Monday, November 23, 2015

Inspiring Artists

I want to share a few blogs that are pretty new to me.  I'm not even sure how I found them, but I'm glad I did!

Amy Meissner, an Alaskan textile artist, does beautiful work and writes thoughtful essays. She conveys her ideas about family, her own art, and art in general.  She is not a frequent poster, but her posts always intrigue me and give me something to think about.  Oh, and great photos and insightful looks into her process.
Source:  Amy Meissner Reliquary series

Naomi Bulger is creative in a number of ways, and one that captivates me is her interest in snail mail and the imagination that is evident in every piece she sends out into the world.  Check her out at Naomi Loves, and you will find both a visual feast and food for thought .
Source:  Naomi Loves Snail Mail

Just one more thing to celebrate:   Outings  which takes museum walls to the street.  Julien bi Casabianca began this process, but private individuals have taken up the banner.

Gallery of Outings Projects by city  
Source:  Outings Project New Orleans
What a wonderful idea for sharing great art in surprising places!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Snail Mail and a Fabric Postcard

My friend (even if we have never met in person!) Connie at Constance Rose: Art & Life is having weekly give-aways..
Source:  Constance Rose

This week is a fabric postcard, which I'm keeping my fingers crossed for. Connie's fabric postcard reminded me of when I first got involved with quilting and stitchery and was involved in several fabric postcard swaps which were a lot of fun.  

Before the fabric postcards, I spend a couple of years active in the Mail Art community-- I had a great time making, sending, and receiving snail mail.    

Even before that, I'd read Nick Bantock's Griffin & Sabine series (so beautiful and such fun) and decorated envelopes sent to my kids when they were in college.  Whoa!  Long time ago!

Seeing Connie's fabric postcard made me think of a new project--fabric postcards would make good Christmas greetings!  Not that I am inclined to do anything about this at the moment, but in my de-clutter activities I was considering putting a bunch of Christmas fabrics in the GoodWill bag.  This is exactly what happens every time the de-clutter, clean out, and dispose of process occurs--I think of just the project that might make use of whatever items headed for GoodWill (or trash).

If I ever get out of this slump, I'll make a few fabric postcards!  Until then....

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stitching Therapy

I'm still not in a creative mood and continue escaping into my shows, needle in hand, stitching compulsively, self-comforting.  (Wow--did the conclusion of Grimm's  latest season ever surprise me!)  Even without the head, this body is nearly 18", one of the largest I've ever made, so it has kept me engaged through quite a few days.
Stitching arms
 and legs.

When I finish stitching the body, 
I suppose I'll have to get around
to making a new head.

I have three more bodies that I made for dolls (all much smaller) that somehow didn't work out.  Maybe I'll just embroider bodies until the urge to move forward occurs. More blank canvases to fill.

I used a disappearing ink pen for the spirals, but the rest is simply improv--calming, soothing, an escape from problems I can't solve. Requiring no planning or thinking.  Just filling the next empty space.

One problem that I can solve and worked on yesterday is culling and de-cluttering.  So many half-finished projects that have been shunted aside and that I know will never go anywhere, along with all kinds of "stuff" that I thought might come in handy some day. Filled a trash bag and dumped them.  Still a long way to go, but a start.

Working myself into the Christmas mood with all of the blog posts I've been seeing lately.  Not there yet, but I can feel the need for a snowman or two beginning to take hold, and I can tell there is a Pinterest marathon coming on....

Thursday, November 12, 2015


I have no project at the moment.  When this occurs, I watch some of my shows on Amazon or Netflix--but I can't watch without having something to do with my hands.

Sometimes I embroider on scraps or on one of my studio shirts.  This time, I looked around and saw a doll body hanging on the door hook.  Last year, I made the body and a head, but since the body was large and cloth, with no armature, the head (clay over styrofoam ball) was too heavy.  I removed the head and left the body for another time.

The body was just hanging there waiting--a blank canvas.  Exactly what I needed to keep my hands busy so I could catch up on some of my shows.   No design or purpose in mind, choosing thread and stitch at random, and loving the tactile feel of the threads on the cloth....

Eventually, maybe an idea will come, and I'll make a cloth head to fit on the body, but right now, it serves another purpose by giving me an excuse to watch my shows.

If nothing comes to me in the meantime, maybe I'll make more pom poms or do some weaving.  

Speaking of pom poms, I'm not in the Christmas mood yet, but I love this idea from Aunt Peaches .   She has the most cheerful and colorful home in blogland, and I completely adore her Christmas tree.  

The dimension those pom pom branches give the tree makes me happy!  If I decided to follow her tutorial and make the pom pom branches, I would buy the pom poms as Aunt Peaches suggests, rather than making them.  My yarn colors are not too Christmas-y and ready-made packets would be so much easier and more efficient.

Which does not mean that I won't make more pom poms.  I like making pom poms.  :)  Moodling with pom poms or embroidery soothes the hands and leaves the mind free.

moodling - imagination needs moodling – long inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering”  -- Brenda Ueland: If You Want to Write: A book about Art, Independence & Spirit   (and I'm very good at it--moodling, that is)

Linking to Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Great Activity for a Rainy Day

Since it rained all day Saturday, the art journal was a life saver.

I had a long list of ideas, but all she wanted to do was draw and add thought bubbles to some pictures.  Fine by me.  She worked in hers, and I worked in mine.

She did a portrait of me. 
 Those are Minnie Mouse ears I'm wearing.  
Just in case you wondered.  
 She propped some of her stuffed animals on the table and drew them.
  Peanut Butter the pony and Oreo the penguin.
 Two of her best friends.
 Mila and Bryce Eleanor.
 Christmas at the camp.
I was surprised that she showed no interest
in the watercolors,
but she had enough to keep her engaged.
Maybe next time we will make pockets for the book
(yes, this is something I wanted to do,
but she ignored my suggestions)
and try some experimenting
with paints and collage.
Or not.

Took a long nap after she left yesterday.  :)

Saturday, November 07, 2015


I've been hard at work on a new project.  That means I've been doing a lot of research on blogs and on Pinterest.  Don't guess that really sounds like a hard work...but I've been taking notes!  And thinking!  I don't really like to think and organize my thoughts, but I've been trying.  

Bought a sketchbook and some supplies like markers, glue sticks, and watercolors.  Not for me, though.  I have my own supplies. :)  And I have supplies for Bryce Eleanor when she is here, but this weekend, we are going to start an art journal for her.  
 I plan to make a bag for all of her art "tools" so she can take her book anywhere.  

After mentioning to Amelia last week that a sketchbook would be a good idea to keep all of her drawings in one place, ideas started flowing and research began.  Just like when I become fixated on any project, I can't quit thinking about it.

I have a list of ideas, both my own and those garnered from various sources.  As usual, I'm finding this exciting and certainly hope she will be excited, too.

The excitement is partly because I expect to have fun with B.E., and partly because I'm going to enlist her help in creating art journal kits for her cousins.  We will begin work on her journal on Saturday and maybe even go on a shopping trip to get supplies for Max and Mila.

I started this post yesterday, and I'm now trying to organize our workspace.  Since the rain is still pouring down, and we won't be getting out for the walks and nature gathering I'd hoped to do, having the art journal to work on is going to be great.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Monday, November 02, 2015

This and That

I have not yet gotten around to making a table runner (or large square) with my fall fabrics.  There is still plenty of time left to do it because I've decided to eliminate the Halloween fabrics and just use fabrics that work with autumn.  Yet--for some reason the inclination to begin continues to escape me.  Maybe the hectic pace of Halloween creating requires a little recovery time.

And although the rain passed through, saving Halloween for trick or treaters, we only had one small group visit.  

I'm always drawn to reading about learning and education, and two recent books that I've read (How We Are Failing Our Brightest Kids and How Children Succeed) have mentioned Martin Seligman's research--so I ordered Martin Seligman's Learned Optimism.  If the authors of the other two books thought Seligman's book was important, I wanted to give it a shot.

Whew, I'm still slowly reading this one.... I've been through stages of denial, thinking and rethinking, and acceptance about some things concerning myself (yeah, I was reading the book to see why it was so important to innovative educators--not to have to learn about me).  

Truthfully, I have been--sort of peripherally--aware of certain elements about my thinking process, but have avoided giving it too much consideration.  Kind of that "it is what it is" attitude.

The book includes a test.  Oops, that is when I began the process of denial and eventual acceptance.  Not only a pessimist, but an almost off the chart pessimist.  
NO!  Well, maybe.  OK.  But, at this late date, can I change?
I often read a book a day, but this one--I'm slowly, slowly digesting, reading only a little at a time.  Mostly because I digress into my own situation.  Not only about my passivity and reluctance to make decisions for which I might be held responsible, but also about how I can change my internal dialogue.

Just when I was successfully dealing with my pessimistic "explanatory style," Seligman shakes it up and discusses the role of pessimism, mentioning that pessimists/depressives often evaluate situations more accurately than do optimists.  

Don Williams songs have been in my head so frequently lately (Lord, I Hope this Day Is Good and Good Ole Boys Like Me).

I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago with "Lord, I Hope this Day Is Good" running through my head.  I wasn't at all depressed (certainly, "not feeling empty and misunderstood"), but rather hopeful, and it seemed auspicious.  Then a few days later, a blogging friend asked if anyone remembered Wolfman Jack--and I was off to listen to "Good Ole Boys."  If ever there was a song that symbolizes a literary and musical Southern reminiscence--it is "Good Ole Boys Like Me."

Then I discovered that he will be appearing here November 14!  I ordered tickets immediately as an anniversary gift for Fee (& uh, me).  Our anniversary was Thursday, Oct. 29--44 years!  OMG!


Saturday, October 31, 2015


Yesterday, I met Amelia for lunch and then we went to St. Joseph's for their award ceremony and Halloween program.  Bryce Eleanor was to receive an award for reading, but she didn't know that. She asked her mother if she was coming to see the program, and Amelia said she wasn't sure if she could make it.  Since B.E. didn't know about the award, she was satisfied.

Of course, her proud mama, couldn't have been more delighted to know that the award was for reading and wouldn't have missed it.  Ellie, the blonde with the Pokemon, got first place and Bryce Eleanor got second place -- best friends and top readers for the entire second grade!  

:) And a proud grandma couldn't resist getting a picture with an award winner.

As an addicted reader, I couldn't be more pleased that all three of my grands enjoy reading.  Max may be even more committed than the girls!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fire burn, and caldron bubble.. (the last? of the Halloween decorations)

Witch from last year is back again.

Another decoration from last year.

In the mirror,
 wonderful creations.
I love the mismatched eyes
and cone hat.
Below is my Halloween baker
on a vintage eggbeater.

I made Bitter & Boo a couple of years ago,
but they remain a favorite
and take the same spot each year.

Last year, a skeleton took up residence in this cloche;
this year, I stuffed the basket of ghosts 
and flowers inside.

Altered baby doll

What's missing?  The La Calavera Catrinas that I made for the girls and some black cats.  Quite a few  Eccentrics have gone to live elsewhere.  

Even though I won't make anything else for Halloween, I've been getting tons of ideas from other people's blogs and from Pinterest.  

As if I didn't have enough ideas and unfinished projects, I'm inspired by these Halloween Fanatics:

Jann at Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Shirley at Hudson's Holidays
Peggy at Woman with Wings
Carol at Birds and Beads
Viv at Vivs Whimsy
Kim at Hunt & Host

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

I think I'm about done with Halloween for this year.  Really--I think I'm going to leave the rest of the unfinished projects alone.  For a while.

The little antique looking witch is finished.  She finally got some clothes, but never got her hat.  She still has some reading and studying to do before she earns her hat, but she is hard at work on her homework.  I'm not sure if she has learned her spell-casting sufficiently, but she is certainly making an effort.

I made one more "whatever" and would happily make a dozen more, 
because I love using the scraps and embellishments in my Halloween stash,  
and I can watch Drama Fever or my Amazon shows while working on them.
But it seems hardly worth the effort since Halloween is this weekend.

This shelf is above the television cabinet.
Mostly last year or older Eccentrics.
I did leave this Catrina undressed,
but she doesn't mind as long as
her black cat is close by.

I'm going to hate putting all these Eccentric characters away.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's Sunday, It Must Be Episodic Cleaning

It has been raining since Friday!  Lovely and needed rain.  The hibiscus have been drinking it up and giving a last gasp at flowering. 

 Perfect weather for reading or seeing what I can do with all of the scraps I've been producing.  I have a love affair with scraps.

Last year I made a bunch of these pins/brooches/whatever.  I have some already pinned on shirts and sweaters, gave some away, used some in other projects.

 Yesterday, I played with making more scrappy whatevers.  Scraps of all sizes to sort through and choose and fun to make while I watched the first episodes of The Man in the High Castle.

Today I'm in the midst of 5 minute episodes of frantic cleaning and straightening.  Set the timer for 5 minutes and then get to it, one room at a time, quitting when the timer goes off, and moving on, finished or not.  Some areas will need a second pass, but it fascinates me at what I can get done in such limited time, and the timer makes it feel more like a game.  

The reason behind the Episodic Cleaning Game is that while sometimes I make a list of chores for the day, lately, I've been more about the list of what chores I can avoid.  

Do I need to do that load of laundry today or can it wait?  
Should I go play in the studio or empty the dishwasher?  
Clean out the fridge or play upstairs?  
If I read for an hour would it hurt that I don't mop the floor today?  

My other favorite game--Avoid and Procrastinate.  I'm an expert.

Today, though, the game is Episodic Cleaning in 5 minute increments with 30 min. breaks!  :)  It works for me.  And it never lasts long; eventually, I ignore the timer.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Inspiration (Need a Smile Today?)

One of my blog reading pleasures (and, oh, there are so many) is visiting with the amazing art teacher, Cassie Stephens.  I have to check out What the Art Teacher Wore every time she posts.  I can't imagine what fun she has with her young students, but she is certainly inspiring to me.  

She makes her own clothes and doesn't just dress up for Halloween.  No, she manages to have costumes that relate to her art themes throughout the year.  

This is one of my very favorites!  Ah, Magritte!

One of the projects she did with her students was to make magnets as a fundraiser for a family that suffered the devastation of a fire.  

 the adorable magnets the kids created

 and the notes to the proud students

Do you see why I love to visit Cassie's blog?  Her creativity and her influence on her students makes me happy!

Cassie is one of the wonderful teachers that prove how important art is in schools.  The arts (art, music, drama, band, orchestra) should never be cut from school funding.