Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I've got mail!

Hello, Friends--

Is there anything better than getting snail mail? Why, yes, there is--getting mail art!

Recently, I took part in Lenna Young Andrews' "A Summer's Day" postcard swap. I have been collecting postcards for about 40 years now (OK, I'm definitely giving away my age now) and am always happy to add more to my rather large collection. I've taken part in Lenna's swaps before and have been more than pleased with what I have received. The challenge was to make three postcards using the medium of our choice, and complete the phrase "A Summer's Day Is..." on the reverse side. I decided to hold my nose and jump into the water!

I received my three postcards yesterday and today. First into the mailbox was  Cynthia Zdanzukas' fun and flowery card, titled "A Summer's Day is cooled by shady trees."

Cynthia's card incorporates vintage sheet music, fabric flowers, and an image of that good, old-fashioned American pastime for kids in summer: bicycle riding! Cynthia, thank you so much for sharing your vision of a summer's day with me!

 Next, I received a swimming-themed card from Val Cowan in Scotland. Complete with stitched edges, a metal fish and some very cool watery images, Val says, "A summer day is a day for swimming!" I couldn't agree more. Thank you, Val! I'm pleased to add your card to my collection.

And finally, Marion Bockelman of Munster, Germany, has made a postcard to be remembered, just like her summer's day! Two Victorian ladies and three large seashells adorn the front of her card, along with nostalgic rubber stamping. To see more of Marion's artwork, visit her blog at www.bockel24.blogspot.com. Marion, thank you very much for your card!

Thank you again, ladies, and thank you, Lenna, for hosting this swap!

Until next time, stay well, and stay dry!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

New month, new ICADs

Hello, Friends!

Seems like the past week just flew by! I've been busy with a few things here and there. There's something about September that says "busy," isn't there? Pretty soon we'll be seeing the squirrels all over the place, gathering up acorns and nuts for their winter stash.

In addition to doing my own artwork, I signed up for a class in graphic design at our local community college. I've done some design in my past jobs, but I really feel I could use a brush-up and some real, formal training, which I have never had. So far, I am enjoying the class and I like the teacher. And, the woman who sat next to me in class turned out to be the daughter of longtime friends of my husband's! How's that for "a small world"?

I also took part in Lenna Andrews' Summer's Day Postcard Swap, the deadline for which was yesterday. If you'd like a peek at my cards, as well as all the other beautiful postcards that are going to be exchanged, visit Lenna's swap blog here.

Tammy Garcia's ICAD project was originally going to end as of August 30. However, Tammy decided to continue with it into September, and so did I. This time around, I am using 4" x 6" index cards. I'm rather used to working in a smaller format, whether it's 3.5" x 5" index cards, or artist trading cards, and it's definitely a challenge to work larger. I am enjoying it immensely. And I'm finally using those supplies I was saving for a "really special project." You know what? Today is the day for that really special project! Grab those supplies and make something!

And so, without further adieu, here are some of my larger ICADs.

ICAD for Sept. 5. Materials used:  Various art papers, Starbucks stickers (thank you, Barbara!), washi tape, old dictionary text. 

Faux Quilt.  Materials used:  Leftover scraps of fabric on batting from Conversation Hearts, lovely fabric collages I learned to do from Tammy Gilley last year. I just glued them down onto the card. 
Sept. 7 Card (a/k/a the Pear Bird). Materials used: 7 Gypsies paper, waterproof pen, Caran d'ache Neocolor crayons, colored pencil. 
ICAD for Sept. 11. Materials used:  Found image, faux postage from Artchix Studio, paper tape, background papers, gold faux pearls.
ICAD for Sept. 12. Materials used:  Gouache. I don't use gouache much, but I find I love its deep opacity. It's also easy to write over, unlike some acrylics. 
ICAD for Sept. 14. Materials used: Transparency and egg image from Artchix Studio, faux postage, mulberry paper, paste papers, painted papers, Faber-Castell Gelatos.
ICAD for Sept. 15. Materials used:  Rub-ons, flower image from mail-order catalog, butterfly and background papers from collage box set featuring Maryjo Koch's artwork.
 What I've learned about myself thus far in this project:
  • I am surprised to find myself working with colors I thought I didn't like, such as brown, orange, and red. 
  • Everything doesn't have to be a "great work of art."  Sometimes I just stick things together and see what happens, and I'm surprised that the result isn't repugnant!
  • I really can commit to doing some art every day, something I have not been successful with earlier. Somehow, doing just one little card isn't too daunting. 
  • Having something to show everyone inspires me to blog more often. And it doesn't have to be something wonderful (see second bullet point above).
  • I found that I missed the project when it was ended. Kind of like missing having a daily walk (I am working on that one). 
I wish you a Happy Rest-of-the-Weekend! We will meet here again, soon, I hope.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The remains of the week

Dear Friends,

Remember this?
Post Hurricane Irene, Labor Day weekend 2011.
And this?
October 2009

Well, this is what it looked like on Sept. 8:

Hurricane Lee, 2011
Hurricane Lee came through our area, and while the little creek near my house caused some flooding downstream, the big news was the big river, the Susquehanna.

It rose to new heights and flooded many parts of Northeastern Pennsylvania, including nearby West Pittston and Duryea, and Bloomsburg, where hubby and I attend the wonderful fair every year.  Many people lost their belongings, and their homes were severely damaged.  I even saw a video of a cottage floating downstream in Wyoming County, bobbing along until it smashed into a bridge.  The historic Dietrich Theater is closed until further notice.  They had planned their fall film festival for next week.

In the midst of all this, we are remembering those lost on September 11, 2001.  Like the day JFK was shot, many of us know exactly where we were when the planes hit the Twin Towers.  I know we are all thinking of those who suffered terrible losses that day.  Please take this opportunity to pray for world peace, and peace in our country.

Here are some ways to promote peace, or help in a small way if you can:

  • Katherine Dunn at Apifera Farm introduces Healing Creatures. 
  • The Wyoming Valley chapter of The American Red Cross is seeking donations to help those affected by the flood. 
  • I Am Enough may help you bring peace to yourself.
Until next time, be safe, my friends.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Farewell to summer

Photo courtesy of morguefile
Dear Friends,

Just a quick post to mark the "official" end of summer.  The weather may stay warm for a few more weeks, but I can see fall foliage colors popping up here and there.  The birds no longer sing at 4 a.m.  The sunrise is changing, and sunset comes earlier.

I've even needed a light jacket on evening walks.

As long as I can remember, Labor Day has marked the return to school.  Kids go back to school earlier nowadays (I believe it has something to do with snow days).  Do you remember watching the Jerry Lewis telethon?  I would slump in front of the television, as Jerry, exhausted and growing more disheveled in his tux as the hours slipped by and the money poured in.  The closer we got to the end of the telethon, the closer I was to the dreaded start of school, which I viewed as a condemned person would view their execution at dawn.

I wasn't a popular child, though I longed to be, and tried to be.  I was bullied right up until the day I graduated from high school.  But every year, I hoped it would be different.

I'll never forget my sophomore year, when I got contact lenses to replace my Coke-bottle glasses.  I worked all summer babysitting to earn the money for them.  I got a new haircut for the first day of school.  On that fateful day, I walked up to a girl in the class ahead of me, one of the popular, in-crowd girls, and said, "Hi!"  She turned and said, "Oh, hi, Sandi," then turned away indifferently.  I was crushed.  Somehow, I thought that I looked totally different--unrecognizable--possibly even pretty--without my glasses. 

No dice.  Oh well oh well oh well, as Jack White once said.

Anyway, that's all water under the proverbial bridge.  Here I am, more than three decades later, trying to make a new start again.  The job search goes on.  I am trying to sign up for a class at our local community college to sharpen my skills.  I've been working on art for my proposed Etsy shop.

I hope this autumn holds some hope and fresh starts for you, too.

And if you're feeling down, just remember:  At least you don't have to go back to high school in the morning.

Blessings to you--

Friday, September 2, 2011

Goodbye, Willow

Willow, 2009-2011.
 Dear Friends,

Our little rat, Willoughby (Willow for short), passed away today.

I suspect he was about two and a half years old, which is very old indeed for a rat.

When we got him for my birthday in July 2009, he was already full grown and being sold as a "jumbo rat."  I was just so happy that he made it to my birthday again.

In the past month, however, his health began to decline.  He began refusing his favorite treats, and never finished his bowl of food.  His breathing seemed labored.  He lay about listlessly.

Today, he left us and we are sad, but relieved that he will suffer no more.

I like to think of Ratty in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, and how he told the Mole, "Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

I like to think Willow is off somewhere messing about in a boat.

Godspeed, my little friend.

You shall be missed.