Sunday, October 30, 2011

Boys of Fall

Yesterday my grandson had his football game, so today a little bragging.  His team tied, so he was happy.  
His daddy and a couple of other guys coach this group of seven year olds.  They teach the kids in an encouraging way, explaining mistakes in the huddle, and shouting encouragement, and giving high fives for accomplishments.

 What a contrast to the other coach!  He was yelling at the kids, and demeaning them in front of everyone.  I felt sorry for them.

Gilbert was really excited about something other than the game.  He lost his first tooth, and was showing anyone who would look.

Valerie with lollipop

Is little sister, Valerie a football fan? Not so much.  But she found a friend to play with during the game.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sew What!

I always try and make something for my friends and family for Christmas.  This year I decided to make Microwave Cooking Bags. Some of the things that you can use them for--bake potatoes, cook corn on the cob, warming rolls or tortillas.When I was in Hawaii this summer, they were selling them in a local fabric store.  My daughter thought they were cool, so I decided to do my version.  There are a lot of patterns out there, but they are so simple that you can make one without a pattern.  Because they will go in the microwave, you must use all cotton--fabric, thread, and batting. The Warm Company makes "Warm Tater Batting".  I found mine at Jo-Ann Fabrics for about $8.00 a package.  This will make 6 bags.
Finished cooking bag
Cut 2 fabric, and 1 batting pieces 11inches x 22 inches.

Layer batting, then fabric right sides together

Sew narrow seam across both 11" ends

Turn to right side, top stitch 11" ends about 1/4" from edge

Fold down top about 1-1/2"

Fold up bottom to within about 1/2" from top

Sew side seams
Turn to right side

Include label with bag (I printed this on my computer)
Here are some of the finished bags.  You can use a solid or matching print for the inside of the bag. Each took less than an hour to make for no more than $3.00 a bag, even less if you use up some of your fabric stash.   (They were selling for $12.00.)  So this is the perfect gift for all those busy people in your life.

Do any of you have quick and easy projects that look like a million dollars?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday's Word

Every once in a while, I like to choose a word, and contemplate what it means to me.  I note 1.--the first thing that pops into my mind, and then maybe 2.--I think a little more.
Granddaughter helping Grandson with game
Today's word--Opportunity  1. chance to help
2.  A favorable occasion, a chance to work toward a goal. 
As a language lover, I looked up the etymology, its an old Middle English word from Latin meaning convenience.  Interesting transformation!
I am thankful for all the opportunities I have had--a loving family growing up, a chance to get an education, being able to live in France, the chance through the years to take in teenagers until they could get their bearings.  With the opportunities there comes responsibility.  I hope that I have given as generously as I have received.

For you, what comes to mind when you think of opportunity?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What ever Happened to the King's English?

My 20 year old grandson who lives with me is always telling me, "I don't know what you are talking about, Gramma."
And it is no wonder.  Back when I went to school (that would be the dark ages), English was a pretty straight-forward language.  How things have changed!  I'd like to share three new words that were officially added to the dictionary--bff, omg, lol.
I made ATC's to celebrate these words.  (For those unfamiliar with the genre, Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are miniature works of art  2 ½ X 3 ½ inches, made in any medium.  They can be traded, never sold.  They offer the artist a chance to present a snapshot of an idea.)  I covered the card base with duct tape (the pretty snazzy updated kind), attached foam letters, and rub-ons. Then finished it off with a touch of stickles glitter around the edges.  Very modern as suits the new words.

Speaking of modern, without the modern Urban dictionary, I have no idea what my grandson is talking about. How times have changed, or am I just getting old?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Chicken Story

I have a dog--Queensland heeler, black lab mix, by instinct a herder.--and I live in the barrio.  I was here long before the cultural change.  In past years my neighborhood was all white except for one black family.  Now, I am the only white person living here, but we co-exist peaceably.  I have grown accustomed to many cultural changes--mariachi music, mamas calling to their children in Spanish, and chickens. Some of my neighbors raise a few chickens.  In the morning, the rising sun is greeted by the crowing of a rooster--a pleasant sound.
The scene is set. 
I was watching TV in the living room, when I heard a terrible ruckus.  A chicken came flying into the room followed by my dog, tail wagging, barking like crazy.  Chicken hides behind a chair, dog lays down, woofing softly, inviting chicken to come and play.  Getting a broom (after taking the blanket off my head and quitting screaming like a girl), I chased chicken out the living room door, but dog runs outside and tries to herd it back in through the doggy door.  I finally encourage chicken to fly over the back yard fence to its home.  Poor dog, she sits outside whining, begging chicken to come back and play.  I think she believes I am a mean lady--chasing away her friend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today's Special Holiday

Every once in a while I check to see what we can celebrate on this day.  Today's certainly doesn't represent me, but I think I know several people who might be the holiday's champion.

Sourest Day

October 25th, 2011

Today is a day for the grumps of the world. The curmudgeons, the cranky pants, the sourpusses. Who says you have to be cheery all the time? On Sourest Day we see the balance in life and nature. Without the sour there'd be no sweet.I will agree that the sour does have its purpose--to intensify the flavor, to make the sweet even better.  And you have to admit that this lemon on my tree is pretty cool.  So I salute today's celebration--I think I will make a lemon pie.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Those who Serve

So often we take for granted those who serve us--those who provide for our safety--of course the military, but also policemen, firemen, even city workers.  Our church designated this month to honor those who serve, and also to do service for others. Every member was to do a project of service.  I chose to honor my local firefighters at Station 25.  This week I am bringing them treats and I made this card to express my thanks for all they do.  It is 8 x 10, mounted on chipboard.  The paper and embellishments are from KC & Company.  The firetrucks are from photos of their trucks.  On the back, I made an easel so that it would stand. My neighbors and I are signing the back.  It is but a small token of our gratitude that they are there to serve us.

Friday, October 21, 2011

On the Wings of Dreams

I confess that I am a dreamer.  As my mind wanders down different paths, amazing sights play out, ideas that are different from the usual, This morning as I was having coffee on my back patio, I was thinking of "dreams", those elusive flashes of imagination that inspire, amuse, challenge.  Some dreams are just small nuggets, others are soaring thoughts towering like cumulus clouds.
My camera captured the contrast. A tiny humming bird flutters, as a huge jet soars over head.
Here are a couple of my favorite dream quotes--

Cut not the wings of your dreams,
for they are the heartbeat and the freedom of your soul. 
~ Flavia ~ 
A life without dreams
is like a garden without flowers.
~ Author Unknown ~

Hold fast to dreams 
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.   
~Langston Hughes~

Dreams are the sparkle of my mind, the giggle in my soul. They spur me to try new things, change the way I perceive ideas--to do things my way.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Autumn Leaves

One of the beauties of Autumn is the riot of color as the leaves change.  Bored with summer, knowing that winter is just around the corner, the trees bring out all their vibrant finery and throw one last party. 
Part of the creative process of art is to be able to translate what you see into another medium and still being able to keep the spirit of the scene.

For a birthday card for one of my friends, I iris folded a leaf on the bottom corner of a double sided paper, when tri-folded the paper up to form the card.  For the little leaves, on a sheet of 24# paper, I computer generated a fall poem a couple of inches from the top, then on the reverse side, using distress inks, I made a background, then folding down a flap randomly cut leaves with the top hinged.  With a marker, I added veins, and gold stickles to both the large leaf and the small ones.  Because the small leaves are on lightweight paper, they have movement.  A twisted cord makes the leaf stem.

So this is my salute to fall leaves for a card--a little bit of a twist on the traditional.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Remembering Mom

Collage of my mother, Elsie Price
 October 13th was my Mom's birthday. She was born in 1920 in Baltimore, Maryland.  While still young she moved to Philadelphia, PA, where she enjoyed frilly dresses, city parks, and the urban way of life.  Then as a young teenager, she was uprooted and found herself living in a primitive house near Roberts, Montana--close to Custer's Last Stand.  Can you imagine how today's teenagers would react?  But she loved school, studied hard, became an accomplished pianist, then when she was 19 moved to Wyoming where she worked on a Dude ranch close to Yellowstone Park, met my Dad, was married, and raised seven children.  Her home then was a log ranch house (no indoor plumbing).  She baked bread in a coal burning oven, grew a huge garden but intertwined the rows of vegetables with rows of flowers, canned enough food to last through the winter, sewed all the kids clothes, but still found time to read, crochet, sing and play the piano. 
Mom's favorite flowers
By today's standards, she lived in poverty, but never complained.  She endured many hardships--losing her husband when the youngest child was only two, then having to work outside the home to support the family, in charge of the care of one child severely crippled by polio.  But she was a happy person, feeling that she was truly blessed. What an awesome example for her children!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Guys are a Different Sort

Cards for the guys are always a challenge for me.  I am shabby chic, Victorian, country sort of person, don't know so much about the guy thing! So what do guys like--cars, hunting, football, grunge, and sex (but I didn't go there).  This first card is for my brother who loves to go big game hunting.  The deer is stamped on cork with sepia ink.  Some fibers and pine needles give it that outdoors feel.

I also needed a get well card for a guy, a lumberjack type of fellow, so this buzzard (from Taylored Artwork) was stamped and a tree stump was hand drawn.  The words are computer generated.  A feather and some twine complete the card.

Another birthday card for a guy. So using Ranger Distress black and barn red I distressed a tag, and then stamped random numbers with black versamark, and clear embossing. The watch face, sticker and clip are from Tim Holtz Idea-ology.  Computer generated words and random watch parts from e-bay complete the outside.  Inside are computer generated words and an idea-ology cog to finish the card. Now the most difficult card for me to do was one about football.  Why?  I hate football!  I don't understand the game, I just don't see the point of a bunch of adult guys hitting each other, running around in the rain or snow, chasing a football.

Anyway, I know its to each their own.  My son is a rabid football fan.  He has loved the Vikings ever since we lived in Minnesota.  So for his upcoming birthday I made this slider card.  It really is quite simple when you get the folds and cuts figured out.  The words are

computer generated, as are the images.  So for now, I have this guy thing figured out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Black and White and Red All over--You've Come a long way Baby

Often we wonder what will be remembered about us.  Will our family wonder what was important to us? So I decided to give a little help to those who might be curious.  As I love to make mini books,  I made one with the highlights of what shaped me--what influenced me, my experiences, homes, schools, and family, and what inspired me, my church and friends. Most of my work is in color, but to stretch my artistic boundaries, I decided to make this book in black and white, with just a few red highlights.  I hope you enjoy this vignette of me.

The papers were from Jo-Ann's, and the border embellishments were from KC Company  

Behind the shutters is a picture of four generations of hands from those of my littlest great-granddaughter to mine.  

So from a log ranch house in the mountains of Wyoming to the suburbs of Phoenix, by way of Denver, and France; from a shy country girl to a successful business woman with a circle of family and friends I have come a long way.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where are the Ideas?

Another Sunday afternoon,  it is 101 and muggy, just too hot to do any art work.  So I have retreated to my office and have been surfing the web, paying bills, and catching up on correspondence.  I also am trying to plan some good layouts for several birthday cards for men, and get the basic idea for a collage that I have to have done by the end of the month so I can present it to our local firefighters.  But I am having a mental block.  I needed inspiration!

When the weather is so unfavorable, it is easy to forget that beauty still exists.  To remind me, I took my camera and went out to my front yard. The colors, shades, and shapes spoke to me, now I am inspired.