Sunday, May 31, 2009

What's in Your Drawers?

It's amazing how much one can accomplish with a couple of days off. None of those things, of course, are the actual things on my to-do list, but I'm making progress nonetheless. For instance, I have caught up on sleep. I should have put that on the list, so I'd have something to cross off the list! However, I am in the process of working on a big chore that has been on the to-do list the longest. I bought this cabinet several years ago. In spite of the fact that I really could not afford it and really didn't have a place for it, I knew you don't come across something like this very often.

It sat in the garage for at least a year, while I tried to figure out where I was going to put it. I eventually brought it inside. The cabinet itself was in fair shape. But when I moved it, the drawers were a lot grungier than I at first thought they were, so I cleaned the best ones and the rest were in the garage until I could get back to it.

Well, at least a year or two later (who's counting), I decided this morning that I would vacuum the drawers and bring them in once and for all. Sounds like a simple, easy job, right? Then I had shop vac issues. Should I take all 17 drawers up and down the basement steps, or just bring the shop vac up to the garage. I did the latter, and the shop vac was not as heavy as I thought, so I was moving onward and feeling optimistic.

The shop vac didn't seem to be doing a very good job. Maybe the filter needed cleaning or replacing. Yep, it was pretty dirty. (I needed another shop vac to vacuum the shop vac filter!!) Now see, this is where you might find the difference between men and women. (No offense intended toward either one) A man would have looked at that filter and seen a golden opportunity for a Home Depot trip to buy a new filter and spend another three hours in Man Land. Although I can equally spend an inordinate amount of time at a hardware store, I just cleaned the filter as best as I could and went on with the chore. But it really took way longer than what I would have liked. And it still was not sucking up the grunge to my satisfaction, not to mention the new spider webs that had formed during the months the drawers had lived in the garage. I had way better luck with a wet rag, but the rag turned black (and I mean black) with every drawer. This cabinet had spent years in an outbuilding at the place where I bought it. So this "quick" chore that I originally thought would take 30 minutes tops had now turned into an hour and a half. And only half the drawers are cleaned and in the cabinet. But I'm excited to finally get this ready to use. So many trinkets and gadgets waiting to go in those drawers.

And there is a reason why the drawers are numbered, I've discovered. They are Not interchangeable. Which makes me appreciate the fact a real person spent a lot of real time making these by hand, then probably got irritated when they tried to put them all in, thus came up with the numbers.

And I don't think it was made in China (wink).
And while I have you here, another congratulations to Gaye for being published in this book:

Great, great book. It's about collaborative projects and such. When I called Gaye to congratulate her, she didn't even know she was in it. The piece they used was from a swap some of us did on a monthly basis ten years ago (the Capolan swap). One of her pieces was in the batch submitted. Way to go, Gaye--you can get published without even trying!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Three R's

Instead of Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic, we are exploring three (w)riting examples....

Have you seen the movie "Angels and Demons"? I have not, but surely we all know it's out there. The interesting thing is, the logo spells the same upside down (an ambigram) It was done by the amazing John Langdon. My mind just does not work that way. I even have Langdon's book Wordplay (the title he designed is also an ambigram), but I would need years to figure out how he does this. See his work here. And yes, the Tom Hanks character's last name is Langdon... no coincidence!

Then we have this. Cake Wrecks. Just found about about this site. The lesson is, if you are going to decorate your own cake, make sure you have good spelling, good penmenship, and good spacing. Too funny. Lots of beautiful cakes here too.
My favorite:

And lastly, some of my own work. I did this little purse book a few years ago, but recently donated it to a calligraphy auction/fundraiser. I always liked this little book. It will soon be in the hands of the winning bidder.

Now, go 'R something.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Use the Good Paper

I'm feeling in an art funk. I think it's because I am working so much. Since it was my turn to work Memorial Day, I volunteered to work the whole weekend too, so that is making for a very long stretch of days without time off. Then I think about how I hate working and want to do art. Then I feel guilty that so many are out of work and I am complaining because I have to work. Shame on me. At least I do love what I do (medical transcription), and I do get to work at home, so I guess I need an attitude adjustment.

Then I might come across something from a past day when I did have time to play. A couple of years ago, I was going through a masking tape phase.

I would take watercolor paper, mask off some lines and then just play, play, play with paint. Even if I don't have time for an actual "project" I want to do, there is something about just picking up a brush, dipping it in paint, and painting on heavy paper. It really feeds my soul.

When I pick these up, they just feel good, because I used the "good" paper, and the good paints. Who knows what I will do with this stuff, but when I don't have time to play, I can prop these up to look at from time to time and get happy inside.

This was done with black drawing ink and red ink. There is a book here just waiting for me to figure out how I want to proceed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Queen of Denial

DATELINE: Kentucky, May 24, 2009--
This was in the local paper today (hope it's large enough to read the headline)...

What turkey? Did I mention a turkey? Not me. I never mentioned a turkey, I never photographed a turkey, never gave birdseed to a turkey, never blogged about a turkey. Nope. Not me. Besides, my turkey does not look like he has been traumatized by being smuggled in from New Mexico. He is way too laid back. I caught him sleeping in a tree yesterday morning when I went out extra early. By the time I got my camera and went back outside, he was already out of the tree and back on the ground.
As for the newspaper article, seems like there would be more profitable illegal activities besides smuggling turkeys. It's not like there aren't enough of them already!!

Friday, May 22, 2009


What does one do when there is nothing to blog about?

Make up a new holiday...

Happy Second Month Anniversary of My Blog Day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Found Objects

What is this? Any ideas?

I don't have to go far to find odd things. This was in the road in front of my house. Someone had already driven over it at least once. I have no idea what it is. Yes, it is shaped like the top part of a foot. And something is to be bolted on top. My best guess (and it is only a guess) is that it might be part of a tractor or other farm equipment. Maybe a pedal was bolted to the top at one point.

It is not at all unusual to find things like this around here, right in my own yard. In the past I have found a small stuffed animal, a pair of child's pants, a lost and deflated balloon, someone's medical papers, someone's school work, a receipt from Home Depot, and the biggest rope I have ever seen. The rope was not long, but was big in terms of thickness. And it had a knot in it. It would take huge hands to tie a huge knot in the huge rope. It was in the back yard, not on the street like the other things. I am guessing it fell from a helicopter from Ft. Knox. I see helicopters fly over at least once a day. I once saw a helicopter with a military jeep hanging below it. That was a sight to see! I'm not that far from Ft. Knox, and can sometimes hear the booming of tank training, especially on cold clear days when it seems like sound travels more.

I also found this (not sure what this is either, but you never know when I might need to designate something as Level 2):

And this emergency strobe light (which Does actually work).

Life is an adventure.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Going Home

Going home means different things to different people. It depends on where home is. Or where home feels like it is. Or just where your heart feels at home. We moved a lot when I was little, so I don't feel like I have a real "home town" as such. But when I go to my mom's in West Tennessee, I consider that "going home". I was born and raised in West Tennessee. I spent the first 27 years of my life there. I always felt like that part of the country was the flattest, dullest place on earth.

When I lived in Texas several years later, I learned the true meaning of "flat". And over the course of moving around the country during my married years, I came to see that boring land of West Tennessee as peaceful, serene, rolling hills of "home". It's amazing how time and circumstances can totally alter your perspective. When you "go home", home never feels the way it felt when you lived there. It will always feel different, but the same.

So, I was home on a very quick trip to see my niece get married. To me, she will always be four years old. But in reality, she is actually now 21 and a married woman. I was so excited to get back to my house and load the pictures on the computer. And so disappointed when I saw they were all horrible. The light in the room was low, and I guess I did not have a steady hand. The only really good picture I took is of the cake, because it was sitting still. The only other half-decent ones are my nephew. So here is the wedding from the perspective of an eight-year-old.

Mitchell shows me the "special walk" that he plans to use in his role as Ringbearer. Thankfully, he did not actually walk this way during the ceremony!

Being all boy, there were many places to explore before the wedding started. Tuxedo? What tuxedo?!

Mitchell had time to take a few calls before the ceremony. (That's my little brother there, Mitchell's dad, father of the bride.)

And this is how an 8-yr-old spends the wedding reception!

The newlyweds should be in Paris by now. I wanted to tell her about the flea markets, but didn't think she would be interested! Back to the real world for me....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Paper Engineers

Gaye tried to instruct Pat in how to fold the house book, but Pat realized she needed more coffee first.

I would tell you to hurry, hurry to sign up for this class at Stampaway in August, but this fun class is already full. Great little project!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When Ideas Converge

I was reading Pam Sussman's blog (see link on the left), and followed a link to a place to download little books to make. I treated myself to some play time, and made this little map and this pizza book.

Oh, look... is that security envelope paper in the back there? Very good, Sherlock.

Anyway, making the little single sheet books reminded me that I had not made a PocketMod book in a while. What's a PocketMod? Very cool little single sheet books. I have made dozens since I came across the website. It is very simple to pick what you want on the pages, drag and drop, then print. One leads to another, and I can't stop making different variations once I get started. Pages with lines, grids, calendars, lists, etc. They are perfect for notes, and fit easily in a pocket or purse.

Anyway, I made a few of those, and made a cover from envelope paper. I sewed two pieces of the paper together so the pattern shows on both the outside and the inside of the book. Then I decided to make a fabric tab closure.

I'm experimenting with a new closure option. I have some very thin magnet tape that I'm using. It is sticky on one side, so just stick it where you want it. See where I put a piece on the tab, and a piece on the cover. It works just fine for this small, lightweight book. I plan to sew all four sets of PocketMod books to the cover, just have not gotten around to it yet.

Oh, a hint from me on folding the PocketMod. You may not have this problem, but my printer prints the sheet a little askew for some reason. So what I do is first fold the paper in half at the faint gray line they show in the center. When I do this, the ends of my folded paper do not match up, but the PocketMod edges do. I trim (on the paper cutter) the three remaining sides, cutting where they have the faint outside border. Then proceed with the folded book. If you are not familiar with this type of fold, they even have a video tutorial further down the page.

So, go forth and make PocketMods......

Monday, May 11, 2009

Security Detail

The great thing about the Land of Blog is that no matter what you are doing, thinking about, learning, seeing, eating, or making, there is someone else right there with you and they are probably blogging about it. I was looking for a blog address I had saved (which I never did find), and I came across another blog I had saved which had a recent post about security envelopes and the fascination with the patterns in various envelopes. I have to admit, yes, there was a time I was saving all my patterned security envelopes to make something "some day". When I first started saving them, I was like a kid with baseball cards. Everytime something came in the mail with a different pattern, I thought "ooh, I don't have That one", and it would go in the stash. Then I had a sudden onset of decluttering one day and threw them out.

But now, well, even I am overwhelmed at what people are doing with them. Check out this blog by book artist Rhonda in Canada here. And be sure to check out some of the links, including the link to the Flickr photos. I had no idea there were so many variations and so many shades of blues and grays.
Since I don't have any projects made with security envelope paper to go with this post, I just traced some shapes onto the paper and cut them out. These are my man buttons and lady person (looks a bit like Queen Elizabeth and her security detail!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day....
especially to my mom

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I See Dots

Did you ever take a bunch of dominoes, some superglue, a square piece of mat board, and put them all together?
Well, you should try it sometime. It's a little project that is quick, easy, and results in something useful! The size container you make depends on how big your dominoes are and how many you use. When I made these, I just went with what "looked right" to me. Then I cut a square piece of mat board to fit the finished container. I think I used a gel type superglue - it gives extra time for moving stuff around to try to line it up (not that mine is perfectly lined up, but I wasn't after perfection, just playing around.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Little Friend

I go to the garage. I push the button to raise the garage door. The dramatic music from the movie 2001 plays in my head...daaaa daaa daaaaaaa... Da Daaaaaaa... The door slowly rises. My friend is there again.

Isn't this what everyone sees when they open the garage door? The weird thing is, this guy was not just standing there when I opened the door, he Ran there from the other side of the yard when the door went up, because he knew I'd be coming out to fill the bird feeders.

When it was 5 degrees outside, I understood. When he brought 30 of his friends in the dead of winter, I understood. But it is no longer the harsh cold days of winter, and I have no idea where this guy came from or when he will leave. But I think I'm stuck with him (or her... I have no idea which).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Party of One

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I had finished a book that really got my brain churning. The book is A Pearl in the Storm, by Tori Murden McClure, the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. This is non-fiction, and Tori is from Louisville, so I followed her story when it was in progress ten years ago. Loved the book... and I'll be shocked if it is not made into a movie. In fact, how many books actually have a movie trailer?? On Amazon, there is a snippet of some of the video she recorded when she thought she might not make it home..

The book is not about her successful trip across the Atlantic, it is more about her first attempt, which was not successful. She was battered by a hurricane until her body and boat were not safe on the water anymore. For some reason, this story just fascinates me. Aside from the fact that I am not a boat person, would I have what it takes to do something like that?

But in the process of thinking about her journey and the "aloneness" during that time, I realized something.

One of my favorite movies is "Castaway" with Tom Hanks.... it's about a guy who is stranded on an island for several years after a plane crash.

One of my favorite books is "Into the Wild" (also a movie, but I loved the book better)'s about a guy who becomes stranded in Alaska after some bad weather.

One of my favorite artists is Walter Anderson, who often left his family, took his little boat and some art supplies, and stayed alone on a little island painting.

Are we seeing a theme here? Is there something wrong with me? Part of me likes the idea of being stranded somewhere and trying to make something out of nothing. I love how Tom Hanks made a fishing net out of a fancy dress skirt. I'd like to think that if I were ever on the Survivor TV show, I'd come home with a fabulous handmade book that I made out of leaves and vines!

I also wonder about the artist who goes off to paint. I think we all need our own artist's retreat from time to time. But he was known to have mental problems. I remember part of a quote I heard once, about whether making art drives one insane, or if it is the insane people who make art. I guess there is a fine line there somewhere.

Sorry for the heavy thoughts. I hope no one out there is a psychologist, because I don't know if I want to know what this "alone" theme might mean!!

Also, I like old wooden rulers..... (that's my way of ending on a different subject!!)

Monday, May 4, 2009


Don't we love words!

This is a page in progress. I just finished reading a great book (which I'll probably bring up again later), and it sent my mind into a hundred different thoughts. These word stencils really fit the bill for what I have in mind for these pages.

And as I so often do when doing art, as long as I had stuff out and as long as my hands were already inky, I used the stencils on a couple of other places before I put them away. The one below was an experiment gone wrong. If you look at the pink and blue lettering, it actually says Happy Easter. I really like to use water-soluble markers to write things, then spritz with water and let the colors blend a little. I got a little too carried away with the water here, plus it was not watercolor paper and a little water went a long way. Project aborted. So, time to use some stencils on it. It will probably lay on the table and get more things added over time, then end up as background paper somewhere.

Then I used another word stencil in an altered book that I work in from time to time. Mostly, I just paint the pages whenever I have left-over paint from another project.

And for the people waiting breathlessly to see what monthly divider I'll put in my journal for the month of May (see previous post here), I decided on these paper clips that spell out May. However, those little rascals are being difficult. The letter parts keep popping off the clip part. So I may end up using something else for May. I will either send these clips to the Home for Deliquent Paper Clips, or if I'm feeling more accomodating, I'll send them to the Paper Clip Hospital to see Dr. Superglue.

And lastly, February got left out of my other post showing the dividers, mainly because it was on the left side and also does not stick out. It's just gaffer's tape, something easy (since that was done while I was in a hotel room last February during the power outage/ice storm).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Favorite Day of the Week

What's the best day of the week?

Any day that Gaye goes to a yard sale.

After all...

She does find

the best stuff...