7

Captains of Our Souls

I’ve been out and about in different areas of Los Angeles this week. I went to a miniature show in Anaheim, home of Disneyland.  I’ve always loved things in miniature, but I’ve never seen tiny things as amazing as some of the items at the show.  Everything was made by hand.  One woman had made tiny fruits, vegetables, and bread.  Each piece was about a half inch or smaller in diameter.  They were totally realistic looking.  You could cut them in half with a tiny knife and the insides looked real also.  You could even peel the skin off of these avocados.

The photos are not in focus, but I only had my phone with me, and picture taking was difficult with everything being so small.  You can see the seeds inside of the bell pepper, and in the bottom left, the orange peel is peeled from the orange.

Another seller, who came all the way from Dresden, Germany, made TINY houses, trains, clocks etc. out of wood. These tiny bears and children were about a half inch long and had arms and legs that moved.

The show had everything tiny you could think of.  There were also miniature paintings.  When I got home I decided to make something tiny.  I came up with this miniature “paper” quilt.  I used water color, acrylic and some lino stamps, then sewed the pieces together.  It is four inches by four inches.

Next I went to an area called Century City to see a photo exhibit.  It has a lot of very tall office buildings similar to downtown.  I used to work there many years ago before I started teaching.  The days have been beautiful, and the buildings were all reflecting off each other.

On to South LA for the weekly meeting with my grassroots political action group.  We sat in an outdoor area of a cafe where the shadows created some nice imagery.

We’re staying vigilant amidst the daily onslaught of unconstitutional acts by the new administration.

We are still masters of our fate. We are captains of our souls.       Winston Churchill

Thank you for visiting.

 

 

8

Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand

I was one of the 750,000 in Los Angeles that attended the Women’s March.  We were lucky.  The weather was perfect.  The day before and the day after it poured.  The day after I was on the freeway, and suddenly the cars stopped.  There was so much water in one area, it looked like a lake.  All lanes of traffic had to merge into one lane in order to drive through the water at the most shallow point.

So many parents brought their children.  A good lesson of democracy in action.

In this shot everyone was listening to a singer named Thelma Houston sing her 70’s disco song “Don’t leave me this way.” She joked that’s what she would say to Barack Obama if she saw him.

A blog friend made this gorgeous painting that she entered in an exhibit.  She also had it made into posters.  If you would like to buy one, here is the link.  http://www.zazzle.com/jghio_designs

I haven’t had time to paint or sew, but I took a photo of the house next door that looks like a painting, and some photos of building patterns while I was marching through downtown.

While I was at the march Saturday, my husband texted me that he was making spaghetti for dinner and had also gotten some chocolate. When I got home he had the TV on. It was amazing to me how many countries participated in marches. I took off my walking shoes, sat down to enjoy some spaghetti and watched with renewed hope. Enjoy your week and thank you for visiting.

 

7

Before the Rainbow

After the rain…

Before the rainbow, I watched the changes in the sky.

More rain is expected.

I went to a tiny funky restaurant a couple days ago to meet with other people from a political organization called MoveOn.org. It was near USC in Los Angeles.  It’s an eclectic area of LA.  The restaurant’s name was Revolucinario African Tacos.  The owners are a husband and wife, she being Asian and he being Algerian and an excellent cook.  It was energizing to meet with people of all ages and ethnicities to talk about how we, ordinary citizens, could make some beneficial changes to our democracy.  We will get together weekly, and build on shared ideas.  Initially, we will try to find similar groups around the country and work to get people elected to Congress that believe in climate change, believe that health care is necessary, believe in stopping voter suppression, etc. etc. for the 2018 elections.  The walls of the restaurant had money taped all over them. I asked the owner about it, and she said someone started it, and it just continues.  People will come from other countries and leave some of their currency taped to the walls.

I have been trying to find inspiration for something creative to work on.  In looking at some of my fabric pieces, I decided to go in that direction.  Maybe mix with paper, as I did in this first piece. I alternated strips of fabric with water color painted paper.

I love Post Impressionist and Expressionist painters. The next two were inspired by Cezanne. The first one is an applique from his painting titled, “Basket of Apples.”  The second one was just inspired by the colors in so much of his work.

Oscar was adopted!  I hope he is enjoying his life with a wonderful new family.

So, to close, I leave you with this.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside, on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”   Milan Kundera

I wish you that peace.

Thank you for visiting.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

9

Light In Winter

This first photo I’m sharing with Macro Mondays.  Although our nights are very cold, recent days have been beautiful with soft, warm, air and light.  I was giving my yard a little water, and this droplet stayed on the nasturtium leaf.

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I found some interesting old envelopes at a flea market.  Here is one that I made into mail art.  I noticed how perfect the handwriting is on the address.  It reminds me of how we were taught to write in school.  These days, people’s writing is very different, sometimes difficult to read.

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I participated in a boutique at a friend’s church. I sold mini cakes and breads along with some tiny succulent plants in equally tiny pots and cups.  I’ve always liked miniatures.

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The boutique was downtown, and although I’ve been to the area many times, I stumbled on some old amazing apartments a few blocks away.  They looked like classic LA buildings from an old movie.  Some have been made into condos.  I looked up the year they were built when I got home.  Built in 1922.

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The end of each day has brought a warm glowing light that shines on the houses.  Some photos during my walks through the neighborhoods this week.

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I put some lights on a fruitless olive tree in my front yard.  When I first started doing this, the tree was very small.  Now I have to stand on a ladder, throw the lights around to the other side, get down from the ladder and repeat a few times.

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“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own”.                     Michelle Obama

Trying to stay hopeful as our country’s leadership changes.  Have a great week.  Thank you for visiting.

 

7

November Chill

We had a very cold day here on Sunday, with wind and drizzles on and off.  A friend and I had planned last spring to get a booth at a flea market for that day.  It is usually so hot where the flea market is held, we decided November would be a good month, and last year brought us little rain, so no need to worry about bad weather.  It was a fun day in spite of the cold, and rain, and wind.  We had a covering for part of the space, and had to move anything perishable to the center.  We brought hand made items and vintage wares. This photo shows just one side of our selling space.

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A couple days before the flea market, I saw a unique play in downtown.  It was three Latina friends getting together for Christmas, and sharing stories from childhood family Christmas gatherings.  The stories were funny, sad, hopeful, and all true. The theater itself only held about forty people, so everyone was very close to the stage.  But the lobby was enormous and beautiful.  The building had been a bank about a hundred years ago. A lot of the old buildings are being restored and made into apartments.

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After sketching a few window scenes a couple weeks ago, I thought I’d practice painting from some Henri Matisse prints in a book I have.  I started out a little small, and the details were difficult to do in acrylic, so although I started sketching on canvas, I finished them with colored pencils. The pencils were fun, though. I had never used colored pencils on canvas.

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Soon I will be filling this spot above my fireplace with Christmas decorations, but I noticed this wonderful shadow one day as the light came through a window.  You can see the shadow of the bottle on the left, but the shadows on the right seem to be coming from the etchings on the glass bowl next to it.

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“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you.  If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”    Barack Obama

Thank you for visiting.  Have an excellent week.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

8

Forty Four

I’m coming out from the haze of despair after the election. Tomorrow I will put on my walking shoes, drive downtown, and join in peaceful protest. Although the outcome has been decided, I cannot just forget all the hateful language used during the campaign.  Already acts of hate have increased because the perpetrators have been given approval to act out.  It turns out that 48 per cent of the country didn’t vote.  Maybe people will realize the importance of participating.

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I’ve only done a little sketching lately. This first one made me think of wallpaper around a window, so I made another very QUICK sketch with that in mind.

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I’ve always loved the window scenes of Raoul Dufy and Henri Matisse.

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Our weather has reverted back to summer.  Warm days, but very pretty light at end of day.

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I didn’t realize until I got home and looked at this next photo, how the shadow is an extension of the tree.  The tree is actually planted in the middle of the circle of newly mowed grass.

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The kitty is now officially part of the pack. We adopted her. I think she might be thinking she’s a dog at this point. They all play together. And if they go out, she goes out. When they come back in, she’s right behind them.

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President Obama met with the president elect at the White House a few days ago to explain things to him and assure a peaceful transition of power.  He knew some of us were disappointed, but he said we had to pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off.  What a class act. Such dignity, offering whatever assistance he could to a person who rejected the legitimacy of his Presidency. I will truly miss the 44th President of the United States.

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