Monday, July 1, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen...The BEATLES!

    A couple of years ago, my eldest daughter wanted an original piece of art from me for her birthday. Like all of our family, she loves The Beatles, and her favorite song is "A Day in the Life". I was so excited to find an image of John's hand written manuscript for that song to incorporate into a mixed media collage for my daughter. (Warning, these are not professional quality photos of these pieces, just what I took at home..the lighting is not so great.)

   The next year she expected a new piece in the series. (I didn't know it was a series.) And I did Paul, and found his writing of the lyrics for "Hey Jude", which my daughter and I sang along with him (and thousands of others) a number of years ago at a concert in Dallas when she was about 13.  (My oldest son was also there; he was working the show and had set up, handled Paul's instruments, and sat with us for a while before the show began.) It was awesome; I cried.

The Beatles In Their Own Write Series so far, mixed media collage


This May I did the latest, George, with his handwritten words to "Something", a song that B loves and has often said she wants played at her wedding.




The epilogue to this is that later in the month we took my youngest daughter R on a long (school night) road trip to Tulsa, amid the risk and reality of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms, to see Paul McCartney in concert. What a fabulous night!..even if we were soaking wet during the concert...and we were... 

Paul rocked long and hard, sang all the songs you'd want to hear, was charming, energetic, nostalgic, dynamic...and as her first real concert, all the shooting fire and indoor fireworks during "Live and Let Die" really blew my 15 year old away. (You can see pieces of this concert tour at youtube, and even of the Tulsa concert we attended. With the pyrotechnics.) I was so touched and emotional during his tributes to John and to George, and with the lovely Linda moment of "Maybe I'm Amazed", such a wonderful song, but my most emotional and moving moment was during the sing-along portion of "Hey Jude", once again, looking over and seeing R and Edward singing along. I felt teary, exulted, grateful, included in a meaningful community experience, full of love.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

On the Dark Path—Out in the World and Available for Purchase




It was a long wait, but last week I mailed the fairy tale anthology to 47 poets, from the US, Canada, Spain and Jamaica  (I was in the post office an hour! I didn't know you had to fill out custom forms for Canada. Also, discovered there is no international Book Rate or as it is known now, Media Mail...not even for Canada. On the upside, I did see two ducks waddling across the PO parking lot in the rain.)



On the Dark Path is also now available from Amazon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fairy Tale Poetry Anthology Ready Soon


“On the Dark Path is a hauntingly beautiful collection of poems that lead us deeper into these ancient tales than we’ve been before. Powerful, surprising, sometimes brutal, these poems enchant the imagination and linger in the mind for days.”        
                       —Michelle Rhea, editor Incarnate Muse Press                                    

                       
So happy—the book is almost finished. We have the proof copy in our hands, and it looks wonderful! We have a couple of minor changes to make and are still looking at it closely. I have to admit that there were times that I doubted this anthology would ever be born.

We even have a reading and release party already set up, thanks to Karen X Minzer at WordSpace.

What: Book Release: On the Dark Path: An Anthology of Fairy Tale Poetry
When: Saturday, May 11, 7 pm
Where: Lucky Dog Books, 633 W. Davis, Dallas (Oak Cliff)


Speaking to us from the woods and the cottage, from the marriage bed, the hospital bed, the writing group and the camps at Dachau, the forty-eight poets in this anthology of poems based on traditional fairy tales, edited by DFW poet and longtime fairy tale enthusiast Anita M. Barnard, bring their personal worlds to the fairy tale and the fairy tale out into the world at large. The reading will feature some of the local poets whose works appear in the book.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

French Wedding, Zazzle and GIMP

Zazzle makes it pretty easy to coordinate your wedding (or anniversary, reception or other event) with all the stationery products you need, with customized cards you design yourself or a huge variety of interesting designs from other designers. I am going to use a few products that I recently designed as an example.

I have been kind of interested and charmed lately by the vintage bunting/garlands that have been popping up in many places lately. Some might recall the Halloween bunting I made for our home decor and my daughter's birthday party last month.

SPOOKY Bunting


I used GIMP, my free image manipulation program, to make French ephemera wedding bunting to apply to various products in Zazzle. The background for the letters to spell out OUR WEDDING is   made of lovely vintage French typography, advertisements, receipts, etc. - all from Karen at the Graphics Fairy. It took a bit of time to shape each piece of ephemera into the pennant, or equilateral triangle, shape before applying the letter to each one. I used a great font called Chocolate Box Decorative.

I then applied a background and text and came up with invitations, Save the Date postcards and RSVP cards.




Table seating cards and menu cards are also possibilities.

I have the French Wedding bunting with alternative backgrounds that I have not yet posted on Zazzle. These are more colorful designs with swirls and leaves in the background in either aqua/teal or purple/lilac/tan.

Now, I have to admit that I had the individual pieces of the wedding bunting done right after I made the Halloween banner, but I could not for the life of me draw a satisfactorily smooth line as the "string" the bunting pieces were attached to. I tried again and again. Guess my hand is just not that steady.

So, in the interim, I have been watching quite a few GIMP tutorials on YouTube, and been reading a lot of GIMP advice. When I found this written tutorial about how to draw a circle, and other shapes in GIMP, I knew it was just what I needed for this bunting project. 

Basically, you use your select tool, in this case the circle (or oval) select. Position your selection where you want your line to be; it doesn't matter if part goes off your image (mine had to a lot to get the correct curve) or if there is extra where you don't want a line, you can just erase later. When you have your selection positioned, go to Edit-Stroke selection, then make your line as thick as you want it (I believe mine were 3 pixels). This also works for squares and rectangles with the rectangle select tools and for other shapes with straight lines. This was a great discovery for me.

I made this funky, fun design



...by drawing a circle the same way on a transparent layer as a guideline for laying out the wreath, then just making it invisible (or deleting it) later.

I know this GIMP "discovery" is probably very elementary for most GIMP users, but I am still reading, watching and learning (mostly through trial and error) and it was just what I needed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Party Ideas

I know it has been about 100 years since I wrote a blog post.

My garden is still plugging along and getting a bit refreshed in the Texas 2nd growing season...I have lots of little red peppers, arugula and a couple of little Fairy Tale eggplant, plus so many happy herbs.

Also, I have continued with my art and craft projects, especially creating and posting lots of stuff to my Zazzle store. I am totally unprepared, but a lot of people seem to be getting ready for Christmas already, and are buying their cards and ornaments, especially popular have been the international Santas, like the Paris, Rome and London cards and ornaments.

But here lately, I have to admit, I have been a bit preoccupied by Halloween. You see, my daughter, who has a mid-October birthday, has decided that she wants to have a Halloween costume birthday party at home. ! What, you mean I have to clean and organize my house?? Actually, I love the idea, and we have been brain-storming lots of cool decorations, foods and spooky activities.

Today, I made this "SPOOKY" Halloween banner, using scrapbooking paper, card stock, a scalloped paper punch, a great font, Elementary Gothic Bookhand, and small black fabric ribbon. Here it is hanging from our antique (past its prime) piano.

I had wanted to make another banner that I found as a free printable on line. I think this person did such a good job in designing this banner, but I just couldn't get it to print right, after selecting landscape a few times, and other options that should make that work with my printer...even tried it with another computer. Alas.

I do have about 2/3s of it printed out  and cut out, so I will ask my computer expert to help me with this.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time today soaking, scraping and scrubbing labels off of various "potion" and "poison" bottles for beverages. Here are some cool sites and resources for printable Halloween bottle labels. The 1st is one of 2 I found at the Graphics Fairy site.









These are going to be awesome beverage labels for my daughter's party.

Also, I found out the most awesome thing online...but unfortunately, I do not remember what site it was on. If you add a little tonic water to a beverage, then it will glow in a black light. (I'm really excited about this one!)

Well, that is what is going on with us this season. Maybe, I'll post party pictures later. And after that is all over, maybe I will even get around to painting again.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chilling Yet Personable Dystopian Novel "When She Woke"





I have almost finished When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, a re-imagining of "The Scarlet Letter" set in the not too distant future, and reminding me a lot at times of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" and often as disturbing. The reminders the reader gets that the novel is set in the future in our country, such as technological advances and gadgets, do not seem very far fetched at all, and the changes in policy, attitude and law that have pushed society to the situation in the book seem chillingly likely and address many present day political and social concerns. That the book is set mainly in Plano and Dallas, with mentions of familiar places like Oak Lawn, Mockingbird Station, SMU and Garland, only serves to bring it home more strongly to me, a lifelong resident of Dallas-Fort Worth who grew up in Garland. The main character, Hannah Payne, obviously a more modern day sounding nod to Hester Prynne, a young woman who grew up in a loving but very limiting, extremely Christian family and environment, is easy to care about and her emotions, predicament and realizations are very easy to identify with. The book addresses some pretty thorny topics, and I needed to take a little break from my growing apprehension as I approach the end, but it is also well written and engaging. I recommend it.


Hillary Jourdan is the author of Mudbound (2006), a prize-winning, New York Times bestseller. (Which I have not read, but I mean to remedy that soon.).

Thanks to Michelle Rhea for the gift of the book. (I hope you got one for yourself too!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fused Glass and Arts Goggle Festival



It's time for spring Arts Goggle in Fort Worth's cool near Southside neighborhood tomorrow afternoon and evening. One of the things I have been doing this week to get ready is creating a few more fused glass suncatchers. (Starting in the morning before it's too hot to run the kiln!)



A few of the older suncatchers, available on Etsy

Paris Eiffel Tower suncatcher



Backlit with some sun shining through

Experiments with wire-wrapping, copper inclusion

Since I will have a space outside this time around instead of the large room and wall space I have had for some previous shows, I will be showing mostly jewelry, these suncatchers and a few smaller pieces of art.

I'll be at 300 South Main Plaza Saturday May 19th from 4-10.