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Stop The World ~ I Want To Get Off and Write

26 Apr

Howdy!

It’s been a few weeks.

Beach Day

It’s Almost Time for the Beach

I think if you ask most writers we’ll tell you that, given the opportunity, we’d write all day and night. Too bad <insert life’s demands here> gets in the way.

When I started this blog, it was supposed to be an outlet for new writing. A (hopefully) regular way to keep things fresh and write about whatever was going on in the world or about things that interested me. It was going to be for those times when I was editing/revising/revamping my novels or plays.

Being a creative type, I have lots of outlets to channel that juicy energy. Sometimes it’s writing. Sometimes it’s painting. Sometimes it’s sewing. Sometimes it’s soaking up life for future inspiration.

And so I got away from the regular course of blogging.

Then, I decided to embark on a regular blogging adventure. I created “Pin Me ~ 52 Weeks of Actually Doing Something With My Pins.” My plan was two-fold: blog at least once a week and make something happen with all those pins I have pushed against my virtual cork boards.

I’ve made some delicious recipes, tried some new nail polish and read a good book. And I was also keeping up with the blogging. Until March 14, 2013, when other stuff got in the way.

It’s nothing major. Just home improvement projects here and hockey games there. (Let’s go Devils! Even if you aren’t making the playoffs this year). And a whole bunch of other must dos.

But, alas, that is no excuse to not blog. I made that commitment and, by golly, I will stick to it. (I hope).

I’ve actually been keeping up with my weekly Pin Me stuff. I just haven’t been blogging about it. So what does that mean?

It means I have seven pins to write about and pronto because I don’t want this stretching out to ten, twenty, fifty…

So here’s what you can expect ~ seven blog pieces coming at you fast and furiously. I’ll probably stretch them out over the next few days, but if you follow my blog via email, expect to get a couple o’emails from me back-to-back. I promise once I catch up, that it will go back to once a week. I think that’s a good amount of email to receive. :]

My Happy Thang is that today is Friday! Whoo to the hoo!

PS…what do you think of the new look for the blog? I might be changing it up seasonally. We’ll see how it goes.

Pin Me ~ Week Seven ~ from my Things To See at The Met Board

19 Feb

So for week seven of my Pin Me project ~ 52 weeks of actually doing something with my Pins ~ I selected a pin from my Things To See at The Met board.

My Sweetheart gave me a membership to The Metropolitan Museum of Art last year for Christmas and it was one of the best presents I ever received! Whenever we travel, we always go to a museum. My favorite museum abroad has got to be the Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid. Beautifully arranged and filled with so many treasures. If you do nothing else, go to see the more than 140 paintings by Francisco de Goya.

I loved my membership so much that I asked him to renew it this year for Christmas (and squee—he did!)

It was very cold on Sunday and seemed like the perfect day to go to the museum (but really, when isn’t it a good day to go the museum)? I had wanted to see the current Matisse exhibit (through March 17, 2013) again. We had taken friends at Christmas time and I wanted a second round to enjoy.

Since we were there to see new stuff and old favorites, I decided to look up one of my pins: The French Comedians by Antoine Watteau (French, Valenciennes 1684–1721 Nogent-sur-Marne) currently on view in Gallery 616.

Comedians

The French Comedians

It is a delightful little painting that combines two of my favorite subjects: theatre and art.  It’s one of those treasures that if you don’t pay attention, you may walk past it. But it’s worth finding on your next visit.

John Singer Sargent ~ Madame X

John Singer Sargent ~ Madame X

Speaking of visits, I’ve had over a year to explore the museum and I still have yet to see all the galleries. The permanent collections have taken a back seat to the fabulous limited engagements. I try to see at least part of a permanent collection when I go but I have so many old favorites that I have to visit (such as John Singer Sargent’s Madame X) that trying to fit it all in a day can prove difficult.

The friends we took in December got a whirl wind tour of the Met. They want to go back (twist my arm) and take our time visiting about three galleries. If you allocated an hour to each, that gives you enough time to absorb the beauty and read the little stories behind the paintings. It also allows you a few minutes here and there to sit down on the benches to give your feet a rest.

If you’ve never been to The Met, it is a marvel. It can be overwhelming trying to decide what to see (Asian Art, Musical Instruments, Drawings and Prints, Egyptian Art, Medieval Art, Modern and Contemporary Art to name just a few). If you really can’t decide, my suggestion would be this.

Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco

Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco

Begin in the Patio from the Castle of Velez Blanco. You’ll find this larger than life size patio which was constructed in southeastern coast of Spain, made its way to Paris where it was sold to George Blumenthal who brought it back to his townhouse in New York and upon his death, was gifted to the Museum.

From there, make your way through the Arms and Armor section so you can see the suits of Armor on your way to The American Wing galleries which are three floors tall.

There are so many amazing things to see in this gallery including the entire room that was built around the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware. This is the place where you will also find several John Singer Sargent paintings (the most important one being MADAME X).

Washington Crossing the Delaware

Washington Crossing the Delaware

While you are over there, stop in the gift shop on the first floor and pick up a copy of STRAPLESS by Deborah Davis. It’s a fascinating read about the painting of MADAME X. If you forget to get it here, no worries. You can pick up a copy in the main gift store where you came in on 82nd & Fifth. They recently put in a bench near MADAME X, so you can rest a bit before you walk across the entire building to the 19th and Early 20th-Century European Paintings and Sculpture.

These are the 800-830 galleries that house many of the famous works you’ve come to know by Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir and Matisse. You can pretty much stand in any of the rooms and spin around and see paintings you’ve seen in books, magazines and movies.

There are lots of benches in these galleries so take the time to take it all in (especially Gallery 822 where you can view Monet’s Water Lilies).

Monet's Water Lilies

Monet’s Water Lilies

Then head down the stairs (or the elevator) to the first floor and take in the outstandingly, beautiful Greek and Roman Art gallery (150-172). Seriously, you can’t possibly go wrong with Greek and Roman statues.  Make sure you make your way down the hallway to the Cycladic Islands statues which you’ll find in Gallery 151.

Greek statue

Greek statue

This will also put you back next to The Great Hall where you began your day’s journey three hours ago.

Please let me know about your adventures at The Met and what pretty little treasures make your heart flutter.

Haven’t been to The Met? What is your favorite museum and why?

My Happy Thang: Anytime I step foot in a museum.

A Little Halloween DIY During Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm

29 Oct

So nothing like being stuck indoors to get the creative juices flowing. As we got ready for Hurricane Sandy and the great Frankenstorm to arrive, I broke out some stuff to get a little DIY Halloween going.

I had wanted to get a paper mache pumpkin, but Michael’s only had skulls. Turns out to be a good thing, because I had the coolest tissue paper from “Lucky Bones Backwater Grille” in Cape May, NJ.

Supplies:
Paper mache skull
Tissue paper
Mod Podge (I used gloss-lustre)
Sponge brush
Scissors
Wax Paper

I used the wax paper to keep my project from being glued to table. You could also use a grocery bag.

Begin by ripping pieces of tissue paper into various sizes. I wanted parts of their super cool logo to show (it’s of a lady wearing a BIG striped hat) so I ripped those out first and then used remaining paper to help cover skull.

Don’t be shy on using the glue. You wants lots and lots to hold the paper in place.

I started around the front of the face because I needed to fold paper into those holes. This is where the scissors come in handy. I used the tip to push paper in behind eyes, nose and cheeks.

The only two places I wanted to make sure to have specific pieces was at the top of the head (so you can clearly see their logo).  And I used the red part of their logo (which says Cape May, NJ) to highlight the mouth.

Other than that, I just randomly ripped pieces of tissue paper up and glued it to the skull. BTW, using tissue paper is super easy to glue to paper mache sculpture and also to yourself. Plan to have to remove some tissue paper from your hands.

The Sketchbook 2012 Challenge

26 Jan

“She decided to start living the life she had imagined.”

My 2012 New Year’s Resolution is in full swing.  It’s been 26 days and I’m imaging, creating and enjoying life the way I always thought I should. This is what I’ve been up to:

~ I’ve been taking full advantage of one of my Christmas presents—a membership to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve been three times including having brunch there. I’m planning on going again this weekend.

~ I’ve been mulling over changes to the novel.

~ I’m taking time each night to relax with a good book and some tunes.

~ I have taken an official “chill” stance. No stressing. No fussing. No worries. Issues are just rolling off of me like water on a duck.

~ And I’m making a commitment to doing something with pencils, pens, paper and paint. Just finished a painting that I’ll be listing in my Etsy store. I’ve also discover The Sketchbook Challenge 2012. As luck would have it, I picked up a couple of sketch books before the holidays. The challenge for January is to doodle. So I carry my little book with me and when the mood strikes, I doodle. It’s good fun. Relaxing. And quite enjoyable.

Here is today’s doodle.

Happy Moment of the Day: Forgetting the woes and enjoying the moment.

Don’t Let Your New Year’s Resolution Set You Up For Failure

3 Jan

My sweetheart and I have a New Year’s Eve tradition. We go for a very, relaxing massage, then it’s time for yummy Thai food and board games with our friends. Sometimes we host. Sometimes they host. But it’s a fun, casual way to spend the evening just enjoying one another’s company.

At the end of the evening (actually, it was the early morning), I asked what their New Year’s resolutions were. She shrugged and said, “I don’t have any.” He made a disgruntled face and said, “I don’t make them anymore because I never keep them anyway.” 

He wasn’t my only friend that wasn’t participating in this yearly tradition. I felt the same way a few years ago, but I think it’s because we set our goals too high. New Year’s resolutions have become extreme edicts whereby we promise to drop 50 pounds by June 1. Where we will no longer eat carbs, drink soda and we promise to get a full eight hours of sleep every night. We’re going to save $10,000 in the next year and we will single-handedly bring about world peace.

Well no wonder we feel defeated before we ever get started.

Two years ago I decided that my New Year’s resolution wasn’t going to be so specific and demanding. I wouldn’t put a strict guideline on what I was or was not going to do. I was going to  make it broad and general and when the moment presented itself, I would make that resolution come true.

In 2009, my new year’s resolution was a quote. “What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

On January 1, when I made that declaration, I had no idea what that was. I only knew that in the next 365 days I was going to attempt something.

In August of 2008, a director/actor friend and playwright/producer friend and I sat on my patio furniture and talked about wanting to finally do the work we wanted to do. Yes, we all had success with other theatre companies, directors, producers, etc. and we had enjoyed the work we had done. But we longed to do the things we really wanted to do. The roles we hadn’t played. The shows that we wanted to direct. The venues where we wanted to produce. So in April 2009, I wrote a comedy about the pitfalls of social media. About the same time, the three of us got together again and decided to make it happen.  That year, I wrote, produced and starred in not one, but two of my plays in NYC. Could it have failed? Well, sure. But did it? No. Because I didn’t even let that thought enter my mind. We played to a sold out run.

In 2010, I decided to go the way of the quote again. “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”  – Harold Whitman

On February 8 of that year, I opened my Etsy shop.  I had been wanting to sell online and Etsy made it so easy. With them doing the nuts and bolts of having an online presence, I could concentrate on my artistic endeavors. This was also the year I was selected to be part of the Estrogenius Art Festival in NYC. I was fortunate enough to have three of my paintings in that art show.

It’s with no surprise, that I have decided to keep with my quote tradition. My 2012 New Year’s Resolution: “She decided to start living the life she had imagined.” (I believe this quote is taken from the book “She” by Kobi Yamada).

I’m excited! I have an entire year to do all the amazing things I have imagined doing. I’ll paint more. I’ll read lots. I’ll go to Metropolitan Museum of Art to sketch. I’ll float in my pool and leave the dusting for tomorrow. I’ll wear more sparkles. I’ll learn to walk in heels. I’ll cook new recipes. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the year I learn to play the cello.

Happy Moment of the Day: That after all those holiday cookies, eggnog and delicious dinners out….I am still 40 pounds thinner than I was 2 years ago!

In Anticipation of NaNoWriMo 2011

31 Oct

Today is October 31, which means tomorrow begins November and the mad month of writing a 50,000 word novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

I remember my first NaNoWriMo like it was yesterday. Actually, it was two years ago. A friend of mine had told me about ScriptFrenzy. The challenge: to write 100 pages of scripted material during the month of April. Being a writer who needs a hard deadline, and having an idea for a new play, I jumped for joy at finding this wicked cool website. One of the plays that I wrote during the 2009 ScriptFrenzy challenge was produced in NYC later that summer.   

Having accomplished that feat and always saying I was going to put hands to keyboard and write that great novel, I gleefully looked forward to that year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I remember getting my participant t-shirt in the mail and wearing it on November 1, announcing to the world that in less than 30 days, I was going to have that first rough draft.

I wrote fast and furious on that first day. I wrote so much that I didn’t actually need to write the next two days because I had already reached those daily goals. So I used that time to stew on some thoughts of what my characters would do next. On the fourth day life got in the way and before you knew it, most of the weekend had passed and I hadn’t added to my word count.

Ut-oh.

No worries I said. I will simply try my best during the week and hammer out copious amounts of wordage on the weekends.

‘Twas not a bad plan. I had it all worked out on the calendar. Ah, those well laid plans of mice and (wo)men.

You see, life kept getting in the way and I was writing a weekly column at that time. While NaNoWriMo filled my soul, the column filled my wallet.

Somewhere around the third week mark, I started to panic. Laundry didn’t get done. Dinner consisted of crackers and whatever leftovers didn’t look too fuzzy. At least I made time for brushing my teeth.

Then, by Chris Baty’s brilliant design, Thanksgiving day arrived. Whew! I wrote until my Tofurky induced haze made me nap. The following day, I arose early and wrote feverishly for 19 hours straight. Only stopping to get more caffeine, take a potty break or move from the desk, to the bed, to the couch. At 2:22am on November 28, I wrote the words THE END and then burst into tears.

Tears of unbelievable pride, joy and accomplishment.

I had done it! I wrote 64,420 words. And it felt good.

If I could conquer ScriptFrenzy and NaNoWriMo in the same year, I could do anything!

And so I did it again in 2010 and here I am in 2011.

I learned a few things along the way:

1) You need only write 1,667 words a day to accomplish this goal. However, when you got your groove thang on, write! write! write! Because life will get in the way and there will be at least one (and actually more than that) when you simply won’t be able to pump out that word count.

2) In order to not alienate your loved ones, co-workers, friends, set aside a time every day that is an interruption free zone. For me, it’s one hour. For that one hour, I write and don’t have conversations be it in person, email or text. Then when that hour is done, be done and make time for others. Unless of course, your others are busy doing something then write! write! write!

3) One needs to be able to let the creative juices flow and you can’t do that on fast food or left-overs alone nor can you in the same clothes. So make time to eat, sleep and do laundry. You’re characters will thank you for it.

4) Tell everyone you meet that you are writing a novel in just 30 days. The words of encouragement will help fuel you on.

5) Lastly, have fun! If writing is a chore, then don’t do it. You have to love writing in order to do this marathon. But if you do, the finish line awaits you with cheers, confetti and glory.

Happy Moment of the Day: Due to the snow, we may not get that many trick-or-treaters this year which means those Butterfingers might be all mine. Muhahahaha!

Is My Writing Style Really Vanilla or White?

28 Jul

So I am two novels into my series and I have gone back to the first one for the 576th edit.

OK, maybe it’s only been 400 times I’ve edited but if you write, you know what I am talking about. The endless days/nights of:  pulling, prodding and picking about each chapter, character and scene.

And it never fails, just when you get one thing finally hashed out to your liking, it inevitably causes two or three other dominoes to fall and then you have to pick up those pieces.  

At any rate, since this was a complete manuscript edit because I had received feedback from a very dear friend who agreed to read it twice and give me her thoughts, I notice a couple o’ things.

In the first third of the novel, my characters loved vanilla. They were drinking vanilla skim lattes, vanilla spice was floating through the air and they were describing their lives as — you guessed it — vanilla.

Interesting since I like chocolate.

Then, in the middle, everyone was fond of the color white. They were wearing white clothes, lighting white candles and decorating their homes in white accessories.

Hmmm….since I like prefer black.

In the final portion, my characters really, well, they pretty much really’d anything. They were really serious, really excited and at one point, really, really, really angry.

I really don’t believe I use that word in my everyday conversations. Really.

Needless to say, my characters started enjoying Carmel lattes, they put on little black dresses and they were happy (just happy, not really happy).

But this got me to thinking…what does this say about me? Do I write in opposition of the things I prefer or do I secretly really desire wafting white candles that smell of vanilla. Perhaps the next time I want chocolate ice cream, I should give vanilla a try, and I bet I can get a white linen skirt for a great price right now. Really!

What does your writing style say about you?

Happy Moment of the Day: Old Spice Guy Wins Out Over Fabio http://news.yahoo.com/old-spice-guy-wins-over-fabio-173340948.html

Spring To Do’s–Check! Check! Check!

12 May

So seeing as it is almost half way through the month of May that can only mean one thing. SUMMER is right around the corner. Whoo to the hoo!

This got me thinking that I better check in on my Spring Want-To-Do list. So here is what I have accomplished since March 29:

Become a 3X Script Frenzy Winner – check

Paint that 24” X 24” canvas – check (see photo in this post)

Spend every free moment reading – check (and I’ve been able to read on my porch swing b/c of nice weather…bonus!)

I still have a few more to get done in the near future. Here is my full list of Spring Want-To-Do’s https://redcurlgurl.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/my-spring-want-to-dos/

But I’m feeling like I can cross the rest of them off in the near future.

I want to put my money where my mouth is (see 5/10 blog). I don’t remember the exact quote, but someone once said be the change you want to see happen (or something close to that).  So I promise at the end of each blog to post a moment of happy for you. It might be a quote, a photo or in today’s case a video. Enjoy!

Here is your happy moment for the day:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kavoAsYkjq4

P.S. It’s National Hug Your Cat Day. So if you got ‘em, squeeze ‘em.

I Didn’t Know You Could Get That At The Library

27 Apr

I heart books in a big bad way. I love them in hard back, paper back and electronically on my Kindle. And last year I decided I liked them on loan. I got my library card with the thought that I didn’t need to own EVERY book I wanted to read. Sometimes it’s good to just check it out and give it back.

So today I headed over to the library to check out a few books for research purposes. On my way to the front desk, I spied some paintings in several bins. Upon closer examination, I found original water colors, framed posters and re-creations of master pieces. 

I asked the librarian if you could check them out like you do books and guess what? YOU CAN! They are available for 28 days with two renewals which means basically every three months I could have new art work hanging on my walls. They even come in a handy plastic bag to carry it back and forth from your home.

It would ideal if you are trying to stage your house for selling. There were certainly enough “neutral” pieces that would work. You could have paintings for every season or gather all the movie posters for a fun themed party.

Oh the possibilities! And the best part–doesn’t cost a dime.

Well, unless you don’t return it.

Are You My Inspiration?

30 Mar

I love to multi-task. It’s probably the reason why I also love to create across multiple mediums. At any given time, I can be working on a piece jewelry, while sewing a purse and painting with my acrylics or watercolors.

When inspiration strikes, I just give in to it. I learned (the hard way) that when a scene pops into my mind, to grab my laptop or nearest piece of paper and write it out. I’ve tried jotting down notes to remind me of what I wanted to say but it is never as good as when I am in that moment and text is flowing freely. It’s the same way when I paint. A color combination will present itself and, unless I grab those brushes and get that paint on the canvas, I won’t be able to recapture that feeling I had towards that palette.

I’ve been gathering ideas in preparation for Script Frenzy but I don’t know which ones will turn into that new play until I put fingers to keyboard on Friday.  And honestly, it might all depend on when I decide to start. If I go out for lunch and bring my laptop, I’m quite sure I will choose something different that if I begin writing Friday night. Yes, my environment influences my creativity. 

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend who couldn’t believe I didn’t cook. I told her I wasn’t any good at it. She found this hard to believe. She told me cooking was just being creative with food instead of paints, paper or material.

Hmmm…

So I put on a gorgeous damask apron, played some opera and worked my artistic ways on a yummy Italian dinner.

And that tradition has continued three years later. Everything from the weather (a warm summer breeze makes me want to concoct delicious salads with watermelon, pine nuts and feta) to clothing (I am seeing a lot of pink this Spring, so I am eager to make cupcakes with a strawberry glaze), stirs something inside of me to express myself in a creative way.

So where do you find inspiration?