Thursday, May 28, 2015

On Revamps

Very happy to report that my website revamp is coming along nicely. The only page left unfinished is my Pink Net Shop. Everything else was updated by Thursday last week which left me a Friday free to accompany my cousin to Ikea for a much needed break.

Still on the topic of revamps, I know some people are tired of Ikea. I've even come across snide remarks about it but I'm not one of those people. I'm an Ikea fan. Those Billy bookcases and shelves rank high on my list of must-haves. They're like blank canvases that you can do almost anything with, like so:

If you're not into painting, you can also just decoupage posters, prints, your children's artwork, or use your favorite wallpaper. Now if you'd rather hide messy shelves, Ikea's got your back too. They have all sorts of doors that will hide clutter nicely. 

A trip to Ikea's always a treat. It was a great start to the Memorial Day weekend and though my cousin and I left with nothing terribly substantial (she, a set of children's paintbrushes to touch up her wall and me, a hand brush with a dustpan), we made our way back home quite fulfilled.

In my last post, I mentioned how important it is to me to have the right kind of music going on when I work. Other than musicals, the album I've been playing over and over again on Spotify is Enya's The Very Best of Enya. Although I have no idea what she's actually saying in some of the songs, there's no temptation to get up and dance!

Click here to listen one of the songs

The audiobook I have in my phone at the moment is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I'd been wanting to read it for a few years now. The thickness of the book is daunting though in my younger days, that would have been a delight. Nowadays, it's the length of the audiobook that I take into consideration when picking out what to spend my monthly credit with Audible on.

Simon Prebble does a wonderful job of narrating. His character and accent shifts are appropriate. No attempts to make the women sound more like women which I find a bit distracting when other male narrators do it. Unfortunately, I don't have an audio clip available but I've sent an email to the Audible Help Desk to see if that bit can be resolved. In the meantime, here's the clip on their site.



Marnie Mooney liked to keep a clean house.

Every morning after breakfast, she wiped her table and counter tops clean. She swept away crumbs. She dusted the mantelpiece and her books.

In the evenings, she made sure her house was spotless before she settled down into her favorite reading chair with her favorite cup of camomile tea (a wedge of lemon spritzed in) and a book.

This particular evening,as she pulled out a book to read, Marnie Mooney noticed that there was more than the usual amount of dust on her bookcase. 

"Hmmph," she said softly, a small frown beginning to grow as she squinted for a better look. Then straightening up, she gently dropped the book onto her favorite chair as she made her way to the broom closet. 

She took her favorite feather duster from the closet and went back to the bookcase. With her pinky finger up in the air, she swished the feather duster this way and that, poking gently into some corners. Then she squinted and came closer to make sure she didn't miss a single speck.

With a firm nod of her head, she said, "Hmmph!" Then she put the feather duster back into the broom closet and settled down to read.

"Oh, bother," she said after she took a sip of her tea. It had grown lukewarm. "This is not proper tea. If the tea isn't hot enough, it won't warm me enough. If I'm not warm enough, I won't enjoy reading at all!"

Without another thought, Marnie Mooney stood up to put the book away. As she slid the book into its proper place, she noticed that the dust was back. She looked up at the ceiling. It could be that she missed out on cleaning that and the dust was drifting from up there. But the ceiling was Marnie Mooney clean which meant that it was very, very clean.

And finally, the website revamp is done! I haven't finished putting in items for the shop as there's a bit of thinking and rethinking going on about which vendor to use for certain items. You can sign up for updates as I add more items. There are only 14 up there so far.

Come over and have a look!

Have a great weekend ahead!

P.S. Audible came back with a reply within a few hours of my sending the email. Right now, they don't have clips that can be embedded in posts and I was advised to just send people over to the page that the audio sample is on. At least for now, I'm on the right track!

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I'm taking it back. The last post will not be the last post on this blog.

At some point between writing that last blog and yesterday, it occurred to me that this is the blog I ought to keep because Paper With Everything was just started on a whim and a newfound love of paper. This, on the other hand, is about everything I do: art, writing, rambling, scribbling,doodling.

Paper With Everything's still out there. I was going to delete it completely but I'm paid up until November so I think I'll let it hang out there for a while. If anyone's interested in taking over, let me know!

These last couple of weeks have me shifting from digital work to actual paint and gesso board. The work's delaying my rise as the geriatric Kate Spade but I'm learning a few things along the way:

   1. The shift re-energizes. When I'm stumped by something while painting, working on the digital  project allows for the space I need to regroup. Ideas pop in my head while working on illustrations in Photoshop.

   2. The right kind of music I listen to matters. I thought dance music will buoy my spirits and keep me going but the urge to actually dance is not suppressible. Audiobooks work better.

   3. I love my apron. It's no longer as pristine, of course.


   4. I get the same joy from working with actual paint that I do working digitally. So it doesn't matter if my bags are delayed. I'm still doing what I love. If Joseph Campbell's right, then I'm on the right track.

The website's going through a major overhaul as well. Editing is never easy. Deleting images is like saying goodbye to an unnecessary line (or paragraph!) no matter how your turn of phrase delighted you.


I've been turning to Spotify to provide me with music but guess what?! Spotify actually has audio books! Most of them are the classics, of course, but they also have a collection of poetry. At the moment, I have on The Carnival of Animals by Camille Saint-Saens with Noel Coward reading poetry by Ogden Nash. If I were still teaching, I'd have used some of the selections as take-off points for several learning areas.

My friend Gigi sends me links to a number of interesting articles that run the gamut from organic planting to eating healthy. Here's a recipe for Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes I'd like to try as soon as I get the right number of bananas. The recipe calls for two medium ripe bananas. My fruit basket never seems to get it right. It's either there's just one ripe banana or several unripe ones.


I wrote this almost a year ago as writing practice. It can stand lots of editing but this is like my drafting space. Still amuses me that I used to rely heavily on my nicotine fixes and that I now can't even stand the smell of cigarette smoke!

She took a quick drag and blew the smoke out, turning her head to one side as she did. The smell of her own cigarette smoke nauseated her and for the nth time, she wondered why she was still at it. This trend of thought became part of the habit after one of her uncles once remarked that he quit smoking when he realized he was a smart man and it was only logical that he kick the habit. It was really the smart and logical thing to do although perhaps making that pronouncement amidst smokers was not. There was no recollection of anyone else kicking the habit soon after that incident.

As this event exited her memory, another one would take its place. This time, it was of her father's cousin who had found religion. With a smile that seemed to be destined to stay in place no matter the emotion, she said, "I hope you stop smoking so we can see each other in Heaven."

At the time, she could not think of an appropriate reply. She had been taught to respect her elders. As this cousin was not a frequent guest (praise the Lord!)the only thing she could think of to do was to match the plastered smile. So she did. Then she walked off and lit a cigarette.

Her mother was a smoker too. It seemed odd now but back then, ashtrays were part of the decor. There had to be several anywhere people tended to gather. In the 60's, it didn't matter if the adults smoked around children. No one talked about second hand smoke. A bunch of adults playing mahjong or poker partly obscured by a haze of smoke was commonplace. In her child's mind, having lacquered nails while holding a cigarette between the first two fingers was the ultimate in sophistication.

Nowadays, she didn't care about the lacquered nails or the sophistication. The pack of cigarettes lay beside her keyboard like a faithful pet. Reaching for it came next to powering up the computer. When there was work waiting to be done, the memories had no chance of swirling in with the smoke that barely had time to form before it was whisked off by the fan that kept the nausea at bay.