Friday, September 30, 2011

Late night Postcard

Last night was another one of those nights when I had difficulty getting to sleep. So I came up to my studio and put together this scrap postcard. I finished it off this afternoon.

(click for details)

I'm not sure if it would go through the US mail; I've received, and sent, small coins attached to the backs for postcards without any problem, so I don't know how this would do. If I took it in to the Post Office I'm sure the little old, rather grim, woman behind the counter would tell me that it had to go in an envelope. And that would kind of cancel the idea of it being a postcard in the first place. The buttons are both glued and sewn on, with the card stock backing hiding the threads. Hmmm, I'll have to think about it!

Be sure and see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chaos and Calm we have yet another painting, I'm not sure what to call it, so, umm, right now we'll say, "Untitled Mixed Media".  :)

(click for detail)

It's not a great photograph, but it's hard to get the colors without the glare. The colors are deeper and more vibrant than what you see. It's the culmination of a process I learned in the Chaos and Calm, Over the Edge Painting Techniques workshop. First we created chaos and then we calmed it down, by painting in the shapes we saw. Here's the chaos part:

(click for details)

And then, in the next picture, I flipped it upside down and took the final painting from those shapes. Or what I saw, anyway.

(click for details)

I had a bit of trouble doing the second part, because I didn't want to cover anything up! But once I got started, it took a life of its own.

I'm going to group the 3 paintings together and take a shot of them on the wall, and post that later.

Oh, I do love color!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Recycle the Trash; and a Story: Small Things

Today we raided the wastebaskets to make some art out of what was thrown away.

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 

The Small Things
33rd in the Tuesday Story Series

During the early months as I struggled with the chronic illness of ME/CFS, one of the issues before me was how much my life was being reduced, as I saw it. I was losing the ability to participate in life as I had up until that time. It was a difficult struggle for me, because I had no control over the changes which were taking place and I mourned what  parts of my life I had lost. But God does not take away and leave you empty, No, He replaces with plans of His own for your life and that was a lesson I learned slowly over many month's time. I would not be an artist today, I do not think, because I never gave it any time or thought. My relationship with Christ has deepened because I had time to read and reflect. I felt free to pour out my sorrow, as David did in the words of the Psalms and God heard me, and then began to show me, slowly, His small things, His treasures for my life.

I wrote this poem after studying Zechariah 4:10 and the verse that tells us not to despise the day of small things. I did not realize it then, but God was teaching me, and starting from the inside out, in a sense remaking me, as He continues to do. Now I see the small things as gifts, and the days I am involved with my illness, bring me deep into the journey of change. So, I have learned that small can be good and satisfying.

Zechariah 4:10

Define small, Could it be
Perhaps insignificant, or useless,
Something easily overlooked, or looked down upon.
Yet if judging a disease, it is the small that
Is the biggest danger.

Or is it the block, the stone,
Placed one upon another deliberately,
And requiring time as the engineer.
The small proceeds to greatness that will
Be remarked upon as large.

Perhaps it is the slivers of life,
A bird song, a floating cloud
A bud huddled amongst the leaves.
There the small becomes the priceless
Worth more than grasping dreams.

In a whisper, small itself, yet louder
Than the clamor of frustration and mortality,
I heard “despise not the day of small things”.
Small things take root from the heart of God
And will transform beyond imagination.

I did not want to be small
Or spend my days in hidden things.
Reduced to something I interpreted
As shrunkenness, of no value, empty.
I struggled against the invisible prison.

But my days are not mine,
Nor is the sum of them my understanding.
I am small in the Hand of God, this promise,
This transformation, hidden from my eyes
But leading to an immense eternity.

© Rebecca Cook 2009
(written as I struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

May your Tuesday be blessed!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Welcome To My Studio!

Well, at least part of it, the part going up the stairs. I promise I will give part 2 of the tour later. After it's a bit a lot more cleaned up!

As you come up the stairs, there is a landing where the stairs turn right. Here I have a small antique child's cupboard. It was painted white when I bought it and after I cleaned most of the white paint off, there were some wonderful hand painted figures underneath, characters from stores and nursery rhymes. Why would someone want to paint over that??
Really dumb shortsighted.

(click for detail)
The little pink child's chair in the bottom right left is French, with a stuffed doll in it.

Sidney The Fish hangs from the light fixture, he was created by an artist friend in 
Washington state, and then came to live in my studio.
(click for details)

Looking down from the top of the stairs.
(click for details)

This is a vintage French seed packet holder, which is the perfect size to hold my tags. If I need one to go on a card I'm making, they are all in one place!
(click for details)

If anyone wants closeups of the things on the cupboard, I guess will be happy to take more pictures. And give you some background of each piece!

And you MUST It would be nice if you come follow my new blog Postcards Buffet! I have so many really nice postcards and I really want to share them, and the things I've learned about the world. I hope to see you over there! Please?

The weather is so nice and cool today, as it has been for the past several days. There have been lots of clouds moving through, but none with enough rain in them to share with us. Hopefully by Wednesday it's supposed to rain, and we really need it!

Hope your Monday and the beginning of your week goes well!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Flower Pot; and a Story: Song of The Air Conditioner

Tag Tuesday theme is a Flower Pot.

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 

AND we are trying to start a Facebook Page, so go check it out and "like" us and tell your artist friends so that they can join the tag making fun!

Song Of The Air Conditioner
32nd in the Tuesday Story Series

The last few mornings it has been cool enough to have the windows open first thing because the evening temperatures have been down into the low 60's. My studio is on the third floor of our home, actually, it's the only room at that level, so I don't really know if it qualifies as a whole floor! It has one window and I love to be able to open it because I can create art with birdsong and breezes as my accompaniment. On the ground below, the air conditioning units sit directly beneath my window, so when the units start singing, that's my cue to shut the window for the day. 

This morning as it started "singing", I reflected on how different life has been for many because of the invention of a way to cool air. Actually, that idea has been around since at least Roman times, when certain wealthy individuals would have water from an aqueduct circulating through the walls of their homes to cool them. The big difference with modern day air conditioning is that it takes the humidity out of the air and in my part of the country, that is a huge difference!

Growing up in the 50's and 60's, we had no air conditioning in our house, nor in most of the houses of people I knew. At night in the hot and humid air of summer, we used box fans in the windows to give us relief and to be able to sleep. Attic fans were in many homes, which, when turned on, would pull air through the house and create some comfort in the stifling heat. They were often loud and noisy as well! When I was in high school, many stores would attract customers by installing A/C and then putting a sign on their doors much like this one:

Automobiles didn't come equipped with air conditioning until the late 50's and it was not until 1968 that all cars produced in the US had A/C as an option. People sat on their porches in the south because in the early evening it was usually cooler outside than inside. 

As this marvel became more and more common in construction and industry, the entire United States showed a population shift from the 1950's through today. Las Vegas was nothing more than a crossroads and a few buildings, Florida had no sports teams and a dwindling population. Census records show that since the 1970's the American South and West made huge population increases and large gains in economic growth. 

I don't know if my grandparents would consider us "soft" now, but it has been proven that it's actually healthier for an older person to be in out of the heat with air conditioned, cooler air. My parents did not have A/C installed in their home until they were in their late 60's. Until then, staying overnight at my parent's home when we came to visit was not something we looked forward to in the summer! My father's health was failing and they began to see that it may be a good thing after all. All of their children and their children's families were very grateful and it made for a more pleasant visit with small children in tow.

So I lift a toast to Willis Carrier, who invented the air conditioner in 1902, in Buffalo New York of all places! I am doubly grateful for the blessing of air conditioning since I have had this chronic illness the past three years. So, while I prefer to hear birdsong while doing art, in the summer I am grateful for the song of the air conditioner!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jump for Joy

Another painting for the Chaos and Calm, Over the Edge Painting Techniques workshop. I know I'm slow, but my health has been up and down lately, with more bad times than good. However, I finished it today! I was going to call it Kangaroos In The Outback, but I think I like this title better! It's on 12x12 canvas.

Jump For Joy
(click for details)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More Postcards

I've been having fun ripping up tissue paper and making postcards. I showed one earlier this week, and here are two more. I really love using gift wrap tissue paper, it has such colorful patterns and a heavier body.

(click for details)

(click for details)

The weather has been cool enough to leave the windows open during the day. We had lots of rain on Monday which was a relief for our parched yard. I know that the weather is supposed to warm up into the 80's in the next few days, but we sure are enjoying this nice break!
Hope everyone's week is going well!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Moon; and a Story: A Day Trimmed In Black

For my Moon tag, I went in a Steampunk direction!

(click for details)

For details on how I made this, or to join in on the challenge, please go to 
AND we are trying to start a Facebook Page, so go check it out and "like" us and tell your artist friends so that they can join the tag making fun!

A Day Trimmed In Black
31st in the Tuesday Story Series

My maternal grandmother was born on September 11, 1897, so while growing up that was the important fact to me about that date. After she died in October 1991, I sent flowers to my mother on what would have been my grandmother's birthday the following year. After 2001, however, I unfortunately had a different reason to remember the 11th of September.

As the tenth year comes up next week marking that tragic time, all of us who are American citizens, (and many who aren't) remember where we were when the events unfolded. It was a difficult day for all of us. Personally, for several hours that day, fear camped out beside me on the sofa because my husband had been in New York and was flying out that morning.

When a friend called me about 9:30 to tell me to turn on the news, I sat there in shock, and all that was being said at the time was that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. What plane? From where? No one knew. I quickly called my husband's assistant and asked her what time John's flight was supposed to leave New York and she told me that it had just left and that some of the men in the group who had been scheduled for an upcoming flight had told her that they were just informed that there would be no more planes out. Knowing that I could not get a hold of John while he was in flight, I was very afraid that the plane was his which had hit the building and then when it came out that the flight was from Boston, I had a such sense of relief which almost made me feel guilty.

John had been in the Financial District, right in the area of the World Trade Center, for a business meeting all day on Monday, September 10th, with several other businessmen from Charleston. He told me later that when his plane took off, it circled back around to fly over New York City on its way south. They passed the tower from a short distance away, and could see the black smoke billowing out. The pilot spoke to the passengers and told them that a small plane had accidentally flown into the building, but John and several others realized that no small plane would have caused the amount of smoke and flames they saw. There was no other word from the pilots until about a half hour later, when it was announced that the plane would be landing at Norfolk VA because of an emergency. No one on the plane knew what had happened until they came into the airport terminal.

He called me right away, knowing I'd be very concerned about his whereabouts. I don't think I was ever so relived to hear his voice! He sounded somewhat in shock, and there was so much confusion and noise in the terminal I could hardly hear him. He said that the pilot had told them they were the last plane out of the New York airport. We also realized later that the second plane to hit the towers had been in the same air space his plane was in, several miles behind. That gave us both chills.

His group was trying to find a rental car for the trip home, while the other part of the traveling contingency was now stuck in New York and would not arrive home for several more days. About midday, John's group finally found a minivan and started the long drive home. Traffic on I-95 was almost bumper to bumper the entire way, and they spent the trip listening to the radio and getting calls from their family members with updates as the day progressed. When I finally heard the van pull up about 10 pm, I rushed out the door and threw my arms around him. Even though I knew he was all right, watching the news programs all day made his absence much more acute and being with him was the only thing I really wanted!

Next week on September 11, there will be many speeches and events marking the decade since this tragedy happened. We will remember and pray for those families whose lives were directly impacted by the fall of the Towers. Life in this world has no certainty, but life in the next does and that understanding gives us the grace to go forward each day. Love the people in your life and let them know it with hugs and smiles. And let them love you and tell you how important you are to them!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Art Playing

Yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend, and she had given me several items she thought would be interesting to me as art. It was one of my better days and I was hoping that the wellness feeling would carry over to today so that I could attend church, but alas, I had one of my can't-go-to-sleep nights, so I awoke very fatigued. As the morning wore on, I began to feel a bit better, so I went into my studio and made this postcard for her.

(Click for details)

It was actually started last night when I couldn't sleep.  I finished it then scanned it and so the color is not quite true, it has more lavender in it than what is showing. It's made from torn, stamped tissue as the background, then I stamped the sentiment on vellum and added a small dried orchid she had given me.The orchid has several coats of clear medium over it, so I hope it survives the trip through the Post Office. 

We are supposed to begin getting rain today and on through the next several days, from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. Although I know it spoils Labor Day plans for a lot of people, I am so thankful to get any rain, we need it so badly. The lakes are down again, and the farmers are struggling. 

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!