Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Close-Up: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

We made a stop in Keyport, Washington to visit the Naval Undersea Museum and it was a great stop. Since both Howard and I are certified scuba divers, we're fascinated with life under the sea, especially men and women under the sea, which this museum focused on.

She's Mine!

Our first gunkholing stop as we travelled north through Washington was Gig Harbor, a picturesque seaport on Puget Sound. Not a lot of shops to browse, but we climbed the stairs to the Gig Harbor Gift Mall and made a startling find: two red-headed mannequin sister heads. Well, Howard discovered them before I did and was just waiting around to watch me turn the corner and see them. I think I yelped. And then I had to have one. I haven't named her yet, but I'm open to suggestions . . .

Close-up: Spending Time With Melissa

We spent the first two nights of our road trip with Melissa and two of our grandkiddos, Luke and Ella. Lots of silly times, then a nice Italian dinner on Saturday night.

We hit the road on Sunday morning, leaving Oliver the dog with Melissa and Bella, her Great Dane (oh, and with the grandkids and YoYo the kitty).

Close-up: St. Vincent de Paul in Tacoma

One of our early stops was a new place to junk: St.Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Tacoma. Melissa's friend, Dana, knew of this place from when she was an art student at PLU and needed to find items for her assemblage sculptures. The store was pretty cool (stay tuned), but the best part was the outdoor section referred to simply as "The Yard." It was a rainy day, so we didn't spend too much time out there, but you can bet I'll be returning the next time I visit Melissa!

I found plenty of cheap treasures inside the store, too . . .

But the very best score had to be the tiarra I found, which once belonged to Miss Washington Teen 2000! Now why would someone ever get rid of their tiarra?

On the Road

Gig Harbor
Port Orchard
Bainbridge Island
Port Ludlow
Port Hadlock
Port Angeles
Final Destination:

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Board Book Has Returned to Me

The Altered Board Book Round Robin I have been hosting came to a conclusion last night when six (well, seven) of us gathered to return books to the original owners. For the past 12 weeks we have been trading books all around the city of Salem, altering two pages, then passing on the book to the next woman on the list. Last night was our REVEAL. A special surprise guest was adorable Olivia, daughter of Destree. Olivia had done her own altered book and wanted to share it with us.

Olivia poses for a pre-reveal photo.

Olivia garners courage from her Mom to show us her book.

Destree sees her book for the first time.

Dawn enjoys having her book back.

Laura is obviously tickled about something in her book.

Patty is pleased.

Gerri, an original participant, had to drop out early on. What she didn't know was that we continued to pass around her book, each of us doing two pages. We invited her to join us last night so we could surprise her with her completed book!

And then there was me - I LOVE my book!

We all LOVED our books!

And here is my completed book in its full glory!

Now when's the next round begin?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Finally. In the midst of being sick, I finally finished a batch of trades for Artfest. Artfest doesn't actually start until next week, but we're leaving in the morning for a road trip, meandering our way to Port Townsend and with a final destination of Fort Worden, the site of the art retreat. I wanted to be part of the trading frenzy, so I needed to get my trades together. I decided to make some more of the metal gauge magnets that I had made for Art and Soul last year because those that received them thought they were pretty cool. So I made another batch.

I'm also taking some fat book pages I had done for the Art and Soul swap last year and some sea-themed Inchies I made.

Finally, I've been wanting to play around with old Bingo cards for quite some time and I used the upcoming trades as an opportunity to put something together. So, using Bingo cards, old photographs, words, and a few embellishments, I have made a batch of my "Bingo Beauties."

Anybody wanna trade?

The Artist's Way: Recovering a Sense of Faith

Last night was week 12 of the Artist's Way Creative Cluster. It had been scheduled for Tuesday night, but I've been a sick little puppy for the past week and my ladies graciously agreed to shifting our gathering to Wednesday night. It was an evening of celebration and farewell. Where to begin? The beginning! I baked cookies in the morning in preparation for our celebration. For bakers and cookers, this is no big deal. But since Howard and I have been empty-nesters for a number of years, I don't cook much anymore and I very rarely bake. So this was a momentous occasion. I made two batches of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies (I even tossed some craisins into one of the batches), and made them all with three kinds of nuts. It was nice having the kitchen smell so sweet . . .

Then in the late afternoon, I got things shifted around and a table set up (remember, we meet in my husband's law office, for Pete's sake - it's in an old house and is very nice and all, but it is still an office!), since on our final evening we share a meal together.

Sinatra, the Alley Art cat, made a final appearance.

For our warm-up, I pulled out drums and tambourines and we had fun making a joyful noise.

After our usual check-ins and sharing, it was time to eat. For our meal, we made Stone Soup, a tradition started by my Artist's Way mentor, Gretchin Lair of Scarlet Star Studios. According to the story, two travellers enter a town with nothing but a large (and empty cooking pot). They fill the pot with water and toss in a stone. Villagers join in by adding various ingredients and that's what we did last night, added various ingredients. I made a basic stock in advance, and each of the ladies brought two vegetables to drop in. The pot was brimming by the time everyone had arrived: bok choy, squash, tomatoes, red pepper, brussels sprouts, pea pods, chard, and carrots (that's what I can remember). I had picked up a loaf of Great Harvest Dakota bread, and with real butter and sparkling water, we settled in to enjoy our meal.

Then the fun began, the unveiling of Omega Projects. Again, this was something I did when I was in Gretchin's Artist's Way several years ago and I liked it so much, that I have incorporated into my Creative Clusters. Each woman was told at the beginning of our 12 weeks to be thinking of some kind of creative response to what they learned during the sessions that they would share on the final night. Their responses were amazing!

Gerri, one of our ladies who has been sick and had family issues, has missed a lot of our weekly sessions. She was able to join us last night and for her Omega project she read from a cute little book, Feng Shaun. Although I didn't take a photo of Gerri reading from her book, I did take a photo of the chocolate raspberry cake that Gerri brought from Gerry Frank's Konditorei (a cake place to die for).

Next to share, was Bobbie. Bobbie was my faithful woman who drove from Portland every week! She made a footstool commemorating her 12 weeks in the Artist's Way. It was made using copious amounts of my favorite glue, E-6000. Her project was filled with photographs and doodades, all memories relating to her Artist's Way experience (including animals representing each of the participants - I'm the naked yellow plucked hen with the red hair sitting on the stairs!).

Dawn S. had created a series of six bags, each with a letter spelling out the word "Artist." Each of us received a bag and it had two things inside that Dawn had made: a series of cards (more on that in a minute) and a beaded book mark. Yowsa! Beautiful. The set of cards were made from pages she had created in her Visual Journal during the recent class she took with me at Stampin' Cat Studio! Such a wonderful surprise and the cards were lovely . . .

Dawn K's project sprang from the creation of Lucy, her art doll of last week. Dawn took Lucy on a field trip (an Artist's Date, actually), then did an altered children's board book to record the adventure.

Susan also incorporated her newly made doll (Flo) with the doll she made last year in the Artist's Way, Fifi. Flo and Fifi were in fine form, which included riding bareback on a brightly painted frog.

Finally, Jill shared her Omega project and it was a slide show of a trip she made last year to Thailand. It was complete with beautiful photography and music by Jack Johnson. I told Jill I considered taking a photo of the laptop, but it would have broken the spell of our journey, so I chose not to. The photos she shared were beautiful and touching.

Our evening came to a close with everyone taking a Lingam rock from the centerpiece. For the past 12 weeks we have passed a large Lingam as our speaking stone and so last night everyone got to choose one as their own. A Lingam is described by Tibet Arts and Crafts in New York as a "sacred stone from the holy Narmada River, in India. . . . They are said to contain the loftiest vibration, and great healing power. Lingams symbolize creation, and perfect balance of male and female energy. The body of the Lingam represents the male energy knowledge and the markings represent the female energy wisdom." *