Monday, December 12, 2011

And the WINNER is..........

Ta-Da..(drum roll).....Everyone who left a comment.    And the good news is, you can choose one of the creatures shown, or create your own with one of the faces shown, one of the fabrics shown, with ears or no ears.    In the comment section, let me know if you like Red, Yellow, Pink, Black/white, Tan/greenish, Peace/tan, White/owls.  Any unclaimed items will be donated to Primary Children's Hospital.  Heather, let me know where to send yours.
(P.S. I won't be offended if you tell me you really didn't want one, you just wanted to leave a comment. lol)
Happy Holiday Season, with wishes for moments of gratitude and a peace-full heart.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sneak Peek @ Christmas

Some years are "Bah-Humbug" years for me.  This year is not one of them. 
It all started when the Grands were here, bored with the same outdated, out-grown toys.   They wandered down the basement where the sewing machine is kept, and decided that was the new toy to play with, so I got out some felt scraps and let them design their own "ugly dolls".   I'm sorry I don't have a photo of that.    When they left, I got to thinking how fun it would be to make some out of that exquisite minkie fabric, so I made a prototype.    Upon finishing, John asked me if the face was modeled on Phyllis Diller before or after her plastic surgery.    Back to the drawing board.  After I made some more, and decided the faces would never do for 8, 10, and 11 year olds (too juvenile),  I called in The Help.   (Jonathon is my Go-To Guy when I need advice.)  He came up with some real winners, and the fun began.   So here is the sneak peek.    Aspen, Cedar and Olive might design their own faces, but I get the last vote about the fabric and the shape.   I guess some years get to have surprises, and some years you find out what you're getting ahead of time.  (Remember when you used to find the hidden Christmas gifts, and open them all, then rewrap them, thinking Santa would never know?   Hah!
Here's where the fun begins.   Since I have made so many prototypes with the more juvenile faces on them, there are some spares.  If you want one, you can leave a comment, and on December 12th, I'll use the random generator to pick a winner.   (Remember, these are "homemade", not professional.)  All you have to do is tell me which face you like best.  Happy Holidays to you and yours.   Let the fun begin.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Batik on Paper, Dyeing for Fun

These are just a few of the images from Thursday's Play Date. Hot wax, dye, cookie cutters, brushes, Tjanting tools, messes, what more could anyone want? The only question remaining is What Do We Do With It All? I think greeting cards may be on the menu, but more testing is in the works for book covers. Oh, the paper is Arches Text Wove. And ironing out all the excess wax.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finally, A New Creation

I had the great honor and privilege of taking a bookbinding workshop from Teacher Extraordinaire, Judy Sommerfeldt.  She is the quintessential educator as well as a quality craftswoman.   We made three books in two and a half days, and I mean long ones.  If you know me, you'll understand how hard it is for this hyperactive person to sit still long enough to accomplish so much so fast, but hey, we're all still growing and learning, aren't we?

We started by making the paper covers for two of the books.  We used Arches Text Wove paper, walnut ink, Yarka watercolors, salt, alcohol, powdered metallics, and plastic wrap.
This was one paper I didn't use yet, but you get the idea.  Then we used a frame to pick out the "sweet spots" for the front and back covers.
We folded Mohawk Superfine paper, 70 lb. for the text block, and made a Secret Belgian Binding book, rediscovered by Hedi Kyle.

 You can see from this close-up, the secret is in weaving the binding thread around a free-floating spine, linking through the text block stitching.
    For the next book, after applying gesso, we used molding paste or modeling paste to cover the book board, and then textured it with stamps or tools.  When dry, we painted it with acrylic paint.  It is a case binding, because the covers are made separately from the book, and then the text block is glued in.   The second photo shows the text block with "crash" or mull attached for gluing.

For the last book, we made a coptic link stitch, which I've always wanted to learn.    This one was a single needle binding.
When I recover, I plan on another attempt at each book, just to see if I can do it without the expertise of the instructor.   The good news is, Judy is so fabulous that each detail was printed out in clear language with drawn examples, so I can take it a step at a time.
A great time was had by all, thanks to Judy.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What If....?

It is said, the two most creative words in the English language are "What if....?".
While cleaning up the current projects, I decided to play that game on my flower practice sheets instead of throwing them away.   I combined that with calligraphy homework assignments, and came up with the following:

There's nothing so liberating as playing "what if" on all the stuff you're gonna throw away.   Guess I might keep them after all. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Desert and it's hidden slot canyons

This post is slow in coming.   I kept hoping my (really good) photographer-family would put their (really good) photos on their blogs first so I could pirate them.   I guess I need to ask Josh's forgiveness for stealing from his.  I'm trusting he won't sue his in-laws for copyright infringements.   (Look HERE for more.  Then you'll know which pictures are his.)  Thanks, Josh.  Maybe when Al posts hers, I can steal some from her?)
We went to the Grand Staircase National Monument over Memorial Day, camping in the desert.  As you may know, the weather here has not cooperated this year.   It jumped from frigid winter to hot summer, bypassing Spring, bringing on flooding this weekend.  They're still skiing at Snowbird until the Fourth of July.   But I digress.   Back to the desert, which was blooming.
We hiked into Peek-A-Boo, Spooky, and Zebra, which are slot canyons.  Then we visited Devil's Garden, and experienced the ferocious winds that carved these formations.  Full force gale winds that day.   On the way home we detoured to Willis Creek, near Kodachrome Basin.    It would be difficult for me to decide which area was the most spectacular.   The only thing that could have made it better is having the Tennessee family there to share in the adventures.  They would have loved it, too.  (And those GIGANTIC marshmallows make really good s'mores!   We'll roast 'em when you get here next month.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flowers Again ?

Daily practice, aka new addiction.
Today's lesson was on tulips.  Then I attempted another flower, but didn't like it, so I turned it into tree blossoms.   I'm not sure I'm improving, but I'm having a blast.   Order your Christmas Cards early, LOL.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Learning a Lot, more flowers

Here is what I'm learning:
   It's still always about process, not product.
   There is a big difference between cold-pressed watercolor papers.
   Every brush acts differently, even if they're the same size and kind.
   I use too much pigment and paint, and not enough water.
And the number 1 thing I'm learning?  Painting flowers is addictive.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You, Too, Can Paint

Color Drop Flowers, by Martha Lever, started this week, so I practiced my first lesson.  They are so much fun to create, and the possibilities are endless.   I will probably paint obsessively for a week or two before moving on to the next thing, but for now, I'll post the "show and tell".  Just like the zentangle motto of "you can do anything, one stroke at a time," these flowers are the same principle.   Just follow along on the video, and voila! you, too, are a successful Artiste.

And check out the real artists, like Lori Vliegen, here.
For more information about classes, try Creative Workshops, where Martha teaches.
p.s.  I love that the nature quote of the day I posted this was "Earth laughs in flowers."  R.W. Emerson

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Gift of Good Friday

May I introduce the latest bud on the Family Tree?   Joining the other trees (Aspen, Cedar, and Olive), is Linden, born the evening of Good Friday.   We are so excited for another new one to love, and can't wait to meet him.
They wrapped him in Grandma's love offering just for the photo.
We adore those little ones.   Welcome to the world, Blessed Babe.
p.s.  Thank you to Aspen for this photo, which I stole from her blog.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Tribute to National Poetry Month with Billy Collins

In case you didn't know it yet, I am passionate about poetry.   Always have been.  I do not write it, but savor the reading, the scent and taste of the words.  Poetry should be read aloud, always, and repeated often.  I suggest memorizing, (unless you're my age and you'll relate to this poem).
Then, keep reading for some further amusement by Billy Collins.


The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

If you don't know Billy Collins, you can hear him read one of his most famous:  "Litany" here on You Tube

Now, in case you haven't met the You Tube three-year-old sensation, here he is reciting the same poem.
I recommend you enjoy all of his poetry.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Parting with my children

    Probably because I've never identified myself as an artist, I've had trouble parting with the things I've created (yes, especially my offspring, who are both fabulous artists).  I'm referring here to things I've made and crafted.  What does one do with all the "stuff" of creation?   My attachment to successful endeavors is now becoming a problem to be solved, so this year I resolved to USE UP what I've collected.   If you've followed this blog, you know that last month, I cut up my tie-dyed fabric to use in fabric books.  Last week I cut up some marbled paper I made.   And as I told my seat-mate, Nancy, at our calligraphy workshop, I'm humbly proud of the results.
   As is the tradition for a Utah Calligraphic Artist's workshop, each participant has a role to play.  This year I was assigned the "Thank You" book for Mike Kesceg's Pointed Pen extravaganza.   The guild has waited FOUR YEARS for him, and the wait was worth it.   He is probably one of the most technically perfect pointed pen experts, internationally.   Here is one of the greatest ideas, and the thing that made it worth the time, effort, and money:  "Make it your own.   Don't do it just because this is how someone else does it, find your own unique style.   And then be consistent."  Can I tell you how many workshops I've attended with the opposite message?   Most of them.    So it was refreshing to have PERMISSION to be uniquely, individually, if I need permission.   How can anyone ever be something they're not?   I've spent a lifetime trying, and finally have given up.
So, here is my thank you book, with the disclaimer that a few unique individuals did it their own way, and so the book has a random quality not planned (but since I'm random, I guess it only follows.)
This is a tag book, aka flag book.  The blue and green tags were supposed to be opening to the right, and the buff colored was supposed to "flag" to the left.   I didn't have the heart to make people do it over, so we just "went with it."

What does this book have to do with the blog title of parting with my children?  Well, the marbled paper is one I made, so it's one of my "children",  and I cut up the original for the book cover, without making a copy.    (The Clutter Rehab book I'm working with suggests saving only photos of things we like.)   The lower photo is not quite color accurate, but you get the gist, and the opened flag book is more true to color.    It was tied closed with blue grosgrain ribbon.  The size was about 6 3/4 by 4 1/4, opening up to about  15 inches.
Now, all I need to do is get rid of the children in my house that look like books, or greeting cards, or paste paper, or monoprints, or ......

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Updated Tie Dyed Book

Just thought I'd show the finished product of the painted pages book from a few posts ago.
It's funky fun.  The color is slightly yellower/golder than appears on my screen.  It does match the painted pages which I recopied here below.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Book, New Favorite

I'm lovin' my renewed interest in bookbinding.   It just so happens I know a few experts, whose brains I can pick.  So far, I haven't been able to obtain the skill of perfection, so I'm practicing my zen art of perfectly imperfect, perfectly human.   It's a lifelong practice.   Maybe I've practiced imperfection so long, I'm perfect at it?  O.K. enough and moving on.
  This one is called a naked book.  I'm not sure why.    The text block is sewn with the French Link Stitch, then the paste down is tipped on, and a "crash", or "mull" is added.   
  The binder's board is glued to a strip of book cloth (which will be the spine), then glazed with gesso.  With a palette knife, spread modeling paste (not molding paste), and texture it with scratches, stamps, texturing tools, plastic canvas, or whatever...fingernails?  toothpicks?   Let it dry for a long time.  Lightly sand, just to take down the rough edges.  Lightly glaze with layers of acrylic, starting from light, to dark, using a sponge.  Don't add too much liquid, or the modeling paste starts to soak it up.  Then connect text block to cover using PVA glue.  Shine it up with some Rub N Buff.   If you don't understand these instructions, sign up for a local bookbinding class.  You will love it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March Madness, just not basketball

In Utah, March Madness is the whimsy of the weather.  Of course, it snowed again this weekend, the first of Spring.  Two weeks ago, we had the biggest storm of the season, (above) and the ski resorts are reporting 140 inches of snow pack.  
When cabin fever sets in, to keep from going "stark raving", we turn to hobbies, arts and crafts.
John has put his collection of tools and skills to work in the garage, building another sea kayak.
She's blond this time.

I've been making some books and practicing my calligraphy.  
This year, UCA has chosen the theme of "Uncial-ity with Personality", and they're giving prizes away for people who practice.  Translated, that means they give us homework with incentives.
Our assignment was to use a Speedball nib C-0 with a one line quote which we turned into an accordion fold book.  

The unabridged quote is "Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard."  Anne Sexton
I found it on Jill Badonsky's Muse Letter, and I like it.  We colored the quotes with pencils.  The lettering looks warped, but that's the accordion fold distorting the image.
My friend, Judy, teaches bookbinding, so I learned the "Sweet Binding" with French Link Stitch.  The great thing about an exposed binding is that the book lays flat when opened.

Then I painted pages for a journal, and sewed them together with the link stitch.  I'm not sure what kind of cover yet, but I'm thinking of some tie dyed fabric.

 And finally, with a new grandson coming along next month, I'd better get the blankets going.
Here's a sneak peek.
Now it's time to clean up.  Which may take until summer.
Happy Springing, everyone.