Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What’s up on Route 66?


With all the fun and frivolity of Christmas 2011 behind us, it is time to move on to the New Year! 

This is a project I finished before Christmas but will mail this week. 

I am participating in another Altered Book Round Robin with a group of five women from across the country.  Again, each of us has started our own book, with a theme of our choosing, and then we mailed our book to the first round robin partner.

I received Connie’s book the first of December…..she has chosen “song titles” as her theme.  This is her altered book’s cover.


….and one of the pages she created to set the theme for the book.


O.K., now what do I do?  Mentally, I ran through song titles….all the songs that came to mind had “blue” in the title for some reason, but nothing that really inspired me……until this!

IMG_1769Among the many pieces of paper, magazines and books in my “play room”, I had this cool Route 66 Souvenir book by Alan Rose with building cut-outs and road signs….so I put together a “pop up” page for Connie.  The page includes a map of the original route and lots of nostalgia from the 1950s and 60s.



IMG_1791 Yes, it folds flat for mailing!  The pieces do not pop-up by themselves but they do stand up.

“Get Your Kicks On Route 66” was recorded by Nat King Cole in the 60s and some may remember, the old TV program titled Route 66 with Kooky and his comb! 

Route 66, the highway, starts in Chicago and winds it way through Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ends at the gateway to the beach in Santa Monica, California covering nearly 2000 miles.  Parts of the highway no longer exist or have been renamed but for over thirty years, after it was christened in 1926, it was the main auto transportation route across America.

I don’t know how many of these signs or businesses, if any, are still in existence but they are reminders of a time before travel only meant speed and expedience along boring Interstates surrounded by McDonalds and Burger Kings!

So, tomorrow Connie’s book will leave my house…..destination southern Oregon where Corinne will pick a tune and work her magic.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas wishes……


IMG_1810 I am channeling Teesha Moore’s influence on me to wish you the merriest of Christmases and to encourage you to “explore” your talents, your thoughts and your life in the new year!

This year’s journal is about filled and I’m starting to play in my 2012 art/life journal.

Sometimes the simplest of acts can remind us of the most basic of art principles…. I’ve been carving stamps and using the pages of my journal to test drive them.  The other night, without much thought, I put a watercolor wash over a page of stamped designs and was hit between the eyes with the “old rule” of using a wash to tie subjects together.

I love it when that happens.

IMG_1812 So then, I added some lines with a pen, some words and more stamps and thought to myself  “this is too much fun” and I still have more room to play!



We can take something we know about art, or life, for granted and one day we are reminded of how a simple act can tie things together for us….this is a good time of year to take stock of the many blessings we all take for granted and how it is, usually, the simple things that make the biggest difference.

We have the whole family at our house on Christmas Eve, close to thirty people by the time the night is over.  It is a wonderful, wild, noisy time…we eat, we laugh and we are reminded of how much we love each other!

It is my hope that your Christmas is full of love for those who mean the most to you. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The color swap comes to an end……


A few days ago, I received the last of my color swap pages from Halle in Minnesota. 

We each chose the colors we wanted the other swap players to use on our pages….mine were hot pink and orange!  You either love or hate that kind of color combo but these four ladies have done an outstanding job using them.

IMG_1799 “Life is your canvas, no one can paint it but you”….great quote on a tissue paper/sheet music background….check out the paper beads tied on the side.

IMG_1800 The other side of page one.

IMG_1801Is this cute, or what?  It doesn’t show well, but the Jack O’ Lantern is covered in sequins while the dictionary pages in the background define “orange”.   Love it, lacey edge and all.


How true…”the quickest way to know a woman is to go shopping with her”!  This dictionary page defines the beauty of “pink” and is covered by a pocket of buttons.

Such clever and creative ways to use hot pink and orange…better than I could have ever done!  Thank you, Halle.

IMG_1803 This is the book cover for my pages and I am tying the tags to the rings that hold the book together.

Picnik collage

And to round out my book are samples of the work I received from Rita, Diane and Elizabeth in addition to Halle’s.  My sincere thanks to all of you.

This was a great challenge, it made me use colors I would not normally use and that forces one to think and work outside their comfort zone!  Good exercise!

And….. I have a fun, fun book to start the new year! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011



This is a story about the generosity of our blogger friends!

I’ve never met Julie who lives in Florida, in person, but I know I will like her if I ever do! 

We share a common love of gardening…..she, however, can grow things year around!  I live in Oregon where you can NOT grow things year around (I’m jealous)!  She, also, does crafts with paper, has some really cute grandchildren and makes really cool beads!


Recently, Julie mentioned on her blog A Succulent Life that she makes paper beads.  I wondered if she sold them.  So, I e-mailed her and asked….no, she doesn’t sell them but she would send me some!  And, she did….you can see them in the photo above.  I have a vague idea how these are made but I don’t know the particulars…I know I LOVE them.

Julie was curious about how I was going to use them….I just got them a few days ago, but here are a couple ways I’ve been inspired to use them.


Today I made this flower, to decorate a package, with a mix of Julie’s paper beads, along with glass and wood beads.


I’m, also, adding them to the spine of a book I’m making.IMG_1764

I am really liken’ these beads and I want to incorporate them in some collage soon!  On the other hand, I’m fighting off the urge to hoard them and just keep these “pretties” for myself!

Thank you so much, Julie for your generosity and for the beads and for the renewed inspiration.  You made my Christmas a little brighter.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The devil is in the details…..


It’s interesting how we become so close to our art work that we can’t see it!

Here’s an example of something I thought was done until I blogged about it, then, when I read it the next day…..I don’t think so!  I had “floating” tomatoes…..don’t worry it’s not contagious but it is an example of my not seeing the details.

This is what I thought was finished…….


See that white space under the tomatoes?  They need a shadow, something dark to “ground” them or they look like they are floating….but you knew that!

IMG_1755That’s better!  I, also, shaded around the word tomato to give the letters depth and make them stand out a bit more!

See, the devil is in the details!  There is a fine line between being too picky and fixing, sometimes……given a few days I’ll probably see more things I need to “fix”.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Making major progress……


I’ve been getting things done the last few day, so I’m feeling a little less stressed about Christmas being in two weeks. 

Still no real decorating but I can do that in an afternoon, it was all the things I thought I wanted to make for Christmas gifts that was making me a little crazy.  So, if I can resist making just “one more thing”, I’m close to finished.

Here is a sneak peek at a book I am making for someone…….


And a print for someone else…….


And my VERY non-traditional Christmas cards……


I still want to make a couple pieces of jewelry and I have gifts to buy for children, wrapping and I’ll be ready!  Yeah!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fabulous read……


I don’t, normally, recommend books but I enjoyed this one so much I can’t help but suggest you take a look.  If, you are into art, this is a woman who can express so much emotion, so simply, it touched my soul…..I kid you, not!


This is not a newly published book, it came out in 2001.  Sabrina Ward Harrison has published four books, I believe.  The first book, Spilling Open, was published when she was around 20 years old.

The whole book is written in Sabrina’s hand drawn calligraphy and is a very easy, quick read about a trip she took to Italy, by herself with a back pack, when she was in her early twenties.  It is about regrouping and experiencing life…simply.

IMG_1735 How’s this for a daily journal/diary!  I would love to be able to achieve that kind of controlled, planned messiness without it looking contrived.

IMG_1736Example of simple with just a touch of detail and texture.

IMG_1737 Beautiful sense of color and design.

Now, you know what I like…..how about you, have you read any of Sabrina's books?  What did you think of them?  It is O.K. if you aren’t as enthused as I am, I like to know what you really think.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Free, Easy to make and fun!


It doesn’t get any better than that…..here is a wreath I made to hang by the front door.  All the materials were free and it took about ten minutes to put it together.

IMG_1739  I picked up the birch branches off a neighbor’s sidewalk, one day when I was out walking the dog.  I brought them home, straightened them out a bit and tied them with a string down about 10 inches from the top.  I had dried the hydrangea heads, but you could just pick them out of the yard and insert behind the piece of string along with some rose hips I cut from a rose in our front yard! 

Easy Peasy, as they say!!!!

IMG_1738  You could add ribbon, if you want, but you wouldn’t need to, the hydrangea blossom is full enough to cover the string.  You might like the more finished look of ribbon streaming down, I am fine with the casual appearance. 

Take a walk, gather some materials and have some fun.

I’m hitching this blog to the Vintage Inspiration Friday party at Common Ground and another favorite at The Answer is Chocolate.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stamp carving……..


Who knew this could be so fun and relaxing!  I love carving stamps, don’t know if I care that much about using them…..but I really do like to carve them.

Bought a book, Saturday, at the flea market and it has the greatest full color photos of fish….it is wonderful.  I was inspired to carve a fish stamp……look at thisl


Book jacket show some of the great illustrations that are inside……I redrew one of the fish examples onto a piece of rubber eraser like material called “Speedy Cut” and carved it.  This stuff cuts like butter not like using a linoleum block, also, more fragile but will hold up a long time.IMG_1725Then stamped onto white paper and added the touch of red for effect, I used StazOn black and red inks.


I, recently, did a reduction print with this sunflower and used it in an altered book.

IMG_1724 And this is from my recent “leaf-period”……you remember, I spent the fall playing with leaves, well, this was something else I used leaves for….FUN!

I have some beautiful handmade paper and I am going to print these stamps on it and frame them for Christmas gifts.

Friday, December 2, 2011

One man’s junk is another woman’s “junque”


Estate sales are few and far between this time of year but this morning we hit the “one and only” and I picked up a few goodies!

Even I have to laugh sometimes…..really, I bought that and I’m excited that I did!  I know some of you can relate, not everyone, but for those who can I’m sharing these pics…..


I’d have been excited enough if I had only found the brass drawer label holders but there were the two cool metal funnels, the wood box and the thermometer.

IMG_1707 …..not to mention, the bonus odds and ends in the cool wood box!  As if that weren’t enough………

IMG_1711 I found this old leather, remember leather, key holder and the incredibly ornate keys.

All this goodness for the grand sum of $2! 

Woo Hoo!  In case you really are scratching your head….I use these things in my altered art.  I have some plans to try making a few assemblages this coming year.