Monday, August 31, 2009

Last Day of the Month - Adieu, August.

SLOWLY inching by, this last day of August is almost gone here on the left coast.
So many wonderfully steamy days these three months of summer. Waiting for the spring equinox, planting seeds in the garden mud, now harvesting and steaming green beans and throwing juicy red cherry tomatoes in salads.
The basil has done well and we must have a trillion tomatillos. Almost as many long, shiny, green-skinned Anaheim peppers to make huevos rancheros.
Just wanted to post a short something and say tomorrow I start training someone to take my old job as I prepare to take on a new one next week.
Goodbye to old friends and hello to new challenges.
Like a garden, continually in some state of growth or replenishing - femminismo

Sunday, August 30, 2009

No Gelatin Today, Folks.

I SAID I would show how to make gelatin today, but other things - that couldn't be put off - came up and needed doing F.I.R.S.T.
At 9 p.m. I decided to make a couple of pans of gelatin and then discovered I was a little short of gelatin. I am not about to run to the store now, on a Sunday night, or mix up something resembling runny aspic, so we will start slowly with the ingredients.
You'll need Knox gelatin, in the handy industrial size box; a heat-proof Pyrex measuring pitcher; and a pan to boil half the water. I will add four packets of the Knox for each cup of water.
(NOTE: Have cookie sheets with narrow sides or other appropriate shallow plastic containers on a level surface somewhere all ready to receive the gelatin mix. Make sure they are someplace they can stay and won't be in the way. It's much easier to fill them with the gelatin "in place" than fill them and then try and carry them to another location.)
Half the water goes into the pan to boil, half stays in the heat-proof pitcher. While the water is heating up add all the gelatin powder to the water and stir thoroughly. It will be thick. STIR!
When the water has come to a boil pour it into the gelatin mix and keep stirring this. It will be frothy.
When you have done a good job incorporating all of this, carry it to the pans and pour it in, making sure the pans are level. (However, your pans - if they are like mine - may be a bit warped with the oven's heat over time. Don't worry. Things should be fine anyway.) If there are lots of bubbles or foam still on the top of the gelatin, drag the edge of a sheet of paper over the top to carry them to the side. Use another sheet of paper to see if you can remove most of this stuff.
Let the gelatin sit overnight. To keep it for at least a week, cover it and refrigerate.
Hopefully, I will get to make some more gelatin tomorrow.
Today we saw the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds jet team fly over town at a leisurely 400-500 mph. Noisy but thrilling! - femminismo

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kick In The Pants.

CANDACE knows how to get me inspired.
She gives me little kicks in the pants to jump-start my blog engine. Thanks, pal, for your comment.
I have been busy lately changing careers again. Actually, I am going back to something that I have done in the past, so I guess I'm not exactly changing careers. However, the job change has sucked up quite a bit of free time so I hope you will excuse me for not being more regular about posting. I know you wait for each one with bated breath.
Tomorrow I will show how to do a gelatin print step by step. Here are a couple pictures of what I did today while I still had a piece of intact gelatin to work with. (As you can see, it is beginning to split and separate.) I painted the gelatin with acrylics, wet the paper with a spray bottle of water and then put the paper wet side down. Press and pull up, as you see in the picture.
Here is the paper drying. Lots of colors. I think it's time to paint a picture with some recognizable objects and leave off on the abstract colored squirts and daubs - although they do have their own charm.
Tonight I'm watching "Lost in Austen" and can hardly wait. I am sure (well, pretty sure) it will be fun because it throws a modern day young woman into Elizabeth Bennett's England - as Elizabeth. Will she deal with Mr. Darcy in the same way? It will be fun to see - femminismo

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More Gelatin Prints ... and more.

THE gelatin prints came rolling off the assembly line this Sunday when JoAnn and I got together for printing fun.
We had four or five trays of gelatin in various shapes and sizes.
I made one in a cookie pan with that was too soft and a couple others that worked just fine. One was leftover gelatin in a pizza pan and I didn't think I would use it much, but I did like its shape and "feel" after a while. And I still used the one Dawn had made for Creative Circle last Saturday. It began to develop a crack similar to the San Andreas Fault eventually, but Dawn, we really got your money's worth out of it before I was through.
JoAnn tried making a "ghost print" with damp watercolor paper and the result was astonishingly beautiful, as you can see above. Ready for framing!
Here in my circular pizza pan gelatin I put color and laid down flowers, put on the paper and pressed, peeled it away; picked up the flowers and then did the ghost print on the same piece. I then daubed gold paint with bubble wrap only around in a circle and laid it down again to pick that up and set off the pink.
And here are clematis leaves and vines - negative image. Color! It's all fun! Fun therapy!
rolled our brayers through several colors of paint and tried different types of paper. We could see how bits and parts might be masked off to achieve other results - and preserve other effects you don't want to cover up. I didn't get a picture of the print JoAnn made by cutting away portions of the gelatin to make a multi-color picture of pears.
Now that I'm feeling that wonderful, good tired of a weekend of visiting with family and friends and doing plenty of art, I don't know that I'm really ready for Monday and I should go to bed early ... if I was smart, that is.
Last photo on right is of the pizza pan with a circle of clear gelatin, paint and a paper circle to act as a mask. The paper didn't pick up the paint there and it created the impression of a moon floating within a much larger circle of color - femminismo

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gelatin, anyone?

GOT to post something or I will feel worthless as an addicted blogger!
It's been busy around our house for lots of different reasons, but I have managed to do a couple more gelatin prints.
Putting on paint and then laying down a few stems of daisies I came up with this. The daisies were removed from the paint and then I got another print, which added some color in the "resist" areas.
The only problem with this art technique is I get going - trying this, that and the other thing - and before I know it I've got something I like, but I'll be darned if I can remember how I did it.
And of course, with this technique, too, you're thinking backward: OK, first I put down the paint, then the flowers, then the paper - and rubbed. Then I pulled up the paper and removed the flowers and then I put the paper back down again. I think. No, maybe not. Maybe I painted some more. No, that wouldn't have worked. Gosh, I don't know what I did! But I like it!!
Here is another image "pulled" from the painted gelatin onto the paper. The flower petals are almost of photographic quality. I really, really like them and think I'll maybe cut them out and lay them on the more colorful paper. Maybe.
Friends and I are doing this again on Sunday, so get ready to see more artwork for which I will have no technical explanations - femminismo

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Wedding and Art. Things Have Been Hopping!

THE wedding is July 11, 2010, so it's not as though that's what I've been doing for the past few days. But my granddaughter is getting ready for that big day, next year, and on Saturday she held a gathering of mothers and grandmothers to preview "The Dress."
The girl knows what she wants and doesn't want. The wedding dress is lovely, with an over-skirt of tulle embroidered with a cascading floral pattern and squiggly "wedding cake" embroidery on the bodice. The veil tops it off perfectly, but of course it's the girl inside the dress that's the prettiest and brightest thing in the world. Kind, generous, loving, her head on straight, future plans galore - she's got it all in hand, down to not forcing her fellow, cash-strapped, student friends to spend a fortune on clothes just to be in the wedding.
She is lucky to have worked at the Joel Palmer House, which is where she will have her wedding and reception. Check out the menu. I am looking forward to eating there. Mushrooms - of all sorts - in almost everything but the panna cotta (I am hoping).
After having lunch with Marissa, my granddaughter (and her future mother-in-law, her mother and other grandmother), I arrived back home and then went with a young friend, Ashley, to do gelatin prints at Art on a Lark. (It's an art store where you rent space and tools to work.)
This was the first time many of us had done this. Led by Dawn S., we proceeded to paint up a storm on the gelatin, putting down natural materials and other stuff that turned up. Then we pressed paper on top, rubbed it and took both a negative and positive impression on our paper.
There's no other way to learn these processes except jumping right in and spreading on the paint.
We had plenty of paper and lots of enthusiasm, so very soon every available space for drying paper was taken up. The gelatin is very sturdy - surprisingly so. I have a tray of gelatin I brought home that I'm going to try before bed tonight. Forget the dinner dishes!
Here is one of Ashley's prints. I especially loved the colors, and the stamp she used added a very modernistic appeal. This would make great gift wrap, don't you think?
Just a couple more that I did - they are side by side - and then I'm signing off so I'll have some time to go paint a bit. I, as always, loved the bit of copper paint. I love metallics. They are a great substitute when you're trying not to "glitterize" the entire world - femminismo

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taking Care of Love.

TAKING care of this thing called love - or this thing called marriage - is not for the faint of heart.
Like being a parent you can't let this "child" out of your sight. It mustn't lose its significance, its promise and its purpose.
This lady knows it. When the pages of the book close, ooh la la! What's that she's singing? Is it a song of love to him, or a song of woe to herself. (She looks a bit sad, doesn't she?)
Days turn into months, months turn into years and before we know it we can lose sight of the desired object we once wanted over anything else.
Perhaps her sweet voice will charm this Romeo again.
And this dry leaf of summer is getting a tiny bit of rain in Oregon today. Very tiny. Almost gone now. Thanks for sticking with me if you're reading this. More tomorrow, I promise - femminismo
p.s. I'm going to do a Labor Day shrine with Candace at EyeCandy! A shrine to love, perhaps? ; )

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Judy-Girl.

OH, I really wanted to post a photo of my sister, Judy, tonight, when she was about 14 and had her hair in big, round, prickly hair rollers, but I waited too long. At 10 p.m. the wardens are coming down the hallways rattling their nightsticks on the bars of our cells and warning us it's time to turn off our lights and computers.
But before this day is over, I want to remember the sister who helped me figure out growing up. We were each other's encyclopedias, in a way. With our two heads together, we almost had everything figured out. (these thoughts regarding what we figured out have been deleted, since I'd be telling too much)
Suffice it to say we were together in good and bad, managing to make a game of being poor but feeling rich.
Love you, Judy. Be well forever! - Jeanne

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Still Here ... Just Busy

SO sorry to be so very busy I don't have time for my blog.
I'll be back before you know it with some crazy plan or idea. Just give me a couple of hours sleep and an ambitious day tomorrow will unfold and be related here.
Tomorrow is newspaper day - putting it all together and trying to make sure all is right with grammar, spelling and facts.
Wish us luck doing all that and wish our reporters good luck finding some "new" news to fill up the pages.
For now, let me tell you I've been thinking of Mama today - femminismo

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Life's A Tasty Dish ... Mostly.

MOSTLY I do think life is pretty good, but I am seriously blessed. I just wanted to let you know this and remind myself at the same time. Just like these bees lolling in the purple blossoms on the cardoon, I've got it easy. I work for it, don't get me wrong, but I've been lucky too!
For four weeks now I have been attending "Family to Family" classes through Oregon's NAMI chapter (National Alliance on Mental Illness). We have studied brain disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder), symptoms, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, family interactions and the way in which *all* family members are affected by mental illness and tonight we studied - in a very limited way - the functions of the brain and the ways in which scientists *hypothesize* mental illness happens.
There are so many causes, so much conjecture, it is easy to see how people are misdiagnosed for years. And:
“Mental disability is not a scandal — it is an illness. And like physical illness, it is treatable.”
- President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (from the NAMI Web site)
We need more advocates for the mentally ill, because often they cannot speak for themselves.
Think of the people you know, either in your family or among your friends, whose lives have been touched by cancer. Maybe your own life.
Then think about those you know who have a mental illness. Don't know anyone? Maybe you know someone who's depressed. That's a brain disorder; an imbalance of chemicals.
I'll bet everyone knows at least one person, maybe two. And if you don't know about their brain disorder it might be because of the stigma that still exists.
"An estimated one in five American families is affected by mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Without treatment, people living with mental illness may face unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness and suicide."
Join me in making an effort to advocate for the mentally ill - femminismo

Saturday, August 1, 2009

DisCo Is Here and Filled With Memories.

BEFORE my mother died she told my sister and me that she had "gotten rid" of all the love letters our father wrote her while he was in the Army during World War II.
We were heartbroken and as I remember it she couldn't understand why.
She didn't know, however (or at least I don't think so), that there were many rainy October Saturdays when my sister and I would sneak downstairs, go into her bedroom, and search the back of her lingerie drawer for those very letters. They were wonderful!
Well, I don't know how my own children will feel about the love letters between their father and me before we were married. We were officially together 26 years - a good chunk of time - but it's been over for (officially, again) 18 years now.
When I was looking for something to add to my DisCo Project - I knew I wanted to bind up the book sections to make another book - I was frantic. Nothing was right. I slowed down and took a careful look around the room and came up with this: old love letters. Pieces of my past. Sections of heartache. Promises unfulfilled. Longing, desire, plans for the future.
What better to add to weathered bits of paper than weathered bits of promise and hope?
Holes were punched and I bound them in such a way that the letters can't be taken out and read. Peeks may be obtained of some of the pages - a word here and there - but unless the book is taken apart they cannot be read in their entirety.
This, I think, is like the past. A word overheard now and again, a glimpse of a person's face as you passed their doorway, but the entire picture can't be put together with these few bits. And even if the letters are read someday, I don't think anyone can fully appreciate this once happy couple's dreams and plans. Still harder to find in these clippings are the reasons the marriage failed.
It certainly didn't fail because of these letters. Like most plans, it failed because of miscommunication, pride, ego and the inability to put yourself in another's shoes.
I think I will probably add more to this book. Maybe love letters from another gentleman after the 26-year marriage ended. Maybe not. Maybe those are for burning - femminismo
(edited Aug. 2 for grammar)