You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2011.

Yes, I realize I haven’t updated in a week, so my apologies for those who want more insight into my incredibly boring life right now because this post will have very little to do with me.

Many people out there are aware of a site called Etsy, a place where artists and craftspeople can come and set up online shops to sell their creations.  It is an amazing site and there is no limit to what you can find on there.  This is, of course, where I have my own art shop.  I also have friends with shops here and have met people with amazing creations through here, people that I would love to go out for a coffee with someday if I ever make it up to Oregon.  However, no good deed goes unpunished, and Etsy is becoming overrun with resellers (who buy in bulk and resell for 500x the cost), people who don’t sell “vintage” or even attempt to make it appear older than 20 years, and those who blatantly steal other peoples’ designs and sell them as their own.  Not only is this sad for the people directly involved, it also is a black eye to the entire site that either cannot keep up or simply chooses not to.  This is where Regretsy.com comes in, a website created to call out resellers, art thieves, and people who just generally make “more interesting” creations than others.  The great thing about this website is, aside from being downright hilarious, it opens up a whole other world of art, because as always, one person’s junk is another person’s masterpiece.  Trust me, I have found my next purchase after the shock of taxes wears off.

The other amazing thing about this site is the amount of charity work that is done.  Each month, a different charity or Etsy seller in need is featured and funds are raised to help them out.  It truly is incredible seeing people coming together to create for good, and I can’t wait until I can contribute something to the shop.  In the meantime, I have to settle for buying things I can’t afford.

The website is here:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/AprilsArmy and I encourage everyone to check it out.  If you can afford it, make a purchase.  All the money from this shop will go to help an Etsy seller who has a loved one fighting pancreatic cancer.  This is an awesome opportunity to help someone out as well as support handmade and artisans.  And while you’re at it, check out regretsy.com to get backstories on some of the items you see.  (If it doesn’t make sense, it’s in a Regretsy archive, I promise you.)

I will update on my own life later, but for now, go enjoy some fun, hilarious, and crazy items made by people who enjoy doing good with a little bit of snarkiness thrown in.  Because seriously, what part of life isn’t made better with cats, snark, and vodka?

Hubby and I are currently living in a farmhouse that used to belong to a professional astronomer, which may not mean much to most but to us, it means we have a giant telescope in our backyard.  And I do mean giant.  It has it’s own building that can be opened up for night sky viewings.  After two years, we finally learned how to use the bloody thing, and let me say, it’s pretty darn awesome.  The building, on the other hand, is a bit difficult to manipulate.  Getting it open isn’t too bad, but trying to put it back together can be tricky.  And by “tricky,” of course I mean “damn near impossible.”

Last night, hubby decides that it would be a perfect night to go look at the moon through the telescope, since it was full enough to see some pretty awesome detail but not too full to blind you looking at it.  Never mind that I’m on call and he has a biology test, it’s a good night for moon viewing.  Plus, we start at about 7:00pm, so in theory, we were planning on being in bed around 10pm after getting a good look at Saturn.  Obviously, my use of the word “theory” should tell you that something didn’t quite go as planned.

Backing up a bit, I will try to explain how the building comes apart.  See, the roof and 4 corner beams are on tracks and can be pulled out away from the walls to open up the ceiling, creating the appearance of 4 walls next to a giant carport.  There are 4 wheels, each on the corner of the beams, and then one on the top of the roof for a track going down the middle.  Then, the top half of the walls are on hinges and can be folded down, allowing a relatively unobstructed view of the sky.  So to recap, giant carport on wheels next to 4 folding walls.  If you are able to picture this, good on ya.  I’m also sure you can imagine how this can all go horribly wrong.

The first thing we notice is that we can push the carport back about 2 feet before hitting what feels like a giant rock on the left side.  We discover the problem — one of the metal support brackets is too tall to allow the wheel track to pass over.  This happens several times, all in the same spot.  Thinking, “this isn’t right, we got it open and never had this problem,” further investigation reveals that the top wheel in the center of the roof has come off the track.  (By track, I mean “single beam.”)  At this point, we are trying to figure out how to get a 10ft (or higher) roof wheel back on the beam.  We realize that the only way to make that happen is to somehow figure out how to raise the roof up enough to replace the wheel.  This is where tire jack #1 comes in handy.  We manage to use a jack to get the roof up enough to push the wheel back on the track.  (We wind up having to do this twice, but I’ll spare the details.)

Once we get the top wheel aligned, the next step is to try to raise the left corner wheel up enough to get it over the bracket.  Tire jack #1 is used again, and we get the frame over the support beam, but in doing so, the bottom left wheel leaves its track.  It’s now about 11:15pm and we have made a solid 6 inches of progress.  Hubby runs to get tire jack #2 and tries to figure out a way to lift up the wheel to get it back on track.  Placing the jack was difficult due to all the metal framework, but eventually we get it set and lift the wheel up enough to put the frame back on the track.  Celebrating our victory, we continue pushing the roof frame back onto the 4 walls — and get about another 1.5ft before hitting obstacle #5,792.

Great.  At least this one is on the top, so no tire jacks should be required.  After removing a piece of weather stripping, hubby realizes that the problem is one piece of metal is literally splitting another in half.  The part that is split has also buckled into the track, making it impossible for the wheel to pass through.  Now hubby is ready to just leave one wall panel down, which would be perfectly fine except for the storms we are supposed to be getting soon.  And given the cost of the telescope (unknown, but probably more than my salary) and our inability to simply move it inside for the time being (ground bolts and all), I refuse.  So now we are using any possible long straight tools we have to try and straighten out that buckle.  The little tool used to remove the bolts from car tires came in handy for this part.  So finally after much straining and cursing, we get it flat enough to push the wheel over.  And make it about another 3 feet before hitting yet ANOTHER problem.  This was a minor snag on the right side and was fixed in no time.

We finally, around midnight, get the building closed up, hitting two more snags on the left side thanks to the fact that the top track has a bent corner and is snagging on everything, and just as we are ready to fold the final walls up, we find we are about an inch too short.  The roof won’t move, and after inspection, find that the chain that holds the base to the cement slab has gotten caught in the track.  This is like getting your zipper stuck on your shirt, except with metal.  More banging and swearing, we get the chain loose, close everything up, lock the building, and crawl into bed around 12:45-1:00am.

At 1:15am, the first of 3 early morning emergency calls comes.

And that?  Is why I ate 3 donuts for breakfast.

The upside to this whole fiasco?  The two photos below, taken with my iPhone through the telescope.

 

Some things are just worth the hassle.

Ok, so this week has been busy.  Yesterday was an atypical Tuesday, as I was late getting out of the clinic both for lunch and after work.  I had very little time to rest and catch my breath!  I was very ready for yoga last night.  It always amazes me how much of a difference it can make.  Not only did I feel physically better, but my mood lifted significantly.  I can always tell when I miss a day.  Am so thankful for such a wonderful place to go!  I’m not sure about other places, but my yoga studio is perfect in so many ways.  Anyone in B’ville, check out Autumn Sun Yoga if you need a lift!

Ok, literally just lost half my post.  *angry fuming*

For the first time in 2 years since joining Premier Designs, I got to go to my first training on Monday.  It’s always so amazing to meet people in the company, because every single one of them that I have met has been wonderful.  I now have two adoptive “families,” and it’s just been a true blessing how much they have taken me under their wing.  Every time I question whether or not I want to stay in, something truly incredible happens and reminds me why I signed up in the first place.  I absolutely love being a part of Premier, and my presence in the company is truly “by design.”

Hubby and I had a little companion this weekend.  We watched a friend’s sick dog while she was out of town, and I have to admit, I am the grandparent of the animal world; give them to me for a day or two and I will send them home spoiled rotten.  The best part of the whole weekend was watching our blue heeler/cattle dog, who has no problems chasing 1500lb horses, cower in fear over the little 8lb fluffy dog!  I’m convinced that the elephant/mouse myth has some truth to it.  Animals have no problems with anything bigger than them, but the minute someone smaller comes along, suddenly they think it will eat them.  My cats are afraid of my guinea pigs and rats but torment the dog; my big dogs are afraid of the little dogs.  It’s hilarious to watch!  Good news is sick dog is doing better, and as much as we enjoyed having her hang out with us, it’s always good to send them home.

On a final note, I have a photo gallery of all my artwork that I will be continually adding to as I create more.  Here is the link.

http://gallery.me.com/ajdvm#100055

Happy hump day everyone!  Have a great week!

I have always loved making art.  I’m not the world’s best by any means, but I love drawing and painting various things, whether from pictures or just whatever my imagination creates.  I really enjoy drawing with oil pastels for a variety of reasons.  For one, they can be very forgiving of mistakes, but what I really love is the ease of which I can create different textures.  A simple drawn line gives a crisp, refined finish, while blending and smudging produces almost a dreamy impressionistic feel.  Most of my pictures are smudged, simply because it makes everything more uniform, and on certain backgrounds it prevents the piece from looking like a bad color-by-numbers.  However, it’s always fun to experiment.

I’ve created both a Facebook page and an Etsy shop.  I’ve created lots of drawings within the past couple of weeks.  Obviously, I can’t keep them all, but I don’t want to stop drawing.  I want to continue to perfect my work.  Eventually (hopefully in the near future), I want to add painting to my collections.  I have worked with acrylics before and love them, but I want to experiment with oils as well.  Just thinking about starting back into art makes me happy, and even though I’m far from professional (and my artwork reflects it), hopefully someone out there will enjoy it enough to add it to their home.  🙂

My shop is http://www.etsy.com/shop/blackhawkh109.  Feel free to visit anytime.  🙂  And keep checking back.  I will add new items as I finish them.  As for Facebook, my page is called AJ’s Artwork.

 

So this past week has been crazy. When I haven’t been running around at work, I’ve been at yoga or running around at home. Whew! It doesn’t get any crazier than that. :). Not to mention I feel like I haven’t been able to catch up on sleep all week, but 4 years of vet school got me used to that. ;).

Found out that both Borders bookstores are closing in Tulsa. Actually, apparently all but 1 in the state of Oklahoma is going to shut down, which aside from being totally depressing for me, seems like a bad business move. Seriously, how does Borders plan to compete with Amazon? Online orders are not going to cover the loss of the stores. But as long as they bring some stirred back after their reorganization, I’ll overlook this initial transgression.

I’ve started trying to get back into drawing. I love working with oil pastels, and I treated myself to a set of professional quality pastels and have been making a few mini art pieces. Definitely not high quality artwork, but a fees have turned out decent. I did draw a portrait of my bunny that turned out decent, which I’m very happy about, but I still have work to do. Yesterday we went to the art gallery and an artist was doing a live demonstration, which really made me want to branch out to oils and acrylics. Now if I could only draw a decent tree…..

Hoping the storms come in tonight, I need a soothing thunderstorm to help me sleep!