Wednesday, August 19, 2009

School Daze

Today is the first day of school. The children come in excited and wondering. I have worried all night about the little guy who came yesterday to open house with his baby brother’s blanket wrapped around his head and body. I never once see what he really looks like with his face all hidden in shadow like a six-year old grim reaper.


I love school! Always have…whether I’m a student or a teacher. Or both, because boy, do I learn a few things from these kids all the time.

These are the things I love now: the smell of newly sharpened pencils or a brand new box of crayons. But the best smell is so wonderful: a brand new book! When I get new books, I always have to take a whiff; don’t you? The most wonderful books seem to be children’s books with gorgeous pictures. In a workshop I learned that the smell is clay that is used to “fill-in” the paper. No wonder it has such a heavenly aroma. I love clay, too! Go ahead. Find a lovely new illustrated children’s book, open it, and sniff. Hmmmm. Better than freshly baked bread.

I love little girl outfits. They’re so cute and colorful. I love slicked back, braided or curled hair on little kids….especially the ones that look like smack ramen noodles. What do YOU love about school…or taking classes?

A special acknowledgement has to go to The Graphics Fairy. Actually the Graphic Angel is more like it because her vintage photos and ephemera are so lovely, and she is so generously giving. I’m still learning about blogging so I don’t know how to make this a link to her blog. But go there. It’s wonderful. Just do it now….or you’ll have to put your heads down on your desk!

The Last Blog of Summer

I know in lots of places it’s still summer, but here on the Wasatch Front there’s a nip in the air and it smells like fall.  This has been an amazing summer:  I learned to blog, began to learn mixed media art, learned to make glass slide charms, began jewelry making, learned to make video yearbooks for my 1st grade class, designed and created my daughter’s Wicked Which costume and visited with all my children and families I love.
I’m sharing 2 of the photos I took in Seaside that I wasn’t able to before.  But thanks to my brilliantly witty and satirical son-in-law (AKA The Northwest Randomizer), I have been tutored through bypassing the Nero Photo Shop which ALWAYS shuts down my computer.  And just when I get going good, too.

This is where I stood on shore and thought of Anne Elliot on her birthday.
The sand here is so soft and powdery.  Just thinking about it, I can almost feel my feet sink down into its cool cushion.
My overhead fan is on too, so I’m imagining it’s the gentle ocean breezes blowing across my face and ruffling my hair.
The Carousel
The thought of a carousel smack dab in the middle of a mall is so amazing to me.   There’s something dreamlike and magical about the music and lights and beautiful horses.
We also rode the Tilt-a-whirl.  My favorite!  The last time I was on one was with my sister, just 3 short months before she lost her life to cancer.
I’m so amazed that my hubby condescended to go on it with me.  Looking at him, I see he is quite green around the gills, gritting his teeth through his grimace.  His only words:  “We should have done this BEFORE we ate at Pigs in the Pantry.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Anne Elliot’s Birthday

What a lovely celebration I shared with my daughter, The Little White Attic.  I reread Jane Austen’s Persuasionpersuasion.  While my daughter painted 2 lovely pictures of Anne at the sea, I actually went to Seaside and took some gorgeous photos of the sunset there.  I, too, looked out at the ocean through a telescope and thought of Anne in Bath or Lyme.
At midnight on the night of Anne’s birthday, we watched Persuasion and then worked on charms.  I’m presently beginning work on my jewelry pieces for the Everything Austen challenge, and I’m happy in the knowledge that I’ve completed #1 on my list.
Did you notice the Austen heroine quiz on my sidebar?  Well, Anne is the woman I’d like to be like….she didn’t complain or hold a grudge.  She didn’t feel sorry for herself even when her family treated her like something you’d throw out with the litter box.  She truly cared for others and forgave everyone.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wicked Costuming

These are shots I took of the witch costume I made for my daughter for her part as the wicked witch in The Wizard of OZ.

She brought me a tall velvet hat she purchased that was too tall and too wide in the brim. It was such a pain! Lots harder than the dress--mostly because of the unpicking (@#@+), cutting of wire that is clotheshanger thick, removing wires, recutting and resewing of the brim and point. It was all worth it, though. I think she looks fabulous!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wicked Witch of the West

Something so exciting began this summer. My daughter is playing the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz in our community theater. When the director said he wanted her to model her character after Elphaba in Wicked, she asked me to design and create her costume. It’s been such a rewarding challenge that I decided to do my next 2 pieces about it.Ramona

I painted this and yes, she really is that green! I loved using these different scrapbook papers to create this piece. The lower portion of the page has my journaling about the project. You should have seen us at JoAnne’s Fabrics and Crafts! We just walked down every isle tossing bolts of fabric into the cart. Anything we thought we might like.

We ended up with 13 or 14 bolts in the cart; we wheeled all that over while we looked at patterns. Since I made up the design, of course there weren’t any exactly like the dress, but we put 2 or 3 together and changed a bit here and there until it came out the way I wanted. We used 7 different fabrics, 3 trims and 2 ribbons. Luckily we both had 50% off coupons, so we saved a few bucks.

It is just gorgeous! I’m hoping to post some photos, too. I loved sewing this. I set up a table in front of the TV and just watched HGTV while I sewed.

Elphaba email

In the top left corner is Elphaba's costume from the email the director sent. Next to that is my own design that I reduced in size and printed on scrapbook paper. Then I chalked in the colors.

As you can see, I didn’t do the ruching from the email, and the skirt is more form-fitting with inserts that make it flare at the bottom. I wanted the lights to catch her costume while she kicks and flies across the stage (on pulleys), so I used sequin confetti overlaid with black lace in the inserts and for the bodice.

Both these pieces have streaks of green and purple paint with writing or stamps on top. I also made a spider web like design by dabbing a flexible comb in a silver stamp pad. That has to catch the light just right, and is most easily seen at the top left corner of the page above.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Seaside Yearnings

TheStill longing for ocean breezes and the sound of surf, I used more ocean colors to create these next two pages.

no fear

This piece I call No Fear. It’s the terror that holds me back…keeps me from even trying sometimes. Julia Cameron’s basic principle here is all about the refusal to be creative being counter to our true nature. It takes courage.

I love this quote from Seneca: “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”

After I had torn the paper and affixed it to the page, I was reminded of a barrier that someone might break through . . . fearlessly.

The nature add-on with a butterfly reminds me that I can fly with wings on my true nature.

The challenge: Dare to be TRUE to you!


I’m still trying to get a painterly quality on these pages. This time I wrapped yarn around a brayer and rolled it through white, tan, and aqua paint and then applied it the the page. I enjoy the watery effect it gives but wish I had been brave enough (Ooops!) to add more of it.

The basic principle for this page from Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is encouragement to open ourselves up to explore our own creativity. And that’s what this whole project is about—these pieces that will soon be bound into a book and trying to establish my blog. I am not a young person, not am I technically adept; in fact, I refer to myself as a techno-retard.

Trying to get off the ground, though. Are you still looking for wings? There are one or two sets on every page.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Everything Austen Challenge


I love Jane Austen! What a great new I really have to think, because I’ve already read all her books but, hey, now there’s the excuse to read them again and do some other Austenish things I’ve been reading about. Here are my twelve:

1. Read Persuasion again for Anne Elliot's August 9 birthday party.

2. Reread Sense and Sensibility (I already have my book club, The Reading Ladies, committed to read it next year.)

3. Host a Jane Austin tea party for my book club’s discussion on Sense and Sensibility.

4. Plan for the AGM in Portland, Oregon in 2010

5. & 6. Design and sew a couple of Austen period dresses.

7. Reread Northanger Abby (my favorite and the centerpiece for the 2010 AGM).

8. & 9. Design and make 2 reticules Austen style

10. & 11. Design and create an Austen style necklace and earrings

12. Purchase an Austen DVD as I have none….any suggestions?

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We are ourselves creative

This is my second page. I created it to show along side of the Madame Butterfly piece. We are ourselves creative

I try to do a different painterly element on each piece. In this one, I used a large scrapbooking stamp (4 x 6 inches) to cover most of the page.

On the Madame Butterfly page I used the handle of my favorite paring knife. One day I picked it up and noticed all the rows of bumps and wondered how that would look as a “stamp”. So I just painted the whole handle and kind of rolled it across the paper and I liked it!

One thing I’m trying to do with these pages is develop a bit of looseness so everything isn’t quite so controlled, but what I really love is that I’m starting to feel like an artist and think about painting, drawing and creating most of the time.

Seaside Imaginings

Lately I’ve been longing to go to any ocean shores where I can relax and listen to the waves. Some nights I hear the surf calling to me in my dreams…so for the next two pieces, I used some of my favorite ocean colors, and since they will appear side by side once I make them into a book, I tried to coordinate the paints and images.


In a recent Belle Armoire magazine, there is an article with religious tones of Madonna art that are intriguing and lovely. I’m trying here to incorporate those images with ideas of my heart having wings and of the courage to believe in myself as an artist.

I love this quote from Pablo Picasso: “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” You can see it in the lower right hand corner.

On these pages I tried a paint technique that I read about. I used acrylic paints in ocean colors—just slapping them on quickly. Then I covered the wet paint with crinkled plastic wrap until the paint was completely dry.


On this facing page, I want to think about all the wonderful possibilities in our lives and that we each have the ability to make our wishes and dreams come true.

This summer I was so privileged to work with an amazing sculptor, Gary Price. I attended his lecture and a couple of workshops and got to tour his foundry. In his lecture, he recounted the story of a beach strewn with hundreds of starfish. A young child walks along the shore picking up a starfish and throwing it into the ocean. Then a man walks by and tells him how foolish a task it is. “Look at all these stranded starfish. You’ll never make a difference at all.” The child bends over, picks up a starfish and tosses it into the sea….”I made a difference to THAT one!” the child exclaims.

I love my starfish in this piece. It’s actually a broken wheel (maybe from a Matchbook car) that I found on my morning walk. When I dipped it into the paint and stamped it on a paper, I was delighted to see how much it looked like a starfish.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Day Dreamer

I am such a day dreamer! My Swedish grandma used to say I’d dream my life away…so I had to do my first page/cover about dreams. As a child I often dreamed of flying. I loved soaring over the neighborhood and looking down on all the houses and gardens. On this pagetaking flight I painted me taking flight—I’m naming this little project of mine after the how-to book also titled Taking Flight: Inspiration & Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings by Kelly Rae Roberts.

Notice the book I’m holding is Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way. The basic principle on this page is about the creative spirit and energy. On a whimsical note, I put a set of wings on every page. This one has two…can you find them?

Each piece is an 8 x 10 canvas board covered on both sides with scrapbook paper, stamps, stickers, etc. On this page, I painted bubble wrap and laid it on the page until it dried.

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Late Bloomer Lately Blooming!

I seem to start everything a bit late in life.  I have wanted to try mixed media painting for a year or two, although I don’t really consider myself an artist.  Even those paintings I did that hang on my walls, I look at and know I could never do a repeat but sometimes I just itch to pick up the brush and paints again.
This quote from Giacomo Puccini (just love all things Italian!) moved my heart and itchy fingers:  Puccini Madame B
The music of this opera [Madame Butterfly] was   dictated to me by God; I was merely instrumental in putting it on paper and communicating it to the public.
Doing the exercises from The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron got my late blooming fingers itching, though.  And Taking Flight, a mixed media how-to book, and supplies my daughters gave me for Mother’s Day provided me the courage to try.
I had so much fun with ripping, cutting and painting that I decided to do a little artist’s journal with a page devoted to each of the ten Basic Principles found in The Artist’s Way.  This page has the principle about creativity as a gift and Puccini’s quote.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Virgin Blogger

This feels weird and strange, writing on a little white laptop--and it's a Mac! I've been thinking that blogging would be kind of fun, and then I can have it bound when I'm all Ramona did. I was so amazed and a bit jealous to see her blogs and photos bound. So as soon as I'm through with The Artist's Way, I'm starting my blog. Of course if you count today....I've started!