Thursday, February 28, 2008

Now It Is This!

I'm sliding in under the wire of has been wild and crazy! But, with only one hour and five minutes left in the 29th of is time to reveal some of the "It Was This...Now It Is That".

My cottage industry began with handmade jewelry in 1989. Here is the long version of the story should your weekend become immensely boring.,1789,HGTV_3310_1386686,00.html

So, it is not too far of a stretch to come back to creating the grass roots of my, sometimes you just need to change mediums to keep the ideas fresh. See if you can find the pieces of the lone earrings....

Real Merit Finds Favor!

"A work of real merit finds favor at last."
--A.B. Alcott

Just received my "win" from Ebay for the above button cards. More than likely , they have been resting in a sewing box for many years...collected notions of a seamstress that now has passed.

There is no question the Mother of Pearl buttons are beautiful...but, the artistry of the button cards is my LOVE! The sweet illustrations...the influence of the Victorian and Art Deco Eras....the distinct ornamentation of each companies wares...all provide a unique form of art. Obviously, the marketing department of button manufacturers stressed the importance of presentation. Even a simple white button should be graced with a beautiful, multi-colored, story telling card. This attention to detail and pride of presentation is the charm of the product.

Very often our focus can become the object...not what surrounds it...unfortunately, we sometimes think the mundane widget need not be graced with beauty for it only does a simple task...but, more often than not, it is the very garnish surrounding the object that provides the most pleasing visual.

I'm sure the customer that purchased the above cards enjoyed their beauty...but, knowing the era from whence they came, I would imagine the focus was on the need of a button. But affection is for the card...I know for certain the artistry work has merit and definitely finds favor with me.

P.S. The baubles of Wednesday's post find a home on Friday. It was it is that...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Weird Twists Of Time

Monday was a sick day for my child. She lounged around...slept...and we watched a movie together. She was beginning to experience some cabin fever, and I was working on my third cup of coffee...when we knew something had to change. With coffee only inches from my hand, a paint brush within sight, newspaper at my feet...I declared it painting time. With minimal effort I pulled out a pile of white price tags and some old flash cards, and the coffee painting began. Nothing makes paper look more aged than a nice coat of java.

This random act of creating has become a Ma-Da (Mother/Daughter) experience quite often with us. It invites the opportunity to chit chat...spill some interesting stories...reminisce about each of our childhoods...and discuss what the future might hold. These mindless activities often segue into creative projects. She began working on some adorable little necklaces (will show soon), and I made some handmade gift tags. It turned the afternoon into something far more memorable than the current flick on the television.

Upon reflection, the afternoon was summed up like this: the coffee painting conversation was about her future...while we painted paper to look aged...and the entire time I was wishing she would never grow up. Weird twists of time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Your Spot Of Earth

I'm somewhat stockpiling some art for a show I want to do in the Spring. Whew! Much work to do...

Here is the latest release. It is a tiny 5"x7" canvas...but the words are mighty. The interesting architectural rendering underneath the house was the inside cover of a book. I just loved the pen and ink flavor. My artistic interest very often is centered around a house, and always portraying brilliant words by various authors. How do you feel about your spot of earth?

Monday, February 25, 2008

It Was This...Now It is That!

"To have ideas is to gather flowers;
to think, is to weave them into garlands."
--Anne Sophie Swetchine

This past weekend while attending a sporting event...a little extra time was found to scout out a few antique malls. My daughter and I went on the hunt to find a few little nuggets of joy and quite easily found this $2 bag of earrings. It would have been a great find had you but one ear...thus, we must find them a new way of serving out their need to garnish.

I have challenged myself to create some goodies this week with these little baubles, and display the result. Sometimes a good personal goal setting can stimulate the senses in a new way. So, check daily and see what and/or if anything begins to surface. Tick...tock.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I Had No Words

I am not a photographer. I enjoy taking photos of quirky stuff...whacky people in motion...and my favorite animated subject is Daisy, my Boston Terrier. I do not take pictures of landscapes. I do not take photos of earthy things...for I feel there are many others, or professionals, that can capture Mother Nature in a much more appealing way than myself. I always depend on the written word to best describe things for me.

Yet, as I was driving to swim practice the other day, this image presented itself. Even I felt confident this might render a pleasing picture. For once, I had no words.

Do You Please Me?

"I'm a small canvas covered in strips of vintage silk scarves. I sit on an easel. I exude brilliant color. I brighten even the darkest space. I provide texture and history of prior trends. I am unique.
Am I I please?"

What is art? I ask myself this question daily as I attempt to create some pile of something into another pile of something else. From my understanding of art as a must consist of starting with a blank page, adding your creative juice through any variety of mediums (i.e. paint, pen, chalk,) and the end result being pleasing to the masses. But, as a somewhat creative adult, this definition has become quite archaic in my own brain.

Yes, there are schooled educators of art...and those that have learned techniques of various artists...and certainly those who can start with a blank page, add their creative juice and blow your mind. But, does this exclude those same creative people from being artists should they not fall under those type catagories?

Art to me has such a grey parameters of qualifications to fall "art" criteria. It is all art as defined by the artist. The only question really relevant is asked by the artist to his/her work of art...
"Do you please me?"

"The pride of the artisan in his art
and its uses is pride in himself...
It is in his skill and ability to make things
as he wishes them to be that he rejoices."
--George Santayana

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Grapes of Craft...

I just returned from the annual 3,500 mile check-up of my car. On the way home is this wonderful thrift store that I generally hit about once a month...this month being the exception, for this is my third stop. But, with 11 extra minutes in my schedule, one little drive-by was in order.

As a veteran "thrifter" you know what areas of the store could possibly hold the perfect finds. I immediately went to the far right corner of "miscellaneous", just next to the remnants of kitchen appliances...and to the left of piles of plastic hair curlers...and there they were...gleaming in all their unnatural splendor the classic cluster of "clacker" style, ocean blue grapes. I had to wait my turn and inch over to unobstructed reaching...only for two people to pick them up, reminisce about their own former cluster of grapes, cut tacky jokes, and eventually set them down. FINALLY...they were in my hands!

I looked for obvious "yuckiness", realized they were missing any form of foliage that might have earlier defined them as a cluster of grapes; and with further observation realized this was nothing more than hard plastic balls strung on to wire and attached to a 1" diameter stick. They were stunning...and they were mine for the primo price of one dollar.

"In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage."

--John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Chapter 25

"In the souls of the junker the grapes of craft are delightful and laying beautifully, gathering dust for the vintage."

--Alexa Lett's "The Grapes of Craft", last sentence

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Which Came First...

I was posed the question just the other day..."what comes first...the image/art or the words?" My immediate response was, "it can be either, depending on what sparks the creative process first." But, after mulling it over a wee bit...I'm inclined to lean towards the 'words' usually hit the creative pathway first at a much more consistent rate.

My fondness for people who can assemble minimal words and create multiple debates is overwhelming. Yes, there are those who do it much more often than others...but the opportunity for anyone to possess those skills are prevalent within us all. I can spend hours reading quote books authored by leaders, business people, women and children...anybody. Small assemblages of words condensed into two to three sentences that make you stop...close your eyes and think...there is no better way to expand your brain. These people define sheer genius for me.

I found this quote....
"No wild enthusiast ever yet could rest,
till half mankind were like himself possessed."

To those who write, read and enjoy the written word, this quote could not say it any better. It's official....I know which came first....

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's President's Day!

"This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,
that government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
--Abraham Lincoln

"The form of government is unimportant--the spirit everything."
--General Von Schmidt

Friday, February 15, 2008

Define Beauty...

"Appreciation, whether of nature, or books, or art, or men, depends very much on temperament. What is beauty or genius or greatness to one is far from being so to another."

--Tryon Edwards

What is your temperament to absorb what others might define as beautiful? Does your temperament dictate your definition of beauty, or does the definition of beauty define your temperament?

Defining beauty is quite simple for me. It is color, texture, history, words, thought, time and uniqueness. The image of beauty defines my temperament. Beauty puts my temperament in motion.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

"A kind heart is a fountain of gladness,
making everything in its vicinity
to freshen into smiles."
---Washington Irving

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Twisted Rorschach Test!

Met with an old friend yesterday, and had the pleasure of meeting a new friend as well. Upon developing new friendships, it is inevitable that unknown to you a list of criteria begins to form about the extent this friendship will grow and develop. At my ripe age of "getting old", there is no doubt I have created some key "kindred spirit" points that directly impact the furthering of friendship. Maybe this list of "friendship rules" begins to reflect how you are willing to spend your limited amount of free time...maybe it's your getting old and cranky and doing something you don't want to do is easy to determine...maybe its the matured filter system is waaaay more quick to judge. Should it be any of these or all, this unwritten list plays a role in advancing where you go in a relationship.

The picture above could easily represent my form of a Rorschack test. For someone who loves junk, and appreciates the used and weathered, this photo can easily determine many levels of mutual "kindred spirit". The simple answers and responses below are very would you respond to this question: What do you see?

a. junk on a trunk
b. there's a paper skeleton....I love those!
c. 8 Tracks....I had a case just like that, let's see if they have AC/DC
d. look, armless dolls...they must have been loved to death
e. I've been needing another crystal serving piece, that looks interesting
f. hey! that's a print just like my granny's
g. pretty the frame!
h. my friend has been looking for some scales, how much are they? her birthday is coming up...
i. why would anyone put those yard sale rejects on their nice cadillac?
j. garbage...or donations to Goodwill

The responses can be varied...but, to someone who supports the twisted Rorschach Personality Variation Test, it is quite telling. Tell me what you see...three or four of these answers...or just one?

Monday, February 11, 2008


In lieu of our election season...and the First Amendment...and the ability to reach anyone in the world via the internet... I'm feeling quite patriotic today and thought these words might inspire.

This is the latest piece of art...obviously, I'm going through a BINGO phase...everything seems to involve these wonderful old cards as of late. To all you fellow bloggers, this quote is for you. It is one of my personal favorites. Although, it is oddly ironic that Napoleon was the brilliance behind it.

In keeping with the ever evolving terminology and expanding verbiage of our society, it only seemed fitting to enhance Napoleon's genius with an adage of our time...du (duh)?

A Girl That Is Very Happy

This was my favorite find of the weekend. A bowl of words! While my daughter was attending a birthday party, I shopped at the largest thrift store in our area. There is something about going in a thrift store...the unique bouquet...the unknown treasure innocently sitting on the shelf waiting for you...the unexplained pricing structure of everything...and the perpetual interesting/annoying announcement that bellows across the entire building regarding the safety of your children and shopping carts. (obviously, there has been an issue with children and shopping carts) It is truly a buffet of the senses.

I wandered around for about an hour and fifteen minutes. In one of my final laps down the "this area is anything and everything that doesn't have a designated area", I noticed the tiny recycled former sandwhich bag with words. It is at this very moment you feel the cone of light beaming over your head and you know this is the very reason I've wandered around for one hour and fifteen minutes. I have found the treasure....WORDS!

Of course, the next fear much? In a thrift store, pricing can be somewhat random to the consumer, yet I'm sure logical to the "pricing person". I have yet to understand, and this particular time was no exception. My little bag of words was thirty-seven cents. Not thirty-five...or fifty cents, but thirty-seven. With quick haste, I dashed to the check-out and made my purchase. I am now...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Scrap Of Paper

Even I, the one who would not be described as a delicate, soft, dainty, Southern Belle...but, better described as a sturdy, creative, Southern farm girl has a softer side. One that does not involve dark dingy, paint chipped and weathered art...but, one with nice genteel colors of sky blue and passion pink. This all came together with a little scrap of paper on a receipt dated May 22, 1908, written with a quil pen to: Mrs. Darlington.

Can you imagine your name being Darlington? It would automatically make me feel more graceful and mannerly. The name itself does not sound like one associated with a woman wearing
chinos and a denim jacket. It brings soft presence before you ever see who
it is attached. Mrs. Darlington probably held this little scrap of paper...removed her pearl white gloves, reviewed her bill, and paid it in cash or the trade of beautiful chicken eggs. She paints an image of tranquility in my mind.

Funny how that works....preconceived notions about names...and how the person will be...look...act...sound. Creating art with artifacts of the past do the same thing...make you assume history that you have no foundation to create. If only that little scrap of paper could tell the real story.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Finding Creative Salvation

"Writing is like religion. Every man who

feels the call must work out his own salvation."

--George Horace Lorimer

The artsy creative side of my brain just ran head on into a brick wall. The ideas were stale, the glue was not sticking, the paint was the wrong color and I just ran out of ink in the printer. I elected to leave my "studio" (room I'm too embarrassed to show anyone, because of the ever growing pile of creativity, that strongly resembles a garbage dump) and headed toward my laundry (yet another heap in a small room I'm too embarrassed to show anyone, because of the ever growing pile of apparel, that strongly resembles a thrift store) to attempt some accomplishment in household duties. While sifting through the t-shirts and towels I began to think about what causes a creative block...I concluded...I don't have a clue. But, upon mental observation, this particular day, I didn't write first...I went straight to the work coffee, no house duties, no blog! Hark, an epiphany. Writing has become the jump start to the creative day. It's my coffee, my daily chore (in a good way), my creative salvation. I began this writing process for a few particular reasons, and now it has become the reason to do a few particular things. It's quite annoying, and somewhat refreshing to learn these little juicy tidbits about yourself...yet it's a shame it takes utter studio and home destruction to connect the dots. So, if experiencing any of the chaos as described above....find your salvation...

Love Of One's Home!

"The first indication of domestic
happiness is the love of one's home."


One more completed piece! If I may make this sound somewhat less of a big triumph...the piece is on a 5" square canvas...the picture does not quite allow for dimensions. It is tiny! My favorite is the itty bitty umbrella at the front door and the Monopoly hotel and houses on the top! Plus, notice a cigar wrapper made a showing as well.

After all the terrible storms the South has experienced in the past 24 hours...let's appreciate our homes that endured them...and remember those that didn't.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Blue Book Value!

"What we call the contagious force of an idea is the force of the people who embrace it"

Today is Super Arts Day! The whole day I have been painting...gluing...cutting...digging...assembling...and I only have one completed piece. But, I do have about 6 under construction. Everything usual...has been about repurposing something else. Here is a photo of the one completed piece. It is titled "Blue Book Value", because I love the quote! I'll post the others as they reach the end of the assembly line....hopefully by the end of the week. Keep checking in!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Crafting Historical Significance

My first recollection of being taught a technique of "crafting" was at 7 years old. One of the few memories I hold dear about my grandmother was the infamous --sequin/pin fruit! For some reason she loved it! A very large wooden pineapple held the sacred produce placed proudly on the doily layered middle of her dining room table. She pierced plastic fruit until her finger tips looked and felt like the leather tongue of an old Bass penny loafer. I was fascinated by the colors, and of course at 7, the sparkly fruit was outstanding. As time creeped into her hands, she paid me to make her fruit! She had bunches of apples, bananas, strawberries and peaches...all delicately placed to expose their most natural representation. I have no idea whatever became of the bowl or its contents...but, every time I see a cluster of sequin/pin fruit, layered in dust...I think of her, and the crafting historical significance she played in my future. To think bedazzled plums were the auspicious beginning...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pen Tales or Pins Tell? there is a sport my family loves to play. We all stink, but can kill a rainy, snowy afternoon in a bowling alley without any problem. This mini (about 5" tall) bowling pin was obviously a high score or tournament type award for some bowling aficionado. The number "212" is sharpied on the side. Obviously, someone could knock down some pins. Can you imagine the glee of receiving such an award? 212 is only 88 from playing a perfect game...keep in mind I can't score 88 in a game. I found this piece of vintage memorabilia in a yard sale for .25. All those pins that had to go down just to get it...and then the proof of good effort is thrown out amongst the worn out clothes and rusty skillets. Wow, the tales we could pen, or is it the stories the pin could tell?