Monday, May 30, 2011

Short-term Goals for June

Oakland Museum of California
It's the end of the month, and time to look at new short term goals.  June is going to be a real busy month.  I'll be on the West Coast for about a week - two different trips!  Can you believe it?  The best thing for me to do is have reading and drawing projects ready for traveling.  That doesn't exactly jive with the things I want to get done in June.  So here's what I'm considering and how I can reach my goals:

1) I found a neat way of using the Dekore Tangle pattern to make mandalas.  So I'll play with that when I'm in Oakland and Tacoma  (sorry Sharla, Oregon is not on the agenda...)  Need to pack my micron pens and remember to start from the inside and work out - with tangles, I always work from the outside in.  Go figure!  I need to go to the library and see if there's any small books with mandalas.  If not, I'll bring my own (old and falling apart)  book for inspiration.  

2) Last month, I didn't make any new coptic stitch journals, so I'd like to get some papers together and make at least one.  I have some washi paper in my paper case and I know there's some sketch paper and watercolor paper there too.  Just have to decide how I want to lay out the journal...  Anybody having preferences for journals, tell me your favorite format.

3)  Last but not least, wrap more paper beads.  I want to try and find different paper to use, like that book from Thailand.  If I'm real careful, maybe I can still use the book in some way as a journal - like I originally planned when I bought it!  I'll also keep my eyes open for any unusual paper I find on my travels.  One of the most meticulous chores of making paper beads is cutting the paper... that definitely needs to be done at home!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Visit the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur

A group from the Museum went to see the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma on Thursday.  It's situation about 1½ hours east of Lawton, in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains.  Very nice location and the grounds are beautiful.  I think they have a staff of around 70, including gardeners, docents and curators.  A very thoughtful and family oriented place to visit - you can even take a golf cart ride to the entrance from your car!

It was a great day for an outing because the weather was warm and breezy with hardly a cloud in the sky.  Streams of slow moving water and waterfalls were abundant once you entered the courtyard.  Being one with nature was an obvious theme.

The Center is situated on 109 acres of land.  Outside are amphitheaters for dancing and gathering, walkways and a living history area with grass lodges. 

Several buildings are available for visitors: an archival and genealogical center, a large meeting room, a cafe, an art gallery, and an exhibit area with an extra large theatre. 
I really liked the hands-on text panel, like this one.
You could see a great deal of planning and money went into the Center.  Everybody was very helpful, polite  and friendly.  We were all very impressed.  I highly recommend it for a day trip.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Designing with Florz

I tested out two Letter F tangles a few days ago, to see which one I liked best.  And I picked Florz.  It reminds me of a spider's web!  I was actually surprised to see how well it looked wherever I drew it!  It's one of the original zentangle design, created by Maria and Rick.  There aren't instructions for you to follow, but it's easy; just draw either curved or straight lines, then add the little triangles where the lines intersect. 

I decided to draw a Florz pattern onto the cover of my 2011 Diary Project calendar.  Look familiar?  I've been adding tangles all over it.  These calendars arrived with plain cardboard covers, so owners could draw on them.  I'm sure having fun with mine!  If you don't know about the 2011 Diary Project: artists were able to chose one day in the year and make a design to decorate that day.  The calendar was published in three languages, and shipped all over the world.

Here's a post about it from last year, when everyone was getting ready.  Maybe you took part?  If so, what day did you choose?  I'd like to find it!  I picked my birthday, January 18th.

Don't miss AlphabeThursday!  Go by Ms. Jenny's classroom blog, and see what other words begin with the Letter F.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

almost wordless wednesday - daylillies

I love when my orange daylillies start to pop up.
They open so quickly. Nothing's there, then all of a sudden, COLOR!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May Etsyblogger Featured Artist - NanjoDogz

Jack Russell Terrier
If you like dogs and enjoy art, then I have a blog for you.  The featured Etsyblogger for the month of May is NanjoDogz.  I've forgotten now where I first met Nancy, on Etsy or Entrecard.  Her polymer clay dogs are just so neat.  She sells the doggie beads by themselves, but usually gives an example on her shop of what they will look like, when put on a strand.  They are just adorable.
The beads are stamped on the back with a small paw print.  Cute touch.  They have a silver metal core, that makes it easy to thread on your strand.  Some of the doggies are part of a charm, like this Maltese and Boston Terrier.

When I sell necklaces and beads, I like to use something in the photo where people can relate to its size.  I see Nancy does this too.  Here's a King Charles Spaniel, resting on a quarter.
Red Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Nancy also draws dogs.  Here's a favorite of mine, a Boston Terrier on a polymer clay frame. 
Boston Terrier
 Nancy's blog is called Nanjo Dogz, same as her Etsy shop.  She also has a shop on Artfire and eCrater.  A percentage of her Etsy proceeds goes to animal charities, such as HSUS, Anti-Cruelty Society and the Illinois Doberman Rescue.  If you're interested in a bead for a specific breed, she will be happy to create a piece just for you.  Check out her Etsy Profile at

Sunday, May 22, 2011

a different way to recycle

 I'm an archivist and a trained librarian.  I care for paper and books.  And I love it !

I'm also a big fan of recycling.  I would never before have thought of defacing a book.  But recently, I've been scouring the library book sale tables, looking for interesting books to use in my artwork.

Rare books are perfect to convert into journals.  I usually gesso or paint the pages, then collage and write on top.  Sometimes I leave part of a page, or a whole page, "natural."  Below is one of the first books I used as a journal, a volume of fairy tales called The Story Teller.  I just modified the title some, to tell the real story {:-D

Last fall, I found a large hardbound volume at the state historical society's book sale.  Don't know what it says, but I love the look. 

Children's books are a wonderful addition to my recent recycling efforts, paper beadmaking.  Their colorful pages are perfect.  The paper is a bit heavier and glossier than adult books, making it much easier to work with.  

How do you recycle paper?  Ever use it in your artwork?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eyelet & Ribbon Tangle Design

I'm not one for dolls and lace.  Never was.  But this was my favorite Letter E Tangle design that I saw on Linda Farmer's website, TanglePatterns.  It's name:  Eyelet & Ribbon.  The pattern was created by Lori Howe, aka lacefairy.   She has some beautiful tangles on flickr.

I think it's great when you can get a three-dimensional look on a piece of paper.  So I followed  Lori's instructions.  Using a color for the lace really made the design pop.  My DH told me it looked like a bunch of ghosts.  Men!

To see other Letter E posts, visit Ms. Jenny's AlphabeThursday class.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

almost wordless wednesday - sitting on the nest

My little dove, she's sitting on her egg(s) now.  
She disappeared for a week or two, and we thought she was gone.  
Can't wait to see the chicks!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

suminagashi - the ancient art of Japanese marbling

Saturday I was introduced to suminagashi at the Arts For All Festival.  There were four of us from the Museum sitting in the children’s art tent, and the kids were so excited about the marbling.  Much more than making a folded book with me!  Can’t blame them - it was real neat!

Here’s what we did: 
1) put a layer of shaving cream on a flat surface (plexiglass works well) and let the children squeeze drops of food coloring onto the cream.  We used four different colors.

2) use a toothpick to swirl the colors around into a nice design.  Don’t use too much coloring, or you’ll get a dark “blob.”  

3) take an 4” x 6” index card and lightly place it on the shaving cream.  When you remove the card, some of the colorful cream gets picked up off the glass. 

4) wipe the foam off the paper with a putty knife.  One clean swipe and the colors stay behind.

Here’s a video from scrapdeworld on YouTube, if you want to see how it works.

Hope you try it.  All the ingredients are readily available.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

DeKore Tangle Pattern

When I first saw the DeKore Tangle pattern by Kari Schultz a couple of weeks ago, I knew I wanted to draw it for AlphabeThursday.  It's an easy pattern that can be very individualistic (I guess that's a word - spell check let it pass!)  This is Kari's first pattern to be featured on Linda's website, TanglePatterns.  Bravo!  I love it! 

I was wondering how Kari came up with the name, DeKore.  Here's what she had to say:
 I named this pattern DeKore for three reasons: First it was inspired by some wrought iron grill designs that I found while looking for wall “decor.” Secondly, as you start filling in the spiral arms, you will notice that four hearts develop, and of course the French word for “of the heart” is “de coeur.” And thirdly, this basic design can grow into many different variations depending on how you fill in the nooks and crannies as you grow outwards. But no matter how your design grows from this pattern, it all starts at this “core.”

With my three flowers, I followed the core steps, then decorated the outer reaches.  I picked between circular and triangular shapes.  The DeKore pattern reminds me of a mandala - I've never drawn my own mandala and would love to try, when I'm just sitting around doodling.  I'm thinking, start with the basic pattern in the middle of a page and continue outward. 

Here's a little hint from Linda:
It helps to draw your spokes from the center out and make sure you touch the edge of the adjoining spoke before you curl inwards. Give it a couple practice runs, and it will come fluently. Shading really adds dimension to this pattern, and adding spot color is stunning.
 All the tangle patterns I see are usually drawn in black, but I can't help drawing them in color.  To learn how to follow the DeKore pattern for yourself, just visit Linda's TanglePattern site.

And while you're surfing around, don't miss Ms. Jenny's AlphabeThursday class.  See what others are blogging about, that start with the letter D.

almost wordless wednesday - visitors

Many a morning I meet a few visitors as I take off for work.  
I usually walk around the truck, just to make sure no one's relaxing in the driveway, 
where I can't see them!  Both ducks and geese come down the street from the pond.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Book Review - Living History

 Photograph for the front cover by Michael Thompson.  
Zentangle design by the Storybeader. 

I finished my latest book by Hillary Rodham Clinton, called Living History.  I thought letting Hillary speak for herself in this book review would be an interesting perspective, especially being an autobiography.  And she speaks so well.  Like the way she explained her position on education; what she said here is exactly how I feel... this happened a lot with me and Hillary:
One reason I support improving our public school system through higher standards and greater accountability and oppose weakening it through vouchers is that it brings together children of all races, religions and backgrounds, and has shaped and sustained our pluralistic democracy.  Very few countries in the world benefit from such diversity in education.
I think she has a great relationship with her daughter.  Chelsea, along with her parents, are always on display, wherever they go.  Chelsea attended public school in Arkansas, when Bill was Governor.  But her parents decided to send her to private school in DC because the press wasn’t allowed on the grounds.  Good idea. 

Here's a great photo of Chelsea and Hillary on an elephant.  And Hillary writes about the occasion:
On a stopover in the Royal Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal, Chelsea and I rode an elephant.  To be honest, if I hadn’t known I was going to be  photographed for posterity, I would have just put on a pair of jeans.

It's hard to believe that Hillary’s father was such a conservative, and a Republican.  Hillary was too.  She and her friend Betsy volunteered in high school to check Democratic voter lists against addresses in downtown Chicago.  She changed her political views in college.  Hillary always had nice things to says about her parents.  She wrote about her father:
[he] was hardheaded and often gruff, but when he laughed the sound came from deep inside and seemed to engage every part of his body.  I inherited his laugh, the same big rolling guffaw that can turn heads in a restaurant and send cats running from the room. 
And about her mother:
In the winter, she bundled us up on a sled and pulled us to the store.  Then we held and balanced the groceries for the trip home.  In the middle of hanging the wash on a clothesline in the backyard, she might help me practice my pitching or lie down on the grass with me to describe the cloud shapes overhead.
"Some days were better than others, like the one in Botswana.  Bill and I caught the last rays of sun over the Chobe River, on a day I wanted never to end.  A harsher light would shine on us in Washington." 1998.
The Clintons are so affectionate to each other.  The few exceptions, like when Hillary found out the truth about Bill’s infidelity, are totally understandable.  He told her what really happened the night before he gave his testimony before the Office of Independent Council. 
He just stood there saying over and over again, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.  I was trying to protect you and Chelsea."  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  Up until now I only thought that he'd been foolish for paying attention to the young woman and was convinced that he was being railroaded.  I couldn't believe he would do anything to endanger our marriage and our family.  I was     dumbfounded, heartbroken and outrage that I'd believed him at all.  Then I realized that Bill and I had to tell Chelsea.
 One of the things I will never forgive Kenneth Starr and the Independent Council for was the death of Vince Foster.  Hillary talked about how the Republicans ruined so many people's lives for political gain.  And how she coped with it.  She was always thinking of others:
I called Maggie Williams, who was devoted to Vince and saw him daily.  All she could do was sob, so both of us tried to talk through our tears... I called Tipper Gore and asked her if she thought we should bring in counselors to educate the staff about depression.  Tipper was both comforting and informative, explaining that many suicides come as a surprise because we don’t know how to read the warning signs.
"Forging good relationships with my fellow spouses provided back channels to heads of state.  During some early rough patches, Queen Noor of Jordan called to check in on me.  She told me that when members of her family faced hard times they would tell each other to "soldier on."  I joined Queen Noor in Amman to mourn her soldier King."
 Like I said before in my AlphabeThursday post, Hillary is a perfect person to hold the office of Secretary of State.  In the eight years as First Lady, she traveled overseas many times and made friends with many leaders.  Queen Noor of Jordan is a favorite foreign leader of mine, but I learned so much more about other foreign dignitaries.  Hillary wrote about how close she was to the spouses who signed the Mideast Peace Accords in Washington in 1995:
Leah [Rabin of Israel], Suzanne [Mubarak of Egypt], Noor, and I often discussed the ongoing negotiations.  No state secrets were exchanged, but we could provide an informal conduit of information and feedback, and Noor or Leah sometimes called me with a message that the King or Prime Minister wanted to convey to the President through informal channels.
Living History was written when Hillary was about my age.  Amazing!  She has done so much, and I'm sure she is destined for more great things.  But I never understood why she ran for the U.S. (New York) Senate while still First Lady.  The end of the book answered that question, and was written when the Clintons were just about to leave the White House:
During the White House years, I had often escaped to New York City with my mother and Chelsea to take in Broadway shows, museum exhibits or just to visit friends.  Even before I contemplated a run for the Senate, the state had been on the top of our short list of places to live after Bill’s term ended.  This desire grew over the years and had now hardened into a firm decision... We had already talked about buying a house, and before long, we were house hunting.
If you're interesting in politics and biographies (or autobiographies) like me, you'll enjoy this book.  It's a little long but so very interesting.  I recommend it!  All the photographs used here were taken from the book, but there weren't any lists of photographers, except for the cover.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hillary and the 3 Cs

I'm just finishing up the latest book for my book club, Living History by Hillary Clinton.  No matter what your political affiliation, you have to admit she is an amazing woman, who's worked her whole life for women's equality and children's rights around the globe.  We are very lucky to have her as Secretary of State!  It's been awful the way people are so mean spirited towards her - even to criticize the way she does her hair.  I think her portrait on the book's cover is beautiful, and I tried to copy it.  Do you recognize her from my drawing?

Even though Hillary's married name begins with a C, I was looking for a zentangle pattern to draw, like I usually do for AlphabeThursday.   But I couldn't decide which one I liked best - I had 21 tangle patterns to choose from!  So I selected my three favorites:  Cross-stitch for her hair, CornerBox for clothes, and CornRows for the background. 

You can find any and all zentangle designs on Linda Farmer's TanglePattern website.  Suzanne McNeill was my CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher) who actually showed me how to draw the design.  I recommend her website if you're interested in zentangles or just want to see some fantastic drawings. 

But what did the other students think about, when asked to blog about the letter "C"?   Ms. Jenny has all the links (of course, she's our teacher!) on her AlphabeThursday post for this week.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Etsybloggers Carnival - New Beginnings

Judy, from jnoriginals, gave us two springtime themes from this week's carnival.  The one I chose to write about was:
1)  Spring is a time for new beginnings, when many of us get reorganized and put a fresh face on things.  Describe and/or show us what you have done recently in your art space to get more organized.

Like someone recently said on an Etsy thread, everybody's cleaning.  That includes me!  Just so happens that parts of my April and May short-term goals were to rearrange my work space and clean... I'm working on the cleaning now!  Our house is a bit small but there's only two of us.  DH took over what used to be the master bedroom for the big screen television and I took the "garage turned extra room" for my art space. 

My new beginnings actually happened last year, when I turned my attention from beads to paper.  But my workspace never caught up - until this Spring.  In April I moved my large paper holder out of the living room and into my workspace.  My desk, where I pay bills and gather my tools, now fits nicely under a high set of windows.

I put all my beads in a wall unit DH built for me.  Never know when I'll need them again.  No, I'm not showing my dirty laundry, that's clean clothes hanging.  The little bag on the floor I got from Theresa!  Yes, my whole life is in this room - which is kinda fun, but crowded!

Because the room is small, most of my artwork is done in the living room, where I have a fabulous large wooden table.  I cut paper, paint, and take photographs there.  My favorite art pieces are on the walls, along with bookshelves and the computer.  Luckily, there lots of windows in this house!

I'm feeling lucky to have enough room to spread out, and hope you do too!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Month in Photographs - April

Last month, my camera died.  My boss took a lot of photographs while we were in Washington, DC - here's his wife and me in front of some Congressional buildings (2) and at the National Museum of the American Indian (5).  Great looking building, eh?  I finally broke down and got a new camera mid-month: a Canon PowerShot A3000 (3).  And I love it!  My short-term goals were very realistic: I cleaned and moved around furniture in my workroom (4), made some more beads (6) and completed my art journal (7).  And I'm starting all over again, making more paper beads (1)!
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