12 July 2009

"Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime."

~William Shakespeare

For my sweet, precious mother. You are a TREASURE and we love you so much. Happy 86th Birthday!
soft gel txr image, heat embossed handmade frame.

HEALTH UPDATE: mom was diagnosed with rectal cancer in may. Her CT Scan, Laproscopic Ultrasound, a physical exam, and soooo many prayers, indicated she is one of the lucky few that did NOT require either a colostomy, chemo or radiation! On June 11 she was scheduled to have "SAME DAY SURGERY" in her home state of Vermont with approximately 4 weeks needed to heal while she stayed with me in CT until she could sit and/or drive comfortably.

She was kept overnight for observation, most likely due to her age and physical condition as well as the face down positioning for surgery. Mom was discharged the very next day...... back at our house it was a different story.

Unbeknownst to us, she began to develop "aspirational pneumonia" that first night and around 9Am the next day, we called her surgeon followed by 911 and got her right back into a different hospital in a different state! She had fantastic care, throughout the 13 days she spent in the hospital and while regaining her strength at the Rehab Center. She is back in her home in Vermont and has just been cleared by her doctor to drive... only one month after surgery.

I have all of the faith in the world that she will be completely back to her former self in the next few weeks and, no doubt, begin contemplating the 3 annual trips we take (when we can) to the south jersey shore in September, to her next Boston red sox game and this time we're planning on seeing The Cloisters in our annual mother-daughter trip to NYC!

Thank you again to all of our family and friends for your steadfast love & support and for all of your prayers, flowers and good wishes. We truly appreciate you and know how important a support system is to health, healing and general well-being! Added to that I had a friend that was travelling to her family home in Brazil for her brother's wedding right before mom's surgery. She was able to include a special blessing for our mother in Basilica of Bom Jesus Lord Iguapea. She brought back 2 prayer ribbons from this amazing church that has been recognized, for several hundred years, as a location for religious pilgrimage. "Eunice, you touched our hearts! - xox"

So, please schedule a colonoscopy today if you are 50 or older and consult your doctor to schedule one sooner if polyps run in your family because ~ PREVENTATIVE medicine ~ saves ~ lives! ~

04 July 2009

Parades, Picnics & Pyrotechnics

Early morning on the 4th of July, my brother and I would race through breakfast to decorate our bicycles on the back patio with red-white-and-blue crepe paper. We'd tape little flags to our handlebars and, for sound effects, attach a pair of playing cards to the spokes of our front and back wheels with WOODEN CLOTHESPINS!

1962 - ages 10 & 7
We couldn't wait to ride at the back of our tiny (pop. 5,000) hometown parade down "main street!" Our parents and all of the neighbors would bring folding chairs, sit at the top of our street and wave excitedly as we rode by. What a festive sight ~ I can still hear the fire engines!

Anytown, USA

Afterwards, the entire town would follow the parade to the park for hot dogs, soda and all the fixins. A band would be playing, lots of laughter and good times as we eagerly anticipated family gatherings followed by FIREWORKS!

Back at home, mom & dad would begin to pack the car as we grabbed our suits to meet up with friends at the pool and yes, you guessed it, later we'd have a picnic spread out in the grass.

And the BEST PART: driving to Philadelphia with a box of sparklers, taking the long walk to the schoolgrounds with thousands of others to eat ice cream and watch the pyrotechnics!

Happy Birthday, America!

02 July 2009

Altered Book Swap Part 2... step-by-step

I have always been considered someone who loves detail! It has helped me in my work, my relationships AND in my art as well. Add to that an inquisitive mind and you will understand exactly why I love TECHNIQUES and the ever-popular WORK-IN-PROGRESS, or WIP, from either point of view. I enjoy documenting them myself ... even in the garden... and reading about them too!

The best part was finding a book to alter with a die-cut cover!

"Belly Button Book"
- by Sandra Boynton

The very first step (not shown), as with all board books, is to sand each page lightly to remove the finish. This will give it "tooth" so they can accept paint.

Naturally, as this was my very f.i.r.s.t. altered board book, I tried to stop whenever possible - grab my camera - and set up for a photo. Here are most of the steps I used to create the front cover:

I grabbed a few magazines and cut several images and collaged the cover so there would be some added dimension once I attached the next layer.

Next I crumpled several torn pieces of pink, orange and red tissue paper adhering them with decoupage medium. This is an easy technique that's alot of fun because you simply smoosh the tissue in random peaks and valleys. Once it dries completely, the effect is very pretty!

A sturdy punch was used to make a hole in the cover. Next, I added a copper eyelet so I could attach a "dangle-y" at some point! Use your imagination to add ribbons, cording, leather, beads, a section of chain, charms, a tiny photo, a stamped tag, fibers or even fabric. No limits!

My favorite technique is any type of image transfer and I knew instantly that it should be a strong visual to entice you to open the book. Not only did I find one that appealed to me, but oddly it was framed inside of a perfect circle. The decision had been made for me!

Using soft gel medium, I applied several layers in opposite directions, drying between each layer. At this point, it doesn't matter if you cut it out before or after the process. Some people may prefer a "margin" to hold on to while rubbing.

This time I worked on top of my non-stick craft sheet but mostly I spread open a catalog and just flip the pages as they get dirty. R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, R-E-U-S-E!!

Every mixed media artist needs a squirt bottle that has a fine spray. It's wonderful to use with alcohol inks, but that's a future post.

Some transfer mediums instruct you to immerse the item in a bowl of water for 10 minutes, which I tried, but didn't make much difference here. This method is trial and error and you will find a way that works best for you. I simply spray and rub the paper from the back, slowly and repeatedly many, many, MANY times... the result is more than worth the effort, as you will see when you do it. This view is the reverse side, partially completed. TIP: I always print at least 2 images just in case I tear one in the process!! I lost some of the color here and had to begin again.


To make the "dangle-y" I wove some unwaxed linen cording, used for bookmaking, through the eyelet, strung a few beads and attached a metal rimmed paper tag. Next I covered the back with strips of copper foil used for soldering and flattened with a bone folder.

For the front of the tag, I layered 2 white paper flowers, cut a green flower for the leaves, added a swarovski crystal for the center and finished with a few embellishments using my gel pen.

I highlighted the inside rim of the circle and also surrounded it with dots using a gold paint pen. The dots are outlined with a black permanent marker and, as much as I wanted to add a title, I stopped here deciding "less is more!"

Click for a link to see all 17 books in the art-e-zine Altered Board Book Swap!

More WIP pages to follow...