Archive for April, 2010

An Update and Another New Journal

Monday, April 26th, 2010

I decided to make the back cover of the recycled journal a second front cover, so the resulting book will meet in the middle and flip sort of. This is the tyvek padded mailer that has the cow on the other front cover. On this front cover: The elephant scene and the desert sunset are both wine labels, there is a note on the top that came from a skein of yarn graciously sent to me from Mountain Colors as replacement for one that was squirrel-napped. If you don’t already know about the squirrel-napping, that is a story for another day. The clown is cut out from a sheet of gift wrap we bought at Kate’s Papers in NYC, and the bird carrying the Draw and Paste Here note is from a book called Ideas that was given to us by the wonderful Lisa of Hasting’s Nebraska. I wish the book had ISBN info so I could link it here, but it doesn’t. Suffice it to say it is a collage dream waiting to happen.

On to the new Journal. I am calling this the Ring Journal as it is held together with loose binder rings. One of the inspirations behind all my recent journaling is seeing how much I can incorporate recycled materials and found objects. Most of the ring journal pages are the sides of various six packs. Yes, we drink a little beer, so these are always available. In this particular grouping there are also sides from a Velveeta box, Tampax box, and Kotex panty liner box. Yes, we always seem to have these boxes readily available.

Elizabeth and I are involved with a group of women doing an journal swap themed on Frida Kahlo. I am thinking of using the Ring Journal for that.

I did start a few of the pages this weekend and since the binder rings come in a multi-pak, I will just start them as their own journaling assortment. I will still do some pen work over the tops of these. I am not sure yet what I will do on the other side, maybe just give them a wash of paint and leave them as a blank surface for journaling.

The live happier page is all magazine pages from various ads. There is something inherrently pleasing in transforming annoying advertising.

Max with fish uses a piece of chinese lettered gift-wrap (upside down, I know) with fish found in my collection of found papers, some are from  some old bookplates I had, some from newspaper ads, the one with the coffee cup is from a brochure for Pike’ s Place Market from our trip to Seattle. I have scraps of paper accumulated from everywhere, and I am sure Elizabeth is finally glad to see some of them being used.

Florio has small versions of a lot of my dad’s pictures of himself. I like the contrast of the black and white with the Florio image which was

cut from another sheet of giftwrap from Kate’s Papers in NYC. Across from that is various family members from my dad’s photos. The ones on top are my Aunt Joan with Bruse Springsteen’s aunt who lived next door in Freehold (again in the 50s), or so the story goes. My Uncle Arthur is sitting on my dad’s lap, My Aunt Dorothy is sitting with my cousin Cheryl, and the bottom grouping is Aunt Joan’s 8th grade graduation. The other paper is from a sheet of giftwrap and looks a little like a game board to me.

Finally, there are various pictures of Max, my grandfather with the bookplate fish and chopsticks directions. Important info to keep from the chinese take-out…

As usual (lately), all the thumbnails will take you to a larger image if you click.

Clown Universe

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

This is a page in my recycled journal, the one with the cow on the cover (go ahead, click on the image). There is a piece of a magazine page, some tisue paper saved from a gift long forgotten, a card I recently received and a card I recently made. The card I made is one of a series of cards I am making using my dad’s old photos and if I ever get the process worked out satisfactorily, I will make them available via Etsy. This one in particular is on a piece of Bristol stock and was an early run to see how they would print.  I started playing with some new pens on this and I am liking the whole clownish transformation of me and my dad. I said 1965, but I think it might be spring of 66 though that really matters not.

I don’t think it is quite finished, but the clowning is really amusing me.

Did you know Natalie Mechant has a new cd out? It might not even be out yet. I am listening to it right now at That’s right, I finally capitulated to Elizabeth’s obsession and opened an account there. I say that it might not yet be available because in the buy section, I can buy it as a web album (no burning or ipod use, just on my computer) for $2.34. Or I can buy it as an mp3 album for $14.49. The web songs are usually .10 each and mp3s .89. This is 26 songs and I am liking it so will do the mp3 purchase.  It also says CD not yet available. But for right now, I am getting a full listen of the collection. Free. Go check out

The Pepsi Gene

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

The recent road trip moving chef Will back to upstate NY yielded a new stash of Arnold’s (my dad) old photos. One such photo offers documentation to a genetic predisposition toward Pepsi. Gott a love me some Pepsi, it’s in my genes! Of course this theory woulf naturally go on to illustrate a penchant toward cigars, but that just isn’t happening. I think the cigar gene skips a generation. This photo seems of the same time as the many negatives I have, but this is definitely one I don’t have a negative for which makes me wonder if more negatives will eventually surface.

Another photo with no corresponding negative is this one if my dad in uniform. Written on the back of this one is the number 48. This could mean it was 48 in a series of pictures, but more likely, 48 is reference to an approximate year it was taken. That would make my dad 21 or thereabouts, and he certainly is looking young and trim in this photo.

I had not before seen either of these pics that I can remember.  Another found picture was this nude woman. Is it a picture of a picture? Did someone model for him?  I quietly slid this one into the pile accumulating, because you never know what is gonna rock the boat.

A few years before my dad died, I finally asked if I could have the box of old negatives. He didn’t miss a beat in saying yes, but he then added that it was fine because he had removed all the nudes a long time ago. He also mentioned that there was a trading club. You have to appreciate what a character my father was to understand me not giving this comment a second thought. I figured he was kidding. Imagine my surprise when a year or so ago my mom sent me a small bundle (maybe 50) of negatives she found in going through one of his old tool boxes.  As soon as I looked through them I figured my mom didn’t look past the first few, because toward the middle of the stack was a series of nudes that I am pretty sure were taken in my grandmother’s house. She would have never sent those to me had she seen them.

Now to make some art!

new backgrounds

Monday, April 12th, 2010

I finished the spread for Tina’s journal in the RRJ2010 project with the Simple Living Ravelry knitters. I used some images from a holiday article on nuno felting (the penguin and polar bear) as well as a prompt from the Life Made by Hand online journaling class and the shoes and Buddha from a class collage sheet handout from Kelly(buddha is cut off in the thumbnail, but if you click through I think you can see the whole thing, if not, I don’t really understand the image choice settings and will have to work on that).

I hadn’t used the writing prompts before and picked one blindly. It was number 60: How lucky are you? I had been thinking about choices and merged that with feeling lucky to have them and wrote several pages in Tina’s journal about just that.

I also laid down a few more backgrounds in the sow journal. Four new spreads follow. There are four thumbnails that should all click through to a full size of the image.

I also managed to finish my Lady of the Lake sweater this weekend. It will be finctional and warm, but beyond that, I am not too sure what I think about it. It might just need some blocking, but it also might reside in my office, never to see the light of day. Time will tell, and really we are sort of leaving sweater season (except in my office which is pretty much always sweater season. Yay for a finished object!


Thursday, April 8th, 2010

I feel like I have been on the go again more than home, and with good reason. Two weeks ago, Elizabeth and I went to visit our friends Lisa and Harry in Hastings, Nebraska. It was a 16 hour drive and really, as long drives go, it was a pretty easy straight shot north. We met Lisa and Harry about a year ago while on a 37 days retreat given by Patti Digh and David Robinson. The work they do is pretty amazing and I was glad to have been a part of it. The friends we made there are priceless. Like Lisa and Harry.

While traveling, I tend to collect receipts and other various ephemera, and I decided I would do a journal spread using them. It makes for a pretty boring background, but it does serve to document the journey and also offers a lot of white space for journaling, which can be a nice respite from the more artisticly crafted journal pages. I wasn’t thinking to keep the papers from a certain trip on the same page, so for now I have labeled them as the town in which I glued them down.

This page was started in Nebraska. There is a receipt from Buc-ees as well as a piece of the Buc-ees beaver logo, the Perfect toilet paper wrapper, and a paper strip that was wrapped around the toilet seat when we arrived at the XL Motel. It saddens me that we were unable to get a photo of the XL and it’s neon at night. The place is old with very dated decor, but it was clean and Sanitary! Even though Lisa sisn’t believe us, it really was an adequate place to lay our heads at night. The facing page remains unfinished, but was also glued at the same time.

Next up we have Birmingham. Birmingham was the first stop on the road trip last week moving the chef back to upstate NY(so he can keep the Jeep). When Elizabeth and I first made the reverse drive, moving me from VA to TX oh, some twelve years ago now, we were towing the Jeep and the last thing my friend Mike (who helped with the packing) said to us was very sound advice. “Make sure that everywhere you go or stop affords you the ability to pull through.”

We were very diligent in this. We pretty much drove straight through, stopping as needed for gas or food, and little did we know that the exit in AL that said it had all sorts of amenities really didn’t. Before we got too far from the highway in the middle of nowhere at 2am, we thought it best to just turn around and go a little further down the highway. As soon as Elizabeth started the turn where presumably we would just drive around the block, I saw it, the “No Outlet” sign. Sigh. We would be backing up to turnaround, a feat which proved exceedingly difficult, and took us more than an hour. That is when it became Alafuckingbama, and silly me for not remembering this when we needed to get gas and find a motel. I think we were in the bowels of Birmingham. s c a r y. We got back on the highway and went an exit or two further to find a lovely Comfort Inn. That was the end of the first day.

The next day took us to Staunton, VA. There, we stayed at a Budget Inn. This particular Budget Inn made the XL Motel seem like a modern resort. But as with the XL, it was indeed a clean place to lay our heads for the night. This page also has an image from a brochure for Wilmington, NY, our final destination.

I was gluing these down last night and was interested to see that Staunton is the Queen City. Umm, why? The trips have all sort of mingled together on this spread. The Virgin strip is from the South Africa trip and I pulled it off the suitcase and stashed it into the ephemera folder.

From Staunton, we drove on to Califon, NJ where my Aunt Patty lives. Elizabeth and I were just there in December, and I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be if we could visit there going forward with the same frequency. While there, Chef Will made some ribs for dinner at Aunt Patty’s request. She might still be nibbling on the leftovers. They came out pretty good. We were going to be off by 8am, but Aunt Patty asked for a Ravelry tutorial and obsessed knitter that I am, I absolutely had to oblige.

We were on our way north to Wilmington, NY by 10am. We drove on a little ways and stopped at the Brookside Diner for breakfast. I think this was in Whippany, NJ. We came across it by accident as we were looking for gas and something quick, but after getting a few miles from the freeway, there it was, and we pulled in. It was Easter Sunday and I was glad it was open as it afforded me my pork roll fix (even if the menu pretentiously called it Taylor Ham, I knew). Then it was to Wilmington by dinner time and Easter dinner at the Wilderness Inn. Yawn.

I flew home on Tuesday and managed to read most of Olive Kitteridge on the plane. I totally enjoyed it. Last night I got to work on the cover of the journal that is mostly recycled (pictured recently plain white). The cover is a tyvek bubble mailer for CDs. My mom had used it to send me some photos and It was in out reuse stash. The pages are mostly recycled from work and the first two spreads pictured above are from inside this journal. At this point I am hoping that the papers stay on the cover. I haven’t and prior experience with glueing onto Tyvek, so as with all these pages, there is a learning curve. The camera and tag pages are from an arist I have linked on the left for her Collections blog. She is doing a collection a day for this entire year and I find her collections interesting. The idea of documenting them, in particular. I also like her artwork and at some future point, hope to be able to get some.

Last night I also got started on my third journal in the Round Robin Journal swap I am doing with some members of the Simple Living Group on Ravelry. I started that journal swap with art journaling in mind, but what I have seen so far is mostly text journaling. It is still an interesting slice of life, I suppose. Tina’s journal is a small book, about 5X7 and my spread is decidedly symmetrical. I glued a few pages together to give them a little weight, and then used all light papers to not make it too heavy. The felted penguin and polar bear seemed somehow appropriate for a knitter’s journal.

I did some pen work while watching some TV last night and more embellishment is to come. There are images from a collage sheet I got from Kelly’s class, too, as well as just some colored magazine ads. I think I might use one of the class prompts for text on this one.