30 November 2008

Now open - come on in!

I've been talking about an Etsy store for just about three years now. I've finished some cool new jewelry and posted it here.

I'll be adding more items to the store as I finish them. I have plans for a variety of categories, including more jewelry, small mixed-media art and collages on paper. Stay tuned!

Another goal on my list for the year ticked off, woohoo.

27 November 2008

Artful Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving my sister and her family came for a day of fun, food and art.

While the turkey was cooking everyone got to work on a variety of projects. Some of us started with stamp carving and block printing. A quick how-to from me, a few samples, all the tools and supplies, and they were off!

Even the dog got into the act, supervising while Sam was cutting out pattern pieces for a pet bed.

Whitman is already an accomplished artist and was eager to try this kind of stamp making and block printing.

He kept his first stamp pretty simple (below) but quickly advanced to larger, much more detailed blocks (which I totally forgot to take pictures of before everything got packed into the car, but I was really impressed.)

Sage assured me that she had already done this in school and she knew exactly what she was going to carve.

Everything she carved, drew or made today had a heart on it, reflecting her loving nature (and the fact that she's six ::big smile::).

Sam was working on the pet bed and it's amazing that she managed to get that 1" sheet foam cut into the multitude of needed pieces with the dog and a small cousin underfoot.

Linda tried the stamp carving too and, again, I forgot to take a picture of the block she made. She came with fabric and a plan, worked quickly and secreted the results away. I have a feeling her prints may factor into some handmade holiday gifts...

But most of the day she was knitting these neat "muttons" (mittens without fingers) for a co-worker. Last year she made me a pair and I love them. They keep my always-cold hands toasty warm and I can still work with them on.

I managed to open my new soldering iron, but never actually used it. Sage and I made some jewelry, but decided to keep it simple with beads, findings and fabric. She even made up a song about her new necklace and performed it for all of us. Over and over and over again. I could sing it for you now, if you'd like - it's still stuck in my head!

It was a wonderful, warm, creative day with good food to eat and good people to enjoy it all with. I'm so thankful for my family.

25 November 2008


Last week Elin and I spent four hours sorting, boxing and packing up a bunch of stuff to ship out. The stack of boxes was taller than me!

A big announcement is coming soon...

24 November 2008


My friend Natalya tagged me again and now I have to come up with seven new random facts.

1. I never have nail polish on my fingernails and always have it on my toenails. Usually in weird colors like purple or blue or green.

2. I can raise my left eyebrow solo -- and I'll confess here that it wasn't a natural talent, I taught myself to do that. One of my friends in high school could arch an eyebrow and I thought it looked so sophisticated (and really, what teen wouldn't want to perfect disdain in a simple facial expression?) I practiced every night for six months by holding onto my right eyebrow while trying to raise my left until I could do it with no hands. It's amazing what you can do with time and patience...

3. I became a step-grandma in my twenties. (¡Hola Matias!)

4. I read 3-4 books a week.

5. I'm allergic to olives. The immediate response of every single doctor I've ever had to that information is "Then what do you put in your martinis?" (note: I don't even drink martinis)

6. I love disgustingly sweet kids' breakfast cereal - Cap'n Crunch, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, etc - as a snack food. I know, gross.

7. I saved my sister's life.

If you're reading this and you want to play along, consider yourself tagged. Leave a comment so we can follow you and see your seven random facts!

19 November 2008

Natural Order

A mighty wind last week took down a paper wasp nest that was hanging high up in the tree next our front door. We hadn't even known it was there until the leaves fell.

The nest is vacant and I took some photos this morning before it completely disintegrated. It was about the size of a basketball and strangely, we had never noticed a problem with wasps although it must have housed quite a population when it was active.

The symmetry of the individual cells is amazing. The overall construction is astounding. I tried to salvage some of it to try to incorporate into an art piece but it was too fragile.

Buy Handmade

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

This year my whole family took the Buy Handmade Pledge. We put our own spin on it by adding some guidelines for each other:

1. Give something that you made.

2. Give something that someone else made. This lets us support other artists, irl and online.

3. Give something that helps you make things. We're all creative and artistic and a good tool or supply is always much appreciated.

4. Give something that goes with something handmade that you're giving. This one's a loophole, really, but you have to be creative to make it work. So, as an example, if you make an amazing case to put it in, you could give someone a hot new cd.

5. Books and games. Because it isn't Christmas without books and games. This is a total exemption. We're making up our rules, we can do that.

The decks are cleared in my schedule and I've started gathering supplies and tools to work on my projects (including a soldering iron, how intriguing) - plus cool stuff to sell as well, because I want to support other people's handmade pledge. Altruistic, aren't I?

And it's not even Thanksgiving yet... Whoa.

13 November 2008

Printmaking + quilting

selva primeval, 2008

I decided to put some of the fabric I printed with gelatin plates to good use so I made a small art quilt. I learned the gelatin-plate printing technique from Rayna Gillman and her new book. The butterfly is block-printed from a stamp I carved. The quilt also incorporates some printed mulberry paper and some found object paper.

I need to schedule time for another printing session, the resulting fabric is so unique and versatile, and the technique was pretty quick and easy.

11 November 2008

Oddly, my breakfast sent me a message

I've never gotten a text message from a piece of fruit before, but there's a first time for everything.


06 November 2008

A birdie followed me home

Actually several birdies...

I found this amazing beaded head-dress tucked in the far back corner of a little booth at Quilt Festival in Houston. It was hand made in Nigeria of thousands (tens of thousands?) of white glass beads over wire framework and stands about 24" tall. I saw it the second day of the show, looked at it closely, asked about it's price and reluctantly walked away, knowing it would be difficult to get home.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it. There was a second one, slightly smaller and in full color, but this one just spoke to me. It's covered with beaded birds and has a face on either side.

Just before the opening of the last day of the show I went to check to see if it was gone or if it was waiting for me.

I decided that if it was still there, then it was meant to come home with me.

Of course, I did get stopped at security in the airport - I can't imagine what it looked like on the x-ray machine. And I ended up with two laptops in my briefcase so I could fit the birds in my carry-on, you should see the blisters on my hands.

It was worth it.


It's a truly momentous day and hope is burning brightly in America. This election has been historic on so many levels and now has an historic outcome. We will remember this day and where we were and how we felt forever. We will pass the stories down to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

My husband is an immigrant to this country and became a citizen about ten years ago. This is only the third time he was eligible to vote for president. He looked at me on election night after the results, after the speeches and said "This is what America is about, anything is possible here".

One of his sisters called from Peru the next morning before 8 AM to tell us how excited she was and ask us how we were feeling. This election affects not only us in America but everyone around the world.

We have a dream and we have hope.

05 November 2008

Home at last!

Pixie's vigil at the front door has finally paid off and I've returned. Now on to a lot of catch-up at home and at work. It always takes a while to process all of the inspiration and energy gleaned from a big show and my head is spinning in so many directions right now.

The experience of meeting and spending time with other artists (most only known online prior to this visit) and surrounded by art (and art supplies) was exhilarating and mere thanks are not enough to Natalya for her invaluable presence, support and assistance.