Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Story: I'm from Where?

Sunday night I had a hard time getting to sleep, so I began working on another art project, a second deli wrap collage. It's still in the beginning stage, and I have no photos yet because I have had a head cold which has really slowed me down with my already constant fatigue. I hope to have pictures for you on another day!


42nd in the Tuesday Story Series

Growing up I always enjoyed hearing my father tell stories about his ancestors. History has always fascinated me and these anecdotes just brought it to life. Then one day when I was older, my Dad showed me a little red book with my father's family name embossed in gold on the front ~ LIVINGSTON. This little book was written by another Livingston descendant who had interviewed his relatives and looked at family Bibles and local cemeteries in his area to compile all of his information. He even had copies of old photographs in his book, so it made the little book extra precious. It had been written in the 1940's.

The author had started this genealogical record with the head of the family who had moved to Orangeburg County SC from Newberry County SC and was the forebearer of all of the Livingstons in Orangeburg. He was my gggg - grandfather, John Livingston.

The author opened the paragraph of his little book by referring to Robert Livingston of New York, who had signed the Declaration of Independence. He spoke about Robert's Scottish heritage, tying it in with our heritage, stating that we were part of a centuries old Livingston Scottish clan. When I was older, I bought a little book about Scottish Clans and even joined the local Scottish Society.

In 1999, I started doing serious research work on all lines in my family. The first, and easiest to do was the Livingston line. Genealogy was beginning its rise as a popular pastime and there were more books available to research. There were more and more organizations which were posting their information online. But at that time, the best way was still to go to archives and spend hours searching through old records. I loved it - it was like a little window back into time.

I began by searching out everything I could find about Robert Livingston. Since he was a famous patriot, there was much information and genealogical records already published in many books. I searched and searched, but could find nothing about any of his family extending into the South. In fact, no one ventured out of the northeast! Puzzled, I started to look elsewhere. I drove from Charleston to the SC State Archives outside of Columbia SC and spent most of the day digging. Starting with what I knew (the ancestors I had proof about) I worked backwards and several hours later, I was looking at a Land Grant for one Martin Luther Leviston. His son's name was John Livingston. Martin was from Germany.

When I told my Dad that evening that I thought we were from Germany and not Scotland, he was very dubious. But after more research, I was able to put it all together.

Martin's family arrived in Philadelphia PA from the Palantine area of Germany on 21 September 1727, on the ship William and Mary. Their last name was Liebenstein, and they settled outside of Lancaster PA, and joined the Muddy Creek Lutheran Church. Michael and two of his brothers were given a land grant in Maryland, then sold the land and moved to Newberry County SC where they acquired another land grant. Martin's son John moved to Orangeburg County and started a saw mill; it was this family from which my father's family is descended.

Also, Martin was a Tory during the Revolutionary War, and was a Captain in the SC Royalists. He was serving under Lord Rawdon at Camden SC and was killed in September 1781 during an unsuccessful attack by the militia of Nathaniel Greene. His two brothers were also Tories, then switched to the Patriot side after the fall of Charleston SC to the British.

So my heritage went from haggis to schnitzel, at least for this family line. And it was fine with me, I had no preference for what country I was from, I just wanted to know the facts. The author of the little Livingston book made a serious mistake by assuming that one name was the same as another. Many refugees and newcomers to America Anglicized their names, or had them Anglicized for them by the authorities who could not pronounce what they were hearing when the records were recorded. The names changed down through the records as Liebenstein, Loewenstein, Leviston, Liviston, Livingston. There are many Livingstons in the US who can trace their line back to Scotland, but ours has a different history. Many American names are like that - you cannot be sure what nationality they are until you do a little research. In genealogy, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to assume a fact.  Much of life is like that - don't assume, find out!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cork Board Project

Today I finished the cork board project!

I ordered this Washi (paper) Tape from Paper Source, 5 different rolls, 16 yards per roll;  this particular tape is made by Cavallini and I chose it because of the colors. My order also included the luscious Loktaki papers you see under the tape, and several other items. They have some wonderful items at this source!

I used the tape all around the gessoed wood, layering it as I went and tucking the final layer under the edge of the wood.

I mitered each corner, and then put a coat of Polymer Medium over it all to seal the paper tape together. 

Now it's ready to hang! 

Click on any picture for details.

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Nature's Protection

Recently I have been trying to walk a small distance on the few days when I have just a bit more energy. It's not far, and it's not level around here, so I get a tiny workout. I've been wiped out when I return, but it is so nice to go out of doors! I have always had an eye for whatever secrets I can discover in nature, so I'm going to share my most recent one.

In a small leafless shrub near the edge of a pasture, I saw a nest left from last breeding season. I went over to look at it and as it was still in pretty good shape, I decided to bring it home. After taking the dead leaves out of the nest, I found another surprise, bits of egg shell!

I have been studying the nest and the colors on the shell and have narrowed it down to a Northern Mockingbird. Usually the outside of the nest appears "thornier", but after all the nest has been around for months through storms and wind. The inside is made of woven rootlets, plant stems and horse hair. Mockingbird's eggs can be shades of blue or green heavily marked with brown spots. They build a nest for each brood and commonly have two broods a season. 

There is a Nature Reserve down the road from us and before I became ill, I used to love to walk through there with the dogs. There is a small pond and the trail goes through woods and clearings, uphill and down. John walks the dogs through there now and tries to bring me something back, because he knows how much I love the small things in nature. The last couple of times, he brought these:

Little cocoons, which were attached to small shrubs. He said they were hard to find (they are 1 to 2 inches long). I just love the textures on these! Don't I have a wonderful husband? I don't know what kind they are, maybe I can find out.

I purchased this book several years ago, and it has been a great help to me. Of course now we have the Internet and you can find pictures of almost any kind of bird's nest and eggs. But it's nice to have a small book handy; we would take this with us when we used to go camping. And someday, if I regain enough of my strength back, we will take it again!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Inspiration Board Project, and a Story: Saturn

Wow, it has been a week since I posted! It wasn't intentional, just part of this illness - it's been a rough week, but I am glad to have something to write about today!

I started this project a little over a week ago, here is the link, and worked on it again today. It's the cork board I am altering. I considered several ways to alter the board, tried stencils and ink, which was too light and then went with stencils and black acrylic paint. I wanted to keep it muted rather than bright because I didn't want it the background fighting with the different objects I attach to it.

After stenciling with black, I added a few areas in Nickel Azo Gold acrylic paint.

This is some decorative tissue paper I am considering using on the gessoed frame. The colors are very primary and the design is juvenile, but once torn into strips .................

.......... you don't see the design and I have some ideas as to how to mute them a bit. So check back and see how it proceeds!

I've changed my mind and will use something else instead of this paper! Stay with my blog to check it out!


41st in the Tuesday Story Series

We home schooled our daughter Tabitha, which I may have mentioned before. In her Junior and Senior year, she took a couple of Astronomy courses at the local Tech college to meet some of her science requirements, which also counted as a college credit. The course included night time planetary viewings and I had the opportunity to accompany Tabitha on one of them.

We had to drive above Summerville, which is outside of Charleston, to get away from some of the light pollution. Of course, it wasn't completely dark even then, but the instructor had a strong telescope and Saturn was in the night sky, and that's what we were hoping to see, barring any bad weather.

When we arrived at the spot, the night was clear and it was cool, so there was no heat to distort images. The instructor set up his telescope, pointed it in the right direction and adjusted everything to make it as clear as possible. As we all stood in silence, he looked for Saturn and then we heard a satisfied "Ahhhhh!" and knew it was in his sights. One by one, the students took turns looking at it and asked questions. After all of the students had viewed it, he asked me if I wanted a look and of course, I said Yes!

We all have see pictures of Saturn and its rings; it's in every elementary school science book in the USA (and other countries too, I'm sure). One of the first things a student learns in science is about the sun and the planets, so the image of Saturn is very familiar to all of us. But, it is nothing like seeing it through a strong telescope!

As I looked, I gave an involuntary gasp. It was so beautiful! The sun was reflecting off of it and it glowed in the telescope. It was a soft gold, and the rings clearly stood out. I was not expecting to respond the way I did, but it sort of stunned me. I wish I had the words to express how utterly breathtaking it was to see this creation of God's with my own eyes, rather than in a picture. 

On the way home that night, I kept reflecting on what I had seen. I remembered the verse in Genesis about God creating the heavens and the earth, and how pleased He was when He was finished. It's very easy to forget how magnificent the universe is, all around us, when we have so many issues to deal with on a day to day basis. But regardless of what is happening in the immediate, it is comforting to remember that there is so much more than today, and so much more than just what we see at the moment. All we need to do is lift up our eyes!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Story: Good Night!

I'm having a flaring up of ME/CFS symptoms so no art for today's blog. I did show a project I was beginning in yesterday's blog, if you care to look!


Good Night!
40th in the Tuesday Story Series

As I have stated in several other stories, my grandparents on my father's side lived towards the middle of the state, about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Charleston SC in the days before Interstate 26 was built. We usually would go for the day (usually a Sunday) and that would mean returning home late at night. I say late, because most of the time the next day was a school day and for a bunch of kids to arrive home past their bedtimes meant whiny attitudes preceded bed, and then ran over into the next morning.  

Most of the time the children would fall asleep in the car on the way home. As I grew older, I would stay awake and my favorite activity was to stare out into the dark, and imagine the families behind the lit windows, away across a field, or in the big houses of the small towns we would pass through. I especially loved the clear nights which showed the stars densely packed in the skies. There was very little light pollution then, and our own galaxy, the Milky Way would just draw me in. These days, you have to go to very out of the way places to see the full Milky Way, and that makes me sad. The stars that one sees from the yard usually don't have any impact because their numbers are few and they just don't inspire awe in the viewer. We need that awe to remind us that there are many great things out there which we don't understand, but can enjoy the beauty. In fact, the beauty is really necessary!

Yes, it looked just like this.

The other aspect of those trips home would involve my parents singing. My mother didn't get her driver's license until I was 15, so my father did all the driving. They would softly sing together for miles - hymns, popular songs from their time in the Navy during WW II and other ditties so that my father would stay awake. One I remember hearing always left me thinking it was odd - Good Night, Irene. 

Published by Huddie Ledbetter (commonly called Leadbelly Ledbetter) in 1934, you can sometimes still hear the folk song sung at different events. It's a sad song, and expresses the singer's frustration about his romance with Irene gone wrong. But as a child, I just remember how odd the verses were to me, unfamiliar as I was to romance. Especially this one:

Sometimes I live in the country,
Sometimes I live in the town.
Sometimes I have a great notion
To jump in the river and drown.

Wait!............. REALLY??

My parents would just be singing it out, and I was pondering over the facts that you live in the country, you live in the town (Ok, I got this part) but then you just want to go jump in the river? What, you are tired of the country or town? Why would you want to drown? I thought that was the oddest song to even sing! And then I couldn't ask my parents about it because they thought I was asleep, and I didn't want to wake the others. Then, I'd forget about it until the next trip home from my grandparents house.

Years later, of course it made a little more sense. I would sometimes even sing along, since I was older then and not expected to fall asleep. As I think about it now, my parents probably missed those times of thinking we were all asleep, because they felt freer to talk. There were some interesting conversations, but that's another story!

This first version is Leadbelly singing it with the original words.

This version was done by the folk group, The Weavers. It became a hit song about 1950, and this was the version my parents sang. The Weavers changed some of the lyrics, but it was still a song about romance gone wrong.

Good Night Irene has been recorded by some famous names in music, such as Johnny Cash and Eric Clapton, even Frank Sinatra! But no matter who sings it, when I hear it, it takes me back to traveling in the dark, staring out at the starry skies and hearing my parents sing.

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Another Project

Well, all of the art collage postcards were sent, a couple of them have been received and it was reported that they arrived unscathed. Two are going out of country, one to the UK and the other to New Zealand, so I won't hear about them for awhile. I am hoping that the others in the US will let me know as soon as they arrive; today was a postal holiday so it may be in the next day or so.

I've started another project, but it may take me a little longer. The ME/CFS symptoms of crushing fatigue, insomnia, muddled mind and  more have been ramping up this past week. (I couldn't get to sleep last night until about 5 am, and this was with taking meds!) Ugh. I know that the Postcard Project probably took a hit on my health, but I get so tired of just lying down!!! 

Anyway, I'll see if I can pace myself better on this small project!


I'm too embarrassed to tell you how long I have had this cork board; I purchased it with the idea of making it a place to put photos, cards and the like for inspiration and encouragement. It has been sitting, waiting for me to feel motivated to do something with it. My original idea seemed a bit overwhelming to me now, so I asked myself "What can I do now, at this moment? What would be the easiest?" and from that I set off!

I had bought this Gaffer tape to put around the frame, but it was not quite long enough, and when I searched the Internet to purchase another roll, I found out it isn't made any more! So, scratch that idea.

I'm thinking of doing a tissue collage around the frame, so I covered the slick wood with gesso to give it some teeth.

Then I pulled out some craft paints that have been left over from long ago, and decided to do a "paint/stain" covering across the cork. I mixed together the ivory craft paint, generous  amounts of glazing liquid, and water to cover the cork.

This was when I was about halfway done. It's all dry now, and I have some ideas about how to proceed, which I will document as I go along. Now I have to rest and try to come back from this relapse!

Click on any picture to see it closer.

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Heading Out

(click for details)

And the art collage postcards are all heading out to the respective receivers today! Thank you to all who signed up for one!

Now, who wants to come and help me clean up my studio? Anyone? Ugh, I will never have a clean neat studio. This art genre involves so many small bits and pieces and I never quite know how to organize them. And when perhaps they are somewhat in order, they never stay that way for very long. 

I should call it  "The Always Messy Studio".


Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I am so delighted to be sending out my postcards! The following people will get something special in the mail:

Sparkley Fairy


How about that, all nine gone! Thank you so much for allowing me to share my art with you. I have some of the addresses, but others I will contact for their address. Please let me know when you have received the postcard and how well it stood the test of travel. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nine Postcards, Ready To Be Delivered! (No Story Today)

The Postcard Project is finished! And I have had some interest, so I will be sending several of them out to people across the US. There is still time to sign up on this post, as I will wait until the end of the day and announce the winners tomorrow!

Please join in! It's free!
All you have to do is comment after the blog (some people are finding it hard to leave a  comment on Blogger, so feel free to leave one on Facebook and I will include your name).  That's it!
I will send them to you in the US Mail, and I look forward to sharing my art!

How often do you have a chance to get something for free??

(If you are a local friend, please sign up too - I would love to send you one!)

Each postcard is 6 x 4, on foam core board and will be sent with proper postage. Each is an individual art collage and can be framed. The back of the postcards will not be pristine, as it is impossible to keep the backs from being spattered or have paint run, but you are not framing the backs anyway! :) These postcards are in no particular order. 

Click on picture to see details.

Rose petal, dried small orchid, papers, inks, sequins stamping, Belarus postage stamp, and paints.

Art flower, Dresden Scrap bird, sequins, papers, stamping, Netherland postage stamp, and paints.

Butterfly punched paper, dried small orchid, sequins, papers, gem, stamping, and paints

Dried orchid, Dresden Scrap bird, Norway postage stamp, sequins, stamping, papers, beading, and paints.

Beading, stamping, papers, gem, applique, lace, and paint.

Flower applique, lace, Netherlands postage stamp, papers, flower gem, stamping and paints.

Metal corner, 3 colored mini glass beads, sequins, stamping, papers, and paints.

Dried rose petal, dried orchid, metal heart, stamping, papers, and paints.

Leaf applique, tiny bird brad, stamping, papers, and paints.

Would you like to receive one? 
Be sure and sign up today 
Winners named tomorrow!

Come see my latest postcards I've received on Postcards Buffet!