Friday, December 31, 2010

From the Bookshelf

For the last several years at the beginning of the year I've picked out a book that divides itself easily ( by 12, by 50, etc.), that I then read a portion of on a weekend morning every week, with a nice cup of coffee before I get up for the day. Past volumes have included Simple Abundance, You Are your Choices, Romancing the Ordinary, The Creative Habit, The Crafter's Devotional. When the book is divided into days, I read 7 at once on the weekend morning, when it's divided into months I divide the chapter into four and read that much. I read ahead a bit, or, catch up if I'm out of town for a weekend. It's a nice way to start my time off each week and gives me plenty of food for creative thought during the following days.

It's delightful to pick out the book for each new year and to divide it in such a way that I find myself finishing the last few pages when the final weekend of the year rolls around. (I know that's sorta geeky, but hey, it keeps me happy!)

The one I've picked for 2011 is 365 Travel. A travel story, anecdote, or tip for each day of the year. Since the economy has curtailed our trips abroad, this seemed like the perfect choice - a little armchair traveling every weekend.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Angel has Wings!

The Saturday before Christmas we went to a wonderful holiday office party for Amri Glass Studio in Santa Rosa (about 45 minutes north of San Francisco) Margot does a lot, I mean a lot, of work for the studio. They do gigantic installations of carved, etched glass for donors' walls in hospitals, universities and the like. Margot does writing that is etched into the pieces, does the studio's blog and website, writes marketing letters, and this year even helped out with interviewing new staff members.

At the party Christina Amri presented a special award to a handful of people who had gone above and beyond during 2010. She called these people her angels and the award was a huge set of feathered wings! Margot was the first recipient and, good sport that she is, donned the wings on stage and wore them for the next half hour!

When we got home, she found the perfect place for them in our bedroom behind a paper star that lights up a corner of the room.

I've always known my wife is an angel and now so does everyone else!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Little bits of tile, all colours, different sizes, some with patterns, some without.

Fun to use on journal covers and in assemblages.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Heaven!

Ever since second or third grade the best Christmas presents have always been books, though for a few formative years, cap guns and cowboy hats ran a close second! This year I scored! Six new, wonderful volumes that will provide hours of enjoyment.

This compilation of Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks, a true delight for a mystery fan such as myself..

Inside the Painter's Studio by Joe Fig which I reviewed here, and now, I have my own copy to drool over.

Two books that deal with Victorian pictorial collage The Marvelous Album of Madame B and Playing with Pictures, the later is the exhibition book from a delightful show, read of Lynne Perrella's fascinating visit here.

And these two, just for fun!! The London Quiz Book and The Paris Quiz Book. Margot found them in the Bas Bleu catalog, and knowing they're my two favourite cities, she couldn't resist.

So for the next few days, Shhhhhh - I'm reading!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Welcome Lisa!

A holiday treat - the wonderful Lisa Hoffman, True Colorist, artist extraordinaire and cutting-edge trend spotter will be here visiting for the next couple of days. We've promised her lovely weather (instead of Colorado snow) and an abundance of sea life on a visit to the board walk later this afternoon.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Life on the Coast

A brisk walk along the harbour on this fine Boxing Day morning.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas to All!

These vintage postcards were all sent to my
maternal grandmother a hundred years ago.
Merry, merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

From the Bookshelf

A brilliant collaboration between Rumer Godden and Barbara Cooney in this 1985 version of the beloved tale. 24 hours in the life of the orphan Ivy, from Christmas Eve afternoon to Christmas Day - a tale of wishing and magic and love. I never let the holidays go by without re-reading this lovely story. Happy Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

Becky Anne, me, Mike, circa '57 or '58

When I was young, back in the middle of the last century. my older sister and brother and I would celebrate Christmas Eve Eve. My mom was a pretty smart cookie and she knew that the small, often handmade presents that her children wrapped up for each other could easily be lost, literally and figuratively, in the wild excitement of Christmas Eve (when we opened our presents).

Hence, Christmas Eve Eve, when the three of us would open the gifts we had for each other. Without any competition they seemed wonderful and "neat-o". And the tradition helped ease a bit of the unbearable anticipation of the day to follow.

Ride 'em Cowboys!

I don't have any of those presents left now, but the memories of the three of us, in our jammies, sitting around the fake fireplace, ripping off the wrappings will be with me always.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Twenty-Second Day of December

As brisk as bees, if not altogether as light as fairies, did the four Pickwickians assemble on the morning of the twenty-second day of December. Christmas was close at hand, in all his bluff and hearty honesty; it was the season of hospitality, merriment, and open-heartedness; the old year was preparing, like an ancient philosopher, to call his friends around him, and amidst the sound of feasting and revelry to pass gently and calmly away. Gay and merry was the time; and right gay and merry were at least four of the numerous hearts that were gladdened by its coming.
Charles Dickens The Pickwick Papers

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

On this shortest day of the year,
may you find warmth, happiness and love.

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Pages

I first began journaling in junior high over 45 (gulp!) years ago. And until 6 years ago those journals were all writing. So my artistic journals always include massive amounts of the written word along with collage, painting and sketching.

I jot down the day's happenings, I make lists (boy do I make lists!), I reminisce about the past, I plan for the future, I do a little journal therapy ...

It's a rare day when I don't sit down with my journal and I carry it with me everywhere. The new one, I've just started is quite small - a re-purposed pocket dictionary and will be much less weighty in my bag. I'll post some pages from it soon.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas on the Coast - Long Island

photograph by Jeff McNamara

The sea, a boat, and the tree waiting to be brought in
and decorated. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cemetery Saturday

The Old Chatham Graveyard near Lower Kimball Pond in New Hampshire. We explored this on a cool, overcast day one October. The graves span the centuries from the 1700's to the present time.

Some so worn and lichen speckled as to be nearly illegible, but still standing despite 300 years of New England winters.

It was sobering to see memorial stones for soldiers from the revolutionary and civil wars, both world wars, and even more recent conflicts, all resting here along a quiet country road surrounded by the brilliance of the fall colour and the susurration of the wind through the trees.

Friday, December 17, 2010

From the Bookshelf

Another favourite author, Miss Read who for over 50 years has written with such love and delight of life in the two Cotswold villages of Fairacre and Thrush Green. This story finds Miss Quinn, single, efficient and solitary, suddenly leaving the warmth and quite of her small cottage to help her brother and his family during Christmas week. Lessons are gently learned on all sides and the true meaning of the season shines through.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Breakfast Scores in the Bay Area

When we were up in the Bay Area week before last we had three toothsome and delicious breakfasts. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I know it's my favourite meal to have eating out. (During the week I diligently eat my oatmeal, with walnuts, bananas, blueberries and a heavy dose of cinnamon to cover several different "health bases"), but on Sundays and vacations I love indulging in wonderful breakfasts.

The Home Plate on Lombard Street - fantastic egg dishes and lovely scones.

Jennifer and Todd's Cafe Soleil across the bay in El Sobrante- despite the name - just good down-home cooking, sausage gravy to die for.

And a new find this trip - Curbside Cafe in the Fillmore district - oo-la-la! Quite continental, exquisite French toast and divine lattes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Articulated men and see-through anatomical men.

Dollar store finds via Michael deMeng (see-through guys) and art stores, garage sales and swap meets for the movable men. The mind boggles at what I might use them for!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

6 Months Gone

I started this journal on June 1 sitting on the
cafe deck at Nepenthe in Big Sur,
and finished it up last week during my
lunch hour at the library.

My friend Debra gave it to me for my birthday and
I loved the thick textured paper, and generous size of the pages.

I did a lot of collage in this one and will show
some more pages in a future post.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Sale @ Altered by the Sea

Les Souvenirs d' ete

In case you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet - still 12 days left!

And 20% off everything in the Shabby Chic section of my Altered by the Sea website.
From now until December 31. Just click on the Gallery tab and then the Shabby Chic tab.
Or click on the individual titles in this post.

The prices have been changed to reflect the discount. If you don't have PayPal and are interested in making a purchase, just e-mail me and we'll figure it out.

I will send priority so if you order by the end of this week
you should be in plenty of time for the big day.

These are just a few of the pieces available at
Altered by the Sea.
Happy Shopping!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Life on the Coast

A beautiful rainbow sail slips past East Brother Island in San Francisco Bay. We had a ringside seat staying at the lighthouse a few years ago. Sun, sea breeze, ocean waves, island -it doesn't get much better!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cemetery Saturday

The church at Lanteglos a few miles outside of Polruan across the river from Fowey in Cornwall. Daphne du Maurier was married here in 1932. We visited on our trip to England several years ago.
The church yard is home to dozens of graves dating back hundreds of years. We were alone there and it was very easy to imagine by-gone voices whispering to us as we walked through the tombstones.

As in so many old cemeteries, the headstones canted at different angles, and were covered with lichen, and vastly weathered by time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This delightful children's book follows a family through the entire holiday season, from baking and decorating, visiting and shopping, from the first sight of red ribbon in a shop window to the boxes of used wrapping and dangling tinsel put out in the dustbins. All through the book are the wonderful pictures of Peter Spier - this is a "true" picture book - no words. And yet, the story is told in the bright, ringing tones of a Christmas bell. Out of print and rather expensive (even on Amazon) you should find a copy at your local library.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Score!

And here are all the lovely and wonderful goodies we scored on our weekend in the City!

Well, actually not all the lovely things, because several of them - from the Center for the Book and the Celebration of Craftswomen are presents for various friends and loved ones, so must be kept secret for two more weeks.

But this is most of the haul from Dick Blick (love those huge oil pastels! and yes, I do need all that glue), the deYoung Museum Store, and The Theatre of Dreams -glitter ornaments, letter press circles, and Paris ribbon.

And a new find in the Fillmore District - Nest - a beautifully decorated store with delightful merchandise. That's where I picked up the gold fishes and the coaster with the paint brushes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Scrabble letters! Real ones, faux ones, wooden, plastic, original and rosewood. Found at garage sales, thrift stores and jumble sales. Often for $1.00 or less for the entire game. How can you resist?

Almost a cliche now in the mixed media world,
but as with so many things that are,
often just what's needed.