Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BE NICE! plus a few more rants...


I've done a little impulse shopping around town in the last week and I have to tell ya - folks are PRE-occupied.

I wish folks would (this goes for me too):
-  be "in the moment".  Be aware of where you are.   Be aware, unless you're on uninhabited planet, that everything you do involves at least one other person.  BE NICE.
-  say thank you even if you don't mean it.  It doesn't have to be accompanied by a smile but you'll feel better if it does.  BE NICE.
-  say "excuse me or pardon me" when you expect someone to move because you're coming thru and you're on a mission.  BE NICE.
-  watch how you park your car and open your car door.  I'd like mine to last the 10 years of warranty it has on it.  Dings in my door make me want to give it back.  No, I don't think it's inevitable that cars get dings.  I think cars get dings because people aren't "in the moment" when they throw their door open to get in or out of their car.  BE NICE.
-  appreciate that, although the days have been cloudy and mostly gray, we've been given another day.  BE NICE.
-  don't assume everyone is as blessed as you are.  Folks have a unique way of masking unbearable burdens.  Even when you don't want to be (like when you see a ding in your car door) BE NICE.

I waited until the serious shoppers had gotten to where they needed to be and then I went shopping.  I shopped the art stores, walking up and down every isle.  I talked with some interesting people about what we had in our shopping carts, learned some things and shared stories - I had a ball.

Don't the holidays make you feel like cooking?  Me too!  But I don't want to - so I won't.

Smile for the heck of it - make people wonder what you're up to ;)

PS:  I've told my family that if I EVER suggest making my own Christmas cards again to lock me in a closet until January 1st (we'll see how next year goes).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 332 of 2011

Self imposed stress trying to create every idea that comes in my head (visual of this came to me last night as I was taking a shower - more later).

Shout out to self (at 9:30 this morning)...GET OFF YOUR ASS AND ON YOUR FEET!

Stepped away from the computer, washed and dried shaped bottle caps for bracelets sold, got dressed in my 30 year old art shirt, loose knit pants and socks.  Didn't put on makeup - which meant I couldn't leave the house on impulse to grab a quick latte, lunch or some other lame excuse to escape (HA!)

Thought:  How do creative's (artists, crafters, musicians, etc.) create without an agenda?  Whether the agenda is another person's approval, to get published, to teach, to gift, to, to....   I've seen an artist's work and wonder "Ok, now what? - What will you do with it?  How can you make things without a purpose?"  I ask this a lot and my friends (bless them for their patience) give me their opinion.

I can't believe I'm 59 and still asking the same questions.  I can't believe my friends still humor me with their opinions ;)

Shutting down the computer to create - which is really my heart's desire.

Happy 332nd day of 2011.

c2000 - Sharon: 36" tall cat in dress and hat made for a charity auction

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who Packs Your Parachute?

In 2002 my son, in the Navy at the time, emailed the document below to us.  I would forward it on at this time of year to the team I used to supervise (pre-retirement), and to my friends, to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation for them "packing my parachute" - I couldn't have said it any better.   I feel that MY LIFE is a team effort.   From the bottom of my heart - Thank You for your part in Packing My Parachute.

Charles Plumb was a U.S. Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!" "How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb. "I packed your parachute," the man replied.  Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today." 
Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man.  Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers.  I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot, and he was just a sailor."   Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.   Now, Plumb asks his audience, "Who's packing your parachute?"   Everyone has someone that provides what he needs to make it through the day.   Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute.  He called on all these supports before reaching safety.  Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important.  We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.  
As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachute. I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute!!! And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours! Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word.   Maybe this could explain: When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do?  You forward jokes.  And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get - a forwarded joke.  So next time, if you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

IT'S OFFICIAL (I've seen it with my own eyes)!

My book is featured on page 57 of the Premier Issue of Cloth Paper Scissors "PAGES" magazine.  Woo Hoo!!

The book featured is my SmARTaleck Studio book made from a vinyl store banner.  I use it to sketch sculpting ideas and take notes in class.  It's a little worse for wear - schlepping it back and forth to class (around water and clay) - but that's what it's for.  

If you've come to my blog via my information in the magazine I'd like to expound on the book a little and provide a few more close up pictures.

Size:  11" high x 10" wide x 1" spine
Cover Material:  Cut from a 8' x 4' store banner announcing a new line of men's underwear.  Fortunate for me the majority of the wording was in caps and contained an "S".
Unique Applications:  The front and back flaps (including the snap flap) were folded in and sewn to create a crisp edge .  It also helped maintain the placement of the snap and flap.  A piece of regular 1/2" wide black elastic was rivited in place to hold the vintage Jim Beam stir stick.  "Smartaleck Studio was stamped on a vintage piece of handwriting paper, torn and the edges highlighted with ink.  It was covered with a piece of flexible clear plastic (similar to tablecloth plastic) and sewn to the cover.
Binding:  1" x 11" piece of book board (chip board) glued in place in the center of the cover.  Signatures were sewn with waxed linen thread thru the book board and the spine at the same time.  The red beading is decorative.  The round circle is also decorative and was burned in spine using a wood burning tool.
Signatures:  6 signatures of 6 sheets (12 pages) each.  Various paper used; vintage home plan drawings cut to size, 12x12 paper folded at 9" - leaving a tab of 3" that other paper could be attached to later, large manilla envelope, drawing paper torn from a tablet and cut to size (9" x 10 1/2").

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Woven Star from Vintage Book Pages

Stars made from pages of books, magazines, cloth, ribbon - just use your imagination for an easy, fun, rewarding, project.  Technique for "making stars come out at night" is towards the bottom of this post.

This is the first star I made using 1" x 8" strips cut from an old dictionary.

After that I reduced the length of the strips by 1" each time (stopping at 1" x 4") - discovering that the 1" x 6" size is the one I prefer (when complete, the finished size is 1" smaller than the length of the strips).
This is the last star I made (slightly angled so you see the dimension). I glued 3 sheets of dictionary paper together. When dry, the next day, I cut it in 1/4" strips and used hot glue to assemble, finishing up with a little tinsel glitter (couldn't help it). I prefer the glued paper over the folded method. The strips are crisp, strong and flexible, allowing for a stronger tension on the longer strips that create the space between the two sides. The downside to gluing pages vs folding them is that you have to wait until they're bone dry before cutting and assembling the star - plan ahead.

I discovered...
- the process of making the star is fun - from cutting and folding to glueing (my preference is dbl sided tape or dots of hot glue - white glue takes too long to set).
- when stacked the stars look like a tree (8 1/2" to top of tree). I found green photo corners in my stash and put them on the points of the star giving the tree more of a "tree" look (cut corners from discarded mail envelopes and metal corners (the tree would have to be going to someone special for me to use my metal corner stash) could be used too). Not my favorite but thought I'd share the idea. The topper is a vintage angel ornament.
I had glow sticks on my work table and grabbed them to make the stand. The sticks were glued in a scrap foam core base ( I didn't paint the sticks green or wrap them in green floral tape because I'm not sure if this is the final resting place for this group of "firsts"). The stars were fed onto the sticks thru the corner openings in the centers of the star. Because the sticks are flexible and the paper center weave doesn't align after being joined tension is created and the stars are positionable up and down the sticks.

The Possiblities Are Endless.
1.  Use cardstock and cut 1/4" strips vs folding 1" strips down to a 1/4" size. Graphic 45 paper is an all time favorite of mine so I have scraps. This is a star made from my scraps, adding perfect pearls to both sides after it was finished. Love it.

2.  I'm making a star for my relative from the Book of Genesis.  If I glue the pages together vs folding I should be able to get readable lines on the strips.
3.  My sister and brother-in-law get creative with the letter "Q" at our yearly Christmas Scrabble game. I'm making a star out of the "Q" section of the dictionary, gluing the "Q" scrabble tile to the middle of both sides of the star.
4.  A group of these would make a beautiful wreath
5.  Cut blank strips and write blessings, or wishes, or dreams on them. Then fold and assemble as usual.
6.  Adopted a child?  Copy the adoption papers, add some blessings - cut and make a special star with them.
6.  Use fabric stiffener on scraps of cloth (baby clothes you know you need to declutter but can't get rid of the memory entirely), cut in 1/4" strips and assemble as usual.
7.  Use fabirc stiffener on scraps of ribbon and assemble as usual.
8.  Any color of glitter would only enhance the stars. I haven't gone there because I have enough glitter in my stash to shine up my whole neighborhood and once I start - I'm not sure I'd know when to stop.

You get the idea - this can be more than a paper star. It can be a memory.
TECHNIQUE using pages of a book:
Cut 12 strips of 1" wide x 6" long paper (if you're folding).
Fold in 1/2 lengthwise
Fold each side in 1/2 lengthwise towards the middle (the first fold)
Run double sided tape down the middle and press closed creating a 1/4" strip (white glue can be used).
I found the weaving process goes faster if you mark the center of the strips or work on a grid.

Weave two sets of 6 strips as shown and tack with glue (white glue, hot glue or dbl sided tape):
Using only the corner strips - twist the tips as shown below and glue (my preference is a dot of hot glue). You will have four corners and four strips in each set of 6 strips (one set each side of star).
Put each side of the star face to face with the curves toward each other - turn at 45 degrees so they "fit".
Put the long strip of one side thru the point on the oposite side of the star, joining the tip of the strip and the point of the star as shown in the color sections and glue. Don't cut the strip to fit. The added length of the strip is what pushes one side away from the other, creating demension.
Trim the strips at the point so you don't see an overlap.
Make a loop with a paper strip or ribbon and attach to how you want the star to hang.
This is a very quick project to play with - 15 to 20 minutes. Worth the effort I promise.

If you choose to make a star I'd love to see it.

I found this star on http://http//houserevivals.blogspot.com/2010/11/make-woven-star-from-vintage-book-pages.html . Go visit - there are more pictures and two more pattern tutorials (I prefer this one).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last Year's Ornament

I've been sooooo busy (Ha). Thought I'd share a past project with you while I get pictures together to post about my work with leather and my jewelry made with repurposed floppy disk parts.

I make my grandchildren a christmas ornament every year. This was last year's ornament for my grandson Martin who LOVES sharks.

Rubber shark (4" long) bought at Michael's
Santa hat taken from another treasure
Miniature lights, bell & fish hook (point filed down) from my "things to go with other things" box

This is cuter than it looks - I promise.