Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Good Mail Day

I stopped at the library on my way home from work today to drop off "Good Mail Day: A Primer for Making Eye-Popping Postal Art". When I got home look what I found in my mailbox!
I signed up for Ricë Freeman-Zachery's mailing list the other day and she sent me a very generous thank you PLUS it came inside this totally cool piece of mail art. I scribbled the addresses a bit in PS but you get the idea. The back side has a coffee sticker and is stamped with "I like my coffee just like I like my men... black & strong & sweet." Pure Ricë!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pacific Northwest Artists

We are fortunate to have many talented artists here in the Pacific Northwest. It seems to be a part of the Pacific Northwest culture; respecting and encouraging creativity. I don't know if it is our culture that encourages people to pursue their passion here or it is the ever changing climate that stimulates the muse or if artists just gravitate to the sea. Whatever the reason, it does seem like our little corner of the country is brimming with talent. I follow several of their blogs and feel a particular "kinship" from the familiarity of their daily observations.
DJ Pettit, one of our finest, is offering an online class next month to share her Photoshop techniques. I think it is remarkable when an artist feels so comfortable with owning their style that they are willing to reach out and teach others. You can find the details here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I craft, you craft, we all craft!

I met my friend, Carol, for lunch today and to exchange our Christmas presents. I love the way that sounds, like I hang out and socialize like normal people. LOL!
She gifted me with this beautiful wind-up music box that she made herself. Yes, SHE MADE IT HERSELF! I am so flattered. She is new to crafting and obviously has talent and an artist's eye that she didn't know was lurking inside her just waiting to get out. So beautiful on many levels.
The two little charms say LOVE AND LAUGH - two things Carol gifts to everyone lucky enough to call her friend.
I am Merry.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Times A-Comin'

I got both of our Christmas trees put up; the one in the living room as well as my favorite little birdie tree in the kitchen. The packages for mailing are wrapped and boxed and ready to ship. Most of the shopping is done. Big exhale. I love this part when you just putter at wrapping the presents and decorate a little here and there and listen to Christmas music and plan for a yummy Christmas Eve. It was a good weekend. Maybe I'll bake something. Maybe I inhaled too much frankincense and myrrh.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jenny Doh - don't go!

Jenny Doh has done so much for so many by giving artists her encouragement, a place to be published and validating the the passion that drives us to create. I read her blog tonight, as I usually do, and found a goodbye message. I am so proud of her for following her heart into a new adventure but so sad to know that she won't be leading and guiding the Somerset magazines any longer. She will be sorely missed. Big sigh. I will continue to follow her blog and I know that anything she touches will be something special. She isn't capable of anything less.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dinking away my evenings....

... when I really should be wrapping some Christmas presents or decorating or doing SOMETHING besides dinking around with these journals!
I have two more in process and I thought I might put them in my Etsy store but, AS USUAL, I am over thinking every single aspect of making them and the end result looks way too stiff - ARGH! I "threw" the first one together and it has issues with the binding being a little crooked and the method I used to attach the sewn-in envelopes is kind of funky so, naturally, I set out to solve those problems and ended up with something that's a lot more boring. Good grief. Maybe I can lighten up a little on the other two!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Prototype Journal

This is what I've been playing around with this week. Making the little journal from the Teesha Moore lesson set my brain buzzing with ideas for other journals I wanted to try making. Then I remembered the big stack of vintage sheet music I have accumulted and decided they would be just the thing for the covers.
This front cover is a collaged combination of the sheet music, roses I cut from some wrapping paper and a pretty postage stamp. I love that title - how perfect for a journal! The back is covered with scrapbook paper. The journal for the Teesha Moore class was entirely watercolor paper. I wanted this journal to be more like an altered book. The inside pages are made from book pages with printing that will lend itself to journaling and "altering". There is a variety of types and sizes of blank papers including pages from a vintage accounting journal and sewn-in envelopes. Some of the pages have their original edges and I cut scallops along the edge of others. Two have fold-out on the end so they have even more room for drawing or journaling. Lots of fun places to stash bits and pieces!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Anticipation, preparation, celebration, good food, family, shopping, planning and skidding pell-mell into the holiday season! A flurry of activity slowly melting into a gentler place and taking time to count my blessings.
  • I am grateful for the health my husband and I DO have
  • I am grateful for my art room and the time to let it renew me
  • I am grateful to be employed
  • I am grateful for my sturdy little home and a warm cozy place to sleep
  • I am grateful for Casey's artist's heart
  • I am grateful for Andy's smile
  • I am grateful for Alayna's mashed potatoes and friendship
  • I am grateful for Jill's sweet potatoes and deviled eggs and generosity
  • I am grateful for Alexa's happy heart
My heart is full and I hope yours is, too! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil

I wanted to add something to our Christmas shopping list this morning so I was poking around in the old crockery jar on the kitchen hutch, searching for a pencil that actually had a point on it.

Now let me tell you about this crock. It might have always been mine or it might have come to live at my house when my mother passed away. I can't say for sure because we each had one and they were very similar. Kind of a family tradition. Theoretically it is a pencil holder. In reality it contains pens from companies you did business with years ago, pencils with no points and rock-hard erasers, scissors, rulers, chopsticks, emery boards, Popsicle sticks, fondue forks, crayons, markers, candle snuffers, pipe cleaners and pretty much anything else you could stand up in a jar. Things go in and pretty much the only time they come out is when you try to write with one of the dried up pens and toss it in the trash.

Okay, back to the point (no pun intended!). I'm lifting the pencils one by one in hopes of finding one I could actually write with and I ran across one that had a metal cap instead of an eraser. Hmm. What's this? I looked at the side and it said "A Bottle of Ink in a Pencil". What the?? On the other side it says NOBLOT Ink Pencil - Eberhard Faber U.S.A. 705. It doesn't take much to send me off to Google.
It seems these pencils were invented in the 1860s or 1870s and had something to do with letterpress printing. Later they were used as an early way of making copies. There were special books called "copy books" that were manufactured with a piece of tissue paper between each page so you could create a copy from the page written with the ink pencil. They became wildly popular during WWI because ballpoint pens hadn't been invented yet and it wasn't practical for soldiers to carry and use fountain pens in the field. My Grandpa was in France during WWI. I always wondered why every time he picked up a pencil to write he always touched it to his tongue before he began to write. Who knew!
Apparently these pencils are still used by the artists who restore old signs. Eberhard Faber was absorbed into Sanford who was absorbed into PaperMate but the pencils are still sold under the Sanford name. I found a New Old Stock Eberhard one on eBay for $18.88. Whatever there is, there is somebody who collects it - LOL!
I don't know if this pencil migrated to my house with my mother's things or if it was in one of "poke sacks" that comes home with me from the second hand store but I think it's pretty fun that it mysteriously appeared in my kitchen and waited patiently for me to notice it.
I am pathetically easy to distract....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another collage page

The first Teesha-style page was sort of pretty in a decidedly odd sort of way. At least it SAID something about pretty! This one is just plain creepy. It's kind of scary, what can come out of your head sometimes!
I actually finished this a couple of days ago but the week got so busy I nearly forgot to post it. Busy with the "day job" and learning about Google Analytics and re-doing all my keywords and tags and meta words and on and on for the Etsy store. Good grief!
The Teesha-style pages are a good exercise. I'm learning a lot about using the different pens. I have a long way to go with the lettering, especially the spacing. Good thing the little book I made has LOTS of pages. I like to think of it as "constructive (instructive?) play". Uh huh.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


This is my first attempt at the style Teesha Moore demonstrated in her videos. I couldn't get the colors quite right in the scan. The background is more yellow on the real deal. It was a VERY fun afternoon of play! I think the thing I liked best is the freedom to use any image that appealed to me. Just for me play so no copyright worries and the world is my oyster! WooHoo!

I went to Columbia Art this morning and bought some new tools to try on. I got two of those Sharpie Poster Paint pens that are being discontinued. These are neat pens, what are they thinking?? I also got two Jelly Rolls and the Uni-ball Signo that I was looking for when I was taking the photo-art journaling class. I also got one Prismacolor marker and two soft pastels in black and dark red. I was looking for the pan pastels Teesha used and what I bought is NOT a substitute. I tried rubbing an eyeshadow sponge on them and using them to shadow with but nowhere near the effect she was getting.

I had issues with EVERYTHING bleeding into the paper and each other way more than I expected. I don't know if that is because I painted the background with watercolors or what. I kept trying to fall back to my old Sharpies but they picked up the other pens and clogged so in the end I didn't get the crisp lines I was looking for. Learning, learning, learning.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Found poetry

I was cutting up a music book tonight to glue music to the reverse side of some tags I am making and I looked down on the table and discovered some "found poetry"! I finished painting the pages in my a-la Teesha Moore journal tonight and have no idea what I am going to journal about so maybe I will use some of these words. How cool is that? Leap and the net will appear....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A new journal started

I was so inspired by Teesha Moore's journaling videos that I had to start a journal of my own tonight. Her videos are SO COOL! She shares her thought process through each step so it's just like being right there in the room watching her work. How generous is THAT? I think it's pretty special when an artist is so comfortable with "owning" their technique that they can put their fear of being copied aside and reach out to inspire and instruct. Thank you Teesha! This is just the very beginning. I didn't have one huge piece of paper like she used so I used the last 5 sheets from a watercolor pad of 140# cold press paper. I used the cover from the pad to make the cover for the journal. I will probably attach some sort of extension along the front edge since the cover sheet is the same size paper as the signature so it doesn't extend out past the edges of the pages. I can fix that. Or not. I'll see what develops.
I painted the cover with my fancy new Golden Liquid Acrylics. This was my first time to use them and they smell EXACTLY like latex wall paint. Stinkied up my whole art room. I wasn't expecting that and have frankly had about enough of that smell since I just finished repainted the bathroom. I am not counting them out yet and will continue to experiment.
I used Teesha's instructions for binding except I reversed it because I wanted the "tails" on the outside. She doesn't like dangles but I think I might.
I am working on painting the pages now. I am using watercolors so hopefully I won't have too much trouble finding pens that will write on them.
I should be working on figuring out how those Google Analytics work so I can track the hits on my Etsy store but sometimes you just have to take time out and PLAY.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The PhotoArt Journal is FINISHED!

This is the journal I bought at the hippy store on our trip to Newport. The cover is original. It is made from some type of really soft paper. Once the journaling was done I finished it off by attaching the pom-pom fringe. The fringe was in one of the poke-sacks I pictured in an earlier post.
These are the last two pages I made to finish the journal. This is more of the "juxtaposing".
My favorite techniques learned from the class:
  • The three-column technique for captioning the pictures: feeling words, verbs and adjectives.
  • Painting out parts of the pictures with a white or black marker.
Lessons learned from the class:
  • Use a journal with good paper and use good paint so the pens will write on it.
  • Use a journal with pages that match the layout of the pictures, landscape with landscape, portrait with portrait.

I am glad I took the class and I love the new techniques I learned! I am also very ready to be finished and move on to new projects. I have already started working on a new piece to submit to Somerset and I am anxious to try the journaling techniques in the great videos Teesha Moore has been posting on her blog. Totally different from LK's style. It is so much fun trying them on!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Latest pages for the online class

This post is a little bit long because I'm going to try and catch up on the work I have been doing to finish up the photoart journaling class.
There was an assignment to photograph your hands and another one to "juxtapose" two images so I combined them and got this. I also watched LK's video where she suggested using black masking tape. Where the heck do you find THAT?? I actually kind of like the look of the blue tape with the black and white so there you go!
This is the assignment about "over journaling" where you use big, loopy handwriting over the top of the image. This picture was taken on our campout last spring. We were trying to make a totem pole - LOL! The picture came out a little blurry when I printed it so I thought it would be a good choice for the assignment.

This is the assignment where you glue tissue paper over the photo and re-color it with colored pencil. Well, I didn't. My printer was giving me grief because I was running out of color ink. The picture printed wacky so I just used the colored pencil directly on the photo. I want to get some of those "fancy like real artists use" colored pencils instead of my crummy Crayola version and play around some more with this technique. It's pretty fun but those are some mighty rosy cheeks!
Two more pages to fill....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I have an Etsy store!

I have mentioned off and on that I have been working my way through Lisa Sonora Beam's book called "The Creative Entrepreneur". I have been trying to figure out what direction to take with my art. I knew I couldn't face being locked into one style, one genre; making art for money and making what people want to buy over and over again. That was 25 years ago. When I stopped I said never again. I don't like to say never because we don't know the twists and turns life will take and I know I don't want that at this moment in my life. There are just so many things I want to try. So many things.
I have been working my way through the book and the journaling prompts for months. Writing, thinking, letting things steep. The turning point was the prompt that said "What do you do for its intrinsic value (You would do it even if it didn't pay)". For me the answer is junking. I love, love, love to shop for and accumulate all the little vintage trinkets and bits and bobs of life. For me it is incredibly relaxing and rewarding to "rescue" these little cast-offs. I more than love it, I can't NOT do it. I see these things and I see what they can be, not what they are, and I cannot resist rescuing them.
For this reason I decided to open an Etsy store where I can share my vision with the like-minded folks who respect the junk. I am not sure I did everything right but I managed to post 8 items and I will learn as I go. There is a new link to the Etsy store on the left side of the blog or you can click here. Big deep breath.
At some point I plan to add some of the "so many things" and offer some original art but for now it is my island of lost treasures just waiting for someone to come by and adopt them.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Accidental Art

Three separate people have visited my art room recently and asked me if this piece of paper on my workbench is a new piece of art I am working on. Well. No. It is a piece of butcher paper, secured with blue painter tape, to protect the top of the workbench from my messy painting.
I guess it is kind of pretty. Maybe I should start tacking them up on the wall when I switch out to a new piece of paper. I wonder how I'll know when it's "done" - LOL!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last page from the PhotoArt Journaling class

Holy cow it's been a brutal week! I am on vacation this week and spent the first half re-decorating the bathroom. Painted, refinished the door and put in a new floor. I was so tired last night I wanted to sit down and weep and have no one to blame but myself - LOL! These projects seemed so much easier 25 years ago... What's up with THAT??
I am two assignments behind in LK Ludwig's PhotoArt Journaling class (among many other things I am now behind on, but hey, I have a spiffy new bathroom) so figured I might as well go ahead and post what I decided would be the final page in my journal. I have 5 pages left to fill in my little book from the hippy store and I am out of black ink in my printer. I do intend to finish but doubt I will get it done in the next two days!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A little help from my friends

This is the PhotoArt Journaling assignment to create a page based on a song that is stuck in your head. Where would we be without friends! Go here and be grateful for the ones that "stand by YOU".

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Broken Winged Bird

This is the second part of the page I posted yesterday. It is a two-page spread for the PhotoArt Journaling class. Only 9 days left and I still have 2 pages to make for the "lets play" assignment and haven't even started on the portraits assignment. As a matter of fact, I don't even have any portraits in my "vast archive of photos" - LOL!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You can cage the singer but not the song

Another page for the PhotoArt Journaling class. Still no white china marker - not even from the Home Depot - so I continue to work around...
This is one of the husband's beautiful dahlias, pressed up against the cage designed to keep it from toppling over.
The quote is from Harry Belefonte.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A new journal page

This is the next page for the photoart journaling class. I really didn't have anything in my vast archive of images (LOL!) that would qualify as "cute" so I went with something I think is pretty. The more I work with color photos the more I think I prefer the black and white. Somehow they have an "edgy" look that I like better. Discovery.....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Estate Sale

Earlier this week two different friends told me about an estate sale for their PartyLite dealer's grandmother. My day wasn't going very well until my daughter-in-law called me while I was at K-Mart buying mouse poison (that's another a story I won't inflict on you!) and asked me if I wanted to go to the sale. WELL, YES!
I found this wonderful old wooden sewing box right inside the front door. Yes, I think it was just waiting for me to rescue it. I would have paid the $3.50 just to get the two rusty old corsage pins tacked inside the lid. The dark things dangling lower on the lid are safety pins, all strung on some sort of metal clip. I haven't seen something like before and wonder if that's the original purpose. The inside holds a variety of vintage and newer ribbon, lace and trims. There are a couple pieces of lovely hand-crochet lace.
There was a huge stack of vintage sheet music, easily a foot and a half high. I picked out these for the wonderful graphics on the covers.
My dear girl loves her old books and got as many as she could carry. Really. If she could have carried more I'm sure she would have!
Funny how junk can just turn my day right around!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Beauty related to nature page

This is the assignment for choosing an image of beauty related to nature. This one was a struggle! I wanted to start switching to color instead of the black and white but my printer simply would NOT make lavender flowers. It insisted they were pink. Well crap. So I finally settled on PSing them with the poster technique since they weren't the natural color anyway. I still haven't gotten a white china marker so I'm going to have to do SOMETHING to set the white pastel I sketched with. Don't touch it. That would be one thing...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Think good thoughts

People who know me know I am a natural optimist (or maybe a happy fool!). I have had the Playing for Change CD for a couple of weeks now and I think I am well on the way to wearing out track #7 on my way to work each morning. It pretty much sums up my outlook, simple as that. It's even better with the video. Go here and let Keb Mo singing "Better Man" make your face sore from smiling!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The JOURNEY assignment - traveling shoes

Here are the next two pages from the PhotoArt Journaling class. I chose the technique where you blank out the background. I didn't have a china marker so I used gesso. The "subjects" in the pictures are outlined with charcoal pencil. I really like that look. The "GO NOW" is on masking tape because I hadn't tried that suggestion yet. That page came out a little busy but that's okay. It's all about trying things.
I also made a page in between the sailboat page and the staircase page. It doesn't have a photo at all so I won't post it for the class. When I was doing the assignment of searching for quotes I found too many and I liked this one so much I had to include it:
Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be... Close your eyes and let your spirit start to soar and you will live as you have never lived before. -- Erich Fromm
How beautiful is that?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Button Hunter Bliss

I had the amazing good luck to find not one, not two, but THREE button lots yesterday. The first two were from my favorite thrift store. They were packaged up in two separate bags but I can tell they came from the same sewing box since there were matching items in both. I found the jar at an estate sale.
Let me tell you a little about the woman who owned the first two lots. Where to begin... She was a quilter. There were 7 thimbles in all and one of them is leather. One is plastic and from the 15th annual International Quilt Festival in Houston Texas. That show is in it's 35th years now. It must have been quite a thrill for her to attend! She valued beautiful things. Some of the buttons were surely her mother's or maybe her grandmother's. There are bone underwear buttons - how long since anyone used THOSE! There are mirror-back twinkles, red glass (yes RED glass!); you don't see many of those. She knew to save them. There is a green art-deco style buckle and a few beautiful rhinestones. There are MANY mother-of-pearl buttons. Some of them very tiny like you found on baby clothes back before we realized buttons weren't the safest thing on baby clothes. I think she had girls. The only "manly" trinket in the lot was a lone marble but there were quite a few beads and stray jewelry findings. And the most touching thing of all - a baby tooth. Big sigh.
An afternoon of poking and sorting and button box bliss! Maybe I'll take a few close-up shots a little later and post those so you can see the really cool ones and I can get some practice with that "macro" setting on the camera. Good excuse - right? Besides, I'll get to poke through them some more......

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kitchen Still Life

I was fixing my breakfast this morning and noticed I had a lovely little still life sitting right there on my kitchen counter. Winter squash harvested just a few days ago and bonus tomatoes as they near the end of the season.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I was surfing around today, reading quotes for the next PhotoArt Journaling assignment and I ran across this one:
The job of the artist is to deepen the mystery.
--- Francis Bacon
This could be interpreted a number of ways... Deepen the mystery by making you wonder? Make you wonder what? What the artist was thinking? What the artist is making YOU think? How the artist made it? Why the artist made it? How it makes you feel? It's a mystery.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Photo Art Journaling Class - some pages done!

The first assignment was to choose two photos that "resonate". Resonate meaning that they are somehow related or speak to the same "feeling". Boy howdy, this is deep. So here is the second picture. It "resonates" - no? The assignment was to print out the pictures and then scratch them and then write on them. It was suggested to write with white so it would "pop" on the black and white photo. I really struggled with that part and tried three different brands of pens and none would write on my pictures. Do over, do over, do over... That is why I finally ended up stamping the words on the pictures.
I'm not sure the "scratching" is my thing. Maybe a little too grunge-look for me but I wanted to explore, after all that's the point of taking a class, right? So I went for it. More do overs...
This third picture is the second assignment called "Echo". Pick a picture that echos the theme of the first two. Black and white and mounted on black background with white writing was the general suggestion, although she said you can do whatever you want. I really wanted this class to stretch me off the path I would normally follow so I went with the suggestions.
The pages in my little book from the hippy store are very soft paper and off-white so I painted them by dragging the paint over the paper with the edge of a credit card. The paper is very absorbent so it soaked a LOT of paint. I inserted wax paper between the pages and pressed them with a heavy weight while they dried. So far the little book is holding up to my abuse!

Now to go post them on the Flickr sight where the rest of the class can see them. Big gulp.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

PhotoArt Jounaling class

Yikes! I've been so busy working on my journal (or should I say REWORKING!) that I forgot to post anything since Sunday. Let me just say that it's been a struggle. Many struggles. I don't have that "archive of hundreds of photos" she talked about so struggling to find photos that fit the assignment and then struggling to get my printer to co-operate with me and then I couldn't find a white pen that would write on the photos so ended up reprinting them FOUR TIMES. Good grief. The class was only $25 but I think I've got about three times that in supplies so far - LOL! It's all good. I like the journaling prompts. She really makes you think about what to photograph and how to write about the pix. And that is really what it's all about. I am learning.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Art & Soul vendor night

I couldn't attend the classes but my daughter-in-law, Alayna, her niece and I went to the Vendor Night last night. We entered through the wrong door so a young woman lead us "upstream" as they opened the doors on the other side. OMG, they released the hounds! She was cautioning them ... slow down girls, slow down! So much good stuff and so little time. The crowds were three-deep at the tables selling the bits and bobs for making art and crowds at most of the artist tables as well.

Speaking of artists. I got to see DJ Pettitt, Stephanie Lee, Lisa Kaus and Katie Kendrick so that was cool since I follow their blogs. I never got close enough to talk to them, not that I was brave enough, anyway! I saw Michael deMeng. I SAW MICHAEL DEMENG. Stood right in front of his table and breathed some of his same air. I hope it helps. I stopped at Teesha Moore, Misty Mawn and Sally Jean's tables, too, but never actually saw them. Oh! And I saw Linda and Opie O'Brien too. Funny how people never look quite like you think they will when you see them in person. I could swear I saw Victoria MacKenzie-Childs in the crowd. She wasn't on the list teaching there or selling there but it sure looked like her. I feel like I've been to Hollywood!

They had a no-host bar (smart marketing strategy !) but I steered clear since I made that mistake at event like that once before and eventually stopped bothering to even put my debit card back in my purse; just walked from one booth to another and handed it to then - LOL!

Even at that I came home with a nice pile of "loot". Many, many colors of satin ribbon, velvet ribbon, lace and trims, a handful of old keys, including a strange Asian key, very vintage millinery flowers, some birds and a BIG stack of vintage sheet music with cool graphics on the covers, a packet of French-themed book pages and pages from an old handwritten diary. I missed out on the vintage French fasion magazine - procrastinated too long and someone else snapped it up. You snooze, you lose. Believe me, I could have spent HUNDREDS of dollars.

Now that I know what's going on, I will positively go again next year and plan to bring more money. I saw the most gorgeous necklaces and earrings with birds on them. Somehow I came away without getting a card from the artist and I have Googled all the names on the event map that are in the vicinity where I saw her and none seem to be the right artist... Grrrr!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Who knew!

titivate (TIT-e-VAYT) verb, also tittivate
1. spruce up.
2. adorn.
3. put the finishing touches to.
Related words: titivation (TIT-e-VAY-shen) and titivator (TIT-e-VAY-ter) both nouns.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Art & Soul envy

So Art & Soul here in Portland starts tomorrow and just about a mile down the road from where I work. Sadly, that is where I will be - at work. I went back through their website tonight and followed many links out of curiosity to see just how many of the instructors are Pacific Northwest artists. I was pleasantly surprised to discover my suspicion seems to be confirmed. A disproportionate number do seem to live right here in the neighborhood. I wonder what it is that seems to make the Pacific Northwest such a mecca of artists! I added a few of the blogs and websites to the list at the left so I can "lurk" for a while and see what they have to say.

In the meantime I prepared for LK Ludwig's online class which starts tomorrow. I wonder how she is pulling that off, teaching at Art and Soul AND launching the online class. Busy woman! Anyway, I went to Staples and got a new cartridge of color ink since I know I'm almost out and I bought a pack of fancy genuine HP paper for printing the photos to use in my journal. I'm excited to get started and just hoping my little journal I got on vacation (at the hippie store) will hold up. The pages seemed pretty thin based on her recommendation so I glued them together in groups of three. That still didn't seem very sturdy so I went back and machine stitched them along the outside edge. We'll see. While I was there I found some REALLY cool paperclips that look like musical notes. They will be perfect for one of the "inspiration sets" I am putting together for the Etsy store I plan to open later this fall. Oh, oops, almost gave that away! Wasn't planning to talk about that just yet.

On another topic. I was very moved by Jenny Doh's blog post last night. It's the one dated September 29. It is the keynote address she gave at the Squam art retreat. It was very moving and at one point I sucked in my breath because it started to sound like she was saying goodbye. I might have to write her a letter. As editor of the Somerset magazines she provides SO much validation and encouragement by giving artist all around the world the opportunity to publish their work for a larger community to share. Long live Jenny Doh!

Monday, September 28, 2009

You can never have too much sky.

Those are Sandra Cisnero's words. They might be from "The House on Mango Street", I don't remember for sure. I just love the way she word wrangles! You can check out her website here. There is also a link on the left side of my blog in the Inspirations section.

I also added a new link to Teesha Moore's blog. I have admired her journaling style for a while and only recently realized she is another Pacific Northwest artists. It must be something about the climate here! She hails from Issaquah WA. I follow a few blogs from other parts of the country but I especially enjoy following the like-minded artists right here in the neighborhood.

This canvas is another one of my background experiments. Way too dark but I like the thought so you get to see it. I learned two important things from making this one. I like to use my printer to print the words on the paper from sewing patterns then paste them on. I used a more modern pattern this time and the paper is different so it shows more than I would like. I also discoverd that in Word you can actually type a bigger number in the font size box and go higher than 72. Who knew?? I know I didn't.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Time off for good behavior!

I really buckled down this week on learning how to use the camera to produce the results I'm looking for so last night I gave myself some time off for good behavior and worked in my journal. I started on a two page spread about my right brain and left brain characteristics and obstacles.

They argue.

It isn't finished yet. I am still planning on adding some collage and probably some more words since I usually start reflecting when I'm adding the art. I wish I could post what I've got so far but it's a two page spread which means I have to make two separate scans and combine them side by side. I just tinkered around in Photoshop to see if I could figure out how to do it but NOTHING IS EVER EASY is it!!! And I can't face any more learning tonight. Did I mention I spent my day in a class on project management??? I have learned enough for this week. I know everything I need to know at this moment. I wonder if that's my right brain or my left brain at work.....
The journal I am working on was prompted by a book I am working my way through called "The Creative Entrepreneur" by Lisa Sonora Beam. Go here to see it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Making ART is hard but taking pictures is HARDER!

As if making the ART wasn't hard enough! Tonight I have been struggling to figure out how to take digital pictures that look as good as the "real deal". Holy cow there is a lot to learn. I read the book. I READ THE BOOK. That's a start. I took pictures in macro mode, pictures with zoom, pictures in 'sport' mode (12 of those by the time I figured out what was going on), pictures on the kitchen counter, pictures on the floor, pictures standing on a ladder. I took pictures. Boy howdy did I take pictures. Took them until the camera was exhausted. It told me so.
I'm pretty happy with the really close-up shots of individual elements. There is one on this post because I want to see how it looks on line.
I still have a way to go on the longer shots of the whole piece. I finally figured out a way to hold the camera steady but there is glare on the shiny parts. Dang shiny parts!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Poke Sack

I am happy to report another victorious search and rescue at the thrift store. My affinity for "poke sacks" is well known. Poke sacks, poke boxes, poke bags, bags o' unknown crap, call them what you will... I CANNOT resist one. All I need to see is one little trinket that catches my eye and it's all over. I have to find out what else is in there! All of this loveliness was stuffed, in a tangled mess, inside a large plastic bag just waiting for me to sort and smooth and oh and ah as I brought order to the chaos and respect to the possibilities.

I won't bore you by cataloging everything that came home with me for my $3.98 but it includes many bundles and several spools of acetate ribbon, the kind used for floral work, many, many colors of satin ribbon, lace, both old and older, rick-rack, braid trims, seam binding, some thread and a thimble, zippers, many sizes and types of elastic and a cool piece of ephemera offering an apron pattern for 25 cents.
I have heard it said that you should bring nothing into your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. I try. Really. Some things cry out in a way that is almost audible - RESCUE ME!
Over the years I think I've seen just about everything at the trift store, from bronzed baby shoes to a burial urn. Yes, really. A burial urn. As I was unscrewing the lid my brain was processing that I was UNSCREWING the lid and I realized what it was at about the same moment that I peeked inside. Luckily for me the only thing left of the occupant was the metal toe tag. So I really have seen it all, cradle to grave.
My favorite rescue are the poke boxes of buttons and sewing notions. As I poke through them I get an impression of the former owner. You can tell a lot about a woman from her sewing box. Many utilitarian buttons, removed from the garments and saved for mending punctuated by random glass or rhinestone buttons saved from a few "special" dresses. Uniform buttons strung together on a piece of darning thread, perhaps all that is left of a loved one's uniform. A few marbles and bullets (yes, I have found bullets) retrieved from pockets on the way to the washer. A felt needle case with "MOM" crudely embroidered on the front, surely a gift from a young daughter. A thimble stamped with S&H for the green stamps. Hand-tatted lace cut from the endge of a worn out pillow case so it could be repurposed as trim from a baby dress. Bra extenders because she put on a little weight as the years went by. You can tell a lot about a woman from her sewing box.
It tugs my heart when I find these poke boxes in the thrift store. Some one grabbed a box or a bag and up-ended the drawers of the sewing cabinet to "get rid of all that junk". Big sigh. It makes my heart glad to rescue them and respect that they are the artifacts of a creative life.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

FIRST TIME EVER - an art class

I'm so excited! I just signed up for LK Ludwig's class called "Point and Shoot Journaling". LK LUDWIG, how COOL is that!!
Okay, I know it's just an online class and not like going to some big deal thing like Art and Soul but STILL, I am finally taking an art class! Back in "the day", when I painted for profit, I refused to take classes because I was afraid I would end up painting like someone else instead of like me. I don't know if that was fear or arrogance or what but now I find myself really looking forward to hearing/seeing someone else's technique and creative angle. Plus there is the opportunity to connect with the other participants through the class blog. I only just barely know how to use the camera so I hope I will be able to keep up. I think I will use the funky handmade journal I bought at "the hippy store" aka head shop while I was on vacation. What fun! It starts October 1.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teach Me

This is another one of my background practice pieces. I'm still not thrilled with how dark it is but I really like the how the flowers turned out. The petals are cut from vintage sheet music then stained with yellow paint. They are outlined with black charcoal pencil and smudged.

I learned a lesson a long time ago about brushes. You get what you pay for and you really cannot get good results from cheap brushes. I think I am ready to see if the same thing applies to paints. I have used acrylic "craft" paints for years, mainly in case I left a project for a period of time. It can be pretty frustrating to mix your own colors and get exactly the same shade a second time. They are difficult to mix because the pigments vary so much. The amount of pigment in one shade of yellow is different than another shade of yellow and the amount of pigment in a bottle of blue is not necessarily equal to the amount of pigment in a bottle of red. Crap shoot. I think I am ready to try the 'real stuff', Liquitex fluid acrylics. They are easily 4-5 times the price of craft paints but I want to find out if they will give me the color control I am looking for.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Art room re-organization

Good grief, what have I gotten myself into! I finally bought a nice tall bookcase to replace that rickety little table/shelf I've been using since I first reclaimed the room and set it up. I have waited and searched, hoping to find something vintage but everything I find is always too big. I found a tall, narrow bookcase at Bi-Mart for just $99 so decided this will work just fine. Solid pine, even had a circle on the box with the words "no particleboard" and a line through it. LOL! One side of the box says Solid Pine and the other side says Sold Pine. I guess that's accurate since I did buy it. Notice I said box, meaning I had to assemble it. That's 2 hours of a Sunday afternoon I'll never get back.
So far so good, then I brought it in the house. Have you ever noticed how nothing ever goes back into the same amount of space it came out of??? ARGH! One thing leads to another and this needs to go over there and that needs to go over here and I might as well sort through this and now I am two nights into it and wondering why I did this to myself. Good grief!
Maybe I'll take a picture when I'm done. Or maybe I will just weep in relief.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Green shoes

I made my weekly pilgrimage to The Volunteers of America this morning and barely walked through the door when I spotted these awesome GREEN SHOES! How cool are these. Aeorsoles in my size, never worn and only $3.99. OMG some days you just get lucky. I also scored a wooden ruler with some neat thing on the back for measuring angles but it looks like a sunrise to me and an almost full box of 100 sheets of 24lb #100 cotton paper in ivory color, for my printer. This will be perfect for my family tree books. PLUS I found a sparky butterfly pin. Life is good.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The moments that are REAL life

For many of us our lives are filled with work and responsibilities and it's easy, dangerously easy, to get caught up in those things and fail to recognize the moments that are our REAL life. Today was an especially stressful one in the office. I lamented to someone that my brain had imploded on two separate occasions and it wasn't even noon yet!
Lucky me, I had a lunch date with a dear friend that I talk to often but seldom have the pleasure of seeing face to face. It's amazing how much catching up two women can do in an hour. Maybe it was the stress of morning, maybe the time was just right for me to put it OUT THERE. Whatever the reason, I shared with her the "plan" that is emerging from my discovery journal I have been working on. As I told her the things I had discovered about myself and my motivations I had the feeling these were things she already knew about me and I just had to find them for myself. She encouraged me and that encouragement SO validated that I am going in the right direction! How lucky am I to call her friend!
As if that wasn't enough bliss for one day, my daughter-in-law stopped by my office a couple of hours later to drop off an Avon order for a co-worker. She came into my office and held out her closed hand and said "I have a present for you". A present! She opened her hand there were four tiny, perfect acorns. I sucked in my breath and said, "Oh! how cool!". She said "I don't know what's wrong with me, somehow I've started getting your genetics and I've started picking things up off the ground, yesterday I found a feather." OMG! How lucky am I to get a daughter-in-law that I love like she was my own but, maybe more important, I get to count her as FRIEND.
When I go to sleep tonight I will not be cursing the stresses of the office. I will be counting the blessings of my LIFE!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making ART is harder than it looks

I mentioned a while back that I was working in series. I have been working on learning some new background techniques. They have been coming out a little darker than I intended so still a work in progress. This states it well and I have it hanging on the wall in my art room.... Making ART is harder than it looks. And that's a fact!

Monday, September 7, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation...

I am physically exhausted and mentally relaxed. I think it worked. I maintained a pretty break-neck pace, which is typical for me. Trying to feel caught up with some of the maintenance and projects around the house and trying to squeeze in the art and the gardening and the junking I love. Whew! I'm tired.

We started off with a trip to the coast. I was no where near decompressed enough to say I was relaxed but it was a perfect start to the week since leaving home means leaving behind the "to-do" list. My favorite things at the beach were watching the sea lions, walking on the beach, a Bloody Mary at the Sea Hag in Depot Bay and shopping at Pirates Plunder in Newport, the Newport place I call "the hippy store" but I think it's really a head shop (do they say head anymore?) and that mom and pop place in Lincoln City. The treasures included great ephemera, vintage rayon seam binding (the most luscious ribbon EVER!), old postage stamps, incense with beautiful graphics on the packages, a set of prayer flags to hang in my pergola, and a fabulous little vanity suitcase that I'm going to make into my traveling art kit. I played with the camera and took a bunch of pictures but haven't even extracted them yet.

Once back home I got back to work on that to-do list.
1) The doors were all painted for the hallway project but I still had the mouldings to repair and paint, the hardware to strip and re-installing everything. The last doorknob went on today after much jury-rigging and adjusting from the husband. I felt bad for him. This was supposed to be MY project and boy, howdy did he get sucked in on that door. It was stubborn but all done now and looks beautiful with all the sparkly glass doorknobs!

2) Weeding and pruning and dug many of the calla lilies, some moved to a new spot in the yard and some potted to share. Dug two azalea starts, took a cutting from my Frank Klaeger lilac and air-layered the Camila, all for the kids yard at the new house. I might be a little late so we'll see what "sprouts"!

3) FINALLY sanded and repainted the little white desk in the spare bedroom. Yes, sanding it was as miserable as I thought it would be and explains why have procrastinated doing it for about 8 years. Good grief. Done now.

4) Trekked out in search of a new bonsai pot for my giant redwood. It is about 10 or 11 years old now and stands about 2 feet high and just as wide so starting to look a little goofy in the tiny pot. Larger bonsai pots are kind of hard to find and YIKES are they expensive! I found just one in the size I want and it was $80. EIGHTY DOLLARS for a flowerpot. If you're looking for a career change this might just be it. No, I did not buy it. I will look a little longer....

5) Visited Rita Deco in the Hollywood district. Drove there myself. Really. Around and around in circles and then there it was! OMG, who knew! That Hollywood neighborhood has antique malls right and left. I need to get out more.

6) Made a vain attempt at improving the looks of the front door to our house. It is a marvelous old mahogany door and I love it and wouldn't think of changing it but the sun has dried and faded it, not to mention the scratches. I tried Old English Scratch Cover, I tried Watco oil, I tried. I guess this will be a project for a different year. At least, after two trips, we DID find a new rubber gasket for the threshold to replace the broken one I fixed with duct tape. Yes DUCT TAPE, I know.... but I couldn't close the door, I had to do SOMETHING! And it did work for 5 years. My husband doesn't like to rush into things.

So what about making art? Well, I had an epiphany (that's epiphaMy for you, Carol!) I will be talking about that in a separate post but I have to say I'm kind of excited about it.

If I had any sense at all I'd go log on to the office now and start slogging through the emails in self-defence. But nobody every accused me of having any sense.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Aaaaah! Vacation at last! Work has been really intense for the last couple of months and FINALLY 13 days in a row with no alarm clock. It has been WAY too long coming. Over a month since I have posted - I'm such a slacker! Tomorrow we head off to the Rogue Bed&Brew at the Oregon coast. No chores, no to-do list, OMG!
Okay, so what will I do with 13 days... we all know I'm no good and sitting down for very long. I really need to work on that. The garden is looking pretty good in spite of the lack of attention. So many thing I would like to move, change spruce up. Maybe by the time I get back from the coast I will have "decompressed".
  • I could finish the ill-fated hallway/ bathroom redecoration project. Began in March and set aside until July and STILL not finished. Three doors painted and one to go ( I have no doors in my hallways except the bathroom), new glass doorknobs ordered and received, bathroom paint and floor selected. Yes, I could just press on and finish. Much work but I will feel much accomplishment and it will make my eyes happy!
  • The garden, oh yes the garden. Pulling weeds in my bathrobe, making everything just so. Plucking weeds is so relaxing and mindless and the end result does make my eyes happy!
  • Visiting Rita Deco in Portland's Hollywood district. On my list forever!
  • An art project for my office wall that's been inside my head for a while now.
Or maybe not... So many possibilities and only 13 days. Did I say that out loud - ONLY 13 days! It's never enough but be careful what I wish for. A girl does have to make a living, after all!
I will take the camera to Newport and play and I won't think about "what if". I will play for 2 days and see what unfolds.
Here is the VERY best part. Labor Day weekend is my two-year milestone on the long journey from breast cancer warrior to breast cancer SURVIVOR. I am finally feeling like my old self, with my old energy and I can do ANYTHING I want and I don't just want to sit on my recliner chair and rest. SO awesome to have all the possibilities in front of me. I am grateful for the dilemma!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Muse

Lately all my posts have been about the outdoors; that's kinda ME in the summer time! My art friend Michelle sent me a lovely piece of inspiration for my birthday last week, "Dreams are the Key to Life". She and I have had a few conversations about the elusive "muse" and finding time for art so I decided to post this journal page. She has been up against some compelling personal challenges lately so I am SO flattered she would take out time to make something to inspire me and I can only hope she found some joy and relaxation in the making!

This journal page is part of an exercise I have been doing based on Lisa Sonor Beam's book, "The Creative Entrepreneur". The book focuses on finding the courage for "Making Business Ideas Real" so is not directly related to my personal dilemma of finding my voice and figuring out what I want to do with my art. When I started reading it I realized it was really making me think about what makes me tick and why I do what I do so I decided to (roughly) follow the journaling path and I find out what I could discover. Interestingly, I HAVE gotten a lot of insight into what I really like to do and what my dream life would really be like. I still can't say I know what I want to do with my art but I think I have made some pretty big steps toward finding my voice. The orange colors on this page are not right and let me just say - I DO NOT THINK DIGITAL ART IS MY GIG! I do not much like to figure it out so I might just NOT.

Right now I an working in series. Now that I think (maybe maybe MAYBE) I have found a style I feel comfortable with I am doing it over and over to really make it mine. Maybe I will post a piece someday soon. We'll see if it sticks!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Bonding with the camera

I didn't spend all of my time on the campout walking and crafting and sitting in the sun. My son (thank you Andy!) introduced me to some of the features of the digital camera. Who knew you could switch to black and white and sepia? Probably everybody but me! I love black and white photos. I love the way black and white removes the distraction and makes everything "match" and the unnecessary details fall away. Love it love it love it! Imagine how different this photo would look if you could see the color of the ground and the rock and my shoe and jeans. In black and white it says (to me!) step up, step out, put your best foot forward, go out into the world. There will be more black and white in my future!

Let me just say that this crawdad was not forced to "walk the plank" for this photo. He met his crawdad maker much earlier in the day. It was a quick and to the point dunk in a boiling pot - yum! I did a little editing to brighten it up and ended up with some funky streaks so I have more to learn on that topic. One thing at a time....
Ah, camping! I can hardly wait for the next one!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Camping on Mt. Hood

We spent this past Sunday through Wednesday camping at Timothy Lake on Mt.Hood. How lucky are we to have a place like this just a little over an hour from home!
The weather was beautiful by day and by night. The first morning a mist slowly rolled in over the lake where it settled just until full daybreak and then lifted like a curtain rising to reveal the stunning mountain behind it. The stars at night filled the sky like glitter, un-obscured by competition from the city lights. Refreshing all the senses, the body and the soul! Ahh!
This is my son sailing his canoe - yes SAILING the canoe. He rigged it for sailing himself and gets quite a few questions about what in the world is it. It is quite sea-worthy and has even been out in Columbia River chop. He took me for my first ride on this trip and it was marvelous to glide along in total silence.
We were 9 campers in all, plus a 90 pound dog and a 4 pound dog. A fine circle of campers! There was mountain biking around the lake (not me!), canoeing, fishing, crawdadding, target practice with the bow and arrow, swimming (not me!) and sitting in the sun. I especially enjoyed the canoe and walks around the shore, observing the flora and fauna. We saw chipmunks (they might have been ground squirls), stellar jays, along with many other birds and even watched an osprey daily and once were lucky enough to see it swoop down and snatch up a fish from the lake. The bear grass, bunch berry, queen's cap and lupine were all in bloom. Something to do or see everywhere you turned!
I know myself well so I brought along a little pre-made paper bag journal in case I felt like making something. Like anybody thought I wouldn't! I put a very limited number of supplies in a shoebox and challenged myself to use only materials that an early settler might have on hand. I had three grease pencils (black, blue and red), a pencil, pen, a little coil of wire, a ball of artificial sinew, scissors, needles, pliers, a mystery novel from the '40s to clip words from and my one real nod to modern convenience - a glue stick. I just didn't think we would have time to butcher a mule and render some glue! The book is filled with pressed flowers, moss, bark, feathers and various bits and pieces I picked up on my walks. The picture is too small to read the found poetry but the cover says... I'm going down and look around on the ground for it, she said... Oh, well, that will keep her busy for awhile anyway...
The found poetry on the following pages:
...enjoy yourself this afternoon, just as though it was any other day of your life...
...I am getting to the age where I am capable of
doing some thinking
let imaginations run away
there could be no more welcome sight
I was just his minute thinking
rushing lickety-clickety
without rhyme or reason....
...sometimes I wonder...
...a moment to come back to earth...
...activities had been confined to a small area
pondering something
someone told me to tell you something
tell you what you do
I'm listening
let's take it where there's a good light
and see what we can see...