Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Completion Impossible

I have several things in the works, I just can't seem to complete any of them. I am having serious commitment issues.

I keep telling myself I should wait until the latest map, vintage book or set of beads from Ebay or Etsy shows up.

As of yesterday afternoon, all packages have been delivered and I need to start putting something together. As you can see, I have a thing for houses. This is really nothing new, I am just now making them out of paper -- maps, textbooks, tissue paper. Then I layer paper on paper. One of my fave houses has a gray tissue paper cloud moving over it.

And I've made loads of paper beads. I made two shades of blue and then a clear set using only tracing paper and glue. I have even made "spitball" beads. Remember rolling up little moist paper balls and shooting them out of a straw at your dearest love back in elementary school? Well now I'm doing it with bits of tracing paper, a dab of paint and acrylic medium. After my little spitballs are dry, I poke a hole in them with an awl. These blue beads can be found on the black, blue and gold piece with a 34 in the top left corner. I like how rustic they look. I think I will make more today.

Perhaps part of my completion apathy is a result of my mother being ill. She did have that darn hair fixed on Monday. Therefore, she kept the doctor's appointment on Tuesday. She was admitted to the hospital immediately after that appointment. It is believed that she has had a minor heart attack. It is unsure when she actually had it. A couple days ago? A couple weeks ago? Much longer? We shall see. At least she is in the cardiac care unit at the hospital instead of laying around at home as she has been doing for the past two weeks.

I think my mission for the day is to wait for the phone to ring. Pace. Make more spitballs. I will put a piece together if the mood hits me. I don't think forcing completion is my best option.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's All About Hair

So, apparently this is my 250th post. I wanted to do something really important for such an anniversary. So. . . here goes.

If you read my last post, you know a bit about my mother and her refusal to see the doctor about her most recent illness. Which is still going on by the way. But before we can grasp the whole situation at present, we must go back in time. Back to the dark ages. Before dinosaurs. Back to the land of the bouffant.

To most ladies in their 80s, hair is of the upmost importance. Every week one must go for two hours of torture at the hairdressers. One must be brutally washed, curled, baked and teased. This is the only place an old lady can go when she is not looking her best. And to preserve the stiff outcome of this torture, one must sleep each night on a kidney shaped satin pillow. I'm not sure if the same ritual is followed by ladies above the Mason-Dixon line, but south of it, well, its a requirement. Hairdresser ettiquete escapes me. But all I know is that weekly my mother is torutured by one of these rat-tail-comb wielding women. Who my mother is NOT happy with, but being southern, she forks over the money each week and sleeps on a funny pillow, refusing to change hairdressers. And when the hair goes slack, she does not leave the house. Except to revisit the hairdresser.

My mother had lovely hair in her youth. She had lovely hair at the age of 35 when I came along. She washed and styled it herself. One day, my father gets a raise, comes home and announces that my mother may now visit the hairdresser like her bouffanted friends, and off she runs. Never to be normal again.

Years pass, and she hangs with the other bouffanted ladies at the shallow end of the pool, weakly fending off water from splashing children. Somehow, the importance of hair has supplanted the importance of fun.

Fortysome years later, hair still rules her life.

My mother has an appointment with her doctor this coming Tuesday. A general appointment to check her medications, blood pressure and such. She has an army of other doctors she sees for her heart, kidneys, etc. This doctor is the same one that almost let her die about 15 years ago. Looks like he's making another attempt at it now by doing nothing to help her during this recent illness. Like her hairdresser, my mother refuses to change her doctor. I tell her to give him a talking to when she visits on Tuesday. She says she might not feel well enough to keep her appointment. So, I've been spending a lot of time on the phone with her lately telling her that is ridiculous. My sister has been doing the same. She has to go and get some medication for her nausea that has kept her from eating for the past 10 days. She has to find some help in keeping all of her medications down. Those same medications that have kept her alive for the past 30 years.

But no. It is obvious that a choice has been made. My mother chooses hair. If she cannot get to the hairdresser, then how could she possibly see the doctor.

Anybody wanna give an old lady a persuasive phone call?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting Old

Yes, it happens to us all.

There are some plusses. Getting older often means you are getting wiser. But then, so much of the new learning is a result of fighting against the world and the people in it.

Let's take the world of medicine. We can't just believe what we are told. Our doctors prescribe medications our charts state we are allergic to. So we must be constantly vigilant about our medications. We must educate ourselves about medical procedures so we know what is best for ourselves and our families. Our doctors might be persuaded to prescribe a medicine or a test just because some smooth-talking "salesman" provided a weekend at a golf resort.

I'm digressing. My mother has been sick for a week. Very sick. Actually, she has been sick for most of her life, but its not until she becomes very ill that the rest of us really stop to think about it. She has had severe problems with high blood pressure, she has one functioning kidney & the other isn't so hot, artery issues, heart issues, skin cancer, severe acid reflux. . . . . . The woman refuses to go to the emergency room. Every time she or my dad goes into a hospital a whole garden of medical issues spring up. A trip to the hospital for "minor" surgery is bound to require the ambulance tote them back for a related issue a few days later. I can understand her reluctance to deal with anyone in the medical world.

So, I haven't felt too much like posting up some lively and amusing things here. Some of you may be thinking "she's never posting anything lively and amusing ". Oh well.

And what's this about one's brain losing bits of info. after one turns 40? Isn't this the kind of thing that happens in your 80's like my parents are now? What is happening to my brain? I just got a phone call while I was writing this post. I hung up and wandered off somewhere. I just happened to walk by the office then realized, "Hey. I was in the middle of writing a post." While I was on the phone, I realized I had forgotten to put a form into my daughter's backpack. Again. I forgot it yesterday and and the day before. I even put a sticky note on the back door next to the phone. I forgot to read the damn note.

And now, as I sit here in the office, I am reading another sticky next to the computer. It says "Walmart." What? Why? I never go to Walmart. Was I going to write a post about Walmart? Was I going to protest Walmart? Should I just throw this note away and not worry about it. I've been leaving sticky notes around like Hansel and Gretel left crumbs (have I got the fairy tale right). Only now, I forget to read them, and if I do read them, I can't remember what the hell they are about.

So, I'm going to wrap up this rambling post before I get up and wander off again an

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We've Got a Winner

Here are the names, all tucked away into one of my favorite tiny bowls.

I used to stock my kitchen and dining room with pottery made by Andi Runt, a local ceramist. Because of back problems, she had to quit that line of work several years ago. I've yet to find another artist whose work appeals to me as much. Her pieces are so simple and graceful and well-proportioned. I was a bit upset a few months ago when a couple of salad bowls tumbled to the floor.

Ah, but they're just things. I tell myself. And I want some more of these things.

I guess you people are wondering who the winner of my little piece is. It is . . .

Dianna from Maui.

Dianna, just go to my profile on the sidebar and find my email address & send me your address and I will have it out as soon as possible.

Thanks so much for everyone who entered. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Give Away Time

You are Here III, 7 x 7"

Yes, it is finally Give Away Time. I've been talking about it and it is now time to do it.

I will affix foamboard to the back of this piece, so it can either be hung on the wall or displayed on a small easel.

I'm thinking that I will give my readers until Wednesday morning to sign up.

I've also added You Are Here #I, which I posted a few days ago to Etsy.

Make sure you let me know who you really are & I will add your name to the hat, or cereal bowl, or kitchen drawer, or my front pocket.

Update: Just realized a possible glitch with this giveaway. I am unable to leave comments on those blogs who use embedded comments. I just tried to leave a comment for a new blogger and that darn "comment as" box came up. There is no other contact info. for this blogger. If you use embedded comments, you may want to make sure I have another way of contacting you or check back in on Wednesday evening to see if you have won.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Paper Love

Paper. It is somehow taking over my life. I surf Etsy for paper products. I surf Ebay for paper products. I have two vintage geography books on the way. I can't wait. My vintage dress patterns have arrived. Some mystery maps might be coming my way. I do wish I had a flea market nearby to rummage through. We have one little lonely antiques mall in my town. Perhaps I will search there for books and buttons. Perhaps not. It would probably not be a good use of my time. I have nothing good to say about this place so I won't say any more.

The last photo shows my paper beads drying. I think they look a bit strange. Ten beads made it out of an attempted 12. They are always a bit harder to make than I realize. I have to cut paper into 3/4" by 5 1/2" strips. Then I cut the sides at an angle to form long triangles. I spread glue onto the wide end of the strip, careful (ha) not to put glue to close to the bottom edge where it will then stick to the toothpick. I spread glue on the rest of the triangle and roll the bead up. I apply three coats of matte medium on each bead, allowing the medium to dry between each coat. I often lose more beads by neglecting to turn them frequently on the toothpicks so they won't stick. Today two stuck. Apparently, this is a labor of love not profit.

I should have two more pieces finished this week. I think that one of them might be good for a giveaway.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Now Up On Etsy

You Are Here II, 9 x 9"

I have gone map crazy lately. I'm having such fun with them. So many beautiful colors. So many interesting sounding places. Such fascinating text. I must have more maps! More! More! More! I think I'm going to go ravage my glove compartment now.

I just cut into the middle of a map a couple days ago like a drunk surgeon, and pulled out a beautifully colored Mississippi River delta. I'm going to have this scanned and printed out on the hubby's laser printer at work. I'm thinking that laser printing might not smear like ink jet printing. Anyway, I must have multiple copies of that bit of map. I have a feeling these map series are going to go on for quite a while. Might have to find a way to work in a bird or two. As you can see, houses have crept in.

Essentials of Geography I, 11 x 11"

Thank you for your input on my future travel. I'm lucky to be able to make such decisions. I guess I complain bitch to my husband about his work travel, but it has allowed us to go to some very interesting cities. The frequent flier miles, frequent stayer points, and credit card credits add up!

As a child growing up in Roanoke, Va, I had never been further or is that farther north than Washington, D.C, west than West Virginia, and south than South Carolina. Until my honeymoon at the age of 26, I had never been on a plane.

Suggested cities and countries by my blogging friends: New York City, Paris, Italy, Madrid, Toledo (Spain, I'm assuming), Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Germany, Edinburg. A few of these I have already hit.

New York is only a 4.5 hour drive (sooooo glad). Usually, a visit is made possible by those Hilton Honors points.

Paris - so beautiful it makes one want to cry. The people can be so rude (by laughing at you) that it makes one want to cry.

London - twice for business reasons.

So, that leaves a lot more to be seen.

I'm interested in as many suggestions as I can get.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

To Dream, To Travel

To Dream, To Travel -- 6x4"

This is a little piece that I am gifting to a friend and neighbor. It was supposed to be a little quickie piece but somehow took up a good chunk of the long weekend. I haven't done a paper piece in so long -- it seemed I had to reinvent the wheel on some techniques. But it was still a great deal of fun. Funny, I've been looking and looking and looking at that piece, but now that is published here on my blog, I am noticing the unfortunate placement of the lady's hindquarters over that mountain range. Does anyone else notice this?

The naked lady is me, trying to decide on her next destination. I don't think it is going to be South America. But I really liked the color of that map and wanted to use it.

I have an opportunity coming up to go to Lisbon, Portugal. It does look interesting. My husband has a conference there. Our trips quite often are a result of one of his conferences. Sometimes I go, sometimes I stay home and clean out the kitchen drawers. I do want to go to Lisbon. However, there are many other destinations that are calling out to me.

Barcelona has been discussed. Madrid looks interesting, also. There are many cities in Italy I would love to visit. And Athens. And some of those more northern cities (which Google Maps has not visited yet) such as Munich, Vienna, Stockholm and Amsterdam. Then, of course, there's Paris. I'm leaning toward the more hot-blooded cities right now. That's just the kind of mood I'm in lately. Perhaps it is a result of the cool summer we have had here in central PA. I do have an upcoming trip to New York city. Maybe that will cure my city cravings (I somehow doubt it).

What I would love from my readers is comments on any urban vacations you may have had. The good, the bad, and the ugly. My decision making skills are quite relaxed (nonexistent), so any help I can get would be greately appreciated. I also need to narrow down the playing field somewhat to limit my purchases of guide books. Remember, a giveaway might just be coming up soon.

And I just KNOW some smartypants is going to suggest Timbuktu.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I remember hearing a great deal about Timbuktu as a child from my parents.

No, they had never been there. But they threatened to send me there if I misbehaved. Before my hair was cut off in a coup between my mother and her hairdresser, I was asked if I really wanted to let my hair grow to Timbuktu. I wasn't sure if Timbuktu meant the moon or my butt.

Just a few minutes ago, I was cutting into a beautifully colored map of Africa. I scissored out a square, realizing too late that I was cutting through Timbuktu. Oh, I wish I hadn't done that. I could really get into doing a Timbuktu piece. I'll just have to find me another map.

This was a map from 1950. Timbuktu was then part of French Sudan, now Mali.

I love a map. Especially an old one.

Friday, September 4, 2009

You Are Here?

First, I want to thank those of you who gave advice on preventing smears on printouts. Nothing works. It's gotta be me. I tried a spray varnish since using a brush or my finger to apply matte medium makes the ink smear. Well, the ink smeared anyway. Perhaps the ink hadn't dried long enough after printing. I no longer care. I tried the toxic spray varnish. In a well ventilated area. OUTSIDE. I left the paper to dry for half an hour then brought it in. The fumes were still overpowering. I just can't deal with that stuff. I think cancer cells are busy dividing right now. I'm just not cut out for working with anything more dangerous than water (but I'm guessing that's dangerous, too).

Second, thanks for being supportive of my idiocy in tossing my sewing patterns. I found a couple of vintage 60's patterns quite inexpensively on Etsy. They should be on the way. Some lovely patterns that would be well-suited for Mad Men. I even love the envelopes they are packaged in.

This photo is of a piece tentatively entitled You Are Here (7 x 7"). It may be a series. We'll have to see. I'm not quite sure if this piece is done yet. It will show up on Etsy if and when it is. Does it look done to you? I'm loving working with paper!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fool that I am

This post is probably going to be the first in a series.

So, I'm incorporating paper into my artwork. I sew. My mother sewed. And so on. I have a small collection of sewing bits and pieces.

I used to make my own clothes. Probably the worst sewing experiences of my life. And I actually wore those "garments". In public. Sorry if I offended anyone.

Several months ago, I cleaned out my studio. I was quite thorough. I threw all of my sewing patterns away.

Today, having a couple of creative moments, I decided I would cut up some of these patterns and apply acrylic medium to them to prepare them to be included in future artwork.

Can't do that if they're no longer there.

Now, I'm cruising Etsy to find a handful of inexpensive dress patterns I can cut up.

Fool that I am.

p.s. Thanks to those of you who gave advice on non-smearing printouts. I purchased a highly flammable, potentially deadly can of spray varnish today. I will apply this first and then follow up with acrylic medium. If I am not dead from the fumes. Or flames.