CLAUDINE HELLMUTH
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Wednesday, May 31, 2006
toby has an ouchie
Toby had to go back to the vet. He had an eye infection brewing. Even though we treat his dry eye troubles with lubricating gel 5 times a day, he still gets an infection now and then. So off to the vet we went!

Poor little guy gets so scared every time we go, he tucks his little head underneath my arm and tries to hide (I secretly like this because it's the only time he'll snuggle with me). I promised him no needles and this time I was able to keep my promise. But we are going to have to go in for a dental cleaning in a few more weeks. Oh I dread the dental. It's been 4 years since he's had his last one so it's time. I hate anesthesia, I always worry so much. I'll have to be extra brave for that!

He was supposed to have a bath tonight but I thought he'd been through enough today, we'll put it off until tomorrow. Shhh .... don't tell Toby!

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006
long to-do list
Today it was time to get back to work!

It's always hard getting back in the swing of things.... I made steady progress in the studio and am feeling better about all I have to get done. But as usual when I have a lot of work to do, I have an overwhelming urge to do everything at once which then leads to a frantic feeling and often a headache.

Tomorrow I'll have a session with my coach, and you can guess what we'll be talking about!

Now it's time to relax a little bit!

I've been watching
Secret Smile on BBC America. Ohh it's so creepy! Tonight's the second 1/2 of the show. I'd better go so I don't miss anything. Night night!
Monday, May 29, 2006
vacation's over
Today was the last day of Paul's vacation so we went to see Art School Confidential . I really enjoyed it. If you've ever been to art school, the first 1/4 of the movie is dead on accurate. I could barely contain myself giggling and laughing. John Malkovich as the washed-up-artist-as-art-teacher was especially funny, almost as good as that nutcase art teacher on Six Feet Under.

Tomorrow it's back to work for the both of us. I've been keeping up with work a little bit, but when Paul's off it's hard to concentrate fully, so tomorrow I'll be back in full swing.

Since I won't be doing
Surtex next year I have been looking into the Gift Shows. Anyone know anything about them? Is the NY Gift Show the best one? I see there are a lot of the gift shows all around. Not sure which is the best one to check out.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
perfect day for a boat ride
Today Mom, Paul and I took an eco-tour river cruise from Blue Spring State Park. This is the same one that Paul, Martha and I took in Jan, but this time we got to see a few new creatures! It was so much fun to be out on the water on such a beautiful day.

Afterward
we had lunch and then came home to set up our new fountain that we got on sale from Target. Getting this fountain home turned into an odyssey, and took longer than putting the whole thing together, but it was worth it. It looks super great in our backyard and the birds love it + it was $100 off the original price! Click here to take a look at our handywork. We still want to add some more plants around it, but it's a start.

I just got off the phone with Bernie. She was driving home and found 15 puppies abandoned by the side of the road in a cardboard box. Geez, how can people be so cruel? It makes me sick. Thank goodness for people like her in the world! She has promised to
post photos on her blog as soon as she has a moment to breathe.
Friday, May 26, 2006
illustration friday - cake
This is my first time doing Illustration Friday. Here's my submission!



Can anyone enlighten me - does the illustration need to be submitted on the Friday it is announced or do you have until the next Friday? I am confused. So like today they announced the theme was "cake" would that mean I would have until next Friday to submit for "cake", or do I do it on the night it is announced? To me it sounded confusing she says "the theme for this week is cake" does that mean today or next Friday? Maybe I am making it harder, than it needs to be! LOL!

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Thursday, May 25, 2006
good press!
I've spent the day getting caught up on email and work, but I did manage to scan a couple articles and add them to my web site.

I posted an article that was in Tampa Tribune's Flair magazine. Click here to read the it in PDF format (it's kind of a large file).

Note the super cute necklace I am wearing in the photos -- it's an original from Nina Bagley.

I also picked up Creating Keepsakes Magazine and saw their mention of my PoppetTM Scrapbooking line. Click here to take a look.

Have a great night!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
cooking up some good tv
Paul and I made it in late this afternoon, picked up Toby from my mom's and then rushed home to see the kitties. Maggie and Mabel were all cozy and asleep they didn't even miss us one bit! We heart our cat sitter! She is wonderful!

After we got settled, we took my mom
out to dinner to thank her for doggie sitting for us, we also caught her up on our trip. I have to confess we only took two photos. One of a big fat cat in a store window and one of me and Carmi, which I'll have to post later. I am so naughty, I always forget to take photos and it didn't help that we weren't allowed to take photos at either of the shows.

Once we got home after dinner, it was time to catch up on our TV!

I am so glad Harold won on
Top Chef. Yay! I thought he should win from day one, so I was really glad. Paul and I even went online during the show to cast our votes. We didn't really follow American Idol this season so we weren't rooting for anyone there, but the few times I did watch --- that Taylor guy annoyed me with his dancing so I was surprised to find out he won over the cute brunette girl.

We managed to get caught up on
Sopranos and taped it for my mom. She taped Lost for me, so I haven't seen it yet. shhh don't tell me what happens!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
last day in nyc
Today we headed out to Ranger Ink to visit their offices. It was an adventure navigating the NJ train system. I thought it was more confusing than the trains in Rome. But once we figured out where to buy our tickets we were set for the ride out to Little Silver.

It was a lot of fun to see the Ranger offices and their factory and how the paints and inks are made. I had a flashback of when I was in grade school and we went on a field trip to see how Cheetos and Fritos were made -- except this time I didn't have to wear a hair net.

After the visit, Paul and I headed back to NYC and met up with
Carmi for our last dinner out. We ate at Le Zie 2000 again because it was so yummy and we couldn't leave without having more of their wonderful food. Carmi checked Surtex for me again today to see if there was any more foot traffic and she reported in that it was still very slow. So I really don't think I'll be pursuing a booth there for next year.

We had such a great time in NYC, it was a good learning experience (you can't find out about these shows unless you see for yourself) and also a wonderful vacation too! What could be better? We are already planning a trip back again! We're off early tomorrow to head back home, can't wait to see Toby and Mabel and Maggie too!

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don't call us...
This morning began with a frantic cab ride to get to the Javits Center on time for the Mary Engelbreit talk. It was less of a talk/speech like I thought it would be and was more of a lengthy question and answer session. I would have preferred more of a in-depth prepared talk, I was dying to hear nitty gritty about the business, still I was glad we went. She is very down to earth and has a deadpan sense of humor.

The
Surtex show was interesting, I am still digesting it. It was not at all what I expected. It's a small show, only about 300 booths. Many of which were artists exhibiting. A few reps and most of them displayed country art or landscape or themes that don't fit my style etc. There were a couple who I thought I could match with my work, so I left materials with them.

Getting to talk with most of the reps was difficult -- when they find out you're an artist and not a buyer, they lose interest pretty quickly -- all they want to talk to is buyers. Understandable because that's what they are there for and not to meet new artists. They take your materials and give the "don't call us, we'll call you" line. The show had very little foot traffic so I am re-thinking the pros and cons of having a booth there for myself next year.

I did meet
a very cool illustrator rep, and this fun artist, which were the highlight of Surtex for me.

After Surtex we had lunch and then checked out the stationery show (this was where all the people were - it was crowded!). We didn't stay long, again the companies didn't really want to talk to artists so we just looked around and did some research and I tried not to feel overwhelmed by the amount of cool stuff out there, but I managed to get a migraine about it anyway. So Paul and I left and took a long afternoon nap.

This evening we met up with another
Karen, we became close when she took my last workshop in Cortona. It was so great to see her again! We ate at Cara Mia --- super great Italian almost as good as the real thing in Tuscany!

After dinner we went to
Monday Night Magic. Karen's boyfriend is a magician, so she got us into the show and it was AMAZING!!

Now we are tired, tomorrow, we'll be going out to NJ to visit the
Ranger Ink offices. Should be exciting so see how they make all their products!

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Sunday, May 21, 2006
rainy day in the city
We spent most of the day trying to get together with Karen, I am dying to see her and her baby Nico, but what started out as a nice sunny day ended up being blustery and rainy and it was just too much for her to bring Nico out in the rain.

Paul and I started the day by going to the
Guggenheim. They failed to mention that it was under construction on the web site so we were disappointed to find out we could only see a little bit of the collection. We had lunch at le Pain Quotidien -- AMAZING food! Yum! yum yum!

Then we headed to Central Park but the wind and rain kicked up so we ended up at
The Met. A perfect place to wait for the rain to stop.

For dinner we met up with Carmi and her friend Edie at
Danal (cute place and great food!) Then we headed to The Blue Man Group. Parts of it I really liked, parts of it really grossed me out. So much that I actually got a gag reflex. I am easily grossed out and I especially couldn't stand the parts where they shoved enormous amounts of food into their mouths. Ick. If those parts weren't in the show I would have totally loved it.

Tomorrow morning we'll be up early to head to
Surtex and the National Stationery Show. We're going to hear a talk that Mary Engelbreit is giving on licensing. I'm excited!

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Saturday, May 20, 2006
it's a heck of a town
We made it in to the big city! I barely slept last night, my mind was racing thinking about the show, worrying about Toby, the cats, etc. etc. So I only got a couple hours of sleep between thinking of things to do before we left -- such as -- adding Post-its to our toilet lids to remind the cat sitter that Maggie likes to put her toys in the toilets so the lids have to stay shut.

We got to
our hotel, which is the most hip Sheraton I have ever seen. It seems it is run entirely by 20-somethings complete with techno music in the lobby. When Paul and I walked in we looked at each other and said "are we cool enough to stay here?" It's a nice hotel and good price considering how expensive NYC is in May + free highspeed internet - yay!

We couldn't check in right away so we left our luggage and had an amazing lunch at
Le Zie 2000. Yummy! Super Yummy! Almost like really being in Italy the food was that good. So paul and I spent most of our lunch talking about how we can't wait for my workshop in Italy in April to have lots and lots of yummy food!

We got to see the Chelsea market, then we crashed, had a nice long nap and now it's time for dinner! We think we'll be tourists and see Times Square after having dinner at
a Vegetarian restaurant that Paul picked out for us.

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Friday, May 19, 2006
the big clean-up
As I predicted it was a long day of cleaning today. And as usual I found new cleaning projects to work on that didn't really have to be done, but I felt compelled to do them anyway. Why I get on these cleaning binges before I have travel I have no idea. At least it's productive.

I washed the slip covers for our two wing chairs, which had not been laundered in three years. Wow! lots of pet hair. And now I remember why I hadn't cleaned them in so long, they are a nightmare to get back on the chairs! It's like solving the Rubix Cube.

I did loads and loads and more loads of laundry and then scrubbed the house. Even washed the duvet and duvet cover. Then put the bed back together again. Whenever I put the duvet cover on the duvet I always think of that game we had to play in PE in grade school with the parachute. Did you ever play that? Where you get in a circle around a parachute and shake it so it floats in the air, then you'd run underneath it. What was the point of that game? What were we supposed to learn? I still wonder.

We took Toby over to my Mom's house tonight. He's all set and snuggled down. She even took off of work for a few days to baby sit him! Now that's a good Grandma! Still, it was hard to leave him, But we can't not go anywhere because we don't want to leave our pets -- then people would really think we were crazy!

OK! I'll be blogging from the Big Apple! See you soon!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
i'm a busy girl
I spent today concentrating on work that I need to finish up before Paul and I leave on Saturday. I also ran some errands, gave Toby a bath, did laundry, and I am sure some other things that I am forgetting.

Tomorrow will be another busy day. The day before we go out of town always is crazy!


If all goes as planned, I'll do a little more work, then clean the house. I like to get the house all nice and clean before Paul and I leave. I don't want the cat sitter to think we have a messy home!!

OK lot's to do tomorrow! So I'm going to have an early night!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
too much good tv
I had a busy day in the studio today which was good, feeling a little bit more caught up after the trip to Dallas.

I did have to leave to pick up a refill of toby's skin medicine but I managed to get back to work, a rare event after leaving the house. I have a lot to get done before Paul and I leave for NYC on Saturday for Surtex and the National Stationery Show.

There is so much good TV on tonight I can hardly stand it!


The Amazing Race - please! oh please! Don't let the Frat boys win! I am keeping my fingers tightly crossed they are not the winners. I heart the hippies, but we'll have to see!

Then there is the
Top Chef finale, I might have to tape that. And Lost too! We can't get our VCR to tape while we watch another show so I think I'll watch Lost during the Amazing Race commercials. Lost's story line moves at such a glacial pace it shouldn't be hard to catch up!
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
rainy day
It's been dark and rainy outside today. We really need this rain with all the brush fires we've had so I am thankful. It is making me sleepy though. Hard to concentrate on work when all I want to do is snuggle in bed with the cats and read my new book.

I did have to venture out in the rain to run some errands, go to the bank, a Dr appt and then back home again.


Tomorrow I hope to get a full day in the studio. It is too hard for me to concentrate properly when I leave the house and come back again. I can only get a good studio day in if I sequester myself in the house. If I leave to run errands I have the hardest time getting back to work when I come back.

Is that just me?

House is on tonight. Oh boy!
I missed Grey's Anatomy last night because I was watching + taping Sopranos for my mom. This Sopranos season has not been as good as the other's. Something MAJOR better happen in these last two episodes!
Monday, May 15, 2006
home again!
I made home late this afternoon. It was a great trip! I had so much fun in my classes and it was wonderful to get to see my friends who also teach at all these various events.

I also got to see
Jennifer Perkins again and meet her sister and family too! They stopped by on Saturday night to visit us at the vendor event.

Here's a photo of me and
Lesley Chandler, with her artwork from my Beyond the Unexpected class. It was 85 degrees outside but freezing inside so I wore that scarf all the time to try to keep warm! I was a naughty girl and didn't take any photos. So I snagged this from Lesley's blog. thanks Lesley!

On the way home I started reading the
Da Vinci Code. I was resisting reading it for so long, mostly because I was being elitist and thinking if that many people like it can't be that good. But I am really enjoying it. Lesley Riley is to blame, she read it on her way to Dallas and talked about it so much, now I am hooked. I can't wait to get all ready for bed, snuggle down and get back to reading!

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Friday, May 12, 2006
just a quick update
My coach, Sheri Gaynor just launched her new site. You can hear her podcast interview with me talking about the pros and cons of being a full time artist. Click here to listen.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006
day two
Class went really well today, then tonight Lesley, Keely, Laurie, Susan and I went out to dinner at a Tex Mex place, it was nice to get out of the hotel even though the food here is pretty OK. Surprising for a hotel, and they even have good vegetarian options.

Afterwards we went to Lowes and WalMart to get various supplies that we needed for our classes. Now I'm bleary eyed and exhausted.

Tomorrow I don't teach until the evening. I'll be teaching Minding your Own Business class, a lecture chat session about business of art stuff. I noticed the hotel has a spa and I can never pass up a chance to have a massage so I'm going to treat myself tomorrow morning and have a massage, then relax, then teach at night! Should be fun!

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travel reading
I made it into Dallas and I'm here in my hotel room right now that I am sharing with Lesley.

This is a nice hotel.

They have the beds with the duvets which I love and not the icky hotel bed spreads. So I am planning on sleeping well! The only bad thing is they charge $12.95 a DAY for highspeed internet so I am using dial up instead. But that's a small complaint.

I had a nice flight and read
a good book on my way over. I love getting really engrossed in a book while I am traveling. I get all immersed in that world reading one book straight through. On the other hand it can be hard to shake off a book and get back to reality after spending 5 hours straight reading.

Well I have an early class tomorrow! I'll be teaching
Beyond the Unexpected: Creating a 3-d Collage! Oh boy!

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006
ready for take off
I finally got all packed. It takes me all day to pack for one of these trips. I spend so long making sure I have all the class supplies, then when I go to pack my clothes I just throw things in.

My luggage is really heavy and I am sure I'm going to have to pay fees for the extra weight. Oh well. I would have spent the same amount on shipping so it all works out in the end.

Whenever I am packing it always makes me think of things I feel need to get done around the house. Like, oh I should clean my make-up brushes, I need to vacuum the floors, I should fill the bird feeders. Why this always happens, I have no idea. Maybe I feel like I need to get everything "just so" in order to leave.

Oh good news! Toby's thyroid tests are normal and the new medicated shampoo seems to be working. So yay!

I'll be bringing my lap top with me so I'll be blogging from Dallas! See you later!

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rushing around
I'm in headless chicken mode packing for my workshop in Dallas. Last night we were without power for 2 hours, then as soon as it came on it went off again! Then it was finally back on but by then I was too tired to mess with the computer. Needless to say I am behind on computer work. More later tonight.....

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Sunday, May 07, 2006
resurfacing
I had a really busy weekend getting ready to teach in Dallas later this week. Last night I barely slept, my mind was racing thinking of all the things to do before I leave.

I hate that.

Tonight I made the dreaded trip to Kinko's to copy my workshop handouts. I hate going to Kinko's, I don't know what it is about that place but I dread going there. It's like getting a shot, the anticipation is always worse than the actual event. Whenever the Kinko's trip is done, I always think "that wasn't so bad was it?"

Thanks for all the Toby well wishes! I think he has forgiven me for the trip to the vet + the bath all in one day.

I am exhausted, I'm going to get to sleep.
Friday, May 05, 2006
toby had a bad day
Let's just say Toby is not a happy camper today. He is mad at his mommy. Here's what I've done wrong.

I took him back to the vet today to get his skin checked. He has a little eczema that we just can't clear up. Before we went to the vet I thought he looked scruffy so I groomed him a little by clipping his toe hair (which he hates me doing) and then giving him a brush.

On the way to the vet I promised him no shots, only skin checks would occur. But while at the vet he had to get his blood drawn so that we can see if a thyroid deficiency is causing his skin and hair problems. We should get the test results early next week. Toby have me a dirty look when they took his blood as if to say "you lied to me."

Then tonight was the final straw -- a bath in medicated shampoo! The horror! Hopefully I'll be back in his good graces tomorrow. Poor little guy!

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Thursday, May 04, 2006
cats like yoga too!
Why is it that whenever I do yoga, the cats always come and try to sit with me on the mat? They could be anywhere in the house sleeping away and as soon as the yoga mat comes out, Maggie and Mabel are right there wanting to do yoga too!

hmmmmmm......

I had a super busy day today. I have finished all the Mother's Day commissions so those are ready to ship but I still have so much left to complete before I leave for Dallas, I hope I can get it all done. Hard to believe that this time next week I'll have taught my first workshop at Art and Soul.

I should be doing more work now, but I am getting too tired. I have learned if I keep going I'll just make a mess and then get frustrated.

I think I'll watch American Inventor, take the trash out, and then get an early night for a fresh start tomorrow!

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006
a nice day for ice cream
Summer is really here! It was almost 90 here today. whew! super hot. Here's another collage I did of me and my bulldog George. His tongue moves up and down when you pull the tab so he can lick the ice cream!

I am excited!
Wide Awake Press wants me to do a spread in their comic book anthology! I am super thrilled to be asked to be a part of this project and especially that they like my PoppetsTM. I am working on the art now, but feel a little blocked, I need to get over my fear of not being "cool enough" to be included! Thinking of a whole new audience seeing my work has suddenly made me hyper-critical. I hate it when that happens.

Just got done watching
Amazing Race. Geez! Mo-Jo and the Frat Boys have gotten really mean. I couldn't believe they canceled the Hippies' cabs! Naughty, naughty! I am so glad the Hippies are still in it. I am keeping my fingers crossed they WIN!
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
busy busy
I was really busy today. I'm working hard to finish up all the Mother's Day commissions before I leave in a week to teach in Dallas. Whew!

Here's a scan of three ATCs (artist trading cards) that I made for
Bernie's book. I am excited to be in her book! I was assigned 3 techniques and had to use one technique per card.

For the middle card I was asked to incorporate a page from a phone book. At first I had no idea what to do so I started looking through the phone book to get ideas. When I came across "dating services" right away an idea popped into my head --- a woman thinking about a using a dating service to find herself a man. It was a great way to get an idea for an artwork, who's have thought using the phone book could be so inspirational!? I think I'll try using the phone book to get ideas again!

I missed
Blow Out tonight because I was watching House. So I'll have to catch it on a re-run. oh the suspense!
Monday, May 01, 2006
surprise! surprise!
It's been like Christmas around here lately. The friendly (well, not-so friendly) mailman has brought a few surprise goodies for me! I am a lucky girl!



1) Jelaine F. sent me spools and spools of amazing vintage ribbon. Piles of it! The spools are almost as incredible as the ribbon,look at those antique labels. yum! Keeping these locked up far away from the kitties. Thank you Jelaine!!

2)Liberty Hanson surprised me with the most touching gift. I met Liberty when she took my workshop at the Coupeville Arts Center. I just love this cute little bunny figure riding on a lamb. It makes me want to make PoppetsTM in 3-d! The little case opens and jelly bellies were inside. oh boy! Liberty owns a super cool store in Kirkland WA called
Liberty 1 2 3. Thank you Miss Liberty!!

3) Tiffani Smith showered me with scrumptious fabric! All kinds of polka dots! I was thrilled. When she emailed me telling me she was sending some, I had no idea there would be piles and piles. Just seeing all these yummy colors and dots makes me want to play in the studio. Thank you Tiffani!

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