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that [subject] just came to mind and now i want to paint something called just that: good and bad under a happy umbrella.

this year has started all chaos and thorns.  it’s not entirely proper or professional to share, but i’m not always proper or professional, so there.  plus, i felt i needed an “excuse” for my silence and such.

start to an antique doll head giraffe assemblage

in addition to the classic-alicia-antique doll heads and bones, some of my new assemblages have some fun creatures, like human headed giraffe girls and other such weirdo stuff. tonight i have about 8 backgrounds to do. that is a fun thing!

the bad:

  • my grandma passed away, which i already shared
  • our family got screwed over for a couple thousand dollars we couldn’t afford to lose
  • my computer crashed and i lost all software/operating system (it took a whole day and a half just to retrieve passwords for email accounts, my blog, facebook, twitter, paypal, website ftp accounts, etc.)
  • i had to buy a new computer (is being built as i type — i should receive it by the end of the week, woots!  it’s going to be a beast!)
  • lost my $1800 adobe suite software and had to buy a new copy today (goodbye savings account — our brief acquaintance was too short-lived!)
  • i have to start over on all of the layout/design of the altered bits zine which is going to delay things (if you missed the deadline, i will still consider your work since i can’t start working on it again for another week or so)
  • i’m really poor now 😦  (i typed that with a giggle ’cause i don’t care so much about that other than the fact that it makes me nervous — today is good though — we get meat instead of rice for dinner)
light up assemblage with antique doll head

love my antique camera filter! a couple of my new assemblages will light up because that is too much fun not to do. i have to get brave enough to try to drill holes in the bottoms of some antique glass bottles though and truth be told, that scares me a bit.

the good:

  • i have been working my arse (or fingers) off with new web client projects and am finishing my last two projects in the queue this week — fun times!
  • i could actually afford new computer/software/etc. due to heaps of work and otherwise would not have been able to do any of it (thank you universe!!!)
  • i finally received my copies of seth apter’s book and it ROCKS
  • i’m a redundant back-up queen so lost no client files or photos or fonts or anything with the computer crash (phew!)
  • i have the best son and husband in the world
  • my in-laws rock and are taking both kids’ families on a cruise! (i can’t wait! we’re taking a train to seattle then cruising all over alaska and going to canada)
  • i started 10 new assemblages, 3 new paintings and 6 new books last week
  • i’ve been volunteering at the public school doing art with the special needs kids.  the past three weeks we have been doing mixed media portraits.  we finished today and they are all so fabulous!  i so wish i could share, but i cannot due to confidentiality laws/rules/etc.  i may sneak and share my son’s though.  actually, i don’t have to sneak.  it was so much fun!
  • i have almost finished lisa’s book for the pulp redux collaboration
  • i get to see my great friend kerin gale this week and we are starting a super fun art collaboration
  • by the end of this week, my studio is going to look better than it ever has — i’ve spent about 30 hours organizing and cleaning and making piles of stuff for a yard sale.  sometimes less is more, plus the $ is going to new siding for little bug studio.  woohoooo!  a definite easy sacrifice to make for the kiddos.
  • we are trying to adopt a dog from a rescue and we may have the ability to get a service dog for the boy!  i found him on pet finder the other day and applied.  cross your fingers for us.  we’re excited!
a huge mess from starting too many assemblages

my living room looked like an assemblage war zone last week. this is 6 of the 10i started, but not enough detail that you can really see what's going on... yet.

and the best of the best news is so great i cannot help but share even though i typically hate sharing ultra personal stuff in such a public fashion (it deserves a whole paragraph instead of a bullet).  background: i was a single mama for four years, from my son’s birth until i married my husby.  most people don’t realize this — they have such similar ear lobes and chins and knee-caps and body shapes that they appear to share dna… but they don’t.  the husby was around since right after little man turned three, but we weren’t married until he was 4.  anyway, just before the husby and i got married, he said he wanted to officially adopt my little bug and we paid heaps of money to an adoption attorney (who later stopped communicating with us, keeping our dollars, then claiming we never paid her — good thing i’m a receipt keeper!).  i won’t go into that though because it’s pointless and negative and i’m happy and not easily sucked into other people’s poo.  so, long story short — we hired a new attorney and in THREE WEEKS he did what the other attorney failed to accomplish in five years and now, my sweet little boy is the official, legit, true-life son of my beautiful husband.  we just got the adoption certificate and will be receiving his new birth certificate listing my husband as his father any day now.  how exciting is that!  it makes me weep and giggle in unison — it’s like i just gave birth again but didn’t feel it, only better.  we’re having a big celebratory party in honor of the completion of the adoption in a couple of weeks.  wanna come?  and if you need a referral to the best adoption attorney in oregon or washington, let me know ’cause i just so happen to know him.

so, there is way more good than bad.  and most of the bad isn’t horrible anyway.  just hugely annoying and expensive, hah.  the only bad thing is the zine delay but this one was totally out of my control.  the only files that somehow didn’t manage to get backed up was the design file i started.  lovely, eh?  it’s still going to rock though as i’ll just redo it.  i was only about 20 hours into it anyway.

i hope your good is outweighing your bad too, or it’s all just good — that would be way better!

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i blink and it’s two months later…  seems to be the story of my life this past year and a half since i started home schooling and taking on infinite new projects.  but i’m still a happy one, so that’s good.

if you don’t like woes, skip this post:  long story as short as possible… last august we contracted a painting company to paint our house.  i did tons of research on historic paint colors most popular in 1919, which is when our abode was built.  i picked five hues that will probably surprise those of you who haven’t seen them yet (they were quite popular when the house was built but probably not so much the way we ended up doing it).  the contractors tested our house for lead and we had lead paint on it.  no surprise with a house as old as ours, but they assured us they would take all of the state and federal required precautions to protect us.  cool.  hired — deposit paid.  ready to go.

color interruption: rural green (main color), inkwell (blackish trim color), gingery (highlight color), gregorian revival blue (another highlight color), and french roast (porch floor)

colors of house paint we used
in a not-so pretty nut shell, a week and a half project ended up taking them over six weeks and they took NO precautions to protect us, our home or our yard.  free lead lesson: anything above 400 ppm (parts per million) in soil is considered severely hazardous or potentially lethal to children and pets. food can no longer be grown in it as the plant can leach the lead from the soil and harm you.  they knew that the side of our house was going to be a big huge berry patch with blue berries and currants.  nope, not any more — it was tested by a lead risk assessment company and turned out to be 2100 ppm.  so lots of blood tests must happen for the little man of the house and very sadly, our cat died last week showing all of the signs and symptoms of feline lead poisoning.

yesterday i received the final report and discovered that not only was our entire yard contaminated by lead paint chips and dust, but much of our interior due to being tracked in on our feet or blowing in through the windows (they started scraping the house with the windows open!!).  guess what the recommended plan of action is?  you will faint when you read this… or at least i almost did.

  • hire a certified lead abatement company to clean main floor of house (huge ordeal to clean lead dust), stairs and upstairs hall
  • scrub and potentially refinish hard wood floors on main level of house
  • remove and dispose of carpet on stairs and in upstairs hall of house, replace with ??
  • clean all exterior flat surfaces and areas dust/chips were collected: roof, gutters, tops of  cars, garage roof, porch, etc.
  • remove ALL soil/sod in entire yard, 4 inches deep (we have a huge yard for this area)
  • till 12 inches deep to mix up soil and lesson the toxicity
  • replace 4″ of soil in yard
  • replace grass with all grand new sod
  • fill garden areas with new organic mulch, replant all NON FOOD plants with all garden areas (i will be the one to pick or they can go to hell — i’m already furious, thank you)
  • remove raised garden beds and replace with new raised beds once new earth is in place, fill with new organic soil blend (we can grow only in raised beds now)
  • trim walnut tree branches to ensure proper sunlight reaches new planted sod and does not pose future risk
  • put pea gravel over all bare soil areas that cannot be planted in: base of walnut tree, chicken coop, etc. (if unsafe to have gravel in chicken coop, pour concrete slab)
  • since we have a 1920s little cute driveway with just the two strips, that may be ruined while trying to do recommended abatement tasks so new driveway may need to be installed

how much do you suppose all of this will be?  oh, based upon my research, anywhere from $15k to $50k.  we don’t have even half of that… so hopefully the paint company will fix their huge negligent problem and i won’t have to deal with taking them to court.  i just want it fixed so my son can safely play outside and none of our other three cats (or our soon to be adopted dog) will die.

to add insult to injury, there are lots of teeny tiny touch ups to the paint that need to be done BUT it looks fab from the street and much prettier than it was.  here’s a peek of a corner of our big, windowed front porch:

big front portch
you know the little over-hangy bits on the roofs of houses?  we’re going to paint the underneath of those green and black stripes next spring.  gotta add a bit of fun flair — that’s totally us.  but i don’t even want to think about house paint right now.  this has been serious hell.

so… because of all of this, i’m extending the zine deadline an extra month to the end of november.  i have had time for literally nothing since all this went down.

BUT, i’ve gotten some gorgeous zine entries so far!  i’ll post more about that soon.  i haven’t even had the time to respond to people yet.  and i will be posting about the tallest book in the world, too.  i have some HUGE thank you notes to send out and some stunning pages received.  🙂  xx to all!

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the tallest handmade book in the world {project}
Pulp Redux: International Altered Book Collaboration
blogging without obligation
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