Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Snapshot or Two....

The flower from a Mimosa tree. When the Mimosa is in bloom it looks like it is covered in cotton candy. The leaves are rather fern like. Except when it is in bloom the Mimosa is rather unremarkable, but in bloom it is stunning.

Here this little bumblebee is holding on for dear life. They like the rotten blooms which give off a distinct odor. Because the leaves and flowers are so delicate they look like they are dancing in the wind.

A few nights ago we had our first thunderstorm in weeks. On my morning walk by the Inter Coastal Waterway I found this Robin's nest that had been blown out of a tree. Only one egg made it with out breaking. The Robin had abandoned her nest she had worked so hard to build. In the front you can see a Swan feather, to the left several old cigarette butts she had used to stabilize the sides.

This is wild Sumac. I love the little blossoms. Such a wonderful plant. The leaves and roots are used for teas and poultice, the Indians used the flower heads to make flour, and in the fall the leaves turn a rich red. A many purpose plant.

A lovely Lily that graces my yard with blooms for several weeks. I can never get over the bright colors and color combination's of this plant.

The regal Magnolia. I can't talk Southern flowers without including this. I love the saucer size flowers with their rich creaminess. There fragrance and grace bless us. What wonderful blessings from nature grace your surroundings?

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Wonder of Motors and Engines....

Have I shared with you how hot it is here? Well the last two week it has been in the high nineties with a heat index in the 100's. Not a drop of rain - till last night - thank you very much. It has been so hot you could fry an egg on my car at ten o'clock in the morning and probably at night if you wanted to. That hot, humid heat that sucks the air out of your lungs when you walk outside. Makes you gasp.

So, of course my downstairs air conditioner decided to go on the fritz late last week. And...of course every repair man is booked through the end of the month. I shuttered and closed every blind in the house, turned on all the fans, the windows without coverings were covered, and the kitchen was closed for cooking anything that couldn't be microwaved. It helped keep the temperature down to livable and you won't find us dead. Thank goodness for warranties. We only had to suffer till today.

Fortunately, the repair person the warranty company found was able to come out, unfreeze my system and give me a shot of freon. An hour later we were cool and calm again. Mercy, what did we ever do here in the south with out air conditioning? We are so spoiled. Over the weekend I thought a lot about how dependent we are on all of the motors and engines. We use them for everything that makes life easier - washing machines and dryers, refrigerators, our cars, even the garage door openers. Everything...

I am including a couple of engines in this post for you to use in your art. They are so cool. They would be good in some steampunk art. I bet they really helped to lighten the load for the people who used them. Hope you are having a cool Monday!

Friday, June 25, 2010

This Week's Journal Pages

Embrace your wild side, your inner child. Enjoy life!

Some very wise words I wish I had heard more when my boys were younger!

I just loved this picture of these stair step kids. She looks pretty young to have all of these kids.

A woman at the Doctor's office quoted this to me as she was waiting for her daughter. I wondered what kind of trauma they were going through, but was afraid to ask. Isn't it funny how someone can say just one thing and it will stick with you for so long...

With all the heat the past week we have had, it seems like at night I just need to lose it for awhile in a book.

My quote journal is almost finished. I only have four or five pages left. It is getting large and harder to work in. I had to do surgery on it so that I could work with out the pages falling out. I will say it has been a fun journal to work in. I am looking forward to starting a new journal though. Different themes and ideas have started to dance in my head. How do you start your journal? Do you do everything in just one, or do you have several going at once?

Some Texture Backgrounds

I thought I would share some Citra Solv backgrounds with you. I am taking an online digital class and we are working with textures and layers. I have a large collection of images of textures and decided to scan some of these Citra Solv pages and work with them some.

You can make your own with a few National Geographic Magazines and a bottle of the Citra Solv Concentrate. You will find this is the cleaning products section of your local health food store. It comes in a relatively small bottle about 10 ounces or so.

Place you magazine on a piece of freezer paper or wax paper. Then take the Citra Solv straight from the bottle and squirt in on every four or five pages. Close the magazine and lightly press it with your hands to sort of squish the liquid all over it. Let it sit for a half hour or so. Then open the magazine and check your pages. They should be all inky.

At this point I like to spread wax paper or cut grocery bags on my counter. I then begin to tear out the pages and leave them to dry. If I haven't covered them all I add more Citra Solv and let it sit awhile longer. I tear out each page and let it dry. You can let the pages overlap to dry if you like. It takes an hour or two to completely dry. When you are finished you will have tons of background paper for various projects.

Some ATC's

This is a photograph I took of a friends most cherished doll. I love how she is so worn and tattered. I used my wonderful new pencils on the background.

The background was done again with my new pencils. I just scribbled and wet till I was satisfied. The image is off the collage sheet I gave out a few weeks ago.

The background was done with my new Derwent Inktense Pencils, the Zetti girl is from Teesha Moore.

This is for all the librarians out there. I know my library is busy, busy, busy morning to night. I am so enjoying this new series of books I found from a Margaret Maron. She is a North Carolina author. It is so fun to read and recognize all the places she talks about. The little girl is from Paper Whimsy.

This background was done again with my ink pencils. I wet my stamp then used the pencils to ink it then huffed and stamped.

Out and about this week I stopped at Michael's - a big box art store- and thought I would check out their new display of Sharpie Poster Paint Pens. I was trying to see if they had any colors I didn't have and check their prices. Next to their display was their fine art sale items. Of course that drew my attention. They had a lovely tin of 24 Derwent Inktense pencils I have been lusting after for 60% off. One tin left so of course it just hopped right into my cart and came home with me.

I have been playing with them ever since. All of the backgrounds on these ATC's I did with them. They are ink in a pencil. You then use a wet brush to intensify the color and move them around. You can shade with them like watercolors, but they are much more stable. I had all the browns and blacks already as I use them quite a bit for shading. I have not worked with the color ones, and I must say I am in love. They are so easy to use. The colors are great. I can see great possibilities with these.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Freebie Backgrounds

I wonder what types of tea they carried. I love to look for unusual teas when I travel. I still drink my favorite from high school the most though. Add a slice of blueberry pie and I am in heaven.

Wouldn't it be fun to see what kind of clocks this fellow made. I bet there was some impressive jewelry made also. I love the fonts on this one.

Sounds like this guy could do just about everything. Make you a chair, a bed and a coffin if you needed.

It is so nice to be in sandals and not have to worry about boots, shoes, socks, etc...

Thought I would include this for those of you who have already started on your Halloween art. Every time I think of leeches I think about when a couple of my boys dropped their fishing poles in this fairly mucky pond. Of course they just had to jump in and get them. When they came out they were covered in leeches. Of course after we peeled off the leeches, bathed them, and fed them - they vowed never to jump into a pond again with out having someone else do it first.

Here are a couple of sheets that I thought would make good background for you art work. I love the graphics that they used back then. I wish more places would adopt these bold designs. I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In My Garden...

These Hydrangeas are on one side of my house by my front porch. I love the delicate pinks and yellows that turn into lavender when they are almost finished. These are so southern. I use to gather them and use them as pom pom's when I was younger when I practiced cheering.

These are on the other side of my house. This is the hydrangea as the head is starting to form. It is hard to believe that from such tight little balls come these huge flower petals.

And...this is the Hydrangea after the head has formed and is blooming. I have maybe ten of these up to six feet tall and wide along the drive of my house. Every time I pull in they make me smile.

I thought I would share some photos of my Hydrangeas that are in full bloom. The blue or pink depends on the acidity in the soil. You can alter the soil and change the color of the bushes. I like both colors so I alter the blue ones. I use nails. When planting you are suppose to put a box of nails in the bottom of the hole. These are seven years old so it is time to dig around them and set some nails. They have chemicals that you can use that do the same thing, but my grandmother always told me that "nails don't wash away." It is sort of fun to think that rust makes such glorious colors.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Journal Pages

Can you believe this wonderful hair style? My mother wore her hair like this when when was young. Thia little one makes me think of her old pictures. Every night I am wishing for rain to cool us down.

I have been thinking a lot about my little Avery lately. Her Daddy is such a good man. She is getting old enough to start pushing some boundaries and realize that their are other things happening in the world besides her and has opinions about them.[my handwriting is drug induced from my surgery, I was sicker than I thought]

This page is a trash sheet from my work table. I played with the girl image in photo shop for another project and decided to print her and the quote on the trash paper and glue it in to my journal.

Tomato and Red Onion Salad

On these hot summer days, cooking seems like the last thing I want to do. I have been trying to cook in the early morning and have a "cold" dinner if I even feel like eating. Yesterday I went to our Farmer's Market and purchased some fresh tomatoes, onions, basil, and mozzarella cheese. I decided a fresh salad would ease the heat.

You can make this ahead of time and let it chill for a while in the refrigerator. It makes a wonderful meal with cold fried chicken. Filling enough for a lunch by itself. As always, you can substitute or add some ingredients. I added peeled cucumbers and some black olives to mine
. Along with a slice of fresh bread an I was in heaven.

Tomato and Red Onion Salad

6 to 8 ripe tomatoes, wash and cored, cut into wedges
1 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar - I like Italian style.
2 medium red onions, peel and cut lengthwise in slivers
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, peel and mince
8 to 10 leaves of fresh basil, I tear mine
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon oregano

1. Place the tomatoes in a bowl. Add all ingredients except the Mozzarella.
2. Toss ingredients.
3. Chill for at least an hour.
4. Place slices of Mozzarella cheese on a plate.
5. Spoon tomato mixture on top.
6. Feast!

Some 4 by 4's

Some days you feel like creating, but you do not have time for something big. That is where these 4 by 4's come in for me. I like to keep several pre cut shapes - 3 by 5, 2 by 2, an inchies or two, some 4 by 4's and some postcards in an envelope on my work table. When I have left over paint on my brush I slap it on some, or left over scraps I randomly glue them on. Then when I need a quick something to start my creative juices I turn to these to get flowing. Simple but satisfying.

A Small Thank You

I just wanted to Thank everyone who took the time to comment or email me about my 1000th post. I was so touched. I loved hearing everyone's story about their summers, grandmother, and how they found their love of books. Each and everyone is so special. As are all of you. Thank you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

1,000th Post!

Yes it is hard for me to imagine that just two years ago I set out on this blogging voyage. Not knowing where I would go, what kind of responses I would get, or really what I was doing. 1,000 posts later, many new and beautiful artful friends, I have found a wonderful community. I can not tell you how much pleasure, friendship, and happiness all of you have given me. It is like one big hug across the miles. Thank you.

I decided I wanted this to be a post that was a little personal. I wanted it to be meaningful, and maybe just a tad of inspiration. Here in the Coastal South we have seen tremendous temperatures. In the high 90's with heat indexes in the 100's. Heat warnings and late thunderstorms. So much of this reminds me of the summers in Florida with my grandmother.

My grandmother was a very creative and artistic woman. She eloped at 15 with an older man who had a car. Never finishing her education she was pretty much self taught. A proud woman. When my grandfather died. She turned her home into a boarding house for the men of the Southern Railroad. Up at 5, cooking breakfast, washing and ironing the sheets, cleaning the rooms, tending her garden of both flowers and vegetables. She did the flowers and cakes for all the weddings, christenings, and the church flowers for many of the churches in town. She cooked the churches Wednesday night dinner, etc....

Her grandchildren were the next big love of her life, after my mother. She adored us and we adored her. Every summer it was off to her house. She taught me to make candles, sew, paint, fix a washing machine, and cook. She made the best fried chicken and biscuits known to man. My love of gardening and flowers I acquired through her. She knew every plant, every given name, and her yard people would drive by and gape at.

In the summer in Florida it is so hot. You are up early and do everything you can outside. We would wake up early and work in the gardens while she finished the wash. Eat a big, hot breakfast while it was cool. She would get all her baking done so she could ice the cakes later. A couple times a week after lunch it was a trip to the library. I read the whole biography section one summer. The mystery section another. I found I loved books. It was like opening a door to the world. All of these incredible places, people doing these fantastic things. I could go anywhere.

The ice man would deliver a big block or two of ice every afternoon. My grandmother would put one in a big metal bucket on a stool and then turn on the fan on the inside porch. There we would spend the afternoons, me reading, my grandmother sewing, and my brother reading or making models. As the day cooled off we would go fishing coming home to a late dinner, and front porch time.

Sitting on the front porch as all the neighbors walked by enjoying the cool evening. Aunts and uncles would stop by with my cousins. Stopping for lemon squares or pie with some sun sweet tea. Talking on in to the night. We kids would catch fireflies and run in the yard playing tag. Those are my summer memories.

The past few days I have been remembering a lot about those days and the sacrifices my grandmother made for us. I also remember the joy she had for us. We were her "darlings." How blessed we were. So with this post I have included a lot of images of children and books. Hot weather just makes me think about that time and place. I hope you will enjoy them and use them in your wonderful art. Thank you all for stopping by my blog and letting me get to know you. I also hope that you have warm wonderful summer memories...

A collage sheet for you. I love the girl sitting in the hammock and the other one writing at the table. I can remember practicing my handwriting for hours.

This collage sheet is so full of sweetness. It is amazing how much children love books. Read one to someone today!

Here is a bookplate for you to personalize for someone special in your life.

And last but not least, I still love a good afternoon of reading on a hot day.
p.s I am having a blog anniversary give away, my first, details coming soon! I am trying to amass a bunch of stuff to give away.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day Freebies....

This is the famous flag by artist Jasper Johns. It is being put up for sale by the Michael Crichton estate. He was good friends of the artist and this flag hung in his bedroom. Boy do I wish I could afford to hang this in my bedroom.

One of my favorite renditions of the flag. I love the way it folds and sweeps with the beautiful flowers reminding us how many souls have stood up for our flag.

This is very after the Civil War before World War I. I haven't heard our flag called "Old Glory" in a long time. Although it is recognized around the world as a sign of strength and help.

This sort of says it all for me.

I hope everyone goes out today and recognize the symbol of this country - Our Flag - as a great sign of the power of our people - you - today. We can make the changes, do what is right, and keep our country great. One flag has given us hope and strength through out our short history. Let it be a reminder of all the great things yet to come. Have a great day and a wonderful week

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Missing in Action....

Yes, this is how I have felt all week. I broke a tooth and had to have some oral surgery this week. Needless to say I am not use to anesthetic or pain medication. Plus, keeping your mouth open for so long is a real pain. I am finally feeling better. Hurray. Yesterday I even took a little antiquing trip, lunch with a friend - soup for me, though the fish and chips called to me - and a short walk on the beach. I couldn't take one more moment in my bedroom. Then 10 hours of sleep.

Today I am feeling better than I have in some time. I have lots to post today. Freebies, some photos, and a very new event for my blog - a secret for right now... but I am working on something very special.

[I want to thank Tambako from Flickr for the awesome gator picture.]