Blue Haired Mermaid

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When I started this piece, I didn’t have any image in mind. I started by collaging around the sides, leaving space in the middle for a face. Most of the collage elements were eventually covered but they’re still part of the process and add texture.

Next, I started on her face. Coming back to work on it fresh one evening I had this clear thought “I’m going to give her blue hair!” You could say it came out of the blue.

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After I finished her blue hair, I decided she just might be a mermaid. So I put bubbles into her hair and added a seahorse and a fish.

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I noticed that some of the textured paper I used in the collage looked kind of like a sand dollar, so I used paint to enhance it.

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I decided to extend the collage and paint onto the edges of the canvas board. I was so pleased with how it turned out that I went back to an earlier piece and did the same thing.

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The little snippet of music includes the lyric “…found me…”. Love that.

No mantra has occurred to me yet. I love her wild blue hair and her strong, steady gaze. She speaks to the Pisces in me.

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For now she is in my office, on a shelf over my computer, so I see her all the time. She looks at everyone who comes into the office.

As always, I appreciate your visit.

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Love One Another

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This angel painting was created for my sister, Kathleen. She asked if maybe I had a painting sitting around she could put up in the office at her new job. Since I give the pieces away, I didn’t have one on a back shelf, but I offered to make one for her.

Her next question: could I do an angel painting of her dog, Stella? Hmm. I suggested I could try including Stella, but wanted to incorporate a guide as well.

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I used this picture of Stella after a rainy hike for inspiration.

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The simplest, most basic mantra “Love One Another,” is a good reminder to everyone these days.

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As usual, it is a mixed media piece with collage, paint, rubber stamping and oil pastels.

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I love all the layers and texture.

I’m also really pleased how the angel wings create the look of a wing on Stella.

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I think I would be comforted if a guide or angel made herself known to me and she was carrying a puppy.

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Coming soon: a blue haired angel. Or maybe she’s a mermaid…

Thanks for the visit!

Here’s a bonus Stella picture, from her puppyhood.

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You Are Awesome!

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My 2017 Valentine’s were inspired by this patchwork wall in Kelly Rae Robert’s new home studio.

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Of course I was working on a much smaller scale. Instead of cutting, scoring and folding card stock for my mini cards, I bought place cards from the Paper Source.  To fit in small glassine envelopes, I cut 1/4 inch off each card to reduce it from 3.5 x 2.5 inches, to 3.25 to 2.5 inches.

I love how intricate they look. I create them by the page, then cut them into smaller sizes to layer onto the card fronts.  Cover a sheet of plain copy paper with adhesive (I like Tombow adhesive) and start building up your patchwork.

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Cover the whole page, going off the edges.

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Trim the edges evenly, then cut into the size needed for the cards. In this case, I cut then into 3 inch by 2.25 inches and used some vertically, and some horizontally.

These pictures show the page, above, as I trimmed it to smaller sizes, embellished the pieces and glued them onto little cards.

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I enjoy uses as much of the page as possible, piecing together almost every scrap.

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Look in front of these finished cards to see the tiny bit left over from one 8.5 x 11 sheet of copy paper, covered with patchwork and cut into pieces.

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I used gold trimmed Christmas cards and glittery calendar pages for some of the punched heart embellishments. It makes me happy to reuse paper ephemera and give it new life.

The greeting inside is created with a rubber stamp from Oh, Hello Friend:

You are Awesome, Loved, Wonderful, Beautiful & Adored!

A good thing for everyone to hear every once in awhile.

I was watching a Kelly Rae Roberts video while I stamped Valentine’s.

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After I sign the inside and put my initials on the back, each one goes into a little glassine envelope. It looks a lot like wax paper – kind of glossy and transparent at the same time. I stamp the front and use washi tape on the back. I like how the colorful cards looks in the translucent envelopes.

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20170212_170851Here they are spread out:

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…and stacked up.

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Wishing you all lots of love.

Speaking of love, this is the sign I made and carried when I participated with my sisters and nieces, in the rain, at the San Francisco Woman’s March last month:

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Thanks for stopping by.

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Happy Anniversary!

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So, I’ve really been meaning to share my happy news but things keep getting in the way.  Like going to the DMV to get a new drivers license. Twice. I finally got online to write a post and learned today is my SIXTH anniversary of blogging.  So it seemed like a good day to post.

I know 2016 was not a good year for a lot of people and for a lot of reasons. But in spite of many terrible things, it was the year that Rem and I got married.

Back in July, 17 years and 5 months from the day we met, we tied the knot. We had a very simple, low-key ceremony at the Marin County Civic Center with one dear friend as witness, and it was perfect. The building is designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  We took some pictures before and after our vows both to commemorate the event and also to honor the beautiful space.

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We also blew bubbles and had some delicious marble cake. The cake toppers are toys we found while geocaching: a plastic lumberjack and a wooden matryoshka doll.

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We continued our celebration playing tourists in San Francisco.  A little dim sum, a visit to the Dahlia Garden in Golden Gate Park, gorgeous mosaic stairs, soft tacos, amazing ice cream, and murals in the Mission and the Golden Gate Bridge on the way back home.

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We shared our news on Thanksgiving and had a little celebration/reception between Christmas and New Year’s. The lighting was not great for photos, but I’d still like to share a few.

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We decorated the tables and mantle with eucalyptus leaves, apples, acorn squash, grapes, mandarin oranges, kumquats, pomegranates, pink pepperberries and twinkle lights.

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My sister found a length of rope in her car for the front of the firescreen and tied a knot in the center. Perfect! I also used blue jars with battery votive candles inside, and heart strings throughout the room.

Thank you for being a part of my life and for reading my posts these past six years, six months, or for however long you’ve been reading them.

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Nativity Sweater

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We had a holiday potluck at work, paired with an “Ugly Sweater” contest.  I got the idea to create a felt Nativity and hot glue the characters to a sweater. I found the sweater at a thrift shop and spent several very happy hours crafting away the little figures.

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Of course I needed an angel and a star.

Two wise men decorate the back. Aside from $6 spent on the sweater, I spent $1 on felt (on sale, 5 squares for $1.) I had some felt but needed more color variety. The hot glue, tacky glue, washi tape, sequins, beads, buttons, and other embellishments are from supplies in my craft stash.

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Shepherds and sheep were also included.

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I must say, I love the sheep! The shepherd boy is on one sleeve.

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A donkey is on the other.

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And here’s Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

I think Joe looks a little befuddled by the whole thing.

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I also included a Wise Woman.

She would have asked for directions and arrived on time. She would have gotten the stable cleaned up, and brought some practical gifts (in the shopping bag). Perhaps some diapers and blankets.  Maybe a casserole or some nourishing hot soup.

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Those two wiseguys? They’re still on the back, trying to follow the star.

(Results not yet in on the sweater contest).

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Thank you for the visit.

Peace on Earth.

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Coastal Therapy

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Rem and I went to Sea Ranch the day after the election. It was just lucky timing, but I’m so glad we had time away from our computers and phones due to severely limited cell coverage and v e r y slow internet. We also didn’t turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper.

Instead of focusing on bad news, I took walks and Rem went on bike rides.

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Crashing surf churned up extra foam which made it look as if someone had used the wrong kind of soap in a dishwasher.

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We sat in front of the fire and watched the flames instead of watching the news.

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I took a good, long walk on most days.

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One afternoon we baked focaccia.

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I spent lots of time crafting too, but I’ll show that in another post.

We also took a long drive one day, going north and then turning inland to follow a road we hadn’t been on before. We ended up in Boonville and visited the Anderson Valley Brewing Company.

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Do what you can to keep your perspective.  Treat yourself and those around you with love and kindness.  Long walks, especially on a beach, were great for me.

Thanks for the visit.

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Angel of Courage

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These angels just have a way of popping into my consciousness and then into reality.  When I learned a friend, who is also a former colleague and choir member, was facing serious health challenges, I decided to paint her an angel.

We had a heat spell and a few nights after I had the idea, it was too hot to sleep and I decided to start painting. I thought of my friend, K, and sat down at my craft table. I started with a collage and paint background and  outlined a generic face, then looked at some photos of K on my laptop.  But, in spite of seeing and confirming her red hair, I had a very clear vision of a Nordic blonde.

“No, red hair.” I thought to myself. I attempted a sketch of K’s hairstyle. Nope. That didn’t work. I tried sketching a whimsical style, piled up loops and curls. The image of swinging, pale blonde hair was too strong to ignore. I started to sketch and what you see here is the finished version. Clearly not a redhead.

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This shows the piece before I finished the background and added the mantra.

Once I opened myself up to the picture that seemed to be making itself known to me, or, I should say making herself known to me, this whole painting went together very quickly.  I collaged and painted for a few hours that first evening, then over the next few days I grabbed time before work when I could and also after dinner until she was done. I was very focused and in the flow.

That’s not to say every decision and every brushstroke was the right one from the start. I had a mantra in mind when I started, from a song I’d heard in our choir rehearsal. I looked up the lyric I could remember: “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen has that in a song, but the song I’d been learning was a different one.

It didn’t really  matter because a different song was playing in my head and is the one that ended up on the piece.

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I’d painted a kind of stormy background in the upper part of the painting, thinking about the crack and the light getting in. But it worked with this mantra as well.  The song continues: “Though the night is dark, and I am far from home. Thanks be to God, the morning light appears. The storm is passing over. The storm is passing over. The storm is passing over. Alleluia.”  I added some “morning light” to the upper right corner.

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My angel needed a halo. I started with a light blue circle behind her head. Nice but it wasn’t really doing it for me. Then I watched my weekly Kelly Rae Unscripted video and she created a beautiful collaged flower halo. I laid out some flowers and it was perfect.

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Gold paint inside the flower halo and a few sequins, gold dots and little hearts and she was done.

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I got a text from my friend a few days after I finished painting the angel. She very sweetly suggested if I needed a model for one of my angel paintings, she would be happy to be one.  I told her I had already completed a painting for her, but explained it didn’t look like her.  She was delighted and I made arrangements to go visit K in the hospital.

Before the visit, the painting is passed around at a choir rehearsal so everyone can infuse it with love and good wishes. My singing partner (we sing together for Threshold Choir clients every week), go to visit K and sing with her and to give her this blonde angel.  Our choir has a weekly singing report and this is what I wrote about our visit:

Family photos, colorful scarves, cards and (faux) flowers fill the shelves and drape over bed and chair. Books are stacked on the wide windowsill. The TV is showing beautiful, peaceful nature scenes, the large window embraces a view that includes Mt. Tam, two bridges and San Francisco, and essential oils scent the air. It is NOT your typical hospital room.

K is doing well, though her hair has started to fall out, her mood and spirits are positive and full of gratitude. We visit and sing and I give her the angel painting that was passed around and sung to at rehearsal. It is a  joyful, loving time, with brief visits from hospital staff, that K calls by name, and the gorgeous view outside punctuated with Blue Angels flying by, leaving hazy contrails in the sky.

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Thank you for your visit. Please feel free to share your comments.

 

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