27 September 2011

Art Journal: Wood Grain Background

I was experimenting in my art journal this morning and came up with a fabulous technique that I wanted to share. Luckily, I was filming myself working in my journal, so I caught it all on video. Hurray! When I signed into iMovie, I realized I had an updated version now. (We upgraded my hard drive and memory this week... yay!). I decided to play with the "trailers" feature and created this video. It's completely ridiculous and yet quite fabulous, if I say so. I hope you'll agree.

Everyone in my online art class, Falling For You, will be getting the full details with our prompt today, but this is seriously too awesome not to share. So consider this a "sneak peek" if you will of what Falling For You has to offer! This class is PACKED full of content and is well worth every penny of the $20 price. We have 9 weeks left, so there's still plenty of time for you to join in the fun. Plus: you'll have unlimited access to the course content, which includes downloadable videos, PDF files, collage sheets, and digital stamps.

Materials: Sharpie fine point pen in black, ruler, Distress Ink in Tea Dye and Vintage Photo, foam applicator for the ink, scrap paper to serve as a mask.

Method: Draw wood panels on the page using a ruler. Add wood grain details: it helps to look at some wood while you do this! Let the ink dry. Using scrap paper as a mask, color each panel with distress inks. Some I used one color, others I mixed. Add more layers for darker parts. Work from one side of the page to the other. Revel in your ultimate craftiness. Joy.

26 September 2011

Art Journal: Progress of a Page

When I came home from Nancy Rafi's Art Journal class yesterday, this is how my page looked:

Here's what happened next:

I liked it at this point, but it needed more:

I thought I'd messed it up after adding pan pastels and water-soluble oil pastels, because it got too dark. I started to erase the pan pastels, and decided to make these bubbles instead. But it still needed something...

Now the bubbles really "pop" - no pun intended! Also, I have a rule that once I date-stamp the page, it's done, no matter what. Other wise, I might just keep going in there and making changes forever!

24 September 2011

Falling For You: Weekly Challenge #2

Each week of Falling For You, we'll have an art challenge. Sometimes these will involve using specific materials or colors; others will involve some sort of prompt. All class members are invited to participate and post their creation for the prompt here. I will draw one winner the following week. (Giveaway is open to class members only, though I encourage anyone viewing to "like" their favorites!)

This week's challenge is the "Afterschool Special" challenge. Participants must use a childhood photograph and school supplies to create a page that explores schoolyard bullying.

19 September 2011

Art Video: Painting Start to Finish

I haven't really decided if I like this painting or not, but I think the process is cool! AudioSwap on YouTube isn't working, so I hope you'll forgive the music until I can get it changed!

17 September 2011

Falling For You: Weekly Challenge #1

Each week of Falling For You, we'll have an art challenge. Sometimes these will involve using specific materials or colors; others will involve some sort of prompt. All class members are invited to participate and post their creation for the prompt here. I will draw one winner the following week. (Giveaway is open to class members only, though I encourage anyone viewing to "like" their favorites!)

This week's challenge is the "Apple of My Eye" challenge. Participants must use an image of an apple in some way in their page as well as offer a story that explains (whether real or fake) the origin of the phrase "apple of my eye."

Class members: please post your challenge entry here by 11:59 PM EST on Friday, September 23. Don't forget to leave a comment after you post! I'll use the comments to choose our prize pack winner! I'll announce the winner on Saturday when I post the next week's challenge. Have fun!

14 September 2011

Giveaway Winner: Free Falling For You Class Spot

Wow! I had 45 entries in the giveaway to win a free spot in the Falling For You class. And, let me tell ya, your favorite art journal techniques are so varied and awesome! If you are ever lacking for inspiration, take a peek at the giveaway post comments and you'll find something to get ya going!

Some of you love using acrylic paints; others are fans of watercolor. Some like to draw, either with pencils or pens; others love finding the perfect collage image. Some of you love Inktense pencils and color wash sprays, but you all really love watercolor crayons. (Me, too!) A common theme was that everyone loves making backgrounds, particularly with credit cards and baby wipes. We are all, clearly, long lost siblings!!!

 I know everyone is waiting to find out who the winner is, and I am thrilled that you are all so excited about it! So, without further delay, I'm happy to announce that the winner of the free spot in the Falling For You class, per Random.org is:

Congratulations! I will be emailing you very soon letting you know that you've won and sending you an invite to the classroom. [edit - Actually, when I tried to email you, I realized that you aren't set up to receive emails through blogger. Here's a page about no-reply bloggers. Please email me for course details!]

Didn't win? Don't worry! Class starts tomorrow, and you have the rest of the day today to join the class at the discounted returning student rate of $15, which for an eleven week class is a steal! After today, the class will return to the regular price of $20, which is still an awesome price, if I do say so. For today only, I will honor the $15 returning student rate for ANYONE, so hop on that train right away!

So what's up for Falling For You?

Lots of awesomeness! We will be having weekly art challenges coupled with a giveaway. I'm excited about the challenges & can't wait to see what you do with them! We'll have prompts, inspirational image collections, technique videos, and a couple other cool weekly features. I have the first four weeks pretty solidly planned out, and will begin recording the first technique video today: Dirty Dozen -- 12 ways to use stencils in your pages. 

When I first got my stencils from the Crafter's Workshop, I had no idea what to do with them, so I just started experimenting. Some stuff worked well, others not so much. I came up with 12 different ways to use them for different looks and I'm going to share them all with you! Cool, right?

[And, actually, I think there will be 13 now, because Bernice left a comment about her favorite technique using water and water-soluble inks.... sweet! Thanks, Bernice! I tried out the technique last night and I love it!]

{Don't worry if you don't have stencils: I'm going to share some information on making your own stencils using things you likely already have around the house!}

Other techniques will be: creating awesome textured backgrounds with a few simple supplies, exploring pastels, & everything image transfers. (The others are still yet to be determined, but will definitely be fun!)

Some days we will have specific prompt assignments or challenges; other days will be all about creative play. We'll have one day per week that is a "catch up day", where I'll post a round-up of images & pages created by students that week.

Can't wait to see you there!

13 September 2011

Mixed Media Art: Be A Dreamer

Be A Dreamer

For this piece, I started with a background layer of masking tape, which I then painted over using two shades of blue craft paint & some Adirondack color wash in Wild Plum. After this layer was dry, I used clear gesso to "seal" the layer and give me tooth for further layers.

Next, I found an image in a catalog (TOAST) and added the iron-on butterflies in the corners. I glued the image with gel medium, outlined it in blue and purple oil pastels, which I blended with my finger.

Then, I traced the girl's face and hands with a black Sharpie pen (note to self: should have done this before the oil pastels because I think I ruined my pen... sad face!). Used a touch of a pink neocolor II on her lips and used 3 shades of purple neocolors to change her hair color.

Added a piece of vintage sheet music and wanted to iron another butterfly on top, but the iron wasn't hot enough & I'm impatient, so instead I used a Sharpie poster-paint marker to write the word "dreamer" and draw a little heart. I went around the edges with black pan pastel, which I just love.

Loved it at this point, but the bottom right corner was looking plain so I decided to find a quote to add to the space. It reads: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." (Henry David Thoreau)

Since I was using my Uni-Ball Signo UM-153 white gel pen anyway, added some doodles and hearts, as well as some highlights on her face.

Finally, I used one of my new stencils from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's line with the Crafter's Workshop to add the white triangles around the figure. I used white pan pastels and an eraser to get rid of the bits that ended up on the girl.

I am loving this piece! (It it a painting? A mixed media canvas? I dunno what to call my work, but it makes me happy regardless!). I worked on it for at least three hours during crafty morning with my friend, but maybe longer! Still, I consider it time well spent!

{FYI --- We'll be learning the techniques I used to create the background of this piece in my new online art class: Falling For You. There's a giveaway going on right now until tomorrow morning if you'd like to try to win a spot! I promised two winners if we reached 50 entries & we're pretty close to reaching that!}

11 September 2011

Giveaway: Free Class Ends Wednesday 9AM

Only a few more days to enter the giveaway to win a free spot in my new online art class: 

Giveaway ends at (approximately) 9 AM Wednesday morning. 

I will select the winner using a random number generator and post the winner before noon on Wednesday. Just a reminder: Wednesday is also the last day to register for the class at the $15 discounted rate! So be sure to check back Wednesday to see if you've won! If you haven't, you'll still have the day to sign up and save $5. Class starts on Thursday!

Enter the giveaway now. (Note: Giveaway  now closed!)

Can't sign up in time or finding out about this class late? 
No worries! 

Falling For You is a self-paced course, which means that you can log in when you want and take your time to finish. You might miss some of the weekly art challenge giveaways, but other than that, you'll be just fine starting anytime! Once you've signed up, you will have access to all of the course materials forever, which means you can take your sweet time!


09 September 2011

Tutorial: $5 Camera Stand for Videos

I have discovered that I really love watching people's art journaling videos, and so I wanted to start making some of my own. There's just something really cool and fascinating about watching a video of a piece of art from blank canvas to a finished state. The problem that I'd been having with making videos is getting the right angle for the shot. I couldn't quite figure out how to have the focus be on the artwork without having it at a weird angle for the viewer. Plus, I didn't want to have to work on it at a weird angle, cuz that would be awkward.

Nick has a giant tripod which I'd been using for my videos, which works well, but I really wanted to be able to focus more on the artwork and less on whether or not I had too much cleavage showing. To be honest, I don't want to be in my videos at all! Well, except for my hands... those clearly need to be involved because I have not yet mastered telekinetic art making.

I knew I needed to have some sort of overhead system, but I wasn't quite sure how to make it work.... until I saw a photo of a makeshift set up on Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's blog:

Photo copyright Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
I was going to rig up my own system, maybe without the bananas, but then I realized that I could very likely build a satisfactory setup using just a few things from the local hardware store. I found this tutorial which would definitely be way sturdier overall, but I didn't want to work with metal because it would be more expensive and more of a pain to try to drill, etc. It was a huge help to learn that a 1/4 inch bolt was what I'd need to screw my camera onto the stand, just I hadn't quite worked out how I was going to do that.

I did a quick sketch of what I thought would work and then Nick helped me figure out the measurements for the camera height and the width of the stand so that it would fit well on my desk. You could obviously customize this to meet your own needs. First, here's a picture of my stand:

My journal pages are 8 x 10, which means the spread is 10 x 16, just to give you a sense of scale. If you were using a smaller journal, you could get away with a smaller camera stand, I bet. If you need a larger area, you'll need a larger stand. In order to figure out the height, I turned my camera on and held it up over the journal until I got just the right view. [I added 1 extra inch, but if I were to make this again, I'd add an extra two or three, just to enable me to zoom in on a single page if I wanted.]

To build one just like mine, you will need:

1 - 1x2x8 pine board cut into the following lengths: 2x20inches, 2x10inches, 1x24inches + remainder scrap*
1 - 1/4 inch x 1.5 inch bolt (#63332) +
1 - 1/4 inch hex nut (#63301)
2 - 1/4 inch flat washers (#63306)

For these items, my grand total came for $4.21 for this project. (And I bought two extra washers.) If you don't already have 8 screws (1.5 inches or so), you'll need to get those, too. I am assuming you already have a power drill. If not, you might want to borrow one from a friend. You could do the screws by hand, but you will need to be able to drill a 1/4 inch hole in the frame for the bolt.

* I bought my board at Lowe's. They will cut your board for you. The signs always say that you get the first two cuts for free & additional cuts are 25 cents each, but no one has ever charged me extra, no matter how many cuts I've gotten. I do recommend going at a slower time of the day, if at all possible, so you won't have to wait in line.

+ Nick says not to buy galvanized because it's poison. Take your camera with you to test out the bolt to make sure it fits. I'm pretty sure all cameras are going to be pretty standard when it comes to tripod stands, but just in case.

The two 10 inch pieces will be the base of your stand. The two 20 inches pieces are the sides. You want to line up the base pieces so that you'll be screwing through the shorter one inch sides. Attach both bases to the sides using two screws on each then side aside.

Look on the base of your camera to see where the tripod attachment is located. Mine is about 1 inch to the left of the center. Find the center of the 24 inch board then adjust according to the tripod base. Doing this ensures that your camera, when attached, will be positioned in the center. (I.e. for my camera, I'll move the measurement 1 inch left before drilling.

Drill a 1/4 inch hole at the mark you made in the last step. You will drill the whole way through the 1-inch wide part (i.e. in the middle of the 2-inch wide part). Use the scrap piece of wood from the 1x2x8 to protect your work surface.

 Screw the bolt into the hole you just drilled. Add the two washers then tighten with the nut.

Take this piece and position it between the two sides you already created. Use two screws on each side to attach this longer piece at the top of the sides. (Note that it doesn't matter which way the bolt faces at this point.)

 Once your entire stand is screwed together, position it on your work surface so that the part of the bolt that you will be attaching your camera to faces away from you. Screw your camera into place and make any adjustments as needed.  I found that my camera would occasionally slide down, no matter how tight I screwed it in initially, so I use a big push pin to hold it up. My camera is very light weight and this works very well for me. If your camera is heavier, you may need to putter a bit to make the stand work for you.

Here's what my camera sees from its new position on the finished camera stand. Sweet, right?

08 September 2011

Art Journal: Falling For You Promo Video

I hope you'll forgive the bombardment of posts about my new online class this past week! I'm just super excited about it! :)

I made a promo video for the course and would be super psyched if anyone wanted to share it! I'm also open to your comments and suggestions!


06 September 2011

Art Journal: Falling for You Test Video

Okay, so this isn't that great of a video. The stamping bit definitely gets a little boring, so I'm sorry about that, but I really wanted to test out the $5 Camera Stand that Nick and I designed / built today. [Okay, so he built it...]. The point of the camera stand is that I want the videos to be all about the art and less about my cleavage. Most importantly, I don't want to have to wear pants when I work in my art journal, because that seriously cramps my style. (TMI?) I'll post more about the camera stand soon, but for now, I want to share the first video I made with it.

If you haven't signed up for Falling For You yet, what are ya waiting for? (Oh, right, for the giveaway winner to be announced.... riiiight!) Seriously, though, I am super excited about this class and hope that you all love it.

All of the videos for the class are going to have the same intro/outro as in this video. I used a website called One True Media to create it. It's pretty sweet because it's easy to do and if you pay for the premium membership ($4 a month), you can download your clip to use for all your other videos. This makes me happy because it makes my videos all look like they belong together and it saves me work in the long run since I only had to design these once. Score!

03 September 2011

DIY Makeover: Ugly Office Chair Transformed

The chair I'm currently using at my computer is super comfortable, but, up until yesterday, was super ugly with a faded & stained yellow fabric. The fabric was very similar in texture to burlap (heck, what do I know? Maybe it was burlap?) and thus super uncomfortable to sit on when I'm less than fully dressed. [Nick jokes that I prefer to stay home because I don't have to wear pants here. So true!] I got the chair from a curb alert sometime last summer and have meant to do something about its ugliness every since, but just never got around to it.

Well... as luck would have it, I found an AMAZING zebra print fabric at the recycling center this week. It's white cotton upholstery fabric with black flocked velvet stripes. I paid $10 for a giant roll of it. I bought the fabric thinking of my teen and tween students, because this is some seriously "fresh" fabric that I know they will just love. I made this awesome little purse using only a stapler, some duct tape, a zipper and the fabric:

(Tutorial here)

The more I looked at the fabric, though, the more I thought that I wanted to do something awesome with it for myself. I decided that it was darn well time I covered my desk chair, so even though I have a million and one things to do to get ready for the Providence Arts Festival on September 10, I decided to take an hour to recover my chair.

The project was a little more complex than I'd anticipated, and I actually put the chair back together without the height adjustment lever in place. [Nick fixed it for me later.] I had the darndest time trying to remove the staples on the bottom of the seat, and after a few frustrating minutes, I decided to just staple the new fabric over the old fabric, being careful to avoid the old staples. Still, even with a few hiccups, the chair turned out GREAT!

With just a staple gun, scissors, a socket set (is that what it's called?), and my new fabric, I changed dull and dingy to fresh and fabulous.


I wasn't using it like this, but I had already taken the top off before I thought to do a before/after shot!

Awesome right? I used this tutorial from Curbly. I definitely recommend you give it a whirl if you want a quick update to your space for very little money. I am seriously considering doing my couch in the zebra print next. Hmm...

02 September 2011

Giveaway: Free Spot in Falling For You

I have decided to giveaway one free spot in my upcoming art journal class, Falling For You! Lest you think that this course is only for those who are romantically inclined, please know that I mean this course as a celebration of all things Autumn, my favorite season. You'll get tips, tricks, videos, and all the art inspiration you can handle throughout this fall. Woohoo!

The class starts on September 15 and runs until December 1. You can work at your own pace and download the content to keep. While this class is seasonal, you'll find lots of inspiration that will keep you making art all year long.

Don't let the fact that this class is only $20 fool you into thinking this won't be an awesome class with tons of content! I've been planning this class for two months so I have lots of ideas about how to celebrate my favorite season and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you. And now you can win a free spot!

Already have a spot in the class? You can still enter to win a spot in the class for a friend!

You don't need to be a follower of my blog to enter!

All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me what your favorite art journal technique is -- whether you love smearing on paint with a credit card, doodling with Sharpie poster-paint markers, or sketching in pencil, I wanna hear all about it! If you are brand new to art journals and don't have a favorite technique yet, tell me how you discovered art journals. (If you want to tell me a technique and how you discovered art journals -- sweet!)

For an extra entry, tweet about the Falling For You class to your friends.

Feel free to write whatever you'd like, but if you want a quick tweet, try this:

Looking forward to Falling for You, an awesome art journal class! 11 weeks of art fun for only $20! http://bit.ly/falling4u #fallingforyouart

[The above tweet links to my page about the class itself.]

Or try this one:

I wanna win a spot in Falling for You, an awesome art journal class! Don't you? Contest ends 9/14.  

[The second tweet links directly to this giveaway page. Either works!]

(Leave an extra comment telling me your tweeted this class in order to get your extra giveaway entry!)

Giveaway ends 9/14. The winner will be notified immediately and given instructions on how to access the class right away.

Are you excited yet? Tell your friends!

If I get 50 entries in this giveaway, I will give away two spots in the class!


01 September 2011

The Case of the Missing House Key

A few days ago, my friend posted on her facebook that she had a vacation and asked for input on which way to drive. I said that if it weren't for the massive flooding currently going on from Hurricane Irene (this was the day after), she should come visit me. I wouldn't suggest a visit if I didn't mean it, but I was still pleasantly surprised when she said she was coming up. I'm on vacation indefinitely and, quite honestly, pretty bored with not working. So I was pumped. I haven't had a lot of visitors in my new apartment, but I'm really happy with how it's looking (remind me to post updated pictures! The Buy Nothing Summer has definitely helped!).

Let me tell you a little about my friend: She is an amazing person, she really is, but she gets super worked up when she's talking and there are times when it's impossible to get a word in edgewise. This can be grating, yes, like if you have a headache or something, but she's generally pretty self-aware, so it's usually more amusing than anything else. I did warn Nick about this trait before she came up.

The next thing is that she had just found out that her husband wanted a divorce. Now I knew I was in for an unusually high quotient of chatter, but I also really wanted to be a good friend by showing her a good time and helping her see that the situation is actually a positive thing. Her husband is a good man, generally, but there are fundamental differences in their temperments and lifestyle that would be really difficult for any couple to contend with: she loves adventure and travel, he loves staying home and watching sports. She loves going out and trying new things; he is allergic to everything you can imagine, except, apparently, cats. She is a champaign thrift store shopper; he thinks used things are icky. She is super positive; he is Debbie Downer. Plus, they got married 9 days after their first date.

Yes. 9 days is no exaggeration, and I played a big role in bringing the two of them together. They knew each other in passing, because he was the shuttle bus driver at our school. Lest you think of him as a creepy old man, know that she and I were both adult students at our school and they are the same age (or close to it.) One day I rode the shuttle alone and he starting talking about how he was so into her and just didn't know how to approach her in that way. So I threw the boy a bone: I invited him to the party I was hosting that weekend. Long story short: my birthday is December 21 (send presents); they were married by the new year.

Believe me, no one really thought they'd make it. I'm sure everyone who knew her shared a collective WTF moment. I figured if anyone could have a happy marriage, the two of them just might make it. (No offense to married peeps, but I'm just not the marrying kind.)

When I heard she was coming to visit, before I heard about the D-word, I told another friend the story and said, "Well, it's 6 years later and they still are together. They proved everyone wrong!" Oops.

Here's something about me that you don't know: I am the break-up-  maker. Like a rainmaker bringing in big money accounts or water-filled days, I bring break ups to unhappy couples around the world. Or, at least, in the eastern united states. I have lost track of how many people I have met who were in unhappy relationships who split shortly after one of the pair spent a few hours in conversation with me. Whether they've been together for a few months or many years, people just seem to break up when I'm around.

While I'm not actively encouraging break ups, generally, I think it's because I say the shit that the unhappy person is thinking but unable to say for themselves. I am tactful, but I also don't sugarcoat the truth. I ask the hard questions. I am completely supportive of their right to find a way to be happy, and if that involves breaking up with their current beau, so be it. I am the one person who says it's okay to do what you want.

Of course, generally I'm counseling the one who wants the split. This is not the case with my friend, though she started owning the divorce during the whirlwind 24 hours we spent together.

Can you sense that drama is coming to this little tale?

So, my friend is a total beach girl, and the whole time she was talking about the visit, she mentioned the beach, so I'm like, "Alright, the girl wants beach, let's give it to her!" Nick and I drove her to South Shore beach late last night (which was WRECKED by the hurricane by the way!) We were the only people around as we drank wine while sitting on the rocks on the destroyed beach watching the powerful waves roll in and out. It was beautiful and scary and sad all at the same time. She only facebooked a little while we were there.

The next morning, I woke up to find Nick had left a spare key with a little note for my friend as well as some delicious chocolate almond croissants for our breakfast. (Best. Boyfriend. Ever.) She woke up shortly after and went in and out for cigarettes breaks at least half a dozen times before 10 am. (Perspective: 6 cigarettes in 90 minutes. OMG.). I didn't care about the smoking, whatever it's your body, but I was a little worried about the fact that she was outside screaming on the phone. I wouldn't have been surprised if someone had called the cops on the crazy crackhead on a rampage. The maintenance guy almost escorted her from the property, until she explained she was staying with me. (My place is like fort knox in a shady neighborhood. This is a good thing.)

At some point between cigarette breaks and coming in and out of the house, she lost the house key. Lost, completely, gone. I mentioned that this is a shady neighborhood, right? Random people sit on my porch all the time to smoke doobies and, probably, some other stuff. We find brown-bagged bottles at least once a week or so. I did not want someone to find the key and think "Alright, moving day!"

Logically, I figured that the key was probably inside the house, since she had managed to get inside the house, but, realistically, that might not be the case. She'd been propping the door open before I gave her the key, so I had no way of knowing for sure. The thing about that key to my place is that it opens every door in the place. Front door, back door, both at the house entrances and in the apartment itself. It opens the basement door. And the deadbolts. Can you see why I might have been concerned?

My friend, however, was not so concerned. She looked for it, but in a half-assed, oh well, it's gone forever, just like my marriage, kind of way. She didn't seem to think it was a big deal at all.

Since we were already running late, I said we'd look for it later. (I did a quick look outside, just in case, but didn't find it.) She promptly forgot all about it and spend the day telling us how she was going to stick up for herself and express herself anyway she wanted. She'd be honest about what she was thinking at all times. She recanted the many battles between the couple, both to us and on her many phone conversations in our company. We drove to Race Point at Cape Cod. The beach was awesome, so calm compared to South Shore the night before. I found it very relaxing. She was distressed not to have facebook connectivity. Still, I thought we were having a good time.

I didn't mention or even think about the key all day, but on the way home, I said that I wanted to look for it thoroughly when we got home. We got home and she seemed to have forgotten all about it again. She was either talking on the phone or outside smoking so I decided to communicate with her chosen form of communication by sending her a text. (I thought about a smoke signal, but I'm not a smoker and not that talented anyway.) The text was non-accusatory, simple addressed the way I was feeling. I said "I am worried about the key being lost and I would like to find it tonight so I don't worry about it all night. I'm ocd, I know it."

It wasn't like I said, "Hey, biznitch, you lost my key and you better find it or Imma cut yo face."

I was perfectly civil and there wasn't a shred of anger in me about it. I just thought, "Oh that ditzy divorcee!" I understand that her headspace was all muddled, and that I was probably overworrying about the key. But here's the thing: I have a touch of OCD in me, probably everyone does. I will often be lying in bed and wonder if the deadbolts are on the doors. I will worry about it excessively unless I get up and just check. Once I check them for myself, I'm fine. It's a mild compulsion, but it's a long-standing one that probably stems from living alone for 6 years. I knew that I would keep waking up in the night listening for intruders (with a key, argh!) if I didn't just find that key safe and sound.

She'd been expressing the hell out of herself all day, so I didn't see a problem in just telling her what I was worrying about. I figured we'd dump her bags out together, look through stuff, and, most likely, find the key. I wasn't accusatory or angry in any way, which is what made her reaction all the more shocking.

She came upstairs and, at first, I thought she was looking in her bags, so I said "where can I look?" I had already torn apart the couch, in case it was behind the cushions, and looked underneath it, too. I looked everywhere that it might logically have been placed by a scattered divorcee, but I didn't look through her stuff, of course. Then I realized that she was packing up her stuff, not looking through it. She said, "I'm going to a hotel."

I said, "Are you serious? You would rather just leave than help give me peace of mind by looking for the key?"

She said, and I quote, "I can't believe you are worrying about a little key when your friend is getting a divorce!"

"Are you kidding me?" I said. "I just want to find the key to my house!"

She's like, "Yeah, well, I lost the key. So sue me. You know what's going on in my life right now."

Oh yeah. I'm the jerk here. In case you didn't know.

I said, "I just want you to look for it. I'll help you. You don't have to leave. This is crazy."

It didn't matter.

She said some more crap. I said "Wouldn't you be OCD if I lost your house key? Don't you think this is a little irresponsible?"

At this point I was completely furious and just walked out of the room. By then, I didn't give a crap if she left or stayed. I was over it. When she came to say goodbye, she was talking to me like I was the crazy one, like I was getting upset over some small trivial thing. I just said, "You know what, Cherie, fuck that."

She left.

Apparently, I am a terrible person for being concerned that the key that opens every single door in my house and to the building was lost by an inconsiderate divorcee.  The loss of that key jeopardizes both my apartment and safe well-being, but also that of the other people who live in the building. I have to be honest: I cannot afford to pay a locksmith to change all five of the locks that key opens and for master keys for the other people in the building.  How dare I get upset about her complete lack of consideration about a little old key? Seriously, she was so flippant about the key the whole time, when I know full well if the situation were reversed, she'd go nuts.

I just can't believe it and am still completely flabbergasted by the situation. [I love the word flabbergasted and don't get to use it nearly enough.] If I had lost someone's house key, I would feel like a complete shit and I would tear everything apart until I found it. I wouldn't turn the situation around on the person, making them feel bad for something I did!

I just have to hope that she finds the key in her cluttered belongs and eats crow when she does.

I also hope that nobody creepy is planning a visit to my apartment.

Seriously: what happened here? Am I a complete jerk for worrying about a lost key? I don't think I'm in the wrong at all here, but, hey, I've been wrong before. At least I can admit that.

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