A blog about my photos, my artwork, quotations, ideas, collections, passions, England, authors, handwork of all kinds, rusty bits, buffalo, and architectural detail...for starters. And the occasional rant.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Year of the Book Update...

Since we are nearly one third of the way through the year already, and since I introduced my 'Year of the Book' project here, it seems appropriate to give you an update.  In short, I am cooking!  So far, this has been way too much fun, and I have had no trouble meeting the most important goal, which was to make at least one new type of book each month.  I have learned a tremendous amount, (mostly the hard way) and the way my other crafting knowledge carries over is wonderful.  I wish I could say my stack of papers looks discernibly smaller...but I can't.  Surprisingly, small books just don't use all that much paper.  Please note that I have made at least some progress on seven of my eleven goals. 

I had planned to take a 2-day workshop at the Pacific Northwest Art School on Whidbey Island this month towards my goal of making a "Proper Book" but the class was canceled for lack of interest.  This rather surprises me as interest in the book arts seem to be growing recently.  The quantity of books about bookmaking which I have justified the purchase of, is ample evidence of this I would think.

One of my March books was a Starbucks cup used as the container for a small book of ATC (Artist Trading Cards, some of which used Starbucks stickers.  I noted that my daughter had come into an large supply of them and thought I would show you how she used them to cover boxes. 

This was a cigar box, but she used various boxes and various combinations of stickers.

At any rate, just so you know, my Year of the Book is going splendidly.  If you haven't visited that blog yet, or recently, please do - the link is to your right.

Monday, April 11, 2011

March Madness

Whimsy has no place in my Mother’s life.  The fact that it has a very large place in mine is something that she has never come to terms with.  She is, above all things, a practical person.  For example, ask her what she thinks about birthdays…”Well, it’s just another day, really.”

As you can imagine, this has caused some strain in our relationship at times, but more  often just a great gap of understanding – like when I am trying to explain to her what I love about Terry Pratchett, or why I paid good money for a pair of earrings with a clay carrot on one ear and a peapod on the other.

But every spring, when the forsythias are in bloom, I think of something she did about 45 years ago when I was away at college.  And that usually leads me to thinking about something she did on my 16th birthday.  And that makes me wonder if there was a pocket of impracticality, of whimsy, hidden somewhere deep inside.  Let me explain…

One of the first shrubs to burst into bloom here in the Pacific Northwest is the forsythia.  If there is one blooming, you can’t miss it – glorious yellow.  Not the loveliest shrub in general and very often pruned into a disaster, but glorious yellow branches that promise spring regardless of the temperature at the moment.  Smart folk cut long graceful branches as soon as you can see the bud and with just a day or two sitting in warm water you have brought spring into the house.

Now while the forsythia is coming into bud in Washington, snow still covers the ground in Montana.  So in my freshman year at Missoula, when I received an oddly shaped care package from home, I was amazed to find a carefully wrapped bunch of forsythia branches atop the batch of homemade cookies.  Two days later my dreary little dorm room had a burst of sunshine that brought tears to my eyes every time I walked into the room.  The only other time I was really homesick at school was when I got the measles.

The second memory is of sitting on the couch in the living room opening my 16th birthday gift from my Mom.  Please note, no party, no family gathering, nothing special much except good wishes.  Mom prefaced the gift with a sort of mumbled statement about being a woman now and this was something every woman should have.  It was a lovely, if inexpensive, set of black lace underwear.  I am still shocked when I think of it.  I am pretty certain my mother herself never owned a matching set of black lace underwear and I can’t imagine her thinking a 16 year old had any need of such a thing.

I have been eternally grateful for those two lapses of practicality, or whimsy, or whatever you want to call it.  I treasure them each spring.  Now that I think of it, my birthday is in March, about when the forsythias bloom.  Perhaps there is something to that Mad as a March Hare business – for my Mother at least.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lucky Me

I am lucky to have the kind of friends who want me to be happy, even if that means doing rather foolish things because they know it will please me.  Like the year I kept complaining about not having a set of antlers (well, my family in Montana have more than they know what to do with!) and a good friend went against all the accepted garage sale rules and appeared at the doorstep of an advertised sale one day early to beg them to sell her a pair of antlers. They did, and it was a wonderful birthday surprise from the group of friend I lovingly refer to as The Old Bags.

They now hang happily in my studio.
Another friend feeds my anglomania by bring me a lovely bunch of cowslips every spring.  This year she brought me a small plastic bag with both cowslips and the sweet pale yellow primroses.  It may not sound all that special, but I happen to know she smuggled starts of both of them home from England...so these are genuine English blossoms...and that matters to me.
Last years cowslips, in the empty Penhaligon bottle I saved from the 1986 trip to England.
We'll talk about the rubber ducky at a later date.