Wednesday, January 30, 2008 8:23 AM

How to save the world, 20% at a time

We interrupt this glitter-and-coffee-fest to bring you the following:

I was all set to post another new painting this morning, when I saw this and needed to share it instead. I've written before about how I feel about how the choices you make at the grocery store can change the world; how I think everyone should pick up a copy of John Robbins' amazing book Food Revolution, because you will never eat the same way again ... but please read on, die-hard meat-eaters, and tell me this doesn't change your thinking a little bit:

From Mark Bittman's article in the New York Times:
Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at the Bard Center, and Pamela A. Martin, an assistant professor of geophysics at the University of Chicago, calculated that if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius. Similarly, a study last year by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.
20 percent - suppose you ate one more pasta dinner a week, hold the meatballs. Or had a pizza with just veggies instead of pepperoni. Or at breakfast, skip the bacon and sausage. If you knew that making a simple choice like what you were having for dinner could make that much of a difference, wouldn't you do it today?

Read the entire article here (it's free).

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Monday, January 28, 2008 8:13 AM

cello fellow

I said earlier that if something caught my fancy, I had to draw it. I'm really not sure at all where this one came from, although I think if I had four arms, at least one of them would surely be painting something.

♥ It's not too late to sign up for the newsletter! Should be on its way soon...

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Thursday, January 24, 2008 2:21 PM

so I was thinking....

I'm going to start sending out a monthly newsletter, with bits of news, links to sites, music, and other inspirations, and maybe a freebie or two if I can swing it. It won't be anything big or stressful, just simple and fun. If you want to receive it, just sign up for the list here. If you're already signed up in the past (it's my yahoo group), you're already done!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008 8:52 PM

flower girl

I did this one with the kids sitting at the dining room table after school one day. Sophie had a hard day and I wanted to cheer her up, so I sat her down and sketched her sweet face. The kids told me I should make her a fairy, what color to paint the petals, and when I said I wanted to try tea instead of coffee this time, they cheered me on. The bizarre part is that the tea went on pink (Red Zinger), dried a gorgeous slate-greyish-green, and has now over time settled into a more warmish grey. Again... the scan doesn't do it justice, but the detail helps a bit.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008 9:12 PM


More coffee, more glitter, more watercolour. The inspiration for this dryad was the creative totem/fertility goddess I created last year in clay - she sits in my studio and just makes me smile. Although I have once been called a dark-eyed naiad, I have a real connection with trees, and I've been looking for more ways to bring nature inside in the cold weather. And what I really need to do is bundle up, go outside more, and BE among the trees.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008 9:05 PM

riding the tiger

A metaphor for my life right now. I'm doing my best to ride in peace, wherever it takes me.

Closeup: coffee, glitter, watercolour. These paintings are making me really happy, how about you?

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Sunday, January 13, 2008 9:37 PM

feathers and swirls

The wonderful husband has fixed the computer! Scanner's hooked up (see?), email's on the way ... testing for prints not far behind.

I've been spending my creative time at night drawing anything that comes to mind, and then painting whenever and wherever I can. These new paintings aren't supposed to be perfect, far from it. Anything that strikes my fancy gets drawn. I'm not obsessing over details, slavishly researching images (which I couldn't do once my studio's computer was down anyway), or waiting for the perfect moment. My only rules are that I try to draw or paint something every night, and that if something inspires me, no matter how small a detail, I have to give into it and let myself paint it somehow.

This mostly happens with the kids in the afternoon; I can either put down a layer of coffee and let it dry in time to paint details at night, or the coffee wash has already dried and I can have an all-out painting session with the kiddos. (When you let go of perfectionism, you can work on paintings with three preschoolers around you, on your dining room table.)

The absolute best thing is the watercolours I found for the kids that actually have GLITTER in them. Of course, we have been doing lots more painting lately so I can crack into their supply of glittery watercolours. The scan doesn't even begin to do it shimmery justice.

A detail - you can see the glitter in the headband, and the gloves and some of the feathers are sparkly as well.

Lots more to come. ♥

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Friday, January 11, 2008 8:09 AM

the night tree

Inspired by a new favorite Christmas book, The Night Tree, and Soulemama's solstice tree, we set out on New Year's to make our own tree for our little friends. In the book, you think the family's out searching for a Christmas tree, but they're really going into the woods to decorate a special tree for all the animals in the woods.

We made popcorn-and-pomegranate chains, chains of cheerios, orange slices, and the ever-popular pinecones with peanut butter and birdseed. Was it messy? Absolutely. But lots of fun. Sophie finished her string first, so she read us The Night Tree while the rest of us finished up.

Peter and Sophie join hands in front of the two arbor vitae we decorated. As we don't have the woods in our backyard, we thought we'd put the goodies somewhere near a window so the kids could watch the birds.

In the story, after the tree is decorated, the family sings a carol (I think we sang "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", and we did it ala A Charlie Brown Christmas with our heads thrown back and noses in the air) and then drinks cocoa. As my kids don't really eat sugar, this suggestion was met with much excitement.

Angela is making the most of her hot chocolate experience.

The view out our window, which now boasts a proper birdfeeder as the kids wanted to feed the birds all year long. The lumpy thing in the corner is a canvas-wrapped amaryllis, which we planted while the girls sang "The Garden Song." You don't know how badly I wished I'd filmed it.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008 8:06 AM


My computer, sad to say, is making the click-click-click sound that signals hard drive failure. That and the fact that all we can get on the screen is a little folder with a flashing question mark, which is much less scary then the sad mac with Xs for eyes, mean that some major repairs are in order. (I'm writing this from my work computer.)

This means, until Paul fixes it (hopefully this weekend), I have no scanner; so you can't see the three gorgeous new paintings I've been working on; no email past what I could get online this week (so if you've written me something important in the past month and I haven't answered you, please send it again or be patient because I can't access my old emails right now); I can't take any print orders because (a) I don't know if I got them, and (b) I can't scan them, and (c) I can't print them. Things are backed up okay, I just can't get to them.

In a way, it's kind of nice because it's forcing me to spend more time away from the lure of the screen in my studio; and it's also incredibly frustrating for all the reasons listed above. So I'll just have to keep painting and have a little art show when my scanner does get back in action.


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Tuesday, January 08, 2008 8:06 AM

the week of magical thinking, continued.

I made a conscious decision recently to do another week of magical thinking: to spend a week making the most magical, alive, succulent choices possible.

Here are stories about two things that happened just this week.

The Loveseat.
I have to start off this story by telling that ever since we found the black leather recliner on junk day this summer (which had not a scratch on it and was perfectly fine) and took it home, Paul has been looking for a matching loveseat. Not a couch, because it would be too large for the space he has in his studio. So we looked at sales circulars, checked the internet. Paul even had tried this past week to get one listed on Craigslist, but we didn't get it. Friday morning, he tells me also that the office chair in the other studio is broken and he'll have to go order a replacement from Staples.

Normally, as soon as I'm done work on Friday I go run a ton of errands so I don't have to do them on the weekend, but this week was a little off. So I went out Saturday morning instead, and on my way home from food shopping, I see, sitting by the end of someone's driveway: a black leather loveseat, and an office chair. Needless to say I rushed home, we unloaded fast, and Paul ran out with all his bungee cords to see if we could fit them on the van, and we did! $400+ saved, and got Paul's office all spiffed up for the new semester. :)

The Shirt.
I've been saying for a while that my wardrobe has become really plain; lots of solid colors, Mom-shirts, that kind of thing. Not really me. So I've been on the hunt for more colorful clothing.

Last Wednesday night, my parents came over, and my Mom pulls out this gorgeous watermelon-colored, silver-and-gold-embroidered Indian top. She said that a co-worker had brought it back from India for her but it didn't fit and did I want it. Of course I did! And I'm wearing it today, when the temperatures for January are going to be in the upper 60s.

And of course the shirt fits! Never doubted it for a second. Listen, God does not listen to your wishes, place a beautiful shirt in your hands, get you some unseasonable weather, only to have the shirt be too small! That's not how God works. (Not mine, anyhow.)

I firmly believe that magical things happen when you are open to them. What's happened to you lately that's magical?

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008 8:39 PM

2008 Weblog Awards

It's that time again! The 2008 Weblog Award nominations are open until 10 PM est Friday, 1/11! If you feel so inclined, I'd love it if you wanted to nominate this one. I was a finalist last year for "Best Designed", and I've always thought I was a "Best Kept Secret" but hey, who knows? :) And don't forget to vote for your other favorites as well!

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The color of a new year

According to Pantone, the official color of 2008 is Blue Iris, otherwise known as 18-3943.
In a statement, Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said: “Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspects of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast. Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic.”
The New York Times (where the above quote comes from) did a write-up featuring the past 7 year's official colors. All of them seem to be variations on red or blue, except for "Sand" which left me pretty cold. So here are my ideas for the color of 2008:

PMS 375: a clear green, the color of new leaves, new growth.

PMS 413: silver.

PMS 130: a citrusy orange, to remind us that life is juicy.

PMS 7504: a woodsy brown, the color of mushrooms, bark and fur.

What color would you pick for the year's color? It doesn't have to be a PMS color, give a hex value, describe it, or just post a link to it.

♥ if you are coming here from Blogger's end-of-the-year writeup, hello! Nice to meet you!

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