Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Reading

At this point, I only need to read 4 more books to hit my goal of 52 in a year. Small goals, I know. Here's what I got up to last month:
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
Mercy by Jodi Picoult
I really shouldn't have read Dark Places. I found it incredibly disturbing and difficult to get through. I've been reading Dean Koontz since I was in junior high or earlier, and even dipped into Stephen King at that age, and I now read a lot of crime novels and others that could be considered "messed up," so I'm not a stranger to disturbing subject matter. But this I had to skip parts because it was just too...I don't know. I'd like to read Gone Girl, but I think I'll have to wait a little while before I do, in case it's as dark as this one.

So it's no wonder I needed to lighten up a bit with Nicholas Sparks and Kristin Hannah. (Really enjoyed Magic Hour.) I kinda swerved back onto the darker side with Mercy, but I don't think I'm staying long. I'm loving the book I'm reading now, but, as it belongs to December, you'll just have to wait until the end of the month to find out what it is!

And, speaking of books, the 22nd Annual Children's Book Illustration Art Show & Book Signing is this Saturday!!! I can't believe it's already been a year since the last book show at Chemers Gallery (a year ago today, to be exact). We will be hosting 5 incredibly talented illustrators and 3 fabulous authors at Saturday's show: Michael Hague, Brett Helquist (whom you may recognize as the illustrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events!), Molly Idle, Stacy Innerst and John Parra, plus Kathleen Hague, Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer. Such amazing talent all gathered under one roof!

This week will be crazy - more news to come after December 7th.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Life is what happens




James and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary with a day out at the Aquarium of the Pacific. I think we looked at everything there was to see, including a tank of super-awesome nautiluses! (Yes, I like putting "!" after every kind of animal.) Our day out in Long Beach was really restful. On our actual anniversary we went out to dinner and both had kind of weird food combinations. I don't really think the restaurant got it right when they were coming up with their menu. Here's a hint: if you offer a "warm potato salad," most people will assume it's like a German potato salad with vinegar and bacon, NOT potato salad made with mayonaise served hot. (Gross.) At least we both had semi-questionable meals.

Chemers Gallery was honored this week at the Orange County National Philanthropy Day luncheon, which was super exciting! We were chosen as Outstanding Small Business, and were nominated by Chapman University and The Wooden Floor, both of whom have been beneficiaries for our annual children's book illustration show. There were 8 honorees altogether, and over 900 people attended. What an amazing day!

Speaking of the children's book illustration show, this year's happens in less than two weeks...OMG.

Friday, November 8, 2013

All You Need is Love

James and I attended a wedding over the weekend in Topanga Canyon for our friends Kayla and Chris. There is nothing like an outdoor southern California wedding - the weather was beautiful, the setting was restful, and looking at what everyone else was wearing was fantastic! Kayla's sister, Carly, got married earlier this year, and although they used a few of the same touches, this wedding definitely had Kayla's stamp on it.

The lovely couple, waaaay up there
Kayla and Chris were married in an oak grove at the Ribbit Plant & Tree Nursery. Chris looked happy and relaxed, and Kayla looked stunning. There were all sorts of great personal touches - Kayla was hidden from view until she reached the aisle by her dad's 4 closest friends, who were each wearing a piece of her dad's suit. His presence was definitely felt and missed by all, as it was at Carly's wedding. Kayla wore the flower crown that her mom wore at her wedding during the reception. One of the bridesmaids read this fabulous poem called I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg - it was just so them.

And then, it was party time.

Ryan was the DJ, I was just there

Joe and James

Ain't no party like a west coast par-taaay!

It was a great day, full of fun, friendship, laughter, and Mason jars practically filled with wine. Plus, our taxi actually showed up to take us back to the hotel after the festivities, which did not happen at the last wedding in Topanga Canyon we attended. (We caught a ride from some of the guys who worked at the venue, I was convinced we were going to be abducted.) So, all in all, good times were had!

And, speaking of weddings, today is our 5 year wedding anniversary! This marriage thing is pretty great, and I've gotta say, I'm a fan.
Congratulations, Kayla & Chris!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

October Reading

I've gotten "behind" on my reading. I blame The Shipping News. I spent most of October trying to get through it, and I couldn't, I just couldn't. I'm sure it's a great book for someone, but not for me.

Here's what I finished this month - apparently I'm really into crime novels right now.

In the Woods by Tana French
Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton
Dream with Little Angels by Michael Hiebert
And right now, I'm struggling through another crime novel that I'm sort of wondering why I'm reading. But, I need to know whodunit. I enjoy trying to figure it out before the characters in the books do, and I'm usually pretty good at it. I want to know if I'm right this time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Presenting: A Snapshot

Hooray! At long last, Domino is back in print! How did I find out about it? Good old Pinterest.
 Nothing too exciting going on around here lately. Unless you count the republication of Domino Magazine. (Why was it ever out of print in the first place??) Which I do. I got my copy the first day it was out. Thank goodness for Pinterest, otherwise I would have had no idea.

Train derailment by skeleton
James and I drove to Griffith Park to ride on a tiny train. Like, knees up to your chin tiny. And, being close to Halloween, the entire place was decorated to the theme of "spooky." Run entirely by volunteers, LA Live Steamers was definitely a guy's kind of place. Where else can you look at model trains and actually bring your own tiny train to ride around the tracks??

The larger train is what we rode on. The smaller ones were privately owned & operated. (Photo from Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum Archives)
 And then I had to go shoe shopping. Had to. For sparkly shoes, of course.

Shoes! Lovely shoes!
What have YOU been up to lately?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Reading

Hello, October, where did you come from? 

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell - I started this while riding on a bus through Stoke Newington in the middle of what for England could be called a heatwave. Imagine my surprise when one of the characters in the book began his walk home through Stoke Newington and my husband's local park in the middle of a heatwave...totally surreal.
You would think right about now that I had chosen my books specifically for the key on the front cover. This would be an incorrect assumption.
The Brave by Nicholas Evans - see? No key.
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket - call it research
And now begins my favorite time of year at work - the preparations for our annual children's book illustration show! We will be featuring 5 children's book illustrators and their original artwork, plus providing books to pre-order for signing and dedication by these illustrators. This all culminates in a day-long opening reception on December 7th, where about 100 original illustrations are displayed on the walls AND the illustrators (and even a few of the authors!) will be in attendance to sign books, give talks, demonstrations and lectures!

Can you guess how excited I am?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Plenty of Glitter...and then some...

Since returning from England a few weeks ago, life has sort of been go-go-go. We're getting ready for our biggest show of the year at work (children's book illustrations - yay!) and I've been working on a few jewelry projects in the mornings. James and I have been cleaning the house like mad (not fun). Plus the weekends have been taken up with a bridal shower, a bar mitzvah, and a bachelorette party. I've really barely seen James since our trip.

Last of the summer artist demonstrations at work - this is a watercolor in progress by Julie Hill

James and I have decided to try to cut down on the amount of TV we watch and do other things instead, which means we have "Wine & Cheese Hour" several times a week. YUM!

Work in progress on a family tree inspired piece of jewelry

Rumor has it...
I spent yesterday morning at Hamburger Mary's in Long Beach at a Sunday brunch drag show with the latest bride-to-be's bachelorette party. Bottomless mimosas, all-you-can-eat buffet, LOUD music, and outrageous drag acts. This one above was the most tame - the spitting image of Adele. But rest assured, there was plenty of glitter, sequins, huge hair, major makeup, and super high heels, and then some...

THEN I found a package of a double season of Gilmore Girls at Target for cheap, and guess what I spent the rest of Sunday doing? This will probably ruin the cutting down on the TV time for a little bit.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Jewelry Galore!

I haven't shown you what I've been working on lately, mainly because I've been too busy, well, working on them in the mornings to leave myself enough time to blog about them! I'm still getting up early to work before I go to work, and the ideas are flying...can't wait to get started on my next set of projects! In the meantime, here are a few finished jewelry pieces to share...

Isn't She Sweet photo collage ring

The Chief photo necklace

Elizabeth the English Girl photo earrings

The End of the Wedding Ceremony photo collage adjustable ring

Coney Island photo locket
Plus, on our trip to England, I picked up some photographs in one of the many markets held around the city to use in some new designs.

New / Old Images
Also, James' parents were kind enough to lend me whatever family photos I thought I could find use for. They have a treasure trove of images taken in Italy and they are printed and preserved beautifully. I even found an image of London before WWII, showing the area around St. Paul's Cathedral that was heavily bombed during the war. So amazing!

I've also been working on these little guys...

I don't know what they'll be yet, but I'm having fun experimenting!!

By the way, all of the finished pieces can be found in my Etsy store, so hop on over when you get the chance!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

August Reading

If you're wondering why the blog has been so quiet lately, it's because James and I were in London! We got back two nights ago and we miss everyone already. Trips to England are always a little stressful because we never manage to see as many people or spend as much time with them as we'd like. Even if we'd been there for an entire month it still wouldn't have been enough. I started having dreams towards the end of our trip about not being able to see some people, which was really fun (not) because I'd begin my day with a healthy dose of guilt and then finish the day with a mild sense of panic. Yay. I'll tell you more about it next time...

So here's the reading from August.

Dear Lucy by Julie Sarkissian - I went to high school with Julie and remember her reading her compositions to our English class, so the strangest sensation when reading this book was hearing it in her voice. Congratulations on the book, Julie!!
Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer - about a scientist on a rocket to colonize the moon with robots & his bald, pregnant wife back on Earth. Really not as strange as it sounds.
The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard - really, really enjoyed this one
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - this was a re-read

Friday, August 9, 2013

Islands, Sunburns, and Sunsets - Oh My!

Last week, James and I had a day off together where we didn't need to do anything, be anywhere, or talk to anyone, which is a complete rarity lately. So what did we decide to do? Take the bus to Balboa, that's what we decided to do!

You have to understand something, you who may not live in southern California behind the Orange Curtain. Buses are not what one decides to take to the beach. A 20 minute journey balloons into a 90 minute journey, and why would you want to sit among strangers on seats that smell like pee? Because! Once you're on, all you have to do is sit there and watch the world go by. You don't have to worry about traffic. You can give up control. You don't have to find a place to park. Or dig around for quarters or dollars for the parking meters. Or keep track of time so you don't go over your metered parking. You can have wine with lunch. If you're tired on the way home, you can doze off, which is not recommended when you are driving a car.

So, after an hour and a half, we found ourselves on the beach at Balboa.

This bird was wearing yellow boots

Pier Pelican, who may have been either sick or just really bored of all the humans around.
We took the ferry over the Balboa island and walked along what felt like every street and bit of waterfront. We saw a giant raptor sculpture in someone's front yard, a skateboarding bulldog, and many a house that if someone were to give us, we would happily accept. There was also a small dog that got in between James and the wall of shop he was looking into that decided to mark the wall, and some little girl started yelling "Ewww! He peeded on the wall!!" which made me laugh hysterically. We also had a really nice lunch at an Italian restaurant, complete with wine and cappuchinos.

A beautiful, gorgeous day out
The only drawback was that I somehow wasn't thinking much about sunblock the whole day, and my neck and shoulders got super sunburned. And I was supposed to be in a work photograph the following day for an award the gallery will be receiving. And my sunburn didn't actually look like a sunburn, it just looked like a rash that was only on my neck. Oh well.

These are our duck friends we met at the Fullerton Arboretum. We also made some turtle friends, but they didn't want to have their pictures taken.
A few nights ago we drove to a park on top of a hill to watch the sunset, because we've been seeing how pretty it is from our garden and thought it would look even better with a view that wasn't an old fence. This park ended up being great, because there were a ton of bunnies that came out as the sun was going down, and THEN a ton of bats started flying around. They were so close you could actually see their little faces. I don't know about you, but I've never seen bats in southern California, only in England, and only from far away. These were right there. That was pretty incredible!

On a side note, by to-do list for the next couple of weeks is ridiculous. You may not be seeing much of me for awhile.

Friday, August 2, 2013

July Reading

July was one of those months where I feel like I could have read the entire contents of a bookstore. (I couldn't have, really, because that's just a silly idea. A gross exaggeration!) But it was probably down to the mostly "beach reading" type stuff I picked up.

The Pact by Jodi Picoult
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks - why this needs a student guide I will probably not understand
Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Desire to Inspire by Christine Mason Miller - by far the best book I've read in awhile
77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

This brings my total for 2013 up to 33 books read. Um, what?

In July I also started setting my alarm for 6am in an effort to make more of the day and focus more on making jewelry. So far it's been relatively easy to haul myself out of bed by about 6:15 and get right to work, but we'll see how this keeps up as we get closer to winter. Hopefully by that point this will have become such a habit I won't be able to stop.

jewelry jewelry jewelry jewelry jewelry
Next time I'll tell you about the day trip James and I took to Balboa Island and how I got sunburned but mostly only on my neck. So it looks like I have a rash.