Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bracelets and Brooches

I went to a fun jewelry class a few days ago taught by my friend Eileen and our Stampin’ Up team leader Heidi.

Heidi showed us how to make fabric brooches, and I’ve been wearing mine every day since. Eileen is my creative guru (as those of you who regularly read this blog may know). She’s always up on all the newest things, and this month she taught us how to make bracelets embellished with grungepaper roses, ala Wendy Vecchi’s tutorial. Eileen was really polite when I asked if I could put 3 roses on my bracelet instead of the one that was originally intended. She didn’t even tell me she thought I might have questionable taste.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Soul Journaling Dreaming Prompt

Sarah Whitmire challenged our Soul Journaling yahoo group to think about her prompt "I'm afraid that if I start dreaming I will" and Shel Silverstein's "If" poem to inspire an art journal entry. It was a perfect opportunity for me to work in an altered book I've started with a theme of doors.

Following our dreams is like opening a door to an unknown place. We don't know what will happen when we do it, so it can seem easier to stay on the safe side of the door -- the place where we know what to expect. Sometimes we wait until someone else goes through a door first to see how they do, and then we follow -- just to be on the "safe" side. But then we aren't following the door to our dreams; we're following someone else's.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Accident of Birth

In my art journaling group today we were discussing the phrase "accident of birth" and whether it is part of a bigger plan, fate, or just some random accident.

I've heard people say that we choose our journey before we arrive here on earth. I've seen no evidence of that, and I can't for the life of me imagine why one person would want to choose poverty and hardship while another would choose wealth and ease, particularly since one can learn life's virtues from either of those conditions. (Being morally bankrupt, for example, is not limited to the rich or the poor.) What I've noticed is that humans make decisions throughout their lives that are constantly affecting their own course of events. For better or worse, they are consistently writing their own script. (Assuming they are healthy enough to make decisions for themselves.) I believe we often blame fate for things that are more likely the result of previous choices. My conclusion has been that life absolutely is a roll of the dice; but also, that it doesn't so much matter why we were born into the circumstances we were, but much more important, that the choices we make once we get here are responsible for our fate of the moment. What do you think?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

30 Days Creating-9/17-Vines and Character

Today in one of my art groups, a fellow artist posted an interesting art journal page about an overgrown vine. The story behind it was so interesting - it is worth your time to read.

I made the mistake of planting an ornamental hops vine in my shade garden. By the second year it had completely taken over and started crowding out all the other plants. So I knew it had to go. Then I made another mistake and treated it like any other plant when I cut it up and removed it. (No gloves and was wearing sleeveless shirt due to the summer heat) Subsequent research told me the reason I had all the rash on my hands and arms was because the little hairlike things all over the vine that it uses to hang onto surfaces with are actually little hooked barbs that stick in your skin and that just touching the thing also brings rash to just about anyone, not just people who are allergic to weeds.

Here is the part that interested me most:

I have trouble with plants, a lot of them die on me. But I love plants, even that damed thing, so I took pity on it and didn't kill it. But I did hack it up to within 2 feet of the roots. Then I felt almost sorry for it and planted what was left out in the sun by an old rusty laundry line pole which is no longer used. I did water it a couple times to, also cuz I felt sorry for it; but at the same time I was still mad at it. So I put it somewhere where I figured if it could survive there, then it deserved to stay alive. After about a month and a half, it has now started to regrow itself and has climbed up the pole about 4 feet with a few branches - so I figure it still wants to live. I think it has a better home there then it did in my shade garden and maybe the birds that use the birdhouse on that pole won't mind it crawling all over their house next year when they come back to nest. We'll see.

Such a sweet soul. It seems to me that it takes a very special person to feel sorry for something that almost anyone else would consider a weed -- and especially one that caused them to break out in a horrid rash. I remember my daughter used to feel sorry for the different cups in our cabinet if she didn't use them all regularly -- why should the blue and pink become the favorites when the gray and green were just as good though not as attractive? So she'd try to use them all alternately.

I think it shows a certain admirable quality of the soul to consider others even when (or perhaps especially when) they won't ever know they are being considered.

George Eliot said that "Character is what we do when we think no one is looking."

I believe that wholeheartedly.

I had fun creating this digital collage with viney brushes. That's my creative for Sept. 17!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

30 Days Creative - Sept. 16 - Retro Collage

I thought I had posted this digital collage with an earlier post and just realize it never made it into the post. Fortuitous. Now I have today's 30-day creative. :-)

I've been having lots of fun with Photoshop lately

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I want to remember...Summer 2009

I got to many of the things on my list this summer...and a few that weren't on my list. Sweet, sweet memories...

Friday, September 11, 2009

30 Days of Creating September 11

I used a distressed paint-over technique with acrylics and gesso on canvas board to create this. I'm not sure if she's done or if there will be other collage layers (should I ask her?) but for now she's resting. The tutorial for this technique is the first one I posted at On The Wing.

What should I put under her hand? A stack of books? A bouncing ball? A shrunken head? hmmmmm.......

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Digital Collage for 30-Day Creative and About Me

My pal Brandie at Live, Laugh, Love tagged me on this and now I'm tagging you. Go with it if you like. Oh, and I'm including a digital collage I made tonight for our 30-day creative. Fun!

Available or married? Married

Best Friend? Oh how tres elementary school! My best friend in elementary school was Ellen Hess, and she is my dear friend still.

Cake or Pie? The chocolate cake with nuts my mama made. Absolutely.

Drink of choice? Skyy vodka with tonic and a big squeeze of lime. Caribou or Nantucket coffee from my Keurig-cup pot.

Essential item for every day use? My MacBook Air and cellphone. I’m addicted, and I blame Lou.

Favorite colors? Lavender, blue and green.

Do you Google? Absolutely. And I Google translate. Often.

Hometown? Oh I don’t know anymore. Somewhere between New Jersey and New York. I suppose that would be the Hudson River.

Indulgences? Clothing, art supplies and books, in that order.

January or February? February, without a doubt.

Kids and their names? The first absolute loves of my life, Ben and Allison.

Life is incomplete without...? family, friends, and laughter

Marriage date? June 28, 2004

Number of siblings? Four, and I’m the baby.

Oranges or apples? Clementine oranges.

Phobias and fears? heights. brrrr.

Quote for the day? Elie’s words: “If God had a refrigerator, I’d be giving Him my drawings to hang on the front of it all the time.”

Reason to smile? Pets and children do it every time.

Season? Fall. woodsmoke and crisp leaves, frost and apples pies.

Tag 3 people to complete this on their blogs? Anyone who wants to play.

Unknown fact about me? I don't know the story of Alice in Wonderland (are you absolutely shocked?)

Vegetable you hate? I can't think of any.

Worst habit? Would anyone honestly tell their worst habit publicly? Let's see...I'm too generous with my friends. LOL. There ya go.

X-Rays you've had? Neck, skull, teeth, jaw, foot, back (I was thrown from a horse)

Your fave food? pasta

Zodiac sign? Libra – I’m either terribly well-balanced or so neurotic I can’t make up my mind. Your choice

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

30 Days of Creating September 8-Jewelry

I went to a class the other night given by my friend Eileen (my creative guru friend) and Heidi (our Stampin Up team leader) and made these incredible pendants. Aren't they swell? Yes, I love to say swell, so be quiet. Some of them are made from findings from the Tim Holtz collection. I know Eileen is a fan of Tim's site. I'm not sure if they are all from there, though. Anyway, I had a lot of fun making them. I wanted a butterfly in the pendant top left for my On The Wing site, so Heidi was a dear and went on a search mission through her endless supply of scrapping paper and found a piece with all sorts and shapes of butterflies to choose from. I love the mystery of the lady top right only showing her right eye, and the woman on the lower left has a crackle finish on that piece -- made it interesting, I thought. The piece on the bottom right can be a pin or can have a ribbon or chain strung through to be a pendant. They were all SO fun and easy to make that I want to learn more.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More thoughts on The Help (no spoilers)

In I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou wrote, "The fact that the adult American Negro female emerges a formidable character is often met with amazement, distaste and even belligerence. It is seldom accepted as an inevitable outcome of the struggle won by survivors, and deserves respect if not enthusiastic acceptance."

Has our world changed so completely, then, in the 40 years since Maya Angelou published those words in 1969?

Nearly forty years later, The Help has been written by a white southern woman, nurtured in childhood by a loving and beloved black maid, honoring the formidable African American women who raised the white children of the south as if they were their own. We do not view this with amazement, distaste or belligerence. We regard these women with respect and honor.

I've been thinking tonight about the women who came before me, women of all color, and I am especially grateful for their efforts. They may have acted out of an instinct for personal survival, but their bravery has given rise to great benefit for each of us.