Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays and Wishes to All; A Zentangle Christmas card

Just a peek at the finished zentangle-inspired holiday card.  It was fun to make, and exciting to see finished.  It was printed on a pearlized finished card stock, so it has a nice sheen, which you can't see.
I especially like the philosophy of zentangles, which includes "there are no mistakes."  Whether each stroke is perfect or not is beside the point.   The completed whole has it's own charm, with or without mistakes.  Thanks to my grown-up artist children for their help in accomplishing a daunting task.   Only they know how I agonize and fret, and they always come through with the perfect assistance.  
So, my own little reminder about holiday gift giving came from my very precious daughter-in-law, who sent a beautiful expression of gratitude and acknowledgment.  There is no more meaningful gift to give than to thank someone for being in your life, letting them know they make a difference, and they are valued.    My sincere wish is that YOU will know how much I value and appreciate you in my life, and what a difference you make.  This would truly be a lone and dreary world without the support of friends and family.   Happy Holidays, and may all your wishes come true.  (Note:  Be careful what you wish for. LOL)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Music of the Season

It always bothers me when the stores start playing Christmas music the day after Halloween. Not kidding. Also, one of the radio stations started it's seasonal onslaught the first of November. Maybe in my old age, the Grinch has taken hold, and the Ghost of Christmas Present is visiting this Scroogina, because I prefer shopping online or not at all, to having to hear another version of "Holly, Jolly Christmas." So, I'm offering a list of my current favorite Christmas Music, to which I don't get tired of listening.  Voila, Here it is in no particular order.  The "mood" dictates.

Yo-Yo Ma and Friends, Songs of Joy and Peace
James Taylor at Christmas
Anuna Christmas Songs (The a capella vocal group of Riverdance)
Swingle Singers The Story of Christmas
Modern Mandolin Quartet Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite
Kim Robertson Christmas Lullaby Solo Celtic Harp
Sarah McLachlan Wintersong
Mary Chapin Carpenter Twelve Songs of Christmas
Tingstad and Rumbel The Gift
Windham Hill Celtic series
Kurt Bestor
Anything Cambridge Singers, with John Rutter
And our all-time favorite, John Denver and the Muppets.  
Thanks to Jonathon and Allison for the following suggestions.  Enjoy!

If you like Handel's Messiah, my favorite version is Narada's Hallelujah! Great Choruses from Handel, sung by His Majestie's Clerkes, a small vocal ensemble and an authentic instrument Baroque orchestra.
This year I also added Susan Boyle's Christmas album, just for the principle of it all.  I'll buy anything she does, just because.....maybe I relate. (except I can't sing like she does.)
Announcement:   This weekend, I will unveil THE Christmas Card, second annual Zentangle.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

THE Music of the Season

When I started this blog, it was with an intent to be creative.  Sometimes it morphs to showing others' creativity.  This post is a bit of a departure, to show a truly talented, hard-working artist.   It just happens he's related to me and I'm proud to claim him.   He has his own You Tube channel with thousands of admirers.  And yet he's so humble. 
Enjoy this beautiful expression of the Christmas season.

Friday, November 12, 2010

UCA Compendium

You might remember (or not), that my camera died on the day of my big zentangle workshop, so I haven't been able to document my activities. I finally got the most fabulous camera on the planet....a Canon PowerShot S95, but with my amateur abilities, you won't notice how great it is. But, I can blog....yea.
   Every November, the calligraphers have a family and friends event, with activities for all. This year, we made cards, notebook holders, carved stamps, wove keychains or friendship bracelets, and origami folded wreaths. Here is a photo gallery of some of the things we made.

This is what you might need to carve stamps, which is one of my new favorite activites. If you want a tutorial, my good blogging friends, Lori Vliegen, or Martha Lever, both have info and great examples. Yes, you can carve a plastic eraser.

Here are a few of my attempts. They're really fun.

It's hard to get a size reference, but they're small....about and inch and a half square. It took me a minute or two of practice to get the little incidentals carved out, as you can see on the heart card.

This leaf stamp was a hit. Can be done alone or multiples.

I think I'll carve various flowers and leaf/stem combos, after seeing this.

Here is the notebook folder, made with a 5 x 8" legal pad and a 12 x 12" scrapbook paper.

 It has two large gold paper clips with ribbons to mark pages in the notebook.

Take a 12 x 12 scrapbook page, find the paper grain direction, cut 1.5" off of the cross grain side (bottom).  Place the page with the front side down against the table, fold the left edge over 1.5".  Fold the bottom edge up 2.5"   ( If you are using a paper with a definite up and down pattern, like I did with bugs on it, you only need to be aware of the paper direction on the front, so your notebook holder doesn't look upside down.)   The tricky part is cutting a mitered bottom edge.
To find out where to cut, fold the left edge over, mark it on the bottom edge, then cut diagonally from the bottom edge up to the fold, and straight out to the side.    When the side is folded in, and the bottom is up, the corner is mitered.   Use double stick tape to hold the left edge down and the miter in place.     Put double stick tape on the back (cardboard side of the paper pad), and stick it down on the right edge of the paper, and centered top to bottom.   Score the paper along the left edge of the notebook to fold up.  Then score again 1/4 inch away, to close over the top.  Decorate the front with brads, punches, stamps, ribbons, and use the 1.5 inch strip you cut away to cover the ugly edge of the note pad, cut to size, of course.

I'll show you the form of the keychain/friendship bracelet, although it isn't finished. It's just like the boondoggle we used to do as kids. When this is finished, I'll show you exactly how to do it. Easy, easy.

Stay tuned. Have some crafty fun. xoxo

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Aspen, the Star

Last spring, I blogged about teaching zentangles to my grandson, Will's, third grade class.  While I feel extremely grateful to have three fabulous grandchildren living nearby, I feel only "half" here, because another three (and a third) grandchildren live far away, in Tennessee--the eastern part.   So, I periodically have to bribe them to come to visit.   The zentangle workshop was such an excuse, and even though we couldn't afford to bring them all here, we're lucky that Jonathon could bring Aspen, the oldest, turning ten next week. 

We hiked them up the mountain before they caught the airplane back home, since they would be sitting all day.  Great view of the valley from Desolation Trail overlook.
I'm showing you her zentangles, because she's really something.   And one of the best things about her, besides her inner and outer beauty, is that she freely admits she's an artist.  I hope she always knows that.  Here is her very first zentangle, created in May when she was here with her mom, brother and sister.  She made this for her Dad, stuck at work in TN. and she hid little messages in it, like "I love you", among others.

  The evening before our workshop, she created a show and tell for us.  This letter is about 8 inches tall, made of wood.
And her first project at the workshop was a charmer.   You can see she wrote a little quote in cursive on the upper right.   I added a mini puzzle piece of gold leaf.   She was generous enough to give it to me.  I love it.

And even though I've only shown you ONE grandchild's art, ALL of the others are artists, too, as are their most wonderful parents.   Art isn't just an activity, it's a way of life, a way of being and expressing in the world.  And it is a unique expression of a unique individual, personal to each, and precious to a grandma's heart.
Just a few of the family artists.   John, Jonathon, Aspen, and Allison.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Group of Tangles

At last!   Someone was kind enough to send me a CD of our workshop.  While much of it was li'l ole me, demonstrating patterns, a snap was taken as evidence we accomplished something.   And the dear participants made a beautiful thank you card for me, complete with zentangles on them. 
They did a mighty fine job.
Below are some of the projects we undertook.  They could make a little booklet, tangling either the inside of the letter, or tangling around the letter, leaving it blank.....for gold, maybe?

The second day of the workshop was adding gold leaf.  The stunning shine doesn't photograph well, but you can get an idea of how the gold adds a touch of class.  See the little zentangle on the left?   Just a nice line of gold really pops.  Jane H. is the artist on this.
This last one is by Nancy O, one of the fine calligraphers and artists in the group.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A tangled zen preview

My camera has died.   There is no hope for a resurrection, so I cannot post any photos of the UCA Zentangle workshop until I beg for copies from some of the attendees.  In the meantime, Jonathon, co-facilitator extraordinaire, has given me permission to show his work.   In his blog, he writes:
CAVEAT: If you are not familiar with Zentangles, this is not a good example of one!  For the following reasons:
  1. It uses color.
  2. It does not use ANY known zentangle patterns (called "tangles").
  3. It has an orientation (that is, there is a "right-side up" to it.
But for those of you familiar with Zen, this is what my Buddha Nature wanted to draw today.  What can you say to that?
 You can see what a very artistic and talented son I have, and I am extremely proud and grateful.
And as soon as I get a new camera, I'll show what my equally talented 10 year old (almost) granddaughter, Aspen,  created in the workshop.   Stay tuned.

I got a new set of graphitint pencils (Derwent), which I used to color this one.
Whether one is doodling in zen, tangling, or merely following one's Buddha nature, I hope you'll pick up a pen and have a moment to yourself.   Breathe, accept, let go......ahhhh.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Zentangle workshop for Calligraphers

I'm on the steep learning curve, out-of-my-league here.   On October 8th, I'll be teaching a full day zentangle workshop to the Utah Calligraphic Artists guild.  This is a group of incredible, amazing, dedicated artists in every way, and yet, they invited me to be their fall workshop presenter for one day...(breathe, exhale, focus.....whew.)   The thing that makes me the happiest is that Jonathon is coming along, all the way from Tennessee, doing the techy stuff, power point presentation, and being the hands-on demonstrator.  I'm practicing daily, just to have some samples ready.  I've defined my responsibility as giving the essentials needed, showing lots of possibilities, and encouraging original, creative thinking.   Since the second day of the workshop is about laying down gold leaf, ala Illuminated Letters, taught by the local calligrapher and bookbinding extraordinaire, Louona Tanner (see Reggie Ezell's photos of the year for her work), we'll design some letters, and then move along to borders.   I think zentangles will be a dynamite jumping off point for calligraphers to design borders to go along with their lovely letters.   Here are a few sample ideas I've been doodling with, just for fun:

Invitation:   If you have any zentangle samples, photos of your projects, ideas, etc.  please send them along.   I will give you 15 minutes of fame at the workshop, and you will be presented in the Power Point.   The workshop is still open, and you can sign up for either day, or both. 
See the UCA website for details.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Easy Gourmet added to the repertoire

Once in a while I stumble upon an idea.  We really like the Naan Tandoori Indian-style bread, and the garden is going crazy on us,  and I'm bored with the nightly zucchini, green beans, tomato and basil meals, with occasional beets or potatoes.    Here's the easy as pie pizza we've grown to love, since it's a variation on the garden.  The size of this is about 7 inches diameter, just enough for one full meal.   Add a salad, or carrot sticks and cucumber slices.
We prefer the whole wheat Naan bread, but the one that was available was garlic....still good.
And the easiest sauce on the planet:
Our favorite is the basil pesto.   Didn't like the cilantro sauce, but the sun-dried tomato is a good choice.
Here is our recipe:
Very lightly saute the vegetables, just until soft.  (I had zucchini and onion today)
Lightly brush the edges of the crust with olive oil.  (optional)
Lightly and sparingly brush the bread with one of the sauces.  (or two)
Top the bread with whatever you have in the refrigerator....we keep some fresh mozza, artichoke hearts, fresh kalamata olives, sometimes mushrooms, and some freshly grated parmesan. 
Place slices of fresh tomato on top...our Juliets work best...not quite as juicy.
Liberally spread fresh basil all over.
You can see it's heavy on the vegetables, and light on the sauces and cheese.  (I would have put a bit more fresh mozzarella, if I'd had it.)  (oops, I forgot the basil...oh well, still good.)
Bake @ 400-420 for 8-10 minutes (no more, just enough to heat through, since the crust is already cooked.)
Feel satisfied.
Feel smug, because it's so healthy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's Offishull---I are a ar-teest.

Well, I've denied for years that I'm an artist....because I've never had an art class, because I can't draw, I have no eye-hand coordination, and because I don't spend my time making art.  (those are my working definitions of an artist, I guess.)   Today I graduated from art class, with an official certificate. 
 And today, I got the gold star on my forehead for the best bullet, complete with tabletop reflections.   Wahoo.   I have arrived.
Now I have true confessions.   I didn't do homework except to make eight color wheels with various shades of the primaries.  And I cleaned my brush on a scrap paper, which looks like this:
Everyone decided this was the best work I did ever....Isn't that a compliment, when you're just messing around?
And finally, with the bizarre weather here that goes from 97 degrees to 49 degrees in 24 hours, this is a gorgeous double rainbow that appeared over our house. 

We didn't find the pot of gold....but now I know how to paint it.   I have arrived indeed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A silly giveaway....I should keep it a secret

News Flash:   The author of the book I blogged about called Drawing Lab, Carla Sonheim, is offering a Silly Class for one month Sept. 15-October15.     You can find her link to the right on my blog list.    It sounds like a lot of fun, and we should all do it together.   Another blogger has paid for the class and is donating it as a giveaway on her (blog, click here). so if you want some seriously silly fun, enter the giveaway.  I hope I win!!.  I hope YOU win.   We're all winners.  Yea.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A fabric journal, a favorite to make

I still can't believe I pulled it off.   And yet, here is the proof.  It's a concertina spine fabric journal with my own hand dyed fabric inside.   The outside is a scrap of the quilt stash, and matched beautifully.   I rolled the spine beads from magazine pages.  Inside are 5 x 5 kraft envelopes, and I've tucked various papers inside, so when the urge to doodle strikes, I can have a choice of surfaces, from white, to black, to cream, to colored.

This little journal is easy.   Just fuse fabric to pelmet vilene or pellon, (I used Misty Fuse), zigzag the edges, Iron the folds into the spine, stitch tyvek strips along the inside spine edges, and glue the envelopes to the tyvek.  I added the beads when I was stitching the tyvek strips.
Have fun.  Whistle while you work.  Smile upon completion.  Fill with fanciful things.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Birthday Fun Journal

My sister, Ginny, had a birthday this week.   In our family, we get and give presents when we find them, even if it's not a birthday.  Through the year I collect presents to give, but when the day finally arrives, I can't find where I've stored them.....(much like my craft supplies, hmmm).   So, the night before our birthday breakfast, I was forced to come up with a last minute gift, until the time I clean something out and find the "real" birthday present.   I finished this little journal well before midnight.   The color is actually a very nice yellow....this doesn't show as well, for some reason.....maybe the room lighting.
And I found some cute stickers to add to the signature covers.
And the last page:
Inside the front page I added this, because Ginny is the one I turn to when I need a listening ear, and a completely supportive comment, and always the perfectly right thing I want to hear, as well as what I need to hear.   She's the best.
Happy First Birthday Present of the year, Ginny.   May you have many, many more, with love.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Landscape photos of Albion Basin

We live surrounded by one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world.  We take beauty for granted here.   But once in a while, I wake up to the fact that I'm missing some of it by.....well, blogging, for one....and eating...and fussing or get the picture.   Yesterday was supposed to be the end of the Utah desert "monsoon" season (oxymoron?), so I ventured up to Little Cottonwood Canyon, home of the greatest snow on earth:  Snowbird and Alta ski resorts.
One word:  SPECTACULAR.    And although I am NOT a photographer, my point-and-shoot camera recorded evidence.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Proud Owner of an Original Picasso

Yes! And it even gets better than that!   I got it free!!   In a drawing!!!

It is an original Picasso Dog, created by Carla Sonheim, for her new book, Drawing Lab.
It's my new favorite activity.

Here's another idea from her book.
And the best news of all is that YOU, TOO, can have original art from Carla if you go to her blog GIVEAWAY.   She is also sponsoring book giveaways through the artists featured in it.
Check it out through the blog link at the left of my page....Good luck.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meet Lori Vliegen, the Amazing

    I have a new hero and mentor, and although I've never met her in person, she's dear to my heart.    I was introduced to her through her blog, which I "accidentally" stumbled upon,  but since I don't believe in accidents, I just think it was meant to be.    You get a glimpse of her heart and soul by browsing the elegant, eloquent simplicity in her art and message, and when I ordered several things from her Etsy shop, I was touched and amazed by her attention to detail and her generous showering of additional abundant gifts.   Each time I open a package from her, I get a sense of her essential goodness.   (I could go on and on, but you get the picture.)
    I love her work so much, that when I wanted someone to design a logo for a project I'm working on, not only did she heartily agree, I still can't get over the bargain I got for the professional quality.  I'm unveiling the logo now, because I just can't wait until everything is finished to show it off.   Her art is, of course, copyrighted, and my slogan is also, but we hope you'll feel the joy in it all.
Here's the fun part:   When I ordered a new supply of journals from Lori,  I decided to document the care and attention she puts into her packages.   The label:
And here is what came out of the box, all beautifully wrapped with hand made tags:
My new writing/musing/quote journal, a new watercolor portable journal,
and voila!  an extra handmade, mini matchbook-style book with our logo on it. 
 It just doesn't get any better than this.   I'm going to start a little shrine in my house surrounded by my lovingly crafted, heart-centered art from Lori.   She's the best!
Last time I ordered, she tucked in this little easel with the logo on it as a surprise.
   Here are a few other treasures:

Do check out her website and Etsy shop, and browse through her older posts as well.  It's all wonderful.  THANK YOU, LORI.