Sunday, February 27, 2011

Into the Wild - a mixed media fantasy

The painting/collage is finished
All the while that I worked on this piece, I kept thinking
Into the Wild
Where the Wild Things Are
Women Who Run with the Wolves
Do not go gentle into that good night
The Path Less Traveled
Perhaps I have been reading too much fantasy (is that really possible?)
I saw the muted murky forest
and then a path wove itself with gems
Wild creatures hide amongst the flotsam and jetsam,
and grasses and leaves from my yard demanded to join the revels

Have a great Sunday,

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A paint and mist experiment

Yesterday I had a few minutes before I had to go to work and I went into the studio to play a bit - I gessoed this book cover (I often use plain book covers from old hard back books for my canvases - I get them for 25 cents or even free sometimes, there are 2 covers, back and front, and it's a lot cheaper than buying canvases), then sprayed it with 3 different mists - this is what it looked like when I finished spraying and tilting
I thought it looked very ethereal - like mountains in the mist. Unfortunately, when I tried to enhance the differential and make the mountains a bit more clear, I ruined it so I just remisted and left it to dry. When I returned home, it was a totally different canvas with a completely different story - I will post my mixed media piece tomorrow - it is all laid out now (I needed to get some dried grasses and leaves from my yard) but I need to glue it with gel medium.
I came across this wonderful old book yesterday at work - just a dollar - it was calling my name and begging me to alter it so..................

I discovered a brilliant singer Lisa Gerrard through and will try to get one of her cd's at the library this afternoon. She did the incredible music for Gladiator (I didn't know that - we were cruising when it came out and actually didn't see Gladiator until we came back to the US but I loved it) and I love her mysterious lyrical style - words and yet what language? 

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. I am recovering very nicely (but the stitches always look so gruesome - just call me Sally*).

*The Nightmare Before Christmas - one of my favorite movies!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Springtime joy

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
    Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
- Thomas Nashe
Azaleas in my yard - some in bloom and some just ready to pop!

I changed out the decor in my house for spring and St. Patrick's Day - a Belleek vase, a little cream pitcher from a garage sale, and a little green toothpick holder from Kansas City (belonged to my mother). My son gave me the Bud Light necklace (LOL!) He is now part of the 250 club at WOB (World of Beer)!?! 
I changed out the quilts on the walls and took the heavy quilt off the bed - isn't it funny how when you have white walls, they can appear to be tinted depending on what accessories you have. I put blue quilts on the walls in the bedroom and the blue is being reflected onto the walls - this is great in the summer down here - our bedroom feels cool and simple.
What are you doing to get ready for Spring? Oh yes, I know that most of you are still experiencing cold weather and maybe even snow and ice (I did live in KC MO and in Denver for much of my life), but with the sun light being at a different angle, it is beginning to feel like Spring. And oh yes, the birds here are singing their little heads off - other than our mockingbird who sings half the night, it is glorious (and secretly I love the mockingbird too).
Happy days!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Playtime for Hana and me!

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why."
- Eddie Cantor
Say hello to Hana, the ironing board cat! She knows that there is more to life than ironing and that an ironing board can be a cutting board, a planning station, and a nap site.
I have two fabric projects in process on the ironing board right now. I am one of those people who cannot sit down and create - I must be standing up - so the height of the ironing board is perfect for me to stand, cut, arrange, rearrange, sew, paste, and just generally create.
I will be going on a couple of trips in the next few months so I thought I would cut out a new quilt top, package the blocks in baggies, and take them with me to sew. One of my trips involves a long plane ride so I need something to do (of course, I will have a book too) and I love to hand piece quilt blocks. The name of this quilt will be Haute Chocolate, and it will be in shades of browns, caramels, creams, and blacks with perhaps a few hints of muted pinks or muted blues - quilts never end quite as you plan them - they take on their own life and sometimes you end up using fabrics that you never dreamed you would. I should have almost enough in my stash to make the quilt without needing to buy any - but of course, you never know when the perfect piece might just call your name.
Thanks for reading

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A painting and a little art history

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary."
- Pablo Picasso

I came across a wonderful book at the Art Museum Library where I work on Mondays. The book is about Charles Demuth, a talented American painter from the early twentieth century who took the Victorian art of floral watercolor and brought it into the new century by refining and redefining it. His watercolors are concerned with line and with pushing the medium of watercolor in a new direction; they exhibit clarity and precision. His color sense was superb and he used color, black, and white space to define his subjects. I was especially taken by his painting of tiger lilies so I decided to create my version of it.

I am currently rereading the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I began doing morning pages last week and am already seeing a difference in my dreams and my development of ideas. I followed Cameron's way for a few years when I was attending graduate school and doing creative writing but had fallen away. Last week or so, Cynthia on StoryboardC reminded me of this book, and it was an ah-ha moment - now what will I do on my artist's date this week???????
thanks for reading and ttfn

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The good, the bad, and the uncomfortable

"the most potent muse of all is our own inner child" 
-Stephen Nachmanovitch

Well, I was a bad girl - but it is really all good!!!! I stopped by Tuesday Morning on Saturday (that sounds funny, doesn't it) to purchase a pair of kitchen shears as Dan had broken mine while out in the garden cutting rosemary when he was fixing chicken on the grill (he layers rosemary twigs on the grill and oh my is the smell enticing!). I happened upon a treasure trove of goodies and just had to indulge my inner child - 2 fantastic Louisa Harding knitting books, a book on painting houses & gardens in watercolor, some Prima pebbles, and some Prima ribbons and laces - be still my heart - laces oh my! and then I stopped by St Vincent de Paul and found the iris petals and florist wire for 10 cents.

And then I got a call from the used book store where I work - someone had donated a box of old patterns and since we don't sell stuff like that, they thought of me - TREASURE!!! The patterns are from the 50s, 60s, and 70s AND just look a Mary Quant pattern and it is uncut - and the envelope is immaculate.
I am blessed - like a child at Christmas!
This morning I had both skin cancers removed - the doctor decided to cut out the one between my breasts because it had metastasized and had grown a root so now I have 8 stitches - the feeling hasn't returned just yet but I know it will.......
The one on my hand would not even heal from the biopsy but as the cancer was not growing, he froze it - it really burns right now but will be fine in a few days.
I am telling you about my experience so all of you will be watchful of your skin and also get regular skin check ups - I am a prime candidate for skin cancer as I am very fair and had auburn hair when I was younger but anyone can get it - and most of the damage was done when we were children and teenagers playing in and laying out in the sun.
Have a great day - see you tomorrow with a new painting!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Sunday and have you seen this blog?

Hey guys, Hanna here while Chris is doing the laundry - she's been very busy this past week but I know that she wanted to say hi to everyone and recommend a blog that she found
It's really cool and there's a big giveaway on it right now until Tuesday - so check it out!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A practical day

To start with, don't you just love the happy colors of this Prima Picks photo - be sure to check out their blog and see how to win some!!!!!!!!

Today is a beautiful day, 79 degrees and sunny. I have been doing very practical things today - baking bread, making soup(for Friday's dinner)  from the leftover turkey carcass, and making a turkey pot pie for tonight's dinner from the small pieces of leftover turkey and some other good things. I have to say that the 2nd turkey purchased at Thanksgiving has been a real bargain and menu stretcher - a 9 lb bird @ 59cents per pound so basically $5.40 and we have gotten 4 dinners and lots of sandwiches from it. This is really helping the old budget! LOL!

I found a book about Charles Demuth at the Museum library and am really impressed by his paintings of flowers so I am doing a study of his tiger lily painting - will show it in a future posting. Most of my painting friends are taking a workshop with a national teacher today - he does really cool Chinese style flower and animal paintings - he has at least 2 books out on his techniques, one of which is blowing the paint through a straw - really funky!


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Magazines and poetry - such joy!

The newest challenge is up at These are a few of my favorite things blog - what is your favorite magazine? I have to admit that there are several I enjoy but my absolute fav for inspiration is Somerset Studio - so of course, that's what my layout is about. I used some Stampington paper (the publisher of SS), some actual tickets, a funky butterfly that someone gave me long ago, and a typewriter transparency. I would so love to have one of my creations published in a tangible magazine - that's one of my goals this year!
And since I won the Scrapping the Poetry challenge last time, I was GD for the blog this week. Be sure to check it out - the poem is really wonderful! Again I used Stampington paper and some funky old odds and ends. Everything just seemed to work together - I had a lot of fun with this one!

This morning I received good news about my biopsies - the one on my hand is precancer and can be frozen but the one on my chest is basal cell cancer so I go in next week to have it removed - no big deal - I had one where my neck is attached to my body removed about 6 years ago - 21 stitches but he did such a super job that you can hardly see the scar. It's so amazing what they can do today! On the other hand, the cost is a bunch and it will be scary to see how much I will have to pay - so depending on the number, we might be eating a lot of beans! LOL!!!!! I just feel grateful that I can get it taken care of - and that I am so healthy otherwise. DH goes down to the VA hospital in West Palm on Thursday for his 3month bladder cancer exam - he feels great and has had no symptoms at all so he is feeling very positive! 

I am finishing up the laundry this morning and have begun to sketch some lilies to paint this afternoon - and hopefully I can finish up the Prima BAP.  The sun is shining brightly and hopefully it will be warm enough that I can open up the house this afternoon. Dan is working at the golf course today and then we are going out for dinner tonight - yum!

thanks for reading and have a super day! and don't forget to check out the challenges!!!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Right now......

As I have mentioned many times, one of my favorite blogs is so in that vein, I am doing a "right now" post similar to what she occasionally does------

Right now...
I am drinking a lovely cup of tea and feeling grateful that the sun is warming my studio nicely

I am working on the February Prima BAP

I am healing (hand and chest) from skin cancer biopsies taken last Thursday - but won't know the results until next week
I am enjoying the lovely card and box of dark chocolates that DH gave me this morning - I picked some azaleas from our yard for the table. We will be having leftover fancy turkey dinner tonight (yesterday I fixed a turkey (bought on sale at Thanksgiving) and all the goodies to go with it and have lots leftover - LOL)

I am getting ready to go to the Art Museum (I volunteer in the library there on Monday afternoons)

I just finished reading a wonderful book yesterday - The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley - you will need a tissue for this one!
I did some housecleaning while Hana watched me with suspicion and foreboding - she hates the vacuum cleaner!

I am still doing very well with my "not buying it" goal - I have not bought any clothing, books, craft or art items this year so far - I have won a $15 gift card for Michaels and a $10 gift card for Jenni Bowlin but I have decided to hold off using them until the new CHA stuff is available in March.  I figure that I will have to buy some Prima stuff then too so I can continue to do the BAPs - my supplies are getting low.

I am working on a watercolor still life - a vase of flowers, a lemon, and an artichoke

I am altering an old book that I found at the used book store

I wasn't able to do any knitting this weekend because of my hand but will be knitting again this week

I am working on some projects to submit to magazines (a big goal this year).

Well, that's about it - I enjoyed the Grammys last night - listening to old and new favorites, and being introduced to some performers that I hadn't heard before - I am off to search them on the web.

Thanks for reading and have a super Valentine's Day! I'll be back tomorrow with a new TAAFOMFT challenge and my GD layout for Scrapping the Poetry.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Inspired by Pink

Just feeling in the Pink right now - I redid my 7gypsies tray with any and all things pink that I found in the studio - some of the things looks almost white in the photo but they are all pink IRL. The actual inspiration point for the whole thing was seeing that ancient Heidi Swapp stamp in my equipment tray - I haven't used it in a long long time but the words are so appropriate  - each moment, together, you, lifetime, memories, and friendship - you might be seeing these on some layouts and projects in the near future!
Also playing with some fabrics for a wall hanging - not sure yet exactly what.

And playing around with altering a purse for spring. I have a Relic bag that I got at a thrift shop a couple of years ago and I was thinking about creating a canvas and fabric cover for the fabric outer on it - then let the leather trim show at the top - I have pretty well figured out the logistics - now for the design - I like the idea of the strips of fabric coming up from the bottom (like the infamous Fossil bag with the birds on it) but I want to put my own spin on it - not sure yet just what to do, possibly some funky embroidered flowers - hmm........

And making progress with the Shalom cardigan

And reading the coolest book, Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter - it is the coolest mix of literary fantasy with Sam Spade style mystery - just picture Miranda from Shakespeare's The Tempest talking on her Smartphone!

Lots to do - stay warm and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hearts to you

Hearts, flowers, candy, and jewelry - what do these things make you think of?
I have a collection of heart-shaped candy boxes from past years (hopefully I will be receiving another one this year!?) and some heart jewelry that is very special to me. I bought this silver and turquoise pendant at the Jacksonville Museum of Art quite a few years ago, and it's still one of my favorite go-to pieces - it works as well with jeans as with more dressy things.
Hope you are having a great week!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A little afternoon delight - sunshine that is!

I took these photos on Saturday about 5pm - the sun is low in the sky but shines so brilliantly in our front door (wood door was open but screen was closed). The temperature was in the high 70s, very enjoyable. I loved how the sun and shadow played off against each other and how in the top photo, you can see the colored reflection of the bookcase on the tile. In real life, it was actually even more colorful.

Hope you are staying warm,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

some peeks at a Classic and some random thoughts about art and craft

I have been working on a canvas to submit to Somerset Studio for their "Classics" challenge - lots of paint(acrylic and watercolor), paper, fabric, laces, vintage items, and adhesive - the real definition of mixed-media!

I got some fantastic books at the library this week (along with the dvd Inception) - I had asked the library to see if they could get 2 books via interlibrary loan - Alabama Stitch Book and Alabama Studio Style, both by Natalie Chanin - well, the library ended up purchasing them and I am the first person to check them out - so love the patterns and recipes. Chanin's way of deconstructing teeshirts is explained very well and her projects are so intriguing, stylish, and useful.  I have gotten interested in bookbinding (due to Marit's wonderful blog) and got Book+Art and Cover to Cover - I loved Marit's stitching over the tape - and the 2nd book has instructions on how to do that. I am creating a book project to submit to Somerset Studio and am trying out different book art techniques. I also got a wonderful drawing and painting book - Natural History Painting with the Eden Project - the cover has a watercolor feather on it that I so want to learn to paint. The book also has techniques for painting shells and goodness knows, I have a lot of them from when we cruised on our sailboat.

I will be starting a new knitting project - the Shalom cardigan designed by Meghan McFarlane (free pattern on . Amanda Soule on has knitted 2 of these sweaters, and I love the look of them. This cardigan project is very different from the Jane Thornley free-range style of knitting that I have been doing the past year - the pieces that I have knitted are very artsy but I rarely wear them. I have been thinking about why I create - why I craft - and what types of projects give me the greatest pleasure. Sometimes I look at what I have created and say why - what was the point?   I remember this quote from William Morris: "Never have anything in your house that is not useful or beautiful."  The Shalom cardigan is useful and beautiful.

Do you ever think about your art - your craft, and why you do it - what is its purpose? I read Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions (mentioned in an earlier post) and both she and Natalie Chanin (see above) talk about the art and craft that women created in earlier and poorer times. They couldn't afford to go off to a craft store (of course, they didn't exist) and purchase the newest papers, embellishments, fabrics, and yarns - they had to make do with what they had - and they made beautiful quilts and other domestic use items, useful and stylish clothing, and arts and crafts that brightened their homes and lives. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to inherit such treasures are forever reminded of the resourcefulness and artistic urges of our foremothers (our grandfathers were also creative but mostly their efforts took other formats).

And then too, I have been reading several books about sustainability (and some novels about Tibet) and wonder about the sustainability of the craft of scrapbooking - all that paper!

Anyway, just some things to think about - what do you think?

Have a super weekend - I have to work this morning but plan to paint this afternoon. Tomorrow I am going out to the beach for our annual Gardenfest - hopefully to get some herb plants. Then cast on my new sweater (with yarn from my stash). And finally watch the Superbowl - I bought avocados for guacamole and shrimp to boil, French bread, and a big salad - YUM!

Friday, February 4, 2011

An appetizer

Just a quickie post -

Yesterday at my painting group, a friend suggested that we paint artichokes - she had brought the illustration from the front of a package of artichoke dip for us to use as inspiration - you would be amazed at how many different interpretations we painted - next week will be tomatoes.

I was thrilled to win the Scrap The Poetry challenge  with this layout and will be GD for the Feb 15 poem - gotta get busy on that!

Hope you are staying warm and dry - Florida seems to be the only continental state that is warm right now - seeing all those frigid temps and photos of snow on the web reminds me of living in Colorado and Missouri - Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gecko Galz Deadwood papers

this is my February project for Gecko Galz using the fun Deadwood papers - Belle Starr and Cowboy Days - the Wild West Women ephemera, and some of their yarn and ribbon fripperies. I added a few touches of my own - a red plastic spoon, a crocheted flower from a hot pad, a Maya road felt flower, a Making Memories clip, some old feather charm earrings that I had made, feathers, a hand made flower, buttons, and some tiny old metal picture frames. Do you not love the little "Sheriff" pin? I got it at Tuesday Morning in a little Generation T kit for altering teeshirts - you will be seeing more of the pieces of that funky kit on future projects. I originally had thought to make a recipe mini book as Leanne had sent us some chipboard pieces - but as you know, projects sometimes have a way of making themselves into something else, and the whole thing transformed itself into a wall hanging - of course, I had to use the classic Carabba's license plate - Ciao Y'all!  The recipes are ones that I actually use - the Red Chili recipe came from a hippie bar in Telluride, Co, the brownie recipe from a bar of cooking chocolate, and the black bean quesadilla recipe from an old newspaper.

Happy February!