Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Knitting Update

Have you been wondering how those "knit 2-socks-at-a-time" socks are coming? Slowly, but surely. I really like the process so far, but as you can see, I am still on the leg bit (always the easiest). I will let you know how I fare when I turn the heel and get into the heel gussets (always the most challenging). Aren't the colors amazing? Yes, both socks are really coming from one ball originally! The waffley pattern is from the book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, 2-At-a-Time Socks that I mentioned in an earlier post. When I am knitting, I feel like I am watching two favorite movies at once!

ATCs have changed my life!
Well they really have, in many ways...I was getting a bit tired of always having to nag the dining room table into cleanliness, cluttered as it was with art in process. So I remembered my dear drafting table, just sitting upstairs as a glorified shelf. And then I had to move it RIGHT AWAY, using my abs (not my back, thank you very much, Kimberly!), and wrestling it down the stairs. Then there came the tricky bit, rounding a very narrow corner at the base of the stairs. When Joanie called I had to extricate myself from a very strange position inside the cage of the desk! But the break turned out to be a good idea, because I was able to outwit the thing in the end and liberate it through the dining room and into its final position in the living room.

And of course I had a grand vision about how happy this would make Jonas. But he's such a good teacher, he was grateful at first and then provided me with yet another opportunity to remember that I can't decide how other people should feel (thank you again, K.).

And here is my teacher at work:
Do you just love it?

Monday, February 25, 2008

ATC Extravaganza

"Valentine for Books," with poetry by Pablo Neruda. (Can you believe we are cutting books up to make art now?---We had two copies.)

While Bumpa was here, we had friends over: Meikle, Fiona, Jonas, Bumpa, and myself spent a snowy afternoon making ATCs (while the older guys played some really complicated strategy game that took a few hours to set up). Here's what the table looked like with 2 children and 3 adults making cards:

The next day, Bumpa asked: Wouldn't it be cool to have a marathon of card-making? Jake said, Ummm, isn't that what you just did all afternoon yesterday? And Bumpa said, No I mean like 3 or 4 days! As it turned out, that's mostly what Bumpa occupied himself with while here! Jonas and Bumpa took a trip to town to the art store to get Bumpa some supplies to take home with him, and restock on our supplies. And Meikle and Fiona introduced us to Glitter ModPodge---my new favorite thing! It will be hard to hold myself back from glitter-fying everything now... Note below:

Here's Fiona, thinking up brilliant new titles for her cards. She and Jonas even collaborated on some cards!

Here are some of my new favorites:Those are garlic skins, above. They are wonderfully iridescent in person.

"Sylvan Has a Friend in Jesus" (above) needs a little explanation. Jesus is the name of Bumpa's cat, but pronounced the Spanish way. So while Sylvan was visiting Bumpa's house, he was quite nervous of Jesus who is just a cuddly mellow kitty. According to Sylvan, Jesus was looking at him in a "mean way." But later, he cuddled up on Sylvan's sleeping bag in a way that didn't make Sylvan scared. So I guess I am referencing their complex relationship with this card.
"Make 3 Wishes," (above) came to me as a fun treat from Robinsunne during the vacation week. She had discovered this neat technique of taking little strips of masking tape (about a half inch wide piece) that you have ripped the long way, and layering them on a card. When you rub the taped card with shoe polish, the way that the ripped portions absorb the polish make it really look like wood! So she sent me the "base" card to build up as I pleased, then I sent it back to her. I am awaiting her interpretation to come to me!

Finally, I am so pleased to let you see my new bumper sticker, made for me by Bumpa with a big label maker at his work:

This one comes from Joanie:I'm anticipating Wednesday's Swap Group! See you there!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Intergenerational Craftiness

Bumpa is visiting, Jake's dad, and we have him hooked on ATCs now! He and Jonas have been quite prolific these past days, so that I can barely keep up with cutting out "backing" cards for them. Oh, did I tell you that my lovely backings come from recycled calendars and cards from Toki? It's hard to cut some of them up, they're amazing! But I love that the paper Toki uses is already recycled and then I am recycling it into art again!

Hmmm, I wonder who this little sweetness could be for? If you've been looking at the links I post, you may have a good guess! She's called "Opportunity."I found this angel girl in a catalog and couldn't resist her. Making art cards makes me feel like everything is possible! I hope you get to feel this way often yourself! Look, she's waving her magic wand for you!

This library-inspired text comes from the Library Bill of Rights, which I find is pretty inspiring to read. I also get pretty excited about the Freedom to Read Statement, written during the height of McCarthy-era and totally and awesomely radical.
Hey! Don't forget, if you're nearby, that this Wednesday night the 27th, from 6:30-7:30 is our first Swap Group meeting at the Rockport Library! I hope to be bringing a carload of my best ladies along! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Girl Time Today

I had some time with the ladies today, eating a delicious lunch and doing our various projects. I was ATC-ing, there was knitting (a wildly curly Noro scarf in blues and greens, like a tide pool; a tiny pink collar for a tiny little knitted flower person; a green sweater hoody for a big teenager) and sewing (little pouches, with embroidered symbols for each child, such as a ladybug). I have yet to upload the ATCs of today, so for now here's a few from the past few days or so.

"Who Knows the Happiness of Fish?" below, is a reference to my grandma who, when she was living with my mom and brother, would repeatedly ask: Do fish sleep? This one is already in the mail to my brother who would field Grandma's questions differently, as the mood struck him.

Here are two by Jonas, from that night when we were in the groove together! This one, below, uses origami paper, a magazine close-up of an autumn leaf, and part of a card from Joanie! I won't tell you who it's for...Here's "Happy!", a springy inspired piece, also by Jonas.

Finally, in our recent excavations, I unearthed this headless, hapless fellow. He is a maple sugar candy guy, all crystalized and weird now after who knows how long. Probably someone started to eat him, beginning with the head, and some Mama interrupted the feast and "put him away for later." Much later, as it turned out!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Still Knitting, of course

Knitting Socks 2-at-a-time!
Yes, I am boldly going where I haven't gone before and trying every knitter's dream of not having to knit a second sock (after finishing the first)! It's really crazy setting it up, but the pictures are great in the book, and it has a handy spiral binding (as all knitting books should). You use one 40" long circular needle, which looks absolutely nuttily long, and it was a real process getting my hands on one (I had to order out of state!). I am getting the hang of it, and loving watching two socks manifest at the same time. With the new Noro sock yarn that Joanie gave me, it's especially yummy---they don't look the same and that makes it even more interesting! "Better than watching golf," as Barbarina once sagely said.

ATC update...
Jonas and I had such a nice art date the other night. He actually wanted my advice, artistically, on designing some cards of his own. Knock me over with a feather! He is usually prickly about receiving any help or suggestions, being that he has such a clear vision of his own. It was a great Valentine's gift, to work with him.

These are two of Jonas's. At left, the word is "Enchanted." At right, is "Cozy," and it's my Valentine from him!

Below is one of my new favorites, "Ask for More Art." The lines of text at top and bottom are from a poem by Stuart Dischell, and read "I really did meet a blind girl in Paris once" and "She put on her lipstick in the dark." The scribbly writing is from the journals of Van Gogh. And what a cool advertisement for supporting the arts, that included the central slogan!

This one is "Birthday Fortune" and it reads "You are heading for a land of sunshine." So far, not yet, I will keep you posted.
And "The Warmth of Friends:"

This is my dining room table in ATC mode, actually it's already in the process of being tidied. So you can't see how messy and lovely it really is!Back to other creative endeavors of the day!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Thinking of Spring

One more Valentine idea...for next year! Tricia sent me a link to this image on FlickR, from Church St. in Burlington, VT:
The subtitle reads: TAKE AS MUCH LOVE AS YOU NEED. Could we all remember to try posting these around our various towns next year?

Birthday Flowers from the Halls to accompany my Cambodian feast last weekend! The flowers filled my dining room with such a delicious scent of spring. I always forget when I am in the midst of winter that the outside world has such tiny smells during this time. Mostly the smell of moisture in the air. These daffy-down-dillies were like a pool of sweet-smelling sunshine.One of the inspirations for me to have a blog was looking at Emily's gorgeous work via her blog that comes to my computer all the way from Norway! I'm seeing this as a way to chronicle the things I do, not because I feel important but so that when I give or trade away my creations I'll still have them here! When I first discovered and fell in love with Emily's blog she had just chronicled a trip into town with her son, and they stopped at a flower market: a gorgeous image of purpley blue hyacinths caught my immediate attention.

Two ATCs that reflect a wistfulness for spring, still months away. I made these on that snowy icky day when everyone was home this week.

I couldn't resist the words for this one, "Seedpods trump iPods." Materials are origami papers, magazine clippings from a garden magazine, and that lovely fern stamp.

This one is going to be a birthday card for my step-mom. I fell in love with the tiny cottage framed by those gorgeous cherry blossoms. It looks like a place where I would like to run away to! The title is: "She Was Not Dreaming of Snowy Rainy Yuck."

Finally, a picture our our Christmas Tomten who I just haven't been able to put away yet with the other decorations. Perhaps when it is warmer and his coat is too warm he'll be ready to retreat! Right now he is on the window sill in the dining room with his nice smile, watching us eat and make art, look at bead catalogs, read, laugh, have fusses, etc.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A few more...

Valentine's Day
...And the boys are off to school already. Both enjoyed their Valentine's ATCs that Jake and I made. Surprisingly, no one was counting hearts or specks of glitter---just gratitude! Yay, a happy morning.

"Girl Peddling Cocoa Nibs" was a label taken off of a chocolate bar that had cocoa nibs in it! Doesn't she look like a saucy little thing?

I guess Camille de Roger was a fashionista in---where else----Paris in the 1920s. This came from a card my mom sent. It's on card stock scrapbooking paper, with a little translucent rice paper and some origami paper that Jonas shared with me. I titled it something really silly: "Odile n'aime pas l'herissons, n'est-ce pas?" ("Odile doesn't like hedgehogs, right?"

SAT Flashcards!
The series below was an experiment in using contact paper as a sealant, as opposed to Mod Podge. I wasn't wild about the contact paper effect, but they are shiny and smooth. Could have been the texture of the base paper also. There is some bubbling around the cut out words that seemed hard to avoid. I used a lovely fern stamp with silver ink; the paper in the first set is brown, in the second a lavender.

Here's the really exciting thing: On Saturday, someone donated these ancient (even the font looks old) SAT flashcards to the library book sale, which I promptly appropriated for the ATC swap group. Only I had to try a few out for myself. All of the gender words are masculine, so in a couple of these I changed that since I was bored of reading "he." On the back of each, I have given the definition.

"Plenitude:" She received the plenitude of power with her new appointment.
"Salutary:" By her every action she exercises a salutary influence on the class.
"Sanguine:" He had sanguine hopes that his suggestion would be followed.
"Altruistic:" His motives for acting as he did were altruistic.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Valentine's Day is tomorrow and I have been making lots of ATCs for v-day. It was disappointing to me that both boys view Valentine's card making to be such a chore, when I have always SO enjoyed it. Oh well. We'll be making cookies in heart shapes today to fulfill the needs of one class. It's another snow day and we are all home!

For Jake, of course. I used a rubber stamp and little hearts cut out from a magazine that was showing a photo of doilies!

For the boys. Please notice that there are the exact number of hearts on each, both contain glitter, and their initials in silver. The one at right, for my traveler/adventurer, features a lovely image of the Great Wall of China. The number featured at left should tell you lots about the images that are included!

Birthday Fun
Yes, I was the birthday girl last week ("That is how it is, Alice. Your birthday is always the one that is not now." Frances the Badger, in A Birthday for Frances by Russell Hoban.). It was a snow day that day, too, for better or worse. I had a very celebrated day with my boys, and even had some time to make some art with Joanie while she knit. Joanie gave me some of Noro's new sock yarn, and though I usually am not wild for their colorways, this one really is special. Greens, purples, blues, and a little brown---Can't wait to get knitting. More on that later.

Below is the bday ATC I received from my sweet husband. Front side features some of my favorite things: red shoes, chocolate, and flannel nightgowns. Also: "back to waiting arms." He's a romantic...The flip side has this great vintage kitty, I'm sure from a card my mom sent.

Here's how my bday ATC from Robinsunne arrived:

When I opened it, I found this "An ATC for Iris plus some ephemera:"

Here's the front side, with a sparkly cake!

Here's the flip side, shiny red and gold, and referring to the fact that my bday shared the day with Lunar New Year this year!

...And the ephemera! Little papers, some pre-cut, some cards, stickers, calendar pages, quotes, and even a little Yogi tea fortune:
What a lucky girl I am! I'm already crafting a thank you ATC to send back to Robinsunne. We are definitely "having fun yet!" And now the snow is turning to little prickles of ice on my window.