Friday, October 24, 2008

Life Gets Rough

Life has been rough here for quite a while now. There's been a lot of distressing things happening to various family members/friends, my Nana passed away in early October and I tore the ligaments in my ankle earlier this week. Like I said, things have been rough. Hence the reason for the abrupt halt to my daily blogging. But, I've worked out a system for stress relief that has had amazing results so I thought I'd share it with you all:

1. Drink morning coffee while soaking in the hot tub

2. Have afternoon tea while soaking in the hot tub

3. Drink after dinner tea/coffee while soaking in the hot tub

4. Gaze at stars while soaking in the hot tub, NAKED!

Give my total stress reduction plan a try. If it doesn't work for you I'll take another soak in the hot tub and think of your stress being reduced while the hot water and jets work their magic on me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

I've been feeling a bit blah so I've been staying away from the computer. My Nana has been in the hospital, she's home now but needs a lot of help. She lives with my aunt in Florida so I can't run right over there to help out and that really bothers me. She was always there for me growing up and I want to be there for her now.

My one and only sister is moving to Florida at the end of the month so I've been spending a lot of time over there helping her pack. I'm sad to see her go, but am excited that she's moving back to a place she loves so much and this time is doing it with the man of her dreams.

I've been busting my butt working in the gardens, cleaning and clearing out the house and generally getting things in order before winter sets in. It's a great feeling to de-clutter everything and start fresh.

In the past week I've made 2 journals, a cool set of wind chimes from found objects, a wood burned and painted Goddess image done on a wood slice, played with my dried herbs mixing up various remedies, made up a few batches of flower essences and harvested a bunch of produce from the garden.

Fall is a busy time of year, full of harvest activities like apple picking, canning tomatoes or reworking garden beds. It's a moist, fruitful time. A time for reaping what we've sowed and giving thanks for all our many blessings.

It's also a time of great change, as is evident in the color of the leaves, the migration of birds and the business of insane squirrels and chipmunks. Right now my life is full of changes, but it's all good. Different, challenging, a bit heart wrenching but good none the less. Living isn't always easy but it sure beats the alternative.

I'll be back soon with loads of photos of my new work. I can't wait to show off the wind chimes made from driftwood, copper wire, shell and beads. They are truly cool.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Off The Grid

Hubby and I watched this movie the other night. As much as I'd like to live off the grid and more back to nature, these people were freakin' nuts! One was a crack addict, most were packing some serious heat and had no qualms about shooting someone if they felt it was just, they burned a bunch of cars one night while drunk and the small children brought in a truck along with a bunch of guns while they confronted 'The Nowhere Kids'.

Like I said, I'd love to live back to nature and all but not with a bunch of fruitcakes for companions.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Gargoyle In the Garden

I have always loved gargoyles. There is something about them that captivates me. Some folks find them creepy, but not me. I love everything about them; their history as water spouts and guardians of cathedrals, their diversity of expression and their presence all captivate me.

When I was in France I gazed upon the Notre Dame gargoyles with awe. They are as awesome as I always heard they were. I could've spent hours looking at them, but didn't have the time to do so. One day I'll go back and spend as much time with them as I want.

I have several small gargoyles around the house but have always wanted one for my garden. A big one to guard my home and yard.

After many years of wanting I finally have one! It arrived yesterday and is truly awesome. He's not made of stone, which is the only part of my wish that didn't come true. But, the stone ones are BIG bucks and that's something I just don't have. So Emmett (the name he came with) is made out of faux stone. But it looks like the real thing, which is cool by me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fainting Goats

I Love goats. Always have and always will. I especially love Tenessee fainting goats. Yes, fainting goats. Don't beleive me? Well, MythBusters certainly does. Tonight they did an episode on the goats and found out that they do indeed fall over as if in a faint if you scare them.

There are also numerous you tube videos out there. Take this one for instance. It shows the goats in a total faint.

Even if you don't love goats (something I cannot fathom) you gotta love a farm animal that keels over when scared!

And if you don't, then maybe you'll like this collage I did instead. It has absolutely nothing to do with goats, but there are a couple of wolves in it:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Few Journal Pages

These journal pages were started in the classes I took with Kelly Kilmer then finished at home later.

The first and third ones were created by painting, stamping layering opaque and transparent images then using markers to highlight images and add text.

The second page has layered collage and paint on the left-hand page and decorative tape over paint on the right-hand page.

If there's one thing to remember about mixed-media it's layering cannot be faked! In order to have rich, interesting pages multiple materials are a must.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Weird Art Exhibits

There are some truly bizarre art exhibits out there. Take this one in Liverpool, England where a giant spider wakes up and travels about the city or this one in London (what is with these Brits anyway?????) where a working loo (toilet to us Americans) with one way mirrors allows you to do your business while watching passersby.

Personally, giant walking spiders and peeing while watching folks walk about the city has absolutely no appeal. But maybe that's just me.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The End Is Near

I'm sorry, but I find this hysterical, especially the photos. People have been getting worked up about the end of the world for centuries and it hasn't happened yet, so why worry? Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gets you nowhere.

If you believe the end is near why waste time parading around town with a sign around your neck? Wouldn't you rather be out doing something you always wanted to do, like hang gliding, riding in a hot air balloon or walking on a tropical beach? I know I would. Seriously, if you only have a limited amount of time here make something of it. Live life to its fullest and stop spending all your time telling the rest of us that the end is near and we're going to hell in a hand basket for not believing it. Seems like a waste of energy and time to me.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

5 Things I Did With Kelly Kilmer

August 22 & 23 I took 4 classes with Kelly Kilmer. I'd taken classes with Kelly in December 2007 and really enjoyed them so had to go for some more when she came back to town! There are very few artisits I'm willing to pay money to take classes with, but Kelly is definitely in the top 2. Actually, there are only 2 so that's saying something!

Here are 5 things I did while in class with Kelly:

1. Made this journal:

2. Made These Postcards

3. Made this journal:

4. Made these faux monoprint books:

5. Had my picture taken with Kelly:

(and had a whole lot of fun, but that goes without saying.)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Six Altered Book Spreads

These six altered book spreads are from two different books I'm currently working in. Each spread has been recently completed. Sometimes I find myself redoing pages previously completed and a few of these fall into that category.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

5 A Day the Easy Way...

As you've probably noticed I'm not much of a blogger. The fact is it's summertime and I'm outdoors 99.9% of the time. Our season here is so short that every day is precious, not to be wasted on indoor pursuits. That's what winter in New England is for (those of you who think winter in New England is for skiing, snowboarding or other such body numbing experiences are dead wrong!) When the winds our howling and the temperature plummets that's the time to be inside snuggled beneath a warm blanket with a cat curled up next to you for company. The time for reflection and sharing. For blogging!

However, I realize that posting only a few times a month or less is pretty lame. So, I vow to 5 minutes a day from now on. After all, what's 5 minutes in the grand scheme of things? Less time than it takes to make a cup of finely brewed tea. Less time than it takes me to walk to the bus stop or jump in the pool for one last swim before firing up the grill. If I can do those things in 5 minutes or less than I can do this in 5 or less too. At least I think I can. Time will tell. As long as the good weather holds out it will be tough to stay indoors for even 5 minutes, but I'll try.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Boston In the Rain

A rainy Monday typically isn't what you want for the first day of vacation. But, that's what we got anyway. After moping about the house for the better part of the day I finally threw some clothes into a backpack and told everyone to get their shoes on because we were heading into Boston for the night.

In all the years I've lived in Massachusetts (my entire life, in fact) not once have I spent the night in a hotel in Boston. Sure, we've gone into the city plenty of times and often stayed until the wee hours of the morning, but we've never checked into a hotel to do it.

After an uneventful ride on the T we disembarked in the North End and walked the few blocks to the Bulfinch Hotel

From there it was just a hop, skip and a jump through the drizzle to
Faneuil Hall, a great place to grab a bite while wandering around people watching or kiosk shopping while listening to street musicians or watching an impromptu magic show.

Along the way to and from Faneuil Hall we walked through the Holocast Memorial. It is profoundly moving and serves as a reminder of what was and what could be again if we are not careful.

Being in the city is always an adventure and every time we go there it makes me wonder why we don't do it more often. The street musicians, the old buildings, the North End pastry, the steaming hot clam chowder and even the T are all things that get me jazzed (to be totally honest, it's mostly the pastry and the clam chowder). And, being able to spend the night in a fancy hotel just made the experience even better.

Taking our son to the
New England Aquarium for the first time was definitely the crowning moment. Where else can you see a 3-D shark movie on a 65 ft. screen, watch penquins take a shower or pet sting rays and sharks?

Boston in the rain isn't a bad way to start a vacation. In fact, it was a great way to start one. Especially since it was spur of the moment but fell together as if we'd planned to do it all along.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Spiritual Side

I'm not a religious person, but I have a deeply spiritual side. I believe that religion and spirituality are two separate things and that one can be a spiritual person without being a religious one and vice versa. I know not everyone thinks the way I do, but my beliefs are just that: my beliefs. What others believe is entirely up to them. It's not for me to judge, just as I expect to not be judged by others. Granted, this isn't always the case because people DO judge. I've found that deeply spiritual people tend to be less judgmental than some of the others and the ones who can't be wouldn't care for what anyone else has to say anyways so why give them any thought?

I have several areas in my home and yard devoted to my spiritual side. Little altars created from things that I find sacred and meaningful. Not dictated by any one belief system, but by what I have come to believe in. The newest of these spiritual areas was created by my son and me. We choose the location together, assembled it together and enjoy it together. What better way to celebrate spirituality than to share the beauty of nature with someone you love?
I find doing that a great blessing. A gift of love. From me to my son, my son to me and from both of us to the Goddess Above.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Found Object Art

I love making art out of found objects. In fact, I have no need to "Go Green" (the catch-phrase of the decade!) because I've been green all my life. Since I was a child I've liked nothing better than creating something new out of a treasure I've picked up. My adult life as an artist is no different.

I recently created a wind sculpture for the yard out of articles salvaged from the dump and ones I had on hand. An old bicycle wheel with the rubber tire removed, the metal blades from a huge, old fan that came with our house, the ornamental bits from some metal fencing and a few cans of spray paint provided all I needed to turn an old bird house pole into a cool, new work of art.

I love looking out my windows and seeing the tire frame and fan blades spin in the wind. Every time I see it I get a thrill from knowing that I created it and figured out how to assemble it so it would work.

Next time you're at the local dump, salvage yard or simply out for a stroll see what treasures you can find to convert into a work of art. There's nothing like salvaging the old in order to create something new.

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Love of Stones...

I love wandering around old cemeteries. Not only are they peaceful, but the stones themselves have wonderful artwork on them. Some people may find it morbid, but I can spend hours walking about looking at the stones, photographing the art work and reading the colorful epitaphs. Discovering a "new" cemetery to explore is right up there with discovering a new species as far as I'm concerned.

I come by my love of old graveyards honestly. My mother loves wandering about in them too. It's not unusual to hear us exclaim, "That's a great cemetery!" while driving around a new town or sitting at home having one of our graveyard conversations.

In New England we have more than our fair share of old graveyards to check out. Some of the oldest in the country in fact. We also have a number of historical cemeteries, including Sleepy Hollow (Not the one of Headless Horseman fame. That one is in New York.) This Sleepy Hollow is best known for Author's Ridge, final resting place of the Alcott's, Emerson, Thoreau and Hawthorne. Seeing these graves is interesting, mostly due to the ever changing array of offerings left on them, it is the lesser known stones that have the most allure for me. The art work is amazing, very detailed and varied. The epitaphs are short biographies. They really give you insight into a person's life. Unlike today's stones that really tell us nothing about the people who've passed on.

A few days ago I spent the afternoon wandering Sleepy Hollow. While there I was once again struck by the beauty of the various monuments found high atop ridges and low in hollows. As always I was moved deeply to see the various, expressive offerings left for those Great Authors on the ridge. At Emerson's grave a ballet slipper with a scroll tucked inside. At Thoreau's a bouquet of roses, pine boughs, a foreign coin and some pebbles. At Louisa May Alcott's some coins, a flower or two and a missive weighted down with a stone.
While looking at these things I was struck by the small stature of Thoreau's and the Alcott's graves compared to the sheer enormity of Emerson's. Why I wonder are theirs so small, almost small enough to overlook, while his is so large? These things, and more, I pondered on my walk-about as I continued stopping here and there to delight in a detailed stone carving or read a particularly expressive epitaph. And while I wandered peace descended. Supreme balance of mind/body/soul was restored, something that always happens to me an old cemetery. Some feel that a cemetery is a mournful place, but I am not one of them. To me, they represent life well lived, a shared history and the blessing of peace and tranquility. Is it any wonder I like to hang out among the graves when they bestow upon me such perks?

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Reluctant Blogger

It's been over two months since I've made a post here. I've realized in that time that I am a rather reluctant blogger. It's not that I don't have anything to say, or share, or show because I certainly have plenty of those things I could be posting here. But rather it's a deep sense of privacy that keeps me from posting daily. A lot of what happens in my life, or what I create is deeply personal and not meant for public consumption.

I will never be one of those people who posts every little thing, every deep, personal experience or every single emotional or physical struggle, for the world to see. As for my art, the majority of it is meant for me and me only. It's a part of me, a small piece of who I am, what I think and feel and I don't care to expose it to the world.

So, if anyone is paying attention (which I doubt) let it be known that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. I just don't care to expose my soul to the world. I don't want to put it out there for others to delve into. I believe doing so gives away my power, my essence. It disperses it too far and weakens my Spirit overall.

I'm still here and I plan to share many things. But not all things. Doing so is just not who I am.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Remembering Leah

Yesterday was a very bad day for me. An early morning phone call from my mother conveyed the news that a horse we knew and loved had escaped from her paddock, along with two other horses, been struck by a car and killed. One of the horses survived, but Leah and a young horse did not.

We knew Leah because she belonged to our friends and former barn managers. They moved to California last year and because of Leah's advanced age were not able to take her with them. Transporting horses from one coast to the other is not an easy feat and it produces a lot of stress on the animals. Even the youngest and healthiest of horses come off the trailer at the end of their journey exhausted. As much as our friends loved Leah they knew transporting her clear across the country was not an option. For her sake they worked to find her another home. And they did. A nice back yard barn where she would be loved, cared for and well taken care of.

Leah was happy in her new home. The new owners ended up getting two more horses to keep her company, she had other animals such as goats and llamas to boss around and she was well loved.

We'll never know what caused the three horses to break through their fencing and run into the road. It was early morning, the sun hadn't risen yet and horses don't typically run off in the dark. They are flight animals however and when threatened in some manner their instinct is to run. Which they did with tragic results.

Our hearts are broken. I spent all day yesterday sobbing off and on and had a pain in my heart. The worst part, for me, was that I knew no one had called California to let Leah's human family know what had happened so I made the call. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do but I would not let them find out by word of mouth or by seeing it discussed on one of the equestrian forums.

Leah was a beautiful, sweet mare who brought a lot of joy into all of our lives. She will be sorely missed.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Found Art

I love creating art from found objects. Using objects one finds in the street, the woods or in junk yards presents an interesting challenge and also serves as a way to recycle items that would otherwise clutter up our earth.

The Cactus Gallery in L.A. is currently hosting an exhibit entitled "Found" that features art made from found objects. I wish I could attend the exhibit because I am sure it will not only be interesting but inspiring as well. Alas, a trip to L.A. is not in my immediate future though so I guess I'll have to make do with
reading about the exhibit and perhaps begining work on a creation of my own Found art. It's a beautiful spring day so getting outside to canvas the area for found objects is a good idea. I think I'll go put on my walking shoes, grab a large basket and go wandering. Who knows what I might find.....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A BIG question: Is This Art?

Is This Art? It's obviously a photograph, but does it qualify as art? What If I were to say that it was taken by Ansel Adams, would that make it art? Who decides what constitutes art and what doesn't? Is there some grand committee that sits around making up the rules of what is and what is not art? And if so, who appointed them? I know I didn't. Nor probably did you.

So why do some people have preconceived notions about what is acceptable in terms of art? For some, it isn't considered art unless it's hanging in a gallery or museum. For others, it isn't art unless it's one of the "fine arts" like painting or sculpting. So how did Ansel Adams' photographs become known as art? Who decided to let his photos into the "art category" and more importantly, why? I love Ansel Adams' work but want to know what it was about them that made the museum curators, gallery owners and art-snobs decide it was worthy of being called art.

In recent years there was a group of people protesting a Rockwell exhibit being held in a New York museum. To this particular group Rockwell was not an artist, but a lowly illustrator. But so was Maxfield Parrish and Alphonse Mucha yet they had no problem considering both of those men as artists. Why? where's the difference? To me all three are obviously artists. They create, they're artists. It's that simple. So why did an entire group of people get their knickers in a twist because Rockwell was being celebrated with a museum exhibition when the same group would've flocked to see Mucha or Parrish? I don't get it.

By the way, the photograph? It's not an Adams. It's one of mine taken on a trip to the Southwest and altered on the computer to be black and white. Knowing that, I ask you again: Is this art?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Serious Addiction.....

I have a serious addiction. Those who know me well will be well aware of what an addict I am. I crave & I covet. I compulsively give in to my addiction. It rules my life. Consumes hours, weeks, months. Is it drugs? Alcohol? No. It's books. Yes, books. I love books. Hundreds of them line my shelves. Perhaps even thousands. Many of them have been read, but the majority are TBR (to be read). Cozy mysteries are a favorite, but historical fiction holds a large place is my heart as well. So do art books, reference books, herbals, gardening books and illustrated vintage children's books. I cannot get enough. Seven bookcases filled to overflowing, a huge under the bed box and a large box in my closet. All filled. All offering a symphony of color, texture, scent and adventure within other worlds.

For the past year I've been cataloging my books via LibraryThing The ability to tag books by genre, time period, series or whatever else you feel like tagging by is awesome. but the best part for me is being able to comment on the location of each individual book. No more hunting through multiple bookcases & boxes for a certain book. Now I just look on Library-Thing and because of my diligence in tagging I can tell at a glance exactly where a book is in relation to my multiple bookcases. Knowing that a certain book is on the top shelf, bookcase 1 or middle shelf, bookcase 2 allows me to lay my hands on a particular tome instantly. Oh joy! How did I ever live without Library-Thing?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

10 Days Passed

It's been more than 10 days since I've been able to post anything here. In that time period much has happened. Easter morning we had a death in our extended family. My niece's husband's grandfather, who was 90, passed away. Very quietly at home in his bed. My niece's husband is stationed in Iraq and had recently been home on leave so we were unsure if they would allow him to come home for the funeral services. It took a bit of arguing on his part, but the military finally relented and allowed him to come. Once the decision was made they put him on the fast track and had him back on American soil within 24 hours. Although the reason for his coming home is a sad one I have to feel relieved that this gives him 10 more days where he is not in Iraq. Especially this past week where so much turmoil and violence has been going on. When you have a loved one deployed to a volatile area you learn to count your blessings in any way you can.

I've been undergoing a severe amount of pain the past week and a half. I threw my back out, doing something very simple and that, for a person who doesn't have back issues, should of been harmless. But, for me who has had multiple, serious back injuries it proved to be not simple at all, but the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. I've been to my chiropractor's four times in the past 8 days and have two more appointments scheduled for this week. However, the pain is not lessening and I am showing all the signs of a herniated disk in my lower back. So an MRI is in in my future and who knows what else after that. It all depends upon what the MRI reveals. I for one hope that it reveals nothing more than severe muscle strain or pinched nerves because the idea of a herniated disk and what measures are needed to fix it are not pleasant.

My art has taken a back seat during this time, but I have been busy doing research on vintage clothing and the best place to sell off some of my collection providing my family with a much needed infusion of ready cash. I have two appointments set up for doing just that. The better of the two is in Cambridge, MA at a shop that pays outright for items they want. The other, in Worcester, MA is a consignment shop that specializes in vintage. The problem with consignment is the waiting for items to sell and the shop taking 60% of all sales. It makes it a bit more difficult to make serious money when more than half of it never makes it to your pocket.

I have managed to get some painting done on a pair of jeans and on a leather purse. All the painting has been done with my handy bed tray and my basket of fabric paints while I sit up in bed. Not the best way to work, but it keeps me in bed resting and helps my hands and mind stay busy.

Life is a funny thing. You never know what it will throw at you or when. Some people, when faced with adversity or challenging times focus on the negative and let the events suppress them. Others, like me, tend to look at each challenge as an opportunity to find the hidden blessings or reinvent the way things are done. Like the Pop's death. Instead of looking at it as a totally sad occasion I choose to look at it as a way of getting Andy out of Iraq for a while. Even if that time is short and has an element of sadness surrounding it. My back being thrown out is a chance for me to make phone calls, explore places to sell my vintage items and get a bit of art done.

I have an i-pod loaded up with music, a fresh cup of vanilla tea, my basket of paints and plenty of imagination. These are the things that will get me through these trying times. That and my wonderful, supportive family who picks up the slack and offers support during times of trouble and need.

Look around you and count your blessings. See the gifts every situation has to offer, even if those gifts are not easily discerned. Even the most difficult situations offer us some form of blessing. Some small gift to help us expand and grow. You just need to know how to look. See the glass as half full. See the blessing in each day, in each moment. It's either that or let life get you down. Let yourself be a victim of circumstance. For me the choice is easy. I'm going for the blessings for when you do they expand, grow, flourish and create abundance in every area of your life.

Goddess Bless.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vintage Victory!

The vintage hat I coveted most at auction is mine, all mine! and what a beauty it is. I can see Audrey Hepburn wearing this one in the Ascot Race scene of 'My Fair Lady'. Ah, victory is sweet! I cannot wait to see see, feel and try on this hat for it is truly a fabulous creation.

As you can tell, I love vintage. The reason being it is art, plain and simple. The lines of a 20's dress, the shape and angle of a 40's hat speak of a time when clothing and the accompanying accessories were created as an art form. Unlike the cookie-cutter culture we have today where everything is the same and nothing is made for visual delight. Give me the artful fashions of the by-gone days where milliners and clothiers treated their work as high art.

Restocking Vintage

Since I decided to sort through my vintage hat and clothing collection and bring some of it to the local vintage consignment store I've had the itch to buy more vintage. I suppose that letting go of some of my treasures made me want to acquire new ones. So I find myself spending hours on auction sites perusing the vintage offerings. In the past 14 hours I've bid on, and won, a few delectable hats and a few stunning dresses. I am also waiting for several more auctions to end, hoping all the while that the hat I covet most ends up being mine.

I've often said that we need to release the old in order for the new to come into our lives and I find this to be especially true with clothing. It seems like every time I clean out my closets and drawers they end up being rather full again in no time. Am I a clothes horse? No, not really. I just love delectable, touchable, unique articles of clothing and the accessories that go along with them. Also, I love seeking out a bargain and enjoy the pursuit of fine vintage for affordable prices. Perhaps I'm a bit of a treasure hunter. One who lives for seeking out the treasures of the past. Why not? There could be worse things I could be doing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Productive Bed Rest

I've been on bed rest for the past couple of days, which we all know can be pretty boring. However, over the years I've managed to make bed rest productive. Countless times I've taken a pile of supplies to sort through or a box of art supplies and my bed tray into my room and created art, while still following doctor's orders. This time is no different.

I've been spending my time sorting through art supplies, doing the BIG PURGE once again. It was only a few months ago that I went through everything in my studio and amassed a pile of books, supplies, ephemera, etc that I felt I no longer needed. This time I was still able to come up with a few boxes of stuff I want to pass along. This constant purging leads to a much neater studio and also helps me to let go of that pack rat mentality that most artists have. For whatever reason, we amass stuff that we think we will later use in our art. And, yes, sometimes we do use these "must save" items, but I suspect that the majority of the time the things never get used. Perhaps it is because artists tend to be cyclic. What we love one day we may not the next. Therefore, what we once had to save for future use becomes less appealing to us over time. Our art evolves and grows so the items we hold on to loose their meaning.

I've also managed to paint two pairs of leather shoes while resting in bed. Both were purchased at the thrift store, cost me less than $3 a pair and are now far cooler and more unique when I brought them into the house a few weeks ago. One pair, a short styled paddock boot, I'm keeping. The other, a boxy looking heeled shoe, is off to Unique Boutik, a local consignment shop that deals in vintage and unusual items. Just last week this same store took my painted leather purse and a whole bunch of vintage hats, jewelry and clothing for their store. The prospect of making a few extra dollars on my vintage items is great, but even more thrilling was the fact that the owner wanted my painted purse and asked me to bring in more items like it! Proof that my new endeavor of painting or altering items for sale has potential. Also, proof that I need create a stockpile of such items, all unique and one of a kind of course, and get my Etsy shop set up.

And now I am off to bed where I'll create something new, while watching endless episodes of the West Wing on DVD and have a very snuggly kitty for company. Productive bed rest at it's finest....


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Change is good, but....

For a long time now I've been looking for a smaller table to use in my studio. Although I love the 6' table I have in there now the space I have available is really too small for it. The table takes up so much room I don't have any room for storage, which is definitely an issue. Today someone was offering an old wooden desk on our local free-cycle group and I jumped at the chance to get it. The dimensions are perfect, the desk has drawers to store some smaller items in and it will allow me a bit more space to add some shelves or a storage unit.

However, getting the desk into the studio is a major ordeal. You can't just pick up the desk, carry it upstairs and put it into place. In order to even get it in the studio a major overhaul is needed. I have a large bookcase filled with my art books and some supplies. Of course, the bookcase location prevents the studio door from opening all the way so it now needs to be completely unloaded and moved. If that weren't enough, I needed to clean off my old table and cart the things out of the room so the table can be dragged away from the wall, folded down and removed from the room.

If that weren't enough, all the items I have stored in clear plastic bins have to be moved and I have to find a new home for them because they won't fit beneath the desk. This is where the storage shelves come into play. We recently removed a shelving unit that has colored plastic bins from my son's room and put storage cubicles in their place. These will now be mine to use in the studio for the bins that formerly lived under my table.

However, before I can move the shelving unit and bins into the studio I have to first get the bookcase out, move all the supplies, bins and assorted things that I just have to have (like the large sheet of black plastic that I keep next to the studio table for those times I'm working on the floor painting fabric), remove the old table, my chair, my small rolling storage unit, my large toolbox full of polymer clay tools, the large moose thigh bone I keep in the studio (don't ask...), my phone that I never use because I don't want to answer it when I'm working and the pile of clothing I'm altering.

In the midst of all this shuffling about of items I collapsed onto the floor, spilling hot tea all over my bed, the supplies I'd just moved into my bedroom and myself. It seems I have a 101 fever and am actually rather ill.

So, the simple act of getting a free desk for use in my studio has led to a major amount of work, a mess far larger than what I had before and my collapsing on the floor and being ordered to bed. Obviously the ordering to bed part didn't take or I wouldn't be sitting here writing in this blog.
The point of all this? Change is good, but sometimes it leads to a lot of work you hadn't anticipated. However, once the work is done you can enjoy the changes and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Delightful Denim

There is something so comforting about denim. Especially old, well worn denim jeans and jackets. Who doesn't have a favorite pair of jeans that are a bit worn out at the knees or the backside? Yet we can't seem to part with these items. They are comfortable, comforting, and timeless.

Ages ago my mother gave me an old denim jacket that she'd painted a horse on the back of. Although I loved it I felt it needed something more. An updating and reinventing if you will. So I cut, sewed, dyed, bleached and enhanced it to create something new and totally different all the while retaining the work she had done on it. The result is an oh-so comfortable, vibrant piece of wearable art, or altered couture if you prefer. It's still denim and has that comforting feel to it, but it's a very different denim. Richer somehow and with a softer feel to it than it had before.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I've been having a blast altering some of the items I bought at the thrift store. I've 3 projects in the works, a pair of jeans being turned into a skirt, a pair of shoes I'm painting & a top and skirt I'm combining into a dress. I've also finished a few projects. I painted a small leather purse, finished altering a jacket & have finally photographed the skull jeans I created.

I'm really digging all this altering. My head is chock full of ideas and I cannot wait to see them all come to fruition.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thrift Store Treasures

The past few days I've been having a blast prowling through the thrift stores looking for items to alter. I hit pay dirt at three different stores and now have a stockpile of jeans, skirts, shoes and purses to get creative with. I also unearthed some fabulous vintage items. A mouton lamb coat from the 50's, a little black dress from the 60's and a full-length wool coat from the late 50's or early 60's. At one store I managed to pick up 9 pairs of jeans, 11 skirts, 3 pairs of leather shoes and 2 leather purses for the bargain price of $40! The items I bought are all in great shape, are major brand names (not that I give a hoot about brand names, but some do...) and are perfect for digging in and altering in any way I see fit. I may never shop retail again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

An Eiffel Tower For Mom

Today is my mom's birthday. Almost 9 years ago she and I spent a delightful day in Paris. Yes, only one day. And one glorious night touring the city, before taking the bullet rain to Provence. Since that time Mom has been back to Paris and is going again in a few months time. Lucky her....

For her birthday I decided to create a multi-viewed collage of the Eiffel Tower. I scanned in a Paris street map for starters. Layered over it is a cropped photo of the Eiffel Tower that I took while standing at the base of it. I also used an image of French writing that I had gotten free from an art magazine web site (Alas, the site name alludes me. It was months ago...) Using various image editing techniques and playing with saturation levels I was able to come up with 3 images I really liked. I printed them on a decent weight paper, cropped them and arranged all on canvas. Once I had an arrangement I liked I glued them down using my all-time favorite glue: gel medium. I want to add some paint and other embellishments to the piece before handing it over to Mom, but I did let her get a good look at it today and she loved it! Now if I could just figure out a way to get back to Paris I'd truly be a happy camper.....

The first three images are the collages I created on Picasa. The last image is all of them arranged and pasted onto canvas.