First Stop: Rome

Rem and I went on an awesome honeymoon to Italy and I’m finally feeling caught up after struggling with jet lag and the mundane business of normal life when we returned. I’ve been wanting to share some of our photos.

I took a journal and some art supplies with me. I wasn’t planning on doing much crafting during the trip, but I wanted the option. It wasn’t until we were on the flight home that I actually put them to any use. Here’s my little mini crafting kit.

The first photo and this one, below, show my opening layout, done on the plane. I collected quite a bit of ephemera on the trip, and I’m using the bits of collected tickets, maps, postcards, candy wrappers, etc., that I saved to illustrate the journal.

Our first stop was Rome.

We arrived in the evening and crashed at our Airbnb.

The next morning Rem figured out the Moka pot, for his morning coffee, and we headed out early.

Everything looked amazing. The streets were sparkling clean, the window displays were colorful and amusing, the good looking people passing by were beautifully dressed (though many were smoking) and the buildings were grandiose or simple but all seemed to have lovely architectural details. It felt a little bit like we were in a Disney set version of Rome.

Even though the day was overcast, we were happy to be on vacation in a new place, exploring both the simple neighborhood flower shop, and the famous sites, like our selfie atop the Spanish Steps.

(I always forget where to look when I take a selfie).  You can see St. Peter’s Basilica behind us.

We walked for miles that day. We had Pizza Bianca: thin, chewy baked dough with oil and salt but no sauce or cheese, at Forno di Campo di Fiori, then walked through a small Farmer’s Market on our way to the Vatican.

It was a Wednesday, and the Pope had spoken to the masses, but was done and gone before we arrived.  Crews were dismantling the platforms where he’d been seated, and loading up the rows and rows of chairs.

We had our first pizza a taglio, sheet pizza, sold in squares by weight.  It was SO good! This pizza is usually sold at stands or small shops for take away or to be eaten at the counter.  Pizza at a pizzeria is usually individual round pizza and it is most often eaten for dinner, with a knife and fork.

We took care of the business of purchasing Italian SIM cards for our mobile phones, rode the metro, people watched and, later, went out for dinner at ‘Gusto Osteria, choosing several small plates with bread so we were sure to have room for gelato.

Tagliere di Salumi, 5 varieta (5 kinds of salami and other cured meats)

Fiori di Zucca, fritti (fried zucchini flowers)

Carciofi alla Giuda (Deep fried Jewish Style Artichokes)

The most amazing and delicious dish was the artichoke, which was warm, crunchy, salty and kind of nutty.

More walking so we could see the Trevi Fountain at night. We weren’t the only ones with this idea.

Gelato and then up the four flights to our apartment. Our first day had been a long one.

Our visit to Rome was brief, but we still had a few hours before departing. Breakfast, a visit to an art supply store so I could pick up an Italian glue stick, packing and more gelato. We’d seen an article listing top ten gelato’s in Rome and #1 in the story was actually the gelateria a few doors down from our apartment! We obviously couldn’t leave without a taste.

A quirky doll-repair shop and another beautiful produce stand.

Art store treats: washi tape, fat graphite pencils and a glue stick, all of which are perfect souvenirs for me.

A taste of honey-basil gelato (good, but didn’t want a whole scoop), then off to catch our train to Naples.

Grazie mille for your visit. Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

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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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