Friday, September 5, 2008

back from the beach!

as i sit here watching the gobs and gobs of rain (which i'm about to go out into), i can't help but think about all those poor people who have/had to deal with Ike & Hanna and all the other tropical storms turned hurricanes of the season (and i remember, yet again, why i am thrilled to not live in florida anymore). the bad weather is moving its way up the coast, so on the off chance that YOU might be spending your weekend trapped indoors, i leave you with these warm, sunny pictures from the beach (and mason's first time on a boat!).

stay dry (AND SAFE!!!) out there this weekend.
xo, danamarie

Learn Something New This Fall!

Autumn means a lot of things to a lot of people... but i think for most people, Autumn will always suggest a return to school. (and for some people, the fact that you don't HAVE to go anymore, is pretty exciting!) personally, i miss college; i like deadlines and pressue, but i also like feedback and support. And i just plain like learning!
(i'm a total dweeb now, right? i'm all "rah rah, learning!".

seriously though, why should kids get all the fun of school?
and besides, school can be really awesome if you're learning something you REALLY WANT to know.

lucky for you, there are a lot of opportunities for the entire family to pick up some new talents or brush up on old skills... and possibly EVEN luckier, i will be the one teaching you!

(look how fun my notes are!)

this fall, you can catch me at School 33 Art Center & MICA (the Maryland Institute College of Art), teaching four different courses. And if you live in Baltimore (or the surrounding areas), you should really think about taking a class or two at either of these institutions. This fall alone, you could learn printmaking, painting, mosaic & found object sculpture and more. Now, if you're looking to learn how to draw, or someone to soak up all your kids' creative energies and run with them... well, that's where i come in.

For the kids, check out the whole range of Continuing Studies courses available to students (K-12), through the Young People's Studio Program.
I'll be teaching two classes for YPS this fall---
Real & Fanciful Landscapes
Saturday 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM
September 13 to November 22, 2008
Grades 3-5.


Tell a Story, Draw a Story
Saturday 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
September 13 to November 22, 2008
Grades 2-4.

And for the "bigger kids" (that's you Adults), head over to School 33 for
BEGINNING AND CONTINUING DRAWING for adults & young adults which will be offered at two different times & days, so you can pick the one that best suits your workweek!
Wednesday, Sept 17 – Nov 5, 6:30-9:30PM or
Friday, Sept 19-Nov 7, 10AM – 1PM

Learn to draw in eight weeks! Even if you’ve never picked up a pencil before, you’ll walk away with new skills & drawings you can be proud of. Individual instruction & student centered lessons make this the perfect class for the beginner AND the more experienced artist.

I'm always amazed at the quality of work people produce (especially because i find the adults much more stubborn and self-effacing than the kids ever are, and LO! look how beautiful the final products are!)

If you're ever thought "i wish i could do that", now's the time to act on it. I am a very patient teacher and as you know, my ambition, above all else, is to bring art into everyone's life... let me teach you!! You can register online &/or get more information at both the School 33 & MICA websites. Don't wait a second longer--- classes are filling fast and start SOON!!

Look forward to seeing you local folks all covered in ink & charcoal and having epiphanies about composition right before my very eyes. Plus--- i let you make fun messes like this one:

xo, danamarie

Thursday, September 4, 2008

things i love...

i realized, today, that i've been so busy lately, so overwhelmed with the working and the "waking up when the alarm says so" part of life that i'm not really taking time to smell those proverbial roses...

heck, i'm not smelling much more than wool & lesson plans (and the cigarette smoke that is "drifting" into our apartment, thanks to our recently acquired downstairs neighbor (and yes, suddenly the frequently naked, often cursing at the news or christmas specials, and on at least ONE occasion, peeking under our front door to look at puppy mason, former downstairs neighbor seems pretty darn good). i've been sorta... down. we're running the air purifier 24/7 (a term that annoys me and i am surprised i used) and spraying NeutraAir like it's free; my asthma has been, understandably, enraged, and in general... well, i need a change of scenery. this, it seems, is not likely to come anytime soon, so i decided to spend some time focusing on the things i have right here... the things i REALLY love.

like this:

cupcakes. these particular cupcakes were delivered out of the blue, by my dear friend katie, just because. and they are perfection... if you live in baltimore, run don't walk (and really-- run, don't drive, because you'll want to work off some calories first) to the baltimore cupcake company

or this mug:

estelle and i painted these mugs (we made two-- one for her mom, the aforementioned Katie, and one for me) for christmas last year. i painted the solid inside while she napped, and when she woke up, i sat her right in the chair and handed her the brush... that's where i bowed out. and of course, if you're drinking coffee or milk with your cupcakes, they're gonna taste better out of this mug.

even sweeter than cupcakes, is waking up or coming home from work to find a new vase of gerbera daisies (my favorite flowers, after Daffodils... if any of you were going to send me flowers) set up on the table or the mantel... this is a new treat of AJ's and i love it. he's told me (and i already knew it) that if he had more money he'd buy me fresh flowers everyday. this is pretty close and its just the best.

on second thought... THIS is the best.

this beautiful boy, who sits on the windowsill and watches the world go by. my little hero. him i love.

xo, danamarie

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

fall for these...

ah puns...

seriously though, if you're looking for some sweet orange-y, reddish, brownish, leaf/bird/nature related goodies to usher in the fall, i'd seriously consider these treats!

Pine the Knitimal

organic hand-drawn onesie

orange felt knitimal brooch

excerpt number 222, "little birdie"

on SALE! Pitter the Knitimal

remember, a portion of all the sales from my etsy shop will go to this month's charity: 2 Dogs 2000 Miles, so shop today and shop proudly... as they say "puppy up!".
xo, danamarie

13 piglets & a brand new cow!

"Our state fair is a great state fair,
Don't miss it, don't even be late.
It's dollars to donuts
That our state fair
Is the best state fair in our state.
-"State Fair"; Rogers & Hammerstein

it's true though... proof? um, how 'bout FRIED PB&J?!?!
have you EVER????

yeah. it's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, dipped in batter and deep fried right before our eyes... and THEN they asked us if we wanted "anything on it"... WHAT?! like what? lipitor? an angioplasty? turns out some people opt for chocolate sauce... that just seemed... well, let's be honest, we WERE eating a fried pb& j... yeah, throw on some powdered sugar.

as it turns out, it was only good for a few bites; then it was too dry and too "mwack, mwack" (that's the sound of me trying to chew and swallow dry, warm peanut butter".

so, we have been going to the Maryland State Fair for years (AJ's always worked for non-profits and always ends up with these free passes the state gives to "good people"); and we always watch the pig races, visit the petting zoo,

and see sweet things like this alpaca (i want one... imagine all the yarn!)

and this sweet donkey with his long eyelashes and black eyeliner; and then we walk through the livestock "viewing" show area (until i get too sad realizing they are parading around to be sold to be turned into meat...) AND, i always get a corn dog. (hypocrisy? yes). Those who know me, know i L-O-V-E pigs. love 'em. so we'll start there...

pig racing.
these little piggies race around the track, to win... an oreo. oh, it's fantastic!

so, that's pretty great, but check this out...SWIFTY; swifty is a little pot bellied pig who swims. SHE SWIMS!
(after she swims you can take a picture with her for $5. i was giddy inside thinking about the possibility of that, and before i could convince myself that that was a "waste of money", my dear AJ said "honey, i will GLADLY pay $5 so you can have your picture taken with swifty". yep. and i did. actually WE did. i'll have to scan it so you can see it. we might use it for our christmas card, it's that good)

after the pig related excitement, we needed to "take it down a notch" and headed over to the agriculture pavilion, where we got to check these out...

awesome, right? then we bought honey sticks, which i always thought might be gross, because i don't REALLY like honey, but the flavored ones were pretty tasty. and THEN our lives changed forever.
we ran into some friends who, knowing my love of the porcine, said "did you see the baby pigs?" (yes, we just watched the race!), "no, the piglets in the birthing center... they were just born tis morning!" (WHAT?!?!). yeah, they have a pavillion where things are born.

so, we rushed over to find it and walk into this place and there's cows everywhere and this row of holsteins.. signs above each one saying "2 years old", "1 year old", "6 months old", "1 month old", "1 DAY OLD!!!".

a day!
look at that little cow. sooooo CUTE. AND SHINY!!!

there was also an incubator with newly hatched ducklings and even cuter, an incubator with EGGS, which turned INTO an incubator with egg SHELLS and teeny, tiny, wet little chicks in it, in a matter of minutes. THEN we saw the piglets. oh my gawd the piglets. OH T H E P I G L E T S!!!

thirteen of them, born between 9:30 and 11:30 that morning... these little red pork-itos are only 6 hours old.

and of course, there were two that especially reminded us of sweet mason.

so, that's how it started. we're watching these little piglets, totally freaking out about their tininess and the fact that there are little chicks and little ducks just a few feet away, when i hear a speaker-voice saying things like "placenta", "calfing", "water breaks"... and i say, "is there like a cow having a baby over there or something" (very eloquent... i'm always really eloquent at the state fair). so we go on the other side of these bleachers to check it out and yes... yes there was.

this is cow #2539 (or something like that), but AJ and i later named her Eloise because it just seemed right to be on a first name basis when you spend THAT kind of time with an animal. The guy speaking into the microphone told the audience that this heifer's water had broken about an hour ago, which meant she could give birth anytime now (between 2 and 12 hours after the water breaks)... he also told us that we could stay ALL night if we wanted to, because the state fair as an agreement with the birthing center, and if there is an animal in labor you don't have to leave when the fair closes. hot damn! now, this was Eloise's first calf, so she was likely to freak out a little (he warned us) and it might take longer. well, we sat tight. we followed her through all the wide eyed, straight tailed, still bodied contractions; watched some sort of other liquid make a big splash (not pee... not "the water") and when she got up and moved around the pen, we watched with our eyes (some other idiots kept getting up and blocking the view of people who had been sitting in one spot the whole time, letting their kids go right up to the fence and poke her, despite verbal abuse from the crowd and repeated warnings from the staff), and finally, she settled on our side of the pen and laid down... the start of things.

this is the sweet little hoof of a calf... the first part to come out. (just to be fair, i should tell you that the hoof came out a couple times, and then, well, went back in... we were told this was also normal, especially with the first timers; and she got up and moved to the center of the pen for the final hoof appearance).
shortly thereafter, we got another hoof and a nose...

then the whole head and legs, then the torso, then in one fell swoop, the rest of the baby.
and oh, then she just licked her and licked her and licked her... i'm talkin' hours of licking. too sweet.

we watched as baby tried to get up and walk around (it wasn't happening for baby... but she tried really hard). and then the staff asked the onlookers for questions. a kid in the crowd asked what the baby's name was, which led to a "what should her name be" audience participation segment. the nominated names were pretty weak, i must say ( i mean COME ON! we JUST saw this little thing be born... we owe her a good name): haley (a lovely name, but obviously the mother's urging the child to say it's own name, and that kind of weird displacement of parental needs is just awkward), fairy girl (like "fair", like state fair), daisy (such a cliche cow name) and some other "eh" ones... i think princess was one too. Then, this totally unexpected boy stands up and says, how about (no joke) "peppercorn". well, in another sad bit of proof that elections in this country just plain don't work, i cheered (and i wasn't alone) louder for Peppercorn than anyone else combined cheered for any other name... but they chose Princess. Well, "Princess" as she might be known to you guys, was NOT the calf i elected... the calf i helped birth (through good vibes and moral support) was DEFINITELY named Peppercorn

we went to get some snacks, and then came back and sat in front of the pen they moved Eloise and Peppercorn to, and watched her get her first bottle (mom had to be milked) and then stand and walk for the first time. It was amazing.

meet: peppercorn

SO, if you live in Maryland and DIDN'T know you could do this, plan for it for next year. Bring extra snacks and be prepared to sit for a long time... but also be prepared to be completely blown away and weepy for a few hours. (also, i'm off beef for a while).
xo, danamarie

Monday, September 1, 2008

happy labor day!

greetings from the beach! (it's mason's first time in sand or near this much water... good pictures to come!). hope you're all enjoying the tail end of summer... personally, i'm eager to meet the Fall.
it's way inspirational...
autumn-y goodness
xo, danamarie