Saturday, February 26, 2011

Always finding "heart" stones.  This one was on my brother-in-law's driveway.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Saddened today and remembering my dear brother-in-law.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Yesterday's collage class was the last one of that session.  Everyone kept busy finishing up projects almost done and creating new things.  Denise has a series going and sure made some headway with with the addition of some serendipity paper pieces that we had made in the past.  Bernie and Sandy were making some little cards and envelopes, an extra fun project we had done together!  Sandy is going to a bridal shower and will have a special handmade card to accompany her gift.

 Marge chose to collage a page in her MYM journal and Mary Ann finished her collage with a wash of gesso which nicely unified her beautiful piece. 

 Inbetween, we began making some "crystalline" paper.  Coating plain white tissue paper with glossy medium on both sides and then adding washes of three or four acrylic colors makes some beautiful transparent papers to use in our next session. 

 Danielle did a little collaging herself and created a sweet little picture for Spring. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.  Robert Brault


Here we are!  The beginning of a year of milestone birthday celebrations for all of us.  (milestone - an important event in history.)  Oh yes.  My dear friends of 56 years!  Where did all those years go?  Seems like just yesterday, we thought we had forever. Mary Grace, JoAnn, me, Carmella and Carol.  Three are missing tonight.  But here are some of us at Longhorn Steak House wishing JoAnn a happy birthday.  70!  NO!  yes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Getting ready for spring

Thanks to Kathy at , we were concentrating on dragonflies and warm weather things the other day.  Here is Danielle's sweet and colorful little beauty sitting on a flower.

More ground cover

Yesterday, I thought about my slate collage and decided to put on a line of birds, adding life to the rainstorm rolling in.  I love when I see the birds all lined up and huddled up on the utility wires.

 I was reminded of them when I looked out my window and saw this group on my neighbor's roof, huddled by the skylight.

Then, for some texture, I added some beads too.  Earthy-colored beads.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Something smells good!

Henri smelled Sunday dinner cooking!  It smelled so good!  It was good!  Yesterday Julie and Dan made a wonderful dinner that they learned at a Joliet Junior College cooking class. I sure meant to take a picture of dinner but was overwhelmed by the aroma, I guess, and so you just get to see Henri.  Roasted Chicken with gravy and garlic mashed potatoes.   The roasting chickens were stuffed with lemon wedges and onion quarters, and then coated with a mix of butter/olive oil, and sprinkled with thyme, Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.  They were roasted at a high temperature of 450 degrees.  The flavorful drippings were made into the gravy with chicken stock and white wine.  While the chicken was roasting, she also put a bulb of garlic into the oven in my little garlic roaster to add to the mashed potatoes; Yukon Golds with the skins left on.  Yum!  Fresh broccolli.  She had made an angel food cake for dessert and Rich had the job of slicing the strawberries, while Julie and Danielle whipped the cream for on top.  She also brought along a taste of the flourless chocolate cake that she made earlier in the week.  Oh my gosh!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


A while back, a friend of mine asked me if I could use some slabs of slate for my artwork.  They are about 10" x 16" and I immediately visualized a landscape collage on them.  Inspiration came the other day, when I was reading that poem that i told you about, "Rain Beautifies the City", and so I began.  The slate feels so "earthy" and I feel like I'm layering on the colors of the earth.  Spring fever?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thinking spring ... and green

What a nice change in the weather, huh?  Muddy, but the air is nice.  It sure does make you wish for Spring.  And thinking green, I am going ahead and making a green quilting square for SoScrappy's challenge.  Not sure yet if that's what March's color will be, but I couldn't wait!  One of the months will be green.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I've been wanting to tell you about the three books that I bought at the little bookshop at the Cenacle, when I was at that workshop in January.  They are three little gems.

I love haiku and being in a poetry class, it is one of my favorite forms to attempt.  "Haiku - the sacred art" by Margaret D. McGee is a wonderful guide.  She gives hints and step-by-step exercises that make writing easier and more enjoyable. 

"101 Ways to Happiness" by Mitch Finley is a real "make you feel good" book.  Some days you just need that.  Most of the suggestions are very obvious, but ones that we need to be reminded of when we need them.  They are short simple reading and really hit home.  There are 101 of them, like "Learn a Poem by Heart", "Write a Poem", "Practice Meditation", Spend Time in Quiet Solitude", "Lock Yourself in Your Room", "Keep A Journal", "Be Optimistic", and "Take a Walk in a Summer Rain" where he quotes a poem written by Mark Van Doren:

"Rain Beautifies the City"

Rain beautifies the city;
Makes mirrors of it, flattering
Our minds, our eyes; even
The Sparrows, resting, glance at themselves
In windows and think they are cleaner
For once; while cornices drip
And gutters gurgle, and tires
hiss incessantly, saying
Look, it is different now, listen
And look, it is not the same
City at all, it is old, old - an old
Woman with bright eyes, remembering.

Isn't that beautiful?  I can't wait for a Spring rain!

The third book "hope for the flowers" is delightfully written and illustrated by Trina Paulus.  She says "This is the tale of a caterpillar who has trouble becoming what he really is.  It's like myself - like us."  And she tell us this is "A tale - partly about life, partly about revolution and lots about hope for adults and others (including caterpillars who can read). 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter collages

 Finishing up our winter collages yesterday in class, I am still thinking about something to add to this one but I couldn't wait to put my transfer on and take the tape off the border.  Am I trying to rush winter along?

 Peggy's bird looks almost wistful as he looks out at winter.  I love the addition of the transparent blocks of color laid over her peeled paper background. 

 Sandy used some of her own drawings for transfers in her lovely whimsical piece.

 And Marge's photography, placed in her inviting winter garden scene, adds nice interest.

 Lots of winter wishes going on in back of this winter tree by Judy.

 Bernie's serene winter landscape.  I love the look of those folk art-like trees. 

 MaryAnn has added some bark and subtle reds to compliment the birds and berries.

Denise is deciding on her main image to go on top of her wonderful handwriting background.

Next project, we will be thinking of Spring and Color!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Poetry and haiku

This morning is poetry class.  I didn't have much to turn in last time, except for some haiku, which is one of my favorite forms anyway.  I wrote them when I was away at that workshop last month.  We'll see today if the others have any good suggestions for improvement. 

The traffic moves by
Past the tall frozen branches
The winter watchmen

A siren screams out
As it passes my window
And all else is hushed

Wintery gray sky
A bare branch twisting upward
Opening the clouds

A packed suitcase waits
Along unfamiliar walls
Waiting to go home

This time we were to write a sestina.  Did you ever write a sestina?  It's a really wonderful exercise for your brain.  It has six stanzas and each stanza has six lines.  And then there is a three line stanza at the end.  The first stanza is the most important because the ending words in that stanza will determine the ending words in the next five. 
The ending word of line 6, in the first stanza, becomes the ending the ending word of line 1 in the second stanza. 
The ending word of line 1 becomes the ending word of line 2. 
The ending word of line 5 becomes the ending word of line 3. 
The ending word of line 2 becomes the ending word of line 4. 
The ending word of line 4 becomes the ending word of line 5. 
The ending word of line 3 becomes the ending word of line 6. 
The same thing happens in each succeeding stanza. 
Then the last three lines in the ending stanza must use all six ending words in any order. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Saint Valentine's Day!

"Have I told you lately that I love you?
Have I told you there's no one else above you?

You fill my life with laughter, somehow you make it better,
Ease my troubles, that's what you do."

written by Van Morrison

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Painting of the day

I was busy in the kitchen this morning and Danielle was at the kitchen table with her paints.  She started without me and when I looked, she told me she was looking out the back door and painting the deck and the winter trees in the background!  Wow!  I think it's wonderful, don't you?  Painting from life. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quilting and stuff

 Finished my February Reds square today and attached it to the January Blues.  March next!  It sure will be a "Rainbow" Quilt at the end of the year. 

 Then Danielle and I made these little "Fuzzimal Puppies" by Klutz.  A Valentine treat.  They're so cute!

Sunday School and then paper dolls tomorrow!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday's Art

 Still freezy...


 But inside the fireplace looked good and feels good.

 Joan is beginning a very colorful watercolor.  Beautiful!

I am almost finished with mine!  And on the way home, the sun was so bright and the shadows from the wintery trees are fabulous.  I think another watercolor!
A freezy day at The Center....

Class Work

...but it was warm inside as Sandy, Denise, Bernie and Judy were busy getting their supplies and papers ready in collage class.

 Our wintry themes are coming out so nice.  Here is Sandy's lovely winter tree and beautiful washes.

 Denise is moving her selected papers around; deciding on placement.

 Using tissue for texture, Bernie's winter scene and great trees are looking stark and chilly with a little element of surprise peeking out from between them!

 Judy has a lot of wonderful images hidden for the eye to find beneath these branches; an image transfer.

 Marge and Peggy at work tearing and cutting.  I missed getting a picture of Peggy's as I was waiting for her to alter a group of numbers she was adding.  Next week!

 Mary Ann got a ambitious start with her beautiful winter birds.

 And Marge's lovely winter garden escape.

 Wanted to show you Denise's birdhouse piece from afternoon quilting class.  She is now putting on the backing and border.  Perfect background fabric, huh?

 And Denise is joining me in doing the colors of the month quilting with SoScrappy!  She chose the Log Cabin pattern and this is her January Blues square and below, her February Reds