frog prince

"Tales and Legends" was the theme on Illustration Friday this week. I thought, "WHAT?!?! All tales and legends?!? The IDEA of tales and legends? Wow! Just what IS that?" But at the same time that I was thinking those things, the story of the Frog Prince popped into my head. There are many versions of it, and the translation that I liked the best, one that includes annotations, is this one. So, this week, my Frog Prince stands for all stories ever told.



US Route 6 used to go from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to Long Beach, California. It's the road that Jack Kerouac thought he would take across the country when he wrote On The Road; he hitchhiked it for just a little bit. It's the loneliest road, lonelier than US 50, which was designated so in the 1960s by Life magazine. That's because US Route 6 was so lonely that no one even knew about it, I think. Then, in 1963 or thereabouts, the decision was made to end US Route 6 in Bishop, California, 300 or so miles north of Long Beach, because, from Bishop, US Route 6 shared the road with other numbers, so it got the boot. This sign is in Bishop where the highway now ends.

I took this photograph in 1996 when I drove the highway from coast to coast, including from Bishop to Long Beach.


pretty boots

Aren't these just the prettiest boots you've ever seen?!?!
Christmas present. My parents still send me a little money on holidays with a note that says, "For chocolate," from the days when I had no funds for fun stuff like that. And this year, I can show them these pretty things as their gift to me from them. Funny, eh?
ps. The company that makes these is Ariat. These are called FatBaby boots LOL!



7" high x 5" wide

The word for this week's Illustration Friday was "plain." I immediately thought of The Great Plains because they are a favorite place. But then I looked in the dictionary to see what meanings the word has: crystal clear; easily understood; not beautiful; honest; flat; level; smooth; without intricacies; and so on. And this is the result.

I want to use the Illustration Friday suggestions to build my collaging eye. Because this happens every week, I will have many opportunities to think about collage. Not all will be successful, if any, but I will be making collages, and that's a good thing.


hill and sky

I drive by this view often and what always pleasantly surprises me is that all there is there is a hill and sky, and not much of a hill at that. It's really a farmer's field. The rest of the landscape just disappears. The hills and houses and water towers and everything else appear just seconds after passing this.

But while there, I can imagine that I am nowhere but between earth and sky.


a small piece

Fall into Winter Spring into Summer
18" high x 5 " wide

I made this piece in May of 2006, when spring was already in place, but winter was still a firm memory. It was fun to do: pieces of fabric fused to the batting; lots of thread work; embroidered and otherwise embellished joins.

I looked at it today and thought, "I still like this piece." I like when that happens. When I finish a piece and after a few weeks I think, "Oh, my, how embarrassing!", I remember my 7th grade art teacher (who, it was rumoured, ran off with our 7th grade science teacher; they both disappeared in the middle of the year) telling me that, if I was not happy with a piece of work when I was done with it, then I most definitely could do better. But she never told me what I'm supposed to think when I still like a piece after some time has passed.


making books

The first time I bound a book, I was 9 or 10. Family friends had given my parents several reams of pink 11 x 14 paper for me to draw on. Instead of simply drawing on the paper, I used instructions in a wonderful little book from the public library on bookbinding to make those pink sheets of paper into books with sewn signatures. The library book was small, in a blue cloth cover, and was old 40 years ago. I took that book out of the library more times than any other book, ever. And, I made my own books. I filled the books with drawings; one was of horses. I drew every kind of horse I knew about (I had been reading about them, too).

Then, years later, when I was student teaching, I taught a set of lessons on making books. The shop class happened to have every piece of equipment necessary to make books, so I had the boys make books. They loved it. And I was better at making books than at woodworking. They didn't even mind sewing the signatures because they weren't in home economics and weren't making clothes.

Now I'm back to making books. Today, I spent about three hours putting this little thing together. It's not great, and I didn't, in the end, follow the directions. But here it is. I recently bought Alisa Golden's Expressive Handmade Books, published by Sterling Press. Very nice instructions and projects. I started with the first circular accordian book (pages 34 & 35), but ended up with a side-sewn one-signature variation of the accordian. Fun!

I first painted two large sheets of graph paper and two sheets of canvas paper with red, yellow, and gold acrylics thinned with matte gel medium.

Then, after I folded the pages, I rubber-stamped the page numbers. This one is 5 inches high and 5.5 inches wide.
And now I have a nice little notebook to write in.
I might even consider taking commissions.....


more art

These two pieces came from a challenge with the themes of proportion and scale. The first, Walking in the Woods, led to the second, Falling Leaves.
 These are small works; WitW is 15.25 inches high and 14 inches wide. FL is 11 inches high and 8.75 inches wide. (Not shown in proportion to each other here.)

Walk in the Woods

Falling Leaves

These were nice pieces to work on. We were given two photos to use as inspiration. The one I chose had a tree on the right in the foreground, a building in the middle of the entire image, and a balcony about halfway up the building. (I think it's on the Fast Friday Challenge website—see link below.) And that's where the proportions of Walk in the Woods came from. I realized that I hadn't consciously worked with scale, so that's why Falling Leaves came to be.

Other results of this challenge can be found on the Fast Friday Challenge website.

Somewhere, on some list I was reading, someone asked, "Why do we make Art?" and the first thing that popped into my head was, "Because I can." Yeah, artists make art/Art to express something, but lots of people want to express what they are thinking or feeling, but don't have (or don't find) a way to do it. Those of us who have found a way to do it, do it. Some write poetry, some write prose, some play with fabric or paint or ink or stone. And, the only way to know if one can express oneself doing art is to go and do it. And, like anything else, the more one does it, the better one gets. Get going!


hillary has new hampshire

Ok, here's the background:
• I often feel strongly about what is going on in our country. However, I am also a cynic and so usually just hide while listening to the news on the radio. (See the Rosie post earlier about when I make my silly sock critters.)
• My thoughts on why women have been "put in their place" over and over are strong and loud and based on readings in history and religion. (I will write about those thoughts another time.)
• This world has been led by men for a very long time. There are good men and there are bad men out there. But it's been too long that it's been men in upper leadership positions everywhere. I think it's time to try something REALLY different, and that different thing is to have a woman run things for a while.

Now, why Hillary?
• She has the experience in government that means that she is not naive about how things really work in DC and around the world;
• She knows how the old boys' networks work and has the clout to get information from them; and
• She has a woman's understanding about what it's like to be a woman in this world.
That last is what will be the real change in our leadership: the courage of compassion and of conviction; the understanding of what it's like to be the lowest of the low; the ability to multitask successfully; the intelligence to learn; the strength that comes from knowing pain and love.

And with that, I am publicly showing my endorsement.


art quilts

I participate in a monthly art quilt challenge called Fast Friday Quilts (the link is below and always in the sidebar on this page). On the last Friday of the Monday, we are given a challenge and have a week to produce our pieces. The challenges are meant to expand our thinking about our work, and they do that well. We might be instructed to do the theme of movement, for example, and then use some embellishment technique that is new to us to help express that theme. The results are posted on a blog on which we explain what we have done and can receive comments on the results. It's a wonderful, stimulating monthly exercise.

I realized this morning, however, that I post my art quilts there and not here, and that I should re-post some of them here because I'm thinking that many folks who read this blog don't go to the Fast Friday Quilts link to see what there is there and so are missing out on my art quilts.

So. . .I will post some of my work from there here periodically. I encourage all, though, to go to Fast Fridays to see what other members of the challenge group are doing. It's quite a creative bunch, I tell you!
* * *
Here is the challenge from October that involved movement and embellishments:

Solar Wind

When the challenge was first announced, I saw this image in my mind's eye. And it's taken me days and days to execute it. The movement part was fairly easy to put down. The embellishments were to be things that I hadn't done before. I explored different stitches on my machine and then used a couching/beading foot to put the strings of beads down. And I did that using invisible thread. Whew! That stuff is really, really invisible, both the clear and the smoke. I finished the piece with a satin stitch edge and a hanging sleeve on the back.



I've been knitting socks for years, now, but always from the top. This is my first toe-up sock. I'm using instructions by Ann Budd; she advocates the Figure-8 or Eastern Cast-on and a short-row heel. The toe is great; the heel, not so much. I don't like the extra yarn-overs which are used to form the fold. There are other ways of doing this, and I will find another one for the second sock. This yarn is Lorna's Laces; it's not hand-dyed, though it sort of looks like it might have been.

The major advantage to knitting socks from the toe up is that the foot will always have enough yarn and both sock feet will match. The leg section can then be knitted until the yarn runs out. When knitting from the top down, I often have yarn left over because I am too conservative on the leg section (unlike in other parts of my life!) so that I won't run out of yarn on the foot. I would like to have longer leg sections and the toe-up method should give me that. However, I will have to make sure that the top of the sock is wide enough, then, to go around my calf. Sigh. There's always something, eh?


rosie, another silly creature

This is Rosie, made out of old socks with—drum roll!—roses embroidered on them. This act of creation offsets the destruction that is often what I hear about on the news while I work on these creatures. Whew! Just give me these sock critters any day! They make me smile.

And now, if any of you out there would like to have one of your own, you can. I am willing to sell my creatures to anyone who needs something to giggle about as an antidote to whatever things are bothering you. Email me and we'll talk. In the meantime, take a look at the rest of the stupid sock creatures that I have made (click on the label "stupid creatures" off on the right here somewhere and they will all pop up) and see if they don't make you smile, too.


curious horse

Somewhere in the hills of rural New York I came across this interested creature. Two more were in the paddock, but this one caught me with its colors and snowy nose.

It is now the next year, 2008. It's an arbitrary start. The current decision for when the next cycle around the Sun starts has no bearing on anything natural. The Earth is past Solstice; no season is starting or ending—no planting, no harvest; nothing to celebrate, just new taxes and budgets to look forward to, all with their problems that not one of us little folks has a say in. We just participate.

Ah, but the snow is coming down, the lights are still lit on the porch and on the Christmas tree, and the furnace is warming the house. The cats are resting, and the quiet is settling in. Winter is now here.