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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Paint It Any Color But Black

What did you do on Black Friday?

I think not. I enjoy a holiday as much as the next person but really...all this commercialism and shopping to just too much.
I opt out.
Here's what I do instead.....

Morning coffee with some reading -- good way to start the day.
I'm reading:
Flirting With French by William Alexander
Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah
The Stories We Tell by Patti Callahan Henry
The Painting Workshop by Alena Hennessy
Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich

All from the fabulous SF Public Library and all good.
I can definitely vouch for the baking book.
Trust me.


I got out my Gelli printing stuff and got busy making much fun. Put some music on and play with paint and the times flies by.

Listening to my two favorite holiday CD's -- both by Over The Rhine a group I really really like.
Snow Angels & Blood Oranges in the Snow.
Both really good.
And have you heard of The Civil Wars? Apparently popular group  few years ago who are now broken up but the CD I got from the library is quite good.

Printed on some plain white gift bags from Diaso....that was fun..

Some tags.....they can go inside the bags...

Cards and I have a stockpile to play with...

A much better use of my time than the mall.....not that I ever actually go to malls but you get the idea....

Worked on some Holiday gifts.....

This one is for me......

I enjoy wrapping gifts when I'm not rushed or have too many things to wrap all at once...


My pal invited us over for a wonderful lunch up in the wine country and I felt like I took a little trip to France.

When in the wine country...or know what you've got to do.....

Take a walk and look around.....

So, there it is -- my Black Friday. Not a store in sight.

And, thanks to all of you lovely folks who read and commented on my last post. WOW!
I think there were 29 comments.
I could sure get used to that. Keep 'em coming! That is the way to keep me going and working on the blog. It is so much appreciated and really means a lot. I'm feeling the love.
Questions? Ideas for posts? Comments?
All good.
I have so many projects to work on I think I better say good-bye and get busy.
Now tell me about you!
What was your Black Friday like? And are you all doing today?


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Giving Thanks

Sometimes I get frustrated by so few comments on my blog. But then I remember all the great things that have happened to me because of blogging.
Like this -- one of the blog readers, Indigo, emailed me and said she found a stash of old photographs in an abandoned house that was about to be demolished.
She wondered if I'd like them to use in art projects.
Well, (you guys know how I am) of course I would!

She sent me a fabulous packet of old photos and I really had fun getting right to work on them, as you can see.
I made some stamp heads and I painted over them and just generally had a great time.

I haven't worked on these yet because they are just so lovely as they are....

Indigo sent some old report cards too -- look at that lovely patina.
Jesse H.Bratley
Now here's where things get really interesting. I saw the name of Jesse H.Bratley written on the photo and I realized many of the photos were of him and his family..
It being a rather unusual name I decided to Google the name to see if I might find his family. Maybe they would want the photos?

I think Jesse is quite dapper - don't you? I mean...just look at that tie and that 'stash....

Portrait of Jesse Bratley on his 21st birthday
(written on the back of the photo)
As it turns out, Jesse H Bratley was a photographer (like me!) and his work is archived
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science

He photographed Native Americans.
Click the link and you'll see his work!

Jesse and his brother Will (also written on back)

Leoni, Hugh and Mary Bratley
I contacted the Museum and asked if they were interested in having these photos to add to the archive -- and they were VERY interested.
They had never seen any like these photos Indigo sent me of the Bratley family when they were younger.
So, I made a donation and added these long lost family photos to the others in the archive.

This story makes it very clear the old adage about LABEL YOUR FAMILY PHOTOS is very true. If someone (I'm betting Jesse's mother) did write the names on all those photos they would have ended up being stuck with stamps and painted along with those others.
It would have been a shame not to add them to the archive.
And the curator tells me the family will see them too.
A happy ending and thanks to Indigo and the blog too.
Another lovely blog reader - Judi -- sent me a huge, flat rate box just filled with rubber stamps.
For no reason, other than to be generous and nice. Can you believe it?

One reason I try to send out surprises in the mail is because people have been kind in sending great things to me. Pass it on.

I read on another blog that people had been laving nasty comments and saying mean things. WOW. That has certainly never happened to me (knock on wood). My readers have been supportive and encouraging and lovely. I think maybe partly because we are a small group. This isn't a blog with thousands of followers.....we all seem to share the same interests.
But it did make me realize how lucky I am to have such nice folks commenting.
So, thanks.
Library Pockets and Due Date Sleeves

Another surprise in the mail sent by Rachel. She e-mailed me that she scored a large find of these pockets and wondered if I would want some. You bet!
And I have some ideas in mind for a project with them. Thanks, Rachel.

Practice Random Acts of (Mail Art) Kindness

One of my mottos and apparently a motto of my lovely blog readers as well.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, many thanks to each and every person who has sent me great mail art, surprises and gifts in the mail and who comments on the blog to keep me going. Sorry I can't mention all of you by name, by you know who you are and I know who you are too.
It is very much appreciated.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, Thank you to all -- and here is a turkey for you -- all wrapped up and ready to mail.

Hope the American readers all have a lovely, happy Thanksgiving holiday.

I am thankful for the wonderful mail art community!

Gobble Gobble.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Eye Candy and Inspiration

Right before my trip to NYC I spent a day with some lovely pals at The Book Arts Jam.
My first time going.
My friends told me a an all-day outing was about right for it. I was secretly not convinced (thinking all day was too long) -- but they were right.
So much to see and do, free talks and workshops, and an incredible array of beautiful art and altered books.
The time flew by.

First off, there was a little passport station....always a good thing...

Tiny accordion book filled with bird stamps -- very cool. I just wandered from table-to-table looking at all the amazing work the artists were selling.
Check it out below...

Gelli printing (free) demo given by Dorit Elisha. I first heard about Dorit reading Seth Apter's blog The Altered Page awhile back. Dorit and I "met" via e-mail since we both live in the Bay Area and then we met in person at the Book Arts Jam. Her gelli printing was really wonderful as was the artworks she was selling at her table.
Check out her website at that link above and you'll see.

Dorit's gelli printing...

A three fold book cover made from a large inter-office envelope. I like it.

Small suitcase filled with zines! I bought one, of course.

Request a poem -- and have it typed out on a typewriter -- good idea!

My favorite table......since I like to work on making things myself, this table of paper ephemera was my favorite.
Great selection of beautiful papers, old bank books, ledger pages with beautiful cursive writing...on and on...


Luckily I have a lot of paper like this already so I could resist these...

But then I discovered the little packets of resisting those...

I started a little Xmas shopping at this table.....

Another free to make a one-page-wonder zine.  I already knew how but it is fun to see how someone else does it.

Who knew old, outdated foreign currency could be so beautiful? I had to get some of these old, out-of-circulation bills and now I have to think up something to make with them.

Beautiful handmade book by Jody Alexander - click here to check out her Wishi Washi Studio website. A real inspiration. This book was made from Library pockets and Due Date Cards and so cool. I am still wishing I could have bought one. Jody gives classes in her studio in Santa Cruz, CA and she also has online classes. 
My art pals and I are hoping for a day trip down to Santa Cruz to take a workshop with Jody.

So, unlike the kid's book about the No Good, Very Bad Miserable was a
Really Good, Very Fun, Interesting Day at The Book Arts Jam....
There's the link, they have it every year....I'm just sayin'.

Sooooooo things are getting just a little too busy around these parts. I'm just trying to stay with it and get as much done as I can. 
But the fun keeps on coming. I spent all day yesterday in a terrific collage workshop. Just found out about a really good altered book workshop in early December. Next Saturday is the big Cavallini sale,  that big national (US) holiday involving too-much-food is next week, and the SF Correspondence is having a Xmas party coming up soon..... oh yes, and work...
See what I mean? Busy!

And last week was a crummy mail week. I should be glad it gave me a chance to catch up on my own outgoing mail but you know what?
I wasn't happy at all.
I need mail.



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