Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Victorian Scrap - gold wings and crowns, colourful cherubs and birds, card tally cards.

Many reproductions, but some vintage - 70-80 years old.

Ive raided this stash to use in the new journal I've just started - an old edition of Dickens,
the vintage scrap is the perfect accompaniment.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blanche - 1890

A handful of well loved bits that belonged to my grandmother
when she was a child,living near Warren Indiana in the 1890's,
collecting pictures that came with the coffee and flour.

She painstakingly wrote her name on the back of each one
- and sometimes the date -before storing them
in a shoebox beneath her bed.

I was denied the pleasure of knowing her,
she passed before I was born,
but these small treasures from her childhood
make her feel very close.

Monday, March 29, 2010


detail 10,000 lire note

10,000 visitors to Altered by the Sea! Thanks to all of you for making this milestone a reality. I'm continually delighted and amazed that you drop by, and love sharing my art and my little bit of the coast with you all.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life on the Coast

The mustard is blooming, the sun is chasing away the fog, and the ocean cliffs beckon - I'm off for a walk along Moonstone Beach in Cambria. Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

13 Journals - RED !

The RED! journal was the first one I received in the mail in the 13 Journals Group round-robin.
I took my inspiration from vintage fashion and then pulled out every piece of red I could find in my stash.

I was especially happy with the copper metallic pen on the embossed background paper that picked up the copper foil along the page edges.

Friday, March 26, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This is a delightful romp with eye candy galore. Over-sized and outrageously colourful. A myriad of ideas and jumping off points for not only interior decorating, but wearable art, mixed media art and the art of living. Carolyn Quartermaine Revealed was published in 1997, but holds up well. I found a used copy in 2005 for around $15.00. Used prices on Amazon are up to $72.00 now! But try your library or local used book shops - always a chance of a bargain.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Host of Golden Daffodils

The quintessential flower of spring - the golden daffodil.
Above - $.99 pure pleasure from Trader Joe's.

And here, a print that I made,
in a credit card machine lino printing class with Marsha Shaw.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Well, the nuts and bolts of the matter are - nuts and bolts.
Some rusty and some not. Some old, some new.

When you really need to "hold that assemblage together"!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Cleaning?!

You can imagine that 2 artistic types would always find more exciting things to do than clean the house - and we do. But it does reach that point when something must be done! So, we have bitten the bullet and every Monday (mutual day off) for two months we are tackling an area of the house and doing the massive Spring cleaning thing. So far, upstairs we've done the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and hall. Next week is the great room, a big chuck of which I use as part of my studio. We're still not crazy about cleaning - but we are very happy with the results. Next month - the downstairs! If we could just get Hazel to come over and help!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Amazing Mosaics of Isaiah Zagar

If you're ever in Philadelphia don't miss the Magic Garden of Mosaics on South Street. This creation of artist Isaiah Zagar began in 1994 and through community support became a non-profit organization in 2002.

Not only mosaics, but lots of found objects decorate the walls, gates and pathways.

Open every day - an artful and truly inspiring experience. Read Lynne Perrella's story of her wonderful time spent in the Magic Garden.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Life on the Coast

Welcome to spring! And a beautiful Great Blue Heron gliding with great elegance and grace along the harbour shore.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

13 Journals - Autumn

Autumn, my favourite time of year, so it was an added pleasure working on this one of the 13 Journals when it came. I had been collecting leaves for a few months prior to be ready, and loved the pewter twig I found.

The vintage carte de vista photo seemed to have just the right touch of poignancy that we so often feel when the leaves begin to fall.

Friday, March 19, 2010

From the Bookshelf

An oldie, but goodie. I never tire of delving into this timeless volume. 12 months of a year in the English countryside are chronicled; handwritten text and lovely watercolours and sketches of nature in all her abundant glory. Edith Holden penned this delightful diary over 100 years ago and yet it remains as fresh and lovely as a budding daffodil or the spring song of the thrush on the green.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ancient Artifact

My friend Joen is the master enabler! She has found me more wonderful old rusty stuff than the rest of my friends put together. But I think she may have topped herself this time.

It's a tin can, still sealed, top and bottom both intact. What ever was inside has vanished, reduced to a few grains that you can hear if you shake it. It is marvelously rusty and mangled.
I have no idea what I will do with it, but in the meantime it's amazing just to look at it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Mah Jong cards. Wonderful graphics. Interesting size

The perfect page element for any Asian themed project.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Findings Found!

We dropped by Michael's the other evening to take advantage of their 40% off sale on artist canvases. I use these to mount my red rosin paintings, so wanted to stock up as I will soon be starting to work on pieces for this fall's Open Studios Tour.

While there I found these great pieces in their jewelry section. The flat ones will be perfect to attach to journal pages, the charms will attach through the eyelets along the edges, and the vintage-y look will go quite well with the new journal I've just started. I love it when you stumble across something unexpected like this that's so perfect!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Swap Meet Score!

Up early- extra early due to the time change - and off to the swap meet. Not a big haul, but as Spencer Tracy says regarding Katherine Hepburn in Pat and Mike "what there is is cherce!"
A vintage toffee tin, HO caboose, cherubic wall sconce and a wooden angel face. All now waiting to become part of various Altered by the Sea assemblages.
After the swap meet, had a lovely belated birthday brunch, with daughter Jenny and her guy Noah, at the delicious Bon Temps Creole Cafe in San Luis Obispo - chicory coffee, warm biscuits, and grits with hot sauce - Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Life on the Coast

View from Hwy 46 between Cambria and Paso Robles, early evening - love that green! And yes that is the ocean in the distant upper left.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

13 Journals - Pink/Yellow/Aquamarine

When I found out the colours for this one of the 13 Journals, my mind went directly to Mexico - I mean, pink and yellow? Gotta be! I had a huge stash of ephemera that would work for this project, including loteria cards, papel picado banners and vintage photos.

As I remember it's the one that I finished in record time. Usually the journals would sit on my art table for 3 weeks and than I'd finally get them done in the last few days, but this one almost made itself!

Friday, March 12, 2010

From the Bookshelf

Haven't we all been waiting with bated breath for Michael Demeng's new book? Well, it's here! Copies are now available, mine has just arrived from Amazon. More wonder and madness from the King of Assemblage (accent on the final syllable and a long a please!). Lots of great pictures and projects all with a south of the border flavour. Waiting for the weekend to have time to sit down and take my time enjoying every last page.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Journal -Finally!

We all know about this - getting very anxious to start in a new journal as we get close to finishing the old one. I've been in the current one since mid-July. It's a bit bigger than usual and I'm looking forward to working smaller again for awhile.

I made thick pages by gathering several together and using eyelets to hold them in place. I gessoed the pages lightly so some of the text shows through.

This new one is a vintage Dickens with marvelous marbled endpapers and page edges.

The eyelets have the added advantage of providing perfect places to attach ribbons, charms and other embellishments.

Just a few days and I'll make the first entry! Of course, by the end of the new one I'll be just as anxious to change sizes and styles again. Ah, variety is the spice of journaling!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Milk bottle tops - I can just barely remember these cardboard disks being used in my childhood, before they were replaced with ones covered with coloured foil that crimped down over the tops of the bottles.

Gathered at antique street fairs and shops, they add a bright spot to a journal page or altered book, and interesting designs can be formed using a dozen or more at once.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

La Cage aux Oiseaux

Two bird cages: an ornate green one I've had for a couple of years - a great score at a hole in the wall antique/junk shop in Castroville , and the small wire and wood French Market one that was a birthday gift last month. This weekend they both had new tenants move in. A vintage ceramic bird that belonged to my aunt, arising from a broken ostrich egg now calls the one above home.

#94 is now host to a sassy crow (a Dollar Store Halloween find). The marvelous "nesting" material is wood shavings available in "a variety of designer colours" at World Market. Both are now happily residing in the great room.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Absolutely Alice

Absolutely Alice

With the opening of the new Alice in Wonderland movie this past weekend I thought it would be fun to share this altered book that I created a couple of years ago. I picked the book - a library discard on Eastern European textiles - for this project based on its big size. It was interesting to "work large".

I compiled many different editions of Alice in Wonderland and then used pages, illustrations, spines and covers from them throughout the book - as backgrounds, focal points, and embellishments.

I love the huge playing cards - a dollar store find - and the enameled blue and green teapot pin picked up at the Morro Bay Art in the Park one year.

My timing, for once, was superb, as the new movie was announced about 6 months after I finished the piece. All it's missing is a photo of Johnny Depp!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Life on a Different Coast

photo courtesy Frances West

3,000 miles away from the Central Coast, and 60-70 degrees colder. This is the view from the deck of our friend Franny's cabin on Upper Kimball Pond in New Hampshire. Beautiful - but brr........... too cold for this California girl!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

13 Journals - White

This was the white journal from the 13 Journals Group. The substrata was a vintage stamp album. So everyone got to pick a country to do their spreads on. I was very happy when the book came in the mail to me and no one had chosen the England pages yet. With white and England to fuel my creativity I decided on an Edwardian shopping spree. Vintage sewing notions, advertisements, postcards, a long kidskin glove and a bow rescued from a bridesmaid dress all added to the fashion fun.

I was especially pleased with the glove. I attached the top to the back page with long brads and then flipped the finger section over the front of the page. It could be lifted to see the contents of the front page.