Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Well hello there

For Meredith

Ain't it funny how time slips away

Today is the retirement party for my friend Meredith Fleming. She and I met at UC Berkeley when I was a young thing straight out of college. I've always worked in libraries, but my first "career" library job was at the Moffitt Undergraduate Library in 1983 and Meredith was a truly scary interviewer on the panel that hired me.

1997. I love how we match each other. Swanky!

I left UCB in 1998 and every few years she'll call or e-mail and we'll just pick up the conversation where we left it in 1998. There aren't that many friends one can do that with.

I love Meredith because even though our childhoods, our lives couldn't be more different, she saw the goodness in me and I saw the goodness in her and we became friends.

What I loved about her is that she would come to work every day in these incredibly high stiletto heels and most days, a hat. Snug-fitting dresses...she was The Bomb way before that was ever slang.

 Fifteen years we worked together.  I called her today to send her off with my love, she said that she was going to quote Al Green's song, "Funny How Time Slips Away" in her retirement speech. Indeed it does.

I'm so happy for her and I'm both deeply happy and deeply sad for all the life and death and happiness and disappointment that has happened in between all these intervening years. Here's to old friends and people who knew us when we were young. I love you Meredith. Thank you for being a friend to me. Clink!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Every Hour of the Light and Dark


To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, every cubic inch of space is a miracle.
 WALT WHITMAN. Miracles.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sweet V

My last post as guest artist on my friend Vasia's Pinterest board, The Suggested is this scrapbook page for her as a "Welcome to your new home" gift.

I call her "Sweet V" after the character Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds on my guilty pleasure show, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. "Sweet Dee" and "Sweet V" are awesome nicknames, but luckily V and Dee are nothing alike. However, Sweet V is lucky enough to live in beautiful Greece where it's sunny alot.

As my offering of thanks to our Greek Goddess V, I used some pages from a vintage children's book of Greek Myths. I really love how her dark eyes in the "fierce" photo echo the warrior's. The handsome guy is her boyfriend Kostas.

She was first seen rising in all her beauty out of the foam of the sea and then we met shortly thereafter on Pinterest and have been best bud's ever since. 

All hail Sweet V.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Harsh and Exciting

And the lovely poem that inspired this set here

Friday, May 3, 2013

Waiting for you is like blowing kisses in the wind

I look into your eyes and you don't know who I am

I look at them and their all-spark just glows. Look at their faces. 

One these days you're gonna harness the blues

I love listening to music without having to watch a video. For me it's getting right to the source; mainlining. You'll need a Spotify account, which is selling yourself to the Devil, since they are in bed with Facebook, which I loath. But it's worth it to listen to the music unadulterated. Once you've signed in to your account and then clicked like a million f*n times, the music will eventually play. You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Show your magic

Part One
Egypt Before Time

...It is quite one thing to perform the mysteries on inanimate objects, to cause boulders to melt into lava, to dry up a stream with the force of one's breath, for it is well-known that all things exist in all forms at all times; it's merely a matter of learned skills to shift them from one state into another. But to transform oneself--- that is the thing that will tempt and terrify every Practitioner, in one form or another, for as long as he lives. Many an adept, quite competent in all other areas, will never achieve the state of simple Oneness that is necessary to become another living being. But for the three of us, in that long-ago time in the House of Ra, the gift came easily. Perhaps too easily. 

 There has been much debate over the millennia as to whether the transformation was literal, physical transmutation of matter, or an equally literal, but far less demonstrable, transfiguration of spirit. Did I become the frog <deer>, or did I merely cast my consciousness into the essence of frog-ness <deer-ness>, and did I do it with such power and conviction as to cause others to see me as I saw myself- in the form of a frog <deer>? I tell you now it is one and the same. All magic is an illusion, and all reality is only what one perceives it to be, and in the world in which we lived the fine line between these two planes of existence was so faint as to be almost invisible.

This passage is from Donna Boyd's excellent work The Alchemist. If you are a fan of Lev Grossman's The Magicians, you'll find Boyd's lyrical writing just as wonderful. Although I'm only  four chapters into The Alchemist, it makes me think very much of Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings.  You may be asking yourself, "what does a deer in the woods have to do with ancient Egypt?" In fact, the real inspiration for this spread was the beautiful book, Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Published in 2004, before sparkly vampire-mania exploded, Sunshine is just that, a beautiful prism of sunlight piercing through the dark genre and it puts the Twilight series to shame. It's wonderful.

Reluctantly returning back to this time/space continuum, this is one of my very favorite journal spreads. I used bleach to get that mottled look, a deer stencil that I cut out and glittered, stars that I stenciled and connected with a stardust gel pen to get a look of constellations.

I'm sorry the pictures just don't do the pages justice. I guess some things need to remain a mystery.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

California Dreaming

I call myself beloved

And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on this earth.
- Raymond Carver 

*The beautiful bird photographs are from Pinterest.The lovely main bird is by Naoto Kitamura, and I'm not certain who the artist is for the small yellow bird.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What are all these kisses worth?

From my Spark journal. One of my favorite pages.

Love's Philosophy
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle -
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea -
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?       
 Percy Bysshe Shelley

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One flew over the goose's nest

I buy every vintage children's poetry book I can find at thrift stores, garage sales and library discards. This double-page spread unites my love of poetry with a recurring image of wild geese that shows up in all my work.

There are extraordinary things in your everyday lives. There are hidden treasures in familiar shadows.

The Tim Holtz line of Adirondack Alcohol Inks has the most divine selection of colors. The inks are actually meant for coated/non-porous papers, but I don't care. I use them on this Fabriano Artistico 140 lb Hot Press watercolor paper and it does beautiful things. It bleeds through to the back of the paper but I don't mind working with that.

My quote was hand lettered with a large bamboo quill and Dr. PH Martin's Bombay India Ink in "Aqua". I added German scrap, more gold leaf, and more found text.

I almost always add some sort of gold spray or gilded element to my work to represent The Divine.
Harsh and Exciting
When the streams of rain pour out of the sky and the sparkles of lightning go flashing by.

 One flew east, one flew west, one flew over the goose's nest.

Most of us know this poem's variation as "one flew over the cuckoo's nest". 
Which always makes me think of the book and movie. I'd like to believe I'm the one who will fly over the cuckoo's nest. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

I Pray

My wonderful friend Vasia Papazoglou on Pinterest recently invited me to pin to her board,
The Suggested.

I thought for my week of notoriety I would share a few pages from my current art journals.
I have two main journals I work on, "Spark" which is kind of a messy experimental journal, and
"Each Little Bird That Sings" which is also experimental but more spiritual in nature. Later on I can talk about how I constructed them.

I think in light of today's events, sadness both national and personal, I'd share this spread.
I usually work in double-page spreads. These pages contain basically the whole panopoly of mixed-media techniques.

"I Pray"
On hot-press watercolor paper I like to drip alchohol inks, add photo transfers, photographs, stenciling, embellishments, and gilt. I use many photos that I download from Pinterest as inspiration. I love the sherbert colors of this palette.  

The red alchohol ink created a beautiful heart on the second statue. So I dedicate today's post to two prayers.

My first prayer is for the people affected by the Boston Marathon today. For the dead, for the injured, for their families, for the 8-year-old child and for the cowardly evil person(s) who would do such a thing. My next door neighbor ran in the race this morning and I burst into tears to discover from his wife he crossed the finish line 30 minutes before the bombs went off.

My second prayer is for everyone on this planet, who, like me, are born with hearts too fragile, too trusting. Hearts so easily broken and unsuited to this world.

Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone.
Thomas Merton

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's Amazing...

Wild Geese


You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.


Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

 Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver. Wild Geese. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Harsh and Exciting

Perhaps this is interesting only to me, but I have ALWAYS found my detritus more interesting than my applied arts. That is to say, the scrap paper under my art projects without fail turns out to be more interesting to me visually, than the applied project I'm working on. Because it is entirely random. So at long last I wised up.

Traditionally I've used a pad of newsprint as a desk blotter and just thrown away each page as I've worked on each project. But I've always loved those newsprint pages. Alas, they are notorious for being riddled with acid. Not unlike my soul (not really).

So, 'lo at this advanced year of mine I finally wised up and bought a tablet of Strathmore Drawing Paper 14x17 inches and I put that underneath my laptop and my art projects. This time I saved
my sheet and was so happy with the ink remainders that I added just a few stencils and 'lo, it came to pass that I actually for once liked something I made.

Point of fact, I live in a dungeon without natural light, so all of my photos look a bit...palid.
But this paper came out so pink and blushing and lovely. And my Cosmo looked so pretty with it.
I shall post the lovely Mary Oliver poem next from whence this page was inspired.

Also, the bracelets. They are from Forever 21. I always feel like alarms are going to screech, "Middle-aged woman in the store! Middle-aged woman in the store!" but who would even know over the deafening shit-soundtrack the store plays ad nauseam. But at any rate, I buy a fair amount of jewelry from them because it's so fun and fresh and CHEAP!  Plus, huzzah huzzah, it actually comes in tiny wrist sizes, as the Lord saw fit to give me tiny wrists but a honkin' ass. Still...for the record. I wouldn't trade for huge wrists and a tiny ass because there's no disguising huge cankles and wrists. Poor dears.

What was my point? Oh...I can't stand bangles falling all over the place so I add just a tiny chain around them to hold them all together. I haven't actually done that in reality but I plan to with that pile of bangles you see pictured. Just in time for summer with my janky fingernails from all the art shit also picture here. What's a girl to do.

Monday, January 28, 2013


When I'm making my art, I eventually end up with a pile of eyeglasses of varying diopters. I curse my middle-aged poor vision. It's really a nuisance. That said I do like my frames, purchased from
I.C.U Eyewear or Deb's Spec's.  I love Eyebobs too, but they are crazy expensive. And yes, those are Martha Stewart Paints you see but please, let us not give that woman any more PR than she already drums up for herself.

At least I can find some succor in the cocktail mentioned here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Ransom me

A few days ago I saw this clever idea on Pinterest for organizing found letters; perhaps for composing a ransom note? The photo originated on Natalie Ratkovski's lovely Flickr photostream.

After discussing the project with my supremely talented sister "Calypso" on Pinterest, I'm prompted to share my own clever idea for organizing the alphabet.

Using plastic jewelry bags from Michaels, I used rub-on letters for each bag, punched a hole in the top (the bag opening facing down as you see here), and put the whole shebang on a binder ring.
Theoretically, as I make or find letters I just put them in their respective bag and then it's ready to go for a journal page or ransom note if needed.

I hang the ringed-set from a magnetic clip on the side of my file cabinet.

After all that work, I've collected maybe.... 8 total letters? And here's what my first and last ransom note will say...{click on image to make it a little larger and then click anywhere on the black space to return to this page}

I think I'll just go to the ransom note generator found's pretty sweet!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The sublime into the mundane

I downloaded a neat little app called Visual Poet onto my iPhone. It's not without its bugs (like the inability to work with the type), but the app does allow one to make these nice little photobooth-esque strips of poetry, all from your little 'ol phone.

I think it would be cool to print them on photo paper and make nice bookmarks with them. Be sure and check out Visual Poet's own site and on Tumblr. Some clever designers have used the app quite effectively for promo materials.