Monday, July 23, 2007

Yet more tomatoes

I went to a teacher inservice today on altered books. It was fun. I got to see several books made by highschoolers in response to literature. One was supposed to look as if it had been used by a WWII soldier in the field as a journal. The boy took it home and used it for target practice. It was a really effective book. I got to share some of my books too and worked on a new book for geography. I'm not too thrilled with the book I started. I'm hoping tomorrow I can just work on one of my unfinished altered books instead.
When I got home I had to can the tomatoes I picked yesterday. I wound another 22 quarts canned with onions and sweet banana peppers . I finished at 11:00 PM. I'm bushed, but need to unwind before I go to sleep. Too tired to journal I'm afraid.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Grandma is Gone...

It's a haunting refrain that echoes
Over and over in my head,
Or pops up to announce itself afresh
When least expected.

After one of life's small pleasures, I think,
I should write Grandma -- she would enjoy this.
Then I remember...
My grandma is gone.

Leafing through a magazine
I spot a faded photo in a frame.
And there it is again...
My grandma is gone.

The ceramic ducks that graced her kitchen counter
since memory began
Now find their home on mine.
They murmur every day...
My grandma is gone.

When I look into the mirror I see her shape, her legs.
My grandma is gone -- yet some of her remains.
I send a card to cheer, to thank.
There she is again.

The last two months of misery and pain, she begged,
"Pray for it to end." -- so I prayed.
And when it came there was sorrow,
But more relief.

And now, weeks later, the ache and emptiness reign.
The tears stream down my face.
I weep. Too soon, too soon.

My grandma is gone.

I felt really close to my grandma tonight when I put her ducks up on the window sill from where they usually sit on the counter underneath it to photograph them. I knew I had to dig out this poem that almost wrote itself one morning in 1996, a few weeks after my grandma died.
I still miss her. She was my rock. Since my mom worked, she babysat me from the time I was 18 months old until I was seven. When we moved to California from Ohio a couple of years later, I always spent summers with her and Grandpa.
Her presence always fills my mind on her birthday, July 13, especially when it falls on a Friday like it did this year. She was born on a Friday 13, 1906 and always said it was her lucky day.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Why journal?

Dawn Sokol asked the question on her blog a few days ago, "Why journal?" I just ran across the post tonight and it sent looking for a spread I did in one of my journals on the same subject. I didn't find the spread, but it did inspire another one.
It reads, in part...because I have a lousy memory and would forget too many things I want to remember without it...because it gives me a creative's a way to satisfu my need for color and pattern... I love sharing my journals with family and's a place for all those bits and pices that I've always kept, but never had any place to put them...intorspection...a record of the snippets of daily life... it calms me down after a stressful day...things don't get lost in my's a place for addresses, recipes, birthdays... I like's an excuse to buy cool pens, rubber stamps and other stuff...I don't seem to be able not to for's a place to practice ideas and doodles have a makes me feel good when I'm done... probably a more important question, at least for me... Why not?

I could have added that it's a reason to stay up all hours of the night and be tired the next day. That's happened more times than I care to think about and here I am again. My picture turned out lousy after searching for ten minutes for the camera. Sorry. I'll probably try to take it outside again tomorrow for flickr. I was afraid that I had left the camera at church this morning. VBS is over and I'm pleased with the way it turned out and glad it doesn't happen again til next year. It is definitely worth it, but those little ones take so much energy.

I really need to get a new camera and a light set up. I even have a camera picked out and the money to buy it. I just need to get it done.

I wanted to mention a bit about how I did this page. One of my favorite ways to start a page is to find something in a magazine that speaks to me and go from there. I like matching the colors and the mood on my page. Tonight it was the arm and bracelets of a model in a Free People catalog. The page was laying on my art room floor. I must get that place cleaned!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Canning time again

No journal pages today. After VBS I helped figure out how big to make the windows in our new dining room and exactly where to put them. After helping mark the boards, I headed to the garden to pick tomatoes. It didn't take me very long to determine that I would be canning tonight.

Canning time

As I type the jars are clicking to let me know they are sealed. I would up with 20 1/2 quarts. I stopped to snap a few pictures as I was working them.

Halfway done

I thought I'd share. One more day of VBS tomorrow. I'm enjoying it, but it will be nice for it to be over too. I have to figure out how to make the angel ornaments and cut the parts before I leave tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

VBS Week

My mornings this week have been spent at Vacation Bible School. My niece is going with me and we are having a good time together. It doesn't leave a lot of time or energy for much else though. I'm used to older kids. The little ones require so much energy! That's me on the journal page back when I had lots of energy.

I did manage to finish up one journal page yesterday and then went on to do another simple one. On Monday we went to McDonald's after VBS. On the counter was this huge fake $100 bill with the president's portrait cut out. My niece told me that I needed it for my book. The girl behind the counter told me I could have it, so here it is.

Most of my journal pages get photographed here on the back deck. Our cat Harry is usually tons of help.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Today was a tomato kind of day

I had a request in a comment on the last post to give more information on how I made the "Jenga" stamps. I got the whole Jenga set for a quarter, so I've been using these great little blocks for stamps ever since. Any wooden or plastic block would work. The striped stamps used strips of leftover rubber from full sheets of unmounted rubber stamps that I bought. I just cut them to fit and stuck them to the block with double-sided tape. Another style of homemade stamps I've made use fun foam. The checked one you can see in the photo (last post) was made with fun foam. I did these the same way as the scrap rubber ones. You can also use the fun foam shapes.


Now on to the tomatoes. I knew I was going to have to pick them today and that before I could do that the branches that were hanging down over the tops of the cages and blocking the rows would have to be tied up. I got an old skirt that I've been trying to convince myself needed to go in the trash and tore it up in strips to do the job. We have our normal fifty or so plants, so it took me a while. When I was done my hands were a horrendous shade of deep green. I cleaned up and took a nap.

Tomatoes cooking

After dinner, I started washing jars and tomatoes. By the time I got ready to can it was after nine o'clock. I didn't finish until 11:00. Wound up with eight quarts. We usually can around a hundred quarts each summer. We'll see how the tomatoes hold up.

Tomatoes in the jars

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Blog surfing

I spent an enjoyable evening surfing some new blogs Tuesday. I saw Belinda's blog for the first time. What a treat! She takes part in Michelle Ward's GPP Street Team Crusades which I had somehow managed to miss also. What fun! Now I just need to find the time to follow all the links on the Crusade blog. They are up to Crusade (kind of a challenge) number ten, but you can join in on the current one and have your blog linked by doing one of the past ones. How cool is that! They all look like fun. Crusade No. 8 - Cheap Tricks is one I can for sure contribute to. On of my favorites is to cut an eraser with a serated knife and stamp with the resulting edge. You can see that to the left of the row of postage stamps above in red and black.

Another new favorite is to use a hospital wrist tag as a stencil. I like the row of tiny dots like you can see above the lady's portrait.

Another favorite is to make new stamps from the scraps from UM stamp pages. The tone-on-tone stripes at the top and bottom of the page above were done with a stamp made from a Jenga block and some strips. I used a different one for the writing part of yesterday's page.

The current crusade No. 10 is mail art. Too bad I was in too big a hurry last week when I sent some off to take a picture. That's what happens when you procrastinate getting things sent. I did enjoy the recipient's telling me that her mailman hand delivered it with a big smile on his face because he didn't want to bend it.

More wall building is in tomorrow's plans. I'm hoping that we will have some of them vertical by the week-end.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Wall

I spent yesterday helping to frame the first wall in our new bedroom. It wasn't nearly as bad as I'd thought it might be and when it was finished I had a sense of accomplishment as well as sore shoulders and a bit of a sunburn. You'd think that I'd realize at this stage in my life that my fair skin burns even when the sun is hiding behind a cloud. I wasn't a tremendous amount of help I'm sure, but I did measure and mark boards and helped carry a few. It doesn't look like much in the photo, but this new wall will have two large windows facing Bay Creek. I'm starting to get excited about the prospect.

The bug is a photocopy of a dobsonfly. It spent the night in my bathroom last night. I thought I recognized it from my oldest son's 4-H bug collection. It was on the floor dead this morning, so I thought, "Cool, I'll scan it for my journal." I was checking online to make sure it really is a dobsonfly and discovered that the females can use those pinchers to deliver a painful bite. Who knew?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

After I finished yesterdays post, I went to Big Huge Labs and made my first mosaic there. It won't be my last. I see now why people make so many of them. Fun, fun.

Beth found the link for me for the face generator. I'm looking forward to playing with that again.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I got up today looking forward to taking photos for the 07_07_07 Flickr group. 7,777 people from all over the world are supposed to take and post seven photos each. Being the over-achiever that I am, I wound up taking 148 photos. I narrowed it down to 28 photos to actually upload to a Flickr set. I still haven't picked which seven will get posted to the group. I took photos of our house, Bay Creek, our cows, our yard, etc... I didn't leave home so they were all taken close to home.

One of the photos I post will definately be this journal entry. I like the idea of promoting journaling to people who maybe haven't seen visual journaling yet.

I've been wanting to try a self-portrait stencil since I read a post from Mary Ann a couple of days ago. She's been doing portrait stencils and they look great. For a first stencil, I think it turned out pretty good. Unfortunately, it slipped when I was putting it on the journal page. The practice tries look a lot better. I'll be trying it in the journal again. I want to make one of a photo I have of my grandma with marcelle waves. I'll be making more I'm sure. I hope I learn to keep them still while I'm spraying the paint.

The self-portrait at the top-left of the journal page is one that I made online quite some time ago. You uploaded a photo and the web site gave you portraits as if they were painted by different artists. The only one I liked well enough to save was this one in the style of Modigliani. I'd like to try again with a different photo if I can find the site again.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Newest journal pages

I have a few journal pages to catch up with here, but I think I will just post this one tonight. Dial-up internet is so slow when it comes to uploading photos. All of the recent ones can be seen at the bottom of my Flickr art journal set. If I get a chance on DSL at my son's I may try to post them here too.

One Window to the World - 1,000 photos

I put my 100th picture of my kitchen window into my Flickr set earlier this week and just today the 1,000th photo went up in my One Window to the World group. We have 343 members from 38 countries on 6 continents.

It has been great sharing my view with others all over the world and even more so sharing their view also. I've learned so much from looking at these photographs, reading the captions and asking questions. I'm looking forward to the next 1,000!

Summer is flying by

I can't believe it's the fifth of July already. I spent a week taking down wallpaper, texturing and painting three of the walls in my computer room while trying to get over a summer cold. The cold is gone now and the walls look wonderful. The color is called paper sack and that's probably fitting since I covered the ceiling in the living room with actual torn brown paper feed sacks. It took me another two days to put my photo wall back up. I'm still not completely done. I picked this blurred photo on purpose because it doesn't show my family member's faces. I'm not comfortable putting them on the blog for all to see, but I did want to give you a peek at what the room looks like. I love sitting here surrounded by photos of all my loved ones.