Friday, October 31, 2014

the next indicated step

So, last blog post, I showed you my 2" pocket poems in progress. I'd been puzzling over what to do to the backs - and in the end the obvious answer was marbled paper. Besides, it's the traditional backing for vintage book covers (alas, these books were not vintage enough).

I researched it and tried 2 different techniques. These are the papers I made this morning - luscious is the word that comes to mind. Read on for the good old "how to's." If you are working with kids, process #2 is a great fit.

Process #1 (for use with alcohol inks)

You will need:
Alcohol ink
Large tray
Copy paper or construction paper
Paper towels

Fill your tray with water. Drop ink colors onto the surface of the water. Many drops, applied gradually, and alternating colors. (There are several you tube videos showing this step much more easily than I can explain it.)

You want a "marbled" look. You can best achieve that by gently stirring the water with a chopstick or blowing on the surface of the water with a straw.

Carefully lay your paper onto the surface of the water allowing it to float and soak up the layer of ink. Lift it out, let it drip for a moment, then blot on a paper towel. Done. Now wasn't that easy?

Process #2 (for use with water base ink or paint)

You will need:
A cookie sheet
Shaving cream (not the gel kind)
A rubber spatula 
Ink or paint diluted in water
Paint brush or eye dropper
Copy paper or construction paper
Paper towels

Squirt out some shaving cream onto your upside down cookie sheet and spread in a thin layer with your rubber spatula. It's a little bit like frosting a cake.

Add color in random drops. Two or three colors work well. More than that and you will get mud.

Use a chopstick to swirl the colors. The easiest way is to go back and forth and up and down.

Lay your paper down on top of the shaving cream/ink and gently pat it into the surface. Let it rest there for about 3 minutes. 

Lift off and wipe and excess shaving cream off with a paper towel. That's it. Easy as pie.

Note- The reason for two processes is that water base inks will not float on water. I offer you two ways to make marbled paper so you can make a choice based on what materials you have.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

pocket poems

After another project (to be blogged another time) I had these wonderful 2" square pieces of book covers.

One thought led to another one and the end result was pocket sized poems. 

These are of the "found poem" variety - which I read recently is what the Dada art movement used. Even David Bowie writes his lyrics this way.

I keep my interesting snips in this little pastry tin.

I still have some finishing to go on these - edges, the back, etc. I'll show you the end result in my next post - and the other book cover project too. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

I heart etsy

Today, Etsy is launching the new card reader for your mobile device - for use with their app "Sell on Etsy." This makes it possible to seamlessly combine your online shop with offline activity (fairs, markets, friends, etc)

Not only is the app free - but the card reader is too.

Read more here:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

home ec.

My stove top was a MESS! After years of scrubbing with steel wool (bad choice) I had permanent scratches, rust, etc. After consulting with my sister in law, I went to Home Depot for high temperature appliance paint. It's a JennAir with removable cartridges so painting was easy (outside). This is the end result:

I know this is an art blog, but I just had to share :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

home again home again

I'm back home now ... I could feel the damp air in the jetway as I was coming off the plane ... I missed that.

Here, air is water. Evaporation and precipitation have equal time and complete cooperation.

I also know I'm back home with reminders like this one. A screen shot saved by my daughter after drilling Siri.

Here's another one:

I just have to smile.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


I am finding myself devouring books this long and far from home weekend - two down, one to go.

Hold the Dark by William Giraldi:
If Quentin Tarentino wrote books, he could have written this one. An eccentric story filled with over the top bloodshed and odd humor. It takes place in Alaska where everything is weird anyway. I give it three out of four stars (or bullets).

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: 
As imaginative a story as Raold Dahl, Maurice Sendak, or Lewis Carroll could have written. I loved this book and reading it brought me back to my own childhood. The strange combination of terror and comfort that comes in the night. I give this book five out of four stars.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: it looks promising ....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Boulder CO

Where I walked to on my morning walk this morning. Despite the idyllic image, this is a very suburban area. 

This little guy will be happy to tell you all about it. He thought my phone was a slice of bread and had to march up and taste it. A very suburban duck.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

travel notebook

I'm leaving tomorrow for a long weekend visiting with family and realized after packing my bag that I needed a notebook to journal the trip.

The how to:

A natural or kraft notebook (not a slick or shiny finish)
Book text
Mod podge (or any other acrylic gel medium)

I trimmed the photo to fit, sanded the edges with fine grit sand paper, then peeled off the back layer of photo paper. This gives you a thinner photo to work with as well as giving you a nice texture for gluing the photo to the notebook. Apply mod podge to the back of the photo and to the cover of the notebook. Position photo and smooth out any bubbles. Apply another coat to the top of the photo, continuing to smooth out any bubbles. Add text. Apply mod podge over all. Let dry. Pack in your bag.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Path and Toast

(this is where I walk to on some mornings)

"The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. 
A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around."
-Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

In these last few weeks I have been plodding with my feet on my usual path while at the same time searching with my eyes for The Highway. Earlier this summer my thinking was that I should be looking for a job. Then I made a decision to apply for entry into a juried art show. Neither idea is "panning out" and with both of those Trains of Thought I find myself still moving on foot power along this path I know better. What would I call this path? I read an interesting article about toast of all things and am left with this statement:

What is your useful skill in a tangible situation?

It grounds me. 

This is why: 
Because I know my useful skill. 
Because I know my tangible situation. 
That is Path.

Dear reader - we all have this same struggle - be encouraged on Your Path today.