Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Morning

Happy Halloween! It is only 8:10 a.m. but I have already had a great morning. We had to get up early as Anna has choir before school, which means she has to be there by 7:55 a.m. It takes us about 20 minutes to walk there. When we left this morning it was still dark. The weather was surprisingly warm at around 69 degrees. I think it will be one of those rare days when it starts out warm and gets cooler as the day goes on. It is very cloudy and windy. I think it is the cold front moving in.

Anna was very excited to be walking in the dark on Halloween day. As we went through the field, we couldn't tell if the dark shapes were bushes or deer (we had seen some on Wednesday morning). The dark plays tricks with your eyes.

As we walked along the streets, the wind was blowing lots of leaves off the trees. It was "snowing" leaves, or as Anna and I like to say, it was "leaf-ing". One leaf came down in front of us and Anna thought for a second it was a ghost. I thought it looked like a butterfly. The leaves were crunching under foot. We didn't have to hurry because it was a rare morning that we left very early. Anna was jibber-jabbering the whole way.

Returning home, it was slightly lighter and I saw that the dark shapes in the field were just bushes after all. I was slightly disappointed, but as I continued up the path, I did see one deer. It was a male with either 4 or 6 points. We usually see a group of females and, not often, males. He stared at me and I admired him. I continued on and he continued eating. Yes, it's been a lovely morning.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I'm not really sure I want to share this scary picture, but since it is Halloween time, I will. I have had a busy weekend. It was not very relaxing but I did manage to get quite a bit done. Friday night was the school Halloween dance, hence the reason I am dressed in Goth garb. For some reason, I'm the one that gets to go to these things with Anna and not Frank.

Anna had a Halloween party to go to on Saturday and they still have a class party and trick-or-treating yet.

I spent most of Saturday inside on the computer. I managed to download the dance pix for the yearbook, upload photos to Snapfish, get the yearbook meeting stuff ready and show the yearbook software to the other parent that is helping me this year and taking over next year. I also managed to get stuff prepared for the art lesson I'm doing this week.

Sunday I had to make myself go outside, even though there was plenty more things to do inside. I did do some laundry and then cleaned up under, around the wood pile and re-stacked the little bit of wood we do have. It's ready for some more. I also managed to put some of the deck furniture under cover. I didn't want to rake leaves yet as there are more to fall. But the other was enough to get me outside and enjoying the nice weather. Looks like we have a beautiful week ahead of us.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Collage

This is the last collage in this series for now as I have used up all the background papers I had made. The quote on this one says: "Nature always tends to act in the simplest way."

Nature Act
Image size: approx. 8" x 5-1/2"
sewed to 12" x 9" Bristol paper
(plus $5 shipping and handling)

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Couple More Collages

Here is another collage I worked on last week. This one is the only one so far that doesn't have a quote on it.

8" x 6"
sewed onto 12" x 9" Bristol paper
(plus $5 shipping and handling)

This second collage is bigger than all the others. It was too big to scan so I had to take a picture, which is not the best. The quote says: "You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters." - Saint Bernard

Find Woods
Approx. 12" x 16" sewed onto Bristol paper
(plus $5 shipping and handling)

Below is a picture I took of the trace leaves I did in the printmaking workshop before cutting them up to put in the chine colle

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Today was the second day of my weekend printmaking workshop at BSU. This workshop was all about monotypes. Now I can show you what I did. For this first print, I did some trace printing with the (white) leaves. This is when you ink the plate, lay a japanese paper on top and then draw on the back of the paper. The ink is then on the front when you are done. I did the entire plate of leaves. Then I ran the plate through the press to get the reverse, which is the background on this piece.

Then I started with a clean plate and added some paint with a brush for the color. Before running it through the press, I cut out some of the traced leaves, put acrylic medium on them and then ran the print through the press again with the new color. The glueing of pieces on the print while running it through the press is called Chine colle.

This second print was just the additive method, where you just paint directly on the plate and then run it through the press to take a print.

This print I rolled on different colors on the plate. I stamped those swirls on the plate with a rubber stamp. Then I layed down some cut out shapes and pieces of yarn on top of the plate. When run through the press, these become the white sections.

After one run, I pull off the yarn and the paper pieces. I turned the paper pieces over (they now have ink on them) and moved them to a different section of the plate. Then I ran it through the press again to get this ghost print.

Here's another print with the different color sections of ink, stamped swirls and stencils on top.

This one was also done in sections. I stamped each section as I inked it on the plate. I used the stencils again and the colored trees were stencils that I ran ink over before I put them on the plate.

Last, but not least, are my favorites. These are trace prints where you ink the plate, put the thin paper down and then draw on the back to pick up the ink. What I found difficult with this technique is that any amount of pressure on the paper will pick up ink. So you can't rest your hand on the paper. It made it a little harder for me to draw the lines when my hand was raised in the air.

I can't believe these are my favorites because I feel like I really don't know how to draw birds very well. Fortunately, the teacher had brought some copies of black and white illustrations and this is what I was looking at as I drew them. The tree branches I did because it took such a long time for the first three birds, I was getting tired of drawing them.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two More Collages

Today I spent the whole day at a workshop at Boise State University for monotype printmaking. It is a non-credit course. I cannot show you what I did today because it is still there drying as we used oil-based inks. I will also be there all day tomorrow. Instead, I have two more collages to show you.

Soil Tree
Image size approx. 8" x 6" sewed to 9"x12" Bristol paper
(plus $5 shipping and handling)
The quote says: "The soil, in return for her service, keeps the tree tied to her; the sky asks nothing and leaves it free.

Green Heart
The quote says: "Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Something New

This week I have been spending some time working on collages. I really enjoy other people's collages but have not done many myself. Since I am currently on a "reuse/recycle" theme, I decided to do some collages with found papers. I like how others build up layers with papers, paint, stamps, etc. to create texture. That was what I was going for as well.

I've used all kinds of papers: pages torn from books (especially foreign language ones), sewing pattern paper, brown paper bags, leftover scrapbook paper, etc. The trees are stamps I carved.

I'm also going to try something new by offering these for sale. Someday I hope to have my own art web page, or an Etsy shop or just a blog with artwork for sale. But for now, I will just offer them here. The images are about 6" x 8" and they are sewn onto 9" x 12" Bristol paper. If you are interested in buying one, you can email me or leave a comment. I have a Paypal account and would also be willing to do a trade.

Peace Trees
(plus $5 for shipping and handling)

There is a quote written throughout the background that says: "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." - John Muir

Light Nature
(plus $5 for shipping and handling)

The quote throughout the background on this one says: "Come forth into the light of things. Let nature be your teacher." - William Wordsworth

I have a few more I'm working on as well.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Go Green

Quite a while ago, Quilting Arts magazine had a "Go Green" challenge to make a small quilt using recycled materials. This is what I sent in, but they chose not to use it. Maybe there wasn't enough fabric for it to be considered a quilt. Anyway, I'm showing it to you now.

It is made with old pattern paper, flowers cut out from tissue paper, a piece of wool fabric cut from a thrift store skirt, old beads and tops of old buttons, a piece of selvedge, plastic tab from an orange juice can (that's the ruffles on the shirt), strips of leftover plastic canvas to make the border with stitches in between the holes. The backing is Timtex and more of the shirt fabric.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

First Snow of the Season

Yes, indeed. Yesterday we were surprised to look out the window and see it snowing, big, fat, wet flakes.

After a little while, it looked like the picture above. Last night we had a concert to go to downtown. After we parked the car and were walking to the theater, we heard this loud crack and saw a branch from a tree fall from the weight of the snow on the leaves.

This morning we saw that one of our trees in the back broke off as well. I think the whole tree will now have to come down as there is not much left. I can't ever recall seeing snow on the fall leaves before. The paper did say it was the earliest snow on record since they started keeping track over a hundred years ago.

The trees here are just starting to turn colors. The locust trees looked very pretty with the snow on the delicate, yellow leaves.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Being Thrifty

Last night we had a bit of a frost here. Yesterday, I picked all the basil on my one plant, pulled some carrots, picked a couple small zucchini in anticipation of the cold. Today I made pesto.

Today I also went to the thrift store to try to find clothes for Anna's Halloween costume. Originally she was going to be a black ninja cat. Now she wants to be a warrior cat. So I thought if I could get some black clothes at the thrift store, we could actually tear and distress the fabric as she wants to be a battle-worn cat. I did manage to find a black shirt and pants for her.

I also found some fabric. Usually they don't have much, but today there was quite a bit. It looked like a quilter cleaned out their stash or a store went out of business and donated the fabric. They had bundles of several different fabrics together. There were also fat quarters that had not been undone (that's why I think it was from a store).

Of the bundles, I picked this one. There are four different fabrics from the Hoffman "Kasuri" line. The bundle was 10 dollars. When I got home I measured the lengths and it was about ten yards all together. It looks like it is right off the bolt. So it was about a dollar a yard. Good deal considering this fabric could be eight or nine dollars a yard at the quilt store.

I didn't pick up any of the other bundles. There was quite a bit of purple. There was a couple that had some batiks in them and then just the usual calicos. I also got a couple of wool sweaters to felt and hopefully will find a use for them.

The store seemed unusually busy today. I don't think it was people looking for Halloween costumes but just normal clothes. Must be all the recession talk. I've always thought it was a good way to save money and conserve resources. Plus, you really can find some nice clothes if you have the time to look.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I was able to carve a few stamps on Monday. The changing of the leaves and autumn must have trees on my mind.

While I was trying out the stamps, I made this little piece, Tree Tenants #2.

Monday, October 6, 2008


The bathroom is finished! Well, I still have some touch-ups to do and need to find some artwork for the walls and the towels I originally picked out, I'm not so sure about. Other than that, we are good to go (to the bathroom that is). It didn't turn out how I envisioned because the cabinet ended up a little different than the original plan. But I think the bathroom looks better than before and much more updated. And the cabinet has been modernized without having to buy a new one.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Thing Leads to Another

What have I been doing for the last few days? One day this week, I think I was looking at the books in my studio and for some reason started cleaning off the shelves (it needed to be done but why start another project?). I cleaned out old folders, magazines and other misc. stuff. I use to have one shelf for display but decided to get rid of that. I rearranged the books and shelves and managed to get more items on the shelves. There is even a little bit of space left to add a few new art books!

Of course, since I could put more stuff on the shelves, that stuff came from another place in the studio. So I started cleaning out that bookshelf which required working with the stuff in the closet because I was trying to eliminate that bookshelf. So, I cleaned out this side of the closet and rearranged stuff and here what it looks like now (yes, it is much better than before).

The other side of the closet has pretty much been well organized before. You can see I like to use as much space as possible.

I managed to clean off the little bookshelf, but decided not to get rid of it. Instead, I moved Anna's art stuff onto that and the other desk shelves and was able to get rid of the four cubicles that was holding all of Anna's stuff. Now those are back in the garage. That took several days to accomplish all that.

I still have a pile of papers to go through and clear out but we can now walk in the studio without stepping on or over things and for a short amount of time, it will be clean. Now, I'm hoping to either build in some corner desk(s) or try to find something on Craig's list. I realized I need more surface area to put paper cutters and die cut machine on.

Thursday Anna did not have school. We did a couple of errands and then went to the mall to look for winter clothes for Anna. She wanted to go to buy a Webkins stuffed animal. Such is the life of a "tween". We also bought a Life is Good t-shirt for Frank's birthday, which led to Anna talking me into buying one for her. I got a sticker.

We also went to Claire's, which led to Anna talking me into buying her a pair of Halloween cat earrings. I got the skeleton earrings. I'm not sure how we got in there in the first place. I think Anna talked me into it.

Friday was Frank's birthday and he took the day off. He got himself the upgrade to HD t.v. so we celebrated with the satelite guy coming over to switch us. We also finished up the painting/staining of the bathroom cabinet. Anna had a friend over to spend the night and we brought pizza in.

This morning we put the cabinet back in the bathroom. Yay! Then the sink went in without too much trouble. We put the new faucet in and came to a snag. Since we didn't line up the sink exactly the way they had it before the pipe was off enough to make it not functional without leaking with the new faucet. So we have to get a new pipe.

This afternoon we took Anna's hamster, Clare, to the Petco hamster derby. While we were there, Frank went to look for a new pipe part. Clare warmed up really well and was fast on the track. By the time they actually had the race, she must have been too tired and just sat there. Oh well. Just like cats, you can't make them do anything.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

12 x 12 Shelter Challenge

The 12 x 12 group has posted their quilts for the Shelter Challenge. As I have been playing along, here is mine. It is called Tree Tenants. This is based on an idea from the artist Hundertwasser. He believed that urban buildings should have tree tenants, trees actually planted in the building and growing out the windows (as well as on top of buildings). He really thought buildings should blend in with the nature around us.

For shelter, I thought of trees because they can shelter us from rain and sun. They are also used to build shelters and to shelter us from cold in the form of fire. In addition they shelter us from carbon dioxide as they absorb it from the air and give us healthy oxygen to breath.

The trees are growing out the windows just as Hundertwasser suggested, providing beauty and shelter for us. But also the trees are being sheltered by the buildings and I think we humans need to shelter the trees as well.

I used old wool jackets for the pieces and stray threads from my fabric dying as the tree leaves.