Friday, January 30, 2009


ABAA's challenge today is "Something to Crow About." Anything that involves crows. Personally, I hate crows. They eat baby songbirds in the spring and I can hear the little bird parents raising quite a ruckus and fighting the good fight against those mean old crows. Where I live, they're as big as chickens. Maybe the only good thing about crows is that they clean up the trash. I often see them gathered around somebody's gross out McDonald's litter thrown out of their car (PET PEEVE) .... and the crows do a pretty good job of cleaning it up. They're good for something I guess.

There are several old counting rhymes about crows. I picked this one:

One for sorrow, Two for mirth
Three is marriage and Four is birth
Five crows for laughter and Six for crying
Seven sickness, Eight dying
Nine for silver, Ten crows for gold
And Eleven a secret never to be told

And because they are such good trash collectors, I've used cereal box cardboard for this piece. The top layer is the cereal box sanded with rough sandpaper and fine sandpaper and then inked well with 3 colors. I wrote the rhyme in sharpie and then cut out my crow with an x-acto knife. The behind layer is also cereal box and is painted with black acrylic paint and scribbled while wet to reveal some of the underneath colors. The 2 layers have been glued together and then coated with beeswax which gives it a really great shine and really makes the colors pop. The finished size is about 8X11 inches. Thank for looking!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Simple Gifts

I enjoyed a special date with my dear old Dad today. After a simple lunch of clam chowder and his darling wife's special homemade Sauerbraten, we went to his local art supply store. Any time I go anywhere with my Dad, they all know him by name. It's really fun to watch him bring sunshine with him as he just walks through the door of a place. He's funny too. The sales lady knows him as Rich - her name is June - but he calls her Junebug - and then he said, "Junebug, today my name is Jose. Jose Jose." What a nut. 

Anyway, he said to me, "What do you want? You can have anything at all." Of course I "needed" beeswax and "wanted" paper - and he got me both. Simple gifts and a lovely lovely time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tea on Tuesday - a twist

I'm breaking my rule and incorporating a challenge with my tea today. I originally wanted Tea on Tuesday to be all about the simple things in life - like favorite books, doing puzzles, thoughts, basically nothing that is "type A."  But there is a very simple idea out there with an art challenge attached that I found over on Ooglebloop's World.  A couple of days ago she linked back to The Altered Page (Seth) and a project he's working on and opened up to anyone who wants to try it. It's called "Disintegration."

Now comes the "simple thoughts" part of Tea on Tuesday. I've been really mulling over something that I'm totally sick of in my life. Has anyone ever given you the silent treatment? Have you ever given it out? For me, the very first time I encountered it I was in 3rd grade. There were 2 neighbor girls I had taken up playing with after school. They were my age, but went to a different school. After several weeks of playing together very happily, they asked me what religion I was. I wasn't sure what they meant my that. So they said, "Are you a Protestant or a Catholic?" I had no idea what a Protestant was - and I knew that I was a Catholic - so I said so. They said, "Well we can't play with you anymore." And from then on they completely ignored me as if I were invisible. That is the silent treatment. You have no idea what you did wrong. You have no voice either. You no longer exist. It hurts like hell.

Since then, I've had it happen to me again and again .... as well as train me up in how do dish it out. I am currently on the receiving end of it again. Over the summer I read the book "Odd Girl Out" because my pre-teen daughter has been encountering the silent treatment. Reading that book, I believe, has set me on the road to seeing it for what it is ... and facing it ... and dealing with it internally. Because, you see, there is nothing you can do externally to fix it. You can concede the unknown offense and get in somebody's good graces again - maybe - but it WILL happen again. (Here's a very well written article about the silent treatment, if you'd like to read more.)

This is where the "Disintegration" project comes into play. Art is silent - but also has a very loud voice. This piece is me - shouting. Shouting back at the silence. It's interesting that disintegration means what is does.  Disintegration: to become reduced to components, fragments or particles. Integrate, on the other hand, means: to make a whole by bringing parts together. Disintegration is when it all blows apart.

I have assembled the pages of Alice in Wonderland and nailed them to an old board. I have wired a treasured teacup from a long lost friend to the other end of the board. The teacup is filled with a special potpourri made by Dominicans in Florence Italy. It is called Santa Maria Novella and is an ancient recipe of herbs and flowers. I have tied lace over the opposing elements. The lace is very old and is also from another long lost friend. I have set my assemblage on my favorite place to sit in the summer time for my morning cuppa. I can see it from my kitchen window. I now leave it out in the long silence of winter - to be treated silently to a slow disintegration. While I remain hurting but whole - and shouting back.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Altered Canvas

Rose Collection

One is just one, two is a couple, three is a few ... and four must be a collection. My dear husband (an urban farmer at heart) has well over 60 roses. Not a collection anymore - maybe an obsession? Obsession or not - it gives us (and the whole neighborhood) joy. Early morning is the best time to take in their fragrance - it's the cool damp morning air that brings it out.

This piece is for Linda and Rosie's challenge at ABAA. Rosie's examples are stunning and I took great inspiration from her use of lace and old fashioned label holders.

Here's the process: I spray painted back side of a stretched 6X6 canvas with silver spray paint; adhered vintage lace to wood parts; attached small bouquet of ceramic roses with a large decorative brad; attached label holder; added aluminum tacks and washers for decoration; strung stamped pennant flags on string and wrapped the ends around the tacks. There is a picture hanger on the back for hanging it on the wall, but because of the depth of the canvas, it can also stand up by itself.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

2X4 ... Snow!


Theme Thursday's challenge this week is to try out a new size. 2X4's ..... I think it's a great proportion. I really love the elongated shaped as a change from the atc size which is more boxy.

I made this piece using a Christmas card from a friend ... inside the card, she mentioned that the image was so cute and was just begging to be made into something fun. I roughed it up a little bit with fine grade sandpaper. Stamped "snow!" Adhered vintage silver tinsel and added black photo corners. Oh - and also an old button.

Thanks for looking - your comments are always appreciated :)


Friendship Windows

I discovered a new challenge: "One Powerful Hour." The idea being that using their prompt, you create something in one hour. Today's prompt is "windows." I literally did this in one hour. Starting at 9:10 and ending at 10:10. It was a fun challenge because I kept adding stuff and doing stuff until my hour was up. I think the only thing I'll add to this will be a wire hanger.

My windows are actually charms with the loopy thing broken off with pliers. The door is made from a scrap of an aluminum pie tin. The roof is handmade paper I made over the summer. The rooster is from a children's book. The faces are stickers. The ric-rac is velveteen.

I put a number 2 on the door because the little girls are "2" friends. The door itself is gold because "old" friends are "gold" friends, and though they are young, their friendship is not only for today (aujourd'hui) but also for many years to come ..... 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tea on Tuesday

I watched the Inaugural with my dog. We thoroughly enjoyed it - listening intently to the speech while I sipped my Lemon Lift tea.

The poor doggie kept asking me, "When is he going to say something about giving us more dog parks? How about those crummy leash laws? When is the organic dog food going to taste as good as the doggie junk food? And liberty and justice for all - dogs?"

All kidding aside, there were a couple of things that really stood out for me - The Speech (of course), the song by John Williams, and the benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery .... I loved what the Rev had to say, his speaking style and his sense of fun at the end.

Here are the words to "Simple Gifts" from which John Williams adapted his song ....

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come 'round right.

-Elder Joseph Brackett 1848

Monday, January 19, 2009

Free to Dream

By way of celebrating the life of Dr. King, I made this page in my new art journal. I am inspired to have an art journal by several of my blogging friends (Bluebirds and OddChick mostly). 

In his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, Dr. King refers to "the old negro spiritual: Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty we are Free at Last!" .... these are the words to that song .... which I used as the foundation for this page. I then painted the word Dreams over the words to the song and bordered it with different familiar phrases about dreams and dreaming. I used collage birds and ribbon tying it all together with the color blue. Blue is my favorite color, but a blue ribbon is also the symbol representing child abuse prevention (pink ribbon=breast cancer awareness; red ribbon= AIDS prevention; etc). Children are the biggest dreamers of all .... and all of our dreams really belong to them .... what is your dream?

What the hey is an inchie?

Elizabeth is wondering "What is an inchie and how do I make one?" .... I have been pushing inchies lately haven't I?!?

Here's a link to the second post I ever did on this blog: "What the hey is an inchie?"

And here's the link to all my inchies posts (with bits and pieces of technique thrown in there) ....

Here's a link to a blog that pushes Ellen Hutson stuff (serious shopping is involved here - which I don't support) but this particular post has some good pointers: Ellen Hutson Simple Dreams - the ABC's of inchies

Hope that helps :)

The Golden Orb is back :)

Morning Sun

Blue Sky

I feel like a big whiner .... but I just have to point out the fact that we have sun today for the first time since December 16th .... (happy dance here)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Inchie Goofiness


I'm in an upcoming inchie swap, and one of the categories is "food." I was stumped for an idea, until I came across this cheese stamp. On a one inch square space there was just enough room for a face poking out from under it like the cheesehead hats in Greenbay. I'm a "reformed" cheesehead myself (cheese is fattening - boo hoo!) .... but in the small world of inchies I can wear it on my head and still look stylish :)

How to's: Stamped cheese, doodled face ... go make an inchie my friend!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I've been feeling quite apathetic this week .... just going about my day doing the bare minimum ... so poor bloggie isn't getting much attention. 

This really picked me up though .... check out Jean's (Bluebirds) blog and this sooooo cute YouTube video of a funky Thai commercial for tea. She told me that January is National Hot Tea month. I think I'll go have some right now .... and then my Mum is coming over and we'll be knitting for a bit before she has to go off to her hair appointment. That's the low down here - not much in the art realm - but that's ok too.

Have a sweet sweet day :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Inchie Therapy

Inchie Supply Box

Inchie Supplies

Inchie Therapy 

..... You're looking at what sometimes helps me get through a grey day in the Pacific Northwest. That, and knitting, and reading with kids that need help in school. You just gotta fight those blahs - sometimes just an inch at a time, a stitch at a time or a word at a time.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Linda and Rosie's Art Adventure challenge this week is such a great idea! It's to choose a word for the upcoming year and make it into a sign. They're calling it: "Give Me a Sign!"  For my sign, I thought of the word "today." Sometimes I forget that's all I've got :) .... I waste a lot of time and energy worrying or just thinking too much about "tomorrow," and fretting, regretting or missing "yesterday." Today is a gift and I want to treasure it. This sign will be a small reminder to me - a signpost.

I used gold foil to make this. After my embossing work, I rubbed green acrylic paint over it. When the paint was dry, I gently rubbed it with a cloth to reveal the raised parts of the metal. It gives it a sort of faux copper patina. The text is stamped on the silver reverse side of a scrap of the gold (with Staz-on ink) and I curled the ends into a tube to show the gold side. I ran wire through the curl and that's how I attached the silver text scrap to the main piece. The wire runs through the curl and into pierced holes and folds over in the back.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Local Floodwaters

This is about 12 blocks from us ....

Jean asked me if my guardian angel was keeping us safe .... there is a lot of flooding in my river town ... but we are high and dry. I can't say as much for a lot of the people in my community though. Several classmates of my children have had to leave their flooded homes and then - who knows what .....

My Own Guardian Angel

Go here so see him in all his splendor!
(He's beautiful Peggy!)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Subtle Gesso

Here is an atc showing the "before gesso" and "after gesso" (and other stuff). The original image was too bright for what I wanted. To tone it down, I applied a light coat of gesso which I then sanded lightly after it was dried. I adhered german foil trim on the left side (which I also sanded lightly). I stamped the text with Staz-on ink. Then, after masking off the text box, I used a glue stick to apply a small bit of adhesive around it's edges - which I next dusted with gold pearl powder. I drew rough lines with gel pens (gold and white) to further define the edges of the text box.

This is for a swap later on this month, but it also goes with today's challenge on Wednesday Stamper - "Gesso".

I especially love the text. It came as part of a larger set of mostly unmemorable stamps - except for this particular one which really speaks to me:

In the depth of winter
I finally learned that within me
there lay an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tea on Tuesday

Tea and Happy Mail!

You will have to imagine my palm tree tea mug today :) It is filled with a surprising brew from Oddchick. Chocolate Mint Strawberry tea. The aroma is delicious like candy or a really special birthday cake - but the flavor is bracing and invigorating. It's a wonderful combination to have such a sweet and delicious fragrance linked up with a very "black tea" kind of taste. Personally, I can't stand sweet drinks like "white chocolate peppermint mocha" or "caramel and toasted marshmallow latte" - eeeeew! I'll take this tea instead, and fully satisfy my sense of smell and my sense of taste with seemingly conflicting sensations .....

Oddchick sent me a surprising abundance of teas, treats from her Chapped Chick Online Shop and pieces of her amazing art. Why? Just because. The best part about friendship is the "just because" stuff. 

Tea on Tuesday is also "just because." Why does every post have to have a purpose, meet a challenge or show a new technique? If you stopped by today, it was "just because." Thanks, friend, for stopping by :)

OddChick's beautiful art  - moos, atc's and "chickchat" 
(click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Charming Keys

Laddie Charm

Lassie Charm

The Awfully Big Art Adventure theme this week is "absolutely charming."  I love to use cast-off keys for charms and dangly bits. For these: I first stained the metal with alcohol inks, then adhered vintage german collage elements, spruced them up with a little extra vintage glitter, then used twisted and twirled up wire with beads to make them into dangly things. I have a window that has odd things hanging to catch the light - I think I'll hang them there.