Sunday, May 31, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 179

I've been slowly stepping into this whole wide painting world.

First I got some canvas, then better paints. Now that I begin to know what I need more I'm finally heading down that scary aisle and making selections.

I got my first non all mixed up in a package paintbrush:Fancy I know. It's even got a wood handle (which I'm sure to dip into paint the first time I use it).

Can I declare this a full blown hobby now?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 178

When you're alone
And life is making you lonely,
You can always go ach Dollar store!Where you're sure to find something for everyone, whether they want it or not.

For the luau goers in your life a bikini top made out of the hottest fashion material around: foam.Be warned, foam is not water resistant and will probably melt if you go near water.

If you're hoping to escape the heat by pretending it's actually Christmas these wide eyed children will glare down at you from atop your mantle and judge your soul to determine if you are worthy of your meager existence in this world:Looking for a deal that is only a bargain because no one in their right mind would buy it?

Try this once $12 shadowbox from none other than Hallmark:I love the realism of using old rags from the garage to simulate the t-shirt and shorts. Really makes me think of dank and moldy weight rooms in the basement of gyms where that weird guy who eats nothing buy whey powder lives.

If you're in the mood for some stereotypes you can get more than your fill at the Dollar Store. I love nothing more than perpetuating the myth that women only try to trap men into marriages to take away all their fun time and turn them into mindless workers:It's our only way of taking down both the beer and video game industry with one gigantic novelty whistle.

And when your husband isn't at your beck and call you could get this strange husband stress doll:I have no idea why you married a Mexican wrestler, but that's your own problem. You may want to look into some balsa wood furniture while you're here as well.

But to go with El Luchador you could get this snazzy purse made from the skin of one of the last wild Snagglepusses:Heavens to Murgatroyd, indeed! Now excuse me while I must Exit, Stage Left even!

If seeing a beloved cartoon character skinned alive and used to hold your chapstick isn't enough to terrorize your children til they're 30 and living in a gym eating whey powder how about this lovely cartoon book where Spider-Man has to fight off gigantism:
I don't want to give away the ending but I hear Doc Oc tries pulling his head off while Lizard has a nice game of Frisbee with Cyclops.

Whew, it's been a long day. I think I'll just take a little snack:And oh why not, I'll take that plate with a constipated hippo in black and white:Time to head home, reflect on all my wonderful purchases I got for one whole dollar, and sleep til it's time to run in my wheel:G'night!

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's Friday, to heck with thinking

Has everyone seen the Star Trek Movie? Yes? Okay good.

Now how about the Marvel/DC movies? What do you mean no? Too bad, you have to watch this anyway:

And if you're hoping for a Deadpool movie, I can hook you up with some help from a photographer:

Ah the Blockbuster season is like breeding time for geeks. If you're not careful we'll ram an ovipositor down your throat and infest your chest with our eggs of awesomeness.

So I'm just saying if you do go to the theatres you better wear a metal trash can lid around your torso for protection.

Picture a Day - Day 177

Yesterday my husband and I skipped out of work early (not that either of us were missing anything, bacteria can be so dull) to meet with our realtor.

Yep we got ourselves a realtor. He was recommended to us by the mortgage loan guy. I should have figured it out about as soon as we got into his truck and I spotted the camo baby seat but it wasn't til we got onto discussing what we were looking for in a house that a dog came up.

I left my poor husband to fill in most of the conversation gaps (I am a real pain to most salesmen as I go super quiet while going into my contemplative phase so they're forced to either just wander off or talk to my husband) and he brought up that we really want a good sized back yard for a dog.

Which dog? Why my Dad raises black labs so a big ol black dog of course. Really? Where are you from, what's your last name?

Long story short (actually that was probably the long story, sorry about that) it turns out that our realtor is into hunt tests and has met my dad a few times (there's also a small possibility I've seen him before as well as his name seemed oddly familiar before we started). It is indeed a small world.

Anyway to the houses. We saw five. Two were right out (in fact we vetoed them on Sunday but well maybe they deserved a second look, right honey?). One we kicked out as it just didn't really fit our style.

So we come to the last two. Both are split level, both are blue on the outside (not saying it's important just kinda funny), both have about the same layout and we could see ourselves living in both.

But one stands out more. It's a bit bigger and a bit more expensive but they already have a dog kennel built in (and friendly puppies that really wanted to play) and two bathrooms.We're gonna hit a few more open houses this weekend and see if there's anything else that trips our fancy, but so far out of everything we've seen this wins.

The strange thing is that every time we meet with someone we're always told that it's going to be an emotional decision, that as soon as we enter a house we'll know, etc etc.

I hope no one is looking to me to make the emotional decision because I carry around some ovaries. I'm as cool as a Vulcan in Rura Penthe when it comes to making decisions. Picking a wedding dress I weighed the pros and cons of what I found and picked (still in one day) the one that I found fit the best, was the cheapest, and I could easily spend a day in.

There was never an "A Ha!" moment then and I rather doubt I'll ever have one when it comes to house hunting, and certainly not as soon as I enter a house (I have to at least check out the backyard first).

Sorry, just my mad ramblings on house hunting. Maybe I'll put something much more concise about the whole experience down when we're finally all done. For now you get half thoughts and random pictures of someones fireplace.

It could be worse. I could make more Star Trek references.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I got scooped!

If you haven't yet today head over to Cake Wrecks right now. Don't worry I'll wait.

Trust me. I'll just sit here and work on this crossword.

Did one of those pictures seem a little familiar?

Remember oh late April? About a month ago. That's right! I took that picture.

Only that wasn't my picture. Oh, the shame. The horror. I got scooped on a blog devoted to hilarious cakes gone wrong!

I was Iced and ButterCreamed!
I should do something about it! Call in the copyright police! Get Oprah on the phone! Write a million dollar book deal! Boycott all baked goods!

Okay, putting all false anger and outrage aside (Wait I got one more, Won't somebody please think of the children?!) this is probably the first time I've ever really suddenly had the ubiquitous of the internet felt.

Because this means that someone else on the web that visits CakeWrecks enough to take a camera into a grocery store not only lives in my same town but also shops at the same grocery store (and yes we do have more than one in Nebraska) we got our wedding cake from.

I see all these other blogs in more metropolitan areas talking about how they met up with some other local friendly blogger and had a great time. I think the closest ones I live to are in Texas or possibly Chicago. So more like a major vacation instead of a day trip to hang out.

And now there's suddenly someone out there, swooping in and stealing all my awesome ideas. I better not spot an Extroverted Paintings shop on Etsy anytime soon that offers painting of ring bearers and flower girls's clothes or I may have to call for another boycott of baked goods, and no one wants that.

In all honesty if the other "screwed up graduate faces" photographer stops by here for some magical reason I'd love to go out to said grocery store, share a few cookies, and comment on that huge weird ass bunny they had in the display case over Easter.

Picture a Day - Day 176

Hurray! Summer is here! (ignoring the fact that it turned cold and rainy overnight)

A time for late nights spent chasing fireflys, cold drinks on hot days, camping out in front of the pool and lots of grilling.
So of course that means meat prices are going to soar because everyone will want to be flocked around the grill asking what's so good (cursed supply and demand).

But have no fear, marinade is here!

I actually learned this one from my Mother-in-Law. It's a favorite of my husbands so I gave it a few tries using the meat du jor (flank steak) but I've started to branch it out to anything that's tough or has little to no marbling.

Basically this makes any steak you normally would never let near an open flame just perfect for that quick sear.

First you need a cut of meat that was a bit on sale. You'll want to score it. Then just mix all this together:

1/2 cup Italian dressing
2 TBSP brown sugar
2 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp garlic

I know, it looks like such a weird combination but it gets this very interesting and specific flavoring. It's a little sweet from the brown sugar and a little salty from the soy sauce, but the Italian dressing gives it a more meaty flavor.

I generally just make it the night before, then in the morning before work flip the meat over once and when we come home toss these puppies out on the grill.

That's how I secretly turn a cheap piece of meat into something almost dinner party ready. And sadly that's about the only recession tip I have. Unless you want me to try and turn your drapes into a big pile of fabric on the floor. I can probably handle that.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Etsy find of the week - Matiz

Aside from knowing that you're sure to get more pictures than you know what to do with when you visit my blog each day I've been thinking more and more that I should start to get some better structure to my non-picture a day posts. A little something to look foward to as it were.

But I don't want to box myself in too bad so I've just slated two ideas, one for Wednesday's and the other for Friday.

You'll have to wait til Friday to find out about that one but today I present my Etsy find of the week.

Just what is my etsy find of the week? Why it's where I try to find a shop that isn't all that well known or has just started up and could use a little free advertising boost. It seems like Etsy has gotten so big that if you're established you get more and more coverage while the little guys slip and fall through the cracks.

I've been lucky having all you guys (have I said Thanks recently? I really should get on that) to put the word out so I've done 10 wedding dress paintings so far (crazy I know). But I thought I'd do my Etsy job and try to find something awesome that not that many people know about.

Meet Matiz - a collection of unique prints and postcards all $20 and under.

This is her collection of postcards called Earthly Treasures. I love the seasonal shifts and moods. If I had a modicum of decorating talent they'd look great in frames to encompass that outside world our four walls keep us from.Or here's one of her prints perfect for a mother or grandmother called "I made it"
But by far the print that caught my eye the most was one that I know very well in lab land (I really should trademark that and get to work on a park. You could ride the beaker!) and at the home.

There are many other gorgeous and homey shots so go and check out her shop.

Now I'm off to find more cool and young shops that need some blog love. If you have any favorites or great finds please do share.

Picture a Day - Day 175

I thought I was prepared for an empty lab.

I had a nice list of things to do. I made plans for how to eat up the time spent waiting for things to get done.

Then they had to go and kill all the steam across campus. And no steam = no autoclave. No autoclave = I can't get a damn thing done because everything in a microlab has to be as sterile as I can make it.

One can only spin in her chair hoping the things will come back so many times before she gets a little dizzy and has to stretch her legs. So I took the chance to enjoy some nice weather in our pretty little arboretum while I dug into a new book about the Crusades:Wait that's not a picture of my book. Let me try again.

I was a bit hesitant to try this book as I know next to nothing about the Crusades but it's really sucked me in (I love it when bookstores are trying to unload their hardcovers because the popular books are already in paperback, I get some great deals):Nope still not right. Though if I was reading about the house of Lancaster you'd be a bit more on the nose. Ah there we go. See was that so hard?
I even had a little time to drop in on my husband early and catch him all decked out in his professional lab coat looking all serious and stuff:

What do you do to kill some unexpected time when things just decide they don't want to work?

One time when I was in college we had the power go out on the entire campus so those of us still in the dorms all huddled out in the hall and played card games for the couple of hours or so it was out. Made going to the bathroom kinda interesting though as they never put any windows in there. So you had to go in equipped with a flash light. If the power was going to be out any longer we were gonna jerry rig us up a spelunkers helmet.

Anyone else going through a weird slump now that the holiday is over but a lot of people are either still on vacation or are just not in the mood to work too hard?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I may not be an artist but let me be artistic

Aside from finishing up Rachel's doggie snack painting (what is it with dogs and paper? I had one that used to eat Kleenex and he'd just pull them out of the box; he was that obsessed) I had another painting to do this weekend.

It's quite a lovely dress, just about the right amount of detail and she sent me some huge pictures which I am very thankful for.But oh that brown. I suggested lots of nice colors, a simple sky look to match with her lovely yellow rose bouquet or elegant black. But nope, she wanted brown and truffle brown at that. As you can probably tell I couldn't just do solid brown. I had to add something, give it a little oomph and stagger the color or I'd go crazy with 80's flashbacks when my mother wore nothing but brown for a good 5 years.

I'm also starting to run into an interesting situation in this making paintings for people I don't know (so people I can't belittle with constant requests). More and more people are demanding certain things. Over the weekend I got probably the most presumptive message ever. Essentially she wanted a painting done of her friend's dress and included some images that were at best 400 pixles wide and then said she wanted me to make it look like some other artist (who charges thousands of dollars I might add) had painted it. Oh and could I also make it on an 18X24 canvas.

I very nicely informed her that there was no way in hell I could pull that off even if I wanted to. See I am not a mind reader, I was not in attendance at the wedding. I have no idea what detail was on the bodice or the beading around the skirt or really what the bottom of the skirt looks like because you didn't include it. It's only through close up pictures that I can even hazard a guess at details and about 30 different ones of the dress in profile. Frankly for my 8X10's I really want at least a 1,000 pixel image.

For an 18X24 you better just send me a poster sized image or mail me a billboard. Because it's only by being able to zoom in on the details that I can make something I feel reflects the dress.

The less said about asking someone to mimic another artists work the better. Sorry, the paintings I make are all my own style. Don't like it, go pay the other woman $1,000 (though trust me, she's going to ask for huge pictures too).

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. I'm getting more and more gift requests which are a major challenge as they don't have access to 500 different pictures of the bride in her dress so I'm improvising a lot. And I'm also finding that people seem to think I'm some sort of miracle worker.

Nope, sorry. I'm just some lab grunt who can wave a brush around. You may want to try Anne Sullivan down the hall for a miracle worker.

Picture a Day - Day 174

It's always a touch terrifying to get into something that is so subjective anyone feels compelled to wander off the street and tell you just what they think of what you put hours into (must be what pregnant women feel like all the time).

So I've steeled myself for a critic to appear and tell me that all my paintings are garbage and deserve to be ripped up into a million little pieces. Though I never expected my first real critic to have an abundance of white and gray fur, a collar, and four legs.
If that painting looks a bit familiar it's because that was the third one I ever painted and belongs to one Rachel of Girl Learning Along the Way. She came home to a typical dog owners sight. Her puppies all huddled around some beloved object, shreds and pieces strewn about the floor.

I admit that I broke out into a fit of giggles upon seeing the pictures. There's just something so hilarious about the evidence right there and the culprit staring up at you probably wondering when he's gonna get some food.

Once I stopped chuckling I set about trying to remake a painting. I wanted to really recapture what I did the first time because I wound up really liking her dress, which is pretty obvious as I use it all over the place (though in honor of the little accident I have changed the picture up top for a day).

I was a bit worried at first as I did this one almost 4 month ago (have I really been doing this that long?) but I found that it was much easier to copy this time around as opposed to the first time when I just tried to capture the dress in painting form.

I think I did a pretty good job, though she did get a bit of an upgrade on something a bit larger and hopefully a bit more durable to doggie fangs.And because I thought it was just so damn funny, I had to paint the destruction of its predecessor.
While my paintings may not have a warranty against fire, lightning, flood or earthquake I may -- if you include adorable picture -- cover acts of doG.

Speaking of paintings and etsy, after failed attempt after failed attempt over the long weekend I finally managed to make myself a treasury list late last night. It was kinda fun actually and I'd be very grateful if you'd just check it out or if you have an account to leave a little comment.

I called it Blue Bird of Happiness. And now that I've figured out the ins and outs a bit better I should try to make some more, so if anyone has any suggestions or favorites I'd love to hear them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 173

Do you ever get the feeling that you can, at a moment's notice, emit an EM pulse to kill any appliance within a 3 mile radius?

I went through three TV's in college. Not because I was hard on them by any means (okay one roommate was) but because they were those stupid tape/tv combos and if the TV made through the year without fritzing out the tape deck would die.

Well the TV didn't die yesterday but something else has shed off its mortal conductor coil.

My husband has claimed the job of cleaning up the kitchen (he also learned how to clean up the bathroom and won himself the "Know how to scrub the toilet" trophy yesterday) and while I was dusting off the coffee table he put a little thing of water inside of the microwave.

When he turned his back there was a loud "Blarp". Or maybe it was more like a "Blonk." Regardless a really loud noise, the smell of smoke, and a dead microwave.

Bye bye Mr. Microwave. I hit up some stores to read the on-line reviews and it was quite depressing really. Every single one had at least 5 one star reviews bemoaning how the thing only lasted a few years and they just had to go out and buy another one. Which is basically my track record for microwaves anyway.

Sadly, they just don't make them like they used to. Like toasters they seem to assume that you'll just chuck your microwave after a few years and buy the latest technological feat anyway (It's amazing how far toast tech has really come. I hear they're coming out with a new setting. They're gonna call it '6').

But we needed a new one, for all of our water boiling purposes. So we took the lesser of 30 evils and got one that's a bit smaller but will hopefully survive a few years:
Happy Memorial Day to everyone on this side of the pond. I'd love to have some gorgeous and sentimental pictures to celebrate but sadly I don't.

So instead here's a rather spooky image I caught while we were house hunting yesterday. We visited a house built in 1968 but it felt a good 100 years older. While they updated the outside to look as modern as possible, it felt like they hadn't touched the inside at all. The whole thing had an eerie feeling as if we stepped back in time and ran into some confederate soldiers playing monopoly with Napoleon.Finally, here's the big reason why The Grim Reaper kept to his wheat and never branched out into pig farming:Happy Memorial day everyone.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 172

Whew, it was quite a wild day for us yesterday. We were actively shopping for a whole 3 hours (with an hour for lunch of course).

Yes, yes I know. We are quite pathetic when it comes to spending entire days devoted to finding a good deal on merchandise, but anything past 2 hours and we both start to wilt and go looking for a chair to sit on and a huge bucket of water (we're like anti-camels, we can't go an hour without needing some sort of H and two O's).

Oh right, what all did we get? Well first we entered that dark and unholy temple some call the mall. I finally bit the bullet and realized I was going to have to find some sort of dress like substance for this up coming wedding.

Meanwhile my husband had a bunch of video games to return for some store credit so I left him to it and wandered into a torn apart J.C Penny (they're adding a Sephora apparently though peering through the plastic it looks more like they're adding a caterpillar store).

It came down to two dresses. One was an exact duplicate of what my best friend wore to my wedding (though in brown) and another was a halter (which I'd never worn) in teal (which I'm so-so about). In the end the teal won. It was really comfortable, fit about right (though all dress makers seem to think I should be hauling around some cantelopes for some reason) and it looks like this dress only in teal (apparently I got a clearanced dress or something (though if I'd seen the cobalt one I would have snatched it right up).
After wiggling out of the thing for the 10th time, I wandered out of the dressing room to find my husband fighting off all the swarms of people hunting for cheap prom dresses. He'd gotten rid of the sack full of old PS2 games and instead was clutching a new free world PS3 game.

This is where I'm probably supposed to complain about men and how they always waste their money, but he only wound up spending $20 on a new game thanks to trading in all the old ones while I had just bought a $60 dress, it's kind of an exciting game because for once I get to come along on the campaign, and I also planned it so he could get the thing anyway.

I'm sneaky like that.(I just stuck this pretty picture of a Daisy here because I thought it was quite lovely and doesn't fit with the theme at all today)

While wandering around I spotted something that was a lovely blast from my childhood. It's sad just how rare they really are anymore, but we couldn't resist the allure and had to investigate.Yep, definitely a candy store!

I remember the Mr. Bulky's of my heyday and the excitement of looking at all of the bins to see just what object they could make but in chocolate or even gummy form.

Figuring hey it's a holiday, we got a bag of some of the randomest gummies that entertained us.
There were gummy octopi, gummy mice (with really long tails that you can't see in the picture), gummy penguins with a nice peach flavor, and for some reason gummy cola pandas. I don't ask but I do quite enjoy tasting.

We also found an even bigger blast from the past. Remember these?
Although in my day they were white sticks with powder so you could even pretend you were blowing smoke. Now, apparently, it's just sticks of chocolate. But still got to love that fake cigarette packaging.
And that's what a day shopping is like for Mr. and Mrs. Introverted Wife. We split up for the boring clothes shopping and then get great big bags of candy to relive the glory days of sticking your tongue to the flag pole.

Yeah we never really claimed to be normal anyway.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 171

Upon meeting me, aside from the ol ASL (what with you seeing me and I don't generally inhabit an multidimensional dream world), one of the first things you'll learn about me is that I loathe geese.

When I was younger and visiting a zoo some exotic goose (but a goose none the less) stuck its long neck clear through the chain link fence and bit me on the leg. Instantly I developed a major disliking for the long necked birds (and a realization that chain link doesn't hold birds back, so I stopped building my chain link aviary). Ostriches and emus are given a wide berth, swans are only approachable in boat form.

But oh Canadian Geese. How I love making their lives a living hell. I like to think I'm giving the city a service keeping them from shitting all over everything and making a huge mess, but there's always one stupid person who feeds them and then no amount of chasing after them making weird noises will get rid of them.

There is one time, however, when I stop chasing the geese and let them be. When they have their babies out with them (and it isn't just because I have a fear of an angry goose mother stabbing me in the eye).

Somehow our local pond (which most would call a puddle, it's just that tiny) has attracted not one but two families.

One is clearly catholic:Mama or Daddy is forcing them into their bath or to get them away from the person snapping pictures.I think I counted 6 little fuzzy heads in there. The other goose family in contrast is clearly Protestant:The pair glides around with just the one baby and keeps him in check. My husband calls them the Yuppie Geese because they didn't want a whole bunch of kids to come in and ruin their fancy nests or take all their hard earned grain.

There really wasn't much point to this post except to say I hate geese, babies are cute no matter what species they are, and I hope everyone has a great memorial day weekend (someone better warn me when I can stop saying that, I'll probably forget).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 170

Hello?Is anyone here? *Finds note attached to keyboard and reads it*Hi, we've all gone on vacation for a week or so. Try to hold the fort when we're gone. Also don't forget to feed the zombies and rotate the vampires coffins once a day. Ta.I'm going to be a very lonely and slightly bored individual as my boss is gone and my lab mate has booked it over to Ireland for a week.

Including the fact that I woke up this morning and was damn certain that today just had to be Saturday and I could just sleep in and relax today's post is just going to be full of pretty pictures of flowers. So sit back, shut off your brain and soaking in the lovelies.

For those of you still around, I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day and take lots of fun pictures so you can share later.And for those who don't celebrate or aren't going anywhere (like me) don't worry I'll still be here to entertain you with my capering antics for months and months to come. Months and months, maybe even years.Isn't that exciting?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Facebook Fail

While playing a horribly addictive Farming Game on facebook (Damn you Stinky! I can't not plant pumpkins and onions and then sell them all so I can buy a horse. Think of all the little non existent serfs that would go hungry.) I spotted this ad below and just had to share it."Oh sorry Hon, I know we're about to get married and all but apparently 10 hot people want to meet me at something called Zoosk. Catch ya later."

And I thought all the baby ones were bad. Could you at least wait til we'd been married a year before you start trying to imply that I should start meeting hot singles Facebook?

I'm an artist?

It's weird sometimes how wedding dress paintings either come in feast or famine versions. I'll do 3-4 in one week and then have a month off before I hear another word from someone who wants a painting (though I do have to admit after seeing the few other people who do this, I am incredibly cheap).

There was also a weird trend where I was doing presents for the bride from a friend. This latest one was a Shower surprise (please note, my paintings are not water proof). The friend got some pictures of the bride trying on her dress before ordering it. She mentioned that it was going to be a black and red wedding so the background should be black, but I wanted to get red in there somehow.

Thinking that I need some more practice on bouquets I threw in a simple red rose number and asked if that would be all right.
I e-mailed her pictures (grumbling under my breath about pick ups, I swear every time I paint a skirt with folds my eyes cross and one day they'll stick) and got back the most unexpected reply.

Oh sure she loved the dress but when it came to the flowers her response was that she'd never have thought of it but then again that's why I was the artist.

But but, I'm not an artist. I didn't spend years at an art school fighting to get into shows and am now starving just trying to get some notice. I think there's something about France and clove cigarettes as well.

Instead I'm what is considered the polar opposite of art, that stuff shirt who only looks at life in black and white and relies more on logic and reason than emotion and moods, you know a Vulcan (and if you really know a scientist you're probably laughing your head off at how unrealistic that really is).

I don't think I'm ready to think of myself as an artist just yet. For now I shall maintain the hat of nice lady who pulls out some paint when she's bored, aka a hobbyist. Being an artist is just too large of shoes for me to fill: I don't really thrive well in dark smokey halls, I like to get to bed pretty early, and I could never pull off a beret.