Monday, December 18, 2006
My heart swells with pride for my husband and his fellow National Guard soldiers. My husband's unit, the 1042nd, is one of the groups assisting with the search, and hopefully, rescue of these climbers. My husband is a part of the ground crew, so he isn't flying around the mountain. He helps keep those aircraft up in the air. I am so proud of the work they do on a regular basis. Whether it's in a war zone or here at home, they are the best at what they do.
Please keep them all in your prayers and good thoughts.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I also got up at 4:00 a.m. on Friday and hit the sales. Yes, I'm one of *those* people. I LOVE shopping on that day. I plan out my route on Thanksgiving night and hit the stores early. I managed to get everything that was on my list! And, I have just about all my shopping done! I have just one more thing to get for Mike and one thing for my mother. This gives me time to make some of my gifts. Mike did a little shopping on that day, too. He brought home a 42" plasma screen TV. The picture is beautiful AND he got a GREAT deal on it.
I am really looking foreward to Christmas this year. Last year, Mike spent the holidays freezing his tush off high in the mountains of Afghanistan, while Nicholas and I were trying to be merry here. It was not the best Christmas, to say the least.
Here is a photo of my dear husband and Rita Cosby, from MSNBC. We refer to her as Mike's second wife. LOL. He has always liked her, so this was a big treat for him. BTW, this is the hanger he lived and worked in.
Rita came to their base in Afghanistan just before Christmas with a group of pro wrestlers that were there to entertain the troops. We've never been wrestling fans, but I gained a new respect for them for going all the way over there to entertain our troops...On to the present. We are all happy at home this Christmas. I wish everyone was.
I promised another picture from Art and Soul. This was a bracelet I made on the first day of A&S. I even made the head pins. Oh! I can't tell you how much I love to fuse silver wire!! I really love this bracelet and I wear it all the time. The large tear-drop beads are a pink and black stone and the small ones are pink glass.
I made this in a class taught by Lisa Call. She is a wonderful artist and a patient teacher. For Christmas, my husband is getting me all the tools I need to start fusing silver wire. I reaaaaaally love to melt metal. I can't wait to make chains for the soldered charms I already make.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
This is the book I made in the dark with the Ashmans. Yes, in the dark. Our class was held in the bar at the nearby Holiday Inn. The ceiling was painted black and the lighting was just about non-existent. The facilities staff at the Holiday Inn was wonderful, though. They brought in lamps from other parts of the hotel and helped us as best they could. Of course, the other side of the room had lights that kept shutting off when they got over-heated! Most of us stayed and made the best of it. The Ashmans have the BEST projects! This covers of this book are beautifully textured Baroque glass with copper plumbers tape around the edge, framing printed transparencies. The bolts on the right side of the cover are not put in yet, as I need to grind my glass down just a smidge.
The spine is made from more plumbers tape, nuts, bolts, washers and a cut-up metal coat hanger. It's really a clever binding idea. I love this book! It truly looks like a relic from the sea.
More show and tell this week...
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Here is my first installment of "What I did at Art and Soul". Strangely enough, this is what I created in my class on the last day. But, it's scanned and I wanted to post, so here goes.
Albie Smith is a FANTASTIC teacher. She is very low-keyed and gentle, with a great wit. She was perfect for my last day, when I was running on adrenaline and my brain was on art overload. The technique we worked on required letting go of planning and over-thinking things. (Two of my vices!) The class had a very cool name: "Opulent Patterns and the Cross Structure Book". Sounds serious, doesn't it? We made paste papers and constructed a very beautiful , yet simple book structure. Here is the cover of mine:
It was all very intuitive and free-flowing. Perfect for the last day! Here is a page from the inside:
We used foam stamps, rubber stamps, stencils and plastic doilies. I remember my grandmother having plastic doilies! They are great for stamping. One of the paints we used was a wonderful bronze paint from Golden. It had bronze and green in it and I could have used that all day!
That's it for today. Tomorrow we close on the house we sold! And, it's our 16th wedding anniversary. Now *there's* a great way to start year 17!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Also, we sold our rental house! A very nice young couple is buying it. Since the house is next door to us, we were also choosing our new neighbors. I think they will be a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
...to Art and Soul!! I’m thrilled about my classes this year. And, I’m excited about 5 nights at the Embassy Suites: no laundry, no house cleaning, no office job! Im almost as happy about not having those things in my life as I am about my classes. I think that says something about my life and it's not good! I'm also looking forward to spending time with some long-distance friends that I met at the first Art and Soul. Oh yea, and the bountiful breakfasts and free happy hour every night are two more perks!! Is it Wednesday yet?
Here’s my class line-up:
Wednesday: Fused Chain Charm Bracelet with Lisa Call. I think I am the *most* excited about this class. It just really sounds like something I’ll like to do. I’ve been reading Lisa’s blog and she seems like someone I’ll enjoy learning from, too.
Thursday: Stitched! Exploring Fabric Books with Lesley Riley. I LOVE Lesley. I took a class from her at the first Art and Soul. She has this quiet elegance and composure that I’d love to have. And, I’ve recently started playing with fabric, so this is perfect timing.
Thursday night: Tin Can Wearable Journal with Linda and Opie O’Brien. I have the tools to work with tin and their wonderful metal art book, but I haven’t made the time to play with them. This class will get me started.
Friday: Ladies of the House with Beckah Krahula. I love to solder. (I’m opening an Etsy shop after Art and Soul!) In this class, we will learn a technique for transferring images to glass and a stamping on glass technique. I saw the instructions for these in the book Simply Soldered, but once, again, I haven’t made the time to try it on my own. I’ve found that for transfer techniques, which require a bit of trial and error, hands on learning with an instructor saves a lot of frustration.
Saturday: Stained Glass Journal: All Metal Binding with Tom and Ramona Ashman. I took a class from this couple at Artfest this year. They are simply a wonderful team. It is so nice to be around married people that are working together and REALLY enjoy and respect each other. Their personalities and strengths compliment each other well. And, I saw an example of this book in person and it’s GORGEOUS! I bought some copper rosary bead chain on Ebay that I want to incorporate into the spine on this book.
Sunday: Building Your Own Spirit House with Nina Bagley. I saw the student creations from this class at Artfest. They were wonderful! They are little houses made with mica, copper mesh and transparencies. I want to make some of these for Christmas. I can just see it with transparencies of cool Gothic architecture and angels.
Monday: Opulent Patterns and the Cross Structure Book with Albie Smith. This sounds like a fun, playful day. A great way to end a fun week of art and friends.Between now and Wednesday morning, I have a fabric book to complete for a swap, finish alter ing my beret for Art and Soul, put on an open house in the rental we are selling and get enough food in the house for my non-cooking husband and son. I'm sure they will live on pizza and chili. Maybe it's a good thing that I'll be gone that long!
The image above is an altered cabinet card I made.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
I'm really looking forward to Art and Soul this year. I have a jam-packed schedule with teachers I've enjoyed before and new ones that I've heard wonderful things about. I'll be torching, soldering, patina-ing, painting, sewing and just generally having fun for 6 full days! It will be fun to see old friends and make some new ones. I have vowed to finish most of my projects in class this year. That has been a bad habit of mine in the past. I tend to lose focus when there are a bunch of people around. I usually create by myself.
My men are camping for a few days at beautiful Crater Lake, Oregon. I wanted to go, but I have to be here for the implementation of a project I've been working on for a few months. I heard that there was SNOW at Crater Lake this week. I hope my guys are warm. They packed a lot of warm clothes and gear, so they should be fine.
Time to go and enjoy the apple pie my mother-in-law baked for me for my birthday present! I can't believe I'm 45 years old now.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I *finally* finished my pages for the Portland Art and Soul fatbook swap. Yea, me! Between work at the office and working on the house, my time has not been my own of late. And, I procrastinated! That's really not a good thing when you have 64 copies of something to make!
I found a photo of one of my favorite turn-of-the-century women: Lina Cavalieri in my library of vintage images. She was considered by many at the time to be the most beautiful woman in the world. I completely agree with that opinion. I use a lot of images of her in my art work.
I printed her photo and a Paris street scene on transparencies and reverse painted them. The buildings, people and street are painted with a metalic gold. I cut out the figure and attached it to the font, along with a piece of blue script paper for the sky. I added a jewel on each of the fat book pages, too.
I really like how the original turned out. Painting the hair and face are the hardest parts of transparency painting. You have to paint the small areas, like the whites of the eyes, first. I wish it would have been feasible to paint each copy, but I would have been doing that all summer!
The photo is okay and the photocopies for the fat book are good, but this type of art needs to be seen in person or photographed by a better photographer than me to really get the full affect!
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Nicholas has been at an overnight camp since Wednesday for kids of Guard members. It's his first time being away from home for this long - 5 days! Part of me is very excited for him to being going away to camp and having adventures, but the Mommy part of me worries. Will he eat enough? Will he change his underwear? Will the other kids be nice to him? Sigh. Everyone has told me that going to camp for the first time is harder on Mommy than it is on the child. I hope so. I want him to have a wonderful time.
Mike and I thought we'd get a lot done while Nicholas is gone. HA! It hasn't happened so far. Mike has drill this weekend, so I'm on my own during the day today and tomorrow. I can't tell you what a rarity that is! I'm working on my fatbook pages for the A&S swap. And, I need to get some work done around this house.
My latest art obsession has been fabric art. I am completely enamoured with mini art quilts. I bought a BUNCH of fabric last night, along with embroidery floss, batting, etc. to start making some. Those fat quarters at the fabric store are like M&Ms! You just keep tossing them in. I'll post a photo when I actually sit down and do one. After the fatbook pages...
Friday, August 11, 2006
I can't believe how long it's been since I've blogged! Things have been hectic at home and work this summer. I even have to go into the office tomorrow. That may be part of the reason behind my 3 day headache. Ouch. That, and the grass field burning all the farmers in this area are doing. I'm allergic to grass, so I wonder if I'm more sensitive to the smoke from the grass fields? I don't know if that's the cause, but my head hurts and my eyes water a lot!
I will have some new art to post soon. I am working on my page for the Portland Art and Soul fatbook swap. It's due in the hostess' hand by August 31st. The theme is "The Streets of Paris". I have 64 copies of it to make!! It's a lot of work, but there are some amazing artists doing pages for it.
I've also signed up for the next three swaps hosted by Diane Downs. The first one is a "more than 4x4" fatbook swap with the theme of white. You can use white, ivory, tan, etc. The only requirement is that the left side of the front of the page be 4x4" and not thick so that it will go through the coil binder. The top and other sides can be thick and more than 4x4. Her swaps are always the best. The other two will be later in the fall and winter. (A calender for 2007 and an Alphebetica swap.) I am usually a last-minute artist, but I have vowed to change my ways! It takes the fun out of it when you are stressed. I'll let you all know how well I kept up my resolution!
I'm very excited about a swap that should be arriving in my hot little hands in the next few days. They are 6x6 scrapbook pages from a group of wonderful friends. These are scrapbook pages we each made with a photo of ourselves on it. We'll each have a book of pages with our dear friends' faces and art on them. These ladies started out as members of an online scrapbooking group years ago. Some of us broke off and have formed a really wonderful group. We are a very diverse bunch of women. I don't know what I'd do without them. We also have a greeting card swap going. I really like to give hand made cards, but I don't always have the time to whip one up. These swaps really help with that. Plus, I get great ideas for other cards.
My yard is looking wonderful these days. I'm afraid to see my next water bill. The rental that we are prepping for sale (the NEVER-ENDING-JOB!) is looking great, too. I'll take some photos of it this weekend. It looks like a little doll house!
Here's some photos of a star book I made for a friend who was in the hospital a few years ago. Star books are one of my favorite projects. Enjoy!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
As promised, I made some artwork with Florence, my new photo friend. I belong to a group of mixed media artists known as the Portland Art Collective. Today was the annual picnic. It was also my first in-person meeting. I've belonged to the Yahoo group for a while, but getting up to Portland to the monthly meetings has been difficult for me. Today, all the stars aligned and I made it. It was worth the drive and more! Of course, I got lost on the way back to work, so it took me twice as long to get there. It was still worth the drive!
We each made a shrine with a wood box. We all started out with the same size box. We had no theme or instructions. Just make a shrine. It was wonderful to see all the creativity! I've seen many of the other member's work and I was a little nervous going into it. Everyone was warm and friendly, though. We swapped the shrines by drawing names from a hat. I truly would have been happy with ANY of the shrines. I was lucky enough to get Diane Downs' shrine. It has all kinds of wonderful bits in it. It is truly a treasure.
This piece started out with blue, green and purple paisley paper for my inspiration. What, you don't see the paper? lol. It didn't end up in the finished piece. Isn't it funny how art takes on a mind of it's own sometimes?
Monday, July 10, 2006
Isn't she beautiful? According to the back, she is Florence Birnbaum Parker and is about 22 years old in this photo. I found her at a little antique store today. I love to go through the old cabinet cards there. I alter them and give them new stories, since their original history has been lost.
The look on her face spoke to me, so for a mere $2., she is my new friend. What is it about her face that makes me want to know her? I bought several other cabinet cards today, but this one is special. And I love the long, slender format. It fits the graceful way she holds herself. By the way, that is not a halo above her (or is it?). It's the reflection from the bump left from the glue used all those years ago.
I've scanned and printed her image on a transparency. I'm going to try to give her some color with acrylic paint. I've been wanting to try that technique for a while now.
I'm going to make some art with Flo. I'll post it when I get it done.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Isn't this a beautiful photo? Mike took it last winter when he was in
Afghanistan. That flag is HUGE! The doorway it's in is the hanger Mike
lived and worked in. Some professional wrestlers came to Bagram to do a
show for them. We weren't fans of pro wrestling before this, but Mike
said they were all really polite, generous people. Every time a soldier
thanked a wrestler for coming all the way to Afghanistan, the wrestler
would correct them and say, "No. THANK-YOU." Gotta give them credit for
that and making that loooooong trip at Christmas time.
So, this is my late, but heartfelt Independence Day photo. It's an
extra special holiday to us now. Last July, Mike got the deployment
news less than a month before his departure. It was an uncertain time
for us. Now he's back and we are very appreciative of it. I wish they
could all come home NOW.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I have sadly neglected my new toy here. But, I have a good excuse! We've been prepping and painting our rental house. Ugh. Mike and I have vowed to NEVER own another house with cedar shake siding. The paint failed on two sides of the house and we had to scrape it down to the bare wood on most of those two sides. Not a pleasant or easy task with combed shakes! But, the house looks fabulous, if I do say so myself.
This is a photo of the front door, sans the brass mail slot and peep hole, which is more like a peep door! It's truly a little doll house. We live next door and have decided to sell this little gem. I hope we get nice neighbors that appreciate that little house. I'll post more pictures of it when we get the new gutters installed and the bark dust down.
Would you like to be my neighbor?
Tomorrow, I'm straightening out our home and making art!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I worked at home today and these two were my office companions. Oscar the cat and Dexter the dog. Oscar seemed a bit put out that Dexter and I were upstairs invading his quiet time. I don't think he liked the constant clicking of the keyboard, either. Dexter was just happy to get to sleep on the bed all day. They, of course, stayed at opposite ends of the bed. No cuddling for those two. It was a very productive day for me, work-wise *and* I didn't have to drive 60 miles round trip! I think I'll do this more often.
It was Nicholas' last day of fourth grade. The kids all counted down the last 30 seconds of being fourth graders. Now Nicholas just has to have our neighbor, Gay, wave her wand over him to make it official. She teaches elementary school and has a wand that she waves over the kids to make them "officially" the next grade. Nicholas asks her to do it to him every year. Gee, I wonder if he'll do that when he's in middle or high school? I'm guessing not.