Saturday, May 25, 2013


Thank God irises bloom, in spite of my lack of attention!
A corner of our yard is an overgrown, abandoned garden.
It requires bulldozing to clear the area and start again
(no exaggeration)
and somehow we just don't get around to it.
I don't have the ability to operate heavy machinery
 and my husband is never home long enough to get it done.
So again, thank God for irises.
They add a refined beauty to our corner "wilderness".
I hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day Weekend!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Cat Man: An On-line Collaboration

Many years ago, I happily joined in a "Library Card Project",
headed by Femminismo.
(If you click on her blog's name, you can see her wonderful journaling and Haikus.)
Each participant was sent a library book pocket and an excerpt from a story she had written
and were asked to illustrate that bit of her story.
She now has the story published on her blog, along with her collection of illustrations.
It's a very cool story that I am honored to be a part of.
You can see it all here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Remember Me 'Til Niagra Falls

I love tacky vintage souvenirs.
I normally gravitate to souvenir plates, but when I saw this painted slice of wood,
I couldn't resist!
I got it for next to nothing at my favorite little thrift store, The Classic Shop.
Just as I thought, the Niagra Falls vista looks stunning hanging in my kitchen!
It's right at home with a Norman Rockwell calender
 (compliments of my local bank),
The Last Supper (on a plate)
and a reproduction wall phone that really works.
I don't know why, but the slice of wood made me think of painted saw blades.
The germ of a new collection...

Friday, May 3, 2013

One For the Record Books

No, this is not a photo taken during this past winter.
It was taken this morning.
May 3, 2013.
A record breaking May 3 snowfall not seen since 1905.
Normal for Canada, but not for Missouri.
It looks peaceful, serene, and even pretty.
But it's highly destructive!
(dramatic music- dum, dum, DUM!)
The trees have all leafed out, because it is spring (duh!)
so the heavy, wet snow had plenty to cling to.
This is our poor old maple littering our backyard, its crown splintered.
I hope we don't have to take it down--
it's the only thing between our house and the blistering summer sun
and helps our air conditioning bill.
Although I'm not running the a/c today!
A lot of trees in the area suffered similar damage--
the old hardwoods that can't bend much under extreme stress.
What's sad is that in a day the pretty snow will all be melted (or washed away by rain)
and only mud and the carnage will be left.
All from a 24 hour freak blizzard.
Life can change that fast.
On a lighter note, it's good to have a friend on a day like today.
I bought this tin of toxically bitter throat lozenges for the package.
Wouldn't you?
Just inhaling the vapors from the packet inside is enough to clear your sinuses!
Having the heat on in the house has made my throat dry (just like it's winter all over again)
and I tell ya, one of these babies numbs my throat and makes my sinuses feel like a wind tunnel!
If they didn't work so well, I'd have a hard time eating them.
They look like brown Necco Wafers and taste like Vicks VapoRub
laced with pure, black strap molasses.
The actual ingredients are eucalyptus oil and licorice with just a trace of sugar
(sugar is listed next to last)
How's that for a flavor sensation?
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Altered Books- My First Love

My first exposure to "altered" art was altered books.
So when I'm in the mood to create, I often default to altering yet another book.
I have a few started. Very few (maybe one?) completed.
(Can you relate?  I hope I'm not alone in this.)
I started this book about two weeks ago.
It's a little hardbound, pocket sized, book of Christian devotionals, copyrighted 1948.
I found it, while putting away a box of books, left from our move last December.
I don't use Christian themed books exclusively, but, I like to use them because,
1. I love God.
2. I love encouraging words.
3. I like to allow printed words to show through my art so
the words need to have a positive message.
4. A book with a positive message gives off a good vibe.
5. A book with a good vibe will more likely get worked in-- and maybe, just maybe,
 I will complete it. Or I will just really enjoy working in it a lot.
I admire people who paint in their books with wild abandon, but I am so uptight that I dislike wrinkled pages (and paint is so messy!) so in this book especially, I started with rubber stamped images (quick drying ink) and minimal collage (quick drying glue stick).  I don't like to plan a whole lot and doing messy art means I have to cover my desk and worry about spatters and pages sticking together, etc, etc.   I'm such a whiner, aren't I?
But, in this book, there's no mistaking that it's an actual book (the lettering shows through everywhere) and I like that the words become part of the design.
They are encourging, so I don't know if I want to hide them anyway.
Also I like to do folds and pockets which work better when the pages aren't encrusted with gesso and paint.  That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
There is no particular theme to this book, although I started with the vague idea of using some of my favorite rubber stamps-- ones that more often get used on a card or art that gets sent away for a swap or gift.  I have a lot of Asian stamps which, of course led to an Asian themed page, which led to another, because I chose to wrap a page edge in origami paper. My apologies to China and Japan for mixing your images like I don't know that your cultures have distinctions-- I cry "artistic license".
Technical notes:
*The best altered books start with a stitched, not glued, binding.
Peek into the spine and if you don't see clear signatures (folded groups of pages) or thread within the book, move on.  Glue cracks over time and your hard worked pages will fall out.
Also if the pages are brittle (break instead of crease), reject that book also. Brittle pages work better as collage material than as foundations for art.
*There are no rules.  But, you will thank yourself to prep your book a little.  I went through this devotional and tore out 3 full sheets of folded paper from the center of each signature.  The binding thread is relaxed, so the pages will open flat to be worked on, and the spine is relaxed so I can bulk up the pages with collaged elements and not have the book straining to close in the end.
Now go make something!