Monday, January 31, 2011

Mixed Media Melange Class

In our second lesson today in Mixed Media Melange, we were learning ways to make color from a limited palette. It was great fun to play with the colors and brush with mad abandon! I did these then I had to lie down because the pain kicked in, but I am pleased with these as a start. I plan on doing more pages as soon as I'm stronger. They were done on 9 x 12 watercolor paper.

 Red Mix

(click to enlarge)

Blue Mix

(click to enlarge)

I can't wait to do more!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Theme Thursday -Red and Black.......NOT!

I was looking forward to doing the art for Theme Thursday, but I can't do it.

I am sosoooooo very exhausted, slept less than 4 hours last night, feel like a basket case today and it's not getting any better.

My workshop class starts tomorrow and I am so thankful I can do that one at the times I have the energy. I feel so discouraged, I'm so tired of this illness. Sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Maybe I can do something tomorrow for Theme Thursday Blog Challenge. Meanwhile, if you read this, I would appreciate your prayers.

It always lifts me up to see people who are doing something they love, that's why I put this video on here.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Miss Rebecca Buys a New Book

I've been watching Monk reruns for the past several weeks, and as any Monk aficionado knows each episode is entitled Mr. Monk and...whatever the episode covers that week. I thought I'd use a take off for my Blog title. :)

As I am getting ready for my first workshop, Mixed Media Melange, which begins on Friday, I have been gathering and stocking supplies. While at a local (well, local as in Greenville, a little more than a half an hour away) artist's supply store, Doug behind the counter asked me if I had seen a certain book and brought it over to show me. He had seen all the acrylic paints I was buying and thought I would be interested in this particular book, and I sure was! It is opening new doors in my mind as I contemplate this new path.

Patti Brady is a local artist and is also the Working Artist Program director for Golden Artist Colors, Inc. She spent most of her years in California and moved to my area in 1999. This is a fantastic book for branching out creatively and I am slowly trying to absorb the information. I will be reading this in conjunction with the workshop I will be taking. (I mentioned earlier that one of the workshop leaders is also a Golden artist - Chris Cozen). The book also includes work and techniques from other local artists and I would show some more pages, but I don't want to infringe any copyright laws!

Switching now to the weather.........this morning at 5 AM we were awakened by a violent thunderstorm, in 30 degree weather! It started the dogs barking and was certainly a surprise in January. The earlier weather report was calling for snow showers today, but thankfully they seemed to skirt our area and stayed North of us. Yay! I'm happy about that!

I am so happy there are only SIX days left in January!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Valentine, and a Story: How They Met

For today, Louise at Kard Krazy had the theme Valentine. Even though it's still 3 weeks away, the January weather demands something cheerful, because we sure aren't getting much for cheerful outside! It's rain today, and a mix of rain and snow tomorrow. The poor folks in the New England area are having such bitter cold, and many other areas in the US are sort of just stuck in the January mode, needing something bright and cheerful. So I was happy to design yet another heart themed project! I have another heart theme on this post.

(click for details)

The background is two colors of tissue collaged; then I added two puffed fabric hearts and organza trim. I cut out an image I copied from my stash of old postcards (this one was postmarked 1907), added a double heart charm with a jewel brad and a metal Love sentiment. It's finished off with  Golden glass bead gel touched with silver leafing, and a pink heart ribbon. I very much enjoyed doing this tag!


Today's story (5th in the series) came to mind as I worked on today's tag; it's the story of how my parents met.

When World War II drew in the United States, both of my parents stepped up for the sake of their country. Dad was from a small village in the center of South Carolina, Mom was from a small village in south central Pennsylvania. Dad enlisted in the Navy, and Mom as a nurse in the Navy WAVES. Dad was on a ship off the coast of Germany, near  Bremerhaven, and used to tell us that during that winter, salt water froze on the ship's rails and the seas were so rough, many of the personnel were very seasick and they wondered if the winter storms would ever stop. He contracted pneumonia and later ended up in the hospital stateside. Mom was working on his floor and they met when she was with some other nurses making rounds. They would see each other often, Dad would joke around with her and wanted her to go on a date, but she said no, he was too young for her.Then she found out he was actually two years older, so she finally consented! They spent a lot of time together until Dad was discharged and went back to South Carolina; Mom was discharged as well and she went back home to Pennsylvania. They wrote each other frequently and then Dad had an opportunity to go to New York for a lodge group convention. My grandmother said after Dad left that when he came home, she didn't think he would be alone! Mom and Dad were married in a small outdoor ceremony in her hometown and came back on the bus to South Carolina, living with my grandparents until they went off to Auburn on the G.I. Bill, carrying me along.

Mom and Dad on an outing to Steeplechase Park
before they were married.

An interesting evolution in marriage took place after World War II: for the first time very large numbers of people married someone not from their hometowns. Dad had a brother in the Marines, and two brothers in the Army and they all married women from other states, which happened all across the country. Up until then, people generally married someone closer to home. 

A postscript to this story is that all of my uncles, and of course my Dad, came home safely from the War. It was not always that way for many families, and we are all very thankful!!

Monday, January 24, 2011


Lately I've been feeling like I want to stretch out some, shake things up a little bit with my art and all around just felt sort of restless. Last week I came across a link to a fabulous workshop taught by two artists from California, one of whom works with the Golden company. I love Golden gel mediums, and when I viewed the video about the Mixed Media Melange workshop, I was suddenly so excited about the opportunity to participate. So, I signed up and classes begin this Friday - yippee!!

I have been wanting to take a class of some kind, but even though we have a lot of artists in this area, and a lot of opportunities from some of the towns nearby, I could not commit to anything because I never know from one day to the next how I will feel, or how much energy I will have. An online class removes any restrictions - I can do it at my own pace, and there are over 800 artists in the workshop network, so I will be part of a community. If you have a chance to view the video and are interested, there's still time to register. And it's not expensive!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Theme Thursday - Hearts and an ATC

The theme this week is Hearts on Theme Thursday, and I also am in an ATC swap for the same theme, so this does double duty.

(click for details)

I used several different Golden Gel Mediums, three colors of tissue paper, Lumiere paint, Gold Leaf pen and then added a heart jewelry finding.

I am so very tired today. Our sweet daughter drove me to the hair stylist, and then to pick up some art supplies, and then I treated her to lunch and we had a wonderful time together. I love spending time with our daughter! Now, though, I think I may have overdone it and am feeling pretty washed out. Hopefully I will recover somewhat with a good night's sleep.

Think I will watch some Monk on Netflix!  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Winter, and a story: Grandpop's Store

Last week for we got to think ahead for Spring on Theme Thursday, and today we are reminded there is still beauty in the current season. Today Louise's theme on Kard Krazy is simply Winter. We are still dealing with the "blizzard" we had in our area, and I noticed in the News today that the northeastern section of the US is having insult to injury with more ice and snow. So it's good to remember the beauty there instead of seeing all of the problems.

Winter Maiden
(click for details)

I really enjoyed making this tag! I used gel medium, Lumiere paint, and tissue paper for the background. I added an image copied from an old postcard, and then used acrylic paint with a little Lumiere for the scenery. The large snowflakes are vintage bronze ones, with Stickles added. Ribbon, a jeweled button, more Stickles and Skakura pens were used for details.

On yesterday's blog I mentioned an idea I had for a Upcycle Giveaway and I need some feedback. You can comment about it on that post or on this one. If there is no interest, I won't pursue it. I know I don't have the readers some of my blog friends do, but perhaps if there is interest, you can help spread the word!

In today's story (4th in a series), I am borrowing from an earlier post in October to share again about my grandfather's store I used to visit when I was growing up. I had been making an altered cigar box for a project and it brought back those memories, as you will read.

"I finished my Altered Cigar Box today for the Bloggerettes Fall Findings Swap; it was a new experience for me to alter a cigar box.

I have several that used to belong to my mother, she used them to store everything from art supplies to rubber bands. I think she got them back when my grandfather used to own and operate a small country store/gasoline station back in the 50's and 60's. It was in a tiny village in South Carolina and some of the grandkids would take turns spending a week there during the summer. It was the classic country store, with items on shelves, a large butcher case with meats, a soda vending machine where you had to slide the pop bottle out by its neck along a horizontal track, a pickle barrel, potbellied stove with a checker board nearby and a couple of chairs. Grandpop sold everything from food, gardening implements, shotgun shells, hardware, household supplies, gasoline and candy. The candy sat on the counter in large glass jars, and we were offered a variety while we were there. The old gasoline pumps used to fill up at the top with a gallon of gas before it would come out through the hose to the car's gas tank. Later, he got more modern tanks, which would make a "ding" sound each time a gallon was dispersed. There was a train track across the highway from the store, and several times a week, Grandpop would take a large sack of mail up the steps to a small platform alongside the tracks and hoist it up to the top of a beam. When the train would come through, it slowed down enough for the engineer to take a long gaffer pole and hook the sack and bring it into the train. At the same time, another sack would be dumped onto the platform. That was how the mail came and went in this small village.

Outside, set back a little way from the store, was an ice house, where huge chunks of ice were kept cool with large bales of straw and complete darkness. The store itself was L shaped, with the bottom part of the L being my grandparent's living quarters. They had a generous front porch on which the adults would sit, and the cousins would play in the china berry tree. We would always be scolded for using the china berries as weapons, because they were so hard, they would leave little bruises when one would be flung toward an adversary and found its mark. That's also where I saw my first Lantana bush as a child. I was fascinated with the clusters of small, multicolored flowers all on one shrub.

Anyway, my parents grew up in the Great Depression and literally never threw anything away. And with six children in my household, it made a difference, although there were times when we really disliked some of my parent's money saving habits. However, my father could repair almost anything, having grown up on a farm, and we very rarely ever saw a repairman at our house. So, I came by these cigar boxes in a round about way and they remind me of much of which is lost today. Frugality has its place and I think many families are finding that out."

Determined to enjoy the beauty in Winter, hope you can do the same!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Middle of January and ATC

Well, the 17th of January! The New Year is well underway, and so is my reorganization. I have thrown out stuff, and found things I thought had disappeared (which they did, in a manner of speaking) and realized painfully that I just have too much of certain things, and other things I am really not interested in any more. I have things that generous people sent me and items which no longer fit my style, or are simply items I will never use. SO.................
I was thinking about a different kind of Blog Giveaway - the Upcycle Giveaway! Would there be any interest in this? If you read my blog, comment on the bottom and let me know because it will be a week or more before I could do it. I would have to know if there is any interest first!

Also, I did an ATC for a swap on Swap-Bot titled "Funky Fibers", anything to do with fabric, floss, fibers, etc.

Ruby Slippers
(click for detail)

Materials include fabric, netting, ribbon, charm, crystal flowers dyed red, sequin, floss, alcohol ink, Stickles, Sakura pen, distress ink.

So, let me know if you think my giveaway idea would be a good one! I will post it on upcoming blogs too!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Theme Thursday - Spring!

A needed shot in the arm today - the theme is Spring at Theme Thursday! We are still ice and snowbound here, in a clime where we are used to the infrequent snowfalls being gone overnight. It started snowing Sunday evening and then all day Monday. We got about a foot, when we are used to an inch or two; then the temps stayed down and anything that may have thawed just a bit froze solid overnight. Our sidewalk is treacherous and our poor dogs and cat find it baffling to go outside to do their "business". The dogs search and search for just the right place, even more than they usually do! Yesterday it finally got above freezing, which was great but then was back down in the teens last night. So it's kind of a mess around here right now!

Spring IS Coming!
(click for details)

A 4 x 4, the background is patterned burlap and a torn vintage music sheet. Fabric vines and Prima flowers surround a large silver bird charm held with a jewel brad. Gems, distress inks and stickles add accents. 

Color in a white world!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Fabric, and a story: To Be Honored

For today's tag at Kard Krazy, we needed to use fabric, how much was up to us. I happened to have this printed fabric in my stash, a sort of Toile de Jouy and I love the silhouettes on the particular segment I cut out.

In The Arbor
(click for details)

Material used include fabric, Prima flowers, buttons, flower brad, sheer ribbon and stickles.

(3rd in a series)
Today's story gives an example of how we honor one another. Sometimes to do so requires we step out a bit from our comfort zone.

Back in the early 1980's, our church sponsored a family immigrating to the US from Laos. Several of us signed up to take turns orienting them to their new home, helping them learn English and the other myriad details it takes for someone adjusting to a culture  completely foreign to them. I was single at the time, and signed on to be one of several drivers to escort them to various locations - medical exams, customs, grocery store, various appointments and so forth. The family included  the parents, and I think 3 children (I'm not sure of the exact number 30 years later!). It was both fun and awkward, as only the father spoke the most rudimentary English and I understood nothing of what was said when they spoke among themselves. But we laughed a lot and I grew fond of them and could only imagine how it most have felt to have left everything they ever knew, and come to such a different place. They had only been allowed to bring a certain weight per person on the plane, so they valued all that they had brought with them from their homeland.

As I got to know the family better, and they were more comfortable around me, the mother invited me to stay for dinner at the end of one afternoon. I knew that this was a big honor and I agreed and while she prepared the meal, I played with the children. When the time came, I was seated and the food was passed to me to put on my plate first. Bits of meat and vegetables and a large bowl of noodles were passed around and we settled down to eat. As I raised my fork (they used chopsticks) I realized they were admonishing me - "No, no!" - and making motions for me to stop. As I did, the father handed me a bottle, motioning that I was supposed to sprinkle the contents all over my food before eating. As I took the bottle and opened the top a strong fish odor almost made me gag. It was fermented fish sauce, and I found out later that they eat it on almost everything. They had brought it with them from Laos and had brought a new bottle to the table just because I was there. I hesitatingly sprinkled a bit on one area of the noodles on my plate and they, thinking I was being polite, gestured laughingly "No, no! More!". The children joined in, everyone waving their arms and laughing until I had put enough on my food to suit them. Then they in turn applied it liberally to their food. 

Pungent. Extraordinarily pungent! That's the most polite way I can describe it. As I put a mouthful in, I had to literally will myself not to gag and insult them. They were delighted - "Oh, good, good! Ahh!" and I smiled and nodded, and continued to slowly eat, praying constantly that I would be able to swallow the next mouthful. Then the next, and the next, until at last I was finished. As they offered me more, I shook my head, smiling and patted my stomach and they just beamed. I felt like a house divided, smiling and nodding on the outside, wretched and churning on the inside. As the evening drew to a close, and I was making my way to the door, the father said "Wait, please.", turned, left the room and almost immediately returned carrying something carefully in his hands. Then he handed me, almost reverently, my very own bottle of fermented Fish Sauce! I was almost speechless (for several reasons) and all I could say was "Thank you" as they continued to beam and nod their heads.

I was so nauseated for the next 24 hours or so, and it was a combination of being tense as I ate, and eating something so unfamiliar. Of course the nausea passed, but what stayed with me was the lesson they taught me. That bottle they gave me was one of the precious few things they had been able to bring from their homeland and they only had a limited store. They were expressing their gratitude by giving something of great importance to them, and they were genuinely happy to do it. Although I never opened the bottle, it stood as a reminder that no matter how little you have, when you give from your heart, the gift becomes precious and both the giver and the receiver are honored. I laugh now about the story, but I am thankful I had the experience!

Monday, January 10, 2011


We had a snowstorm come through last night and it continued to snow during the day. Now at 3:46 PM it is sleeting and is supposed to continue during the night. Bleah. Snow is nice, but not with ice on top of it. Altogether we have a foot of snow, deeper than usual for  this area. It snowed on Christmas Day, 2 weeks ago, and we had about 6" then. These picture were taken during other snow times. I don 't have any proper boots to wear, so I really couldn't get any photos today. Just imagine it a lot deeper!

Our Driveway

The barn (the rocks in front are all covered now!)

The dogs enjoying the weather. It's so deep now that the snow
sticks all over the fur of the black one and she doesn't want to go outside!

Neighbor's driveway

I'm still working on my reorganization of the studio and it is coming along pretty well. Tag Tuesday is tomorrow and I think I am far enough along to participate!

Staying warm, down in the South!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Theme Thursday - Vintage Children

And so today's theme on Theme Thursday is vintage children. The example she put on her page is lovely in its simplicity. I can't seem to do simple  ::::::::::::sigh:::::::::::: which I'm sure is ok, that's just how I do things!

(click for details)

Done on a 4 x 4, I started out with an image from an old French postcard I have in my stash and went from there. Background is a fragment of a torn dictionary page and some old printed paper; I added some stripes with colored pencils and pastel chalk, torn netting and a small tag. Then I added some twisted colored fibers, a turquoise headed brad, a stamp from Italy, and some gem swirls. Distress inks and Sakura pens used for accents.

I'm not sure when I will post again, because my studio is going to be undergoing a major reorganization. With the help of one of the very friendly staff at The Container Store, I designed a drawer storage unit which I sincerely hope will help me tame the Messy Monster! I'm not foolish enough to think it will always stay neat and tidy up here (BOORRRING!) but I hope at least it will cut down on my tripping over things as I go in and out, and I won't "lose" things so quickly. One can always hope!! This may be done slowly, depending on my energy level and my family's help.

AND....... my daughter posted this on Facebook, and as most of my readers know I am a big fan of Steampunk. THIS IS GRAND!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seven plus one ATCs

I joined a swap recently where the requirements were to take a list of seven very disparate items and combine them while adding another element of my own choosing. And I would need to make two of them. The list of items included: ribbon, cat, car, moon, star, rose, and feather. Here are my creations:

(click for detail)

For this one, I used background star printed paper, added a chipboard image of a vintage automobile, a cat charm, and feather as hood ornaments, a metal moon, black ribbon on the left side, touched with silver. At the top of the ribbon are 2 dried miniature rose buds with a cluster of gems. Sakura pens, distress ink and Silver Leaf pens were used for detail.

(click for detail)
The second one was made with a scrap of paper with drawings of cats on it, a postage stamp with an old car, metal moon, feather, dried miniature rosebuds and star brad as a headdress for the cat. Ribbon is tied through two eyelets I added to the top left corner. Sakura pens and distress ink were added.

I enjoyed mixing the items up and seeing what I could come up with and am pleased with both of them!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Mosiac, and a story.

For today's theme, Louise at Kard Krazy suggested a mosaic. This type is a collage type rather than the traditional use of tiles or glass. (You can click on her link to see how she demonstrates it.)

Pretty Past
(click for details)

I have a special container just for little bits and leftovers from projects, so I opened it and started rummaging through and adding this and that. The materials include blue netting, miniature dried rose petals, bits of printing, a remnant of a dyed baby wipe, ribbon, brass clip and a bird. Distress ink was also used.

Today's story (second in a Tuesday series) is about meeting a celebrity. It's been said that all of us will probably meet somebody famous at least once in our lifetime and I've met several well known people, but the following experience is one of my favorites.

I was managing an antiques mall in Charleston SC in 2003 and on this particular day, it was almost closing time and there were few people in the mall. Darkness was falling outside and it was winter time. As I was standing behind the counter near the front door, I noticed a car pull up to the sidewalk in front of the mall and a small slender man get out of the back, dressed in jeans, a denim jacket, and a blue ball cap pulled down over his forehead. As he came through the front door, he did not glance towards me but immediately turned down an aisle and began to look into each booth. But I recognized him right away - it was Ed Harris.

RADIO was being filmed in the nearby small town of Walterboro SC. The actual story of Coach Harold Jones and his relationship with James Robert "Radio" Kennedy took place in the upstate of SC in the town of Anderson, but they were making the movie in Walterboro because it still had the look and feel of the era the film depicted. Charleston has had movies made in the city itself and in the surrounding areas over the years and it was always great fun, especially as an antiques dealer, because they would usually send a crew to scour antique stores for anything they could use in the film they were making. This held true with this particular film, and we had already sold several things to the props crew who had visited our mall several times.

Anyway, as it hit me who just walked in, I realized that the mall owner and another dealer, who were standing behind me a little ways talking, did not notice what I had. I didn't say anything, but watched as Mr. Harris wandered up and down the aisles in the almost empty store. Finally he came up to the counter, and keeping his head somewhat lowered, he put a small item down. I asked him the usual "Will this be all?" question and he nodded.  As I began noting the dealer information on my sheet, I said casually "You know, you sure do look like Ed Harris." and he finally looked up at me and said "Well....guilty." I was struck by the instant look of resignation on his face and I realized he was preparing himself for the onslaught of a fan. So, as I made the transaction, I just made small talk - how did he like Walterboro, had he visited any of the well known restaurants in Charleston, how did he like South Carolina, etc, and as he answered me I could see him visibly relax and we had a nice little chat. When I finished and handed him his small parcel, he smiled and left. The other ladies behind me were still engrossed in their conversation.

RADIO is still a favorite movie, and it's fun to watch and pause it to pick out the things in the background which were purchased from my booth and from fellow dealers in the antiques mall, and I love the story of true friendship. But the ladies who were behind me that day really were not happy that I didn't tell them about the visit until after Ed Harris left!