Blog Archives

What to do, what to do…

What do you do when you’ve had to cancel your haircut with Tom and your next appointment isn’t until April 1–oh fool, I.  Hope for a cancellation or turn your mop into a DIY project?  And what do you do when you can’t find that miniature origami book — or any of the origami you did last summer?  You put on your tiara, plug in your Zen Serenity CD and start purging files to make room for the stuff you really use, you really need and want, and get rid of patterns etc. that you will never make.  There is only so much time in one day, even for an insomniac, and only so many years left for someone closer to 70 than 65.  Does this make me old or just:


My sister Molly made that for me!

I thought I was truly doomed when my entired post disappeared–thank you wordpress for auto-saving.  So, as of now, I have freed up 5-inches in one file drawer and of course filled it back up with cardstock, origami instructions and origami paper.  So why does my studio still look like a disaster area?  That’s just the way it is today.  This is my shocked face:


You too can make spontaneous art–just let your paint dots dry and carefully scrape them up with a metal spatula .

Yesterday I adhered my cover to the top of my mailing box with Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish and weighted it down overnight.  I could free up about 10-inches on my bookshelf but my dictionary, Roget’s and writer’s usage tomes are great for weighing things down.


So that’s it for the day.  Hope it’s been a good one for you.  If not, there’s always tomorrow.  Remember to set your clocks ahead or you’ll be getting up too early–or will it be too late?

Let’s Play

I guess it’s been two weeks since my last post–I needed to fly up to Minnesota for a family emergency.  It was 30-below windchill when I got there and not much warmer when I left.  In fact it has been bitterly cold or sleeting/snowing here in NW Arkansas.  I hope this last snowfall is the end of winter here.  At least the sun is shining!  Well actually, the moon is shining but sun is forecast for the second day in a row.


I didn’t know what to work on when I finally felt like doing something–my work table was covered with art and bookbinding supplies.  I’ve been trying to get to a book about Halloween, requested by my sister, but just can’t seem to get started.  Whatever–I decided that I needed to organize my supplies just a little better so I could actually find things.  I saved three mailing boxes last year that I think will suit my needs, but of course I cannot just throw stuff in the box and label it.  Oh no, I have to decorate it so what better excuse is there to try new techniques.  My daughter and I were going to take a pastel drawing class.  I already had a box of soft pastels and then purchased pastel paper. Alas, the class was cancelled because not enough people signed up–rats.  Here are the supplies I used.


I forgot to take a picture of the first step, but I used the long sides of the chalk and covered my paper with whites, then starting in the center with the lightest to darkest, used all the neutrals (greys and browns).  Then I again started in the middle and blended it all with a blender stump until it looked like this.


Next I covered the entire piece with Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels.  I used my metal spackling spatula because the brush was not working so well–I did about one third of the page at a time, spreading it vertically and then horizontally.  At the end I needed to catch the corners and left a little bit more texture.  I let this dry overnight but before I quit for the day, I free-cut some letters from a coffee cup sleeve from a place not Starbucks because the color was perfect and I loved the texture.  I used a toothpick to paint the edges to give them a little definition.  The paper is curled somewhat for this project; otherwise, I could weight it down after it dries to flatten it.


This morning at an ungodly hour I proceeded, mixing a little bit of brown acrylic paint with water in a mini-mister.  I set up a cardboard paint booth, laid down some wood gears, and sprayed.  Too much water, so I mopped it up with paper towel and then mixed up some black/water and used a brush to add some speckles.  Load a round brush with the paint mixture and tap the handle with another brush.


I try not to angst about my work, thinking that I ruined my pastel page–by the time I put the lettering on and whosknowswhatelse, I will have a nice cover for my supply box.  I have two more boxes to cover so I can try, try again.  It’s all good.

Here I have Mod Podged the lettering down.  Tomorrow (or maybe later today) I’ll decide how to finish the page and adhere it to the box.


Have a great day–may it be sunny and full of creativity.  When in doubt, make art.

Art from 21c Hotel

As promised, here are photographs of some of the art from the latest collection at the 21c Hotel in Bentonville.

Cutup (British) 2007. Reordered bus shelter advertising poster in light box by a collaborative group of European activists-artists.  Anti-Social Behavior Orders (started in 1998) were issued to juveniles for such infractions as begging, abandoning cars, noise pollution, littering and fare evasion.


Sea of Galilee (2008), Rina Castelnuovo (Israeli), color photograph.  Israeli men on the Israeli-Palestine border praying for rain and possibly, eternal peace.  Unintended selfie.


Strude #1, #16 and #17 (2008-09).  Trine Sondergaard (Danish).  Chromogenic prints on Dibond.  Girls in traditional costumes.  Headcoverings allude to both indigenous rituals and global debates about religious garb.


All Souls (Bielawa) 2006. Jane Hammond (American).  Gouache, acrylic, organza, mica, metal leaf, handmade paper, digital prints.


La Vatrina Cloud Collection (Venice) 2012.  Leandro Erlich (Argentinian).  Wood, glass, acrylic.  The second photograph shows a side view.


Malverk af malverki (2007-08). Hubert Noi Johannesson (Icelandic).  oil on canvas.  (Painting of a painting)


So there is today’s mini-tour of the 21c Hotel/Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.  If you live in Louisville, Kentucky, or Cincinnati, Ohio, you can visit your own local 21c.  The art is always interesting.  Till next week, enjoy life.

How do you feel when you run out of coffee?

Depresso.  And I am depressed.  Winter is hanging on.  The bronchitis is gone but I have no energy.  I am overwhelmed by everything I need to do.  Okay.  I have a solution.  Let me know if there is anyone out there who delivers chocolate with a maid/chef/personal trainer attached.  That’s a start!

I should have read my last post to see where I was but we’ll just start fresh by finishing up that black heart.

I wanted to add some small heart beads to the end of the streamers but even the 1/8-inch ribbon was too wide.  I cut the ribbon tail in half, threaded half in the bead, and then just moved the heart up and tied a knot in the end.


Next I glued rocaille beads around the edge using Beacon 527 Multi-Use Glue.  This worked well but you have to hold each bead for a little bit until it’s ready to adhere on its own.  I used the same glue to insert the I-pin.  I was surprised at how well this held–I yanked on it with my pliers when my daughter mentioned using this as a purse ornament.  Well I didn’t get it done in time for her Black Hearts Ball but it will indeed hold up as a hanging ornament.  Next I knotted some more ribbon and twisted it around the doily, gluing the knots with the old handy-dandy glue gun.  To finish, I threaded on a ribbon hanger and added a mushroom hummingbird for a little color.  One of my daughter’s nicknames is Humminbird and I always glue something to the bird mouths in my projects.  Here it is, all finished and delivered.


So on one of the days when I thought I was better, I ventured out with my daughter for art and lunch.  While she was at the chiropractor, I went over to the 21c Hotel in Bentonville.  21c is no ordinary hotel–it also houses art from all over the world–the owners have three hotels and rotate items from their extensive art collection about every four months or so.  Alexx mentioned that one exhibit we had really enjoyed was back.  I have some photos from a previous visit with my point/click camera and they are not very good in the dim light but you’ll get the idea.  Unfortunately, this particular exhibit was closed for a private party so I need to get back there next week for better photos.  There are four trees, covered in fabric and flowers representing the four seasons.


The “ground” at the base of each tree is comprised of miscellaneous pieces of clothing and textiles.  I did manage to get some photos of other art and I’ll include those in my next post.  I’ll leave you with a photo of one of the mascots.  These are scattered around the hotel; you can request one in your room if you stay there, and sometimes you’ll find one outside your door in the morning.  And lunch?  Comfort food and tea at the Crumpet Tea Room.  Have a wonderful weekend.  I would really like to take off for Aruba or Tenerife where there is heat and sun but that’s not happening so I’ll look at my photos from Puerto Rico from a few years ago and turn all the lights on for awhile.  Be safe and healthy till next time.


Black Heart Ornament

If you’re local and so inclined, it’s time for Back in Black: The Return of the Black Hearts Ball at Crystal Bridges, Feb. 15, 8-11:00p.  Free for ArtInfusion members, $25 otherwise.  It’s kind of an anti-Valentine’s event.

My daughter wanted me to go with her but uh, no, it’s not for me.  All of her friends are coupled evidently.  Regardless, I have been thinking about the Abandoned Art Project and since I don’t have time to do anything for Valentine’s Day, I decided to make Alexx a black heart ornament.   First I traced around each crocheted heart for a template.  Then I cut out a corrugated cardboard heart and then cut out a duplicate.  I made a pencil mark on the insides so I wouldn’t reverse one side.  I did not worry about symmetry or perfection.


Next cut some strips from a roll of E-Z Form Plaster Cloth Wrap.  Be sure to only dip one strip at a time in warm water, run your fingers down the length of the strip and apply to your form.  Use your fingers again to rub across the strip to remove the holes and smooth it out.  This is a little messy so I only stopped to take one photo.  Next time, I’ll do a video.


Here I am starting on the second side.  Overlap and criss-cross the strips.  Again I was not concerned with perfection or smoothness but If you want your form to be smooth, add another layer using wider strips.  I only applied one layer here.  This was not dry after 1-1/2 hours and the hairdryer wasn’t enough to dry it either, so I dried it in the microwave at 2-minute intervals for 6-minutes.  The heart became puffier in the process.  I forgot to place a ribbon hanger between the two cardboard shapes so I used 527 glue to insert an I-pin and let it set up overnight.  I yanked on it this morning and it held, which kind of surprised me.  Next, I tried a method of transferring print to the back of the heart.  Basically, you apply some Mod-Podge and burnish your torn printed piece, lift up and the text will remain (backwards of course).  This did not work for me. Either I did not apply enough Mod-Podge or the surface was not smooth enough.  I will try this again in future.  I was using an article from the Parade on marriage and really would have preferred it to be a mirror image but hey, it had a grey background so I just collaged it instead.   In the meantime, you can give it a try.  Here is the link for Print Transfer Technique:  Let me know how this works for you.

I used Folk Art Metallic Sequin Black to cover the remainder of the heart, sponging around the text to soften the edges.  This did not want to dry either so once again, I used the hair dryer and let it set up overnight.  I wanted more sparkle, so I overcoated the entire heart with DecoArt Ultra Fine Glitter Paint (Ice Crystal Glamour Dust).  This needs to set up for 24 hours.



In the meantime, I dug in the old button box and added some ribbon to the crocheted heart.


Tomorrow I’ll be back to finish this project, so until then, have a creative day.  I’m venturing out of the house today–I need to pick up some pastel paper for a class and run some other errands.  The bronchitis finally seems to be letting go–I have coughed for over three weeks and have been isolated for way too long.  I’m off (way off).

Magazines and solutions in the the middle of the night

Sometimes I feel guilty for buying magazines. I have no more room for magazines. But sometimes they catch my eye and they give my mind a breather when it’s too full. or they play into my avoidance psyche when ijustdon’tfeellikedoinganything. Last night I woke up with a solution to a problem that has been plaguing me for months. I used to use large trifold boards with examples and samples for demos and block of the month displays–you know, the boards you use to display your science fair project. So what to do with a board that’s full of pinholes and areas where the tape tore off in uneven patches. I have been trying to put all of my photos in albums and ran across an extensive packet of holy cards. In the old days, we picked up holy cards all the time in school. My missal was stuffed with them. I couldn’t just throw them away so I started collaging them to one of these boards. It is almost filled up–I filled in a some blank spaces with pages from little prayer books. One day inspiration hit–I decided I would cut this large board up and make a series with large lettering–words like faith and hope came to mind. But how to finish the edges. Last night it came to me to try some molding paste, something I see used in a lot of mixed media project. I happen to have molding paste and a slew of other Golden products that are still unused–I won them in a give-away on the Cloth Paper Scissors newsletter and have only dipped into a few jars. The gritty ones really appeal.  After cutting, the edges are going to be somewhat mashed I am guessing but I’m not looking for perfection–just a way to make the edges look like I cared about finishing them.  This is huge for a recovering perfectionist.  Perfection is over rated and an impossible goal.  Edges sometimes need to be finished.  And sometimes not.  I’ll get back to you on this.  I have nowhere to go today–except my studio.  May inspiration come to you today (or in the middle of the night).