Saturday, January 31, 2009

many years ago my late grandfather Oscar mailed me a very thorough family tree he had laboriously put together taking advantage of all his trips back and forth between Germany, England and Spain. i was enthralled with it back then, a time when there were no internet browsers and things had to be done by word of mouth, digging up family Bibles and paper records. in spite of the limitations i was able to add substantially to it. i had stored it away for over 2o years. this week, in an effort to rid myself of baskets filled with old letters and cards received over the years, i ran into again together with a letter from a distant uncle (now deceased) who had introduced me to the Webbs and off i was again researching all lines of the family, this time with the advantage of several websites dedicated. ofcourse i did not stop there. with the excitement of records found, i began the Hughes family tree and the Caudill family tree, the hardest so far to put together. the berger tree is now up to 200 people. it has been really hard tracing all the bergers that emigrated from England to South Africa and Australia. i beleive there are some even living in British Columbia.

it has amazed me to realize that the true baby boomers were not our parents after World Wars I and II but the previous generation. families on average had 5 to 10 children, many lost in childbirth, thus the incredible branching out in our generations.

this is my latest obsession and until i can fairly complete the 7 generations i will not give up.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Look to This Day"
For yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision; But today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness - and every tomorrow a vision of hope - - Look well, therefore, to this day -
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn"
i have been trying to take things a little slower lately, stressing less, therefore my not having written in over a week. i am trying to slow down and enjoy my home more, read more, watch more movies and documentaries and answer all my emails accordingly. not in vain as i growing older. i will be 53 years old tomorrow and my bones are beginning to feel the need to shift direction; a few more walks, less pushing myself in all directions and spending more qaulity time with my family and friends be it in person or in writing.
yesterday we visited the Los Angeles Art Show at the Convention Center. i have rarely been to a more thrilling art exhibit and walked away with tons of ideas and came home invigorated by the newness in most of the artwork we saw.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Worked way into the night last night making more sqaures and rectangles and lots of appliques for the quilty. It's really turning out quite nicely and will have lots of writing in embroidery once the area is completed. Hopefully a story or off the top of my head sayings. I pulled out all my fabrics too and tried to put some order as far as colors but realized I don't really have the proper shelving like some studios have for that so they will go back in the big bin, at least folded better. I also brought out the rag dolls and decided to give them a bit more love so am crocheting some legs and arms for them. As one of them sat beside me last night, I could feel her presence as if she were a live person.

Friday, January 16, 2009

i had totally forgotten about my submission to the altered art challenge for January and i had been the one who selected the topic in the first place. chosing Margaret Atwood's poem "the moment" was easy since it one of my favorite poems but i would also like to introduce the group to two south american poets, Pablo Neruda and Mario Benedetti so will have to work on a couple more submissions as the month continues.

as i played with my paper and paints yesterday i made another mini, an atc honoring the earth. and MAMMA announced the "Bird" challenge for this week. Lots of green in my work this week for some reason; must be the tiring grew of winter beckoning spring.

i've been looking through all my magazines, especially Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Somerset Studio and there are lots of techniques and materials i haven't even come close to mastering yet. if only the mediums weren't so expensive.

Oh well, one step at a time.
a very peaceful quiet two days, trying to take it all in rather than rush so much. in the process got to watch two good movies on the t.v. something i don't usually take the time to do: The Valley of Elah and Notes on a Scandal. Kate Blanchett just blows me away as does Judi Dench whom I've been an admirer of for years. those brits. my psyche is in need of more relax time so sewing was the answer. i made two more embroideries for the nap blanket which seems to be coming along although when i lay it on a bed it still seems small but i have finally learned to have ongoing projects, or works in progress that don't need to be finished presto. i used to feel that if i didn't finish something while in the inspired moment i would never come back to it. now, i feel the opposite, that by walking away and coming back to it later you can actually improve on it. i have two stuffed dolls that i feel that way about, so they will be my next sewing project.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

i love birds. so this weeks challenge for "Dans ma Maison" couldn't have been more me. so much so that i got carried away and made two. I am so thankful to Jan who introduced me to these wonderful challenges, especially when one is sort of in a blank creating mood and shuffling things around without the light bulb going on. here are my little bird collages. i picked black for one of the houses with a bit of white charcoal scattered on the roof for one and beiges and browns with a twig and three dimensional matchbox applique for the second. lots of materials too, puffy paints, wax, embellishments and miniature nest and bird from the craft store. hope you like them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

so i kept my promise, to keep at the works in the progress rather than delve into new ones. i don't like it when i don't finish things and the nap blanket was in dire need of more. finding the wool hasn't been easy; a few trips to the thrift store and some men jackets have helped. then i came up with the idea of incorporating all the fabric and wool creations that i hadn't sold last year, almost like transforming it into a memory quilt. as you can see there are a couple of my mini quilts and a neckwarmer. when i look at how much progress i have made, it baffles me to realize that it is entirely handsewn, no machine whatsoever.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

sunday's are my silly days. i can sleep in, have breakfast in bed, cuddle with the cats a little longer, not worry too much about time and just doodle the day away.

today, half way through the day, i looked through all my art books wondering about what i should make today, but realized i still have some challenges to complete, i'm just that not inspired in those lines right now. i kind of feel i want the big bang, something new and exciting i've never done before. then i realized i have my nap blanket which needs a lot more work on it so calmed down and just opted to finish the smaller projects i already have going.

i am so proud of the fact that i have scratched off quite a few items from the to-do-list which had grown to 19 pending. all the miscellaneous letters that need to be written, requests faxed, several damaged x-mas orders that need returning, prescriptions filled, dentist appointments, curtain bar purchased, etc. etc. as much as i hate to be distracted, these fires keep popping up and they need to be turned out before true chaos overwhelms everything.
finished digital collage for Maggie's Monday Musings (MAMMA's)

Friday, January 9, 2009

woke up a little sullen after finding out another of my friends is now unemployed. i had read mossy's blog and discovered her husband Ron was unemployed and that they had had to cancel their medical insurance and mossy is recovering from breast cancer so this really is a bucket of cold water. what a grey, dismal tomorrow awaits us as so many lose their jobs and all because of the greedy frenzy of the past five years. i also am running into a lot of blogs with similar messages.

i knew something was really wrong all along. i am not a shopper so when i did have to run over to grab the few essentials, i was always amazed at how people were just buying cart loads and remodeling their homes, and i would always say to myself, 'where do all these people get the money?" now we know they were just borrowing from themselves. my intuition was right.

i never buy anything unless i know i have the money to back it up, not exactly frugal, but definitely realistic and very concientious of what we need rather than what we want, living on lists and priorities, leaving many dreams on the backburner, especially the house in the woods on my land that needs a foundation.

my heart goes out to those who are stuggling right now, i well know what it is to live paycheck to paycheck. so am gathering a few things here and there to put up for giveaways in the next few days. you can also leave comments if you are going through hardship and if there is anything that i can fill in the blanks with i'd be glad to do so. have lots of magazines and art supplies and fabrics, buttons and collage papers and images that may come in handy for projects if you are short.

LOVE Tokens for LOL MAMMA Valentine Swap

Another challenge completed. Phew. MAMMA, I think I deserve a trip to the ice cream parlor by now, don't you think? Making these was so nourishing to my soul. Every second making them was pure love, thinking of who would receive them and hoping they would like them. The little paperclay pin just happened by surprise since I was making something else with paperclay and thought, hmmm, maybe a clay heart pin might come out this material too. Painted it with chalks, rubber stamped and embellished with handwriting and a few polka dots around the border.

Yes indeed, LOVE IS IN THE AIR.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

yesterday's gift was a chance encounter. brenda beerhorst marked one of my embroideries as a fave on flickr and I am always curious to find out more about the people that feel drawn into my visions. suddenly, i was in Michigan and Brooklyn on a nonstop five hour virtual flight into the heart of a family that is my envisionment of perfection! so much so that i looked at every single photograph they have posted, a first for me. i just fell in love with the love in everything this family does. the photographs almost speak for themselves, but i had to put it into words.

a butterfly garden
a top hatted self portrait by rick
muddy-faced rain and grace
a boy named sheperd
a dog, a cat and rabbits
apple pie made from apples picked from a nearby tree
brenda's hand hooked rugs
and ofcourse art everywhere
an art studio (
snow in winter
a history in brooklyn
with a sad note on brenda's sister
a marriage of 21 years of togetherness
venerable family
you are now a part of me

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

as i wander through my favorite blogs i come across works that take my breath away. jan created this piece for the Anne Bulles Dorees "dans ma maison il y a du blanc"challenge and i can't stop looking at it. ofcourse i had to give it a try and came up with a little whimsey too, stayed up too late actually and in the process erased my previous blog entry. so here i am patching up the mishap.

then everything turned white and i began painting every tag i could find white and making little affirmations to placce on a tray in the entrance of my home.

the year begins with challenges, self-imposed challenges to continue on the creative journey

surprisingly, everything is coming up dolls. i am now a member of three MAMMA challenge groups , MAD, LOL and Maggie's Monday Musings as well as a few collectives in England and I have been invited to show some of my work in NYC, something that caught me entirely by surprise.
the body of work that comes out of these challenges and the camaraderie among us thanks to Margaret is one of the greatest gifts i receive on a daily basis. Maggie has such a keen sense of humour, actually she is a first rate comedian, and keeps us laughing and positively focused.
below are two examples of the art dolls created for January's MAD paper doll challenge by Renee Stein and tootsieu, all from a simple jointed palin white template. That's imagination at its best.

in the process of thinking about dolls i got a visit from an artist in the netherlands by the name of johanna schweizer who makes the most amazing crochet dolls(see picture below) and got curious to see what kinds of art dolls others are creating like this paper mache doll made in Argentina

Friday, January 2, 2009

a new year in blogland. what an important space this has become for me.this is where i create my "ideal"world, an aesthetic compromise to surround myself with at close range.

this is my safe haven
that room of my own
my diary, my journey
where i can hide
where i can be my better side
where i can be real
where i can be unreal
where i can be surreal
where i can SHARE
where i can be part of the big picture
where friends multiply
where i can say the truth
where i can pretend
where i can be beautiful
where i can be idealistic
where i can vent
where i can seek others like or unlike myself
where i can understand the complexities
where i can run away from the unpleasantries of daily life
where my surprising side emerges
where i can inspire
give hope

my survival skill

a threshhold to tomorrow