Wednesday, December 31, 2014

AlphabeThursday - G is for Personal Growth

I believe small, inconsequential events occur for a reason.  
Like what happened to me a few days ago:

I was looking at my Wish List on Amazon and saw there were a number of books by Jill Berry,  one of my 21 Secrets instructors.  I wasn’t sure which one I wanted, so I went to visit her blog.  She had an interesting post about Tara Gill and her Wheel of Life.  I printed out Tara’s templete and made my own Wheel, with a little bit of color added. 

My Wheel of Life did not come out very well rounded.  My personal growth, career and physical environment are all doing well.  I guess that’s because I like learning new things.  And I enjoy my surroundings; give me a desktop computer and the internet and I’ll make my own classroom.  What made my wheel so bumpy were the other parts of my life, like love and health, which aren’t doing well.  

It’s the perfect time of year to look at your where you want to make improvement.  So come and draw your own Wheel; there’s a template and instructions here.  

Come see what other bloggers and web designers have to say about the Letter G, over at Ms. Jenny’s site, … off on my tangent…

Thursday, December 25, 2014

AlphabeThursday - F is for Freedom

Even though I enjoy reading my Letter Perfect book and “reporting” back to my readers about what’s going on, I have to admit art journaling is more fun.  So I decided to look around my 21 Secrets classes to find a good Letter F word for Ms. Jenny’sAlphabeThursday.  

And I came upon Carolyn Dube's class,  “Freedom from Fear.”  She talks about thwarting our inner critic and enjoying art journaling for pleasure’s sake.  Very similar to her magazine article, “Rolling the Dice,” that I wrote about last week.  But back to 21 Secets…  In this class, we painted with Ramon Noodles.  Can you believe it?  Can’t be very critical with a noodle in your hand, now can you?     

I think this is my favorite piece.  I swirled around lots of different colors.  It was the last paper I painted on; trying to use up all the paint!  When it was dry, I taped the page into my art journal.  This will be one of the last things I’ll do in my journal for the year.   I would have never thought of anything like this.  Leave it to Carolyn, to think this up!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

21 Secrets - Essence of S.H.E. (Souls Highest Expression)

For the past few years, I’ve been using composition books as art journals.  But this year, I was thinking of putting together my own journal.  When I read the supply list for Lauri Grumsham-Cox’s 21 Secrets class, I knew I found my journal: we were going to “deconstruct to reconstruct” a journal using a composition book.    

Lauri suggested we gather together different papers for our journal.  So I cut to size some watercolor paper, discarded mailers and envelopes, some papers I collaged in another 21 Secrets class , and a few old paper dividers. 

I followed the instructions and tried to put my soul into it.  The woman I painted on the cover even encouraged me to cut my hair!  I decided to add this post into my journal, to remind me of my instructor and 21 Secrets.  Thanks, Lauri, for the opportunity of making my art journal for 2015!

As chance had it, this post was just in time for my AlphabeThursday Letter E!  Come see what other bloggers and web designers have to say about the Letter E, over at Ms. Jenny’s site,  … off on my tangent…

Monday, December 15, 2014

Role of the Dice

I bumped into a favorite art journaler, while reading in a new magazine my mom got me, called Cloth Paper Scissors.  The artist’s name: Caroyln Dube.  She’s also one of my 21 Secrets instructors.  In the article, Carolyn writes about the inner critic in her head, telling her what to do.  Or not to do.  Funny, I have that same voice, telling me I’m not an artist and I can’t do this or that very well.  I guess that’s why I enjoy blog challenges; it keeps my critic at bay.    

About Carolyn’s article:  she came up with the idea of making dice, to tell you what to do.  Leaving it up to “the roll of the dice.”  When I was out shopping on Saturday, I bought a set of Mickey Mouse blocks.  Sunday I was hanging out with a lot of acrylics on my craft table, and decided to get the blocks a little dirty.  I used them to stamp paint in my journal; then sprayed some water on the page, to get the paint moving.  I’ll decide what else to do later.  And of course, how to cover the sides of the blocks with some Dos and Don’ts.  That should quiet some of the “mental prattle” (as Carolyn puts it) in my head.  

If you’re into crafts and paints, you might enjoy Cloth Paper Scissor. Carolyn’s article is in the November/December 2014 issue.  I’ll be writing more about my dice later.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

AlphabeThursday - D is for Dot

Seven years ago, I started making jewelry.  Who knows why, I guess I needed a creative outlet.  I joined Etsy and created an online shop.  But decided I needed to advertise and market my wares to a broader audience, so I created a blog and started writing.  And wow!  What words came pouring out of me!  It was a rush!  

I changed my artistic venues from jewelry making (and what became a second job!) to bookmaking.  Something I’ve always wanted to do.  As I continued blogging with paper in mind (instead on beads) I stumbling upon a site called Art Journaling Ning, back in 2010.  I had never heard of art journaling- I really enjoyed it!       

Watched a Bruce Springsteen tribute Saturday night.
This past weekend, I spent a lot of time in my art journal, creating for myself.  The spreads I made weren’t appropriate for AlphabeThursday Letter D, but it was such a  comfort.  I was collaging with lots of CIRCLES, a favorite shape of mine. 

I woke up on Sunday, thinking about AlphabeThursday.  And then it came to me (I do my best thinking in the morning): a Dot is a Circle!  And there’s Dots all over my journal pages.  How I love the English language and all the words available for just one thought!

Come see what other bloggers and web designers have to say about the Letter D, over at Ms. Jenny’s site,  …offon my tangent…

Thursday, December 4, 2014

AlphabeThursday - The Busy Letter C

The Letter C has a busy place in the English alphabet.  Its sound may be 

... a hard C, as in CAPITAL
... a soft C, as in OCEAN
... combined with an H (borrowed from the French), as in CHAMPAGNE
... changed for a British word - as in CURB (not kerb), 
or be silent, as in MUSCLE.

A little history…  David Sacks tells us in his book Letter Perfect, “Back in 1000 BC, the third letter of the Phoenician alphabet was the letter G, gimel.  It came after B and before D.”  The Greeks copied this alphabet around 800 BC, but the letter C had not appeared yet.  In the B.C. 700s, the Etruscans (who lived in Italy and were trading partners with the Greek) changed the gimel to gamma.  They also changed the letter to a hard C sound, as in kay.  And it stuck.  

When Latin was written in the B.C. 600s, the Romans gave the Letter G its own place in their alphabet, and kept the Letter C in the third place.  It was used, for example, in the name for Cupid.  The soft C sound began to be used by the common people.  After Rome's fall in around A.D.500:  “the slurred C became part of the Romance languages… which arose from dying Latin.”

Middle English, a combination of French and Old English came to England after the Norman Invasion in 1066 AD.  It looks to me that many French words joined the English language at that time.  

To learn more about the letters in the English language, try David Sacks’ book, Letter Perfect.  And read more AlphabeThursday posts that begin with the Letter C, over at Ms. Jenny’s site,  …off on my tangent…

Saturday, November 29, 2014

21 Secrets - France Papillon's Transparendipity

I took the big step and opened up France Papillon’s  class on 21 Secrets, my art journaling workshop.  France is my favorite art journalist and I was delighted to see that I could take a class with her.  But I was a bit nervous.  For months now, I’ve been watching her videos on YouTube, Journal on Monday.  

Many times, she has worked on a sheet of watercolor paper, and then attached it to her journal.  So instead of making a small book, as she had in her class, I decided to tear one of my sheets in half after finishing and glue it into my art journal.  I have three more sheets that I began (to use as backgrounds) to add.

France talked about knowing the products you use.  Very good advice.  I know I should pay more attention to what I’m using.  So I decided to read a little bit more about materials and their make-up.  Thank you France; I had a blast!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

AlphabeThursday - My Two Bedroom Home

Since I moved into my house 15 years ago, I’ve only had one bedroom.  The other bedroom was always used as a tv room.  Now that I live alone, I have the opportunity to change that tv room back into a bedroom.  I’m so excited. 

I finished painting the smaller room last month, moving my bed and computer into it.  Then had a professional painter come in to paint the master bedroom and bath. 

 Hopefully by the end of November, I’ll finish riping up the carpeting in the larger room.  The house was built with beautiful wooden floors, and this is the last of the carpeting that covers it. 

 Since the master bedroom was once the same size as the small bedroom, there’s only sheetrock underneath some of the carpeting.  My plan is to lay laminate flooring in that section; it won’t match the original wood exactly, but it will be the same color.  The last chore is putting in a bed, a gift from my brother.  And my sewing machine, which is almost a year old.  Then I’ll be finished working on the inside of the house for a while.  I hope to have money to paint the exterior in the spring.   

Come by Ms. Jenny's website on my tangent...  
and find more words that start with the Letter B.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

AlphabeThursday - A is for an Archaeological discovery

Archaeologists discovered the oldest Canaanite letter list, dating back to 1300 BC.  The first symbol was an ox, aleph.  As David Sacks writes in Letter Perfect, “Because aleph came first for the Bronze Age Semites, the letter A comes first for us,” in English.

The Canaanite alphabet traveled through the Phoenicians to the Greek (in the Western world.) There, the letter aleph became alpha.  The Phoenician letter A used to be laying down (in our view of things).  But the Greeks stood it up!  From Greece this alphabet traveled to Italy (ca. 700 BC,) then France and finally to England, during the time of the Norman Conquest (1066 AD.)

For English speaking children, the letter A is ingrained in us from childhood.  In America, it signifies excellence, such as schoolwork, many of the best foods and even monetary bonds are graded with an A.  How many businesses use CCC (and not AAA) before its name?  I don’t think you’ll find them, unless they are initals for words.  The only time the letter A has been used to denote disaster is in medieval Europe and Puritan England (and America), when an adulterer was force to wear the letter A on his or her clothing (see The Scarlet Letter!)

Come by Ms. Jenny’s website, …off on my tangent… 
to find more about words that start with the Letter A.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book Review - Citizens of London

Before I forget about my Book Club selection for October, I wanted to come out and recommend what we read.  Written by Lynne Olson, it’s called Citizens of London: the Americans who stood with Britain in its darkest, finest hour.  Olson looks at the lives of three men living in London, before and through World War II: U.S. ambassador to Britain John Winant,  European head of CBS (radio) news Edward R. Murrow, and Averell Harriman, FDR’s representative who ran the Land-Lease program in London.

Olson does a great job in bringing London to life.  She tells us what was going on in the men’s public and private lives through painstaking research.   I think we all have set ideas about what World War II was like.  Many Americans believe we swept in and saved the day.  Maybe that's true to some extent, but not everyone would agree.  The British and Europeans went through bloody hell for years before Pearl Harbor.  This book helped me understand why certain things happened in.

If you enjoy history, you’ll definitely enjoy reading this book.  Great stocking stuffer!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

AlphabeThurday - stepchild letter Z

“Z is a consonant much heard amongst us, and seldom seen.”
-          English grammarian Richard Mulcaster, 1582.

Greek Zeta

“The last letter of the Roman alphabet is Z, a consonant that can seem racy and elusive or just plain disadvantaged.”  I think this a very good description by David Sacks, author of Letter Perfect, of the letter Z.  Like I was saying last week, when “reporting” about the letter Y:  the Roman alphabet originally had 21 letters, ending with X.  Around 100 AD, as Greek words started entering the Roman language with scientific and cultural words, the letter Z began to be used.   But then, the Romans and Greeks weren’t on too friendly of terms, so the Latin language didn’t pick up a lot of Z words.  Also, it was easier for scribes to write an S than a Z.  People blame the scribes again! 
As people began to explore and the world became smaller, Latin and then English words with Z became more popular.  This was especially true for Romance languages, like French and Italian.  In the 21th Century, the letter Z was used a lot in place of the letter S, many times to indicate something flamboyant.  Also for products aimed at children, such as Kidz Zone or the movie Antz.  Ever notice that?  How many Zs can you find in new products and businesses today?  And guess who Generation Z is?

OK, the alphabet lesson for today is over for the week.   Come over to Ms. Jenny’s blog …off on my tangent… and see what other bloggers have to say about the Letter Z.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

AlphabeThursday - the Roman Letter Y

The Roman letter  Y symbolizes a fork in the road.  Geofry Tory, the official printer to King Francois I (in 1530) designed the letter Y with the idea of a person choosing his way: to the left a broad and easy road.  To the right, the complete opposite: a narrow path, one that brings honor and office. 

Something else I read about in my Letter Perfect book, by David Sacks. 

“Some 700 years after the Roman alphabet was created, 
the Romans added two more letters, which are our Y and Z.”

Do you wonder why they did that?  Let me tell you about 
the letter Y; I picked up on two reasons:

1)  Scribes decided to use a Y when writing, to break up the row of pen strokes 
that otherwise would have been the letter I and difficult to read.  That was thoughtful.
2)  When Greek words started infiltrating into the Roman language, 
the letter Y was helpful when spelling words, such as system or symphony.

So, today is the day to think of all the ways you use the letter Y in your English words.  
Let’s see what other words start with the letter Y, over at AlphabeThursday!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

21 Secrets - Collage, Transfer & Glaze

 “Mary carried the large pumpkin out to the front stoop.”

Collage is one of my favorite mixed media techniques.  That’s why I decided to delve into Cathy Bluteau’s workshop called “Collage, Transfer & Glaze” from 21 Secrets.  

After I bought a few supplies, everything was in place.   I started with a flat canvas, something I’ve never done before.  Then added dictionary pages and thin receipt paper.  Cathy suggested we use napkins.  Since I couldn’t find any tissue paper around the house, I was glad I got the napkins at the dollar store (those are the autumn butterflies.)  Found a cute little girl carrying a pumpkin online, even though Cathy had some silhouettes available for us to use.  The image went well with the colors, I thought.  Thing is, it didn’t fully transfer, so I used a black marker to fill out the figure.

The next step was to add color onto the canvas.  I think green and orange go well together, and the butterflies had a nice olive tone in them.  So that was the color I chose.  In the  end, I inserted black lines from a rolling stamp, white dots with sequin waste and orange circles.  The little girl spoke to me, and Mary was her name. 

 As I said before, this was my first try with using a flat canvas in my artwork.  That was a thrill.  I bought a package of three, so I have two more to play with.  Maybe in the future I’ll try a cradle panel board or birch board, which were also suggestions from the supply list.  Thanks, Cathy!  I had loads of fun and learned a lot.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

AlphabeThursday – Living with your X

Been there.  Done that.

Actually, that’s the title for chapter X in Letter Perfect : the marvelous history of our alphabet from A-Z.  I bought this book back in July, after reading a little excerpt somewhere on the web.  The New York Times Book Review gave it a nice review, starting with “as fun to read as it is enlightening.”    

Author David Sacks writes, “As an initial letter, X ranks dead last.  It’s the one that appears last at the start of English words.”  So that’s why so many of us at AlphbeThursday have such a hard time thinking up words for X!  This is probably one week that a lot of us in Ms. Jenny’s class will be playing hookie.  

But I’m here!  I know I’ve been gone for a while.  I needed a break from the computer as a whole.  Now my bedroom is painted and the furniture (including the computer) is back.   Along with boxes from the second bedroom, which I plan to paint next.  Here’s my crazy quilt on the bed.  Don’t think I’ve shown it off yet online.  My last post was about sashing… 

I also started 21 Secrets this month (my art journaling workshop.)  And I’m thrilled.  I finished my first project this past weekend with Jill K. Berry, called “Map to Happy.”  All I needed was lots of photos, a piece of mat board, and a plan.  It’s actually a gameboard of what makes me happy.  The map goes through many themes, starting with artwork (bottom right), things that make me laugh, and goes through favorite things relating to my senses.  Then good friends, lots of my artwork, things that I’m proud of, places I’d like to go see, and places I’ve been.  At the end of my map is family.  That’s my grandfather and four older cousins in the middle.  They are all so young – very cute.  X marks the spot!    

Ms. Jenny’s AlphabeThursday “class” is a blast.  So come and visit!  I’ll be passing on more  information about the English alphabet; some historical and interesting tidbits.  Join in or just read and make friends. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

AlphabeThursday - S is for Sashing

I’m on the next step of my crazy quilt, which I wrote about two weeks ago for my Q post .  Sashing!  I’ve sewn a top sash and a bottom sash onto each block and connected the rows using the bottom sash.

 Now I need to fold the top sash over the bottom, to cover all the raw edges.  I’m using my favorite stitch; it’s a flower or maybe a star.  This will probably take some time, since I’ll be sewing on both sides of the strips. 

Pictured above, I’ve sewn only on the right side.  I hope to have my quilt finished by the time the weather gets cold.  Which gives me about a month.

Come by Ms. Jenny's site, on my tangent... 
and see other Letter S posts for AlphabeThursday.

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