Saturday, February 28, 2009

End of the Line For This Month.

SO we say goodbye to another month in this year of firsts - 2009, you haven't been here long, but already you've changed us and rearranged us.
Tonight the Mister and I attended a surprise birthday party for my brother who turned (secret age here). It was fun to sit around the kitchen table after dinner and birthday cake and each take turns telling "I remember" stories.
Only one of my brothers wasn't there and we missed him. My littlest sister, as usual, brought the best gifts - handmade - a blanket for my birthday brother and a homemade apple pie for the other brother who was hosting the party.
She carries gifts wherever she goes. I know: You all want to send her your address! But me first!
What will March bring? Warmer weather - just a little, I hope. And no more surprise snow showers even if they do give my disintegration project real teeth. The picture above is taken from The Blue Lantern, where Jane showed fashion illustrations and talked about her recent yearning for a new spring outfit. She has such fantastic art on her blog. I don't think I've ever seen anything there I haven't liked.
I am hard at work this weekend cleaning up my art room. This time it's for real. We would like to turn this into a real bedroom again so we can entertain. The Mister plans to give me a nice cozy room in the garage. (Nicer than it sounds.) Good night - femminismo

Thursday, February 26, 2009

February is Almost Over.

THE month of groundhogs, valentines and presidents. That's how I think of February.
And *surprise* snow showers! This morning I awoke and walked into the kitchen to grind the Java Rocket coffee beans and goodness gracious! There was a white world outside and the kitchen skylight was covered with snow.
I felt gleeful and kid-like and knew immediately my disintegration project had come through another grand round of weather. Wind, rain and now a second frosting of snow.
I grabbed the camera and a jacket - and, oh yes, some shoes - and took off for the back yard. There were no bird tracks this time, but the wind a couple nights before had nudged the leaves around and the book pages were soaked through and through.
(For anyone just checking in - without having heard the whole idea of this "project" - a group of us are testing the boundaries of disintegration. Some of us are working in parts of the world where winter holds court, and some are in southern climes where they are upside down and it's now their summer.)
I haven't touched my pages since January, so I don't know what they look like underneath, but what fun it's been to just. see. what. happens!
Tiny little *snowflakes ** fell down on my hair as I stood there in the garden hearing the silence ... the birds all quiet wondering what had happened to their happy springlike weather from a couple days ago. (They were chasing each other around the front yard, careening through the magnolia tree, flirting with each other like mad.)
Here you can see our Oregon grape bush draped in snow, with our neighbor's shapely fir tree - elegant, as always.
My "Readers Share Story" project is still ongoing. I offered library card packets, with a part of a story written on each one - to those who wanted to participate. I have five cards left (see photo). Let me know if you would like to be in on this. I write part of a story on each library card, mail them off to participants, they decorate the front of the library card holder and then take a photo of what they've done. They send it to me and then I will post the photos and the entire story I wrote on the cards on the Rendezvous blog site. Think about it and let me know - femminismo

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Disintegration Happens When You're Watching ... When You're Not.

HERE are my packets for the Disintegration Project that Seth Apter at The Altered Page inspired.
I am so glad I read his mysterious post and figured out he would be letting books or pages disintegrate over the winter! Yes, it's always been one of my deep-seated goals: having a book rot in my garden.
Now you know!
Actually, it's only recently that I've been able to do anything harmful to a book. Books have always been my salvation. I remember keeping my nose in one at recess so I wouldn't have to play with the other kids because I was so shy. (I know there are people out there gasping at those words! "Shy? She's shy?!? No way! Yeah, right.")
Well, it's true. I still covet books. They are dear to me. I don't know that I could stand to hold a Kindle instead of paper and book board.
Well, feast your eyes on these pics, my pretties.
And one more photo that make me grab my camera and take a picture WHILE I was DRIVING! (Don't tell my kids or the Mister ... or my insurance man.)
Do you think the little cars were in case the price of gas goes up again? I think it must have been Grandma and Grandpa in town buying one of the little cars for the grandkids. I bet there were some excited youngsters in town that day.
You know, if I had one of those - just a little bigger, however - I could drive one to work. OK. Nobody steal that idea. I'm contacting the Patent Office right now - femminismo

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Weekend ... And It's Gone!

IT'S the weekend - and then it's gone. Here we are at Sunday night.
Accomplished a couple of things. The most satisfying had to be moving a peony to where it can be enjoyed. It used to be stuck under the heavenly bamboo.
Right now is the time to move things in the garden. Or replace them! I am so sure I will have to shop for a new rosemary plant. I trimmed the one in the garden back, but it looks to be seriously toasted, with no green on the stems at all.
I've read numerous articles on how to prune roses, but each year I do it pretty much the same way. Chop, chop, chop. Cut out dead wood. Cut on an angle. Cross my fingers.
Saw some violets on my way around the back yard. The Lenten roses are blooming and giving us encouragement. The rain we were supposed to get - all day long - didn't happen, so that was a bonus.
The brightest note this weekend was a birthday party for my granddaughter, who just turned 16 yesterday. I will always treasure a special memory of her, when she was only 2 or 3. Her mother had just taken her from the bathtub and she jumped into my towel-draped lap and wrapped her monkey arms around my waist. The smell of her hair and her sweet, warm, wet hug has stayed with me all this time as if it just happened. (There! I felt it happen again as I typed those words!)
Four other granddaughters were also at the party. What a wonderful day.
Then I went to Creative Circle where we played with shrinky dinks and made charms, earrings and whatever else came out of the tiny toaster ovens. Sylvia and Turquoize (above, with her ATC) were our leaders in this adventure. It's always fun to get together once a month and play with this group.
Sylvia and JoAnn both took JoAnn's stash of library book cards and did something with them so we could each have one. We had lots to choose from, since they were super busy with glue and paint. I liked JoAnn's hint to "put food coloring in your bathwater." I think I might tint mine blue and put on exotic music and pretend I'm swimming in tropic waters. And I definitely want to read Sylvia's "Ranch Romance." Sounds/looks like a great book (pretend, but great).
Remember, if you want one of the library cards with its pocket, that is part of my guerrilla art project (read earlier post on this, please) let me know at I have five cards left. Each one will have part of a story on it and we'll put them all together. - G'night - femminismo

Thursday, February 19, 2009

We Don't Always "Know" What We See.

TRUTH: We sometimes think ideas show up by magic. "Why are my thoughts dwelling on this? Or that? Or the other thing?"
Sometimes we don't see things that are right in front of our eyes until we shift our focus a little bit.
JoAnn, my crafting pal and work colleague, handed out library cards and pockets - you know; the items librarians used to track books with before computerized scanners. She gave them to us at our Creative Circle group to paint, glue, or decorate in whatever way we wanted.
I began painting mine and had no idea what I was going to do with them. Would I write down famous people's names on the library cards? Boring! Draw pictures on them? What, what, what to do?
Then tonight, as I was stamping them with paint, my mind got empty and wandered to the guerrilla valentines I left around that folks have been hesitant to "register" on the other blog - merencontrer - which, as two words, is "me rencontrer" in French and means "meet me." (Or I think it does, anyway.) Meet me, get it? Rendezvous?
So I was stamping these library card pockets with paint and all at once I thought, "What if I wrote a story and put a part of the story on each of these 10 cards and then in order to read the whole story people have to go to the other blog and post their part of the story?" How fun would that be?
But how can we guarantee the whole story will get to the other blog?
Well, I could ask for comments. Those who comment get a card, but where do I send them?
So the best idea is e-mail me - - and you can give me your address. (I promise you won't start receiving credit card applications in the mail!) I'll spring for the postage, you get something fun in the mail, then we all put our parts of the story together. (I'll keep one card - maybe the one with "The End" on it.) First nine people to send me their address by e-mail get a card.
The price you pay is decorating the front of the library card pocket anyway you like. Then take a photo of it - a jpeg - and send it to my e-mail address so I can post it on the blog!!! Oh! And you will have to type in your part of the story in the "comment section." Don't worry: I will sort them out.
Sound like too much work? Then let someone else get the card and just tell me what a fantastic brainstorm I just had.
Oh, by the way, click on the picture above and turn your head just a little bit to the left and see if you see what was right in front of me before I got the idea about writing a story in pieces and letting readers put it together - femminismo

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New Art Journal Page.

ACTUALLY, to be truthful, there's no journaling on this page ... yet.
It may happen. No promises, OK? But I did actually get busy and do some painting on the theme of Sainte Therese, the photocopied image in the guerrilla valentines I left around town.
Then I posted them on my other blog -- set up especially for the people who would come flocking -- and only one has so far. : (
However, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to go ahead and do a journal page so anyone visiting there would know what the heck I was talking about.
Here is what I did with my image and the word "rendezvous." (Aren't those eyes just a little creepy?)
I was trying to keep the two places - blogs - separate, but if you want to go visit and leave a comment so others may feel less threatened by what I've done there, go ahead and click on "visit." And remember clicking on the pictures should enlarge them.
Well, I have a feeling "Lost" may be on and I'm still trying to make sense of that show. Talk at you later - femminismo

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Guerrilla Stitch Up: Done.

WELL, I can't help but feel that I've cheated a bit, since it's not on a tree or a pole along the road, but it does make the door handle of our Valley Art Gallery look a little more cozy and "touchable."
The gallery is being completely redone from the ground up and some guerrilla knitting will surely give it a homey touch until April 9 when the grand reopening happens.
If there are local Oregon artists out there, get in touch if you would like to have your work juried for the gallery when it's open again.
I'm planning my ensemble for the gala opening - April 9! It is sure to be fun and a lot of work, but most good things are. - femminismo

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine Blog Party ... I'm Here!

KATHRYN Antyr, the moderator of the SoulJournal Yahoo Group, invited everyone to a blog party - complete with party treats. So much fun. I am finally getting around to posting before everyone on the East Coast goes to bed and Valentine's Day is over.
First a valentine for everyone. This comes from a scrapbook my aunt once had. It must be around 60 years old, at least. She saved all her cards and letters. This particular valentine is glued down, but is embossed and colorful, still, after all this time. When you pull on the "to my valentine" part the girl "steps" forward. It's very charming.
Here is the art journal page I did for the blog party. I will post it on the site when I finish here. The theme was "birds of a feather" and included some other ideas to incorporate. I'm not crazy about this, but I did have some happy accidents that I will apply to other pages in my journal. Learning, learning ... all the time learning. Kathryn found the bird templates for us and Martha (the Martha) provided the roses and tea cup. Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!
I am going to use this post to catch up on EVERYTHING! On Friday, Feb. 13, at about 11:45 a.m., I opened my new blog - where the finders of guerrilla valentines were told to go - and SOMEONE registered they had found the first one. They left no contact info, but I am hoping others find the valentines soon and decide it's safe (that may be a worry) to comment on the blog. So exciting and I knew you would all want to know what's going on with that.
Then, as if my sanity is not being questioned often enough lately, I am doing the Global Guerrilla Stitch-Up with Grrl+dog in Australia. Here is my knitting which is destined for a tree in an unnamed (as of now) city near me. Don't you think this will keep the skinny little tree cozy until spring is really, honestly, truly here?
Last, but not least, the Disintegration Project with Seth at The Altered Page: My pages are slightly soggy and the title page is covered with a very fragile rotting leaf. The pages got some sunshine today and I got a chance to snap a photo in-between clipping roses and other foliage. Bulbs are sprouting and spring is on its way. Hip Hip Hooray! I was going to snip back my tree peonies, but could not do the deed. The flowers are so lovely I can't live without one of them. Maybe next spring I will do it, but not this year. Not when winter has lasted far too long. Again, Happy Valentines - femminismo

Friday, February 13, 2009

Littlest Sister Of Mine.

SHE is our littlest sister, the fifth child to safely arrive in our family.
I can remember - or think I remember - my other sister counting our baby sister's tiny toes. Lifting up the blanket in her bassinet and counting them. Or maybe it's only an old family story that begins to seem like the truth.
In any event, somehow today and this evening went past and now it's too late to call and wish her a happy birthday. That special day, her birthday, is almost over.
She - and all of us - were so lucky to land, like little birds, in our parents' nest.
Such a wonderful mother and father we had. Somehow we always knew they were the best.
We had clues: Our father with a wink and a gleeful smile, to tell us all that we were safe and things were fine and always would be. Our mother with a tender smile, to let us feel the love and forgiving heart that would be our comfort even when things got tough.
Jen-Jen, here is a copy of the letter that Daddy sent to Mama when he was on his way back from the war. You and I hadn't been thought of at that time. Well, maybe considered a little. Wink, wink! - Your big sister

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Not So Very Goody Two Shoes.

TA-DAH! The deed is done! The guerilla valentines have been dispersed. (Yes, indeed, I had comments that these valentines were like guerilla valentines and they really are.)
As a rule follower and non-lawbreaker, it is difficult for me to pull off the indiscriminate act of willful disobedience. As I walked down the library aisle away from the valentine I had left on the shelf near the arts and crafts section and home decorating books (my gosh, there are thousands of them - home decorating books, that is) ... as I walked away I expected someone to come running after me and tell me I had left something behind. But no. No one followed me.
I walked all the way to the end of the library and found two books by Joan Aiken I want to read. One is "Lady Catherine's Necklace," and the author takes up where "Pride and Prejudice" left off, with Lady Catherine de Bourgh trying to prevent the betrothal of her nephew, Mr. Darcy, whom she had intended for her daughter, Anne, to marry.
I almost want to call in sick to work tomorrow so I can stay home and read it. My eyeballs are yearning to devour it!
Anyway, just as if I weren't a criminal of the worst sort, I checked out these books and merrily made my way out of the Main Library and walked down toward the creek where the ducks were having a gay old time. Brrr! Not my idea of fun, but they began gathering around where I stood hoping a treat would be thrown their way. Then-I-ever-so-casually-laid-down-my-things, took some pictures and then picked up everything but the guerilla valentine. And then I ever so casually walked away after taking a couple more photos.
Well, I really don't know which I'm more excited about. What will happen with the valentines or the book - or our new shower, which is beyond lovely. My pal, JoAnn, has suggested a party for our shower. I can cut a ribbon and everything. It is really going to be the most decadent place to bathe.
Greg the tile artiste has outdone himself.
I also went to yoga tonight and the difference it made is amazing. I am always surprised - don't know why - at how even arranging a little time to center yourself and stretch a bit and concentrate on breathing in and out can work such wonders. Nighty-night - femminismo

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sent Out Into The World.

TODAY I sent seven "valentines" on their way. I laid three in art galleries. Two of them went on tables in the lobbies. One went onto a short empty pedestal! The perfect place.
I mailed two off to get them wider distribution in the world. Either the persons I sent them to will take on the "art journey" or they will give them to someone who will.
Another one I left in the art book - how to section - of a local public library.
The last two will go in another local library tomorrow.
It is exciting to leave small packages anonymously where you hope someone will be happy to find them and take on the challenge they bring with them.
I cannot wait to check into my other blog, where folks have been instructed to arrive, to see if they follow through. We shall see, won't we? - femminismo

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rendezvous With Me.

Ooh la la! So ver-r-r-y French! Rendezvous. A prearranged meeting!
My wild little brain is flying high and wild tonight as I prepare to send off these valentines. I have decided to make Le Internet my duena. She will be with me at all times as I meet up with the arty types who find these valentines and answer the mysterious invitation to have fun on an art journey.
We will meet at a prearranged blogspot where we will "have the fun," as you Americans say.
Well, enough with pretending I'm French. You know I was born and raised in Oregon. I have been to Paris, but was not born there. In spirit, perhaps, but not in fact.
Yes, I am going to scatter these valentines and leave them out to whoever finds them and wants to continue the adventure. Maybe I will send two of them out to people I know, but otherwise I will let them fall as they may.
So this is what I have been doing with myself lately besides recovering from the cold and cough I got. I feel better and can't wait to be my old self again!
Meanwhile I suppose you've been wondering where our bathroom renovation is going. (Of course you have.) Here are the latest pictures and it may be the last ones for a little while. I think - finally - my soldier of a digital camera may have bitten the dust. Bought the farm. Kicked le bucket. The photo on the left is a closeup of the smooth tiles inlaid with marble squares. The Mister says you can see the dragonflies in the tile so there's no need to inlay them special. Hmm. Do you buy that? The picture on the right is of the bench we'll have so we can sit and shower - when we "get old" JoAnn says. "So we can sleep through the shower in the morning!" I say. Better go. Today's the Mister's birthday and we're going to have ice cream - femminismo

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday, Sunshine and a Smattering of Art.

NOW don't look at me like that. I know there's housework to do and the sun straining to shine through the windows does give rise to concerns that they should be washed - all of them, not just the one over the kitchen sink - but that's all that got done today. Oh, and the kitchen floor got mopped.
But then fun arrived in the form of a paperback Joan Aiken book in German and thoughts of Valentines - and an image of a smiling cherub.
Well, who could resist? Not me.
I photocopied Sainte Therese eight times, ripped out her picture and put one in each of the eight sections of the Joan Aiken book. All the while my mind was turning over options: "hide" the books out in plain sight and just let people have them, start a new blog and put directions to it in the book pages and when the "finder" arrives there's an invitation to a party, or just use the book bundles as valentines for my friends and invite them to a party. Hmm.
I don't know who suggested we try making our own stamps and stencils by cutting out shapes and daubing paint in the cutouts, but whoever's blog I got this idea from, it's great! I needed a heart shape and there's plenty of those in the advertisements in the February newspapers. So I cut out a heart and the stencil gave me a nice impression on the stacks of torn book pages. And the more paint that gets on it, the stronger the stencil paper becomes. (I'm getting much braver at tearing up books - at first I couldn't do it at all - but I don't think the library need fear me for quite a while yet.)
The book pages are painted with gesso and then stamped with acrylic paint. I'm going to tie them up in bundles with the string I coated with white, pink and red acrylic paint. Won't they look cute?
I think some glitter might be forthcoming too. I still don't know, however, whether to do a mysterious public art project and have strangers come to a party or just send these as valentines. What would you do?
I'm also working on my guerrilla knitting project. I want to join with Grrl+dog and maybe I'll finish a sweater for the tree outside of the local art gallery before Valentine's Day - femminismo

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remembering The Future ... .

My cold is getting better. In the meantime, since I've not been busy art-wise, perhaps you'd like to read something I wrote last month - January 2009.

IT'S not often
that a younger version of yourself walks up to remind you exactly how far you’ve come and what you’ve learned — or haven’t — but it happened to me during our December 2008 ice and snowstorm.
I was standing in front of the art store on Third Avenue, across from the Argus, waiting for my husband to come and give me a ride home. It was dark out, cold and very slippery, so I was just trying to stay upright and warm. I hoped my ride would come soon. I was thinking about all the things I wanted to do at home and ruing all the time I’ve been wasting doing other things. I was feeling irritated that the majority of my life seems to have been sucked up by some giant vacuum. I should have paid closer attention and made better plans for my life.
The Washington Street Max station is near the Argus building and there were several people out walking in the cold and light snow. I watched as a young woman walked toward me. She was very pretty and bundled up, but her long hair was uncovered and the tip of her nose was red.
She walked up to me and stopped.
“I got my car stuck back there in the snow and it’s in-between two other cars,” she announced.
I probably said something like, “Oh, no.”
“I’ve had a really crappy day,” she went on. “I thought I’d get out and take a walk … do something I like to do … then wait a while and go back and see if one of the cars has moved.”
“I’m sorry you had a bad day,” I offered.
“Oh, I missed a job interview. It’s because of the weather. Now my car’s stuck. Oh, well. I’m looking for something else since I lost my job. I worked for my mother-in-law, but when my husband and I divorced she fired me. It was strictly personal reasons. I was a great employee.”
Inspired, I thought this must be the reason I was standing here. In my mind I saw a happy ending in the future for this girl.
I said, “You should go in and talk to the owner of this store.” I motioned to Art Envy. “The owner just told me he may be hiring one more person to help out.”
“Yes, but is it part time or full time?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I answered. “Maybe part time, but you could ask.”
“Hmm,” she murmured. “I need full-time work. I have a young son and ended up paying for the whole divorce. All I got were my clothes, my car and my son.”
She said something else indicating she was happy with this arrangement.
“Well, still that’s hard. I was on my own with three kids at one time.”
My thoughts flashed back to those times and I was no longer standing on the icy Hillsboro streets. I was standing in the post office extracting overdue bills from the mail box, I was walking into our home and berating three teenagers for watching cartoons instead of doing their chores, I was crying alone in the middle of the night wondering what I would do about the overdue taxes on the house, I was asking my parents if they might loan me enough money for the house payment.
I shook my head and came back to the present.
“Well, I hope you get your car out,” I said, thinking of the AAA card in my purse. Should I offer this as an option, I wondered. “And I hope you get another chance at the job interview.”
“Oh, it will be all right,” she said. “I usually make out OK.”
Making out OK. I thought of all the times — just when I thought there were no more chances or solutions or opportunities — I was lucky enough to “make out OK.” When I sold our house and ended up with about $400 in profits, when I quit a job I didn’t like without having another one to go to, when I quit a second job and took a new one at half the salary — all those times things had magically worked out OK.
Just then my husband appeared and parked near us. Here was one of the many things that had definitely turned out OK for me.
“Well, here’s my ride,” I said. “I do hope you get another chance at that job interview.”
I think she said something like, “Oh, everything will turn out all right.”
And before I could say anything else she walked out into the street and away and didn’t once look back. I watched her for a minute thinking she looked awfully brave all alone on that cold, slippery street. Then I opened the door to my husband’s four-wheel drive service truck, put my purse inside and took a giant step up inside.
“Hey, there,” said my husband. “Found somebody to talk with?”
I told him a little bit about her story as we drove home and thought about how absurd it is to make plans for life. What a joke!
It struck me then to ask myself, am I really paying attention to my life now? What am I not doing today that I will regret in the days to come? There would be something, of that I had no doubt, but I wouldn't miss this opportunity.
I turned to my husband and said, “It’s nice to see you. I missed you today.”

Femminismo wanders through life trying to believe she’s going the right way even when she can’t remember why she turned up this one certain path or what she was looking for.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My Two Cents for Today.

NOT much more than that - just two and that's all.
1st. Sore throat. Don't want that.
2nd. Rearranged my art space a little. It's a start.
Well, OK, 3rd. Made lasagna tonight with the noodles that cook in the sauce. Never thought I'd stoop so low.
Got to go drink my hot lemonade now. Take care all of you good little girls and boys - femminismo
p.s. Happy Groundhog Day and Happy Birthday, again, to JoAnn!