Welcome! My name's Jennifer & I live a pretty furry life with a few critters that call my house home. I ramble a lot about my kids, my critters, trips we take & stuff that strikes me. I post a LOT of pics & my posts run all over the place. I try to stay consistent on when I post but sometimes life gets in the way. So, if you don't mind reading about different topics, with small lulls in between, then I hope you'll sit a spell.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday ~ Ponies!


It's no surprise to most people that my love of horses has been nothing short of an obsession. I have countless horse books I've collected over the years and about the same number of Breyer figurines. My living room and kitchen is decorated with horses; from figurine/statues, to pictures, to a giant fabric wall hanging.

I've never been lucky enough to own a horse but that hasn't stopped me from getting as close to as many as I can over the years.

These pictures were taken Christmas 1991, which would have put me at age 11. We had gone up to visit my Grandparents for Christmas and the neighbor, knowing my love of horses, invited me over for a little bit. The little paint filly was named Maggie but the name of the sorrel I rode escapes me.




Even from a young age, horses have been my passion and I WILL have one in my care one day. :-D

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An Interview with an Artist

Catherine at Wild at Art, who did the amazing graphite portrait of Rio for me, graciously agreed to an interview.


1. Tell us a little about yourself: What got you interested in art? Have you taken any art classes?

I am self-taught, though I did attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for one year to study commercial art. I spent countless hours studying on my own at museums, zoos and just observing pets to learn anatomy and how to draw different animals.

2. What or who inspired you to become and artist?

My earliest memory, at about age 3, is of drawing a horse so I must have been born to be an artist! :-)

Cheleyne and Rebel, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse
12" x 16" oil on canvas

3. How long have you been creating?

My whole life....I started out drawing then later taught myself colored pencils, oil painting and pastels. I have even played a bit with sculpture and would like to do more of that someday.

4. Do you have an art role model?

I admire many artists who work in many different mediums from photography to glass to painting and everything in-between. I respect and admire every artist's personal self expression and creativity.

5. What is the main challenge you face when beginning a new piece?

For my pet portraiture, the main challenge is to discover and then bring to life that animal's unique character and spirit. A lot can be seen in the eyes but something as subtle as the tilt of his or her head can convey that animal's personality and character.

Maggie Mae
12" x 12" oil on canvas

6. Do you have a favorite or favorites of your artwork? If so, why is it your favorite?

I don't have a favorite as each piece I do holds it's own special memory and I learn from each one. They are all like friends who hold their own special significance.

 7. Do you have a favorite medium?

I think it would probably be graphite as it allows me to really get in-depth with detail and capture the essence of the particular animal I am working on. I also enjoy the challenge that comes with working only in values with no color.

Brodee, my sister's Dane

8. Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?


9. Do you set a certain time each day to create or do you just work as the mood strikes you?

I try to keep pretty regular working hours but it can change a bit from day to day. Sometimes I find myself doing my best work very late at night, while it's quiet, the dogs are asleep and I listen to late night talk radio. :-)

Zack

10. I see that you do mostly animals but have a few people on your web page. Do you have a favorite subject to paint?

Lol, I have a friend and client, Gail, who is challenging me to paint people (her grandchildren). I am trying to learn to become comfortable painting people but it may take some time. I have always been drawn to animals both in my life and in my art.

Drew
12" x 12" oil on canvas

11. What do you like most about being an artist?

Many things......I love being able to memorialize a pet who has passed away and give the owner a memory and connection when they look at their portrait.  I love the self expression, the challenge and seeing my work improve over time. I love the feeling of "family" you have with other artists.....And I just love drawing :-)

Bree, my sister's Dane
11" x 14" memorial graphite portrait

12. What do you hate most about being an artist?

It is extremely hard to make a living as a fine artist. The old adage "starving artist" is often true. I don't think people realize how much of yourself you put into each piece of art you do and how many hours you work to create art. It's not something you leave at the office. It's who you are, and I think in many cases artists do art because of their love for it in spite of how difficult it is to survive.

13. Can you remember one of the first things you painted? What makes it memorable?

The first painting I did in oils was of an Old English Sheepdog when I was 17 years old. I gave it to a friend. I also did a large painting of lions for my home. After that I was very into painting whales for a long time. Recently, I painted an albino dolphin calf who was captured in Taiji Japan and put on display there at the Whaling Museum. I wanted to raise awareness about cetaceans in captivity with this painting. It is called "Angel of Taiji" and is currently being auctioned to benefit the Ric O'Barry Dolphin Project. I had prints made as well, with all proceeds going to the dolphin project.

"Angel of Taiji"

14. What do you do when you're not painting? What other hobbies do you have?

I have two Harlequin Great Danes; Maggie and Lucy, who I spend a great deal of time with. I am also interested in health and gardening.

15. Where can we reach you if we are interested in you creating a painting for us?

I can be reached by email at wildatartpaintings@yahoo.com

16. What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating?

I think the hardest part is starting and this is probably true of many things in life. We just have to start, and do our best and the rest will follow. I know for me, I am still sometimes slow to start a project but once I start, I can't stop till it's finished.

"Confrontation"
20" x 24" oil on canvas

17.  What are you currently working on?

I am currently starting a memorial colored pencil portrait of a sweet little Rat named Emma. This is for my friend and client, Jade. I did a portrait of her beloved bunny last year, also in colored pencils.

Memorial rough sketch

18. What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Maybe that I am vegan and have been active for many years in animals rights. Or maybe that would not be so surprising since almost all my art is of animals. :-)

19. Do you have any favorite blogs you read?

I follow some health blogs like One Green Planet but as far as artists go, I mainly follow them on Facebook. My favorite page at the moment is Bryan Holland Arts. I love his work!

20. Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?

It sounds cliche but I would only say "do what you love". I know that it can be a challenge to actually do what you dream of doing but there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from being real and who you are and doing what you love. :-)

Maggie, Lucy, Catherine and Bodhi

And there you have it folks, my very first interview and with a wonderful woman who's heart shows in her art. <3 I really enjoyed doing this and hope to do more interviews in the future. :-)

If you'd like to see more of her work, click below for her website, Facebook page and Pinterest.

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

And if you stop by her place, tell her I said "Hi!". :-D

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fashion Sense

I was looking through an Allure magazine earlier today, a high fashion magazine geared toward today's woman.

I flipped through the pages and pages of advertisements.....b/c apparently that's what the magazine is mostly about.

I saw pages for clothing choices; pants, dresses, jackets, smocks, capes and so on.

Pages of makeup; lipstick, eyeliner, shadow, blush and countless facial creams to hide wrinkles and dark spots, to cover blemishes and fine lines.

Pages for hair care; shampoos and conditioners, creams and sprays.

Then there were pages for accessories; shoes, hats, purses (or bags), sunglasses, watches, bracelets, necklaces and bangles, hair clips and barrettes.

And the whole time I looking through these pages, save for a handful of items, I discovered something......

I discovered that I have absolutely NO fashion sense....

at least according to this magazine.

Some of these items of clothing were downright hideous. I literally cringed when I saw them. Gaudy clothing. Baggy clothing that looked like the model was wearing, well a bag. I just can't describe appropriately the look they were trying to achieve but I just couldn't see. If someone had handed me a dress like one I'd seen, even if it had a $2000 price tag, I wouldn't even want to be buried in it.....that hideous.

The other items they showcased like hair and makeup, well, that wasn't so bad. Some if the models eyes looked extremely freaky with so much mascara and eyeliner and shadow plastered on. But for the most part, I liked the colors that the blushes, shadows, nail polish and even lipstick came in.......would I wear it like they do? Not a chance. I'd be laughed at and I asked why I was dressing like a clown. LOL

The hair section had some really nice up-do's that I'd really like to try, but unless I gained about 4 other arms and hands and then eyes in the back of my head, I wouldn't be able to pull them off. Besides that, it's not like we go to any glamour places that a few of those hairstyles would be appropriate for. I did learn a few 'tricks of the trade' that I'll attempt soon. It'll be interesting to see if it works for my hair.

The accessories section was probably my favorite. Shoes fell in that category btw. I liked the different style shoes, that again I'd look like a clown (read: ridiculous) wearing, providing I could even walk in the heels LOL. The purses were cute....if not a little impractical. Call me crazy, but my purse needs to hold more than a tube of lipstick and a few quarters. LOL I did like all the bracelets, necklaces and bangles I saw.....but that's just the kinda gal I am. :-D

So yeah, according to this fashion magazine, in my blue jeans, t-shirt and flip flops; hair pulled back in a ponytail 90% of the time, same ole glasses every day, just my wedding ring and another ring John gave me, occasionally a pair of hoop earrings and rarely WITH makeup.......I have no fashion sense.

But you know what?

That's ok. I'll never be a glamour girl.

Don't get me wrong, I like to dress up and wear makeup occasionally but buying clothes and makeup will never become an obsession of mine and I certainly won't take out any loans to afford any of it. LOL

Just call me FashionLESS Jen. :-D

Monday, July 28, 2014

Watch Out Road! Chris is Driving Age!

Ack! Scary thought.

And while we're on the subject of him turning 16 (!!); when the heck did THAT happen??!!

Just a couple of days ago, he was so small and tiny, he fit in my arms! Now tho, he towers over me and can literally look down at me.

Oh well.

Can't really do anything about his age but for the height problem, I guess I could wear 12 inch heels around him. Haha.

This past Saturday was his birthday. On Wednesday we took a trip to Six Flags as his big gift. He was quite alright with that gift. :-)

I didn't take many pictures and the few I did get were crappy cell phone pics. So, as most of my Six Flags posts work out, it'll be links to the rides with a few pictures scattered throughout. :-D

First ride we rode was the Dahlonega Mine Train. Chris and I got to ride first, so I was able to get a picture of John and McKayla.....well, McKayla was too tiny to see and she was also hunkered down next to Daddy.....apparently she didn't care much for the ride during the ride, but once it was over, she talked about how much fun it was. LOL

The red arrow is pointing at John.

Then it was Splashwater Falls. McKayla, once again, was freaking out before we even got on but once it was over, she was screaming how awesome it was LOL Then the kids had to hang out on the bridge to see if they could get even wetter, while John and I stayed a safe distance back. LOL



We spent several hours at Hurricane Harbor, swimming in Calypso Bay and playing at Paradise Island.

We rode Dodge City Bumper Cars twice. Both times McKayla drove with me riding and Chris in his own car....trying his darnedest to reach us and hit us LOL

Chris and I rode Ninja while John and McKayla headed to get lunch. We met up with them after the ride.

We took a ride on the old time Hanson Cars. Chris and McKayla both wanted to drive but when it came down to getting in the car, McKayla quickly decided she just wanted to ride and wanted to be in the front seat. Chris drove and I think he thought it was another version of Bumper Cars, the way he kept bouncing off the metal track LOL


After Hanson Cars, McKayla, Chris and I rode Up, Up and Away. (And WHY do I always get stuck sitting backwards on those durn things! I swear they change the direction all the time. LOL)

We FINALLY got to ride Wile E. Coyote Canyon Blaster this time too! The line took forever and if we hadn't promised McKayla we'd ride it (after last times fiasco), we would have left b/c by that time we were all exhausted.....well, John and I were, the kids were still running. LOL

After that, the last ride for Chris and McKayla was Tweety's Swings and only b/c it was right by the bathrooms and just happened to be waiting for more people before the ride started. LOL

At one point, the kids played a game where you squirt water at a target and the winner who fills up the tube the fastest is the winner. The winner has their choice of any cape and all the players get their choice of a few styles.

Guess who won?

McKayla!

She was ecstatic and went on for quite awhile about how excited and happy she was that "she finally won!". She picked out a cool black Batman (girl?) cape with a pink, sparkly, padded bat symbol as her winning prize and Chris picked out a neon green cape with a bright orange bat symbol.

We also took them shopping and Chris found a black helicopter that reminded him of Transformers and McKayla got a girl action figure.



It was a great birthday celebration and both kids were fast asleep within minutes of heading down the freeway. :-)

On Saturday, we didn't do anything fancy for his birthday, but I did take him to Toys R Us where we met Grandpa. Chris picked out Bewilderbeast, Cloudjumper, another Toothless (this one glows blue in his belly like in the movie when he was fighting the Bewilderbeast) and a couple packs with mini-dragons. He was pretty happy with his haul.

McKayla also suckered Grandpa into buying her an Anna and Elsa (from Frozen) backpack with matching lunch box AND b/c of a deal they had, another lunchbox, this time Spongebob and Patrick and then a pack of diapers for her Baby Alive doll.

Chris didn't mind his sister getting stuff too b/c he got a LOT more than she did. :-D and he made me proud when he mentioned that he understood that she was little and wanted stuff too and it was ok. <3

Happy birthday Chris! I wish you all the best and hope ALL your dreams come true! Love you!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Furry Friday ~ Graphite Portrait


Today's Furry Friday post is a bit of a cheat. Y'all have seen this picture before and in fact, it's the same picture that is on the top left of my blog. I took this picture last year, trying out my new camera, and it has quickly become one of my favorites of Rio.

This picture:


And my reason for sharing it again?

My dear friend Vanessa, has given me a wonderful gift: a commissioned graphite picture from the above picture!

The artist, Catherine at Wild at Art was kind enough to let me share the progression shots with you. I've included my "watermark" with her permission.



and the final product:

Wild at Art

And just for comparison, the original above the finished graphite and enlarged for you to see the detail:


Catherine did a wonderful job! She captured his soulful eyes, his sweet expression and look at that detail on his nose! I can't wait to have it in my hand, and it already has a place in my dining room. Eventually, I hope to get a graphite portrait done of Katie too (the one on the right side of my blog), and it'll go up on the same wall as Rio's.

(Stay tuned for another post where Catherine has GRACIOUSLY agreed to do an interview with me. I'm extremely excited, if not a bit nervous as I've never done an interview before. I'll be including more portraits she has done of Vanessa's Brodee and Bree, along with their progression shots too. And just to let y'all know, I'm not getting anything in return to do any of this. :-) I'm just really happy with what she and Vanessa have done for me and want to share it.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Moms Shouldn't Be Fat


I ran across this poem that The Diaries of a Wimpy Mom wrote and wanted to share with y'all.

Why Moms Shouldn't Be Fat.

The bending the lifting, the ups and the downs.
The rocking and shh-ing, the fixing of frowns.
Of all the things that I do with this bod,
I should look nothing less than a chiseled Greek god.

Bringing in all of the groceries alone,
Up the stairs, down the stairs - where is my phone???
How many times do I take this from you?
The plunger's off limits, the TP is too!

Why did I put my mixing bowl there?
Better climb up the counter, or pull up a chair.
Using the muscles I didn't know of,
To reach Lightening McQueen, by that old piece of grub.

You ate a hot Cheeto? Oh great, here it comes.
Wait for the dipaer that will be "the runs".
Hauling out trash bags that reek of old poop.
Hoisting it into the dump full of goop.

Pulling you in your red wagon each day,
And just as I stop you yell, "Mom! Go that way!"
Coming home tired and wanting to rest,
Is just such a joke because now there's a test.

How patient are you by 7 pm.
Dinner, then bath time, and cleaning the den.
The kids are in bed, you plop down and sigh.
When all of the sudden, one starts to cry.

You dash up the stairs and you don't make a peep,
In fear that you might wake the one that's asleep.
The problem is fixed, and tip toed you go.
When right out of nowhere you get quite the blow.

You hop and you jump and turn right around,
To see what you stepped on. Oh look what you found!
That green dinosaur with its big pointy tail
All up in the air - that's what made you wail!

Just when you feel the day couldn't get worse,
Your muscles are sore and you just want to curse,
Your back's out of whack and you begin to think -
P90X doesn't do this to me!

My kids kicked my butt by the end of the day.
And I got quite the workout, I just have to say.
Changing into my jammies, I take off my top,
My trusty old belly pops out with a flop.

Bewildered I'm wondering, "How can this be?"
Did you see all the things my kids did to me?!
But talking to fat never did anyone good,
If I could get rid of it, surely I would!

Men age so graciously, handsome and grey.
Women's boobs droop and their fannies? They hang.
One thing's for certain though, I'll tell you that -
It isn't fair moms are the ones that get fat.


It certainly had me giggling a bit with it's truthfulness! LOL

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wisdom

I ran across this on a blog called Exercise Finished and even though it started out pertaining to the graduating class of 2014, the author then tweaked it a bit to fit dog training but I think it could go even further and pertain to everyday living.

WISDOM

I initially wrote this as a newspaper column focused on advice for the high school graduating class of 2014. Then I tweaked it a little for dog folk.

Welcome To The Real World (Of Dog Training)


  • Follow your passion. Don't do something just because everybody else is doing it.

  • Not everyone you meet is going to be supportive and encouraging. Most will, but a few won't be able to think beyond their own insecurities. Don't take it personally. Grudges are just one more thing you have to haul around and if you're involved in dog sports, you've already got enough gear to schlepp.

  • Every time someone is rude or downright nasty to you, pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else. Especially people you don't even know.

  • You never know how you can touch someone's life with a smile or small act of kindness.

  • If it doesn't feel like the right thing to do, it probably isn't.

  • You've only got one body. Take care of it. You're not going to be 18 (or 38 or 48) forever, so start making good habits now. You're breakable. Medical science can repair, replace and prevent a lot of things but it can't cure stupid. Don't be stupid. This applies to your dog's body, too.

  • Practice tolerance. There is a whole planet full of people out there who may not share your world view. You'll set yourself up for a lifetime of misery by disapproving of everyone who doesn't agree with you.

  • Keep your mind open and your mouth shut.

  • Smile, laugh, sing out loud. Kiss your dog. Kiss your partner. Hug your friends.

  • Don't be so worried about tomorrow that you can't enjoy today.

  • Be responsible. You're an adult. Your actions have consequences and you have to live with them.

  • Judge not. Unless you have a license and a club has hired your.

  • Be determined. Be persistent. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you refuse to give up.

  • No one owes you anything. You want it? You make it happen.

  • It's okay to be frustrated, pissed off and disappointed. Go sit in your car and pound on the steering wheel and shed some tears, but don't take it out on your dog or your friends. Nobody wants to see it. Then let it go and figure out how to make it not happen again.

  • You're going to make bad decisions and screw stuff up. Learn from those mistakes. Make new ones next time.

  • You can't fix a problem using the same thinking that created it.

  • Be yourself. It's who you were meant to be. Trying to be someone else doesn't work. If you're trying to be someone else to please someone else, that especially doesn't work.

  • You are a unique individual - celebrate the gifts you have been given. Share them with others whenever you can.

  • If you have a job, good health, a sound dog and disposable income to spend on dog sports, you have more than a lot of people.

  • Count your blessings and never take your support network for granted.

There's a popular graphic circulating on Facebook that reads, "When I was little, I couldn't wait to be an adult. This shit isn't what I expected."

Yeah, there are days when being an adult (dog trainer) is overrated, but it's a journey that's going to last for the rest of your life, so look for the good stuff and you'll find it.

The door has been opened, walk through it with your dog and begin that journey.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read about my adventures! Hope to see you next time. :-)