Sunday, December 30, 2007

Don't pay the ransom, I've escaped!

Christmas was lovely, here at Trails End. All the mom's will relate when I say how happy I was to have all of my family around the table. Ahhh, life can be so good!

Due to these crazy holidays, and some wonderful babysitting days, I have not done a lick of art. My husband surprised me with many art supplies so I am eager to get painting pasting again.

In the meantime, just to put a bit of color on these pages and to share some camera fun I've had, I'm posting a little bit of "the ranch". I want you all to realize that I use the term "ranch" with my tongue firmly in my cheek. This place used to be a working ranch, but not on our watch! We enjoy the peace and quiet and the lovely wilderness this has all become.

These are shots of the court yard at twilight. Those of you who live in So. Cal. will likely agree when I say that the light right at sunset can be magical.

I took these through the windshield driving on the ranch road on a rainy day. As I recall, several other bloggers also love to take pictures from the car.

I've been enjoying all of your Holiday posts and look forward to a great year of making art and sharing here. I can hardly explain to people I've known for years what this blogging thing means to me. And how much I enjoy all of you. OK, it's time to sign off. I'm getting all soppy.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


It seems that once I started making cards I can't bring myself to give store bought.

This birthday card is for my new daughter-in-law had who is seriously into swans. I have a friend who makes quilts and it was my conversations with her that inspired this cut paper card. I have the itch to do more like this.

Then there is my annual Christmas card. I started making these about 9 years ago. Here is this years greeting made from last years cards recycled. The photo is of my parents and baby me.

Christmas brings tidings
from heaven above.
Ancient myths tell us
of peace and love.
But for many, then,
that's not how it was,
or is today simply because,
not every head has a place to lay.
not every manger is filled with hay,
not every window glows with a light,
not every star outshines the night.
The glorious goodwill
in the angels song
for so many
has never come along.
Some live in darkness,
no stars for them shine,
until you come bearing
that light so divine.
You bring Christmas
with shepherds and a king.
You cause heavenly choirs
to rise and sing.
You, the joy of the season,
make the days bright.
Reach for another,
make holy the night.

However you celebrate this time of year, I wish you all the riches of your traditions.

I have been working on my holiday shopping, which I tend to make into a production, and now it is time to decorate the house. For the past few years I have had a young friend come over to help put up our tree. We have a 7.5' beauty that we fill with years and years of collecting ornaments. All of this, plus the ever growing Santa/Angel/elf/Village collection are stored in the attic, which means many trips up and down carrying large and sometimes heavy boxes. My young friend could run those steps without a huff or puff. And, he was raised in a house that did not decorate for the holidays so he really enjoyed "playing". Drat! he has a new job and is not available to help this year. So, my husband and I are on our own. We have dedicated next week to this project because next Saturday we will host the annual Holiday party for our Kiwanis club. There are usually 50-55 friends attending but our club has enjoyed an influx of members this year and I have rsvp's from 60 people--so far. We will be bursting at the seams, but enjoying the party that kicks off the season for us.

I've enjoyed seeing all of the holiday decorations that many of you have posted so I'll try to get some pictures up as we get done. Looking forward to enjoying the Season here in blog land.

Monday, November 26, 2007

She's finally as old as I am!

Yes, it's true.  Katydiddy is finally as old as I am.  I think that's right.  Don't you?  She is an amazing human being and I am so proud to be her Mom.  She is bright, organized, determined, loving and fun. And an amazing artist, one who appreciates life.  Here's a wish that all of her dreams come true.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to take a break from today's activities to wish all the U.S. bloggers a Happy Turkey Day and to share with all how thankful I am to have discovered this wonderful world of artful bloggers.

Guess what I've been doing today?
LinkFor over 30 years, I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family and some friends. This year, my daughter Laura, of Katydiddys is doing the honors. She is an excellent cook and I am looking forward to dinner. My contribution is pies. I have to admit that it feels strange, stopping at pies. And tomorrow I don't have to get up early to get that giant bird into the oven.

Laura was born the day before Thanksgiving, er...several years ago. So we will sing and gift her tomorrow, as usual. When she was a child, she got several birthday celebrations as friends and relatives straggled in over the long weekend. That, I'm afraid, all changed since she is an adult. Now she shares her celebration with the holiday. I started out to make her a card and the next thing I knew it turned into a piece of art. Which is probably fitting since she got me started cutting, painting and pasting.

Warm wishes to all.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Good days

One of the things I miss about living in Ohio is Fall. Last Sunday we drove into the mountains east of here to the town of Oak Glen. Everyone calls it Apple Country because the elevation is high enough for the cold temperatures that apples need. We loaded up on apples, cider and yummy pie that was still warm when we got home. Here are some pictures that most people would not associate with Southern California.

Today was about apples too. I loaded Leopard, the newest OS from Apple, onto my computer. I also straightened up my work space, did some laundry, and finished the thank you notes from my birthday. Besides giving me many wonderful gifts, friends wrote poems and made art for me. My daughter-in-laws mother gave me a vase of these lovely orchids. Now I am obsessing about making something in these colors.

Here is a birthday card I made for my dear friend in Ohio. We have been together since 7th grade and believe me, that's a long time. Our birthdays are 8 days apart. I love a labyrinth and like to "walk" this one with a pencil when I'm struggling for focus. I thought it would be a good greeting.
I finished up this most satisfying day by having dinner with my second daughter. She is the mother of my 6 year old granddaughter so we don't often get to visit, just us. The little one was occupied tonight so we snuck off to my favorite Thai restaurant and had a feast of food and conversation. I am fortunate to have three daughters (you all know Katydiddy) and one son. It's always a treat to spend one on one time with them.

Now I'm off to dream sweetly of this gentle day. .

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I think I'm done

Sometimes I really know when a piece has all of its parts. This one has been bugging me. One of the things I have been enjoying about my new venture into art, is the fact that my writing has inspired some of my art and, as is the case this time, the art inspires the writing. I didn't like her floating and I've spent days agonizing over what to put beneath to anchor her. This morning, Eureka!. I cut the bottom off. This feels like metaphore. Something is still nagging me, but, just for today, I pronounce this done until the muse or my subconscious can tell me plainly what else she wants. It seems that, maybe for the first time since I've started on my art journey, I realize that I'm not just painting and pasting. This time, it's personal.

Friday, November 9, 2007


can come to us from the most amazing things. The S. Calif. fires were horrible and caused so much misery. And yet, this amazing sunset is the result of these same fires.
I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere.

A work in progress

I still have a few thoughts for this, but I haven't posted in awhile and figured I'd share what I've been up to. I spent most of this afternoon with my writing partners. We celebrated a birthday and, just hung out. Good food, good times and the best of friends. So far, I'm liking my new year.

I plan to cruise around all of your blogs in the next few days. So, I'll be seeing you.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


I'm still basking and sighing over my wonderful party. I have the best kids in the world. Here are a couple of views of the magnificent crown that Katie made.

I also appreciate the birthday greetings from the ladies in blog land. Such a nice surprise.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Happy Birthday

it is. All of my wonderful family and friends are here!! And I am parading around in the beautiful crown that my darling daughter made for me.

By the way, just wanted to let you all know that I cannot believe that my Laura (I call her Katie) is *#! years old. You know, of course, that I had her when I was 12. Amazing, yes?

I am one lucky chick.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Here is the journal front and back that should be in the last post. One day, I will get this all figured out.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Someone once said, "better late than never", and I really hope that's true. Michelle at Faerie Dust Dreams (blogger or Mac still won't let me link! sorry)celebrated her 100th post with a technique party. I am waaaaaay past the deadline but I am determined to play. This is probably not really a technique, but it is something that I love doing and I like what it does to my art. It is also an excellent way to use up scraps.

Raggedy Frames

You will need construction paper in your favorite colors, or some nice long scraps of any paper you like. I am committed to construction paper, for the most part, because I am very tactile and I get all calm and zen like when I handle it.

Start tearing long, thin strips of the paper. Take it slow. The more irregular, the better. If a piece comes out too straight or too wide, I start teasing out little chunks.

Glue these strips along the very edge of your piece. Of course these "frames" can be as wide or thin as you choose, but I like them pretty thin. Sometimes I will run a damp finger over the edge and use my thumb nail to fray it. If you burnish these thin, irregular edges they begin to merge into the piece. You can make a single layer or you can build up layers of the same color paper or mix patterns and colors. If you look at the piece I posted on Sept 9th you will see layers of 2 shades of pink. It almost looks and feels like papier mache.

Here is a journal, front and back, that I used this on

And here is one of my favorite paintings with this addition. As you probably know, Southern Calif. was burning last week. We had a fire right here on our property last Sunday that really rattled me. We lost most of our outbuildings in the 2004 fire, fortunately not our house, and this fire season is a bit too much for me. At any rate, Sunday's fire was put out just before it reached the house. The fire department kept it to an acre. To calm myself when we were finally allowed back on Monday, I started tearing and embellishing this piece that I did months ago. I am glad I made the addition.

I love raw, irregular edges. Here is another example of this in my work. The photo is of The Lone Cypress in Big Sur.

OK, it has taken me days and days to get this ready to post. The pictures are smaller than I would like, but I'm still having to coax blogger to upload. Here's to life and art, always unpredictable, always beautiful.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

...and a child shall lead them

Last Friday, my 6 year old granddaughter was feeling a bit too poorly to go to school so she spent the day with Nana. We painted, of course, and I got to experimenting with some techniques I've heard of. What I think looks like a stained glass goddess window and the wonderful bunnies and are acrylic paint versions of Sandra Evertson's ( ink blot techniques. The kind of crazy orange watercolor is the result of using a straw and blowing paint around. This will make a great journal page background. Watch for further developments. I have some ideas for all of them. I've already made transparencies of the goddess. I also have 2 other of the paint blot variety that are not much, taken as a whole, but I realized I have some great wings.

Friday evening I attended a seminar on finding your soul's purpose. Among other things, the facilitator spoke of "giving" yourself a breath instead of "taking" a breath. Think of all of the times we say we are "taking" something and substitute we are "giving" ourselves those things. From this day forward, I am not taking time for art which, for me, includes writing. I'm giving myself time for art of all kinds. This just feels good and peaceful to me. Ok, now I really need to add to my journal. Get ready, get set, ART!

By the way, sorry for not having a link to Sandra. I've got the picture uploading working, but I am having a real time with the linking thingamajig. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A fine pair

Here are two little bits that I made at Art and Soul to use up some scraps. The background is the amazing product of a technique that Claudine taught us. I can't get enough of this. I should be paying bills and cleaning up a desk piled high with the stuff of life. But this is just so much more fun.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

But wait, there's more

Here are the mini-collages from Sally Jean's class. They are my mother and her two sisters. And who knew I could learn to solder???

Art from my Soul

What a wonderful weekend at Art & Soul. Not only did I learn some great things and get to do art to my hearts content, surrounded by like souls, I got to do all of this with my darling daughter. Here is a piece that I went crazy with. This is the biggest collage, actually the biggest piece, I've ever made. At one point Laura said that I seemed a little "tranced out". Gives a whole new meaning to "altered" art. Gotta go. I have cutting, pasting and painting to do!

Monday, October 1, 2007


I have been crazy about Flamenco since I was 5. Imagine a pudgy little girl with bangs and braids, wearing oxfords, stomping, clapping and throwing attitude all around the kitchen. On my birthday a few years ago, my husband surprised me by hiring a favorite music group to play at my party. They played Malenguena and I Flamencoed for the first time in public. This whole art thing is, for me, all about indulging that passionate side of me. Dishes be damned! Let's dance.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hey, I got this to work! It took forever to load, but here it is, a page from my journal. I am working to get this snafu cleared up. Keeping very busy getting ready for Art and Soul next week. Making trades like a mad woman. Hope to see some of you there.

Thanks to all of you who have been trying to help me get blogging. I really appreciate your suggestions.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Being new to this wonderful Land of Blog, I don't know enough people to tag 7. So, as usual, I will depend on my daughter to bail me out. Katie, you're it!

I've been tagged

by my new friend Michelle for 7 Weird Things About Me. Here goes

1. This is something new. I have become very sun sensitive. Even the slightest exposure leaves me sick and very rashy. There are rumors in my family that I have become a Vampire. My husband says he is going to build a box and send to Ohio for dirt from my native land. Then I can sleep in the barn during the day.

2. I can't sleep if the covers are tucked in at the foot of the bed.

3. I can't sleep if it is not totally dark. (See #1).

4. Large birds such as parrots and macaws fascinate me and freak me out at the same time. I always feel like they know important stuff and aren't telling.

5. I love cabbage with ketchup on it.

6. I kiss my dogs on the lips

7. I hate to shop. Browsing antique, junk and art supply shops don't count.


I guess it pays to be diligent. I finally got this to upload.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I may just post some of my writing until I can get the picture thing figured out. I thought the problem was that Blogger and Safari don't speak, so I tried Firefox, which Blogger said would work. It doesn't. I feel like I'm all dressed up with no where to go.

The Snake Tree

A snake tree has
sprung up in my orchard,
it stands right beside the pear.
And when I go walking
there I cannot help but stare
at the brilliant bedazzling reptiles
hanging from each bough.
I cannot help but marvel
and wish and wonder how
I might pluck this tempting writhing fruit
even though I have been warned,
that should I pluck
and should I eat, I’ll first intuit
then be scorned.
So I feint disgust and horror
and deny temptations there,
but I linger in the orchard
right beside the pear.
Until one dark and moonless night
a fallen apple whispers,
“Go on, take a bite.”


Sunday, September 9, 2007


for the warm welcome. I was shocked to check my blog and see that I had comments! I hadn't expected that for awhile. I'm still struggling a bit, figuring out how everything works. I'm going to start sharing with some journal pages. I just closed my eyes and opened the book, I was driving myself crazy trying to decide what to post first.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Welcome to my new place

I have enjoyed visiting so many wonderful blogs, feasting on amazing art and inspiring prose, and now I can invite you to visit me. I am looking forward to having a place to share my art, photos and scribbles. Thanks to my darling Katie for encouraging me to just do this.