Monday, August 31, 2009

Mini Mad Scientist

I have had such fun lately with bits of paper and pots of glue. And scissors, and hole punches, and circle makers, and buttons, and markers, and stamps, and maps, and old books.

I'm sure I have not reinvented the wheel in coming up with my new creations, but my experiments have been my own. No instruction books. No tutorials. Just me and my paper and glue and . . .

I've had the best time making paper beads. I cut out very elongated triangles from "antique" books and roll them up with glue to make beads. I seal them with matte medium a couple of times to harden them. Then it's time for flat paper beads. I cut cardstock into squares, glue a stack of four squares together, then, perhaps, glue on a smaller contrasting bit of paper.

And then, of course, what I cannot make , I buy. I have been scouring the internet for vintage sequins and lucite beads.

And the maps! I've had a handful of maps in my collage collection for several years. I've never touched them until now. And I have a set of 20 vintage maps on the way. And a 1930's geography textbook. I have already completely destroyed one so another is on the way.

I am attempting to print out text with my ink jet printer and use it on my fabric beads. Unfortunately, once the glue touches the ink, it smears. Even if the paper has sat around for a couple of days to dry. I find it smears less when I use my finger to apply the glue than with a brush, but I haven't figured out how to prevent the smearing completely. After my disappointing experiments with this, I did resort to looking in my books. So many books mention using print outs and copies in collage, but no one ever mentions how to prevent ink smearage. Any ideas?

I have completed a small piece using a few of the materials shown in this photo. I will be doing a giveaway in the next few days so come back soon and have a look and see if you want to enter the contest.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Anytime, Anywhere

My daughter will read anytime.

She will read anywhere.

She will read anything.

Now I've got to figure out where to hide the more adult books. Nothing nasty, mind you, just a little more, uh, advanced for a 7-year-old.

It is surprising how much she has learned in the past year. This time last year, she was reading the simplest Dr. Seuss books. Now, she doesn't even require pictures anymore. Just page after page with lots of words.

Kids are interesting when they learn to smile. A little more interesting when they learn to walk. Quite interesting (and amusing) when they learn to talk. But this is my favorite stage when they learn to read and write.

I remember, yesterday I think it was, that my now 18-year-old nieces learned to read. I remember reading their school journals from second grade and crying. It is and was so hugely amazing to me. And I'm sure it is to them, too. This seems to me like the final frontier of learning. Except when they start having relationships with the opposite sex and I'm NEVER going to be ready for that. Nor will I enjoy it. This reading thing is it! The world is finally open to them once they learn to read. Or perhaps I should say they are open to the world.

How exciting. How scary.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Really Really Not Funny

O.K. So I've gotten lots of info. on what I should do to post a comment. I've seen lots of different ways to post. Some ask to type in groups of letters. That works. Sometimes I must click Google Account (which already has my name resassuringly next to it). That works. But when I see this screen, I can do nothing. I try to select Google Account here. Nope. Open ID. Nope. Name/URL. Nope. None of the others apply to me (although I have tried them). Does anyone out there see this when trying to comment on certain blogs? And if you do, does it work for you?

Thanks for all of you that have been trying to help me out. I really appreciate it.

What's making me so sad, angry, and frustrated, is that more and more blogs are doing this to me. Even ones that I've been able to comment on in the past.

Hopefully, someone out there will be able to help. I will try not to bring up this subject again. I just really really really want to connect with other bloggers & sniff, sob, whine, I can't.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Really Not Funny

Looks like my blogging world is shrinking.

I tried to comment on several blogs that I follow lately -- only to have my comments just disappear. If I see an additional box under the comment box that says "comment as" then asks me to "select profile", I won't be able to leave a comment. This seems to be happening more and more lately. Not only with blogs that I am new to either. Its also happening with blogs that I used to be able to comment on.

So if I'm a follower and you never hear from me anymore, you know why.

My followers seem to be disappearing too. Is anyone having problems leaving comments here? If so, send an email.

I'm starting to wonder if continuing blogging is a good idea.

I feel like Alice in Wonderland falling down a well. My original blog world seems to be disappearing. However, things that are disappearing are not being replace with anything (other than irritation). I wouldn't mind seeing a cat with a huge smile at this point.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not Funny

Perhaps you've noticed -- there have been few posts lately. I'm not too sure why. I've been a bit crabby. I don't want my blog to be a crabby place. I know I have a rant or two. I do enjoy adding to my whining and complaining category. I just prefer to do it in a funny way. I just couldn't summon up the funny today. Or yesterday. Or the day before.

So I've surfed blogs a bit. I've found quite a few angry ones. A few nasty ones (like 'em but not a steady diet of 'em). And many depressing ones. I do want bloggers to write what they think and feel. It's just too heavy for me this week. Maybe its the health care thing getting to me. But we are NOT going into that here.

So, for your enjoyment, here's a photo of me as a child. I was crabby. Or maybe it was just a bookful of bad jokes. I don't recall. Perhaps I had just been forced to eat spinach. I doubt it though, 'cause that's my grandmother's house. I got to eat all kinds of bad-for-you stuff there. Circus peanuts candy (way nasty), Mr. Pibb and all kinds of cheap cheese. I probably have a tummy ache.

Bye for now. I'm off to look for happy things.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Women Singing

Astrud, Nina, Elis, and Janis (left to right).
Each 24 x 20".

I am going to be hanging a dozen or so pieces tomorrow at Happy Valley Optical in State College, PA. I will post the address and hours in a couple of days for those locals who wish to pay a visit. I am including a few "older" pieces. These four are from 2007. Practically considered prehistoric in the art world these days. I had forgotten how much I loved creating these pieces. I almost always work to music. When I am in doubt about beginning a piece, I'll consult my mood of the moment and select a handful of CD's, press the shuffle button on my CD player, and see what happens.

An unpublished article, from early 2007, hopefully explains the thinking behind these quilts.

A new art quilt series is in the works featuring female musicians and vocalists. The singer for the Getz/Gilberto songs, Brazilian Astrud Gilberto, inspired the first piece in the series. “When I listened to ‘Girl from Ipanema’, the first fabrics I reached for were teals and golds. I pictured Astrud singing in a 1960's-style lounge with teal and turquoise curtains and furnishings while wearing a gold damask gown.” The next piece was created listening to the powerful music of Nina Simone. The stronger, darker tones definitely reflect the strength of her voice and music. Elis Regina, another Brazilian vocalist popular in the 1960's, inspired a piece using gold, red and brown. The last piece in the series “Janis”, was the quickest to be designed. “One minute into Janis Joplin’s recording of Piece of My Heart, and a pile of fabrics was ready to be cut. Very few colors ARE NOT in this piece.”
After the show, I will be offering any of these unsold pieces on Etsy. I do think it's time to put a new little bird on there right now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hello . . . Hello

Tribute to Billie 36 x 26".

Well, where is everybody? I don't think anybody is out there anymore. I figured I would show an old piece here considering that nothing new seems to be happening in the world of blog.

Perhaps it summer? Everyone is on vacation.

Heat and humidity induced lethargy?

Is everyone twittering instead?

Should I take it personally?

I had actually thought about doing one of those giveaway things . . . not so sure now. Hmmmm. Whaddayathink?

Hey, I've got a show next week. That's news, right? I'll put up some photos of that next week. It's going to be big! Every piece will sell! I'll be rich! And famous! I'll be too big and important to talk to anybody anyway.

I'm going to go and see if anything is happening on Facebook.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Internet Aid for Octogenarians

Kermit and Clara, becoming Internet savvy.

I just spent the weekend in Roanoke, VA, with my family. For the past few visits, my husband and I have brought our laptop with us. My parents, both in their eighties, have always looked at it curiously and somewhat suspiciously. They talk of others who spend their time on computers doing dark, mysterious things.

The last time we visited, an old family friend (well, not that old. Gotta be careful in case they read my blog) sent my folks a note, through snail mail, about her blog. My mother could no longer resist. “What’s a blog?” she asked. I explained as best as I could and showed her my own blog. I also showed her how email works.

This visit, both of my parents were very curious and asked questions. “What’s the difference between blogs and Facebook?” Good question. “What are websites?” Another good one. I went to check up on family and friends on Facebook and gave my mother a glimpse. She was hooked.

So we spent the next hour looking for anybody they could think of that might have a computer. When we found a match, we went and looked at their personal info. We checked into their neighbors and looked to see who their friends were. Good Heavens. It is a new Golden Age for the Gladys Kravitz’s of the world. I’m sure you young’uns who don’t know who Gladys Kravitz is have already Googled her. After an hour or so, and after (accidentally) finding a photo of a large naked man, my mother was done.

Now my father wants to looks up the touring schedules of those Big Bands who are still hanging together. Then, he wants to know if I can buy his special foot cream online. Sure enough.

That evening, my parents are shooting off questions like dueling machine guns to my 18-year-old twin nieces. “What’s Twitter mean?” “Is that texting?” Now they know the difference between, iTouch, iTunes, and iPod. I really don’t. They can use Twitter and Tweeting in a sentence.

Sunday morning, my husband shows my dad all about YouTube. I don’t think I have ever seen such wonder in that man’s eyes. “Can you pull up something by Glenn Miller?” “Golly.” “How about Duke Ellington?” “Golly.” “What about Tommy Dorsey?” “Look at that!” Yep. YouTube isn’t just for Coldplay fans. And yes, believe it or not, I did not know of Coldplay until this past weekend. We're all learning.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stuck in My Own Little World, Part I

Why, oh why can't I comment on blogs?!?

I can do it when I do not have to give any information. But when I am asked to choose a profile, no matter what I do, I cannot leave a comment. I select a profile, fill in the info., then press submit. It appears as if my comment is being accepted, then, it's just gone. GONE.

So bloggers, if you see my face on your list of followers, but never receive a comment from me, you know why.

If anyone can help me out, I would sure appreciate it.

Update: After doing some Googling this morning about not being able to leave comments on certain blogs, I'm discovering that it might not be my problem after all. A few bloggers mentioned something about "embedded comments" on the blog they cannot leave messages on. However, I don't understand why some folks can leave comments, and others can't.

Has anyone had a problem leaving a comment on this blog. If so, send an email. I will try to get in touch with those bloggers who have those "embedded comments" and see if others have complained. I was going to do so yesterday to two bloggers, but they did not give any contact information. Oh well. . .

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Please Do NOT Feed the Ducks

Offering, 15 x 10" on Etsy.

My newest house piece. I haven't done one of these in a while. I don't know why I stopped. I love the house shape and its been quite popular. So, here's another.

I'm going to do a few more in the New Orleans series and then the plan is to do more house shapes. Perhaps I'll do a few smaller ones and integrate some paper bits.

I'm on "vacation" this week. My daughter has no camp and we are going to hang out and be lazy. We are off to lunch in a few minutes. A hot but pleasant day lies ahead. We will pack up some peanuts and bread and walk across the Penn State campus toward town. We will feed squirrels and ducks along the way.

The campus has a lovely duck pond and gardens. We have gone there for years and fed ducks and ducklings. And as I have been suspecting for years now, the "do not feed the ducks" signs have recently sprouted up around the pond. I'm sure a steady diet of bread is not the best thing for ducks. However, I suspect lawyers are involved somehow in these signs. Perhaps a child was nibbled a bit while feeding the ducks. Seconds later, lawyers rush in and lawsuits are drawn up. The university is terrified. In this "economic downturn" there is no cash lying around for the hungry and shallowly injured to gobble up, therefore the signs. Sigh.

So, is this a matter of healthy ducks or defense from lawsuits? I'm not a pate person. I don't believe in stuffing unwilling ducks just so we can harvest and munch on their distended livers. If I fed bread to the ducks and the next day saw them all floating feet up, I would feel bad. I would refrain from feeding them in the future. However, the pond is ringed by children holding out bread for the birds. The looks of joy on their faces as they nurture those ducks with child love and food is priceless. They feel they are doing good by taking care of the ducks. This is one of those exercises in learning compassion and empathy. I fully believe that a child that learns to nurture animals and people will grow up to be a loving person. This is what I will tell the annoying bureaucrat who waddles over with the ducks to remove the bread from our hands and shame us by not following the rules.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Orleans Series Continues

New Orleans: Homecoming III 16 x 16"
For sale on Etsy.

After taking a break and making loads of little birds quilts, I have returned to the New Orleans post-Katrina series. Seems there are a few more in me. The one above is number 11. Number 12, in progress, is shown below.

I'm sure there's more tweaking to be done. I could be doing some tweaking right now, but since I had yet another nosebleed this morning, I'm a bit reluctant to lean over this thing and quilt it today. However, I'm not going to get much of a chance to get into the studio over the next week or so. This weekend, we have company. Next week, there is no summer camp, so I will be the entertainment committee. I guess I'll be having a forced vacation. A vacation where I will be able to do little as I apparently can't do a whole lot of bending and lifting, according to that nose doctor. I guess yesterday's five hours of rigorous housecleaning and caffeine may have brought on the nosebleed recurrance.

Oh well, I'll do my best to enjoy it. My daughter and I will cruise the library and have "ladies lunches" together. Of course, there will be plenty of time for blog surfing. And perhaps I can spend some time figuring out how to add photos in blogger. Way frustrating. I had to delete my entire post earlier because I could not get any of the photos in order. For my second attempt, I added all photos in reverse order, then did my typing. What do the rest of you bloggers do?