Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Soft Pink and Green; And a Story: THE WILD EAST

Today's challenge is using soft pinks and greens. I actually made the background sometime ago when the challenge was simply to make a background tag. Now it's completed and has a new life!

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If you would like to play along, please visit Tag Tuesday Blog Challenge Garden.

The Wild East
20th in the Tuesday Story Series

Kicking aside clumps of newly plowed ground, eyes kept downward as he walked slowly in the hot sun, the young boy spied a small point thrusting though the soil. Reaching down and brushing it off as he straightened his back, he studied his prize - another arrowhead for his collection. Painstakingly finding them in plowed fields, creek beds and areas newly washed out by rain, he had a small but growing collection of artifacts used daily in a time long before his own life had begun. 

When the Europeans settled along the South Carolina coast, there were many Native American tribes in the area claimed and named by the English settlers as Carolina, and later divided into North Carolina and South Carolina. From the Cherokee in the northwest section of SC to the Waccamaw and Waxhaw at the coast, there were many different tribes and communities. Most of us grew up thinking of the Wild West as the place of cowboys and Indians, buffalo and wolves, but before Colonial times buffalo (or bison) and wolves were indigenous to the Carolinas and the Wild West was located right here. As far as the human characters in the drama, the trapper and Indian trader stood in for the cowboy, but the Indians were plentiful. As Charleston grew and pushed into Native American territory, there were major concerns of an attack which could wipe out most of the colonists in the town and on the farms in the surrounding area.

Around that same time, petitions promising land to new settlers were being sent around Europe, bringing German Lutherans to the center of South Carolina, where many of them entered through the port in Charleston. The officials of Charleston were glad to see it, thinking that they would provide a buffer between themselves and any Native American uprising. So gradually, as more settlers came, the tribal lands shrunk and buffalo and wolves diminished until there were no more. The Wild East became the Colonial East.

Some of John's collection.

The young boy above used to wonder about the people who had used the arrowheads, their day to day lives and how they looked and what they accomplished. Each artifact he held had been shaped by hand and used for bringing in food or for protection. Chips and breaks indicated usage, chiseled points and symmetry showed an artisan's care. He held on to his small collection as he grew up, and when we married they moved to a new home.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mixed Media ATC and Play

For a Mixed Media ATC swap, I turned to what's left of the original Tyvek collage which has yielded the base for several projects. It was the first collage I had done on Tyvek and did not turn out very well when looked at as a whole, but has certainly been lovely in cut up bits and pieces. I still have a good size piece left, but I am already planning on doing another one for cutting up purposes!

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The background seems moody and muted to me, so I added items I felt were supported by this idea. The heart charm is around a small red heart already on the collage, and then I added the fibers and went around the edge with some silver leafing.

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The above piece is an old used postcard which I altered. The original was a picture of Seattle,Washington. Don't think you can tell that now! I ran the postcard through the embosser with a texture fade of an old notebook page, and then applied a coat of gesso. The gesso was wiped and then applied again and wiped again. I adhered cut up pieces from a citrus bag with polymer medium, and after it dried, applied acrylic paint colors and sprayed with water so they would move. I also added some Glass Bead Gel mixed with paint, then dabbed some gold metallic paint across the teensy beads with a paint dauber. 

I am just experimenting with ways to use some of the stacks of postcards I have. Not the international ones I receive from Postcrossing, but a very large stack of other ones. This could be a background for something, or cut up and used in an even large collage creation, or...... something else I haven't thought of yet! It was fun and it's all part of playing around with what I have. 

Hope your Thursday is going well!


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tag Tuesday - The Spoon; And a Story: BIGHORN IN THE SKY

Today's theme in Tag Tuesday stretched us a bit! The theme is the SPOON and here's my take on it:

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The background is from a collage of fiber, fabric, papers and acrylic paint on Tyvek. It's the same piece from which I have cut postcards earlier and posted on my blog. If you want more details about the making of this, please click here.

Bighorn In The Sky
Twentieth in the Tuesday Story Series

When our daughter became old enough to travel, my husband and I used to take her with us on his business trips. He would travel several times a year for his job, and because we home schooled, we could go anytime. Her first trip was to Colorado when she was seven years old and we enjoyed very much being able to be there together!

We were staying in Ft. Collins, which was about an hour north of Denver. Colorado State is there and John was involved in a project with the Engineering department. So while he was in meetings during the day, Tabitha and I did a lot of sightseeing. John and I had been to the area before and so I already knew where she and I could enjoy some wonderful outings. We rode the trolley in Ft. Collins, visited a petting farm, went to the "old town" area of the city and to the zoo in Denver. But my favorite place to share with her was Mt. Evans.

Mt. Evans is almost directly west of Denver and is the highest paved road in America. At the top is an observatory (not open to the public) and the ruins of an old restaurant which burned down many years ago. But before you get to the top, there is a wonderful area with a glacier, and a small lake called Summit Lake. In the summer, you would still see snowflakes and if you were from the "flatlands" like we were, you had to move slowly because of the high altitude. It was so beautiful! We came very close to mountain goats and bighorn sheep.

 June 1986 - Mt Evans at Summit Lake

The road up to Mt. Evans is two lane, and on one side there is no shoulder. I kid you not, it is straight down, with only about 6 inches between the pavement and the edge. You did not speed. The view was tremendous, but you drove very slowly! On the day I took Tabitha up there, as we were coming back from Summit Lake we noticed Bighorn Sheep walking single file between the road and the drop off. We slowed down (even more) and pulled up along side of them. I rolled the window down and the leader of the pack stopped and studied us. I whispered to Tabitha to feed them one of the snack crackers she had in her lap and she held one out to him. He stuck his head in the car and munched it down, then suddenly several of them were trying to get in on this largess. How they managed to finagle around like that in such a small space is very amazing! We finished feeding them everything we could find and because the drivers in the few cars behind us were getting impatient, we reluctantly drove away.

1990, Mt. Evans with Tabitha and Bighorn

That trip has always been one of my favorite memories. Every time we had a trip to Colorado, we made sure to drive to Mt. Evans. However, the last time we were there, we were disappointed to see that there was a admission booth where you had to buy tickets to drive up the road, and a gift shop, etc. Mt. Evans had fallen to commercialism, and it wasn't quite the same. We really enjoyed it when it was a wilder place!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Quick Cards

In the past couple of days, I made two quick cards to send out, one to my daughter and one to a friend outside of Fargo ND.

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Nothing very fancy, but something fun to send a message in the US Mail!

The Bluebirds are raising their second brood and the juveniles from their first brood are hanging around the feeders now. Every time mom or dad Bluebird shows up at the feeder they start begging for the parents to feed them, even though they are quite capable of feeding themselves. We have a couple of small feeders with mill worms in them for the Bluebirds. I put the water dripper on the birdbath and it's been great fun to see them line up to use the birdbath now that the weather is getting quite warmer. I hung the hummingbird feeder from the top of the porch this year, right near where we sit. Now when the hummingbirds come, I can see through the clear bottom and watch their long thin tongue hit the bottom of the feeder in rapid repetitions! I'm hoping I can get some impatiens in the ground soon.

Enjoy your Monday!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Strawberries; And a Story: HOW MUCH INK?

Taking a sharp turn from all the blues and greens we've done the past few weeks, the theme today is Strawberries!

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It's bright enough to wake you up, don't you think? For details on how it was made, or to join the challenge, click here.

How Much Ink?
Nineteenth in the Tuesday Story Series

There was an illustrative story I read once, written by a man, I forget his name, who had realized a life's truth by an observation he made. He was sitting at his writing desk, engrossed in completing some correspondence to friends and acquaintances when he noticed a fly sitting on the windowsill near his desk. It was a common, ordinary housefly and it was busily grooming itself in the sunshine. The man dipped his quill in his ink bottle and bringing it over to the fly, let one drop of ink fall on it to see what the fly would do. The housefly immediately started vigorously cleaning itself, wiping his front legs over his face repeatedly and shaking its wings. 
"Interesting." thought the man who had at first believed that the ink drop would perhaps drown him. So as the fly was finishing his task, he filled the quill again and let it drop. Once again, the fly began taking care of this problem immediately. This course of events replayed a couple of more times, and the man noticed that the fly was becoming slower in its response. Finally, the fly did not move, whether done in by exhaustion, or the poisonous ink the man could not tell. He reflected on this experience and relating it to the human realm. thought how often people deal with adverse conditions, and that when calamity follows calamity how people are worn down and even more so when they are trying to fight in their own strength. When there is no break for reflection or refreshing of the spirit, man can be drowned in whatever ink has befallen him.

We are not meant to carry all that we struggle with alone. Prayer is an avenue open to us, not just for times of trouble, but times of praise as well. Having friends with whom to pour out your heart is another way of "cleaning the ink off". Being a friend willing to help someone unburden themselves is a precious gift. We all have been in both places and I hope that you will open your heart to someone you may know who is going through a rough time. Listening is an art, and easily done by keeping our mouths closed and using our ears to hear, not our minds to form responses for when it's our turn to talk. 

Recently I have felt like that fly and it's been difficult because there is no one here I can really talk with. We moved here 4 years ago, and I have been stricken with the illness now for 3 of those 4 years, not really having sufficient time to form friendships. We have been under crushing stress with the situation with our adopted son and my husband and I are leaning heavily on our faith to bring us through these troubling times. I long for a friend, though, someone who would enjoy spending some of their busy time sitting with me on the porch, helping me see better out of these ink stained eyes and help give me respite during this time of struggle. I pray God will give me such a gift!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Short Musings

Well, my blog was looking a little lonely, only seeming to post once or twice a week. It's been a rough month for us with our adopted son. He has emotional disabilities, other disorders and  he cannot live at home. He is 19, totally irresponsible, will not listen to advice, and completely lost. He is unstable and we cannot find much help for him because of budget cuts. We are praying that he will finish high school and be able to get some sort of job, if he is willing to work. My husband has had to put in a lot of emotional time and effort to try an keep him on some sort of even keel and it is taking its toll on him. I suffer from PTSD because of years of life with this child and currently have ME/CFS and it's coming up on three years of that. I have been ordered by my doctors to not see or speak to this child and I still have flashbacks.

I don't usually say much about this, because I prefer to focus on more positive things and most people don't seem to understand anyway. We have gotten lots of unasked for advice and ignorant comments. Because of our faith, we push on. If I did not have the Lord to lean on, I do not know how I would have made it this far. It is comforting to know that this is not all there is, that someday there is an eternity without pain and suffering and that this life is so small in comparison. The sorrow of this world will be replaced with joys and beauty. I believe it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tag Tuesday - The Deep; And a Story: TO BE OR NOT

For today's Tag Tuesday, the theme is The Deep, as in deep in the ocean or the deep blue sea. I actually had started this tag sometime back for something else, but didn't like how it was turning out so I put is aside and did another one. I found it again a few days ago, and had new insight in what I wanted to do with it and this is the result. I remember reading not too long ago about how having to straighten up your studio could be a blessing in disguise because you may uncover something that brings a creative spark and that's just what happened! Sometimes I'm happy that I find it difficult to throw away things. :)

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For information on how I made it, and to join in the Tag Challenge, click here. We always love to have new people join the challenge!

To Be Or Not
Eighteenth in the Tuesday Story Series

My husband John and I met when he moved in next door to my roommate and me on the Isle of Palms. I liked him from the beginning (wasn't that convenient!) and after knowing each other for a couple of months, he asked me out to dinner several times and each time was a delightful evening. I gleaned from our conversations that I was older than he and that bothered me a bit. Not because he was five years younger, but because I thought once he knew I was older, the age difference might bother him. So the subject never really came up, but I knew sooner or later, it would.

One particularly lovely Autumn evening, we were driving back to the islands after a fresh seafood dinner and the conversation turned to theatre. John mentioned that he had often participated in such activities during his high school years, and that he had memorized several passages from Shakespeare. John is an engineer and it is not a common thing for an engineer to like theater, art and classical music, all of which were part of John's life. I expressed surprise about the Shakespeare and asked him if he remembered anything. He immediately launched into Hamlet's soliloquy from act three, scene one, speaking with no hesitation as we crossed the connecting bridges to the sea islands.

After he had finished, I was very impressed and I told him so. He smiled at me and there was a comfortable silence for a few minutes. Then, he said "You know, I know you are a bit older than me, do you mind if I ask how old you are?" 

"Oh no!" I thought, "here it comes." And saying a quick prayer, I simply said "I'm thirty-two."

"No, no," he replied, not believing me, "it's ok, how old are you really?"

"I'm thirty-two."

"Oh, c'mon, it's ok- just tell me."


Dead silence. We crossed the last bridge connecting the islands and he turned down our street. "Well, that's it." I thought, "It's obvious that he is bothered by the age difference." And we said goodnight and I went through the front door, into my room and starting crying. My roommate came in and was saddened to hear my tale of woe, and she started crying too.

The next day there was a knock at the door, and there stood John. I was happily surprised and invited him in, telling him that after the night before, I thought he wasn't interested in seeing me again. It was then that he told me that his fear was that I would think he was too young for me and he had to come back and make sure! 

And the rest, as they say, is history!!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Art Czech

One of the fun things about Postcrossing is that you never know what country you will be sending to or receiving from. I've received many really nice cards and yesterday a neat one came in from the Czech Republic. It was a card printed from a lino-cut that the sender had made. Lino-cuts are like wood block cuts, the artist carves the art in a square of linoleum backwards, then inks and prints it.

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The sender included his address on the postcard with the greeting, and when that happens, I try to send a thank you card back to them. So I cut out a third collage postcard piece and glued it to card stock and sent it to him.

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It's textured, so I hope it doesn't have a problem getting there! Today I sent out postcards to Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Belarus and the US. I don't usually send hand made postcards unless the receiver states in their profile that they like to receive them. It's a lot of fun!

Hope your day is going well!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tag Tuesday - Color Combo; And a Story: OWL ON THE ROAD

The theme for Tag Tuesday was the color combination of blue and green. My tag is pretty simple, it was one of those not so great weeks health wise. But hey - I did one!

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For more information about how I made the tag, or to join the challenge, click here..

Owl On the Road
Seventeenth in the Tuesday Story Series

I have mentioned in an earlier story that my father's parents lived in a small village in the mid-state. When we would travel there for a visit, it would be on back roads, which at that time were the ONLY roads to travel anywhere, because I-26 wasn't completed until during the decade of the 1960's. So I guess in reality they weren't really back roads at all, but instead were the main roads of the time! Anyway, the drive took us through small towns, country pastures, and intersections which may have boasted simply a gas station or a post office. We enjoyed it, because there were always things to look at and we played some fun travel games, which I will detail in another story.

One particular Sunday evening (we usually made a day trip on a Sunday), the weather was turning stormy as we approached the Charleston area. I liked storms, still do, and had firm trust in my Dad's driving those two lane roads. As we were coming down Hwy 61, the road where several famous plantations fronted, the trees were swaying and rain was beating on the car. Dad was travelling pretty slow because it was so dark. Suddenly he hit the brakes, and backed the car up a bit, put it in park and hopped out. He picked up something and put it in the trunk of the car, and returned, a bit wetter, to the drivers seat. Of course we we clamoring for more information, even my mother was unsure of what just transpired. Dad calmed us down and said that he had noticed a Barred Owl sitting by the side of the road, and when he stopped and went back to it, it never moved, so Dad was able to pick it up. He thought it was stunned by either lightening or by flying into a loose branch in the storm. 

We had a wooden cage up on legs in the backyard which over time had held baby raccoons, and other forms of wildlife that my Father had come across in his traversing across farmlands. We kept him him the cage for a few days to make sure he had no injuries. Of course, we named him Hooty (please, I was only 10, and the rest were even younger!) The Charleston newspaper came out and took a picture of me holding the owl.

March 1959
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I look a bit stressed, but it was because of the way they made me hold him - I kept thinking I must have been hurting him. Soon, Dad felt like Hooty was ready to return to the wild, and we released him one afternoon into the woods behind our house. As soon as he flew up in a nearby tree, the blue jays, crows, mocking birds, and others made the most awful ruckus and dived at him repeatedly. They were obviously none too fond of him, and they were a bit riled that he was out during their time in the neighborhood, rather than waiting till evening as a proper owl should. He seemed to take no mind of them, but preened his feathers a bit, then gracefully took wing further back in to the forest, with his retinue screaming behind him. I think the love I have for animals comes from seeing the care my dad took of the wild ones he would come across. The place where we parted opinion was whether dogs should be in the house or out, but that's another story!

Be kind to animals!