July 30, 2012

Who Dropped This Bomb?

Good grief, my house looks like a bomb has blown up.  Today was the first day with the movers, taking everything from both attics, the garage and the kitchen to a storage facility.  We'll stay a few days in a hotel, a week or two in the rental house, but most of our time in this house (after the repairs/remodeling is finished in a couple of weeks) until it is sold.  My daughter is in the rental with the cats, thus reducing mess by quite a bit.  Trying to figure out how to manage all of this is causing me to lose a lot of sleep.  I think I'm exhausted enough for this insomniac to be able to sleep leaning against a wall in a train station. 

In the hope of retaining SOME semblance of sanity, I agreed to participate in an art project that my sister is coordinating with a friend.  The project involves making inspirational ATC's with an ocean theme that will be given to school children as a reward of some sort.  That is something I can manage, even with limited studio supplies.  With my daughter moved into the rental house, the middle bedroom can, once again, become a studio.  It will have to be super neat, clean and tidy (I'm worried about that), but at least I'll be able to do something.  I've made the difficult decision to pack away all of my darned magazines and reference books into storage which, frankly, will force me to just make art and not get lost in other's works.  We'll see how that works :-)

July 18, 2012

Why Is My Mind Blank?

Today was a day with no excuses.  With increasing problems with back pain, ending up on medication and a heating pad every time I try scrubbing or tasks like vacuuming, I finally gave up and hired help.  So I've got two ladies cleaning away while I hide out in the studio, the perfect opportunity to make art and struggle with the guilt.  But my mind is blank.  I'm wrestling with the vast array of books and magazines at my fingertips and am trying not to pick them up and start flipping pages.  Flipping pages leads to more flipping of pages and not getting anything done.  Yikes!  OK, time to close the computer, pick up a tool or material and do something with it.  Get ready, get set, slam shut!

July 12, 2012

Moving On

Though I have moved frequently in my life (if I only count places where I lived six months or more, that's 19 by the time I was 29 years old), the logistics of the move were managed by my parents or, later in life, by my husband and I calling on all of our friends to help us load up the rental truck while we moved ourselves from one rented house or apartment to another in exchange for pizza and beer.  This time is going to be different and is quite likely to bring on an anxiety attack before the month is over.  We have never sold a home before or had real estate agents peeking into every nook and cranny of our house.  One doesn't realize how much crap one has accumulated until one has to open and expose the contents of closets, cabinets and drawers just prior to one having a coronary brought on by unbearable humiliation and embarrassment. Why did I feel the need to have what looks like 70 rolls of gift wrap?  Or save all of my holiday-themed magazine because there was a recipe or decorating idea somewhere in there that I might remember I had and wanted to use?  Good grief.  There's an entire forest worth of paper in my house.

So the drama begins.  I'm going to hire a housekeeper which makes me feel unbearably guilty, but my raggedy and worn out back won't let me do it all and keep up.  I'll take advantage of that time to go sweat in the studio so I am not underfoot while a total stranger tries to make my home look like a fabulous hotel.  I feel the coronary coming on now.  I finally have an excuse to replace the mailbox that has taken a few too many whacks from a baseball bat in the hands of teenagers with a car and too much time on their hands.  The new one will be installed out of teen arm reach.  There is so much to do, little of which includes making art.  I am going to make the effort to fit art time in, just so I don't totally lose my mind from the stress of it all.

July 3, 2012


Yeah!  Pressure truly does work for me.  How sick is that?!?  Simply buying a commercial gift for my sister-in-law as she marks this milestone birthday was out of the question.  On the one hand I fret that this will seem too "crafty" for her, but on the other hand I know how much time and effort (and failed trials of possible methods of making it) went into the creation.  I'm just going to be done and enjoy the results and hope she likes it too.

My husband's father was a Methodist minister.  While the family didn't have a lot of money, they did manage to cover the country on summer vacations, packing four kids into their big car and dragging a trailer along for camping adventures.  They loved the beach, so I selected what I thought was the cutest photo of my sister-in-law from the 1950's on one of these holidays.

In putting this together, the biggest challenge for me was the depth and texture of the finished project.  The image is printed on heavy (compared to paper) canvas to which I stitched small beads and some bits of embroidery.  Putting this in a regular frame just wasn't going to work.  The frame is one of those deep ones designed for putting 3D objects on display.  I needed to give the work enough depth so that it wouldn't look too flat and just wrong for this type of frame.  Weight was another worry.  If the layers were too heavy, I worried that parts would fall off and plunk to the bottom of the frame next week.

The frame is a 12" square.  I found a page of commercial scrapbook paper that had images of torn maps on it, and painted over that to tone it down, adding the big "bubbles" to continue the shape of the beach ball.  The canvas is an 8 inch square.  To raise the canvas off of the backing paper, I cut a 7.5 inch piece of foam board, covered it with a piece of blue textured (image, not feel) heavy scrapbooking paper so that the sides were clean and finished, then topped it with a piece of bright white paper so that no blue showed through the canvas.  I adhered super fine white (and a pinch of pale teal) glitter on the side of this 7.5" square so that, if by any chance it was taken out of the frame, this support would have a nice finished appearance on the sides and look like sand.  I used a monster strength spray adhesive to attached the backing paper to the back of the frame, as well as for attaching the foam board to the center of that backing paper. I found super-strength adhesive dots and dashes in my supplies and ran a solid like of the dashes around the top edge of the foam board square, fitting the photo canvas on top of it and weighting it down for a while.  The fun final bit was finding real and very tiny sand dollars at the craft store to include also.

Once again, I'm a rotten photographer and can't seem to manage the issue of glare, but it's still finished and I'm glad!  Woohoo!