March 31, 2011

* Wedding Card

A week or so ago, I was asked to make a card for a special wedding.  I accepted, (silly me yet again) because I thought I would have my card stock and other necessities out of the bodega.  Well ... of course that didn't happen.  Quinta de Luz is crawling with hombres doing all the last minute fixing without an end in site.  Yesterday, I got in a bit of a state and decided I'd better get creative.  The lady who ordered the card needs it tomorrow.

Challenges ... no card stock and no envelopes.  I did have paper available and my handy dandy new cuttlebug.  So I went to work.  Made the main card out of water colour paper.  The flower out of some glittery organza I had.  The envelope was a little more of a challenge .... no paper light weight enough to fold and glue into an envelope.  Finally it came to me.  Make the envelope out of the sheer material.  Here's what happened.

Inside is not what I would have done had I had my supplies on hand.  However ...  I had roses and ribbons so I used them.
The envelope had to be glued instead of sewn.  I was able to hide the rough edges with German scrap.  The back flap of the envelope is held down with a little pink silk rose.
 Considering the circumstances ... it could have been worse.  I think it's still romantic, and I'm hoping the lady who ordered it likes it.

The Creative Person
is both more primitive
and more cultivated,
more destructive,
a lot madder and a lot saner,
than the average person.
~ Frank Barron

I often find myself thinking along this line of thought - so am comforted to find this quote.

When I arrived in Mexico, I had nothing creative to work with.  I had let it all go.  Thought I would be OK.  NOT!  So ... over the last couple of months, e-bay and Joann's among others have been making a tidy bundle as I try to rebuild my stash!  Little did I know it would be so expensive.  HOWEVER ... can't live with out creating.  Create to Live and Live to Create.  Need 'stuff' to do that.

March 30, 2011

* Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow ...

Two months.  Such a gift.  Spending time with kindred spirits is pure blessing, pure grace, pure joy, pure love, pure fun.  The three of us are soooo blessed to have found each other here in Mexico last year.  We tease we are now 'stuck with each other' for the rest of our lives.  It is true.  Such a gift.

Kathleen and Ivan left this morning.  Just had an e-mail.  They are home safe and sound, having a walk through their loved and familiar neighbourhood, din din out at a Thai restaurant.  They will be back before we all realize it ... perhaps a little before Christmas ... just after Christmas for sure.

Two days before departure, Kathleen and I spent a lovely day here at Quinta de Luz being pampered with a manicure and pedicure.  Such a wonderful service to be able to stay in the comfort of your own home.

While luxuriating in warm water and massage, Kathleen discovered jewelery making in one of my magazines.  She was smitten by silver pieces made from 'old silver' and thinks she might explore more!  FUN.
Ivan, in the meantime, contemplated life in a beautiful pool overlooking San Miguel.  Doesn't get any better than this!

The next day was their last night in town.  We spent a memorable evening talking, laughing, and enjoying each other's company over a beautifully prepared meal at a lovely little Mexican restaurant.  I haven't enjoyed rabbit since living in Britain years ago.  Delicious.  K & I had shrimp.

The fountain near us bubbled and dripped it's soothing sounds, the restaurant was full of quiet chatter and laughter. The air was soft, no roof allowed the stars to peek though, and I know we all felt embraced by Mexico. The lady next to us enjoyed dinner with her dog Pipa.  I just love restaurants where you can take your animals.  In my opinion, north of the border has gone completely tooooo far in over regulating just about everything.  In Europe, especially Paris, you can enjoy your meal with your dog on your lap or in the chair sitting beside you where he would have a plate of her/her own tidbits.

Pipa enjoying dinner out with her mamma.  Just the way it should be.

Did I tell you we brought 'the kids'?  They loved it.  3/8's wore her best shawl.  44 wore his 'Take my Heart' pendant.  I think 3/8's is thinking 'wedding' ... not sure about 44.  He's more the living together kind of guy I think.

So, until later ... here's to friendship ... here's to exploring ourselves, here's to growth whether we want to or not, here to evolving ... here's to being together again soon ... Kathleen, here's to Meyer's Briggs ... and to all of us ... here's to YES!

Say good-bye er howdy-do--
  What's the odds betwixt the two?
    Comin'--goin'--every day--
      Best friends first to go away--
        Grasp of hands you'd ruther hold
          Than their weight in solid gold,
            Slips their grip while greetin' you,--
              Say good-bye er howdy-do?
      - James Whitcomb Riley

We'll see each other on skype, we'll hear each other's voices on the telephone, and soon ... it will be December and we will once again spend precious time together.

March 28, 2011

* Diggin' Through Solid Rock

In Canada there is a lot of big machinery on building sights.  I never heard one motor as this house was being built.  If we asked someone to come and dig us a hole for a tree north of the border, expectations would dictate a back hoe.  If they knew it was solid rock they would be breaking through, at least a lowly jack hammer would be in order.

This is Felix.  He is a lovely, gentle young man with a wife and four children.  He's a good worker, and works hard.  He speaks English, because as an orphan is was adopted into a 'gringo' home.  A few days ago, he and his wife came to clean my studio after the construction, and help me move some of my 'stash' upstairs.  They did a wonderful job.  I had also asked Felix to begin digging a hole in my jardin where I could place good soil to plant a tree.  Little did I know, about three inches below the surface was solid bedrock.  He chipped the first few inches out with a pick axe.  He then explained he would come back tomorrow with a 'tool' which would be able to deal with the rock.  Somehow in my brain I envisioned a 'tool' with a plug on the end. (silly me)  Felix showed up at 8:00 the next morning with something which looked very Medieval.  A very long, solid iron pole, taller than himself, with a wicked, pointed, sharp end on it.  There was no plug in sight.  I watched him pounding that pole into the rock time after time.  Such a repetitive primal movement.  The rhythmic pounding stirred something very primitive deep inside me.  It was comforting, it was basic, it was 'the old ways'.   It took him three hours of hard labour.  The hole is not finished.  It will probably take him another three hours to dig down deep enough for a tree to survive.  He is happy to have the work.  He is proud he was able to get through the rock.  It pleases him that I am happy with his work.  Life is so different here.

Finally, it may be said that by living in a foreign country, people are able to establish a greater understanding between nations. That is to say, by working and living among foreigners, some of the barriers between countries can be broken down, helping to create a more peaceful world. Needless to say, better diplomatic relations would be of benefit for all.  (excerpt from an article on leaving your homeland for a foreign country by  Cristina Nuta)

March 27, 2011

* The Great Catherine

It is a sad day.  Catherine the Great is dead.  She has slipped into the invisible etherial airwaves to be a spirit among the rest and the best.  Everything was attempted to revive her. A forensic expert from LA laboured over her.  Simply put, there was no life left in her.  The hot lemon and honey drink I had made to sooth my throat, killed her quickly and without pain.  It was a direct hit.  Manslaughter.  No premeditation involved.  I'm sure, out there, somewhere (sorry), Catherine in enjoying great (sorry) conversations about her experiences in San Miguel.  She has taken the photographic record of our first year in Mexico with her.  I am sad about that.  And so when I receive my new lap top sometime in April, I will begin again.  I will capture San Miguel in a new way, with a new eye.  An eye which is more settled and rooted into the place.  You will see SMA from a different angle.

Incidentally, (and excuse my black humour), that is the most expensive lemon and honey drink I have ever made and spilled in my entire life!

Catherine was my first Macbook Pro.  It was a love affair from the beginning.  When I found the card slot on the side to load my photos, I swooned.  When I learned I could drag photos from absolutely anywhere into iPhoto, it was bliss.  As I discovered each and every one of her new bells and whistles, I flew a little higher each time.  It was a love affair to remember (sorry again!)

The new computer will be different.  It will have a few new bells and whistles.  It has Aperature .. a mac photograph program which I have no clue about.  It will fun to learn.  I will have to get all my email addresses together in one place again ... so if you have not emailed me in awhile, you might be kind enough to do so AFTER  the middle of April when I have the new computer.

"It's all said and done, it's real, and it's been fun.  Adios Catherine the Great and Thank You."

Yes, I still am coughing and hacking.  Thanks all of you who have inquired.  I'm very annoyed I can't seem to shake this stuff ... it's been a horrid year in the bronchitis department.  However, onward and upward.  What else can one do?

March 23, 2011

* Vintage Card Swap

A very delicious mail day.  The envelope arrived from Leena with my cards from the Vintage Card Swap I participated in.  Here they are.

Love the detail on the back of the envelope.

Thanks for dropping by!  Hopefully more tomorrow.

March 21, 2011

* A Nicho Play Day

Kathleen came over to play today.  I'm still feeling lousy ... think this cold has turned to bronchitis.  Dr. tomorrow for me.  I just really wanted some company ... someone to 'just be' with.  I had already begun making a nicho, and Kathleen brought one of hers with her.

Kathleen used the little painting she found at the market.  The painting is transferred on to cloth, making it a very interesting piece to work with.  She decided to pad the background which gives it an interesting 3D look.  It's a fabulous piece to take home as a reminder of good times in Mexico.

Mine is a gift for Kathleen.  We all have an inner child.  A child who needs us to be there for them and who loves to play.  This very girlie nicho is for Kathleen's little girl, from my inner little girl.  It will remind us both not to take life to seriously.

Another I made for a friend in the States.  Kathleen is kind enough to take it back with her and mail it.  Thank you Kathleen!
Oh, by the way ... 44 came acourtin' in this new sombreo.  3/8's is smitten!
My childhood may be over, however the child within still wants to play.  Tend to her.

March 20, 2011

* Hand Carved Stamps

Hand carving is something I've always wanted to try.  Not long ago, one of the women I correspond with through my mail art club sent me a hand carved stamp she had done of my ranch brand.  It's beautiful.  Here it is.  I keep it in a special box ... because ... well, it's special to me.

 A couple of weeks later, carving material showed up in the mail.  What could I do ... I had to try it.  There it was right in front of me ... no more excuses.  About a week ago, I purchased a carving tool at the art store here.  I am still suffering from a cold today ... but you know how that is.  I'm sick, but not sick enough to pass out in bed, and not well enough to go out and play.  Compromise.  I climbed into my bed with the carving material and tools.  I had fun.  I do love the primitive look of hand carved stamps.  In a Valentine card swap once, Ann Bagby sent me one of her hand carved stamps!  It was lost in the move unfortunately.  I think Ann's work is incredible .. I'm a huge fan.  'nough said ... here are my first attempts.  A crown, of course.  A leaf and a heart.  I left some of the background material on the stamp instead of carving it away.  I like the very primitive look it gives.  Reminds me of beautiful wood cuts.

La Luna.  6:02 AM.   She hangs in the sky in all her glory, believing she is the only one.  Shortly, El Sol will show her she is not.

I strive to give to others a sense of sacredness, because an art event is not just a formal fact but also a moment where you put a mark on your dedication. You must have a feeling of joining a tribe where there is the stick of command, because you are in a sacred place with its rules.
Enzo Cucchi 

Think about this quote.  I believe it to be true.  

March 19, 2011

* A Brazilian Love Affair

Anamorado de Basil.  This was the title of Nina Wisniewski's art show.  We went to the opening last night.  Nina is my art teacher.  I have learned so much from her.  How to loosen up.  How to paint with my entire body, mind and spirit, not just my hand.  Technique I had never been taught before. 

In November Nina went to South America for two months.  Brasil.  For two months she painted.  For two months she fell in love with the country, little by little.  Twenty years ago, when Nina lived and played in Brasil for awhile, things were different.  They had changed dramatically.  She is still in love ... she still wants to go back.

Here's a few photos from the Opening Night.  Kathleen and I had a lovely evening.  Lovely people, a few nibblies, a little wine, good art ... what more do we need?  After the show, we trundled back to Kathleen and Ivan's for a lovely meal which Ivan had prepared for us.  Felt loved and cared for again.  Doesn't get much better than this.

This is Nina.  A power house of a woman, with many interesting atributes which I often think are a crazy mixture in one human being.  This is what makes life grand.

Kathleen getting us a drinkie poo
I've introduced you to Karen before.  A sculpture, painted and jewelry maker, Karn specalizes in the human form.   Absolutely breathtaking work.

I'm going to miss you so much, Kathleen.  Our new friend stands beside Kathleen.  She seeks Spanish, we speak English.  Somehow we got the gist of what we all said.

Probably my favorite in the show.
With this being a close second to my favorite.

Kathleen's favorite hangs first on the wall to the left.  It's called appropriately "Epanema".

"A musician must make music,  an artist must paint, a poet must write if she is to be at peace with herself.  What a woman must be, she must be." ~Abraham Maiso

For most of my life I fought with this thought.  I did what I had to do to 'get ahead', to 'make money'.  I actually did what I did for all the wrong reasons.  I include this quote in my post today because I understand this now .... totally and completely.

March 18, 2011

* What do you do when you can't sleep?

Another sleepless night.  Not all of it ... just the last half.  I don't fight it anymore ... this has been going on for well over a year.  Do you sleep all night?  That wonderful blissful sleep which seems like a minute, but it's been the entire night?  What do you do if you are not sleeping?  Toss and turn and hope the sandman will show up any moment?  Do you get up?  Do you read? What's your solution ?

I used to annoy me.  I fought it.  I tossed and turned.  I grumped about it the next day.  Now I go with the flow.  So much easier.  I can honestly say I even enjoy my middle of the night adventures.  Many nights, with my eyes wide open, I create my blog for the next day.  Since my laptop has been out of commission, it's not so easy.  I have to actually disembark from my resting place, walk to the desk and turn on Isabella.  Not as tempting to do, because sometimes it's chilly here in the night.  Not enough to deter me though.  Armed with my cozy robe, I venture out, make a cup of tea and do something ... anything ... until I'm tired enough to fall asleep.

Last night it was mail art.  Also played with my new Cuttlebug machine.  Did I tell you I got one?????  Mucho Felis.  Another blog, another story. 

Last night Ms Kelly from the Chicago area got a letter.  I created a hand carved stamp with some of the rubber block she sent me, and I wrote a letter, decorated an envelope, enclosed some goodies ... had night time fun.  Trouble is, it's morning now, and I haven't been back to bed.  Ah well ... there's always tomorrow night ... and more creative adventures. :o)

Established goals are alright as long as you don't allow them to deprive you of the interesting detours. 

Oh soooo true.

March 16, 2011

* The Spoils

I promised you some photographs of the 'spoils' from the Tuesday Market.  These items will be added to my art/assemblage stash.  At the moment I don't have a clue what they will be used for.  When I'm looking for items, I seek out objects I am attracted to.  If I like the shape, texture, colour or some other attribute of the object, I will bring it home.  When I'm working on a piece of collage, mixed media or assemblage, I could never tell you in advance what I require.  It all comes to me as I'm working.  It's a process.  Who else works like this?  It's all very intuitive.

So there you go.  All my trinkets and trash.  I love the bird.  So many possibilities ... with all of it.  Such fun ahead.  

The quote below has appeared in one of my posts prior to this.  I love it.  It really speaks to me and I am trying to be brave and go there ... into the wilderness of my intuition.  Seems to me if I go there often enough, it will become comfortable, so I go back for more.  I think it's working.  I can see a difference in my work.  Each time I go exploring there, I find different aspects of myself.  

‘Be brave enough to live life creatively.  The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you’ll discover will be yourself, and it will be wonderful.’  Alan Alda

March 15, 2011

* To Market, To Market to Buy a Fat Pig ....

Tuesday Market in San Miguel.  A fabulous place to explore, especially with friends.  I'm sure if we had arrived earlier we could have found a little fat pig to buy, however, by the time we arrived there were only lambs, song birds, rabbits, chicks and geese.  Ah well .. perhaps when I get the forty acres.  :o)

Our mission was to root around in the 'rusty old stuff' section.  Pat is doing a collage about her grandson, and I ... well, you know me .... I have to have my stash!  Kathleen is in the midst of exploring her creative side and has dozens of ideas for creating family heirloom nichos when she gets back north.  She found a gorgeous old picture transferred on to material which will be perfect.

For Pat and I, it was heads down, bums up ... literally, as most of the goods are laid out on the cement pavement.  Kathleen scouted ahead to find the 'good stuff' for us.  We hit about five stalls, plundered the best of what was available and collapsed at a table for lunch.  Gorditas and fresh juice.  We managed to spend most of the day, happily enjoying our surroundings, and poking through 'stuff'.  ... as you know, one of my favorite pass times.  I will take some photos tomorrow and post them.  In the meantime, here are a few scenes from Tuesday Market.

Lunch will be ready in a minuto.
A lovely photo of "Patty Boom" ... at least that's what her grand children call her.
Strawberries are in season.  YUM.
Fabulous choice of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as food cooked on the spot.
Pat and Kathleen have spotted something!  I'd better catch up.
Women crochet and embroider, chatting and awaiting the next customer.  Song birds sing, and a baby sleeps peacefully on the floor beside them.
Good things I don't have land ... I'd probably want animals here.
Fresh fruit already cut up in big glasses for a snack.  Lots of noise, lots of live music, and lots of 'marketing' goin' on.
The honey here in Mexico is incredibly good.  I'm hooked.
Pat and Kathleen ham it up.  There is a rope around Pat's neck.  To the left you can see some of the rusty old stuff we were exploring for art and assemblage projects.
Life is partly what we make it, and made partly by the friends we choose.

March 14, 2011

* My First Pair of Earrings

Feeling somewhat better today, although I must say it comes and goes.  One minute I think I'm cured, the next I am coughing, hacking and finding it hard to swallow.  I know, this tooooo shall pass.

Experimenting with earrings today.  I don't have the proper supplies, however, I had harvested some beads and findings from old jewelry I had.  The day of the dead charms are new.  Actually, I'm waiting for a Catrina charm ... then I want to make pairs with the man with the guitar on one earring and the Catrina on the other.  Fun.   (Interesting ... female Day of the Dead figures are called Catrina's ... what are the males called?)

So here's my first attempt.  Tricky getting that wire wrapped neatly.  Will have to practice.

Round the centre of the covered market, where there is a basin of water, are the flowers: red, white, pink roses in heaps, many-coloured little carnations, poppies, bits of larkspur, lemon and orange marigolds, buds of madonna lilies, pansies, a few forget-me-nots. They don't bring the tropical flowers. Only the lilies come wild from the hills, and the mauve red orchids."
- - - D. H. Lawrence " Mornings in Mexico "

* Painting Party ...

This "Big Mac" I am operating now, seems to me like an old eighteen wheeler, before power steering, power brakes and an automatic transmission.  My Catherine The Great is sorely missed!  She is toast for the most part.  In a week there will be an expert here from LA who will have a look at the hard drive and see what can be salvaged.  Send the Mac healing fairies .... I really would love to have my photographs back.   ..... speaking of Back ... I must think about BACK UP.  Obviously, I would not be in this pickle had I paid attention to backing up my work!

Names for my new Mac are up for grabs.  Any ideas anyone?  Stipulation is the name must be a Queens' name ... not just any Queen, one who 'did her country proud' ... a strong Queen.  My first computer's name was Elizabeth I, the one I am using here is Isabella of Spain, and my laptop was Catherine the Great of Russia.  Next one?

The love affair continues.  44 attended Saturday's festivities.  3/8's was over the moon.  He brought her flowers from the garden.

We had a painting party at Quinta de Luz on Saturday.   Another feast, a few nibbles, good wine, great company and some paint.  It was intuitive painting, so we meditated first, allowing our mind to get into 'the zone' ... then quietly, we painted.  Here are the results.

Kathleen wanted (in her head) to paint with green and black.  Her intuition however, lead here to these paint colours.  Light and airy, lots of movement, happy colours, transition.  If you hold it the way she painted it, which is with the curvy lines at the bottom, it gives her a great foundation with movement upwards.  Hold it the other way --- it's raining 'pennies from heaven'.  Lots of happiness, change and shifts.  Great stuff, not necessarily easy to navigate.
Ivan is doing some very heavy inner work and it shows in his painting.  The colours are sombre.  There is turmoil and graceful movement.  Things are shifting. He is working his way though the hills and valley's of life.  Many bird like shapes indicating messages.  Dark tunnel coming out into the light in the shape of a heart .... lots to get though.  A tough journey with a good outcome.

I look dozzie because I'm getting a cold.  I wanted to begin a background for a piece I had in mind.  This is only the first layer.  The 'ribbon of life' is what will connect it all as I put the pieces in.  Many more layers to come.  I'll keep you posted.
It's Monday already!  Yesterday, I decided to have a 'nightie' day and try to heal my cold.  Company arrived, Wendy and Sal.  Nice to see them.  Wendy brought me some fabulous CD's to load my computer with as I had no music .... and ..... I cannot live without my music.  

I'm out of bed today and feeling much better -- at least I have some energy.  May was just here for coffee.  On her way to centro, she thought I might want her to pick up something.  

Not much on the agenda today.  Writing some letters, doing some mail art, dishes from Saturdays' dinner party, laundry ... etc. etc.  

Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.  ~Michael Burke