CLAUDINE HELLMUTH
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Sunday, December 31, 2006
happy new year!
Just a quick note to wish everyone a happy new year! I can't believe 2007 is here already!

Tonight Paul and I will be having dinner with our friends Martha and Larry. Then we'll probably have a somewhat early night because Paul has to work at 5am tomorrow so we can't be out too late!

Every year I like to come up with my dream list, not so much resolutions, but dreams and goals and things that I would like to have happen. I am a big believer in if you let the world know what you want, it happens for you. Check out The Secret , one of my favs on the subject!

So anyway here's my dream list, remember I am thinking big here, gotta ask for it or it won't happen!

EDITED: I am rewriting the list below as if they already happened, because I read that gives the dreams more power :)

  • I illustrate children's books
  • I have a steady flow of illustration work and exciting jobs
  • I have have plenty of time for both work and play
  • I have an animated Poppet® TV series
  • I have my own product line
  • I am well established in the licensing industry
  • I have wonderful ideas for a 3rd book
  • I have a more active social life
  • I have an English country garden with lots of flowers over flowing the beds
  • I get lots of massages/ pamper myself
  • I have clients and business partners that are a perfect match
  • My artwork is in many fine craft galleries
  • I have a steady stream of commission orders
  • I spruce up my wardrobe and learn to accessorize
  • I come up with an exciting new web site design
  • I find new outlets and collectors for my work
  • I have a healthy, exciting and happy year!

What are your dreams and wishes? Post below or on your own blog so we can share!

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Friday, December 29, 2006
this and that
We went to a local organic nursery today, they had all kinds of super amazing flowering plants, and we even bought a few - giant sunflower bushes which are supposed to get really big.

But I was really excited by the bird exhibits. The guy who owns it has a hobby of having pet birds. They are in these amazing enclosures (so I didn't feel guilty about caged birds) and it was so much fun. I fell in love with the teeny weeny Button Quail and I want one to put in my pocket! I don't think Stan and Mabel would do well with a birdy friend. Speaking of the cats, here are a couple photos of the kitties I snapped today!

















Stan likes to have a big nap from 5pm-11pm so then he can keep us up all night running around like crazy.
















Here's Mabel exhausted after playing with Stan. Just look her her chubby belly!

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Thursday, December 28, 2006
movie time
The Machinist arrived today via Netflix. Paul and I just got done watching it. Not my favorite movie, I kept waiting for something to really happen. We both had the movie figured out pretty early so it wasn't like Memento where it kept you guessing the whole time. It did manage to cement my fear of power tools (I have a horrible fear of power tools) and now whenI write my notes to myself on Post-its I am sure to think of this movie.

Paul has tomorrow off. I'll do a little work, maybe we'll go see a movie or out to dinner. I am going to try to take this weekend off, except for packing and shipping artwork. I am tired and need a little break!

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006
wednesday
I went to Super Target today to pick up some groceries and on sale Christmas stuff. As I am turning the corner in the frozen food aisle I ran into a friend that I used to work with at Super Crown books when I lived in DC, about 10 years ago. Boy was I surprised to see him! It was exciting to catch up with an old friend. Funny how life works that way!

My mom and I have an idea how to knit a hat for Noel. I'll get the measurements from Bernie and let you know how it works out. My mom's a great knitter so we should be able to get it done this weekend!

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006
let's make some hats!
Many of you know that I am close friends with Bernie who runs her own grass roots animal rescue called A Place to Bark.

Today I read on her blog about Noel, a little puppy who is missing both ears because of being used as bait for fighting dogs. Bernie rescued her from certain death at animal control and now has her on the road to recovery. You can read about Noel here.

Today Bernie and I were talking, wouldn't it be nice to make little hats for this doggie to give her new ears ... maybe we could create a very soft knitted hat with floppy ears! Wouldn't that be cute!

Neither of us are knitters so we don't know how to even measure her head for a hat. Anyone have any ideas? Anyone want to help us make little hats for Noel? Any ideas are appreciated!

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rainy day
It was a stormy Christmas here. It poured yesterday and there were even some tornadoes reported around Florida. Yipes!

We were lucky to only have rain and lightning here. And we were all cozy in the house, having
hors d'oeuvres, wine and hanging out with the family.

Today it's still rainy and gloomy out and it's making me very sleepy!

I have some work I need to finish up and I am having a hard time getting motivated. Stanley is snuggled on my lap and all I want to do is doze, but then I feel guilty for relaxing. I think I'll try and get some work done so then I can relax guilt free!

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Sunday, December 24, 2006
time to wrap the presents
I'm feeling a little bit more in the Christmas mood today. I still can't believe it's here! It's almost 80 degrees outside so a little hard to feel Christmassy. I like it when it's about 60, a little chilly, but not too cold. Yesterday we braved the mall to get a couple last minute presents. After 30 minutes there I had a migraine.

I hate shopping so much. I did perk up in Anthropologie when I saw some really cute aprons, I started unrolling them to see if they were 1/2 or full aprons. I don't like the 1/2, not enough coverage. Then the girl that was working that section got all nasty about me unrolling them and proclaimed loudly "i wish people would stop unrolling the aprons!"to her other co-worker. So I left apron-less.

We left it too late to get our niece Maiya the Christmas present we promised - sold out everywhere - so I did a mad dash on Amazon and found it. They won't be back in town until late this week so it will have time to arrive. Whew.

Today we have been cleaning the house and sprucing things up for relatives to come over tomorrow. Now it's time to wrap the presents and we have Christmas carols playing to get us in the spirit.


And then of course A Christmas Story will be playing starting tonight -- a classic which Paul and I quote from year round.

Hope everyone has a great holiday!

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Friday, December 22, 2006
illustration friday: peace
Here's my submission for Illustration Friday's theme of "peace"






















(click image to enlarge)

I wanted to go with something other than the usual images of peace, so I imagined a woman who has been at work all day, enjoying some peace and quiet with a good book.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!

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only two more days till christmas!
I can't believe Christmas is almost here! It does not feel like it to me. Maybe it's because I haven't done one lick of shopping yet, and have been working right up until today. No time to get in the holiday mood! Anyone else having trouble getting in the holiday spirit?

Paul and I aren't exchanging gifts, so we just have to get presents for our nieces and nephews and also for my parents. Other than my parents, the rest of the adults we do Secret Santa so we don't have to buy everyone a gift. It gets way too expensive, and Christmas presents should be mostly for the kids, they are the ones who get excited about them, as grownups we just buy what we want when we want it.

I also have to give the postman something this year. He's such a grump to me usually I am thinking if I give him something maybe he'll perk up. We'll see! I looked it up on the internet and says it's illegal to leave cash for a postman, so I guess I'll leave him some chocolate, I have a small box of Godiva, he shouldn't complain about that!

I still have two more commissions I'd like to get to the draft stage today. Fortunately these aren't for Christmas gifts, just for anytime, but I don't like to be late from my promised due dates. Maybe I can even work on Illustration Friday, we'll see!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006
HGTV's I Want That
We got a digital copy of the I Want That epsiode I was in. Here's the clip!

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I'm sorta nice
I checked Santa's List to see if I have been naughty or nice this year and here's what he said:

Overall, niceness outweighs naughtiness. Was good a lot last month! Politeness often good, but has room for improvement. Could help around house more instead of watching so much TV. Expected to move even higher up "nice" list.

LOL! Wow! I never did believe in Santa but he must be real, he knows I watch a lot of TV!
Click here to see if you've been naughty or nice - warning the site is kinda slow. For fun post Santa's answers in my comments below so we can compare notes.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006
new tv show?
Anyone seen the new show on HGTV called Make Cool Stuff? I'm going to set my DVR and see what it's like! There are so many new crafting shows out right now, I like to tape them and then watch them on fast forward.

EDITED: OK I am a dummy, Make Cool Stuff isn't a show, it's what they are calling their new line up of craft shows. No wonder why I couldn't find it on the DVR menu. Grrrr I was hoping for a new cool show. Oh well!

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if you're bored at work today....
... vote for me on The Best Stuff in the World. I don't know how I got added to this site, it popped up in my Google Alerts today. Now that it's there and I know about it, I want to raise my score (I can be a touch competitive).

So if you're bored at work today and feel like voting for me, I would really appreciate it! Click here to vote for me!!

You do have to register but it's free and they only ask you for your name and email, fairly painless. And once you register you can add content to the site (like yourself and your web site) and then I can vote for you!


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Monday, December 18, 2006
toby with santa
Yesterday we took Toby to see Santa at Petsmart. This was the first year that Toby had a happy face in the photo. yay! Usually he has his scared/worried face but this year he smiled!






















(click to enlarge)
Thanks to everyone for the Happy Birthday wishes! It was a great day!

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Sunday, December 17, 2006
happy birthday to me!
Today I am 32. Woo hoo!

Not much exciting going on for the big day, but a nice relaxing day ahead!

This afternoon we're going over to my parent's house and then taking Toby to see Santa at PetsMart. (I'll post a photo!) I think we'll go out to dinner at The Melting Pot tonight - cheese and chocolate fondue - yummy! Then maybe I'll stop at Barnes and Noble and pick up a good book.

I got all my Christmas commissions done and packed up so now I can relax today. yay!

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Saturday, December 16, 2006
what a morning....
This morning I found a dog who was roaming our neighborhood. I had seen him a few nights ago but he was too far away to get to him to come closer. So when I saw him this morning I approached him very carefully, determined he was friendly and put a leash on him. He's a big dog, some kind of mix and not neutered (grrr! why don't people neuter their pets!). He had a choker collar but no tags - why no tags people!!?. As soon as I saw him this morning I was like "oh no, here goes my day!"

Last year I found another dog and it took me 4 days to find his home. The people who lost him were so dopey they didn't put up "lost dog" signs for 4 days!!! Who does that? I was reluctant to even give him back. If it were me I would be out night and day finding my dog.

So this morning I start walking the neighborhood with this very large dog. I am still in my PJs with no place to put the dog so I can change, so I just keep going. I am not a big dog person so I tried to keep a dominant frame of mind so he would obey me. He was pretty good. No one in this neighborhood recognized him, some people telling me to just let him go again so he can find his way home - yeah right, like I can live with that.

Anyway long story short, I walked to the entrance where our neighborhood meets two others and stood on the corner and waved every car down. What a sight I must have been in my PJs, all ragged with bed head waving franticly! Finally after about 45 minutes, someone that recognized the dog stopped and took me to his home.

His owners weren't overly thankful, just saying "oh there he is, thanks" but I didn't do it for them I did it for the doggie. I hope that he doesn't get out again, but at least if he does, I know where he lives!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006
laundry time!
Stan discovered the washing machine....

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whaaa!
Our desktop computer died this morning. We went to turn it on and nothing, just a big black screen. It won't boot up at all. I called the Geek Squad and they basically told me it was dead and to give it a nice burial and buy a new one. I just wish I had gotten more time out of fixing it only a couple weeks ago, because that wasn't cheap. But I had a feeling, it never did work quite right after they fixed it -- it's 4 years old and we debated even having them fix it in the first place. Oh well.

So I guess we'll be getting a new PC in the next day or so. Thankfully the laptop still works and I can still get on the internet. I am doubly thankful that I have finished just about all my commissions too so I don't have to rely on the computer as much.

Still whaaaa! I don't want to go through getting a new PC and setting it all up, such a hassle, at least it's tax deductible for me as a business expense!

EDITED 5:10pm: Wow! I just got an email from the founder of Geek Squad who read my blog post. He wanted to make sure I was happy with my service and that I they had done everything they could to get my PC back on it's feet. WOW! talk about customer service! I really think they did do everything, I think my PC was on it's deathbed anyway and it was time. I am just not going to put anymore money into this
ancient computer. sigh.

PS. We wanted to go with a MAC but I am just not prepared for that much change in my life now, maybe next year.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2006
netflix!
We signed up for NetFlix today. Wow it's addictive picking out movies! Paul spent the better part of his day off today selecting movies for our queue.

Any "must see" movies that we should make sure to add?

Right now we have:

How to Draw a Bunny
JuneBug
What the Bleep
The Machinist
Big Night
Water
WordPlay...

Now we are wondering why we didn't sign up for NetFlix sooner!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006
no tree this year
This year we decided not to put up a Christmas tree.

Our thinking was that we knew we'd spend our days picking Stanley out of the middle of it, him chewing on the lights, or ornaments crashing to the ground in the middle of the night. Christmas Trees are just too enticing for kittens to stay out of!

Also, our little Maggie used to love to climb up the Christmas tree and I am missing her so much, I can't bear to up it up this year. Here's a photo of her -- just last year -- in the middle of our tree.

What a silly girly she was.

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Monday, December 11, 2006
too busy...
... to blog properly tonight. see you tomorrow!

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Sunday, December 10, 2006
sunday already?
I spent the weekend working away on commissions. I worked really hard trying to keep up to my self imposed schedule and things are moving along well. I think I am on track to have everything done by Saturday but I don't want to jinx myself!

I also started writing up all my holiday cards to send out. I decided to go with postcards this year, and printed them at vistaprint.com and they came out great!

Here's the front:




















...and the back:

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Saturday, December 09, 2006
HGTV's I Want That
Yay! My segment aired on I Want That. I was getting nervous because there were only 2 minutes left in the program and they hadn't shown it yet. But then there it was! Whew. I loved seeing my art juxtaposed with windpowered homes and a compound miter saw!

We took some photos while it was playing:











Here I am talking about the custom commissions....












Toby was in the segment too! Yay!! There he is on his little bed!










Sarah, my client, at her home choosing photos for her commission.....

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Thursday, December 07, 2006
don't forget...
To watch HGTV's "I Want That" Friday (tomorrow) night at 11:30pm EST! I can hardly wait. I hope I didn't say anything silly! I can't even remember the taping.

OK back to working on commissions for me!

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006
tagged! i'm it!
I was tagged by Jeanne to reveal six weird things about myself. OK here goes!


1) I never believed in Santa Claus not even as a little, little kid. It just wasn't logical I said!


2) I am a total germ-o-phobe. If someone so much as mentions being sick I reach for the airborne.


3) I like to use animal communicators now and then to chat to my pets. I just got done having two GREAT readings with this amazing gal. Wow what a gift she has. There is no way she could have known some of that stuff. Toby and Stan say hi! Mabel you're next!


4)I really want daisy hubcaps for my yellow VW Bug. However if I get them, Paul says he'll never be able to drive my car again.


5)I love getting catalogs in the mail. I read them even it's not for something that I would ever want to buy.


6)I hate getting ready in the morning I try to put it off by staying in my PJs as long as possible.

I tag, Cynthia, Dawn, and Jennifer!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006
time for tea!
I had a busy day today working on commissions. Here's a Poppet® canvas commission that I just finished up of a little girl having a "mad hatter tea party" with her doggie. I love the way this one turned out! I just have to put a sealer coat on it and it will be on it's way to Australia!

I am now fully booked for Holiday commissions!

I decided to post a notice to my web site because I am worried about getting everything done in time, I think I can manage what I have as long as no new Holiday orders are coming in.

It's always difficult to try to figure out how many pieces you can do in the short amount of time before the Holidays. And each artwork takes its own time, you can't rush them. From what I figure, at the rate I am going each day, I should have all of them done on the 15th or 16th and then I can ship on the 18th. All of them need to be out by then to allow enough time for shipping and delivery.

Then I can rest! Whew!

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Monday, December 04, 2006
HGTVs "I Want That" episode
The episode of HGTV's I Want That which features my commissions will be on this Friday at 11:30pm EST and then again at 3:30am EST. I am super excited to see how the segment turned out!

Right now on the I Want That web site it still says "details coming soon" but the producer said this was my episode number, so I am sure this is the one.

I already have the DVR set and a fresh VHS tape to capture it for posterity. Woo hoo!

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Sunday, December 03, 2006
auction to help the animals
Fabulous animal rescuer Bernie Berlin is currently holding an art auction to raise funds for her rescue operation. I have three Poppet® sketches in the auction, here, here and here.

The auction is running December 1st through the 10th on eBay. Her eBay ID is aplace2bark if you can't access the auction through the link.

All of the art pieces were donated by various artists, crafters and animal lovers. Bernie does such amazing and selfless work. I talk to her every single day on the phone. I hear about all the horrible animal cases and the one she manages to save from certain death - like Stanley!! This auction is an important fundraiser for her work.

Please take a look & bid if you are able. You can also donate directly to Bernie through her blog. The funds go toward vet bills, operating costs, vaccinations, and much more.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006
saturday night
This evening Paul and I had dinner and then went to the McRae Art Studios opening. We stopped and talked to Lynn Whipple, John Whipple, Donne Bittner, and Larry Moore. It was fun to see everybody!

Whenever I go to the show at McRae, I always think "hmmm it would be so nice to have a REAL studio here with other artists." But then I know I need my livingroom/ studio in my house so I can work in my PJs.

My real dream is to live where I can have a cute little house in back of our "real" house that can be my studio house. So then I could work near my home but also not have to put everything away in sealed containers so that it doesn't get chewed on by a certain kitty cat who shall remain nameless (Stanely!). ahhh, maybe someday.

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