Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bad Day

I had a a bad day yesterday. Actually a continuation of a bad weekend dealing with elderly folks, and yesterday, The Freshman with a dead cellphone not being at the rendez-vous. Btw, Campus Police are great. So make my day and tell me how bad your day was or your worst day. Misery loves company.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Friday Five

This past week, The Young One was introduced to the history and traditions of WPI and officially became an Engineer. Five fun facts about the college.

1. Robert Goddard, class of 1908, graduated with a BS degree in General Science ( a new degree at that time). He is known as the father of modern rocketry

2. The school mascot is Gompei the Goat. Gompei is named after Gompei Kuwada, class of 1893. Gompei was given the job of taking care of a real live goat in 1891. He was chosen because his initials were G.K. and could stand for Goat Keeper.

3. Freshman wore maroon and grey beanies with a maroon bill and a W on the front. The Freshman and Sophomore classes compete in activities throughout the year. The class with the most points is awarded the coveted Goat's Head Trophy. One of the first competitions is the Rope Pull (tug of war). If the Freshman class wins the event, they were allowed to remove their beanies. Otherwise, beanies had to be worn until Thanksgiving.

4. As a class they crossed Earle Bridge and received their beanies. They will not cross this bridge as a class until graduation day.

5. WPI fight song:

E to the X
D-Y, D-X
E to the X
Cosine Secant, Tangent, Sine
E-I, Radical, Pi
Fight 'em, Fight 'em, WPI

Does your college have any fun facts or traditions?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Suitable Decoration

Some acrylic paint, a couple of cottton swabs and voilá forget-me-nots or posies. I might have gotten a little carried away as the writing looks like it got lost. Hopefully, the whole thing will draw attention to the fact that there is a door bell. Otherwise, I'll have to have Erica over to scrub the wall with 409 and a sponge. She's an expert at wall art removal. (-;

What's keeping you amused today?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Can Read the Writing on the Wall

We have a doorbell in our enclosed, front porch.  Problem is for some odd reason, people rarely ring the bell. They either stand on the front steps and knock on the screen/storm door or enter the porch and knock on the front door.  It's not a problem if I happen to be in the kitchen, but I can't hear them knocking if I'm in the sun room or down in the studio.

The porch had to be remodeled because of winter ice damming and hail damage from a storm in June. With a new light, new coat of paint, we decided a new bell button was deserved. The lovely white wall gave me the itch to write on it. Hopefully, directing visitors to ring the bell.

The layout and writing has been completed. Suitable decoration will be added. 

I was admiring my work and happily  thinking I didn't have to go stand in the corner for writing on the wall. Did you ever write on the walls when you were a kid? Do you write on walls now?

Monday, August 23, 2010

New Beginnings

Thirteen years ago, The Young One boarded the kindergarten bus to begin her academic career.  Yesterday we drove her to WPI for this week's orientation program.

As Erica is fond of saying, we had a toad strangler rain though the wet didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the Class of 2014.

In the afternoon, the President of the college welcomed the class with 9 words that would guarantee them academic success: Go to class. Do the work. Ask for help.

This class has already set some records. There are 924 students that make up this class. The largest class to be admitted to the school. 34% of this class are young women. 1/3 of this class had a 4.0 GPA in their high school class. The average combined SAT score was 1294.

Watching her navigate the lines, deciding which programs to attend, she seems so mature, but at the same time so young. When I looked at the picture of her getting off the kindergarten bus, I couldn't help but think, this photograph was just taken yesterday. And at the same time I'm excited my baby is ready to spread her wings and soar.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Friday Five

This week, I had the opportunity to teach a children's class at the museum. I had a group of six 11 to 13 year old girls. The class was the Art, Culture, and Language of Ireland. We learned to write an Uncial script (used in the 6th c.) with dip pen and ink, learned to draw knotwork, animals, decorated initials and a few words and phrases in the Irish. Five reasons why I had a good time:

1. After a brief shy period, the girls warmed up and there was chatter in the class while we worked. (The evening adult classes are very, very quiet as most of the adults are coming from a long day of work. They just want a chance to chillax.)

2. Each day we visited something in the gallery, talked about it, and then went back to the studio to work what we had seen into our artwork. We were in one of the Medieval Galleries looking at a Frankish belt buckle that had knotwork etched in the metal. Before we left, I told the girls to look up at the ceiling which was a highly decorated beamed ceiling. I've seen the ceiling a million times and for the first time, I noticed a design that looked like a King Solomon's knot, which was one of the knots we were learning how to draw!

3. I love the willingness of the kids to try. Sometimes when you ask adult students to try something, there's a lot of negative feedback. I can't. I'm not good enough. The girls just jumped right in. Didn't second guess what they were doing. They were very pleased and happy with their efforts. I wonder as adults when we lose that spontaneity?

4. We had a couple of accidents with a little spilled ink on the table. We had fun trying to see what picture we could find in the blot. Rorschach would have been pleased.

5. The best part was introducing these girls to a dip pen and ink. Most had never seen or used a broad-edge pen. They all picked up the alphabet quite quickly and did a wonderful job in such a short time frame. Maybe instead of doing their report covers on the computer, they'll decorate their covers by hand.

Did you have a fun week?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


My latest work entitled Exterior Door.  The door is a metaphor for opening possibilities as well as the entrance to the porch. Look how the rain water just beads up on the glossy white paint job. Is it not a thing of beauty? Reminds us to let the negative things around us roll off as we step across the threshold to those possibilities. Wipe your feet!

What are you working on this week?

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Friday Five

My friend, Bev, recently visited Boston in England and she sent me a post card. Thanks Bev, I love it! I think she was hinting that this Boston was "the real one." This week's Friday Five is how similar Boston in England is to Boston, Massachusetts.

Starting in the upper left corner is Strait Bargate which looks like a pedestrian shopping mall. Continuing clockwise is The Marina, The Market Place and St. Botolph's Church

1. Boston, MA has Old North Church. You know, "the one if by land and two if by sea" church. That's a statue of Paul Revere in the foreground.

2. Boston, MA has a harbor, too. Here, The USS Constitution fires a 21 gun salute as she makes her annual harbor turnaround cruise on July 4. "Old Ironsides" is the world's oldest commissioned warship.

3. Haymarket Square is home to an open air produce market Friday afternoon and Saturday, year round

4. The produce market is located behind Fanueil (rhymes with Flannel) Hall/Quincy Market Place, an pedestrian shopping mall with upscale stores, and street performers.

5. Both cities are spelled the same.

Is your city or town named after a city or town in "the old country"?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Little Time Waster

The other day I joined the No Good At Art Club on Facebook. Found a link there to the happiest little time waster. You can change colors. You can change your "tool" from ribbon, to simple, to sketchy, to fur.

I made my little gem using web while I was on hold with HP Customer Service. Give it a try. Go ahead. I know you want to.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Product

While buying some supplies for The Young One, I saw this eraser. Normally, I use a kneaded eraser, but sometimes the line doesn't erase cleanly. Black Pearl. It looked so exotic. Since, The Young One was getting some stuff, I just had to have a new toy. I liked the oval shape. It feels very smooth like a river stone. I was a little worried, it would leave a mark on the paper like it's sibling Pink Pearl, but it doesn't. Erases cleanly though it leaves large black crumbs to be brushed off. Might be my eraser du jour from now on.

Can you go through an office supply store without dropping a small chunk of change?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Road Trip

You can read about the Road Trip here

Have you ever tried to do a good deed, and then questioned your sanity?

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Friday Five

At last week's Clan Gathering, I learned my niece has Celiac disease. Five things I learned:

1. It's not a food allergy. It's an autoimmune disorder. The lining of the small intestine is damaged by gluten found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley

2. The niece will be a college sophomore. I was surprised to learn onset of this disorder can occur any time. I wondered why the condition hadn't been caught when she was much younger.

3.  It's genetic. I'll have to warn my girlies.

4. There is no cure, but the disease can be controlled by diet. One has to  thoroughly read food labels for hidden gluten, but there are a lot of gluten free products on the market.

5. Chocolate cupcakes were served at the Gathering. If I hadn't been told they were gluten free, I never would have known. They were made from a Betty Crocker mix and were delicious.

You can learn more about the disease at the Mayo Clinic site. Do you know anyone who has this disorder?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Aurora Borealis - Part 2

At 8 pm there was a chance to see the aurora,but it was still too light to be able to see anything. A run outside an hour later showed a clear sky with hundreds of sparkling stars. Perfect. The next possible viewing was 1 am.

I went to bed after the 11 pm news. Took a short nap. And this is what greeted me when I went outside. Murk. Grey murk. Not a single clear patch of sky. Disappointed! Deep sigh.

So seeing the aurora is still on my bucket list.

Do you have a bucket list? Have you been able to check anything off?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Aurora Borealis

One of the things I would like to see is the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. I've often joked seeing the aurora is one of the items on my bucket list. Every once in a blue moon, this light show is visible from southern latitudes like Boston., and it always seems I miss the opportunity. Most times, the weather is cloudy, or it rains, or the neighbors up and down the street have their outside lights on.

This morning, I caught a tweet from a news agency that said the light show would be visible in the Boston area! A link I followed stated the estimated time the lights would appear would be 1AM Wed, 4. August 2010.  ARGH! Missed it by that much!

Puttering around while sipping my morning tea, I came across another news bite:

"The latest estimates are that the plasma will arrive in four waves, one at 3 a.m. Wednesday, one at 1 p.m. Wednesday, one at 8 p.m. Wednesday, and one at 2 a.m. Thursday, said David Aguilar, a spokesman for the Harvard-Smithsonian center."  Metrodesk

The aurora won't be visible during the day, but I still have two chances! Two!  Check your area to see if the aurora will be visible from your neck of the woods.

Have you ever seen the aurora? Is there something you want to see or do, that you keep missing out on?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Quiet Time

Early morning never used to be my favorite time of day. It was always a hectic time getting the girlies breakfast and off to school. Looking for homework papers and shoes. Now they don't see daylight before mid-morning, if they can help it. So this time has now become mine. Quiet time before the day really begins. Time stretched out before me.  So much ahead and yet no rush.

When is your favorite time of day?

Monday, August 2, 2010


This piece evolved from the Bob Marley quote "Light up the darkness." I like the sentiment of the quote, but this quote is not in the public domain. A search online through the King James Bible, yielded: Thou wilt light my candle: For the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness." Psalm 18:28

I did the Bob Marley quote in my sketch book using a black on black technique which looked better in my head than it did on paper. I still wanted a dark background, but switched to Ziller's Winter White acrylic ink for writing the verse. The quote was written out in several different layouts. The one I liked best was a calligram, words written to form a shape, a candle. A gold leafing pen was used to draw the flame before the background paints and plastic wrap was applied. The leafing pen acts as a resist, that is ink or paint won't adhere to it's surface.A wash made from Twinrocker's Sparkle Gold and Super Sparkle, with a drop or two of gum arabic (for a binder) was applied to create the halo of the candle flame. The effect doesn't show up well in the photograph.

Did you know the only Bible that is in the public domain is the King James version?