Tuesday, December 31, 2013

...the coming year.

This year seems to have flown by, probably from me working so much. Maybe that's a good thing since it was rather uneventful...and I ended up alone again.

I didn't blog a lot either mainly because I haven't created much art in 2013.

Keeping up the blogging tradition though, here are all of my posts from the past year.

Those of you who are new to my blog, or the regulars who may have missed something, can now go back and see what I was up to these last twelve months.

Here you go!


(1-5-13) MORE fun with cats!
(1-9-13) Wordless Wednesday - Abandoned work gloves (near Delano Ct. and Roosevelt Rd.)

(1-16-13) ...with somebody who loves me.
(1-19-13) Our store had a baby!
(1-20-13) Workout Cake!
(1-22-13) Four!
(1-27-13) A beautiful kind of loneliness.


(2-1-13) Better days ahead.
(2-6-13) Wordless Wednesday - Love in the snow (along Canal Street - South Loop)
(2-14-13) Ambassador of love.
(2-20-13) Wordless Wednesday - S. Pellegrino (along Roosevelt Rd.)
(2-21-13) I hope it changes.
(2-28-13) "You won't know until you try."


(3-5-13) Kid's art!
(3-13-13) Suffer a little longer.
(3-17-13) St. Patrick's Bling!
(3-24-13) Gone too soon.
(3-27-13) Wordless Wednesday - Forgive and Forget (Near the corner of Aberdeen and Lake Street in the West Loop)


(4-3-13) Wordless Wednesday - Abandoned clothes along Roosevelt Road Bridge
(4-10-13) Grey wearing brown.
(4-21-13) Life getting in the way.
(4-30-13) Just another day.


(5-12-13) Forgetting Seattle.
(5-19-13) Rescued!
(5-29-13) At peace.


(6-7-13) Goodbye, Goodbye.
(6-12-13) You keep me hangin' on.
(6-22-13) Poor thing.


(7-2-13) Target audience.
(7-4-13) Red, white, and blue!
(7-15-13) Love evaporating.....
(7-30-13) Heartbreak flowers.....


(8-11-13) ...and again.
(8-13-13) A return to art. (Owl - Step 1 - Drawing)
(8-21-13) Wordless Wednesday - Abandoned woman's clothes along Roosevelt Road Bridge
(8-25-13) Owl - Step 2 - Reworked drawing
(8-29-13) Just another day at work.


(9-4-13) Wordless Wednesday - Remembering "The Kelpies" of Museum Campus (sculptures recently removed)
(9-10-13) Owl - Step 3 - Underpainting
(9-22-13) Renewing my faith in work.
(9-25-13) Wordless Wednesday - Southeast Side of the city along Brainard Ave. (bench since removed)
(9-27-13) Owl - Step 4 - Anticipation


(10-3-13) Owl - Step 5 - Panic and Save!
(10-6-13) Keep smiling.
(10-23-13) (Oh) what I wouldn't do.


(11-9-13) Battle-Hymn
(11-19-13) The return of Bow Boy!
(11-29-13) Extension!


(12-11-13) The Bow Brigade!
(12-21-13) Grateful.
(12-25-13) Happy Holidays to everyone!!

(12-31-13) ...the coming year.

Looking forward, I hope 2014 will be a year of good change, creativity, and love in my life. And may it be amazing for all of you too!

This Mail Art postcard recently sent to me by Ria sums it up perfectly.....

I'll end this blogpost by passing on the message she wrote to me:

"May the magic of the holiday season stay with you throughout the coming year."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays to everyone!!

It seemed the perfect thing to share with all of your this Christmas Day.

Blogging friend, Randy, mailed me yet another amazing ornament he made. This time it's of a turtle and it joins the others on my family's Christmas Tree.

Masterfully sewn!

Attention to detail and care and a lot of love went into this handmade work of art.

And isn't that what this time of year should be about?

Thanks once again, Randy, and Happy Holidays to everyone!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I had to take the "L" into the city for work this afternoon.

Among the usual crazies and oddballs that occupy every train car, one rider stood out among the rest.

He was dressed in bright orange clothing and wedged into a large motorized wheelchair.

From all the wheelchair's mechanical accoutrements, I got the impression he's had a rough life.

In a raucous voice, I heard bits and pieces of his phone call. He mentioned going to physical therapy and rehabilitation but was also reassuring the person on the other end of the line.

"You gotta be grateful for what you got," he said.

It struck me to hear that from someone disabled, who clearly has been without for a long time. That even during hardships there are things we must be thankful for.

And during the rest of that train ride I contemplated my own life.

I feel alone most times, often tired from work, and not in the best living situation yet I'm blessed in certain ways.

I get along really well with all of my coworkers at both jobs, I have my health, and a roof over my head.

So even though life is far from where I'd like it to be, today was a good reminder to still be grateful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Bow Brigade!

An event planner contacted the arts-and-crafts store I work at and wanted some bows made.

And by some I mean over 2,000!!

It was the largest order we've ever had.....the customer paid $11,000!!!

A huge boon for our store, management didn't want to turn it down.

But many of my coworkers are crafty types and we were up for the challenge.

About eight of us spent most of our shifts making bow after bow. We sent out three installments of 750 bows over the past couple weeks.

Some of my handmade bows.

The event planner specifically wanted red and blue. She was planning a party for two HUGE corporations and the bows were to be toppers for the holiday presents.

A lot of measuring and twisting of ribbon ensued.

Through cramped hands and long, monotonous days, we kept in good spirits.

It was nice--and dare I say fun--coming together as a small group and making "bow history" happen.

I'd always start by saying, "It's bow time!" and proudly referred to us as the Bow Brigade.

Today, the last of the custom order gets picked up. I can say I'm soooo over bow-making at the moment yet a part of me will miss it.

"Who knows," one of my coworkers said, "maybe she'll do business with us in the future and want a whole bunch more bows made."

If so, Bow Boy and the rest of the Bow Brigade will be ready!

Friday, November 29, 2013


Extension n. The act of a condition being lengthened; an allowance of extra time.

As the months and days counted down, I was becoming more and more discouraged. It didn't look good.

A year ago on this exact date, I was interviewed by a city department in Seattle. I passed and was given access to apply to staff-only positions as they became vacant.

The catch was, that access would expire in one year...today being the last day.

I had only a couple interviews with them over the course of this year but was never picked for those jobs. My time has run out.

However, because my experience is still current/relevant (my university job is in the same field) I asked for an extension...and it was granted...for another year!

I feel really good about this. This means I still have a chance of finding a good job in Seattle and relocating there.

And with twelve more months on my side, I don't feel so pressured.

I'm thankful for the continued opportunity.

Now I just have to hold on, keep trying, and hope something good comes of it!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The return of Bow Boy!

"Are you all caught up?" the store manager asked me.

"Why?" I answered, fearing I'd be wrangled into some time-consuming, annoying project.

"I need some more bows,"  he said.

You see, the arts-and-crafts store I work at sells pre-made bows for the holidays but our store manager wanted custom-made ones. 

Custom bows sell for more and the floral ribbon we use to make them is given to us directly by Corporate. It doesn't cost the store a cent. Each handmade bow is pure profit.

"I can do that," I replied. "Bow Boy is back!"

I only had about an hour-and-a-half to work with but here's what I made the other day.....

Some turned out better than others. What do you think?

The store manager said mine are just as good--if not better than--the coworker that originally showed me how to make bows!

Shhh, don't tell her that though!

It was a nice diversion. A chance to create and play and not stress over work. If only it could be like that every day there.

Until next time...Bow Boy over and out!

Saturday, November 9, 2013


There's power in her words, energy in her voice.

She's tapping into greatness and sharing her vulnerability with those around her. Amazing. Just amazing.

During those times when I've become depleted, or lost, or too scared to take action, I watch this video.

It's a rousing reminder that God is with me every step of the way.

That even though the journey seems lonely and arduous and endless, that I was meant for something great and one day it'll all come together and make sense and be more beautiful than I could ever dream or hope.

An anthem of perseverance no matter how much has been sacrificed along the way.

To be courageous, resolute, hopeful.

I hope Judy Garland's performance resonates with you as much as it does me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

(Oh) what I wouldn't do.

I've fallen behind on my artwork and life seems to be getting in the way again (working two jobs doesn't help either) but I'm still here.

Here's another Canadian song currently playing at the arts-and-crafts store I work at. I like its poetic, romantic lyrics.

Every time I hear it on the store's overhead speakers it makes me want to be in love again...to twirl in place...run as fast as I can...to run away...and scream out loud.

(Oh) what I wouldn't do.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Keep smiling.

I had seen her off and on for the past two years at my university job.

She finally came up to the front desk earlier this week and officially introduced herself. Her name was Maggie. She told me she was finished with school now and moving back home to Canada next week.

I considered her one of the "regulars" who'd always come into the university to study. She said she wanted to say goodbye.

"You always have a big smile on your face," she said to me.

That threw me a bit--her perceiving me as being "happy". For I'm not happy with the way my life is going.

But I do smile a lot, especially at work, being the first person students see when entering our department.

A lot of the time I feel like I'm wearing a mask to hide the pain and sadness and loneliness or perhaps I'm simply pushing it all to the side while at work.

Sing it, Judy.....

It was extremely sweet of Maggie to acknowledge all the times I've greeted her and to stop in just to see me. I was flattered to have made that kind of impression on her.

I shook her hand and told Maggie to come back and visit us.

"Keep smiling, okay?" she said on her way out.

I will try, dear. I will try.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Owl - Step 5 - Panic and Save!

I was wondering when it'd happen.

That moment I'm always dreading.

So I started laying in the blacks around the owl's eyes and beak only to see that it's much too dark for the rest of the painting!

Fuckity-fuck and super shit!

Thank God I opted for watercolors instead of ink as originally planned. With some careful maneuvering, I was able to blot and lift off most of the problem areas.

To have the owl entirely detailed in black would've killed a lot of the vibrant blues I worked so hard to save. If this were a pure comic book illustration it'd work but this owl falls a bit more on the fine art side.

To remedy this, I created a deep darkish-purple, that from a distance appears black but doesn't swallow up the rest of the painting (click on image to see the purples at work).

Now I just have to blend and soften the dark edges and add ALL those tiny, little detail hairs on the feathers.

Everything should be completed by the next step. Let's hope!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Owl - Step 4 - Anticipation

This is it!

It's starting to look really cool at this point.

I'm anxious to complete this piece but am scared it won't turn out right.

At this stage I'd say the painting is about 90% done.

A noticeable departure from the previous step is the background. It didn't feel right as a shocking pink. Something said to me that red would be more fitting.

Now there's a primary color scheme happening with the yellow eyes, blue feathers, and red backdrop. How cool!

All that's left is to add the blacks--which will either fuck everything up or make it brilliant.

We shall see!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Renewing my faith in work.

I smile and feel accomplished just thinking about it.

This past Friday marked the two-year anniversary working at my part-time university job!

Close-up view from behind the front counter!

I actually look forward to going there.

There we are very much a team unit, always helping one another out. And my coworkers appreciate and notice the things I do for them.

Good morale, good atmosphere, good intentions.

So very different from the crafts store where I'm always stressed and left on my own.

Working at the university renews my faith in the possibility of a healthy, nurturing work environment.

They show me it can be done!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Owl - Step 3 - Underpainting

It's always the scariest moment yet also the most exciting.

Adding paint to a carefully drawn illustration.

Infusing the image with color--a pulse--but not being able to go back once you begin.

The pinks, purples, and blues are "loud" but I always lay in the most intense colors first then dull them down as needed (part of my "un-training" from art college).

Think of it as a blueprint for the rest of the colors to build upon.

The next step will be to block in the shadows and enhance the owl's coat.

Little by little it's getting there!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Just another day at work.

My daily commute consists of a 40-minute train ride into the city and from there, a 20-minute walk to work.

Hard to believe I've had to do that for this long.

Today marks my third year of working at the arts-and-crafts store!

I've been trying to escape from there since I started. That job always manages to make me feel incompetent, stressed, and depleted.

But besides my other part-time university job, I haven't found anything better.

There's this fear I'll be stuck in mid-level retail for many years to come.

Is this all I'm going to be?


Last week I found this wind-up toy some child left behind in the coloring book display.

Every now and then I'll wind it up and watch the spotted feline scamper across my workspace.

Something to amuse me and break up the monotony of it all.

I thought today might've been more meaningful for me considering the three years I gave to this place, but in the end it was just another day at work.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Owl - Step 2 - Reworked drawing

Something just didn't feel right. I put it off to the side and waited.

When I came back to the owl drawing earlier this week, it looked a bit off.

I needed that time away from it to see the eyes were a tad big and slightly cross-eyed.

Better to catch it now. If I had rushed into painting this piece after the first step, it would've been too late to make any needed adjustments.

After tweaking the original drawing.

While reworking the bird's eyes--my old-school house music blaring, I felt like I was bringing this owl to life.

That's how I knew it was finally ready.

The next step will be laying down the paint.

No turning back now!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A return to art. (Owl - Step 1 - Drawing)

I thought it would be this big event. A momentous experience.

But no, it was nothing like that.

After almost eight months of not creating any art (the longest time as an adult), I finally sat down and drew over the weekend!

I felt this frustration and resistance and did cry a bit while drawing, but it was time and that was that.

Here's what I started:

It's going to be a painting of an owl. I used a basic grid pattern to ensure the proportions matched the reference photo.

Little by little it'll get done. I still have two unfinished paintings from last year and I do NOT want this to be a third.

If anything, I told myself I could always rip up the drawing if too much time passed without any progress.

We shall see what becomes of this piece.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Heartbreak flowers.....

I'm heartbroken, sad, and alone.

That can only mean one thing...it's time to buy myself flowers!

I bought these over the weekend.

A cheerful mix including lilies, roses, mums, and carnations to get me through this dark period.

But God doesn't give us more than we can handle, right?

At least that's how the saying goes.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Love evaporating.....

I sat in the shade on a friend's back porch the other day.

As the blazing sun beat down, I dipped my finger in a glass of water and drew a heart on the wooden planks.

At first it glistened in the sunlight--fully formed and intact.

Then it slowly faded.

Little by little, there was less and less before it was finally gone from my sight.

My heart taken away like never being there at all.

It forces me to realize what I no longer have.

That no matter how many hearts I draw on parched wood in the summer sun, they'll all evaporate and can't replace the real thing.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red, white, and blue!

Our Founding Fathers fought for our country's independence so it's the least I could do.

This is what I wore for the past month at work--in honor of Fourth of July!

It's not as flashy or elaborate as I'd have liked but the crafts store didn't have a ton of themed-product to choose from...at least that I could wear properly (you try wearing an American flag wind chime!).

A patriotic bow (made by me), red, white and blue necklaces, and a set of glittery star danglers that I pulled apart and added to my lanyard.

Just a little something to lighten up the drudgery at work. Hopefully Thomas Jefferson approves.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Target audience.

I've been having this urge to buy more scrapbook paper and glitter than usual. Now I know why.

Our store's playlist used to play songs from the 70's and 80's to bring in all those soccer moms and housewives.

But lately we've been hearing tunes from the 80's and 90's--songs I'd hear growing up in grade school and high school.

And that's when it hit me. The arts-and-crafts store I work at is slowly rearing my generation as its new target audience. Gasp!

An interesting twist is that the store also began playing French songs. Apparently we're opening up locations in Quebec so certain Canadian hits are now included in our playlist.

Here's one my store's been playing a lot lately.

I'm dedicating it to my sister stores up north and all my Canadian readers.

Enjoy, eh!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You keep me hangin' on.

"Set me free why don't cha babe
Get out my life why don't cha babe
'cause you don't really love me
You just keep me hangin' on

Set me free why don't cha babe
Get out my life why don't cha babe
'cause you don't really need me
But you keep me hangin' on

Why do you keep a comin' round
Playing with my heart
Why don't cha get out of my life
And let me make a brand new start
Let me get over you
The way you've gotten over me yeah."

Four months into dating you ended things between us.

You wanted us to be friends instead.

But then you message me all the time and tell me you're lonely. I spend the night by you like a fool, but there's no love or tenderness from you anymore. I keep hoping you'll grab me by the face and say you want me back...but you never do.

When I look into your eyes it's like being rejected all over again. Little stabs to the heart.

If the relationship is done with then let me go. Don't keep me around as a back-up or because you miss me. My heart doesn't like games and I deserve much better.

You either want me or you don't.

"You say although we broke up
You still just wanna be friends
But how can we still be friends
When seeing you only breaks my heart again

Get out, get out of my life
And let me sleep at night
'cause you don't really love me
You just keep me hangin' on

You say you still care for me
But your heart and soul needs to be free
And now that you've got your freedom
You wanna still hold onto me
You don't want me for yourself
So let me find somebody else

Set me free why don't cha babe
Get out my life why don't cha babe
'cause you don't really love me
You just keep me hangin' on."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Goodbye, Goodbye.

I don't wanna
Feel the need
To hear your voice

I don't wanna 
Feel the need 
To see your face

I can't live with
All these things I would say
I can't live with
All these things that I'd say

Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
Like the first time

Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
Like the first time

You never really knew me
Never ever, never ever saw me
Saw me like they did

You never really loved me
Never really, never really loved me
Love me like they did."

"With some time
I might wanna 
See the way
That you changed

With some time
I might wanna
See how you've been
What you cannot blame

I can't stand it
All these things I've let go
I can't stand it
All these things I've let go

Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
Like the first time

Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
Like the first time

You never really knew me
Never ever, never ever saw me
Saw me like they did

You never really loved me
Never really, never really loved me
Love me like they did

You coulda told me
You coulda told me

You let me try
Knowing there was nothing I could do
To change you

You coulda warned me
Knowing there was nothing I could do
To change you

You never really knew me
Never ever, never ever saw me
Saw me like they did

You never really loved me
Never really, never really loved me
Love me like they did

Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
Like the first time

Goodbye, goodbye
Goodbye, goodbye
Like the first time

You never really knew me
Never ever, never ever saw me
Saw me like they did

You never really loved me
Never really, never really loved me
Love me like they did."