Friday, May 30, 2008

Slide Show of Book Pages - I hope.

YES, I hope a slide show will appear of the pages from the Twelve Books - that feels now like the Twelve Tribes. Each one different, each one with a little more or a little less inspiration involved.
I'm on to another book this month, but will not try to do one page every day, one book every month. Instead, I'll have fun with the pages and try and write a little something every day.
These books and this blog are TAKING OVER MY LIFE!
Sorry. Didn't mean to shout, but you know what I mean, I'll bet. On some level, in some way, we all get our lives taken over by something. And some of it is better than others. Paint or drugs? Glue or alcohol? Collage or gambling? "Pick yer pizzen." - femminismo
It showed up. Check out the upper left hand corner.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Here Are My Twelve "Children."

JUST like children, they are precious to me. Here, at last, is a picture of the 12 art journals and/or altered books I have made since April 2007.
Lined up in order of the months - from April to April - moments, days, months and finally a year. Not every day complete. Not every cover decorated just right.
Maybe some day, in my rocking chair, I'll complete them with my gnarled and knobby arthritic fingers.
Something to help me remember the days. Tomorrow I'll post some random pages from each, but maybe I'll make them into a slide show rather than post two dozen pictures. Now it's off to watch the "Lost" finale. Right, T? - femminismo

From Haircuts to Insects to Trees ... and back.

ON TUESDAY, my esteemed hairdresser did her magical tricks with my head o' hair and transformed me into someone else. (Well, not really someone else, but someone who felt like someone else!) The head massage during the shampoo was the topper - no pun intended.
Earlier in the day, at noon, a friend invited me to attend a yoga class with her, and since it had been a while since I'd gone - and I've been feeling guilty about it - I went. I knew it was the right thing to do.
Boy, was it ever! It was the last class of the semester and covered the "restorative" poses, so I didn't have to work hard but did get muscles stretched out and was soooooo relaxed.
I visited an old friend after getting my hair done. She will be 99 years old this June. She was my seventh and eighth grade teacher and one of the most important women in my life. So, all in all, it was a day restoring body, mind and soul.
There are flowers unfolding everywhere in the garden and this year I am so happy to see the aphids have left the lupine alone. I see, however, that the flower has another evil buddy with a taste for it. They must be some type of boring insect, since they come up the stalk and leave a trail as they munch the flowers off and scar the stem. Anyone have any ideas? Do I need to catch them at night. I did not see any evidence of the varmints in the daylight.
One last picture and then I will go off to work. There were all these green "spinners" from a small maple tree in front of our office. I couldn't resist documenting their attempts to propagate, but I fear they will find no amenable conditions on the concrete sidewalk. We talked about how we used to play with them when we were kids: spinning them from a high spot or tearing them apart (since they are slightly sticky inside) and "gluing" them to the bridge of our nose. Have fun whatever you do today - femminismo

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rainstorm last night - all those poor campers!

YES, it poured last night and there was house-shaking thunder in our area of Oregon. The weather got very hot, very fast yesterday - Saturday - and the air currents got wa-a-a-y disturbed.
Early that morning most of our family had gone to the cemetery to clean up and put flowers (lots of flowers) on our parents' and grandparents' graves, since that was when we could all be together. As we walked away and looked back at all the flowers, my sister-in-law remarked you could certainly tell there were well-loved people there.
We then went back to my brother's house for a picnic lunch and some time to visit before we all had to scatter.
The picture of the azalea, with clematis climbing all over it, was taken before the rainstorm. I tried to take photos of the rain coming down through the sunshine, but it's impossible. Are there photographers who have succeeded? I'd like to meet one. Maybe my brother could do it. Check out his Web site. He does fantastic work!
On the sidebar at left there is a photo of the storm as it moved to the northeast of us. I pity any of the Memorial Day campers who got rained on this weekend. Been there, done that. No fun.

The last photo is of me this morning in my towel garb in honor of Douglas Adams. I got to meet him once at a book signing.
One of those small thrills life hands out sometimes.
I hope your Sunday is going well and you're doing something creative - like updating your blog. Send me a comment here and let me know where I can check out your blog. I'd like to "meet" you - femminismo

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend - remembering.

AS A CHILD, Memorial Day was the day of the year when I would get a glimpse of what it was like to be grown up.
I rarely saw my parents sad, and I can count the number of times I saw my mother in tears on the fingers of one hand.
However, when we went to visit the cemetery on Memorial Day - without knowing it - I was peeking ahead in time to the days I would visit my own parents and wish I could talk with them again and thank them for all the good times they gave us when we were children. Even though we didn't have much, we had a roof over our head, food on the table, laughter and love.
When we visited my grandmother's grave, my mother would grow quiet and arrange her offering of flowers. We kids would run around the cemetery reading the funny names and, sometimes, we would pause at the graves with American flags next to their headstones. I'm sure if we'd done the math we would have noticed some of these "names" died fairly young during the years of World War II.
Today we will visit the cemetery where my parents and grandparents rest.
However, Memorial Day is also for remembering those killed in our nation's wars.
I hope you will take the opportunity on Monday at 3 p.m., your local time, as I will, to offer up one minute of time to remember, and thank, those who gave their lives for our country. If we do not actively choose to participate in ending all wars, we, too, have asked them for their contribution.
On a happier note, the picture above is of a dozen roses the Mister picked me in our back yard. He brought them to me cupped in both of his hands and now they are floating in this glass bowl. The smell is heavenly. - Have a safe weekend - femminismo
P.S. Don't forget Towel Day, in memory of Douglas Adams, tomorrow - all day long.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson Gaskell - novelist.

CRANFORD: I have been watching this series of shows on PBS and delighting in them. I am so sorry they are over. The characters, the screenplay of Elizabeth Gaskell's book, the actors and actresses - simply amazing!
The writer, Gaskell (right, in a miniature), was born September 29, 1810, and lived a little over 55 years. Her novels give us portraits of many levels of society, the rich and poor - and a lot of great English dialect now forgotten - and as such we receive the gift of a great glimpse of history. She may be best known for the biography of her friend Charlotte Bronte.
Another friend of hers was Charles Dickens. What friends to have ... but Gaskell was no slouch in the writing department. What perfect sentiments she could have her characters mouth.
Tonight I rewatched the third and last installment. Somewhere I read an interview with Dame Judi Dench and she said she was eager to work together again with Imelda Staunton. I hope they do too.
What perfect harmony they present, the two of them, in every little way they move and speak.
Now, if you'll pardon me, after stealing images from Wikipedia and PBS I'm off to watch the video from "behind the scenes" on the set of "Cranford" at PBS's Web site. Ta ta! - femminismo

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chilly today ... hot tamale.

HA HA! That is a joke my father always liked. Maybe my grandfather, too. An old one. But lately it certainly seems true here in Oregon where we've had 90 degree days followed by 51 degrees right now as I type. Brrr! Maybe this weekend it will be back up in the 70s. We'll see.
I have polygonatum commutatum to post today: Solomon's seal. (The real deal. None of that "false" stuff.) In back of the white tumbrels, which is how the shape of the flowers are described, are pink azaleas. Flowers, flowers everywhere. I love my yard!
The yellow tree peonies are blooming, too, and they are very big. It's amazing that a twig-like branch can produce such voluptuous beauties. They remind me of Dolly Parton. Maybe that's what I'll call this one from now on.
I'll leave it big and not reduce its size so you can check out the pistils of the flower - if peonies have pistils. My biology teaching son could tell me ... or even Google, I'll bet.
I am very weary tonight, but must watch the season finale of "Lost" so I can get more lost, myself, in the mystery of that show.
And then there is a newspaper to produce tomorrow, so I will be copy editing on screen and on paper to beat the band. Oy!
What else did I want to say? Oh, we are close to 2,ooo visitors. Maybe 300 more to go. Come on, you faithful readers. Check in three times a day so I can send off the prize of my Mystery Woman drawing.
Now I have one more thing to show you and I'll call it an evening. It's a page from the latest altered book, and it has something to do with a place in England called Malvern. I tore the Greek heads from a book (I am ruthless, I know) and then drew the little man a body. He is thinking of his girl back home as he reaches for the flower. Buenas noches - femminismo
(Update: Sorry to mislead. Not "Lost" season finale. I misunderstood. Thanks, T, for reminding me to fix this post. Next Thursday: Let's move the island!)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Out Of The Woods ... Literally.

FEELING itchy tonight after being in the woods, again, today. I haven't seen any poison oak but the nettles got me again on one wrist while I was trying to take another skunk cabbage photo. I hope no one is tired of pictures of ferns, but I cannot resist putting in one more. I think these unfolding fronds look like exotic birds marching in the forest looking for a place to nest.
Use your imagination and see if they don't.
Confession: I guess I have too much time on my hands, because ... I opened a Tumblr account. I don't think I'm using it in the way they suggest - posting quick little bits at any time of the day. I'm using it more for writing - personal writing. Autobiographical, mostly, but who knows? It could turn fictional at any time; like when I can't think of anything to write about.
We'll see what happens. If you'd like to take a look, check here at Tumblr.
A lot of plants and trees are blooming in the woods. I'm glad I don't have allergies. I would be miserable - sneezing and feeling sad not to get to walk through the woods and make all the discoveries I did today. The Mister went down into the creek to rearrange some rocks that help divert water the proper way down the side of the river bank. We don't want things washing away.
I found wild strawberries today! Do you think we will get to taste them before the deer find them? I don't. The deer spend a lot more time in the woods than we do.
The maiden hair fern is lovely. There are several down by the creek and it makes you marvel at the beauty of nature.
I don't know what the plant in the last picture is. The leaves look like false Solomon seal. Any helpers out there? (postdate: 5/19/08 - I found out this is false Solomon's seal!) - femminismo

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More in Art Journals.

I HAVE a new book to alter for my next journal. It's a book about England and the first pages talk about King Arthur's return. Here is a picture at the beginning of the altering -
The page on the left, where there are lines drawn in a sort of circle next to the flower, is an image glued face down onto acrylic paint.
I let it dry and we have Arthur coming and he's bringing a friend. (I love the autumn crocus by the way. I found it in another book today.)
It looks like Arthur is bringing a friend with him and he doesn't look too happy. Actually, reading the text again, perhaps these men are delivering Arthur to Merlin!
I can't wait to see what this book will bring. There are a lot of photos of very picturesque places in the English countryside.
Having fun. Hope you are too - femminismo

Hello to my visitors!

HELLO to visitors from London, England, and all other parts of the world. It is astounding to see who can stumble upon your humble blog.
More later when I have time- femminismo

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mama herself.

BEFORE she was our Mama she was herself. She studied her lessons through grade school, went to Mass on Sundays, worked on her parents' farm and in the house and then went to work, sending home money to help her parents.
She didn't date many boys. A blind date turned out badly. She took one more chance on another blind date. Lucky her. Lucky him. Lucky us. He was our father.
He joined the Army in 1941. She worked during the war in a cannery and told me she gave people tours through the buildings. She worked in a hospital, too.
She married my father after the war was over. She waited for him during those four long years when times were uncertain and frightening.
Here she is at the wedding, the one looking toward the future so happily. My father is the second from the left. What a handsome couple!
Seven children and many, many grandchildren later, my father had to leave this world first. My mother stayed with us almost 10 years more until her body could no longer maintain her fragile hold on this earth. Her spirit was so strong she would have stayed forever, if it were possible. She taught us how to live a good life and how to be brave in the face of adversity and eventually, death. Happy Mother's Day, Mama. We love you so much words alone can not express its depth. - Jeanne

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Remembering Motherhood.

REMEMBER how I told you my brother had taken on foster parenting his granddaughter? And how I was going to ask him if he needed a baby-sitter? Well guess what? He needed a baby-sitter. This afternoon I watched her for about three hours while he drove to the airport and picked up his wife.
The whole day started off with a big laugh for me: "There are diapers involved, right?" I asked him when he arrived.
"Yeah", he said, as he laid out a McDonald's kid's meal on our kitchen table. He looked at me. "This is honestly the first fast food she's had since she came to live with us."
I believed him.
Then he mentioned the diaper changing again and told me she was a pretty good eater and had consumed a whole can of chili by herself just before they came over.
"What??!!" I said. "A whole can of chili?"
A picture formed in my mind, but then I saw the grin pulling at the corners of his mouth.
"A whole can of chili ... right!" I said, laughing loudly. Whew!
He left the two of us together and took off for the airport. I had pretty much babyproofed the house and closed the doors to rooms that would have taken me months to go through. However, I found myself checking on her whereabouts every few minutes.
As I cooked in the kitchen she opened all the drawers and found measuring cups, books and dominoes to play with. Her hair felt so silky and her chubby cheeks were so sweet that I wondered how it was possible I had forgotten how lovely a child feels and how irresistible it is to pick them up and hug them.
She cried for "Papa" a couple of times and I showed her his picture on my cell phone and for a while we watched out the window for him. Then we laid together on the kitchen floor, her bare feet to my bare feet, and we looked out the skylight window overhead and called the birds to come fly over. "Here birdie, birdie, birdie." We saw three of them.
As I again stood at the kitchen counter, chopping vegetables, she sat on the floor to eat a cracker and put her back up square against my legs, reclining against me.
I don't think I've had such a joyful, heartwarming feeling in a long time. It was something remembered - a memory from long ago - and something real and solid all at the same time. I want to go back now and do motherhood all over again. Why can't we know the worth of what we're doing while we're doing it?
I wish I had savored mothering more. That's my wish for today. (Don't you love her chubby little hands in the Easter photo above?) Happy Mother's Day tomorrow and every day.

I tried Dawn Seller's technique again and this time it came out better. I let everything dry thoroughly. I think that was my problem before.
I painted the photocopied image with acrylic paint and put it face down, rubbed it to make sure it adhered and LET IT DRY!
Next day I soaked it with a wet paper towel (left) and then began rubbing away the paper from the back of the image.
This is how the "Man in the Turban" turned out. I think I'll add other images too. Since it's on a long scrap of paper (just a test piece) I don't know what I'll do with it. It was a fun technique, however. Can't wait to see where it goes.
This Saturday night, May 17, is Creative Circle and we're going to do "inchies." I haven't done them before, but a 1 inch x 1 inch square of artwork sounds like it will be challenging - femminismo

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Through the Years ... and more.

IT HAS BEEN a week for busy activity and tonight I have finally had a chance to sit and reflect. Three people have been on my mind lately. (Hmm ... funny how this works; I start to write three and then think of lots more people I've been thinking about!).
Well, OK, tonight I guess this post will be limited to just three: my brother and two girlfriends.
You can see my brother in the black and white photo at the left from ... oh, well, let's just say it's from when kids got new dresses and suits at Easter and women wore hats - anywhere. From the looks on our faces you would think we were expecting an exploding camera. I think the sun was in our eyes.
I am wearing the horrible saddle shoes that were made so well they lasted forever, no matter how rough I was on them. I thought the shoes made my legs look like tree stumps. Looks like I've got some fancy can-can skirt stuff going on there too.
My brother is wearing a fashionable jacket, tailored by Mom or Grandma, and his super speedy tennis shoes so he is always able to outrun our dad and most of his friends.
My brother is now taller than me and if I could look down at the top of his head, I would not see as much hair as he has in this photo.
I have known him all his life, and even though there were times when I thought he'd never grow up, he has - and he has become a very special person.
Recently, even though he already has enough work and responsibility in his life, he took on a little bit more. He is now a full-time foster parent to his granddaughter. I know that it has happened to many grandparents - taking on a role they never expected or wanted. You just want to have fun with your grandchildren and watch their parents carry them off to a nice cozy safe home. However, what you want isn't always what you get.
My heart is full of admiration for my little brother and my thoughts are with him throughout the day. I think I'll call tomorrow and see if he needs a baby-sitter.
The other two friends I am thinking about - one is a very close, dear woman in Michigan and the other friend (someone I was very close to growing up) is in Oregon - have been girlfriends for years and years and years. I need to write both of them letters because they've been in my thoughts so often. They have lately been like "pebbles" I am carrying in my pocket and touching from time to time - not with my fingers, but with my thoughts and heart.
Yes, it's time to write.
NOW FOR ART: Tonight I tried Dawn Sellers' technique of painting a photocopied image with acrylic, putting it face down and letting it dry overnight. Then rub it with a damp paper towel until the paper comes off and leaves the image.
The first time I tried it the image was very ghostlike. I am hoping this time there will be more of an impression. Maybe it's the toner, so I darkened the images on the copy machine. We'll see tomorrow!
I also found Judy Wise's technique of rubbing alcohol taking off layers of acrylic to be fascinating. That looks like lots of fun! Check her blog to see what I'm talking about.
NOTE: Neither of these women invented these techniques and they would be the first to say so, but they're the ones who "told" me about it via their blogs, so ... . Have fun until we "talk" again - femminismo.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ferns in the Pacific Northwest forests.

THERE was a visitor recently - Candace at EyeCandy blogspot - who loves to draw ferns and their spirals. Catching these plants in the spring is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy trimming the ones that grow around our house so I can remove the dead, or spotted, winter-burnt foliage and reveal the "newbies" yearning to unfurl.
Above are wild bleeding hearts on the little hill at the top of the river bank. At right is one of the ferns growing along the river bank in the sun - twisted and convoluted - that I spotted in the forest on Sunday.
Now I must go make a thousand cookies for an art reception tomorrow night - the art reception for some of the children artists I "featured" here yesterday.
Speaking of thousands, there are only 503 more visitors and someone will win the "Mystery Woman" picture!
Now to get elbow deep in sugar, eggs, flour and chocolate chips. My blood sugar is soaring thinking of it! - femminismo

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wow! What a Weekend!

IT WAS such a great weekend! Full and busy, but really fun.
Saturday, May 3, I volunteered to help inventory and judge a children's art show. There was artwork to be numbered, and then each child's name and the number of their piece of art had to be listed on the inventory sheet. Along the way I was having to stop and take pictures. These kids just jumped in feet first and made some incredible paintings, watercolors and pottery. The whole room was redolent of tempera.
Don't you love this sun rising, with its reflection in the water?
I do! This was in a second grade three-way tie
for my vote. (I could only vote once for each grade. Sad but true.)
This lovely watercolor of a flower caught me with its composition and technique. I just know they didn't think "Oh, I can't draw."
I also like this other one (right) that was thick with paint and verrrry avant-garde.
I saw the movie "Iron Man" Saturday night with my daughter and we had a good time together.
On Sunday the Mister and I were up and running to get our home chores done - cleaning bathrooms, weeding and such - so we could go up on our woodland property to do some work. He was going to work on the bridge and I was going to destroy nettles so they couldn't obscure the path to the creek. The roots of the nettles grow sideways underground, so it would take strong measures to eradicate them. Spraying is out of the questions since there are so many beautiful plants around them and the nettles grow too near the water. So I just put on my gloves, wore a long-sleeved shirt and long pants and carefully pulled them up. I had quite a pile of them. Took pictures, of course. (Not of the nettles.)

Then we scurried back home for a 3 p.m. get-together.
The day ended with a family party celebrating two April birthdays. It was even nice enough to sit on blankets outdoors and eat our dinner.
I am hoping you had a good weekend, too. More later - femminismo