"If you hear a voice within you say, 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent van Gogh

Monday, April 28, 2008

April's Read

My blog is suffering from neglect, I know. It has been a very busy month. On top of everything, my computer is having issues again and has been very unreliable. Ah well. I spend too much time on it anyway.

So I did manage to read a book this month - Marley & Me by John Grogan - and it was a wonderful book. It's non-fiction, an account of the author's life with an overzealous 100 lb lab. Marley's puppy antics made me laugh out loud because I could see Rosi's behavior echoed in the words. Thank heavens Rosi is not as exhuberant as Marley was! But of course the book covers Marley's life - and so the end was very sad, as we all wish our pets could be with us so much longer than they are. But in spite of the inevitable, I found the book full of hope and love, and I would definitely recommend it.

As soon as I get the computer working decently, I'll have more artwork to share with you!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Plugging Away

In my last post, several people mentioned that they could click on the "Live for Today" photo, but not "Adrift". Well, here's the thing. Whichever photo I upload first, you can click on it and it will enlarge. Any subsequent photos don't work. I've come across other blogs that are like this, and many that are not. Do any of my blogger friends know why this is and what I can do to change it?

I finished two more pieces on Thursday. One of them is below. It's 7x7 (approx) and is dryer sheets covered with a sheer which was burned away in spots. I never claimed that I could draw. My daughter saw it and gushed over how great it was and then said, so what is it mom? Some sort of lily? Finally she figured out it's a bird. Ah well.

The other piece is similar to "Adrift" - different colors. Today I am having trouble uploading any additional photos at all, so I'll leave you with only the one. I thought it was going so well. Two pieces a day - I could handle that pace. Yesterday, nothing I touched seemed to work out. I think I can salvage a couple of my attempts - one of them I cut down to a smaller size and it seems to look better. I'll add the beads today and see how it looks. But why is it that I can follow the same methods and sometimes it all falls into place (like "Adrift") and sometimes it's just blah?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Two Down

I finally managed to complete two pieces today. The first one is a hand-dyed cotton background with hand painted dryer sheets and thread painting. I had the basic design down last week but got stuck on the embellishing. I think the black and silver seed beads, and the thread painted words in the border add enough interest without overpowering the piece. Have I mentioned how much I love my new machine?????

"Live For Today"
The second piece is a style that I've done before, with dryer sheets underneath painted tyvek. For this one, I grabbed my blue and green dryer sheet scraps and went with that color scheme. The artwork is 8x10, which is the largest that I've done in this manner, but I like how it turned out. After stitching the layers and melting back the tyvek to expose the dryer sheets, I hand stitched a variety of beads to the piece.


As always, I welcome your feedback!

Recently I learned that two people who are very dear to me have started blogs. I invite you to take a look, if you'd like. Neither of these are "art" blogs.

First off, my Aunt has a blog! She has been writing her thoughts on the weekly gospel reading in her church bulletin for a while now, and with the help of my cousin, her writings are now available on her blog. If you are interested in her wisdom, please visit From Dee's Desk.

Secondly, my very dear friend, whom I met on the first day of 6th grade and with whom I have shared many adventures, has started a blog. She is an avid outdoors person and cyclist. She's also a great person. Check out her adventures at Dance the Tide.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Whole Flock

Here are the birds which arrived in the exchange I posted about earlier. I am still waiting for one that is late, but hopefully it will find its way to me eventually. Aren't they nifty? They are all so unique. I will eventually hang them in my studio where I know they will inspire me.

I made a 9" quilt block to go into a quilt for a friend (thankfully i don't have to make the quilt!). I honestly can't remember the last time I made a plain ol' quilt block (the round robin not included, because there was nothing plain or ol' about that!). I got to play with some of the fancy stitches on my new machine, which was fun. The guidelines were pink/red hearts on a cream background. I think it came out cute.
Spring has certainly arrived when the dogwoods bloom. They are our state flower and while they are quite unassuming small trees during most of the year, they put on quite a show in April. This one is in our front yard.
Rosi just turned 5 months old. We are two weeks into puppy training class and she is a model student. This past week we were to start instructing "sit" without verbal cues. She had it down before the end of class. She still has a lot to learn, but she's a smart little girl. She's about 40 lbs now and we're all speculating at how big she'll actually get. Mom was only about 45 lbs, but we're thinking maybe 50-55 for this one. Time will tell!
Here's a recent photo. She took the pillow out of her little puppy bed (which she ignores) and had a ball removing all the stuffing. Since it was her pillow, we allowed it, but the stuffing did not go back in the pillow, so the fun's over. She hasn't touched any of my pillows, so as long as we have that understanding, all is well. Actually she is very good about not chewing on things that don't belong to her.
Yesterday was momentous - Rosi barked, ( a real, deep, doggie bark) for the first time. I just stood there staring at her a bit dumbfounded as if I couldn't quite believe it was coming from the dog in front of me. Three or four hearty woofs and it was over and she hasn't barked since. Guess she's found her voice.

It's so hard to believe that she's been with us for only 3 1/2 months, and she has grown so much. Where did that roly poly lump of pudge go? I knew that dogs reached physical maturity in a year's time, but I had no idea that they did most of that growing in the first 16 weeks. So here's a photo of the little lump when she was only 10.6 lbs. It's hard to even remember now!

In spite of all the growing, I'm glad I don't have newspapers all over my kitchen floor any more!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Grocery Bags - Who Knew?

Carol T., owner of the Textile Challenges group, created a lovely cuff bracelet out of plastic grocery bags (Carrier Sacks to Carol, who lives in Wales UK). Pop on over to her blog and check it out in her March 31st post. She challenge the Textile Challenges group to create something using the bags.

Here is my postcard, which will go to Susan Lenz for the Cyber Fyber exhibit. I had a hard time finding bags in pleasing colors - but managed to find a variety of greens and blues. I melted them all together, then fused some gold chocolate wrapper pieces on top. I thread painted the flowers - a technique that I've always struggled with but turned out to be incredibly easy on my new machine. I hope Susan likes it. I've got enough of the background left to do something else for myself. The postcare I received from Susan is beautiful. I'll post of photo of it soon - I thought I had already taken a photo, but apparently not.
Oh - here's another picture! I keep forgetting to post this. Remember those bright yellow sneakers? The show was a huge success and the kids did great! Our school did the selection "Beethoven's Day" from "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown". They were all dressed as "Peanuts" characters. Here's a photo of my daughter, as "Woodstock" and her friend as "Sally". We bought solid colored t-shirts, each character a different color, and adapted them for the costumes. I made the Sally dresses by adding the skirt material to the bottom of the t-shirt and stitching on the sash. I painted Woodstock's sneakers, and dyed the pants and socks. The art teacher added the feathers and the dots on Sally's dress. Look at Sally's saddle shoes - white canvas sneakers with duct tape! The art teacher is so clever. I had to do costumes for 6 Woodstocks, 7 Sallys and 1 Lucy (same as Sally but royal blue). I am GLAD to be done. Sewing costumes is NOT my thing.

I really want to thank all of you who visit my blog regularly - even when I don't post anything exciting for nearly a month. I really appreciate you all so very much!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I haven't had much to show lately, except for a million-gazillion bottlecap pieces, the likes of which you've already seen. I did finally get my new machine. It is a wonder-machine and I am slowly learning my way with it. My first order of business was to complete a swap I signed up for a looooong time ago, but which was due to be mailed April 1. Guess when I mailed it?? April 1!. Phew. The swap was for "Bird Bell Totas" - we each made a bird and they will hang in a string. Here are 3 of mine. I made 8 in total. I'm pleased with how they came out. I used a map of North Carolina for the wings and wrote on the tags, "spread your wings and see where the journey takes you." Good advice, I should listen to myself sometimes!

I also completed and mailed our income taxes, so that is a huge load off my mind. I am participating in my first ever Street Fair on April 26th. It is called Spring Daze and is hosted by the Town of Cary - a nearby town. I'm really excited about it. That's why I've made the million-gazillion bottlecap things. Now I need to focus on framed dryer sheet and paper towel art. I think it will just take a day or so to really focus in my studio to get myself back on track. I am also the "featured artist" for May at Fusions Gallery in Pittsboro, NC. I am very excited about this opportunity, but of course I need to provide the gallery with a good bit of nice framed art pieces by mid-April. So plan to check back because I should have plenty of art to share this month!

You must must MUST check out Monica's blog. Do you remember the two 2" squares that I made a while back? They were to be used for a doll that Monica was creating which will ultimately be auctioned off to benefit the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation. Well, the doll is DONE and it is the most incredible doll I have ever seen (no offense to my grandmother, who was an incredible doll maker herself - but I don't think she ever collaberated with 180 artists to create a doll nearly 40" tall, weighing over 6 lbs!!!).

Monica's husband, Jeff Magness, took some amazing photos of the doll and has graciously granted permission to the participants to post the photos on their blogs. So here are a couple of the shots where you can see my square (second row from center on the purse side, fourth square up from the bottom). The doll is on it's way to the magazine "Art Doll Quarterly" to be photographed and highlighted in a future issue. I will keep you posted. It really is worth a visit to Monica's blog to see the rest of the photos.

So, let's see. I did read a book in March. It is Tangerine by Edward Bloor. It's the book my 12 year old DS told me I should read. I agree - it was a good book. I really liked the main character. He was real and a true good person. I would definitely recommend this book to the tween age group.

The other adventure we've embarked on is to foster a dog from the rescue group where we found Rosi. She's the mama of a litter that was recued two weeks ago. Cassie's a GREAT dog. I'll post pics of her another day, but here is her profile on Petfinder if you want to check out her story. She is terrific with my kids and so so sweet. Rosi likes to pick on her (actually, Rosi likes to hide behind me and pick on her - they're like kids, I swear!) so sometimes I have to separate them just to give Cassie a break. She will make a great family dog. She'll be with us for the next two weeks and then returning to the rescue where she'll stay until she finds a home. If you know anyone who is looking for a young adult/calm/well mannered/house trained/crate trained/leash trained/unconcerned with cats/sweet as can be dog for their family - please contact the rescue and ask about Cassie.
OK OK OK - just one picture!

Enough for one day. It's good to be back.