Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life's Workbook

In between all the life happening around me, I have been busy in my "workbook," recently once for 8 hours straight. Joy. If you read the words, I will warn you that some of these are written in the language of "Jane," so don't waste your time trying to decode what they really mean or the subject matter. K, loves? Really. Pages that seem to go with one another really do not, perhaps there is an unintentional transition there.
Most people call them journals, and I do too, when I revert to old habits. Somehow, I just like the idea of workbook better, and since it is my book, it is what is is, no?
I have always loved workbooks, way back as far as I can remember even as a little kid. I would pause at the section of the grocery store that sold workbooks and coloring books. I never remember wishing I could get the coloring books, but what I would have done to get one of those workbooks and taken it home, filled it out so neat and as perfect as possible. In the book I am working in now, I am experimenting with loose leaf pages again, since I want to be able to take the pages out and sew on them when I feel so moved and then put them back in. This also allows me to work ahead on as many pages as I wish, then find the perfect page for the perfect day and move it up in my workbook, so it stays as close in chronological order as possible. Anyway, here are a few of my pages. Some of these I started back when I was doing Journal Club with the girls at middle school this past school year. I have added bits since then, like the little bows on the pointy shoes. My goal is to add more texture to my pages using 3D objects other than paper and paint.

When we started Journal Club, we used old datebooks. I wanted the students to see how they could repurpose books for journalling without having to buy or make a book. Later we actually made our own fabric covered hard bound books. The first two spreads were to show the girls some examples on how to use the space.

I think this might be one of my all time favorite spreads.

It is kind of hard to see from the photo, but the spinner is actually clear and attached with glue dots. It is from an old game, and "jumps" off the page in real life.

This one has secret messages under each layer of stacked paper.

This is the page with real ribbon bows I tied and glued on the shoes, a picture from a magazine. The lesson 2 flap can be raised up. There is a secret message underneath as well. Kitty is one of the code words from "Jane."

Monday, June 27, 2011

Second Chances - Why Not?

Summer is in full swing, and I have been busy, busy, busy. Doing some space reorganization in my house/studio, getting ready for teaching and vending at Art Unraveled, planning some new classes, planning some submissions to magazines since I haven't done that in forever. I want to be a better, more frequent blogger and show what I have been working on, but, well, that just hasn't happened more than to be on my "to do " list. But, here is my new inspiration wall.
And here is the newest gallery in my house. It showcases the work of the fabulous Keegan and Kennedy.

4 year old Keegan is now designing outfits complete with shoes and purses, using stencils, for fashion models. Scary how well she understands it. She found my book on her own in the studio and somehow just knew what to do. I tried to give her the simplified version of the stencils, but she quickly pointed out what the problem was, so I just showed her the real way, and she was more satisfied on how her work was tuning out. I get the chills thinking about it. Which brings me to second chance number one.

I am still young enough to think seriously about what I want to do for the rest of my life besides sit in a rocking chair. "Back in the day," it took 20 credits to graduate from my high school, and I had 21.5 since I took an extra class in summer school for fun. I had 10 credits in home economics, mostly sewing classes, including clothing design and power sewing which required a daily bus ride to another school in the district for specialized instruction. I LOVED that class like no other. I took it more than once, and did advanced stuff when I repeated it. We took pattern blocks, and made our own designs, all kinds of clothes, including a swim suit and undergarments. Fun stuff. I decided I wanted to be a home ec teacher since no one had told me anything about getting a degree in fashion design or other related design occupations. Then the day came when I told my idea to someone who told me it was a bad idea because I would never get a job. True it was almost impossible to even get a sub job back then, but I told myself, I could at least get a regular teaching job. I focused on teacher and not home ec. SAD! I have told so many kids since then to never listen to someone tell them they can't. Anyway, 30 years later, I know about other programs, and I just might go back and get a certificate or degree in clothing design. Even though I made my own wedding gown and several bridesmaid gowns and such way back when, I am no longer interested in all that grownup stuff as much as I used to be. But I am interested in grand things like children's fashion. Afterall, I have two little muses who think I can make anything with my sewing machine and crochet hook, so why not take the second chance I have and do it, just for the fun of learning? I don't have to go to NYC and set the world on fire. Something I am mulling over seriously. I am getting my info. in order. In the meantime, I have ordered two dress forms in my granddaughters' sizes so I can make them things when they aren't here with me in the studio. I made them each an easy little sundress while they were here one day last week, and it was just so much fun, but in case you have ever tried to continually try things partly finished on a 2 or 4 year old and expect them to stand still while you look and study the situation, well, the dress forms just seemed like the answer. Can't wait for them to arrive. I'm thinking this section of the studio will definitely be seeing some more action.

And for second chance number two, I have good news on a personal matter, even though the majority of this blog is about making stuff. Some of you know that I was diagnosed with cancer back in 2004. Five years out is considered a cure, but the afteraffects can be many. For one, the little pill I had to take every day for five years after chemo caused osteoporosis, and that necessitated a trip back to the chemo room every 6 months for an IV that would hopefully turn things around. I had a scan before the pills and it showed me better off than should be expected for my age at the time, but then after the 5 years, a whole 'nother story. Well, after about 4 or 5 of those sessions, the last being just last month, I was sent for a followup bone scan to see what progress could be seen, and the scan came back N.O.R.M.A.L. Happy tears, for sure, since this means I don't have to go in for that anymore, and I am completely off all post cancer treatments and drugs. All I have to do with my wonderful oncologist is check in in a year for a checkup. I used to wonder why anyone would want his job, but now I get it. He is for sure a master of second chances.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Settling in

I celebrated my first official day of public school retirement yesterday by doing whatever moved me all day, no listening to the little voice in my head telling me that it was crazy too drive across to the other side of the big city to get exactly the brand of locally made hot dogs I was craving. Neither did I listen to the one telling me that I didn't need to detour on the way home from one of the happiest places on earth, wherever my grandchildren are, and go get shaved ice late at night. Nope, I just did it. I also knocked off a lot of "bad guys" in Angry Birds and played in the studio, just "cause I felt like it. I schemed, planned, knocked off a couple of appts. and had a smile pretty much all day.

Today, I am back in the studio doing more planning of a variety of sorts, getting inspired, and messing around in a variety of ways, too. As I was cruising various art retreats online, one site led to another, as it always does, right? and I have to admit, I have Rolodex fever again.

A while back, I was hosting monthly Rolodex card swaps as part of a Yahoo group. Here 'tis, the result of 14 little themed swaps, all in one big project. It was inspired by cards I saw somewhere else online, where, I remember not.

Patty Van Dorin has a different twist on Rolodex art. She calls hers a Scrapodex and you can see more about it on her blog, which includes, many posts:
Well after she showed hers, a journalfest artist, Brian Kasstle, saw it, started making some, and has a post as well. You may see his here:
He even has a way that you can get involved in swapping them. I'm in.