Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Quad-Dino-Chaos" by Mtart

I am part of a group called HandmadeMn made up of artists with many different talents. Each month we have a challenge with little to no rules. (My sort of challenge!) April's had to be relating to "Animals." All submissions will be posted on the HandmadeMN BLOG and voted on by the public starting in May. Be sure to check it out and Vote! You don't even have to vote for mine if you like another better, I won't mind. A little ego knocking is good for an artist once and awhile. ;) Of course ego boosting is ALWAYS welcome. The choice is yours!

I haven't decided if this piece will be listed on my MTart etsy shop or not yet, but I call it "Quad-Dino-Chaos." This Mixed media piece is 15.5 inches tall by 24 inches wide. The materials used are cardboard, tissue paper, gesso, acrylic paint, chalk,recycled caps from pop bottles, milk jugs and a toothpaste tube, paperclips, staples, electrical tape, glue, yarn, nails and wire.

(For an UP-CLOSE & PERSONAL look, click the photos and you'll see a lot more detail,
but go "BACK" not "X" or you will close the entire blog window)
I initially thought to create a piece with fun furry animals, but then the more I thought about animals the more historical animals came to mind; dinosaurs! I though dinosaurs would be fun since this was a piece for me to experiment with, to push myself to try new things, to go beyond where I had been before. I liked the idea of using one of the OLDEST animals known to man to try something NEW to me.

This piece has a lot of depth to it that is difficult to capture via a photograph, but hopefully these few shots do some justice as to what it looks like in "real" life.
Believe it or not, it is called "QUAD-dino..." because it there are in fact FOUR long-neck dinosaurs in this composition. Look hard and you may find the 4th one. hehehe. It is easiest to see in the photo below or by clicking the 1st photo. (hint: it is created from wire and nails)

Don't forget to go to check the handmadeMN blog in May and VOTE for your favorite April animal piece, I'm anxious to see my tough competition. We are a talented Minnesota bunch!

PS. I enjoy comments on my blog!!! (as long as it's clean and not to harsh)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mommy and me look-a-like contest!!!!

VOTING begins FRIDAY!!! I'm in round 5, scope it out. ;) You will only have 24 hours to vote for Maya and I, please go vote on Friday and it can be HOURLY!

The voting for Round 5 takes place Friday, May 1 at 10am - Saturday, May 2 at 9am. Maya and I are in the 11th row, 2nd picture in. :)

I can not vote at my work, the site is blocked. Boo hoo. :( Please help!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More like Toddlers

I've been away from writing for a little while since I was out of town visiting my longest (ha! that makes it sound like she is really tall but it means we've been friends since 1989) friend because her son turned THREE years old! We had a great time visiting with her, her husband and her son and 6 month old daughter. The second day we were there, my daughter and her son wanted to go out and play but the weather did not permit. Maya started crying and that fed him to cry and as the photo displays, we had two frustrated toddlers.

This photo really had me thinking if we were more like toddlers maybe we'd be happier. Not so much in the way of allowing others emotions to trigger our own; that we already share albeit not always a positive aspect of life. I'm referring to letting our emotions show instead of hiding, pushing it down, putting up walls, and so forth. Toddler tantrums, even through the obnoxiousness, they are short-lived and the toddler levels out and life is grand once again! I can picture it now, hmmm, no Etsy sales again today, "whaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" I believe if it was acceptable to throw a tantrum for frustrating things such as no sales, it would allow us to more quickly rebound into the inspiring, creative mode so many artists start losing without sales. I am guilty myself, I've had a hard time trying to dig up some inspiration. Maybe I'm just digging in the wrong spot, who knows.

Futhermore, toddlers do not care what others think of them nor stifle their creativeness.They do and say as they please. "What you see is what you get." Granted, that can involve some embarrasing moment as parents of said toddler such as: "mommy TOOTED, look at that FAT man, or I POOPED!;" however, they are so true to themselves. They are not "fake." A toddler is the life of a room, they are enjoyable to be around. In my opinion, we may have been the most creative when we were toddlers than we will ever be. I mean check out the boys pants, inside out and backwards and he is just proud that he thought to put warm pants on to go outside. No matter that he is half in pajamas, and half backwardly dressed!

The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe. " Lawrence Kutner"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

THE ASSOCIATE, needs YOUR votes!

My brother-in-law is in stage 2 out of 4 of 'Small press idol 2009,' It is the American idol of comic books and needs voters! Michael and his friend Jason, the men behind 50footrobot Studios at have submitted "The Associate" for this challenge. I've included some (not all) of the background and art on this project. Check it and and if you dig it, like I do and want more of this project; please vote.

When governments and international corporations uncover ancient secrets and occult powers beyond their understanding - wicked powers that they cannot control - they call The Associate.

The Associate is a politically charged, action thriller with occult and supernatural overtones. The main character, Agent Donald Cain, known commonly as “The Associate”, is a work-for-hire, occultist special-ops agent, who’s job is to contain and suppress the strange happenings that arise near hot spots of conflict and strife around the Globe.

But the Nine Unknown Men have other agendas, and Agent Cain’s usefulness to them is coming to an end...

You can view more artwork, create a log in and vote "YES" daily at

Having trouble?
It's super simple to vote:
1) Register at the site:
Click on the register button near the top left.

2) Fill out the simple form like you would when registering for any message board. (Don't worry they won't spam you!)
You will receive a confirmation email with a link to click that confirms you are you and not a robot.

3) Now you're ready to vote! Simply go to out page
and reply to the board with a "YES"!

You can do that by going to the bottom of the page and clicking "Post Reply", typing "YES" in the box that appears, and then clicking "Reply To Thread". You can also type "YES" in the Quick Reply box at the bottom and click "Reply to Thread"

It's that easy!

You can vote once per day, every day, until April 30th.
Please vote as often as you can!


Monday, April 13, 2009


I am part of a ETSY street team made up off all Minnesota artists named "HandmadeMN." I am also on the Charity and Blog committees within the HandmadeMN group. The charity committee function is to figure out ways we can give back to the community through acts of charity. The Blog committee does just that; write articles to post on our team blog.

My first article was posted yesterday on the topic of a Weekly Craft:Mosaic art. (see link below)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A special gift

I was racking my brain on what to get for Haylee for her 2nd birthday. I do not see her often since she lives in California, so I wanted it to be special. She would have enough toys, enough clothes, hmmm. An item she could learn from is always a plus. 

A co-worker of mine had brought in a photo book from her past trip and a light bulb went off in my head! I will make Haylee her very own personalized alphabet book! Two is a perfect age to start reconizing your alphabets. I had just created 26 graphics for alphabets and I just needed to come up with some fun sentences for her book.I had a lot of fun creating her book and she really liked it. Even the adults had fun reading it. lol!

Here are some of the sentences from the book:

O---Did you know octopus are not orange, do not eat oats, but can be a little obnoxious.

P--Haylee was pondering the plethora of plundering pirates at a costume party.

Q--The King quietly tucked Queen Haylee Ann in with a quilt before attending his quest for quiche.

T---When at camp Tumbleweed, Haylee sleeps in a tent protected from terrible weather and tarantulas.

X-Haylee was not listening to her Mom and tried to play the xylophone will standing on the chair. She fell and had to get an X-ray.

Y---The green yarn was yesterdays, today I'd like yellow. Yes, that's right, I yearn for yellowyarn.

Z---It's time to turn those zillion thoughts to zilch and close your eyes and catch some ZZZZZZ's. Good night, Haylee.

Do you have a toddler in your life who would love this!? Order your personlized one HERE

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


We are feeling some good Easter generosity and are offering TWO April promotions!!!

When you purchase ANY item from the Mtart shop, you will recieve a bonus, fun, free, 4x6 print of YOUR choice!

IN ADDITION, we have randomly selected THREE SECRET items on our Stormtrooper1 shop to be FREE when purchased! We will announce the winners on the blog and on the esty shop. This promotion will end when all three free items (refunded via paypal) are found or when the month ends, whichever comes first.

Happy Easter and Good luck!

Meredith & Mike

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Joseph B. Strauss's "Iron Horse"

The following Photos were taken Friday, March 27th 2009 of The Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisca, Ca.

The Golden Gate Bridge was the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed during the year 1937, and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California.

The Golden Gate bridge is still the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. In 2007, it was ranked fifth on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

The bridge was originally painted with red lead primer and a lead-based topcoat, which was touched up as required. In the mid-1960s, a program was started to improve corrosion protection by stripping the original paint off and repainting the bridge with zinc silicate primer and, originally, vinyl topcoats. Acrylic topcoats have been used instead since 1990 for air-quality reasons. (Src.Wikipedia)

The flags hung at half-staff Friday to honor 4 courageous Oakland police officers who were lost their lives on duty. This photo of the Golden Gate bridge and the American flag was taken with minutes of the actual funeral procession of the first three officers as hundreds of their fellow Oakland officers rode motorcycles down the highway mourning these men.

These photos range from 4x6 to 8x10 and can be purchased at our Stormtrooper1 Etsy shop.
(Photos Taken by Mike, edited by Meredith)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Our 2009 Vacation

My Grandparents on my Dad (the first born son, who died in 1997 at age 37 from a heart aneurysm) side celebrated FIFTY years of marriage on Saturday March 21st. They actually renewed their vows with their own written vows it was very sweet. They had a few songs played and many told about how inspiring their love and faithfulness to each other and God is to all of us. Many laughs and tears were shared, it was a beautiful day and we are very thankful to have had the opportunity to share it with them the family.

We stayed at my aunt Meredith's place. {the only girl of six kids and which I was named after :) } Her, my uncle Ron and cousin by blood, niece by relationship; Haylee slept on a air mattress in the living room. They were very generous and let us and our mess stay in the back bedroom so we could sleep in when they had to get up for work. We quickly found out that an air mattress propped sideways is an amazing bouncy slide for the little ones! Who needs to rent $300 bouncy party entertainment when you have an air mattress at home!!! (No girls were hurt in the playing.)
On Sunday, Ron, Meredith, Haylee, Mike, Maya, and I went to California adventure. It is affiliated with Disneyland is basically across a walkway from it. I have no photos of this yet because they are on aunt Meredith's camera to be mailed to me soon.

Monday was BEACH DAY! It was a little cooler but I believe hit 70 degrees. We had to take three vehicles because of how many went. From front to back is Aunt meredith holding Haylee's hand who is not shown, uncle Stephen, aunt Danielle (in the pink), her daughter Sabrina (in the stripes), Stephen's girlfriend Elysia (arm with black sleeve), their friend Danny, Me (all the crazy hair) holding Maya's hand (in bright pink) and Mike is behind the camera.
We drove to Seal Beach and walked down the Pier, had lunch at Ruby's, walked back to the cars to get our swimming gear and then to the beach. The water was 57 degrees! Haylee lost her footing when the wave went back toward the ocean and fell face first, but did not cry. Maya was shivering but kept saying, "go back in the cold water." She is such a water baby! I was the only one who swam in it. I had to, it's not very often I get to have WAVES! It was another wonderful day!
Haylee (2) and Maya (2 1/2)

Uncle (more like a brother) Stephen, Me and Maya

Daddy and Maya Feet

Me having fun!

Tuesday was the day to visit my Mom's sister Debbie. She took Maya to Toys R Us to pick out a toy. After telling her "No honey, you can not have the $800 power jeep," she decided on a barn yard set. The box was large, but once you take the animals out the fit in a small bag for traveling, SCORE! Mike and I took Maya back to the place we were staying for her Great-Grandpa to watch her and we went to see 'Race to Witch Mountain.' Mom and Debbie remembered seeing 'Escape to Witch Mountain' as kids, perhaps their first big screen movie. After that we headed over to an old time favorite place of my Dad's called JB's and had a delicious pastrami sandwich.

Wednesday we visited Debbie in the morning, then Stephen in the afternoon (see post below) and then had dinner at my Grandparents. Maya got a high fever and threw up while were were there so that was no fun. We ended up bringing her to urgent care, but it turned out she only had a cold and her fever and lathargicness was gone the next day, an answer to prayer. :)

Thursday came before we knew it; Happy 2nd Birthday Haylee!!!! It was Disneyland Day!!! Ron had to work, so that was a bummer but Meredith, Haylee, Mike, Maya and I went and had a great time! They kids did wonderful (at both parks actually) waiting in 20-30 minute lines for the rides. We went on It's a small world, Pirates of the Caribbean. (yes the ride came BEFORE the movie!) and 6 or 7 kiddie rides. Maya went on her first roller coaster ride! Haylee was unable to go because she is not 36 inches tall. I was surprised Maya was since she is only 2 1/2. Fun times!!!

It was time to say good bye Friday morning and head up to Northern California into Wine country;Santa Rosa. On the way we saw the actual funeral procession of three of the four police officers shot and killed in Oakland from a traffic stop the week we were there. It was very sad, but amazing to see the hundreds of police officers on motorcycles following the hearses. They had closed down the south side of the freeway and we were traveling northbound. The flags were at halfmast, it was an honor to see it.

Santa Rosa is where my Mom's Brother Lenny, his wife Patty and their dog Kiki live. Uncle Len cooked some amazing steak, asparagus covered in delicious white sauce served with garlic bread and of course wine! Maya had to settle for whole Milk. He is such a wonderful cook! We spent the night visiting with them and then packed up the little red Toyota Prius one last time and drove straight home. We drove a total of 4600 miles in 10 days. We had good weather except high winds, our daughter was beyond amazing in the car, we visited those we love and all was well with life...
Uncle Lenny, Patty and Maya

The AMAZING PRIUS, we almost doubled the mileage on it.
It was VERY new when we rented it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Minnesota "nice and safe"

sidenote* We got back into Minnesota around 10pm Sunday night. I will post another blog about our wonderful trip when I have sorted through our photographs to include, so stay tuned for that.*

Coming up on 20 years ago, I was very upset with my parents for moving me from sunny California to the bitter cold Minnesota where I knew no one except my parents and younger brother. They never asked me if I wanted to move. It didn't matter, I was only 8 and had no say in the matter. My Dad loved fishing and hunting and claimed it was more affordable (I had no clue about cost of living in the third grade and didn't care) and was a safer place to raise a family.

Twenty years later, on a Wednesday afternoon in my early childhood town of Monrovia, that statement was affirmed in my mind! How, you ask? Well...Mike, Maya and I were invited to hang out at my uncle Stephens place to spend time with him. He is only three years older than myself, so we are more like siblings than a niece /nephew relationship. It was Maya's nap time and after the decision to stop failing miserable on the Rock Star drum and guitar game, she fell asleep. I laid her on the chair on the right side of me. Stephen, Mike and I played Mario kart on the Wii with actual little steering wheels! It was a lot of fun. We do not have such fun toys as a Wii system. It was warm in his place so he had the door open to his second floor apartment. Out in California, they have a walkway on the outside so each door is a separate entry versus walking inside apartment building hallways here in Minnesota. Our race was abruptly interrupted when a young man comes to the door out of breath asking if he can come inside and call his Mom because a dude just chased him with a GUN! Stephen, being the passive person that he is, yes, "ummm, sure." At this point, internally a little panic starts. I picture some dude barging in with a Gun, open fire and my baby is sleeping next to me. I wonder, do I pick her up and put her in the back bedroom just in case? I do say out loud,"Stephen, at least shut and lock the door!" He complied and peeked out of his blinds to see if anyone was out there. The young man called a friend, told that person that he had been chased and he thinks the gunman is mistaking him for someone else. That he is only a few blocks from his home and he was walking from school. He then says he has someone picking him up and he went outside and made a similar call to someone else. We locked the door behind him as he left the apartment. Talk about putting us outside of our comfort zone!!!

We chit-chatted a bit about how odd that was and how we hoped it wasn't all a scam to scope out the place to rob later. If it was a scam, the young man was a great actor because he did look quite freaked out and was out of breath.

I'd like to take this moment to THANK my Mom and Dad for raising me in a place that thus far, no one has chased me with a gun nor needed protection from such acts.