Thursday, December 27, 2012

All that Glitters

I am lagging behind on getting my "Ticket to  Venice" journal made for the online class I'm in.  I still have some left-over Christmas visiting, traveling and playing to do.  Then, and only then, will I be able to take all the papers I'm gathering and figure out what I want my journal to be.  It will definitely be focused on writing. 

Along with the class videos from Venice, it seems I can't get enough of random online videos of other peoples' trips to Venice, plus a hunger to read about all the various parts of the city and all there is to do there.  Initially, I didn't think that I'd be interested in the Murano glass factory.  Not that I don't admire the work they do, but it would not be top on my list because of all the other things to do.  But... then I saw a random video with glass pens made of Murano glass.  I am familiar with glass pens - I have a few myself.  I don't really like them for writing, because most of the ones I've had have a glass point at the end, and I never got the hang of using them.  Plus, I mostly bought them (especially the tiny one I have) because they came in a box with tiny bottles of ink. Those go well with my tiny cabinet of tiny bottles and tiny books.

But seeing a random person's video of container after container of glass pens--well, they were all so beautiful, and they had Metal Nibs, not glass points. 

After some searching, I found a company here in the states that sells Murano glass pens with the metal nib.  And they were on sale.  I texted Santa, and he said he could help me out.  On Christmas Eve, my package arrived.

 None of these pictures do it justice, but trust me, it's a beautiful pen.
 The best part?  Look - the design on the metal matches actual architecture in Venice! 
I get giddy everytime I pick up this pen.  If you do not get excited about stuff like this, my apologies.  You must think I have gone off the deep end!

I'm still gathering papers and ephemera from my stash.  Can't wait to get started on the journal.
Ticket to Venice Class Info Here.
Place where I bought my pen is here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Doomsday Humor

I know a lot of people are freaking out because they think something catastrophic is going to happen on December 21, 2012, supposedly when the Maya calendar ends.  If you are reading this and it's Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, then nothing happened.  At least nothing that ended life as we know it.  (And if I'm wrong, none of you will be here to say 'I told you so' anyway!)

Almost two years ago, I bought this book by calligrapher Mark Van Stone, who has spent years studying Maya art.  He doesn't think the end of the calendar means the end of the world, so why should I. 
Of course, the main reason I bought the book was because, at the time, Mark would inscribe your name in Maya glyphs.  How often does that opportunity come along? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

The class "Ticket to Venice" is underway.  I've been chomping at the bit, waiting for the first video lessons to be posted, so I can start my travel journal for my pretend trip to Venice.  But now I am frozen in place, trying to decide what to use for the cover of my journal.  I even made a trip to the library today, because they usually have several books on the discard table for 50 cents to a dollar.

The ones I am considering are these.  The more beat up they are, the better I like them.
Some are a little too small for what I want.  That blue one on the left is a record holder, with 45 records.  I am seriously considering that one because I like the square size, plus it has those envelopes inside that hold records.  Those could be put to use for sure.  I can't use the red one for my pretend trip to Venice, because I'm saving that one for another pretend trip in the future.
 These are bigger, and I really like the typing book.  For these bigger ones, I'll need bigger paper for the inside pages, so that's a consideration.
 Right now, the one I'm leaning toward the most is this writing portfolio.
 The thing that has me 99.9% sold on it is inside - Pockets! With snaps on them.  That would be very useful for this journal.

 And have I mentioned my lucky find at Staples before the class even started - saw these plastic pocket pages in several sizes and designs.  Fifty Cents?  I bought a couple, thought about it for a day, then went back and got the few remaining.  I mean, really, 50 cents!  I like the color okay, but for this book, I wish they were clear.  But it's not a deal breaker.  They will get used!
So, my brain is working overtime in the planning stages.  My physical being, though, is trying to remember I still have some Christmas things to do. 

Added Note:  I realized I made it sound like I got all these books from the library discards - not true.  Only about three came from the library (with plain covers).  The cool stuff all came from my friend Gaye's yard sales.  She finds fantastic stuff at other yard sales, then eventually has too much and passes it along.  Lucky me!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Online Class

Remember when I was showing my friend Gaye's book "Takin' Care of Business"?  It's the awesome book with a segmented binding that holds business cards, ATC's, moo cards, or whatever you want.
Some people do get the opportunity to take her classes in Kentucky, Ohio, and surrounding areas... but if you are not in those areas, you are in luck! She is now all set to teach the class online in January. Go here and see details (scroll down). OR, click here to go directly to info about her class.

It's a great bargain!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Maybe, Maybe Not...

I'm still here...  suddenly got busy with some part time work that came my way, in addition to my regular full time job.  I just couldn't say no to some extra Christmas money!

And I may be playing around with some other things.  And I may or may not be using some or part of what is pictured below.  And if you guess what might be Christmas-related, you might be wrong.  Who's to say whether I am or I am not sending out Best Fishes for Christmas this year....
... or maybe that's just a red herring!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The bigger the mess...

I worked a lot over the Thanksgiving holiday, so it was a nice break to get a day off and head up the road north to friend Gaye's.  She has been making the cutest Christmas cards - she is the master when it comes to playing with origami...

 We spent some time making this cute little accordian fold book, complete with wrapper.
 It's been my experience that the bigger the mess you make, the more fun you have.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Piddling and Playing

Playing around with stitches.  Because that's what makes me happy.

I'm hoping that you will be so impressed that you won't notice the glue smears on the black bookcloth, or the split threads where I stabbed in the wrong spot!

I'm going to be in so much trouble with the teacher... that would be Miss Moss, over at Dispatch from L.A. -- I have signed up for her "Ticket to Venice" class and have idle hands until the class starts in December.  Check it out for yourself - it's going to be an awesome ride...
   (Ticket to Venice here.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the Persimmon Tree

I haven't forgotten my nature studies from the summer.  And I haven't forgotten my plans for a nature book of the sketches and photos.  I just got temporarily side-tracked.  (And if you know me at all, you know my middle name is Side-Tracked... and thankfully a lot of you also have that middle name and totally relate!)

I have tried over the past couple of months to get pictures of the persimmon tree in its various stages.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of rain during the time it had green leaves and green fruit, so I didn't get pictures of that stage.  I have some new pictures of the branches, plus used some older pictures from a couple of years ago for my sketchbook.

I used two sizes of punchinella for the page backgrounds.

 I had a really great quote about persimmons, but that scrap of paper has disappeared somewhere, and I'll have to search the internet again to try and find it.  In the meantime, I grabbed the comments my friend Jan made about persimmons and how her dad cut open the seeds to see what shape was revealed and thus what kind of winter was ahead.
But I still don't eat the persimmons.  Too much trouble, I say!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Mystery Trunk

Usually around the first or second week of November every year, I have a post about my trip home to Tennessee to help my mom celebrate her birthday.  And there are usually pictures of the leaves, or the lake, or the cotton fields. 

But this year I didn't take a single picture.  Plus, the trip was a little different.  My mom fell the week before her birthday and broke her arm/shoulder area.  She has since had surgery and is in a nursing home receiving physical therapy.

She was doing well enough that we got to spring her from the joint and put her in the getaway car for a short trip home.  She enjoyed being in her own house for a few hours, sitting in her own chair.  We still had some cake and presents, but it sure wasn't like past birthday parties.  But it could have been so much worse, and we are thankful for the little things.

When my mom sold her house earlier in the year and moved to a rental house, she got rid of a lot of things.  One thing that she still has is a camelback trunk similar to this one, except hers is in much worse shape, with broken hinges, and it's painted pink and white.  She keeps trying to get one of us to take it.  I don't think it's been opened in over 30 years, and she wasn't sure what was in it.

So, during this visit, my siblings and I went to the garage and went through the contents of the trunk.  It was mostly baby clothes, toddler clothes, little shoes and booties, some costume jewelry, some cards and letters, doll clothes for my sister's bride doll, my mom's high school basketball programs, things like that.  Everything was in very, very bad shape.  None of us felt sentimental enough to take any of the clothes or shoes, especially since we didn't know which of us wore the little outfits.  The only one I took was this little bitty dress, and that's because it actually had my name embroidered on the front.
 There were also lots of magazine cutouts, mostly of children, babies, furniture, pets, articles about things we weren't familiar with.  I assume these were intended to go in a scrapbook eventually.

 I'm not sure what it says about me that I wasn't sentimental enough to want the little shoes and clothes, but I just had to take some of these magazine clippings, because they made me laugh!  These will find a place in future journal pages or collage pieces.

Silliness has it's place in life, that's for sure!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November Panic

Holy Cow - it's November!

I'm not usually one to panic over the sudden loss of time, but it seems like this year, there are more unfinished items than usual on my "List of Things I'll Probably Never Get Around To But I'll Make a List of Them Anyway"....

I was going to do some fun things with leaves, but wasn't factoring in the fact that, well, you kind of have to spring while the leaves are falling so to speak.  While I was busy doing other things, my box of pretty leaves were drying up and falling apart.  I may still be able to find some that have not blow away or disintegrated, but I did manage to play around a little.

Nature experiments are not for sissies....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Carved Pumpkins

Most awesome carved pumpkins ever!!  These are by Ray Villafane.  See more here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Destination Ohio

There's nothing like a little get-away on a beautiful fall day.  I took a day off work and headed up the road to friend Gaye's.  From there, we took the getaway car up the road to Cincinnati. 

 There is a section of the road, just before you reach the Ohio River, where you are on a hill and have a fantastic view of the city of Cincinnati.  Every time, I think to myself that I should take a picture of that view.  But it only lasts an instant before the road goes downhill and the view is lost.  I managed to get a lovely picture of the backs of several trucks and cars, but not the view.

I did take these while crossing the bridge from Kentucky to Ohio.  Lovely views of the bridge supports, don't you think?  But look what a beautiful day it was!

 This was our main destination.  Stamp Your Art Out - a fantastic rubber stamp store that has been around a long time.  They are in the last days of a closing sale, everything 50% off.  It may look pretty bare, but there are lots of very cool things still available.
I can't believe I have never noticed this display of T-shirts before.  They are the shirts sold at the annual Stampaway convention, each year with its own logo.  (I own almost all the stamps and tote bags with these logos!)
This is Connie Williams, store owner and convention-holder extraodinaire.  Does she look sad that she is going to have a little more free time after the store closes?  You be the judge!
Notice I didn't say after she "retires" because she is still going to busy with her stamp company (Verses) and still holding the annual convention (Stampaway XXI in August 2013), so never fear...  And if you can't get to the store in Cincinnati, you can take advantage of the 50% sale by going here and here.

I got a few stamps, Distress ink pads, a stencil and other goodies.  What a bargain! 
From there, we visited Marco's in Dayton, 25 miles further north.  We both stocked up on some paper and cardstock.  I'm anxious to try out the Premium Writing Paper for book pages.  It has a very luxurious feel.
We had a quickie lunch at Wendy's nearby, where it was apparently Women-With-Walkers day.  Two separate pairs of older women, one in each pair walking with the aid of a walker.  One woman was grumpy and rude.  One was happy and excited about being out in her pretty blue blouse, getting treated to a Frosty.  Life is all about perspective.  And nothing could be better than a fun outing on a beautiful day, Frosty or no Frosty.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fashion Figure

Sometimes my stack-of-stuff next to my reading spot gets pretty unruly.  At times I don't remember what's in the stck and why.  In going through it, I remembered I keep saving figures from the sale papers so that I can carve silhouette stamps from them.  So, I had a decision to make, continue tidying up or stop then and there and make some carvings.  Need I say more.

Glad I got that out of my system.  I discovered that making scribble marks is a lot easier with a writing tool than with a carving tool.  And I discovered that the rounded carving tool helps make great circles (which is why the stamp on the right had three holes in her body.  No word on how she ended up with one skinny leg and one fat wavy leg!)
Now I need to get back to clearing out that stack, which is mostly composed of expired coupons and newpaper clippings of events that have already passed...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Candy Corn Chronicles #1

In honor of October, I present tips from the Candy Corn Chronicles.

Tip One:  You can stamp on candy corn, if you so choose.  (But you might not want to tell people you actually sit around stamping on candy corn.  They might think you are, um, weird or something.)

Tip Two:  If you like free clip art, you might want to head over to Retro Cafe and download this sheet of Halloween images.  It is only available through October.