Friday, October 31, 2008

Dia de Bloglandia rewind

Thank you for joining us.  Meet Allysandra, our guide.

Look who is in the parade.

Its Irving. He's been helping out on Wall Street lately. Too bad he's scared of bears.

And Silliberto. He adores all things theatrical.

You may have seen Dribbles on one of those days that ruin your hair.

They really do mean well. And Allysandra has everything well in hand.

Mama Rojo scares away those hot flashes. Although sometime she is one.

Sid is from New Orleans. Oh, the tales he could tell.

Loco Rocco is just here for the candy.

But keep a close eye on the twins, Pierrepont and Robespierre. They love to confuse and confound.

Everyone settle down.

It's time for our party. Not only is it Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, it's my birthday! I am so happy you are here to celebrate a special birthday with me. Come in, come in. There's plenty of cake.

Did you have something to eat? Some punch from the cauldron? Then it's time to meet the Sisters. They have guided our loved ones to join us.

Our dear Barbara, with the kitties Nails and Hi-Tops. She always loved roses and steamers and a good cup of tea.

Uncle Albie was bawdy and funny and loved his family and the finer things in life.

Grandma and Grandpa sailed to America as small children and must have liked it. They crossed the Atlantic whenever they could.

And my darling Yuki. There was never another cat like him.

And all the others we love and miss and celebrate. Before they return we will celebrate their lives. No sadness, no tears. Just joy at having them a part of our lives. Which they remain even now. 

And now go visit Stephanie here and see what else Dia de Bloglandia holds in store.

Please stand by

The veil has thinned and the celebration is under way, but my attempt to tell this story in installments is not working to my satisfaction. So forgive me while I lure these playful spirits back into the green room with Halloween candy and rearrange things. 

In the meantime, here are two playful spirits who have just enjoyed ice cream and cake and started the celebration in high style. Guess who had chocolate?

Dia de Bloglandia II

Dia de Bloglandia I

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Time Draws Nigh


Can you hear it? The magical month of October is building to a spectacular finish.


There! Did you hear that? Probably just the floorboards. . . under the carpet.


Are the hairs standing up on your arms? No need to be afraid. I have some friends who will protect us. But you must come for the celebration. 


Wait, what was that? Could the wind make a laughing sound?

You will have to wait until Thursday when the festivities begin to find out. But here's a hint:

Se habla Espanol alli.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Advice from Luggage Land

Anyone who rules the Land of Lost Luggage knows a thing or two we ordinary mortals overlook. Julie, the chief sorceress of this magical realm, occasionally treats all of us to one her excellent tutorials and some good advice. Take it from me, Julie's tutorials are not to be missed. I guarantee you'll learn something you will use again and again. See her latest HERE.

In a follow-up post, she urged readers to use what they have. I love this, since this has been my philosophy, too. I hope Julie doesn't mind if I add to her suggestion. There is so much that is out there to be had without spending a penny. To whit:

1. Old magazines. Of course you're going to give a batch to the senior center, but before you recycle the rest, reuse them. Try to see familiar images in unfamiliar ways and don't be afraid to alter them ala Teesha Moore

2. Homemade art paper. Michelle Ward has tons of tutorials on how to make your own tools and create beautiful art papers. Try the crayon resist method or homemade rubber stamps. One warning though -- some of her techniques are addictive. 

3.  Junk mail. Tear up those Chinese take-out menus, catalogs and the liners inside bill envelopes. And don't forget old phone book pages, seed packets and that mountain of fliers your schoolkids bring home. The latter is great for turning into art paper.

4. Book sales. Around here the last two days of a book sale are free. The truth is sale organizers often cart whatever is left over to the dump, so you're actually doing them a favor. Those old art history textbooks that no one wants are particularly tasty. Just don't be like me and feel you have to rescue all the unloved poets. 

5. Your library. Now we know you aren't going to photocopy anything that is copyrighted, but there's plenty that's in the pubic domain. And if you're in doubt, that is what the reference librarian is there for. Your library might even have some of the Dover books that are made to be used by artists. And don't forget books with old maps and charts. 

6. Your children's drawings. I don't mean the darling ones you'll keep forever. But how about the other ones, the ones that even your budding Picasso or O'Keefe dismisses with a wave of a tempera-painted hand? The ones that were the product of keeping your 3-year-old busy while his big sister was in the dentist's chair. Yes, those.

7. Old holiday and birthday cards. Not the ones that were lovingly made by hand, but those other ones that you were happy to receive but quick to toss. Or if you're a pack rat like me, lay forgotten in a drawer somewhere.

8. Your scanner. Being one of the last dinosaurs without a digital camera, I depend on my scanner for this blog. Using it so much has opened my eyes to its possibilities. I scan all kinds of things from nature. Instant art!  Try some beautiful fall leaves. You'll really be able to capture their brilliance.

9. Old photos. Why buy vintage ephemera when you have your own vintage photos? Scan some of those family photos and use them in your collages. Not only are they free, the significance of your work will be so much greater.

10. Gift wrap. That birthday present was so beautiful before your 10-year-old turned it into confetti in about ten seconds. Next time, save some pieces and throw them on your scrap pile. Ditto paper from showers, anniversaries and Christmas. And don't overlook the tissue paper. Layered tissue can be quite beautiful. 

That should get you started.  And just think -- you'll be saving money and the environment. Doing this will even get your creative muscles working. You'll see familiar things with new eyes. And isn't that part of the reason we do art in the first place?

So get over to Julie's and learn what to do with your new-found treasures. Just be sure to heed her advice and limit it to two drawers. There is such a thing as too many riches.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

For Ariel on her 20th

Ariel Mermaid

If I could, I would give you juicy words bound in pages
that would let you take flight
or dissolve yourself in the colors and shapes
of the Modern masters on silky smooth and glossy plates

But my gift will be virtual
and without paper boundaries
so we can visit beautiful Tuscany
and sit in the shade of a cypress and paint

Then stroll into town
and order espressos from someone young and dark
and beautiful
with languid eyes the color of Roman coffee
Paulo, I think, or maybe Tomaso

And I will tell you of the places we must travel
to London and Sydney and San Francisco
to see the irreverent street art 
of the brilliant Banksy

Or to Barcelona
where all things Gaudi

will give us fresh eyes
when we visit Senor Picasso

When our feet are tired
I will tell you of other places
bizarre and symbolic and Dali-esque world

And the realm saturated in color and form

Or alive with line and motion
from the hand of Jesse Reno

And along the way
there will be smaller travels
to mine the tiny gems of Georgia O'Keefe

Or the great Henri Matisse

But mostly, Ariel, I want to give you food
for inspiration
and contemplation
and ways to see the world 
both fresh and deep.

Happy Birthday, Ariel.
Once a merchild, you now walk upon legs of your own.
May all your journeys be full of wonder and joy and discovery.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fearless Fun

Can you smell it? A mixture of pumpkins, candy corn, wood smoke, freshly fallen leaves and if you're like me -- birthday cake? That's October. Because we are such close friends, I will let you in on a secret. Come a little closer so I can whisper it in your ear: I have an important birthday coming up just a few hours before a really spooky holiday. 

How to celebrate? Well, there should be partying and by coincidence, there are two online events that nicely coincide. The uber-talented gals at Rodrigivitz Style and Susanna's Sketchbook are throwing a Dia de Bloglandia celebration to mark el Dia de los Muertos -- the Day of the Dead. This Mexican holiday falls on All Saints Day and honors the deceased by partying with their favorite food and music, building shrines in remembrance and visiting their grave sites. It's the kind of joyous celebration in the face of the unknown that I appreciate more and more.

Coincidentally, Michelle Ward's latest GPP Street Team Crusade is Final Wishes. It's been a tough year for Michelle and it has made her cognizant about how important it is to make your final wishes known to loved ones. This is scary but important work that everyone needs to do.

So as the veil grows thinnest between worlds (or dimensions if you prefer), I plan on honoring all those I love on both sides and throwing in a little fun. A tall order, but worth trying. Come back Nov. 2 for the celebration.

And don't forget to wear a marigold in your hair.