Paintings and Flowers

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If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to it’s been work. And of course I can’t talk about whatever I’m working on while I’m working on it so I never talk about work. But in between work I’ve been sneaking in a little painting.

A while back a friend bought me this huge canvas on sale and it’s been sleeping in my garage just waiting to be painted. Then the other day the kids were painting and they had big globs of paint leftover on their palettes after they were done. I hate wasting expensive paint so I just swathed the extra blobs onto the canvas that was wedged between our garage refrigerator and the washing machine. I didn’t put much effort into it because I love texture and I figured I’d paint over it eventually anyway.

Then it happened again, and again. And it got harder and harder to squeeze between the washer and the refrigerator to paint so I lugged it into the house and now it’s turned into a real painting on purpose. But still with half-hazard colors because I’m out of half my paints (thanks kids) and I like it this way. It’s almost like I can think in monochromatic tones and ignore the color all together and strangely it works. Pink face, blue hair? Don’t care!

I hope I can keep turning my brain off enough to turn it into something. But then I’ll have to sell it because I have no more room in my house for masterpieces. If you are looking for some big art send me a note. Maybe I’ll sell it to you.

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I’ve also been working with fake flowers. These are also leftovers from other projects. I have so many leftover craft supplies from projects that I could start my own store. But I don’t. I squirrel them away in my busting-at-the-seams craft aisle of cabinets in the garage. It’s lovely and terrible at the same time. Konmarie methods don’t really work for me. But I am usually pretty organized so it stays somewhat under control.

Anyway, Bug has had me making flower crowns for her. I made one for her halloween costume and then one for her succulent-themed birthday party. We’ve decided that since they are so fun to make, I should make more and sell them in an Etsy shop. She also wants me to give her 10 percent for modeling and 20 percent if she sells them to her friends. I’m not so sure that’s a good deal for me since I spend about an hour on each one and she spends two minutes but whatever, it’s fun to do something together. Also she is very proud of her math skills when it comes to percentages so I’ll let her work out the math.

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No Konmarie here!

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I really enjoy making them. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with fake flowers. I LOVE LOVE LOVE real flowers (thus the flower biz I was in back in the day) so using fake has always felt like betrayal BUT fake flowers last forever and don’t require as much care. No moldy smelly water vases to clean out. No mass clippings all over the kitchen floor (though there is still a bit of mess but it can be contained to a table and it doesn’t smell) and no expiration date!

Right now most of the crowns have turned into wreaths. Not sure why.  Bug doesn’t really like them for wearing so I’m going to focus on smaller flowers and making them more dainty going forward. I figure no loss though, I can sell these as door wreaths! In fact I have one on my front door right now and it’s charming and cute!

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I will definitely keep everyone (and their cousin) posted when we actually go live with a shop. It might be a while.

Now back to work!

Serpenises and fangirls and ants, oh my!

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Have you been to the fair yet this summer? I’ve been three times. Except one of those times doesn’t count because we couldn’t actually get inside. Parking was insane. We circled the fairgrounds for a mind-numbing half-an-hour in traffic and one by one, every single parking lot closed on us.  I think there are five or six lots and all of them filled up right before our eyes when we were two or three cars from the entrance. It was maddening.

Then we attempted to park in the college parking lot across the street and one by one those spots disappeared right before we could get to them too. We pushed further out to a metered lot and finally found one spot. We didn’t have any quarters so we bummed eight of them off this really nice lady who refused to take our cash. Pay it forward she said. Then with quarters finally in hand we discovered that our meter, the very last meter, was jammed. It just wasn’t meant to be.  We gave up and went home with sad faces. Of course promising the kids we’d come back the next week they were with us and we’d definitely leave early to beat the rush. Defeated, we stopped for Panda Express for dinner on the way home and paid our eight quarters forward to a cashier who thought we were tipping her.

The next week we did make it back and we left early enough to get an actual parking spot. We had a great time eating fair food, checking out the baby animals, the wood working room and of course getting henna tattoos. The girls wanted matching Riverdale tattoos on their forearms and with a little extra cash they found an artist willing to try it. They were so proud of their tattoos BUT when they were done we got hustled into a crowd and Bug bumped her arm on my purse or something and the “t”  in “serpent” got smudged so that it looked like an “i.” Southside Serpenis was just not gonna work. Back we went and while the artists in the booths tried to smother laughter, they fixed the “i” back into a “t.” I thought it was pretty funny too. Bug was mortified.

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My parents are selling their home in the Sticks finally. They’ve been wanting to move since forever and they actually have almost sold their property. Cross your fingers, say a prayer that the escrow closes. We went out there to help with packing some boxes and pick my mom up to take her to Cat Con.

It was about 110 degrees. Well, not 110 but it really doesn’t feel much different from 101 to 120 when you’re in the thick of it. It’s hot and miserable and the worst time to be moving.  I can’t even humble brag about helping them because I only helped them one day while they have selfless church friends (and my aunts) who have been helping them for MONTHS! I am so thankful for their friends (and my aunts). We might not get along or agree on some pretty big things that keep us at odds but we definitely agree on loving my parents.

It was kind of bittersweet to say goodbye to my parent’s property. While I’m so happy they are getting the hell out of dodge and leaving the meth heads and drug dealers behind for a quiet gated retirement community on the other side of town, I will miss their giant green park-like front yard. I’ve taken so many pictures of those red chairs in the shade. Bug has played on the swing set and picked tomatoes from their garden since she was old enough to hobble around. We will definitely miss all their fruit trees and abundant tomato garden. But they won’t miss the old mobile home with the floor that was falling through!

It will be a good move for them. They are moving way out in the country by some mountains near a state park that we can explore. Their community has a big olympic-sized pool that hosts aqua-aerobic classes that will be awesome for my mom. I can’t wait to visit and take the kids there to swim. Since they are way way out in the sticks now, they will be in prime coyote territory so my dad has to build a giant cattery for their eight cats. It will be fun. I look forward to helping him design it.

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It was quite timely that we were going to Cat Con and we had an extra ticket for my mom. It was supposed to be me and the girls going (because we had so much fun last time) but Joon couldn’t go because she is taking a vacation with her mom.  My mom was happy to oblige for cattery research purposes and for free cat food. My mom loooooves free stuff, which may or may not be why it’s taking them MONTHS to move.

Whenever Bug and I lost her in the crowds of Cat Con we’d just look for the nearest free cat food booth and find my mom there filling out some form. She had a blast.

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And so did we! One of my favorite things about Cat Con is checking out all the illustrators. Someday I’d love to have a booth there and illustrate a bunch of cats. I know I could do it. I’m just in an owl phase right now but you know I have a few cat characters in me too.

Anyway, we stopped by the Emily the Strange booth and I actually got to meet the artist, Rob Regur! I was shy because I’ve been a fangirl since forever. Finally on the second swing by his booth I got up the courage to ask for an autograph. It helped that Bug was shelling out some funds for a really cool cat-scratch black sweatshirt for herself. He was super nice and even drew me a picture! Of course I put my foot in my mouth and said something stupid about liking him since I was twelve, which is totally not true because he is only 50 and I am 46. I got my age wrong. It just felt like I’ve been a fan since I was 12 but it was probably more like I was a fan since college. Whatever. Fangirl brain has dumb.

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Speaking of illustrating I have had a brilliant idea. What about Christmas Postcards! I was going to make cards for Christmas this year and sell them in my shop but as you probably know if you follow me on Instagram, I have a thing for postcards. I like to draw and write at least one a day. So why not make Christmas postcards! Who needs an envelope? I always struggle with filling up all that white space in a card anyway. It’s wasted! A postcard is nice because you only have enough room to scrawl a few lines. So that’s my plan.

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I’m thinking Little Hoo Christmas cards. Though I would totally use the Papa Hoo card all year around. I might add a few more designs (Christmas Fairy for Gingermog and Stringing Popcorn and Cranberries for Heather..) or I might not. Still thinking on it. Of course I’ll brand up the backside with some cutesy SAJ style.

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I was also thinking about making some SueBee cards. Remember her? She’s inspired by my mom. Which style do you like better? Vector on the left or sketchy on the right. I like the vector style better personally but Bug likes the sketchy style. I’m torn. Bug usually has good taste.

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You know what else is happening this summer? ANTS. It has been the summer of the Great Ant Conquest. They are out to take over our house with a vengeance. I swear they will probably outlive us and slowly eat our entire house bite by bite. Everyday we find new trails and spend hours spraying them with poison and then cleaning up their trails of dead bodies.

I can thank the ants for my sparkling clean pantry that is now all reorganized and purged of anything with a sugar content. In fact, I got so into cleaning and reorganizing that I asked Payam to build me small shelves in the giant shelves that I used to always lose things in and he did! It is soooo much better. It’s amazing how now I can see everything in the pantry at one time and I don’t have to dig. It’s the best thing ever. So I guess having an ant problem has it’s perks.

We think they have a colony in the attic so we will be calling an exterminator and taking care of that soon.

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That pretty much wraps up this summer as I know it.  As Cody says, Stay cool, dudes!