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It’s been a long time . . .

I actually feel guilty that I haven’t blogged, but life has been family issues and you don’t need to hear about it.  The knee is better.  That’s my good news.

I’ve been making and making and making.  I have a new collage based on a scan of my grandmother’s wedding picture.

We have no idea who the woman in the back is.

We have no idea who the woman in the back is.

I painted the paper with watercolor and stencils.  Then added the pinkish color with pastels.  The definition is from an old dictionary we once received because we donated to the local PBS station.  The lace is from my MIL’s sewing box.  The flowers were waiting for me on the clearance shelf at Michaels, and the purple beads I sewed into their centers have been around here forever.  I did spray a fixative on it when I finished.

I tried several things here and they all worked.  Wish it were always that way.

Gift from the girls about 1981.

Gift from the girls about 1981.

This is my favorite mug.  I start every day with coffee in this mug and I think about my girls.  I broke it.  I cried.  I wrote an impassioned letter to both of them about someday replacing it. Meghan brought this back from Chile when she went to visit her sister.

It is very thin.  Really fine workmanship.

It is very thin. Really fine workmanship.

I look forward to visiting the gallery where she found it when I go to Chile.

One stitch at a time.

One stitch at a time.

I’m still knitting the hat I’m designing for my pharmacist.  It is the challenge I love, but I need to work on it more often.

Steve and I at the game.

Steve and I at the game.

My BFF Jennie gave me tickets to the Steelers-Panthers exhibition game last night.  She knows I like to go and lust after Troy Palomalu even though he never plays in an exhibition game.  Doesn’t matter.

He stands wonderfully.

My favorite defensive player

My favorite defensive player

During the interminable TV timeouts, I drew these.  Beware—some strong opinions here.

Beer and B____s

Beer and B____s

Just my opinion . . .but it is a strong one.

Just my opinion . . .but it is a strong one.

Hope you are making something, too.

More later–

Art, Family, Thoughts

Z goes to school in Vina

Family first.  The folks are in Chile.  The other family goes to visit Friday.  I wish I were there.

Here is the American boy in the British school in Vina del Mar, Chile.  He is doing so well with the adjustment.  Has his first futbol (soccer) game is today.  I’m sure the team is glad to have him.  The school has welcomed him so warmly.

Unusual travel fact.  In Chile, heating is not necessarily part of the rental agreement.  We’ve been warned to bring winter pajamas.



The October Collage workshop will be here soon and I am preparing.  More Citrosolv papers to share.  I said I would update you about the National Geographic search.  I went to Sleepy Poet, a local antique mall, and found some—well, lots.  The guy that worked there had these for sale:

Note the brown boxes

Note the brown boxes

Seven years worth–in lovely boxed sets.  Total $10.00.  It seemed ridiculous to ask how much for one or two.  I bought them all.

Then I found the two from DSIL2.

Then I discovered that I really liked the size and weight of the ones I was creating with my ESPN mag.

Ain’t life funny?

The Sea

The Sea

This is #1, The Sea, in my collage prep series.  I have made a collage before, but always just sticking pictures together with no real purpose.  I read about using  a small sketchbook to do a collage a day.  The idea is that if frees you to explore.  This is a 6X6 sketchbook I bought at Arrowmont.  I like the size.  Not too much pressure.  I used some pearlescent watercolors, a greeting card, a magazine photo and a stamp.  I like the subtleness and the purple.

My Brain

My Brain

This is #2, My Brain.  This really is my brain.  I used pastels, washi tapes, the phone book, music paper scrap and a drawing of a brain.  Yes, the pink thing.  Then I wrote in some of my worries.

The “Everyday” thing doesn’t work for me, but that is okay.  I do like using a quote as a starting point.  I also have a collection of words snipped from magazines that could serve as a theme.  Anything to keep me focused.

hunger games pin

I’m doing a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime.  Free shipping and free videos of movies and TV for $80 a year.  There is also a free book rental each month if you have a Kindle.  I watched The Hunger Games last night.  It reminded me again of how much fun it would be to teach that trilogy.  Then I reminded myself that students do not always see in literature what the teacher thinks they will.  Once, when I taught To Kill a Mockingbird to Juniors, I discovered that the dominant theme to many of them was Child Abuse, not Racism.  I think that shows how the world has changed.  It certainly supports the notion that responses to literature should be essays, not multiple choice questions.

Knee still wonky.  Don’t want to talk about it.

More later–

Citrasolv and National Geographic Mania

The Miracle Art Product which will also clean your tires.

The Miracle Art Product which will also clean your tires.

Do you make cards or scrapbook? Do you do collage or art journaling?  Do you wrap packages or just like making a mess that surprises?  If yes to any of these, you need to know about Citrasolv.  Citrasolv is a solvent that will dissolve certain inks and make wonderfully subtle patterns out of magazine pictures, not just any magazine, but a National Geographic magazine is what you really want to use.  Not even a new one, but the older style.  They have changed the clay based paper ones for a cheaper printing cost.

Well, I didn’t have A National Geographic magazine, or at least, I couldn’t find the one that my son-in-law had given me, so I just grabbed what was around.  I used some calendars, magazine covers,
some slick dark magazine ads, even some of that day’s junk mail.

A freebie calendar from a favorite yarn shop.

A freebie calendar from a favorite yarn shop.

First, I used Citrasolv on a few pages and I tested it right away. See the fingerpainting on this particular calendar print.  Once I saw that it would dissolve this ink, I began to play. I just put it on everything I had and waited to see what would happen.

The three-finger painting technique

The three-finger painting technique

I wasn’t sure anything was happening so I used my fingers to smear around on this W Magazine.  I thought it looked like really cool finger paint.

Note: My manicurist always says to wear rubber gloves when you paint like this. I didn’t. Had to scrub hands for a long time. Suggestion: wear gloves.

Pour then stack--or close magazine.

Pour then stack–or close magazine.

Second, after smearing the Citrasolv over the various papers, I stacked them and smushed them, and rubbed them around a bit.  If the ink wasn’t dissolving, I just trashed the page.  (The orange smell was nice.)

Smush and Pull

Smush and Pull

Then, even better, I peeled them apart and got these fabulous effects as seen above.

Purple marble page

Purple marble page

Finally, I saw that I had some neat blends and effects, sort of like marbleized paper, only easier to make.  Hmmmm, I can use these in bookmaking.

Old Vogue Patterns cover drying on the porch.

Old Vogue Patterns cover drying on the porch.

Anyway, I took the papers out on my porch to dry overnight.  Once dry they are ready to use.

ESPN magazine cover

ESPN magazine cover

I am going to explore what will write and paint on them.  I do know that alcohol inks work well, and many scrapbookers use those.  They also do well as a collage base.  I would even use the purple one for the front of a card without doing anything else to it.

Text page

Text page

Can you still see the model underneath it all?

another mag ad

Now, grab a friend or relative and try this.  The only hard thing is to find the Citrasolv Concentrate.  I looked and looked in cleaner sections, even the auto parts store.  I could find the spray, but knew I needed the Concentrate.  Finally, I ordered it from Amazon.com.

Next day I walked into Binders and it was sitting on a shelf.  Try your local art supply store.

Dang, this always happens.  So it stands to reason if I buy an old National Geographic, the one I have will show up.  Well, that’s a story for another day.

Great reference video is here.  Cathy Taylor does a great job. There are 5 parts to this series to show you other ways to play with this.

More later–

New Tangling Venture–Join In


The beginning

Yeah, I know it’s blurred, but it is only a 5X7 inch rectangle drawn on  gray heathered cardstock.  But this is how I started my sample for the ATC swap that Chris and I are hosting.  I had so much fun with the first ATC swap I did at Lineweaving.com,  Blog entry here, that I wanted to create one to share.


Step 2–divided into spaces

The instructions are to create a tangled piece that is 5 x 7 (or 4.5X6.5) then to chop it into 4 sections.  ATCs have to be 2.5X3.5.  Because the tangle gods say so.  Also it is a good size to create and swap with other addicts.  Swapping gives you some purpose to create, a deadline if you need such, and introduces you to others and their styles.  Lineweaving.com is a nice friendly, easy-going group from all over the world.  It’s exciting to get a copy of someone else’s work.  Inspiring, even.


Inked the pencil lines and started to Tangle

This above pic shows that I have inked over and erased any stray pencil lines and begun to pattern tangles in the divisions.  Actually, I was sitting on the porch when I started this and just drew the limbs of my neighbors tree.  (Sort of.)  Then I just started using patterns I like, adapting them at will.  No planning of any kind went in to this project yet.   Except size.


Tangles extend beyond the margins.

I continued until I had completed all the spaces.  I did a bit of pencil shading here.  Top left and side right.  The bird is not a repeated pattern unless you have been following my drawings.  I put the bird there because it is a tree and because I like to draw birds.  Tangling is flexible as well as freeing.

step 5 color

Nervously added colors

Color is a  personal preference in this swap.  I rarely use color in my tangles, unless it is to paint the paper before I start to draw.  I always think I choose the wrong pieces to color or something.  It could just be that I really like black and white.  But I saw some quilts in Australia that were grey, yellow, and white, and began to really enjoy that combination.  After staring at the black and white version for a bit, I just picked up my yellow Tombow watercolor marker and colored in the branches.  It looked okay.


Trimmed to size and loved

But then I thought more about the grey.  I have lots of Prismacolor pencils in varying intensity of grey.  Why not?  So I colored in the rocks, the bird’s background, the googly eyes background, one band of the top curvy lines and the triangular Paradox.  Once I cut the outer edges clean I really loved this.

Note:  I think it is important to work across your established margins.  The work then bleeds off the page instead of stopping at the line.  I think.

Study in Grey & Yellow Series

Finished set of Four

Cut into four equal sections and glued to a charcoal grey cardstock.

ATC labeling

Signed and identified.

Done.  Maybe I’ll just do another.

I hope lots of folks join us in this swap.  You just send in yours with a SASE and we deal them out and sent back a mixed set from other folk.  It’s a good mailing to get.  Beginners are very welcome in this.  If you feel a bit inspired or curious about this no pressure, no talent-needed activity, then investigate Tangling.  Here, I’ll give you a template to get you started:

**************Four For One Template **************

Read the rules and sign up here.

Some great starting off sites are:

http://www.zentangle.com/  Rick and Maria invented this mania.

http://tanglepatterns.com/  Linda has amassed lots of pattern how-tos

http://www.rainbowelephant.com/ Cindy Angiel’s blog.  She has taught me so much.  She created …

http://www.lineweaving.com/forums/index.php, the community which hosts swaps and challenges with such grace and support.

Don’t forget to search for Tangles on flickr.com

Oh,  surgery went well.  Am exercising and icing still.  It is so nice to get out of the house.  The knee can handle my clutch.  Got a bit bored just after the operation, so

Knee Bandaid decorated my Bandaids.  (DD#2 shakes head and sighs here.)  Click to enlarge.

More later–

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–

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.

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–

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