June 30, 2011

Full Tilt - but in what direction?

One wonders about where ones head is sometimes.  Know what I mean?  Yesterday, while thinking I knew exactly what I was doing, I glued all my beautiful water colour signatures together BEFORE I punched the holes in them for binding.  Definitely the wrong order of things.  It means I had an entire book of pages to punch holes in, instead of one signature ... more or less a wrestling match!

I posted an emergency post to our fearless Craft Monkey leader Mary Ann, expecting some magical mystical answer to my dilema.  The answer?  Just Do IT!  You can do it the same way ... JUST DO IT!  (She did add she thought a cocktail before hand might assist me in the process.)

Today I mustered up all my courage and attempted the binding process.  It was awkward .. however, it was doable .. and YES, I did it.  The journal is complete.

Finishing touches:  I added jewels and milagros to the binding and the closure.

The journals I have been making so far, have been an exposed binding.  This week we are learning how to do a journal with a covered binding.  Lucky I brought my albums with me .. I think this one will be perfect.

A Victorian Era celluloid, binding in good shape, complete with clasp.
Mary Ann did mention we were going to learn how to make a strictly writing journal which really interests me.  These have been visual (art) journals we have been whipping up.

So this coming week, I may skip the hidden binding and go straight for the writing journal.  We will see.  

I had such a great mail week.  Received the books from Lenna's little book swap.  Had a lovely package from Valerie in Germany.  I will post all that tomorrow.  In the mean time ... "Have a drink and do it anyway".  That's my new motto!  Thanks Mary Ann ... Chief Chimp.

I did want to mention one more thing.  Many of us are interested in book making and have just participated in Lenna's Little Book Swap.  I was referred to a very interesting blog today called "365: Make a Book a Day" blogged by a woman named Donna Meyer.  Have a peek HERE.  I think you will find it most interesting.  More about that tomorrow, when I show you my bootie from the book swap.

Thanks for stopping by to see what's going on at Quinta de Luz!  Love it when you knock on my door.

"Far better to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs - even though checkered by failure - than take rank with those poor spirits, who neither enjoy much, nor suffer much … because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
— Theodore Roosevelt
Yeah!  I'll have another cocktail to this quote, Mary Ann!

June 28, 2011

Full Tilt Boogie .. going full tilt

I did more work on the old and sadly damaged album today.  I decided to put gross grain ribbon, front and back, on the spine side of the covers to prevent further deterioration and perhaps loss of leather.  I have the back cover finished now, and I do think it was a good idea.  Much sturdier.  I have one side glued on the front cover and will finish tomorrow when the glue is dry enough.

Tore the watercolour paper today and completed five signatures.  That is all I'm going to have in my first attempt with watercolour paper.  It is enough.  Now, I simply have to wait for the waxed linen thread to arrive.  I don't want to use anything else I've decided!

I think it is going to look nice when finished, if, of course, I get the holes in the right place, the thread in the right place, the tapes in the right place .... hmmmm.

Thanks for dropping by.  As always, a pleasure to share with you a little bit of my life and lovely to have you here.  

"A beautiful thing is never perfect.” ~ Proverb

A Good Mail Day ...

Today was an 'out and about' day ... so not much got done in the studio.  Was able to purchase the watercolour paper for my latest journal.  Cold press was unavailable in Fabriano.  It was available in another brand which cost about $35.00 per sheet.  I opted for the hot press.  I know it won't be as nice to write on ... however, it will be OK.  Also found another type of heavy paper in large sheets.  It's a better quality than card stock, and I think will take paint very well.  I'll do a little experimenting.  It comes in white and a lovely creamy off white.  The cost?  About $0.40 per sheet.  Time will tell, however, if it works, it will be wonderful for journals.

On the way home, I stopped in for my mail.  A great mail day.  A small order from Joann's included my trial sizes of fusing material so I can experiment with vintage papers.  No binding materials arrived.

A little while ago, Carolyn had told me she was popping her 'liberate your art' postcards in the mail for me.  I've been looking forward to seeing them.  They have taken a long time to get here, but today ... they arrived.  You are probably getting to know Carolyn.  She is incapable of sending 'just a postcard', or 'just a paper cutter'.  I'm learning that fact, although it has taken me awhile to 'get it'.  Today a lovely big envelope of 'stash building stuff' arrived.  Oh how I love those packages.  Lots of great collage material which included some crowns.  Carolyn knows I adore them.  A great rubber pear stamp and a beautiful hand made card.  Thanks Carolyn ... you have contrubuted so much to my 'stash building' efforts since I came to Mexico and it is greatly appreciated.

Now let me share a little bit of Mexico with you which just transpired while I was writing this post.  Picture this.  It's nearly 2:00 am.  I'm propped up in bed, very comfortable I might add, my computer on the breakfast tray.  I'm enjoying myself.  Drinking a cup of tea.  Habibi is curled up at my feet.  All is well in my world.  Suddenly there is a 'thud' on the bed beside me.  From the ceiling has fallen a HUGE and I mean HUGE cock roach.  Nice ... the ones with the great big long antenas .. they are probably an inch and a half long ... in other words a good size!  I jump and begin to beat it with my fist.  This only renders it unconscious as I fling it on to the floor, jump out of bed, grab my shoe and finish him off.  This is a little bit of Mexico I am not quite so in love with, as you might imagine.  These cock roaches are not the kind that get into your cupboards and wreak havoc.  They just walk into your home like they own the place and scare you in the middle of the night.  Ah well ... everything back to normal now ... one dead cock roach hurled into the jardin.  Success. 

Thanks for stopping by.  Have fun today. I believe life is supposed to be fun.  No one is keeping score.  There is no score. We will never get it all finished.  We will never be 'done'.  We are always in 'progress'.  If life was ever completed what would it be like?  We'd be sitting there wondering what hit us. So enjoy today.  Enjoy the moment.  Have some joy in your heart.  I plan to today.  Maya Angelou reminded me today that "All great achievements take time."  So true.  I tend to become very impatient with myself. For what?  Why?  Life is a process, and yes, there is and will be progress, however, we will never be finished when we get to the 'finish' line.  So today?  Play.  Please play. 

June 26, 2011

Full Tilt Boogie ... but first ...

Habibi has something to say.  He insists.

There!  I'm sure there is no translation needed for that, so we will move along.
Worked on my journals today.  Finished the inside of both practice journals and thought about moving on to 'the real thing'.

Done!  Binding not too bad.
This afternoon I got one of the old leather cabinet photograph albums out.  I cut it apart.  (YIKES)  As I began to work with it I realized how much damage there was.  At one point, I realized there was a piece of wood missing on the inside of the front cover which held the leather in place.  OOOOoops.  Cut a piece of chipboard and glued it in.  Not the same.  The album lost some of its beautiful shape.  Besides, the top right hand corner was completely missing.  HHhhmmmm.  What to do. 

I had a piece of brown velvet from the erosion bundle project.  I cut a piece off and glued it on to the top.  After I did that it begged for decoration so I spent the afternoon wrapping and looping pearls, small garnets, swarowski crystals and milagros.  I personally like the result, but then you know how I am about jewels.  

Not great photo's, the light wasn't right.  However, you get the drift.  I am filling this journal with 140 lb. white watercolour paper.  I think it will be quite beautiful if I can get the binding right.  Do I wait for the correct linen thread to come from the states ... or ... do I dive in with what I have?  I'm not sure I will be able to wait once I get the signatures together.  Oh yes, which reminds me ... I need some tapes for the outside.  I want really heavy tapestry ... however, I may have to use the brown velvet I have.  

Hope you are all well and happy.  Thanks for dropping by.  Wouldn't it be lovely if we could have a little chat when you come to visit?  Perhaps, one day technology will make it possible.  Chat instead of comment.  Ha!

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

 Theodore Roosevelt 
hmmm ... I guess it's the brown velvet.  Have no idea where I would get heavy tapestry anyway!

June 25, 2011

* Congratulations Katie ...

Dear Katie.  Here's what to look for .... coming to you .... in the M A I L!  It will be a Good Mail Day.  I do hope you like the loot.  Have Fun.  I hope it doesn't take three years to arrive at your door.  I'm going to try a new method of mailing out of country.  It's called Mex Express.  Supposed to be more reasonably priced than Fed Ex.  I cannot send parcels through my private mail service.  Fed Ex is enough to break the bank ... so we will see what kind of service Mex Express gives us.  Hope for the best, Katie, and let me know when it arrives.  Thanks.

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.  I am playing Full Tilt Boogie, with Mary Ann Moss and a bunch of crazy craft monkeys.  Check out the photographs on Mary Ann's side bar at Dispatch From LA to see what we are up to.  Incredible.  I am making my 'practice journals' out of old "Donna Parker" mystery novels.  HA!  A great course.  Working on book binding.  Now that's something I didn't think I could ever get into, but you know, it's so beautiful looking when you are finished ... it could become addictive.  (well, only if there is a journal attached) ...

Smile.  Have you ever noticed how easily puppies make human friends?  Yet all they do is wag their tails and fall over.  ~Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course, 1997

June 24, 2011

* Guess who won ....

 What happened? 

Yes, it is YOU .... It is YOU especially if your name is .............................................
KATIE!  Yes, Katie ... you won.  Congratulations.  AND .. I've already got your address .. how convenient.  I'll get the box in the mail this week.  Be prepared for a lot of colour to fall out in your lap ... I know how you love those soft vintage colours.  Take a deep breath .... he he.

You will find Katie's blog The Red Tin  an eclectic mix of art,  doll making, quilting, needle work, and because of her love of mail art ... interviews with mail men.  A lovely, and most interesting young woman.

I want to thank everyone who left a comment to enter.  Your comments always touch my heart.  You come here with such loveliness and leave it on my pages.   I must say there was one comment which completely caught me off guard and was a wonderful surprise .. thank you Lynnie.  Very special.

The flood?  Chayo and his crew were here at 8:00 am this morning.  The jardin was cleaned and washed down.  The bodega was emptied and cleaned out.  The garbage was taken away and by 10:00 am I couldn't tell there had been a flood.  Thank goodness for Chayo!  Fortunately, the only important thing in the bodega was a box of books.  They are pretty much toast, however, I do have them everywhere drying in hopes they can still be used for art.  They are all books from France!  Luckily nothing else of importance was lost.  All the paint is fine, the pressure pump was not damaged. Even my suitcases will dry out (I think).  Whew!  I had taken all my art supplies to the studio ... so how lucky am I!  All's well that ends well.

If you're going through hell, keep going.  ~Winston Churchill
ahhh, Winston ... wise words.

June 23, 2011

FLOOD .. The Rains have Arrived ...

The monsoon rains arrived today.  All of last year, I never saw rain this heavy.  Suddenly it was coming into the house, it was coming into the back terrace, the jardin  filled with water alarmingly quickly.  It flooded the bodega (where the cistern and pressure pump are).  I was really scared.  I'm not used to dealing with this amount of water.

As the water rose in the jardin and things began to float, I called Chayo, a gentlemen who does building and general work for me.  It was 7:30 at night.  He was here in ten minutes.  He managed to get the drains unplugged enough to drain the jardin and stop the flooding on the terrace.  The bodega will have to wait until the morning.  Managed to turn the breaker off for the large pressure pump so there won't be an electrical disaster.  I still have water I can use from the tinaca on the roof .. no pressure, just gravity feed which is fine.

So, my dears ... this means I did not get all your names in the goblet and I did not draw a winner.  It will have to wait until tomorrow.

Today there will be a clean up crew here for the jardin, as well as people pumping out the bodega and assessing the damage.

Just want to thank you all for your wonderful, loving and inspiring comments.  I am so blessed with you who have become friends of this blog.  You are so very lovely.

So ... until tomorrow .. hold your breath.

Here's something to ponder over the weekend.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

June 22, 2011

500th Post Giveaway ... TODAY

A box full of Mexico.
This is it.  The BIG day.  500 posts ago, this blog came into being.  I had no idea the journey it would take me on.  Certainly no idea it would bring me here with all of you.  Putting myself 'out there' into the 'big wide world' of the internet was a little scarry.  I felt a little exposed.  Half expected myself to quit because I didn't like it.  I had read somewhere at the time the average person who begins a blog quits in less than 90 days.  That category felt comfortable.

It didn't happen.  Here I am, 500 posts later.  This blog has changed incredibly.  It has grown into a wonderfully comfortable space where I am able to share my art, creativity and a little of myself with other like minded people.  Talent beyond anything I could have imagined exists out here in blog land.  Like minded people attract other like minded people.  Bonds are formed, friendships carved out of thin air.  Life time connections are made.  People in the land of blog are incredibly giving.  They share their knowledge, pass on their techniques, give their time, and above all share their joy and passion for what they do.  Incredible when you think about it.  I'm proud to be part of that.  It warrants a celebration.

I especially want to thank you.  Thank you all for being here.  Thank you for popping in for a visit.  Thank you to all those who leave their magical words of encouragement on these pages.  Thank you to those who have become my friends.  Thank you to so many who give me daily inspiration to grow my creativity, to expand my art and try new things.  

So .. today ... please make sure you are signed in as a friend of this blog.  Please leave a comment.  Tomorrow I will draw one name from the goblet.  I have put together a very amusing, very Mexican box of goodies which hopefully will inspire you.  It's full of colour, and sunshine and life.  It's full of "Mexico".  So ... help me celebrate.  Good luck.

There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” — Edward de Bono

“The highest prize we can receive for creative work is the joy of being creative. Creative effort spent for any other reason than the joy of being in that light filled space, love, god, whatever we want to call it, is lacking in integrity. . .
– Marianne Williamson

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” –Osho

June 21, 2011

Full Tilt Boogie - Practice Journal Complete ...

Too much FUN.  Completed my practice journal today.  Binding went not too badly.  Here are the photographs.  Haven't opened it yet as the glue is still setting.

My first 'kettle stitch' binding.  Not perfect, not bad either.  I am pleased.  

I am waiting for heavier binding thread to come, so I may make another practice journal ... hmmm ... another Donna Parker Mystery?

The NEXT POST you see on this blog will be my 500th POST.  Please become a friend of my blog and leave a comment to enter for the cool Mexican giveaway.  Lots of great things to play with.

It is good to feel lost... because it proves you have a navigational sense of where "Home" is.  You know that a place that feels like being found exists.  And maybe your current location isn't that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.  ~Erika Harris

June 20, 2011

TWO more Posts Until the BIG GIVEAWAY!

Check it out HERE!  You will have fun with the contents of this box ... so do take time to come and celebrate my 500th post, which is only TWO posts away.  Rules are: you must be a friend of this blog and leave me a comment on the day of the 500th post.  It will be FUN!

I think I mentioned I signed up for Full Tilt Boogie. Have a boo at Mary Ann Moss's blog Dispatch from LA where you can read about her on line classes. It's all about making journals from vintage and antique photograph albums ... you know the ones.  The huge beautiful ones with the cabinet photographs in them.  OR ... you can find smaller ones to play with .. OR .. an old book .. OR an old ledger.  I just happened to have two old albums with me which I had planned to make Altered Books out of.  This seemed interesting .. at least for one of them. The possibilities are endless and Mary Ann holds such tremendously FUN classes.  We were greeted at the opening of class with cocktail recipes!  YUP ... a great idea too!

At the moment I'm waiting for supplies.  Specifically, waxed linen thread and blunt binding needles from Volcano Arts.  I have an awl somewhere.  I know that for sure because I used it to bind my Remains of the Day Journal.  The trouble is, somewhere between downstairs and upstairs, it has been misplaced.  So, I'm on the hunt for the awl.  If you see it lying around, let me know!

In the meantime, I worked on  a 'practice book' today.  I have not done much book binding in my day, and have never done 'the kettle stitch' ... so have decided to make a small practice journal before I attempt the larger one.  I chose the papers, cut them to size and made 5 signatures today.  I cut the covers off an old Donna Parker Mystery book I have.  That's a kick isn't it?

This will be a great size journal to carry in my traveling art bag.  The size is about 10" X 7" and it won't be too thick.  I have four Donna Parker books ... I could make a series of Journals .. he he.

Hope you have a great day.  Thanks for dropping by.  ALWAYS a pleasure.

Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.
Jimmy Buffett

June 19, 2011

* Completed Journal

Finished my journal today.  It's been so much fun to create.  Not happy with the binding.  It's only the second time I have used 'The Cinch', and I don't really have the hang of it yet.   Has anyone out there got a Cinch?  Any tips for success? 

The pages make me smile .. each one so different.  I didn't have a theme in mind when I began and did each page intuitively as it appeared before me in my mind.  Can you tell?

“The little dissatisfaction which every artist feels at the completion of a work forms the germ of a new work” Berthold Auerbach

June 18, 2011

* Happy Father's Day ...

Hope all of you who are celebrating have a wonderful day.  Enjoy.

It was cleaning day today ... especially in the studio where a thick layer of cement dust lay over absolutely everything.  I must say, I don't know what I would do without Marta!  Especially now with the arthritis acting up.  She even wiped down the walls, while I sat and tried to 'de dust' all the little stuff.  It is sooo much better, and there are no longer footprints on the floor when you walk (a good sign, I believe!).

It was mid afternoon before I settled to do anything creative.  Nothing came easy today, and I wandered from one thing to another, trying to find 'the zone'.  Nothing really peaked my interest, however, I did leave a couple of things completed on the table.

Experimenting with small organic looking note cards made from hand made paper.  I think I might like it better if the string was plain.

A post card.  I'm beginning to really have fun making these.

More journal pages.  Experimenting to see if I can write with white gel pen on these dark surfaces.

After this set, I only have a couple more sets to go before my thirty two page journal is ready to use.  Have to think about how I want to bind it.

Thank you all so much for dropping by.  Thank you for your interest in what I have to say and what I am creating.  You are all AMAZING!  Thank you for all the loveliness you leave as comments with your words and your thoughts.  It truly lifts me up, and makes this space somewhere I love to come to share my creativity and a little part of myself.  

Only FOUR more posts to GIVEAWAY DAY!  Come one, come all, join in the celebration of my 500th post. Gather yourselves and be witness.  Believe me, it's some sort of miracle ... he he.

“Each of us has an inner dream that we can unfold if we will just have the courage to admit what it is. And the faith to trust our own admission. The admitting is often very difficult.” Julia Cameron

June 17, 2011

* The Kindness of Strangers ...

... or are they?  Strangers I mean.  Other bloggers, other artists, other souls of like mind, other people with whom you share a strong common thread.  I have met so many incredible people through this blog,  from time to time I am astonished.

Recently, while creating my Remains of the Day Journal, I came across a post on the yahoo group's site talking about how to make vintage papers stable enough to work with.  I contacted this lady.  We chatted back and forth for awhile and I learned a tremendous amount.

The woman asked for my address and said she would send me some ledger papers.  I asked for hers, and she reluctantly gave it to me saying, "I just like sending people stuff.".  I replied with a "so do I."

Today a UPS box arrived at my mail service.  It was heavy!  I still can't get over what was in it ... all the things I need to make wonderful journals .. vintage papers, ledger papers, game pieces, a cigar box!, samples of gorgeous material for binding, card stock, fusible web, pauge medium to make vintage papers stable, die cuts and so many other delicious bits and pieces.   I sat and looked at every piece, taking them out of the files, out of the bags, out of the containers.  A treasure trove I could never find where I live now.  Sometimes, many times in fact, since I have started this blog and been in touch with like minded people, I am in awe of the kindness and giving nature of artists.  That's what we do.  It's awesome!  Thank you so very much, Nancy!  I'm still doing the happy dance.

You might say I had a spendifilous mail day!

My day did not include the studio.  Breakfast with Miss Sylvia was in order ... in Centro at the Bilbloteca.  It was  so great to see her as we hadn't touched base except by e-mail for waaaay tooo long.  We lingered over coffee until early afternoon, then wandered off to the market.  Can't walk for very long any more before my knees give out, so I was probably home by 2:00 pm.  Just got settled after pouring over the huge surprise box when Wendy popped in bearing fresh banana bread ... more tea ..  chatted for another couple of hours.  Finally went up to the Studio early evening when the phone rang .. well ... you get the drift.  So it was a people day, which was lovely, because I was down a quart.

Tomorrow is cleaning day.  I have help, however this week curtain rods were rehung in the studio.  All that drilling into cement has left a thick layer of cement dust over absolutely everything.  It will take some doing to get it back to some semblance of dustlessness!

Thanks for dropping by.  Only FIVE more posts to the giveaway of blog candy.  See large photo  HERE.  Please join in, follow along, and be sure to post the day of my 500th post to have a great chance of winning.  It's Saturday ... enjoy the weekend!

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Ettiene De Grellet

June 16, 2011

* PHOTO OF GIVEAWAY and more Journal Pages

SIX more posts until Giveaway Day!  Click to enlarge for detail.

I organized all the bits and pieces today and took a photo.  Remember, this is not 'our' North America ... so there is not much in the candy box you would readily get in craft shops NOB.  However ... I am in the land of tin (Nichos), and some lovely stamped pieces you can use in your work, and ribbon.  Oh My GOSH ... they do have beautiful ribbon here.  I've tried to include a small sampling.  Gerri, I chose some with sparkles just in case you win (want you to be happy ... lol).  Also in the land of colourful oil cloth and milagros .. both of which are included.  Lots of small paper flowers here, which remind me of the vintage millinery flowers we long for nob.  A 'couple' from Oaxaca, as well as a little purse from the same area.  An interesting tin piece, which sort of looks like a purse - has a handle and opens from the top.  I just found it very attractive and couldn't resist.  I'm sure your imaginations will lead you.  There are paper cuts and loteria cards, Mexican play money and post cards from the Revolution as well as Frida.  Other bits and pieces here and there .. a small bag of goodies (at least that will still be a surprise).  

So I do hope you will join the merry band who keep tabs on me through this blog.  There are not many posts left until my 500th!  Just simply join in the 'friends of this blog', leave a comment the day of my 500th post, and your name will be put in for a random draw.  IT'S A PARTY!  Wish you all could be here ... we could have one!

A few more pages for my journal.  Honestly, I don't know where my head is sometimes.  I had every intention to make chip board covers for this journal.  Then I find myself in the 'zone' working on the cover on a piece of paper.  Didn't notice until I was finished!  Ah well, I could still put a different cover on it if I decided to.  We will see.  In the meantime here are a few more.  I'm getting there ...

Recognize the contents of this cover, Valerie?  All the pieces came together today, thank you so much.  I love the Indian Buddha.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Did I tell you how much I love it when you drop in like that?   .... I do!

PS:  I enrolled in Full Tilt Boogie.  Couldn't help it.  ... more tomorrow

 The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.