27 June 2011


What a sleepy head Tillie is !
I am really feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I'm behind on book reviews, behind on correspondence, behind on house work, laundry and life!

I've been working on a very overdue memorial quilt for a lovely woman. It took me some time to get my mojo going but it is making excellent progress and should be done soon! I spent the last 3 days getting the strips put together from the front - made from her late husband's shirts were all needed stabilization before I could work with them. Today I scanned and cleaned up nearly 30 photographs and printed them all. They're curing now and I'll begin the wide border construction tomorrow. I will, most surely, do a post about it when all is said and done. I know I will feel better once the quilt is done and I can pain play again. Funny how art journaling has really taken root in my life !, l
This is how I feel today too !
The one thing that I have been keeping up with is my Blipfoto blipping - my daily photo journal. I find being able to upload only one photo per day that has to have been taken on the day helps me keep focused on taking s few photos a day at least. That's a good thing and it has revitalized photographic spirit. I also joined Red Bubble. I can now order cards and prints of my photos and other art work - and now so can you if you want. It's really easy and they have a lot of creative groups. I have a lot more to investigate on both sites but it's a good start.
Trying to feel warm on a showery, cool summer day
I posted this photo on several sites yesterday. The bees were most pleased with comfrey blossoms!

22 June 2011

Photography Once Again

Eye See The World
I am big believer that my life goes in circles. One circle begins, another completes. Many bring happiness, closure, adventure, new perspectives, beginnings and ending. It seems that my love for photography has reinvented itself and I feel re-energized by the wonderful new horizons that the digital age and my IPhone have afforded me. Oddly enough I seldom use the cell phone -I am not a big fan of phones in general - but I could not give up my IPhone because of all the other things it can do!

Photography has been a part of my life for many years, I actually went to a two years photography degree program. It was just as the digital age was beginning and, collectively, none of thought it would last! I used to spend hours and hours days at a time enjoying the quiet and marvels of the darkroom. It was a place that felt like home. Ultimately, of course, digital caught on. Big Time! It didn't take me long to hop on the digital photography wagon. It did, however, take me awhile to decide to put some time into investigating the true wonders of PhotoShop CS ( I got CS5 as my birthday present). I am learning things everyday and have also discovered the utterly amazing , fun, capabilities of the some IPhone apps like Hipstamatic and 100 cameras from Trey Ratcliff and the latest and greatest, Instagram. Thanks to a friend's suggestion I am also now vested in BlipFoto - a daily camera verite kind of journal site that I like for it's minimalist couture and have an account on SmugMug - which I don't really know why I got. I love Deviant Art despite the onerous name - you have to think of it in an analogical way.
These are some of my recent photographs. Some shown "as is" some from PhotoShop and some from my trusty IPhone and apps. Last Friday I had to stop along the way home quite a few times just to snap a few photos. That joy in clicking the shutter (real or cyber) hasn't happened in awhile and felt somewhat like coming home. Another circle re-opening for me.
My Feet Are On The Ground
I think my quilting/stitching circle is also re-opening a bit. I'm working on a long-g-g-g-g overdue quilt for a lovely woman who has stood by me through the surgeries and malaise. I offered that she hire someone else and she demurred. The song of the sewing machine feels good and I am making progress thanks to taking a vacation day to work some more on it. It feels good! Now I just need to figure out how in the heck to keep up with the all of the colors and textures and dreams that hide in all of the things I love to do!
Dizzy Feats
Do you find patterns unfold in your life like my circles? Maybe it's like the tides that flow out and return - or the moon that waxes and wanes? How do you feel the patterns and textures of your life?
Gate Grate

20 June 2011

When What To My Wondering Eyes Should Appear?

These photos were taken through the living room window - so the quality is bit on the low side!
'Twas the day before Tuesday, and all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a spouse

When out on the deck there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
tripped off the shutter, and whipped back the sash.

The moon on the last of  a sunshiney day

gave the lustre of evening to objects that strayed,
and, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature goldfinch and a large boyish deer.

We really did hear a racket and wondered what it could be. I thought at first the raccoons were making earlier than usual. They're up to teaching their new babies the ropes these days. DH got up and surveyed the commotion and said I had to to out of my Lazy Girl to have a look - and, indeed, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a brash boyish deer cleaning up the scattered, leftover, birdseed!  I took a tumble as I dismounted from the table where I had been snapping pictures. I took two large plants and a container filled with art supplies down with me. The camera was safe though! Phew! I pray that my 'fusions' are stable enough to have taken the fall - thus far all is well - maybe a bruise - more to ego than my body as I used to scamper up and down from places without thought. So, what did this teach me? My balance 'aint what is used to be .... and that deer have no shame. I chased him off when he came for my hanging basket.
Later on her brought his girlfriend in for after stroll snack. Only in a rural area! I love it !

19 June 2011

Seasonal Wardrobe & Seasonal Color Choices

Each month Michelle Ward posts a unique challenge on her Green Pepper Press Street Team Blog. This month's "Crusade #52" is about your seasonal color choices. Do you change your palette when the skies are blue and the sun is warm? It posed an interesting concept. I find that I generally use the same basic color palette year round; both for art as well as for clothes. My clothes always include black. It goes with anything and, in art, it gives such a nice punch. Of course, I don't tend to pastels or I might not say that! In fact, working with monotone and pastel palettes is one of personal challenges this year. I plan to have fun challenging myself to step away from my comfort colors.

My comfort colors include all green-gold, olive, poison, ick and lime greens - though not too neon bright. I love ochers and deep yellow golds as well as reds and burgundys of a variety of shades. My staples are black, gray, navy and white or off white. I use brighter tones of my favorites in the summer and warmer shades of them in the winter.

For this page I used a transfer from a vintage clothing pattern that I colored with fanciful ideas of what my summer and winter colors might be. The colors in the square-ish shapes are more true to what I really wear. I always have fun with Michelle's 'crusades' and there are some extremely talented people who in my fascination and addition to the monthly treats!

I think if I lived in a place like Dallas again I make more use of colors like white and turquoise. Where I live we have rainy periods even in summer - maybe that's why I tend to just use shades and tones of my favorites? Hummmmmm????

How about you? Do you find yourself using different palettes for your art and clothes in the summer?

15 June 2011

The Magic Of Sunflowers and Tissue Paper

This months swap them at Arts In The Cards was Sunflowers and Lemonade.  I adore sunflowers and take lots of photos of them every year. They never fail to make me smile!  These look like simple photographs and, indeed, that's what they are. It was difficult to photograph these cards adequately. They look better in person that in these photos - although I don't suppose that they are the most original cards I've ever made they are the beginning of a new process that I have been experimenting with.
What is a bit different about these cards is that the images are printed on common, off the drugstore shelf, untreated, white tissue paper. I have been experimenting with this process lately and think I have a process finally figured out. After being printed, the images are placed over an embossed mat board - so that when the card is held in a certain way you see the embossing (which in this case is script).  I've been having fun experimenting with this technique. It can be difficult to get the tissue brayered on the substrate evenly without tears or folds....but it's fun! The photos don't really show the effect well enough.  I manipulated my photographs, printed them carefully onto the  tissue paper, brayered them onto the embossed mat board using my favorite paper adhesive (Perfect Paper Adhesive from US Artquest). Next, I covered the front image with a layer of gloss and sealed the edges with lacquer. I'm not that thrilled with the edges and will be playing with other paints for a neater look in the future
Here is a look at the printed photo on tissue paper. It's a remarkable medium really; takes the images beautifully (who would a thunk?!). You do need to take care when handling it.  Thanks to my swapping friends for letting me use these cards as guinea pigs as I work out the process. I hope the next cards that I make using this method will be more 'polished'! I'm really loving the effect though!

13 June 2011

Four Little Bees All In A Row

The bee on the left was larger than the others & had a shiny, mirror like 'cap' on its head.
This afternoon as I went to complete the daily cleaning and refilling of the 5 quart sized hummingbird feeders I realized that it's bee season. The bees seem to feed as much as the hummingbirds - or at least they try to ! I took all but one of the feeders in and cleaned them, but left one outside so that I could take some photographs. The bees were obliging and could not be bothered to move - even as I changed the location of the feeder to get better light.

They were all so intent on feeding..nothing bothered them and almost nothing would move them. I hoped I wouldn't rile them up - since I can be very allergic to their stings. I don't know anything about bees except that I love honey and I am grateful to them and pray that their populations will not continue to decline. I wondered if the large bee with the shiny 'cap' might be a queen. Anyone know anything about bees?
Once all of the feeders were back in place all of the winged ones were content again - DH just brought home another 20 pound bag of sugar. That lasts about a week. Hard to believe that in another month or so the hummingbirds will have already left on their migrations....to leave me waiting for net Saint Patty's Day when they are generally back to the feeders. Recently we've had one or two over-winter guests (how the heck they do that is beyond me) and they have returned a week or so earlier each year. Next year I may have to consider adding a 6th or 7th feeder to keep everyone happy and content!

One Amazing Mural !

A friend, Patsy Moreland, sent me a link to this thoroughly mind blowing work of art. I would so love to be able to be a part of something like this. What vision - what beauty. Click on the link (yes, it's safe) and be prepared to be surprised!


10 June 2011

Jane La Fazio Is Coming To Teach On San Juan Island ! Finally I Won't Have To Travel For A Great Class!!

One of the things about living on an island, the down side if you will, is that there are few opportunities to take classes that you want to. Generally speaking those of us who live here travel to get the the classes we want. That becomes pricey when you figure in the costs of the class, supplies, travel costs, ferry costs and room and board. Many relatively available classes that we can take are prohibitively expensive by themselves - pricing many of us out of the creative loop.

When we started our local quilting guild years ago it was with the intention of being able to bring teachers to us - rather than us having to the teachers. In the intervening years I have become gobsmacked by mixed media - and I thirst for some classes to help me put some of the mixed media puzzle pieces. My friend Janet, who has generously become my social organizer, who knows everyone in town and is well connected, stopped by my office one day to tell me about a class with Jane LaFazio that that she had heard was going to be offered here - on island- no traveling!

We both scurried to track down how factual this juicy 'rumor' was. Sure enough - a woman that none of knows is organizing a great selection of mixed media classes - right here in Paradise ! Wild At The Heart Studios is bringing Jane LaFazio to San Juan Island in September. If you're interested there are still some spots open. Contact Jan at Wild At The Heart for information, dates, and pricing.

Jane is one person I have wanted to take a class from for quite a few years now. I really love her journaling technique and my missing link is being able to incorporate more art in my daily journaling. I'm really happy to be able to have a great class available to me right here in Paradise. Check it out and contact Jan to join us ! Remember - September is generally a really nice month here

This is the class information directly from Jan's blog:

Jane LaFazio
September 10-11, 2011 Workshop Price: $265
at Sleeping Sea Guest House

Sketching & Watercolor: Journal Style

This workshop will be conducted at a charming, private vacation rental in Friday Harbor, that will include a variety of accommodation options for attendees on a first come/first serve basis.  For more information about lodging at "Once In A Blue Moon" guest house, please check out the link on this site and contact Jan Murphy at (360) 298-2195 for reservations and additional information.
flowersBe inspired to record your life, a special trip, or your daily adventures in a loose, quick journal style format. Spend the day discovering Friday Harbor with artist Jane LaFazio. Jane, known for her friendly, encouraging teaching style, will demonstrate drawing and watercolors on location using a straight-forward, intuitive approach. You'll draw what you see, capturing the details of the local flora & fauna, paint and then journal your thoughts and impressions on 5x7" pages. Everyone has their own drawing style, just like handwriting, and Jane will help you to see and then record what you see on paper. The class is geared for beginners, but all levels are welcome. (Really, even if you haven't drawn since 3rd grade, Jane can teach you!)
roseSupply list: Bring watercolors (PRANG children's watercolors are surprising good), a pencil and eraser. (Also bring a hat, small stool, sunscreen. We'll be outside, weather permitting)
Materials fee: $15. Jane will supply the 5x7" paper and a special waterbrush for each student.

08 June 2011

One Perfect Bloom

Nature: The Heart Of The Matter
A friend gave me one perfect Gerbera bloom for my birthday. It was so perfect, so white and so beautiful that I had to "play" with some images of it.  These are probably best viewed full size - so double click on the images if you want to see the larger view. I am continually in awe of things that Mother Nature allows us to share with her. WoW !
If Every Little Flower.....

07 June 2011

I'm A Believer! The Wonders of a Purell transfer

I wanted to be able to enclose a little something in some thank-you notes I was mailing out and decide to try making little blessing patches. I found that using Golden Fluid Matte Medium worked but, quite honestly I wasn't too thrilled with the results . The image on the right is transferred with matte medium. Last night I decided that I needed to make a few extra extra patches and thought "why not try Purell" - I'd read about it at some point although I had no recollection of what to do or how to do it. I lightly spread just a bit of Purell on the flannel patch and then tried to transfer the image. Voila! I was gobsmacked! This was crystal clear- perfect. Oh! Why hadn't I tried this before they had all been sent out?!!  The Purell samples are on the left. Amazing! I remember reading that only the brand name Purell will work - so now I'm on the hunt for a large economy size. Anyone know where to get it?!

Left- Purell                                   Right- Matte medium
In another, unrelated, amusing issue. An all things fountain pens site that I frequent posted a question this morning about what was on your desk. Most photos were very pristine - orderly. Some ink wells, books, pens and pads of course. I decided since the question had been asked I would ass a photo of my desk to the lot. My chaos is a stark difference from the orderliness of many! It made me chuckle!

Lotus asked about the process - so I thought I'd add this small addendum:

I have, thus far, tried Purell on Polyester, cotton flannel and paper.

1.    I used Apollo inkjet transparency film( NOT the QUICK DRY one) - I also plan to try DASS's  transfer films as well an InkAid's.

2.    I used my finger to spread a bit of of Purell around on the fabric/paper - not a lot but enough to dampen the area that will be covered with the transfer. Then I placed the transfer on top of the fabric/paper and used a teflon folder to burnish the film onto the fabric/paper. I did use a firm hand with the folder.

3.    Then I peeled the film off and - lo and behold - a perfect, total, crisp, transfer!

I know that there are other posts about this technique on the web. I think the DASS (Digital Alchemy) site mentions it.

You could join Leslie Rileys Yahoo Group too - lots of information in the files. Great group!

It's like magic...and I am pleased with these results - some of the clearest images I've ever gotten - and I almost didn't try it !

05 June 2011

Have You Ever Bought A Book Twice - Or Wondered If You Already Owned A Book ?

I haunt bookstores and book sellers on line. I am, and always have been, a bibliophile. There have been times when I walked the aisles of a book store and happily snapped up a copy of a book that sound just so good that I had to have it - only to discover that I already owned it. Now, if you love in an area that allows you to return or exchange the book that is not so much of a problem - just perhaps a small irritation. Then again having to go back to a book store seems like a good thing to me ! When you lie far away from any stores though - having a second copy of a  book can prove to be more frustrating.

I have wanted to be able to catalog  the books in my ever expanding library - but the thought and tediousness of the work seemed overwhelming to me - and of course I always figured that I had better things to do with my time that meticulously catalog my books manually. Enter the new age of scanners. There is a system of cataloging your books using a scanner. I found one program but it was $49.99 - plus you had to have a scanner and some additional software. Too rich for my pocket!

Enter Book Crawler. It is a nifty app that allows you to scan, sort and catalog your personal library.  Chiisai is the app developer and you can find them at their website (highlighted link) or at the app store for all of $1.99. It works in conjunction with a free app call Pic2Shop. You scan in the bar code from your book and voila! You can create genres for your collection and sort in a number of ways. I am beginning by scanning in several - a dozen or so - at a time. Next will probably go shelf by shelf. My cataloging concern was answered in a low cost, easy and very effective way. Love this app !