Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Recap and a new sketch

People often ask why I don't go home for Christmas. The simple reason is it is less stressful to go home at any other time of the year. Also I quite like my quiet low key New York Christmas.

For Christmas Eve we went to Dyker's Heights Brooklyn to see some wild Christmas lights. Thanks to my friend Cari Jackson who wrote the book "The Guide to Odd New York"

Back home in NC we go see Christmas light every year also. I have to say though, walking through the displays versus driving through gives the whole experience a cozier dynamic.

For our Christmas Eve meal we opted for some Peking Duck in China Town. I got this idea from my favorite Christmas movie, "The Christmas Story"

Yummy yummy!

Awwwe who knew he'd grow up to be so CUTE!
Christmas morning we got up to open our presents. And to give the pups their "Santa" gifts thanks to Grandma Luper.

Monster got her favorite gift- a brand new tennis ball!

Elivra has her turn at the tennis ball. Monster is not happy with this.
 The remainder of the day is spent cleaning up this mess, cooking a nice lunch of bracioles, baked potatoes, mac-n-cheese and bacon chocolate cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing. Whew it was mighty yummy.

Don't know what a braciole is? Check out the link. It's good stuff.

We also get to take the girls on a nice long walk down Broadway. Most days of the year it is too crowded for puppies. But today it is rather nice.

Yesterday we decided to take a little day trip up to Cold Spring New York. Yay! Train trip.

I love the train. In the south we don't really ride the train, we take a car trip to most places.

We start our journey in Grand Central Terminal which is just a wonderful place to visit to begin with.

I just love the tiled arches here.

A man grabbing some breakfast before his trip.

Lovely old clock atop the information booth

Frenchie takes a trip too

People hustling and bustling about
The train we rode was called  Ichabod Crane. And yes there really is a Sleepy Hollow in New York.

It doesn't matter how many trips I go on. Whether on the ground or in the air, I still love to look out of the window.

There were some good sites on the way up to Cold Spring.

Sing Sing prison!
Over looking the Hudson River
Cold Springs- for real!

In Cold Spring we have a nice Italian lunch and do some antiquing. I found a couple of lovely creepy babies, that have already ended up in my latest sketch for my next painting. Check her out.

So that recaps my wonderful Christmas week. Tomorrow will be New Years Eve, not sure yet what we'll be getting into for that. I can tell you that I will NOT be in Times Square! Till next year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Merry New York City Apartment Christmas!

Back home in NC I used to get a bit Christmas crazy. I'd have a Christmas tree down stairs and one in the bed room. Gasp! Yep, in the bed room.

Now I'm just lucky to fit a bed in the bed room.

Four years ago Lee and I moved to New York with no jobs. Probably not a good idea. So that first year Christmas had to be done but it had to be done on a budget. So where to go you ask!?! China Town of course.

We bought everything for the tree for somewhere around the $30 price tag. We have dragons, lanterns, scary mask face man, fish wind socks, fans and a butter fly to top it off.

Merry Christmas Tree 2012

Close up of Scary Mask Face man and fish wind sock

Oh yeah I threw some disco balls in there for kicks

Mike Duggin's painting looks over everything to be sure all is well.
Due to the room we have in the apartment or lack there of, I keep most everything else simple.

Simple tinsel from the dollar store (where nothing actually is a dollar) decorates the doorways

Another dollar store find. Total of $7

I got these great glitter bows at same said dollar store and I put them on the corners of some of the art work around the house.

Same glitter bow adorns my owl lamp
Presents can not go on the floor around the tree here in the O'Brien house. We have a beast of a dog named Elvira that is a gift destroyer. You can ask my friend Eddie Draughn about that. So All the gifts must go up and away from little dog lips.

This year I used pale blue and green paper with zebra and snake skin paper accents. I like using rolls of tulle for my bows. You get a lot of bang for the buck.
A chalk ware puppy peaks out from the gifts. It was a gift from my cuz Emily.
I like to have fresh flowers for the holidays. I'm no flower arranger but as long as they're alive I'm happy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Baby There's Crows Outside! (Give away)

Years ago I was sitting in my dinning room which doubled as my studio. I was pondering what to paint when I noticed 2 or 3 crows in my bird feeder.

"What the heck! Get outta there you old birds!"

I said this out loud but they didn't hear me or they didn't care so they just kept trying to gobble up all the seed. On my way over to the window to shew them away I noticed how beautiful they were. Their feathers were so shiny with hints of blue and purple, quite exquisite.

I decided then and there that I loved the crows being there. After all they are God's creatures and are just as hungry as any other bird. I also sat down and painted my first crow that day. Her name was Harriet. She pops up a lot in my paintings.

Harriet Saves the Day

Real crows have also been featured in several of my pieces, as they are my now my favorite bird. Here is my latest painting called "Baby There's Crows Outside!" The title is a take on the popular Christmas song "Baby it's cold Outside" My painting features a sweet little girl taking care of her cold crow friends by providing them with some warm wear.

Publish Post
Baby There's Crows Outside!

This painting is a bit different than some of my stuff. I painted this on thick board and let a lot of the wood show through the oil paint. I also used some pray paint and graphite and gauche. Then I varnished it with super duper thick shiny glaze which makes the painting just glow. I was inspired by one of my favorite painters John John Jesse for this technique.

I am giving away an 8x10 print of this piece so send me your name and I will put you in the drawing for Tuesday December 20th. 

The original is also for sale- send me a message if you are interested.

Good luck!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

20% off in my ETSY shop

It's has been a slow go getting my ETSY shop up to speed. I do think now it is looking pretty good and I have a fairly good selection of jewels. It is hard keeping it stocked when I keep shipping pieces off here there and everywhere. But that is a good problem to have I guess.

I added some new pieces there today. One of my favorite necklaces that I have made thus far. Danger Dolly and her Adorable Dog Doughnut. Now she has a story to tell. Go check her out.

Just in case you've not been keeping up... here are a few shots of pieces that have been added in the last month or so.

Danger Dolly

Bitsy Bear


Big Eyed Jesus

Harriet Saves the day Prize Ribbon

Not So White
Sooooo head on over to my shop to finish up your Chirstmas shopping. Save 20% by entering the coupon code HOLIDAY at check out.

Saturday, December 3, 2011



I have found that I really don't allow myself to dream. There is no time for such non-sence, there is stuff to be done. Real stuff.

Perhaps though I should put some clouds under my feet and indulge a bit. Dreaming after all is a treat. And who doesn't like a good treat?

I guess I'll start my dream by dreaming I will win the lottery (that I never play) and I have more cash than I could ever need. I'll also be dreaming in pink in case you haven't noticed.

First let's give some cash away to friends, families, charities and puppies.

OK, now I will be living in a palatial loft apartment over looking the Hudson River. Decorated Old Hollywood meets punk rock.

In this apartment there will be a nice walk in closet (or 2.) Perhaps a his and hers. Yeah, that'll be nice. In this closet there will be a brand new Black Caviar with black chain Coco Chanel purse. Yep yep.

Alas I will only be needing this apartment in the summer. You read correctly- summer. I would summer in the city. I don't care for winter so when the cold season rolls around (probably in September) I'll be heading to some tropical location. Miami will do just fine.

The reason I dream of having this extra money really is so I won't have to work. Work tends to get in my way of creating.

Since I won't be needing to work, I will have all the time in the world to paint. I could paint my little heart out. I might even open my own gallery since it wouldn't really matter if I sold anything. I'd have a gallery where I'd GIVE my paintings away. Well... maybe almost give away. They'd be rather affordable, just like they are now (wink wink). People would come from all around just to acquire one.

While I'm dreaming I might as well have a 22 inch waist. Of course I won't really have to work out to keep it. Only if I decide to. When and if I do decide to go for a run I will run 5 minute miles just like a gazelle. Weeeeee!

Most of all in my dream I'm happy, grinning from ear to ear.

Oh- I've already accomplished that part of the dream I guess I just need to buy me that lottery ticket!