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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Links to the Star Project....

If you've read my previous post you'll know I wasn't able to provide a link for the star project but now I have the information. I first learned about it from Lee's blog. The direct link to read about the project on Jillian's blog is here. I hope some of you will join in and participate.

Metamorphosis....and Some Cool Projects

Yesterday I got in the drawing mood. I did seven ACEOs and a page in my moleskine. I put them all up on my art blog. I'll just show you one of them here....



She's a little caterpillar waiting to turn into a beautiful butterfly! I'm not sure where she came from but all at once she was on the paper! So I named her Metamorphosis. She will be in my etsy shop later.

I also signed up for a couple of things that you may have heard about. The first one is about making stars to represent the victims of the holocaust. This is for a mom who is home schooling her two sons and wanted a way to show them what 6 million would look like. She is asking for stars from anyone who will send them to her. Unfortunately I have misplaced the link to her blog as well as the link where I read about this on someone else's blog!!!! If you can help me find these links I will post them here.

The second thing I signed up for is a project called Diary 2009. I read about this on Michelle's blog and you can learn all about the project here. Basically it's a diary with artwork on each page so there are a lot of artist's involved. They also have a link to view this year's diary over on flickr. Love some of the art on that one! My birthday was already taken but I was able to get HB's birthday. This project looks like such fun and since it's all in black and white, it's right up my alley! Go take a peek and maybe you'll want to sign up for it, too.

I think signing up for these projects will help my own metamorphosis! I need to begin concentrating on art again and bringing new things to life. Right now I'm still in the caterpillar stage but one of these days I hope to be a butterfly.

Now I must get myself to the post office this morning. I have an ATC to mail out to Australia and it's very late!! Doreen, if you're reading this, I apologize!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Getting Back Into the Groove....

Several weeks ago I took almost all my ACEOs out of my Etsy shop with the intention of re-listing them along with some new items. Well, the best laid plans....as they say! So last evening when I sat down to draw in my moleskine I decided to set it aside and work on a couple of ACEOs instead. Here are the results....





I seem to be stuck on these ladies right now. Usually when I sit down to draw I have no idea what to do. I just start with a few lines and see where it takes me. Lately it always ends up being a woman with wild "hair"....maybe that's because my own hair tends to be wild at times!!

These will turn up in my shop very soon. And I will also re-list a couple of the other ones that haven't sold yet. I need to get back into doing art for the shop and not just working in my moleskine....although that little book is now over halfway filled with drawings! It keeps me focused on doing something each day so I guess that's good.

And just a little side note....thank you again for all your cards, emails, and comments about my daughter's recent loss. We both appreciate all your kindness and your thoughts and prayers at a difficult time.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some Beautiful Words....

Quite some time ago I came across the following quote and thought it was very beautiful. With all that's happened recently in our family and in others I decided to share this with you....


"Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well." -Taylor Caldwell

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day....

Unfortunately the news is not good. D passed away on Monday. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and good wishes. Please continue to send them to my daughter....I think she needs them now more than ever.

I have no art to show you today. Just a sad heart for everyone who has lost a loved one recently. I'll be back in a day or so and I'll have some art to share with you then.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Lazy Saturday Morning....

I put some new drawings on my art blog last night....one is a bit "odd" but I hope you'll take a peek and let me know what you think.

Today I'm working in the studio....doing some projects that need to be finished up. I'll give you a peek at them later. And I'll also show you the studio after I've worked in it for a few weeks. So far it's working for me and I'm keeping it fairly clean!

Sorry there's not anything to show you (except for the pictures on my other blog.) Still nothing new to report on D. We're all hoping for the best.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thank You....and a Little Bit of Art

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the emails and comments on my last post. D is still not responsive....but we are hopeful. Please continue to send your thoughts and prayers to him.

I haven't been doing very much on the computer so you may not see me visiting for a few days but I won't stay away too long. You are all important to me but I just have to take care of family stuff right now.

I have managed to keep up my drawings each evening. Somehow it seems to help me relax. So here are the latest two that I've done....





I'll also be adding them to my art blog.

Thank you once more for all your thoughts and prayers for D. They are much appreciated.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm So Sad....

I haven't posted for a few days because my heart just hasn't been in it. Some of you may know that my daughter was in a long-term relationship that ended this past year. Although they were no longer "together" she and D remained friends.

He had recently been at her home for a few days visiting and catching up. They had even planned a little trip together. Sadly before they could leave he suffered a stroke and is now hospitalized in a coma. Because my daughter lives in a smallish town he had to be taken by helicopter to a larger city a couple of hours away.

D is unresponsive and doesn't seem to be able to use the right side of his body. My daughter is upset, confused, and generally in a tailspin.

Please keep them in your thoughts.

Stroke Warning Signs

If you notice one or more of these signs, don't wait. Stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency medical services. Get to a hospital right away!
The American Stroke Association wants you to learn the warning signs of stroke:

1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
5. Sudden, severe headache with no known cause



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Short Post Today....

I can't post much today but I wanted to show you the last couple of pages I've done in my moleskine. They're up at my art blog. I hope you go take a peek.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some (Maybe) Interesting Things About Me....

I've been tagged by Sherrie over at Happy Tiler to do this meme so here goes....

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?
HB and I were in Colorado Springs, CO but getting ready to spend the summer in Crystal Lake, Il....where I would meet my dear friend, Kathy! I was doing a lot of watercolored cards and making little crocheted bags. I know this because I went back to my journals and found an entry for May 18th (closest I could get)1998!

This is one of my cards from back then....



And here are a couple of my little bags....



2. What are 5 things on your "To Do" list?

1. Finish cleaning the garage. HB and I worked on it this weekend.
2. Finish my project for extra gifts on "The Pink Project"
3. Answer some emails.
4. Try some new art technique.
5. Try to stay cool....it's going to be over a 100ยบ again today!!

3. What are 5 snacks you enjoy? (In no specific order)

1. Ice cream....coffee or butter pecan
2. Chocolate
3. Peanut butter cookies
4. Caramel anything!
5. Popcorn

Now here's the kicker!! Everything on that list is a no-no for me now! I have so many tummy problems that my every day snack now is low-fat soda crackers!

4. Name some things you would do if you were a millionaire. As Sherrie said on her list, a million doesn't go very far these days but if I had unlimited money this is what I would do....

1. Buy my daughter a house and a car.
2. Buy my son a house and a car.
3. Make sure my grandkids could go to college anywhere they chose.
4. Give to the less fortunate and make it an on-going thing.
5. Take lots and lots of art classes!!

5. Name some places where you've lived. It would probably be easier to list places I haven't lived but here goes....

1. Decatur, Il....born there
2. Glendale, CA
3. Colorado Springs, CO
4. Edmonds, WA
5. Albuquerque, NM

6. Name some bad habit you have. Oh, sure! Make me 'fess up, huh!

1. I spend waaaay too much time late at night playing games on the computer!
2. I can procrastinate myself right out of the mood to do something.
3. I spend waaaay too much money on books....we've talked about this before!
4. When I am really mad I have a potty mouth! It doesn't happen often but when I do get mad, take cover!!
5. I have trouble throwing things away.

7. Name some jobs you've had.

1. Telephone operator for Illinois Bell (my first job ever)
2. Real estate sales (back in the 70's)
3. Bartender
4. Online bookseller
5. Office manager for a coffee importer/coffee service

8. Name those whom you are tagging.

Anyone who wants to play along!! I always hate to tag people but if you want to do this be sure to let me know so I can come read your answers.

And a little side note....I put a new drawing up on my Artopia blog. The link to it is in the upper right side of this blog.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Living, Creating, and Learning From Friends....

My recent post really got some people talking and thinking....including me. Thank you to everyone who gave a suggestion or an opinion. It's good to hear other people's thoughts on the subject. Much to my surprise, it also went even a bit further as Sherrie did a whole post on the same subject! Be sure to go over there and read what she has to say. If you aren't familiar with her blog you're in for a treat....and if you're like me and like purple then you'll feel right at home!

After all my searching and questioning, I got in the studio and came up with a new ATC. I haven't done any of these for such a long time. I started with a magazine picture and altered it. I like how it turned out.



And it's even a little bit messy!! There's a little black edge all around but it was mostly cut off in the scan.

I also did another black and white drawing but I decided to keep with the woman theme and this is what I did....



I know her eyes are on different levels....but so are mine! I mostly like how she turned out even thought she isn't perfect. Who is??!

After reading all your comments and listening to what you had to say about creativity I decided to go to my favorite place....where else but the bookstore!! I had nothing in mind, just browsing. I'm not kidding! I really was only browsing and had no intention of buying anything. Many times I just go to the bookstore and spend some time there and it seems to recharge my batteries. But while I was strolling up and down the aisles I looked down to the very bottom shelf and in among all the taller books was a shorter one that caught my eye.

I pulled it out and almost gasped at the title. This is what I bought....yes, after seeing this book I bought it. It seemed like a message....



I've started reading it and I can tell you it's really good. After just one chapter I would recommend this book.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Searching For Answers....

A few days ago I talked about how difficult it is for me to do art that is messy. Is it still art if it's neat? Or is it something else? I have a difficult time being objective about what I do so please be truthful about this. I love doing these detailed doodles but is it considered art?



These are so easy to do that I really wonder if they aren't something akin to drawing a box or a ball. Everyone can do it.

I spend a lot of time looking at other people's art on their blogs and on flickr. I'm always comparing myself to them....I know I shouldn't do that but I do! If we're honest I bet lots of us do the same thing. Sometimes I'm inspired by something I see and other times I look at something and think "wow, I can never do that" and I just give up. Again, I know that's not good, but it's how I feel at times.

I have a difficult time figuring out who I am and what I like without being influenced by others. When it comes to art I like so many different styles and so many different mediums that to decide where I fit in is almost impossible. I know I've talked about this before and if I'm boring you I apologize but this is the only way I can work through this. I flit from one thing to another always hoping to find that one place where I belong. That one area where I excel. I try everything. I own so many art supplies that it's almost embarrassing....and most of them have been used once or twice at most.

Searching for my true self is exhausting! When I was 30 I thought I would find myself soon. Same thing at 40, and again at 50, and now I'm fast approaching 65 and I still have no idea where my niche is or what I'm good at or what I want to be when I grow up! I read everything I can get my hands on about this subject (creativity) and it seems clear when it applies to someone else but when I try to put it to use for myself I fail. What is it I'm missing?? Where do I belong in this world of art? Is it just this art funk I'm in that's making me question everything? Do others go through this, too?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this subject.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Art Dreams....

First let me thank all of you who sent me cards and emails for Mother's Day. They were much appreciated and I've gone back and read them all again several times. Some made me cry a bit but they were good tears. All in all I had a very nice day.

One of the things I received was this book....surprise, HB gave me a book!!!



I'm sure many of you have had this book for a long time but I just never got around to buying it. I've already read it cover to cover! There are so many amazing photos and great tips for doing art journals. My problem is always that I know what I want to do but I just can't seem to get it down on paper.

Much of the problem seems to be the freedom, or for lack of a better word, the messiness of this style of art. I love it but I can't seem to get there. Maybe it's because of my age and the times I grew up in....I was always told "don't color outside the lines" and because I dearly loved my teachers I tried very hard to color as neatly as possible. My handwriting was always very neat and precise, too....that is until recently when it's gotten a little less neat!! I think even my doodles are very neat and precise....



I find it very difficult to break the rules....well, that isn't entirely true!! I break all kinds of rules except when it comes to color and visual things. Then I have a problem! But maybe if I keep reading these books and trying to do this kind of art, it will miraculously happen!! Hey, I can dream can't I??!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day....



This is a card my daughter made for me one year. For me, this is the best gift I could get on Mother's Day or any other occasion....something handmade by one of my kids.

Inside it reads....

A mother is someone
Who does thoughtful stuff
And loves you and treats you
Lots more than enough
She's so nice to hug
And cuddle up to
And the love in her heart
Fills it all the way through!

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Today she sent me this poem by Julia Ward Howe calling for an international Mother’s Day celebrating peace and motherhood with the following profound and moving words:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:

“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of
Charity, mercy and patience.

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice!
Blood does not wipe out dishonor
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war.

Let us then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

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Thank you Molly for always being the best daughter in the world....and thanks to "Buck" too even though he doesn't read my blog. I couldn't ask for better kids.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there in Blogland. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lions and Names and Poetry....Oh, My!!

I was the lucky winner over at Brandy's and got to choose which item I wanted! Wasn't that nice! I chose the lion because they always remind me of a dear friend of mine who has a birthday in August!! The lion arrived yesterday and it is just so cute. And the workmanship and detail are just amazing.



You can see a better photo of the lion over on Brandy's blog....the link is above. But isn't this just the most wonderful gift?? I love it and every time I look at it I'll think not only of my friend but also of Brandy who created it. Thank you, Brandy!!

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Recently while visiting blogs for ABC Wednesday I read about a Hobbit name generator over on Petunia's blog. I always like these things so decided to try it myself. My Hobbit name is Estella Boffin of Needlehole! I'm not sure but that almost sounds a little off-color!! If you would like to learn your Hobbit name go here....and be sure to let me know what yours is if you do it. I also did HB's name and his is Marroc Foxburr of Loamsdown! So I guess we're Estella and Marroc.

I own this version of the book "The Hobbit"....



but I have to admit that I've never read it!! I love the artwork and know a little about the story but I'm just not into that kind of book. I know many of you are gasping right now!

I'm too much of a straightforward, down-to-earth person, I guess. I don't read science fiction or fantasy or poetry for all the same reasons....I like my reading to be very up front, say-what-you-mean, and be realistic. When I read something I don't want to have to sit there and try to decide what the author is trying to say. Just say it right out in plain old English and I'll be happy. For that very reason most poetry leaves me cold. I know there are many of you who love it but I just can't seem to get into it. I've actually written some poetry many years ago but I haven't written any for years. I'm sure most of it was not all that good anyway!!

I just don't enjoy reading poetry. It's too vague, too "what the hell is he/she saying" for my taste. But please don't hate me 'cause I don't read poetry!! We all can't like the same things or life would be terribly boring!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Book-aholic!

Hi. My name is Janet and I'm a bookaholic! I love books. Books to read, books to look through, art books, fiction, non-fiction, you name it and I like it. One of my favorite kinds of books is a blank book! When I had my online bookstore I used to get a lot of blank books....many of them for practically nothing. I still have a bunch of them....here are just a few....



I doubt that I'll have to buy a blank book for quite awhile. The red and black books on the lower right side have very cheap pages inside so I use them for my shopping lists. I usually collage something on the cover to make it a little more appealing. I jot down anything I need to pick up the next time I'm out and keep it in the outer pocket of my purse. That way I have at least a chance of getting the things I need! Here's one of my collaged shopping books....



I just glued on a couple scraps of paper, a sticker or two, and stamped the word "Shopping" along the edge. It works better for me than making a list on a scrap of paper. I always lose them. I can keep the book on the kitchen counter when I'm home and jot down things as I know I need them, then I just slip it into my purse when I go out. I also jot down measurements that I might need and all sorts of little notes for shopping. It's very handy.

Another journal I own came to me in a batch of books I bought from an estate sale. I didn't even know I had it until one day I opened a box of books and there it was. It's beautiful....leather bound....handmade in Italy....and about 7" x 10"



This book has real leaves and twigs underneath the leather on the front cover. You can feel them. I couldn't believe it when I opened the book and saw the price sticker still in the corner....I hope you can read it.



In case you can't see it, this book cost $125 and I'm sure the woman who owned it probably didn't buy it very recently because she had been ill for several years and it has been several more years since I bought her books. There was also a bookmark inside telling about the book....


clickable to view larger

So far I have not used this journal but only because I can't decide how I want to use it. I'm not sure how the pages would hold up with art. The bookmark says the pages are made from corn, grain, hemp, rice, and other alternative materials.

I found the website where these books are sold....you can find it here.

Books, books, and more books. Will I ever stop collecting books?? I doubt it. I really need a 12-step program! Either that or the will power to resist books....and I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. Ok, that's all for today. I'm off to the bookstore....oops, I mean the grocery store!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button??

Since I haven't been doing much in the way of art, I thought I would show you something else....buttons! As a kid I remember playing with my grandma's button jar and also with one my mom kept. They would give me a piece of string or some thread and let me string buttons together. I thought it was great fun! And I clearly remember some of the buttons in those jars....in fact some of my mom's buttons are now in my button jar.

Here are just a few of them....


This photo is clickable to view it larger.


The pink buttons with black around the edges shown in the upper left side are from a dress my mom wore when I was a kid. I know I have a photo of her in that dress but I couldn't find it right now.

I have so many buttons that I keep them in a box now. Not all of them are old though. I came across a huge bunch of buttons at a thrift store a few years ago and I bought them all. I think they may have been from some clothing manufacturer because there were many of the same kind. Here are just some of them....



If you ever need a gold button you know where to come!! In the back of that photo is a stack of baggies all filled with plain gold buttons in two sizes and there are lots of other gold buttons....some with jewels and some in different shapes. I doubt I'll ever run out of gold buttons!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Doodles, Disaster, and Dancing!!!

Here it is almost a week since I've posted anything and you would think I'd have lots to show you....you would be wrong! I'm still just not coming up with anything much. I'm doing doodles in my book almost every day but most of them are junk!! Not even worth showing. This is the only one that isn't pure crap and it isn't all that great....



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A few days ago I bought a couple of pieces of fabric....just lightweight cottons....to make some simple elastic waist pants, kind of like the flannel ones I love to wear around the house when it's cold. I looked at the stores and couldn't find anything so I remembered I had a pattern for some simple pj type pants that would work. I took a quick peek at the pattern and then went out to buy fabric. Yesterday morning I got everything out and discovered that I hadn't bought enough fabric!! I looked at the wrong item and only bought enough to make some long shorts! Oh, well, maybe I'll just use the fabric for something else altogether. But I still have to buy fabric to make the pants. Do you see how my brain just isn't working?? I hope this is only temporary!!

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I loved the 100th anniversary show of Dancing With the Stars last night. Seeing some of those best dances again was fun. And it's getting down to the wire on this season so the dancing should be great next week. I like Kristi but I also think Jason has done pretty darn good, too....and Christian was amazing with just one arm! I don't think Marissa has much of a chance but she's fun to watch. Who do you think will win??

Friday, May 02, 2008

Books, Movies, and a Little Bit of Art....

Do you ever read books a second time or even more? What about movies? I ask because I recently re-read "The Shell Seekers" by Rosamunde Pilcher because it's been made into a movie and is going to be on tv Saturday evening.



I read it the first time when it was first published....and loved it. It had been long enough since I read it that this time it was almost like reading it for the first time.

There aren't too many books that I've read multiple times but "Gone With the Wind" is one of them. I read it the first time when I was in high school and read it over and over several more times when I was young....but have no real desire to read it again now. Plus I can't tell you how many times I've seen that movie! The first time was when I was just a toddler but I have strong memories of certain scenes from that time. My mom loved GWTW....I think she had a crush on Clark Gable!....and we saw it every time it came to our hometown. Then I've also seen it several times on tv but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again even though CG is pretty easy on the eyes! By now I think I have it memorized!!

HB and I don't buy movies, never have. I just can't see why I should buy them and store them when I can rent whatever I want to see. Plus most movies I don't care to watch over and over. It's bad enough that tv repeats certain movies just about every week! Unless it's something I really connect with, once is enough for me and a movie.

On another subject, I'm still tweaking the studio workspace. I've set aside a box for all the WIP that I found. I may never finish all of them but at least now I know where they are. I did a quick doodle last night....



It sort of reminds me of a pineapple top but I really didn't have anything in mind when I did it.

Ok, I hope you all have a fun-filled weekend. I won't promise that I'll post anything over the weekend but I might if I get creative!

NOTE: For those who've asked, "The Shell Seekers" will be on Hallmark channel at 8PM central time on Saturday May 3rd. Check your local listing to be sure of the time where you live.