Monday, November 21, 2016

Here We Go Again...

OK, I am a time-waster.  A very proficient time-waster.  Sometimes I regret the time wasted, sometimes I don't.  And sometimes, I feel like maybe you would enjoy some of the places I waste my time.  :)

I watched the latest Sainsbury Christmas ad, which I liked just because it has James Corden doing the voice-over.  But then I got side-tracked with other Sainsbury  adverts, like Waste Less Save More:

And then,  well, just a few more.

What else should I do?  Clean house?

I actually did clean the house!  Everything except mop the floors, and I decided to do that today.  Well, that was the idea anyway.  Doesn't seem as urgent this morning.

Frustrating: When Edgar gets in my lap when I'm trying to work(?) on the computer.  He can not keep his paws to himself!  I like feeling his warmth in my lap and listening to his purring, but his constant reaching for my hand is annoying and causes typos that need correction.  I make enough mistakes without his help.

I finished reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison, a dystopian novel that tackled a lot of problems about power and corruption, before we took another little trip this weekend to Jefferson, TX.  We stayed at The Excelsior Hotel which has provided accommodations since 1858;   famous visitors included Ulysses S. Grant and Oscar Wilde.  We did not see the ghost, but were charmed by the hotel anyway.

Sometimes there are so many things on the "to do" list that I'm overwhelmed and unable to get started.  


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Process and Progress

I always enjoy seeing someone else's process--
creativity is such an individual thing...
but Jody Alexander's process is truly unique.

I do love her work:
altered books, boxed books, etc.


I have not reviewed these yet, but Louise Penny's A Great Reckoning was even better than I hoped.  Of course, I'm always a little surprised at how good her books are, her ability to juxtapose humor and kindness with the worst humanity has to offer.  

And Be Frank with Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson was also a pleasure--maybe it is not realistic to have a real-life character who so resembles the Little Prince, but the book gives a positive and sympathetic look at a boy who does not fit the norm, who is labeled an oddball even by those who love him, and who catches at your heart even as you know how difficult it would be to live with him.

In progress:  The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon.  I only read from 2-10 pages at a time, but it is both delightful and informative.  Although I've been familiar with some of Sei Shonagon for at least 20 years, only after a letter from Penne did I decide to order and read the entire book.  Her lists are fun and her comments about the Japanese court during the late 10th c make me realize how much we have in common despite the differences in time and culture.


Read an ebook by Arnold Grummer on paper making and have been experimenting some more.  

Used a couple of blue post it notes for color.
The dark spots are milkweed seeds.
Some left over pansy petals were still in the mix.

 I waited until the pulp was well blended,
then added a few more scraps from envelopes to this one.

The blue in the sheet below is from the inner lining of an envelope
(like the bits in the above piece), but I blended the pulp longer and
did not add any additional scraps.
Set a bottle on the screen before adding pulp to get the circle
and added a small Japanese maple leaf
and a yarrow leaf before pulling this sheet.

Pansy petals and hibiscus petals blended in the pulp.

All of them (and a few others that were still not dry) are under books and weights to flatten them.  These sheets are all thinner than the first ones I made, although I did alter the thickness on these, too, as I experimented.  The one with milkweed seeds is thicker because I didn't want the seeds too rough on the surface.

Now what?  This is one of those activities that is more fun in the process than in the product. I still have several other ideas to try out in "the making" -- then I will have to decide just what to do with them.  

Onward to another mess!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Crafty Week in Review

I kept eyeing my handmade papers and wondering about how I could use them.   I like recycling materials, especially junk mail envelopes, but my handmade paper is not very flexible, and while it wouldn't be expected to be as flexible as regular paper, I wonder if  there a way to decrease the stiffness some.  Definitely need a good book on the subject; there are so many things I'm curious about.

One of my original thoughts was to use the handmade papers as backgrounds for some of the stitched leaves from the last couple of weeks.  Auditioning the leaves on the papers was satisfying, but then I wondered about other options.

 I had a couple of thank you notes to write, so I cut some pages down and folded them into little note cards.  Ended up choosing 3 leaves and adhering them to the folded papers, then wrote short notes inside expressing my gratitude.

Yep, I tried this, but boy, is it easy to tear a leaf!

I cut up some under paper from painting and sewed two little envelopes, adding a few details and marks along the way.  Popped the "thank yous" into the finished envelopes and sent them on their way.  There is one note card left, and I may make some more.

 I also made some tiny gift tags.
These might be good for Christmas gifts
if I add some Christmas-y embellishment.

Collaged postcard 
with a leaf 
and some birch bark
and sent it to Jacque.

I wish...

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election Posters and Suffragettes

Well, we did get the vote,
but it is interesting to see some of the posters
opposing the idea from the time period.

For more examples see Vintage Everyday

What courage it must have taken 
to risk prison and
to stand against the status quo, 
the opinions of spouses and family, 
the insults, and the violence.


Mrs. Pankhurst

Monday, November 07, 2016

A New Week

New Project

 Quite a long time ago, I tried making paper with mixed results.  As I was about to trash some junk mail the other day, I thought about trying again.  I tore up a bunch of old envelopes and papers, let them soak, put 'em in the blender, and made paper pulp.

It was another mixed result but certainly suitable for collage--just tearing bits of pieces will add texture to collage work.

My papers were mostly plain, with some random bits of text, but before I quit, I remembered that there were plenty of finished pansy blooms and some begonia blooms just out the door.  So the last few pieces have some color to them.  I made a huge mess, the papers vary in thickness, and there is a lot to learn if I decide to try again.  

Not that it is difficult--it is really very easy, but I need to practice getting the right amount of pulp, not too thick and not too thin,  and a mold and deckle would produce even sheets and more even distribution of pulp.

Last Week's Mail


 I used one of my tea bag houses and a tabby cat for Miss Prim Paws Chandler

Junk mail recycled to Connie

 collage postcard to Cheryl


from Annie
from Jacque
and another one of Jacque's beautiful cards!

I love Julie Person's 

Just Curious often to you look back at your own pins on Pinterest?  

Pinning something I like comes easily, but unless I'm thinking about something specific, I rarely look back at my own pins.  I've thought about taking at least one pin a week from my own pins and trying a new technique.  Has not happened yet, there are some interesting Christmas ideas I might have to try.  

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A Little Bit of Everything



more leaves and some birch bark

Incoming Mail

from Bryce Eleanor

from Penne
 beautiful stamp

from Connie
beautiful setting for a stamp

postcard from Cheryl  :)

from Melanie

Thanks to all of you for making my mailbox (and me) very happy!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Letters to Frankenstein, Day Trip, etc.

I found these letters from kids to Frankenstein on a post on The Letter Writers Alliance blog, then followed the link, but found no information about the how and why these letters were written.  Evidently a school project, but the kids all received letters from Victor Frankenstein, usually explaining that he was Frankenstein's creator and not the monster.

Original Source:  Something Awful has more of the letters


Yesterday was our anniversary, and we took a day trip to Jefferson, TX which was such a pleasure!  Its brick streets and old buildings maintain all the atmosphere of the settlement which was first mentioned in 1840.  

We visited the museum, then began touring various antique shops--for hours!  By that afternoon, we were exhausted and had not been to all of the shops.   

It has been years since we've visited Jefferson, TX, but when our kids were little, we saw Marcia Thomas' one woman show of The Belle of Amherst in Jefferson which was remarkable!  You can see Julie Harris' version on Youtube, and it is worth the time.  I've always been an Emily Dickinson fan.

Highlight:  Kitt's Kornbread Sandwich and Pie Bar.  A cornbread sandwich did not sound that appetizing, but we decided to give it a try--and hush my mouth and let's get on with the eatin'!  Wonderful!   As a Southern gal, I have had lots and lots of cornbread over the years, but never any this good, and as for the experience I will never forget and will be back for more.  I swan, it should be on your bucket list to try one of Kitt's kornbread sandwiches.  Now I'm a little hung up on Southern colloquialisms, but hey, if leather were brains, I wouldn't have enough to saddle a June bug.


Still working on leaves and have some soaking in a glycerin solution to see how that works.

Source:  Casey Trees
The pear trees, which are usually breathtaking in the fall are all still green, but when they turn, I'll be there to pick them up.  The leaves that are falling around here are nothing special, but I'm having fun with them anyway.

The photo above shows what the pear trees should look like by now.

I also have plans for a new project which will be getting some attention as soon as I have time.


I have several letters to answer and will be busy writing responses next week.  :)  Love snail mail, and I especially love getting mail from Bryce Eleanor who sent me a Halloween card.  


I'm reading Melanie Wallace's The Girl in the Garden, and honestly, I was not expecting the kind of book that I will never forget.  I have not finished, but already know it will be one of my all-time favorites.  Will review on the book blog closer to publication, but I may have to buy a print copy when it is published.

Hope you all have been having a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Leaf Stitching

More leaf stitching
while watching Billy Bob Thornton
and William Hurt
in the first season of Goliath.

magnolia leaf,
stitched and rolled

the vintage tatting thread was too stiff

Persian shield,
turned from lovely purple
to almost black

less than 2 inches
without the stem.

More experimenting with threads and yarn. 
 More leaves being pressed under stacks of books.  


Francoise mentioned Alice Fox 
in a comment on my last post,
and Fox's work is one of the inspirations 
for this new project.

Another is Suzanne Bauer,
who (who knows how)
manages to crochet on leaves!

also does beautiful work!

I would love to have some of the gorgeous fall leaves
in all of their glory,
but colors are still rare around here.

Each fall, the words from Shelley's 
echo in my thoughts--
especially his description 
of autumn leaves as
"yellow and black and pale and hectic red."


I'm also playing with birch bark.
Years ago, I stitched birch bark for postcards,
but I can't locate the pictures.

When I made Augustus, I used birch bark for his book. 

I machine stitched the birch bark and
added in hyacinth bean pods 
and faded day lily blooms.
Still holding up after 5 1/2 years,
although Augustus met some serious damage 
from the evil Triad of felines
and has gone to live with Amelia
to avoid the bad cats.

There is something soothing about working with natural materials.