Beach Day

I think Sir Seagull is a good title for him.
On my day off the other day I took a little trip to Ogunquit with my Mom to go to the beach there. Within an hour of setting up it started raining, but we still had a good day walking along the beach and checking out little shops, and best of all... no sunburns!



After the rotor-tilling but before installation
A heap of stacked sod!
The finished (slightly patch worked) finished product, yippee!
Along with all the other amazing things my Mom has been doing in the backyard (grape vines on an arbor, cherry, plum, and pear trees, climbing roses, new rock work...) there was also some sod put in the other day. The change is miraculous and we now have a gorgeous back yard that I want to spend ALL my time in (nothing better than naps in the hammock with Miss Fi)


Miss Fi's antics

Fiona and I have had a lot of fun lately. It was just her and I for a couple days and we got to run some errands around town. I didn't know if she was allowed in a music store with me, so I left her in the car (it was pouring rain and chilly so there was no concern of overheating) but before I got in the store a man went in with a HUGE snake wrapped around her neck. At that point I was half freaked out about the snake and half tempted to take Fi into the store and if they said she wasn't allowed I would make an argument along the lines of "adorable friendly dogs are not allowed in the store but icky and creepy snakes are?!?!" I was a big wuss though, so Fiona stayed in the car, and I sold back some Cd's in a hurry to avoid possible reptile attack. After that we went to my favorite bookstore in the Old Port where dogs ARE allowed (among one of the many reasons why Longfellow's Book Store in Portland is fantastic!). Unfortunately Fi did not like Portland, the parking garage had her a little weirded out, as did the elevator when we went to visit Ali. Since she was such a trooper (this was after our run the day before which ended up being in torrential rain, thunder and lightening, smart huh?) I took her back home to play in her kiddie pool and then hang out in our sweats and read trashy magazines.


Busy Busy

So I picked up some overtime at work lately (okay, maybe it's a LOT of overtime, my shift on Saturday is 7:30am to 7pm) and between that, studying up for grad school, searching for apartments, helping out with all the home improvement tasks, and fitting in my training runs I haven't had a lot of time for my blog (or for eating and showering and other essentials). Lucky for me we have huge beautiful roses on our front walkway that I go by at least twice a day (get the whole "stop and smell the roses" theme? was that a little too obvious?).


Christmas in July?

Well, not quite, but I do have the Christmas card I've been working on for my Mom who commissioned me to make our cards this year. This is a pretty preliminary stage and when it gets printed we're going to put in a red ribbon at the top in a bow, the concept is a little globe/ornament that marks all the places we've been to as a family this year. It's not much to look at yet, but with some editing and then some craftiness once they're printed I'm hoping they'll end up being special.


Dog days of summer?

While it hasn't quite reached the dog days of summer yet, I often find myself getting the summer blues, luckily for me I have little Miss Wigglesworth to keep me company (when she's not busy stealing and eating a whole stick of butter or getting ticks in my bed!!) and I thought I'd share the love for anyone else who may be stressed. Please note that pictures of Fiona playing in her kiddie pool will be coming soon.


Completely different direction from my work with architecture themes but I loved how the first one turned out (the tulips at the bottom) and wanted to keep playing to see what came out of it.

Neither of these is my favorite, and I feel like they still need a lot of work since they're coming across as muddled and a little busy (and the contrast and levels are a little off in the first one!), but it is a direction I'm working on, so for the sake of documenting the progress... here they are.


Some Vienna designs

Just more things I have kicking around, I love the Gloriette from Vienna so I had to do some designs using the images.


Stateside Sister Adventure

Today was my sister's big dinner for her work. Part fund raiser part celebration this is the second year that she's had a hand in throwing a dinner party for 350 people. Last year she made a huge chocolate vegan sheet cake (with elaborate frosting using powdered sugar to form wave patterns and a boat). Luckily I had today off from work so I got to take part and also document some of the fun craziness that happens when you're working with recipes producing servings in the hundreds, not the dozens. So let me take you through this fun day...

6:30am- wake up to my fuzzy four legged alarm clock, (aka the dog) and go for a lousy run (Fiona has decided to try to get both of us killed today by jumping in the road, fun huh?)
8am- cleaned up and feeling better after some tea I start tackling a pre-party to do list, like loading up the mixer and some of the floral arrangements (see below) in the car and finding Christmas lights (I also managed to fit in some of my own errands like getting my watch repaired and getting the new David Sedaris book which I am very excited about before showing up for...

Noon time mass cupcake making!! Each bowl makes 30 servings, and there were 4 bowls so the first batch should have made 120 (somehow we ended up with 198, probably because the tins were small). To make the mix we went down the line with each person being responsible for an ingredient, because they were vegan if they sit out too long the baking soda and vinegar react so we had to be speedy after they were mixed and get them into the oven.
1pm- with all the batches out of the oven we had a whole mess of cupcakes cooling ready to be frosted, since the majority of the baking was sent I got to go run some more errands
3pm- Arrive back at the church with some much needed caffeine, Ali's phone charger and a treasure trove of a donation... 20 pounds of cheese!!! Do you see all that goodness back there? Better yet it's Silvery Moon Cheese from one of my favorite places
4pm- Leaving the frosting to some of the many volunteers (it's only fair since I got to have so much fun making the batter) I hung up some signs, loaded the car back up and came home to relax with my new book.
Congrats on a job well done Ali!!! I would recommend you as a party planner to anyone!




Brno 2
Just so more ideas I'm playing with here, the first to me is too muddled still, not quite enough definition. The second seems like a bad sketch and is reminding me of the 80's (I in no way can explain it, that's just the feeling I get, well that and Babar). The last is actually my favorite for the batch but is definitely not the direction I want to take the stationary in, I can totally see it though as a cover for a cheesy book or movie from the 80's, maybe about supernatural and spooky phenomenon in an average American town (why do all my stationary ideas remind me of the 80's?!?!)


More Designs

Brno 1

Brno 2

Taj Mahal

Now that I have my new laptop with Photoshop I've been able to play around with some more ideas. Nothing has jumped out at me yet as great but I have found the filter I want so now I think it's mostly playing with levels and shadows to get the most visually appealing affect. Also I've been really experimenting with what images I use since I started out with one idea in mind and I've strayed slightly (doing more landscape than up close architectural details). So lots more work to do still but I was so happy to be able to create anything that I needed to share it, and as always, feed back is appreciated.


Middle school flash back...

This picture just makes me giggle, doesn't it look like a muppet or something? I can just picture it talking in a deep grumpy voice.
The insides are so beautiful and delicate, like little exotic sea anenomes
"Poppies, I'll get them with poppies "
I absolutely adore poppies (they come in all my favorite colors) and with the heat wave we're experiencing everything at our house is bursting into full bloom (instantaneously almost). In middle school we performed "The Wizard of Oz" and I was the wicked witch, so as soon as I saw all the poppies in the front garden it put me right back in that evil cackling state (hence the post title and the caption above).

Peony progression

I feel like I can hear the little bud going "eh!" as it's growing and trying to open up
That's some progress little bud, you can do it!
There's the flower, good work
A whole host of beautiful peonies


Another great internet find

So my sister is actually responsible for this find, but like my love of the daily National Geographic photo (see post below) this is just too good not to share. Pandora is free online radio that plays music you pick (better yet with no commercials). You select a couple "seed" songs or artists (for my station "Rick's picks" I started with Gary Jules, Mason Jennings, and Brett Dennen) and it sets up a station that plays those artists, and then also songs with similar musical qualities. With each song you can give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down (which further helps Pandora figure out what you like) and it also tells you why it picked a song which helps you figure out some common themes in what you like (I apparently have a thing for mellow rock instrumentation, folk influences, major key tonality, and acoustic sonority among other things). So go check it out, play around, find some new great music, or realize exactly what it is that you've always loved about those tried and true favorites.


In the meantime

Lately my traveling has been limited to going to work (with some of the construction going on the commute definitely has an air of adventure) but luckily I will soon be going to Baltimore and D.C. to visit Rick and have a bit of a vacation. It looks like more international travel will have to wait, so until I'm able to get overseas again I've been scratching the travel itch (and torturing myself a little) by checking out National Geographic's picture of the day and the travel photos in particular. Since I'm working on improving my photography skills it's great to study the photographs and see what makes a really great shot and read some of the tips.