Friday, September 26, 2014

Altered Books

I had three final sets of pages to work on for my Hawaii friends' altered book group. As an off-island member, I send my work to the group and the pages are "tipped in," or added to each person's book using tape or glue. Every member selects a theme, and it's up to each artist to decide how to interpret that theme. It's always interesting to see the many different responses to the same topic.

The first set of pages was for a theme of "Word Play" -- the unique, often silly ways that words can be used. The words on my pages are a song my mom used to sing to me when I was a kid, and that I sang to my own children.  I used watercolors enhanced with pan pastels for this spread:

The next theme was "Beginnings," and my interpretation was based on a quotation I found that resonated with me.  For this one, I used paste paper for a background (made with my friend Shirley last week) and created a faux chalkboard with a message about overlooking some things in life in order to embrace others.

The final theme was "Open and Close."  At first I couldn't think of anything inspiring, but my husband helped me brainstorm. Pandora's conundrum - to open or not to open - was the perfect fodder for these pages.

You can see how the flap on the right folds out in the photo beneath this one.

 Inside the flaps are all the evils, with hope in the center.

Hope you enjoyed seeing these as much as I liked making them!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ready to start making holiday gifts? Arm Knitting

A few years ago I learned to knit.  And every year when I want to knit something, I have to learn all over again from my friend Rosie.  It's definitely NOT one of those things that is like riding a bike...

Last week I got a knitting lesson from my daughter, with a unique way of knitting that requires no knitting needles - just arms. I saw something about it on Pinterest a while back but wouldn't have believed how great it would turn out.

You start with some fat yarn. She used a variegated kind, blue, black and purple.

Then you cast your arm

And knit onto your other arm

And then knit back to the original arm. 

And after a while, you cast off, attach the ends ... and voila! A beautiful eternity scarf.

And if you are very lucky, your daughter gives it to you for a present.  

Ready to make one yourself?  Here ya go!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Faces - a Phase

Do you ever get into a phase with art? I'm kinda obsessed with painting faces right now.  Can't seem to stop. I've done 10 faces in the past few weeks, and I'm not tired of it yet.

Usually I do something once or twice, artistically, and it's out of my system. But not this time.

It started with this one, for a round robin swap to song Lyrics. You can guess what my song was.

Not sure where this Muse will take me, but I'm happy to be along for the ride.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Five On Friday

I’m looking forward to watching Season 2 of Orange is the New Black, but I’m afraid that once I begin I won’t be able to stop. I’ve heard the second season is just as good as the first.  Every one of the main characters is so well developed – I care about each of them.  But Crazy Eyes? She's the best. 

I’m in after-book limbo again. I keep trying those kindle samples -  you know where you download just a bit of the book? But I just can’t seem to find anything that is both entertaining and intelligent. Got any recommendations? I love historical fiction and biographies.

I have a cat question and I’m posting it here because – well, someone might know the answer. My new, not-so-little ragdoll (six months old) is a sweetheart in every way, but he does something very odd in the early morning hours. In fact, I have to hide under the sheets from him because he is obsessed with ... licking my eyelids. It’s kind of disgusting, I know; definitely annoying. Is there some mommy thing this relates to, like when they do the kneading action?

Speaking of Travel
How do you plan your trips? I like Trip Advisor a LOT -- people (including me) enter all sorts of details and destinations that are so helpful for getting the most fun from your trip.  I also use kayak almost exclusively to find the best airline and even hotel reservations. We once traveled all over Italy without reservations, using the kayak website to book ahead on each leg of the way. Technology is amazing.

And finally…
Curacao…so fun.  Having my husband, kids, grandchildren and friend all together in one place for a week was heaven. We explored caves, visited outdoor green markets, snorkeled, scuba’d and swam all day in a lovely pool off our deck. We took turns cooking delicious meals and going to dinner. We saw green parrots flying freely through the trees and saw a “flamboyance of flamingoes” gathered at the water’s edge.

Ben(center front), Bill, Ally and me. We were wilted by this point - so hot in caves.

Lou and Liam


Rosie with Liam and Noah

One more thing...someone had asked whether I write in my glue book collages. Here is proof. I did these pages for a friend's journal, with a theme of lyrics. The two-page spread and a coordinating tag:

Have a wonderful week!!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Gluebook Images

I've been making glue books since high school. Often mine had either journaling or poems, along with images and other bits and bobs. Some were lost along the way as I moved from place to place. I wish I still had them. Some have made the moves with me and still contain poems that I wrote or that I saved from magazines.

Anyway, now is now, and I'm still gluing things into books, kind of like collage, I guess.  I thought I'd share some here. I haven't done any journaling on them yet. When I do, I'll post a few.

My friend Pat made this tag.

Those vintage cars were in an Esquire advertisement.

Every now and then I use an actual real-life photo.

I have a thing for doorways

Hope you enjoyed my glue books!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Five on Friday - Memorial Day Edition

What I’m reading…
I finished Rules of Civility, Amor Towles’ first novel and one that I will probably read several times. It's a period piece, set in 1930’s New York City, mostly the East and West Village. I love jazz and that era in particular, and for a little while, reading this book,  I was able to live there. The main character dabbles in the lives of some of the wealthiest Manhattanites; be prepared for martinis and blue, smoky jazz clubs.  Amor Towles created a jazz playlist from the period. Benny Goodman’s Memories of You and I Remember You are iconic. If you want to experience the full effect, here is a link to the Rules of Civility Playlist:

The Virgin Blue – part detective story and part historical fiction, the novel alternates between the story of a women in current time and a female relative who lived 400 years earlier. A common thread emerges, linking the two. The author, Tracy Chevalier, also wrote Girl With a Pearl Earring. She is so talented at description that the well-crafted storyline and characters I cared about seemed like a bonus.

What I’m watching…
Most recent Indie film I’ve seen is Belle, a film inspired by a 1770 painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle and her cousin, Lady Elizabeth Murray. It was commissioned by the first Earl of Mansfield, William Murray. Both women are his nieces, with Dido the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of  his nephew, a Royal navy officer. The plot surrounds social mores of the time, with Dido raised in an aristocratic household alongside her cousin and with the undercurrent of a legal case on slavery during the same time period. I liked everything about it – the story, the costumes, the characters, and the historical implications. And as I have in the past, it got me thinking about what would have happened if we had lost the Revolutionary War? Would slavery, which was abolished in England long before the U.S., have ended here much sooner? And if that was the case, would we still have had the Civil War? Would our government structure be more like Australia or Canada?

What I’m looking forward to:
Two weeks from now we’ll be in Curacao.  For the first time in over 10 years, it will be a true family vacation for me, with both my children, the grandchildren, two grandpas and an honorary auntie  hanging out together in a big house on the water.  We are looking forward to sun, fun, snorkeling, scuba diving, and lazy nights playing cards and listening to music while watching babies crawl…

What I’m "art-ing" about:
Recently a friend suggested I submit samples of my art journals to a book being published by North Light on the topic. I’ve never submitted any of my art anywhere – just no interest – but she was persistent so I did – and one of my journal pages was selected for publishing in the upcoming book, Art Journal Kickstarters.  I think I have shown the page on this blog once before; not sure, but anyway, here it is.

And Finally…

Seven years ago we buried my dad, with a military funeral, a Marine Corps honor guard, taps and a 7-gun salute.  It was beautiful, a fitting tribute to a man who devoted much of his life to both the military and his family. I miss him every day.  On this Memorial Day weekend, I am grateful to every Veteran who answered the call of duty, and especially to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  You are not forgotten.