was especially interested in exploring what my favorite stories are and who my favorite storytellers are. A lot of my favorite storytellers are musical artists (Paul Simon, Colin Meloy, Gordon Lightfoot, plus thousands more.) I love how they can take a minimal amount of words and make them work to create an image in your head. So, I used my minimal paper-crafting skills to make a journal entry with some of my favorite lyrics to remind me of how I want to practice writing.

My 'journal' for the workshop.

Some writing inspiration - I'm obviously not a paper-crafting genius, but I try my best.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Flower Garden Update

When I planted my flower garden this year (not all that long ago, by the way) I notice that an ornamental squash was growing in one of my front flower beds, most likely accidentally planted by my Halloween decorations from last year. Being the plant lover (or hoarder?) that I am, I couldn't bring myself to dig it up. Now, even though my impatiens refuse to grow, my squash is definitely doing well. However, it definitely does not belong in my flower bed. See for yourself:

Yuck, right? All you can see is the silly squash! But, I still can't pull it. I feel too invested in its growth now. Ok, now, take a few moments to get over the fact that it's obvious that I haven't pulled any weeds in a while, then check out a couple of my gardening *wins*.

For example, this lovely basket filled with impatiens that are cooporating with me:

And this small pot of gorgeous pink begonias:

See? I'm not a complete gardening klutz. Now, if I could only get over my weed hoarding tendencies, perhaps my large flower beds would look just as nice as my potted plants!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Longest Day of 2013

Today is the longest day of the year. I had this great list of things to do planned out that involved mini-golfing, ice cream eating, and bike riding, but apparently "more sunshine than any other day of 2013" doesn't make today a national holiday. So, work is still happening, which I think is a complete crime. All Americans should be out soaking up the extra sun rays today - it's a good source of vitamin D, and thus a national health issue!

So, I'm not able to partake in all the exciting activities I had planned, but I did get some fun stuff accomplished - like my new blog banner which can be viewed at the top of this page!

Also, when I went home for lunch, I finally took a picture of this cute little bird's nest that some crazy critter built right on top of the motion sensor lights on our garage.

There are currently two adorable baby birds inhabiting this nest. I wanted a picture with them in the nest, but they're old enough to fly. They're also fairly skittish, so they flap their little wings as fast as possible and fly away every time I get near them. Luckily for you readers, though, I was able to draw a fairly accurate representation of the little bird twins. I don't want to brag, but it's almost a photographic replication.

In other nature news, while driving back to work from lunch today, a small deer ambled out onto the road in front of me. I slowed the car down, and, in a panicky, knee-jerk reaction, locked the doors as if the deer were a crazed hitch hiker trying to hop in my vehicle. This is what happens to people who learn to drive in the city and have years of their mom reminding them to "Lock your car doors or someone might jump in at a red light!" Every time I sense danger while in my car, the first thing I do is lock the doors, even if it doesn't make sense. A deer would look pretty darn silly trying to open a car door with his hooves... he doesn't even have fingers let alone thumbs! Oh well, better safe than sorry, right?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Woodland Home Project Complete!

As it always seems to happen for me, once I started my project I just couldn't stop. So, I'm already finished painting my woodland creatures "Home" sign. I also made a second sign which I'm calling "Gnome Home". I like them both, so it's going to be difficult to choose which one to keep, and which one to use elsewhere. All that's left to do now is to seal and add hangers to each log slice. I think I'll definitely be adding some items like these to my Etsy shop - I really like how they turned out!

The animals are complete (fox, owl, skunk and squirrel) - but it still seems to be missing something...

Adding an outline to each of the letters makes it feel finished!

Gnome Home, this one reminds me a little of the seven dwarfs from Snow White.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Woodland "Home" Project Report 1

I love collecting unwanted items and giving them new life, as do many people who are involved in the "repurposing", "upcycling", etc. world of crafting. Sometimes, however, I collect things without knowing what I'm going to do with them, and I have to contend with the haters who tell me that I'm collecting junk. It's not junk - it's art supplies!

One example of my non-junk, art supplies include my dusty crate full of little log slices that I rescued from a fire. They weren't actually on fire when I took them. They were just sitting on a table enjoying the last few moments of their former life as rustic, candle holding, wedding decorations. But, I was told that I could take what I wanted, and that the rest would be used as firewood. Therefore, they were rescued from a fire.  I've already used some of my log slices for little woodland critter paintings, but it's been awhile since I've created anything from my salvaged wood stash. This morning I felt like my crate of "rescued" log slices were glaring at me - "MAKE SOMETHING FROM ME!!!", they were shouting at me. So I've come up with a new project for them. I've decided to use four slices at a time to spell the word 'Home', which I think will look adorable above my TV, in my kitchen, or really hung anywhere in my home. To add to their cuteness, I'm going to paint little woodland animals on them as well. I started the project today - mostly I just planned, sketched and painted the lettering. I've posted a preliminary photo, and I'll be sure to keep you all updated as the project progresses. If they turn out adorable enough I'll probably be offering them in my Etsy store as well, but we will have to wait and see the final product!

My crate of rescued log slices

The first step in creating my new 'Home' sign
In other creative news, I have decided to expand my storytelling (and hopefully scrapbooking) abilities with a free online course this summer called Find Your Voice. It sounds like it should be an interesting and fun challenge to encourage me to be creative and expand my horizons this summer. I'm sure I'll be posting about my experiences on my blog. Class starts on Monday! If you're interested in joining you can check out the details here: Can't wait to try new things - maybe after the course, I'll feel confident enough to finally put together my wedding scrapbook that I *almost* started over a year ago.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Spider Revenge

It took me awhile to get over that weed eating ruckus last week. (click HERE for a recap, in case you missed it) I figured, spiders on my leg, that's pretty bad and probably doesn't happen all that often.  I thought, that's probably all the eight-legged encounters I'll be having for some time now, because what are the odds of two horrifying arachnid incidents happening within a week of each other? Well, I guess the odds are higher than I thought, because yesterday when I went to put the mail in the mailbox the following horrifying ordeal occurred:

SCENE ONE: It's a bright, shiny morning as I reach to open the Schmit Home Solutions mailbox to send a few friendly letters on their way.

SCENE TWO: When said mailbox is opened a gigantic eight-legged beast emerges from the dark depths of the box, furiously gnashing his teeth and probably saying something like what I've shown in my comic. Of course, I can't be certain what he was trying to communicate to me, because I do not dabble in spider speak.

SCENE THREE: My eyes open wide, my hair stands on end, and a small scream erupts from my mouth. This can't be happening, what type of ungodly beasts are these things? They lie in wait for me around every corner. (I don't think I'm being that dramatic, am I?)

SCENE FOUR: Mail flies into the air as I run from the mailbox of doom. The hairy monster giggles, knowing he has won this round.

Eventually, when he was done laughing at me, Jason came to my assitance and used his bare hands to sweep the spider out of the mailbox and onto the ground. We then jointly made the decision to let him live. As long as they're outside, I think that bugs should be given the simple right to live. Plus, when they're working how they're supposed to, spiders eat a lot of other creepy crawlies that I'd rather not come into contact with. 

This story does have a depressing ending, though, because when I went to take the mail out to the box this morning, the eight-legged avenger was back! Seriously. The same spider, and he was erecting a nasty little web  in the front of the mailbox. I decided then that he had to die. I feel some remorse for the squishing death that was inflicted upon him, but I can't have something like that sneaking up on me and nearly causing me to go into cardiac arrest every morning.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fall Projects in June - Halloween Tree Ornaments

I've officially finished up my pumpkin needle felting project. I equipped each of my little, fuzzy, yellow and white pumpkins with some fishing line for hanging (using a needle to guide the line through the pumpkins), and hung them from my large "jewelry" tree. I think they're adorable! As a matter of fact, I like it so much that I started experimenting with other little ornaments for my trees. Some options are already for sale at Tangents, for those of you that like to get your fall decorations bought early :). Right now I'm concentrating on Halloween themed ornaments, because I can't seem to get that holiday out of my head for some reason. I know I just recently said hello to summer, but fall has always been my favorite, so it gets extra attention from my crafts. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Zinnias Strike Back!

Hooray! My zinnias are sprouting in spite of that nasty bird that tried to eat all my seeds before I could get them covered. In case you missed the explanation of the evil bird incident, click HERE for a recap. These little sprouts have so much potential. I can't wait until they're big, beautiful and blooming.

I had yet another close encounter with nature yesterday. I was out front turning on the garden hose, so that I could water my flowers. Our garden hose is black with a yellow stripe. When I leaned over to turn it on I became confused, because I saw three black hoses with yellow stripes. By the time I realized I wasn't seeing triple, I hardly had time to jump backwards  in terror - the extra two hoses were snakes! Of course, being the small, nonvenomous Nebraskan snakes that they were, they were much more frightened of me than I was of them. They slithered all over each other, fighting to be the first one back into their hidey-hole. To my great distress, their home seems to be behind my front steps. Hopefully we can all go about minding our own business without bumping into each other again!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Watercolor Submarine Branding

I've been spending a considerable amount of time working on branding for both of my shops. I finally got to a point where I felt like I could take some fancy branding photos of my Watercolor Submarine merchandise. It's easy to get carried away with finding pretty ways to package and present my artwork, because it's way too fun! I've drawn several different logos for stickers, but I think I like the actual submarine the best, which is what I've shown in the following picture. If you've somehow landed on my blog page and have a couple of spare seconds I'd love to know what you think, your comments are more than welcome!

The character of the day today comes from Tangents: The fox in the snow.
This fox is thankful for the snow. He can't wait to sink his paws into the fluffy stuff and build a family of snowfoxes.

Fox in the Snow - Woodland Painting

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Spider Incident - A Horrifying Lesson in Lawn-care

Jason and Tim refuse to believe that the following story is true - whatever helps them get to sleep at night. I swear to you, though, that the following account is 100% accurate. Unfortunately, it is also at least 97% frightening, so those with arachnophobia and small insects may want to avert their eyes from this comic strip.

It all started when I was weed eating around the perimeter of the Schmit Home Solutions shop yesterday afternoon...

SCENE ONE: It was a pleasant day, the sun was shining and a nice cool breeze was blowing. I had just finished mowing the lawn and was taking care of some tight spots that I had missed around the building with the weed eater.

SCENE TWO: I notice something peculiar. A large crowd of menacing black spiders are crawling along the grass line. They seem to have been awoken by the weed eater and are now emerging from their homes in the underworld.

SCENE THREE: Against my better judgement, I continue to weed eat. The gigantic, ugly arachnids are swept up by the weed eater and flung at top speeds in what seems to be a million different directions.

SCENE FOUR: I was wrong about the "million different directions", the demonic beasts have all ended up on my legs. Immediate panic ensues.

In case you were concerned, I did survive this episode (barely). I'm hoping to dream up a solution to this problem, because the grass outside is still growing, and I have a feeling that there will be a repeat event in about one week. Ugh.

Character of the day: Krampton the Krill.
A very small and inquisitive creature, Krampton the krill spends most of his time opening his large eyes as widely as possible so as to learn all he can about his surroundings.

Krill Necklace - Hand Painted Seashell (Krampton) 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Honeybees for my Garden

Last spring I planted a row of chives. I had images of sour cream and chive dip running through my head - that never happened. Instead, I spent all summer neglecting my chives and cringing every time I laid eyes on them. It was a really dry year, and even though I wasn't using my chives, I couldn't stand to see them all brown and withered, so every now and then I gave them a pity water. I figured they would die off over the winter, and I would have a clean slate to start with. But, luckily, I was wrong. They came back big, green and beautiful this spring and are currently blooming. I like the looks of their fluffy purple blooms, and I also love one other little perk that they bring to my garden - honeybees! I'm normally not a big fan of flying insects, but I make an exception for these furry little guys. It might have something to do with the fact that I feel sorry for them, because they are dying off in such alarming numbers. Whatever the reason, I'm glad to have these precious pollinators around. I guess those chives had a purpose after all!

Character of the day: The Strange Fish. 

Who is this strange fish? Where did he come from? Where is he going? Intriguing is possibly the only work I can think of to describe him.

Fish Necklace - Hand Painted Seashell

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Peony Bouquet

Jason and I had supper with my Grandparents yesterday. We enjoyed our visit, hung some new blinds, ate our fill of BBQ ribs and visited my grandparent's garden. My grandma was nice enough to let me cut some of her peonies to make a bouquet for my kitchen. It's fantastic to have fresh cut peonies around the house - they look and smell wonderful!

Character of the Day: Tiny the Squid.
Tiny is, well, tiny. But his small size doesn't stop him from being a ferocious boxer. His mantra: "Float like a seahorse, sting like a jellyfish."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Kristi the Novice Needle Felter

I've been dabbling in needle felting off and on for about a year now. Last April I saw a video of a lady that made these adorable Easter chicks, and I had to try it for myself. I have to admit, though, it's kind of a frustrating process for a beginner. It's difficult to judge how much wool you need to make something a particular size, but I'm practicing and getting slightly better.

Lately my needle felting has had me working on some early Halloween decorations (my favorite season to decorate for, FYI), and I've finally broken my first felting needle! I think that means I've 'leveled up' in the needle felting world (or maybe I've lost a life, I'm not sure.) Anyways, I'm getting pretty darn excited about these tiny pumpkin ornaments I'm working on. I'm planning to hang them from the branches of one of my jewelry stand trees. I always envisioned my 'jewelry trees' to be multifunctional tree stands, I just hadn't gotten around to plotting different purposes for them, yet. I promise to post pictures of the final product once I have them dangling from the branches of one of my trees, but for now, here are a few of my pumpkins. I'm not the best at making perfect copies, but that makes them all unique, and I actually really enjoy the variations.

Cute, right?

Characters of the day: The Dolphins Three. This synchronized swimming team has won the annual Undersea Olympics for the last three years. We're rooting for them to continue the trend. 

 Dolphin Trinket Tray - Hand Painted Seashell

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mailbox Beauty and Dale the Swordfish

One of my lovely neighbors planted some mixed dianthus in front of our mailboxes last year. Now their second year pink blooms look so gorgeous in contrast with our white mailboxes that I practically gasp every time I walk by. I finally took a picture to share with the rest of the world. Thanks mystery flower planting neighbor for this colorful display!

And now to share another of my quirky Aquatic Avenue characters: Dale the swordfish. Dale is a little loony. Believing he is a medieval knight, he often challenges his neighbors to a duel by shouting "En garde!" and menacingly pointing his sword-like nose at them.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gardening with the Evil Bird

I'm back and recovered from vacation, and I finally have my garden planted. I absolutely love planting flowers and watching them grow, but my garden went in a little late this year (it has something to do with the hazards of operating a greenhouse - your plants always come last.) I decided to try something new this year and planted flower seeds along with my usual plants. Unfortunately, I had a little run in with some of the Randolph wildlife during the process. To illustrate my frustrations I've made a little comic for your viewing pleasure:

In scene one I am planting my beautiful zinnia seeds while a menacing robin spies on me from his perch in a nearby tree. If you're wondering why my head looks so funny in this comic rendition of my planting experience - I always like to wear strangely shaped hats when gardening (for good luck or something). In scene two I have carelessly left my recently planted seeds unattended and open to attacks by evil birds. In scene three I have noticed the robin heartlessly stealing my seeds, and I am crushed. In scene four the foul beast flaps away with the intent to return for more!

I can't talk to or read the minds of animals, so I may be incorrect in some of my assumptions. That being said, I'm pretty sure this particular bird takes extra joy from destroying flower gardens. 

In other news, I've begun to list some of my hand painted seashell trinket trays in my WatercolorSubmarine shop. It's a whole new way to enjoy the Aquatic Avenue Crew - take a look at my Aquatic Avenue Crew Shop Section.