Friday, October 24, 2014

The magic is starting to happen...

After getting the back siding redone and the south side of the house patched and ready to go, the house is now being painted! Blue with white trim. Right now it is just the back and south sides. Then the north side and the front will get done in between is rain, jury duty call-in, and painter availability. Hopefully the whole house will be done before the end of the year. I am looking forward to it! It has been a little shabby around here (and not shabby chic!) and it is time for all that to change!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Making my own dried cranberries...







Still drying the next day...

Things I have learned:
1. Let them spend more time in the blanching water to fully pop open.
2. Dry them at a higher temp, maybe 145 degrees. I will try again in a few days and see what happens when I make the above changes.
3. They stick like crazy to the drier mesh. Maybe try spraying it first with coconut oil to see if that helps them not to stick so much.

An evening of coffee fun...

Last Thursday Rosaura of Pigment and Parchment had a fun evening workshop involving watercolor and hand lettering. It was to honor Coffee Week here in Sacramento, so she held it at Vic's Cafe (next to Vic's Ice Cream). 

We dabbled in some watercolor techniques, then played with hand lettering and made a coffee themed page. There was lots of laughter and fun (and coffee) as we enjoyed the 2 hour class.


It reminded me how much fun watercolors and hand lettering (not always together) can be. I need to get back to both of them and play here at home more!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Soar...

This weekend I have been tackling my house mess and didn't get any art done. However I did finish one of my art journal pages the other day and then forgot to post it.



Linking to:
Mandarin Orange Monday
Creative Every Day
Art Journal Everyday
Sunday Sentiments

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ATC for a swap...

ATC (Artist Trading Cards) are one of my favorite things to make. Little pieces of creative bursts to make and trade. The only "rules" are they have to be 2.5" x 3.5" and never sold. The ones people make to sell are called something else (I forgot). More info from the source we love to hate, Wikipedia HERE.

So Karen at MMSA decided to have another ATC swap and I made 4 to trade off. Actually the two yellowish ones with stamps and the green/orange one I had already made (and were just sitting around) and I made the abundance one when I was a Leslie's house a couple of weekends ago for an art play day.





My favorites of these 4 are the top two, the bird stamp and abundance. They are all mixed media in that they are painted (gelli print except for the abundance one), collaged, have pen/pencil doodling, and washi tape (except for the green/orange one).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Nature inspires me...

Finished up a page I started the other day, still in a bright and neons colors mood. Gelli printed background and added papers, stencils, design rollers, paint pens make up this page. And I am learning how to get the colors closer to the real page in Photoshop Elements. It just took a little more patience than I usually give a photo but I think it is worth it to show the actual colors. What a bright switch for this usually earth-toned girl!


It seems odd to use such neon colors and odd shapes for the idea of nature inspiring me but it makes sense to me. There are some really awesome colors out in nature and when you look closer up at something like a flower there are all sorts of interesting shapes. 

Linked to:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

New art journal pages...

The new pages I have been playing with lately have a lot of bright paint and do not scan well I am finding out. So these are all from my phone's camera. Scanners and cameras don't like neon colors! But lately I do!! So I am using them a lot!



This one I just could not get the color right -- in real life it is brighter.



Linked to:
Paint Party Friday
Art Journal Every Day

New art journal...

I cannot find my current art journal (which I had only started at the end of last year I think and had not really done much in). I happened to have another Canson Journal with that lovely thicker cream colored paper so I just decided to start over. I was in the mood to work in an art journal and I wasn't going to let the fact that I couldn't find mine stop me!

THIS is the journal I usually use -- it has always been my favorite.  You can find them at most art stores or online, this is just where I got mine last. They used to be called Field Drawing Book now they are called Art Book. Either way, I have been using the 7"x10" for my art journals since I started art journaling in 2004. Wow, 10 years ago! But I only have 4 or 5 journals as I am not a real frequent journaler and sometimes I use other books. Well I do a lot for a while then stop and start up again months later -- at least that has been my past experience. It is one of my intentions now to be more regular with journaling.

Paper works for painting as well as drawing/sketching. Mine says it is 90# paper even though the Dick Block info says 80#. Maybe I had an older one with thicker paper, who knows? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Paint Chip Postcards...

Last Sunday I went down to Leslie's house for an art play day and we made paint chip postcards for the current MMSA swap. You can see hers HERE.

At first I tried to make a scene with the paint chips and it came out ok but I am not usually so patient and this one took a bit longer than I thought it would.



So for the next 2 I used one of my garish orange and purple background post cards and did some geometric pattern stuff on them.



I really like how these came out actually.

One of these days I will scan or photograph some of the Mail Art I have been getting from these swaps and other mail art trades.


Linked to:
Creative Every Day

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Side trip to Oregon...

Last weekend I took a quick trip back up to Oregon to see my friend Evie who had come down from Alaska for her friend's wedding.  Evie and I have known each other for 45 years! She is all dressed up from the wedding she had participated in, looking gorgeous!



Got a chance to visit with my sister for a little bit too. The last time the three of us were together was over 20 years!


I also stopped in at a couple of great shops in Ashland: Papaya Living and Red's Threads. Papaya Living is Anahata Katkin's gorgeous shop. Everything in it reflects her amazing artistic sense. I just wanted to pull up a cot and live inside the place!


Red's Threads was my dream come true -- a shop where I could wear everything in the store! Most colors in big name shops are not really for redhead complexions. This shop was just for us! The clothes I am wearing in the first photo above came from there actually.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Pushing myself out on a limb...

The thing about being retired...  I cannot believe time passes by so fast!  Whomever said being retired gives you too much free time was obviously not retired! Of course it has only been a few months still and I have had a zillion and one items on the longest to-do list in the world, so as I get through a lot of those things that needed to be done, I will indeed have more free time.

One of my intentions is to pursue a lot more artsy stuff and today I stepped a little out on a limb, or rather PUSHED myself out on a limb and bought some larger canvases!


Michael ' s had a buy 3 for the price of 1 sale today and I bought 6 large gallery wrapped canvases, from 20x24 to 24x36 inches. I have never painted larger than 16x20 inches before... here is my opportunity! 

I will be driving up to Oregon tomorrow for a few days to visit with my friend Evie who will be down from Alaska, then when I get back next week, who knows, maybe I will open up one of these canvases and get started! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Out and about on a a muggy Thursday...

I am driving to Oregon this weekend and needed to clear some things out of my car. One thing was a large old comforter I had been carrying around until I could get it to the City Pound. They  are the people we took our dear Maggie to for cremation and we found out they needed donations of old blankets and comforters so we decided to give them an old blue one we no longer use (too many holes from cat claws!). They are down on Front Street under a mess of freeways in a weird little area I only recently discovered.




So as I was leaving I turned to look at their little garden and saw these delightful critters:



Even though several of them were rather dried out it was a cute attempt at making the garden suit the building. Of course to make it more realistic there should have been a topiary of a dog catcher running after one of them with a big net, doncha think?

Monday, September 15, 2014

A few more backgrounds...

It seems once I start playing with my Gelli plate I just cannot stop! I pulled it out again last night and made yet more backgrounds for some postcards! The orange and blue ones are just for me and the metallics is for the upcoming black-metallics post card swap over on MMSA.

These are just the starting layers. Each one is a piece of cardboard that I cut into 4 cards. No idea yet what I will do next but I like to have all phases of the cards around in case my muse hits me on the head and tells me she wants to play!


Sharing these oranges one with Mandarin Orange Monday.


Sharing these blues one with Blue Monday.


And these 2 metallics and black are the start for the upcoming swap over on MMSA.

As I make these into post cards I will show them here... might be a while because I like to have a lot of variety at hand to choose from.

Also linked to:
Creative Every Day

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Made a few more postcards...

This time not for a swap but to keep on hand for sending out Mail Art. These are similar to ones I made before but different color sets.  I have pieces of cardboard big enough to make 4 post cards so I did 2 sheets of it with gelli prints and stamping then I cut them up and doodled and stamped more. Now that I have started swapping and putting my snail mail addy out there I am starting to get mail art I want to respond to and now I have a few post cards ready to go!


Linked to:
Creative Every Day

Friday, September 12, 2014

Intentions vs Reality...


I love the idea of setting intentions to do something. We do that in yoga class a lot. It would happen more if I actually went as much as I intended to go, but that goes in the reality part later. I had a lot of intentions for once I retired...

and the reality of it so far is that a lot of them are happening at a very slow rate. I know, everyone tells me I have all the time in the world... but I don't really. I have this one moment. One moment then another moment.  I have today. Then tomorrow I will have another today. THAT is where I am falling down... I have a lot of things planned for future days but am not doing them each today.

If that doesn't make sense, don't worry... it is just lately forming in my own mind as well. This whole retirement thing is a little different that I had imagined too. That is ok, it is just not what I expected. Which is also ok... one of my intentions was to let go of some of my tight expectations..

Today I am doing a lot of food shopping. This is one of the lovely benches outside of Nugget Market, a sort of cross between Whole Foods and a regular supermarket. I want to go get some coffee and sit on this bench but it is too hot, so I will sit inside and contemplate more on intentions...



Sharing the bench with Weekly Top Shot.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Garden visitor...

As I was reaching for my geranium to re-pot into a larger container I was greeted by this cutie! A praying mantis always seem to be saying "I'm ready for my close up now!"

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Visiting Alameda...

Last Saturday I took Andy to Alameda for his birthday surprise. I had a great many things planned but it ended up that the first one was so fascinating we stayed there over 4 hours and didn't do any of the other things I had on my list (and I had thought we would run out of things to do! Hah! Silly me!)...

Our day started with a filling breakfast from the Wren's Cafe, nestled along Highway 80 about 35 minutes out of Sacramento. Here is a photo from their Facebook page because I totally forgot to take a photo of it that morning!


Then we drove down 80 to 880 and into Alameda. I had not been there for probably 40 years and had never been to anything historical there so this was a treat for me too.

I had several places on my list:  USS Hornet, Alameda Naval Museum, a microbrewery, the Pinball Museum... a little history and hopefully a lot of fun!

The USS Hornet has quite a history, both in wartime and with the space program. HERE is info all about it and how to get there if you are in the area. I took a ton of photos but here are just a few to show you the vastness of it all...



HERE is my Flickr album if you would like to see more photos from the USS Hornet excursion.

After spending 4+ hours at the USS Hornet though, we were hungry and went searching for lunch at 2 pm. Found it in a delightful deli on Webster Street too! (Forgot to take photos of the food, we were so hungry!)


Then Andy decided he would rather do the Pinball Museum another time and so we took off for another old favorite, Port Costa and the Warehouse Cafe. We hadn't been there for several years so we stopped in for a brew before heading home. An eclectic biker bar dive if you've ever seen one, but lots of brews and that afternoon a very funny bartender who kept us amused.

I was glad Andy enjoyed his birthday surprise as it is sometimes quite a challenge to come up with something inventive for him, especially after he has surprised me the month before for my birthday! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

From the garden...

The basil and tomatoes are from the garden.  Add fresh mozzarella from the market along with some nice oil and vinegar and we have tonight's starter... Caprese salad.  Yum!

This used to be one of my favorite salads when I lived in Italy that study summer (was it 2006?). Our little Florence apartment was near a lovely street for shopping and we could get all these ingredients easily. Good memories of good times! I will have to dig up some photos from that summer one of these days!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Second set of asemic post cards...

For the same swap I mentioned the other day on THIS blog entry.    HERE is the original MMSA swap page.

I wanted to send in 4 cards but had only 3 of the backgrounds I used, so I made another set of 3 more today on a different background. Now I have one each to save for my reference.

So these started with a lighter background and I used some map scraps, old gelli paper scraps, postage stamp, other ephimera from an antiques catalog, a hand-carved rubber stamp and pens.




Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hot pink and orange...

When Evie and I had our first apartment in San Francisco way back (1970?), it was painted a lot of bright colors. I remember the bathroom was bright pink and orange! THIS MMSA swap reminds me of that! The swap was for hot pink and orange so I took some white cardboard and gelli printed those two colors to start, swirling them around and getting nice blobs of color. That would have been fine for the swap but I had to add something, so I added a couple of stamps...



Here is one of them closer up to see the  color blends:



As with all these swaps, part of the fun is in making them and then part of it is in receiving post cards from others! It is amazing to see the variety from the same prompt.

Linked to:
Mandarin Orange Monday
Paint Party Friday

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Asemic postcard for swap...

Sometimes a challenge comes along that intrigues me so I need to drop everything else and do it. Such was the asemic writing postcard challenge for MMSA (Make Me Some Art swaps). Asemic writing is wordless and without contextual meaning. 

Google has a lot of cool examples of asemic art HERE.

This evening I played around with it using 3 previously Gelli-printed post cards. I also used: tissue pattern paper,  stamps from India, topo map fragments, black and purple pens. This is what I came up with.:




I will probably use 2 of them for the swap and keep one for myself as usual. Then I will probably make a few others in a different look so I can send in the maximum of 4 for the swap. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Getting back to Mail Art...

I took a long break from doing Mail Art these last years but those of you who knew me back when might remember all my stamping and mail art post card days... well, they might be coming back! Now that I have time to play, AND a new Post Office Box, I have reawakened my fondness for interesting little pieces of art via snail mail, aka mail art.

My friend Leslie has been doing this for a while (and has sent me things now and then) and also introduced me to the MMSA site (Make Me Some Art) a year or more ago, but I only did that sporadically. I also now and then made some post cards or ATCs for SwapBot then stopped when I had no extra time to play. Now I have time and I plan to let that be more of my art fun -- things I can fit into little snippets of time here and there and which are so much fun to do.

So yesterday I finally sent Leslie one of the two bird postcards we made together months ago. I forgot to scan the one I sent but it was very similar to this one which I kept:


Then today I continued to work on a few cards I had gelli-printed and stamped a long while ago but had never done anything else with. I added some doodles and paint pens and got them ready to send out. The top two are near ready to go, the bottom 2 need more work:


They made me think of the art pages I did last year in Roben-Marie Smith's style so I added more doodles in that vein. Nothing too serious, just something light hearted to send as a mail art postcard.

Want to exchange mail art cards with me? My snail mail info is in the CONTACT ME tab above...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Moving on...

On the plane, coming home from a visit to my sister in Oregon, I happened to look up and kitty-corner to me was a man typing up a welcome back to school Powerpoint presentation. It hit me then that I don't have to do those anymore and I smiled.

Today is the first day of school for my teacher friends here. I think it is finally sinking in:  I have retired! I no longer have that stress hanging over me and I can finally relax into the next chapter of my life. Up until now it has still felt like "summer vacation" so it wasn't as definite. But now, the vacation time is over and I don't have to go back to school. I am smiling.

So I went out into my garden to see what I could find and aside from the dying flowers and old veggies from the summer there was a bit of life...


A couple of our new lavender plants are in full bloom and smell great! The others are still with buds but no open flowers, a little slower to get started. I want to fill the garden with scent now that I have time to work in it! Time to research good fall plantings and what I can do now for great spring flowers.

This year I will remember to plant the sweet peas in the late Fall so we actually have them in the Spring...

It's already on my calendar!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Goodbye Maggie

RIP Sweet Maggie... 1999-2014

You came to us a LBD (little brown dog) and stole our hearts with your smart sweet personality. Thank you for 15 years of life together.  You will be so missed.