Sunday, February 27, 2011

Answering my call!

When the days are long and I'm feeling worn out, sad, and friendless, the heartfelt gifts of art make me smile.

On my way from one job to the next it's something to look forward to.

What wonderment will be waiting for me this time?

Last month I asked all of you to mail creative items to my P.O. Box....and you did just that!

Here's a small sampling of what I got.....


So far I've received postcards, Mail Art, a poem, black and white photography, mini paintings, a handmade bookmark, and even a bandana! (Still no x-rated pics though. Drat!)

I'm going to try my hardest to send everyone something in return. Thanks in advance for your patience.

If anyone else is interested in joining in on the fun here's my address:

Dean Grey
P.O. Box 804602
Chicago, IL. 60680-4602

Anything from you will do!

To all of you who have sent me something, YOU RULE, to everyone else....what are you waiting for!

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's PLAIN to see.

They tempt and taunt me. Teasing me with that come-hither stare. Begging for colorful attention.

Whether it be brown paper packaging, a shipping box, or an envelope, I have a strong compulsion to embellish it!

Those of you who have already received things from me know that I like to decorate the package's exterior.

An example of this is a small gift I mailed out to a struggling blogger earlier in the month. Because of the present's unique size, I had to use an old grocery box which was the perfect fit.

But I could not, dare not, send the gift in a box looking like this.....

*gasp* How plain and conventional!

All that labeling needed to go and the brown cardboard became like a canvas to me, screaming, "Please paint me. Color me. Decorate me, you fool!"

I carefully disassembled the box, painting it an iridescent white. While I liked the sleek, elegant look of it, I felt the painted cardboard still lacked significance and personality.

So before reassembling it, I wrote encouraging words and phrases all over the box with different colored permanent markers.....

The power of words.

What a fitting gift box!

I think it's the extra touch that makes a present that much more special.

Now if you'll excuse me, there are boxes and envelopes yelling at me for adornment!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Red Velvet.....

Despite being (painfully) single this year, I wanted to do something creative and celebratory. Something sweet! So I baked cookies (from scratch) for the entire family this Valentine's Day weekend.

And I chose red velvet cookies. You read that right. NOT cake but red velvet cookies!


I basically took a red velvet cake recipe and modified it to cookie form.

And they turned out great!

Their lightly crisp glaze gives a nice crunch while the cookie itself is soft and perfectly chewy on the inside. Sinfully sweet with light chocolate undertones and the distinct hint of buttermilk. And of course they're a wonderfully intense RED!

Where's the recipe you ask?

Well the perfectionist in me is still tweaking things here and there. A couple small changes and I'll have these cookies right where I want them.


In the meantime, I'll have one or two....or three (!) on everyone's behalf.


I'm hoping you all had a Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Buying myself flowers.

My eyes welled up while shelving paintbrushes and varnish at the arts-and-crafts store I work at.

It must be that time of year because the playlist on the store's speakers played one fucking love song after another NON-STOP....the really depressing ones!!

I wanted to find a stiff piece of card stock in scrapbooking and slit my wrists! Oh gawd!

While talking with a coworker the other day, I mentioned it won't be much of a Valentine's Day for me this year.

"You should do something for yourself," she urged. "Treat yourself this year."

That advice stuck with me and I decided since I don't have anyone special to give me flowers that I would buy myself some!

Here's my newly-acquired bouquet of white and lime-green Japanese Spider Mums.....


I couldn't take my eyes off the blooms once I got them home today.

You don't see these that often and the color combination goes so well with the intense red vase I bought to put them in, wouldn't you say?

Close-up spider-mum action!!

Maybe one day I'll meet that special someone who will bring me roses and parrot tulips and lilies so I won't have to be the one buying myself flowers.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crumbling into joy.

It was proudly displayed on the family Christmas tree this past December.

Fellow blogger, Randy, had made seahorse ornaments for all of his friends during the holidays and was kind enough to mail me one a couple months back.

Here it is!

Look at that button eye!

I LOVE the attention to detail, the carefully stitched fabric, and the craftsmanship. Truly a work of art!

I knew I had to give something equally as special in return.

Randy is the one who bought and owns the painting "Crumbling" which I did over a year ago.

A little-known fact is that I saved the original leaf used as a reference for that painting, never quite knowing what to do with it and not wanting to throw it out.

The original leaf.....

So I decided to paint it and send it to Randy!

I gave the withered leaf a new chance at life. It has been transformed and now I call it "Joy"!

Acrylic paint on a maple leaf - (NFS)

The front was loaded with bright splashes of paint and then I embellished the colorful surface with swirls of metallic pen.

Wanting to keep the backside simple yet just as festive, I covered it completely with green glitter.

Glitter makes everything better!

It became a divine opportunity to turn something which at one time represented pain into something positive.

Thanks again, Randy! May the leaf bring you JOY!