Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tabletop Tuesday

I've finally taken the extra leaf out of the dining room table and have set up my bookbinding work area. I thought it would make a good post to show some of my tools and resources.

Here is the work area before I get in there and get it all a mess:

This photo is a close up of some of the covers I am planning to use in my next journals:

And here is the book press the hubster made for me. Isn't he a sweetie?

The hubster took me out to breakfast this morning and we did a bit of Christmas-related shopping. We are in the middle of what may be the last warmish day of the season, so even as I type this he is outdoors finishing up the outdoor decorating.

I am planning to get a bit of organizing done in my art room and then see if I can't get a couple more journals completed today.

A handmade journal would make a great Christmas present for someone you love or for yourself. Hint, hint!!

Lots to do, so little time.......


Monday, November 29, 2010

Last Minute Monday

I think I've been lost and have finally found myself.

We celebrated Thanksgiving on Friday with my son, his girlfriend and his daughter (the other Little Miss 7) and one of the hubster's brothers. It was very busy, wonderfully aromatic and lots of fun. Little Miss 7 stayed overnight. We set the alarm for Saturday morning and she and I followed Poppa into town to help him set up for his craft show. We met some really great people at the show and purchased a couple of things for my little sweetie and then I took her home. I went back to the fairgrounds later in the day to help the hubster load up for the drive home.

On Sunday after I made homemade turkey soup, Poppa and I went over to the daughters where we cleaned out the eaves, hung outdoor Christmas lights and helped her clean out her garage by taking cardboard and styrofoam to the recycle center. Sunday night my daughter's two little girls stayed overnight and we got up to an alarm again to get this Little Miss 7 ready for school. I drove her to school and then spent the day with Little Miss 3 until I took her home around 4 pm. I got home just in time to tutor the Algebra student from across the street.

I finally decided it was time to post to my blog. While I haven't been very artsy, I've had a couple of artists in residence and have a couple of pix to share.

On another note, I had an inquiry as to whether or not I would consider making a journal with graph paper pages. I looked around and found I had some gridded paper left over from my supplies while teaching high school math. I cut them, folded them and put them into signatures and found a cover I liked, but then decided the paper was too lightweight for the waxed linen thread I'd been using for heavier paper. I went to JoAnn's yesterday and they were having a buy one, get one free sale on heavyweight polyester thread. I got 4 different colors - 2 I paid for and 2 were free.

I will try to get some stitching done tomorrow, but have another busy day coming up, so no promises. Here is what the journal looks like so far.

I really like the soft vinyl covers and think I will sew the signatures with  the same stitch I used in the last one and then just attach endpapers to hold it all together. In that way, the journal will open flat.

I wanted to give a heads up to the blogger who gave a link to a wonderful artists who uses only Crayola crayons, but I can't remember who that blogger was. After being told by everyone whose art classes I've had the opportunity to attend that you should buy the best materials you can buy regardless of the price, it is so refreshing to see this talent and to know that he is using only children's crayons. You really owe it to yourself to go to Don Marco's site and take a look.

I hear the hubster making salad in the kitchen and I really should go help with dinner preparation. I hope to see you tomorrow.


Friday, November 26, 2010

My Handmade Books and Foodie Friday

I've had several requests for purchase information for my handmade books and inquiries about custom orders. I've added a tab at the top of the blog that links to information regarding purchase including a photo, description and pricing information.

Thank you so much for your interest.


We are celebrating Thanksgiving today to accommodate our children's schedule. I am so looking forward to it. Something seemed to be missing yesterday. Because of the preparations for today, we had a peculiar menu yesterday.

We had fried eggs over rice and black beans for breakfast. YUMMY! Perhaps my favorite meal.

There was leftover Smoky Chorizo and Navy Bean Soup for lunch. HOT and delicious.

And we had the unforgettable romaine salad with fresh mushrooms and tomatoes with a baked potato for dinner. A rare meatless meal around here. Filling and good.

I can't wait for today's dinner.

What are you having today? Do you have lots of tasty leftovers? Did you already have a turkey sandwich as a late night snack last evening?

You aren't one of those CRAZY people who camp out overnight to get a Black Friday deal, are you? I've never gone shopping on Black Friday and probably never will. But who knows, given the right conditions (someone else driving, some spending money, and a good previous night's sleep), I suppose it could happen. The shopping, not the camping out!!!!

I hope you are having a warm and loving holiday season. Do you have your Christmas lights up yet?? Or the other decorations associated with other non-Christian holidays that you celebrate this time of year?? I'm thinking I should refer to the December holiday as xmas, but some people take offense with that.

I sure hope we didn't squander the last warmish day last week and end up putting up the outside lights in the freezing cold!

I am really looking forward to having the little girls over to hang the dated ornaments along the wall in the dining area. They really enjoy it and we do too. It has become a holiday tradition.

I'm still in my jimjams drinking my second cup of coffee. I'd better get this old body in gear!!!.....


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I didn't get any art done yesterday at all, but my house is considerably cleaner than it was the day before. I even cleaned out the silverware drawers and washed down the kitchen cabinets. All that is left to do today is the dusting.

I just found this beautiful card on Last Door Down the Hall. Elizabeth frequently provides some vintage prints for her readers to use. Thanks so much Elizabeth!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day surrounded by family and friends.

Thank you for your friendship. It is greatly appreciated.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Workday Wednesday

It is definitely looking and feeling like November these days. I was really enjoying the weather up until a few days ago. Now I feel like staying inside and hibernating.

I have added a book to my shelf of handmade books. It has a vinyl cover and flecked endpapers. It has five signatures with five folios in each for a total of 100 pages. It is approximately 8 inches tall and 5.5 inches wide. I seem to be stuck at this size. I really like my journals to be a bit smaller than that. I think my ideal size is about 6" tall and 4" wide. I'm going to try something more that size for my next one.

Here is what it looks like from the outside:

The color is actually more cinnamon than this and I love the design.

The endpapers are a lightweight butterscotch color with little flecks of gray/brown. I don't think you can see the flecks much in this picture:

The journal lays flat and is sewn together with what I call a weave stitch. I don't know what it is really called, but I found it on Michael Shannon's website. You can see the instructions here. The really nice thing about the stitch is that it holds together really well and the book still opens flat.

There are some minor mistakes in this journal. The inside front cover shows a bit at the top of the front endpapers and the bottom and right edge of the inside back cover show a bit at the back endpaper. The notebook doesn't feel skewed despite that and it is not a spoiler. I really am pretty happy with how this one turned out.

I've promised myself I am going to try a very loose wet in wet watercolor today. I am also in the middle of a novel called "What is Left the Daughter" by Howard Norman, a pretty interesting read so far. And, of course, I'd like to make another little journal.

We are celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday this year to better accommodate family. The turkey is in the refrigerator thawing, the squash has been selected, the potatoes purchased, the cornbread stuffing planned. Now we just have to decide whether or not we are making the green bean casserole with mushroom soup and onions on top that the hubster and daughter like so much. The pies will be made tomorrow. I think I just may be making some banana oatmeal muffins tomorrow (there are some ripening bananas on the side table in the kitchen). Sounds kind of like a cooking party!!

But before I get started on today's plans, I need a second cup of coffee and I hear the treadmill calling.

I hope you are planning for a wonderful Thanksgiving and have loved ones nearby with which to share it.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Butterflies and Book Papers

Miss 7 and I are working on some butterflies for The Butterfly Project. I heard about it through Two Dresses Studio. Here is what I read there:

The Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, we teach the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.
The Butterfly Project mandate is to remember the 1,500,000 innocent children who perished as a result of the Holocaust  by collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies

To read more about it, go here.

Here are the butterflies we've made and will be sending in this week:

I've also been working on more handmade books and will share them when they are finished. This is the paper I am planning to use on the one I'm working on first.

And here is a look at the other papers I've located in my art room so far:

I'm a bit late getting around this morning. I decided to walk the treadmill first instead of after posting. 

I've had my coffee, exercised and posted to my blog, now it is time for a bite to eat and then I may get to work on my latest book.

I hope to see you tomorrow.



Monday, November 22, 2010

Manic Monday

Another whirlwind weekend and another busy start to the week. The hubster had a craft show in Dansville on Saturday, so I followed him there to help him get unpacked and then came home because the daughter had called on Friday night to ask if I could take the girls on Saturday if she needed me. As it turned out she didn't need me, so I drove back a little after noon and then helped him get packed up again at 4 pm. He had a pretty good day.

I got a phone call in the middle of the day yesterday to ask if I could take the girls overnight and then drive Little Miss 7 to school this morning. Little Miss 3 is here too. Little Miss 7 is in the shower and I am waiting for the coffee to drip. Miss 7 only has a half day today so will ride the bus back to my house around 1 pm. Their Mom, my dear daughter who is way too overworked at Toys R Us at this time of the year, will pick them up around 4:30. She has tomorrow off.

Meanwhile, I did get a little bit of art done yesterday. I made another little buttonhole stitch book using wallpaper and some nice heavyweight sketching paper. I think next time I will double up the wallpaper to make it a bit sturdier. I think I will also either make two openings so there is a band in the middle or make the opening shorter.

Here is a picture of the books I've made in the past year and a half. This doesn't include the ones I gave as gifts or the ones that have been purchased.

These include (from the left) the two I made and showed the other day, a Japanese stab stitch journal, a landscape orientation journal using the same method as the "I Dare You" book, an accordion book with ties, today's book, the "I Dare You" book, a cased in book using a text block from Hollander's, the coptic soft cover book from the class of a couple weeks ago, and the buttonhole stitch book from the same class, another one like the "I Dare You" book, but with a wallpaper soft cover. a coptic stitch travel themed journal with each signature wrapped in orange paper, and finally an accordion spine book with ties from a class last year.

I did manage to do a sketch yesterday. He is not the cutest model, but he lives in my creek and spends time in the yard eating grass.

Micron pen and colored pencil.

Coffee is ready and Miss 7 is out of the shower so it is my turn. I will try to get another book made today and will attempt to do some art with the girls after Miss 7 gets home from school.

I hope to see you tomorrow.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Book and Blind Contour Friday

I had to be at my daughter's house at 6:30 this morning so she could go to work and I could get Little Miss 7 on the bus at 8 and then bring Little Miss 3 to my house for the day, so the blind contour will have to wait. I am hoping to get a chance to do one later today and will post it when I have it finished.

Meanwhile I'd like to share with you the book I made yesterday. This is my absolute favorite so far. I liked the name of the book "I Dare You" so much and it was in such good shape I didn't have the heart to remove the spine. I made 4 signatures of 5 folios each which fit perfectly in the spine and then added end pages with one of the beautiful papers I showed yesterday. That means this is a sketch book with a great title (and the covers are embossed and really special) which has 80 pages and is approximately 5" x 7" . Because the signatures are sewn with a modified slip stitch the book lies flat when open.

Here are a few pix:



book lying flat

end papers

Sorry about the glare on the covers, but without shooting at that angle you wouldn't be able to see the wonderful patterned texture on it.

I really must get some of these books into my Etsy shop. That probably won't happen until after the holidays as it will take some time to make a few more and get the necessary pix and info. 

If you are interested in any of the ones you've seen so far, email me for info and you can purchase one or more before they go up on Etsy.

Gotta go...Little Miss 3 is rolling a ball around in here and making me very nervous.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

This and That Thursday

I am happy and proud to tell you that I did actually make a coptic bound journal yesterday using the covers from an old book that I showed you in the last post. It took several hours and there was a point at which I almost had a total meltdown. The coptic stitch is such a pleasure to sew, all except the covers. The covers are for me extremely difficult, mostly the final cover. The hubster returned just as I was beginning the back cover - his timing couldn't have been worse. I made a mistake on the first hole in the cover and so had to unthread the needle in order to pull the thread out.

Just then the phone rang - it was Tina, my friend from Marshall. She was on her way to USArtQuest and then to JoAnn's and Michael's and wanted to know if I wanted to meet her in town. Talk about saved by the bell!!!

I met Tina in town and rode with her to USArtQuest where we had a wonderful time. Sue Pickering Rothamel, owner and world renowned crafty person and author, was there having just returned from London. She is such a fun and talented person. She had new ideas to show us and was her usual warm and welcoming hostess, even though she was suffering from jet lag. I bought a selection of wonderful papers and a product called Cut-N-Dry, which is a stamp pad foam. Once I get a chance to play with it, I will tell you more about it.

Here is a picture of the papers I purchased. I intend to use them as endpapers in some of my repurposed books.

I spent a big chunk of my Calculus tutoring money, but that is what it is for after all.

We then drove over to JoAnn's where I picked up some webbing and some drawstring so that I can try some other bookbinding techniques. By the time we came out of JoAnn's it was getting dark and I had told the hubster I would be home for dinner, so Tina took me back to my car and I came home.

I wanted to clear off the table where all my bookbinding materials were, but I only had the last cover to connect so I told the hubster it should only take about five minutes and I got started. First I couldn't get the &@#* needle threaded and then when I thought all was well I looked inside the last signature only to find that when I sewed back into the inside, I hadn't gotten to the center of the signature, I was one page off. I had to unthread the needle to get the thread out and then it took even longer than the last time to get the &@#*@# needle threaded. After finally getting it threaded again I began again only to find a large knot inside the book because although I thought the needle was threaded one string hadn't gone through the hole and was smushing up against the needle. This meant that I had to unthread the needle in order to clean up this mess - ACK! Do you see and feel the frustration??? At any rate I finally got the final cover attached, but thought it was too tight. I carefully held it together and put it under a couple of heavy books overnight and voila! Here is what I have to show you:

I think I like it. It was definitely worth the hassle and I'm pretty sure that with practice I will get better at it. There are a couple of things I will do differently next time. For this book I chose a brushed heavy cardstock that I purchased at Hollo's paper store in Ohio (I'd love to find a store like that closer to home). While it makes a lovely journal, it was a bit heavier than I am used to using for any kind of handmade journal. I am also planning to purchase a needle with a little bigger eye so that I don't pull my hair out trying to thread it.

Meanwhile, I am going to try another method of bookbinding today and hope to have something to share with you tomorrow.

I have an appointment with the ophthalmologist eye doctor this morning and hope to find time later to walk the treadmill and make another book. 

I hope to see you tomorrow...


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Whatchadoin Wednesday

Okay, so I made up the first word in the title of today's blog post, but I think it is a great word so I'm using it anyway, that is if the blog police don't make me cease and desist.....

I spent a portion of yesterday trying out one of the journal binding styles that I learned in the class I told you about yesterday. I had some very interesting paper I purchased from a very cool place in Ann Arbor whose name I've totally forgotten, but it is a store where you never know what will be there and appears to be factory overruns or something like that. At any rate the last time I was there they had some paper priced by the inch and the paper I chose had the appearance of leather on one side and suede on the other. It looks like this on the leather-look side:

I had purchased some Offray ribbon at JoAnn's for this very purpose quite some time ago and was pleased with the look of the varied stripes against the paper. I used a dull reddish waxed linen thread to sew it and am quite pleased with the result.

The journal is super light and easy to carry. It measures approximately 8" in height and 6" in width. It has three signatures with five folios in each one for a total of 60 pages. It is not perfect, but then part of the fun of a handmade journal is that you can tell that it was made by hand.

Here is what it looks like:

Because I have had the pleasure of being home alone for a couple of days, I used the dining room table as my bookbinding work station and was able to leave it set up for today.

The hubster is due home today so I won't feel like I should leave this so conveniently set up after today, but I am enjoying it while I can. 

I spent a bit of time yesterday afternoon preparing hard covers for my next book which I hope to get done today. I am planning to make a hard cover coptic stitched journal today. Here are some of the covers I have available:

And here is the one I plan to use today. I just have to decide on a design for the inside of the covers, the color of thread I will use and see if I can punch holes with my awl. I think I may use yellow thread to bring out that color in the pattern of the cover.

I want to get started right now, but I promised myself that I would get on the treadmill today, so making this journal will have to wait to be my reward for doing my exercise. Meanwhile, it is time for my second cup of coffee and then I have to eat a banana before doing the treadmill. 

I hope to see you tomorrow.....


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tryout Tuesday

Do you remember I mentioned that I was going to start drawing with pen so I couldn't erase? And how I said I was going to try drawing with my whole arm instead of from the wrist?

It felt really good and was quite fun making this sketch even though it looks a bit wild - of course, an eagle is a wild creature - so maybe wildness is appropriate.

On another note, I watched the videos for the LK Ludwig class, Just Three Journals, that I mentioned yesterday. So nice and easy to understand. And only $15 - if you are at all interested in making your own journals or repurposing old books into new ones, this class is for you. The big bonus for me was that I was meeting a Calculus student at the coffee shop in Stockbridge and they have WIFI and it is quite fast. I just got there early and stayed after we were done with the tutoring session and watched them all.

Now I need to actually follow through by making my first one using one of her methods and/or using one of the methods I used in the Hollander's class earlier this month and share it with you. I had hoped to get one started yesterday, but in the evening I had an Algebra student over and then put some music on and worked crossword puzzles instead.

The daughter just called. She has the day off and is coming out to wrap Christmas presents that she has stored at my house. I have the coffee on and am in my jimjams and think maybe I could be working on a book while she is wrapping. 

I am hoping to have another really good day; the sun is shining (albeit on a layer of frost on the grass) and the birds are active at the feeder. If it wasn't for the sound of the furnace running this would be just about perfect.

I'm hoping you are having a great day wherever you are and that you get some YOU time to do art or whatever else you find of value just for you.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Mid-November Monday

WHOA! Another month is half gone already. Is there any way to slow this totally out of control time warp down????

I had a busy weekend again. Miss 3 and Miss 7 stayed most of Friday and overnight. And then my other Little Miss 7, my son's child, arrived around 8 pm and stayed most of the day on Sunday. I do have something to show for it.

The girls took their art work home before I had a chance to take pix, so you will be missing out on the best of it, but I do have a couple of things to show you to give you a taste of what we were doing.

I had totally forgotten how much fun it is to play with acrylics, but on Sunday we made art using acrylics and credit cards and bottle caps and no brushes. What fun! Here is what I have to share:

I am quite pleased with them, but haven't decided just what to do with them from here. The first one is pretty tame, but nice, but the second one.....what a great face that turned out to be!
Later in the evening when I was sitting alone in the living I decided to try to sketch the lamp on the side table. I really like this lamp. I bought it at a second hand shop. It is a large jug with blueberries on it and the shade has a cut out design in it.

I am meeting a Calculus student at the coffee shop in Stockbridge later this morning and am hoping to hear from LK Ludwig with the code for her online book binding class. I am hoping to get a book bound later today and have it to show tomorrow.

I also have some house work to do, but the hubster won't be home from hunting camp for a couple more days so I am free to paint all day if I want. That is if I don't have any of my little Misses.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Feathery Friday and A Blind Contour

I am still trying to get better at drawing birds and have decided that I spend way too much time erasing when I draw, so I am drawing with a pen - a Micron pen. I love Micron pens. The problem is that my drawings are much messier than I am used to and they are quite tight. I must learn to hold the pen more loosely and draw from the shoulder (or at least from the elbow) instead from the wrist.

Here is a little drawing of a grosbeak:

And it is blind contour Friday as well, so I present you with today's attempt.

I hope you aren't totally sick of this poor eagle, but I've decided to stick with him until I get it right. I must say I find him to be quite cute even when his beak doesn't meet.

I am looking forward to having my son's Little Miss 7 overnight tomorrow. We will spend lots of time doing art. His little one is quite a natural and has a whimsical personality as well. I am hoping to make a few butterflies for The Butterfly Effect. You can read about it here.

Update - just got a call from the daughter. I have Little Miss 3 and her Little Miss 7 will ride the bus here today. She has an early release and so will arrive sometime around 1:30 and they will be spending the night.

I love this crazy, unpredictable life, but will be happy when things settle down a bit after the end of the year.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Wonderful Art Lesson

Yesterday we had Little Miss 3 and her Mom for lunch. I made my daughter's favorite soup,

Unfortunately, I tried to "roast" the garlic in the microwave and started a fire. My house still smells like smoke. Blah!! I didn't see any flames, just the smoke pouring out and the garlic was black and hard. I used garlic powder instead. The soup was delicious!

Then Miss 3 stayed with us for the day and Miss 7 rode the bus to our house.  And Miss 7 had a great surprise for me. She had a project she made in art class and she was going to teach me how to do it. She gave great instructions and when I made mistakes, she was quick to tell me that it was okay and that I was doing a great job.

Here is her art piece from school:

She actually gave me step by step instructions beginning with "start with your paper sideways, now draw a line toward yourself  leaving space at the top and bottom, now draw a capital B....."

Here is how mine turned out:

She was so happy with how that lesson went that she wanted to teach me how to draw a girl, too. Again she gave step by step instructions and drew a girl at the same time as I drew mine. I think I like hers better. 

Her instructions were very specific including naming the girl, giving her age, identifying ourselves and our ages and the date in a box.

I am so happy to have my little artist who is so generous with her time and talent to want to share them with me. It seriously warms my heart. We took the girls to their house after dinner and stayed until their Mom got home from work around 11:30. We (mostly the hubster) spend the entire time moving an old entertainment center from the living room to Mom's room and putting together a new shelf unit and installing a new tv.

I am still in a bit of a funk and think it must be because a boy who was a very good friend of my son while they were growing up committed suicide earlier this week. He was 29.  I'm not sure they kept in close touch with each other since high school. I don't think they were particularly close after they grew up, but for a period of several years they were the best of friends, playing on the same sports teams, spending overnights together, going to church together....

I will be keeping my other Little Miss 7, my son's daughter this weekend so that he can attend the funeral and say his goodbyes. I am so very sorry for this young man's family.

I know for sure that life is too short and that we MUST remember to spend time with our loved ones, hug them, hold them, and always let them know how important they are to us.

Sorry for ending this post on such a sad note.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Train Wreck Tuesday

I am feeling funky, out of whack, discombobulated; not quite a train wreck, but I wanted an alliterative title. I had a strange, bad dream last night. I don't have a solid memory of it, just feeling like I'd been in a bad place that somehow was the result of my own self destructive choices. Not my usual kind of dream and I am experiencing a residual "bad taste in the mouth" feeling.

I am not a "down" person and never have been. I consider myself to be quite "even-keeled, so I'm pretty sure that I will have kicked this funk before long this morning. Meanwhile, I am in my jimjams drinking a cup of black coffee in my art room. My surroundings are certainly conducive to feeling good.

At any rate, I had little Miss 3 for most of the day yesterday and she was a delight, but she really wore me out. She is a little busybody, jabberwocky, bossypants - the most fun you could hope to have with a 3 year old. I am, however, feeling my age today. And I am going to have her on Wednesday from mid-afternoon until past her bedtime. Little Miss 7 will ride the bus to our house. The hubster and I will take them to their house after dinner and get them bathed and to bed and stay there until their Mom gets off work sometime after 11. This is definitely not the time of year to be working at Toys R Us. The poor dear has no life this time of year.

I am planning to go to Mason with the hubster this morning and then am going to spend time working on a face that I've drawn on watercolor paper. I haven't decided if I will use watercolor or colored pencil or water soluble wax crayons, but I will certainly get some color on it.

I modeled it after Tam, but have made her nose too big and there is something wrong with the curve of her cheek and the shape of her eyes. I'm pretty sure if I hadn't mentioned who I used as a model, you never would have guessed. Here is what I have so far.

The pupils were added in Photoshop; it just looked too spooky without them.

I am also hoping to get some homemade soup made today. I bought more chorizo yesterday and am planning to make a double batch of the soup and freeze half.

I hope you are having a good day without any "out of whack"-ness and that you will have some art to share with me.

I love all your comments and really appreciate being a small part of this huge community.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Handmade Books, Artist Links, and Another Bird

I had a lovely day yesterday with my friend, Nancy. We went to Hollander's for a 2 Exposed Spine Sewings workshop. You might remember that I took a class at Hollander's last year in August and had a great experience. If you click on the link in the sentence above, you can see the books I made in that class. This class was just as fun. The instructor was once again the lovely Vicki from whom I took the last book making class. The books we made are beautiful - you know Hollander's has the most wonderful selection of papers and the ones they choose for their classes are absolutely gorgeous. It doesn't matter whether you get to choose yours first or last, you are bound to get something you will be happy with.

The two exposed spine sewings we did yesterday were the buttonhole stitch book and the coptic sewn book. Vicki once again was very organized and demoed each step and then we all sewed together at one table. I loved both styles and have three books finished to bring home. We actually made a small "practice" coptic stitch book before working on our larger one.

Here are my goodies from yesterday:

My stitches on the coptic sewn book are a bit too tight and the soft cover is a bit skewed at the edges as a result, but I will get better and absolutely loved making these treasures. I'm hoping Vicki will have a class next year that includes the long stitch method. I'll surely take that one, too.

This is also the day I share links of some of my favorite artists' blogs and today is no exception. I do hope you will take a look at these. I have found some of my favorite blogs from following links in others' blogs.

And now I humbly offer to you my latest colored pencil bird. It is a scarlet tanager. Actually it is a rather fat scarlet tanager. I think that in my photo of him he is a bit longer and more svelte, but I am not overly unhappy with him. What do you think?

I was supposed to spend last night at my daughter's house because she was supposed to be at work at 7:00 and the bus arrives at her house at 8:00. Miss 3 wanted me to sleep with her in her bed. She has one of those convertible crib beds. When I told her I was too big for her bed, she said I could sleep on the floor next to her bed. But when I got home from Hollander's yesterday I found out that DD didn't have to be to work until 8 and she thought it would be more pleasant for me to spend the night in my own bed and drive to her house this morning to arrive at 7:30 so I could get Miss 7 on the bus and then bring Miss 3 to my house for the day. Good plan!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sharing and Blind Contour Friday

The first thing I would encourage each and every one of you to do is to try to meet some of the wonderful people with whom you share this "community". So far I have had the opportunity to meet several and have been so pleased. My latest meeting was earlier this week in Niles. I met Sandy (soundofwings) for lunch and to take the Spellbinder's Wizard to her.

I am quite an outgoing person, but am just a tad nervous of meeting someone for the first time, especially when that meeting is one on one, but I felt that I had known her for some time. We had a lovely lunch and talked practically without a break the whole time. I can't wait to visit her again. I will have to call her and see if she has tried the Wizard yet and how she likes it.

She asked me some time ago if she could use a couple of photos of mine as reference for painting and I was pleased that she asked. Imagine my surprise when I was presented with this beautiful painting:

My photo doesn't quite capture the richness of the colors. It is spectacular and I am thrilled to have it.

I'm almost embarrassed to show you my fairy wren with color added. It really suffers in comparison to the orioles. But here he is:

I think I will try Neocolor II crayons for my next bird.

And for the finale today, I have another attempt at a blind contour. I am still using the bald eagle and expected today's attempt to be absolutely perfect. I really thought that last Friday's looked like I cheated. That should mean that each time I would get better, no? Well as you can see, that doesn't necessarily follow. Here is what I have for you this morning. I obviously need more practice.

I do think he is pretty bad, but ya gotta love that smile!! And the eyebrow!

I have so much to catch up on around here and I hope to work play on another loose watercolor today. I am also tutoring this afternoon and am hoping to get some beef barley soup made. The library was closed yesterday, so I will make that trip today as well. I can't wait to see what they have for me. I spend time online using MelCat and put quite a few books on hold, so it is like Christmas when they call me.

I hope you have a lovely weekend. I can't wait for the coptic stitch workshop at Hollander's on Sunday with Nancy. I'll share with you on Monday.



Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm Back Home

Just a quick update now that I am back home.

I had a lovely lunch with my friend, Sandy, in Niles. She was friendly and we talked like we were old friends. I am hoping to nurture this friendship. I drive over to that part of the state fairly frequently and will have to make an effort to connect with her. I am hoping she will be teaching a painting workshop in Buchanan in the Spring; I will definitely sign up for it.

I had a lovely two days with my sister and her husband. They are really good hosts and I feel very much at home at their place.

I drove secondary roads over on Tuesday and back home again today. It adds about 45 minutes to the drive, but the stress level is so much less, it is quite pleasant driving. The hubster made coffee as soon as he heard the garage door; he is such a sweetie. I am going to read the newspapers I missed while I was away, unpack, do a load of laundry and then before I take my shoes off, I am driving over to the library. They have books for me.

 I will have a more traditional post tomorrow with a photo of the lovely painting Sandy gave to me (I can't believe she made this just for me) and perhaps some art.

It was a wonderful break from the routine for the past couple of days, but it is always good to be home.

There is no place like home (tapping my heels together).


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tweet, Tweet Tuesday

Believe it or not, I have a bird sketch to share with you. This is from a picture I found in one of my many "how to" paint books. I still haven't figured out how to satisfactorily paint these little creatures, but I will continue to try. When I get some color on this little guy, I'll share again.

Yesterday I did something that I've wanted to do forever, but just couldn't bring myself to do. I put a piece of watercolor on my desktop easel (without putting some protection under it so the easel wouldn't get paint on it), and stood with my palette in my hand and just played. What fun! I felt like a little kid and can't wait to try it again.

I need richer colors next time or maybe try it flat on a table so there is not so much "run".

Of course, after it dried I worked it to death. What can I say - one step forward, two steps back.

I am driving to Niles this morning to meet my friend Sandy face to face for the first time. I feel like I've known her for a long time and am really looking forward to this get together. From there I am driving to my sister Anne's house and staying for a night or two. I don't know if I'll be posting or not, but I will surely try.

That's all I have for today. I am working on a girl sketch for Tam's free class and I am trying to make it look like her. I will share when I have something to show. Meanwhile, if you have time for a really fun, free class, go to her ning site and sign up.