7

Just the Way You Are

We have been getting a lot of rain after our drought last year. It started earlier than usual as well. I have an area in my back yard where I have plants, with rocks filling in the open spaces.  Every winter, it fills with grass and clover.  Initially, the green of the new growth is so beautiful.  It looks like velvet.  But as it gets nearer to spring, it becomes overgrown and brown.  Each year when that happens, I tell myself that I will just leave it be.  But at some point, I begin digging up a little each day.  I’m going to see what happens this year.  In the meantime, here are a couple photos of the winter growth.

I visited the Folk Art Museum in LA last week.  It is one of my favorites.  There was an exhibit by a fiber artist named Kay Sekimachi.The first piece is a bowl made with flax and Kozo paper. It’s laminated with silver and gold leaf.  The second is made with leaves.

The next two are examples of her weaving.

As for myself, I have been playing with designs that I can use with linoleum or fabric.  Here is one.  I keep looking at it to see where I could break it up or where it needs altering.  I used water color to fill it in.

A couple of items made by my journal making friend Toni, because I love how she uses recycled materials.  The one on the right is a mini journal made from a cereal box.  When you open it, the inside of the front and back covers are the outside of the cereal box.  I love the maps on the label on the left, along with the plastic motorcycle to enhance the theme of travel.

A hand stamped card arrived from another blog friend in Germany today.  It is such a fun surprise to open the mailbox and find a hand written greeting.  We rely so much on emails, that the mail box is usually just filled with bills and advertisements.

A couple shots from my walk early this evening.  Fruit is appearing on citrus trees.  Angels are appearing in gardens.

When my son was little, I’d watch a show with him called “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.”  To an adult, Mr. Rogers seemed almost too nice. The songs, kind of silly. But the main point that Mr. Rogers made EVERYDAY was that he liked us (the viewers), and other people can like us, “just the way you are.” I think he probably was very helpful in conveying this idea to children.  I found a quote of Fred Rogers, who in real life apparently was the real deal, a VERY nice person.

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch.  That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive.  Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

Perhaps the show’s lessons were not just for children.

Have a wonderful week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Looking For Joy

I am creatively idea-less. Possibly spending too much mental energy on ways to resist the oncoming negative changes after January 20th.  I had always meant to keep my blog posts light, but because of this president elect, I have never felt the concern for my country, and the world, as I do now.  It also feels strange to talk about my fortunate life, knowing there are so many Syrians struggling for survival.  But there is a joy in doing this blog, and I think doing joyful things sustains us.  I think we actually have to look for joy and be open to it.  I find it so often in situations with animals.  I saw a video of shelter dogs at a pet store choosing their Christmas toy from under a tree and then bounding through the store with it. Just looking at happy dogs makes me happy.

Below is a photo of Oscar, a dog at the shelter last week.  Fantastic dog.  I took him out to the play yard and laughed watching him chase after his toy.  I showed him to everyone that came in.  Hopefully someone adopted him and he won’t be there tomorrow when I go.  I can’t take him because I’m maxed out.  It would be difficult to provide for any more than I already have.

I received some special surprises in the mail recently that brought joy.  One was a hand stamped card from a blog friend.  It was not only exciting to receive the card, but going to my mailbox and finding a hand stamped envelope with postage stamps from Germany was like finding a small treasure.  When I was in elementary school my brother and I had a stamp collection. It was at a time when people didn’t do a lot of traveling like they do now, and the stamps represented exotic and mysterious places that we could only imagine in our minds.  Although I’ve been able to visit many countries as I grew into adulthood, I still love stamps from other places.

Another treasure I received was from my journal making friend.  A tiny one inch by two inch “treasures” book. Inside are equally small envelopes for treasures.

Since I am currently idea-less, I have a couple of older pieces of mine to share.  This was an old linoleum print I made. I carved a linoleum tile and then used printing ink.  Later, I painted a canvas with acrylic, and also applied acrylic to the tile to transfer the image.  I  added some hand stitching with gold thread and a few tiny beads.

This was something I hand stitched for my mom one Christmas.  I was reminded of it when I went to her house and saw it hanging.

No post is complete without an LA weather update.  We’ve actually had some rain and very cold days.  One night the wind knocked out our electricity.  I had to gather candles to put throughout the house.

And our local mountains are covered with snow.

Wishing you joy this week and in the coming New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

It’s Coming On Christmas…

Christmas is covering the neighborhoods.  These soldiers were made by putting four terra cotta pots together.  They were about three feet tall.

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This display was at a shopping center.

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Maggie, Charlie, and Lucy are ready for our cold night walks.

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And a recent photo of Sophie.  She’s about four months now, and looking quite a bit bigger than the day I brought her home. She likes to be with the dogs.

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A new mail art piece, with a little vintage embellishment.

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I was going through some lino stamps I made, and pulled out this piece I had used some of them on.  It is acrylic on canvas. The deer stamp I made from a photo in an art history book.  There is some hand stitching and glitter added.

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We had some beautiful sunsets a few days ago.  This is a view from my front yard.  The lights in the left corner of the second photo are lawn ornaments.  People love to put giant inflatable Christmas decorations in their yards that light up at night.

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“It’s coming on Christmas

They’re cutting down trees

They’re putting up reindeer

And singing songs of joy and peace.”           Joni Mitchell

I hope you are enjoying your days.  Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

 

5

City of Angels

I haven’t had time this week to do any art, but I’m showing a piece I did a while back.  It is on canvas, and the background is painted in acrylic.  I wanted the borders to look like tiles, so I cut some small linoleum squares that I used as stamps. The idea for the center was taken from a book of drawings by Claude Lorrain, born in 1600.  I used watercolor for the tree and then highlighted it with some hand stitching.

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The air is getting a little chillier at night.  We actually had more rain yesterday.  During this time of year, a temporary outdoor ice skating rink is installed in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.  It is an enchanted scene at night with the lights from the tall buildings.

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I protested peacefully last week with 8000 other Angelenos who are distraught about what is happening in our country.  I had to park quite a distance from the starting point of the rally, so by the time we marched and got back to our car, we had walked nine miles.  All the practice I did to prepare for the Camino last April made it very easy to walk those long distances in Spain.  But now I’m only walking two or three miles a day, so getting back to the car after the rally was a challenge.  It was worth it though.  It was good to be there.

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The waitresses in this restaurant came out to show support.

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Finally, I went to a Christmas sale at a thrift store a few days ago.  I think they had saved all their Christmas donations from the last year for that day.  It was packed with stuff and shoppers.  I bought this little embroidered mat, and a six inch tree covered with tiny  hand-painted Santa faces.

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“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”  Martin Luther King

Enjoy your week.  Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

11

Looked Like Rain

September didn’t disappoint, it has just saved the heat wave till the end. That’s what we’ve been promised for the weekend, although today still has a nice fall breeze going on.  A few days ago I was in San Pedro.  Unusual clouds that looked like rain, but VERY humid. Here is a photo of the LA Harbor (in San Pedro) where cargo comes in from all over the world.

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A view from the hilltop residences.

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Now a view on the other side that looks out to the ocean along Pacific Coast Highway.  It’s at the bottom of the hill in this photo. You can drive PCH all the way up the California coast.

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A little bungalow, with a seasonal pumpkin on the porch.

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While walking in the humidity at day’s end, as the sun was setting, it looked like a giant ball just sitting in the street.  Hard to tell in the photo, but I could see the entire circle.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

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Continuing thumbnail sketches and collages.

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After walking the Camino, we stayed a few days in Madrid.  I thought I’d show this tiny book I got.  It’s 2 inches by 3 inches.  It has a leather cover “con 25 ilustraciones.” The title is “Granada La Bella.”  It’s a book about the city of Granada in Spain, with 25 pictures.  All along one of the main avenues, there were bookstalls and vendors selling old books.  Of course my eyes were drawn to the smallest ones.

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Do you feel fall in the air where you are, or is summer lingering?

Thank you to all who stop by and check out my posts.  It’s fun to share, and also to receive your feedback.  Enjoy your weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

9

Awakening the Soul

I’m enjoying sketching tiny.  Perhaps I’ll do a daily journal of tiny, although I’ve never been good at daily sketching.  It’s more like when the idea hits me.  But I’ll give it a try.

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Also having lots of fun with my “accumulated stuff” collages.

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Our September has been feeling like October.  September is usually stifling.  I remember going back to school as a child, and the non air conditioned classrooms would be unbearable.  But a few days ago we actually had overcast conditions.

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The cooler air is very pleasant for walking.  Since returning from the Camino, I really have a need to walk each day.  The weather has also given me some good photo opportunities while I walk, with the sun poking out from the clouds in a subtle way.

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The kitty is going through all the changes the internet says she would from week to week. She weighs a pound, but RUNS across a room.  She is getting a lot of socialization from Lucy and Charlie.  Maggie is indifferent, but then she’s the one that went through mothering her own puppies not too long ago.  She’s sitting this out.

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“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”       Anatole France    poet, author

Enjoy your week.

 

 

 

 

 

3

Tiny kittens and things

Still waiting for inspiration, so in the meantime, I sat down and drew some tiny thumbnail sketches from my photos on the Camino. Tiny is fun.

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Then I got out all my scraps of accumulated paper.  For example, if I paint something and I don’t like it, I’ll cut out the parts I like and save them. I figure they might come in handy for something, along with other tiny accumulated things.  I took some pages from an old French literature book, and started sticking things together.  Sticking things together is very fun. In the one below, I drew a small picture from a Camino photo with oil pastel.  Oil pastels, also fun.

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I am keeping busy bottle feeding and caring for a two-three week old kitten. I’m fostering it from the shelter where I volunteer. As tiny as she is, she’s on the go if she’s not sleeping.  The picture is a little blurry, since I couldn’t get her to stop moving. She’s what they call a Torti. She will be ready for adoption in a month or so.  I’m hoping to find someone to adopt her so I know she’s going to a good home, rather than return her to the shelter.

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The theme of the exhibit I was in was “Play.”  I went to the opening, and again a couple days ago to take some photos.  The day of the opening was very crowded, and difficult to see everything.  This first one was behind glass so it is not real clear, but in person it had a beautiful quality. The colors and softness went so perfectly with the image of the child. It was an etching with a collaged photo. I love etchings. I took a class when I was at CSUN.

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The next one got an honorable mention.

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This last one won first place.  The whole piece was made with Legos.

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I’ve been walking in the cool evenings. Remarkable weather for September. Today is overcast, but the cooler days are wonderful. I have walked past this house many times, but last night my husband told me it was Louis Zamperini’s house at one time. He was a World War II prisoner of war survivor, and they recently made a movie about him. My husband is a newspaper photographer.  Many years ago he got to ride in an old World War II plane with Mr. Zamperini for a story the paper was doing.  My husband said he was a remarkable person and had amazing stories to tell.

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This little plant sticking up in another yard caught my eye.  It looks like a little sparkler you see on the Fourth of July.

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It looks like we’re starting the fall earlier here than usual, although by tomorrow, it could be 90 degrees…

Enjoy your summer/fall weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Lemonade Days

While I wait for some creative ideas to spring forth, I thought I’d show a few mixed media pieces from the past. I had visited Giverny, the home of Monet many years ago, and included it in a map series I continue to work on. Besides his house, there were beautiful gardens and lily ponds.

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I like to mix paper with fabric. The next photo is paper I painted, stitched, cut up, then mixed with pieces of fabric.

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The last is part of a series of small quilts that I hand sewed, using pieces I cut from old thrift store clothing. I wanted a lot of texture, so I left the pockets on.

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I was out in Santa Monica last week, and I drove past some murals that had been painted in 1983 when I was living there. They are so representative of the coastal beauty of that city.

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There is an old merry-go-round on the Santa Monica Pier, and the next two show that the horses have come to life and are running along the ocean.

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I also did another historic stair walk, this time in Pasadena (home of the New Year’s Rose Parade). A lot of steps (990), but some going down, as well as up.

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As for warnings to dog owners, this wins for the most unique.

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You can see, since the houses are built on hillsides, some are rising up, and others I’m looking down into as I walk past.

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Being that it’s still summer weather here, (in the daytime), I’ve been experimenting with making different types of lemonade without adding sugar. The first try was almost too sour to drink. I’m getting closer, though, to something drinkable and tasty.  In the pitcher below, I added two lemons, one orange, four frozen strawberries and cold water.  The froth is from mixing it up in a gadget called a NutriBullit.  I liked the taste. It was primarily water with a hint of juice flavor.

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Beautiful evenings, with a preview of Fall air, as I walked through the neighborhood the last few nights.

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Here you can see coastal clouds rising up in the distance.

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It is unusually cool today for August 4th, and those of us who are staying home this Labor Day weekend are enjoying it immensely.

Have a good long weekend.

 

7

C R E A T I V I T Y

Summer is winding down, and we’ve been having cool evenings that feel like fall. September is still to come though, and this is Southern California. Historically, it is by far the hottest month of the year. But the old predictable weather patterns no longer exist, so we will see what September brings.

I have no creative endeavors to share, but I do have some from other people, and some of nature’s creativity I’ve noticed recently.

Here is a a collaged mini dresser, my journal making friend Toni Mattock made from matchboxes.

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And the latest from Anonymous Starbucks artist.

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Creativity in Nature.  This was blossoming out of a palm tree.

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Bird of Paradise.

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A dragonfly with those sparkling, transparent wings.

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A piece made from nature that I saw at a local nursery.

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This last one does not fit into a creativity category, and my phone could not capture or do it justice.  So you’ll have to believe me that it was an enchanting sight. I was walking at night down a hill in a residential area. The moon was orange and very full.  There were millions of lights from homes spread out in front of me.  The thought of the amount of electricity used in this one spot multiplied by homes, offices, and streets around the world was boggling.

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Reading or watching news to stay informed, is a constant reminder of all the sorrows in the world. The painful reminder is difficult sometimes. I was also reading some quotes by Mark Twain (so funny), and watching old Seinfeld episodes (so funny), and decided that this quote of Twain is so true, (although not funny).

“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.”

I hope you are enjoying your days.

 

 

 

15

You’ve Got Mail

I love mail art.  One of my favorites is the one Pablo Picasso sent to his friend Jean Cocteau.

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I don’t have any vintage postcards, but I wanted to try some mail art, so I gathered some postcards I’ve collected from museums and started playing.  This first one is my submission to SUNDAY SKETCHES.  It’s a very simple water color with a little stitching.

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What got me started was something a friend and I are working on to sell at a craft/collectible fair in the fall.  We are making tiny journals (about 3 inches by 4 inches).  I had so much stuff out on my table, that besides the journals, I got some ideas for mail art.  Here is one of the journal covers.

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And a few more pieces of mail art.

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The last two don’t have an address, so it’s more like art on a post card.

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The following photos are not anything extraordinary, but I took them when I was walking the other evening around 7:00. The AIR was extraordinary.  Although I live about five miles from the ocean, there was an ocean breeze blowing, and the sun was casting long shadows.  The light on the side of the street where the sun was still shining, was so beautiful as well.  I’m always aware of the kind of light created at different times of the year.  In fall, there’s a yellow glow as the sun is setting.  As I walked, the light and air were so typical of the end of a summer’s day, being so near the ocean.

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It is impossible not to be aware of the very sad direction life is moving in, here and everywhere.  It is also impossible to find words, but impossible to ignore.  I found these.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Albert Einstein