Monday, August 26, 2013

August Art

Just a quick post to show the custom artwork that I sent out last week. I really hope the customer likes it. it's for her mother in law who got married just this past weekend! 

This was a huge one too - 24x24. 

And here I am with the artwork with my "Thing 3"! Yes, that's the "Diffuse Glow" setting on photo editing. It has a nice facelift effect. 

That was also taken on Chris's birthday. We went out and I'll catch up on that in my next entry.

For now, I'll just leave this entry with my latest temple art. This one is a bit overdue. It's the Phoenix Temple that is set to be dedicated in early (I think) 2014. As I also posted earlier this summer, here it is at the construction site on June 28th (which was that 119 degree day. Yum!) 

This artwork contains the year of the dedication, plus the Angel Moroni raising in May 2013 and groundbreaking dates in 2011. This artwork also contains two inclusions of the Mythological Phoenix rising, as well as other geographical elements such as the desert foothills and saguaro cacti.

I've already added options for a 12x12 print and 10x10 print to the Etsy shop.

The Phoenix Temple will be the fifth LDS temple dedicated in the state of Arizona. However, it is the fourth Arizona temple in 11 years!  That reminds me, the Snowflake Temple was the second Arizona temple (and over 70 years after the first!) and I haven't done the artwork for that one yet! I better get going! 

The next Arizona temple is the Tucson temple. There hasn't been a groundbreaking for that construction as of yet. They're still deciding on a site location. I would love to see it in the Oro Valley area north of Tucson. If I lived in Tucson, I would choose that part of town in a heartbeat. It is so beautiful with Mt. Lemmon towering overhead.  However, I am hearing the Tucson temple is likely to be built in an area southwest of town.

Phoenix Temple Construction site June 2013
Phoenix Temple Construction site June 2013

Anyway, there is more to catch-up on with Chris's birthday and our neighborhood mascot, Stoney. 

Confused? The next entry should be helpful.

Friday, August 16, 2013

It's a Lot Like Life

It's Friday! I finished a custom order! 
He wanted it tied (no pun intended) around Depeche Mode's "Master and Servant". I blurred any personal information that belongs to the customer for the purpose of posting the artwork.

Now I have a huge black and white 24x24 custom order that has to be expedited! I must get to work! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Birthdays, Big-Bang-Theory, Bling and Boo Blocks!

UH OH...Guess What Day It Is?!

Okay, it's not Wednesday. It's a Sunday night. But Mikelle's 13th birthday fell on a Wednesday and this post will also contain pictures from that day plus her little birthday party last night, so it's all good. 

Alexander just LOVES this commercial. We're trying to record him watching it and having his cute reaction. It's been a little hit and miss getting the right recording since he changes his behavior if there is a small gadget in the room (and that small gadget is trying to record him).

And why wash your car when you can use it as a canvas? 

Mikelle with her new Soft Kitty T-Shirt!
Anyway, so here we are at Wendy's for burgers and Frosties the evening of Mikelle's birthday (which was a Wednesday - Hump Day! Yeeeeahhhh!).  

She was excited to get her Soft Kitty T-shirt (shout out to Big Bang Theory) and matching Soft Kitty socks to match!

The bigger celebration was to be had a couple of days later. 
And matching Soft Kitty Socks!

And last night, on our way to crazy town  - I mean Sunsplash.

No matter how you try to be organized, when you have heat, sweat, crowds and kids, it's going to be nuts. Then of course add a 13 year old birthday girl who is upset just as we're doing cake and candles (upset because Christian drank a bunch of her soda) and then we add drama to the chaos. 

But in the parking lot I saw about 4 or 5 different school buses. Seriously, once they filled up and left, the crowds weren't so bad! Also, when the stupid DJ for the loud Top 40 Hip-hop station that was initially set up  (I hesitate to call what he played as "music") left with his crazy huge speakers and the regular playlist used around the park, things improved too.

I know I sound old, but I think a lot of last night's stress was a combination of all the above factors.  It did cause me to envy my younger Sunsplash days when it was all about fun and running around and screaming down the slides and not worrying about kids, toddlers, getting things out of the car, putting things back in the car, locker costs, etc etc.
Alexander clearly loved the birthday cake!

 And he loved hanging out with the ladies! 

Alexander just loved the slides and playing in the water. He is so fearless. It's a good thing and a bad thing for a Mom! Now if we can catch up on finances so I can get the swimming lesson process started with him, it would certainly help some of the anxieties! He is beyond ready!

...Another Monday is upon us. But at least the Birthday Party Hangover has dissipated! lol

And just in time for Halloween coming up...BOO Blocks with Bling

It may be 105 outside, but I am excited about Halloween!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

It's Official

Even though it's been going on for awhile, it's now official. I have a teenager. 

Happy Birthday, Mikelle! You'll always be my little girl!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August Art Update

Chris's cousin is getting married this weekend, so I sent this out today. This is a smaller size - the circle is eight to nine inches across (I wanted it to be done and arrive in time, so that's why I made it smaller). I decided to list this size as a custom option. I'd always do something like this by request, but now I have an official listing for it. 
Perfect rare cloudy breezy morning yesterday! Had to sit outside and start this and take advantage!
Circle itself is about 8-9 inches in diameter
I also decided to lower the black and white custom options that are 12x12 and smaller by $10 (with an extra fee for color accents if the customer requests it). We'll see if that brings in more orders and interest. 

I also added the original AND prints of both my Funky Octopus and Ice Cream! 

If the Ice Cream looks familiar, it was done with Watercolor 2 summers ago. Then I forgot about it. I brought it out and added some pen and ink embellishments. I should have done this last month in time for National Ice Cream Day!

Color Version
My mother in law also commissioned me to do some artwork for a bike reunion next month up in Oregon. It sounds like I'll be in Oregon for it, but sadly, I won't. :sigh: But I'll have the order finished for her in plenty of time and shipped up there.

A few years ago she was on a cross-country bike ride from California to Florida. The participants meet for a reunion. This time they're meeting in my mother in law's home front - Newport, Oregon (near Waldport where she lives).

I completed it in color after scanning the black and white version. She chose the black and white version. Now I'm going to get small prints of the Black and White version and adhere them to small 6x6 black wrapped canvas (much like the Young Women Theme and Motto was done last Fall for Young Women in Excellence...see below) for the 12 different attendees of the reunion. 

I made sure to try to highlight key points along their ride, along with a shout out to the Oregon locale of the reunion. 

Black and White Version
Young Women Values and Theme
Mini Canvases for Young Women in Excellence
Well, usually our pleasant rare nice summer days are one at a time and few and far between. But we woke up this morning with more light rain and the sun again taking a back seat! That's two days in a row! I am grateful when there are days like this to break up the constant "oven time". 

Time to go get Christian from school and enjoy the diffused light!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

In case any desert dwellers are confused, this is the color GREEN...

Before beginning, on a completely unrelated topic:

Last week, trying to get Alexander to go in the house in the garage and having some trouble:
Me: Go on inside. Seriously, I'm tired of trying to herd you like a cat...
X-Man: Meow......

It's cute crap like that which keeps him ALIVE. 

Okay, it's today is Sunday August 4th and our car is back. Yes, it's BACK!

View of San Francisco Peaks from Hwy 180, just north of Flagstaff.  Look how GREEN!
We drove it home from Flagstaff Friday night. What an ordeal.  Not the drive home, but this whole car situation in general! 

Seriously, if you ever need transmission work done in Flagstaff, DO NOT use the AAMCO on Route 66 (across from the Galaxy Diner). I am not kidding. Galaxy Diner is fun, but don't go to the AAMCO!

Aside from the suspiciously shady operations, the owner (his name is Kevin, though I have another name for him) is rude and doesn't give a rip about Customer Service. I know my pain in the butt Engineer-minded husband took a road less traveled, so to speak, to get the out-of-pocket cost down on our transmission, but that is no excuse for the incompetence and complete disregard of professionalism from the AAMCO.

One mistake I made, was when we took the car in on the morning of the 12th (after the transmission bit the dust on the drive up to Flagstaff), we didn't check on-line customer reviews for transmission shops in Flagstaff. It wasn't until we were deep inside the commitment of having it done with the incompetent AAMCO that I realized my mistake. I won't make that mistake ever again! There is a much better transmission shop in Flagstaff that is more reputable and with happy customers.

Chris and I, along with X-man ended up spending the night in Flagstaff Thursday night (August 1st) because even though our car was supposed to ready on Thursday, the AAMCO shop screwed us out of that. Now it's August and it's hot at home. Why not spend some time in cool Flagstaff? Yes, that is nice. But we have a 13 year old (as of next week) and a 9 year old IN SCHOOL. So we had to scramble for them to spend the night at a friend's and have that wonderful friend get them to school on Friday. She was okay with it, but I hate bothering people! Well, I don't mind bothering people about some things, but not this! 

Therefore, I have to give a shout out to my friend Wendy who let Christian hang at her house after school both days, and my friend Corina who took 2/3 of my kids in for the night Thursday night!

And remember the fun I mentioned from all three kids in a Flagstaff motel 3 weeks ago? Well, Alexander flying solo the other night wasn't much better. Those little A/C cooling units that are standard by the windows are a pain when you have curious and energetic boys. OY.... 

Not to mention, having to disconnect the room telephone and clock radio and putting it up high so they can't throw it, mess with it, dial it, unplug it, plug it....need I go on?

But if you want a comfy bed, shower/bathtub combo, ironing board with iron, for a nice low price, use the Ramada near I-40 and Butler. We stayed there last summer too. Sure, I would love to splurge on the Little America Hotel (someday....someday...:sigh:), but until then, that Ramada is nice.

On a prayer that our car would be ready sometime Friday, we had to take a hike. It is so green and beautiful up there. It's greener than I ever remember seeing it. Flagstaff has set the record for its wettest July since 1919 and it looks like they're about to break (or have already broken) their all-time Monsoon rain record. And it shows! So gorgeous and green. It has Oregon green!
View of San Francisco Peaks from Hwy 180, just north of Flagstaff.
The perfect hike for time (since we had to get back to the Incompetent AAMCO shop and either pick up our car or stare them down until it was done) and a toddler is the Lamar Haines Memorial Loop hike. It's also called the Veit Springs Loop or Veit Springs Trail hike. 

It's only about 1.5 miles to make the beautiful picturesque loop along with some fun spur trails to explore.

Take highway 180 (the road to go to Snowbowl and the Grand Canyon) north and then turn right on Snow Bowl Road. You'll go about 4-5 miles and at a bend you'll see a gate. Park at the gate and the trail starts just beyond the gate.

Our X-man was upset because he fell right away. However, things got better quickly.

These aspens had *just* fallen onto the trail! We were told about it by some other hikers and they just missed being hit by them! Look at the others leaning! I suspect it's because of the record rains this summer has really soaked the ground more than the trees have been accustomed to. 

Meanwhile, some of the most adorable wildlife on the trail:

So Gorgeous!

This rock was so flat on the top, it would be a perfect place to catch a nap!
The is the site of Ludwig Veit's Cabin, built in 1892.  Well, is and was. The cabin itself has been cut down so that no one can enter it - it stands about 5 feet tall now - but it is still an interesting artifact.

How we saw the cabin on our hike.
I found this picture of the cabin (taken before it was knocked down)
Just as we finished the hike, a miracle happened. The incompetent shop actually called us to tell us our car was ready. I didn't think that shop was capable of first, calling us for a change, and two, actually finishing the work! We were previously wondering how we were going to get the rental car back before that place closed, and now we didn't have to worry about it.  There was still a good hour to do that. Another "bone" that was thrown in this situation! I am grateful for that, because in case you couldn't tell, my patience was gone. 

My theme song understatement of the year. Contains the "a" word. 

Therefore, we could have gotten on the road to head back home around 5pm, but I had to take advantage of one more "it's not hot here" opportunity - vacuuming out the car. At home, it's so hot that vacuuming out the car in the garage or at a self-serve is so frustrating. Not in Flagstaff! The breeze was cool - the temps were going down to the upper 60s and rain clouds were moving in. Time to throw some quarters in a vacuum and take care of business! I know Chris thinks I'm crazy which such priorities - especially when we have to get home, but I wasn't going to let this opportunity to vacuum out the car sweat-free and sun-free go by!

After that, we headed home. We waited until we were an hour south of Flagstaff before we grabbed dinner. We tried "Famous Pizza" in Camp Verde. Yum! If you want to go there, take the Camp Verde exit where you see McDonalds. Famous Pizza is across from McDonalds in the parking lot where the World's Largest Kokopelli is. 
World's Largest Kokopelli
X-man drawing while waiting for our Pizza.
His two snowmen! Wow! Age 2 years and 7 months.

And this hopefully ends our Car Saga.