Monday, September 30, 2013


I went from stressed out to just about hitting my limit on stress since I last checked in, because we've decided to make an offer on the house we like. If it doesn't work out, we'll be OK staying here too, though. This is the same house we liked that had some weird things happen. I don't know if games are being played, or if it was just a weird happening, but it certainly put my back up a bit.

Still, we like the house better than the others we have seen and it has more space (and business potential! It has a studio space for me!) than our current home, so we decided to make an offer. This means that we're also putting our house on the market, so we're currently in a state of total chaos trying to get a HUGE list of things that need to be done by a week from today. For example, I'm painting my bedroom and bathroom to a more "neutral" look because I have this cloud-like pattern in deep dark purples and whites. Everyone likes it, but it's not neutral so it has to go.

I admit, there is a part of me that is relieved that I don't have to paint over the mural in my son's room. These are a couple snaps from when I was painting it, mountains on the bottom, sky, clouds, and space. People PAY me to do this, and I did it out of love for my boy, so I'm glad I wasn't told to paint it over. Maybe the new owners will, but at least I won't see it happen, or do it myself:

I don't have to do my daughter's room either (which has it's own cool stuff)... really just my own room. And all the curtains must go (except I refused to do that in the bedrooms.) And some of the furniture. And all the knickknacks, and no decorations for Halloween.  I thought my kids were going to mutiny on me this morning when they were told that. There were almost tears over it! I feel so horrible. My only hope is that the house will sell before Christmas, so they can go hog-wild in the new house with our over the top decor. 

That's assuming everything works out. 


The closest I'm coming to any Halloween decor will be my mini-paintings... of which I'm on a mouse streak right now. I just love the little mice, and so I'm running with it. They make me happy, what can I say?

I can't get into my studio properly right now anyway (to paint my red queen), so it seems all I have in my future are mini-paintings right now. I'm sure going to miss my fun decorations!

We're doing so much work on the house. Sigh. Upside of this is that if the other house doesn't work, we'll have a shinier house to stay in! We won't be looking for another one, we'll just get more creative about the space we have. At this point, I'm so stressed out, I figure either way it goes is fine. (But I hope it works out, because the extra costs are starting to stack up... I'd hate it to be for nothing.)

Mice, I'm going to make an effort to sneak in mice painting tomorrow!

Monday, September 23, 2013


We're currently looking around at the house market, as I said in my last post. Every once in a while, we look around, but there aren't many houses on the market in Vermont. It's just not that populated. Still, we started looking a few weeks ago and actually found a house we really liked. Then some weird things happened and it seemed to all fall through before we could even make an offer. Then it suddenly came back on the market, and we were left to contemplate whether everything was on the up and up, or if the owner was playing games (I'm not a game player, in any respect. I am what you see. I am straightforward in my business dealings, etc.) This left us with a bit of a sour taste about the whole idea of putting in an offer on the house we liked, so we pulled back to think about it all. There was one other house on the market that had potential, and we decided to go and look at it on Saturday. The idea that this one was bank owned and might cut down on any potential games was appealing!

I need to preface this with the fact that I generally don't believe in creepy nonsense. Sure, I think you should listen to your gut about all sorts of things, usually because it's telling you what you feel deep down about a choice you have to make given what you already know. But nothing supernatural or psychic or any of that. I don't believe in ghosts or that sort of thing.  

However, no one is leaving me in an abandoned asylum so I can prove that theory. I'm of the opinion that I don't believe, but I'm not leaving the door open to be proven wrong either. *ahem*

On the outside, it looked pretty. Granted, a couple acres away next door, there was a house on stilts (yes, stilts - NO idea why) about 10 feet off the ground, and gigantic sheep braying constantly (but you couldn't really see them.) I was optimistic.

Once I approached the front door, that optimism started to wane rapidly. There were odd wires coming from strange places that made no sense. Fixtures missing, that sort of thing.

Now, the realtor explained that this was a foreclosure, so people will often take many things with them, even going so far as to rip them violently right out of the wall. OK. I can handle that. Replacing a light fixture is not that big a deal. My parents bought a foreclosure and spent a decade fixing what the prior owners did. I was no stranger to that.

Inside, things went from not so great to worse. There was drywall missing from some of the walls, and all the stair railings were gone (I can't imagine what someone would do with a stair railing, but I have this image in my mind of someone struggling to tuck it under one arm and saying "Well, they're not getting THIS! This is mine!") There was a caged area under the main staircase (weird.) There was damage to the floors, unfinished areas all over the place, but it also had the most gorgeous fireplace, and a wall of windows that went around the kitchen. Very pretty.

Still, I was starting to get some weird vibes...

It was then that my son started calling me from upstairs. I had no idea he had even gone up there, so off I went to figure out where my youngest had gotten to. Once I finished climbing the stairs, my stomach just started flipping over and over, and I started to feel sick. The layout upstairs was absolutely baffling. I noted what I could, but hurried off to my son who said "Mom, I heard voices in this room! Listen!"

I waited. The fire alarm beeped (low battery) which made me jump, because I was getting creeped out by the minute just standing there. Then suddenly a voice filled the room, and I felt my anxiety spike for a second...

"Warning! Low battery!"

I started to snicker, and my son gave me a wry grin. I explained that it was just the smoke alarm.

"It scared me so bad mom, when I was up here by myself and suddenly someone started talking to me! Hey... where's my sister?" Never let it be said that my son misses an opportunity to scare the beejeebes out of his older sister. He called her upstairs, and got her to go into the room and "just listen" and then left her as he wandered back down the hallway/other room.

At that time, I had decided to start exploring the baffling layout of the second floor. Some rooms you had to step up in, others were weirdly around corners. There were hidden, excruciatingly narrow and twisting stairways that went up into secret, claustrophobia-inducing rooms in I guess what would be considered attic or third floor spaces, that often had little areas where you could peer into the bedrooms or walkways below. The bathrooms were made out of this weird black stone, and it honestly reminded me of something you might see in an old prison (remember, this house is only about seven years old!) There was a dead tree branch sticking out of a wall at one open sort of common area, and open holes and access points all over the second floor. (It reminded me a little bit of the Winchester house, with the weird building decisions.)

I was sitting down in that common area when my daughter came tearing down the hallway! She skidded to a halt breathing fast, and said "ZOMG! Mom! This place is so creepy, and he got me to stay in that room by myself and the fire alarm beeped and that scared me bad enough to turn around and start heading back, and then suddenly there was this voice and IwaslikeOMGIhavetogetoutofhereI'mgoingtokillmybrotherifIevergetmyhandsonhimGAAAAH!"

This was the only time I really felt cheerful in that house at all. I started cracking up, and told her it was just the fire alarm warning of a low battery, to which she exclaimed "Isn't the beeping bad enough? What creeper would make it talk to you too! Imagine if it did that in the middle of the night! I'd DIE! Like, right there! Dead. Dead teenager, and all because of your fire alarm. Whomever thought that up was just mean! I had already started back because the beep startled me, and then when I heard that voice I just RAN!"

My son came up then, grinning ear to ear at his sister while she glared daggers at him. Then he stopped smiling and said "Mom, there is a black room up there (one of the sets of creepy tiny, steep and twisted hidden staircases) and there are faces painted all over the walls with big black eyes and weird poems written all over the walls and floor. Mom, this is a like a MURDER house or something!!!" To which, my daughter just had to go and see (and then agreed with, upon her return.)

The realtor came and sat down by where I was. I was taking a break because my stomach had started to cramp up, and I just chalked it up to still being sick. I did confide to her that I found the house just... unfriendly. It just felt wrong, the layout was awful. There was no flow, and my husband said it was like the architect deliberately tried to break every rule he could think of when designing the house. My mother came to sit down and voiced that her stomach was upset and she thought the house was weird too. The realtor said that she thinks the people who owned it before went into foreclosure because of a bad divorce, but she wasn't really sure.

My stomach was feeling even worse, and then the kids both came back complaining that they felt sick. My husband wandered in from another side, and he too said his stomach was upset and he was feeling unsettled and HATED the layout. My father was still exploring all the weird nooks and crannies and staircases and more, but he popped his head out from one of the attic spaces and said he was ready to go too.

I can't explain it, but I didn't feel good at all. I wanted OUT of that house. I don't believe in superstitious nonsense, but there was just something... sinister about that house. That's the only word that fits. Sinister. It literally felt BAD. Worse, all of us felt bad physically. One of my thoughts was carbon monoxide, perhaps it was gathering in the empty house? But it had detectors, so that couldn't have been it. I don't know. I only know that there is NO WAY I'm ever going to live in a house like that!

We drove over to the house that we like (the one with the weird offer that fell through.) By the time we arrived there, everyone's stomachs had settled down. Isn't that peculiar?

My father hadn't seen it before, and he really liked it. For us, it was nice to step into a house that didn't feel bad at all (the house we like just feels empty, like it's sleeping and will wake up when a busy family moves in. Right now, it's full of college kids renting it together, and is empty for the most part of anything.) More, it didn't feel overwhelming like it did the first time I saw it. This time, it felt like it all fit. I visited the studio space again and I could just see my set-up and how wonderful it would be (I'm thinking a lot on this today, as I'm actually painting at my kitchen table again.)

We're at a final tipping point with the house search. Our realtor is coming over with her team on Tuesday to evaluate our house and see if we can even sell it at what we need to. If not, that seals the deal and we stay put. If we can sell it for enough, then we have to decide if moving is really the right choice and whether to make an offer on the house we like. 

We made a pros and cons list, and weighted the items on it, and it's at a dead tie between the two options! Totally unhelpful!

At least I'm thinking critically about it all now. I just don't want to make the wrong decision in regards to where we're living, the children and their school situation, and more. Not to mention the stress of being on the market and trying to keep a house presentable with two teenagers, three dogs, two rabbits, a cat, and 25 chickens. Well, the chickens are outside, but still. The sheer size of that task is completely daunting. It's weird to be in a situation where we don't have to move at all, this is just an opportunity to make things better. It's hard to figure out what the right choice is. The easy one is staying put, of course, but it doesn't make it the right one necessarily.

At least no matter what, either way, we won't be living in a creepy house like that other place! It still gives me the shivers! I'd use it for painting, but I really go towards the charming Halloween themes, not the scary as heck ones!

Friday, September 20, 2013


I've been under the weather with a sort of sideways cold. It's not all out, breath through a snorkel, bad... but it's not healthy either. I'm drained, and I have my three amigos: a Kleenex box, Sudafed, and Advil. It really seems to be hanging on. Because of that, I haven't gotten much done this week. Well, that and my husband has been out of town for the entire week, including over my anniversary! He did send these, though:

These make me want to get started painting my red queen with her dripping paint roses, because the roses are just perfect! I'm just not quite up to it right now.

Still, the whole single mom thing is tough, even if it's only for a week. (Hats off to the real single mothers!) Interestingly, the amount of laundry and dishes and other things has been dramatically different. I can now say with authority that my husband is responsible for a lot of chaos in the house! Ha! He comes home today. Thank goodness! Even if it means quadruple the laundry!

I did manage to finish these little minis (and they're available exclusively through my Etsy Shop, in the Halloween section. If it's not there, it's sold. These little paintings are moving extremely quickly!)

Just finished this one last night. 5x7" acrylic on canvas hard panel. I love playing with the breeze! 

"Sisters" this one sold before I could even post it for sale.

Lil'House, 2x2" ultra-mini canvas, acrylic.

Ultra-mini with, cat, and three crows in the tree. I just LOVE these ultra-minis (they're 2x2", but actually stretched canvas!)

Witchy Stroll, again playing with the breeze. I just love the idea of blowing leaves. This one is 3x6" stretched canvas, acrylic.

I have many more that I am working on, including a slew of ultra-minis. Some Halloween, but I'm actually getting hints that people want to see Christmas ones, so it looks like I may start doing those as well. I have a Harvest Festival booth next weekend that I need to stock, so I probably should make a lot more of both! Lots to do!

In addition to all of that, we're going to see another house tomorrow in addition to the one we already like. We may be putting an offer in as early as Monday, and I'm just this side of terrified. It's hard to think about uprooting our family from the house we have lived in for 13 years. Yet, the lure of actually having enough room (and instead of a tiny bedroom, a real STUDIO!!! Both houses have studios!) is so strong!


Maybe that's why this cold isn't moving on quickly?

Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, September 16, 2013

18 Years

Today is my 18th wedding anniversary!

This is my favorite picture from our wedding. It's the "cake" picture.
Instead of shoving it in my face, he put frosting on my nose and then kissed me. 

It's hard to believe it's been 18 years. I got married when I was 20, and 18 years seemed a lifetime away! Well, I suppose it is, really. Had we gotten started on our family right away, I could have a senior in High School at this point! That's only slightly more terrifying than the fact that I have a 15-year-old who is currently learning how to drive, and that my youngest will be 13 in a couple months. The time really does start to slip away from you, doesn't it?

I'm married to a rocket scientist (yes, really), and when we went to see the pastor a few days before the wedding, she refused to marry us. They had given us a computer test that supposedly evaluated our personalities, how we approached problems, and how we viewed the world. It came back that we were entirely non-compatible. Well, of course it did! He's a rocket scientist and I'm an artist! COME ON! 

Like naughty children, we both had to drag our parents into the pastor's office and have them endorse our "case" in order for her to marry us. In the end, she said because it was two days before the wedding, it would be irresponsible of her business-wise to cancel at this point. However, if she had been able to meet with us months earlier as she would have preferred (we lived in Chicago, and this was Boulder, CO) she would have ended this long before. So, she said she'd perform the service, but she was lodging an official statement that she was certain our marriage wouldn't last two years and was totally against us getting married.

Nice way to start a marriage, right? To be honest, if I had it to do all over again I would go to an island and elope. What a mess. A mess with the pastor, a mess with the in-laws, a mess with the florist, a mess with extended family. Yup, a beach would have been the way to go! At least we had each other!

Regardless, we knew we were doing the right thing. We married, and I'd do it all over again. I love him more now than I did when we said "I do."

It's a cold, rainy Monday today. I plan on working on finishing the mini paintings I have going. They're selling out, for the most part, but I am also trying to up my stock for a harvest festival I have a booth at in two weeks. I'm glad they're so popular!

I decided to fill in the backgrounds and moons on the minis last night. I realized that even when I try, I never make two moons the same way. It's as if they just can't be duplicated, and each one wants to be unique:

Like moon-fingerprints, I guess! I really like that they're all different though. It'd really be a shame if they all looked the same!

I'm keen to see how my mini-haunted houses turn out, in particular today. I also sketched out a toad in a witch's hat, but he's a bit daunting for some reason. He's tiny, but detailed, so I've sort of been avoiding him. I'll get to him, though!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Color, Color Everywhere!

On Saturday, I got to take my daughter to her first road race! We did the Vibe Color Run 5k! I've been wanting to do a color run since I first saw them advertised, but living in the boonies not much comes our way. One day, however, an ad popped up for one right by us! I couldn't believe it! Even better, my daughter said she would do it with me (will wonders never cease?! My 15-year-old actually wants to go running with me?!)

This is us before the race. We're all clean!
Also, for the record: this is me with a major tan. It's all that tree-planting I've been doing. I know, it's practically unnoticeable to everyone else, but it's there!

It was about 52 degrees out, so it was a wee bit chilly. We hung out in the car for about 40 minutes, and everyone else was pretty much doing the same thing. Then, about 30 minutes before the race was to start, we headed over by the stage.

The race had 3000 runners, which is roughly the population of Vermont (OK, not really, but it's close!) We were in the second wave released, and they had color cannons at the start so I was blasted with blue so hard I couldn't see out of my sunglasses. They aren't messing around with those things!

Part of the course had been flooded with recent rain storms and was so swampy that everyone ended up in water over the tops of their shoes. I found this particularly hilarious once we hit dry ground again because you could hear a chorus of squishing when everyone was running. It sounded like we were all running with frogs strapped to our feet!

Unfortunately, at one point my glasses slipped and knocked my favorite nose stud out. It's somewhere on the trail in the forest, and I never found it again. I'm sure some squirrel will pick it up and be the envy of all his friends. (Squirrel-bling!)

We were pelted with color at several stations, but I noticed a shortage of pink. There should have been more pink. It seemed like the organizers favored yellow the most. Not that I'm a huge fan of pink, but the balance is what I'm after. (It's color, I can't help it!)

By the end, we were covered!

My girl and I at the finish line!

For comparison to the first photo, this is us in the car headed home:

We were smart, and had covered our car seats with trash bags. I was less smart when I got home and had to wait my turn for the shower. I finally sat down in my black computer chair. This left a neon green butt-print on it that I then had to clean off.

The funniest part of the day came once we had taken our showers and gotten all cleaned up. I asked my daughter if she had blown her nose yet. She was, as would be expected, completely taken aback by my question.

"No! Why would I?"

"Oh, no reason..." she went to find a Kleenex. A moment later I heard her blow and exclaim "OMG!!! It's BLUE! AAAAAGH!"

Totally worth the effort, right there. Definitely a race worth doing again.

In other news, I've completed lots of mini paintings, and have even more in process now! As it stands, all the completed ones are sold, but I have many more in the works! Here are some of the completed minis:

And here are the paintings on my table right now:

I actually had to make myself stop sketching out ideas. I have SO many, but I need to paint these out. On the other hand, I worry I'll forget what they were if I don't sketch them down on a canvas right away. It's a bit ridiculous at this point, I suppose! If I just didn't need to eat or sleep or have all my other obligations, I'd be able to knock these guys out faster! *wink*

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Autumn in the Air

This week, my family is supposed to be on a more normal schedule. I spent Monday morning feeling happy that I finally had my house back to myself, and I pulled out the itty-bitty stretched canvases to play with!

I was snuggled into a sweater, because it was chilly. I even got to take a hot bath after lifting weights, and I lit a Pumpkin Cupcake candle (one of my absolute favorites right now! I love pumpkin/autumn scents.) It just put me into a very happy mood! I have to say, I miss drinking coffee. I don't miss the caffeine (or the panicky feeling it gives me), and I don't miss the calories... but I miss the pumpkin spice scents and flavors. That special little treat of sitting there and sipping that yummy-autumn-goodness. My pumpkin spice tea just isn't the same. It's not bad, but, just not the same.

So, candles it is! And I love them! I have a Pumpkin Caramel Latte candle too that is just divine!

I have a slew of little canvases, so I'm open to ideas. But here is what I've been working on so far:

I've got a witchy graveyard scene, a jack-o-lantern, a witch in the wind, a cat and the moon, and witchy boots! I had some extra ideas, but I figured I should actually paint some of these in first.

So, I finished the Jack-o-lantern:
I just love these teeny tiny canvases!

I decided to paint all the moons in at once:
I always use iridescent paint on the moons. Any reason to use something shiny! 

Then I finished the cat:

Then my wonderful day sort of fell in on itself. There was a house problem (our current one), a teenager drama problem (my daughter had a big disappointment), and my husband came home sick with a nasty cold.

But my Monday really was wonderful for a few hours there!

On the potential moving: no word yet. We're still waiting for more information about a few things, and have an appointment later this week to go back to the house and really get into the nitty gritty of what is wrong, and what we should offer if we decide we want the house. It's all still scary and whatnot, everything up in the air. Which means that painting is even more important to me, because I need the stress reliever!

Well, painting and running. I'm literally sitting here in my running gear waiting for it to be light enough outside to run. I would have gone at 5 AM this morning, but it was far too dark. There is a huge line of wicked storms heading this way today, and I think that's why it's abnormally dark (it's supposed to go from cold days of about 58 degrees to 90 degrees by tomorrow, then back down again. I'm bracing myself for a migraine with such a violent shift in the weather!)

It looks like I have to wait until the kids are off to school before I can head out. So, I thought I would check in! Thank you all for the advice and support on my last post. I really do appreciate it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Itchy Feet

I really thought that I would finally be getting back into the swing of things in the studio once the kids got back into school. Unfortunately, my husband reminded me that he had a forced vacation the entire Labor Day week, and then my son came down with some sort of stomach bug.

To be fair, I suppose I should have seen the stomach bug coming. Back to school, if you have kids you know this, is filled with buying pencils and paper, and everyone getting sick for the first couple of months. Its inevitable. The children are just walking petri dishes waiting to unleash their biological warfare upon one another. I guess I just secretly hoped that since my youngest just started Junior High (7th grade), that this would be behind us.


The forced vacation my husband had to take (the company is forcing employees to burn their vacation time) is at a bad time because he's also coaching for the local high school and the children are obviously in school, so really we cannot go anywhere fun and he has obligations by 2 PM. That means we are here, and here means house projects. Lots and lots of house projects.

Instead of painting.

Yesterday, I dug holes for trees and shrubs. Even with gloves, I have blisters all over my hands. I am glad they're planted though!

We also went and looked at some houses that are on the market. For a while we thought that maybe we needed to totally change where we live, move states perhaps? That looks to be unfeasible at this time, so we thought that perhaps we don't need to change everything. Maybe we just need to change the here and now.

The truth is that we've outgrown our house. It isn't a small abode, but it's... crowded. Rooms just need to be a couple of feet bigger (especially the bedrooms, the poor kids. But even our bedroom doesn't have enough room.) I need more space in the kitchen. And when it comes to my studio? Forget it! The studio space is just storage for my studio, with things crammed in every corner. I've been painting in my kitchen or living room, or even on my bed. There simply is NO space here anymore.

This was a good house when we moved in with an almost 3-year-old and another on the way, me just being mom. Now, I have essentially two teenagers, and TWO businesses. Don't even get me started on the pets (three dogs, two rabbits, one giant cat, 20+ chickens, and two fish. Granted, the fish don't take up much room.) The cars don't fit in the garage, the landscaping is insane with this much open space, and everyone is on top of each other.

There aren't many houses on the market out here, so there hasn't been much cause to actually look. However, I found a couple that we were interested in and we poked through them on Tuesday. One of them might actually work. It's much bigger than our house is now (I would even say it's perhaps too big, which is a problem we're considering as we work through this.) Everyone would have their own room and I would actually have a dream studio. Maybe not the one I pictured nestled into the trees, it's very own building... but let's face it, I'd need to win the lottery to make that a reality! It would be on the top floor, a sort of finished attic with skylights and a couple windows, but it's big enough. It's perfect.

The house has privacy too, something I want more of (I'm a hermit!) It needs work, maybe more than is reasonable... we'll have to see. We're actually at the point where we're weighing the pros and cons quite seriously while we're waiting to hear back from our realtor what she's ferreted out about the property (which is currently rented to a bunch of college students, so it's one step shy of a frat house right now. It's not in horrible condition, but it's not great either.)

We basically have itchy feet. We need something to change, something major. I have felt this brewing for a long while, but I think seeing a house that could solve many of our problems (and probably create all new ones) really triggered the idea that we could actually change things.

And that, folks, is scary as all get out! I've been having nightmares, and I'm not sleeping much. I didn't realize how scary the reality of possibly uprooting everything we've built these last 14 years would actually be. When did I get so set in my ways and afraid of change?