Monthly Archives: April 2008

I love to organize things…

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That’s what I am doing right now. Last night, I continued to clean and organize my studio. I found a couple of things I had forgotten about and tried really hard to throw things away. I also organized my sequins, confetti, and all of the objects that I put in my assemblages and story boxes. That is a lot of stuff – confetti is like spices: you have to buy a whole package to get one shape or item, but you are probably never going to use them all.

I must have about 21 or more of these sectional containers – I think that they have 18 compartments (or 16 small compartments and 1 large one – why do they do that?) – 3 of them can hold images from a 54 card Loteria deck. I also have my sequins and confetti in these boxes – I am currently organizing them by color. Not to mention the many small organizers I have filled with stuff. I collect Mardi Gras beads and medallions, small blown glass objects that used to be on wine charms and swizzle sticks. I have some jewels, rusty iron hearts, plastic cocktail hangers (I’ve got some cute muscle men and mermaids)

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Tin Ornaments

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As a person who is intensely interested in the arts and crafts of Mexico, I have many many files that contain images I have collected on the internet.  I collect amusing ex-voto stories,  images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, samples of Huichol yarn and bead art, Oaxacan alebrijes, Loteria images, and images of heart milagros and tin ornaments – to name a few.

I am planning on using the story pictures that I have found to refer to in lesson plans I want to make integrating Latino Art with my ESOL curriculum.  I also have been creating my own little Loterias for years.  Currently, I have collected many images of tin and silver hearts – I have used them for inspiration and template to make my own Milagros.

Now, I am also working on sketching out whimsical drawings inspired by tin ornaments.  At the moment, I have 11 drawings – all animals or birds.  When I am finished with the animals, there are still many other items to draw – Day of the Dead ornaments, Christmas ornaments, angels, devils, mermaids, etc.  I have a lot of ideas on how to use them – will share more about that later.

Today I got up late and made the pilgrimage to RuSan in Buckhead for sushi.  After that, I went to Pearl Art and Craft Supply.  I had not been there for a really long time, so I had to go up and down the aisles of the whole store to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  I found these cheap blown glass mobiles for only $1.95 each.  There were little glass fish, starfish, birdies, chicks and bunnies hanging from them.  I bought them to cut apart and use in my Story Boxes.  It was a pretty good score!

Now I am going to go and make Thai Catfish Nuggets on rice. Yay!

What You See is What You Get

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I have owned the domain name http://www.maison-celeste.com for probably more than a year now. Before that, I owned http://www.maisonceleste.com. The latter, I cancelled because a year or so had gone by and I had not published a website. When I went to get it back, it was no longer available. Bastards! Having learned my lesson, I am not going to sell Maison-Celeste.com – I even prefer the hyphenated version. But I still don’t have anything up there.

Maybe about 4 years ago, I took an evening class on website building. I actually got the hang of HTML and played around with blog templates and had a little Bravenet site up. Then, I got spoiled by the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors. So, while I have several websites – on Etsy, on CafePress, and here on WordPress – I still haven’t got the BIG site up. Today, I tried to change that.

My husband has a copy of something like FrontPage on his Mac, but I need something handy on my laptop. That is where I get most of my work done. I am not ready yet to splurge on a copy of Dreamweaver – well, yes, I’m ready, but it would not be financially responsible at the moment. So, I started looking on the Internet for free HTML editors.

I found one that looked good, called Amaya. I downloaded it and created a little webpage – just a graphic of my Loteria Celeste with a welcome message. Underneath was a simple table with links to my other sites and my e-mail address. I figured that would do until I got something else up. I saved the files in a special folder on my laptop, then headed to GoDaddy to upload them to my site.

Over an hour later, I still had not succeeded – even after downloading an explanation about uploading files. Now, I will admit that uploading was not something I did a lot – but it was supposed to be EASY. It’s NOT! I am going to enlist the help of my husband and hope I don’t get scolded too much for downloading a program he had not approved of… Right now, I am going to do the boring part – planning the site and writing copy. It’s just not as immediately gratifying as posting in my blog! 😉

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to use GoDaddy’s Website Tonight. My new site is supposedly hosted on GoDaddy.com. Well, I found out that “Website Tonight” is a bit of a misnomer: I did not get a website that night. For one thing, the “free” Website Tonight account offered to me would have required that I cancel my domain name, wait for it to come up for use again (supposedly in a couple of minutes), then snap it up under that particular offer. That was not reasonable. It was very frustrating – although the GoDaddy guys were very nice.

Organization

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April 15, 2008

I am obviously not the best blogger in the world.  I could use the excuse that my computer suffered a severe crash this weekend and I am only just getting it back together, but I had all of that vacation time and still did not write!

I have been doing a lot of organizing in my workspace. I had about 20 or so rolls of wrapping paper that I have been hoarding, so I unrolled them and flattened them using my cookbook collection.  Then, I folded them and stored them flat in boxes.

I have also stockpiled a large amount of lovely flat, rectangular boxes that our Dell computer components came in at school.  I was going to use them for dioramas, but they will make great storage boxes.  I plan on finding some way to organize my papers – by color, maybe? or style?  Then, I can cut pieces of the paper out and post them on the sides of the boxes.

I spent a lot of time over the holidays checking out all of the TJMaxx Homegoods stores in my area.  I have pretty much claimed samples of most of the Punch Studio papers and cards available for sale there.  Now, I need to sort and use them.  I plan on selling some of my surplus in batches in my Etsy store and on EBay.  I think that there is a market for paper – we’ll have to see.  Now, I just have to find a way to sell all of my surplus sequins and confetti!

I also purchased a bit of fabric on eBay – I am trying to round out my collection of Hispanic fabrics – I found a store that sold some great Frida fabric, as well as a pattern of Talavera plates and Mexican toys.  I think at last count I had collected almost 20 different Virgin of Guadalupe images.  I plan on using the fabric like I do paper – I don’t plan on sewing anything at the moment.  Most will be centerpieces for shrines.

I made one new Virgin of Guadalupe shrine over the holidays – I just need to put a couple of coats of Mod Podge on it and then I may put it up on eBay.  I have not put much up for a while on eBay – I am trying to get organized right now.  I have put up some lovely Loteria Collage notecards in my Etsy shop:  Check them out!

Gather ‘Round, Latino Artists!

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This weekend, I attended a NALAC Regional Arts Workshop in Athens, GA. I found out about it on Thursday while I was looking for more Arts Integration Lesson Plans to add to my collection. “NALAC (The National Association of Latino Arts and Culture) is an arts service organization that serves the needs of the diverse Latino arts and cultural communities in the United States. The focus of the organization is to provide leadership in advocacy of national policy issues that impact the Latino arts and cultural communities across the nation.”

Now, my first visit unearthed a lovely looking grant: The NALAC Fund for the Arts

“The NALAC Fund for the Artsis a field-advised, grant program designed to help Latinos develop their creative talents and make lasting contributions to our communities and society as a whole. Launched in 2005 by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture with major support from the Ford Foundation, the NALAC Fund for the Arts provides financial resources to strengthen Latino arts organizations and to support Latino artists in the creation of their work.”

My first question was: “Hey, I’m a Latina artist! Okay, not by blood, but I deal with iconography and subject matters that are of Hispanic origin. Do I qualify for a grant?” I immediately shot off an inquiry to the Grants manager by e-mail. Then, I saw that NALAC was going to be in my area – the very next day! The fee was going to be only $10. I saw several sessions that appealed to me, including:


  • Arts Toolkit: Marketing Your Work and Increasing Visibility


  • Taking Latino Art and Culture into the Classroom


  • Artists and Community Development


  • Establishing Relationships with Funders & Navigating Government Funding

I thought I would take a chance and ask my principal for a professional day to go to Friday’s sessions. I was very surprised when he said yes! After finding a way to fulfill my obligations for Friday and making quick lesson plans, I made plans to go to Athens. My husband came with me – we made plans to stay at the Conference Center where the Workshop was held. I have a tendency to get lost in Athens and decided it was worth the extra cost to be on site the night before. We dropped the dog off at the boarding kennel and headed out.

E-Pals is BLOCKED

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Monday morning I came to school and logged in to ePals to check and see if there was any new mail.  Suddenly, up came the little blue screen of censorship – the site was blocked by our school firewall!

There is no rhyme or reason to our firewall blocking system.  Usually it is there so that teachers don’t spend the day shopping for houses (FMLS is blocked), bargaining on eBay, looking up their horoscope, or checking their personal e-mail.  Needless to say, MySpace and FaceBook and a lot of blogging sites are blocked as well.  I assume that this twist of fate is due to a firewall update this past weekend.

Interestingly enough, for the moment eBay and Tarot.com are NOT blocked.

There is a procedure to follow here:  I have to download a website approval form from the system server and fill it out.  Then, my principal has to sign it.  THEN, it has to make it to the Systems Administrator at Central Office.  I have done my part, but the form has not surfaced at CO yet.  I will send an e-mail to my principal as a gentle reminder today – I would like for my students to be able to write an e-mail or two before Spring Break.

I have been really weary for the past two days.  I have been kept up by the two-part CSI Miami last night and Monday night.  I cannot believe what happened in Brazil – can you really blow away 11 or 12 Brazilian gangsters and then just leave the country?  I am going to ask my Brazilian friends – a former Lutheran pastor and his wife.  I’m sure they are down with crime protocol in their country…  I also liked the use of invisible ink to leave a message – reminds me of my old Trixie Belden mystery reading days.

Yesterday I used the slow cooker to cook two Cornish game hens – I found some “red rice from the Camargue” at T. J. Maxx and used the mixed version to stuff the chickens, along with apricots and raisins and a liberal sprinkling of raz el hanout.   It was okay – I will try cooking the hens in the oven next time.  Sometimes, “falling off the bone” is not ideal – especially when there are so many tiny bones.