A Letter from a Diehard Bengals Fan to her Beloved Team

The third grade girls I coach in soccer whine less than you do. 

You want to take your ball and go home if you don’t get your way, Carson Palmer?  You wouldn’t be on my team.  I don’t tolerate quitters.  I also don’t tolerate my kids being disrespectful towards their teammates by insinuating that a losing record is everyone else’s fault.  You play like you’re scared, Palmer; if a third grade girls’ soccer coach can see it, the opposing team can too.  A new team is not going to change your fear.

Not that Palmer is the only guilty party here; unfortunately for us Cincinnatians, we have quite a few quitters on our team.  Y’all think the grass is truly greener elsewhere?  Then go, take your fair weather sportsmanship, and quit wasting our time.  You guys might be sick of losing, but you haven’t been losing nearly as long as the Bengals fans here in the Nati have.  I’m not running off to support the Steelers just because my players are more concerned with their Vh1 reality star status than playing some real freaking football.  Now you all want to be traded to other teams because you can’t work together to get the job done?  Forget being traded- if I was such a failure at my job, I’d get fired.  How about you boys lose your giant contracts because you can’t win a game?  Forget the blame game, you guys just can’t do your job and other teams shouldn’t have to suffer, either.

By the way, Ochocinco, how ridiculous are you going to look when your jersey has the number 70 or whatever on it?  Remember the lessons we learned from Michael Jordan’s first retirement…  Quit showboating and learn to catch the ball.  I don’t care if you can race a horse, if you date women on TV, if you change your name, all I care about is whether or not you can play football.  As far as I can tell, you can’t.  How about you do something about that? 

Whatever happened to the love of the game?  From where I sit, all I see is the love of the almighty dollar.  You people make more in a game than I make in a year, and here you are whining about your losing season.  With that kind of attitude, why should any of us fans shell out our cash to fill a stadium to see a team with a loser’s demeanor get their asses kicked?  I can spend two bucks to see a pee wee football team play and I’ll see more heart and more professional conduct than I will at a Bengals game.  Next time you need your ego stroked, look at your paystub, if that isn’t enough, nothing will be.

I keep hearing about all this talent we have on our team.  Every once in a while, I get to see it.  More often than not, I get to see the royal screw ups that happen when a bunch of talented guys cannot work as a team.  Yet every year, here I am.  The Bengals as a whole have been a losing team for most of my life, but I’m still here, waiting for that winning season, that successful combination of talent, hard work, leadership, and commitment to coalesce into the ass kicking football team I know you guys can be.  Of course, we all know whiners can’t kick ass at anything; whiners get their asses kicked.

As for our quitters, quit then.  You aren’t here to be part of a team, you take no personal responsibility, all you care about is yourself, you have no commitment, no loyalty, and we don’t need you or want you.  Get out of our city.  I’ll take a modest committed hardworking player over a diva any day.  And that is exactly what you whining quitters are- little divas.  Cincinnati doesn’t need you.  You quit on us; no way you’ll be winning this fan back anytime soon.

And if you decide to stick around, maybe my third grade girls can give you guys lessons on how a real team works- I guarantee there will be minimum whining.  My whiners have to run laps.

Secret Snow Dance Society Claims Credit for Today’s Historic Event

“Amateurs do a snow dance.” one inside source revealed.  “The secret of our success is all in how we shuffle…"

CPS, Other Districts, Close Ahead of Snow

If you were unaware, it is my pleasure to inform the world that, due in large part to my own exhausting efforts involving the super secret snoopy snow day shuffle (two parts snoopy dance, one part Carlton, you just have to be there) as well as some tender heartfelt scenes during which I implored "Are you there, Snow?  It’s me, Lauren…" and "Why Snow Why?!  Why does the weatherman tease me so?!!", Cincinnati Public Schools, driven by some unseen force, some divine intervention (Thou hast not forsaken me, Snow!!), is CLOSED today.  To all my fellow educators and friends who still cackle triumphantly from home when your school closings flash across the screen- I salute you!

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fun with Wire and Other Adventures

I have found a new love- jewelry.  I never realized the artistic and creative potential of wire; I thought all handmade jewelry consisted of beads on string, which can be pretty, but is rarely what I would wear.  And I don’t like to make anything I wouldn’t buy myself… 

But, I adore hardware and charms and baubles and started amassing a smallish (compared to some) collection of nifty things from the jewelry supply section of Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, then started reading up (that’s what a bibliomaniac does), Voila!  A new obsession is born!  The upside- faster stocking of the store, plus very impressed moms on Christmas.  The downside- to do things the way I like to (I make almost everything myself, with the exception of the beads, and really want to take on metal smithing) can get pretty expensive.  Plus, I seem to be developing a minor case of carpal tunnel!  Does that happen that quickly?  Seriously?

Anyway, photos!

Most items pictured are for sale in the Shop

Oh, and I made a Facebook page for the shop; I have no clue what to do with it, but you can become a fan Here.  Or maybe you can tell me what to do with it!  That would be fabulous as well…

Bad Habits are Hard to Break…

Like my habit of procrastinating on listing new stuff and updating my lovely little blog!  Please forgive my silence; I have been busy perfecting my bad habits over the past couple of months.  As always, one little thing sets me off in a whirlwind and suddenly I find myself with a new skill and a large amount of new supplies.  I have not yet ruled out a shopping addiction as one of my many flaws, although I do think some might find an obsession with collecting every type of pen nib or a drive to own all types of pliers ever made a bit strange… 

The first of my latest spiraling obsessions was the result of a custom journal request that included an illustrated map.  The request was for a journal with some sort of phoenix on the cover, which I think I blogged while I was working on it, with a simple illustration of some sort of fantasy world to be included in the book.  I must have the most awesome clients ever, because this woman not only gave me total control over the book design, she made sure to tell me that the map just needed to give the basic lay of the land, unless I wanted to add more.  She took some pictures of a (very) rough sketch of where all the countries went, gave me the details on what was supposed to go where, and then set me loose.  The poor thing didn’t realize that if I get an idea, I have an obsessive drive to master any and all skills required to see that idea through to completion.  While I did not go so far as to include latitude, longitude, or a scale, I did teach myself copperplate calligraphy and have acquired an obscene amount of drawing ink, pen nibs, and holders…  Not to mention a decent supply of different golden mediums (a phoenix has feathers, so I was trying to get a feathery look using fiber paste…  then I got a little obsessed with all the gel mediums…).  In the end, she loved the results…  I’m hoping her friend did too!  Check out the finished product:

So I finished up that project, plus the guest book for my best friend’s wedding (it’s good to know a custom book maker/binder/artist/whatever!  Comes in handy sometimes…) and was kind of lost for a bit, as I normally am when I don’t have any projects to work on.  I would come home from work, sit in my little studio/office, and stare at the enormous mess, trying to figure out ways not to clean it.  I picked up a magazine one day, hoping for some inspiration to at least motivate me to clean off one of my desks, and came across an article about making fabric cuff bracelets.  Since I don’t really sew or make jewelry, I obviously had to learn right away.  The cuffs led me to bracelets which led me to Google, which led me to the bead store in Hyde park, which sparked an obsession with Swarovski crystal pearls, silver wire, and a strong desire for pliers, needle files, and any other cool tools.  Plus, I now have an excuse to break out Pele, my blow torch, which just makes me a bad ass…  So I’m going to list some jewelry in the hopes of that it will sell so I can buy more tools, because I gotta admit, I love things like drills and hammers and torches…  So, recent jewelry:

In a related note, I do have to rave about Lucia’s Beads, one of the many bead supply shops on Etsy.  The owner, Ellie, sells these beautiful Japanese Tensha Beads and striking Swarovski crystal components, and went out of her way to order my beloved pearls for me even though her shop didn’t carry them.  Amazing customer service, all around, shipping was incredibly fast.  So, if any bead loving people are out there in cyber land, please click on over and show some love; I have never had a bad experience with a seller, but I was just floored by Ellie’s willingness to go above and beyond…

More pretty pictures soon (relatively speaking!)….

You’re Gonna Throw That Away?!!

I save everything.  My wreck of a studio can attest to this, as can my husband, who has a tendency to sigh heavily and pull the door closed when I’m in the middle of a project.  He learned long ago that asking me to clean it when I’m working is futile and wisely has never tried to make sense of it himself.  If I think I might some day have a use for that bit of string, those scraps of paper, these discarded boxes, etc, I cannot possibly part with them.   I mean, what if, ten years from now, I desperately need that broken hinge to put the finishing touch on a masterpiece that will shake the art world to its core only to remember that I threw it away?!  Add to that my tendency to collect random items that have any kind of artistic potential at all (recent acquisition: an enormous box of fabric samples, color swatches, and several large binders that were cast offs of architects and interior designers, all found at this year’s Zero Landfill Cincinnati), plus my extensive supply of actual artist’s materials, and it is a miracle that I can even fit into my studio! 

I had begun to wonder if I had a diagnosable mental illness when I stumbled upon the altered and mixed media art communities, where I was promptly reassured that this eccentricity was completely normal.  However, I never really thought of it as altruistic (isn’t hoarding a selfish tendency?) until I stumbled upon the HaloMiner booth at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago…

I knew that Pam (co-owner, HaloMiner) made beautiful jewelry, which she sold at our kids’ school on occasion, and that her daughter was a natural born defensive soccer player from when I coached the girls’ team last fall.  From working at the school, I knew of the Reblandos (who are set to sweep the student council elections this year, according to the signs all over the halls), but haven’t had the opportunity to get to know their mother Nicole (other co-owner, HaloMiner) very well.  I had no idea that both women were not only artists, but had recently started a very cool business that  carries unique, functional, affordable items created from everyday castoffs that would normally be tossed in the trash without a second thought.  Being a fan of supporting small, independent businesses and a firm believer in the good karma, I felt it absolutely necessary to blog about my collecting compatriots!

Every item HaloMiner produces is up cycled, repurposed, vintage, or re-used.  From pop-art style earrings die cut from brightly colored aluminum cans (absolutely adorable!), to elegant neck wraps made from repurposed textiles and vintage buttons, to their line of t-shirts and the nifty bag saver designed to hold your keys while it keeps reusable bags handy, everything reinforces the HaloMiner mission to “elevate the everyday” and increase eco-awareness.  These phenomenal women are also devoted to the concept of community and use HaloMiner as a way to inform and educate the people around them by being an active, positive presence at local events, with an eventual goal of holding workshops to teach creative re-use techniques to others.  This isn’t a business that is only concerned with the bottom line; Halominer is a vehicle created to help Pam and Nicole make a positive impact on our local community, and as a member of that community, I am thankful for their presence and efforts.  I am also in awe of the way these women make their children an active part of the work they do, using their business as a way to involve and educate the kids on the importance of both improving the environment and building a strong and active community.

You can check out their products and read more about Halominer here.  And hey, the shopping is guilt free!  Your purchase helps the environment!  (Hmm…  I wonder if that would make it tax exempt shopping, since its a good cause and all….)

As for me, new work to post another day:)

I Heart Drawing…

…Especially with cool new art supplies.  I picked up some portfolio water soluble oil pastels a while ago and last week finally broke them out to play with…

drawings0001

But it is hard to get a detailed drawing from such chunky, messy, crayons, so, just to prove I can still draw a little…

drawings0002

I drew this!

A related note:  I finally kept one of the books I made, a paper covered sketchbook filled with Rives heavyweight and lightweight, my favorite paper; it houses the above drawings, one of which is part of the cover.  Which is not finished.  This is what it looks like now:

my sketchbook 102010 001 my sketchbook 102010 002

my sketchbook 102010 004

Multiple pamphlets sewn into a concertina.  I really like this sketchbook, though, glad I made it for myself!

Next up:  Conquering Coptic Binding.  Stay tuned for gory details, after I find a curved needle…

Busy Little Bookworm

I apologize for my unpardonable lack of updates recently:  while I always intend to take the time to sit down and entertain my vast audience with dramatic, riveting tales like “Locked in the Studio for Days:  One Woman’s Battle Against the Massive Mess She’s Been Ignoring” and “Retribution:  What Happens When Victims of ‘I Don’t Need to Hire a Professional, I’ll Do it Myself’ Spousal Abuse Find Their Voices and Their Husbands’ Tools”  (Wow, lengthy faux title…), I always seem to have so much other stuff to do.  I could get up at 4 am just to add the hours to the day so I get everything done, yet still I will be late for work, herding my unkempt sleepy eyed offspring in the general direction of the car and still will not have had time to turn on the computer!  The good news?  Between the day job and the domestic job, people have been paying me to make my books!  I even sold one of the altered moleskine journals I listed, and I never thought I’d sell any of the journals I’d already made.  Are you ready for the big, retire to the Caribbean to make art full time in my seaside studio number of customers I’ve had?  FOUR!!!  I know all my customers by their first names :) 

Since it’s been so long since I’ve shared anything at all, let alone any new work, it’s picture time!  What follows are some of the books I’ve made since August- the ones I remembered to photograph before I sent them off on their merry way, at least:

My daughter turned 8 in August- she asked me to make her one of my books; the beauty of this is that I did most of the work with her running around me, without the slightest idea that the purple and blue mess Mom was making had anything to do with her

Please Note:  While I did dye and paint each and every page, Ava gets credit for some of the color here- she started creating in it before I could take photos!

I was hired to make the next book for a wedding as a journal for the guests to write notes, memories, advice and so forth for the bride and groom, which I thought was a pretty cool idea.  The other cool thing about this one?  It was for a surprise wedding!  The couple was going to go the city hall route and booked a date, then the husband secretly planned a small wedding to surprise his bride.  Now, had I surprised my husband with a wedding, I doubt such a gesture would have been received with gushing adoration; however, since a date was set to tie the knot anyway, I thought this was an incredibly sweet move by the groom.  Okay, enough!  Here’s the album:

I also made a small paper sketchbook as a a free gift for the mother of the bride, who ordered the wedding journal from the Scorpio Creations shop- I forgot to take pictures because I was in a rush to mail it.  However, I just finished another, similar sketchbook as a gift for the art student teacher at school- my daughter adores her and has been distraught that she must now leave us and return to college so she can finish her degree program, so I made a small gift for Ava to give her as a good luck present.

small paper sketchbook 022 small paper sketchbook 028 small paper sketchbook 029

A note of interest regarding the above book-  These soft cover artist journals are the offspring of my adoration of Rives BFK and Rives Heavy & Lightweight drawing papers.  The cover is Rives BFK 300gsm, and this book features 32 pages of Rives Lightweight sewn into the folded cover paper with ivory ribbon using a 3 hole pamphlet stitch.  The nifty thing about these journals- you can design your own cover!  The BFK is thick enough to take on almost any medium and embellishments of reasonable weight.  Why all the detail, you ask?  I am moving my etsy shop (Scorpio creations will still be active for a while) to a new name and a new setup, and I plan to start my listings with these simple, elegant, journals available for order in a couple of different sizes.The new name is ArtsyBibliomaniac- I have no idea why I didn’t use that name in the first place, but I love it and when you Google it, this blog is the first thing that pops up!  Here’s the deal with the new shop- I spend at least 30 hours on a custom requested journal, typically more, yet I was pricing my work well under the value a one of a kind, completely hand made, therefore labor intensive, custom requested item.  Once I decided to go ahead and open a new shop with a name that ties into the blog, I saw an opportunity to revise my whole method of pricing and posting in so that it is reasonable but is a better reflection of both the unique quality of the items I create and the value of my time and effort.  Most of the types of bindings I list for custom orders will end up costing a fair amount over the listing price; however, the paper sketchbooks like the one pictured above should be very affordable, even though the quality of the materials is high.  I could be wrong, but I think people who buy them might do so in order to customize their own journals, which saves me a lot of time and the buyer a lot of moula.

However, I digress…  a ton.  Basically, the sketchbooks aren’t up yet and the shop is in desperate need of setting up, but if anyone wants to purchase a soft cover journal similar to the one above,  just contact me through the etsy shop (both are still open) to pin down the details and I’ll be happy to make one for you. 

And now, the journal in progress I’ve been working on (obsessing over):

Mr Phoenix up there isn’t quite done yet…

While I do have a couple more pieces lying around, I didn’t take pics yet, so I’ll play show and tell with my own paper sketchbook next time.  It’s time for this chica to chill out and get some much needed sleep.

Now if only my husband would stop snoring!