Friday, January 31, 2014

january leaves us ...

... and the kitchen counter is loaded with tangerines, heirloom oranges, and Texas grapefruit .... plus the usual apples and bananas .... all of us are craving sunshine in the form of citrus .... sunshine on a cloudy day

and I've been working on my seed catalog collages .... 6 are shown here .... 2 more are in various stages of completion 

I'm really enjoying the color and texture play .... feeding my cloudy soul as I work

and it's always a surprise to me as to what words spill out .... an unfolding of thoughts

what is your midwinter therapy? 
color play? 
word play? 
seasonal fruit from California, Texas, and Florida?

Friday, January 24, 2014

photo transfer

(go to previous tutorials for more detail on this particular process)

I have, in my shop, a custom listing for personalized notebooks with a photo transfer on the cover. An order came in this week, so I took pictures of the process along the way. (I wrote this blog post with photo first, description second - so read what's below each picture to follow along)

I start with the lovely Moleskine brand of notebooks, which I prefer for the stitched binding, inside pocket, good quality paper, size choices, and dependable availability. I use the kraft color notebooks for photo transfers - first coating the cover with Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground. It's similar to gesso, but I like it best for photo transferring.

For photo transfers, I print the picture I want to use on my inkjet printer onto regular printer paper. If there is text, it is important to first flip your image in photoshop.

I paint mod podge matte medium onto the dried watercolor ground, and while the medium is wet, I carefully lay the print face down onto it. Press with your fingers or roll with a brayer to completely and smoothly adhere the paper to the notebook cover. Now the hard part: let it sit for 24 hours. This is hard - but very important. If you don't, the mod podge will still be soft and you'll have a real mess.

Now the fun part. Apply water to your face down photo copy. Your image will magically appear before your eyes.

Let the water soak in for about a minute and begin peeling the paper back. It will peel back in neat little tubes as you roll it under your fingers. This is a layer of paper lifting off, revealing the ink which was embedded into the mod podge.

Let dry (about half an hour) and repeat this process with the water and gently rubbing with your fingers.

Repeat as often as you like - but be careful of rubbing off too much. The edges and corners will usually lose some of the image, but it adds texture and makes your picture more interesting than a straight print would be.

Once I have it where I like it, I apply a thin coat of mod podge to the damp image. The extra moisture helps the acrylic medium to soak into any remaining paper making it more transparent. When it's very dry - I give it about two more hours - I rub beeswax onto it and buff it until it has a certain depth of color that I like.

For this customer, I also made a carrying pouch for her book. It will accompany her as she travels to China in a few months. She had me make one for another trip last year and said the pouch was great for holding everything together and in one place - paper scraps and mementos from her trip - and the book had daily notes and journaling too. Doesn't it make you want to plan a trip? 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

words spill

Side by side three small quilts sprouted in the night.
Beautiful as a sea of slumber.
They lulled that weary body.
For love translated
is gentle friendship on either side.

Monday, January 13, 2014

at night

I like this aerial view - looking down at my desk at night. The brass lamp on the right was my great grandfather's - he was a newspaperman and I imagine it has lit up many a night's work.

I'll show you what I've been working on - mixed media and my own poetry:
"Her friend sent thoughts of far away, solitude, peace and all the meadow flowers. They had a glimpse of a certain spring day, seen through windows welled with snow white yearning ."

This was the first of what is becoming a series. I was inspired by the seed catalogs gracing my mail box last week. Simple grace in a homely winter's mailbox.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The day is so gray here - and low light is always a photography problem - so I stylized this shot with an app I like. (Snapseed is the app)

If you see me with my head in my phone I'm probably playing with photos. Although mind numbing candy crushing games are a possibility too. I think I need a 12 step program for those.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

a sky day

the sky is slate and the clouds are walking to and fro

and bits of sky have fallen on my desk - leaving the walking clouds to fend for themselves

"they are lost in a world not of light and shade but of color within"

"the young man worked late with tenderness and weary sorrow"

(work in progress on this rain streaked day)

Saturday, January 4, 2014


... it's a gradual process this year with The Tall Guy down with the flu. My boxes are up high on a garage shelf - so my dining room table has become the island of misfit toys ...

it's kind of  sad when things return to normal - just kind of 

are you a get it done kind of person or a lolligagger about dismantling Christmas? I have a neighbor who chucks her tree to the curb on the 26th - ha! Makes me smile every year. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


first off - Happy New Year!

I think it's going to be a good one

I like the idea of choosing a word for the year
(as opposed to resolutions I either can't keep or forget to keep)

there are so many possibilities

but the one I settled on this year is  

in the sense of respecting others AND respecting myself

why did I make so many do you ask?
I couldn't stop - it just made me so happy
and I've made a custom listing in my shop for your personal word of the year

hand illustrated - only $5

listed HERE