Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Don't Panic

Have you started your Christmas shopping?  (Or finished your Christmas shopping if you are an over achiever.)  Mailed your Christmas cards?  You have all the time in the world - or so it seems today.  Check with me in about 24 days and see if I say that!

Maybe you like to keep track of the countdown, read Santa's blog, follow Santa's tweets, and read some really silly elf jokes.

Just don't get too caught up in the frenzy.  Remember to take the time to enjoy the music, the lights on a still quiet night, relax with a steamy hot beverage with some baked goods, enjoy friends and family, and don't forget the real reason for the season.

Then you can be all la-dee-da.

(Pictures are from friend Gaye's house from my visit a few weeks ago.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Over the river and through the woods

On a map-making journey I go...  (You must sing that to the tune of whatever song that first part is from.)

As usual, I was not actively looking for something new to embark on, but it found me instead.  I recently got Jill Berry's new book, Personal Geographies.  For a long time, I've had this idea for making a book with maps in it.  I have saved maps from places I've been (art fairs, parks, campuses, etc.), with no particular purpose yet, just knowing I would need them some day.  Jill's book is different though, and it has my mind going in many directions.  I have actually been reading her book, not just looking at the pictures (as so many of us do!)  I like the way she makes maps of different events and places from a childhood memory, things like that.  They can be like a regular map, or in the shape of a hand or body or the sections of the head.

All these ideas will have to wait for now.  The idea file in my head is getting full.  For now, I played with making "geo paper" using the tutorial on Jill's blog here.

I will put more layers over this and play some more later..

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November Rolls Along

This time next week, it will be December.  How can that be? 
Remember my square-a-day journal for November?  It's rolling along.  I missed a couple of days and need to go play catch-up. 

I have learned a couple of things.  One, my day-to-day life is pretty mundane and boring.  Two, when I do have something to say, a one and a half inch square is not enough space.  For one day (Nov 19), I handled that by making a small pocket to go on that square on the calendar.  Then I inserted a piece of paper in the pocket, with more room to write.  Works for me.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving (in the U.S.)  I'm not a big turkey lover, so a couple of bites of the Thanksgiving turkey is enough for the whole year for me!  Now pumpkin pie, that's a whole 'nother story!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Internet Hypnotized Me

Does this happen to you?  All I remember is that I logged on to catch up on email and favorite blogs, read some postings from yahoo group digests I get... you know, the normal stuff.  One of the digest emails had a link to somewhere.  That had a link to a You Tube video that I clicked on.  That video didn't interest me, but the videos listed to the right had another one that looked interesting.  And the next thing I knew, I was off making a mini book.

It's been a while since I made a "meander book".  And I had never seen one from a sheet of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper.  But when you think about, that's a great size for a meander book.  I used a double sided sheet and had it whipped out in no time - scoring, cutting, and folding.

I have not embellished it yet, but maybe I'll use these cool vintage playing cards that Gaye gave me.  I think Girtie Giggle and Willie Whistle would like to live in this book.

I have to go catch up on email now.  Wish me luck as I once again try to enter that black hole.

P.S. - Instructional video on the meander book is here.  It makes a nice 3 x 3-inch book.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Off on a Tangent

Meanwhile, true to form, she was soon off in a totally different direction, and had to drop everything and make a book.

Yes, I suddenly found the need to make a book I saw in the recent publication Pages, put out by Cloth Paper Scissors.  (I also found out that even though I like the immediate gratification of downloading a publication, I still print out sections at a time because I have to have a print version in my hands.)

This is a fabric cover, using some scraps from previous play sessions.  Spine is ribbon and beads (three needle sewing technique).  Pages are bristol and scrapbook paper.  For now, the closure is a piece of fabric pinned on to hold it closed until I decide what to put there permanently.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ready for my close-up

I had to get away from the postal book and paint something.  I have been re-visiting some books and articles on texture projects, and I think this two-page spread probably has ideas from several places.  I know it started with gesso on the pages, with scribbling into the gesso before it dried.  Next came layers of paint, some circles, number stencils, more scribbling, and collage.  The postage stamp has a quote by Abraham Lincoln, and that's the quote I used on the page.  It was done quickly and I'm not that happy with my lettering, but this is a journal for play.  Emphasis on play, not perfection.

My favorite thing is to isolate sections of the pages for close-ups.  I love seeing the close-up detail on my computer screen, and I sometimes use these pictures for screensavers.  Of course, that close-up also magnifies imperfections that I don't want to see, but mostly it helps me remember (temporarily) that I did something I was fairly happy with.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Come Fly With Me

Meanwhile, back in the postal book... (surely you didn't think I had abandoned it?)....

In all my rummaging around in my old stuff, I found some old philatelic publications I had saved.  They used newsprint type paper, and one was an oversized publication.  I remembered immediately why I saved it, in spite of the fact that it was too big to store anywhere.  When I had mailed in a subscription renewal one year, I had used a Huck Finn postage stamp, then drew a long fishing line coming from his fishing pole, and stamped the image of a fish at the end.  They evidently did not get many decorated envelopes (plain as it was), and they published it.
I cut out the article and put it in my postal book. I also cut out the title from the cover page - which to most will look like I'm just documenting the publication. Only I know where the little cat-tooth holes are. Since it used to reside on the bottom shelf of the bookcase and since it stuck way out from the other books, the cat I used to have (known as The-Cat-Who-Chews-Paper) was always chomping on stuff like that. So it has its own personal memory for me.
I also came across an article I had saved from another publication. This article mentioned small airlines that were around in the 1920s to carry mail to obscure places in Canada and Alaska. It showed a postal cancel for Patricia Airways. Hey, that's my name! Back when the article came out, there was no Google. Yes, youngsters, there was a time when there was no Google. Hard to believe it has not always been around. So, off I went on a search, and I found some postage to print out and a rate card. Perfect for my book!

And, a few more pages in progress...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

If It's November...

If it's November, I must be in Tennessee.  Actually, I just got back from Tennessee. And you know how much I love seeing this stuff.
I know it doesn't look pretty in that picture, but a field of cotton really is a pretty thing to see. In the old days, they would put the cotton in trailers, and drive it to the cotton gin. A big suction thing was put in the trailer and it sucked out all that cotton. It eventually gets cleaned and separated from the cotton seed and debris.
As I've mentioned here before, now they leave big blocks of cotton in the field.

When cotton was picked by hand instead of machine, there never would have been this much cotton left over. But machines are faster you know. Maybe someday in the future, one of us will be wearing a cotton shirt that came from one of these blocks of cotton.

Around this particular field on a sunny November day, everything looked otherwise dead and abandoned.

But the sun was shining and there were birds flitting around in the dead tree stumps, singing their little hearts out.

Sometimes, if I'm not too antsy to get home, my return trip might include a detour to the lake area. This is taken atop Kentucky Dam. Bright sunny day, but bitter biting wind.

When I daydream about winning the lottery, my daydreams always include a lakefront cabin somewhere around here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

She Who Must Paint

I'm still working in my postal book, but I am really feeling the need to take a break from it lately.  I need to paint something.  I have a book I started a few years ago - it has canvas pages which have mostly been prepped with gesso and/or green paint.  I never bound the pages, and also I couldn't figure out which direction I wanted to go with it.  But I got it out and played a bit.  I wanted to try lettering on it, and I made some scribbles with different pens.  I painted the center of a couple of pages with lighter colors so I'll have a place for a focus of some kind.  Don't know where I'm headed (and I may not even work in it again for weeks), but it's there in my mind now, with ideas to mull over.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good Mail Day

Sometimes I think the internet is an outlet for bored people who do ridiculously stupid things and waste an enormous amount of time.  Other times, I appreciate the internet for what it gives us.  We "meet" people we have things in common with, people we might never have met otherwise. 

So it is with someone who was a fellow student in one of my online classes.  Caatje lives in the Netherlands and I recently sent her some security envelopes with different patterns, because I hate to see anyone without their own cool security envelopes.  In return, she sent me an envelope bulging with some fun things from "her" island of Vlieland.  Wow-oh-Wow!  I am still riffling through all the cool things.  She included a magazine called Flow.  What a feast for the eyes.  Even though it is mostly in Dutch, I have enjoyed it anyway.  I can tell one article is about stamp carving, and it's fun to guess at the rest.  She sent postcards, tourist publications, and maps, among other things. Thank you so much Carin!!  What an amazing part of the world!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Squared

It's not unusual for me to work in more than one journal at a time, but as this year has gone along, I seem to have more journals than I can keep up with.  I'm a victim of runaway journaling.  So for November, I am going to step back and slow the pace a little.  I got the idea from an article in the recent issue of Somerset Studio, and I have started a square-a-day calendar for November.  It looks plain now, but it will perk up by the end of the month.

The article in Somerset (Nov/Dec 2011 issue) is about artist Kate Crane - see more of her work here

It felt good to splash some paint on my November page - but that doesn't mean I've abandoned my postal book.  No page is ever finished - I am always finding more to add!