Sunday, November 30, 2008

Freebies #11 - Antique Children's Book

This weekend my oldest son and I went through some of my book collection. He loves books just like his mom. I ran across a lot of the antique books I bought when I was pregnant with my first couple of boys. [I have five boys] I thought I would share some of them with you.

The beautifully illustrated covers just make me want to open them and see what they have to say. All of these are copyright free and date from 1883 to 1925. I hope they will be a reminder of one of the best gifts you can give someone. The gift of a book. The gift of knowledge.

With the holidays just around the corner if you are not giving something handmade you might want to consider a book. A book is a good excuse to sit down and cuddle with someone you love. A book can take you any where. It can open the doors to far away places, help you learn a new art, fix your sink, or grow a garden. The possibilities are endless.

I won I won!

I have been very fortunate lately. I have entered a couple of blog giveaways and have actually won a couple. You have to understand - I never win - anything. I try so hard, but I am never the winner. I am the one who always enters everything, fills out every form, but never wins. It is okay, I enjoy imagining what I would do with the prize or who else I know who would like the giveaway. The actual winning just isn't something I have experienced. Well , my luck has turned and I have been winning drawings, and giveaways. How cool is that?

The latest has been Kathy from Louisiana. She decided for her birthday to have a blog giveaway. How classy is that? I thought it was the sweetest thing. She made this awesome 4" by 7 " chipboard collage that you can hang and four collaged tags. For lots of ideas and inspiration, and fun artwork, please visit her blog - Vintage Snaps and Scraps - Altered Expressions.

Speaking of Giveaways.......

Speaking of giveaways maybe I could ask some of you to comment. I am thinking about doing a giveaway. I have never done one before. I am asking for some input. What kind of things do you look for in a giveaway? Something the artist has made? art supplies? a little of both? one big treasure? lots of small treasures? Please comment and let me know. I foresee a giveaway in January.


"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby."
Langston Hughes

Raining Cats and Dogs

It has been raining cats and dogs the last day and a half. We are suppose to get even more rain and thunderstorms through Wednesday of next week. Thankfully all of our company had left right before the first raindrops started to fall. Yesterday was a steady pour. Last night was the flotilla of decorated boats along the Intercoastal through the channel and back. Fireworks afterwards. I believe it was the longest fireworks display I have ever seen. With everything wet the lights were reflected on everything. Simply beautiful. I wish you all had been there with us.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving to All

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with good food and good friends, family and loved ones. I am going to be remembering all that I am thankful for, how truly blessed I am. Aren't we lucky to have a day to celebrate these blessings? A chance to tell those who mean so much to us how thankful we are for them? Enjoy your day and thank you for all the positive things you have all brought to my life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Few More Muses

One Week till Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving by an unknown artist. What a difference a year can make as you will see from the next pictures. I do celebrate the pilgrims resolve and bravery. It could not have been easy that very first winter.

This is Edward Percy Moran's view of The Landing at Plymouth Rock. I love how they are all different yet similar.

An antique postcard celebrating the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock. It looks so cold and unfriendly. I wonder how they felt after that long journey. They must have been so brave.

The Landing at Plymouth Rock by Henry Bacon. The young woman is suppose to be Mary Chilton the first person to set foot in the New World she later married John Winslow.

Altered Puzzle Piece

Here is Miranda's puzzle pieces for this month's round robin. Her theme is garden. When I hear the word garden I always think of flowers. I am not sure why. My dad and I always had a garden when I was growing up. I remember weeding and going out early in the morning to see what was ripe and how warm the tomatoes always felt.

My grandmother had a beautiful garden. Her garden had flowers all over it. She used the flowers as insect repellents. She grew the flowers for her beautiful arrangements she did for the church. Her flowers were not to be picked. So... Miranda here is my flower child for you. She always picks the flowers.

Happy Birthday Sister!

Today my sister has a birthday. I wish I could be there to celebrate it with you. If I was there I would make you cupcakes like this and we could sit around and catch up with each other. It seems too long since I have seen you. I remember when you were born. What a sweet baby you were. How we got dogs because you were a girl.....Chip made Mom promise if it wasn't a brother he could have a dog. Mom has always kept her promises. Another important memory I have is I remember teaching you to type in the house in Michigan. I can still see you sitting on that beanbag chair with the typewriter on the floor. How you would write your "stories" and illustrate them. I even have some of them still. Now, if I want to read your stories I have to go to the bookstore and buy one. I am so proud of you! Most important is that you are doing what you love best - writing. So today stop and enjoy life and remember how many of us love and care about you. I hope today is special for you!

To see some of the many books she has written just google her or go to her website by clicking here.


"But words are things, and
as a small drop of ink,
falling like dew,
upon a thought
produces that which makes thousands,
perhaps millions,
Lord Byron

My New Journal

I have kept a journal of sorts ever since I can remember. Sometimes I would just keep lists of all the things I would want to do, had to do, and things I did. Journals with letters to my kids, hopes and dreams, watching them grow, the wonder of it all. Pictures of places I have been and places I want to go. Paint and fabric for new houses. Hurts and disappointments, losses of friends, pets, people I love. Small pieces glued, taped, written, and painted in books.

I have done this long before there were day planners or formal journals you buy in a store. Some I have kept, some I have shredded, and some I have burned. Many I work on everyday - others when the mood strikes me. All help me understand the things happening in my life and what is important to me. Some are Art Journals others are intensely personal.

It seems the last ten to fifteen years they have become even bigger parts of my life. I loved to make books and what is not more perfect than to make your own journal? Along with that the growth and acceptance of people keeping a journal. Even doing it in public. [ I think the day planners had a lot to do with that. ] At any given time I may have three or four journals going.

I have found books on journaling and several on line journaling groups and classes. There has been explosive growth in journal sales. One of the large chain bookstores has a whole wall of beautiful journals in every size imaginable. They sell more journals in December and January than any other months.

I decided to join an online group after visiting several blogs and websites. I enjoy the "prompts" and the spiritual part of journaling. I have made soul cards and am starting a "Soul Journal". Time to get in touch with me? So, of course I had to make a special journal just for this.

I decided to use a small three ring binder as my journal. This way I could work on a page and then add it to my journal. I could paint and sew and do whatever with that page and not have to worry about damaging any other pages. I could also divide the pages and do other journal pages other than just the prompts from that one group if I felt like it. I thought I would share it with you. Who knows you might have the perfect binder to turn into a new journal for you.

front cover and spine
back cover and spine

Making the Journal

To make this journal I took the three ring binder and covered it with two coats of gesso. Two rather thin coats. I then took tissue paper and gel medium and glued that on. I like the effect of the wrinkled tissue paper.
I then took various scraps of old text and randomly glued that on. I then spritz everything with walnut ink. After everything had dried I randomly painted acrylic paint and added another layer of tissue.
Spritz again with walnut ink and painted some gesso and acrylic paint till I got something I liked. I then selected my angel images and adhered them on with gel medium. The words were rub on letters. I covered them with gel medium also.

unfinished front cover

back cover

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Art Supplies

My first real excursion in 8 weeks was to Jerry's Artarama's big four day art thing in Raleigh. Art of the Carolina's. One of my son's drove up there with me and helped me out. I was not sure how well I would do. The art retreat takes place at the Hilton. Lots of nationally known artist teaching and venders from all the big art suppliers were there. I had signed up to take classes, but when I broke my foot I knew it was not going to happen. I canceled and got my money back. That was a sad day.

Taking the classes is great, but the art supply prices are beyond reasonable. They always have "show" specials and that is what I generally go for. Above are some of my purchases. The gesso was $5.99 for the bucket, the metallic oil pastels were $3.00 for the box, etc... I bought the metallic paint sticks and texture plates for more unbelievable prices. I figured if I couldn't take classes I could say hey to some friends and buy some supplies to make art with. I felt like I did when I was a child and got that new box of crayons. Now it is my pastels that make me weak in the knees.

The North Carolina Mixed Media Guild worked the show and had several tables displayed. They also had an ATC "make and take" table available. Sort of a no stress art table or two to pass the time and make new friends at. I showed my face and made a few ATC's. So good to see old friends and new. I am always amazed at the energy level at these retreats. [I did come home and sleep most of the next day after my excursion, but it was worth it.]

Art in the Parking Lot

This is an artist by the name of Jensen. He was out in the parking lot painting this picture with the music a blaring. He was definitely getting into the whole thing. He bills himself as the biggest outside canvas artist. He was happy what ever he does. I enjoyed watching all the artist paint - inside and out. Each of the vendors at different times through out the day had an artist demonstrating their products. Lot's of fun.

Technique Book

Technique books seem to be the latest swap rage on several of the yahoo groups I am in. The one pictured is from a Book Artz group. There were 32 of us and two people did two pages. Each participant chose an art technique and completed a set amount of pages with the instructions to do that technique on the back. We were to do 32 pages that were 4" by 6" and send them off with postage and binding fee to our hostess. In return we got this lovely book.

In another group - Art techniques - we did "the obscene fat book" with 120 participants and 120 pages . That book was a 4" by 4" book that we are to bind ourselves. I have not bound it yet, but when I do I will post it.

I did the bandanna technique for the 120 page book, and for the Book Artz group I did image transfers with transparencies. Believe it or not there is another technique book out there going on that should be completed in 2009 with over 100 people signed up [sign ups are still going on.] This book's theme is techniques using recycled things. A green technique book of sorts.

These are very cool books in that you have examples right there with instructions on how to do a technique. All different I might add. It has been a very uniting experience. I am hoping to be able to try a lot of these techniques out in the new year.

A Turkey for You

I am starting to think about Thanksgiving. I will be getting the table ready this week and figuring out where everyone will sit. I am making place cards with this guy. I thought I would share him with all of you.

Found Treasures

These are a couple of found treasures. The weekend is not complete without a little treasure hunting. The box is going to be a shrine someday and I love the composition book. It is filled with figures and personal accounting. Who doesn't need a couple of old keys? I found the nail in the parking lot. The letter is so sad. The sudden death of a cousin and talk of the upcoming holiday. It did make one think about all the people that come and go in our lives. It might have to end up on a freebies post. It is something to share.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One image

When cleaning out my garage this summer I stumbled across a bag of wood I had collected five years ago when they were building my house. The wood on my porches, the porch ceilings, the stairs and railings, and the siding is all made from teak. [It was criminal to paint it but we had to.] Here in coastal North Carolina teak has a life of about 50 years, more than any other wood around. It is also resistant to bugs, which, this is one big sand pile. Think ants and termites. Anyway I collected all these scraps thinking I will do something with them.

I brought the bag up to my studio. After five years in a paper sack the wood was a little dusty. I decided I couldn't keep the dirty bag up there so I put the scraps in a box. As I dusted off the scraps I realized they had far greater potential than I imagined five years ago. They are about 2 1/2 inches by 4 inches in size. Too big for ATC's yet they could be cut down or just used as they are. Of course, I had to see how paint reacted to the wood...

They began to take on a life of their own. I turned on a good movie, then another, then another and the next thing you know I had done over a dozen. I have decided to call them "studio or office muses". Something small yet to the point. A shrine - like thought to keep your muse on track. These are the first four.

Studio Muse

Here are some more of my little muses. They have beads, typewriter pieces and antique keys to to tell their stories. I hope you enjoy them and they inspire you.

Out Playing and "Stuff"

I have really missed posting the past week or so. I have missed you all. I got the go ahead after almost eight weeks that I can put some weight on my foot as long as the air cast boot is on. I have soft bone growing now! I still have to wear "the boot" 24/7 except for the shower, but at least I am not going to be as hampered by the crutches and scooter. Although I will say I can move on my scooter.
Those first few steps were very hard and quite exhausting. I am still working on building my stamina. Steps are still unfriendly territory. Maneuvering them still involves my backside. I am hoping soon I will be hobbling up and down. My doctor says only another 6 to 8 weeks in the boot. Still sounds better than a metal plate, screws and surgery.
The holiday weekend I spent with an art friend. Catching up on life and friends. I went to my first restaurant in two months. Of course I was exhausted afterward,but it was well worth it. Next time you see some one with physical limitations please give them a hand. I have learned alot from this experience and I will not be taking simple things for granted anymore!
So, this is where and what I have been up to the past week or so. Learning to walk.

Background Paper

This is some background paper that I thought I would share with all of ya'll. Just click on it and you should be able to save it and print it out to use in your art work.
It started out as a piece of watercolor paper that I put a wash of acrylic paint on and then stuck some plastic wrap over the paper while it was still wet. After that had dried, I misted the paper lightly and took some dye inks and a large cube stamp with four separate designs and started stamping. This is the result. I think it would make some nice backgrounds for ATC's or skinnies. I hope you will find a place in your artwork for it.

Familiy Freebies

November is a month we start to concentrate on Family and all the things we are thankful for. I thought I would share some family type photos as my freebies this week.

A very important day. I am thinking Mother's Day or maybe this young girl is off to meet her future husband. Her father is very proud of her. They share more than just their looks. Mother is a little too practical.

Here the young girl is years later with all of her in- laws, husband and son. Recognize her? She is the one in the second row second from the left with the little boy. I can't help wondering if she is wondering how she got there.

Ahh the young couple ready to begin their own family. He looks extremely amused. She is the more serious of the two. The bead work on her dress is lovely. I believe it is one of those pieces that is tacked on and then removed when the dress is laundered. In some of my flea marketing I have run across a couple of these bead pieces. They are wonderful.

This family from Iowa looks very disconnected. Father looking in a separate direction while the two women stare straight on at the photographer. I wonder what could possibly been so important that the father would not engage in the whole process.

I really love this Texas family. What pioneers they must have been to have seven children. The mother and father look so young. I am pretty sure there were more kids. This photograph is definitely not in the most pristine condition. I like the yellow color and all the fading. It has possibilities. I think the thing I like the most is how well taken care of each child is. The boys hair all combed and the little girls dresses are so pretty, I think that thing in front of them might be a dog.