Thursday, March 27, 2008

One day we will fly away

The 4x4 is another I did in the bird swap last year. It was drawn with pencil, watercolor pencil, and also colored in with watercolors on a gessoed book page background.

Also pictured are my little birdies that have since flown from the nest. Emily, my oldest dd, is the one sleeping at about age 2 with a couple of little buddies. Didn't she look so sweet?! I'll have to make sure she sees this post, because somewhere along the way in her life she developed a fear of clowns. Holly, the youngest dd, was evidently very thrilled to receive the talking Big Bird. I love how we caught that expression on her face!

They both married in the same year, 2006, within a few months of each other. They both have wonderful young men for husbands, so we are very thrilled, even though the weddings almost killed me, lol! I don't feel sad about them being gone, rather poignant about how time flies and how it seems trite to say but true, that it just sems like yesterday that we took the pictures shown above. I don't really feel like the empty nest is a bad thing. I look forward to me and my dh having some time to rediscover us as a couple again and take some trips in our RV and just have some fun. Not that it wasn't fun, raising my girls. I love them to pieces and am very proud of the wonderful,caring, special people they have become. You never stop being a mother anyway and now I also feel like I am gaining 2 new friends as my dd's have passed the age where their Mom was stupid and not cool to hang out with. At least, I feel that way, and hope they do, too. I guess what I'm saying if you can look at the positive aspects of the littles growing up and leaving, it takes away the sadness of them being gone.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Some humorous notes

An advantage to us living in the country is that I can let Max out(both dogs live in the house) and let him go take care of his business. Our property is off the main road entirely. We have to accompany Angel since she is older, little, and has ADD. I would worry about her wandering off or a larger dog attacking her. Max, though, goes off marking his territory and then seeking privacy for other matters. He doesn't like to be watched. He never goes very far and comes right back when he is done, MOST of the time. Occasionally he decides it would be fun to go chase some cows in neighboring pastures. He is part Sheltie and has a herding instinct. We have tried to discourage him from this as we don't want the owners of the cows becoming angry, but Max will still sneek away and have his fun. The humor in this is that somehow he will manage to scare a cow or has really bad timing in coming up behind one and he comes home with a fragrant dark green smear of cow poop somewhere on his doggie body. Today it was only a small bit on his leg, but he has had half his head smeared with it before. The time that happened, I had let him back in the house, not paying attention, doing something else, until a very obnoxious odor knocked me up the side of the head and I turned around to see him looking at me with a totally innocent expression, like, "what?, I've not been anywhere near any cows!, not me!"

Another funny thing. I mentioned in one of the posts about Leonardo Birdman that I had found and then lost a miniature snail shell. Think I figured out what happened. While getting rid of the dead old growth in my little herb garden behind the house, I found some more of the little snail shells, about 5 or so. I brought them in the house and put them on the big work table in my art room. Later on I went in there thinking to glue one on the assemblage. I looked at where I had put them, thinking that I was missing one and that perhaps it had rolled to the side, so looked around the tabletop. Well, it had moved to one side under some papers, but not because it had rolled there but because it had crawled there! I didn't realize this at first, but moved it back to the papers I work on and turned around to get the assemblage piece and then back to see a tiny snail head peeking out the shell. I set it free as well as another one that was not empty either. As for the original lost snail, who knows where it ended up? If it makes it back home, wouldn't it have a wild alien abduction tale to tell!?!

What the world needs now

This was a page for a stamp-themed chunky book swap I did last year. I need to remember how I did this background because I like it. Think a lot of these started out with a gessoed page which I then layered paint on in different ways. The bright colors of this one are what I like I think as I like lots of color but don't use it as often as I should, tending toward more subdued looks. I try to take time to scan all of what I send out, because so far most of the art I've made is for swaps. On looking back at the scans, there will techniques I tried or experiments that I forgot about. Journaling about each different one would be great, but if I took the time to do that right now, I'd never get the art stuff done. On this page, the painted background was my experiment, the next layer some purchased paper, of course the stamp is real, and the words just cut out of an old book. I've seen Jennifer Black use this technique and I really love her work.

I've not had time to work on much new this week. I tweeked the Birdman some more, added some shells to the front of the wings and found another tiny snail shell but decided to add it to the top of the shrinelet as extra decoration. I'm waiting until I think I'm done with him to take another pic and post it.

I did get to Hobby Lobby. Well, should confess I went last Friday and then yesterday afternoon, too. Visiting restrictions will have to be imposed on me, I can see. Limits are going to have to be put into place. Yesterday, though, I didn't spend much. I had realized they had jewelry tools and findings half price and I had been too cheap to pay $11 for a crimping tool, so I went back to get it on sale. I want to try making some of the book thongs when I get a chance and possibly some jewelry.

I've been thinking lately, as this post is bringing it to mind, how I'm all over the place in what I want to do. Debating whether I should try to force myself to focus on just one thing. My problem is I find myself fascinated with each new discovery and want to try each one. That's always been the way I've been. There is just so much out there in this wide world of ours to learn and do and just so little time to do and see it all. As I discover things in the world of arts and crafts, I feel the same way. I want to try it all. I also think that I am trying to find what I need to be doing, what is my medium, what is my voice. Not the only one I will try, but what is the best way for me to express what I want to express or what is my talent, if there is such an animal. I can draw and used to could paint decently many moons ago, but haven't so far made the time to resurrect the painting skills, though I have been trying to do some drawing again. I think for now, I'm going to give myself permission to keep trying new things. Why are women always analyzing what we do and judging ourselves like this anyway? I don't think my husband ever worries about why or what he does.

As for today's picture posted, I think the words speak for themselves.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Excuse us, we're running to Hobby Lobby!

Yes, our Hobby Lobby opened today! And, pooh, I had to work and then we had church services this evening, so I've not been yet. (edited to add: I didn't mean that I was mad that I had to go to church, mainly that I had to work!) A coworker who works 2nd shift came in braggin' about having been there, the rat! She said that it is supposed to be one of the biggest around this area. I would have settled for a token store, just so I didn't have to drive an hour one way to get art supplies! So, YEAH! Guess you know where I'll be going after work tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Here is Leonardo the Birdman

I am not sure if he is finished or not. It seems that I need to put something where the wings join the box, but I haven't hit on the right something yet. This is the "shrinelet" I mentioned in a previous post which started out with me wanting to alter a electrical outlet ala deMeng but which turned into a shrine/assemblage piece that is really weird I guess. This is what it wanted to be, though, so here it is.

The outlet ended up being the base onto which everything is glued and is only visible from behind. I glued a rusted box to the front and put Leonardo's face inside. Faux rusted a miniature magnifying glass to glue over one eye and used some beeswax around the face to soften the look some. There are shells, a piece of wooden trim, a fuse, half a hickory nutshell with a lovely heart shape, a little spring(I had a miniature snail shell which I want to put in one side of the spring, but it was dropped and disappeared, so I've got to find another one), twig legs, real feather wings. I forgot to take a picture of the back, but I used small pieces of book text and decoupaged the paper to hold the twig legs on and then also used the same technique to cover the back of the plastic pieces to which the feathers are glued. I really like that look especially on the back of the sand dollar piece. I want to try something later on with that combination, maybe some jewelry pieces.

I've gonna have to keep posting the next few days to move the studio pic carnage on down the page!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Art room pictures

In response to a challenge on the Mad Hat Blog, I am posting some photos of my art room taken without ANY straightening up. Some sad side notes to this, I not too long ago spent quite some time attempting to organize, threw a lot out, and for me this is better organized than it was. At least, I know where things are. Well, it WAS last summer, before my Dad & Mom both had major health problems and of course, I acquire "stuff" here and there. I post this knowing some of you will look at this and possibly scream or laugh hysterically at what was for me a real, honest attempt at organization and trying to do it with what items I had or using inexpensive baskets. At this point in my life, I can't afford to spend a lot on organizing units or shelving.

I am using my youngest dd's old bedroom, only 10'x11' or so. Some of my goals were try to use what I had already, knowing I couldn't do anything structural, to create a small sitting area, a place for music, and a work island or table that I will try to keep clear(cough, cough-notice picture of work island area in the center of the room). So I did what I set out to do, just for an organizational-minded person, I'm sure my efforts are laughable. I decided to post these in the hope that someone out there might
A. get a laugh as noted before
B. there might be the slight off chance someone out there as bad as me would be made to feel better
C. if you're not quite as bad as me, but thought you were bad, you'll feel better knowing there is someone worse

If my Mom used the internet, I don't think I'd post this. Definitely didn't take after her in the way my mind works. In a future phase of further organization, I hope to do better and please keep in mind I am working on several projects right now as time permits, so haven't even been trying to straighten up much, but really if I am working on something my desk top looks like this. SIGH! I should shut up, as in "he that doth protest too much..." or however that goes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Altered lunchbag

I had received a corporate logo lunchbag at the Nashville trip. Of course, I no longer work for that company, since they sold us to another group. So, I came up with an altered front for the bag. Used gel medium for the glue hoping that it will be both flexible and strong enough to work with the paper and other items I used. I chose the image at first because it is so opposite me and my sweetie just as a joke, but then came up with the words, "if life is a game, play it with all your heart", which I strive to do, not necessarily as far as exercise goes, but in the sense of truly living with your feelings and trying to experience all that you can of what you want to do. Like I said that is a goal.

Robin for spring

Last weekend we had snow and this weekend it's spring! This is a 4x4 I did last year that I thought looked very spring-like. Got one swap in the mail and now need to get to work on some other unfinished projects. Actually I need to do a lot of things, like cleaning and laundry, but I've done a little of both so far today , and little goes a long way, don't you think, of some things? I've enjoyed watching the birds at the birdfeeder today, though flocks of starlings are passing through and scaring all the pretty birds away.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

First attempt with wax collage

Today's photo is a 4x4 I'm sending to a friend in an individual swap. I don't think she reads my blog, so should be ok to post a pic. This started out as a piece of my work area paper. I always keep a stack of paper underneath what I'm doing. Sometimes it is some old watercolor paper that is kind of aged-looking already and sometimes just plain white scrap paper(this was some that got folded up on one end so it wouldn't go through the printer) Anyway, these papers catch some great serendipitous colors and textures from the paint and glue. This was pretty textured from gel medium, glue, and paint. I liked it as it was but have been wanting to try my new mini iron to melt wax, so I grabbed some crayons and the iron and dropped some wax here and there. I did think some of it was too thick, so I used the iron to remove some of it. The wax was used as the "glue" for the paper page elements which are a small medieval picture and the gold paper is some more of the scrap paper painted gold and then cut out with decorative scissors or punches. I attached a "believe" charm with a tiny brad and the cross overhead with gel medium. Presented in honor of Easter and the meaning behind it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So excited...

...I can't sleep! Have you seen that commercial for Disneyworld? The little boy is so cute! Well, my excitement is from the fact that there will very soon be a Hobby Lobby opening in my town, only 2 minutes from where I work. Hhmmmm?!? This could be both very good and very BAD! Right now the nearest craft/art supply store is a Hobby Lobby either 40 miles north or south of me and a Michael's even further than that. With gas as high as it is, I can't make myself take trips off that far, just to get "stuff", well, I only go every few months or so. If we go to see my dd and dsil in Tuscaloosa, sometimes I can get to the one there. It could be argued that I don't really NEED a lot of things and I might agree with that, BUT ya gotta have some glue and basic supplies sometimes. And what is the harm in checking out the clearance section while you're in there? I've taken to driving through the parking lot of that shopping center to check out the progress. Today I did really have to go to Pet Depot to get my spoiled allergy prone doggy some Sweet Potato/Fish dogfood and am glad to report the parking lot of Hobby Lobby was full of cars of employees working industriously as I could see through the windows putting up shelves and signs AND there are lots of dumpsters full of garbage which surely means that lots of STUFF is being unpacked. All official signs are on the front and back of the building so thumbs up on the progress!

Monday, March 10, 2008

It's my Friday, even though it's Monday, sort of

I'm sure you are saying, "What?". Today finished up one of my 4 day weekends at work(we work 10 hr days). So it's sort of a Friday. I'll be off tomorrow, work Wed. & Thurs. and then have a 4 day weekend off(one of the perks of working 4 10 hr shifts per week, is the extra off day). This weekend wasn't too bad at work. The flu that was so rampant 3 weeks ago is subsiding somewhat, though we have had a few positive flu tests this weekend, so it is still out there. The respiratory illnesses are still around some, but not quite as bad as they were. Same story with the stomach virus(bad one) that is going around. So far my dh and I have been fortunate(knock on wood) to have avoided all of the above this year.

Since I've been working and helping Mom some, not much in the way of art. Today's pic is one from the stay at the Opryland Hotel taken from where you can walk inside the hill behind the double waterfalls in my previous post about the trip to Nashville. They have a grilled window behind each waterfall. Very lovely!

Also lovely was the weather when I left work this evening. When I walked into work early this morning there was ice frozen on the walkway and when I leave it's like 67 degrees with the sun shining.

Which reminds me, I forgot to mention one of the downers of working this past weekend, which was daylight savings time! Very YUCKO when it falls on a weekend to work! I try to set my clocks up the night before, like right after I get home, to lessen the impact of the time change. I've taken to using my cell phone as an alarm clock and being a light sleeper I kept waking up to check to make sure the time has switched over. Come to find out Cingular does not change their time until some time during the day. Because I am a light sleeper, I was not an hour late for work. In one of my waking up times, I sleepily realized it was going to be time to get up soon, that the alarm was not going to be right cause the time was off, and I set my snooze for an hour to finish the night out. You would think in this day and time that technology would allow cell phones to KNOW what the time is supposed to be. I mean, aren't they connected to any kind of computer system? Did someone at AT&T have to wake up and get out of bed and push a button to switch the phones over? My several year old desktop computer managed to know that the time changed, so why couldn't my cellphone realize it? If someone with more technology knowledge than me can explain this, I would love to know!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Wow, third post today!

Guess you may notice the new look for the blog. Trying a new color scheme to match the new banner picture. I may play with it some more to see if I can get the fonts bigger in the title. Not totally happy with that. The banner picture is a closeup of a valentine tag I did in a swap a while back, so someone out there has this tag in a valentine tag booklet. Was looking for some saved art of mine that was horizontal in format.

Also, I think I am finished with the aforementioned collage so here is a scan of that. It started life as a fiberboard square piece given to me from a friend cleaning out her art supplies which I gessoed with black and then collaged the front with some painted book pages for the background and sides. The image is from a collage sheet I got from Aileen at Outside the Margins . The date comes from the back of a letter purchased in a large hatbox full of old letters at an auction. It seems so sad that these letters didn't stay in the family of the lady. Mostly they are old love letters from different fellows to her and this particular one it looks like she or he numbered on the back with the Roman numeral XI. I thought the shoes and the vintage buttons and lace set off the colors. Right now I've got raffia to hang it by, but may change that to twisted wire or maybe ribbon accented with beads. We'll see.

Apologies for tiny pictures

I have just figured out today that you can make the photos you upload different sizes. My apologies for all the little bitty pictures on previous posts. I looked and don't see how you can fix them, except to take them off and then reload them all. I don't want to do that today, maybe another day, or maybe not. I have dialup and it takes a while to upload photos, even when I resize them. Oh well, you can click on them to see a larger version and now I know better.

Thrift store finds on a quick trip

I had to run into town to see my husband's grandfather at the hospital, so decided to go by the S.A. while I was there. I didn't have a lot of time, so I had to kind of hurry through. Not pictured is a nice white dress blouse, which I've been needing but figured it wouldn't photograph too well and I mean, really, no one is going to get very excited about a white blouse, except me, lol. It was a John Paul Richard brand, looks nice and only $2 or $3.

Ok, the pictured items are a lovely knitted blue scarf which was $2. I have a dd who knits, but she has only made me one little scarf, even though I've hinted very strongly for another, so SIGH, I had to resort to buying one at the thrift store. (Emily I hope you read this!) Also got a few pieces of restaurant china. I'm trying to build up enough of a collection of pretty patterned pieces to make it my everyday dishes. The cup was $3, a little high to me at a thrift store, but it is cute, and the saucers were only $1 each and see how the green one coordinates with the cup, very sweet! The platter is Made in Portugal and was $5. Again, a little high for this cheapskate, BUT it's been there a while and I keep looking at it every time I go in, so today I gave in to the call. If I don't keep it for myself, I figure one of my dd's will steal it from me, especially the youngest, as she likes more modern looking stuff. My oldest dd, though, like me has a platter fetish. I would be embarrassed to actually count the number I have. Sometimes, it's better not to know these things, don't you think? I got this nice chunky chain necklace for $1 and I think it would make a good base for a charm necklace. It needs a hook for a closure, but I should be able to make something work. The new white photo mats were nice and only 50 cents each, as was the book which is about Gypsies. Looked very interesting. And the cute little bird nest with the tacky flower(going bye-bye) sitting on a stump was $2, probably as much as it cost new, but oh well, now I have one to use in an assemblage piece.

Speaking of assemblage, I am working on a piece that I think will be finished soon. It started out with me trying to do a deMeng inspired piece with a electrical outlet as a base, but has ended up where you don't even see the outlet anymore and is actually an art doll/shrine, I guess. I think I am going to call it a da Vinci bird/shrinelet. Now, aren't you curious? You'll have to wait and see. That is if I'm really talking to anybody. Sometimes I think I'm just talking to myself, but that's ok, too.

Also, I finished almost a collage piece on a square fiberboard base today. Still lack some finishing touches and then I'll scan it to post here. I need to be finishing up a 4x4 page to send to a friend in swap. She sent me the loveliest page and now I'm not sure about the one I was going to send her. I keep thinking I need to art it up some more, but then sometimes my style(if it can be called that) is more simple and I keep telling myself that is ok, but I don't want to disappoint either. Do you ever feel that way, scared that what you send is not good enough?

It is a beautiful day here in Alabama. We are enjoying some lovely sunshine, made even more enjoyable by that fact that it follows some heavy rain. February brought us a good bit of rain and with what we got Monday night, our lakes are almost back to normal. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Forgot to post I won another prize

I just realized that I never posted about winning another prize in the OWOH giveaway. Marilyn at had an extra giveaway after the official date and I have won a surprise prize! I love surprises! I will post when I receive it. Anticipation is fun, too!

That is 4 prizes in all and with the luck with the trips for the Employee of the Year, I am wondering if I should go buy a lottery ticket! Anyway, I am thankful for the blessings!

For today's pics, these are the extra tags & stuff I made for my 2 giveaways. Both recipients have their packages, so I can post these now. I tried to fix up a nice package for them both, with some nice chocolate and then some extra goodies like some vintage ephemera, of which I didn't take a photo. These are just the tags, inchies(some of my first to ever make) and the charms that I made to send with the main giveaways.

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