Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday, Sunday

For some reason, I've tried to do as many different things as I possibly could cram into today. I'm worn out but I just keep going, keep moving, it's as if I can't stop or relax or slow down. I'll sit down for a minute then !pop! I'm up again. It started at 6:00 a.m. this morning. I went for a bike ride, some hills that made me work and sweat, came home, showered, made coffee, made pumpkin-raisin muffins, caulked a fountain that was leaking, and then proceeded to undertake a project of a hand-painted baby quilt I've had on my list for a while. I had already drawn my pictures, so today I started by putting down glue resist and then I paced waiting for it to dry. I almost started to paint the bench that's on the front porch, but even I realized that was too much for today. I read for a while waiting for the glue to dry (Empty Without You, Intimate Letters of Eleanor Roosevelt; fascinating) and then I ended up painting all day. I'd paint, hang the piece on a clothes hangar and put it outside under the patio umbrella to dry. Go back inside, clean the water, clean the table, put down new paper towels, and start all over again. Today was so hot that by they time I went outside with the next piece, the first one was already dry. Compliments of the hot Oklahoma sun.

Some of the pieces I painted twice just to get more color. One, I completely did over because the colors and design didn't fit with the others. I ended up painting five "pictures" and four pieces that were color only. My idea is to have 3 rows of 3 -- picture, color, picture; color, picture, color; etc. While my painted pieces "cured" in the dryer, I whipped up some of the Barefoot Contessa's Pecan Oatmeal Raisin cookies (except these are actually walnut oatmeal raisin; just had a taste of one and whoa! are they good.) My painted fabric is now in the washer and will have to air dry when it's finished before I can do anything more. THANK GOODNESS for that! I think it's time for a glass of wine. That way I'll have to sit down.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beautiful Friday

I took a bike ride down the Riverwalks path this morning. It's always so surprising to me how many people are out just toolin' around. Sitting on a hillside, just talking. People walking their dogs, babies in jogging strollers, roller blades, serious bikers, serious runners, lovers, all on a Friday mid-morning. I wasn't a serious biker, but I wasn't out just to relax either. I'm more of a get the exercise, enjoy it, then get on to the next project.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day or Labor Day?

While some reflected on the meaning of this Memorial Day, I believe we got our wires crossed and acted like it was LABOR day. Holy cow, we worked our asses off today. Between finishing up the cleaning, emptying and readying my sister's house to sell, and then working to organize our own garage, we pretty much filled up the entire day with nothing but work. At least there was a smile of satisfaction when we were able to close the door and say this really is the last trip. There is nothing else that has to be removed; nothing else that has to be done.

All during this process of my sister moving, there have been times when it felt so strange, felt as if she'd died. Like cleaning out her cabinets and disposing of food; going through storage boxes looking for documents necessary to put her house up for sale; paying bills and tying up loose ends. Today it reminded me of dealing with my grandma's house and business when she went into the nursing home.

I'll be glad when the house sells. Even though it's with a realtor now, there's still that nagging feeling of things undone; I'm ready to feel like it's all done.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Live With Intention

My latest project. It's not a book; it's more of a folding card, I guess. It's not perfect but it sure was good practice for some lettering. I used a #5 Mitchell nib for the blue text and a 1/4" flat brush for the white. The text is miscellaneous "advice" for a graduate. Fun to read; fun to work on.

Monday, May 18, 2009


There's always something new, something that one person makes, then two or three start making and then, bam, it's everywhere and not unique any more. Fused glass, right now for me, is old. Still beautiful colors, still fascinating, but booth after booth of fused glass jewelry is not exciting. New this year were earrings made out of guitar picks. I saw at least two booths with jewelry made from guitar picks. Not something I would wear or buy, but fun to look at and at the very least, an interesting idea.

I spent some time talking to Sally Wade, an artist from Tyler, Texas, who does silver work. What caught my eye about her work was that she did lettering on small pieces of jewelry. Stamping each small stroke. She explained that she makes her own chisel tools for stamping and had designed an alphabet that could be entirely constructed using only four marks. Sort of a Neuland alphabet, for those of you who know what that is.

Another artist's work I was fascinated with was handmade paper projects and I can't believe I didn't get her name. Narrow pieces of handmade paper folded into zig-zags and woven like a lattice-top pie crust. I immediately saw torn paper with calligraphy on it woven like that -- that will be something to experiment with.

A drop-dead gorgeous day for art. Throw in a little jazz, a bratwust and voila, you have a day. And if you're brave enough, you can climb the jungle-gym made out of old bicycle frames.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Take on Scrapbooking

I've been working today on the repair of a 70-year old photo album for a friend of a friend. It's a photo-diary of four 17-year old boys' "voyage down the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers in their homemade boat." They left Tulsa on June 2, 1940, and arrived in Baton Rouge on June 25, 1940. The newspaper clipping announcing their arrival in Baton Rouge has an advertisement on the back of it for "large soft bath towels -- 10 cents."

The Log of Ha-Pe-Jo-Jo (the name of the boat) is neatly typed, with the date in black type and the entry in red. I can see the typewriter ribbon in my mind as I read every page. He went to so much trouble to keep this journal. It's put together with brass brads that are attached to a page in the album. I had to make a new page for that because the weight of that page and probably the number of times it had been handled, had torn it completely away from the binding.

He writes about buying a $30 1934 Ford to drive the rest of the trip after they hit New Orleans. They went to Atlanta and then headed back home to Tulsa. Long story short, they ended up selling the car for $18 and bought bus tickets home. Too many flats, the car too hard to hold together. They arrived home July 11, so their trip was about 6 weeks.

They had many "swell" dinners, saw quite a few "swell" shows, and generally had a "swell" time. It's a treasure of a book.

I've never met the man who took the trouble to document this incredible journey, but I've decided that my "invoice" for the repair of this book will be a request to meet him and perhaps get to hear him tell me the story himself.

Besides new pages for the front matter and adding some pages in the back for loose photos and news clippings, the repair was mainly the covers. I made completely new covers, using watercolor paper for the board part, covered it in black Strathmore, but covering it "backwards" so that the old cover of the album could be glued in its entirety to the front. The covers are under weights now and I hope to reassemble the album later this weekend.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

What's Too Far?

It's never too late to go too far....Carl Rohrs

I'm in a calligraphy workshop all weekend with Carl Rohrs, a guy who does exquisite work and refers to himself as a sign painter. He doesn't draw lines, he doesn't mix gouache. The consensus of the entire class was we wanted to be his girlfriend when he told us (and showed slides) he made his girlfriend a card every month -- OH were we jealous. All works of art. Literally.

BTW: The "taking it too far" statement was about decorating letters, not making works of art for lovers . . . . .or was it?