Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Post of 2010

Still a work in progress....but getting there....


Putting Christmas Away

Since I go back to work on Monday and don't want to spend the weekend cleaning after the holidays, I got it done today.  Besides, I've often heard (perhaps an old wives tale) that it's bad luck to have your tree up on New Year's gives me an incentive anyway.... I was putting away the santas on my mantle and had to share....  In the photo below is my grandmother's baby cup ( my mother's mother) and her name was guessed it....yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  And the sign the Santa is holding is what I wish for the planet...  PEACE....will it ever happen?

Last Treat of 2010...

I decided to treat myself this I made popovers.  If you've never had a die for.  Eat while it's hot and the butter melts and add some great preserves.  A little bowl of berries and a cup of was divine.  Enjoyed while looking out the window at my bird feeder....
If you didn't have a nice breakfast this morning....tomorrow is the beginning of a brand new year....start anew.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

...and the WORD is.....MUSE

I started an altered book yesterday and it's going to be all about "words".  The book will serve two purposes....I will include pages that feature a single word that interests will also serve as a book that stores all of the little phrases and words that I cut out of magazines and catalogues that I use in doing collage.  The picture above is a page on the left side of my book featuring the word...MUSE.  Love the word.  And I just happened to have this wonderful tissue paper from the Metropolitan Museum of Art....and find "muse" in Museum....I love it when things come together like this.  Here's  the next photo...
 I created the left side page before I did this right hand page.  This page contains a pocket.  The background of the pocket is a piece of black & white scrapbooking paper.  I used that same paper in the first photo...inside the cd sleeve which makes a wonderful window.  I added metal letters that spell out "muse".  The pocket contains a plastic sleeve into which I placed words and phrases that I will use in other collage work.  So...not only educational but useful storage as well!  I can add and substract words from the envelope.  And I can see them....
Here are both pages together...I hope you are...amused!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Greetings of the Season

I haven't written a single Christmas card this this is my greeting!  Actually, it would be nice if I painted this scene instead of uploading a photo...maybe next year.  My packages are wrapped, some family arrives today...I need to vacuum and dust and make a pot of soup.  I don't need to leave my house today...thank goodness!  In's a "gridlock alert" day! What does that tell you....can't we turn back the clock and just simplify the season a bit and remember what we're really celebrating here?  Retailers rush us from one holiday to the could actually find your Valentine a gift today...I've already seen them in the stores.  I'm just going to "tune out" all of this commercial stuff and enjoy my family, good food and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This and That

The Art Cabinet

Painting this is not without it's challenges, but you can sort of see the direction I am going with this....still have lots to do.
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Work In Progress

I've been wanting a cabinet that I could "put my own stamp" on ever since I converted my den to my art space.  Previously, I had a large cabinet in the corner where this one is ....but it was designed for a TV.  It outlived its purpose in this room.  So....I wandered into a home interior consignment shop last Saturday....and there was this cabinet.  I definitely wanted one that had glass on top and drawers and storage underneath for my art supplies.  This is an old, tired cabinet that needs some TLC ( it may not look that way in the photo).  And I am going to definitely change it from the traditional piece that it is.  Paint is a wonderful thing! 
So, today I sanded off the old varnish and put a coat of primer on it.  
I had a great chat with my local hardware store about what I want to do, looked at some colors and discussed glazes.  I can't wait to get to the fun part! 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Come Sit Awhile....

I had fun doing this little vignette.  I put a color wash on the paper and then I added the napkin which is the wall in this picture.   I love the texture that the napkin adds.  I then painted the carpeting in.  If you look closely, you can see the subtle pattern in the rug that is the same design that appears on the back of the chair.  On a separate piece of watercolor paper, I painted the chair which I then cut out and glued to the picture.  Ta da.  Fun.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Like a Tree....

I was taking a picture of a tree in my neighbors yard and as I was walking back to my yard, I was fascinated by the shadows...and here is how I saw myself. This photo turned out to be more interesting than the tree.
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Monday, November 8, 2010

La Dolce Vita

A friend of mine recently took a wonderful trip to Florence and other parts of Italy.  And she brought me a lovely gift.  So I sat down last night to write her a thank you note....but I ended up creating this oversized postcard instead.   The paisley paper on the upper left side is from the bag my gift came in; also the little oval sticker Venezia and the word "ilDoge" and the man in the upper right hand corner.  I could feel a "little bit of Italy" myself while creating this picture for her....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Process

I've been making a hand made book.  I find it a tedious process because....I am not a mathemetician, I have little patience for detail and I just want to "do it"...I don't really enjoy the learning curve part of it.  That's true of everything I attempt....when I was younger, I didn't want to be on a tennis court learning the game....I just wanted to get out there and play....and not look inept.'s my first book attempt.  It's made with signatures sewn together and the cover was made using a roofing paper that I gesso'd, added texture to, and then used crayons for the color that, after I applied them, I used a lot of elbow grease to blend together.    Then I sanded it.   It has 16 pages (32)The cover actually feels neat...has nice texture to it which isn't visible in this photo.   It's not perfect, but I guess it's good for starters. 
This is the inside front cover....

Now....what's going to go inside? 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

This House Haunts Me....

...and it has nothing to do with Halloween.  I know this house must have quite a story.  It's in a nearby town and whenever there is some holiday or celebration....they put up appropriate decorations whether it's "flag" decorations for Memorial Day or, in this case, Halloween.  There's an autumn wreath in the picture window and something orange hanging inside the front door which you can't see.  They have  potted Mums on the steps.  There is a Halloween banner (flag) that's not quite visible as well.  You can see lots of wear and tear...moss on the roof, a sagging side porch.  And, that's possibly a satellite dish on the front porch.  What's its story?  It looks sad...but I hope there are some happy memories there.  But I have to say....if I were trick or treating...I might just walk on by....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Having fun with the Red, White & Blue

When I first started the Red, White & Blue journal, I was only going to work on the right side of the book and just put a wash of color on the left side pages.  But ideas have come to me and now I have done work on the "opposite pages" so I will share/update you, below:
 See how they look together....
 I did the "Jaws" page earlier in the summer...and when I looked at it the other day, I realized I had this cute polka dot piece....that relates so well to the drawing of the her polka dot piece.  I found some great things to add...a movie receipt from "Easy Virtue", the Drop Dead Gorgeous...and I especially like the line going up the left side..."Everyone else brought wine"...that's why doing collage is so much fun.  The pages just work so well together.

And I added a page opposite Tom at Bethany Beach...
 And I added some more embellishments to my "Vette" page....
 It's back to work tomorrow, so I won't have this luxury of time...but I've certainly been enjoying myself.  I would venture to say that I have altered every page I've already posted...because you're never really finished with a can always use that more thing....

Friday, October 22, 2010

October is....

The Woods behind my house
The garden shed in the sunlight

A woodpile waiting  for a cold day

A black cat

 Lots of pumpkins.... 

And my cutie pie, c. 1989

Thursday, October 21, 2010


  I think this is my favorite month of the year.  This week I've taken some R & R and my sister and brother-in-law were here for a visit.  Dianne & I have been to an outdoor flea market, traveled the back roads for a yummy breakfast, visited two art friends in a town north of my home and spent some quality time together.  We've had a fun time! Below is a page I did this week in my Red, White & Blue journal.  My friend, Janet, who we visited this week....has created the most beautiful, fascinating, interesting array of handmade .....I came home from our visit, inspired.   
I collaged some newspaper pieces underneath the tags that I made, that are attached with buttons.  Now, being true to my American flag which I hope to have on every page, large or small....if you move the tags aside....

 ....there is a photo of the flag on the front page of our local newspaper.  This art work appears opposite the fish picture I did that is "Fish Wrapped In Yesterday's News".....which appears elsewhere on this blog.  Here is how they look together...
I think I'm done with fish now for awhile.  And I don't even like to fish!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's All About The Light

I hate it when I have something I really want to write about....and I don't have the time.  And now it's days later and I'm not sure I can capture and share the thought as well as I could when it was fresh.  I've been reading a really interesting book by Barbara Brown Taylor called "An Altar in the World."  She is really a marvelous writer and I have so many tabs in this book that I want to go back and reread!  

But as a person who is interested in art and in "fine-tuning" my spirit, "the" light is very important....thus the photo above that I took a few months ago.
Here is a snippet from her book that I love...

"Once, when I was confined to bed for the better part of a week, I spent hours watching the sunlight that came through the slats of my wooden blinds move down the white wall of my bedroom.  First thing in the morning it made honey-colored rectangles with soft edges.  By 10am the wall was striped with bands of light as straight as rulers.  By noon they looked more like the rungs of a ladder, dappled with leaves from the winged elm outside my window.  By 2pm they had lost most of their character, as the sun moved over the roof of the house and left the front yard in deepening shadow."

She goes on to say....

"This may sound boring to you, but it was not.  It was beautiful.  It gave me a place outside myself to go.  I did not have to do anything to make the light change.  It had a routine it followed all by itself whether I was awake to watch it or not.  If I did not like the way the light looked at a given moment, I knew it would change.  If I loved the way the light looked at a given moment, I knew it would change.  I could not speed it up and I could not slow it down.  
Not to put too fine a point on it, the light was my life and I knew it.  Paying attention to it, I lost my will to control it.  Watching it, I became patient.  Letting it be, I became well." 

I couldn't condense what she wrote above and still capture the essence of what she was saying.  It's quite beautiful.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Leaves of Blue

It's nice to have different projects going and every now and then, it's back to the Red, White & Blue journal.  I wanted to do a page that had something to do with fall....I considered doing a tree that had zentangles (that's on the back burner now) but after I gessoe'd this page, I ended up putting a blue wash on it.  I still didn't really know what I was going to do, but keeping in mind that this is the red, white & blue wasn't going to be autumn colors.  So I then took this new rubber stamp that I have of an oak leaf and I used blue ink and stamped all over the page.  Now what?   I had to get some red I took a red watercolor pencil and started going around the leaves negative space.  That was working so I took my paintbrush and started moving the red around a bit.  When that was dry....I took a white ink pen and drew the tree.  Then I had some of this red and white paper leftover from an envelope that I received....added that, (actually, the design of the paper reminds me a little bit of the way the curves of the leaves are...) and, of course, our flag in the corner.  The final touch was a little bit of charcoal shadow around parts of the tree that I then rubbed in.  C'est fini.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Having fun creating The Dog House today.  It includes my late Golden Retriever, Max,  (I put an angel by his photo) and my current side-kick, Boomer.  I took a couple of the metal tags off of Max's collar which I had saved. Behind Boomer's head in the center, I wrote the names of all of the dogs I grew up with.  I struggle a little bit with collage/mixed media because I'm not entirely sure where you cross the line and it looks like...scrapbooking.  I am not a scrapbooker.  At any rate....another "house" for my House's coming along...

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Having a little fun tonight with this latest house.  I put a colorwash on the whole house to start.  Then I added the bits of music.  The tree was next.  The thing I like about this kind of art is that it is so random. I started with the thought of  doing something that suggested...fall.  I had this little stone house in my stash of pictures I have cut out of magazines and where the window was in the door, I cut it open and added a face, also from a magazine.  Crows and blackbirds kind of fascinate me... I just added a little bit of humor to the piece....would you open your door to this crow???
(the house is sitting on a piece of sheet music for the photo)

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Stash

I took the morning off from work today to catch the annual consignment sale at The Great American Stamp Store in a nearby town... you can't beat the deals.  Some might say I have enough rubber stamps.... but there is so much you can do with rubber stamps! And, I was keeping my sister in mind as I think she'll like some of these too.  I tried to take a picture of my cache....I only spent $50 dollars...I didn't quite get them all in the picture. In addition, I have a whole bag of stamps my neighbor gave me....she's making room in her creative room....for creating quilts and other fabric items. 
OK, Di...we have lots to work with!  Looking forward to your visit!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Discarded Treasure

This is a tiny little book...only 3" x 4" and I found it at our local book fair.  And I'm sure you're wondering what is so spectacular about this book.  It was published by a company called Papier-Mache Press.  Of course, I love the title.  And inside the book, it was inscribed, "In the night, I am reading these to you."  So, I believe this was from a wife to her husband.  It is a collection of poems by different people with titles like, "To the Husband Who stands at the Sink, Intent on Shaving," and "For an Anniversary," "Front Porch Partners."  There are lovely, sepia tone photographs in the book. question did this special little book end up in a book fair?  Based on the inscription in the book...had the wife purchased this book after her husband had passed?  What is the story.  I only know, that if it had belonged to my grandmother or aunt or mother....I would have found a special place for it, tucked away safely in a drawer....but now it's my treasure and it is safe.

The Book Fair

Last weekend was the annual book fair at our local library.  It's a large affair...people come from all over to find the great deals/treasures.  I went, not actually looking for books to read as I already have many unread books waiting on my nightstand...but rather to look for interesting things to use in collage and mixed media art.  I am never disappointed and the price is right.  

As you have seen on many of my posts, I've been doing fun little houses.  I love looking at houses, seeing how people live both in the US and abroad (House Hunters Int'l on HGTV...interesting!)  I love to see how they decorate them, what they collect....what the inside...and outside too, tells about the inhabitants.  

I've been going to an altered book class once a month to learn techniques, and while I was at the book fair, I found the book I want to be my first official, altered book. And it is....

I will read the book before I alter it...I would feel guilty if I didn' couldn't be more perfect for me...A Painted House.  You might think that all of the little individual houses I am doing would satisfy....but not.  There are just too many interesting things about houses!  The architecture, the period, the style, the colors, the setting, ghosts (?), what's in the attic....  Just this little bit of the house you see in the cover photo interests me.  I'm not ready to dive in yet...after all, I still have to read the book and I haven't even read the notes yet to see what it is about.   But I can't wait.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My "House"

I'll start with the finished product...(are they ever really finished?)  It has lots of color!  Originally I was going to put the hand coming up from the bottom of the page, but ended up liking it on the left of the picture.  There is a lot of metallic gold in the picture, but that's hard to tell in this photograph.  There is a photo of me with Tom tucked in on the left and the top window is a photo from my house, printed on vellum.   The heart on the right is made of rusty metal....maybe that is my heart...hmm...

 First came the sanding stage....

Here is the work in progress...I should have taken this in natural light so you could see the real wasn't blue!  But you can see the music and you can see the molding paste and there are some collage elements showing through after I sanded it.

And here are the pieces waiting to be assembled.  I had added some color to the house.  You can see I work messy...and in the middle of doing all of this, I dropped a container that had so many pieces of ephemera...buttons, letters, rhinestones, brads....I haven't recovered all of them yet.  One thing for sure, I'm not afraid of color.  And I never have enough room to put everything I want into the picture.  This was definitely fun.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ebb and Flo

I've been thinking on and off all day, the ideas coming and going,  about what my next art project is going to be....and when you're waiting for that inspiration....what do you clean and reorganize your creative space...which I spent time doing today.  So I want to do the next house in my "house series" and the above picture is part of it.  I like doing hands in art.  While your brain may come up with the's your hand(s) that execute it.  
So, these are some of the pieces that I hope will come together when all is said and done.  The "house" is waiting to dry...I glued various things to the paper and then I covered it with a molding paste.  Tomorrow I will sand it and add the next layer.  I hope this will all work out with the vision in my head.   I had great fun doing the hand with my watercolor pencils.  Stay tuned....
...a better look at the hand...while I was doing this...I could hear lots of fireworks going off celebrating today, Labor Day.  This is a day when hands are supposed!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back to the Red, White & Blue

I haven't done a painting in my Red, White & Blue journal since the "vette", so felt it was time.  I've been focused on collage work but I don't want to forget my painting because that's what I really like to here is a portion of a cabinet in my house ( I know it's crooked...but art isn't perfect!) And the American flag does actually hang down over it.  The cabinet is filled with all kinds of things that I love...china, silver, a small white demitasse cup that says "peace" on it, the book Amazing Peace, by Maya Angelou given to me by my friend, Nancy; the ruby red glassware plates/glasses, that belonged to my grandmother that I never knew....and maybe her mother but I don't know that for sure and no one is around to ask anymore....they are all "just things", but they have a story and that's what makes them special...even if they rarely come out....I walk by them several times a day.  
It's a peaceful Friday night at my house....loving it.