December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Arizona Desert

and have a wonderful holiday season!!! we took a trip last weekend to see some more of Arizona, and these pics are just the start...
"The White Dove of the Desert"
San Xavier Del Bac Mission, just 9 miles south of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation-it was completed in the year 1797.
The interior of the mission- it is still a working Catholic church, but also open to the public. There are well over 50 (?) statues and carvings of saints, angels, and apostles inside, and wonderful folk art paintings on most of the flat surfaces.
Our Lady of Guadalupe a view of the exterior gardens

December 11, 2008

the gift of friendship...

The importance of friendship and relationships are things I’ve been thinking about more lately, and these comic strips struck a chord when I saw them in my e-mail recently (click photo to enlarge):

I know they’re related to Thanksgiving, but I thought they were particularly fitting now, since we’re in the midst of the Christmas holiday season and friendship is totally in keeping with the holiday spirit… It’s difficult sometimes, when the hustle and bustle of “the daily grind” gets in the way, to focus on the good things instead of the guy who just cut me off in traffic, but I do try to be positive most of the time. Someone suggested recently to fit “gratitude” into my daily life: every day, think of three things you’re grateful for- no matter how small they are, or how bad of a day you’re having, they’re there, if you think about it.

So, lately, I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am for the gift of friendship…

I’m grateful to have found an extended network of artists and creative people (both on the internet through the wonderful world of blogging, and in the "real" world by attending Art Unraveled the past two years) and to continue expanding those relationships. Over the course of the summer, I’ve become part of a group of artists who meet once a month to work on projects, teach and learn new techniques, and socialize. Early on there were times that I couldn’t attend, but I now make every effort to fit it into my schedule because I’ve realized how important this creative community camaraderie and companionship (how's that for alliteration?!?) is to my “inner artist”.

Plus, it’s just plain fun to hang around with a group of like-minded people! People who get just as excited as I do about vintage photos of strangers, a beat-up old textbook, or a “new-to-you” back issue of an art magazine, because we have a different mindset about the “untapped possibility” inherent in these things that other people sometimes can’t quite grasp.

I’m also fortunate that Tom understands how much this aspect of my personality means to me, and that he does what he can to accommodate it. He's even gone so far as to arrange his out-of-town business travel to be home when these meetings are scheduled (if at all possible) so I can be away from home and the dogs in the evening. (Having dogs is just like having kids, you know, when it comes to scheduling things- the only difference with dogs is they never ask to borrow the car keys!)

Tom and I have been through a lot in the (almost) five years we’ve known each other (including moving across the country, and the passing on of my two beloved kitties) but that’s a post for another time, because there’s way too much to say about the last five years for this post- for now, I’ll just say that I’m continually grateful that I share my life with my best and closest friend.

So, if you’ve read this far, thanks for sticking with me!! And think about what you’re grateful for today, or maybe call up an old (or new) friend and let them know how important their friendship is to you.

December 03, 2008

for beautiful photos...

of Autumn in Illinois click here: I've already added this gorgeous blog to my list, and will go back to browse more photos later, but I wanted to put the link out there. (Mom, I think you would looove all the bird and wildlife photos!!) more later...

November 29, 2008

thankful 2008

okay, so this is a Thanksgiving weekend post, not a Thanksgiving Day post, but I'm still just as thankful...

for my family- for my Thomas (I can't put it into words without sounding sappy, so I won't even try); for the furry companions we share our lives with, both canine and feline; for my family members all across the midwest (even though we don't get together very often any more); for my friends, both new and old... companionship of all sorts makes this journey through life sooo much more interesting!

(Bisbee is sacked out on the couch next to Tom... she's the funniest dog ever!) Sedona, patiently waiting for me to take her picture, so she could get up... I never knew I was a "dog person" before we got her; I'd only ever thought I was a cat person, but dogs are so much more sociable than cats... one's not better than the other, it's just different. Plus it's just a riot, watching Sedona and Bisbee play together (there's no way I could get pictures of that, though, so you'll just have to trust that it's hilarious)!
I'm thankful that we have a comfortable home, decent jobs, medical benefits, and the means to have the things we like in order to to be comfortable... (this is the "Before" picture of our Thanksgiving Day spread, which included roast duck, a wonderful bottle of Shiraz wine, sweet potato casserole, a relish tray, and homemade bread). I'm also thankful we live in such a beautiful (although seemingly inhospitable) part of the country, and that I have a chance to see Nature's majesty every day when I drive through the desert.

I'm thankful that I have a creative personality, and an outlet for all the ideas that float around in my head... every once in a while I talk to people who have pursuits that aren't creative/artistic at all, and they give me a weird look when I tell them that I like to spend my time painting, cutting, and pasting. I can't imagine NOT being like this!!

(I'm also thankful that both our employers gave us a 4-day weekend, and that we don't have to get up early tomorrow!)

November 27, 2008

what next??

art continues, on and off... I paint lots of backgrounds, and they wait until I'm inspired to finish them. I'm okay with that; some of them get finished, and some may not ever be "finished" but the painting and background collage is theraputic in and of itself, even without the "journaling" on the page. I have done a few more introspective layouts lately, though; below is one of them. The layout started with layered acrylics and drybrushed gesso. I added glitter glue to the edges, along with some black Staz-On stamping. (don't expect stamping over glitter glue to work very well, because I found out, it doesn't!) The theme of this layout was "The Meaning of Artist" to explore what I think about the word "artist," because I'm uncomfortable calling myself an artist... It was done as homework for something I've got going on right now... homework, you ask??

Why, yes, homework (or better yet, fieldwork- I don't like the word homework, it sounds too much like school). Anyway, this all started at Art Unraveled, when through a sort of complicated course of events, I won a gift certificate. It was for four free sessions with Reva Solomon, who gave the keynote speech at AU this year- she's a writer and professional life coach based in Los Angeles. She works with all sorts of professional and creative people, has written plays, books, and has worked in television for many years.

I was hesitant about it at first, but we just had our fourth session, and I've gotten sooo much out of them!! I've been exploring how my creativity fits into all aspects of my life and personality, and am starting to work on what "direction" I want to go from here... do I want to teach classes? get published? sell at shows?? I have no firm ideas yet, but I'm okay with that- part of what I've realized is that a creative life isn't only about the results, but it's also about the journey you take to get there. And speaking of creative journeys, I started some journal pages last night that need some paint, I think... it's nice not having to worry about getting up tomorrow morning; I can work on them as late as I want!

November 24, 2008

weekend snuggling and "Snuggies"

our weekend was full of snuggling and Snuggies, so I thought I'd share some pics with you! It's hard to think that we've already had Pandora and Butters for just over a year... I am still amazed at how we got them- as easy as: walk into the pet store to look at dog toys, and walk out with two kittens! I guess it really is true that the Universe gives you what you need when you need it, because it was just about a month after we got them that we had to put Cleo to sleep... I think it was time for her to join Phoebe over the Rainbow Bridge- she was lonely the last year without Phoebe, and the dogs were just too energetic for her. Pandora and Butters, on the other hand, give as good as they get when it comes to the dogs. It always makes me laugh when the dog chases the cat thru the family room, they disappear into the living room, then come back, but on the return trip the cat is chasing the dog!! These pictures are somewhat deceptive; Pandora and Butters are ultra-cute and cuddly here, but they can be terrors when they want to be!! I have to keep the door to the art studio closed, otherwise you never know what will happen- Pandora lives up to her name; paintbrushes end up where you least expect them, pencils get shot around the floor like hockey pucks, and corners of paper, magazines, and books get chewed on until I bribe them with kitty treats, which is what they want. (like Tom says, they're pretty smart for something with a brain the size of a marble! And yet, they don't come when you call- why is that?? I know, I know, it's because they're cats...)
In order to "get" the pictures below, you have to first visit this website, the As-Seen-On-TV home of "the blanket with sleeves." It's one of those short info-mercial type things we've been seeing on TV lately. It's sort of ridiculous; buy a "Snuggie" and get a mini book light, free with purchase!! That was really hilarious to both of us, and set us off- why not an oil filter, or a free toaster, with your Snuggie- why stop at a book light?? (and that word "Snuggie" is just really funny sounding if you say it a couple of times... try it!) Anyway, I decided Bisbee needed a Snuggie of her own (because Sedona wouldn't have let me do it to her), so I went into the bedroom, pulled one of my tee-shirts out of the dresser, and put it on her:
She looked so ridiculous, I fell over laughing and made Tom get the camera right away!! I had no idea she would be literally swimming in my tee-shirt... it's short sleeved, but the sleeves are longer than her legs!! (the poor girl; she's looking at the camera like "what did I do; why are you laughing?!?")
So, whaddya think- is the "Sheltie Snuggie" the wave of the future?? It definitely wins the cuteness award, at least! (or maybe it's just Bisbee's cute, furry face that helps it out!!) Have a good (short!!) workweek, everyone, and enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving full of gratitude, companionship, and good food!! (I think I'm actually going to brave the crowds on Friday and go shopping... my favorite local stamp store, Frenzy Stamper, e-mailed a special 20% off coupon- how could I not?? If I do manage to survive Black Friday, I'll be sure to show you my spoils!!)

November 23, 2008

Christmas comes to Crimson Cat on Etsy

I've added some holiday items to my Etsy shop; it was looking a bit bare after a summer of neglecting it, and I love Christmas!! (and I love paper... all the tags and ornaments that I make are paper-based, with an added twist of some sort!) This Victorian angel ornament is highlighted with metallic pen, gold leafing pen, and glitter. It was made to mimic the antique German scrap ornaments made with batting, paper, and glitter; I love them, but they're certainly hard to find nowadays! The edging is ruffled tissue paper that I basted and gathered into a ruffle before gluing to the ornament. I like how this turned out, although the basting was a bit tedious- tissue paper is fragile! I also have another angel (pink and dark blue, with silver accents) in my shop.
This Victorian girl is definitely full of sparkle! She started out life as the lid from an orange juice can, if you can believe that! It was covered in glue, then glittered with extra-fine art glitter. The sequins were glued onto the edge one by one with E6000 adhesive, which was definitely a time-consuming job, also, but I think the edging definitely makes the ornament. The back is decorated with scrapbook paper and a punched-paper pointsettia, so it looks good from all angles. I also have a glittery Santa Claus ornament in my shop, decorated with real mica snow. (Showing these is making me get antsy to pull out all of our decorations, but I think we'll wait till at least the day after Thanksgiving... not much longer than that, though!)
I always like decorating gift tags, even for my own gift-giving. (It also makes the gift-wrapping a lot simpler; wrap the gift with plain brown kraft paper, or plain white tissue, tie on a decorated tag, and you're done!! These two pictures show two sets of tags- the first uses cancelled postage stamp snowflakes to strike a wintry theme, and the second is decorated with antique gold embossing powder Christmas trees in a non-traditional color scheme.
This preview of Christmas also makes me think that I haven't designed my Christmas cards yet... I think I'd better get to work!! (I'll show you what they look like when I get them done, which better be soon, hmmm??)

November 19, 2008

I'm back...

to Etsy! check out my shop here. ...after taking the summer off, to deal with 10-hour days at work (lots of overtime), a new puppy, and too much to do in not enough time, generally, I finally decided to get back into it. On-line selling definitely takes some varied skills, from photography to copy-writing to marketing, and I hope to keep the shop updated more regularly this winter. I'm also going to be de-stashing some of my (gently) used art books and back issues of magazines, once I figure out media-mail postage rates.

November 18, 2008

AU swap page madness

This was the scene in our house last week as I scrambled to finish my pages for the Art Unraveled Technique chunky book swap. I was very ambitious in my page design, so it took more time than I thought (of course, like everything). I made 30 pages total, 4 x 4 inches, but they were painted on both sides (all slightly different abstract designs), and each page also had an ATC-sized (2.5 x 3.5 inches) mini-book containing 10 pages, decorated with art related quotes and other ephemera.

So, the last night before the mailing deadline, the dining room table looked like Hurricane Paper had hit, and it was definitely a Category 5! Every space was covered, and most of it was more than one layer... I was looking for my collected postage stamps, or the cigar bands, and would have to lift up four or piles of paper, scraps, and dyed paper towels before I'd find them. I work best when I can see my supplies (unfortunately, though, working this way means everything ends up piled around my work space).

But I got them finished, and packaged for shipping, as you can see below. (I would have liked to do more decorating in the mini-books, but I had to draw the line somewhere.) The return pages have already been sent out,; I got mine already (since the hostess is in the Phoenix area) and they're great!! All the pages are inspired by techniques learned in various classes, and they range from funky fabric bead decorations to etched metal and aged patinas. The swap hostess even made wonderful decorated covers for us, so all we have to do is bind the book together, in any fashion we choose.I don't want to show them just yet, though; I want to wait a little longer to give the mail a chance to catch up to farther-away participants! (so, you'll have to wait, but I promise to show them soon...)
I also have been working in my journals, since I had all the paint and paper out... the pages below are decorated with a very simple stamp that I got for free- a wine cork! Well, okay, not free, technically, since we had to buy (and drink!!) the wine, but they do make great impressions. Some people also use corks to make some pretty neat carved stamp designs, but I haven't ventured into this yet; it's a pretty small space for carving, in my opinion.
I use coated paper plates as paint palettes; I squeeze 4-6 colors onto the plate, and leave small spaces for mixing the different shades. Eventually the colors get a bit mixed up, so these circles are swirls of marbled acrylic from the paint leftovers on my "palette" (the paper plate).
I may do more (painting, stamping, etc) to these pages before I journal on them, or not... I tend to prepare backgrounds, then let them "sit" for a while till I get inspiration for journaling on them, or inspiration for the next layer of color.

November 14, 2008

and I thought my pink bathtub was bad!!

check out this link: if you're in the market for a house (or if you just want a laugh). actual photos of "interesting" real-estate listings from all over the world, for our enjoyment... I guess the 1950s pink bathtub in my house wasn't so bad, after all!! have a good weekend, and once I get out from under the avalanche of supplies left over from finishing my Art Unraveled chunky book swap pages, I will post again!

November 03, 2008

a weekend in pictures-

Before: a creative project of a different sort- After: (oatmeal scotchies bar cookies... very tasty!)
It's mine!!
No, it's mine!!
Glimpses of my desk- Art Unraveled Chunky Book Swap Pages, in progress:
backgrounds, bookbinding thread, and printed quotes:
paint, glue, rubber stamps, and various papers... It doesn't look like much right now, I know, but I know where it all is! (or at least most of it, anyway...)

October 31, 2008

another link that I want to remember...

to a blog and a documentary film about women artists and creativity, found via Kelly Kilmer's blog. Who Does She Think She Is? blog here. Film info here. have a good weekend!

October 30, 2008

must read.

go read this blog post. very profound. excuse me while I go back to the cacophony of my daily life: cell phone in my pocket, all sorts of mechanical noises, people talking about all sorts of topics at the same time, 2 radios blaring at once on different stations, and computers everywhere beeping and clicking away.

But this afternoon, when I get home, I am taking the dogs out for a walk. While the repair man fixes our TV. (... gotta start small, I guess. lol!)

October 28, 2008

more treats!!

My collage pack of paper finally arrived from Kelly Kilmer!! I've been on pins and needles waiting for this package to be delivered. It was really difficult, but I actually managed to wait till we got the groceries put away and made the guacamole before I opened the box. (it sort of prolonged the anticipation, since I knew it was finally here and I could open it whenever I wanted...) Kelly always has a great selection of paper whenever she teaches classes, and picks up paper from the local stores when she travels... occasionally, she goes thru her stash and puts together grab-bag selections of paper for sale. I was really excited to see the sale announcement on her blog again, since I missed out the first time around. a great selection of exotic patterned handmade papers, vintage book pages, collage images, labels, and more... a couple papers even have a flocked pattern. At the top of this picture is a really neat piece; it's very thin, and has a wax design applied to make a batik resist pattern... the wax makes the pattern transparent. wonderful printed tissue paper, colorful Japanese floral patterns, and some really cute Japanese notepaper... do you see the pink tissue with the roses there in the middle, under the vintage road map? I love that pink piece; it's probably a wedding themed paper, but to me, it says "retro-1950s" journal page.
It ended up being a really colorful avalanche across the dining room table, once I got it all spread out. I looked thru it once, but I'm sure I missed seeing a few things, so I will definitely go thru it again before I put it away. Tom asked "so, do you know what you're going to do with it?" which is a question I don't really have an answer to, of course (other than drool over the wonderful colors and patterns, that is), but I have lots of ideas starting to buzz around in my head. There are some great floral patterns, so maybe I'll get started on my altered book, since the theme I have in mind for that project is nature and flowers... then again, I do want to make a couple journal pages... or I could make a couple mail-art postcards... So many choices; so little space on my crafting table to start any of these projects! (I guess that means I'll have to finish something I'm already working on, and maybe even clean a little, huh?!?)

trick or treat??

Treat, for sure!! No tricks here; just a bit of chopping and mixing after a trip to the grocery store on the way home from work...

...and voila! you have fresh guacomole. It's really not hard to make, at all. Avocados were on sale at the store, and we had all the rest of the fixings at home in the fridge.

Definitely patio weather; why stay inside when it's such a beautiful afternoon?? It was a little warm, with no breeze blowing. (can you believe it's the end of October, and we still have the A/C on?? No matter how long we live here, I don't think I'll ever get used to that...)
There's nothing like relaxing after work with a cigar on the patio... here, Tom waits (somewhat patiently) to enjoy the fruits of his labor, since he's the one who made the guacamole. He put up with my "no, move your glass a little to the left" and "oh wait, now you need to move a little" while I composed the photograph. Pandora is hanging out on top of the chair right inside the screen door, wishing she could come outside, but no luck. (The cats can get into stuff out in the yard, or actually get out of the yard! so we need to keep an eye on them when they're outside, and we wanted to relax.)
My plate: chips (with extra salt on the chips, of course!!), fresh guacamole, and a margarita with a splash of Grand Marnier for added flavor. What a wonderful way to end a run-of-the-mill Tuesday!!

October 26, 2008

an eventful weekend!

Most weekends are pretty tame around our house; we usually just hang around the house and relax, recovering from the week's stresses and recharging for the week ahead. (Of course, there's no sleeping in, because the dogs' stomach alarm clocks go off, even if ours don't... usually they get their breakfast then get put back in their crates, so we can sleep for a little while longer, till the cats start jumping on us.)

Yesterday I did have to go in to work (up at 3:15 am, at work by 5 am, out by 11:00 am... not that bad, except for getting up early). On my way home from work, I braved the Saturday crowd at the grocery store- not by choice, believe me, but I hadn't done a major shopping trip in a while. When I got home, we relaxed in front of a movie (the new Hulk movie; it was pretty good). After the movie, I worked for a while on my AU technique pages for the swap... I still have some painting to do, then it will be mostly assembly.

We had set up the telescope for some stargazing last night, but never got around to it, unfortunately. I went to bed around 10:30; shortly after that, Tom said "did you hear something??" because he thought he heard someone throwing a rock at the window. Nope, I didn't hear anything- I was sound asleep. But this morning, I found out what did make that noise: Turns out someone bashed one of our coachlights, probably with a baseball bat!! WTF?!? Turns out this is considered "Criminal Damage" actually, not vandalism... I found that out when I called the police to report it. Two officers came over to take the report, not that it will do much good, but... The day got muuuuch better after that, though- I spent a wonderful few hours of catching up and conversation with my friend Doreen over Champagne brunch at The Buttes resort in Tempe. This pic is a view off the patio at the Top of the Rock restaurant. The Buttes always has wonderful landscaping and flowers; every view is spectacular! I met Doreen over 15 years ago (!! Wow, it doesn't seem that long ago- where does the time go, anyway??) when I first started working at Abbott Laboratories in Chicago... she moved to Atlanta around the time we moved to Phoenix, so we've kept in touch via e-mail or phone calls since then. I was totally surprised when she called me on Friday night and said she was on I-10 about 100 miles west of Phoenix!! Turns out, she's spending a couple weeks in California for work, and decided to drive to Arizona for the weekend. (Next time, make it a longer trip, okay??)

Doreen and me on the patio outside the restaurant... I have issues with having my picture taken -I usually don't smile, or I shut my eyes- so we were lucky this turned out on the first try! (Our server was nice enough to take this for us- just part of the wonderful service you always get at Top of the Rock.) it was wonderful to sit and talk, and catch up on the last few years, althought it wasn't near enought time, since she had to head back to the Los Angeles area right after brunch. This picture is for Doreen: a view of Camelback mountain, with Mummy mountain to the left (although I will always think it looks like the camel's head, stretched out like he's taking a nap) and Papago Park on the right. (Doreen said she never reads blogs, though, so in order for her to see this picture, she will have to start with mine!!) Overall it wasn't one of those usual relaxing weekends, but it was a nice one, nonetheless.

October 23, 2008

links: gardens, books, and blogs- check them out!!

  • One of my very favorite bloggers, Posie Gets Cozy, visited Vancouver, B.C. recently... I have wanted to visit this public garden (fifty-five acres of gardens created out of an exhausted limestone quarry) for years, ever since I saw pictures of it in The Golden Age of American Gardens . This is of my favorite gardening/history books, actually- the historic photographs and hand-colored slides that are included are incredible.
  • Also, I stopped at Barnes & Noble yesterday, just to troll thru the crafting section... I need to get this book!!! I don't often feel that strongly about buying books, but this one looks amazing: check out the contents page; the scrapbook page shown at the top of it is from 1927! We tend to forget that "art journaling" and "scrapbooking" (the way we do it today) are modern trends, but they're not.
  • One more for you: I have heard of this blog, 37 days, many times before, but never really read any of it. I happened to stumble across this post: Voice your hops and drems a couple days ago, and it sort of smacked me right between the eyes. (Read this post to get the history behind the idea of 37 days.) She also has a new book out: Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally (which they did NOT have at Barnes & Noble yesterday when I was there, unfortunately... nor do they have any plans to get it what's up with that, anyway??)
  • Now that I've posted three times in two days, you probably won't hear from me for a week or two, given my past track record... I really need to finish up my Art Unraveled Chunky book pages, so I plan on devoting time this weekend to working on them. Of course, I get sidetracked easily, so I may work on some other things, too.

October 22, 2008

all at once...

my latest journal pages... lots of stuff seems to be happening "all at once" here, so I journaled about it in my composition book. It's a messy-looking layout, but I wanted it that way, and did it on purpose, to visually express my feelings about everything that's been going on. Mandatory overtime at my job, possible Saturday work (ick!), Tom gone most of the week on a business trip, car trouble requiring a tow truck, etc. etc. Basically there was too much to do, not enough time to do it, and it all came about at the same time. I know that's not really true- it's just easier to focus on the "bad" things so it only seems that way, but still, I'll be glad for a boring, non-eventful span of time...

  • This page is made with a lot of layering- the first layer was torn strips of scrapbook paper (light green, tan, and a burgundy stripe, if I recall correctly). I left it that way for a couple weeks, till I decided what to do next with it.
  • The second layer ended up being acrylic paint, applied during the class I took with Kelly Kilmer... I think I was trying to use up my paint before lunchtime, and started painting lots of pages by randomly layering color and scrubbing them with paper towels to expose some of the layers underneath. (Plus, I decided I didn't really like the torn scrapbook paper by itself, anyway, and wanted to cover it up.)
  • The third layer was stamping with StazOn jet black ink around the edges- a few random-looking pattern stamps including an abstract floral pattern, a criss-cross pattern, small black stripes, and a small circle pattern.
  • Fourth layer: magazine image (she's from a Gap ad, I think- I looked thru all three of the magazines in my collaging stash to find an image that fit with my page idea; if I hadn't found her, this page would probably have turned out really different). I glued her down with gel medium, not being careful with the gel at all; after all, this page is about how messy life can get, right?? I also smudged her with some of the black StazOn, and different colors of watercolor crayons. The watercolor crayon also picked up some of the texture from the dried gel medium, which I think is pretty cool. (oh- I made the stop sign from SB paper to cover up some text from the magazine page that I didn't want to show... necessity is the mother of invention, after all.)
  • The last layer(s) were created with pens- writing, and many, many scribbles with paint pens and souffle pens to also emphasize the "messy-ness" aspect. Plus, the scribbling was actually really fun to do!! Whenever I had a couple free minutes, but not enough time to work on anything more involved, I just added some scribbles to these pages- I highly recommend scribbling as a form of art therapy!
These two pictures are closeups, showing all the layering of paint, stamping, and pen scribbling...
Overall, I'm really happy about how this turned out- now, I'm looking forward to creating some tranquil, peaceful journal pages, because that means that things will have calmed down at our house! They already have calmed down, some... the car is repaired, Tom got home from his trip safely, and well, the overtime will help to pay for the car repairs (and some crafting supplies, of course- LOL!)

random snippets and links

I have finally realized that I will never be one of those bloggers who posts once a week, or once a day... I have good intentions, but life seems to get in the way of following thru... so, I post when I have the inspiration, and the time- thank you to the people who read and comment, in spite of my posting erratic-ness!! (is that a word?? not sure...)

Anyway, this post is to tide me over till (hopefully) this evening, when I can write a proper post, show you pictures of my latest art journal pages and also some random pictures I just found on the computer... oh, and I have been organizing my crafting space, too, and want to talk about that, too!

I worked on my computer cropping pictures while the TV repairman visited us yesterday afternoon; I hung out in the master bedroom with the dogs to keep them semi-quiet while he was workinig on the TV in the family room. (fyi, the TV still isn't fixed- the screws for the replacement part wouldn't fit into our TV for some strange reason, so he will have to come back again.)

Back to the reason for this particular post- I find random blogs and quotes when I surf, and want to remember them for later... plus, you might find something interesting, too!! blog about restaurant history

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” William James

“You cannot escape the dust in Arizona. We don't have dirt here. We have dust that is not moving right at the moment.” Tricia Scott’s blog: drawing, painting, life… wonderful photography, must visit again soon….interesting blog links! Ro Bruhn: Australian blogger- beading, painting, etc. also wonderful photography… more interesting blog links! Teesha Moore’s blog. (Circus is an appropriate way to describe her journaling style- her pages are chock-full of color and pattern.) Interesting-looking blog about handmade books (obviously, right??)

October 13, 2008

check this out- blogs I follow

Blogger has a new feature where you can list blogs you follow, so other people can see the blogs you read. I know that was NOT a grammatically correct sentence, but check out my profile here to see which blogs I keep track of... I do read more than this, but will need to do some additions to this list over time. Right now, I think I'm going to get out my collage papers and paint, and do some work on my AU Technique swap pages (Tom is on a 4-day business trip, so I can make a mess with impunity! as long as I clean it up by Thursday afternoon, that is...). I also did add some more journal page pics to my Flickr page, so check them out!!

October 11, 2008

how did that happen?? (a long post... you've been warned!)

(edited a few minor spelling errors- thanks to my BF, who pointed them out to me! It still surprises me sometimes that he- or anyone else, really- reads my blog... does anyone else feel this way sometimes??)

It went from being summer in Arizona (regular daytime high temps of 105F +) to fall (it's only supposed to be in the high 70s today...) in the blink of an eye! It was nice to finally see the end of the summer oven-like temps, though... waiting for the end of summer here is similar to waiting for spring back in the midwest- you're sick of the "same-ness" of the days, and can't wait for a change. At least here it's sunny most of the time instead of cloudy and gray, but to me, even sun gets boring after a while. Pretty soon, I'll be complaining that it's too cold!

(Anything under 70 F is cold to me; yes, I know I'm now officially a wimp when it comes to cold temperatures.) Hard to believe I used to live where you had to scrape frost off the windshield and let the car warm up for 15-20 minutes before it was even warm enough to sit down on the seat! I'll take hot over cold any day, now... you can always crank up the A/C, but I remember times when it took me two hours to shovel my driveway, and it seemed like I'd never be warm again!

And how did I go from being "afraid" of art journaling, worried about what kind of journal to buy, afraid of the white, blank page, to someone who now has 6 different books for journaling in, and two altered books waiting to be started?? That also happened in the blink of an eye, it seems- last summer was my first time at Art Unraveled, where I took my very first class with Kelly Kilmer... (I was so nervous- all those artsy people, who seemed to know soooo much more than I did!!) Since then, I've purchased and/or made all 6 of those journals, and I will be making another one in November, when Kelly's back in town to teach another class! (reminder to self: call Frenzy Stamper and sign up for that class.)

I work on pages and projects for a while, then realize I haven't taken pictures of any of them along the way... I also tend to get pages half-done, then they sit for a while till I get more inspiration, but I'm finally okay with that. I have finally (mostly, anyway) realized that art journaling, for me anyway, is as much about the art-making process than the words, if not more. And, I'm not so worried (most of the time) about whether the art on the page "goes" with the topic I want to write about. (Some of my pages are like that, but not all of them.)

It's hard to explain art journaling to someone who's never heard of it before; does anyone have a good explanation for non-artsy people that's easy for them to understand?? A couple of people have asked me about my doodling/artwork, and it's not easy to answer. So far, my standard answer is, "art journaling is sort of a cross between a diary and a sketch book" but I don't really like that explanation....

Anyway, on to the pictures... the pics below are from/of all but one of my current books; for more, check out my Flickr page (as soon as I get them posted, that is- hopefully later this evening or tomorrow). Now I know why I put off the photo/posting part of it- it's time consuming to take photos, edit and crop them, and then get them onto Flickr with all the tags, titles, etc. But it will get done!! (eventually)

This is the first "book" I bought to do art journaling in- it's one of those black and white composition books that you can get at any WalMart, etc. around back to school time for less than a dollar. It contains wide-ruled notebook paper, which isn't the greatest for painting on, but I started with it so I wouldn't "ruin" a "real" sketchbook if I didn't know what I was doing. (which seems kinda funny, now, because art journaling is doing whatever you want- there aren't really any rules!) I painted the front with my favorite mix of blues, green, pink, and purple, and the other favorite, stamping with bubble wrap. The arrow is a stencil from a 12x12 stencil sheet (technically for scrapbooking, I think), accented with gold leafing pen. Gold leafing pen also accents the zig-zag strip at the bottom (another of my favorite colors, a barn red.) The ribbon along the left edge was glued on to cover up the crappy painting job I did along the edge of the binding. (I can't take credit for that; I saw it somewhere on Flickr... but it works, doesn't it?)

This is my newest art store purchase, a 9 x 12 sketchbook containing 93 lb heavy weight sketch paper... much better for painting on; it doesn't wrinkle when its painted like the ruled composition book paper does! I remember back when I took that first class at AU with Kelly; I was so intimidated by that 10 x 14 piece of paper she gave us to work on- it seemed soooo enormous to me, I thought I'd never be able to work on anything that big! She said we could use a different size if we wanted; I think I folded and tore that 10 x 14 paper into at least quarter-sheets (remember, I started out rubber-stamping cards and making ATCs, so I was used to working 4.25 x 5.5 inches, or smaller). I recently purchased this sketchbook because the composition book pages were starting to feel too small to me! Decorating the cover is going to wait till I get inspired, but you can see some of the inside pages here (soon).

The above spread is from one of two "graffiti books" I made in a class with Kelly Kilmer last fall... painted, stenciled, monoprinted, and written on paper backgrounds that were cut up to become the book pages. The book pages were folded and stitched into two pamphlet-style books. (pics of both books I made in this class are here.) The class was a lot of fun, but for some reason, I was intimidated to actually use the book for anything. I think it was because there was already so much work on the backgrounds that I couldn't bring myself to cover them up with anything! (it sounds silly, I know, but that's what I thought.) So, this past weekend, I actually started working in it during another Kelly Kilmer class called What's Next??? where we worked in our own books. Now that I've broken the ice with this book, I have a theme in mind for it, and am ready to do the rest of the pages!

This is one spread out of the Avante Garde book I made at this year's Art Unraveled. I don't think I've posted pics of this book here yet, but I will soon... We made covers and a spine for the book from matboard, put together the cover, and filled the book with "found" papers- magazine pages, envelopes, receipts, text pages out of other books, anything you wanted to use. (again, this class was taught by Kelly Kilmer. I know, it sounds like I take a lot of classes with her, but I really haven't- I've only taken 4 so far; one of the other students in last weekend's class has taken 19 classes with Kelly, and I think that was only in the last couple years!!) This page is eventually going to be about the Beijing summer olympics... the dragon was out of an in-flight travel magazine; I found it in February, and it's perfect for this page, I think!

(a sort of related note: I find it really hard to throw anything away now; I always have an internal dialogue in my head when I go thru the mail: "would this be useful for anything art-related somewhere down the line??" You'd probably be amazed at some of the things I save... I'd probably keep more, except for the fact that I have limited space for crafting supplies. Perhaps my "paper and supply addiction" would be a good topic for a blog post??)

This page spread is out of the miniature avante-garde book made during the AU class; it's finished size is 3 x 6 inches, I think. It's a bit harder (for me, at least) to work on pages this small, but I've made a start- I covered a couple of the pages with random scraps of paper- magazine and catalog pages, vintage book text, scrapbooking paper, etc. and it will either be painted, or left as is... who knows??

After next month, I'll have another book to add to my collection, and I really do want to start working on the altered book project I have in my head... it's translating the ideas from my head to a finished project that I have a difficult time with, but perhaps that's a limitation that every creative person has?? (people sometimes say that if they won the lottery they'd get bored if they didn't work, but I don't think I'd have that problem for a loooong time, that's for sure- I have lots of ideas waiting to be worked on!!)