Wednesday, March 28, 2012

More Alterations

I really have no idea where I was going with this page, I just added things without thinking about it too much. I have had the dog and woman pictures cut out and saved for a few years now. Originally I thought I would use them on Artist Trading Cards (mini artworks on cardstock 2.5" x 3.5" that are traded with other artists, see some examples here), but I never did. I guess because they wouldn't have fit together on one card, and clearly they were meant to be together, no? Eventually I may add some text in that blank area; I haven't come across anything that just screams to be added yet, so I can't say for sure. I could very easily forget all about it!

This is the other side of the page above. I colored in the rays of the sun with various coloring media - some of which I had completely forgotten I had (see last sentence of paragraph above). At the very least it was a good exercise in using what I have - and remembering what I have! I have moved on in the book and probably won't end up adding anything in that blank corner, either. But who knows?

Next time I hope to show you four pages that I did all in a theme. I just put the finishing touches on the fourth page today, but I am also working ahead on the next two pages. I have found another book I may end up altering, one that I've had for probably about 18 years or more, and haven't opened in almost that amount of time. Again, it's a reference and resource book that is way out of date (1988) and since I've written in the margins and highlighted in it, I would never donate it to a library. Sounds like a good candidate for an altered book, doesn't it? I think I may do the pages a little differently in the new book, because I am really not happy with the way the pages are when there are several glued together. They come out sort of rippled, and in some cases creased.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Paint the Sky

Here's another page in my altered book, completed a week or so ago. The phrase was taken almost word for word from an ad for paint; the photo of the man carrying his child up the stairs is from the same ad. Not very original, but I liked it too much as it was to change it much.

I do love the idea of cutting out words and selecting a few at random to make up odd phrases, and I hope to do that in my altered book soon. But for some reason the image of painting the sky spoke to me, I guess because it made me think of working for change, making an effort to improve things in this crazy world of ours.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Bit of Knitting

Although I haven't finished much in the way of knitting lately, I did make this cute little guy and sent him off to a friend who recently saw the movie "Despicable Me" and expressed a need for some minions of her own. She is delighted with him, so I am very happy.

I made this little sweater in February and sent off to my cousin and his wife who recently had a baby. I love the yarn, Plymouth Jelli Beenz. I think I've had it in my stash since about 2006. Destashing is good. Of course, I still have some left, so I guess I ought to make another baby sweater or something...

It's been a nice Saturday. We have officially started cleaning up by the pool to get ready for the warmer weather and outdoor entertaining. Then the four of us hung out together watching the new Hawaii 5-0 and reruns of The West Wing (and one of us was also knitting). I even had time to draw/doodle and write a journal entry in a composition book a dear friend decorated and gave me quite a few years ago. I'd forgotten about it, but with my renewed interest in making art journals and things like that, when I re-discovered it I was raring to get back to writing in it. Of course, I am still working in my altered book, which will ultimately have about 35 or 36 pages. I'm not sure how many I've done so far, probably about 20.

My own personal minion, aka Meital, helped me out by taking two bags of old clothes that have been stashed in my craft room for ages to the recycling bins in our neighborhood. We also discovered and discarded some dried out markers and pens. Yay! Gotta love those decluttering baby steps.

Friday, March 23, 2012

High Hopes

Here is a spread I did in my altered book a while ago. I've been so busy working in the book (and learning new things online) that I have fallen behind in posting updates. I really love the quotes I found for this layout. Click on the photo to enlarge it so you can read them. In fact, I love the idea of combining art and favorite sayings, quotes, song lyrics and so on.

I am determined to finish up this book before embarking on a new project/art journal. I guess I'm just anal that way. If I had the soul of an artist I would probably jump around from journal to altered book to whatever, working on whatever I felt inspired to do. But the truth is I try to be organized in what I do, even when it comes to artwork. I am also trying to employ the "use it or lose it" philosophy as I continue doing collaging and painting in this book. So far I have thrown away a number of dried up paint pots (of course I saved them because it's easy enough to add a little water and revive them, but I have so many bottles and jars that have just a little bit left in them, so I am pitching them out).

I also finally got up the nerve to go through my modest stash of National Geographic magazines, circa 1998. They are tons of fun to use in collages (working on one right now, in fact) and I figure it's better I cut them up and use the pictures and words instead of leaving them pristine and intact (well, dusty and intact) on a bookshelf.

Baby steps.

This craft room cleanup WILL be accomplished one day!

Oh, and you'll notice - no mention of knitting in progress. I really need to get back to some things I've been working on! And I actually do have a small knitted item to share with you. Next post, I promise!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Craft Room Blues

"Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else." ~ George Halas

I love many things about the craft room we created out of our covered parking space a number of years ago. Every morning there is wonderful light streaming in from the window on the left in this picture. I still love the cheerful yellow paint I chose for the walls. I love the ceramic tile floor, and even the plastic table and chairs (love it when my family comes in on a Saturday morning to sit with me and drink coffee while I putter). I even love the fact that because it's pretty small, I can usually just turn around and grab what I want without getting up.

But as you can see, it is full of junk! It often serves as the family dumping ground for things we don't know where else to put. And okay, I'll admit it, my packrat tendencies have also influenced the state of this room. I've been scouting out ideas on the Internet, and trying to weed through the junk bit by bit. But it occurred to me that the best thing I could do would be to simply take everything out, wash, patch and repaint the walls, and then decide very carefully what is allowed back in and where it should go. Part of my problem is, I have things I would love to donate somewhere, but have no clue where to take them!

Since I don't happen to have a storage locker handy to hold the entire contents of this room while I purge, I'll have to keep working piecemeal. But the first order of business really needs to be packing up what I don't want to keep and finding a place to take it. We're only talking here about useful things in good condition, like books and rubber stamps. I have no qualms about dumping out trash! Unless of course it clearly might come in handy one day.


Eventually, I hope to be able to show photos of the decluttering and revamping of my craft room. But first, sadly, I have to work. I have a ton of projects to translate. It's so hard to focus on that when my mind keeps jumping to cleaning/reorganizing!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Welcome back! Today I've got a few different things to show you. First up are two more pages of my altered book. I'm still really enjoying working in the book; it's amazing how freeing it is to just go with whatever feels right at the time instead of agonizing over every choice and idea.

I wanted to throw in a recent photo of Meital - I can't believe my baby is 14 and inching closer to 15 all the time. She has been doing brilliantly in school this year, and recently made her selections for the two subjects she wants to focus on in grades 10 - 12. Are you ready? Physics and chemistry! She is amazing.

This cute little bunny (from a free pattern on Ravelry called Bunny Nuggets) went to the lovely folks at Elephants Remember Joplin. Yes, I couldn't resist when the call went out for bunnies, even though I've already sent things to them. I will probably make even more things for them, but I don't have anything specific planned right now.

I did finally get that brown striped hat sent to Amos House in Rhode Island (see previous post) so Rhode Island has been added to the map on the right. Hard to see the difference, isn't it? Ha! Such a tiny state, gotta love it.

I am working on some socks and a shawl right now, knitting-wise. A few other projects are on hold temporarily, because both of those items are time-sensitive. I did take a very brief break to make something small and cute for a friend, but I can't show it to you yet...

Other stuff has been going on, like basketball games (our team qualified for the Euroleague quarterfinals, yay!) and a wee bit of genealogy, and I have fallen victim to the wiles of Pinterest. Warning! If you're not already on Pinterest and you click on that link, be prepared to be sucked in to the vast expanse of Internet time-wasting! It's addictive. And a lot of fun. And makes a good way to save links to interesting recipes, projects, etc without clogging up your Favorites. If you are on Pinterest, or do end up joining (it's free) then let me know and I will follow your pin boards!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fun is Good

This hat was made for someone at Amos House in Rhode Island. I'm ashamed to say I haven't mailed it yet. That is the reason I haven't added Rhode Island to my map on the right, yet. Once it's on its way I will add Rhode Island. I actually lived in R.I, for nearly four years, in college. It's a pretty nice state, and from what I understand in many ways things have improved since I was there.

These socks were a birthday gift for a wonderful young man who recently joined our favorite professional basketball team, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. They took me just over three weeks to knit, but then his feet are a bit small, size 11.

If you've followed my blog for a while, you might recall that several years ago I started altering a book (scroll down a bit to see the relevant part of the post). I have finally started working in the book again. I was amazed to see how much the yellow ink on these pages had faded, especially since the book was closed all this time, not exposed to sun or even indirect light. I didn't really remember my original plan for these pages so I just went ahead and did as I liked.

I learned a lot by watching a number of videos by Teesha Moore (of Zettiology fame). She provides a basic formula for creating the pages (paint the paper, make some sort of border, added images, outline and shade the images, add text) and I really love the way following those steps - in my own way - turned out. But more importantly, I learned to not over-think what I'm doing, at least as far as the art goes. Try something out and if I like it, glue it down. Don't analyze or worry about whether it's the "right" thing to put in that place. This has really freed me to play in this altered book, which really is the main idea of doing such a thing in the first place! So I'm having a lot of fun with it.

Only problem is, if I'm playing in the altered book, I'm not knitting!

Here are two pages that I did this past week, start to finish. Can you tell I'm having fun? I still have a couple of pages I started a few years ago and never finished, so I'm hoping to get those done soon, too.