Author Archives: Jane Prater

Feeling Sorry for Yourself Does No Good

Drawing in the Driveway

Drawing in the Driveway

Trapped at home again because clutch leg is infirm.  Kate called and caught me mid tears.  She cheered me greatly and then the “shame” started.  I am really just fine, just frustrated and tired of not being able to do what I want/need to do.  SO . . . . . . . .

I decided to concentrate on the good things that have happened to me.

Jean fixed my computer.  Chris came by to chat.  Martha brought me a casserole.  Katherine is taking me to lunch tomorrow.  Cat is coming for beer tomorrow night.  Some folks on flickr liked my drawings.  A little girl and her mom stopped by while I was drawing outside(see above), and I got to encourage Evie to go home and paint paper.  The rain fairies have taken care of the yard for me.

Life is good.

Paul is in Chile now and Erica and Z will fly down in a few weeks.  After some nightmare nursing home adventures, Edna is now in a place that seems to be good for her.  Meghan’s having an attic sale this weekend and I will go help her and enjoy the event.

Woman of the desert from the Faces project

Woman of the desert from the Faces project

I’ve been drawing some and planning lots of projects that I will never get around to doing.  I miss my Wednesday knit group, but should get back to it soon.  I’m working on my Viajante which is lots of knitting in the round.  Very relaxing.

Mini-mummyI started my Halloween decorations.  I made this mini-mummy I saw on Pinterest.  You just shape a body with a head on four limbs out of soft wire (I used the spiral binding from a notebook that I took apart) and then wrap it with fabric strips.  I recycled the clean part of my surgical dressing and used that.  Love to recycle.  I need to glue some eyes on it.  Great project to do with grandkids.

Spend some time today listing the good things that have happened to you lately.  It will lift your spirits.

More later–

Categories: mixed media art, Personal thoughts, Sketching/Drawing | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Surgery over–feeling fine.

Yesterday I had the torn meniscus in my left knee repaired.  Walt Beaver of Orthocarolina did the surgery at Charlotte Surgery on Randolph Road.  Everyone was great and I feel better today than I did before the event.  I am already taking steps on it.  The main thing to deal with is the swelling–such a small thing.  I have lots of pain killers, but haven’t really had pain.  Recovering from the anesthetic is the big deal.

Couldn’t sleep last night—heck, I’d slept a bunch of the day.  Got up and played.  I drew this picture which I just love.  Dave Barry is a favorite observer of life and this quote describes so many of my friends.  Not me, of course.  :)

fine line hobbyI am still knitting on my Viajante.  Wonderfully mindless and pretty yarn.  Pictures later.  Best wishes to all of you who read this site and those who have just stumbled on it.

Categories: Personal thoughts | 8 Comments

Sewing them together—Who knew?

Zen-with-sewn-stringThis is my new tangle piece.  The cool thing about it is the paper I used.

I’ve seen a bunch of travel journals that were just accordion books of pockets, very flat and purse friendly.  Inserted into the pockets were tickets and pamphlets and sometimes cards with journaling.  Since I am going to Chile this fall, I wanted to create one that would hold notes on what I get to see and sketches done on the way.  If I don’t keep a travel journal, my ADD brain will forget what I saw.

I have a lot of paper (understatement) and I wanted to combine some to make a heavier weight piece that would hold up under use.  I failed paste in first grade and have never recovered.  Well, once I discovered Yes! brand, I improved a bit.  Gluing them together would only give me a wrinkled mess.  I decided to try sewing them together.

Voila.  A piece of an old tablet that Cristi brought me from Sock Summit and a piece of lovely cardstock from a sale at Fedex.  I discovered that if I sew the paper together, I don’t get wrinkles or any other mar to the surface.  All kinds of paper projects have now opened up to me.

I grabbed a bunch of papers, like drawings that were not very good, painted backgrounds that were going nowhere, a map of the world from an elementary school text company, and I started sewing.  I cut them in different sizes, even cut them with tabs to help find things.  Why?  Haven’t I taught you that is a useless question when it comes to art and craft?

To test the results in action.  I took the first piece and decided to tangle on it.  But instead of drawing a string  to define the areas, I sewed it!

Sewn-stringHere is what the back of the tangle looks like so you can see the string.  I will tangle on this side as well—two for one.

If you have never sewn on paper, it is easy.  I like a smaller needle like I would use for sheers.  The paper will dull that needle quickly, but that doesn’t create a problem unless you try to use it for cloth.  You can drop the feed dogs as you would for machine quilting, but I didn’t.  The paper is so slippery that I could move it around any direction without doing that.

Another small advantage of this is that the narrow list-type pieces that I made don’t get lost in my purse.  They are sturdy enough to not crumple into a ball, but not so inflexible as a notebook is.  Also, they are pretty.  I like pretty.

My daughter who reads my blog is shaking her head right now thinking, “Oh, Mom, you need a job.”  But deep in her heart she knows this is how I stay sane.

Started a new knitting project.  WA-HOO.

More later–

Categories: Bookmaking, Personal thoughts | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Calculus and Me

Steve's text from graduate school found on a top shelf

Steve’s text from graduate school found on a top shelf

The paper in this book is sumptuous.  It may be clay based paper.  The book weighs a ton.  He had no problem with my using it any way I wished.  So I drew a bird.

Check out the  wing feathers.

Check out the wing feathers.

I used a graph on the page to style the feathers on the wing.  The colors are Tombow watercolor markers.  Bright and transparent.  Who doesn’t like to color?

Tangle inspired bird--I'm practicing spirals.

Tangle inspired bird–I’m practicing spirals.

Then I saw these graphs–

Graphed ZensIn the world of Zentangling, often you draw a squiggly line inside a small square and put your different tangles in the areas defined by that line.  The graphs defined some lines for me, and all I had to do was play.

The text graphic became the beak.

The text graphic became the beak.

future birdLook at this page.  Do you see the beak in fig. 0-13?  I think the curve in the next fig. could be the belly of a bird.  Discovery is almost as much fun as drawing.  Maybe more.

Modern Bird

Modern Bird

Wing study

Wing study

Watercolor scribble background.

Watercolor scribble background.

Google “altered books” if you have never investigated that topic.  Some great things have been done to books that would otherwise have just been tossed.

Still waiting for a date for my knee surgery.  Reconstruction of tree damage is underway.  My tomatoes are bearing sweet fruit.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Cleanup and Some new work

Cadieu's crane over our house

Cadieu’s crane over our house

I can’t say enough good things about Joe Cadieu and his team.  If you are in the Charlotte area and have tree problems, call Cadieu Tree Service.  We chose them because our landscape architect friend told us he was the only service who had the equipment to do the job.  The expertise of his climber, Chris, was amazing.

Chris making the first cut

Chris making the first cut

As the first cut was made, the crane held the top of the tree.  Chris was riding the trunk.  Have you seen Dr. Strangelove?  Slim Pickens riding the bomb down screaming “Yahoo”?  That was Chris as the top of the tree broke loose.

First cut tree top

First cut tree top

At this point we could finally see the damage.  There is some, mostly cosmetic to the house, except the window is still out and covered by a tarp.  Outside noise is louder than you think, but the sound of the rain is wonderful.

After Cadieu finished

After Cadieu finished

Check it out.  Not any damage to the landscape from the recovery.  Amazing work.  This was due to the expertise and planning for taking out the tree.

Here are some things I’ve been making:

New Dog Harnesses
These were made from a pattern I found on Pinterest and I cannot find the source data. I will continue to look. The coolest part of this is where the D-rings are located. There is no pressure on the neck of the dog which is critical for Jake.

Bird on Canvas Using Inktense Watercolor Pencils

Bird on Canvas Using Inktense Watercolor Pencils


This was for an online class. If you don’t know, Inktense Watercolor pencils are unlike other watercolor pencils. These pencils will put watercolor permanently onto surfaces other than paper, e.g., fabric, wood, even metal. All you do is color in whatever you want and then use a brush and plain water to activate what you drew. Cool. I extended the picture onto the sides of the canvas and then Photoshopped those onto the side of the front picture. That is why the photo looks weird.
Inktense on wood
This is an exercise which used the Inktense pencils on a wood template from Michaels. When I put the first coat on the bare wood, it was the color Mustard, the wood glowed. I am thinking about painting a small unfinished cabinet. The transparency gives it a delicate look.

More birds–

Fowlus Scientificus--Inktense Pencils

Fowlus Scientificus–Inktense Pencils

Western Meadowlark--Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Western Meadowlark–Prismacolor Colored Pencils


The Onion Weeps--sort of a Zentangle

The Onion Weeps–sort of a Zentangle

Categories: Finished ARtwork, Personal thoughts | Tags: | 3 Comments

If a tree falls in the forest . . .

or in your backyard . . . there might be excitement.

Tree on roof

Tree on roof


 

On the den roof

On the den roof

Supporting itself

Supporting itself

Broke through the den window

Broke through the den window


Four feet from where the dogs and I were sleeping

Four feet from where the dogs and I were sleeping

Could have been so much worse—

Missed the trampoline

Missed the trampoline


Lifted the fence

Lifted the fence


Missed the owl and the deck plants

Missed the owl and the deck plants


Supporting itself over the landscaping

Supporting itself over the landscaping

Obviously all are okay. The insurance company (Met Life) is sending a crew to weatherproof the den. Cadieu Tree Service is on the way with a crane to lift and take down the tree. Andrew, the landscape guy from down the block, was up and will send guys to spread the “free” mulch this weekend. Duke Power came right away. We didn’t lose power, but the tree is on some lines so they will cut the power soon to take the tree down safely. Sarah from next door was first on the scene to check on us and give me hugs. The dogs are confused—and I am doing fine.

The bike trip this week was cancelled because Steve’s mom was back in the hospital, but she returns to rehab today. Steve is home dealing–he’s been dealing with so much now for months, but he says he is fine. Denial.

We will know about the roof after the tree is removed, but there are no obvious holes. This is one way to get your neighbors to visit. Everett advised about the insurance and then teased me long and hard.

The good news is someone else will help pay to take the tree down and I will have lots of mulch for the new fenced in area. Andrew even knew a woodturner in the neighborhood who might get some of the wood to make art. Oh, I found the robin’s nest from the maple on the ground. The three baby birds were scared, but Jennie, my bird expert, told me how to get the nest back in the tree so the mother could find it. Both the mom and dad are flying around the area.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | 5 Comments

The Story of Badger

So, one day SIL Paul was walking in downtown Athens, headed to get a haircut when he spotted this bike.
Badger's bike front

Badger's bike side

An avid cyclist who often commutes on his bike, he checked it out for ideas. Then he turned the corner and saw Badger.

Badger the artist copy

He knew the bike belonged to the man. Badger was sitting there (the sidewalks of Athens are filled with folks at tables or planters sitting and doing.) weaving a basket out of wire. Paul knew he had to talk to him. Badger explained his life of living off the grid and making art, indeed of his life being an act of art.

Here, let Paul explain: click to enlarge, if needed.paul-letter-excerpt

This is the gift: Jane's Majik Pendulum
Jane's Majik Pendulum face

Jane's Majik Pendulum  BACK

And this is Badger’s letter to me: Jane's Majik Pendulum LETTER

I, again, was blown away. I called Athens to thank him and was thrilled to find that they were anxiously awaiting my reaction—all three of them. Giving was as exciting as getting.

I love my family. Especially this SIL who “gets” me.

Categories: Personal thoughts | 1 Comment

My Outside Loom

loom2I built it!  And it works!

I started with the idea of a backstrap loom like the Mapuche people of Chile use, as do many Latin and South Americans, as well as Asians.  I was fighting it too much; clearly I need lessons here.  So I moved on to Navajo looms.

Use this to decipher terms that follow.

What a gift the internet is.  Read much; saw a lot of pictures, watched some videos.  Saw looms made of copper pipe, floor looms made of PVC pipe, lots of DIY directions and blogs, and some commercially made looms that didn’t interest me at all.  Just Google  “handmade looms” and select images.  [My favorite way to Google now.]

Thought about what I wanted—not to clutter house with big loom, just plain weave to make some rag rugs, the fun of solving the problems of construction.

Voila!  My loom.loom1

Sent DH to the store to buy some rods for the top and bottom beams—the man who uses a 50 pound picture hanger to hang a 3 oz photo came home with 2.5 inch PVC pipe.  Two 10-foot pieces.  I think I could hang a car from it.  But it isn’t warping from the tension.

The arbor has been there many years.  I just hung the top beam from the arbor crosspiece with nylon braided rope.  This is the tensioning agent so it will be loosened and tightened often.  I used the same knot the Navajo weavers use on their outdoor looms.  <g>

The bottom beam is wedged under the bottom of the arbor.

I wound the warp differently.  Actually for this first sample piece, I just cut lengths and attached them to the loom bar.  Then I manually added the shed rods.  It was only 40 strings, not the hundreds needed for a big rug.  Then I tied them to the loom bar as I would if I were warping a floor loom.
loom5

Hardest of all was making string heddles.

They need to be the same length to have good tension.  After much adjustment I had something workable if not good.  Then I had to figure out how this whole business of picking up the right threads and getting the right sheds worked.  It is so simple, it has been done this way for many centuries; it only took me hours to figure it out.  [Duh!  I could have had a V-8.]

Still had spacing problems—no reed to hold the threads evenly spaced.  Back to the books to discover using a twined thread and realizing why the Navajo do not cut the bottom warp ends.  [Ah, learning by discovery.  No, I do not read instruction manuals.  Instruction manuals are for when you have messed it up so badly that you are desperate.]

Finally, days later, I tore up an old sheet and began to weave.  It worked pretty well.  I still need to figure out the best sett [threads per inch in the warp] and the best width for the strips to make a serviceable and dog proof rug.

Then the monsoon hit.  Days of big rain.  The loom was drenched—frequently.  But once dried, it maintained the tension pretty well.  I am going to move it further in under the arbor roof, but it is good to know that the apparatus is indeed weatherproof.  The Navajo don’t use a roof for their looms.  But it never rains in New Mexico.


Can’t think of everything, and learning anything is fun.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Meniscus, maybe?

Good news!

Good news!

Categories: Personal thoughts | 9 Comments

Keep your inner child

Zachary, age 11, sent me a picture of his art project.

20130501-125510.jpg
I am so proud of his art, and I am thrilled he wants to share it with me. He told me about doing all the pencil work which I really find hard. We discussed how hard it is to draw hands. He said he didn’t get the hand right; it comes out of the chest. I said he should look at Picasso. Besides, I can make a great case for the theme of your hand being controlled by your heart.

Evan, aged 7, won’t draw with me anymore. He says he doesn’t know how. I suspect an adult told him that. But he will build a fairy house. Grace, age 6, lives down the street. She is a budding architect who also builds fairy houses.

20130501-130648.jpg
Combine Evan’s California modern with Grace’s romance and you get a whole town. The large structure in front is a collaborative effort. Surely you can tell it is a shopping mall.

When children begin to draw, they have no inner critic. We need to hang on to that. So often we just assume we can’t do something. Think about it.

My knee is still out. I am using crutches to rest it. Seems it isn’t possible for me to merely sit still. Taking Ibuprofen and icing it. When better, I will start some weight therapy. No, no doctor consulted. Years of bad joints have taught me that they will say one of two things: Take Ibuprofen, ice and rest it, OR cut it out. Too early to see a surgeon.

But I have been working on things.

Sketching

20130501-131711.jpg

Painting

20130501-131816.jpg

Sewing for my dogs

20130501-131904.jpg
I’m also harvesting ivy from the front yard to make baskets and I am actually knitting socks. Pictures of those later.

What are you playing with?

If you live in Charlotte and like to draw, consider this.

20130501-132529.jpg Great people who are encouraging and kind.

More later–

Categories: Personal thoughts | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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