Saturday, February 28, 2015

LIT Digital Art Tumblr encouragement

I write this daily blog on blogger comparing life in Milwaukee to living here in DC. It's been going on for four years. I don't miss a day and am constantly on the lookout for photos, ideas, and events to share - even when we are on travel. Mobile technology has made it all the more easier. So to add to the mix, I started a blog on Tumblr specific to my digital art. I link this blogger blog to Tumblr because i am too lazy to rewrite it, then mix it up with DC photos, share a custom pet portrait to two, add a video of a sketch to portrait, and insert images of other people's blogs that I find appealing. This sort of thing takes a considerable amount of time if you are really serious about it. What I found interesting are the frequent email updates Tumblr sends that inform you of benchmarks that were reached...after the initial welcome, the achievements of reaching 25, 50, 100, etc likes or posts or whatevers. This site seems to be the most difficult to attract followers to even though I have been giving it a lot of attention. Maybe that is why they try to be so encouraging. I can say that the site itself makes everything look really nice. But it is hard to complete with all the known entities out there. I suppose as long as I enjoy doing it I will keep it up, even though the end result may not be what I had hoped for. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Helen Olivia Artichoke Replaced With American Plant Orchid and Gingko Garden Moss

The experiment with the artichoke "plant" didn't go over very well. We got it last week at Helen Olivia in Alexandria. The flower shop is scrumptious, the wrapping was wonderful, but the artichoke just didn't like where we put it. So we went to American Plant in search of an orchid...something we knew could last for a while - or at least hope we could get a few blooming flowers and change it for something else whenever that time comes. There were so many to pick from there, but we wanted something a little different than the "usual kind." We have had some success with orchids in Milwaukee. We selected one called Miltonia. It has much thinner leaves and requires more water. That might be tough to manage in our extremely dry winter environment with the heat blowing right on it. Aside from that, the location should be good. We wanted to remove it from the container and needed to find some moss to tuck in around it. So we went to Gingko Gardens in our neighborhood to find some. Our little air plant also needed replacement as it was no longer a plant and all air. We found a similar type with pink rather than red edges, and some strange moss from Norway. The folks at Gingko's are always so great. I wanted to make sure our new orchid would have whatever it needed to succeed and they were more than willing to share their expertise. I hope I am not writing about this subject again next week. I'll leave it to my husband to manage the plants. Then I can blame it on him if something happens. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Etsy Thank You Notes for Digital Art Commissions

Getting thank you notes is always nice. Getting thank you notes for creating art for someone is even better. I've had my Etsy shop for two years called LITDigital Paintings. I love to create custom pet portraits and have had commissions from most of the United States, Australia, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Most of them are pretty straight forward. A favorite photo is sketched and hand painted. Some are a little more involved ... Taking two separate images to create one, or adding names and dates. Just about anything can be done with digital art. It's all created using my iPad, and a lot of imagination.  I gave up my watercolors and pastels to create a mobile studio. I can take it with me whenever we travel. One of the more interesting requests I received recently was to paint two dogs, move them closer together, add a green bow tie to one and a wedding veil to the other. The image would eventually be printed on a cover that would be used as a ring pillow for a wedding. It was a fun project and I am looking forward to seeing the a actual pillow in use at the ceremony. I love the interaction with my customers as updates of the progress are sent, and final background colors are selected. And it's a great feeling to know someone likes what was made especially for them. It's also a way to get my dog "fix." I really love those pooches, and cats, and parrots! Wonder what the next request will be?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Favorite OPM Signs - Closed!

It's really different working for the federal government. Every one tells you that before you start, and then you tell everyone that while you are there - especially if you have spent any time in the private sector. My thirty year health care career in Wisconsin did not prepare me for this career change. We had to get to work no matter the reason filling twenty-four hour a day, three shift, all year schedules. We had eight paid holidays. I was very happy to get on a Monday through Friday schedule without being on call or worry about weekend problems. And winter was no different than summer. Here in DC at this job there are more holidays, though working three days a week I no longer benefit from most of them because I am already off. I now have an app that informs us of government closures due to typically bad weather. It's a lot easier to use instead of calling. I love the closed red signage the best. Wouldn't you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Mud Room

In Milwaukee we knew we had lousy weather, had a big dog, and needed designated space for a washing machine and dryer. When we added on to the house, a part of the existing garage space was turned in to a mud room, complete with separate "locker" space for our coats and shoes and hats, and window box for a variety of plants. It came in especially handy for the dog food station and wash tub. We also had an artist paint the walls with some of our favorite things - birds, candles, Persian script. Here in DC we didn't really expect to have to deal with almost the same kind of weather we thought we had escaped from. Unfortunately in a 500 square foot house we don't have anything remotely similar to a mud room. So all the wet and snowy shoes land in front of the patio door in the kitchen on a Chilewich floor mat. It's just not the same - in more ways than you can imagine. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Good Samaritan, Foodler, Moby Dick and Another Water Main Break

When we walked out the door, we saw a driver in distress. He couldn't get his Prius out of the snowy and icy parking space. He was parked on Capitol Hill going in the wrong direction. Since we lived in Milwaukee thirty years, we are somewhat experts on this subject - and will never buy anything but a four wheel drive vehicle based on this experience. So, as usual, my husband offered his help (a very rare thing around here), ran back to get the shovel, a few Harris Teeter grocery bags from the trunk for traction, and back and forth they went for at least twenty five minutes. That usually wouldn't be so bad, but we had just placed a pick up order for Moby Dick in Arlington. And, we tried using Foodler to order the take out rather than call. Since we were already way behind schedule, I knew the food would be cold, but also my husband should be able to quickly run in and pick it up because it was already paid for. When he arrived, he was told the food was somewhere in a car getting delivered to who knows where. This was confusing because the order was placed as a pick up, they don't deliver that far away, and the email confirmation stated it would be ready at this address. So the order had to be "reordered" and we waited another half hour. When we finally arrived back home, the street was blocked off because of yet another water main break - the second one in two days. Not only does this add to the noise and disruption in the neighborhood, but really limits the street parking spaces by about twenty with all the equipment used to fix the mess. So we ended up parking way up the street and found it really difficult to park because of all the ice and snow piled up. Lessons learned: being a Good Samaritan can cause delays; it may be better to call in a take out order rather than use Foodler - or use Moby Dick's on line service; and don't live in a place with lousy infrastructure. I guess we are plain out of luck. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Helen Olivia in Alexandria Artichoke Bouquet

Private Gardener in Milwaukee was our go to place for anything plant and flower related. They planned and installed our front yard garden; we always went there for unique and interesting bouquets; and they helped me surprise my husband on his fiftieth birthday by setting a beautiful table complete with goldfish in flower vases. Here in DC, we have a wall hanging vase that we try to keep updated with varieties of things based on the season.  It becomes a Christmas tree with lights in December, and when our garden has flowers, it's a wonderful container to show them off. This time of year is between all of that so we thought Helen Olivia in Alexandria might have something unique and long lasting. We were thinking a branch rather than a flower would be nice - an inspiration we saw at Vaso's Kitchen the last time we were there. In Milwaukee, I could pretty much cut things from all the trees, bushes, and plants on the one acre lot. Here, I don't have that option. What we found was an artichoke branch - not quite what we were looking for different. So we selected some leaves to display with it and hoped for the best. I think we could have used some color rather than all greens, but it was worth the experiment. The wrapping in itself made the bouquet exquisite. It's been a while since we have been there. The staff were busily preparing for an event and the place looked and smelled wonderful. Just going there changes your mood on a cold winter day. If nothing else, that in itself was worth the trip. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

La Fromagerie in Alexandria - A Wisconsin Connection

Who doesn't like cheese? Starting with macaroni and cheese as a youngster and then trying a variety of others as the years pass, I've come to settle on only a few. One of them is P'tit Basque. We found it in Wisconsin after a trip to France. Our friends there shared their favorites with us - one of which was a mild, hard cheese. We couldn't find it specifically when we returned home, but when we described it, P'tit Basque filled the bill and ever since we have been on the look out for it. We have found it in Costco, and once at Eastern Market. Now we hear it is available at Trader Joe's. My husband likes to explore cheese shops around town, and we have also found it at Cheestique in Del Ray. Yesterday we drove out to King Street in Alexandria to see if La Fromagerie might have it. They didn't, but when he described what he was looking for, the owner helped us find one that is similar. It's called Dante. We tried a slice and it was good - but what made it even better was that it came from Wisconsin. That's probably why we got it, even though it really wasn't what we wanted. After that we decided it was time to get a "flower" to spruce up our empty hanging glass vase at home. So we stopped at Helen Olivia for an artichoke green. They have really unique and pretty things there. Now let's see how long they both will last.