Tuesday, July 31, 2007

paintin' weenies!

I know I haven't posted in a few days... but I just spent the weekend in NYC for the JA conference (more to come about that... just give me a few days! Jeez... you people expect too much from me... hehehe) BUT I came home to painting hot dogs! I'm 2/3rds done... so expect photos tomorrow!

But to tide you over, how 'bout a quote...

“A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz.”

-Humphrey Bogart

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

side work...

For those of you who don't know... I sometimes do a little mural painting. I don't do it very often (it always messes with my neck... and promises to send me to Sue, the massuse that I highly recommend)... just usually when friends guilt me to paint their children's rooms.

But every once in a while I get roped in by New England Hot Dog Company (if you click on gallery on their site you can see my boys in hot dog costumes that I made for halloween a few years back) to paint in their stores. So, seeing the cash will help pay off some debt, who am I to turn it down!

We always do the same work for each store... Stick figure (yes, you read this correctly) kids with a wiener dog (my addition) with ice cream and hot dogs and good stuff like that. Then the lettering on the bathroom doors... but at childs hight, I paint a little boy on the men's door and a girl on the woman's door (just to keep it amusingly kid friendly.)

The other artwork in the shop will be old sepia tone photos of the town the shop's in, Plymouth. Well, there is this long hallway outside of the bathroom... and I thought it would be a fun tie-in of the old sepia photographs and the child like mural in the 'dog pound' (the childrens counter) to paint images of dancing hot dogs! Think about years ago when you went to the movies... and they had the snacks dancing to the song 'Let's all go to the Lobby!' Wouldn't that be cute!

So... here is my uber quick sketch of what I'm thinking...

But I was joking that I should paint this on the kitchen/office door to keep the little kiddo's out...


Monday, July 23, 2007

The Man is Trying to Keep Me Down!

Every once in a while I feel the need to go on a little diatribe about something that effects (or adversely effects) my life… well, it’s about time for a new rant!

Oh where oh where do I start?

Sal is moving back to Boston. And to get him back here, we’re trying to get an apartment. We both like the idea of an artist live/work loft… so I started proceeding with all the searching and paperwork and things of that nature to find us a home! In Boston, a great deal of the artist housing is controlled by the BRA (the Boston Redevelopment Authority.) To get housing with them, you have to become a certified artist.

Side note, I inquired about this around 3 years ago when I moved back from Chicago. They flat out told me not to bother applying, because I am NOT an artist, I am a craftsperson. Well, I decided that I deserve a space… so I would show them the artist I am and not give them the opportunity to turn me down!!! I pulled together my artist resume, burned a cd of my 20 best images, list of public exhibitions, list of my commissions for the last 6 months, and a few KICK A$$ references (Thank you Thank you… you know who you are!) and I hand delivered it to the appropriate person at that Brutalistic structure that we in Boston know as City Hall.

Well, they (1) apologized about turning me down a few years ago (they have become more lenient about the artist/craftsperson thing) and (2) took one quick peek through all of my information and told me that I will have no problem being approved. YAY! It almost seemed something was going my way.

Now… how would you like to like in an old chocolate factory? I WOULD! And there was a 1000 s/f work/live studio at the Walter Baker Lofts! It’s on the Milton/Dorchester line… in the lower mills. AND IT WAS PERFECT (well, Sal didn’t like the floors… but whatever… he’s gone 4 days a week! Ha!) There were HUGE factory style windows, a nice kitchen, big closed, a bathtub… and even an extra big closet with a window that I could solder and polish in (to keep the really dirty stuff out of the living space.) I LOVED IT!

So, we went to the office to discuss renting it… I was all excited!!! And they said that I had to make a minimum of $41,000 if I wanted to rent it alone BUT cannot make more than $50,000. WAIT? WHAT! HOLD ON!!! What the hell do you mean that I cannot make over $50,000 (which is not a problem, because I’m poor… but WHAT?)


So, I decided to press on and discuss the parameters for the two of us to qualify (because Sal would be living with me.) Well, just as before, you must make at least $41,000 minimum… and $57,000 maximum. WAIT? WHAT? WHO CAME UP WITH THIS??? With TWO of us living there, we were only allowed to make 7k more than if an individual lived there? Now I was getting annoyed. Sal actually said that he never thought being employed would be a problem! But because I live in this wonderful place that I like to call Denial… I kept plugging along. She showed us the recent utility bills. You have to pay HEAT, HOT WATER, ELECTRICITY, AIR CONDITIONING, PHONE, CABLE, ETC. And during the winter the heat alone gets up to $250/mo!

Let’s do a little math…

Rent… $1,200.00/mo
Utilities… $600ish/mo

Total… $21,600/year

Now… if you only make $50k/year (the maximum) what does that leave after rent??? OH YES… $28,400!

Nearly 1/2 of you salary gone to this apartment! Do they want you to eat? Buy supplies (you do have to show that you are producing a recent body of work!)? Have any type of life what so ever? Better yet… DO THEY WANT YOU TO SUCCEED?

To get accepted into the housing you have to show at least 2 years worth of taxes. Then, you have to submit your taxes every year! So, if you have a good year… YOU’RE OUT! They kick you’re a$$ out on the street! So, if you want to stay there, and you’re doing well… I guess your only option is to lie on your taxes. Hey, back a starving artist into a corner and watch ‘em come out swinging (or cry… we cry… a lot!)

The property management suggested that I could hold the lease and Sal be the Guarantor (makes sense to me)… and after speaking with the woman from the BRA, they laughed and said that would never happen. Does the BRA (AKA, the Man) want to keep artists from succeeding? Honestly, you would have to remain stagnant for ever if you want a home to live in.

Here is another example of how they are causing the downfall of art in Boston…

They suggested I look at Midway Studios… it’s near my favorite bar, Lucky’s. They have an artist studio for rent… FOR NEARLY $2,300/mo PLUS UTILITIES! AND IT HAS THE SAME PRICE RESTRICTIONS!!! What person making 50k/year could afford much for living?

Well, the maximum for 5 people living together is $77,443. So… those people could each pay around $540/mo. I guess when each person only makes about 15k/year it would be feasible!


Now… I know this only affects a very small portion of people in Massachusetts… but it affects me! So, I’m really annoyed. And it’s not just because I can’t get the flipping cool loft… it’s more than that. I think I’m annoyed because I was trying to do things by the book. I didn’t want to just set up an illegal shop in the second bedroom of an apartment (like some meth-lab that may blow up the whole building!) I was trying to be responsible.

There are other artist studio only spaces for rent… but they are in less desirable areas. And working with rather expensive precious materials… well… I don’t want to be mugged or have my shop broken into. (My buddy D had a place in the Distillery in the So End, she was broken into 2 time in 3 months… and the management did NOTHING about it!) And as a ‘poor artist’ I cannot afford jewelers insurance (which covers theft.) But it’s not just the materials I’m working with… it’s my tools! AND MY TOOLS WERE INSANELY EXPENSIVE!!! It’s just a security thing! I could get a space in the jewelers building (jewelers are going under left and right, so they have all kinds of spaces) BUT I would probably be more likely to be mugged walking out of the building than I would in Mission Hill at midnight! Last summer, 3 different jewelers got hit for over 1 million each! Okay, okay, I know I don’t have a million dollars worth of anything… but it’s still the idea!!!

Now, the other part that annoys me… this is just a truly personal AND I know that art is subjective… BUT THE HALLS OF THE BAKER BUILDING HAD SOME OF THE WORST ART I HAVE EVER SEEN! I’m talking bad enough to be in the Museum of Bad Art bad! 8 Foot paintings of a Barbi Doll bad! And they have the live/work space! And I will say it again… I UNDERSTAND ART IS SUBJECTIVE… but I work my ass off, and people don’t have to like what I make but I think they could respect me as an artisan. I just don’t quite know what to say about what I saw!

So… here I am, stuck in this gray area. Too poor to get the proper insurance or a secure space… and with Sal, I’m too wealthy to qualify for the insanely small window that is Artist Housing in Massachusetts.

Now… the rant has come to a close. This was a great way to get some of my thoughts (however scattered they are) on paper so I can now take my time and compose the proper letter to the BRA and the Walter Baker Lofts. So if you actually read through this entire chunk of verbal diarrhea, I thank you! But I do want to leave you with one thought…

A professor at Mass Art once said to me…

‘You need four things to make art… space, time, money and ideas. You will never have all four at the same time.’

Well… apparently in Boston, space is what is the most lacking. I just hope artists can find a way to keep producing. Nothing worth having comes easy!

Nighty Night All!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


My buddy Paul sent me this... hehehe.

But this woman is classy and calm, just a little eye ball bulge going on... I screamed like a little girl!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

the visitor in my room...

Okay... so I haven't been sleeping at all lately. It comes down between the two week long migraine I have been fighting and the general stresses of my life (getting a new apartment, the engagement ring I'm working on has to be re-cast for the 3rd time due to pitting in the platinum and all the costs I have incurred in the process, finding a part time job, and a whole host of other things) has been keeping me up nights.

So, last night I decded that I would get a good nights sleep! I broke down and took migraine meds (which I hate taking ANY meds what so ever) and took a nice hot shower. I was in the middle of laying down and writing a new 'TO DO' list (so I wouldn't have things to fret over as I was falling asleep) and I heard this strange buzzing noise. A lifted my head and what do I see...


I screamed like a little girl and ran into my folks room (for those of you who don't know, I moved home to start my busieness... I won't be here much longer, but last night I was thrilled that my dad was in my house!) So, right as I got into my parents room, I realized that I forgot to shut my bedroom door!!! OH CRIKIES!!!

So, my father came upstairs (thinking somebody broke in and was killing me) and found me curled up in a ball on their floor (I didn't want a bat to make a nest in my uber long frizzy curly rats nest that I call my hair!) and my mother was screaming for him to close the door.

OH GOD!!! This is not the relaxing evening that I was looking for!!!

Okay... we all calmed down and thought it through. My father first tried to catch it in a sheet... didn't work. But then it landed on my closet door trim (across the room) so he ran in and grabbed my computer off my bed so I could do Google search for 'how to catch a bat'... this is what I found.

So, my dad was dressed with a sweatshirt, ball cap, fitted bottom sheet over his head and shoulders, another sheet in front of him AND leather gloves on... went to catch the unwelcomed visitor. Hahaha. He tried to capture it in a tupperware, but it was on the fancy trim of my closet door, so he couldn't get a good seal over it. He tried towels, fishing nets, sheets, etc! Nothing worked. So, we just hoped that if we opened the screen to the window, the bat would just fly out.

My father waved a sheet to scare the bat, it started flying again and ran out of the room. All three of us stood on the opposite side of the door... watching through the crack. After a few minutes of it flying around, we didn't see it. Dad went in, and it wasn't hanging on the spot on the closet again. He started poking around with a tennis racket to see if he could find where it landed... and after a couple of minutes of poking around he decided that the bat flew out the window! Yay!

So, I walk in (all calm again) and peek under my bed... nothing. I calm down a little more. Then I hit at my curtains and IN SLOW MOTION I HEARD THE BUZZING NOISE AGAIN AND IT CAME OUT OF THE BACK SIDE OF THE CURTAIN AND FLEW DIRECTLY AT MY FACE! (I AM STILL FREAKING OUT OVER THIS!)

Well, to make this ever so long story a little shorter... we really didn't want to harm the bat, but he had succumb to a dry dust mop. Dad gave it a good swat and stunned it, scooped it up in a towel and threw it out the window. I don't think it survivied. We hated to harm it... but unfortunately, it just wouldn't leave!

OH! AND IT WAS THE BIGGEST BAT I'VE EVER SEEN!!! Ask my folks... they will agree!!!

Needless to say, I didn't sleep last night. I curled up on the couch wih the dogs (because I was NOT about to sleep in that room and they boys will protect me... ha!) And even now (maybe because I'm so exhausted) I keep thinking that it's flying past me... or next to me... or living in my pile of books or my files or my clothes hamper or my underware drawer! I'm having issues today!

So, my mommy made me blueberry pancakes to calm me down. Ha! And she's going to go up there with me later to move all kinds of stuff and clean to make sure there are no others. I know I know, I'm a big baby... BUT IT FLEW RIGHT AT MY FACE!

But at least my folks and I had a few really good laughs over it. And my migraine is gone.

I just need sleep!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

wedding earrings...

These are wedding earrings to be complimentary to the 3 stone square a-sym ring.


1 a/b is the simple version. 14K Yellow, Oval elongated hoop, 1/4 carat champagne diamond set in a very heavy bezel (to add some size to the stone.)

2 a/b has the same oval hoop, but it has 3 squares of gold with a row of bead set champagne diamonds running across the bottom of each square. Add a little bit of a dangle and weight to them. It will have that slight Indian chandlier feel to them.

3 a/b is the bling version. This is the uber wedding pair of earrings. Down the front of each hoop is bead set champagne diamonds... scattered in the upper area and becoming more condensed as they travel down. The same square bezel set diamond is at the bottom. And even the bezel can be covered with more champagne diamonds!!! hehehe

4 a/b has a forged pattern to the hoop (to add sparkle to it) and then to make the stone larger, I would set it in a bezel then have a second bezel around that with a space inbetween. This will give it a nice larger size, but keep it airy and light in weight.

Now, lots of these parts can be interchanged. i.e., The forging can go on any hoop (except for the one that the diamonds are set on), etc.

I'll keep you posted on which way we go!

Friday, July 13, 2007

fillin' time...

Well, I'm currently filling my days with the following:

1. Working on the new website, presskits, etc (well... it's not JUST me working on it. It's Sal and Pickett and a host of others waiting in the wings to proof read when we're all done writing.) We're shooting to be dones with all of this by the end of August... let's see if we can stick to this date!

2. Applying for Artist Work/Live Space. To get an artist loft in Boston, you have to become a certified artist through the BRA (hehehe)... the Boston Redevelopment Authority. I need to PROVE (1) that I have formal training (2) I have a new body of work from the past 3 years and (3) I have references to back me up. Well... I have all 3, and I plan to hand off the application next week. BUT there is one small problem. I spoke with them a couple of years ago and whomever it was told me that I am not an artist, I'm a CRAFTSMAN!

I guess it just makes me laugh to think that they are the decision makers on the 'WHAT IS ART' debate that has been going on for years.

3. Working on some wedding bands, wedding earrings (I'll post images later), and some designs FOR MY NEW ONLINE STORE (shhhh... it's still a secret!)

4. Applying for jobs! YES! I need to break down and get a part time job! Ugh! Lowes, here I come!

And piles and bunches of other things too!

Today I am hiding at my family's cottage... and I'm going to the beach. I know, I know... I have so much to do that should be home working. Well, I'm being selfish! hehehe

Soooo... tonight I'll have more sketches on here (wedding earrings) but today I'll enjoy the sun. Don't forget to get a little yourself! Don't want to catch scurvy or rickets.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

wedding designs...

I met with a client tonight to discuss his wedding band (the wifey-to-be picked hers up at Longs to match her engagment ring.) Now, he's pretty cool, so I knew I could suggest rings with a subtle hint of something different (well, he's not the most daring person, so very very subtle! hehehe!)

He decided on the upper center ring. It will be the opposite of a traditional band... it has a slight concave center. Very soft, very comfortable. And when it has a nice high polish, it will have a crazy reflective surface... and it will almost have a liquid like look.

Now... he has the diamond that his father gave his mother and wants a pendant made for his wifey-to-be. So, I came up with all different styles to choose from...

So, we decided that it would be smartest to make the simple pendant (front sketch is on the right side center and the profile is lower left) because she could wear it every day. BUT my cool little twist (because I ALWAYS love to have that hidden little detail) is the profile of the bezel will be the same profile of his ring.

I thought seeing their wedding bands won't match, this may be a nice was to have a faint hint of cohesiveness between his ring and her pendant. And for her, it will be a nice combination of something old and something new.

Monday, July 09, 2007

My NEW camera!

So... Sal got me a sweet new camera for my birthday! It's a Panasonic Lumix with a Leica Lens. It's 10.2 megapixels, 28mm wide angle lens and a 2.8" LCD! And it takes the most amazing close up images!

You judge for yourself!

And you should think of clicking on the image and viewing the LARGE version of it. LOOK AT THE DETAIL! SWEET!

Monday, July 02, 2007

new phone...

Last week my cell phone freaked out. I have one of those skinny Motorola Razor phones... and it wouldn't recognize simple things like shutting down, ending calls when folded in half... and it stopped showing me voice mail messages. So, I called T-Mobil, and after trying to reset the phone they just said OKAY, WE'LL SEND YOU A NEW ONE.

Wow. I didn't realize that they would actually send me a new phone. I guess I just made it under the 1 year mark. Yay, T-Mobil. Love them!

But I did notice that I couldn't transfer my photos from one camera to the other (or I just couldn't figure out how to save them to my SIM card.) So, after going thru them, I decided to just email them to myself. So, I will share with all of you what I seem to photograph with my phone... hehehe...

Okay, just remember... I like to take random photos of things that make me smile and giggle.

This is a mural in the enterence of a Nordstroms just outside of DC... how silly is this!!!

How about this large gentleman with a POWERPUFF GIRLS backpack...

... And I LOVE to take photos of my little wiener dogs (just incase you haven't noticed yet!)...

This is my Scooter sleeping with his face burried in his stuffed doggie...

And How about my little napping men... loving the sunshine...

Or how about Scooter sleeping on his back and showing off his mean little teeth...

...OR this little knit stuffed wiener dog that I found in France. I missed my boys enough that I considered buying it... BUT when I realized that it would have actually cost me MORE than the adoption fees that I spent on my dogs I knew it wasn't a wise purchase. But damn, it was cute...

And to finish... this is the photo that Sal took of himself with my camera phone... he thought he would upload himself as the wallpaper on the phone. Seeing he's such a serious person, this was something very silly for him to do... so it would always make me smile when I saw it...

(And I made that scarf for him.)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

bad blogger... BAD BAD BLOGGER!


I'm sorry that I've been sooo horrible about blogging this past week. It's just so nice and sunny out... and the pool has been calling me... and if I tried to take the computer outside it would create a horrible glare on the screen... and my dogs wanted to swim, and how could I say no to them???

Well, actually, I've just felt super lazy about updating. Sorry!

But, for tonight, I'll leave you with a quote...

"Don't give a woman advice: one should never give a woman anything she can't wear in the evening" ... Oscar Wilde

More tomorrow!
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