Friday, April 30, 2010

National Letter Writing Month

Did you know that April is National Letter Writing Month? I had no idea until my friend Lindsay Ostrom posted a 28 day challenge on her blog. Lindsay comes up with some fabulous ideas for challenges each month. If you would like to play along, just email Lindsay. Each day was an adventure going to my mailbox to see what fabulous, creative mail art would be waiting for me from blog pals near and far. Making cards to send was a great creative challenge for me, because I don't really consider myself a card maker. I almost purchased some ready-made cards to send, but couldn't find any that I liked or were appropriate for the challenge. Instead, I purchased blank cards with envelopes and some blank tags with envelopes and brought them home to my little studio to see what I could come up with. I made the decision that I would try to use up the images and scraps that I had left over from other projects. It was an incredible adventure and exercise in creativity, and I was amazed to find that my leftovers went together fairly well. I really got hooked on making cards, and especially loved making tags. I thought you might like to see what I came up with.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Signs of Spring

There was a break in the rain, so I took the opportunity to go for a walk at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley. Squirrel Creek flows through the park, so I decided to meander down the trail that parallels the creek and led to this little bridge. The oak trees hadn't begun to leaf out yet, but the creek had lots of water from the abundant rain, and the new spring vegetation was green and lush. In the damp, shady spots I found patches of lovely, succulent miner's lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata). As the name implies, Miner's lettuce was harvested by California gold rush miners of 1849 as a source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy. It was most commonly eaten in salads, but could be boiled like spinach. It was also a favorite of California Indians. I love the taste of Miner's lettuce, which reminds me a bit of spinach, so of course, I had to gather a few young leaves to munch on. I wandered onto anther trail and spotted a chunk of bark with moss and lichens. The dead leaves on the ground were quite a contrast to the lush surroundings, but I noticed that shoots of green grass were poking up through the rotting leaves. As I neared the end of my walk, I was happily surprised to encounter a patch of lovely wild violets. I couldn't resist picking one of the violets - the fragrance was delicate and amazing. The fragrance was so lovely that I kept sniffing it all the way home.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

1960s Shrine

This shrine was inspired by a challenge for our Blind Faith art group. I applied gesso to a cigar box that I acquired at a yard sale last summer, choosing red as my main color and blue for some of my lettering and for accent. I found some 60s themed scrapbook paper to cover the front and as a lining on the inside of the shrine. I glazed over the papers to mute the bright colors and then stamped peace symbols in white. I bought a package of zig zag cigarette papers and painted them using acrylic colors that coordinated with the scrapbook paper. To make my collage on the inside cover of the shrine, I photocopied some of the mini posters and other ephemera I had collected when I frequented the Avalon Ballroom and Haight Street in San Francisco. I drew the flower child and gave her bell bottoms and a tie-dyed shirt. The "roach clip" is actually a hair clip that I embellished with beads and and charms. I printed out the words from the song Where Have All The Flowers Gone on a transparency, cut them in strips, and glued them around the inside of the shrine.