Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Latch Hooked spine

The lower edge of the photo is a latch hooked spine I made for a journal cover. The colors match the distressed fabric that Linda created a lot better than is evident in the photo. For a tutorial about latch hooking go to:
For some reason I had assumed that I'd done latch hooking a long time ago, but after struggling with the first few strands of yarn I decided that I'd never used the tool before. My daughter made a few small rugs from kits; nice to know that I hadn't completely forgotten how to do it!

The next step for the removable journal book cover using the kit from Linda is to make a pellon cover that the spine and distressed fabric will be adhered to. Remembering the covers for text books? In case you don't here is a tut:

I've glued down the first fold to the size of the journal leaving the flap edge free so that the journal cover will slide into them. Next I'll glue the latch hook spine onto the center of the cover followed by a 1/3 of the distressed fabric. The back of the cover is yet to be created. (I'll photograph the steps later.) The remaining 2/3 of the fabric might become a wall hanging.

My comfort zone has been tampered with. I don't feel comfortable living here yet. Many days I feel like I'm struggling against the tide rather than flowing with it which causes stress, something I don't need more of.

I thought about tidying up the house before the AC repairman arrived today and then didn't. Wouldn't you know it he needed to go up into the attic; the hatch for the attic is in my master bedroom closet. No clothes in that closet; it's wall-to-wall storage for art supplies. I said that it was embarrassing to not be able to set up the ladder in there due to the overflow on the floor. "Let me say this," he said. "I've seen so many things over the years but to see such a large amount of art supplies rather than unnecessary shoes or expensive show-off clothes is something I never see. I would love to know what you do with all of it. To me it's the most interesting closet I've ever seen! And you're painting in the bathroom! Original! Usually, I see bottles of makeup etc. not tubes of paint! Never apologize for being you."
Nice guy who brightened my day!!! I can't seem to work in a tidy space. But I do have to have the kitchen and living room tidy. When the AC guy was leaving he said, "Besides, you've got very clean main rooms, who needs to know what you do in your bathroom or closet? Get back to creating!"

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Painted Fabric

"T" sent me lots of fabulous fabric a few months ago. I don't know why but this print "wanted" some color on it. The red is courtesy of Golden's Fluid Acrylics; very tedious and even though I added textile medium to the paint it's a little on the stiff side. The green leaves, yellow and blue flowers are Marvy Fabric Markers. Easy, fast with fairly good coverage

Woke late, took an Advil sleeping aid, and assumed that the clock was wrong. The bedroom was still dark. When the shades were opened I was shocked to see heavy clouds had blanketed us. Hoping that the gloom also meant cooler temps I wandered outside to check on the garden. Oppressive heat slapped me in the face so hard that I wanted to scream. Its a good day to deep water the trees something I nearly gave up on while adjusting the drip. Just too hot too be outdoors going back and forth from the water faucet to the tree.

Our female cat decided that the newly painted fabric was the perfect place for a morning snooze. I tried to snap a photo of her lying on the fabric, but she's camera shy. She did however consent to adding shadows to the fabric by perching at the edge.

A spider decided that I was yummy; I'm now sporting 4 painful bites on my legs! We're in dire need of an exterminator! Too many crickets playing in the house at night, the gnat population has increased so much that yawning isn't advisable unless one enjoys a mouthful of them. and now spiders have entered the premises.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Finally! Some new work! Stencils, as I feared, are difficult to cut out! Armed with a self-healing mat, a new craft knife, and hours of quiet all to myself (who says that insomnia isn't a good thing?!) I browsed through the clip art books until I came up with a few possibilities. Sleep eluded me until 3am.

The animal is supposed to be cougar; he ended up stenciled onto a journal page. The mono-printed flower stencil is more interesting to me than the stenciled version. Today, I woke up late and was immediately assaulted with, "I can't find anything! I was reading a book and when I came out of the bathroom it wasn't where I left it." This happens frequently with mom and I have absolutely no idea if she's finished the book and put it away or if she's put it in a "safe" place. She does put things in odd places for "safe-keeping" and I can only assume that she's done it again. I'm not in the mood to go on a hunting expedition so I said that I was positive it would show up. A few minutes later she came shuffling into my room again. "Now I can't the water glass! This is an awful day!" I have to agree!

Anyway, to squash today's frustration I worked on a postcard. Lots and lots of layers of stencils, rubber stamps, gesso covered foreign text and anything else I sitting around that I thought might look like mail art.

I have a huge urge to take flight and run away from home! This week has been full of stressful moments including receiving some alarming news about my health. The idea of being sent to a cardiologist wasn't something I expected to happen to me! Quote: Art is the only way to leave home without leaving home. Twyla Twarp
Later: A few additions to the postcard including a transparency from my personal collection. Yes, I've used the image before; it's obviously a favorite one. The placement of the transparency amused me. Notice the circle around the guys eye; it's from an earlier stamping of the number 8.

Friday, July 27, 2007

More Palm Trees!

More Palm Trees! Date Palms are everywhere! The white bags hanging from them, take my word for it there are bags hanging from them, indicate that harvesting will be soon. This is the second time since moving here that I've seen either white cotton bags or brown paper wrapped around the clusters of dates. Click on the photos to get a better idea . . .

The lower right photo was shot through the windshield, thus the blue cast of the sky. On my return trip to the dialysis clinic to pick up Stacy and mom I grabbed my camera so that I could get this shot. I turn left at the intersection, barely visible, and about a mile down Jackson St. is the view on the lower left. The clouds have been sensational this week! I still can't get over how barren the mountains are! Not a green speck on them.

I'm running on empty again! Energy deficit tries my patience! A close friend, Linda, sent me an Art Fiber Kit to experiment with and I'm itching to make a journal cover! Maybe tomorrow! Linda created a yummy piece of distressed fabric that is the highlight of the kit. I'm finding it difficult to cut and embellish the organic textural fabric. Why is it that one-of-a-kinds are so wrought with anxiety? Nothing should be so precious that we don't use it; saving something for later is nonsensical.

Check out Linda's blog!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I've never heard of the term "Monsoonal" until I moved here! I always assumed that monsoons were tropical with torrential rain and hurricane-like-winds. Apparently I'm wrong; monsoonal seems to mean high humidity, clouds, rain in the mountains (but not on the desert floor) and perhaps thunderstorms. Who knew?

The top photo is of our fast-growing Tipu that is magnificent against the sky! The vine in the bottom photo is a Madagascar vine that has
sweet-smelling white flowers on it. At the foot of the vine are a couple of pots of cacti I brought with me from Pacific Grove including the Barrel Cactus that I've had for 24 years or so. It loves it here!
I haven't done anything creative in 7 days! Call me "cranky." My SO as "he" has decided he'd prefer to be called online, arrived via car last Friday. He flew out of Palm Springs this morning and will be gone until August 6Th. We visited lots of nurseries until I had to put an end to that; heat exhaustion! Way too many plants haven't survived the intense heat, so the search was on for something that would. What did we end up with? A fragile vine and a tree Gardenia! Not my idea of easy-to-grow!

The humidity earlier this week was staggering. I guess that it's true, dry heat is easier to live in.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Desert Sunset

Is there anything more glorious than a sunset? We were treated to a cloudy sky most of the day; when the sun started to set I grabbed the camera and stood out in the front yard with bugs buzzing me. The heat hadn't abated, 109 today, but when nature provides such a glorious painted sky I want to be there to see it! As far as I can tell I was the only one on the block who enjoyed the showy sunset.

Not Yet!

The bloom hasn't opened yet, but it's getting closer! I can't remember a time when I didn't love the look of ink drawings; now I can create them the easy way with PSE.

Mom was sick yesterday with some sort of stomach problem that I didn't know about until I had to literally rush around getting organized so that I could sit with Stacy at the dialysis clinic. In her Alzheimer's state mom couldn't figure out why she could stay home in bed; after all, she's the one who sits with Stacy. She did however go back to bed when she finally realized that I could do the sitting. Confusion is an awful thing to deal with and my patience are often tried beyond my limits. I want to scream at the top of lungs, "I want my mom back!" This person who has invaded mom's body isn't the one that I know.
Mom is okay today, though, when she came staggering into the house a little while ago carrying her laundry basket because she noted that Stacy and I are doing the laundry today she said, "I can hardly stand it in my room." For the millionth time I asked, "Do you have the AC on?" She always looks perplexed when I ask that. It was 96 in her room when Stacy and I got home from the clinic. Mom was in her bed with a robe on under the blanket and comforter! "I did think that it was hot in here," she said when I turned on the AC, "but couldn't figure out what to do." Sheesh! 91 degrees in the casita today and she couldn't remember how to turn on the AC. She's staggering around today looking like she might fall over any second! I can't convince her to stop coming into the house to check on her laundry. It's only towels and underwear, nothing she needs to worry about. But I know she won't settle down until everything is put away; only then will she be able to stop holding onto the thought that she must remember to get her laundry out of the dryer.

I grabbed a stack of old magazines as I was racing out the door yesterday. I find that sitting for 3 hours at the clinic is a great time to go through old mags and cut out inspiring articles, quotes, and ideas. I had forgotten about Katherine Chang Liu's art until I rediscovered it in a Watercolor magazine. From the article: Liu explained that although the style of her painting had evolved from representational to abstract over the course of her career, she had always been interested in patterns, textures, and forms that capture her response to a place and an experience.
Sounds a little like me and I imagine a lot of others as well!

I googled her and found this: http://tinyurl.com/2oz88u

In another issue of Watercolor magazine: "Though challenges may slow us down a little, perseverance makes us stronger," Linda L. Moyer, painter.

I know this quote to be true even though I often fight and curse the challenges that have occurred I have ended up through perseverance become stronger than I ever thought possible; deep inside I'm a wimp! I also persevere to find time to create and when there are long stretches between time in my studio/work space and care-giving I'm the crankiest person anyone can imagine! On that note I'm off to set up the sewing machine. I put away two weeks ago before R. visited.

Art soothes the crankiest beast.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Plumeria! Who knew that I'd try a Hawaiian flower? I'm impatiently waiting for these two to open. They're right outside of my bedroom window under the pergola. I have a feeling that the intense desert sun might be too much for them even though the info. on them is that they like up to 6 hours of bright sunlight. The newly planted flowering plum tree is now enshrouded in burlap to keep it from getting anymore sunburned! The leaves started to crisp on the edges; what wouldn't get crispy in this heat!?

What can be more luxurious than sleeping in until 10:30 in a new soft bed? The decade old bed had been purchased for its hard mattress in the belief that I needed lots of support for my back and hips. But lately that belief wasn't living up to itself so the full size bed was traded in for a queen size one with a pillow top. Oh my gosh! The luxury is almost too much and I find it very difficult to get up in the morning. The old sheets had so many holes in them that my toes would get caught in them. I splurged and got a high cotton count and will never ever again buy cheap sheets! After all, one's bed needs to be a comfortable haven!

I stayed up until 2am this morning, so I deserved to sleep in, cutting out patterns and paint and rust dyeing the muslin pieces. My hands are blue tinged today, when will I remember to wear gloves! I cut out a shirt and a long skirt. I picked up a new pattern on Tuesday at JoAnn's for pants and skirts. I think that the last time I wore a skirt was in the 80's! I didn't even wear a dress to my daughter's wedding, but I remember how nice it is to wear a long skirt on hot evenings. The pattern has an elastic waist, deep pockets and a back split; should be fairly easy to make. I have a feeling though, that I should have chosen to cut out the larger size out rather than the smaller one. When did patterns start having 3 sizes to choose from!? The cut out pieces are rust dyeing. The shirt pieces were Dyna-flow paint dyed. I wet fabric and sponged on Turquoise paint, scrunched the fabric until the paint was fairly evenly blended. The fabric was then scrunched up into tight balls and left to dry. This morning there were crackled blotches of deeper Turquoise in random areas. Nice pattern. The only thing that was wrong was that the front pieces weren't dyed as dark as the sleeves, back or yoke was! I doubt that I can get the color right but after they dried I redid them a little bit darker. So naturally, they'll have more crackled blotches on them. The fabric is after all hand-dyed!

I've mentioned the heat; probably too much! But it's painful when it reaches 121 which it did last week, I don't think though that I've mentioned the bugs! I nearly packed my bags and left this morning when a cricket the size of a mouse joined me in the bathroom! We've had numerous crickets in the house but this one was by far the largest one I've ever seen! I stood there swearing at it hoping it would die of fright, but no such luck. Of course I was bare-foot so I ordered the darn thing to stay put until I could find the flip-flops. Amazingly enough it didn't move! They usually jump off to a safe place before I can find something to smash them with; I'm all for getting rid of bugs that invade my territory. If they leave me alone I leave them alone, but when one that large makes its presence known one of us is going down!
Stacy later told me that there is a "monster" cricket in the house somewhere and she was so scared by it that she went back to bed this morning! No wonder she didn't come in to wake me up. She's relieved to know that it's no longer wandering around the house.

The gnats are the other bug that is driving me nuts! Who knew that they would multiply and take over the entire house!? I must have inhaled hundreds of them by now. They end up in our glasses of water, in the food, in our noses and eyes until we're nearly driven mad! Guess it's time to call an exterminator!

Yesterday was one of those days-from-hell that strike without warning! Had to deal with more health oriented issues than I had patience for! The Ins. keeps changing about what meds are covered leaving me scrambling for samples from the doctors until I can order the meds online from Canada! One of Stacy's meds always needs a prior authorization before its filled and the staff in the doctor's office always has a million reasons why its taken over a week to get to the paperwork. Then there was the post office line that was ridiculous (my friend needed his cell phone that he forgot to pack on Tuesday when he left after a week-long visit), the paving being done in the pharmacy parking lot; smelling tar in 105 degree heat walking further than I have energy for wasn't pleasant! Then there was the mistake in billing for the meds that were ready at the pharmacy, then there was the road construction, then the computers were down in the dialysis clinic causing glitches and delays getting on and off the dialysis machine, then . . . by the time I got home I needed to be alone! Mom couldn't figure out where the bread was or how to make a sandwich, again! and one of the cats had thrown up! "Don't I have wine with my lunch?" mom asked. Since when? Of course she couldn't get the cork out of the wine bottle or find the wine glasses. Sheesh! Today I found the lunch meat in the freezer along with the mayo! I forgot to check the freezer after she'd made lunch for Stacy and herself; she puts too many items into the freezer that should go back into the refrigerator; mayo doesn't freeze very well, good thing I had a new jar in the pantry!
And to top things off the nurse from Dr. D's office, mom's doctor, phoned at 2pm to say that the bone density test had come back and that the doctor needs to see mom to give her the results! "We can't have them over the phone," I asked. "He'd like for her to come in next week." Now what?!

But yesterday ended on a high note when a package of goodies arrived from C! I have the "bestest" friends; people I've never met in person, but who I feel close to anyway. Yummy fibers, fabric, books, beads, game pieces, the tiniest journal in the world, journal cards by Randi Feuerhelm-Watts(I'm a fan of her work!) texture plates . . . oh my gosh! I'm so thankful and blessed to have special people in my life who take the time to send me goodies! T, D, and L have also sent my packages when I seem to need them the most.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

114 One-hundred-fourteen!

No matter how it's written it's hot!!! That's one very large number. In fact the hydrangea on the June 7th post is burnt to a crisp! I feel like I had a hand its death; maybe if I hadn't brought it home with me someone else would have taken it home to a safer place. I moved it to a shady spot, but that didn't help it to survive. Roses are also crispy along with a few vines and some annuals are fainting from heat stroke.

The background on the digital piece, obviously seeing how it's definitely not hand-done, is a piece of cross stitch fabric that was rusted, the dark blotchy areas, and then painted with Dy-na Flow fabric paints. I plan to do some creative embroidery next. "Creative" being the operative word. My stitches never seem to look anything like the examples I try to emulate. The newspaper clipping is from the front page of today's newspaper. I love how they word it, "Good Morning! Today's Valley high, low 114 76." The 76 is wishful thinking seeing how the nights haven't been below 90 in a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow marks our 9th month of living in the desert, which I've decided is the hottest place in the country! The joke going around it that if you want to cool off you go a little north to Death Valley. I'm starting to feel a little more at home here and while the traffic isn't as "light" as I was led to believe, it isn't as bad as even Monterey was becoming. That it itself is a good thing. I don't do well with a lot of noise or in crowded situations; too much sensory stimulation has an effect on my health. When I was in school I had a difficult time sitting in classrooms and often felt the urge to get up and run. Maybe it was a form of panic attacks, but I now know it to be a part of the FM/CFS. Most of us who have one or both of the chronic illness tend to lead quiet lives. The tolerance level for having too much activity isn't good. So, when two weeks are jammed packed with errands, doctor appointments and having medical tests done I'm left exhausted and unbalanced along with a flu-like flareup that sends me to bed, but wait! I can't go to bed to recuperate because I have daily calamities to deal with, not mine, but mom's and Stacy's. Mom has "conveniently" forgotten about my health issues and looks at me like I'm nuts when I say that I need to wait awhile before tending to her latest crisis. A mini-blind falling off of the window isn't going anywhere, but confusion over remote controls and not being able to turn TV channels gets immediate attention.

This is the second time a mini blind has broken in her room and the 3rd one that has needed to be replaced. I'm fed up with Home Depot's cheap brand so we're having an estimate done Tuesday afternoon for some Hunter Douglas ones. After coughing up $4,500 for the few in the living room along with drapes in the Casita I know I'm not ready to hear the estimate. The only good thing is that if the cord breaks someone comes out to repair it!! And hopefully it will be years before that happens and not a mere few months. That was yesterday's calamity. I'm still waiting for today's . . .

Friday night's crisis involved trying to use remotes for the VCR or the CD to turn on the TV. "I haven't been able to watch TV since we arrived in this God forsaken place! I can't turn the channels and the picture is fuzzy. I need a new TV!" Seeing how I got her a new TV and VCR a little over a year ago (and now realize that they probably weren't broken, she probably couldn't figure out how to use them) I decided that there must be an easy explanation. There was. She had turned the VCR on making the picture on the screen fuzzy and was trying to turn the channels with the remote control for the CD player. The TV remote was conveniently sitting on her nightstand but it didn't look familiar. Once I got everything figured out and bit my tongue to keep from saying that she has watched TV (I'd seen it on while I was watering a few nights before) she said. "Well aren't you something! Is there anything you can't do? I always feel so stupid," in a tone of voice that wasn't pleasant, I left her alone. I guess she figured that she'd annoyed me because it wasn't until yesterday morning that I learned that the cord had broken on the blinds. She's taped them to the window with packing tape. Packing tape on glass isn't something one should do! There is now a residue left all over the window! "Oh well, you'll just have to figure out how to clean it off," I was told. Somehow she'd bundled up the blinds and taped them to the window with about a roll of tape! This isn't something she would have done a few years ago, but she no longer has reasoning skills and does the strangest things.

I did have something grand happen this week. I went to Home Depot to pick up some shade cloth that will hopefully prevent the death of a few vines and spotted a couple leaving the nursery with My Tree! I'd had the pleasure of watching a flowering plum grow for 21 years in Pacific Grove and have been yearning for something to replace it with since I started planning the backyard garden. The tree is deciduous, which I love because every Spring the entire tree gets new leaves. The leaves seem to be great food for a variety of insects so by Fall the tree ends up looking raggedy. Every Spring I looked forward to a couple of weeks of white and pink flowers. I was putting the tree into the cart when a nurseryman told me that because I'm planting the tree in hot July I might not get blossoms the first year, just the beautiful purple black leaves. Right now I don't care! The tree has provided the yard with something that was missing; colorful leaves!!! The tree is small and once it's in the ground all 5 feet 8 inches of me will either be at eye level with the few branches or tower above it! The photo on the upper right is of the tree I left behind.