Category Archives: Creative outbursts

Latest creation

I’m holding a drawing tomorrow in class for another fabulous (read: ridiculous) handmade prize. Here it is:

I was going to do something different this time, but the last sock monkey went over so well that I decided to put together another one. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but its arms are “tattooed” with images of flying pigs that look vaguely like something Matt Groening would come up with.

I think the weirdness coefficient is high enough to endear this little character to most of my students….


Odds and ends

Plans for this weekend:

1. Have breakfast at the Blue Dome Diner.
2. Go geocaching.
3. Grade papers.
4. Plan lessons.
5. Have good coffee somewhere.
6. Do something extremely creative involving watercolors, T-shirts, recycled materials, or some combination of the above.
7. Hunt down appropriate-size mirror for Brews and Bytes bathroom.
8. Attend Oklahoma Route 66 Association meeting in Chandler.
9. Do preliminary work on Tulsa Route 66 geocaching project.
10. Stock up on cache-creation materials.

Brief movie review: We saw The Artist tonight. Strange but charming. It’s basically what you’d get if Wishbone channeled Lassie and helped Batman’s butler do an intervention on a male Norma Desmond. Particularly heartbreaking for an old print journalist who didn’t have the will to survive the transition to digital.

It is now 22 days until Cubs pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, 36 days until I report to the bleachers at Reed Park, 76 days until Noise Nation reports to Coca-Cola Park, and 81 days until I report to the berm at OneOK Field.


Bribing the children

I’m introducing a new reward system for good behavior and class participation. I printed up about a kajillion little slips that say “REWARD TICKET — for doing a great job in Ms. Priddy’s class,” and I hand them out randomly to students who are on-task, participating well, going out of their way to be helpful, etc. The kids write their names on the back, and the tickets go in a plastic bowl I picked up at the dollar store. At the end of the month, I’ll draw one name, and that student will receive a fabulous prize.

I explained to the kids that by “fabulous,” I meant “completely ridiculous” and assured them that the prize in question would be some one-of-a-kind, handmade monstrosity I’d come up with on a whim.

Sixth and eighth hours insisted that I post a picture this month’s fabulous prize online once I finished making it. Here it is:

Because, really, what sophomore doesn’t need a tie-dyed sock monkey?

This one looked sort of unfinished when I got done sewing him together, so I added a bowtie made from some bright blue ribbon with green peace signs and the word “LOVE” printed on it.

Ridiculous, yes, but look: I’ve seen sophomores fight over glow-in-the-dark plastic ants, so a tie-dyed sock monkey ought to provide plenty of motivation.

If this goes over well, I might do a drawing every two weeks. I’ve already got a ridiculous idea for the next prize….


Mural update

I didn’t get a chance to post this before we left town, but here’s my latest handiwork from Brews and Bytes:

The old Victorian Theater -- current site of Brews and Bytes. Please disregard the abysmal perspective. Multiple buildings adorned with various cantilevers + wall too narrow to set up vanishing points + distorted source photo = wonky angles. This is why I don't charge for my work....
The only non-Route-66 reference in the whole project.

The text on the postcard reads:

Dear Lawrence —

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desrious of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars….


English majors should recognize the names, address, and quote. The rest of you … Google it.

Lucille Hamons' old Provine station in Hydro.
Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park on Highway 28A in Foyil -- not technically on 66, but long associated with it and very popular with Mother Road travelers.
General view of the corner.
I can't remember whether I posted this one already, but this is the Rock Creek Bridge on the Ozark Trail alignment of 66 just west of Sapulpa.

These next few shots are reruns — I’ve posted pictures of these paintings before — but I think the previous images were fuzzy cell-phone pictures, and I wanted something a little clearer.

Oil-drum kachina outside the Route 66 museum in Elk City.
Milk bottle building in OKC.
Mickey Mantle statue in Commerce.
Glancy Motel in Clinton.
Flying roller skate on new 66 in Sapulpa.

I’m about 80 percent done with the project at this point. I still need to do a large vertical painting on the space directly behind the toilet, find a mirror of appropriate size to go above the sink, install the Roman shade I made the other day, make a valance to go with it, and touch up the spots where I spackled over nail holes and whatnot. I’ve got about 40 hours in it so far, and I’m thinking another six to eight should see me clear, depending on what kind of mirror I can find and how much work it needs.



Here’s my latest coffeehouse artwork. Apologies for the poor photo quality; I forgot my camera and had to use my cell phone instead.




The first three are from a couple of weeks ago; I just forgot to post them at the time.



I painted the last two this evening. I have two more to paint on that wall, and then I can start the ginormous ones on the next wall. I’m really pleased with the way the project is turning out. I still need to make the Roman shade for the window, rustle up a pretty mirror that goes well in there, and paint the bricks, but it’s coming together nicely.

In other news, our academic (a.k.a. scholar bowl) team took fourth place in the all-city tournament today, and two kids brought home individual awards. We have an awesome team. The kids swept the district seeding tournament a few weeks ago, then followed up by taking first at regionals. If we make the top four at the area tournament in Miami next month, we’re going to state. I think I’m even more excited about this than I was when my own team went to state 20 years ago.

I still owe you pictures from my trip to Tucumcari last week. Stay tuned; I’ll try to post those this weekend.


More paintings

Here’s the latest from my Brews & Bytes project:

Bison picture is finished.
The late, great Shady Rest.
Neon effect works better in full color, but it'll do, I guess.
The old-fashioned notes about location were Stevia's idea.
I really like the way these turned out.
Overview of the top half of the wall.
I just started this one. Stay tuned....

I’m really pleased with the way this project is going. I’d hoped to do a lot more during this break from school, but I was so exhausted that I took a nap as soon as I got home Thursday afternoon, got up for dinner, went straight to bed after I ate, slept in Friday, took a long afternoon nap, and then went back to bed immediately after dinner and stayed there until 8:30 this morning.

Despite all the slacking, I got a lot done today, and I wrote a press release about the project this evening before I left. Hopefully that will garner a little publicity for the business. It’s all well and good to paint pretty pictures, but the point is really to help Mike and Stevia attract customers. Hopefully people will be interested enough in what I’m doing to stop by a few times a week to check my progress.

I’ll probably make the Roman shade for the window tomorrow so I can install it Monday morning when I go over to give the door a coat of chalkboard paint and spackle some holes in one of the walls.


More painting

I spent about three and a half hours working on my mural project this evening. I’m pretty happy with the way it’s going thus far. Behold:

The Round Barn on Route 66 in Arcadia.

Finishing touches on the Chandler Phillips 66 station. I took some liberties with the background, which is terribly cluttered with buildings and whatnot in real life. I like the way the roof turned out. The multicolored shingles translated well to faux-sepia tones, I thought.

Work in progress. Brews & Bytes closed before I finished this one, but I’ll go back and work on it some more this weekend. Again, I took some artistic license with the background. I’m doing that a lot just to keep things simple and uncluttered.

Overview of the project thus far. I have room for two or three more images on this part of the wall, and then I’ll move to another section.

Hope you enjoyed your evening. I’d had some good intentions about going to church and then hitting the gym this evening, but I got so caught up in my painting that I lost track of time, and it was 9 o’clock before I knew it. I’m still pretty tired from my run the other day, so I think it was probably wise to give myself another day to recover.


Latest adventures

OK, so “adventures” might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m heading into some unfamiliar territory this week:¬†I’ve joined a respectable gym and put myself on a low-carb diet.

No, I haven’t lost my mind. I’ve just decided I want another marathon, and I’d kind of like to do it right this time.

This basically means I’ve treated myself to a Gold’s Gym membership (I joined last night and logged three miles at an 11:30 pace, which I think is pretty respectable for a girl who hasn’t run in the better end of year) and started cooking dinner at home to cut back on the carbs.

Notice I said “cut back,” not “eliminate.” I’m not doing that Atkins-diet, deprivation-to-the-brink-of-organ-failure crap. Instead, I’m¬†practicing something completely alien to me: moderation. Basically, this means I have my usual decaf Sumatra for breakfast, a package of Reese cups and a Diet Dr. Pepper for lunch, and something heavy on the protein and vegetables for dinner. I’ve also swapped my usual late-night Dymaxion sundaes for mixed nuts and/or fresh veggies with all the fiesta ranch dip I want. It’s pretty painless, although I’m sure I’d be climbing walls if not for the Reese cups — which, for the record, have only slightly more calories and about the same amount of carbs as a can of Slim-Fast. (If I manage to lose 30 pounds on this diet, I am so going to lobby Hershey’s for an endorsement deal. That insufferable Jared from Subway has needed somebody to knock him off his low-fat pedestal for years, and I think I’m just the girl to do it.)

In other news, I did some more work on my painting project at Brews & Bytes this afternoon. Mike Reed, who co-owns the coffeehouse with his wife, Stevia, was kind enough to take a picture of my handiwork with his iPhone after I stupidly walked out of the house without my camera. Here it is:

For some reason, that second rectangle turned out a little wonky (no idea how that happened, since the first was fine, and I used the same template for both), but I think it still looks pretty good. The picture is based on Bill Fernau’s 1930 Phillips 66 station on Route 66 in Chandler.


Will work for coffee

A few weeks ago, I wandered into Brews and Bytes, a little coffeehouse that opened this summer about half a block off Route 66 in Sapulpa, and spent a quiet morning grading papers and planning lessons. If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it. The owners are friendly, the coffee is good, and the ambience is just right: soft lighting, comfortable furniture, historic building, free Wi-Fi, local artists’ work on the walls, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

The restroom hadn’t yet received the same cafe-chic treatment as the rest of the building, so I asked the barista/co-owner what she had planned for that space.

“I’m not sure yet,” she said.

That’s what I was hoping she’d say. I started painting this afternoon.

Here are a few before-and-after shots to give you an idea of where we started and where we’re heading:

We started with clutter, previous tenants' bad decisions, and a necessity-driven tendency toward function over form.
Coupla quarts of Valspar and about three hours later, things were starting to look a little neater.
No matter how clean a room is, exposed spackle, sheetrock mud, water putty, etc. will make it look nasty.
The faux-textured paint job -- inspired by scrapbooking papers -- hid the uneven wall surface nicely. I haven't started working on that wall to the right, obv.
See the line and the paper residue? That awful satin-moire-floral-whatever wallpaper border was everywhere. Ghastly.
The owners loved the rag painting.
Here's the lower part of that wall. I'm really thinking about stripping the paint around the window to expose the bricks.
Here's the beginning of the cool part. This will eventually be a huge collection of oversized "postcards" featuring scenes from along Route 66 in Oklahoma.
I considered bright colors but decided a pseudo-sepia look was better suited to a coffeehouse in an old Plains Commercial building. It looks milky in spots because I sealed it with a Mod Podge knockoff that hadn't completely dried yet.

I’m really pleased with the way it’s turning out so far. If my estimate is right, this project should keep me out of trouble until baseball season starts and I can return to my rightful spot on the berm at OneOK Field….