Monday, August 29, 2011

yard sale scores

Cruising home from someplace or other on Sunday, we spied a yard sale. I moseyed around and found a box of dominoes with little metal studs in the center of each one for $2. I haven't yet done any altered dominoes so I have no idea if they always come with metal bits in the center or if these are a bit different.

It occurred to me that it might make them more difficult to glue things to since the metal is raised a little, but I like the look of them.

Then I took a look at the furniture. We always need office chairs at work since people crash down into them in ways chairs were never meant to be sat upon, so I took a quick look at the chairs he had. They were in good shape, had lots of cool adjustment features and were only 15 bucks a piece. As my husband wrestled them into the back of my RAV4, I noticed he was working at it a bit more than usual.

Didn't eat his Wheaties this morning I thought to myself. Then we got them home and I looked at the bottom of one.

Steelcase. Selling new for $849. Holy Sh*t!

I later found them for $349, on sale for $199, but still - I got them for $15 each and they'll last forever. Needless to say, they never went to work. I'm sitting in one right now...

while walking the dog

I often take my camera when I run the dog around the block each morning before running off to work, but I mostly forget to ever get it out of my pocket and actually take a picture or two. Yesterday I remembered.

 Gorgeous bougainvillea in the sun, a bit blown out by the light, glowing pink.

Sun thru a red maple or some sort of red-leaved tree.

Lovely pink tinged white rose. 

Lipstick pink rose, one of 50 on the bush.

Faded glory...

Kid down the street did the edge of every piece of pavement
near his house. Looks like lace.
The half barrel in front of my house.

Monday, August 22, 2011

vintage gluebook pages swap

I signed up for Mary Green's vintage gluebook pages swap. Gluebooks may appear simple at first glance - no ink, no stamps, no embellishments, nothing but paper - but a good gluebook page has balanced composition, a cohesive color scheme, and a story to tell. The swap is for 6 pages, 5"x7" each, using actual vintage paper or copies of actual vintage paper. Since I'm working on 'using it', not storing it for posterity, I cut some 140lb watercolor paper to 5x7, got out my drawer of vintage papers - old ledger sheets, book pages, vintage dictionary pages, sheet music, labels from old crochet threads, postage stamps - and went to work.

Based on a previous class I'd taken of Mary's, I did my backgrounds first. A strip of text, a strip of map or floral paper, maybe some sheet music. Once those were dry and flat, I started going thru my old images of women mostly, but I found a little girl I liked and a class picture from a school and a trio of girls. I began playing with layouts and 'extras,' the little bits that round out the composition and add to the story. I ended up with the following 7 pages - 6 for the swap and one for Mary. I'll let her choose which one to keep.

I like a few of these well enough that I may make a second round so that I can keep a couple cause the problem with using real vintage paper is that once you use it, it's gone for good. You can get the same look with a copy of it, but you never get the same feel that you do with the real thing. Everything is offset slightly to the right because holes will be punched along the left margins so that they can be bound with rings and a cover from Mary that's included in the swap.

Which ones do you like best?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


August's theme in my little (3 person) mail art swap group was cowgirls and we all did cool cards, if I do say so myself.
 First up is the back of Beth's envelope to me. This one was made digitally, with lots of different boots, a cool font, and of course lots of cowgirls.

I like the little HANDMADE stamp at lower left, with the bird carrying the envelope. The flourishes work well also.

On the front, the rope around the address was a cool idea, and the little stamp with Dale Evans and her horse Buttermilk.

How I longed to be Dale Evans when I was a kid. Just ride the range all day on a pretty horse and get saved from all my predicaments by good ole Roy. I've outgrown my hankering for Roy but I still love buckskin horses.

Jewels made a postcard this time, as did I. She, too, employed Dale Evans on her card with the quote. I love the background papers on this card. The little stars are punched out of the pink so that the gold card can show thru. Love it!

The cowgirl image is great, tugging on her fringey gloves with that huge hat and her blase expression. I love the colors of this card and can imagine a dusty old parlor in those faded shades.

My cards used the same images to both Beth and Jewels, and mostly the same words. I sealed the card with gel gloss and varnish so it was difficult to get a decent shot, but it says "a cowgirl is..." and then each image has a word or phrase on it - clockwise from top right - athletic (bent over backwards on a galloping horse!), adaptable (riding sidesaddle), friendly (a smiling Dale Evans), as cool as her horse (girl and horse with one leg crossed over their knee - amazing!), and lastly, brave (holding a gun).

I doodled here and there, and added bits of ancient paper that barely held together long enough for me to get it glued to the card. I sewed around everything, then sewed the card around the edges to a lightly larger card to hide all the back stitching.

Great swap!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

in which I paint... more or less

My mom was a good artist. She worked in oils mostly and I grew up with the smell of turpentine in the air. She decorated all the cards she sent me after I moved out of the house and she moved to Ohio. She was doing mail art long before we knew it had a name. I have all those in a drawer and since they mean nothing to anyone but me, I'll begin to use them in my journals.

I also have many of her paintings - some weird avant-garde cats in non-cat colors of turquoise and lime green, scruffy little owls painted on old boards, still lifes of fruit in earthenware bowls, old barns standing in fields. I have them hanging all over my house and enjoy looking at them. I can remember some of them on the easel when I was a kid.

Unfortunately, artistic talent must skip a generation, like baldness, because I don't have much of it, at least in the painting/drawing realm. I haven't worked real hard at it, but I'm definitely not a natural, like she was. But I recently bought the book Nature Inspired by Tracie Lyn Huskamp. In it, she shows a variety of ways to capture nature in your work - photography, leaf rubbings, sun prints, flower pounding, and, yes, painting.

She has you trace the rough form, transfer it to muslin, and then just... paint. I kept the book on my end table for weeks and I'd look at it in the evening while DH watched bad sci-si. (did you know that 'bad sci-fi' is a genre all its own?) and I kept coming back to the painting pages. She uses birds as her examples, and I really wanted to paint a bird. So... the other night I did it. I slowed down my usual rush-thru-things tendency long enough to actually paint something that doesn't look like an alien you can tell is a bird.

The bird in the book on the left - my bird on the right. Can you even tell the difference??!?!?

His head is blurry cause I had too much water at first, but you cut the bird out and glue or stitch it into your journal, so the bad part will be cut away.

I'm ridiculously pleased with him.

Here's the cover of the book with my bird and palette. I had paint left, so since I was channeling Monet on such a roll, I painted some flowers! The pen outline and charcoal shading really help make these look like flowers.

They're on cold press w/c paper that'll eventually be bound into a nature journal, along with this pink flower haiku spread and a few others I've finished so far. I've been collecting garden/nature images, ephemera, etc for a while and am about ready to dive into my envelope of goodies and do some collage spreads.

I recommend this book, by the way. It's full of good tutorials and thoughtful prose about how to collect and preserve bits of nature for your journal or several other projects that she gives directions for. It'd be a nice gift for any artsy nature lover on your Christmas list. No affiliation, yadda, yadda - just happy with the book.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

one of these days

You ever have one of those days where, for no particular reason, you just wanna sit around listening to old Neil Young and cry?

I'm havin' one...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Lenna's creative swaps

I've done several of Lenna's swaps since I discovered them. The Little Books swap. The Vintage Notecards swap, which I apparently have failed to blog about. <sigh> The Mail Art swap, also no blog post. I guess that was before I was blogging more regularly. Or it happened when work was crazy ass busy, or something.

Anyway, Lenna has hit the milestone of 1000 blog posts, so she's having a giveaway. I sort of hate to give you the link cause it will just reduce my odds of winning, but I shouldn't be so stingy, huh?

All right - here it is.

The Creative Swaps button is in my right sidebar, as well.

Thanks for great swaps, Lenna!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

misc pics

So much to post about and so little time... so here's some misc pictures instead! The first four are from this morning's dog walk, the next two are just... weird.
Jewel of the Nile (agapanthus)

Maggie footprints

spider plant with droplets

crape myrtle against roses - looks blurry small but the very center is in focus

6:30am this morning by the back patio door

Winnie giving me the evil eye from his cage door