Monday, March 31, 2008

Author, Author

When I was in high school, I used to write stories centered around Heath from the television show The Big Valley. (I still write Heath stories, but that's my little secret. Go here if you want to read them) I'd be in the library during study hall writing, and my friends would gather around the table and grab each loose leaf sheet as it was written. They'd pass the paper around the table to one another and yell at me to hurry up with the next page.

I was going to be an author. I even had a pen name all picked out. D. W. Dickson. In college, my freshman English class was more about creative writing than how to write a term paper. The class was taught by a grad student, and she just loved what I cranked out. Either that or she didn't want to hurt my feelings. All my papers were marked with accolades and attagirls. I was going to write the great American novel, and skyrocket to the NY Times best sellers list for a gazillion weeks.

I signed up to take a serious writer's class, a craft class. Prospective students had to submit a sample of work which would be evaluated for admission to the class. I turned in my best piece. I was sure I was going to get into this class. Maybe have all my work used as examples of good writing.

A reality check kicked in, and I received my submission back with a note from the professor. He said my baby was ugly. No seat for me. Ouch, Ceej, want some ice for that burn? I coulda been a contendah. Oh, don't feel sorry for me. He was right. The writing was nothing but drivel, and my head was so big I had to wear two cowboy hats.

Today, I was gathering items to go on the dream portion of the altered doll. I wrote out the label author, but it looked so dull. I decided I could make a tiny book. Cut a 1" x 2" scrap of cardstock, fold in half and voilá instant little book. It still looked dull. What to do, what to do?

Just for kicks, I made a book cover using Paint Shop Pro, and my favorite Heath story. Just too funny. So, how do you spell procrastination? PSP

Friday, March 28, 2008

Five Things

Five ways to procrastinate.

1. Play Bejeweled at

2. Point and click shopping

3. Watch the news. Then switch channels and watch the same news stories done by another station.

4. Take a nap

5. Check email every 10 minutes

How do you procrastinate?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Last of the Tough Guys

Richard Widmark
26. December 1914 - 24 March 2008
You will be missed.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Can Do It

Spring has sprung. I can tell not by the robins that are pecking for worms in the backyard, but because of the urge I have to clean and organize. To clean and organize places I don’t seem to get to like the playroom studio. To clean and organize rooms that are the catch all for cleaning frenzies when company comes like my bedroom. To clean and organize the flat file otherwise known as the dining room table.

That urge struck this morning. Well, it’s tried to strike before this morning, but the chaos of the playroom studio is so overwhelming, I tend to give up before I start. There is so much to do, and so little time to do it in along with other tasks that need more attention.

Last night, I was surfing the web for tips on organizing photographs. There are boxes of photographs that are just begging to be put into order too. Where to begin? One site remarked how you didn’t take your photographs over night. Break up the task into a manageable chunk of time. Light bulb!

This morning I decided to tackle one small area of the playroom studio. (Btw, most of the mess down here is mine.) I set a timer for 30 minutes and tackled the boxes that hold scrap paper, fine paper, paper making equipment, paper marbling equipment, Fimo clay equipment and so on. I’m a very organized person, I just don’t put my toys away.

Something I need to work on so I’m not faced with an overwhelming task in a few months.

Lots of stuff that had been living on the floor, got pitched. I fought the urge to hoard. I silenced the little voice screaming “But you might need that!” Nope, in the trash. I figured if it was on the floor, and it had been living on the floor for awhile, then I didn’t really need it or want it.

Thirty minutes passed by quickly, and I was surprised I had made quite a little dent. I even worked over the time limit just so one area would be complete. I look at the neatly stacked boxes and I’m filled with pride. Bravo Zulo. Job well done. Over all the room is still a disaster, but if I stick with the thirty minute routine, I know I can do it and get this place squared away.

What’s your cleaning style? Are you immaculate? Do you clean in a frenzy every few months? Any tips or hints to share?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Altered Dreams, RE - Cover

The sketchbook is nearly completed. I didn't like the fact that the front cover has the brand name of the paper I used plastered all over it.

There was a recent "green" thread on Cyberscribes about recycling. One of the members posted a technique using a brown paper bag, soaking it under water, rolling it up in a ball to create wrinkles then rolling blobs of acrylic paint around with a brayer. Mica powder was dusted over to create streaks of sparkle. When dry, the paper was ironed on the reverse side to smooth it out. Just needs to be glued and trimmed to the front cover.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Altered Dreams, RE - Arms

The arms made by string two spools. The spools have been painted and embellished or wrapped in pastepaper. Silver pony beads and a bone bead give the illusion of the emperor's naked hand. See doll picture below.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Altered Dreams RE, Head Page

I made a huge dent in the book between yesterday and today in spite of finding happy little time wasters. I just have to write up the description for the legs which is pretty much the same thing I did for the arms, and to include a materials page. The doll is assembled and I took a photograph of her which I may include at the back of the book. Doesn't she look like Marie Antoinette?

As to the book, the following photo is the head page with a description of what to use, the idea of the dream catcher for the head. Yup, the emperor is still naked.

I don't draw very well. I can doodle, and I can trace, but actual drawings are another story. So I'm rather insufferably pleased with myself as how the mechanics of making the dream catcher are drawn. They almost look like real drawings.
Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Altered Dreams - A Self Portrait, Reversed Engineered

In a couple of weeks, the Worcester Art Museum, where I teach beginning calligraphy, will be having their annual Open House for the Summer session. (Don't ask me why they call May/June summer, but they do.) There is always a faculty art show. In the past, I've exhibited framed pieces, altered books, Christmas ornaments and whatever else I could think of.

This year, the museum is having a Faculty Works in Progress Exhibition. Faculty will be able to bring in sketches, thumbnails, contact sheets, etc. Pretty cool, since I haven't finished working on the piece I was going to submit to the show. I was in the process of creating a doll, a wooden sculpture which was to be called Altered Dreams, A Self- Portrait. Yeah, I know the emperor is naked.

The design for the doll is all laid out in my head. She is painted and partially assembled. So now I find myself in the position of having to reverse engineer my project to create a sketchbook. Reverse engineering is the process of taking something apart to see how it works with the idea of improving it when the work is reassembled.

Himself was making fun of me. Telling me Leonardo DaVinci wrote his journals and sketchbooks before and not after the fact. To which I replied: I'm the artist! I can do this any damn way I please. Artist or Artiste?

I found a half-used, charcoal paper sketchbook (9" x 12") with just the right number of pages to describe the parts of the doll, and how she is put together.

This is the first page, the Concept page. The idea came a year ago (2007) from a couple of lines from the movie The Natural. (I was going to submit the doll in last year's faculty show, but for some reason we didn't have one)

Roy (Redford): "Life didn't turn our the way I expected."

Iris (Close): "I believe we have two lives. The life we learn with, and the life we live with after that.

So, I started thinking about dreams. What I wanted (want) to be when I grew (grow) up. The things that held me back from some of the dreams: fear, self-doubt.

While browsing through Michael's I found some unfinished wooden boxes, and a light bulb winked on. I could make a doll! A doll with a wooden box for the body, and arms and legs made from spools.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A St. Patrick's Day Story

My heritage is Italian. I am the second generation on both sides of my family born in this country(USA). I was brought up in a strict, old-world tradition. Himself is Irish, with a mixture of stubborn Scot thrown in for good measure.

At St. Patrick's day when we were first married, Himself had gone grocery shopping and presented me with a cryovac package.

"What the hell is this?"

"It's corned beef. Haven't you ever seen corned beef before?"

"Yeah, sliced up in the deli. "

Himself was shocked beyond measure. "What did you people have for St. Patrick's Day dinner?"

"Pasta with gravy(what Italians call spaghetti sauce), like every other night of the week."

A call to my MIL for the recipe. Soak the meat in cold water, bring it to a boil, dump the water out, add cold water to cover, bring it to a boil, etc. An all day process and way too much work for this graduate from the Jane Jetson Culinary Institute. I've since found a nice Corned Beef recipe done in the crock pot. With a crock pot liner, it's not only easy but an easy clean up as well. A nice loaf of Irish Soda bread from the blessed bread machine rounds out the meal.

And St. Patrick's Day wouldn't be complete without watching The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. The church yard scene with Wayne wearing the soaking wet, white silk, Arrow shirt. Be still my heart. Can you say THUD?

So how do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? Corned beef and cabbage? Green beer? Wearing of the green? It's just another day?

However you celebrate, have a happy day.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring Wreath

Years ago when I was a newlywed, my SIL's mother made me a Christmas wreath with ribbon woven around a straw form and held in place with pearl headed pins. The Christmas ribbon had seen better days, so I took it apart to make a Spring wreath. The Eldest donated the tiny lamb to add a holiday flare.

I found the ribbon in the bargain bin at Michael's. I wish the wide ribbon wasn't sheer, but sheer ribbon seems to be the trend. And those who insist on poking around in the bargain bin can't be too fussy.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Happy Π Day! In honor of the day, the menu will include Chicken Pot Pie followed by Lemon Meringue.

Lemon Meringue was requested by the Young One. My favorite pie is cherry, though I was quite partial to the Heath pie at Perkin's in MN. I think it was at Perkin's Restaurant.

What's your favorite pie flavor?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jelly Beans

It's that time of year again. Bags of waxy candies in rainbow bright colors. Jelly Beans, I love 'em. And the beans have to be the fruity kind, not the spice. The spice are icky, especially the white peppermint ones. I don't like the pink bubble gum flavor either. d-:

My favorite sport is harvesting the black licorice beans from the bag or bowl. Those are my favorite.

So, what's your favorite jelly bean flavor?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. Morton

Happy 76 th Birthday to Robert Dowdell who played Lt. Cmdr. Chip Morton, the XO on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Spring has sprung,
The grass is ris.
I wonder where
the flowers is?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Reminder

Ziller Winter White, crow quill, on plastic wrapped paper using Ziller inks.