Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OOh, long time no see!

 The dogwood trees are in bloom, except for mine. It's a hybrid of some kind and we put it in last year and so far no blooms. I can't wait to see what it'll look like once it does have some, in who knows how many years. It's kind of sad looking now. This lovely bloom is on the tree in N & J's front yard.
 We're so happy spring is here. I love all the little flowers that are popping up.
 What are these? Are they primrose? They're in my back garden but I have no idea what they are. I do like them, however.
 Passover was a busy week for us. M arrived from the north and C and L arrived from the west.

 We had a terrific time, with lots of cooking and eating involved. We even "invented" a dessert using chocolate covered matzah. We came up with Matzahmisu, get it? Like Tiramisu! The recipe is HERE on my recipe blog.

We were so sad when everyone left to return home. It was such fun!
 The annual Monument Avenue Easter Parade was perfect this year. The weather was sunny but not too hot. People dressed up or not, and strolled up one side and down the other of Monument Avenue. I caught this mother-daughter duo from behind. They were so colorful and the little girl was so cute with her very tall Easter chapeau.

There were food and beverage tents, crafts, and hats for sale, and games for the kids.
 At each end of the parade there was live music.

The crowd was estimated at 25,000 people!  And it felt like that at times.

Dogs, rabbits, and even a pig, wore bonnets. Not sure any of them like it, but it was cute to see. There was a person dressed as a bunny giving out candy and posing for photos. It was a happy looking bunny so the children weren't freaked out.

Someone set up this darling bunny tea party on their tiny front lawn.
Across the street, a couple of children set up a lemonade and cupcake stand and were doing a brisk business.

A lovely start to spring. Yay!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Slow Art Day and more

 Slow Art Day 2014 was terrific. 21 people showed up, including kids, and all seemed to enjoy it.

This is a painting by Jasper Johns.
 I was too distracted and happily excited to remember to take photos, so these lovely participants suggested that we restage some "looking" moments. The Lee Bontecou piece was intriguing.

I was happy with the five art works I chose and people said that they enjoyed seeing them, also.
Next year, April 11th. Put it on your calendar and join me, or any of the Slow Art Day events near where you live.
 Mail Art happens still, though not daily.

I've got a few of the little musicians left but am slowly finding the right cards to use them on.

My knitting class has ended for this session, but I'll join up again in June. I made these mitts using double pointed needles! I was wanting to learn how to use them.

This year, I plan to continue to knit through summer. In the past, I put it away until cool weather but it's so much fun learning new stuff.

By the way, I didn't create the pattern on these, the yarn did. Cool yarn!!  Do you knit?
My new forsythia bush.

It'll be green before long but I'm looking forward to next pring when it'll be yellow again. I love forsythia, the herald of spring.

What's your favorite spring plant/flower?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Slow Art Day 2014


ID stickers for event

Main Entrance area
"It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see."
Henry David Thoreau

Slow Art Day is the global all-volunteer event with a simple mission: help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art. This year there are more than 225 venues!

Why Slow?
When people look slowly at a piece of art they make discoveries.
The most important discovery they make is that they can see and experience art without an expert (or expertise).
And that’s an exciting discovery. It unlocks passion and creativity and helps to create more art fans.

This is my 3rd year hosting. I'm very excited to show off the paintings that I've chosen for this year's participants. I have 45 people registered, which is double from last year, plus a few more coming that haven't registered. I'm not sure how many people will actually show up. I'll post photos from the event shortly afterwards.  Check the list HERE to see if there's an event in your city.

Sunday, April 06, 2014


Oh lovely spring has come at last, and the geese are mostly gone from our little fountain lake, and the trees are blooming. So pretty.

Mary, of Uncustomary, has asked us to write about Travel this month, but I forgot to post on the date that she assigned. So it goes.

I did, however, think about it a lot.

Here are a couple of photos from a couple of our trips, and my thoughts that this topic prompted.

I grew up in a neighborhood and a family where people didn't plan to go to Europe because they CAME from Europe. But I wanted to go travel there. I don't know why, but I did.

I wanted to learn lots of different languages and travel. I can remember thinking about this when I was 10 or 11 years old. Meanwhile, my friends were yelling at their mothers, "Speak English, Ma!"

I never thought I'd get to travel anywhere, other than our car trips to the neighboring state for my father to fish in some new lake or river, or when I was a bit older, cross half the country by train to see my older sister and her husband in California.

But by chance, I got a job that permitted me to go to far away places, and then later, my husband and I got to travel together.

We went to Denmark and Portugal, off the beaten path back in the day. And then we got to France, and Spain, and England, oh my. I loved it. Even later on we were fortunate enough to travel with our kids and spend weeks in a foreign city, soaking up the new and different, and other languages.

My husband received residencies and we were able to return many times to a wonderful studio in Paris, where we met artists from all over the world. We learned that we're all the same, not that we didn't know this, but we really got to experience that. I still think about it and how fortunate we've been to have had this. Amazing memories, and friendships that continue even over great distances.

Now I've added to my traveling in a different way, by sending out Mail Art
all over the world. 

This piece went to Marseille, to an exhibit about Mermaids.

If you've never left home, traveled some place different, I highly recommend it. You don't have to cross the seas or continents, just go to some place new nearby even, and just enjoy the experience. Or even, send Mail Art to people far away. Whatever you decided to do, it'll expand your mind.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Mail Art and knitting and SPRING!

 I've had this Gettysburg, PA battlefield postcard for awhile. It's got a message on the back and was originally mailed in 1941. How to alter a postcard of the bloodiest battlefield in the U.S.?
It felt good to put the little musician (or big by scale in this case) there to play a commemorative tune. One day, I'm planning to take a road trip to Gettysburg. Have you been there?
 In my knitting group, I'm challenging myself to learn new things. I wanted to learn to follow a color change pattern.

I made the small hat, or rather it turned out child sized, first. I made the color changes too tightly, but Zinn looks great in this hat and she liked it.

I plotted out a pattern on graph paper and using only two colors, made this slouch hat. It's worked on a round needle. I'm pleased with the results and, Voila! It fits an adult head!

My next challenge is to learn to use double pointed needles. I've found an easy fingerless glove pattern to work with.

Did I show you these cute little baby hats that my sister makes? I put them in my Etsy shop.

I sent my sister the slouch hat pattern and the circular needle. I'm excited to have her try something new, too. I hope she's excited about that.

Spring is here! These Star of Bethlehem plants always make me happy. I dug up some of the plants several years ago from a nearby alley way and planted them in our front garden. They spring up amongst the rocks and look so friendly.
 Okay, so I spoil him by not immediately chasing him away from the laptop. It's sort of my way of seeing how BIG he's getting. Still growing, oh my.

Yesterday was drizzly and chilly, so I decided it was Lentil Soup time again. This is a fabulous recipe, which I've posted before. it's from the cookbook Veganomicon. Even if you're not a vegan or even a vegetarian, you'll enjoy this recipe. It can be found on my recipe blog HERE.

    Let me know if you make the soup.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

THURSDAY Time for catching up

 My older sister sent me a couple packages of books and included some other goodies, including an old pattern. Since I'll never make myself a tee-shirt, I am going to use the pattern in collages.

 Random text always adds a bit of intrigue for me. An incomplete story, a bit of conversation overheard in passing, the start of a dialogue, all of that and more.

I received a lovely collaged Mail Art piece from someone but they forgot to put a return address on it. To make up for that, the artist sent me a color copy of the original collage with her address - how could I resist re-cycling the copy.

Anyone guess where this figure came from? It's a famous painting.

Here's another figure from that famous painting.  I found an old, 1956, National Geographic Magazine. That made me happy as I had new things to cut out for collages. I'm getting bored with my scraps and needed new material. Does that happen to you? 

A couple of days ago, after the snow had melted, I spotted this tiny plant in my front garden. 

The sun is out today, though chilly.
Tomorrow, spring is predicted. How nice.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Oh My, the time when by so quickly!

 I've been making Mail Art but at a different pace these days. Some days, not at all and other days, more than one.

Prints of my Tiny Town that were left from my exhibit last year, have water damage from the flood in my studio.

Not the images but the area at the bottom of the page. SO....
 I've been cutting out the images, and altering the alterations! What fun, Tiny Town redux, as it were.

Adding the little vintage musicians has been fun for me. It changes up the images so much, right?

 What do you think?  Now I have new stories about the residents of Tiny Town and the child musicians who visit them.

I'm doing some simple collages, too.

These simple town compositions are as appealing to me as altering the vintage cards.
 I'd forgotten how good it feels to tear paper!
 Mrs. Andrews, with whom I've exchanged mail since 10 years ago, at least, sent me a sweet small piece which the postal service thought deserved to be put into a larger envelope so it wouldn't get damaged. Fortunately, Mrs. Andrews didn't put her return address, ensuring that I'd receive her Mail Art.
 I changed up my REAL Wall again. It's so inspiring. 19 artists are displayed here from 10 countries.

I have so many more wonderful pieces of Mail Art to display but they'll have to wait until next month. I'm enjoying this grouping very much.

Is there anything from YOU up here?

Thursday, March 06, 2014


The Kitties always dress in costume when they visit famous sites.
 Mary England of Uncustomary has set this month's theme as Optimism.

Perfect! If you ask any one that knows me they'll tell you that I'm an optimist, though I went through a period where I wasn't but that was temporary and unusual. Why am I optimistic? I have no idea, I wish I could tell you why. If I could I'd write a book and cure the world of pessimism. oh well.

 My parents were optimists, maybe that helps, being around people like that growing up. Or maybe it's in the DNA? I'm sure there are already books on this subject, probably lots of them, I haven't checked.

There's plenty to get down about, just read the news, watch TV, listen to the radio, all bad stuff that most of us can't do a thing about.

 I'm lucky! I can make stuff and that takes me away from the bad news into the state of bliss that fills me up with optimism.

And I can hang out with children in a fun way, like yesterday spending time with my friends' 6 year old. Wow, what fun that was to just have a conversation with him. Or spending lots of time looking at a photo album of baby photos with my grand, who just loves doing that. Lucky me.
 And then there's the cat, who helps us laugh and forget the bad stuff in the world. Lucky us. A moment to laugh!

Why is this bag so intriguing? He loves getting into it.

I got Mail Art the other day from someone in South Africa. On the outside it said "full," on the inside was a card that said "empty."  I guess optimism is the one that puts the focus on "full."

And here's a quote from Wendell Berry that says "optimism" to me:
"Be joyful /
though you have considered all the facts."

My wish for you - have a full day, full of things that will give you joy and a sense of optimism.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Catching up on Mail Art and more.

 I'm so happy when I make Mail Art.

I hadn't made any for a few days and I was missing it so I popped into my studio last night and set out some collages.
 Today, I glued down the collages, with some tweeking, and it just felt so good to be doing it.

Minimal Mail Art returns! yay.

I made this piece specifically for a request for a piece of Mail Art for a friend of a person in the Mail Art union. I hope it cheered him up.

This is an odd photo of my grand. That's her looking up at us from the tray. I'd received a baby head Mail Art from Stephanie (mail art friend) last year. I gave it to Z this autumn and she loved it. We made one with her face, laminated it, and gave it to her. She now carries around both of these BABEES. She loves them. I may have mentioned this before, forgive me if I'm repeating myself.

It's that time of year again, Slow Art Day 2014, which takes place on 12 April this year. I'll be hosting again at VMFA. If you're interested in attending, register HERE.
And here's a little turtle to remind you, again, more slowly, look slowly, but act quickly to register!