Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter Wonderland

On our recent trip to New Hampshire there was something quite wonderful about bundling up, taking a brisk walk in the snow and then coming back to the cozy fireside and working in my journal.

Before we left, I prepped several of the pages with a beautiful blue glaze from Golden and others with a cream craft acrylic. With my stencil knowledge from Mary Ann Moss, I did a few of the pages and the back cover, using paper and lace doilies (which look very snow-like) and a Michelle Ward stencil from Mary Beth Shaw's Stencil Girl.

I spent some time last fall seeking out snow stuff - paper, ribbon, brads, rusty (!) snowflakes, and vintage postcards from long ago New Hampshire winters. It all got packed up in a cigar box (what else?!) and taken along. I went with a general colour scheme of blue, cream and rust, so dug through the stash finding bits and bobs that would work. All this went into the box as well.

I loved the way this vintage doily looked like a giant snowflake that landed on the journal page.

As usual by the time it was finished it was so full it almost made a circle when I stood it upright. But that's the way I love my journals and altered books - stuffed, crammed - completely replete with memories of the journey.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Life on the Coast

A snowy, frozen lake in mid New Hamsphire

Here's the water we were by last Sunday -

Off the coast of Hwy 1, southern Big Sur

And here's the water we're by this Sunday.
Photographic proof that we live in a varied and beautiful land.
(The snow was a wonderful experience, but as Dorothy says
"There's no place like home!")

Friday, January 27, 2012

From the Bookshelf

This is lots of fun - don't we all love to peek into other artists' studios? Well here's your chance. Lots of eye candy, studio dimensions, lighting tips, how to organize just about anything. Every size is covered - from closets to huge attics. Put out by the people that bring you the quarterly Cloth Paper Scissors Studio magazine. If you have followed CPS Studios since its inception you will recognize many of the studios in the book as they are taken from the magazine articles. I still found it valuable as it does present several of my faourites all in one place. If you're not familiar with the magazine this is a great introduction.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods

Not to grandmother's house, but to the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Built in 1902 and completely restored a few years ago - it's a vivid and impressive reminder of the glory and grandeur of times past.

It was a lovely drive past silent birch woods,
and frozen ice sculptures along the roadside.

I even spotted this wonderfully weathered silo.

We fly out today at noon, back to California. We'll pack away the big coats and snow boots, but the memories will be as fresh as the new fallen snow. Next week I'll have pix of the finished journal.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Baby it's Cold Outside!

Yes, that's the deck that hangs out over the lake -
the lake that is now frozen solid !

And in case you've ever wondered -
apparently I can walk on water.

View of Lower Kimball Pond from Franny's cabin -
Toto - I don't think we're in California anymore!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Suitcase Saturday

For our first Suitcase Saturday I picked one of the smallest ones I have. It's a reproduction (I got it at Ross!) of a vintage ladies' accessory travel box. But I use it to hold my collection of cabinet cards - those wonderful 4x6" photos from the late 1800's, early 1900's.

They are wonderful in journals, collage, and assemblage.

I've found mine at swap meets, flea markets, antique fairs and malls, and always available on Etsy or eBay.

Buttons & Bows - 11x14"

When I did my Shabby Chic Collection in 2010 I used them quite a bit.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hello Boston!

photo courtesy karissamarie

We landed at Logan Airport last night. We've come to spend time in a wonderful cabin on a lake in New Hampshire and see some snow. First a day in Boston, see some sights and take a drive through Cambridge.

Next post from Lower Kimbell Pond, New Hampshire.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!

We'll be flying out early tomorrow morning for New England - and a chance for this native Southern Californian to have lots of snow. When I was a kid, we'd go "visit" the snow at Mt. Baldy for an afternoon. In my thirties I lived in eastern San Luis Obispo County (where it does get cold in the winter) and we'd have very light snow every other year or so - 2" or so and it would melt in a day or so. And three years ago when I went to a Lynne Perrella/Anne Bagby workshop in Taos there was snow - but I've never since BIG snow like they have back east. We'll be staying with our dear friend Franny at her cabin onLower Kimball Pond in New Hampshire.

So of course this is a chance for a wonderful new travel journal - theme? Snow of course!

I've been gathering supplies. paper, ephemera and pix.

Prepping some pages, finding the
perfect embellishment for the cover

and getting very excited about getting started.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life on the Coast

Early morning walk on Moonstone boardwalk in Cambria,
the sea glimpsed through the pines.

Friday, January 13, 2012

From the Bookshelf

This is just plain fun! The author draws on a huge collection of ephemera - hers and her friends - to create Frankie's scrapbook. We follow this plucky flapper from her high school graduation to Vassar, Greenwich Village, Paris and finally back home again to New Hampshire. With limited text (cleverly done in old typewriter font) the story carries us along, keeping up the intrigue until the last few pages. If you're a scrapbook fan, a lover of ephemera, a devotee of the 1920's or just enjoy a rousing tale of young womanhood - settle down with The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, you'll have a blast.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From Page to Screen

Hugo what can I say?! After reading and loving the book, being spellbound by its story and the unique way that the action is carried through the story by the illustrations, I was excited and cautious when I heard there was to be a movie.

For those who love a book, there is always a worry that a film will not only not measure up, but often overlay faces and personalities on our favourite characters, different from the way we have seen them in our mind's eye.

But no worries here! It's beautifully done, the few liberties taken by Scorsese take nothing away from the story. Brilliant performances by Ben Kingsley, Helen McCory, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Asa Butterfield as Hugo, the young boy who lives in the clock workings of a 1930's Paris train station, restores an old man's faded dreams and finds a family.

If you haven't read the book - do so. If you haven't seen the movie, do that also. An over worked word - magical - but in both these cases, very true.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book of the Year

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 Daily Book of Art is this year's choice - 365 essays on all aspects of art - techniques, famous artists, famous paintings, the philosophy of art and more. What better way to start the weekend?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Suitcase Saturday

As a new year begins we bid farewell to Cemetery Saturday (for awhile). And to keep in the alliterative vein, Altered by the Sea now offers Suitcase Saturday! These are just a few shots around the house of some of the luggage we'll be investigating in the coming weeks.

We'll delve into my vintage suitcases
and see what's stashed away.

Art supplies, ephemera, bits and bobs and scraps and sops.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Basin Street Blues

Basin Street Blues 20x25"

Cambria's Allied Arts first exhibition for the new year is titled January Blues. My entry is Basin Street Blues. I started with an old desk drawer that I picked up off the roadside in Pescadero several years ago. Like so much of our stash - just waiting for the right time.

I covered it in gesso, tinted with Naples Yellow. I found vintage images of New Orleans jazz bands and sheet music online, gave them a digital blue wash and printed out on parchment paper. I collaged these and bits of vintage sheet music to the inside of the drawer then sealed with gel medium. I then used Claudine Hellmuth's peeling paint technique - spreading Vaseline here and there, then over painting with blue and rubbing off the Vaseline to show the light paint and collage underneath.

The final step, drilling holes and wiring on an old trumpet (with a Staz-On blue mouthpiece) and pieces of clarinet. Both of these were found at the local swap meet - and were quite cheap as they were beat up and non-playable (but perfect for art!) The exhibit opens tomorrow night and runs through January.Link

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Word of the Year

Instead of resolutions - for the last several years I've picked a word of the year. Last year's was "Breathe" and I actually did pretty well this time. I practiced using my breathing to bring calm and peace. I didn't always do as well as I would have liked, but I know I'm now much more aware of taking that slow breath and then reacting to a situation.

This year I've chosen the word "Listen" - to listen when others speak, to listen when I speak, to listen to my body speak to me. As I did last year I have strung letter press circles from Wendy Addison's Theatre of Dreams across one of the windows of my studio. As I see them everyday, I will be reminded to "Listen".

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Warm wishes for a year that will be smooth and comforting!

After three years of blogging every day here at Altered by the Sea, I've decided to scale back a bit and try every other day for awhile. Some of the regular features will be retiring - Cigar Box Wednesday and Cemetery Saturday, but others will remain - Life on the Coast and From the Bookshelf. A new series - Suitcase Saturday - will premier this coming weekend. Big thanks to all my readers for the last three years- here's to many more!